Photo by Don Kellogg

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Playwright Robert O'Hara should never be accused of being timid.  In his bold, audacious new play, Mankind, he envisions a world with no women where men who get pregnant invent a religion that masses follow and interpret far beyond their expectations.

While at first blush an absurdest comedy, as you think more and more about it - it's quite the skewering of organized religion as we know it today - with all the stories, tales, and utterly bizarre "lessons" in the bible that we are expected to believe.

Mr. O'Hara's audacity is backed up by the ferocity of the cast portraying the denizens of this futuristic world.  Bobby Moreno (Jason) and Anson Mount (Mark) are "fuck-buddies" (Bobby in a jock strap in the opening scene is worth the price of admission) seemingly enjoying it thoroughly, when Jason finds out he's pregnant (not unlike how it happens today). Although they discuss "getting rid of it" in a scene we see replayed over and over in the play, abortion is illegal and both of them end up in jail where Jason gives birth.

If the story ended there it would be a big deal - but it goes on that Mark and Jason basically invent an entire religion because their baby was a GIRL (after they had all become extinct, remember) and she dies days after birth due to the air quality (apparently it was the air pollution that killed women off altogether).  What follows is an even more absurd path that Jason and Mark end up being revered by feminists (all men, seemingly) around the globe and their words and stories are turned into a bible of sorts - not unlike religion as we know it today may just have begun too.

The difference here is that Mark and Jason fully admit they made the entire thing up.  Perhaps we'd be better off if someone admitted to that long ago too.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Those Brits have a unique taste in musicals.  We Americans like sappy stories and saccharine musicals.  We like sad and depressing usually only in our plays.  Those Brits tore up those rules when they brought Matilda, a musical, to the stage.  It's likely the kid factor that blinded us to the awful plot and lackluster score.  Kids bring a cute-factor that nobody can deny.  A whole state full of them can't be easily denied.  Despite the aforementioned factors, this lackluster show has taken the world by storm.

In America, we have all see the TV commercials - non-traditional and filmed outside the theater dancing and exposing the only memorable number from the show - When I Grow Up.

Without a playbill given out in the lovely London Theater I have a hard time crediting the cast but most of them deserve your applause and respect for solid performances.  These young girls are still taking London by storm.  The fad seems to be over in America for now.

The Brits often try to re-take America by storm and if the recent string of British Flops will tell you, they aren't succeeding very well.  Matilda lasted much longer than the rest but now if you want to see it you'll have to go to London.  This is probably best.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Almost, Maine

Even if this was a High School production, it was a play that I had heard of but not yet seen.  The play, written by, now, Broadway musical star, John Cariani, (Something Rotten), just happens to be one of the most produced plays in the United States according to Wikipedia!  I can now see why this is the case.  It is essentially a bunch of vignettes with two characters who all live in the small, fictional, remote, non-coastal town of Almost which is in Maine.  It's quaint, it's cute, and it's very manageable for amateur actors - 9 vignettes - short and sweet - easily navigable.  It's light hearted and offers some alternate looks at relationships.    It is a slice of life type play - love and romance is the theme - good, bad, future, past, and current.

The Sayville Players is the drama group at Sayville High School and they were able to showcase their many talents throughout the evening in the "Little Theater".  Full disclosure, I was a card carrying member a long, long time ago under the supervision of Mr. Stephen Hailey. Now it seems to be someone named Mr. Shaw.

For whatever reason, these kids seemed much more at home and comfortable on stage than I ever remember being.   Whatever the case, it was another chance to see the work that I had not previously seen of a great actor and writer who has a long, solid career ahead of him.

I would venture a guess that many of the Sayville Players do also!

Link to Full Production Shots by Ray Foster Photography.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Treasurer

A touching new play by a terrific American playwright, Max Posner.  The Treasurer tells the tale of an elderly mother, Ida Armstrong (Deanna Dunagan) who is slowly losing her mind, spent most of her money now whose children, primarily her son (Peter Friedman) must pay for her.  They love her.  They were never a close family.  Now her son is tired of paying.  How far will his generosity go?  How much will she get away with in asking him to spend?  How much longer will she have the few marbles she has left.  Ms. Dunagan mesmerizes in her performance, as if she knows what it is like to be in such a state.

