BON VIVANT

New York City
About:  Astonish me . . .
Reviews (56)
90
The Hours
Upper W Side
Star power, Lush music, High concept
November 26th, 2022

See it if New opera thrillingly sung and intricately acted, beautifully designed, brilliantly conducted, appeals.

Don't see it if opera without arias, without applause breaks, without conventional narrative, & full of symbolism & literary references - is not your thing.

Also RENEE FLEMING, KELLI O'HARA, JOYCE DIDONATO and other A-listers join t... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Fascinating
November 15th, 2022

See it if a fast-paced, astonishing interpretation of a classic in what feels something like the authentic language of the characters, appeals.

Don't see it if you demand big glitzy production values (this is artfully designed but minimalist), or English-only is your thing.

Also This is epic play-making. The 1st act especially: pretty a much a bare... Read more Read less

25
Peter Grimes
Upper W Side
Park-and-bark concert
November 6th, 2022

See it if only for the singers and orchestra -- they are superb.

Don't see it if you expect opera productions to be thoroughly imagined theatrical events.

Also Is this music really this drab, this libretto really this drab? Or is ... Read more Read less

40
During previews
Tepid
November 2nd, 2022

See it if a faux-antique musical, competently sung/danced, but written as if the past 50 yrs of evolution in musical theater never happened, appeals.

Don't see it if your tastes are the least bit developed, and you don't like your intelligence insulted.

Also So you adapt the razor-sharp, timeless Billy Wilder/I.A.L. Diamond scr... Read more Read less

90
Cocktail Magique
Brooklyn
Company xiv flavor -- immersive cabaret
October 24th, 2022

See it if immersive cabaret with magic, carnival acts, aerialists, singers, strippers -- all with a meta winky winky naughty naughty -- appeals.

Don't see it if human bodies frighten you; you prefer to sit back separated from the performers; organized alcohol consumption is distasteful to you.

Also The stage is narrower at this new annex just opened by the XIVs around... Read more Read less

80
During previews
The How and the Why
East Village
Polemical but personal, Smart writing
October 22nd, 2022

See it if a long conversation between an older/younger woman that starts with evolution theory about menstruation but then gets personal, appeals.

Don't see it if you seek action, romance, anything more than talk between scientists about the biology -- and the experience -- of being female.

Also The play works best in those moments where the younger and older scien... Read more Read less

45
Musty dusty museum piece pseudo theater . . ., Singing 10, looks 3 . . ., Static af . . .
October 3rd, 2022

See it if world-class singers and orchestra trapped in circa 1970s community college mise en scene appeals . . .

Don't see it if you expect theater creatives to actually attempt fresh interpretation of a hoary antique in a way that moves a modern audience . . .

Also Lazy, cynical, thoroughly unimagined: a whole lotta park-and-bark with... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Some fascinating performances, some not so much, Culturally ignorant, Odd directorial impositions
September 27th, 2022

See it if the classic critique of end-stage capitalism eating the soul, with the Lomans as a black family tormented by white business owners, appeals.

Don't see it if you prefer great writing interpreted by directors who respect the great writing.

Also The standout here is McKINLEY BELCHER III as Hap, in a raw, nuanced, e... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Broadway slick, but oddly soulless
July 28th, 2022

See it if a fully realized glitzy revival of this feelgood musical about the drag queen who saves a provincial UK city's failing shoe factory appeals

Don't see it if you demand astonishing originality or deep pathos, or any sense of drama in what at heart should be a poignant story.

Also You can't fault the singing & dancing skills in this love fest of a ha... Read more Read less

75
For a previous production
See it for alison fraser
July 16th, 2022

See it if if you treasure any chance to witness the wonder that is Alison Fraser.

Don't see it if you have no patience for other personnel who simply do not have the chops for this material.

Also ALISON FRASER as Big Mama takes you on journeys to uncharted lands wit... Read more Read less

55
Unique, Needs supratitles -- like seriously, Incomprehensible vignettes, Charming performers, Lovely singing
June 4th, 2022

See it if two charming ladies w/ beautiful singing voices skillfully employing digital loopers is enough to overlook incomprehensible dialog scenes.

Don't see it if you are easily frustrated when you don't understand the words -- no chance of getting more than 50% of this . . .

Also The opening song with its preternaturally lovely harmonies promises mu... Read more Read less

75
The Rake's Progress
Upper W Side
Remote, Quaint
June 2nd, 2022

See it if anything at the Met Opera with its grand scale and world-class musicians is sufficiently satisfying.

Don't see it if you expect a theatrical event a cut above at The Met, ie particularly innovative or compelling.

Also The vaguely surrealist/pomo set is a bit generic -- and all those exte... Read more Read less

25
During previews
Not ready, not by a long shot . . .
May 28th, 2022

See it if even nominal black queer representation in theater is compelling to you, no matter the quality of the work.

Don't see it if you like a well-written, well-directed show.

Also sitcom writing but without jokes, perfunctory acting as at a first tab... Read more Read less

50
Snow in Midsummer
East Village
Fascinating script
May 25th, 2022

See it if a unique epic drama/ghost story in modern and cultural revolution-era China appeals.

Don't see it if you cannot see the really good writing here underneath a mass of directorial lapses.

Also There is a good script here -- poetry, wisdom, humor, terror, & the pa... Read more Read less

75
Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Ambitious
May 18th, 2022

See it if the Shakespeare play as a modern opera comprising a continuous musical matrix of sung dialog without traditional pretty arias appeals.

Don't see it if you prefer traditional bel canto operas from the canon.

Also not deeply affecting, but kept me engaged beginning to end . . . the g... Read more Read less

90
Lucia di Lammermoor
Upper W Side
Top world-cass singers, vivid sets moving cinematically
April 27th, 2022

See it if Donizetti's love tragedy beautifully sung and acted in modern dress with a gorgeous 100-piece orchestra and tour-de-force scenery appeals.

Don't see it if you prefer that your period pieces not be performed in modern dress, or if a fast 3-1/2 hours (including 2 intermissions) ain't your thing.

Also Some are already calling this the "white trash" Lucia: the cast wear j... Read more Read less

80
Better, smarter acting -- and writing -- than you'll see on any nyc stage these days
April 17th, 2022

See it if a fast-paced, decently acted revival of a classic appeals.

Don't see it if you are expecting anything new to be mined by these actors and this director -- they have at least gotten to square 1-1/2 maybe . .

Also One could do so much worse with seeing a drama on Broadway these days.... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Cliche and reductive, Muddled and repetitive, Lovely performers, Bad sound design has band drown out 50% of the lyriics
April 17th, 2022

See it if if you want to support Black queer representation on B'way, or are a fan of the very good performers doing amazing work and having fun here.

Don't see it if a banal pretentious script full of reductive cliches and stereotypes and preaching and mediocre music is too much to bear . . .

Also Black gay writer and the voices in his head and all the people in his ... Read more Read less

25
During previews
Fun sets and costumes, Destroyed classic, makes little sense, fails to engage, Confused directorial concepts, Amateurish rewrite of a classic, Lovely actors
April 7th, 2022

See it if the idea of charming actors committed to every moment struggling in an expensive revival of a classic play thoroughly at sea appeals.

Don't see it if a bad reframing of a classic play that fails to engage, that fails to understand what made the original so great is not your idea of fun.

Also Thornton Wilder's 1942 allegorical/vaguely surrealist comedy tells the... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Important theater milestone gets lively new staging
April 4th, 2022

See it if the mother of all poetry slams staged by the smartest director/choreographer working today, plus a small jazz ensemble, appeals.

Don't see it if women of color shouting out the good, the bad, the ugly of their lives in free verse frightens you.

Also Camille A. Brown, fresh from remarkable stagings at the Met Opera (Por... Read more Read less

100
Seven Sins
Brooklyn
Burlesque, Circus, Ballet, Hilarious, Revolutionary, astonishing, exquisitely sexual chaos with a heart
April 4th, 2022

See it if you want to have fun, you like beautifully trained ballet dancers flying free and naked-ish in a rowdy nonbinary cabaret...

Don't see it if the human body frightens you, you have no sense of humor, or if creative genius overflowing makes you sick with envy . . .

Also One block from the Jefferson Street L Train stop -- 15 minutes from Un... Read more Read less

49
Science fiction
March 31st, 2022

See it if a fantasy story of one possible scenario should a gay MLB player come out of the closet appeals.

Don't see it if you demand good writing skillfully acted.

Also Overwritten, repetitive, unrealistic dialog -- and here the play finds... Read more Read less

25
During previews
Dancing to a recorded track at broadway prices
March 31st, 2022

See it if you love the book maybe, or have small children who love the book. (This show reminds me I only like the book for its illustrations.)

Don't see it if you demand more from a Broadway show than a warmed-over New Age-y synthesizer recorded track blasting at you from a bad sound system.

Also There are some lovely dancer-acrobats and acrobat-dancers doing lovely... Read more Read less

75
During previews
To My Girls
Midtown W
The boys in the b n b . . .
March 21st, 2022

See it if a slick, modern, sunnier redux of THE BOYS IN THE BAND appeals . . .

Don't see it if you can't handle a deconstruction of stereotypes, narcissism, shallowness, casual racism while having it all paraded in front of you . . .

Also Boys' weekend out in a posh Palm Springs mid-century modern, and the w... Read more Read less

1
During previews
Theater of xanax
March 19th, 2022

See it if you want to indulge a tv celebrity in what smells like a shameless vanity production, or have a hankering to lose the will to live.

Don't see it if if sitting amidst a sizable claque of comped friends & minions fake laughing and fake "aw"-ing on cue all night is creepy to you.

Also The mind boggles, the jaw drops. The premise is fine: a woman ages fro... Read more Read less

100
During previews
Great writing, Great staging, Great dancing, Great singing, Great acting
March 18th, 2022

See it if a well-crafted story/score thrillingly sung-danced-acted appeals: a sweeping epic: human stories behind the 1863 Draft Riots/mass lynching.

Don't see it if you're a low-level illuminati schmuck looking to defeat the real history of diverse oppressed people divided/united by the real power.

Also don't see it solely for bragging rights for having snagged a ticket to... Read more Read less

100
The Life
Midtown W
Great singing, Thrilling performers connecting hard with fine material
March 17th, 2022

See it if you don't mind the quirks and obsessions of a passionate novice director, who knows 90% of directing is casting, then letting them soar.

Don't see it if a few stylistic loose ends and clumsy modern polemical interpolations would overshadow what is legendary here.

Also My understanding of the number rating system here is evolving -- but I... Read more Read less

70
Crowd pleaser
March 17th, 2022

See it if a ruthlessly paced, screeching kumbaya folk opera about how we can all just get along when we choose to appeals.

Don't see it if a ruthlessly paced, screeching kumbaya folk opera about how we can all just get along when we choose to is like fingernails on a blackboard.

Also Top performers, top musicians, pretty good irish-traditional-flavored ... Read more Read less

90
For a previous production
Don Carlo
Upper W Side
Riveting, Great staging, Great singing, Absorbing
March 7th, 2022

See it if a world-class production of a masterpiece appeals.

Don't see it if you hate opera, or prefer your entertainments done in under 2 hours (this one is a glorious 4.5 hours, including 2 half-hour intermissions).

Also It doesn't get better than this. The sound is amazing in any part of t... Read more Read less

65
Morning's at Seven
Midtown W
Great cast, Great acting, Insipid, Banal
March 2nd, 2022

See it if an ALL-STAR CAST in an old-timey light comedy about petty tiffs between senior citizen relatives who are also neighbors appeals.

Don't see it if you are the tiniest bit sleep deprived. Z Z Z z z z . . .

Also First of all, how great was it to see all these fabulous people togeth... Read more Read less

80
During previews
Intelligent
February 27th, 2022

See it if a solid, straightforward production of this seldom-revived O'Neill classic appeals.

Don't see it if you are seeking something experimental, deconstructed, modernized, etc., etc.

Also This company wisely trusts O'Neill's writing -- it is all there: plot,... Read more Read less

50
During previews
Sitcom
February 24th, 2022

See it if a mildly amusing, overlong, virtue-signalling, ultra-pc script in development, competently performed entices.

Don't see it if you are seeking a compelling, unique experience in the theater.

Also The cast are certainly smart professionals with great timing, and have... Read more Read less

90
Great acting, Entertaining, Absorbing
February 23rd, 2022

See it if a new play posing as a raucous comedy while exposing the underbelly of American culture appeals.

Don't see it if I dunno -- if you don't like quality theater?

Also Small-town city council bumbles along comedically, but something darke... Read more Read less

70
Intelligent, Ambitious
February 23rd, 2022

See it if the theoretical experiments of a famous half-century-old avant garde theater entice.

Don't see it if you are seeking a conventional narrative, conventionally presented.

Also Admirable choice & accident, calculation & caprice, process in evidenc... Read more Read less

80
BAROCOCO (2022)
Midtown E
Original, Absorbing, Entertaining
February 18th, 2022

See it if an unconventional nonlinear exploration of behaviors free-associating in an aristocratic salon among courtier types and a musician appeals.

Don't see it if you need a storyline, plot, or everything explained.

Also Very interesting work this company is doing: the piece is "devised" --... Read more Read less

70
Overrated, Overlong, Overwritten, Moments of genius
February 16th, 2022

See it if you want to see an early flawed but often pithy (and award-winning) wicked comedy/drama by America's next great playwright.

Don't see it if you have a tendency for deep-vein thrombosis: 2-1/4 hours without intermission in a rickety little theater seat -- pure audience abuse.

Also >>>SPOILERS<<< The first half comprises scenes of rape between various... Read more Read less

50
Soulless
February 16th, 2022

See it if you crave the experience of having memories of an astonishingly original comic film obliterated by cynical razzle-dazzle.

Don't see it if you expect the essence of a great movie to survive the quitessential terminally unhip Broadway treatment.

Also While the Beetlejuice of the film was truly dangerous, bestial, threat... Read more Read less

50
Overrated, Disappointing, Banal, Confusing
February 16th, 2022

See it if Bob Dylan songs capably sung by Broadway types in the context of a musty little period play having little to do with the songs appeals.

Don't see it if you find the idea of that a less-than-enticing bit of hubris, and want to avoid disappointment.

Also A folksy little play purporting to show us the intertwining lives of t... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Resonant, Intelligent, Ambitious, Absorbing
February 9th, 2022

See it if you want to see very good, accomplished actors making sense while finding personal connection with a classic.

Don't see it if you have rigid ideas about a "right way" to do Shakespeare.

Also Saw the first preview of this modern dress MERCHANT OF VENICE tonight ... Read more Read less

90
The Tap Dance Kid
Midtown W
Great dancing, Intelligent, Entertaining, Delightful
February 3rd, 2022

See it if a quickly assembled "staged-reading" revival appeals, where all the marvelous performers do amazing tap numbers and songs, and are off-book.

Don't see it if you don't like quality musical theater, or can't cut them slack for using limited rehearsal on dances & songs -- not on the dialog scenes.

Also The Encores! series at City Center consistently proves that even a bar... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Black No More
Midtown W
Disappointing
January 26th, 2022

See it if you want to enjoy unique, innovative choreography by the great Bill T. Jones.

Don't see it if you are expecting a faithful adaptation of the 1931 Afrofuturist satirical novel about race in America.

Also This is a big, earnest musical, with a large, accomplished cast of pri... Read more Read less

50
Insipid, Banal, Disappointing, Great singing, Great staging
January 24th, 2022

See it if you want to see beautiful sets, projections, staging.

Don't see it if you want more than cheap jokes about a compelling subject, or admire the historical characters mocked gratuitously here.

Also A musical where you leave humming the sets. One of the prettiest shows... Read more Read less

75
For a previous production
La Boheme
Upper W Side
Masterful, Entertaining, Great staging
January 24th, 2022

See it if you like a beautifully staged and sung production of an opera standard.

Don't see it if you don't like opera, or seek a fresh experimental take on a classic.

Also The decades-old Franco Zefferrelli production: picturesque, cinematic,... Read more Read less

1
Excruciating, Indulgent, Slow, Overrated, Insipid
January 24th, 2022

See it if you are a masochist.

Don't see it if you are not a masochist.

Also What a borefest: three hours of sententious exposition delivered in st... Read more Read less

90
For a previous production
Rigoletto
Upper W Side
Intense, Great staging, Great singing
January 24th, 2022

See it if you like opera from the canon beautifully staged and performed.

Don't see it if you don't like opera.

Also This production is so effectively presented, the horror of the events ... Read more Read less

100
Daddy
Midtown W
Great singing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, F'ing genius
January 21st, 2022

See it if you wanna see something real portrayed on a stage.

Don't see it if the human body frightens you.

Also Riotous fun -- smart, dirty, ruthless comedy of manners -- honest abou... Read more Read less

80
Thought-provoking, Arch, Relevant, Intelligent
January 21st, 2022

See it if you are a Sondheim fan.

Don't see it if you think it will be profound. It is not.

Also As good a revival as this quirky show is likely to get. It presents th... Read more Read less

80
Entertaining, Intelligent
January 21st, 2022

See it if you like David Byrne and and his music.

Don't see it if if you don't.

Also A staged, somewhat choreographed concert with a warm, informal, inclus... Read more Read less

100
Company (Broadway)
Midtown W
F'ing genius interpretation, Must see, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing
January 21st, 2022

See it if you can.

Don't see it if you prefer your Broadway musicals insipid.

Also Exquisite production. All the problems one might imagine need to be so... Read more Read less

1
Audience abuse
January 20th, 2022

See it if you have a friend in the production maybe.

Don't see it if you wish to be entertained or enlightened.

Also Basquiat deserves better. There is no play here, merely exposition del... Read more Read less