Edward Karam

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Reviews (135)
Seven Sins
Brooklyn
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"Part of the curiosity of the evening is hearing the selections that McCormick has rounded up as aural accompaniment. It's one thing for Broadway shows to ransack a particular songwriter's catalogue for songs to set to a made-up libretto, but that pales next to McCormick's magpie abilities." Full Review

Happy Birthday Doug
Soho/Tribeca
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for a previous production "Some of the characters rotate in and out of the action, and others have only a single scene, but Droege assumes their personae and projects their individuality with ease." Full Review

Medea (BAM)
Brooklyn
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"What follows is a cringe-inducing, granular examination of a failed relationship that lumbers rather than soars to its conclusion. Julia Frey's videos project the characters' faces in close-up on a huge scrim." Full Review

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"[I]n addition to embodying the rare combination of leading-man looks and goofiness, Unger conveys both Tom's disappointment at the turn his personal life takes and the character's ignorance of his advantages." Full Review

The Thin Place
Midtown W
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"The ambiguities, revelations and evasions are nebulous enough to keep many possibilities open. Hnath employs diversion in the way that [Ricky] Jay and all great magicians do. Eventually the story veers almost imperceptibly into obsession/" Full Review

The Michaels
East Village
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"As director, Nelson has emphasized naturalism, so that the actors give no evidence of projecting to an audience; rather the effect is that the audience is eavesdropping. This has sometimes been an annoyance in the past, but here sound designer Scott Lehrer has managed to make it work." Full Review

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"More than 35 years later, 'Little Shop of Horrors' stands among a handful of great musicals with roots Off-Broadway. It still works as a sci-fi satire of American aspirations during the 1950s, as it did for the audiences who made their way to Third Avenue in the 1980s." Full Review

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"For all the presumably canny changes, … 'Caesar and Cleopatra' feels like a dry run for Pygmalion (1913). Cuccioli's wry, unflappable ruler tries to instill the qualities of a queen in the callow Cleopatra, and his remaking of her is akin to what Henry Higgins does with Eliza Doolittle. This time, though, the object is a genuine princess." Full Review

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"The first hour is a mixer for the audience to get to know the characters…But once the séance goes awry, the show does too. The characters become possessed by spirits of Poe or his family …the characters are possessed, and, whether catatonic, cataleptic, psychotic or just plain frantic, are too much of the same." Full Review

Eureka Day
Soho/Tribeca
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"As the new member, Elizabeth Carter's Carina is just learning the ropes. Inevitably, she comes into conflict with Suzanne, whose own position, though untenable, receives sympathy in Spector's balanced script…Under Colt Coeur artistic director Adrienne Campbell-Holt, the actors' timing is impeccable." Full Review

Midsummer: A Banquet
Greenwich V
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"Zach Morris, who also choreographed, uses the small space very effectively…[Morris] has guided his performers to speak with unhurried clarity. There is scarcely a word lost, and ones that are familiar land with renewed freshness … Emilie Baltz has designed the meals-and you can come hungry." Full Review

Queen of Hearts
Brooklyn
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"[Austin] McCormick, who directed and choreographed, tells the story through dance, music and acrobatics…The lyrics connect to Carroll's story thematically, though sometimes obliquely, with a word or a sentiment." Full Review

safeword.
Midtown W
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"Gelman’s plot feels more contrived, and its effect isn’t as strong...Gelman has respect for his subject, but at times the dialogue sounds more suited to an educational video about BDSM...But there are serious problems both regarding Micah’s willingness and logical plot points...Once the characters’ credibility falters, so does the story’s impact. Nonetheless, the actors are fine." Full Review

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“Less a play than a boisterous entertainment...The three actors are game for the silliness, and they play broadly, with a good deal of blithering and dithering. The satire, too, is evenhanded, and one can imagine that it plays just as well in front of a British audience. The only drawback is that the actors work awfully hard at the comedy, and gradually fatigue sets in...If you like your comedy deftly warmed-over, 'Instructions for American Servicemen' is a tasty show." Full Review

The Mother
Chelsea
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“Each of the play’s three ‘acts’’ has three versions...Lighted noirishly by Ben Stanton, Huppert as Anne is extraordinary. She sprawls, dances, writhes, cuddles, collapses and rolls on the floor—she’s always on the move...The other performers are fine and give her solid support, but ‘The Mother’, even when it stretches credibility and flirts with incest, is a powerhouse vehicle for an actress, and Huppert delivers.” Full Review

