Juan Michael Porter II

About:  Juan Michael Porter II is a leading reviewer for Broadway World, HuffPost, The Dance Enthusiast, and Ballet Review. His writing focuses on engaging, entertaining, and educating the reader without being a prick about it. He is the award-winning playwright of "Whore Works" and the artistic director of... Read more Read less
Reviews (27)
New York Theatre Guide

"With 'Exception to the Rule,' provocative playwright Dave Harris takes audiences into the broken carceral system that exists within predominantly Black high schools across the nation. The only problem with this Roundabout Theatre Company production is that it gilds the lily by presenting the action as if it were a thriller, when the play is actually documentary theatre." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Spivey ― who is vulnerable, sassy, inquisitive, and incendiary ― grounds their work, not because he overwhelms the stage through sheer power and vocal charisma, but because he knows how to pull back and allow us to come to him. His performance is a conversation between his onstage partners and the audience that shows us we will fail, and we can try again until we finally overcome our own strange loop. This is art as activism in its highest form." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"How does one stage a traumatizing play that focuses on grooming, pedophilia, misogyny, and incest? In the case of Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'How I Learned to Drive,' which just premiered on Broadway at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Mark Brokaw has opted to direct the most painful moments with a 'folks say the wackiest things' shrug. " Full Review

Black No More
Midtown W
New York Theatre Guide

"1/5 stars...The nicest thing I can say about 'Black No More' is that Tamika Lawrence is giving a Tony and Grammy Award-worthy performance. The cast is uniformly wonderful...The show assumes audiences will simply accept Max’s decision to become white, without exploring why. If the idea is that anyone would willingly become white to escape racism, that is racist. Schuyler’s book is a clear satire, but what works on the page often fails on stage." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Rather than mock the people from his past, Hudson-Santiago takes their flaws seriously and treats them like the main characters of the overall drama. Whether they be an autistic man menacingly searching for his jingly keys or a man whose tongue darts like a serpent’s between each word he takes or an eager party girl using her gyrating rump to lure in a mate, the play and actor revel in their humanity while avoiding caricature for the sake of cheap laughs. Their opportunities may have been sc... Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

for a previous production "Elpenord and Palmieri also show the greatest level of detailed puppetry and physical theatre; they enter and exit each scene with the same commitment to character whether they are embodying butterflies, snowflakes, or a named character. Additionally, their foot and hand work are so precise that one starts to believe that Matthew Lish’s wonderfully crafted puppets have actually come to life...I am unashamed to admit that observing them revel in the beauty of this production, content in the kn... Full Review

Letters Of Suresh
Midtown W
New York Theatre Guide

"So what are the characters of playwright Rajiv Joseph's Letters to Suresh to do when all they’ve been tasked with is reciting the contents of their exposition-heavy letters aloud in direct address to the audience? The answer is to serve as talking heads for material that feels better suited for an article in The New Yorker than it does for an Off-Broadway play." Full Review

Time Out New York

"The playwright has taken ethnographic pains to expertly capture the speaking patterns of his characters, and director Saheem Ali weaves together a world that feels like real life, even when the action branches into the supernatural. His ace collaborators include costumer Ayite, choreographer Moultrie and hair and makeup designer Cookie Jordan. Together with a uniformly wonderful cast, they movingly convey 'Sugar’'s central message: Love prevails even in a hopeless place." Full Review

Dutch Masters
East Village
Time Out New York

"Holland crafts powerful stage portraits that play on Duff's swaggering buff blackness and Horowitz's timid, well-meaning whiteness; their physical interaction suggests a tense game of chess that keeps threatening to spill over into violence or sex...Although their star turns yield moments of heartbreaking drama, 'Dutch Masters' remains a one-note issue play. The basic situation is implausible...The back-and-forth interrogation that ensues seems formulaic." Full Review

My Brilliant Divorce
West Village
Time Out New York

"Grappling with midlife 'conscious uncoupling' promises to unleash all sorts of demons in 'My Brilliant Divorce.' That no monsters end up appearing in this potentially hilarious vehicle for a woman of a certain age has everything to do with Melissa Gilbert’s miscasting...Gilbert comes off as a sweet shiksa milquetoast, knocked flat by the sudden turn of events but without a proportionate sense of rage; she is delightfully engaging, but has none of the conspiratorial vengeance one craves." Full Review

The Bench
East Village
BroadwayWorld

for a previous production “Though Galinsky meticulously captures the soul of each persona...there is a lack of propulsion and energy to the plot; in this instance there is not enough of to the plot to keep the audience interested...There is tension but no real conflict...Without a doubt, this is an accurate display of life for many homeless people, but onstage the absence of heightened drama feels dull." Full Review

BroadwayWorld

"Because its performances are so fully rendered and points so wonderfully tackled, one does not realize that 'Neighbors' follows a parroting formula of, 'You know what the problem with you people is? Let me tell you,' until well after the fact. The majesty of what playwright Cubria has accomplished, and the astute hand with which director Moreno has rendered it, is such that it is difficult to fault him for this cheat. The end game is this magnificent production." Full Review

Loveless Texas
East Village
BroadwayWorld

“A barnyard-raising show with unflagging energy…There are too many songs...These people are constantly and inappropriately breaking out into song…This production hovers on the edge of greatness by virtue of its marvelous production values and performances. Though the ‘choreography’ is quite bad, Heffernan's direction is solid…If this show wants to fly, it needs to pare down on the interminable singing and focus on the songs that really matter.” Full Review

