All Off Broadway shows A–Z
The touring Acting Company—a Juilliard offshoot whose alumni include Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Jeffrey Wright, Harriet Harris and Jesse L. Martin—makes a stop in New York with two plays in rep: Shakespeare's problematic Measure for Measure and Nambi E. Kelley's stage version of Richard Wright's classic 1940 novel, Native Son.
Theater review by Adam Feldman. Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Off Broadway). By Martin Moran. Dir. Seth Barrish. With Moran. 1hr 20mins. No intermission. 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, the show is not so much in touch with anger as in t
In this solo show written and performed by Keith Hamilton Cobb, a black actor plays Othello in a production directed by a younger white man. Kim Weild directs the Off Broadway premiere for the classics-shaking Red Bull Theater.
Theater review by Adam Feldman “If you don’t go over the top, how are you going to see what’s on the other side?” So says a character in Jim Steinman’s ludicrous new musical Bat Out of Hell, which certainly can’t be accused of not taking big chances. This postapocalyptic rock & roll parable throws off its helmet, revs its engines and rides full-throttle straight off a cliff. Steinman has spent half a century assembling Bat Out of Hell from various parts, and he is credited with the show’s music, lyrics and book. Two out of three ain’t bad: The score features enjoyably bombastic songs made famous by Steinman’s beefy muse, Meat Loaf—including “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”—as well as by Air Supply (“Making Love Out of Nothing at All”) and Céline Dion (“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”). But then there is the rest. For his plot, Steinman moves J.M. Barrie’s eternally young ruffians out of the Peter Pan and into the fire of a ruined city named Obsidian. (“Ever since the chemical wars, they’ve been mutants, their DNA frozen at the age of 18—that’s why they’re called freezers!”) These wasted youths are known as the Lost, and their leader is a lean, frequently shirtless danger boy named Strat, played in leather pants and eyeliner by Andrew Polec, who has a powerful voice and tall blond hair and looks like he has wandered in from the world’s weirdest production of Pippin. Rebel though he is, Strat has the hots for Raven (
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.)
The great spiky-girlish musical-theater veteran Annie Golden (Assassins) stars as a washed-up actress on an unlikely mission to bring down a Latin American drug lord in this musical comedy with a score by Joe Iconis (Be More Chill) and a book by Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams. Jennifer Werner directs and choreographs the NYC premiere.
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
Hannah Gadsby's Nanette was the Netflix comedy special that launched a thousand think pieces: a deceptively mild-mannered solo show that evolved into an impassioned exploration of, among other things, the duplicities and dangers of stand-up comedy itself. Gadsby's follow-up show explores the challenges that fame presents for a person on the autism spectrum.
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 on 47th and Eighth 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 4/28/19. Not all seats discounted. Discount code valid for stage-side, mezzanine and balcony seats only. All purchases with c
In this solo show, writer-actor Milly Thomas plays a dead woman observing the unexpected aftershocks of her suicide. After several successful runs in the U.K., the play arrives in New York for a brief run, directed again by Sara Joyce.
Colt Coeur's Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs the New York premiere of Jonathan Spector's award-winning comedy about a mumps outbreak at an ultraliberal elementary school. The cast includes Nicole Lewis and local stage treasures Tina Benko and Thomas Jay Ryan.
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.
A Filipino faith healer and his teenage grandson make a trip to San Francisco in this new musical by Jessica Hagedorn and Fabian Obispo, directed by Ralph B. Peña for Ma-Yi Theater Company. The cast of seven includes Alan Ariano, Nacho Tambunting and Ching Valdes-Aran.
Theater review by Raven Snook Folksbiene's Yiddish-language Fiddler became an unlikely hit last summer—see our original review, below—prompting multiple extensions and now, a move to a larger theater uptown. Those who get shpilkes imagining what that migration might do to Tevye the dairyman and his brethren can breathe easy. They've arrived with their stripped-down aesthetic and emotionally lucid production intact. In fact, it feels even more resonant thanks to beautifully evolved performances, the recasting of a few key roles and, sadly, a heightened sense of vulnerability due to the recent spike in anti-Semitism. (Be prepared to be wanded at the door.) Once again, Steve Skybell's Tevye is rich and real as he avoids the trap of scenery chewing. (Beowulf Boritt's barely-there set of parchment wouldn't make much of a meal, anyway.) Under Joel Grey's actor-friendly direction, Skybell consistently goes for nuanced naturalism instead of laughs or apoplexy, and he has a lived-in chemistry with newcomer Jennifer Babiak as his anxious wife, Golde. The strong-voiced Drew Seigla as Pertshik, the Bolshevik revolutionary who woos Tevye's second oldest daughter, is another welcome addition. The rest of the returning romantic leads are as charming as ever, making sure never to cross into cloying, and Jackie Hoffman's Yente provides plenty of comic relief without succumbing to caricature. Admittedly, this may not be the most spectacularly sung, danced or designed Fiddler ever to hit the
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
The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, founded in 1915, pays homage to Senesh: a young woman who escaped Hungary in 1939 only to be murdered there, five years later, while on a courageous rescue mission to save Jews from the Nazis. Written and directed by David Schechter, this solo piece stars Lexi Rabadi and includes poems and diaries by Senesh herself (translated by Marta Cohn and Peter Hay) and music by Steven Lutvak.
