Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test
The Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test is our personal and highly opinionated Commuter's Guide to New York theater and cultural events, with an emphasis on Broadway and Off-Broadway theatrical productions. The test is simple: is an event worth the always expensive, time consuming, and too often horrendous struggle to commute to New York City from New Jersey, Long Island, Upstate New York or Connecticut? Only truly great or near-great performances and productions may meet this stiff challenge!
- Name: James Camner
- Location: Princeton, New Jersey, United States
James Camner is an antiquarian dealer of autographs, manuscripts and printed music and books of Opera, Classical Music, Theater, Dance, and Film, as well as a published author of more than 10 books on the performing arts including "How to Enjoy Opera" (Simon and Schuster), "The Great Opera Stars in Historic Photographs" (Dover), "Stars of American Musical Theater in Historic Photographs" (Dover - with Stanley Appelbaum); was for over 20 years a reviewer for Fanfare Magazine and has written feature articles and reviews for Opera News.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Megan Hilty steps into the considerable shoes of Carol Channing and Marilyn Monroe with an easy grace and tremendous comic style, the audience gleefully eats out of her hands. Make no mistake, the star of Smash, a much better singer than either Monroe or Channing is a stage star of the first order. A brilliant revival with unusually fine dancing. This one could transfer as is and run for a long time on Broadway. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A
Friday, April 27, 2012
We've been unable to post until now, so we have some catching up to do. Here are some capsule recommendations:
Tribes at the Barrow St. Theatre. Of everything onstage in New York, this is the play that is likely to remain in your memory. A+
Porgy and Bess. Audra McDonald and the entire cast are sizzling. Historic! A+
The Columnist at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Boring play by David Auburn,the author of Proof. C
Last night we saw Nice Work If You Can Get It, the audience was in raptures, and so were we.
Is there any Broadway diva who is more beloved today than Kelli O'Hara? She manages to bring a vulnerability and sweetness to everything she does that is positively endearing. She is also in her prime and is one of the finest singers on the boards today of the classic American songbook. Even in music that was composed for legendary stars like Andrews, Martin, Astaire, and Lawrence, she can make the music sound as if it was originally meant for her.
So when Kelli O'Hara is offered in a well mounted production in which she sings no less than ten Gershwin songs and duets I consider it mandatory to see it. Yes it's a must ticket, just for her and if she was all there was to Nice Work if You Can Get It, it would be more than enough to plunk down my hard earned cash.
But what is abundantly clear is that the main star isn't Kelli O'Hara it's Matthew Broderick. Broderick has been savaged by some critics and I can't understand why - he sings with skill and charm, he manages to more than hold his own in duets with O'Hara, he's right out of the classic 1920s and 30's "Silly Ass" tradition, and IMHO, his singing and singing style match up very well with some of the creators of the songs he sings. He's also immensely likeable and he's very funny.
What surprised me after reading the reviews and a few private emails from people I respect is how much I ended up enjoying the entire show. First of all, the music is superbly arranged by David Chase, even the most familiar Gershwin pieces are fused into a remarkable whole. Nowhere is that more evident than in the duet made of two songs: By Strauss, and Sweet and Lowdown brilliantly sung by Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye who has a riotous field day channeling Margaret Dumont.
Joe DiPietro's book does a marvelous job of putting a more or less coherent plot on stage, the frothy charm wonderfully evokes the silly 1920's musicals that in themselves are apparently not revivable. Kathleen Marshall really delivers with her direction and clever choreography - I enjoyed it every bit as well as her revival of Anything Goes. The talented and beautiful chorus, the dancing, the staging, and the marvelous cast make it an ideal tired businessman's musical, indeed I was exhausted after a day running around in NYC, but all my fatigue and cares washed away in the warmth of the evening's doings. It seems to me that Nice Work If You Can Get It will become a marvelous recording, one to place alongside the OCRs of other successful musicals made up of old material, for instance George M and Tintypes....
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A
Friday, January 20, 2012
But make no mistake, "The Convert," which is about religious, cultural and racial strife in 19th Century Rhodesia (now Zimbawe), is entirely modern and always absorbing. Written as the first part of a trilogy by a very young Danai Gurira, we can't wait to see the next two installments.
