Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman is a critic with Showbiz 411. 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 (34)
Showbiz 411

“Mac’s ‘Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus’ is utter crap. They are tortured on stage by a playwright who’s given them some of the worst material I’ve ever seen on a stage, Broadway or otherwise...If there had been an intermission for this 90 minute play, no one would have returned...There is no play...There is just nowhere to go except in the abyss. If only they could remain on that stage and do something else. Anything else.” Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Sorkin’s 'Mockingbird' is the most comprehensive study of the birds of Alabama — Finches, mockingbirds, all of them — you could hope to find. He’s picked new supporting characters from the novel to highlight, and even combined a couple...The pace is languid, for Sorkin. The old rat-tat-tat is missing, a good thing. He gets their cadences, and director Bartlett Sher lets everyone take their time telling the stories of Atticus, his kids, Tom Robinson and Boo Radley." Full Review

Showbiz 411

“'The Prom' is hysterically funny, with a real sense of joy...The show is such a frenzy that we never get to see the home lives of the two girls at the center of the scandal. But that may be just as well. ‘The Prom’ really works as a send up of show business...The gay themes are there for spice, not to make a point. And still the point is made. It’s all about acceptance. And we accept ‘The Prom’ for what it is– very, very funny.” Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Now you must run to see May in 'The Waverly Gallery' on Broadway before the comedy closes...I went through it with three grandparents and a great aunt. You just have to live it. And so the audience does, laughing wryly and uproariously...Lucas Hedges, ok, he is the real thing, he’s turning into an actor’s actor at almost 22. God bless him. He’s channeling an older generation. Joan Allen– she has a Tony Award and three Oscar nominations– just shows she is much missed." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"The revival is a home run. Do not hesitate to see it right. The nine main performers are superb, each one a star waiting to happen...Bergasse sets up little narratives in each song, so that Lieber and Stoller’s intent is realized whether it’s a hit or a rediscovered gem. What really comes across is that these songs have stood the test of time. You needn’t be contemporaneous to them to enjoy their magnificent melodies and lyrics. Frankly, this show comes at the right time." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Jackson definitely has the stage debut of the year, and Ridloff isn't far behind him. She makes the Sarah Norman character accessible if not understandable...making the play palatable in 2018. That’s because what seemed earthshaking in 1982 seems passe in 2018...The issues involved have changed. It’s hard to work up enthusiasm now for Sarah’s outrage and lawsuit. But credit the actors for keeping the debate alive." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"More accustomed to a narrative performance than Midler, Peters doesn’t draw attention to herself. But the show draws attention to her. She builds Dolly’s character...Garber and Peters have chemistry that Hyde Pierce and Midler did not share...The songs in 'Hello, Dolly!' just seemed more integrated, deeper, richer...If you’re a real Broadway fan, and not just here for the stunts, this is the real thing." Full Review

Showbiz 411

for a previous production "He’s like us: he struggles with his childhood, has father issues, and admits to stretching the truth at times. In this way, he is disarming as hell. That makes his Broadway show transcendent. And transplendent. And kind of magnificent. He’s not like us at all: he is a master showman, a gifted musician...A highlight of this show is 'The Rising,' written about 9-11. His face is different when he sings it. That’s when he transcends a night with a rocker on Broadway." Full Review

Indecent
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"Extraordinary, edgy, and profoundly charged...It’s Vogel’s imagining of the plight of the theater troupe back that adds this riveting dimension. And then the production itself, directed by Rebecca Taichman, transcends even the material...In Yiddish 'beshert' means 'meant to be.' This production is certainly 'beshert,' an absolute must for a Tony nomination for Best Play if not the winner." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Shalboub and Hecht are Broadway regulars and can do no wrong. They’re excellent, as expected, and they’re there to keep the boat afloat. They do more than that. You can’t take your eyes off of them. But it’s Mark Ruffalo and Danny DeVito who we’re looking at. 'The Price' offers a bit of comedy in the first act, and DeVito delivers it as if he’s a little cherry bomb...Terry Kinney directs, sharply as ever. There will be lots of awards talk for everyone involved." Full Review

Showbiz 411

“A unique, memorable production…What’s so interesting is that not a word of Tennessee Williams’ play has been changed and yet, rethinking Laura this way is a smooth move…Ferris must hold her own with three really great actors...Sally Field is sublime as Amanda Wingfield…Wittrock just lights up the stage…This production is way stripped down…What a thrill to see an old play reinvigorated. And Sally Field–my oh my–we really really like her.” Full Review

The Present
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"Upton’s version is pretty great and very different than the Frayn one...Upton has retained a lot of the Chekhov but updated it...Believe or not, the time passes quickly. Upton has found lots of humor and spread it wisely...Roxborough doesn’t steal the show, he just occupies the center of it, and he’s a revelation...Let’s say Roxburgh leads the magnificent supporting cast. But 'The Present' cast is an ensemble, only that Blanchett cannot keep from being the centerpiece." Full Review

Bright Star
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"The songs are lush and catchy, the performers are spot-on. The show has a real star in Cusack...The songs are strong given Martin’s banjo interests of the last 40 years and Brickell’s ability to write hooks. Plus Steve has taken the sometimes on-the-nose story and peppered it with enough humor to lighten the gloom that threatens to overcome the proceedings like a storm cloud but never does...A lot of the songs in 'Bright Star' are eminently hummable and should be covered by real country stars." Full Review

Misery
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"William Goldman’s adaptation is too literal. The movie depended on close ups, of which there are none in the theater. And sadly no one has told Bruce Willis what to do. The direction by Will Frears is less than what I expected. He lets Willis just sit there, or lie there, on stage, like a flounder...Of course, part of the problem is the play itself. As a movie 'Misery' had its campy moments, and you could get away with them. As a play, 'Misery' just seems ridiculous, over the top, and in the... Full Review

Something Rotten!
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"I haven’t had such a good, silly time at the theater since 'Spamalot' or maybe 'The Producers' as I did last night at 'Something Rotten.' The new musical is possibly the Best Musical Tony winner and definitely a strong nominee after its opening last night...'Something Rotten' is just a pure delight." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"'Gigi' in this version doesn’t quite work or make sense. The sludgy direction tries to play up the Disney aspects with great costumes and sets that could be used, more effectively, for a production of “Hello, Dolly!” It’s the most inoffensive show of the season, all meringue and no mystery. Even the fact that Mamita, Gigi’s grandmother, is a former courtesan is sort of swept aside. She’s just had a lot of past romances. And a lot of good hats." Full Review

The Audience
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"'The Audience' is much improved from its London run, a little lighter and bouncier than it had been...Mirren is mesmerizing as she plays Queen Elizabeth...Daldry and Mirren know each other so well that by now this is indeed their magic act...What Daldry and Mirren have done is make QEII–who used to seem aloof and out of touch, enemy of Diana–sympathetic." Full Review

Showbiz 411

“Based on Otis Williams’ autobiography...Morisseau has fashioned a book that doesn’t always stick to the facts...The Motown music– mostly from Smokey Robinson and Norman Whitfield– is what propels the show. The orchestra, which is on stage behind the action, is sensational. And the actors are just knockouts...’Ain’t Too Proud’ shows off a phenomenon.” Full Review

Network (NYC)
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"Cranston gives the performance of a lifetime as Beale...There is so much going on onstage that it can be dizzying. But Cranston, as Beale, who’s supposedly unwinding into madness, is the sane center...Everyone in the show is top notch. Maslany is earthier than Faye Dunaway....Goldwyn has the suave mien of William Holden from the movie. So kudos to 'Network.' If only Chayefsky had lived longer." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"This taut drama where you can guess the ending but don’t want to believe it...Demos-Brown’s debut play addresses a lot of issues...Knowing that the police will play as the villain, Demos-Brown gives a veteran Black Police Lieutenant played by Eugene Lee who has some opinions worth hearing out...A little underdeveloped. Without a big star it would have been sent to off Broadway for development. But it’s timely and important, and the actors invest their all." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"'Bernhardt/Hamlet' couldn’t be more timely as Sarah fights for the right to be not just an independent woman, but a person who will answer to no one. The sexual politics from 1899 make you realize we haven’t gotten that far at all some 119 years later. Janet McTeer is a treasure, commanding the stage like few others these days. It’s time for her to be celebrated." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"A sublime hit...Henry as carnival barker Billy Bigelow, glistening on stage, delivering a vocal and dramatic performance...This is his breakthrough, and it’s just jaw dropping good. You want to him hear him sing anything, all day long...You’re almost taken aback hearing gorgeous, trained voices handing sublimely written music. For that – for the mesmerizing unfolding carousel canopy at the beginning of Act 1 – this show is a memorable winner." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Now more than ever you see the grandeur of it all, and can only marvel at it...And it’s all the more astonishing because Kushner took on the AIDS epidemic not as a polemic but a saga with characters very richly drawn...Garfield is utterly absorbed into this role to the point where you almost can’t imagine anyone else playing it. He’s outrageous, serious, broad, and intense– what a roller coaster...Every other member of the cast is perfection." Full Review

M. Butterfly
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

“A Taymor collaboration with Goldenthal is always something to be excited about...The pair has brought their great talents to Hwang’s play...It’s as fascinating and as incendiary as it was in 1989...Ha and Owen each hold the audience in the palms of their hands...A must see for the cast but always for Taymor and Goldenthal. What’s unique about this production: it’s very analogue...It’s kind of comforting to see an old fashioned set that springs to life on a human scale.” Full Review

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"There is much to love in 'Prince of Broadway,' legendary producer-director Hal Prince’s tribute to himself. I mean it: the show is like a late summer gift. It has an overture, nine really sensationally talented performers, classic sets, and music–mostly Sondheim–that is gift-wrapped. The only nick in the armor: there’s not much of a story...Everyone has a showstopper...Get over and see it. This is one gift you can accept happily." Full Review

Showbiz 411

for a previous production "'The Play that Goes Wrong' goes very right and went very well...Hilarious? Oh, yes. A wonderful farce full of non-stop laughs, very funny and smart...To pull this off you have to be great, and you can see that this troupe—which wrote the show for themselves—has honed it into a gem...Director Mark Bell makes it look easy when of course it’s not—indeed, the physicality that’s called on is quite amazing." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"There’s an indescribable charm to 'Come from Away' despite the fact that it’s an ensemble, and that there are no big 'eleven o’clock' songs. You will not come out humming...But I do think the ensemble is so well directed and energized that they manage to infect the audience with a real sense of pathos about the situation. Also, and this to thanks to Sankoff and Hein’s book, there’s nothing maudlin going on...The whole cast should be praised. This is a show with a lot of heart." Full Review

Showbiz 411

“The result is quite extraordinary and shocking. ‘Sweeney Todd’ is a big musical, with a chorale and a booming orchestra. Somehow, director Bill Buckhurst has drastically reduced the size while keeping the show large. His version of Sondheim’s masterpiece lives up to all the great productions that have preceded it over 38 years…The cast is all top notch.” Full Review

Shuffle Along
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

“The first act is very good, and you could easily leave at intermission and never miss a thing...A huge freakin’ mess of a show that could use another few months to sort itself out...In Wolfe and Glover there is talent and genius to spare...They stage 'Shuffle Along' as brilliantly as they can...It also has a star–Audra McDonald–who radiates on stage. You can’t get enough of her...Go, and be razzle-dazzled by these players and the sheer ingenuity of how this has been attempted.” Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick’s parody of ’70s disaster movies—set to carefully selected Top 40 pop and disco hits–turns out to be too much fun not to love...At first, 'Disaster!' seems a little on the nose, and somewhat like a show that might actually be on a cruise ship. The choreography in the early scenes feels like it’s lifted from a bad ’70s variety show–it’s a little frantic. But once things settle down, the fun kicks in. And the second act just gets better, better, better." Full Review

Clever Little Lies
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"'Clever Little Lies' is quite clever in that it’s based on a twist and a little bit of a mind game that you don’t expect...There will be a threat of moving 'Clever Little Lies' to a Broadway house. But I hope not. It’s a little comedy gem that can run forever." Full Review

Showbiz 411

"Loaded for Tony nominations and overflowing with charm...Paulus is expert at whimsy, and so her London shivers with confetti blasts, and delights in oversized bicycles, red balloons, and a hallucinatory clock sequence that I want to see again as soon as possible." Full Review

Hand to God
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"The path to the Tony Award season took a curve last night as Richard Askins’ original play, “Hand to God,” was such a hit that it took everyone by surprise...totally original, funny and angry and sad, and sure to leave a mark not only this spring but for some time to come...it’s also a full play, with fully realized ideas about religion and mortality, Big Ideas and small ones. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel's got this extraordinary ensemble on a tight leash and never lets up." Full Review

Fish in the Dark
Midtown W
Showbiz 411

"“Fish” is getting fried. It’s not a play. One reviewer called this a celebrity appearance. True enough...I am a devout “Curb Your Enthusiasm” fan. The show is pure genius. But “Fish” is coarse. It’s bathroom humor, it’s stupid. I think the flashes of greatness in it, if boiled down, would fill a half hour." Full Review