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Mlima’s Tale Review: Lynn Nottage’s Poetic Play about Elephant Slaughter and the Ivory Trade

Elephants might become extinct in 20 years because of poaching for their ivory, we learn from “Mlima’s Tale,” the unusual new play by Lynn Nottage, the Pulitzer prize winning playwright of Ruined and Sweat, which is staged poetically by Jo Bonney, with a memorable performance by Sahr Ngaujah as Mlima.
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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

 

Mean Girls Review: Tina Fey’s Ill-Timed Broadway Musical About High School

At the end of “Mean Girls,” Cady, the new girl in high school who tries so hard to fit in that she’s become phony and superficial, tells her classmates that she’s learned her lesson: “I wanted everyone to like me so bad, I kind of lost myself in the process.” Had Tina Fey and her collaborators learned the same lesson, they surely would not have turned her smart, funny 2004 movie into the overlong, ill-timed Broadway musical that is currently running at the August Wilson Theater.
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Children of a Lesser God Review: Deaf Rights and Romance, Four Decades Later

The first Broadway revival of “Children of a Lesser God,” the award-winning, boundary-breaking 1980 play by Mark Medoff about the romance and eventual marriage between a hearing teacher at a school for the deaf and a deaf graduate, is the only show on Broadway whose creative team includes a “director of artistic sign language.” It is the only show on Broadway to project supertitles of the entire script at EVERY performance, and to schedule sign language interpreters regularly. And, above all, it is of course the only show that marks the stunning Broadway debut of Lauren Ridloff, who portrays Sarah Norman, whose language (like the actress’s) is American Sign Language.
These are reasons enough to welcome this production, and to consider it pioneering, even as the play it’s remounting feels dated.
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Dutch Masters Review: Black Meets White on Subway

In “Dutch Masters,” a new play written by Greg Keller and directed by Andre Holland, a young black man meets a young white man on the subway, with unexpected results. In “Dutchman,” the 1964 play by LeRoi Jones (soon to change his name to Amiri Baraka), a young black man meets a white woman on the subway, with unexpected results.
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Miss You Like Hell Review: Daphne Rubin-Vega on Immigrant Mother-Daughter Road Trip

“Miss You Like Hell,” a new musical by “In The Heights” book writer Quiara Alegría Hudes and singer-songwriter Erin McKeown, depicts the most American of adventures, the road trip. But this road trip takes place in the America of today, and so the discoveries and self-discovery are edged with some dark realities.
Daphne Rubin-Vega, portraying one of her most vibrant original characters since her Broadway debut in “Rent,” is Beatriz Santiago, a Mexican immigrant mother who drives from California to Philadelphia to pick up her troubled 16-year-old daughter, Olivia (the terrific Gizel Jiménez.) They have not seen each other for four years – Olivia’s American-born father has sole custody of her – but Beatriz has been reading Olivia’s blog, in which she asked her readers whether she should jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge. And so Beatriz insists that Olivia accompany her on a cross-country trip over the next seven days.
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This Flat Earth Review: Another School Shooting, and Two Teens Reel

In “This Flat Earth,” 13-year-old Julie (Ella Kennedy Davis) doesn’t understand why the newspaper article about the school shooting that killed nine of her classmates has the word “Another” in the headline.

“Has this happened before?”

Her father Dan (Lucas Papaelias) reluctantly informs her that it has.

“If this has happened before, why would everybody be acting so shocked?…Why don’t the grown-ups just fix it?”
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Hamilton Sweeps Olivier Awards. Theater Concussions. Week in New York Theater

Hamilton takes home seven Olivier Awards – not a record (matched by Matilda and beaten by Harry Potter), but not a bad showing. More on the Oliviers below.

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Feeding the Dragon Review: An Enchanted Childhood Living Inside a Library

In “Feeding the Dragon” — Sharon Washington’s delightfully acted memoir about an enchanted childhood spent literally living in a branch of the New York Public Library — we learn at least three ways her life was affected by the unusual arrangement.

Her father worked as the custodian at the stately 1906 granite St. Agnes branch at 81st and Amsterdam, and so from 1969 to 1973 his family was given the luxurious apartment above the three floors of wood and marble, books and brass that it was his job to polish every day.

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Symphonie Fantastique: Basil Twist’s innovative abstract puppet concert returns to HERE!

You can say that Harriet Smithson, a famous Shakespearean actress, is the star of the Symphonie Fantastique by composer Hector Berlioz; she is also in a way the star of the Symphonie Fantastique by MacArthur Foundation “genius” artist Basil Twist—although in the Berlioz, Harriet exists only as flirtatious notes from violins and a flute, while in the Twist, she’s a bed sheet. Or, more precisely, she looks like a white bed sheet, but she’s actually a puppet, one of the many puppets in Twist’s show, none of them conforming to any recognizable animal or vegetable or even mineral….The twentieth-anniversary production of Twist’s innovative abstract puppet concert is being presented at HERE, the theatre where it debuted in 1998 to great acclaim.

 

Full article on HowlRound