DONNA On the Aisle

Brooklyn | 50-64 | Female
About:  I saw The King and I at age 5, the original productions of The Great White Hope and Jesus Christ Superstar (already knew all the lyrics) and I was hooked on theater. I love words and stories, and I'm a published novelist.
Reviews (80)
79
Toni Stone
Midtown W
Relevant, Over-simplified, Resonant, Engaging performances, Intriguing subject

See it if To be surprised at the career of the 1st Black woman in Negro League B-ball. She made a path with drive & grit. Terrific open'g monologue.

Don't see it if You want a deep look into Toni's psyche and circumstances. This feels like skimming the top, not a deep dive. More nuance would be welcome.

70
Button-pushing, Some laughed-some didn't, Intense, Satirical, Provocative

See it if U want an in-your-face take on modern interpersonal Black & White race relations, even (especially)-in bed. Is it all just sex and anger?

Don't see it if Nudity & sexual acts are offensive. If the N-word is offensive. If you are not up for intense dialogue, action and emotion surrounding race

85
During previews
Dated sensibilities, Skillful physical comedy, Delightfully nostalgic, Talented cast, Charming

See it if U like classic musical theater. Not deep or socially relevant. Terrific cast-some theater vets. From a Carl Reiner novel-Apolitical yucks.

Don't see it if U don't like 40's-50's musical theater or physical comedy. There are numbers that may offend current sexual mores or political correctness.

80
During previews
Thought-provoking, Great set, Disturbing, Timely, Satirical

See it if Dark satire works for you. Shepherd presents the American Dream as a sucker's game that the little guy is likely to lose.

Don't see it if Dark satire just makes you sad. It's pretty grizzly. The humor cuts deeply. Run time is long-2 1/2 hours. There is full frontal male nudity.

81
Sterling elaine may, Timely, Heartbreaking, Relevant, Absorbing

See it if To watch a subtle & superb Elaine May give life to Gladys as she slides down the rabbit hole of dementia.

Don't see it if U aren't up for a sad spiral w/no happy end'g. Lonergan's other characters seem self absorbed & incapable of empathy for their loved-one.

79
Energetic, Entertaining, Cliched, Fluffy, Fun

See it if U love the movie. It's a romp thru the high school eco-system, where the classroom seems a mere formality. Nice update for the FB age.

Don't see it if U're not into the teen jungle where the shallow & persistent w/lots of social media followers are on top. Songs don't seem memorable.

70
Gloria: A Life
Gramercy
Thought-provoking, Timely, Disappointing, Wiki-entry bio, Cheerful

See it if U want to revisit or learn more about the '70's women's movement thru a survey of the life of a key player. In-the-round setting works well

Don't see it if U seek a deeper understand'g of Steinem. The most emotional parts are about her mother, but they felt like a recitation, not a revelation.

Also The play also does not address some of the divisions in the movement, ... Read more Read less

88
During previews
Network (NYC)
Midtown W
Absorbing, Dazzling set, Great bryan cranston, Eerily prophetic, Occasionally confusing

See it if To be absorbed in a 70's setting that predicted the cult of personalality driven, multi-platform, omni-corporate world we live in. Wow!

Don't see it if The action is occasionally confusing. Some acting feels wooden. But Bryan Cranston rocks. Come early. The set is live before the play starts

80
Fireflies
Chelsea
Engaging actors, Terrific set, Jam-packed plot, Resonant, Ambitious

See it if The lives & trials of a 60's pastor/civil rights leader & his wife interests U. Sacrifices made to further the cause are personally costly.

Don't see it if U like happy endings. Many issues are raised-roles of men/women, PTSD, sexuality, fidelity, trust, racial fear. End is plausible but abrupt.

83
During previews
Black Light
West Village
Engaging, Funny, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Music-filled

See it if You like Cabaret. In this divisive time, Chanteuse/Spirit Guide Jomama Jones shares stories of a "life" that make you laugh, gasp and think.

Don't see it if U don't like cabaret. If U don't want musical entertainment that reminds U of real life issues. If you don't like drag (it's not campy)

86
Engaging, Intimate, Absorbing, Funny, A gem

See it if The bones & gristle of a classic are for U. The small theater puts U IN the rehearsal studio-lets U feel the pathos in the dancers' stories

Don't see it if U need BIG BWAY. That glitzy finale doesn't play quite the same, but the theater's intimacy serves the play well. Some voices are muffled.

Also AND it's performed with a live band.

80
Poignant, Funny, Slice-of-life, Quirky, Urban mash-up

See it if U see the humor that comes w/ tragedy, missed chances, anger & regret. There are confessions to be made, but not just to the priest.

Don't see it if U can't find the funny in a missing body at a wake. If U don't like humor mixed liberally with pain, but, that's a lot like life isn't it?

