Oscar E Moore

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November 18th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore


Tulis McCall is unbelievable and unabashedly honest and funny to a fault.  If you are feeling the onset of old age (and who isn’t) you will definitely get a shot of adrenalin in seeing ALL IN GOOD TIME expertly written and performed with great élan.

A one woman of a certain age (WCA) rant about death, life, blow jobs and not letting another precious moment of your very precious life be put off.  Do not postpone.  Do pass GO.  Do collect whatever you want to collect.

Live life to the fullest. NOW.  Do what you have always wanted to do if you haven’t already done so.  And write your own obituary!  Forget about – “all in good time” – the expression NOT this very astute and hysterically funny one hour one woman diatribe.

Written and performed by Tulis McCall.  Directed by Jon Lonoff.  United Solo 2017.  DO NOT MISS THIS.  Oops!  You already have.  Hopefully additional performances will ensue.

The Playroom Theater  December 11 & 12 Tickets $13.00


151 West 46th Street

#8th Floor

New York, NY 10036

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THE BAND’S VISIT – the universal language of music

November 12th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

You will not soon forget THE BAND’S VISIT.  Nor should you.  In a small Israeli town (circa 1996) in the desert – its people are waiting for something different – anything – to happen.  The regularity of their daily life has become tedious and uneventful.

They get their wish fulfilled and then some when unexpectedly an Egyptian band – The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Band arrives by mistake after confusing the names of their intended destination Petah Tikva with this quiet and unassuming village Bet Hatikva.  Lucky for us they made the mistake.

There are no buses until morning.  No hotel.  And so the Band’s conductor Tewfiq (a wondrous Tony Shalhoub) and its seven members are welcomed with generosity – sharing food, overnight accommodations and the all-important universal language called music with various households in the village.

In this world in which we now live you will see that it is possible to understand each other within 24 hours.  One day.  Where acceptance and music translates what is not literally understood.

The language barrier is dealt with charmingly, haltingly and with wry humor as Tewfiq attempts in broken English to explain to Dina (Katrina Lenk) a café proprietor his predicament.  She is beautiful.  She is bored.  She is waiting for her Knight in Shining Armor to rescue her from her stagnant life.

He is controlled.  Gentle.  Kind.  Resisting her charms in this blissful, quietly romantic and absolutely magical journey where we get to savor every economical spoken and sung word by book writer Itamar Moses and score by David Yazbek (music and lyrics) – where the sounds of Israel and Egypt co-mingle with Gershwin and Chet Baker.

Chet Baker plays a very important part in this production as the Romeo of the troupe Haled (an excellent and sexy Ari’el Stachel) repeatedly asks the women he encounters “Do you know Chet Baker?” after telling them they have beautiful eyes.  That’s how he got the wrong ticket to the wrong location.  Again I say – Lucky for us!  He plays his trumpet with a bit of “My Funny Valentine” and his jazz vocals seduce.

I would not be surprised if there is a renewed interest in jazz musician and singer Chet Baker which would be a great thing to happen – along with meeting these most interesting people:  the Telephone Guy (Adam Kantor) patiently waiting to hear from his girlfriend as he stands and guards and waits for the lone village pay phone to ring.

The family dinner with a main course of tension and silence as Itzik (John Cariani) along with his wife, Kristen Sieh and her father Avrum (Andrew Polk) attempt to make nice as Simon (Alok Tewari) plays a bit of his unfinished clarinet concerto which in turn segues into “Summertime” that they all know and understand – breaking the ice.  The clarinet will also soothe their crying baby when nothing else will.

At the roller skating disco we meet the ultra-shy Papi (Etai Benson) who, with the help of the Egyptian Haled, gets instructions in how to get to first base with his girl.

This fluid, bittersweet production expertly directed by David Cromer enfolds on a turntable that slowly allows us to be a part of all their melancholy lives.

The spot on scenic design by Scott Pask is enhanced by the striking and mood setting lighting design by Tyler Micoleau.   The choreography by Patrick McCollum just seems to appear it is so integrated with the characters and their stories.

This production should not be missed.  You will always regret not seeing THE BAND’S VISIT.  In fact you will want to see it again and again.  Hear it again and again.  It is quite special seeing Arabs and Jews in complete harmony making beautiful music together in this gentle, charming and thoroughly inviting musical.

Based on the 2007 film by Eran Kolirin.

At The Barrymore Theater.    With an unexpected post show concert by the band.  Just go!

