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Going Broadway for Pride

Arts

Going Broadway for Pride

The season that just closed was notable for the diversity of its shows — from the complex and moving “The Ferryman” to the ridiculous and hilarious “Tootsie.” Comment
Arts

Claiming Identity

Arts

Claiming Identity

At the top of “A Strange Loop,” the brash, 25-year-young protagonist called Usher announces that the show will portray what it’s like to “travel the world in a fat black queer body” as he obsesses over the latest draft of his self-referential musical (titled “A Strange Loop”). “There will be butt-fucking,” he warns. Or is it a promise? Comment
In the Noh

Pride 50 Doings

In the Noh

Pride 50 Doings

When playwright/actor Charles Ludlam died at age 43 in 1987, a unique, important creative light was extinguished. One of the most striking achievements of his too-brief career was “Galas,” his satirical take on the life of the ultimate opera diva, Maria Callas. Comment
Arts

Party Favors

Arts

Party Favors

In “Convention,” Danny Rocco’s raucous, wildly ambitious fact-based drama, a certain American political party sells its own soul to back an ill-equipped candidate as special interests consolidate power. Members are willing to compromise their core values and cement ties with big business through fearmongering and voter manipulation. Essentially, a presidential election is rigged. Comment
Arts

A Gay Life’s Passages

Arts

A Gay Life’s Passages

“In the Closet” by Siegmund Fuchs is a moving and thoughtful examination of aging among gay men, at least in part. It also looks at the gay experience at different stages of life. Set in a “a large, metaphorical closet,” the cast features four men— one 18, one in his late 20s, one in is mid-40s, and one in his mid-60s. Comment
Arts

Making Your Connection

Arts

Making Your Connection

Sex is easy. Establishing — more accurately, negotiating — real, human connection can be treacherous. Finding a safe haven in the heart of another person in a cold world is the central narrative of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” Comment
Fashion

Genius Times Eight

Fashion

Genius Times Eight

“Octet,” Dave Malloy’s new chamber choir a cappella musical at the Signature, marvelously directed by Annie Tippe, is a work of absolute genius brilliantly rendered and profoundly moving. […] Comment
Arts

Power Plays

Arts

Power Plays

There is no compelling need to brush up your Shakespeare before seeing “Gary,” the new Taylor Mac comedy at the Booth, even though It’s subtitled “A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.” Comment
Arts

The Play’s the Thing

Arts

The Play’s the Thing

Shakespeare was theater for the people, and no one in modern times is more associated with that concept than Joseph Papp. In 1957, Papp’s Mobile Theater sought to make Shakespeare accessible to all, providing free productions of these timeless pieces. Comment
Arts

Torn Between Faith and Facts

Arts

Torn Between Faith and Facts

To all you theater geeks out there, I want to let you in on a secret. Head on over to the charming Little Church Around the Corner on East 29th Street, climb up a narrow, creaky staircase, and you’ll discover a theater tucked under the eaves of the 1849 Neo-Gothic structure. Comment
Arts

A “Queered” Desire

Arts

A “Queered” Desire

A new production of the Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” now running at Mister Rogers in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, puts a spotlight on the gender issues raised in the play by casting a genderqueer actor as troubled female protagonist Blanche DuBois. Actor Russell Peck has long identified with Blanche’s complex character and fight for love, they said. Comment
Arts

Runnin’ Wilde

Arts

Runnin’ Wilde

Oscar is getting Wilder. Comment
In the Noh

Serious NYC Cultural Legacies

In the Noh

Serious NYC Cultural Legacies

Irascible veteran indie director Abel Ferrara is having quite the season, with a retrospective going on now at the Museum of Modern Art (through May 31; moma.org), which included his “Pasolini,” made five years ago, with Willem Dafoe in the title role. Comment
Arts

Giving the Queer Clown His Voice

Arts

Giving the Queer Clown His Voice

When the theater artist Taylor Mac left me a voicemail, my phone’s voice recognition program sent me a text of the message that started out, “Hi, it’s Anna Mike again.” Well, no, it wasn’t. Still, knowing Mac, I could almost imagine a quick whipping up of a whole evening’s entertainment about “Anna Mike,” her griefs, her triumphs, her nights, her days, and her sleazy, sleazy ways. Comment
Arts

