Thursday, November 8, 2018

Off-Broadway Theater Review: Williston

Kate Grimes and Robert LuPone. Photo: Jeremy Daniel
By Adam Seidel
Directed by Valentina Fratti
Miranda Theatre Company
Through Nov. 10

By Lauren Yarger
Something's not quite right in the small town of Williston, North Dakota.

That much is obvious just from the fact that oil company deal closers Barb (Kate Grimes) and Larry (Robert LuPone) are expected to share quarters in a trailer camp setting (drably designed Graham Kindred, who also designs the lighting). And how is it that their parent company didn't let them know that they were sending a new numbers guy, Tom (Drew Ledbetter) to bring in the lease on one of the largest and possibly most productive tracts of land? After all, the killer team of Barb and Larry has been working for years on "Indian Jim," the Native American holdout who is reluctant to allow drilling on his land.

Playwright Adam Seidel crafts a nifty three-hander where everything and everyone is not as it seems. A greedy corporate message takes a back seat in this work to the interaction among characters. We think we might know them. They may even think they know themselves, but when push comes to shove, .what they are willing to do to get ahead, make a buck and grab some power surprises all.

Deftly directed by Valentina Fratti, the actors are given the freedom to unwrap layers. Fratti keeps the action moving around the small stage to mimic the ever-changing status of the characters and their relationships to each other.  We even experience a meeting where six other people are unseen.

Grimes goes deep as the seasoned woman who knows how to hold her own and get ahead in a man's world. There are hints at more than just a business relationship between her and long-time collaborator, Larry. LuPone portrays a tough guy on the outside, but stuns with the revelation of a scared vulnerable man just under the surface.  Ledbetter strikes a nice balance between his character's innocent newbie facade and the ruthless power grabber who hides waiting for a chance to strike without mercy.

Just how far are people willing to go? In Williston, pretty far...

The limited run plays at IATI Theatre, 64 E 4th St., NYC, through Nov. 10 There is a clever surprise takeaway at the conclusion of the 90-minute production.

Additional Credits: costume design by Matsy Stinson, sound design by Margaret Montagna.

-- Language (lots of it)
-- Lord's name taken in vain (lots of times)

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: The Waverly Gallery -- TOP PICK

Lucas Hedges, Elaine May, Joan Allen, David Cromer, Michael Cera. Photo: Brigitte Lacombe
The Waverly Gallery
By Kenneth Lonergan
Directed by Lila Neugebauer
Golden Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
The Waverly Gallery in Greenwich Village has seen better days, It's not longer a vital part of the art landscape. No one comes in or thinks what it has to offer is important. The same can be said for its owner, elderly Gladys Green, played with astonishing alacrity and pathos by Elaine May, who no doubt will be nominated for a Tony.

With her mind and hearing fading, Gladys spends her days at the gallery passing time waiting for someone to come in and buy the less than exciting art displayed on its walls. When she's not there, she lives in an apartment behind the shop. As her health deteriorates, the anxiety of her family increases, especially as she repeats family stories ad nauseam and keeps messing with her hearing aid settings so the family has to incessantly yell or adjust them for her. Her grandson, Daniel (Lucas Hedges, who snagged an Oscar nomination for his role in playwright Kenneth Lonergan's film "Manchester by the Sea," making a noteworthy Broadway debut) lives next door and increasingly spends sleepless nights as his grandmother rings his bell to check in or ask for help.

Daughter Ellen Fine (a fabulous Joan Allen) knows what needs to happen. Her mother can't be on her own and must move in with her and her husband, Howard (a jovial David Cromer getting some time on stage instead of off stage where he has distinguished himself as one of Broadway's finest directors). She dreads it, though, and doesn't think she will survive the arrangement.  The family gets a little help from Don Bowman (Michael Cera), an awkward guy from Boston who fancies himself a talented artist. Gladys offers him a place to stay and his dream come true: a show in a Greenwich Village gallery. Don helps look after Gladys a bit, but disaster strikes when the building owner decides to turn the gallery into a restaurant and gives Gladys her notice.

The story is told through the eyes of Daniel, who steps out of the action (with excellent lighting by Brian MacDevitt)  to serve as a narrator from time to time. His rapport with the audience is not severed when he returns to the action and we cannot help but appreciate his subtle humor.

David Zinn's set creates a feeling of imposing doom as a second story of brick towers above the gallery location with exterior walls blocking escape. Director Lila Neugebauer expertly guides time passages and our heart breaks as Gladys deteriorates. Allen's performance as the daughter torn between loves, duty and despair is gut-wrenching. May's fear as she realizes what is happening to her -- then when she doesn't understand any more what is happening to her -- is palpable. The 86-year-old gives a bold, extraordinary performance that should not be missed.

May's iconic show An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May played the Golden Theatre  in 1960. She is a Grammy Award winner and an Academy and Golden Globe Award nominee (and like I said, be will be adding Tony-Award nominee to that in May...)

Lonergan's script is a delight. He packs an amazing amount of character development, engaging dialogue and emotion in to just two hours and 10 minutes. It deserved its Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2000.

More information:
The Waverly Gallery plays at the John Golden Theatre, 252 W, 45th St., NYC.

Additional Credits:
Ann Roth (Costume Design), Leon Rothenberg (Sound Design), Tal Yarden (Projection Design) and Luc Verschueren and Campbell Young Associates (Hair and Makeup Design).

--God's name taken in vain

Listen to my review on the radio at

Broadway Theater Review: The Ferryman

The company. Photo: Joan Marcus
The Ferryman
© 2018 Joan Mar
The Ferryman
By Jez Butterworth
Directed by Sam Mendes.
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
It's 1981 in Northern Ireland and the happy Carney clan has gathered for the harvest, but the local priest (Charles Dale) and an ominous visitor  from the IRA (Stuart Graham) threaten their happy celebrations. The family finally discovers what happened to their beloved Seamus, who disappeared more 20 years ago, leaving behind his wife, Caitlyn (Laura Donnelly) and son, Oison (Rob Malone). 

They stayed on with Seamus's brother Quinn (Paddy Considine) and his invalid wife, Mary (Genevieve O'Reilly) and their seven children (one of whom is a baby who charms the entire audience). Filling out the household, in which playwright Jez Butterworth evokes the best of the eclectic family of You Can't Take It with You, are humorous Uncle Pat (an engaging Mark Lambert), not to be confused with Aunt Pat (Dearbhla Molloy) and Aunt Maggie Far Away (Fionnula Flanagan), the elderly aunt who entertains the children with her adventures in other times and places as she fades in and out of dementia while parked just off the action in her wheelchair. 

A slow-witted Englishman named Tom Kettle (Justin Edwards) and some visiting Corcoran cousins, including Shane (Tom Glynn-Carney), who might have ties with Seamas's disappearance, add to the tension -- and the crowd on stage. Rounding out the ensemble are Dean Ashton, Glynis Bell, Peter Bradbury, Trevor Harrison Braun, Sean Frank Coffey, Will Coombs, Gina Costigan,  Fra Fee, Carly Gold, Cooper Gomes, Holly Gould, Carla Langley, Matilda Lawler, Conor MacNeill, Michael McArthur, Willow McCarthy, Colin McPhillamy, Bella May Mordus, Griffin Osborne, Brooklyn Shuck, Glenn Speers, Rafael West Vallés, and Niall Wright.

Sam Mendes directs the Royal Court Theatre production with excellence, setting an undercurrent of unrest despite the seemingly happy existence of the family, marked by singing, dancing (choreography by Scarlett Mackmin) and cute animals trained by William Berloni. But inside, dark secrets threaten to cloud the external. The ferryman, after all, is a reference to Caron, the mythologcal transporter of souls across the River Styx. A surprise twist at the end of the three-hour, 15 minute run will have you gasping.

Rob Howell helps create the atmosphere with scenic and costume design, aided by Peter Mumford;s lighting design), Nick Powell's sound design and original music.

More information:
The Ferryman opened at The Royal Court in May 2017 and was the fastest selling play in the theater’s history. The sold-out show transferred to the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End. In London, The Ferryman won three 2018 Olivier Awards, including Best New Play (marking Butterworth’s second Olivier win), Best Actress Donnelly and Best Director  Mendes (marking his fourth Olivier win). 

The Ferryman runs at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., NYC.

Additional credits:
Tim Hoare (associate director), Benjamin Endsley Klein (resident director), Campbell Young Associates (hair, wigs and makeup design), Terry King (UK fight director), Thomas Schall (US fight director), Majella Hurley (UK dialect coach), and Deborah Hecht (US dialect coach).

