Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Broadway Theater Review: Act One with Tony Shalhoub and Andrea Martin

Tony Shalhoub, Andrea Martin and Santino Fontana. Photo: Joan Marcus
A Love Story about the Theater, Told with Performances and Direction Worthy of the Legend
By Lauren Yarger
Moss Hart is one of Broadway's legendary playwrights and producers, so it seems fitting that one of the most engaging productions this year on Broadway should tell his story.

James Lapine (Into the Woods, Falsettos, Passion) writes and directs this adaptation of Hart's autobiography Act One starring Tony Shalhoub ("Monk"), Andrea Martin (Pippin) and Santino Fontana (Cindrella). It focuses on Hart's early childhood, his passion for the theater his rags-to-riches story and his writing collaboration with George S. Kaufman, with whom he penned a couple of my personal favorites: the screenplay for the movie "Hans Christian Anderson," and the Pulitzer-Prize winning play You Can't Take it with You.

The story is narrated by an adult Hart (Shalhoub). The role of  Moss also is played b Matthew Schechter (as a young boy) and Fonatana (as a young man). Lapine's direction is so expert, that transitions between Moss at different ages and between actors playing multiple roles is sublime and we can only imagine director Hart himself looking down and giving a thumb's up.

Moss reflects on his humble roots, growing up poor in a small Bronx apartment where his father, Barnett (played by Shalhoub), mother, Lillie (Mimi Lieber) and little brother, Bernie (Matthew Schechter) take in boarders and provide a home for Lillie's sister, Kate (Martin). Kate doesn't help out much around the house, or offer any of her money to help the debt-ridden family get by, but she does open up the world of the theater for young Moss.

Barnett doesn't want young Moss wasting his time on things like the theater, or school, and insists he take a job to help support the family instead. Kate fuels the boy's dream of working in the theater by taking him to some matinees without his father's knowledge. Eventually, Moss secures a job as an assistant to producer Augustus Pitou (Will LeBow) and has a chance to see one of his plays produced.

He forms friendships with other  office boys Irving Gordon (Steven Kaplan), Dore Sherry (Will Brill) and Eddie Chodorov (Bill Army) who help each other secure tickets to shows and help boost each other's careers. Hart gets his first real writing job through one of them when he is tapped to create comedy sketches at The Flagher Hotel in the Catskills. The play's  locations rotate into pace on a large, three-story carousel of a set designed by the always excellent Beowolf Boritt. Lighting design is by nicely handed by Ken Billingham with costumes by Jane Greenwood.

Hart's big break comes when rival producers Jed Harris (LeBow) and Sam Harris (Bob Stilman) vie for who will produce his play, Once in a Lifetime and he is introduced to Bernard F. Kaufman (also played by Shalhoub to the audience's great delight. Kaufman shares a lot of hand-washing type obsession like detective Adrian Monk, the TV character Shalhoub portrayed for years.)

Martin also gets triple duty, playing Hart's agent Frieda Fishbein and Kafman's wife, Beatrice.

Though it errs a bit by trying to include every detail possible in the two-hour, 45-minute presentation (one can almost imagine theater creators Hart and Kaufman looking knowledgeably at their watches) it still is entirely absorbing, with not a weak performance to be found throughout the large cast playing numbers of roles. It's the kind of story you wish would never end, -- maybe Lapine should consider Act Two to continue the story of Hart's success and more personal details from his life, like his marriage to Kitty Carlisle.

Hart couldn't take it with him, but he left a legacy in the theater which audience goers can savor in Act One through June 15 at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 150 west 65th St., NYC.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language

Broadway Theater Review: The Realistic Joneses

Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei. Photo: Joan Marcus
We Get a Dose of Reality Keeping Up with These Joneses
By Lauren Yarger
Keeping up with the Joneses in Will Eno's The Realistic Jonses might prove a little more difficult than you think. The story is about everything – and nothing – just like the dialogue, but sooner or later you recognize a character you know, or perhaps yourself, and suddenly the seemingly pointless conversation hits home like it was fired at a bullseye. 

