Simon Saltzman

Simon Saltzman 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 (107)
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65
CurtainUp

"This play that once passionately and obsessively tested the social and sexual barriers between the haves and the have nots has remarkably never surrendered the impact of its psycho-sexual dilemma...Farber's text is excellent and eminently reflective of its characters...Neither Kibler's neurotically obsessed Julie or Udom's misguidedly adventurous Jean are able to counter the feeling that their nocturnal tryst is hardly more than a game turned deadly." Full Review

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75
CurtainUp

“All three plays...are provocative and deal with hot topics...They are all calculated to sting, surprise and stir up the kind of feelings you might otherwise not care to acknowledge...‘Great Negro Works of Art’ is excellent...'The Fourth Reich' is under the playwright's direction. It's a chiller that may make your skin crawl...'Unlikely Japan:' It's the what-if kind of story that is given some heft by the compelling way that Crovatin takes us back to the teen romance." Full Review

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60
CurtainUp

"Probably intended to be a challenge for theatergoers who already love the mostly brilliant body of work by the now eighty-one year old Stoppard...Just don't expect to be swept away by anything that might be described as turmoil, tension, or twist in the plot in a play that may not really be a very good one...Exactly how well 'The Hard Problem' develops dramatically is in how much theory you can explore and endure before you need real emotions." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

"I jumped at the chance to see this rarity by the great dramatist...Unquestionably, Williams' fortunes, both personal and professional, had peaked by the time this play appeared. But genius will out and in this instance shows him as remarkably perceptive...Williams lovers will delight in the contentiousness of the brittle and baiting conversations/confrontations. That he is able to make us laugh and feel deeply at the same time is a credit to his genius." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"Mike Birbiglia is a terrific story teller, comedian, author, filmmaker, director...How Jen actually gets pregnant is a good portion of his story as told with jokes that spring so naturally from his narrative that we are hardly aware of the set-up. Under the unobtrusive direction of Seth Barrish, Birbiglia ambles with ease about the stage...His inevitable epiphany comes as a wonderful surprise and a heartwarming conclusion to another unique chapter in this very talented man's life." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"A series of highly stylized confrontations and melodramatic events that serve to distinguish a very clever play about freedom...A terrific cast, all women of color, under the supple direction of Bain-Cruz, portray characters that are striking in their aligned sisterhood...Witty and close to operatic in tone and temperament...'The House That Will Not Stand' is filled to the brim with a distinctive poetic lyricism." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"The cast is uniformly excellent and unquestionably invigorated by the sheer force of Ferguson's high octane performance. But a special shout-out goes to Brannon and Monahon who do comical double duty as the babies. Harrison has found another niche for his keen dramatic and comedic sensibilities. It is easy to see that director Pam MacKinnon is totally in synch with this satiric play." Full Review

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60
CurtainUp

"A mostly mild-mannered staging of a play that begs for more emotional credibility from the two the leads who lack the spark to make us care. What is essentially missing from the two leads despite their earnestness is any discernible chemistry...If Leon's direction of the play and its players is no more than arrestingly tasteful it still doesn't diminish Medoff's theme that the world of sound and the world of silence have the right to be extraordinarily worlds apart." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

"Some mighty glorious voices are belting out the octave-soaring notes and potty-mouthed lyrics that composer Thomas and collaborator Lee have conjoined...Marrying a libretto calculated to shock with lots of elegant music that thrills is quite a feat...The seventeen-member cast is terrific in multiple roles...Act II gets a little too dead serious. But dead or alive that behavior is put entertainingly on display under the splendidly abetting guidance of director Rando." Full Review

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65
CurtainUp

“You really don't have to know much about Robert Moses to enjoy isolated aspects of this rock musical...Plot progression is fast and furious as is the cascade of songs...But the book fails to provide the main character with the kind of motivation that will define Moses as a remarkable man with a complex, but definitely not conflicted, personality...What we do see is the outline of an essentially unlikable but obsessed with power man." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"Director Arden, choreographer Brown and the design team have made sure we remain captivated by their ever changing vision of the island, the sheer magic of the stagecraft they deploy...It doesn't take long for the immediately endearing Kilgore to win our hearts...This musical may be small in its scope, but when compared to some, it achieves its own sense of grandness by being both magical and seductive— an unbeatable combination." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

"Purists need be forewarned that the gifted and talented Hamill has eloped just a bit recklessly with the irony, wit, and insightfulness of the novel's matrimonial considerations...This version, nevertheless, remains commendably faithful to Austin's plot yet with an almost giddy disposition towards parody...Matchmaking a la Austin in the Georgian manner has rarely been afforded so much giddy fun and funny games." Full Review

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70
CurtainUp

“If the play is not quite the shocking marvel of audacious camp it was during its own time, it gives audiences a spectacular peek at a genre and a performance style that peaked and eventually paled...Subtlety is not in their melodramatic vocabulary...Some of this is indeed very funny...politicized soft-porn with a wink. I suspect that Ludlam's irrepressibly ridiculous play will likely continue to orbit in the outer limits of dramatic literature long after others in the genre have faded away.” Full Review

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70
CurtainUp

"There is little pretense for the songs to connect meaningfully to the text or to defining any of the corn-ball characters such as they are. However, this raucous showcase gives its multi-talented cast of eight every opportunity to keep the ridiculous plot going...I doubt if the fans will care how well the songs are integrated into the farcical fable." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"A terrific cast of four, under the sterling direction of Bordelson, must be credited for making this play a thoroughly worthwhile and memorable experience...A compelling narrative that is mainly revealed through a young man with a mission...The action is cleverly staged in and around the kitchen setting that allows for other locations. It is the feeling of home and kinship that pervades even as we see how impulsive decisions, no matter how righteous and well-meaning, alter perspectives." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"George Kelly's 1924 consistently amusing dramatic comedy shows how un-musty a 93-year-old play can be thanks to the adroitly addressed direction of Dan Wackerman and his responsive ensemble...It remains for the many splendid performers and their delivery of Kelly's crisp dialogue to glide over the play's few exposed seams...This is no resurrected trifle, but a well-written and worthy revival of a comedy classic." Full Review

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85
Simon SEEZ

“With leading roles played by the equally outstanding Garofalo, Taylor and Weston, the sad/funny play isn’t the downer you might expect…Neither depressing nor altogether absurdist with its assertively comical tract, ‘Marvin’s Room’ welcomes the gently empowering lift it gets from Kauffman’s unforced direction and from a cast that doesn’t miss a heartbeat of the play’s inherent poignancy or the compulsively funny sick room jokes. Taylor is wonderful.” Full Review

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40
CurtainUp

"The 100 minutes...do exhibit author Perry's flair for writing bits of barbed and brittle repartee. What passes for a plot in which four egregiously underdeveloped characters are put in a progression of queasily predictable situations is otherwise lamentable...Perry, for all his earnestness in the script or in his performance, doesn't give us any clues as to what his four characters see in each other—either romantically or as conduits to a better life." Full Review

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40
CurtainUp

for a previous production "I am surrounded by people laughing their heads off while I sit and wonder why...A lively mainly autobiographical musical comedy...All the participants are kept actively engaged, if not necessarily engaging...The very talented Opel portrays a woman with boundless vim and vigor...Brody's lilting tunes range from clever to crass...This is a show that doesn't pretend to be more than a shallow diversion for those who fantasize about the sexual possibilities and proclivities of middle-aged women." Full Review

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55
CurtainUp

"Incessant flippant chatter is crisply deployed along with archaic social commentary...Going along with the presumption that pretentiously affected acting comes with the territory and with this import, credit is due to the cast and to Ross who has affably and effectively abetted...Notwithstanding the play's relative insignificance, it actually makes a slight and snippy jab at a world of disengaged gentry...A play that is, if nothing less or more, appropriately named." Full Review

