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A New “1984” – Visceral Horror and Neat Framing Bring Depth and Relevance

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OF COURSE George Orwell’s dystopian political fable 1984, first published in 1949, has strong relevance for our age. It has relevance for all ages.

It’s no surprise that the book leapt to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list the weekend that our current US President was being inaugurated. Or that the very word dystopia has also leapt into such common usage – and for many people has switched in application from describing some fantastical future to labeling our real life-present.

In its newly-opened (June 22nd) dramatization at the Hudson Theatre on Broadway, the sheer bloody horror in Orwell’s story is played up strongly.    Continue reading “A New “1984” – Visceral Horror and Neat Framing Bring Depth and Relevance” »

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Bleak AND Hilarious – A Show to Conjoin Contradictions

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Photos by Joan Marcus

THIS WILL HAVE BEEN another Happy Day … after all” is one of the many repeated and deeply ambiguous refrains that we hear. It forms a rough, hemp-like strand running through Samuel Beckett’s horribly ironic, indeed cuttingly satirical play Happy Days.

A new production of this notorious piece (or at least dauntingly hard to stage) was opened tonight by the Yale Repertory Company, under the illuminating direction of James Bundy. Continue reading “Bleak AND Hilarious – A Show to Conjoin Contradictions” »

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Modern Classic Gets Fresh Do-Over: The Art of Persuasion

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IT’S ENTERED THE LANGUAGE and become a fixture, that not-entirely-convincing adage: Six Degrees of Separation. Only four other intervening people, supposedly, are needed to connect any two individuals in the world that we might pick.

What is indisputably convincing … is Allison Janney’s performance in the new Broadway revival of John Guare’s compelling, unsettling social satire from 1990, which opened tonight at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Continue reading “Modern Classic Gets Fresh Do-Over: The Art of Persuasion” »

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Badly Needed: All the Star-Quality Available

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BETTE MIDLER – “Hello Dolly” – On Broadway!What else do you need to know?” ask the TV commercials for this apparently hard-to-fail concoction.

Well, in response to those ads … I’d say that, apart from dates, times, ticket-prices, etc … we might also need to know that this classic musical from 1964 is these days looking and feeling tired.

The great (indeed ‘Divine’) Miss M, is having to call upon every inch of her legendary on-stage majesty to carry this venerable star-vehicle – so wacky and kinda weird … in this, its fourth revival on the Great White Way. It opened tonight at the Sam S Schubert Theatre. Continue reading “Badly Needed: All the Star-Quality Available” »

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