“If Only”: Ann, Samuel, and the Love That Might Have Been

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, September 6, 2017.] Stories about crossing class, caste and racial divides offer rich theatrical and cinematic possibilities. Far From Heaven, a recent example as a 2002 movie and 2013 Off Broadway musical, explores an American upper-class 1950s suburban wife and mother, her closeted gay husband, and her socially thwarted relations with

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Things Can Really Hang You Up the Most — Inanimate

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, August 31, 2017.] Modern society is packed with machine-crafted and hand-hewn objects intended for display or consumption or decoration. In societies of abundance, we are often told that we focus much too much on accumulation of non-human stuff. But what if those things were, to some humans, more than

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Neglected Plays of Teresa Deevy Mints New Vaudeville

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, August 28, 2017.] The title of The Suitcase Under the Bed is both self-effacing and self-referential. With this production, Mint Theater Company’s Artistic Director Jonathan Bank continues its commitment to staging, publishing and promoting the works of Irish playwright Teresa Deevy (1894-1963), who made a splash early in her career at Dublin’s Abbey

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A Happening to Celebrate Birthday Girl Annie Ross

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, July 30, 2017.] July 25, 2017 really is the 87th birthday of Annie Ross and marks the 11th year of regular appearances at the venue by this actress and jazz musician. The celebratory vibe at the Metropolitan Room this fine summer evening is deep and buzzy—Ms. Ross hasn’t been

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Linda Lavin and the Women Who Haunt Her

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, July 30, 2017.] Linda Lavin is a New York City girl who holds audiences rapt by comedic and dramatic performances on television, film, and stage. What cabaret lovers have discovered over the years is that that she brings all her performance skills and a now-burnished vocal instrument to storytelling

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Karrin Allyson Swings Low

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, July 30, 2017.] The scene at Birdland this steamy July evening skews young—tables of college-aged pals, a large group of teens from Britain. The bubbling young crowd, perhaps here on a first visit to this venue, perhaps a first visit to the city, could perhaps have come on a

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Theater Critic Helen Shaw: Monster in the Audience

[article as originally published in The Clyde Fitch Report, July 20, 2017.] Debates about cultural criticism question its relevance, who is and is not a critic, and the audience for critical writing. We believe critics themselves must not be sidelined from these debates. In our occasional series, Critical I, critics tell their own stories and offer their personal views of criticism. Performance critic Helen Shaw, our

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Barb Jungr and John McDaniel Find the Zing in Sting

[caption: John McDaniel and Barb Jungr at Joe’s Pub. Photo: Richard Hillman.] [article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, June 30, 2017.] British-born Barb Jungr is often described in creative cross-breed superlatives: Edith Piaf meets Carmen McRae, jazz meets blues, pop rock meets the Great American Songbook. She is, in fact, an absolutely charming raconteur with a

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Seth Sikes Embraces His Divas

[article as originally published in Theater Pizzazz, June 29, 2017.] I am a fan of the divas that inspire the passionate fandom Seth Sikes revealed in his June 24 cabaret show. I’ve wondered, as I’ve read reviews of his tribute show appearances over the past few years, whether his performance style would land as gushing

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A Collective Call Against Critical Bias

I am one voice among two dozen signatories to this piece that addresses selected critical response to several New York shows in the 2016-2017 season, and raises some questions about the range of critical voices addressing contemporary American theater. The essay, authored by 24 academics, researchers, and yes a few critics, does not reflect the

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