Elizabeth Wollman

Elizabeth Wollman is a critic with Show Showdown. 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 (50)
Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
Show Showdown

"The show is often quite funny; the cast is solid; David Yazbeck's score is strong and occasionally boosted by some truly impressive lyrics...I was a little disappointed by how totally they replaced any real character development...A solidly produced and impressively-performed musical with some genuine laughs...But aspects of it irked me a lot more than I wish they had, largely because I've grown exceedingly weary of lip service to social causes." Full Review

Boesman and Lena
Midtown W
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"Written in response to South Africa's apartheid laws, the play has only become more powerful and sad since apartheid ended. There's just so much need in the world...This is a deeply unsettling and moving piece of immersive theater that's not easy to sit through and that you should nevertheless try your damnedest to see. I haven't stopped thinking about how painful and dignified it is, how beautifully performed, how shattering." Full Review

Show Showdown

“Poignant, moving, and lovely. A coming-of-age drama...’Choir Boy’ places focus on the personal development of a single gay, black, male character...Scenes are frequently punctuated by choreographed choral arrangements of gospel chestnuts...Some are more sophisticated than others, but the concept works consistently...The supporting characters don't have the depth or nuance of Pharus. They're engaging enough...And anyway, this is Pharus's story." Full Review

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"Directed by Lila Neugebauer and performed by a strong and likeable cast, the Broadway production accepts Lonergan's early piece for what it is: a gentle, unfussy memory play about somebody's gradual loss of it. This production is as straightforward as the play itself...Still: basic and straightforward are not necessarily bad or amateur, and in this case both work exceptionally well...The strong acting, of course, helps a lot." Full Review

Show Showdown

“’Collective Rage’ is structured in a way that's kind of Shakespearean, kind of postmodern, and--given the frequency with which the word ‘pussy’ is used...kind of vaginal: it's basically a play within a play, even if the narratives of both aren't especially linear or totally cohesive...I'm not convinced that this is the deepest, most profound play about contemporary women I've ever seen in my life, but it's great fun and, for all the havoc, curiously reassuring, which goes a very long way lat... Full Review

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"Outdated and a little forced...What I got was a domestic comedy that didn't build much, and that ended with a message that was driven home repeatedly from the start...The piece still feels too long and repetitive for what it says...There's something pathetic about a production so eager to celebrate its landmark status and its edgy, challenging darkness by not being remotely edgy or challenging at all, but instead by furthering the careers of some already well-established white dudes.” Full Review

Paradise Blue
Midtown W
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"As it stands, there's an awful lot packed into the show...Engaging though 'Paradise Blue' is, due to the typically excellent direction of Santiago-Hudson and an exceptionally strong and committed cast that's not above chewing a little scenery from time to time, I'd love to see it mounted again after some sharpening. A few revisions, I think, would nudge Paradise Blue beyond an enjoyable, engaging, and provocative stew into an absolutely dynamite piece of theater." Full Review

Show Showdown

"An imbalanced work, but ultimately its strengths win out over its weaknesses. I wish like hell I'd known before I'd seen it that it's wonderful when it comes to affectionate, deft character analysis, but that it doesn't tie up all its loose plot threads in nice little bows by the end...Go. See it. Enjoy the very fine production and the numerous three-dimensional characters. This is a very good episodic, day-in-the-life play. It is well acted, insightful, and often genuinely hilarious." Full Review

Show Showdown

for a previous production "Must a strange, dusty old piece that so efficiently bottled the darkness of the edgy, moody past have to be so damned apt again? I suppose if it must, it might as well be really, really well done, and this production sure is...It zeroes in so brilliantly on some of the republic's most tender bruises...Very frequently hilarious...It's also exceptionally acted...'Wanda June' left me in the most curious state of simultaneous elation and melancholy, but the joy outlasted the sorrow." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Lasting artwork that reminds us of where we've been, how far we've come, and where we still desperately need to go. While it was impossible for me not to compare the production with the original, this one holds its own due in very large part to an excellent cast...One of the many enduring strengths of 'Angels'...is that the characters in it are all so personable and approachable and flawed and real. The play takes frequent flights from reality, but its characters keep it firmly grounded." Full Review

