James 7298

Manhattan | 65+ | Male
About:  My first Broadway show was the original West Side Story in 1958. How could I not get hooked? The single most perfect experience, ever: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Mostel, Gilford, Burns, Carradine etc.
Reviews (83)
65
A decidedly mixed bag

See it if you are a Lloyd Webber fan (I am generally not) and want to hear one of his best earwig scores again.

Don't see it if you like your history served honestly. Eva Peron was a monster, as was her hubby, but in ALW and Tim Rice's telling - not so much.

Also Act 1 is basically irony-free, and the performers do no make much of a... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Tinker, tailor, kushner, why?

See it if you are comfortable with an author's tinkering with the play as a "break the fourth wall" part of the experience. And what an author!

Don't see it if you are not a Kushner fan, or a fan of revisiting 20th Century history in order to shed light on our current political mess.

Also The writing is, no surprise, consistently compelling, and the three ho... Read more Read less

55
Highly caloric but little nutritional value

See it if you like extravaganzas and just want to be entertained. It’s gorgeously designed and expertly performed.

Don't see it if you are a fan of the film. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor has real heat. On stage: zilch, sorry to say.

Also Remember when You used to go trick-or-treating, and you would fill you... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Devastating and timely

See it if you live in this world and care about how we got to where we are now. Still resonant after all these years.

Don't see it if you lack empathy. Sorry to be so blunt, but this piece pierces the heart.

Also Silly me - I thought Smith was going to star in this revival. No regre... Read more Read less

93
During previews
Elegant, elliptical, insightful

See it if you savor acting and writing of the highest order. It’s short but you never feel shortchanged.

Don't see it if you aren’t up for a play about the challenges of old age and dementia.

Also While not untrodden territory, this exquisite 85 minute sonata of a pl... Read more Read less

50
During previews
runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
East Village
Not ready for prime time

See it if you are interested in African history and the confluence of the political and the personal in contemporary life.

Don't see it if you want a cogent exploration of how war impacts one’s entire existence. Runboyrun is so diffuse it becomes unbearable.

Also Full disclosure: this was an early preview and there will be considera... Read more Read less

80
I cannot tell a lie: a guilty pleasure

See it if you are a Jim Steinman fan. I am not, really. But friends wanted to go and I reluctantly agreed.

Don't see it if you loathe most jukebox musicals, as I do, and have never been a Meat Loaf fan.

Also I was the only one in our group who had a good time. It is loud, rauco... Read more Read less

75
The Rolling Stone
Upper W Side
The crucible comes to uganda

See it if you want to learn about gay civil rights in other societies.

Don't see it if you are going to say to yourself "Not another gay-themed play...."

Also Smugly we could say to ourselves "This could not happen here...." Alas... Read more Read less

50
Make Believe
Midtown W
Disappointing, Cliched, Ambitious

See it if you can sit through 40 minutes of child actors not enunciating or projecting well, unless you are way up front.

Don't see it if you find that huge time lapses between acts do not make for lucid transitions.

Also I really enjoyed Small Mouth Sounds. This time the small mouths were n... Read more Read less

96
You'll exit guffawing

See it if you ache for a tuneful, well-constructed and hilarious musical COMEDY. A breath of fresh air.

Don't see it if you have no funny bone.

Also This revival is every bit as lovable as the first one 10 years ago. Th... Read more Read less

62
BLKS
Midtown W
It gets very funny - about an hour in

See it if if you enjoy raucous comedies about millenials, in this case with a fascinating African American slant.

Don't see it if you are not into very loud comedies. This one is directed with such an emphasis on screeching that there is frequent loss of comprehension.

Also About an hour in, the scene with Justin is hilarious and touching and ... Read more Read less

68
During previews
Really wanted to like this more

See it if you are a Sam Shepard completist and revel in dysfunctional family dynamics.

Don't see it if you are a Sam Shepard fan and are looking for cohesive style. For me the disparate acting choices were all over the map.

Also It just did not jell, which was a surprise coming from the estimable T... Read more Read less

83
Socrates
East Village
A multi (dis)course meal

See it if you are interested in Ancient Greece and want to reacquaint yourself with the intricacies of early democracy.