The staging is near perfection. McCarter Theatre's own Emily Mann has directed with smooth assurance, and the cast is sensational. The "Convert" herself, played by Pascale Armand in a very brave performance, is a young tribeswoman "saved" from a polygamous marriage and paganism by the earnest African missionary, Chilford, played by the riveting LeRoy McClain. Set in the early days of the British colony, their community of converts includes Zainab Jah as Prudence, a bravura performance that nearly runs off with the play, and Kevin Mambo as the hard-to-like Chancellor. Cautions come from the wise Cheryl Lynn Bruce as Mai Tamba. Each character struggles to navigate the transitions brought by white colonization, both brutal and seductive.
The language of Shona is spoken intermittently throughout, skillfully used to be both symbolic and illuminating. The English dialogue cleverly illustrates the degrees of assimilation of each character.
It seems to us that "The Convert", next headed to the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and then on to Center Theatre Group in LA (McCarter's partners in this new production), is likely to win a Pulitzer Prize. We predict it will eventually end up on Broadway and the West End - but don't wait and risk missing this experience at its freshest.
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A
Monday, November 21, 2011
The cast couldn't be better. Santino Fontana is giving the most talked about performance by a male lead of the young season and Johanna Gleason is sensational as a wounded and ditsy employer of Joseph. It's all tied together in an intensely moving scene between Santino Fontana's Joseph and Lizbeth Mackay playing Mrs. McAndrew, his former kindergarten teacher. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Friday, July 01, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade B
Saturday, June 04, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Mark Rylance is perhaps the leading Shakespeare actor of his generation, but considering his recent tour de force in La Bete, and now this towering performance as Rooster in Jerusalem, he's going to be remembered as an eccentric actor and one of the greatest ever to trod a stage. This is an epochal performance, one that theater goers will use to measure others by. "Jerusalem" which can be a little opaque to some, is a masterwork, the writing rising to heights that really do justify the comparisons of the play to works like "Peter Pan" and even at times, "The Merry Wives of Windsor." In what has to be one of the top seasons in memory for dramas on Broadway, this is the one that will probably last, but revivals will always depend on finding an actor of Rylance's ability, something that will be very very difficult. The production is superb, the direction by Ian Rickson is flawless. This is not to be missed - Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grad A+
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
The last Encores! of the season was the best, a funny, fizzy, happy performance of Loesser's first musical with an enchanting cast featuring veteran Broadway favorite, the lovely Rebecca Luker whose warm clear soprano has never sounded better. The direction by John Doyle was spot on and the youngsters in the cast give a bright promise for a big Broadway future, and several Broadway veterans added their comic expertise. Rob McClure as Charley had the audience eating out of his hand in "Once in Love with Amy." The Amy, pretty Lauren Worsham had a breakout success with "The Woman in His Room".
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade. A
Saturday, March 12, 2011
The rest of the cast is uneven. Tom Riley is superb as Hodge and Raul Esparza is quite good as Valentine. My wife and I split on Crudup, she liked his over the top performance, while I found him one dimensionally irritating. Grace Gummer, the younger daughter of Meryl Streep has a radiant presence and was good in the minor role of Chloe. Too bad she wasn't cast as Thomasina. Margaret Colin is a wan and ineffectual Lady Croom.
In this production, the play seems all hat and no cattle, with lots of pseud0-intellectual and cultural trappings to make an audience feel smarter than they and the play really are.
But perhaps with a good Thomasina and a different director the play might live up to its reputation. The production itself badly needs color and that sense of landscape that seems to be built into the text. As it is, it's a big open room, all white monochrome which is belied by the gorgeous curtain drop providing the riot of landscape and color that is absent.
There are pleasures to be sure -- Stoppard's prose is elegant and brilliant -- but so much of it seems like a magician's bag of tricks, dazzling, but empty. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade B-
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade. D
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The performances are achingly real and searingly sad. Jessica Hecht is a brilliant soulful Olga, Maggie Gyllenhaal is heartbreaking as Masha and Juliet Rylance, is a radiant Irina, the slow erosion of whose hopes is sharply etched on her features. Her speaking voice is gorgeous to hear. Together these three sisters have a bond that is special. In the shrewish part of Natasha, Marin Ireland is outstanding as is Peter Sarsgaard as the weary, bored Vershinin who seems all too happy to get free of Masha at the end. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is memorable as the tragic Baron, and as the silly, but all too aware Kulygin, Paul Lazar arouses our sympathy even as we are repulsed by him. It all unfolds just as if it's happening, the sets (props really) and costumes couldn't be bettered. This one is special, worth any effort to get to it. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Bells Are Ringing, a musical by Jule Styne, presented by Encores! at the New York City Center. Starring Kelli O'Hara, Judy Kaye, Bobby Cannavale, and Will Chase. Here's another notch on the belt for Kelli O'Hara, another triumph in a classic role to which she brings her customary warmth and grace. What a pleasure it is to enjoy her in these prime performances! Staged by Kathleen Marshall, Bells Are Ringing is a joy to see and hear. Superb conducting by Rob Fisher, and excellent performances by Bobby Cannavale who is hilarious in his Brando riff, and Will Chase who is a revelation as a romantic lead. More from him please! Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
For some reason, most of the critics didn't get Hawkins's performance, but we did, and the audience as a whole did last night. Multi dimensional - funny, sad, furious, resigned - and built with steel, Hawkins gives a brilliant portrayal of a role that is usually taken by an ingenue and conventionally played as such. Jones is the only Mrs. Warren we've seen to capture the earthiness of the role, her low down qualities, as well as her great heart. Her plea for women is universal, and because it comes from someone who is unabashedly vulgar, and not the usual madame masquerading as a patrician, it has much more punch. We very much liked the silky villainous Sir George Crofts by Mark Harelik and the hammy Mr. Praed of Edward Hibbert. The staging and the superb sets and costumes can't be bettered. This one goes in our Pantheon. It is not to be missed.
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
The staging is hugely imaginative and enjoyable. All the stops have been pulled out, video, gorgeous sets, it's all there. The performances will get a lot of award consideration most especially Laura Benanti's manic Candela (she looks incredibly sexy in her costumes), Sherie Rene Scott in what should be considered the lead role, and Patti LuPone who finds her best new role in years as Lucia. I don't think I've heard Brian Stokes Mitchell in more mellifluous form, and Danny Burstein is wonderful as the Taxi Driver. It could use some tightening in the second act and presumably will get some. But already, it is a notable achievement. But will the critics get it? Maybe not. Our Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade is B+
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Why did "La Bete" fail? Looking at the original cast, there was no Mark Rylance to be found for one thing, but perhaps it is its scabrous humor that savages critics among others. Could this be why Frank Rich savaged the play in turn? I wouldn't be surprised, for critics who blithely tear apart the work of a lifetime without even thinking of the consequences are notoriously thin- skinned themselves.
So rich in humor and wisdom disguised in a faux-Moliere-comedy setting,"La Bete," which is entirely in rhyme, is sublime and not to be missed. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In "Orlando" Sarah Ruhl has once again found the fusion of magic, myth, humor and enchantment that marked her sublime "Eurydice." "Orlando," which lasts two hours with one ten minute intermission, waves a spell that is only occasionally punctuated by laughter. Ruhl's quirky absurdist sensibility matches well with this great anamorphic love story penned by Woolf to Vita Sackville-West. And in "Orlando" Ruhl may have created her finest work to date, a masterwork to stand with and perhaps surpass "Eurydice."
The performances by five gifted actors, two of whom are beautiful women and three men of middling appearance, are phenomenal. In the lead role, Francesca Faridany who has lurked on the fringe of fame should at last achieve a breakthrough. Faridnay, mesmerizingly beautiful in her man/woman transformation, in and out of clothes, gives a towering performance that should land her several off-Broadway awards. Particularly noteworthy is the poetic reading of her lines both narrative and dialogue, lines that stick in the memory like "The dead have wonderful memories."
Annika Boras is gorgeous and haunting as Sasha and the three men are remarkable in several roles including Queen Elizabeth. The stagecraft in the diminutive space is startlingly creative. Movement and dance is choreographed by Annie-B Parson and the direction by Rebecca Taichman is award-worthy. So too is the spellbinding music by Christian Frederickson and Ryan Rumery. It is quite likely that "Orlando" will be the most talked about play of the early season, if not the year. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test grade A+
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Certainly the generation at this play was mostly old enough to have seen Katharine Cornell, and one man wheezed "Candida!" when Kate Burton, playing Cornell, mentioned Shaw's play. Another very elderly woman, who may well have seen Bernhardt, had a great deal of trouble with her hearing aid.
This play feels not quite finished, as if it's an enjoyable summerstock effort (something one would gratefully see at Williamstown), but not quite ready for prime time. The cast is excellent. Kate Burton is graceous as Cornell, showing quite a bit of the luminosity she was known for, while Boyd Gaines is superb as Guthrie McClintock her famous director-husband. Brenda Wehle is good in supporting part, but I found Bobby Steggert, though very smooth in his part, irritating, which is perhaps how we are supposed to feel about this importunate autograph seeker (ouch!).
Many critics noted that what is missing in the play is Cornell's "grand manner" and it is. But then, who could bring this to the American stage today? I'm old enough to have seen Eva Le Gallienne, who had the "grand manner" in spades. But who today, at least on this side of the ocean (Maggie Smith certainly does), has it? Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade B
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Sondheim on Sondheim, a revue celebrating the music of Stephen Sondheim at Studio 54. Starring Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams and Tom Wopat, directed by James Lapine.
Saturday was a Sondheim day for us. We began with the matinee of the Encores! presentation of "Anyone Can Whistle." This failed show has a marvelous score by Sondheim and with careful pruning by David Ives, it almost worked this time around. But Arthur Laurents's incomprehensible book and libretto, one that Sondheim himself faults for lack of clarity, still sinks it. Yet even so, when Murphy, Esparza and Foster are holding the stage, more than a little theatrical magic occurs. At times, even the book seemed to come together, almost as if a fog was lifting. This especially happened in the second act when Foster in her red wig in the "Romance" sequence heats up the stage with Esparza. We liked Foster best of all when she brought down the house singing "Anyone Can Whistle." The dances were splendid, the show looked great. This is undoubtedly as good as this show will ever get and in staging it so well, Encores! really fullfilled their mission of resurrecting an unstagable musical. Add in the talk-back with Sondheim himelf, and this was one of the most significant of all Encores! presentations. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test grade B+
We really looked forward to seeing Barbara Cook out of a cabaret and onto a Broadway stage. She did not disappoint. Even at her advanced age, she can still put over a song, with her limpid voice remarkably intact. Predictably she brought down the house in "Send in the Clowns." Unfortunately her two co-stars, Williams and Wopat were inadequate partners. They did not sing well, nor did they seem to get the meaning of what they were singing. This was particularly sad considering Williams was given a lost song from Gypsy and the sublime "Children Will Listen" though this was picked up by the rest of the company. The young talents were promising in "Sondheim on Sondheim" and I predict that a beautiful slim redhead Erin Mackey will eventually obtain stardom. She really shone in "Do I hear A Waltz." Alas, this was accompanied by Stephen Sondheim, on film, being rather negative about the show and about Rodgers, which was mean spirited we thought. Other footage was much more rewarding and revealing, but there was such a surfeit of it, that the whole evening smacked more of documentary than revue. Of the eight people we were with, I was the only one who liked the evening, and there was a lot I hated about it including the tedious sets. Though "Sondheim on Sondheim" didn't reach the high level it promised on paper, seeing Cook is nevertheless a must. Something to brag about to the grandchildren. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade B-
Friday, April 09, 2010
Start with the stars: Sean Hayes, making his Broadway debut, connects with the audience from his first pantomime with adding machine as nerdy C. C. Baxter. Whether soliloquizing directly with audience members, delivering his Bacharach solos with verve, or harmonizing effectively with the adorable Kristin Chenoweth as the love-lorn Fran Kubelik, Hayes has an effortless comedic presence and charm: he will win the Tony. Chenoweth gets a huge round of applause when she walks on the stage, she is a very big star in this town and for those hold-outs who may have resisted her in the past, they will surely capitulate. This is a score perfectly suited to her vocally and stylistically -- the songs could have been written for her. She'll be the toast of the town when the show opens and, unless Barbara Cook takes it, Chenoweth should get her second Tony. All of the roles are well cast, but special mention should be made of Katie Finneran as the show stopping Marge.
The dances by Rob Ashford are sensational, right from the curtain opener which had us grinning with pleasure. The direction is just about flawless, except that the show drags a little about half way into the second act, too many songs. "Wanting Things" should probably be cut altogether.
The sets and costumes are perfection, right out of "Mad Men." This show is going to be a smash, a sell-out Pajama Game type of smash. Don't miss this.
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade. A-
Sunday, March 14, 2010
We saw a preview performance on a stormy day (yesterday) of this production which was much praised when it was at the Long Wharf Theatre. Alas, the production still has a whiff of the provincial in it. What must have seemed like a very high quality presentation in New Haven, becomes mundane for Broadway. Unquestionably Judith Ivey, a great actress by any measure, delivers an expert performance, a clinic in acting. But she lacks that special luminous quality that was supposedly part of Laurette Taylor's resume. That Taylor had once been a beloved and beautiful ingenue (her Peg O'My Heart was one of the great hits of the early 20th Century), unlike Ivey who has never been other than a character actor may have been part of the problem. We have never seen an ideal performance of this challenging role - Jessica Tandy failed just as Ivey has. Katherine Hepburn in the television adaptation perhaps has come closest to capturing the faded, but still potent allure of the character. Amanda must, for a brief moment, be prettier and more bewitching than her poor daughter when the "gentleman caller" comes a calling, she should be a faded Southern Belle who briefly recaptures her charm, thus putting her sad daughter into stark relief for lacking those qualities, but Ivey was merely what she is throughout the performance, a pathetic, bullying battle-axe.
The rest of the cast varied. Patch Darragh, of NBC's "Mercy" dominated as Tom Wingfield, he should have a great future on the stage. Keira Keeley was a generic Laura. It didn't help that her most powerful scenes were played in near darkness, a huge mistake by the director and the lighting designer. When the glass unicorn is broken, we hear her, but do not see her. A pity.
A worthy effort, and worth seeing, but not a Glass Menagerie for the ages. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade. B-
The Circle in the Square is a nasty theatrical space and hardly ideal to present this play, but Kate Whoriskey made a minus into a plus by making the action immediate and intimate for the audience. To realize her success, consider that on the evening we went, there was a Girl Scout troop and many younger children in the audience. Yet these children and the adults (so often distracted by cell phones, or nagging coughs) were absolutely silent, one of the best behaved audiences we've been fortunate to be part of. Everyone was riveted on the action. This play still delivers a powerful punch. We walked out dazzled, and thrilled. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The best new American play since "August Osage County", and if this off-Broadway production were Tony eligible, it would likely sweep nearly every major category. It is that good.
Start with the masterful direction by Pam MacKinnon of a cast of seven playing multiple parts several of which morph in front of our eyes in a play spanning two separate periods in history in the same house. The play covers many subjects but first and foremost is that of race and tribe, of basic human relations. It's alternately funny, infuriating, sad. So many people trapped.
The performances are basically perfect. Standouts include Christina Kirk alternately hilarious and heartbreaking in her two roles and Frank Wood who creates devastatingly heartbreaking pathos as the despairing Russ. Annie Parisse, so memorable as Becky Shaw last season, gives a virtuoso turn as a deaf Betsy and the ultra liberal Lindsey. Crystal A. Dickinson and Damon Gupton provide pitch-perfect portrayals of two African-American couples, the "help" in 1959 and community activists fifty years later. Brendan Griffin essays three roles with distinction. In a schizophrenic theater season in which there have been so many duds and disappointments punctuated by a few superlative productions, "Claybourne Park" makes history with a truly great production of a brand new American masterpiece. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade A+
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The direction by Arin Arbus was cluttered and static and took no account for the fact that the stage had the audience on three sides. Where we sat, the right side, the action was blocked from our view at crucial times. The scenes of high comedy were bungled (the unmasking of the Duke in the final scene was clumsy) and scenes of high drama brought titters from the audience. There was no integration to the acting, one could see NYU here, Juilliard there, but at no time did we see even minimum competence except from John Christopher Jones whose deadpan comedy proved as effective as it did in "Alls Well That Ends Well" and the excellent Jefferson Mays as the Duke who seemed like Gielgud amidst this bumbling troupe (which, alas, he was not). This was not worth our time and trouble. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade F
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
God of Carnage, a play by Yasmina Reza at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, Directed by Matthew Warchus, starring Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden.
After a long hiatus from New York Theatre, we doubled up on Wednesday, choosing the two most decorated plays of the season. Interestingly, "God of Carnage" actually has a passing reference to the subject matter of "Ruined", the fighting in the Congo. But awards and acclaim aside, there is no comparison between the plays - "God of Carnage" is a light as air star vehicle of no substance, and except for a few riotous lines, is forgettable fluff, which absolutely depends on its star quartet. Of these, James Gandolfini is by far the most rewarding and enjoyable, but we did like Hope Davis, and to a lesser extent, Jeff Daniels. But Marcia Gay Harden was shrill and stiff, and her Tony Award (over many more worthy candidates, especially the female stars of "Joe Turner") is unfathomable to us. Jeff Daniels does not come close to matching the performance of Ralph Fiennes in the same role in the London mounting of "God of Carnage" which, Gandolfini aside, was superior to its New York counterpart. The reference in "God of Carnage" to the fighting in the Congo is, to put it mildly, flippantly obscene and no one who attends "Ruined" will fail to see just how poor in taste it is. "God of Carnage" is, in our opinion, perhaps the flimsiest play to ever win the Tony.
"Ruined" unlike "God of Carnage" is not a star vehicle, but is instead a superbly written two act play (long acts) of great substance, haunting, heartbreaking, inspiring, and full of drama. It fully deserved the Pulitzer. The play is so old fashioned, it's as if Samuel Beckett, Edward Albee or Harold Pinter had not existed; not for Lynn Nottage is the magic realism of a Tarell McCraney (the brilliant young writer of "The Brothers Size") or the absurdism of Sarah Ruhl (author of the great play "Eurydice."). By the time the harrowing "Ruined" ends, we realize we've watched a masterwork, played to perfection by an outstandingly talented cast. That this cast had three understudies in key roles only underscores the strength of the writing, and the depth of talent employed in this production which has, along with the revival of "Our Town" and the Pulitzer runner up "Becky Shaw" made this a very memorable Off-Broadway season.
Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Grades: Ruined - A+ God of Carnage B
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The hugely talented Pablo Schreiber manages somewhat better, his hick mannerisms quite a change from his last stage performance in New York in "Reasons to be Pretty." He has a good chemistry with Cugino but even so, the potential which is flashed is never quite reached.
Cugino alone gives a complete performance, remarkable in many instances. She is brave (not only by taking off her clothes) but she is a throwback, a full throttled melodramatic, no-holds-barred flamboyant dramatic actress of a kind that one can see in old films by the likes of Miriam Hopkins and Tallulah Bankhead. She brings it off and may just cop a Tony for her efforts. But she's a jewel in the wrong setting. It made us wonder what she could have accomplished if the director had let her be the show instead of the set.
That Falls has failed badly was demonstrated when the audience in the half empty theater cackled at what should have been the most poignant moment in the play.
Considering the cast, and the extravagent review in the New York Times, we had anticipated this would be the top drama of the season. Alas, it was a tedious clunker. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade C.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The starring role of Linda Brown is nicely played by Mary Catherine Garrison, a cute ingenue, but considering it was the name role in 1934 when it starred Constance Cummings, it's a pity that an A list star like Kristin Chenoweth wasn't cast. Garrison and Pierce do not strike any sparks, so the best work is done when he's playing against the excellent Byron Jennnings and the hilarious Charles Kimbrough who nearly steals the show as the muscular elderly butler.
We had a great time as did the audience. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test Grade. B
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
This is a must. It's still in previews. Book now. Broadway Bridge and Tunnel Test grade A