Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Spring roundup, Part I: Sweeney Todd and Come from Away by Elizabeth Wollman

Spring in these parts means fluctuating temperatures, the hectic and drawn-out end of the semester, more theater than I know what to do with, and very little time. What is a theater-loving, …

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:02PM
Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Glass Menagerie by Elizabeth Wollman

Hi, Show Showdown visitors!My take on the highly unconventional and mildly controversial Sam Gold production of The Glass Menagerie is currently featured on Broken and Woken, the blog a…

Linked From Show Showdown at 01:24PM
Friday, March 31, 2017

Hello Dolly by Wendy Caster

Bette Midler and Dolly Levi would seem to be as perfect a match as, oh, Glenn Close and Norma Desmond or Angela Lansbury and Mame. But, rather than giving us Dolly Levi, Bette has chosen to …

Linked From Show Showdown at 07:06PM
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sunset Boulevard by Wendy Caster

I won the lottery for Sunset Boulevard last Sunday matinee. The tickets were $55 each. I was thrilled when the box office woman handed me C2 and C4 in the orchestra. While they're arguably "…

Linked From Show Showdown at 11:48PM
Monday, March 27, 2017

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened by Wendy Caster

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, Lonnie Price's documentary on the making of Merrily We Roll Along, is jammed with treasures, such as footage of auditions, rehe…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:18PM
Monday, March 20, 2017

946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Elizabeth Wollman

Kneehigh's stage adaptation of the 2006 children's novel The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo is so bubbly, energetic, and wacky that a few times during the perfo…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:42PM
Friday, March 17, 2017

Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie by Sandra Mardenfeld

The Sam Gold-helmed version of The Glass Menagerie isn't for everyone (as you can see by reviews  here   and  here  ), but this stripped-down version of Tennessee William…

Linked From Show Showdown at 07:36PM
Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dear World by Wendy Caster

By the time you read this, the York Theatre Company production of Dear World will be over. Part of the York's Musicals in Mufti series (their version--in many ways better--of Encores!),…

Linked From Show Showdown at 07:54PM
Thursday, March 2, 2017

All the Fine Boys by Wendy Caster

From public/political discussions and debates, you might think that sexual boundaries between adults and minors--and sexuality itself--are clear, defined, and unambiguous. They're not, as vi…

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:32AM
Monday, February 27, 2017

Wakey, Wakey by Elizabeth Wollman

The man in the pajama bottoms, slippers and suit jacket is terribly confused but always polite to the crowd he is somehow suddenly responsible for entertaining. He has snacks and juice stash…

Linked From Show Showdown at 11:42PM
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Evening at the Talk House by Wendy Caster

Perhaps it wasn't fair to see Wallace Shawn's mildly compelling dystopian play Evening at the Talk House so soon after seeing Caryl Churchill's wildly compelling dystopian play Escaped …

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:03AM
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Escaped Alone by Wendy Caster

Caryl Churchill's brilliant, bizarre, puzzling, horrifying, and strangely sweet Escaped Alone packs the punch of a major dystopia into its lean 55 minutes. It also allows us to meet, enjoy, …

Linked From Show Showdown at 03:48PM
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Love For Sale: The History of Sex in Musicals by Elizabeth Wollman

Hey, have you wanted nothing other than to listen to me, director John Rando, and producer Jack Viertel talk about sex and musicals in a very nice performance space in lower Manhattan? Well,…

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:32PM
Monday, February 20, 2017

Art Times: What Is Good Acting? by Wendy Caster

My latest essay is up at Art Times:Good acting is a matter of opinion. A performance that you perceive as brilliantly emotional, I might perceive as overacting. A performance that strikes me…

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:06PM
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood by Wendy Caster

The Sherwood Forest in the Flux Theatre Ensemble's delightful production of Adam Szymkowicz's Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood has its full complement of merry men--except most of them…

