David cote

David Cote

About:  David Cote is theater editor and chief drama critic at Time Out New York. He also regularly reviews for NY1's On Stage.
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Reviews (168)
Preview screenhunter 2587 jan. 09 20.02
60
Time Out New York

"Apart from the cast’s charm and visual coups engineered by director Lila Neugebauer, the 100-minute experiment feels overlong and talky...Lord knows we don’t need a 'faithful' revival of this theatrical fossil, but I’m not sure this slangy, digressive gloss adds much substance. Stranded between cosmic earnestness and a collegiate urge to interrogate weird old texts, 'Everybody' has trouble holding onto a fixed identity." Full Review

Preview manfromnebraska
60
Time Out New York

"Letts can do grotesque and emotionally raw, but here he reins in his darkest dramatic impulses. The writing builds up a humane character study, but it rarely raises the room temperature...At its core, the play—handsomely staged by Cromer and scrupulously acted by a fine ensemble—is about choosing a path in life versus accepting what sociology hands you. That’s a perfectly juicy theme, but Letts makes it less a shocking journey to enlightenment than a dutiful stroll round the block." Full Review

Preview img 0077
95
Time Out New York

"The environment installed by Steven Dufala at New York Theatre Workshop for performer Geoff Sobelle and director David Neumann’s astonishing and revelatory 'The Object Lesson' is one epic mausoleum...If you didn’t catch this startlingly original show when it premiered at BAM three years ago, treat yourself to this limited run...It's best seen without advance information...What exactly is the lesson here? We live, we die, we leave garbage behind. But to make art from trash: That’s real magic." Full Review

Preview 800x1200 jitney
85
Time Out New York

"A soul-sustaining, symphonic piece by a late, great master, about fathers and sons, workers and their dreams—deliverance for audiences hungry for soaring language and tough truths. Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson steers a powerhouse cast through the dense alleyways and along the majestic avenues of Wilson’s language...It’s not driven by plot so much as the impulses and chemistry of the characters. And they have been incarnated to perfection by a great group." Full Review

Preview beautyqueen2
80
Time Out New York

“A solidly entertaining revival. Notable among the cast is Mullen, the original Maureen, now old enough to play the wheedling, malingering Mag. Mullen makes a full meal of her role, which, perversely, grows more pathetic the meaner she gets...With these vibrant, lusty performers at the controls, the grim machinery of McDonagh’s amoral morality tale clicks into place: so ugly you can’t take your eyes off it." Full Review

Preview gorey
80
Time Out New York

"Russ’s lovingly crafted play is less concerned with the nitty-gritty of Gorey’s publishing career...and more with his breezy evasions and elliptical musings on an eccentric, solitary life...The mood flits gently from whimsical to melancholy and dryly bemused...For the proud owner of the anthology 'Amphigorey' and its sequels, 'Gorey' (handsomely produced by Life Jacket Theatre Company) is a visit to an old friend who always amuses and sometimes surprises." Full Review

Preview prrr
85
Time Out New York

"Perfectly enjoyable even without a chest-warming, peaty buzz…A witty send-up of literary theory and rom-coms that morphs into a real mini-epic of damnation and obsession, ‘Prudencia Hart’ keeps a fine balance between supernatural shocks and Fringe-like silliness. Wilson’s scrappy troupe tears around the room, pulling off audience-interactive shenanigans with adorable aplomb. They sing, they dance, and they risk life and limb on top of cluttered tables for our amusement." Full Review

Preview in transit
60
Time Out New York

"This Broadway iteration, sprucely directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and with a charming ensemble, better showcases the book and score. But the central problem remains: harmonic overload. If you listen to Pentatonix on repeat and own the box set of 'Glee,' you might spend 100 minutes in bliss. The rest of us will grow tired of numbers that sound like ’70s sitcom theme songs or advertising jingles. This is where I get off." Full Review

Preview rancho viejo white
85
Time Out New York

"LeFranc blends bold formalist tricks with deep empathy for his characters’ frailties…At times 'Rancho' feels like a deadpan suburban comedy of manners in slow motion…Semi-absurdist tactics could be deadly with mediocre actors, but Aukin’s immaculate production shines with a smashing cast. The play is consistently funny...'Rancho Viejo' may seem oddly constructed and furnished, but it’s magnificently strange and welcoming once you get through the door." Full Review

Preview rsz ride the cyclone
60
Time Out New York

"A lengthy cooking time has only resulted in a derivative, if energetically plated stew...'Cyclone' earns points for its hectic mix of misanthropic satire and small-town melancholy, and the eclectic score keeps things lively—Brooke Maxwell and Jacob Richmond's tunes run the gamut from Ukrainian rap to French chanson and indie pop. But at 100 minutes, this gaudily hand-painted car trundles along after the thrill has faded." Full Review

Preview download
95
NY1

"Pure theatrical magic…Country aristocrat Natasha is played with sparkle and pluck by Denée Benton…Josh Groban makes a forceful and passionate Broadway debut as the dissolute Pierre...Rachel Chavkin’s breathless, immersive staging is a constant source of wonder...One of the most thrilling Broadway musicals this decade, 'The Great Comet' is intimate yet epic, ironic yet deeply felt, cosmic yet down to earth. It lights up the sky and our hearts." Full Review

Preview party23
70
Time Out New York

“A wildly ambitious and overstuffed homage to grassroots activism and in-fighting among the Black Panthers and the Young Lords…’Party People’ is nothing if not kinesthetically engaged…The piece is a researched yet original blend of docu-musical, family comedy, live video and hip-hop, defiantly unstable and sprawling...As it is, 'Party People' is a galvanizing education for the young (or ignorant) and a provocation to everyone to take sides." Full Review

Preview master harold white 2
80
Time Out New York

"The 80-odd minutes that precede this bitter climax is exposition, backstory and windup. Richly detailed acting and Fugard’s solid direction make the journey there fairly engaging. The grown Robbins is totally convincing as the sweet, priggish but deeply repressed Harold, and Brown and Ngaujah have an easy rapport as two men cheerfully negotiating an unfair system." Full Review

Preview keyart 01
80
Time Out New York

"Ghostly and sensuous revival of Christopher Hampton’s hit play (based on the 1782 epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos)...Schreiber’s impassive libertine pairs nicely with McTeer’s vengeful, wicked widow. Director Josie Rourke opts for a languid pace as these two dance a minuet of wasted love and cruelty, a game in which death is the prize and the winner feels cheated." Full Review

Preview frontpage
100
Time Out New York

"A 5,000-volt revival...Whipped into a hellacious comic frenzy by one of the best acting ensembles you and I may ever see. Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1928 evisceration of the newspaper racket is a summit of American screwball comedy...Director Jack O’Brien’s pedal-to-the-metal production is astonishingly true to the spirit and letter of the script...O’Brien’s pacing is masterful, guiding us from belly laughs to a sudden, sickening drop in our stomachs. What seals the deal is the acting." Full Review

Preview sellbuydate
85
Time Out New York

"Anyone who saw the performer's equally jaw-dropping 2006 turn, 'Bridge & Tunnel,' will know her ability to vocally and physically transform...Here, she does not disappoint, blending virtuosic mimicry with a sly feminist message that if erotic power relations do not evolve, it could be the death of us. Directed with maximum style and clarity by Carolyn Cantor, 'Sell/Buy/Date' shows the protean Jones staging a one-woman orgy of provocative ideas." Full Review

Preview oh hello
90
NY1

"A Comedy Central cult act created by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, Gil and George are curmudgeonly wannabe artists still waiting for their big break...Directed with a keen sense of the absurd by the brilliant Alex Timbers, 'Oh, Hello' is extremely funny stuff, veering from satirical wit to wackadoodle zaniness. Kroll and Mulaney have honed these grotesques for years and 90 minutes is almost too little time in their creepy company." Full Review

