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.
The stage is quite empty, save for a makeshift throne in a corner and a couple of rows of ordinary looking chairs in the back, where actors not involved with scenes sit. The costumes are contemporary clothes, mostly black, with the occasional embellishment to suggest the 15th Century setting. When a character is in need of a dagger, he'll grab one of the two hanging from ropes on either side of the stage.BWW Review: Joe Iconis and Joe Tracz's Hard-Rocking, Super-Charged and Very Well Written BE MORE CHILL August 11, 2018
It may not have the romantic sweep of 'Some Enchanted Evening' or the driving intensity of 'Don't Rain On My Parade,' but so far, the best new theatre song of this young season is a finely-crafted emotional shut-down carrying the unlikely title 'Michael In The Bathroom.'BWW Review: Renee Taylor's MY LIFE ON A DIET Is a Comedy Feast August 8, 2018
Back in the days, really not very long ago, when self-effacing gags about failed diets were one of the few topics of discussion deemed acceptable for women in comedy, the punchline Renee Taylor uses after telling about the time when she ate nothing but meatballs every day because it was the diet that helped Lou Costello shed twenty pounds before filming 'Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy,' would have been regarded as gold.BWW Review: Israeli Star Sasson Gabay Revisits His Film Role in Broadway's THE BAND'S VISIT August 7, 2018
The last time an actor appeared in a Broadway musical playing a role he had previously essayed on film, it was 1983, when Anthony Quinn opened in the revival of ZORBA. Sharing that unusual distinction with him now is Israeli actor Sasson Gabay who has taken over as leading man of this past season's 10-time Tony winning musical, THE BAND'S VISIT.BWW Review: Karen Finley's Defiant GRABBING PUSSY Attacks Patriarchal Sexual Oppression August 4, 2018
Coming in at the heels of landmark musicals like AIN'T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH and INNER CITY, composer/lyricist Micki Grant's DON'T BOTHER ME, I CAN'T COPE was an important part of the early 1970s surge of Broadway musicals that were not only about African-American experiences but were written and directed by African-Americans as well.BWW Review: Sir Philip Sidney Meets The Go-Go's in Love-Happy Romp, HEAD OVER HEELS July 27, 2018
Fans of late 16th Century pastoral poetic narrative tragicomedy have been all abuzz anticipating the Broadway arrival of the new song and dance adaptation of a Sir Philip Sidney classic. But rather than go the obviously commercial route and title their creation 'The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, the Musical,' the creators have opted to call their peppy merriment HEAD OVER HEELS.BWW Review: Young Jean Lee's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Returns to New York Faster, Funnier and Focused July 24, 2018
There was plenty to admire when playwright/director Young Jean Lee's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN opened at The Public Theater in November of 2014. Those familiar with the exceedingly non-traditional work of the Obie-honoree, whose past dramatic choices have included inserting a scene from 'Sesame Street' about Mr. Hooper's death into a play about King Lear and having silent nude performers interact with audience members to explore the boundaries of comfort zones may have chuckled a bit at the thought of her stepping into theatrical territory more or less defined in this country by the naturalistic classics of dramatists like Arthur Miller and Eugene O'Neill.BWW Review: Joshua Bergasse Creates a Sensational New Style For the Leiber and Stoller Smash SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE July 23, 2018
When the smash hit revue SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, celebrating the pop classics of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, opened on Broadway in 1995, director Jerry Zaks staged each beloved number with snazzy show-biz slickness and glitz, suggesting the ways they might have been performed by the artists who introduced them when in concert or on television variety shows.BWW Review: Tracy Letts' MARY PAGE MARLOWE Offers Random Moments That Add Up To A Life July 21, 2018
The person seated in the back of the orchestra section on opening night of the Encores! Off-Center concert mounting of GONE MISSING, who was loudly sobbing during the closing song, was by no means causing a disturbance. In fact, the choked-up moans of heartbreak being emitted throughout New York City Center's auditorium many times during the performance were simply bringing to the surface the sadness that served as the evening's subtext, even for those who did not know the clever and touching revue's late composer/lyricist personally.BWW Review: High School Machiavellian With Cerebral Palsy Claws His Way To Power in Michael Lew's Shakespeare Riff TEENAGE DICK July 12, 2018
This is not shaping up to be a good year for Oscar Hammerstein II, American musical theatre's most important writer, who spent the first half of the 20th Century not only making significant strides to convert the genre from loosely assembled entertainments into respected and influential pieces of dramatic art, but was also a leading voice in promoting progressive values through his books and lyrics for such musicals as SHOW BOAT, SOUTH PACIFIC and THE KING AND I.BWW Review: Jesse Tyler Ferguson As A Gay Man Facing His Own Privilege in Jordan Harrison's LOG CABIN July 2, 2018
Jason Robert Brown was just 25 years old when his SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD took the stage of Off-Broadway's intimate WPA Theatre. As he played piano and led the handful of musicians in director Daisy Prince's production, a quartet of actors who all had big things ahead of them (Brooks Ashmanskas, Andrea Burns, Jessica Molaskey and Billy Porter) revealed the vivid collection of complex and approachable emotions expressed by the extraordinarily relatable collection of characters created by this young man's music and lyrics.BWW Review: Carey Mulligan Considers Violence and Gender in Dennis Kelly's GIRLS & BOYS June 29, 2018
Perhaps some of the good people at Britain's Royal Court are in need of a hug these days. This week New York playgoers welcomed two transfers of exceedingly violent productions from that celebrated London theatre. But while, over at The Public, the bloody finish of David Ireland's CYPRUS AVENUE is played out in front of audiences, at the Minetta Lane, viewers of Dennis Kelly's solo piece GIRLS & BOYS only hear about its repulsive event.