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.
While FUN HOME and HAMILTON have certainly not been the only high-quality new musicals to hit Broadway in the past two seasons, they've both displayed the kind of originality and relevance in subject matter, expertise in writing and imagination in execution that works wonders in elevating public awareness of the dramatic potential of the art form and smashing the lingering bias that says singing and dancing diffuses the impact of serious theatre.BWW Review: Nick Cordero Leads Robert De Niro/Jerry Zaks-Directed A BRONX TALE To Broadway December 2, 2016
When the new musical based on Chazz Palminteri's autobiographical solo play, A BRONX TALE had its world premiere at New Jersey's Paper Mill Playhouse earlier this year, it boasted a solid first act, a terrific star performance by Nick Cordero, an Alan Menken/Glenn Slater song that every Sinatra-styled saloon singer will want to grab. It also featured some of those traditional second act problems that often plague new musicals looking for a Broadway home.BWW Review: Teen Angels Compete For A Second Chance in RIDE THE CYCLONE December 1, 2016
For a musical about the accidental death of six teenagers and a contest to select just one of them to return to life, Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond's Ride the Cyclone, mounted by MCC after development in Canadian cabarets and a successful Chicago run, is curiously lacking in any kind of emotion or tension.BWW Review: A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME Cooks Up Frothy Musical Fun November 25, 2016
While Debra Barsha and Hollye Levin's A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME isn't the first musical to contrast the accepted female gender roles of the 1950s with the liberated revolution of the 1960s (Off-Broadway's second visit from THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES is still running at the Kirk.) the York's fun and frothy new entry features a dynamite cast and enough tuneful cleverness for a brightly entertaining evening.BWW Review: Bad Choices Have Lasting Impact In Nicky Silver's THIS DAY FORWARD November 23, 2016
While the work of director John Doyle has been a frequent presence at Classic Stage Company for the past few years, his tenure as the company's artistic director gets off to an impressive start this season with a crisp and engaging world premiere production of Tom Schulman's DEAD POETS SOCIETY.BWW Review: Shakespeare Goes Hip-Hop In The Q Brothers' OTHELLO: THE REMIX November 18, 2016
To say that The Q Brothers put a new spin on OTHELLO might be too obvious a pun, but their fun and lively hip-hop retelling of Shakespeare's tragedy of racism and revenge, Othello: The Remix not only sets the Elizabeth characters to rap rhythms, but switches the whole story around to the present-day music industry.BWW Review: The Revolutions Of The 60s Meet Laptop Activism in PARTY PEOPLE November 18, 2016
The symbolic nature of Suzan-Lori Parks' 1990 free-form dramatic riff, THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD AKA THE NEGRO BOOK OF THE DEAD is made apparent to viewers as soon as they open their programs and see the characters have names like 'Black Woman With Fried Drumstick,' 'Before Columbus' and 'Lots of Grease and Lots of Pork.'BWW Review: Richard Nelson Concludes His Election Year Trilogy With WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE November 14, 2016
The subject of sensitive, well-intentioned white people growing up unaware of their own privilege has been receiving more and more attention in American, but back in 1982, South African playwright Athol Fugard approached the issue as experienced in his apartheid-infested homeland.BWW Review: Lynn Nottage's SWEAT, A Moving Labor Tragedy November 7, 2016
The fact that William Finn and James Lapine's 1992 Broadway musical FALSETTOS began as two separate one-act musicals - parts two and three of a trilogy - that premiered Off-Broadway nine years apart makes it unique theatre piece, especially when you consider that the heighted awareness of the AIDS epidemic that occurred during those nine years gave each one, despite being about the same characters, significantly different tones.BWW Review: Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal Star In City Center's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE October 26, 2016
The tensest, most dramatic moments in director Anne Kauffman's premiere production of Adam Bock's A Life occur whenever designer Laura Jellinek's large unit set slowly rotates horizontally, like a rotisserie, to change locations. The loud extended creaking that accompanies every change sounds like something is about to snap and make the whole thing collapse.