My Fair Lady Review: Unromantic Eliza in Lavish Revival

Lincoln Center’s sumptuous fourth Broadway revival of “My Fair Lady,” the supremely tuneful and witty 1956 Lerner and Lowe musical adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s pointed 1913 play “Pygmalion,” features a revelation and a looming question for those who know the musical.
The revelation is Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle, and the question is: Does the story still work if we see no romantic feelings develop between Eliza and Henry Higgins, her bullying speech teacher?

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2018 Outer Critics Circle Nominations: Spongebob, Harry Potter, My Fair Lady lead


“SpongeBob SquarePants”has received 11 nominations for 2018 Outer Critic Awards, more than any other show, followed by “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” with ten, and “My Fair Lady” with nine. The winners will be announced Monday, May 7th, 2018.

A Guide to New York Theater Awards

Complete list of nominations:


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Transfers Review: Escape from New York, If They Get The Scholarship

Cristofer, one of the two bright but poor Bronx-born students who are vying for a scholarship in Lucy Thurber’s play “Transfers,”  lashes out at one point at the advisor who has been trying to prep him for his admissions interview at an elite New England university. The advisor, David, has been admonishing Cristofer for his rough language and his unpolished demeanor: “I’m not sure you really understand the institution you are walking into tomorrow.”

Cristofer bridles; it’s David who “can’t understand” him.“You sit there and think you can tell me shit…I’m the one who knows life.”

And there, in a nutshell, is both what’s promising about the premise of Thurber’s well-meaning play, and what’s disappointing about its execution. Read more of this post

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Review and Pics

The real Donna Summer

Summer features 23 of Donna Summer’s songs, including such dance hits as “Hot Stuff” and “Last Dance,” that a talented cast performs in glitzy disco drag. That may be all some fans need from this thin Broadway musical that purports to tell the life story of the singer born LaDonna Adrian Gaines, who had a wildly successful career from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s.

“With her doe eyes, cascade of hair and sinuous dance moves, Ms. Summer became the queen of disco,” an obituary writer summed up Summer when she died six years ago from cancer at the age of 63.

It’s probably inaccurate to say that most theatergoers would be disappointed by Summer: The Donna Summer Musical – because few would expect much in the first place from yet another commercial bio drama jukebox musical.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Broadway Season Countdown. Week in New York Theater

Five shows are officially opening on Broadway over the next five days, ending the 2017-2018 Broadway season

April 22: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
April 23: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
April 24: Travesties
April 25: Saint Joan
April 26: The Iceman Cometh

The end of the Broadway season overlaps with the beginning of the theater award season:

April 24: Outer Critics Circle Award nominations announced
April 26: Drama Desk Award nominations announced.
May 1: Tony Award nominations announced.

New York Theater Awards: A guide and calendar

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New York Theater Awards: A Guide

Why was the great actress Sarah Bernhardt, who performed in and/or produced more than 40 shows on Broadway, never even nominated for a single Tony — nor any other major New York theater award? That’s easy: They didn’t exist during her lifetime. But other questions about these awards are harder to answer.  Why so many? How do they differ? Which are worth paying attention to? When will the various nominations be made? (Answer: many within the next week and a half) When will the awards be announced? (Answer: most within the next month and a half) Which have ceremonies open to the (paying) public?

Below a rundown. See also a calendar of nominations and awards at bottom.

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2018 Drama League Award Nominations

Below is the full list of the nominations for the 84th annual Drama League Awards, which select winners in five competitive categories, and also give special awards. The nominees were announced at Sardi’s this morning. The winners will be announced May 18, 2018,  at a ceremony at the Marriott Marquis.

(Underlined titles link to my reviews.)


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How To Get Discounts to Broadway’s Newest Shows This Season

Fifteen Broadway shows have opening dates in March and April, 2018, the bulk of the 2017-2018 season. Tickets are made available to them for as little as $10, but more often about $40, which is still as much as about a 75 percent discount off full price. How does this work? Below, listed alphabetically, are the shows and the official ways to get (relatively) inexpensive tickets to them Read more of this post

Cost of Living by Martyna Majok Wins Pulitzer Prize in Drama. Broadway’s April Avalanche. Week in NY Theater

“The Cost of Living” by Martyna Majok wins the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. “The Minutes by Tracy Letts and “Everybody” by Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins were selected as finalists.

This only begins the Season of Theater Awards,  which will heat up within the next few weeks. This month is already hot with openings —   six on Broadway within the next nine days.  I’ve already reviewed eight plays and musicals just in the past week (See below.).
 Also below: More on Majok and the Pulitzers, Tony nominations, new shows starring Elaine May, Anika Noni Rose, and Karl Marx;  the spectacular new season at the Signature, Patti LuPone starts a new feud, and a parody of Les Miz on Saturday Night Live.
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Carousel: Review and pics


The new “Carousel” has the most glorious singing on Broadway, as well as thrilling choreography and picturesque sets and costumes that seem lifted from great American paintings by Thomas Eakins and Edward Hopper. It also has a surprisingly dark story whose last half hour has aged so poorly it offers a bizarre mix of the ugly and the precious.
Director Jack O’Brien, though he has made some superficial changes to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved 1945 musical, hasn’t solved its dated attitude toward domestic abuse, nor does he take the corn out of the scenes set in Heaven; if anything, he makes more corn, inserting a prologue of angels gamboling in stage smoke, and expanding the role of the Starkeeper, the celestial counselor. But in this fifth Broadway revival, the director does bring us opera star Renee Fleming as Nettie Fowler singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (which she sang at Barack Obama’s inaugural concert) and “June Is Busting Out All Over” – which would be enough right there in my book to make up for any flaws in the show…

Full review at DC Theatre Scene.

Click on any photograph by Julia Cervantes to see it enlarged.