Thursday, September 20, 2012

Theater Review: Detroit

Who is Our Neighbor?
By Lauren Yarger
A young woman excitedly thanks her new neighbor for extending a backyard barbecue invitation to her and her husband.

"This is is awesome. It is so awesome. I mean who invites their neighbors over for dinner anymore?" she gushes.

". . .We don’t have any friends," her host responds absentmindedly.

With that brilliant exchange of dialogue, playwright Lisa D'Amour brings into focus the crux of her new play, Detroit, which is getting a New York run Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. The natural-sounding exchange with its nuanced probe into relationships in modern culture also is one reason why this play, which received its world premiere at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company (in a different production), was a finalist for last year's Pulitzer Prize for drama.

It's rich in character, dialogue and thought-provoking commentary on the society in which we live. Anne Kauffmann directs powerhouse performances from Darren Pettie, Amy Ryan (TV's "The Office," "The Wire,"),  David Schwimmer ("Friends"), Sarah Sokolovic (The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World at Playwrights) and Tony-Award winner John Cullum.

Mary (Ryan), a needy and uptight customer service operator is not shy about voicing her disapproval of laid-off banker husband Ben (Schwimmer) and his plans to run a financial counseling business from home. Laid back Ben doesn't appear concerned about or aware of too much, really, except getting those "puppies" -- steaks and hamburgers -- on the grill.

Enter new neighbors Sharon (Sokolovic) and Kenny (Pettie). They've just moved into Kenny's uncle's house next door where they hope to get a fresh start on life following the completion of rehabilitation programs for substance abuse. Sharon is so moved by the new "friendship" with her neighbors that she cries. This vulnerability prompts Mary to feel she can share some of the pent up frustration and longing to escape that she feels with her new "friend." To her dismay, however, Sharon's "user" eye quickly identifies Mary's coping mechanism -- alcohol. And Ben, actually, might be doing some abusing of his own.

The relationship continues to develop in an awkward and forced manner with more "puppies" on the grill. Ben offers his financial advice to Kenny who agrees to act as a test client for the new business. Mary and Sharon make plans to go on a camping trip in the mountains. All the while, Ben and Mary continue to wonder about their neighbors who still have no furniture in their house.

After a night of wild partying, the relationship enters a new reality, put into persepctive by Kenny's uncle Frank (Cullum) who stops by. In a casting coup, Kauffman has the excellent Broadway actor Cullum (Shenandoah, On the Twentieth Century, Urinetown, 110 in the Shade and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever), who masterfully creates a character in just seconds and delivers the show's funniest line. He's only there for a few minutes, but he grounds all of the zany circumstances and makes us think, "who really is our neighbor" and "just how well do we know any of them or ourselves?"

D'Amour's engaging play is full of sharp dialgue and humor (Schwimmer in particular, had me laughing with facial expressions indicating silent thoughts about his rather bizarre neighbors.) The play is a brisk one hour and 40 minutes and from start to finish, no matter how bizarre or lost the people on stage might seem, we know deep down, they are us. This could be happening to any of us who live in a "first ring" suburb in a mid-size American city, where Detroit is set according to the program. Back when these developments were built, people lived in houses with their families, had their friends over for dinner and lived the "American Dream." Times have changed and the people living in the houses now live very different lives.

The front and backs of the houses are a product of the creative team, right down to suburban sound effects:  Scenic Design, Louisa Thompson; Costume Design, Kaye Voyce; Lighting Design, Mark Barton; Sound Design Matt Tierney.

Detroit has been extended through Oct. 28. Don't miss an opportunity to see this play, which besides being considered for the Pulitzer, also was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize given to women playwrights.

The performance schedule: Now-Oct 7, Oct. 16-28* Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater, 416 West 42nd St., NYC; Tuesday at 7 pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2:30 and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2:30 and 7:30pm. Wednesday matinees Sept. 26 and Oct. 3. Tickets: 212-279-4200 noon to 8 pm daily; online at  www.TicketCentral.com. For more information about Playwrights Horizons, visit http://playwrightshorizons.org/index2.asp.

