New York+ Theater Log

What Rena has seen and a pithy comment or two:

3-28-17 – White Guy on the Bus – the real drama is between two characters and it’s pretty powerful; too bad the rest is both obvious and bloated.

3-25-17 – Smart People – ends with Obama’s inauguration making its hopefulness seem like a history play; raises big questions about implicit bias in smart ways; good and provocative, and presciently insightful into today’s racial angers

3-15-17 – Bull in a China Shop – disappointed that this didn’t go anywhere new; a love story, that’s really it; I didn’t think it said anything new about being a revolutionary woman, and I was aware I was watching actors and acting.

3-15-17 – How to Transcend a Happy Marriage – a bit puzzled by the magic realism and what it offers metaphorically, but unlike much of the audience, I liked this one; a different take on polyamory with a good performance by Marisa Tomei.

2-26-17 – Napoli Brooklyn – a combination of well-drawn characters and stereotypes; family and friends and a 1960 airplane crash in Brooklyn; events that shape our lives.

2-19-17 – Come from Away – blurry, over-amped miking doesn’t help this hyper-charged rock musical; losing the words dims the cultural references; 9-11 reminders aren’t especially welcome now.

2-19-17 – The Man from Nebraska- one man’s journey through loss of faith; so sensitively performed that silence was full of emotion and the final moment wrenched through with ambiguity.

1-29-17 – Dear Evan Hanson – good premise, well acted; the music was annoying enough to make an early exit desirable; meant for Millennials.

12-28-16 – Yours Unfaithfully – slow-paced script; a period piece doesn’t need stiff, mannered demeanor, particularly given the contemporary interpretation.

12-25-16 – Big Comet – inventive, exhausting staging of “War and Peace” as a rock musical; the strobe lights killed me, so I had to leave.

12-21-16 – The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey – 3 actors play different stages of the quirky artist’s life; brisk, exuberant, charming; very little of his odd humor is shared.

12-21-16 – The Band’s Visit- just goes to show that people relate gently and kindly when culture is taken out of the mix; small, lovely, sweet, and touching; personal contact is all.

12-10-16 – Ride the Cyclone. Perfectly weird and weirdly perfect; fresh staging like I’ve never seen before, exuberant performances, crisply witty book and lyrics; a must.

11-26-16 – Sweat – post-election, I just couldn’t take the working class’s seething anger and racism; left at intermission as I didn’t want to see the inevitable violence to come.

11-20-16 – Sweet Charity – Sutton Foster is born to play the role, and she is her effervescent self; a quiet, moody ending is a downer, as is the whole second act.

11-12-16 – Babylon Line – I guess I’m not a Richard Greenberg fan although I keep trying; I find his writing self-indulgent and schmaltzy; Elizabeth Reaser doesn’t save this one.

11-12-16 – The Roads to Home – Horton Foote has a special touch that doesn’t age for me; gentle, genuine emotion, familiar, but with a surprising play with reality.

10-29-16 – Falsettos – pleasant music, but dated enough to not be the overwhelming piece of theater it was originally; today, a gay man who wants to have a biological child would be openly discussing it; it did bring back memories.

10-22-16 – Notes from the Field – slow-build to really powerful Anna Deveare Smith; John Lewis is the hero now as then.
 
10-19-16 – Scenes from Court Life or the whipping boy and his prince; lots of stage craft, an attempt to mash up the Bush family and King Charles I and II; a long time to get off the ground, and by Act 2 the comparison gets stronger; still I’m not sure it added up to much.
 
10-13-16 – Relativity – Richard Dreyfus as Albert Einstein, a little rocky in his lines, but believable as the scientist; play’s abrupt ending a bit unsatisfying, but overall, on its way.
 
9-10-16 – Dance Nation – self-consciously absurdist with a couple of genuine laughs, but basically didn’t go anywhere or say anything.
 
9-10-16 – The Last Tiger in Haiti – brutal and poetic, abstracted and topical, the play has a lot of potential and certainly sparks discussion; watch for it.
 
9-9-16 – Miller, Mississippi – fully realized characters pack a punch, with a slow build that ultimately says something about the Civil Rights movement, albeit anachronistically.
 
9-4-16 – Small Mouth Sounds – recognizable types from every retreat I’ve attended; enjoyed the character portrayals developed mostly in silence; oh so funny, touching, too.
 

9-4-16 – The Layover – started off strong, taut , sexy , then diffuses into back story that’s not entirely consistent with character set-up; does every talk of murder have to pay off?

8-20-16 – Butler – provocative, beyond belief perhaps (except it’s based in fact), but an edge-of-the-seater about the transformation of a seeming doofus into a very clever fellow, who outwits the Fugitive Slave Law.

8-20-16 – A Day by the Sea – British playwright N.C. Hunter’s subtle, quiet play from the 1950s explores human nature, hope in the face of adversity, and uncompromisingly real resolutions; a very adult play.

7-23-16 – Romance for Dummies – tv-movie-of-the-week calibre; a real let down from the usual Williamstown Theatre Festival fare; Justin Long can’t save this weak script.

7-9-16 – Smell of the Greasepaint and Roar of the Crowd – 1960s musical that featured great songs and desperate need for a new book certainly doesn’t achieve the latter.

7-1-16 – American Son – tense and tautly written, but predictable (sadly); needs a second act or to start at the end to tell us something new; what happens next?

6-25-16 – The Healing – another half-baked Samuel Hunter play; I wish he would slow down and polish, as his premise is a good one; where’s the drama?

6-25-16 – Out of the Mouth of Babes – a bit tv sitcomish, but such a pleasure to see solid parts for women.

6-11-16 – King and I – a reboot after the awful preview I saw and walked out on; the chemistry, pacing, staging, singing all are vastly improved with wonderful Marin Mazzie.
 
6-8-16 – Radiant Vermin – the title only makes sense afterward; wickedly funny, manically paced, darkly inspired writing with piercing commentary about our consumerist souls.

6-8-16 – She Loves Me – oozing with charm, how did this musical ever fall out of circulation?  Wonderfully performed, paced, and staged, near perfect.

