Thursday, December 7, 2017

“The Parisian Woman” in D.C. (via B’way) and another tomorrow for “Annie” in NJ by Philip

I couldn’t find an English translation of Henry Becque’s 19th-Century farce La Parisienne, upon which Beau Willimon based “The Parisian Woman,” but it’s a safe assumption that the …

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The importance of seeing “Earnest” at Two River Theater by Philip

In a modern play about Oscar Wilde, he says “I have spent my life holding language up to the light, making words shimmer.” (Wilde might well have said that.) Then his 1895 play “The Im…

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Paging Dr. Seuss: Report to Red Bank for “Seussical” by Philip

An unscripted moment on opening night of Phoenix Productions’ “Seussical” revealed much about how the show was being received. Nearing the end, the Cat in the Hat addresses the audienc…

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Tennis, anyone? “The Last Match” off-Broadway by Philip

There’s a mind game we used to play in college built around someone finishing the sentence “Life is like a ­___” with a concept (film noir, say) or item (a coke bottle is one I recall…

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Careful what you wish for: “Mutual Philanthropy” at NJ Rep by Philip

We like to think we can size up strangers in a first meeting, but we really can’t. Everyone is guarded for a while, with deep feelings and values held in check, at least until the atmosphe…

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Improved with age: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” by Philip

Two things to know about George Street Playhouse’s temporary home on the Cook College Campus of Rutgers University: One is that the venue is temporary only in the sense that GSP will be mo…

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Friday, September 29, 2017

A likeable “As You Like It” off-B’way and a tasty dinner theater in the suburbs by Philip

There must be as many ways of creating the Forest of Arden onstage as there are productions of “As You Like It.” In director John Doyle’s minimalist production of Shakespeare’s roman…

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Monday, September 18, 2017

A first-class revival of an American classic: “A Raisin in the Sun” at Two River Theater by Philip

There is little that I can add to the praise that has been heaped upon Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” virtually from the hour it opened on Broadway in 1959. Ms. Hansberry,…

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Friday, September 1, 2017

“Prince of Broadway” = Nostalgia on Broadway by Philip

“Prince of Broadway” has been variously compared to a highlight reel, a mix-tape and a best-of list. Simply stated, “Prince” is a compilation of musical numbers from sixteen of the t…

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Monday, August 21, 2017

“F Theory” in Long Branch NJ: an imperfect blendship by Philip

For starters, the F in “F Theory,” world-premiering at New Jersey Repertory Company, does not stand for what you are thinking. No; it represents friendship, in this case not even with be…

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Curvy Widow on 43rd Street and Songbook Summit on 59th by Philip

Pinpointing a target audience for some shows is easy. Ten-to-twelve-year-old girls whose parents took them to “Annie” were seen a decade or so later with one another at “Rent,” while…

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” come true in Central Park by Philip

Settings and casting variations on Shakespeare are virtually infinite. “Othello” in an Army barracks? “Shrew” on a Dude Ranch? A female Prospero or even Richard III? A campy “Peric…

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Broadway door opens into “Marvin’s Room” by Philip

In life there are the care-givers, the care-receivers, and those who simply don’t care. All three are represented in Scott McPherson’s “Marvin’s Room,” finally debuting on Broadway…

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

“Halftime With Don” worth your time… by Philip

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head. Symptoms, which manifest themselves eight-to-ten years later…

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Shakespeare, Shaw and More: North of the Border by Philip

William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw are the raisons d’être for the Stratford and Shaw Festivals in Ontario, where those venerated playwrights (and others) are staged by world-clas…

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Half-way to ’18 already! My goodness, where did the time go? by Philip

With the year nearly half spent, some random observations before leaving for Ontario to cover the Stratford and Shaw Festivals for Digital First Media newspapers in Michigan (and online) and…

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Musicals in the Garden State: “Little Jo” at Two River and Paper Mill’s “Mary Poppins” by Philip

Anyone who does not believe truth is stranger than fiction hasn’t been following the news lately…or has never heard about Joe Monaghan, whose story is encapsulated in the playbill of Two…

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Monday, June 5, 2017

The 2017 Broadway Tony Awards: Predictions and Preferences by Philip

Some Broadway plays and musicals succeed or fail regardless of Tony Award consideration, but the fate of many more depends heavily on nominations, not even considering wins. Ticket sales for…

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

“The Government Inspector” is worth inspecting… by Philip

Part of my enjoyment of Red Bull Theater’s “The Government Inspector” derived from not knowing how accurately Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation translates Russian author Nikolai Gogol’s…

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Monday, May 22, 2017

There’s a lot to love in “Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” by Philip

The set for “Ernest Shackleton Loves Me” features a metal-frame stand-up desk upon which set microphones, a tape deck, amps and speakers, various other electronic devices and, oh yes, a …

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Monday, May 8, 2017

But soft! What light on NJ Rep Stage? ‘Tis “& Juliet” by Philip

There is an intriguing one-act, 80-minute play on the New Jersey Repertory stage. Unfolding in the fertile theatrical setting of higher-education academia, it deals with faculty jealousy, co…

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

La guerra es el infierno para “The Women of Padilla” a Two River Theater by Philip

“The Women of Padilla” is a very well-written play, a realization I came to while reading it a couple days after seeing it at Two River Theater. If ever a play was suited for Two River…

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Monday, April 17, 2017

“The Play That Goes Wrong” goes right! by Philip

Two-thirds of “The Play That Goes Wrong” is hilarious. The other half (apologies to Yogi Berra) is just funny. If you’ve ever appeared in a play, or produced, directed or stage-managed…

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“The Play That Goes Wrong” and “The Price” both go right. by Philip

Two-thirds of “The Play That Goes Wrong” is hilarious. The other half (apologies to Yogi Berra) is just funny. If you’ve ever appeared in a play, or produced, directed or stage-managed…

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Monday, April 3, 2017

A classic well told: “Of Mice and Men” in Holmdel, NJ by Philip

Some years ago I picked up a 1939 edition of John Gassner’s “20 Best Plays of the American Theatre” at the Cincinnati Public Library’s Buck-a-Book sale. Among the titles are some tha…

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Friday, March 31, 2017

The heat is back on in “Miss Saigon” by Philip

“Miss Saigon” was the first play I reviewed for the Two River Times in Red Bank, NJ – or for anywhere, actually, since a stint on a Rhode Island weekly during a long-ago college summer…

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

“The Price” is right by Philip

“The Price” is not a comedy – far from it. But Arthur Miller’s seldom-staged play demonstrates something his other plays do not – that Miller could indeed write funny. Not just the…

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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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