Buzzy

New York City | 65+ | Male
About:  Former college theatre professor; former Dean of Liberal Arts; Blog: www.bsonarts.com.
Reviews (114)
65
The Michaels
East Village
Overrated, Slow, Great acting, Disappointing, Banal

See it if Ultra-reality is enough to maintain your interest in a play, but there is little substance beyond Nelson’s skillful recreation living souls.

Don't see it if You expect the intermingling of life in the kitchen with the life of politics that made the previous cycles so profound. Mumbling continues.

70
During previews
Slow, Influential, Edgy, Relevant, Great acting

See it if You want see the play that liberated female African American playwrights from the shadow of Raisin in the Sun. Still true, just less radical

Don't see it if Expect a linear story or a consistent style. Lots of truths that have not changed in the 40+ years since this choreopoem hit Broadway.

55
During previews
Soft Power
East Village
Great staging, Disappointing, Messy, Indulgent, Ridiculous

See it if Hwang is rarely subtle but this over the top mess is all over the place. Satire that falls flat - East-West relations, Hillary, and Hwang.

Don't see it if You expect the significant talents of Tesori and Silverman could salvage this spectacle. Great staging does rescue this silly writing.

70
During previews
Literary, Great acting, Pretentious, Intelligent, Disappointing

See it if You want to see Parker do her refined angst as a very literate creative writing teacher facing cancer and her student admirer.

Don't see it if You expect the play to provide new insights or draw you into the odd couple relationship between the professor and her student writer.

Also The play is full of classic (and not so classic) literature references... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Linda Vista
Midtown W
Funny, Raunchy, Indulgent, Disappointing, Banal

See it if You want to see a play about a middle-aged man who says he is an awful person, and he is! Bedroom comedy that thinks it’s serious.

Don't see it if Letts knows how to write believable and frequently funny dialogue. But occasional seemingly meaningful lines were not explored. Pointless.

65
During previews
Obtuse, Great acting, Slow, Rambling

See it if You liked The Father and were able to tolerate The Mother, you might enjoy the latest Zeller offering. He does it again (& again & again).

Don't see it if You expect insights into any of the topics: death, faithfulness, dementia, relationships, etc — all amounts to very little. Great acting.

60
During previews
Betrayal
Midtown W
Misdirected, Minimalist, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if You think the British have corner on producing Pinter, think again. The pauses are there, but they lack meaning. Extreme minimalism. Dull.

Don't see it if You don’t expect to hear the actors to mumble, see a funny and insightful play with few laughs and insights, and like British imports.

90
The Rolling Stone
Upper W Side
Intense, Absorbing, Masterful, Relevant, Great acting

See it if truly remarkable portrait of the impact of family responsibility, sexual identity, and evangelical Christianity in a hostile environment.

Don't see it if you cannot see the relevance of a play set in Uganda for an American audience in the age of Trump. It shows the power of belief vs identity.

Also Plays about the LGBT community have received a lot attention on the NY... Read more Read less

55
Fairview
Brooklyn
Great staging, Confusing, Overrated, Indulgent, Disappointing

See it if you want to see this year's Pulitzer winner, although it's tough to figure out how this chaotic work rated so high with critics.

Don't see it if you expect a lucid commentary on white privilege and the misconceptions that white audiences have about race.

Also Most of the overwhelmingly positive commentaries on this play acclaim ... Read more Read less

65
Life Sucks.
Midtown W
Poor neo-chekov, Quirky, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if you are interested in a contemporary adaptation that never captures the humor or the depth of character expression of Chekov.

Don't see it if you expect laughs or sobbing, character development, or believable relationships.

90
Entertaining, Fluffy, Funny, Great writing, Delightful

See it if You enjoy old fashioned fluffy musicals. Very funny with a wonderful performance by the lead, Chris Dwan, based on Carl Reiner’s novel.

Don't see it if Do not like broad humor and musicals that have little to offer other than pure fun. A Broadway failure in 1976, but York’s is a hit again..

65
High Button Shoes
Midtown W
Entertaining, Disappointing, Fluffy, Cliched, Dated

See it if You want to see what passed for a hit musical in 1947. Several voices were disappointing and Urie is miscast. Lots of mediocre dancing.

