Reviews

Ask Not for Whom the Drum Beats

One of Eugene O’Neill’s earliest successes, The Emperor Jones finds its title character ruling an unnamed island in the Caribbean.  Having fled American justice, Brutus Jones (Obi Abili) exploits the superstitions of the local population to squeeze them dry, convincing them he can only be killed by a silver bullet.  When the Cockney trader Henry Smithers (Andy Murray) […]

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Reviews

It’s Not My Place, It’s Where I Work

“We’ve been having the same conversation for twenty years,” Tracey (Johanna Day) complains early on in Lynn Nottage’s Sweat.  She and her friends, Cynthia (Michelle Wilson) and Jessie (Alison Wright), have worked in the same factory in Reading, Pennsylvania, since their teens.  Most of their fathers worked at the plant, too.

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Reviews

The Last Helicopter Out of Saigon

In 1983, my mother erupted in sobs during the overture of Madama Butterfly.  Of course, she was pregnant at the time.  I had no such help when I saw Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Miss Saigon, which transplants Puccini’s opera to the end of the Vietnam War, and I must admit that I was significantly less moved.  Overstuffed with prostitutes, refugees, […]

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Reviews

A Ribbon of Cosmic Light

“Forty years will pass in the course of a few minutes,” Hong (Brian Lee Huynh) says toward the end of The Light Years, a magical new play by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen that is currently running at Playwrights Horizons.  Hong immigrated to the United States to work for the engineer Hillary (Erik Lochtefeld), who has been commissioned […]

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Reviews

They Grow Up So Fast

The way Adam (James Kautz) remembers it, back in 1992, he was part of a cohesive group of beer-drinking miscreants with high school diplomas. Then everybody changed. Seemingly overnight, his friends became entirely different people. Their collective ambivalence about the future disappeared and each of them broke off into distinctive, driven personalities. Maybe Adam’s friends […]

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Reviews

A Bit Less Tidy Around the Edges

Ten years after the premiere of his play, Midnight in a Clearing with Moon and Stars, Robert (Matthew Broderick) gets together with his cast and crew at their old haunt, the Talk House.  Robert and his star, Tom (Larry Pine), have moved on to a sitcom, Tony and Company.  Producer Bill (Michael Tucker) has become a talent agent, […]

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Reviews

Mad About the Boy

About two thirds of the way through Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis (Michael Xavier) exits a swimming pool to reveal the kind of body that requires eight hours a day at the gym.  Mr. Xavier is a good singer and dancer, but this moment captures precisely why he is so miscast as Joe: the screenwriter’s psychosexual relationship with […]

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