Michael Appler

Michael Appler is a critic with Fordham Observer. 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 (28)
The Theatre Times

"Heidi Schreck’s breathtaking, autobiographical exorcism of an American civic ethos is unafraid to tear up the document it reveres...Necessary theater for anyone interested in the human spirit and how it might survive our contemporary political moment...What’s most innovative about this play is its form. There is no separation between Heidi and her audience." Full Review

The Theatre Times

“Do come if you’d like to see O’Hara crack a whip and sing the roof off Studio 54. It’s well worth the trip to bask in her glorious soprano...The women do rule this production. As Lois Lane, Styles is a sheer delight...Yet, O’Hara and Styles are singular comforts in a revival that feels lackluster, missing a certain, dazzling spark...Whatever is awry with this revival is...subtle. It’s just a fairly straight reproduction, exciting in very few of its restorations." Full Review

Fiercely Independent
Soho/Tribeca
The Theatre Times

"Johnson has striven for simple dialogue that spares the audience the excitement of major fireworks. For a play about the end of a marriage, there’s awfully few arguments and not much verbal conflict. The animosity simmers in the moments of silence, not in explosive confrontation...I’m not sure it makes for good theater...Without any dramatic highs or lows, however strategic the mundanity might be, the play strides a little too close to regular life." Full Review

City of No Illusions
East Village
The Theatre Times

“A political comedy...A jumbled and absurd fusion of character and plot...As enchanting as the shadow band’s music is, what purpose they serve on the stage, their cryptic lyrics confounding an already wonky plot, is unclear...And Zimet’s presentational staging, basic and uninspiring, contrasts badly with the mythical goings on at this mortuary. But the impulse to set a meditation on the refugee crisis inside a funeral home is a creative one, however obvious the metaphor.” Full Review

Fordham Observer

"Rarely are audiences treated to a complete Cher song, the production opting instead for a mixed-bag of truncated numbers crafted to fit a script struggling not to burst at its seams...Mostly, I whooped and hollered for Stephanie J. Block...But there’s something to be said for the first seconds of 'I’ve Got You Babe'...Maybe it’s shmaltz and maybe I’m a fool, and it’s certainly not enough to make 'The Cher Show' good theater. But it’s fine enough as the first chords of an iconic song ring in." Full Review

The Tricky Part
Midtown W
Fordham Observer

"He is so disarming, such an incredible storyteller — more of a mathematician than a weaver, equipped with such precise recollection, slowly adding up the making and destruction of the child he once was, ticking off the points of trauma like counting constellations — that 'The Tricky Part' is more than enough to stand on its own." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"Too tempting of a political carrot for a Broadway community starving for witty political humor and the warm embrace of an indulgent Broadway musical...As hard as I tried, I couldn’t dislike it; in fact, I loved it...'The Prom,' bound by a stingingly clever book, exceedingly well-written for musicals of its ilk, is as much a political parody of Broadway as it is a love song to its own form...Exceptionally original yet cradled by tradition." Full Review

Eve's Song
East Village
Fordham Observer

“’Eve’s Song'’s many projects leave the play ultimately unfocused, struggling to make sense of its abounding questions within a short 100 minutes...’Eve’s Song’ hopes to confront systemic issues of violence and race in America...While a commendable, truly marvelous performance is given by De’Adre Aziza, she’s forced to carry a narrative that feels, for the bulk of its arc, disjointed, supported by visual metaphors that are too literal for the nuance this play hopes to achieve.” Full Review

Log Cabin
Midtown W
Fordham Observer

“'Log Cabin' is only minimally successful in its project...’Log Cabin’ falls flat, feeling like an inevitably forced work — one delivered not prematurely, per se, but perhaps incoherently...His cast, though led by seasoned actors including Ferguson, are left with few tools to craft convincing performances and can do little to turn what becomes the sound of tiring, exhausting academia, queer theory turned dialogue, into something that sounds remotely like believable conversation.” Full Review

