Wendy Caster

Wendy Caster is a critic with Show Showdown. 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 (91)
Mac Beth
Upper E Side
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for a previous production “The amazing Red Bull Production...An excellent--no, brilliant--idea...Although virtually all of the words are Shakespeare's, ‘Mac Beth’ also focuses on the lives of contemporary teenage girls and the fervor of their emotions and loyalties...Schmidt directs ‘Mac Beth’ as a whirlwind of a show; it is always compelling, frequently funny, and occasionally chilling. The cast of young women is astonishingly good...The show is downright thrilling when the parts coalesce.” Full Review

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for a previous production "Although playwright Elise Forier Edie, herself the parent of a trans child, occasionally leans toward 'transgender 101' in 'Pink Unicorn,' she also fills the play with love and compassion and knowledge and an important sense of the grays in which most people live, rather than the blacks and whites of the doctrinaire and the haters. Edie is most fortunate in having Amy E. Jones as her director and, particularly, Alice Ripley as Trish." Full Review

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“While the worst men are incredibly sleazy, the worst women are incredibly stupid...Feiffer spends 80 interminable, tedious, painful minutes demonstrating this point...Even the patriarchy deserves fairer representation than this boring, unpleasant play...Feiffer’s acting is moderately better than her writing...Yuki is beautifully played by Kai, who brings way more class to the show than it deserves...I have rarely hated a play as actively and deeply as I hated this one.” Full Review

The Cradle Will Rock
East Village
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"There is no doubt that it is an important work. It is also dull. John Doyle's direction uses cutesy devices to try to liven up the evening, but he can't fight the reality that 90 minutes of in-your-face lecturing set to non-melodious music is a slog...The cast is excellent. It is a treat to hear their beautiful unmiked voices." Full Review

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"While parts of it are familiar to anyone who has ever worried about her looks, the play is also something new, in turns thrilling, touching, and funny...As an old-ish white woman who has seen thousands of shows, I am thrilled to be challenged and entertained and broadened by writers such as Sampson and directors such as Leah C. Gardiner." Full Review

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"Even at only 90 minutes, it is repetitive and slow. Nevertheless, it is also quite involving. I found myself rooting against my own beliefs because Baker does such an excellent job at showing the roots and honor of other people's beliefs. As always, the Mint production is top-notch and well-directed, although there are two dance numbers that are just wrong." Full Review

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“It's really good...Heckerling made a series of smart decisions in bringing her funny-yet-heartfelt movie to the stage. The first was using well-known 90's songs, to which she added sharp, funny lyrics. The familiar melodies establish the time period perfectly...The second...was to be true to the original movie...Hanggi's direction is well-paced and -focused. She balances the silliness and meaning perfectly. Hanggi's choreography is energetic, playful, and great fun...Cameron is perfect as Ch... Full Review

The Tricky Part
Midtown W
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"The writing and performance are amazing. Moran speaks to us personally, confiding in us his deepest wounds as though we are each alone his closest friend. The show is impeccable. But I find the idea of the show troubling. And odd. What is it in a person that motivates him to tell this deeply personal and painful story over and over to rooms of strangers all around the world? What does it feel like?" Full Review

Inner Voices 2018
Midtown W
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“’Inner Voices 2018’, display a remarkable range of styles, voices, and content. Two are terrific...’Window Treatment’, is stuffed full of psychological insight and humor. Alvin's performance makes the most of her amazing voice, excellent acting, and heartfelt clowning....’The Costume’...features a young boy who is facing challenges...The show allows us to experience moments of growth in the boy's development with a gentle, lovely touch...’Scaffolding’ is the one I found least successful.” Full Review

Goodbody
Midtown E
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“A fabulous premise...Unfortunately, ‘Goodbody’ loses steam as the evening progresses...Ernst attempts the violent insanity of a McDonagh or Tarantino, but the humor isn't funny enough, the suspense isn't suspenseful enough, and the insanity isn't insane enough...There are genuinely funny moments and some of the suspense works well...‘Goodbody’ is never boring. But it just doesn't have the build and tension it needs to fulfill the promise of its premise.” Full Review

Holy Ghosts
Chelsea
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“The show is about 80% exposition/story-telling, but it works, beautifully...I worked on the last NY production of ‘Holy Ghosts,’ 40 years ago. I was quite impressed with the show, but...it had a major flaw. It turns out that play holds up very well--and this production actually fixes the flaw...Jones gets credit for the fix and for directing a smooth, clear, touching production that builds nicely and convincingly...The excellent cast is anchored by a strong and subtle performance by Palmer.” Full Review

The Emperor
Brooklyn
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“More like a magazine story brought to life than an actual play, ‘The Emperor’ still has much going for it, the main things being the performances of the protean and ever-fascinating Hunter and the music...‘The Emperor’ weaves a vivid tapestry around a Selassie-shaped void. While he is not in the show per se, Selassie's effect, affect, and whims are everywhere...Has a limited point of view...No plot, story line, or arc...Has no conflict itself...But it did motivate me to learn more.” Full Review

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"Only a few of the characters are fleshed out; the others are mouthpieces rather than people...In a show where the audience is receiving information through many channels, the direction sometimes fails to make sure the information is received...'I Was Most Alive With You' is turbulent and tiring without being affecting. The characters are thin. The plot is awkward. The play keeps telling us that it's significant without letting us feel the significance." Full Review

Days to Come
Midtown W
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"I usually think of Hellman's work as tightly plotted and smoothly structured; 'Days to Come' is neither...While the plot focuses on how a strike at a brush-making firm affects the small town where it occurs, the show also has a lot to say about relationships, money, family secrets, how to live a worthwhile life...The result is somehow both too flabby and too thin, but still compelling. Hellman's point of view is not simple, and it is that complexity that makes the play worthwhile." Full Review

Heist!
Greenwich V
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"The basics are there: decent plot, some good songs, a strong sense of what is being spoofed...McBride keeps the piece moving along at a perfect clip and helps his performers find that silly-musical-comedy sweet spot of overacting just the right amount...The music is somewhat generic, which is fine for a spoof, but it would have been nice to have a little more individuality...The cast is also quite strong, with some excellent voices and dancing...A silly, entertaining, fun evening." Full Review

Show Showdown

“Petosa chose to present this piece as Story-Theatre-Meets-'Godspell,' with red noses, zooming shopping carts, and other cheerful accouterments. Much of this direction worked...but it didn't quite fit with the stories being told. Another problem is that some of the performers just aren't up to the high-level singing and acting required...Yet there is much here that is worthwhile...Brecht's writing is razor-sharp, insightful...And the cast does acquit itself well on many pieces." Full Review

Log Cabin
Midtown W
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"Harrison's annoyingly didactic 'Log Cabin' presents characters who come across as op-ed essays rather than humans...A good 95% of what these people say is pedantic, and even intra-couple squabbling is forced to represent some point or other rather than being specific and personal...There are some funny lines; some of the performers are quite good; the show is rarely boring. But it is mediocre at best." Full Review

Conflict
Midtown W
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“A beautiful production of a lost gem of a play, complete with smart and clear direction, wonderful performances, and impeccable design...The plot acts as a delivery system for fascinating character portraits, intriguing debates about capitalism versus socialism, and a sympathetic, multidimensional depiction of a woman who chooses to live her life on her own terms. ‘Conflict’ is by turns charming, infuriating, touching, thought-provoking,and funny...The performance of Beck stands out." Full Review

Desperate Measures
Midtown W
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"Sometimes an old-fashioned, well-done, energetic, deeply silly musical is the perfect way to spend an evening…Shows of this sort live and die by the direction and performances, and both are swell. Castellino paces the show perfectly, and the cast throw themselves whole-heartedly into the crazy goings-on…Beside their comic talents, they all sing beautifully…As a woman in the lobby after the show summed up, 'You may get here grumpy, but you won't leave grumpy'." Full Review

This Is Modern Art
East Village
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“Compelling, thought-provoking, sometimes funny, and often sweet. The writing is subtle and smart; the direction is creative and smooth; and the acting is excellent...Necessary and important...Fascinating and exciting. And their painting of the actual piece is beautifully depicted...I also love shows that give us complex, real people dealing with complex, real lives--and that do all of the above really, really well. Simply put, this is a must-see.” Full Review

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"It is an unstoppable joy machine...Bernadette Peters plays Dolly, and it raises the show a whole level up. I don't think she's a great actress, but she's warm and likable, and I love her voice...Peters sings the role beautifully, if carefully...Victor Garber also raises the show a level...Also, Garber and Peters have actual chemistry, which gives the show an emotional core...'Hello Dolly' is also a complete delight just to look at." Full Review

The Sea Concerto
Midtown W
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“Schulenburg's writing, as always, is lyrical, heartfelt, and compassionate. Heather Cohn and Kelly O’Donnell's direction is, as always, clear, smooth, and creative. The production values, as always, are high...The ensemble of actors is strong; in particular, Allen shines as Eric...Overall, ‘The Sea Concerto’ is excellent, especially the second act...It's well worth seeing...Compelling, moving, and thought-provoking...The story line unusual, the stakes high. I cared. A lot.” Full Review

Unexpected Joy
Midtown E
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"Pulses with energy, love, humor, and compassion...Lacks chorus, dances, and big numbers yet is completely full and satisfying...Russell and Hood are extremely well-served by Corcoran, who directs with clarity and rhythm...Amazing cast...All four women have beautiful voices, and their different personalities and styles mesh perfectly...While the band...is small, its sound is big...They truly rock...Deserves a nice long run." Full Review

The Metromaniacs
Midtown W
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"I could rave about the writing (joyfully wonderful and silly rhymes by David Ives) or the acting (from a strong, talented, attractive ensemble) or the design (charming) or the direction (calibrated perfectly by Michael Kahn). But what I want to say is this: If you're looking for a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying evening in the theater, go see 'The Metromaniacs.'" Full Review

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"In the current, elegant Broadway production, directed by Joe Mantello, the three women are played superbly...Both devastating and funny as it examines love, motherhood, marriage, life, and death. The show is surprisingly compassionate. 'Three Tall Women' could easily have been Albee's revenge on his mother, yet he takes a kinder, more complex approach. I believe it is this compassion that makes the play as hard-hitting and excellent as it is." Full Review

Happy Talk
Midtown W
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"The ideas and the situation are intriguing, and there is humor and insight in the telling. But, at least here, its good points are eclipsed by its problems...Rather than peeling the onion to get deeper into the story and people's psyches, it switches onions a few times and even throws in an apple and an orange...The tone of the play pivots without logic; and the pay off is bizarre and unconvincing...And then there's the direction of Scott Elliot. He lets Sarandon flounder." Full Review

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"'Caroline' is not an easy show to do. It requires a first-class cast and a director with a sure hand. In the APAC production, it has both, along with a small but excellent band and solid production values...Bondarin goes to the heart of a show, understands it on all levels, and honors the work by presenting it in its best light. I saw 'Caroline, or Change' both Off-Broadway and on, and thanks to Bondarin and everyone else involved, this production is every bit as amazing." Full Review

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“Jackson was great fun, but, really, 'Lear' shouldn't be great fun. I respected and enjoyed her performance, but she didn't touch me...What play was everybody in? Some seemed to be in Shakespeare's actual Lear; some...in a star-turn Lear; some...in a satire of Lear; and still others seemed to be in a college version...This is not the first time I've seen such a distinguished cast end up in such a jambalaya of a classic.” Full Review

The White Devil
West Village
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"The plot is as confusing as an episode of 'Game of Thrones' and not dissimilar in mood. The largely well-acted production moves along swiftly, and I suspect that Webster would be most pleased." Full Review

Operating Systems
Lower E Side
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“‘Operating Systems’ features...Schulenburg's signature traits: intelligence, heart, and compassion. Unfortunately, the characters come across as idea-delivery-systems rather than as dimensional people...Many of the ideas came across as political correctness rather than human complexity...The script reads funnier than the performance...It's hard to tell if that was a problem of direction, timing, enunciation." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Author Mallon writes by the numbers, but she does so competently and with feeling. Richard Masur's performance as Bernard is also by the numbers, but he's a skillful, likable actor and it works...I don't mean to damn with faint praise here. 'The Net Will Appear' is a nice, old-fashioned evening in the theatre, and Richard Masur's performance alone is worth the low-priced ticket. It is what it is, and it's a solid version thereof." Full Review

Noura
Midtown W
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“I expected to like ‘Noura’...I knew it was about a Christian Iraqi family living in the US, which I found intriguing, and that it delves into assimilation and loss, individualism versus community, and lies and secrets, topics that are endlessly delve-able. In addition, it riffs on ‘A Doll's House’...As the play unfolded, I found I had questions...’What is this play about, anyway?’ ‘And why should I care?’...There may be more to it than I perceived." Full Review

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“FastHorse's wonderful new comedy....FastHorse winds up these characters and lets them bump into each other. The results are hilarious, with pointed political humor and plain silly comedy...The show is stolen by Seibert...Seibert luxuriates in the character, with wide-eyed self-confidence and joyous empty-headed-ness...In a time when a lot of liberal people are losing their senses of humor, FastHorse's play is a real gift.” Full Review

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"Damn close to perfect. Garry Hynes's meticulous direction exquisitely balances the pain and humor of Beckett's heartbreakingly funny play...'Godot' hits particularly hard this time around, with the rich bully Pozzo, full of bluster and in desperate need of constant flattery, being a scarily effective stand-in for our 45th president." Full Review

Ordinary Days
Midtown W
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“’Ordinary Days’ does a tremendous amount of telling. It's a sung-through musical, and the four characters spend a lot of time explaining themselves...And it all works really well. The songs are lovely and smart and sensitive, and Gwon even makes the sung-through-ness succeed, as his work genuinely sounds like people communicating...Gwon provides enough...to tie together the four characters and give us a satisfying whole. The four-person cast is wonderful.” Full Review

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“Not one of Tennessee Williams's masterpieces, but it still deserves a better production...Pendleton seems to think that 'Creve Coeur' is a farce. It is not; it's a slightly hopeful tragedy with some humor. Pendleton does manage to get some laughs, but at the cost of the play's soul...Lichty does a decent job as Dotty...Nielsen's two-dimensional Bodey ignores the character's savvy and backbone, much to the detriment of the play. O'Toole plays Helena as though she is a sitcom bad guy.” Full Review

The True
Midtown W
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“There is much to like here: solid writing, smooth direction, and an amazing cast. But for all those strengths, I just didn't care...Falco gives an excellent performance, and you can't keep your eyes off her as she talks...Some of the political machinations are interesting. Some of the relationships look like they would be fruitful to explore. But as it stands, there is little reason to care about these characters, and the play ends up being about ploys rather than people.” Full Review

Heartbreak House
Midtown W
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"Unfortunately, this approach makes the show thin and silly, with little in the way of guts or hearts. By focusing on the Wildean aspects, Staller ignores the Shavian/Chekhovian aspects that could/would add up to a stinging critique of humans, our inability to stay out of war, and the idiocy of our romantic lives...The performers are uneven and seem to be in different plays--none of which is necessarily 'Heartbreak House.'" Full Review

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"Sitting in the last row was just fine, which is a tribute both to the structure of the Ethel Barrymore Theatre and to David Cromer's quietly intense direction. 'The Band's Visit' happens at a whisper, but it is a whisper that fills the theatre with emotion and beauty...It's a theatrical iceberg: 80% of its content is below the surface. The score is lovely, the lyrics by turns funny or moving or both. The performances are exactly right." Full Review

Show Showdown

"The shows are smart, thought-provoking, and often fun, and these productions are terrific...An amazing evening in the theatre...The four plays of ‘The Possibilities’ make for an almost head-spinning amount of theatre, full of ideas, arguments, superb acting, and so on. But that's all only Act I...Then comes Act II...’The After Dinner Joke’...The writing is astonishingly efficient. The 66 scenes fly by...as Churchill economically skewers the worlds of charity and politics." Full Review

