Friday, February 19, 2010

National Theater Institute Alums Reunite

Alumni of the National Theater Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT are reuniting to share resources and support each other in a New York City based endeavor.

The group plans productions, a theater festival and more including the following goals:
- A complete database of members, accessible to all who want it, and organize using the forum of Facebook and a Google Group.
- A monthly get together for socializing and networking.
- A website where everyone can have a profile, write blogs, post castings, advertise, etc.
- A production in Fall 2010.
- Become a non-profit umbrella organization for the theater companies made up of alums that already exist, (Odyssey Productions, Fine Feathered Friends, Free Agi Productions, Fullstop Collective, Superhero Clubhouse…to name a few), working to promote and support them all.
- Produce an annual theater festival where these companies and/or pairings of NTI playwrights and directors are guaranteed a slot for a production.
- Invite NTI teachers back as both advisors in this endeavor and as colleagues. (Imagine acting, directing, and holding workshops together again!)
- Garner a space in the city that is home for anything and everything people want to do…shows, classes (taking them or teaching them), workshops, lectures, exhibits, rehearsals, parties/fundraisers…etc. We want a place to call our own.

Help is needed on various committees that are forming including:

-Web Design
-Alum relations
-Development /Fundraising / Grant Writing
-Real Estate
-Loan / Purchasing research
-Public Relations
-Artistic Committee / Season Deciders
-Education / Community outreach
- Contract / Union negotiation
-Not For Profit status
-Tech Committee
-Notable alum courting committee

For more information on how to become involved, email

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slow Part of Broadway Season: Pass Time with Panels, Workshops; Show Openings Coming

We're coming through the slow part of the Broadway season, a particularly snowy January/February where lots of productions traditionally shutter and not much opens.

Spring is coming, and one look at the opening schedule on Broadway makes me feel like I should just take out a sublet. There are a LOT of shows opening, especially in April. The economy might be tanking, but lots of shows are getting in under this year's Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critic Circle Award deadlines and that's good news for the Great White Way and theater lovers.

Meanwhile, some shows open in March and there are some other great theater-related programs that will help pass the time. Check these out:

Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), Audience Extras and Back Stage present the industry panel "Producing Opportunities beyond New York: Fringe Circuits, Colleges, Arts Centers and More" 7:30 pm Wednesday, Feb. 17 at The Players Theatre Mainstage, 115 MacDougal St. (below West 3rd Street), NYC.

Panelists will include Nancy Holson, producer/writer (The News in Revue, Bush Wars, Parenting 101); Joshua Kane, writer-performer Wild Baboo Productions LLC (toured internationally with one-man shows, has created and performed works for major museums, arts centers and festivals, including the Smithsonian Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Peabody Museum at Yale, the Ridgefield Museum of Contemporary Art); Dorothy Leeds, writer-performer (has booked her one-woman show Good Lessons from Bad Women, around the country); Dorothy Marcic, writer (her musical Respect has played in 17 cities with over 2200 performances); Ronald Rand, writer-performer (currently tours across America and the world in his solo play, Let it Be Art! as Harold Clurman, founder and publisher of "The Soul of the American Actor," author of "Acting Teachers of America"); Virginia Scott, director-writer (Fringe tours, books shows regionally and in New York City, including The US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, The Theatre at Monmouth in Maine, The Comedy Central Theatre and UCB LA in Los Angeles; and internationally at The Guilded Balloon in Edinburgh, The Centaur Theatre in Montreal, the Grahamstown International Festival in South Africa and festivals throughout Canada).

Doors open at 7 for networking and refreshments, panel starts promptly at 7:30 pm. FREE for TRU members; $12 for non-members. Please call at least a day in advance for reservations: 212-714-7628; or e-mail The panel will be co-moderated by Sherry Eaker, editor-at-large of Back Stage. Details of the upcoming TRU musicals series may be found at For more information about TRU membership, visit or call 212-714-7628.

The Primary Stages School of Theater (PSST) continues its highly successful specialty workshops as a way for students to quickly jumpstart new projects and refine important skills in a shortened amount of time. The spring workshop instructors include David Adjmi, Joanna Gleason, David Grimm, Itamar Moses and Leigh Silverman.

Spring 2010 Workshop Schedule

The Petri Dish: Or, How to Grow a New Play with David Adjmi
March 6 and 7 from noon to 3 pm.

Getting Started with David Grimm
This two-day intensive character-based workshop is for all playwrights focused on generating new material and discovering different ways of approaching the work. This is not a lecture, this is not theory -- writers learn by writing, so come prepared to write and share.
March 13 and 14 from noon to 3 pm.

Everything is Action with Itamar Moses
This workshop will explore the ways in which “action,” like a vibrating one-dimensional string, creates all of the illusions that summon a complete theatrical world.
April 10 and 11 from 2 to 5 pm.

Performance Technique

Acting the Song with Joanna Gleason
This is an acting class with music. If you fear singing, it's for you. If you sing and are stiff on stage, it's for you. The goal of the workshop is not to refine your smile as a chorus boy or girl - it's about acting. Period. Text, context, subtext. Each student needs to have memorized two ballads from musical theater or old standards. No jazz, no rock. Bring sheet music for those songs. The accompanist can adjust keys etc. No recording devices will be permitted. Students are encouraged to attend multiple sessions.
Section A: Saturday, March 20 from 11 am to 2 pm.
Section B: Saturday, April 24 from 11 am to 2 pm.

Primary Previews with Tessa LaNeve
This three-night seminar offers an advance look at Primary Stages 26th season of exciting new plays by some of today's most prominent playwrights. Each night of the seminar is dedicated to reading and discussing one of the upcoming plays with Primary Stages Literary Manager, Tessa LaNeve. Participants will deconstruct the texts, conjure up their dream casts, discuss design and production elements, and place these three plays within the larger NYC landscape of American theater. The classes will be invited to special performances of each play for post-show talkbacks. Section A: Wednesdays, Feb. 24, March 3 and 10 from 7 to 9 pm.
Section B: Wednesdays, March 17, 24 and 31 from 7 to 9 pm.
Section C: Wednesdays, April 7, 14 and 21 from 5 to 7 pm.

Directing Intensive with Leigh Silverman
This intensive weekend will offer two full days geared towards gaining significant directing experience and confidence. There will be challenging class work and personalized feedback from 16 hours of hard work, group participation, focus and learning.
April 17 and 18 from 10 am to 6 pm.

Private Coaching with Andrew Leynse
Having problems with a monologue? Nervous about a big upcoming audition? Let’s schedule a private session for you to bolster your confidence! These private, one-on-one acting sessions are geared to meet your individual acting needs whether they be for film, television, stage, or audition preparation.

Information is available by contacting PSST Director LaNeve at 212- 840-9705 extension 212, via email at, or by visiting the Primary Stages website at

The Drama Desk has limited seating for nonmembers at its first Panel Discussion of the 2009-2010 theater season on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm in the BMI offices at 320 West 57th St. There is no admission charge for Drama Desk members and guests.

The panel discussion, entitled Women At Work: Directing and Writing for the Theater," will feature women with a multitude of creative credits in the theater, including Christina Anderson, author Inked Baby, Drip, GLO, Annie Baker, author, Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens, Body Awareness, Sheila Callahan, author, Lascivious Something (opening Spring 2010), Dead City, That Pretty Pretty; Or, the Rape Play, Karen Carpenter, director and former associate artistic director of The Old Globe, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Pam McKinnon, director, Clybourne Park, Smudge, Peter and Jerry, Susan H. Schulman, director, Broadway's The Secret Garden, Little Women, The Sound of Music, Rinnie Groff, author, Compulsion (currently at Yale Rep), The Ruby Sunrise, Co-writer/Lyricist, Saved and Sheryl Kaller, director, Next Fall (now in previews on Broadway), Adrift in Macao, Jayson With a Y.

