Reviews

Divisible by Three

With her slight form, her raspy voice, and her bouncy movements, April Matthis owns the stage. Playing the title character in Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone, Matthis weaves effortlessly through space and time to reconstruct the story of the first woman to play professional baseball. The transitions are simple—”I’m a little girl,” Matthis will say […]

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Reviews

Seldom Forward

When Merrily We Roll Along opened in 1981, Frank Rich wrote, “to be a Stephen Sondheim fan is to have one’s heart broken at regular intervals.”  However, this time around, it was not simpy the songs that led to the heartbreak.  “Mr. Sondheim has given this evening a half-dozen songs that are crushing and beautiful—that soar […]

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Reviews

The Reference Is Obscure

“I began with a desire to speak with the dead,” Stephen Greenblatt writes at the beginning of Shakespearean Negotiations.  “Literature professors are salaried, middle-class shamans.”  For a few years in the ‘nineties, Tom Stoppard also desired to speak with the dead.  His plays Arcadia and Indian Ink (the latter is currently being revived by Roundabout) both concern people in […]

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Reviews

It’s Time for Me to Scare You

Just because Dinner with Friends is much like every other domestic play written in the past eighty years—John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger comes especially to mind—doesn’t mean it is a bad one.  In fact, it is excellent.  Donald Margulies’ script is witty, unassuming, and quietly perceptive.  It opens at the end of a dinner party hosted by […]

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Reviews

Clash of Civilizations Over a Chai in the Upper West Side

Being a Jew is exhausting.  There’s the self-loathing, the guilt, the language (which doesn’t even use Roman letters), and—for those of us born after 1948—the inescapable identification of Jewishness with Auschwitz.  Even the question of what it means to consider oneself a Jew is too complex for any reasonable person to try to answer completely.  […]

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Reviews

Why Don’t We Just Start at the Beginning?

It’s a common choice.  A young actor, known mostly for teen angst movies or shallow blockbusters, decides to take a stab at legitimacy.  It can go either way.  Recently, Disney Channel alumnus Shia LaBeouf humiliated himself in a series of interviews filled with choice nonsensical quotes like, “You give Terrence Malick a movie like Transformers, […]

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Reviews

Time Takes a Cigarette, Puts It In Your Mouth

Simon Gray’s The Common Pursuit follows the lives and times of five literary men in England.  Each scene jumps ahead about five or six years, beginning in the group’s undergraduate years in Cambridge and concluding about twenty years later.  The scenes are snapshots and in only a few hours, we are given the same sense […]

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