Show Information

Report for April 2016

5/1/2016
Report for April 2016

©Glenn Loney 2016

PASSING-GLANCES AT SCENES-SEEN:

At The Atlantic Theatre:

Kenneth Lonergan?s HOLD ON TO ME DARLING [***]

Country & Western Folk-Hero Mourns Dead-Mother,

While Longing for a Simpler-Life & Available-Women!

Overlong Play Offers Occasion for Many-Dazzling Set-Changes on Revolving-Stage!

Kudos to Walt Spangler for some Dazzling-Set-Changes!

But do not Overlook the Costumes of Suttirat Anne Larlarb?

It?s been a fairly Long-Time since we?ve had a really good New-Play by Kenneth Lonergan.

Remember the Award-Winning Lobby Hero of 2001?

But, at this Point-in-Time, the Strings McCrain Country-&-Western Folk-Hero of Timothy Olyphant soon becomes a Little-Tedious to Watch?as well as to Hear?

Neil Pepe staged, with a Cast including Jonathan Hogan, Keith Nobbs, & Adelaide Clemens.

At The Laura Pels Theatre of the Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center:

Alfred Uhry & Robert Waldman?s THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM [*****]

Shiver-My-Timbers! Alex Timbers Has Done-It-Again!

His Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson Is Visually & Vocally Upstaged!

Has There Ever Been a Stage So Overdressed With Odds-&-Ends of Bric-a-Brack?

No, Robber is Not-a-Typo?

But, Yes! Jamie Lockhart [Steven Pasquale] is indeed something of a Rubber-Robber!

How can he stay so Flexible & Virile in the Face of So-Many-Challenges: Daggers & Dames! Pistols & Patronage?

Talk about Athletics & Energy! This Vibrant-Cast gives its All & More?

What a Fun-Time Set-Designer Donyale Werle & her Staff must have had ferretting-out all those Hundreds of Tsxchotshkes that almost Overwhelm-the-Stage-Picture!

Not to Overlook the Resourcefulness of Costume-Designer Emily Rebholz!

Kudos to Director Timbers, of course, but also Congrats to Choreographer Connor Gallagher for finding Room enough on the Crowded-Stage for Country-&-Western Movements by the Huge-Cast!

At The Harold Clurman Theatre:

Anna Ziegler?s BOY [****]

Gender-Bender? Best Not To Mess Around with the Equipment Down-There!

Will Nurture Make-Up for What Nature May Have Got-Wrong?

Parents! Watch Out for Well-Intentioned-Therapists!

The Young, Handsome, Musical-Comedy-Favorite, Bobby Steggert, doesn?t sing in Boy.

As Adam Turner, he has more Serious-Matters with which to concern himself: Something?s Missing down where it Counts?

This also creates Problems for his Dear-Friend, Jenny Lafferty [Rebecca Rittenhouse].

Problems which Dr. Wendell Barnes [Paul Niebanck], a Well-Meaning-Expert, does not Alleviate, to the Chagrin & Disappointment of Adam?s Parents, Trudy & Doug Turner [Heidi Armbruster & Ted K?ch].

Linsay Firman staged in a Serviceable-Basic-Set.

At The Nederlander Theatre:

Seth Rudetsky & Jack Plotnick?s DISASTER! [On-Broadway] [*****]

What Could Possibly Go-Wrong on a Cruise-Ship-Style-Casino?

Moored in What Looks Like the East-River or the Gowanus-Canal?

This is an Absolutely-Hilarious-Show!

No Sight-Gag has been Overlooked, not to mention all the Verbal-Gags!

How about an Aquarium filled with Puppet-Piranahs!

How about a Casino-Entrepreneur whose Forearms are swallowed by Puppet-Piranahs!

Among the Sexy, Smartly-Outfitted Fun-Seekers & Gamblers, is an Out-of-Place Fanatically-Religious-Nun, who is strewing Hell-Fire-Warnings about the Lounges & Corridors.

This Pious-Penitent seems a Direct-Steal from that "Religious-Nut? featured in On the Twentieth-Century?

At least, Rudetsky & Plotnick have plundered from Time-Tested-Gimmicks!

Jack Plotnick staged a Crazed-Cast, featuring Faith Prince, Roger Bart, Rachel York, Kerry Butler, Adam Pascal, Max Crumm, Kevin Chamberlain, & Seth Rudetsky!

Wigs & Hair-Design by that Cranium-Master-Builder Paul Huntley!

Great-Costumes by William Ivey Long, with a Crazed-&-Slowly-Sinking-Ship, designed by Tobin Ost.

Grea-Show! Don?t Miss It!

At The Metropolitan Opera:

Gaetano Donizetti?s ROBERTO DEVEREAUX [****]

Fantastic High-Renaissance-Fa?ade Almost Upstages Elizabeth & Essex, But Where?s the Ring?

As One enters the Vaulting-Auditorium of the Metropolitan-Opera, One does not see that Great-Gold-Curtain, but, instead, an Open-Stage, filled with an Immense-Elizabethan-Court-Fa?ade, set-off by Eight-Massive-Chandeliers, which rise & fall during the Onstage-Action.

This Imposing-Edifice is the Period-Construct of Sir David McVicar, who also staged Elina Garanca [Sara, Duchess-of-Nottingham], Sondra Radvanovsky [Queen Elizabeth I], & Mario Zeffiri [Essex] in one of the Less-Interesting-Operas about The-Virgin-Queen & Her-Love-Problems.

The Late, Great Beverly Sills favored the Role-of-Sara, in which she Excelled?with Pauline Tinsely as Queen Liz?but Opera-Producers & Opera-Stars favor those Elizabethan-Musical-Contests between Mary-Queen-of-Scots & that Formidable-Lady down in London, sitting & waiting in The-Tower-of-London.

At Studio 54:

Joe Masteroff, Jerry Bock, & Sheldon Harnick?s SHE LOVES ME [*****]

Art-Nouveau Runs Riot in the Boulevards & Boutiques of Old-Budapest!

Talk about the Risks & Rewards of Dating-Online!

In the Romantic-Budapest of the Jahrhundertwende, two Feuding-Employees of the Wonderfully-Designed Maraczek-Perfume-Shoppe discover that they are, in fact, the Objects of all those Clandestine-Love-Letters!

Yes, the Singing, Dancing, Prancing, Romancing-Antics of both Mr. Maraczek?s Sterling, Striving Staff & his Elegantly-Attired-Customers are All that could be Desired, but the Jugendstil-Settings of David Rockwell are alone worth the Price-of-Admission!

First known as a Hungarian-Comedy-Drama, The Little Shop Around the Corner, it got a Broadway-Make-Over some seasons ago as She Loves Me?in a much less Good-Enough-To-Eat Production.

The Songs?by Bock & Harnick?are also Good-Enough-To-Eat, especially when sung by Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski, Zach Levi, Gavin Creel, Michael McGrath, & Byron Jennings.

Scott Ellis staged, with Choreography by Warren Carlyle & Musical-Direction by Paul Gemignani.

For-The-Record: Budapest as an Architectural-Treasure-Trove of Art-Nouveau is not a Broadway-Designer-Concept, ingenious as David Rockwell unquestionably is.

When I used to travel to Budapest to report for Opera-News & The Christian-Science-Monitor?back in the Bad-Old-Days of Soviet-Era-Communism & No-Bananas?a Major-Tourist-Must was a visit to the Café New York, where Art-Nouveau of the Gilded-Age was always On-Offer.

Not to Overlook the Two-Railway-Stations designed by Dr. Gustav Eiffel, who designed that Famed-Parisian-Tower?

At The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre:

Florian Zeller?s THE FATHER [****]

Masses of Senior-Moments as Frank Langella Declines into Dementia?

If you do not know the Plays of Paris-Based Florian Zeller, do not Despair.

Christopher Hampton has translated at least Two of them, which you can purchase in the Lobby of the Sam Friedman Theatre.

Now that Frank Langella is somewhat Long-in-the-Tooth, a Senior-Play like The Father may be just what the Doctor-Ordered.

