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Playhouse Theatre

(New York, NY)
137 W. 48th St.
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by Richard Sasanow - Oct 8, 2017
There are no happy endings for the poet Hoffmann (even in the solid hands of the charismatic tenor Vittorio Grigolo) or any of the women he fantasizes about in Offenbach's LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN (TALES OF HOFFMANN). Still, there are enough enjoyable moments to make Offenbach's music worth hearing once and again.
by Richard Sasanow - Oct 4, 2017
The trio of soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, mezzo Joyce DiDonato and tenor Joseph Calleja promised a fine evening of singing for the Met's new NORMA and, for the most part, there wasn't much to quibble about. Too bad Sir David McVicar--and his design team--couldn't come up with something a little bolder, a little braver, a little more inventive than wandering trees and a giant lair that looked like an igloo in the off season to anchor its new production.
by Peter Danish - Oct 28, 2018
BWW Review: TOSCA at Metropolitan Opera
by BWW News Desk - Oct 26, 2017
Chinese soprano Hui He and Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho share the title role of Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Met. Italian conductor Jader Bignamini, who is making his company debut, leads initial performances starring He, who has performed in the opera more than 150 times, beginning November 2. The cast for Anthony Minghella's production (an instant hit when it premiered at the Met in 2006) also includes Italian tenor Roberto Aronica as Pinkerton, Serbian baritone David Bizic as Sharpless, and American mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak reprising her interpretation of Suzuki. On November 20 and March 13, American baritone Dwayne Croft will sing Sharpless.
by Richard Sasanow - Oct 22, 2018
Nico Muhly's MARNIE, aided and abetted by Nicholas Wright's libretto, dramaturg Paul Cremo and the sweeping production of Michael Mayer--which had its US premiere Friday night at the Met--is that fabled “riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” Nothing is quite what it seems or results in easy answers--for the characters or the audience.
by TV News Desk - Oct 2, 2019
Cory Wells is setting 2019 ablaze with a new album. The acoustic singer/songwriter has announced that he will be releasing his debut full-length album, The Way We Are, on November 15th via Pure Noise Records. Fans can pre-order the record, and watch Wells' new music video 'Wildfire,' below!
by Richard Sasanow - Nov 19, 2018
We thought things were exciting last week, when Christian Van Horn brought his Mefistofele to the Met last week, getting all his exercise for the month in the athletic staging and nailing his first big role in the house. However, that was “business as usual” compared to the mid-performance debut, just a few days later, of baritone Alexander Birch Elliott, as Zurga, in Bizet's LES PECHEURS DE PERLES (THE PEARL FISHERS) in the opera's first performance of the season.
by Richard Sasanow - Nov 14, 2017
Is it time for a re-evaluation of Massenet's place in the current repertoire and put it up a notch? I wondered after seeing the season's opening performance of the Met's John Cox production of Massenet's THAIS on Saturday afternoon. With the right performers, there's a good case for his juicy, melodic writing--among the plethora of BOHEMES, TURANDOTS and BUTTERYFLYs on the season's schedule--although the stipulation of right performers is, as always, the catch.
by Richard Sasanow - Nov 12, 2018
The Met is offering Robert Carsen's 1999 production of Arrigo Boito's MEFISTOFELE to show us what bass-baritone Christian Van Horn--winner of this year's Richard Tucker Award--could do in his first starring role at the house and the answer was: plenty.
by Richard Sasanow - Nov 1, 2017
It's 'deja vu all over again' goes the quip attributed to the NY Yankees pitcher Yogi Berra. But that's the feeling I had with Thomas Ades's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL, with libretto based on the Luis Bunuel film, 'El angel exterminador,' by Tom Cairns and the composer. (Cairns also directed.) Not that the opera looks or sounds like anything else recently produced on the Met's stage, except perhaps for Ades's own TEMPEST. Rather, it's because it seems like the operatic arm of France's Nouvelle Vague, the New Wave, of the late '50s and '60s.
by Richard Sasanow - May 7, 2017
I first heard tenor Roberto Alagna in the days when he was being touted as “The 4th Tenor”—chutzpah that only a record company could come up with, placing him in the hallowed company of Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti. Fast forward more than 20 years and he's still here. As Cyrano, the soldier-poet with a nose that embarrasses him, in Francesca Zambello's attractive production, Alagna was wonderful—perhaps the best I've ever seen him.
by Richard Sasanow - May 5, 2019
You'd never know that the Met's production of Francis Poulenc's DIALOGUES DES CARMELITES is over 40 years old, except for a few giveaways. There are no dancing nuns, no nudity, no screeching train whistle as the women go to their deaths (a la SWEENEY TODD). This fictionalized version of the story of Carmelite nuns who were martyred during the French Revolution, sent to the guillotine, is certainly the most simple and eloquent work on the Met's stage these days.
by BWW News Desk - May 3, 2017
Ghostlight Records will celebrate the cast album of the hit musical A BRONX TALE with a special in-store performance and CD signing at Barnes & Noble on Friday, May 12 at 4:00 PM.
by BWW News Desk - May 2, 2019
Indie rock band The Darling Fire is thrilled to share another song from their forthcoming debut album, Dark Celebration. Fans can check out new single, 'The Constant,' streaming now on Brooklyn Vegan. Dark Celebration is set to be released onJune 14th via Spartan Records and has recently been featured on  Billboard. Pre-orders, which include an instant grat download of lead single 'For The Loveless,' are available now at spr.tn/darkcelebration.
by BWW News Desk - May 15, 2017
Atlantic Records recording group STRAIGHT NO CHASER has announced details of their new EP. "SIX PACK: VOLUME 3" arrives on Friday, July 21.
by Richard Sasanow - Mar 7, 2018
When Christine Goerke took on the title role in the Met's revival of Richard Strauss's masterwork ELEKTRA--the final work of director Patrice Chereau--she wasn't so much competing with Nina Stemme, who sang the premiere of the production last spring, but with herself. Six months before this version first came to Lincoln Center, Goerke performed the role in concert with the Boston Symphony at Carnegie Hall and blew the roof off. She was a transfixing, sensational presence that you just couldn't keep your eyes off.
by BWW News Desk - Mar 6, 2018
J.L. "Lynn" Singleton, President of the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC), is pleased to announce PPAC's 2018/2019 Broadway Season, featuring MISS SAIGON, CATS, and THE BAND'S VISIT. ANASTASIA, Roald Dahl's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY,Andrew Lloyd Webber's new high-octane hit SCHOOL OF ROCK, and WAITRESS THE MUSICAL.
by Richard Sasanow - Mar 31, 2018
LUISA MILLER isn't one of Verdi's greatest hits, written not long before RIGOLETTO but dramatically (and craft-wise) a quite a way off. Despite plenty of “love and intrigue,” Salvatore Cammarano'a libretto (based on the play of that name by Friedrich Schiller) never really takes flight, with too much exposition needed to justify the action. Still, when it's performed by a cast this good—and with the Met orchestra in fine form under Bertrand de Billy--it can be surprisingly potent. And this performance was.
by Richard Sasanow - Mar 27, 2019
There's lots to enjoy in the Met's revival of DIE WALKURE, the second part of Richard Wagner's great tetralogy, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, better known simply as Wagner's Ring Cycle, which had its first performance of the season on Monday night--all five hours of it!--under the pulsating control of Philippe Jordan and the Met orchestra in full throttle. The thrills started with the entrance of soprano Christine Goerke as Brunnhilde, tenor Stuart Skelton and soprano Eva Marie Westbroek as the incestuous Siegmund and Sieglinde, the clarion mezzo Jamie Barton as Fricka, goddess of marriage. For sheer pleasure and delight, however, there's nothing that beats the best-known section of the opera, “The Ride of the Valkyries,” which opens Act III.
