Off-Broadway Review: “Mr. Toole” at the Midtown International Theatre Festival at WorkShop Theater’s Main Stage Theater

“Do I dare/Disturb the universe?/In a minute there is time/For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.” T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” After a successful run at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, “A Confederacy of Dunces” is possibly heading to Broadway. John Kennedy Toole’s picaresque novel was published in 1980 eleven years after his…

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Off-Broadway Review: “A Scythe of Time” at the New York Musical Festival at the June Havoc Theatre

Creating a musical based on two Edgar Allen Poe short stories, “How to Write a Blackwood Article” and “A Predicament”, is no easy task given the subject matter and the genre. In this day and age competing with horror films, given the amazing special effects available, trying to frighten, shock or terrify an audience with a stage play, let alone…

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Off-Broadway Review: “ICON” at the New York Musical Festival at the Duke on 42nd Street

A tiny foreign nation, a people’s princess, a gay prince, an arranged marriage, a scandal, a revolution, and a fire that destroys lovers’ hopes and dreams certainly makes interesting material for good old-fashioned musical theater. “Perfect,” the opening number of the new musical “Icon,” is derivative of Kander and Ebb in style and tempo and explodes onto the stage to…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Children of Salt” Lacks Flavor at the New York Musical Festival at the Pearl Theatre

Jaime Lozano’s and Lauren Epsenhart’s new musical from Mexico follows successful entrepreneur Raul’s (Mauricio Martinez) return to his childhood seaside home to visit his ailing grandmother Marina (April Ortiz). The musical begins in the present and, through a series of flashbacks introduces the characters, their conflicts, and how those conflicts brought them and Raul to the present. After seeing his…

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Off-Broadway Review: “In the Shadow of a Dream” at the Midtown International Theatre Festival at WorkShop Theater’s Main Stage

Joey Miller’s (Nick Ryan) dream in college in 1985 is to play professional basketball after graduating. Ideally – like his favorite player Larry Bird – he would play for his favorite team the Boston Celtics. Although he could imitate Bird’s moves on the court, his 5’9” stature prevents him from reaching his dream. But it is not only his height…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Normativity” at the New York Musical Festival at the Pearl Theatre Company

“It’s not always the way it is in plays. Not all faggots bump themselves off at the end of the story!” –                                                          Michael in “The Boys in the Band” by Mart Crowley (1968) It must be said that it is refreshing to find a young, talented member of the LGBTQ community using their voice to bring awareness to a valid…

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Off-Broadway Review: “The Crusade of Connor Stephens” Searches the Soul at the Midtown International Theatre Festival at WorkShop Theater’s Main Stage Theater

Big Jim’s (James Kiberd) Baptist Mega-Church is expanding. More space is need for its growing congregation. That conservative congregation also seems to need a television studio and a gym with a basketball court for outreach and youth ministries. One of the church’s young recruits is Connor Stephens the teenager the church “took in and helped him and his mama get…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Either/Or” Misses the Mark at the Midtown International Theatre Festival at WorkShop Theater’s Main Stage Theater

In Dayle Ann Hunt’s uber-dysfunctional family play “Either/Or,” currently running at the Midtown International Theatre Festival, protagonist Deni Rutland (Courtney Bess) contemplates a way to escape the cycle of abuse and collusion extant in her nuclear family – a family that apparently has not made any effort to address the alcoholism of its head Herbert “Pop” Rutland (Joseph Rose) and…

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Off-Broadway Review: “The First Church of Mary…” at the 2016 New York Musical Festival at the June Havoc Theatre

“The medium is the message.” – Marshall McLuhan Evangelist preacher Adamenses Huckster (Geoff Davin) is a huckster indeed. Her “redemptive” message seems simple enough: “You can choose to see things differently.” And that is exactly what the revivalist hopes to accomplish in her fifth annual benefit concert, revival, and pot luck dinner for her First Church of Mary, the Repentant…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Small Mouth Sounds” at Ars Nova at the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

When a play is about something more than boy meets girl or boy meets boy, (or boy becomes girl) it can be an inspiring, even cathartic experience. This week, for example, I saw a show that is theoretically about suffering, but it is funny and touching and relatable. Oh, did I mention that it is also about not talking? I…

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