Don't see it if You can’t put yourself into the mind set of a 1947 audience. The new choreography does not live up to the original of Jerome Robbins.

90
Unique myth adaptation, Great score, Enchanting, Great staging, Great writing

See it if you are ready for a fascinating adaptation of myths into a beautiful modern retelling with a remarkable score and great production.

Don't see it if you don't want to carefully listen to the lyrics to follow what is going on. It's a bit too long but that does not cancel it's beauty.

50
During previews
Good acting, Labored, Disappointing, Pretentious

See it if If you feel really sorry for Hillary Clinton, this show is for you. Otherwise, tune in to MSNBC. Metcalf is very good. Lithgow is Lithgow.

Don't see it if If you expect wit, insight, or useful commentary.

60
During previews
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Upper W Side
Chaotic, Funny, at times, Pointless, Quirky, Disappointing

See it if if you are a fan of Guare’s early works like “Blue Leaves,” this play has a similar structure without the meaning behind the chaos.

Don't see it if you expect enlightenment on any of the issues the play raises - writer’s remorse, parenting, fame, memory, etc. There are a few laughs.

55
During previews
Pointless, Quirky, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You would enjoy a family coming of age comedy with mystical overtones that purports to be about beauty, having it or not, set in Africa.

Don't see it if Expect insights into beauty, African culture, the struggles of coming of age, parental protection, or friend’s jealousy.

80
During previews
Entertaining, Old fashioned, Dated, Great staging, Great singing

See it if you want to see an old-fashioned musical that shows its age. A great production that cannot distract from the show's creakiness.

Don't see it if you expect a show that seems as fresh today as it did in 1948. If you want to see a faithful (at times inventive) reproduction, this is it.

Also Even though this show was written after the Rodgers and Hammerstein in... Read more Read less

65
Mies Julie
East Village
Ambitious, Disappointing, Misguided, Interesting

See it if you want see an interesting adaptation of the original in a production that lacks the tension and psychological intensity of the original.

Don't see it if you expect new insights into power, dominance, and sexual attraction. The problem seems to be more the production than the play.

88
During previews
The Hello Girls
Midtown E
Great staging, Masterful, Relevant, Entertaining, Resonant

See it if a wonderfully staged and conceptualized musical about the first women in the US military in WWI as telephone operators. "Me too" in history

Don't see it if a serious musical that describes history is not your cup of tea.

Also A good score with a multi-talented cast that acts, sings, and plays th... Read more Read less

50
During previews
King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
Banal, Cliched, Disappointing, Grandiose

See it if You are willing to pay Broadway prices for good (but not totally original) spectacle. The choreography is interesting but little else works.

Don't see it if You expect inventive music and lyrics or a book written for a 2018 theatre audience, not a 1930s movie fan. The show is the real monster.

90
Hilarious, Intelligent, Refreshing, Satirical, Clever

See it if you can enjoy a very funny and, at times, insightful, shellacking of political correctness. Four wonderful performances of a crisp script.

Don't see it if you feel protective of your liberal consciousness or see sensitivity to "others" as a sacred belief.

Also You may laugh too much to see the underlying critique of the way we tr... Read more Read less

88
During previews
Apologia
Midtown W
Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant

See it if A horrific portrait of an activist mother who has to come to terms with the effect of choices with her adult children. Channing is amazing!

Don't see it if A serious and often painful well written play does not appeal. The play is insightful and engaging.

85
During previews
Funny, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever, Edgy

See it if you want to laugh as five women discover the joys and challenges of their vaginas as seen by definite lesbians and maybe lesbians.

Don't see it if you are sensitive about the use of the word "pussy" or expect profound enlightenment. It's just fin.

45
Log Cabin
Midtown W
Quirky, Indulgent, Ambitious, Disorganized, Pointless

See it if are so interested in relations between LGBTQ characters that you can tolerate an unfocused and disorganized play.

Don't see it if Expect insights into LGBTQ issues or anticipate a play that draws fully developed characters dealing with the challenges of life as a LGBTQ.

65
During previews
Ambitious, Disappointing, Well staged, Unengaging

See it if you are interested in a musical play that replaces songs with expressionistic dancing. A strong cast. Stroman's choreography uneven.

Don't see it if you expect the "plot" to be dramatized. Most of the story is told through monologues and rarely does the production show v. tell emotions.