73
Lovely dancing, Entertaining, Weak book, Cliched, Time problem

See it if You love dance a'la Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly. The dance also lets us into the male characters state of mind.

Don't see it if U need a compelling love story. It wants you to feel Casablanca, but the lovers' brief encounter doesn't provide a basis for deep emotion.

Also Also 1 hour and 45 minutes is a long and awkward time to go without an... Read more Read less

87
Yellowman
Brooklyn
Thought-provoking, Excellent acting, Absorbing, Emotionally raw, Blistering writing

See it if U like work bristling w/emotion-love/hate, loathing/oppression.The simple staging offers no shield from harsh truths about color in the US.

Don't see it if U don't like 2-handers. U are not up for a searing nite. The lightness of love is dwarfed by the weight of racial assumptions and history.

79
During previews
The Stone Witch
Midtown W
Terrific dan lauria, Charming, Quirky, Timeless theme, Engaging

See it if A classic battle-young talent challenges an acclaimed master interests U-Add a bottom-line driven editor for temptation. Dan Lauria is primo

Don't see it if You're wedded to realism. The publishing situations feel implausible. The denouement feels pat. But it was a fast, enjoyable 1 1/2 hours.

85
During previews
Absorbing, Evocative, Great acting, Ambitious, Sometimes slow

See it if U want to feel or revisit the hysteria & loss of the 80's when AIDS ran rampant, death was inevitable and coming out was emotionally fraught

Don't see it if 8 hours feels like too long to commit to a play, in a theater with very uncomfortable seats. If some full nudity is offensive. If you are

Also looking for balance or full representation. This is about gay men with... Read more Read less

79
During previews
Junk
Upper W Side
Fast paced, Slick, Intense, Dizzying, Intelligent

See it if You want an intense look at the 1980's and the roots of our current money-driven, win at all cost, take no prisoners corporate environment.

Don't see it if If U don't want theater to feel like a TV drama. The scenes are a short punch in the gut, then on to the next intrigue and turn of the screw

79
I Of the Storm
West Village
Exuberant performance, Refreshing, Thought-provoking, Sometimes slow, A la poetry slam

See it if U can go on a journey w/a master of the universe turned ex-felon, poetry spitting homeless guy, who finds his truth. The actor is compelling

Don't see it if A play in rhyme bores U. The rhymes can be repetitive. The first half gets slow. The emotion of the story of his friend Mars enlivens you.

75
Charolais
Midtown E
Talented actor, Entertaining, Confusing, Unique pov, Refreshing

See it if U like well acted 1-handers. The love triangle-A smitten lass, a bumbling rancher(w/a meddling mom) & a prized cow. It's the circle of life.

Don't see it if U can't get into a rural story-no cell phones & irony here. The accent can be tricky. Actor looks older than I imagine the character to be.

79
Terrific voices, Clever lyrics, A romp, Strong acting, Tad long

See it if U like "serious subjects" served w/zany irony. Bella is more Gidget than Sojourner Truth, escap'g into her imagination & away from danger.

Don't see it if U don't like comedy in service of serious subjects. If you don't like plays that deal with race in 19th Century America--& 21st Century too

79
Timely, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Compelling acting, Entertaining

See it if A 19th century play reflecting current politics interests U. Profit vs the common good is a timeless dilemma. Solid acting-clever staging.

Don't see it if Polemical plays bore you. The play is not about unique character and the plot is predictable. If you want a lavish production, this isn't it

89
For a previous production
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intense, Timely

See it if Sorry it's closed. A reminder of the 60's when race & faith-Islam-gained nat'l attention thru Malcolm X. Meant for teens-great for all.

Don't see it if Historical re-imaginings or "teaching theater" are not of interest. If race and politics are disturbing. Some violence.

81
Committed acting, Clever, Refreshing, Entertaining, Engaging

See it if U like intimate settings & watchg good actors up close. The writing brings some modern slang to classical language-basically for a laugh.

Don't see it if U want a spectacle. This is bare-bones but inventive. U don't like being touched. There is some actor-audience contact. U hate Greek tragedy

76
Kid Victory
Gramercy
Absorbing, Edgy, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if daring look at teen abduction & abuse by internet sexual predators suits U. The boy is rescued & returns home. But there's no easy happy end

Don't see it if U want a linear plot or if sex abuse & religion don't work for U as a musical. I found the music too traditional to fit the subject.

Also Kid Victory is a difficult show to sum up in a few characters. The top... Read more Read less

79
Talented cast, Ambitious, Edgy, Relevant, Quirky

See it if U like more Fringe Fest than Bway. Committed actg keeps this punk, rock, folk, alternative scored piece together. Peer's story is timely.

Don't see it if You like lush sets-the production values are clever but basic. Runs long-especially Act 1. Can be confusing without knowg the Peer Gynt saga

72
Enthusiastic acting, Cliched, Musical sameness, Energetic, Crowd-pleaser

See it if You want a jolt of energy, both from the stage and the audience. Introduce a teen-young adult to theater. You loved the novel.

Don't see it if U want memorable songs. I found a sameness to them. I didn't find the story compelling, but the theater was packed & erupted with enthusiasm

78
Daddy
Midtown W
Disappointing last act, Strong art vs commerce discussion, Strong alan cumming, Daring staging

See it if For daring staging, provocative characters & action. Tremendous set. It takes high art to task. Who decides what is art and why?

Don't see it if The 3rd act is pedestrian--a literal summing up of the provocative themes dangled early on re: race, place and paternalism.

83
Tremendous band, Informative book, Talented cast, Entertaining, Visually terrific

See it if U love The Temps & want to see their start, the highs & sacrifice it took to stay on top. So much talent! Good book. Audience sings along.

Don't see it if You don't like bio-musicals. If you want a deeper look into the personal lives and motivations of the group members.

68
Till We Meet Again
East Village
Over ambitious plot, Tender moments, Engaging acting, Confusing, History lesson

See it if For the sweet grandfather-granddaughter interaction. For a look at post WWII lives and regrets. Interesting facts about women in the war.

Don't see it if U want slick sets or U don't like plays that skip back & forth in time. The year of the present is unclear. The end jumps the shark.

81
Inventive reimagining, Scouts show, Thought-provoking, Excellent dill, Relevant

See it if U are an Aaron Sorkin fan. The adaptation is skillful. Inventive staging-Very "Our Town. Calpurnia and Tom have some say. Timely messages.

Don't see it if You just want to revisit the move or the book. The ensemble work is compelling, but the ugly sides of the story are more on view. I always..

Also want to hear this story from the point of view of Tom Robinson and his... Read more Read less

80
Funny, Timely, Thought-provoking, Clever, Engaging ensemble

See it if For a funny,fast moving take on the daily debate about facts in media. Are facts and truth different? How does that relate to profit?

Don't see it if U don't like philosophical debates with your theater. You are not interested in how the "sausage" of journalism gets made.

75
Well staged, Edgy, Terrific portrayal, Raunchy, Disappointing

See it if For a taste of the life & style of a comedy trailblazer who burned a path for Carlin, Pryor, et.al. U can hear the poetry in his sets.

Don't see it if Language & nudity offends U. Seems comedy doesn't age well. Great acting, but routines that shocked & brought belly laughs, fell to silence.

69
Cliched, Banal, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Missed opportunity

See it if Ripped from the headlines drama about the confluence of race, class & policing interests you. The mundane becomes tragic with one slip.

Don't see it if Predictable results & volatile reactions occur because the script says so. The acting feels creaky. The play creates heat, but no light.

70
Worthy subject, Ambitious, Lacks insight, Engaging actor, Disappointing

See it if U want to know more about Freddie Prinze, whose stand-up & TV career soared. Like Icarus, he flew too close to the sun & he was gone at 22.

Don't see it if U don't like 1 handers. Prinze made stereotypical jokes about Puerto Ricans-par for many "ethnic" comedians of the day. It felt flat...

Also ...like another layer of sound, perhaps audio and/or video of Prinze, ... Read more Read less

90
Beep Boop
East Village
Funny, Clever, Masterful mime, Timely, Inventive

See it if BlueMan Group meets Chaplin in the age of cyber-anxiety works for you. Saudek is agile, expressive & funny. Props to the sound lady.

Don't see it if A 1-hander w/no dialogue bores you. But it's really an hour-long romp through the foibles & pathos of humans vs the screens that consume us.

92
Tremendous acting, Cleaver staging, Wonderful dialogue, Riveting, Funny

See it if Sadly, it's too late. It was a Wow! I often do not like Albee plays, but this worked splendidly. Great Glenda Jackson & Laurie Metcalf.

Don't see it if 1 hour 45 with no break is long. I've seen other plays where I needed a break. This one kept me locked in.

78
Thought-provoking, Engaging revival,, Compelling acting, Sometimes slow, Witty dialogue

See it if A thriller about a charismatic woman, sacrificed by the powers of church & state would interest you. Surprisingly funny especially the end.

Don't see it if U want action. Most takes place off stage, w/the audience privy to strategy debates & power plays. Rashad's St Joan is quirky &compelling.

79
The Gentleman Caller
West Village
Evocative, Cleaver, Great set, Quirky casting, Intriguing

See it if U'd like to imagine being a fly on the wall as 2 mid-20th Century titans meet & share booze, lust and the wounds that drove their art.

Don't see it if Plays about tortured artists bore you. It's brisk paced but the script is a bit repetitive. The casting can distract, especially Inge.

