“I always thought that my lot in life was to help people en masse,” pontificates Susan Sarandon as an unbearable community theater diva in Jesse Eisenberg’s half-baked new play, Happy Talk.
“Through my work. People see me on stage. They see the human condition — it filters through me — and maybe they learn a little something about themselves,” Sarandon’s character, Lorraine, says.Continue Reading
LONDON — Man of La Mancha is being revived at the London Coliseum, starring Kelsey Grammer as a blustery Don Quixote. Directed by Lonny Price, with the English National Opera’s 30-piece orchestra, it’s a luscious delight.
For the show — the 1966 Tony Award winner for Best Musical — lyricist Joe Darion and composer Mitch Leigh crafted a perfect score, built on a base of Spanish guitars periodically punctured by explosions of brass.Continue Reading
LONDON — Following Network, Ivo van Hove’s disappointing star vehicle now packing them in on Broadway, the writer/director is back in peak form with his adaptation of All About Eve in the West End.
A theater story set in the realm of backstage gossipmongers, Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 film is an ideal fit for van Hove’s cold Kubrickian style.Continue Reading
St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn, has been recast as a crowded and vibrant refugee camp called the Calais Jungle on the coast of France. The theater’s ticket booth is in a ramshackle hut, its bar relocated to a dome of canvas and metal. The audience doesn’t so much sit as huddle, as if around a campfire.Continue Reading
In Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya at the Hunter Theater Project, Jay O. Sanders plays the title character as the kind of wisely figure you’d like to have as your own uncle. That is, until a brother-in-law announces he wants to sell the family estate that Vanya has managed for 35 years.
“Thanks to you,” Vanya bellows, “I destroyed, I annihilated the best years of my life!” He’s initially terrifying, then almost befuddled at the intensity of his own outburst. “What am I saying? I’m losing my mind.”
Some theatrical ideas are so ambitious it almost doesn’t matter whether they succeed or fail – the fun is in seeing them play out. In his audacious, stripped-down staging of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, which opened Sunday at St Ann’s Warehouse, director Daniel Fish exposes the repression, lust, and violence that always lay beneath the surface of this seminal musical.
It may seem necessary, before an American audience, to provide a primer on snooker, that English variant of billiards. But the unseen, bone-dry play-by-play snooker announcers in Richard Bean’s charming new comedy about the sport, The Nap, which opened Thursday at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, are reluctant to expend the effort.
One begrudgingly explains a few elements of the game, in an Alan Rickman-adjacent whine, “if you’re watching on the Internet in Antarctica,” or “for those on a canoe in Tahiti.” In other words, let’s assume we know the basics, and get on with the fun bits.Continue Reading
Lillian Hellman’s second play, Days To Come, was a flop when it premiered on Broadway in 1936. Sources differ on why — but it certainly wasn’t the writing.
The well-acted production that opened Sunday, smoothly directed by J.R. Sullivan for the Mint Theater Company, at the Beckett Theatre at Theater Row, proves a fascinating family drama set in a time of economic hardship and labor unrest. This Days To Come, the first in New York in 40 years, makes a compelling case for the play’s continued relevance.Continue Reading