It's a witty exploration of conversations comprised mostly of thoughts you would have during conversations, but which you never would say out loud. But imagine if you did. It would be really funny, if awkward. Sort of like this play. 

Sam Gold, who helmed the world premiere at Yale Rep in 2012, directs. Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tracy Letts (August Osage County) reprises his role from the Yale production, but the other characters are newly cast for Broadway.

The older Joneses are Bob (Letts) and his wife, Jennifer (the always fabulous Toni Colette ("The United States of Tara," "The Sixth Sense," "Little Miss Sunshine"). The younger couple with the same surname are John and Pony (Michael C. Hall -- “Dexter,” Chicago and Marisa Tomei -- "My Cousin Vinny") who have just moved in next door in the suburban neighborhood somewhere in the USA.
Jennifer struggles to care for Bob as a rare degenerative disease attacks the areas of his brain that control language and memory. It’s a good thing this long-married couple can complete each other’s thoughts and sentences. Or can they? And if they can, do they want to any more?

Jennifer apologizes for blurting out her concerns about Bob’s declining health to her new acquaintances.

“That’s what separates us from the animals,” John consoles her. “You never hear animals blurting things out. Unless they’re being run over by a car or something.” 

At first it doesn’t seem like the older couple has much in common with their apparently less intelligent neighbors except a moniker, but after a few chance encounters, it becomes clear that they do – practically as John may have the same illness as Bob and emotionally as the couples turn to each other for comfort and hope. The scenes (designed by David Zinn) play out in a backyard setting that doubles for other locations. 

Eno’s script is a mind-muscle-tightening, word workout that is funny and thought-provoking. It needs a strong gel among the performers to pull it off, however, and what Gold achieved at Yale is somewhat lacking here. We don't get a sense of the "developed-over-many-years" camaraderie between Bob and Jennifer or the attraction between her and John. Tomei plays Pony as an innocent -- accepting of everything -- which negates the opportunity to explore the many layers waiting for the character in the script's pages and allows John to be much more likable than he should be.

Instead of the audience shaking their heads "yes" with nods of understanding and satisfaction (like we did at Yale), I think this production probably has more people shaking their heads "no" and asking, "What was that about?" It's too bad, because it's a meaty play with lots to offer about how we deal with each other and with the hardest times life has to offer.

The Realistic Joneses runs through July 6 at The Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th St., NYC.

Christians might also like to know:

-- Language
-- Adult situations

Gentleman's Guide Leads Outer Critics Circle Nominations with 11

The cast with Bryce Pinkham as Monty Navarro (standing center), Jefferson Mays as Lord Adalbert D'Ysquith (red), and Jane Carr as Miss Shingle (seated) in a scene from "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" at the Walter Kerr Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.
Outstanding New Broadway Musical
After Midnight
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding New Broadway Play
Act One
Casa Valentina
All The Way
Outside Mullingar
The Realistic Joneses

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play

Choir Boy
The Explorer's Club
The Heir Apparent
Stage Kiss

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical
Far From Heaven
Fun Home
Murder For Two
What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined

Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Fun Home
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Bridges of Madison County
Fun Home
A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Cripple of Inishmaan
The Glass Menagerie
Twelfth Night
The Winslow Boy

Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill
Les Misérables

Outstanding Actor in a Play
Bryan Cranston, All the Way
Ian McKellen, No Man's Land
Brían F. O'Byrne, Outside Mullingar
Mark Rylance, Twelfth Night
Tony Shalhoub, Act One

Outstanding Actress in a Play
Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons
Rebecca Hall, Machinal
Jessica Hecht, Stage Kiss
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Andy Karl, Rocky
Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Sutton Foster, Violet
Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill
Jessie Mueller, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Kelli O’Hara, The Bridges of Madison County
Michelle Williams, Cabaret

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Paul Chahidi, Twelfth Night
Michael Cyril Creighton, Stage Kiss
John McMartin, All the Way
Alessandro Nivola, The Winslow Boy
Brian J. Smith, The Glass Menagerie

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Barbara Barrie, I Remember Mama
Andrea Martin, Act One
Sophie Okonedo, A Raisin in the Sun
Anika Noni Rose, A Raisin in the Sun
Mare Winningham, Casa Valentina

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Cabaret
Nick Cordero, Bullets Over Broadway
Joshua Henry, Violet
James Monroe Iglehart, Aladdin
Jarrod Spector, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Judy Kuhn, Fun Home
Anika Larsen, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Sydney Lucas, Fun Home
Marin Mazzie, Bullets Over Broadway
Lisa O’Hare, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Director of a Play
Tim Carroll, Twelfth Night
Michael Grandage, The Cripple of Inishmaan
Lindsay Posner, The Winslow Boy
Bill Rauch, All the Way
Lyndsey Turner, Machinal

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Laurence Connor & James Powell, Les Misérables
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Alex Timbers, Rocky
Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

Outstanding Choreographer
Warren Carlyle, After Midnight
Peggy Hickey, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine, Rocky
Casey Nicholaw, Aladdin
Susan Stroman, Bullets Over Broadway

Outstanding Set Design (Play or Musical)
Christopher Barreca, Rocky
Beowulf Boritt, Act One
Bob Crowley, Aladdin
Es Devlin, Machinal
Alexander Dodge, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)
Gregg Barnes, Aladdin
Linda Cho, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
William Ivey Long, Bullets Over Broadway
Jenny Tiamani, Twelfth Night
Isabel Toledo, After Midnight

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)
Kevin Adams, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Howell Binkley, After Midnight
Paule Constable, Les Misérables
Natasha Katz, Aladdin
Philip S. Rosenberg, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

Outstanding Solo Performance
Jim Brochu, Character Man
Debra Jo Rupp, Becoming Dr. Ruth
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, How I Learned What I Learned
Alexandra Silber, Arlington
John Douglas Thompson, Satchmo at the Waldorf

John Gassner Award
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Scott Z. Burns, The Library
Eric Dufault, Year of the Rooster
Madeleine George, The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence
Steven Levenson, The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin
Lauren Yee, The Hatmaker’s Wife
Cicely Tyson and Vanessa  Williams announce the Outer Critics Circle Awards nominations Tuesday at the Friar's Club. Photo: Lauren Yarger

The Outer Critics Awards will be announced Monday, May 12. The awards dinner will be held May 22 at Sardi's.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Broadway Theater Review: Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill with Audra McDonald

Audra McDonald. Photo:Evgenia Eliseeva
Audra McDonald is Incarnation of Billie Holiday
By Lauren Yarger
Is it possible that Audra McDonald (Showboat, Porgy and Bess, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun,  Carousel, Master Class) will walk off with her sixth Tony Award for her portrayal of jazz/blues singer Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill? If Tonys are given for the best performance I have seen this year, then yes, she just might. McDonald is packing them in over at Circle in the Square Theatre and creating an incarnation of the legendary, but tragic woman.

The soprano alters the sound of her voice and adopts mannerisms of Holiday as she shares stories from her life, sings songs and slowly sinks into the characters deterioration as booze and drugs take over.

The theater's floor is transformed into the Philadelphia club with a bar and some table-and-chair seating on the floor (scenic design by James Noone) with lighting that sets the mood designed by Robert Wierzel. The singer interacts with audience members and takes center stage with her band: Jimmy Powers (Shelton Becton on piano), Clayton Craddock on drums and George Farmer on bass.

The tragic story of  of Holiday's life is told (in a repetitive script by Lanie Robertson that sometimes sounds too much like a history lesson) as she bonds with the audience. It's not hard to understand why Holiday relies on a steady stream of drinks and heroin to dull the pain as she relates tales of sexual abuse, racial discrimination and loss. This performance, in March 1959, is set four months before the singer would die of cirrhosis and heart failure. In between the sad stories are 15 songs -- and a visit from her cute little dog, Pepi (Roxie, trained by William Berloni). It's a mesmerizing 90 minutes without intermission.

McDonald, directed by Lonny Price, is fascinating to watch as she transforms into Holiday and becomes a character totally unlike any other I have seen her portray. I enjoyed the performance even though I'm not a particular fan of Holiday's music and found the story sad and somewhat depressing. I solicited the opinion of my companion who is a big fan. He was amazed and felt McDonald had "channeled" Holiday. Under the influence, Holiday takes a tumble, and McDonald makes it look so natural for the character, that I feared for her ankle.

This production has been extended through Aug. 10 at Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St., NYC. See video below.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language
-- Adult material

Broadway Review: Mothers & Sons with Tyne Daly

Frederick Weller and Tyne Daly . Photo: Joan Marcus.
Thank Goodness Not all Sons Have Mothers Like This
By Lauren Yarger
I have been dreaming of seeing more meaty roles for women on Broadway and we finally got one. Unfortunately, she's a nightmare of a character in Terrence McNally's play Mothers and Sons.

Tyne Daly turns in a powerhouse performance as a mother trying to come to grips with loneliness years after losing her son to AIDS. Truth be told, Katharine Gerard (Daly) lost her son, Andre, long before he died when she couldn't accept his homosexuality, wasn't part of the life he shared with his partner and when she withdrew her help and love when he contracted the dreaded disease. Now, many years later, she shows up looking for -- something -- at the home of her son's former lover, Cal Porter (Frederick Weller), now comfortably settled with a young husband, Will Ogden (Bobby Steggart), and their son, Bud Ogden-Porter (Grayson Taylor).

Tension and awkwardness fill the gracious apartment overlooking Central Park (John Lee Beatty does the sets). The last time Cal and Katharine met was at Andre's memorial service (in a 1988 sketch "Andre's Mother" by McNally) and things didn't go very well. Cal still has difficulty understanding why she never came from Texas to see her son after hearing that he was ill. Katharine still can't understand the whole homosexual thing and can't even bring herself to shake Will's hand when they meet. And Will has his own uncomfortable zone, suddenly having to deal with the ghost of Cal's perfect mate.

McNally wants us to see the frost that rewards Katharine's cold heart, but the development of the character is too uneven. The recent loss of her husband has left her all alone, but it's unlikely a wealthy society matron from Texas oil country couldn't find people to make part of her life. Still we get the sense that she is looking for a family connection -- but why she comes to New York or seeks out Cal of all people isn't clear. Ostensibly it is to return Andre's journal, which Cal had sent to her after he died, but it's kind of hard to swallow that a mother who is desperately looking for answers as to why her son took up the gay life style, how he became ill and whether he stopped loving her, had never read the pages, which of course, leads to some poignant moments when she finally does. Any normal, loving mother would have breathed in his words.  If ice really runs through her veins, however, she'd have tossed the book into the trash. So what are we to think?

At times Katharine seems interested in playing grandmother to little Bud, but is dissuaded from this goal when she discovers that he has no genetic link to Cal (and somehow this would provide a connection to Andre, she thinks). It seems unlikely DNA would matter to someone who is lonely and seeking a family, but she disassociated from her own son. How much can family mean? In the uneven character development, we're given to understand at times that the mother-son bond between Katharine and Andre was close, though. So maybe she feels maternal after all?

One minute she seems quite nice. The next, she is lashing out offensively, for no real reason.

We end up confused by the perspective. What could possibly turn a mother from her beloved son, cause her to abandon him while he's dying, then suddenly make her want to reach out to the person whom she incorrectly blames for making her son gay and infecting him? We're not sure because McNally is more concerned with making statements about the condition of gay America and the consequences of not accepting people for who they are. The result is that Katharine is really not likable and we're not sure whether we are supposed to feel sorry for her or pity those whose lives she touches.

Weller comes off much more sympathetic, with a strong performance as the man who tries to put aside his own hurt to reach out to the offensive woman and help her understand that Andre never stopped loving her. Experiencing the heartbreaking beginning of the AIDS epidemic and witnessing changes in society over the years -- and perhaps in himself -- gives him as unique perspective that keeps this play from falling into the same-old, same-old of the genre.

Cal ponders whether  history will even remember the people who knew that a diagnosis of AIDS in the 1980s was a death sentence. Will doesn't. Steggart portrays the younger partner as almost boyish. He's quick to be offended and quick to be jealous. It is a nice contrast to Cal's more settled, mature persona, as directed by Sheryl Kaller (who needs to tone down Taylor's over the top, saccharine cuteness, however.)

There's also a sort of "given" that times have changed so much that Katharine's awkwardness about the idea of two "husbands" is now a thing of the past too, however. Maybe that's the thought in New York, but McNally  might be so wrapped up in having these characters make his point, that he forgets that Katharine (whether you feel she's right or wrong) wouldn't be alone in Texas, even in 2014, in her discomfiture about same-sex marriage. Thankfully McNally doesn't attempt to portray Katharine as a Christian, a device used by almost every other playwright writing in the genre. We're never sure, however, why she finds homosexuality "unnatural."

The strong performances, particularly Daly's, make this play worth watching even if its message can be a bit forced.

Mothers and Sons runs at the Golden Theatre, 252 West 45th St., NYC.

Christians might also like to know:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Homosexual activity
-- Language

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Off-Broadway Review: The Most Deserving (Women's Project)

Jennifer Lin, Edie Kelch, and Veanne Cox. Photo: Carol Rosegg
The Most Deserving
By Catherine Trieschmann
Directed by Shelley Butler
The Women's Project Theatre

What's It All About?
The Arts Council of a small Kansas town considers candidates for the largest grant award it ever has received -- $20,000. But who is the most deserving? Is it the son of a local politician who can make or break the council's existence with his power over its budget? Is it council member Dwayne Dean (Adam LeFevre) whose series of vice-presidential portraits fails to stir passion even when he claims minority status as part homosexual to be eligible for the grant (he needs the money after being laid off from his auto sales job)? Or is is Everett Whiteside (Ray Anthony Thomas), an African-American with some social challenges who is about to be evicted from his home for back taxes, but who has a visionary eye when it comes to trash art? That's the question for the council, headed by officious Jolene Atkinson (Veanne Cox), her dominated husband, Ted (Daniel Pearce) who has lost interest in his marriage, rich widow, and sometimes drunk Edie Kelch (Kristin Griffith), who uses her late husband's donation of $10,000 to match the original grant as leverage, and its newest member, Liz Chung (Jennifer Lin), who advocates for Whiteside despite the councils initial lack of interest because his work moves her, especially an angel made out of "found objects." The fact that she wants to cap off her academic studies with a doctorate in art history by profiling him in her book has nothing to do with her support, she insists. Things get even more dicey when Ted and Liz begin an affair and everyone starts bargaining for votes on who will receive the grant.

What are the Highlights?
Catherine Trieschmann (crooked and How The World Began) is a playwright to watch. She is skilled at bringing true-to-life characters to the stage with witty dialogue in situations we can relate to while causing us to try to wipe the grin off of our faces. If you ever have dealt with an arts organization, a small town committee -- or any committee for that matter -- you will recognize one or more of these people depicted by a strong ensemble cast. Trieschmann nicely weaves the grant question and its politics with the personal life situations that give the term "deserving" a whole new meaning.

Sharp prop and set changes (designed by David M. Barber) are made with polish by cast and crew with guitar music (sound design by Leon Rothernberg) and keep the 95-minute, no intermission piece moving at a brisk pace. Costumes by Donald Sanders help define each character (and I especially loved the look of art professor Chang.)

What Are the Lowlights?
One scene needs editing as the pace slows and dialogue seems less sharp. Some actors were tripping up on their lines. Cox needs to bring down the yelling a notch. We get that Jolene is uptight and domineering without needing her to yell everything. In fact, Director Shelley Butler might have discovered more nuance for the character by asking for a less stringent tone.

More Information:
The Most Deserving runs through May 4 at NY City Center Stage II, 131 West 55th St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm with matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 pm. Tickets:; 212-581-1212.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Trieschmann was a recipient of Masterwork Productions'The Lights Are Bright on Broadway Award for How the World Began. The honor was awarded to individuals making a difference through faith in the Broadway community.
-- Language

Monday, April 14, 2014

Annie Baker's The Flick Wins the Pulitzer for Drama

Annie Baker's play The Flick, commissioned by Playwrights Horizons, has won the 2014 Pulitzer prize for Drama.
Read the review by clicking here. For a list of all the Pulitzer winners, click here.
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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact



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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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