Harvard and Yale Make Cantata Out of Regatta for the Fourth Time

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, September 19, 2018.] The show starts on the stairs at 54 Below. Twice in the past few weeks, these aural pre-shows have been somber celebrations of great diva lives. On August 16, the soundtrack was Aretha Franklin, whose death earlier in the day had the world reeling. This evening, a

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Pointed Political Parallels in an Off-Broadway ‘Henry VI’

[Full article published in The Clyde Fitch Report, August 23, 2018.] In Stephen Brown-Fried’s elegant new two-part adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry VItrilogy for Off-Broadway’s National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), we don’t have to reach very far for present-day parallels. In this parable of power accented by gender-blind casting, a longstanding foreign war, and partisan politics inflamed by weak leaders, throw us

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The Maria Irene Fornes Play Marathon We Need Right Now

[Full article published in The Clyde Fitch Report, August 21, 2018.] On Mon., Aug. 27, a 12-hour marathon of staged readings at Public Theater will celebrate the life and work of Cuban-born playwright Maria Irene Fornes. The event falls amidst an encore week of screenings of an extraordinary documentary about Fornes, called The Rest I Make Up, that premiered at the

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Garcia Channels Bennett: “It’s All About the Material”

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, August 18, 2018.] The first show empties out, and a rapt audience of cabaret enthusiasts files into 54 Below for a late-night show featuring Eric Yves Garcia honoring Tony Bennett. Garcia has built a following with regular gigs in piano bars around town and tonight he’s rolling out a

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‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ Is So Unpretty

[Full article published in The Clyde Fitch Report, August 17, 2018.] There’s a moment early in the first act of Pretty Woman: The Musical — adapted by the late Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton from Lawton’s screenplay for the 1990 Julia Roberts film that has landed on Broadway with a neon-colored thud — that clues us into the show’s stumbling course and conflicting

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‘Be More Chill’ is Infectious Joy On Stage And Off

[Published in Theater Pizzazz, August 10, 2018.] You will hear, see, and feel the future of musical theater in the Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz creation Be More Chill, now at The Pershing Square Signature Center. In just over two hours, our adolescent protagonist loses and finds his way, his parent and best friend join forces to

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Marcus Gardley Constructs ‘The House That Will Not Stand’

[Full article published in The Clyde Fitch Report, July 31, 2018.] In Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand at New York Theatre Workshop, eight characters — seven women of color and one dead white man lying in state — populate a splendid New Orleans transmutation of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. Lorca’s play, published in

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Destruction and Rebirth in Coney Island

[Full article published in TDF Stages, July 17, 2018.] How Superstorm Sandy changed the trajectory of Fire in Dreamland Playwright Rinne Groff is obsessed with the obsessed, whether it’s an inventor’s struggle to perfect an early version of television (The Ruby Sunrise), an author’s fixation on the story of Anne Frank (Compulsion) or an aspiring filmmaker’s

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In ‘Mary Page Marlowe,’ Six Actors Create One (Un-) Exceptional Woman

[Full article published in The Clyde Fitch Report, July 12, 2018.] Six actors and a fake baby in sequential performances dramatize one woman’s life journey in Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater. The story is an expertly selected set of key points in this woman’s life, from infancy to terminal diagnosis. And it’s a kind and cruel and glorious ride.

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Vivian Reed Performs Her Story to a Lena Horne Set List

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, July 4, 2018.] We assembled to celebrate, with Broadway Baby and cabaret veteran Vivian Reed, what would have been Lena Horne’s 101st birthday. Some of us attended the performance infused with the spirit of Horne, and others knew Vivian Reed’s work over the years. Whatever brought people into the

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