Eleanor J. Bader

Eleanor J. Bader is a critic with Theatre is Easy. 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 (48)
The Sabbath Girl
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"It's a familiar set up, and while there are many laughs throughout, the humor is predictable, the characters stock. It's still enjoyable, but the comfort is in the iteration of a frequently told tale…Nonetheless, 'The Sabbath Girl' rises above thanks to stellar acting." Full Review

Leaving the Blues
Soho/Tribeca
Theatre is Easy

Best Bet. "A poignant and entertaining tribute to blues singer Alberta Hunter…explores the many challenges Hunter faced, among them racism, sexism, aging, and the onerous realities of working class life…Rosalind Brown brilliantly performs songs by Eubie Blake and others." Full Review

Tech Support
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"If 'Tech Support' rests on a preposterously thin premise, suspension of logic is possible when the writing is tight, inventive, and clever. Sadly, the script by Debra Whitfield (who also directs) boasts none of these qualities, and is instead clichéd, predictable, and heavy-handed." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "It’s a heartwarming story with a relatively happy ending, but the tight, thoughtful script mixes humor and pathos to successfully touch upon our propensity to judge others and reflexively resist change before we really know what's at stake...Alice Ripley is simultaneously radiant and real. Her struggle to accept her child without necessarily understanding her is beautifully rendered. It also feels honest." Full Review

A Jewish Joke
Midtown W
Theatre is Easy

"It’s a sound set-up for drama, but 'A Jewish Joke' fails to deliver. First, there is nothing particularly Jewish about the political landscape it evinces...Despite excellent staging by David Ellenstein and an evocative set design by Michael Joseph Ormond, this hackneyed production adds little to what we already know about Joseph McCarthy’s campaign to rid the U.S. of the 'Red Menace.' Worse, it does nothing to help viewers connect the dots to contemporary political concerns." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Issues are as relevant today as they were when the play was first performed 66 years ago. Nonetheless, this version of 'Godot' is too long, especially for audience members who need to rely on supertitles to understand what’s happening. At a certain point tedium takes over and the play feels interminable, as if we, too, are waiting for Godot to rescue us. Despite this, Beckett’s masterwork remains potent." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A highly nuanced look at the ways caring for a severely disabled family member impacts one working-class household...An intense and often hilarious family drama. Zingers fly as the scene shifts between the family’s home and Mike’s bar...Perfectly staged and emotionally complex, the story, however familiar, rings true...What’s more, the story's framing makes it easy to empathize with each character’s exhaustion, terror, and frustration." Full Review

Worse Than Tigers
West Village
Theatre is Easy

“An affecting look at one dysfunctional heterosexual marriage alternates between hyper-realism and absurdity to illustrate what happens when we distance ourselves from what we’re feeling...It’s raw and well-played...Chrisler’s script addresses how we numb ourselves to keep from feeling anger, fear, grief, and sadness. In so doing, Chrisler suggests, we cut ourselves off from much of what makes human beings human. If this sounds preachy or heavy-handed, rest assured it’s not.” Full Review

She-She-She
Brooklyn
Theatre is Easy

“An ambitious, if episodic, look at the role of a 1930s jobs program for women...Attempts to weave contemporary concerns into an historical frame...Although...audacious and conceptually fascinating, the narratives are disjointed, and the stories from Camp Tera are far more engaging than their modern counterparts...That the play does not fully live up to this potential is a shame, but it leaves the door open for more writing about this transformative, albeit short-lived, economic justice proje... Full Review

Shooter
Midtown W
Theatre is Easy

"Timely, but unsuccessful...To its credit, the script does not offer easy answers; at the same time, it touches so many themes that the overall effect is dizzying and largely unsatisfying...I don't know what playwright Graber wanted 'Shooter' to convey, or even if he had a clear message...Perhaps most unforgivably, 'Shooter' sidesteps an opportunity to delve into the ways gender roles, sexual assault, male chauvinism, and gun violence intersect." Full Review

Balls
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"Riggs' persona is well-written, nuanced, and complex. King's character, however, is less developed and her internal struggles with heterosexism, professionalism, and sexual desire are hinted at but never fully revealed. I found this disappointing. At the same time, there is much to recommend in this production...Movement director Natalie Lomonte has done a stellar job of choreographing...All told, it’s a gripping work. Timely and provocative." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“The play is both dated and flawed. The production is enigmatic. For example, Tommy was given an honorable discharge from the military, but where and when he served, remain mysteries...Gaps like these make ‘Tommy Flowers’ unsatisfying, and unfortunately, Braza's staging isn't really able to fill them in. Although the fast-paced repartee between characters is laced with humor and pithy one-liners, by the end of the night I had no idea where Tommy Flowers had gone. Worse, I didn’t care." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"An emotionally gripping musical...It’s a gripping, if common tale of parental abuse, romantic confusion, and a perceived betrayal by someone once considered a close friend. There’s tragedy here, and pathos...It not only works, it works well. First, the cast members...are uniformly excellent...The music sidesteps clichés to address compelling themes...Thought-provoking and sobering." Full Review

Raw Bacon from Poland
Lower E Side
Theatre is Easy

“A bold, emotionally explosive peek into the impact of post-traumatic stress…Perez gives a masterful performance...It's an intense, fast-moving setup and Williams' direction and Climer's scenic and costume design are perfectly calibrated for maximum impact…My only criticism is the play never explains what motivated Dennis to enlist…Still, this production packs a lasting punch and forces the audience to grapple with the wounded warriors living in our midst.” Full Review

The Roundabout
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

“A comedic, but inconsequential, look at upper-class decadence…'The Roundabout' is played for laughs, rather than ideas… All told, 'The Roundabout' is well-acted and well-staged. I wish that were enough, but it's not. Despite the still-timely reference to sexual misconduct, the play is dated; despite some terrific one-liners, its assets are insufficient to recommend what is ultimately a stale production.” Full Review

Kunstler
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"A riveting, if rambling, 90-minute trip down memory lane…McCarthy beautifully channels Kunstler's tendency to blur the line between self-deprecation and arrogance. It’s a warts-and-all production and Kunstler acknowledges both the compulsive womanizing that ended his first marriage and the innumerable personal and political gaffes that he made." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"It’s funny, in a gallows humor kind of way. Missing, however, is any sense of Lord Buckley himself...Audience members who know little-to-nothing about the Good Lord B will be forced to take a trip to Wikipedia…It’s a tragic story. And although Broder does a terrific job of imagining Lord Buckley’s reaction to the foibles and frustrations of 21st century life, I wish some elements of Buckley's personal history had been woven into the narrative he delivers." Full Review

Sell/Buy/Date
Midtown W
Theatre is Easy

"Jones' ability to seamlessly transform from one character to another is mind-blowing, and that she has won Obie and Tony Awards for her prowess will surprise no one who sees this production. It’s tight, nuanced, and brilliantly-written...It’s complex stuff and Jones has done a masterful job of uncovering its many layers. Indeed, while she makes no effort to hide her perspective, 'Sell/Buy/Date' is presented with a light enough touch to encourage open and freewheeling discussion." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“Funny and poignant—but not fully realized...The play is at its best when it delves into the residual impact of being raised in an insular bubble, rife with fear of outsiders and brimming with deprivation. When Arnold zeroes in on these truths, rather than rehashing commonly understood facts about Christian fundamentalism, ‘Growing Up Fundie’ commands attention and provokes thoughtful reflection on faith, organized religion, and male domination.” Full Review

Confusions
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"The five intertwined skits that comprise Ayckbourn’s 'Confusions' are by turns hilarious and poignant. Fast-moving and deftly acted, the five-character ensemble whips through a myriad of scenarios...'Confusions' is entertaining, and although a few sharp barbs about gender and monogamy are exchanged, there are more laughs than insights. Overall, it’s a fun piece of theater." Full Review

Ideation
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"Both horrifying and amusing...They’re provocative questions, albeit a bit heavy-handed...Not surprisingly, the well-acted, well-written, and well-staged production offers no answers, but asks the audience to think about the role of the individual...'Ideation' is to be credited for not shying away from big issues or big problems. Deeply engaging and unsettling—it is also bitingly funny—Loeb’s third play zeroes in on issues that this year’s Presidential contenders would be wise to address." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"On one level, the reverie seems lovely, however staid. Closer scrutiny, however, reveals something much more disturbing: in conjuring up a simpler, but more sexist and heteronormative world...This makes 'A Child’s Christmas in Wales' nostalgic, sweet, and highly unrealistic. In fact, despite pleasurable moments of music and jest, the play is essentially an artifact of a time best forgotten or left to historians to analyze, critique, or parse for meaning." Full Review

STOOPDREAMER
Chelsea
Theatre is Easy

"'Everything changes and nothing stands still' Plato once cautioned. Patrick Fenton’s 'Stoopdreamer' acknowledges this, at the same time asking us to remember, and perhaps defend, those who get trampled in the rush to questionable progress." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The machismo of the modern-day warrior is exposed, and the folly of war revealed, in this explosive and intense new drama...This provocative, thoughtful play will leave audiences wondering why we send our young to distant lands to quell conflict...Viewers will likely leave thinking about the human cost of war as well as the social price of these expenditures." Full Review

The Medea of Euripides
East Village
Theatre is Easy

Best Bet. "Alongside a careful rendering of the original, a Greek chorus debates in two contemporary venues: a laundromat and the recording studio of a podcast…the choreography and lighting work in tandem to allow the actors to imply rather than pound many of the play's assertions." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"While the production is well executed… it presents dialogue as an end in itself and offers no connection between the real disparities affecting the neighborhood's Black and Jewish residents…Still, it is both evocative and compelling, thanks in large part to Michael Benjamin Washington." Full Review

the way she spoke
West Village
Theatre is Easy

"A one-woman exploration of the violent and bloody femicide in Juarez, Mexico…ambitious, but emotionally flat…the frequent character shifts make for a disjointed narrative…Something of a call to arms, for despite its flaws, it suggests that we have a moral obligation to be our sisters' keepers." Full Review

Miracle in Rwanda
Midtown W
Theatre is Easy

"Uwamahoro’s brilliant portrayal of numerous people...'Miracle in Rwanda' focuses less on the history and politics of the conflict and more on how Ilibagiza found the strength and compassion to absolve her tormentors...Ilibagiza’s grace and resilience is inspiring...A more comprehensive frame would illuminate this shameful chapter in world history and elevate 'Miracle in Rwanda' from a story of individual transcendence to something deeper." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

" A brilliant revival of an always timely play....The acting is stellar and it’s compelling to hear Berrigan tell the court that the group’s goal was 'to raise an outcry against a crime, a wanton slaughter, to halt the machine of death'...Thanks to a well-honed script, the actors are able to convey a sense of political urgency without lapsing into rhetoric or making the audience feel guilty for not doing enough. The end result is inspiring, uplifting, and powerful." Full Review

The Hello Girls
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"They’re all terrific—not only excellent actors but wonderful singers, dancers, and story-tellers. Lianne Arnold’s evocative set and projection design, Christine O’Grady’s choreography, and Ben Moss’s musical direction make this a rousing and enjoyable piece of theater, at least if you don’t analyze it too deeply. As you probably suspect, my critique centers on the politics, not the stage work—the latter is absolutely stellar." Full Review

Hoaxocaust
East Village
Theatre is Easy

“A passionate, provocative, and timely look at the Nazi Holocaust and its implications for contemporary Jews, anti-racist activists, and the state of Israel...Standing on a bare stage...Levey paces...His tone is intimate, evocative, and often personal. He’s thoughtful, and despite many humorous asides and quips, the reality that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism can co-exist with Palestinian oppression leads the play to a gut-churning denouement. It’s powerful.” Full Review

Waiting for Giovanni
Soho/Tribeca
Theatre is Easy

“A brilliantly imagined look at the impact of racial discord on Baldwin as he completes his second novel...In imagining the writer's inner turmoil, Gomez brings these issues into sharp focus...Finley has directed a gripping, emotionally resonant production, acted on a virtually bare stage—save for two chairs and one table—that presents Baldwin as humane, deeply introspective, and haunted by insecurities and legitimate worries.” Full Review

Replay
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

"An exceptionally poignant, bittersweet, and intense monologue-leavened with occasional humor...A less skilled writer-actor would make the confluence of things that befall W appear contrived...Wren's performance is astounding...She moves with fluid grace...It's riveting...Wren brilliantly juggles comedy and tragedy, and her presence has the emotive power to provoke empathy. This alone makes 'Replay' an important, unusual, and extremely satisfying work." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Frank, fierce, and surprisingly funny...Although it is not for the squeamish, it is both inspiring and savvy...The script takes great pains to veer away from self-blame or pat conclusions. Instead, since there can be no definitive answers, Ensler zeroes in on activism as cure...It’s an empowering example of the necessary balance between self-care and care of others...Ensler’s triumphant recovery and return to writing, acting, and advocacy leaves us feeling buoyant and uplifted." Full Review

Counting Sheep
Financial
Theatre is Easy

“The self-described ‘immersive guerrilla folk opera’ is extremely effective....It’s an amazing experience...Thanks to the dramatic projected imagery, and the immersion into what is happening, the audience gets to briefly glimpse the highs and lows of political activism...'Counting Sheep' reminds us that we are the change we’ve been waiting for. It's simply up to us to seize the challenge.” Full Review

