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Photo: Emon Hassan

OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Hey, Look Me Over!

February 8, 2018: Musical theater history, no less than the regular kind, is told by the winners. Triumphs like “Show Boat,” “West Side Story” and “Hamilton” are the works that give you the shape of their times, both as social documents and as cultural products. None of the old musicals sampled in the new Encores! anthology called “Hey, Look Me Over!” made or make that kind of history. Added together, the nine shows didn’t run as long as the original production of “My Fair Lady,” and not one has ever been revived on Broadway. Only one won a Tony Award, and that was for featured actress. If any were to show up on a best-of list, I would suspect family connections.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: In the Body of the World

February 6, 2018: Eve Ensler has a word she wants you to get comfortable with. No, not that one. Her remarkably successful play “The Vagina Monologues,” first seen Off Off Broadway in 1996 and then pretty much all over the world except where it was banned, helped normalize the frank discussion of women’s sexuality (and anatomy) onstage. It also fostered and financed a project called V-Day, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for antiviolence organizations. But the new word Ms. Ensler wants you to embrace — a word that is the subject of her play “In the Body of the World,” which opened on Tuesday in a Manhattan Theater Club production — is not so lovable. It’s “tumor.”

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Hangmen

February 5, 2018: Please allow him to introduce himself, not that he’s remotely shy about doing so. He’s a man of stealth and taste, a smooth talker out of 1960s London who dresses like a Teddy boy and seduces with buttery brashness. The name of this spiffy young devil, whose contemptuous charm is dripping from the stage of the Linda Gross Theater, is Mooney. He’s a dab hand at misdirection, the sort of fellow who sets even stolid minds spinning in paranoia and perplexity.

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OFF-BROADWAY REVIEW: Fire and Air

February 1, 2018: There is no credit for choreography in the Classic Stage Company production of “Fire and Air,” which is strange because it’s basically a biography of Sergei Diaghilev. You will recall — and if you don’t, the playwright, Terrence McNally, will repeatedly inform you — that Diaghilev, working with his protégé and lover Nijinsky, was the great impresario of modern ballet as it emerged from the fairy-filled mists of the Romantic era. “I invented the 20th century,” Mr. McNally’s Diaghilev says humbly.

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