Lauren Yarger

Lauren Yarger is a critic with Reflections in the Light. 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 (77)
85
Reflections in the Light

“Here's the ‘religious’ show you want to catch on stage while you can...Very good staging...The production is well done on Stephen C. Kemp's mood-creating set with strong performances across the boards. The tale, set in the 1500s seems unnervingly relevant in 2019 America where it becomes apparent that not much in organized religion or politics has changed.” Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

"Playwright Adam Seidel crafts a nifty three-hander where everything and everyone is not as it seems...Deftly directed by Valentina Fratti, the actors are given the freedom to unwrap layers...Grimes goes deep as the seasoned woman who knows how to hold her own and get ahead in a man's world...LuPone portrays a tough guy on the outside, but stuns with the revelation of a scared vulnerable man just under the surface. Ledbetter strikes a nice balance." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

"McGinty and Edmond speak as well as sign their dialogue, bringing into focus how isolated Sarah is...Leon seamlessly fuses conversations taking place at different places to create an exquisite storytelling tableau. The story still is timely decades after the play's debut. 'Children of a Lesser God' makes us sit up and listen." Full Review

60
Reflections in the Light

"It's fun to hear some favorites, whether you're into rock or the classics, but it's the twist that raises some questions...Just because it can be played with a rock beat -- and very, very loudly, which seems to be the theme of most of this show's sound design -- doesn't mean it should be. Less is more might be a good philosophy to follow here...The idea of a concert fusing different musical styles is good. It just needs a bit more orchestration, pun intended." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

“If the world of bond investment leaves you scratching your head, don't be intimidated by ‘Junk,’ Ayad Akhtar's fascinating new Broadway play...Douglas Hughes expertly directs the large cast of 23 with the vibrant action...The two-and-a-half-hour script from the Pulitzer-Prize winner for ‘Disgraced’ is tight and engrossing...The plot can be followed without trouble...Don't miss this one.” Full Review

55
Reflections in the Light

“The raw, bawdy monologue was born from the frustration Leguizamo encountered trying to help his son find a Latin hero to write about for a school project...The presentation is raw and filled with vulgar language...Leguizamo is an engaging performer...but this show just didn't strike me as very funny. Perhaps the seriousness of the subject doesn't lend itself to many laughs. The dialogue also deals with his son's bullying at a private school where parents display prejudice.” Full Review

65
Reflections in the Light

“The philosophical banter between Joy, Christopher Riley and the others is amusing and tautly directed by Christa Scott-Reed. The humor blends with deep thoughts to create empathy for the characters as well as to force us to contemplate our own emotions...This is kind of a sad story, so be prepared, even if Joy's pain doesn't play out as totally believable (it seems acted, especially if you ever have been with someone dying the horribly painful death she did).” Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"The cross over from the 1919 celebration to the family's future in 1937 is the real star of this show. Patel's set dramatically transforms and the lighting design creates the illusion of being able to travel through time as Kay appears to have a vision of what is to come...The performances are fierce and the direction by Rebecca Taichman is precise. The play itself could use a good edit, particularly in the first act, but overall, a very satisfying time at the theater." Full Review

65
Reflections in the Light

"This version...offers a couple of pleasant treats: Ashford as Helena and Nielsen as Puck. These are two of the theater's finest comedic actresses and they don't disappoint here. Also turning in notable performances, in a very strong ensemble cast, are Burstein as Bottom, Poe as Oberon and Rashad as Titania...I didn't care for the heavy, jazzy original music...It doesn't blend with the light feel of the show...The costumes also stand out for not fitting with the whimsical, airy atmosphere." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

“The story is riveting, not so much for Orwell's plot itself, but because it generates the unpleasant realization for us that this story is not far from reality…Icke and Macmillan make good use of large screens for video projections, so in a way, the audience gets to be Big Brother. In addition sound effects that have people jumping out of their seats and precision lighting combine to create the ability for well-executed time jumps.” Full Review

45
Reflections in the Light

"This production may have gone too far...I thought the depiction of Caesar as Trump was unnecessary. Audiences are intelligent and might have drawn their own conclusions, but this forced comparison seems a bit of a stretch...I didn't hate this production outright...Highlights of the park production are the inclusion of 'audience members' in crowd scenes...The play is fast-paced for a two-hour run, but suffers a loss of energy after the murder scene." Full Review

90
Reflections in the Light

for a previous production "Some of the most fun I have had in a theater this season -- or any...Some of the gags bring astonished gasps from the audience, which laughs out loud pretty much non-stop...The 'whodunit' pales in comparison to the 'what's-coming-next' in this zany, fun production. 'The Play That Goes Wrong' messes up and is every theater-maker's worst nightmare (in such a delightful way)." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"Cash is excellent as both female protagonists...Oliver Butler's direction is tight and focused, giving the two time periods distinction while avoiding confusion...The play gets point just for being different. This is not your typical story or presentation. An amazing amount of storytelling occurs in one hours and 45 minutes with no intermission...The play can be a bit scattered and struggles to find its ending." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

"Despite Close's tour-de-force performance, director Lonny Price's skilled direction keeps the other performances from being lost in the sweep of one of Norma's many flowing, glittering outfits...The score sounds fabulous thanks to the huge 40-piece orchestra which takes up the rear of the stage...While Close's performance is stunning, her singing voice is less than optimal, especially in the higher ranges." Full Review

90
Reflections in the Light

"Molly Ringwald gives a powerful performance directed by Michael Parva, who manages to assemble a cast that puts us in mind of the film's iconic stars without trying to imitate them…This production really is a perfect representation of the popular film…Gordon's script captures all of the humor of the characters and the emotion of their relationships. I don't think I ever have heard such sobbing in the theater." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

"The musical makes an unintended statement about what attitudes should have been back then, in what they seem to be today. Finn's music ranges from fun to moving (there were a lot of tears shed at the end of act one) and the lyrics are touching. The characters are all flawed, but honest. And in the end, love wins. The strong performances are lovingly directed by Lapine, though casting Borle and Rannells in non-comedic roles is a bit of a stretch for our imagination." Full Review

25
Reflections in the Light

"McTeer holds our interest as the deceitful woman who is her own worst enemy and Kampouris is convincing as the virginal, yet sexually curious Cecile. Not much else compels us to remain engaged with the action...Rourke fails to ignite chemistry between any of the characters, particularly between McTeer and Schreiber...Everything has a mechanical feel and the two hours and 45 minutes feel very long and unsatisfying for a play that's supposed to be all about passion and fulfillment." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"A good old-fashioned musical with great songs, a wholesome plot, sparkling costumes and showstopping choreography by Denis Jones...The chorus, (under the musical direction of Andy Einhorn), isn't together at times and there are some flat notes...This is the one to see with the entire family while you are in for holiday fun in the city this Thanksgiving and Christmas." Full Review

30
Reflections in the Light

"Two things this Roundabout production had going for it were a new version by Stephen Karam, whose own play, the Tony-Award-winning 'The Humans' is far better than anything Chekhov ever wrote, and this production's stars...This version didn't seem any more interesting than the original to me. If you don't already know the plot, it is a bit difficult to follow. Lane seems lost up on the stage as characters seem to be wandering around at times without direction from Simon Godwin." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

for a previous production "Amongst the chatter which involves them all, each character gets a moment in the spotlight where we get an idea of why they struggle with weight and self esteem...It's funny-there are a bunch of laugh-out-loud lines-without trivializing the deeper issues here. It's a brisk 80 minutes and director Jackson Gay keeps things well ordered while allowing for a playful quality which she does so well. Every woman will be able to relate to something or someone in the play." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

"Brandt is a gifted storyteller and the 90 minutes without intermission are mesmerizing...Brandt includes a satisfying twist in telling the story of how the woman who once was a big enough celebrity to fill a baseball stadium for her third wedding ended up forgotten and buried in an unmarked grave. I felt grateful that Brandt has brought her back to life for us...And the music is heavenly. I felt as though I had attended a worship service." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

“The multi-talented Verduga creates interesting characters and thought-provoking situations, directed here by Leni Mendez...Though the script needs an edit and some of the action in the 100 minutes with intermission could be tightened, the characters are engaging and likable. They deal with real emotions and we can relate to most of what they experience...I am looking forward to more from this theater company and this playwright is in my radar.” Full Review

70
Reflections in the Light

"McPherson's lyrical writing (it certainly helps us not fall asleep during those long monologues--Broderick appeared to be looking for a couple of lines) has us questioning just who is helping whom here. Loneliness and desperation drip off the sentiments expressed, even as the text is peppered with humor...The production is engaging, but a special effect fails to have the impact it should. Let's just say there weren't gasps like there were in the original on Broadway." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"“This is a classy, entertaining revival. Linn-Baker is the perfect straight man, enhancing the humorous chaos taking place around him. Costumes by Andrea Lauer enhance the characters -- from elegant and stylish to vulgar…I found the pace in the almost two-and-a half-hour run a bit draggy." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

"Taut direction by Tina Landau keeps our attention focused...Phylicia Rashad is at the top of her game, turning in the most powerful performance I have seen her give...Tarell Alvin McCraney's script is compelling and more engaging than his 'Brother/Sister Plays'...The tale is kind of a bummer...The play probably would be better trimmed a bit and presented as a one act instead of breaking two hours with an intermission." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

“Two hard-hitting two-handers...in an intriguing study of parent/child relationships...In Churchill's ‘A Number,’ Bernard discovers that his father, Salter has been harboring some pretty dark secrets about their relationship...In...'Night Mother,’ a difficult, but loving mother-daughter relationship seems like any we might experience until we realize that the clock is ticking in what are the last minutes of life for Jessie...It's a nice pairing of works nicely presented on a set that works fo... Full Review

90
Theater Life

“Peterson is so absorbing in her portrayal...All of the people mentioned come to life in our imagination, or by character changes as Peterson, helped by sound effects and projections also portrays Pablo and Curtis...Intense and deeply moving, Peterson keeps the tale from becoming depressing by including a lot of humor. The story rings true, not only because of the exceptional writing, acting, and directing, but because Peterson brings real-life experience to the tale.” Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

"Jackson is fascinating...Metcalf, always excellent, seems particularly at home with B's dry humor...Pill brings complexity to her character...Mantello lets them find the characters and deliver powerhouse performances. Some of his blocking makes it difficult to see reactions from the other actresses while one is speaking, however. Some of this could be interpreted to have one phase of life obscure another, but I think it would have given even more depth to be able to see reactions." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"An exquisite and tasteful staging of the New York premier...serves up this week's Easter message of love and grace...Director Karin Coonrod expertly moves actors a few steps to create a change of scene...Employs a minimalist technique, having the actors pantomime most of the props depicted, resorting to the real things only for the feast...The feast is a bit disappointing and doesn't seem all that different from the bland and subdued life that preceded it." Full Review

90
Reflections in the Light

“Quenches a thirst for something satisfying on Broadway and it's different than any other drink being offered...Expressive lyrics and a well-written book...If the performances and music weren't enough to make this a top pick, there are some bonuses as well...Its silence about politics, says more about the good of humanity and the ability for people from different backgrounds to get along...A second bonus is that the musicians who are on stage are really, really good.” Full Review

55
Reflections in the Light

“A hodgepodge of a production...I didn't care for the arrangements of some of the classic Christmas songs which leave the singers sounding out of sync...The nine-piece band is good, particularly the horn section...The standout in this production is Glover, who has a terrific voice and worshipful spirit...It is a treat any time we can hear the story of Christmas told on a Broadway stage and Glover's talent made it especially so. Our hopes for focused concert are disappointed, however.” Full Review

65
Theater Life

"An all-too-timely, darkly humorous play...Director Adrienne Campbell-Holt focuses attention to keep the hour and 45 minutes of dialogue brisk...The questions are typical of those asked by those defending themselves against charges of sexual bias and who point to women who stand up for themselves as having attitude problems, so the audience can understand the viewpoints of the coworkers as well as Eliza." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

“If only all plays could be so lyrical, eloquent and timely…Director Christopher McElroen transports us back in time while spotlighting issues about race that, in many ways, don't seem all that different in 2017. It's a skillful journey…Samuel has a way of retelling history (he's a teacher of it) that makes it real -- much like the gift this playwright has in bringing the past to the present in just 85 minutes.” Full Review

60
Reflections in the Light

“Very good performances across the board and insightful direction by Anne Kauffman allow the characters to express their true feelings in looks, tone and body language, where the dialogue creates a false impression that everyone isn't as unhappy as you think they must be...The characters never ring true, however...There is a whole lot of unspoken tension that never gets spoken or resolved.” Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"If the premise sounds a bit bizarre, it is, but it is very absorbing, thanks to sharp direction by O'Hara...Childs reaches into American history and comes up with a whole new cast of characters...The playwright has created such a fascinating world...'Bella' evokes humor in the same kind of dark fairy tale dreamworld which I particularly enjoy...The musical starts to wander and drag toward the end. Some editing (and a trimming of the some 30 musical numbers) can fix this." Full Review

75
Reflections in the Light

"Frankel's score sounds as though it were written just for them offering many showcase numbers (perhaps a few too many in the two-hour, 35-minute production) with soaring belts for the actresses to show off what they can do. Ebersole, particularly, shines...Adding to the quality of the production, getting a fine treatment from director Michael Greif, are creamy supporting performances." Full Review

80
Reflections in the Light

“Williams allows himself some stereotypes when writing about Christian characters…But the playwright also surprises by making the characters likable and not making them closed-minded…Director Markus Potter creates a nice balance between humor and serious material and keeps the audience engaged for the short 75-minute production. This is a great show to attend with people with whom you'd like to have a long discussion with after." Full Review

70
Reflections in the Light

"'The Narnia Chronicles' and 'The Screwtape Letters' have been a source of growth for Christians and conversations with nonbelievers for decades, so it's always great to see this type of work highlighted on a New York Stage...It's pretty dry, even if you are interested in the Christian perspective of Lewis' conversion. McLean's heavily accented voice develops a cadence that tends to lull...But again, it is a blessing to be able to have this kind of faith-based theater offering in New York." Full Review

70
Reflections in the Light

"The lyrics and book seem a bit weak and unnecessarily telegraph action. The women are mostly window dressing…Still, there's something moving about the relationship between Calogero and his father and that, plus a pleasing score by Menken and a run time of just over two hours, keep us interested." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

"A terrific stage adaptation of the film of the same name...Doyle's staging is perfection...The action plays to the audiences on all sides of the thrust-style stage on the floor, pulling us into the classroom. Suddenly dialogue is underscored by humming; songs shift mood...A couple of performances weren't as sure, but I saw a preview, so I am willing to bet that rough edges will be smooth post opening." Full Review

45
Reflections in the Light

"Unfortunately, male-heavy plays where women don't get big parts are still way too common on Broadway, so forgive me if I balk at seeing pin-up girls on the bathroom door and hearing women spoken of rudely...Slattery lights up the stage and is charismatic as the hard-working reporter. Mays is quite funny...Lane commands all attention and has the audience laughing...The play, with three acts and two intermissions, is just too cumbersome for Jack O'Brien to rein in." Full Review

60
Reflections in the Light

"Strong performances, particularly from Ryan who manages to make a pretty unlikable person likable...It's kind of a bummer, even if there is truth in playwright Mike Bartlett's storytelling (it clocks in at just over two hours). The dark humor misfires because, unlike Bartlett's 'King Charles III,' which poked fun at Britain's royal family, dysfunction in the typical American family strikes us as more tragic." Full Review

85
Reflections in the Light

"Under Anne Kauffman's taut direction, we get a real look into the mind of Nate...This is not a typical theater experience. The set makes unexpected changes to tell this extraordinarily sad, humorous and deeply personal story of the importance of one person's seemingly ordinary life...It's an engaging and touching 80 minutes...Pierce finds the humanity in his character and pulls us in so we feel we have experienced some significant moments in the life of a friend." Full Review

60
Reflections in the Light

"Light, as always, is fascinating to watch at work. No one cries better on demand. The wide range of emotions she displays on this roller coaster of ecstasy and agony is staggering. The amount of energy to sustain the character in the hour-long monologue is astounding. The play itself, however, did not fulfill my desires. LaBute is a talented playwright, but the subject matter of this one is rather offensive and he fails to make us sympathize." Full Review

50
Reflections in the Light

"The effect is the creation of an interactive and different experience for a Broadway stage. A side effect, however, is the tendency to want to nod off. Something about being cocooned in the headset environment along with a plot that isn't overly exciting had me fighting off sleep for most of the presentation. About 30 minutes of the one-hour, 45-minute play could probably be cut. Perhaps then it would hold attention more. As it is, it certainly is a unique experience in storytelling." Full Review

30
Journal Inquirer

"‘A Day by the Sea’ has us wondering how this play ever got produced in the first place, let alone beat out others more deserving of a revival…This production features good actors, but the slim plot, sketchy character development, and exposition-laden dialogue don’t give them much to work with…Morfogen scores the most laughs...He has lines like, 'Does something happen soon? It’s pretty dull, this,' which brought laughs of appreciation from the audience thinking the same thing." Full Review

55
Reflections in the Light

"This is one of those shows, like Cirque du Soleil, where we’ll probably never quite understand what is taking place, but we’ll enjoy the visible and vocal display on stage...These 2016 Cats seem more like they are just dancing around instead of making us forget they are actors and not really cats. Without that added charm, I felt like taking a big stretch into a cat nap at intermission." Full Review

90
Reflections in the Light

"An engrossing, pertinent script, well acted and directed. Despite a rather depressing atmosphere, made heavy by the threat of unemployment, Morrisseau skillfully weaves humor, friendship and forgiveness into the story...The action on stage may depict issues specific to Detroit's auto industry, but the playwright poignantly reminds us that anyone's life can change in the blink of an eye and the reality is that these characters could be any one of us." Full Review

65
Reflections in the Light

"What could be more contemporary than a play about the need for religious tolerance?...Always fun to see Broadway vet F. Murray Abraham -- and Stark Sands for that matter -- on a New York Stage. Lagerfelt adds a much needed dose of humor...It's kind of a predictable (in spite of the apparent plot twists and surprises). With two acts running just over two hours it seems a bit tedious, especially since there is a lot of retelling of action we already have seen." Full Review

30
Reflections in the Light

"Not a great deal happens as folks stand around chatting for an hour and 45 minutes...Director Ken Rus Schmoll manages to create an uncertain atmosphere that matches the questions we have about these folks...Not enough invested in the characters. It takes us a while to figure out who they are and what their relationships to each other are...'Antlia Pneumatica' makes us feel more like we showed up at the wrong house by mistake." Full Review