Elizabeth Ahlfors

Elizabeth Ahlfors is a critic with Total Theater. 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 (133)
Love, Noel
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"In a delightful 90-minute salute to Coward, cabaret favorites Steve Ross and KT Sullivan winnow through a melange of letters and songs to illuminate the man, his friends and his era...Ross and Sullivan are here to celebrate an entire aura of glamour and sophistication personified by this talent." Full Review

Handbagged
Midtown E
CurtainUp

“Deliciously smart...The play is more imagination than fact. But Buffini's imagination is sharp, intermingling historical memories with wry humor; and...Rubasingham keeps the flow of political confab smart and lively. The brisk show divulges hints of resentment, grudging admiration, wit and whimsy and tinges of sarcasm...’Handbagged’ is an entertaining view of two fascinating, influential women, who, near the end, remain standing, still on the world scene, holding their handbags.” Full Review

Burn This
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"While the lead performers sizzle, the play fizzles...Russell and Driver, connect like sparkplugs while the play stumbles unevenly between the past and the conflicts of the present...The stage snaps alive when Driver pounds on the door...Russell, plays Anna with subtle grace and intimacy...It is Uranowitz...who has the laughs and often the best observations...The real fire in 'Burn This' lies in the search to find the burning passion in life." Full Review

City Cabaret

“Under the sensitive leadership of director/actor Joel Grey, ‘Fiddler’ remains as touching as ever...You don't have to understand Yiddish to appreciate this extraordinary work about surviving the upheavals of life...You can glance at the Supertitles in English and Russian, but the show is as authentic as the language heard on the streets of Borough Park...The music is stirring with emotion.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

“’Hadestown’ is the mythological story told here through well-crafted music and an imaginative book...The cast is accompanied by a superb on-stage band, bringing fresh creativity to this musical season...The production values are lively and colorful...Under the direction of Rachel Chavkin, this stage brings a bright freshness to a classic tale and ‘Hadestown’ is definitely a must-see for this season.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

“The current ‘Oklahoma!’...is not all golden and not at all hazy. Violence and smoldering sexual desires are layered under the sunny lyrics of ‘Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ unveiling a darkness...Fish’s audacious directing has not changed Hammerstein’s book or his vernacular lyrics...De Mille’s choreography...was re-imagined...from ballet to...an overlong portrayal of subconscious longings...The stunning shock of violence seems completely out of synch with the last song.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

"Toward the end of this season of so-so musicals, 'Kiss Me, Kate' offers a Broadway revival that strikes gold with melodies as lush as 'So in Love'...Under the hand of music director Paul Gemignani, the songs flow with sense and sensuousness...Cole Porter’s 1948 masterpiece of dramatic romance and ribald sass is still 'Wunderbar!' over 70 years later." Full Review

City Cabaret

“Peck was admirable as the character in the book and film, but Sorkin's country lawyer with a moral backbone that evolves. Daniels understands and communicates the layers of Atticus in this Broadway production. The sharp large cast is on target and brilliantly directed by Bartlett Sher...It is an uplifting, beautifully delivered production of American values at a time we could use it.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

“A jukebox musical that presents the superstar with dry humor, robust belt, and insistent ambition...While all three singers possess hints of Cher’s signature potent voice, it is Block...who is the standout here...Moore stages the show chronologically hitting the important timelines without any real depth. Gatelli provides muscular, athletic dancing, the standout being a theatrical tango...For splash, sparkle, and the sensational Block, ‘The Cher Show’ is a good-time.” Full Review

King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
City Cabaret

“While the gorilla himself is fantastic, the musical is hardly razzle-dazzle. A giant of stagecraft and puppetry, ‘King Kong’ is the star in this spectacle...As a largely sung-through musical, ‘King Kong’ disappoints with colorless songs and repetitive dashes of hip-hop and athletic jitterbug...Pitts and Morris are capable, if not memorable in their sketchy roles...both fine singers. Watching the gorilla, however, is the wonder of this show and with the technology, Kong is the only star.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

“Maybe it’s not perfect, but if you are up for laugh-out-loud fun, catchy tunes, and major-league performances, you won’t be disappointed with ‘The Prom’...While ‘The Prom’s’ framework is reminiscent of many vibrant American musicals, its nutty backstage theatricality mixes up a timely and poignant message of acceptance...’The Prom’ strikes some timely discrimination issues and punctures a few show-biz egos. It is an entertaining musical with a sincere heart.” Full Review

The Hello Girls
Midtown E
Theater Pizzazz

"Act One moves briskly, set in short scenes leading to Europe with an energetic ensemble of four talented women, skilled instrumentalists and singers...The flowing music is not as evocative of the period as, for example, 'Ragtime,' but director/choreographer Cara Reichel adds lively dance steps to enhance the spirit of these intrepid women. Rather than relate solely to WWI, the music ranges forward into sounds of the 1920’s...The lyrics are notable, streetwise and conversational." Full Review

India Pale Ale
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"Backhaus' discerning 'India Pale Ale' takes place in the middle of America where the third-generation Batra family lives...Through her performance, Shazi Raza's portrayal of Boz is inhabited with energy, determination and ferver...Although 'India Pale Ale' is more lightweight than heavy drama, it is sincere and brimming with good vibes, delivering an evident message at this divisive time, especially coming after the Pittsburgh attack on worshippers only days before." Full Review

The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"Slowly secrets emerge, and in its length of three plus hours, the audience is enticed by the lusty, hard-drinking family...Choreography, lighting, and sound design play large parts in heightening the submerged passions and sudden drama of Jez Butterworth's memorable work. Crime, loss, and violence are unveiled secrets with this family burdened with memories of the bloody Irish rebellion, guilt, demands for justice, and an explosive redemption ties up with ubiquitous humanity." Full Review

Mother Night
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"Less entertaining than it is a challenge. However, it is impossible not to relate the perplexing story of Howard W. Campbell Jr. to the moral divisiveness in our country today...Grilli carries the largely narrative play, revealing Campbell's charm and persuasiveness. His likability and sympathy are easy to see when he interacts with other characters...Brian Katz's adaptation and direction of the play is a provocative portrait of a man who can be good or evil or both." Full Review

City Cabaret

"McTeer, commanding in high black boots and tights, brings out the intense fierceness and sensuality of one of the primary divas in theater history. At the same time, McTeer reveals the undercurrent of bittersweet...Under von Stuelpnagel's taut direction, who could not believe McTeer as the grand diva of French theater?...Rebeck's book is wordy and wavers, playing light and loose with facts, yet the playwright offers McTeer a chance to showcase a theatrical legend." Full Review

Heartbreak House
Midtown W
City Cabaret

“A delightful romp with enough slashes of black and gray to be as pungent as Shaw himself...A versatile cast...The first act has sluggish moments, before picking up the pace again. The second act, as well, stalls in the final unweaving of various love affairs, marriages and non-marriages. Yet, in all, David Staller brings out the relevancy of G.B. Shaw's diatribe against war coached in hilarity and eccentric characters against, in the distance, the threat of destruction.” Full Review

Days to Come
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"The Mint production of Lillian Hellman's 'Days to Come' is a smart, relevant play burdened with plotlines that are its undoing...Directed by J. R. Sullivan and played by an able cast of eleven, 'Days to Come' tells a riveting story in a stop-and-go way, much of the 'go' in Act Two...The characters all seem to stand for something but are scantily sketched, just providing impressions...'Days to Come' is best viewed as a period piece." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Trying to portray the violence subtly, an oxymoronic idea, blunts viewers from the horror of experiencing the victims' pain and also limits their sympathy...The music has a sameness making you wonder why this disturbing story must even include music...On the upside, the large cast offers roles to many talented Asian actors...Unfortunately, this lightweight production and musical score does not come close to packing the necessary emotional and dramatic punch." Full Review

The Originalist
Midtown E
CurtainUp

“Strand's sharp dialogue draws a character study of the audacious spirit, feisty charm, and brilliant mind of the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia...Gero paints the larger-than-life Scalia with a love-hate spirit, a stout theatrical intellect performing from the bench...Ifeachor gives Cat a robust conviction and inflexibility...Its timeliness now is particularly glaring.” Full Review

Skintight
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"A mashup of quirky, bittersweet, sluggish and hilarity...Sharply portrayed with flashes of humor by Idina Menzel...Menzel has an astute flair for comedy and one might almost feel a tinge of compassion for her character, if she weren't so caustic and egotistical...While director Daniel Aukin keeps the humor high and Harmon's dialogue is right on target, the plot moves into a serious vein...Laughs are abundant but the plot often hangs still in mid-air." Full Review

Dan Cody's Yacht
Midtown W
City Cabaret

“Slickly directed by Doug Hughes and acted by a worthy cast, the plot runs into questionable motives and fades with overblown moments…Whyland’s strong understanding of her character makes the show…John Kroft also draws a definitive picture of Conor…The dialogue is sharp, but the plot has sagging moments and questions about motivations…Getting into the right schools is currently a hot theater topic...Unfortunately, 'Dan Cody's Yacht' barely reaches a simmer." Full Review

City Cabaret

“A dark, insightful, and strangely hilarious local slice of life...The cast is colorful, verbose with earthy, profane, jivey NYC street talk...The ending is left unresolved, keeping questions unanswered, much like the characters who continue their searches of why life is like it is...Quirky idiosyncrasies imbue the characters with mixes of humor and simpatico...No problems were solved...The play ends as these diverse characters finish this part of their stories, profanity and all.” Full Review

The Gentleman Caller
West Village
City Cabaret

"Despite the banter and some teasing, there is no sexual chemistry between Williams and Inge although they seemed to enjoy each other's company...Dawkins refers often to characters in the plays written by these playwrights...After a few of these references, they feel gratuitous...Tony Speciale's meandering direction lightens the talky book by zeroing in on Williams' wit and in-and-out Southern drawl." Full Review

City Cabaret

"Rashad shows a mien of assurance, naïveté and finally outrage during her interrogators' questioning. It is a challenging role and Rashad's Joan is skillful but lacks a indefinable mysticism. Shaw's play runs almost three hours of talky tedium and segments of provocative ambiguity, a play that might be best read on a rainy afternoon and then debated in an Irish bar." Full Review

Two's a Crowd
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"With astute veteran comedian Rita Rudner as writer and co-star, you get a laugh-filled couple of hours but a predictable rollout of familiar one-liners and a sit-com plot." Full Review

Continuity
Midtown W
CurtainUp

“The play unfolds over six takes of the same scene...Film shoots are slow but under the helm of Chavkin the play clocks in at a brisk 100 minutes, and with mounting tension. Chavkin, hones on the emotions as well as the bickering artists' humor...While the play has choppy segments and little new information about the problem of climate control or movie making, ‘Continuity’ is entertaining, serious and with laugh-out-loud moments.” Full Review

All My Sons
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"Skillfully revisited...O'Brien steers a sterling cast through the veneer of post-war complacency and delves into secrets and acrimony to unravel a shattering inevitability...Miller's language, always straightforward with an edge of poeticism and O'Brien's deft handling, heightens the dramatic fall-out with emotion and truth...Relevancy is clear here in Miller's second play...still delivered with smashing conviction over 70 years after he wrote it.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

“The madcap sprint through the scenes is totally nonsensical, but with flash and dash, wacky visuals, Eddie Perfect’s off-the-deep-end pop score, and the enthusiasm of Alex Brightman driving the show, 'Beetlejuice' is certainly an experience...Expect to follow a plot? Don’t even bother; just watch the effects...The show holds nothing back and all in all, ‘Beetlejuice’ offers sane advice about living life to the fullest.” Full Review

City Cabaret

"Director Oliver Butler keeps a casual, energetic delivery. Schreck breezes ahead bringing out a bright, naive, imaginative girl who evolves into a woman of admirable perception of the Constitution, fascinated by its facets...With a spirit of spontaneity and, yes, optimism, Schreck's play ties the founding document with today's political events...This is a spot-on informative conversation, delivered with gregarious humor and heart, plenty of laughs and also some tears." Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

"Morrisseau ‘s timeline is fuzzy, and while there is the feeling of a sketchy paint-by-numbers, 'and then we did,' in the narration, the music lifts and soars over the enormous theater...All the dancers in 'Ain’t Too Proud' are outstanding, but it is undeniably the lead, Ephraim Sykes, trained by Alvin Ailey, who delivers the money moves, laser-sharp steps, and breathtaking leaps." Full Review

Switzerland
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"Foster guides a stellar cast of two, Scott and Petzold, both portraying unlikeable characters only slightly leavened with ambiguity and wit. In their own ways, they exchange the selfishness driving them to use each other and keeps the audience watching and waiting for one to fall. The wall of lethal weapon collection augments the tension with a hint at a possible death...The ending is sudden and surreal, an expression of love without passion." Full Review

City Cabaret

“The tension is quickly spotted along with the glorious harmonies in the touching, beautifully written, ‘Choir Boy,’ a coming-of-age play...A stunning production...Cullman tightly steers his cast with meticulously deep characterizations and a fluid moving story...’Choir Boy’ shines brightly with the emotions and humor of human essence, young exuberant talent and glorious musical sequences, as well as the energy and infectious Jeremy Pope as Phalus Young.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"A thoughtful, verbose drama...Unfortunately, this off-Broadway production by Fellowship for Performing Arts, fails to capture the colorful fascination of the era or the absorbing philosophical heart of the play...In this production, not only do we miss the economic ostentation of historical extravagance but creative staging...Despite its relevance, this revival lacks the theater qualities to rivet an audience." Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
City Cabaret

“Cranston's portrayal of Howard Beale is unconditionally the focus of a play that bludgeons the veracity of the news business and the malleability of TV viewers' judgment. The timeliness of the technology is striking while it focuses on now familiar manipulations of corruption, ratings, and financial manipulations...The play is most alive when Cranston is on stage...Cranston's dive into a man's soul is galvanizing...It is a thrilling performance as topical as this morning.” Full Review

City Cabaret

“Leon directs with his usual taut hold on the play's intent, his understanding of the characters and the distinctions between them, particularly the prevalent racial divide. The relationships between a black mother and a white father, between police and community, between experience and inexperience are key here. The cast members are all in firm control of their characters and the specificity of Demos-Brown's book.” Full Review

Apologia
Midtown W
City Cabaret

“Channing becomes the focal point...And here she makes the most of her signature dry delivery...Even if the material she is given is not always worthy, Channing's depth and appeal gives it gravitas. 'Apologia' is basically a family drama, insightful but rambling and talky, yet it still has Channing to captivate the viewer plus a winning supporting cast...A play of self-explanations, complaints, provocations and no real conversation but plenty of spiked comments." Full Review

City Cabaret

"A touching memory play...It offers no happy ending, a trail of losses, anger, frustration, a picture of decline and dependency, eloquently honest and crushingly sad...Lonergan's dialogue, with characters often talking over each other, is always as natural as eavesdropping on a bus. The link between his characters rings true and above everything, Elaine May is poignant and authentic with on-target timing." Full Review

The Winning Side
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"A fictionalized account of the complex von Braun story...It is an overstuffed story in a minimalist color-blind production, speeding along at a sensible pace by director Russell, with time playing forward...and backward...Portraying von Braun is Jones, an imposing militaristic man, poised and charming, yet Jones, with all his moods of pride and passion, comes off as rather chilly. Two other characters who are not given enough depth to be portrayed full.” Full Review

The Nap (Broadway)
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"'The Nap' has some loony moments and an able cast. Perhaps it is not as laugh-out-loud funny because snooker humor is not most Americans' preferred cup of tea...Off-beat characters with Bean's fast wacky dialogue and a challenging Yorkshire dialect with director Daniel Sullivan's snappy staging manage to pull off an amusing, but hardly riotous farce." Full Review

City Cabaret

“Williams reveals his trademark understanding of loneliness and the needs of life for friendship, support and perhaps occasional accommodations. With poignancy is humor, the emotions combining with a gentle charm by four actors who understand and communicate William' sensitivities. In a smooth flow, director Austin Pendleton brings out the unique eccentricities of each woman, linking their individual delusions and anxieties with universal humanity.” Full Review

