David Rooney

David Rooney is a critic with The Hollywood Reporter. 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 (180)
85
The Hollywood Reporter

"Delivering raw emotionality, boisterous humor and cultural authenticity that will stir you whether you're experiencing the show for the first time or the 15th...Steven Skybell brings exuberant charm, warmth, flinty intelligence and even a bearish sexiness...Grey navigates the show's many shifts from comedy to pathos, from elation to fear and desolation, with a supple hand, and the heartfelt investment in the story and characters is evident throughout." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"It's to Sorkin's credit that he lets the contemporary parallels emerge naturally, without hitting us over the head, in a transfixing act of theatrical storytelling graced by exceptional ensemble acting. Perhaps the most notable achievement of this thoughtful adaptation and makes us hang on every word as if experiencing the story for the first time...Even the riskiest choices pay off...This is theatrical storytelling so assured and involving it's hard to imagine anyone not being mesmerized." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"The satirical sting may have been blunted by time, but the prescience is indisputable...What hurts the writing at 40-plus years' distance is that by remaining locked in the 1970s, it arguably doesn't go far enough...Still, as a real-world horror show about the profits to be reaped by accessing popular anger, 'Network' remains gripping, largely because Cranston makes his character's tragic trajectory a white-knuckle ride, and van Hove infuses the drama with dizzying kinetic energy." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"The show is one part satire, packed with delicious theatrical in-jokes delivered with aplomb by game stage veterans playing caricatures of themselves; and one part inclusivity teaching moment...If the two halves aren't entirely seamless, the show has enough humor and heart to paper over the cracks...Even if the material is contrived and the songs are catchy without being exactly memorable, the terrific cast sells it all with irresistible verve." Full Review

70
The Hollywood Reporter

"'American Son' vibrates with the urgency of a necessary conversation...Director Kenny Leon is only ever as good as his material, and in this case he's working with a drama more compelling in subject than execution. Christopher Demos-Brown's play undercuts its power with schematic writing a tad too heavy on speeches. Nonetheless, it remains involving and provocative...This is tense theater designed to shake up our complacency and make us think. In that aim, it succeeds." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"While the memory play is not the most profound work of this keenly observant writer, it's probably his most personal...Neugebauer handles the gradual modulation from light comedy to searing pathos with confidence. But the play's inevitable limitation is that there's only one direction it can go...’The Waverly Gallery’ has been given a sensitive, for the most part beautifully acted production that honors the playwright's very personal stake." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

“The exchanges have the vigorous back-and-forth zing of a sweaty squash match, not to mention a stinging relevance to so much of what's been happening for years now in American social, cultural and political discourse. It's hard to imagine this pithy play ever being more timely or more ideally cast, and the dynamic of the three actors is thrilling to watch...As riveting as Jones and Cannavale are, however, the real revelation here is Radcliffe...You can’t take your eyes off him.” Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

“Aukin has put together an elegant production with a uniformly fine cast, and the writing is laced with poignant Chekhovian shadings. But thematically, we've been down this road many times before, with more penetrating insights...Miller is a juicy role for the inimitably acerbic Channing. Or she would be if the complex character hadn't been shortchanged by the playwright...The writing makes it tough to care about her...This 10-year-old play still needs work.” Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"Effortful delivery is just one issue with the wheezy direction of Daniel Sullivan, whose forte is definitely not this kind of snappy, suspenseful comedy, in which timing is everything...It's a testimony to the cheeky humor and ingenious plotting of this 2016 play that it remains agreeable entertainment despite less-than-ideal handling. The frequently hilarious one-liners help...Sullivan's direction lacks spark and fluidity, making the play feel overlong at two hours-plus." Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

"While the creative team strains a tad too diligently to give the female lead agency and sidestep the Cinderella story's awkward sexual politics, the show is best appreciated as a retro pleasure, guilty or not...Its chief reason to exist is as a nostalgia exercise, not a fresh entertainment in its own right. The songs are almost superfluous...Barks makes a sensational Broadway debut...Vivian probably could have done without the blunt literalness of lyrics by Adams and Vallance." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"It's rendered especially captivating by the long overdue return to musical theater of Rose in a sizzling take on the title role... Doyle has made the right choice in treating it as a history piece. He has also cast gifted singers...The production doesn't quite make a case for 'Carmen Jones' as a neglected classic, but the 75-year-old cross-genre mashup does emerge as a fabulous artifact that still thrums with irresistible vitality." Full Review

