All stories by Jonathan Mandell on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Review: Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy. Funny and freaking frightening by Jonathan Mandell

“I think what we do is evil but I still want to do a good job at it,” says Nikolai, one of the Russian trolls trying to sway the American Presidential election in Sarah Gancher’s funny…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:06PM
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia on HBO has Spike Lee’s unmistakable touch by Jonathan Mandell

Spike Lee filmed David Byrne’s American Utopia on the stage of Broadway’s Hudson Theater earlier this year; it is arriving on HBO on Saturday, October 17,  in a completely different era…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:32PM
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Political Theater you can watch in the countdown to Election Day by Jonathan Mandell

Political theater is different this year,  and not just because it’s on screens rather than stages.  There is a palpable sense of urgency. The weeks counting down to Election Day may hav…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:24PM
Monday, October 12, 2020

A critic ventures out in NYC to review Voyeur (spectacular!”) and 3 other plays during covid by Jonathan Mandell

“When is the last time you went to live theater like this”? I asked one of the seven other audience members waiting for Voyeur  to begin, an hour-long play that takes place in the stree…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:36PM
Monday, September 14, 2020

Miscast Review. A Dozen Broadway Stars Sing Inappropriately by Jonathan Mandell

Joshua Henry, who is the theater world’s most unlikely Annie, sang “Tomorrow” (“The sun will come out tomorrow…”) at Miscast, followed by Heather Headley singing “Endless Night…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:03PM
Saturday, September 12, 2020

The Best Theater in Six Months of No Theater by Jonathan Mandell

I went to the theater in New York for the last time the day after they shut down Broadway on March 12th, six months ago today. My theatergoing on Friday the 13th Off-Off Broadway (which was …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:42PM
Friday, September 11, 2020

Review: Incidental Moments of the Day: The Apple Family Finally Talks About Race by Jonathan Mandell

Things are looking up for the Apple family, but not for me, as the characters talk to one another on a Zoom call yet again. Richard Nelson’s third play in four months about the same set of…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:48PM
Sunday, July 19, 2020

Review: Amadeus. Mozart’s rival is Salieri; the play’s rival is the movie by Jonathan Mandell

Historically, Amadeus is baloney. Theatrically, it’s a feast. Musically, the National Theatre’s 2016 production of Peter Shaffer’s 1979 play — a recording of which is being streamed…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:54PM
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Review: The Few. Samuel D. Hunter’s entertaining play about loneliness by Jonathan Mandell

Watching Gideon Glick’s expressive face in The Few– elated one moment, defeated the next, then adoring, angry, hurt, resigned — is one key to unlocking the mystery of how this Play-Per…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:24PM
Friday, July 10, 2020

The Deep Blue Sea Review: Helen McCrory’s stunning performance of a woman racked and trapped by love by Jonathan Mandell

On the surface, The Deep Blue Sea might seem a love triangle, but Helen McCrory’s performance makes it a prism — multifaceted, disorienting, and brilliant – in the National Theatre’s…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:18PM
Monday, July 6, 2020

Review: Les Blancs (The Whites), National Theatre stream of Lorraine Hansberry’s last play by Jonathan Mandell

Lorraine Hansberry’s third and final Broadway play, which is being presented online through July 9 in a dark, expressionistic production directed in 2016 by Yael Farber for the National T…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:42PM
Thursday, July 2, 2020

Review: And So We Come Forth. Richard Nelson’s Apple family, still in lockdown, asking questions, hoping to touch by Jonathan Mandell

The Apple family is back again, on another Zoom call. After the triumphant return in April of writer and director Richard Nelson’s Apple Family series with What Do We Need To Talk About, w…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:03PM
Monday, June 8, 2020

Playwright Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop) on self love and self acceptance in these turbulent times by Jonathan Mandell

Strange Loop, Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, is, itself, stuck in a strange loop. The smash Off-Broadway hit was scheduled to come to Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Septem…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 04:32PM
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Viral Monologues’ series “COVID AND INCARCERATION” hard truths, powerful telling by Jonathan Mandell

“We have a humanitarian crisis in prison that will blow up in our faces,” says André De Shields, speaking sonorously and looking grave in a clerical collar and a salt-and-pepper beard, …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:32AM
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Review: To Master the Art, Julia Child play makes an awkward transfer to online viewing by Jonathan Mandell

This play about cookbook author Julia Child is a recipe for how not to do online theater. To Master the Art falls flat, despite some great ingredients. This is not how I expected to react. F…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:36PM
Monday, May 11, 2020

