Showtime! features reviews, commentary and assorted theatrical musings from Michael Dale,'s Chief Theatre Critic. To submit amusing backstage banter, absurd audience observations or noteworthy links to Showtime!, click here. Anonymity's guaranteed. My not taking credit for your clever remark isn't.

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If You See Something Say Something: A Patriot's Act

Although Mike Daisey's exploration of national defense, past and present, If You See Something Say Something, arrives at Joe's Pub just in time to serve as a companion piece to the Metropolitan Opera's production of Dr. Atomic, there is nothing minimalist about this monologist.  He may spend the entire 100 minute presentation sitting behind a desk with nothing but a glass of water and his notes but, as directed by Jean-Michele Gregory, Daisey himself is a fully orchestrated production.  A large man who embellishes his frank observations ("The founding fathers could have been considered by the British to be terrorists.") and grim warnings ("If you raise an army and leave it standing, it will find something to do.") with artfully placed profanity, large, sweeping gestures and a face of fully animated Silly Putty, his voice is that of a genial, but angered everyman, bouncing with varied tempos, tones, full out comic crescendos and meaningful sotto voces.  If Lenny Bruce was embodied by Zero Mostel and played by Louis Armstrong, the result would closely resemble Mike Daisey.

The piece begins with his drive to Los Alamos, New Mexico, the site of the first test detonation of an atomic bomb, which is only open to the public one day a year.  (The first Saturday in October, in case you were planning a family outing.)  There he considers the civic pride behind a public statue of a mushroom cloud and the value of life expressed by a visitors' center educational recording that tells how using the bomb saved the lives of a projected one million American soldiers without ever mentioning the 200,000 actual civilian lives it took.  He tries to imagine what was inside the minds of the men who worked on that top-secret project.  Did they think that possessing an atomic bomb could end the war without first giving the world a practical demonstration of what it can do?

But while that trip provides the framework, Daisey takes many detours.  His comparison of the color-coded terror alert system with its corresponding numbers from the DEFCON alert system and his description of how post 9-11 American airport security provides the feeling of safety instead of actual safety are both disturbing and hilarious.  So is his proof of how nobody who voted for the Patriot Act was given enough time to read it first.  (Of the act's co-author, Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, he reasons, "You know that this guy has at least read half of it.")

And while Daisey's performance is primarily comic, there is an intriguing poignancy in his discussion of Samuel Cohen, the father of the neutron bomb.  Cohen felt his creation, which could instantly kill a city full of people while leaving buildings unharmed, was a moral weapon because he believed it could be developed to work with the kind of pinpoint accuracy that would spare civilians from harm.

As with any politically charged theatre piece, there are those who will certainly disagree with Daisey's arguments.  While I'm not here to confirm or dispute his claims, I will vouch for the effectiveness of his plea for Americans to take advantage of the unfiltered information that is out there and to always preserve a healthy skepticism toward our elected officials.  ("Dealing with the Federal Government is like watching slugs dancing.  It only gets interesting when you pour a little salt on them.")  I'll also vouch for the comically perverse atmosphere to the proceedings as patrons listen to the artist's passionate warnings about the loss of basic freedoms while enjoying selections from Joe's Pub's extensive wine line and tantalizing prix fix menu.  The salmon is very good.

Photo of Mike Daisey by Kenneth Aaron

Posted on: Tuesday, October 28, 2008 @ 01:39 AM Posted by: Michael Dale

Broadway Grosses: Week Ending 10/26 & Algonquin Round Table Quote of the Week

"At dramatic rehearsals, the only author that's better than an absent one is a dead one."

-- George S. Kaufman

The grosses are out for the week ending 10/26/2008 and we've got them all right here in's grosses section.

