All posts filed under: Theatre

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THEATRE REVIEW: “The Iceman Cometh”, BAM Harvey Theatre, Brooklyn, New York

If you’re going to attend a 4-plus hour stage performance of Eugene O’Neill’s dark and timeless classic, The Iceman Cometh, you’d better hope you’ll be seeing the finest actors to attempt the roles.  Luckily, that’s exactly what you get in this current revival, which stars the always-powerful Brian Dennehy as Larry and the simply incredible Nathan Lane as Hickey, set in a decrepit saloon/flophouse in Greenwich Village, around 1912.  I don’t think it’s necessary to have to give a synopsis of the story, as it’s been part of theatre curriculum and essential reading/performance – it’s one of those plays that everyone knows the background of.  I will simply stick to the evening and what I witnessed. A story mired in gloom, depression, raging alcoholism, self-loathing and desperation, it takes some kind of mettle to bring these characters to life and make them convincing.  The entire cast did just that.  Spread out over four acts (and three intermissions), you’re left breathless by how intense these tragic figures are, mired in their own shortcomings – or living …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “Fish In The Dark”, Cort Theatre, New York, NY

You can make a lot of arguments as to whether or not Larry David’s acerbic wit could play successfully on Broadway.  Sure, being the mastermind behind Seinfeld (which I always disliked) and Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I do find funny) may work in short doses on television.  But will people accept his brand of humor on Broadway?  WHO CARES?  The answer is “yes”.  Certainly from the audience response and my own reaction. Being that I always knew/remember David from his days on Fridays (especially “Matzoi!” – “live and be well…” – look it up), I think he’s funny.  And a lot of what he does, as teeth-gnashing as his character can sometimes be on Curb…, I get it.  The thing is, I went into this with no pre-conceived notion of what this play may be.  The bottom line – it’s goddamned funny.  Simple premise:  neurotic Jewish family becomes even more unhinged when the patriarch dies – hilarity ensues.  Now, whether or not you get the Jewish humor, it’s a universal theme.  And this is one …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “Of Mice And Men”, at the Longacre Theatre, New York, NY, Friday, May 23rd, 2014

True, Steinbeck’s 1937 masterpiece has been done many times and in several variations – plays, films, television productions – but this timeless and tragic story still conveys its message with a freshness on the stage of New York’s Longacre Theatre.  I think it can be attributed to the youthfulness of its leading players, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd.  While Franco is known for his tongue-in-cheek pretentious “I’m an art guy” persona (exemplified by his character, “James Franco”, in This Is The End), his no-nonsense, world-weary portrayal of George Milton is powerful and gripping.  Chris O’Dowd, the brilliant comic star of HBO’s now-cancelled Family Tree, amongst other parts, plays Lennie Small with a charm and childlike innocence that is intense, emotional and heartbreaking.  The chemistry between the two lead actors is believable and strong which propels the story along with a greater sense of urgency. Of equal worth and applause is Jim Norton, the Irish theatre and film actor for his portrayal of the elderly but still-hopeful-for-a-better-life Candy; Ron Cephas Jones as the cynical, yet wryly …

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THEATRE REVIEW: “All The Way” at the Neil Simon Theatre, New York, NY, Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

When word spread that Bryan Cranston, star of the newly-ended Breaking Bad, was going to be appearing on Broadway in a limited-engagement run as President Lyndon Baines Johnson, I knew this could be very good.  Johnson was one of our more enigmatic and interesting presidents; if anyone could give a new depth and perspective to him, it would be the acting talents of Mr. Cranston.  Being that the play, All The Way was only going to be starring Mr. Cranston until June, I was happily surprised to find that I was able to get two perfect orchestra seats for a Saturday night performance. Whatever hype and buzz surrounding this play is justified and then some.  In a word, it was a brilliant portrait of a man – a President – who I still can’t make my mind up about:  was he a hero or was he a predictably self-serving villain?  It doesn’t matter – Mr. Cranston’s portrayal of L.B.J. was just right; a mixture of countrified dry humor, presidential egomania and good-old political paranoia.  His …

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Blu-ray Review: “Shrek: The Musical”

On paper it sounds like this shouldn’t work: a Broadway musical based on the animated film Shrek, a movie that made fun of musicals and other animated films. In fact, the film went to great lengths to point out how annoying it can be when characters break into song. You may recall Shrek yelling at donkey, “No singing!” Add to the mix that the four human leads in the play would be required to mimic the voiceover performances of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow, as well as their CG rendered characters, and you can understand why I was a little cynical about Shrek: The Musical. Guess what. It does work; it works very well. The book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and the music by Jeanine Tesori are whimsical, fun and full of emotion. The writers took the opportunity to flesh out the backstories of the main characters through song, as well as enhancing key moments from the film with catchy melodies and smart wordplay. Furthermore, the four leads in the …

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Amaluna takes Cirque du Soleil to new Heights

Amaluna, the latest gem from Cirque de Soleil’s seemingly bottomless treasure chest, is about to bid farewell to Seattle and trek across North America. This dazzling, spellbinding and breathtaking show transcends mere entertainment — it is a testament to the power of love, femininity and creativity — it stretches the very limit of what we think the human body and imagination can achieve. Most importantly, Amaluna is a blast. It’s America’s Got Talent seen though an acid trip, the Olympic gymnastics finals as produced by Red Bull, a two-hour rollercoaster ride set to a soundtrack that’s equal parts Prince and the Art of Noise. The less you know going into the show, the more fun you’ll have. I easily missed 90% of the plot and still had the time of my life. I highly recommend seeing it once — then reading the program to learn the story — then seeing it again. Cirque de Soleil shows can be a bit hit or miss depending on one’s aversion to or fear of clowns — my phobia …