Photo by Don Kellogg

Friday, November 18, 2005


Edward Albee wrote a gem. It won a pulitzer prize actually. An entertaining tale, actually. Francis Sternhagen and George Grizzard bring a touch of warmth and a bit of comedy to the story of an aging couple - just arriving at the golden years of their life. The story takes a twist just in time for Act II. where it turns surreal and thought provking -the entire time a bit too farsical.

Seems that Mr. Albee was a deep thinker, but just ran out of time and decided to "wrap it up" quickly. The second act contained too many elements of evolution, emotion, and humanity. He tried to explain them all away to the "other couple" too quickly and to easily.

With all that said - it was still entertaining - but not necessarily one to put on your Rebok's for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Other Side

Rosemary Harris.
John Cullum.


One theme - war divides and destroys lives.
Simple. 90 minutes. Check it out. MTC.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Tom Stoppard. If any of you are like me and saw "Jumpers" on Broadway last Winter, you might be thinking - oh no! Run for your life! Another babbling, British, snobbish, upper crusty, play the likes of Plato or Aristotle might even wince at. Well - if you're like me - you'll be totally surprised. With great trepedation, I attended my second Stoppard work - and what a different experience it was.

This play is so cleverly written (ok there's still a lot of "British" to get over) and so well acted I really felt like i was immersed in the 3 hour drama - as I would be a movie or a TV program on Channel 13. The theater is very intimate (a "black box", as it were) which lends itself quite well to captivating the audience. The play is set on an English country estate and is actually two stories - one takes place the early 1800's, the second in modern day. The latter story is a cast of modern academia types who are trying to figure out exactly what transpired on the estate 200 years earlier - as told to us in parallel by the by the other storyline. In both settings - it's a story of intregue and mystery; secrets and discovery; throw in a little lust, betrayal, and "carnal desire" - and voila - - you have "Arcadia", a Tom Stoppard "gem".

The Greenwich Street Theater Company and QED Productions has done an amazing job. The acting was suprub. Trust me, the script was still quite intelligent (read complex) and obviously required much preparation. Billed as a Showcase (as many are) for the AEA members - - I found the performances by the non-equity members ("up-and-commers") to be top notch and first rate. The direction, too, was outstanding - especially the staging of the last scene - where the two stories blend together both visually and emotionally. In the end you feel the emotional high of "conclusion". The story doesn't leave you hanging - It doesn't leave you asking "Who done it?"

There are many levels to this play - - many of which, admitidly, flew over my head, but at least I knew they were there and enjoyed absorbing them all.

Speaking of flying - - you'd better fly down to the Greenwich Street Theater - this one only runs until November 20th.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mr. Marmalade

Possibly the strangest, yet entertaining play I've ever seen! The story is the wild fantasy of a 4 year old and her immaginary friends. And what a cast of "characters" they all are! Let's cut to the chase - - the playright obviously want to tell us that children absorb almost everything around them - mood, demeanor, class, status, emotion and yes, even neglect. They watch too much TV and as entertainment in their own "imaginary world" re-construct these things with often "damaging" consequences.

The headliner here was Michael C. Hall - aka David Fisher from "Six Feet Under". But the real star of the show is Mamie Gunner. As 4 year old Lucy, she never left the stage and gave a supurb "adult" performance.

Leave it to Roundabout to construct the best sets in the business. This one - a curved 1960's-esque living room - had the most ingeneous "secret" doors - which often revealed small doses of "glitz" to enhance your viewing experience. The Laura Pells Theater is a perfect size for this type of production.

PSA: Spend more quality time with your kids.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005


Wendy Wasserstein's new play was virtually sold out before tickets hit the street. Presented in the intimate Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center, subscribers gobbled up tickets like pigeons on a pile of breadcrumbs at Fairway on a Sunday afternoon! Fortunately, a few tickets were actually released to the public (cancellations and a final block of tix, i assume). So I, too, gobbled one up last week.

And what a good decision that turned out to be. The play is a contemporary drama staring Diane Weist as an uber-liberal, progressive professor at a small "New England" College (unnamed, of course). What's a play wihtout a twist - - right? What we have going on here is that when a young, cute, straight, jock (he's on the wrestling team) from a "Red State" and aparantly "above average means" (Jason Ritter) comes to campus to "learn and grow" in this ultra liberal environment (this college has the first trans-gender dorm in the country) - she instantly closes HER mind and forms an opinion as to his motives, intelligence, and accuses him of plagerism (he could never have written this - it's too intelligent). Reverse Discrimination from, of all people, a supposed open minded Liberal!

Rounding out the story of her life - which is quickly cascading "out of perspective" is a long time friend/professor dying of cancer at the university (Amy Acquino), a daughter rebelling against her mother's academic and social eliteism (Gaby Hoffmann), and having to deal with a father well into advanced Alzheimer's Disease (Charles Durning).

Performed in several individual scenes with limited sets/scenery - the play moved along quickly, made a few more "political" jabs at the "current administration" than i cared to hear- but when the dialogue is so well written and the actors give such rich performances - you tend to just let those pass. Charles Durning, the father, gave what i thought to be an outstanding performance as an elderly man and all the frustration, confusion, and emotion that comes with the disease.

I won't give away all of Wendy's secrets - but I'll just say that despite all the angst - intellect and self awareness wins out - in many ways.

You can try to run and get a single seat (your best bet) - but don't be disappointed if all those subscribers win out. You'll just end up walking home... and trust me... you should be disapppointed at not getting the chance to see this gem.