Liz on Theatre

October 10, 2016

MADISON, NJ – A taut, compelling production of “Richard III,” that cunning, evil king, will mesmerize you at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Director Paul Mullins has kept the action at full tilt, even as a raft of henchmen and royalty people the stage. Of course you need an actor as ...

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MADISON, NJ – A taut, compelling production of “Richard III,” that cunning, evil king, will mesmerize you at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Director Paul Mullins has kept the action at full tilt, even as a raft of henchmen and royalty people the stage. Of course you need an actor as ...

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MILLBURN, NJ – Yes, it’s "Springtime for Hitler" in the Paper Mill Playhouse zany production of “The Producers.” The show was a big Broadway hit with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick a few seasons ago and has been given a fast-paced reprise under the direction of Don Stephenson. The original ...

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PRINCETON, NJ – Although this  play by Nilo Cruz is set in 2015, reflecting both Cuba and Miami, the theme is closer to struggles at least 30 years earlier.  A priest who falls in love would more likely become an Episcopalian or even a Unitarian. So this dichotomy makes the whole premise less ...

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UNION, NJ – “Las Cruces,” the new play by Vincent Delaney, is the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival award. And for good reason. This riveting story is about a man who leaves his Connecticut home in search of peace and quiet (or perhaps escape) in the bold, barren stretches of New ...

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MADISON, NJ – There’s dying and then there’s dying in long, drawn-out agony. Well, if you’ve been king for 400 years, you won’t disappear quietly. No doubt King Berenger thinks he’s immortal and, like many of us today, lingers long after he’s of any use to himself or others. The king on "Exit ...

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COOPERSTOWN, NY – What an amazing musical mix meets audiences who make the trip to Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, N.Y. Rossini’s “The Thieving Magpie” is perhaps the most surprising of the four operas presented this summer. Not as well known as an operatic version of Arthur Miller’s “The ...

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PRINCETON, NJ – Leave it to Stephen Sondheim to find the cutting edge in the kaleidoscope of American events. What he wrote in 1990 is even more potent today, hard on the heels of the Orlando gay nightclub terrorist attack. These assassins, from 1865 until the 1970s, cover not just presidents ...

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MILLBURN, NJ - Although “West Side Story” first came to Broadway in 1957, it still resonates today, not only for its poignant love story but for its underlying theme of culture clash and hatred. The Jets and the Sharks are opposing gangs, one Italian, the other Puerto Rican. They’re both ...

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MADISON, NJ – There’s never been anyone quite like Noel Coward for wit and wisdom in equal measure, as so beautifully rendered in the opening production of The ShakespeareTheatre’s season, with “A Song at Twilight.” Edmond Genest and Laila Robins are worthy adversaries, former lovers and well ...

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PHILDELPHIA - When the American Theatre Critics Association met in Philadelphia during the month of April, there was plenty of food for thought and discussion revolving around some absorbing, ingenious plays. One of my favorites was “He Who Get’s Slapped,” a play by Leonid Adreyev and loosely ...

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – “My Names is Asher Lev” is a riveting, powerful production at George Street Playhouse. Based on the novel by Chaim Potok, this beautifully written script tells the anguished story of a young artist, his relationship with his parents and his search for his own identity. The ...

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PRINCETON, NJ – It’s hard to believe that the well-crafted mystery play The Mousetrap has been running on the London stage since 1952. That’s 64 years! And what makes this play such an audience pleaser? Well, you don’t have too look very far. Agatha Christie was a master at developing ...

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - “Sex With Strangers,” the brilliant new play by Laura Eason, premiered this past weekend at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. Artistic director David Saint keeps this fascinating production moving constantly. So often, a two-character play can become stagnant. But ...

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SUMMIT, NJ – Alfred Uhry’s beautifully crafted play “Driving Miss Daisy” reveals the growing rapport between Daisy Werthan, an aging woman living in Atlanta and her chauffer, Hoke Colburn. The play spans 1948 to 1973. The three major characters are performed by Terri Sturtevant as Daisy, Ron ...

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CHATHAM, NJ – The pomp and circumstance of medieval England are left at the side of the road in this bright, smart play by James Goldman. “The Lion in Winter” revolves around Henry II, whose conflicted marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine and relationship to his three squabbling sons form the basis of ...

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SUMMIT, NJ – Sisters are often defined as controlled or controlling. That’s the premise of John Kolvenbach’s “Sister Play,” in a deft, smart production at Dreamcatcher Theatre in Summit. The sisters, Anna and Lilly, have arrived at their father’s deserted, run-down cottage on Cape Cod, along ...

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MILLBURN, NJ – “A Bronx Tale” is an infectious musical under the direction of Robert DeNiro and Jerry Zaks. And how can such a multi-talented pair go wrong? The idea of making a musical from “A Bronx Tale” has been in the works for a couple of decades, ever since the movie came out in 1993. Based ...

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The companionship/conflict between artist Jamie Wyeth and Rudolf Nureyev makes for a striking two-character play by David Rush. Directed by Michael Maestro, the tension builds as Nureyev insists that Wyeth can’t begin to capture his movement, despite numerous sketches and long ...

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DOVER, NJ – The novel and play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey takes the audience on a sometimes crazy, sometimes poignant ride in this play set in a Northwest mental hospital during the 1960s. This was the age of LSD, electric shock treatments and lobotomies. The play centers on ...

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PRINCETON, NJ – A superb cast and expert direction by Jade King Carroll keeps August Wilson’s haunting, “The Piano Lesson” moving briskly along. The play is long, as is usually true of the playwright, but every character is believable in this drama, set in Pittsburgh’s Hill District in ...

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MADISON, NJ - A rollicking, festive joyride is on view at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey with The Merry Wives of Windsor through Dec. 27. Although the plot is convoluted and dizzying at times, the actors bring it off with aplomb. There’s a scheme afoot to foil the bragging Falstaff as two ...

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Laila Robins can bring off any performance, whether it’s the delusional Blanche from "Streetcar Named Desire" or the take-charge second wife of President Woodrow Wilson. And we shouldn’t forget that Wilson was President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey earlier ...

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SUMMIT, NJ – Tracy Letts, who wrote the highly successful “August: Osage County” has written a play in a totally different style, "Superior Donuts," with characters to match. We meet Arthur, who owns a donut shop in a rundown neighborhood of Chicago.  A young black man, Franco, comes in looking ...

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MILLBURN, NJ – Those swing band sounds of the 1940s just keep coming in the original musical "The Bandstand" at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. With music by Richard Oberacker and book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Oberacker, the show is awash with jitterbug choreography and styles of the ...

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Being a murder mystery buff, not to mention a lover of musicals, "Murder for Two" seemed like a perfect combination of all the best ingredients stirred in together. Alas, the promise exceeded the execution. The problem with a two-character play with multiple personalities is ...

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CHATHAM, NJ – The verbal volleyball is fast and furious in this first-rate production of Tracy Letts’ "August: Osage County." The Chatham Players have made the most of this difficult story of a mother, her sister, spouses and three daughters in the hot, dry summer of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Violet ...

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SUMMIT - Dreamcatchers Repertory Theatre has taken on a thought provoking drama in "Electric Baby," two-act play by Stephanie Zadravee. The plot starts off on a relatively light note, as the mother, Natalia, portrayed by Beth Painter, hovers over her baby in a crib, while alternately offering ...

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SUMMIT, NJ – The space may be small, but the themes in this charming, thoughtful play are timeless. “Trying,” written by Joanna McClelland Glass, is based on a real-life experience, when Sarah Schorr became secretary to Judge Francis Biddle in 1967. The juxtaposition of these two personalities, ...

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PRINCETON, NJ – Leave it to Tennessee Williams to explore, in poetic words, the sad, vulnerable lives we see in “Baby Doll” at the McCarter Theatre. Based on a 1956 film, the stage production has its own intimacy and challenges. Most astounding is Susannah Hoffman as Baby Doll, a young woman ...

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