Dan Dwyer

About:  Dan Dwyer is an indie critic and host of radio theater interview and talkshow called OFF SCRIPT WITH DAN DWYER. His reviews and interviews, posted on line, are broadcast on WHDD ROBIN HOOD RADIO (the smallest NPR station in the nation), then podcast on www.robinhoodradio.com and www.offscriptdandwye... Read more Read less
Reviews (94)
Cyrano
Upstate New York
BroadwayWorld

"'CYRANO' at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival" Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“If you have fond memories of the charm and whimsy of Tim Burton’s deliciously ghoulish 1988 fantasy- comedy...they will be obliterated by the stage musical version. The bloated production with a ludicrously convoluted book and unmemorable score seems inexhaustibly entertaining only to itself...The set design...will hold your attention when story and song fail to do so...Curry has designed a huge puppet snake that breaks the tedium. The inconsequence of it all is so relentless." Full Review

Long Lost
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Margulies’ ‘Long Lost’, in its premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club, is a play that’s exceptionally well written, directed, cast, acted and staged. It’s also exceptionally unoriginal...Family secrets get revealed; some you can see coming right from the first scene, other revelations - after countless dramas about family dysfunction - seem like nothing new. The lifeblood through which Margulies keeps the heart of 'Long Lost' pumping is his precisely drawn characters...Sullivan paces it all soli... Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“A laser-hot production that features the first genderqueer actor playing Blanche...But the production transcends the casting milestone and renders a riveting production that is amazingly both fresh in drama and raw in staging...Hourigan, working with a book we know almost too well, doesn’t let it cool down...The fight scenes ignite the stage...The love scene...is pretty realistic...Most inspired is what Hourigan and Peck do with the devastating last scene.” Full Review

Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Two and half hour laugh fest that not only gets the movie-into-musical genre right (finally) but also celebrates the best of old-fashioned, Broadway musical comedy tradition...An endless stream of one-liners, zingers that unfailingly zing. Even corny jokes land. What’s more, Horn’s characters are so skillfully drawn - and so fully realized by one of the most talented casts...Story and characters make 'Tootsie' a winner. Horn’s masterful, clever book is welcomed and much needed." Full Review

The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Disappointing...Doyle, whose streamlined, inventive staging has illuminated anew versions of ‘Company’ and ‘Sweeney Todd,’ seems adrift here. Blitzstein's score is played solely on...piano. The effect is monotonous...Blitzstein's score, while mostly operatic, includes popular song idioms, but the arrangements are so thin, there’s only a vague trace of them here...Oddly, too, Blitzsteins’ apparent satire is played as farce. Even if this ‘Cradle’ is playing for laughs, it’s not funny.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Pure delight. Chockablock full with marvelous songs...What’s more, robustly directed...and contemporized subtly, it rises above revivals that have come before...The new material that’s been added reflects not only changing social attitudes but also the casting of O’Hara...Very much O’Hara’s show...This ‘Kiss Me Kate’ recalls the storybook look of musical comedy of the 1950s. It’s singing and dancing puts us gleefully, giddily back in Broadway’s Golden Age.” Full Review

The Cake
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Tidily composed by Bekah Brunstetter and straightforwardly directed by Lynne Meadow...As Della, Debra Jo Rupp is unilaterally in control. All the elements of her performance - movement, timing and accent - are set like concrete. Brunstetter fleshes out the other characters well enough, so the actors are working with something besides their cultural type...'The Cake' isn’t bold or provocative: It’s considered and gentle in confronting political and cultural divisions." Full Review

Boesman and Lena
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Under Farber’s vision, the mis-en-scene brings Beckett to mind. Indeed, the sparse, staging with a naked, dead tree reminds specifically of ‘Waiting for Godot’...Jah’s performance as Lena is as gripping and masterful as any that I have seen or expect to see on stage this season. Ms. Jah defines ‘Boesman and Lena’ as Lena’s tale of oppression and survival.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Besides being one of the most creatively-told gay coming of age dramas, 'Choir Boy' has one of the best ensembles that have graced a Broadway stage...What makes 'Choir Boy' unique is how McCraney and musical director Jason Michael Webb incorporate acapella song into the drama, borrowing from spirituals, gospel, folk and pop... Director Tripp Cullman does his best work yet." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“'A Star is Born' is hitting cineplexes everywhere, but it’s really happening in the totally charming lead performance by the totally charming Dove Cameron in The New Group’s totally charming musical adaptation...The cleverest innovation of pop music to create a full musical score in memory...Heckerling’s real ingenuity...is eschewing yet another, original, anonymous pop-rock-Broadway score...The songs actually inform character or move plot...Cameron is the perfect Cher.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Ambitious and confusing...The actors take on their parts earnestly... A two-piece band plays what sounds like lounge music, but given Gorman’s attention to historical detail, I’m puzzled why whaling ballads weren’t used. ‘Chasing the New White Whale’s’ heart is in the right place, but with so many disjointed pieces, the real drama in Robby's plight is lost at sea.” Full Review

King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“’King Kong’ has no reason to be a musical. It’s more like a two and half hour theme park attraction. Kong as gigantic, animatronic puppet is the star. All else seems like an excuse for a staged version of the classic film...A bare-bones adaptation of the well-known tale...Depicting Ann as victim as much as Kong, so we get a good, contemporary dose of women’s empowerment. But that’s as deep as this character gets...The musical that needn’t be." Full Review

Torch Song (NYC)
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“From a cultural and political POV, the revival of Fierstein’s ‘Torch Song’ is, as the French say, ‘plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose’...From a dramatic POV, this ‘Torch Song’ disappoints...Fierstein has shrewdly adapted the play and reduced it...but its narrative weaknesses get exposed and its shortened length seems endless...Kaufman’s casting complicates matters...Urie carries ‘Torch Song’ beginning to end...The first act...is his finest.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Fearless, provocative and totally unconventional...Rodgers’ score is full of folk music influences, but in these new, crisp orchestrations by Daniel Kluger, favorite Broadway melodies sound as if composed anew, strummed by bluegrass legends...But it’s in the romantic ballads where the steely musical adaptations reveal a rawness and sexuality unexplored before...The cast is uniformly excellent." Full Review

Kink Haus
East Village
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"A gay fantasia that celebrates with outlandish dance and visual spectacle...from the apparently autobiographical experience of its creator Gunnar Montana...He's transformed La Mama into an underground disco, with the dance floor as performance space...Montana’s fantasia enfolds in a series of about a dozen vignettes of boldly athletic dances choreographed to a 1980s/90s soundtrack...'Kink Haus' never ceases being theatrical." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“An exuberant, raucous and joyous musical...Director Mayer serves the fable up with pomp and romp. Some language observes Shakespeare’s iambic form...Adaptor Whitty ingeniously slips The Go-Go’s songs into the classic tale...The ensemble performs with uniform talent, but the women featured shine through...The Arcadia restored in ‘Head over Heels’ creates a world that’s better for this smart and silly, imaginative musical.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Spectacle supersedes Shaw in Lincoln Center’s overscaled revival...Still, Loewe’s marvelous score and Learner’s ageless lyrics prevail...It’s a narrative that transacts in chambers. At the Vivian Beaumont, much of it floats in space...This ’My Fair Lady’ seldom fails to impress. even if its parts seem non-integrated...But, at its core, this 'My Fair Lady' fails to elicit any empathy for Higgins or Eliza...There’s not much authentic conflict here to care about.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Despite its potential, 'Summer: The Donna Summer Musical' not only takes the jukebox musical backwards but also renders as uninteresting as possible the life of the Queen of Disco...With slick stagecraft, McAnuff grafts into the book 23 musical numbers recorded (and in many cases co-written) by Summer, most of which are her instantly recognizable Billboard hits, but it’s as if her pop songs had nothing to do with the exploding gay culture from which they emerged." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Fey has inserted some new jokes plucked from today’s headlines...but much of the dialogue is word-for-word from the movie...Nicholaw’s pacing is uniformly adrenalized, leaving little breathing room between number after number...The real asset of 'Mean Girls' is casting and the young performers...Each has an impressive set of pipes, and each personalizes the role appealingly...'Mean Girls' carries a positive contemporary message about the cruelties of peer pressure and bullying." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Pleases not only SpongeBob’s loyal fans but also audiences just looking for fun...Astonishingly, thanks to Landau’s unified artistic vision and deft musical direction by Julie McBride, diverse genres meld into a delightful pop-music pastiche...The show is perfectly cast...It’s director Landau whose vision prevails, unifying performances and song...'SpongeBob SquarePants' is a blast." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"A tender, intimate gem of musical theatre...Defined by a delicately calibrated score by David Yazbek (his best yet) and the sensitive, relaxed direction...Cromer lets the individual stories enfold, like relaxed, conversations between strangers getting to know each other. Yazbek’s songs emerge naturalistically from Moses’ book...Life’s problems - and its little (and not so little) ups and downs – get answered in small, unsuspecting ways...The audience cheers." Full Review

