Haters Go Home: Escape to Margaritaville Is the Jukebox Musical at Its Best

Because it is the Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical, Escape to Margaritaville, I suspect, will never get the praise and esteem it deserves.  What a shame.  This is a delightful two and a half hours, a paean to cargo shorts and day drinking that avoids nearly all the pitfalls of the genre.  While Mamma Mia!, for example, practically breaks blood vessels straining to string a narrative through a series of unrelated ABBA songs, Margaritaville has the benefit of back catalogue almost entirely dedicated to catchy tunes about beaches and cocktails.  It’s almost as if Buffett has been writing this musical all along, and it’s only now that someone has finally put the pieces into place. Continue reading “Haters Go Home: Escape to Margaritaville Is the Jukebox Musical at Its Best”


Our Sweaty Torsos Made That Unfortunate Farty Sound

Jordan Harrison’s new play The Amateurs is about the invention of the subject, the moment when humans began to conceive of themselves in terms of “I.”  Mr. Harrison locates this change during the Middle Ages, when the plague reinvented our relationship to death. Continue reading “Our Sweaty Torsos Made That Unfortunate Farty Sound”

Do You Mind if I Ask You Questions?

In 2004, nearly a half-century after its debut, Edward Albee decided to revise The Zoo Story, adding a first act that would “flesh out Peter fully.”  Without struggle and all of a sudden, Homelife “fell from my mind to the page … intact.”  The result, At Home at the Zoo, is receiving its first New York revival courtesy of the Signature Theatre Company. Continue reading “Do You Mind if I Ask You Questions?”

Like int’ Old Days, or Not

The problem with being an enfant terrible is that eventually you grow up.  Martin McDonagh, the angry young man who banged out four plays in two years in his late twenties, is now nearing fifty.  The cynicism is still there; so is the black comedy, the moral ambiguity, and the penchant for spontaneous violence.  But the anger is gone, I think, and Hangmen, his first new play since 2010, feels deflated as a result. Continue reading “Like int’ Old Days, or Not”

Hidden Notes

Philippe V, the King of Spain (Mark Rylance), is not ill but indisposed.  He’s talking to goldfish, obsessing over clocks, and occasionally lapsing into violence.  The vultures are circling, while his second wife, Isabella (Melody Grove), provides a buffer between Philippe and his slavering council.  Sometimes, Philippe appears lucid, offering aphorisms that suggest he is aware of the chaos he creates.  “Many gods are fun,” he muses while his court descends into disarray, “one is a nightmare.” Continue reading “Hidden Notes”