BROADWAY REVIEWS

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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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Present

January 8, 2017: As is so often the case, the party doesn’t really get going until everybody is good and drunk. Then, after much wine, vodka and awkward conversation, comes a fabulous eruption of runaway hedonism. Maybe, you think, coming to this shindig wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: In Transit

December 11, 2016: Every now and then, as yet another peppy cliché prances across the stage of the Circle in the Square Theater, you may pause to ponder the pioneering achievement of “In Transit,” the singing portrait of New York City subway travelers, which opened on Sunday night. After all, what you’re listening to often gleams with the blended polyphony of a good-size band. Yet not an instrument has been used in the performance of this a cappella musical, staged by the Tony-winning director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall. Everything we hear, as we are told in a (sung) preshow announcement, is created by human voices.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Dear Evan Hansen

December 4, 2016: As the title character in “Dear Evan Hansen,” a lonely teenager who inadvertently becomes a social media sensation and a symbol of the kindness that is often cruelly absent in high school hallways, the marvelous young actor Ben Platt is giving a performance that’s not likely to be bettered on Broadway this season. What’s more, this gorgeous heartbreaker of a musical, which opened at the Music Box Theater on Sunday, has grown in emotional potency during its journey to the big leagues, after first being produced in Washington and Off Broadway. Rarely – scratch that — never have I heard so many stifled sobs and sniffles in the theater.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: A Bronx Tale: The Musical

December 1, 2016: Sometimes plain old pasta with red sauce is just what the doctor ordered. “A Bronx Tale,” which opened at the Longacre Theater on Broadway on Thursday, might be called the musical-theater equivalent of that classic comfort food. It doesn’t break ground or dazzle with an unusual recipe — like, say, mixing rap and American history — but it delivers reliable pleasures with polished professionalism and infectious energy. Chazz Palminteri wrote the book, which was adapted from his solo play. More may know the material from the movie version, starring Mr. Palminteri and Robert De Niro, and directed by Mr. De Niro, who shares that chore here with the veteran Jerry Zaks. All told, Mr. Palminteri, who revived his original 1989 solo show on Broadway in 2007, has made a profitable career, and provided much entertainment to audiences, repackaging (albeit loosely) his upbringing in an Italian-American enclave in the Bronx.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

November 14, 2016: The Imperial Theater, where the rapturous musical “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” blazed opened on Monday night, has never looked more imperial — or felt more intimate. Who would have guessed that Dave Malloy’s gorgeous pop opera, adapted from a slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” would land on Broadway with all its signal virtues intact, and in some ways heightened?

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Les Liaisons Dangereuses

October 30, 2016: In the high-stakes sport of extreme stage acting, Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber are champion cliff divers. Give them an emotional precipice to jump from, and they’ll soar through the air and stick the landing. Think of Ms. McTeer’s dawning, devastating disillusionment as the pet wife in “A Doll’s House,” or Mr. Schreiber having the mother of all meltdowns in “Talk Radio.” Or Ms. McTeer competing with a rainstorm and winning as the title character of “Mary Stuart.” And Mr. Schreiber casting a slime of moral pollution over everything that moves as Iago in “Othello.”

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Front Page

October 21, 2016: “Who the hell reads the second paragraph?” snarls Walter Burns, the merciless newspaper editor in “The Front Page,” examining the copy of his star reporter. And since Mr. Burns is portrayed quite spectacularly by Nathan Lane as a man whose advice you ignore at your peril, I shall state right away — with the rattling fanfare of a hundred manual typewriters — that the revival of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 classic, which opened on Thursday night at the Broadhurst Theater, is … Dang it! (Imagine I just wrote something saltier.) That’s way too much prose for any paragraph, never mind a lead. No doubt Walter would inform me that you, my impatient audience, have already stopped reading by now. But though “The Front Page” is all about the adrenaline rush that turns journalists into deadline junkies, it’s hard to work up the proper urgency about Jack O’Brien’s production.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: The Cherry Orchard

October 16, 2016: Toward the welcome end of the Roundabout Theater Company’s terminally confused production of Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” a character who has just exhausted himself by dancing like James Brown on steroids laments, “Oh, if only we could move faster through this next part.”

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Heisenberg

October 13, 2016: Though the play’s name is that of a theoretical physicist, chemistry — to be pronounced with a sizzling “s” — is the science that first comes to mind as you watch the splendid Broadway debut of Simon Stephens’s “Heisenberg,” which opened on Thursday night at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater

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