Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning: The New ‘Oklahoma!’

Oklahama — oh my.  You’ve heard, probably, about the drastically revisionist new production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical, which played to rave reviews in Brooklyn last year and has now landed on Broadway, where I saw it for the first time. It is certainly a striking production, eccentric to the max, one of the … Continue reading Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning: The New ‘Oklahoma!’

Slave Mentality: The Wrong Notes in ‘White Noise’

Suzan-Lori Parks has written a series of provocative plays, most of them revolving around issues of race and usually in non-realistic styles, ranging from Brechtian fable (Fucking A), to historical allegory (Venus; Father Comes Home from the Wars) to baffling surrealism (The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World), In her latest work, … Continue reading Slave Mentality: The Wrong Notes in ‘White Noise’

Atticus Finch Gets the Sorkin Treatment

I hate to dwell too long on To Kill a Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s new Broadway adaptation of the Harper Lee novel, because it inevitably means making comparisons with the classic 1962 movie version, starring Gregory Peck — and I just finished doing the same thing with Broadway’s Network. Yes, a theatrical work should be judged … Continue reading Atticus Finch Gets the Sorkin Treatment

‘Network’ on Broadway: Faithful to a Fault

I’m going to be a little unfair to Network, the new Broadway play based on Paddy Chayefsky and Sidney Lumet’s acclaimed 1976 movie. Unfair because, in many ways, the stage version is impressive on its own terms. Adapter Lee Hall has kept much of Chayefsky’s pungent, literate dialogue and resisted the temptation to update his … Continue reading ‘Network’ on Broadway: Faithful to a Fault

‘King Kong’: Can It Stomp the Critics?

“He’s not a film,” cries director Carl Denham, vowing to bring the giant ape he's discovered on Skull Island back to New York City. “He’s theater!”  The guardians of New York theater, it seems, would beg to differ.  King Kong, the new $35 million musical from Australia that has just arrived on Broadway, has been stomped … Continue reading ‘King Kong’: Can It Stomp the Critics?

‘The Ferryman’: Broadway’s Wannabe Masterpiece

No need for me to add to the ecstatic praise (“thrilling,” “a masterpiece,” “best play of the century”) that has poured in from nearly every critic for The Ferryman, the Jez Butterworth play that has just opened on Broadway after a much-lauded, award-laden run in London. I can understand some of the enthusiasm. The play … Continue reading ‘The Ferryman’: Broadway’s Wannabe Masterpiece