85
The Hollywood Reporter

"What might have been another bulletin from the distant queer past is transformed into a scintillating portrait of the self-loathing that festers in ghettoized subcultures, perhaps as much now as then...The production is sharpest when the zingers are flying back and forth, but the anger coursing through the play's veins still scalds...There's unapologetic ownership and humanity in the incisive characterizations, which banishes any simplistic perception of the play as a voyeuristic pity party." Full Review

25
The Hollywood Reporter

"A feebly dramatized Wikipedia page with lackluster covers...This dramaturgically inept show either short-changes or outright massacres Summer's music; undervalues her achievements...completely fails to contextualize her legacy; glosses over her massive gay fan base; and rams its female-empowerment message down your throat...More like a 'Saturday Night Live' parody of a jukebox musical...The hack-job direction is matched by Sergio Trujillo's bland choreography." Full Review

70
The Hollywood Reporter

"Sumptuous staging from Bartlett Sher, a director who has proved to be among the very best at chiseling surprising nuance out of vintage musicals. So why is the stately revival also a slight disappointment?...It's a polished production with an accomplished — if not spectacular — cast. But it doesn't come close to the sweeping cinematic fluidity of Sher's best work...I found Ambrose's unrefined Eliza squawky and charmless, blunting much of the early comedy." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

"The production tips the balance away from the author's sensitive handling of deaf politics toward the bland reaffirmation that the heart is a more powerful communication tool than the human voice...Leon's sluggish production does eventually gather some steam...Those basic rights of autonomy, respect and visibility should still resonate today, perhaps more than ever...And yet they are strangely muffled by Leon's insipid treatment of the love story." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"Stage acting doesn't get any better than Glenda Jackson's performance as the autocratic nonagenarian in Edward Albee's 'Three Tall Women'...It's an almost ridiculous luxury that in Joe Mantello's crystalline production of this brittle but moving play about death and self-knowledge, two such accomplished actors as Laurie Metcalf and Alison Pill become supplementary dividends." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"In a superlative production like this one, directed with laser-like acuity by Marianne Elliott, it's the prescience of the writing that truly astonishes — no less than the harrowing beauty, the wildly imaginative flights and the acerbic humor of the drama, or the riveting work of a magnificent ensemble...What remains amazing is how much of this sprawling yet cohesive tapestry Kushner got so right...There are design masterstrokes that take your breath away." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"A smart, provocative drama with a rich vein of humor that pulls the rug out from under liberal white America, letting nobody off scot-free...Even if 'Admissions' is a little speechy and could use some trimming, it represents a satisfying expansion of the playwright's range after his well-received previous efforts...Director Daniel Aukin and his fine cast confidently steer 'Admissions' through this sticky, at times morally murky territory." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"A delectably dark comedy about injustice, revenge and man's instinct for violence, state-sanctioned or otherwise...Those bristling themes make this expertly crafted play a lively companion piece to McDonagh's 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri...McDonagh is back in top form here...If the later plotting becomes less precise, the dialogue crackles, the running jokes are devilishly good, and the characters are incisively drawn, providing choice fodder for an electric ensemble." Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

"There's a certain whiplash effect, to be sure, in jumping from Bowie/Eno gloom rock to bubblegum pop to country to gospel to more conventional show tunes. But there's also a generosity of spirit here that, together with the playful visual imagination and the extremely likeable, racially diverse cast, proves hard to resist...Musical-theater snobs should probably give 'SpongeBob' a wide berth. But audiences willing to go with its demented escapism should find plenty of fun." Full Review

40
The Hollywood Reporter

"Thurman attacks the part like she's doing bad Noel Coward in regional repertory theater....This is a play with an identity crisis, exacerbated by MacKinnon's incongruously stylized scene changes...Visually, these fussy interludes make no sense, beyond echoing the confusion of a work that can't decide if it's a sly political thriller about our alarming reality or a conventional drawing-room comedy about no credible reality at all." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"A dizzying whirl of attitude, anxiety and adolescent hormonal volatility practically pings off the walls...The subtlety of the craftsmanship, the assurance of tone and the thematic incisiveness are remarkable, astonishingly so for a first work...DeLappe has a knack for making her artfulness appear almost accidental. Her dialogue has the unwritten sound of real conversation...This is one of the most striking playwriting debuts in recent memory, and absolutely not to be missed." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"It transfers to Broadway with its delicate alchemy intact, borne aloft by the intoxicating Middle-Eastern rhythms of David Yazbek's original score and by the soulful performances of an exemplary ensemble...None of the hushed intimacy, the subtlety or nuance of this narratively spare piece has been lost...The entire ensemble is attuned to the show's quiet observations, and its unusual, funny-sad sensibility." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"The bluntness and lack of poetry in Taymor's sluggish 'M. Butterfly' revival are no fault of the talented Jin Ha, who plays Song with an enigmatic air..Owen's dour Gallimard is more hamstrung by the production's approach...M. Butterfly remains a provocative drama...But in their counterintuitive attempt to make the play relevant for an audience more versed in the complexities of gender and racial politics, Taymor and Hwang have inadvertently undercut its pathos." Full Review

30
The Hollywood Reporter

"An underdeveloped doodle that tosses around allusions to Greek mythology as weightlessly as it takes inorganic jabs at Trump, the play squanders the talents of a gifted cast...Under Shanley's pedestrian direction, the ensemble is required to labor so hard breathing life into the material that it could almost be classified as employee abuse...Shanley is too skilled a writer not to muster at least mild amusement, but the comedy mostly is an awkward collision of shrill and flat." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"The specificity of a black middle-class milieu, plus the writer's sharp ear for dialogue and his observations on class, race and sexuality, give McCraney's play distinctive qualities that outweigh its more conventional aspects...Cullman guides the production with a brisk, assured hand...but the distended length points up some ambling stretches in which the play's thrust loses force...The frequent detours into song can be relied upon to keep recapturing the emotional intensity." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

“The flame of originality barely flickers, leaving a show that feels only intermittently fresh, despite the commitment of a perky young cast...How much you get out of the show will depend on your appetite for '90s nostalgia...Some of this is genuinely witty, even if Heckerling's new lyrics are groaning with false rhymes and at times sit awkwardly on the melodies. But I found it all hit-or-miss...A roughly stitched patchwork of second-hand elements." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"We get Cher at three distinct points in her evolution, cracking wise and offering cautionary advice, encouragement and consolation through her ups and downs. That quasi-interior dialogue is often quite affecting...Is the show good? Certainly not in the sense of traditional musical-theater craft. Would I see it again? Duh, already planning on it. Director Jason Moore's production, unashamedly embraces its abundance of trashy-flashy, tacky vintage-Vegas kitsch." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"Even if the star puppet might be better suited for an arena spectacle or theme-park attraction, you can't take your eyes off this technological marvel, not least for its incredible facial expressiveness...This is a rare time I can honestly say that while 'King Kong' the musical is a wretched mess, I would recommend 'King Kong' the stage spectacle...This is a show in which the songs never feel grounded in story or character, let alone period." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"Perhaps there's something liberating about being back within these historically significant walls that has coaxed Michael Urie out from behind the author's shadow to seize ownership of the heart-on-his-sleeve protagonist in a virtuoso turn... Not only does he now feel more like a flesh-and-blood person, but the staging has acquired greater fluidity and emotional richness...Kaufman and his cast hit every note of humor and heartache in a durable work." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"A crackling thriller woven into the vibrant canvas of a character-driven portrait of big-family...A work almost bursting with joy and celebration, with dance and song exploding out of fierce cultural identity, and with rambunctious humor and eccentricity...Mendes and Butterworth inject a chill into seemingly lighthearted moments, steadily ratcheting up the suspense until a closing scene that leaves you shocked and breathless...This is rich, full-throated theater not to be missed." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