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60
CurtainUp

"Borle plays Wonka with exhilarating ferocity. Abetted by a compellingly motivated company...Some transfers from film or book to stage work and some don't. Not so sure this time...What has presumably remained intact is the serviceable, if not quite funny enough, book and the sprightly original score...'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' may not be a golden ticket winner in the musical theater sweepstakes but it does win on its own terms by tickling our imagination." Full Review

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90
Simon SEEZ

“With its lush and melodic score, ‘Miss Saigon’ remains an ambitious and stunningly effective musical even as it also borders on the overwhelming. It has been seamlessly and extravagantly directed for all its sentimental worth by Laurence Connor…It can’t be overstated how beautifully the petite Noblezada, as the doomed Kim, touches us with her sensitive performance and her clearly spun, octave-vaulting soprano voice…An admirable and affecting musical.” Full Review

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70
Simon SEEZ

“Field unquestionably captures and combines the almost heroic stoicism of the Southern ex-belle...Wittrock is better than good…You may surmise that I am less than impressed with the pretentious minimalism that Gold decided to burden a play that needs to float in a sea of clouds and memories...Presumably it was not Gold’s intention to be disrespectful to this sublime play...Whatever was Gold’s motivation, ‘The Glass Menagerie’ will glow forever in the light of its own eternal flame.” Full Review

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85
Simon SEEZ

“A gimmick to be sure...But this production also reaches the heights of horror that some other productions rarely achieve. The director Bill Buckhurst abetted by his two terrific leads and an excellent supporting cast knows how to keep their audience shivering with delight…The effectively reduced orchestration/arrangements still fill our senses with haunting musical treats…A splendid production that will undoubtedly leave you craving for another helping of meat pie and mash.” Full Review

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30
CurtainUp

"Sadly, this production, although imaginatively staged, is neither embraced by a text that is even remotely in synch with its presumed agenda nor is it enhanced by performances that might have effectively answered the call. The acting as a whole is far from awful, but this company has not been guided to express or explore the dark and moody sensuality that made the film or the subsequent stage version so provocative...The overall effect of the experience was close to numbing." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

“Quinn keeps comforting the audience with his light hearted approach to our most pressing dilemmas...Quinn sticks it to us rather mildly but with just enough bite to occasionally make us wince...Quinn has some very funny and astute observations...Quinn paints a portrait of our nation's future that is as warmly caustic as it is harshly comical. Those who have enjoyed and been invigorated by Quinn's perspective in previous shows will assuredly embrace this one.” Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"A tour de force for its players Niall Buggy and David Ganly. It is also a riveting experience for the audience...Completely driven by narrative with no exchange of conversation, the play nevertheless moves on a highly dramatic trajectory...Barry's writing is so beautifully crafted that we overlook the plot's stretch of credibility...You should be going if you want to see two great actors in the kind of challenging and unusual play that you won't easily forget." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

“Five doubling actors make their transitions with surprising ease and ingenuity. More importantly and to our delight, no character in either play is given short shrift...The ensemble does it all...We only have to sit back and marvel at how effortlessly we are being drawn into the co-existing dramas...This is neither a parody nor a patronizing view of these two great plays but rather invests a bit of wit and whimsy into each and into each an equal measure of pain and sorrow." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

“In hands other than those of the Gingold Theatrical Group...of David Staller could be seen as a bit loopy. It is, however, enjoyable, largely due to a troupe of performers who flip the flippant dialogue and the silliest of situations in this anti-war masterpiece on its ear...’Heartbreak House’ remains chock full of explosively funny dialogue and hosts a bevy of feckless characters who woefully define a frivolous society." Full Review

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65
CurtainUp

"Collectively the performers respond with zest and exuberance to director Stephen Brackett and to the modest demands of choreographer Chase Brock. A lengthy and labored Halloween bash, however, gets tiresome pretty quickly...For an audience that can make peace or at least a truce with the predictability of the plot and its resolve, the post rock score and lyrics that may be painful to some adult ears, this musical is smartly awash with teen-speak." Full Review

