At times like these, I’m grateful not to be reviewing theater regularly: I’d be too much of a downer. Most of the big offerings of Broadway’s fall season thus far have disappointed me. I’ve already shared my reservations about the critically acclaimed Slave Play. I had high hopes for Linda Vista, the latest from the always … Continue reading Fall Update: David Byrne To the Rescue
When the a sign adorning the theater marquee announces that the play inside “demands to be seen”; when the critical praise includes adjectives like “challenging,” “shocking” and “explosive”; when you take your seat and the first thing you see onstage is a mirror reflecting the audience right back at you; when the work in question … Continue reading Do We Have to Love ‘Slave Play’?
Derren Brown’s Secret, the new one-man show from London starring the popular British mentalist/magician, presents a conundrum for theater critics. It is the most riveting, literally mesmerizing show on Broadway. And yet no one can say much about it. Everything is a potential spoiler. But allow me to do just a little spoiling. Brown’s main … Continue reading Derren Brown Mesmerizes Broadway. How?
Is Annie Get Your Gun the greatest of all American musicals? I doubt many musical-theater scholars would regard it as a contender. And I might not either, if I hadn’t just seen a wonderful revival of the show at the enterprising Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York. First of all, I could make … Continue reading Sun in the Evening: A Bright New Annie
Apologies for the long absence from posting. For the past month I’ve been consumed with the launch of my new book, Elvis in Vegas: How the King Reinvented the Las Vegas Show. My mini-book tour culminated last week with a trip to Memphis for the tail end of Elvis Week, the annual fan festival marking … Continue reading Going to Graceland: A Visit to Elvis Country
I have not read Sue Monk Kidd’s bestselling novel The Secret Life of Bees, nor seen the (less successful) 2008 movie, so I came to the new off-Broadway musical based on her story without any preconceptions. I also came fresh from seeing Fairview, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s much acclaimed, stylistically adventurous, aggressively woke exploration of racial … Continue reading ‘The Secret Life of Bees’: Sweet Redemption
While slogging through a slow period for theater, I thought I'd revisit a topic I've been following closely ever since my 2016 TIME cover story, "The New Politics of Late Night": The doctored video of Nancy Pelosi that went viral recently — her remarks slowed down just a hair to exaggerate her slurring speech patterns — … Continue reading Can Seth Meyers Run for President?
I try not to get too excited or outraged over the Tony Awards. But a few thoughts on the nominations announced earlier this week: First, they’re a sign that Broadway is thriving. I remember lean years when there were barely enough shows to fill up the four nomination slots for Best Musical. (In 1995 the … Continue reading A Good Year for the Tonys, Unless You’re Glenda Jackson
I guess I can say (though I wouldn’t press the point) that I knew Rupert Murdoch back when. In the mid-1970s, very early in my journalism career, I was working for a small company that published four monthly magazines for young professionals — doctors, lawyers, engineers and MBAs. Midway through my time there, the company … Continue reading ‘Ink’: Redeeming Rupert Murdoch
As the Tony deadline nears, the Broadway openings are coming fast and furious. Here’s my fast take on three of them: Burn This. The new revival of Lanford Wilson’s 1986 play (my first encounter with the play) is a disappointment. The slight plot revolves around the death of a gay dancer, who has left behind … Continue reading Broadway’s Spring Rush: Hillary, Hades and Histrionics