Isa Goldberg

Isa Goldberg is a critic with Theater Life. 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 (42)
Convention
Brooklyn
Theater Life

"As written by Danny Rocco that is the fabric of history – more like a Sargasso Sea than an Excel spreadsheet. Stuff happens. It’s a dirty war. Still, watching it is fun!...Clearly, the issues that are being voiced are those of our own time. Here the conflict between the progressives, represented by Wallace, and the more moderate position championed by Truman, has a lot to do with what the party can serve that voters will buy." Full Review

Mies Julie
East Village
Theater Life

"In this brilliant and disturbing reimaging of Strindberg’s play, Farber sets the action in 21st century South Africa...Here, the violent romance between Mies Julie, and John reflect the country’s ongoing issues of race and class...Visually arresting, the actors are each incredible looking, and their chemistry is explosive...That director Shariffa Ali achieves both the political and psychological realities with equal force, creates this most effecting production." Full Review

Theater Life

"It takes leaps at addressing social issues, in a fun-loving way. Social issues like individuality and inclusiveness...What touches us here is the innocence and freshness of the story no matter how traditional it all clearly is...The charm of this musical lies in its whacky characters, the diversity of its actors, and the feel-good story which ends with two girls kissing lovingly on stage, and the promise of a biracial marriage.” Full Review

Ordinary Days
Midtown W
Theater Life

"That the characters appear so utterly quotidian, on one hand and so familiar on the other, speaks to the play’s immeasurable charm...In a sung through musical, the voices tell the story, and the four actors in this production make that an especially affecting experience simply because they sound truthful and honest...It’s an understated, beautifully sung, and moving story about connecting with another person." Full Review

Dan Cody's Yacht
Midtown W
Theater Life

“Plays with the simplicity of boulevard comedy, while addressing complex issues of education and class...While the plot is pretty obvious, Giardina manages to hold up the ambiguity of morality in a thoughtful, sophisticated way. It’s not about right and wrong...it’s about being true to oneself, and knowing how to get results...That the play moves so easily and quickly is, of course, a tribute to Hughes’ direction, as well as the very capable cast...Smooth, well-paced, and timely.” Full Review

Theater Life

"Smith feels completely natural in her discomfort, and her need for finality...Neugebauer mines the emotional depth of these characters, and their relationships...Smith-Cameron is a force of nature, her mere presence radiating a sense of truth, of being in the present...As her crazy sister Fanny, Johanna Day plays a recovering addict who is also manipulative, in an unpredictable, and unsettling way...About the end of life, Lily Throne’s play is unsentimental. And death is relief." Full Review

Theater Life

"Full of sadness, Joe Mantello’s revival plays on its underlying and uncanny sense of comedy. Seething beneath the fast-paced banter, in fact, is a kind of Grand Guignol, a graphic display of amoral horror and entertainment...Within the interchangeable nature of A, B, C, lie familiar Albee themes about identity, and the ability to define oneself...The brilliance of the acting shines through in this marvelous production...In spite of the humorous and spirited fun on stage, the moral is tough." Full Review

Theater Life

"As directed by Michael Arden, the production, speaks to our senses...Indeed, the musical speaks to the necessity for social action and change – the need to break down the barriers between class, and race. As is her wont, Ahrens tells the story through song. Songs that are as functional in telling the story, as they are rife with beautiful imagery...Similarly, Flaherty’s melodies capture the enchantment...Especially timely in its evocation of youthful heroism." Full Review

Junk
Upper W Side
Theater Life

"Helmed by Doug Hughes, the drama unfolds as docudrama about the junk bond debacle of the '80s...However, if you like I, did not understand the junk bond market then, you are no more likely to understand it after seeing this production. Why and how it happened exactly seem to matter less than the personalities of the perpetrators. In 'Junk,' Steven Pasquale, boldly imparts qualities of curiosity and mischief into the driven mastermind of the debt trading game." Full Review

Downtown Race Riot
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Rosenfeld’s new play dredges up the depravity of New York City during its bankrupt years...Sevigny delivers an understated portrayal of a junkie, and the mother of two teenage children...As directed by Scott Elliott, the ongoing life is pretty crummy, surrounded by race riots, gangs, and violence – most of which we’re spared from watching. It’s the effect of it all that we experience...Still, in spite of poverty, illness and addiction, Rosenfeld’s drama offers a flicker of hope." Full Review

Theater Life

“There is a new lullaby on Broadway, with a fusion of influences from the big bands to traditional Egyptian music, to get lost in – enchantingly lost, that is, and charmed...Because the musicians are on stage throughout the play, the human harmony that emerges, amidst the haunting blend of instruments is wondrous...Cromer mines the humanity of the piece...Yazbek blends a range of musical genres in a unique way...It’s the brilliance of the musicality that drives the show.” Full Review

Theater Life

"Director Neil Pepe finesses the play’s intense realism, developing each scene with the utmost attention to detail, and to the ongoing life on the stage. Often the events in the characters’ lives are disturbing...Still, it all comes across as plausible, even quotidian. What could be more predictable, after all, than bad marriages and dysfunctional families? Throughout, the actors carry the action, keeping us tuned in to their sad and sordid affairs." Full Review

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
Theater Life

“At its soul, the show is a compilation of the best musical numbers you can see in one evening in a Broadway theater…The vanity aspects of a Broadway musical about the man who directs it are swept seamlessly into the background…In addition to the selection of great numbers, the cast is wonderful…If the wonderful confections of American musical theater thrill you, watching this show is like hanging out at Levain Bakery early in the morning, before the first customer arrives.” Full Review

Indy East End

"Michael Urie works himself to the bone...And his work pays off, in a hilarious physical farce...As directed by Jesse Berger, the characters verge on the grotesque...Paced as a slapstick farce, the production is high on silliness. Among the outstanding actors in this production, Arnie Burton portrays the postmaster who reads everyone's mail...With Alexis Distler's double-decker set divided into three distinct spaces, one views the characters' antics through various lenses." Full Review

The Rivals
Upper E Side
Theater Life

“Easy to follow, regardless of the classical language...The leisure of the audience reflects the exaggerated idleness on stage…Bold intrigue, disguise and duplicity are colorfully wed in this positively delicious comedy…The show feels intimate, despite the presentational manner in which it begins...The bucolic setting, the contemporary spirit of the story, and the friendly energetic actors make for a felicitous gathering.” Full Review

Cost of Living
Midtown W
Theater Life

"A play about disabilities, cast with people who have disabilities, 'Living' stands out among a few like-minded productions...Jarring as it is to watch the characters in Majok’s new work struggle with the dailiness of their lives, her play makes life’s painful rigors transparent. Fortunately, she also imbues the experience with a sharply honed comic sensibility...Best not to spoil the outcome, but it is a tender, humanizing one, beautifully directed by Bonney." Full Review

Bandstand
Midtown W
Theater Life

“‘Bandstand’ raises the stakes on a storied cliché…Oberacker and Taylor bring an innocence and vitality to a story every boy and girl imagines, and which the show’s creators run with to the heights…What a pleasure it is to hear Oberacker’s compositions…Laura Osnes does a remarkable acting job…‘Bandstand’ is a laudable work steeped in classical American music and dance styles, with a nostalgic sense of storytelling that still requires attention.” Full Review

Theater Life

“These dancers are literally on their toes, and the pageantry and whimsy they bring to this revival recreates one of the best-staged musicals of all time. In every respect, it’s a beautiful show to watch….Bette Midler plays Dolly Levi with natural aplomb…The second act is a delightful rally of raucous interludes…David Hyde Pierce appears utterly at ease…Still an uplifting show and this, a delightful revival!” Full Review

War Paint
Midtown W
Theater Life

"While the book unearths their lives, what stands out here is the extraordinary singing. LuPone, balancing classical gusto with characteristic bravura, and Ebersole, sweetly and openly alive in show stopping musical numbers, are legendary. And while the men in their lives were their lesser halves, John Dossett and Doug Sills are in fine form here, as well...Fortunately, director Michael Greif recognizes what we’ve come to see, and delivers it joyfully." Full Review

Theater Life

"Under Terry Kinney’s insightful direction, this revival is, most importantly, comedic...While the arguments are obvious...the issues drive to the heart of so much of Miller’s oeuvre...But there is also something very simple at the heart of the dialogue between these family members about what it takes to be a man...The entertainment is Coliseum-style, with Roman gladiators fighting for their lives." Full Review

Sunset Boulevard
Midtown W
Theater Life

"As Close portrays her, she is a universal character, embittered by her faded glory to the point of being delusional...Deftly directed by Lonny Price...This is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s more beautiful scores, in my opinion...Xavier is a dashing tenor, and here he definitely wins the bathing suit contest. Siobhan Dillon, making her Broadway debut as the young woman who catches Joe’s eye, comes as a welcome relief to the vamps of old. But, Glenn Close is in a class of her own." Full Review

