Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fringe NY Encore Series: All My Children

Matt Smith
Celebrated Seattle monologist Matt Smith’s critically acclaimed ALL MY CHILDREN is part of FringeNYC Encore Series

New York, New York August 31, 2012—The off-beat comedy ALL MY CHILDREN, written and performed by Matt Smith and directed by Bret Fetzer returns to NYC for four performances only as part of the FringeNYC Encore Series. ALL MY CHILDREN begins performances on Wednesday, September 12 for a limited engagement through Monday, September 17. The performance schedule is below. Performances are at SoHo Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, between 6th Avenue and Varick Street, three blocks south of Houston Street). The regular ticket price is $18. For tickets, call 212-691-1555 or visit For more information, visit:

The performance schedule is:
Wednesday, September 12 at 8 PM
Friday, September 14 at 7 PM
Sunday, September 16 at 5 PM
Monday, September 17 at 8 PM

What happens when a man's biological clock starts ticking? Max Poth takes ‘what-might-have-been’ to extreme lengths: he tracks down the now-grown children of long-ago girlfriends and tells them he's their real father (knowing that he’s not). Journeying through iconic Seattle locations like The Hurricane, The Bins and Scary Teriyaki, what starts as a strange lark soon grows into a hilarious, if not downright bizarre, look at the making of a modern American family.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Now Playing at The Wild Project

What’s On at The Wild Project
Now Playing:
Thursday, August 30 – Sunday, September 9
SATURN (a play about food), written by Jeremy Pickard, directed by Sarah Hughes 
With Tyler Caffall, Tom Coiner, Ava Eisenson & Maria Portman Kelly
Performance schedule: Wednesday – Saturday at 8 PM, with added performances on Sunday, September 2 at 8 PM, Monday, September 3 at 7 PM, Saturday, September 8 at 3 PM and Sunday, September 9 at 7 PM
Ticket price: $12 - $15
Please note the Monday, September 3 performance is a special Pay-What-You-Can evening that includes post-show music, food and a panel discussion
Presented by Superhero Clubhouse and The Wild Project
Jack and Rhea have inherited a farm.  Newly 30 and newly wed, their rustic life is a welcome change—until a handful of mysterious seeds and a land full of extraordinary vegetables put the fate of the farm and their marriage at stake.  Riffing on the myth of Cronos, Jack and the Beanstalk and contemporary agricultural conundrums, SATURN (a play about food) is the fifth in a series of Planet Plays exploring the intersection between environmentalism and theater. 

More Info:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Heartless at The Signature: Surrealist Black Comedy that Works

Sam Shepard’s new play, Heartless, at the Pershing Square Signature Theater Center is definitely not going to be everyone’s taste.  However, if you enjoy slightly surrealist black comedy, you could hardly do better.  There isn’t much of a plot, besides the exploration of family ties in a dysfunctional family.
Lois Smith as Mable Murphy in Heartless
Lois Smith plays Mable Murphy, the wheel chair bound matriarch of a Hollywood Hills family - with a view of the Valley, not the good side.  Mable enjoys suffering from old age, which is treated with pain pills and antidepressants.  With a full time nurse, and a daughter that dotes on her, Mable rules the roost.  Ms. Smith commands the stage with a presence just as Mable commands the house.
The one daughter who rebels is Sally, played by Julianne Nicholson.  When we first set eyes on her, we see a massive scar that runs the length of her torso.  She was recipient of a heart transplant when a child and her life has been influenced by it ever since.  She is always reminded of her physical fragility, but the experience also gives her emotional freedom to act on impulse, even callously, towards her family.
Sally has brought home a much older man who is going through what seems to be a mid-life crisis.  Gary Cole plays Roscoe, a sixty-something professor of Latin Literature, in the middle of a divorce.  Roscoe is the catalyst, who upsets the family dynamic by his presence.  But Roscoe doesn’t have any control over the situation.  Mr. Cole eloquently slides from smug to confused to resigned over the course of the play.
Gary Cole and Julianne Nicholson in Heartless
The “good daughter” is Lucy, played by Jenny Bacon.  This role is written a bit too broad; her anger and sarcasm too superficial. Ms. Bacon does good work trying to ground Lucy, but the character is too inconsistent to be totally believable.  The physical look of Lucy is too obvious and frumpy, and it is surprising since the rest of the design (costume, lighting and scenic) is excellent.
The final character is the nurse Elizabeth, played by Betty Gilpin.  It is Ms. Gilpin that brings the surreal to the reality, and then in the second half amps it up.  Ms. Gilpin and Lois Smith do a great job of walking the tightrope of tragedy and black comedy, firmly keeping the story from crashing out of control.
The Heartless' story locale and conversational asides constantly remind the audience of film and the movie industry.  Each of the female characters behaves as if they are starring in their private movie genre.  Gary Cole as Roscoe is alone in normality, and the question that presents itself; is he any better off?
Directed by Daniel Aukin, Heartless takes a while to settle into a rhythm – which is a function of the story.  If you can accept the artificial and unrealistic situations, Heartless is a crazy fun ride.  But be warned, many people don't enjoy that experience.
Playwright: Sam Shepard
Director: Daniel Aukin
Cast: Jenny Bacon, Gary Cole, Betty Gilpin, Julianne Nicholson, Lois Smith