*PLEASE NOTE: In extension weeks, understudies may appear.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language
--The two women kiss
-- Lord's name taken in vain
-- Sexual dialogue and moves

Theater Review: Chaplin

Film Star's Troubled Life Makes for a Troubled Musical
By Lauren Yarger
Silent film star Charlie Chaplin's troubled life is brought to the Broadway stage in a new musical, starring Rob McClure as the comedic genius haunted by a tragic past, failed marriages and ostracization by the Hollywood community from which he so desperately sought approval.

Turning the story into Chaplin is a somewhat troubled effort itself, however.

Let's start with what's good. McClure gives a very strong performance (he created the role at La Jolla Playhouse). It's early in the season to predict, and I hate to admit that I will be surprised if this show is still running at TONY time, but expect the fabulous McClure to receive a Best Actor nomination. He embodies Chaplin not only emotionally, but physically as well as he twirls a cane, balances on a tightrope (with help from Flying by Foy and a tightrope trainer) and shuffles along in a terrific recreation of The Little Tramp.

At times, he magically walks from the stage into a scene from one of Chaplin's movies (Jon Driscoll, video/projection design; Ken Billington lighting design; Scott Lehrer, Drew Levy, sound design). Christiane Noll plays his mother, Hannah, a saloon singer who introduces him to the entertainment world. Sent to a work house when Hannah is hospitalized for mental illness, Charlie is later discovered by film producer Mack Sennett (Michael McCormick) and lands in Hollywood.

Soon, he is Box Office gold and he brings friend Alf Reeves (Jim Borstelmann) and his brother, Sydney (Wayne Alan Wilcox) over from London to join him in the business. He also brings Hannah over and sets her up in a nursing care facility, but refuses to see her  since she can't remember who he is.

Syd proves himself a terrific manager and soon has Charlie earning the biggest paychecks in Hollywood's history. Fame clouds the star's judgment, however, and he soon is paying the largest divorce settlements in Tinsletown's history too.

The first failed marriage is to gold-digging Mildred Harris (Hayley Podschun); the second to Joan Barry (Emilee Dupre). It isn't until he marries debutante Oona O'Neill (Erin Mackey) that he finds matrimonial bliss, but the relationship results in Oona's being disinherited by famous playwright father, Eugene, who objects to her much-older choice.

Charlie's star really begins to fade when gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (a delightful Jenn Colella who brings some much-needed life to the show) has a grudge and starts trying to blacklist Charlie by playing up his association with the Communist party (the accusations are fueled by Chaplin's last picture, The Great Dictator, a talkie, featuring Adolph Hitler as the star). He and Oona flee to Europe until many years later, when  he finally is recognized at the Oscars. Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz dress all the characters in yummy period costumes which range from 1894 to 1972.

Ok, now for what's not so good.

First, bookwriters Christopher Curtis ( and Thomas Meehan try to include almost every detail from Chaplin's life in the musical. There simply is too much happening. One scene, for instance, has Hedda talking to her assistant about wanting to get Charlie on her show, asking the assistant to call him, then making the call. The call would have sufficed. Or even just the last part of it with an angry hang-up from Hedda as she launches into her revenge mode. The dialogue leading to and during the call is tedious. Whole sets are created for a few lines of unnecessary dialogue.

In the same way, the first musical numbers and accompanying scenes could have been eliminated with the musical starting on a riveting note as Charlie is abandoned by his mother. We really don't need his life, though nicely portrayed by Zachary Unger as young Charlie, depicted in such detail prior to the start of the real action.

On the other hand, to get in so many details, other parts of the script seem to move as break-neck speed. Charlie meets Mildred, woos her, signs numerous contracts with film studios, starts his own studio, finds out he's going to be a father and marries Mildred in about the same amount of time it took you to read this sentence.

The constant revisiting of moments between young Charlie and his mother also gets old after a while, though it's hard to complain about having a chance to enjoy the lovely Noll on stage. Curtis' music and lyrics don't give her a lot to work with, however, as they are mostly uninspired. The last ensemble number "This Man" was my favorite, but two and a half hours is a long time to wait before you start loving the music. Bryan Perri provides the musical direction and vocal  arrangements; Larry Hochman does the orchestrations.