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75
CurtainUp

“A loud, long, and lively musical...Lyrics are occasionally discernible, and the score is comforting in a way that you would expect from its mixture of new wave and rock. While none of arias either demand...any extended displays of enthusiasm, their interpreters are generally excellent...The book offers us a bevy of seedy, oddly familiar characters...The production generally fulfills its obligation to afford us the glitter of Studio 54 as well as the grimness of wallowing in the ‘Mudd’.” Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

"Williams' narration comes at us at a furious clip and with a dazzling ferocity that could easily make the unprepared a bit dizzy even as it delights the rest of us...The play is at its best in the first half when it celebrates the unlikely attraction of two gifted gay bachelors who couldn't be more different...Whatever the dramatic liberties taken by the playwright, they don't seem so farfetched but are credible and cleverly integrated." Full Review

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60
CurtainUp

"The body of the play, directed with finesse by Liesl Tommy, primarily consists of confrontations that tend toward the pedantic as much as they do toward the patronizing from both women. But a caring corner of the play can also be found in the testy and tentative relationship that exists between Hanneck and David...Unfortunately, hardly any of the feminist blather is either enlightening or incendiary enough to warrant the amount of time allotted to it by the playwright." Full Review

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55
CurtainUp

"Interesting but didactic...Leynse does what he can to keep our interest alive...The play's willingness to keep the three characters talking about the role the artist plays in nurturing and also empowering a nationalistic musical esthetic is, however, not quite enough to satisfy our thirst for more intense drama. It is fascinating to hear how the tune that was to become the Israeli national anthem was found. What hasn't been found is a compelling enough story to tie all the rhetoric together." Full Review

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75
CurtainUp

"The inherent sadness of the situation is an essential part of an eclectic score that is anything but sad in its execution. It's hard to put a label on this very listenable and exciting score...Perhaps a decision was made early on to keep 'Days' contained in an uncluttered musical framework that is uncompromisingly direct in its presentation. Without gilding the lyrics (I wish I could have heard them more distinctly) a little more imagination in the staging wouldn't have hurt." Full Review

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75
CurtainUp

“A play with interesting, well-played characters and a well-structured plot that holds your attention throughout but still doesn't seem to have or make its point with clarity...There is never a dull moment...All the actors have carved out distinct images of very real, if conflicted, people under the fine direction of Patterson. I hope we get to see more from this provocative playwright.” Full Review

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55
Simon SEEZ

“As commendably directed by Kail...the exchanges are all semi-passive, a steady stream of shared and responsive confessionals and quires of a very personal nature...The actors make a concerted effort to not sound like they are reading their epistolary-like text but it doesn’t solve the problem of this being a play without any solidified confrontations...Nevertheless, some very sad stories are revealed and you would have to have a heart of stone to not be moved to some degree.” Full Review

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65
CurtainUp

"A sincere enough revival...Although I enjoyed seeing the contrast in personality that Abramson brings to Davidman's slightly abrasive facade, it is really hard to imagine what sparks could have been ignited between Jack and Joy. Certainly in real-life it must have...Director Christa Scott-Reed does what can be done to keep the protracted predictabilities at bay." Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

"This play, as commendably directed by its author, delves into the dark and repressed areas of human behavior, but with enough funny moments to keep you both off guard and on board…Her complicated and purposely circuitous narrative is delivered glibly by Fraser and with more than enough mysterious detours to keep us wondering where we are being led...With her quirky, scarily quixotic performance, Fraser makes seamless transitions...The payoff will be a stunner." Full Review

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75
CurtainUp

"'Discord' is, when pared downed to its existential essence, nothing more than the title implies...There are laughs aplenty amidst the often stimulating haranguing, especially during the first half...The most highly charged and emotional segments deal with the contradictions in these men's lives and lifestyles that often decry their moral and ethical convictions...The play gets just a tad too dense and less purposefully epigrammatic...A visit with three such egotistical souls has much to offer." Full Review

