Ethan Kanfer

Ethan Kanfer is a critic with Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews. 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 (39)
Mangled Beams
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Scrupulously fair to all its characters, Jamieson’s script skillfully weaves its multiple narratives and themes of cultural and personal dilemmas into a cohesive statement. There is even a healthy dose of humor to counterbalance the seriousness of the subject matter. As with any large cast play, though, keeping a consistent pace and tone proves challenging...The heart of 'Mangled Beams' shines through regardless, but the show feels like it’s under construction." Full Review

The Chekhov Dreams
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Though it’s in need of some judicious trimming, John McKinney’s engagingly surreal romcom largely succeeds in building a delectable Dagwood sandwich of multiple genres, archetypes, and conventions...The wit and tenderness with which McKinney renders his vibrant characters give the audience both an enjoyable ride and something to talk about after the curtain falls...Watkins provides the show with a solid emotional core." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

“The energy seldom lags, and all three cherry-picked one acts are provocative, timely and adroitly crafted...‘Hate Crime’...The dynamic between coolly predatory leader and eager protégé is expertly mined for both laughs and chills...‘Winter Break’...The action stalls somewhat...When it’s cooking, though, Haigney’s intelligent script shows remarkable insight and compassion...‘Percentage America’...Lewis’s razor-sharp satire...The story speeds to its dark, and unexpectedly touching, conclusion." Full Review

The Children
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Exposition is skillfully interwoven with present-day banter...The characters, both in their scripting and the nuanced performances of the cast, are not at all the scientists-as-socially-inept- brainiacs stereotypes. Refreshingly real, these people are more function like the rest of us...Director McDonald understands this balance of the quotidian with the apocalyptic, and keeps the action grounded in the rituals of daily life." Full Review

Cloud 9
Soho/Tribeca
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"As this spirited, if uneven revival shows, 'Cloud 9' may have lost some of its shock value, but the dramatic core of the piece, skillfully built by Churchill, still holds up...The early scenes are played with a good deal of shrillness and bombast...Once the story gets underway, however, the dark comedy begins to land with more nuance and an intriguing domestic power dynamic emerges...The second act is considerably more subdued, and the actors wear their roles with greater ease." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

“Though some threads of its story could use more development, Mickele Hogan’s trim, well-constructed dramedy manages to steer clear of disease-of-the-week movie clichés in favor of a more ambiguous, believable examination of the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s…Hogan’s dialogue has an agreeable flow to it, and there are welcome touches of humor that keep the evening from becoming lugubrious. Her writing is well served by a lively cast.” Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Another vibrant chapter in Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle is receiving its long overdue debut on Broadway...Director Santiago-Hudson, who has himself acted in several of Wilson’s plays, understands the pace of the play perfectly. Neither rushed nor sluggish, 'Jitney' moves at a clip that allows its plot, and its characters’ arias, to rise organically from the rhythms and routines of everyday life. The actors vibrantly assert their individuality while contributing to the larger mosaic." Full Review

90210! THE MUSICAL!
East Village
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Sporting a a tirelessly upbeat cast and a pop-inflected score by Assaf Gleizner, the show neatly compresses 10 seasons of the legendary teen soap opera into a brisk two acts...Director/choreographer Donald Garverick keeps the energy level high, and adds extra parodic flavor by incorporating '90s dance trends into the show’s deliriously silly numbers...The show’s grade point average suffers only in one area: lyrics...The rhymes can get a bit sloppy, and there are missed opportunities." Full Review

The Trojan Women
Soho/Tribeca
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Trimming the script to a brisk 60 minutes, adapter Ellen McLaughlin highlights the play’s themes of remembrance, identity and survival…McLaughlin and director Anne Cecelia Haney wisely don’t oversell the relevance of the narrative. Its universality speaks for itself…The cast delivers the confident, visceral work for which the Bats are well known. Their unaffected approach to this challenging material potently embodies both the mythic and the modern elements of the text." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"The Gothic potency of the images is complemented by an original score...What the music lacks in melodic variety it makes up for in proficiency and rapport. In the more kinetic moments, and especially in the film’s brutal climax, both musicians get a chance to shine, with fuzz pedal distortion and other hard rock pyrotechnics put to effective use. A neglected classic, 'Faust' is ripe for rediscovery, and the added energy of live music makes it all the more compelling." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

for a previous production “Moss treats all perspectives with equal compassion, and shows that both sides can sometimes be guilty of finger-pointing…A well-cast ensemble embodies these contradictions effectively, but they are somewhat inhibited by the limitations of the production. Moss exhibits good directorial instincts, but the venue itself seems to fighting him…These problems will likely diminish if ‘Crusade’ gets a longer run in a theater the right size and shape. It deserves to.” Full Review

The Healing
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

“Hunter does an admirable job of populating his world with likable, true-to-life characters, but he’d get more present-tense energy out of them if he’d let them set the blame game aside and try to harder to reach each other. Similarly, director Stella Powell-Jones keeps the actors emotionally grounded, but could stand to prune some of the awkward pauses and move the action forward with greater surety. Despite its stagnant beats, though, ‘The Healing’ does spark an intriguing debate.” Full Review

Ross & Rachel
Midtown E
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Fritz’s writing is at its best when deep feelings shine through the character’s self-absorption. Far too often, though, the dramatic stakes are lowered by the fact that no one seems to really care…For the audience to stay riveted, the characters need to have something more to lose than just their TV illusions of marital utopia. The play does provide a showcase for the dynamic Molly Vevers…Her disarmingly youthful face belies a brooding intellect and startling emotional range." Full Review

Wolf in the River
Soho/Tribeca
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Always provocative, often poetic, playwright-director Adam Rapp blends the mythic with the mundane in this potent exploration of the tribulations of coming of age in the wild backwaters of rural America...'Wolf in the River' offers an entrancingly primal approach to theatrical storytelling...There are times when Rapp’s dithyrambic dialogue seems be trying too hard...The Bats leap into their roles with their customary zeal, clearly trusting Rapp’s vision." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Director Lynnette Barkley keeps the show moving briskly and makes economical use of slide projections and lighting changes to suggest myriad locales...The ensemble morph into a rich array of concerned Americans...At times comic, often moving, 'Chatting' offers no solutions. But it does affirm that it is not only possible but necessary, to reach across the aisle and find common ground. If our politicians won’t do it, then we, the people must make the first move." Full Review

A Wilder Christmas
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Visually, the production is topnotch…Director Dan Wackerman effectively blends the ethereal with the commonplace in 'Hiwatha.' He is less successful in 'The Long Christmas Dinner,' which, despite its title, feels a bit rushed. The actors nail the technical aspects, such as the period accents and the physicality of aging, but rarely get the opportunity to breathe within their roles." Full Review

Steve
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Director Cynthia Nixon draws charming performances from an adroitly cast ensemble...When it’s cooking, the script delivers a potent cocktail of devastating wit and rueful reflection on the ravages of time. Structurally, though, it feels a bit lopsided...In its current draft, 'Steve' is certainly worthwhile: an evening spent in good company. With a bit of revision, it could be much more." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"There are some interesting metaphors and provocative ambiguities...There’s also quite a bit of clutter and noise, which mostly serves to obscure the author’s intentions...The sad part of all this randomness is that when Almasy stays on-topic, she does achieve potent theatrical effects…These moments show talent and imagination, and it’s a shame that Almasy couldn’t see her way clear to pruning away the play’s more self-indulgent schtick." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"A bittersweet, compassionate take on the challenges of love in our complicated era…The script poses a number of provocative questions...In the end, there are no easy answers, only human beings trying to sort it all out. At times, the dialogue feels a bit too on-the-nose, with emotional details spoken aloud that might be better expressed in subtext. Overall, though, Anastasi’s fairness to his characters outweighs his occasional missteps." Full Review

The New Morality
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Despite the play’s constraints of time and space, Harold Chapin’s script never feels stilted or expository. Comic tension rarely lags and the humor is character-driven, lending the story a freshness that transcends its period. Director Jonathan Bank moves his baton at the right speed: brisk, but not rushed." Full Review