Preview unnamed
85
Time Out New York

"Michael Wilson’s firm, translucent production hits the right notes of melancholy, dry humor and nostalgia we’ve come to expect from the author of 'The Trip to Bountiful' and 'The Orphans Home Cycle'...There are lovely performances by two great ladies of the stage: Hallie Foote and Harriet Harris...The final act, set in an Austin asylum where Annie has lost the narrative thread of her life, is both deeply sad and gently whimsical—a magic trick that only Horton could pull off." Full Review

Preview nat turner
60
Time Out New York

"Davis’s way into the material is neither historical pageant nor postmodern abstraction; he and director Megan Sandberg-Zakian opt (almost quaintly) for poetic naturalism with theatrical flourishes...Such a stolid, talky approach puts the burden, unfortunately, on the acting. Brannon’s Turner has an unexpected sweetness that grows on you and makes his flashes of righteous rage all the more rattling. But Vickers, as Gray, is too callow to add nuance or depth to his scenes." Full Review

Preview birds white
30
Time Out New York

"Even a brilliant playwright can have an off day, but this NYC premiere is so shabbily conceived and executed, it’s hard to know where to place the blame...This humorless, generic script feels like a first draft, halfway to a screenplay, not delving enough into the characters’ twisted emotions...Any weaknesses in the text are severely exacerbated by Stefan Dzeparoski’s clunky, low-budget, barely designed production. The actors struggle valiantly." Full Review

Preview spamilton white
85
Time Out New York

"The bulk of the show is carried by a jaw-dropping ensemble in multiple roles...They drive the hilarity all 75 minutes; the laughs are huge and nonstop, and let’s face it: 'Spamilton' may be the closest you get to 'Hamilton' without going broke or waiting for years. Beneath the jokes and bitchery, there is a genuine critique—and it goes beyond 'Hamiltonian' hegemony." Full Review

Preview daybythesea
65
Time Out New York

"Apart from the easily parodied genteel surface of Hunter’s work, one is struck by its derivativeness. At moments, it’s as if Hunter wrote on tracing paper laid over 'Uncle Vanya.' Of course, there are worse talents to ape, and Hunter is a sensitive observer of English neuroses and resilience. The fine cast navigates the quippy, stiff-upper-lipness with vibrant grace…A melancholy study of middle-age malaise leavened by flashes of wit and humor, good for 'Downton Abbey' addicts." Full Review

Preview brandonna
60
Time Out New York

"Drag fandom cuts both ways. Compared to the greats, this cabaret-within-a-comedy is a slight showcase that doesn’t know when to belt its last anthem or take its final bow…If the songs were stronger or pacing tighter, you might care about the wafer-thin plot. On the plus side, Alter has a sturdy pop tenor, a talent for camp one-liners and legs that go on forever…So there’s eye candy, peppy tunes and some laughs. But the affair drags; pardon the term." Full Review

Preview eng show score
35
Time Out New York

“Finger-food theater: tasty enough in nibbles but leaves you wanting more and is forgotten soon after eating...Teitler’s bitchy banter and metatheatrical asides strive for wit and pathos but mainly prod along an ordinary tale of epigram-spouting narcissists who behave badly and learn to own their damage. During the scene changes in Kimberly Senior’s leaden production, the actors groove to DJ standards. Those dance sequences look like the most fun they have all night.” Full Review

Preview cats
30
Time Out New York

“This was a lost opportunity. Rather than lamely re-creating the original, why not orchestrate the score for acoustic instruments, redo the costumes and dances, and find fresh drama underneath the tacky, dated pageantry? Instead we get a taxidermied pet. If there is heart to the piece, it’s Grizabella, the faded, outcast 'glamour cat.' British crooner Leona Lewis has a big, yearning voice, but even her (heavily amplified) yowling of 'Memory' can’t make the past worth revisiting.” Full Review