90 minutes no intermission NO late seating

Photos: Matthew Murphy

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M. BUTTERFLY – why tinker with perfection?

November 5th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

In this uneven and unbalanced revisal of the 1988 multiple award winning production of M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang you may find yourself as confused as its leading character Rene Gallimard – a courageous and charming Clive Owen giving a compelling performance as a French diplomat in 1960’s Beijing dealing with his childless marriage with Agnes (Enid Graham) his awkwardness with women in general and his repressed sexuality.

But you will leave the Cort Theatre humming tunes from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and some soothing jazz from Chet Baker’s ironic “I Fall in Love Too Easily.”

Based on a hard to believe true story this revisal is even harder to swallow under the heavy directorial thumb of Julie Taymor who has somehow tipped the scales to favor her talents, and not trusting the words and story of its playwright and his original intentions.

M. Butterfly is not a musical – hard as Ms. Taymor tries to make it one – with her elaborate Peking Opera production numbers and a most silly Act II ballet of Communist Comrades led by a most annoying Celeste Den.

The tragic love story of Rene and his Chinese mistress Song Liling (an acceptable Jin Ha) who turns out to be a Chinese spy and a man portraying a woman fights for attention.  Perhaps Ms. Taymor was inspired by Victor/Victoria.  Jin Ha’s live singing is much preferable over Murray Bartlett’s lip syncing Pinkerton.

For twenty years this affair went on without Rene discovering that Song Liling was a he posing as a she.  Lots of denial going on there.  Rene is arrested for treason and begins to unweave this saga from his jail cell.  Trying to explain to us and himself what happened.  He is tormented.  Attempting to make sense of all this confusing role playing.  And we wonder if he is a repressed gay man.

We see his uneasiness with women from the onset.  However he is married to Agnes (Enid Graham) an older woman but searches (mostly in vain) for “the perfect woman” a fantasy until he hears Song sing from Madama Butterfly at a cocktail party at the Ambassador’s residence.  His perfect woman turns out to be a man.

As we all discover when in a courtroom he strips down naked and explains the details of their long affair – including graphic sexual acts.  It is merely crude.

What should be an intriguing, fascinating and intimate story has been blown up to operatic proportions with floating screens, elaborate costumes and noisy percussive music.

The tragedy of these two lovers is lost in Julie Taymor’s self-propaganda and masks.

Through Feb. 25th


NOTE:  Have you ever noticed and wondered about the period after M in M. Butterfly is all about?  In French it is the abbreviation for Monsieur.  Is this a reference to Rene’s sexuality or Song’s?  Or both?

Photos:  Matthew Murphy

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TORCH SONG – What is this thing called love?

November 1st, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

It’s virtually impossible to fill those bunny rabbit slippers worn so majestically and confidently by Harvey Fierstein in his original production of TORCH SONG TRILOGY some 35 years ago which garnered him awards for writing this breakthrough openly gay saga and for being its openly gay star.

The torch has been passed along to Michael Urie who as hard as he tries is still chasing Harvey to the finish line in this slimmed down, revised version known as TORCH SONG directed by Moises Kaufman.  I admire Mr. Urie’s immense talent.  He is a master of physical comedy and has a way with those zingers that Mr. Fierstein has written but he is not right for the part.

Harvey Fierstein is a force of nature so strong – both in body and spirit and wit – that it is hard to erase him from being Arnold – the lonely, needy drag queen of the sharp comeback and astute observations otherwise known as Virginia Ham.  Not to mention his unmistakable and raspy voice that is immediately recognizable.

Case in point:  one of the biggest laughs in Act I occurs in the International Stud – a notorious gay back room bar.  Arnold has met the handsome Ed (Ward Horton) who turns out to be bi-sexual.  As they are leaving together Ed says to Arnold “Is this your normal voice or do you have a cold?”  Instantly the audience thinks of Harvey and it gets a huge laugh.  But for the wrong reason.

After all Mr. Fierstein wrote this three part opus for himself about himself.  Taking place from 1971 through 1980.  Post Stonewall and pre AIDS.  The International Stud (1971).  Fugue in a Nursery (1974) and Widows and Children First (1980).

Looking around the audience packed with gay couples of various ages – some holding hands – one thinks back to when this play first opened.  It would have been unheard of for gays to be this confident and comfortable in their own skins as they are now.  Thanks to Harvey we now can.  But the fight isn’t finished.

