Uncle Max's Musings on Politics and Culture

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Recent NY Theatre Trip March 14, 2010

Filed under: NYC Theatre — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 2:00 am

I recently went to New York and I saw several plays as well as Betty Buckley in a terrific cabaret act.  Here are some highlights from the trip:

1.) Time Stands Still: This play starred Laura Linney.  She is one of my favorite screen actresses and she did not disappoint in this production.  Overall, I would give this production an A+.  In addition to Linney, it also starred Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame as well as Brian D’arcy James and Eric Bogosian.  Silverstone was quite a capable stage actress and she is an excellent foil to Linney.  The plot concerns how Linney (a war photographer) and D’arcy James (her boyfriend of eight years) reassemble their lives as Linney recovers from a tragic accident.  Bogosian’s is Linney’s editor and Silverstone is Bogosian’s girlfriend.  The play essentially deals with how couples work to make one another happy in trying circumstances.  IT IS AMAZING! 

2.) A View from the Bridge: This play starred Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber.  Overall, I would give this play a solid B+.  Scarleett Johansson proved herself to be a very effective stage actress.  She blended into the ensemble of the show adeptly.  The play closes April 4th due to Scarlett’s schedule so if you want to see it, obtain tickets soon!  See the NY Times review for a good overview

3.) A Behanding in Spokane: This play is a dark comedy starring Christopher Walken.  Essentially, this play is a politically incorrect, black comedy that depicts the desperateness of humanity.  The play received mixed reviews, but I give it a solid A-.  This review in the Wall Street Journal gets it right.

Oh – and you might be saying – who is Betty Buckley (the woman I mentioned in my first sentence I above)?  Well, her cabaret is closed, but you can enjoy this clip below that illustrates her majesty:

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October Theatre Trip to NYC October 25, 2009

Filed under: NYC Theatre — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 8:01 pm

Given my love for the theatre, I am often asked, “what should I see in NYC?”  Well, I was just there this past week and I thought I would give all of you a few highlights from the trip:

1.) The Understudy (Not Recommended: 5.0/10; Recommended if you LOVE Mark-Paul Gosselaar)  I saw this play in its preview period so it may improve, but overall the script does not quite live-up to the great performances from the actors.  This show marks Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s NYC stage debut and I must say he is BEYOND IMPRESSIVE!  Also, while I always thought he was “cute boy next door” I must say that he is absolutely gorgeous in-person!

2.) Jane Krakowski @ Feinstein’s (Recommended: 7.5/10): I saw Jane Krakwoski (Jenna on 30 Rock, Elaine on Ally McBeal, Tony Award Winner for Nine) perform her debut NYC cabaret act.  Jane was a total sex kitten – very Eartha Kitt!  Also, I sat two tables away from some members of the 30 Rock Cast (Jack McBrayer (Kenneth) and Judith Friedlander (Frank).  Here is the NY Times review for her show.

3.) A Steady Rain (Recommended: 8.5/10): I had seen this play in Chicago in its original incarnation.  Well, it is now playing in New York with Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman in the title roles.  Overall, this play is quite powerful and Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman acquit themselves well with on qualified exception.  Daniel Craig achieves in this play what Hugh Jackman does not quite achieve – he becomes completely absorbed in his role and one believes that he is a Chicago cop from the beginning whereas Hugh Jackman never quite surrenders completely into his role.  This somewhat lack of surrender is what keeps this play from being a 10 out of 10 for me, but it still packs a wallop of a punch.  This Chicago Tribune review states it best

4.) Next to Normal (Highly Recommended: 9.5/10): I have seen this musical during one other trip to NYC and I just had to see it again.  The score has a great rock-edge and this original cast sings it with skill and aplomb, illustrating the lives of this tortured family with dexterity.  Here is the NY Times review that reviews this show best.  See the below Tony-performance clip that showcases the best number from the show: