Tulis McCall

Tulis McCall is a critic with Front Row Center. 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 (227)
Front Row Center

70% "This year’s crop of 'Summer Shorts' is a ho-hum, hum drum sort of an evening. At 'Series B' the evening featured three plays, each with a solid core of an intriguing idea that was then dressed up with too many words and not enough action." Full Review

Life Sucks.
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“The story is Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya,’ but the characters have had the sawdust in their veins replaced with real blood...These characters know exactly where they are...They are here to defend their point of view...An evening of love, longing, and loss...Peppered between those layers are bursts of brilliance, belly laughs...and moves that would put a three-card-monty master to shame...The writing, directing, and acting combine to produce a little slice of heaven.” Full Review

New York Theatre Guide

"It sings. It flies. Leon and his fine cast have imbued the production with a certain style, grace and spirit...Both Brooks and Coleman bring a special understanding to the text, lifting it above the strict confines of the page and turning it into a kind of sweet music...Chuck Cooper turns the poetry into dialogue that is a marvel to the ear. Nearly everyone else follows suit....What did they do to make it so their own? Methinks it is a soupçon of theatre magic." Full Review

Little Women
West Village
Front Row Center

“Retrofitted to within an inch of its life to be relevant for today. The thing is, it was already relevant...The lack of dramatic arc prevents these fine actors from shining. There is little or no inventive direction...Every time Harvey appears, the stage brightens considerably. The singular scene that crackles is the one in which Crane plays a parrot. He is brilliant...In this production, the ties that bind are loose. Just as this play is loosely based on the novel." Full Review

Proof of Love
West Village
Front Row Center

“Well, this show may be many things, but ‘Proof of Love’ it surely is not. To be completely honest, I cannot tell where the problem rests - there is plenty of problem to spread around...Pressley plays pretty much one note - a sort of maudlin condition - for most of the 70 minutes she is with us. So consistent is her tone that this must have been the wish of...Hutchinson, as well as...Carroll...The result is that the pace and tone are like the blips on a hospital monitor. Repetitive and monoto... Full Review

Passage
Soho/Tribeca
Front Row Center

“A great big Nothing Burger. It is, however, presented by some top-notch actors. Thus, what could be a disaster of an evening remains afloat,..Has the feel of a spiritual seminar...This is a supremely well-intentioned piece...With ‘Passage’ Chen swaps out specificity for generalities, details for philosophy, and emotions for platitudes. It ends up being a singularly uninteresting event – despite the intentions of the author and the fine work of this cast.” Full Review

Link Link Circus
Upper E Side
Front Row Center

"She is voracious and insistent. And because this is her passion, she has little trouble passing on the passion to us. What gets in the way is everything else. The evening is basically a dissertation defense and as such is fascinating. The addition of props, a puppeteer and especially her dog, Pan, is not only unnecessary, but it is distracting...She is an utterly charming presence on the stage. She can afford to keep it simple." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Not a lighthearted romp. It is, as the title suggests, a recital of, well, 17 border crossings...Phillips is a skilled storyteller. Combined with the superb lighting...these crossings crackle with life. This does not stop the evening from tumbling into a blur of borders, however, because there is no connective tissue. There is no chronological order, no itinerary, and no reason given for why Phillips has been bouncing around the world for the past 18 or so years.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Fish has dusted off the original musical to reveal the skeleton of danger and the wind of tenacity...Everyone wears their hearts on their sleeves and serenades us in a countrified way...Each is in beautiful sync with the modest string orchestra...In the end, this will not be what you expected, but you may find yourself connected to these folks in a way you did not foresee. It is a bit of a theatrical ambush.” Full Review

Ain't No Mo'
East Village
Front Row Center

"The play plus the demographics conspire to make a person aware of exactly where they fall on the color spectrum – and this is the first of many good reasons why you want to get your butt over to Lafayette Street now...Cooper has set up eight scenes that flash back and forth in time. The speed with which these scenes are delivered is dizzying – this is the point. Do not try and hold on. Do not try and make sense." Full Review