In part two of Act I Arnold in invited to the open love nest relationship of Ed and his girlfriend Laurel (Roxanna Hope Radja) with his new gorgeous boyfriend Alan – a model.  Ed puts the make on him while Arnold and Laurel do the dishes.  This all takes place in an oversized bed – the staging is quite clever as the characters pop in and out from under the sheets.

Arnold with an underlying sadness is still looking for love in all the wrong places.  Not just great sex but love and commitment.  He is desperate for respect, trying to be just like Ma (an excellent Mercedes Ruehl) – who arrives from Miami in Act II blazing verbal bullets and wearing her own pair of bunny slippers.  Like Ma like Gay Son

Arnold still has Ed in his life and a gay foster child David (Jack DiFalco) who has been bullied with a black eye to prove it.   Arnold and Alan had decided on starting a family before he had a tragic accident which isn’t fully fleshed out.  Ma and Arnold try to understand each other.  Much to our amusement and horror.

Most interesting is the bisexual Ed (a terrific Ward Norton who almost steals the spotlight) – a gay closeted man who needs a woman in his life as proof of his normalcy even though he cannot stay away from being with and loving Arnold.  That’s how it was back then and in some respects still is.

2 hours – 40 minutes at Second Stage.  One intermission. www.2st.com

Extended through Dec. 9th.  Tony Kiser Theater

Photos:  Joan Marcus

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DESPERATE MEASURES – The taming of the lewd – a marriage of the Bard and the bawdy

October 29th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

At the Wednesday evening performance that I attended (10/25/17) James Morgan (Artistic Director of The York Theatre Company) in his opening remarks in his own inimitable style announced that this already extended production of “Desperate Measures” – a rowdy, tuneful and somewhat sentimental mixture of the Bard and the Old West – will be extended for at least another month (through November 26th) due to popular demand and raves from the critics – “Even the Times gave us a good review!”

Very loosely based on Shakespeare’s “problem comedy” MEASURE FOR MEASURE Peter Kellogg (Book & Lyrics) and David Friedman (Music) have found a fresh and unique voice set in late 1800’s Arizona – land of cacti, sheriffs, corrupt politicians, nuns, banjos, loose women and loose morals.

Along with director Bill Castellino (who was seen still taking notes to tighten the production) have concocted a clever, calculated crowd pleaser with a little bit of everything to make just about everyone happy or at the very least be entertained.

There’s Nietzsche espoused by a drunken priest (Gary Marachek) for the high brows and a saloon gal strip tease (Bella Rose – a broad broad – Lauren Molina) for those brows a bit lower.

A marriage of the Bard and the bawdy.  Very pleasant tunes – from heartfelt ballads to up-tempo songs that set your feet a tappin’ and dialogue that has rhythm and rhyme that elevates the tone of the production immensely.  It works beautifully enacted by a terrific cast of six full throttled vocalists.

The dim witted but charming Johnny Blood (Conor Ryan) is in jail waiting to be hanged for a crime that he committed in self-defense – to protect his love, Bella Rose (Lauren Molina).  His sister Susanna (Emma Degerstedt) is days away from officially becoming Sister Mary Jo.

The stalwart Sheriff Martin Green (a tall, lanky and handsome Peter Saide) comes up with a plot to save Johnny Blood from the noose that involves his sister (whom Sheriff Green has more than an eye for) approaching the cruel and lecherous Governor von Richterhenkenpflichtgetruber (Nick Wyman with a heavy German accent; enjoying every lecherous moment to the hilt and more) to grant Johnny a pardon.

Aye.  There’s the rub.  The Governor will grant the pardon IF would-be in a few days Sister Mary Jo sleeps with him – losing her chastity but gaining her brother’s freedom.  Tit for tat so to speak.

Clever Sheriff Green gets Bella Rose to pull the old Shakespearean switcheroo in the dark bedroom of the Governor.  All’s well and good but we are unintentionally reminded of all that horrifying alleged lewd behavior of Harvey Weinstein.

But this is tame musical comedy land and we soon move on to further amusing complications in Act II ending with a Lucy and Harpo sight gag and a double wedding that leads to the off into the sunset uplifting finale.

James Morgan has designed another fine set with clever sign posts.  Costumes by Nicole Wee are character perfect.  The music direction and orchestrations by David Hancock Turner enhance the lively and almost retro score.  How refreshing to hear melodies and lyrics that fall wonderfully on the ear – caressing rather than bombarding.

