Friday, February 25, 2011

Theater Review: Freud’s Last Session

Martin Rayner and Mark H. Dold. Photo: Kevin Sprague
It’s CS Lewis and Christianity vs. Sigmund Freud and Atheism
By Lauren Yarger
In an imagined meeting between atheist-turned-Christian CS Lewis and atheist Sigmund Freud, author of modern psychiatry, the questions of God and faith are tested and analyzed in Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session getting a second-go Off Broadway at the West Side Y.

The play was inspired when Dr. Armand M Nicholi, Jr. asked in his book, “The Question of God,” whether the two men might have met. St. Germain decided to see what might have happened and set the play on Sept. 3, 1939 in Freud’s London study (sumptuously created by designer Brian Prather).

Freud (Martin Rayner), sick with cancer that has left him with a painful jaw/mouth prosthesis, is at the end of his career, while Lewis (Mark H. Dold) is just coming into prominence as a professor at Oxford (before he wrote his classics “The Screwtape Letters, “Mere Christianity” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” books among others). Lewis had written, however, “Pilgrim’s Regress,” an allegory in which he includes a character not unlike Freud, and the doctor of psychiatry asks the young author to pay a visit.

Freud’s main interest comes from not understanding how someone as intelligent as Lewis, who until eight years ago held the same atheist beliefs as he, could suddenly change his mind and become one of the “imbeciles” who believes in God.

A polite exchange ensues, with each asking questions and switching roles from analyst to patient with some questions about how their own relationships with their fathers influence how they see God the Father. The two spar in a friendly battle of words and brains as they try to explain their views on “science vs, religion,” sex and how God could allow suffering, among other topics, with little hope that the other will be persuaded. Freud has to admit, that atheism appeals to his “desire not to be told what to do” and Lewis has to admit that the “biggest problem with Christianity is Christians.”

The intellectual battle takes place against the backdrop of the beginning of World War II with radio addresses by Prime Minister Chamberlain (Beth Lake, sound design) giving the discussions about life and death heightened meaning for the two men. Both actors give solid performances (Rayner is so believable as the sickly and pain-riddled Freud, that it’s a real relief to see him full of good health at the curtain call.)

It’s interesting stuff, but doesn’t get too preachy or deep in exploring the various issues. Director Tyler Marchant keeps the 75-minute piece tightly paced. Audience members will find themselves cheering on their champion depending what side of the controversy they’re on, but the battle isn’t clearly won, as St. Germain leaves room for discussion and debate for those having seen the show.

Freud’s Last Session runs at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, West Side Y, 10 West 64th Street, NYC. Performances are Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturdays at 2 and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 and 7 pm. Tickets are $65 and are available by calling 866-811-4111 or at http://www.freudslastsession.com/. A limited number of $20 Student Rush tickets (cash only, with valid student ID) will be available at the box office beginning three hours prior to each performance.

Christians might also like to know:
• Lewis on marriage/sex sounds a little politically correct, but overall, no big worries. Bring friends, enjoy the show, then discuss!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Burton Lane's Music Highlighted at 92nd St. Y

Michele Ragusa, Heid Bickenstaff and Liz Callaway
with John Cullum. Photo courtesy of the 92nd Street Y.
I recently enjoyed "On a Clear Day: The Musical Vision of Burton Lane," part of the Lyrics & Lyricists series offered by the 92nd Street Y.

More than 25 of the composer's songs were performed by Heidi Blickenstaff, Liz Callaway, James Clow, Joshua Henry, Michele Ragusa and special guest, John Cullum in a program written, directed and hosted by Artistic Director David Loud, who was music director earlier this year for Broadway's The Scottsboro Boys, starring Cullum and Henry. Andy Einhorn, associate music director, on the piano, led musicians on woodwinds, cello, bass and percussion.

The evening included video clips, quotes and music from the verstile Lane, who wrote music for films like "A Royal Wedding" (lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner), "Babes on Broadway," lyrics by Ralph Freed and a slew of other films you never have heard of as well as two fairly well known Broadway musicals, Finian's Rainbow and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (lyrics by Yip Harburg and Lerner, respectively).

Loud's selection of varied tunes and wonderful arrangements of standards like "How About You" made for a fun performance, also enjoyed at my matinee by Lane's widow, Lynn. The host took a few moments to do an interesting Q&A with Cullum, who earned his frst Tony Award nomination for his role in On A Clear Day, but for some reason, he was not tapped to sing the title song which he introduced on the Broadway stage in 1966 (Callaway did a nice rendition of it instead). Cullum sang "Melinda" from the show.

