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We sent one of our critics to review the new national tour of Oklahoma! while it visited Chicago to see how the Tony-winning Broadway revival fares on the road.

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JEANNA de WAAL Lights Up 54 Below — Review

January 12, 2022

By

Amanda Marie Miller

on

January 12, 2022

Jeanna de Waal’s debut cabaret show, performed Monday evening at Feinstein’s/54 Below, perfectly captured the spirit of a performer excited for the future and “a princess moving on'' after the hasty closing of Diana. Packed with superfans and sheep sweaters, the venue was filled with giddy looks between tables and a sense of wonder for what was about to unfold. Each song was met with a rumbling of whispers ringing out before lyrics could even begin, as many opted to quickly pull out their phones, set to record and share the drama of it all. de Waal had been at the center of the Diana universe for years, through the San Diego production, two rounds of Broadway previews, a Netflix recording under severe COVID precautions, and a run that would ultimately play 34 performances before closing on December 19, 2021. Years in the making, de Waal’s performance as the people’s princess turned heads while her solo show continued to win hearts.

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HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD Magic Reworked — Review

January 10, 2022

By

Joey Sims

on

January 10, 2022

A broadway review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child now playing at the Lyric Theatre in New York City. Since its West End debut in 2016, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has attracted intense fan interest around its central relationship. The close bond between Harry Potter’s son Albus and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius forms the emotional core of Jack Thorne’s play, which follows the pair’s doomed effort to “set history right” by stealing a time turner and saving Cedric Diggory’s life nineteen years in the past. (It goes wrong, of course, and complications ensue.) Thorne’s original text, co-conceived with director John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling (more on her later) does not demand Albus and Scorpius’ bond be played as a burgeoning romance. But Tiffany and original co-stars Sam Clemmett and Anthony Boyle certainly leaned into that reading in the play’s first iteration, playing the duo’s journey as a love story even when the text sometimes insisted otherwise. Choreographer Steven Hoggett even crafted a mournful, romantic “Staircase Ballet” for a scene where the two are forced apart. 

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Studio Theatre’s FLIGHT Traces a Refugee Odyssey in Miniature

January 7, 2022

By

Nathan Pugh

on

January 7, 2022

This past August, the fall of Afghanistan was witnessed by people across the globe, many of us watching news coverage on our phone screens. We could hold those illuminating rectangles in the palm of our hand, watching horrors unfold. With one click, we could also make the horrors disappear. The conversion of refugees from living people to just pixels on a screen can impact how Afghan refugees are characterized in the news. During September of this year, one AP News report described “two tiny dots dropping from [a] plane,” at the Kabul airport. For journalists and storytellers, it’s an impossible task to narrate asylum seekers in real time. But weren’t those “two dots” real people? Doesn’t an abstract representation of an atrocity hide the reality of the people experiencing it?Studio Theatre’s new show Flight doesn’t resolve these questions as much as it dives deeper into them with immersive storytelling and incredible detail. Instead of running away from the small images that often dominate refugee news coverage, the show embraces them, creating countless dioramas of refugees in miniature. Flight proves that small images aren’t necessarily diminutive in their impact. In fact, the small images in Flight conjure a different sort of power, one uniquely theatrical and purposefully abstract. 
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FLYING OVER SUNSET On a Smoothed-Out Trip — Review

December 13, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

December 13, 2021

Theatrely's Broadway review of Flying Over Sunset at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater. The Doors of Perception is an anomaly: the hyper-literate Aldous Huxley’s 1954 book about his experiences with mescaline, it married his breathtaking combination of crystal clear sociopolitics to a still-unmatched first person account of being under the influence of psychedelics. Equally bizarre was Clare Booth Luce, a staunch Republican congresswoman and ambassador to Italy whose 1936 play, The Women, famously featured no men and gave rich insight into the lives of Manhattan socialites. And then there’s Cary Grant, one of the handsomest Hollywood leading men who mastered the art of screwball while dodging lifelong gay allegations created by his living with another actor.

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TEENAGE DICK is a Brutal but Sensitive Portrait of an Unlikely Antihero — Review

December 10, 2021

By

Nathan Pugh

on

December 10, 2021

Dear Evan Hansen wants the humorous but scathing energy that Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick has in spades. The similarities between Hansen and Teenage Dick run deep. Both shows follow awkward, lonely teenage guys trying to get through high school. Both protagonists gain incredible social power through the force of their storytelling. They use this power to woo their popular love interests, and excuse their gaslighting because of their disabilities. And in the end, everything comes crashing down because of dangerous lies exacerbated by social media. Both shows have had large cultural moments this year. Hansen’s film adaptation premiered in movie theaters this past September and re-opens on Broadway this weekend. Teenage Dick, which previously ran off-Broadway in 2018, is now touring through some of the most well-known regional theatres in America. Having already played at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company this fall, the show is now running at the Huntington Theatre Company and will head over to Pasadena Playhouse in February.