85
During previews
Gorgeous voices, Challenging subject, Brilliant songs, Absorbing, Wonderful dance

See it if You'd like a classic musical w/an edge. Songs, voices & danc'g-Wow. Choreography is mindful of the De Mille original.

Don't see it if U like your musicals sugary. Life in the Maine fish'g/factory town is hard, folks are mostly good, but Billy & Julie are in an abusive...

Also relationship. And Billy is written in a way that is unambiguously brut... Read more Read less

72
The Amateurs
Gramercy
Clever, Quirky, Amusing, Refreshing, Curious

See it if Early theater, when the Bible was the script and stagecraft was basic is of interest. The actors, however are not holy--quite human, in fact

Don't see it if Considering the parallels between 14th Century small pox and 20th century AIDS is not of interest. The modern "playwright" appears mid-play

Also to "explain" his motivation. I didn't care for that. Also--the stage i... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Harry Clarke
West Village
Outstanding script, Riveting, Edgy, Great lighting, Masterful

See it if U like tightly written one-handers that draw you in and keep U wondering-what next? Ace script. Riveting performance. The time flew by.

Don't see it if 1 handlers bore U, but there's no boredom here, no fluff. This isn't a happy play. The set is austere. U wonder how far will Harry will go.

82
Engaging acting, Clever storytelling, Socially conscious-no preaching, Thought-provoking, Refreshing

See it if U like 1-handers that make U wonder what U would do in the characters shoes. We see 1 black man in 5 situations, 1910-2010 w/humor & pathos.

Don't see it if U don't want societal issues/history on stage. But it's not grim or preachy. There are laughs & hard choices. Scene changes are a bit clunky

Also The actor, J. Alphonse Nicholson, engaged the audience in a way that a... Read more Read less

60
During previews
Jamaica
Harlem
Weak book, Cliched, Dated, Fluffy, A rarity

See it if You want to visit a rarely-performed Arlen-Harburg musical that was a star vehicle for Lena Horne on Broadway 60 years ago. The band is good

Don't see it if U want grand sets. It's more community theater w/earnest but uneven performances & audio bugs. The play wants to be South Pacific-it's not.

50
Heartless Bastard
Soho/Tribeca
Good acting, Ambitious, Annoying, Indulgent, Relevant

See it if You need an irony booster. One character says it best, "I hate your lousy irony." The acting is good. There is an "ah ha," at the end.

Don't see it if Maybe it's me. I could find no sympathy for, nor interest in a loud-mouthed, arrogant, egotistical real estate guy.

86
Absorbing, Great acting, Funny, Riveting, Intense

See it if A peek at the mores of 5th Ave life appeals. Pursuit of the cushy life leaves the Kittridges open to Paul's persuasive con. Gripping & funny

Don't see it if Full nudity offends. The whiny rich kids are a bit over the top. Otherwise, it's worth an evening. It's closing soon.

70
I Lost You There
West Village
Quirky, Clever staging, Entertaining, Agile one-hander, Short

See it if U want a quick shot of theater. Iris Bahr's character-studies are engaging. There is humor but missed connections between characters are sad

Don't see it if U don't like self-absorbed characters. Didn't find the self-centered suicide hot-line worker or the boyfriend jailed for sex w/a child funny

52
Performeteria
Gramercy
Ambitious, Confusing, Crowded, Worth-attempting, Relevant

See it if U want to sample small, more experimental theaters. Showcasing them under one roof in one nite is worthy. Audience is all ages. Cool!

Don't see it if U don't like crowds. Attendance is great, but needs better managing. Site lines are poor, not much seat'g. Hard to concentrate.

73
During previews
Great acting, Confusing, Thought-provoking, Intense, Disappointing

See it if U want a raw and not PC depiction of attitudes about race-specifically black & white, and class-rich & poor. Robert Cuccioli is riveting.

Don't see it if "Casual" racism & use of the "N" word disturb U. I didn't buy the black woman's response to the white guy's deal-murder for money.

Also Race and class are clearly timely and disturbing topics. The acting is... Read more Read less

68
Everybody
Midtown W
Ambitious, Slow, Funny, Thought-provoking, Repetitive

See it if Brandon Jacob-Jenkins work or modern takes on older texts interests you. The the cast is impressive and engaging. The writing is witty.

Don't see it if U don't want to contemplate the deep questions in life-like, "What's it all about?" Despite witty writing it feels long and it's just 90 min

85
Waitress (NYC)
Midtown W
Funny, Great singing, Delightful, Entertaining, Refreshing

See it if You'd like a feel-good, pop-music driven musical about big-hearted, flawed regular people with some messy life situations to work out.

Don't see it if You don't like the smell of pie. If U want realistic resolutions to serious life problems like spousal abuse and unwanted pregnancy.