Berkshire Edge

for a previous production “Hamill…is at it again more riotously, more ingeniously than before. With a rollicking, witty, smart, thoroughly entertaining ‘Pride and Prejudice’…Ms Hamill delights with her best work yet, and serves the best summer theater fare anywhere...Beneath ‘P&P’s’ laughs, there’s a core, more delicate sensibility – a wry, keen awareness that regards, with squinted eye, people warts and all. This 'P&P' is blissful mirth – a special potion of affectionate, bemused cynicism, and realistic optimism.” Full Review

The Whirligig
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Linklater’s heart is in the right place, but the plotting emerges without dramatic focus partly because the story shifts, sometimes clumsily, from the present day back and forth to events 10-15 years before. He introduces some mystery in who really got Julia started in drugs but it seems contrived...The acting of the talented cast is uneven...The usually reliable robust direction of Elliott is rather lifeless...One can’t experience catharsis if there isn’t any action." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Lillian Hellman’s 'The Little Foxes,' superbly staged in revival at Manhattan Theatre Club, is as satisfying as theatre gets...Hellman’s drama is a model of structure...The direction by Daniel Sullivan is as direct and straightforward as the playwriting itself...The cast is superb...Linney’s performance as Regina, played with grand, stylized cunning and cruelty is so terrifying, it’s breathtaking...Hellman’s themes are timeless." Full Review

A Strange Loop
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“A most tender post-adolescent, coming-of-age story...Perhaps the most candid and rawest depiction of self-discovery that’s ever been a musical...Jackson’s dialogue is unapologetically, sexually unfiltered in its African American urban-speak, punctuated by rap. The book and lyrics meld seamlessly in and out of 18 musical numbers. The score is fabulous...Jackson’s high point is the soaring gospel ensemble that is, at once, both lacerating satire and redemptive inspiration." Full Review

Octet
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Malloy’s imaginatively brilliant and daringly transportive, new musical...Brooding internal motifs contrast with staccato rhythms that bring to mind electronic chirps and alert signals of digital devices...There’s nothing either duplicative or derivative in this marvel of a production. ‘Octet’ is a breathtakingly original, a wonderful work of musical theatre which boldly plumbs the timeless tale of human pain and redemption, in a new, unexplored universe.” Full Review

BLKS
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“A kick-ass, bad-ass, loud, raw, often hilarious, and always vital new play...that lets the dogs out on life in America from the 20something, African American women’s POV...The humor is ostensibly sitcom...Even if her writing can be uneven, at its best 'BLKS' is uproarious social farce whether Barnes intends it to be or not...One of the freshest, most energetic new AMERICAN plays from a new AMERICAN playwright about life in AMERICA.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"The haunting and beautiful poetic folk opera that imaginatively fuses the myths of Orpheus and Eurydice and Hades and Persephone, is not only a marker in the maturation of American musical but also testament to the ancient Greek’s timeless power of storytelling...Boldly distinctive, emotionally resonant, and uniquely refined...'Hadestown' has a coda, an elegant, stirring ensemble ballad that reminds us why we still tell Orpheus’ sad tale." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Two and half hour of pure pleasure, a thrilling non-stop ride through R&B pop music and an exuberant celebration of the American jukebox musical in its matured form. It’s the best since 'Jersey Boys'...Morisseau doesn’t try to make The Temptations’ story any more than it is, because 'Ain't Too Proud' is all about song and dance...Most remarkable is that not only do the actors as a group soar but also each actor imbues his character with his own set of moves and vocal style." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"The theatre smelled like lip gloss and bubble gum, and that's not entirely metaphoric." Full Review