Preview rsz 1rsz evening at the talkhouse
80
Time Out New York

"Watching 'Talk House,' I had the uncanny sensation that Shawn has turned his theatrical nightmares into our waking reality...Staged with sly humor and creeping perversity by Elliott, 'Talk House' is elliptical, weird stuff. Unless you’re already a fan, you may find it opaque or off-puttingly cryptic. Those of us who’ve loved Shawn for years, however, will simply note that he’s moved into documentaries." Full Review

Preview beardo
60
Time Out New York

"Scruffy and messy, which is fun for a bit—before you start yearning for dramaturgical focus and stronger direction to bring out a decent musical...Director Ellie Heyman has fine individual ingredients to work with: Craig’s goofy-eerie dialogue and lyrics, Malloy’s folksy pop and a cast bursting with talent. It’s the integration of those elements and themes that doesn’t work...A novelty-song cycle grafted onto an absurdist historical fable, 'Beardo' needs trimming." Full Review

Preview 299518
80
Time Out New York

"If the premise sounds like a sitcom pitch, at least playwright Tanya Saracho supplies plenty of wit and attitude...Saracho has a keen ear for delusions or hypocrisies...Despite Saracho’s smart, fluid dialogue and the tight staging by Ruiz, 'Fade' suffers from two-hander structural monotony: She’s having a crisis, he shuts off the vacuum, and they talk. Saracho also makes Abel far more sympathetic than Lucia, who ends up (predictably) exploiting his 'authentic' experiences." Full Review

Preview rsz the tempest
80
Time Out New York

"An effective, well-edited Tempest (105 minutes without intermission), and Walter’s emotionally translucent Prospero—bluff pride exquisitely mingled with shame and penitence—is reason enough to attend. The rest of the youthful, multiracial cast does energetic, appealing work." Full Review

Preview 82707 9
35
Time Out New York

"This crass, seriocomic script lumbers along for three palpable hours, alternately tedious and odious, expecting us to care about its petty, miserable, bed-hopping Russian characters without giving them witty or touching things to say. 'I’m so bored. Bored and disappointed,' moans Anna during her boozy, interminable birthday party. She speaks for all of us...Unless you cut 'Platonov' savagely to the bone or find a novel approach, it’s going to come across as callow, sub-Chekhov stuff." Full Review

Preview life is for living white
60
Time Out New York

"Green skims lightly over Coward’s life and art as a playwright, matinee idol, songwriter, bon vivant and embodiment of stiff-upper-Englishness. The performer’s light tenor nicely evokes Coward’s early recordings, but serves less well for later, more acerbic items. With light, crisp diction he navigates Coward’s twisty, rhyme-packed lyrics, but his comic attack is too gentle. And Green seems determined to elevate Coward’s brittle, slightly misanthropic humor with melancholy wistfulness." Full Review

Preview nytw othelloshowpage 4641x2616 1280x721  1
90
Time Out New York

"Gold knows when to increase the volume on his contemporary touches and when simply to trust the words. This isn’t a radical re-interpretation of 'Othello' so much as a fresh coat of paint and a strong, clear reading, never forgetting our present moment...The acting throughout is vivid, muscular and great on the ear. Craig and Oyelowo are superb together, and they give the language heft and fire...Oyelowo is the most physically imposing, emotionally stricken Othello in memory." Full Review

Preview thebandsvisit
85
Time Out New York

"Sensitively directed by Cromer, these numbers emerge from conversational talk with pure, organic simplicity...Yazbek is one of our best comic lyricists, but here his verses are restrained, pensive and brimful of yearning. Moses matches him for emotional honesty, using silence or misunderstanding to articulate the messy inner lives of the characters...'The Band’s Visit' is remarkably fresh and revelatory." Full Review

