Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Theater Review: The Honeymooners -- Paper Mill Playhouse

Michael Mastro, Laura Bell Bundy, Leslie Kritzer, and Michael McGrath Evan Zimmerman
The Honeymooners
Book by Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss, based on the CBS television series
Music by Stephen Weiner
Lyrics by Peter Mills
Choreography by Joshua Bergasse 
Musical Direction and Vocal Arrangements by Remy Kurs
Directed by John Rando
Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ
Through Oct. 19

By Lauren Yarger
If you're a fan of the classic TV series "The Honeymooners," which featured Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph along with the biggest comedian of the era, Jackie Gleason, who uttered catch phrases like, "To the moon, Alice," "Har har, hardee har har" and "I've got a big mouth" among others, you will thoroughly enjoy the new musical version of the sitcom getting its world premiere in New Jersey at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

If you have never heard of the Kramdens and the Nortons (the two couples who are best friends and neighbors in CBS's 1950 series) you might be scratching your head and wondering what the heck is going on.

Though many Baby Boomers enjoyed this show and will list it among their favorites (even though it only ran for 39 episodes following its debut and subsequent revisiting in sketch form on Gleason's variety shows), I never cared for it and there is a good chance that anyone under the age of 45 probably has never seen it.  The series followed the pie-in-the sky antics of Ralph Kramden (Gleason), a bus driver in Brooklyn, who was always trying to find a quick-money scheme to achieve his dream of living on easy street. He usually dragged his best friend, Ed Norton (Carney), along with him, paying no heed to the unenthusiastic, practical advice to the contrary given by his wife, Alice (Meadows). 

When I saw that one of my favorite musical writing teams (Stephen Weiner and Peter Mills) were on the Honeymooners musical, I knew I would want to see it (even thought I don't normally get out to Paper Mill), but realized I was hesitant because I really, really didn't like that show. 

Why not, I thought? It admittedly contained some comedy bits that are quite funny (Ed's enthusiastic watching of the "Captain Video" kids' television show is a classic). As I thought about it, I realized that I had been offended, even as a kid, by a husband threatening to hit his wife. Ralph's recurring shout of "bang zoom" promising to send Alice to the moon and the secondary threat of  "one of these days, Alice, pow! right in the kisser" frightened me and I didn't think it was funny. Nor did I like Alice's silent, sad-faced acceptance of these threats, even though Ralph usually came around and apologized, and told her she was the greatest.

Enter book writers Dusty Kay and Bill Nuss who have softened these threats for the musical and have given Alice (played by the multi-talented comedic genius Leslie Kritzer) some backbone. She even gets a solo that lets her belt and scat about how "A Woman's Work" really gets done.  She stopped the show. Director John Rando makes sure there isn't a physical depiction of the violence Ralph threatens which helps tone down these unpleasant, if iconic elements, and Ralph is a bit easier to like here, thanks to a tour-de-force impersonation by Michael McGrath. 

One of the pure joys of this musical is watching McGrath and Michael Mastro channel Gleason and Carney. They look and sound like the recognizable actors into whose shoes they have stepped. They do such a good job bringing the originals to life, that a plot twist later in the musical, where Ralph and Ed meet the real Gleason and Carney, falls short because unfairly, the second set of actors don't stand a chance of appearing more like the original characters (this is one turn that should be eliminated as the story goes off on a tangent; cutting the three-hour run time will help too if this musical is eyeing Broadway).

Otherwise, the book is entertaining and advances what used to be virtually the same plot in every TV episode to a more fully developed story that can hold its own in a full musical production. Even Trixie (Laura Bell Bundy, who sounded like she might be fighting a cold the night I saw the show) gets some development as she resumes her career as a burlesque dancer (apparently this was mentioned in a lost episode, but that career was considered too risqué for 1950s television). This allows for a subplot for a jealous confrontation between Ed and her former club manager.

I savored, as always, Mills' clever lyrics (his and Weiner's collaboration on Iron Curtain, with a book by Susan Di Lallo, is one of my favorite musicals that hasn't made it to Broadway yet.) 

"He's a local who’s going express," the male chorus sings as Ralph thinks he has a future on Madison Avenue after writing a cheesy advertising jingle for the Faciamatta brand of dairy product.

Make-you-laugh lyrics by Mills pepper the score. Weiner writes some of the big-production type numbers he does so well (and Choreographer Joshua Bergasse has fun bringing to life a huge, fantasy tap sequence), but none of the songs stands out. The most moving is a duet between Ralph and Ed called "I'll Miss the Guy," but there aren't any tunes you come away humming.

Set Designer Beowulf Boritt remains true to the original set by recreating the Kramdens' shabby kitchen in which all of the television episodes were filmed. He adds a stunning backdrop of the city skyline with the trademark moon as well.  There is much here that satisfies and I found myself enjoying The Honeymooners for the first time. A heads up to producers, though: with Russia so prominently in the news these days, Iron Curtain might be the one to bring to Broadway first.


 

Additional casting:
Lewis Cleale as Bryce Bennett, Lewis J. Stadlen as Old Man Faciamatta and David Wohl as Allen Upshaw. 

Holly Ann Butler, Chris Dwan, Hannah Florence, Tessa Grady, Stacey Todd Holt, Ryan Kasprzak, Drew King, Eloise Kropp, Harris Milgrim, Justin Prescott, Lance Roberts, Jeffrey Schecter, Britton Smith, Alison Solomon, Michael Walters and Kevin Worley, Ensemble

The Honeymooners runs through Oct. 19 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ. Performances are Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursday at 1:30 and 7:30 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 1:30 and 8 pm; Sunday at 1:30 and 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $34: PaperMill.org; 973-376-4343.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- Some scantily-clad show girls

Off-Broadway Theater Review: The Treasurer

Peter Friedman. Photo: Joan Marcus


The Treasurer
By Max Posner
Directed by David Cromer
Playwrights Horizons
Through Nov. 5

By Lauren Yarger
It's every kid's nightmare: who is going to take care of the parents when they get elderly? But for the son (Peter Friedman) in the world premiere of Max Posner's new play The Treasurer at Playwrights Horizons, there is an even more chilling question: How do you keep up a good front for your siblings when you have been tasked with making sure your mother is taken care of within the means she has available when you don't really love her?

This sad, but realistic premise plays out under taut direction by David Cromer (The Band’s Visit, Our Town, Adding Machine), who wrings out the emotions of the story and particularly, those of the "son." the character's only identity, besides that of "the treasurer" caring for the bank accounts of his mother, Ida (Deanna Dunagan). He has to deal with her and absentee brothers, Allen and Jeremy (played by Marinda Anderson and Pun Bandhu, who also take on other roles) as Ida needs more and more interaction. She doesn't grasp the severity of her financial situation or her diminishing entail capability and places unrealistic demands on her children who must come up with the funds to place her n acceptable senior living, While we're moved as the son finds himself between a rock and hard place, we discover that he is more emotionally drained than anyone having come to the conclusion that he will go to hell for not loving his mother.

Most of the conversations between mother and son and siblings (and one other between Ida and a meaningful wrong number) take place via telephone (with quick scene changes designed by Laura Jellinek, but Cromer's genius has a chance to shine in a scene where mother and son get together for a meal. The pain of the relationship is palpable.

Posner packs a punch in 90 minutes in this play, which was commissioned by Playwrights, 416 West 42nd St., NYC, where it has been extended through Nov. 5.



Additional credits:
Costume design by David Hyman, Lighting Design by Bradley King, Sound Design byMikhail Fiksel, Projection Design by Lucy Mackinnon and Wig Design by Leah J. Loukas.

Performances are Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 pm; Saturdays at 2:30 and 8 pm; Sundays at 2:30 and 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $49-$89: phnyc.org; 212- 279-4200

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- Language
-- God's name taken in vain

Monday, October 2, 2017

Off-BroadwayReview: As You Like It

Ellen Burstyn. Photo: Lenny Stucker
As You Like It
By William Shakespeare
Original Music by Stephen Schwartz
Directed by John Doyle
Classic Stage Company
Through Oct. 22

By Lauren Yarger

What's It All About?
Shakespeare's comedy with a twist. This one has music by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell) and in the style of director John Doyle, has actors playing multiple parts as well as instruments. Here, As You Like It takes only about an hour and half -- that is about half of what productions of this play usually take,

What are the Highlights?
Well, that abbreviated run time, for starters. This isn't one of my favorites when it comes to Shakespeare. I usually think it is way too long, so cutting it down and adding some different elements, like music by Sondheim, should improve it. Having Ellyn Burstyn play Jaques also is a selling point (loved hearing her rendition of the "all the world's a stage" speech), not to mention a cast that includes Andre De Shields and Cass Morgan among others.

Doyle's set incorporates acorn lights that represent trees -- very cool. There is some fun audience interaction.

What Are the Lowlights?
All of the new twists don't come together to make this as fun and engaging as we would have liked it to be.

More Information:
As You Like It continues through Oct. 22 at Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th St., NYC. classicstage.org

Cast: Ellen Burstyn (Jaques), Quincy Tyler Bernstine (Celia), Noah Brody (Oliver/Corin), Hannah Cabell (Rosalind), André De Shields (Touchstone), Cass Morgan (Old Anna/Audrey), Leenya Rideout (Phoebe), David Samuel (Charles/Silvius), Kyle Scatliffe (Orlando) and Bob Stillman (Duke Frederick/Duke Senior).

Scenic Design by John Doyle, Costume Design by Ann Hould-Ward and Lighting Design by Mike Baldassari.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
No content notes.

Off-Broadway Review: On the Shore of the Wide World


On the Shore of the Wide World
By Simon Stephens
Directed by Neil Pepe
Atlantic theater Company
Through Oct. 8

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?Well, a bunch of family interaction and mortality, but none that is particularly engaging. For most of the time I wondered why I was watching their lives. This is the 2006 Olivier Best Play winner from playwright Simon Stephens, who has enjoyed recent Broadway success with The Curious Incident of the dog in the Night Time, Birdland and Heisenberg.

What Are the Highlights?
Atlantic's productions are always well staged.

What Are the Lowlights?
Talented directed Neil Pepe and a strong cast featuring Blair Brown, Odiseas Georgiadis, Mary McCann, LeRoy McClain, Tedra Millan, Ben Rosenfield, Luke Slattery, C.J. Wilson and Amelia Workman aren't able to give these characters enough depth to be interesting. The play almost seems like a forced attempt to turn the last lines of a Keats poem, from which the title is taken, into a play.
A plot twist is not set up properly and brings confusion rather than surprise.

More Information:
On the Shore of the Wide World runs through Oct. 8 at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theate, (336 West 20th St., NYC. Tickets start at $65: atlantictheater.org

Scenic Design by Scott Pask, Costume Design by Sarah Laux, Lighting Design by Christopher Akerlind, Original Music and Sound Design by David Van Tieghem.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- Language
-- God's name taken in vain

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

ANGELS Cast Recording Features Robert Cuccioli, Laura Osnes


The Broadway-aimed new musical ANGELS, produced by Marcus Cheong and Mark Kang, will release an original studio cast recording. The inspirational songs from this original musical, featuring music by Ken Lai, and book and lyrics by Ken Lai and Marcus Cheong, are brought to life by a star-studded cast of Tony nominated and award-winning Broadway performers including two-time Tony Award-nominee Laura Osnes, Tony Award-nominee Robert Cuccioli, Tony Award-nominee Josh Young and Alan H. Green. The album will be released digitally on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. CDs will be available for purchase via CD Baby, Amazon, Alliance Entertainment, and Super D.

ANGELS tells the epic story of the ancient war between the Angels and Lucifer’s fallen minions.  This timeless tale of good versus evil, hope versus despair, angels versus demons, is told through the eyes of Sera, the Angel of Light. Though she is gifted with the power to control light, she aspires to a more heroic role. Lucifer opposes Sera, causing chaos for the Angels and the humans they protect. Sera must find the courage to rise in victory over Lucifer and fulfill her purpose.

The album was recorded at Downtown Music Studios & Smash Studios in New York; The Grove Studios in Somersby, Australia; and Ramrod Studios & 301 Studios in Sydney, Australia. This recording features new musical arrangements from David Holmes and album producer Rich Fowler.

The cast of ANGELS includes two-time Tony Award-nominee Laura Osnes as ‘Sera,’ Tony Award-nominee Robert Cuccioli as ‘Lucifer,’ Tony Award-nominee Josh Young as ‘Tyriel,’ Alan H. Green as ‘Gabriel,’ Alexandra Zorn as ‘Rebekah/Vixen,’ Stephen Cerf as ‘Michael/Dasher/Joab,’ Kevin T. Collins as ‘Stratus/Dasher/Titus/Reuben,’ Elizabeth Ann Berg as ‘Bethany,’ and Stefanie Clouse as ‘Sofiel.’ Additional vocalists on the album include Jane Leslie AndersonHugh Wilson, Nicky Kurta, Tim Moxey, Gabrielle Lee, Mark Friedlander, Hannah J. Peterson, James Tehero, Daniel Thornton, and Mikaela Thornton.

The band for ANGELS includes Mitch Farmer (drums / percussion), Ben Whincop (bass), Jeff Camilleri (bass) and Charmaine Ford (keys). David Holmes served as the music director, with Tauesa Tofa serving as music co-director and Jane Lesley Anderson serving as assistant music director. The assistant director was Breanna Hickson. Orchestral arrangements are by Daniel Thornton and the original vocal arrangements are by Linda Wood.

Live performances of Angels are coming soon at venues throughout the world. Visit seraangels.com for the latest news and information.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Off-Broadway Theater Review: Curvy Widow

Nancy Opel. Photo: T. Charles Erickson
Curvy Widow
Music and Lyrics by Drew Brody
Book By Bobby Goldman
Choreography by Marcos Santana
Directed by Peter Flynn
West Side Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
Say the words Nancy Opel and I smile. The extraordinarily voiced and comedic genius actress has graced the stage in many shows including Beautiful, Honeymoon in Vegas, Memphis, Gypsy, Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown, Triumph of Love, Anything Goes, Sunday in the Park with George and Evita among others and I never have not loved watching her work.

She is starring Off-Broadway in Curvy Widow, the true story of Bobby Goldman, a construction company owner who suddenly finds herself alone when her famous writer husband, Jim -- that's James Goldman, author of Follies, "The Lion in Winter," A Family Affair), played by Ken Land, dies. Mostly unmemorable Music (except for "It's Not a Match") with witty and Lyrics by Drew Brody drive Bobby's book about her experiences at trying to date again. Getting a special shout out for storytelling, here, however, is Scenic Designer Rob Bissinger, who expertly changes locations (two apartments) and moods with a few props. A pair of slippers next to the bed speaks volumes.Costume Designed Brian C. Hemesath is on board for quick change also, having Opel switch only tops to slip between situations in the fast-paced hour and 45 minutes.

The ensemble cast, which appears crowded on the small Westside Theatre stage as they play Bobby's friends, her psychiatrist and dates -- disastrous and otherwise -- are put through their paces by Director Peter Flynn and Choreographer Marcos Santana. Besides Land, they include Andrea Bianchi,  Aisha de Haas, Elizabeth Ward Land, Alan Muraoka (standing out) and Chris Shyer. 

We follow post 50-year-old Bobby as she navigates the new and strange world of online dating. Curvy Widow is her "handle" on the sites.. She is at once intrigued and repulsed by the fact that hundreds of men who have never seen her (she refuses to post a photo) and who know her only by her alias, might be willing to have sex with her. We experience her first date, her experimentation with a sex site and the discovery of one match that might be different from the others. All of this takes place while she is haunted by guilt over wondering whether Jim would be OK with what she is doing -- well, maybe she's really haunted more by his ghost.

Opel throws herself into the role and sings some lovely mote combinations that made me very happy. The show is somewhat uneven, however, despite previous out-of-town runs. And it's a little hard to relate to Bobby, especially when she decides to make married men a non-committal specialty. (You might have a chance to hear from the real Booby in person, however, as she occasionally does post-show talks and answers questions from the audience).

More Information:
Curvy Widow plays at The Westside Theatre, Upstairs, 407 West 43rd St., NYC Performances are Monday at 8 pm, Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday at 2 and 8 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8 pm, Sunday at 3 pm. Tickets are $79-$99: 212-239-6200; www.CurvyWidow.com.

Additional credits:
Lighting Design by Matthew Richards; Sound Design by Ryan Rumery and M. Florian Staab; Musical Direction by Andrew Sotomayor; Orchestrations, Arrangements and Music Supervision by Wayne Barker

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Language
-- Suggestive situations

Broadway Theater Review: Prince of Broadway


Prince of Broadway
New songs, Arrangements, Orchestration and Music Supervision by Jason Robert Brown
Book by David Thompson
Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman with direction by Harold Prince
Manhattan Theatre Club

By Lauren Yarger
Hal Prince and I would have been great theater buddies. We apparently love the same musicals. 

In Prince of Broadway, theatergoers get to enjoy almost 40 tunes celebrating the career of 21-time Tony-winner Producer/Director Harold Prince as arranged and orchestrated by Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County; The Last Five Years) and Choreographed and Directed by a legend in her own right, Susan Stroman (The Producers, The Scottsboro Boys) with some direction by Prince himself. With almost every number, I found myself saying, "Oh, I love this song," or " I love that show" and finally, I just thought, "Thank you, Hal Prince."

The problem is that if you aren't me, or at least an aficionado of musical theater from the past 60 years, you probably won't know a lot of the songs, or what show they are from, or why those particular songs have been selected. And even if you recognize the songs and shows (or are able to follow along in the Playbill in the dark) David Thompson's uneven book, still might still leave you scratching your head.

The very capable ensemble features Tony Award winner Chuck Cooper (Caroline, or Change; Choir Boy), Drama Desk Award winner Janet Dacal (In The Heights, Good Vibrations), Bryonha Marie Parham (After Midnight, Porgy and Bess), Emily Skinner (Side Show, The Full Monty), Brandon Uranowitz (Falsettos, An American in Paris), Kaley Ann Voorhees (The Phantom of the Opera, Candide), Michael Xavier (Sunset Boulevard, Into The Woods), Tony Yazbeck (On the Town, Gypsy), and Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba (Contact, Curtains). There just is no rhyme or reason to why they are performing the songs which recreate moments from the Prince theater repertoire (in many cases faithfully reproduced visually by Scenic and Projection Designer Beowulf Boritt.) 

All of them speak in the voice of Prince. Some of the shows are identified; some background is given and logos from some of the shows are depicted through projections. (A critic colleague seemed to think they all had been, and perhaps they weren't visible form my seat.) At any rate, I jotted notes about how I thought many audience members wouldn't be able to identify numbers like "Tonight at Eight" and "Will He Like Me?" from 1963's She Loves Me or "Dressing Them Up," from 1993's The Kiss of the Spiderwoman. There are some other selections from Follies, Parade and Merrily We Roll Along that might evade identification by the more casual theatergoer too.  "You've Got Possibilities" from the hardly known 1966 musical  "It's a Bird, It's a Plane. . . It's Superman" at least is properly identified and explained.

There's no reason why "Heart" from Damn Yankees or "If I Were a Rich Man" were singled out to represent those shows (the latter causing some negative comments from colleagues about the casting of Cooper, particularly from Jewish reviewers) when other shows got two or three songs. 

There are some wonderful moments: Parham is sensational as Queenie in "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Showboat and Ziemba is a saucy, meaty Mrs. Lovett in the medley of tunes from Sweeney Todd. I immediately wanted to see them both in revival of those shows. Skinner delivers the most moving "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music -- and I saw Glynis Johns in the original production so that is saying something. Goosebumps and this number alone is probably worth the ticket price to this show.

I loved revisiting The Phantom of the Opera (with costumes by William Ivey Long that recreate the look of Maria Björnson's original designs) and Yazbeck taps up a perfect storm in "The Right Girl" from Follies.

It's entertaining and a lovely waltz down memory lane - with a new finale composed by Brown called "Do the Work" which nicely sums up Prince's theater contributions -- even if we seem to lose our way a bit on his journey.



More information:
Prince of Broadway entertains at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St., NYC. For performances and tickets: manhattantheatreclub.com

Additional credits: Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jon Weston (sound design), Paul Huntley (wig design), Angelina Avallone (makeup design), Fred Lassen (music direction) and Jeffrey Seller (creative consultant).

Be sure to stop by the lower lobby of the Friedman Theatre to view a preview of the upcoming Hal Prince exhibition from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- No content notes



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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.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

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 http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com 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.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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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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