Sunday, August 24, 2014

On Vacation

Taking advantage of the slower theater schedule to get some much needed rest. Hope you are enjoying the summer!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Broadway Dims Lights Tonight for Robin Williams


Robin Williams, Brad Fleischer and Glenn Davis. Photo: Carol Rosegg.
The Broadway community mourns the loss of beloved actor and comedy legend Robin Williams, who passed away on Monday at age 63. The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in his memory tonight, Wednesday, Aug.13 at exactly 7:45 pm for one minute.

After studying theatre at Julliard, Williams rose to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series “Mork and Mindy.” Williams went on to establish a successful career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting, winning an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times, received two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and five Grammy Awards.

His film career included The World According to Garp; Good Morning, Vietnam; Dead Poets Society; Awakenings; The Fisher King; Good Will Hunting; Popeye; Hook; Aladdin; Mrs. Doubtfire; Jumanji; The Birdcage; Night at the Museum; and Happy Feet.

Williams starred in a number of theatrical productions, including Mike Nichols’s 1988 off-Broadway version of Waiting for Godot, co-starring with Steve Martin; and his own one-man show, Robin Williams: Live on Broadway. In 2011, he made his acting debut on Broadway in the title role of Rajiv Joseph’s drama Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, pictured above.

"Robin Williams was a comedic genius with limitless talent and stunning versatility who left this world far too early. He made an impact on everyone he met or entertained,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League. “Whether on screen or live on stage, his multi-faceted talent always created memorable performances. Robin Williams will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.”

Williams leaves his third wife, Susan Schneider, and three children: a son, Zachary Pym, whom he had with his first wife Valeri Velardi, and two children, Zelda Rae and Cody Alan, whom he had with his second wife Marsha Garces.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Off-Broadway Theater Review: Cirque du Soleil's Varekai

  • Russian Swings. Photo: Rick Diamond. Costume credit: Eiko Ishioka
By Lauren Yarger
Cirque du Soleil 's latest tour is Varekai, which recently stopped at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn (where I saw the show on which this review is based.). 

After 11 years of touring the world under the blue and yellow Big Top, Varekai began a new adventure this past December touring the world in arenas worldwide and in some markets never visited before.

What's It All About?
Well, as is the case with so many of Cirque's shows, it is hard to know. I couldn't catch the thread of the story, or understand the lyrics. Here's what the show says it is about:

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world¾a world where something else is possible.  A world called Varekai. The sky lets go a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins.  Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world imbued with fantastical creatures, a young man takes flight in an adventure both absurd and extraordinary.  On this day at the edge of time, in this place of pure and undiluted possibility, begins an inspired incantation to a life rediscovered and to a newly found wonder in the mysteries of the world and the mind.

The word Varekai (pronounced ver·ay·’kie) means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies¾the universal wanderers.  Directed by Dominic Champagne, this production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to those who quest with infinite passion along the path that leads to Varekai.

What Are the Highlights?
It's Cirque du Soleil, so you are sure to be entertained, even if you aren't following the plot. Colorful costuming (designed by Eiko Ishioka), driving music (composed and musical directed by Violaine Corradi) and choreography by Michael Montanaro and Bill Shannon (with acrobatic performances designed by André Simard) create a vibrant, mystical world where winged men and odd reptilian creatures play and do everything from fly, juggle, balance, and contort. 

There also are a pair of clowns, one male and one female (the act is created by
Cahal McCrystal), who entertain. I am not a huge fan of the clowns, who often target members of the audience for humor, but one number performed to "Ne Me Quitte Pas" was particularly well done and so amusing that I found myself laughing out loud at clowns at the circus (believe me, this is not a normal thing).

The finale, "Russian Swing" (pictured above) is the kind of breath-taking, flying and leaping act that has Cirque audiences on the edge of their seats, a gasp away from amazement.

What Are the Lowlights?
On a scale of 1-10 in the world of Cirque du Soleil Shows, with O in Vegas being a 10 (well, actually more like a 12) and Banana Shpeel being a 1 (and that might be generous), this one ranks in at about a 5.5. It's interesting and entertaining, but doesn't include the amazing acts we've come to expect. And there's just no easy way to figure out what is supposed to be going on. 

