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Joe Lombardi

Joe Lombardi

I've joined the Broadway World community as a theater critic after having started my blog and podcast at TheaterReviewsFromMySeat. 



March 18, 2022

On one side of the stage there is a tony law office with its desks, books and golf clubs.  The opposite side is a representation of a poor urban neighborhood.  Garbage litters the ground.  Stark contrasts between the 'haves' and the 'have nots' are on full display in the new play Sometime Child: a Reclamation and a Redemption.

BWW Review: Defeat the Chauvinist Monster in BLACK FEMINIST VIDEO GAME streaming online
May 1, 2021

A mixture of Zoom live action, audience interaction and an old school video game, Darrel Alejandro Holnes' Black Feminist Video Game is overfilled with levels.  There's light comedy, melodrama, politics, silliness, boldly underscored learnings and, yes, a two dimensional video game to conquer.  'True men are feminists' is the mantra that concludes this journey.

BWW Review: Claustrophobic angst in the outstanding FRANZ KAFKA'S LETTER TO MY FATHER at M-34
March 4, 2021

At some point during the outstanding live stream performance of Franz Kafka's Letter To My Father, yet another reference began swirling in my mind.  Lyrics from an old song from the late 1970's band Split Enz bizarrely came into focus.  'History never repeats / I tell myself before I go to sleep / There's a light shining in the dark / Leading me on towards a change of heart, ah.'  Both that song and Kafka's writing explore an anguished mental condition as a result of bitter relationships.

BWW Review: A satisfyingly eerie FAR AWAY at PTP/NYC
October 17, 2020

A good creepy play can get under the viewer’s skin.  Caryl Churchill’s Far Away is one such piece.  The setting is a “familiar country, over the period of several decades.”  While the country may be familiar, the goings on are most certainly not.  A sense of dread, foreboding and discomfort hook you in quickly until it is impossible to put your feet on solid ground.

BWW Review: An intoxicating VOYEUR: THE WINDOWS OF TOULOUSE-LATREC by Bated Breath Theatre Company
October 10, 2020

An audience of eight checks in outside The Duplex in Greenwich Village.  On a gorgeous Friday evening, there were people all around drinking outside bars at tables and dancing to disco tunes in Christopher Park.  Waiting for the show to begin, turn in any direction and there are visuals and sounds setting the mood.  Voyeur: The Windows of Toulouse-Latrec conjures up Paris circa 1899 in the bohemian nightclub vista of Montmartre.

BWW Review: Timely sarcasm drips darkly in DON'T EXAGGERATE (DESIRE AND ABUSE) from PTP/NYC
October 3, 2020

PTP/NYC is known for producing politically aware plays.  They present theatrically complex and thought-provoking works of contemporary social and cultural relevance.  For their abbreviated season this year, they are streaming four productions over four weeks.  The second one, Don't Exaggerate (desire and abuse), certainly fits the bill.  Howard Barker's work is subtitled, 'a political statement in the form of hysteria.'

BWW Review: A Fantastic and Profound ZERO COST HOUSE by Pig Iron Theatre
September 23, 2020

Sometimes you just have to let a play wash over you.  Not try to ride the waves and steer your way through.  Just let whatever happen.  Zero Cost House is one such experience.  The oceanic volume of big picture themes and insightfully sharp details cannot be controlled by the viewer.  Toshiki Okada's play does not let you be in control.

BWW Review: An uncannily timed original show featuring a very bored accountant is MONOTONY: THE MUSICAL available on Podcast
March 25, 2020

Avid theatergoers who are sequestered at home may find themselves bored. Along comes an uncannily well-timed new show that bears the name Monotony: The Musical. Unlike some of the other theatrical streaming events popping up every day, this one will be released as a podcast on April 15th.

BWW Review: Very Funny Jamaican Situation Comedy TWO CAN PLAY is Revived by the New Federal Theatre
March 10, 2020

BWW Review: Mean Girls and Societal Injustices Torment a Young Woman's BIRTHDAY IN THE BRONX at The Tank
February 21, 2020

Raquel has a rough life.  In Birthday in the Bronx, her character name is Rocky.  She's a bruiser of a field hockey player having collected broken bones and bloody scars.  Two noxious sportscasters comment about the atrocious playing conditions.  'I understand funding is tight' but the field is all muddy.  Earlier in the day, girls from a 'better school' looked like goddesses.

