SYLVIA

sylvia

If you like dogs, I recommend you go see the current revival of SYLVIA, A. R. Gurney’s sweet canine love letter. It’s about a man who is smitten with a dog that annoys the bejesus out of his wife. A lot of the laughs come from the charming Annaleigh Ashford’s embodiment of the dog. Set on New York’s Upper West Side, Ms. Ashford barks (“Hey, hey, hey.”), sniffs and chews her way into our hearts.

It’s tough having a show centered on a expressively limited being, I’m talking about Matthew Broderick not the dog, but he holds his own, if still using his trademark sing-song, whiny delivery. Robert Sella, playing three roles; a man, a woman and a “Pat,” is uniquely funny in every role. I couldn’t help wondering if his “Pat” was patterned on Tommy Tune? Daniel Sullivan’s crisp direction still allows the emotional punch to carry weight. David Rockwell beautifully designs the set, showing both inside the apartment and Central Park.

But the real star of the evening is Julie White. Anyone who has ever seen her on stage can tell you. She’s a magician. She takes the role of the villain and makes her a real person: self-aware when she is being strident and ultimately able to break your heart with pathos. So I guess I have to take that back, if you like dogs OR if you like to see a great actress performing the heck out of a role, go see SYLVIA.

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HAMILTON

hamilton

Why bother reviewing a show that only has jacked up resale pricing thru the spring? Yes, it’s magnificent. I could suggest you get the album, but it is a gateway drug to a heroine you can’t afford. Someone needs to manage the availability of regularly priced tickets better and someone should be checking where all the money is going for those $1,500 resale tickets. For a show about America’s first secretary of the treasury, the banks are shockingly closed.

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SPRING AWAKENING

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There is a rare blossom on Broadway in SPRING AWAKENING. I was not a fan of the original. Belting in a song should be used like salt; sparingly. I love rock music, but felt assaulted the first time I saw SPRING AWAKENING on Broadway. Everything was on the same loud level. This new production, inclusive in every way possible, seems to take you thru the looking-glass to a world where communication is the key to everything. The parents don’t know how to communicate with the kids, the kids don’t understand their world or even their feelings and it is completely logical that they would use any means necessary to push through their thoughts and desires, including sign language and song. Even the orchestrations have more finesse this time around. Toward the end of the song “The Dark I Know Well,” about abuse, each of the girls affected slowly take their place behind Ilse. Then a boy, reluctant at first, and finally raising his head in song, joins the group and you know, you are in the hands of a masterful director. Bravo Michael Arden. Spring blooms anew.

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