Linda Winer

Linda Winer is a critic with Newsday. 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 (183)
The Golden Apple
Midtown W
Newsday

"Ending the Encores! season with strenuous ambition and serious talent in a cornball musical-comedy hodgepodge...A turn-of-the-last-century farm town full of sophisticated arcane winking and over-the-top homespun goofballs mugging through director Bergasse’s mostly coarse choreography...There are so many multiple personalities that one would think, if we didn’t know better, that its creators were afraid they’d never get a chance to write another musical." Full Review

Newsday

"The play — a psychologically serious, deliciously amusing tragicomedy — extends Ibsen’s three-act, multicharacter masterwork with just four characters in an intense but surprisingly breezy 90 minutes. But how trenchantly these four are portrayed in director Sam Gold’s stark, audacious, daringly acted production...Hnath lets no one off the hook about women, the law and marriage. He also keeps us guessing until the last possible moment." Full Review

Newsday

“The 90-minute spree of imagination and acute psychological observation feels even more timely right now…The production, directed with compassion and merciless hilarity by Cullman, has a wonderful, luxuriously large cast, with some actors dropping in for just a few perfectly pitched scenes…The writing is giddy with the excitement of ideas…Yet, for all the interruptions and philosophical tangents, the play and production speed along with both elasticity and tight discipline.” Full Review

Newsday

"For a musical about the wonder of pure imagination, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' is bizarrely lacking in it...It’s almost painful to watch Borle, a master of endearing virtuosity, work so hard to sell charm that simply isn’t in the script, the music and too much of the staging...The show is saccharine and soporific. David Greig’s book feels forced, and the intentionally nasty bits about fat Bavarian children, Russian megalomaniacs, etc., feel more gratuitous than satirical." Full Review

Indecent
Midtown W
Newsday

"Has there ever been anything quite like 'Indecent,' a play that touches—I mean deeply touches—so much rich emotion about history and the theater, anti-Semitism, homophobia, censorship, world wars, and, oh, yes, joyful human passion?...It was hard to imagine how its specialness might hold up in a big Broadway house...It is a thrill to report that this multilingual (with subtitles as needed) adventure is a natural fit. It’s a gripping and entertaining show with laughter and tears." Full Review

War Paint
Midtown W
Newsday

"Hearing these extraordinary women at the top of their game in duets that contrast and blend and play off one another’s unique theatrical instincts is a thrill, and would be even without a chic and thoughtful show around them. 'War Paint' may not be one of the great musicals, but it is an enormously satisfying one...The show, sleekly and compassionately directed by Michael Greif, looks at American women from 1934 to 1964 through a new lens." Full Review

Present Laughter
Midtown W
Newsday

“Directed with classy restraint by von Stuelpnagel, Kline holds back his virtuosic physical comedy until near the end, when his quick, startling feats made me want to rewind and watch them all over again…This is a revival that, despite a cast of farce experts, treats the broad moments as rare offhand treats that flash suddenly on characters as momentary glimpses into humanity’s silliness...This production has one absolutely critical element for Coward: style.” Full Review

Newsday

for a previous production "Finds the line that separates the annoying and stupid from the I-can’t-believe-I’m-laughing-at-this brilliance. And when the company hits that line, which it does over and over, resistance is ultimately futile...Although Mark Bell is the real director, he should get a special Tony for best choreography in a nonmusical. The physical comedy demands stopwatch precision to make the cumulative antics, not just pratfalls and spit-takes, work without hurting the real actors." Full Review

Newsday

"Eva Noblezada has an enormous, poignant strength and a piercing voice that can delicately float as confidently as it blasts. Alistair Brammer has the voice, the jaw and the muscles of a gentle American giant...The story feels more urgent amid renewed refugee tragedies and our consciousness of the sex trade. And the narrative—helped by unusually graceful lyrics—almost distract from the generic Euro-pop ballads and anthems that sound like many we’ve heard before." Full Review

Newsday

"The Roundabout Theatre has put together a splendid cast for director Terry Kinney’s straightforward and loving revival...After radical, dazzling director-driven revivals...it feels almost novel — at least, quietly reassuring — to have a lesser-known Miller work presented with down-the-middle sensibilities and expert care...Miller, whose parents lost everything in the crash, knew these lives’ sore spots. And this production knows how to make them still hurt." Full Review

