Monday, April 30, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: St. Joan

Condola Rashad. Photo: Joan Marcus
Saint Joan
By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Manhattan Theatre Club
Through June 10


By Lauren Yarger
George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, which doesn't get too many productions, has found its way to a Broadway staging thanks to Manhattan Theatre Club.

While it's always a welcome treat to see plays featuring strong women characters on Broadway, Shaw's 1923 work about the 15th-Century religious martyr might not be the best choice. Most of its stage time, like most plays, goes to the men. Whole scenes feature the men talking about Joan or reacting to Joan, but not much time is given to the development of the character of the religious martyr who later received sainthood for her efforts to lead France to victory over the English during the time of the Hundred Years War.

Played here by Condola Rashad, and directed by Daniel Sullivan, the "Maid of Orléans" comes off as somewhat dimwitted and an unfortunate religious zealot. The drama starts when Joan believes she hears the voices of saints Margaret and Catherine, as well as the Archangel Michael, telling her to crown the Dauphin (Adam Chanler-Berat) Charles VII at Reims. Robert de Baudricourt (Patrick Page) and his steward (Robert Stanton) finally are convinced their chickens won't lay eggs until she gets her way.

She leads an attack with Dunois (Daniel Sunjata), who becomes a supporter. Her victories prompt discussion among others, including the Earl of Warwick (Jack Davenport), Chaplain de Stogumber (also Stanton) and the Bishop of Beauvais (Walter Bobbie, marking the theatrical director’s first return to Broadway as an actor in more than 20 years). The only explanation for her success is that Joan is a witch, de Stogumber concludes, and the poor girl, at only about 19 years of age, is burned at the stake.

The two hours and 45 minutes drags mostly because of all of the men talking about and around Joan. I wanted to know more about her. An illiterate, poor country girl who suddenly feels called to lead the armies of France -- and in soldier's garb (Costume Design is by Jane Greenwood)-- is kind of interesting. Or should be.

How did she come to believe the voices were real? With whom did she first share the knowledge? Even though she vows to be obedient to God's calling, are there moments when she doubts? Does she regret her decision never to marry? Was there a young man she ever had hoped to marry? Had she ever hoped to have children?

I am certain marriage and children certainly had been part of the hopes of a young girl in 1500s France, so how did she cope with that loss? How does she develop the skills necessary to survive on the battle field and to inspire her troops to battle? How does she keep the men's spirits up in the face of defeat? Why does she suddenly decide the voices have been wrong and recant her testimony?  

Any of these questions might have been further developed to give us a heroic woman character with many layers and depth of emotion. Instead we are left with woman developed just enough to fuel conversation for the male characters.

Meanwhile if you are wondering whether color-blind casting works here to have an African-American play Joan, I would say yes, without a problem save one line of dialogue that gives us pause. Rashad makes the character -- what there is of her, that is -- her own. A better choice would be to find one of the many plays written by women about women heroes out there and produce that one.

Saint Joan plays at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St., through June 10.

Additional credits:
The design team includes Scott Pask (scenic design), Justin Townsend (lighting design), Obadiah Eaves (sound design), Christopher Ash (projection design), Tom Watson (hair and wig design), Bill Frisell (original music), Deborah Hecht (dialect coach), and Tommy Kurzman (make-up design).

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- No content notes, but I would say this is not going to be for younger kids.

Off-Broadway Theater Review: Mlima's Tale -- TOP PICK

 
Sahr Ngaujaht. Photo: Joan Marcus


Mlima's Tale
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Jo Bonney
The Public Theater
Extended through June 3
By Lauren Yarger
Pulitzer-Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Ruined; Sweat) brings to life an African elephant in the world premiere of Mlima, getting its world premiere at the Public Theater. The production, directed by Jo Bonney, is as visually stunning as the words are poet. 

Mlima (Sahr Ngaujah) is one of the last huge "tuskers" in Kenya (his name means "mountain." He has spent the last years of his life avoiding his wife and children to protect them from poachers who track Mlima for his massive, perfectly symmetrical tusks which will bring bucks on the illegal ivory market. When the poachers finally catch up with Mlima, his spirit follows his tusks as they make their way from the poachers and corrupt government officials to the studio of a sculptor and ultimately, to the home of a wealthy buyer eager to impress visitors to her new apartment with her newly acquired treasure. Mlima's spirit also haunts those who have killed him for greed and marks them with guilt.

Kevin Mambo, Jojo Gonzalez and Ito Aghayere play the various people coming in contact with Mlima and his tusks. Justin Hicks provides music and original composition which, alsong with Sound design by Darron L. West, help set the mood. Riccardo Hernandez's exquisite set design dramatically takes the tale from the plains of Africa to a New York penthouse with simple sliding panels and lighting by Lap Chi Chu.

