Reviews

Birthday Candles **1/2

Debra Messing in Birthday Candles

By: Paulanne Simmons

April 16, 2022: The best thing you can say about Noah Haidle’s Birthday Candles is that it manages to stuff a traditional, long and sappy soap opera, which usually goes on for years, into a messy, mushy drama that mercifully ends in under two hours. The second-best thing about the play is Christine Jones’s set design, which features a detailed kitchen (where Ernestine bakes her birthday cake every year) and up above a sky filled with household items intermingled with celestial bodies.

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Reviews

To My Girls **1/2

Jay Armstrong Johnson and Maulik Pancholy

By: Samuel L. Leiter

April 12, 2022: JC Lee’s (Luce) new comedy, To My Girls, at the Second Stage’s Terry Kiser Theater, is the latest entry in the tradition of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking 1968 The Boys in the Band. I mean plays in which a claque of gay male friends gather to gossip, hook-up, and natter about their sexual orientation. The girls in Lee’s title are the men themselves, their drawlingly spoken dialogue a stream of sarcastic one-liners, their movement femme from ankles to wrists, their quivering vulnerabilities always on display, and their interactions resembling a mirror-mirror contest for biggest drama queen of all. 

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Around The Town

Paulanne Simmons Unscripted

The Price of a Peek

April 14, 2022: Perhaps the most interesting part of the Broadway revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out is what happens before the play even starts. Everyone in the audience is asked not only to turn off their phones put to put them in a locked bag. On a day when ten people were shot in a New York City subway train, it was a relief to see everyone complied. In fact, only people unfamiliar with the show even questioned why.

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Reviews

The Pirates of Penzance *****

By: Paulanne Simmons

April 12, 2022: A Chorus Line famously tells us that everything done in theater is what we do “for love.” Certainly, the productions of the Gilbert and Sullivan Players prove this point. Their new offering, The Pirates Penzance or the Slave of Duty, is the latest evidence. The production is directed by Albert Bergeret, who is also the founder, artistic director and general manager of the company. His enthusiasm seems to have infected everyone else working on this show.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Ed Stoppard (the author’s son), Alexis Zegerman, Faye Castelow and Adrian Scarborough in Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt.

Broadway Update: New Stoppard Play; Kinky Boots Marches Off-B’way; COVID Woes

By: David Sheward

April 9, 2022: What a coincidence. Just as I finish reading Hermione Lee’s comprehensive, 700-plus page biography of Tom Stoppard, an announcement by Twitter arrives that his latest play, Leopoldstadt will be arriving on Broadway at a future, unspecified date. The tweet was sent by the production. Auditions for the New York company will take place later this month. The play concerning a Jewish-Catholic family in Vienna over several decades, opened in London in 2020 but closed after a brief run due to the COVID pandemic. A production was set for Toronto earlier this year but was cancelled due to ongoing COVID restrictions. The production reunites Stoppard, director Patrick Marber and producer Sonia Friedman who collaborated on Travesties in 2017.

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Reviews

Penelope ***

Cooper Howell, Jason Alexander Simon, David LaMarr, Britany Nicole Simpson, Leah Hocking (top), George Slotin, Sean Thompson, Philippe Arroyo, Maria Wirries.

Penelope, or How the Odyssey Was Really Written

By: Paulanne Simmons

April 5, 2022: The Trojan war is over after ten long years. The Greeks are victorious and Odysseus, King of Ithaca, wants to go home to his wife, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus. This proves to be no easy task, as the blind poet Homer tells us in the epic Odyssey

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Around The Town

ACA GALLERIES

We Came To America, 1998

FAITH RINGGOLD: Prints and Multiples on view at ACA Galleries through June 11th 2022

March 20, 2022: ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Steet, in the Gallery District has an exciting exhibition, Faith Ringgold: Prints and Multiples now on view through June 11, 2022. Ringgold, an artist and activist, is also a pioneer in storytelling. She has been represented by ACA since 1999. The works ACA has put together for this exhibition are an extraordinary example of the artist’s vision. 

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HamptonsLife - Theater

Summer 2022 at WHBPAC

Tracy Morgan

Musical Legends, Broadway stars and Renowned Comedians including Tracy Morgan, Kenny G., Paul Anka, Keb’Mo, Kelli O’Hara, Jay Leno, Taj Mahal, Chris Isaak, Michael Feinstein, Rita, Rudner, and more are set to perform live at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center this Summer.