If music be the food of love – play on!  And on.  And on.  2 hour 15 minutes 1 intermission


Photos:  Carol Rosegg

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TIME AND THE CONWAYS – an adequate all in the family adventure

October 18th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore


This Roundabout revival of J. B. Priestley’s three act drama is just adequate.   And seems longer than it actually is.  There are some high points and an equal amount of low as directed by Rebecca Taichman who does her best with the static script that has not been produced in New York for 38 years.

It’s in the tradition of a well-made three act play with a slight variation:  Beginning.  End.  Middle.

It takes time for the Conway family saga celebrating the 21st birthday of would be novelist Kay (a lovely albeit distracted Charlotte Parry) to take off in the upper class neutral living room set by Neil Patel which has the look of old money carefully decorated so as not to flaunt its wealth.

The set itself takes off after the misfired first act which takes place in 1919 as we are transitioned into Act II when the same but different room drops in from the rafters.

It is now 1937 and Kay’s family once again is summoned to meet.  Not merely to celebrate her birth but to bemoan the fact that Mummy (an unimpressive Elizabeth McGovern giving a superficial portrait of Mrs. Conway; at times over the top) has squandered all their wealth and future inheritances on having fun.

Is she being brutally honest or is she just a bitch?  Has Mr. Priestley fashioned her after another beautiful spendthrift Madame Ravnevsky of The Cherry Orchard?

Act III (here at the American Airlines Theatre Act II) has us return to the party of 1919 to witness what went wrong with each of the characters – of which there are many.

We are led from a naturalistic drama to a metaphysical one that tries to explain that the past and present and future co-exist and that life should be an adventure and that some can innately tell what will happen or remember what did happen.  According to Blake and J.W. Dunne.  That’s great if you believe all that stuff.

The British accents are all over the place.  And that first half hour of sisters Hazel (Anna Camp) Carol (Anna Baryshnikov) the Socialist bent Madge (Brooke Bloom) chirping away as they put on parts of costumes to do whatever in the next room is enough to have you scurrying up the aisle.  But they are young and we need to get some exposition out of the way.

Thank goodness for Gabriel Ebert as the awkward and shy and levelheaded Alan their eldest brother and Matthew James Thomas as the handsome uniformed brash and strutting Robin – Mummy’s favorite.

Into the mix arrives the financial advisor Gerald Thornton (an excellent Alfredo Narciso) who brings along an arriviste (an impressive Steven Boyer) who wants to wed Hazel who dislikes the “creature” intensely.

Last but not least is Joan Helford (portrayed beautifully by Cara Ricketts) who has her eyes on Robin while Alan has his eyes on her.

It’s an uneven production where the set will be probably remembered above all.

Through November 26th.


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Photos:  Jeremy Daniel

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MARY JANE – a young mother copes, along with the audience at NYTW

September 28th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

This newest play by Amy Herzog and directed by Anne Kauffman features a cast of five women spearheaded by Carrie Coon as Mary Jane.  You wouldn’t want to be in her shoes.

She is strong, cheerful and most probably in denial – afraid to actually face the horrors that she deals with so matter-of-factly.  She is thankfully healthy.  She has decided to lovingly take care of her three year old son who from a premature birth has been stricken with what amounts to an incurable disease.

Alex needs constant care.  He is monitored by a machine in what used to be Mary Jane’s bedroom.  She now sleeps on a pull out sofa bed.  The beeping machine alerts her to any problems from an unseen Alex in the other room– even in the middle of the night.  He is also on a feeding machine.  He likes his goldfish.  And music.

Mary Jane has had to forego her teaching career and now works for a real estate company.  Her husband has abandoned them.  Her superintendent (Brenda Wehle) is attempting to unclog her kitchen sink as we meet her.  Mary Jane is a good listener.  Others have problems too.

They include the home healthcare nurse Sherry (Liza Colon-Zayas) and Brianne (Susan Pourfar) a friend who shares a similar situation with her child and is having a tough time navigating how to go about solving her problems.  Our pleasant steadfast heroine deals with them all.

Even the niece of the nurse Amelia (Danaya Esperanza) who arrives to visit. When an emergency occurs we are transported to the hospital from Mary Jane’s living room (the set design by Laura Jellinek threatens to overtake the proceedings – and must cost big bucks for such an intimate play) In any event we are now in the hospital where the actresses other than Carrie Coon take on new personas.