Mankind
Midtown W
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“The play never attempts to wrestle with ways that a culture’s myriad ingrained hierarchies breed control, and thus institutionalized sexism. With some discussion of that in place, O'Hara might have produced a compelling play about women's subjugation. But because he never digs below the surface, 'Mankind' is simply an overlong, undercooked premise...Too thinly developed, inconsistently written, and clunkily directed to be genuinely offensive." Full Review

Meteor Shower
Midtown W
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"All three of us laughed our asses off through the whole show, and you should totally go see it so that you can laugh your ass off, too. Just don't expect to encounter an actual play at any point during the process...Sometimes a whizzing series of not-especially-connected one-liners, short bits, and sight gags that only kind of resolve at the end of a fleetingly satisfying seventy-five minutes is absolutely heavenly." Full Review

Show Showdown

"As a primer on the megamusical...'Miss Saigon' has just about every ingredient required: high emotion, universal themes, hummable songs, visual enormity, dazzling and often mechanized spectacle...A nobly committed cast...Megamusicals in general just don't do it for me, but that's not to say that the production isn't done very, very well. If you like shiny romantic sappy bigness and don't mind two-dimensional characters that threaten to dip into stereotype, the show just might be yours.” Full Review

Show Showdown

“Some of the expository monologues feel a little forced, and some of the plot points that propel the moral haze driving the show feel a little too easy...’Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train’ may be a flawed play, but it delivers anyway. And the production--which, like its characters, seems to have taken some pretty hard punches along the way--is well worth your time and consideration. Kudos to the company for turning a bad situation good.” Full Review

Show Showdown

“I was particularly taken by ‘Say Something Bunny!’…Not only visually appealing, but it's also gentle, smart, and warm. It simultaneously paints a vivid portrait of a family and brilliantly reflects the artist's obsession with—even love for—said family, which she has partly and painstakingly documented, and partly invented…It is an impressive, extraordinarily well-researched and executed piece, that manages as well to be deeply touching and quite funny…An amazing accomplishment.” Full Review

Show Showdown

"The cast is a slam-dunk...Hnath does a fine job of making this piece very much his own. His writing is fluid and smart and often very funny...It's beginning to occur to me that Hnath works with more or less the same blueprint for every play of his...The characters in 'A Doll's House' are richer and more three-dimensional than some of those in his earlier works, which makes me hopeful that he's growing and developing as he writes." Full Review

Wakey, Wakey
Midtown W
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"Eno's meditation on life and the end of it, is gently, beautifully performed by a cast of two...While in no way a chore, the show itself nevertheless feels a bit half-baked...As a quiet reverie about the final moments in a quiet life, 'Wakey, Wakey' gets the message across, elicits a chuckle or two, and occasionally brushes at the heartstrings. But it never quite blooms into something much bigger than the sum of its parts." Full Review

Love, Love, Love
Midtown W
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"Kenneth and Sandra are some of the most endearing and amusing awful people you're likely to hang with anytime soon...The play itself may not be a masterpiece, but it's solid and compelling...I nevertheless wouldn't argue that this is a terribly startling or profound message, or one that offers much in the way of insight into the fate of the characters...Then again, as far as characters go, the ones in 'Love, Love, Love' are memorable, curiously endearing, and beautifully rendered." Full Review

Men on Boats
Midtown W
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"The acting is, for the most part, natural and comfortable. And, as a result, the situations and the dialogue are often really hilarious...The play and its players do a fine job of commenting frequently on American heteronormative masculinity as a sociocultural construct. This is all the more impressive since the direction and the cast's interpretations never get mean, snarky, or cheap…Lags a little near the end, but the conclusion dispenses with the jokiness and is suddenly, strangely moving." Full Review

Head of Passes
East Village
Show Showdown

"The play itself still occasionally misses the mark: some of the characters are not as developed as they might be, and a few of the plot points introduced early on don't gain much steam. But even if the show were perfect, there's really no way to prepare for the absolutely thrilling ass-whooping Phylicia Rashad gives the audience late in the second act...Hers is one of the finest--and possibly most exhausting--performances taking place nightly on a New York stage right now." Full Review

Bright Star
Midtown W
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"There are some pretty musical numbers, some interesting staging, and a very impressive performance by Carmen Cusack...But the story is incredibly predictable, and the conclusion so contrived that the two women sitting next to me when I saw it collapsed into a fit of giggles and had trouble collecting themselves through the curtain call. I can't say I blamed them...We, too, were not prepared for how lame and forced the big reveal would be when it happened." Full Review

Straight
Midtown W
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"A compelling, affecting new play by Scott Elmegreen and Drew Fornarola...'Straight' is a little clunky in passages...The acting is a little tentative in parts...'Straight' is an important play: it reminds us that while contemporary sexuality is far less culturally rigid--or dangerous--than it was even a decade ago, coming to terms with oneself is not automatically easier or less terrifying as a result." Full Review

Lazarus
East Village
Show Showdown

“A self-important mess…'Lazarus' plays like it was assembled by email…A long, frustrating and almost completely humorless two hours, during which underdrawn characters don't really connect with one another or translate to the audience. Instead, they stumble numbly through a forced semblance of nonplot, pausing occasionally to bust out (very well) with Bowie songs that really do sound great." Full Review

The Humans
Midtown W
Show Showdown

for a previous production "Not everything works perfectly in 'The Humans.' Erik's Big Reveal at the end of the dinner seems a little out of character, and the fallout a little tacked on. Then again, the play's lack of forced exposition, or of neat little endings for all the random characters' predicaments, makes perfect sense: no one ever resolves all their problems and fixes those of their family members over the course of a single holiday meal." Full Review

Show Showdown

"'The Legend of Georgia McBride' is maybe not the deepest show out there, but it's great fun, nonetheless. Performed by a committed cast whose kind, well-meaning characters are impossible not to root for, 'McBride' relies on a few unexpected plot turns and character motivations to steer clear of the cliches it regularly threatens to sink into. I expected to be indifferent about the show at best, but I left hoping everyone else who sees it has as much fun with it as I did. It's a sweet, charmi... Full Review

Show Showdown

"Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin's strange, stunning folk opera...The pleasure of surrendering oneself to something so very lovely, even as you know it will end sadly, helps mitigate the sorrow, and that's one of the points that 'Hadestown' drives home all along. That it pauses along the way to muse about the gender gap, the colossal failures of late capitalism makes it doubly impressive. " Full Review

Show Showdown

“’'The Cher Show' is not exactly brilliant art. It's silly and breezy and light...This is the kind of jukebox musical that elicits gleeful applause at the opening notes of a pop standard, or when an actor manages a passable impersonation...’The Cher Show’ is hardly deep: you won't get much about Cher's life here...Still, the show's constant nod to the importance of women speaks volumes...This is a fluffy bauble that knows exactly what it is and exactly how to entertain.” Full Review

King Kong (NYC)
Midtown W
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"Spectacle certainly dominates the stage version of 'King Kong,' which may not be the most well-balanced or wholly satisfying production, but is not without its pleasures and small victories. I appreciate the production for trying to rid the plot of at least some of its most offensive parts...If you are solely interested in watching the puppet, and go to see 'King Kong' with no other expectations at all, I suspect you won't be disappointed. But heat? Conflict? Tension? Emotion? Forget it." Full Review

Show Showdown

"The production is all the more remarkable considering the fact that it's a revival of the alpha and omega of the musical stage, for crying out loud...This revival still gives credit where credit is due, while simultaneously zeroing in on aspects of the American experiment that have dimmed of their bright golden haze and begun to curl around the edges...It helps that the cast is so stunningly good." Full Review

Show Showdown

“Fun, charming, and a lot more complex than it initially appears...Refreshingly queer and endearingly topical, the musical features a plot that is gleefully convoluted without being a chore to follow...The show is colorful, upbeat, and not out to punish anyone: it all works out well in the end...A warm, bubbly show that promises total acceptance, happy endings for every one of its lovelorn characters, and a heaping plate of cultural wish-fulfillment just can't be....um....beat.” Full Review

Show Showdown

"It is respectful to the text without insisting on remaining totally rooted to the past; and it is, for the most part, lovely, enjoyable, and satisfying...Nothing the production does makes much of a difference, ultimately: Higgins is still a pompous twit and pretty much everyone knows it...The idea to have a younger Higgins and an older Pickering was, at least as I see it, a far more ingenious and daring move, since it shifts the power dynamic so totally." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Cute and funny, well-staged, a little too long for what it is...and ultimately better than getting a cavity filled. I wish I'd been thrilled by it, but again, it was hardly an ordeal...I didn't dig the score, which struck me weirdly as a thin interpretation of Broadway musicals in some vague generic sense but without a real grasp of the blood and guts that make some representations of the genre work way better than others do...The performers were game and some of them were really terrific." Full Review

Dance Nation
Midtown W
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"The fine cast captures the tail end of childhood very well without slopping into parody...'Dance Nation' is so loving of and respectful to its young, female characters...I had absolutely no trouble believing these grownups as the tweens they were playing...Not as cleanly structured as 'The Wolves,' and prone to more experimental leaps in form and presentation, 'Dance Nation' is, as a result, a little chillier and harder to follow at times. Still, it's wonderful, engaging, and worth a look." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Pleased as I was by just about everything in this production--its fine casting; its songs, sung by supple, able voices; its choreography...I remain disappointed that no matter how well-played she is, the passive, silent Julie just can't hold a candle to the brooding, restlessly self-destructive Billy. Mueller does her best...But ultimately, 'Carousel' is a musical about a restless man who marries, dies, and gets redeemed, rather than it is about a couple negotiating the unfair circumstances." Full Review

Show Showdown

"As silly as it is sonically lush, the production is engaging, brisk and light, and in the second act even gently moving under the typically deft, never-too-self-important direction of Rando. The cast is talented and interesting...The ensemble is strong...which is good, since this is very much an ensemble piece...The only issue I have...is that for its groovy conceit...there's ultimatlely not much more to it...Harkens back to a recently bygone era of slow news days." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Cheerfully gaudy, brilliantly staged...The show zips along, it's perfectly well-timed and charming, and the audience I saw it with seemed to have fun with it....In the old art/commerce balance, this show leans a titch too hard into the commerce zone to gobble up without the occasional raised eyebrow. Sure, the show's fun, spectacular, and gorgeously realized, and the cast is incredibly game. Still, something about 'SpongeBob SquarePants' left me colder than I wanted to be left." Full Review

M. Butterfly
Midtown W
Show Showdown

“Curiously flat...Feels sluggish, talky, and distant...The added material does little more than make the show feel longer. While I appreciate the attempt on Hwang's part to subvert the ‘Madama Butterfly’ story and to toy, especially, with the stereotype of the fragile, delicate, passive Asian naif whose life is consumed with longing for the white western man- there's little else that really takes hold: no depth or nuance of character, no one especially likable or ultimately very interesting.” Full Review

Illyria
East Village
Show Showdown

“Nelson's plays are really, really, really just not for everyone. They work for me, though. ‘Illyria’ might not feel like quite the lifeline the Gabriel plays were a year ago, but I found it to be similarly comforting and moving just the same...Conversation, typically ultra-natural, steers clear of obvious exposition...The play manages enough detail for audience members who know very little about Papp or the Public to make sense of what's going on.” Full Review

Mary Jane
East Village
Show Showdown

“Beautiful, incredibly nuanced...One of the most finely-wrought productions I've seen in a long time seems evenly distributed across the entire company...One of those shows that grabs you quickly, and then only gets better the more you think about it...Quietly descriptive...Its refusal to slop into cheap sentiment is especially noteworthy...It's an astonishingly good production of an astonishingly good play...Make this the one show you rush out to see before it closes.” Full Review

Anastasia (NYC)
Midtown W
Show Showdown

"The musical doesn't quite nail the landing. But it zips along amiably enough, features sturdy and committed performances from its large and uniformly buff cast, has lots of fluid scene changes, and boasts some genuinely beautiful costumes. It's not really all that funny or deep, but it does a lot of what big splashy, classic Broadway musicals do well....It's shiny and pretty and consistently engaging, and the audience really seemed to have a great time watching it." Full Review

