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Showtime! features reviews, commentary and assorted theatrical musings from Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic. To submit amusing backstage banter, absurd audience observations or noteworthy links to Showtime!, click here. Anonymity's guaranteed. My not taking credit for your clever remark isn't. Subscribe to RSS Feed



Talking a Good Game

 

A fellow trying to win back the mistress that his now-deceased wife made him dump three years ago should know better than to criticize the woman's cooking, especially if he's a famous and wealthy restauranteur and she's a barely-getting-by teacher just trying to prepare a modest spaghetti Bolognese for dinner.

 

Click here for my full review of Skylight.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, April 04, 2015 @ 12:41 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


The Grand Tour

 

Back in the day, Broadway musicals like A Trip To ChinatownGreenwich Village Follies and numerous Harlem-set revues offered mid-town theatregoers a bit of a guided tour through outer reaches of Manhattan.

 

The spirit of those shows is alive and kicking in Radio City Music Hall's New York Spring Spectacular, where director/choreographer Warren Carlyle uses bookwriter Joshua Harmon's light narrative as an excuse to recreate on stage some of New York's great attractions, most of them serving as inspiration for the legendary Rockettes to make an appearance.

 

Click here for my full review of New York Spring Spectacular.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, April 04, 2015 @ 12:41 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Disney's Hunch

 

You don't normally expect a sexual reference as blunt as the one that comes early on in Peter Parnell's book for The Hunchback of Notre Dame to be in a Disney musical. It's something that would likely go over the heads of the children in the audience, but it's also in no way gratuitous.

 

Click here for my full review of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, April 04, 2015 @ 12:40 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Celebrating the 'Highly Informed Spectator'

 

Textbooks can, or at least should, educate on the important events and pioneering personalities that brought the Feminist Movement to where it is today, but just as important is an understanding of what these landmarks meant in the everyday lives of ordinary women who may not have been at the forefront, but whose heroism was being among the first testing out new freedoms and equalities in the real world.

 

Click here for my full review of The Heidi Chronicles.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:54 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


A Big Robust Treat

 

You wouldn't peg a Viennese composer schooled in operetta and a Manhattan-born bookwriter/lyricist who got his dramatic feet wet contributing to Harvard's Hasty Pudding Shows as an obvious team to capture the big robust spirit of the American west during the Gold Rush era, but Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner's Paint Your Wagon is a hearty piece of musical comedy Americana.

 

Click here for my full review of Paint Your Wagon,

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:54 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


They Did! They Did!

 

Two-person musicals seem to be back in style these days, what with the film release of The Last Five Years and the Off-Broadway revival of John & Jen. But the new one by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, Long Story Short is more reminiscent of one that started it all, I Do! I Do!.

 

Click here for my full review of Long Story Short.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:54 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Offering False Hope

 

Like the sugary pills that give the play its name, Melissa James Gibson's Placebo opens with a deceptively promising scene where medical researcher Louise is interviewing the distraught Mary as a possible participant in a test for a drug that promotes female arousal.

 

Click here for my full review of Placebo.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:54 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Playwright Versus Sculptor

 

No, Doug Wright's new drama about the rocky relationship between playwright Henrick Ibsen and sculptor Gustav Vigeland does not end with one of them storming out the room and slamming the door behind him, but the playwright/director's clash of artistic egos, Posterity, does provide an entertaining, if not especially profound evening.

 

Click here for my full review of Posterity.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Gimme Gimme One Night Only

 

"I'm going to go off-program for a moment," Sutton Foster advised the completely enraptured Carnegie Hall audience midway through the second half of her concert with The New York Pops this past Friday night.

 

 

Being five days before her 40th birthday, the two-time Tony winner quipped that it was time for her to start "practicing some older roles."

 

Click here for my full review of One Night Only: Sutton Foster.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


A Twentieth Century For The Twenty-First Century

 

Since its 1978 Broadway opening, there has rarely been a Broadway musical comedy approaching the perfection that was director Harold Prince's original production of On The Twentieth Century.

 

Click here for my full review of On The Twentieth Century.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


The I Has It

 

Josephine Baker may be the name patrons are far more familiar with as they enter Joe's Pub for British actress Cush Jumbo's solo play, but it's the I in Josephine and I that provides the evening with its most significant emotional moments.

 

Click here for my full review of Josephine and I.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Drowning in its Own Incoherency

 

With a title taken from a verse by Phillis Wheatley,Naomi Wallace's drama of two women escaping slavery, The Liquid Plain, is thick with poetic language and symbolism but exceedingly thin on clear story-telling. Despite a handsome and well-acted production helmed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, the evening trudges along before drowning in its own incoherency.

 

Click here for my full review of The Liquid Plain.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


In Full Command

 

It might surprise some of us Yanks to find out that the weekly meetings held every Tuesday evening between Britain's Prime Minister and Queen Elizabeth II are a courtesy the PM extends to the queen, and not vica versa. But, as they say in The Producers, Peter Morgan's smart and entertaining The Auduence is drenched with historical goodies.

 

Click here for my full review of The Audience.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


...not that there's anything wrong with that.

 

Take heart, struggling young playwrights, because it really is possible for your very first play, with you starring in it, to open directly on Broadway and be a big, sold-out smash even before the reviews come out. Just make sure you've first co-created a landmark sitcom and then wrote and starred in a wildly successful cable series.

 

Click here for my full review of Fish In The Dark.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:52 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Romantic Comedy for The Questioning

 

Traditionally, romantic comedies tend to involve people who share the same sexual orientation, or sometimes couples whose mismatched orientations propel the story. The interesting twist in Bathsheba Soran's funny and touching The Mystery of Love & Sex, is that its poignancy and humor are derived from the romantic/platonic issues that arise when two people who are still trying to figure out their sexual orientations share a healthy and supportive relationship.

 

Click here for my full review of The Mystery of Love & Sex.

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:52 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Let's Behave, Miss

 

Though Ferenc Molnar's 1917 Fashions For Men takes place in a fine Hungarian clothing shop, the title might be better applied to the way gentlemen conduct themselves and the consequences they present.

 

Click here for my full review of Fashions For Men.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:52 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Like Brother, Like Son

 

There are only three characters in Andrew Lippa (book and music) and Tom Greenwald's (book and lyrics) touching and tragic 1995 chamber musical, John & Jen, but it's a fourth, unseen character that propels the story along.

 

Click here for my full review of John & Jen.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, March 21, 2015 @ 02:52 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


A Collage of Relationship Moments

 

If relationships are made up of moments, playwright Tanya Barfield paints a vivid picture of one by tossing dozens of moments into the laps of viewers at Bright Half Life.

 

Click here for my full review of Bright Half Life.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, February 28, 2015 @ 07:37 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's...

 

Legendary comic book locales such as Metropolis and Gotham City are usually regarded as stand-ins for Manhattan, but Kings County takes center stage in Brooklynite, the fast and funny musical comedy where hipsters, artists, vegans and Peter Luger customers are protected day and night by a legion of heroes with super powers and personal issues.

 

Click here for my full review of Brooklynite.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, February 28, 2015 @ 07:37 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Back to One-Acts

 

While David Ives has certainly had his share of success with full-length plays (Venus in FurThe School For Lies), it was quirky one-acts like Sure Thing and Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread that first brought him major attention.

 

Click here for my full review of Lives Of The Saints.

 

 

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

 

Posted on: Saturday, February 28, 2015 @ 07:37 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.