Preview rsz the babylon line
65
Time Out New York

"'The Babylon Line' is by Richard Greenberg; barbed repartee, shiny epigrams, and baroque arias of loss and longing all come with the territory...Director Terry Kinney steers a fine cast to a nice balance of whimsy and wistfulness...It’s the plotting and momentum of the second act in which things grow fuzzy and attenuated...The digressive wrapping up of narrative threads in the last 20 minutes unfolds less like compelling drama and more like dutiful housekeeping." Full Review

Preview fwd key 800x1200
55
Time Out New York

"There will be a horrid, selfish mother; her children will grow into unhappy adults; their dad is dead or dying. Those criteria are dutifully met in the acid-penned playwright’s new black comedy...Such a bad beginning will never lead to a happy family, an obvious conclusion that Silver doesn’t do much to deepen or challenge after intermission. Mom never loved Dad, and 46 years later, everyone’s sad. That’s the short version of 'Forward,' which ranks at the bottom half of Silver’s output." Full Review

Preview dps white
60
Time Out New York

"Let’s just say Classic Stage Company’s earnest but flat-footed adaptation inspires thoughts of Netflix streaming more than leaping up on one’s desk to cry, 'O Captain! My Captain!'...Tom Schulman has competently translated his screenplay to the stage, with scenes smoothly flowing in and out. And Doyle has assembled a solid ensemble of keen young actors as the boys...Sudeikis has a smooth, easygoing air...but he’s far too flip and contemporary to believe as a poetry-loving pedant circa 1959." Full Review

Preview last black man white
80
Time Out New York

"A jazzy, poetic fever dream about the wounds left by erasure on the book of history, this 1990 piece seems especially shocking when you consider the grotesque chapter our country’s chroniclers are about to inscribe...This is not an easy play to dissect or digest...It’s a jagged, angry, weird text, yet director Lileana Blain-Cruz stages it in high style, with a skin-prickling soundscape (including dance-break music that’s aggressively fun) and a raft of brave in-your-face performances." Full Review

Preview sweat white
80
Time Out New York

for a previous production "Through her power as a dramatist, Nottage makes you empathize with the desperation and rage of citizens whose lives barely affect yours...Gripping and timely though 'Sweat' undoubtedly is, it’s not as polished or galvanizing as Nottage’s previous work...At times, the dialogue grows preachy or on-the-nose, ticking off points about NAFTA or intersectional racism...The acting is impassioned and full-bodied, and Kate Whoriskey’s naturalistic staging is assured, fluid and emotionally vibrant." Full Review

Preview vietgone
90
Time Out New York

"The freshest, most exuberantly youthful piece I’ve seen at MTC in ages...Adrales’ high-octane staging moves so swiftly and surely, you may not initially appreciate the buckets of stagecraft she and Nguyen throw at us scene after scene...It's the immigrant narrative, but told with disarming frankness and humor—plus a roadside throwdown involving rednecks and ninjas. I cannot emphasize enough what a versatile and lovable cast this is." Full Review

Preview final
85
Time Out New York

"Although it may sound overly schematic in print, the psychocultural history mapped by 'Love, Love, Love' is filled with interesting detours and switchbacks, abundant humor and a refusal (mostly) to condemn baby boomers outright...Michael Mayer’s fine-tuned and nicely balanced production shows off five actors in top form...It’s a testament to Bartlett’s clever, incisive dialogue that such selfish, limited people should steal our hearts." Full Review

Preview cherry orchard
55
Time Out New York

“The only question is whether a new frame or filter works on its own terms. And with this thoughtful but often schematic and disjointed 'Cherry Orchard,' the answer is: only in spurts...Godwin works well with several excellent actors…All the actors' bodies are in uncommonly strong dialogue with each other…By stylizing Chekhov's world, the human stakes and basic relationships are drained of power. ‘The Cherry Orchard’ can survive harder ax blows, but this attempt is just so much peeled bark.” Full Review

