All stories by Tony Frankel on BroadwayStars

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Music: STREAMING CONCERTS (92Y in New York) by Tony Frankel

NEED A REASON TO WATCH GREAT ONLINE CONCERTS? HERE’S Y. Beginning Monday February 1, 2021, NYC’s 92Y is presenting quite the cavalcade of concerts. From Emanuel Ax to Richard Goode and D…

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Preview: FILMS.DANCE (Jacob Jonas Dance Company with The Soraya, The Wallis, Los Angeles, and The Harris, Chicago) by Tony Frankel

CONNECTING ALL CORNERS OF THE WORLD Here comes Films.Dance, an extremely ambitious and most promising global project from one of the hottest leaders in dance. This stunningly shot series exi…

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Review: RIDING THE RAILS (American Experience) by Tony Frankel

RAILING AGAINST DEPRESSION Being a lover of railroads, especially railroad travel, I still remember this absorbing documentary from PBS’s American Experience. Back in 1998, I learned of th…

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Theater: COURT THEATRE UNVEILS NEW 2021 SEASON (Chicago) by Tony Frankel

NEW SEASON TAKES CENTER COURT Chicago’s great Court Theatre has sadly had to postpone its production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, but Owen McCafferty’s Titanic (Scenes from t…

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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Theater Review: BORDERS AND CROSSINGS (Public Theater’s Under the Radar) by Tony Frankel

PERSONALIZING DIASPORA Perhaps one of the reasons more people aren’t wearing masks in the U.S. to protect themselves and others during the COVID pandemic is that, even with 369,000 deaths …

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Theater Review: RICH KIDS: A HISTORY OF SHOPPING MALLS IN TEHRAN (Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival) by Tony Frankel

WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND LAYS AHEAD If you think Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is mind-blowing, or the way Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. could put history into context is dumbfounding, or Thomas Friedman’…

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Monday, December 14, 2020

NY Theater Preview: I AM SENDING YOU THE SACRED FACE (Theater in Quarantine) by Tony Frankel

HOLY CLOSET! Whereas many theater companies are becoming experimenters with video during the COVID-19 shutdown, Theater in Quarantine has been actually transforming theater into a small spa…

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Theater Preview: DIE, MOMMIE, DIE! (Los Angeles Theatre Works at UCLA) by Tony Frankel

SHE’S BA-A-A-CK AND SHE’S FA-A-A-ABULOUS Charles Busch’s play Die, Mommie, Die! is equal parts Greek comic-tragedy and Hollywood kitsch — a melodramatic campy cult classic in the vei…

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Dance Review: GRIMM TALES (Ballet Austin) by Tony Frankel

BEST WHEN IT’S GRIM GRIMM Born in Austin and now living in New York City, artist Natalie Frank created 75 works based on the stories of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Using gouache and chalk pas…

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Theater Review: FALSETTOS (National Tour) by Tony Frankel

NOT ONE FALSE NOTE The musical masterpiece Falsettos follows Marvin, an appealing, brainy, anxious, obsessive, wealthy Jewish gay man who struggles to create a tight-knit family out of his …

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Theater Review: EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED (Ensemble Theatre Company in Santa Barbara) by Tony Frankel

SOME, NOT ALL, IS ILLUMINATED Sadly, not everything is illuminated in British playwright Simon Block’s fascinating but problematic adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel…

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Los Angeles Theater Review: TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS (Pasadena Playhouse) by Tony Frankel

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE THEATER Well, there certainly is nothing wrong with good advice. And there’s plenty of that in the structurally unconventional Tiny Beautiful Things, Nia Vardalos’s …

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Theater Review: NOTES FROM THE FIELD (ZACH Theatre | Kleberg Stage in Austin, TX) by Tony Frankel

GRACE NOTES Now on the Kleberg Stage in Austin, TX, Anna Deavere Smith’s powerful, engrossing and resonant solo play — Notes from the Field — has been updated for four actors by ZACH…

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Los Angeles Theater Review: ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL (5-Star Theatricals in Thousand Oaks) by Tony Frankel

A VAULTING MATILDA Imagine Annie with psychokinetic powers, Nancy Drew as a mind-reader, or Cinderella acting as her own fairy godmother. Self-empowerment fuels this upbeat, knock-down, pell…

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Theater Review: DIANA (LA Jolla Playhouse) by Tony Frankel

photos by Little Fang Up Here La Jolla Playhouse 2910 La Jolla Village Dr in La Jolla ends on September 6, 2015 for tickets, call (858) 550-1010 or visit La Jolla Playhouse

