Marilyn Stasio

Marilyn Stasio is a critic with Variety. 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 (274)
90
Variety

“The new Broadway adaptation of ‘Tootsie’ is old-fashioned and proud of it — and it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser...The story holds no surprises for anyone who’s seen the movie, but Horn sprinkles the show’s book with clever one-liners...Well-cast character actors demonstrate their bankable skills at character acting...Each of the songs in the stage musical can make you choke with laughter.” Full Review

60
Variety

"If anyone could play Hillary Clinton, it’s Laurie Metcalf – and here she is giving a performance that feels painfully honest and true...The only thing wrong in this fictionalized visit to the 2008 primary is that playwright Hnath has brought nothing of substance to the table...Besides pulling off terrific political pep talks, Hnath also gets the intimate cadences of a close couple’s domestic rhythms, and lets Metcalf and Lithgow have their fun. But what about us? Where’s our fun?" Full Review

85
Variety

"The audience is just a pounding heartbeat away...The wonder of this production is that so much of the joy and optimism of the original work still shines bright through the darkness...Fish exposes those sexual passions that are kept firmly repressed in traditional productions...The only failure with this let-it-all-hang-out directorial style is the Dream Ballet, which is supposed to hint delicately of the lovers’ yearnings but is here allowed to go on ad nauseam." Full Review

85
Variety

"The engaging writer-performer is all smiles and so are we...But by the end of the show, we’ve been stirred — and challenged — by her penetrating insights into that document...Although she never drops her unthreatening demeanor of all-American niceness, Schreck takes a more acerbic tone as she works up to her true subject...To her credit, Schreck doesn’t let righteous anger curdle into polemics. On the contrary, she closes with an uplifting message." Full Review

65
Variety

"Despite a smart production director by Jerry Zaks and played to the professional hilt here by a company of game actors, the point of this absurdist farce is maddeningly elusive...Larroquette has perfected a droll, deadpan delivery that suits Guare’s under-the-radar brand of humor...But by the time Guare gets to the giant lobster (don’t ask) he seems to have run out of imagination — or the inclination to round up his disjointed memories and wrestle them into a coherent plot." Full Review

45
Variety

"Alan Cumming is flawlessly creepy...Welcome to the self-love fantasy of rising playwright Harris, who has scripted a three-hour homage to his own artistry...Give the writer his due, the dialogue is, like, dope...Harris is smart and his direction is clever, but obsessive love — a writer’s own self-love, as much as a mother’s and a lover’s — is not a pretty sight, and eventually becomes a full-blown bore." Full Review

70
Variety

“Nottage switches styles from screwball comedy to backstage realism, and director Kamilah Forbes effortlessly keeps in step. The comedy is still plenty tasty, but the style is much more cutting...The second act...retains its jarring shift in style...This switch to satire bears out Nottage’s cutting point...But these one-dimensional parodies are too mean and obvious to offer either intellectual enlightenment or belly laughs." Full Review

45
Variety

"This funny, violent play is one of Sam Shepard’s best works, a fierce summation of some of his undying themes...If there’s one thing a production of 'True West' must have, it’s that haunting sense of the two brothers being one person at war with himself. That’s exactly what director James Macdonald’s new Broadway production doesn’t have...More critically, there’s no real sense of danger when the brothers finally trash the kitchen and go for each other’s throats." Full Review

85
Variety

"The ever-likable Daniels, whose casting was genius, gives a strong and searching performance as Atticus Finch...The rest of the large and very fine cast perform their parts with all their hearts, under Sher’s impeccably fine-tuned direction...More faithful than not to its source...The designers have done a beautiful job of conjuring that era without smothering the narrative...This play belongs to Atticus Finch. He holds the stage and he wins our love." Full Review

75
Variety

"Sitting in the literal dark with the unpredictable narrator of Eno’s intellectually dizzying drama is still a dangerous thrill...Hall’s deadly deadpan is deeply funny, in an unnerving way...Hall tries his level best to be true to this self-absorbed character; but he just can’t help himself. He’s a fine actor, but a personable one, much too likable to pull off the character’s blinding, self-regarding narcissism." Full Review

55
Variety

“An affectionate if ill-considered revival…As imperfectly directed here by Moises Kaufman, Urie has made little attempt to make the role of Arnold his own…The trimmed-down show has kept its basic storyline but lost some of its grace notes…Arnold’s story is as sweet as ever…Does this history piece hold up? Yes, in the sense that the show is kind to its characters and true to its dated sensibilities. No, in the sense that the characters are unbelievably sweet and its sensibilities are dated.” Full Review

90
Variety

"Glorious is not too strong a word for director Sam Mendes’s production...Flawless ensemble work by a large and splendid cast adds depth to the characters in this sprawling drama that is at once a domestic calamity and a political tragedy...The domestic dramas in this household are as primal as those in any Greek tragedy, if not as classically restrained...We can only watch in horror and dread as the extraordinary characters that Butterworth has brought to life are snuffed out." Full Review

70
Variety

"Some of Dylan’s songs are a poor fit for this highly specific setting...But that doesn’t invalidate McPherson’s insight that Dylan’s narrative lyrics express a sense of existential detachment, of longing for connection that reflect the uncertainties of 1930s America...Better to sit back and just enjoy the music — and credit McPherson with giving each song the gift of clarity. If not always apropos to their dramatic moments, the lyrics are clearly intelligible." Full Review

80
Variety

"In his laser-focused view, White shows us exactly how machine politics works without taking a moral position on the patronage system on which it’s based. His only false step is the character of Bill McCormick, a bland young man...Anyone who has ever been involved in a political campaign should find this play enthralling. Everyone else in the room can marvel at the ferocity of Falco’s performance and the passion of her character." Full Review

45
Variety

"An over-written, over-designed, and generally overdone production...Thanks, no doubt, to the Oracle of Delphi (played here by the impishly funny Peppermint), it’s a miracle that at least some of the wit in Jeff Whitty’s original book gets through...The show never recovers from the pervasive feeling of exhaustion. There’s the exertion of making the stilted Spencer Liff choreography seem vaguely vogue. There’s the constant struggle to push and shove songs into places where they don’t fit." Full Review

85
Variety

"In 'Straight White Men,' Young Jean Lee’s cutting but deeply humane satire about straight white male privilege and pain, Armie Hammer, Josh Charles and, in an especially heart-wrenching performance, Paul Schneider play three brothers with mid-life issues. In director Anna D. Shapiro’s super-smart production...The re-written version of the play seems to have extended and pumped up the fun and games from the original version." Full Review

45
Variety

“There’s potential drama — and comedy — in this situation, if Harrison had the heart for it. Unfortunately, he’d rather just talk about it. There comes a point, roughly midway through the play, when the principals are so talked out on the subject that two of them go against character by having a quickie in the nursery…Conversation, of which there is much, is clever enough, but mostly shallow...Harrison has taken it upon himself to explain it all, at length and ad nauseam.” Full Review

55
Variety

"Regrettably, once he makes a big business of bringing the two lovers together, the playwright has little else to say about slavery, the South or the war...Knowing that the love story of Henry and James is part of a grand dramaturgical design gives it more weight. But experienced on its own, the romance speaks its name but moves on without leaving any echoes from its moment in history." Full Review

60
Variety

"The play restricts itself to being an atmospheric but insubstantial slice of dramatic life. In this staging, Kristolyn Lloyd gives a lovely, self-effacing performance as Pumpkin...In lieu of a plot, Morisseau presents us with a cast of full-bodied characters...The characters are a few players short of the swinging band this play needs. But under the confident direction of Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the thesps have a good handle on their characters." Full Review

45
Variety

"A narrow-minded jukebox musical that views its titular heroine in a vacuum. The great songs are pretty much all here...LaChanze is here, too, and in glorious voice, along with a thin biographical book that hardly does justice to Summer's life or her music...Despite some good songs and uplifting vocals from her backup singers, LaChanze is pressed to carry the whole show on her back...Laughs are few and far between...The song lyrics, not the spoken dialogue, are what matter in this show." Full Review

85
Variety

"The theater has brought its own brand of wizardry to the material. Visually and aurally, the show presents a panorama of dazzling effects that draw audible gasps from the audience...The story is a brand-new one, but there are plenty of familiar pleasures...But for all its inventive stagecraft devices, the show has a plot that really works as an extension of the Potter saga...We love seeing theater that shows us the true magic of great storytelling." Full Review

85
Variety

"Henry shows off the exceptionally beautiful voice of a genuine actor-singer, a voice that while warm and mellow, can also soar with joy and tremble in despair. Director Jack O’Brien has given us a conventional production of 'Carousel,' in the sense of a show that takes no risks but preserves and protects all the original values of a great American musical...In addition to the eye-and-ear-popping Henry, Jessie Mueller is enchanting." Full Review

65
Variety

"The show’s high fun factor comes as no surprise...Nicholaw gets this material. The stage swirls with non-stop traffic, if not perfectly executed dance movement...The staging is actually too busy, too colorful, too loud, as if Nicholaw doesn't want us to notice that not much of interest is happening...Fey has front-loaded the show with great gags...Snappy one-liners...Benjamin's lyrics aren't half as clever as Fey's off-the-cuff wisecracks, but they get the job done and are quirky enough." Full Review

80
Variety

"The play looks both kindly and critically upon the kind of characters Lonergan loves to write: working-class stiffs, generally decent people who are unexpectedly challenged by issues of ethics...Helmer Trip Cullman does his best work with small, tight ensembles like this one, so there’s no slack in the emotional tension and no escape from the sticky web that even nice people get tangled up in when they tell lies – especially the lies they tell themselves." Full Review

75
Variety

"Personally, I could have learned more about young Philip’s schoolboy miseries. But playwright David Cale is anxious to get to the good part, where the kid turns into a full-blown confidence man...Crudup takes Harry deeper into the dark recesses of his adopted identity — especially the side of Harry who toys unmercifully with poor Mark and the members of his generous but gullible family. Crudup plays every character in this story with vocal precision and some subtle physical tricks." Full Review

75
Variety

"The political satire is pretty much spelled out...But this is low comedy, so expect plenty of fart jokes and penis wagging and doubles entendre interlaced with the sweet humanity and higher-toned political satire...There’s no shortage of art and craft in this offbeat show; but there’s also a limit to how much goofiness a comedy can support, and Mac may have gone over his limit. The jokes start to feel lame and the crude burlesque routines seem a bit cruel." Full Review

90
Variety

"With its earthly delights more or less intact, this perfectly heavenly musical should stick around for a while....Although the production has lost some of the electricity that goes with playing in the round, Chavkin...has done a super job of adapting this pretty thing for a proscenium stage...The world on top looks a bit like New Orleans...But the real action happens in hell, depicted here by the entire company in a rousing number, 'Way Down Hadestown,' that could make the dead dance.” Full Review

70
Variety

"Although Jackson fails to wring tears, let alone blood, from this production, the sheer intelligence of her performance makes it memorable...The supporting performances are all over the place, and the fidelity to fashionable race/gender/age-blind casting sometimes requires work to figure out who’s who...The bland staging has no discernible unity or vision, and actors rarely connect. In the end, you’re really here for Glenda Jackson...Wouldn’t have missed it for the world." Full Review

65
Variety

"Opens with a burst of brainy energy that lasts through the first act. But it takes a nosedive in the sloppy second half, confounding the assured direction of Oskar Eustis and the best efforts of a small, ace cast headed by the magnetic Diggs...Director Eustis has created a warm environment that allows the romantic affairs, close relationships and casual couplings to feel natural and unforced...Although well-played by the likable actresses, the female characters are hardly developed at all." Full Review

60
Variety

"’The Mother’ is undone not so much by her losses as by the accumulation of knowledge and flashes of insight that she acquires — into her husband’s betrayals, her son’s withdrawal and into her own unraveling mind...This turns out to be an upsetting play rather than an engaging one, and if it weren’t for Huppert’s mesmerizing performance, it might send you out of the theater and screaming into the night.” Full Review

