All stories by Jonathan Mandell on BroadwayStars

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Venus Review: Suzan-Lori Parks Revival about African Woman as Freak Show Wonder by Jonathan Mandell

Zainab Jah, who made an impressive Broadway debut as a sex slave turned soldier in Eclipsed, is back on a New York stage with another vivid portrayal of an exploited but strong African woman…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:48AM
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Days Review: Dianne Wiest, Up To Her Neck in Beckett classic by Jonathan Mandell

“Another happy day,” Dianne Wiest exclaims as Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s bleak, comic and compassionate play, written decades before Groundhog Day, but similarly focused on somebody wh…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:33PM
Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Dolls House, Part 2 Review: Laurie Metcalf as Nora returns 15 years later by Jonathan Mandell

Laurie Metcalf is the fifteenth actress since 1889 to portray Nora Helmer on Broadway, the character in Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House who slams the door on her husband and three chi…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:31PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Six Degrees of Separation Review: Conning Rich Parents in the ’80s by Jonathan Mandell

Near the end of Six Degrees of Separation, Allison Janney, portraying the first rich  white victim of a young black con man, tells her husband that she doesn’t want to turn the experience…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:31PM
Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: Broadway’s Anastasia turns Russia’s Revolution into a Fairytale Monarchist Musical by Jonathan Mandell

Pity Terrence McNally, Tony-winning playwright, charged with fashioning the book of a Broadway musical out of a 1997 cartoon, which turned the Russian Revolution into a fairytale, grinding a…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:02PM
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Review of Present Laughter. Kevin Kline’s back but Coward’s comedy feels a bit musty by Jonathan Mandell

After a decade’s absence from Broadway, Kevin Kline returns as the aging matinee idol in Present Laughter.  Kline, the swashbuckler of Pirates of Penzance and the hunk of On The Twentieth…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:48PM
Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Play That Goes Wrong Review: Murder most silly by Jonathan Mandell

Before the play-within-the-play begins, its director apologizes for “the box office mix-up,” expressing hope that “the 617 of you affected will enjoy our little murder mystery just as …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:48PM
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Miss Saigon Review: back on Broadway, with helicopter by Jonathan Mandell

The first Broadway revival of Miss Saigon is being marketed as the return of a classic. But, if the show has become an undeniable fan favorite, the production’s impressive visual spectacle…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:54PM
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Glass Menagerie Review with Sally Field…but no glass menagerie by Jonathan Mandell

Sam Gold, the innovative director who won a Tony for Fun Home, has cast Sally Field in a new Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie that doesn’t include a glass m…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:24AM
Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Price Review: Danny DeVito in Arthur Miller’s Family Drama by Jonathan Mandell

Danny DeVito, making his Broadway debut, gets the best deal out of The Price. Arthur Miller is not a playwright known for comically colorful characters, yet here’s DeVito as Gregory Solomo…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:12PM
Sunday, March 12, 2017

Come from Away Broadway review: 9/11 from 1500 miles north of ground zero by Jonathan Mandell

Come From Away  tells the story of the 9,000 residents of Gander, Newfoundland who took care of some 7,000 passengers and crew of 38 airplanes which were forced to land at the local airport…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:54PM
Thursday, March 9, 2017

Glass Menagerie Review with Sally Field…but no glass menagerie by Jonathan Mandell

Sam Gold, the innovative director who won a Tony for Fun Home, has cast Sally Field in a new Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie that doesn’t include a glass m…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:12PM
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sweeney Todd Review: Murder in a pie shop, gets a tasty side of pie by Jonathan Mandell

The Tooting Arts Club’s exceptionally entertaining production of Sweeney Todd,  Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s glorious murderous musical, began in 2014 in Harrington’s, one of L…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:32PM
Monday, February 27, 2017

The Penitent Review: David Mamet’s New Play Takes on Psychiatry, the Press, the Law… by Jonathan Mandell

The Penitent, David Mamet’s latest play, is about the ethical dilemmas facing a psychiatrist whose patient has gone on a killing spree. At least that’s what it seems to be about, but aud…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:12PM
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kid Victory Review: Kander Musical on Aftermath of a Kidnapping by Jonathan Mandell

There is one song by John Kander in Kid Victory that recalls the composer’s collaboration with Fred Ebb in both Cabaret and Chicago – “What’s the Point?” a jaunty, satiric tap-danc…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:36PM
Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wallace Shawn’s Evening at the Talk House Review: when an actor’s day job can be murder by Jonathan Mandell

“The theatre is gone, but there are new things now,” says Matthew Broderick in Wallace Shawn’s chilling comedy, which imagines a dystopian but familiar society where former theatre peo…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:18PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Tracy Letts’ Man from Nebraska Review by Jonathan Mandell

There are three great reasons to see the New York stage debut of Man From Nebraska, without even knowing what it’s about: Its author Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), its director David …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:48PM
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Off-Broadway review: Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges in Yen by Jonathan Mandell

Yen, a bleak British play that opens tonight Off-Broadway, stars Lucas Hedges, Oscar-nominated last week for his role in Manchester by the Sea, and Justice Smith, of the Netflix hip-hop dram…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:36PM
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Michael Kahn’s direction of David Ives’ The Liar opens in New York by Jonathan Mandell

In The Liar, the title character wonders whether, given his disposition, he should become a politician. But, if David Ives’ version of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 verse play may benefit from…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:24PM
Monday, January 23, 2017

Tell Hector I Miss Him: Love Puzzles in Puerto Rico by Jonathan Mandell

Love puzzles, and messes up, the dozen characters in Tell Hector I Miss Him, a play wonderfully acted by a cast that includes veterans of Orange is the New Black. If the play itself sometime…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 10:24PM
Thursday, January 19, 2017

Made in China Review: bawdy, political puppet musical comedy by Jonathan Mandell

Wakka Wakka, the theater company behind Made in China, says the show is “inspired by true events.” I suspect the true part doesn’t include Mary and her neighbor getting sucked down her…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:24AM
Sunday, January 8, 2017

Review: Cate Blanchett takes first Broadway bow in The Present by Jonathan Mandell

About halfway through The Present, an adaptation of Chekhov’s first play, Cate Blanchett, as a Russian general’s widow celebrating her 40th birthday, shoots off a shotgun, dances atop a …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:12PM
Saturday, January 7, 2017

Review: A dazzling Confucius makes its American debut by Jonathan Mandell

The strength of Confucius, a 90-minute dance piece featuring 60 performers from the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, is not found in its efforts to present Confucian philosophy …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:06AM
Saturday, December 31, 2016

Most memorable moments on New York stages in 2016 by Jonathan Mandell

Among the worthwhile moments I saw on stage in 2016, a surprising number became more memorable because of off-stage events. It’s impossible now to remember the Radio City Rockettes perform…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:18AM
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Natasha, Pierre … leads top 10 favorite 2016 shows from Broadway, Off-Broadway and NY Fringe by Jonathan Mandell

My list of ten favorite shows on New York stages in 2016 reflect two unmistakable trends – the use of the stage to present important current issues facing the country, and shows that innov…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:36PM
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Othello Review with David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig by Jonathan Mandell

While the Othello at the New York Theatre Workshop can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production, even when D…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:36PM
Monday, December 5, 2016

The Illusionists – Turn of the Century review at Palace Theatre, New York – ‘only likely to appeal to magic addicts’ by Jonathan Mandell

For its third annual holiday appearance on Broadway, The Illusionists, a variety showcase for a rotating group of magicians and stunt performers,

Linked From The Stage Registration at 10:20AM
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway (review) by Jonathan Mandell

Dear Evan Hansen has changed now that it’s on Broadway, in ways that make it an even more affecting musical. Ben Platt’s performance, impressive from the get-go, is even better. But what…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:02PM
Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sweet Charity Review: Sutton Foster in Escapist Revival by Jonathan Mandell

Leigh Silverman, director of the 50th anniversary Off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster, recently spoke about art being “a tool for education, revolution, and resist…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:42PM
Monday, November 14, 2016

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 review: Broadway welcomes Josh Groban and immersive theater by Jonathan Mandell

An opera with an unwieldy title based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace seemed an unlikely crowd-pleaser, but I was thrilled when I saw it Off-Broadway, first at Ars Nova in 2012, and again in a …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:36PM
Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fugard’s “Master Harold”….and the boys Review: The effects of trickle-down racism by Jonathan Mandell

Had I seen Signature Theatre’s fine revival of Athol Fugard’s most popular play just a few days earlier, I might have appreciated it primarily as a well-wrought work of theater, relegati…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:18PM

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