Newsday

"A feel-pretty-nice musical. Think of the simple show as psychological training wheels, perhaps a way to ease us into the unbearable stories our playwrights might someday ask us to confront...The Gander people have a real untold story to tell, which Sankoff and Hein lay out with bits of overlapping narratives and folksy, stomping songs...Director Ashley gets solid, likable performances...Over five days, however, they get distracted into what feels just a bit too much like hootenanny camp." Full Review

Significant Other
Midtown W
Newsday

"A slick, well-made, funny-sad new Broadway comedy, the kind that doesn’t often get a first-rate commercial production these days...Cullman draws smart, entertaining performances...What lulls us into the comfort of a good-natured, finely crafted party-play has a serious core of loneliness, which is lovely. In the very center of that core, however, are characters with no life...I question whether this is the way things are right now. If so, this could be the saddest comedy I’ve ever seen." Full Review

The Penitent
Chelsea
Newsday

"Mamet's new straw-man polemic takes less than 90 minutes to pile simplistic criticism onto the legal system, journalism, psychiatry, love, religion and the ethical culpability of those involved with any of the above...Conversations come in short scenes and dialogue interruptions—familiar Mamet techniques used for far better effect in so many earlier works. The generalizations are banal and, even when Mamet intentionally infuriates, these are not interesting minds with which to argue." Full Review

Kid Victory
Gramercy
Newsday

"A small, dark, tight chamber musical with thoughtful lyrics by Greg Pierce...It’s the religious community/Greek chorus, alas, that the creators and director Liesl Tommy encourage to surround Luke with oblivion, ignorance and zealous stereotypes...This isn’t a big commercial musical, but it takes on a radioactive subject without exploitation and finds some human music in it." Full Review

Man From Nebraska
Midtown W
Newsday

"If any actor can make you believe a character who says 'I’m spending time with my thoughts on the advice of my pastor' while staring at a half-naked woman on a bed, that actor is Reed Birney...It is hard to come up with anyone else who can imbue such honesty, decency and complex intelligence in the idea of an imperfect Everyman...A nuanced production by director David Cromer. But boy, does this play ever need both Birney and Cromer...Deep, this is not." Full Review

Sunset Boulevard
Midtown W
Newsday

"There is something fitting, even satisfying about this less elaborate, modest incarnation...Close is just as daring but less campy and even more touching as the aging movie queen...Almost as important is the casting of Xavier, the first Joe I’ve seen to capture William Holden’s attractive, increasingly corrupted nonchalance of Norma’s boy toy...The show is a limited edition selling paste and glitter as treasures. As long as we know what we’re getting, however, costume jewelry can be fun." Full Review

The Liar
East Village
Newsday

"Ives is back in familiar territory, the Classic Stage Theater, with his breezy, good-natured translation of Pierre Corneille’s mid-17th century comedy, 'The Liar'...Amiably directed and cast by Michael Kahn, the verse play involves confusion about women named Clarice and Lucrece and their amorous, swashbuckling young men...Just when the rhyming anachronisms get really self-conscious and tiresome, the two-hour frolic is over." Full Review

The Present
Midtown W
Newsday

"It would be possible—and extremely pleasurable—to spend most of the three hours at 'The Present' just watching Cate Blanchett...As mesmerizing as she is, however, it would be a serious mistake to consider 'The Present' a star vehicle...This is dazzling ensemble theater, partnering Blanchett with the sly and thrilling Richard Roxburgh...There isn’t a whiff of gimmickry in director John Crowley’s leisurely, bawdy, poignant production." Full Review

In Transit
Midtown W
Newsday

"It’s a stretch to find the subway-rhythm idea as more than a pretext for getting together 11 actors to portray 40 very sincere and familiar characters...More important, they are there to explore tricky harmonies in more than a dozen simple songs with simple structures about 'being stuck,' 'moving on' and, finally, 'what it’s like to be here instead of getting there'...The credentials of the show are impeccable. I just wish it were a fraction as challenging theatrically as a morning commute." Full Review