Latest Shugoll Research survey shows national audiences will be back. Eventually. by Jonathan Mandell

As the shut-down of theaters enters its third month, theater artists vow “we’ll be back” – that this is just intermission. But will audiences be back? A new three-part survey  by Sh…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:32PM
Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Homebound Project Review: 10 Starry Monologues in The First Hour by Jonathan Mandell

The pandemic has produced two kinds of theatrical Netathons , which is my name for oversized online theatrical events by established artists in support of a charitable cause. The first are t…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:48AM
Monday, May 4, 2020

Michael R. Jackson’s musical A Strange Loop wins 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Drama by Jonathan Mandell

Just announced: Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama. When I saw it last June at Playwrights Horizons Off-Broadway, I wrote: A Strange Loop is a …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:32PM
Thursday, April 30, 2020

Review: What Do We Need to Talk About? Richard Nelson’s Apple family play, made for our screens. by Jonathan Mandell

After spending an hour on Zoom with the Apple family in Richard Nelson’s latest low-key play, I was surprised by my reaction, which  I could sum up as: Hallelujah! What Do We Need to Talk…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:18PM
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pandemic Theatre Aesthetic by Jonathan Mandell

By Jonathan Mandell. Jonathan Mandell examines the new theatrical landscape brought on by COVID-19 and discusses the emerging aesthetic—one that is low-tech, low-key, one-on-one, close-up.

Linked From HowlRound at 02:00AM
Thursday, April 2, 2020

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s Viral Monologues: “Charting my journey through the pandemic” and the emerging online theaters by Jonathan Mandell

Rachel Dratch portrays FrannyCakes, a makeup vlogger who fights with an old lady over a bottle of Purell in a Costco.  Marylouise Burke is Penny, a lovely suburban matron who wonders where …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:42PM
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Theater’s gone online. Stay home, relax and watch. Most of it’s free! by Jonathan Mandell

The threat of COVID-19 is shutting down theaters across the world, but it’s not killing theater – which is increasingly going online. There are two types of online theater now – the on…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:24PM
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bob Dylan on Broadway: Girl from the North Country Review by Jonathan Mandell

The odd pairing of old Bob Dylan songs with Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s new script about desperate lives during the Great Depression worked well enough when I saw it Off-Broadway in…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:42PM
Monday, March 2, 2020

Cambodian Rock Band Review: Genocide and Rock and Roll by Jonathan Mandell

How do you put genocide on stage? Lauren Yee starts with a rock band, which is playing so loudly when we enter that the theater management offers ear plugs for any who request it. A rock con…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:33PM
Friday, February 28, 2020

The Unsinkable Molly Brown Review: Titanic Survivor as Singing Elizabeth Warren by Jonathan Mandell

Molly Brown, a socialite, social activist and survivor of the Titanic disaster in real life — turned into a Tony-winning Tammy Grimes on stage and Debbie Reynolds at her pluckiest on scree…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:32PM
Thursday, February 27, 2020

West Side Story on Broadway: Ivo van Hove’s thrilling, homoerotic, incoherent Broadway music video by Jonathan Mandell

What’s most remarkable about Ivo van Hove’s shake-up of West Side Story is, for all the Belgian director’s ruinous choices – chief among them, an overabundance of distracting video p…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:54PM
Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: Young Jean Lee’s We’re Gonna Die opens Off-Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

We’re all in pain – because of loneliness or loss, betrayal or illness – and playwright Young Jean Lee wants to offer us some comfort.  This might not be immediately apparent, given t…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:12AM
Friday, January 24, 2020

Review: A Soldier’s Play on Broadway at long last. by Jonathan Mandell

Charles Fuller’s murder mystery, finally on Broadway in a fine production directed by Kenny Leon some four decades after it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is so good that even if you’…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:18PM
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Broadway review: Grand Horizons. A starry cast for a hip, old-fashioned comedy. by Jonathan Mandell

“I think I would like a divorce,” Jane Alexander as Nancy French says to her husband of 50 years,  played by James Cromwell. “All right,” Bill replies.  Blackout. More production p…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:18PM
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Broadway Review: My Name Is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney by Jonathan Mandell

“Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” That’s what Laura Linney as Lucy Barton tells us f…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:54AM
Saturday, December 21, 2019

18 greatest moments on New York stages in 2019 by Jonathan Mandell

In a year that has ended so dramatically off-stage, and during which so many people talked dismissively about “political theater” — when they didn’t mean anything actually happening…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:36PM

All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue