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Seeing Shakespeare Through New Eyes

 

Joseph Papp famously created free Shakespeare in the Park with the belief that Shakespeare should belong to everyone. Expanding on that notion is the Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare Unit, dedicated to bringing compact productions of the bard's classics to populations that cannot come to the Delacorte.

 

Click here for my full review of Macbeth.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, May 23, 2015 @ 03:30 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Of Questionable Significance

 

Few theatre companies are so known for taking things literally as artistic director John Collins' Elevator Repair Service. The troupe best known for eschewing playwrights and creating theatre pieces like a staged reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald's entire text of The Great Gatsby and the complete transcripts of a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the First Amendment rights of exotic dancers, now encore their 2008 Off-Broadway production taken from William Faulkner's 1929 novel, The Sound and The Fury.

 

Click here for my full review of The Sound and The Fury.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Friday, May 22, 2015 @ 05:40 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Thou Shalt and Shalt Again

 

In pro wrestling and stage combat there's a hard and fast rule; the person being hit is the one in control. The same applies in Robert Askins' daffy and irreverent comedy of Domestic Christian Discipline, Permission, where devout and loving couples take pleasure in practicing the Bible's prescribed husbandly dominance over wife with strict discipline and over-the-knee spankings.

 

Click here for my full review of Permission.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Thursday, May 21, 2015 @ 02:29 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


An Unapologetically Return

 

Before Annie Baker's The Flick was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, its initial fame was combined with a bit of infamy, as Internet chat boards started spreading word of audience members regularly walking out on its Playwrights Horizons premiere production and multiple complaints caused the company's artistic director, Tim Sanford, to send an email to subscribers - denying claims it was an apology - defending their choice to produce it.

 

Click here for my full review of The Flick.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter. 

 

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 11:13 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


A Bad Influence

 

As coming-of-age warmedies go, What I Did Last Summer, pushes many of the familiar buttons. There's the summer when everything changed, the adolescent rebellion against the family's social norm, the first-time sexual urges, the influential outsider... you know the menu.

 

Click here for my full review of What I Did Last Summer.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter. 

 

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 11:12 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Honoring An Outsider Artist

 

"I have got no more flowers in me," says the artist who is at the center of playwright/director Athol Fugard's touching and lyrical new drama, The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek.

 

Click here for my full review of The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter. 

 

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 11:12 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Broadway Siblings

 

Not since Fred and Adele Astaire have a pair of brother and sister dancers achieved success on Broadway like Rob Marshall and Kathleen Marshall.

 

Click here for my full review of New York Pops Salutes Rob and Kathleen Marshall.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter. 

 

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 11:12 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Underappreciated Kander, Ebb & Stein

 

Back in 1966, composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Edd and director/producer Harold Prince had their naïve leading character assure us that "life is a cabaret," in a musical that warned how the hatred that gave rise to Germany's Nazi party paralleled the opposition many white Americans had to the civil rights movement. Cabaret, of course, was a smash.

 

Click here for my full review of Zorba!

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter. 

 

Posted on: Monday, May 18, 2015 @ 11:11 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Artists That Shaped Her

 

Audience members entering New York Theatre Workshop for Dael Orlandersmith's touching solo piece, Forever, are provided with slips of paper so they may post a few words on the walls about someone who has passed on who has shaped their lives.

 

Click here for my full review of Forever.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, May 06, 2015 @ 01:00 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Breaking The Glissando Ceiling

 

Two years ago Cyndi Lauper made theatre history by being the first woman to win a Best Score Tony Award without a male partner.  History could be made again this year, with Fun Home having a chance to be the first Best Musical winner written entirely by women.

 

But despite these landmark achievements, the underrepresentation of women writers on Broadway is still a serious issue, and is in no way a reflection of the quality of musical theatre scores being written by women.

 

No less than seventeen women songwriters (and a few male collaborators) will be sampling their work at the Laurie Beechman Theatre this Monday night at Lady and The Vamp, a showcase concert celebrating the work of emerging female composers and lyricists who are “breaking the glissando ceiling” to give more visibility to musicals written by women.

 

Directed by Jenny Leon (with music direction by Clare Cooper) and hosted by Emily McNamara, the concert will feature songs by Amanda Yesnowitz & Deborah Abramson, Laura Kleinbaum & Nicky Phillips, Janine McGuire, Rachel Peters, Natalie Lovejoy, Christina Capatides & Emily Goldman, Amy Engelhardt & Marc Acito, Christine Toy Johnson & Kamala Sankaram, Joy Son & Alan Gordon, Jessica Fleitman & Rick Bassett, Clare Cooper, Pamela Weiler Grayson and Rachel Kunstadt & Hali Alspach.

 

Click here for more info on Lady and The Vamp’s Facebook page.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Saturday, May 02, 2015 @ 12:26 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Drone Warfare

 

The unnamed United States Air Force fighter pilot in George Brant's chilling solo drama, Grounded, loves her job.

 

Click here for my full review of Grounded.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:15 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


The Mot l New Orleans

 

Back in 1973, Lanford Wilson won an Obie for The Hot l Baltimore, a comedy/drama about the makeshift community formed by the long and short-term residents of a crumbling hotel (The title refers to a broken "e" in its neon sign.) that was light on plot but thick with character studies of its hookers, hustlers and others struggling with their pasts.

 

Click here for my full review of Airline Highway.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:15 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Revisiting Brecht and Weill

 

The two most successful Broadway musicals scored by the superlative team of John Kander and Fred Ebb both took inspiration from the revolutionary work of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht.

 

Click here for my full review of The Visit.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:15 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Something Rotten! This Way Comes

 

Broadway's great director/choreographers like Jerome Robbins and Bob Fosse are naturally best known for their legendary dances, but, without knocking the man's terpsichorean prowess, director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw is developing a more solid rep for being the one who knows how to deliver the funny.

 

Click here for my full review of Something Rotten!

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:15 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Unbearably Bland

 

Bombs go off and guns are shot in the new pop-drama musical based on Boros Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, but these explosions don't offend the ears nearly as painfully as musical declarations of passion like, "I bring you in, / I feel you on my skin," or forced attempts at wit such as, "The orchestra resumes the beat. / The servants pour Château Lafite."

 

Click here for my full review of Doctor Zhivago.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:15 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


A Good Old Fashioned Laff Riot

 

Garson Kanin's 1985 comedy about the tempestuous relationship between a legendary conductor and his opera diva wife, Peccadillo, never quite made it to Broadway, so when playwright Joe DiPietro was approached with the idea of tweaking the script as a vehicle for opera star Renée Fleming's Broadway debut, his solution was to write a new play based on the old one.

 

Click here for my full review of Living On Love.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:14 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Better Off Not To Be

 

The last time Classic Stage Company tackled Shakespeare's Hamlet, it was a dynamic and inventive production mounted by artistic director Brian Kulick and starring Michael Cumpsty. This time around, however, director Austin Pendleton's production, though initially visually interesting, is marked by questionable acting and confusing staging.

 

Click here for my full review of Hamlet.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:14 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Brave and Groundbreaking

 

When reviewing the original Public Theater production of LIsa Kron (book and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori's brave and adventurous new musical, Fun Home in October of 2013, I expressed hesitation to use the word "groundbreaking," as it tends to be overused in musical theatre.

 

Click here for my full review of Fun Home.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:14 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


South Pacific's Siamese Twin

 

With his new revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and Idirector Bartlett Sher has essentially replicates the formula used to create his 2008 smash hit mounting of South Pacific.

 

Click here for my full review of The King and I.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:14 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Best Left Undiscovered

 

Like an actress trying to play Pan when the Foy Team suddenly goes on break, there are a lot of talented people left hanging in Finding Neverland, the leaden new musical about the power of whimsy, taken from the story of J.M. Barrie's inspiration for his most famous play, Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up.

 

Click here for my full review of Finding Neverland.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 09:14 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


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About Michael: 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 Shea Stadium 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.





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