Robyn Lynne Norris's comedy is based on what she learned when she created dozens of fake profiles that proved unexpectedly popular on a dating website. Lorin Latarro directs the NYC premiere, which integrates a few songs and patches of improv. Want to win tickets to this show? Enter Now!
Disney's 1997 animated musical about the mythic Greek strongman finally makes it to the stage, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz to go with songs by Alan Menken and David Zippel. This free outdoor production in Central Park is directed by Lear deBessonet for the Public Theater's civically ambitious Public Works program, which is devoted to collaborating with multiple New York communities to create large-scale theater. A robust cast of professional actors—Jelani Alladin (Frozen) as our muscle-bound hero, plus Roger Bart, Jeff Hiller, James Monroe Iglehart, Ramona Keller, Tamika Lawrence, Krysta Rodriguez and Rema Webb—performs alongside some 200 members of local arts groups as well as singers from Broadway Inspirational Voices. Tickets will be distributed through an advance digital lottery that can be entered from noon on August 12 through noon on August 28.
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.
In the beloved sketch-comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall, McDonald was the one with the curly brown hair, high voice and sweetly daffy demeanor. In this one-man show, he offers comic reflections on his career, his childhood with an alcoholic father and other major episodes from his life, joined by guitarist John Wlaysewski.
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.
Theater review by Helen Shaw [Note: The production returns for an encore run at Theatre Row in June, 2019, with Kevin Isola assuming the role of Vanya.] Despite the lack of a samovar and wistful-looking birches, Aaron Posner’s engaging Life Sucks.—the period is part of the title—is closely mapped onto Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. In the haze of late summer, Sonia (Kimberly Chatterjee) yearns for the dashing Dr. Aster (Michael Schantz), while her uncle Vanya (Jeff Biehl) lusts after Sonia's stepmother (Nadia Bowers); Sonia’s father (Austin Pendleton) pontificates and fusses and closes his eyes to Ella’s clear attraction to the doctor, and everyone works at cross purposes to their own happiness. Posner may have borrowed Chekhov’s kaleidoscopic love pentangle, but he’s updated events to the present day and salted the evening with postmodern hijinks, which include frequent check-ins with the audience and a theaterwide show-of-hands about regret. It’s a comedy! It makes you cry! Tl;dr: It’s Chekhov. Life Sucks. is the third in a cycle: Posner has also tweaked The Seagull into Stupid Fucking Bird and Three Sisters into No Sisters. The freewheeling theater thinker Jeffrey M. Jones calls this kind of piggybacking adaptation “gauge theater” because it constantly measures and reevaluates the distance between the original and the new version. Often, even elsewhere in Posner’s own Chekhoviana, that mental push-me-pull-you can be a little tiring, but not in Life Sucks. It helps that o
Elaine Murphy's comedy, directed by Marc Atkinson Borrull, looks at three generations of women in a North Dublin family. The eldest is played by 1970s movie queen and four-time Oscar nominee Marsha Mason; Brenda Meaney and Lauren O'Leary round out the cast.
Theater review by Helen Shaw The Noël Coward touch was always a light one. His music scampers like a mouse; his lyrics bounce like balloons. In his plays, even suffering has an upward tendency. But when his work is excerpted and performed by others, that glancing quality can turn coy and saccharine, as it sometimes does in Barry Day’s two-handed cabaret Love, Noël. Reading from Coward’s letters and covering nearly two dozen songs, cabaret stars Steve Ross and KT Sullivan pay Coward tribute. Sometimes Ross, the longtime king of café cabaret, is his own tuxedoed self, and sometimes he’s pretending to be Coward; an amused-seeming Sullivan takes on all the women. (She does a great, gloomy Marlene Dietrich.) Day’s text is a spindly framework, built from constructions like “Wasn’t it Lord Mountbatten who said…?” that lead into quotations about or by Coward. These nonmusical sequences are a bit gluey, and as source material, the letters are strangely non-intimate. Luckily, the banter’s just a pretext to get Ross’s hands moving confidently over the keys again. The duo sings “Mad About the Boy,” “Together with Music” and “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart,” and Sullivan’s fairy-footed soprano gleams like metal. Ross creaks a little (he’s been performing in New York since 1968), but his affinity for the music sustains and buoys him. You can hear the effort—but the songs convince us that we’re wrong, that we’re hearing only lightness and the dance. Irish Repertory Theatre (Off Broadway).
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
Theater review by Naveen Kumar Dinner theater is underrated. Midsummer: A Banquet, produced by Food of Love Productions and Third Rail Projects, transforms a storefront in the landmarked former residence of Willem de Kooning into Café Fae, a patinated Art Nouveau hideaway of reveries both fanciful and savory. In a triumph of versatility, the eight performers in this inventive and delightfully madcap adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream not only play its royals, lovers, faeries and rude mechanicals, but also serve a light and delicious five-course tasting menu throughout. Crudités, charcuterie and a delectable array of breads and spreads await patrons at low café tables, tended to by solicitous servers in knee-high leather boots—not yet in character, but already in the act. Director Zach Morris and co-adapter Victoria Rae Sook whittle the Bard’s sylvan caper down to the essentials: misplaced affections among four mortals, an imperious faerie queen and a conceited ass, with a woefully silly tragedy to cap the comedy. Women reign over this Grecian realm, self-possessed in the face of men’s witless whims and deceptions. (Few would call standout Adrienne Paquin “poor Helena” this time around.) As he proved in Then She Fell, Third Rail’s long-running immersive take on Alice in Wonderland, Morris’s can make scrappy wonders with precious little. The set comprises a slender aisle, a tree stump, and a few tables and chairs; simple changes in dress—workman smocks f
Theater review by Adam Feldman When Anton Chekhov described his plays as comedies, he didn’t mean they should be played for big laughs. Up close, his bittersweet group portraits of Russian families in decline can look tragic: full of unrequited or impossible loves, of dreams denied, of fortunes squandered and trusts misplaced. Their humor, such as it is, comes from a sense of distance—from the plays’ wry survey of what fools we all-too-humans be. Halley Feiffer’s Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, a cutting and often hilarious riff on Three Sisters, takes a different approach. Distance be damned: Feiffer grabs Chekhov’s masterwork by the ears and yanks it right up into our faces. In this adaptation, directed with furious flash and clamor by Trip Cullman, the setting is still a small Russian town circa 1900, but the characters dress and speak in a merciless sendup of Millennial fashions and attitudes (“What the actual fuck is up with you today?”); the characters are constantly talking over each other when they aren’t shrieking in unison. Subtexts are dragged up to become the jokes, and the central siblings are more trapped by themselves—their entitlement, ironic deflection, self-pity, self-indulgence—than by their circumstances. “That’s what life is, I think?” says Masha. “Just…doing horrible things? And complaining about them?” They want to move to Moscow, but they can’t—they seriously just can’t with this right now. Sustaining this tone for a full play is a maj
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.
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.
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.
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.)
A tot obsessed with pink cupcakes finds herself turning her favorite rosy hue in this long-running children's musical, with music by John Gregor and book and lyrics by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann. Teresa K. Pond directs.
Theater review by Adam Feldman [Note: This is a review of the 2017 Broadway production, which moves Off Broadway to New World Stages in 2019 with a new cast.] Ah, the joy of watching theater fail. The looming possibility of malfunction is part of what makes live performance exciting, and disasters remind us of that; the rite requires sacrifice. There is more than schadenfreude involved when we giggle at, say, a YouTube video of a high-school Peter Pan crashing haplessly into the scenery. There is also sympathy—there but for the grace of deus ex machina go we all—and, often, a respect for the efforts of the actors to somehow muddle through. Mischief Theatre’s The Play That Goes Wrong takes this experience to farcical extremes, as six amateur British actors (and two crew members who get pressed into service onstage) try to perform a hackneyed whodunnit amid challenges that escalate from minor mishaps (stuck doors, missed cues) to bona fide medical emergencies and massive structural calamities. Depending on your tolerance for ceaseless slapstick, The Play That Goes Wrong will either have you rolling in the aisles or rolling your eyes. It is certainly a marvel of coordination: The imported British cast deftly navigates the pitfalls of Nigel Hook’s ingeniously tumbledown set, and overacts with relish. (I especially enjoyed the muggings of Dave Hearn, Charlie Russell and coauthor Henry Lewis.) Directed by Mark Bell, the mayhem goes like cuckoo clockwork. If you want to have a
Theater review by Diane Snyder For seven Harry Potter novels, the mediocrities of the Hogwarts house Hufflepuff lived in the shadow of their overachieving schoolmates. Matt Cox’s Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic gives them their due. In this funny and affectionate homage to J.K. Rowling’s world of wiz kids, Harry, Hermione and Ron take a back seat to average American wizard Wayne (Zac Moon), goth gal Megan (Julie Ann Earls) and math genius Oliver (Langston Belton), who is stuck at a school that doesn’t even teach his subject. They may not be at the top of the class, and they’re not wild about Harry, but they persevere through adversity and find power in friendship. A press release asks that the word parody be avoided in describing Puffs, but much of the show’s comedy is clearly aimed at Potterphiles. The 11 cast members play an assortment of characters, from a mumbling potions master to a squeaky house elf, and some of the jokes will be lost on those with no knowledge of the films or books. But even Potter virgins will enjoy the show’s witty wordplay and well-executed physical comedy. At times, the pacing is so frenetic that jokes can’t find a place to land, but there’s heart as well as humor here. In the past two years, Cox and director Kristin McCarthy Parker have shepherded their silly, subversive show from the People’s Improv Theater to Off Broadway’s New World Stages. Like its main characters, Puffs illustrates the heigh