Off-Broadway Theater Reviews
 


BWW Review:  Rebecca Naomi Jones is Terrifically Engaging in Rinne Groff's Coney Island Excursion, FIRE IN DREAMLAND BWW Review: Rebecca Naomi Jones is Terrifically Engaging in Rinne Groff's Coney Island Excursion, FIRE IN DREAMLAND
by Michael Dale - July 17, 2018

It's a classically-styled cinematic pose. The kind that tends to define a certain era of film noir. A woman stands alone on the Coney Island boardwalk on a chilly day. Covered in a tan trench coat, belt tied at the waist, she stares out at the ocean. After a few moments, emotions sweep over her and ... (more...)
BWW Review: The Late Michael Friedman's GONE MISSING Evokes an Emotional Response From Encores! Off-Center Audience BWW Review: The Late Michael Friedman's GONE MISSING Evokes an Emotional Response From Encores! Off-Center Audience
by Michael Dale - July 16, 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 Cit... (more...)
BWW Review: High School Machiavellian With Cerebral Palsy Claws His Way To Power in Michael Lew's Shakespeare Riff TEENAGE DICK BWW Review: High School Machiavellian With Cerebral Palsy Claws His Way To Power in Michael Lew's Shakespeare Riff TEENAGE DICK
by Michael Dale - July 12, 2018

'Now that the winter formal gives way to glorious spring fling,' recites our antihero at the outset of Mike Lew's enormously clever contemporary riff on Shakespeare's RICHARD III, titled Teenage Dick, 'we find our rocks for brains hero Eddie - the quarterback - sleeping through his job as junior cla... (more...)
BWW Review:  Anika Noni Rose is Captivating , But John Doyle Heavily Edits Oscar Hammerstein's CARMEN JONES BWW Review: Anika Noni Rose is Captivating , But John Doyle Heavily Edits Oscar Hammerstein's CARMEN JONES
by Michael Dale - July 07, 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 dr... (more...)
BWW Review:  Jesse Tyler Ferguson As A Gay Man Facing His Own Privilege in Jordan Harrison's LOG CABIN BWW Review: Jesse Tyler Ferguson As A Gay Man Facing His Own Privilege in Jordan Harrison's LOG CABIN
by Michael Dale - July 02, 2018

'We're all fully interested in navigating this brave new world with them,' says an exasperated character in Jordan Harrison's comedy of social politics, Log Cabin, 'but it sometimes seems like they want us to get it wrong... Like they're filling a quota of perceived transgressions.'... (more...)
BWW Review: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Reveals The Remarkable Artistic Maturity of a Young Jason Robert Brown BWW Review: SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Reveals The Remarkable Artistic Maturity of a Young Jason Robert Brown
by Michael Dale - June 30, 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, Andre... (more...)
BWW Review:  Carey Mulligan Considers Violence and Gender in  Dennis Kelly's GIRLS & BOYS BWW Review: Carey Mulligan Considers Violence and Gender in Dennis Kelly's GIRLS & BOYS
by Michael Dale - 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... (more...)
BWW Review:  Stephen Rea is Chillingly Understated in David Ireland's CYPRUS AVENUE BWW Review: Stephen Rea is Chillingly Understated in David Ireland's CYPRUS AVENUE
by Michael Dale - June 27, 2018

On the surface, the plot of CYPRUS AVENUE is just a little too weird to take seriously, and that's one of the strengths of David Ireland's creepy drama, as director Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of London's Royal Court, seamlessly transitions the piece from cerebral exploration to dark comed... (more...)
BWW Review:  Donja R. Love's SUGAR IN OUR WOUNDS Depicts Gay Love Between Slaves During The Civil War BWW Review: Donja R. Love's SUGAR IN OUR WOUNDS Depicts Gay Love Between Slaves During The Civil War
by Michael Dale - June 26, 2018