April 3, 2022:  An exciting and eclectic array of stars are set to perform this Summer at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC). Highlights from the May June lineup include Iconic comedian Tracy Morgan, best known for his work on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. He heats things up in May when he takes the stage on May 14. Kenny G promises an evening of smooth jazz on June 4th when the renowned Saxophonist and top selling instrumentalist performs.

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Reviews

Plaza Suite ***1/2

Sarah Jessica Parker, Mathew Broderick

By: Samuel L. Leiter

April 3, 2022: Remember Neil Simon’s 1970 movie, The Out-of-Towners, starring Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, where everything that could possibly go wrong on a brief trip to New York not only does, but doubles down to do so? Well, my MTA nightmare getting to and from Broadway for a Saturday matinee of Simon’s Plaza Suite could have inspired an episode in his movie. Not even the king of the one-liners could have made those situations funny. He does, however, manage to provide some laughs for the tired businessman in this revival of his only occasionally tired 1968 hit comedy, Plaza Suite, now at the Hudson Theatre, starring married couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, a show delayed two years by you-know-what.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

K-Pop star Luna

B’way Update: 2022-23 Takes Shape with K-Pop, Piano Lesson, Camelot

By: David Sheward

April 2, 2022: The 2021-22 Broadway season is far from over, yet already we are getting announcements of the very busy fall portion of 2022-23. Three productions–K-POP, The Piano Lesson, and Camelot–have definite dates and/or theaters, joining the Broadway transfer of Kimberly Akimbo. K-POP, a musical centering on the titular Korean music genre, will begin previews at the Circle in the Square on Oct. 13 in advance of a Nov. 20 opening.

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Reviews

Plaza Suite ***1/2, MJ: The Musical ***1/2

Sarah Jessica Parker and Mathew Broderick in “Plaza Suite”.

By: David Sheward

March 29, 2022: Two new Broadway productions offer boatloads of entertainment, but skirt around serious examination of their subjects. That’s perfectly okay, neither Plaza Suite, Neil Simon’s 1968 trio of comic one-acts set in the titular hotel, nor MJ: The Musical, the jukebox-bio musical of the late King of Pop, are meant to be anything more than a lighthearted night out. Yet they hint ever so slightly at the darker issues lurking just beneath their jolly surfaces. 

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Reviews

Man Cave ***1/2

Annie Henk, Claudia Acosta, Jacqueline Guillén, and Socorro Santiago

By: Isa Goldberg

March 28, 2020: Domestic abuse, at the center of John J. Caswell, Jr.’s “Man Cave,” is the enemy, and it’s punishable by death. At least Rosemary (Jacqueline Guillen) won’t settle for less. But her husband is a cop. No one will believe her story.

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Around The Town

Truly, Madly

By: Alix Cohen

Based on the book and Smithsonian Associates lecture by author Stephen Galloway.
March 29, 2022: Larry Olivier- not yet Laurence or Sir Laurence, “the finest actor of our age” first saw Vivien Leigh- successively Vivien, Viv, and Vivling, in 1936’s ironically titled The Mask of Virtue. (A stage adaptation of Diderot) Seven years before, at 21, the virginal country Pastor’s son married better known actress Jill Esmond. “There was nothing of the passionate personality about her,” a friend said. She may have been gay.

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Reviews

Confederates ****

Elijah Jones and Kristolyn Lloyd

By: Brian Scott Lipton

March 27, 2022: America has long touted itself as the land of the free and the home of the brave, but “freedom” of all sorts has long proved elusive for so many of our citizens, especially African-Americans. That subject arises, sometimes subtly within many of the works of the great playwright Dominique Morriseau; but it’s front and center in “Confederates,” her striking new work, now at the Signature Theatre Company.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Cast of “Girl from the North Country”

Broadway Update: Girl Returns to the Belasco; POTUS Moves Up; Lortels Announced

By: David Sheward

March 26, 2022: April is almost upon us. That’s the month when critics’ datebooks are choked with openings in order to beat the deadline for the Tony Awards which has recently been announced as April 27. After two years of COVID, the awards will return to their traditional date of early June (June 12 to be precise).

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