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"'Gunman' was the first of O’Casey’s plays ever produced. It is more episodic than the others, and sometimes a bit derivative—it needs a sterling production like Ciarán O’Reilly’s current one to underline its virtues...O’Reilly’s production benefits not just from excellent performers, but from the work of set designer Charlie Corcoran...'The Shadow of a Gunman' is a fine first course for the heftier meals to come." Full Review

The Dance of Death
East Village
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"Conor McPherson has done a sterling job putting juice back into August Strindberg’s 'The Dance of Death'...Using McPherson’s lively refurbishment, one that is rife with gallows humor, director Victoria Clark has delivered an inspired and beautifully acted production...As the unhappy couple, Richard Topol and Cassie Beck are terrific. They find the nuances in the advances and retreats of their constant battle." Full Review

Whirlwind
East Village
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"It’s the intimate scenes that work most memorably, the character interactions, often with a gentle satiric humor...Amboyer takes full advantage of his two stars’ chemistry and charm. They manage to paper over the play’s illogic on occasion and they deliver even the most innocuous dialogue with a delicate touch...Their star-crossed relationship is a memorable one, and Jaffe’s climax proves a bittersweet conclusion to a production of modest means yet ample satisfactions." Full Review

Real
Midtown W
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“Is one story real and one imagined? Are both real?...If one does not come away with an answer, 'Real' at least shows Nogueira’s gift for poetic lyricism, and the questions he raises linger. It’s not a straightforward piece of theater, but it’s often fascinating, and it’s refreshing to find a theatrical voice as iconoclastic as Nogueira’s." Full Review

The Hard Problem
Upper W Side
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"There are still moments of humor in Jack O’Brien’s fascinating production of this twisty play—a brainiac’s sumptuous meal laid out for the layman...In Stoppard’s hands, the characters’ motives are always clear even when the intellectual demands on the audience are at their fiercest...As a playwright of ideas, Stoppard has no peer, and 'The Hard Problem,' while it requires listening closely, is not hard to watch." Full Review

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"Doyle’s version does little to ameliorate a play rife with didacticism, pretentious faux-Shakespearean speeches, and characters baldly modeled on Adolf Hitler and his cronies...The performers...bring little nuance to the blunt script. The exception is Esparza in the title role...Brecht aficionados may find it worth the effort to add 'Arturo Ui' to their lists, but this tiresome production may discourage those who have never seen Brecht’s great works from giving them a try. " Full Review

Mother Night
Midtown E
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"It’s a pleasant introduction to the writer...Katz’s adaptation can’t really substitute for the novel or as a credible meal in itself...Katz’s production conveys the various episodes without seeming too disjointed...Although the script is packed with incidents, the production doesn’t really catch fire as a thrilling piece of theater...Although the eccentric characters are always welcome, Grilli’s Campbell feels bland as an Everyman manipulated by others. His story at times seems just to plod." Full Review

The Emperor
Brooklyn
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"Every bit as intellectual a docudrama as it sounds, mostly lacking emotional engagement. It’s more like history presented with interspersed activity as window dressing...Director Walter Meierjohann paces the show well and uses Hunter’s gift of movement to enliven the talky play...Ultimately, 'The Emperor' is a persuasive portrait of the various ways human beings may succumb to tyranny." Full Review

Neurosis
Gramercy
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"Full of small pleasures. It’s the kind of show that doesn’t 'kill' but supplies grins and smiles generously...It’s a pleasant surprise, too, to find that lyricist Greg Edwards can write clean, intelligent rhymes, and Ben Green’s music is tuneful...Despite the use of tried-and-true plot devices, Rice’s book has many original moments beyond the idea of tag-along neuroses...Although the pleasures of 'Neurosis' are modest, they are solid, and elevated by the extraordinary talents of a hard-worki... Full Review

Log Cabin
Midtown W
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“Explores currents of non-heterosexual identity in a nearly comprehensive way…Well-directed by Pam MacKinnon…Though the debates are serious, Harrison leavens his script with sometimes unexpected comedy…The last scene, between Hartley and another infant, talking about what the future holds, has a quiet, thrilling power. It’s a brilliant capstone to this thoughtful, challenging piece.” Full Review