“A historical drama so clunky and tonally confused it sometimes plays like a SNL sketch in search of a punchline...Penn's handsomely appointed production has one affecting interlude close to the end...But elsewhere the play is dull, prosaic and blighted by misplaced comedy, while Van Patten's performance is generally far less effective...Close approaches all this with an integrity and seriousness that the play seldom earns.” Full Review

85
The Hollywood Reporter

"Rather than artificially shoehorning songs into a purpose-built narrative, McPherson artfully builds a novelistic tapestry of archetypal figures, the poor and disenfranchised of an America suspended in time, using Dylan's pungently expressive lyrics...These people and their grim situations are carved out of a familiar Americana mold, and yet under McPherson's probing direction, the actors transcend melodramatic cliché, endowing their characters with battered humanity." Full Review

45
The Hollywood Reporter

“Despite many tantalizing elements and historical material ripe for exploration from a contemporary feminist perspective, Rebeck’s 'Bernhardt/Hamlet' doesn’t add up to a play. At least not a satisfying one...Rebeck is definitely stronger on dialogue than structure, but Von Stuelpnagel does what he can to keep the play moving...The play in most respects is a missed opportunity, despite the pleasure of watching the willowy, silver-tongued McTeer careen from high camp into righteous hauteur." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"It's a testament to the sensitivity of Lila Neugebauer's production of 'Mary Page Marlowe,' and the subtle connective thread binding the half-dozen actresses playing the title character at various ages, that the silences are when Tracy Letts' drama achieves its sharpest poignancy...The unimpeachably naturalistic dialogue reveals major and minor shadings throughout, but it's in the brief wordless moments of overlap during scene changes that the play's quiet force creeps up on you." Full Review

40
The Hollywood Reporter

"The undercooked 'Log Cabin' is schematic, lifeless and artificial in its examination of self-absorbed characters...I say characters, but really the six people represented onstage in MacKinnon's extravagantly upholstered production of this flimsy exercise are merely mouthpieces for a range of talking points...The play's core conflict, and it's certainly an interesting one, ripe for dramatization...The trouble is that Harrison hasn't successfully dramatized any of this." Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

"George C. Wolfe's revival feels on some levels like it's still cohering, the underlying despair remaining muted for too much of the three-hour-45-minute running time. But it comes together in a powerful final act driven by the searing confessional monologue of Denzel Washington's Hickey...Wolfe has assembled a talented ensemble, almost all digging deep into their characters...In those closing scenes, the play finally achieves its full tragic grandeur." Full Review

95
The Hollywood Reporter

"Anyone still ready to dismiss 'The Cursed Child' as a cynical brand extension...clearly hasn't experienced the thrilling theatricality, the pulse-pounding storytelling vitality, and the unexpected emotional richness of this unmissable two-part production...It's not hyperbole to call the show sheer magic...Witnessing elevated stagecraft applied to a time-traveling fantasy story of this nature conjures a sense of wonder and excitement that evokes vintage Saturday-matinee serials." Full Review

90
The Hollywood Reporter

"What's perhaps most striking about revisiting classics of this caliber in an ideally cast production like this one is how shoddy they make the craftsmanship of most new musicals look...The sumptuous 24-piece orchestra does the score full justice, as do Tunick's vibrant orchestrations...O'Brien has put together a dramatically forceful production that feels earthy and real, almost gritty at times, but is also wrapped in a charming old-fashioned theatricality that's quite whimsical." Full Review

80
The Hollywood Reporter

"A surprisingly enjoyable and genuinely funny sugar treat with a lot of heart...Key to the show's success is its attention to the secondary characters, both in the writing and in the performances...While the show's book outshines the score, the songs pack in their share of wit...Nicholaw infuses the production with his customary playful energy...Splashy ensemble numbers suggest a nervous burst of hormonally charged adolescence that makes 'Mean Girls' sing." Full Review

