Sunday, March 29, 2015

Off-Broadway Review: Fashions for Men


Joe Delafield and Rachel Napoleon. Photo: Richard Termine
Fashions for Men
By Ferenc Molnár
Directed by Davis McCallum
The Mint Theater
Through April 12


What's It All About?
In a high-class haberdashery in Budapest, owner Peter Juhasz (Joe Delafield), believes everyone is good at heart.

"Love and trust are always repaid in kind in this world," he says.

Let's just say that makes him vulnerable to those who would take advantage of his trust. Like his wife, Adele (Annie Purcell) who misappropriates some funds and runs off with the shop's top salesman, Oscar (John Tufts). Facing bankruptcy, Peter accepts a job offer from the main patron of the shop, a Count (Kurt Rhoads), who has had his eye on bookkeeper Paula (Rachel Napoleon). Peter is to manage the count's cheese business at his country estate (Daniel Zimmerman's set satisfyingly switches between the well-stocked, elegant clothing shop to a barn-like stone and beam office where cows make their presence known in  wall paintings and in moos when the door to the pastoral setting is opened (Original Music and Sound Design by Jane Shaw; Props by Joshua Yocom).

Calculating Paula tags along to the country in the hopes that the count will act upon his attraction, marry her and make her a rich woman. Peter made a promise to protect her, though, so the count's pursuit of her is made difficult. Later, Peter returns to the shop and his kindheartedness is tested to the limit when a down-on-his-luck Oscar begs him for a job.

Rounding out the fine cast are Mark Bedard, Jeremy Lawrence, Michael Schantz, Maren Searle, John Seidman, Jill Tanner, and Gabra Zackman.


What Are the Highlights:
This is a sit-back and enjoy the feel of a simpler time with simpler problems and hope that people can work out their differences. Davis McCallum (2012 Pulitzer-Prize winning play Water by the Spoonful and Samuel D Hunter’s The Whale at Playwrights Horizons, directs with skill. Performances are solid across the boards.

What Are the Lowlights?

At two hours and 40 minutes (three acts/two intermissions) it's is too long.

More Information:
Molnár is best known today for the mystical folk play Liliom (1922; the basis of the classic musical Carousel).

Fashions for Men plays through April 12 at the Mint Theatre, third floor, 311 West 43rd St., NYC. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets are $55 with some half-price tickets (CheapTix) and Premium Seats ($65) available for most performances: 866-811-4111; www.minttheater.org.

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

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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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