Author Archives: Philip

A family talks it all out in “Theo” at Two River Theater

Criticizing a play for being too wordy might seem counter-intuitive. Character dialogue, after all, is words. But unlike narrative stories or essays, plays need to balance telling with showing. Martin Moran’s “Theo,” world-premiering at Two River Theater Company, relies mostly … Continue reading

Blog, Professional, Regional

Along Roll We Merrily

I am a charter member of the Spoilers Avoidance Association, but it is impossible to write about “Merrily We Roll Along” without revealing – to those not already aware – that the 1981 Stephen Sondheim (music and Lyrics) and George … Continue reading

Blog, NY Theater, Off Broadway

“The Play That Goes Wrong” Goes Right Off-Broadway

Something funny happened to “The Play That Goes Wrong” on the way from Broadway to off-Broadway. Fear not; everything that was funny during its nearly two-year run in the 922-seat Lyceum Theatre is just as funny at the 360-seat New … Continue reading

Blog, NY Theater, Off Broadway

A blazing performance as Nina Simone in “Little Girl Blue”

My memories of seeing Nina Simone perform in Philadelphia and Atlantic City jazz clubs in the late 1950s/early 60s are soft-focus, because, well, do the math. What does remain sharp, though, is how her singing affected those of us fortunate … Continue reading

Blog, Professional, Regional

“Ain’t Misbehavin'” at Westchester: The Joint Is Jumpin’

To describe a play or musical as ‘dated’ might indicate that the piece is no longer relevant by virtue of evolved social or moral standards. (You won’t see Neil Simon’s play about the battered alcoholic Gingerbread Lady any time soon.) … Continue reading

Blog, Professional, Regional

A walk on the farce side: “Noises Off” at Two River Theater

One can imagine the Two River Theater staff meeting to select a catch-phrase for their “Noises Off” advertising campaign. It is fitting that they settled on “One of the funniest plays ever written,” because, well, honesty is the best policy. … Continue reading

Blog, Professional, Regional