5-29-16 – The Humans – I skipped it Off-Broadway but it’s a Tony favorite; unevenly paced and talky; I get the layers, but left a bit baffled by their meaning.

5-29-16 – Skeleton Crew – Dominique Morrisseau is an assured writer, building strength with each ‘thick’ characterization; impressively personal, affecting story of Detroit in 2008.

5-15-16 – Anastasia – a little bit Eliza Doolittle, a little bit of Fiddler’s yearning; an old-fashioned type musical, with a smart book by Terrence McNally and smashing sets.  Bdwy-bound.

5-7-16 – Waitress – better than the movie; introduces a great comic character with 2 astonishingly funny songs; eating pie while watching is part of the fun

5-2-16 – Happy Day – my first time with this Beckett; Diane Wiest is luminous in the part and the Yale Rep staging is well done.  Of course, it’s Beckett.

4-26-16 – Lewiston – although it could use another polish, the play has strong potential; focusing on the young person is a mistake again; least interesting character

4-16-16 – Vincent – written by Leonard Nimoy, a chance to get inside the head of Vincent van Gogh through his letters to Theo; beautifully performed one-man show

4-13-16 – Anything Goes – seemed like a big voice and worth the Goodspeed price; dancing worked, even for the small space; the rest was a let down

3-27-16 – Red Speedo – so desperately wants to go somewhere but just doesn’t; not exactly predictable but isn’t fresh either; unbelievable character inconsistencies

3-27-16 – The Crucible – new Broadway production, stylish, somewhat to excess, and solid acting make this classic zip

3-18-16 – Dry Powder – a bit artificially blocked for theater-in-the-round and a lot of talking heads; still smartly crafted, if not altogether fresh plotwise

2-4-16 – I and You – moved along rather weakly until the final denouement; parallels Walt Whitman in a nice way, but needs a good editing

1-2-16 – Marjorie Prime – a futuristic conceit for dealing with memory loss and grief;  the ending is both inevitable and completely original; what is the nature of being a family?

12-30-15 – Fiddler on the Roof – a classic production toned even grayer than usual;  Danny Burstein was a naturalistic Tevye.

12-30-15 – Our Mother’s Brief Affair – sloppy writing and half-baked characters nearly sink this Linda Lavin vehicle; a doozy of a plot twist

12-25-15 – The Golden Bride – the most delightful show with all the Yiddish tropes, excellent singing voices, and the belongingness of the Yiddishkeit

12-10-15 – Daddy Long Legs – the live-stream experiment works well on a small screen; a musical, epistolary, 2-hander that’s intimate by design, with a sparkling Megan McGinnis

11-30-15 – Peerless – another overly-loud, over-the-top production from Yale Rep (can they do subtle?) and yet another riff on Macbeth.  Sigh.

11-27-15 – Important Hats of the Twentieth Century – started off funny and vibrant and quickly wore out its welcome; needs another good edit to deal with the annoying

11-27-15 – View from the Bridge – overly-concepted that dulled the already-dreary experience;  is this a good play?  I still don’t know.

11-14-15 – Rear Window – same gimmick, different plot, combining overbearing noirish soundtrack and contemporary racial sensibility; I’m guessing it’s Broadway bound

11-7-15 – First Daughter Suite – mixed tonality isn’t too bothersome, shifting from dissonant naturalism to jazzy fantasy; Chelsea Clinton escapes the parody

11-7-15 – King Charles III – a very slow start ends up with a dramatic payoff that aspires to Shakespearean levels; I found those tropes a bit annoying and the ending too abrupt

11-1-15 – Dames at Sea – No one goes to this one for the plot; dance and overall pacing at hyper speed, with some good songs tossed in; some should have been tossed out

10-24-15 – Please Pardon My Aunt Sally – crazy, poetic performance piece told from the point of view of a cell phone; digital footprints are easier to wipe clean than memories

10-18-15 – Allegiance – A very strong piece of theater even with button-pushing; American musical meets Japanese culture meets opera, with a touch of complicated politics that keeps it from being too pat.

10-13-15 – Tuesdays with Morrie – nicely acted, but felt overly long; fortunately not overly sentimental like the book

10-11-15 – Clever Little Lies – one of DiPietro’s better plays; smart acting, good lines, and a tonal shift with the ending make this one a good ride

10-5-15 – Indecent – stagey, uneven, unappealing; I couldn’t find a way in, even though I am interested in the topic

9-20-15 – An Opening in Time – naturalistic and quiet, it drags in the second act; perhaps the playwright doesn’t know what to do with the tense issues, so settles for the pat

9-12-15 – A Delicate Ship – claustrophobic love triangle of delicate souls; what happens if we don’t open a door; even with its brevity and crisp pace, it’s hampered by wordiness

9-6-15 – Whorl Inside a Loop – good storytelling well performed; a bit of an existential writing snarl at the end that doesn’t really work, but easy to overlook

8-23-15 – The New Morality – a cross between a tea cozy and Shaw, this revival of the 1911 Harold Chapin play features a strong woman and wobbly men; amusing enough.

8-15-15 – Show for Days – Patti Lupone is over the top, but fun, and Michael Urie so natural and appealing; not much to the show, but the performances were entertaining

8-12-15 – My Paris – a new musical about Toulouse Lautrec that makes the most of its small stage and lead actor; Kathleen Marshall will no doubt take it to Broadway

8-8-15 – Love and Money – Gurney creates another sly commentary, wrapped in a gently-humored, easy-to-swallow package; Cornelia out-cons the con, and fun is had by all

7-11-15 – Off the Main Road – recently discovered Inge play gets a premier with a good cast and tight direction; how did a play this good get overlooked?  Still timely.

7-5-15 – Wolf Hall Parts 1 and 2 – majestic production with intense performances, a class act, enough said

6/22/15 – Gloria – a much-ado plot line that ends where it started, although with significant casualties along the way; a little too talky with almost cliched plot points for its rave reviews

6-7-15 – Nice Girl, lovely, intimate piece, with action that is a bit too coincidental, but so what?  It’s a well-written, well-acted jewel, with tender disappointment at the end

5-23-15 – On the Twentieth Century – silly, good fun; love the four tap dancing train hops and Kristin Chenowith singing “Never!”; Roundabout does it right–exuberant!

