Zoglin’s View

‘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

Do We Have to Love ‘Slave Play’?

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 Mesmerizes Broadway. How?

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?

‘The Secret Life of Bees’: Sweet Redemption

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