Also The lighting is extraordinary.

88
During previews
Seared
Midtown W
Worth-seeing, Great staging, Unique, Funny, Great acting

See it if you want to see a play that is unique-no misplaced love, racism, or dysfunctional family. A food artist consumed by his art. Great cast.

Don't see it if you don't want to see Raul Esparza and playwright Rebeck in their element, supported by a cast and director that are right on the mark. Fun!

80
During previews
Bella Bella
Midtown W
Relevant, Resonant, Intelligent, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You’re a New Yorker, remember Bella Abzug, support feminism, and/or love Harvey Feinstein, you’re in for a treat. Fun and relevant!

Don't see it if You don’t care to hear how close 2019 is to 1971. Be ready for some Yiddish along with some “kiddish.”

68
During previews
The Rose Tattoo
Midtown W
Overplayed, Second-rate williams, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if You want to see Williams effort to write romantic comedy with his usual fascination with a tortured woman. Surprisingly poorly written.

Don't see it if You expect Williams’ skillful writing & probing character development. This production is very broad and lacks any subtlety.Actors try hard.

68
During previews
The Wrong Man
Midtown W
Disappointing, Sung-through, Narrative, not dramatic, Great choreography, Great staging

See it if brilliant staging is enough to make a good musical for you. Sung-through soft-rock with fascinating choreography, but dull narrative.

Don't see it if you don't want to spend 90 minutes more fascinated with the staging than with the story the staging tells. Also, watch for alternate casting

Also In fairness, I saw this show at a performance that the alternate casti... Read more Read less

88
Meaningless, Fun, Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You enjoy Las Vegas entertainment, this is Las Vegas plus. Lavish sets/costumes, great singers. Creatively staged.

Don't see it if you expect something other than pure entrainment. No meanings: hidden or otherwise. Stereotypical characters; music is from pop catalogue.

44
During previews
Bad Penny
Soho/Tribeca
Meaningless, Dizzying, Stupid, Indulgent, Quirky

See it if You want to see what passed as profound avant guard in the 1980s. Characters trying to define them self as they take refuge in the park.

Don't see it if You expect insights, humor, and anything resembling stimulating art.

65
Mojada
East Village
Ill-conceived, Weak acting, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if you do not mind a forced adaptation of the Greek classic, Medea, into a contemporary commentary on immigration and race relations.

Don't see it if expect this adaptation to live up to playwright Alfaro's brilliant adaptation of Oedipus Rex into Oedipus El Rey. Forced and unbelievable.

85
A Strange Loop
Midtown W
Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Raunchy, Entertaining, Great singing

See it if a musical about an overweight black gay writer with lots of humor and great performances appeals. Full of subtle references and satire.

Don't see it if humorless repetitiveness and lack of resolution in the last 1/3 of an otherwise brilliant and insightful production discourages you.

68
Interesting potential, Too long, Dull, Great singing, Disappointing

See it if Want to see a tribute to strong women in the face of southern racism circa 1960s. Don’t expect new insights or moving staging, Great voices

Don't see it if You expect fresh perceptions on racism, feminism, or the search for love. This is not a bad production, it just has little new to offer.

60
During previews
Long Lost
Midtown W
Great sets, Familiar-territory, Cliched, Disappointing

See it if ...you have not seen enough plays in which a family with its own problems is blown up by the arrival of good-for-nothing relative. Great set

Don't see it if ...you expect fresh insights or unique character development in this all too common story. Been there...done that too many times.

90
Octet
Midtown W
Expressionistic, Innovative, Resonant, Ambitious, Great singing

See it if A truly unique and beautifully written and sung acapella operetta that portrays computer mania and it’s impact in an expressionist style.

Don't see it if You are impatient with unusual styles or are not familiar with computer addiction. You need to listen carefully and go with the flow.

78
During previews
BLKS
Midtown W
Pointless, Quirky, Raunchy, Entertaining, Funny

See it if you want lots of laughs in an almost contemporary, yet raunchy, Neil Simon type portrait of young black women, gay and straight.

Don't see it if you expect profound insights. The humor is "in the face" raunchy but it is full of big laughs.

95
During previews
All My Sons
Midtown W
Must see, Profound, Relevant, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A truly remarkable production of a great American play. Engaging, troubling, and moving. If only all my theatre experiences were this good.

Don't see it if If you think this play is dated, think Boeing 737 Max or opiate manufacturers. Theatre that makes you part of its world, like it or not.

69
During previews
Loud, Indulgent, Raunchy, Dizzying, Disappointing

See it if you enjoy farce that tries to be satire with the characters screaming at each other for most of the show. Some funny bits are drowned out.

Don't see it if you are not interested in a Broadway version of a LaMama show circa 1960s. Don't expect to understand every word since they are all shouted.

Also It is surprising that the gifted George C Wolfe would either allow or ... Read more Read less

49
During previews
The Mother
Chelsea
Huppert is good, but..., Pretentious, Absurdly absurd, Pointless

See it if you can tolerate a structure that repeats scenes with no apparent point and fails to provide insight into abandoned parents. Plot? Point?

Don't see it if expect to be able to tell your friends what this play is about. Odd set. Good acting with no purpose.

90
During previews
White Noise
East Village
Original, Probing, Great acting, Profound, Intelligent

See it if A complex and fascinating look at the legacy of our black and white ancestors in the depths of our "enlightened" contemporary minds.

Don't see it if you are not interested in spending 3 hours observing a study of long term friends becoming master and slave with Ms. Parks’ unique insights.

Also Ms. Parks play could use some trimming and a little better focus, but ... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Alice By Heart
Midtown W
Great staging, Confusing, Disappointing, Quirky, Ambitious

See it if imaginative and well executed staging is enough to please you, go. But the musical is a confusing and ill-thought adaptation Wonderland.

Don't see it if expect an interesting commentary either on London in WWII or the classic Alice in Wonderland. The underlying love story is pasted on.

Also The new MCC theatres are well designed and I look forward to productio... Read more Read less

60
Quirky, Disappointing, Funny, Cliched

See it if You want to see an early work by a great playwright that is not at her usual level of insight and depth. There is some humor, but not enoug

Don't see it if You expect this play to be on a level of, or similar in quality to, Ruined, Sweat, or Intimate Apparel (written 1 year earlier).

85
Intelligent, Profound, Resonant, Clever, Challenging

See it if You are ready to listen very carefully for 70 minutes. You will get insights and challenges to your everyday existence. A unique creation.

Don't see it if You get impatient with one person shows that require you to think constantly and create your own interpretations and meaning..

98
During previews
Exquisite, Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Profound

See it if Exquisite! If the word “beautiful” can be used to describe a production of Beckett’s masterpiece, that it is. Like a requiem mass.

Don't see it if You are not ready to be absorbed in an abstract but truthful portrait of the modern dilemma- to believe or not while we wait - and for what?

55
During previews
Uninspired, Overrated, Slow, Disappointing

See it if want to see the progression of dementia with little insight or dramatic intensity in a play with an interesting cast unable to rescue it.

Don't see it if you expect the type of insights Mr. Lonergan brings to his works about people facing everyday challenges. Don't expect great performances.

65
During previews
Cliched, Fluffy, Entertaining, Romantic

See it if enjoy nightclub story telling. This is less a musical and more a showcase for the song writer -- better titled "Cole Porter is Dead."

Don't see it if expect a portrait of gay life from 1965 to the 1980s that is not all stereotypes.

60
Overrated, Mediocre, Unimaginative, Good cast, Uncreative

See it if You loved the movie so much that you really cannot resist a mediocre, bland, poorly conceived but well performed adaptation.

Don't see it if Expect a classic movie converted into a classic musical.

90
During previews
The Great Leap
Chelsea
Intelligent, Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy a very good production of a play about ambition and the clashing of American culture with Chinese culture, in the US and China.

Don't see it if you expect a play "about basketball." It's about people.Playwright Lauren Yee and director Taibi Magar fill the show with humor and pathos.

Also The show has a great cast. B.D. Wong is wonderful as the would-be Chin... Read more Read less

50
The Parisian Woman
Midtown W
Banal, Cliched, Indulgent, Patronizing

See it if you want to be patronized by a play. It feeds a NY audience with references to Trump to get cheap laughs but really has little substance.

Don't see it if expect insights into Washington politics, open relationships, or how the DC enfranchised live. Broadly written and poorly acted.