Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Memorable “Memoirs of a Forgotten Man” in New Jersey by Philip

You needn’t be familiar with 20th Century Russian – Soviet Union, that is – history in order to appreciate D. W. Gregory’s “Memoirs of a Forgotten Man.”  While a sense of that h…

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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Into Each Life “The Rainmaker” Should Fall: N. Richard Nash’s Play in New Jersey by Philip

The theme of the mysterious stranger who arrives on the scene and changes people’s lives has long been a staple of American fiction, never more than it was in the 1950s. That decade produc…

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Friday, July 26, 2019

Organs, Oral and Orgasms, Oh My: “Get On Your Knees” by Philip

Let us clarify up front: the title of Jacqueline Novak’s 90-minute theater piece is not an invocation to prayer. Rather, it refers to a position oft identified with the performance of oral…

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Music Ten, Book Three: “I Spy a Spy” off-Broadway by Philip

The best element of the musical “I Spy a Spy,” running through September 21 at the Theatre at St. Clements, is its music. Sohee Youn’s diverse score is mostly easy-to-take rock and jaz…

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Monday, July 1, 2019

The Stratford Festival: Geniuses at Work by Philip

The Stratford Festival in Ontario routinely employs the talents of two Theatre geniuses, separated in their endeavors by four centuries. The earlier is, of course, William Shakespeare, aroun…

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Predicting the Tony Awards by Philip

The Broadway theater season, which ends in late April, culminates with the American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards – the Tonys. For the 2018-19 season 42 nominators considered 34…

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

A “MAC BETH” for the (Teen) Ages by Philip

A lot of stuff in plays happens offstage. Not just unsavory events, but things that are easier to tell than to show. (The plot of the play reviewed here last week, “Happy Talk,” turns on…

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Not All The Talk In “Happy Talk” Is Happy by Philip

There is a limit to how much can be revealed about The New Group production of Jesse Eisenberg’s “Happy Talk,” without crossing into spoiler territory. That there are five characters i…

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Identity-check at NJ Rep: “Surfing My DNA” by Philip

Any time someone appears on stage in tap shoes, I’m all in. Jodi Long brings that footwear and more to “Surfing My DNA,” world-premiering through May 26 at New Jersey Repertory Company…

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Sunday, April 28, 2019

A Visit with “The Belle of Amherst” in Red Bank NJ by Philip

Something special is afoot at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey, where Maureen Silliman is embodying Emily Dickinson in “The Belle of Amherst,” William Luce’s one-woman play ab…

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Monday, April 22, 2019

“Benny & June” with many a tune in NJ – and a British cellist off-Broadway by Philip

Do you read a newspaper? Watch cable news? Discuss politics and world affairs with co-workers or friends (or former ones)? If you answered yes to any of the above, you could surely use an en…

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Jazz Singer’s Triumph by Philip

[In a departure from my usual content, below is a (lightly edited) re-print of a feature that appeared in The Palm Beach Post on April 1.]                After surgery for brai…

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The noblest Roman tragedy of them all: “Julius Caesar” in Brooklyn by Philip

If your attention has wandered during the last third of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” you are not alone, but redemption is at hand. Theatre for a New Audience’s portrayal of the aft…

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Kelli and Cole spark “Kiss Me, Kate” revival by Philip

Despite an occasional misfire, tailoring some shows to a performer in a particular role can be a gimme. Dolly Levi and Mama Rose, for example, come with the territory. Lilli Vanessi does not…

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

No wall between “The Immigrant” and George Street Playhouse by Philip

Ever wonder what happens to the inhabitants of Anatevka after they are driven from their village at the end of “Fiddler on the Roof”? We know that some of Tevye’s family will be stayin…

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Want some journalistic intrigue? Go to “The Source” by Philip

There is some real good acting on display these days at New Jersey Repertory Company. Not only do the three cast members of “The Source,” Jack Canfora’s trippy excursion into the world…

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A family talks it all out in “Theo” at Two River Theater by Philip

Criticizing a play for being too wordy might seem counter-intuitive. Character dialogue, after all, is words. But unlike narrative stories or essays, plays need to balance telling with showi…

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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Along Roll We Merrily by Philip

I am a charter member of the Spoilers Avoidance Association, but it is impossible to write about “Merrily We Roll Along” without revealing – to those not already aware – that the 198…

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

“The Play That Goes Wrong” Goes Right Off-Broadway by Philip

Something funny happened to “The Play That Goes Wrong” on the way from Broadway to off-Broadway. Fear not; everything that was funny during its nearly two-year run in the 922-seat Lyceum…

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

A blazing performance as Nina Simone in “Little Girl Blue” by Philip

My memories of seeing Nina Simone perform in Philadelphia and Atlantic City jazz clubs in the late 1950s/early 60s are soft-focus, because, well, do the math. What does remain sharp, though,…

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

“Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Westchester: The Joint Is Jumpin’ by Philip

To describe a play or musical as ‘dated’ might indicate that the piece is no longer relevant by virtue of evolved social or moral standards. (You won’t see Neil Simon’s play about th…

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A walk on the farce side: “Noises Off” at Two River Theater by Philip

One can imagine the Two River Theater staff meeting to select a catch-phrase for their “Noises Off” advertising campaign. It is fitting that they settled on “One of the funniest plays …

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

It’s “Apple Season” in Long Branch New Jersey by Philip

At one point in E. M. Lewis’s “Apple Season” at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, one of the play’s several contemporaneous ‘Rolling Premiere’ productions, Lis…

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Take Someone to “The Prom” (Formal Wear Optional) by Philip

A couple kissing in front of Macy’s in Herald Square is hardly newsworthy, but one at last year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade actually marked a milestone in live TV – and was also a spoile…

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Adventures in the Santa trade… by Philip

[Some of what follows was originally posted a few years ago. This holiday season, I invite new readers and returnees to share the memories.] Like many a New York actor back in the day, I dro…

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

“ART” is in the eye of the beholder… by Philip

The term ‘bromance,’ referring to a close, non-sexual relationship between men, had not been coined when French playwright Yasmina Reza wrote “ART” in 1994, but a bromance fuels her …

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#AmericanSonMatters on Broadway by Philip

“American Son” premiered in 2016 at Barrington Stage in Massachusetts and was staged at George Street Playhouse in New Jersey in February 2017. In those recent years, its theme of racial…

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Thursday, November 29, 2018

“Holiday Inn” Open For Business At Paper Mill Playhouse by Philip

The musical now officially titled “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn” is based on the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn,” which was updated on screen as “White Christmas” in 1954, which in tur…

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Monday, November 19, 2018

“King Hedley II” Reigns at Two River Theater by Philip

In the play running through December 16 at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, a 35-year old African-American woman defends her decision to terminate her pregnancy in an impassioned speech. …

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Monday, November 12, 2018

“Annie” gets a makeover (with Andrea McArdle aboard) by Philip

With a few minor (and one not-so-minor) modifications, producers Andrew De Prisco and Jess Levy and director/choreographer Al Blackstone have given “Annie” a fresh appearance without sac…

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

A solo show evokes Lenny Bruce: Comedian…and so much more by Philip

You are unlikely to ever see the theatrical title “I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Richard Pryor.” Or George Carlin. Or Chris Rock. Or Sarah Silverman. But appending the name Lenny Bruce is…

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All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue