In Broadway’s Gentlest Musical, Hope Strikes Up the “Band”

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, November 12, 2017.] The wonder holds in The Band’s Visit, the musical dreamscape now on Broadway less than a year after an Off-Broadway unveiling that opened to rapturous reviews. Some wondered whether a show based on a 2007 film about a lost Egyptian military band that spends an unexpected night in a small

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Callaway Jazzes the Movies

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, November 3, 2017.] Ann Hampton Callaway is a Chicago girl with one of the biggest hearts in cabaret. On a recent evening at Birdland, on a day when a deranged dude in a rental truck several miles downtown killed eight people and injured many more, Callaway pauses to reflect

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He Said, He Said: “M. Butterfly” Takes Wing on Broadway

[featured image: Clive Owen and Jin Ha in M. Butterfly. Photos: Matthew Murphy.] Julie Taymor’s elegant revival of David Henry Hwang’s 1988 play M. Butterfly remains a nuanced, spare, evocative dreamwork. It tells the story of a diplomat’s illegal actions, a Chinese citizen’s pragmatic moves to survive, and it is, of course, a gender play that spoke to us in one

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DeLaria Sings Bowie at Birdland

Lea DeLaria holds court with passion and grace in her David Bowie tribute show. Twice a night through Saturday October 28 at Birdland Jazz Club, this show based on DeLaria’s 2015 crowd-sourced recording House of David: delaria + bowie = jazzcombines an intimate cabaret feel and community building with a solid set of young musicians, a

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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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