Brandon J 6251

New York City | 65+ | Male
About:  Critic and lecturer at The City College of New York. Has written for indieWire.com, The Village Voice, Huffington Post, Medium.com, Detour, and The Advocate. Editor of The Gay Quote Book.
Reviews (45)
65
During previews
Linda Vista
Midtown W
Neil simon with porn scenes, A paean to aging male jerks, Oft cringe-worthy, Oft funny, Pseudo-feminism

See it if This is why we need more female playwrights. Letts' male gaze would have been timely in the 1950s. Still you will laugh at times. Then vomit

Don't see it if u don't want 2 wallow in aging hetero-male self-pity. Numerous inept scenes. Many offensive lines in the Trumpian mode. Yes, the P-word, too

91
During previews
The Inheritance
Midtown W
Gay-licious, Intense, Insightful, Funny, Much more than just an entertainment

See it if you want to digest in a few hours what the LGBT community has gone through in the past few decades. A superb memorial to those who are gone.

Don't see it if There is NO reason not to see this brilliant play that showcases some of the best of what true theatre can offer. Solid writing & direction.

79
Lowbrow silliness, 3 good songs, Passably enjoyable, Ecstasy for the young, Loud

See it if only for the three leads. Some solid singing. "Michael in the Bathroom" is an instant classic. Show's solo goal is to make you laugh.

Don't see it if you abhor an anti-Sondheim sensibility. Saw it sadly with 3 understudies. Go when everyone is healthy. All in all, fun, goofy entertainment.

75
During previews
The Rolling Stone
Upper W Side
Intense, Intelligent, Unimaginative direction, Fine acting, Important lgbt history

See it if you want to experience homophobia Uganda-style, a touching romance, and collect an attractive Playbill. Ato Blankson-Wood is a solid lead.

Don't see it if you don't want to be witness to a play that needs a little more fine-tuning; a bland, no-frills set; and slightly lackluster direction.

69
Schnooze-pearen, Miscast, Uneven acting, Dreary direction, Disappointing

See it if u like screeching actors, dreary helming, a bland set, comatose thespians, & a Lear without reason 4 being. Saw better CCNY take last month.

Don't see it if you want a heartfelt, original Lear: this isn't it. Although if you love Glenda Jackson, and I do, it's nice to be in her presence.

73
safeword.
Midtown W
Spatula spankings, Fine acting, S&m for foodies, Provocative, Gender-fluid

See it if Play addresses the possibilities of rather modern marriages, couplings, and friendships. Never boring. S&M food scene memorable.

Don't see it if u don't want 2 know that some chefs like to be paddled after frying your "oeufs benedicts." Could use a bit more wit, but then what doesn't?

91
During previews
Proof of Love
West Village
Witty, Intensely moving, Bravura performance, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if you're up for a star-making performance by Brenda Pressley. A look at a Black woman who doesn't fit into media stereotypes & suffers for it.

Don't see it if you fear clever repartee, solid acting, & a totally joyous show you'll be talking about for days. Pressley deserves her standing ovation.

69
A litte limp, Entertaining, Indulgent, A bit tired, More ha than haha!

See it if you haven't seen it before. Timing is now a bit off; it's a bit bedraggled, but for first timers great fun. Theatre shenanigans galore.

Don't see it if New theatre provides intimacy with diminished returns. Most actors seem to be just going through the motions. Needs to restore crispness.

77
During previews
Mies Julie
East Village
Visually absorbing, Great acting, Often incomprehensible, Solid direction, Profound

See it if you enjoy accent hell, a clever rewriting of a classic, solid thespians, and sexy copulation between the empowered & their servants.

Don't see it if you don't want to look at audience members' faces when your mind wanders because you can't comprehend what anyone is saying on stage.

77
During previews
The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
Light comedy, Entertaining, Several laugh-out moments, Some exciting snooker shots, Needs stronger finale

See it if you enjoy snooker, feisty transsexual gangsters, grifters, and pleasant but not great evenings in the theater. Totally affable.