The Violin
Midtown E
Theatre is Easy

“A provocative drama...All three actors are excellent and the scenes play out with rapid-fire dialogue. It’s talky, but the constant banter is a necessary means to a strategic end and gives the audience great insight into the personalities of the diverse, troubled men on stage. Joseph Discher’s direction is excellent, ensuring that the dialogue avoids being heavy-handed or preachy and is, instead, engrossing and wise." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A rousing, if episodic, look back. Stellar performances by 14 actors—we’re talking Broadway caliber—bring the heyday of Yiddishkeit into sharp focus...Bryna Wasserman’s direction is spot-on, and lighting shifts, photographic projections, and quickly changing period costumes enhance the production. That said, this is not a history lesson, and there is not much of a narrative thread holding the 41 song and dance numbers together." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Herein lies the problem with the play...It stretches credibility that a young stud would agree to settle into a house on the edge of nowhere and willingly fall into a relationship with a needy, overbearing woman...Phoenix Ensemble’s production is particularly disquieting. Under Smith’s direction, the show features four wholly unsympathetic characters...It’s cringe-inducing, and while there is abundant dark humor in the play, the takeaway is far more unsettling than it is entertaining." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“An explosive, provocative drama…No one is wholly righteous; neither is anyone wholly bad. Yet the deals we agree to—the concessions we allow in order to feed ourselves and our kin, and the amount of BS we swallow or ask others to swallow—make for an intense and complex dynamic that eschews a trouble-free coexistence…The well-paced dialogue is punchy, pointed, and taut, and numerous tangents are well-woven into the plot.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"The account is funny, sexy, and heartbreaking. MacCarthy is a terrific performer and her honest, direct, and sassy delivery raises important questions about reproductive choice and the ways class impacts everyday life...There is neither self-pity nor resentment in MacCarthy’s delivery. Instead, thanks to Sara Lyons’ excellent direction, MacCarthy’s straightforward storytelling is riveting and easily opens the door to larger political concerns." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A beautiful adaptation of a movie classic, using a light touch to illuminate the deepest and most important expressions of compassion and human decency...There is not a wasted word or superfluous gesture in this taut, and often funny, production...'Terms of Endearment' is a terrific production, touching every major cradle-to-grave issue, from love, loyalty, and commitment to illness, medical malfeasance, and death. It’s well worth two hours of your time." Full Review

Squeamish
Midtown W
Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "A horror-laced monologue about the aftermath of a suicide that will likely twist your innards...That’s the play—for 100 straight minutes Sharon talks nonstop, reflecting, parsing, digressing...Fraser is masterful at presenting the character as both contemptible and sympathetic. That said, 'Squeamish' is not for the squeamish; some of the sexual predilections and social encounters will likely turn many a stomach. It’s theater at its most provocative. Consider yourself warned." Full Review

Strange Country
Soho/Tribeca
Theatre is Easy

“Taut dialogue, more than a few one-line zingers, and unpredictable twists keep this from being a run-of-the-mill play about family dysfunction. What’s more, the chemistry between the three characters is pitch-perfect. Even more striking, Jay Stull’s direction takes full advantage of the actor’s physicality, and relies upon movement and body language to convey what words do not...It’s a terrific production. It’s a terrific production. Deeply moving, fast-paced, and evocative." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“A funny and politically pointed jab at the sexism, homophobia, and material indulgences of ten major religions...Wilkinson is a masterful storyteller and she weaves hilarious and incisive digs into the account of her personal exploration...What’s more, as you’d likely expect, despite its abundant humor, 'Bible Study for Heathens' has more than a few intense moments...Wilkinson walks among the spectators, making this less a production to observe than an interactive experience.” Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"A politically explosive, if didactic, look at the animosity between Israelis and Palestinians that focuses on one act of terrorism and its long-term impact on two individuals...The seemingly intractable problems of Palestinian-Israeli coexistence are plumbed and the so-called victim and victimizer roles are interrogated...It’s poignant and powerful, if heavy-handed, and hammers home an important reminder about political domination." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"This taut, riveting, and well-acted drama brings two psychologically fragile people together for a night of romance and danger...This character-driven drama underscores the power of humans to comfort one another, however clumsily. And while there’s plenty of grit in this compelling drama, there’s also tenderness and beauty. All told, 'Danny and the Deep Blue Sea' is a well-performed look at lust, love, and human possibility. It’s a top-notch revival." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"'I Know What Boys Want' is bold, provocative, and wise...This timely and socially relevant drama illustrates how social media can be used to foster sexual subordination. The play illustrates the power of challenging expectations, speaking out, and fighting back. Director Joan Kane keeps the action moving and the quick pace mirrors the speed with which words and images spread between people known and unknown to those involved." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

for a previous production "Clay McLeod Chapman’s annual 'Pumpkin Pie Show' has run for more than a decade and each year‘s creation puts a new spin on the genre of ghost stories, tall tales, and human-interest horror...It’s often funny but includes more than a few repellent twists." Full Review