Alice By Heart
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Might as well be called 'Sexual Deadening'...The relentless association of sexuality and death gave me, old guy that I am, pause...Sheik’s score is OK, peppered with some pleasing pop-rock melodies...The mood is too consistently dark and the choreography, novel as it is by Rick and Jeff Kuperman, too proscriptive and angular. Though there are all-too-brief splashes of whimsy - 'Alice' doesn't trade in joy or spontaneity." Full Review

Lolita, My Love
Midtown E
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“The performance was captivating, full of freshness and vitality...Lerner’s lyrics are witty and worldly, laced with sly satire. Most noteworthy, the performance...was like a master class in how song and book work consistently hand-in-hand...Even alone at the piano, Cordell expressed the pleasing rhythms and harmonies that imbue Barry’s marvelous score...An unexpected and perfectly entertaining and edifying afternoon of American musical theatre.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“The good news is that three main characters present clearly, the bad news is that all the frailties of George Furth’s book are on plain display...This ‘Merrily’ not only moves faster than its predecessor but also transitions smoothly form scene to scene, from year to year...Brody introduces some nifty touches...Sometimes, Fiasco’s spare, inventive staging doesn’t get beyond gimmicky...Fiasco’s production doesn’t discover anything in 'Merrily' that hadn’t been plumbed before.” Full Review

Blue Ridge
Chelsea
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“You don’t have to be familiar with the dynamics of a half way house or the protocols of a Twelve Step program, but it helps to comprehend fully Rosebrock’s, sometimes confusing, ‘Blue Ridge’...Magar’s direction of the rapid-fire dialogue is so un-modulated that narrative key points get de-emphasized...As staged, character prevails rather than story...Marin Ireland is pitch-perfect...’Blue Ridge’ captures aspects of residential recovery programs with remarkable verisimilitude.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"'The Cher Show' survives the limitations of its book because of a totally compelling performance by Stephanie J. Block...It’s the wardrobe by costume designer Bob Mackie, Cher’s legendary fashion impresario throughout her six decade career that most visually informs the show...Elice’s shallow book gets real wobbly in Act 2. It’s hard to turn Cher’s tutelage by director Robert Altman for her first dramatic stage appearance on Broadway into song." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Liberal political correctness in a feel-good Broadway musical...The heart of ‘The Prom’ is in the right place. It’s a confirming tale of self-realization and tolerance but the show nearly trips into the incorrectness it makes fun of...Like it’s well-meaning characters, ‘The Prom’ doesn’t intend to demean or condescend but it does both. Some...glide past this subtext because the show is so damn good at fulfilling all the feel good expectations for today’s musical comedy fare.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Rings truer than any play I’ve seen in memory because it reminds me of my mother rings truer than any play I’ve seen in memory because it reminds me of my mother...Lila Neugebauer‘s direction is as sensitive as Lonergan's writing: Her pacing suggests both the passage of time past, and lapses in the present. The God-gifted, impeccable comic timing of Elaine May, illuminates many funny, sometimes absurd, moments." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"'Midnight at the Never Get' celebrates cabaret to tell a gay love story, and sweetly and unexpectedly transcends its limitations with poignant observations about gay culture...Director Max Friedman and choreographer Andrew Palermo manage stage movement of the two characters on the tidy York Theatre stage so that the 90-minute show neither stalls nor speeds ahead." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"One needn’t be a devotee of Bob Dylan to appreciate how the poetry of his song fits an Irish poetic vision of Depression-era America...Simon Hale has beautifully arranged and orchestrated Dylan’s songs for a band of four...The entire cast is excellent...In this haunting and beautiful 'Girl From the North Country,' the Irish McPherson and Dylan, the American, illuminate the dream still alive." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"With a smile on its face gives the middle finger to elitists, many of whom will likely label this folksy, sometimes offensive, unoriginal production, a 'bridge and tunnel musical'...Davenport pasted together the predictable plot from a series of improvisational rehearsals...The score, of a bland Broadway-1980s rock mode, is by Mark Allen in his first Broadway outing. The lyrics range from unmemorable to a challenge to forget...Vulgar sitcom with a crappy score." Full Review