-- Language
-- Violence
-- God's name taken in vain

Listen to my review of The Ferryman on radio:

Monday, September 24, 2018

New Victory Theatre Will Present Stage Version of Sendak's 'Where the Wild Things Are'

The Maurice Sendak Foundation announced that it has commissioned the first major and only full-length stage play adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. 

This stage adaptation follows a 1984 opera and 2009 film based on the classic children’s story. The New Victory Theater (a project of The New 42nd Street),New York City's premier performing arts nonprofit entirely devoted to kids and families, has committed to produce the play, marking its first foray into original production. The creative team for the production is in formation and will be announced at a later date.

The Foundation commissioned Sendak’s dear friend and collaborator, Arthur Yorinks, to write the script.

The Foundation remains steadfast in preserving Maurice Sendak’s artistic legacy and will remaster and reissue Sendak’s books with publishing partner HarperCollins in the coming years. Earlier this month, HarperCollins published Presto and Zesto in Limboland, a book discovered years after Sendak’s passing, co-authored by Arthur Yorinks. This is the third book collaboration for Yorinks and Sendak, predated by The Miami Giant (1995) and Mommy? (2006).

The University of Connecticut will house all Sendak’s book art in the Northeast Children’s Literature Collection by March 2019. Construction on an archive attached to Sendak’s Connecticut home has also been completed and will open to the public, by appointment only, in late 2019. This archive will house the rest of Sendak’s art. Additionally, the Sendak Fellowship & Workshop that has been a part of the Foundation since Sendak was alive will continue in 2019, taking place on the grounds of his home.

For more information on The Maurice Sendak Foundation visit For more information on Yorinks visit

The New Victory Theatre is located at 209 West 42nd St., NYC. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

New York City Children’s Theater Announces 22nd Season

In its 22nd season, New York City Children’s Theater (NYCCT) will premiere three theater productions for families that celebrate the power of imagination
Join NYCCT for three original, entertaining and enriching theater productions and along the way you'll help a friend who has trouble falling asleep, learn why some fairy tales never get old and live out your dreams without leaving your room.
Our 2018-19 season will also include classes, story time events and more!
Stanley always has trouble falling asleep - even counting sheep doesn't help! When he receives an invitation to visit the Kingdom of Pillowland, he sets off on an exciting adventure with his friends Finn, Quinn and you!

From the company that brought you Please Bring Balloons comes a new interactive play for your youngest theatergoers based on the hit song by Laurie Berkner.

Written by Barbara Zinn Krieger (Ballerina Swan)
Devised by Jonathan Shmidt Chapman (Up and Away)
Directed by Khalia Davis (Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt)
Based on the song by Laurie Berkner

The Pete at The Flea Theater | 20 Thomas Street, NYC 10007

Select Sundays through April 14th at 10am and 12pm.

Best for ages 2-5 | Tickets: $25.00

The Emperor’s New Clothes and More Magical Stories by Hans Christian Andersen
A normal day at the park becomes so much more when a young girl gets swept away into four of Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tales: The Princess and the Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Nightingale and The Ugly Duckling.

The company that brought you Interstellar Cinderellainvites you to discover why some fairy tales never get old.

Adapted for the Stage by Barbara Zinn Krieger (Interstellar Cinderella, Wanda’s Monster)
Devised and Directed by Adrienne Kapstein (War Horse, Wanda’s Monster)
Original Music by Charles Greenberg (Young Charles Dickens)

Playing at Theatre Row, a program of Building for the Arts NY, Inc.
410 West 42nd Street, NYC 10036

November 24th - December 22nd
Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 2pm

Best for ages 5-8 | Tickets starting at $29.25

This is Sadie
What do you do when you get up before your parents on a Saturday morning? If you’re six-year-old Sadie, you take your favorite stuffed animal on a world-wide adventure, without ever leaving your bedroom!

From the company that brought you Ballerina Swan and the Nutcracker comes a new dance/theater show that celebrates the power of imagination!