Up for the week was: ALL MY SONS (11.2%), HAIRSPRAY (7.4%), THE SEAGULL (3.8%), A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (3.7%), TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1.9%), SPAMALOT (1.5%), CHICAGO (0.3%),

Down for the week was: SPRING AWAKENING (-5.8%), THE LION KING (-5.2%), EQUUS (-5.1%), THE LITTLE MERMAID (-4.8%), GYPSY (-4.7%), MAMMA MIA! (-4.2%), GREASE (-3.5%), 13 (-2.9%), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (-2.2%), BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL (-2.0%), AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (-1.8%), BOEING-BOEING (-1.4%), IN THE HEIGHTS (-1.2%), JERSEY BOYS (-1.1%), A TALE OF TWO CITIES (-0.9%), THE 39 STEPS (-0.8%), WICKED (-0.7%), AVENUE Q (-0.4%), MARY POPPINS (-0.2%), SPEED THE PLOW (-0.1%),

Posted on: Monday, October 27, 2008 @ 03:35 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Broadway Originals & The Master Builder

Three years ago I named D'Jamin Bartlett's performance of "The Miller's Son" at BroadwayWorld's Standing Ovations IV concert, thirty-two years after she introduced the song in A Little Night Music, as one of my most memorable theatre moments of 2005.  I may have to put her back on the list for 2008.  At Sunday afternoon's Broadway Originals concert, the final entry of Town Hall's 4th Annual Broadway Cabaret Festival, Bartlett once again - in the original key - completely floored a New York audience with her rapid-fire deliver of Stephen Sondheim's patter combined with sterling vocals conveying an intensely cerebral sexuality.  Called out to take a bow, she seemed sincerely surprised and overwhelmed at the cheers of the crowd.

With all due respect to Christmas, the opening of the baseball season and the day they tune the piano at Marie's Crisis, Broadway Originals Sunday is fast becoming my most wonderful time of the year.  Once again Scott Siegel has assembled an exciting collection of musical theatre pros to reprise songs they introduced in roles they originated or played in the first cast of a Broadway revival.  For many of them, the songs they introduced are far better known than they are, but the star quality they still possess is undeniable.

As usual, it was the senior members of the cast who stole the show, with Jerry Lanning's smooth baritone beautifully embracing Mame's "My Best Girl," Karen Morrow belting to the back row swinging the title song of I Had A Ball and Rita Gardner, the original Louisa in The Fantasticks (exceptions for a great Off-Broadway show are occasionally allowed) sweetly singing "They Were You," with a lovely, controlled soprano vibrato.  Joan Copeland, who starred in the 1977 revival of Pal Joey, gave an impish rendering of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and the daffy Pamela Myers once again brought to mind Gotham's whirling cacophony with Company's "Another Hundred People."

Youthful stars of more recent productions were also well represented.  Alli Mauzey, so funny in last season's Cry-Baby, once again gave her special touch to the Patsy Cline spoof, "Screw Loose"; a song that, according to Siegel, John Waters wants to be sung at his funeral.  Bobby Steggert made a solo out of his 110 In The Shade duet, "Little Red Hat" with catchy exuberance and though Michael Arden didn't exactly introduce Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" to the nation when he sang it in The Times They Are A-Changin', his fine, detailed phrasing brings out colors that make his interpretation unique.

The ages in between contained a flurry of terrific talent.  Lucie Arnaz got the show started joyously, disco dancing to "They're Playing My Song."  Gary Beach sang a mad arrangement that combined "Be My Guest," "Keep It Gay" and "La Cage aux Folles," quickly switching from song to song to song like he was Jekyll, Hyde and Lucia di Lammermoor.  And speaking of Jekyll & Hyde, Bob Cuccioli was on hand to lend his great dramatic flair to "The Is The Moment" and Cheryl Freeman rocked out the house as the Acid Queen from The Who's Tommy.

Stephen Mo Hanan, carrying a bag of kitty litter on stage ("Just in case.") was just charming in his Cats role as "Gus, The Theatre Cat," as was Terri White, feisty as ever with Barnum's "Thank God I'm Old," and Kerry Butler gently dreaming of "Somewhere That's Green."  Chuck Cooper, whose deep, rich vocals can captivate an audience with solemn dramatics, relived the day John F. Kennedy was shot from an unusual perspective with "The Bus Aria" from Caroline, Or Change.  Liz Callaway, one of musical theatre's great lyric interpreters, brought out vivid storytelling colors in "Alfie," as she did in The Look Of Love.  The only duet of the day had Alice Ripley and Alan Campbell sounding beautiful and looking delighted to be reunited for Sunset Blvd's "Too Much In Love To Care."

