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

Category: Off-Broadway Theater Page 6 of 30

Yvonne Korshak writes Let’s Talk Off-Broadway fired by the sense that the best theater in New York City is off-Broadway and she wants to spread the word. She conveys the essence of the show – what’s this play about? What would it be like to see it? How is it wonderful? And where might it be stronger?

Review | Incident At Vichy | By Arthur Miller | Directed by Michael Wilson | Signature Theatre

… and then there were none … 

In many ways, this is Arthur Miller’s most pessimistic play, and also perhaps his greatest.  At least, this outstanding production makes it seem it is.

Review | 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.

Review | Hot L Baltimore | By Lanford Wilson | Directed by Peter Jensen | T Schreiber Studio

… gleaming multi-facets …

When Hot L Baltimore premiered in 1973 at Circle Repertory Theater in Greenwich Village, it quickly became an award-winning landmark, bringing heightened awareness of New York City’s burgeoning off-Broadway theater scene, and endowing it with a newly recognized distinction.  If you’ve never seen it, the current production by T. Schreiber Studio is an excellent chance to get to know this legendary play.  What an evocative title! 

Review | A View From The Bridge | By Arthur Miller | Directed by Ivo Van Hove | Young Vic | Lyceum Theatre

 … longshoreman as tragic hero … 

The Young Vic staging, directed by Ivo Van Hove, brings a breath-catching universality to Arthur Miller’s naturalistic drama of Italian Americans.

In this exciting production, dominated by the powerful acting of Mark Strong in the key role of the longshoreman Eddie Carbone, and excellent acting throughout, Van Hove takes Miller’s tragic tale of an Italian-American family set in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood in the 1950’s and abstracts it, pulling out from the play its universal elements while submerging the specifics.

Review | Travels With My Aunt | Based on Graham Greene’s Novel | Adapted by Giles Havergal | Directed by Jonathan Silverstein | Clurman Theatre

… the numinous fluidity of paintings in WW II … 

A stuffy, inhibited 50-year old British banker, Henry, meets up with his mother’s sister, 75-year old Aunt Augusta, at his mother’s funeral and is drawn by her into traveling to far away places and a new view of life with this free-wheeling, libertine, and slightly criminal Aunt.

The first surprise Augusta has up her sleeve is that Henry’s mother, whose ash urn he is clutching, was not really his mother.

Who is his mother?  We know right off the bat.  But it takes Henry the full play to find out.

Review | Cloud Nine | By Caryl Churchill | Directed by James Macdonald | Atlantic Theater

… mix and match through time … 

Looking at first like a comedy of manners, Act I takes us to a British colony in Africa during Victorian times.  We soon learn that the characters – members of a nuclear family, some friends, servants and hangers-on – are embroiled in infidelity and/or non-conventional sexual arrangements, passions and longings in the context of stiff upper lip British Empire attitudes and a do-what-you-want-as-long-as-it-stays-discrete way of getting along.

Susan Mitchell and John Talerico in John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Review | Danny and the Deep Blue Sea | By John Patrick Shanley | Starring Susan Mitchell and John Talerico | Directed by Lissa Moira | Theater for the New City

Susan Mitchell and John Talerico in Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

Susan Mitchell and John Talerico. Photo Peter Welch

… how far can love take you? …

Two very broken people meet in a desolate bar, tough-guy Danny, who thinks he may have killed a man last night, and Roberta, driven by shame to the edge of crazy despair.

Roberta, morphing from flirtatious to hysterical (the shifts done superbly by Susan Mitchell) tries to allure Danny who turns near murderous on the dime at any approach (a violently scary John Talerico).

Review | Iphigenia in Aulis from Euripides | Transadaptation by Anne Washburn | Classic Stage Company

… Lucidity …

Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis is a very great play and its force comes across in this production.  It leaves you shaken by the tragic, and elated.

The play’s force lies in the extraordinary power of Euripides’ mind, and the experience of seeing the play in this production by Classic Stage is mind-to-mind, his and yours.  What a privilege!

The Greek army is on its way to Troy when its ships are becalmed at Aulis.  For days on end no winds arise to fill the sails.  The army is frustrated, morale is low.  A seer reveals to Agamemnon, the Greek leader, that there will be no wind until Agamemnon sacrifices his own virginal daughter, Iphigenia – sacrifice as in slit her throat on altar — to appease the gods who are angry for their own reasons.  Goaded to fulfill the gods’ demand by his brother Menelaus (some nerve, it’s to bring Menelaus’ wife, Helen, back from Troy that Greeks have raised this army) Agamemnon sends for Iphigenia, using the ruse that he’s arranged her marriage with Achilles.

Review | Desire | Six Plays Based on Tennessee Williams Short Stories | The Acting Company | 59E59 Theaters

Echoes of Tennessee Williams

Most of these six plays are sketches, some are better than others, and some bring you closer to Williams than others – which isn’t always the same thing.

The Resemblance Between A Violin Case And A Coffin by Beth Henley is about an over-close brother and sister, Tom and Roe, whose hot-house relationship with its submerged sexuality is upended when Roe, who gets her first period on stage complete with blood running down her leg (i.e., she’s reaching sexual maturity), develops an intense crush on a new boy in town, a violinist with whom she’s slated to play a recital.  It’s fun to recognize Williams’ dramatic themes – frail people living in dream worlds and thwarted, immature love. The playwright seems uncertain about what’s really causing his character’s, particularly Roe’s, troubles, and the role imagination plays in his character’s lives.

Review | Love & Money by A. R. Gurney | Directed by Mark Lamos | Signature Theatre

Will the rich dowager be fooled by the tall, handsome and, in her WASP world, exotic Black con man who has a lot of smooth dance moves?  That is the question.

Cornelia, a wealthy WASP dowager (emphasis on WASP is Gurney’s) is closing down her house with all its rich furnishings (great set by Michael Yeargan) to move to some sort of elder living which she with vivacious irony refers to as a “nursing home.”

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