Kevin Filipski

Kevin Filipski is a critic with Film Festival Traveler. 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 (44)
Caroline's Kitchen
Midtown E
Film Festival Traveler

“Whatley sublimely orchestrates the controlled onstage chaos, aided spectacularly by the increasingly (and hilariously) unhinged performances...Although Betts ratchets up the lunacy and manipulates his characters for his own ends more blatantly than Ayckbourn—which may be why Betts' play ends with a whimper instead of a comic bang—'Caroline’s Kitchen’ has been written, staged and acted with such ferocious wit that its minor shortcomings don’t matter.” Full Review

Mother of the Maid
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

"A modest, unapologetically sentimental drama that has precious little that’s new to add, despite looking at Joan from a different angle...Anderson can’t resist some easy country bumpkin jokes, which quickly wear out their welcome...Glenn Close brings the tough-minded but soft-hearted woman to such powerful life you wish she’d been given a better vehicle for her talents." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"Unfortunately drops far too much of the Bard’s most sublime poetry and replaces it with Shaina Taub’s serviceable doggerel accompanied by her pleasant if unremarkable tunes...Luckily, the dozens of onstage performers are turned into a cohesive mass by Lorin Lontarro’s clever choreography to make this a satisfying communal event. Conspicuously missing are many of Shakespeare’s offhand insights." Full Review

Carmen Jones
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

“The strength of both the music and tragic romance are enough to motor Doyle’s typically stripped-down staging...studded with muscular singers and powerhouse performers...Rose fills Carmen’s form-fitting clothes to perfection...Rose is spectacular...Graceful and athletic choreography makes the tragedy visceral as well as emotional, and a tight six-piece ensemble plays Bizet’s well-known score as passionately as the remarkable Rose and the rest of the cast sing it.” Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"A labored play that attempts to do too much with too many characters, ending up far less than the sum of its parts...Although Thorne is sympathetic to her characters, she writes too many melodramatic, even sitcomish confrontations for them...The family’s conflicts are contrived and often risible...Amid such messiness, director Lila Neugebauer has difficulty getting the play to cohere dramatically, comically and emotionally." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

“What a director must do is keep ‘Saint Joan’ fluid without degenerating into static scenes of exposition and dialogue. Sullivan partially solves that with some judicious if not entirely necessary cutting...Chanler-Berat falls prey to overacting...Rashad’s Joan is well-spoken and girlish...as technically accomplished as she is, Rashad only finds Joan’s soul in her fleeting final moments begging for mercy from her prosecutors...Ann intermittently challenging interpretation.” Full Review

Miss You Like Hell
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

"Easy to root for, dramatizing as it does one illegal immigrant’s experience in today’s America. But this musical...never hits the emotional highs it aims for by taking too many detours, both figurative and literal...Hudes...finds amusement and bemusement in Beatriz and Olivia’s attempts to find common ground...But...reduces their story to a frustratingly episodic character study...'Miss You Like Hell,' for all its timely relevance, feels like a soap-opera period place despite the talent invo... Full Review

Hey, Look Me Over!
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"Despite the creakiness of the concept, there is the music and the performances, which is why we are all in the theater in the first place...To be sure, a lot of what is excerpted for 'Hey, Look Me Over!' is not top-drawer, but even when the material isn’t top-notch, the performers are...Although the finale is anti-climactic, 'Hey, Look Me Over!' remains a delightful evening of sheer entertainment...conducted by Rob Berman, whose Encores Orchestra is, as always, the evening’s true highlight." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

“This beguiling fable has a homespun wisdom that’s greater than the sum of its parts...The folk tale’s plot—filled as it is with unabashed sentiment, teenage romance and a celebration of the circle of life, so to speak—alternates between cloyingly and happily beneficent...Arden’s inventive staging begins before the musical proper...90 mostly blissful minutes....The always winning Salonga, whose clear-as-crystal soprano rings out even amid so many astonishingly strong voices on this island.” Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"It’s his usual combination of dead-on impressions, penetrating observations, juvenile humor and unabashed sentimentality...With a chalkboard at center stage to visualize the teaching concept (Tony Taccone’s direction is happily haphazard), Leguizamo blends his one-of-a-kind riffing, caricature and vocal impersonation into an offbeat lecture...All the while, though, he keeps returning to his family, and that’s what makes the new show particularly satisfying." Full Review

Illyria
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

"In his signature quiet and conversational way, Nelson provides three glimpses of Papp and colleagues...As usual, there’s much to admire in Nelson’s artful writing in which a group of like-minded people is sensitively presented. But despite the backstage intrigue, there’s a decided lack of urgency and drama...Nelson directs assuredly, but his generally fine cast is upended by John Magaro’s pallid and unfocused Papp." Full Review

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

“A commendable overview of Prince’s career…There are restaged sequences from the shows, often—but not always—their ‘classic’ numbers, which tends toward imbalance…Still, great moments are scattered throughout…The cast performs with incomparable zest, even if some aren’t perfect for the roles they assay...Though not the stage extravaganza that both 'Jerome Robbins’ Broadway' and 'Fosse' were, 'Prince of Broadway' has an intimacy that serves its creator’s more subtle approach." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"Director deBessonet has flattened everything out so that, though it all flows nicely on the surface, the play’s disturbing undercurrents are left, well, undisturbed...Ashford has a unique way of speaking her lines that seems to work for anything...The only other cast member on Ashford’s level is Burstein...He's funny and poignant and realistic and fantastical simultaneously, which is what deBessonet’s 'Dream,' despite some splendid moments, ultimately isn’t." Full Review

The Golden Apple
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"The kind of musical Encores! was made for...Most noteworthy is Moross’s beguiling, sung-through score...Luckily, the story’s silliness doesn’t derail the show...Lindsay Mendez, an amusing Helen, steals scenes right and left...Berman and his Encores! orchestra give Moross’s charming music the best possible platform, but an inane plot and large cast make 'The Golden Apple' a doubtful Broadway revival any time soon." Full Review

Anastasia (NYC)
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"The musical is a hodgepodge that never decides on a direct course but instead meanders, hoping to keep both kids and parents happy...McNally’s rambling book precariously balances outright fantasy and historical drama...Despite the silliness, director Tresnjak’s staging is filled with handsome trappings...The show is longer than it needs to be: at least 20 minutes could be cut...Overlong, not tuneful enough, too derivative...But for those who just want a pretty package, it will do nicely." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"An acidly funny takedown of the white upper crust, and their racism, classism and homophobia...Channing made Guare’s questionable narrative leap for Ouisa plausible, even touching, and in the new production—staged savvily, if at times too frantically, by Cullman—Janney does the same, equaling her predecessor’s effortless command of the stage....Wonderfully complementing Janney is John Benjamin Hickey...Corey Hawkins brings a formidable mix of charm and menace to Paul." Full Review

Amelie
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"Soo is sweetly unassuming, with an affecting, natural singing voice, but the adaptation even one-ups the original at being annoyingly eccentric...The musical approximates the movie’s oddball style, alongside stridently overwrought acting by the supporting cast. Director Mackinnon seems at a loss...and Messé’s score—with mediocre lyrics by Messé and Tysen—doesn’t overcome Lucas’s patchy book...'Amélie' the musical is ultimately as shallow as its cinematic forebearer." Full Review

Noises Off
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"Director Jeremy Herrin's superlative staging mines Frayn's crammed script for every one of its minute details, all on Derek McLane's extraordinary set...If Act III dips somewhat, it's only because Act I is a procession of wonderfully observed mishaps while the largely wordless Act II is an unequaled display of slapstick that even the best mimes could only hope to equal...As peerless as the cast of this unmissable revival of 'Noises Off' is, Hilty provides a comedic acting class by herself." Full Review

Allegiance
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"The musical is marred by contrived storytelling and slathered-on sentimentality. Through clunky expository dialogue that over-elaborates about everything. implausibly soap-operaish plot turns, and perfunctory songs that alternate between soaring ballads and soaring anthems, 'Allegiance' dramatically wrong-foots it at nearly every turn. What helps improve things are the staging and performances…'Allegiance' relies on a first-rate cast and production to provide its emotional force." Full Review

Therese Raquin
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"Director Evan Cabnet cannily twists the screws ever more tightly and tautly...Aside from Knightley's controlled, incisive acting, Judith Light is at first funny then later most affecting as Camille's smothering mother...Matt Ryan, a charismatic Laurent, has such palpable chemistry with Knightley that the adulterers' sexual encounters are charged with the lustful energy that makes 'Thérèse Raquin' such smoldering theater." Full Review

Sylvia
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"In this slick, brassy revival by director Daniel Sullivan, 'Sylvia' is in the extremely capable hands of Annaleigh Ashford, an adroit physical comedienne...Perhaps Sullivan felt that Gurney's paper-thin play needed embellishing and so has Sella overact to the detriment of the small-scale joke at the play's center. But that isn't enough to derail this minor but entertaining comedy from one of our true living masters." Full Review

Bandstand
Midtown W
The Flip Side

for a previous production "A precarious, semi-successful balancing act between entertainment and psychological study...The predictable trajectory of the story is the weakest part of the show. Oberacker’s music is a sturdy swing-music pastiche that purrs along nicely...Blankenbueler’s stylish direction and lively choreography keep the show on the right track even when it bogs down in trite familiarity...Whenever Osnes and company let loose with another tune, most of the flaws of 'Bandstand' are forgiven." Full Review

About Alice
Brooklyn
Film Festival Traveler

"Trillin’s deadpan humor—as anyone who saw his many hilarious appearances on Johnny Carson can attest—is always in evidence, even when his drama takes a darker turn...Bean and Paff play off each other with easy familiarity and tenderness in Leonard Foglia’s simple and effective staging. Of course, at 75 minutes it might only skim the surface of such a lengthy and loving relationship, but 'About Alice' retains the warmth and wit that distinguishes Trillin’s best work." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"Vanity projects don’t come more desperate than 'Gettin’ the Band Back Together'...Unsurprisingly, that mish-mash of witless, unfunny, uninteresting anecdotes and characters was stitched together into a dreary, overlong musical with pseudo-rock songs that try to (but never) approximate the hitmakers they emulate...Very little of this is amusing, much is risible, and nothing’s memorable. Worst is how the women are treated." Full Review

Mary Page Marlowe
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

“Letts’s decision to present rearranged scenes from a life feels uncomfortably contrived as a way to give significance to something that is anything but. Unsurprisingly, each scene is intelligently written, concise and pointed...Despite Letts’s bravura writing of individual moments, it adds up to little as we are no further along to understanding or sympathizing with this woman..Director Lila Neugebauer’s sensitive staging helps, to a point." Full Review

Log Cabin
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"Bumpy but funny...Makes pertinent points while painting with a broad brush how much—or how little—the country’s attitudes toward gender and sexuality have changed in the past few years...Harrison’s script is basically out of a sitcom, where the characters are mainly differentiated by how quickly they can hurl the next witticism at the others...Manages to be entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time...MacKinnon directs adroitly...a first-rate comic cast." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

“Not quite farce or satire but pitched somewhere in between...The glory of Ayckbourn’s writing is that, even when it’s a minor work— there’s always an especially felicitous observation or an empathetic moment that tears your heart out...Playing two dozen characters, the formidable cast of six keeps the play shuttling forward, even when Ayckbourn himself nearly sabotages it with a drawn-out third episode...The occasional hiccup can’t erase another noteworthy Ayckbourn stage event.” Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"Fey has smartly turned her original script into a book that may be even funnier and more pointed than the movie. And Nicholaw has choreographed and directed with smashing effectiveness...Nicholaw's ace design team creates a high school world with an impressive visual sheen that underscores, not undercuts...But making 'Mean Girls' unmissable is its exuberant cast...Should please both die-hard fans and those looking for a rollicking good time." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"The height of obviousness—and pointlessness...Lazily relying on its one-note, single-joke conceit to stretch itself past the two-hour mark...In a world dominated by a benighted and dangerous simpleton in the White House—the show has been outstripped by reality...Effortlessly playing multiple roles is a dazzling cast of 18, whose voices soar into the stratosphere...It’s easy to go along for the ride, bumpy as it ultimately is." Full Review

Fire and Air
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

"McNally, who has done his research, combines factual detail with imaginative flights of fancy. But 'Fire and Air' ends up an unsatisfying jumble of biography and fictional re-imaging...Cusati-Moyer and Johnson are lithe and athletic, their toned bodies speaking more eloquently than their acting...Hodge gives a broad but good-humored portrayal...Hodge does make Diaghilev relatable as more than a self-pitying genius, which gives 'Fire and Air' its intermittent vigor." Full Review

Downtown Race Riot
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"Rosenfeld turns cartoons into real characters: with a huge assist from a talented cast and director, of course...Rosenfeld draws sympathetic but realistic portraits of his play’s inhabitants...Still, the play and these people don’t go anywhere unsurprising: they are fated to remain behind, thanks to class or race, which isn’t an earth-shattering revelation...Sevigny’s Mary is scarily authentic...A marvelously physical performance that makes her character and the play she’s in seem substantial." Full Review

Harry Clarke
West Village
Film Festival Traveler

for a previous production "One of our most accomplished stage actors, Billy Crudup delivers a tour de force performance...A clever if misogynistic and ultimately misanthropic one-acter...The glory of Crudup’s bravura acting is his shifting gears among all of these differing and at times competing accents...His prestidigitation in 'Harry Clarke,' juggling so many different accents and, even more impressively, disparate characterizations, is what makes this flawed play worth attending." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

"The idea...certainly has promise, but Ruhl bludgeons it to a premature death with countless side trips into forced whimsy and heavy-handed dialogue...Ruhl’s play meanders both obviously and pointlessly...What’s disheartening is that Waters directs persuasively, the sets are beguiling, the lighting is often dazzling, and the costumes are amusing. Fully on board is the entire cast...But nothing can disguise that 'For Peter Pan' is all dressed up with no place to fly." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

“‘Terms’ has the same strengths and weaknesses of Moore’s other work…Sure, he can be self-aggrandizing, but when he discusses himself, it’s in the context of what he sees as the greater good…Moore appearing on Broadway isn’t for everyone, and those people know who they are. But in Mayer’s slick staging, the slightly overlong ‘The Terms of My Surrender’ is a funny, thoughtful and even cathartic time in the theater for anyone still stunned by the results of November 8.” Full Review

Invincible
Midtown E
Film Festival Traveler

"Betts’s play 'Invincible' is messy, heavy-handed and pandering, turning everything that Ayckbourn does so effortlessly in his class-conscious plays into fodder for cheap easy laughs...What in Ayckbourn are endearing eccentrics are in Betts’s hands easily manipulated chess pieces...Director Stephen Darcy makes it all go by in a whirlwind, and his expert cast both gets laughs and finds the poignance missing from Betts’s script." Full Review

Pacific Overtures
East Village
Film Festival Traveler

"'Pacific Overtures' was made for Broadway: its huge cast and expansive story line about the opening of Japan need a big stage...Unfortunately, John Doyle has downsized 'Pacific Overtures' in its staging and its music, which reduces it to a highlights performance...In a generally fine cast, Takei’s stately presence as The Reciter stands out. Too bad Doyle’s unfocused production reduces a provocative piece of theater to a stale deconstruction mistaking poverty for intimacy." Full Review

Bandstand
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"Sentimental but affecting...Osnes is the emotional center of a show that also generously allows each of the bandsmen to work out his demons by playing the music he loves. And Blankenbuehler has ingeniously visualized those ghosts and the weight on each vet’s shoulders with astonishingly effective choreographed movements...Richard Oberacher’s toe-tappingly swing-inflected music at times digs into a well of melody and emotion." Full Review

Film Festival Traveler

“Linney’s warmth and good humor serve her in good stead as the pathetic but sympathetic Birdie…Nixon’s sharp-edged Regina is a schemer who knows what she wants and how to get it…Sullivan’s always incisive direction surrounds them with terrific support…‘The Little Foxes’ plays best as an old-fashioned—but gleefully nasty—soap opera; that it provides such luxurious roles for two talented actresses might be its signal virtue." Full Review

The Flip Side

"Leave it to Richard Nelson to write so elegantly about the most inelegant era in our country’s recent history...It all seems simple, even simplistic, in summary, but Nelson’s exquisitely detailed writing—his often funny and pointed dialogue takes mundanity to new heights of poetic realism—and deft directing are joined by the flawless performances to make this intimate but expansive play help in the healing that our divided nation will be needing." Full Review

Misery
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"In a trashily effective—if not especially taut—90 minutes, 'Misery' onstage provides the same thrills of its earlier incarnations...It serves as a vehicle of sorts for Bruce Willis...But the play, movie and novel all belong to Annie, and onstage Laurie Metcalf gives a persuasive and just enough over-the-top portrayal of a self-sufficient woman who just happens to be crazy...Will Frears directs efficiently...Despite its lack of forward momentum, this 'Misery' gets the job done." Full Review

King Charles III
Midtown W
The Flip Side

"Often effective pageantry doesn't prop up the ginned-up national crisis at the play's center. The second act, in which very little happens dramatically, is often excruciating to sit through…'King Charles III' falls far short of Shakespeare's miraculous ability to juggle multiple plots and slip effortlessly between high tragedy and low comedy. Happily, the cast, which avoids easy caricature, is smashingly good." Full Review

The Flip Side

"Your basic rags-to-riches tale done with just enough tartness to avoid too much sentimentality. Even if the music becomes repetitive after awhile, those catchy hits just keep coming…With Sergio Trujillo's droll choreography and Jerry Mitchell's crafty direction combining to seamlessly weave the show's potentially clumsy flashbacks into the musical whole, 'On Your Feet!'—despite some missteps—sticks the landing." Full Review

Sylvia
Midtown W
Film Festival Traveler

"'Sylvia' is A.R. Gurney's most obvious (and probably only) crowd-pleaser...Whenever Ashford barks—'hey hey hey hey!'—it could be love, hate, anger, affection or irritation, and Ashford varies her tone and timbre to suit the occasion. The actress's showiness is out of necessity since it's a show-offy role, but Ashford smartly underplays as much as possible, and it's to her credit that she makes Sylvia (pooch and play) funnier and more affecting than it has any right to be." Full Review

The Humans
Midtown W
The Flip Side

for a previous production "Karam is a slave to contrivance, making 'The Humans' similar to a TV sitcom trying to get serious and illuminate its characters' psychology... These people have enough in their daily lives to deal with without giving them some ginned up near-tragedy to add to their back story...Reservations aside, Joe Mantello’s always engaging staging and a top-flight ensemble help make 'The Humans' seem more incisive and truthful than it really is." Full Review