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Hearts in Exile

Hearts in Exile

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | In the arena of doomed lovers in drama, Romeo and Juliet have some pretty stiff competition from Jimmie LeRoy and Claire Hicks, misunderstood misfits at the center of “Home In Her Heart,” now playing at Stage Left Studio. Jimmie is a white, Jewish, middle-aged male impersonator with a popular tap-dance act. […]

A Rushed Month in the Country

A Rushed Month in the Country

BY ANDY HUMM | The Classic Stage Company has cut Turgenev’s five-hour “A Month in the Country” to 120 minutes, but nevertheless left us with a long stay in the woods, unfortunately not in the presence of very compelling people. Why director Erica Schmidt felt compelled to commission a new clunky version by the actor […]

Report from the Jihadist Front

Report from the Jihadist Front

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s sad when foolish people try to defend their faith in ways that wind up promoting stereotypes about it. It’s even tragic, as the massacre at Charlie Hebdo shows. Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” made in Mauritania but set in Mali, is a cri de coeur from a Muslim artist against Islamic fundamentalism that […]

Hard to Be a Witness

Hard to Be a Witness

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s hard to be a god, according to the title of Russian director Aleksei German’s posthumously released film. It’s also hard to be a filmmaker, and that was especially so in the days of the USSR. Then, state support for unconventional work jostled with censorship of it. Two of German’s six films […]

A Moroccan Education

A Moroccan Education

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Abdellah Taïa, the celebrated out gay Moroccan writer, has adapted his autobiographical novel “Salvation Army” for the screen, and the result is remarkable. The film features a rare gay Arab protagonist, and Taïa proves himself as lyrical a filmmaker as he is a writer. This intimate, episodic coming-of-age story is told […]

Butterfly Cage

Butterfly Cage

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Lesbians, lepidopterists, and S&M practitioners form an overlapping Venn diagram of sorts in “The Duke of Burgandy,” writer/ director Peter Strickland’s arch and ecstatic romantic drama. The film takes its visual cues from 1960s and ‘70s European arthouse softcore — think Radley Metzger — and its aural sources range from butterfly […]

Beautiful Chaos

Beautiful Chaos

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | The concept may not be particularly original: Events are examined in non-linear fashion, refracted through concepts in physics related to time, so that we can see how choices one makes shape experience from that moment forward. But Nick Payne’s play “Constellations,” now at Manhattan Theatre Club, succeeds marvelously. The play is written […]

Mostly Metropolitan

Mostly Metropolitan

BY DAVID SHENGOLD | Leon Botstein came up with another intriguing novelty December 19 at Alice Tully Hall: after a staging of 1931’s play-to-be-read “The Long Christmas Dinner” by gay author Thornton Wilder, Botstein led his American Symphony Orchestra in Paul Hindemith’s 1960 operatic adaptation. Jonathan Rosenberg directed both multi-generation dramas capably, though I didn’t like […]

Blissful Survivor

Blissful Survivor

BY DAVID NOH | There are damn few singers today as purely exciting as Bettye LaVette, who has a new CD out, “Worthy,” and is about to wow the Upper East Side at the Café Carlyle, January 27 to February 7. Her sinuous, searingly involved huge talent aside, I became particularly enthralled with her after reading her […]

A Romeo for the Rabble

A Romeo for the Rabble

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | The title is “The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet” but that matters little to the upstart Shakespeare in the Square theater company, known as SITS. Its latest effort, a revamping of the well-trod staple, often plays like a spoofy comedy. And yes, the comedy is intentional. This conceit aligns perfectly with […]

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