Sunday, April 29, 2012

Broadway Ticket Giveaway -- The Winner is...


Kevin Del Aguila and Christian Borle (c)O&M Co

Congratulations to Misti of New York who won the voucher for two tickets to see Broadway's Peter & the Starcatcher (nominated this morning in the Tony's!) Enjoy!

Thanks to all who entered the drawing and for telling us which reviews you have enjoyed this season. Please tell your friends where they can find the only professional reviews of NY theater with an added Christian perspective -- right here at Reflections in the Light.

Watch here for coverage of the major theater awards taking place through June 10!

Friday, April 27, 2012

2012 Drama Desk Awards Nominees Announced

Desk Award winners Brian d' Arcy James and Donna Murphy announced the nominations for the 57th annual Drama Desk Awards at Feinstein's. The event was streamed live on www.dramadeskawards.com. The awards will be presented June 3 at Town Hall.
Outstanding Ensemble Performance

This year the nominators chose to bestow a special ensemble award for acting to

the cast of Sweet and Sad. Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila

Robins, Jay O. Sanders, and J. Smith-Cameron are among New York's best actors,

who came together as one unforgettable stage family. Therefore, the individual cast

members were not eligible for acting awards in the competitive categories.


Special Awards

Each year, the Drama Desk votes special awards to recognize excellence and

significant contributions to the theater. For 2011-2012, these awards are:

• To Mary Testa: For over three decades, she has dazzled audiences with

consistently outstanding work, including her tour-de-force performance in this

season's Queen of the Mist.

• To Nick Westrate: His versatility in Unnatural Acts, Love's Labor's Lost, and

Galileo was a highlight of the season.

• To New Victory Theatre: For providing enchanting, sophisticated children's

theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in

young people.

• To Stephen Karam, the newly created Sam Norkin Off Broadway Award: The

profoundly moving Sons of the Prophet confirmed his status as one of the most

promising playwrights of his generation.


The following are the nominations for the competitive categories. Winners will be

selected by the voting membership of the Drama Desk:

Outstanding Play

David Henry Hwang, Chinglish

Dan LeFranc, The Big Meal

Members of the Plastic Theatre, Unnatural Acts

Ita mar Moses, Completeness

Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Nina Raine, Tribes

Nicky Silver, The Lyons

Outstanding Musical

Bonnie & Clyde

Death Takes a Holiday

Leap of Faith

Newsies The Musical

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Once

Queen of the Mist

Outstanding Revival of a Play

A Little Journey

Death of a Salesman

Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque

Gore Vidal's The Best Man

Lost in Yonkers

Richard III

Outstanding Revival of a Musical

Carrie

Evita

Follies

Jesus Christ Superstar

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

The Threepenny Opera

Outstanding Actor in a Play

James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Hugh Dancy, Venus in Fur

Claybourne Elder, One Arm

Santino Fontana, Sons of the Prophet

Joseph Franchini, The Navigator

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Death of a Salesman

Kevin Spacey, Richard III 

Outstanding Actress in a Play

Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow

Sanaa Lathan, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Linda Lavin, The Lyons

Jennifer Lim, Chinglish

Kim Martin-Cotten, A Moon for the Misbegotten

Carey Mulligan, Through a Glass Darkly

Joely Richardson, Side Effects


Outstanding Actor in a Musical

Danny Burstein, Follies

Kevin Earley, Death Takes a Holiday

Raul Esparza, Leap of Faith

Jeremy Jordan, Newsies The Musical

Norm Lewis, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Ricky Martin, Evita

Outstanding Actress in a Musical

Miche Braden, The DeviI's Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith

Jan Maxwell, Follies

Audra McDonald, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Kelli O'Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Bernadette Peters, Follies

Molly Ranson, Carrie

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play

Bill Camp, Death of a Salesman

Jim Dale, The Road to Mecca

Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors

Bill Irwin, King Lear

Jefferson Mays, Blood and Gifts

Will Rogers, Unnatural Acts

Morgan Spector, Russian Transport 

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play

Stephanie J. Block, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Anna Camp, All New People

