Dan Stahl

Dan Stahl is a critic with Theatermania. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (24)
Theatermania

“New Saloon uses not one English translation but six, creating a mash-up effect that results in characters frequently repeating a line in various renderings...On top of the textual layers is a cast whose parts are continually changing...For those who go into this show knowing ‘Uncle Vanya’, keeping up is a challenge. For those who don't, it's an exercise in futility...The theatrical experiment of ‘Minor Character’ tickles the intellect, but it leaves the soul unmoved.” Full Review

Wild Abandon
Chelsea
Theatermania

“The concept of ‘Wild Abandon’ is clear: work through the tension of the past to better understand the present...The problem is that it's not until these final moments that the audience sees Lynn for who she really is...Slick tricks and musical virtuosity aren't enough for a show built around the baring of souls, though. You get glimpses of Lynn and and Leenya's inner selves but nothing more. Far from a state of wild abandon, you're left feeling, at most, mild interest." Full Review

Conflict
Midtown W
Theatermania

“Balances romance with righteousness...Thompson lovingly drapes the show's wit and wisdom in a period feel that never lapses. The biggest delights come from the smallest roles...In reviving this play centered on wealth disparity, Thompson strikes a theme that resonates today...Without ignoring the complexities hidden within such imbalances, Malleson, with the help of the Mint, exposes them through a vibrantly human story." Full Review

Mangled Beams
Midtown W
Theatermania

"There's a quietly stunning sequence...No words are spoken for several minutes...Then the characters open their mouths, and the sublime mundanity devolves into melodrama...The difficulty is that her characters are less like people than parts in a theatrical machine...Big plaudits, then, to the performers who find personality amid the plot devices...There's a story worth telling at the core of this play about identity and conflicted patriotism. Too bad it's been mangled." Full Review

The Amateurs
Gramercy
Theatermania

"A frequently funny play about amateur actors struggling to put on a biblical epic...This in-and-out style of storytelling requires a lot of skill to pull off. Under the stewardship of director Butler, the cast and crew manage it...Harrison has captured amateurishness expertly. He has also dared to go deeper, digging into the cultural emergence of individuality. Some might fault him for taking on so much, but that's just what he should be applauded for." Full Review

Cross That River
Midtown E
Theatermania

"The show's music is its strong point...The music's impact, however, is blunted by Allan and wife Pat's lyrics, which are cluttered with clichés...Thankfully, the lyrics' shortcomings don't stop the actors from singing with conviction...Still, all the virtuosity on display can't hide 'Cross That River's' unwieldiness. Characters barely have any personality beyond what the score's music supplies...Allan and Pat Harris's message rings false." Full Review

In a Little Room
East Village
Theatermania

“Regrettably, the attention to detail apparent in ‘In a Little Room's’ set extends to few other aspects of this black-as-soot comedy…It's a shame that McElligott goes for cheap laughs instead of digging deeper, because there are grains of wisdom in his script…Thrust between profundity and crassness, the actors try to cope…Also struggling for coherence is Patrick Vassel, the director…‘In a Little Room’ leaves the audience, literally and figuratively, in the dark.” Full Review

Theatermania

"A work of wit, grace, and yes, enlightenment...Telling this story requires worldliness as well as soulfulness; miraculously, the cast, crew, and creators of 'The Fourth Messenger' pull it off. Teng's harmonious music balances her and Shaffer's punchy lyrics...Nancy Anderson shines as a figure at once enlightened and flawed...While 'The Fourth Messenger' isn't perfect, it is human, and that's good enough." Full Review

Theatermania

"Formula wars with ingenuity for the soul of this show. In one camp are the banal love plot and trite lyrics...Opposing such platitudes are the musical's choreography and percussive music, which couple thrillingly...The acting too is divided between melodrama and nuance...Perhaps there's ultimately an appropriateness to the struggle embodied by this production. As the Spaniards battled the Taínos, so, in the songs and staging of 'Temple of the Souls,' the conventional clashes with the unique." Full Review

Invincible
Midtown E
Theatermania

“The only thing playwright Torben Betts forgot to include is humor. Neither director Stephen Darcy nor the cast supply it either…The problem with Betts's script isn't the presence of complications; it's their number and treatment…Darcy's direction does nothing to clarify matters…This inconsistency does the actors no favors. They play their parts with energy, but the result is an amplification of the script's contradictions and inanities.” Full Review

Marry Harry
Midtown E
Theatermania

"Everything about it looks great: the outfits, the decor, the lighting—but there's no avoiding the fact that Jennifer Robbins' book and Michael Biello's lyrics aren't worth the effort...The joy of this production is the way it embraces its ludicrousness...As a director, Castellino combines these various ingredients with zest..If only the material all this inventiveness is lavished on had the same charm. Instead, it clunks with clichés." Full Review

Spill
Midtown W
Theatermania

"While the effort to include a variety of perspectives is admirable, the result is a bit too much information...Although the descriptions are intermittently devastating and the explosion's reenactment is powerful, the overgenerous documentation weighs down the drama...Exacerbating the script's excess is the shortage of actors relative to the number of roles...Despite such shortcomings, 'Spill' still gets across a sense of the human lives upended by the Deepwater disaster." Full Review

Sakina’s Restaurant
West Village
Theatermania

"The play...focuses on the personal rather than the political — and in that respect, it's barely aged at all...Mandvi is most convincing when playing characters furthest from him in age and gender...During the weaker monologues, the holes in Mandvi's solo approach appear...'Sakina's Restaurant' succeeds on its own terms...Mandvi and Senior have assembled a mountain of stories, characters, and dreams. Even though cracks show here and there, their work is still impressive when viewed as a whole." Full Review

Theatermania

"Compelling but patchy...The good news about the de-emphasis on production values is that the acting, much of it outstanding, comes to the fore...The overall sympathy-stirring, character-driven approach to the material generally works, but there are bits of plot that get lost in the poor-Richard arc...Whether or not you buy Pendleton's interpretation, it's thoughtfully constructed and performed." Full Review

Operation Crucible
Midtown W
Theatermania

for a previous production “In this period of physical and spiritual darkness, the show's direction shines. Shanahan isn't afraid of murk any more than she is of silence...The ingenuity of the designers, director, and script is heightened by the cast. All convince as working-class Englishmen while remaining distinct personalities...The play's emotional whammy complements its historical specificity...A reminder of both our humanity and our capacity for brutality." Full Review

My Brilliant Divorce
West Village
Theatermania

"Aron exploits much of her heroine's misery for laughs...The show's stereotypes and caricatures are even more discomfiting...A generally buoyant performance. Gilbert's ease onstage gets her laughs out of decrepit jokes...She relies more on charisma than range...Changes from one character to another are usually signaled through her voice, not her body. While she does credible accents, the overall effect is closer to new characters appearing in an audiobook than on a stage." Full Review

Theatermania

"The play offers no straightforward answers...Still, under the direction of Evan Yionoulis, the obliquity isn't off-putting - it's entrancing...The acting is fittingly hypnotic...Kennedy understands how language can be used. She and Yionoulis take different idioms - those of the South, Elizabethan drama, and 1940s films - and use them to tell a mystery story that speaks to various times and places...Let's hope this story proves intelligible to audiences." Full Review

The Briefly Dead
Midtown E
Theatermania

“Indulgently quirky...There's nothing wrong with riffing on a classic, but this reimagining values effects over coherence...Anchoring all the whimsy is Zafiropoulos as Alcestis...Forces ancient characters into a world of cheap sushi and Norton anthologies....'The Briefly Dead' is messy...As Alcestis herself says, 'Drag me back from the grave, and you're gonna get some dirt.' In this case, it's actually Zafiropoulos as Alcestis who's immaculate and the rest of the show that needs cleaning up." Full Review

A Real Boy
Midtown E
Theatermania

“Kaplan's colored his play with so much commentary...the result disorients rather than illuminates. The staging, under the sloppy direction of Audrey Alford, adds to the confusion…It's hard to see what's happening…Which, frankly, is just as well…While the puppets are underwhelming, the human characters are overdone…If Kaplan and other members of this production had studied reality more closely themselves, they might have given audiences a real play." Full Review

Theatermania

"'Numbers Nerds' has two chief merits, the first of which is the score. The energetic, if generically show-tuney music, is by Kornfeld and MarcAurele, with cute lyrics by Alex Higgen-Houser...Also deserving high marks is the show's cast. The spirit of teamwork celebrated by the musical's story is embodied by its actors, who share roughly equal time onstage, all holding their own...All in all, this musical adds up to a lot of fun for numbers nerds and theater geeks alike." Full Review

Sonder
Greenwich V
Theatermania

"One of 'Sonder's' triumphs is that it delivers sentiment without getting stuck in sentimentality...All the characters, in fact, are endearing, thanks largely to the actors who inhabit them...The actors give these characters life, but the script gives them something more. Moldovan's play transcends realism by populating the same space with characters from different times...For all its merits, 'Sonder' isn't perfect, but its digressions into implausibility are outshined by what it gets right." Full Review

Rotterdam
Midtown E
Theatermania

"What matters most about this show isn't the excellence of its constituent parts, though. It's what they create when combined. The punch of the script, together with the fierce acting and unifying direction, make for a living, aching portrait of a trans man and a transitioning relationship. And what relationship isn't always transitioning?...The triumph of 'Rotterdam' is the triumph of all great theater: It finds its way to the universal through the personal." Full Review

The Room Sings
East Village
Theatermania

“An overwrought work…That most of the actors come off as real people in the midst of this wackiness is to their credit. The best performances, however, are those of the beaver puppets...Exquisitely crafted by Ralph Lee, these critters sing and, most adorably, dance in unison...Also well executed are the video projections…The music integrates less smoothly…Appealing as parts of the house that Zimet built are, at the end of the day, it's in need of some renovations.” Full Review

Theatermania

"Despite such elements of artificiality, Grunfeld and Simon have written something poignant...The vividness of these characters is matched by the vividness of the production itself...Roger Hendricks Simon's direction shares both the efficiency of the set and the evocativeness of the costumes. What he and his cast and crew have fashioned with 'The Dressmaker's Secret' isn't just a work of art — it's a work of humanity." Full Review