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"Few performers can discern Hollywood camp as well as Busch…The familiarity of plot elements-necessary for the satire-can occasionally seem hoary, but Busch still finds juice in them." Full Review

Darling Grenadine
Midtown W
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"Director Michael Berresse has staged it in the round, and Matt Moisey's orchestrations (piano, bass, guitar) let the lyrics come through clearly. The music is tuneful and outstandingly performed." Full Review

Maz and Bricks
Midtown E
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"The drama depends on two people who might ordinarily never have met each other, and their personalities are like oil and water. But, as in shows from 'Twentieth Century' to 'Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,' the skirmishes … constitute the drama." Full Review

The Thin Place
Midtown W
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"The ambiguities, revelations and evasions are nebulous enough to keep many possibilities open. Hnath employs diversion in the way that [Ricky] Jay and all great magicians do. Eventually the story veers almost imperceptibly into obsession." Full Review

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"Hall gives a detailed rendering of Jack. Watch as he approaches Amanda from behind, unwilling to startle her, so he slightly dips his body to come into her field of vision. And he excels in that hoary standby, the drunken monologue." Full Review

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for a previous production "Judy Garland…has been done so often that it might seem another sketch couldn't be fresh, but the song she delivers roasts Renee Zellweger, who plays her in the film Judy. It's one of the highlights of the entire revue." Full Review

The White Chip
Midtown E
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"As Daniels's play turns darker…Tapper pulls the audience along with each setback. Steven becomes an engaging and sympathetic guide to his own disease, and that 'The White Chip' ultimately overcomes its familiar subject matter." Full Review

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"The play toggles between the Director's comments and the Actor's thoughts. Watching Cobb makes it clear that he has the goods to play Othello. Strangely, his biography doesn't list it, although he's been Theseus and Oberon, Julius Caesar and Aufidius. Is the spur for this play his failure to be cast in the role? If so, what a missed opportunity." Full Review

See You
West Village
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"[W]atching actors looking at cellphones and reciting the labels of photographs ranks high among soul-deadening theatrical experiences, and time in this production seems, like Hurricane Dorian, to linger disastrously…It's to the actors' credit that without any character names they have differentiated the numbers they're playing." Full Review

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"Class divisions, overweening pride, and poisonous politics bubble throughout Coriolanus. The tragic hero has a perverse kind of valor, yet he's held in check by the Senate and the people's tribunes. [As Coriolanus] Jonathan Cake, tall and broad-shouldered, is clear-spoken, nuanced, and riveting." Full Review

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"Stewart navigates the various emotions skillfully: apprehension, worry, crushing disappointment, considerable arrogance, and an ultimate ruefulness. It's a classic fish-out-of-water story. Initially, it's hard to feel sympathy for a brash and privileged white brat, but the fresh-faced Stewart holds one's interest." Full Review

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“Amid the plentiful didacticism and the shifting time periods, let alone solving the Machiavellian murder mystery, there’s little breathing room for real people to emerge; they become mouthpieces and stick figures...Dahlquist clearly likes his subject matter, yet director Aneesha Kudtarkar has been unable to give the ponderous discussions much life. Although audiences may leave with more knowledge of China than they had, it will be from scavenging a singularly jumbled drama.” Full Review

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"The first scene is as thrilling as Richard III’s wooing of Lady Anne. It’s rife with humor, danger, and switchbacks, as Guy’s behavior borders on pathological...Under the direction of Trip Cullman, the mood of 'Belligerence' begins with playful romanticism that becomes darker, but the message is muddy...Deeply felt, if uneven, drama." Full Review

The White Devil
West Village
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"Grotesque humor courses throughout Webster’s play, too...Jacobean verse is more jagged and difficult to master than Shakespeare’s, yet the cast in Proske’s production is uniformly in control. They speak the words clearly, and make them comprehensible. Although the plot remains an unwieldy element, a bit of extra attention is worth the effort...Jacobean drama can be convoluted, but this is a chance to see it done well.” Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
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"Harris’s interests encompass homophobia, ageism, materialism, parental strife, fundamentalist Christianity, and the philosophy of art...The actors do a fine job, and Danya Taymor directs briskly, injecting some humor...Harris is no slouch at satire either...One may still not be sure whether Harris’s ambitious plot has any universal relevance, or is merely a confounding portrait of a society floundering without values." Full Review