5-24-15 – The Qualms – well acted much ado about sex, um nothing, occasionally funny, but resorts to gimmicks, the worst dinner party ever, if you find diatribes boring

5-24-15 – Skylight – a bit of a disappointment as the talky play by Hare brings down the naturalistic performances; I also didn’t get the dated British politics references

5-23/15 – Kiss Me Kate – this version, the book felt especially creaky, while still being performed with great energy; a crowd favorite, but I’m kind of meh about it

5-13-15 – Guys and Dolls – Goodspeed does a good job with this lively production; the 2 women leads have especially good voices, and the Adelaide had great charm

5-10-15 – Second Mrs. Wilson – surprisingly touching bit of presidential history complete with emotional range and real dramatic tension

5-6-15 – Something Rotten – sublimely zany, with clever references to Shakespeare’s works and American musicals; ‘holics, get thee to the theater, it’s just great fun

5-2-15 – Elevada – the staging and set were like performance art and clearly the best part of this show; a possibly interesting premise that doesn’t rise to the level of caring

4-19-15 – American in Paris – transcendent, glorious; the smooth elegance of the dance is completely satisfying in every way; the song arrangements are a bit odd, but I admire the experimentation; the updating of the book very welcome

4-12-15 – Iowa – huh?  Absurdist, yes.  Musical, well, okay.  From the dreary song at the beginning to the peculiar, dour ending, hmmm.  The Nancy Drews are the one bright spot.

3-28-15 – Abundance – strong writing, intense acting make the lives of two mail-order brides seem even more significant; friendship, obligation, betrayal, and self-expression

3-21-15 – King and I – a big disappointment; exhausted at the end of the first act and left, the energy was flat and Kelly O’Hara cold; sigh

3-14-15 – Mystery of Love and Sex – over-emphasis on the less interesting, young couple; middle-aged characters underwritten, maybe because they’re beyond the playwright’s experience

2-26-15 – Seen Change – a love letter to the theater through the lens of the history of the Shubert; often silly, surprisingly good singing and dancing, literally bringing history alive

2-20-15 – Familiar – what’s too familiar about this play is its sitcom setting, approach, direction, and characters; a overly-shrieking disappointment

12-21-14 – Sense and Sensibility – wildly fun staging, making the performance come alive briefly, but then, the tricks repeat, and it’s stil a period piece, alas, no new takeaways

12-14-14 – Pocatello – big disappointment after the powerfully original The Whale; Sam Hunter doesn’t have anything new to say about the issues, and I found it hard to care.

11-29-14 – Allegro – Rodgers and Hammerstein’s dog musical radically cut and still a pedantic flop; energetic staging used as a substitute for real musical glory

11-29-14 – The Oldest Boy – a deeply touching portrayal of a mother’s most unusual dilemma: what if your child were a reborn Buddhist Lama?

11-16-14 – Father Comes Home From the War – riveting drama exploring why a slave would fight for the Confederacy; Shakespearean, compelling dialogue and soliloquies

10-19-14 – Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – the audience is thrust into the chaotic mind of a boy with Asperger’s; this production is intense, dazzling, and rewarding

10-12-14 – When January Feels Like Summer – a multi-cultural, 21st-century romantic comedy, filled with sweet characters and unlikely plot devices that somehow all work

10-12-14 – Bauer – the problem of writing a play about a visual experience; a overly-talky play about Rudy Bauer, a German artist persecuted by the Nazis and his loss of fame

10-4-14 – Brownsville Song (B-side for Tray) – earnestly and energetically acted, sad urban tale that seems very personal to the playwright; diverse audience was refreshing

10-4-14 – On the Town – even better than in MA; that ol’ Broadway fizz–fast-paced, big dancing, fun sets, clever staging, and added dances for Morgan Fairchild; wonderful

9-6-14 – My Mañana Comes – strongly choreographed; slow boil builds on interior stories of four men who work as busboys; the betrayal for survival at the end is a painful no-win

9-6-14 – It’s Only a Play – all about the personalities and quick one-liners, no substance; okay but not what we expect from McNally, who can do so much more than simply funny

9-3-14 – Things We Do For Love – probably more acerbic in the 90s when it was new; now a bit bloated and the ending puzzling; wonderfully acted and fun peekaboo set design

8-31-14 – Fiddler on the Roof – spry and earnest, hits the humor well enough to balance the pathos; actual fiddler, playing on the roof, makes up for the occasional wobbly notes

8-22-14 – Dancing Lessons – emotionally-clean, good theater–well-developed characters, good humor, and tender moments of grace not often associated with Asperger’s

8-9-14 – Sex with Strangers – smart, topical, funny, sexy, believable; well-written play about writers, as a metaphor for the ambiguity of identity and relationships

8-2-14 – The Visit – starts out as wistful Little Night Music and quickly becomes dark, dark, dark; revenge and greed, flat score, despite Chita Rivera, it’s a bleak affair

7-31-14 – Pieces of My Heart – entertaining book musical about Bert Berns; pretty good pacing, evocative dancing, Twist n Shout!

7-31-14 – Between Riverside and Crazy – surprising, complex character portrait that plays on age and race stereotypes; compact, interesting set in 360

7-19-14 – Living for Love – cliched characters and plot lines meant to be humorous left me cold; still the cast and director smell like Broadway; felt like bad tv about opera divas

7-13-14 – Benedict Arnold: The Musical – clever parallel to make him the American Macbeth, complete with witches; score all over the place; clever use of tiny stage

7-12-14 – The Who and the What – Disgraced, by the same playwright, attacks liberal sensibilities; this one plays into them in an uninspired way.  A sophomore slump?

7-5-14 – June Moon – stereotypically insulting toward women, I can’t figure out why Williamstown Fest revived this clunker;  embarrassing really…

6-28-14 – The Events – at times incoherent to its detriment, this well-meaning attempt to explore the emotional repercussions of violence doesn’t really work; the local choir sings!

