We just caught two revivals in New York of shows from the eighties: both highly acclaimed back in the day for pushing the boundaries of queerness and gender identity on stage. After thirty-some years, what may have been transgressive about these characters’ sexuality is now more accepted, and both playwrights have revised their work to be effective for 2017 audiences.
The last weekend she ever sees him, Alison Bechdel begs her father to talk to her. Really talk to her. This mundane car ride comes weeks after she comes out to him, hours after she learns he sleeps around with young men—and days before he steps in front of a truck. It’s Alison’s first and only chance to address what used to be their shared secret. He makes a small gesture, suggests a local gay bar, but she reminds him she’s too young to go. Nothing is really said.
I know Merrily We Roll Along from its original 1981 cast album. That recording immortalized Merrily’s 16 brief performances before Franklin Shepard and friends closed up shop. Like a few Sondheim shows that came before (looking at you, Anyone Can Whistle), that recording was so important for giving Merrily a life past its initial failure.
THEATER REVIEW: The Little Foxes and The Price.
Regina’s story feels so familiar. She’s every woman who’s had to put up with stupid, selfish men getting ahead and keeping the rewards to themselves for far too long.
Making her return, as Norma Desmond defiantly crows, as a great star attempting her own ill-fated comeback, Glenn Close is following in the tradition of Broadway stars who’ve revived their characters for a new generation. This time around, Close’s Norma Desmond is more recognizably human.
It’s an unusual play with, I think, some of Tennessee’s most empathetic writing. By the third act, Iguana is essentially a two-hander for Hannah and Shannon, as they comfort and understand each other. Hannah’s fervent hope becomes a lightning rod for Shannon, inspiring him to—well, we don’t know.
THEATER REVIEW: The Present Ethel Barrymore Theater, New York, January 15, 2016 The curtain rises on Cate Blanchett with a pistol in her hand. She looks out at the audience, then at the pistol with a grim, steely countenance. It’s a gift she’s received for her fortieth birthday. As the adage suggests, we know […]
Hello, George. Where did you go, George?
Seeing Sunday in the Park with George, and listening to the score, has always been an emotional experience for me. Before our eyes, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical turns an impressionist Georges Seurat painting into a rich canvas of overlapping lives.
I’m writing about Long Day’s Journey into Night four weeks later. As my first time experiencing this Eugene O’Neill drama, it crept up on me gradually in the theater. When you know a play will last four hours, your body relaxes more at first, eases into the experience…
THEATER REVIEW: She Loves Me Studio 54, New York, May 14, 2016 Everyone talks about “Ice Cream” – Stephen Sondheim had it on his list of Songs I Wished I’d Written. Barbra recorded the famous ballad of nerves “Will He Like Me?” But we don’t talk much about the rest of She Loves Me, especially […]