Scott Siegel introduced each performance with his usual insight and humor, making Broadway Originals the liveliest museum in town.

Photos by Genevieve Rafter Keddy: Top: D'Jamin Bartlett; Bottom: Karen Morrow


Let me start this one by commending James Naughton, a bona fide name-above-the-title Broadway star better known for playing hard-boiled musical comedy leading men than for tackling Ibsen drama, for stretching his acting muscles as he attaches his popular name to the non-profit Irish Repertory Theatre's premiere production of Frank McGuinness' new translation of The Master Builder.  That said, I must sadly report that, as of last Tuesday's press performance, the actor hasn't seemed to have grasped any kind of definite interpretation of the role.

Naughton plays an 1892 version of what they call a "starchitect" nowadays; though this one, Halvard Solness, is a serial adulterer who got to the top by trampling on others.  His rich, melodic voice is put to good use to convey a captivating authority, but there is little depth given to the words he speaks.  His performance lacks detail and focus as he frequently mutters lines to the floor and accents emotions with perfunctory arm motions.  Part of the problem could be director Ciaran O'Reilly's static staging that leaves actors staying put for long periods as they plow through wordy scenes.  For a play about a heartless man looking back at a time when his ideals could inspire the imagination of a 12-year-old girl, the three acts proceed rather passionlessly.

That 12-year-old girl, Hilde (Charlotte Parry), shows up ten years later wanting Solness to make good on a promise he made the day he dedicated one of his better works in her home town - to one day make her a princess and build her a kingdom.  While the character's costumes (by Linda Fisher) and her unusual entrance from Eugene Lee's set suggests Hilde to be an angelic figure, Parry's languidly sweet portrayal makes little impact as the obsessive temptress (stalker) who the aging architect is more than willing to immediately welcome into his life.  Much more effective are Kristin Griffith as his put upon wife, Herb Foster as his former mentor and now unappreciated employee, and Letitia Lange as his mousey, idolizing clerical worker.

Fisher's costumes nicely define the class distinction between the characters and though Lee's setting of Solness' studio works very well for the first two acts, the third, taking place outdoors, is played in front of all its tables and chairs stacked up in piles.  While I'm sure there was an artistic intention behind that move, it looks more like there wasn't room to store them backstage.

Photo of Kristin Griffith, James Naughton and Letitia Lange by Carol Rosegg

Posted on: Monday, October 27, 2008 @ 03:09 AM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Is There A Bias Against Women Playwrights?

Yes, there are many severely unrepresented groups in New York theatre and that situation needs to be improved.  But to focus on one for a moment, here's a link to an interesting New York Times article about the difficulty for women playwrights to have their work produced. 

Posted on: Saturday, October 25, 2008 @ 10:32 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Joe the Plumber, Meet Michael the Theatre Critic

Inspired by the sudden political fame of "Joe the Plumber," John McCain's web site now has a special page where you can get your own personalized rally sign by filling out a form that says…

I AM (your first name)
THE (your job)

They ask for your email address, so I assume they send you a nice sign you can download and print out after your submission, but I still haven't received a response to my…

I AM Michael
THE Theatre Critic

Of course, if a large group of demented Broadway fans got wind of this page (insert coughing noises here) we might see signs like this at the next McCain rally:

I AM Marian
THE Librarian

I AM Tony
THE Most Happy Fella

I AM Sweeney Todd
THE Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Any more to suggest?

Posted on: Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 02:04 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Replies: 3 - Click Here

A Man For All Seasons & Colm Wilkinson at the Broadway Cabaret Festival

It's perfectly understandable if years from now, or maybe fifteen minutes after leaving the theatre, the only thing you clearly remember about the Roundabout's new production of A Man For All Seasons is Frank Langella's extraordinary performance as the highly-principled Chancellor of England, Sir Thomas More, who refused to support Henry VIII's wish to separate from the Vatican and form the Church of England in order for him to divorce the aging Catherine of Aragon and wed Anne Boleyn in hopes of their union producing a son and heir.  Not that director Doug Hughes' sturdy mounting of Robert Bolt's 1960 historical drama doesn't contain fine work from the rest of the ensemble, but in a play where the central figure so dominates the proceedings - especially with this production's removal of the narrator/commenter character known as The Common Man - Langella linguistically feasts on the dense, wordy text and gracefully conveys the complexities of a family man who refuses to betray his conscious, no matter the cost to his loved ones or his own head.