Love Hurts

Arts

Love Hurts

“Safeword,” the latest queer-centric drama written and directed by S. Asher Gelman (his surprise hit “Afterglow” ran for over a year Off-Broadway) begins with the loud, piercing crack of a whip. The daring dramatist knows how to grab our attention, and over the course of the next 100 minutes, he never lets go. Comment
Arts

Kings and Things…

Arts

Kings and Things…

Shakespeare is ever adaptable to the times, and so Sam Gold’s production of “King Lear” seems tailor-made for our Trumpian times. Comment
In the Noh

A Whitman Sampler

In the Noh

A Whitman Sampler

The clear, open, and wondering eyes of a child stare out at you from Matthew Brady’s portrait of Our Good Gay Grandfather Poet in the New York Public Library’s show “Walt Whitman: America’s Poet,” running through July 27. Comment
Arts

True Grit

Arts

True Grit

The magnificent and thrilling revival of “Oklahoma” now on Broadway will not be for all tastes. For those who cling to gauzy nostalgia for the seminal American musical as a tale of unbridled […] Comment
Arts

Hades in a Handbasket

Arts

Hades in a Handbasket

Genre-busting. Ingenious. Revelatory. Cosmic. These are but a few of the adjectives that don’t come close to fully describing the new Broadway sensation that is “Hadestown.” The show is truly ineffable. Comment
Arts

Ghosts of Buildings Past

Arts

Ghosts of Buildings Past

Most New Yorkers have walked down a street and found an empty lot where an old familiar haunt is gone. Maybe it was a cozy restaurant, or a building where a friend lived. And the city — as it always has and always will — continues to replace itself and build upon the past. Comment
Arts

Moonstruck

Arts

Moonstruck

Plays illuminating angst-filled coming out stories have long been a staple of theater. Yet the cryptically titled “June is the First Fall,” courtesy of the Yangtze Repertory Theatre, breathes new life into the genre by infusing a distinctly contemporary Chinese twist. Comment
Arts

Family Affairs

Arts

Family Affairs

The galvanizing and often hilarious and heartbreaking “Ain’t No Mo,’” now at the Public Theater, combines satire, absurdism, and trenchant observation in a series of sketches aimed […] Comment
Arts

Little Things You Do Together

Arts

Little Things You Do Together

Take away the “battle of the sexes plot” and you get rid of a staggering percentage of storytelling both highbrow and low. From “Lysistrata” to the current movie “What Men Want” with many, many stops along the way, the tension between men and women, the ensuing power games are an endless source of drama and, very often, comedy. Comment
In the Noh

Enduring Invincibility

In the Noh

Enduring Invincibility

YouTube is rife with delicious clips of Teflon songstress Lainie Kazan from the heyday of that now-lost TV genre, variety shows. I mentioned that to her as we sat down ahead of her appearances this week at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, and asked whether the loosey-goosey ribald comments she got from the likes of Dean Martin would fly today. Comment
Arts

Innocence Lost

Arts

Innocence Lost

Having missed reading “To Kill a Mockingbird” in high school and seeing the movie only once on TV, I went into Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation largely tabula rasa, other than knowing the story’s basic premise. This play is about as exciting as it gets. Comment
Arts

His Soul Belongs to Daddy

Arts

His Soul Belongs to Daddy

Early on in “Daddy,” a provocative new play about a filthy rich art collector in his late 50s obsessed with a black artist in his mid 20s, we hear a strained musical phrase from George Michael’s mega-hit, “Father Figure.” Comment
On a recent Thursday morning, hours before any actual show was staged, the John Lee Beatty-decorated walls of Feinstein’s/ 54 Below rang with joyous sounds, both mellow and ultra-funky, with peeks at the upcoming cabaret lineup at Manhattan’s “living room.” Femmes formidables Joanna Gleason, Rebecca Luker, Betsy Wolfe, and Nicole Vanessa Ortiz each sang a number from their act, and, afterwards, lucky me was able to sit down and chat with two of my all-time favorites, Ortiz and Luker. Comment
Arts

“Fiddler”’s Delicate Balance

Arts

“Fiddler”’s Delicate Balance

Like most goyishe New Yorkers, I have picked up a smattering of Yiddish over the years but only that. Still, I have always been impressed by and excited to see the work of the National Yiddish Theater Folksbeine (“The People’s Theater”), notably more recent productions like “The Golden Land” and Theodore Bikel’s piece about Sholom Aleichem. The company has been around for more than a century, and the recent productions have been notable for their directness, authenticity, social consciousness, and simple yet powerful theatricality. Comment
Arts

