Advertisements

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.
Advertisements

King Lear at BAM: Review and pics

“King Lear” begins with a foolish ruler swayed by flattery, and ends with what Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Greg Doran calls “a strange, profound unease.” Shakespeare’s tragedy is, in other words, as relevant as ever. And Doran’s often visually arresting if rarely shattering production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater, which stars Antony Sher as Lear, is as good as any to remind us of the Bard’s insights into stormy times, and the self-delusions of the powerful.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Click any photograph by Richard Termine to see it enlarged

 

Three Tall Women: Review and Pics

“I was tall and I was strong,” recalls the oldest woman in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, and you believe it, because it is Glenda Jackson, who commands even as she winces in pain or cries in embarrassment or drifts into sad memories.
Jackson hasn’t been on a Broadway stage since 1988; she took a long detour from acting to become a member of the British Parliament . Three Tall Women has never been on a Broadway stage before. The 1994 Off-Broadway production of the play restored Albee’s reputation after 20 years of critical drubbing, winning him his third Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Jackson makes clear how much we’ve missed out by her absence from acting. But this is just one of the many triumphs of this exquisite Broadway premiere directed by Joe Mantello and co-starring Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill. It is hard to imagine a better production of Albee’s humorous, caustic, secretly compassionate look at a life – and a death. It feels a fitting homage to the playwright, who died in 2016.

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Brigitte Lacombe to see it enlarged.

Bedlam’s Pygmalion: Pics and Review

Has My Fair Lady turned its source material, Pygmalion, into an outdated curiosity?

Bedlam dares you to compare, deliberately mounting its production of George Bernard Shaw’s century-old play Off-Off Broadway at the same time as the fourth Broadway revival of the 60-year-old Lerner and Lowe musical adaptation is in previews at Lincoln Center.

With its usual verve, the acclaimed downtown company puts on a good show, in the process demonstrating that, if Pygmalion is not as mellifluous as My Fair Lady, it retains the sharp social satire that the musical largely drops. And Bedlam adds an extra layer that is pointed.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Frozen on Broadway, Pics, Videos and Review

What most engaged me about Frozen, if I’m honest, is Sven the reindeer. This said more than I initially realized about the Broadway musical adaptation of the highest-grossing animated film of all time.
“Frozen” features a terrific 40-member cast, led by Caissie Levy as Elsa the princess with the chilly ice-making powers, and Patti Murin as Anna, her younger and more sociable sister. The show doesn’t neglect “Let It Go,” the Oscar-winning song and pop music phenomenon composed by the extraordinary songwriting team, the married couple, EGOT winner Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon) and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit.)

Full review at DC Theatre Scene 

Click on any photograph by Deen van Meer to see it enlarged

Escape to Margaritaville: Pics and Review

Escape to Margaritaville, the new Broadway musical with songs by Jimmy Buffett, promises much the same experience as the week long tropical resort vacation that it depicts — fun, relaxation, even romance. As with such resorts, the musical, opening at the Marquis, has its disappointments, but it largely delivers; all it asks of you in return is that you put your brain on hold.

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Matthew Murphy to see it enlarged

queens: Review and pics of immigrant women in a basement

In “queens,” the latest resonant, heartfelt play by Martyna Majok, a Polish immigrant woman named Renia reigns over a crumby basement in the New York City borough of Queens, but she sees it as her home, her world, and her salvation…

“queens” is not just a portrait of one woman, but of a community of women, mostly newly arrived in America, who pass through this cluttered basement, with nowhere else to live, from 2001 (shortly after September 11th) to 2017.

 

Full review at DC Theater Scene

Relevance: Review and Pics

It might sound unenlightened to call Relevance a catfight between two feminists. Jayne Houdyshell and Pascale Armand, after all, are portraying characters explicitly identified as “public intellectuals” in JC Lee’s play… [but the playwright] has created a remarkably unsympathetic portrait of two feminists – and therefore, intentionally or not, of feminism. Luckily for the playwright, director Liesl Tommy has assembled a terrific cast and a fine design team…

Full review on DC Theatre Scene

Click on any photograph by Joan Marcus to see it enlarged

Jerry Springer the Opera: Review and Pics

Jerry Springer the Opera is profane, vulgar, obvious, offensive and irresistibly entertaining – at least in the first act, when it offers a high art version of the TV talk show that has aimed low since 1991. The New Group production, directed by John Rando and featuring a pitch-perfect 17-member cast led by Terrence Mann and Will Swenson, contrasts the high and the low to hilarious effect.
After Act I of this sing-through musical, though, it’s easy to wonder: What’s the point?

Full review at DC Theatre Scene

 

Click on any photograph by Monique Carboni to see it enlarged.

Fire and Air: Pics and Review

Fire and Air could not have looked more promising –a starry cast performing a new play by Terrence McNally about one of the most celebrated of dance companies, the Ballets Russes. Picasso, Matisse, and Coco Chanel designed their sets; Debussy, Stravinsky, and Richard Strauss composed their music. George Balanchine created nine of their ballets when in his twenties.
And at the center of the Ballets Russes was its impresario Sergei Diaghilev; its greatest dancer Vaslav Nijinksy; and the tempestuous relationship between the two.
Who better to dramatize all this than the playwright who won one of his four Tony Awards for Master Class, presenting the opera singer Maria Callas as impetuous, passionate, enlightening and inspiring?

Full review at DC Theatre Scene