6-22-14 – Endurance – wonderfully effective and surprisingly touching mash-up of the 2008 financial crisis in an ordinary office and the Shackleton disaster; beautiful to watch

6-19-14 – Arguendo – the five minutes of merry madcap delight are not worth the deadly dull legal dross of the rest of the play; part of Arts & Ideas–the ideas weren’t intriguing enough

6-8-14 – Fly by Night – somewhat juvenile musical that is a mash up of new age metaphysics and The Fantasticks; falls in the Once and First Date category of being too young for me

6-8-14 – Too Much Sun – another Nicky Silver-Linda Lavin collaboration, she playing basically the same role, but not as sharp or witty as “The Lyons”

5-25-14 – Gilbert the Great – New Haven and Erector Set history told non-linearly and with a dash of philosophy; performed with great energy, but didn’t really work for me

5-24-14 – City of Conversation – very fine theater–well written, well performed, topical without being dated, an exploration of the political divide laid on one family; infuriating, funny, touching

5-14-14 – A Loss of Roses – a William Inge play that bombed originally; now seems both dated and topical, in this Depression era story; acting was rough in this performance

5-10-14 – The House That Will Not Stand – strangely both anachronistic and filled with dated stereotypes; still an interesting historic fact-of-life from early 1800s New Orleans

5-7-14 – The Few – Not as riveting as “The Whale,” but playwright Samuel D. Hunter can draw up believable, heart-tugging characters; nicely acted, but needs some pacing polish.

5-7-14 – Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder – based on the wildly clever Alec Guinness movie “Kind Hart and Coronets.”  An entertaining, if tamed, “romp” with a touch of opera.

5-3-14 – Shipwrecked – exuberantly performed, clever, low-tech props and sets; is it a children’s play?  If not, it’s just too predictable.  That’s unexpected with Donald Margulies.

4-22-14 – Shadow of the Hummingbird – worth it to see Athol Fugard perform; maybe not too many more chances; a philosophical look at Plato’s Cave and love as the purpose of life

4-16-14 – Realistic Joneses – big name actors doing an absurdist comedy that ruminates on death and the inability to communicate; I don’t know what to say

4-13-14 – Act One – warm-hearted portrayal of Moss Hart’s early life; while little dramatic tension builds, because we know he succeeded, the theatrical Ragged Dick story appeals

4-12-14 – Somewhere – a different West Side Story; a Puerto Rican family caught between a tough reality and their dancing dreams; beautifully crafted play with characters you want for

4-6-14 – Most Deserving – very funny, telling, and accurate portrayal of the inanity of art world politics, with a dash of screwball and a tiny bit of touching authenticity; well-written play

4-2-14 – Hellman v McCarthy – Dick Cavett steals the show as the quasi-narrator of a literary row, formented on his show in 1979; his folksy charm adds energy to an over-stretched story

4-2-14 – London Wall – The Mint revives a corker; the limited choices for single women in the office in 1931, painted with a light brush; like a great old film, it doesn’t feel aged

3-29-14 – These Paper Bullets – a cute, lively mash-up of “Much Ado about Nothing” and The Fab 4; but the best was the old-timey audience singalong

3-22-14 – Love and Information – staccato pacing of 58 plays in 100 minutes by Caryl Churchill, which add up to a rumination on memory, secrets, and pain; language play

3-9-14 – Stage Kiss – good farces don’t waver in tone or have dead spaces; a disappointment from Sarah Rulhldespite funny Michael Cyril Creighton

3-2-14 – Architecture of Becoming – a conceptual, postmodern mess that starts of with cheery coincidences and devolves into a rant about the pains of living in New York

2-23-14 – Buyer and Cellar – witty, funny, absurdist plot involving Barbra Streisand’s private, basement mall and the one man who works in it

2-8-14 – Dr. Du Bois and Miss Ovington – too talky and even lecture-y at times; even in 1915, people didn’t talk that way; washes all the drama out of this earnest attempt

2-8-14 – The Tribute Artist – modestly funny sex farce with a New York real estate twist is hampered by uneven pacing, but a quick-witted, good-natured finish saves all

2-2-14 – What’s it All About? – just relax and go with the flow to rehear Bacharach lyrics like you never have before; refreshing to see such youth be so genuine about these songs

1-30-14 – The Consultant – one of a string of new shows about the economic meltdown, but pretty meh, didn’t go anywhere, sorta like the economy

1-19-14 – Row after Row – tautly written, really well-crafted play about Pickett’s Charge and re-enactors 150 years later fighting battles of their own

12-22-13 – Handle with Care – a bit confusing about the language and translation, but easily over-ridden by a sweet-natured, gently philosophical love story, with a bit of Jewish schmalz

12-19-13 – Jacksonian – obvious plotting, dull characters; whatever happened to the Beth Henley that could surprise us; a waste of an interesting cast

12-7-13 – Too Much, Too Much, Too Many – despite the baffling name, a tender, warm, touching, microcosmic look at three people’s varying responses to grief

11-30-13 – Becoming Dr. Ruth – although I generally avoid Holocaust-themed anything, this one-woman show is worth a see, for her remarkable life, its horrors, and her indomitable spirit

11-21-13 – Almost Maine – a wink-in-the-eye, perky pacing, and an intimate house make for a delightful evening directed by new friend Margaret Mann

11-17-13 – The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence – lighting board wasn’t working, so they used “work” lights; couldn’t see well; not sure if that ultimately was the problem

11-16-13 – Owners – weirdly not dated, but absurdist with overacted, hate-able characters and peculiar pacing, turning out to be a deathly combination

11-10-13 – Luce – contemporary who-done-it combined with Mamet’s “Oleanna”; strong performances, taut writing, explores the nature of expectations, culpability, and guilt

11-2-13 – Little Miss Sunshine – satisfying adaptation of the movie, good ensemble work and hummable songs, with an endearing spirit at its core

10-29-13 – Miss Mannerly – great chemistry between the lead and his manners’ teacher Miss Mannerly; well-written, nostalgic, naughty, funny, a winner; TheatreWorks, Hartford

10-27-13 – Room Service – hilarious in parts, snappy pacing, delightful acting, perfect casting, all around joy in Westport

10-26-13 – Patron Saint of Sea Monsters – Hmmm.  Playwrights and I are out of sync this year.  Unfunny, ‘white trash’ cliché-ridden, screechy, unfunny, poorly-acted, shall I go on?

10-19-13 – Domesticated – superbly acted, savage, contemporary take on “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf,” but a second act that falls apart; it skips the drama we most want to see

10-13-13 – A Time to Kill – a less-than-charismatic lead, who seems to be imitating the actor from the movie, dulls this otherwise tautly-acted production

9-29-13 – Most Happy Fella – a wonderful performance of a show that doesn’t quite add up right–melodramatic opera and musical comedy are an uneasy blend; still I enjoyed it

9-7-13 – Big Fish – maybe too sweet for Broadway bling, the big numbers are small; a memorable song and fun imagery also mark this gentle family story

9-1-13 – Mr. Burns – huh?  Lost from the minute it started, lasted only 15

8-29-13 – Harbor – same ol’ same ol’ gay stuff–did we ever think we’d say that?  Still, too much like a “Modern Family” sit com episode without the humor and good cheer

8-11-13 – Hello Dolly! – from Dolly giving out myriads of wacky business cards to the audience to the last kick of the curtain call, just Goodspeed delightful

8-4–13 – Bridges over Madison County – so much better as a musical than either the book or the movie, even left the theater with the songs in my head

7-28-13 – Castle Walk – Irene and Vernon Castle swept off my feet; a dance driven story that has completely new songs destined for the American songbook; NYMF

7-28-13 – Bend in the Road – Anne of Green Gables by another name, stunning portrayal of the first Montgomery book but flat score; still it’s a charmer; NYMF

7-20-13 – Murder for Two – someone should post a sign: warning!  really bad slapstick happening here

7-18-13 – Shoemaker’s Daughter – tedious and heavy-handed in what should have been light and more playful;  creepy puppets don’t help

7-13-13 – Kinky Boots – feels like a tired retreat of stereotypes–big-hearted transvestites save the plant; eh rock music, mediocre voices, negligible dancing, albeit lots of energy

7/5/13 – On the Town – if possible even better than the Gene Kelly/Frank Sinatra movie, with such energy and verve, headed for Broadway?

6/30/13 – Nobody Loves You – a riff on reality tv and the reality of love; bright, effervescent, young, rock musical

6/23/13 – Unlock’d – postmodern, feminist, silly fairy tale, with everyone ending up with the wrong person and a character in love with her hair!  Basically good fun.

6/22/13 – Freewheelers – New Haven history where corsets and bicycles collide-which will the New Woman choose?  A sparkling child performance in a performance art piece

6/20/13 – Stuck Elevator – harrowing story and magnificent performance of 81 hours stuck in an elevator; a mash up of opera and hip hop that actually works

6/12/13 – Tartuffe – wildly physical, hilarious performance with Yale students in a black box theater; fresh, fresh, fresh

6/9/13 – Good News – just full of good news–good songs, good dancing, good singing, good pacing, good staging, good entertainment

6/2/13 – The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin – a slow starter, but got better; still needs a good editing and maybe fresher topicality, feels a bit dated for its currentness

5/16/13 – This Side of Neverland–from the audience singing old timey songs before to the final curtain call, very well acted, witty, and joyful; who knew JM Barrie was a feminist?

5/12/13 – On Your Toes – the ballet-tap dance-off will linger in my memory, as will the great Rogers and Hart songs; the dream cast for Encores: “let’s put on a show!”

5/12/13 – Far From Heaven – by the same team as Grey Gardens, moving, well-paced, with a less abrupt ending, will really be there; lovely Kelli O’Hara

4/20/13 – Women of Will – Tina Packer unpacks Shakespeare’s plays to show the progression of his thinking about women; interesting insights

4/14/13 – Mr. Joy – a bravura one-man, multi-character performance; a personal, poignant, and all too familiar story of senseless, but darkly logical violence

4/13/13 – Trip to Bountiful – translates onto an African American cast beautifully, and Cicely Tyson is a wonder; tender and emotional as ever, Horton Foote’s best

4/7/13 – MacBeth – Alan Cumming delivers a terrifying performance of all the major roles in the Scottish play, set in a mental hospital; as grim and scary as you can imagine

4/7/13 – Collapse – about the economic collapse, with an interesting metaphor of a bridge collapse; first preview, but pretty settled as a play and set of performances

4/4/13 – Happy Birthday – librarian gone wild trope, basically great fun and old-fashioned sweet from 1946

4/2/13 – Assembled Parties – one character says, “we’re just holiday-tolerant”–well, they’re not my family, and I don’t have to tolerate them; walked out at intermission

3/28/13 – The Norwegians – what was funny at first grew thin; built on ethnic and regional stereotypes; clever conceit, but tiring

3/27/13 – Testament of Mary – stunning one-woman show with Fiona Shaw and one of the best last lines in theater; puts poor Alec Baldwin to shame, in only her 2nd preview

3/27/13 – Orphans – really liked the play and the 2 physically adept young actors; Alec Baldwin brings them down with his ungrounded performance; maybe it will improve

3/24/13 – The Call – the play was a bit underbaked for my taste, including using characters as didactic tools; nicely acted and most people will feel good at the end

3/23/13 – Big Knife, Clifford Odets, not my favorite; Bobby Carnavale curiously flat, everyone else around him working hard

3/21/13 – Drawer Boy – clean writing, pure emotions, love, lies, truth, sacrifice, simplicity that’s complex; a solid, old fashioned piece of writing, beautiful acting, great experience

3/15/13 – Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – hilarious spoof on all things Checkov, and theater tropes, too; David Hyde Pierce’s melt down is worth the price of admission.

3/14/13 – Matilda – Delirious fun.  Every kid was perfect-dancing, singing, tumbling, acting.  The costumes and sets, the parents and evil school principal-all sublime.

3/10/13 – Death for 5 Voices – A blend of opera, Sondheim, and Shakespeare in a small theater, so real voices, not amplified.  A treat.  A short run, and I’d guess, a long future.

3/9/13 – Last 5 Years – earnest performances, but the music is a bore and repetitive and the book is trite; no Sondheim after all

3/7/13 – Cinderella – pretty to look at and the singing was good; the songs are the reason to go, but the revisionism didn’t work for me

3/2/13 – Carousel – the perfect artistic storm: Bway, Met Opera, NY Philharmonic, and NYC Ballet all on stage together; I could forgive the show’s book problems; blissful

3/2/13 – Revisionist – got there 5 minutes late, and they wouldn’t let me in, even though I had a back aisle seat.  Definitely revising my thoughts about Cherry Lane.

2/24/13 – Jackie – really a performance piece, not straight theater; as such, was poetic, with a wonderfully physical performance; overall, not my thing

2/23/13 – Flick – horribly bad in a “what were they thinking way?”  Normally reliable for good new theater, Playwrights blew it with this one.  Boring, bad pacing, no characters.

2/16/13 – Belleville – depressing, shockingly so; the earliest Amy Herzog, well, now I’ve seen them all; my least favorite of hers, glad to know she’s on the uptick.

2/12/13 – Passion – the ultimate anti-Valentine by Sondheim; manipulative, obsessive ‘love’ reciprocated for the most superficial reasons; cynical and dreary.

2/10/13 – Talley’s Folly – talky, sweet, old fashioned when it first appeared, still so today; cleanly acted

2/3/13 – Luck of the Irish – very tired feeling, since Clybourne Park was so sharp; a derivative day at the theater

2/3/13 – Really, Really – derivative of Oleana, starring Mamet’s daughter–ironic; very slow start but a decent he said-she said

1/26/13 – All in the Timing – didn’t like it when it was new, no better now; humor is very personal

1/19/13 – Not by Bread Alone – powerful experience of brave deaf-blind, Isreali actors, who also bake bread to share with the audience; simple metaphors, but very tender

1/19/13 – Bethany – a strong, fresh take on the economic tailspin we’re in; I wished for a more provocative plot point choice at the end, which resolved in too easy a way

1/13/13 – Collision – high concept character study of a manipulator, definitely anxiety producing as long as you willingly suspend your disbelief

12/27/12 – Working, the Studs Terkel oral histories from the ’70s and 2007-8 as a musical; 6 actors, many stories, often moving and poignant; good to be reminded

12/23/12 – Picnic, a sensitive production; the closing moment beautiful and wistful; interesting to see which characters I identify with this time, the sign of a good play

12/16/12 – What Rhymes with America – bleak, sad, plotless (I feel like I’m caught in a narrative void), but memorable comedic scene about kissing

12/15/12 – Water by the Spoonful – what?  I didn’t connect and was just restless and waiting to leave.

12/4/12 – The Great God Pan – Amy Herzog doing her thing – naturalist dialogue, microcosmic portrayals, not much action; static actors compensate with sensitivity

11/24/12 – Disgraced – a little preachy at times, a powerful drama shows a man caught in-between; albeit for very different reasons, I can relate to that no-win place in life

11/21/12 – Golden Land – a rousing, exuberant, touching, poignant, charming, sad look at 50 years of Jewish history in America; includes Yiddish theater, most hilariously the 3 weird sisters from the Scottish play, and a Yiddish silent western!

11/20/12 – Checkers – just heartbreaking really, unexpectedly so, about American politics in general and the personal cost to good people; very resourceful and clever use of the set

11/17/12 – Cotton Club – well performed standards in recreating the Cotton Club; loved the cool jazz couples dance number with red balloons

11/14/12 – Dead Accounts – love Norbert Leo Butz, but he seems to be in a different play from everyone else onstage; ends just fizzles

11/10/12 – Cyrano de Bergerac – a rousing, Loud, energetic production

11/7/12 – The Outgoing Tide – so beautifully acted, quiet, old-fashioned pacing, emotions that were genuinely felt, a small story that was very personal for me

11/5/12 – Good Mother, Gretchen Mol in long dialogues; empty stage, no dialogue happens twice (huh?); people walked out, I sat next to the playwright–embarrassing

10/24/12 – Mystery of Edwin Drood – Roundabout does what it does best–takes a warhorse and gallops to new levels; just fun, fun, fun

10/22/12 – Tarragona – funny and sweet, not a frequent combination; a bit of a rough draft

10/21/12 – Don’t Go Gently – fresh take on family dysfunction, but I stayed strangely unaffected

10/21/12 – Sold my Heiress ticket when I read that it’s nearly 3 hours long and readers on NYTimes.com give it 1 star for being as dry as dust

10/16/12 – Best of Everything – A Rona Jaffe forthright look at women’s choices with a ’50s shroud, but some things never change; much better and much more frank than the movie

10/10/12 – Water Children – too much right-wing, anti-abortion polemic for me, so I was exhausted by the end; somewhat satisfactory ending helps

10/9/12 – Bad Jews – bad name perhaps, but sets up a provocative, challenging, well written, strongly acted experience, lots to discuss

9/25/12 – Him – Daisy Foote – tediously conceptual, a bummer, unlikeable characters, a bad run of shows lately

9/23/12 – Harper Reagan – boring, erratic, unlikeable characters, ugh

9/22/12 – Modern Terrorism – don’t know what to say

9/16/12 – Exonerated – death penalty woes, Stockard Channing looking very thin

9/12/12 – US – allegorical couple standing in for the U.S. and the People, idealistic, violent

9/11/12 – Marry Me a Little, Sondheim rejects, touching as always

9/8/12 – If There is, I Haven’t Found it Yet – the whole package: acting, play, sets, lighting, and emotional context

9/5/12 – Fly Me to the Moon – accents tough at first; funny, ironic

8/26/12 – Detroit – 4 crazy people, famous actors, fire on stage

8/23/12 – That Dorothy Parker – 1 woman show, well done

8/22/12 – Mary Broome – too talky, no characters to identify with

8/22/12 – How 2 B A New Yorker – not sharp enough

8/21/12 – Chaplin – very gray, not funny for a funny man

8/20/12 – Fried Chicken & Latkes – Rain Pryor’s memoir, father Richard Pryor

8/15/12 – Cougar – absolutely charming musical

8/8/12 – Last Smoker in America  over the top funny

8/6/12 – Soul doctor – Schlomo Carlebach – long, but sweet, Nina Simone

8/5/12 – 1 Act Play Fest – part B at 59e59, really good, each one

8/5/12 – Bring It On – entertaining, restores the good cheerleader show after the awful Lysistrata Jones

8/4/12 – Bronte: A Portrait of Charlotte – lovely language, one woman bio

8/1/12 – Bullet for Adolph – horrible, loud, aggressive sit com, Woody Harrelson writer, director, awful

8/1/12 – End of the Rainbow – hard to watch, over the top acting

7/31/12 – 1 Act Play Fest – part A at 59e59, Jim McClure!  very funny

7/29/12 – Forbidden Broadway – skewered them all, right on and funny

7/23/12 – Three by Horton Foote – uneven, surprisingly topical, wistful

7/21/12 – NYMF – Baby Case – slick, over-mic/d, hurts the ears, left

7/21/12 – NYMF – How Deep is the Ocean – slick, but vapid, annoying

7/19/12 – Hell: Paradise Found – clever, funny

7/19/12 – NYMF – HImself & Nora – wonderful, polished for NYMF, James Joyce

7/18/12 – Dogfight – touching, wonderful musical, has legs

7/15/12 – NYMF – He’s Not Himself – cute farce, no memorable music

7/14/12 – Warrior Class – didn’t seem fully baked, a little too talky

7/7/12 – Harvey – kept hearing Jimmy Stewart, who was simply better

6/30/12 – Persuasion – charming, lively, more like P&P, written/adapted by young woman

6/24/12 – Murder in the First – well done, old fashioned, moral uplift

6/23/12 – Bad & the Better – ugly, violent, yeah

6/16/12 – We Play for the Gods – absurdist, junk

6/16/12 – Heart of the Matter – reading of Neil LaBute short comedies, slight

6/14/12 – Amelia – Ft. Jay Powder Magazine, Governor’s Island, moving, immediate, immersive

6/13/12 – Slowgirl – virile, nice silences, meaning probably grows, ambiguous

5/31/12 – Love Goes to Press – written in 1946, smart, classic, old time movie fun

5/30/12 – Chimichangas & Zoloft – going somewhere, then just ended, broke the coherence

5/29/12 – Rapture, Blister, Burn – a lecture on feminism

5/26/12 – The President – fast talking fun

5/26/12 – Title & Deed – 1 main show, Irish, dreary

5/24/12 – Potted Potter – cute, but kid humor

5/23/12 – Miracle on South Division St – grew better & better, poignant, funny

5/20/12 – Landing – new Kander musicalettes, uneven, David Hyde Pearce sings

5/20/12 – Cock – clever, fast, funny, difficult, real

5/16/12 – A Jew Grows in Brooklyn – sweet moments

5/16/12 – Common Pursuit – got better as it went along

5/13/12 – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – Megan Hilty, Rachel York, plus

4/29/12 – She’s of a Certain Age – depressing re aging

4/23/12 – Peter & the Starcatcher – child’s show, high energy

4/20/12 – You Better Sit Down – my mind wandered, good oral historying

4/18/12 – A Slow Air – a slow start for the Scottish play, last 15 minutes were good

4/15/12 – Fat Camp – fun, peppy, funny curtain call song

4/14/12 – Lonely, I’m not – young love with melt downs, Topher Grace

4/10/12 – Early History of Fire – too talky

4/9/12 – Magic/Bird – thanks, Kerry!

4/8/12 – Big Meal – cycle of life, poignant

4/7/12 – Clybourne Park – builds, powerful, asks do we ever change?

4/6/12 – 1 Man, 2 Guvnors – combo face, slapstick, stand up – too much, too loud, too over the top in a not fun way

4/1/12 – Regrets – well acted, good story, old fashioned, Alexis Bledel – blah

3/31/12 – Best Man – fails to go anywhere new today

3/27/12 – Just Sex – not any drama

3/24/12 – Ghost – meh, over-techno, comedy still the best part

3/21/12 – Now. Here. This. Meh,  Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood & Thomas Merton

3/20/12 – Morini Strad – Just Beautiful

3/19/12 – Newsies – tremendous

3/11/12 – Eternal Equinox, Bloomsbury, great beauty – actors, language

3/10/12 – Look Back in Anger – verbal, violent, blech

3/4/12 – Love Loss & What I Wore – with Kerry, very girly, Nora Ephron

3/3/12 – Navigator – hilarious

2/25/12 – The Tribe – distasteful Brit family, only the deaf son is sympathetic

2/18/12 – Lady from Dubuque, Albee with Jane Alexander, but yuck

2/10/12 – Poetic License – just right family story

2/4/12 – Assistance – no substance

2/4/12 – Road to Mecca – grew to be lovely

1/29/12 – RX – better than I expected, slight but fun

1/26/12 – CQ/CX – no drama, no tension, to be about nytimes

1/14/12 – Fall to Earth – slow burn builds to huge climax, psychological

1/7/12 – Close Up Space – David Hyde Pearce, Rosie Perez, Other Desert Cities was better

1/3/12 – How to Succeed in Business, Darren Criss – voice not strong, softer, more natural than Daniel Radcliffe

1/1/12 – Kissing Sid James – well acted, didn’t go anywhere

12/31/11 – Seminar, Alan Rickman, much ado

12/29/11 – How the World Began – well written, well acted, evolution/creation theme

12/27/11 – Outside People – kept waiting for the big deal, still waiting

12/24/11 – Porgy & Bess – dark, tortured Audra MacDonald

12/23/11 – Schlemiel the First – witty, silly, very well staged and performed

12/22/11 – Sons of the Prophet – lots of stands, ends beautifully, liked it

12/21/11 – Cherry Orchard, Turturro and Weist, the play is a bore

12/18/11 – Farm Boy – good storytelling, better than artificial puppets of War Horse

12/17/11 – Bonnie & Clyde, closing 12/30 after 2 months!  Stayed only for the first act, as end was the problem per hearsay; thought it was dynamic and good

12/11/12 – Anything Goes with Karen Lewis, Sutton Foster ill mid-show, replaced!