The Babylon Line
Upper W Side
Newsday

"If you love the way Greenberg writes about the extraordinary twists in ordinary lives — which I obviously do — you will be patient with the leisurely setup...Trust that with this prolific Tony-winning playwright, payoffs are eventually coming, lots of them, and they are worth the wait...Director Terry Kinney treats them at first like gossipy, close-minded cliches. We are meant to underestimate them, but Greenberg and Kinney have more in mind for this first-rate cast." Full Review

Newsday

"Chazz Palminteri’s semi-autobiographical theatrical coming-of-age story has been told and retold so many times that it has the ritualized feel of a folk myth—and not in a good way....A by-the-numbers show written by Palminteri with similarities to 'Jersey Boys' and 'West Side Story'—but not in a good way...The cast is fine, but seldom electrifying...The lyrics by Glenn Slater have nursery rhymes you can anticipate before they are sung." Full Review

Sweet Charity
Midtown W
Newsday

"The production has a sleek, tacky charm…Foster is a spectacular dancer and all-around musical virtuoso…Although her character spends most of the show with a cloying optimism, Foster somehow never has a phony moment. ‘Sweet Charity,’ of course, has a few dark and delightful songs…Bergasse’s functional choreography can’t keep us from missing Fosse. With Silverman trying to make Charity’s story real, the show’s senseless scenes and songs feel more irrelevant than ever." Full Review

Newsday

"It’s a massive, luscious, romantic escape into decadent 19th-century Moscow by way of Broadway...A multifaceted talent named Dave Malloy wrote and composed this seriously beautiful lark of an oddball musical...Directed by the spectacle-wizard Rachel Chavkin...Inextricable from the music and story are the overwhelming sets and costumes—sensory overload with little on its mind except offbeat entertainment." Full Review

Newsday

“The company that has been with the plays all year remains the rare ensemble with no membrane between performance and what feels like intimate reality...Nelson’s goal, as expressed in the program, was to 'portray a world where the personal, the cultural, the societal, the familial, the artistic, the political are viewed not as separate categories, but as dependent aspects of each of our lives.' He does all that, and more." Full Review

Sweat
Midtown W
Newsday

for a previous production "Thanks to an excellent cast and an ace design team, we get close to slices of vivid life, sliced very thin, so the proud bones and the broken hearts become visible under the ordinary structure of the straightforward, naturalistic plot with its leisurely exposition...For all the modern technology that spins the scenes with a cinematic sweep, this is an old-fashioned Depression-era drama. The depression, however, is ours." Full Review

Pacific Overtures
East Village
Newsday

"Chunks of the talkiest parts of Weidman’s book have been cut, somehow without sacrificing clarity, humor or the complexity of mixed emotions...With little more than the occasional parasol or fan, the tiny but mighty production shows the fascinations and sorrows of modernization and trade...The gorgeous music still mingles the foreign sounds of wooden flutes with Western vaudeville...Questions about progress have seldom felt as authentic." Full Review

Bandstand
Midtown W
Newsday

“The results, which intentionally jumble the dance focus in challenging ways, are visually and emotionally compelling. But for all that originality and a startling cast of virtuosos who play their own instruments like members of a genuine jazz-swing band, the show never overcomes the feeling that inside the heartfelt, meandering 2 1⁄2-hour evening, a 90-minute powerhouse is struggling to come out…The musical is both too much and not quite enough for a satisfying whole." Full Review

Anastasia (NYC)
Midtown W
Newsday

"More power ballads have been added to the pretty but dispiritingly predictable story of Anastasia...Tony-winning director Darko Tresnjak keeps everything moving attractively along. But there is little he can do with a vapid story that has absolutely no context for a revolution that, in this version of history, only turns out paupers and bureaucratic puppets...Christy Altomare is strong as Anya." Full Review

Newsday

"More interesting than a competition, however, is the crackling seriousness with which director Daniel Sullivan approaches this strongly cast revival...I was struck by the snappy, tight writing and the psychological truth in the people...As Regina...Linney has the gutsy, snazzy elegance...And Nixon makes a sublime Birdie...The reverse casting is enlightening, but, in comparison, feels a bit more stagy...The rest of the cast is far more than background." Full Review

Newsday

"I saw Andy Karl in 'Groundhog Day' on Thursday, and he was terrific. So, in fact, was the show, an ingenious, witty, dark yet joyously offbeat musical...Minchin’s music beguiles with odd phrase lengths and wildly unpredictable, amusing lyrics, while director Matthew Warchus and his first-rate cast take us through the day and its many conflations with a light touch that belies the head-spinning concept and scenic intricacy." Full Review

Gently Down the Stream
East Village
Newsday

“Directed with a light touch for melodrama by Sean Mathias…A sentimental and straightforward but enjoyable and — dare we say it? — useful overview of the radical changes in gay life from the mid-20th century to today…Fierstein is an original, a star presence who manages to be instantly identifiable while convincing us he’s someone we never met before. How delightful to see him here as a lust object pursued in a romance.” Full Review

Amelie
Midtown W
Newsday

"More original than most adventures dared in the commercial theater. To original, alas, please add heedlessly whimsical, precious and so fragile we can almost hear it squish under the boot of hard-driving Broadway crowds rushing elsewhere...Soo has an enchanting open face and a creamy voice with enviable breath control and, as Amelie, she dashes around Paris with her chin literally up." Full Review

The New Yorkers
Midtown W
Newsday

“A lark of a racy musical…Not meant to be one of the series’ immaculately reconstructed reclamations. Given the unforced spirit of director John Rando’s frolic and the preposterous vaudeville numbers interrupting what exists of a story, authenticity is hardly a concern here…The importance, besides the surprise of such casual debauchery in 1930, is the music…Mostly, we can revel in the cleverness of Porter’s lyrics.” Full Review

Newsday

"This new play is a subversive enchantment. It is part absurd domestic serio-comedy, part erotic magic realism, unflinching about taboos and about questioning that, just maybe, monogamy isn’t enough...Directed without sensationalism but with intrepid good humor by Taichman, the inevitable bacchanalian reveries ensue. But so does heady talk about Pythagorean triangles, the immortality of a Bach minuet, grief, architecture and why women are expected to lose their 'animal nature' after childbirth." Full Review

Newsday

“Almost shockingly deadly…This is a 90-minute hair shirt of a project with no discernible point of view. Despite a breakout androgynous star turn by Jo Lampert as Joan, it is hard not to think we are watching a Sunday school musical about religious history with hymns alternating with pop and rumba.” Full Review

Newsday

"Like none we have seen before. The style is not poetic, the edges are not soft nor dreamlike, and the heart-shredding family dynamics are not literally placed in the St. Louis tenement that Williams set in the ’30s. And yet, the unspooling is as true to what Williams called a 'memory play' as any I have known. Consider this the indie version, if you need a label — timelessly contemporary and shot full of raw insight into past and future productions." Full Review

Newsday

“Just 10 actors play all the characters with creep-fest glee, if not always vocally astonishing power. Jeremy Secomb’s baritone is a little light for Sweeney’s deepest dark heart…Sondheim’s score is expertly reduced to just a piano, strings and wind trio. Somehow, Sondheim’s restless chromatics, the difficult disjunct vocal lines, the extended song forms and, especially, the wrenchingly beautiful choral writing are approached with the affection and awe they deserve.” Full Review

Newsday

"Every once in a rare while, the theater rewards us with a kind of transcendent experience...Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford step up alongside Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in the treasured place where I keep memories of the original 'Sunday in the Park With George.' They are that good...The production is less extravagant than others, but no less magical...The rest of the cast is equally splendid." Full Review

Newsday

"Hadn’t quite come together when I saw Scott Elliott’s eclectically cast New York premiere...We are casually folded into a world where the theater is dead, blackouts are common, authoritarians rule the world and conversation centers on who’s in and who’s out of inane entertainment...The finale is suitably macabre, but a bit anticlimactic. Missing is the way the best Shawn works tighten the knot that connects our comfortable life to our complicity with cruelty. That thrilling awfulness is lost." Full Review

Big River
Midtown W
Newsday

"The 17 songs were the best things about “Big River” then. And they are the best part of the semi-staged concert revival...The show struck me as bland and surprisingly ho-hum in the original and, despite a fine cast in director Lear DeBessonet’s pleasant story-theater production, I still think the journey’s a bore...Nicholas Barasch has the presence and the look as Huck, though his singing only comes alive in duets with Kyle Scatliffe’s imposing, sensitive Jim." Full Review

Yen
West Village
Newsday

"Hedges turns out to be far more than just a Hollywood lure in ‘Yen,’ a tough, moving, deeply unpredictable drama…And he is hardly the only young discovery. Right there with him is Justice Smith...Jordan writes tough — verbally and physically. And director Cullman stages the American premiere as controlled emotional chaos, each scene separated by music of punk desperation and splatters of war videos. The end is a bit inconclusive but, then again, so are these fierce and fragile lives." Full Review

Newsday

"It’s especially wonderful that we have director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s authoritative 'Jitney' production of this less-known part of a masterwork...This is a meticulously cast, lovingly observed play...Many of the actors are veterans of Wilson’s storytelling style, experts in the unspooling ways he defines character and plot through grand handfuls of luscious and gritty street poetry...The delights and tragedies in this rich, chatty, eerily mature work remain exquisitely intimate." Full Review

Newsday

"Inspired, blazingly muscular and visceral. It is also as raw and real as the unfinished wood on the walls...This is high-concept Shakespeare...But it is also high-intelligence and passionate. Unlike many Othellos, who get upstaged by the more theatrical Iago, Oyelowo is just as charismatic...In Iago's soliloquies...Craig's hearty voice hollows into rich, menacing beauty...Gold’s direction is a rowdy universe away from his sensitive touch in the Tony-winning 'Fun Home,' but just as authentic." Full Review

Tiny Beautiful Things
East Village
Newsday

for a previous production "Vardalos has an unaffected, straightforward steadiness and a compassionate face to match someone who presumes to answer pleas for help...Perhaps to distract from the 80-minute play’s static, monotonous, confessional quality, the letter writers wander the place looking at knickknacks...Meanwhile, Sugar reveals her own life traumas and comes up with uplifting psychobabble about healing and accepting 'the authentic you'...It’s just too sappy to be theatrical." Full Review

Newsday

"The show is superb—original, sensitive, provocative, endearing—about so many other knowing and loving things that it’s even possible to overlook the unearned happy ending...Everyone is a fully developed person in Levenson’s smart book, and the clever, sympathetic songs by Pasek and Paul have a pop intimacy that challenges expansive vocal ranges without seeming to show off. The production by director Greif brings out the real-life depth in the eight exhilarating actors." Full Review

Ride the Cyclone
West Village
Newsday

"A goofy, extravagant, bad-taste musical comedy…If you don’t think about the utter cruelty of the concept and the pasted-on smile-button conclusion, it may be altogether possible, oddly enough, to enjoy the audacious foolishness and admire the gung-ho excellence of the cast and the campy, over-the-top staging. Sometimes I could. More of the time, however, I just couldn't...The frequently poetic lyrics are just as often accompanied by banal, derivative tunes." Full Review

Dead Poets Society
East Village
Newsday

"Sudeikis is compelling, endearing and utterly comfortable...For a story about releasing our free spirit, however, this turns out to be a very conventional play...Despite such directorial stylizations, the 100-minute script, adapted by Tom Schulman from his own Oscar-winning screenplay, is heartfelt but dishearteningly old-fashioned...The six classmates have character definitions that might have been picked according to a one-from-column A, one-from column B writing manual." Full Review

Newsday

"Signature Theatre’s expert revival of her little-known 1990 dance-theater poem...None of this is as remotely linear as it sounds in director Lileana Blain-Cruz’s self-mocking and serious production, as much of an ordeal as an enchantment...A man actually chokes out the words, 'I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,' a scene that seems to step directly from today’s headlines. 'Write it down,' urges a young woman with pigtail bows all over her head. And in 1990, Parks wrote it down." Full Review

Newsday

"With its leisurely storytelling, deceptively complex humanity and grounded simplicity, the wonderful play reminds us how, through the decades, Fugard has taken people from very far away and made their lives so real that they resound beyond the impersonal facts of distant news stories...When I first saw 'Master Harold,' I dismissed it as just another pecking-order play...Fugard, in his reconsideration, proves how wrong I was." Full Review

Newsday

"With little more than a change of jacket or a shift in her vocal rhythm, the virtuoso theater medium and social-science reporter morphs into indelible characters. If anything, her portrayals feel even more distilled, nuanced and complete than the ones she epically recreated through the decades...Leonard Foglia has expertly directed with screens of pertinent video and more production values than usual." Full Review