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 (124)
CurtainUp

"How did we survive this long interval without Alessandrini's insightful satirizing and inspired spoofing of Broadway shows both current and on occasion recent past? This corner welcomes it back as it again demonstrates that it has what it takes to mock the mediocre even as it also joyously celebrates the parodic life upon the wicked stage." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Jeremy O. Harris's uncompromising, graphic, sexually explicit play. . . Without singling any of the actors out, they all appear totally immersed in their roles. All perform their purposefully offensive caricatured roles with comedic brilliance. In the second act, we see them as they are, as real people, amusingly." Full Review

runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
East Village
CurtainUp

"The latest addition to Mfoniso Udofia’s unquestionably compelling cycle of plays..." Full Review

Toni Stone
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"If the writing was a bit sharper and contained more melodramatic juice, the viewer's attention wouldn't wane as it does toward the play's quiet resolve. As for the cast...in spite of having to sort out the characters that Stone interacts with along the way, all the supporting actors are excellent and their characters impressively individualized. Most individualized of all is Stone who, through Matthis' spot-on-performance, hits the winning run, even when all the bases aren't loaded." Full Review

CurtainUp

"Chris Dwan, an endearingly rubber-faced and agile young performer is a pleasure to watch and root for...Unlike many a new musical, all the songs are tuneful and typical of a passé genre in the best way...The costumes by Tyler M. Holland are mostly a hoot while the lighting by Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz contribute to make 'Enter Laughing' a wonderful mix of old-fashioned musical comedy, fantasy and honesty." Full Review

CurtainUp

“The play which premiered at the Humana Festival last season isn't perfect, but its flaw — mainly in flailing its message a bit too relentlessly — is more than neutralized by the sheer audacity of the writing. Also notable is the excellence of the performers who are all extraordinarily adept at defining their seriously fractured characters...The play is fueled by a flow of dialogue so rapid that it rattles the brain as well as the ear.” Full Review

Simon SEEZ

"What Sean O’Casey’s political tragicomedy 'Juno and the Paycock' lacks in plot, it makes up for in characterization. Under Neil Pepe’s splendid direction for the Irish Repertory Theatre, characterization gets its due...It remains for the virtuosity of O’Casey’s writing to take us from boisterous comedy to dispiriting situations, to tragic results, and yet leave us with a sense of the heroic." Full Review

Superhero
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"This musical...does have a message, it just takes a while to complete all its cycles...Baldwin brings both dramatic and musical heft with her glorious singing of Charlotte's arias that have to do with her attempt be the emotional and practical support that Simon needs...Overall, this musical has quite a few nice moments but they are just not quite super enough to insure its success." Full Review

Mies Julie
East Village
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

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

The Hard Problem
Upper W Side
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

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

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

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

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

The Gentleman Caller
West Village
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

Relevance
West Village
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

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

Hundred Days
East Village
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

Muswell Hill
Midtown W
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

Tiny Beautiful Things
East Village
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

Shadowlands
Midtown W
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

Squeamish
Midtown W
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

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

Prince of Broadway
Midtown W
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

The Rose Tattoo
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"What this production makes all too clear is that it takes more than just the vigor of two splendid actors to give it the outrageously over-the-top life that it needs and deserves." Full Review

Dublin Carol
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"It was inevitable that Conor McPherson's morose but incisively impassioned one-act play would find its way to the Irish Repertory Theatre. Here it is receiving as polished and vivid a production under the direction of Ciaran O'Reilly as one would want." Full Review

Little Gem
Chelsea
CurtainUp

"Elaine Murphy guides her fictional characters through the play with a prescribed sentimentality but it rings true to life in a very engaging way. The progression of time for them is charged by their irrepressible honesty and through unapologetically personal feelings, many of which are consigned to overlap the needs and longing of the other." Full Review

CurtainUp

"'Frankie and Johnny' tries so hard to delight us with uncompromised frankness and cleverness and moment-to-moment unpredictability that it begins to spin out of control and out of our willingness to give a hoot. The biggest obstacle this production has about two ordinary people is that neither McDonald nor Shannon can alter the fact that they are not ordinary but rather extraordinary actors simply having a good time romp." Full Review

Benny & Joon
Millburn
CurtainUp

"Except for a few minor additions and alternations, the book by Kirsten Guenther is respectful of its source. Audiences unfamiliar with the film will need time to adjust to the collaborators' deliberately soft-peddle approach to the material. Thanks to a delightfully quirky performance by Bryce Pinkham, the musical achieves most of its goal as an affecting oddity...The always affable score adds appreciably to the romance set in motion by the needs of two scarred and scared people." Full Review

CurtainUp

“It is neither the best nor the worst in this genre...’Ain't Too Proud’ has that been-there-done-that veneer that diminishes the uniqueness that distinguished the group...No less than thirty-one Motown songs are performed with a slick and polished vigor but only rarely in their entirety, a decision that gives short shrift to some of the best of them...There is no lack of memorable performances...A show that otherwise leaves us invigorated if not quite breathless.” Full Review

CurtainUp

“A play that is far from ready for the stage. There may be something really funny hidden deep beneath the rash of frenetic antics and the kind of acting...referred to as scenery chewing. But these flaws only compound the play's problems. It's obvious from the first scene that Dehnert does not fully trust the material so she has the actors do everything bigger, faster and louder...Is this play salvageable? Yes, with help of a tough and committed dramaturg." Full Review

Boesman and Lena
Midtown W
CurtainUp

"That 'Boesman and Lena' tested my endurance is not necessarily a complaint as the drama itself is purposefully calculated to do just that...Fugard's characters in general are known for lengthy speeches that tend toward the extraordinarily lyrical and colorful. Some of this becomes wearying even as we marvel at their stamina. But it's also poignantly relevant as we identify with their plight." Full Review

Red State Blue State
West Village
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

On Blueberry Hill
Midtown E
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

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

Heartbreak House
Midtown W
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

Fern Hill
Midtown E
CurtainUp

for a previous production "Six seasoned actors are playing six seasoned characters in Michael Tucker's grievously under-seasoned play 'Fern Hill.' ...Would that we would experience more than the one slightly unsettling revelation and more than a few predictable resolutions." Full Review

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

Log Cabin
Midtown W
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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Roses, Green Gold
West Village
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

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

The Show-Off
Midtown W
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

Marvin's Room
Midtown W
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