JAMES L 6154

Boston | 50-64 | Male
About:  I live on Cape Cod and come to NYC once a month. When I come, it's important to pick shows of all kinds. It's been fascinating recently to see off-Broadway out-do some of the "must-sees" of Broadway. So, I love shows from NY Theater Workshop to Encores! To Broadway, and beyond. There is so much tale... Read more Read less
Reviews (177)
70
Slow, Intense, Disappointing, Dated, Great acting

See it if You’re a fan of Sam Shepard, Ethan Hawke, or Paul Dano. I’m finding, like with Fool For Love, that I’m not a fan. The acting is terrific.

Don't see it if You like even tone throughout (comedy or drama?), you like to walk out with all your questions answered so you can go to dinner...ambiguity.

Also I don’t think it’s a bad production. I’m just learning I’m not a Sam S... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Disjointed, Confusing, Funny, Entertaining, Disappointing

See it if You’ve never seen it, and have nothing to compare it to. This was more comedic (Fiasco), in a show that is not known for comedy. Strange.

Don't see it if You love the score, the show, or were lucky enough to see the touring Maria Friedman production that toured last year. An odd misfire.

Also Fiasco did a better job with Into The Woods a few years back, but that... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Thought-provoking, Overrated, Great acting, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You care more about social issues than you do good theater. The themes are relevant, no less so today than when they were written. So-so.

Don't see it if You’re looking for entertainment. It’s a three hander, with very little going on. Don’t if you’re expecting action, staging or a production.

Also It’s hard to fault the Signature. The price is $35, and it gets people... Read more Read less

78
During previews
Relevant, Profound, Uneven, Ambitious, Clever

See it if You want a play dealing with race, ambition, dreams, disappointment, racism, history, and the entertainment industry in broad, uneven tones.

Don't see it if You don’t like farce, want evenness in tone and structure, don’t want heavy tones and themes, or want a ton of action. It’s a small play.

Also There’s a lot to like here. It depends on how forgiving you are. I lik... Read more Read less

92
Masterful, Intelligent, Entertaining, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want a slice of life, of growing up, about race but not, about homosexuality but not, religion but not. This was so well written. Go!

Don't see it if You’re bothered by any of the above, don’t like unpleasant topics, think life is fair, want hero’s and villains—everyone had a story.

81
Great writing, Great acting, Dizzying, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want entertaining theater, that delves into extraordinary questions, while not forgetting to entertain. An ephemeral Adelaide Clemens.

Don't see it if You don’t want to be challenged, on questions of science and religion, nature vs nurture... Or, if you need a big show in a big theater.

100
During previews
Riveting, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You care about good theater, about human rights, want to see extraordinary acting, writing and staging, and want to be haunted. Stunning.

Don't see it if You don’t like politics in theater, want a feel good show, don’t want to question what you can do to change a life, or just want to laugh.

Also This is not a feel good show, though in a strange way it was. Don’t ta... Read more Read less

95
Great acting, Great singing, Entertaining, Delightful, Clever

See it if You want to have fun. Great from beginning to end. Must see if you like Cher. Great music, TOWERING performance from Stephanie J. Block.

Don't see it if You don’t like Cher, don’t like jukebox musicals, and that’s about it. It was funny, entertaining, had great performances, and was FUN.

Also This was all about Stephanie J. Block and Cher. Teal Wicks and Michael... Read more Read less

70
During previews
Entertaining, Disappointing, Dated, Confusing, Cliched

See it if It’s Clueless, which steals your heart. If you’re okay that it’s not Alicia Silverstone (and I’m not), and can see fun in a silly story.

Don't see it if You want the movie, don’t like the ‘90’s in general, think you’re seeing an original musical, or want more than a fun light comedy. It’s ok.

80
Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want a small play that challenges, with lots of unanswered interesting questions on reality, and relationships and illness. Great acting

Don't see it if You need all questions answered, need a tidy ending, have preconceived notions of what the play is about. It was a joy to watch it unfold.

70
Indulgent, Great acting, Disappointing, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You love Michael C. Hall, like one person shows, don’t care about story or neat tidy endings. He does a great job with the material.

Don't see it if You want a story. This really is about nothing. And that’s okay if you’re okay with that. You’re paying to see him act. And it’s very short.

90
Riveting, Must see, Dated, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if You love the show. It doesn’t disappoint. It also is moving and wonderful if you don’t know it, though it drags in spots, and feels dated.

Don't see it if You love Encores! What they do so well is take lesser known shows, or well known shows, and make them refreshing and new. That didn’t happen

Also This is always a thrilling show—at once entertaining, tragic, and mast... Read more Read less

91
Must see, Intelligent, Great acting, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if You have no expectations—this show twists and turns, and the less you know the better. It’s exquisitely acted, well-written, and sobering.

Don't see it if You need a lot of action, don’t like drama, don’t like gay stories, or family drama. This show is not what it seems. It’s exquisite.

85
Relevant, Intelligent, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want to see two terrific performances that, while portraying simply drawn characters, made these characters extraordinary. Simple story.

Don't see it if You’re looking for action, comedy, a large cast, or something more than well done off-Broadway theater. This is a small work that enthralls.

Also I did not personally love the ending, but I didn’t disagree with it. T... Read more Read less

85
Intelligent, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want an often hilarious, supremely acted drama, by a cast of three. All were sensational, on a topic that is timely and relevant.

Don't see it if You want that topic we’ll explored. The show itself seems unfinished or slight. This show is about the acting only, and they are superb.

70
Entertaining, Great staging, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You love Oklahoma, don’t mind your classics messed with, are open to new interpretations, and want to see a big musical in a small space.

Don't see it if You don’t know the original. Parts worked well, and parts felt like they were just throwing things against the wall to see what stuck.

Also This was an interesting show. I’ve never seen Oklahoma, in any form. M... Read more Read less

75
Riveting, Intelligent, Great acting, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You love Janet McTeer—you can’t take your eyes off her when she’s onstage, which is most of the time. This is not a performance to be missed

Don't see it if You want to know more about Sarah Bernhardt. This is a snippet of her life, and avoids weightier topics. It’s worth seeing—with a great cast

70
Great singing, Overrated, Great staging, Dated, Entertaining

See it if You love Carole King. I saw it with the newest cast, who all work hard, and sing beautifully, but expose what is lacking in the show itself.

Don't see it if You want to see Jessie Meuller, or the the show it was when she was in it. Carole King is an icon, and deserves a better show. Still good...

90
Relevant, Refreshing, Must see, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You like Springsteen. You won’t have an opportunity like this again. I hope this is the start of many talented artists coming to Broadway.

Don't see it if You don’t like him. Nothing is going to change the fact that his is him, intimate, with little musical accompaniment. It is what it is.

90
Must see, Great writing, Great staging, Great singing, Great acting

See it if You’re not a Dylan fan, because the show is that good. It redefines the “jukebox” musical, and makes it relevant and compelling. See it!

Don't see it if You want a light happy show. There is little joy here, but a profound, deeply felt emotion that stays with you. It’s an extraordinary show.

Also I didn’t give this 100 because I was lucky enough to see it in London.... Read more Read less

70
Fluffy, Great staging, Disappointing, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You loved the movie. It’s the movie with some music added. Lots of talking, so they could hit all the points from the movie. Good performers

Don't see it if You want more. Waste of talent. Love Andy Karl and Sam Barks, but they had nothing to do and zero chemistry. He’s channeling Bryan Adams.

Also This was not bad—it was just lazy. The songs were mediocre, and both l... Read more Read less

70
Indulgent, Fluffy, Disappointing, Confusing, Funny

See it if You want a little Mean Girls, Jagged Little Pill, Dear Evan Hansen, and Little Shop of Horrors—without what made all those so charming.

Don't see it if A fully fleshed out show. This felt half-done, and I’m worried about what this will do on Broadway. It felt like Toxic Avenger on 50th...

Also This wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good. There’s a lot of hype, and it wa... Read more Read less

71
Disappointing, Slow, Funny, Great singing, Entertaining

See it if You love Melissa Errico. She sings beautifully, and makes the most of a badly written book. If you loved the movie, see it, but different.

Don't see it if You hoped a nice trim of the book would make it any better—it doesn’t. If you loved Barbra, don’t bother. There’s nothing that will replace.

Also It’s entertaining, but you hope for more, and the book just disappoint... Read more Read less

50
During previews
Wasted talent, Confusing, Slow, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if You want sophomoric jokes repeated over and over, melodies that don’t resonate, and a story that meanders, and panders to every cliche.

Don't see it if You want more than gimmicks, like the cast (Kelli Barrett and other talented actors were wasted), or want complete songs that are tuneful.

90
Must see, Hilarious, Great staging, Funny, Great acting

See it if You want an all star cast acting as a true ensemble—they were flawless. The staging was great. Andrew Rannells kills with a look. Don’t miss

Don't see it if you want an updated show. My only complaint was that it felt very dated to me (but not my husband. He said it was very accurate to the time.

Also The character of Alan, while necessary, felt contrived. I think it’s t... Read more Read less

92
Masterful, Great singing, Exquisite, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You love Encores! and what they do—bringing older shows, dusting them off, making them fresh, and reminding when theater was entertainment.

Don't see it if You need the hot new show. This is old-fashioned, pure entertainment. Don’t go if you’re looking for big sets, contemporary themes or ideas.

Also Another example of what Encores! does best. If you’re a fan, don’t mis... Read more Read less

85
Resonant, Profound, Great writing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You want a simple story of unity, shared lives, simple theater, experimentation, and rigid staging. This is very dependent on the actor...

Don't see it if You don’t like the performer of the night—it’s one person reading a show with no preparation. We saw Tatiana Maslany, who was wholly engaged

Also This is a story, like Red Rabbit, White Rabbit before it, which succee... Read more Read less

90
During previews
Must see, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like either actor, want a serious piece of theater, love extraordinary acting, enjoy profound topics about life, existence, and love.

Don't see it if You need staging, lots of action, don’t like monologues, want a comedy, don’t want to think about the show, or want to come out humming.

72
Romantic, Relevant, Indulgent, Disappointing, Entertaining

See it if You want to see a love story. This is a valentine from Calvin Trillin to his wife, and it is lovely. Valentines are not always good theater.

Don't see it if You’re expecting action, are distracted by showy set pieces (the costume changes become distracting), or want a clear narrative,.

72
Indulgent, Great acting, Disappointing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You’re interested in life’s mistakes, atoning, repeating mistakes, great acting, cliched characters, and less than developed characters.

Don't see it if You want a fully fleshed out story or characters, want to remember what you laughed so much at (I couldn’t, but it was really funny), or...

77
Great singing, Cliched, Funny, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if You don’t mind that every character is a stereotype, or that some of the jokes are borderline offensive. It’s really funny, and entertaining

Don't see it if You don’t want to see Beath Leavel chew up the scenery. She does that, and loves every second of it, and so did we. The entire cast was good

Also It’s not the best show out there, but it’s not trying to be. It’s just... Read more Read less

78
During previews
Riveting, Intense, Edgy, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want an intelligent play that tackles big issues—race, sexuality, sex, slavery, consent, and dominance/submission. It’s heady stuff.

Don't see it if You don’t like long shows without intermission, are uncomfortable with nudity, frank simulated sex, and racial overtones and discussions.

Also I really liked this show, but I can easily see it being an all-in or a... Read more Read less

80
Relevant, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You want a tour de force performance from Raul Esparza. He is riveting. The show is good, not great, but relevant to our times.

Don't see it if You don’t like politics, don’t like rhyming couplets, need a big show with big sets, or want light fluffy theater. It’s not a show for all.

75
During previews
Cliched, Entertaining, Fluffy, Indulgent, Funny

See it if You love Lynn Nottage (and who doesn’t?). You want to see a light play, and appreciate that this is fun, and not her best work. It’s okay.

Don't see it if You’re expecting Sweat, Ruined, or even Mlima’s Tale. This is the weakest by far, but somehow still enjoyable, if you’re looking for farce.

80
Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You want a thought provoking play that discusses important issues, has mostly great acting, and takes your breath away at the end.

Don't see it if You want tidy. The ending was extraordinary, but felt contrived and unrealistic. I love Kerry Washington, but her performance was one-note.

Also We discussed the play for hours afterward, and the topics it raised. B... Read more Read less

85
Relevant, Refreshing, Great singing, Enchanting, Delightful

See it if You can find the humanity in a small, beautifully acted and sung, musical. This lured me in and broke my heart. But, it’s a small show.

Don't see it if You need Phantom, are not interested in relationships, need lots of action, or are unwilling to let shows grow on you. Beautifully done.

Also Whitney Bashor does the 11th hour number called “”I’ll Be Here” which ... Read more Read less

79
Resonant, Relevant, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You believe in a cause, and want that level of commitment in characters, want great acting, want to remember the misguided beliefs of youth.

Don't see it if You’re looking for a complete story, or need a nice tidy ending, hate politics, hated your youth and all your beliefs. Great performances.

50
During previews
Insipid, Indulgent, Disappointing, Confusing, Ambitious

See it if You saw Phantom, thought the chandelier was great, and wanted to see a show about it. Kong was amazing, but nothing else was. Terrible.

Don't see it if You’re expecting a musical. They threw in a musical number when they remembered, there was nothing memorable, and the actors were wasted.

Also It’s worth seeing this show in a rear balcony seat. That’s all you nee... Read more Read less

85
Great writing, Great acting, Funny, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You want to see Edie Falco, in an extraordinary performance, in a tiny theater, like politics that are not political, and like a solid cast.

Don't see it if You’re looking for a big show, prefer musicals, or are bored with politics. There is a walk on a staircase worth the price of admission.

100
Profound, Great writing, Great acting, Ambitious, Absorbing

See it if You love great acting, want a tight story that is over 3 hours without a wasted moment, want to emerge “shaken” and moved. Extraordinary.

Don't see it if You have trouble keeping track of large casts, don’t like family dramas, or need constant, big, moments to keep you interested.

Also We saw this in London, and it’s hard to imagine, but it was even more ... Read more Read less

93
Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Clever, Ambitious

See it if Want to see Joan of Arc in a new configuration. TWO towering performances—Glenn Close and Grace Van Patten. They dominate the stage.

Don't see it if You don’t care about Joan of Arc, don’t like small theaters, or Glenn Close. This was far superior to the recent Broadway St. Joan.

85
Intelligent, Great writing, Entertaining, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if You like family dramas, that mix in a liberal amount of inspired comedy, you love Stockard Channing (great), and enjoy a phenomenal cast.

Don't see it if You’re looking for BIG drama. This touches on big issues, but without soaring drama or emotional histrionics. The subject matter was timely.

97
Refreshing, Must see, Great staging, Exquisite, Entertaining

See it if You want to see the musical evolve for the next generation. This isn’t your parent’s musical, nor should it be. This reinvents what you know

Don't see it if You’re looking for Carousel or Oklahoma. Those are masterful, but this brings us into current times in a relevant way, while paying tribute.

90
Relevant, Must see, Great staging, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You want to see theater at it’s best. This show is showing signs of age, but is still thrilling in its ingenuity for its time. Do not miss.

Don't see it if You hated the movie. You don don’t like puppets. I can’t hink of another reason to tell you no. It’s a standard, and a classic.

97
During previews
Must see, Profound, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if Wow. Just wow. The ensemble is excellent, the story triggers every emotion, and the ending takes you by surprise. A thunderous ovation...

Don't see it if Aging and the fragility of life scare you, you need broad comedy vs. insightful laughter, you don’t like ambiguity, or need tidy endings.

Also Just wow. This is the play America needs right now.

86
Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if You like Stephen Adly Guirgis, or just great writing. He’s put out 3 great shows in the past few years, and each one has a life of it’s own.

Don't see it if don’t want purely “funny” or “dramatic” shows. The playwright pulls laughs out of discomfort, and sorrow out of comedy. Purely compelling.

Also This was for the Boston production. We discovered the playwright after... Read more Read less

72
Thought-provoking, Great acting, Great singing, Disappointing, Ambitious

See it if You do or don’t know the history of the students, are interested in our (sad) history, want to think and learn more about this timely topic.

Don't see it if You want a well fleshed out absorbing story. In snippets of scenes—as soon as you’d get interested—a character would break into song.

Also There is a very important story here, and there were flashes of it. Bu... Read more Read less

85
Uneven, Great staging, Great singing, Entertaining, Ambitious

See it if You can handle change, want your shows updated, want to see a fantastic staging, great performances by an entire company, and Danny Burstein

Don't see it if You loved the movie and want to see that. LOTS of new contemporary songs, some odd choices in songs/medleys, and a really boring 2nd act.

80
Clever, Entertaining, Relevant, Great acting, Funny

See it if You like the cast—IM is a real comedian in a non-singing role, and the entire cast is wonderful. If you’re a Joshua Harmon fan—worth it.

Don't see it if You want Joshua Harmon’s best work. It’s entertaining, but not a must see like Bad Jews or Admissions. It’s sexual, comedic, but lightweight

95
Great acting, Great staging, Relentless, Powerful, Riveting

See it if You like theater raw, like to be challenged, don’t mind subtitles, are challenged by actors stripping themselves bare (literal/figurative).

Don't see it if You’re offended by violence, nudity, the story Nazi Germany, need linear storytelling, like staging, hate multimedia, or want a happy show.

Also This is von Hove at his best/worst, depending on how you like him. Thi... Read more Read less