All stories by Jonathan Mandell on BroadwayStars

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Who SHOULD win the 2019 Tony Awards Sunday night and why by Jonathan Mandell

This was an adventurous year for Broadway, with several unconventional works that seemed a more comfortable fit Off-Broadway or even Off-Off Broadway. This is a welcome development, albeit a…

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review: Revisiting The Ferryman on Broadway now with its American cast by Jonathan Mandell

The Ferryman, a feast of Irish storytelling in a breathtaking mix of genres, opened on Broadway seven months ago, and since then it’s gotten nine Tony nominations, best play awards from th…

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Enter Laughing The Musical review. ridiculous, terrific – far funnier than it should be. by Jonathan Mandell

Comedian Carl Reiner called his comic novel Enter Laughing, because that is the first stage direction that his 17-year-old main character is given, at his first ever-audition, and he makes a…

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Happy Talk Review: Susan Sarandon as Marin Ireland’s matchmaker in Jesse Eisenberg’s sour play by Jonathan Mandell

From the moment Susan Sarandon makes her entrance in Happy Talk, Jesse Eisenberg’s latest play, it is clear her character Lorraine is extravagantly self-absorbed to the point of delusion. …

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Monday, April 29, 2019

All My Sons Review, Tracy Letts and Annette Bening bring star power to Arthur Miller’s tragedy by Jonathan Mandell

Nobody applauds when Annette Bening first appears on stage in All My Sons, the third Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s 1947 tragedy, the playwright’s first hit play. This is  because …

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Friday, April 26, 2019

Ink Review: Rupert Murdoch inside story, another ‘how we got where we are’ lesson by Jonathan Mandell

Ink recounts how Rupert Murdoch, newly arrived in London from Australia in 1969, bought the Sun, “a stuck-up broadsheet that…never once made a profit,” and in a year’s time made it a…

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Tootsie Review: Santino Fontana as Difficult Actor Turned Beloved Actress, Updated by Jonathan Mandell

  Tootsie, the musical adaptation of the 1982 movie comedy about a difficult actor who becomes a beloved actress, begins bravely with an opening number in which bubbly ensemble members sing…

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Review of Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus with Nathan Lane by Jonathan Mandell

Gary is a mess, deliberately so. Written by the downtown provocateur Taylor Mac making his Broadway debut, it stars three of the best comic stage actors in America as three minor characters …

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Hillary and Clinton Review: Timing’s off for Hnath’s latest with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow by Jonathan Mandell

Hillary and Clinton is exactly the play we do not need right now,  a well-acted but irrelevant middlebrow entertainment starring Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow as the presidential candidat…

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Hadestown, Broadway review. Hot! Hot! Hot! by Jonathan Mandell

On Broadway, as Off, Hadestown is a hell of a musical. But it’s changed. When it opened Off-Broadway three years ago, Anais Mitchell’s  concept album had been turned into an inventively…

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

‘Burn This’ Review: Adam Driver and Keri Russell rant and dance in Lanford Wilson’s 1987 play by Jonathan Mandell

Can a Star Wars villain and a Soviet spy find love, sex and happiness together on Broadway? That’s the question we’re primed to ask in the first Broadway revival of Lanford Wilson’s 19…

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

King Lear Review: Glenda Jackson in must-see if imperfect Shakespeare by Jonathan Mandell

As King Lear, Glenda Jackson enters with a casual swagger, giving off a scent of power that’s lasted a lifetime.  But Lear is portrayed by an 82-year-old woman, lean and light and, at 5…

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Kiss Me Kate Review on Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

The most exciting moment in this fourth Broadway production of Cole Porter’s backstage musical riffing on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew comes at the top of Act II, when the cast …

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

White Noise Review: Daveed Diggs as voluntary slave in Suzan-Lori Parks illuminating new play by Jonathan Mandell

Leo (Daveed Diggs) makes an outrageous request of his best friend Ralph (Thomas Sadoski) in Suzan-Lori Parks’ bizarre, disturbing and in some ways brilliant new play, White Noise, at the P…

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Sunday, March 10, 2019

Be More Chill on Broadway review. by Jonathan Mandell

Somebody wrote “NYC Loves BMC” in chalk on the sidewalk outside Broadway’s Lyceum Theater, the new home of Be More Chill, the high energy, high decibel pop-rock musical that stars Will…

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

True West Review: Ethan Hawke and Paul Dano fight and switch in Sam Shepard Broadway revival. by Jonathan Mandell