Monday, August 27, 2012

Final Cast Line Up for

The York Theatre Company (James Morgan, Producing Artistic Director), in association with Robert D. Wachs (producer of the hit films Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop 2, Coming to America), has announced final casting of Last Dance with the addition of Katrina Lenk (SPIDER-MAN Turn Off the Darkand Anastacia McClesky (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) to the cast of the developmental labof the new disco musicalLast Dance, featuring songs by the legendary Academy, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning pop master Paul Jabara(Enough is Enough, It’s Raining Men, Last Dance, and more) with book by Shaun McKenna (Lord of the Rings, The Musical).  

Under the direction of Philip Wm. McKinley (SPIDERMAN Turn Off the Dark, The Boy from Oz), and with choreography by Carol Schuberg(Meet Me in St. Louis) and musical direction by Wendy Cavett (Mamma Mia!), the five-member cast also features EmmyAward nominee Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure,” “Numb3rs”), Jack Noseworthy (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) and Jill Shackner (Les Miserables).   Ms. Lenk and Ms McCleskey replace previously announced Donna Vivino and Saycon Sengbloh, respectively.  

It runs September 20 - 23 rd only.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Upcoming: The Exonerated

CULTURE PROJECT in association with the
The Exonerated
Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Directed by Bob Balaban
Featuring Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy, John FortĂ©, Brooke Shields, and others in a rotating star-studded cast

The Exonerated has changed our laws, spared lives, and now returns to the New York stage for a limited run to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Culture Project's New York premiere of The Exonerated, a ground-breaking dramatization of the real-life stories of six individuals who were sentenced to death and later freed amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence. It is a powerful play culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records of individuals on death row. As timely as ever,The Exonerated is once again poised to increase visibility and to create a sense of urgency as part of a rising movement to restore justice to a system that has shown itself time and again to be deeply flawed. Since 1989, when the first DNA exoneration took place, an additional 292 post-conviction DNA exonerations have been won in 36 states.

For more information visit

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shakespeare-inspired ISLAND; OR, TO BE OR NOT TO BE receives NYC premiere courtesy of New York Shakespeare Exchange

A ferocious tempest brings a pair of shipwrecked young women to a bewildering kingdom brimming with star-crossed lovers, bumbling constables, an exiled king, an usurping brother, sinister witches, daring duels, potent poison and merciless murder. The girls’ arrival creates a chaos that threatens to change the island and all its inhabitants forever… In the spirit of Shakespeare’s fanciful comedies, Kevin Brewer creates an enchanting ISLAND where reality is relative and comedy reigns supreme.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Upcoming by Partial Comfort: TEN

Partial Comfort Celebrates 10th Anniversary with
** 10 Plays. 10 Actors. 10 Playwrights. 10 Directors.  $10. **
Begins September 18 at The Wild Project

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Partial Comfort Productions will present TEN beginning September 18th at The Wild Project. TEN is a single evening of 10 short plays by 10 writers helmed by 10 directors and featuring a cast of 10 actors.

TEN features:

QVC - by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by Pirrone Yousefzadeh.
Two QVC hosts showcase products of quality, durability, and value.

On the Tenth Floor - by Thomas Bradshaw, directed by Tamara Fisch.
When Michael buys his million-dollar apartment, he gets an unexpected surprise

Fuckmate - by Robert O'Hara (writer/director).
Two men discuss a pregnancy.

Ten Shades of Blue - by Laura Marks, directed by Mia Rovegno.
An unemployed Comp Lit major tries her hand at writing highbrow erotica.

The Coach - by Chad Beckim, directed by Laura Savia.
A flighty young woman in need of a life change hires a strong hand to guide her.

Don't Turn Around - by Ross Maxwell, directed by Jessika Doyel.
Whether they're breaking up or not, Jessie and Jason are a couple running out of time while running from zombies.

El Fuego - by Edith Freni, directed by Erica Gould.
A female boxer must decide whether or not to go through with a fight when she discovers that her opponent, who also happens to be her ex-girlfriend, plans to kill her in the ring.

Deep Fingers - by Jonathan Caren, directed by Kareem Fahmy.
Two under cover cops pose as massage therapists in the bowels of Chinatown.

Making Love - by Greg Keller, directed by Stephen Brackett.
A play in rhyming verse.

Today's the Day - by Sam Marks, directed by Alice Reagan.
A couple waits outside their daughter's ballet class to give her some big news

The cast for TEN includes Andrew Garman, Jeff Wilburn, Curran Connor, Peter O'Connor, Jeffrey Nauman, Sarah Nina Hayon, Jenny Seastone Stern, Jessica Frey, Jo Mei, and Cynthia Silver.  The design team will be Jason Jeunette (lights), Jason Simms (set), Caite Hevner (projection), Sydney Gallas (costumes), and Emily Auciello (sound).

Partial Comfort Productions is a collaborative ensemble devoted to the development and presentation of original new theater. The company was co-founded in 2002 by Chad Beckim and Molly Pearson. Past productions include Samuel D. Hunter’s A Bright New Boise (Best of 2010, New York Magazine), Thomas Bradshaw's The Bereaved (Best of 2009, Time Out New York), a quartet of acclaimed works by Beckim (After., nami, The Maine Play and ...a matter of choice), Ross Maxwell’s Open House (Best Ensemble Award winner at FringeNYC 2006); Craft and Nelson by Sam Marks; Kidstuff by Edith Freni, Booty Candy by Robert O’Hara; and Play by OHara, Chay Yew, Kia Corthron, Eddie Sanchez, Keith Adkins and Tracey Scott Wilson. For more information visit

TEN runs September 18 - 29, Tuesdays - Saturday at 8 PM. The Wild Project is located at 195 E. 3rd Street b/w Aves A. & B. Tickets are $10 (with Tuesdays and Wednesdays as "pay what you can" days) available at 212-352-3101 or

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Danny & The Deep Blue Sea: Navigating Turbulent Waters