Preview rtc holidayinn cast
70
Time Out New York

"Bleu has a winning muscularity and grace in various tap and ballroom sequences. Pinkham generates some chemistry with Gayer. They duet sweetly on 'White Christmas,' one of the two dozen-odd Irving Berlin ditties jukeboxed into a jazzy-elegant score. And let’s hear it for the chorus—an adorable, charmingly diverse bunch. Sure, there’s more corn and cheese served in this earnest, sweater-vested affair than any nutritionist would approve, but what harm in a cup of early eggnog?" Full Review

Preview 82854 2
95
Time Out New York

"Closing one’s eyes in the theater can be a sign of boredom. But shutting the peepers at McBurney’s utterly transfixing mind-tickler 'The Encounter' is a valid expression of rapture...McBurney is a wryly engaging performer who can command an audience by sheer force...In this primal, lysergic movie for the brain, McBurney covers a dazzling array of topics...Part mystic thriller, part tricksy aural illusion, 'The Encounter' offers a meeting of ear, mind and soul you will never forget." Full Review

Preview 24
90
Time Out New York

"There is so much art genius rampaging through St. Ann’s Warehouse...'Perfection is for assholes,' Mac states quite perfectly, forging beauty from pain and failure...It was three hours without intermission, pure anarchic and, yes, exhausting bliss. Folks were encouraged to stand and tell their most humiliating puke stories. Oh, look: I’ve run out of words; thank the angels and devils Taylor Mac never will." Full Review

Preview final thewolves poster copy
90
Time Out New York

for a previous production "Sarah DeLappe’s extremely skillful debut...DeLappe's exquisitely orchestrated cross talk and overlapping banter, dense with profanity and jokes, is quite musical...The characters are drawn quickly but precisely and are acted by a dynamic young ensemble...Their fraught, heightened lives are revealed in blurry glimpses, as the restless, roving narrative darts across a curving swath of AstroTurf as green as youth." Full Review

Preview layover white
85
Time Out New York

"Trip Cullman’s gorgeous-looking and boldly acted production delivers the play in optimal form: racy laughs that suddenly trail into passages of eloquent pain and loss...True, the character contrivances required by her plot may rankle afterward—and might have been mitigated by retroactive exposition or a more fragmented performance by Parisse...But with Headland, even when the roof caves in, that seems part of the design—and the fun." Full Review

Preview rsz the coward
35
Time Out New York

“The whiteface loons in ‘The Coward’ never stop gabbing - which is especially unfortunate, given their manic, crushingly dull dialogue. Talky clowns: not a recipe for belly laughs. Energetic but scattershot to the point of tedium...A confusing, overwritten picaresque with metaphysical pretensions and a drawn-out WTF downer ending, barely salvaged by the ensemble’s youthful enthusiasm.” Full Review

Preview rsz thefuckingproblem16 4538
55
Time Out New York

"A slender two-hander...There are valid dramatic questions, but the he-said-she-said format doesn’t bring them to the fore so much as double the noise and clichés. A third character’s outside perspective might have thrown the themes into high relief, or better writing would simply make the 60 minutes pass more pleasantly. Instead, we endure lame puns and trite analogies to string along shallow psychological insights. " Full Review

Preview men on boats white
85
Time Out New York

"Playwright Backhaus gender-flips her hardy crew and asks director Davis to stage the impossible: vessels barreling over waterfalls and hairsbreadth escapes from drowning. Silly? Sure. Thrilling? Oh, yes...Although Backhaus’s sly inventory of male weakness can grow repetitious after an hour or so, the cast is a dream team of experimental pros and fresh faces, mining the pathos and genuine heroism of the story...'Men' has simply the best acting ensemble Off Broadway right now." Full Review

Preview quietly title author 352x500
90
Time Out New York

“The play unfolds in real time with the tension and urgency of Greek tragedy...O’Kane is harrowingly good, a bullet-headed knot of anger and bilious rue. Conlon’s stoical Ian is more contained, until he’s provoked past the paralysis of his guilt. And Zawadzki maintains a fine balance between the two, a gently comical observer, the bemused outsider. Jimmy Fay’s direction is rock solid and the terse, lean play grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go.” Full Review