Daddy
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"Harris refers to this play as a melodrama. It is complete with exaggerated events and characters. It is also, however, compelling. There is a sort of electricity that these actors create – this is a superb ensemble – and Dany Taymor‘s direction deftly moves our attention...We are never left to wonder where to focus, and we are too engaged to ask why...We are on a rollercoaster ride directly through the souls of these characters...Well done. Well done indeed." Full Review

Front Row Center

“While this production lacks snap-crackle and pop, there is a foundation of purity, of truth...By giving us the tale in Yiddish, Grey and this company make us listen in ways for which we are unprepared. The sound of language opens more than the ears. It opens the heart...Ultimately this production works for mysterious reasons. The language is the loom on which the tapestry is created. We are lured in without knowing it.” Full Review

Sea Wall/A Life
East Village
Front Row Center

"In the latter there are a few laughs well-played by Gyllenhaal, but on the whole, it is a gloomy evening...In many ways this is a brave piece that compels us to watch, the way that videos go viral, or crowds gather to watch a fire. Except here the actual event is the man himself...Each of these might be compelling as short stories. Might be. I am not certain I would get through them, however, because there is not enough meat on these bones to keep me interested." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Dano is not up to the task...Hawke is more capable and takes command of everything pretty much from the get go. The imbalance is astonishing...People will go to see Hawke, and there are moments when he does not disappoint. He is an actor who loves adventure, and that commitment is infectious...He will try anything – and that puts us on notice...As for there rest – it was all Sturm und Drang...In a word, boring.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“In this trio of plays...Everyone is pretty much unlikable...Each play is built around good intention, but...not enough to pave the road to a riveting piece of theatre...'‘The Fourth Reich:’...Not only was the text going nowhere, but the intended recipient was unknown...’Great Negro Works of Art’...Not a new idea but it could have been...’Unlikely Japan:’...Lacks gravitas and becomes a ho-hum...All in all a great set of intentions that fail to lift up off the page.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"A play that will stay with you...Demos-Brown has written a play that takes a pick-axe to our identity as a country...Washington and Pasquale take on the challenge of performing mutual open heart surgery on one another...Leon’s use of silence and simplicity fuels the raw situation better than any stormy display could.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“This is a comedy in so many ways...In addition there are a few intimate scenes that let us in on the closets these characters keep stocked with secrets and intrigue. These could be caricatures, but the authors avoid that trap...While setting out with excellent intention, the play runs off the rails about half way in...There is no crescendo that spikes our interest or the characters’ willingness to go all in. That is unfortunate because these three actors are up to the task.” Full Review

The Ferryman (NYC)
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"This brilliant production...This is not so much a play as it is a communal aria. The writing is choral. The characters move in and out like wild folk dancers slipping in and out of the light. Each of the performances is crafted to perfection, and Sam Mendes direction insures that everyone has their spotlight and their glowing place by the hearth in rotation...Butterworth knits characters into characters, then into stories...then into worlds that are larger than the stage that holds them." Full Review

Sakina’s Restaurant
West Village
Front Row Center

“There is a lot of yes, yes, yes as we empathize with these characters’ journeys. There is not, however, some specific element that ties them all together...Although Mandvi is a mercurial actor, sincere and possession a kind of innocence that you cannot fake, he never transcends the sadness of the material...He makes the cardinal error of repeating the lines of the unseen characters so that we can understand what is going on. This is a fantastically unnecessary element.” Full Review

Front Row Center

for a previous production “A souped up TED TalK...An excellent and passionate argument in favor of the Constitution...Schreck is so adept and facile that we are willing to follow her...There are odd, unneeded elements included in this production...Iveson is given the thankless task of fulfilling the part of the contest moderator...Also not needed is the debate with a high school student...All in all, Schreck’s is an electric presentation. One only wishes she would be presenting it for a joint session of Congress.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“One of those once-in-a-lifetime productions...The story by McPherson could not be more simple...Extraordinary cast...These are songs that you have never heard before even if you have heard them before. The arrangements and these voices seem to pull the lyrics down from the rafters and weave them into story...The panoply of events rolls out with excruciating detail and slowly seeps over the footlights into your core.” Full Review