I thought a white winged man who fell to earth might be Adam. Then I thought maybe it was Adam's fall from grace, because a little man dressed in black with a light bulb on his head seemed to be devil-like. Press materials later informed me, however, that the man with the wings was Icarus --  "Innocent and vulnerable, he finds himself wounded in an unknown world. His desire to live and overcome his fears will drive him to new heights and an eventual rebrirth." Really, now....

  • Title : The Betrothed
  • Picture credit : Eric Piché
  • Costume credit : Eiko Ishioka
The amphibian-like creature to whom I referred in my notes as "webbed lady," apparently is "The Betrothed" -- " An exotic creature who enraptures Icarus with her sensual beauty. She will be his guiding light and he, in turn, will be the catalyst for her metamorphosis." OK, webbed and sensual beauty don't usually occupy the same sentence in my world....

And the light bulb guy wasn't the devil, but The Guide --  "Weathered by the sun of many centuries, he’s like a kindly, fragile great-grandfather—a wise old man whose mission is to inspire and bring about change."  Totally missed that.

But it's Cirque. You don't need to get it. Just sit back and enjoy.

More information:

Cirque du Soleil
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is a major Québec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment. The company has 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over forty countries on six continents. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.

Visit http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/varekai/default.aspx to find information about the tour.
Upcoming Stops:
The Walstein Center, Cleveland
Erie, PA Insurance Arena
Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, NJ
Prudential Center, Newark, NJ

Christians might also like to know:
No content notes.
  • Title : Flight of Icarus (The)
  • Picture credit : Benoit Camirand
  • Costume credit : Eiko Ishioka

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On Vacation

Taking advantage of the slower theater schedule to get some much needed rest. Hope you are enjoying the summer!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Off-Broadway Theater Review: When We Were Young and Unafraid



When We Young and Unafraid
By Sarah Treem
Directed by Pam McKinnon
MTC

What's It All About?
It's 1972 and single mom Agnes (Cherry Jones) is trying to get her daughter, Penny (Morgan Saylor), to stop worrying about trying to get into Yale and go to the prom. Penny's idea about the perfect boy might be different, but her mother just doesn't get it.

Or maybe she does. Agnes has been running a safe house for battered women who arrive in the dead of night at the bed and breakfast on coastal Seattle. Mary Anne (Zoe Kazan) is one of the women seeking shelter there, but she might just bring more trouble than she's worth. She doesn't listen to Agnes' rules and contacts her violently abusive husband. She also ha "boy-catching" advice for Penny who has her eye on the school's football star.

Adding to the drama are Paul (Patch Darragh), a guest at the B and B who is interested in Mary Anne and Hannah (Cherise Boothe), a feminist looking for work as a handywoman on her way to a commune of lesbians convinced that men need to be eliminated from the equations.

What Are the Highlights?
Jones gives a moving, deep portrayal of a woman not sure how to do what is best for her daughter or for the women who end up in her care. "If you're going to go back," she challenges Mary Anne, "Tell me in person and to my face." She also isn't sure how to cope with the changing times, or with Hannah's obvious interest in her. McKinnon skillfully coaxes complexity in each role even the minor ones of Paul, who isn't who he seems to be, and Hannah, who surprises us with stability and strength. Kazan simultaneously appeals to our sympathy with Mary Anne's vulnerability and frustrates us with the character's stupid choices. Treems's story is engrossing.

What Are the Lowlights?
None, except that the subject matter is difficult. I enjoyed it. It gives an interesting perspective on women's issues before Roe s. Wade.

More Information:
When We Were Young and Unafraid plays through Aug. 10 at Manhattan Theatre Club at New York City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th St., NYC. The show is recommended for ages 12 and up. whenwewereyoungandunafraid.com.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Lord's name taken in vain
-- Abortion
-- Explicit dialogue
-- Sexual activity
-- Language
-- Homosexuality


Friday, July 25, 2014

Amazing Grace Musical to Have World Premiere in Chicago Before Heading to Broadway

Josh Young performs "Testimony" from Amazing Grace on June 23 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. in Chicago.  Photo: Amy Boyle Photography.

Casting is complete for the world premiere of Amazing Grace, the new musical with music and lyrics by Christopher Smith. (For a feature on Smith during the show's development at Goodspeed, click here).

Following the run at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, the production plans a Broadway transfer with dates and a theater to be announced.

As previously announced, Amazing Grace will star Tony Award nominee® Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar), as John Newton, writer of the hymn. The story (with a book by Smith and Arthur Giron) follows the willful and musically talented young Englishman who finds himself torn between following in the footsteps of his father – a slave trader – and embracing the more compassionate views of his childhood sweetheart (played by Erin Mackey). Click here to hear some of the music.

The musical is directed by Gabriel Barre (Andrew Lippas’ The Wild Party) and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Christopher Gattelli (Newsies). Also starring are Tom Hewitt,, Chuck Cooper, Chris Hoch Stanley Bahorek, Harriett D. Foy and Laiona Michelle. The ensemble will feature Marija Abney, Leslie Becker, Sara Brophy, Rheaume Crenshaw, Miquel Edson, Mike Evariste,Sean Ewing, Rachael Ferrera, Savannah Frazier, Christopher Gurr, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, Allen Kendall, Elizabeth Ward Land, Michael Dean Morgan, Oneika Phillips, Clifton Samuels, Gavriel Savit, Dan Sharkey, Bret Shuford, Evan Alexander Smith, Uyoata Udi, Charles E. Wallace, Toni Elizabeth White and Hollie E. Wright.

Amazing Grace begins performances at Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre, 18 West Monroe, Thursday, Oct. 9 and opens on Sunday, Oct. 19. The run is scheduled through Sunday, Nov. 2. The show is produced by Carolyn Rossi Copeland and presented by Broadway In Chicago.

Tickets: Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets go on sale to the general public Aug. 1. For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.

More information about some of the team:
JOSH YOUNG (John Newton) Josh originated and currently stars in the role of "Che" in the first national tour of the Tony® Nominated Broadway revival of Evita. He received a 2012 Tony® Award nomination and Theatre World Award for his critically acclaimed Broadway debut as "Judas" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, directed by Des McAnuff. He appeared in two seasons at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival where his credits include: "Judas" in Jesus Christ Superstar, "Connie Rivers" in Grapes of Wrath, and "Che" in Evita directed by Gary Griffin, earning Broadway World Awards for each. Josh also appeared as "Marius" in the US National Tour of Les Miserables and "Tony" in the International Tour of West Side Story. He's been involved in new works with NYC's Roundabout Theatre Company, The Transport Group and The New York Musical Theater Festival. Josh is the co-founder of Cutting-Edge Composers (cuttingedgecomposers.com), a concert and weekly web series on broadwayworld.com, created to give exposure to musical theatre's next generation of songwriters. BFA Syracuse University. Tweet @joshpaulyoung.

ERIN MACKEY (Mary Catlett) was last seen on Broadway in Chaplin: The Musical as Oona O'Neill. Other Broadway credits include Anything Goes (Hope), Sondheim on Sondheim and Wicked (Glinda). She recently appeared at Lincoln Center in the NY Philharmonic's concert production of Sweeney Todd as Johanna, which will be broadcast on PBS later in 2014, and as Nellie Forbush in Paper Mill’s South Pacific

CHRISTOPHER SMITH (Book, Music, and Lyrics) wrote his first musical at the age of 17, which was performed at the University of Delaware when Chris was a senior in high school. He began working on Amazing Grace after time spent as a police officer and a Youth Outreach and Education Director in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. When a chance stroll through the church school library led him to pick up a book about John Newton, a person he hardly knew, Chris became convinced that Newton’s story could bridge the gap between ordinary experience and deep struggles of the soul.

ARTHUR GIRON (Book)’s plays include Edith Stein, Boy Dies Dancing Mambo, Money, Innocent Pleasures, Dirty Jokes, Becoming Memories, Flight, A Dream of Wealth, Moving Bodies, The Golden Guitar, Memories of Our Women, The Coffee Trees, Emilie's Voltaire, and St. Francis in Egypt, in addition to many one-actsAmong Arthur’s recent New York productions are The Coffee Trees (Beckett Theatre) and Emilie's Voltaire (Beckett Theatre). His prizes include the Los Angeles Critics' Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing (Twice) and the Galileo Prize. In addition, he has been awarded three commissions from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as well as commissions from the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the New York Shakespeare Festival. He is the former Head of the Graduate Playwriting program at Carnegie-Mellon University and a Founding Member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC.

CAROLYN ROSSI COPELAND (Executive Producer). Most recently Carolyn was lead producer for Freud’s Last Session Off Broadway (for a review, click here.) Carolyn also produced Freud’s Last Session in Chicago for 8 months at The Mercury Theatre starring Mike Nussbaum. Freud’s Last Session continues to be performed in the United States and around the world. 

 Copeland has been producing theater since 1979 when she founded The Lamb’s Theatre Company in the heart of Times Square. As Producing Director she led The Lamb’s into an award winning and financially successful enterprise. She was dedicated to producing new American Musical and Plays musicals and gave birth to such shows as Smoke on the MountainGifts of the Magi, the revival of Godspell, Johnny Pye and the FoolkillerJohn and JenThe Prince and the Pauper, and The Roads to Home written and directed by Horton Foote. The Lambs Theatre was the home of the PBS radio show “Prairie Home Companion” starring Garrison Keillor. Carolyn oversaw a complete renovation of the theatre and the creation of a second space known as The Lamb’s Little Theatre (www.lambstheatre.org for list of all productions). In 1998 Carolyn was sought out by Madison Square Garden/Radio City Entertainment to oversee the historic remount of The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway and following its success she became the Vice President for Creative Affairs for Radio City Entertainment (RCE). At RCE she oversaw The Christmas Carol at the world famous Madison Square Garden Theatre, The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and developed new performance opportunities for the world famous Rockettes. She opened her own production company which has served as a producer for The Gaylord Group at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and currently is the executive producer for Strouse IP, the company that controls and manages the works of the great American composer Charles Strouse.  www.crcproductions.org

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Broadway: Revisiting the Phantom of the Opera

Norm Lewis as the Phantom of the Opera. Photo: Matthew Murphy

The Phantom of the Opera
By Gaston Leroux
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Charles Hart (with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe)
Book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed by Harold Prince

Sometimes It’s Worth Going Back to a Classic Musical
By Lauren Yarger
When you see as many theater productions as I do, there has to be a special reason to see one more than once. One musical that recently got me back again – and I have seen it quite a few times actually – is The Phantom of the Opera.

Phantom is the longest-running show in Broadway history and the most successful stage musical of all time. It has been running over at the Majestic Theatre for almost three decades and is nearing its 11,000 performances. You might also have seen it one of the times the tour has stopped at The Bushnell.

The score has been a favorite of mine since I first heard Andrew Lloyd Webber’s haunting tunes (sung by Michael Crawford as Broadway’s first Phantom with Sarah Brightman as Christine.) I loved the swelling organ with a rock beat, the unbelievably high notes hit by Christine and the sad, yet surprisingly sexy Phantom. It brought Gaston Leroux’s tale of a disfigured man who hides underground at the Paris Opera House, haunting its inhabitants and falling in love with ingénue Christine Daae to life for me in a way the novel never did.

The production, directed by Hal Prince, with its opulent opera settings (Production Design by Maria Björnson) and thousands of candles lighting the way as the Phantom brings Christine to his lair via a boat on an underground river changed the face of musical theater on Broadway for years. 

I went back and saw it on a number of occasions, mostly to take out-of-towners to experience a Broadway show. On some occasions, I felt like it lived up to that original production. One production, probably about 10 years ago, was terrible. I thought the entire cast and crew should be fired. It looked like an amateur high school production.

So what prompted me to go see the musical again? The casting of Norm Lewis, one of my favorite singing voices on Broadway, as the Phantom. In 1990, Tony Award nominee Robert Guillaume (another favorite actor and singing voice) played the role when he succeeded Michael Crawford in the Los Angeles production, but Lewis was to be the first African-American to play the role on Broadway. Joining him is Sierra Boggess as Christine. He took over the role in May.

