Off-Broadway Review: “The Other Josh Cohen”

Off-Broadway Review: “The Other Josh Cohen”

“The Other Josh Cohen,” currently running at the Westside Theatre/Downstairs, has been bemoaning the hapless and lackluster life of Josh Cohen (Steve Rosen) through his Doppelganger narrator Josh (David Rossmer) since October 2012. That’s a long time to celebrate having one’s apartment robbed of everything, rehearsing one’s dysfunctional family, recounting a string of failed romantic relationships, and resolving the mystery of a letter and check for a substantial sum of money – yet, audiences continue to cheer Josh on, apparently identifying with this fictional character’s “hard luck life” and his ability to overcome misfortune and re-create himself and his future.

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Off-Broadway Review: “Thom Pain (based on nothing)”

Off-Broadway Review: “Thom Pain (based on nothing)”

In this revival of “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” at The Pershing Square Signature Center’s Irene Diamond Stage, Will Eno steps over, under, and in between the resting places – and the writing desks – of the literary canon’s most prominent surrealist writers of the past and present. Eno seems to stop there to chat, listen, tremble (who wouldn’t), and laugh with these greats, echoes of whom cascade across the stage in a stunning performance by Michael C. Hall.

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Second Opinion Broadway Review: "The Prom"

Second Opinion Broadway Review: "The Prom"

If anyone is looking for a fun night out, grab your significant other, or for that matter just pick yourself up, get dressed and go to “The Prom” where everyone is welcomed, and you are almost guaranteed to have a good time. The good old fashioned musical has returned to Broadway and just like those legendary shows from an era gone by, this new musical confection with a book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Mr. Beguelin, is big, broad and brassy. It is full of stereotypes, theatre references, production numbers and a lot of laughs from characters you learn to love. What sets this show apart, is that it takes a chance, betting against the odds, that an important subject matter can be addressed and resolved, even if heavily sugar coated with humor, song and dance, as long as real, honest human beings emerge in the process. The ingenuity used here is that the characters are not transformed, they are revealed as their layers of protective armor are shed by the force of integrity.

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Review: “Rule of 7x7: All-Stars” at The Tank

Review: “Rule of 7x7: All-Stars” at The Tank

Whether you’re a writer, an actor, or a director, timed challenges in theatre can often be wildly crazy and highly energizing for all of the artists involved. For the audience members who are lucky enough to be around for the final result, it often leads to some of the most strangely entertaining nights of live theatre that you’re bound to enjoy. If there’s ever been such an excellent example I’ve seen recently of that, it’s the recent “All-Stars” round of the Rule of 7x7 series that runs throughout the year at The Tank.

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Off-Broadway Review: “Gloria: A Life” at the Daryl Roth Theatre

Off-Broadway Review: “Gloria: A Life” at the Daryl Roth Theatre

It is not such a common occurrence that a playwright attempts to pay tribute to a living legend unless the work of that inspirational personality continues in the present as well as already being a pivotal part of history. That is why it is easy to understand the decision of Emily Mann to bring to the stage the life of the feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Under the astute direction of Diane Paulus, the two-hour multimedia piece fuses docudrama, theatre and talking circle, to review the life of Ms. Steinem but more importantly to remind the audience that in such uncertain times, the work she started is not yet done. It is not meant to preach, but to arouse and stimulate, so we may gather, communicate and understand the need for equality. It is not a resurgence but more like a recharge, taking power from one source and passing it on to another, who may then empower another, until all become enlightened, ready and able to fight until the battle is won. More so, it is steeped in reality.

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Review: “The Bridge” at The Tank

Review: “The Bridge” at The Tank

When it comes to conceptual dance and performance pieces, I am always a fan of work that adapts poetry. When it’s done right, it often can feel like some of the most incredibly beautiful works of performance that there is. So when I was invited to review Natalia Roberts’s dance show inspired by Shel Silverstein’s “The Bridge”, I was certainly intrigued. When I got to the theater, however, I quickly realized that the show wasn’t necessarily an adaptation, so much as it was a response.

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Broadway Review: "The Prom"

Broadway Review: "The Prom"

Ah, the prom. It’s every high school kid’s biggest dream or worst nightmare, depending on how your teen years went. I remember my prom was spent mostly hiding in the basement of the after-party house with my best friend, avoiding my overly-handsy, drunk date.

Thankfully, this new musical from the creators of “The Wedding Singer” and the “Drowsy Chaperone” does not involve tipsy teens.

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Review: “OnlyHuman” at St. Mark’s Church

Review: “OnlyHuman” at St. Mark’s Church

The subject of human behavior, its frequent contradictions, and how it often can lead to destructive behavior in society, is often a common topic of worthy discussion, both in the arts and among philosophers. One of the great texts to touch on this topic is "Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits" by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzche. Now, in 2018, prolific choreographer has adapted Nietzche’s work for the arts through her brilliant new conceptual dance piece “OnlyHuman”.

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Review: "Fort Dicks" at The American Theatre of Actors

Review: "Fort Dicks" at The American Theatre of Actors

Theatre is a beautiful thing. It brings us closer together, it promotes love and diversity, and encourages us to challenge the conventions of the world around us if we feel that we can do better (and we always can). However, that is not what the theatre had in store for me when I sat through “Fort Dicks the Musical” at the American Theatre for Actors.

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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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