This is the story of family, of devotion, and of the limits of the aforementioned topics.  What do we owe our parents?  These questions and this play push the limits and test the boundaries of aging, money, and family.  A well written, thoughtful work meant to get you thinking and feeling.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday

Sarah Ruhl has a tender, touching new play running over at Playwrights Horizons.  For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday is a story about death and dying, family (the Catholic version of one),  different political opinions, and growing up.  Tie in a memory of Peter Pan and you have quite a nice evening in the theatre.

The show is billed as 90 minutes no intermission- but there are, nonetheless, two distinct acts.  Kathleen Chalfant (Ann), Daniel Jenkins (John), Keith Reddin (Michael), David Chandler (Jim), and Lisa Emery (Wendy) are all siblings and their father, Ron Crawford, is dying - literally - on stage.  As a minor point - i would have thought the kids names would be more standard Catholic fare such as Mary, John, etc... but I imagine there is a reason for everything.  As he is dying, there are questions (is he in pain), there is conflict (give him more morphine?) and plenty of cordial and comforting family memories being discussed.  Fast forward - dad dies and the family is gathered around the dining table (a wake of sorts) to discuss their father, life in general, and a dose of politics which reveals the divisions and differences among the family members.  Something common to many families, especially the large Catholic ones from Davenport, Iowa.

The play opens up with a memory played in front of the curtain (Kathleen Chalfant).  After the wake at the dining room table, we really see Act II take shape as Ann becomes Peter Pan and the siblings are the children.  This all stems from her beliefs in god, her life choices, and her general unwillingness to grow up.  Yes, indeed Ms. Chalfant, a limber 72 years young does fly and it as delightful as it seems.  The entire second act around the literal Peter Pan theme is designed to enhance her don't want to grow up because that means I'm going to die soon" outlook.

A generally entertaining, tender, down-to-earth play with just a dash of fun and a healthy dose of heart.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Terms of My Surrender

Self promotion with a purpose.  Theatre?  Only in the abstract sense.  Entertainment, most certainly.  Michael Moore, an unconventional choice for the Broadway stage, makes his debut in this blistering one-man-show with a purpose and theme.

Mr. Moore's theme which binds the entire book of the show is that one man can do something small and make a big difference.  Mr. Moore regales us with stories of his youth, middle age, and current time that proves that message and entertains all in his cantankerous and humorous manner we are accustomed to.  

Make no mistakes, the only republicans in the theatre are maybe only a reluctant spouse or two.  Mr. Moore makes sure we are aware of who they are too.  Of course he blisters the current Cheeto-head president.  He also blisters Flint, Michigan, and Ronald Reagan, and he makes the case that everyone needs to do something and that even something small has the ability to make big change.

In my opinion he was not as blistering or mean as I think he could be.  His theme and stories really did try to convince people to get off their asses and do something to make change. I was pleasantly surprised and even a bit motivated myself after leaving the theatre.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Parallelogram

One of the few magical plays out there this season.  Bruce Norris is a master of subjects tangled up in mystery and time.   A Parallelogram is no different - can we change the outcome of the future if we knew or could replay what we already have done?  If we only knew?  Would we be kinder?  These and many other questions are tackled with aplomb by the top notch cast in this last presentation of the season over at Second Stage Theater.

A clever loophole and a fascinating theory fill this play with mystery and wonder.  Steven Kunkin (Jay) can smell the cigarette smoke (the loophole).  Celia Keenan-Bolger (Bee) provides the many of the questions and wonder.  Anita Gillette (several Bee's) provides some, but not all, of the answers and the magic. Together this husband and wife (and wife) team plow thru life and we are aware that something is not quite right.

Don't expect all the answers.  But expect a wondrous, funny, heart-warming performance by all the actors in what might be Mr. Norris' second best play.

Friday, July 7, 2017


The master or parody strikes again.  Gerard Alessandrini has penned yet another spoof - this time based on one show - Hamilton.   However, his shtick involves making fun of the indomitable Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton using the hit songs and divas from the many other big Broadway hits - Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Camelot, Wicked, Book of Mormon, and the list goes on... and on... and on...

Thanks mostly to casting outstanding singers rather than just comedic actors - Mr. Alesandrini reaches the stratosphere of success with this latest hit.

Dan Rosales (Lin-Manuel Miranda) with his long brown locks looks, sounds, and captures the nuances of his real life character.  Nicole Vanessa Ortiz can belt out a tune just like Audra MacDonald and captures many of the nuances of her Hamilton characters as well as the divas that she inhabits.  Chris Anthony Giles and Aaron Michael Ray play two Hamilton side kicks and literally hundreds of others with aplomb.  Newcomer, Erik Hernandez, looking delicious with his shirt on AND even better off, knocks it out of the park.  We even got an appropriately hysterical visit from King George - played with gay-to-the hilt at this performance by Glenn Bassett.

If you're even a tiny fan of musical theatre and enjoyed your Hamilton experience - you will definitely enjoy this slightly more off-beat interpretation!  Go see it, Mr Burr, Sir.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hello Dolly!

Wow, Wow, Wow.  Dancing waiters, gorgeous gowns with gloves, gorgeous sets, fun, frivolity, and a magnificent score by Jerry Herman!  What more could you ask for in a decadent evening at the theatre?  Well, it only gets better when you add the delicious (this July only) Donna Murphy (Dolly Gallagher Levi), the fun and wacky David Hyde Pierce (Horace Vandergelder), the dapper and debonaire Gavin Creel (Cornelius Hackl), the darling and dashing Taylor Trensch (Barnaby Tucker) and the delightful Kate Baldwin (Irene Malloy) along with an ensemble the size of a small town.

This classic made famous by the indomitable Carol Channing roars back to life on Broadway this spring to pure delight.  Sure, the show is old fashioned, but isn't this just what the doctor ordered these days?  The characters are silly, the songs are lush, and the dancing is delicious.  Dolly plods on thru to get her man and makes a few matches along the way from Yonkers to New York City.

I opted to see Ms. Murphy on purpose and she didn't let me down with her spunk, pluck, elegance, and raw talent for playing a character.  Wow, Wow, Wow is an understatement when it comes to this show and this production does not disappoint - the lighting, the sets, the olios (canvases with murals painted on them), the costumes and color along with the music all contribute to the non-stop feeling of exuberance and joy this show brings to the audience.  When we get to the title number in Act II the audience has already contemplated an ovation twice before and at this point it is virtually un-stoppable.

Dolly, whether Ms. Murphy or Ms. Midler, is indeed back where she belongs.  Wow, Wow, Wow!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fulfillment Center

With a name like this somehow you expect it to be it's namesake - fulfilling.  On the contrary, the play by Abe Koogler, performed on a too narrow runway stage by actors in ordinary street clothes falls flat , is empty, and the characters, all  but Suzan (Deirdre O'Connell), were UN-fulfilled and UN-fulfilling in their development and arc.  Suzan was the most deeply fleshed out character and, as played by Ms. O'Connell, the most juicy and emotionally satisfying of the lot.

A distribution center for a company in New Mexico is the host to this un-remarkable plot.  Alex (Bobby Moreno) and Madeleine (Eboni Booth) are not a couple you would expect.  Alex doesn't seem very smart although he went to B-School, and Madeleine doesn't seem very happy although she sees a therapist regularly (she' a stereotypical New Yorker).  Together they plod through their own un-fulfilling relationship as we wander forward.  Madeleine is the crossover link to John (Frederick Weller) a mysterious and vaguely fleshed out local.  Contrary to Alex, he once was smart, and now, after the ravages of drugs and alcohol (we are lead to believe) he isn't so much any more.  Played with aplomb by Mr. Weller, the character falls flat due to the lack of development and sheer mystery surrounding him.

Overall, this 80 minute play needs a bit more work to have any sort of impact.  The characters are ill-defined and by the time you get to the end of the play, much like Alex, you realize the failure that just unfolded in front of you.

Friday, June 16, 2017


In what can only be described as a first-ever theatrical event - the indomitable Kevin Spacey (fresh off hosting the Tony Awards in New York City) put on a one man show depicting the life of the venerable Clarence Darrow - holding court literally on a court - center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium inn Flushing Meadows!  Yes, you read that correctly - on a tennis court.

My journey to the theatre this evening consisted of a subway ride to Penn Station and a train to Mets-Willetts Point where I got off and walked the lovely half mile or so to the tennis center right next to the Mets home stadium - CitiField.  Once at Arthur Ashe Stadium we made our way into the hallowed ground on center court and took our seats at the theatre in the round that Mr. Spacey would soon begin.

The roof was closed and the acoustics weren't the greatest - lots of echoes and planes overhead (nobody called Kennedy to reroute the flights like Mayor Dinkins did).  But that aside Mr. Spacey held court for two acts and about 90-100 minutes - mesmerizing us with the life, trials, and tribulations of one of the nations most exalted attorneys - Clarence Darrow.

This was a first that Mr. Spacey explained after the play he wanted to bring to this unique venue to spur yet even further artistic ventures at the venue.  Quite unique.  Entirely entertaining.  Worth every penny of my TDF ticket and something I certainly recommend if I felt the strength of the vocal performance in the future was enough to fill the cavernous stadium.  Not everything would work in this setting after all.  Mr. Spacey certainly did.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Man In The Ceiling

A new musical isn't easy to nurture and bring to the stage.  Andrew Lippa has penned music and Lyrics to the book by Jules Feiffer to produce a kid-focused yet very adult musical.  Now playing out in Sag Harbor at the Bay Street Theatre, The Man in the Ceiling is truly an opportunity for a young actor to sink his teeth into.  Let's not forget that the music is big, bold, and Broadway-ish.

Jonah Browcow (Jimmy) is an amazingly talented kid who can belt out tune after tune all the while breezing effortlessly across the stage.  It appears to me to be the role of a lifetime for any young kid.  Following the format and story in the book,  this musical follows a kid who just wants to draw and illustrate and his father (Danny Binstock) who just wants him to play softball and be a "normal" kid.  Throw in a caring peace-maker mother (Nicole Parker) and a devoted sister (Erin Kommor) and you have the recipe for a Saturday afternoon movie special - but the music, heart, and story that fills the stage is so much more.  Honestly the only character that didn't quite make much sense or have a fully sussed out role was Charley (Brett Gray) - he could have gone in so many directions but instead went in none.  Leave it to Mr. Lippa to slip into the role of Uncle Lester - the uncle who writes musical theatre!  I assume this was for artistic purposes and not some desire to return to the stage. He's goofy and cute so it all worked - at least in this role.  

All in all, as I seem to say repeatedly there are a few "stop hitting me over the head with this" moments that could be trimmed to shore up this show and make it tight.  It has a great video projected set background as well as the giant puppet (the Man in the ceiling) we only get glimpses at.  Plenty of heart, and a heap of soul, this show will go somewhere next and be better for all the out of town tests.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Marvin's Room

This revival of Marvin's Room may leave you wondering why people revive plays at all - especially when there have been a very successful movie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and had well received original off-Broadway and regional productions.  It would seem that you either have to do as well as the previous two or take your toys from the sandbox and just go home.  This revival is unfortunately the latter case.

Don't get me wrong - Lili Taylor (Bessie) and Janeane Garofalo (Lee) and Celia Weston (Ruth) form a magnificent trio of family lost and floundering with life at large.  But in their efforts - they are flat.  Completely flat.  Other than a few laughs and a few serious moments - I never even felt these 3 women were family.  Neighbors maybe, but family no.  Bring in young Hank (Jack DiFalco) and Charlie (Luca Padovan) and it seems like they all just met at the day care.  No connections whatsoever.

The set is lackluster at best - not a typical Roundabout production at all.  Like everything about this revival - lackluster and bare.  It seems the trend these days - strip away the costumes, the set, the makeup and glamor and lay bare the script for all.  Well, it hasn't always worked in the past, and employing the gimmick this time hasn't either.

It's a touching play (Scott McPherson) but this incarnation left me feeling empty and un-touched. I wanted the subject to move me but a juggernaut this time around this play is not.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bella: An American Tall Tale

Bella - or Isabella Patterson (Ashley D. Kelley) has a vivid and wild imagination indeed.  When she gets on a train to escape the pursuit of the law and heads west to New Mexico it really kicks into overdrive!  Her whole life, her mother (Kenita R. Miller) , aunt (Marinda Anderson), and grandmother (Natasha Yvette Williams) have known a special power to watch over her - and it is never needed as much as it is needed on this journey!  Bella meets the train conductor, Nathaniel Beckworth, (Brandon Gill) a circus master (Yurel Echezarreta), an Asian cowboy stripper, Tommie Haw, (Paolo Montalban), and many more vivid characters on the journey to meet her true love and betrothed, Aloysius T. Honeycutt (Britton Smith).  Oh the crazy and fun times she has when she falls asleep.  They are like no other.

In Kristen Child's new musical - whatever you see is real... or is it just a dream... what exactly is Bella in trouble for?  What did she do and who wants her back?  Is Aloysius real?  Can she really fly?  One thing is for sure - her booty is big and gives her the powers she needs to overcome just about any adversity.