BroadwayWorld

"The sort of thing that one chortles through from paragraph to paragraph while unraveling additional meanings until the final period lands...There is so much to slog through, with so little actually happening, that missing even a beat means losing five or twelve points...Thank goodness then for the vivid balls-to-the-walls acting...Though always clever, the proceedings risk becoming exhausting, particularly during the second act...Oh but that ending is a beauty." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"Playwright Nogueira dissects the socio-sexual politics of white patriarchy and its hold over musical theatre in her play, and the results are didactic, well-rendered, and entirely thrilling." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"As directed and choreographed by the much-lauded dancemaker Camille A. Brown, this production places an exclamation point at the end of its title, as if to claim that it will punch through every moment of grief until all that is left is celebratory victory. While that approach serves as a pleasant corrective to Lea C. Gardner’s gloom-laden interpretation of the work ― which played at The Public Theater in 2019, with Brown as choreographer ― it does not create much of a throughline between th... Full Review

Out of Time
East Village
New York Theatre Guide

"4/5 stars...At two and a half hours long in total, most of these monologues could have benefited from stricter editing, but ― memento mori: each performer is over 60 years old. Though time is the one thing we cannot replace, after listening to each character speak, I felt that their earned wisdom might spare me future pain...But even when the playwrights’ choices were exasperating, I was always grateful to 'Out of Time' for reminding me that life is fleeting ―and not just my own." Full Review

Intimate Apparel
Upper W Side
New York Stage Review

"What is most remarkable about the new production, which is presented at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, is that it continues to function as a play. There is no flattening of nuance or emotion, as can often happen when properties are given the operatic treatment...What could have been an unwieldy feast of technical wonder has coalesced into a challenge to the world: Opera demands true storytelling, and when wedded with wonderful acting and directorial vision as it is here,... Full Review

Medicine
Brooklyn
New York Theatre Guide

"Watching the foregone conclusion of someone who never had a chance get beat up by the world holds limited appeal. Though it is just as likely that as someone who is in recovery from concussion syndrome and is therefore vulnerable to sensory overload, this production was not meant for people like me. Regardless, Medicine is well-produced and may entertain those who have never been exposed to trauma or the carceral state." Full Review

Dana H. (Broadway)
Midtown W
New York Theatre Guide

"I recently reviewed a show and declared that talk business does not belong onstage. Dana H. has forced me to eat my words and to accept that there are no absolutes in theatre, particularly when the story is horrifically affecting and spectacularly executed as this show is. Dana H. should be required viewing for legal scholars, law enforcement officers, and aspirants across the country, if only to remind them that depravity reigns when they fail to do the right thing." Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"All families have their secrets, but few handle them as entertainingly as the Mabry family in Douglas Lyon’s Chicken & Biscuits. All is not perfect by the play’s end but...It’s the perfect take home message as we continue to navigate the viral pandemics that are tearing our nation apart." Full Review

Zurich
East Village
Time Out New York

"Working with a superb multigenerational cast, Campbell-Holt fleshes out every uncomfortable nuance in Roper's collection of mostly two-person conversations. Placid as some of the interactions might look from our voyeuristic vantage point, they are tense with potential violence; corruption, betrayal and resentment are never very far from the surface." Full Review

The Stone Witch
Midtown W
Time Out New York

"Buried under long passages of nonsense in 'The Stone Witch' is a moving tribute to confronting one's heroes...The problem is Bitterman's focus on mental illness. When depicting insanity onstage, anything can happen and frequently does—but the mere absence of reason is rarely interesting. Zuckerman coaxes honest reactions out of his performers, but watching Peter repeatedly struggle with Simon's hallucinations grows exhausting as they slog through the largely meaningless confusion." Full Review

Must
Midtown W
BroadwayWorld

"Purports to excavate the background of Billy The Kid but buries the lede beneath lackluster dialogue that mistakes clichés for insight...Encumbered by Charles Cissel's flat prose, these actors fail to register as anything other than cinematic stand ins. In fact they look as if they are marking time along with the rest of us until curtain falls. In lieu of direction, Gabriel Vega Weissman has the actors yell their lines as if increased volume will summon greater lucidity. " Full Review

The Mecca Tales
East Village
BroadwayWorld

"Using a sly hand, Malik dispenses information through rapid fire thoughtful humor and honest dialogue that flows naturally. Fahmy's direction, Esler's scenic design, and Kengmana's lighting embrace this seamless quality by treating the show as if it were one beautiful dream sequence...It is undeniable that 'Mecca' wraps things up too tidily, however that resolution feels earned and gratifying. Like the production team, the entire cast is flawlessly marvelous." Full Review

BroadwayWorld

"Yassur's direction is bold and intelligent. Rosen's translation is clear...Unfortunately most of the performances are delivered in one mode: whiny, angsty, and loud...As the play's prime character, Twersky spent the bulk of his time mugging at maximum volume regardless of what was happening...The musicality of language and nuances found in measuring a breakdown between insanity and reality were missing. Despite that, the illustration of the play's themes...was clear." Full Review

Love Is Dead!
Queens
BroadwayWorld

"It's a violent little play full of gallows humor, misogynistic cracks, and rambling word games that go on for too long and yet, there is something to it. 'Love Is Dead!' gave a rough premiere tonight at The Secret Theatre. Beneath its plodding pace, one thing is clear: the work is a modern-day penny-dreadful, though with more 'South Park' style than Grand Guignol wit." Full Review