Time Stands Still
West Village
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Audiences who were underwhelmed by the original production will discover new relevance, rawness, and humor the New Light Theater's heartfelt revival...The script goes to both painful and tenderly funny places as these intelligent, troubled characters navigate the intersection of personal and polemical...Nagrant movingly captures Sarah's battered idealism...Equally compelling, Long embodies James's disillusion and resilience...They receive ample support from the supporting cast." Full Review

Divine Horsemen
Soho/Tribeca
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Calderon’s dialogue captures the cadences and embellishments that distinguish New York Street-speak. He and Zayas make the most of their staccato exchanges and imagistic monologues...For all its vitality, 'Divine Horseman' is still in a raw stage of its development. It needs a more even pace, and a smoother execution of its fight choreography. Most likely, though, if the production gets the longer, better-funded run it deserves, these rough edges will correct themselves." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Hartstone’s writing is concise and vividly descriptive, packed with images that evoke the bustling atmosphere of golden age Hollywood. Her well-researched script is populated with entertaining archetypes...Plotwise, though, some of the show’s potential goes untapped...Harstone needs a bit more guidance from director Vince Fusco...despite these missteps, Hartstone’s warmth and charisma shines through and she is clearly a talent to watch." Full Review

Up the Rabbit Hole
East Village
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Raw, honest and brave. It also, in places, suffers from the lack of objectivity that affects many writers as they attempt to mold their life experiences into dramatic narratives. There is plenty to like, including a strong cast, but both directorially and script-wise, it’s in need of further development...Despite its unevenness, though, 'Up the Rabbit Hole' manages, at times to be deeply moving and tenderly funny." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Rabe writes in an organic, raging style seldom found among today’s playwrights...Director Cicchino attempts, with mixed results, to get inside Rabe’s musicality...Kassa provides the show with a strong emotional core...When it’s cooking, the production succeeds in bringing to life the script’s odd blend of social satire and personal tragedy...Unfortunately, not all of ‘In The Boom Boom Room’ lands with the same surety...Something of the momentum gets lost in all the hurlyburly." Full Review

Nibbler
West Village
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

“The cast rises nimbly to the challenge of the script, making the characters’ identity transitions both comical and convincing. Director Benjamin Kamine weaves the mundane and surreal elements of the story into a motley tribute to the quirky culture of 90’s. The script, like its protagonist, is both endearing and a bit unfocused…If Adam could be less of a 'lens character' and more of a three-dimensional person with real problems and dreams, 'Nibbler' would have more of the bite it needs.” Full Review

Anna Christie
East Village
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"In addition to embodying the vernacular poetry of O’Neill’s language, the actors capture the human, often comically contradictory traits of characters’ personalities. D’Ambrose’s Chris is both worldly and naïve, Plaehn’s vibrant Anna shows the scars of a hardscrabble life along with the angelic purity that causes Mat to mistake her for a mermaid. The show’s impressive production values also help to deepen the mood and advance the story." Full Review

Dead Shot Mary
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"McPhee handles the period accent skillfully and disappears into the part. Both commanding and likable, she carries the audience confidently through the ups and downs of Mary’s life. As a play, though, 'Dead Shot Mary' leaves a few too many questions unanswered. Benson and director Stephen Kaliski are less surefooted when it comes to the more personal aspects the story...'Dead Shot Mary' has its heart in the right place, but its creators need to take more decisive aim at their targets." Full Review

Calm Mom (FringeNYC)
Soho/Tribeca
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"A charming one-woman musical…Gold’s songs feature tight rhymes, and strong melodies and hooks that encapsulates the characters. Gold’s impressive vocal range and warm delivery animates the comedy songs and tender ballads with equal grace and precision...Plot wise, what’s here is solid, but there’s room for expansion...Let’s keep our fingers crossed that 'Calm Mom' settles into the Triad or the Laurie Beechman for the longer run it deserves." Full Review

