• Network for New Music Presents Extraordinary Measures

    Composer Portrait of Richard Wernick

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 11th, 2021

    Network for New Music gives us a delightful composer portrait of Pulitzer-prize winner Richard Wernick, a native Bostonian. He has studied at Tanglewood, and with Leonard Bernstein. Can you imagine a "Sunken Synagogue" replacing the Ys' cathedral of Debussy?

  • New Federal Theatre Presents Octoberfest

    Five Plays to Insp0ire

    By: Rachel de Aragon - Oct 25th, 2020

    Woody King Jr.'s Federal Theater presents Octoberfest: Five plays that reawaken, inspire, and remind us of the struggle for freedom and dignity of African-Americans. Each piece, with its own history of previous production success, has been re-imagined. Billed as readings, seasoned actors and directors take us to a new form of theatrical communication in the “zoom style” medium.

  • Visit the Atelier des Lumières, Paris, France.

    A Magical Van Gogh Exhibit

    By: Susan Hall - Oct 28th, 2020

    Missing Paris? Van Gogh? Music? Impresario and superb clarinetist Joseph Rosen points the way to a magical Van Gogh exhibit with "Vincent" sung by Jim van Der Zee. Enjoy!

  • The Orchestra Now at Bard

    Chamber Ensembles Intrigue

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 19th, 2020

    Bard’s The Orchestra Now (TON) gives live performances in the time of Covid. Recently they performed a challenging and revealing program in Annandale, NY. Selections were made with attention to the number of instrumentalists required and ability to social distance on stage.

  • Kev Berry at The Tank

    A Hefty, Engaging Monologue

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 19th, 2020

    Kev Berry is an award-winning playwright and a superb monologist.  In Harsh Cacophonies I and II,, he is directed by his usual collaborator, Alex Tobey. The monologue was created in three separate pieces, which can be performed as stand alones.  The three are joined for this production and work well together.  Two hours fly by, in part because Berry is in a manic state. His speech and stories are always clear, but often rush.  This locates us in the urgent terrain from which his stories grow.

  • Experiments in Opera Delivers A Podcast Series

    Aqua Net and Funyums

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 09th, 2020

    Experiments in Opera (EIO) is the company that gives most hope for the future of the form. They are fleet, inclusive and steeped in the history of the opera. Most importantly, they have extended the camp story-telling which characterizes the form. For all the beauty of classic operas, let’s face it: they are camp. A new podcast series has just been released by the group.

  • PBS Louisa May Alcott

    More Than Little Women

    By: Edward Rubin - Dec 27th, 2020

    Writing to his 'possums" New York critic Fast Eddy was gobsmacked by the PBS documentary of author Louisa May Alcott. "This beautifully acted documentary (Elizabeth Marvel Plays The Mature Louisa) brings back Louisa, her times, her family and her good friends - both gods in my pantheon -  Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) and Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)."

  • Pen/Man/Ship by Christina Anderson

    Moliere in the Park Streams Its First Contemporary Play

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 27th, 2020

    Moliere in the Park, with their streaming team Andy Carluccio and Liminal Entertainment Technologies, LLC are presenting Christina Anderson’s pen/man/ship free through January 4th.  It is a powerful play set on a boat passage that reverses the more familiar journey of black Africans.

  • Prototype Festival Opens OnLine

    Modulation Startles and Stuns

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 09th, 2021

    Undaunted by the constraints of COVID, the Prototype Festival launched its 7th annual event on January 8th. Modulation opened the week of new, streaming works. While the trailer and prologue look like the Hollywood Hills striped with waving geological lines, the three florescent doorways invite entrance to an interior. The inventive work, made up of 13 parts, is divided into three acts, Isolation, Fear and Identity.

  • The Comey Rule on Showtime

    Jeff Daniels as Former FBI Director James Comey

    By: Jack Lyons - Oct 05th, 2020

    The skinny is that former FBI director, James Comey, adhered so closely to his moral convictions that he impacted Hillary Clinton losing the election. She won the popular vote but lost the Electoral Collage by a razor thin margin. A last minute decision to reopen investigation of her e-mails, later rescinded, made the crucial difference. One would think that President Trump would owe one to Comey. See this compelling Showtime drama with Jeff Daniels and Brendan Gleesen to see how things fell apart. Trump insisted that Comey behave as His FBI Director.

  • Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher

    Boston Lyric Opera Streaming Philip Glass

    By: Doug Hall - Jan 28th, 2021

    Boston Lyric Opera has boldly re-adapted Poe’s famous gothic horror story “The Fall of the House of Usher” with music of Philip Glass. It streams on for seven days starting on January 29/

  • New Federal Theatre Celebrates Women's History Month

    Riverting Production of Pearl Cleag's Hospice

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 13th, 2021

    New Federal Theatre has always promoted the inclusion of women artists as part of its mission. It is no surprise that they are offering works by and with women for Women’s History Month. They appeal to everyone. Petronia Paley and Margaret Odette are featured in the two-hander, Hospice by Pearl Cleage. Billed as a reading, the performances are full characterizations by actors.

  • The Irish Repertory Theatre Presents The Aran Islands

    Synge's Language Captured Brilliantly by Brendon Conroy

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 18th, 2021

    The Irish Repertory Theatre has given ten streamed performances, or arranged for them, during the time of Covid. Each one has added immensely to our pleasure. The latest comes straight from Dublin. It is a one man performance on stage by the actor Brendan Conroy. His lilting voice, describing the bleak Aran Islands and the lives of its inhabitants draws us in. We quickly understand that the man who wrote the words, J. M. Synge, was a musician. As words roll in Conroy's mouth, we hear musical phrases, dips and crescendos, textured takes on vowels and consonants.

  • Hemingway on PBS

    An Enigma Wrapped in Mystery

    By: Jack Lyons - Apr 18th, 2021

    Hemingway was an enigma wrapped in a mystery that could always get away with things that ordinary people could or word never do. He relished his celebrity status to the hilt and he was a party-going   charmer when he needed to be.  He was envied by men, and was desired by women from afar.  In his twenties he had matinee idol looks, and worked them to his advantaged.

  • Oslo on HBO a Riveting Drama

    Secret Israeli and Palestinian Negotiations

    By: Jack Lyons - Jun 07th, 2021

    Savvy heavyweight Hollywood movers and shakers like Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt, Kristie Macosko Krieger, producer Mark Taylor, and director Bartlett Sher lend their considerable talents and heft into a timely remake of the 2017 Tony-winning stage production “Oslo”.  The Oslo movie version of 2021 is also written by J.T. Rogers from his eponymous stage play, along with new inputs as a way of sharpening and updating the dialogue by Rogers and others.  

  • Hit and Run Sequel to Fauda on Netflix

    Binged but Fauda-geddahboutit

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 08th, 2021

    The two season Israeli series "Fauda" was a boffo smash on Netflix. Accordingly I binged on its more or less sequel "Hit and Run." The creative team jumped the pond to create an Israeli/ American production in English and Hebrew. In seeking a wider and American audience the team lost its Sabra base and churned out yet another mediocre action thriller. If you are a 'Fauda" fan this will be a major disappointment.

  • Sandra Oh is The Chair on Netflix

    Cancel Culture on Campus

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 27th, 2021

    Sandra Oh stars as The Chair in a six episode comedy on Netflix. Set on small college Pembroke it is a broad and hilarious satire of cancel culture on campus. While played for laughs the hit comedy has evoked a dialogue about its uncanny, over the top, accuracy. It's the truth that makes this hilarious series sad and all too compelling.

  • Rob Kapilow Tackles the Appassionata Sonata

    Orli Shaham Exposes a Sonata

    By: Susan Hall - Sep 27th, 2020

    Rob Kapilow begins his “What Makes it Great” evenings with a discussion of special elements in a musical work to be performed in its entirety at the conclusion of the evening. Kapilow is a conductor and performer. Always responsive to a live audience, he draws us in, elucidating us as he instructs. Now he is streaming from an empty Merkin Hall. Yet you become addicted in one outing. Through Kapilow, listening to music has added whole new dimensions. Orli Shaham provides examples for a discussion of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 5. She also gives a deeply moving performance of the Appassionata.

  • Irish Repertory Theatre Streams Geraldine Hughes

    Belfast Blues a Perfect Production for Video

    By: Susan Hall - Sep 23rd, 2020

    We are swept along by her lilting Irish brogue as Geraldine Hughes takes the stage in her Belfast Blues. Irish Repertory Theatre chose the play to open their fall season streaming. Charlotte Moore and her partner Ciarán O’Reilly chose well. This one woman shows draws the portraits of twenty-four characters, all presented through the vessel of Hughes. Yet we never wonder who is speaking. We learn the gestures and tics of each character and come to be entranced.

  • HBO's Coastal Elites

    Playing the Pandemic with Grim Humor

    By: Jack Lyons - Sep 21st, 2020

    HBO’s just released film “Coastal Elites”, navigates the COVID-19 experience in a comedic and satirical way (for a deadly subject matter) with five vignette monologues, by five actors; each breathing life into playwright Paul Rudnick’s spot-on slices of pandemic life during this unprecedented experience, and all deftly directed by Jay Roach.

  • Irish Repertory Theatre Streams Love, Noel

    Steve Ross and KT Sullivan Delight

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 12th, 2020

    Players Club ,where the Irish Repertory production of Love, Noel is set, seems like just the right elegant space. Edwin Booth felt he had to make up for the assassination of Lincoln by his brother. Booth realized that a club where actors could socialize with the elite and elevate their status from rabble-rousers to artists was what New York needed. In 1888, he founded The Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park South together with fifteen other incorporators, including Mark Twain and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Players is the oldest club in New York City that’s still in its original location. Love, Noel graced its halls.

  • Lawrence Brownlee and Friends

    Lyric Opera of Chicago Streams a Virtual Concert

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 28th, 2020

    Lawrence Brownlee is an ambassador of song. He is not only a great bel canto tenor, but also leader in discussions on our racial divide. Identifying as a descendant of Africans and a person of dark skin tone, he has mentored young singers and helped direct the conversation on race in the arts and in the world about us. Yet he does not like the designation of Ella Fitzgerald as part of Black Heritage, her position on a postage stamp. Rather he sees her as a great American singer. Blacks are part of a larger community, not self-segregated.

  • The Weir by Conor McPherson

    Irish Repertory Theatre Screens Performance

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 27th, 2020

    The Irish Repertory Theatre has come up with the perfect play to stream. The Weir is a quintet, Four men living in a remote Irish country town are joined by a pretty woman from Dublin. Stories are told by four characters and the camera focuses on them during the telling. The scene broadens to include reactions. Sometimes Director Ciarán O’Reilly has an actor face the camera, deeply involving us in the drama.

  • National Theatre Streams Rattigan's Deep Blue Sea

    Helen McCrory Stars; Carrie Cracknell Directs

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 17th, 2020

    National Theatre at Home streams Deep Blue Sea by Terrence Rattigan and Amadeus by Peter Shaffer. Remarkable productions keep theaters live when their homes are shuttered.

  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

    1930s Showtime Series

    By: Jack Lyons - Jul 08th, 2020

    “City of Angels”, the Showtime TV movie series, is a powerfully relevant TV series and a sharp reminder not only of why the painful American Civil War of 1861 was fought, only later to introduce new Jim Crow laws in the South. The tensions between LA’s Chicano community and the corrupt white power structure within the city government of 80 years ago centers around the more militant factions of young Mexican-Americans known as ‘Pachucos.

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