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is an early work by John Patrick Shanley which has lost none of its power over time.  As presented by The Seeing Place Theater, it is a vibrant and emotional story exploring venerability and redemption.
The story is relatively straightforward, while exploring emotions that are jagged and complex. It opens as Danny bursts into a bar nursing cuts, bruises and bloody hands.  He is a violent, anti-social young man who is quick to anger and itching for a fight.  He is constantly on guard for perceived slights, and he sees them everywhere.  In this nearly empty bar he meets Roberta, an aggressively bitter woman.  Roberta needles Danny with the intensity of a child picking at a scab.
Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican in Danny and The Deep Blue Sea
Danny and Roberta, two outcasts both with a chip on their shoulder, end up flirting but they could just as easily ended up at blows.  Erin Cronican as Roberta and Brandon Walker as Danny pull off the difficult task of making these characters both frightening and sympathetic. 
Mr. Walker’s Danny is coiled so tight that every moment he doesn’t lash out only adds to potential explosion coming.  He conveys Danny’s mental state in nervous shakes and fractured phrasing that never cross over to caricature.  Ms. Cronican’s Roberta is revealed more slowly.  She is obviously angry at the world, and she vents the anger in bursts, sometimes aimed at Danny, but more often aimed at the world in general.
Danny is a fighter, full of rage and prone to outbursts.  His co-workers call him “the beast”.  Roberta is a bitter single mother, living with her parents and mad at the world.  She takes joy in antagonizing Danny, because she is at least getting a response from another person.
These two end up spending the night together, and the pieces of their life are pulled out and examined.  Sometimes the stories are told with prompting and other times they are thrown up, like some sickness they can’t hold in.
Ultimately Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is an examination of the emotional connection between people that have lost the ability to communicate.  It is a moving and great show.  Director Ariel Francoeur and her actors have created an intense experience - full of surprise, apprehension and unexpected tenderness.  The show has been extended this week, see it if you can.

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
Playwright: John Patrick Shanely
Director: Ariel Francoeur
Cast: Erin Cronican, Brandon Walker

Monday, August 20, 2012

Casting Awards Announced

Well, the Casting Society of America (yes there is one) has announced their 2011 - 2012 season nominees.  Here is the list for Theater....

New York Broadway Theatre – Drama
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” Will Cantler, Bernard Telsey
“The Columnist,” David Caparelliotis
“Death of a Salesman,” Mele Nagler
“The Mountaintop,” Jim Carnahan
“Wit,” Nancy Piccione

New York Broadway Theatre – Comedy
“The Best Man,” Will Cantler, Bernard Telsey
“Harvey,” Jim Carnahan, *
“One Man, Two Guvnors,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, *
“Peter and the Starcatcher,” Jim Carnahan, Tara Rubin, *
“Venus in Fur,” Nancy Piccione, James Calleri

New York Broadway Theatre – Musical
“Evita,” Bernard Telsey, Craig Burns
“Newsies,” Justin Huff
“Nice Work If You Can Get It,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan
“Once,” Jim Carnahan, *
“Porgy and Bess,” Bernard Telsey, Justin Huff

New York Theatre – Comedy or Musical
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” James Calleri, Paul Davis
“All New People,” David Caparelliotis
“The Cherry Orchard,” James Calleri
“Close Up Space,” Nancy Piccione
“Sons of the Prophet,” Carrie Gardner

New York Theatre – Drama
“Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling,” Will Cantler
“Happy Hour,” Will Cantler
“How I Learned To Drive,” Mele Nagler
“The Submission,” Bernard Telsey, Will Cantler
“Tribes,” Pat McCorkle

Regional Theatre East
“A Doll’s House,” James Calleri
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” James Calleri
“It Shoulda Been You,” Jay Binder, Mark Brandon
“The Realistic Joneses,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman
“The Winter’s Tale,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman

Regional Theatre West
“A Room With a View,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, Dale Brown (Associate)
“Aladdin,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, Dale Brown (Associate)
“Hands On A Hardbody,” Rachel Hoffman
“The Rocky Horror Show,” Carrie Gardner
“The Whale,” Elissa Myers, Paul Fouquet

Los Angeles Theatre
“Art,” Jeff Greenberg
“Cabaret,” Amy Lieberman
“Jitney,” Joanne DeNaut
“Our Town,” Pat McCorkle
“The Heiress,” Michael Donovan

* Shared Credit with Non-CSA Casting Director(s)

August 20 Update: MCC Theater Season

As I said, it is Theater Season Announcement time.  The MCC Theater, which performs at the Lucille Lortel Theatre has an interesting upcoming season.  Last year their productions included Carrie as well as The New York Idea (review here).
This year their season includes:
Don't Go Gentle, Really Really & Small Engine Repair - they all look great.
If you are interested, the web site is here.

The SubmissionSep 27-Nov 4, 2012
World Premiere
Don't Go Gentle
by Stephen Belber
with David Wilson Barnes, Maxx Brawer, Michael Cristofer, Angela Lewis, Jennifer Mudge
directed by Lucie Tiberghien

“Belber tells stories with wit, humanity and richly drawn characters.”
-NY Daily News

Judge Lawrence Driver: conservative powerhouse on the bench, failure at home. Now retired, widowed, and seeking redemption, Lawrence volunteers to do pro bono legal work with Tanya, a vulnerable ex-con with a troubled teenage son, while working to repair the increasingly complicated relationships with his own adult children. But do-overs don’t come easy, and when his newfound generosity is perceived as condescension, Lawrence runs the risk of losing everything.

A world premiere by Stephen Belber, an MCC Theater Playwrights' Coalition member, whose chronicles of moral ambiguity include TapeDusk Rings a Bell, and Match on Broadway. Acclaimed director Lucie Tiberghien, a frequent collaborator with Belber, directed his playGeometry of Fire at the Rattlestick Theater. She most recently directed the West Coast premiere of Blood and Gifts at the La Jolla Playhouse. The cast features David Wilson Barnes (Becky Shaw), newcomer Maxx Brawer, Michael Cristofer (NBC’s “Smash”), Angela Lewis (Milk Like Sugar), and Jennifer Mudge (The Philanthropist).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Upcoming at BAM

Normally I don't highlight upcoming film, but this is at BAM  - and I love this movie.
If you haven't seen Holiday, then you must.  It is in the mold of The Philadelphia Story, which followed it by a year or two.  But Holiday was a flop at the box office.  In it, Cary Grant is a young man who just did well in finance.  He has proposed to a rich society girl, and all appears to be on track.
But the he meets the girl's sister, an atypical rich girl who isn't looking for money played by Katherine Hepburn.  Their attraction is obvious, but seems star-crossed since Cary Grant is engaged to her sister.
It is an indictment against the class system of the 30's and of success for success' sake.  It went against the grain so much, that it's failure caused Hepburn to be declared box office poison.  The Philadelphia Story was made only after Miss Hepburn purchased the rights herself and insisted on being in the movie.
Holiday is not only a fun film, but an interesting one.  Go see it.

Kinky Boots Dates for Broadway Announced

As expected, Kinky Boots has announced dates for Broadway.

New York, NY (8/15/2012) – Producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig announced today that Kinky Boots, the highly anticipated new musical that brings together four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Music & Lyrics), will begin preview performances on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street) on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, with an official opening night set for Thursday, April 4, 2013.  Group tickets for Kinky Boots, directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winnerJerry Mitchellwill go on sale Tuesday, August 21 to groups of 10 or more.

As previously announced, Tony® Award nominee Stark Sands (Journey’s EndAmerican Idiot) and Billy Porter (Angels in America; Smokey Joe’s CafĂ©) lead a cast of thirty-two that also includes Annaleigh Ashford (RentLegally Blonde), Celina Carvajal (Spiegelworld's Empire), Daniel Sherman (Desire Under the Elms), Marcus Neville (The Full Monty), Paul Canaan (Legally Blonde), Kevin Smith Kirkwood (How to Save the World…), Kyle Taylor Parker (In the Heights National Tour), Kyle Post (Rent), Charlie Sutton (How To Succeed...), Joey Taranto (Rock of Ages), Andy Kelso (Mamma Mia), Tory Ross (Cry-Baby), Jennifer Perry (Mamma Mia), Josh Caggiano (Les Miserables at the Ahmanson Theatre),Aaron Bantum (Finian’s Rainbow), Adinah Alexander (The Wedding Singer), Eric Anderson (South Pacific), Eugene Barry-Hill (The Lion King), Stephen Berger (The Pajama Game), Caroline Bowman (Wicked), Sandra DeNise (Shrek the Musical National Tour), Eric Leviton (Seussical National Tour), Ellyn Marie Marsh (Priscilla Queen of the Desert),John Jeffrey Martin (Hairspray), Nathan Peck (La Cage aux Folles), Robert Pendilla (Wicked), Lucia Spina (South Pacific)Sebastian Hedges Thomas (Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Marquise Neal and Clifton Oliver (In the Heights).