Fordham Observer

“A classic, straightforward, traditional, and unambiguous production that searches for meaning at the most basic root of this long-admired work...A take that chooses to embrace ‘Othello’ as a story of tragic love first, political and racial tragedy second, Santiago-Hudson has thus afforded a refreshingly original production behind the guise of a classic presentation...He’s stocked the production with actors who know their Shakespeare well, and it’s paid off.” Full Review

Fordham Observer

“A piece of theater so intensely enchanting, its wizardry a thing of hypnosis...A theatrical experience that defies all imagination of the possibilities of stage and theater...The stunning, breathtaking illusions that furnish this show are enough to forever entrust ‘Cursed Child’ among the most thrilling, awe-inspiring experiences ever to be mounted on Broadway....First-rate acting...The characters presented on stage feel genuinely and vividly like the text-bound creations.” Full Review

Fordham Observer

"The wrenching, tour-de-force performance given by Condola Rashad...Sullivan’s 'Saint Joan' is an intensely chilling production...The overall effect is one of some holy, medieval theatrical experience pulsing with the divinity and the sacrament of the moment...Theater-goers of Sullivan’s new production, cradled by an extraordinary group of actors, will be hard-pressed to keep themselves from pitching their bodies inevitably toward the stage, bewitched by this daring new revival." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"While Jackson gives a warm-hearted and doubtlessly dedicated performance, Ridloff brings to this production an honesty and ferocity that is refreshing, poignant, and profoundly stirring....Ridloff is a discovery who has blessed this revival with the power to stand as a worthy reincarnation of Medoff's work and who, through expressive, resounding silence delivers a performance among the most exceptional this season." Full Review

The Lucky Ones
East Village
Fordham Observer

"A heartrending deep-dive into the vessels of childhood, the roots of adolescence that grow deep within us and those intensely human experiences of family from which we may never unbind ourselves...This show is rapture. It is a daring examination of the limits of memory and trauma. It is chaos spoken in poetry, and it is the type of well-made, deeply personal theater that could be delivered only by a company with as much commitment to story and radical form." Full Review

Perp
Midtown W
The Theatre Times

"The lack of subjectivity and agency in Doug’s life is heightened to such a ludicrous, unreasonable and illogical level that it turns playwriting about disability satirically on its head, exposing all its discontents, to make something divinely original...Arkane, who brings Douglass to life with a sheer, subtle brilliance, meets the mark in portraying this character with reverence and respect...It’s the kind of thing that’s only done well once meticulous playwriting is paired with impeccable ... Full Review

The Theatre Times

"A sci-fi parable of digital life and teenage insecurity...Sleek and shiny, sardonically teen-focused, duty-bound by the aesthetic eclecticism of today’s youth and built by a score that sounds nearly like a 2008 Vampire Weekend mixtape...Iconis and Tracz’ creation succeeds in injecting some irreverence into its medium, a particular weirdness to its characters—not vacant eccentricity, but definition—that feels somehow new to its genre." Full Review

The Theatre Times

"Irondale’s innovative and triumphant 'Galileo' is Bertolt Brecht at his most excellent, cradled by an ensemble of dynamic and invested performers and pitched inevitably toward its audience with a playful, conscious eye toward its own didactic mission...As much a top-notch production of the play as it is a contemplation on the playwright himself, staged like a troupe of actors trading spirited performances, mulling over Brecht’s text." Full Review

Awake
Midtown W
Fordham Observer

“Manning is an incredibly honest playwright, simple and to the point in the best of ways. His imagination in creating the vignettes that compose 'Awake,' in exploring colossal issues of social justice...is deserving of praise...If each vignette is meant to tackle some monumental piece of American sin in 10 to 15 minutes what thread might tie the play together?...What results is a social justice potluck where neither dish, its place at the table justified, is served particularly well." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"To be clear, what Lisa Clair has placed before her audience is no blatantly academic study...'The Making of King Kong' itself teeters in and out of pure insanity, absurdism and pointlessness, irony and sarcasm, like a vaudeville show on an acid trip or a cabinet of horrifying curiosities...Claire, though wrapped in the scrappy, eccentric volatility of experimental theater, is a challenging and provoking playwright, smart and admirably critical—hilarious, too." Full Review

