Buzzy

New York City | 65+ | Male
About:  Former college theatre professor; former Dean of Liberal Arts; Blog: https://bsonarts.blogspot.com.
Reviews (129)
69
During previews
Unknown Soldier
Midtown W
Good singing, Overrated, Repetitive score, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if you enjoy original musicals. Much of the mostly sung-through score is repetitive. Complex story but easy to follow. Staging is interesting.

Don't see it if you expect a traditional musical. Frankly, I do not know why I found this show boring, but it failed to engage me. I had high expectations

70
The Headlands
Upper W Side
Interesting, So-so acting, Underdeveloped, Cold case mystery

See it if You enjoy watching cold case mysteries on TV, this should be your cup of tea. Good production values but acting is less than convincing.

Don't see it if Expect depth in the story of a young man discovering family secrets. Underdeveloped characters give little to think about beyond “who dunit”

92
Mack & Mabel
Midtown W
Refreshing, Delightful, Must see, Great staging, Entertaining

See it if A wonderful revival production of a “not perfect” but thoroughly entertaining musical that is a fitting tribute to Jerry Herman.

Don't see it if a close to old fashion musical given a top notch production is not your thing. But this is Encores at its best and should not be missed.

78
During previews
Multi-talented cast, Strong & weak points, Thought-provoking, Great singing, Ambitious

See it if A play with music that frankly and disturbingly portrays the horrors of the Khmer Rouge with a less than engaging father/daughter story.

Don't see it if 1970s rock with Khmer language lyrics is not your thing. Before seeing, refresh (or create) your memory about the Khmer Rouge history.

78
Campy, Quirky, Clever, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You enjoy camp by a star “campist,” this is your show. Much better than Busch’s recent outings. It’s a take-off on 1930s confession films.

Don't see it if You don’t like the upfront exaggerations and tongue in cheek plots of campy humor. A good supporting cast rises (or lowers) to Busch’s level

90
Intelligent, Great writing, Resonant, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to see 40 year old Pulitzer winner that continues to be relevant and insightful, if a bit like a history lesson. Great production!

Don't see it if expect to be challenged by the insights into the history of inter- & intra-racism. A well-made "whodonit"- more entertaining than provoking

65
Disappointing, Old-fashioned, Cliched, Overrated, Weak acting

See it if want to see a WASPy play in the shadow of Death of a Salesman. Both won Pulitzers 45 years apart. Mystifying how how Foote's play won.

Don't see it if expect the usual well-cast and produced plays from Signature. Weak acting, misconceived design, poor direction. Kristine Nielsen miscast.

35
During previews
Indulgent, Insipid, Excruciating, Confusing, Insane

See it if you are a faithful fan of Will Eno and enjoy his pseudo-profundities. Be ready to make no sense of who is who, what's going on, and why.

Don't see it if expect any type of linear plot, clear character development, discernible meaning, or any form of engagement for the audience. A few laughs.

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

80
During previews
The Hot Wing King
Midtown W
Refreshing, Gay, Funny & serious, Good acting, Entertaining

See it if A portrait of African America gay men in Memphis. Lots of humor, love, and playing around mixed with serious family and relationship issues

Don't see it if You expect profundity throughout. There is a bit too much playing around when the relationships and family issues could be more prominent.

90
During previews
Dana H.
Gramercy
Unique, Thought-provoking, Riveting, Must see, Great acting

See it if you want to see an extraordinary performance that is truly extra-ordinary.Deirdre O'Connell lip-syncs & remarkably acts a harrowing story.

Don't see it if a one person play is not your thing or you are not ready to be drawn into the story of the playwright's mother's five months of captivity.

70
During previews
Good cast, Content disappointing, Fascinating concept, Challenging, Ambitious

See it if You want to see a fascinating concept that holds your attention but the content of the play was less than expected. Production very good.

Don't see it if You are not ready to follow three stories being revealed simultaneously. That is the best part of this experience.

Also I found the script to be less of an anatomy of suicide and more of a w... Read more Read less

83
During previews
West Side Story
Midtown W
Emotionally satisfying, Reconceived, Worth seeing, Interesting, Ambitious

See it if want to see a flawed, but very interesting production of a masterpiece. Being prepared to dismiss your preconception of this work is a must.

Don't see it if you cannot get beyond the fact that Jerome Robbin's original was THE masterpiece and you see any tampering with it a sacrilege.

85
Grand Horizons
Midtown W
Clever, Great cast, Funny, Entertaining

See it if The late Neil Simon is alive and well, circa 2020, at the Helen Hayes Theatre. All-star cast delivers the laughs plus occasional truths.

Don't see it if you expect deep commentaries on marriage in old age, you will be disappointed, But enjoy an old fashioned Broadway sit-com with great cast.

Also The renovated 2nd Stage Helen Hayes Theatre may qualify as having the ... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Greater Clements
Upper W Side
Intense, Resonant, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy a moving portrait of people in a defunct mining town struggling with many family challenges. A superb performance by Judith Ivey.

Don't see it if a three act well written but disturbing drama is not your thing. Playwright Hunter knows how to engage an audience even when going is rough

90
The Inheritance
Midtown W
Riveting, Resonant, Great staging, Perfect minimalism, Great acting

See it if want to see a portrait of young gays in our current society and their heritage from the past. Lots of compelling issues for gays & straights

Don't see it if can't accept frank descriptions of gay sex, brief nudity, or do not want to consider the probing questions about personal ID, love, and need

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.