Elyse Sommer

Elyse Sommer is a critic with CurtainUp. 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 (398)
The Perplexed
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"If Richard Greenberg intended this as a refreshing new take on the once popular drawing room comedies, especially those with the action revolving around a wedding, Perplexed is more likely to put the nail in this genre's coffin than resurrect it." Full Review

Judgment Day
Upper E Side
CurtainUp

"A 1937 play that feels very much of the moment is given an operatic staging at the Park Avenue Armory." Full Review

Seared
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Theresa Rebeck's literally tasty comic take on art versus commerce is having its New York premiere at the beautiful new MCC Thesters's intimate Susan & Ronald Frankel Theater." Full Review

Linda Vista
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"The Misanthrope...If the title were not already taken by a much produced French classic, Tracy Letts might well have called his play about a middle-aged guy who hates everything and everyone -- including himself." Full Review

The Great Society
Upper W Side
CurtainUp

"If you invest the time and money to watch Cox's LBJ get all these bills that made America greater than ever passed, I suspect you'll exit the theater fervently hoping that Robert Shenkkan -- or some playwright -- will soon have the facts to write a play to fit the title 'The Rise and Fall of Donald J. Trump.'" Full Review

The New Englanders
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"The changes in the typical American family are indeed welcome. But these now acceptable new family units have brought on new new issues...And it should thus not come as a surprise that the marriages possible in our more open minded societies don't all follow a blissfully ever after path." Full Review

Sunday
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"Expectations for any play written by Jack Thorne...but the magic of Harry Potter is missing from his take on a book group that brings together a group of 20-something friends. " Full Review

CurtainUp

"It would be nice to see these linked monologues by Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge in an intimate setting. In stead, the actors' star power have now brought it for a limited run to the even larger Hudson Theater on Broadway." Full Review

Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Robert Horn has updated the gender switching plot so that's in keeping with the world we live in. His script is so smartly written and chockablock with really funny one-liners that this 'Tootsie' almost feels like a brand new show...The highly entertaining libretto almost outshines the music. But fortunately David Yazbek who knows his way around the styles and tones needed to support a musical's story." Full Review

CurtainUp

“All the changes accomplished something of a miracle. The book and music are the same yet it's now very much a Broadway worthy musical...The Broadway staging is stunning...The real star of ‘Hadestown’ no matter where it's set is the music presented...The lyrics throughout are also very fine, and, thanks to the small on stage band and lack of Broadway's usual excessive amplification, can be clearly understood and appreciated.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"This play has become more than a clever mini-portrait of a famous political marriage. That's not because of any major script tweaks for this production, but because the ripple effect of the Clintons' personal and political failures somehow imbues what we see with the elements of a universal tragedy...While these fine actors are what makes the less than perfect 'Hillary and Clinton' worth seeing, the play has other assets. It's expertly directed by Joe Mantello." Full Review

CurtainUp

“Even purists are likely to end up leaning as much towards vive la difference than muttering about how they don't make them like that any more...Heginbotham's own balletic take...While it's riveting to watch, I found it the one new fangled element that I couldn't quite buy into...Whether you're mostly on board with this production or not, it's thrilling to see that the theater still has enough people who are not afraid...in more risky than sure-fire hit enterprises.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“Jackson lives up all the hype about the gender busting role that brought her back to the stage...On the other hand, having the Ivo Vanhov-ish director Gold at the helm made my loving this production more iffy...Some of Gold's directorial tactics work pretty well here, though others tend to be more clunky and distracting than subtle...This is indeed a not to be missed star turn by Jackson, with enough positive assets to overcome the directorial missteps.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"Beautifully translated and adapted by Ben Power, brilliantly staged by Sam Mendes,and sublimely performed by three incredibly versatile actors...It's a lesson that's so vibrantly and uniquely presented that for anyone lucky enough to nab a ticket 'The Lehman Trilogy' is likely to be their most memorable theater experience this season. It's certainly a highlight of my season. There isn't a participant in this extraordinary production who doesn't deserve a standing ovation." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Terrifically performed and staged as this revival is, the kids are more than likely to now see that there is indeed something quite 'wunderbar' about this show...This two-tiered story is thrillingly fresh and new. Director Ellis downplays their bickering and focus on their musical reminiscences and thus give full rein to O'Hara's gorgeous soprano and ability to effortlessly scale some of Porter's trills...Highly recommended for 9 to 90-year-olds." Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Best stay home if you expect your plays to make complete sense, and have fully developed characters. Though self-indulgently long (almost three hours)...'Daddy' is a visually deluxe and often entertaining production. What's more, the performances are just fine...If you've bought a ticket, park your demands for clarity and depth at the door and just view this as a colorful happening — and a chance to experience the work of a still emerging playwriting talent." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Sampson has fused pop culture interactions with the magic realism of an Alvin Ailey-like choreographed folk tale to culminate her super beautiful main character's story...A Class A production. It's helmed by Gardiner, a director known to bring sprightliness and energy to a playwright's style, content, and characters...Though this play lacks the hoped for bite, it's never boring...The whole production is enhanced by the sumptuous music...The show should have lost at least ten or fifteen minut... Full Review

Sea Wall/A Life
East Village
CurtainUp

"Sturridge and Gyllenhaal are indeed fine thespians and Stephens and Payne know how to write intelligent, meaningful dialogue...To their credit, neither actor showboats his role...Still, these delicate pieces belong in a more intimate setting...The similarity of their monologues presented right on top of one another somehow dramatically weakens rather than strengthens the connection." Full Review

CurtainUp

"You don't have to understand Yiddish to thrill to this production. Though most adult theater goers will know the songs and story and have probably seen it more than once, they'll come away feeling they've seen it for the first time— and that this is how it was meant to be...Fortunately the downtown cast is again on board. And the jewel in the crown of legendary performer Joel Grey's directing career shines more brightly than ever." Full Review

CurtainUp

“A fiendishly clever satire...Forbes has done her utmost to help her actors make the most of the play's many hilarious acting opportunities...The stagecraft is excellent...The second act's structural shift is fun...However, the parts focusing on the symposium panel are somewhat awkwardly staged and overly broad...Despite the second act not being a straight A, I was happy to meet this 'Vera Stark' — as I think you too will be.” Full Review

The Dance of Death
East Village
CurtainUp

"Director Clark has provided a very CSC-ish staging. That means she relies mostly on text and performance, and just enough props to accommodate the action...McConnor's concept plays out like a real boxing match...Topol's physical performance is particularly impressive...No matter how smart and mordantly funny the dialogue and the actors' delivery, Strindberg is never easy." Full Review

Eddie and Dave
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"Staat's storytelling gimmick of using that MTV narrator works well to make her semi-biographical story quite colorful and amusing...Bordelon's moves us smoothly through the band's back story...These positives notwithstanding...Unless you love this band as much as Staats does, ‘Eddie and Dave’ is too imperfect...Even at just 90 minutes, it feels...too long. The only real reason to ignore my reservations and enjoy it is the novelty of the gender switching casting.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“Vibrant and beautifully conceived...While both Cooper and Pendleton have been cast as stereotypes, they are needed to propel the play forward and both...can make even stereotypes feel fresh...The most remarkable and original aspect of ‘Choir Boy’ is...the actual acapella singing...Another in a long list of boarding school plays...But McCraney’s outstanding writing skills and the clever use of that chorus make ‘Choir Boy’ a most welcome and original addition to Broadway." Full Review

CurtainUp

"While Heckerling has rejiggered some of the lyrics to make them fit in better with what's happening on stage, her add-ons are awkwardly rhymed and tend to be more witless than witty. But enough complaining. The show does have enough assets to entertainingly distract us from these worst of times that nowadays affect teens everywhere...This is what it is— a fiuffy entertainment with a clever literary link." Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
CurtainUp

“Cranston's Beale is mesmerizing...While Cranston and not Van Hove are the main reason to buy a ticket, Van Hove and Versweyveld's production certainly makes for an interesting and in many ways exciting and effective experience...There's no denying that Van Hove does have a way of adding sizzle and now-ness to everything he does. But he has gone way overboard with this insistently immersive presentation.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"Olive Strout's melancholy memoir adapted as a solo play with Laura Linney deftly narrating in the voice of both the mother and daughter whose brief reunion drives the plot." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Peter Dinklage does Cyrano without that famous appendage...but his Cyrano does sing...If only the grammy-winning musical team had given him some breakout numbers." Full Review

Bella Bella
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Filled to the brim with Bella Abzug's trenchant wit and wisdom. For older theater goers, it's a trip down memory lane that spans many administrations, detailing presidential good deeds as well as the all too frequent surrenders to political expediency...for millenials it's an enlightening history lesson" Full Review

Soft Power
East Village
CurtainUp

With the key cast members as well as director, choreographer aboard , David Henry Hwang's and Jeanine Tesori's genre busting "Soft Power" has arrived in New York. I can't think of a better place than the Public's Newman Theater for it to find an audience ready to buy into Hwang's dazzlingly original but flawed mash up of fact and fiction. Full Review

The Wrong Man
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"With the help of Hamilton's director Thomas Kail and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, Ross Golan's almost two dozen story telling songs became the musical, 'The Wrong Man,' now premiering at MCC's beautiful new theater in Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce manage to turn Florian Zeller's overly clever script into a truly unmissable point counterpoint duet." Full Review

Fern Hill
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"Michael Tucker's dramedy adds up to a pleasant two hours, thanks to excellent actors and helpful staging by director Nadia Tass." Full Review

All My Sons
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"More powerful and relevant than ever...’All My Sons’ is indeed a melodrama mounted on a soapbox. But the eloquence with which its characters put forth the themes propelling all of Miller's plays retain their power and relevance, especially when stirring solidly staged and superbly acted as the Roundabout's current revival is.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"A study of a toxic heterosexual relationship against the backdrop of three elections...Although Guy and Cat are hardly likable characters, they do provoke some serious questions...The bilaterally talented Feiffer proves here that she can act as well as write...Despite its flaws, 'The Pain of My Belligerence' is a potent look at the terrible toll of toxic masculinity on both genders. Although Feiffer gives us a bleak portrait of our misogynistic culture she also offers a not to be ignored tru... Full Review

Ink
Midtown W
CurtainUp

“One of the most entertaining and fun to watch plays that London has sent our way. Thanks to another Rupert...Graham's play has been staged with stupendous originality and style and is performed with gusto...Carvel's interpretation of the Australian determined to crash through the barriers of London's tight knit newspaper world is indeed fascinating and fun to watch...The playwright has managed to use the history of the Sun's first year struggles to tell a ripping good newspaper story." Full Review

Socrates
East Village
CurtainUp

“Excellent as the entire ensemble is, keeping up with who plays who and when can be a challenge...Furthermore, provocative and well worth thinking about as all these ideas are, it's a lot to take in...All these philosophical interactions often get too far ahead of the audience, causing attention to stray for a bit...Stuhlbarg's attention-must-be-paid performance and director Hughes' assured, atmospheric staging keeps these brief lapses from full engagement to a minimum." Full Review

CurtainUp

"About half an hour in, I felt that I was simply watching six people sitting around and talking, but not coming up with anything all that revelatory or meaningful about the show, themselves and the era during which they and their kids got to know the show's human and puppet characters...To my surprise and disappointment, even Lila Neugebauer is not at her best here." Full Review

The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
CurtainUp

"The cast will pull you into the power of the gritty score as sung by the actors...While ‘The Cradle Will Rock’ tends to come off as a sermon more than an entertainment, the finely sung songs make up for this. And this production does fit Doyle's vision for theater more reliant on its actors' talent and versatility than more elaborate stagecraft...Ultimately, my biggest disappointment was that it wasn't hopelessly dated, but undeniably relevant.” Full Review

White Noise
East Village
CurtainUp

"'White Noise' is very much a play that should be seen now...Thanks to Oskar Eustis's crisp direction and the fully committed performances, 'White Noise' will indeed shake you up and make the three hours pretty much fly by...Unfortunately the previously mentioned plot contrivances and inconsistencies do mount up. Consequently what could be a great play is at this point something of a literary crazy quilt." Full Review

CurtainUp

"It isn't one of those classics that trigger the directorial urge to give any revival an edgy new interpretation...O'Casey's blend of humor and intense tragedy add to its enduring power to entertain and move audiences...'Juno and the Paycock’ is especially relevant...Plunkett is magnificent...Only someone with a heart of stone will fail to be deeply moved when Juno, after two hours of emotional restraint, burst out with a heart-wrenching cry." Full Review

The Mother
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"A top drawer production, with the busy Trip Cullman at the helm...Though Huppert's accent takes a bit of getting used to, this is a minor problem since she's an amazingly powerful physical actress. There is a problem, however, with the play itself. Though structured the same way as 'The Father,' the result simply doesn't have the same emotional impact or dramatic vigor...Director Cullman smoothly and briskly steers Anne to descend into Zeller's rabbit hole of madness." Full Review

The Cake
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Beautifully staged and more relevant as ever...The result is an entertaining and compassionate exploration of four people on opposing side of the what to believe in spectrum...A dramatically satisfying, intensely emotional 90-minute play...'The Cake' manages to touch our hearts even as it tickles our funny bones...If anyone can make a character most New York theatergoers would tag as a bigot delightful company, it's Brunstetter her creator and Rupp her dynamite interpreter." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Though vocalizing is not this production's strong suit, Fiasco puts them over with their special flair...But for all the clever touches and Latarro's peppy choreography, the many lovely songs are still attached to a structural gimmick that viewers of the large cast version found too confusing...I rather doubt that the strong acting, inventiveness, charm and stylishness, will turn Sondheim's major flop into a belated major hit likely to move to Broadway. But there's plenty here to enjoy." Full Review

CurtainUp

“By paring the script down to the under two-hour single act format favored by today's audiences, the questions Ms. Baker posed—but intentionally left without a conclusive ending— are likely to kick up questions relevant to the ethical dilemmas faced by these characters' present day counterparts...While the actors all fit their parts well, the men fare best, especially Donald Corren as the titular main character and Mitch Greenberg as Wicksteed.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“Given that ‘Shadow’ did suffer from the structural weaknesses of a fledgling work, the invaluable Irish Rep's co-founders have now tapped into its strengths...Directed...with solid attention to its blend of humor and horrified distress...O'Reilly has assembled a splendid team of actors...Russell and Hennessy do well as the romantic couple...But it's the actors in the minor roles who really give them color and make them less the overly familiar types they've become over the years.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“A top of the line production...A highly entertaining tragicomedy...A complex, multi-layered meditation on the American Dream...Hawke and Dano definitely belong in the ranks of outstanding interpreters of these siblings...The two actors display terrific chemistry...While Macdonald takes a bit too long with his build-up to the...best scenes, he and this cast are presenting us with a production that's good enough to overlook some of the script's failure to provide more of a backstory.” Full Review

CurtainUp

for a previous production "Any new dramatization of the iconic Lee novel calls for some drastic diddling with text.. Sorkin has managed to do so dynamically, without any disrespect to either the novel or the movie...Probably this production's most drastic, and to my surprise and delight, most effective change from previous dramatizations is the casting of adult actors to play the Finch children...Sher also draws terrific performances from other members of the large cast." Full Review

Blue Ridge
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"Even with Ireland and the stellar ensemble on board, ‘Blue Ridge’ fails to live up to its dramatic potential. Despite some powerful and occasional comic scenes, the parts don't add up to a really satisfying whole...While the characters are all interesting their stories are not fully enough explored since they're basically satellites to Ireland's Alison...Numerous questions about their backgrounds and interactions remain as frustrating loose ends.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"Splendidly staged and performed Nottage legacy production...Very broad satiric humor like this tends to overwhelm the underlying seriousness. But thanks to director Lileana Blain-Cruz, it all works quite well...If you leave your need for kitchen sink realism at the door, you'll enjoy seeing this cautionary play as much as Lynn Nottage must have enjoyed writing it. " Full Review

Noura
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Raffo and the four other actors deftly navigate the complexities that shape how they see their lives and relationships with each other. However, with so many issues to unspool in such a short time, their interactions at times short change emotionally engaging dramatics for debate-like discussions...The chance to become acquainted with people most of us know little about, the strong performances and intriguing stagecraft make this play's payoff greater than its shortcomings." Full Review