Kimberly Hebert Gregory, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Lisa Joyce, The Ugly One

Joaquina Kalukango, Hurt Village

Angela Lansbury, Gore Vidal's The Best Man

Judith Light, Other Desert Cities

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical

Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Matt Cavenaugh, Death Takes a Holiday

Michael Cerveris, Evita

Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Patrick Page, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Andrew Samonsky, Queen of the Mist

Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical

Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Marin Mazzie, Carrie

Jessie Mueller, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Elaine Paige, Follies

Sarah Sokolovic, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

Melissa van der Schyff, Bonnie & Clyde 

Outstanding Director of a Play

Jo Bonney, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

David Cromer, Tribes

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, These Seven Sicknesses

Sam Mendes, Richard 11/

Mike Nichols, Death of a Salesman

Tony Speciale, Unnatural Acts

Outstanding Director of a Musical

Christopher Ashley, Leap of Faith

Jack Cummings III, Queen of the Mist

Doug Hughes, Death Takes a Holiday

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Eric Schaeffer, Follies

John Tiffany, Once 

Outstanding Choreography

Rob Ashford, Evita

Warren Carlyle, Follies

Breandan de Gallal, Noctu

Christopher Gattelli, Newsies The Musical

Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Sergio Trujillo, Leap of Faith

Outstanding Music

Glen Hansard and Marketa lrqlova, Once

Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist

Alan Menken, Leap of Faith

Alan Menken, Newsies The Musical

Frank Wildhorn, Bonnie & Clyde

Maury Yeston, Death Takes a Holiday 

Outstanding Lyrics

Don Black, Bonnie & Clyde

Jack Feldman, Newsies The Musical

Joy Gregory and Gunnar Madsen, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

Glen Hansard and Marketa lrqlova, Once

Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist

Maury Yeston, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Book of a Musical

Douglas Carter Beane, Lysistrata Jones

Janus Cercone and Warren Leight, Leap of Faith

Joe DiPietro, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Joy Gregory, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

Michael John LaChiusa, Queen of the Mist

Thomas Meehan and Peter Stone, Death Takes a Holiday 

Outstanding Music in a Play

Mark Bennett, An Iliad

Mark Bennett, Richard III

Tom Kitt, All’s Well That Ends Well

Gina Leishman, Septimus and Clarissa

Grant Aiding, One Man, Two Guvnors

Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik, Carson McCullers Talks About Love

Outstanding Revue

Newsical the Musical: End of the World Edition

The Best Is Yet to Come: The Music of Cy Coleman


Outstanding Set Design

Jon Driscoll, Rob Howell and Paul Kieve, Ghost The Musical

David Gallo, The Mountaintop

Roger Hanna, A Little Journey

David Korins, Assistance

David Korins, Chinglish

Derek McLane, Follies

Outstanding Costume Design

Gregg Barnes, Follies

ESosa, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

William Ivey Long, Lucky Guy

Jessica Pabst, She Kills Monsters

Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It

Catherine Zuber, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Lighting Design

Kevin Adams, Carrie

Neil Austin, Evita

David Lander, One Arm

Brian MacDeviU, Death of a Salesman

Kenneth Posner, Death Takes a Holiday

Paul Pyant, Richard III 

Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical

Acme Sound Partners, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Jonathan Deans, Carrie

Clive Goodwin, Once

Kai Harada, Follies

Steve Canyon Kennedy, Jesus Christ Superstar

Jon Weston, Death Takes a Holiday

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play

Quentin Chiappetta/mediaNoise, The Navigator

Gregory Clarke, Misterman

Gareth Fry, Richard 11/

John Gromada, Gore Vidal's The Best Man

Stowe Nelson, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War

Shane Rettig, She Kills Monsters 

Outstanding Solo Performance

Baba Brinkman, The Rap Guide to Evolution

Suli Holum, Chimera

Jeff Key, The Eyes of Babylon

Cillian Murphy, Misterman

Denis O'Hare, An Iliad

Stephen Spinella, An Iliad

Unique Theatrical Experience

Give Me Your Hand

Gob Squad's Kitchen (You've Never Had It So Good)