Don't see it if ancient history bores you.

Also No doubt about it: this is a long play. However, it is eloquent and ho... Read more Read less

71
Nantucket Sleigh Ride
Upper W Side
I guess i'm somewhere in the middle on this

See it if you're a Guare fan. We have not heard from him in a while, and this rumination on life has its moments.

Don't see it if you are into linear plot development.

Also The good: This is not Four Baboons Adoring the Sun. Whew. It's much fu... Read more Read less

87
Marys Seacole
Upper W Side
Real theatrical magic

See it if you, like I, know nothing about the title character and are open to having a wild ride and learning something along the way.

Don't see it if you must have linear plot development in order to enjoy a play.

Also Stick with this, because the total is way more than the sum of its par... Read more Read less

80
Red, hot and a bit bland

See it if you love Cole Porter and one of the best of the Golden Age musical scores.

Don't see it if you saw the previous revival with Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Alas, this one pales in comparison.

Also Don't get me wrong: it's likely that you will have a helluva time. How... Read more Read less

85
During previews
Tootsie (NYC)
Midtown W
With a little bit of tweaking, this will be a hit

See it if you're a fan of new musicals. Yes, it's based on a perfect movie, but at least it's not a jukebox musical. The cast is terrific.

Don't see it if you want your memories of the film left intact. The film was nigh perfect. The musical is not, but has lots to recommend it.

Also David Yazbeck's score is lively, catchy and clever. The lyrics are oft... Read more Read less

62
Be less ear splitting

See it if you are charmed by high school musicals that remind you (often lovingly) of many others of the genre.

Don't see it if you have low tolerance for aggressively over-amplified hyperkinetic shenanigans.

Also Somewhere there is a more cohesive show here. There are many very ente... Read more Read less

89
Nassim
Midtown W
Piquant and truly touching

See it if you are in the mood for an evocative and sui generis experience.

Don't see it if you are expecting a linear traditional "play." This is definitely not that, but you will be rewarded.

Also I could see this again with many of the rotating roster of actors. Tha... Read more Read less

86
During previews
Theatrical and thought-provoking

See it if you are a Lynn Nottage fan. I am. She's a wonderful writer with lots to say.

Don't see it if you are loathe to acknowledge the racism that has long plagued Hollywood casting and writing.

Also While imperfect, this is a hugely entertaining and smartly serious sat... Read more Read less

88
During previews
An old story with a new twist

See it if you loved the film Moonlight. Here again the lives of African American men, both gay and straight, are examined with empathy and insight.

Don't see it if you feel like you've seen and heard the story before: harassment of gay males in a Christian private school. But you'd be wrong.....

Also A terrific group of actors! Kinetic direction by Trip Cullman makes th... Read more Read less

86
Waiting for guffman meets hairspray

See it if You need to laugh out loud and forget reality, while at the same time revel in this show's human message.

Don't see it if You have little enthusiasm for yet another LGBTQ story.

Also When this show is firing on all cylinders - which happens often - it i... Read more Read less

82
Daniel's Husband
Midtown W
A weepie that deserves the audience's sobs

See it if You are in the mood, yet again, for a play with gay subject matter. This one tugs at the heartstrings.

Don't see it if You are not in the mood, yet again, for another play about gay life. Hang in there: it becomes much more than that.

Also At first this seems like well trod territory, as skillfully done as it... Read more Read less

75
Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if you're a Janet McTeer fan. She is fantastic. The entire cast is excellent, but she is the reason to see this play.

Don't see it if you have little interest in theatre history, specifically the challenges Sarah Bernhardt faced when playing Hamlet in Paris many moons ago.

Also Act 1 is a boulevard comedy manque; it is witty but doesn't quite work... Read more Read less

95
Fireflies
Chelsea
Exquisite, Great acting, Great writing

See it if You can empathize and understand what is going through the mind of a preacher’s wife in the dangerous Jim Crow South.

Don't see it if You have little interest in this nation’s African American history.