"The existence of queer people of color, particularly of African descent, has repeatedly been washed over, or forgotten altogether," writes Donja R. Love, whose SUGAR IN OUR WOUNDS is receiving a handsome and well-acted production from Manhattan Theatre Club, via director Sahaam Ali.... (more...)
BWW Review:  Antoinette Nwandu's PASS OVER, A Tightly Written Bit Of Urban Absurdism BWW Review: Antoinette Nwandu's PASS OVER, A Tightly Written Bit Of Urban Absurdism
by Michael Dale - June 24, 2018

If upon entering a theatre, the stage is populated by a young black man sleeping under a street lamp as another young black man quietly scrutinizes all in attendance, while the pre-show music plays Doris Day singing 'Que Sera, Sera,' it's a good sign that there are going to be some strong opinions e... (more...)
BWW Review: Problem Solved!  Wild West Shakespeare Musical DESPERATE MEASURES is Hilarious and Tuneful BWW Review: Problem Solved! Wild West Shakespeare Musical DESPERATE MEASURES is Hilarious and Tuneful
by Michael Dale - June 22, 2018

David Friedman and Peter Kellogg may be billed, respectively, as composer and bookwriter/lyricists of the rollickingly fun new musical comedy DESPERATE MEASURES, which has just moved from the intimate York Theatre to more spacious digs at New World Stages, but they can also add 'problem-solver' to t... (more...)
BWW Review: POLICE COPS at 59E59 Theaters for Zany Fun BWW Review: POLICE COPS at 59E59 Theaters for Zany Fun
by Marina Kennedy - June 21, 2018

Everybody needs a good laugh. That's just what you'll get when you see 'Police Cops' at 59E59 Theaters. The show wraps up the theater's annual Brits Off Broadway Festival of shows. Presented by New Diorama Theatre, this imaginative, zany show is written, directed and performed by the three member aw... (more...)
BWW Review:  Angelina Fiordellisi and Michael O'Keefe Are Charming As Older Leftists in Charles Mee's FIRST LOVE BWW Review: Angelina Fiordellisi and Michael O'Keefe Are Charming As Older Leftists in Charles Mee's FIRST LOVE
by Michael Dale - June 20, 2018

Is there anything more charming than watching two older people falling in love? Well, perhaps. Like when the romance occurs, as instructed by playwright Charles Mee in his 2001 one-act, FIRST LOVE, in 'the world of Magritte.'... (more...)
BWW Review: Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll Give Memorable Turns in Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson's OTHELLO BWW Review: Chukwudi Iwuji and Corey Stoll Give Memorable Turns in Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson's OTHELLO
by Michael Dale - June 19, 2018

From the very beginning, one of the most important tenants of Joseph Papp's vision of free Shakespeare in Central Park has been the insistence the company of actors audiences see on stage will always reflect the extraordinary and powerful cultural diversity of New York City.... (more...)
BWW Review: BLACKBIRD at Sargent Theatre at the American Theatre for Actors is Timely and Important Storytelling BWW Review: BLACKBIRD at Sargent Theatre at the American Theatre for Actors is Timely and Important Storytelling
by BWW News Desk - June 18, 2018

'Blackbird,' is currently being presented at the Sargent Theatre at the American Theatre of Actors. In the play written by David Harrower, Una, a 27 year old woman, shows up at the workplace of an acquaintance, 'Peter', with an axe to grind. Fifteen years earlier, they had a relationship which had ... (more...)
BWW Review: What Lies Beyond Ideality in A.R. Gurney's THE FOURTH WALL BWW Review: What Lies Beyond Ideality in A.R. Gurney's THE FOURTH WALL
by Kristen Morale - June 14, 2018

Presented by Theater Breaking Through Barriers and under the direction of Christopher Burris, The Fourth Wall is anything but inhibiting, especially in terms of its creation. This Off-Broadway company brings actors with and without disabilities together to break stereotypes and portray how little th... (more...)
BWW Review: Doug Hughes Sharply Directs Anthony Giardina's Biting Social Commentary DAN CODY'S YACHT BWW Review: Doug Hughes Sharply Directs Anthony Giardina's Biting Social Commentary DAN CODY'S YACHT
by Michael Dale - June 14, 2018