The Chinese Lady
Midtown W
Berkshire Edge

for a previous production "Playwright Lloyd Suh...confronts a potential wealth of storylines to dramatize what very little is known about the real-life Afong, but the effect ends up more intellectual than emotional...Through Afong, Suh muses about the philosophic nature of history, cultural appropriation, and similar serious topics...One wonders if the play would have more emotional resonance if Afong’s story was personalized more and politicized less...Peña directs cleanly and straightforwardly." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“A glorious score by Richard Rogers and a superbly sung, groundbreaking male lead performance can’t quite make the current revival the most memorable...The first twenty minutes of Carousel...are about the most perfectly integrated scenes in the American musical canon, and one of the high points of this revival...Casting undoes the magic. Joshua Henry...muscular in both movement and voice, fits the part. Mueller, although exceptionally vocally skilled, brings no physicality to Julie." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"The reliable finesse of choreography and direction of Susan Stroman can’t compensate for the clunky, labored book...Stroman creates charming sequences...Composer John Kander provides a haunting, elegiac score with a waltz motif, sensitively played by a nine-piece orchestra, that weaves in and out for a slowly paced, needlessly long, one hour and 45 minutes. Kander’s music is pretty, but its more effective as a substitute for dialogue." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"The defining asset of this production is that it is supremely sung...Sung-through completely to an intricate, sophisticated score by Thomas and witty lyrics by Lee, who wrote the book...In media-manic, Christian-phillic America, all sinners get redeemed, everybody gets a moral mulligan, just like you-know-who. 'Jerry Springer—The Opera' sings that out, grandly, blasphemously, with vulgar, knowing words of the devil and the marvelous exaltation of angels' voices." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Under Arden’s imaginative direction, this radiant musical fable flows beautifully, magically, from beginning to end...Reveals more rhythms in its storytelling and beauty in its staging than ever before...The inspirational power of 'Once On This Island' is joyous. Indeed, this production, timed as it is, brings contemporary events like natural disasters and issues like inequality, wealth, and race to mind. In the end, though, what prevails in this entrancing musical is the healing power of st... Full Review

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“If ‘Prince of Broadway’ is the crown of Mr. Prince’s unparalleled career, each one of these vignettes is a jewel in that crown—beautifully designed, ingeniously choreographed, lushly orchestrated, and wondrously vocalized to revelatory perfection by an amazing cast of nine performers, all in top form…'Prince of Broadway' tells Mr. Prince’s story for everyone who loves musical theater, magnificently, and joyously.” Full Review

War Paint
Midtown W
Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“‘War Paint’ finally hits its stride for the last 30 minutes. The divas get below skin deep and Frankel serves up his best music…‘War Paint’ is not quite the tour de force that might have resulted from a deliriously fantastical treatment of its fictional premise. For this semi reality-based, literal production to work, real divas playing divas are the vital, magic ingredient. Lucky for ‘War Paint’ it has LuPone and Ebersole." Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

“Gionfriddo’s carpentered play is nailed together with so many contrivances it defies credulity. Worse, the bulk of its 90 minutes is consumed with dialoguing about the past, which does not make for much action...Tamblyn is OK, and manages to elicit a few chuckles from the audience, but I’m not sure even a great actress with magical comic powers could do much with the part…There isn’t much dramatic or particularly amusing about this really blah situational melodrama.” Full Review

Off Script with Dan Dwyer

"Blessed we are to have Winnie played by a superb Dianne Wiest...There are too few visits to the theater that reduce the everyday so truthfully in the head, and so emotionally in the gut, too...Wiest draws you in closer and closer, to her face, to her eyes, in a totally captivating, mesmerizing performance...If I never see another production of 'Happy Days,' I’m blessed with this." Full Review