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Thom Pain (based on nothing) starring Michael C. Hall: review and pics

Like a boxer faking out an opponent, Michael C. Hall as Thom Pain plays tricks on the audience in Will Eno’s one-character play….For Thom’s jousts and jabs to feel like something more than random cleverness and intermittent entertainment, the actor must somehow show us an interior life that’s seething, striving, bursting with sadness and anger and resentments that he’s trying to mask.
One might suppose that such seething could come easily to Michael C. Hall, who played a serial killer on cable TV for eight seasons. But Dexter was a doll (the series depicting his murders as morally justified and him as well-meaning.) There is less menace than master of ceremonies in Hall’s portrayal of Pain.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

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King Kong Review: Going Apeshit Over a Puppet on Broadway

King Kong is spectacular — those dreamy eyes, that expressive sniffing of his nose, the earthquake of a roar. He is such a singular creature that, like Ann Darrow, the damsel he picks up in his impressively flexible hand, I started feeling protective towards him – and, by extension, toward the Broadway musical that he dominates.
No, “King Kong” didn’t need to be made into a musical. But here it is, and it’s fun.
No, the book is neither “Grapes of Wrath“ (“Apes of Wrath”?) nor “Rocky Horror Show” – neither profound nor campy – and the score isn’t especially memorable. But both deserve a vigorous defense.

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Wild Goose Dreams Review: Two Korean Lonelyhearts Plus Talking Penguin in A Toilet

The heart of Hansol Jung’s play at the Public Theater is the relationship between two lonely, awkward people in South Korea who connect through an online dating site. But the play also features a talking penguin in the toilet. And a North Korean military marching band. And the seven-member chorus singing strange snippets of sound and songs, turning the noise of the Internet — Internet searches, emoticons, instructions and announcements (“Delete,” “Scroll,” “You have no new messages,” “You have no new friends,” “Disconnected”) — into literal noise. And the scenic design by Clint Ramos, which is vivid with graffiti and neon signs in Korean, and columns painted like psychedelic flowers, and old family photographs and new advertising posters, and a bright red runway into the audience that none of the ten-member cast use until the very end.
“Wild Goose Dreams” is cluttered with cleverness, awash with theatrical invention. What makes the play worth seeing, though, is its quieter but in many ways richer aspects – the complexity and pathos of the three central characters.
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Blue Wave on Broadway. #Stageworthy News

In celebration of the Blue Wave – which has grown steadily in the week since Election Day — a silly observation: There have been 51 Broadway shows with “Blue” in the title.

I’m reluctant to point out there have been just about the same number with “Red” in the title. I prefer to think of the shows that had both in the title, though it’s been a while –  the 1898 drama “The Red, White and Blue” and the 1936 Cole Porter musical, Red, Hot and Blue,, starring Ethel Merman, Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante, which introduced the song “It’s De-Lovely” – It’s delightful, it’s delicious,
It’s delectable, it’s delirious….

Not silly: Sample Broadway’s Most Entertaining Shows About Serious Social Issues

Week in Theater below: News of the new Evan Hansen, the full cast of Ain’t Too Proud, Fiddler fiddles on, a video taste of Mary Poppins returns. And: Separated at Birth?

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Old Reviews of New Transfers: Mike Birbiglia’s New One, Daniel’s Husband, School Girls or the African Mean Girls Play

“The New One “isn’t literally new. Mike Birbiglia’s solo show debuted Off-Broadway three months ago – where it sold out quickly. It’s now on Broadway – same cast (i.e. Mike Birbiglia), same creative team, a bigger stage, a few new producers.
I liked it when it was at the Cherry Lane. I’m happy that Birbiglia is making his Broadway debut. I feel no need to see the show again, just so that I can write something like: He’s still funny in a larger theater.
For different reasons, I also don’t want to see “Daniel’s Husband” again, which is also transferring from the Cherry Lane, nor “School Girls, or the African Mean Girls Play”, which, with a few cast changes, isn’t even transferring: It’s being presented a year later in the same theater. So, below are summaries of my old reviews of the three productions, plus links to the full reviews, and new photographs.
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The Female Role Model Project Review: Exploring Female Identity Scientifically, Playfully, Pompously

“The Female Role Model Project” is a pioneering work of theater by a new company called Transforma, in which artists and scientists collaborate to explore attitudes about women, and questions of female identity. The 90 minute show, which is running at 3-Legged Dog Art and Technology Center through December 2, is a mad mix of tones and activities, from game-playing to storytelling to electroencephalogram analysis.  If it’s too uneven, abstruse, and ultimately too scattershot to work as a whole, “The Female Role Model Project” is an intriguing experiment, with moments that are engaging, entertaining, and just plain cool.

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The Chinese Lady Review: Immigrant as Freak

Afong Moy was the first Chinese woman in the United States. Brought to New York in 1834, she was put on display in a museum.

Out of this true story, playwright Lloyd Suh has fashioned “The Chinese Lady,” an often amusing but pointed and instructive play that is as deceptively simple as calligraphy. Its bold strokes are masterfully etched by actors Shannon Tyo as Afong and Daniel K. Isaac as Atung, her interpreter.

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Broadway Poll: Your Favorite Play With Puppets

My favorite character in Frozen on Broadway by far is Sven the reindeer. I’ve been a fan of Avenue Q  before it opened Off-Broadway the first time. Does anybody doubt The Lion King or War Horse owe much of their appeal to their  puppetry?

Now that King Kong has opened on Broadway, with unmitigated acclaim for its star puppet,  a one-ton, 20-foot marionette, it seems a good time to choose your favorite Broadway show with puppets, or the Broadway show with your favorite puppets. (I’ll leave that up to you.)

I’ve included the obscure 1961 musical Carnival starring Jerry Orbach as a puppeteer and four puppets. Feel free to choose an even more obscure show not on this list.

Click on any photograph to see it enlarged.

American Son: Pics and Review

While anxiously waiting in a Miami police station for word of what happened to her son Jamal, an educated African-American woman named Kendra (Kerry Washington) talks with her estranged white husband Scott (Steven Pasquale) about the nightmares she’s had over the years about Jamal – of “nooses and crosses,” but, far worse and far more often, “getting stopped by a cop.”

That nightmare has turned into Kendra’s reality in American Son, a timely if flawed drama whose power comes largely from Kerry Washington’s intense performance.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Broadway Sings: Vote! #Stageworthy News.

Today is Election Day! If you live in NYC, find your polling site here.

If you live anywhere in America, you can go to Vote.org for some cool info — like, for example, what’s on your specific ballot.

Below, everybody from the cast of Hamilton to Daphne Rubin-Vega, Laura Benanti and Randy Rainbow to civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis weigh in with some funny, touching, inspiring and annoying messages urging you to take democracy seriously.

Also below,the week in New York theater: November openings, October’s quiz, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Off-Broadway plans after Puerto Rico; Wicked at 15 (Watch the NBC special);

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