The Hard Problem
Upper W Side
Fordham Observer

"While O’Brien’s impressionistic staging could walk any audience member down from the high cliffs of academic unrest, it’s clear that foregrounding Hilary’s fight to find her lost daughter was a conscious choice...Placing Hilary’s bleeding heart (acted with excellence throughout this show by Clemens) in front of an audience otherwise lost in the brambles of neuroscientific debate is a choice that has paid off well....This is an exhausting play." Full Review

The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
Fordham Observer

"An epic of classic proportion...Its historical theater of Shakespearean proportion; in breadth and story, it’s operatic. It stings with Butterworth’s characteristically smart, cracking comedy and hails from the stage with an ambition to not just forge some mammoth piece of theater, but to weave an intricate, mystical story that reads like canon literature. It’s true that Butterworth’s script would fall without the enormous talent of this 21-person cast." Full Review

Fordham Observer

“An explosion of joy and laughter, bewitched by a cast of New Yorkers dedicated to the art of translation, to the task of bringing the wonderful absurdities of Shakespearean comedy to audiences of diverse providence, and the brightest example of The Public Theater’s founding mission...Technically, this is a bare-bones production...But director Koons’ agile cast fills this stage with an energy and richness able to occupy any amphitheater." Full Review

Fordham Observer

“Harrowing new play...Love seamlessly brings together the experience of queer, black America past and present — this tale of slavery, after all, is not set far in the past...It is an artistic, literary and conceptual triumph — not just for the queer black community, but for the greater pursuit of well-made, innovative theater that seeks to tell untold stories — that must be seen...The play is notably led by Berry...She gives a comedic and haunting performance.” Full Review

Fordham Observer

"While I found the leaden content of this play a thrilling challenge — indeed, Churchill writes with a gravity and plain truth unlike any other modern playwright — whether audiences will have, or should be expected to have, the stamina to sit out the slow descent of this behemoth is another matter entirely.But Chavkin has done well to reckon with Churchill’s monstrous task. She’s assembled a well-prepared, amicable cast with an obvious eye toward body diversity." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"Sher's lush, elegant revival of 'My Fair Lady' has been triumphantly successful...Feels as contemporary as ever, its characters like they may have been written yesterday...A carefully, cleverly selected cast has given life to this classic...Ambrose gives a masterclass in leading-lady grace...She is everything posterity needed to thank this production...Hadden-Paton plays a first-rate Higgins...What shines in his performance is a comic sensibility that relegates Higgins to absurdity." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"You must resign yourself to the fact that this is a musical with little plot and no substance and when you inevitably must learn to sit giddily in the delusional comforts of a musical made for Donna’s sake and Donna’s sake only...It may look like a perfect installation of the vacancies and cringe-worthy clichés that plague jukebox musicals. Its design may seem to hinge on a few painfully repetitive gags...Yet, somehow by the end of the musical, I was on my feet, silly with laughter." Full Review

Fordham Observer

“An ill-timed and remarkably tactless misfire...O’Brien and Rudin have abused a large budget to create a garish, gaudy production above a hollow and disintegrating show. They’ve performed a masterful act of seduction…But no plumage, nor any attempt at elaborate rhapsody, could mask the rot at the core of this sentimental revival…Mueller’s turn is drowned by a stale character granted no room for innovation…Renée Fleming as Nettie Fowler, however, may be a singular grace in this revival." Full Review

Fordham Observer

"Feels in every way like a musical made for 2018...Emerges as a genuinely colorful, lively and bedazzled new musical ignited by an electric and menacingly seductive performance by Louderman and a hilariously show-stealing turn by both Henson and Weed...The musical strides close enough to the movie’s plots and gags to appease those fans coming for familiar mirth, without sacrificing innovation and vitality on the altar of self-identity." Full Review