Also Shattering. Wondrously theatrical and luminously acted. An all too tim... Read more Read less

91
The Wrong Man
Midtown W
A tour de force to be reckoned with

See it if you like contemporary themes and music-making. Much of it is Hamilton-esque in a good way.

Don't see it if you desire happy endings for your narratives. This is a dark show.

Also I was reminded of Trip Cullman’s production of Murder Ballad at times.... Read more Read less

90
Masterful, Entertaining, Enchanting

See it if you are open to being flummoxed by a royally clever mentalist.

Don't see it if you have no patience for audience participation and cleverly distracting patter.

Also This kind of show is usually not my thing. I was not wowed by Derek De... Read more Read less

100
Freestyle Love Supreme
West Village
Astounding and brilliantly entertaining

See it if you want to be enchanted and delighted for 90 jam-packed minutes. The goofy grin will never leave your face.

Don't see it if you have an aversion to hip-hop and/or improv. Cannot imagine why anyone would, as the combination here is divine.

Also I could see this show multiple times, that's how good it is. It would ... Read more Read less

68
During previews
The Great Society
Upper W Side
Dutiful but a bit dull

See it if All the Way left you wanting more. It did me....and you lived through the Great Society era and yearn for more such initiatives now.

Don't see it if you’re not a fan of political dramas.

Also There are telling moments but I’m afraid the whole is less than their ... Read more Read less

86
Slave Play
East Village
Scabrously funny, riveting

See it if you like being challenged and having your expectations turned inside out.

Don't see it if you aren’t in the mood for ruminating on how America’s original sin still reverberates on societal and personal levels.

Also Is it perfect? No. The middle section needs pruning. But the 2 hours 1... Read more Read less

41
During previews
Fern Hill
Midtown E
Quarter-baked

See it if the premise intrigues you, and it will for those of us at the same “certain age” of the characters. The execution: that’s another story.

Don't see it if you are searching for real wit. There are a couple of trenchant and funny scenes. Would that the entire show were thus.

Also It’s heart is mostly in the right place, and the actors are all game. ... Read more Read less

88
Rinse, Repeat
Midtown W
An impressive debut by this young playwright

See it if you can empathize with an upscale hyper-competitive family dealing with a daughter's anorexia.

Don't see it if you cannot fathom that people with eating disorders are not easily cured.

Also As I forgot to get a Playbill when seated, it was not until after the ... Read more Read less

13
Perfect Crime
Midtown W
As bad as moose murders but not nearly as enjoyable

See it if you are impressed by the fact that it's been running for decades. Don't be suckered in. It is a vanity production in extremis.

Don't see it if you like a good, well-acted frightening mystery. The only mystery here is how it has played all these years.

98
All My Sons
Midtown W
Scintillating and devastating

See it if you are an Arthur Miller fan and are in the mood for an issues play that is surprisingly resonant in this day and age.

Don't see it if you cannot countenance Miller's less than rosy representation of the seamier side of capitalism. (Boeing 737 MAX8 anyone?)

Also The three main leads are so strong that you feel you are eavesdropping... Read more Read less

65
The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
Prescient and timely

See it if an early version of theatrical agitprop is in your sights. Cradle has a fascinating place in theatrical history and is worth experiencing.

Don't see it if the plight and oppression of unionized workers is under your radar. Believe it or not, many of the issues raised in 1937 still resonate now.

Also I wish the Brechtian distancing did not work so well. The audience doe... Read more Read less

75
During previews
Octet
Midtown W
Sui generis, sometimes in extremis

See it if you are a fan of Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre etc. Thus score is also gorgeously eclectic and beautifully sung.

Don't see it if you want a coherent structure to your musicals. This one, despite its premise - the internet can be addictive and dangerous- meanders A LOT.

Also Glad I saw it but I wanted more.

87
Burn This
Midtown W
Funny, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you’re in the mood for a play that has substantially withstood the test of time. The 2 hours 40 minutes fly by.

Don't see it if you are unfamiliar with Lanford Wilson.

