After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.
Even if you've never heard a note sung by Ella Fitzgerald (and if that's the case, you should stop reading this review immediately and look up some of her recordings on YouTube) Andrea Frierson's duo-bio solo show, ME & ELLA, can be related to by anyone whose life was influenced by a popular artist they've never met.BWW Review: Oscar Isaac Stars in Sam Gold's Jaunty Rendering of HAMLET July 20, 2017
In December of 2015, shortly before her excellent drama SKELETON CREW opened Off-Broadway, playwright Dominique Morisseau essayed an article for American Theatre titled 'Why I Almost Slapped a Fellow Theatre Patron, and What That Says About Our Theatres.'BWW Review: Cirque du Soleil Hatches Up OVO July 9, 2017
While it's not unexpected to have the title character of a musical based on Henry Fielding's infamously bawdy 1749 novel "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" be introduced to the audience while enjoying the afterglow of a lusty time with an agreeable lass, what's a bit surprising at first about BASTARD JONES is that while singing of juicy peaches, pulsing blood, bees, flowers and whatnot, their post-coital intimacy includes her helping to strap on his wooden leg.BWW Review: Director Anne Kauffman Finally Hits Broadway With Scott McPherson's MARVIN'S ROOM June 30, 2017
After thirteen years and eighteen directing credits for major Off-Broadway companies such as Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, Lincoln Center Theatre and The New York Theatre Workshop, another accomplished New York stage talent, Anne Kauffman, takes her overdue Broadway bow with Roundabout's revival of Scott McPherson's 1990 darkly comic drama MARVIN'S ROOM.BWW Review: Horton Foote's THE TRAVELING LADY Arrives At The Cherry Lane July 2, 2017
As America's great playwrights go, Horton Foote, who passed on in 2009, just shy of his 93rd birthday, was perhaps the most understated of them all. In a prolific career that involved golden age television dramas, Academy Award winning screenplays and dozens of stage works, his favorite source of inspiration was the relatives and neighbors he observed growing up in the quiet comfort of East Texas.BWW Review: The Romance of Backstage Haunts Third Rail Projects' GHOST LIGHT June 27, 2017
The newest offering at Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theater features a beautiful dreamscape depicting a woman in a small boat being guided through swelling ocean waves by a friendly face painted on the moon. As designed by Brett J. Banakis (set), Montana Levi Blanco (costumes) and Eric Southern (lights), it's a romantic tribute to a style of theatre that made box offices buzz over a hundred years ago.BWW Review: 1984 Takes Playgoers Back To The Future June 23, 2017
Ronald Reagan was re-elected president, the first human baby conceived by artificial insemination was born and the Tigers won the World Series, but for much of the world, the public perception of the year 1984 was forever shaped in 1949, with the publishing of George Orwell's dystopian novel, titled 'Nineteen Eighty-Four.'BWW Review: Gentlemen Prefer Booty in Kirsten Childs' BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE June 24, 2017
The recent Signature Theatre revival of Suzan Lori-Parks' VENUS, based on the true story of Saartjie Baartman, depicted a 19th Century African woman who was subjected to exploitation because of white people's fascination with her prominent posterior. But the mood is considerably lighter over at Playwrights Horizons these days, where the title character of Kirsten Childs' joyfully old-fashioned, but sneakily subversive new musical, BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE, is a 19th Century African-American woman who celebrates the attention her queenly derriere receives and uses it as a source of empowerment.BWW Review: Kevin Spacey Aces CLARENCE DARROW at Arthur Ashe Stadium June 18, 2017
When playwright/actor Jim Brochu was announced as the 2010 Drama Desk Outstanding Solo Performance Award winner for his loving tribute to the great Zero Mostel, ZERO HOUR, circumstances of the evening set up an opportunity for him to open his acceptance speech with an incredibly funny, totally filthy line involving something Mitzi Gaynor supposedly told him to do.BWW Review: Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello Make For A Meatier SWEENEY TODD June 17, 2017
The new Off-Broadway production of SWEENEY TODD just got a whole lot meatier. No, the chef hasn't been adding more filling to the tasty meat pies audience members can enjoy before the performance. The new reason for checking into the Barrow Street Theater is a chance to see two top shelf singer/actors, Norm Lewis and Carolee Carmello, transform a production that opened in March as an amusing Grand Guignol melodrama into a deeply moving and gorgeously sung evening of thrilling musical theatre.BWW Review: Martyna Majok's Bittersweet and Humorous COST OF LIVING Explores The Mending of Various Wounds June 21, 2017
For the past 400+ years, the title character in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar has been traditionally regarded as one of the good guys. Oh sure, there was that time back in '37 when Orson Welles staged a production that had the Roman ruler interpreted as a stand-in for Mussolini, but The Bard's text is generally taken as a case where a powerful, but ultimately benevolent leader is assassinated by a group of questionably motivated, dagger-wielding senators who paint him as an ambitious populist seeking absolute power.BWW Review: Rebecca Hall Intrigues in Clare Lizzimore's Psychological Drama ANIMAL June 12, 2017
Though Anton Chekhov popularized the notion that there's nothing sadder than a Russian comedy, playgoers seeking a few more yuks than can be found in a night at THE CHERRY ORCHARD can look to one of The Good Doctor's countrymen, Nikolai Gogol, whose rip-roaring classic The Government Inspector is granted a gloriously silly mounting by Red Bull Theater.BWW Review: Robert Schenkkan's BUILDING THE WALL Envisions The Future of Trump's Presidency June 2, 2017
By necessity, Robert Schenkkan's tense and frightening political drama, BUILDING THE WALL, had to be a rush job written with the understanding that national events could sap it of its impact at any moment.