The panel will be moderated by Adrienne Onofri, a features writer for, who has done several series on women theater artists for the website. Reservation are required and may be made by emailing

Looking ahead:
Broadway Shows Scheduled to Open:

The Miracle Worker
Circle in the Square Theatre
Opening: March 3
Cast: Abigail Breslin and Alison Pill
A revival of William Gibson's play about Helen Keller and her teacher.

A Behanding in Spokane (**Mature)
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre
Opening: March 4
Cast: Christopher Walken, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie and Sam Rockwell
World premiere of a new black comedy by Martin McDonagh centered on a man's search for his missing left hand.

Next Fall (**Mature)
Helen Hayes Theatre
Opening: March 11
Cast: Patrick Breen, Maddie Corman, Sean Dugan, Patrick Heusinger, Connie Ray and Cotter Smith
Transfer of Naked Angels' Off-Broadway run of Geoffrey Nauffts' drama about a five-year relationship between two gay partners and how religion factors into it.

Looped (**Mature)
Lyceum Theatre
Opening: March 14
Cast: Valerie Harper, Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren
Matthew Lombardo's new comedy about Tallulah Bankhead, who is in a sound studio to re-record (or "loop") one line of dialogue for be her last film.

All About Me (**Mature)
Henry Miller's Theatre
Opening: March 18
Cast: Barry Humphries, Michael Feinstein, Gregory Butler, Jodi Capeless and Jon-Paul Mateo

Dame Edna meets Michael Feinstein, written by Christopher Durang.

Come Fly Away
Marquis Theatre
Opening: March 25
Cast: John Selya, Keith Roberts, Karine Plantadit, Holley Farmer

Twila Tharp chorepgraphs and directs this dance piece about four lovelorn couples featuring the vocals of Frank Sinatra.

Golden Theatre
Opening: April 1
Cast: Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne

The Donmar Warehouse production of John Logan's play about abstract impressionist painter Mark Rothko.

Lend Me a Tenor
Music Box Theatre
Opening: April 4
Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Tony Shalhoub, Justin Bartha, Jan Maxwell, Mary Catherine Garrison, Jennifer Laura Thompson

Stanley Tucci directs the revival of the 1930s comedy about a world-famous star who goes missing before his debut with Cleveland's local opera.

The Addams Family
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
Opening: April 8
Cast: Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, Carolee Carmello, Kevin Chamberlin, Jackie Hoffman, Zachary James, Terrence Mann, Adam Riegler, Wesley Taylor and Krysta Rodriguez

The creepy family comes to the stage.

Million Dollar Quartet
Nederlander Theatre
Opening: April 11
Cast: Hunter Foster, Elizabeth Stanley, Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Levi Kreis and Rob Lyons

Transfer of the Chicago musical by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux about Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley all coming together one night for a jam session.

La Cage Aux Folles
Longacre Theatre
Opening April 18
Cast: Douglas Hodge, Kelsey Grammer

Transfer of the London Menier Chocolate Factory musical by Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein's about a gay couple and a visit from their son's finacee's family.

American Idiot
St. James Theatre
Opening: April 20
Cast: John Gallagher Jr., Stark Sands, Michael Esper, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Christina Sajous, Mary Faber, Tony Vincent

New rock musical featuring songs from Green Day's album of the same name and "21st Century Breakdown."

Sondheim on Sondheim
Studio 54
Opening: April 22
Cast: Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Norm Lewis, Euan Morton, Leslie Kritzer, Tom Wopat

A new revue and portrait of Sondheim.

