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, NPR.com and CNN.com. He currently blogs at NewYorkTheater.me and spends entirely too much time on Twitter as @NewYorkTheater
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
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
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
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
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.