When I first saw an Ad for The Father, my Heart-Leapt-Up!

Was MTC reviving August Strindberg?s The Father?

No, alas?

Nonetheless, Frank Langella does what he can with a Thankless-Role.

Douglas Hughes directed.

At The 2econd Stage Theatre:

Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, & Justin Paul?s DEAR EVAN HANSON [***]

Fake Feel-Good eMails & Digital-Videos Run Rampant! Stage-Design on iPhones & iPads?

OK! So now the Outer-Critics-Circle has an Official-Award-Category for Outstanding-Videos & Front or Rear-Projections used in Stage-Designs!

Wendall K. Harrington pioneered Video-Design, but she is not to be blamed for What-Went-Wrong with Dear Evan Hanson?

What is Actually-Happening On-Stage is almost always Upstaged by the Frenetically-Rapid-Changes in Twitter-Textings & Random-Photo-Ops?

This must be a Musical-in-Progress because?seen in Previews?it did not quite seem to know where it wanted to go.

Nonetheless, Ben Platt [Evan Hansen] has a very Big-Voice & Stage-Presence to spare so it will surely All-Work-Out.

Evan is wearing a Plaster-Cast on his Left-Arm. He either Fell out of a Tree, or Allowed himself to Fall.

In any case, Evan doesn?t have Many-Buddies in High-School?aside from a Nerd [Will Roland] who is a Digital-Whiz?so he cannot find Anyone to Autograph-His-Cast.

Except for a Detested-High-School-Druggie, Connor Murphy [Mike Faist], who Does-the-Honors just before he ODs.

Evan is a Fantastic-Fabulist, a Frenetic-Fibber, who, when he meets Connor?s Distraught-Parents, concocts an Arboreal-Whopper about Connor?s Love-of-Trees.

Thanks to the Nerdie, this Goes-Viral, uniting the previously Bickering-Murphys, giving them a Son-to-be-Proud-of.

Kick-Starter-Money comes rolling-in for some kind of Connor-Memorial-Forest-Project.

When Evan?whose Own-Home-Life is Not-So-Hot?sees how his Well-Intentioned-Inventions have Deeply-Affected the Vulnerable-Murphys, his Fabrications are Duly-Elaborated.

There is also a Musical-Score, with Songs to Match: To Break In A Glove, For Forever, Anybody Have a Map? Only Us, Good for You, & Waving Through a Window, among others.

Peter Negrini is credited with the Projection-Design?

An In-the-Know-Colleague says that Ben Platt?s Dad is Very-Big-in-Hollywood, so Dear Evan Hansen may be a Big-Broadway-Showcase for Platt?s Musical-Ambitions?

At The Lyceum Theatre:

Becky Mode?s FULLY COMMITTED [****]

Too Many Calls On Hold! Too Many Imperious-Celebrities Demanding Restaurant-Reservations!

Hey! Let?s have a Shout-Out for Jesse Tyler Ferguson!

Jesse impersonates Sam, who is the Harried & Hilarious Basement On-Line Reservations-Booker for "a World-Renowned Ridiculously-Red-Hot Manhattan-Restaurant.?

That is the Playbill Description of the Fictional-Locale of Fully Committed, authored by Becky Mode, who also advises Playbill Program-Readers that "Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead is Purely-Coincidental.?

Tell it to the Marines, Becky Mode!

Jesse Tyler Ferguson is an Immediate-Candidate for the Best-Solo-Performance-Award Tony©-Wise!

Jesse not only embodies the Frantic-Sam, but also his Demanding-Boss & the Imperious-French-Chef of this Ridiculously-Red-Hot Manhattan-Restaurant.

Not only is Sam on Multiple-Calls, but he also Impersonates All-the-Callers, in a Variety-of-Voices!

Just as Lon Chaney was known as "The Man with a Thousand-Faces,? so also is Jesse "The Man with a Thousand-Voices.?

Well, that?s a Bit of an Exaggeration as Not That Many Celebrities are On-Hold?

No one expects a Satirist to be Politically-Correct, so don?t be Upset when you come to see Fully Committed to discover that many of Sam?s Female-Callers sound like Screaming-Faggots.

Oh, Sam is also an Aspiring-Actor & thanks to the Intervention of a Caller, he gets an Audition-Call-Back from André Bishop, the Famed-Artistic-Director of the Lincoln-Center-Theatre!

But this may be only a Plot-Device, for Becky Mode warns us: "While some of the Characters bear the Names of Famous-People, the Portrayal of them in this Play is Entirely-Fictitious.?

Law-Suit-Avoidance?

Jason Moore directed Fully Committed, which is "Based on Characters created by Becky Mode & Mark Setlock.?

Hey, Jesse!

How about an Impersonation of Becky Mode & Mark Setlock, who are clearly Not-Entirely-Fictitious?

At The Public Theatre:

Tarell Alvin McCraney?s HEAD OF PASSES [****]

Full-Stage-Collapse of Elaborately-Designed African-American Family-Home Steals-Scenes?

Multo-Kudos for Phylicia Rashad as Shelah, whose Faith-in-God never seems to Waver, even though it?s a One-Way-Conversation.

God never Talks-Back, despite the Epic-Pleas of this Aged & Dying-Woman, who cannot seem to Stop-Talking.

Indeed, Shelah?s Impassioned-Final-Monologue could win an OCC-Award for Outstanding-Solo-Performance!

Shelah?s Extended-Family have noisily-gathered for her Birthday-Celebration, including her White-Cracker-Doctor?who wants to warn this Dynamic-Dynasty of the Impending-Implosion of their Mater-Familias.

This is a Co-Production with Berkeley-Rep?located on Shattuck-Avenue, near the BART-Station, but not far from UC/Berkeley.

But what could the Dramaturgs in both Berkeley & Manhattan have been Thinking?

Tarell Alvin McCraney?s Sprawling-Script needs Serious-Pruning.

Head of Passes takes its Name from the Geographical Head-of-Passes, which is located where the Mississippi meets the Gulf-of-Mexico.

Director Tina Landau?the Public?s Answer to Joe Mantello?certainly gets Roof-Raising-Performances from her Boisterous-Cast.

But Landau?of All-Those-Concerned?should certainly have realized that this Doomed-Family-Reunion was going On & On & On, with Diminishing-Returns from the Rowdy-Repetitions.

Multi-Kudos for Set-Designer GW Mercier who contrived the Collapsing-Mansion, as well as Stuffing it with Multi-Set-Props.

An Endless-Rainstorm seems to facilitate the Crashing-Rafters, but, as Murky-Waters rise below the Floorboards, it looks like the Gulf-of-Mexico is in Full-Flood-Mode?

As Shelah should know, from constant reading of The-Good-Book: The Lord Giveth & The Lord Taketh-Away! Blessed Be The Name of The Lord!

Good-Try, Oskar Eustis! But this is not another Hamilton, Eclipse, or Fun Home?

At The Judson Memorial Church?s Basement Gym-Theatre:

Kate Hamill?s Adaptation of Jane Austen?s SENSE & SENSIBILITY [*****][*****]

The Agony & The Ecstasy of Getting-Married to Money & Family in Jane Austen?s England

Becomes a Brilliant-Ballet of Hopes & Dreams, a Choreography of Disappointments & Disasters?

The Brilliant Bedlam-Ensemble?Some of them instantly Changing-Character?has created what is, for me, the Best-Production of the Entire-Season!

But Sense & Sensibility can only be experienced to Best-Advantage in the Judson-Gym, where the Actors are not only Right-in-Your-Face, but also Engaging with you, making you Co-Conspirators!

What Is More: they are not Acting the Roles of Country-Squires, Crusty-Old-Gentlemen, Entitled-&-Entailed-Heirs, Fuss-Budgets, Heart-Breakers, Trouble-Makers, & Marriageable-Young-Women?without Dowries or Aristocratic-Connections.

No! This is Not Acting. They Are the Characters whom they play?