55
Variety

"Kate Baldwin is the true hero here. As Simon’s mother Charlotte, she does a heroic job of making a pedestrian character seem like a loving, hurting human being...One predictable moment after another. Superheroes are all very well and good, but it’s those nerds on the ground — the ones who write the words and the music — who do all the hard work for them." Full Review

80
Variety

"The writing in these separate monologues is excellent, as are the solo performances by Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal. But this is no show to see on a first date...There’s pleasure to be had at the sound of pretty prose, and it’s a joy to watch two fine actors perform in flawless character. But it might take a couple of stiff drinks to get the ashen taste of death out of your mouth." Full Review

85
Variety

“Sweetly exuberant...The play transfers nicely, under the surefooted direction of Trip Cullman...The new venue also gives the show’s sensational young lead, Jeremy Pope, more room to spread his wings and soar...Pharus is a strange and wonderful character with the courage to be his own exceptional self...The music is joyous...The songs follow an arc from familiar hymns sung in strict choral harmony to less formal, but meaningful solos. Everyone gets his moment." Full Review

85
Variety

"Chayefsky’s diatribe, which played as satire almost a half-century ago, takes on fresh fury in a sizzling stage production, directed by Ivo Van Hove, that feels less satiric but more urgent — and frightening — in today’s times...The depth of Chayefsky’s cynicism is so breathtaking, so full of existential despair that it makes today’s critical pundits look like weepy whiners. Although Cranston never pushes Beale over the edge into madness, he brilliantly nudges him to the outer limits of ang... Full Review

75
Variety

"Director Kenny Leon has assembled a solid creative workforce...It’s hard to take your eyes off Washington’s Kendra, whose anguish seems to have taken over her entire body...Playwright Demos-Brown is a clever phrase-maker, and he delights in using language that vividly illustrates the social and educational gulf between Larkin and Kendra...A play that’s probably a bit too small for Broadway and a bit too narrow to throw a long shadow, but still manages to get under your skin." Full Review

80
Variety

"So the poignancy is a bit heavy-handed, even under the thoughtful direction of Lila Neugebauer. But the sentiments are genuine and the emotions they raise are potent...This is a hard play to watch - like a play that opens with a deathly ill person and doggedly follows that person to the grave. In fact, if they gave a prize for Most Depressing Play of the Season, this one would win...To be fair, there are moments of relief...A play that’s guaranteed to tear you apart." Full Review

85
Variety

“Radcliffe proves to be a master of comedy in ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’... If we were living through a different moment in time, the writer’s fabricated but emotionally wrenching 'truth' would easily outweigh the fact-checker’s chilly reality of events. But with the leader of our nation stomping on truth as we know it, and the very essence of reality imperiled by political fact-stretchers, the debate at the heart of this play transcends comedy and demands serious attention." Full Review

60
Variety

“The sublime McTeer plays the divine Sarah Bernhardt, who plays the immortal Hamlet...This is all interesting, even provocative, but what’s missing is some reasonable dramatic conflict...Under Von Stuelpnagel’s tightly choreographed direction, this solid cast of characters encircle Bernhardt like planets following their star. And blazing stars they certainly are, both McTeer and Bernhardt, yoked in a dynamic character study that, for all its shining moments, is no play.” Full Review

75
Variety

"Although simplistic by design, the script is funny without being hilarious, grooving along mainly on its many goofy throwaway lines...Nunes delivers a cool performance and a killer musical turn, and runs away with the show...Cheap laughs? You bet, but even cheap laughs count; and let’s admit it—it feels so good to laugh real laughs on Broadway." Full Review

30
Variety

“Lyrics from a song in the new musical ‘This Ain’t No Disco’...will make us yearn for the golden age of disco...This new musical is just as dumb as that dopey lyric...The costumes are imitative, the performances are caricatures, and the choreography is awful...All energy and no style...The repetitive music doesn’t lean into the changing trends, while the choreography just re-works the same old steps for tired feet...’This ain’t no disco’, to be sure.” Full Review