by TV News Desk - Mar 18, 2019
Indie rock band The Darling Fire is thrilled to share their debut single, 'For The Loveless,' streaming exclusively on Billboard. The song comes from the band's forthcoming album, Dark Celebration, out June 14th, 2019 via Spartan Records. Pre-orders for Dark Celebration are available now at spr.tn/darkcelebration and include an instant grat download of 'For The Loveless.'
by BWW News Desk - Mar 13, 2019
J.L. Lynn Singleton, President of the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC), is pleased to announce PPAC's 2019/2020 Broadway Season, featuring the Taco/White Family Foundation Broadway Series and the Encore Series. WPRI 12 is the proud media sponsor of PPAC's Broadway Season. Cox Media is the proud media sponsor of the Encore Series.
by Richard Sasanow - Mar 11, 2019
If Robert Lepage's production of Wagner's Ring Cycle (formally, DER RING DAS NIBELUNGEN) had worked as smoothly when it opened in 2010 as it did at this season's marvelous premiere of its prologue, DAS RHEINGOLD, on Saturday afternoon, there probably still would have been complaints--not about its focus on technology but on its traditional approach. Personally, i liked it.
by BWW News Desk - Jun 5, 2019
How did a carpenter's son, grammar school dropout and sometime hack writer become America's greatest poet? To commemorate Whitman's 200th birthday on May 31, 2019, this landmark exhibition showcases New York's role in the extraordinary transformation of Walter Whitman Jr. to 'Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son.' On public view at the Grolier Club from May 15 to July 27, 2019, the exhibition brings together over 200 extraordinary books, manuscripts, photographs, and other objects to show how this obscure young New Yorker transformed himself into one of America's great artists, the Poet of the Body: New York's Walt Whitman.
by BWW News Desk - Jun 4, 2019
Chicago-based singer/rapper dying in designer has announced his new album, Nobody's Happy., out August 16th, 2019 via Hopeless Records. Fans can pre-order the album now here, and watch his new music video 'Pull It,'  here.
by Peter Danish - Jan 9, 2019
Aida has been called the grandest of grand operas and the production that has graced the Met stage for the last (unbelievably) 30 years still looks absolutely amazing - towering columns, massive sandstone blocks, etc. Oddly, the audience did not applaud the sets (as they have in every other performance of this production I've seen - about 10 times). The big news of the night on Monday was the house debut of American soprano Kristin Lewis, who has made a name for herself across Europe in many Verdi roles. Her Radames was tenor Yonghoon Lee who seems to be the Met's go-to-tenor for the bigger roles these days. Amneris was a spunky young kid named Dolora Zajick - this kid is gonna go places!
by Richard Sasanow - Jan 5, 2018
The trials and tribulations of the Met's new take on Puccini's TOSCA have been well documented--with all three principals replaced along with two conductors--and it would be nice to be able to say that everything came out happily-ever-after. Alas. There's nothing wrong with the company's surprise-free new take on one of Italian opera's most famous works that a stronger director couldn't come in and cure.
by BWW News Desk - Jan 29, 2018
Klaus Florian Vogt will sing the title role in the first revival of one of the most acclaimed Met productions in recent years, Wagner's final opera, Parsifal, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin and directed by François Girard.
by Marina Kennedy - Jan 27, 2019
February is a big month for holidays with Chinese New Year, 'The Year of the Pig' on Tuesday, February 5 and Valentine's Day on Thursday, February 14. To celebrate these events, GODIVA is offering a collection of decadent treats.
by BWW News Desk - Jan 24, 2018
Ben Rimalower will celebrate the recent release of his plays PATTI ISSUES and BAD WITH MONEY by Roven Records on Audible.com with a special performance of PATTI ISSUES at The Green Room 42 on Sunday, January 28. In Patti Issues, Rimalower explores the ways his lifelong obsession (and eventual working friendship) with Patti LuPone helped him navigate a tumultuous relationship with his volatile father. Since premiering in 2012, Patti Issues has garnered a tremendous amount of great press and word-of-mouth from attendees such as Tony Kushner, Alan Cumming, Laurie Metcalf and Ms. LuPone herself, who said, The show's fantastic. It's really wonderful. I was moved. Patti Issues is directed by Aaron Mark (Empanada Loca with Daphne Rubin-Vega, Squeamish With Alison Fraser).