While Bolt leans on portraying More a bit more on the saintly side than reality dictates, Langella never strikes a false note as he spares philosophically with the self-involved king (Patrick Page), the slickly elegant Spanish ambassador (Triney Sandoval) and the arch Oliver Cromwell (an almost dastardly Zach Grenier).  His distain for the corruption of the men surrounding him is expressed by both roaring bursts and faintly exasperated glances.  To see the actor's transformation of More from a righteous lion to a fragile, quietly defiant prisoner in the Tower of London, awaiting execution, is a heartbreaking experience.  Also very touching is the work of Maryann Plunkett as his long-suffering but devoted wife.

Santo Loquasto's set resembles the wooden framework of a great cathedral, but effectively assumes many locations under David Lander's lights.  Catherin Zuber's period costumes are wondrously elegant.

While Thomas More was proclaimed a man for all seasons for his moral consistency, Frank Langella can be given the same moniker for the consistent excellence of his stage work, which is welcome during any theatrical season.

Photo of Frank Langella by Joan Marcus

"Please, sing along…  please clap your hands," Colm Wilkinson kept coaxing the audience during his concert engagement on evening two of Town Hall's 4th Annual Broadway Cabaret Festival.

But despite the star's genial invitation, I doubt if many in the enthusiastic crowd actually could have sung along with the Irish musical theatre star as his hearty voice roared through the title song of Man of La Mancha or hit sterling, stunningly controlled head notes throughout Les Miserables' "Bring Him Home."

And I daresay if anyone did try taking him up on the offer and sang along to his passionate "This Is The Moment" (Jekyll & Hyde) or rhythmically clap to his beautifully sincere "Anthem" (Chess) we might have had an old fashioned donnybrook break out in the middle of the auditorium.  No, attentive silence was the way this crowd wanted to enjoy the robust vocals and vivid phrasing from this beloved entertainer, in his first New York gig since appearing as the original Jean Valjean in the Broadway company of Les Mis twenty years ago.

But though musical theatre selections provided the bulk of the evening's program (including a fun swing arrangement of "Hello, Young Lovers" and a - yes, I'll say it -haunting "Music of the Night") the evening included a nice variety of styles.

"Surprised?," the singer asked the crowd as he strummed a guitar and sunk throaty bluegrass tones into "The Tennessee Waltz."  And while a perfectly heartbreaking "Danny Boy" and a rousing Irish drinking song like "Whiskey In The Jar" would naturally be expected, other unexpected pleasures included an intensely growled "House of the Rising Sun" and a Ray Charles medley ("Take These Chains From My Heart," "Georgia on My Mind") that took on a special meaning after he explained the thrill he experienced while getting to sing in front of his idol at the Kennedy Center Honors.  ("I have a video tape of Ray Charles applauding me!")

Music director Steve Hunter led the 6-piece band and while the star took a few breaks during the evening, additional solos were very capably handled by the torchy Alana Bridgewater ("Stormy Weather," "As Long As He Needs Me") and pop vocalist Susan Gilmour ("Don't Cry Out Loud," "Being Alive").

But while the two ladies were appropriately appreciated, the evening belonged to Wilkinson, a captivating performer whether he's cracking a dark-humored joke about The Silence of The Lambs (though somebody should let him know it already has been made into a musical) or reverently pleaing for a peaceful world through Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and John Lennon's "Imagine,"

Photo of Colm Wilkinson by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

Posted on: Thursday, October 23, 2008 @ 11:59 AM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Well Said, Mr. Prince. Well Said.

In today's Michael Riedel column, Harold Prince very nicely sums up his view on the state of the Broadway musical:

"We've become very good at giving people what they want. But there's got to be something more on the menu. The whole point should be to offer them something they didn't even know they wanted to see."

