All stories by Hilton Als on BroadwayStars

Friday, January 31, 2014

Hilton Als: David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu,” at Pershing Square Signature Center. by Hilton Als

Nancy Kwan was the first. The first movie star my brother and I fell in love with. We met her late at night in the black-and-white universe of our television set. We saw her, initially, in h…

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Hilton Als: Violence and desire in “Machinal” and “Tyson vs. Ali.” by Hilton Als

8220;Machinal” (a Roundabout Theatre Company production, at the American Airlines) is hard to get a handle on and often hard to handle, because it’s a flop and a hit. The hit par…

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Hilton Als: Celebrating the life and work of Adrienne Kennedy. by Hilton Als

In 1987, while working as an assistant in the Village Voice’s art department, I came across a strikingly laid-out book. It had photographs of unknown black people mixed in with photogr…

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hilton Als: The ninth anniversary of the COIL festival. by Hilton Als

When you run a not-for-profit space devoted to the performing arts, personal attractiveness helps. But it’s a tricky thing to handle. You want to be a star in order to attract other st…

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Hilton Als: Conor McPherson’s “The Night Alive” review. by Hilton Als

Conor McPherson’s “The Night Alive” (an Atlantic Theatre Company production at the Linda Gross, directed by the playwright) is about poverty, economic and otherwise. ItR…

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Hilton Als: A new take on Burt Bacharach. by Hilton Als

My first brush with existentialism came not through my college-era reading list—Kierkegaard, Kafka—but when I first heard Burt Bacharach. This was in the old country of childhood…

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Hilton Als: Samuel Beckett’s metaphysical slapstick. by Hilton Als

The most significant incarnation of Samuel Beckett’s 1953 play “Waiting for Godot” I’ve ever seen was staged outdoors, in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward. The ye…

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Hilton Als: Three Generation X actors take to the stage. by Hilton Als

As long ago as the nineteen-nineties, a group of young performers—Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crudup, and Ethan Hawke among them—entertained audiences with a new style of acting.…

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Hilton Als: The joys and mysteries of Tim Carroll’s “Twelfth Night.” by Hilton Als

From Zadie Smith’s 2013 essay “Joy”: “If you asked me if I wanted more joyful experiences in my life, I wouldn’t be at all sure I did, exactly because it proves…

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Hilton Als: Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” review. by Hilton Als

Harold Pinter’s artistic vision focussed less on love than on the con. Born in 1930, Pinter grew up Jewish in modest circumstances in London’s East End, the beloved only child of…

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On the Boardwalk by Hilton Als

Period detail and a magnetic turn by Jeffrey Wright elevate the current season of “Boardwalk Empire.”

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Hilton Als: David Adjmi’s “Marie Antoinette” review. by Hilton Als

Marie Antoinette continues to interest us because punishment does. Born in Vienna in 1755 and executed in Paris thirty-seven years later, she has never had what one might call a dramatically…

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Hilton Als: A revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” at the Barrymore. by Hilton Als

In a series of interviews conducted with the British-born playwright Harold Pinter in 1971, Mel Gussow said that he was struck by the emotion and lyricism in some of the author’s post-…

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Hilton Als: The seriousness of the Public Theatre’s new “Fun Home.” by Hilton Als

The notion that theatre is universal is specious, given the world of difference that can separate the productions in New York’s uptown and downtown theatres. In the nineteen-fifties, O…

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Hilton Als: “The Glass Menagerie” review. by Hilton Als

Writers, for the most part, find themselves not in writing but in revision. The “I” of personal narrative—the egotism it takes to display one’s point of view in a nov…

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Hilton Als: “Romeo and Juliet” review. by Hilton Als

What happens when you pimp out the pop in a pop masterpiece? Does it cheapen the original work by association? An unfortunate aspect of the thirty or so modern-day screen adaptations of R…

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Hilton Als: Love Sprung by Hilton Als

When you think about the talented children of famous parents, you don’t necessarily think about their gifts so much as their genes. Could the famous offspring’s renown be based o…

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Hilton Als: Lois Smith in Horton Foote’s “The Old Friends,” at the Signature Center. by Hilton Als

You know Lois Smith. You’ve seen her a million times. Onstage, in the movies, on TV. You might be thinking of Mary Louise Wilson or Elizabeth Wilson—two equally great actresses, …

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Postscript: Julie Harris by Hilton Als

In the waning days of summer, when it’s still too warm to think about fall but it’s there, in the night air, I’ve been reading Richard Sewall’s essential 1974 book, &…

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Channelling Streisand by Hilton Als

The show is a crowd-pleaser, and it doesn’t take long to figure out why: most audiences are reacting to its charming narrative surface. But there’s more going on than that.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Hilton Als: Wallace Shawn’s “The Designated Mourner” and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy.” by Hilton Als

Wallace Shawn’s primary impulse in his dramatic work is to fuck with the audience. Not through content—though he messes with that, too—but through form, which more or less …

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Hilton Als: “The Two-Character Play,” “The Comedy of Errors” reviews. by Hilton Als

Days before Tennessee Williams’s 1967 chamber piece “The Two-Character Play” opened at New World Stages, I began to experience a certain apprehension. I think my anxiety wa…

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Hilton Als: “Far from Heaven” and the problem musical. by Hilton Als

8220;Far from Heaven” (at Playwrights Horizons) is a problem musical, a genteel contrivance wrapped in “issues”—racism, homophobia, misogyny—that limit the show…

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Hilton Als: “Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced,” at the Museum of the City of New York. by Hilton Als

Writing in this magazine in 1970, Kennedy Fraser brilliantly described a boutique that was then gaining in popularity at Bendel’s. Called Stephen Burrows’ World, it was a univers…

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Hilton Als: Ibsen’s “The Master Builder,” at BAM. by Hilton Als

Power corrupts, but it can also bore. Like compulsive seducers, the unduly ambitious are the heroes of their own narratives, dogged, ruthless, and full of self-regard. Halvard Solness, the t…

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Hilton Als: The documentary series “Made Here.” by Hilton Als

8220;Made Here” is an online documentary series now in its third season. (The entire series can be viewed at madehereproject.org.) In it, we meet a variety of performing artists living…

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Hilton Als: A Federico Garcia Lorca exhibit at the New York Public Library. by Hilton Als

Once again, the poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca’s considerable influence is being talked about, debated, celebrated. In addition to publishing his legendary plays—s…

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Hilton Als: “The Testament of Mary,” “Here Lies Love,” “The Trip to Bountiful,” and “I’ll Eat You Last by Hilton Als

8220;The Testament of Mary” (directed by Deborah Warner, at the Walter Kerr) is theatre porn. Stiff with its own seriousness, it’s a Broadway show that wants to impress us with i…

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Hilton Als: “The Nance,” “Matilda” reviews. by Hilton Als

Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Nance” (at the Lyceum) is a nearly perfect work of dramatic art, whose power derives from its equitable compassion and its unromantic view of my…

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Theatre: “Kinky Boots” and “Detroit ‘67” by Hilton Als

My reservations about each show were minimized by four outstanding actors: Billy Porter in “Kinky Boots,” and De’Adre Aziza, Brandon J. Dirden, and Samantha Soule in the pl…

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Hilton Als: “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” at the Tribeca Film Festival. by Hilton Als

Elaine Stritch has a new documentary coming out, “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me,” which will première at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 19. That’s the happy news. What …

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