12/10/11 – On a Clear Day – Harry Connick – wooden, Jessie Mueller – beyond great

12/4/11 – Neighborhood Watch, Ackbourn, creepy

11/30/11 – Elective Affinities – charming, Zoe Caldwell, Irish Cultural Center, she read the play

11/27/11 – The Door, 2 man show, absurdist at first, builds, re Iraq War

11/27/11 – Venus in Fur, Hugh Dancy looks better on screen

11/26/11 – Lysistrata Jones – overly sexual for family show, loud

11/23/11 – Maple & Vine – provocative, return to 1955, too much set design

11/21/11 – Iron Curtain – great fun, on to Broadway?

11/20/11 – Lobby Hero – amateurish production of a better play (?)

11/19/11 – Stickfly – new play, talky, honest re class & race, & men

11/14/11 – Horsedreams – new play, like poetry, re addiction, sad

11/12/11 Milk Like Sugar – incredible performances, very sad

11/9/11 – All American – girl football player and twin brother, Lincoln Center trial

11/8/11 – Wild Animals You Should Know – better than I expected, MCC

11/6/11 – King Lear – visceral, violent, while accessible, Watterson’s Lear has Alzheimer’s, too childlike

11/5/11 – Other Desert Cities – I predict will become a classic

10/30/11 – Queen of the Mist – potential but end too operatic, aggrandizing

10/29/11 – Hugh Jackman – concert, should sing baritone, a commercial for Hugh

10/29/11 – Agony & Ecstasy of Steve Jobs – more biting than Chinglish; later: with Mike Daisey’s fabrications exposed, feel really burned by him and The Public

10/28/11 – George Burns, very sweet

10/25/11 – Suicide Inc., Roundabout black box, five male actors, predictable play

10/23/11 – Chinglish – good, not great, no emotional connection

1015/11 – 1 minute play festival, just fun

10/14/11 – Tut, NYMF – dance opera, amazing baritone/bass

10/12/11 Lemon Sky – well acted, a bit dated feeling, not so shocking

10/11/11 – Pride & Prejudice, NYMF – wonderful

10/10/11 – Date of a Lifetime, NYMF – funny, charming

10/9/11 – Any Given Monday – moral quandary really like To Kill a Mockingbird

10/9/11 – The Lyons, Linda Lavin, really well written dramedy

10/8/11 – Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling – crazy, Christine Lahti

10/5/11 – Madame X, NYMF, campy, great fun!

10/4/11 – History of Marriage, NYMF, – poor lead, repetitive sounding music

10/2/11 – Mountaintop – very moving, surprise in the plot, Angela Bassett wow!

10/1/11 – Boy Who Would Be Pope, NYMF, great kids as leads

10/1/11 – Big Bank, NYMF, think plot, some goods songs

9/24/11 – Newsies, Paper Mill, Millburn, NJ – awesome

9/23/11 – Relatively Speaking, Absolutely Awful

9/22/11 – Motherhood – loud

9/18/11 – Sweet & Sad – never took off, dull

9/17/11 – Sister Act – men had the funniest songs

9/13/11 – Man and Boy, Frank Langella, but a bore

9/11/11 – Submission, very powerful on race and gender

9/4/11 – Book of Mormon – not original, riffs on the Producers, Ave Q much better, sharper, one joke for 2 1/2 hours

9/3/11 – Completeness, science metaphor for relationships, excellent

8/21/11 – Summer Shorts, series A, 17 year old Brooklyn girl, Durang, LaBute

8/20/11 – Follies, poignant, bittersweet, Jan Maxwell wow!

8/14/11  Summer Shorts, series B, so very good, Tina Howe

8/13/11 – The Talls, good family story

8/10/11 – Bluebird – Simon Russell Beale, well written poignant

8/6/11 – Anything Goes, Sutton Foster, the best

8/4/11 – Pillow Room  world premier, puzzle, well written, engaging, fresh

8/3/11 – Temporal Powers – Irish play, not performed since original, no surprise there, dull

7/28/11 – Oive and hte Bitter Herbs, slight, but funny, relatable

7/26/11 – Victory, Jan Maxwell, too much Restoration

7/19/11 – The Judy Gold Show – fun

7/17/11 – Manipulation – Botero poster, a bad dream, for the audience, too

7/16/11 Oh Coward – oh dear

7/16/11 – War Horse – ugh, bad blend of children’s show and war, creepy puppets go by me on the aisle, ugh

7/15/11 – Mother F with the Hat – heavily acted, saw Nicole Kidman

7/13/11 – Illusion, hated it, left at intermission, Tony Kushner is not Moliere!

7/13/11 – No Child – inspired, one woman performance re Bronx schools

7/10/11 – All New People, by Zach Braff, really grew on me

7/9/11 – Tryst, 1910 anorexia

7/5/11  Master Class – Tyne Daily becomes Maria Callas

7/3/11 – One Night with Fanny Brice – one woman show, she immersed

7/2/11 – Death Takes a HOliday – beautiful leading tenor, soo good

6/29/11 – Sex Lives of Our Parents – psychic, love, marriage, family

6/28/11 – Side Effects – Joely Richardson, a political marriage

6/26/11 – Unnatural Acts – with hunt at 1920 Harvard

6/22/11 – 4000 Miles – poignant, slice of life, very true dialogue, gorgeous portrayal of angst of aging (and youth)

6/19/11 – movie version of Company staged reading, Neal Patrick Harris

6/19/11 – School for Husbands, Central Park setting, progressive play, magical, beyond fun

6/18/11 – A Little Journey – Pullman cars like a carousel for the set

6/17/11 – Freud’s Last Session – a moment, a discussion

6/14/11 – How to Succeed in Business, Daniel Radcliffe, joyful

6/11/11 – Jerusalem – walked out, yuck

6/8/11 – Catch Me if You Can – Aaron Tveit, Leo Norbert Butz, a lot of energy, not much else

6/5/11 – Carson McCullers – Suzanne Vega becomes her, 1 woman show

6/4/11 – People in the Picture – Dona Murphy, 11 year old’s bday – audience sang to her during TalkBack; show poignant, funny, so well done; why wasn’t it a hit?  Too Jewish?

6/1/11 – moved to New York City, plan to see a lot of theater

May 2011 – Importance of Being Earnest – subscribe to Roundabout, a long time dream, Brian Bedford beyond hilarious as Lady Bracknell, laugh out loud funny