by Richard Sasanow - Feb 28, 2019
Will anyone else but Ambrogio Maestri bring the same dynamism to Robert Carsen's 1950's take on Verdi's masterpiece, FALSTAFF? Time will tell. But the return of the wonderful production, with the great Met orchestra under conductor Richard Farnes and an all-around terrific cast, brought a little sunshine into the gray winter in New York.
by BWW News Desk - Feb 27, 2018
This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance-its first in nearly 25 years-with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.
by BWW News Desk - Feb 27, 2018
This masterpiece of dazzling vocal fireworks makes a rare Met appearance-its first in nearly 25 years-with Maurizio Benini on the podium. The all-star bel canto cast features Angela Meade in the title role of the murderous Queen of Babylon, who squares off in breathtaking duets with Arsace, a trouser role sung by Elizabeth DeShong. Javier Camarena, Ildar Abdrazakov, and Ryan Speedo Green complete the stellar cast.
by Richard Sasanow - Feb 21, 2018
A lot of risk, fast rotations in perfect unison, a precarious balance point. No, I'm not talking about doing a twizzle in Olympic ice-dancing--but starring in SEMIRAMIDE by Gioacchino Rossini, a man who believed there was no such thing as too many runs, roulades and high notes. Neither did soprano Angela Meade, who fearlessly stars in the Met's current run of this dazzlingly difficult piece.
by Richard Sasanow - Feb 18, 2019
No matter what one thinks of the Met's transfiguration of Verdi's RIGOLETTO from Francesco Maria Piave's Mantua to '60s Las Vegas--I personally like much of this “Rat Pack” production from director Michael Mayer--the singing at Saturday's performance [the second of the season] was first rate.
by Richard Sasanow - Feb 15, 2018
Richard Wagner's last opera, PARSIFAL, is a tough nut to crack. With its highly religious overtones, lack of action and incredible length (it ran about 5 hours 40 minutes the other night), it's not exactly a 'light night' at the opera--even if for those of us who consider opera to be a 'light night'. Still, with the right cast and conductor, it can be transcendent. The Met's new revival came pretty close to getting us there.
by Richard Sasanow - Feb 13, 2019
I've already cheered tenor Javier Camarena's Herculean take on “Ah, mes amis!” in the Met's current FILLE DU REGIMENT--with 1 ½ dozen high Cs, including an encore--but there's more than the tenor in Met's current revival of the Donizetti gem to make the season suddenly seem grand. He and soprano Pretty Yende have made a potent comic once before--in Rossini's BARBIERE--but FILLE is something altogether different.
by BWW News Desk - Feb 13, 2019
The world-premiere of  HAMILTON: THE EXHIBITION, scheduled to debut in Chicago  on Northerly Island (1535 S. Linn White Drive) this spring, has announced a new opening with its first public admissions now set for April 27. 
by BWW News Desk - Feb 1, 2018
"Stupid F*cking Bird" will make its Wayne State debut at the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry, March 1 thru March 31. This contemporary adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull" was written by American playwright Aaron Posner and presents a satirical, modern day spin on the theatre classic.
by Richard Sasanow - Dec 6, 2018
I interviewed Diana Damrau when she had just done her first Violetta, her role debut in the Met's old Willy Decker production. It was a part she lusted over from the time she saw the 1982 Zeffirelli film, but was careful about taking on--waiting for the right time in her vocal development. That was nearly six years ago and the good news is that she has developed into a first-rate Violetta, sounding better than she has in some time, and looking every inch the glamorous (yet consumptive) courtesan.
