Browsing: Theatre

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            Noël Coward on (and in) Theatre is composed rather like a scrapbook, with photographs, reproductions of Playbills and theatrical posters, excerpts from Coward’s essays on the theater, interviews he gave, his plays, his bon mots, his opinions of fellow playwrights, actors, producers, and critics, and even poems and song lyrics.

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Given this relative neglect of his work, Raymond-Jean Frontain’s new book, The Theater of Terrence McNally: Something about Grace, is especially welcome. The culmination of many years of study of McNally’s work and of his voluminous papers at the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, the book offers an insightful assessment of the playwright’s entire career. Frontain makes the best case yet for the unity of McNally’s body of work and for the significance of his achievement.

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Playing in two parts that run to nearly seven hours, and the fact that it explores the impact of AIDS on the lives of gay men in America, The Inheritance inevitably invites comparison with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

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Juke-box musicals such as Carole King’s Beautiful, ABBA’s Mamma Mia!, and the Four Seasons’ Jersey Boys don’t always have to make sense if the music and staging are truly spectacular. After the Chicago tryout, the creative team behind The Cher Show have their work cut out for them to shape-shift this vehicle into true fabulousness for its Broadway debut in November at the Neil Simon Theatre.

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THE OTHER DAY is a play that grows on you—in a good way. This bare-bones production staged at the Theater at the 14th Street Y begins with two men dawdling after a meeting of their twelve-step program.

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The Boys in the Band A Play by Mart Crowley Directed by Joe Mantello IT WAS EITHER kismet or dumb luck that the original production of The Boys…More

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Fun Home avoids simple resolution of complex issues, and the musical feels faithful to the tone and storyline of Bechdel’s 2006 memoir. But memoir and musical are distinct forms. The former relied on its author’s childhood journal and an astonishing cache of saved letters, memorabilia, notes, photos, news clips, and literary quotes to generate drawings and captions. The musical, on the other hand, displays not thoughts or images but behavior: it uses actors to tell the story.

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IT’S THE SEASON of gay revivals on Broadway and Off, and the latest is Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song, formerly known as Torch Song Trilogy. The original four-hour production of 1982 has been trimmed into a two-act version under three hours, including intermission. Yet the play still covers the same ground: the travails of Arnold Beckoff, a flamboyantly self-dramatizing and wisecracking drag queen seeking true love.

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Indecent is at once a compressed history of a daring Yiddish play, God of Vengeance, written by the Polish novelist Sholem Asch in 1907, and a celebration of the stagecraft that makes theater distinct from film.

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