Private Peaceful
Midtown W
City Cabaret

"With Reade's direction, O'Regan uses the space of the stage will full physicality, leaping and rolling around like an 8-year-old boy...Physically and emotionally, O'Regan effortlessly inhabits the roles of 24 characters...Young men off to war is not a new story. Nor is the choice of knowing instinctively what is right and moral, even in war, or following orders. Yet Shane O'Regan's cocksure perceptive of Tommo gives a powerful reminder of war's horrors." Full Review

City Cabaret

"Nine exuberant performers who frizzle with energy on the intimate off-Broadway stage without even trying...Director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse stages a snazzy production for this revival...Bergasse provides innovative new looks to old tunes, giving each performer a solo star turn...Not haute cuisine, 'Smokey Joe's Cafe' is a tasty must-see powerhouse menu of entertainment that hopefully will not be transferred to Broadway. It's happy just where it is." Full Review

My Life on a Diet
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"She is someone familiar, someone from the old neighborhood. Let's admit it, this is a show aimed at fans of old films and actresses 'who had faces'...Michael Redman's treasure trove of projections deliver the perfect 'Pow!' to Taylor's memories. And there's a bittersweet ending...'My Life On a Diet' is not classic comedy for the ages but you will have plenty of laughs for 90 minutes." Full Review

City Cabaret

"What stands out are Lerner's brainy lyrics and Burton Lane's glorious music, creating a melodic score that brightens the foggiest day. Add to this, Melissa Erica, Stephen Boards, John Curia in small snappy cast of singers and dancers, and there is good reason to head to the Irish Repertory Theatre...By stressing the superb Lerner and Lane songbook rather than the screwy Lerner libretto, Moore offers a musical major-league summer refreshment in an efficiently scaled down production." Full Review

Lonesome Blues
Midtown E
City Cabaret

"In an evocative production, the York Theatre Company's world musical salutes Blind Lemon Jefferson...'Lonesome Blues' is not exciting theater. It is not even great fun but its emotion honors the soul of the blues with innovative performances by Babatundé accompanied on guitar by David Weiss. Directed by Katherine Owens, Babatundé poetically expresses Jefferson's era and his psyche, shouting or moaning feelings as he traces his life." Full Review

City Cabaret

“An imaginative set and screen projections guide the cast through a study of human life...Three non-linear time frames...intermingle in this search for the story of humanity...Visually the theories reveal themselves although the plot contains millennia of time and humanity into 90 minutes, directed with brisk theatricality by Byrne and Stanley...You won't find answers here but the complex questions continue in this challenging production.” Full Review

City Cabaret

“A familiarity with Rowling's seven-book world is the key to how much you will enjoy this ambitious spectacle. Newbies can expect complications following the plot but be assured that the slick, production values do the trick of electrifying entertainment...For Potterheads, it is a treat, a plot heavy on adventures, dazzling thrills and quick cuts, but it is also laden with too much repetition and trimming would certainly help.” Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

"The hot stuff comes toward the end of 'Summer,' but, on the way, there’s some impressive vocal talent delivering 23 catchy dance faves...'Summer' disappoints with a clumsy skim-through book...Performing her story are three fine singers...Unfortunately, the story has glamour and religion, but no emotion. Choreography by Sergio Trujillo is vigorous, but not exceptional...The high point is the ebullient finale of 'Hot Stuff' and 'Last Dance,' with Howell Binkley’s pulsating strobe lights." Full Review

Cabaret Scenes

"A glorious production, complete with imaginative sets, gorgeous costumes, and the decisive image of Eliza sweeping off the stage and down the aisle...Ambrose brings a fiery independence to this production...Hadden-Paton is far younger than the original Harrison...Yet their fit is 'loverly' and clearly emotional...Sher gives magical inspiration to his 'My Fair Lady,' directing it to a contemporary audience with his magnificent theatricality and Shaw's ambiguous ending." Full Review