Particularly moving was Blickenstaff's rendition of "Look to the Rainbow" from Finian. Truly the loveliest I've ever heard.

The Lyrics & Lyricists series is a treat. The next show is "Stage Door Canteen: Broadway Responds to WW II" Saturday, March 12, Sunday, March 13 and Monday, March 14. For tickets and more information, visit www.92Y.org/Lyrics or call 212-415-5500. The 92nd Street Y is located at 92nd Street and Lexington Avenue, NYC.
-- Lauren Yarger

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Theater Review: The Whipping Man

A Fresh, Gripping Take on the Civil War, Slavery and Its Impact
By Lauren Yarger
A wounded confederate soldier drags himself into the burned-out remains of his once-elegant mansion to be cared for by his former slaves who try their best to scrounge up some food in the aftermath of burning and looting in the last days of the Civil War.

Sound familiar? Think again, because Matthew Lopez’ The Whipping Man, presented Off-Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club, has a fresh new take on how the war affected one family and on other things no longer easy to define like family and faith.

The soldier is Caleb (Jay Wilkison), a Jew (there's a twist), who arrives at his Virginia home after the South’s surrender to find his parents and all of the slaves have fled to safety, except for Simon (Andre Braugher), who stayed behind to protect the house and await the return of his wife and daughter who left with Caleb’s father. Joining them is another former slave, John (Andre Holland), who steals – he calls it “discovers” – food and other items while waiting for the master’s return. Caleb’s father, it seems, promised money to both John and Simon, and they hope to use it for a fresh start now that they are free.

The first order of business is amputating Caleb’s infected leg, however. He refuses to go to a hospital and insists the two men whom he trusts, also Jews (the twist continues), perform the surgery. While Caleb recovers and Simon plans the first Seder dinner the family has been able to hold in some time, John makes some discoveries about Caleb’s release from the army and his relationship with Simon’s daughter that bring into question the soldier’s character, his father’s honor and the nature of bad blood just under the surface of all the relationships.

Tensions are high and are rooted in past visits to “The Whipping Man,” a cruel sort of overseer to whom slaves were sent for discipline. John was disciplined once for learning how to read the Scriptures and for asking questions like how a Jew could own other Jews as slaves. Questions continue to crack in the present, as well, like what exactly does “family” mean if one member can own and sell the others? How can one allow, or perpetrate horrors against members of one’s own family and faith?

It’s engrossingly interesting as the familiar, yet unusual story of these three men, with wonderful performances directed by Doug Hughes, unfolds. John Lee Beatty’s gloomy set, dimly lighted by Ben Stanton, make visual the dark reality of the story. The only light comes during the Seder when the Scriptures about the slaves being freed in Egypt take on exciting new meaning in the face of the North’s victory in the War Between the States (and coincidentally, in the wake of revolution sweeping current-day Egypt). Baugher is compelling in this scene. His joy radiates.

The Whipping Man plays at NY City Center Stage I, 131 West 55th St., NYC, through April 10. Tickets are available by calling 212- 581-1212.

Christian might also like to know:
• Language
• The scene where Caleb’s leg is amputated contains blood and is graphic.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Theater Review: Black Tie

(L to R) Ari Brand as Teddy, Carolyn McCormick as Mimi, Elvy Yost
as Else, Gregg Edelman as Curtis and Daniel Davis as Curtis’s Father. Photo Credit: James Leynse
It’s The Old Generation's Way of Thinking vs. New
By Lauren Yarger
Just how much do our parents, living or dead, influence our behavior and thinking? That’s the question A.R. Gurney asks in his new play, Black Tie, just extended for a third time Off Broadway at Primary Stages.

Curtis (Gregg Edelman) is preparing to make the toast at the rehearsal dinner for his son’s wedding, and has had his father’s old tuxedo tailored for the occasion (Jess Goldstein, costumes). He gets some tips on how to wear it correctly and how to charm the guests at the dinner from and unexpected source -- the ghost of his father (Daniel Davis).

Curtis’ wife, Mimi (Carolyn McCormick), isn’t sure the tux is a good idea (call them evening clothes, the ghost who has an opinion on everything, corrects, heard only by Curtis). Her son, Teddy (Ari Brand) and his wife-to-be, Maya (not seen), are more modern and she’s not sure the formal black tie look is what they really want. Besides, ever since he put the jacket on, she thinks Curtis has been sounding more and more like his father.

Suddenly Teddy’s sister, Elsie (Elvy Yost), arrives at their hotel room to report a problem (designed by John Arnone, the high-ceilinged, paneled room looks more like a hotel lobby than guest quarters) . There might be a last-minute guest for the dinner, disrupting all of the place-card arranging that she and her mother already have already done. Sure enough, the guest, a stand-up comic called Seymour, shows up and offers to do his routine as a gift for Maya, who happens to be his ex. Besides throwing a curve to Teddy on the eve of his wedding, the comedian’s stand-up, which includes complete music and video segments, could mean there won’t be time to include Curtis’ toast.

Gurney’s script, directed by Mark Lamos, is full of humor, particularly an escalating “just-when-you-thought-it-couldn’t-get-any-worse” kind when it comes to issues with the bride and her family. Apparently the bride isn’t happy with the way Teddy’s more conservative parents influence him, or with the “snooty” way they have treated her and her parents. The wedding might not take place, unless Curtis, prompted by his father, who was prompted by his father, can help Teddy decide whether or not he really loves Maya. But times have changed since Curtis’ father was around. Can he and Curtis find a way to embrace the thinking of a more modern Teddy who would prefer to wear an Obama T-shirt and jacket to his wedding instead of the traditional and more formal black tie?

It’s a light and fun new offering from the celebrated Gurney with a few more political digs than are needed, but with enough laughs tied around some thoughtful insights to entertain for 90 minutes. And don’t miss Davis, who is particularly good as the ghost continually looking over Curtis' shoulder. John Gromada provides nice original music and sound design, too.

Black Tie is extended through March 27 at 59E59 Theaters, 59 East 59th St., NYC. For tickets call 212-840-9705, ext. 219 or visit www.primarystages.org.

Christians might also like to know:
 Lord’s name taken in vain
 Language

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Theater Review: Other Desert Cities


War Rages Overseas and at Home
Lauren Yarger
War rages on the deserts of Iraq and in the desert-toned Palm Springs living room of the Wyeth family in Jon Robin Baitz’ witty and moving new play Other Desert Cities playing Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center.

Baitz uses humor and some excellent writing skills to create flawed characters you care about and who care about each other. Bringing them to life are excellent performances, directed by Joe Mantello.

Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach play Polly and Lyman Wyeth, well-to-do bigwigs in the Republican Party who emerge from a sort-of self-imposed, reclusive existence in Palm Springs to hobnob with the Reagans and Bushes (most of the play is set in 2004). Every so often Polly also enjoys taking pots shots that reveal underlying prejudices.

Interrupting the peace is a rare visit from their liberal daughter, Brooke (Elizabeth Marvel), whose marriage is on the rocks and who, after suffering a breakdown, has come to drop a bomb: she’s written a memoir that exposes some of the families secrets and will embarrass the Wyeths, particularly her ex-ambassador father. Keach is really solid as the passive father who refuses to read an advanced copy of the book so he won‘t have to criticize his daughter. Polly, on the other hand, devours the manuscript, and threatens Brooke with being cut off from the family permanently if it is published.

Trying to keep the peace is Brooke’s TV producer brother, Trip (Thomas Sadoski), whose reality trial TV show with a jury of celebrities gives him some background for mediating disputes. He loves Brooke, but also better understands his parents, with whom he still lives.

Meanwhile, they all have to deal with Polly’s sister, Silda Grauman (a wonderfully loopy Linda Lavin), who recently moved in with the Wyeths to try to kick her alcoholism. The new resident, however, might just prove to be a spy and enemy behind the lines in this family battle. She urges Brooke to publish, despite her parents pleas to wait until after they are dead. Channing’s already solid portrayal gets bonus points when Polly becomes agitated and slips into a Texas drawl that the society-conscious woman otherwise manages to mask, along with hers and Silda’s Jewish roots.

What’s so wonderful about this engaging play is that we absolutely don’t like, then come to like, or vice versa, each of these characters (even the rather selfish and unpleasant Brooke who wins us over in the end with a stunning emotional piece of acting from Marvel). The love they feel for each other despite past hurts and differences in political ideology is evident and keeps the Wyeths from slipping into the “dysfunctional family” template that has everyone screaming with the hatred we so often have to endure on stage.

It doesn’t even feel as though the stuffy, hypocritical Wyeths are necessarily supposed to be a stereotype of every Republican. They just are who they are. Will they be able to weather this crisis and maintain the family relationships? In the end, they’ll need to figure out what matters most and be judged by how well they have loved, Trip tells them.

The play is infused with some really funny dialogue and terrific writing that make you want to high-five the author and say,” Well done!” Mantello creates a natural feel to the family relationships with good-natured horseplay between the siblings, an intimate look between husband and wife, etc., which adds to the feel that these folks are real, not just stereotypes. This also is fueled by Baitz’ well-written play, devoid of much exposition, but full of pregnant pauses and lines dropped suddenly in the crisp dialogue that tell us what we need to know.

Enhancing the production are John Lee Beatty’s fabulous set, which with its neutral tones and soft curves, does conjure the image of a desert, and David Zinn’s costumes which immediately tell us volumes about the characters wearing them.

Other Desert Cities quenches a thirst for good plays this theater season and is the best I have seen so far. It plays through Feb. 27 at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre, 150 West 65th St., Lincoln Center, NYC. For tickets call 212-239-6200 or 800-432-7250 outside New York.

Chrstians might also like to know:
Drug use
Language
Lord’s name used in vain

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Theater Review: The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore

Too Bad a Great Play Doesn’t Stop Here Either
By Lauren Yarger
Any play starring Olympia Dukakis and directed by Michael Wilson is worth seeing, but does Roundabout Theatre Company’s Off-Broadway production have to be The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore?

Milk Train, one of Tennessee Williams’ later, and not so great works, does beg the question asked so often these past few seasons: with all the talent on and off stage, why are producers choosing such weak material? Dukakis, and Wilson, who has reams of Williams under his belt (he is the artistic director at Harford Stage where he has staged Milk Train and previously worked with most of the actors and creatives in this current production), could have been teamed with one of Williams’ better works -- or anyone else’s better work -- and given us a truly wonderful night at the theater.

Instead, we’re left instead, to journey to 1962 for the final days of Flora Goforth (Dukakis), in denial about her health and impending death (it’s just neuralgia, she coughs), and pressured by publishing deadlines to dictate “Facts and a Figure, “ a memoir about her life and her four husbands. Taking the almost 24/7 dictation, in person, off of tape recordings and over an intercom system (Flora can’t sleep because of the pain) is assistant Francis Black (Maggie Lacey, whose lines Wilson surprisingly allows to be too loud and awkward). She is known as Blackie, partially because it’s an easy nickname and partially, one must presume, because she’s so depressing. Forced to take the assistant’s position after the death of her husband, Blackie hates her job and wants out, but for some unknown reason, never packs her bags.

Instead, she becomes a go-between for Flora and an unexpected guest at the Italian Villa (created by designer Jeff Cowie with Flora’s bedroom looking like a sort of modern cave, with tons of skylights reflecting somber tones in the room while giving a glimpse of brighter days outside; lighting by Rui Rita). The visitor is Christopher Flanders (a capable Darren Pettie), a sort of end-of-the-line gigolo who shows up on the doorstep of old dying women. Known as the Angel of Death, he offers them some sex, companionship and care in their infirmity and they offer him free room and board and money.

Flora thinks a fling with the younger man, who reminds her of one of her husbands might just be the cure for her depression. After all, he looks so nice sleeping against the pink silk sheets and under a large suspended gold cupid pointing his arrow at the bed. She invites her gossipy, gay duke friend, known as Witch of Capri (a very funny Edward Hibbert), to dinner so she can get the scoop on him. Things get complicated, however, when Christopher begins to awaken romantic feelings in Blackie (for whom he might have some feelings himself). Even the Witch can’t deny his own attraction to the drifter who makes a living making glass mobiles when he’s not living off a dying rich woman. The consequences reach out and touch everyone like the reflections thrown by the mobile Christopher gives Flora. (The mobile, hung stage left, tinkles on cue throughout the play thanks to John Gromada’s original music and sound design).

So, we have a sad, lonely, angry Southern belle fighting against her fate, a gentleman caller who gives hope to a young woman and glass art work that assumes a persona of its own. Where have we seen these before? That would be “The Glass Menagerie,” Williams’ far superior work which did have a run Off-Broadway last year. Alas, this play suffers in comparison.

