Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Category: Adaptations From Great Authors (Page 1 of 5)

The playwright ponders ... Pierre Corneille by an unknown 17th century artist. Bibliotheque Nationale de France.

REVIEW The Liar | By David Ives | Adapted from Corneille’s play Le Menteur | Directed by Michael Kahn | Classic Stage Company

… bold brilliance …

This play is for everybody who loves words, word play, unexpected puns and rhymes of an unbound imagination.  It’s hilarious –and expands one’s sense of the English language.

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Benjamin Eett as the Mariner. Photo Carol Goldfarb

REVIEW   Albatross | By Matthew Spangler and Benjamin Evett | Starring Benjamin Evett | Inspired by “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Sometimes there is no why … ” The Mariner

In Albatross, Benjamin Evett gives us a surpassing performance in a magnificent play.

Alone on the stage, Benjamin Evett contends with the wind and waves, the details of his ship’s rigging, loneliness, madness, thirst, hunger, loss, memories, yearnings, cruelty, and the guilt of having caused the arbitrary death of an innocent, friendly creature.  His is an ultimate human voyage.  We are lucky to have so compelling an actor as Evett to take us on this journey:  he keeps us tight beside him all the way.

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Life is for Living, Conversations with Coward, 59E59Theaters December 13, 2016 - January 1, 2017 Noel Coward cabaret evning

REVIEW | Life is for Living | conversations with Coward | Simon Green with David Shrubsole | 59E59 Theaters

… cabaret with Coward …

Not so much “conversations” with Noel Coward — think cabaret.

Life is for Living, Conversations with Coward, 59E59Theaters December 13, 2016 - January 1, 2017 Noel Coward cabaret evning

David Shrubsole on piano and Simon Green performing Life is for Living. Photo Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2016.

Seating is at intimate round tables.  Simon Green, tall, slim, totally charming and with a wonderful wry smile sings Noel Coward’s songs, with a few by other songwriters, and songs developed from some of his letters and other writings by Green and beautifully turned to music and played by the exciting pianist David Shrubsole.

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East meets West: rehearsing for Devdas in production of Hypokrit Theatre Company and Junoon Performing Arts

Devdas & Chokher Bali | Indian Classics Reimagined | Directed by Arpita Mukherjee | Hypokrit Theatre Company and Junoon Performing Arts

Two Indian classics re-imagined 

First on the program,  Devdas (The Lover)  is a feast of dancing and music, choreographed with originality and variety by Swarali Karulkar, and with exciting music by Aalap Desai. 

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My Fair Lady playing at Bay Street in Sag Harbor, L. I.

OFF-BROADWAY IN SAG HARBOR | My Fair Lady | Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner | Music by Frederick Loewe | Bay Street Theater

… great ….

This My Fair Lady is so good it made me feel that this wonderful show was even more marvelous than I thought.  I saw new things in it!  It’s thrilling!

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Van Gogh's Street in Auers-sur-Oise from "Unfinished" exhibition at the Met Breuer, Metropolitan Museum of Art,

Leonard Nimoy’s Vincent | With James Briggs as Theo Van Gogh | Directed by Dr. Brant Pope

… the price of fame …

The idea is that Vincent van Gogh has recently died and his brother Theo, the art dealer who loved and supported that brilliant artist, was so overcome at the time that he’d been unable to speak at Vincent’s funeral.  It’s two weeks later, and Theo is impelled, now, to tell us what he thinks he knows about Vincent that others don’t. 

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C. Walker, Jr. as Mondego & Tom Frank as Monte Cristo in Jared Reinmuth's Monte Cristo, at Urban Stages in NYC Jan 22 - Feb 13, 2016

Monte Cristo | By Jared Reinmuth | Directed by Cailin Heffernan | Urban Stages

… epic fun …

This is a rich, epic play, adapted from Alexandre Dumas’ novel of 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo.   It’s spectacular – filled with characters, color and events, the most intense emotions of love and revenge, moving through time and space forward as well as backward through memory.

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The Burial At Thebes |By Seamus Heaney | From Sophocles’ Antigone |Directed by Charlotte Moore | Irish Repertory Theatre

… don’t bother …

Sophocles’ Antigone is among the greatest plays ever written, Seamus Heaney is a Nobel Prize winning poet, and Irish Repertory Theatre produces wonderful shows with outstanding actors.  How then did The Burial At Thebes turn out to be a  poor derivative of Antigone, with amateurish acting?

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Jean Lichty at the early feminist NORA, and Todd Gearhart as her husband, Torvald in Bergman's NORA after Ibsen's A Doll's House

NORA | by Ingmar Bergman | After Ibsen’s A Doll’s House | Austin Pendleton Director

… a doll’s household … 

Jean Lichty at the early feminist NORA, and Todd Gearhart as her husband, Torvald in Bergman's NORA after Ibsen's A Doll's House

Todd Gearhart as Torvald and Jean Lichty as Nora. Photo Carol Rosegg

In the name of “crystallization,” Bergman’s paring down of Ibsen’s compelling play with its early feminist theme sticks to the plot but gives us fewer ways to know the characters.  It puts major, inner change on fast forward — making for an unconvincing drama.

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SONGBIRD | Based on Chekhov’s The Seagull |Written by Michael Kimmel | Songs by Lauren Pritchard | Directed by JV Mercanti

… a terrific new musical is born …

Here is a really amazing idea – Songbird  is a country music musical based in Chekhov’s The Seagull.  While it stays quite close to the plot of the symbolist and heavily psychological end-of-the-19th century Russian drama, it soars on its own life-affirming wings.

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