Nottage, who based the play on an article, "The Ivory Highway" by Damon Tabor, gives Mlima a dynamic voice and lets us see the horrors of the ivory trade without being preachy. She expertly does it all in 80 minutes without an intermission. . Ngaujah skillfully creates a character who is a wild, proud African elephant, but also conveys common human emotions about love, freedom and family. Movement Director Chris Walker and Fight director Thomas Schall help Ngaujah express Mlima in choreography and ballet-like fluidity that allow us to envision a massive elephant on stage. It is truly a remarkable piece of theater.

Mlima's Tale has been extended at the Public Theatre, 425 Lafayette St., NYC through June 3. Perfromances are Tuesday through  Friday at 8 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 8 pm. Tickets start at $85: www.publictheater.org
Additional credits:
Hair and makeup design by Cookie Jordan.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Language
-- Violence

Broadway Theater Review: Travesties

Travesties
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Patrick Marber
Roundabout Theatre Company
Through June 17

By Lauren Yarger
The first scene of Tom Stoppard's Travesties, getting a Broadway run by Roundabout Theatre Company, is all in German and the audience has really no idea who the characters are or what is going on. When the language switches to English, the situation doesn't improve much, unfortunately.

A hodgepodge of characters, among them Lenin (Dan Butler)and James Joyce (Peter McDonald) emerge in the memories of  Zurich during World War I as remembered by an old man, Henry Carr (Tom Hollander). Hollander and McDonald reprise their roles from the Menier Chocolate Factory production which sold out in London's West End, also under the direction of Patrick Marber.

Lenin and Joyce clash with Tristan Tzara (Seth Numbrich), founder of Dada, an avant-garde movement of the time that revolutionized the art world just as Lenin's socialism was transforming governments. They get romantically entwined with Cecily (Sara Topham) and Gwendolyn (Scarlett Strallen) in a case of mistaken identity a la The Importance of Being Ernest (Carr is obsessed with the other guy, Algernon...). Cecily is a librarian in the Zurich library (designed by Tim Hatley, who also designed a period costume for each character).

There is a bunch of philosophy about art, politics, thoughts on perception from an aging memory and even some song and dance thrown in to the mix (Original Music by Sound designer Adam Clark and Movement by Polly Bennett), but it never blends together to form a cohesive work. scenes are repeated (we get that Act-One opener later in English), but nothing seems to click and a play that seems to want to be funny at times, really isn't.

"What is the meaning of this?" Joyce asks about Dada.

"It has no meaning. It is without meaning as Nature is. It is
Dada," responds Tzara.

I guess I could just say this play is Dada. Or maybe I am just really tired of revivals with lots of male characters who don't seem very relevant.  I don't think I was alone. At intermission, in the women's rest room, there dead silence. Let's just say normally you hear chatter about the show as women wait in the very long lines for the the stalls. In the restroom at American Airlines Theatre, you could hear a pin drop. Finally a woman ventured, "You have to really focus. . ." There was no reply.

To be fair, there were some people in the audience who seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely and laughing at lines whose humor was lost on me. A song between Gwendolyn and Cecily had a few amusing twists but was interminable -- like this play which clocks in at two hours and 30 minutes, but feels like about four.

Opal Alladin as Nadya and Patrick Kerr as Bennett, round out the cast of this productions, which plays through June 17 at American Airlines Theatre,  227 west 42nd st., NYC. roundabouttheatre.org

Additional credits:
David Brian Brown, hair and wig design; Meil Auston, lighting design.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Sexually suggestive movement/suggestion

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: Summer (The Donna Summer Musical)




Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
Book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff
Songs by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Jabara and others 
Choreography by Sergio Trujillo
Directed by Des McAnuff 
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre 

By Lauren Yarger
Like the title says,  Summer it is the story of disco queen and music star Donna Summer. Three actresses play Summer at various times in her life: LaChanze (The Color Purple, Once on This Island) as “Diva Donna,” Ariana DeBose (A Bronx Tale, Hamilton) as “Disco Donna” and Storm Lever (Freaky Friday) as “Duckling Donna.” All three are excellent.

The book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff provides highlights from the diva's life without clogging the flow with too much information. Satisfyingly, a portrait of a strong women, who has survived sexual and substance abuse and who is a strong role model emerges (no small feat for three male writers to achieve). There were things I didn't know at all about this singer and I came away with a lot of respect for her. I had always liked her music, which included pop hits like "Love to Love You Baby," MacArthur Park," "On the Radio," "Hot Stuff" and "Last Dance," all of which find themselves performed in the show along with many others, but really hadn't known much about her private life.

I was particularly pleased to find that the writers didn't shy away from Summer's faith. It was a big part of her life and is incorporated in the storytelling (though many people rudely decided to get up and go for a bathroom break when "I Believe in Jesus" was performed.)