Noctu

The Complete & Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill, Vol. 1: Early

Plays/Lost Plays

The Ryan Case 1873

White

Thursday, April 26, 2012

$18 Million Gift Endows Yale New Play Development Center

Marc Damon Johnson and de'Adre Aziza in a scene from Good Goods, one of the new plays developed this season at Yale.
© Joan Marcus, 2012
Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have received a transformational $18 million gift from the Robina Foundation that will permanently endow the creation of new plays and musicals for the American stage through the Binger Center for New Theatre.

“Since their founding, Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have championed the development of playwrights and the production of new plays,” saidYale University President Richard C. Levin. “Yale serves as both classroom and laboratory for the theatre arts, launching new contributions from the University to the wider world. This extraordinarily generous gift from the Robina Foundation ensures that the School of Drama and Yale Rep will bring exciting innovation to the production of new theatre for generations to come.”

Established with a grant from the Robina Foundation in 2008, and supported by additional funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and individual donors, the Yale Center for New Theatre is an artist-driven initiative that devotes major resources to the commissioning, development, and production of new plays and musicals at Yale Rep and across the country. Among the Center’s programs, a key component is its Production Enhancement Fund, which provides financial support for productions at other theatres of works commissioned by and/or first produced at Yale Rep. The Center also facilitates residencies of playwrights and composers at Yale School of Drama.

“Over the past four years, under the inspired leadership of James Bundy, Yale School of Drama and Yale Repertory Theatre have demonstrated tremendous thoughtfulness, innovation, and passion in developing a successful and viable model for the creation of new works for the American stage,” said Peter Karoff on behalf of the Robina Foundation. “The Robina Foundation gift to endow the Binger Center for New Theatre honors our donor’s great love of theatre. This gift is fundamentally an investment in creativity, and in the exciting and important role that theatre plays in the human experience. We hope our gift will inspire other donors to be bold, to be transformative, and to invest deeply in all of the arts at organizations and institutions across the country.”

This $18 million gift combines $3 million in operating funds with a $15 million gift for endowment. It follows a grant of $2.85 million from the Robina Foundation, which established the Yale Center for New Theatre in 2008, and an additional $950,000 gift made in 2010 to support the Center’s activities through June 30, 2012—bringing the Robina Foundation’s total giving to the Center to $21,800,000.

Effective today, the Yale Center for New Theatre has been renamed the Binger Center for New Theatre in honor of James H. Binger (1916-2004), the noted businessman, theatre impresario, and  philanthropist who created the Robina Foundation.

 “We are profoundly grateful to the Robina Foundation," Bundy said. "They have helped us to establish this program, assess its intrinsic ongoing value, envision its long-term impact on the American theatre, and now, to support the Center’s aims in perpetuity. We believe that these significant investments in artists themselves, in combination with robust production opportunities and the fostering of an artistic community, can and will promote vibrant new American plays and musicals for generations to come. It is an honor, in this effort, to commemorate the joyful generosity of James Binger—a great man of the theatre.”

“The early success of the center stems from our flexible capacity to tailor each process to meet the needs of our commissioned artists, putting resources directly in their hands," added Jennifer Kiger, associate artistic director of Yale Rep and director of New Play Programs. “The denter responds to the critical challenges of the field, providing meaningful compensation for writers—including both time to work and reasonable financial incentive to make live theatre—and significant production opportunities for ambitious new work that takes risks, including musicals and plays with larger casts.”

ABOUT JAMES H. BINGER

After graduating from Yale College, James Binger, Class of 1938, attended the University of Minnesota Law School, and joined Minneapolis’s Honeywell, Inc., in 1943, where he led the company through its remarkable expansion into the defense, aerospace, and computer industries in the various executive leadership roles he held from 1961 through 1978. Mr. Binger joined the board of directors of The McKnight Foundation, founded by his father-in-law William L. McKnight and run by his wife Virginia, in 1974. There, he was instrumental in extending the Foundation’s grantmaking into brain research, the arts, and international initiatives.

In 1976, James and Virginia Binger took over William L. McKnight’s struggling theatre enterprise, which they named Jujamcyn Theatres, after their three children: Judy, James, and Cynthia. The company grew to include five Broadway houses, presenting hits such as Angels in America and The Producers.  Mr. Binger also served as a director of the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, a member of the executive committee of the League of American Theatres, and as a board member of the Guthrie Theater.

Mr. Binger established the Robina Foundation shortly before his death in 2004. The Foundation, based in Minnesota, seeks to positively impact critical social issues by encouraging innovation and financially supporting transformative projects of its four institutional partners chosen by the founder. The partners are Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, MN; The Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY; University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University, New Haven, CT.

ABOUT THE BINGER CENTER FOR NEW THEATRE

To date, the Binger Center for New Theatre has supported the work of more than thirty Yale Rep commissioned artists as well as the world premieres and subsequent productions of twelve new American plays and musicals—including this season’sBelleville by Amy Herzog, Good Goods by Christina Anderson, and The Realistic Joneses by Will Eno, and next season’s Marie Antoinette by David Adjmi, Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl, and Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff’s new adaptation ofIn a Year with 13 Moons by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff, was the first commissioned play supported by the Center to receive its world premiere at Yale Rep. In 2010,Notes had its West Coast premiere at La Jolla Playhouse and its New York premiere at Theatre for a New Audience, in association with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The Center has also supported the world premiere co-production of Rinne Groff’sCompulsion at Yale Rep, Berkeley Rep, and The Public Theater; the world premiere of the Yale-commissionedOn the Levee by Marcus Gardley, Todd Almond, and Lear deBessonet at Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3; and the 2009 world premiere of Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs’s musicalPOP! at Yale Rep and its City Theatre production this spring in Pittsburgh.
 
The complete list of Yale Rep commissioned artists includes David Adjmi, Todd Almond, Christina Anderson, Hilary Bell, Adam Bock, Bill Camp, Lear deBessonet, Will Eno, Marcus Gardley, Matt Gould, Kirsten Greenidge, Danai Gurira, Ann Marie Healy, Amy Herzog, Naomi Iizuka, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Carson Kreitzer, Dan LeFranc, Elizabeth Meriwether, Scott Murphy, Julie Marie Myatt, David LeFort Nugent, Lina Patel, Jay Reiss, Sarah Ruhl, Octavio Solis, Rebecca Taichman, Lucy Thurber, Alice Tuan, Paula Vogel, Kathryn Walat, Anne Washburn, Marisa Wegrzyn, and Robert Woodruff.

Beginning in the 2012-13 season, the programs of the Binger Center for New Theatre will include the Yale Institute for Music Theatre (Mark Brokaw, Artistic Director). Originally established in 2009 by Yale School of Drama and Yale School of Music, the Institute bridges the gap between training and the professional world for emerging composers, playwrights, lyricists, and librettists by providing them with an annual, intensive two-week lab at Yale to develop their original music theatre works.

The selections for the inaugural Yale Institute for Music Theatre were the book musicalssam i was with book, music, and lyrics by Sam Wessels and POP! with book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs and the operaInvisible Cities with score and libretto by Christopher Cerrone. The Institute’s other projects have includedThe Daughters with music and libretto by Shaina Taub, and Stuck Elevator with music by Byron Au Yong and libretto by Aaron Jafferis, in 2010, andMaren of Vardø with music by Jeff Myers and libretto by Royce Vavrek, Pregnancy Pactwith music by Julia Meinwald and book and lyrics by Gordon Leary, and The Profit of Creation with music by Tim Rosser and book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne, in 2011. The 2012 selections areMighty Five’s Infinite Funk Odyssey with music and lyrics by Zach Abramson and Derek Muro and book by Phil Aulie and Xaq Webb andMortality Play with music by Scotty Arnold and book and lyrics by Alana Jacoby.

