Jack L. B. Gohn

Jack L. B. Gohn
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LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized WallopBWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized Wallop
Posted: Apr. 27, 2016


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Strong Production, Profound Show: INTO THE WOODS at Toby'sBWW Reviews: Strong Production, Profound Show: INTO THE WOODS at Toby's
Posted: Jul. 21, 2015


BWW Reviews: The Messy But Effective Premiere of WE ARE PUSSY RIOT at the Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: The Messy But Effective Premiere of WE ARE PUSSY RIOT
Posted: Jul. 14, 2015


BWW Reviews: Personality Disorders and Personal Worlds: WORLD BUILDERS at Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: Personality Disorders and Personal Worlds: WORLD BUILDERS
Posted: Jul. 13, 2015


BWW Reviews: Priestley's Savage AN INSPECTOR CALLS Shows Continued Topicality At EverymanBWW Reviews: Priestley's Savage AN INSPECTOR CALLS Shows Continued Topicality At Everyman
Posted: Sep. 14, 2015


BWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized WallopBWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized Wallop
Posted: Apr. 27, 2016


BWW Review: Love (and Anger) in a Time of Plague: THE NORMAL HEART at VagabondsBWW Review: Love (and Anger) in a Time of Plague: THE NORMAL HEART at Vagabonds
Posted: Feb. 29, 2016


BWW Reviews: Linguistic Marriage Counseling and Character Acting in a Comic Soufflé: THE FULL CATASTROPHE at Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: THE FULL CATASTROPHE
Posted: Jul. 20, 2015


BWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized WallopBWW Review: Roundhouse CABARET Packs An Outsized Wallop
April 27, 2016

This Sally (Andrea Goss) is definitely British, definitely a waif and of limited talent, and has her eyes wide open to the hell her generation of revelers is headed toward in a handcart. Her biggest number, Cabaret, is delivered as nearly a de profundis, a wail of a trauma victim.
BWW Review: DETROIT '67 a Lot Like Baltimore '15BWW Review: DETROIT '67 a Lot Like Baltimore '15
April 18, 2016

Morisseau's explanation of the Detroit riots makes a lot of sense, and resonates with my understanding of what happened last year in Baltimore. Morisseau's thesis is that the black citizens of Detroit were not crazy, just reacting to an ongoing culture of police abuse, and that abusive police and military responses were to blame for most of what went wrong once the spark of protest had been struck by the raid of an unlicensed after-hours drinking club known as a 'blind pig.'
BWW Review: Fever Dream: STREETCAR at EverymanBWW Review: Fever Dream: STREETCAR at Everyman
April 18, 2016

We in the audience are continually torn between cheering the gumption and the desire behind Blanche's lies and being appalled at the human cost the lies inflict, not least on the teller of them.
BWW: Review: Everyman Makes What Can Be Made of Miller's SALESMANBWW: Review: Everyman Makes What Can Be Made of Miller's SALESMAN
April 12, 2016

The unresolvedness of social themes is a feature, not a bug, as far as Miller is concerned. Miller has willed the ambiguities and the gaps in information, and tightly controlled the opportunities for interpretation that might resolve or suggest resolutions to the ambiguities. There is a path to execute, and the Everyman crew execute marvelously, but this is not the same thing as the artistry that directors and actors can ordinarily exert. Most plays give their performers more room to interpret, to breathe.
BWW Review: Love (and Anger) in a Time of Plague: THE NORMAL HEART at VagabondsBWW Review: Love (and Anger) in a Time of Plague: THE NORMAL HEART at Vagabonds
February 29, 2016

But the play is not all philosophical argument, as important as this is: it also is a love story, a family tale, and an account of the 'band of brothers' that was Gay Men's Health Crisis. And like most great playwrights who turn their attention to public events, Kramer maintains a tight relationship between these stories. Kramer's artistic control of the huge canvas on which he paints is in the end what makes the play so powerful.
BWW Review: Relatable HICK, Eleanor Roosevelt's Lesbian Love Story, at Theatre ProjectBWW Review: Relatable HICK, Eleanor Roosevelt's Lesbian Love Story, at Theatre Project
February 26, 2016

This was a substantial play that dealt thoughtfully with a host of issues. There's feminism: the story of a woman fighting her way through a male-dominated profession, rising from a little paper in Battle Creek to a national byline with the Associated Press. There's journalistic ethics: what happens when a reporter gets too close to a subject, and the tricky line between reporting and public relations. Then there's the problem encountered by an involuntary archivist: what to do with a trove of letters that reveal a historical personage's private life? And most of all, there's a strange love triangle: on the evidence of the play, Hickok was nearly as smitten with Franklin Roosevelt's policies as she was with his wife, going so far as to serve in his administration.
BWW Review: Secondary Characters, Set, and Songs Succeed While Direction Is Misdirected: Center Stage's AS YOU LIKE IT at TowsonBWW Review: Secondary Characters, Set, and Songs Succeed While Direction Is Misdirected: Center Stage's AS YOU LIKE IT at Towson
January 30, 2016

There is no perfect way to realize Shakespeare's vision, but employing an all-female cast is apt to be among the less successful ways. In the alternative, you can say the hell with realizing Shakespeare's vision, and simply have fun with your own. And that, I think, is the approach that director Wendy C. Goldberg has chosen to pursue at Center Stage
BWW Reviews: A Horribly Good Time with TITUS ANDRONICUS at CSC -- But Don't Call It ShakespeareBWW Reviews: A Horribly Good Time with TITUS ANDRONICUS at CSC -- But Don't Call It Shakespeare
October 31, 2015

If you view this production as an entertainment for those whose taste runs to Mad Max, to Rocky Horror, and to the movies of Quentin Tarantino (none of which I'm knocking, but let's not call them Shakespeare), then this may be a lark for you.
BWW Review: Kicking at the Hippodrome: Nearly Perfect KINKY BOOTSBWW Review: Kicking at the Hippodrome: Nearly Perfect KINKY BOOTS
September 30, 2015

That you're going to have a wonderful time at Kinky Boots is something I don't have to tell you. If you're a theatergoer with a pulse, you'll have heard about the musical's great success (six Tonys, two-and-a-half years on Broadway). And you'll probably know that it was crafted from a movie that was itself all but a perfect musical, but for the absence of dedicated songs. You'll also know that Kinky Boots' book is by Harvey Fierstein and the songs by Cyndi Lauper. With credentials like that, it would be inconceivable that the result could be other than bliss. All the rest is simply a bunch of details.
BWW Review: Diverse and Parentless at the Turn of the Century: RAGTIME Revived at Toby'sBWW Review: Diverse and Parentless at the Turn of the Century: RAGTIME Revived at Toby's
September 23, 2015

The America depicted here is a place of quests: Father's for the unknown horizon, Tateh's for a land where he and his daughter can prosper, Coalhouse's for reuniting with Sarah and raising his son in a world where blacks are regarded and treated as equals. To these quests might be added two more: Younger Brother's for some ideal he can build a life around and Mother's, a quieter one, to nurture a family, whatever contours her decency and generosity cause it to assume. And all of these quests are played out among the novelties and sensations of an exuberant American decade: among the things which will figure in the plot are Henry Ford's Model T, J.P. Morgan's library of priceless incunabula, the notorious charms of uber-courtesan Evelyn Nesbit, and the antics of escape artist Harry Houdini.
BWW Reviews: Priestley's Savage AN INSPECTOR CALLS Shows Continued Topicality At EverymanBWW Reviews: Priestley's Savage AN INSPECTOR CALLS Shows Continued Topicality At Everyman
September 14, 2015

Inspector Goole (Chris Genebach), already knows the answers to all his questions, yet his method, bullying confirmatory confessions out of the family members, is great theater. Until the advent of the Cockney-accented Goole, the King's English-speaking Birlings mostly fancy themselves honorable, kind, and praiseworthy. In reality, they are the beneficiaries of a caste system which, as Priestley depicts it, is a citadel against the poor, whose poverty is an inevitable outcome of the rules that the caste in the citadel impose. Goole exposes the unsavory truths of this arrangement, destroying all the Birlings' illusions of innocence in the process - perhaps, though the play also makes clear how evergreen and hard-to-eradicate such illusions are.
BWW Reviews: Strong Production, Profound Show: INTO THE WOODS at Toby'sBWW Reviews: Strong Production, Profound Show: INTO THE WOODS at Toby's
July 21, 2015

The characters are all compelled by circumstances to go back into the woods, and this time they encounter there such things as infidelity, divorce, the death of parents, the death of children, abandonment, catastrophe - and overarching this the absence of a narration (the narrator becomes a casualty) or any other authoritative guidance as to the choices that need to be made. As one of the characters observes: 'The path has strayed from you.' The unsettling conclusion: 'You decide what's right / You decide what's good.' This is all incredibly sad and confusing, not to mention frightening, and yet as the core of surviving characters gels, so does the indomitability of the human spirit they evince.
BWW Reviews: Linguistic Marriage Counseling and Character Acting in a Comic Soufflé: THE FULL CATASTROPHE at Contemporary American Theater Festival
July 20, 2015

For a weightless and elegant good time, it would be hard to beat The Full Catastrophe, by Michael Weller, at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. There is not one thing in the story to tether it to reality, or trouble us with any true sense of its characters being in any kind of jeopardy, and the presentation of the whole farrago, under Ed Herendeen's direction, is smooth and amiable. This play is best consumed at the end of one's visit to this year's Festival, after sampling the weightier and more nutritional fare.
BWW Reviews: A Fashion-Tinged Shaggy Dog Story: EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH at Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: A Fashion-Tinged Shaggy Dog Story: EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH at Contemporary American Theater Festival
July 20, 2015

The overall effect is a bit like a fireworks display, with loud fun things happening more or less continually. It is not profound, a quality seldom looked for in shaggy dog stories, but the tale at its heart, a whimsical family drama, is sturdy enough, and perhaps the place where a more genuine feminism is lurking than may be found in the odd evocation of fashion.
BWW Reviews: Scofflaw Playwriting, Standout Acting: ON CLOVER ROAD at Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: Scofflaw Playwriting, Standout Acting: ON CLOVER ROAD at Contemporary American Theater Festival
July 16, 2015

The action, from the shadowy world of religious cults and deprogrammers, takes place in the ruins of a derelict motel, where distraught mother Kate (Tasha Lawrence) has been brought by Stine (Lee Sellars), a supposed specialist in reuniting abandoned parents with cult-brainwashed youngsters. Stine intends (so he says) to abduct Kate's daughter from the cult's commune and work with her here. The shockingly scuzzy room tells us immediately is that something is terribly wrong with Kate and Stine's scheme. So does a financial fact revealed in the early going. In the course of the play, we find out what that something and several other somethings are.
BWW Reviews: The Messy But Effective Premiere of WE ARE PUSSY RIOT at the Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: The Messy But Effective Premiere of WE ARE PUSSY RIOT at the Contemporary American Theater Festival
July 14, 2015

The success of PUSSY RIOT rests upon what author Barbara Hammond gets right. This includes a recreation of an actual Pussy Riot provocation/performance; excerpts from the Russian government's show trial which rely largely on the actual words of the defendants, lawyers, and judge; and the language and attitudes of the authorities, especially the police and the judiciary, which are notorious. And overarching these, the show nails the crisis of authority and legitimacy for the Russian state and the Russian Orthodox Church, a crisis the Pussy Riot protestors helped exacerbate for a while to an acuteness sharper than even the play conveys.
BWW Reviews: Personality Disorders and Personal Worlds: WORLD BUILDERS at Contemporary American Theater FestivalBWW Reviews: Personality Disorders and Personal Worlds: WORLD BUILDERS at Contemporary American Theater Festival
July 13, 2015

Whitney and Max have been compelled by their mental disorders to turn their backs on the real world, and on the actual human connections available to them with friends and family, to obsess instead about imaginary worlds of their own making. But for each of them, their world, however artistic and creative, is also of a place of some danger. When medicine begins to cure them, they must compare the value of a sane life with love but without creativity and an insane life with creativity but without love
BWW Reviews: Shredded Storytelling Undermines THE PILLOW BOOK at Cohesion/StrandBWW Reviews: Shredded Storytelling Undermines THE PILLOW BOOK at Cohesion/Strand
June 27, 2015

The Pillow Book takes off from the current vogue of non-consecutive story-telling; everyone wants to emulate the mystification of Pulp Fiction, with its sudden reveals of not only what will happen, but of what did happen. And recently there has been an additional vogue, which I call Cubistic story-telling, in which the characters and their lives turn out multiple ways, without an authoritative single story line. The approaches can also be combined. Such works always make the viewer struggle to follow the conflicting and shuffled storylines, but seldom leave the viewer in the dust. The dust, however, is where Anna Moench's The Pillow Book will leave you. The more is the pity. Anna Moench writes beautifully, and the acting and directing in this collaboration of two interesting fringe companies is uniformly good. But the conflicting storylines shred each other.
BWW Reviews: Funny But Not Quite Nailing It: BLITHE SPIRIT at EverymanBWW Reviews: Funny But Not Quite Nailing It: BLITHE SPIRIT at Everyman
May 31, 2015

There is a kind of magic which will exorcise the problems of Blithe Spirit, and let us not notice them: This productioncruises and coasts on the farcical elements and the bickering and the eccentricities of Mme. Arcati the medium, and in so doing it certainly keeps the audience laughing. But it does not dispel the sour taste lingering at the end.
BWW Reviews: Solemn and Unusual: 1776 at Toby'sBWW Reviews: Solemn and Unusual: 1776 at Toby's
May 18, 2015

There are times it's hard to credit that 1776 is even a musical. In this retelling of the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence, there is some singing and some dancing, and even some laughs, but little effort to follow the tried-and-true path to rousing musical success. This is fundamentally a tale of a group of men sitting in a room debating, and Peter Stone, author of the book, gives us - a group of men sitting in a room debating. And yet the work has considerable power and appeal, and it is not strange either that it won the Tony for Best Musical in 1969, or that Toby's has revived it.


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