Monthly Archives: February 2011



Openings and Previews

Event: Arcadia

Venue: Ethel Barrymore Theatre

Margaret Colin, Billy Crudup, Raúl Esparza, Grace Gummer, Byron Jennings, and Noah . . .


Event: The Book of Mormon

Venue: Eugene O'Neill Theatre

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the “South Park” creators, and Robert Lopez . . .


Event: Cactus Flower

Venue: Westside Theatre

Maxwell Caulfield and Lois Robbins star in Abe Burrows’s 1965 comedy hit . . .


Event: Ghetto Klown

Venue: Lyceum Theatre

John Leguizamo stars in a new solo play, directed by Fisher Stevens . . .


Event: Good People

Venue: Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Manhattan Theatre Club presents the world première of a new play by . . .


Event: Hello Again

Venue: Transport Group

Transport Group presents Michael John LaChiusa’s musical about interconnected romances that take . . .


Event: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Venue: Al Hirschfeld Theatre

Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette star in this revival of the 1961 . . .


Event: Kin

Venue: Playwrights Horizons

Playwrights Horizons presents the world première of a play by Bathsheba Doran . . .


Event: The Merchant of Venice

Venue: Michael Schimmel Center at Pace University

Theatre for a New Audience presents its 2007 production of the Shakespeare . . .


Event: The Method Gun

Venue: Dance Theatre Workshop

The Rude Mechs present a play by Kirk Lynn, about the acting . . .


Event: Peter and the Starcatcher

Venue: New York Theatre Workshop

New York Theatre Workshop presents this play by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys,” . . .


Event: Play Nice!

Venue: 59E59 Theatres

Ego Actus Design presents Robin Rice Lichtig’s play about sisters who use . . .


Event: Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical

Venue: Palace Theatre

Tony Sheldon, Nick Adams, and Will Swenson lead the cast of this . . .


Event: That Championship Season

Venue: Jacobs Theatre

Brian Cox, Jim Gaffigan, Chris Noth, Jason Patric, and Kiefer Sutherland star . . .


Event: Treasure Island

Venue: Irondale Center

B. H. Barry directs Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate adventure, adapted by 


Don Taylor's translation of the savage tragicomedy by Euripides about a war in the Middle East fought for the flimsiest of reasons.

Type the following link into your browser or listen at: or

The Trojan War is over and the Greek forces are making their way home. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Helen of Troy is protesting to anyone who will listen that she is innocent, that she never went to Troy, and the whole war was fought under false pretences. When her husband Menelaus is shipwrecked on the shore where Helen has been taking sanctuary, she not only has a lot of explaining to do, but also an escape to plan.

This story of a war in the Middle East fought over dubious claims now has contemporary resonance.

Frances Barber stars as Helen, James Purefoy as her husband, and Paul Ritter as King Theoclymenus.

Helen ….. Frances Barber
Menelaus ….. James Purefoy
Theoclymenus ….. Paul Ritter
Theonoe/Chorus ….. Anna Francolini
Concierge/Chorus ….. Catherine Russell
Slave/Chorus ….. Laura Rees
Teucer ….. Gus Brown
Sailor/Messenger ….. Richard Galazka
Heavenly Twins ….. Max Digby

Music composed and performed by Derek Bourgeois

Adapted and Directed by Ellen Dryden

An independent production by First Writes Radio.



(David Hajdu’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/25.)

Not since the heavenly dressing crew worked its miracle in “Cabin in the Sky” has anyone labored as hard to rehabilitate Waters’s image as Donald Bogle has in writing “Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters.” Bogle, a historian of ­African-American entertainment and the author of several good books on the subject (including the influential “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films”), has researched Waters thoroughly and presents, fastidiously, the great many facts of her long life and career. She began singing at age 21 in 1917 and remained active on television until 1972, five years before her death. The ­story he tells is a complex one of an almost tyrannically ambitious artist who broke racial barriers through a delicate and treacherous combination of will and accommodation.




Theatre Production Workshop Presents

Time and the Conways

Marymount Manhattan College Theatre Production Workshop presents a revival of Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestly from Wednesday, March 9th through Saturday, March 12th at 8:00 p.m. and on Sunday, March 13th at 2:00 p.m. in the Theresa Lang Theatre, located at 221 East 71st Street. 

Time and the Conways (1937) is a meditation on J. W. Dunne’s theory of serial time, attesting that time is not merely a linear progression, but a concept that simultaneously contains past, present and future.  As the play follows the story of the seemingly perfect Conway family—Act One presents their perfect day, Act Two their worst day, and Act Three, the reasons why—we realize that their travails have paralleled the vanquished ideals of the British people between the wars.

This production is performed by students in the Theatre Arts programs of the College with direction by Prof. Kevin Connell, scenic design by Sofia Palacios Blanca, costume design by Elise Vanderkley, lighting design by Matthew McCarthy, sound design by Meghan Rose Murphy, and dialect and text coaching by Prof. Barbara Adrian.

General admission tickets are $10, tickets for senior citizens and students of others schools (with valid ID) are $5, and admission is free of charge for MMC students, alumni, faculty, and staff (with valid MMC ID). TDF vouchers are accepted.

For further information, and to reserve tickets beginning February 23rd, call 212-774-0760 or e-mail: Be sure to include your full name, phone number, the desired performance date, and number of tickets. The Theresa Lang Theatre at Marymount Manhattan College is located at 221 East 71st Street, New York, NY. The College is accessible by subway, via the #6 Lexington Ave. Local or by the M 15 (Second Ave.) or M101, 102, 103 (Third Ave.) bus.

Order Kevin Connell's The Holy Terror, an adaptation of Richard II, from Stage Voices Publishing:

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Visit Kevin Connell’s Web site:


(Bruce Weber’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/25.)

Haila Stoddard, an actress who had a long career on the stage and on television and who as a producer brought the works of Noël Coward, James Thurber and Harold Pinter to Broadway, died Monday at her home in Weston, Conn. She was 97.

The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest, said her son, Christopher Kirkland.

Ms. Stoddard’s varied and colorful life in show business, which included radio serials, regional theater, Broadway, television drama and soap operas, brought her semifame, semifortune and a lot of fun.




(Robert Faires’s interview with John Lahr appeared in the Austin Chronicle, 2/25.)

Blanche DuBois was no Athena.

That is to say, the faded belle of Belle Reve, who makes her way to her sister's cramped French Quarter digs via that fateful streetcar named Desire, didn't spring fully formed from the head of her creator. For that matter, neither did her sister Stella or Stella's brutish husband, Stanley, or the drama in which they all live. However gifted and inspired a writer Tennessee Williams may have been – and he was as gifted and inspired as any the American theatre has produced – he was not a writer whose work first hit the page in finished form. Those landmark plays for which he is best known – Streetcar, The Glass Menagerie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Summer and Smoke, The Night of the Iguana – were the result of many revisions and drafts, some of which took the plays down very different roads than the ones we know. He would sometimes rework a play over a span of years, as he did with the 1940 drama Battle of Angels, which by 1957 he had transformed into Orpheus Descending.



(Charles Isherwood’s article appeared in The New York Times, 2/24.)

To watch “The Hallway Trilogy” by Adam Rapp is to enter an alternate universe. In this series of connected plays being performed in rotating repertory at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (or in all-day marathons on Sunday), a nondescript passageway in a Lower East Side tenement building becomes a carnival of the desperate, the grotesque, the outrageous. Mr. Rapp, a relentless provocateur whose numerous plays have paraded a feast of bad behavior before the city’s more adventurous — and strong-stomached — theatergoers, never ceases to extend himself in the presentation of the grisly extremes of human experience.





(Chris Jones’s article appeared on Theater Loop,1/14.)

There is no more appealing Shakespearean heroine than Rosalind: a smart, down-to-earth and thoroughly generous gal who not only takes care of her best friend through turbulent political times without regard for her own ego, but through it all retains an infectious optimism about love.

And there is no better Rosalind than Kate Fry, an actress able to play the entire seven ages of women and men without any stretch of credulity, and who invariably encapsulates on stage those very same and very beguiling qualities.

Fry's exceedingly fine work in Gary Griffin's expansive and engrossing new production of “As You Like It” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is what you might call an essential performance. Without it, it's hard to imagine this production working so well. But with Fry as its warm, crispy, intermittently insouciant and perpetually irony-free center, this tale of court, forest and romantic disguise proceeds with the kind of rich emotional core that this delicately toned bit of Shakespeare especially needs.

And it comes with a singular quest of the heart in which one becomes wholly invested.





(Charles Spencer’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 2/23.)

In Danny Boyle’s eagerly awaited production of Frankenstein the show’s stars are alternating the roles of the scientist and the deformed Creature in Mary Shelley’s great gothic tale, first published in 1818.

On Tuesday we saw Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature, cobbled together from dead body parts and conjured into life by the power of science, with Benedict Cumberbatch as his appalled creator, Victor Frankenstein. Last night the roles were reversed.

For those who have tickets — and if you haven’t you will have to queue for day seats or attend a performance due to be screened live in cinemas on March 17 and 24 — I can report that both versions are well worth seeing. Miller, however, strikes me as the more disturbing and poignant monster, while Cumberbatch undoubtedly has the edge as the scientist who is ultimately revealed to lack the humanity of the unhappy creature he has created.

Either way, the show is a thrill — though the inevitable result of seeing it twice is that one does notice the occasional longueur, and the fact that Nick Dear’s sometimes plodding script doesn’t always live up to the brilliance of Boyle’s direction or the nervy intensity of the lead performances.



(Alexis Soloski’s article appeared in the Village Voice, 2/23.)

Is Geoffrey Rush sane? Certainly, he has played any number of compos mentis characters, and nothing in his offstage, off-camera behavior hints at a deranged psyche. Yet in films such as Shine and Quills and in the recent Broadway run of Exit the King, he takes on crazed roles with such confidence and aplomb you have to doubt the balance of his mind.