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’
It's very now. Be More Chill, Broadway's new teen-angst musical about a high-school misfit who takes a pill laced with a computer chip that turns him into Mr. Cool, pretty much fizzled when it premiered at a small theater in New Jersey four years ago. But it became a viral hit on the Web — with a … Continue reading Five Things to Know About ‘Be More Chill’
It was only coincidental that I went to see a program of five Oscar-nominated short films last weekend, just after the Motion Picture Academy backtracked on its plan to relegate that and three other awards to a commercial break on Sunday’s Oscar telecast. Now I see what a travesty it would have been. Collectively, the … Continue reading Short but Not Sweet: An Oscar Interlude
Is anyone else getting a little tired of Trump jokes? I was one of the first — in a 2016 cover story for Time — to celebrate the new political humor on late-night TV. I still look forward to Seth Meyers’ pointed “A Closer Look” segments, and Bill Maher, after a couple of months’ absence, is back … Continue reading Colin Quinn: Political Satire Minus Trump
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
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
“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?