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 Citi Field 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.
It was fifty years ago that The Summer of Love attracted throngs of lunatics, lovers and poets to New York's Central Park in a free-spirited embrace of life's passions and pleasures. That same spirit is now joyously celebrated in the park's Delacorte Theater, where director Lear deBessonet's luscious, lusty and laugh-out-loud funny production of Shakespeare's fantasy comedy, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM offers an evening of ravishing enchantment.BWW Review: Kirsten Childs' THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN Tackles Racial Identity Issues July 31, 2017
Connoisseurs of American musical theatre wishing to make a point about the genre's ability to dramatize even the most unlikely of subjects often cite examples like SWEENEY TODD's vengeful barber on a killing spree or THE PAJAMA GAME's labor/management dispute, but bookwriter/lyricist/composer Kirsten Childs may have topped them all in 2000 when Playwrights Horizons premiered THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN.BWW Review: Andrea Frierson's ME & ELLA Pays Tribute To Her Legendary Influence July 23, 2017
Even if you've never heard a note sung by Ella Fitzgerald (and if that's the case, you should stop reading this review immediately and look up some of her recordings on YouTube) Andrea Frierson's duo-bio solo show, ME & ELLA, can be related to by anyone whose life was influenced by a popular artist they've never met.BWW Review: Oscar Isaac Stars in Sam Gold's Jaunty Rendering of HAMLET July 20, 2017
In December of 2015, shortly before her excellent drama SKELETON CREW opened Off-Broadway, playwright Dominique Morisseau essayed an article for American Theatre titled 'Why I Almost Slapped a Fellow Theatre Patron, and What That Says About Our Theatres.'BWW Review: Cirque du Soleil Hatches Up OVO July 9, 2017
While it's not unexpected to have the title character of a musical based on Henry Fielding's infamously bawdy 1749 novel "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" be introduced to the audience while enjoying the afterglow of a lusty time with an agreeable lass, what's a bit surprising at first about BASTARD JONES is that while singing of juicy peaches, pulsing blood, bees, flowers and whatnot, their post-coital intimacy includes her helping to strap on his wooden leg.BWW Review: Director Anne Kauffman Finally Hits Broadway With Scott McPherson's MARVIN'S ROOM June 30, 2017
After thirteen years and eighteen directing credits for major Off-Broadway companies such as Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard, Lincoln Center Theatre and The New York Theatre Workshop, another accomplished New York stage talent, Anne Kauffman, takes her overdue Broadway bow with Roundabout's revival of Scott McPherson's 1990 darkly comic drama MARVIN'S ROOM.BWW Review: Horton Foote's THE TRAVELING LADY Arrives At The Cherry Lane July 2, 2017
As America's great playwrights go, Horton Foote, who passed on in 2009, just shy of his 93rd birthday, was perhaps the most understated of them all. In a prolific career that involved golden age television dramas, Academy Award winning screenplays and dozens of stage works, his favorite source of inspiration was the relatives and neighbors he observed growing up in the quiet comfort of East Texas.BWW Review: The Romance of Backstage Haunts Third Rail Projects' GHOST LIGHT June 27, 2017
The newest offering at Lincoln Center's Claire Tow Theater features a beautiful dreamscape depicting a woman in a small boat being guided through swelling ocean waves by a friendly face painted on the moon. As designed by Brett J. Banakis (set), Montana Levi Blanco (costumes) and Eric Southern (lights), it's a romantic tribute to a style of theatre that made box offices buzz over a hundred years ago.BWW Review: 1984 Takes Playgoers Back To The Future June 23, 2017
Ronald Reagan was re-elected president, the first human baby conceived by artificial insemination was born and the Tigers won the World Series, but for much of the world, the public perception of the year 1984 was forever shaped in 1949, with the publishing of George Orwell's dystopian novel, titled 'Nineteen Eighty-Four.'BWW Review: Gentlemen Prefer Booty in Kirsten Childs' BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE June 24, 2017
The recent Signature Theatre revival of Suzan Lori-Parks' VENUS, based on the true story of Saartjie Baartman, depicted a 19th Century African woman who was subjected to exploitation because of white people's fascination with her prominent posterior. But the mood is considerably lighter over at Playwrights Horizons these days, where the title character of Kirsten Childs' joyfully old-fashioned, but sneakily subversive new musical, BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE, is a 19th Century African-American woman who celebrates the attention her queenly derriere receives and uses it as a source of empowerment.