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Theater Review: INCOGNITO (Son of Semele) by Tony Frankel

BRAIN CRAMPS One of the brainiest plays since, well, British playwright Nick Payne’s other brainy play, Constellations, Incognito (2014) contains Payne’s usual assortment of short scenes…

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Theater Review: THE WOLVES (Echo Theater Company) by Tony Frankel

TEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA I’m not really sure if director Alana Dietze could have done anything more with The Wolves, a dramatically inert slice-of-life one act that follows an …

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Theater Review: ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST (The Actors’ Gang in Los Angeles) by Tony Frankel

ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF A PLAY Anarchy is not chaos. The former means “without law” and the latter means “without form.” This is an important distinction to consider in a play that inten…

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Monday, March 18, 2019

CD Review: RENT (Original Soundtrack of the Live Television Event) by Tony Frankel

TOO BAD THEY DIDN’T RAISE THE RENT Rent has a romantic history: Jonathan Larson, its author and composer, died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm on Jan. 25, 1996, 10 days before his 36th birt…

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

CD Review: THE MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD (Imogen Heap) by Tony Frankel

HARRY POTTER AND THE RECYCLED RECORDING ENGINEER Jack Thorne’s immensely popular two-part play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has taken up residence in London, New York, and Melbourne…

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Theater Review: NO, NO, NANETTE (Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont) by Tony Frankel

A YES AND NO NANETTE When the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette was revised and remounted in 1971, it was predicted to be a flop by folks in the Biz, but it was the buzz of the season with nostal…

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Los Angeles Theater Review: ESCAPE FROM GODOT (YARD Theater) by Tony Frankel

WE’RE STILL WAITING You’re watching a play but you have no idea what’s happening. There is no plot, the dialogue is gobbledygook, and characters are filled with despair, yet you are to…

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Theater Review: THE JUDAS KISS (Boston Court) by Tony Frankel

LOVE CONQUERS COMMON SENSE My takeaway about Oscar Wilde in David Hare’s intellectually stimulating but overly static play of ideas, The Judas Kiss, now at Boston Court, is this: The liter…

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Theater Review: THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN (Antaeus Theatre) by Tony Frankel

CRIPPLE THE FUN Funny and heartbreaking, Martin McDonagh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan is nothing less than a slalom run of emotional ups and downs and plot twists and turns. Antaeus Theatre…

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Theater Review: WITNESS UGANDA (The Wallis) by Tony Frankel

WITNESSING UGANDA IS AMAZING, EVEN THOUGH THE SHOW NEEDS WORK Griffin is a young black New York actor in search of more than a career. When he is kicked out of his church choir because he’…

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Theater Review: LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE (Geffen Playhouse in Westwood) by Tony Frankel

UNFORGETTABLE AND FORGETTABLE AT THE SAME TIME Well, here’s a show that, while it doesn’t defy description, is nonetheless perplexing. As with Matthew Borne’s Cinderella, now playing a…

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Theater Review: MINNIE’S BOYS (Musical Theatre Guild at the Alex Theatre) by Tony Frankel

BOY OH BOYS With a fun and intermittently funny score by Hal Hackady (lyrics) and Larry Grossman (music), perky, adorable, enterprising direction by J. Scott Lapp, and some shining performan…

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Los Angeles Theater Review: TWO TRAINS RUNNING (The Matrix Theatre) by Tony Frankel

RUNNING ON FULL After producer Sophina Brown’s celebrated production last year of King Headly II — one of ten dramas of the late August Wilson’s 2oth-century chronicle The Pittsbur…

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Theater Review: TITANIC (Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont) by Tony Frankel

A MORE INTIMATE TITANIC MADE EPIC It’s telling that the 1997 musical Titanic won Tony Awards for each nomination — Best Musical, Peter Stone’s book, Maury Yeston’s sc…

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Theater Review: HELLO, DOLLY! (National Tour) by Tony Frankel

BUCKLEY BUCKLES A BIT, BUT DOLLY DEFINITELY DELIVERS To start with, let’s agree to never say “Goodbye, Dolly.” Thornton Wilder’s genius for the common touch isn’t just a golden leg…

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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Theater Review: SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (South Coast Rep) by Tony Frankel

IT COULD HAVE BEEN MURDER Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a musical that never fails to impress, no matter how many times it’s been seen. It te…

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