Choreographed by Stephanie Klemons (Hamilton)
Scenario by Barbara Zinn Krieger (Ballerina Swan and the Nutcracker)
Based on the book by Sara O’Leary

Playing at Theatre Row, a program of Building for the Arts NY, Inc.
410 West 42nd Street, NYC 10036

March 30th - April 21st
Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 2pm

Best for ages 3-8 | Tickets starting at $29.25

“Our beloved Artistic Director and Founder, Barbara Zinn Krieger, has worked with fantastic, established artists to create three world premiere productions that promise to delight families this season. Our shows will demonstrate to young theatergoers that curiosity, collaboration and a sense of wonder are all tools that can help change their world.” - Andrew Frank, Executive Director
Engage with Us:
Join us for pre-show activities in the lobby before every performance and take a picture with the cast after every performance!
Talk about the show with the cast and/or members of the creative team after select performances. See which performances include talkbacks here:
Engage with NYCCT on social media: Facebook,InstagramTwitterPinterestYoutube
#NYCCT | #IfYouImagine | #ImaginewithNYCCT 
Sensory Friendly Performances:
December 9th at 11am | The Emperor’s New Clothes…
April 13th at 11am | This is Sadie
For more information on sensory friendly performances, visit:
Group Sales:
Save 15% or more by bringing 10 or more people to a show! Visit or email for more information.
Also Happening This Season at NYCCT:
Boogie Woogie Books
Come play, sing and boogie woogie with New York City Children’s Theater!
Children up to 5 years of age and their grown ups will explore children’s books through live music, songs, movement and imaginative play in these 45-minute fun-filled classes!
Fall Session | September 22nd - November 17th
Spring Session | January 12th - March 16th
Park Avenue United Methodist Church 106 East 86th St, New York, NY 10028
To register, visit or call 646-250-1178
Story Time at Strand Books  
Join us throughout the year for a reading of a children’s book complimented by a craft and/or music class.

Pillowland | Saturday, September 15th at 11am
Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales | Saturday, November 17th at 11am
This is Sadie | Saturday, March 16th at 11am
Harvey, the Child Mime | Saturday, June 15th at 11am

Middle School Playwriting Competition

Now in its 5th Year!

NYCCT is seeking short plays from some of the most talented playwrights in New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut: Middle School Students!                 
Five (5) grand prize winners will receive a staged reading of their play, performed by professional actors at Theatre Row in May 2019, as well as another weekend of staged readings with Broadway pros in CT sponsored by The New Paradigm Theatre. Every entry will receive feedback from a theater professional.

For more information on the competition, please visit:       

About New York City Children’s Theater:
New York City Children’s Theater programs cultivate children’s growth in the areas of emotional intelligence, community building and responsible decision-making. The result is empathetic, creative and independent thinkers who make a positive impact on their world.
In 1996, New York City Children’s Theater began as the family theater and education program of the Tony Award-winning Vineyard Theatre. It became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2001.

For more than 20 years, our local and nationally recognized arts-in-education programs and professional theater productions have served over 300,000 children and adults across all five boroughs and surrounding communities in the tri-state area.

Friday, July 20, 2018

NY Theater Review: The Peculiar Patriot TOP PICK

Liza Jessie Peterson. Photo: Garlia C. Jones-Ly

The Peculiar Patriot
Written and performed by Liza Jessie Peterson
Directed by Talvin Wilks
National Black Theatre
Through July 29

By Lauren Yarger
We all get a chance to pull up a seat at a table in the visitor's room of a prison in Liza Jessie Peterson's gripping look at incarceration, The Peculiar Patriot, getting a remount at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre.

Hi-Arts co-produces the production, which recently received a $100,000 grant from the Agnes Gund’s Art for Justice Fund, Playwright Peterson stars in the passionate one-woman drama directed with precision by Talvin Wilks.

Peterson is Betsy LaQuanda Ross (her moniker is the inspiration for the play's title), who regularly visits incarcerated friends and family members. Entering the visiting room (starkly designed and lighted by Maruti Evans), Betsy interacts with guards who frisk her down, greets other visitors their seeing loved ones and then focuses on boosting the morale of her best friend who has about two more years to go on her unjust sentence. Betsy brings news of the woman's three children, happenings in their neighborhood and updates about her own relationship with new beau, the good looking, poetic, political philosopher Pablo. Begrudgingly, she also gives updates about her ex, Curtis, whom her BFF seems to feel is somehow in the picture despite her protests that he is old news.

Now, re-read that last paragraph and remember that this is a one-woman play. Peterson is so absorbing in her portrayal, that we could swear we just witnessed a conversation between two characters sitting at the table. All of the people mentioned come to life in our imagination, or by character changes as Peterson, helped by sound effects (Luqman Brown, design) and projections (designed by Katherine Freer) also portrays Pablo and Curtis.

The huge problems of mass incarceration, from African Americans being wrongly convicted or getting stiffer sentences than white offenders to the profit-motivated consequences of outsourcing prisons and their services to private companies is covered in the conversations without becoming preachy (the more politically motivated agenda comes in a forced talk-back session that follows every show). The set up might be different, but message is that slavery is alive and well thanks to today's prison system.

Like her patriotic namesake, Betsy sews. She recently returned to quilting, an interest she picked up from a woman who was a positive interest in her life. The woman helped her through time in detention and juvenile hall and steered the daughter of a black panther toward pursuing an existence outside of prison walls, Betsy's quilt, which she brings with her on the visits, includes squares for those who are incarcerated. Her best friend's has a full moon to show her potential, a shooting star for each of her three beloved children and a yellow ribbon to show that she will be coming home soon, The lives of those incarcerated become woven together with Betsy's as her needle sews s story of monotony, injustice and despair.

Though much of the 90 minutes is intense and deeply moving, Peterson keeps the tale from becoming depressing by including a lot of humor. The story rings true, not only because of the exceptional writing, acting and directing, but because Peterson brings real-life experience to the tale. She worked for nearly two decades at Riker's Island in various capacities. Peterson also was in Ava DuVernay’s documentary "13th" and was a consultant on the Bill Moyers’ PBS documentary "RIKERS."

The production at the National Black Theatre, 2031 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th streets in Harlem, runs through July 29 prior to a tour planned this fall.  Performances are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7:30 pm; Saturday at 2 pm; Sunday at 4 pm. Tickets are $35:

Additional information:

Additional credits:
LaToya Murray-Berry (Costumes); Belynda Hardin (Props)

--Language (and the "N" word is used)
-- God's name used in vain

If You're Feeling Desperate, Be Kind

By Lauren Yarger
Composer David Friedman is part of the Desperate Measures team making people laugh at Shakespeare over at New World Stages. Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Off-Broadway  Musical and the Drama desk Awards for Outstanding Music (Friedman) and Lyrics (Peter Kellogg), the wild western take on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure is a silly fun in the midst of desperate times.

Friedman continues his positive message in a book called "We Can Be Kind: Healing Our World One Kindness at a Time" (Mango, 2017). Chapter titles like "So Many Hurts that Happen every Day," "How Do We Make it Better," "The Power to Heal is Right Here in Our Hand" come are taken from Friedman's song "We Can Be Kind."

It's a charming collections of thoughts and hope. Friedman challenges readers to consider what they and others encounter every day and to make something positive come from it. Though the book is diminutive (it is 5 1/2 by 7 inches) it has a big impact. Friedman doesn't preach, he reasons. To quote him:
  • Pain is certainly a big part of our lives, whether we choose to notice it or not.
  • The next time an event occurs which you automatically think of as bad, stop and say to yourself, " do not know what this is for." See if you can hold the idea that good can come out of it in ways you can't imagine."
  • The next time you find yourself in a situation that appears to be hopeless, where there seems to be no solution, try to become aware that you are not alone.
The combination of positive philosophy and lyrical verse is soothing and uplifitng. It's just the kind of thing many people are desperate for in times where many events can appear overwhelming.

The book is available for purchase here.

For a fun, feel-good experience at the theater, see Desperate Measures at New World Stages. Desperate Measures, with music by Friedman (Listen To My Heart), book and lyrics by Kellogg (Anna Karenina), and direction by Bill Castellino, is a hilarious new musical inspired by Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Set in the 1890s Wild West,  it is the tale of Johnny Blood (Conor Ryan), a handsome young man whose life is in danger over a saloon brawl. Johnny must put his fate into the hands of a colorful cast of characters including a wily sheriff (Peter Saide), an eccentric priest (Gary Marachek), a authoritarian governor (Nick Wyman ), a saloon girl gone good (Lauren Molina), and a nun out of the habit (Sarah Parnicky) as they all struggle to decide Johnny's fate. Laws are broken and hearts are won as they try to find justice in a world that often doesn' seem just. Sound familiar?

Desperate Measures plays New World Stages, 340 West 50th St., NYC.. Performances are Monday at 7 pm; Wednesday at 7 pm; Thursday at 2 and 7 pm; Friday at 8 pm; Saturday at 2 and 8 pm; Sunday at 3 pm.Tickets are $59- $89.

The soundtrack has just been released. You can find it here.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

While You are Seeing Theater in DC, Stop By the Museum of the Bible

World Stage Theater located on the fifth floor of Museum of the Bible. 

By Lauren Yarger
Many of you ask about tourist destinations to visit while you are taking in theater. For those of you seeing theater in the Washington, DC area, one stop to consider is the new Bible Museum.

The facility itself, which opened almost a year ago,  is quite impressive with a well-thought-out building. The operations of the world's largest museum dedicated to the bible were still getting their feet wet when I visited shortly after it opened. (I'd love to hear from any readers who had more recent experiences at the museum).

Spearheading the effort to bring the bible to the midst of tourist-drenched DC is Co-founder and Chairman of the Board Steve Green, owner of the Hobby Lobby store chain. Indeed, many of the museum's exhibits come from his private collection of artifacts collected over many years. Approximately 1150 items from the museum’s permanent collection are on display with another 2,000 items on loan from other institutions and collections. 

The Museum Collections include artifacts and objects from a range of cultures and time periods, from the Ancient Near East to the modern period. The permanent collection focuses on biblical items, manuscripts, printed Bibles and books, and art. These collections allow the Museum of the Bible to convey the global impact and compelling history of the Bible in a unique and powerful way.

Controversy over the provenance of some of the items in Green's collection has resulted in an extended vetting process before items are put on display according to museum officials. An artifact's provenance is the history of its ownership and location, from its creation or place of modern discovery to the present. This history helps to verify the authenticity and importance of an artifact. It also contributes to understanding how an object was used over time. 

The museum has explained its process in this way:

"Two areas are of special concern for museums in general and for Museum of the Bible (MOTB) in particular: first, items that may have been subject to Nazi-era looting in Europe from 1933–1945, and second, ancient objects that may have originated in source nations or in areas of modern conflict, such as modern-day Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Museum of the Bible, in consultation with cultural heritage and legal experts, has developed procedures for researching and investigating objects with potentially difficult histories in areas of turmoil. In doing so, Museum of the Bible has made a firm commitment to ethical collecting and to acknowledging objects in its collection that may have entered the market as a result of war, looting, or colonial practice."

Museum of the Bible’s acquisition policy, adopted in 2016, can be viewed here.

A quick overview:
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum offers special exhibits, some long-term, some limited in time, some at a cost additional to admission. Current and upcoming special exhibits include:

  • The People of the Land: History and Archaeology of Ancient Israel
  • Treasures from the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library
  • The Wiedmann Bible
  • Pilgrim Preacher: Billy Graham, the Bible, and the Challenges of the Modern World
  • Jerusalem and Rome: Cultures in Context in the First Century CE

The museum also offers a number of special events in its 472-seat, state-of-the-artWorld Stage Theater, which is, I admit, what drew me to visit the museum. The national Broadway tour of Amazing Grace premiered with a run there and was followed by concerts by a Christian singing group. 

In addition, some exhibits included costumed characters explaining life style and history. There are some film presentations available in seated areas and visitors can enjoy a break at the cafe or gift shop. The top floor offers some space for groups to hold events.

My quick take:
It has been a while since my visit, so I am hoping things have smoothed out as the museum has gotten up and running. For me, the exhibits in the eight-story, 430,000-square-foot museum seemed limited and rather unimpressive. As more items are cleared for the collection and it grows, I am sure the permanent collections will seem more impressive.  I thoughts special exhibits, all of rather short duration, should have been included in the admission price, including "Washington Revelations," a disappointing special interactive ride that allowed participants to feel they were flying around DC to see biblical quotes on buildings throughout the city.  The concert I saw was attended by six or seven people. Here's hoping the space will get some use -- and bring in some audience members.

Communications overall have been difficult with folks reporting they are unable to find information, both via email or phone. This may improve with increased, experienced staffing.  See below for ticketing information and hours and other information including how to support the museum, which does not receive government funding, Its support comes from private donations, memberships and admissions.

I don't want to sound negative too here, but I know my readers want honesty. and I do feel there were kinks to work out. There is great benefit in taking in the exhibits and to a bible presence in the middle of our nation's capital, however, so do check it out if you are in the area.

Visit The Bible Museum, 400 4th St SW, Washington, DC, at

Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am to 5 pm

Suggested admission prices:
Adult $19.95; Child (12 and under) $9.95
* Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Become a member here.

Upper Gallery and World Stage Theater – 6th Floor of Museum of the Bible 

Bible in America exhibit 

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Harry Potter, Spongebob, Admissions, Desperate Measures Win Top Drama Desk Categories

Photo: Matthew Murray
Outstanding Play
**Admissions, by Joshua Harmon, Lincoln Center Theater
Mary Jane, by Amy Herzog, New York Theatre Workshop
Miles for Mary, by The Mad Ones, Playwrights Horizons
People, Places & Things, by Duncan Macmillan, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, by Jocelyn Bioh, MCC Theater
Outstanding Musical
Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theatre Company/Woodshed Collective
Mean Girls
Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
**SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Revival of a Play
**Angels in America
Hindle Wakes, Mint Theater Company
In the Blood, Signature Theatre Company
Three Tall Women
Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factory/Roundabout Theatre Company
Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Amerike-The Golden Land, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
**My Fair Lady
Once on This Island
Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Actor in a Play
Johnny Flynn, Hangmen, Royal Court Theatre/Atlantic Theater Company
**Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Tom Hollander, Travesties, Menier Chocolate Factor/Roundabout Theatre Company
James McArdle, Angels in America
Paul Sparks, At Home at the Zoo, Signature Theatre Company
Outstanding Actress in a Play
Carrie Coon, Mary Jane, New York Theatre Workshop
Denise Gough, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
**Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women
Billie Piper, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Jelani Alladin, Frozen
Harry Hadden-Paton, My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry, Carousel
Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones, the cell
**Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Gizel Jiménez, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
LaChanze, Summer
**Jessie Mueller, Carousel
Ashley Park, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater

Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play
Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ben Edelman, Admissions, Lincoln Center Theater
Brian Tyree Henry, Lobby Hero, Second Stage
**Nathan Lane, Angels in America
David Morse, The Iceman Cometh
Gregg Mozgala, Cost of Living, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Jocelyn Bioh, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
**Jamie Brewer, Amy and the Orphans, Roundabout Underground
Barbara Marten, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Deirdre O'Connell, Fulfillment Center, Manhattan Theatre Club
Constance Shulman, Bobbie Clearly, Roundabout Underground
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical
Damon Daunno, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova
Alexander Gemignani, Carousel
Grey Henson, Mean Girls
**Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants
Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical
**Lindsay Mendez, Carousel
Kenita R. Miller, Once on This Island
Ashley Park, Mean Girls
Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady
Kate Rockwell, Mean Girls
Outstanding Director of a Play
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Jeremy Herrin, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Joe Mantello, Three Tall Women
Lila Neugebauer, Miles for Mary, Playwrights Horizons
Simon Stone, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
**John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Director of a Musical
Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Teddy Bergman, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Jack O'Brien, Carousel
**Tina Landau, SpongeBob SquarePants
Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady
The LaDuca Award for Outstanding Choreography
Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island
Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants
Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls
**Justin Peck, Carousel
Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air, Abingdon Theatre Company
Outstanding Music
The Bengsons, The Lucky Ones, Ars Nova/Piece by Piece Productions/Z Space
Ben Caplan, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
**David Friedman, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, The Public Theater
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective
Outstanding Lyrics
Nell Benjamin, Mean Girls
Quiara Alegría Hudes/Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theatre
**Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, The York Theatre Company
Helen Park, Max Vernon, KPOP, Ars Nova/Ma-Yi Theater Company/Woodshed Collective

Outstanding Book of a Musical
**Tina Fey, Mean Girls
Kyle Jarrow, SpongeBob Squarepants
Peter Kellogg, Desperate Measures, York Theatre Company
Hannah Moscovitch, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre/59E59
Outstanding Orchestrations
Tom Kitt, SpongeBob SquarePants
Annmarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin (John Bertles and Bash the Trash, found instrument design)Once on This Island
Charlie Rosen, Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell, Public Theater
Jonathan Tunick, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
**Jonathan Tunick, Carousel
Outstanding Music in a Play
**Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Justin Hicks, Mlima's Tale, Public Theatre
Amatus Karim-Ali, The Homecoming Queen, Atlantic Theater Company
Justin Levine, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Public Theater
Adrian Sutton, Angels in America
The Hudson Scenic Studio Award for Outstanding Set Design of a Play
**Miriam Buether, Three Tall Women
Bunny Christie, People, Places & Things, St. Ann's Warehouse/National Theatre/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Lizzie Clachan, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Maruti Evans, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Louisa Thompson, In the Blood, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Set Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2b Theatre Company/59E59
Beowulf Boritt, Prince of Broadway, Manhattan Theatre Club
Dane Laffrey, Once on This Island
Santo Loquasto, Carousel
**David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
Outstanding Costume Design for a Play
Dede M. Ayite, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
**Jonathan Fensom, Farinelli and the King
Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Ann Roth, Three Tall Women
Emilio Sosa, Venus, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Mean Girls
Clint Ramos, Once on This Island
David Zinn, SpongeBob SquarePants
**Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady
Dede M. Ayite, Bella: An American Tall Tale, Playwrights Horizons
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play
**Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Natasha Chivers, 1984
Alan C. Edwards, Kill Move Paradise, National Black Theatre
Paul Gallo, Three Tall Women
Paul Russell, Farinelli and the King
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Musical
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story, 2B Theatre Company/59E59
Amith ChandrashakerThe Lucky Ones
**Jules Fisher, Peggy Eisenhauer, Once on This Island
Brian MacDevitt, Carousel
Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Woodshed Collective

Outstanding Projection Design
David Bengali, Van Gogh's Ear, Ensemble for the Romantic Century
Andrezj Goulding, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Peter Nigrini, SpongeBob SquarePants
Finn Ross and Adam Young, Mean Girls
**Finn Ross and Ash J. Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
Brendan Aanes, Balls, One Year Lease Theater Company/Stages Repertory Theatre/59E59
**Gareth Fry, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tom Gibbons, 1984
Tom Gibbons, People, Places & Things, National Theatre/St. Ann's Warehouse/Bryan Singer Productions/Headlong
Stefan Gregory, Yerma, Young Vic/Park Avenue Armory
Palmer Hefferan, Today is My Birthday, Page 73 Productions
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical
**Kai Harada, The Band's Visit
Scott Lehrer, Carousel
Will Pickens, KPOP, Ars Nova, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Woodshed Collective
Dan Moses Schreier, Pacific Overtures, Classic Stage Company
Outstanding Wig and Hair
Carole Hancock, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Campbell Young Associates, Farinelli and the King
Cookie Jordan, School Girls; or The African Mean Girls Play, MCC Theater
**Charles G. LaPointe, SpongeBob SquarePants
Josh Marquette, Mean Girls
Outstanding Solo Performance
**Billy Crudup, Harry Clarke, Vineyard Theatre
David Greenspan, Strange Interlude, Transport Group
Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Lesli Margherita, Who's Holiday!
Sophie Melville, Iphigenia in Splott, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff/59E59
The Chase Award for Unique Theatrical Experience
**Derren Brown: Secret, Atlantic Theater Company
Master, Foundry Theatre
Say Something Bunny!
Outstanding Fight Choreography
J. David Brimmer, Is God Is, Soho Rep
**Steve Rankin, Carousel
Unkle Dave's Fight House, Oedipus El Rey, The Public Theater/The Sol Project
Outstanding Puppet Design
Finn Caldwell, Nick Barnes, Angels in America
**Michael Curry, Frozen
Charlie Kanev, Sarah Nolen, and Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Vandy Wood, The Artificial Jungle, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers
To Sean Carvajal and Edi Gathegi of Jesus Hopped the A Train ­­whose last-minute entrances into the Signature production of this powerful play ensured it had a happy real-life ending
Ensemble Award: To Nabiyah Be, MaameYaa Boafo, Paige Gilbert, Zainab Jah, Níkẹ Uche Kadri, Abena Mensah-Bonsu, Mirirai Sithole, and Myra Lucretia Taylor of School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play, whose characters learn the facts of life but whose portrayers taught us all a thing or two about the way things are.
Sam Norkin Award: To Juan Castano, whose varied performances this season in Oedipus El ReyA Parallelogram, and Transfers not only make a complex statement about American life but also indicate great things to come for this talented performer.

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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