Posted on: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 09:11 AM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

To Be Or Not To Be: Highly Questionable

Start with a wonderful dark comedy from 1942, director Ernst Lubitsch's To Be Or Not To Be, which starred Jack Benny and Carol Lombard as the married, spotlight-hogging stars of a theatre troupe in Nazi occupied Warsaw who wind up using their acting skills to play a part in the Polish resistance,…

...have most of the humor, all of the pathos and everything that's interesting about the screenplay by Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer (story by Melchior Lengyel) removed by playwright Nick Whitby,…

…and, while we're at it, give no billing the film's creators,…

…leave a very capable pair of comic stars (David Rasche and Jan Maxwell) and a cast full of dependable stage actors (including Peter Benson, Steve Kazee, Michael McCarty, Rocco Sisto and Kristine Nielsen) doing what they can with the skeletal remains of the story and Casey Nicholaw's static direction,…

…give the film's most famous comic moment - the moment the picture is named after, for goodness sake - no build-up and race through the thing in order to guarantee no chance of a decent laugh,…

…include too many quick crossover scenes where the actors seem to be racing to get their lines out while competing for stage space with a swiftly moving curtain,…

…project historical film footage on said curtain, which is too pleated to show anything clearly…

…and that's pretty much what we have inside the newly named Samuel J. Friedman Theatre these days.

 I never thought I'd ever use these three words in a theatre review:

See the movie.

Photo of Michael McCarty and Jan Maxwell by Joan Marcus

Posted on: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 @ 12:57 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Broadway Grosses: Week Ending 10/19 & Algonquin Round Table Quote of the Week

"If the office had been any smaller, it would have been adultery."

-- Dorothy Parker

The grosses are out for the week ending 10/19/2008 and we've got them all right here in's grosses section.

Up for the week was: CHICAGO (10.8%), GYPSY (9.8%), SPEED THE PLOW (7.6%), A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS (7.0%), THE SEAGULL (5.5%), BOEING-BOEING (5.3%), THE 39 STEPS (2.7%), WICKED (2.2%), AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (1.2%), IN THE HEIGHTS (1.1%), BILLY ELLIOT: THE MUSICAL (0.8%), MAMMA MIA! (0.7%), LEGALLY BLONDE (0.5%), SOUTH PACIFIC (0.1%), JERSEY BOYS (0.1%),

Down for the week was: ALL MY SONS (-12.6%), SPRING AWAKENING (-8.9%), SPAMALOT (-7.9%), AVENUE Q (-7.0%), MARY POPPINS (-5.9%), A TALE OF TWO CITIES (-5.5%), EQUUS (-4.4%), THE LION KING (-4.1%), 13 (-3.3%), GREASE (-2.5%), THE LITTLE MERMAID (-2.5%), TO BE OR NOT TO BE (-2.3%), HAIRSPRAY (-2.1%), THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (-1.2%),

Posted on: Monday, October 20, 2008 @ 09:44 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

All My Sons: Flying Blind

After his Broadway debut shut down after four performances, All My Sons was the play that put Arthur Miller on map; running for a good nine months, winning the 1947 Tony Award for Best Play and bringing the author to the attention of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee.

Miller's look at the changing American dream from individual achievement to a more collective consciousness has often been compared to classic Greek tragedy but director Simon McBurney's new Broadway revival adds Brechtian tones, multimedia commentary and abstract staging to the proceedings.  His highly stylized interpretation doesn't exactly enhance Miller's text, but so many of his touches remain on the peripheral of the production and can easily be tuned out while staying riveted to the dynamic performances he draws from leads John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Patrick Wilson.

At first you might think we're in for something akin to Thornton Wilder's Our Town as Lithgow, with the cast positioned behind him, begins by advising the audience to turn off their cell phones and reads us the playwright's opening stage directions, which set the play in the back yard of the home of Joe and Kate Keller (Lithgow and Wiest).  At the very least, this addition helps save the play from being interrupted by entrance applause every time name star takes the stage, but then it appears we might have stumbled onto a non-traditionally cast production of King Lear as another unscripted scene has Wiest, now in character, battling the winds of a ferocious storm that, as described later on in dialogue, uproots their highly symbolic tree and sends it crashing to the ground.  While the moment is somewhat unnecessary, the storm is whipped up very effectively by lighting designer Paul Anderson and sound designers Christopher Shutt and Carolyn Downing.  Shutt and Downing's melodramatic underscoring at key moments of the play is absolutely unnecessary, given the dialogue's realistic tone.

Once the play begins as Miller scripted, we more clearly see set and costume designer Tom Pye's depiction of the Keller yard, represented by a flat platform of green grass.  Chain link gates standing alone suggest there's a fence and the upstage home is simply a great wall of brown shingles which serves as a screen for projection designer Finn Ross' (for Mesmer) newsreel footage.  (Interesting, but not nearly as interesting as the Miller speeches they're intended to highlight.)  There is a door, but it stands a few feet in front of the house, letting the actors remain visible, though emotionlessly out of character, as they enter and exit.  Audience members whose seats provide a view behind the proscenium and into the wings can see that all offstage actors are seated quietly in precisely spaced out chairs until ready to enter.  There is no attempt to hide the theatre sand bag that rests at the foot of another large tree, whose branches hang stage left.

That uprooted tree, by the way, is a memorial to Joe and Kate's older son, Larry, an air force pilot who was declared missing in World Word II.  Though it's been three years and everyone else assumes the worst, Kate steadfastly holds on to the hope that he's coming back some day.  However, younger son Chris (Wilson) has since developed a relationship with Larry's former fiancée Ann (Katie Holmes) but he knows that asking his mother to accept their intended marriage would require her to accept Chris' death.  Meanwhile, Ann's father, Joe's former business partner, is in jail for allowing a shipment of defective airplane parts to be sold to the government.  Joe also served time for his suspected involvement in the incident but was later exonerated.

McBurney's cast displays a strong disconnection between the lead foursome, particularly as Lithgow and Wiest occupy their own worlds of guilt, antiquated values and disillusionment.  Lithgow, with his tall, robust physique and hearty voice, excels in stage performances that allow him to show insecurities leaking out through a strong façade (dramatically in Requiem For A Heavyweight, comically in Beyond Therapy).  His Joe Keller is a grotesque distortion of the great American success story.  Watch his chest swell with patriotic pride as he describes his return from jail, deflecting accusing looks from neighbors with a piece of paper saying he's not guilty.  Weist gives Kate's tragic vigil for her son hints of a bitter, controlling flipside, as though she'd be willing to accept his apparent death if not for the manipulative advantage it gives her over the family.  Patrick Wilson's Chris - earnestly family oriented, but demanding in his principles no matter what the expense - is so good I suspect this performance may lead to offers of roles that don't require him to take off his shirt.

In supporting parts, Christian Camargo, as Ann's brother George, comes off as too intensely grim to be believable, but the surrounding community characters (played by Becky Ann Baker, Michael D'Addario, Danielle Ferland, Jordan Gelber, and Damian Young) effectively provide warm and neighborly surroundings.

Katie Holmes, who, from the looks of her credits, appears to be making her professional stage acting debut, draws a lot of publicity for the production and has many fans waiting for a glimpse of her at the stage door every night.  Some of them, I understand, have even seen her performance.

Photos:  Top:  The Company; Bottom: John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes

Posted on: Monday, October 20, 2008 @ 01:17 AM Posted by: Michael Dale | Leave Feedback

Let's Hear Some Stephen Sondheim on the Campaign Trail!

Aren't you tired of presidential candidates choosing rock songs like "Barracuda" and "Our Country" for their campaign themes?  Who listens to that kind of music?  (I mean, besides 99.9% of the country.)  If these guys really want to snare the valuable showtune voter block, maybe they should try being introduced by a selection from the Stephen Sondheim oeuvre.

For John McCain:  "Everybody Oughta Have A Maid"

For Barack Obama:  "There's Always A Woman"

For Ralph Nader:  "Everybody Says Don't"

Posted on: Friday, October 17, 2008 @ 02:09 PM Posted by: Michael Dale | Replies: 1 - Click Here

About Michael: 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's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Shea Stadium 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.