Austen-Adapter Kate Hamill is also in the Excellent-Cast?a few of whom can Double as Horses, when needed?but the Action has been Orchestrated by Director Eric Tucker, with Elegant & Energetic Choreography by Alexandra Beller.

The Scenic-Milieus are suggested by Panels of Midland-Views, as well as by Four-Latticed-Windows & a Doorway, all on Rollers.

Not to Overlook the Chairs, Tables, & Settees which can scoot & shoot around the Open-Space with almost Alarming-Frequency, but to Very-Good-Dramatic-Effect.

Unfortunately, there is No Midtown-Theatre-Venue that can provide the Judson-Experience, so a Transfer is Unlikely.

Please, Bedlamites! Extend Your Run!

Not only have you brought Jane Austen?s Dashwoods to Vibrant-Life, but you have also made some of their Friends & Neighbors almost Dickensian!

At The Gerry Schoenfeld Theatre:

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Duncan Sheik?s

Musical-Adaptation of Brent Easton Ellis?s AMERICAN PSYCHO: The Musical [**]

Cruel & Unusual-Punishment of Audiences:

Benjamin Walker Shows-Off His Pecs & Stuff, Getting All Bloody as a Manhattan-Serial-Killer?

The Late Great Drama-Critic Walter Kerr?Dissing a Doomed-Musical about the Man-Who-Jumped-Off-the-Brooklyn-Bridge?had only this to say: "Kelly! A Bad-Idea Gone-Wrong!?

The Same can be said of American Psycho: The Musical.

The Late Great Drama-Critic Judith Crist helped Bankrupt the NY Herald-Tribune with?among other Hilarious-Put-Downs?her One-Word-Report on Camelot: "Came a Little??

But the On-Stage Fully-Choreographed Psychotic-Blood-Bath?that had Patrons rushing for the Exits even before the Intermission?could possibly be described as: Came All Too Much & Too Often?

Stage-Blood was splattered Everywhere, even on a Transparent-Full-Stage Front-&-Center Giant-Shower-Curtain that had to be scrubbed-clean for Act II.

Nonetheless, the Supercharged-Cast gave Their-All in service of an All-Singing, All-Dancing Disaster, with Manic-Video-Designs endlessly distracting from the Mechanistic-Action & the Frenzied-Acting.

This Over-Designed, Over-Heated-Production seems to have Originated in London, at the Almeida-Theatre, staged by Rupert Goode.?

At The Brooks Atkinson Theatre:

Jesse Nelson & Sara Bareilles? WAITRESS [***]

-

Kookie-Characters In a Cookie-Cutter-Plot

Accommodate Random-Songs of Sara Bareilles,

Creator of Little Voice & Five-Times Grammy-Award-Nominated Singer-Songwriter!

Jessie Mueller?until recently starring in The Carole King Musical?is in Full-Voice as Jenna, a Master-Pie-Bakeress, in what appears to be a Roadside-Country-&-Western-Good-Old-Boy-Diner, designed by Scott Pask, with Rotating-Proscenium-Flanking-Columns filled with Toothsome-Mouth-Watering-Pies!

Aside from the Pregnant-Jenna/Jessie, almost all of the Random-Characters in & around the Diner are more Caricatures than Characters.

Jenna has been impregnated by her Lazy, Loutish, Arrogant, Abusive Husband, Earl [Nick Cordero]?who is certainly Not-a-Pearl, because he demands her Tips & Wages every day.

Badly-needing Medical-Advice, Jenna soon Falls-in-Love with The-Good-Doctor-Pomatter [Drew Gehling], who immediately Falls-in-Love with both Jenna?s Delicious-Pies & the Singing-Lady-Herself!

Actually, they do make a Cute-Couple & Singing-Duo.

There are some other Comedy-Turns, including an Odd-Couple who love to Re-Enact The Midnight-Ride of Paul Revere & Washington Crossing the Delaware.

Unfortunately, both Paul Revere & Waitress are riding-off in Diverse-Directions.

This Pie-Crust Juke-Box-Musical needs some New-Toppings!

Oddly enough, Waitress began its Fictional-Life as a Movie?way-back-when?but it didn?t then have the Hit-Songs it now boasts?

The ordinarily-admirable Diane Paulus, Artistic-Director of ART?the American-Repertory-Theatre, based at Harvard University?premiered Waitress on the Banks of the River-Charles, at ART.

What do they know about Country-&-Western-Diner-Pies or Good-Old-Boys up in Boston, anyway?

Alas, the Audience was not invited to Sample some of those Revolving-Pies?

At The Broadhurst Theatre:

Claudia Shear, Tim Federle, Chris Miller & Nathan Tysen?s TUCK EVERLASTING [*****]

Winnie! Don?t Drink The Water! If You Take Even a Sip, You?ll Live Forever!

The First-Amazing-Thing that you will see, when you enter the Broadhurst Theatre, is a Monumental-Tree!

Its Gnarled-Branches, Tasty-Tendrils, & Lofty-Leaves Spiral-Upward & Float-Across-the-Stage!

Then, Front & Center, an Eleven-Year-Old-Girl begins to Sing & Tell Her Strange-Story.

This is the Winsome-Winnie, who wanders from her Victorian-Gothic-Home into a Fantastic-Wooded-Wonderland where the Ever-Young Tuck-Family has been in Residence for Several-Centuries.

Their Longevity-Secret is the Bubbling-Spring among the Roots of the Fabulous-Tree: Drink Only a Drop & Live-Forever!

As Winnie, the Eleven-Year-Old Sarah Charles Lewis is a Constant-Amazement: Both Tom-Boy & Troubled-Pre-Teen?

Winnie comes to become Very-Fond of Jesse Tuck [Andrew Keenan-Bolger], who is an Eternal-Seventeen.

Jesse gives Winnie a Bottle of the Magic-Water, to drink when she is also Seventeen & has caught-up with him. Is Jesse thinking of Love-Eternal?

Of course, the Downside is that Winnie will never know what it is to Have-Kids & Grow-Old-Together with Those-You-Love: Your Relatives, Your Kith-&-Kin?

Will Winnie Wait?

In the Fictional-Meantime, Winnie Gets-to-Know the Oddly-Matched-Tucks, merrily-impersonated by Carolee Carmello, Robert Lenzi, & Michael Park.

They live?or Eternally-Exist?in an Incredible-Antiquarian-Clutter that should be the Envy of Alex Timbers & his Robber-Bridegroom Set-Decorators.

But there is a Yellow-Suited Carnival-Trickster [Terence Mann], who looks deeply into Jesse?s Eyes, instantly-recognizing that he is, in fact, Very, Very Old.

Before the Poland-Spring-People can find the Tuck-Family Watering-Hole, he intends to Buy-The-Tree from Winnie?s Aged-Grant-Wood-Gothic-Kin.

Tuck Everlasting is no Carousel, but Director/Choreographer Casy Nicholaw can Give-Carnival like no one else on Broadway!

In fact, Nicholaw now has Four-Shows running-concurrently on Broadway: Aladdin, Something Rotten, The Book of Mormon, & Tuck Everlasting.

In fact, Tuck Everlasting may well be This-Season?s Matilda?

Which Casey Nicholaw did not direct nor choreograph.

Nonetheless, Tuck Everlasting has to be the Dancingest, Singingest, Sexiest-Show on The Great-White-Way!

Even given that Site-Specific Immense-Oak-Tree & all that Cute-Victorian-Décor, Nicholaw can always find Time to fill the Stage with Dynamic-Dancers who are not Story-Oriented.

If you are thinking about an Oak-Tree for your Fifth-Floor-Walkup?or your Summer-Place in The-Hamptons?Set-Designer Walt Spangler is your Go-To-Guy!

The Shuberts are Selling-Bottled-Water, not only in the Lobby, but also up-&-down the Aisles.

Unfortunately, it was Not-Bottled at the Magic-Spring, but Somewhere-Upstate?or in Poland, so I was a Day-Older the Morning-After Total-Immersion in this Magical-Musical, thanks to Casey Licholaw & his Marvelous-Cast?

Thirsty or Not, Tuck Everlasting is a Fabulous-Broadway-Show that you can see Again-&-Again. That is, if you can get Tickets, once The-Word-Is-Out!

At The Barrow Street Theatre:

Lucy Prebble?s THE EFFECT [*****]

Leave Your Mind Alone! Your Brain? It?s All in Your Head!

Watch-Out for Clinical-Trials! Doctors with Good-Intentions May Screw-Up!

Not To Overlook the Possibilities of Clinical-Testees Screwing-Live-Onstage?

Seriously-White-Smocked Dr. Lorna James [Kati Brazda] is conducting a Breakthrough-Clinical-Experiment with another one of those Miracle-Drugs on Two-Paid-Human-Lab-Rats [Susannah Flood & Carter Hudson].

Even though there is a Placebo-Control in place, the Experiment is not without Unlooked-for-Surprises.

Included Unlooked-for-Seizures!

But the Surprises are not just for the Paid-Lab-Rats, Connie Hall & Tristan Frey?who, at One-Surprising-Moment, are Fucking-Buck-Naked in a Regulation-Hospital-Bed?

But there are also some Surprises-in-Store for Dr. Lorna & her Supervising-Colleague, Dr. Toby Sealy [Steve Key].

This is another David-Cromer-Directed Theatre-Surprise on Barrow-Street, which is actually not a Very-Long-Thoroughfare.

At The American Airlines Theatre:

Gene O?Neill?s A [VERY] LONG DAY?S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT [*****]

Four-Hours-Long, This American-Classic Is an Exhausting-Drama-Marathon:

Jessica Lang, Gabe Byrne, Michael Shannon, John Gallagher, Jr, & Colby Minifie Give-Their-All?

General-Huzzahs for Jonathan Kent?s Admirable-Cast in one of Eugene O?Neill?s Longest-Epics, a seemingly Endless-Journey into the O?Neill-Family?s Bottomless-Agonies.

What?s even more astonishing than Jessica Lang?s Morphine-Addicted Mary Tyrone?a Heart-Rending-Performance?is that she repeats this Eight-Times-a-Week.

Nonetheless, however passionately Journey is performed, it only serves to remind Modern-Audiences that O?Neill badly needed an Editor. Or, at least, a Dramaturg?

Plot-Points are made, remade, & made again: We Do Get-It!

Gene O?Neill?s Irish-Catholic-Dad, James O?Neill?James Tyrone is his Stand-In in Journey?was an Epic-Miser, Totally Self-Centered & Self-Justifying, who ruined a possibly Promising-Career by buying the Production-Rights to The Count of Monte Cristo, with which he became so Totally-Identified, that he was no longer In-Demand as Hamlet or Macbeth.

Not to Overlook Brutus or Oberon?

But O?Neill was also a Classic-Irish-Catholic-Raging-Drinker: Bottoms-Up!

After Four-Hours of Long Day?s Journey, we all need some Vintage-Irish-Whiskey!

Here?s Looking-at-You?

Long Day?s Journey is not O?Neill?s Only-Epic: There are also Strange Interlude & Mourning Becomes Electra.

Neither of which offers a real Star-Turn for Jessica Lange?

For O?Neill-Scholars, it?s often of interest to compare Long Day?s Journey to O?Neill?s only Comedy: Ah! Wilderness!

It is, in some respects, as a Family-Drama, the Verso of Journey.

What?s also interesting?whenever Long Day?s Journey is revived?is that the Stage-Picture is almost as big as the entire O?Neill-Cottage on the Connecticut-Shore.

How did this Battling-Clan manage to survive the Long-Summers?

As a Young-Man, Seriously-Ill, Eugene O?Neill didn?t go into a Sanitarium.

Instead, he Shipped-Off to the Open-Seas, which, in time, gave us The-Sea-Plays.

But why did the Roundabout choose Long Day?s Journey as a Follow-Up to Noises-Off?

Why not O?Neill?s seldom-performed Lazarus Laughed?

These Remarkable Long Day?s Performances are to be witnessed at the American-Airlines-Theatre, where there are No In-Flight-Meals, but you can purchase Snacks & Bottled-Water in the Foyers.

At The Juilliard?s Peter Jay Sharp Opera-Theatre:

Wolf Mozart?s DIE ZAUBERFL?TE [***]

The Only Thing Magical About This Modernized Magic-Flute Was the Music?Orchestral & Sung?

At this Point-in-Time, it is Most-Unfortunate that Manny Schikander?s Original-Libretto closes with an Invocation to Isis!

Not, of course, those Islamist-Terrorists?who would never permit the Production of an Opera, especially one that features Women so prominently.

But what is one to make of a Magic-Flute that seems to take place in an Abandoned-Barn?

The Visual-Effect is rather like the Annual-Conference of the American-Farm-Bureau, if all the Delegates were able to sing Auf-Deutsch.

It has now long been the European-Custom to give Repertory-Staples a New-Look: Audiences have seen Don Giovanni so often, why not reset it in Las Vegas?

The Met does this frequently, currently with Rigoletto in Vegas?

Now, Director Mary Birnbaum & her Revisionist-Design-Partner, Grace Laubacher?with a clearly Feminist-Agenda?have sited their Zauberfl?te in a Bare-Bones-Box, which initially shows the 2x4s that frame the Wooden-Walls.

Aside from the Flowing-Green-Gown of the Stern-Flammende-K?ningin, most of the Costumes looked like they were shipped over to Juilliard from Astor-Place by K-Mart.

In fact, at the Celebratory-Close, Tamino & Pamina were Dressed-in-Sweats, as if they were heading-over to the Jewish-Community-Center for a Workout & Sauna?

Birnbaum & Laubacher also borrow a Design-Idea from The Color of Purple, having Wooden-Chairs hanging on the Back-Wall at one point.

Of course, this is also a Standard-Feature of Shaker-Interior-Decoration, as well as of Flamenco-Performances?

Not only were Birnbaum & Laubacher intent on showing Tamino & Pamina as "?Two Halves of a Whole, Enlightened-Person,? but they also wanted to be Politically-Correct in regard to the Scheming-Villain, Monostatos, who describes himself in the Sung-Libretto as "Black-&-Ugly.?

Now, he looks like James Franco on a Bad-Day?

When the Queen-of-the-Night is discovered in her Office, Six-Glowing Bird-Prints are on the Rear-Wall.

These must be Visual-Stand-Ins for the Birds which Papageno, the Official-Vogelf?nger daily catches for the Wicked-Queen, in return for Wine & Z?ckerbrot?

However Evil she may be as Pamina?s Angry-Mother, as a Singing-Lady, Liv Redpath is a Coloratura-Marvel!

If you do not have a Brilliant-Queen, forget about Reviving Many & Wolf?s Masterwork?

An Initial-Oddity: The Three-Ladies?Servants of The-Queen-of-the-Night?seem to be Pushing-Around-Segments of that Deadly-Serpent, before they Slay-the-Snake.

The Famed-Trials of Fire-&-Water are unfortunately Visually-Tacky.

As for Sarastro & His Enlightened-Followers, they looked rather like Refugees from a Google-Board-Meeting.

David Stern vigorously conducted, with Close-Attention to the Score, as Originally-Composed.

At The Public Theatre:

Sarah Burgess? DRY POWDER [****]

How Financial-Sharks Gut Failing-Companies & Move Jobs Across the Ocean To Asia?

Remember Mitt Romney?

He was that Vulture-Capitalist who enriched himself at Bain by Gutting-Companies, Firing-Working-Forces, Moving-Jobs-Overseas, & Hiding-Income-Offshore in the Cayman-Islands?

In Dry Powder, Sarah Burgess shows us Three-Mitts-in-Action.

This Taut-Drama is not about selling Poor-People Sub-Prime-Mortgages. That would be Too-Time-Consuming.

This Avaricious-Trio of High-Level-Sharks?tautly-played by Hank Azaria, Claire Danes, & John Krasinski?is going for the Financial-Jugular-Vein of Companies in Serious-Cash-Flow-Trouble.

