Let's Talk Off Broadway

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

Category: Broadway Theater (Page 1 of 4)

Review | Oslo | By J. T. Rogers | Directed by Bartlett Sher | Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center

… at the gates of war … 

No conflicts seem more stubbornly unsolvable in modern politics and history than the hostilities between Israelis and Arabs.   How fascinating that there were, in fact, secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, enabled by idealistic,  peace-seeking Norwegians, that resulted in a signed agreement in 1993, the first of the Oslo accords.   Oslo tells the that story in such a way that the audience is caught up in the suspense of high stakes history.

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Review | Sweat | By Lynn Nottage | Directed by Kate Whoriskey | Studio 54

… losers and losers …

Sweat is not a perfect play but it’s important and by the end has great impact. As this drama unfolds, we witness through the lives of engaging individuals how competition for jobs poisons relationships between ethnic and racial groups and, most poignantly, between friends.  The backdrop is the total disregard of industry and “Wall Street” for the individuals who support them.

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Broadway Review | The Humans | by Stephen Karam | Directed by Joe Mantello | Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

… it wasn’t meant to be this way …

Just after World War II, Frank Sinatra filmed and recorded an inspiring song, “The House I Live In,” an expansive, optimistic view of America.  In The Humans, the dwelling that is America has been reduced to a dumpy apartment.

And it’s no longer owned, it’s a rental – and the rent goes to the Chinese landlords.

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Review | (A Very) Long Day’s Journey Into Night | by Eugene O’Neill | Roundabout Theatre Company

… very long day’s journey …

Long Day’s Journey Into Night has a particular importance and glamour as an autobiographical work by one of America’s greatest playwrights, with the Tyrone family in the play being drawn from Eugene O’Neill’s memories of his own family.  While often called a masterpiece, Long Day’s Journey is a wordy and repetitive play.  For the psychological infighting, love-hate interactions and deceptions to remain compelling for the play’s 3 ¾ hours running time, it needs great actors with psychological depth.  Jessica Lange is effective as the mother but the three male actors are disappointing.

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Review | An American In Paris | Book by Craig Lucas | Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin | Directed and Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon | Palace Theatre

Inspired by the film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron

This new Broadway musical, American in Paris , has absolutely spectacular dancing and choreography, magnificent scenes and scene changes, and wonderful Gershwin songs.   The story, well, it’s a little weak but never mind.  American in Paris will fill you with joie de vivre.

And if you know the movie — though not always in the same ways this is every bit as good!

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Broadway Review | You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman | With James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne | Directed by Scott Ellis | Longacre Theatre

Living in a townhouse on the upper west side of NYC is a wacky but lovable family  guided by the idea that life is to be enjoyed and gaining money shouldn’t be a focus because, after all, you can’t take it with you:  everyone should freely do their own thing  — and so they do, with very funny results.

Grandpa Martin Vanderhof attends commencements, his daughter Penny writes plays about monasteries and sex slaves while her husband Paul and friend build fireworks in the basement, as granddaughter Essie earnestly practices ballet and so it goes, with other emphatic personalities who find themselves part of the household.

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Review | Picnic by William Inge | Directed by Sam Gold | Roundabout Theatre Company

Picnic is a huge delicious ice cream of a fantasy you don’t even have to feel guilty about giving in to it because it comes in the guise of hard bitten realism.  I loved it.

The action takes place in a small town in the midwest in and around the houses of Flo Owens and Helen Potts and the yard between them.  The set, always on view, is so familiar and warmly lit, from the worn white wood frame houses with enticing glimpses through the windows to the appealingly familiar junk around, that one can hardly wait for the play to begin.  The play doesn’t disappoint. 

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Broadway Review | Golden Boy by Clifford Odets | Directed by Bartlett Sher | Lincoln Center Theater at the Belasco Theatre

After great success with his plays Waiting for Left and Awake and Sing! in 1935 — and a stint of movie writing in Hollywood — Odets returned to Broadway with Golden Boy in 1937.  Being familiar with the first two plays, I looked forward to a chance to get to know Golden Boy. I wanted to like it. I even expected to be excited by it.

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The contest runs through December 9. Clifford Odet’s Golden Boy.
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Broadway Review | Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee | With Tracy Letts, Amy Morton, Carrie Coon, Madison Dirks | Directed by Pam MacKinnon | Steppenwolf Theatre Company

This is an excellent production of a very well written and engrossing play that leaves off with an unpleasant sense of sound and fury signifying not much.

It’s about a husband and wife who constantly argue and undercut one another.  This is done under the guise of what’s supposedly a significant psychological, even philosophical, revelation involving a mutually held illusion but in my view that’s a highfalutin pretext: the unlikely revelation is no more than a justification for a tremendously skilled playwright to write a total orgy of witty, sharp, well observed nastiness between a married couple.  That can be a lot of fun, but it’s also pretty sordid.

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