Also This is one of those plays whose details I had largely forgotten. And ... Read more Read less

96
Ain't No Mo'
East Village
Ferocious and coruscating satire

See it if you are open to an honest, brutal and amazingly funny trip through the African American experience. No one escapes unscathed.

Don't see it if you lack empathy and a sense of humor.

Also I hope this transfers. It deserves to. The playwright is also in the s... Read more Read less

93
During previews
Ink
Midtown W
Hindsight is 20/20

See it if you care about how we got to where we are today: Brexit, Trump and rampant populism are foreshadowed brilliantly in this play.

Don't see it if you don’t care one whiff for history and its complicated relationship with the Fourth Estate.

Also This rollicking and rapacious play reminds one of David Hare and Howar... Read more Read less

65
During previews
Indulgent, Dizzying, Disappointing

See it if you want to see three game actors at the top of their game try to keep the Titanic afloat.

Don't see it if you have little use for irony, absurdism and puppetry of the penis.

Also When the curtain rises, you have great expectations. What a scene! Fan... Read more Read less

84
During previews
Hillary and clinton, part 2

See it if you like political theatre and the Clintons and Lucas Hnath. The play is funny and mostly provocative.

Don't see it if you hate the Clintons and have no appetite for 2008 Presidential primary revisionism.

Also I must confess I wanted a little more, having adored Hnath's Red Speed... Read more Read less

85
Life Sucks.
Midtown W
Pretty much a lark

See it if you desire to see yet another variation on the themes in Uncle Vanya, which seem to be limitless.

Don't see it if you have little patience for having the fourth wall broken often, with a soupcon of audience participation on the side.

Also Aaron Posner can write! After stellar Christopher Durang and Richard N... Read more Read less

85
Behind the Sheet
Midtown W
Resonant, Riveting, Intense

See it if you are up for a fascinating exploration of gynecological history. This will get you thinking, a lot.

Don't see it if you are not up for another expose of the evils associated with slavery.

Also Beautifully designed and acted. One caveat: Do not read the Playbill f... Read more Read less

75
During previews
Boesman and Lena
Midtown W
Hang in there

See it if you are primed for a visceral and not always subtle dissection of South Africa's brutal apartheid regime.

Don't see it if you cannot sit for two hours without a break. Is this too much to ask of our bladders?

Also You appreciate the design, direction and acting immediately, but at a ... Read more Read less

65
Gatz
Greenwich V
Ambitious, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if you are an uber Great Gatsby fan and long to hear the text spoken.

Don't see it if you would be majorly bored by hearing Gatsby as a book on tape during an eight hour road trip.

Also I must add that I am glad I returned after the dinner break (two of my... Read more Read less

82
Lively and engaging, with caveats

See it if you want to see three stellar actors enliven a good script based on a true story.

Don't see it if you have no patience for variations on a theme. Even at 1h40" there is repetition.

Also Cliche it may be, but for me the whole did not add up to more than the... Read more Read less

77
During previews
Network (NYC)
Midtown W
A decidedly mixed bag

See it if You're in the mood for a sprawling, rapacious takedown of American corporate malfeasance.

Don't see it if You are not in the mood for a 40+ year-old satire that is still (very sadly) relevant today.

Also I realize it must be hard to replicate the Olivier Theater space here ... Read more Read less

86
During previews
Delightful, Entertaining, Funny

See it if You want to see an original musical comedy that tugs at the heartsrings and makes you forget our fractious times for an hour and a half.

Don't see it if You can't empathize with a young man who is lonely and is searching for human connection.

Also What a winning cast! This show will put a smile on your face.

97
During previews
The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
Titanic entertainment

See it if you believe theatre can illuminate and make comprehensible the most intractable conflicts in history.

Don't see it if multi-character and multi-layered dramas are not to your liking. Attention must be paid; otherwise you'll be lost in this whirlwind play.

Also Do not be put off by the first half hour or so, which sets the scene. ... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Tense, intense, political and polemical

See it if You enjoy theatre that gets under your skin and forces you to see and feel a character’s dilemma.

Don't see it if You think everything is hunky-dory in America.

Also It doesn’t get any more “ripped from the headlines” than this. But whi... Read more Read less