PRODUCTION HISTORY

In a Year with 13 Moons
By Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Featuring Bill Camp
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, April 26-May 18, 2013

Dear Elizabeth
By Sarah Ruhl
A play in letters
from Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell
and back again
Directed by Les Waters
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 30-December 22, 2012

Marie Antoinette
By David Adjmi
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere Co-Production: American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA), September 2012; Yale Repertory Theatre, October 26-November 17, 2012

Creation
By Kathryn Walat
Directed by Michael Michetti
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: The Theatre @ Boston Court (Pasadena, CA), October 13-November 11, 2012

The Realistic Joneses
By Will Eno
Directed by Sam Gold
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, April 20-May 12, 2012

Good Goods
By Christina Anderson
Directed by Tina Landau
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, February 3-25, 2012

Crowded Fire Theater (San Francisco, CA), May 31-June 23, 2012

Belleville
By Amy Herzog
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, October 21-November 12, 2011

New York Theatre Workshop (New York, NY), February-March 2013
Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago, IL), June 27-August 25, 2013

Bossa Nova
By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Evan Yionoulis
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 26-December 18, 2010

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Book and Lyrics by Adam Bock & Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Based on the novel by Shirley Jackson
Directed by Anne Kauffman
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, September 17-October 9, 2010

On the Levee
A Play with Music
Conceived and Directed by Lear deBessonet
Play by Marcus Gardley
Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre

World Premiere: LCT3 (Lincoln Center Theater, New York, NY), June 14-July 10, 2010

Compulsion
By Rinne Groff
Directed by Oskar Eustis
World Premiere Co-Production: Yale Repertory Theatre, January 29-February 28, 2010; Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, CA), September 13-October 31, 2010; The Public Theater (New York, NY), February 1-March 13, 2011

POP!
Book and Lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman
Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Directed by Mark Brokaw
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, November 27-December 19, 2009

Studio Theatre (Washington, DC), July 13-August 7, 2011
City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA), May 5-27, 2012

Notes from Underground
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Adapted by Bill Camp and Robert Woodruff
Based on a translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Directed by Robert Woodruff
Featuring Bill Camp
Commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre
World Premiere: Yale Repertory Theatre, March 20-April 11, 2009

La Jolla Playhouse (La Jolla, CA), September 17-October 17, 2010
Theatre for a New Audience, in association with Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York, NY), November 7-28, 2010

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reflections in the Light Reviews Win CT Press Club Award

Lauren Yarger with Alfred Uhry at last week's Writers'
Weekend at the Mark Twain House in Hartford.
Enter to Win Peter & the Starcatcher Tickets!

Lauren Yarger, reviewer for Reflections in the Light, has received a first-place award for her web theater reviews of Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark and A Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo in the Connecticut Press Club's annual journalism awards.
She also won second place for her feature of playwright Matthew Lombardo (High, Looped, Tea at Five) and first place award for editing The Connecticut Arts Connection, where she reviews the state's professional theaters and covers arts and theater news.

The awards will be presented at a dinner honoring Charley Monagan, author and Editor-in-Chief of Connecticut Magazine with the 11th Mark Twain Award on May 8 in Norwalk.

We're so excited, we are celebrating with a ticket give-away to Broadway's Peter and the Starcatcher. To enter for a chance to win a voucher for two seats to the hit play about how Peter Pan came to be the boy who wouldn't grow up, send an email with your name and address and FAX number to reviews@masterworkproductions.org  with the word STARCATCHER in the subject line by midnight April 30, 2012.  Tells us which reviews you have enjoyed this season. All entries will be placed in a drawing (one entree per email address, please).

Winners will be announced on May 1. A voucher for two tickets to a performance of Peter and the Starcatcher (starring "Smash's" Christian Borle, pictured below) at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City will be sent to the winner (two date selections can be requested and one will be confirmed by the theater. Tickets will be available for performances through June 1).
Kevin Del Aguila and Christian Borle (c)O&M Co
.

