All stories by Philip on BroadwayStars

Friday, March 24, 2017

A well-built “Multiple Family Dwelling” in Long Branch NJ by Philip

It’s said that there are only seven plots. If so, who’s sleeping with whose husband/wife/SO must be at least two of them. The details of such assignations are revealed late in “Multipl…

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Come from wherever to see “Come From Away” by Philip

Any people who don’t believe in the Magic of Theatre would be well advised to get themselves to “Come From Away,” where a dozen diverse performers, aided by some chairs, a few coats an…

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical in NJ (not that one) by Philip

Before Lin-Manuel Miranda chose Ron Chernow’s 827-page biography of Alexander Hamilton to read on vacation, “In the Heights” had established him as a composer-lyricist to reckon with. …

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A three-actor scramble: “Merry Wives” at Two River Theater by Philip

Tradition has it that Queen Elizabeth, enamored of Falstaff from Shakespeare’s Henry IV plays, asked the playwright for a play depicting the character in love (a likely apocryphal  ‘alt…

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

“All the Fine Boys” on the prowl off-Broadway by Philip

One of the two male characters in “All the Fine Boys” is well past boyhood and neither fits the definition of fine. Joseph (Joe Tippett), at 28, is, in fact, very un-fine; the other, Ada…

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Monday, February 20, 2017

“Ring Twice for Miranda”: Dystopia Calling by Philip

If good intentions were reason enough to skew a review to the positive, “Ring Twice for Miranda” would merit a rave. With one line toward the end, playwright Alan Hruska makes his intent…

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Drama of an “American Son” at George Street Playhouse by Philip

“American Son” is an intense, racially-charged, cautionary tale in which the title character hovers over every minute but does not appear in person. The play is set at 4AM in the waiting…

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Farce Reigns at Paper Mill Playhouse: “A Comedy of Tenors” by Philip

Great art it’s not, but if you’re looking for a recipe for farce, all the ingredients can be found in “A Comedy of Tenors,” Ken Ludwig’s sequel to his enormously successful “Lend…

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Monday, January 30, 2017

A Tempest at Two River: “Hurricane Diane” in Red Bank by Philip

If you wished to come back as a Greco-Roman God, you could do far worse than to opt for Dionysus (Greek), also known as Bacchus (Roman), the god of wine, fertility and agriculture as well as…

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

“August Wilson’s Jitney” on B’way; “Jag” in NJ by Philip

Seeing different August Wilson plays directed and acted by the same theater artists must be like it was for Elizabethan theatergoers watching the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later The King’s…

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Take the A (for Any) Train to “In Transit” by Philip

The last time I walked by the TKTS booth on Time Square at 47th Street, 22 Broadway shows were offering same-day discounted tickets, most for half-price plus a two dollar service charge. Sev…

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Celebrity sightings with Santa… by Philip

A seasonal departure from play reviews to reviewing having played…                                                              … Continue reading …

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

“A Bronx Tale: The Musical” on Broadway by Philip

Crafted by Chazz Palminteri from a true story from his 1960s youth, “A Bronx Tale” originated as his one-man show in 1989 (revived on Broadway in 2007, directed by Jerry Zaks). The 1993 …

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sutton Foster in “Sweet Charity”: Up Close and Personal by Philip

How cool would it be to have Sutton Foster come to your house to sing and dance in your living room? And suppose she brought some talented friends to perform with her? Well, that’s not gon…

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Monday, November 21, 2016

“The Lion in Winter” Heats Up Two River Theater by Philip

Set over Christmas Eve and Day in the year 1183, “The Lion in Winter” is based on events in the lives of seven historical figures: Henry II, King of England, Scotland, Wales, etc.; his Q…

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

“A [Tuneful] Christmas Story” in Red Bank by Philip

Beginning at 8PM on Christmas Eve, you can watch the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story” twelve times in a row on TBS-TV, screening on the even hours up to 6PM on the 25th. Sans song and danc…

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lotsa’ love for “Mad Love” (not so much for “The Cherry Orchard”) by Philip

Thinking about Mad Love, the word “lark” popped into my head. Where’d that come from? I thought, so I looked it up in my Oxford: Something mischievous…an amusing adventure or escapad…

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Monday, October 10, 2016

Heil you-know-who: “The Producers” at Paper Mill Playhouse by Philip

The Producers has the potential to offend pretty much everyone: Jews, gays, women, seniors, prudes and the self-appointed Good Taste Police. When well staged, however, the holder of a record…

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

How to save the farm? Irving Berlin to the rescue! by Philip

Back in the day, I produced and performed in summer-stock musicals. They usually featured about six principals and double that number of backup singer-dancers. I like to think the shows were…

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Monday, September 19, 2016

August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” at Two River Theater: Stunning! by Philip

The Wikipedia entry for Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, known as the Mother of the Blues, lists her life span as April 1886 to December 1939. Based on Two River Theater’s stunning production of …

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

A ground-breaking Othello actor in Madison, NJ and a dozen kids (give or take a few) down the shore by Philip

Have you ever seen Othello played by a Caucasian actor? I’ve seen Orson Welles’s and Laurence Olivier’s “blacked-up” film versions, and Pavarotti singing the Verdi operatic role at…

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

“Iago” not the only villain at New Jersey Rep by Philip

Legend has it that when British producer-actor Sir Donald Wolfit toured as Othello, he was dismayed when Iago got all the notices. He replaced the actor with a less-talented fellow, who also…

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

The paws that refresh: “CATS” back on Broadway by Philip

Has any long-run Broadway show counted as many detractors as has Cats? (Besides Oh, Calcutta! I mean.) Upon hearing that I was attending the Broadway revival, comments from friends and colle…

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

At Shaw Festival: Wilde, Gilbert and young Alice too! by Philip

[As will appear in September issue of American Mensa Magazine] In 1962 a group of Canadians and Americans produced weekend performances of George Bernard Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell and Candid…

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

“To Kill a Mockingbird” at Holmdel Theatre Company by Philip

Published in 1960, Harper Lee’s semi-autobiographical To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most revered American novels of all time, and the 1962 movie is one of the best book-to-films ever…

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

The “Butler” Did It (Really) by Philip

Rarely has a slice of history been as entertainingly portrayed as in Butler. Richard Strand’s play depicts an actual Civil War development with a creative imagining of how it might have un…

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Shakespeare and more at Canada’s Stratford Festival by Philip

(As published in the August 2016 issue of  the Magazine of American Mensa) William Shakespeare’s second tetralogy, known as the Henriad, covers 22 years of English history, from 1398 to 1…

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

“Tommy” in Red Bank; Dick Gregory bio off-Broadway by Philip

The rock opera Tommy was written in 1969 by guitarist Pete Townshend and recorded by the British group The Who. It was made into a movie in 1975. In 1993, Townshend and theatrical director D…

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Monday, July 11, 2016

“Always, Patsy Cline” Now, at Shadow Lawn Stage by Philip

Without the role of Louise Seger, Always, Patsy Cline would be just a couple hours of one woman singing 25 songs associated with the country-pop crossover star who died in a plane crash on M…

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

NJ Rep strikes pay dirt with “Struck” by Philip

The aphorism “There are no accidents” has been variously attributed to Sigmund Feud, Deepak Chopra and Pablo Picasso. Things that occur seemingly by chance are, accordingly then, intende…

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Monday, June 13, 2016

A “Mama” To Remember At Two River Theater by Philip

It’s a safe bet that Heather Mac Rae never dreamed she’d be cast in a role created by Marlon Brando. No, the venerable actress is not playing Terry Malloy in a remake of “On the Waterf…

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Mar 26: Sweat - Studio 54