The Waiting Game
Midtown E
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“Gershman takes a more daring tack in his new play ‘The Waiting Game’ his ‘hero’, Paolo, is a meth-smoking lodestar of promiscuity...Gershman deserves credit for taking a darker approach, but the result is puzzling and unsatisfying...The melodrama is thick, downbeat and contrived...There’s little the actors can do to salvage this goulash...The gay milieu doesn’t enliven the action much.” Full Review

The American Tradition
West Village
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"Yamanouchi doesn’t come up with much that’s fresh beyond his approach...Still, in a satire on subjects as volatile as racism, slavery and the Klan, it’s to the credit of director Axel Avin, Jr. that the production avoids the sledgehammer tastelessness of...Spike Lee’s 'Bamboozled' and brings out Yamanouchi’s sly humor...Avin’s actors handle the mash-up of periods with aplomb...Yamanouchi’s message...may be familiar, but the packaging and performances are just lively enough to put it over." Full Review

On Blueberry Hill
Midtown E
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“’On Blueberry Hill’, is less a traditional play than two intertwined monologues...but it is riveting. Although inherently lacking the excitement of actors facing off in conflict, monologues in the right hands can be thrilling. Barry dresses his in poetic imagery...Culleton’s production puts Barry’s gift for storytelling on full display...And keeps the audience guessing...Barry is a master storyteller—as are the two actors and their characters.” Full Review

Slave Play
East Village
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"Jeremy O. Harris makes an impressive splash with 'Slave Play,' a fascinating, often hilarious, sometimes bumpy, and ultimately serious look at sex and power in modern interracial relationships...Even if Harris’s control of his considerable talent wobbles occasionally, the results are riveting and thought-provoking." Full Review

Life x3
Chelsea
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"The excellent production is a welcome, if unusual, revival by the New Light Theater Project, which usually presents new plays...The core of the characters in the following two plays remains the same, with subtle variations under Jerry Heymann’s nuanced direction...Though 'Life x 3' seems to be about a playwright testing her quiver full of artistic tricks, they disguise a work that has more depth than is immediately apparent." Full Review

Travisville
Midtown W
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“Harper has written a thrilling and important drama so rich in detail and nuance...The story is all the more forceful thanks to the impeccable cast that embodies his humane characters...’The conflict between Hurst on the one side and Fletcher, Gunn, and Phillips on the other plays out deftly in Harper’s hands...A powerful drama from an exciting new voice in the theater.” Full Review

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“An extraordinary piece of theater that fits no mold but its own...A unique, thought-provoking delight. Two gifted physical performers embody the title characters...Although the evening is directed by Smith, there is much that is left to chance...Such improvisation invites ad-libbing, and sometimes an unexpected result puts the pair into a bit of a hole...Although the ending evokes Beckett, it’s full of optimism, befitting the previous 75 minutes of masterly clowning.” Full Review

Heartbreak House
Midtown W
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"Shaw is still timely, almost uncannily so...Staller has taken liberties with this production, although based on research. From various versions and examination of other documents, he has borrowed bits to fashion the script...The framing may seem unnecessary, as do moments of music hall sing-along, but it all works well...The cast manages to bring out the brilliance of the dialogue while skirting archness." Full Review

Carmen Jones
East Village
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"Although it is gloriously sung, the 90-minute production doesn’t make a case that Hammerstein’s musical theater version is the equal of Bizet’s opera...Even if by today’s standards the libretto of 'Carmen Jones' hovers awkwardly near political incorrectness, it’s an enjoyable and engaging piece with fully realized people...'Carmen Jones' is a piece of theater that still works well, even if it will always be overshadowed by one of the most popular operas ever written." Full Review

The Hollower
Soho/Tribeca
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"Liza Birkenmeier’s 'The Hollower' is the kind of play that tries to push the envelope in a variety of ways but ends up as effective as a pile of shredded paper...In the absence of coherent plot, the designers do some heavy lifting...One can’t really judge performances in such a goulash, and director Kristy Dodson hasn’t given it coherent shape, but Im benefits from his character’s semblance of normalcy and a dry delivery." Full Review