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Photo: Joan Marcus

BROADWAY REVIEW: Jitney

January 19, 2017: Conversation sings and swings, bends and bounces and hits heaven smack in the clouds, in the glorious new production of August Wilson’s “Jitney,” which opened on Thursday night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater. In Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s vital revival of a 1982 play only now making its Broadway debut, words take on the shimmer of molten-gold notes from the trumpets of Louis and Miles. How sweet the sound. And how sorrowful and jubilant, as life in a storefront taxi company in an African-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh comes to feel like a free-form urban concerto, shaped by the quick-witted, improvisatory spirit that makes jazz soar.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: The Tempest (St. Ann’s Warehouse, 2017)

January 18, 2017: There’s freedom within captivity in the exhilarating production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest that is wreaking poetic havoc with an all-female cast at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn through Feb. 19. I’m talking about the giddy liberation that comes from being caught up in a collective fantasy that makes you forget how small your existence can feel. That may seem to you a fair definition of theater — or, for that matter, life itself. But for the participants in this particular rendering of Shakespeare’s great valedictory romance, the concept takes on a more literal meaning.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: The Beauty Queen of Leenane

January 15, 2017: The world has opened up for the poisonously insular mother and daughter of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, which has been given an expansive revival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. For starters, the rural Irish digs shared by Mag and Maureen Folan, one of the nastiest family units ever to grace (or disgrace) a stage, are larger than when this satanically funny pair first arrived in New York nearly two decades ago.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Made in China

January 16, 2017: Puppets are hardly a novelty on New York stages, but I’ll bet you’ve never seen one representing a talking, singing toilet plunger, have you? Strange to say, that’s not the oddest moment in Made in China, an all-puppet musical that blends an unlikely romance between two lonely souls stranded in middle age with pointed commentary on the ties between America’s voracious consumerism and human rights abuses in China.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Time of Women

January 13, 2017: The murk and dankness of a jail cell enfold the characters of Time of Women like a fog that refuses to lift even when the sun is out. In this intensely acted, claustrophobic play from the remarkable underground company the Belarus Free Theater, which runs through Sunday as part of the Under the Radar festival, life is saturated with the stench of incarceration, and no one is pretending that the smell will go away.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Latin Standards

January 12, 2017: The vibrant performer Marga Gomez pays loving, funny tribute to her father, a comic performer and songwriter named Willy Chevalier (the Chevalier was a bit of invention), in her latest solo show, Latin Standards, being presented through Sunday as part of the Under the Radar festival.

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