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A Hopeless Bachelorette in Excellent COMPANY — Review

December 9, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

December 9, 2021

The 50th anniversary production of Company is not golden, as such anniversaries are, but rather an incandescent neon under Marianne Elliott’s ingenious direction. Though, thanks to the pandemic, it actually opens 51 years after the original landmark production. This lush, expensive-looking production arrives on Broadway following an acclaimed West End revival which swapped its perennially single protagonist from Bobby to Bobbie, creating an array of fascinating changes to its gender dynamics. 
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KIMBERLY AKIMBO a Momentous Masterpiece — Review

December 8, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

December 8, 2021

Kimberly Akimbo, the new musical which premiered tonight at the Atlantic Theater Company, does not carry itself with the weight David Lindsay-Abaire’s book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori’s music, hold. The offbeat anti-comedy glides along like an awkward teen at the New Jersey ice-skating rink its characters hang around, but make no mistake: this is a momentous work of theatre, exquisitely performed by a stellar cast of talent, known and new.
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A STRANGE LOOP Stages an Endless Spiral of Identity, and the Rupture my Hometown Needs — Review

December 7, 2021

By

Nathan Pugh

on

December 7, 2021

This production of Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop Woolly Mammoth comes after the show’s much-lauded off-Broadway production in the summer of 2019, produced by Playwrights Horizons and Page 73 Productions. The D.C. production of A Strange Loop was announced in March of 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theatre across America, and right before Jackson’s won 2020’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the show. Woolly Mammoth isn’t known for producing musicals, yet it makes sense for A Strange Loop to be staged here. The musical has more in common with Woolly Mammoth’s past productions of experimental Black plays (like Fairview or An Octoroon) than the reworkings of classic musicals typically seen in D.C. theatre.
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SELLING KABUL Puts Us In The Room Where It Happened — Review

December 6, 2021

By

Christian Lewis

on

December 6, 2021

It appears that one of the major vibes, if you will, of post-quarantine theatre is tension, in particular claustrophobic, interpersonal tension that builds between people stuck in a small space or a single room. This mood permeates recent plays including Pass Over, Dana H, Is This A Room, Last of the Love Letters, The Fever, and now, Sylvia Khoury’s Selling Kabul at Playwrights Horizons. Of course, these plays all or mostly pre-date the pandemic, and yet after so much time being stuck inside, they feel different, more intense and real than ever before. The notion of a single-room play is nothing new, but now, after many of us have been living single-room lives, they have a newfound relevancy and relatability. They haunt us in ways that feel familiar. 
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MRS. DOUBTFIRE Has The Heart, But Needs More Time In The Kitchen — Review

December 5, 2021

By

Kobi Kassal

on

December 5, 2021

Where the show truly shines is with the fantastic company that director Jerry Zaks has assembled. Rob McClure is a theatrical force to be reckoned with. Seamlessly transitioning back and forth between Daniel and Doubtfire, McClure is giving a career defining performance that would surely make Robin Williams proud. The lovely Jenn Gambatese as Miranda and their on-stage children Analise Scarpaci as Lydia (terrific), Jake Ryan Flynn as Christopher (enthusiastic), and Avery Sell as Natalie (adorable) make up the Hillard clan. A Broadway review of Mrs. Doubtfire.
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Round House Theatre’s THE GREAT LEAP Offers a Thoughtful Fable for Chinese-American Life — Review

December 3, 2021

By

Nathan Pugh

on

December 3, 2021

Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap, now at Bethesda’s Round House Theatre and streaming online, offers one potent exploration of these questions. Yee’s answer—which is vividly brought to life in this production—is to reconfigure Chinese history into a story between parents and children, mapping painful histories of nations onto the painful histories of family. In this so-called “socio-political fable,” allegory and memory are intertwined to both delightful and calamitous effect.
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CLYDE’S Serves Up Dreams and Insults — Review

November 23, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 23, 2021

Clyde's is now in performance at the Hayes Theatre on 44th Street in New York City. A Broadway review of Lynn Nottage's latest play at Second Stage Theater.
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TROUBLE IN MIND Spotlights Racism’s Grip on Theatre — Review

November 18, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 18, 2021

Alice Childress had a lot to say about being a Black woman working in theatre in 1955, and channeled those righteously indignant observations into Trouble in Mind, which finally opened Broadway earlier tonight. The work had been scheduled to transfer from its successful original off-Broadway run, but Childress would not make the cuts producers felt would smooth out the play’s open-faced callout of systemic racism, and the production was canceled. The story of how the play finally made it to the Great White Way is a bittersweet triumph that says more about our culture than about the work itself, and Roundabout Theatre Company is ensuring that we know it, announcing it before performances and noting it in all of its advertisements. The play’s insights, and the fact they remain as relevant now as they were over 60 years ago, are equally more about the context than the material. Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright without the red-blooded urgency it calls for, it is more of a respectful replica of a time capsule than an authentic relic itself. A review of Trouble in Mind on Broadway.
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PARADISE SQUARE In Chicago Has The Heart But Needs The Work — Review

November 18, 2021

By

Emily McClanathan

on

November 18, 2021

Paradise Square represents many firsts in the theater industry’s recovery from the pandemic shutdown. It’s the first production to reopen the Nederlander Theatre — a pillar of the Loop theater district — and the first pre-Broadway run of a major new work in Chicago. When it transfers to New York City’s Barrymore Theatre, where it’s slated to begin previews in February of next year, it will be among one of the first new musicals to open on Broadway. A review of the new pre-broadway tryout.
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CULLUD WATTAH, Clear Vision — Review

November 17, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 17, 2021

Erika Dickerson-Despenza, the writer of Cullud Wattah, a magnificent new play which just opened at the Public Theater, calls herself a ‘cultural-memory worker.’ I’d usually bristle at the self-proclaimed title, so vague in its implications, but anyone who can follow the stunning shadow/land—the first installment in her epic 10-play “Katrina cycle,” released as an audio production by the Public earlier this year—with a work of such breathtaking beauty can do just about anything, including convincing me of their title. Because, while Dickerson-Despenza is a playwright of the once-in-a-generation kind, these two works assert her mastery at combining the intimate family histories of classic memory plays with the political sharpness of an agile social worker. A review of cullud wattah at the Public Theater.
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DIANA Wears a Delightful, Dizzy Crown — Review

November 17, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 17, 2021

Diana, The Musical opened tonight at the Longacre Theatre on West 48th Street here in New York City. Our Chief Critic Juan A. Ramirez went and reviewed the new production starring Jeanna de Waal.
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Everybody’s Got the Right (to Storm the Capitol) at ASSASSINS — Review

November 14, 2021

By

Joey Sims

on

November 14, 2021

Assassins is now in performance at Classic Stage Company in New York City. A review by Joey Sims.
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NOLLYWOOD DREAMS of Stardom Made Simple — Review

November 12, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 12, 2021

Nollywood Dreams is a simple, delightful play in which a young woman wishes to break into Nigeria’s film industry (known as Nollywood) as it booms in the ‘90s. Written by Jocelyn Bioh with wit and well-observed attention to characterization, it is not much more than that. In its premiere production at MCC Theater, though, performed by a lovable cast, it doesn’t have to be. A review by Juan A. Ramirez.
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The Sparkle Is There With TREVOR — Review

November 10, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 10, 2021

In that same spirit, Trevor, an agreeable new musical about a gay teen’s 1981 life, which just had its New York premiere at Stage 42, goes through the motions of the typical teen dramedy, likely inspiring younger audience members without risking anything in the process. With Dan Collins’ charming, if trite, book and lyrics, and Julianne Wick Davis’ forgettable music, it is much like the Instagram infographics which have recently taken the place of genuine activism: a telegraphed signal of virtue without much commitment.
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THE VISITOR Carries Heavy Immigration Baggage — Review

November 4, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 4, 2021

We first see Walter reprimanding his students for being distracted in class. Soon enough, however, he realizes he is just as distracted with his own life. Walter, played admirably by David Hyde Pierce, is a widowed economic professor whose spark is in danger of going out. In The Visitor, a new musical based on the 2007 film of the same name which premiered at the Public Theater, he rekindles that flame thanks to the discovery of two strangers who have set up camp in his unused Manhattan apartment. With music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, and a book by Yorkey and Kwame Kwei-Armah, it is a story which attempts to bridge the gap between an established American and the two undocumented immigrants he finds. Whether it closes that same divide between its intentions and its results is a question the work seems to have left answered back during the film’s premiere. The Visitor is now in performance at the Public Theater through December 5, 2021.
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KRISTINA WONG, SWEATSHOP OVERLORD Threads The Needle — Review

November 4, 2021

By

Joey Sims

on

November 4, 2021

Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord is an exuberant release of a show, a total joy to behold. Wong unfolds her tale of a ragtag group of quarantined volunteers who sewed thousands of masks with boundless, chaotic energy. But the show, which opened tonight at New York Theatre Workshop, also never loses sight of an essential fact: none of this should have been necessary. 
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WINNIE THE POOH Is Heartwarming Family Fun — Review

November 4, 2021

By

Noah Pattillo

on

November 4, 2021

Winnie the Pooh is now in performance at the newly renamed Hundred Acre Wood Theatre at Theatre Row in New York City.
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MORNING SUN Shines a Tender Light on Ordinary Families — Review

November 4, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

November 4, 2021

Morning Sun starring Blair Brown, Edie Falco, and Marin Ireland is now in performance at Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center through December 19, 2021.
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In Mosaic Theater’s BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA, A Father and Daughter Yearn to Connect — Review

October 29, 2021

By

Nathan Pugh

on

October 29, 2021

Birds of North America is now in performance at the Mosaic Theater Company through November 21, 2021.
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A Searing CAROLINE, OR CHANGE Finds Pain in Hope — Review

October 27, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

October 27, 2021

A review of the Broadway production of Caroline, or Change starring Sharon D Clarke which is in performance at Studio 54 on West 54th Street in New York City.
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FAIRYCAKES Not Worth Believing ― Review

October 24, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

October 24, 2021

There is a whopping cast of twelve in Fairycakes, Douglas Carter Beane’s new sendup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and other assorted fairy tales, which just opened at the Greenwich House Theater. Its stage is of a large enough size, but it buckles under the weight of Beane’s bloated design: twelve performers, some playing multiple roles, struggling to find a spare minute with which to make an impression, and tools to help them.
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SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD Shines At Papermill Playhouse — Review

October 21, 2021

By

Juan Michael Porter II

on

October 21, 2021

More than 17 months after COVID-19 forced theatres around the country to cancel performances, Papermill Playhouse is back and rocking it to the rafters with a vibrant revival of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World. “Songs for a Thousand Cabarets” could be the alternative title for this revue-like collection of ardent musical theatre-pop-soliloquies given its popularity with soloists and cabaret artists. Those artists include stars as varied as Karen Akers, Betty Buckley, Audra McDonald, and Shoshana Bean―not to mention hundreds of thousands of aspirants around the world. Having grown up belting the original cast recording with my musical theatre friends as we skipped to rehearsal, I have always loved the show. But going into this Mark S. Hoebee directed production, I found myself wondering, “How does the full show of stand-alone solos, duets, and quartets stack up 26 years after its premiere?” As led by the sensational Carolee Carmello, as brilliantly as it did back in 1995.
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Sweating Out THE FEVER — Review

October 17, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

October 17, 2021

You have to feel bad for the sole character in The Fever, Wallace Shawn’s 1990 monologue which just opened in a new production starring Lili Taylor at the Audible Theatre at Minetta Lane Theatre. The only thing worse than spending a night with your head in a porcelain bowl is doing so with a troubled mind, terminally regretful of every single thing you did to wind up here. Maybe you even start thinking about the state of the world, paralleling your own face-down demise to larger, global themes. The difference between such nights and this one-act performance, though, is that one is usually content to grab the toothpaste and move on.
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DANA H., Finally On Broadway, Mesmerizes — Review

October 17, 2021

By

Noah Pattillo

on

October 17, 2021

The astonishing new thriller Dana H. opened tonight at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, our review.
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THE LEHMAN TRILOGY Trades Greed for Gold — Review

October 14, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

October 14, 2021

A review of The Lehman Trilogy on Broadway, by Stefano Massini and adapted by Ben Power, which is now in performance at the Nederlander Theatre on West 41st Street in New York City.
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THOUGHTS OF A COLORED MAN Writ Large and Unoriginal — Review

October 13, 2021

By

Juan A. Ramirez

on

October 13, 2021

A Broadway review of Thoughts of a Colored Man, a new play by Keenan Scott II and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III and is now in performance at the John Golden Theatre on West 45th Street in New York City.
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LETTERS OF SURESH At Second Stage Folds Into A Beautiful Narrative — Review

October 13, 2021

By

Noah Pattillo

on

October 13, 2021

When I walked into the Tony Kiser Theatre on Sunday, I was greeted by a bluish-grey set with a desk downstage and a bench upstage, muted colored mountains traced the wings. Over the next 90 minutes, an intricate play about long distance companionship, and origami, glowingly unfolded itself. This new play, Letters of Suresh, by Rajiv Joseph opened tonight at Second Stage Theatre. The play starts with Melody, a Japanese-Korean woman who’s great-uncle (who she never met) recently passed away. Melody recently returned to Seattle from his funeral in Nagasaki with her great-uncle's only possessions: A box of letters from a man named Suresh. Melody writes a letter to Suresh informing him of her great-uncle's passing and to ask him if he would like his letters back. As the play continues, we learn more about the author of these letters and the relationship between Suresh and Melody’s great-uncle, Father Mitsuo Hashimoto.
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