Jonathan Mandell

Jonathan Mandell Jonathan Mandell is a third-generation New York City journalist who saw his first show at age four at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, because his upstairs neighbor played the lead. A former theater critic and feature writer on the staff of Newsday, he has written about the theater for a range of publications, including Playbill, American Theatre Magazine, the New York Times, Backstage, and He currently blogs at and spends entirely too much time on Twitter as @NewYorkTheater



November 26, 2013

With the lines blurring between professional and amateur drama critics, and indeed between anointed critics and avid theatergoers, we thought it worth hearing from more alternative voices. Here are some reviews from the blogosphere of the new Broadway musical A Gentleman's Guide

BWW Review: TRUE BLOOD Star Tackles Veteran Neglect and Military Sexism in ONE NIGHT
November 25, 2013

As Tara Thornton in True Blood, Rutina Wesley has survived an abusive alcoholic fundamentalist mother, a murdered boyfriend, and a sadistic vampire. But Tara is scarcely worse off than the character Wesley is playing in Charles Fuller's new play, One Night, at the Cherry Lane. Wesley is now portraying Alicia, a military veteran.

BWW Review: HOW TO BE A NEW YORKER Amuses Tourists and Natives Alike at Planet Hollywood Times Square
October 27, 2013

Do you know what a knish is? Can you pronounce Houston Street the way New Yorkers do? How about the way we say 'forget about it'? If you are the member of the audience picked to answer these questions on stage in the newly-opened Screen Room Theater at Planet Hollywood Times Square , you will win a button that says 'I Learned How 2BA New Yorker.' But everybody gets the button at the end of the show, because everybody's a winner, tourists and natives alike, at this silly, knowing, funny series of skits about the city.

Blogger Roundup: THE SNOW GEESE
October 25, 2013

With the lines blurring between professional and amateur drama critics, and indeed between anointed critics and avid theatergoers, we thought it worth hearing from more alternative voices. Click here to check out the official Snow Geese Review Roundup.

BWW Reviews: All-Female Julius Caesar Brings The Bard's Backstabbing to Brooklyn
October 13, 2013

Fans of the Netflix drama 'Orange is the New Black' might feel in familiar territory with the Donmar Warehouse production of 'Julius Caesar,' which director Phyllida Lloyd is presenting as if performed by the inmates of a women's correctional facility. The effect is intense, with the remarkable all-female, multiracial cast of 14 thrusting us into Shakespeare's tragedy as if there is no escape.

BWW Reviews: A More Engaging Romeo and Juliet, 3 Blocks from Broadway's in R+J: STAR-CROSS'D DEATH MATCH
September 28, 2013

Orlando Bloom, park your motorcycle, and walk three blocks to a bar that used to be called Harley's, where there is a weird, well-acted, fun, immersive boozy bro party production of Shakespeare's tragedy that is, in several ways, more engaging and far more original than your Romeo and Juliet on Broadway - with a ticket price of ten dollars (plus a two-drink minimum.)

BWW Reviews: Lesbian Couple Conspires to Create a Child in Ethan Coen's 1st Full-Length Play WOMEN OR NOTHING
September 16, 2013

A lesbian couple plot to trick a man out of his sperm in filmmaker Ethan Coen's first full-length play, a slight, blunt and improbable comedy full of one-liners, which rescued from complete silliness by sharp, funny dialogue, and some thought-provoking themes.

BWW Reviews: Chess champion Garry Kasparov Matches Wits with IBM Computer Deep Blue in THE MACHINE
September 9, 2013

The play turns the story of the 1997 chess match between the world's number one chess player and a computer into a nearly mechanical bio-drama masquerading as a gladiator sport, staged at the cavernous Park Avenue Armory with arena seating , mock Jumbotron video projections and sports commentators, We learn less about chess or computers than one might have expected.

BWW Reviews: THE RECOMMENDATION Explores American Myth of a Classless Society at the Flea
September 5, 2013

The chance meeting between privileged Feldman and imprisoned Dwight sets in motion this well-acted if implausible play by Jonathan Caren that considers the nature of friendship, and attempts to offer us a glimpse at the class system in America.

BWW Reviews: NIGHT BLOOMING JASMINE Revisits Israeli/Palestinian Conflict in Romeo and Juliet Love Story
August 31, 2013

The strength of this swift, well-cast modest Romeo and Juliet love story between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian student is in the depiction of the two families, cleverly portrayed by the same actors in dual roles.

BWW Reviews: Two Understudies Wait to Perform Beckett's Famous Play in the Very Funny WAITING FOR WAITING FOR GODOT
August 22, 2013

Waiting for Waiting For Godot is less a spoof of Beckett's play than it is a knowing comic riff on the life of an actor. Its 80 minutes are full of inside jokes (though hardly obscure) about the theater.. Beckett's metaphor about the anxieties of modern life becomes in Dave Hanson's hands a representation of the anxieties of a career on stage.

BWW Reviews: National Asian-American Theater Company Revives Clifford Odets' AWAKE AND SING
August 21, 2013

The National Asian American Theater Company's solid if unexceptional production of Awake and Sing, Clifford Odets 1935 drama of a struggling immigrant Jewish family in The Bronx, is opening just a few days after the 50th anniversary of the death of Odets

BWW Reviews: TIMMY THE GREAT, 'Madcap Musical for Revolutionaries of All Ages', Entertains Too Much
August 19, 2013

Timmy The Great bills itself as 'a madcap musical for revolutionaries of all ages.' One could easily interpret this as meaning: It's for children from the Upper West Side. Actually, there's much here that anyone could enjoy. The show, based on a 1999 children's book about a kingdom where the adults and children switch roles, is stuffed full -- too full -- of lively dancing, tuneful songs and inspired clowning.

BWW Review: Mad Men Goes Musical With SOMEONE TO BELONG TO
August 16, 2013

If 'Someone To Belong To,' a musical about advertising copywriters in the 1960s, seems to be capitalizing on the popularity of 'Mad Men,' the story behind this Fringe show is actually far more interesting than that.

BWW Review: NY Fringe Show: RUBBLE Offers One-Liners from The Simpsons, The Sopranos and Hollywood Squares vets
August 15, 2013

Rubble,' written by 'The Simpsons' long-time staff writer and producer Mike Reiss and starring 'Hollywood Square' Bruce Vilanch, has more one-liners than a comedian's stand-up routine, and not much more of a plot.

BWW Review: New York Fringe Show: BRADLEY COLE Tells Tall Tale of Fame on Twitter
August 14, 2013

A show about Twitter fame, 'Bradley Cole' is a lively 80-minute musical at the Fringe Festival with 16 tuneful songs, an energetic cast, and a plot that applies the gloss of the Twitter-topical to what feels like a mash-up of every predictable show known to mankind: a romantic comedy, a coming-out story, a workplace comeuppance, a spoof of TV, a morality tale about the downside of fame, Cyrano de Bergerac, Paula Deen's Home Cooking.

BWW Review: NY Fringe Show: THE SPIDER Tells Haunting Tale of Naked Conjoined Twins
August 13, 2013

The play from Bulgaria about two conjoined twins presents enough brutal twists and haunting turns to keep our attention, helped along by the bravura acting of the two-member cast

BWW Reviews: GERTRUDE STEIN SAINTS at the Fringe Turns Avant-Garde Opera into Glee (in a Good way)
August 12, 2013

Dressed all in white, singing like angels and dancing like the devil, the 13 performers of "Gertrude Stein's Saints" are young, energetic, talented, and, let's face it, hot enough to be cast in Glee. What's most remarkable about this ensemble, all of them drama students at Carnegie Mellon University, is that, instead of covering songs by Journey or Rihanna, they have composed original music and turned two inaccessible avant-garde operas into a rousing entertainment.

BWW Reviews: THE GREAT SOCIETY Offers History Lesson on LBJ
August 12, 2013

One of two plays about LBJ aiming for Broadway, 'The Great Society' is a three-hour history lesson about the Johnson Presidency, from the shot that killed JFK, giving Johnson the office he'd always wanted, to LBJ's televised speech five years later announcing that he would not run again. It focuses on two major threads - LBJ's greatest accomplishment, the passage of civil rights legislation, and his greatest failure, his escalation of the war in Vietnam.