Saturday, December 23, 2023

HO! HO! HO! Adventures In the Santa Trade by Philip

Some of what follows appeared here ten years ago. Hoping it stands up to a re-reading and amuses first timers.)   As a struggling actor back in the day, I drove a cab, tended bar…the usua…

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Monday, November 13, 2023

Father and Daughter DeVito in “I Need That” by Philip

I became an ardent fan of playwright Theresa Rebeck in 2007 with “Mauritius,” her Broadway debut. About a disputed inheritance of that British colony’s rare and extremely valuable 1847…

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Thursday, October 19, 2023

Patrick Page Mines Shakespeare’s Dark Side: “All the Devils Are Here” by Philip

Most actors will tell you they would rather play the villain than the hero. The bad guys are often more complex, sometimes amusingly so, and they dominate their scenes. The appeal may be inb…

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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Hey, What’s New? “Colin Quinn: Small Talk” by Philip

There is some practical insight in “Colin Quinn: Small Talk,” the actor/comic/writer’s solo standup gig at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in the West Village. Who knew, for example, that t…

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Monday, January 2, 2023

Set Sail Aboard Gilbert & Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore” by Philip

Most full-scale musical shows run several weeks of previews before submitting to critical evaluation; some even longer, with mixed results (cue “Spiderman”). The New York Gilbert & S…

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Monday, December 5, 2022

“The Journey of Jazz” Is a Syncopated Pleasure Trip by Philip

It is an unusual opening number for an orchestral jazz concert/revue: a strikingly evocative solo rendition of the legendary Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag.”  Even more unusual, the w…

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

This “& Juliet” Is No Tale of Woe by Philip

You need not be closely familiar with William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” or with his personal life to enjoy “& Juliet.” References to both are deployed liberally througho…

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Sandra’s Quest Comes Up Short by Philip

A “Shaggy Dog” story is one with a high-stakes build-up and much activity that comes to an anti-climactic conclusion, like an elongated joke with an unfunny punchline. A serious shaggy d…

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Sunday, November 13, 2022

Jump In the Pool with Mike Birbiglia by Philip

My first Mike Birbiglia show was “Sleepwalk with Me” in 2008 at the Bleecker Street Theater, where some of the 199 seats were behind poles. The 80-minute self-written monologue recounted…

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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Gabriel Byrne Goes “Walking With Ghosts” Alone by Philip

Most solo shows are one act affairs that run about 90 minutes or less. “Walking With Ghosts” is just Gabriel Byrne, sharing memories and spinning tales for well over two hours in two act…

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A Jug of “Wine in the Wilderness” and Thou: Perfect Together by Philip

If you want to know what a stage director does (or can do) for a play, you might want to first read Alice Childress’s “Wine in the Wilderness” and then get yourself to Two River Theate…

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Thursday, October 20, 2022

Debating the American Dream: “Death of a Salesman” and “Baldwin & Buckley at Cambridge” by Philip

On consecutive evenings last week, I saw what are likely the longest and shortest works, in terms of running time, currently on New York stages. The long one, clocking in at well over three …

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Friday, October 7, 2022

“I’m Revolting” Is Far From It by Philip

As much as I admire and am entertained by fine classical acting – at Stratford and in Central Park, for instance – and by complete-package musicals (“The Prom” and “Into the Woods�…

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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Odds and Ends on “Death of a Salesman” by Philip

This piece is prompted by the current Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” which I am scheduled to see on October 12. Neither a review nor an analysis, it is just…

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Friday, September 9, 2022

String Theory, Quarks, and the Big Bang, Oh My: “Strings Attached” Off-Broadway by Philip

“Strings Attached” is about three physicists, an American woman and two British men, on their way by train from Cambridge to London to see Michael Frayn’s science-based play “Copenha…

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

A “Godot” Worth Waiting For at Barrington Stage Company by Philip

An esteemed scholar once wrote about “Waiting for Godot” that “We all bring to Samuel Beckett’s play whatever is uppermost in our minds.” As tidy as that seems, my “Godot” expe…