Theater Review: A Streetcar Named Desire

Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega. Photo: Ken Howard
An Interesting Take on Blanche, but Not Much Flames Our Desire Here
By Lauren Yarger
Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire has been a vehicle for noted performances by Marlon Brando, Jessica Tandy, Kim Novak, Rosemary Harris, Frances McDormand, Tallulah Bankhead, Blythe Danner, Natasha Richardson, Alec Baldwin, Vivien Leigh and Jessica Lange among others in various stage and film versions of the 1948 Pulitzer-Prize winner.

The latest Broadway revival, directed by McCarter Theater Center Artistic Director Emily Mann, features Blair Underwood heading a multi-cultural cast as struggling working-class stiff Stanley Kowalski. There is some jazz music composed by Terrance Blanchard, some rhythm-moving segues between scenes and a more sympathetic take on Blanche, Stanley's troubled, mentally unbalanced sister-in-law played nicely by Nicole Ari Parker (TV's "Soul Food").

None of that, however, is enough to erase the fact that this is a rather slow-moving bummer of a story about a bunch of whacked out people. They might have been groundbreaking back in 1948 (Williams' original reason for the breakup of Blanche's marriage -- the homosexuality of her husband -- was still too controversial in 1951 to make it past the film's censors), but in 2012, when soft porn is the norm in movies and television, we need something more than that or Blanche's secret past of promiscuity to get our attention. The only interest I witnessed here, however, was an audible rumble of approval from the women in the audience when Underwood removed his T-shirt.

It's hard to feel sympathetic for any of these characters: Stanley is the cruel husband, driven by a sexuality that makes him attractive to wife Stella (Daphne Rubin-Vega), Blanche's sister. Stella puts up with Stanley and his physical abuse because of this compelling attraction. She longs for his embrace while he's on the road working and doesn't even like it when he leaves their poverty-evident two-room apartment (Eugene Lee designs the set and Paul Tazewell designs some beautiful dresses for Blanche). Stella also subjects herself to verbal abuse from her hot-house flower relic-of-the-old-South sister who shows up broke on the Kowalskis' beneath-her-refined-taste doorstep when she loses the family's estate and has nowhere else to go. Blanche hopes that Stanley's naive and gentlemanly friend, Mitch (a wonderfully charming Wood Harris, known to TV fans of "The Wire"), will marry her and give her another chance at life, but her past might come back to haunt her, especially if her cruel brother-in-law has his way.

The problem with this production is that everything just mentioned is from what is supposed to be the story of Streetcar. What really happens is that Underwood comes across as too nice. We simply don't buy him for the vindictive, abusive Stanley. There absolutely is no chemistry between him and Rubin-Vega to justify the sexual attraction that is supposed to bind them together. In fact, Rubin-Vega comes across as the dominant one. Stanley might be stronger physically (to which those sighing women can attest after seeing those abs and pecs), but Stella's on top emotionally and that makes us question even more why she stays in the relationship or doesn't use her smarts to straighten out Blanche.

Parker's approach to a more sympathetic Blanche makes us like Stanley and Stella even less as Blanche appears more the victim of mental illness than of her own circumstances. In the end, the only one we might feel a little sympathy for is Mitch, and he's just too naive. It's a play that probably has lived out its importance and interesting casting choices aren't likely to change that. Amelia Campbell is a bit over the top as the couple's landlord, Eunice. Rounding out the ensemble of minor characters is Carmen de Lavallade, Matthew Saldivar, Jacinto Taras Riddick, Count Stovall, Rosa Evangelina Arredondo and Aaron Clifton Moten (who does a nice turn as a young newsboy overwhelmed by Blanche's sexual charms).

Streetcar runs the track at The Broadhurst Theatre, 235 West 44th St., NYC through July 22. Tickets: 212-239-6200/800-432-7250.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Violence
-- Rape
-- God's name taken in vain

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Outer Critics Circle Nominations

The first major awards nominations of the season are in from the Outer Critics Circle, the organization of writers and commentators covering New York theater for out-of-town newspapers, national publications and other media beyond Broadway.

