Gillian Russo

Gillian Russo is a critic with Plays to See. 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 (28)
HEART
West Village
New York Theatre Guide

"It's a tale as old as time: An LGBT+ person realizes they're queer for the first time, and all the happiness that they feel toward finally discovering their true self gets crushed beneath insecurity, shame, and fear that their families or society will never see them the same way again. ... But just because it's a time-worn tale doesn't mean it's any less affecting to see." Full Review

53% OF
Upper W Side
New York Theatre Guide

"'53% Of' works best as an intro-level reminder to check our biases and, to use a platitude, 'do better.' But it doesn't take a strong stance on what a different or better path forward looks like. While well-intentioned and well-acted, it's not the political theatre we need." Full Review

Corsicana
Midtown W
New York Theatre Guide

"For anyone who appreciates a found family trope and wants to see it delivered naturally, humanely, and beautifully, 'Corsicana' provides enough heart to fill the entire state of Texas. When you hear the song they create, which they vow 'no one's ever gonna hear,' you'll feel like a part of the family, too." Full Review

Dreaming Zenzile
East Village
New York Theatre Guide

"Overall, though, this bio-musical is an excellent one that feels fresh amid the many others on Broadway and beyond right now. It respectfully and deeply honors its subject matter without lots of spectacle, allowing room for Makeba's spirit and calls to action to shine through." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"By not hyper-focusing on her abortion for the entire 70 minutes, she normalizes it, and shows herself as a complete and complex woman separate from motherhood. Leiby stresses that doesn't define or change her, and that abortion is something we can and should talk about in everyday conversation, not just when it's in crisis." Full Review

Harmony
Financial
New York Theatre Guide

"But the question arises: By now, do we really need 'Harmony?' 'Ain't Too Proud' and 'Jersey Boys' already made successes of the same concept, but I'm happy to report that 'Harmony' earns its place among them, not least of all because of the Russia-Ukraine war that makes this musical's treatment of wartime turmoil feel timely. The many moving parts of this musical aren't in as perfect harmony as the Comedian Harmonists, but they're pretty darn close." Full Review

Help
Chelsea
New York Theatre Guide

"5/5 stars...Rankine astutely wrote about whiteness there, not as a skin color, but a learned mindset...It's empathetic without being unduly soft on the ugliness of whiteness and those who perpetuate it. Lest you think that, you can look to Taibi Magar and Shamel Pitts's fluid direction and choreography...Every element of 'Help' coheres to create something you can't look away from. (Of course, that's the mark of any great theatre.)" Full Review

Coal Country
West Village
New York Theatre Guide

"4/5 stars...The laughs in 'Coal Country' are sparse, but like in stand-up, the performers tell true stories directly to the audience and create a strong connection. You may not feel uplifted after hearing the performers' stories...but after we've all experienced collective grief amid the pandemic, you'll feel seen, making the show even more affecting than during its first (abbreviated) run in March 2020...The performances are uniformly excellent." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Not to mention, The Search for Signs is a love letter to live theatre, too, that couldn't have come at a better time. When else would we believe that an umbrella hat-wearing, homeless, "crazy" woman is a time-traveling mouthpiece for the human condition? When we hear that woman talk about how the aliens behaved when she took them to the theatre. "They said it wasn't the play that gave them goosebumps, it was the audience," she says. "To see a group of strangers sitting in the dark, laughing ... Full Review

Julie Madly Deeply
Midtown E
Plays to See

“’Julie Madly Deeply’ is many things: a cabaret, a history, and a celebration...Young has crafted her narrative around the songs quite organically – the lyrics hearken to whatever life event Young recounts without feeling forced. The narration is inventive as well...The show may be scripted, but it’s clear that Young’s own enthusiasm from the star comes from a genuine place.” Full Review

Plays to See

“The whole thing is just off-kilter from the start, but that’s the point...There’s the clearly unnatural way the characters speak...Not to mention the unsettlingly matter-of-fact, yet bright, tone with which they speak about murder...The show is a sort of adventure quest...That goes on just a tad too long, in order to reach the treasure at the end: a conclusion that you don’t even know if you’ll get...It takes a while to get there, but it’s worth the wait.” Full Review

The American Tradition
West Village
Plays to See

“‘The American Tradition’ appears at first glance to be a vivid glimpse into the past, but it immediately calls into question how much racial injustice really is history...At its most basic, the story is purely historical. But Yamanouchi smartly writes his 19th-century characters as parallels to 21st-century archetypes...Agree with its comparison of eras or not, ‘The American Tradition’ bears an emotional potency that sticks in the mind regardless.” Full Review

Plays to See

"Seventy-five minutes of pure heart, pure warmth, pure fun. Go see it, and you’ll come out wanting to hug every loved one you have...Cheesy? Slightly. But it’s that charming kind of cheesiness you find in Hallmark movies, the kind you just can’t help but love, especially now that holiday cheer is in the air. Plus, the show’s hysterical...Richard Masur’s Bernard is especially candid and sharp-tongued...And Eve Johnson shines as the precocious young Rory." Full Review

Plays to See

"If you enjoy clown acts, or you are amused by watching young children interact, you’ll enjoy this. James and Jamesy are like two big children...It’s a little redundant and definitely strange. But there are moments of novelty and clarity...You might not leave with a hurting stomach, as the humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you will leave with the sense that you’ve become a part of something inexplicably real." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"when Richard steps out into the audience and explains away his wrongdoings, we listen, enraptured, and applaud on cue. It's the most clever bit of staging in this nearly 3-hour production, which doesn't shed much new light on the 600-year-old play, but is well designed and provides a worthy talent showcase for its actors." Full Review

Titanique
Financial
New York Theatre Guide

"'Titanique' is one of those shows where anything can happen, so it does, up until the final twists that you surely won't see coming. It's best just to grab your friends, grab some drinks (the show sells them in buckets), and just get on board. The cast and creators' enthusiasm is infectious, and if you just let it wash over you, you'll have a boatload of fun." Full Review

Snow in Midsummer
East Village
New York Theatre Guide

"'Snow in Midsummer's' greatest highlight is its visuals, particularly Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew's lighting, which is consistently evocative. But overall, too much flab — including a subplot about a shady doctor, a couple characters whose exact purpose is confusing, and multiple mom reveals — muddies what has the potential to be a tight and compelling murder mystery." Full Review

The Vagrant Trilogy
East Village
New York Theatre Guide

"From over here in New York, it's easy for us to see the plight of refugees as an abstraction, be they Palestinians, Ukrainians, or any number of others. But it's impossible to do so after seeing 'The Vagrant Trilogy,' which uses the story of one man and his family to comment on the toll of being displaced from one's home." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Lloyd's 'Cyrano' lives comfortably in anachronism. Classics purists will still find the rhyming-couplet poetry of Rostand’s play intact, but Martin Crimp's freewheeling adaptation will also delight the Gen-Z crowd: 19th-century verse gives way to 21st-century spoken-word poetry and rap, including plenty of red-hot roasts. Think Hamilton, but faster (yes, it’s possible) and with no accompaniment but a single beatboxer (Vaneeka Dadhria)." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"For better or for worse, this Little Prince feels like something plucked from a kid’s haphazard imagination, but if such a kitschy quality flies (no pun intended) anywhere, it’s in a story like this. After all, de Saint-Exupéry’s best-known words are, “One sees clearly only with the heart; that which is important is invisible to the eye.” Look at The Little Prince with the eye and see an enjoyable, if flawed, dance show. Look with the heart and you’ll see a beautiful, fun-loving, deeply affe... Full Review

At The Wedding
Upper W Side
New York Theatre Guide

"3/5 stars...70 minutes of enjoyable, though trite, wisecracking and wisdom-sharing about the unbreakable bond between love and pain...Unfortunately, save perhaps for Leigh, all the other characters' development gets sacrificed to accommodate Carlo's huge presence and narrow view of true love...One redeeming way to interpret these bits of 'At the Wedding' is that it actually takes place through Carlo's point of view, and there is evidence for that...One other thing 'At the Wedding' does get r... Full Review

Shhhhh
Chelsea
New York Theatre Guide

"But although this is Shareen's/Barron's story, SHHHH is Constance Shulman's show. Shulman bewitches as Sally aka "Witchy Witch," Shareen's sister who does magic rituals and ASMR on her off-hours from being a postal worker. Shulman is given free reign to be weird and wacky — she puts her voice-acting background to commanding use, with her every word measured, grave, like she's about to prophesy either your ultimate bliss or your impending doom." Full Review

Persuasion
East Village
New York Theatre Guide

"Awkwardness is the dominant feeling onstage, as no one has any privacy and nothing better to do than observe each other making faux pas while vainly hoping no one sees their own. The result is a hilarious and relatable adaptation for those of us nervously readjusting back to in-person socializing." Full Review

Plays to See

“The characters don’t connect much with each other...The appendix claims to provide some final clarity, but it does not live up to its promise...Every line and every motion seems awkward and disjointed and perhaps that’s how it’s supposed to be...What ultimately makes the show worth going is just being able to add ‘queer ghost story’ to the list of show genres you’ve seen, and watching a comically ridiculous knockoff of a Mexican folk dance.” Full Review

I Carry Your Heart
Midtown E
Plays to See

"It’s a tale of uncanny twists of fate, the mysterious connections between human lives, and hope in the midst of grief. If it sounds trite, unfortunately, it is. The show plays out like a near-soap-operatic Lifetime movie, navigating audiences through foreseeable plot twists and unnaturally poetic dialogue...It will satisfy those in the mood for some ultimately heartwarming drama or some lyrical poetry." Full Review

Trick or Treat
Midtown E
Plays to See

“The show is labeled a black comedy...However, the show plays out more like a drama or a thriller would...A superbly written thriller, with no slumps in the suspense...Characters are explosive and intense...The quick, fiery Irish interlude music matches, if not accelerates, the show’s whistle-stop pace and the average heartbeat of any given audience. The actors’ performances are as fascinating as their characters are exasperating." Full Review

Plays to See

“This show combines theatre and neuroscience for a one-of-a-kind interactive experience. Part performance, part game show, part story time, and part psychology/sociology lesson packed into two hours that won’t leave you bored...’The Female Role Model Project’s’ standout elements really lie in its concept...Not that the execution isn’t good...But the somewhat disjointed flow of the segments keeps the execution from being great." Full Review

The Other Day
East Village
Plays to See

“Isaack’s Santo is the standout performance...Some of these scenes can feel slightly repetitive, but it’s a minor flaw that detracts little from the power of the story...Luckily, peppered into the script is some necessary comic relief...that let us forget for just a second the despair unfolding on the stage...’The Other Day’ can be seen as a cautionary tale against not facing problems truthfully and openly, but it doesn’t leave audiences despairing; there is room for hope.” Full Review