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Sure and it’s “The Butcher Boy” at Irish Rep by Philip

Mrs. Nugent should have quit while she was ahead. When she went to the Brady home to complain that her son Philip was being bullied by Francie Brady, Francie’s ma was ready to punish him. …

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Fortunately, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” Has Eight More Lives by Philip

Tennessee Williams’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” reportedly his own personal favorite, has weathered so many revivals and revisions since its 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning premiere that all…

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Monday, July 18, 2022

Perfection in Two Acts: “Into the Woods” on Broadway by Philip

It is fascinating to imagine the processes that went into mounting the Broadway revival of “Into the Woods.” Not only Stephen Sondheim’s exquisite music and lyrics and James Lapine’s…

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Season #70 at Stratford: “Richard III,” “Chicago” and “Hamlet” by Philip

As written for MediaNews Group in Michigan: However you define Power Couple, you will not find a more representative theatrical pair than actor Colm Feore and director-choreographer Donna Fe…

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Taped TV to Off-Broadway: “Lessons in Survival: 1971” by Philip

From 1968 to 1973, “SOUL!,” America’s first Black-hosted nighttime TV talk show, celebrated Black literature, poetry, music and politics, largely in interview formats. In 1971, prolifi…

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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Mr. Seven Times a Week: Billy Crystal by Philip

One of my favorite theater memories is of seeing Phil Silvers in “Do Re Mi” in 1960. In a scene where his character is producing a recording session, Silvers tells the six on-stage music…

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Monday, May 16, 2022

Romeo and…Bernadette? Why Not; What’s In a Name? by Philip

There are many reasons for taking a date to a community theater production of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Maybe you are both studying English Lit or are enrolled in acting classe…

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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Ontario’s Stratford Festival Emerges from The Pandemic of Its Discontent by Philip

The following article appears in the May edition of the Canadian national Mensa magazine, MC2, and online and in the print editions of MediaNews Group in suburban Detroit.     One hundred…

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Monday, April 11, 2022

A Starry Couple Revives a Neil Simon Triptych: “Plaza Suite” on Broadway by Philip

Between 1961 and Y2K, Neil Simon was represented on Broadway by thirty plays, winning four Tony Awards (one honorary) and the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Drama (“Lost in Yonkers”). The plays…

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Thursday, March 3, 2022

This Play Doesn’t Interest You? Just Wait Ten Minutes by Philip

Think about the last ten new plays you saw. Were most of them really well written, with cohesive plots and well-developed characters? Were they thought-provoking and/or amusing? Well, that a…

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Tuesday, February 22, 2022

What’s Old Is New Again: Mint Theater Revives “The Daughter-in-Law” by Philip

In years past I have seen several plays performed in foreign (to me) languages. “Death of a Salesman” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” both familiar works, were perfectly clear in Yiddish,…

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Sunday, January 9, 2022

Fiction Meets Fact in “Wit” off-Broadway by Philip

Vivian Bearing, PhD, a college professor of 17th-Century poetry, specializing in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne, is undergoing chemotherapy for stage-four metastatic ovarian cancer. Fifty ye…

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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Understudy: Not a Job for the Weak of Heart by Philip

Theater lore abounds with tales of understudies who have gone on to a degree of stardom, some as a direct result of having filled in for an indisposed performer. Shirley Maclaine, who subbed…

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Monday, December 20, 2021

“Company” Trades Bobby, Bobby Baby for Bobbie, Bobbie Baby by Philip

Several terrific performances in the current Broadway revival of “Company” owe their provenance to its gender-switched casting. Originally about NYC bachelor Robert/Bobby being feted on …

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

“Kimberly Akimbo” + Music: Perfect Together by Philip

How do you improve on perfection? Well, you can’t – by definition. But you can approach it from a different direction, which is what David Lindsay-Abaire has done in adapting his marvelo…

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All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards