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 (622)
I’m Revolting
4 skin cancer patients in waiting rm w fam members, Both elegiac & bitingly funny
September 30th, 2022

See it if patients face horror of disfiguring disease, abandonment by family; interactions sharply etched by fine cast; black humor leavens mood

Don't see it if some may find this to be melodramatic; some characters, scenes don't work esp ending scene between doctors

Also The title "I'm Revolting" has at least three meanings. First, it refer... Read more Read less

During previews
Best version of quintessential american tragedy, Black cast in regularly white roles adds poignancy, See it for sharon d clarke’s performance
September 28th, 2022

See it if superb job of universalizing story w simple set & soulful music & animating family dysfunctionality; Clarke's Tony-worthy as Loman's wife

Don't see it if Wendell Pierce, tho skilled, is not memorable as Willie Loman; unraveling due to Willie's discovered [spoiler] infidelity is weak

Also A. This is one of the best plays in the American canon. Miller shows h... Read more Read less

During previews
1776 (Broadway)
Midtown W
All female cast of founding fathers, Does not fundamentally improve musical, Dealing w adoption of declaration of independence
September 25th, 2022

See it if energetic; a few resonant numbers & well-constructed scenes; strong choreography; clever meta opening

Don't see it if even as gndr bndr remains traditional old show w/o many memorable tunes, lyrics or book; groan-worthy humor; no Tony-worthy performances

Also I saw the 1997 revival w Gregg Edelman in an electrifying performance ... Read more Read less

During previews
Magisterial & novelistic covering 1899-1955, Homage to stoppard's jewish heritage
September 20th, 2022

See it if brilliantly animates teeming lives of families of assimilated Viennese Jews, tragically exterminated in holocaust

Don't see it if no Stoppardian pyrotechnics; but w this vital multi-gen story, Stoppard tries to keep those who were wiped away from being forgotten

Dealing w modern takes on fairy tales,, The show's profound and marvelously entertaining, Superb production of 1 of sondheim's best musicals
September 3rd, 2022

See it if the subject matter, lyrics (esp.), music, acting and stagecraft are top-notch; tighter/funnier production than Encores original

Don't see it if minimal set & costumes require that actors bring this alive/they do! Patina Miller as witch weaker than Heather Headley/Encores

Also Sondheim does what he does in all of his best musicals- he makes us lo... Read more Read less

During previews
Tho missing play's magic, Musical infuses will's comedy w modern sensibility
August 14th, 2022

See it if romp w large cast including community actors in beautiful outdoor setting; a few clever songs; hilarious satire of boy bands

Don't see it if does not capture play's sharp satire of conventions of love; eclectic music/lyrics not brilliant; gender bending doesn't illuminate much

During previews
The Nosebleed
Upper W Side
Japanese-american playwright's rumination on failure of relationship w father; not much of a play but has its moments
July 28th, 2022

See it if charming cast, some off-the-wall humor, chilling portrayal of terrified father after stroke & picking out his bones post-cremation

Don't see it if slight & banal, essentially a dramatized essay; audience participation lame; by end few insights into uncommunicative father

Upper E Side
Extraordinary production; magisterial reimagining of the oresteia for modern times; riveting 3 1/2 hours
July 26th, 2022

See it if humanizes characters/family dynamics; new script brilliantly explores new issues/feminism, what is real/true; A Hille superb Klytemnestra

Don't see it if misses elemental horror of the original story, purists may find changes inconsistent w "Greek tragedy"

Also This play is a tour de force. 1. The new dramatic framing is compellin... Read more Read less

During previews
Lucid tale of guilt and redemption largely set in afghanistan during the 1970s and 2001 but look elsewhere if you are seeking something profound or groundbreaking
July 16th, 2022

See it if interesting tale of flawed individual/everyman, solidly acted; clever use of kites and kite-evoking sets

Don't see it if without magic of book; characters cartoonish, nemesis has no bite, dramatic turns telegraphed, 2nd Act drags

Also The Kite Runner, on which this play is based, was a very popular book ... Read more Read less

Excellent, accessible production (brings to modern day, combines w video, music) of will's best play; not truncated like many other productions, but riveting for full 3.5 hrs.
July 2nd, 2022

See it if brings out gorgeous, profound language in H's speeches, amorous relationship mother/uncle; fine cast w most fully realized Polonius/P. Wight

Don't see it if much of director Icke’s stagecraft enhances but some misfires

Also Director Robert Icke’s influence is evident thru-out this production. ... Read more Read less

Midtown W
Weirdly beautiful tale of misfits: woman w down syndrome/ginny and others, trying to find happiness
June 25th, 2022

See it if brilliant, moving & revelatory script; develops new vocabulary 4 people who view world in non-materialistic terms; fine cast esp D O’Connell

Don't see it if you want a play w a concrete linear plot; Ginny's brother's story doesn't fit w stories of profound disconnectedness of other characters

Also Playwright Will Arbery invents two unique characters, suggestively nam... Read more Read less

During previews
Vivid but flawed production of will's story of man who becomes king thru murderous plotting & bald deceit
June 23rd, 2022

See it if tale of underestimated ambition is cautionary tale/Trump; visually vivid; cast led by Danai Gurira/Richard humanize characters

Don't see it if confusing; tough to understand motivations of characters, including Richard;* woke use of sign language distracting; some actors miscast

Also *A good Richard III needs to demonstrate a clear motivation for R's mu... Read more Read less

Musical about usher/u, a self-doubting young black queer man whose parents condemn his queerness writing a musical about that self-same man; magnificent!
June 22nd, 2022

See it if hilariously meta/moving; U's anxieties brilliantly personified by various actors; sharp satire religious homophobia; brilliant Ensemble&Lead

Don't see it if few memorable tunes or lyrics; some may be turned off by subject matter

Also I saw this when it was off-Bdway. The production and ensemble are now ... Read more Read less

During previews
Upper W Side
Gothic setting where group of acquaintances thrown together deal w big existential questions - many problems with production but eerily speaks to the anxiety of our times
June 15th, 2022

See it if offbeat; full of ideas centered on need for connection & meaning; see 4 Marylouise Burke's weirdly hilarious performance

Don't see it if flawed: takes too long for plot to develop; big reveal introduced 2 late; little payoff from Gothic setting; irrelevant characters

Also In an odd way, this play captures the Zeitgeist of our Covid/Trump era... Read more Read less

Portrait of three gens of gay men dealing with serious illness of oldest member, then takes left turn as tearjerker: essence of meh
June 11th, 2022

See it if gets the medicine right; competently acted; big manipulative tear jerker speech evokes tears

Don't see it if not smart, flabby, without direction, no foundation for ending; how many ways can I say meh?

Golden Shield
Midtown W
Story ambitiously centered on unholy alliance of tech w govt (china) to suppress dissent on internet, using lawsuit vs tech co as dramatic vehicle; tries to do too many things
June 8th, 2022

See it if dramatizes important political issue; features witty "translator"; good send up of self-absorbed tech guru

Don't see it if lacks focus & much 2 long; to work either needs dramatic courtroom battle or interpersonal conflict, but lacks both

Also This play ambitiously tries to be many things: On one level, a courtro... Read more Read less

The Orchard
Midtown W
Post-apocalyptic version of the cherry orchard with cutting edge technology including a 12 foot robotic arm that is a type of character in the play - it will blow your mind positively or negatively - i loved it!
June 8th, 2022

See it if unique use of technology combines images & actors; bold futuristic vision; Baryshnikov memorably plays old servant as Chaplinesque figure

Don't see it if you are a Chekhovian purist, you may find that the stagecraft is self-indulgent & detracts from the play (NY Times review)

Also I’ve been waiting for decades 2 see a production that uses technology ... Read more Read less

During previews
Fat Ham
East Village
How many shows do you see that are both hilarious & thoughtful?; very clever riff on hamlet sets up boisterous multi-gen black family comedy
May 19th, 2022

See it if full bag of tricks to make funny; creatively explores family conflicts inherent in Hamlet; super glam gay ending

Don't see it if some humor sitcomish & some acting way over the top; clever/won Pulitzer but nobody will mistake this for Hamlet

Also 1. Hamletized beginning: Main character Juicy (son)/Hamlet stand-in se... Read more Read less

After "me too" movement, this revival of 1997 tale of seduction & abuse is even more resonant, uncovers the shameful secrets hidden behind a family veneer; ml parker is astonishing
May 18th, 2022

See it if devastating, you hold your breath as builds to searing climax; brilliant script & Parker/Morse are brilliant match

Don't see it if framing each scene as part of a driving lesson (stuck in neutral, etc.) is a little too cute; scenes not involving Parker/Morse are slight

Also 1. This play has the feel of John Updike's great series of novels abou... Read more Read less

During previews
Who would have thought that a musical about a 10-year old bedwetter in 1980s bedford nh based on blue comedian's sarah silverman's life would be so clever and moving?
May 14th, 2022

See it if consistently funny; bawdy & irreverent but moving view of dysfunctional family; many quality tunes; excellent cast led by B Neuwirth

Don't see it if not particularly deep or searching; 2nd act is all over the place; "everyone's weird" Kumbaya ending

During previews
Belfast Girls
Dramatizes 1850 voyage by young irish women from belfast to australia to start a new life after the great famine; compelling story but uneven
May 13th, 2022

See it if intense; places all characters in single cabin like scorpions in bottle; insightfully shows contrast btwn dreams/reality; cathartic ending

Don't see it if many scenes don't work esp violent 1st scene; overly long; characters not always plausible as denizens of mid-19th century

Also One of the more interesting aspects of the play is the treatment of Ma... Read more Read less

Acting tour de force of major mamet play; hilarious but sad story of failed caper of modern-day american "buffalos", a class of men who are becoming extinct
May 11th, 2022

See it if extraordinary ensemble w L Fishburne/majestic, heartbreaking, S Rockwell/hilariously testosterone-driven; brilliant taut production

Don't see it if bric-a-brac laden junk shop set just gets in the way; part of plot unclear; still a master class in classic Mamet

Also "American Buffalo" on one level refers to the Buffalo nickel that is a... Read more Read less

This is one of the greatest modern musicals and a major work of art; seeing a production of this quality is a rare occasion in the life of a theater-goer.
May 8th, 2022

See it if great book/lyrics reimagine basic fairy tales as residue of childhood fears; expert puppetry used w comic flair; dream cast

Don't see it if kumbaya ending "you are not alone" is not consistent w unsentimental view of childhood

Also 1. This musical does what only Encores can do: assemble a group of sta... Read more Read less

Go 2 see if lea michele can elevate this weak show
May 4th, 2022

See it if brings vaudeville to life; features Brice's charming, wise-cracking neighbors & J Styne's memorable tunes

Don't see it if meh old fashioned musical that does spectacle well, but not plot or message; weak 2nd act

Also I saw the show a 2nd time on August 24 after Beanie's departure, with ... Read more Read less

Makes vital legendary 1970s feminist play; but it remains more a performance piece for a series of poems than an integrated dramatic vehicle
May 3rd, 2022

See it if using scathing/at times hilarious poetry & kinetic dance, shows struggle/pain in various stages of colored women’s lives

Don't see it if fragmented w 7 actresses, no single character to identify with; lacks narrative drive as each tells her individual story

Also The Bdway version of this "choreopoem" is much better than the predece... Read more Read less

Le Nozze di Figaro
Upper W Side
Marriage is one of the greatest comedic operas - full stop - this is solid if not inspired production
May 1st, 2022

See it if Mozart at height of his powers, celestial music; sharp satire upper classes sexual mores; solid cast, Ying Fang exceptional Susanna

Don't see it if set & staging pedestrian; tho this is NOT a breakout production, who cares since this is a jewel among operas?

During previews
The Vagrant Trilogy
East Village
3 act play which gives 2 alternative outcomes for life of young palestinian scholar of english poetry: 1 where he stays in the uk to pursue a professorship, the other where he returns to the middle east; searing but uneven
April 30th, 2022

See it if provocative;* charming beginning/1967, moving Act 2/1982 (alt 1), colorful Act 3/2003 (alt 2); strong cast

Don't see it if preachy esp Act 3; script meanders, overlong @ 3.5 hours; 2 alt outcomes of life approach fails to deliver big theatrical payoff

Also *Some provocative ideas in play: 1. Shows how Palestinians face imposs... Read more Read less

This is a fine production of one of the more important absurdist plays in the american canon; some may find it confusing or too campy, but its strengths overwhelm
April 27th, 2022

See it if hilarious, profound & deeply moving in exploring cosmological ? why should humans try again after so many reversals; arresting production

Don't see it if not comfortable w play that's super meta/repeatedly breaks 4th wall; acting is mannered; tonal problems since both jokey & serious

Also This ambitious play by Thornton Wilder is a bookend to his Our Town, a... Read more Read less

Easy to underestimate this two-hander involving mortgage broker & client; look carefully & you'll see a modern day "waiting for godot," from s. hunter, 1 of our leading playwrights
April 23rd, 2022

See it if mixes humor/pain; wonderful perfs K. Beltran/W. Brill; keen insights why today's men feel emasculated; existential Qs brilliantly explored*

Don't see it if play drags @ only 90 mins, pacing at times flaccid & some scenes don't work; background story unsatisfying

Also *1. Story focuses on 2 small town men in Idaho w fragile existences re... Read more Read less

During previews
Midtown W
Based on premise that it is the women working in the white house behind the president/dj trump who save the country from disaster, this play w all-female cast delivers in spades on its promise to be a savage satirical takedown of men in power
April 19th, 2022

See it if audience is convulsed w laughter; hilariously foul-mouthed farce; all-star cast, w brilliant unhinged performance by R Dratch

Don't see it if the opposite of subtle, employs in your face insult humor; characters stereotypes; tells us little new about politics

Also 1. This is a fantasy where the women who support the men in power are ... Read more Read less

During previews
Wish You Were Here
Midtown W
Follows group of young iranian women from pre- to post islamic fundamentalist revolution; major disappointment after playwright sanaz toosi's insightful & moving play "english"
April 17th, 2022

See it if initial pre-revolutionary wedding scene crackles w bawdy humor like a scene from Bridesmaids; so the play starts w great expectations.

Don't see it if But then scenes showing dreams of undifferentiated characters dashed by revolution are unfocused & tedious-you wish you were NOT there!

Midtown W
Brilliant but far from perfect play by master playwright, dominique morriseau; tells parallel tales of fierce female slave seeking liberation and a contemporary female prof of black studies caught in maelstrom of political correctness
April 10th, 2022

See it if stimulating; sparks fly 4 prof trying to navigate college scene where everyone is offended by something; dynamic cast; powerful ending

Don't see it if fine ideas but not realized theatrically; 2 plot lines past & present don't mesh until end; a lot of speechifying rather than dialog

Also The title of the play Confederates has multiple meanings: It naturally... Read more Read less

During previews
Follow debra messing from age 17 to about 107 thru highs/lows life-cycle events, organized around annual ritual of her baking a birthday cake for herself; charming sitcom ok for tv, bdway demands more
April 9th, 2022

See it if combines whimsy w heartbreak in presenting vicissitudes of life; fine cast w good comedic performances

Don't see it if pseudo-profound, gimmicky/as Messing ages, each new scene introduced by sound cue; play loses freshness as it repeats itself

At The Wedding
Upper W Side
Quirkily hilarious play featuring marauding lesbian who leaves chaos in her wake thru encounters w guests at a wedding and the bride/her ex
April 5th, 2022

See it if subversive; eloquent showing risk/terror in marriage; outstanding Falstaffian lead performance by M Wiseman/MW; strong supporting cast

Don't see it if play structured as destructive 1 on 1 encounters by MW w other characters at wedding: lacks variety, provides no narrative drive/resolution

Also Script tries to anchor its message in classic literature. First this w... Read more Read less

East Village
Monumental sung-thru musical about suffragists' drive to pass 19th amendment (giving women the right to vote); tells the story as you've never heard it before; tho not hamilton, vital theater
April 2nd, 2022

See it if inspiring; major work of multi-talented S Taub; terrific perfs by all-women cast including Philippa Soo; strong score, lyrics

Don't see it if not enuf razzle/dazzle, humor; focus on intra-women disputes vitiates power; need stronger antagonist than Pres Wilson who's weak comic foil

Also Is Suffs (S) in same league as iconic Hamilton (H), another recent his... Read more Read less

During previews
Musical about attempt at comeback in 1990s by aging, acerbic, self-destructive borscht belt comedian played by billy crystal: fine vehicle for crystal but not a great musical
March 29th, 2022

See it if love story 2 old B-Belt comedy; Crystal's fine practitioner; persuasive story how self-absorbed star blots out all about him; winning cast

Don't see it if music/lyrics not memorable; Crystal/other comic actors meh voices; unlike L Olivier, Crystal doesn't show his inner life thru his perfs

Also (1) At end Crystal's character's epiphany of how much of a burden he h... Read more Read less

During previews
Take idyllic multi-racial bar in the "5 points" section of nyc during the civil war; mix in irish immigrants, runaway slaves & nyc draft riots; rich material but disappointing result: meh show w no emotional core & few new insights into racial dynamics
March 26th, 2022

See it if fully realized Bdway musical w 1st class production values; shows how conflict btw Irish immigrants & Blacks orchestrated by monied class

Don't see it if lacks narrative focus; superficial picture gritty NYC in 1860s; characters & stories stereotypes; little bravura dancing; cartoon villain

Also (1) Compare this to Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" 2002 film ce... Read more Read less

The Life
Midtown W
The life" is about the life of prostitution and pimps in times square from 1975 to the early 1980s. though some powerhouse performances, director billy porter's attempt to update to make politically relevant falls flat
March 17th, 2022

See it if engaging stories, kinetic dance illustrate drama of "the life"; profusion of songs, some w moving lyrics; great band; standing Os 4 Ledisi

Don't see it if book is mess, some perfs cartoonishly awful; Porter's attempts 2 update - w new gender & political issues - totally misfires

An "english as a second language" class taught in iran is setting for fascinating study of characters and identity
March 13th, 2022

See it if in Pirandello-esque classroom explores fascinating stories of 5 characters & dramatizes classroom conflicts; full pathos & humor

Don't see it if young playwright errors: after compelling first half, loses steam; revelations feel artificial; motivation of certain characters unclear

During previews
Set in 1828 mass, this is one of o’neill’s most important plays about a self-mythologizing character; but you wouldn’t know it from this production
March 6th, 2022

See it if shattering ending; poetic script dramatizes how larger-than-life Irish bar owner/former Brit army major destroyed by class pretensions

Don't see it if play should be moving, this production is sometimes cartoonish; solid cast but some actors completely miss poetry in script

The Chinese Lady
Midtown W
Thought-provoking, Slow, Great acting, Clever
March 3rd, 2022

See it if Brilliant script on exoticizing while discriminating vs Chinese Americans; clever jewel-box like set; humorous interchanges

Don't see it if static and repetitive at times

During previews
Based on true story, 2-hander is history of 1st chinese lady displayed in america like a zoo animal in mid-19th century; also deals w deep questions about theater
March 3rd, 2022

See it if L Suh's brilliant script imagines what it's like to be objectified as curiosity; juxtaposes romanticism & wry humor in 2 characters

Don't see it if framing of story often repetitive as staged; at end review of sad history of Chinese Americans rushed and seems bolted on

Also 1. Play operates on a philosophical level: comparing the relationship ... Read more Read less

Set in pre-wwi english coal country, powerful dramatization of battle between mother & daughter-in-law ("dil") for control of son/husband; unique woman-centered view of society
February 26th, 2022

See it if shows DH Lawrence as playwright in 1st ranks; intense ending; mother as grotesque "Mamma Rose" figure, infantilizing sons; fine cast

Don't see it if slow beginning, local accents hard 2 understand; melodramatic; dominated by Lawrence's psychological obsessions

Also The ending of the show is one of the strongest I've seen in a while. T... Read more Read less

During previews
Out of Time
East Village
Five monologues by five 60+ asian actors dealing w end of life issues
February 24th, 2022

See it if gifted actors, some fairly compelling scripts set amid Covid w common themes: sense of loss, disconnectedness, unfinished business

Don't see it if no connection among monologues; perf is overlong; few stories show what is unique about growing old in Asian cultures

Intimate Apparel
Upper W Side
An opera for people who don't love opera; moving tale of love gone wrong for gifted black seamstress in 1905
February 17th, 2022

See it if rich lyrics/story by L Nottage show racism, victimization women seeking love; creative ragtime inflected score; strong singing/perfs

Don't see it if this is not "Carmen" w tuneful arias; man does me wrong plot w racial angle unoriginal

The Tap Dance Kid
Midtown W
Solid but not memorable musical featuring tap dancing -- never takes off until joshua henry electrifies the audience
February 10th, 2022

See it if celebration tap dancing; tuneful though forgettable songs; Henry is huge talent, his "11 o'clock number" stops the show

Don't see it if Blk upward mobility/conflict w creativity plot predictable; most singers don't project/poor sound system; missing jaw dropping tap dancing

Monumental 3 act play dealing w how 5 gens of an extended jewish family in france and elsewhere have dealt with anti-semitism: searing & provocative in focusing on conflict between national identity & jewish affiliation
February 4th, 2022

See it if moving & provocative; maddeningly disputatious family exchange thunder bolts of arguments 2 determine if should leave France; strong cast

Don't see it if portion of play re family dealing w Nazism in France not that compelling; dialogue at times turns to speechifying

Richard nelson, chronicler of the everyday, finishes his cycle of plays about the michaels family, following them on their relocation to france during the pandemic; not his best, but has its moments
December 13th, 2021

See it if good depiction of how COVID affected everyday life for Americans; master actors Maryann Plunkett & Jay O Sanders shine

Don't see it if no compelling reason to relocate family to France; missing grace notes & quiet drama of earlier plays; cycle ends w a whimper

Selling Kabul
Midtown W
Brings to life as a family drama the tragic fate of those afghanis who helped the americans but then were abandoned to the taliban, with that fate extending to their family & friends
December 12th, 2021

See it if gripping & unrelenting; explosive ending; shows compromises & duplicity req’d for survival; good ensemble esp Marjan Neshat as heroic sister

Don't see it if ending stuffs way too much into it; melodramatic & at times strains credulity; script functional not elevating

Also The title of the play - Selling Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan) - h... Read more Read less

Fine john doyle revival of sondheim's macabre musical masterpiece about those who have assassinated or attempted to assassinate our presidents & other celebrities
December 11th, 2021

See it if nails the dark comedic possibilities of each scene/thin line between comedy and delusion; uniformly fine cast

Don't see it if stripped down production & several directorial decisions diminish show's power (see below)

Also These Doyle decisions were, to my thinking, inadvisable: (i) not emplo... Read more Read less