Coming Late to ‘West Side Story’

Critics and audiences are all over the map on the new Broadway revival of West Side Story, staged by avant-garde Belgian director Ivo Van Hove. Some find it a striking reinvention of the beloved 1957 Leonard Bernstein-Jerome Robbins-Stephen Sondheim musical. For others, it’s a confusing desecration. My own reaction is complicated by a somewhat embarrassing … Continue reading Coming Late to ‘West Side Story’

‘Judgment Day’: The Show of the Year

Just when I was about to give up hope for serious theater in New York, after sitting through overpraised trifles (The Sound Inside), overwritten behemoths (The Inheritance), and boringly au-courant political plays (Heroes of the Fourth Turning), my faith was restored by the most exciting theater event of the year. It’s Richard Jones’s new production … Continue reading ‘Judgment Day’: The Show of the Year

‘Jagged Little Pill’: A Songbook Show to Savor

The real test for a jukebox musical — those shows that mine a rock artist’s song catalogue and use them to embellish a newly concocted story, often the artist’s own biography — should be whether it works for an audience that doesn’t know the songs. Shows like Jersey Boys, The Cher Show and Beautiful: The … Continue reading ‘Jagged Little Pill’: A Songbook Show to Savor

The Stubborn Survival of Cabaret

I spent a truly wonderful evening this week at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater, where a couple of dozen singers paid tribute to one of my favorite composers, Frank Loesser. It was part of the Cabaret Convention, an annual series of concerts sponsored by the Mabel Mercer Foundation, dedicated to keeping alive the classic cabaret tradition … Continue reading The Stubborn Survival of Cabaret