• William Inge’s Off the Main Road

    Rediscovered Play at Williamstown Theatre Festival

    By: Charles giuliano - Jul 03rd, 2015

    Among works in the estate of the Tony and Pulitzer winning playwright, William Inge, was a 1966 teleplay now reconfigured for stage and having its world premiere as Off the Main Road at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Directed by Evan Cabnet it stars Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick as Faye the battered, alcoholic wife of Manny (Jeremy Davidson) a now abusive, alcoholic former baseball star.

  • Lost in Yonkers Soars at Barrington Stage

    First Neil Simon Production for Pittsfield Company is Staggering

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 20th, 2015

    Back in January Julianne Boyd announced to the media how she had always wanted to present a play by an American master, Neil Simon. She chose his Pulitzer and Tony winning Lost in Yonkers a bitter sweet saga of a poor immigrant Jewish family under the thumb of a mean and brutal matriarch. Director Jenn Thompson earned a Drama Desk nomination for a prior production of the play which she has now staged brilliantly in the Berkshires.

  • Blair Underwood in Paradise Blue

    World Premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 24th, 2015

    For the fourth production of the season at Williamstown Theatre Festival yet again it is a world premiere with the casting of stars like Blair Underwood and De'adre Aziza. Unlike the prior three productions last night there was a genuine and encouraging standing O from the enthusiastic audience. There are compelling components in an uneven play by Dominque Morisseau. She aspires to do for her native Detroit what August Wilson achieves in his Century Cycle for Pittsburgh,

  • Jarry's Ubu Roi by Cheek by Jowl

    Lincoln Center Festival Presents a Classic

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 23rd, 2015

    Guess who's coming to dinner? Turns out Pere and Mere Ubu and their coterie of political acquaintances. Cheek by Jowl embeds the Jarry play at a dinner party. We can not decipher the dinner table conversation, but surely it is the same subject as the century-old play that is fresh and even futuristic. Here we see war, and regicide. Czars are toppled and Ukraine and Lithuania are in the news. Gold is hidden away in beneficial accounts. Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.

  • Partch's Delusion of Fury at Lincoln Center

    Heiner Goebbels Expands the Experience

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 25th, 2015

    The stage at City Center was beautifully packed with an array of instruments designed by Harry Partch, a modern American composer of original theatrical events. Classifying him as a composer of concert music is, as Partch said, as foolish as saying he is a kangaroo. The brilliant director Heiner Goebbels expands the Partch experience with set objects and lighting. Here is the future of American musical production conceived over a half century ago.

  • Yasmina Reza Two-Hander at S&Co;. in Lenox

    The Unexpected Man Directed by Seth Gordon

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 25th, 2015

    From 1987 to 2006 the French playwright, Yasmina Reza, has written seven plays of which two, Art (1994) and God of Carnage (2006) have been hits. From 1995 Shakespeare & Company is presenting the rarely produced two-hander of strangers on a train, an author and a woman who has read him in depth, The Unexpected Man.

  • Kafka on the Shore at Lincoln Center

    Murakami's Tale Adapted for the Stage by Frank Galati

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 26th, 2015

    When the director, Yukio Ninagawa, was a small boy he was struck by the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History. In Murikama's book, Ninagawa found the perfect use for dioramas in theatre. Ninagama writes that this tale has intimate detail in scenes as well as dynamic narrative scale. On stage, the 'dioramas' move fluidly between scenes, which are enacted in one frame, but surrounded often by others.

  • Girlfriend at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

    World Premiere Musical by Todd Almond & Matthew Sweet

    By: Jack Lyons - Jul 28th, 2015

    Todd Almond’s new rock musical “Girlfriend” with music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet is a vanguard production that addresses the issues of understanding, acceptance, as well as the hopes and dreams of two gay teenage boys who discover one another in rural Nebraska in the summer of 1993.

  • Side by Side by Sondheim

    North Coast Repertory Theatre through August 16

    By: Jack Lyons - Jul 28th, 2015

    The North Coast Repertory Theatre production of “Side By Side By Sondheim”, does Mr. Sondheim proud! That enormous canon is selectively and lovingly brought to life by four gifted and talented singer/actors in a 90 minute free flowing tribute to his genius under the inspired direction of North Coast artistic director David Ellenstein.

  • Rezo Gabriadze's Ramona at Lincoln Center

    An Enchanting Puppet Romance Between Two Engines

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 29th, 2015

    "The long forgotten and warm word 'locomotive' awoke in my mind - breathing vapor clouds, hoarse, smelling of coal smoke, even in wet weather." The passionate romance of two engines began here and takes an improbable journey as Ermon reminds his wife Ramona that you never say no when someone is in trouble. This is grown up puppetry from a great Georgian artist.

  • Talking with Chicago Star Faye Butler

    Currently on Stage at Goodman Theatre

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 19th, 2015

    Faye Butler describes herself as an actor who sings, not a singer who acts. She's a theater and musical star in Chicago and nationally and has won many awards and honors for her work. She currently plays the cleaning lady, Cassandra, who knows the source of her name only too well, in the current Goodman Theatre production, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. I interviewed her about that role and her other stage and cabaret work. She let me in on a few secrets about her voice, her vocal practices -- and her dreams. (Also see our review of the play.)

  • Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash

    Through August at Chicago's Mercury Theatre

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 19th, 2015

    Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash is a jukebox musical with no plot to speak of. It is playing at the Mercury Theatre in Chicago through August

  • Legacy by Daniel Goldfarb at Williamstown

    World Premiere with Hecht, Bogosian, Long and Feiffer

    By: Charles giuliano - Jul 04th, 2015

    The new Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director, Mandy Greenfield, has launched her tenure with a double header of world premieres. In the smaller Nikos Stage a fine cast is performing Legacy by Daniel Goldfarb. There are tons of laughs and then it gets very grim and dark.

  • Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in Chicago

    Durang Play at Goodman Theatre Through July 26

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 06th, 2015

    Steve Scott's new Goodman Theatre production is funny and charming and much of its wit rests on the many theatrical references and stage in-jokes (fond references to Chekhov and Greek tragedies, and to theater masters such as Stanislavski and Meisner). In addition, monologues by three of its characters are compelling and humorous set pieces.

  • "Composition…Master-Pieces…Identity”

    Breathing Life into the Words of Gertrude Stein

    By: Edward Rubin - Jul 07th, 2015

    Here, curiously, Edward Rubin conflates his passion for Gertrude Stein and Ludwig Wittgenstein! Go figure. The Off Off production that prompts him to quote generously from Stein has, alas, closed at the time of posting this review. If you are intrigued by "A rose is a rose is a rose" then this is a name that surely will smell as sweet.

  • Deathtrap at Berkshire Theatre Group

    Now Kissing in Stockbridge

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 08th, 2015

    In this staging of Ira Levin's enduring 1978 comic-mystery the men do not kiss. That cause a sensation decades ago on Broadway. The lip smacker is now banned by Levin's estate. But in a play that is chock full of clues you would have to be utterly clueless not to conclude that the washed up playwright Sidney (Gregg Edelman) isn't shagging his former student Clifford (Tom Pecinka). For a fun evening with no heavy lifting get thee to Stockbridge.

  • Foreign Affairs, Berliner Festspiele, Germany 2015

    International Performing Arts Festival ended July 5

    Foreign Affairs 15
    By: Angelika Jansen - Jul 08th, 2015

    Artistic Director Matthias von Hartz offered a 'Gesamtkunstwerk,' combining performance and visual arts aspects during the ten day long festival. Included were the 24 hour long lasting 'Mount Olympus' by Belgian director/choreographer Jan Fabre with Troubleyn Company. Then, Tim Etchells and Forced Entertainment offered 'Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare' - all 36 Shakespeare plays, reduced to each 45 minute plots, over nine days. A stunning success! As intended, performers and audiences were challenged to their limits.

  • Tony Winning Actor/Director Roger Rees at 71

    Artistic Director of Williamstown Theater Festival 2004 to 2007

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 11th, 2015

    Roger Rees, who has died following a medical procedure in May, had a long association with the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The renowned Tony winning actor/ director first came to Williamstown as an actor. From 2004 to 2007 he was the artistic director of WTF. He returned last summer for a revival of the Kander and Ebb musical The Visit which is currently on Broadway starring Chita Rivera.

  • Bells Are Ringing at the Colonial

    Reviving a 1950s Hit Broadway Musical in the Berkshires

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 12th, 2015

    The terrific husband and wife team of Kate Baldwin and Graham Rowat star in a revival of the 1950s musical Bells are Ringing. It brings star power to the Colonial in Pittsfield to July 26.

  • Brilliant Adventures by Alistair McDowall

    St Chicago's New Steep Theatre Through August 15

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 14th, 2015

    Brilliant Adventures, the grim and grimly funny new Steep Theatre production, was written by Alistair McDowall and directed by Robin Witt. It was first performed in Manchester in 2011 and won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.

  • Cynthia Nixon in Carey Perloff’s Kinship

    Sisterhood is Powerful at Williamstown Theatre Festival

    By: Charles Giuliano - Jul 17th, 2015

    Given the all star casting a number of shows during Mandy Greenfield's first season as artistic director of Williamstown Theatre Festival have sold out. This is particularly true for the smaller Nikos Stage where Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner Cynthia Nixon is featured in the three-hander Kinship by Carey Perloff, directed by Jo Bonney. In an example of gender reversal, the apparent point of this play, a woman in power, a successful editor, mentors a rookie reporter and risks career and family in an obsession that turns as dark as the fate of the Greek queen Phèdre. Perloff was directing a production of the Racine classic when it inspired her to write this play.

  • Feast a Celebration of Ethnic Diversity in Chicago

    Albany Park Theater Project and Goodman Theatre

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 31st, 2015

    No food is consumed by audience members in Feast, although by the end of the production, I was thinking fondly of a plate of lamb biryani with pappadums or perhaps some chicken mole.

  • Greensboro: A Requiem at American Theater Company.

    Chicago Production by ATC Youth Ensemble

    By: Nancy Bishop - Jul 31st, 2015

    The play tells the story of the demonstration by mostly black textile mill workers in Greensboro to protest the Ku Klux Klan. The march was publicized as taking place on November 3, 1979, and the marchers had obtained a police permit. It resulted in five deaths.

  • Playwright John Guare at Barrington Stage

    Updating His Adaptation of His Girl Friday

    John Guare
    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 01st, 2015

    The renowned playwright John Guare was in Pittsfield recently for the first days of rehearsal of his play His Girl Friday. It is being directed by Julianne Boyd for Barrington Stage Company. He and others in the production met with the media for a lively give and take.

  • Kafkapalooza at First Floor Theatre

    Third Annual Chicago Litfest

    By: Nancy Bishop - Aug 19th, 2015

    Eight different playwrights dramatize or "are inspired by" one of the stories of Franz Kafka, the late great Czech storyteller, who tried to keep his unpublished works from being published after his death.

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