The best scene in the play is between Mary Jane and Chaya (a terrific Susan Pourfar) an Orthodox Jewish woman.  It is tender, compelling and amusing.  Chaya has seven children one of whom is in the hospital and these two women bond immediately.

Brenda Wehle becomes a Buddhist chaplain where the sex of the goldfish is explored.  The play ends ambiguously.  This gets people talking about what happened or what didn’t happen as they leave the theatre.

All this brings me to my pet peeve that it is sometimes extremely difficult to hear these actresses.  Maybe it’s the acoustics of the theater.  Maybe my hearing – although others agreed with me.  More likely they are used to close-ups and amplification.  Not projection.  And sometimes it is the director who has someone speaking upstage so we miss vital information.  To make matters worse the sound therapist for a short while wears a hospital half mask.  She then sings Alex a song…

Second pet peeve:  Have you ever wondered how reviewers are so specific with quoting lines and details?  They have the script available to read.  Audiences do not.  If you don’t understand and get the play without reference material to check – that’s not as it should be.  The audience is at a disadvantage when clarity in the vocal department could help remedy the situation tremendously.

MARY JANE is produced in association with Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, Connecticut.  95 minutes – no intermission.  Just extended through October 29th


Photos:  Joan Marcus

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A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – the beautiful face of terror

September 27th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

Welcome to the dystopian world of Anthony Burgess as seen through the eyes of Alexandra Spencer-Jones set in England – Today.  It might be better set in 1984.

This ultra-violent, unpleasant, homoerotic world (with all those half naked males) that began as a novel by Mr. Burgess in 1962 (supposedly written in three weeks as a Jeu d’espirit – a light hearted display of cleverness) and then a Stanley Kubrick film in 1971 and then a theatrical adaptation in 1987 and now – the acclaimed Action to The Word “event” imported from across the pond has landed at New World Stages through January 6, 2018.

While watching this alienating, stark and menacing production on a black bare bones tiered set where the lighting and sound designers (James Baggaley and Emma Wilk respectively) take precedence there are nine very fit men playing a variety of roles headed by an Adonis – Jonno Davies as Alex deLarge – a violent “droog” (one of the many made-up words that will at first baffle) who is fixated on his looks (as you will be) as his wickedness runs rampant until he is caught and reprogrammed by being forced to watch people being tortured.  He is reduced to being a number 6655321 which might very well become a popular passcode in honor of Mr. Davies.

I started thinking about dark, underground S&M porn movies.  That led to Warhol and Edie Sedgwick.  And guess what.  They were involved with Mr. Burgess in a very loose adaptation of Clockwork in a 1965 experimental film – VINYL.

It’s fascinating that so many find violence entertaining.

This Clockwork is done stylistically with a lot of robotic movement that you might grow impatient with.  Alex is obsessed with Beethoven and Ludwig Van’s music is omnipresent.  The props and some costume accessories are appropriately orange.   The teen droogs (thugs) drink milk.  Spiked with drugs.  The music blares.

To say that this production is a mesmerizing wonderment would be an exaggeration.  The acting is fine – especially of Jonno Davies whose physique is unparalleled and who passes this physical endurance test with phenomenal flying colors as the beautiful face of terror.  He even enunciates beautifully while you may not understand some of the made up Russian influenced language that somehow sounds Shakespearean.

I particularly thought Timothy Sekk outstanding in his four portrayals.  Others in this Charles Atlas ensemble are:  Jimmy Brooks, Matt Doyle, Sean Patrick Higgins, Brian Lee Huynh, Misha Osherovich, Ashley Robinson and Aleksander Varadian.

No intermission.  1 hour 45 minutes.  Seems longer – all that pumped up near nakedness and testosterone notwithstanding.  It dulls the senses.  Through January 6, 2018


Photos:  Caitlin McNaney

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FOR PETER PAN ON HER 70th BIRTHDAY – Sarah Ruhl’s homage to her mom

September 14th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

Sarah Ruhl’s mom Kathleen grew up playing Peter Pan in Iowa. As in why oh why oh why-o?  Excuse me that’s Ohio.  In any event she played Peter in Community Theater in Iowa.


Now Kathleen Chalfant is portraying Sarah’s mom portraying Peter as the character Ann – one of five siblings gathered for the any-minute-now death of their Father (Ron Crawford) who lies in state in his hospital bed having his feet massaged by Wendy (Lisa Emery) as we all wait for him to succumb to cancer.  It takes quite a while.  Actually the whole of the first part of three in this one act play, Off Broadway production at Playwrights Horizon – which could be labeled Waiting for Death.  They pray.  They snack.  They sleep.  He finally dies.

