tuck-everlasting

Theatre Review: “Tuck Everlas...

A charming and thoughtful (if finally slight) musical, Tuck Everlasting asks the question if you could live forever, would you? While it doesn't rea...

Fully Committed
Lyceum Theatre

Jessie Tyler Ferguson

FULLY COMMITTED - PRODUCTION CREDITS
 Person Placeholder
Becky Mode
Playwright
 Jason Moore
Jason Moore
Director
 Derek McLane
Derek McLane
Scenic Design
 Person Placeholder
Sarah Laux
Costume Design
 Person Placeholder
Ben Stanton
Lighting Design
 Jill Du Boff
Jill BC Du Boff
Sound Design
 Person Placeholder
Polk & Co.
General Press Representative
 Person Placeholder
Matt Polk
Press Representative
 Person Placeholder
Tom D'Ambrosio
Press Representative
 Person Placeholder
Jeffrey Fauver
Press Representative
 Barbara Whitman
Barbara Whitman
Producer
 Patrick Catullo
Patrick Catullo
Producer

Theatre Review: “Fully Commit...

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has always balanced sweet likability with just a dash of acidic bite, and both qualities serve him well in Fully Committed. He ...

marilynmaye

Cabaret Review: Marilyn Maye

Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye has a golden voice, that of someone 40 years her junior (she's 88!). She has jazz phrasing with the sort of effortlessne...

Waitress
MUSICALORIGINAL
BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE
256 W. 47TH ST.

WAITRESS - CAST
 Jessie Mueller
Jessie Mueller
as Jenna
 Keala Settle
Keala Settle
as Becky
 Kimiko Glenn
Kimiko Glenn
as Dawn
 Drew Gehling
Drew Gehling
as Dr. Pomatter
 Nick Cordero
Nick Cordero
as Earl
 Dakin Matthews
Dakin Matthews
as Joe
 Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson
as Cal
 Christopher Fitzgerald
Christopher Fitzgerald
as Ogie
 Charity Angel Dawson
Charity Angél Dawson
as Nurse Norma
 Charity Angel Dawson
Charity Angél Dawson
as Ensemble
 Thay Floyd
Thay Floyd
as Ensemble
 Molly Hager
Molly Hager
as Ensemble
 Aisha Jackson
Aisha Jackson
as Ensemble
 Claire Keane
Claire Keane
as Lulu
 McKenna Keane
McKenna Keane
as Lulu
 Jeremy Morse
Jeremy Morse
as Ensemble
 Stephanie Torns
Stephanie Torns
as Ensemble
 Ryan Vasquez
Ryan Vasquez
as Ensemble
 Henry Gottfried
Henry Gottfried
Swing
 Max Kumangai
Max Kumangai
Swing
 Ragan Pharris
Ragan Pharris
Swing
 Ragan Pharris
Ragan Pharris
as Jenna (Understudy)
 Ragan Pharris
Ragan Pharris
as Dawn (Understudy)
 Stephanie Torns
Stephanie Torns
as Jenna (Understudy)
 Stephanie Torns
Stephanie Torns
as Dawn (Understudy)
 Charity Angel Dawson
Charity Angél Dawson
as Becky (Understudy)
 Molly Hager
Molly Hager
as Becky (Understudy)
 Henry Gottfried
Henry Gottfried
as Dr. Pomatter (Understudy)
 Henry Gottfried
Henry Gottfried
as Earl (Understudy)
 Henry Gottfried
Henry Gottfried
as Ogie (Understudy)
 Ryan Vasquez
Ryan Vasquez
as Dr. Pomatter (Understudy)
 Ryan Vasquez
Ryan Vasquez
as Earl (Understudy)
 Max Kumangai
Max Kumangai
as Joe (Understudy)
 Max Kumangai
Max Kumangai
as Cal (Understudy)
 Jeremy Morse
Jeremy Morse
as Ogie (Understudy)
 Thay Floyd
Thay Floyd
as Cal (Understudy)
WAITRESS - MUSIC CREDITS
 Person Placeholder
Nadia DiGiallonardo
Musical Director
 Person Placeholder
Nadia DiGiallonardo
Music Supervisor
 Adam Michael Kaufman
Adam Michael Kaufman
Associate Music Supervisor
 John Miller
John Miller
Music Coordinator
 Person Placeholder
Nadia DiGiallona

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Pop-rock singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has succeeded where several of her Billboard chart colleagues have failed – she has written the score for ...

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tuck-everlasting

Theatre Review: “Tuck Everlasting”

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Theatre Review: “Tuck Everlasting”

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Theatre Review: “Tuck Everlasting”

tuck-everlasting

A charming and thoughtful (if finally slight) musical, Tuck Everlasting asks the question if you could live forever, would you? While it doesn’t really take that question head on, it uses it to gently explore questions about family, love and many other things. Set in the 1890s in small-town New Hampshire, the musical follows 11-year-old Winnie Foster as she runs away and meets the immortal Tuck family, who are very intent on keeping the key to their immortality secret.

The choreography by director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (best known for Something Rotten!, Aladdin and The Book of Mormon) is the best thing about the show, especially in gaudy production numbers set in a traveling carnival, and a moving extended sequence tracing Winnie’s life after meeting the Tucks. His skill at dramaturgically shaping a piece is also evident in the crisp clarity of the storytelling and the musical’s jaunty pacing.

Nicholaw’s dance steps are a creative balletic reinterpretation of absolutely true-to-period folk-dancing. Composer Chris Miller’s score is a exact parallel to that: 19th Century Amercian folk music, filtered through a poppy Broadway sensibility. The level of craft isn’t quite up to Nicholaw’s: while the emotional tone is generally right, and the music is certainly pleasant, it doesn’t rise to the memorable. Nathan Tysen’s lyrics are quite strong, truly the place where the themes of the show are most penetratingly investigated.

Over all, the score is a little syrupy for my taste; as folksy musicals go, I prefer the coolly astringent intelligence Steve Martin brought to this season’s Bright Star. Speaking of that show, this has been a season full of folksiness: these two shows and to a lesser degree the country-tinged Waitress. Tuck Everlasting is just well-made enough to hold its head up in that company – Claudia Shear and Tim Federle’s book for Tuck is considerably stronger than Bright Star‘s, for example – but is that enough in this crowded field? In any event, Tuck Everlasting is engaging and very sweet, and I can easily recommend it.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Theatre Review: “Fully Committed”

Fully Committed Lyceum Theatre Jessie Tyler Ferguson FULLY COMMITTED - PRODUCTION CREDITS Person Placeholder Becky Mode Playwright Jason Moore Jason Moore Director Derek McLane Derek McLane Scenic Design Person Placeholder Sarah Laux Costume Design Person Placeholder Ben Stanton Lighting Design Jill Du Boff Jill BC Du Boff Sound Design Person Placeholder Polk & Co. General Press Representative Person Placeholder Matt Polk Press Representative Person Placeholder Tom D'Ambrosio Press Representative Person Placeholder Jeffrey Fauver Press Representative Barbara Whitman Barbara Whitman Producer Patrick Catullo Patrick Catullo Producer

Jesse Tyler Ferguson has always balanced sweet likability with just a dash of acidic bite, and both qualities serve him well in Fully Committed. He brings a lot of warmth when he plays the central character Sam, a reservationist at one of New York’s trendiest restaurants. He also plays all of the people calling the restaurant – more than 40 in all – and has plenty of opportunity to display that comedic acidity playing the more venomous callers. That sweetness and acidity come together deliciously when Sam slyly gets back at some of his oppressors.

Ferguson isn’t afraid to go over the top when the character calls for it, and throws himself into the whole affair with great energy and elan, but every moment stays rooted in reality. Director Jason Moore must surely take some credit for that as well – both the dynamism and rootedness.

Playwright Becky Mode has aimed at creating a generally light hearted satire, and has successful hit that target. Though the play premiered in 1999, Mode has updated it to be thoroughly in line with today’s culinary trends and pop culture. There are hints at more emotional depth when dealing with Sam’s recently widowed father, but it never gets so heavy that it bogs down what is clearly Fully Committed‘s main ambition: pure entertainment. High art this ain’t, but that doesn’t really matter. Recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Cabaret Review: Marilyn Maye

marilynmaye

Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye has a golden voice, that of someone 40 years her junior (she’s 88!). She has jazz phrasing with the sort of effortlessness, elegance and ease that has nearly passed out of existence. She’s worthy of being included in the company of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn or Blossom Dearie, and she’s probably the finest performer in that classic jazz-pop style still with us. Ella Fitzgerald in fact called her “the greatest white female singer in the world”. I’ve been a hopeless fan of Maye’s for 7 years now (a mere fraction of her long career), and I can tell you that Ella wasn’t exaggerating!

On top of all that, her ability to apply her own personality to the lyrics of a given song is nonpareil – she gives lessons on it in the master classes she teaches. I can think of no other singer who possesses Maye’s combination of detailed interpretation, rhythmic verve, and, yes, vocal range.

Her new show at Feinstein’s / 54 Below, titled “Highlights”, is her most autobiographical yet, and finds her going over songs that have mattered in many phases of her career, from her local radio star childhood in the 1930s and 1940s, to her pop chart successes of the 1950s in 1960s, to her successful entry in regional theatre in the 1970s. It includes songs she still sings often, like “Step to the Rear”, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” and “I’m Still Here”, as well as surprises like a jazzy “Cheatin’ Heart” and an obscenely bluesy “Honeysuckle Rose”.

Maye appeared on Johnny Carson’s edition of “The Tonight Show” a total of 76 times, a record not likely ever to be beaten by any other singer with any other host. She oddly didn’t even mention Carson in this act, maybe because she’s done a whole separate show exclusively about Carson. In any event, if you love classic songs sung like they’re meant to be sung, it just doesn’t get any better than this.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Theatre Review: “Waitress”

Waitress MUSICALORIGINAL BROOKS ATKINSON THEATRE 256 W. 47TH ST. WAITRESS - CAST Jessie Mueller Jessie Mueller as Jenna Keala Settle Keala Settle as Becky Kimiko Glenn Kimiko Glenn as Dawn Drew Gehling Drew Gehling as Dr. Pomatter Nick Cordero Nick Cordero as Earl Dakin Matthews Dakin Matthews as Joe Eric Anderson Eric Anderson as Cal Christopher Fitzgerald Christopher Fitzgerald as Ogie Charity Angel Dawson Charity Angél Dawson as Nurse Norma Charity Angel Dawson Charity Angél Dawson as Ensemble Thay Floyd Thay Floyd as Ensemble Molly Hager Molly Hager as Ensemble Aisha Jackson Aisha Jackson as Ensemble Claire Keane Claire Keane as Lulu McKenna Keane McKenna Keane as Lulu Jeremy Morse Jeremy Morse as Ensemble Stephanie Torns Stephanie Torns as Ensemble Ryan Vasquez Ryan Vasquez as Ensemble Henry Gottfried Henry Gottfried Swing Max Kumangai Max Kumangai Swing Ragan Pharris Ragan Pharris Swing Ragan Pharris Ragan Pharris as Jenna (Understudy) Ragan Pharris Ragan Pharris as Dawn (Understudy) Stephanie Torns Stephanie Torns as Jenna (Understudy) Stephanie Torns Stephanie Torns as Dawn (Understudy) Charity Angel Dawson Charity Angél Dawson as Becky (Understudy) Molly Hager Molly Hager as Becky (Understudy) Henry Gottfried Henry Gottfried as Dr. Pomatter (Understudy) Henry Gottfried Henry Gottfried as Earl (Understudy) Henry Gottfried Henry Gottfried as Ogie (Understudy) Ryan Vasquez Ryan Vasquez as Dr. Pomatter (Understudy) Ryan Vasquez Ryan Vasquez as Earl (Understudy) Max Kumangai Max Kumangai as Joe (Understudy) Max Kumangai Max Kumangai as Cal (Understudy) Jeremy Morse Jeremy Morse as Ogie (Understudy) Thay Floyd Thay Floyd as Cal (Understudy) WAITRESS - MUSIC CREDITS Person Placeholder Nadia DiGiallonardo Musical Director Person Placeholder Nadia DiGiallonardo Music Supervisor Adam Michael Kaufman Adam Michael Kaufman Associate Music Supervisor John Miller John Miller Music Coordinator Person Placeholder Nadia DiGiallona

Pop-rock singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles has succeeded where several of her Billboard chart colleagues have failed – she has written the score for a musical that is not only catchy and tuneful, but also serves the storytelling in a coherent and cogent way. Waitress tells the story of Jenna (the ever-luminous Jessie Mueller), a waitress and expert pie maker in a small southern town, who married far too young to a man she doesn’t love. Can she escape him, and if so, how?

Both the character of Jenna and Bareilles’s rich and zesty songs are terrific vehicles for Mueller’s detailed, heart-felt acting and liquid gold voice. Her Jenna feels incredibly approachable – she feels like an earth mother in spite of the many things holding her down. And there are few Broadway stars who can match the depth of feeling she brings to her singing.

The generous spirit of Waitress allows for more than one terrific performance, and the show’s other marvel is Christopher Fitzgerald as Ogie, a highly eccentric chap in love with one of Jenna’s fellow waitresses. His big number “Never Getting Rid of Me” is utterly amazing – he communicates his character’s awkwardness and quirkiness with dancing, singing and acting that has to be called virtuoso. Stunning.

Jessie Nelson’s book goes bright and big, which is what’s called for in telling this largely joyous story. Even though director Diane Paulus – who usually favors heightened theatricality – delivers one of her most “realistic” productions to date, Waitress makes it clear that she is well aware of the realities of 2016 Broadway, where boldness is rewarded. All in all, one of the most engaging and fun musicals of the season. Recommended.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

Theatre Review: “The Father”

THE FATHER SAMUEL J. FRIEDMAN THEATRE 261 W. 47TH ST. THE FATHER - CAST Frank Langella Frank Langella as André Kathryn Erbe Kathryn Erbe as Anne Brian Avers Brian Avers as Pierre Charles Borland Charles Borland as Man Hannah Cabell Hannah Cabell as Laura Kathleen McNenny Kathleen McNenny as Woman Andrew Hovelson Andrew Hovelson as Pierre (Understudy) Andrew Hovelson Andrew Hovelson as Man (Understudy) Anthony Newfield Anthony Newfield as André (Understudy) Person Placeholder Pilar Witherspoon as Anne (Understudy) Person Placeholder Pilar Witherspoon as Laura (Understudy) Person Placeholder Pilar Witherspoon as Woman (Understudy) THE FATHER - PRODUCTION CREDITS Person Placeholder Florian Zeller Playwright Christopher Hampton Christopher Hampton Translated by Doug Hughes Doug Hughes Director Scott Pask Scott Pask Scenic Design Catherine Zuber Catherine Zuber Costume Design Donald Holder Donald Holder Lighting Design Fitz Patton Fitz Patton Original Music & Sound Design Person Placeholder Alexander Greenfield Associate Director Person Placeholder Jerome Martin Associate Scenic Designer Person Placeholder Ryan Park Associate Costume Designer Person Placeholder Porsche McGovern Associate Lighting Designer Person Placeholder Patrick LaChance Associate Sound Designer Person Placeholder Joshua Helman MTC Production Person Placeholder Bethany Weinstein MTC Production Person Placeholder James FitzSimmons Production Stage Manager Person Placeholder Katherine Wallace Stage Manager Jim Steinmeyer Jim Steinmeyer Illusion Consultant Person Placeholder Nancy Piccione Casting Person Placeholder Caparelliotis Casting Casting Person Placeholder Florie Seery MTC General Manager Person Placeholder Erin Moeller Company Manager Person Placeholder Boneau / Bryan-Brown General Press Representative Person Placeholder Chris Boneau General Press Representative Person Placeholder Aaron Meier General Press Representative Person Placeholder Melissa Cohen G

Frank Langella delivers a tour de force performance. Of course he does, it’s what he always does, and he’s done it again! In The Father, Langella plays 80 year old Frenchman André, whose mind, whether he likes it or not, is starting to go. One of the more remarkable things about Florian Zeller’s play is the way it puts you on the inside of dementia, lets you really feel the confusion from André’s point of view.

The fact that Langella is still physically imposing and effortlessly charismatic makes André’s descent all the more poignant. It’s also good casting on another level: André is a fiercely intelligent and independent man, after Langella’s own stripe.

The downside of The Father is that it requires an actor of Langella’s talents to keep it compelling. Playwright Florian Zeller, a rising star of French theatre, gives us a handful of startling coups de theatres, but there is also much in the play that is static or redundant.

As such, the others character in the play are ciphers for the most part, with the notable exception of his devoted but conflicted daughter Anne, played by Kathryn Erbe with harried dignity. Overall, Zeller’s script, for all its cleverness and insight, tends toward an icy intellectualism which does it no favors. Then again, most of French playwrighting since Beckett has had the same problem.

While these problems are a bit more serious than mere quibbles, there’s no denying that The Father really does feel designed to be a star vehicle, and it’s a largely effective one, especially with its very effective star. On that basis, I can easily recommend it.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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