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August 4, 2015

Celebrating NINETEEN Seasons on the web!

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Current Edition Uploaded: 8/4/15

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I am finally back in the reviewing saddle after three months away
tending to my and Alan Menken’s musical in Montreal,
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz,
which went better than I dared dream:
Extended twice, sellout houses, standing ovations at every performance,
positive-to-rave reviews almost across the board,
the possibility of moving on—and a cast album recorded.

But as a critic, I found it sobering, because,
despite the show being reviewed awfully well, it was fascinating to be
—not for the first time, but for the first time in a long while—
on the other side of the process and to be reminded
of how easily critics can misconnect the dots,
even when writing reviews that help sell tickets.

Nobody who isn’t in on development and rehearsals really knows
what a given gestation and creative process could have been like
(though to be fair, smart and experienced insiders
can make very informed deductions), and it’s all-too-easy
to make assumptions and generalizations that have
nothing to do with anything—which is perhaps particularly highlighted
outside of the US (and especially NYC), where musical theatre as an art form
is admired but not inextricably woven into the culture—
and I therefore came away from the experience determined to be
even more careful than ever before.

What a heightened sensitivity will add (or subtract) qualitatively,
I have no idea, but it’s in the matrix now...
so I guess we’ll find that out as we go...

For previous reviews of current or recent attractions,
as well as a partial selection of archival material
see regional indexes at the bottom
of the Home Page.

New Features This Edition:

New York critic David Spencer reviews:

Blindness and deafness are relative...
Three Days to See
A Reawakening of Helen Keller in Her Own Words
Conceived and Directed by Jack Cummings III
A Production of The Transport Group
Theatre 79 at 79 East 4th Street
(The New York Theatre Workshop space under its non-NYTW name)

The story behind the song...sort of...
Amazing Grace
Music and Lyrics by Christopher Smith
Book by Christopher Smith and Arthur Giron
Directed by Gabriel Barre
Nederlander Theatre

The Pulitzer Prize Winner Returns...
The Flick
by Annie Baker
Directed by Sam Gold
Barrow Street Theatre

The camp musical for people who hate camp musicals...
Book, Lyrics and Direction by Joel Paley
Music by Marvin Laird
St. Luke's on 46th Street

A nicely twisty thriller...
Pimm's Mission
by Chistopher Stetson Boal
Directed by Terrence Obrien
A Production of Oberon Theatre Ensemble
Stage C at 59E59

Sexual politics...and politics made sexual...
Directed by Chris Coleman
A Production of Portland Stage and ACT
Stage A at 59E59

The young and the restlessly lonely...
Significant Other
by Joshua Harmon
Directed by Trip Cullman
A Production of the Roundabout Theatre Company
at the Laura Pels Theatre

Backstage and coming of age...
Shows for Days
by Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Jerry Zaks
Starring Patti LuPone and Michael Urie
A Production of Lincoln Center Theatre
Mitzi Newhouse Theatre
at Lincoln Center

...and a few post mortem quickies:

Dinner With The Boys
by Dan Lauria

Act of God

by David Javerbaum

The Qualms
by Bruce Norris

Of Good Stock
by Melissa Ross

Guards at the Taj
by Rajiv Joseph

San Francisco critic Judy Richter reviews:

The Book of Mormon
Music, Lyrics and Book by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone
Directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker
Presented by Broadway San Jose
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts

Twelfth Night
by William Shakespeare
Presented by California Shakespeare Theater
Directed by Christopher Liam Moore
Bruns Memorial Amphitheater

Anything Goes

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Original book by P.G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton,
Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse
New book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman
Directed by Michael Butler
Presented by Center REPertory Company
Margaret Lesher Theatre, Lesher Center for the Arts

Call Me Miss Birds-Eye
Music and Lyrics by Various
Book by Jack Tinker
Directed by Rick Wallace
Presented by Acoustic Voice
Geary Theater

by David Henry Hwang
Directed by Lily Tung Crystal
Presented by Palo Alto Players
Lucie Stern Theater

Choir Boy
by Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Kent Gash
Presented by Marin Theatre Company
Boyer Theatre

The Columnist
by David Auburn
Directed by Brandon Jackson
Presented by Dragon Productions
Dragon Productions Theatre

Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Additional lyrics by John Kander & Rupert Holmes
Book by Rupert Holmes
Based on an original Book & Concept by Peter Stone
Directed by Nancy Fitzgerald-Metzler
Presented by Hillbarn Theatre

by Lisa D'Amour
Presented by Aurora Theatre Company
Directed by Josh Costello
Aurora Theatre

Fallen Angels
by Noël Coward
Directed by Robert Kelley
Presented by TheatreWorks
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart
Directed by Milissa Carey and Michael Ryken
Presented by Foothill Music Theatre
Smithwick Theatre

This Golden State, Part 1: Delano

by Luis Alfaro
Directed by Loretta Greco
Presented by and at Magic Theatre

Hay Fever
by Noël Coward
Directed by Lynne Soffer
Presented by Stanford Repertory Theater
Pigott Theater (Memorial Auditorium)

Life is a Dream
by Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Adapted and Translated by Nilo Cruz
Presented by California Shakespeare Theater
Directed by Loretta Greco
Bruns Memorial Amphitheater

Love and Information
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Casey Stangl
Presented by American Conservatory Theater
Strand Theater

My Fair Lady
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics and Book by Alan Jay Lerner
Directed by Ken Savage
Presented by Broadway By the Bay
Fox Theatre

A Little Night Music
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Mark Lamos
Starring Patrick Cassidy and Karen Ziemba
Presented by American Conservatory Theater
Geary Theater

Notes from the Field
Doing Time in Education: The California Chapter

by Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by Leah C. Gardiner
Presented by Berkeley Repertory Theatre
In the Roda Theatre

One Man, Two Guvnors
by Richard Bean
Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni
Directed by David Ivers
Presented by Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Roda Theatre

Music by Curtis Moore
Lyrics by Thomas Mizer
Book by Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore and Joshua Scher
Directed by Meredith McDonough
Presented by TheatreWorks
Lucie Stern Theatre

Florida critic Marie J. Kilker reviews:

Florida Studio Theatre's
7th Annual Improv Festival 2015

See Indexes below for many more current and archived reviews!

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  • Connecticut Theatre Review Index
  • Florida Theatre Review Index
  • London Review Index
  • Los Angeles Theatre Review Index
  • Massachusetts (beyond Boston) Theatre Review Index
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul (Twin Cities) Theatre Review Index
  • Philadelphia & Environs Theatre Review Index
  • Phoenix Area Theatre Review Index
  • San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Review Index
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  • Toronto, Ontario (Canada) Index
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