The Dance of Death
East Village
Theater Life

"This new translation by Conor McPherson mines the contemporary spirit of Strindberg’s marriage play, its bleak pessimism, and absurdity. Written at the turn of the 20th century, Strindberg’s black comedy was well ahead of its time...The production moves briskly, with an effecting sense of the brutality in Edgar and Alice’s 25-year marital interment. As Edgar, Richard Topol embodies the misanthropic husband who makes Alice’s every moment unbearable." Full Review

Theater Life

"That is the beauty of the story, which is neither moralizing nor derogatory about societal norms. It just lays out a situation, and allows us to share what is positively achieved by taking one’s own path. The gifted ensemble carries the story beautifully, and casually to a positive outcome...Director Trip Cullman mines the material with sensitivity." Full Review

The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
Indy East End

"Brilliantly helmed by Sam Mendes, the production...has the span of an epic work, and the universality of appeal...With a large ensemble, nearly two dozen actors, the ongoing life at the farm feels buoyant and celebratory...It’s consistently engrossing...Butterworth’s drama is so artfully plotted that it all falls into place irrevocably." Full Review

The True
Midtown W
Theater Life

“This new play, directed by Scott Elliott...is similar to White’s earlier works...Here the focus is on the urban political machine in Albany, in the 1970s...White’s play, while based on historical figures, including Polly Noonan, who sustained her influence even though she never held office, mingles historical truth with fiction...Falco is a committed player. She doesn’t shy from the dirtiness of political game playing...The well-seasoned cast are all credible and engaging.” Full Review

Fruit Trilogy
West Village
Theater Life

“Watching Eve Ensler’s ‘Fruit Trilogy’, one feels as if they were entering an existential hell...Only here the quest to be rescued from a terrible fate is massaged for a happy ending...Ensler’s language is graphic, vulgar and poetic. And the acts described are in large part violent sexual crimes against women, committed for personal gain...Sensitively directed by Mark Rosenblatt, the characters’ realizations, and their ability to transform, inform the play’s happy ending.” Full Review

Theater Life

“This production fulfills the richness of Rowling’s story telling...Only the essential elements of theater craft reign here...We’re captured by the innocence of child’s play...All of this requiring nothing more than the richness of theatrical imagination and childlike inspiration…Wonderfully well cast...What is most interesting about the acting style is its truthfulness and immediacy...The acting focuses on the essence of character, rather than its personal or idiosyncratic aspects...Highly e... Full Review

Lobby Hero
Midtown W
Theater Life

"As humorous and unpretentious as 'Lobby Hero' is...it’s a delving piece of theater, about the stories we tell ourselves, and others...The complexities of urban life, issues of civic responsibility, the law, crime, romance, and morality ricochet throughout the play...Cullman deftly mines the humor and absurdity of these situations. Still, it’s the vulnerability of Lonergan’s characters that makes for a mesmerizing stage play...Especially thrilling, as it is such a simple and charming work." Full Review

The Children
Midtown W
Theater Life

"While the disaster closely resembles the meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, it feels remote. It’s the words that hang in the air here–not the sense of urgency of a nuclear power plant exploding down the road...To Kirkwood’s credit, the ending leaves us with nothing much more than our own uncertainty...Masterfully directed by James Macdonald." Full Review

The Parisian Woman
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Willimon writes dialogue that sounds like the work of an aggressive spear carrier, a hack even, or maybe someone who just writes tweets. It is jarring to listen to such empty conversation, so falsely spoken. But that is very much the case in this production...In this satire about social climbing politicos in our nation’s capital, the nattering is simply despicable...The action is easy to follow – at first trite and unconvincing, the tale becomes explicitly manipulative and discomforting." Full Review

Office Hour
East Village
Theater Life

"Sue Jean Kim delivers a strong portrayal – one that is focused, and truthful...Cho’s cynicism appears to be aimed at the tyranny of political correctness...As directed by Neel Keller, scenes of imagined killing and suicide, merge with the banality of everyday conversation. Tense scenes are repeated, so that we see the potential for different outcomes. The reality feels miserable enough, but the fantasies are lurid, and deathly!" Full Review

Theater Life

"Inventive, and powerful...Crowley’s adept sense of comedy and his penchant for lyrical writing are standouts of the production...Directed by Tyne Rafaeli, the production runs like a fast-paced comedy, regardless of the fact that the material is so tragic. Still, the story about the radicalization of Grace is poignant, and uplifting. A rewarding evening of theater about a woman who refuses to remain silent." Full Review

