Bruce 6

New York City | 65+ | Male
About:  I seek theater that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up or makes me see something in a completely new way. I'll let you know when that happens.
Reviews (531)
82
Little shop is one of the better post ww ii musicals & this is well-crafted revival

See it if entertainingly quirky tale of murderous plant; hear Menken's fine music, Ashman's witty lyrics; Christian Borle masterful in various roles

Don't see it if fatuous plot; 2 much Borsht Belt humor; some music dated; cast not uniformly strong; tho dark, this is no "Sweeney Todd"

79
During previews
Timon of Athens
Brooklyn
This is not in 1st or even 2nd rank of shakespeare's plays, but this is 1st rate production of timon's tale of corrosiveness of greed

See it if creative set/choreo/music; commanding Kathryn Hunter/Timon; resonant allusions 2 today's income inequality; Shake's incomparable writing

Don't see it if little depth or subtlety; after high-spirited farce turns into unconvincing tragedy; secondary characters don't register

Also Tho there is sometimes an issue in having women actors play male roles... Read more Read less

78
Mac Beth
Upper E Side
Macbeth w female h.s. students playing all roles shows connection between the play's fated blood-soaked violence & the violence unleashed in the student-actors

See it if intriguing mash up of "Lord of the Flies" & the Scottish play shows how violence once unleashed can consume everything; shattering ending

Don't see it if energetic not great version of play; transition from childhood games to murderous actions much too abrupt

77
During previews
Procedural about murder of black sergeant on louisiana army base in 1944 centered on race; competent but dated

See it if shows dehumanizing racism vs black WWII soldiers; thru their work songs/choreo links racism 2 slavery; strong cast individuates each soldier

Don't see it if stodgy compared 2 today's imaginative race-based plays; flow of scenes formulaic; stereotypes abound but see below

Also Many of the characters in the play are stereotypes including the racia... Read more Read less

81
Sure peter drinklage as cyrano can't sing, but he embodies him well in this charming musical version of this durable play

See it if creative staging; well-sung songs esp by J Jones/Roxanne; Drinklage's engaging; villain/De Guiche made 3 dimensional

Don't see it if songs pleasant not memorable, dumbed down 4 Drinklage who's not a singer; I've seen funnier versions; ending is maudlin/not moving

Also Spoiler/Not on the nose: In lieu of having Drinklage bear a big probos... Read more Read less

77
During previews
One in Two
Midtown W
This is a play w an arresting message: there is still an aids crisis for gay black men as "one in two" [title] will become hiv positive

See it if urgent cry for help; graphically shows misery under AIDs threat/homophobia but shot thru w humor; talented cast

Don't see it if play hits you over the head w message, employs perplexing absurdism where straight drama would be more effective

74
During previews
Combining alanis morissette tunes from "jagged little pill" album w story of family facing seemingly every problem under the sun is emo overload

See it if you love Morrissette's/M's super-emo songs sung affectingly; song "You Oughta Know" in 2nd act stops the show; @ times quite funny

Don't see it if u r not a fan of M's music/I'm not; lyrics unintelligible; scattershot "lifetime movie" plot; message-"nobody's perfect" is a big duh!

90
During previews
Stephen adly guirgis' opus about the plight of female denizens of a halfway house, tho overstuffed, is magnificent

See it if heartbreaking; richness of novel w multiple story lines showing residents' misery & moments of grace; includes scabrously hilarious putdowns

Don't see it if overlong, unfocused w far 2 many characters & plot lines; still this is breathtaking achievement making us c humanity of the marginalized

Also The production set in a halfway house/HH on the Upper West Side/UWS ha... Read more Read less

80
If u want "mcdonald's" of musicals, one that supersizes & amps up everything about "love," you've found your match

See it if full Broadway spectacle, big cast, set & costumes flood your senses; fun 1st act send-up of love songs; Karen Olivo outstanding lead

Don't see it if little nuance or wit; no original music/all juke box love tunes; 2nd act is cliche-ridden & melodramatic; the opposite of Sondheim

82
Gathering of 4 young conservative graduates of fundamentalist christian college in rural wyoming is occasion for fierce debate about fate of severely divided country post-trump

See it if shows religious conservatives as deep/thoughtful; clearly explains their anti-LGBT/abortion stance; key insight: sex looms behind doctrine

Don't see it if every character is hyperbolic particularly the Christian warrior/Ann Coulter stand-in & the confused wreck; lacks satiric edge

Also Periodically interrupting the voices of the 4 graduates is a deafening... Read more Read less

86
During previews
Michael b washington turns in astonishing performance portraying 26 people in 1 man show that tells us a lot about the intractable state of race relations

See it if uses material from extraord Anna D Smith interviews about Crown Heights race riots capturing radical diffs in black/Jewish perspectives

Don't see it if padded, do not need to hear from so many strident black/Jewish leaders saying the same thing; relentlessly serious, would benefit from humor

Also Before launching into an intensive examination of Crown Heights (CH), ... Read more Read less

76
Dynamic revival of legendary early feminist show about travails of black women/benefits of sisterhood; but shows its age

See it if sexy propulsive dancing by 7 sensational dancers; tells vivid individual stories of black women caged by patriarchal society

Don't see it if stories told via DENSE poetry; individual stories not well integrated; black feminism moved past this show’s focus on black male oppression

81
Power Strip
Upper W Side
So tense you can't breath, extraordinary portrayal of brutalized syrian female refugee in refugee camp; but some misses

See it if harrowing feminist tale; in set as stark as the moon, tells hellish tale of Syrian female refugee w/ dreams crushed by tribal purity rules

Don't see it if awkward flashbacks; inconsistent feminist pt of view: protagonist oscillates from compliant 2 outraged; SPOILER: violent end 2 abrupt

Also Multiple possible meanings for "power strip": (1) the electrical condu... Read more Read less

78
Musical based on tina fey's movie about those high school girls who lord it over us; send-up is reasonably well executed but by now "mean girls" trope is old hat

See it if shows what a jungle high school is; joyous dancing; creative sets; clever connect'n human/animals seeking dominance

Don't see it if none of songs, lyrics, performances are memorable; jokey, not hilarious; conclusion "don't be so mean" to each other is weak

80
During previews
Take a wild ride w sally's apostles; tries to capture the feminist zeitgeist on the eve of sally ride's historic trip as 1st u.s. woman in space; some brilliant other misses

See it if brilliantly shows how Sally becomes inspiration 4 two powerless women, inching towards a new understanding of their relationship

Don't see it if many dramaturgical problems including irrelevant characters & illogical plot lines blunt the play

Also Play set on roof of bldg in St. Louis centers on meeting of 2 long-tim... Read more Read less

78
During previews
You know what u get w a minimalist john doyle production: this stripped down version of one of will’s best tragedies distills plot, but loses some of the distinctiveness of macbeth

See it if truncated script/small cast/no frills set drives plot relentlessly forward; Corey Stoll strong as Mac descending into madness

Don't see it if should be other-worldly & macabre, but isn't; focused on Macbeth, Lady Mac, an operatic character, barely registers

Also What Doyle appears to be doing in this production is trying to turn Ma... Read more Read less

67
Skilled improv but you can see its equal or better by streaming old episodes of the tv improv show "whose line is it anyway?"

See it if fun vibe; gets audience raucously involved; very clever ability to build on comedic references thru-out evening

Don't see it if fluff; rhyming & concepts rarely brilliant; has soft core of inoffensive sentimentality; would work better in more intimate setting

Also Props to Lin-Manuel Miranda & other producers of the show. We came to ... Read more Read less

81
During previews
Games
Soho/Tribeca
Brings to life impossible pressures on jews in nazi germany by dramatizing the tough choices presented to 2 jewish athletes vying to compete for germany in the 1936 berlin olympics

See it if agonizing story of celebrated fencer H Mayer's attempt 2 transcend Jewish issue as pure "sportswoman;" poetic script, athletic choreography

Don't see it if consists largely of series of monologues; contrived in pairing Mayer w far less important Jewish athlete who faces her Jewishness head-on

Also The playwright presents a nuanced portrait of Mayer in "Games." The pl... Read more Read less

91
Is This A Room
Gramercy
Who knew that staging of the transcript of the fbi interrogation of reality winner, russian election hacking whistleblower, could be so compelling? touches raw political nerve in time of impeachment

See it if Kafkaesque; staging, esp sound, brings transcript 2 life, but it's the raw acting by Emily Davis as Reality that grabs u by the throat

Don't see it if word for word rendering of transcript omitting redacted parts: bad: missing context; good: turns into type of foreboding mystery

Also There are many issues external to the play that the play causes you to... Read more Read less

75
The Great Society
Upper W Side
Skillfully brings to life the major political events of lbj's 1964-68 presidency; but lbj a "shakespearean" figure, monumental & tragic, still awaits his shakespeare

See it if teems w action; Brian Cox shows LBJ as arm-twisting force of nature

Don't see it if biopicish/uninspired; never shows us LBJ’s inner life, what drove LBJ 2 endorse Vietnam War expansion crippling his Great Society initiative

76
Why?
Brooklyn
Find out what celebrated director peter brooks has to say about the role of theater: it's both playful and unfortunately tangential

See it if delightful: 1st half by 3 skilled actors playfully show what lies behind the actor's craft

Don't see it if off-point: 2nd half tale of leading lights in Comm Russia theater snuffed out by Stalin; does not directly address central ? why theater

Also Play starts off w story that God created theater to relieve men and wo... Read more Read less

72
runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
East Village
Mfoniso udofia is writing an ambitious 9-play cycle about the nigerian-american experience; here 2 plays are presented, 1st about trauma of memory, 2nd about erasing painful memory; not her best

See it if 1st play: uses acute theme of exploded universe in need of healing; 2nd play: affecting perf by PJ Channes as wife extirpating husb's ghost

Don't see it if 1-idea plays; 1st play CLUMSY in juxtaposing events of traumatic 1968 Biafran war & crippling 2012 memories; 2nd play jokey & WAY TOO LONG

82
During previews
Linda Vista
Midtown W
In this tough-minded comedy, letts creates something rare: a fully realized character, a 50 yr old man in mid-divorce downward spiral, who is scabrously hilarious, self-absorbed, cruel & self-sabotaging

See it if Ian Barford's commanding perf as Wheeler/W, man furiously trying to remain relevant, merits Tony consideration; side-splitting one-liners

Don't see it if doesn't dig deeply into roots of W's behavior; a little flabby: some plotting superfluous or not credible

59
During previews
Sunday
Chelsea
Friends-like group + books + mental illness: book-club of 20-somethings use reflections on the book they're reading as a vehicle to reflect on their aspirations/anxieties; generally doesn't work as a whole

See it if have striking separate dance/movement interludes to communicate inner thoughts of characters; good ensemble

Don't see it if anemic; tries but fails 2 explain Zeitgeist of millenials; story has no arc, focuses on neuroses of main character but fails to develop this

Also Anne Tyler's "Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant" is the classic of con... Read more Read less

81
During previews
Audaciously shows complex often paradoxical views on race particularly as played out in sexual relationships; much is fresh & arresting, but a lot misses the mark

See it if hilarious slave master role playing; delicious satire of overwrought group therapy; upends conventional perspectives on race

Don't see it if counterintuitive racial perspectives not fully explained; group therapy satire goes on far too long; conclusion unsatisfactory

Also SPOILER: Play very ambitious showing pernicious effect of slavery by e... Read more Read less

61
During previews
Find out in this meh dramedy about indignities of working in small town superstore; better yet stream "superstore" tv series

See it if graphically shows how dehumanizing it is to work 4 min wage in big box store; actors work their a**es off 2 make funny

Don't see it if cartoonish & shallow; lethargic pace; characters 1-dimensional; pt-less mystery @ end

76
The Thin Place
Midtown W
It’s about communicating w the dead but that’s only a pretext to deal w some heavy epistemological issues; interesting philosophy, inconsistent theater

See it if rich in ambiguity; Lucas Hnath raises interesting ?s about what is real/what's not, how manipulation is key 2 effective communication

Don't see it if haphazard; story starts out strong portraying relationship between medium & subject, loses its way w irrelevant characters/plot

75
During previews
Grand Horizons
Midtown W
Fairly funny sitcom about ramifications of divorce threatened after 50 years of marriage; bares its teeth but never bites

See it if all hell breaks loose when wife expresses desire 2 divorce; Jane Alexander funny/moving as wife seeking to be noticed

Don't see it if tame "Neil Simon"-ish humor, never raises searching questions about marriage; children's reaction 2 divorce cartoonishly overwrought

Also One of the central comedic exchanges is between Jane Alexander and her... Read more Read less

78
During previews
Sing Street
East Village
Boy in 1980s in dublin starts a new wave band to liberate himself from his dire surroundings; you think at first this is going to be another "spring awakening," but that's not the way it works out

See it if thrilling propulsive performance of 80s rock n roll by skilled young musicians; hyperkinetic choreo; Brenock O'Connor's revelation in lead

Don't see it if disappointing 2nd Act; predictable cliched tale: teen rebellion thru rock n roll opposed by evil priest; needs work b4 opens in move 2 Bdway

78
During previews
Greater Clements
Upper W Side
Sam hunter explains alienation of rural population in 2017 by building a play around a dying idaho mining town whose residents are willing to blow up their own world

See it if graphic portrait of despair in failed mining town; mine's dominance brilliantly evoked; Edmund Donovan shatteringly portrays mental illness

Don't see it if tho Hunter's plays are usually terse & unshowy, this one is melodramatic & contrived

Also My guess is that Hunter wrote this play, set in a small fictional mini... Read more Read less

77
Can see why "fefu" is so highly acclaimed but rarely produced as it is a chilling feminist protest but not easy to digest

See it if shows women in 1935 terrified by men, w gun-toting Fefu @ center; scene of friend in bed voicing her paralyzing fears makes u shudder

Don't see it if u don't like strange plotless avant garde plays; some characters extraneous; rotating diff parts of audience 2 see diff scenes a distraction

87
Most stood to applaud the actors; i stood to applaud the brilliant set, lighting, sound & costume designers

See it if 2 c amazing staging; cinematic flow of scenes; set in future when Harry has son, resonant story of father/son conflict

Don't see it if need 2 know Harry P basics 2 appreciate this update; much of the plotting is illogical; by 2nd of 2 parts, the wow factor has disappeared

Also The staging gives u a sense u are in a mysterious world of wizardry in... Read more Read less

70
Should u see this early (reworked) play by the amazing tony kushner?; maybe but be forewarned this is no "angels in america," not even close

See it if thru plot centered on Berlin artists' ineffectual reaction 2 '30s rise of Hitler, raises deep ?s about artists' duty 2 deal w Trump

Don't see it if awkward/very meta; adding new scenes w/ a talky "Kushner" character 2 original drama turns this into meh drama w commentary bolted on

Also Here's what I think happened in the remounting of this play. After see... Read more Read less

77
During previews
Set in houston tx in 1950, shows tragedy of rich white couple unable to cope w new economic & social forces, particularly homosexuality of son; missing combo pain/humor in best horton foote productions

See it if strong Aidan Quinn/Kristine Nielsen as couple; shows devastating effect of loss of central thing in life: 4 Quinn his job, 4 Nielsen her son

Don't see it if not as moving as original; weaknesses in plotting exposed; few actors provide combo authenticity/gentle satire roles demand

Also This play is a tale of 2 cities: Houston & Atlanta, representing the o... Read more Read less

84
The Wrong Man
Midtown W
Sung-through musical about a man framed for murder that is largely a vehicle that displays the amazing acting and singing chops of joshua henry

See it if Henry is a marvel, utterly convincing as a man crushed by system, w a voice of great emotional range; fine dancers bring action alive

Don't see it if story w little nuance; much of the music sounds the same; lyrics simplistic/uninspired; still affecting b/c of Henry

Also The music and lyrics are by Ross Golan who writes contemporary hip hop... Read more Read less

64
Bella Bella
Midtown W
In 1-man show, fierstein channels spirit of bella abzug, but need more than caricature to bring her alive

See it if Fierstein, a force of nature like Bella, is a good person to play her; reminds us of how far women have come b/c of Bella

Don't see it if broad caricature of Bella telling a lot of lame Borscht Belt jokes; need dramatic situation or foil 4 Bella to galvanize the play

91
The Michaels
East Village
Be fly on the wall as family & friends get together 2 take stock of career of charismatic choreographer who's dying; pedestrian but profound

See it if poignant interaction of dying woman who will not go quietly/those honoring her; dance scenes brilliantly reveal inter-generational dynamics

Don't see it if 4 some Nelson’s approach/observing everyday scenes among family/friends is agonizingly slow; I find it revelatory here

Also It's important to note that the subject of the choreography of the dyi... Read more Read less

82
During previews
Beautiful rumination by will eno on the miracle of life told thru a series of different characters, male and female, young and old, who play "chris" moving from birth to death

See it if celebrates cycle of life, how day-to-day living is an evolutionary triumph, featuring lyrical script/fine ensemble/self-deprecating humor

Don't see it if no clear plot; some may c play w Chris played by 1 character after another as a gimmick, but works if u realize Chris is Every(wo)man

77
Scotland, PA
Midtown W
What happens when you combine musical comedy format w macbeth-like story, one of shakespeare's darkest? wholly succeeds in 1st act as send-up, much less successful in 2nd as tragedy unfolds

See it if witty 1st Act shows Macbeth character’s path to become the "Burger King;" clever songs; hilarious use of 3 witches as provocateurs

Don't see it if in 2nd Act becomes overwrought & didactic when has 2 deal w/ Mac/Lady Mac's guilt & self-destruction; Sweeney Todd it's not

73
Play w music: based on true story of trial & conviction of black muslim jazz musician, tells interesting story of brothers separated by politics, joined by music

See it if powerfully illustrates how US prison system mistreats Muslim w controversial political views; actors talented musicians

Don't see it if meandering; story arc predictable; music could be used more effectively/see below

Also Music is used as a central element of the story, serving as the backdr... Read more Read less

