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theater review

  • Originally published 10/24/2016

    The Never Ending Story of Lee Harvey Oswald

    Bruce Chadwick

    In a new play Oswald's mama is blamed for many of his problems. The play winks at conspiracy theories, but says flat out that Oswald shot the president.

  • Originally published 08/29/2016

    A Day by the Sea, from 1953, Is a Refreshing High Tide

    Bruce Chadwick

    The story seems like it took place in America yesterday. This is the land of layoffs, buyouts, half-jobs, downsized workers, forced retirees, interim employment and millions of temps.

  • Originally published 08/15/2016

    A King Who Serves for 400 Years?

    Bruce Chadwick

    That's the premise of Eugene Ionesco’s 1962 play "Exit the King." Alas, it doesn't make for a great production.

  • Originally published 07/24/2016

    Women Soldiers: When They Come Home Broken

    Bruce Chadwick

    Review of "Ugly Lies the Bone," a play that reveals the stark life of a soldier who comes home from war disfigured, depressed and angry.

  • Originally published 06/20/2016

    1950s Paris, Set to the Music of the Everly Brothers

    Bruce Chadwick

    From the first to last moment, "Out of the Mouths of Babes" is an hysterically funny, and yet loving and tender, play about four gritty women who spin stories of history in Paris and several American cities, too.

  • Originally published 06/06/2016

    Grandpa’s World War II Secret

    Bruce Chadwick

    "War" is a moving play about what happened to so many thousands of GIs who fell in love with women in Germany, and later Japan, and in allied nations, in the World War II era (and in Vietnam later).

  • Originally published 01/27/2013

    A Gay Man, a Housewife, and Mussolini

    Bruce Chadwick

    Working on a Special Day 59 E. 59 Theaters 59 E. 59th Street New York, N.Y.How do you turn a movie that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and starred Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren into a successful play?Very carefully.

  • Originally published 01/27/2013

    Jam On

    Bruce Chadwick

    The Jammer Atlantic Stage 2 330 W. 16th Street New York, N.Y.It's Brooklyn, circa 1958. The Dodgers have been gone for two years, Eisenhower is president and rock and roll music is sweeping the nation. It's nighttime at a local sports arena, time for outlandishly dressed men and women to crash over rails, leap over fallen skaters and elbow each other. It is time for fans to lose their sanity and yell and scream at the top of their lungs for the hometown team.It is time for roller derby.From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, the brazen men and wild women of roller derby were skating in smoky arenas all over America on wooden ovals in a frantic race for points and time. Teams from New York to San Francisco drew crowds as large as 50,000 fans at indoor and outdoor arenas and millions more watched on television.The roller derby skating teams, with names such as the Jolters and Bombers, gave the country a very rowdy, fast paced sport, supposedly a little fixed at times. It was like professional wrestling, with roaring crowds, bigger than life stars and non-stop violence.

  • Originally published 01/18/2013

    "Phantom of the Opera" Showcases Rich Parisian History

    Bruce Chadwick

    Phantom of the Opera Majestic Theater 247 W. 44th Street New York, N.Y.The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running play in American history, celebrates its 25th anniversary in New York Saturday night. There will once again be “oohs” and “aahs” when the huge chandelier falls on stage, scary moments when the Phantom threatens people and, start to finish, some of the most luscious music ever written for the stage.Theatergoers will see the enchanting musical, as good as ever after all these years, and shudder as the ogrish Phantom takes the beautiful actress Christine across the foreboding lake beneath the Paris Opera House to his lair. They will revel in French history, with all of its odd turns, that set the stage for the 1911 novel Le Fantome de L’Opera, by Gaston Leroux, and the hit 1925 silent movie version of it, starring the hideously made up Lon Chaney. While it was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wonderful music, and the character of the Phantom, that made the musical so successful, it was the history that always gave it strength, whether in 1925 movie theaters or in the 148 cities in 28 countries where the musical has been staged.