by Richard Sasanow - Dec 17, 2018
Talk about baptism by fire! That's what Gustavo Dudamel--that wunderkind of the classical conducting world--faced as he reached the podium of the Met for the first time Friday night. Not only was he conducting Verdi's great opera, OTELLO, but he was doing so with a last-minute substitute in the title role. The result: All went well with the Met's production of the masterwork.
by BWW News Desk - Dec 14, 2017
The Providence Performing Arts Center is pleased to offer a special New Year's Eve supper and show package for the 6:30P performance of LOVE NEVER DIES.
by Richard Sasanow - Dec 1, 2017
It was a fitting gesture that the Met dedicated this season's performances of Verdi's MESSA DA REQUIEM to the great baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who died on November 22 of brain cancer, at 55. The Russian Hvosotovsky may not have had the largest voice ever heard in his chosen repertoire--the last time I heard him was in IL TROVATORE with Netrebko--but it was unquestionably distinctive and exciting to hear. And he was a powerful stage presence second to none something that the Met has found difficult to muster from its soloists these days.
by BWW News Desk - Aug 1, 2018
Ben Rimalower will celebrate the recent release of his plays PATTI ISSUES and BAD WITH MONEY by Roven Records on Audible.com with a special performance BAD WITH MONEY at The Green Room 42 on Saturday, August 18 and a double bill of PATTI ISSUES and BAD WITH MONEY at Penguin Rep on Sunday, August 19. In Patti Issues, Rimalower explores the ways his lifelong obsession (and eventual working friendship) with Patti LuPone helped him navigate a tumultuous relationship with his volatile father. Since premiering in 2012, Patti Issues has garnered a tremendous amount of great press and word-of-mouth from attendees such as Tony Kushner, Alan Cumming, Laurie Metcalf and Ms. LuPone herself, who said, "The show's fantastic. It's really wonderful. I was moved." Patti Issues is directed by Aaron Mark (Empanada Loca with Daphne Rubin-Vega, Squeamish With Alison Fraser).
by Richard Sasanow - Apr 5, 2019
While the cast for the season's revival of Mozart's LA CLEMENZA DI TITO looked good on paper, it didn't even hint at how good the singing was going to be at the Met this week. From top—tenor Matthew Polenzani, elegant and vibrant in the title role (“Se all'impero”), and the great mezzo Joyce DiDonato as Sesto (who delivers the opera's “hit” aria, “Parto, parto,” and more in opulent style)--to bottom, the cast delivered in every way possible.
by Richard Sasanow - Apr 30, 2018
Donizetti's LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR--the story of a fragile young woman, Lucia, who's caught in a feud involving her family, the Ashtons, and the Ravenswoods--is one of the mainstays of the repertoire at major opera houses around the world, famed particularly for its mad scene. It's long been a favorite at the Met, with the current performances the third cast of the season, starring soprano Pretty Yende, tenor Michael Fabiano and baritone Quinn Kelsey.
by Richard Sasanow - Apr 28, 2017
The audience was there to be thrilled on Tuesday, when the Met's new Music Director, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, took on Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER (THE FLYING DUTCHMAN) and they weren't disappointed. It was a musically glorious performance with the Met orchestra in peak form under its new maestro, the company's great chorus both charming and energetic, and the cast of principals marvelous, led by baritone Michael Volle in the title role and soprano Amber Wagner as Senta.
by Richard Sasanow - Apr 26, 2017
For a new production that was supposed to mark a farewell for soprano Renee Fleming to a role (the Marschallin) if not to staged opera performance in general, Robert Carsen's version of Richard Strauss's DER ROSENKAVALIER at the Met seemed more of a farce and less a tale of regret about passing time than usual. And the “star” role seemed more of an aside than the center of it all.
by Richard Sasanow - Apr 18, 2018
The Met's new CENDRILLON is a Cinderella of a production, finally allowing Massenet's take on the classic tale of the girl from the cinders who finds her Prince Charming to reach the Met's stage 119 years after its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris.