Monday, February 15, 2016

November 2015: NYC

Fool For Love, MTC on Broadway

I wasn't sure about this supposed classic by Sam Shephard, but I took a chance, having enjoyed both Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell in previous stage performances. This one was lost on me though. Seemingly opaque for opaqueness's sake, there just wasn't enough of a story to interest me despite the shouting match onstage. Plus the fact that the two lovers are actually related...yuck!


HIR, Playwrights Horizon off-Broadway

Being a huge fan of Taylor Mac's performance in the Public/Foundry Theaters' production of Bertolt Brecht's Good Person of Szechwan could in no way prepare me for how brilliant of a playwright he would be! This two-act play was the clear highlight of the trip and possibly of the year (and my first time at Playwright's Horizon!). A young soldier returns home from Iraq to find his dad stroked out and his little sister transitioning to a man. Holding it all together with comedic aplomb is the incredible Kristine Nielsen (so good in Christopher Durang's Sonya and Vonya and Masha and Spike). Will her oldest child be able to keep up with her in the new world or will he be left behind like his father? That is the crux of the play and the journey from hilarious beginning to devastating end is as entertaining as it gets. Just as in Hand to God, the Act 2 scene reveal was awesome! Bravo to all involved!!!


A Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder

There's a reason it took me so long to see this Tony award winning best musical: this is just not my cup of tea. The main attraction is to see one actor (the very talented Jefferson Mays, who was with the show during its entire run!) performing all 8 characters in the D'Ysquith family who cutie Bryce Pinkham must murder to inherit their fortune/title. Totally forgettable.


Frank Stella retrospective at the new Whitney

While the new Whitney continues to impress, the same cannot be said for Frank Stella. While the original Black Paintings (1958-1960) definitely made their mark, nothing besides the huge recent sculptures in the outdoor space seems as significant.


Dames at Sea, finally on Broadway

While David took in A View From the Bridge (I saw the NT Live telecast), I watched this tiny piece of cross-between-42nd Street-and-Anything Goes fluff. It's not so much a parody as a tribute; however, with only 6 actors, no matter how fast they may tap dance, it just can't reach the heights of the kind of large scale spectacle it truly wants to be.


Spring Awakening, Deaf West on Broadway

It took me a long time to warm up to the original production of SA (I enjoyed it much more the second time around on tour) so I blown away by how great this production from LA's Deaf West Theater was. The mix of hearing and deaf actors heightens the communication divide that the exists between these characters. So many thrilling theatrical moments were created by adding this extra layer. As a side note, I once auditioned for a production of Into the Woods after a young woman in a wheelchair, who wanted the role of Little Red Riding Hood. While the theater in question probably couldn't have accommodated the actress's needs, I was so glad to see her on stage later in a different show, just as I was to see a young actress in a wheelchair on Broadway is this production. This company is rethinking what choreography means. What a great way to end the trip!

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