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Into the Woods

Into the Woods

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | Amy Herzog’s magnificent new play “Mary Jane” is powerful, deeply moving, and breathtakingly economical. The story of a single mother taking care of her desperately ill child sneaks up on you, as the mother, Mary Jane, tries to manage the health care system and her ongoing losses while struggling to put a […]

Big Too Small in “Doctor Faustus”

Big Too Small in “Doctor Faustus”

BY ANDY HUMM | Is this the play that launch’d modern theater? Classic Stage Company provides a very interesting essay on that subject by artistic director Brian Kulick. Would that they had provided a worthy production of Christopher Marlowe’s seminal “Doctor Faustus” about an actual showman around whom a myth grew that he must have […]

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 […]

Swimming Upstream

Swimming Upstream

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE | “Allegro” is neither an easy nor necessarily crowd-pleasing show. First written in 1947, it was Rodgers and Hammerstein’s attempt to reflect tribulations of the common man in a world changing quickly. Its moralistic and sometimes overbearing politics argue for fulfilling the soul rather than pursuing riches. Its score, though boasting some […]

Men Behaving Madly

Men Behaving Madly

BY DAVID KENNERLEY | No one can accuse the Classic Stage Company of shirking a challenge. Last spring, the troupe mounted Bertolt Brecht’s vexing fable “The Caucasian Chalk Circle,” helmed by CSC artistic director Brian Kulick with original music by Duncan Sheik (Tony Award winner for “Spring Awakening”), to mixed reviews. The wildly uneven tone and […]

A Plague on This House, Too

A Plague on This House, Too

BY ANDY HUMM | I am fortune’s fool. I had looked forward to two stagings of “Romeo and Juliet” this season — one on Broadway with Orlando Bloom and another at one of my favorite companies, Classic Stage. A plague on both their houses. Shakespeare’s play, with its implausible plot of mid-teens who marry within a […]

The Caucasian Chalk Circle Jerk

The Caucasian Chalk Circle Jerk

BY ANDY HUMM | Bertolt Brecht wrote “The Caucasian Chalk Circle” in 1944 as an epic piece of agitprop about the evils and absurdities of war and totalitarianism. What was performed in 1962 by the Royal Shakespeare Company with a cast of 30 playing 90 roles has been reduced to a band of seven troupers at […]

Man in the Midst of a Nervous Breakdown

Man in the Midst of a Nervous Breakdown

BY ANDY HUMM | I’m not crazy about tragedies about crazy people whose mental illness –– rather than a tragic flaw –– explains their downfall. The tragedy of Willy Loman, with all those voices in his head, wasn’t the hollowness of the American Dream, but a character without access to good meds. Chekhov’s “Ivanov” at […]