Their Mark this time out is a Panicked-CEO [Sanjit De Silva], who is not so Desperate that he is going to Give-the-Whole-Store-Away?

All Four are Vying-for-Advantage, willing to Sell-Out-Anyone: No Honor-Among-Thieves here?

Claire Danes is especially Ferocious as the Lone-Woman, who is Too-Smart-for-Her-Own-Good, a Constant-Threat to the Male-Baracudas.

The Public?s Martinson-Theatre has been temporarily Re-Conformed as a Rectangular-Box, with Audiences flanking a Raised-Rectangular-Stage, functionally-outfitted with a Series of Black/Blue-Boxes that can be Tables, Chairs, or Whatever. Kudos! Rachel Hauck!

What are Kudos anyway? Like Mangoes, only somewhat Firmer to the Touch?

At The CSC Theatre:

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing?s NATHAN THE WISE [*****]

F. Murray Abraham Is a Very-Wise-Nathan in Medieval-Jerusalem, AD 1192:

This Ingenious-Jew Propounds the Myth of the Three-Rings

To Explain the Equal-Validity of the Rival-Claims of Christianity, Judaism, & Islam!

Hey! Good-News, Philosophical-Fans of the Eighteenth-Century-Enlightenment!

At last, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing is back-on-stage in Manhattan!

When was the Last-Time you actually saw a Fully-Staged-Production of Lessing?s Emilia Galotti or Miss Sara Sampson?

Let alone Lessing?s Masterpiece, Nathan The Wise?

Fortunately, down at the Classic-Stage-Company, Artistic-Director Brian Kulick?who has already brought Bert Brecht back to Momentary-Life?now offers New Yorkers a Handsome-Vision of Long-Ago-Jerusalem, featuring F. Murray Abraham as Nathan, whose Much-Admired-Wisdom resolves Serious-Religious, Political, Societal, & Familial-Disputes.

Nathan The Wise, an Eighteenth-Century-Drama, set in Twelfth-Century-Jerusalem, does not offer much Live-Action?aside from a few Sword-Flourishings?contenting itself instead with Exploring-Religious-Issues in The-Holy-City, occupied by the World-Famous Muslim-Leader, Saladin-The-Great.

Not to be confused with Suleiman, who was not only Great, but also Magnificent!

Talk about The Caliphate? You?ve got it now, down at the CSC!

After Occupying most of Northern-Africa, Southern-Spain, & Eastern-Europe?almost to the Gates-of-Vienna?Ottoman-Rulers were generally content to sit back on their Ottomans, awaiting the Next-Wave of Christian-Crusaders, urged onward by Pious-Popes, to Re-Conquer the Holy-Land.

But, in Twelfth-Century-Jerusalem, both Crusaders & Orthodox-Jews were a Distinct-Minority?

Yes, Eighteenth-Century-German-Masterpieces tended to be Talk-Fests, but usually on Important-Issues, as also featured in the Dramas of Johann Wolfgang Goethe & Friedrich Schiller.

Oddly enough?considering how the Crusades dragged on & on & on?most of the Inter-Religious-Discussion on-offer in Nathan The Wise concerns somewhat Banal-Family-Matters.

My Dear-Old-Friend, Murray?we were both Professors-of-Theatre at Brooklyn-College!?is both Magisterial & Familial as Nathan.

But what really Caught-My-Eye was the Mise-en-Sc?ne of Designer Tony Straiges & the Calligraphic-Costumes of Anita Yavich.

There is a Banal-Row-of-Chairs at the back of the Stage?fortunately Not-Hanging-on-the-Wall?but behind those Chairs is a Massive-Photo of Modern-Day-Destruction of a Middle-Eastern-Enclave, possibly in Gaza?

Echoing those Famous-Carpet-Plays of Peter Brook, Straiges has strewn Turkish-Carpets about the Stage-Space, on which Nathan & Saladin can recline & Talk-Turkey?

But what really gave me Turkish-Delight were the Wondrous-White-Robes of the Cast, each extravagantly embellished with Arabic, Hebraic, or Gothic-Scripts!

Instead of Souvenir-T-Shirts in the Lobby, how about some of those Calligraphic-Robes!

At The Cort Theatre:

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell?s BRIGHT STAR [*****]

The Banality-of-Bluegrass Banished by the Very-Bright-Stars of Dee Hoty & Carmen Cusak!

See, there?s this Handsome-Young-Soldier [AJ Shively] from North-Carolina, just out of the US-Army in 1945 & he wants so badly to become a Writer/Author, having been Bitten by the Typewriter-Virus when he was published in The Stars & Stripes during Wartime?

So he Forges a Letter-of-Recommendation from North-Carolingian-Author Thomas Wolfe, who has died Seven-Years before?

Approaching the Tough-Lady-Editor [Dee Hoty] of the famed Asheville Journal with Typescripts, he does not then know that she is his Real-Birth-Mother!

Nor-Does-She?

Because, Years & Years Ago, her Newborn-Babe?dumped into a Travelling-Bag?was tossed off a Railroad-Train on a Trestle going over a Deep-North-Carolina-River?

At first, Narrative-Continuity is a Bit-Difficult to follow, for Steve Martin & his Partner-in-Musical-Comedy move us Backward-&-Forward in Time.

Initially, such Plot-Complications only confused me, which did not help me to get into a Bluegrass-Mood.

Years & Years Ago, I was a Big-Fan of Loretta Lynn & Crystal Gale.

But I got over that Southern-Crush, eventually regarding Bluegrass & Southern-Twangs as Banal & Irritating, respectively.

Perhaps the Best-Songs in Bright Star are the Title-Tune & Lyric, Bright Star, & I Had a Vision.

Nonetheless, the Production-Values of Bright Star are Outstanding, as is the Large-Countrified-Cast, staged by Walter Bobbie?with Choreography by Josh Rhodes.

This is a Major-Broadway-Musical which will also do very well Out-of-Town.

Watching the Eager, Young Ex-Soldier decide to try to get published in a Major-Literary-Journal, I thought back to that Fateful-Time when I was Discharged from the US-Army in Fort Ord, California?

Would I have become a Real-Published-Author had I then decided to submit Reports to the Sacramento-Bee?

God Only Knows?

At The Sam Beckett Theatre:

Cate Ryan?s IN THE SECRET SEA [***]

What Would You Do? The MRI Shows a Congenitally-Deformed-Fetus?

Would You Want To Be a Grandfather So Much You?d Insist That It See The-Light-of-Day?

Being raised an Irish-American-Roman-Catholic?in Cate Ryan?s Troubling "New American Play??presents a Pregnancy-Problem to Two-Good-Old-Georgetown-Boys.

All the Recent-Popes have preached Against-Abortion, so that seems Out-of-the-Question for Potential-Granddad Gil [Paul Carlin], who is also determined to have a Grandson, no matter what the Cost to his Hectored-Wife & his Daughter-in-Law.

But there is also Another-Problem afloat in The Secret Sea: is this New-Drama really about that Unborn-Child as much as it is about Contentious-Catholic-Marriages?

Gil is a Raging, Aging, Overbearing, Opinionated Familial-Maniac.

You can only feel Compassionate-Caring for his Much-Abused-Wife, Joyce [Glynnis O?Connor], who is, however, also a Bit-of-a-Twit.

Their Good-Friends, Jack [Malachy Cleary] & Audrey [Shelly Burch], who are also Their-In-Laws, have Their-Own-Mutual-Abuses.

After Gil & Jack get out the Apple-Laptop to Google Congenital-Birth-Defects, there is a Sobering-Moment, followed by some Speculation on Whose DNA is Defective?

The Warring-Couples disappear, to be followed?possibly several years later?by Kenny, cradling his Newborn-Son, Free-of-Defects & Quarreling-Grandparents.

This New-Play needs More-Work.

As it stands, In The Secret Sea offers a Powerful-Argument-Against-Marriage, especially when the Men-Involved are Only-Average-IQ Irish-American-Roman-Catholics.

At the Close, One feels sorry for those Roman-Catholic-Wives more than for any Grandkid that might be birthed into such a Familial-Mess.

At The Lucille Lortel Theatre:

Richard Brinsley Sheridan?s THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL [*****]

No Bull with Red Bull?s Stunning-Revival of Sheridian-Satire of 18th-Century Manners-&-Morals?

Quite aside from the Sentimental-Verbal-Duels between Hypocritical-Sentiment-Mongering & Genuine-Honest-True-Sentiment on display at the Lucille Lortel, there are the Added-Visual-Values of the Hilariously-Excessive-Costumes, Wigs, & Macquillages of the Most-Foppish of the Excellent-Cast.

So Initial-Kudos for Andrea Lauer [Costumes] & Charles G. LaPointe [Wigs & Hair-Design]!

But the Pompous-Posturing of the Insidious-&-Servile Snake [Jacob Dresch?as a Columnist & Critic], the Deliciously-Malicious Lady Sneerwell [Frances Barber], the Overly-Officious Sir Benjamin Backbite [Ryan Garbayo], & the Elegantly-Outfitted Mrs. Candour [Dana Ivey] are a Comedic-Cabal-To-Fear.

Not to Neglect the May-December Marital-Mismatch of the Fusty Old Sir Peter Teazle [Mark Linn-Baker] & the Flighty-Fashion-Plate Lady Teazle [Helen Cespedes], just Up-from-the-Country.

But the Real-Contest/Conflict in Sheridan?s School for Scandal is between Two-Brothers, so Very-Unlike in both Sentiment & Temperament: Joseph Surface [Christian Conn] & Charles Surface [Christian DeMarais].

How Clever of Stage-Director Mark Vietor to have cast Two-Christians in such Contrasting-Roles.

The Always-Handsomely-Attired Joseph Surface is constantly a Visual-Reproach to the Reprobate, Liquor-Swilling Charles, who has Gambled & Drunk-Away the Family-Fortune left him by Doting-Uncle-Oliver [Henry Stram], long Absent-in-India.

The Rascally, Rambunctious Charles, Hard-Pressed for Cash?from Jewish Money-Lenders, for there was No-Political-Correctness in 18th-Century-England?is selling-off the Family-Portraits, but at last he refuses to sell the Portrait of Old-Uncle-Ollie, who is Understandably-Delighted:

Charles! You Are My Heir!

Of course, All?s-Well-That-Ends-Well, for Charles almost-instantly Reforms so that he can marry the Nobly-Silently-Suffering Teazle-Ward, Maria [Nadine Malouf].

Kudos, of course, to the Sentiment-Soaked-Cast, but this Fast-Paced-Laff-Riot would not work nearly so well, were it not for the Basic-18th-Century-Set of Anita Luizos, which provides Distant-Views of 18th-Century-London, as well as rapidly-rotated Salons, Libraries, & that Famous-Screen-Scene, on which So-Much-Depends for the Final-Effect!

Irish-Born-Playwright "Brin? Sheridan was the Proprietor of the most-famed English-Patent-Theatre, The Drury Lane.

Patent-Theatres were a Form of Crown-Control & Press-Censorship, for there could be only One-Patent-Theatre in London & other Major-Cities.

Plays also had to be Licensed by the Lord-Chamberlain?s-Office in order to be staged at all.

So it was good that Richard Brinsley Sheridan had a Real-Hit for his Drury Lane!

Down at the Lucille Lortell, the Red-Bull-Ensemble also has a Real-Hit, but it is, unfortunately, a Limited-Run, so get down to Christopher-Street before it Closes!

Monday-Evenings, the Red-Bull-Ensemble also has Staged-Readings of Especial-Excellence.

On Monday, 2 May 2016, the Reading will be Will Shakespeare?s Hamlet, but re-set in British-Mandated-Persia of 1916, a Dual-Language-Adventure, featuring Arian Moayed!

At The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Playwrights Horizons:

Anne Washburn?s ANTLIA PNEUMATICA [No-Comment]

A Fragile-Tissue of Remembered Conversational-Clichés Somewhere at a Kitchen-Food-Counter?

While Way-Out-There Is a Starry-Night of a Zillion-Constellations, Give-or-Take Some Galaxies?

Antlia-Pneumatica we are told somewhere in the Press-Materials actually means: Air-Pump.

If so, there?s a Lot of Verbal-Hot-Air being pumped into an Empty-Space at Playwrights-Horizons.

It could well be said of Antlia-Pneumatica that its Antic-Word-Play Defies-Description?

One?or Two or Three?might also say that Antlia-Pneumatica is basically a Radio-Play because so much of it is Overheard, possibly from Somewhere-Far-Overhead?

At the Food-Counter, Two or Three Women are Making-a-Cake for a Funeral-Wake.

No, No! The Baked-Cake is Delivered, Ready-Made!

Does it have Black-Frosting?, One might well Enquire-or-Inquire?

Director Ken Rus Schmoll worked very hard to Urge his Talented-Cast to work very hard to Breathe-Life into Anne Washburn?s Act-of-Implausible-Imagination.

Here?s what Anne Washburn actually has to say about Antlia-Pneumatica:

The Whole Event?this Event, Here, Now?is so Implausible, and only the Imaginative-Impulse of Everyone-Involved keeps Everyone from Drifting-Away to do Something "Real.?

As there was No-Intermission, Several-Seniors near me soon Drifted-Away, not into Deep-Sleep but Out into the Street?

At The Pearl Theatre:

Aaron Posner?s STUPID FUCKING BIRD [***]

Tony Chekhov Rolls Over in His Grave as His Iconic Seagull Is Deconstructed on Forty-Second!

Please, Supreme-Soviet Make-Over-Artist Vlad Putin!

Do not use your Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction on the Manhattan-Based Pearl-Theatre!

There has to be a Better-Way to protect Great-Russian-Playwrights like Tony Chekhov, Nick Gogol, & Sam Pushkin than resorting to Nuclear-Attacks?

The Printed-Title of the Pearl Theatre?s Latest Effort-at-Astonishment is STUPID FUCKING BIRD.

Some Media-Sources have rendered this as Stupid F**king Bird, but The New York Times is having none of this Pussy-Footing-Nonsense: Its Charles-Isherwood-Report is Chastely-Headed: Stupid ?????? Bird.

The Bird-in-Question is a Seagull?Die M?we auf Deutsch?but what Conrad Arkadina dumps on the Pearl?s Over-Dressed-Stage looks & sounds like a Left-Over Thanksgiving-Turkey from Food-Emporium, just up Forty-Second-Street?

The Feisty-Pearl-Ensemble?Egged-On by Stage-Director Davis McCallum?has Seen-Fit to Deconstruct Chekhov?s Stage-Oriented-Masterpiece, having Not-Long-Ago savaged Uncle Vanya.

Of course, if you are going to do a Parody-Deconstruction?which is what this Spoofed-Seagull seems to be?it helps if the Audience has some idea of what is being Deconstructed.

Fortunately, a Brief-Synopsis is offered on the Page facing the Title-Credits!

If You, Dear Reader, have never been in Mourning for Your Life, You may well be a Bit-Baffled by what is taking place on Stage?

Initially, the Audience is confronted by a Series of Vertical-Panels-on-Wheels which Spell-Out: STUPID FUCKING BIRD.

These are variously used as Entry-Portals or Scooted-Around, as various items of Stage-Furniture are also Scooted-Around.

There are also a Lot-of-Stage-Props, including some Unscrewed-Christmas-Lights, which Connie, at one point, Screws-In, so that they Light-Up!

Yes?just as in the Chekhov-Original?Connie?s Mom is a Famous Self-Centered-Russian-Stage-Actress, here Renamed as Emma Arkadina.

Although Sophie or Meryl would have done just as well?

She has a Famous Self-Centered-Russian-Writer in-tow, kowtowing to her Every-Whim, but he is distracted by Connie?s Muse, Nina?who Famously-Identifies with The Seagull: I am a Seagull?

Nina aspires to be a Stage-Actress, but not as Famous as Emma?

Connie aspires to Revolutionize-Russian-Drama, but the Historic-Russian-Revolution?which is waiting in the Metaphoric-Wings?really has No-Place for Originality, Rigid-Conformity being its Hallmark.

What?s really Great-Fun about this Haphazard-Deconstruction is that it is Audience-Interactive!

Actors-in-Character easily respond to Audience-Interventions & Questions!

I longed to ask Connie if the Ensemble?as their Next-Bird-Oriented-Show?could Deconstruct Hank Ibsen?s The Wild Duck?

Forget about Maurice Maeterlinck?s The Bluebird of Happiness!

What have those Idiotic-Belgians have to be Happy about at this Point-in-Time?

At The John Borden Theatre of the Manhattan-School-of-Music:

Double-Bill of:

Jacques Ibert?s PERSÉE ET ANDROM?DE [*****]

Maurice Ravel?s L?ENFANT ET LES SORTIL?GES [*****]

Ingenious-Stagings of Seldom-Seen & Almost-Forgotten-French Mini-Masterpieces at MSM!

Perseus Flies with Medusa?s Head on Winged-Pegasus To Save Captive-Maiden from Monster?

But Set in What Appears To Be a Gallery in the Louvre, Featuring the Andromeda-Portrait?

An Older-Woman & Boisterous-School-kids pass through a Long-Gallery, looking at that Famed-Portrait of a Bound-Maiden who is, of course, Andromeda!

She comes to Life & is ultimately Saved from potential Sexual-Slavery to a Monster?who possibly is in Love with her?by the Valiant-Flying-Knight, Perseus.

Well, he?s not actually a Knight?being instead a Mythical-Greco-Roman-Hero?but he is certainly a Precursor of St. George, who killed that Dragon who had enslaved a Decent-Christian-Maiden.

Jana McIntyre was an Affecting-Andromeda, with Joseph Sacchi her Persistent-Perseus.

Colette Concocts Fable of Bratty French-Kid Wrecking Room in Temper-Tantrum,

With Fire & Furniture Taking-Revenge, Set To The Eclectic-Score of Maurice Ravel,

Brought to Stage-Life with Fantastic-Costumes, Singing-Set-Props, & Magic-Garden?

It took a very long time for Maurice Ravel to complete his Curious-Score for L?Enfant, set to an even more Curious-Libretto by Famed Nobel-Prize-Winning Parisian-Author, Colette, but it does have the Novelty of including some American-Jazz.

Although L?Enfant is clearly intended to be a Bad-Boy, this Role is traditionally-sung?when L?Enfant is performed at all?by a Girl/Woman. At MSM, Amy Yarham was the Vigorously-Destructive-Child.

As almost always at MSM, all the Solo-Roles & the Chorus were excellent, conducted by Pierre Vallet.

But the Most-Impressive-Aspects of this Three-Times-Only-Production were the Set-&-Costume-Designs of Allen Moyer & James Schutte.

How about an Armchair that Sings? Or a Mantle-Clock that also Comes-to-Life to Sing in Despair about the Depredations of the Naughty-Boy?

The Fireplace-Fire, dressed in Flaming-Red, seemed a Bit-Tipsy?

Outside, in the Garden, the Trees are all wearing what look like Abe-Lincoln-Stovepipe-Hats, only much, much Taller.

How about Insects that are Only-Huge-Glowing-Eyes on Poles?

Well, that?s what those Sortil?ges are all about: Sorceries, Magic: All Very-French?

At The Harold Clurman Theatre on Theatre-Row:

Sharman Macdonald?s WHEN I WAS A GIRL I USED TO SCREAM & SHOUT [*****]

Coming-of-Age in a Somewhat-Sexually-Ignorant-Scotland, With a Crazy-Mother at The Seaside?

Surely Morag must be one of the Most-Maddening-Mothers North-of-Newcastle-on-Tyne!

But, as somewhat Imperiously-Interpreted by the Amazing Aedin Moloney, she seems determined to Survive-Somehow, despite a Marital-Disaster & a Willful-Daughter, Fiona [Barrie Kreinik].

For those who are Unfamiliar with Scots-Accents, Morag?s somewhat Nasalized-Conversation may eventually Grate-on-the-Ear.

But she seems a Force-of-Nature, prepared for Every-Eventuality on a Seaside-Picnic.

Actually, When I Was a Girl spans a Ten-Year-Gap, moving back & forth in Time.

This makes Fiona?s Nuanced-Performance even more impressive, for she is Older & Younger by turns, without any Special-Aging-Changes.

Deserted by her Long-Gone-Husband, Morag finds Another-Possible-Catch, but Fiona deliberately gets herself Pregnant to foil this Plot, spoiling what Morag believes to be her Only-Chance-for-Happiness.

Fiona has a Best-Friend, Vari [Zo? Watkins], with whom she shares Scots-Folklore about Female-Sexuality.

Fiona also initially has a Religious-Problem: She-Believes-in-God, but Her Prayers don?t Get-Answered, at least not as she might wish.

Although Ewan [Colby Howell] obliges Fiona by Impregnating her & is willing to Explore-a-Relationship, she is not interested?

Well, these are Three-Scots-Women with Problems of the Body & of the Heart?not All of them Concerning-Men?

Paddy Moloney?of The-Chieftains?provides the Music & Music-Direction.

John Keating staged on a Mock-Up of a Vestigial-Seaside-Promenade & Rocky-Beach

When I Was a Girl is produced by the Fallen-Angel-Theatre-Company, founded by Aedin Moloney to showcase Irish & British Plays written by & about Women.

When I first heard that When I Was a Girl was to be presented on Theatre-Row, I had a kind of Déj?-Vu-Moment, for I?m sure I must have first seen When I Was a Girl at the Edinburgh-Festival some years ago.

In any case, as a Loney, I?m always Partial to Anyone who shares a Version of Our-Irish-Patronymic.

At The New York City-Center [Former Shrine-Auditorium] Theatre:

Henry Purcell & Nahum Tate?s DIDO & AENEAS [*****]

Plus A Master-Voices Curtain-Raiser:

Michael John LaChuisa?s THE DAUGHTERS OF NECESSITY: A PROLOGUE [*****]

Broadway-Stars & Tony-Winners Victoria Clark & Kelli O?Hara Animate Ancient-Carthage & Aeneas!

The Mythical-Story-Line is that the Trojan-Hero, Aeneas, fleeing the Fatal-Flames of the Topless-Towers of Illium, must move-on to Rome to found The-Eternal-City.

But, along the way, Aeneas? Ship comes to Ground on the Shores of Carthage, where the Widowed Queen Dido Reins Supreme.

Dido is Entranced & Aeneas is Available, but there are Voices that Urge him onward to Rome.

So Carthage is just a kind of Land-Fall & Pit-Stop for Aeneas.

When he Sets-Sail, Dido sets herself on Fire: A Flamboyant-Exit?

Long, long ago, in Merrie-Enlgand, Court-Composer Henry Purcell set this Historic-Fable to Baroque-Musical-Challenges, which have been Handsomely-Met by the Master Voices & their Guest-Soloists, Victoria Clark, Kelli O?Hara, Anna Christy, Sarah Mesko, & Elliot Madore.

Librettist Nahum Tate wrote a Prologue, the Scored-Setting of which is Now-Lost, so Michael John LoChiuso has drafted a Delightful-Modern-Replacement: The Daughters of Necessity, which finds the Solo-Ladies as Workforce-Outfitted-Goddesses: The Three Fates, Measuring-Out & Cutting-the-Cords of Human-Life, relating, of course, in a Major-Way, to the Fates of Aeneas & Dido.

It is a Great-Shame that the Master Voices Dido & Aeneas could only be performed for Two-Nights at New-York-City-Center, because this Semi-Staging was so Totally-Entrancing?

Formerly, when they were Professionally-Known as The Collegiate-Chorale, these Talented-Musicians presented an Annual-Concert in Carnegie-Hall, with Salaried-Soloists Front-&-Center, backed by the Men & Women of Collegial-Music-Making.

Now, however, thanks to Director/Choreographer Doug Varone, Semi-Staging takes on New-Meaning as his Troupe of Lithe-Athletic-Dancers Mime the Blighted-Romance of Dido & that Fickle-Trojan.

This time, however, instead of a Solid-Black-Clad-Phalanx of Singers Upstage, behind the Soloists, they are now evenly-divided into Two-Tiered-Blocks of Men [Stage-Left] & Women [Stage-Right].

This facilitates Dramatic-Entrances & Exits from Upstage to Downstage-Center.

What?s even more engaging is Doug Varone?s enlisting the Chorale as Semi-Actors or Physical-Reactors.

Ted Sperling conducted The Orchestra of St. Luke?s, which always seems to be On-Tap for Short-Term-Productions in Manhattan.

As for Aeneas, Rome-Got-Founded: Virtue is its Own-Reward, as they say?

As for the Totally-Incinerated Queen Dido, she passed-over into Myth, Fable, Heroic-Drama, & Grand-Opera, surfacing-again in Rural-California as a Tempestuous-Lady, always "Cutting-Up Didoes!?

My Untutored-Father was fond of using that Odd-Expression to characterize any Unwelcome-Feminine-Outbursts.

David Merton Loney?who did not Finish-Grammar-School?had No-Idea about Queen Dido.

As for the Long-Vanished-Carthage, every Oration in the Roman-Senate by Cicero ended with: Et Cartago Delenda Est!.

Effectively: Carthage Must Be Destroyed!

Well, They Did It. Can you find Carthage on the Map today?

No! But you certainly can find Rome!

With or without Master Voices to Lead-the-Way?

At The Music-Box Theatre:

George C. Wolfe?s SHUFFLE ALONG?

OR THE MAKING OF THE MUSICAL SENSATION OF 1921 & ALL THAT FOLLOWED [***]

Taps-Are-Still-Tops?At Least on Broadway at Irving Berlin?s Music-Box,

Temped as The 63rd-Street-Music-Hall, Between Broadway & Central-Park-West?

A Nominator-Colleague complained to me that Shuffle-Along was All-Tap-Dancing!

But what did he expect of a Quasi-Revival of the 1921-Broadway-Hit, Shuffle-Along?

Martha Graham? George Balanchine?

Tapping on their Tippy-Toes is what the Original-Cast of Shuffle-Along were doing so very well that the Show Ran & Ran.

They also Sang-Their-Hearts-Out, as well as doing some Lively-Production-Numbers?

Thanks to the Choreography of Savion Glover [Bring in ?da Noise, Bring in ?da Funk], there are still some Terrific-Routines in Shuffle-Along, which are often showcased in Handsome-Set-Pieces, with Costumes by Ann Roth & Scenic-Effects by Santo Loquasto.

But the Fatal-Flaw of this Evocation of Shuffle-Along, staged by George C. Wolfe?who once briefly ran Joe Papp?s Public-Theatre?is the Doomed-Attempt to Encompass almost an Entire-History of the Show?s Gestation & what happened to all the Major-Talents until the Day-They-Died.

"Less-Is-More? is a Lesson yet to be Learnt by George C. Wolfe?

Nonetheless, it is a Great-Treat to Savor the Talents of Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter, Joshua Henry, Brandon Victor Dixon, & Brooks Ashmanskas, as they Recall-To-Stage-Life such Showbiz-Legends as Noble Sissle, Eubie Blake, FE Miller & Aubrey Lyles.

Frankly, I?d be Overjoyed to see this Show again, but with only the Production-Numbers left intact!

Wasn?t there once a Song: If You Asked Me, I Could Write a Book?

Most of the Acted-Text could well be Excised & Printed in a Richly-Illustrated Black-History-Book.

At Premier-Exhibitions on Fifth-Avenue:

Lord Carnarvon & Howard Carter?s Recycled TREASURES OF KING TUT [*****]

All the Original-Tut-Treasures Are Now Replicated in Glowing-Gold & On-View Near Lord-&-Taylor!

Yes, Queen Nefertiti!

All King Tut?s Golden-Chariots, Golden-Shrines, Golden-Beds, Golden-Thrones, Golden-Ankhs, Golden-Toe-Tips, & Golden-Coffins?originally laid to rest in Layers like Russian-Babushka-Dolls?are now on-display next door to Astro-Gems on Fifth-Avenue.

The Metaphoric-Capstone of this Pyramid-of-Funerary-Treasures is that Unforgettable-Golden-Glowing-Death-Mask of the Boy-King.

Tut?s Tremendous-Treasures are ingeniously laid-out?with Videos & Head-Sets to explain what you are looking-at?on Three-Levels, seen in Descending-Order.

If you ever have seen any Tut-Treasures in Cairo, Paris, London, Berlin, or Brooklyn, you may be amazed at how Just-Off-The-Assembly-Line the Golden-Treasures now look.

This is thanks to a German-Based Replication-Project.

On 20 December 1978, The Treasures of Tutankhamun opened at the Met-Museum, also on Fifth-Avenue, but farther Upstream than Astro-Gems?

But my First-Experience with Tut?s-Tomb & the Fabled-Excavations of Howard Carter & his Noble-Sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, was exposure to that 1920s National-Geographic-Magazine Photo-Report, which had been squirreled-away in the Back-Room-Storage-Space of Indian-Springs-School, a One-Room Rural-California-School that had originally been constructed as a Young-Ladies-Seminary, way back in 1859?

When the original Worldwide-Touring-Treasures-of-Tut-Exhibition came to the Met-Museum, it seemed like Old-Times-in-Luxor?

Way back in 1958?after a Highly-Successful Tour-of-Teaching for ARAMCO in Saudi-Arabia?I was invited to Cairo by President/General Gamal Abdul Nasser, who sent me down to Luxor & the West-Bank, where all the Great-Kings had been buried.

Granted Solitary-Access to Tut?s [almost] Empty-Tomb, I took a Flash-Photo of a Solitary-Stone-Coffin, only later noting the Signs in Various-Languages: No Flash-Photography!

After Seeing-All-the Sites/Sights in the Valley-of-the-Kings, I went onward to the Valley-of-the-Queens, to see the Long-Forgotten-Temples of Queen Hatshepsut, the Queen-Who-Was-a-King!

Rafting down the Nile, I came to Idfu, Site of the Temple-of-Horus, the Hawk-God.

A White-Robed-Delegation was waiting for me on the River-Bank, offering me a Fan & a Clear-Glass-of-Water?

At the Current-Tut-Show, you will have to buy your own Bottled-Water, which may come from either Fiji or Poland-Spring.

Certainly not from Luxor nor Idfu?

The last time I was in Luxor, I had Reservations at the New-Wing of the Historic Winter-Palace-Hotel, but I was displaced by Secretary-of-State Dr. Condoleeza Rice, who was on a One-Day visit to Valley-of-the-Kings, accompanied by the then President-of-Egypt, Hosni Mubarak?

Memories, Memories!

Had I been, long, long ago, a Prince-of-Ancient-Egypt, now reborn as a Reporter for Various-National-Publications?

Downstairs, in the Vast-Tut-Oriented-Gift-Shoppe, you can buy your Very-Own Glowing-Death-Mask of the Boy-King.

But with a Facial-Difference!

Instead of King Tut?s Stylized-Mask, Your-Very-Own-Face will be framed by Tut?s Ancient-Egyptian-Cowl!

Possibly fabricated in China or Bangladesh, but certainly not in either Luxor or Jersey-City?

Just in case you haven?t already experienced Optical-Overkill with all that Tut-Mania, also on the Third-Floor are the Recycled-Memories of Saturday-Night-Live!

Thank God, Osiris, & Isis, there are No-Souvenirs of the Bill-Cosby-Show?

<- Back