Theater Life

“Moore’s genius comes out in the way he follows a thread of information as it connects with another, and attaches itself to the bigger picture. Working his way from the biopsy to the disease, his ability to conceptualize, and communicate in simple English, is inspiring to witness…Of course, Moore is here to stir us up, to empower us, and to free us all to play a role in changing the direction our country is taking...Moore sends us into the night, inspired to stand up with courage.” Full Review

1984 (Broadway)
Midtown W
Theater Life

"Vividly staged and convincingly well-acted...As an actor, Sturridge is physically highly reactive, his psychological urges speaking through his thin, skeletal physique...Wilde appears vulnerable, evocative, and compassionate, at first...This is a high-octane production. Its use of violence, while not visually graphic in the way cinematic violence can be, is emotionally alarming, as it is charged with the immediacy of being performed live." Full Review

Marvin's Room
Midtown W
Indy East End

"Rediscovering Scott McPherson's iconic comedy is eventful in and of itself. Writing during the AIDS epidemic, McPherson captured catastrophic times with a sense of levity, demonstrating a bountiful gift for writing natural dialogue and unique, well-rounded characters...Brilliantly cast with Lili Taylor as Bessie and Janeane Garofalo as her sister, Lee...McPherson whimsically juggles the real and the unreal, the sick and the inane." Full Review

Napoli, Brooklyn
Midtown W
Theater Life

“In ‘Napoli, Brooklyn’ playwright Meghan Kennedy creates the vivid ongoing life of Brooklyn in the 1960s…Shades of Neil Simon’s Brooklyn stories and Arthur Miller’s 'A View from the Bridge' infuse Kennedy’s stinging sense of realism. Yet her voice is unique…Director Gordon Edelstein has built a tight ensemble…Kennedy sets her sights well beyond the family drama and the violence that infuses it.” Full Review

A Hunger Artist
East Village
Theater Life

for a previous production "A brilliant, bizarre and inventive piece of theater...A fluid display of theatrical styles from a depraved circus act, to a vaudevillian, to a tragic hero. Levin’s transformations are seamless...As a performance artist, he is enchanting, fluid, and exceptionally skillful. The way he morphs from one character to another, and from one emotional state to another, is remarkable." Full Review

Theater Life

"As reported, 'Come from Away,' appears to be the season’s sleeper...Kelly Devine brings an easy buoyant charm to the choreography, and Christopher Ashley’s direction leaves this humble tale in the hands of an earnest ensemble. But what is most refreshing is Irene Sankoff's and David Hein's book, music, and lyrics, which reveal grace in simplicity, and good faith in humankind." Full Review

Present Laughter
Midtown W
Theater Life

“The entertainment is abundantly frothy….Klein clowns, broods, mimics and performs the physical pratfalls for which he, like Garry, are so well known. In Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s production, however, the characters who won’t go away–and literally will not leave Garry alone–are the most intriguing…Thriving on comedy, as is her wont, Kristine Nielsen is devilishly alive here…The stage is a boiling pot of combustible energy.” Full Review

Theater Life

"Ashford delivers a subtle performance–as serious as it is humorous. Gyllenhaal, however, is masterful in his own right....There is an essential nostalgia to the production that is belied by the uniqueness of its style. Indeed, there is no other musical like it, still it stands on the shoulders of all great musicals...Helmed by Sarna Lapine, there is genuine daring to her directorial concept, which underplays the romanticism of the musical composition...It is all simply divine!" Full Review

Theater Life

"With book, music, and lyrics by David Byrne, 'Joan of Arc: Into The Fire' is completely sensational....Sensation is Byrne’s coat of arms. His collaborator, Alex Timbers brings his brand of radical, fantastical, and in-your-face theater to this contemporary musical about the allusive Saint Joan...Playing Joan of Arc, Jo Lampert is astonishing...She delivers an arresting physical performance, while snaring us with a voice that ranges from pure and boyish to piercing and ardent." Full Review

The Penitent
Chelsea
Theater Life

"This is one of Mamet's most thought-provoking plays, and the dialogue is especially rich...Capturing the rhythms of Mamet’s clipped overlapping lines of dialogue with utmost finesse, his long time collaborator, director Neil Pepe is at the top of his game. Building complex relationships, peeling away at triangulation and betrayal with a formidable eye to revealing the truth...The acting is uniformly excellent. Bauer brings a soulful thoughtfulness to his role." Full Review