My Life on a Diet
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“If Taylor becomes any more charming, hilarious and in possession of laser-like timing, she will have to be arrested because there is only so much perfection that the rest of us can stand...She does not disappoint...The anecdotes that make up her life are nearly unbelievable...Behind the leopard print...lives a magnificent woman who is choosing to tell her story to us. She sits. She reads. She makes us scream and howl. And she breaks our collective hearts – just a little.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“This play is operatic. The writing itself is unexceptional, and the plot lines that crisscross the stage are predictable. But the towering set...serves to lift the tale up and let it float in thin air. There are majestic themes at play here...Not a remarkable play, but one that benefits from the sum of its parts, and one that shines the light on a past swept out of sight for way too long. Bravo for that." Full Review

Little Rock
East Village
Front Row Center

“There is a lightness and frivolity that dominates this play that is out of keeping with the story...The script doles out incident after incident while the projections attempt to show the protesters and their signs that screamed segregation. None of this is convincing or particularly daring...In addition, we are missing why and how this situation happened to begin with...This story is an important one. Kudos to Maharaj for making a run at this. Too bad he wasn’t willing to scratch below the ... Full Review

Front Row Center

“The entire evening is tailored and tweaked to show off the talent assembled. And the audience was appreciative in the extreme from the start...Spectacular voices that blended and soared seamlessly. So seamlessly that within a few minutes they started to sound alike...The music begins to sound like it was a soundtrack for a movie. Not that this is a bad thing – it is just on the dull side. The standout performance, to my mind, was Shoshana Bean." Full Review

Rinse, Repeat
Midtown W
Front Row Center

75% "The topic here is one no one wants to talk about because it is elusive: eating disorders. In this case it is anorexia. Feraud takes the topic in hand and eventually sweeps us into the confusion and bewilderment that traps people afflicted with this disorder." Full Review

Toni Stone
Midtown W
New York Theatre Guide

“Lydia R. Diamond has created a mesmerizing narrative overlaid onto the rhythm that is baseball...Her writing, combined with the supple choreography of Camille A. Brown, the guidance of Pam MacKinnon, and a cast delivered from heaven creates a quiet play that soars like an opera...This is a trifecta of great theatre - a good script, direction that pays attention to detail, and a fine cast...An evening of hope and inspiration combined with just the right amount of remonstrance." Full Review

Front Row Center

“McDonald and her smashing co-star Michael Shannon perform a pas de deux that is perfection. McDonald’s outbursts are nothing short of an aria. Positively inspirational. Not to mention hilarious...McNally has bestowed a grace on these two lunatics. It is as if once they enter the arena, they are exposed to a kind of magic that engulfs them...Arbus's direction releases just the right amount of lunacy in these characters so that they end up willing to leap off the cliff of ‘possible.’” Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
Front Row Center

“’Happy Talk’...plays tricks with our perception - and it takes a long, long time to get where it is going...The performances are all quite fine. Some are more rounded than others, but this is due to the writing that often feels tentative. No one person dominates the story...The result is that this play travels along its sad path until it reaches the climax, where a touch of dastardly is thrown in...Nothing is really resolved. The play just ends...We all leave...wondering what we just watched.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“I rarely cannot find a place to start, but this production is so slippery that it keeps wiggling out of my hands. It doesn’t get far...because like so many of the victims that are piled high on the stage, it is missing ambulatory appendages that will take it anywhere...I cannot say with certainty what the play is about...In the end we have no idea what we have watched or why...If you have money to burn and are in the mood for mildly entertaining without a scoche of sense – you need look no f... Full Review

Caroline's Kitchen
Midtown E
Front Row Center

"Torben Betts has taken British Farce and put it a crash diet of steroids. Not a good idea for any of us...Betts has thrown everything into this stew without discriminating. And unlike a good old farce there is no unraveling of story paths that will surprise or delight because we see everything coming a mile away, drip by drip...The cast has little chance to craft much of a performance and instead spend their time gasping and mugging from point A to point B and back again." Full Review