85
Variety

"Director Lila Neugebauer, who brilliantly grasped the big theatrical gestures in 'The Wolves' at Lincoln Center, is just as scrupulous about defining small but definitive moments...The episodic structure is as integral to the play as its content. It’s up to us to fill in the blanks, because this is how life is lived, in little fits and starts that we later recall and either re-live in our minds or decide to forget." Full Review

80
Variety

"For a play with serious matters on its mind, 'Skintight' is packed with jokes — droll ones, smart ones, silly ones, and some that are quite moving. The men may have all the laugh lines, but Menzel is marvelous at giving Jodi’s annoying smothering-mother the plaintive air of someone who feels completely at a loss in a world she never dreamed of...The play has no plot, in a conventional sense, which makes it feel loose and baggy...But let’s not take all the fun out of this smart play." Full Review

90
Variety

"Festivities are certainly in order for this superbly mounted 50th anniversary production...If there’s one thing this staid theater season is more than ready for, it’s a motley crew of gay friends getting together to celebrate...Crowley is a master of the bitchy one-liner, so the play is littered with quotable bon mots...Happily, a lot about the play now seems dated — but not everything, and not in all circles of society, which makes this anniversary presentation doubly welcome." Full Review

75
Variety

"Helmer George C. Wolfe has trimmed the play to a reasonable length without losing the nuances in the various life histories of the boys in the barroom. But this is still a long play with a lot of moving parts. The first act, in which all the characters are introduced and roughly defined, is the most attenuated. Everyone lightens up – a bit too much, actually – in the second act, which shoots for comedy. But everything comes together in the third act, which spells Drama with a capital D." Full Review

85
Variety

"The show's set advises us to please be quiet...But you can forget about that, because the sound of laughter can't be contained...This extravagant farce bristles with clever wordplay...Fun on its own etymological terms, this madcap comedy also tips its hat — a beat-up straw boater with a jaunty red hatband — to the spirit of revolution that galvanized Europe in 1917...Underneath the gem-like brilliance of its theatrical style, the play's dark subject matter emerges." Full Review

85
Variety

"This jubilant revival is meticulously mounted and entirely welcome – despite the eccentric casting choice of Lauren Ambrose as Eliza...As Lincoln Center productions go, this one, under Sher’s scrupulous direction, is among the more spectacular...There are things that could have been better managed...But we’re nit-picking here. With Lerner and Loewe’s soaring score and Sher’s respectful staging, a beloved show comes alive in all its glory to end the theater season on a high." Full Review

60
Variety

"Ridloff is a stunning performer...Conflict between the speaking world and the silent world was portrayed more forcefully in the original production...Lacking that solid thematic foundation, Medoff's play deflates into just another romantic drama about mismatched lovers...The writer doesn’t seem to have any special aptitude for the language of love, and his efforts to lighten it up are embarrassing...Jackson doesn’t give off much heat for a lover with a burning heart." Full Review

80
Variety

"Watching Glenda Jackson in theatrical flight is like looking straight into the sun. Her expressive face registers her thoughts while guarding her feelings. But it’s the voice that really thrills...This is a punishing play. The sentiments are cold and steely, and even though the language is beautiful, it is fierce...If there is one thing Jackson is not, it is sentimental. There are lines that some thesps would milk like a cow. But not Jackson, with her commitment to truth in performance." Full Review

90
Variety

"Elliott’s production approaches Kushner’s overflowing dramatic riches by balancing the realistic style of the early domestic scenes with the fantastic surrealism of the later dream sequences...In introducing his substantial cast of characters, Kushner humanizes the tragedy of their lot with flashes of spiky New York (i.e., gay) humor...We’re entangled in Kushner’s expanding themes, amazingly prescient for their own time and still of critical importance to ours." Full Review

65
Variety

"Credit the thawing trend in 'Frozen' to the lovable characters of Jennifer Lee, and to the warmly human cast...Levy is stunning as Elsa...Murin makes a darling Anna...To the extent that a plot exists at all, it’s a soggy one...The real conflict, the stuff of drama, is all internal — Elsa battling her inner self — and difficult to dramatize...'Frozen' belongs to Elsa, who has the heroic stature and tragic flaw of a true heroine — but no villainous anti-hero to overcome in battle. What a waste." Full Review