The production is very well done. Director Des McAnuff  does a good job of blending the different Donnas and gets excellent performances, both vocally and emotionally from all three.The story is engrossing and the music, under the direction of Victoria Theodore, makes you want to get up and dance. Those on stage get to do some great choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

Summer works hard for the money at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 206 West 46th St., NYC. thedonnasummermusical.com.

Additional casting:
Aaron Krohn as “Neil Bogart,” Ken Robinson  as “Andrew Gaines,” and Jared Zirilli  as “Bruce Sudano.”
Ensemble: Angelica Beliard  Mackenzie Bell ), Kaleigh Cronin, Kimberly Dodson, Anissa Felix , Drew Wildman Foster, Kendal Hartse, Afra Hines, Jenny Laroche, Wonu Ogunfowora, Rebecca Riker, Christina Acosta Robinson, Jessica Rush. Harris M. Turner,Aurelia Michael, Jody Reynard.

Additional credits:
Music supervised by Ron Melrose; sccenic design by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Gareth Owen, projections by Sean Nieuwenhuis.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
-- Some more mature content. I would give it a PG-13 rating.

Carousel, Spongebob Lead Drama Desk Award Nominations

Jessie-Mueller and Joshua-Henry. Photo: Julieta Cervantes
2018 Drama Desk Award Nominations
 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
Carousel
My Fair Lady, Lincoln Center Theater
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 Factory/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, Lincoln Center Theater
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
Jon 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 Nolan, and Jonathan Levin, A Hunger Artist, The Tank/Flint & Tinder
Vandy Wood, The Artificial Jungle, Theatre Breaking Through Barriers
SPECIAL AWARDS
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, Nike 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 inOedipus 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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Broadway Theater Review: My Fair Lady

Lauren Ambrose and Diana Rigg. Photo: Joan Marcus.
My Fair Lady
Music by Frederick Loewe
Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmallion
Choreography by Christopher Gattelli
Directed by Bartlett Sher
Lincoln Center Theater
Through Jan. 6, 2019

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
Lincoln Center Theater’s new production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic directed by Bartlett Sher, who tries hard to make it OK to revive a musical about a man shaping a woman into his ideal in the middle of the #metoo movement. It doesn't work for me, especially the revised ending.

What Are the Highlights?
A cast of 37 and a 29-piece orchestra playing those wonderful tunes like "I Could  Have Danced All Night," "On the Street Where You Live," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" and more. Audience members applauded when the music cued favorite numbers and many hummed along.

Diana Rigg returns to the stage as Mrs. Higgins. She brings humor and grace to the part.

Norbert Leo Butz as Eliza's father commands the stage with his comedic performance that has the audience clapping along as he sings about getting married in the morning.

Jordan Donica brings a dreamy voice and awkward freshness to Freddy Eynsford-Hill. And Alan Coruner is fun a the quintessential Col. Pickering.

What Are the Lowlights?
Changes to a classic are hard. In this case, the blow could have been softened with humor and intelligence while addressing some anti-woman concepts. Instead, Sher opts for a dark atmosphere that results in a negative experience and takes away from the charm of the story.

Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle is miscast and has the appearance of being in pain through most of the performance. She and Henry Haddon-Paton, who gives a nice turn as professor Henry Higgins, have absolutely no chemistry.

The near three-hour run time feels long.

More Information:
My Fair Lady runs at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, 150 West 65th St, NYC. Performance times vary.
Tickets are $97 - $199: myfairladybway.com.

The musical is adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s play and Gabriel Pascal’s motion picture "Pygmalion,"  It premiered on Broadway in 1956.

Additional credits:
Choreography by Christopher Gattelli, Sets by Michael Yeargan, Costumes by Catherine Zuber, Lighting by Donald Holder, Sound by Marc Salzberg, Music Direction by Ted Sperling, who  conducts, , oririginal Musical Arrangements by Robert Russell Bennett and Phil Lang, Dance Arrangements by Trude Rittmann.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY FACTORS:
--Cross dressing

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spongebob Leads Outer Critics Circle Nominations with 11

Outer Critics Circle
2017-2018 Award Nominations

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY
The Children
Farinelli and the King
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Junk

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL
Escape to Margaritaville
Frozen
Mean Girls
Prince of Broadway
SpongeBob SquarePants

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY
Admissions
Cost of Living
Hangmen
The Low Road
Mlima’s Tale

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL
Cruel Intentions
Desperate Measures
Jerry Springer- The Opera
Miss You Like Hell
Woody Sez

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Tina Fey     Mean Girls
Quiara Alegría Hudes     Miss You Like Hell
Kyle Jarrow     SpongeBob SquarePants
Peter Kellogg     Desperate Measures

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Yolanda Adams, Steven Tyler and; Joe Perry of Aerosmith,               Sara Bareilles, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe  and Magnetic Zeros, The Flaming Lips, Lady Antebellum, Cyndi Lauper and Rob Hyman, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco, Plain White T’s, They Might Be Giants, T.I., Domani and Lil’C,      Jonathan Coulton, Tom Kitt              
 SpongeBob SquarePants
David Friedman and Peter Kellogg          Desperate Measures
Imogen Heap                   Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown       Miss You Like Hell
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez              Frozen

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Angels in America
Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train
Lobby Hero
Three Tall Women
Travesties

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
(Broadway or Off-Broadway)
Carousel
My Fair Lady
Once on This Island
Pacific Overtures

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Jo Bonney     Cost of Living
Marianne Elliott     Angels in America
Patrick Marber     Travesties
Joe Mantello     Three Tall Women
John Tiffany     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Michael Arden     Once on This Island
Bill Castellino     Desperate Measures
Tina Landau     SpongeBob SquarePants
Casey Nicholaw     Mean Girls
Bartlett Sher     My Fair Lady

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER
Camille A. Brown     Once on This Island
Christopher Gattelli     My Fair Lady
Christopher Gattelli     SpongeBob SquarePants
Steven Hoggett     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Justin Peck     Carousel

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Miriam Buether     Three Tall Women
Myung Hee Cho     In the Body of the World
Christine Jones     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Michael Yeargan     My Fair Lady
David Zinn     SpongeBob SquarePants

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN
(Play or Musical)
Katrina Lindsay     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Clint Ramos     Once on This Island
Paloma Young     Time and the Conways
David Zinn     SpongeBob SquarePants
Catherine Zuber     My Fair Lady

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN
(Play or Musical) 
Kevin Adams     SpongeBob SquarePants
Neil Austin     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Paule Constable     Angels in America
Paul Russell     Farinelli and the King
Lap Chi Chu     Mlima’s Tale

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN
(Play or Musical) Tim Reid     1984
Finn Ross     Frozen
Finn Ross     In the Body of the World
Finn Ross and Adam Young     Mean Girls
Finn Ross and Ash Woodward     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN
(Play or Musical) Gareth Fry     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Kate Marvin     [Porto]
Fitz Patton     Napoli, Brooklyn
Marc Salzberg     My Fair Lady
Darron L. West     Mlima’s Tale

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS
Jason Robert Brown     Prince of Broadway
Tom Kitt     SpongeBob SquarePants
AnnMarie Milazzo and Michael Starobin     Once on This Island
Jonathan Tunick     Carousel
Claire Van Kampen     Farinelli and the King

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Sean Carvajal     Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train
Andrew Garfield     Angels in America
Tom Hollander     Travesties
Gregg Mozgala     Cost of Living
Michael Urie     The Government Inspector

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
MaameYaa Boafo     School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Jessica Hecht     Admissions
Glenda Jackson     Three Tall Women
Lauren Ridloff     Children of a Lesser God
Katy Sullivan     Cost of Living

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Harry Hadden-Paton     My Fair Lady
Joshua Henry     Carousel
David M. Lutken     Woody Sez
Conor Ryan     Desperate Measures
Ethan Slater     SpongeBob SquarePants
  
OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Lauren Ambrose     My Fair Lady
Erika Henningsen     Mean Girls
Hailey Kilgore     Once On This Island
Taylor Louderman     Mean Girls
Patti Murin     Frozen

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
Anthony Boyle     Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Johnny Flynn     Hangmen
Nathan Lane     Angels in America
David Morse     The Iceman Cometh
Paul Sparks     At Home at the Zoo

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Jamie Brewer     Amy and the Orphans
Denise Gough     Angels in America
Harriet Harris     The Low Road
Laurie Metcalf     Three Tall Women
Mary Testa     The Government Inspector    

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Norbert Leo Butz     My Fair Lady
Alexander Gemignani     Carousel
Gavin Lee     SpongeBob SquarePants
Nick Wyman     Desperate Measures
Tony Yazbeck     Prince of Broadway

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kerry Butler    Mean Girls
Lindsay Mendez     Carousel
Lauren Molina     Desperate Measures
Ashley Park     Mean Girls  
Emily Skinner     Prince of Broadway

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE
Billy Crudup     Harry Clarke
Eve Ensler     In the Body of the World
Alison Fraser     Squeamish    
John Lithgow     Stories By Heart
Sharon Washington     Feeding the Dragon

JOHN GASSNER AWARD
(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Kate Benson     [Porto]
Jocelyn Bioh     School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play
Lindsey Ferrentino     Amy and the Orphans
Meghan Kennedy     Napoli, Brooklyn
Dominique Morisseau     Pipeline
Jenn Colella and Katrina Lenk make the announcements at the Algonquin Tuesday.

TheWritePros.com

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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 "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 in February 2018.

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. She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com 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.

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 Episcopal Actors' Guild.

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- 2018 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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