Tag: New York

Theatre Review: “Twelfth Night”

Twelfth NightBelasco Theatre

Two performances – Samuel Barnett as shipwrecked gentlewoman Viola and Mark Rylance as Lady Olivia – make this Twelfth Night essential viewing. Even people who aren’t particularly into Shakespeare are likely to enjoy Rylance’s multicolored and often hilarious portrayal (although most of his best stuff comes after the intermission, trust me). This Twelfth Night may not be as definitive as the Richard III it alternates with; the fact that it is the more enjoyable evening overall is a measure of how great the play itself is.

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Theatre Review: “Richard III”

Richard IIIBelasco Theatre

I’ve never heard Shakespeare’s language spoken as lucidly as it is spoken in the Shakespeare’s Globe production of Richard III. It is spoken so lucidly that I can now say with more assurance than ever that, while this play has an exciting beginning and an engrossing second half, the second quarter of the play is a deadly, over-plotted slog.

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Theatre Review: “Disaster!”

Disaster!

When Disaster! is funny, it’s as funny as any show in the city. And you will simply not hear the 1970s disco and pop rock songs that make up its score sung better anywhere – in some cases they outshine the original. That said, like most parodies Disaster! is quite uneven; a there are a bunch of jokes that don’t really land, and some scenes that definitely take too long to make their point.

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Opera Review: “Die Frau Ohne Schatten”

die-frau-ohne-schatten-metropolitan-opera

This production features some of the most beautiful singing I’ve heard at the Met this season, but the real star is conductor Vladimir Jurowski, who took composer Richard Strauss’s already gorgeous orchestrations into new realms of sumptuousness and luminosity. The late Herbert Wernicke’s visually stunning production (restaged by J. Knighten Smit), does Hugo Hofmannsthal’s strange libretto many favors, but Die Frau Ohne Schatten is still a fundamentally problematic piece, even by the reality-optional standards of opera (those standards, by the way, is one of the reasons this surrealist is steadily gaining a taste for the form).

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Interview: Playwright J. Stephen Brantley on his play “Pirira”

pirira

Playwright/actor J. Stephen Brantley (pictured above, right) set his gay-themed play Pirira  during the July 20, 2011 riots in the African nation of Malawi. As that country erupts in riots, American aid workers Jack and Ericka take shelter in the storage room of a struggling NGO. Half a world away, Malawian student Gilbert and his gay co-worker Chad begin another day in the back room of a Manhattan florist. By the day’s end, they discover their lives are inextricably linked across continents, language, and time. I asked Brantley to provide some insight into this intriguing work.

What is Pirira about?

Pirira tracks two seemingly unrelated stories, separated by 7000 miles, simultaneously. It’s about the unexpected ways in which our lives are connected with, and our identities are tied to, people who may be very different from us. One of these stories is about American NGO workers in Malawi during the 2011 demonstrations. The other features a Malawian student in the states working in a wholesale florist’s with a gay New Yorker. Audiences see both unfold at once, in the same space, in real time.
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