Director Warren Carlyle (who also choreographs) just can't pull the pieces together. The production further suffers from his and set designer Beowulf Boritt's decision to present everything in black, white and gray. I get it. This is supposed to be a movie about Chaplin, and I suppose his life wasn't full of color and all of his movies were in black and white. An interesting idea on paper doesn't always work on a live Broadway stage, however. The unquestionably talented Boritt creates some lovely Deco backdrops, but the lighting on them (Ken Billington, design) intentionally keeps them -- and all of the beautiful costumes -- colorless. Even the makeup design by Angelina Avallone seems overly chalky to make sure nothing but shades of black and white are visible until the Academy Award scene near the end, which is staged all in red. The result -- and the most disappointing part of this musical -- is a very drab-looking production to match a ho-hum show.

Chaplin runs at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 West 47th St., NYC. Tickets and information: 212- 239-6200 or 800-432-7250; http://chaplinbroadway.com./.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language
-- Lord's name taken in vain

Quick Hit Theater Review: The Exonerated

Brian Dennehy, Delroy Lindo and Stockard Channing. Photo: Carol Rosegg
The Exonerated
By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Directed by Bob Balaban
Presented by Culture Project, in special association with The Innocence Project

What's it about?
This 10th anniversary production of the play tells the stories of six people who are convicted of crimes they didn't commit because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or because of their race. Sentenced to death row, they later are found to be innocent by means of DNA testing and other overwhelming evidence. Presented in reading style, the actors sit at music stands holding the scripts and perform dialogue entirely taken from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records. Celebrities including Brian Dennehy, Stockard Channing, Brooke Shields, John Forté and Delroy Lindo rotate to join the cast of Jim Bracchitta, Amelia Campbell, Bruce Kronenberg, Curtis McClarin, April Yvette Thompson, JD Williams (see below for the performers' schedules.) It's gripping and as timely as it was when first presented.

What are the highlights?
There are some wonderful expressions of faith amidst the injustice. A collection is taken following the performance to benefit the victims represented in the play. The night I attended, the real Sunny Jacobs was on hand. Her story of being sentenced, along with her husband, Jesse, is one of the most moving. They correspond by love letters on death row. Lindo is brilliant as Delbert Tibbs, a poet on death row. The play will make you question the justice system and whether the death penalty should be allowed.

What are the lowlights?
It runs a little long -- a 90-minute runtime ran closer to 1:45.

Other information:
The Exonerated is presented in a limited run through Nov. 4 at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette Street, NYC. Tickets and information: http://cultureproject.org/

Rotating Cast schedule:

Stockard Channing
September 15-23
Brian Dennehy
September 15-23
Steve Earle
October 16-21
John Forté
October 9-14
K’naan
October 2-7
Delroy Lindo
September 15-30
Lyle Lovett
September 25-30
Chris Sarandon
September 16-23
Brooke Shields
October 2-7
Sunny Jacobs
September 25-30

Christians also might like to know:
-- Language
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Homosexual situations discussed
-- "N" word used

Theater Review: 'The Cockfight Play'

A Fight to the Death -- Perhaps of the Soul
By Lauren Yarger
Two hens go beak-to-beak to determine the pecking order when it comes to mating with the rooster they both desire while spectators watch from arena seats, but this is no ordinary cockfight.

Here the two hens are an unnamed man and woman (Jason Butler Harner and Amanda Quaid) identified only as M and W and the rooster who can't make up his mind whom he likes better is John (Cory Michael Smith) in Mike Bartlett's clever hot-ticket play Cock running Off-Broadway.

The trouble starts when John, recently broken up with M, suddenly finds himself attracted to W despite the fact that he and M had been in a long-term relationship with M and John has always thought he was gay. Society told him he was, so he never really questioned it before. Could it be that he's not? Or maybe he's bisexual?

W has had some disappointments of her own in the love department, so she is reluctant to begin again with John -- especially since he says he is gay. She sees potential in him, however.

"You're like a picture drawn with a pencil, not yet colored in," she tells him.

What starts as a sort of sexual experiment develops into real affection and John is torn. The sex scene, directed by James Macdonald, is brilliant, with the couple circling around each other and all of the physical action taking place in bird-like fashion while the couple remains fully clothed.

The new development doesn't go over with M whose feathers are ruffled in rejection. He insists on meeting the woman whom John has described as "manly." He invites her over for dinner and asks his father, F (Cotter Smith), to join them for added moral support. It had taken some adjustment for M's parents to accept his relationship with John, but now F considers him part of the family and he strongly urges John not to give up everything he has built with his son.

The dinner party gets off to a shaky start -- W hardly is the Yehti-like, manly creature John has described. Instead she's feminine and pretty, making it even more difficult for M to understand John's attraction for her. John isn't excited by the added pressure of having F join the party or by the fact that W represents everything he's ever wanted: a family, kids and normalcy.

In a piece of inspired direction by James Macdonald, the contestants go to their corners and the dirt starts to fly as scratching and pecking ensues. The audience can't help but feel they are in a barn watching a cockfight thanks to the hard plywood arena benches encircling the action (Miriam Buether designs the set and costumes. Those seats have a small cushion, but feel pretty hard even after a quick 90-minute run). Bells signaling the end of scenes evoke thoughts of a boxing match (Darron L. West, sound design). It's an-edge-of-your-seat battle as John changes his mind more than once and M, F and W all try to make the decision for him.

In the end, John is mortally wounded, not only because he can't make the right decision, but because he is so confused, he can't even figure out what the right decision is. Don't be put off by the title and subject matter. It's an engaging play, skillfully written and executed and is thought-provoking enough to trigger conversation on the way out of the theater and later.

Cock (more gently referred to as The Cockfight Play), the 2010 winner of the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in An Affiliate Theatre, runs through Oct. 6 at the Duke Theater, 229 West 42nd St. Tickets: 646-223-3010; http://www.cockfightplay.com/.

Christians might also like to know:
-- This doesn't have an official MATURE rating, but should...
-- Sexual dialogue
-- Strong sexual dialogue and motion
-- Strong language
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Homosexuality
-- Homosexual activity

Monday, September 17, 2012

Quick Hit Theater Review: Old Jews Telling Jokes


Old Jews Telling Jokes
Created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent
Featuring Bill Army, Marilyn Sokol, Todd Susman, Audrey Lynn Weston and Lenny Wolpe
Directed by Marc Bruni
Westside Theatre (downstairs) 

What’s it about?
Well, it is a few old Jews (and a couple of younger ones) telling jokes based on the original internet series created by Sam Hoffman. There are a few songs (with pianist Donald Corren) and even a “follow the bouncing dreidel "number where the audience sings along There also are video segments with graphics and bits from comedy routines to break up the joke telling. David Gallo throws in a couple of plastic-covered sofas for some of the bits to make us smile too. The jokes also are sort of organized into categories like, birth, death, marriage and sex, but pretty much it’s 90 minutes of jokes.  

What are the highlights?
It’s pretty funny and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The three older actors have honed their comedic chops over the years  (Sokol’s Dial-A-Jokes are in the Smithsonian, you’ll recognize Susman as the announcer from the TV show M*A*S*H and Wolpe was the Wizard in Wicked) They seem to be having a lot of fun up there. Army and Weston add some fresh-faced balance. 

What are the lowlights?
There are a couple of bits that fall flat.  

Other information:
Old Jews Telling Jokes runs Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre, 407 West 43rd St., NY. Tickets: (212) 239-6200. The show is 90 minutes with no intermission.

Christians might also like to know:
-- Language. Lots of it.
-- Sexually suggestive dialogue. Lots of it.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Kathie Lee Gifford Hosts Broadway on Broadway

Kathie Lee Gifford (NBC TODAY Show, Scandalous) hosts Broadway on Broadway with performers Ed Asner (Grace), CaroleeCarmello (Scandalous, Parade), Reeve Carney (Spider-Man:Turn Off the Dark), Adam Chandler-Berat (Peter and the Starcatcher),Elizabeth A. Davis (Once), Katie Finneran (Annie),Perez Hilton (NEWSical, The Musical), Steve Kazee(Once), Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher),Odalys Molina (Telemundo), Amy Spanger (Chicago,Kiss Me Kate), Anthony Warlow (Annie), plus cast members from Annie, Bring It On: The Musical, Chicago,Mamma Mia!, Newsies, Motown: The Musical,Once, Peter and the Starcatcher, Scandalous:The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, Spider-Man:Turn Off the Dark, Bare, Stomp, plus a very special Nederlander 100th Anniversary Celebration, a Sneak Peek fromSeason 2 of NBC’s SMASH and more! All performers and musical numbers are subject to change.
  