The Iron Heel
Brooklyn
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"In Edward Einhorn’s briskly-paced and endearing stage adaptation, the spine of the story remains, while much of the soapboxing has been trimmed...A rousing tale of rigged elections, false identities, prison escapes, bombings, romantic interludes, songs of solidarity, and scenes of terrifying carnage...Despite the naiveté of its source material, 'The Iron Heel' does seem to have a relevant message: As in London’s time, the American atmosphere is abuzz with the need for change." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Thanks to some clever writing and an ensemble of gifted mimics, the lampoon lands much more effectively than 'SNL’s' shots at the same broad target...Over the course of two largely plotless acts, though, the evening’s sketch-like concept gets stretched rather thin...Duff’s molto allegro directorial style and Nolan’s booty-enhancing kostumes and Soudan’s sexy khoreography help keep the energy high." Full Review

Radiant Vermin
Midtown E
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Bitingly droll up to a point, but after Jill and Ollie have lost their souls there’s nowhere for the plot to go...The story spins its wheels for too long before the denouement arrives. David Mercatali’s direction is clear and brisk, and it’s fun to see the normally somber Ridley exploring his comedic side. But the satire here seems unfocused. To be sure, the rampant consumerism of today’s society is a deserving target for ridicule, but that alone is not enough to fill a full-length play." Full Review

Echoes
Midtown E
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Both Houlbrooke and Bragança turn in solid, vibrant performances. Naylor and Buttler give the 60-minute show a brisk pace and keep the intertwining stories from becoming confusing. Ultimately, though, the show stops being about the characters and becomes a sermon on the Worldwide Perpetual Martyrdom of Women. Naylor should trust his more humanistic instincts, and allow the audience more room interpret what the story means." Full Review

Ideation
Midtown E
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"In Loeb’s mordant take on corporate culture, a process that begins as problem-solving quickly descends into an exercise in collective hysteria. Though not all of 'Ideation' works, its desperate characters are creepily fun to watch...Loeb has a keen ear for the empty jargon and forced chumminess of boardroom life, but the same provocative premise would be better served in a leaner, one act edition. Performance-wise, however, 'Ideation' is solid and imaginative." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Richard Greenberg’s take on end-of-life issues offers a refreshing lightness and honesty…Under Lynne Meadow’s smartly understated direction, the actors paint a convincing portrait of a family facing down a conundrum…Greenberg endows his characters with an engaging intelligence and originality, but he could get even more out of them if he would find more spots in the script where ideas could be conveyed through dramatic action rather than commentary." Full Review

Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"It’s only natural that a few contrivances are needed in order to steer the story to its destination. Yet the exposition rarely feels forced, and the characters have more dimension than the romcom cliches. The script touches, albeit lightly, on real issues like career regret and strained familial relationships...The actors are miked in a way that feels tinny and artificial. Amplification is a necessary evil in today’s theater, but the audience should never be aware of it." Full Review

Shear Madness
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"Like any newly arrived out-of-towner, the show hasn’t yet fully adapted to Manhattan’s rhythms and sensibilities. It does, however, feature a cast of charming and improv-savvy actors, and with some tuning-up, 'Shear Madness' has the potential to do well in Gotham...More than the murder mystery plot line, the comic tension created by the show’s unknown outcome gives the show its theatrical energy...its script would benefit from some trimming, shaping and styling." Full Review

Cuckooed
Midtown E
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"The show’s core narrative, a kind of loss-of-innocence story, gives the show an emotional spine that makes it a true theater piece rather than just an evening of politically-oriented standup...Thomas does not paint a rosy picture of an activist’s life, nor does he attempt to flatter the audience with the good news that we can make the world a better place. He does, however, provide an honest, and ultimately moving glimpse of life in the trenches." Full Review

Rule of 7x7
Midtown W
Ethan Kanfer: New York Theater Reviews

"The quality of the work is uniformly strong. The actors are confident, well-rehearsed and skilled at blending farce with poignancy. The directors make adroit use of minimal materials to swiftly create the disparate narrative worlds of the different plays...'Rule of 7 X 7' is a deal that can’t be beat." Full Review