The Home Place: Persnickety Plot Paralyzes Political Play

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, October 11, 2017.] Sometimes a beautiful woman’s yearning gaze isn’t sufficient to hold a piece of theater together that has too many moving parts. Women offer those gazes, to varying effect, in two differently structured plays dealing with British and Irish historical stories that are now calling

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Advice and Consent: Nia Vardalos Finds “Tiny Beautiful Things”

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, October 3, 2017.] Tiny Beautiful Things has returned in quiet triumph to the Public Theater after last season’s sold-out engagement in the tiny Shiva Theater. Co-conceived with Marshall Heyman and director Thomas Kail, actress Nia Vardalos adapted novelist Cheryl Strayed’s anthologized advice columns (“Dear Sugar”) into a play of small moments.

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Son to Forgive His Betraying Mother? Ask “The Treasurer”

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, September 27, 2017.] What happens to a 13-year-old boy when his mother leaves the family for another life? “She left and poof, there went our family,” says our narrator, called Son (Peter Friedman), the abandoned adolescent now a middle-aged man. In a theatrical musing on mortality and the limits of

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“Mary Jane,” Mom to Chronically Sick Child, Gently Explodes

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, September 27, 2017.] There’s quiet devastation in the all-female voices of Amy Herzog’s Mary Jane, now playing at Off-Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop after a run last spring at Yale Repertory Theatre. Herzog’s play does explode, but gently, exposing life around the edges of achingly ordinary domestic details. Carrie Coon assumes the potent,

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Teaching Manners to Build a Community

[article as originally published in TDF Stages, September 18, 2017.] MCC Theater’s new drama focuses on a one-of-a-kind charm school — Northlight Theatre‘s artistic director, BJ Jones, was so taken with a 2012 Chicago Tribunestory about Gloria Allen, an African-American, sexagenarian transwoman teaching an etiquette class for LGBTQ youth, he asked his friend, playwright Philip Dawkins, to pen

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Searching for a Shore, This Family Settles Into Silence

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, September 17, 2017.] On the Shore of the Wide World, first staged in Manchester and London in 2005, is the first Atlantic Theater Company show of the 2017-18 season. with American actors edging into various regional accents and a British reserve. Playwright Simon Stephens, who has been embraced by Broadway

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Women in Charge

[article originally published in Prologue (the OSF member magazine), Fall 2017 .] Two playwrights, Kate Hamill and Karen Zacarías, prove that female characters are limited neither by their senses nor their destiny. Two theatremakers coming to OSF next season assemble new work out of existing genres with women’s voices, for women performers. Their plays are infused

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Melissa Manchester, Her Fellas, and Unexpected Joy

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, September 14, 2017.] “I finally made it to Birdland!” Melissa Manchester, who has had a career of many decades, with more than a score of albums, and performances around the world, exclaimed early into her set in the intimate jazz venue an excitement at being in the room that

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Are You Ready for a Resurrection?

[article as originally published in TDF Stages, September 13, 2017.] How a multimedia artist is bringing a Long Island family back to life — Alison S. M. Kobayashi has an offbeat hobby. “For the past 11 years, I’ve been collecting found audio recordings, letters, and objects — usually things that have some sort of trace of

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Sugar Sing Along Loses the Beat

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, September 11, 2017.] Tony Roberts, one of the original stars of Sugar, the 1972 Broadway musical based entirely on the Billy Wilder, cross-dressing, Prohibition-era comedy film Some Like It Hot, hosted the “54 Sings Sugar” chapter of the 54 Below series of barely-staged, sung-through performances of sometimes rarely seen

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