At any given moment there's a dizzying array of musicals, plays and experimental works for theater lovers in New York City to choose from. But the sheer volume of choices can make it hard to decide what to see. Let us give you a hand with that! Here is an alphabetical short list of our critics' picks: all the shows that Time Out New York's critics have seen, reviewed and liked, plus a few that we feel confident recommending in advance. For a wider view of what's playing in NYC, check out our complete list of current Broadway shows and our extensive Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway listings.
RECOMMENDED: Best Broadway shows
Critics’ picks for theater in New York
Tom and Betsy Salamon’s unique adventure—part interactive theater, part scavenger hunt, part walking tour—draws participants into an amusing web of puzzles and intrigue. You can choose between the three-hour New York tour, which takes participants through various neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, or the two-hour Village tour, which travels through quirky Greenwich Village. Groups of as many as 11 are booked every half hour.
Theater review by Adam Feldman The Temptations are hard to resist. No matter how much you may chafe at the clunky machinery of Broadway’s latest jukebox biomusical, Ain’t Too Proud, the hits just keep coming, distracting your critical faculties with zaps of R&B greatness. And when the show is at full power—when its lavishly gifted stars are lined up for duty in natty matching suits, moving and singing in synch through songs like “My Girl,” “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”—the gleam of well-polished nostalgia is strong. Is that enough, though? The problem with telling the story of the Temptations is that there isn’t a clear central story to tell. Much of Ain’t Too Proud focuses on the so-called Classic Five period from 1964 through 1968, when the quintet’s main frontman is the bespectacled and charismatic David Ruffin, played by the sensational Ephraim Sykes with a riveting combination of showboating dance moves and rough-edged soul vocals. High tenor Eddie Kendricks (the expressive Jeremy Pope) occasionally takes the lead vocals, backed by baritones Otis Williams (Derrick Baskin) and Paul Williams (James Harkness) and bass Melvin Franklin (the impressively deep-throated Jawan M. Jackson). But since the group’s membership has been in continual flux since its Motown debut in 1961, Ain’t Too Proud entrusts its narration entirely to the last Temp standing: Otis, who has been with the group from the start and performs with it
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.)
If theater is your religion and the Broadway musical your sect, you've been woefully faith-challenged of late. Venturesome, boundary-pushing works such as Spring Awakening, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Next to Normal closed too soon. American Idiot was shamefully ignored at the Tonys and will be gone in three weeks. Meanwhile, that airborne infection Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark dominates headlines and rakes in millions, without even opening. Celebrities and corporate brands sell poor material, innovation gets shown the door, and crap floats to the top. It's enough to turn you heretic, to sing along with The Book of Mormon's Ugandan villagers: "Fuck you God in the ass, mouth and cunt-a, fuck you in the eye." Such deeply penetrating lyrics offer a smidgen of the manifold scato-theological joys to be had at this viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q. As you laugh your head off at perky Latter-day Saints tap-dancing while fiercely repressing gay tendencies deep in the African bush, you will be transported back ten years, when The Producers and Urinetown resurrected American musical comedy, imbuing time-tested conventions with metatheatrical irreverence and a healthy dose of bad-taste humor. Brimming with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, The Book of Mormon is a sick mystic revelation, the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years. The high
Theater review by Adam Feldman “What history has to tell us could save us,” says a Weimar communist activist named Gotchling (the steady Linda Emond) in A Bright Room Called Day. “But first it compels us into despair so void of light and air, action stops. And yet all history ever tries to tell us is: Act.” This paradox is at the heart of the Public Theater’s unsettling but essential revival of Tony Kushner’s debut play, which it first produced in 1991 to vitriolic critical dismissal. In returning to the play—and substantially rewriting it—Kushner and director Oskar Eustis pose a challenge to themselves and to us: What can we learn by revisiting the failures of the past? Can we fix them? Can they fix us? As in its original version, Bright Room tells two stories at once. The first is set in Berlin in 1932 and 1933, and concerns a minor film actress, Agnes (Nikki M. James, in a haunting performance), and her circle of leftist friends: an early gay activist (Michael Urie, warm and funny), a one-eyed Hungarian radical (Michael Esper), a morphine-addled starlet (Gracie Gummer), two squabbling communist officials (Max Woertendyke and the very fine Nadine Malouf). As the Nazis continue their rise—charted by historical updates projected onstage, inexorable only in retrospect—the group falls into infighting and paralysis. In depicting this highly fraught period, Kushner studiously eschews the more obvious potential melodramatics; this is a play about the Nazis in which no Jews are
After more than 15 years at the Waldorf Astoria, Steve Cohen, billed as the Millionaires’ Magician, now conjures his high-class parlor magic in the marble-columned Madison Room at the swank Lotte New York Palace. Audiences must dress to be impressed (cocktail attire is required); tickets start at $100, with an option to pay more for meet-and-greet time and extra tricks with Cohen after the show. But if you've come to see a classic-style magic act, you get what you pay for. Sporting a tuxedo and bright rust hair, the magician delivers routines that he has buffed to a patent-leather gleam: In addition to his signature act—"Think-a-Drink," involving a kettle that pours liquids by request—highlights include a lulu of levitation trick and a card-trick finale that leaves you feeling like, well, a million bucks.
You’ll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, dazzling Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes and advanced technology have been introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance. Whatever faults one may find with this awesomely lavish annual pageant—it's basically a celebration of the virtues of shopping—this show has legs. And what legs! In the signature kick line that finds its way into most of the big dance numbers, the Rockettes’ 36 flawless pairs of gams rise and fall like the batting of an eyelash, their perfect unison a testament to the disciplined human form. This is precision dancing on a massive scale—a Busby Berkeley number come to glorious life—and it takes your breath away. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular
One of the more unlikely musicals on Broadway this season, Come from Away is the tense but humane story of an airport in Gander, Newfoundland, where 38 planes and more than 6,000 passengers were forced to land on September 11, 2001. The book, music and lyrics are by the Canadian team Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Read the full review.
Theater review by Naveen Kumar There has never been an inopportune moment to stage The Crucible, but with impeachment hearings underway, Arthur Miller’s indictment of miscarried justice seems especially instructive. Bedlam’s characteristically smart, stripped-down production pulses with an electric current and lays bare the play’s bitter truths. It is as gripping and revelatory a Miller production as New York has seen in years, and a bracing reminder of what a real witch hunt looks like. What begins as seemingly absurd paranoia—provincial and insular, funny in the style of Christopher Guest—gradually expands into terrifying life-or-death drama, as in a fun-house nightmare. In 17th-century Salem, rumors of witchcraft spread after a group of girls are caught dancing in the woods at night. John Proctor (Ryan Quinn) sees his life methodically turned inside out when their ringleader, his dismissed servent and onetime dalliance Abigail Williams (a blood-chilling Truett Felt) points her finger at his wife out of jealous vengeance. The quiet restraint of Susannah Millonzi’s breathtaking performance as Elizabeth Proctor cements a shift in tone that endures until the tragedy’s final heartbreak. Bedlam artistic director Eric Tucker, who also plays Reverend Hale, at first frames the story as a kind of wry pageant. The ensemble gathers in tableaux in the Connelly lobby—the first of the production’s many striking images. In John McDermott’s scenic design, the theater's stage and seatin
In this captivating original musical, actual teenager Andrew Barth Feldman now plays the title role of a high school student thrust into social relevance after a classmate's suicide. (Jordan Fisher takes over the role on January 28.) Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score combines well-crafted lyrics with an exciting pop sound, and Steven Levenson’s book gives all the characters shaded motives. Read the full review.
Broadway review by Adam Feldman The British mentalist Derren Brown is up to his old tricks in Secret, and very fine tricks they are. Not for nothing has Brown become a celebrity in his native England: He is a first-class stage magician, and in his Broadway debut he commands our fascination for nearly two and a half hours. Deploying a mixture of techniques (cold reading, subtle psychological manipulation, even mass mesmerism), he repeatedly gets members of the audience to seem to do his bidding. But although much of his act looks like mind reading, he renounces any claim to psychic ability—cannily disarming us of our skepticism, the better to catch us off guard. With help from directors Andy Nyman and Andrew O’Connor, he misdirects us in plain sight. The secret of Secret’s success lies not in the big-reveal tentpoles of the act (which are highly skillful variations on standard mentalist routines) but in the partly improvised patter that cloaks them in genuine risk and spontaneity. When things don’t go perfectly smoothly—when the good-natured and self-assured Brown bobbles a prediction or two—the hitches only add to the tension and impressiveness of what he is doing, as when a juggler’s dropped ball reminds you how many are still in the air. The show leaves you in a state of joyful bafflement. Can you believe it? You don’t have to, and that’s the fun. It’s a con game, and Brown is a consummate pro. Cort Theatre (Broadway). By Andy Nyman, Derren Brown and Andrew O’Connor. Di
Theater review by Raven Snook Four lonely souls are paralyzed by loss in Stephen Brown's bittersweet dramedy Everything Is Super Great. Although his older brother went missing months ago, 19-year-old computer wiz Tommy (Will Sarratt, high-strung and sympathetic) still sends him video messages—in between fighting with his anxious mom, Anne (a heartbreaking Marcia DeBonis), and flirting unsuccessfully with his Starbucks coworker Alice (Lisa Jill Anderson, deliciously deadpan). A morbid pixie dream girl, Alice has left college to take care of her mother, who has Alzheimer's disease and keeps wandering off. Even Tommy's not-quite-legitimate therapist, Dave (Xavier Rodney), is aching from abandonment.Although Brian Dudkiewicz's clever, symbol-laden set is highly theatrical, this slice-of-life one-act often feels like an indie movie come to life. Under Sarah Norris’s tender direction, the inaction unfolds in lovingly rendered, beautifully acted, mostly two-person scenes that demand you lean in as these ordinary folks try awkwardly to connect during the holidays. Reality quashed their dreams long ago; all they want for Christmas is some comfort and, if they're lucky, a little forward momentum.From its ironic title down to its quirky details—like how Anne gives everyone Pop-Tarts, or how Tommy almost burned down an Applebee's—Everything Is Super Great tempers its dark humor with hope and empathy. And it never condescends to its characters: Trapped in a suburban wasteland of chain sto
Theater review by Naveen Kumar A play can be like a symphony, rapturous in a way that surpasses logic. María Irene Fornés’s ingenious Fefu and Her Friends is such a work, and this revival from director Lileana Blain-Cruz is nothing short of exquisite. Though the play hasn’t been performed Off Broadway since its 1977 premiere, it feels as ahead of its time as any work on today’s cutting edge. One after another, women arrive in Fefu’s home, so handsomely appointed by set designer Adam Rigg you’ll have to resist an urge to move in. Fefu (a beguiling Amelia Workman) is a droll and mischievous host; she fires a shotgun at her unseen husband through the terrace doors before even pouring drinks. Almost as soon as all eight guests are assembled, in chic costumes by designer Montana Levi Blanco, the party disperses, and we’re invited to follow. Four scenes (in a bedroom, a sitting room, the kitchen and the yard) unfold simultaneously; the audience, split into four groups, circles around the set until everyone has witnessed each section. We find the women talking mostly in pairs: about a dream, the nature of love, psychic trauma, how absurd it is that everyone has genitals but they’re so rarely discussed. All of them are reunited for a third act that reveals the gathering’s purpose: to rehearse a presentation for a charity devoted to arts education. Fornés’ play is itself a tutorial in how an ensemble of richly drawn characters—provoking, laughing and revealing themselves to each
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
Theater review by Raven Snook A theatrical time capsule that feels eerily timely, Anna Deavere Smith’s solo documentary play Fires in the Mirror is getting an appropriately fiery revival at the Signature. An exploration of identity and tribalism in the wake of the 1991 Crown Heights riots, a violent three-day clash in Brooklyn between members of the Jewish and black communities, the show is a collage of verbatim interviews that Smith conducted both with everyday New Yorkers and with boldface names like activist Al Sharpton, feminist writer Letty Cottin Pogrebin and the late playwright Ntozake Shange. Since its premiere 27 years ago, the piece has been performed by the playwright herself —until now. Using only his remarkable talent and a few key accessories, Michael Benjamin Washington conjures 25 individuals of various ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and viewpoints. While he doesn’t possess Smith’s uncanny abilities as a mimic (her career-making performance was filmed for PBS’s American Playhouse, and can be viewed on YouTube), he imbues each person with specificity, authenticity and soul. Director Saheem Ali deserves credit for eliciting this impressively fluid performance, and although there are minor missteps in this production—too much stage business, an excessively literal set—it is a stirring rendition of an urgent work of art. Smith’s structure is meticulous: She arranges the monologues to enhance and echo each other as they reveal the personal tolls of racism, an
Theater review by Naveen Kumar Atop a patinated brown floor encircled by a shuffled deck of mirrors, the Public Theater’s landmark revival of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf cracks open like a precious gem, flashes of insight cascading out as if by magic. The incantation begins with Ntozake Shange’s singular text, first performed at the Public in 1976 and described as a “choreopoem” by its creator. Shange’s ingenious fusion of language, music and movement conjures one soul-stirring revelation after the next. “Bein alive & bein a woman & bein colored is a metaphysical dilemma/ i haven’t conquered yet,” says Lady in Yellow (Orange Is the New Black’s Adrienne C. Moore), one of seven players dressed in colors from the rainbow. Shange’s interlocking poems flow like dialogue, weaving vivid tales of longing and loss, self-discovery and deceit, everyday pleasures and injustice. Director Leah C. Gardiner creates a visceral happening: The call-and-response rhythm that begins with the performers spreads through an audience seated in the round. (Do snap your fingers when the spirit moves you.) Choreography by Camille A. Brown (Choir Boy) turns the swirling of hips, thrusting of limbs, and smacking of butts and thighs into a kind of animated hieroglyphics of black female experience. The powerhouse ensemble includes rafter-splitting vocalist Sasha Allen (Lady in Blue), superbly expressive deaf actor Alexandria Wailes (Lady in Purple) and the razo
Broadway review by Adam Feldman Freestyle Love Supreme is a dream of a show: the scheme of a team of thespians from Wesleyan who went with their flow, 16 years ago, to improvise a hip-hop musical. Their act is virtuoso. FLS is a phenomenon, uncommon and on-the-fly—a high wire where performers get by without a guide for the words that pour out from their lips and their lungs (as they try not to trip on the tips of their tongues). Their abilities, their skill and ease, are always impressive, but it’s less of a show-off than a love-in with a geek streak. There’s a reason FLS is so buzzy: It’s not just cool, it’s also warm and fuzzy. In the show’s new incarnation, at a venue on Shubert Alley, the emcee of emcees is Anthony “Two-Touch” Veneziale. He genially handles all the crowd participation, gleaning vital information that will fuel improvisation. The roster of performers varies, but a core group carries much of the weight: Utkarsh Ambudkar is a brash and quick star; beatboxer Chris Sullivan fulfills his mission with precision, as does pianist Arthur Lewis, while the group’s newest addition, Aneesa Folds, is a singer and a smarty who brings welcome fresh eggs to what had been a sausage party. Special guests each night keep it light and tight as they join Veneziale at the monster-track rally. When I was there, the spare chair was filled by FLS cofounding father Lin-Manuel Miranda—cuddly-cute as a panda, and just the man to land a toss-off joke and lend his hand to his band o
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
Theater review by Adam Feldman In the gorgeously clear-eyed and sorrowful Greater Clements, Samuel D. Hunter digs deep. The play begins far below ground in an abandoned mine where 81 men once died in a fire, and what remains of the rural Idaho hamlet above it is no less bleak: a ghost town that has all but given up the ghost. In a collective fit of pique against wealthy invaders from California, the locals have voted to unincorporate their municipality, leaving them without collective services. Among those affected by this change is the forthright Maggie (Judith Ivey), whose small mine-related museum is being forced to close down. A chance for Maggie to escape appears in the form of Billy (Ken Narasaki), her kindly Japanese-American high-school sweetheart from 50 years earlier, now dying of cancer and eager for a second chance at love. But then what would happen to her adult son, Joe (Edmund Donovan), who is at risk of falling back into the psychosis that has derailed his life for years? Chekhovian in spirit but utterly modern in its concerns, Greater Clements is suffused with Hunter’s signature combination of gentleness and despair. The playwright immerses us in the world he has imagined, and gives us time to marinate in it; the play, which has two intermissions, is nearly three hours long. It’s not boring for a moment, though, because it is so rich with nuance and quiet dread. Ivey finds the ideal snag in every line—the perfect place to pivot a thought—and Donovan, who st
Theater review by Adam Feldman Here’s my advice: Go to hell. And by hell, of course, I mean Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell’s fizzy, moody, thrilling new Broadway musical. Ostensibly, at least, the show is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy goes to the land of the dead in hopes of retrieving girl, boy loses girl again. “It’s an old song,” sings our narrator, the messenger god Hermes (André De Shields, a master of arch razzle-dazzle). “And we’re gonna sing it again.” But it’s the newness of Mitchell’s musical account—and Rachel Chavkin’s gracefully dynamic staging—that bring this old story to quivering life. In a New Orleans–style bar, hardened waif Eurydice (Eva Noblezada) falls for Orpheus (Reeve Carney), a busboy with an otherworldly high-tenor voice who is working, like Roger in Rent, toward writing one perfect song. But dreams don’t pay the bills, so the desperate Eurydice—taunted by the Fates in three-part jazz harmony—opts to sell her soul to the underworld overlord Hades (Patrick Page, intoning jaded come-ons in his unique sub-sepulchral growl, like a malevolent Leonard Cohen). Soon she is forced, by contract, into the ranks of the leather-clad grunts of Hades’s filthy factory city; if not actually dead, she is “dead to the world anyway.” This Hades is a drawling capitalist patriarch who keeps his minions loyal by giving them the minimum they need to survive. (“The enemy is poverty,” he sings to them i
Theater review by Raven Snook A frisky, feminist crowd-pleaser, The Half-Life of Marie Curie radiates empowerment—which is fitting, since it centers on the woman who coined the term radioactivity. In 1912, after an affair with her late husband’s protégé threatens to derail her life and career, two-time Nobel Prize winner Curie (Francesca Faridany) accepts an invitation from fellow female physicist Hertha Ayrton (Kate Mulgrew, a force of nature) to spend the summer at her English seaside home. There they bond and bicker, touching on a wide range of topics, including suffrage, motherhood, grief, carnal joy, and the damaging effects of sexism in science and society. Lauren Gunderson is America’s most frequently produced living playwright, though her work is rarely mounted in New York. Her well-researched one-act has a slightly didactic quality—especially in the coda, when the women talk directly to the audience about their lives after 1912, including how their inventions saved soldiers in World War I. But while The Half-Life of Marie Curie may not be as inventive as the women it celebrates, it’s enlightening and entertaining. Under Gaye Taylor Upchurch’s unfussy direction, Faridany fleshes out the passive-depressive Curie with revealing flashes of intense passion for science and sex. Impressively, she holds her own opposite supernova Mulgrew, who is playing the lesser-known figure but has all the best lines. (Mulgrew’s expressive voice will certainly be a highlight of the rec
Hamilton: Theater review by David Cote What is left to say? After Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s prodigious quill scratched out 12 volumes of nation-building fiscal and military policy; after Lin-Manuel Miranda turned that titanic achievement (via Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography) into the greatest American musical in decades; after every critic in town (including me) praised the Public Theater world premiere to high heaven; and after seeing this language-drunk, rhyme-crazy dynamo a second time, I can only marvel: We've used up all the damn words. Wait, here are three stragglers, straight from the heart: I love Hamilton. I love it like I love New York, or Broadway when it gets it right. And this is so right. A sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith, Hamilton hits multilevel culture buttons, hard. No wonder the show was anointed a sensation before even opening. Assuming you don’t know the basics, Hamilton is a (mostly) rapped-through biomusical about an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who came to New York, served as secretary to General Washington, fought against the redcoats, authored most of the Federalist Papers defending the Constitution, founded the Treasury and the New York Post and even made time for an extramarital affair that he damage-controlled in a scandal-stanching pamp
Theater review by Adam Feldman The world of Harry Potter has arrived on Broadway, Hogwarts and all, and it is a triumph of theatrical magic. Set two decades after the final chapters of J.K. Rowling’s world-shaking kid-lit heptalogy, the two-part epic Harry Potter and the Cursed Child combines grand storytelling with stagecraft on a scale heretofore unimagined. Richly elaborated by director John Tiffany, the show looks like a million bucks (or, in this case, a reported $68 million); the Lyric Theatre has been transfigured from top to bottom to immerse us in the narrative. It works: The experience is transporting. Jack Thorne’s play, based on a story he wrote with Rowling and Tiffany, extends the Potter narrative while remaining true to its core concerns. Love and friendship and kindness are its central values, but they don’t come easily: They are bound up in guilt, loneliness and fear. Harry (Jamie Parker) is weighted with trauma dating back to his childhood, which hinders his ability to communicate with his troubled middle son, Albus (Sam Clemmett); it doesn’t help that Albus’s only friend is the bookish outcast Scorpius Malfoy (the exceptional Anthony Boyle), son of Harry’s erstwhile enemy, Draco (Alex Price). Despite the best intentions of Harry’s solid wife, Ginny (Poppy Miller), and his friends Hermione (Noma Dumezweni) and Ron (Paul Thornley), things turn dark very fast. Set designer Christine Jones and lighting designer Neil Austin keep much of the stage shroude
[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
Broadway review by Adam Feldman The Inheritance is in many ways a ghost story: It is set among a group of gay men in present-day New York City, but it is animated by spirits of the past. Foremost among them is the English novelist E.M. Forster (the marvelous Paul Hilton), whom Matthew Lopez’s script—like Forster’s friends—calls Morgan. In the prologue, when the play’s characters are fishing for a way to tell their story, Forster appears to them as a plummy, chummy guide. So begins Lopez’s intimate Broadway epic: a searching, expansive and sometimes very moving exploration of love, money, community and memory. The play is presented in two parts, each more than three hours long. But as directed by Stephen Daldry, who helmed its premiere in London last year, the production mostly goes by fast: With two intermissions in each half, it's not unlike binge-watching six episodes of a Netflix series. Lopez borrows heavily from Forster’s Edwardian novel Howards End for his characters and plot, but shuffles them to suit his purposes. The Schlegel sisters of the novel are recast, grosso modo, as kindhearted otter Eric Glass (a gentle Kyle Soller), soon to be evicted from his rent-controlled apartment, and his extroverted and impetuous boyfriend, Toby Darling (the blazing Andrew Burnap, tossing his hair to fine effect). Toby is adapting his young-adult book, the aspirationally titled Loved Boy, into a play that might star their new friend Adam (Samuel H. Levine, who doubles as a hard-u
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
Director-designer Julie Taymor takes a reactionary Disney cartoon about the natural right of kings—in which the circle of life is putted against a queeny villain and his jive-talking ghetto pals—and transforms it into a gorgeous celebration of color and movement. The movie’s Elton John–Tim Rice score is expanded with African rhythm and music, and through elegant puppetry, Taymor populates the stage with an amazing menagerie of beasts; her audacious staging expands a simple cub into the pride of Broadway, not merely a fable of heredity but a celebration of heritage. Minskoff Theatre (Broadway). Music by Elton John. Lyrics by Tim Rice. Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. Directed by Julie Taymor. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 40mins. One intermission.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Little Shop of Horrors is a weird and adorable show with teeth. Based on Roger Corman’s shlocky 1960 film, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s 1982 musical tells the Faustian story of a dirt-poor schlub named Seymour (Jonathan Groff), a lowly petal pusher at a Skid Row flower shop, who cultivates a relationship with a most unusual plant. What seems at first a blessing—a way for the lonely Seymour to earn money and to get closer to his boss, Mushnik (Tom Alan Robbins), and his used and bruised coworker, Audrey (Tammy Blanchard)—soon turns sinister. The plant, whom he names Audrey II (designed by Nicholas Mahon and voiced by Kingsley Leggs), requires human blood to grow, and Seymour doesn’t have enough of his own to spare. He doesn’t want to feed the beast, but he can’t resist the lure of the green. Arguably the best musical ever adapted from a movie, Little Shop does for B flicks what Sweeney Todd does for Grand Guignol. Librettist Ashman and composer Menken—who, between this show and their Disney animated films, did more than anyone to return musical theater from its mass-culture exile in the late 20th century—brilliantly wrap a sordid tale of capitalist temptation and moral decay in layers of sweetness, humor, wit and camp. Their extraordinary score bursts with colorful rock & roll, doo-wop, girl-group pop and R&B; Ashman’s lyrics blend masterful character comedy with carefully seeded double meanings. And Michael Mayer’s deeply satisfying reviva
Thrice a week, after closing time, 20 people crowd into the city’s oldest magic shop, Tannen’s, for a cozy evening of prestidigitation by the young and engaging Noah Levine. The shelves are crammed with quirky devices; there's a file cabinet behind the counter, a mock elephant in the corner and bins of individual trick instructions in plastic covers, like comic books or sheet music. The charm of Levine's show is in how well it fits the environment of this magic-geek chamber of secrets. As he maneuvers cards, eggs, cups and balls with aplomb, he talks shop, larding his patter with tributes to routines like the Stencel Aces and the Vernon Boat Trick—heirlooms of his trade that he gently polishes and displays for our amazement.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Teenage girls rule in the tart but sweet new Broadway musical Mean Girls. But their system of high-school government is far from a democracy: It’s a reign of terror, angst and mall fashions, where popularity is arrogated and then ruthlessly enforced. Having spent her childhood being home-schooled in Kenya, nature and math enthusiast Cady (Erika Henningsen) is initially confused by the rigid caste system of her new school in Chicago. She tries to be nice, but the ruthlessness of American teenage culture brings out Cady’s predatory instincts. She reverts to the mean. A canny crossbreed of Heathers and Hairspray, the musical has been adapted by Tina Fey from her own 2004 cult movie, and updated to reflect the new realities of smartphones and social media. Fey is one of the sharpest comic writers in America, and the show remains, in some sense, her vehicle: an auto de Fey, burning with bookish anger at the limits young women place on each other and themselves. (Her film role as a pushy calculus teacher is amusingly evoked by Kerry Butler, who also plays the other adult women.) But this version of Mean Girls is not just a copy of the original. The most famous lines from the screenplay are here, but Casey Nicholaw’s energetic staging wisely breezes past them; the newer jokes get bigger laughs, while the score—by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin—successfully builds on Fey’s knowingly corrective tone. (“This is modern feminism talkin’,” sings a high-
For more than two decades, this proudly old-school series has offered a different lineup of professional magicians every week: opening acts, a headliner and a host, plus two or three close-up magicians to wow the audience at intermission. Housed since 2011 at the unprepossessing Players Theatre, it is an heir to the vaudeville tradition. Many of the acts incorporate comedic elements, and audience participation is common. (If you have children, bring them; they make especially adorable assistants.) Shows cost just $42.50 in advance and typically last well over two hours, so you get a lot of value and variety for your magic dollar. In contrast to some fancier magic shows, this one feels like comfort food: an all-you-can eat buffet to which you’re encouraged to return until you’re as stuffed as a hat full of rabbits. For a full schedule, visit the MNM website.
Theater review by Adam Feldman Red alert! Red alert! If you’re the kind of person who frets that jukebox musicals are taking over Broadway, prepare to tilt at the windmill that is the gorgeous, gaudy, spectacularly overstuffed Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Directed with opulent showmanship by Alex Timbers, this adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 movie may be costume jewelry, but its shine is dazzling. The place is the legendary Paris nightclub of the title, and the year is ostensibly 1899. Yet the songs—like Catherine Zuber’s eye-popping costumes—span some 150 years of styles. Moulin Rouge! begins with a generous slathering of “Lady Marmalade,” belted to the skies by four women in sexy black lingerie, long velvet gloves and feathered headdresses. Soon they yield the stage to the beautiful courtesan Satine (a sublimely troubled Karen Olivo), who makes her grand entrance descending from the ceiling on a swing, singing “Diamonds Are Forever.” She is the Moulin Rouge’s principal songbird, and Derek McLane’s sumptuous gold-and-red set looms around her like a gilded cage. After falling in with a bohemian crowd, Christian (the boyish Aaron Tveit), a budding songwriter from small-town Ohio, wanders into the Moulin Rouge like Orpheus in the demimonde, his cheeks as rosy with innocence as the showgirls’ are blushed with maquillage. As cruel fate would have it, he instantly falls in love with Satine, and she with him—but she has been promised, alas, to the wicked Duke of Monroth (Tam Mu
A starry cast, led by Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins) as the myopic Magoo, performs a stage version of a 1962 animated TV special by the Funny Girl team of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. Carl Andress directs a company that also includes Sierra Boggess, Claybourne Elder, Michael Potts, Don Darryl Rivera, Frederick Odgaard, Kyle Selig, Matthew Scott, Klea Blackhurst, Jennifer Cody, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Stephen DeRosa and Jeff Hiller.
Theater review by Adam Feldman After a hit run at St. Ann's Warehouse last year, Daniel Fish’s fascinating and unsettling reimagination of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! has moved to Broadway, with its immediacy, strangeness and eerie sense of danger intact. (See original review below.) The show is now played in deep thrust, with the audience on three sides of the action. Nearly the entire cast of the Off Broadway version returns: Rebecca Naomi Jones and Damon Daunno are the main couple, Laurey and Curly, stained in this version by their unkind treatment of Jud (a rivetingly emotional Patrick Vaill); Ali Stroker and James Davis provide superb (and much-needed) comic relief as the sexed-up Ado Annie and her ardent wooer Will Parker, and Will Brill has assumed the part of the commitment-averse suitor Ali Hakim. Seeing the production a second time allows one to appreciate not only the striking darkness that Fish and company have teased out of the material, but also the light they shine on small details. (Mallory Portnoy and Mitch Tebo are marvelous in small roles.) It's thrilling to see a Broadway classic rise to the challenge of so modern a conception. Oklahoma! it remains, but there's nothing corny about it. RECOMMENDED: A guide to Broadway's shocking revival of Oklahoma! [Note: The following is a review of the 2018 production at St. Ann's Warehouse.] Director Daniel Fish’s bold, spare revival of Oklahoma! gives us the ranch but not the dressing. The musical’s ca
Theater review by Raven Snook Donja R. Love’s one in two is a raw, intense and surreal exploration of what it’s like to be a queer African-American man with HIV. In an exitless all-white room, as the count on a digital number display zooms ever higher, three black men (Jamyl Dobson, Leland Fowler and Edward Mawere) wait to be chosen to enact the tale of one man’s diagnosis and how he deals with it. But instead of following directions and taking numbers from a ticket dispenser on the wall, they rebel and ask the audience to decide who will portray No. 1, the man who gets the life-altering news; the other two actors play a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who takes on the multicharacter supporting roles. Initially, the play’s tonal shifts and lack of details may confound. Aside from No. 1, a playwright called Donté, the men are given only numbers, not names or fleshed-out personalities, and their scenes ping-pong from raucously comic to overtly political to sentimental. But Love—who wrote the play as he approached the 10th anniversary of his diagnosis, and titled it after a CDC study that predicted that half of gay black men may end up positive—knows firsthand how messy, overwhelming and confusing living with HIV can be. His play channels that experience while serving as a blunt wake-up call that the epidemic is far from over. On the night I attended, Edward Mawere was a wonderfully sympathetic Donté, even in moments when his behavior puts himself and others at ri
Theater review by Raven Snook It’s fall 2008, and the world is on the cusp of change. So are Miami private-school students Pipe (Carmen Berkeley), Kit (Rebecca Jimenez), Squeeze (Malika Samuel) and Zoom (Alyssa May Gold). Unnervingly worldly yet hilariously naïve, these members of the Dead Leaders Club snort cocaine, argue about politics and worship Pablo Escobar the way their less eccentric peers might revere Justin Timberlake. As holiday lights twinkle around a grinning poster of the deceased drug czar, they pull out a Ouija board to try to conjure their hero, and debate who will kill the stray cat they have kidnapped as a sacrifice. Headstrong Kit, the gang’s brand-new addition from New Jersey, gleefully obliges. Alexis Scheer’s savage one-act Our Dear Dead Drug Lord, coproduced by WP Theater and Second Stage, is part of a wave of plays by young women that portray female adolescence as an almost feral state (see also Horse Girls, Dance Nation, Usual Girls). Its central characters don’t see Escobar as a villain because they covet his abandon and his power—qualities they haven’t been encouraged to cultivate in a world that demands that they be good and obedient girls, even in the face of trauma. Under Whitney White’s energetic direction, Samuel and the adorkable Gold mostly serve as comic relief to Berkeley and Jimenez’s ferocious alpha females. Their excellent acting sells some of Scheer’s wonkier bits—especially the talk about 9/11 and Obama’s election, which don’t c
Theater review by Helen Shaw When you walk into Say Something Bunny!, you enter another time. You might not notice that at first, because the brick office space where it takes place is so determinedly ordinary-looking. The small audience sits around a doughnut-shaped conference table, and as Alison S.M. Kobayashi begins her multimedia docuplay, some spectators are already paging through the scripts that have been placed in front of each chair. The text turns out to be the full transcript of a real, unlabeled 65-year-old recording that Kobayashi found hidden in an antique wire recorder: the audio relic of a teenage boy in Woodmere, Queens, enthusiastically taping two dozen family members and neighbors. Kobayashi has listened to the recording hundreds of times and has a seemingly boundless interest in the people whose voices it preserves, including amateur recordist David, mother Juliette and neighbor Bunny. She conducts us through a pair of after-dinner conversations, the first in 1952—she deduced the date from song lyrics mentioned on the wire—and the second in 1954. Aided by coauthor Christopher Allen, she pursues hints and half-heard jokes to determine who these people were and what befell them; she shows us the census records she used to find their old houses. The play unspools unhurriedly, leaving space for Kobayashi to make jokes, play short films and highlight points of historical interest. It takes a while for it to sink in that—of course—many of these vibrant people
Broadway review by Naveen Kumar The Russian clown and performance artist Slava Polunin whipped up Slava’s Snowshowmore than 25 years ago, and has blown around the world with it since. He has the scrappy air of a street mime who’s managed to sneak onto the world’s most prestigious stages (including Broadway once before), and is adept at feeding audiences from the palm of his hand. On the menu is a wordless mix of guileless sight gags, untethered emotion and a barrage of snow in the form of white confetti—so, so, so much white confetti. A rotating corps of silent jesters shares the spotlight, climbing atop seatbacks and emptying water bottles over the audience with wild abandon. Such icecapades are not for everyone. Polunin himself wears a look of melancholy confusion—it’s painted over his elastic features in black and white, with a round red nose at its center—and if you attend Slava’s Snowshow without knowing what to expect, you may wind up with that expression, too. A preshow advisory would do well to insist that patrons must love clowns. How else to enjoy 100 minutes of vaguely amusing pantomime on a set that toes a fine line between crafty and cheap? Being under the age of 12 may help; the production might also pair well with milder psychedelics. But if you can embrace the logic of nonsense and surrender your personal boundaries to the spirit of the season, you may find this blizzard a blast. Stephen Sondheim Theatre (Broadway). Created and staged by Slava Polunin. Wit
Broadway review by Adam Feldman Jeremy O. Harris’s lacerating play, a sold-out succès de scandale Off Broadway last season, has now moved north to Broadway, and it feels wonderfully incongruous on the mostly staid Great White Way. Brash, smart and gleefully confrontational, this is the kind of show that starts arguments. It begins on a perverse antebellum plantation, but as it moves forward, in three very different acts that successively reframe what we have seen before them, it keeps you off balance; even afterward, you may feel staggered. As I wrote of its incarnation at New York Theatre Workshop, “Slave Play is funny, perceptive, probing and, at times, disturbingly sexy. It snaps like a whip, and its aim is often outward.” Whatever you think it is, it's almost certainly not what you think. (Click here to read the entire Off Broadway review.) Director Robert O’Hara has reassembled the play’s original cast, with one exception: Joaquina Kalukango now plays the pivotal role of Kaneisha. The Broadway production is, perforce, a bit broader than the one at NYTW—especially in the bravura comedic performances of Annie McNamara, whose molestation of a four-poster bed is horny physical comedy for the ages, and James Cusati-Moyer, whose character throws a spectacular diva tantrum when asked to confront his own whiteness. For most of the night, in the four interracial relationships that Harris depicts, the nonblack characters dominate: They really, really want to make sure they’re b
To untimely rip and paraphrase a line from Macbeth: Our eyes are made the fools of the other senses, or else worth all the rest. A multitude of searing sights crowd the spectator's gaze at the bedazzling and uncanny theater installation Sleep No More. Your sense of space and depth---already compromised by the half mask that audience members must don---is further blurred as you wend through more than 90 discrete spaces, ranging from a cloistral chapel to a vast ballroom floor. Directors Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle, of the U.K. troupe Punchdrunk, have orchestrated a true astonishment, turning six warehouse floors and approximately 100,000 square feet into a purgatorial maze that blends images from the Scottish play with ones derived from Hitchcock movies—all liberally doused in a distinctly Stanley Kubrick eau de dislocated menace. An experiential, Choose Your Own Adventure project such as this depends on the pluck and instincts of the spectator. You can follow the mute dancers from one floor to the next, or wander aimlessly through empty spaces. I chose the latter, discovering a room lined with empty hospital beds; a leafless wood in which a nurse inside a thatched cottage nervously checks her pocket watch; an office full of apothecary vials and powders; and the ballroom, forested with pine trees screwed to rolling platforms (that would be Birnam Wood). A Shakespearean can walk about checking off visual allusions to the classic tragedy; the less lettered can just revel in
Broadway review by Adam Feldman “It feels as if I’m made of yarn,” says Bella (Mary-Louise Parker) in Adam Rapp’s unabashedly literary The Sound Inside, and in a way, she is. A professor of creative writing at Yale—and the author of two short-story collections “and an underappreciated novel”—she narrates herself directly to the audience, spinning herself into a story, pausing sometimes to jot down one of her own turns of phrase on a notepad. And as she speaks, in director David Cromer’s ravishingly spare production, the world she describes is summoned to spectral life; when she mentions a snowy winter in New Haven, a denuded tree slowly fades into view on the black wall behind her. Unmarried and friendless, she lives for books, and probably not for very much longer: She has recently been diagnosed with stomach cancer (”somewhat advanced,” she brags wryly), which killed her mother at roughly her age. Into this bleak picture intrudes, uninvited, a seemingly insufferable child: Christopher (Will Hochman, appropriately unsettling), a violently opinionated freshman who barges into her office, having refused to schedule an appointment with her on principle. (He rails, in audible all-caps, against “the encephalitic procedural gargoyles from the dean’s office.”) Unexpectedly, she finds him fascinating; both of them are weirdos. They discuss Dostoevsky, suicide and the novel he has been working on, which concerns a strange encounter between strangers on a train, one of whom is a y
At first blush, Then She Fell seems to be a small-scale cribbing of Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Yes, you wander solo through intricately dressed rooms in a creepy building; yes, that man in a cravat is crawling up the wall in front of you. But you begin to realize that Third Rail Projects’ interactive riff on Lewis Carroll’s Alice books is using a similar language to give you a different experience: When you peer into the looking glass, it stares right back at you. Performed in the former Greenpoint Hospital, the show only permits 15 audience members a pop—making for a distinctly intimate experience. You’re given a shot of mulled wine and a set of keys before nurses, Carroll characters and even the psychotropic author himself usher you through a combination Wonderland–psych ward. As in Sleep No More, no two individuals will have the same evening. You may find yourself taking dictation for the Hatter (the mesmerizing Elizabeth Carena), painting cream-colored roses red with the White Rabbit (Tom Pearson) or sitting down to the infamous tea party with the whole gang. The experiences that director-designer-mastermind Zach Morris and his company offer are stunningly personal. You don’t have a mask to hide behind here—when you peep in on the Red Queen (Rebekah Morin) having a private breakdown, she catches you watching through the two-way mirror. And then—well, I don’t want to give away the game. And it is a game; as you’re pulled from place to place, you begin to realize that M
Theater review by Adam Feldman The defense never rests in Aaron Sorkin’s cagey adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. That the play exists at all is an act of boldness: Turning Harper Lee’s 1960 novel into a play in 2018 is no easy task. The hero of the story, as every schoolchild knows, is Atticus Finch (Jeff Daniels), a lawyer in rural Alabama in the early 1930s, who bravely defends a disabled black man, Tom Robinson (Gbenga Akinnagbe), against a false accusation of rape. Slow to anger and reluctant to judge—“You never really understand a person,” he says, “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”—Atticus is a paragon of that most fabled of American values: decency. But while To Kill a Mockingbird has a special place in the literature of American civil rights, the book is also now a minefield. As seen through the eyes of his preteen tomboy daughter, Scout (Celia Keenan-Bolger), Atticus is very much a white-daddy savior, albeit one who can’t perform miracles, in a narrative that has little room for the perspectives of black people beyond the respect and gratitude they show him. At its center is a story about a young woman—Tom’s accuser, Mayella (Erin Wilhelmi)—whose allegations of sexual assault must not be believed. Even more problematic, to some modern ears, is the scope of Atticus’s magnanimity. It is not just the black skins that he urges his children to walk around in; it is also the skins of the white farmers who try to lynch Tom Robinson before his trial.
Theater review by Adam Feldman The most glorious words in the English language, the director of the show-within-a-show in 42nd Street once declared, are musical comedy. But few musicals on Broadway these days live up to the second part of that term: They evoke fond chuckles of appreciation, but they don’t suck the laughs from your belly. Enter Tootsie, all dolled up in a red sequined gown, to drag out the real comic goods. Let other shows mope or brood or inspire, as some of them do very well. This one is out to give you a good time, and that’s just what it does. Tootsie rocks. Tootsie rolls. Tootsie pops. Santino Fontana, in the performance of his career to date, stars as Michael Dorsey, a talented but difficult actor whose professional clock is ticking. Broke, unemployable and newly 40 years old, he feels increasingly desperate: “Caught in the gap between ‘What the hell just happened’ and ‘What the hell is gonna happen next.’” Through a neurotic ex-girlfriend, Sandy (the magically amusing Sarah Stiles, in Bernadette Peters curls), he learns of an open role in an ill-conceived musical sequel to Romeo and Juliet called Juliet’s Curse. Disguised in glasses, a blue dress, a teased-out wig and a clipped Southern accent, he reinvents himself as an actress named Dorothy Michaels, auditions for the show—and lands the part. Robert Horn’s crackerjack script, the funniest book of a Broadway musical since The Book of Mormon, evinces uncommon finesse in its approach to updating the
The deliciously deranged postmodern diva Meow Meow, who has bewitched and bewildered audiences the world over, drags cabaret kicking and screaming into the 21st century. From the moment she enters—a vision of frazzled glamour, faintly annoyed—she is on the offensive: badgering the audience into applause, vamping the crowd with her magnetic jadedness. Meow's parody of glitz is part of a package that also includes physical comedy, social commentary and a brilliantly eclectic polyglot repertoire. In this Next Wave Festival show, she offers her own cockeyed version of Christmas spirit.