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Entries in Stage Door (64)


Stage Door: Burn This, Hadestown, and King Lear

by Eric Blume

It’s pre-Tony Awards time here in New York, which means new shows are opening left and right.  Here’s a quick look at three of them…

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Stage Door: Hillary and Clinton 

We're seeing a lot of theater in the run up to the Tonys. Here's new contributor J.B.

For the last twenty years or so, and probably longer, well-crafted stories about women in politics told on stage or screen have frequently been described with words like “timely” or “vital.”  These stories, in many cases, are ones we haven’t heard before, and to the extent we as a society want our art to imitate life (and indeed, vice versa), they are, now more than ever, ones we need to hear.

It is for this reason that Hillary and Clinton, a well-crafted story about the quintessential woman in American politics now playing at the John Golden Theater in New York, feels like such an anomaly. The play, written by Lucas Hnath and directed by Joe Mantello (his SEVENTH production on Broadway in just the last three years), takes place in a hotel room during the thick of the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary and offers an imagined glimpse into what exactly the titular characters (played by Tony-winners Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow, respectively) may have been thinking, feeling, and communicating to each other at that precise place and time in history...

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Stage Door: "The Cher Show" and "Aint too Proud"

by Nathaniel R

Musical theater has its own version of limited and wide release / indie and blockbuster if you will. The analogy is far from perfect but those movie groupings are sort of comparable to Off Broadway and Broadway. Every Broadway show is trying to be a four-quadrant blockbuster.  

One of the safest routes to a quick buck (if not necessarily continuous sales) is the jukebox musical. Not all of them try to double as biographies of whoever's songbook it is but many do. That way they're easily marketable, excessively familiar, and can rely on nostalgia and sight-unseen goodwill to fill the house...

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Stage Door: Isabelle Huppert is "The Mother"

Since we're in the thick of theater season with the Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony Awards coming up, that means an extra stage review here and there! Here's Eric Blume...

One of TFE’s favorite actresses, Isabelle Huppert, currently stars off-Broadway in writer Florian Zeller’s new play, The Mother.  As you might guess, she kills it in Zeller’s non-linear play. The Mother is challenging and archly theatrical, with scenes being acted and re-enacted, timelines being blurred, and reality and fantasy being blended in gloriously unclear ways to achieve both a distancing and an immediacy.  This is intelligent and precise writing, not an easy ride for theatergoers, and demanding in its shifts both temporal and stylistic.

But Huppert is deep in character as always, sinking into the skin of the matriarch in the four-person family play...

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Stage Door: "The Prom" is a delight

by Dancin' Dan

The Prom caused a big splash at the Thanksgiving Day Parade last year, giving us the first same-sex kiss ever aired as part of the parade broadcast. The uproar that followed almost single-handedly justified the musical's existence, proving that maybe the world does "really need" a musical about a bunch of past-their-prime Broadway stars who travel to Indiana to help a young gay teen who isn't being allowed to bring her girlfriend to prom. If that plotline makes The Prom sound insufferable, a hopelessly pandering piece of liberal agitprop designed to make the Broadway audience feel oh so very good about themselves for having the same morals as the show's creators, well... that's not exactly the case. The Prom has more up its sleeve than that, and it all comes down to the show's tone.

It's clear from The Prom's first scene that the musical's main target is not the people of Edgewater, Indiana, but rather the vainglorious Broadway stars who insert themselves where they don't belong...

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Stage Door: The misunderstood, exquisitely sung "Superhero" 

by Nathaniel R

Don't let the title fool you though it's not at all deceptive. Tom Kitt's (Next to Normal) newest musical both does and doesn't involve superpowered do-gooders. This anguished but gorgeous intimate drama is, more specifically, about a teenage boy who loves comic books (new find Kyle McArthur who has been with the show since its developmental process). The boy is still reeling from the death of his father two years before the play begins. He loves to draw superheroes which we see projected on to the stage at times. His widowed depressed mother (Kate Baldwin), struggles to connect with this typical juvenile obsession ("What's Happening to My Boy?") especially since they really need each other given the sorry fate life handed them.

Early in the musical the boy becomes obsessed with a mysterious neighbor who he is convinced is either a superhero or supervillain --  the jury still being out...

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