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Writer-director Peter Rothstein draws from patriotic anthems, war songs, Christmas carols and madieval ballads from multiple countries—as well as texts written by World War I soldiers—in his original musical about the 1914 ceasefires between British and German troops that brought temporary yuletide goodwill to the Great War. Having played in more than 50 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada since its 2007 premiere, the show now makes its Off Broadway debut.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Kristin Miller (Stockard Channing), the caustic central character of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s Apologia, doesn’t suffer fools gladly—or anyone gladly, really—which is not to say that she doesn’t suffer: Campbell makes sure of that. A prominent art historian and activist, Kristin prioritized her career over her family in the 1970s, leaving her two now-grown sons feeling beached by her second-wave feminism. It is 2009, and she is at her English country cottage, hosting a small birthday gathering that quickly turns ugly. Older son Peter (Hugh Dancy), a banker with a fervently Christian American girlfriend named Trudi (Talene Monahon), is peeved at being left out of Kristin’s recent memoir; when his perpetually screwed-up brother, Simon (Dancy again), shows up later, he has a blank stare, a bleeding hand and a long guilt trip for his mother at the ready. The chickens have come home to roost, or at least to cluck at her. Drawing on inner reserves, Channing manages to make Kristin—who is gratuitously mean to nearly everyone, including Simon’s shallow (and shallowly written) actress girlfriend, Claire (Megalyn Echikunwoke)—a compellingly conflicted figure, but the play doesn’t give her a lot to work with. It creaks with contrivances (identical mobile phones, a randomly meaningful African mask) and clunky, expositional dialogue (“‘Kristin Miller’s series of articles for The New Statesman in the 1970s changed the way we look at art forever,’” says Trud
Four actors play forty characters in Jonothon Lyons and Ben Bonnema's harmony-driven musical, set in Coney Island at the turn of the 20th century. David Alpert directs the world premiere at HERE.
Young Scottish magician Scott Silven drops by the McKittrick Hotel for dinner, whiskey and light hocus-pocus in this elegant variation on dinner theater, which returns this fall after a sold-out run in 2017. Audience members are seated around a large table in what used to be the Heath restaurant, upstairs in the complex that also houses Sleep No More and Gallow Green. The story Silvan threads through his show is on the hokey side, and the magic is largely standard-issue mentalism. (There’s a lot of guessing what people have drawn on pads.) But it’s an enjoyable diversion overall; the intimate candlelit atmosphere, welcoming spirit and delicious food and drinks do the trick.
After many years, the sassy and clever puppet musical doesn’t show its age. Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s deft Sesame Street–esque novelty tunes about porn and racism still earn their laughs. Avenue Q remains a sly and winning piece of metamusical tomfoolery. Running time: 2hrs 15mins. One intermission.
As its follow-up to the memorable The Woodsman, Strangemen Theatre Company presents a world premiere by Scott Aiello. Directed by Claire Karpen, the play concerns a working-class Chicago family dealing with the challenges of a special-needs child in the 1990s. Stephanie Gould (Orange Is the New Black), who has cerebral palsy, leads the cast.
After declaring bankruptcy in 2016 to widespread lamentations, the family-friendly circus came bouncing back to life at Lincoln Center last year, and now returns for its 41st season with a show that aim to throw some spotlights on women. New ringmaster Stephanie Monseu presides over a spectacle that includes a trapeze routine by the Flying Tunizianis, a trampoline act created by Andréanne Quintal, and an acrobatic duet, performed by Virginia Tuells and Ihosvanys Perez, in which she does most of the heavy lifting.
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.)
Two LDS missionaries get an earful when they knock on the door of the great Broadway diva Ethel Merman in this original musical comedy by Leo Schwartz and DC Cathro. Carly Sakolove plays the Merm, and Chad Burris and Kyle Ashe Wilkinson are the hapless would-be proselytizers. Joe Langworth directs.
Irish Rep chieftain Charlotte Moore directs her own concert adaptation of Dylan Thomas's holiday prose poem, buttressed by traditional Irish music, in the company's cozy production, which it has previously presented in 2010, 2011 and 2015.
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