Photo by Don Kellogg

Saturday, December 3, 2016


It's not really that good, but it's light hearted, silly, and delivers what it promises - entertainment.  It's not really a musical, nor is it a play - it's really just like an extended SNL skit.  If you remember the Forbidden Broadway properties - this is no different - scathing and silly riffs on popular culture, news and politics.  It's like they're making fun of Entertainment Tonight.

The cast seems to ebb and flow and as a matter of principle I was not happy that there was no Playbill.  NO PLAYBILL?  How do I know who the actors are?  Well, I suspect it is partially because the producers are cheap and that the cast and material changes so frequently that they could never be able to keep up.  The songs are like little ditties - i assume adaptable to whatever the news (lyrics) of the day are.

The cast I saw included the surprisingly fit Mark West, and the devilishly handsome Taylor Crousore. Listed in the credits is Christine Pedi, whom I was looking forward to see but was no where to be found. I assume that Susan Mosher and Carly Sakolove were the other two women but really have no way to verify this BECAUSE I HAD NO PLAYBILL.  I suppose the skits and songs are flexible enough to re-arrange the show on a regular basis.

The ensemble is OK.  In various combinations they did their schtick, but I think even the performers know who their audience is and how utterly unimportant it is to be good.  For the price of a TDF ticket it was well worth the 75 minutes of humor.  Much more and even a tourist might be disappointed.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


It's a hoity-toity theatre event.  The East Village.  New York Theatre Workshop.  Shakespeare reimagined.  Sam Gold directed.  Stars.  The audience physically contained in a plywood encased barracks crafted in what once was the theatre. Stark lighting.  Extremely uncomfortable wooden seating - especially for a daunting 3+ hour runtime.  A trend that is much like the "actors are musicians on stage the whole time" we experienced a few years back.

By any measure, this one is a limousine liberal's wet dream.  And if you really like Shakespeare, it is unclear if you will even appreciate this production.  I can only say this from reading reviews and blogs by people who both love and revere the man.   I, for one, do not like Shakespeare much.  At intermission I left.  There was no love lost - just 90 minutes of my life.

Clearly this is a serious work.  Clearly Shakespeare is powerful stuff.  Much of that was lost on me.  I was bored to tears.  Nobody talks like this.  Nobody speaks in research paper paragraph monologues. Throw in Daniel Craig (Lago) and David Oyelowo (Othello).  They sold out the run before they even spoke a word earlier this season.  The acting I saw was absolutely top notch.  Creatively, the juxtaposition of the language with the plywood barracks and modern military outfits and street clothes was mostly jarring.  This is not your grandfather's classic Shakespeare.  Most of those who were interested by just hearing about it will love it. I doubt this will turn any undecided voters into Shakespeare lovers.

Save your ass.  Save your evening.  Read about it in the Arts & Leisure section of the NY Times.