Dukakis certainly works hard and reaches down deep for some nice emotional moments. Williams just never develops Flora or any of the other characters enough for us to care what happens to them, however. They seem more tools for the playwright to sound off in a poetic way about something from time to time, but fail to create empathy for what they represent -- the masks we all wear throughout different stages of our lives. One theatergoer, on exiting the theater, commented to his companion, “They live in a world very different from ours.” And because they do, we can’t relate.

There are a few moments of humor which we can enjoy in the otherwise depressing tale: Dukakis has fun with a Japanese dance and wears some zany costumes designed by David C. Woolard. There isn’t enough to offset the depressing and bewildering feel of the story, however, proving once again that neither big names on stage (think Patti LuPone in Women on the Verge) nor a talented director (think David Cromer with When the Rain Stops Falling for recent examples) can turn a not-so-great play into a good one.

The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore runs at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Sternberg Center for the Arts, 111 West 46th Street, NYC through April 3. Call 212-719-1300 for tickets.

Christians also might like to know:
Nudity
Sexual movement and dialogue
Homosexual activity
Language
God’s name taken in vain

Shakespeare in the Park Shows Set for This Summer

The Public Theater will once again stage two Shakespeare plays in repertory, running June 6 through July 31 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Daniel Sullivan, who recently directed Twelfth Night and The Merchant of Venice in the Park, will direct All's Well That Ends Well and David Esbjornson, who directed Much Ado About Nothing in the Park, will direct Measure for Measure. Bank of America returns as lead sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park 2011, supporting The Public’s mission to keep Shakespeare in the Park free.

“Last year’s Shakespeare rep was a thrilling success; the current run of The Merchant of Venice on Broadway is a wonderful reminder of what made last summer so magical,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “This year, two of Shakespeare’s richest and most rewarding plays make up our season. We are delighted that once again an American Shakespeare company will light up New York’s summer.”

All's Well is a fairytale for grown-ups. This beguiling fable follows the low-born Helena, one of Shakespeare’s most resourceful heroines, as she inventively surmounts obstacle after impossible obstacle in order to win the love of the aristocratic and haughty Count Bertram.

Measure sweeps from the corridors of national power to the intimate confines of the bedroom, and from the convent's chapel to the executioner’s block. It is Shakespeare at his grittiest: a bracing and bawdy glimpse of what happens when those in power allow their basest human impulses to range unchecked.

Jill Furman is Whitehead Award Winner

Jill Furman, Tony® award-winning and two time Tony award-nominated Broadway producer, will be presented The Commercial Theater Institute’s Robert Whitehead Award for “outstanding achievement in commercial theatre producing” at a reception at The Glass House Tavern on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony award-winning writer, performer, lyricist, and composer, who wrote and starred in In the Heights, will present the award.

Jill Furman was co-lead producer of In the Heights, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2008, and is currently producing the National Tour. On Broadway Jill co-produced the most recent revival of West Side Story and The Drowsy Chaperone, and associate produced Sly Fox and Fortune's Fool. Off-Broadway she produced In the Heights and On the Line and associate produced Adult Entertainment. Currently Jill is co-producing the hip-hop comedy group Freestyle Love Supreme, and will soon shoot a television pilot with the group for a cable network.

CTI is the nation’s only formal program, which professionally trains commercial theatre producers. A joint project of The Broadway League and Theatre Development Fund, CTI was founded in 1981 by the late Frederic B. Vogel. The current program director, Jed Bernstein, took on leadership of the program in 2006. The five decade long career of legendary producer Robert Whitehead, who died in 2002, inspired this award.

Spider-man Tickets Now on Sale Through May 8

Tickets are now on sale for performances of Spider-man Turn Off The Dark through Sunday, May 8. Directed by Julie Taymor, who is co-writing the book with Glen Berger, the $65 million musical with music and lyrics by U2’s Bono and The Edge, is in previews at Broadway’s Foxwoods Theatre.

The show's opening has been postponed several times as the creative teams tries to work out gliches in the story and in flying technology. Four actors have been injured. Opening night is scheduled now for Tuesday, March 15. (I do not anticipate being invited to review before that date, so I am unable to provide you with any information about language and content prior to that).

Masterwork Productions has discounted tickets available. Click here for more information.
--Lauren Yarger

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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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