87
During previews
The mary-louise we love is back! in this 2-hander, parker commands the stage in gripping story about writing & a writer's life

See it if sensitive portrait of lonely veteran creative writing prof; clever riff on Crime & Punishment; controlled Parker performance breaks ur heart

Don't see it if not much action, but director & actors breathe life into haunting play

Also In play while prof is creatively blocked, a novella pours out of her a... Read more Read less

79
During previews
Soft Power
East Village
If you want to see hillary clinton as a romantic lead in a wildly imaginative take-off on "the king and i," this musical w/i a play may be for you; if you like your musicals neat & tidy, maybe not

See it if brilliant riff on "The King and I" told from Chinese perspective; wild satire of US democracy & Trumpism; plus a piercing love story

Don't see it if confusing; lush score not work well w/ jagged satire; not for those who dislike uber-meta/self-aware vehicles

Also "Soft Power" will be hard for some people 2 get comfortable w because ... Read more Read less

73
The New Englanders
Midtown W
Featuring black & white gay fathers raising a black teenage daughter in a small new england town, this play tries to update "our town" for the 21st century; unfortunately, this doesn't come close to being a successor to that classic

See it if some astute observations on growing up black in a narrow-minded white NE town; sharp perfs by Javier Munoz, black dad, & daughter Kara Young

Don't see it if tries to do much too much; different plot lines involving unhappy fathers, disgruntled teen & her teacher, simply don't cohere

85
During previews
Seared
Midtown W
A tasty combo of tour de force cooking, comic burns and philosophical stews; the audience loved it!

See it if searing comedic duel between creativity/art of cooking & commerce 4 restaurants; Raul Esparza remarkable as pro chef in technique & ego

Don't see it if characters sometimes speak in cliches; play becomes repetitive in 2nd Act; NY Times dislikes/still I found bracing & entertaining

Also This play is set in a super-realistic kitchen in a restaurant where Es... Read more Read less

77
Enigmatic play is puzzle to be solved; come to see jonathan pryce & eileen atkins

See it if poetic rumination on long-term marriage, & problems after death of partner; Pryce raging, Atkins flinty are masterful

Don't see it if some may be off put by the fractured & ambiguous plotting of play; scenes w exasperated children are flat

Also Central enigma is which member of couple has died since the death of o... Read more Read less

98
During previews
The Inheritance
Midtown W
Transcendent play about challenges to post-stonewall generation of gay men; channels plot & spirit of howards end & its closeted gay author, em forster, to produce a fresh new way to tell a story on stage

See it if riveting plot in 2 parts/6.5 hrs that echoes Howards End; innovative structure for portraying gay community; amazing Paul Hilton as Forster

Don't see it if you expect updated "Angels in America", but wonderful showing inheritance/good & bad passed from 1 generation of gay men to the next

Also The Inheritance is 1st play seen in a while that I think will last. No... Read more Read less

49
Wives
Midtown W
Feminist credo: shows how wives from various historical eras have been overlooked; all over the place; how did this get produced?

See it if 1st several scenes where famous/not-so-famous historical wives rendered like TV “Real Housewives” amusing at times; cast better than script

Don't see it if skits are thin & jokey; final “woman let me roar” scene is tedious & sophomoric

80
Extraordinary mentalist derren brown performs amazing feats; but many are too perfect, robbing them of the illusion of magic

See it if mentalist routines beautifully constructed; Brown low-key & funny, interacts well w audience

Don't see it if feats performed in 2nd act so perfect/symmetrical that illusion of the supernatural/sense of wonder is blunted; some patter is anodyne

Also You go to a "magic" show like this not only to be wowed by the tricks ... Read more Read less

87
Betrayal
Midtown W
Beautifully acted play about the insidious nature of extramarital affairs; even not top shelf pinter is better than most plays on/off broadway

See it if Pinter is lapidarian in constructing dialog; precisely constructed world that is incestuous & filled w secrets & 2x dealing; expertly acted

Don't see it if good but not Pinter's best; not dramatic, essentially displays class of arts-related people who use adultery to relieve their boredom

Also Acting Pinter requires mastery of dialogue, posture and most of all th... Read more Read less

74
During previews
Creative evocation of life & death of st. vincent's hospital, foremost nyc aids treatment center; doesn't always hang together

See it if creatively moves across centuries 2 show Catholic hospital as sanctuary 4 healing; shows key clash religion/science; spurs audience particip

Don't see it if jumps around, no sustained, deep exploration of themes; use of humanitarians Mother Seton/Pierre Toussaint as major characters is contrived

Also Spoiler alert: Experience takes place in 3 parts, in 3 different place... Read more Read less