Wednesday, March 9, 2016


I've been terrible about updating this blog, and even more terrible about writing worthwhile reviews of the shows I see. So I'm listing everything I've seen lately that I haven't written about, and you can decide whether or not you want to know what I thought.

Smart People -- Second Stage Theatre
Fiddler on The Roof -- Broadway Theatre
School of Rock -- Winter Garden Theatre
Familiar -- Playwrights Horizons
Straight -- Acorn Theatre
Robber Bridegroom -- Laura Pels Theatre/Roundabout
Smokefall -- Lucille Lortel Theatre/MCC

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prodigal Son

Today (this was 1/31) I saw an interesting little play produced by MTC but at City Center's Stage 1 -- the same theater I saw Ripcord in a few months ago). It's really a great little space, aside from the lack of leg room -- if I can't cross my legs in front of me in a theater, no one can. Anyway, that's beside the point. This play, Prodigal Son by John Patrick Shanley was an interesting and gripping look at a teenage boy going through an existential crisis. It's like part identity crisis and figuring out who he is, and part trying to define his place in the world and fight adversity brought on by his not feeling like he's good enough. I'm a total sucker for these kinds of plays. Give me teenage boys having identity crises any day and I'm happy.

It wasn't perfect by any means -- the play itself has some flaws. But Timothée Chalamet was completely stunning as the 17-year-old boy from the Bronx trying to find his place at an elite boarding school in New England. Obviously those who grew up in this particular environment (looking at you, Nicole) will have a certain connection to the piece that I didn't have. Still, I found it to be an interesting look at how important it is to know yourself and know when the elders you are entrusting with your life have a hidden agenda.

Also, the set was great. I wasn't crazy about the forced perspective -- there was something off about it, not small enough I think. But the feeling of New England and the changing seasons was captured quite well.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I'm so late posting this, but I was extremely late to the game in seeing it as well. I cannot believe it took me over a year to get myself over to the Barrymore for Curious Incident but gosh I'm glad I finally did. What a spectacular piece of theater. Just really all around incredible. I've never read the book, and only knew a basic outline of the plot, so I walked into the theater blind aside from what others had told me about the show. To say the play had been hyped up for me is an understatement. I was expecting a majorly impressive work of art. And Curious Incident delivered. I spent the first act in such a trance that by intermission I realized I hadn't moved a muscle and had to stand to rid myself of the tension I was unconsciously carrying. I was engrossed in every moment, and very moved. Then the puppy came out of the box and I lost it. From that moment on I was in tears until leaving the theater. The most special line in the show for me is when Christopher acknowledges going to London all by himself. I related to so many aspects of his character, similarly to how I relate to Matilda (her song "Quiet" could be the theme song to my life). Really, I just am so pleased that this play exists and that this story is being told in such a beautifully magnificent fashion. If you haven't already seen it, get yourself there. But I'm pretty sure you all have and I was just way off my game.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Humans

Okay this one is a long time coming. Sorry about that!

Where do I even begin with this show? It's honestly impossible for me to think about how "The Humans" will be on a Broadway stage. To me, the show requires an intimacy that's hard to find in commercial theater (of course I say that lovingly).

But I have some good news... I liked almost everything about this production. Wow! If you've seen the show, you can probably guess what I didn't like. I don't want to give anything away, but just know that there's a sort of supernatural aspect that didn't quite fit. But other than that? Strong story, incredibly strong acting, great set, interesting dialogue. "The Humans" was a great family drama and I'm glad I had the opportunity to see it before the move to Broadway. The ending of the play was breathtaking, even with the supernatural poking through. The story was filled with twists and turns, most of which I wasn't expecting, which is always fun because it's rare that theater surprises these days.

It was also so real. Although this family's experiences aren't the same as my own, I related to so much throughout the show. Being a twenty-something living in NYC in a relatively shitty apartment that you constantly tell your parents is "fine" was definitely something I could relate to. Dysfunctional families are my favorite -- whether on page, stage, or screen. I felt invested in the characters and wanted to know what would happen next.

"The Humans" will make you think about your own life and experiences and family. I wanted to see more, but I also wanted it to end so I could be set free from the tension created onstage. I highly recommend this show. It's a good one.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A View From The Bridge

I walked into the Lyceum with extremely high expectations. I'd heard nothing but great things about the production and was eager to see it for myself. Unfortunately my evening at the theater did not live up to my high expectations. It wasn't bad or boring or unenjoyable, it was just not my thing. And I can appreciate that the production was stunningly well designed and the concept was really incredibly. I can appreciate the lack of set, monochromatic color scheme, and subtle lighting design. I thought Mark Strong was unbelievable as Eddie - definitely a Tony Award winning performance in my opinion.

My feelings on "A View From The Bridge" are difficult to put into coherent thoughts because I have no problem saying the production was brilliant, but I can't say I really enjoyed the show. When the kiss scene happened - if you've seen the show or know the play you understand - I was immediately thrust into the action. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the show from that point on. But there were literally moments where I wanted nothing more than the pace to speed up because it was agonizingly slow. Still, as an intelligent theater-goer, I can recognize the reasons behind the pace and all that jazz. Like, in my head I understood the concept but in my heart I just couldn't get behind it - "it" being the concept and the story.

I love me some Russell Tovey, but he was miscast here as Rodolpho. Everyone else was strong, but Mark Strong (his last name is hilariously ironic) was so good that no one else really had the chance to measure up. Also, why cast another actor as the INS officer who barely said more than two words and had all of 10 seconds where he was onstage.

There was nothing tangible about this production, and thus I couldn't really connect to any of the characters or situations. The ending got me interested because something was happening, and I have a hard time with shows where nothing happens but the characters are living in a barren universe. If a character in a realistic/naturalistic play are sitting around doing nothing, that's easier to relate to because I've been there, I've existed in that same world and done nothing. But an empty stage doesn't provide for much except the action and dialogue between the people, and there wasn't enough of that to keep me involved and interested. Stripping everything down - including the lack of accents - sometimes works for me, but not with this particular play. The accents, or absence of accents, frustrated me and took me out of the world of the play at times. The actress playing Catherine had a distinct accent, but she was the only one. The Italian immigrants didn't have accents, which was obviously a strong choice but unrealistic. Every choice that was made in the production made sense when I went back and thought hard about it, but even thinking it all through I still couldn't get behind the concept with this play.

Long story short, the production was great but I was not emotionally stimulated or overwhelmed.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Important Hats of the Twentieth Century

Alright. So last time I saw an MTC show at City Center I disliked the first act and loved the second act (Ripcord). Today's MTC show at City Center was the opposite. I loved the first act and disliked the second. I'm honestly not sure I've ever come across a play with such a weak ending... as if the playwright literally had no idea how to end the show so he just stopped writing. Really, it was pretty dreadful. But Act I was just so much fun! I was really into it -- the story, the acting, the set changes. Everything worked really well. And then the last twenty minutes of Act II were TOTALLY BIZARRE. There's no other word to use except bizarre. Seriously. The acting was still fine, the set changes were as well. But the story took a bizarre turn -- hairy cavemen with GIANT... reproductive glands... using a time travel helmet to... pleasure themselves. I'm not making that up. That actually happened.

So the play was a little wonky. But the acting was actually all around fabulous. The cast could've been cut down with multiple people playing multiple roles, not as intense as 39 Steps, but in a similar vein.

The audience for a 2:30 pm matinee was made up of primarily blue hairs, but they were laughing. The best part of the whole afternoon was when two very old women got up during the applause and literally walked into two actors as they were running up onstage to bow. The actors already onstage noticed and, being in the front row, their remarks were audible. You kind of had to witness that situation to understand just how ill-timed and hilarious it was.

Wasn't my favorite, but certainly wasn't my least favorite. I got some good chuckles out the show, and thoroughly enjoyed all the actors.


When I walked out of Steve I realized that two nights in a row I had seen almost the same show. Obviously different in concept, acting, and execution, Steve and Dada Woof Papa Hot dealt with the same themes (save for the cancer side plot in Steve). Again we have an affluent New York City gay couple with a kid trying to figure out how to be a functional family. One of the men is caught sexting, the other sleeps with an Argentinian waiter named Esteban. One of them is good with the son, the other has a hard time understanding how to handle the kid. Oh and the first scene was the two couples (and female friend) sitting at a table in a restaurant -- I didn't actually go into detail, but that's how Dada Woof Papa Hot starts too .

And yet Steve had moments of farce and stepped out of the world of realism every once in a while. For that reason the play was uneven. I kind of felt that it needed to go deeper into being a drama or decide it was a comedy, instead of see-sawing back and forth. The funny moments were deliriously funny but the dramatic moments were so-so. So in the end I wasn't emotionally drained like I might've been if the dramatic moments went deeper like the funny moments did.

I saw Matt McGrath just a few weeks ago in George McBride at MCC. He was completely brilliant as an aging drag queen downtown. And in Steve he was completely brilliant as aging ex-Broadway chorus boy, Steven. So I'd say Matt McGrath is just a pretty darn good actor. His comedic timing is great, and his facial expressions are hard to beat.

Steve was much more minimalist than Dada Woof Papa Hot, which was good because if the set had been more complicated it would've ruined the transition from realism. This would've created an issue similar to the one I had with the Bachelors. The idea of pausing reality to rewind and do it over is explored in Steve, and it's an interesting idea that I wish had been used once more -- it was used twice and needed to happen a third time to really seal the deal.

The show didn't amaze me, but I enjoyed myself. Those who love a good musical theater reference will love the show as the characters practically speak in references to musicals old and new. 

If you're going to the show, make sure to get there early when the house opens. There's a fun little thing that happens before the show.