All Off Broadway shows A–Z
Theater review by Adam Feldman [Note: This is a review of the 2013 production of All the Rage at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The play returns in 2019 for an encore run at the Barrow Group Theatre.] Anger is relatively easy for most actors to play: It’s up-front and immediate, and exciting to watch. In his new solo show, All the Rage, Martin Moran assumes the harder task of examining his lack of fury. “To be truly free, honey, you’ve got to get in touch with your anger,” his mother once advised him—explaining the punching bag she’d hung in the garage post-divorce—and Moran has plenty to fume about: His 2004 monologue, The Tricky Part, dealt with sexual abuse he suffered as a confused Catholic teenager. But The Tricky Part was compelling precisely because of its ambivalence about that experience; in All the Rage, Moran explains away the mystery of his equanimity in an extended not-mad scene. As befits an actor who starred in his high-school production of Godspell, Moran offers a gentle, good-natured message of sympathetic understanding that boils down to Jesus’ plea from the cross in Luke (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”). His story includes trips to Las Vegas (for his dad's funeral) and South Africa (where he reflects on the implications of Pangaea), plus a description of his volunteer work as a translator for a Chadian torture survivor. Directed by Seth Barrish with plenty of homey touches, including a blackboard that becomes a collage of mementos,
James Jorlsing's play, inspired by real events, chronicles the comings and going of jazz cats at a Flower District apartment in the 1950s and 1960s. Christopher McElroen directs the world premiere, which features a live jazz band led by sax maniac Jonathan Beshay.
Theater review by Raven Snook In his provocative, autobiographically inspired near-solo show American Moor, Keith Hamilton Cobb uses Othello as a metaphor for the plight of being black in America today. As he waits to audition for the title role in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Cobb cleverly alternates among Elizabethan verse, lyrical soliloquies about his youthful classical-acting aspirations and a blunt assessment of what he faces, as a large African-American man, in a business and society that trade in stereotypes. Eventually, a white director (Josh Tyson), seated in the audience, starts lecturing him about how best to play the Moorish war hero who succumbs to jealousy and murderous rage. After each inane suggestion, Cobb struggles with whether to contort himself into the cartoon of blackness his director wants or to follow the instincts he has gleaned from a lifetime of experience. Though American Moor sometimes threatens to slip into TED Talk territory, Cobb and director Kim Weild never forget that it is theater: Effective shifts in lighting and sound differentiate what’s actually happening from the internal commentary that the auditioner shares with the audience, plunging us into a psyche constantly at war. Cobb is as compelling a dramatist as he is a thespian; the play is disquieting, perceptive and often bitingly funny. Having spent more than 30 years trying to appease others, Cobb demands that the members of his audience, especially the white ones, see him and meet him w
Japanese director Satoshi Miyagi applies Eastern lenses—Buddhist philosophy, Noh performance traditions, Indonesian shadow play—to Sophocles' political tragedy, in which a Theban woman is confined to a cave by a tyrant who thinks she protests too much. The floor of Park Avenue Armory's enormous Drill Hall is flooded with thousands of gallons of water to suggest a river studded with boulders.
Sarah Hall's play, shaped by input from hundreds of men in Mississippi and Maryland, aims to amplify the voices and experiences of gay and bisexual black men with HIV. James Andrew Walsh directs a production that aims to break down the traditional boundaries between theater and reality.
Three deadpan blue-skinned men with extraterrestrial imaginations carry this tourist fave, a show as smart as it is ridiculous. They drum on open tubs of paint, creating splashes of color; they consume Twinkies and Cap'n Crunch; they engulf the audience in a roiling sea of toilet paper. For sheer weird, exuberant fun, it's hard to top this long-running treat. (Note: The playing schedule varies from week to week, with as many as four performances on some days and none on others.)
David Staller directs George Bernard Shaw's rarely performed 1898 epic comedy about political intrigue and mercy in ancient times. Robert Cuccioli and Teresa Avia Lim play the Roman and Egyptian rulers of the title, joined by Brenda Baxton, Claybourne Elder, Janathy Hadley, Rajesh Bose and Dan Dominques.
Review by Raven Snook Lewis Carroll's trippy Alice in Wonderland books have inspired many a theatrical spectacle, but Company XIV's seductive Queen of Hearts is a singular sexcess: a transporting fusion of haute burlesque, circus, dance and song. Your fall down the glamorous rabbit hole begins upon entering the troupe's louche Bushwick lair, where scantily clad server-performers slink about in flattering red lighting. A cursory knowledge of the source material will help you make sense of the show’s three-act cavalcade of Alice-inspired routines, as our blue-haired heroine (sweet-voiced siren Lexxe) embarks on an NC-17 coming-of-age journey under the guidance of the White Rabbit (Michael Cunio, strutting confidently in heels and screeching like a hair-metal star). As usual, Company XIV’s impressive impresario, Austin McCormick, has assembled an array of alluring and highly skilled artists, who look smashing in Zane Pihlstrom's lace-and-crystal-encrusted costumes. Standouts include contortionist Lilin Lace, who emerges in an S/M-vinyl cocoon and transforms into a beauteous butterfly; mustachioed twins Nicholas and Ross Katen as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, performing a cheeky spin on the Marx Brothers' mirror trick; ballet dancers Jourdan Epstein and Ryan Redmond doing a doozy of a pas de deux as the Cheshire Cats; and acrobat-chanteuse Marcy Richardson as the Mad Hatter, who turns modern-day hits into politically charged popera, often while literally swinging from the chandelie
An actor drinks heavily (in the vein of Comedy Central's Drunk History) and then tries to corral others into enacting a story by the Bard. Bibulous excess is encouraged. TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:DRUNK SHAKESPEAREThe hit theatrical comedy in the heart of Broadway $35 for balcony tickets (regular price $55) $49 for mezzanine tickets (regular price $69) $69 for stage-side tickets (regular price $89) Promotional description: The stage is set at the Lounge, a hidden library in Times Square featuring craft cocktails and more 15,000 real books. Five professional New York actors meet as members of the Drunk Shakespeare Society. One of them has at least five shots of whiskey, then overconfidently attempts to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play. Hilarity and mayhem ensue as the four sober actors try to keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking…and what they're drinking! Only one can be King. Learn more about the exclusive King Experience. TO BUY TICKETS: Click here to buy tickets Performance schedule: Monday at 7:30pm; Wednesday at 8pm; Thursday at 7:30pm; and Friday and Saturday at 8pm and 10pm. Some weeks also offer performances on Tuesday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 7pm and/or Saturday at 6pm. Running Time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. 21 or over only. Photo ID required. Offer for performances thru 5/3/20. Not all seats discounted. Discount code valid for stage-side, mezzanine and balcony seats only. All purchases with credi
Irish Rep pillar Ciarán O'Reilly directs a revival of Conor McPherson's 2000 drama, a modern tale of drink and rue very loosely inspired by Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The cast comprises Jeffrey Bean, Cillian Hegarty and Sarah Street.
Theater review by Helen Shaw Milly Thomas’s one-woman show Dust is a contradictory experience: an attempt at explosive emotion—it climaxes with a first-person account of a suicide—that is also strangely constrained. A sensation at the Edinburgh Fringe, and well received in the West End later, it seems to have damped its fuse at the East Village’s small 4th Street Theatre. As lights strobe and the speakers throb with low electronic tones, Alice (Thomas) wakes up on a table at the morgue. Wearing a seamed, flesh-colored bodysuit that makes her look like an unclothed doll, Alice’s spirit roams a world that is reeling from her death. As she spies on her friends and family, and flashes back to memories of desperation, Thomas switches characters—playing, say, both Alice and her boyfriend as they have terrible sex. Alice is both furiously perverse (her first move as a ghost is to stare up her body’s vagina) and perversely furious. (“I look ready to suck a dick not be laid to rest,” she grumbles about the picture chosen for her funeral.) Everyone is witnessed at their devastated worst or their most erotically vulnerable; two separate oral sex sessions have the voyeuristic Alice nosing right into the bone zone. Thomas’s insistence that every moment be set at maximum intensity overtaxes the short show’s engines, and puts it beyond her reach as a performer. She has earnestness but not grit or power, so the play has a distant quality. It’s like watching a student give a report on a c
Theater review by Adam Feldman The logic of it seems elementary: Schoolchildren should be vaccinated against fatal diseases. But this issue proves complicated in Jonathan Spector’s wonderfully spiky Eureka Day, set at a small private day school in Berkeley, California. The institution strives to teach progressive emotional and social values—the kids’ reading room includes both a stuffed bunny and a Barbara Kruger–style poster that says WE ARE THE RESISTANCE—and consensus is required for any decision by its executive committee: school head Don (the masterfully placid Thomas Jay Ryan), a hippie who concludes each meeting with a reading from Rumi; highly engaged parents Suzanne (Tina Benko, tight as a bongo), Eli (Brian Wiles) and Meiko (K.K. Moggie); and newcomer Carina (Elizabeth Carter). But a health crisis forces emergency action, leading to the hilariously chaotic mass Facebook discussion that ends the first act. As the committee struggles to maintain order, the comments of the online parents get faster and more furious, and the whole community’s meticulous civility goes out the group-chat window. Under Adrienne Campbell-Holt’s alert direction, Spector and the expert cast extract comic gold from the little tugs-of-war for control among the members of the committee. But in the second act, this comedy of manners yields to a serious probing of interpersonal responsibility and the limits of consideration. “No one in this room is a villain,” as Don says, and the play’s anti-
Lenore Skomal's comedy tracks the mayhem that ensues when the common ex-wife of two good friends returns to their life unexpectedly. Magda S. Nyiri directs.
Theater review by Raven Snook Felix Starro is the name of both main characters in Ma-Yi Theater Company's ambitious musical about a disgraced Filipino faith healer (Alan Ariano) and his grandson (Nacho Tambunting), but the two men’s commonalities end there. A former guru to the stars who once had his own TV show, the senior Starro travels to San Francisco in 1985 hoping to make a buck off his expat countrymen, while 19-year-old Junior intends to start a new life away from the fakery. Based on a poignant short story by Lysley Tenorio, Felix Starro touches on hot-button topics of faith, family, identity and immigration, so it's a shame that it only rarely presses them effectively. Although the show is ostensibly Junior's coming-of-age tale, his grandfather is the more intriguing figure. Yes, he's a charlatan—the "psychic surgeries" he performs on his desperate devotees involve fake blood and chicken livers—but he truly believes he has special powers, making him palpably tragic. The other characters, including a distressed maid (Caitlin Cisco), an aggrieved widow (Francisca Muñoz) and an AIDS-stricken lad (Ryan James Ortega), come off as two-dimensional despite the best efforts of a talented cast under Ralph B. Peña's straightforward direction. Fabian Obispo's music bounces between liturgical chants, Lite-FM anthems and Sondheim homage. (The duet "Dangerous Roses" will have you humming "Barcelona.") Jessica Hagedorn's book and lyrics are achingly sincere, which makes the few h
The imtimate friendship shared by three couples of a certain age is rocked by revelations of marital infidelity in Michael Tucker's look at sex and aging, directed by Nadia Tass. The cast of familiar stage and screen pros comprises Mark Linn-Baker, John Glover, Jodi Long, Mark Blum, Ellen Parker and Tucker's wife and L.A. Law costar, Jill Eikenberry.
Broadway's loyal opposition, Gerard Alessandrini, returns with a new edition of his beloved satirical revue, which has ribbed the Great White Way since 1982. This latest version—the first since 2014—lays into Dear Evan Hansen, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge!, Oklahoma! and other fat targets. Musical-theater lovers will be sure to eat it up.
Undeterred by the failures of Frankenstein-themed tuners on Broadway and Off Broadway in 2007 (and Off-Off Broadway in 2016), composer-librettist-scientist Eric B. Sirota ventures back into the mad musical laboratory for his adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic horror novel. Clint Hromsco directs the premiere.
Self-described “bubble scientist” Fan Yang's blissfully disarming act (now performed in New York by his son Deni, daughter Melody and wife Ana) consists mainly of generating a dazzling succession of bubbles in mind-blowing configurations, filling them with smoke or linking them into long chains. Lasers and flashing colored lights add to the trippy visuals.—David Cote TIME OUT DISCOUNT TICKET OFFER:THE GAZILLION BUBBLE SHOW It will blow you away!!!Tickets as low as $49 (regular price $79) Promotional description: After twenty years as a Master of Bubbles, Fan Yang brought his unique brand of artistry to the Big Apple in 2007 and has since wowed bubble lovers of all ages. The Gazillion Bubble Show truly is a family affair for Fan: His wife Ana, son Deni, daughter Melody and brother Jano all can be found on stage in New York and around the world performing their bubble magic. Audiences are delighted with an unbubblievable experience and washed with a bubble tide; some even find themselves inside a bubble. Mind-blowing bubble magic, spectacular laser lighting effects and momentary soapy masterpieces will make you smile, laugh and feel like a kid again.THREE WAYS TO BUY TICKETS:1. Online: Click here to buy tickets through Telecharge2. By phone: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: GBTONYF453. In person: Print this offer and bring it to the New World Stages box officePerformance schedule: Friday at 7pm; Saturday at 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm; Sunday at 12pm and 3pm Running time: 1h
Will Arbery (Plano) delves deep into the mindset of modern American conservatism in this new play, in which four young right-wingers gather in rural Wyoming a week after the deadly riot in Charlottesville. Michele Pawk plays their mentor, the president of a local Catholic college; Danya Taymor (Pass Over) directs the world premiere for Playwrights Horizons.
Equipped with audio headsets and then plunged into total darkness, audiences feel their way through a potentially terrifying series of events in the latest Halloween-ready show by Tim Haskell, the man behind the immersive horror-theater events Nightmare and This Is Real. The plot is inspired by W.W. Jacobs's 1909 ghost story, "The Toll-House."
Four friends explore the history of brunch and the cocktails associated with it in a musical companion piece to Anthony Caporale's popular A Spirited History of Drinking, formerly known as The Imbible. The score is by Josh Erlich; Carorale wrote the book, and codirects the show with Nicole DiMattei. Admission includes a modest brunch and three complimentary cocktails, so arrive half an hour early to take full advantage.
Yo! Ho! Ho! This latest spin-off of Anthony Caporale's long-running drink-history show The Imbible focuses on the lore surrounding rum, with an emphasis on its popularity among pirates of the Caribbean. Written and directed by Caporale and Nicole DiMattei, the production includes musical numbers and three rummy cocktails.
[Note: The review below is for a 2014 version of this show, which was then titled The Imbible. A revised version now plays at New World Stages. A different, brunch-theater edition, titled Day Drinking, plays on weekend matinees.] Remember Bill Nye the Science Guy? Great! Now imagine him as a bartender who is deeply interested in the history of ethanol alcohol, really likes wigs and costumes, and just joined a coed barbershop quartet. That description of Anthony Caporale’s The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking may sound far-out, but the show is both educational and entertaining. (It's also a fine showcase for a cappella classics arranged by Josh Ehrlich and performed by a gifted ensemble that includes the show's director, soprano Nicole DiMattei.) Mixing whimsy and information, Caporale makes the story of our relationship with alcohol remarkably compelling. And the show's lessons—on subjects like the drinks served at Prohibition-era speakeasies, the origin of the gin and tonic, and the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink—can be washed down with complimentary, thematically appropriate beverages. As Caporale says, “Trust me, I get funnier with every sip.” That makes the show a must-see for anyone who enjoys free booze, which is probably nearly everyone.—Amelia Bienstock
Theater review by Helen Shaw It's possible that you think you’ve already had your fill of dick jokes. If so, the sly, digressive comedian Jacqueline Novak might be able to turn you around. In her languid one-woman stage special Get On Your Knees, Novak talks for nearly 90 minutes about blow jobs, discussing men’s strangely shy appendage (“Calling it a cock is…telling it what it wants to hear”), the vulva (which she assures us does not look like a rose) and her own winding path through high-school self-consciousness and collegiate anxiety toward full oral confidence. There’s no non-innuendo-y way to say that the show has a slow build, that Novak and director John Early delay its climax a little too long, and that the poetry-minded Novak sometimes extends her riffs to the point that they’re serving her pleasure more than ours. But Novak’s ultimately winning show does what the best comedy can do: It changes the conversation. Chevy Chase made Gerald Ford permanently seem like a bumbling yo-yo; Novak does the same for the D. The show’s most effective section is her systematic dismantling of the male-determined phallic lexicon. “Rock hard”? She rolls her eyes, then does a very good imitation of a penis flopping daintily over “the fainting couch that is the inner thigh.” This is but one example of how Novak can be absurd, real, hilarious and—though I hate to sound uncool—useful. While the show is sex-positive as hell, it’s crucially aggression-negative. The next time a guy on th
Musical theater does right by the jukebox with this behind-the-music tale, presenting the Four Seasons’ energetic 1960s tunes (including “Walk Like a Man” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry”) as they were meant to be performed. Ten months after concluding an 11-year run on Broadway, the show follows Avenue Q's example and returns for an open-ended run at Off Broadway's New World Stages. Under Des McAnuff's sleek direction, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's biography feels canny instead of canned.
John Kevin Jones, whose annual performance of A Christmas Carol at the Merchant's House Museum has become something of a local tradition, expands into Halloween territory with this solo performance (directed by Rhonda Dodd) of works by 19th-century scare king Edgar Allan Poe. In a funereal, candlelit parlor, Jones shares "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Cask of Amontillado" and, of course, "The Raven."
In Robin Glendinning's drama, set in 1948 and inspired by historical events, a Vatican priest who had resisted the Nazis pays a visit to the imprisoned former head of the Gestapo in Rome. Haskell King and Sean Gormley plays the erstwhile adversaries in the play's premiere at the Irish Rep, directed by Kent Paul.
Stand-up comic, Twitter eminence and SiriusXM radio host John Fugelsang anchors this platform for left-leaning political comedy, with a different lineup of guests at each performance. Among the many artists scheduled to appear are Elayne Boosler, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garafolo, Judy Gold, Marina Franklin, Hari Kondabolu and Dean Obeidallah.
Whether attracting or repelling her audiences, international chanteuse Lemper is never less than magnetic. Her style is perversely polymorphic: One moment she might tear into a song with predatory hunger, then she might purr out a dreamy croon or toss back her head for a brassy squeal of jazz. Her newest set is inspired by a long conversation she shared with languid legend Marlene Dietrich in 1988.
Jonathan Groff, Tammy Blanchard, Christian Borle and Tom Alan Robbins star in the latest revival of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's dark, sweet, tuneful and utterly winsome 1982 horror-camp musical about a flesh-eating plant who makes dreams come true for a lowly flower-shop worker. Michael Mayer directs the feeding frenzy, which features Kingsley Leggs as the voice of the big green baddie. (Gideon Glick subs in for an absent Groff from November 5 through 17.
Audience members' personal data is incorporated into the lyrics and visuals of this "immersive techno-noir operatic experience" about surveillance and privacy in the digital age. HERE's Kristin Marting directs the world premiere of this ambitious multimedia piece, which features music by Kamala Sankaram and a libretto by Rob Handel.
Writer-actor Lois Robbins recounts intimate tales of her sexual history, from the earliest stirrings of pleasure to the latest wisdoms of maturity, in a comedic solo show directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss, and What I Wore).
Few playwrights have had so deep an influence on modern American theater as Mac Wellman, the inveterate experimentalist whose MFA students at Brooklyn College have included Annie Baker, Young Jean Lee, Clare Barron, Sarah DeLappe, Thomas Bradshaw and Tina Satter. Now the Flea, which he cofounded in 1996, presents five works by the master weirdo in rep: Sincerity Forever and Bad Penny (both August 24–October 7); The Invention of Tragedy (September 7–October 14), which was written in the wake of 9/11 but has never been performed; and a double bill of The Sandalwood Box and The Fez (September 26–October 5).
Theater review by Helen Shaw It’s the oldest strategy in the dramatic playbook: the “retrospective” plot, in which a buried secret is dug up and brought into the light. This most typical of storytelling tactics relies on surprise, but over the millennia the structure itself has become overfamiliar. That’s why Bess Wohl’s Make Believe has such freshness: The writer has found a new way to cut old cloth. In a rare and daring move, Wohl actually starts with the traumatic childhood. Make Believe’s long first section takes place in an attic in the 1980s, with the unsupervised Conlee kids—doll-dandling Addie (Casey Hilton), officious ten-year-old Kate (Maren Heary), volatile preteen Chris (Ryan Foust) and wordless little Carl (Harrison Fox)—playing house. Their father is away on a trip, and their mother has not come home for several days. Pretending to be a functioning family grounds them at first; despite the terror of their situation, the massive playroom seems like a fantasy. Kate and Chris bicker as though they were in a half-remembered Honeymooners episode; they eat candy for dinner, and run around with sheets over their heads, playing ghosts. Under Michael Greif’s direction, all four young actors are wonderful: Hilton and Fox are unaffected and sweet, while Heary and Foust play darker notes with the confidence of actors four times their age. We eventually meet their grownup versions—who learn, abruptly, the truth of their childhood situation. Here Wohl loses her dramaturgic
A group of well-to-heeled mothers descends into chaos—and satire switches gears to become a survival story—in the NYC debut of playwright Anna Moench. Vampire Cowboys' Robert Ross Parker directs the world premiere for the Playwrights Realm, whose previous productions include The Wolves and The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias.
A teenage Star Wars fan, a Blockbuster Video clerk and an activist actress create a musical celebration of the Force in this new musical by Tom D'Angora, Taylor Cousore and Scott Richard Foster, with a score by Billy Recce. Cousore and Foster also costar with the winsomely daffy Emily McNamara.
Eight reasonably nice-looking men take it all off and vocalize in this collage of cutesy vignettes on gay themes, recently revamped with new jokes and more up-to-date references. Although sex is central to most of the numbers, the goofy nudism has no erotic charge, and when the show tries to be serious, it's hard to watch with a straight face.
Jeff Augustin's play centers on a small-town mixed-race teenager (with aspirations to pop stardom) and her two dads, who are having separate midlife crises. Saheem Ali directs the premiere for MTC, with a cast that includes Teagle F. Biougere, Patrick Breen, Crystal Finn, Javier Muñoz, Kara Young and Uly Schlesinger.
The majestically stern Kathleen Chalfant plays American Catholic saint Elizabeth Seton in Cusi Cram's peripatetic guide to the history of the deeply lamented St. Vincent's Hospital, which served the West Village during crises including the sinking of the Titanic, the AIDS epidemic and the 9/11 attacks. Audiences begin at the Rattlestick and then walk to several nearby locations, including the AIDS Memorial Park across the street from what used to be the hospital and is now a luxury condominium complex. Daniella Topol directs.
Having already created goofy musical spoofs of shows including Saved by the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210, Bob and Tobly McSmith—joined again by composer Assaf Gleizner, who wrote the score for Friends! The Musical Parody—take on yet another TV institution. Donald Garverick directs a cast led by Sarah Mackenzie Barron, in male drag, as paper tiger Michael Scott.
Bob Stevens's play imagines a drunken, confessional late-night motel-room conversation in Key West between John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the early years of their world-shaping fame. Carol Dunne directs the U.S. premiere.
Mark Mauriello and Andrew Barret Cox's queer nightclub musical immerses audiences in a secret future bunker at which culture has been whittled down to "sequins, reality television and the complete works of Oscar Wilde." Shira Milkowsky directs for the Neon Coven.
Teenage girls in a tree house try to summon the ghost of Colombian drug warlord Pablo Escobar in this new work by Alexis Scheer. Whitney White directs the premiere, a coproduction of Second Stage Theater and WP Theater (formerly knownn as the Women's Project).
A wily cop tries to psych out a possibly homicidal shrink in Warren Manzi’s moldy, convoluted mystery. The creaky welter of dime-store Freudianism, noirish attitude and whodunit gimmickry is showing its age. (Catherine Russell has starred since 1987.)