Category Archives: Theater, Movie, Event, Misci Reviews

Last Night in the Cheap Seats: Disgraced – On Broadway

We caught Disgraced last night on Broadway. The play originated in London and was written by British novelist, Ayad Akhtar.  I’ll venture an unsubstantiated guess that a few of the lines and references were changed to New Yorkisize it.

The plot centers on Amir (Hari Dhillon who originated the role in London, and like many British actors can do a dead-on American accent). Amir is an American-born corporate attorney of Pakistani-descent. When we first meet him, he appears to have it all – $600 shirts, an apartment with a terrace that many New Yorker’s would kill for, nice things,, and a Continue reading Last Night in the Cheap Seats: Disgraced – On Broadway

Come to the Caberet — If You Can Still Get Tickets

Come to the Caberet? Definitely. We caught a preview back in March. Opening night is tonight, April 24, 2014. I know you aren’t supposed to review previews, but this is just a personal blog, and as many have pointed out, I’m not a professional. Besides, I’m mostly going to praise the hell out of this production.

I probably should have posted sooner because by now there aren’t too many tickets left, and after tonight, there will be fewer still. It’s a limited run with Alan Cumming returning to the role that made him a star (in this country at least) and it features movie star Michelle Williams in her Broadway debut. Per the official website the best ticket availability is in July till the end of the run. My guess is you will never see tickets for it at the half price booth. They were doing rush tickets during the preview, but who knows if they’ll continue? This one is actually Continue reading Come to the Caberet — If You Can Still Get Tickets

The Glass Menagerie — Run, Don’t Walk to the Booth

We tend to reduce Tennessee Williams to a soundbite in our brains. That soundbite is most likely to be Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski yelling, “Stella!” or maybe his sister-in-law rattling on about the kindness of strangers.

Williams’ arguably second most famous play, The Glass Menagerie is the one with the crazy mother rattling on about “gentleman callers,” the “terribly shy” daughter – based on Williams’ own mentally ill sister, and the son with the artistic temperament working at a shoe factory.

Can this self-proclaimed “memory play” be rescued from our own distorted memories of it?

The answer based on this most recent production now at the Booth Theater would be a resounding YES.

In the first moments when Zachary Quinto appears on the stage at Tom, I had reservations. The structure is artificial as he reminds us, but once he sat down on the family couch and his sister (ably played by Celia Keenan-Bolger) appeared as if by (stage) magic beside him, all doubts lifted. The audience was transported to the dingy depression era flat in St Louis and the sister and mother, Tom had left behind years before.

That Quinto was able to pull off this dual characterization – Tom as young man and Tom as somewhat older one looking back – should be no surprise. This is after all a man who managed to make Mr Spock his own, while also channelling our memories of the original.

Of course the star of the evening is Cherry Jones, and she is extraordinary. Her Amanda may talk of her old days as a Southern belle before she made the mistake of marrying the wrong man, but she is a survivor who wants to ensure the survival of her children. She may talk of her the past, but she lives in Continue reading The Glass Menagerie — Run, Don’t Walk to the Booth

Not a Drag at All — Twelfth Night on Broadway

We saw Twelfth Night at the Bellasco Theater last night.

This is a production of the Globe Theatre which does its best to perform Shakespeare as it was intended to be performed. Costumes are period, as is musical accompaniment. As it’s performed on a Broadway stage rather than an open-roofed circle, some accommodations need to be made. The stage is bare except for a few props brought in and out. There’s an elaborate candelabra above the actors. This did give the better-half and I pause, fire safety and all, but I’m sure some precautions were taken. The audience is told to arrive twenty-minutes early to watch the actors get into make-up and costume on stage while traditional music is played (on top of the stage) by musicians playing period instruments in costume. Also, all the women’s roles are played by men.

So does this work including the casting? Yes. It was a lot of fun. One problem, however, is getting in twenty-minutes early. Ticket holders line up and it’s a pretty long, slow line, so by the time anyone at the end of the line gets in, they may only be watching the actors for five minutes. I don’t know when the line starts forming, but if you want to experience that whole thing, you might want to get there very early.

The acting was superb. The better-half thought some of the stage business was a little too camped up, but I’m not sure that was historically inaccurate. It is a comedy, and Shakespeare practically invented the double-entendre. The play which likes most Shakespeare plays contains lines that we know is a comedy and like a lot of Shakespearean comedy involves mistaken identity and women disguising themselves as men. When a man is playing a woman disguising herself as a man, that’s a nice extra layer. The women playing men played them straight (no pun intended).

Because the actors know what they are saying, you will too. It’s hard to pick stand-outs, but the cast features Stephen Fry – yes that Stephen Fry, and Mark Rylance as Olivia is a sight to behold, but the whole play would fall apart without a strong Viola, and Samuel Barnett was excellent.

This is a short-run, closing in mid-February. I understand that tickets are sometimes available at TCKTS, but you can also get them through the show’s website. All balcony seats are $27, and there are other $27 dollar seats as well scattered in other sections, but good ones are hard to find. It should be noted that the $27 tickets actually cost $37 with fees if you buy online. I’m not sure whether you can avoid the fees by going directly to the box office. It’s not a big theatre, but some balcony seats may only have a partial view with the front of the stage cut off. There is also some onstage seating including cheap seats there, but it looks like those may all be sold out for the run. If you want to splurge, you might want to go with the onstage seating rather than the orchestra, that is if you don’t mind a little interaction with the actors and being visible to the rest of the audience.

(First time visiting? There’s plenty to see here, or you can hop over to check out some fiction Marion’s written.).

Waiting For Professor X and Magneto or a Couple of English Guys Sitting Around Talking

I don’t know if this review is strictly kosher. The better-half and I caught a pair of rush tickets and saw a preview of Waiting for Godot on Thursday, November 21st. The play’s official opening was November 24th. I wasn’t planning on blogging about it, but after reading Ben Brantley’s glowing review in Monday’s New York Times, the curmudgeon in me felt obliged to say something.

First, this production, featuring one of my favorite starship captains, and Gandalf, was not terrible. It wasn’t one of those ridiculous star-studded mediocrities that wins awards and are critical darlings even though they Continue reading Waiting For Professor X and Magneto or a Couple of English Guys Sitting Around Talking