BROADWAY REVIEWS

BROADWAY REVIEW: Sunday In the Park with George (2017)

February 23, 2017: He is a thorny soul, a man neither happy nor particularly kind, and not someone you’d be likely to befriend. But when the 19th-century French painter Georges Seurat, reincarnated in the solitary flesh by a laser-focused Jake Gyllenhaal, demands that you look at the world as he does, it’s impossible not to fall in love.

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Sunset Boulevard

February 9, 2017: The scenery may have shrunk, but that face — oh, that face — looms larger than ever. So does the ego that animates it, both indomitable and irreparably broken. “With one look,” indeed, to borrow a song lyric that describes such unsettling presence. That outrageous, over-the-top, desperate old lady shedding sanity on the stage of the Palace Theater still has the poetry in her gaze to break every heart. Yes, Hollywood’s most fatally narcissistic glamour girl, Norma Desmond, is back in town, in the pared-down revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” that opened on Thursday night. It is a show that exists almost entirely to let its star blaze to her heart’s content. The light she casts is so dazzling, this seems an entirely sufficient reason to be.

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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: Cats

July 31, 2016: If I soon end up in a psychiatric ward, could someone please send the bill to Andrew Lloyd Webber? It has been some four days since I saw the revival of Mr. Lloyd Webber’s nigh-legendary musical “Cats,” which opened on Sunday at the Neil Simon Theater. And it’s been four days of persistent earworms. The show’s electric opening song has been hounding me — no feline metaphor applying — when I wake in the morning, when I sit down at my computer, when I pick up a volume of Trollope, when I go to bed. Because jellicles can and jellicles do Jellicles do and jellicles can Jellicles can and jellicles do Jellicles do and jellicles can

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BROADWAY REVIEW: Paramour

May 25, 2016: Pity the poor chanteuse. Flame-haired, beautiful and buxom, clad in a spangly dress and draped seductively against a piano, she’s singing her heart out, pouring her soul into a song about … er, something. Love? Loss? Her favorite nail salon? Hard to remember, because while she was doing all that heartfelt warbling, the patrons in the speakeasy where she was performing were bouncing around the room like tennis balls, or rolling around on skates, or contorting themselves into peculiar poses on their tables. A few particularly enterprising folks were even swinging from the light fixtures. It was difficult to focus on the song when the room resembled a pinball machine heading toward tilt. Welcome to “Paramour,” or as I like to call it, “A.D.H.D.! The Musical.”

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