Review: “Catch the Sparrow” at Theatre 54

Review: “Catch the Sparrow” at Theatre 54

Few things hurt families more than the sudden and devastating loss of a loved one. The only thing that can make matters worse is when it leads to a falling out between the relatives that are left behind, causing them to remain estranged for a considerably long period of time. It is this type of divide that is explored in a very emotional and in-depth manner in Alex Mace’s new play Catch the Sparrow, a compelling story about the final reunion of an ailing father and his estranged adult son.

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Review: “Independent Study” at The Tank

Review: “Independent Study” at The Tank

The feeling of betrayal is always one of the most sickening and disturbing feelings that someone can have. It’s only even worse, when it comes as a result of losing trust – as a result of learning facts about them not previously known – in a close mentor or teacher whom you once admired and thought you could look up to. It is exactly this type of relationship that is explored, in a very modern and relevant context, in Ben Gassman’s brilliant new play entitled Independent Study.

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Review: “A Hansel and Gretel Christmas” at Manhattan Repertory Theatre

Review: “A Hansel and Gretel Christmas” at Manhattan Repertory Theatre

When looking for events to do with your kids during the holiday season, a show you’ve just discovered based on a fairy tale that everyone knows is hardly something you could go wrong with. Just the title of the show itself – “A Hansel and Gretel Christmas” – conveys joy for the whole family. Furthermore, the fact that it’s produced by one of the more prolific and successful indie theatre companies of the past decade – “Friends Always Creating Theatre” aka FACT – would seemingly add to its promise. However, once you’re seated in the theater, you quickly realize how one creative decision involving one main character can easily ruin the whole show.

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Review: "Divination" at American Theatre of Actors NYC

Review: "Divination" at American Theatre of Actors NYC

“Divination” is not a perfect play, but it expresses ideas that are often thought about with an ensemble of unique individuals dealing with the struggles that we deal with everyday. I hope as the play continues to evolve that it will not lose sight of these wonderfully fascinating ideas.

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Review: “Small Craft Warnings” at 13th Street Repertory Theatre

Review: “Small Craft Warnings” at 13th Street Repertory Theatre

Widely considered to be one of the finest playwrights of the 20th century, titles such as “The Glass Menagerie” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” are often among the first to come to mind, when someone hears the name Tennessee Williams. However, while those plays came during the earlier part of his career, the final decade or so of his life is more associated with his personal troubles than with anything to do with his artistic output. This is a terrible shame, as there are still plenty of gems worth appreciating, when looking back on this period of his life. Among them is “Small Craft Warnings”, first produced in 1972 and now revived at the historic 13th Street Repertory Theatre by Regeneration Theatre.

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Review: “Gemini” at Theatre Row NYC

Review: “Gemini” at Theatre Row NYC

Though, I feel “Gemini” doesn’t dig in to Francis’ struggles with his homosexuality as much as I would have liked to see, instead opting for the wacky antics of the people around him, and the ending feels sudden, the actors and director did a fine job with the text that they were given and put on a show that will be enjoyable for the audience.

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Review: "Freefall Frostbite" at Feinstein’s/54 Below

Review: "Freefall Frostbite" at Feinstein’s/54 Below

A new musical, Freefall Frostbite, was presented as a 65-minute concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Tuesday, October 16.

“Freefall Frostbite” is a full, two-act musical. This is the show’s third New York engagement, following an October 2017 run at St. Mark’s Theater. The show originally premiered in 2013 at the NYC International Fringe Festival, but was completely reimagined with a new score and altered script.

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Off-Broadway Review: “India Pale Ale”

Off-Broadway Review: “India Pale Ale”

Jaclyn Backhaus’s “India Pale Ale” currently running at Manhattan Theatre Club’s New York City Center Stage I has acollection of “teachable moments.” Some of the lessons are rather unimportant though interesting. The audience learns the history of IPA (India Pale Ale), the hops and alcohol content of the iconic enhanced pale ale, and how at least one white hipster Tim (a lumbering and naïve Nate Miller) does not know what the “I” in “IPA” stands for. Other lessons are significantly more important. The audience learns the migratory history of Basminder “Boz” Batra (an energetic and spirited Shazi Raja) and her Punjabi family to the United States and theirnew home in Raymond, Wisconsin. Boz and her brother Iggy (a deeply sensitive and ebullient Sathya Sridharan) are second-generation American citizens.And the audience learns that Boz wants to leave Raymond and open a bar in nearby Madison, Wisconsin.

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Review: “When We Went Electronic” at The Tank

Review: “When We Went Electronic” at The Tank

After a long and busy night involving sex and intoxication, it might be easy to forget what happened, with memories getting blurred and distorted, leaving them to question how good or bad last night really was. In Caitlin Saylor Stephens’s new play at The Tank, we see this type of scenario play out in a highly absurdist fashion, as two American Apparel models question the reality of the events of what happened the previous night.

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Review: "Simple Math" - Solving the Neurobiology of Assault

Review: "Simple Math" - Solving the Neurobiology of Assault

 In a year where it was very difficult to be a woman “Simple Math” offers a cathartic revelation for countless people who have been assaulted and then groomed or shamed into silence with its message being: you’re not alone, and more importantly it isn’t your fault. And given the current political climate one can’t help but commend that.