Front Row Center

“Spend your time and money elsewhere. ‘The Pain Of My Belligerence’ is one of those shows that will stick to the bottom of your shoe no matter what you do...In spite of everyone's best efforts - there is nothing to be done for this production because the script never delivers...The best thing that can be said for this show that it drives people to the nearest bar.” Full Review

I Carry Your Heart
Midtown E
Front Row Center

"The play concludes so abruptly that it takes an usher clapping to let us know we are done. Odd. As it is, Kelly goes wide, not deep. The actors are not given much of a chance to spread their wings because the text keeps them grounded...As to the direction – Cate Caplin keeps everything moving along without incident. All in all, this is a noble gesture that had some in the audience rapt. It is certainly a subject that could use more than one light on it. So bravo for that." Full Review

Front Row Center

“This author chose to explore none of the fun, little of the danger, and all of the drab and dull. So much so that I DID feel anger...This play is a one trick pony that runs out of steam before it gets started...The actors all acquit themselves admirably...But I do feel anger. There is no story...To stretch it out into a full length play was an ambitious undertaking. But much more meat is needed on those bones in order to sustain the journey...Even the conclusion left us all baffled.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"A musical that carries its own weight. It is a fully formed old fashioned extravaganza of a musical that sweeps you up into its arms and carries you off. Especially when the cast is lead by the gracious and skilled O’Hara. She opens her mouth and you swear you can hear the angels singing...Chase comes from behind and catches up to her at the finish line for a surprising and perfect conclusion. This is a jaunty piece of theatre that aims no higher than your heart and scores a direct hit." Full Review

Marys Seacole
Upper W Side
Front Row Center

"These six Marys come together to weave a wild tapestry that shatters the normal ideas of story-telling...As Mary, Bernstine sparkles...The movement is fluid, and once we get over the first transition we are in lockstep...This extraordinary cast, brilliantly directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, delivers the goods that Drury created. It is a majestic piece of work that takes no prisoners. Pay attention or get left behind. This is the style of the play and the lasting echo that follows you out the d... Full Review

Front Row Center

“A well intentioned play that never lands in one spot. We hear about Vera’s struggles in a way that is more a litany than a gut punch...We never get into the heart of this woman. Nottage is taking wide swaths through this territory and covers a lot of ground. But in the end it feels more like a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We see it but we don’t feel it. Everyone is a caricature and the beating hearts that keep them alive never surface.” Full Review

On Blueberry Hill
Midtown E
Front Row Center

“The story of ‘On Blueberry Hill’ is out of the box. One of those what if, and also what if, and then what if THAT...These are tales of deep sorrow and joy told in the plain language of facts...Both these actors are accomplished storytellers. They know how to paint with words...The story flags a teeny bit as we come round the bend, but in the end it picks itself up and leaps off the edge of the chasm. These two fine actors let their characters fly – and take us with them. Bravo Big Time.” Full Review

Red State Blue State
West Village
Front Row Center

“Although Quinn disparages most of the immediate world, he does it with a light touch. He also repurposes and recycles his material, and makes it work...Quinn understands that we are walking around with blinders on, and he does not condemn us for that. Instead he steps into our field of vision and makes it impossible to look away. Quinn makes you smile as you squirm. Quinn is a comedian who sticks to your ribs. Bravo.” Full Review

Downstairs
West Village
Front Row Center

"I have always been a fan of Theresa Rebeck. She has the ability to knit together fully formed characters and lock them together like small tidal waves...The pacing is nearly Hitchcock. The characters are set up and delivered by each of the actors with sensitivity and restraint...Under the skillful direction of Campbell-Holt, and aided by the brilliant set design by Narelle Sissons, this play brings home the goods. This is a play that gets under your skin for all the right reasons." Full Review

