Robert Feldberg

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Reviews (159)

"A perfect example of how superb actors can make good theater out of a less-than-wonderful play...The brothers' confrontation, which takes up much of the second act, is more diagrammatic than dramatic...Crucially, though, we feel connected to the characters, or at least to the performances...'The Price' has more than a whiff of contrivance, but its resourceful actors manage to humanize it to a remarkable degree." Full Review

The Light Years
Midtown W

“‘The Light Years’ tosses off lots and lots of ideas. Unfortunately, it omits the glue that might help the audience put them together…The play, which uses a moving scroll at the side of the stage—MacKaye’s invention—to provide added information, is, I’d guess, a cautionary but hopeful tale about human progress, the eternal, love, life, death and things I’m sure I missed. It’s certainly not uninteresting, but it’s extremely frustrating in its lack of connective tissue.” Full Review

"Asking an audience to use its imagination is a good thing, but sometimes there’s a gap too far. Although Mantello gives the evening’s best performance, you never quite accept him as the brother of Laura, who’s in her early 20s...Ultimately, in this production, the woes of the Wingfield family take second place to the experience of watching the bravery and determination of a young actress, and perhaps to ponder the wider difficulty people with disabilities have in being cast." Full Review

Significant Other
Midtown W

"Seeing it on Broadway, my feelings about the character, Jordan, had changed. I liked him, and the play, a lot better...Fluidly directed by Trip Cullman...Harmon is a very talented, humane playwright with a sharp eye and ear for the foibles of youth. But I think what made me appreciate his play more this time around was the deepening of Glick’s performance...Jordan still has his annoying qualities, but they’re embedded in a recognizable humanness." Full Review

Wakey, Wakey
Midtown W

"'Wakey, Wakey' isn’t really a play. It’s an accounting of the things that matter in life...Presented with quiet authority and a soft, ironic humor by the remarkable Michael Emerson, observations that might otherwise seem random, and sentimental, coalesce into a painful but brave last embrace of ordinary pleasures...The evening gains additional poignancy if you see it as Eno’s tribute to James Houghton, the founder and artistic director of the Signature Theatre." Full Review

"Gyllenhaal is a very good actor and sings surprisingly well, but neither he nor the amusing Ashford can lift the skimpy, pedestrian production to the sublime level of the two previous Broadway presentations of the show...A production needn’t be opulent, but it also shouldn’t look like something improvised in a suburban backyard. The direction by Sarna Lapine is routine, except she whiffs on the production’s big moment." Full Review

Kid Victory

"A pleasing, wide-ranging musical score by the legendary John Kander and less satisfactory book and lyrics by Greg Pierce...Flynn makes Luke’s circumstance enormously affecting, but 'Kid Victory' doesn’t work very well as a musical...Numbers often seem tangential to the mood of the evening...Despite that, 'Kid Victory' offers a vivid portrait of a tortured soul." Full Review

"Dixon is quite the raconteur whose stories begin quite literally at the hilarious first meeting with Rose and end on a very unfortunate note...What makes the first three quarters of the show so deliriously funny is Dixon’s ability to replicate not only Rose’s voice but all his effete mannerisms...Rose’s secret life and death had more of a profound affect on Dixon than he could ever imagine...Yet, he got himself together which enabled him to play many roles." Full Review

West Village

"The evening does have several moving scenes. Mostly, the drama feels contrived, which sets up a barrier to getting involved with the characters…The moment in which Hench tells Jennifer that he doesn’t know how to touch her is enormously affecting, the most powerful expression of the terrible cost of the boys’ abandonment..We’re left, despite an ill-fitting conciliatory ending, with the ultimate message that desperate lives can be influenced by acts of kindness but are hard to truly change." Full Review

"Bears the imprint of a young playwright who hadn’t fully found his voice. There are moments of melodrama and sentimentality that seem borrowed from a common dramatic shelf. However, the play also has qualities found later in Wilson’s best work, especially a vibrant awareness of the community he was writing about: its residents, their relationships and the flavorful stories they tell...'Jitney' is not a great work, but it's a vivid signpost to the more significant plays that followed." Full Review

"Under the direction of Wils Wilson, the first act is breezy and convivial…In the evening’s second half, things take a turn for the metaphorical, with the terms of engagement switching from the narrative to the dramatic, and the proceedings hit a speed bump…But thanks to the effervescent cast, the show doesn’t entirely lose its momentum, and eventually regains its devil-may-care form." Full Review

In Transit
Midtown W

"A slight, perky musical...While the cast is sprightly and talented, the issues their characters face are way too familiar to be interesting...Vivaciously directed by Kathleen Marshall, the show is so smiley-faced, there’s never a doubt everyone’s problems will be resolved in a positive way by the end of the evening. The songs are generally appealing, but only one number brings the show a badly needed subversive surprise." Full Review

The Babylon Line
Upper W Side

"Unfortunately, those characters seldom achieve fully human dimensions in the play...What emerges is a muddle of ideas and styles...With 'The Babylon Line,' Greenberg's characteristic wit and intelligence are present, but so is a commitment to language that often overrides attention to plot and character. Scenes and speeches can seem forced into the whole." Full Review

"'A Bronx Tale' isn’t a bad musical. It just doesn’t seem a necessary one...Despite an ultimate wimp-out, the conflict over Calogero’s soul is basic and sturdy, and the musical cruises through it in the first act with speed and focus. In the second act, though, the dramatics get messy and overblown...While there are good things in the musical, it comes across as routine and predictable...If the up-tempo numbers are fun, the syrupy, clichéd ballads are a dreary lot." Full Review

Sweet Charity
Midtown W

"The hit 1966 an unsettling case of high-spirited Broadway sentimentality imposed on an essentially dark and depressing book. In the pared-down revival, starring Sutton Foster, that emotional disconnection is particularly clear...Since Foster portrays this pathology with the clueless eagerness of a stray puppy...what we see comes across as masochism rather than optimism...When the musical is showcasing the rich Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields score, things mostly go well." Full Review

"Great, extravagantly entertaining fun, with a soaring score that runs the musical gamut from raucous rock to classical...It also stirs the soul, with a beautifully sung finale, performed to a hushed audience by pop star Josh Groban…It might not cure your heartache, but it's a reminder of the solace that art can provide…Onstage, there's unparalleled intimacy, with the actors excitingly close. The negative is that with actors continually brushing by, you can get distracted from the story." Full Review

Midtown W

for a previous production "No other playwright has captured the social upheaval in America as acutely as Lynn Nottage does in her powerful, troubling drama 'Sweat'...Nottage's effort, vibrantly directed by Kate Whoriskey and performed by a strong ensemble cast, looks at the broader impact of financial stress, at the tearing apart of the country's hard-won social fabric...With each character deftly defined, we're quickly drawn into their interactions...The play is sobering, and deeply affecting." Full Review

"The evening doesn't have the smashing impact you expect...Schreiber has powerful moments, but he's not the most subtle boulevardier on the rue...McTeer is her usual persuasive, interesting self, and in the late scenes, when Merteuil and Valmont have their long-delayed showdown, she and Schreiber together produce some extremely volatile theater. It's a shame this revival doesn't get in touch with that urgent dramatic tone more consistently during the evening." Full Review

Midtown W

"A sweet, rather straightforward story...It's the telling that's complicated, with Nguyen apparently employing every theatrical device he ever saw, thought of or heard about...There are comic-book fights, distracting projections and musical moments, including performances of (not very good) rap songs that are liberally sprinkled with the usual profanities...The problem with 'Vietgone' is that its focus is scattered, often seeming to slide from the story to the novelty of its telling." Full Review

East Village

"An absorbing Public Theater revival, directed by David Leveaux and featuring a powerful, edgy performance by Rachel Weisz...Weisz, petite and fragile-looking, vividly conveys Susan’s unpredictable willfulness, the unsettling combination of strength and turmoil that struggle inside her, often behind a self-assured façade...'Plenty' is an old-fashioned play of the best kind: solidly built, intelligent, thoughtful and provocative." Full Review

Midtown W

"Jones dazzled Broadway audiences 10 years ago with 'Bridge & Tunnel'...In her new solo work, her remarkable impersonation skill, using gestures and expressions as well as her voice, is just as prodigious, even if her subject, the sex industry, is somewhat limiting...The show goes down easy, which isn't necessarily a good thing...The stories offer few revelations, and generally sound like things we've heard before. What holds us is Jones' stunning facility in turning herself into everyone else." Full Review

Midtown W

"An improbable, if sweet, romantic fantasy. It all goes down very easily, thanks to director Mark Brokaw and, especially, the actors...Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt make the opposites-attract notion involving, even if the bridging of the characters' age gap would require more elaboration to be persuasive...Georgie, an American expatriate who talks nonstop, could be taken for a psychopath in a less accomplished portrayal. But Parker makes her an ultimately fetching kook." Full Review

"The show is indeed old-fashioned — but in a very pleasant way. It doesn't poke smug fun at itself, or, at the other end of the attitude spectrum, pretend with a straight face that tastes haven't changed in 75 years. Rather, it takes an appealing middle ground...Though 'Holiday Inn' might be a musical constructed according to a formula, it's a winning example of the type. Forgettable, perhaps, but fun while you're watching it." Full Review

"Judith Light's eminently capable of holding a stage by herself, but LaBute doesn't make it easy for her...That technique of having Mrs. Johnson rapidly cast doubt on her assertions is something LaBute resorts to throughout the evening, giving an unfortunate predictability to the rhythm of her narrative...LaBute wants us to appreciate the burden of carrying around an enormous lie, but the character he uses to communicate that message doesn't ring true, which badly blunts his point." Full Review

"The genius is in the way their story is told. The masterful actors, their small playing space surrounded on three sides by the audience, speak in normal, conversational tones, creating a feeling of incredible closeness. You have a sense of eavesdropping on their intimate conversations...Oddly, however, in a hyper-partisan national atmosphere, the actual campaign is seldom mentioned...It’s hard to believe these aware people wouldn’t have more to say." Full Review

“Really disappointing…What would Byrne, who wrote book, music and lyrics, do with the life of Joan of Arc? The answer is shockingly little…Byrne presents this story, which happened over two years, without irony, psychology or curiosity. It’s essentially a fan’s you-go-girl account of Joan’s indomitable will and fervent belief in her destiny. While Byrne has written some seductive melodies, his lyrics can be flat and awkward…This story of 'Joan of Arc' couldn’t be more uninteresting." Full Review

for a previous production “It’s a celebration of the best human instincts, and, particularly coming at this time, doesn’t seem at all hokey. It’s cheering and refreshing...’Come from Away’ tells its many-sided story in an effective, fast-moving style...The well-integrated songs, which range literally from foot-stompers to ballads, are mostly performed by the entire company, emphasizing the theme of community...Tells its story efficiently, but also with a sense of completeness. It’s a tale well-worth hearing.” Full Review

“A riotously entertaining evening you won’t soon forget…The brilliance of the work, directed by Bill Buckhurst, is that while it generates plenty of laughs, it never loses touch with the terror of the story…The production is a marvel of site-specific theater, using the audience to help tell the story in a tightly packed room in which sounds and lights are pretty much the only staging aids…It’s theater-in-the-small, but it has a big impact." Full Review

The Penitent

"In Mamet’s best plays, offbeat speech patterns often give a charge to what’s being said; here, even under the direction of long-time Mamet collaborator Neil Pepe, the exchanges are dry, dramatically parched...'The Penitent' is better than Mamet’s last Broadway play, the unfortunate 'China Doll.' But it’s a long distance from the work that made him one of America’s most significant playwrights." Full Review

If I Forget
Midtown W

"It’s a somewhat muddled play, and parts of it are not quite believable, but Steven Levenson’s acidly funny script, Daniel Sullivan’s keen direction and three terrific performances make it a very fulfilling evening of theater...'If I Forget' is a play with flaws – the final scene is, unfortunately, the weakest of the evening – but I was involved in it from beginning to end." Full Review

Midtown W

"The notion of chance echoes a theme of the play, and it must be an interesting challenge for the actors, but it comes across as an 'in' thing, of little matter to the audience...There’s wit, humor and inventiveness in the play, directed by Lila Neugebauer, but pure allegory, with actors portraying generic figures and abstract ideas, is tough to keep aloft. 'Everybody' descends into tedium well before it ends." Full Review

Man From Nebraska
Midtown W

"It’s not nearly as good as Letts’ best-known work, but it’s not without interest, thanks in good measure to its lead actors. Birney gives one of his superbly real ordinary-guy portrayals as the searching Ken, while O’Toole is deeply sympathetic as a loyal, confused and increasingly angry abandoned wife...When he finally returns to Nebraska, many weeks later, Ken is a new, improved man, Letts would have us believe...The idea is provocative, even if it’s completely unpersuasive." Full Review

Sunset Boulevard
Midtown W

"There are a few times when Close skirts the edge of parody...But, taken as a whole, it’s an assured, commanding performance by an actress who knows how to deliver the theatrical goods...A dynamic, imaginatively rethought presentation by director Lonny Price...The show’s main problem, although not a disqualifying one, is the pedestrian book...However, Close’s panache and Lloyd Webber’s music are more than enough to carry the evening." Full Review

The Liar
East Village

"It’s Ives’ dialogue, full of unexpected and delightfully twisty rhymes, that makes the evening, sharply directed by Michael Kahn, so much fun…Listening to the jaunty speeches, and anticipating the next clever rhyme, is like watching a master juggler. You wonder what he’ll toss into the air next, and how he’ll keep everything aloft. Ives does falter slightly at times, settling for a merely utilitarian rhyme instead of an inspired one. But his batting average is very high." Full Review

The Mikado
Upper E Side

"In the most important areas, the text and music, ‘The Mikado’ remains largely untouched. What the company has done is change what was offensive…No one in the cast I saw, a mix of veterans and newcomers, was less than capable, and several actors were delightful…That this production of 'The Mikado' is as successful as it is is a cheering example of doing good that also turns out well." Full Review

"Gold’s conception, with its modernisms, is actually quite faithful in substance to the drama Shakespeare wrote...His staging is a vibrant effort to provide motivation and context for characters whose actions don’t always add up...Not everything he’s done in taking Shakespeare modern works equally well, but Gold has succeeded in providing a fresh, smart and imaginative look at an extremely well-known play." Full Review

The Dead, 1904
Upper E Side

for a previous production "It’s all kind of fun, though perhaps not the best way, until the very end, of experiencing Joyce’s story. The production is faithful to him, but what’s missing is the author’s voice. Without a narrative guide, things are loose and disconnected...At dinner, for example, rather than straining to hear the characters’ low conversation, you end up chatting with the person seated next to you...The actors also sometimes distractingly break character as they interact with the audience." Full Review

for a previous production "The script ultimately backs off the issues it raises in the service of a happy ending...The evening is seldom lifted by the songs, which, with several notable exceptions, tend to a bland sameness, especially lyrically. And the direction, by Michael Greif, seems at times wrongheaded, better suited to a bigger story...When 'Dear Evan Hansen' is involving, as it certainly is at times, the great share of the credit goes to Platt and his prize-worthy performance." Full Review

This Day Forward

"The play’s first 10 minutes are great fun…In the telling of how things evolve, ‘This Day Forward’ unfortunately loses the snappiness of its opening, becoming predictable and notably padded…The second act ultimately comes down to the sad but mundane matter of who’ll take care of Mom…The play has by then become fairly formulaic, and not in a persuasive way…The evening ends on a tentatively positive note, which, after the chaos we’ve witnessed, is perhaps the most unbelievable aspect of all." Full Review

Dead Poets Society
East Village

"The drama plays like a reduced, highlights version of the movie. Left out is the connective tissue of characterization and motivation, leaving us to chew on the play’s ideas, which are as stale as month-old pumpernickel...None of this shorthand tragedy, unsubtly directed by John Doyle, makes a lick of dramatic sense. Sudeikis, meanwhile, works hard — you can see him working hard — at being charismatic and does get his character to likable." Full Review

"You feel for the Gabriels – the play is notably well-acted – but their rather passive reaction to their woes is a bit annoying...All three plays, directed by Nelson, follow the same narrow path. They’re similarly staged, with the family chatting as they sit around the kitchen table preparing a meal, and all chart an unrelieved downward course. Maybe they’re a more fitting dramatic counterpart to the election than Nelson suspected they’d be." Full Review

"In a remarkable scene in Smith’s transfixing one-woman show, she channels a Baltimore minister...Without attempting an actor-like impersonation, Smith had so precisely captured a personal voice, its identifying tone and rhythm, that she took us on the speaker’s journey. It’s the kind of magic she achieves again and again during the evening...Smith is so good in conveying the distinctive personalities of her people, and the urgency of what they have to say, that our attention seldom drifts." Full Review

Midtown W

"Not your typical Broadway musical, but it's being given a top-shelf Broadway production, with knowing direction, striking scenery and flawless performances from highly talented musical-theater actors...What enables it to work – what makes the evening funny and rueful — is William Finn's singular score, which goes to the heart of each matter...Directed with great empathy by James Lapine, 'Falsettos' achieves the same power it had a quarter-century ago." Full Review

A Life
Midtown W

"Because Nate is played by David Hyde Pierce, the most personable actor in the world, his quiet, low-key recital is compelling...Directed with a gift for eeriness by Anne Kauffman...I'm not positive about Bock's point, but I'd guess he's saying that we're sometimes totally unaware of how others regard us, and we can have a significant impact without realizing it. 'A Life' takes a tortuous route to make that case, but you can't say the journey is boring." Full Review

The Front Page
Midtown W

"Through much of the evening, you miss the slam-bang pace of the most famous incarnation of 'The Front Page:' the great 1940 screwball-comedy film adaptation 'His Girl Friday.' And then Lane shows up and everything explodes into life...Lane has given many memorable performances, in such shows as 'The Producers' and the revivals of 'Guys and Dolls' and 'A Funny Thing,' but his show-saving charge to the rescue of 'The Front Page' is as impressive as any of them." Full Review

"A gray, dramatically underdeveloped affair that makes a poor argument for rethinking classic plays...The production gives a meager sense of time and place, leaving the actors in a kind of theatrical void...It ends with perhaps the most famous concluding sound in theater: the chopping noise as the trees in the cherry orchard begin to fall...If what’s led up to that moment has affected you, it’ll be a touching finale. In this case, the sound was just a signal that it was time to go home." Full Review

"They're smart and very funny–at times. But, over 95 minutes, there is also a fair share of clunkers, bottom-drawer lines...And in a show as loosely constructed as this, without a strong through line to carry interest past bumpy moments, the evening rises and falls joke by joke...For the person who comes to the theater innocent of knowledge of Kroll and Mulaney, their extended sketch of a show will likely depend on how he or she responds to a pair of cantankerous elder citizens." Full Review

The Encounter
Midtown W

"His performance is a verbal and physical tour de force...This late, rather long segment of the play dips into a New Age-y kind of mysticism that might not be to everyone's aesthetic taste. But taken in its entirety, 'The Encounter' is a bracingly original theater experience, and McBurney confirms his place as one of the most imaginative figures in the English-speaking theater." Full Review

"Nathan Alan Davis' rather static play about the event centers on a detail of the rebellion...The play is essentially a dialogue between Turner (a powerful Phillip James Brannon) and Gray (Rowan Vickers), a more-or-less decent man...The evening, directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian, keeps promising to climb to something more, but that never happens...It's a frail reed on which to hang a play about a watershed moment in pre-Civil War American history." Full Review

Midtown W

"Julia Cho attempts the tricky task of weaving together the subjects of food and death. She achieves affecting moments…But, dramatically wobbly, the play doesn't fill out an entire evening…Ranging from goodhearted to morbid, ‘Aubergine’ has the mismatched feel of having been expanded…Running a little over two hours, it feels padded...As it is, it's a play of deeply sympathetic, thoughtful ideas that never manages to become compelling." Full Review