David Sheward

David Sheward is a critic with Backstage. 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 (158)
Cultural Weekly

"They are both equally brilliant in these departures from their familiar parts. McNally’s skillful script deceptively seems to only depict a one-night stand between the title loners in Frankie’s cramped apartment...Arbus perfectly balances the play’s comic and dramatic elements while Shannon juggles Johnny’s intensity and sweetness...Their bittersweet, push-pull dance of acceptance, resistance, pain, ecstasy, and meatloaf sandwiches is heartbreaking, joyous, and irresistible." Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
Cultural Weekly

"A sometimes amusing, but ultimately predictable comedy-drama...Oreskes’ eloquent silent reactions and Santos’ hilariously delivered quips, chock full of musical-comedy references, merge with Sarandon’s on-target portrayal...and Ireland’s grounded depiction...to create comedy which both touching and riotous...'Happy Talk' has its sequences of fun and insight, but fails to sustain a truly credible situation and complex characters." Full Review

Burn This
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Driver and Russell, who are supposed to be wildly attracted, appear to barely acknowledge each other. The essential fiery chemistry allied to in the title is missing...Driver has the right imposing physique and physicality for the role, but he comes across as a comically clumsy oaf...To compound the production’s problems, Russell barely registers as the vacillating Anna...Fortunately...director Michael Mayer wisely emphasizes Wilson’s wit." Full Review

The Lehman Trilogy
Upper E Side
Theater Life

"Massini’s script brilliantly details what could have a dry recitation of economic theory and history by emphasizing the personal stories of the Lehmans...Cards, tightrope walking, dancing, and torrential storms are all used to depict the ups and downs of the clan’s American journey. Director Sam Mendes skillfully finds theatrical movement to bring these concepts to life...On Es Delvin’s massive, revolving cube of a set, Beale, Miles and Godley become a galaxy of characters." Full Review

Theater Life

"It’s so damned entertaining, joyously staged and performed that the minor politically correct tweaks to its book hardly matter. Cole Porter’s classic score is given the evergreen treatment by music director Paul Gemignani, Scott Ellis’ production is crisp, clean, and sleek and Warren Carlyle’s choreography is athletic, humorous and sexy. The fabulous Kelli O’Hara and the comically virile Will Chase lead a dazzling cast full of snappy dancers, riotous clowns, and clashing lovers." Full Review

Alice By Heart
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Shortchanges characterization and depth for gimmicky effects...It’s an intriguing conceit but Sater and Nelson’s book barely establishes the characters so there is no emotional investment in their desperation to retreat from reality...Sheik and Sater’s score features some sweet and stirring songs and Nelson’s staging does include some novel images...But the sameness of the concept grows repetitive...But even at 90 minutes, this 'Alice' is a tedious, less than golden afternoon." Full Review

Theater Life

"Falls short despite many improvements and arresting moments. The main problem is the basic concept...The small cast delivers Sondheim’s gorgeous and complex melodies with honesty and flair. They also manage to endow the slender characters with all the believable passion Furth’s dialogue lacks...'Merrily' remains the problem child of Sondheim’s creations, but it does contain one of his loveliest scores." Full Review

Theater Life

“A blazing hot showcase for a mature, but still dangerous Hawke and a subtly intense Dano with insightful, soulful direction...Macdonald captures the wild humor as well as the galvanizing energy of Shepard’s battling bros. His production works...Both stars deliver top-caliber work. You would think Hawke would dominate the show...But Dano is equally fascinating...Macdonald’s final image is...A perfect representation of Shepard’s disturbing vision of America.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Bobby is offended at Pharus’ implied conflation of black and gay oppression and therein is the central conflict of the play: inclusion versus separation...McCraney explores the myriad variations on this theme in a compelling hour and 45 minutes, staged with economy and passion by Trip Cullman, punctuated by stirring gospel numbers featuring Jason Michael Webb’s dynamic arrangements and Camille A. Brown’s exciting movement." Full Review

Theater Life

"The uneven book and the fabulous frocks are not all there is to this dazzling, ultimately entertaining glitz-fest. Moore’s direction is lightning-fast, giving the proceedings the speed and flash of a Vegas concert, and the performances rise above the 'Behind the Music' milieu of the story...Stephanie J. Block delivers a Tony-worthy performance as the third persona...Despite the rushed, shallow nature of the book, 'Cher' contains more than its share of campy fun elements." Full Review