The second part is a celebration of his life – drinking and conversing around the affable family’s dinner table with the ghostly spirit of dad floating around.  The only conflict, it seems, to be over politics.  I won’t go there.

They remember dad’s bad puns and what a good old time they all had as a close knit Irish- Catholic family.   A little bit of this a little bit of that.  More drinking.  They do have differing views but they come across as part of one egg and one sperm.  They have a problem with growing old and dying.  Don’t we all.

One of the Big Questions pondered is – When did you feel you were a grownup?

It isn’t until part three – a fantasy of the sibs as the characters in Peter Pan that we find some enjoyment despite it being a bit ridiculous.  I particularly liked Keith Reddin as Michael and David Chandler as Hook.  Nicely staged by Les Waters.

Kathleen Chalfant seems to have been waiting throughout her illustrious career to finally Crow! As Peter Pan.  She is terrific.  As usual.  Despite some flying this Peter peters out as a play.

I have never been a fan of Ms. Ruhl – with all due respect to her many productions and accomplishments.  I remain in that corner.

There is a musical interlude as we go from hospital bed to dining room table of When The Saints Go Marching In.  Kudos to set designer David Zinn who gives this production a Broadway sheen.

The distinction between Broadway and Off seems to be diminishing.

There is a wonderful dog – Macy – who either is adverse to applause or forgot to take a curtain call.

It’s a nice gesture to her mom – but really?  90 minutes.  No intermission.  Through Oct 1st


Photos:  Jessica Fallon Gordon/Joan Marcus

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PRINCE OF BROADWAY – Hal’s Hit Parade – with some misses

August 30th, 2017 by Oscar E Moore

You know, he’s the guy with the glasses perched atop his mostly bald pate.  Prince.  Hal Prince.  Producer.  Director.  Visionary.  Twenty one count ‘em twenty one Tony Awards – and counting.

At 89 he’s not finished yet.  You can see samples of his work at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre in PRINCE OF BROADWAY where a retrospective revue of his work in on view featuring a cast of nine, 36 musical numbers from 16 musicals including Cabaret, Follies, Showboat, Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me etc.  Quite an achievement if he doesn’t say so himself.  Co-directed by Susan Stroman.

Ed Sullivan would have loved it.  For those of you youngsters who don’t remember Mr. Sullivan  he would feature numbers from hit Broadway shows on his Sunday night TV variety program that gave everyone who had a TV the opportunity to see live performances of the most recent Broadway season.

The numbers recreated from Hal’s catalog of shows is the next best thing to seeing the originals – in most cases.

It’s a sweeping panorama of Hal’s hits and some misses.  Mostly mega hits.  After 30 years The Phantom of the Opera is still crashing its chandelier nightly.

By his own admission he’s been one lucky duck.  And smart!  He’s worked with some of the greatest writers and composers.  Especially Stephen Sondheim.  It helped that Prince Hal was extremely hungry and determined to be a part of the best of Broadway.

However. you will learn more from his “NOTES” in the PLAYBILL than you will from the sparse intros (Book) by David Thompson – where the nine member cast each speak in turn as Hal wearing his trademark distracting glasses that get lost mostly in the hair of the mostly excellent performers.

PRINCE OF BROADWAY is a Reader’s Digest version of memorable (and some not so memorable) songs/scenes from the incredible resume of Hal’s productions.  But without proper lead-ins some might be lost as to what is going on at times.  No matter.  Enjoy the songs and performances.

Especially those of Tony Yazbeck who shines in whatever he does, Karen Ziemba, Chuck Cooper as a magnificent Tevye, Brandon Uranowitz and Emily Skinner with able support from Michael Xavier, Janet Dacal, Kaley Ann Voorhees and the bombastic Bryonha Marie Parham.

Some segments work much better than others but I’ll leave the final voting up to those who see the show for themselves.  There are spurts of brilliance but also some low points as well.  PRINCE OF BROADWAY is less than the sum of its parts.

The sets and costumes are by Beowulf Boritt and William Ivey Long respectively.

Jason Robert Brown has written an original number that ends the two act, two and a half hour show for the ensemble “DO THE WORK” – It’s very good and I wish it had opened the show and then bookended it as its finale.  His overture could be called “Name That Tune.”

Limited engagement through Oct 22nd.  Manhattan Theatre Club production


Photo:  Emilio Madrid-Kuser

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