Promises, Promises
Broadway Theatre
Opening: April 25
Cast: Kristin Chenoweth, Sean Hayes, Brooks Ashmanskas, Katie Finneran and Tony Goldwyn

A revival of the musical based on Neil Simon's The Apartment with music by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

Cort Theatre
Opening: April 25
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Chris Chalk, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby and Mykelti Williamson

August Wilson's story about a former Negro League baseball player who struggles with his life as a garbage man gets revived with some star power.

Broadhurst Theatre
Opening: April 27
Cast: Norbert Leo Butz, Stephen Kunken

Transfer of London's Jerwood Theatre production of Lucy Prebble's financial scandal drama.

Collected Stories
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre
Opening: April 28
Cast: Linda Lavin, Sarah Paulson

Donald Margulies' new play about two female writers gets its premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart (**Mature)
American Airlines Theatre
Opening: April 29
Cast: Megan Mullally, Lili Taylor, Patton Oswalt

Roundabout Theatre Company revives Terrence McNally's play about two straight couples vacationing amongst the gay community at a Fire Island beach house on July 4.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Triangle Theatre Presents 'Painting Churches' by Tina Howe

Mark your calendars for Triangle Theatre's latest production, a staged reading of Tina Howe's Pulitzer Prize finalist play Painting Churches, concerning the relationship between an artist daughter and her aging parents.

Directed by Jennifer Fell Hayes, with Elowyn Castle, Marisa Merrigan and Dudley Stone, the reading will be presented 7 pm Friday, Feb. 12 and Saturday, Feb. 13 in Draesel Hall, Holy Trinity Church on 88th Street between 1st and 2nd avenues.

Tickets at door are $15 (Friday night only, seniors $8). A reception follows both performances.

Triangle Theatre Talkover will present Retta Blaney, a Triangle board member and theater journalist who did her second master's thesis on Howe and her plays. Blaney has interviewed the playwright several times since then for various publications, and has taught a course about her plays at Brooklyn College. She will host a reflection on the characters, plot and meaning of the play on Sunday, Feb. 14 from 9:30 to 10:15 am in Draesel Hall.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

World Premiere of Compulsion at Yale Rep

Mandy Patinkin and Stephen Barker Turner in the world premiere
of COMPULSION by Rinne Groff, directed by Oskar Eustis
through Feb. 28 at Yale Repetory Theater. Photo by Joan Marcus. Read the review here.

Two National Tours Closing

The tours for Rent and Phantom of the Opera will pack their trucks for the last time this year.

Rent closes today and Phantom will close in November. For a listing of touring shows and links to their schedule, scroll down at left under "Coming to a Theater Near You." and click on the show.

Type the show's title in the search box at the top of this blog to find the review (for shows which opened in 2008-2009 or 2009-2010). For other shows, email us for plot, content and language notes from a Christian persective at

Friday, February 5, 2010

Banana Might Turn into Ticket for Shpeel

The newly restored Beacon Theatre will roll out the red carpet Wednesday, Feb 10 for an open house to welcome the all-new Cirque du Soleil production Banana Shpeel, written and directed by David Shiner, scheduled to begin preview performances Feb. 25.

At 4:30pm, the activities begin with the unveiling of the new Banana Shpeel marquee on the Beacon Theatre with costumed performers arriving in a vintage Checker Cab accompanied by show musicians performing live. Upper West Siders and Cirque du Soleil fans will be on hand to greet the cast. To add to the fun, the first 100 guests who arrive with a banana will win two complimentary Banana Shpeel tickets. The bananas will be donated to Life Center, a local New York homeless shelter affiliated with The Garden of Dreams Foundation.

At 4:45pm, the Banana Shpeel cast will lead the public into the theatre for the open house with an exclusive sneak peek at the Banana Shpeel creative process. Guests will see rehearsals on stage, make-up demonstrations, costume displays, and take photos with costumed performers. Local restaurants and businesses will provide complimentary snacks.

The Show is a roller coaster mix of styles that blends intense choreography, crazy comedy and distinctive acrobatic acts. The action follows the brash and over-the-top character, Schmelky, as he emcees his show, a diverse spectrum of performances including tap, hip-hop and eccentric dance, slapstick comedy and Cirque du Soleil acrobatic acts – plus madcap characters spreading chaos in all directions.

For tickets, visit or or call 1-800-745-3000.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lincoln Center To Construct New Theater

Lincoln Center Theater (under the direction of Andre Bishop, Artistic Director, and Bernard Gersten, Executive Producer) has announced plans to expand its operations to the roof of the Vivian Beaumont Theater.

Construction will begin this spring on a 23,000 square foot, two-story addition which is designed by noted architect Hugh Hardy of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture. Budgeted at $41 million, it will house a 131-seat theater and dressing rooms, as well as rehearsal and office space for the LCT staff and an outdoor terrace surrounded by a green roof. The theater will be named the Claire Tow Theater, in honor of the wife of longtime LCT Board Member Leonard Tow.

It will become the home of LCT3, Lincoln Center Theater’s programming initiative dedicated to producing the work of new artists and the development of new audiences. Completion of the project is anticipated in late 2011 - early 2012.

Lincoln Center Theater has established a Capital Campaign to fund the construction cost as well as to provide endowment and operating funds for LCT3 programming in the new theater. The Capital Campaign has raised 90 percent of the $41 million construction cost with generous leadership support from Lincoln Center Theater's Board of Directors and Lincoln Center. The additional funds needed will be raised during the public phase of the Capital Campaign.

Lincoln Center Theater created LCT3 to offer new artists fully staged productions. Each year LCT3 will produce a season of new plays and musicals in its new home. LCT3 not only serves as a nurturing arena for artists to hone their skills but will also provide a stepping stone for these artists who, it is hoped, will continue their professional lives at LCTs larger venues. All tickets to LCT3 productions are priced at an affordable $20.00.

Currently in its second season (where it has performed at The Duke on 42nd Street, a New 42nd Street® project, and where it will continue to perform until its new home at Lincoln Center is ready), LCT3’s past productions include Clay, a one-man hip-hop musical written and performed by Matt Sax, directed by Eric Rosen, and the plays Stunning by David Adjmi, directed by Anne Kaufmann, and What Once We Felt by Ann Marie Healy, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll.

Upcoming LCT3 productions include Graceland a new play by Ellen Fairey, directed by Henry Wishcamper (May 3 – May 29), and On The Levee a play with music, conceived and directed by Lear deBessonet, play by Marcus Gardley and music and lyrics by Todd Almond (June 14 – July 10).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Theater Review: Time Stands Still

Journalistic Ethics with Some Romance on the Side
By Lauren Yarger
When does the journalist stop being a documenter of events and cross the line over to become a participant? For photographer Sarah Goodwin (Laura Linney) who survived a roadside bombing, the answer is never and it guides her career, as well as her relationships in Manhattan Theatre Club’s Broadway presentation of Donald Margulies’ new play Time Stands Still.

Surviving a coma and the explosion that killed her interpreter/lover and left the right side of her face scarred from shrapnel, Sarah returns to the apartment she shares with long-time, live-in boyfriend and fellow journalist James Dodd (Brian D’Arcy James). Welcoming her home are Richard Ehrlich (Eric Bogosiam), her editor at the magazine, and also her former lover, and his new, very much younger, event-planner girlfriend Mandy Bloom (a very engaging Alicia Silverstone) who is pregnant.

The bombing has put things in perspective for James, riddled with guilt for having left Sarah in the field prior to the bombing. He wants to marry her, give up the globe-trotting existence of a war correspondent and settle down for a normal life with kids.

Meanwhile, Richard ties the knot with Mandy, whom Sarah thinks is rather simple and not up to the intellectual speed of the rest of the group. The naïve know-nothing is the one who asks the hard questions, though, like how can Sarah stay behind her lens and photograph all the suffering she sees without putting the camera down to help the person in need? A journalist’s job is to record so others will know what is happening, Sarah quickly replies, not to change the events. She can’t think about what she’s photographing—time just stands still. The realization that she lives off the suffering of strangers does give her pause, however.

It soon becomes apparent that the “stay distant” philosophy applies to James too. She’s willing to view the relationship through the safety of a lens, but isn’t willing to step into the picture frame. She agrees to marry him, more out of gratitude than real affection, which she had transferred to the lover lost in the bombing. When Richard suggests a book featuring a collage of Sarah’s photographs and James’ written recollections, the flaws in their relationship are exposed.
The performances, directed by Daniel Sullivan, are good and Linney particularly masters sarcastic tones that make even one-word responses very funny. While I found Margulies’ play interesting because it touches upon ethics questions long a part of my life as a journalist, I’m not sure the regular theater-goer will be so interested as there isn’t much plot other than exploring the minds of the characters. At the end of Act One, I wondered why we needed an Act 2. Margulies does comes through with an interesting second half, but again, perhaps only if you’re interested in the journalistic questions that arise.

Sarah is feisty, and a talented photographer, but pretty rude and self-absorbed and we wonder what James and Richard (never mind the dead interpreter) ever saw in her. Mandy, who wishes James and Sarah could see beauty instead of misery all the time, seems to be the smartest one around.

The apartment set created by John Lee Beatty is rather drab with a few “exotic” pieces presumably from some of the couple’s overseas travels scattered about, but lacks any touches you would expect from a photographer with an artistic eye who has lived there for years, like maybe some photographs. Could it be that this is evidence of Sarah’s lack of involvement in the relationship? Perhaps.

Time Stands Still plays through March 27 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St., NYC. Tickets are available by visiting Special discounted group tickets are available for friends of Masterwork Productions at

Christians might also like to know:
• The couple lives together, but are not married
• Lord’s name taken in vain
• Language
• Film clip depicting violence

Tickets for Cirque du Soleil's 'OVO' are on Sale

The Wall Act.Benoit Fontaine © 2009 Cirque du Soleil Inc.
Tickets now are available to the general public for Cirque du Soleil's New York spring big top production OVO which premieres Friday, April 9 under the trademark blue-and-yellow Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) for a limited engagement at Randall’s Island Park. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 800-450-1480.

Ovo means “egg” in Portuguese. This timeless symbol of the life cycle and birth of numerous insects represents the underlying thread of the show. Graphically, OVO hides an insect in its name: The two letter “Os” represent the eyes while the letter “V” forms the nose.

The show is a headlong rush into a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, eat, crawl, flutter, play, fight and look for love in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. The insects’ home is a world of biodiversity and beauty filled with noisy action and moments of quiet emotion.

When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the insects are awestruck and intensely curious about this iconic object that represents the enigma and cycles of their lives. It’s love at first sight when a gawky, quirky insect arrives in this bustling community and a fabulous ladybug catches his eye – and the feeling is mutual.

OVO is overflowing with contrasts. The hidden, secret world at our feet is revealed as tender and torrid, noisy and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. And as the sun rises on a bright new day the vibrant cycle of insect life begins anew.
The cast of OVO comprises 54 performing artists from 13 countries and director Deborah Colker, a renowned choreographer, has integrated dance movements into many of the acts in the show. Colker is the first female Director at Cirque du Soleil.

OVO features many acrobatic acts including a stunning flying trapeze act: Six flyers soar 40 feet in the air, making this act the biggest of its kind ever presented under a big top by Cirque du Soleil. It combines many circus disciplines: banquine, Russian swing and swinging chair. The finale features 20 artists running, jumping and leaping up a 24-foot vertical wall.

For more information, visit

Gracewell Prodiuctions

Gracewell Prodiuctions
Producing Inspiring Works in the Arts
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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 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. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other 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 wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly 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.


All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


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 or people of a certain race 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. 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 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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