In the first Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s 1980 play, Ethan Hawke portrays Lee, a drifter, a drinker, and a thief who disrupts the life of his younger brother, Paul Dano’s Austin, an…

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Monday, January 28, 2019

Rent remembered: The young stars who created the roles, and Allen Ginsberg’s reaction to Rent’s bohemia by Jonathan Mandell

In the month before Rent opened Off-Broadway in January, 1996, Idina Menzel was singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” at a bar mitzvah at Leonard’s of Great Neck for the thousandth time;…

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Choir Boy review. Broadway newcomers in Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s powerful, fresh coming-of-age play by Jonathan Mandell

Pharus Jonathan Young is black, gay and gifted, like the playwright who created him, Tarrell Alvin McCraney, best known for the Oscar winning film Moonlight. McCraney is making his Broadway …

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Monday, January 7, 2019

4.48 Psychosis review. An operatic version of Sarah Kane’s final play by Jonathan Mandell

Playwright Sarah Kane killed herself at the age of 28 shortly after writing her fifth play, which offers a harrowing taste of what it’s like to live with, and die from, depression.  Now t…

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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Review: Network, Chayefksy’s prophesy of ‘fake news’ gets a strong performance from Bryan Cranston by Jonathan Mandell

Nobody can do a nervous breakdown like Bryan Cranston. As Howard Beale, long-time network news anchor gone mad, he sits in front of the camera, unable to speak, his face a dramatic repertoir…

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Friday, December 7, 2018

The Cher Show Review: glitz, hits and highlights by Jonathan Mandell

The Cher Show, the new Broadway jukebox musical that offers a whirlwind tour of the music, life and six-decade career of the entertainer and self-proclaimed  “goddamn Goddess Warrior,” …

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Thom Pain (based on nothing) review. by Jonathan Mandell

Like a boxer faking out an opponent, Michael C. Hall as Thom Pain plays tricks on the audience: “Now I think would be a good time for the raffle,” he says at one point, then shortly afte…

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

American Son Review: Kerry Washington in Racial Nightmare on Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

While anxiously waiting in a Miami police station for word of what happened to her son Jamal, an educated African-American woman named Kendra (Kerry Washington) talks with her estranged whit…

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Monday, November 5, 2018

Torch Song on Broadway Review: Harvey Fierstein’s Landmark Gay Play starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl by Jonathan Mandell

When Torch Song opened Off-Broadway a year ago, I noted that the issues affecting gay people that it explored remained unfortunately relevant 35 years after the play had debuted on Broadway,…

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: The Waverly Gallery. Elaine May thrills in her return to Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

Elaine May is back on a Broadway stage after more than 50 years, and making the most of it in The Waverly Gallery, Kenneth Lonergan’s meticulously observed, funny and sad play about a woma…

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Review: The Lifespan of a Fact, Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale by Jonathan Mandell

The first fact that fact-checker Jim (Daniel Radcliffe) argues about in the essay by  magazine writer John (Bobby Cannavale) is how many strip clubs there are in Las Vegas. Adult Industry N…

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Gloria A Life Review: Stories from Gloria Steinem’s life and the women’s movement as support group in trying times by Jonathan Mandell

  Gloria Steinem herself came out in the last twenty minutes of Gloria: A Life to lead the “talking circle,” an unscripted conversation with the audience. This was the officially de…

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mother of the Maid Review: Glenn Close as Joan of Arc’s mother by Jonathan Mandell

Genghis Khan had a mother; so did Amelia Earhart and Dwight Eisenhower.  Perhaps Mother of the Maid, starring Glenn Close as the woman whom Joan of Arc called Ma, will start a trend of offe…

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Apologia Review: Stockard Channing as Great Idealist, Bad Mother by Jonathan Mandell

In Apologia, the well-acted, finely directed Off-Broadway production of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s 2009 play,  Stockard Channing portrays Kristin Miller, a long-time activist, American expatri…

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Monday, October 1, 2018

Girl From the North Country Review: Dylan’s Music Set In His Hometown by Jonathan Mandell

Using 20 songs that Bob Dylan composed over half a century, playwright Conor McPherson has fashioned a slow, sad, elliptical and occasionally exquisite theater piece set in a run-down boardi…

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Nap Review. Some Laughs, A Big Twist, A Lot of Snooker. by Jonathan Mandell

How, one wondered, would British playwright Richard Bean, whose hilarious farce One Man, Two Guvnors made a star out of James Corden, create something as funny for Americans out of the Briti…

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