Nice Work if You Can Get It and Newsies led the nominees with nine and seven nominations respectively.
In addition, the OCC honored The Public Theater on its 50th Anniversary for presenting free theater at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. In a Monday event where the nominations were announced by Richard Thomas and Lily Rabe, Shakespeare in the Park alums Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara presented the special award to The Public’s Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham.

The winners of the following categories will be announced on Monday, May 14 and the annual awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 24 at Sardi’s Restaurant. Check back here for coerage of both of those events. To see reviews of the nominees, scroll down at left.
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAYThe Lyons
One Man, Two Guvnors
Seminar
Stick Fly
OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICALBonnie & Clyde
Newsies
Once
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAYBlood and Gifts
The School for Lies
Sons of the Prophet
Tribes
OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICALDeath Takes a Holiday
Lucky Guy
Play It Cool
Queen of the Mist
OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Newsies
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Once
Queen of the Mist
OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Bonnie & Clyde
Death Takes a Holiday
Newsies
Queen of the Mist
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
The Best Man
Death of a Salesman
The Lady From Dubuque
Private Lives
OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Carrie
Evita
Follies
Porgy and Bess

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Mark Brokaw The Lyons
David Cromer Tribes
Nicholas Hytner One Man, Two Guvnors
Mike Nichols Death of a Salesman

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Jeff Calhoun Newsies
Michael Grandage Evita
Kathleen Marshall Nice Work If You Can Get It
John Tiffany Once

 
OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER

Rob Ashford Evita
Christopher Gattelli Newsies
Steven Hoggett Once
Kathleen Marshall Nice Work If You Can Get It
OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Bob Crowley Once
Derek McLane Nice Work If You Can Get It
Christopher Oram Evita
George Tsypin Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)

Gregg Barnes Follies
Eiko Ishioka Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
William Ivey Long Don’t Dress for Dinner
Martin Pakledinaz Nice Work If You Can Get It

 
OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical)

Neil Austin Evita
Donald Holder Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Brian MacDevitt Death of a Salesman
Hugh Vanstone Ghost: The Musical

 
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
James Corden One Man, Two Guvnors
Santino Fontana Sons of the Prophet
Russell Harvard TribesPhilip Seymour Hoffman
Death of a Salesman
Hamish Linklater The School for Lies

 
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Tracie Bennett End of the Rainbow
Tyne Daly Master Class
Linda Lavin The Lyons
Nicole Ari Parker A Streetcar Named Desire
Laila Robins The Lady From Dubuque

 
OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Danny Burstein Follies
Raúl Esparza Leap of Faith
Jeremy Jordan Newsies
Steve Kazee Once
Norm Lewis Porgy and Bess

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Jan Maxwell Follies
Marin Mazzie Carrie
Audra McDonald Porgy and Bess
Cristin Milioti Once
Kelli O’Hara Nice Work If You Can Get It

 
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Will Brill Tribes
Tom Edden One Man, Two Guvnors
Andrew Garfield Death of a Salesman
James Earl Jones The Best Man
Jefferson Mays Blood and Gifts

 
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Joanna Gleason Sons of the Prophet
Spencer Kayden Don’t Dress for Dinner
Angela Lansbury The Best Man
Judith Light Other Desert Cities
Daphne Rubin-Vega A Streetcar Named Desire

 
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Phillip Boykin Porgy and Bess
Andrew Keenan-Bolger Newsies
Michael McGrath Nice Work If You Can Get It
Patrick Page Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Chris Sullivan Nice Work If You Can Get It

 
OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Jayne Houdyshell Follies
Judy Kaye Nice Work If You Can Get It
Rebecca Luker Death Takes a Holiday
Da’Vine Joy Randolph Ghost: The Musical
Melissa Van Der Schyff Bonnie & Clyde

 
OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Judy Gold My Life as a Sitcom
David Greenspan The Patsy
Denis O’Hare An Iliad
Stephen Spinella An Iliad

 
JOHN GASSNER AWARD(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Robert Askins Hand to God
Gabe McKinley CQ/CX
Erika Sheffer Russian Transport
Jeff Talbot The Submission

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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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