WHAT:        20thBroadway on Broadway 2012 – Live concert in Times Square – FREE for thepublic
WHEN:        Sunday,Sept. 9
 
11:15 a.m.     Specialpre-show announcement photo-op in front of stage
11:20 a.m.     Broadway on Broadway concert

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Online Audition Submissions Sought for Ralphie in Broadway-Bound 'A Christmas Story'

Photo credit: Don Ipock and Kansas City Rep
A Christmas Story, The Musical takes its search nationally for a young boy to play the iconic role of ‘Ralphie’ with submissions now available online.  As the Broadway-bound production prepares to launch a 2012 holiday engagement, the show’s producers invite young performers to submit their audition within the next ten days by visiting www.AChristmasStoryTheMusical.com and following three simple steps:

1.    Record a video of yourself singing a brief song that is rhythmic and that shows us your voice, high notes, and personality. A classic Broadway belt or a holiday song is suggested. We want you to have a good time and show us your personality!

2.    Get a recent digital picture or headshot of yourself and your resume. (If you don’t have a resume, just prepare a brief paragraph about yourself in a Word Document.)

3.    Go to www.AChristmasStoryTheMusical.com and click on the "Are You Our Next Ralphie" link to register with our online casting site, LetItCast®, and follow their instructions to submit your video, photo, and information.

In casting the role of ‘Ralphie’ casting directors are seeking submissions from boys who can play 10-11, who are under 4’11”, excellent singers with unchanged voices, who act. They must be comfortable on stage, bright, and real. We are looking for a boy who is a regular kid, with enormous talent.

According to the show’s producer Peter Billingsley, "Yes, the role is truly available and in the same way the original film was cast, this is a bona fide national search. We are in the final two weeks of auditions for the right Ralphie who could be Broadway's next sensation."

Rehearsals for A Christmas Story, The Musical will begin in New York City on October 1 and performances will run from November 5 until December 30.

For details about our online submissions and how to upload a video-taped audition please go to: www.letitcast.com.  Questions can be directed to: ACSauditions@gmail.com.

*  *  *


A Christmas Story, The Musical will arrive on Broadway at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre just in time for the 2012 holiday season.  The producers have announced that the new musical, based on the 1983 movie perennial, will play a November 5 – December 30 holiday engagement.  Opening night is Monday, November 19.  Tickets are now on sale at www.AChristmasStoryTheMuscial.com or www.TicketMaster.com.

America’s #1 holiday movie came to hilarious life onstage when A Christmas Story, The Musical launched a tour in 2011 with stops in Hershey, PA; Detroit, MI; Raleigh, NC; Tampa, FL; and Chicago, IL. The musical features a bright holiday score by composer/lyricist team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a witty book by Joseph Robinette based on the writings of radio humorist Jean Shepherd and the 1983 holiday film favorite. Tony Award winner John Rando (Urinetown) directs the production with Warren Carlyle (Chaplin, Follies, An Evening With Hugh Jackman) choreographing.  Casting is soon to be announced.

A Christmas Story, The Musical features scenic design by Walt Spangler; costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy; lighting design by Tony Award winner  Howell Binkley; sound design by Ken Travis; wig design by Tom Watson; orchestrations by Larry Blank; music direction and  supervision by Ian Eisendrath; dance music arrangements by Glen Kelly; and vocal arrangements by Justin Paul.

The story from a cherished movie classic that’s enchanted millions is now a musical spectacular. In 1940’s Indiana, a bespectacled boy named Ralphie has a big imagination and one wish for Christmas—a Red Ryder BB Gun. A kooky leg lamp, outrageous pink bunny pajamas, a cranky department store Santa, and a triple-dog-dare to lick a freezing flagpole are just a few of the obstacles that stand between Ralphie and his Christmas dream. Co-produced by the film’s original Ralphie, Peter Billingsley, A Christmas Story, The Musical is holiday entertainment that captures a simpler time in America with delicious wit and a heart of gold.

A Christmas Story, The Musical is produced by Gerald Goehring, Roy Miller, Michael F. Mitri, Pat Flicker Addiss, Peter Billingsley, Timothy Laczynski, Mariano Tolentino, Louise H. Beard, Michael Filerman, Scott Hart, Bob Bartner, Michael Jenkins, Angela Milonas, Bradford W. Smith.

Read a review of a preview production in Hershey, PA here.

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

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

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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