The music and songs (all Ms. Childs) are delightful - a traditional old Broadway style - toe tappin' and fun.  The dancing is strong despite the tiny stage - which was a delightful stage within a stage due to the nature of the reality vs fantasy aspect of the plot.  Bella has the vocal cords of a giant and a personality to match - I really could picture Jennifer Hudson in the role.  One thing for sure, Ms. Childs infuses the fun and frivolity with serious undertones of race and freedom and gender equality - so that even a lay set in the late 1870's crackles with fresh perspectives.

Playwrights was right to end their season with this gem.  A common theme with plays fresh off the playwright's desk - this one is not different - too long and tries to say too much.  A few scenes cut and a few plot-lines deleted and we have a really fresh smash on our hands in just under 2 hours.  Head over to Playwrights Horizons for a summertime romp!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kennedy's Children

This is a revival of an older play.  I'm not entirely convinced that it screams "revive me" or "this is all happening again", but it is certainly an interesting, politically relevant, and interesting reminder of an entire generation, what motivated them, what didn't motivate them, and how the decade of the 60's was and how it is remembered.

Robert Patrick's play is a reminder that the 60's was filled with a very diverse group of people eeking their way thru the decade.  Hippies, Vietnam soldiers (otherwise known as kids), Normal people, gays and other alternate lifestyle people, and movie star wannabes.  It's amazing how many of these continue to exist in basically the same way - and equally amazing at how some of them died out with the generation at the end of the decade.  It's also a reminder about sex, drugs, and war - who was for it and who was not - how drugs were used at home and over in the war.  The stories could not have been more different than the actual people themselves.  The 60's was not just one thing - it was war, it was upheaval, it was protest and it was the beginning of freedom for many of those who never quite had it before.

I thought the play was a bit repetitive and ran much longer than need be.  Certain themes were visited over and over quite unnecessarily.  At times the acting was brilliant and riveting - at others mostly due to the character, it was overbearing and over-the-top.

Nicole Greevy (Wanda), Emily Battles (Bartender), Colin Chapin (Sparger), Timothy Regan (Mark), Sara Minisquero (Rona) and Jessica Carollo (Carla) all presided with power and grace each in their own way in the dumpy black box theatre with the most uncomfortable seats in the East Village.  Perhaps the seats were a reminder of just how uncomfortable these characters must all have felt and how uncomfortable this entire decade must have been which was lead by the great loss of our own America Camelot when Kennedy was assassinated. These were all his children.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Government Inspector

What do you get when you combine a 200+ year old play, a movie musical with Danny Kaye, and really good contemporary comedic actors?   Most likely something like Nikolai Gogol's The Government Inspector now playing over at the Duke on 42nd presented by Red Bull Theater.

The top-notch cast lead by the indomitable and beyond adorable Michael Urie (Ivan Alexandreyevich Hlestakov) and Michael McGrath (Anton Antonovich) is nothing short of comic genius.  Directed by Jesse Berger, this very old gem of a comedy still rings true even in this day and age of cell phones and microchips.  Although the set was an awkward 2 story narrow runway to perform on, the cast seemed to make the best of it - slamming doors and hiding in closets.  This is a slap-stick comedy after all.  And many sticks were indeed slapped.

Mary Testa, no stranger to the theatre, (Anna Andreyevna) takes her over-the-top mother role quite seriously and literally.  The trio of townsfolk, Tom Alan Robbins (The Judge), David Manis (The School Principal), and Steven Derosa (The Hospital Director) could easily be the three stooges - always together - always bumbling. The scene and show stealing character, The Postmaster, played by none other than the ingenious  Arnie Burton, is quite possibly the show's best - as if picking a best with this cast is even possible.   Fill in the cast with chambermaids, waitress, local landowners, and various townsfolk and you've got a recipe for lots of mixups, mayhem, and madness.

The comedy is fresh, the delivery is crisp, and the laughter flows throughout this romp whose opening night is June 1st.  Grab a ticket and get ready for multiple belly laughs with this one.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


In this new play by Claire Lizzimore, you are expected to think... and connect dots... and solve her riddle....  It's not that complicated but it is open to interpretation to a large degree.  No spoilers here, except to say that in the end you will know why she she titled the play "Animal" and who it refers to.

Rachel (Rebecca Hall) and Tom (Morgan Spector) are married and Rachel is troubled.  She is seeing a doctor, Stephen (Greg Keller).  It's all a shade too mysterious, too unclear, too uncertain.  There is a mother in a wheelchair (Kristin Griffith) and a little girl (Fina Strazza) and a quite perfect hunk of a man (David Pegram).  Who are all these people to Rachel and exactly what is going on here?

It's only at the very end that you figure out the what is going on here part - and you'll have to connect the dots as far as who are all these people to Rachel.... but it's an intimate, black box drama that keeps you sitting upright and on the edge of your seat.  Bravo Atlantic Theatre Company.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Cost of Living

In Martyna Majok's new play, Cost of Living, we come to realize the cost she is speaking of is mostly the emotional one.  What does it cost a handicapped person?  Is it cheaper to be a survivor of some sort?

Through her at times raw dialogue, Ms. Majok shows us that everyone's life matters, everyone's situation drives them in different directions.  But in the end, we are all in the same boat.

Eddie (Victor Williams) is a survivor and a fighter; Jess (Jolly Abraham) is a mysterious gal who may or may not have gone to Princeton and is working several odd jobs in bars just to make ends meet.; John (Gregg Mozgala) has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheel chair and is quite smart and seems to have lots of money; Ani (Katy Sullivan) is a new double amputee searching for her new meaning Eddie and Ani are struggling thru marriage, separation, and the accident;  John and Jess are struggling thru a new employer/employee relationship and the mixed signals that are sent/received.

The connections and emotion in the dialogues are fantastic.  It felt like Ms. Majok must have been either disabled or at least a caretaker herself to write such human and meaningful prose.  The actors themselves (Mr. Mozgala and Ms. Abraham) are both physically disabled (they are not acting) so the connections they are able to make are un-attainable by just a healthy person sitting in a wheel chair.

Jo Bonney likely had a very easy time directing these fine actors but I am sure she put her artistic stamp on this already fine production too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


George Orwell's dystopian novel brought to the stage - first in London on the West End, now on Broadway.  The technology and video employed was magnificent.  The direction was crisp, artistic, and suspenseful - after all you're supposed to be kept off-balance the entire time.  The acting, too, had strong moments for each of the 3 stars - Reed Birney, Tom Sturridge, and Olivia Wilde.

However, the story, laid bare on a stage had the tendency to be entirely too shocking.  Reading the book you can imagine what you like.  Watching the play you have no choice but to absorb whatever they throw your way.  Since I don't make it a habit of wincing and throwing my attention away to the side like I might when watching TV or a movie, my assessment with this play is that it is entirely too graphic and gritty.   It's one thing to watch an ISIS video on TV or an episode of 24 or the news... violence is everywhere.... but in the theatre it just seems a bit too much to electrocute someone downstage front and center and think we are going to enjoy it.

No matter the play, I enjoyed my first trip to Broadway's newest house - The Hudson Theatre - and hope that future plays will be less violent and more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 4, 2017


It's official - I just saw the Tony award winning play of the year.  Oslo, a new docu-play by J.T. Rogers being presented at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre at Lincoln Center is a bold, crackling, and humorous new play about the back-channel peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis in the early 1990's told with humor, charm, heart, and brutal honesty.

Jefferson Mays (Terje Rod-Larsen) and Jennifer Ehle (Mona Juul) headline the cast as the brains behind the entire idea and operation - an effort in secret to get the two parties to a secret negotiating table Norway where they could exchange real ideas, thoughts, and feelings - not the tried and failed methods of public posturing sponsored by the Americans and others for years.

The cast of characters is broad - heads of state, secretaries of state, foreign ministers, and negotiators - and even a housekeeper and butler.  Top notch performances were turned in by Michael Arnov (Uri Savir - Israeli) and Anthony Azizi (Ahmed Qurie - Palestinian).  Even a worthy Shimon Peres (Daniel Orestes) graced the stage.

The play sweeps through 3 hours before you know it.  Act I is a clever flashback to the origins of the talks that ends where it started - and sets up Act II - the actual peace negotiations.  At times tense, at others humorous, the play effortlessly glides between the two states often and sometimes unexpectedly.  The play sweeps past the accords, reveals video of the actual signing and hand shaking at the White House among all the parties and goes on to provide you with an abbreviated version of events that occurred post-accord all the way up to today.  Jefferson Mays ends the play on an uncertain yet positive and hopeful note.

Award winning performances, direction, and dialogue all combine to make this sleeper that moved upstairs from the Mitzi Newhouse Theater (off-Broadway) a hit that will inform, entertain, and remind us all just how far we've come and how much work is yet ahead.