Theater Life

"The new production, deftly directed by Lila Neugebauer, also offers a memorable lead turn. This time, it’s the incomparable Elaine May...May’s classic comic timing works perfectly for Gladys’ verbal ramblings and repetitions which drive her family nuts and send the audience into paroxysms of laughter...An astonishingly simple portrait of human frailty. But this 'Gallery' is also a heartbreaking ensemble piece." Full Review

My Parsifal Conductor
Upper W Side
Theater Life

"Deals with a powerful, artistically-inclined woman evaluating her past, but does not go very deep into the complex issues it raises...The subject is potentially gripping, but Licht...fails to significantly explore Wagner’s work, Cosima’s relationship to it or Levi’s, or the roots of European anti-Semitism. We never even learn why 'Parsifal' is considered so magnificent and why it was important that Levi interpret it...Kalfin’s direction is too broad as are the performances." Full Review

The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
Theater Life

"A tightly-knit caper thriller...Playwright Bean weaves together a bizarre cast of characters and outlandish story strands, creating a tremendously satisfying whole...Director Daniel Sullivan hits just the right tone of contained insanity and arch cynicism...The staging and script could have veered into excessively violent Martin McDonagh territory, but 'Nap' stays within the bounds of credibility—just—and lands its snooker balls expertly into each comic pocket." Full Review

Theater Life

"Silverman’s wildly funny script, Mike Donahue’s imaginative, brash direction, and five incisive performances make 'Collective Rage' a hoot of hilarity, a howl of anger, and a celebration of the power of theater to awaken spirits and provide connections...Thanks to Donahue’s clear direction and the centered acting, we are never unsure at which Betty is which. The play is simultaneously a broad cartoon and a moving portrait of women shattering the limits set by a male, heterosexual society." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"A more intimate experience in the small auditorium at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The result is not a diminishment. The production staged with love and professionalism...creates a sense of a community...Skybell conveys the full range of Tevye’s reactions to the eroding of his beloved Old World traditions as they give way to 20th century shifts....Each member of the company becomes a full-fleshed citizen of Anavetka." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"'Head Over Heels' could have been just another jukebox musical, but the clever book...mixes Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th century 'The Arcadia' and with songs by the 1980s girl group The Go-Gos for a surprisingly fun, silly joyride. The usual tangle of hidden loves and gender-bending disguises gets a 2018 twist...The myriad plot patches are woven into a brightly colored crazy quilt, reflecting the creators and cast’s appreciation and love of sexual diversity, pop culture, and the beat." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

“The direction and acting are polished and confident...Shapiro and her vibrant cast infuse zest and sting into what could have been a staged doctoral thesis...Not much happens for the first hour or so in the way of plot...The play is a weird blend of traditional family drama in the Arthur Miller vein, and a meta-view of those plays. It’s funny and entertaining, yet distant and cold at the same time.” Full Review

Log Cabin
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Harrison brings up vital points about the interconnections between the gay and trans communities, but the characters are not fully developed, so we care little about the outcome. Chris is African-American and Pam is Asian-American but their racial identities receive scant play as does Jules’ status as a transplanted Brit...Director Pam MacKinnon delivers a taut production and the cast is sharp and funny...But it’s hard to get involved with the work past the chuckles." Full Review

Carmen Jones
East Village
Theater Life

“The grand passion of opera and the minimalist esthetics of director John Doyle blend perfectly...Doyle strips the material down to its essence and allows its raw, explosive power to explode fully...A spectacular ten-person cast deliver the vocal and dramatic goods...Doyle wisely downplays the exaggerated nature of the speech and emphasizes the emotional connections of the story and Bizet’s music, resulting in an unforgettable rediscovery of a curio from Broadway’s Golden Age.” Full Review

Dan Cody's Yacht
Midtown W
Theater Life

"It’s a gripping premise and Giardina has added several factors to up the stakes...The theme of wealthy privilege versus idealist near-poverty is a worthy one, but Giardina adds too much freight to his boat and it sinks before the final fade-out. The main question of the school vote is resolved halfway through and more issues arise which are not fully developed...There are intense confrontations, but too many of the plot points are just not believable." Full Review

Mlima's Tale
East Village
Theater Life

“Features innovative and spare staging...This incisive 80-minute explosive device of a play follows the spiritual voyage of Mlima, a beloved Kenyan National Park elephant murdered for his prodigious tusks...Based on an article by Damon Tabor, Nottage’s cynical roundelay of greed maps out the trial of corruption which makes such cruelty commonplace and lucrative...All of the human roles are played with dexterity and diversity...‘Mlima’s Tale’ is a harrowing trip, but well worth taking.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Rashad doesn’t deliver Shaw’s complete package in Sullivan’s tepid production...Rashad grows in power and conviction, but she never convinces as Shaw’s plain-spoken woman of the people or as a charismatic leader...A vital scene...which conveys Shaw’s central theme...falls flat due to the surface-y liming of Bobbie and Davenport. It’s more of a shouting match than a clash of ideas...There is a modicum of surprise and snap in the epilogue.” Full Review

Admissions
Upper W Side
Theater Life

"An unflinching look at liberal assumptions about engineering diversity in education...Combines razor-sharp humor with pointed commentary to produce a scathing satire of our racial politics...Director Daniel Aukin wisely keeps the satire from becoming too broad as does his exemplary cast lead by Jessica Hecht as the conflicted mother. Once again, Off-Broadway is leading the way in presenting fresh, challenging work." Full Review

Lobby Hero
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Lonergan skillfully balances humor and pathos, endowing each point of this rectangle with flaws and virtues...But the four players are not equally strong. Evans is appropriately and comically bellicose as the bullying cop, but Cera fails to shade Jeff...Jeff is the center of the play and Cera does not provide a reason for us to care about his actions...Powley...delivers broad caricature. Henry gives an in-depth portrayal of William and the most believable liming of a character's conflict." Full Review

Theater Life

"Way past its sell-by date...Rando's staging is fast and furious and the talented company combine skilled vocals with unabashed comic abandon. The trouble is, in a world where a Twitter-obsessed, reality-show host is President of the United States, Springer’s vulgar antics are no longer shocking or particularly funny...It’s amusing once, but for two and a half hours? This once explosive hand-grenade of a show now comes across as an overlong and outdated SNL sketch." Full Review

Long Lost
Midtown W
Cultural Weekly

"Could easily have become a soap opera or Lifetime-TV-movie...But Margulies does not fall into the trap of making Billy a one-dimensional villain bent on destroying his sibling’s happiness...Margulies shades his characters in life-like gradations of grey and drops tiny hints of plot which later explode with significance. Daniel Sullivan provides a sturdy staging, keeping stereotypical histrionics to a minimum, thus affording each revelation maximum impact." Full Review

Theater Life

"Metcalf and Lithgow make Hnath’s intriguing behind-the-scenes political premise into a gripping portrait of a complex marriage...In a snappy, idea-packed 90 minutes, Hnath not only addresses a plethora of contemporary concerns about our body politic but also...creates an incisive dissection of a famous couple’s push-pull connection... Joe Mantello delivers his usual economical, unfussy staging with several inspired moments." Full Review

The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
Theater Life

"John Doyle’s intimate staging adds a spark of spontaneity but does not deepen the thin characters or repetitive plot...Laura Pulver and Rema Webb provide pathos in emotional renditions of 'Nickel Under the Foot' and 'Joe Worker,' but this 'Cradle' is mostly an interesting curio rather than a gripping human musical." Full Review

Theater Life

"Though the script may have been rehearsed, it feels as if the small company is saying the words and evoking these sentiments for the first time. The play is different, attention-grabbing, and as relevant as the latest headline, performed and written with a passion for justice, a must-see." Full Review

Theater Life

"Blenderizes teen tuner tropes...But Joe Tracz’s book and Joe Iconis’s score provide enough originality and zip to compensate for the familiarity. Stephen Brackett’s direction and Chase Brock’s choreography keep the action moving quickly and smartly enough to gloss over any dull patches...'Chill' is not an earthshaking groundbreaker, but it is a clever hoot causing audiences under 40 to fall in love with musical theater. Not such a bad thing." Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
Theater Life

"It isn’t until the final 20 minutes that Harris weaves these threads into a cohesive whole and offers some clarity as to their meaning in a larger context...Plus all these incredibly impactful clashes are resolved too neatly and quickly...Taymor’s insightful, yet outsized direction turns this confusing melodrama into a grand opera...There’s plenty of splashing, singing, and embellishments but not enough meaty drama. Still, Harris has a vital voice and is a talent to watch." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

“An amalgam of every black actress who had to mold herself to fit white perceptions of her sexuality, talent, and intelligence. But instead of a heavy-handed treatise of the evils of discrimination...Nottage delivers a screwball farce skewering reductive racial attitudes...Forbes’ staging is much broader than Bonney’s version which works well in the more outrageous sequences...Occasionally Forbes pushes too hard and the proceedings become more like a campy SNL skit." Full Review

Blue Ridge
Chelsea
Theater Life

"Few actresses can wring as many variations on self-indulgent despair as Marin Ireland...Her interactions with her fellow participants and the group’s facilitators form the backbone of Rosebrock’s prickly and moving drama. The dialogue crackles with authentic flavor delivered with intense conviction by Ireland and the ensemble, directed with a feel for empathy by Taibi Magar...'Blue Ridge' delivers a satisfying insight into the irresistible paths of dysfunction." Full Review

Slave Play
East Village
Theater Life

“Harris explores multifacted takes on race and sex in a surprising and satiric comedy...A riotous, uncompromising look at how black and white people see and react to each other, staged with the right balance of outrageous humor and prickly reality...The eight-member cast delivers intensely funny and searingly dramatic performances...Gay, straight, black, white, psychological, and sexual issues are give an unscrupulous eyeballing in this uncomfortably laugh-filled play.” Full Review

Theater Life

"Wants to be a deep, complex examination of an immediate, vital issue and comes up short...The four characters...are more like representatives of viewpoints rather than flesh and blood. They speak to each other in talking points...Leon’s overheated direction turns the stage into a debate platform...The cast does their level best to humanize the proceedings, particularly Washington who filters Demos-Brown’s stagey dialogue through desperate mother love and a laser-like focus." Full Review

Apologia
Midtown W
Theater Life

"The template is a familiar one: a disconnected family reunites around a dinner table...Quieter confrontations, further revelations, and soul-searching occur after intermission with an ambiguous resolution for the final curtain...The characters are too predictable...Campell’s wry script and Daniel Aukin’s tidy production offer many pleasures such as tight, well-paced staging and crackling dialogue...But there are too many loopholes and cliches." Full Review

Theater Life

"This is an opportunity to see one of the greatest actresses of her generation playing one of the greatest actresses of all time...She makes every line of dialogue seem as if it is being spoken for the very first time...The play itself provides numerous pleasures including several entertaining backstage hijinks staged with wit. But it doesn’t hold together...The playwright sabotages her own message of female empowerment by building the arc of her plot around Bernhardt’s romance." Full Review

The True
Midtown W
Theater Life

"While there are occasional brief fireworks...the tension does not reach the excitement level...The fact that Polly is played by the brilliantly intense Edie Falco is a great help to the evening, but despite a searing, quicksilver performance...she cannot save the work from its lack of momentum and drive...Elliott turns in a proficient job of staging, getting the most bang for White’s limited buck...A strong star part for one of our finest actresses, but a weak vehicle to propel her." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"Gives off vibes of inspired nuttiness and celebratory sexual ambiguity...This latest updating...obliterates any memory of predecessors...Shaina Taub leads the orchestra with aplomb, plays the fool Feste with zip, and wrote the splendid songs which explore themes of gender switching and perspective. This infectious and fizzy spectacle rushes by in 90 minutes, a delicious summer cooler. What a pity it will gone soon. But that makes it all the more special." Full Review

Cultural Weekly

"The self-described 'rock opera' attempts to depict a community but produces only stereotypes and derivative songs...There are individual moments of excitement...But the storyline is overly familiar...Instead of insightful commentary and portraiture of a bizarre and intoxicating era, we get warmed-over tropes of innocence corrupted accompanied by pedestrian tunes and lyrics...'This Ain’t No Disco' ain’t worth your time." Full Review

Mary Page Marlowe
Midtown W
Cultural Weekly

“I found this intimate series of snapshots quietly moving...Letts can be a bit too on the nose. Scenes reinforcing the theme of the randomness and collage-like nature of Mary Page’s life pop up a mite too often. But the majority of the vignettes provide piercingly realistic moments in a woman’s life...A complicated script...Yet we are always certain who is who and where we are in Mary’s story. This is due to Lila Neugebauer’s economic and fluid direction." Full Review

Carmen Jones
East Village
Cultural Weekly

“Doyle strips the material down to its essence and allows its raw, explosive power to explode fully...A spectacular ten-person cast deliver the vocal and dramatic goods...Rose sets fire to the stage as she slinks, slides and trills up and down Bizet’s scales and Hammerstein’s saucy lyrics...Doyle wisely downplays the exaggerated nature of the speech and emphasizes the emotional connections of the story and music, resulting in an unforgettable rediscovery." Full Review

Skintight
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Harmon does supply us with a fair quotient of laughs...He has created other unpleasant and/or narcissistic protagonists in previous works such as 'Bad Jews,' 'Significant Others,' and 'Admissions.' But in those pieces they were complex, if deeply flawed. Here you just want to get away from them...Fortunately, director Daniel Aukin delivers a taut production and the cast is sharp and funny." Full Review

Theater Life

"Stoll’s Iago is a tad too light-hearted and comical in his villainy...Chukwudi Iwuji’s Othello is properly commanding and passionate, but switches on the anger too abruptly, accelerating into full explosion mood with little transition...Despite these shortcomings, Santiago-Hudson delivers a compelling, straightforward telling of Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, aided by Rachel Huack’s elegantly simple set, Toni-Leslie James’ rich period costumes, and Jane Cox’s sensitive lighting." Full Review

Miss You Like Hell
East Village
Theater Life

“Addresses topics rarely featured in tuners but does so with a tried and true template...Hudes crams a lot into her often sharp, but too syrupy book. There are moments of poignant connection between the nonconformist, impulsive Beatriz and the lonely, whip-smart Olivia. But there are also too many TV-movie cliches as they encounter a small army of friendly strangers to help them on their way. The score features eclectic and engaging music by McKeown and quirky lyrics.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Washington makes a game effort...and he nails some of the character’s dimensions...Unfortunately, he misses the darkness beneath the sunny exterior...Wolfe emphasizes the humor of Hickey and the huge cast of pitiable drunks clinging to their fantasies. As a result, the audience gets a hearty chuckle at their foibles and no gasps of recognition that they share the same condition...There are moments of mirth and some depth." Full Review

Theater Life

"This kiddie tuner hits all the proper notes-female power ballad, plucky heroine, briefly thwarted but ultimately resolved romance, comic anthropomorphized sidekick, lots of chases. But the conflict provides little gripping action. Michael Grandage's stiff staging, the syrupy book by Jennifer Lee, and pleasant but familiar score by husband-and-wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are too by-the-numbers and left this non-Disney worshipping adult cold." Full Review

Theater Life

"Buether's elegant set transforms into a hall of mirrors and each actress becomes A at various ages. Mantello cleverly conveys this triangular vision without turning it into a gimmick. He also manages to inject action into what is basically a long debate peppered with Albee's observations on the nature of mortality. Jackson is a fearsome lioness, roaring at the loss of her vitality. Metcalf and Pill are equally fearsome...It's a triple tour de force." Full Review

Theater Life

"This epic remains startlingly relevant and Elliott's highly theatrical and insightful new production is simultaneously massive and intimate...When the play opened critics predicted it would take its place alongside the masterworks of O’Neill, Williams, and Miller. This quirky, heartfelt revival confirms that status...Stellar company...The whole seven and a half hour experience moves like a jet-propelled dream. It's an experience you'll never forget." Full Review

Theater Life

"'The Zoo Story,' Albee’s shattering one-act of alienation and violence which put him on the map back in 1959...This body-blow of a play asks disturbing questions on what it means to be a human being and how our materialistic society was changing our values...'Homelife' is definitely the lesser work. It follows the same template of many of his later pieces...Fortunately, director Lila Neugebauer injects the same vitality into these uneven halves." Full Review