Joan Marcus

Broadway Review: “John Lithgow: Stories by Heart” at Roundabout Theatre Company at American Airlines Theatre

Currently in its Broadway debut, John Lithgow’s “Stories By Heart” first took shape in 2008 at Lincoln Center Theater in a special repertory presentation directed by Jack O’Brien. Then, Mr. Lithgow told one story on each of two nights. Since then he has evolved the play in theaters around the country, produced by Staci Levine, on evenings away from his…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Twelfth Night, Or What You Will” at Classic Stage Company

A visit to Classic Stage Company for the current production of “Twelfth Night” is almost like a case of Déjà vu: one could be watching the Company’s previous production of “As You Like it” which closed on October 22nd. The formula for both new productions of the Shakespeare classics involve adding music and singing, the same configuration of the theater…

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Broadway Review: “SpongeBob SquarePants” at the Palace Theatre

Walking into the Palace Theater to view the new musical extravaganza “SpongeBob SquarePants,” your senses are attacked by a barrage of Crayola colors, shimmering tinsel, happy music and an array of ornamental objects that appear as though Pee Wee Herman went overboard at Party City, shopping for a big beach bash. As you scrutinize the multifarious audience, there is a…

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Broadway Review: “Once On This Island” at Circle in the Square Theatre

“Once On this Island” was certainly an enchanting and memorable visit twenty-seven years ago and that may in fact cloud the opinions expressed when recently returning to this island and commenting on what had changed. Some audience members may have experienced finding an unknown out of the way place that had a simple and charming ambience, with friendly locals that…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Hundred Days” Transforms Love’s Limits at New York Theatre Workshop

With their recent collaboration with Sarah Gancher and Anne Kauffman, Abigail and Shaun Bengson (“The Bengsons”) have redefined the meaning of the theatrical convention of the musical. Without elaborate sets, costumes, large ensembles of singers and dancers, and multi-million-dollar budgets, The Bengsons have successfully mounted a stunning musical with a believable story and a brilliantly executed score. “Hundred Days,” currently…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Torch Song” Wobbles at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater

Loneliness, the quest for authentic and meaningful love, the fear of rejection, the need for respect, and the excruciating separation from situations of abuse are not unique to members of the LGBTQ community of any decade or location and perhaps that is why audiences have responded positively to Harvey Fierstein’s “Torch Song Trilogy” since its Broadway production in 1982 at…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at The Pershing Square Signature Center’s Irene Diamond Stage

The value of enduring questions is that they are not specific to a time or place or event. Theatre should be raising enduring questions and conflicts that playwrights (and their cultures) grappled with hundreds of years ago and remain relevant today. Stephen Adly Guirgis raises several such questions in the revival of his play “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” currently…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Oedipus El Rey” Creates Mythos at The Public’s Shiva Theatre

“No one should be considered fortunate until dead.” – Greek Maxim The fifth century B.C.E. is not the present-day Los Angeles borderlands: although the bones of Sophocles’ tragedy “Oedipus Rex” engaged the citizenry of Athens, urban America needs a Phoenix-like rebirth and retelling of the ancient tale to affect an authentic catharsis. Luis Alfaro’s “Oedipus El Rey,” currently running at…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Charm” at MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre

“A compliment brings the charm to the surface. When we say that a certain color compliments your eyes, we mean it brings them out. You want to bring the other person out, make them feel special.” – Mama At first glance, Philip Dawkins’s “Charm,” currently playing at MCC Theater at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, is a heartfelt play about Mama…

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Off-Broadway Review: “Mary Jane” at New York Theatre Workshop”

In Part One of Amy Herzog’s “Mary Jane,” currently playing at the New York Theatre Workshop, Mary Jane (Carrie Coon) is at home caring for her two-and-a-half-year-old son Alex. She shares that responsibility with several professional caregivers, including Sherry (played with compassionate expediency by Liza Colón-Zayas) and Donna, the incompetent nurse the audience never sees. Alex, born at twenty-five weeks…

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