Linked From Show Showdown at 10:03PM
Monday, January 30, 2017

Yours Unfaithfully by Wendy Caster

So much depends on where you begin a play. Do you start when character A is behaving well? Or when character B is? Do you start at the foundation of their relationship or in media res? In Yo…

Linked From Show Showdown at 10:32PM
Thursday, January 19, 2017

Jitney by Wendy Caster

Due to some health issues, it has been two and a half months since I've seen a play--what a gift that the first one back was August Wilson's superb Jitney, beautifully directed by Ruben Sant…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:12PM
Monday, January 2, 2017

Dear Evan Hansen by Elizabeth Wollman

Dear Evan Hansen is an intimate, well-crafted, well-performed musical, the kind that tidily trashes the generalized dismissal of musical theater as an emotionally overwrought genre filled wi…

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:42PM
Friday, December 30, 2016

Debbie Reynolds in Irene by Wendy Caster

It was late summer 1974 and Debbie Reynolds was returning to the musical Irene for a brief stint before taking it on the road. (Jane Powell had been her replacement.) My friend R and I …

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:42PM
Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Top Five: Sandra Mardenfeld by Sandra Mardenfeld

Jay and his mentor--from The Royale. Photo by Charles Erickson I marvel at how many shows Wendy and Liz saw last year. I come in under two dozen--and, even then, I am still playing catc…

Linked From Show Showdown at 07:06PM
Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016 Top Ten: Liz Wollman by Elizabeth Wollman

In years as rough and depressing as 2016 has been, I am extra-super-duper thankful for the theater. I have no desire, after a year as harsh as this one was, to come up with a "worst" list--e…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:42PM

2016 Top Ten: Wendy Caster by Wendy Caster

Due to some health challenges, I only saw 42 shows in 2016--my lowest total in decades. Yet it was still difficult to carve my best list down to 10 entries.I remain in awe of the breadt…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:33AM
Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and Women of a Certain Age by Elizabeth Wollman

Joan MarcusJoan MarcusIn very dark times, I'm always telling my students, people crave the comfort-food version of mass entertainment: breezy movies, bubbly Broadway shows, silly TV sit-coms…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:31PM
Friday, November 25, 2016

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 by Elizabeth Wollman

The great comet in question was actually in 1811. Just sayin'. Not like it matters: Broadway musicals are hardly the medium through which accurate historical information gets passed along to…

Linked From Show Showdown at 01:31PM
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 by Sandra Mardenfeld

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 is a puzzle to me. Because the show is invigorating, original, and evocative and, yet, also overbearing in its intensity. Based on 70-pages of L…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:54AM
Sunday, November 6, 2016

Coriolanus by Wendy Caster

I can't be 100% certain what William Shakespeare would think of the current election season, but, as Director Michael Sexton and the good people of the Red Bull Theater show in their dynamic…

Linked From Show Showdown at 11:42PM

School of Rock by Elizabeth Wollman

School of Rock is charming and engaging and the kind of big, shiny Broadway musical you could totally bring your kids or your friends from out of town to. It's basically a stage renditi…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:36PM
Monday, October 31, 2016

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Wendy Caster

Okay, so here's an awkward thing: what happens when you're a reviewer, and you're not feeling well, and you fall asleep during a show? That happened to me the other night at The Resisti…

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:12PM

Love, Love, Love by Elizabeth Wollman

Every so often, especially when you don't get too close or take them too seriously, selfish people can be enormously entertaining company. In Love, Love, Love, Mike Bartlett's short, lacerat…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:42AM
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sunday in the Park With George by Wendy Caster

I wasn't even planning to see this brief production of Sunday in the Park With George, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and benefiting City Center. It's not my favorite Sondheim show, and my life ha…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:42PM
Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Day By the Sea by Wendy Caster

Perhaps it's time for me to make a template for my reviews of Mint Theater Company productions:Thanks once again to the invaluable Mint for reintroducing the world to yet another fabulous pl…

Linked From Show Showdown at 03:03AM



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