Show Showdown

"So bubbly, energetic, and wacky that a few times during the performance, I was surprised by how suddenly I found myself choking up...Never heavy-handed or overwrought, '946' manages to tell a gentle, genuinely moving tale without cutting back on the clowning, drag, broad humor, music, and energetic dance...A highly spirited and inventive production, '946' lifted me out of troubled times present without ever spilling into saccharine nostalgia for troubled times past." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Charming and engaging and the kind of big, shiny Broadway musical you could totally bring your kids or your friends from out of town to...The whole cast, really, is energetic and hard-working...Here's the thing that bugged me: 'School of Rock' plays on a bunch of racial and cultural stereotypes that I'm really, really tired of seeing on Broadway all the damn time...Can't Broadway delight and entertain and dazzle without relying on the the same bullshit cultural tropes and lazy assumptions?" Full Review

Small Mouth Sounds
Midtown W
Show Showdown

"Sweet and diverting, if not as deft or probing as it seems to want to be. Still, it's fun and very well-performed…I didn't fall completely in love with the play, the overarching narrative of which sometimes felt a little too easy in some places, and a little forced in others…As an extended acting exercise that has been placed in the hands of a very good ensemble, 'Small Mouth Sounds' is better than good. I'm just not sure that the characters' stories fully add up to the sum of their parts." Full Review

Shuffle Along
Midtown W
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"Some of the best dancing you'll see on a Broadway stage this season (or any), and a top-notch cast featuring some of the most well-known and beloved stars of the genre. There are some truly stunning production numbers, some laugh-out-loud gags, and a lot of warmth. I couldn't stop smiling through the entire first act, and while I struggled more with the second, I'd hardly call it a crashing bore by any stretch." Full Review

Show Showdown

"A deeply moving novel, 'The Color Purple' is a lot hokier and less convincing on the stage. Stripped from its literary moorings, the plot comes off as just as sad, but also more farfetched, which doesn't always work. Also, the score isn't bad, but it didn't much stick with me or compel me to take a deeper listen, either. Still, the cast is strong and the direction swift and engaging. And despite the moments that don't land quite right, I still teared up a bunch, and chuckled a bunch too." Full Review

The Royale
Upper W Side
Show Showdown

"Man, oh man, 'The Royale' is a play worth seeing--especially in a production as tightly realized and inventively directed and as beautifully performed as this one is…It doesn't tie up the loose ends in a tidy bow. That is, of course, to its credit…'The Royale' is so consistently engrossing, Jay's inner game so engagingly depicted, and the cast and direction so flawless and fine, that the ending is not the point so much as the getting there is." Full Review

Show Showdown

"'Disaster!' totally isn't one. Sure, it could maybe be shorter by about fifteen minutes, and maybe a little sharper in spots, but I saw the third preview and it was already pretty damned funny…The whole cast is game--I am sure a sense of humor was a prerequisite for even getting an audition for this one…I also hope 'Disaster!' finds a big, loyal audience, whether on Broadway or on tour…'Disaster!' is a silly, goofy, terrifically fun production." Full Review

Allegiance
Midtown W
Show Showdown

"It's honest, earnest, and charming, and it manages to shed light on an ugly chapter in American history without being too pedantic on the one hand, or too flip on the other. It has some rough spots, sure, but they were hardly disruptive enough to keep me from rooting for its characters, connecting with its swiftly-paced plot, or surreptitiously swiping big fat tears from my eyes in the final moments." Full Review

Barbecue
East Village
Show Showdown

"O'Hara says a number of clever, layered things about race, class, representation, and the media. The play is very, very funny,..The first act felt a little shrill, and in general, making the poor and uneducated the butt of extended jokes seems pretty cheap. But the ensemble work here is excellent--so is the direction and the set. And for my quibbles, the play's a genuine hoot." Full Review

Permission
West Village
Show Showdown

"An entertaining if undercooked tangle of ideas that don't fully cohere...While it moves swiftly and packs in the jokes, 'Permission' would benefit from some serious revisions...I found myself wishing for more nuanced characters, fewer cheap shots, and more thematic depth. There's a truly interesting, legitimately dark comedy lurking somewhere in the play." Full Review