Don't see it if you can only get full-price tickets. I consistently had a smile on my face. Did not feel my evening was wasted. Better than you might think.

70
During previews
Disappointing, Fine acting, Tedious, Third-rate williams, Slow

See it if you adore Kristine Nielsen, God's gift to comedy, although her talents seem at sea here due to text & wobbly direction. O'Toole a plus, too.

Don't see it if u abhor talkathons w/o tension & Lichty's occasional muttered speeches. Poorly conceived set. Hinders movement. Lacks colors text detailed.

Also The finale, which should be heartbreaking, is more of a celebration be... Read more Read less

65
Log Cabin
Midtown W
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Forgettable, Lacking clarity, Basically a radio play

See it if [Help! My comments disappeared.]

Don't see it if [Help! My comments disappeared.]

60
First Love
West Village
Solid acting, Excruciating, Pointless, Mundane, Self-indulgent

See it if you want to view a paean to sexagenarian love that will age you as you watch it. A mishmash of half-baked ideas, song, and witless banter.

Don't see it if you don't want to experience a pair of talented actors drown in insipid, nonstop dialogue. There are some fine moments, but only moments.

Also I rather develop acute hemorrhoidal tissue than ever have to watch thi... Read more Read less

83
Delightful, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if you want a bit of comedy with a bit philosophical chitchat and a bit of audience interaction hosted by a sensational puppet. To marvel at.

Don't see it if you don't want the unexpected, bristle at Hemingway putdowns, and are underwhelmed by truly astute minds. Should see with a full house.

85
Great acting, Droll, Delirious costuming

See it if u r a Busch aficionado yet want to see 2 real gals brilliantly play real gals. Jennifer Van Dyck should win every supporting actress award.

Don't see it if you don't want to laugh your keister off at the superb supporting cast (e.g. Howard McGillin, Nancy Anderson). Charles is Charles. Hurrah!

Also This is the first Busch play I can recall where the great Lady of the ... Read more Read less

95
During previews
Must see, Masterful, Great acting

See it if u want to witness one of the great performances of the decade by Glenda Jackson in a play that is often hilarious. Metcalf is grand, too.

Don't see it if a drama that's wickedly witty & illuminating about life & death isn't your thing. This is Albee's love letter to the stepmom he detested.

71
During previews
Intelligent, Resonant, Relevant

See it if you care about Israeli history, chatter about music's essence, and what it means to be a Jew. . . & if you don't mind conversational theater

Don't see it if you rather skip or run with Heifetz. There's little physical action, which doesn't mean you won't be highly moved at times.

74
20th Century Blues
Midtown W
Absorbing, Feminist, Great acting

See it if you're a woman of a certain age and want to see yourself treated with respect and wit —or if you're blessed with a woman of a certain age.

Don't see it if you don't want to experience a timely entertainment about friendship, career, love, aging, a little lesbianism, & being downsized.

60
During previews
Mankind
Midtown W
Ambitious, Indulgent, Insipid

See it if you must see everything that falls into the genre of LGBTQ theatre & if you appreciate a few really clever sets & deliciously campy costumes

Don't see it if you can't stand overly long, witless, slack-directed theatre without a quotable line in its endless chatter with fine actors wasted.

Also Here's an argument against a playwright directing his own work. No dis... Read more Read less

79
1984 (Broadway)
Midtown W
Ambitious, Intense, Profound, Relevant

See it if you want to see how Orwell predicted the Trump era. The audience seems to meld together by the finale. For many, this is a pivotal event.

Don't see it if a few didactic moments or stage blood bothers you. This is not Hello Dolly without the tunes. Pulsating lights throughout. Wear sunglasses.

83
During previews
Clever, Funny, Delightful, Great staging

See it if you are an aficionado of the late genius Charles Ludlam, or if you want to experience why some critics and buffs adore his work unwaveringly

Don't see it if you don't enjoy the ridiculous. This is addictive silly fun. Definitely not Ibsen. Well, almost not Ibsen.

87
Avenue Q (NYC)
Midtown W
Clever, Delightful, Entertaining, Quirky, Hilarious

See it if A must-see, joyful puppet extravaganza. Seldom less than witty.

Don't see it if you are joy-phobic.

83
Hilarious, Great staging, Funny, Refreshing

See it if you enjoy all-out musical performances with loads of humor.

Don't see it if you can't enjoy top-notch talent letting loose.

84
Queen of Hearts
Brooklyn
Ambitious, Visually resplendent, Next-to-no-body-fat, Glittered to death, Entertaining

See it if u can love a show where every OTHER scene is FAB. The cast is fun, the hoop woman dynamic, the costumes will make you burn your denims.

Don't see it if u hate having 2 much of a good thing. About a 1/4 of the show could be cut with no loss. But viva La Ambiance. Viva la coed bathroom lines.

79
Miscast physically, Fine acting, Dated, Unintentionally anti-feminist, Well-acted

See it if you want to view a heroine settle for a lunatic male. You would not want to be in the same city with Johnny, let alone the same bed.

Don't see it if you don't want to view a play that makes Taming of the Shrew look like a Betty Friedan diatribe. Entertaining nonetheless in a weird way.

79
Dying City
Midtown W
Intense, Who doesn't like twins?, Edgier direction needed, Well acted, Resonant

See it if u want to see a solid cast in a Pulitzer-Prize-nominated show about love, loss of love, ego, a dash of war, thespian self-centeredness, etc.

Don't see it if awkward scene transitions bother you. My students adored this play, insisting on waiting for the gracious stars afterwards. That says a lot.

91
Life Sucks.
Midtown W
Must see, Refreshing, Profound, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you have read Uncle Vanya or if you haven't. Not since Christopher Durang has a playwright so joyously revamped a classic. Phenomenal acting

Don't see it if you don't want to experience grand, original theatre. So clever, so touching, so witty. I came with no expectations. I left a better human.

78
Gaseous humor, Clever, Indulgent, Unforgettable set, Ambitious

See it if u like amazing concepts, farting corpses, & terrific comic actors hamming it up nonstop until u want to yell "Stop!" Hang around for finale.

Don't see it if u don't want to support the highly imaginative workings of a great mind. Tiresome at moments. Hilarious at others. & who doesn't love Nathan

91
Eye-opening finale, Must see, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Brilliant acting

See it if A superb Stella (Isabel Ellison), a Brando-esque Stanley (Max Carpenter) and a revamped gender-fluid Blanche are riveting from the onset.

Don't see it if u don't want to bask in the radiance of Kevin Hourigan's groundbreaking direction. My students alerted me to show. Were they ever right!

84
Not-great score, Not-bad score, Well-paced direction, Delightful, Bravura cast

See it if u want a solid show w/Fontana pulling off a challenging derring-do, Behlmann & stomach being first-rate hilarious, and everyone else grand.

Don't see it if u want songs that u'll be singing 4 decades. And is a straight man in drag outrageous in this RuPaul nation? Uncle Miltie got away with it.

99
During previews
Daddy
Midtown W
Brilliant in every manner, Must see, An instant classic, Thought-provoking, Mesmerizing

See it if u want to bathe in the work of America's next great playwright. Phenomenal, inventive direction. 1 of the best first acts of the past decade

Don't see it if you are afraid of bristling theatre that dissects the art world, power relationships, moms, cursive writing, racism, queerdom, & materialism

69
Real
Midtown W
Ambitious, Confusing, Solid enunciation

See it if you want a script that would be better off on screen than on a stage. The cast does it best with a half-baked play about a half-baked fugue.

Don't see it if you're a pal of director Ortman and u want to still like him. His helming is ponderous, the play lacks wit, & seesaws between time queasily.

94
Delightful, Entertaining, Refreshing, Smile inducing, Valentine to the theatre

See it if you love wit, grand music, wise lyrics, a phenomenal cast, a tale for kids of all ages, plus Wassersteinian and Durangian verbal magic.

Don't see it if you are a stick in the mud with an inability to let a grand musical help you forget your sorrows and allow u to fly away to a land of glee.

93
Trainspotting Live
Midtown W
Brilliant ensemble, Edgy, Riveting, Great staging, Must see

See it if you're a fan of the film & the writing of Irvine Welsh. Andrew Barrett is a one-man phenomenon. The play can be considered shocking at times

Don't see it if you need to comprehend every word. The Scottish accents are heavy, but the rhythms of the writing will carry you through. Nudity & wit.

93
Teenage Dick
East Village
Riveting, Relevant, Must see, Great acting, Unforgettable

See it if u want to experience a funny, tragic, moving reworking of Richard III that's never less than original with a superb cast & spot-on direction

Don't see it if u don't want to want to encounter one of the best final acts of the season. The audience when I attended couldn't contain themselves. Superb

63
Energetic, Sophomoric, Good-natured, Young adult-oriented, Blessedly short

See it if you enjoy affable young men behaving like clever 5-year-olds playing cops and robots in outer space. Sporadically witty. There's "dancing."

Don't see it if you've never taken drugs watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse. Sheer lunacy is showcased here with a dash of existentialism and one black jockstrap.

60
During previews
Excruciating, semi-amusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to watch an endless play about an annoying family awaiting its mother's death. Lois Smith is terrific though. Also, very comfy set.

Don't see it if you want to empathize with onstage characters portrayed by rather flavorless thespians. Uneven writing and unimaginative direction.

Also If you have lived through the lingering demise of a loved one (or two)... Read more Read less

83
During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Great writing

See it if you want to view an intimate, discomforting, unforgettable performance by Ms. Molloy. Rapp's dialogue never flinches.

Don't see it if u dislike one-woman shows where the character is surrounded by black netting for most of the performance. Basically, a short story enacted.

Also Went with goddaughter. We spoke about nothing else for the hour after ... Read more Read less

91
During previews
Entertaining, Great singing, Dated book

See it if you want to be enchanted by great song and mostly solid choreography. Lindsay Mendez steals the show & J. Henry's Soliloquy is outstanding.

Don't see it if you don't want to become a fan of Alexander Gemignani as Mr. Snow. Problematic here is the glorification of a wife-beater whom God forgives.

Also This divine musical with its creaky book would become a modern and dev... Read more Read less

88
Delightful, Entertaining, Great singing, Humane

See it if you can handle vibrantly intelligent lyrics with engaging melodies that are staged with style and enacted by a first-rate cast. Enthralling.

Don't see it if Fast & Furious is your favorite film or if you want to miss the award-worthy performance of Jesse Manocherian as a persnickety songwriter.

68
Downtown Race Riot
Midtown W
Cliched, Ambitious, Silly

See it if u enjoy young attractive actors romping on a well-conceived set in period attire and if u're a fan of Miss Sevigny in a sort of "Kids" redux

Don't see it if you're a fan of Miss Sevigny, who mumbles quite a bit here, and if you don't mind a silly plot about racism, drugs, and self-involvement.

60
Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if If you want to enroll in Feminism 101, as spouted by a rather shallow heroine. Erin Wilhelmi, as the daughter, though, is quite wonderful.

Don't see it if you hope the mostly recast production lives up to the play's original rave reviews. Julie White seldom connects to the soul of her Nora.

84
Underground
Midtown E
Absorbing, Resonant, Romantic, Intelligent

See it if Superb acting in an ultra-intimate setting. Captures the intricacies of a first date in this anxious age. Plus British accents. Fine script.

Don't see it if your cynicism undermines your ability to embrace a romance about two unlikely souls connecting through an app and their ups and downs.

83
For a previous production
Thought-provoking, Romantic, Clever, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if Took class of college students: 90% adored it. Saw early in previews, so rhythms and performances still needed to be tightened up.

Don't see it if you need a big sock-o, high-kicking musical. This is a simple, warm, timely charmer.

92
Absorbing, Clever, Edgy, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if a nearly flawless production from concept to execution. Thoroughly involving.

Don't see it if you lack humanity.