BWW Review: A Wildly Conceived Climate Change Comedy REALLY REALLY GORGEOUS at The Tank
February 2, 2020

BWW Review: Demons Come to Collect in the Very Funny SOUL SURVIVOR from Hiraeth Theatre Company
January 19, 2020

Lisa (Anna Stefanic) opens the door to her home and switches on the light.  A naked man is sprawled out on the floor with food.  He 'bellows a pained roar.'  She shrieks, fumbles her groceries and quickly douses the offending brightness.  When she turns the light back on, a paper shopping bag has been placed on the man's head.  'God damn it, Davey' she says.  The damnation of that moment will carry through the very funny Soul Survivor.

BWW Review: Masculine Stereotypes Skewered with Humor in CEZARY GOES TO WAR at La Mama
January 17, 2020

Cezary Tomaszewski has created a 'musically-driven queer fantasia' exposing the dangers of masculinity, nationalism and the culture of war.  La Mama is presenting the U.S. premiere of Cezary Goes to War in conjunction with the Polish Cultural Institute and Komuna//Warszawa, an independent avant-garde theater.  This work will be appreciated by theatergoers who enjoy a refreshing splash of humor mixed into their subversive societal commentary.

BWW Review: Contemporary Dance Theater Spins a Bleak View of Humanity in THE UNKNOWN DANCER IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD at the Japan Society
January 11, 2020

Glimmers of hopefulness can be found in this unique theatrical event.  Disheartenment, however, permeates The Unknown Dancer in the Neighborhood.  This contemporary dance theater piece is a commentary on individual lives amidst the ambiguously indifferent and disconnected mobs in a gloomy metropolis.  Early on we hear that 'hopeless people talk about hopeless things.'

BWW Review: A Palestinian Dreamer Builds a Rocket to Land on the Moon in GREY ROCK at The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival
January 9, 2020

Imagine a world where the Palestinian flag is planted on the moon.  In Amir Nizar Zuabi's play Grey Rock, one of his characters says 'its so preposterous, it's brilliant.'  Apparently this is my week for traveling into outer space, having just seen Or, An Astronaut Play, at the Tank.  Both plays explore dreams while commenting on societal oppression.  In this interesting exploration, the improbable is embraced from a voice not often heard on American stages.

BWW Review: A Cleverly Shaded Exploration of Life's Paths in OR, AN ASTRONAUT PLAY at The Tank
January 7, 2020

Or is a conjunction used to link alternatives.  Life is a conundrum which offers no definitive paths or guarantees of fulfillment.  That is the territory explored in Johnny G. Lloyd's cleverly shaded Or, An Astronaut Play.  An individual can choose to be a teacher or a doctor.  A policeman or a politician.  The odds of success for achieving those dreams are varied depending on station or circumstance or even dumb luck.  This play is about how life works, or is supposed to work, or doesn't.  Or, maybe it's really just an astronaut play.

BWW Review: Gun Violence Abounds in the Experimental Digital Puppetry Show FEAR IN THE WESTERN WORLD at Target Margin Theater
January 5, 2020

Gun violence is the focus in the wildly experimental digital puppetry show, Fear in the Western World.  A couple and their daughter are looking for a new home.  They find one in Nesthaven, a gated community.  There are lots of problems outside.  A community website posts about the dangers.  At one point, we hear they've 'got to build taller fences around Nesthaven.'

BWW Review: Traditional Marionettes Update the Scrooge Story in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, OY! HANUKKAH, MERRY KWANZAA, HAPPY RAMADAN at Theater For The New City
December 21, 2019

If you've seen Drunk History on television you will understand the vibe of this show.  Imagine you have an elderly uncle who is of Czech descent.  He has a marvelous collection of marionettes.  After a few shots of Becherovka he invites the family down into the basement for an impromptu retelling (and updating) of a Christmas classic.  That is the best way to describe A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Ramadan.

BWW Review: David Bowie Catalog Interpreted In The Musically Gorgeous WHERE ARE WE NOW at La MaMa
December 15, 2019

Fans of David Bowie's music - and especially his lyrics - should immediately stop reading this review and book tickets to see the very limited run of Where Are We Now.  Then come back and continuing reading!  With a $26 top ticket price, this is one of the greatest cabaret values in New York City.  The version of 'Heroes' is musically gorgeous and absolutely unforgettable.  I would argue the best one ever.  I would be right.