Jay Lustig is a critic with NJArts.net. 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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"Has some intriguing elements but lacks a compelling central story to tie it all together. And so it never really coheres into something that’s fully engaging...In one of director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s best touches, the actors don’t really pretend to be playing, but move gracefully, almost like dancers, as the musicians expertly handle the actual music. We feel like we’re seeing the music, in addition to hearing it." Full Review
"It’s a topical drama, but Dean refuses to simplify, creating a rich tale of three people caught up in political, social and religious forces beyond their control....That’s a lot of raw material to pack into a one-act play, but Dean, the actors and director Ari Laura Kreith make every word count. Even the humorous touches — and there are many of them — have a larger meaning, stemming, often, from cultural misunderstandings that are central to the characters’ relationships." Full Review
"The show still feels a bit like a scruffy underdog — a big-hearted, wildly energetic concoction build around the theme of adolescent awkwardness...One of the best things about Tracz’s book and Iconis’ lyrics is that while most of the characters seem one-dimensional at first, they are given more sides, some quite surprising, in the course of the musical’s two acts...The misfits triumph. Putting up a smooth, assured façade is shown to be a pointless exercise." Full Review
"Nothing is particularly believable, and the one character who attempts an exaggerated Jersey accent sounds like she comes from Brooklyn...Despite these flaws, I was still impressed by the production’s buoyant, almost manic energy, and laughed at many of the jokes...May not be an artistic triumph, but it’s a lot of fun, and I’d recommend it to all but the haughtiest theater snobs...As long as you’re not expecting depth, I think you’ll enjoy it." Full Review
for a previous production "It’s a credit to all those involved that even though you can easily figure out where this is all going, 'Be More Chill' still feels fresh. With its easily relatable characters, clever twists, and ebullient songs, it engages you from beginning to end...It really helps that the secondary characters are fleshed out a bit...This is primarily an effervescent, feel-good musical, built around a sweet love story." Full Review
"An impressive feat of acting. To memorize two hours of stream-of-consciousness musings — and then deliver it all in a natural, seamless way — seems to me to be as daunting a task as building a television set from scratch...I feel, though, that while Luce should be applauded for helping to make people aware of Dickinson (1830-1866) and her poetry, he failed to write a truly compelling play...Silliman, as good as she is, can only take this material so far." Full Review
“’Benny & Joon’ is, essentially, a romantic comedy, so there must be obstacles to be resolved...Book writer Guenther has a delicate balancing act to perform...It’s too much for one mortal writer to pull off. As a result, this ‘Benny & Joon’ ultimately seems too contrived to be fully satisfying...The musical didn’t really work...as a story. Still, it has some good moments, mostly from Pinkham as the truly one-of-a-kind Sam...The songs are pleasantly melodic but a bit bland.” Full Review
“Lapine doesn’t try to find new dimensions in Frayn’s script. This is a straightforward, dependably hilarious production of a dependably hilarious play...This is an action-packed, physically demanding comedy, with characters frequently breaking through windows, or falling down stairs, or crawling around helplessly...The actors in ‘Noises Off’ hit their marks — even when the craziness reaches a feverish peak, in the second act — with the precision of ballet dancers.” Full Review
for a previous production "Another Springsteen—the serious, intense, introspective one—dominates this affair...Yet, as a musical experience—or even a theatrical experience—it was, I felt, not quite as satisfying as a typical Springsteen concert. It had its magical moments, of course...But it was not as consistently revelatory as I hoped it would be...There was a certain stiffness to the show: you were always aware that he was reading...That said, I still think 'Springsteen' is very good, and well worth seeing." Full Review
for a previous production "It’s a comedy, though it’s pretty horrifying when dealing with the state of denial that Len and Blossom are living in…There are plenty of laughs, along the way, at the absurdity of it all. The ending is bittersweet. This being a comedy, everything does work itself out, more or less—maybe a little too easily, given the monumental problems in these characters’ lives. But along the way, we’ve spent some time with some very real, albeit frustrating, people." Full Review