Thunderbodies
Soho/Tribeca
Front Row Center

“I understand that this is satire...And it is supposed to be funny – the lines indicate this even if the actual staging does not make it so. But for me, satire is usually connected to something...There was none of that here. Just a group of willing actors going through the motion and promising to catch one another as they flew through the air. They do, and everyone ends safely on their feet. Why it all happened, and why we sat and watched it – well that is the mystery.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"Although it is a sad slide, watching May navigate the splotchy fading verbal path down which her Gladys Green is careening is a thing of rare and exquisite beauty...Lonergan‘s dialogue has a beautiful rhythm to it...The plot, however, lands with a thud...The family is beyond slow on the uptake, and the presence of Don is without purpose...Still, May is the real deal and worth the trip. You will not forget watching her make magic." Full Review

Mother of the Maid
East Village
Front Row Center

“Not only is the plot wanting, the writing is stiff and uneven. One minute it sounds vaguely 15th century and the next minute we are hearing phrases like, ‘check this out’, and, ‘I’ve got it covered’...In addition, the characters are not clearly defined. Close swings like a pendulum...She has no clear path in this play, and because she is the fulcrum, the play is out of balance. The result...is an altogether pedestrian production that cannot decide what it is or why.” Full Review

On Beckett
Chelsea
Front Row Center

“'On Beckett,' with the marvelous Bill Irwin, is, as the title suggests, a talk and a performance. With a bit of tweaking it could be a TED Talk. And a mighty good one...Irwin is not only earnest, he is mercurial. A dollop of him performing goes a long way in explaining Beckett...I know more than I did about Samuel Beckett – more than I even knew I could know. But most of all I got to spend 85 minutes with Bill Irwin, which may be the true gift in all of this.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“McTeer is quite, quite wonderful. Period. She is mercurial and thoughtful. She conveys the feeling that she is looking for just the right word to say, and that she herself is not certain what that might be. She keeps you on alert...Less satisfying is the play...What is lacking is a strong plot, a reason to move forward, something that raises the stakes. This is not easy in a biographical drama...And because of this McTeer never makes the leap into the Bernhardt that everyone is discussing.” Full Review

Front Row Center

“I cannot muster up any enthusiasm for this production...The return of Sanders and DeVries is a welcome addition as both men give exceptional performances. This is a Vanya you will feel in your gut and an Alexánder who’s narcissism fits him like a tailored suit…At the center of this disappointment is the script...It takes Sanders and DeVries every ounce of their skills to light a match under this text, but so soggy is the writing that the flame fizzles out as soon as either leaves the stage.” Full Review

Less Than 50%
Midtown E
Front Row Center

"'Less Than 50%' is a distraction and, unfortunately, not much more...It is not remarkable in any particular way...On the plus side Soresi is a talented performer who is eager to try and try and try. He is often a pleasure to watch. Ditto Hannah Hale who is the actor playing the real Laura. They are both charming and talented actors and I look forward to seeing them again sometime in a play that is not defying gravity as well as logic." Full Review

Front Row Center

“One of those shows that, when it concludes you automatically think back to where it started and trace the path. You don’t notice the path...because you are having so good a time...Birbiglia sends us into the stratosphere howling at his observations, and brings us to a full stop when he wants to drop deeper into what it means to be a man on the verge of changing his life forever. He examines all of it. And going along for the ride is an experience not to be missed.” Full Review

Mary Page Marlowe
Midtown W
Front Row Center

"Each scene in this play (and the scenes are not chronological) brings with it one or two little pilot lights that stay with you. They do not, however, connect to one another. Nor do they ever accumulate into a fire. They never have the chance. We are pulled from one time and space to another, and just as something begins to simmer, the scene ends and the next begins." Full Review

Cyprus Avenue
East Village
Front Row Center

"Ireland is an extraordinary writer. And the word needs to make it off the page like a foal getting up on its legs. For that you need an actor who is a chemist, a chameleon, and a magician. Rea is all of that and more. Then you need a director who intuits how best to guide such a performer...Featherstone appears to be such a person…A master class in the art of acting...This is the magic that is theatre. This is the transformation that theatre promises staring you in the face." Full Review