'Vassar. See yourself there,' a successful adult advises a high school student who has impressed him with her talent for writing poetry, but not with her low expectations for securing a spot in a good college.... (more...)
BWW Review:  Lauren Yee's THE GREAT LEAP Mixes Basketball and Politics in Communist China BWW Review: Lauren Yee's THE GREAT LEAP Mixes Basketball and Politics in Communist China
by Michael Dale - June 10, 2018

Commencing in 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward was a 5-year plan to convert Communist China's largely agricultural economy into government-run farming collectives, freeing up resources for manufacturing and building infrastructure. It didn't end well.... (more...)
BWW Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF HUMANS at 59E59 Theaters is Totally Intriguing BWW Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF HUMANS at 59E59 Theaters is Totally Intriguing
by Marina Kennedy - June 08, 2018

Secret Life of Humans, written by David Byrne, directed by David Byrne & Kate Stanley is now being performed at 59E59 Theaters through July 1. There's no other show quite like this. It has an intriguing plot, a talented cast, and clever staging that makes the production totally unique.... (more...)
BWW Review: John Kander and Susan Stroman Mix Henry James With Henri Matisse in THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE BWW Review: John Kander and Susan Stroman Mix Henry James With Henri Matisse in THE BEAST IN THE JUNGLE
by Michael Dale - June 06, 2018

From the mid-1960s through to the early years of this century, the musicals scored by the team of John Kander and Fred Ebb have exemplified Broadway pizzazz while exploring darker issues under the glitzy polish.... (more...)
BWW Review: An Ode to the Theater's Tale in Martin Tackel's STAGE LIFE BWW Review: An Ode to the Theater's Tale in Martin Tackel's STAGE LIFE
by Kristen Morale - May 31, 2018

Now playing at the Lion Theatre in Times Square, Stage Life is truly an ode not only to the actor, but anyone who has ever been inspired by the theater to make it their life's work. From actor to playwright, to producer and teacher alike, this is theater in its truest, diverse and most appreciated f... (more...)
BWW Review:  Lois Smith Brings Tenderness to Darkly Comic Dysfunctional Family Drama PEACE FOR MARY FRANCES BWW Review: Lois Smith Brings Tenderness to Darkly Comic Dysfunctional Family Drama PEACE FOR MARY FRANCES
by Michael Dale - May 30, 2018

The fact that Broadway hasn't seen fit to provide a role for Lois Smith in over twenty years can be regarded as one of the top arguments denouncing the popular assumption that Times Square is where you go to take in the best of New York theatre.... (more...)
BWW Review: Sexual Sparks Ignite When Tennessee Williams Meets William Inge in Philip Dawkins' THE GENTLEMAN CALLER BWW Review: Sexual Sparks Ignite When Tennessee Williams Meets William Inge in Philip Dawkins' THE GENTLEMAN CALLER
by Michael Dale - May 25, 2018

The setup would make a hell of a piece of theatrically-minded erotica. Call it Cat (On A Hot Tin Roof) and Mouse, as sexual sparks ignite when elegant playwright on the verge of stardom, Tennessee Williams, visits the home of shy aspiring playwright William Inge for a newspaper interview to promote ... (more...)
BWW Review: Phylicia Rashad Directs Crackling Revival of Stephen Adly Guirgis' OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET BWW Review: Phylicia Rashad Directs Crackling Revival of Stephen Adly Guirgis' OUR LADY OF 121ST STREET
by Michael Dale - May 24, 2018

There's an empty casket on display and a pants-less mourner screaming. 'What kinda fuckin' world is this?!' when the lights suddenly go up on Stephen Adly Guirgis' wild New York escapade, Our Lady of 121st Street.... (more...)
BWW Review: Dominique Morisseau's Captivating Jazz Noir Drama, PARADISE BLUE BWW Review: Dominique Morisseau's Captivating Jazz Noir Drama, PARADISE BLUE
by Michael Dale - May 21, 2018

Depending on how snobby you are about the belief that no American play can truly be said to have premiered until it has opened in New York, Paradise Blue, the ravishing new jazz noir drama by Dominique Morisseau is either the second or third installment in the playwright's trilogy set in her hometow... (more...)