I went with a lot of excitement. Favorite show plus favorite actor equals great experience, right? Well, yes, but maybe night quite as much as I expected. I enjoyed seeing the show again – it is much cleaned up since that awful production 10 years ago. It seemed to me that some little bits had been added to give minor characters something extra to do. The 27-piece orchestra (large by some modern standards) still sounded great on the opening number in particular, but I felt that arrangements (Orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber) let me hear individual instruments rather than a blend (Sound Design by Mick Potter).

Vocal arrangements also left me hearing single notes rather than crescendos of individual voices coming together as one (Musical Direction and Supervision by David Caddick). I also was disappointed to hear some of the Phantom’s songs rekeyed, though Lewis sings them well (I still got goosebumps on “Anywhere you go let me go too” from “All I Ask of You.”

Overall I liked Lewis, but he didn’t wow me as the Phantom. He didn’t seduce me like some other Phantoms have (or like Lewis did when he played Porgy a couple of seasons ago in in Porgy and Bess, for which he earned Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards). Lewis is one of Broadway’s solid leading men, however, and is always worth seeing. He also starred as Javert in the 2006 Broadway reimagining of Les Misérables and played the role in the original record-breaking West End production of Les Misérables and the all-star 25th Anniversary Concert at London’s 02 Arena.

Boggess, who returns to the role (she was one of the youngest actresses ever to play Christine Daaé, which she originated in the hit, revised Las Vegas production in 2006) gives a really nice – and different—characterization. Usually the young soprano is portrayed as naïve and unaware of the depth of the Phantom’s feelings toward her, but this Christine is stronger, more aware and truly torn between the Phantom, for whom she obviously has compassion, and Raoul, her true love. Well done.

For me, this time around, the stand-out performance was a bit of a surprise, given my pre-performance assumption that I would be blown away by Lewis. Instead, I loved Jeremy Hays as Raoul. Beautiful voice, charming good looks and a nice take on the childhood friend of Christine’s who falls in love with the grown-up woman. The character can sometimes seem undeveloped and a bit wimpy, but not here. I totally was rooting for him.
If you haven’t seen this staple of the theater, this production might be the one. Certainly, it’s the choice if you find yourself in New York with out-of-town guests.

Phantom Fun Facts:
  • The Phantom Of The Opera became the longest-running show in Broadway history on January 9, 2006 with its 7,486th performance, surpassing the previous record-holder Cats, also by Andrew Lloyd Webber and also produced by Cameron Mackintosh
  • On Jan. 26, 2013, the New York production reached another historic, unprecedented milestone: becoming the first and only Broadway show ever to celebrate 25 Years. Previously, in February 2012, it became the first and only Broadway show ever to reach milestone performance 10,000. 
  • Since its debut on January 26, 1988, the Broadway production has grossed over $950 million with total attendance nearing 16 million. Even now, it is consistently among Broadway’s highest-grossing shows and remains a box office champ. Earlier this year, the production shattered the house record at The Majestic by having its best weekly gross in its entire 26-year history.
  • With worldwide grosses estimated at more than $5.6 billion, Phantom is the most successful entertainment venture of all time, with revenues higher than any film or stage play in history, including Titanic, Star Wars and far surpassing the world’s highest-grossing film Avatar (at $2.8 billion). Worldwide, more than 65,000 performances have been seen by 130 million people in 29 countries and 150 cities in 13 languages. There are seven productions around the world.\
  • The musical has won more than 70 major theater awards, including seven 1988 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and three Olivier Awards in the West End. The original cast recording, with over 40 million copies sold worldwide, is the best-selling cast recording of all time. Since September 2010, thousands of high school and college student productions of Phantom have been licensed through R and H Theatricals.
Phantom plays at the Majestic Theatre, 247 West 44th St., NYC. Performances are Monday evenings at 8, Tuesday evenings at 7, Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8, with matinees Thursdays and Saturdays at 2. www.PhantomBroadway.com.

Christians might also like to know:
-- No production notes, but I recommend it for older children.

**Note: The press representative for Phantom informs me that even though it sounded like it to me, none of the music has been written in a different key for Lewis. The only musical difference, he said,  (aside from sound design) is the addition of a trio in the Graveyard scene. While on the original London cast recording, it was never performed in its entirety until it was put in for Norm and Sierra’s opening night. (essentially it was a Phantom/Christine duet, with Raoul entering later without singing).
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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 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, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 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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