Reviews

White Rose: The Musical **

By: Samuel L. Leiter

January 26, 2024: The terror of life during the Third Reich—which would, of course, include the Holocaust—continues to generate a goldmine for dramatic treatment, so much in fact that it takes a lot to be surprised by any new film or play about the era. There definitely are no surprises in the latest iteration of such a background in White Rose: The Musical, an insubstantial new Off-Broadway show about a substantial subject, at Theatre Row, with music by Natalie Brice and book and lyrics by Brian Belding. The only surprise is that it’s being done at all.

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Reviews

Our Class *****

The Cast of “Our Class”.

By: Isa Goldberg

January 26, 2024: With the use of immersive storytelling techniques – video cameras, projections, graphic animation, mime, and song, Our Class follows the lives of ten classmates, in a small town in Poland. Written by Tadeusz Słobodzianek in 2009, and adapted by Norman Allen, the drama covers the decades from 1925 through the 20th century.

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Around The Town

Love ‘N Courage

Penny Arcade

Theater for the New City Honors performance artist, Penny Arcade at their 21st Annual Love ‘n Courage Benefit Gala.

January 25, 2024: Theater for the New City’s Emerging Playwrights Program will be the beneficiary of the theater’s 21st annual Love ‘n Courage Gala on Monday, February 12, 2024 at The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South.  The evening honors actress, performance artist and playwright Penny Arcade.

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Reviews

Our Class ****1/2

Stephen Ochsner

By: Samuel L. Leiter

January 22, 2024: Just a little more than a week ago I reviewed the Broadway production of Josh Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic, a searing drama about contemporary anti-Semitism in France, with a subplot set during the German occupation of Paris. My very next theatre visit was to the Fisher/Fishman Space at BAM to see Polish playwright Tadeusz Słobodzniak’s Our Class, a similarly devastating work about anti-Semitism in pre-war, wartime, and postwar Poland. With the striking rise in attacks on Jews here and abroad, not to mention the war between Israel and Hamas, in which millions of people are supporting the instigators, plays like these couldn’t be timelier, even if they’re equally depressing. 

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Reviews

Women on Fire: Fair Is Foul! ****

By: Paulanne Simmons

January 22, 2024: If you’re looking for light entertainment, Woman on Fire: Fair Is Foul! is probably not for you. But if you want thought-provoking theater at its best, run, don’t walk to Royal Performing Arts Space.  Written by Royal Family’s artistic director Chris Henry and directed by Henry and Royal Family artistic director Lorna Ventura, the workshop production features monologues delivered by a rotating cast that includes such luminaries as Kathleen Chalfant, Julie HalstonMary Testa, Linedy Genao and Carolee Carmello.

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Around The Town

The 1/52 Project

Support The Next Generation of Theater Professionals.

By: Alix Cohen

January 23, 2024: During the Pandemic, a We See You manifesto was written by non-white theater artists and signed by prominent creatives. It struck a chord with set designer Beowulf Boritt. In the last few years, he tells me, twice as many men as women designed a Broadway show.  Additionally, “I had long thought that people of color were not really trying or discouraged. I myself had a safety net coming up and assumed if one didn’t, it was less likely to be pursued, but that’s not necessarily true.”

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Reviews

Make Me Gorgeous *****

By: Alix Cohen

January 22, 2024: “Don’t let the word ‘can’t’ stop you. Sink your teeth like a bulldog and don’t let go.” Mabel Marlowe, Kenneth’s mom.

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Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Julie Andrews


Nostalgic finds from Broadway Babe include the original “Merrily We Roll Along,” Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson and mor
e.

January 21, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has come up with some nostalgic theatrical finds including a reunion concert from 2002, with the original cast of “Merrily We Roll Along”; some terrific footage from a gala Chorus Line event; The American Film Institute tribute to legendary star, Julie Andrews; and a TV special from 1959 with Rock Hudson and Tallulah Bankhead… Now how’s that for a combination?

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Around The Town

Stephen Flaherty

By: Alix Cohen

January 20, 2024: The Alumni Tribute and Benefit for University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, was one of the best musical theater presentations I’ve seen this year. A sparkling cornucopia of predominantly CCM alumnus – now musical theater professionals – performed material from a wide roster of shows by Stephen Flaherty and his long time collaborator, lyricist Lynn Ahrens. Intermittent video excerpts of the composer, deftly written/curated by CCM alumnus David Goldsmith, cast light on the honoree and his work.

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Reviews

Prayer for the French Republic ****, All the Devils Are Here ****

Richard Masur and Aria Shahghasemi in “Prayer For The French Republic”.

By: David Sheward

January 19, 2024: In the two years since it premiered at Manhattan Theater Club’s City Center stage Off-Broadway in 2022, Joshua Harmon’s moving, funny and challenging play Prayer for the French Republic has become even more relevant and immediate. Now on Broadway at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater, Harmon’s multigenerational tale of a French Jewish family confronting endless anti-Semitism is a harsh and difficult reminder of the perilous times we live in. This is especially so since last October’s terrorist attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas and Israel’s massive military response against Gaza. Harmon addresses complex issues by creating complex characters who were more than mere animated talking points and one wonders what the characters would make of these new horrific developments.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Jeremy Jordan, Eva Noblezada, and Samantha Pauly in in “The Great Gatsby” at Paper Mill Playhouse. Credit: Jeremy Daniel

Stereophonic Transfers, Harmony Closes, Gatsby Musical

By: David Sheward

January 17, 2024: As reported in an earlier update as a rumor, the Broadway transfer for Stereophonic, David Adjmi’s acclaimed play about a Fleetwood Mac-like rock group’s struggles to make an album, is confirmed. The play which had a hit Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons earlier this season, will begin previews at the Golden Theater on April 3 with an opening set for April 19 for a limited 14-week run. The cast, reprising their highly lauded performances, will include Will Brill as Reg, Andrew R. Butler as Charlie, Juliana Canfield as Holly, Eli Gelb as Grover, Tom Pecinka as Peter, Sarah Pidgeon as Diana, and Chris Stack as Simon.

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Around The Town

Mateo Lizcano @ 54 Below

Mateo Lizcano

Those Who Have Found Me

By: Iris Wiener

July 18, 2024: “If I keep coming back here I may make myself an A-list celebrity,” joked Mateo Lizcano as he returned to 54 Below with his second solo show on Thursday, January 11th. One can only hope that his sentiment foreshadows what’s to come, as the concept and talent behind his set were remarkably refreshing and heartwarming. 

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Reviews

The Sweet Spot **1/2

Joel Leffert and Nancy Nichols.

By: Isa Goldberg

January 14, 2024: An evocative set design (Robert Dutiel) places Alice Jankell’s new play, The Sweet Spot, in a dated New York City apartment, like those tucked away in aged buildings, untouched by real estate developers.  But after 50 years of marriage, the awkward layout seems comfortable enough, and it’s been lived in respectfully.

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Around The Town

Royal Family

WOMEN ON FIRE: FAIR IS FOUL @ Royal Family Arts Performance Space/145 West 46th Street January 19-29.

January 14, 2024: Outer Critics’ Circle award-nominated Royal Family Productions. a non-profit theatre company known for its innovative productions and development of new original work, will present a workshop run of a new chapter of the WOMEN ON FIRE series, subtitled Fair is Foul for a limited run at their performance space, 145 West 46th Street on the third floor. 

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Reviews

Prayer For The French Republic ***1/2

Nancy Robinette, Daniel Oreskes, Richard Masur, Ari Brand and Ethan Haberfield.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

[Note: some of what follows is adapted from my review of the Off-Broadway production of this play in 2022.]

January 12, 2024: If there’s one thematic word that sums up the general impression of the post-pandemic theatre, it’s racism. Just the other night, Appropriate,the first play I saw this year, revealed the agonized struggle of a Southern family in coming to terms with the possibility that their late father was very likely a violent bigot. The way that Appropriate exposes its dysfunctional family’s behavior in the face of a racist past is strikingly similar in tone to the turmoil stirred by the threat of anti-Semitism to the French family in Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Significant Other). Jews, of course, are not a race, yet few dispute that anti-Semitism falls within the parameters of racism. Anyway, Jewish Lives Matter.

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