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40
Simon SEEZ

“In almost every instance, the musical numbers do not reflect the brilliance of their source. Not helping was the very thin sound of the orchestra…The results range from the amiable to the on one occasion lamentable. While each performer can be applauded for making commendable contributions to this revue, not one makes a case for why we don’t need to look back to the original show and its stars…A showcase that has little depth or definition.” Full Review

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80
CurtainUp

“Is it the enigmatic contours and dramatic contrivances, or the in-your-face honesty and coherence of this fine play that keep one riveted to the action?...Hall gives a brilliantly unnerving but essentially convincing performance…Splendidly staged by director Gaye Taylor Upchurch to emphasize the play's need for minimalism…‘Animal’ may be providing a heavy dose of the psychotic. But who will complain when it's being doled out by the terrific Rebecca Hall?” Full Review

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90
Simon SEEZ

"A shining example of the concept musical...The handsome but purposefully spare production has such a delicate yet stirring ambiance that I can’t imagine anyone interested in either Japan or the American musical theater not able to enjoy its riches no matter how reduced as it is now in visual spectacle…The ten members of the ensemble are all top-notch…You can’t ask for more pleasure than to find yourself floating in the middle of the sea with Sondheim, Doyle and company.” Full Review

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40
Simon SEEZ

“It is simply showcase for the beloved performer to strut, parade and pander…Somehow in the back of my mind, I firmly believe that Midler could have come through with a real and unforgettable character had she had the right director. Zaks wasn’t and she didn’t. The supporting cast generally keeps the faith with the melodic Herman score…Choreographer Carlyle has effectively filled many of the most cringe-worthy gaps with obligatory bursts of robust dancing.” Full Review

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85
Simon SEEZ

“A splendidly acted and handsome production…What is gratifying to see is how the initial gripping power of the play is maintained to the end by director Cullman, who seems to have been able to further enhance the playwright’s vision…Even the play’s somewhat disappointing, fragmented denouement and vague dissolve don’t hinder our enjoyment...With obvious relish, the cast is extracting every ounce of innuendo out of the odd, sordid, tragic and even perverse doings." Full Review

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65
CurtainUp

for a previous production "What delighted me the most were the exuberant performances by actors with whom I'm not familiar...The main problem with this precisely directed 'The Play That Goes Wrong' is that we are able anticipate from one moment to the next how and why things are fated to go wrong...It is basically devoid of surprises. That's why I can't say whether you will be satisfied or remain ultimately suspect, as I was...You can, nevertheless, absolutely expect to laugh." Full Review

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75
Simon SEEZ

“An entertaining but also long-winded slice of life...It is to Miller’s credit, as well as to the credit of director Kinney, that this very human but agonizing play succeeds not so much with crafty intensifications but more with its subjective implications…There is an ever-increasing poignancy in Ruffalo’s performance…Kinney has invested this soul-searching play with the patience that it probably deserves even when our patience with its issues wears a bit thin.” Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"It packs a wallop!...The cast is headed by Cuccioli, who is giving one of the finest and most chilling performances of the season...In turn blistering and bracing, the tautly constructed play becomes dramatically radioactive...Don't be afraid to see this blistering play that may actually change your mind as it challenges your well-intentioned motives." Full Review

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85
CurtainUp

"Never morbid, it is surprisingly illuminating and insightful, even revelatory...Sensitively directed by the playwright...I suspect those who are familiar with Eno's plays will find that 'Wakey, Wakey' is his most easily embraced and most deliberately accessible...The press release has this hopeful line: '..there's a chance this will be a really good experience.' It was...and more." Full Review

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70
CurtainUp

"A minor problem with the play's structure is that it's difficult to keep track of the characters' secrets and lies as they slip into and out of their own regrettable past and present selves. Yet director Kira Simring has a firm grip on the action and keeps the cast invested in their unlikable characters. Receptive audiences will find the weird language that Molloy has created fascinating and find themselves unwittingly drawn into the nightmarish scene." Full Review