Reviews

Who’s Up for Some Meaning?

Chris has a crappy childhood—several, actually. First dad dies, then mom, and then a diving accident lands Chris in the hospital. The legal guardian takes off with an ex-boyfriend, and Chris is adopted by the doctor assigned to treat the concussion. But The Underlying Chris, a new play by Will Eno, is a cradle-to-the-grave affair, […]

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Reviews

Life of a Salesman

Will Kidder (Aidan Quinn), the subject of quite a few plays by Horton Foote, is a classic American loser, the kind of naïve and disappointed optimist who has populated mid-century works by the likes of Arthur Miller, Eugene O’Neill, and Lorraine Hansberry. Will, however, has seen quite a bit of success in his life—he has […]

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Reviews

Let’s Fix This Fucker

“It’s never worked,” says Tony Kushner (Jonathan Hadary), now a character in a revised version of A Bright Room Called Day. The play, about a group of Berliner artists watching their country fall to Hitler in 1932 and 1933, has suddenly received renewed interest. “I have offers!” he cries, incredulous. This is in no small […]

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Reviews

The Bitter Paradox of Both

In All the Way, playwright Robert Schenkkan followed LBJ through his first year in office: the accidental presidency, the landslide victory against Goldwater, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In its sequel, The Great Society, he picks up right where he left off: battling with Martin Luther King (Grantham Coleman) and […]

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Reviews

Turn Off the Footlight

Once again, Edmond Rostand’s enduring comic tragedy Cyrano de Bergerac has been adapted into a musical. Writer and director Erica Schmidt—who was responsible for last season’s thrilling adaptation of Mac Beth—has rid the famous wit of his elongated nose. Instead, Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) is simply less attractive that his fellow cadet, Christian (Blake Jenner), and […]

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Reviews

To Make a Long Story Longer…

The brash and unapologetic Bella Abzug has a personality primed for cultural reproduction. As yet, however, the congresswoman from New York has not secured the kind of legacy enjoyed by her fellow National Women’s Political Caucus co-founders Fannie Lou Hamer, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem. The actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein attempts to […]

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Reviews

I Loved Her Fiercely

The stage is in the round, with some audience members sitting right up next to the performers. When one of the cast speaks, the remaining six sit and watch, rapt. Each of their dresses (created by Toni-Leslie James) is printed with the face of a female relative, blurring the distinction between their lives and their […]

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Reviews

Exotic America

Soft Power, the new musical by David Henry Hwang, is about sixteen different shows stuffed into one, so bear with me here. It begins with the playwright himself (Francis Jue), who is approached by Xūe Xíng (Conrad Ricamora), the President for North America of Dragon Entertainment Group, to adapt the Chinese comedy Jiāng Cuò Jiù […]

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Reviews

Call Me Deacon Blues

Wheeler (a terrific Ian Barford) is a fifty-year-old divorcée with a new apartment and old problems. Caustic and snobby, he is the kind of character that male writers have been fashioning for centuries: a failed artist and a hopeless womanizer whose self-hatred works to defuse any outside criticism. Additionally, Wheeler loathes Trump and reads Michelle […]

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