Mary Page Marlowe
Midtown W
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“I imagine that developing the show was a fascinating experience for the actors...Unfortunately, the process doesn't translate into anything wonderful or distinct for the audience...The entire show comes across as monotone. It's as though...the only way to get six women to meld was to eliminate their personalities and individual quirks...The combination of multi-casting, monotone, and non-chronology keeps the audience at arm's length...Feels like a terribly missed opportunity.” Full Review

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"A rollicking feminist take down of/tribute to Albee's masterpiece...The show veers from insanely wonderful Tennessee Williams' monologues to a visit to hell with a PhD student. The main section, the parody itself, bursts with zip, sexuality, and fabulous bad jokes. The hell section suffers from a drop-off of energy...I'm not totally sure that all the critical parts of the show are fair to what 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' actually is, but the ERS's version bursts with humor and brilliance." Full Review

Lonesome Blues
Midtown E
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"Akin Babatundé is giving a heck of a concert in 'Lonesome Blues' at the York. Babatundé's voice travels from pure falsetto to rumbly bass and back again, and it can thrill every step of the way...However, 'Lonesome Blues' is billed as a musical rather than a concert, and on that level it is less successful...Unfortunately, his story is not clear as written, performed, and directed, and it can be hard to tell who he's talking to and what he's saying. As a result, the show is never really eng... Full Review

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“Presented as either a lecture nestled in a drama or a drama nestled in a lecture...All of the arguments are laid out neatly and clearly...The theoretical parts of ‘Secret Life of Humans’ are smooth and well-done, but they tell us nothing new, nor do they ask new questions...The show was worth 90 minutes of my time for the acting and some truly charming stagecraft.” Full Review

The Hollower
Soho/Tribeca
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"I know that the cast is excellent. And, yes, I know that the writing is often wonderful. But I can't figure out what the damn thing is about, and that's even after reading the script...'the hollower' is odd and fascinating and I'm glad I saw it. But I also ended up dissatisfied. I needed one little tiny hint as to what I was watching...I do recommend 'the hollower.' If nothing else, I can assure you it is unique. Oh, and thought-provoking. And maybe even funny." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Perhaps the main way 'Peace for Mary' distinguishes itself is its resolute lack of character growth, bridges mended, open conversations, and the other usual tropes...I am not someone who demands happy endings. But if you're going to ask me to sit through a grueling two hours and forty-five minutes, you've got to give me something. A hint of growth...Reasonably well-written, and the cast is quite good." Full Review

Show Showdown

"I've already purchased my ticket to see it again...Bondarin is a smart director who eagerly serves the work, and this production is full of her smart decisions. The result is more excellent theatre than we the audience have any right to expect for a ticket price of $18!...The production values could be higher. Some performers aren't quite up to the task (though many others are quite good). But this 'Follies' sings, it dances, it feels...You'll rarely in your life get such value for your money." Full Review

Show Showdown

"I have identified the problem with the musical 'Chess.' It's bad...The entire show can be lifted by a really good production, with performers filling in the blanks left by the writing...Sad to say, the Gallery Players production does not raise up the show. In fact, it helps to sink it...Harborth's direction is the three-dimensional manifestation of 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'...He slathers on noise and movement, hoping that energy will cover up the weak structure underneath.... Full Review

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for a previous production "If there is an afterlife, I hope Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., has had the opportunity to look down and watch the Wheelhouse Theater Company's excellent production of his hilarious, incisive farce...directed with vitality, creativity, and respect...O'Connell manages all of Harold's dimensions in a tour de force performance...MacCluggage is every bit as good....A delayed-release show, where you laugh non-stop while watching it yet remain genuinely moved by it afterward." Full Review

Good for Otto
Midtown W
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"There's a lot going on in 'Good for Otto's' three hours: basic storytelling, an indictment of the treatment of mental health issues...Rabe's presentation of the quotidian pressures of being alive, with the sense that simply surviving takes heroism and is heroism....Although 'Good for Otto' occasionally feels dated, as in Rabe's treatment of autism and homosexuality, it is largely a loving, moving piece that honors the struggles of everyday life and everyday people." Full Review