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Off-Broadway Review: “Days of Rage”

Off-Broadway Review: “Days of Rage”

Rooms full of missed opportunities sprawl across Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre where Steven Levenson’s new play “Days of Rage” is running through November 2018. Mr. Levenson, the award-winning book-writer of “Dear Evan Hansen, tackles the important issues of nationalism, xenophobia, and racism against the backdrop of a radical collective of three friends protesting the “atrocities” of the Vietnam War.  The time is October 1969 and Spence (an intense yet vulnerable Mike Faist), Jenny (a devoted and lonesome Lauren Patten), and Quinn (an unbridled and combative Odessa Young) share a ramshackle old house in upstate New York where they espouse the tenets of Lenin, Marx, and Engels and are engaged in recruiting other anti-war advocates to join them in a road trip to Chicago where an estimated twenty-five thousand will gather to rage against the war, the President, and the establishment.

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Review: "YouthandDeath at Dixon Place

Review: "YouthandDeath at Dixon Place

“YouthandDeath”, written, directed, and choreographed by Chris Bell, tells several stories of his life all strewn together in the fragmented way that one would recall things from memory using beautiful dance, a narration from Bell that feels very much like a spoken word poem, and a unique selection of music ranging from Cole Porter to Nicki Manaj. It features an ensemble of four dancers (Nicole Baker, London Brison, AJ Guevara, and Katarina Lott) each representing a different essential aspect of life, being (in no particular order) Youth, Death, Change, and Beauty.

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Off-Broadway Review: “What the Constitution Means to Me” at New York Theatre Workshop

Off-Broadway Review: “What the Constitution Means to Me” at New York Theatre Workshop

After greeting the audience at New York Theatre Workshop, playwright Heidi Schreck introduces her play “What the Constitution Means to Me” as follows: “When I was 15 years old, I travelled the country giving speeches about the Constitution at American Legion halls for prize money. This was a scheme invented by my mom, who was a debate coach, to help me pay for college.” For ninety minutes, Ms. Schreck rehearses those speeches not for prize money but to remind the audience that the Constitution has been less protective of human rights than its drafters intended and to warn the audience that the main culprit in this diminution of protection is the Supreme Court of the United States.

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Review: “The Amazing Story Machine” at The Tank

Review: “The Amazing Story Machine” at The Tank

Each year, the Jim Henson Foundation aims to keep their namesake’s legacy alive and well by granting an annual Family Grant to an organization creating innovative new examples of children’s storytelling through puppetry. One recent example is the latest production to be showcased at The Tank: “The Amazing Story Machine”, a new story that tells the story of how seven generations after the brothers Grimm changed children’s storytelling forever with their book of fairy tales, the cousins Grimm seek to do the same with their brand new invention…only for things to not go quite to their plan along the way.

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Review: “Constellations” at Hudson Stage Company

Review: “Constellations” at Hudson Stage Company

In this sense, “Constellations” constitutes a dazzling counterargument on both the theoretical and practical level to the idea that all meaning lies dormant in, for example, a script or sealed up inside the words on a page; and that no matter who utters them, or how, or in what context and physical space, they will mean the same thing. For this and many other reasons, it follows that only a talented and experienced actor can pull off Payne’s play. No doubt with invaluable assistance from director Mark Shanahan, and fostered by an excellent company that rarely misfires, Sandberg and Williams are terrific. They never miss a beat.

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Review: "Serving Brulee" at FringeNYC

Review: "Serving Brulee" at FringeNYC

Telling a story about the unrealistic expectations of perfection through the lense of  daytime television, an unapologetically plastic-perfect medium, is a brilliant concept. Though, I found myself wishing that “Serving Brulee” would take the time to lean into that concept a little more, peel back on the jokes, letting them come from a place of truth rather than absurdity, and leave us wanting seconds.

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Review: Normal Ave’s “Completeness” Manages to Redefine Normal

Review: Normal Ave’s “Completeness” Manages to Redefine Normal

Normal Ave, a relatively young company has started off their third season with a production of “Completeness” that is sure to affect audiences of all ages. Written by Itmar Moses and directed by Jeremy Landes “Completeness” is a love letter to non-committal relationships with a relevant exploration of how the millennial generation approaches or rather avoids approaching relationships. 

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Review: “Ruffles” at The Tank

Review: “Ruffles” at The Tank

Since 2003, The Tank has earned a reputation as one of the leading venues in New York for presenting some of the most unique work, presented by artists who aren’t afraid to think outside the box. When I say this, this often includes works that take social and cultural issues that are prevalent in society, and thus covered frequently in the arts, but explores them in a way that is experimental and different from most mainstream contemporary works. That is especially true of Ruffles, the latest world premiere to find a home at this venue this month.

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Review: “Give ‘Em, Hell, Harry” at the Episcopal Actors Guild

Review: “Give ‘Em, Hell, Harry” at the Episcopal Actors Guild

“Wouldn’t you like to have someone as honest as Harry S. Truman in office now?”

 At least, that’s the question that was posed by the prolific Ego Actus Theatre Company, as they revived the autobiographical one-man show “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry” this past weekend. Originally written by Samuel Gallu, former President Truman is brought back to life by prolific actor J. Dolan Byrnes, who brings a unique perspective to a role such as this, having once served as a Congressional aide during the Reagan administration.

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