Paulanne Simmons

Paulanne Simmons is a critic with CurtainUp. 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 (94)
The Rolling Stone
Upper W Side
CurtainUp

"Chris Urch's powerful play derives much of this powers from the excellent performances of the actors, especially Blankson-Wood, Edwards and James Udom." Full Review

Life Sucks.
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"We can't help thinking Chekhov would be delighted with Aaron Posner's 'Life Sucks'...Posner's characters use profanity onstage that would no doubt have shocked Chekhov and his audiences. Their concerns reflect modern times...What's more, the actors are continually and delightfully breaking the fourth wall...What makes this re-interpretations so funny and so true is the way Posner makes everything that Chekhov sedately states or subtly implies blatantly announced.” Full Review

Ink
Midtown W
Theater Life

“Directed with vigor and imagination...Goold keeps the play moving at a pace that reflects the frenzied energy of the paper and its staff...We have some of the most cringeworthy conversations ever put onstage...Carvel and Miller are too amoral to even be satisfactory villains...Unfortunately, Graham is more interested in social commentary than character analysis...’Ink’ may be a play for our time. It is not one for the ages.” Full Review

Smart Blonde
Midtown E
CurtainUp

“’Smart Blonde’ is sprinkled with many of the songs Holliday covered...Despite her somewhat thin voice, Burns delivers these songs with great feeling...Flynn directs a cast of four...Although some characters come alive better than others, for the most part the cast is quite believable...A bit too ambitious for such a small production...Nevertheless, the show creates a very true picture of the life and times of its subject...A timely tribute to a very talented woman.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Fans of the cult film will be happy to learn the musical does not stray in any major points from the film...Walker has provided a riotous score of rock n’ roll, rhythm n’ blues and power ballads, with lyrics that are lots of fun. The script is campy and tongue-in-cheek. There’s love and death, blood and gore, courage and fear. And the energetic actors seem to be having a great time. So will you!” Full Review

Theater Life

"Let it be noted that the actors are not only excellent in their roles but also proficient waiters, something not too surprising when one considers how so many actors at one time in their lives earn their living. They also pour wine and bus the tables. And they’re not working for tips! In fact, what they get at the end of the show is well-deserved applause. This 'Love’s Labour’s Lost' is a feast for the eyes, ears and palate. It’s the kind of innovate theater we’re all hungry for." Full Review

Goodbody
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"If you find it difficult to take any of this seriously, don't even try. 'Goodbody' is a satire of the old-fashioned gangster movie and the newer variations created by writers such as Martin McDonagh and Quentin Tarantino. In many ways it is quite successful...Director Melissa Firlit keeps the mayhem moving. Although a good deal of 'Goodbody' is belabored, there's enough here that's truly funny to get us over the bumpy spots." Full Review

Theater Life

"With very little real conflict or drama going on, Rebeck resorts to giving McTeer a huge amount of stage time in which Bernhardt analyzes the role she is about to inhabit, something the famously melodramatic actress in pre-Stanislavski times would hardly undertake. Nevertheless, McTeer is magnificent as she struts back and forth, giving Bernhardt youth and vitality, if not very much depth...One cannot argue with Rebeck’s premise. One can only wish she’d written a better play." Full Review

Tevye Served Raw
Midtown W
CurtainUp

for a previous production "For most of us Sholom Aleichem calls to mind the lovable characters of the musical, 'Fiddler on the Roof': Tevye, the milkman, his wife Golde and their three daughters. But, in fact, the Yiddish writer was much more...On a bare stage, these actors bring their characters to life, with little to aid them but their own talent...Seeing 'Tevye Served Raw' brings us back to the real Tevye, the one Sholem Aleichem created before nostalgia and security softened his edges." Full Review

CurtainUp

“In this broad but intelligent comedy, the actors don't have to worry about subtext...These people are nuts and we all know it. In less imaginative hands, this would leave the play with no place to go. But Scelsa broadens the satire by turning it into a treatise on female empowerment...The best audience is probably a group of twenty-something English majors...For others, the play may seem like a very good SNL sketch that goes on a bit too long.” Full Review

Theater Life

"What makes us more sympathetic to Sarah is James's lack of tact. Although he is filled with love and compassion, he simply cannot put himself in the shoes of the woman he so desperately wants to help...Jackson does yeoman's work delivering his lines and translating Sarah's sign language...As a result much of his performance seems more informative than emotional...It is Ridloff's luminescent performance that carries this production triumphantly to the finish line." Full Review

Later Life
Midtown W
Theater Life

"If America has its own Chekhov, it would have to be A. R. Gurney. As Chekhov, in his short career as a playwright (he died of tuberculosis at 44), illuminated and elucidated the woes of landowning Russians, Gurney in his long career (the playwright died last June at 86), has chronicled the trials and tribulations of that native American species, the WASP." Full Review

Hindle Wakes
Midtown W
New York Theatre Wire

"It's hard to realize just how scandalous and revolutionary Houghton's drama 'Hindle Wakes' was in its time...Houghton was certainly familiar with the town and the people he was writing about...He grew up with the local dialect and knew how to use it effectively...There are no misguided attempts to update a drama so deeply rooted in its time. Nevertheless, the cast breathes life into the characters in a way that makes them step out of the past and speak to us in a very modern way." Full Review

Theater Life

"With self-effacing good humor, Harris recounts the story behind Baker's numerous husbands and lovers...Harris becomes serious when the story turns to Baker's activism in the Civil Rights Movement. Her interpretation of...'The Times They Are A Changin' is breathtaking...Harris's rich and powerful voice is far superior to Baker's...She's also sexy in a way that's most probably far more effective for modern audiences. One likes to think Baker would have respected...and appreciated the tribute." Full Review

Theater Life

"'At times the lack of bells and whistles in this production is beneficial, allowing the audience to focus entirely on the story. But sometimes the show becomes a bit monotonous...A few visual aids would have helped enormously in establishing time, place, and mood...Fortunately, although Obi is young, she is also extremely talented. Her performance is often riveting and always believable...This story of a young girl who braved prison, insults, and injury needs to be told more than ever." Full Review

Theater Life

"The fact that the play has made it to Broadway owes much to the casting...The extraordinary Mark Rylance, whose cynical sanity brings the king to life...The play gets some steam...but seems to lose momentum whenever Rylance is offstage. The intrigues of the court are just not that intriguing. After the king exits for good, only the superb music can keep the audience awake...'Farinelli and the King' is mostly a treatise on the curative power of music." Full Review

The Portuguese Kid
Midtown W
Theater Life

"A little like a guilty pleasure. You get the feeling maybe you shouldn’t be enjoying it so much. But somehow you can’t help yourself...Some of the jokes are stale or don’t quite land...But happily Scott and Alexander turn every rough diamond into a polished gem...Perhaps the virtue of this cast is that they seem to viscerally understand the ridiculous nature of the material...It does provide a few much needed laughs during these difficult and frustrating times." Full Review

Golden Boy
Brooklyn
Theater Life

"The production, co-directed by Aaron Latham and Graydon Gund does not pull any punches. Alex Montaldo is a feisty Joe Bonaparte...Montaldo gives Joe an innocence that is both starry-eyed and street-wise...Shetler, who voices most of the tragic content of the play, is particularly effective...'Golden Boy' is not without humor...If 'Golden Boy' hits the mark artistically, one hopes it also helps in the effort to deliver a knock-out punch to Parkinson’s." Full Review

Desperate Measures
Midtown W
Theater Life

for a previous production "Directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino with great zest. The musical makes a sly nod not only to the Bard but also to such musical westerns as 'Oklahoma!' and 'Annie Get Your Gun.' At the same time, it is richly sentimental with songs like Susanna’s 'What Is this Feeling?' celebrating her growing love for the sheriff...If you want one side-splitting, foot stomping, hand-clapping good time, get on your horse and ride over to The York." Full Review

Theater Life

“Much of the conversation centers on the major issues all artists face…A lot of this may seem old-hat. But in Stroppel’s hands, all these topics glisten like the morning dew…Best of all, the show is also funny. And it’s funny in a very smart way…Shanahan is excellent as the sometimes clueless animator…But D’Ambrose steals the show because he accomplishes something much more difficult. He makes Stravinsky’s grandiosity, self-love and scorn for the common man equally amiable.” Full Review

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
Theater Life

“Although the cast is more than adequate, for the most part, they do not make the songs their own. Nevertheless there are standouts…‘Prince of Broadway’ has something for everybody…Some may find the smorgasbord nature of this show a bit too contrived. Certainly the show is somewhat formulaic. Still, there is as much artistry as artifice in this paean to the prince.” Full Review

Marvin's Room
Midtown W
Theater Life

"I loved Roundabout’s production of 'Marvin’s Room'...The show is about characters I care about, good people who at times lose their way because, like all of us, they are all too human...Kauffman has assembled a cast that makes these ordinary people and their ordinary lives meaningful. Taylor and Garofalo clearly get the fraught relationship of sisters. DiFalco and Padovan are gut-wrenching...It taught me lessons, not new ones, but ones we have to learn over and over again." Full Review

Theater Life

"Not everyone is happy with what can only be termed a gimmick...But for those who appreciate Shakespeare and good drama, the production should be equally shoddy. The main problem is that all the buffoonery takes the focus off the play’s true protagonist, Brutus...While Caesar makes his grand entrances, the other actors seem at loose ends...We certainly have more to worry about than an ill-conceived 'Julius Caesar' that’s good for a few laughs and not much more." Full Review

The Lucky One
Midtown W
New York Theatre Wire

"The talk is sometimes clever, never particularly meaningful. However, in private moments, the characters reveal themselves with painful clarity. And Act Two presents major reversals that make the audience question previous assumptions. Set and costumes keep 'The Lucky One' firmly rooted in the early 20th century, as do the actors’ accents and demeanor...But the tension Grant and Brand create...is impeccably modern." Full Review

Theater Life

"It’s an old play. And it could have been written yesterday...Manhattan Theatre Club’s decision to revive the play under the brilliant direction of Daniel Sullivan is in itself commendable. But what’s even better is their gathering of a superb cast and creative team to bring this revival to spectacular life...Linney gives Regina a certain charm that surrounds her stony heart like a silk glove covers sharp claws...Nixon makes Birdie an object of pity but never ridicule." Full Review

I Spy a Spy
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"At a time when there's such turmoil at out borders and disagreement within, it takes a good deal of courage to pen a musical that takes a lighthearted look at immigrations. But Jamie Jackson and So Hee Youn's musical somehow does that with charm and humor." Full Review

Julie Madly Deeply
Midtown E
CurtainUp

"It is this modesty and good-humor that makes Young almost as attractive as the subject of her show...Young is also a gifted actress and mime. Her warmth establishes an almost immediate liaison with the audience. And 59e59's Theater B provides all the intimacy this show needs...She is such a natural that one suspects she needed little guidance from director Russell Lucas who keeps the show rolling along at a steady pace." Full Review

Theater Life

“Fish, directs the musical with an eye toward deconstruction...The problem arises in Fish’s interpretation of the characters...Rodgers’ glorious score is now...more appropriate for a hootenanny. The bluegrass interpretation is interesting...but after a while sounds weak, boring, or inappropriate...As for...the dream dance, the less said the better...A bleak vision...It is not a good enough reason for destroying such an historically and artistically magnificent work.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“Transport Group has a well-deserved reputation for innovative staging. And, in this respect, ‘The Trial of the Catonsville Nine’ does not disappoint...One wants desperately to like these people and love the play. But after 85 minutes we can only come to the conclusion that Berrigan's play does not make for a particularly compelling drama...It is very much like a good documentary...At times we are moved by Berrigan's poetry and decency, there are also times when we're just bored.” Full Review

About Alice
Brooklyn
Theater Life

“If any play deserves to be called ‘a work of love’, it would certainly be this radiantly emotional play...Paff and and Bean create that casual familiarity unique to married couples. For this reason they are totally believable. Despite the highly emotional content of their story Bean and Paff are remarkably low-keyed. This makes the story all the more moving...Those who look for high drama will be disappointed...’About Alice’ seems to touch on the...nature and strength of sustained love.” Full Review

Theater Life

“Poignant and funny...This revival, under Neugebauer’s sensitive direction, has May...May painfully and perfectly captures the bewilderment and anxiety of no longer understanding what’s happening to the world you once knew. May’s Gladys is part clueless, part achingly aware her body and mind are failing her. Hedges is particularly fine not only in his scenes with his family but also as the narrator who breaks the fourth wall to let the audience know he is now older and wiser.” Full Review

Popcorn Falls
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"Are all these characters ridiculously familiar? Certainly. Is the plot a mashup of every comic skit we've ever seen? Of course. But none of this takes away from the sheer joy of watching two veteran actors ply their trade under the skilled direction of the multi-talented Borle...While Heller makes Mayor Trundle both believable and sympathetic. Not every joke hits its mark. A few even fall quite flat. But overall, the comic hilarity of this farce carries through until the triumphant end." Full Review

Less Than 50%
Midtown E
Theater Life

"The real problem is Soresi’s life is just not that interesting...But the good news is that Hale and Soresi are both talented comedic actors, and many of the scenes are engaging...If the play had been a little more about Laura and a little less about Gianmarco, it would have been far more complex and layered. The lesson for emerging playwrights: sometimes you have to give up a little to end up with a lot more." Full Review

CurtainUp

"NYTF's excellent Yiddish production as directed by Joel Grey and performed by his fine cast cast gives us no major revelations about the musical. However, it does make us fall in love with Tevye, his wife, Golde, and his three daughters all over again...This staging brilliantly emphasizes the sorrow that colors the lives of the people...Skybell is warm and funny and philosophical and...well... everything we want this long-suffering milkman to be. What's more, Hoffman is priceless as Yente." Full Review

Bump
Midtown W
Theater Life

"The play is part family drama...The play is also part historical drama...DeVito’s hysteria colliding with O’Hara’s sangfroid is the source of many hearty laughs. And the play is a meditation on pregnancy...Although every pregnancy is different, even those of the same woman, most mothers will recognize themselves somewhere in the story. And the playwright’s gentle humor should make most women unashamed of even their most outlandish behavior." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Weatherstone and Coady are just Jewish enough to be believable. Happily they do not move into the swarmy stereotypes that overwhelm us with fabricated emotion. Caplan, with his unruly beard and grin of an evil clown, could have stepped directly out of a Brecht-Weill musical or a Berlin cabaret." Full Review

Three Wise Guys
Midtown W
New York Theatre Wire

"If you love Damon Runyon’s outlandish characters and their eccentric articulations, you’re in for a treat...Although the combination, as hammered out by Scott Alan Evans and Jeffrey Couchman, is at times a bit clumsy, the result is a thoroughly entertaining evening...This comedy is surprisingly tame and, for the most part, entirely appropriate for youngsters...The cast is quite wonderful. One only hopes they are having as good a time as they are giving the audience." Full Review

Theater Life

"'The Thing With Feathers' unfolds as something of a mystery...The drama illustrates how the past has a way of coming back to haunt us...Tightly directed by Seth Barrish...These actors' ensemble work makes the drama riveting...If 'The Thing With Feathers' is mostly an ensemble piece, it also gives Booth the chance to show his versatility, keeping the audience perpetually wondering what he will do next and why he will do it." Full Review

Miles for Mary
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"The main comedic element lies in our pleasure of watching grownups behave like children and intelligent grownups behave like fools. The main dramatic element is anticipation of the blowup we are sure will eventually occur. Certainly, under the capable direction of Lila Neugebauer, this is ensemble acting at its best...The problem is that with nothing really at stake...The fact that many in the audience did find the play entertaining is the triumph of style over substance." Full Review

Shadowlands
Midtown W
Theater Life

"This might seem to have all the earmarks of a sentimental, even smarmy drama. But 'Shadowlands' narrowly avoids this fate through the vivid contrast between the very rigid and formal Lewis and the very Jewish and extremely outspoken Davidman. If Abramson pushes her portrayal a bit too far into the realm of stereotype, Gerroll occasionally manages to surprise us with the depth of his feeling. Best of all, the play is not infrequently quite funny." Full Review

CurtainUp

"It may be hard to imaging the story without Jimmy Stuart. But happily these actors are really wonderful and Moore handles the material so expertly our imaginations can easily fill in the blanks...If you're finding these dim days of December are a little dimmer than usual, give your heart cheer and your soul comfort with the pure goodness of a show that celebrates people who love, comfort, and care for each other." Full Review

Red Roses, Green Gold
West Village
Theater Life

"All of this is somewhat confusing. But it does allow the versatile cast to burst into song many, many times. There’s rock, country, folk, blues, and a few ballads that are tuneful and moving. All of them will be recognized by Deadheads and appreciated by others..The rustic set sits uneasily with the psychedelic lighting. And the costumes often leave the audience wondering where and when all these shenanigans are taking place. But the antic antic action and its accompanying music never stop." Full Review

CurtainUp

“A study in contrasts...Many in the audience found 'Marcel' breathtakingly funny. For those of us who couldn't figure out what was so funny about 'Marcel,' Houben attempted to provide the answer in 'The Art of Laughter'...There is something quite American about their humor. This is probably because slapstick has a unique language that does not entail words...Some people find this language very funny. Some don't.” Full Review

A Soldier's Play
East Village
New York Theatre Wire

for a previous production “The heavy lifting here is done by an excellent cast, with actors doing double duty as both members of the ensemble and featured characters…At a time when the President of the United States can defend the white nationalists protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee by saying they included ‘some very fine people,’ we need ‘A Soldier’s Play’ more than ever.” Full Review

CurtainUp

"There's something ironic about New Yiddish Rep's production of 'Rhinoceros,' an allegory on the rise of fascism. After all, the Yiddish speakers were the victims, not the perpetrators of the Nazi atrocities...One has the feeling Berenger's passion and Daisy's faintheartedness are much more ridiculous in French...While it's not evident that this Yiddish translation adds anything to Ionesco's original work, it certainly is a faithful translation of his tragic message." Full Review

CurtainUp

"When Jewish immigrants first came to America from Eastern Europe, they thought the streets would be paved with gold...All this and much more is related in National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's wonderful revival...It features a seven-piece klezmer band on stage and a talented cast of 12 singers, dancers and actors who effortlessly take the audience back to a world of hunger and hope." Full Review

New York Theatre Wire

for a previous production "Under the influence of Poe’s spirit, they lose their normal inhibitions. They rave. They argue...The show could lose ten minutes and the intermission for a more powerful effect...Surely Poe, who was a master of the short story, would approve. By the end of the evening, most people will have learned little about how Poe died, but they will know a lot more about his life and times. And the lesson has been made all the more pleasant by great food, good drinks, and excellent company." Full Review

CurtainUp

“Brown makes brilliant use of a bag of tricks similar to what most such performers employ…Brown is definitely a master showman. He's congenial and funny. He's ironic but not judgmental…What makes mentalists' shows so interesting is their unique combination of surprise and predictability. Often we know exactly what's going to happen. But sometimes we are totally blown away. And there is nothing more delightful than being converted into believers despite our better judgment.” Full Review

Marry Harry
Midtown E
Theater Life

"Smoothly directed and choreographed...Might be a pleasant, if somewhat unexceptional musical romance if not for the brilliant interpolation of the three Village Voices. This modern-day Greek chorus both comments on and facilitates the action...A consistently upbeat and melodic score that mixes humor with romance. The songs require an emotional range and a comic timing the cast has mastered handily...A delicious treat that’s good for the diet and the heart." Full Review

Fragmented Frida
Brooklyn
Theater Life

"With the help of videos cast on the walls of her childhood home...we can picture Kahlo in Mexico and New York City...But it is mostly Dantas’ skill as an actor that makes Kahlo come to life...Dantas knows how to make movement count as much as voice. Her portrayal of Kahlo is deeply physical as well as emotional. Despite its title, 'Fragmented Frida' gives us an extremely coherent image of a very complicated woman." Full Review