85
The Hollywood Reporter

"'Lobby Hero' is a textured consideration of more or less honest characters dealing with sticky moral questions, its dramatic pulse and its needling humor underscored by a rich vein of melancholy...A very fine production — with strong casting, sensitive direction from Trip Cullman and dynamic physical design by David Rockwell...What makes 'Lobby Hero' so engrossing is that nobody is entirely right or wrong and the moral questions at stake are never simply black or white." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

"For anyone expecting more than a straight-up rehash of the movie on stage, however, this pricey production will seem low on inspiration...'Frozen' doesn't entirely go wrong, but it does evince signs of the struggle to establish a consistent, unifying tone and to settle on a center in a story inherently bifurcated by having two heroines kept apart for most of the action...Rather than serving to vary the tone and leaven the gloom, the comedy interludes too often just feel strained." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

"A big, meaty, monologue-driven drama...It's performed by a mostly first-rate ensemble...It's laced with poignant passages...But it's also baggy and structurally monotonous, not to mention didactic and dated...Moments of intense dramatic impact but overall feels too diffuse...This shapeless play loses rather than gathers steam, ultimately seeming more like a docudrama patchwork with messy stitching than a satisfying, fully realized theatrical work." Full Review

60
The Hollywood Reporter

"If the play is structurally shaky and thematically a tad thin, Dove's exquisite staging yields compensatory rewards...This is a potentially fascinating story...But the drama becomes borderline inert...Once van Kampen has put Philippe and Farinelli together she doesn't really know what to do with them...The deteriorating mental health of a monarch here doesn't constitute a sustaining narrative arc, even if Rylance's commanding performance remains the center of attention." Full Review

85
The Hollywood Reporter

"A joyful hymn to community and resilience...Together with his resourceful design team and cast of expressive, vocally gifted performers, Arden has approached the piece with the nurturing hand it requires—striking a balance between child-like story theater and folkloric ritual...Demonstrates an impressive leap in maturity and creative vision for Arden...While the early scenes flirt with a whimsical quality that might easily turn cloying, the dramatic integrity of the piece prevails." Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

“Schumer is one of four terrific performers who juice the entertainment of this high-sheen production...But neither director nor cast can disguise the lack of substance in the padded sketch material...More like improv-comedy fodder than grist for a full-length play...There are plenty of laughs here — just no credible basis...that go beyond loopy absurdist parody...The production's chief reward is its deluxe cast, whose infectious energy helps fortify the flimsy material.” Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

“The limitations of the old-fashioned material cannot be disguised...But there's nonetheless plenty to savor...High among the production's strengths is the breathtaking vocal performance of O'Hara...Perhaps the most thrilling highlight is the impassioned dancing of Fairchild...As rousing as they are, the numerous dance interludes do tend to slow down the story, pointing up its relative flimsiness and minimizing character development." Full Review

65
The Hollywood Reporter

"Akhtar is a perceptive writer with an ear for pithy dialogue, so he keeps it engrossing...What he can't do is make us care about these characters, which somewhat limits 'Junk' to the sphere of glossy info-tainment...'Junk' isn't lacking in food for thought, but as drama it's a little dry and unrelentingly talky...The writing is brutal, clever, often witty, and the production sharp as a tack. But many will be left wondering if they really needed this dispiriting recap." Full Review

75
The Hollywood Reporter

"It's the human core of Gough's fearless performance that keeps you glued...While the group scenes can be somewhat repetitive and overwritten, the playwright strikes a considered balance between respect for the methods of recovery and skepticism about their limitations...Herrin's directorial flourishes, impressive and bracingly physical as they often are, do tend to pad the text, making it seem stretched at two hours and 20 minutes." Full Review

55
The Hollywood Reporter

"In Second Stage's choppy revival, director Moises Kaufman and star Michael Urie battle against that past association by inflating the lead role into an emphatic caricature...Without Fierstein's own unique brand of big-hearted, sloppy sentimentality inhabiting the central character, 'Torch Song' is a more pallid ballad, bittersweet and frequently funny but lacking the vitality to fully sustain its two-hour-40-minute run time." Full Review