Murder with Pom-Poms

Arts

Murder with Pom-Poms

The onslaught of teen musicals continues. Recent theater seasons have brought us “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Mean Girls,” “The Prom,” “Clueless,” and “Be More Chill,” to name a few. Comment
In the Noh

A Unique Feminist Surrealist

In the Noh

A Unique Feminist Surrealist

If and when I die, I would love to be resurrected in a world created by Leonor Fini — a realm where it is the female who is all powerful, holding complete yet salubrious sway over all men, being […] Comment
Arts

Mayhem, Mores, and Marriage

Arts

Mayhem, Mores, and Marriage

Masculinity, power, dominance, and testosterone-jacked battles are at the heart of all Sam Shepard’s family plays, and although “True West,” now getting an edge-of-the-seat exciting revival at Roundabout, first appeared in 1980, it has never seemed more culturally relevant. Comment
In the Noh

King Of Caricaturists

It has ever been a mystery to me why the great Mexican artist and autodidact Miguel Covarrubias (1904-57) isn’t better known today. At his height — from the 1920s through the 1940s — he was as well known as any dauber, prominently featured in popular magazines of quality, a recognized media hero, and revered as one of this country’s and Mexico’s leading cultural figures. He not only created many works of art but was also a serious anthropological writer of books on subjects ranging from Bali to pre-Colombian Mexico to the Harlem Renaissance. Comment
Arts

Boys to Men

Arts

Boys to Men

In 2013, “Choir Boy” wowed audiences with its lyrical, striking portrayal of a gutsy senior fighting to find his voice in a boarding school gospel choir. The drama, filled with soulful, a cappella songs — but don’t call it a musical — was written by a relative unknown named Tarell Alvin McCraney. Comment
Arts

Two Takes on America’s Divide

Arts

Two Takes on America’s Divide

It’s difficult to think of any situation more fraught with drama (with a capital “D”) than a Midwestern teenager agonizing over prom. Okay, maybe a narcissistic Broadway actor reeling from an excoriating review. These two seemingly unrelated worlds come crashing together in the new musical “The Prom,” which despite a ridiculous set-up manages to be adorable, political (in a soft-focus sort of way), and thoroughly entertaining. Comment
Arts

A Super Tale of Teenage Gays

Arts

A Super Tale of Teenage Gays

Chris Weikel’s new play “Secret Identity” dives into the complex world of teenage bullying, framing it through the lead character’s escape into his beloved comic books. Sixteen-year-old JT (Keith Weiss) is closeted to everyone, but is nevertheless dogged by the homophobic taunts of his nemesis, Mal (Zachary Gault). Comment
Arts

Wilde’n Out

Arts

Wilde’n Out

This show has a lot popping up! Comment
In the Noh

The Respite of Documentaries

In the Noh

The Respite of Documentaries

As American films dumb down ever more, with mindless action and endless Marvel comic book heroes swamping the screen, anyone with intelligence needs to gratefully look at documentaries for substance, i.e., real stories about real people. Comment
Arts

Your Inheritance Is Coming

Arts

Your Inheritance Is Coming

The critical hit play in London at the moment is a two-part, nearly seven-hour commitment — written by a Latinx American man with roots in the Deep South — that is gayer than “Angels in America” and “Torch Song” combined. Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance” is set among a group of mostly 30-ish gay New Yorkers trying to tell their stories with the actual assistance of E.M. Forster, whose “Howard’s End” is the framework for the play. (You’ll just have to see it.) Comments (2)
Arts

The Truth Shall… Something or Other

Arts

The Truth Shall… Something or Other

The nature of truth is an ongoing, fraught debate in our troubled political times. So it’s no surprise the topic is on the boards. “Network” looked at the nature of news and the dichotomy between journalism as factual reporting and as an entertainment business. Comment
In the Noh

Aggie Diversity

In the Noh

Aggie Diversity

“The Method School thinks the emotion is the art. It isn’t. All emotion isn’t sublime. The theater isn’t reality. If you want reality, go to the morgue. The theater is human behavior that is effective and interesting.” Comment

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