Registered Critic: Cynthia Citron

Cynthia Citron has lived and worked on every continent except Antarctica as a journalist, public relations and communications director, a documentary screenwriter and a theater reviewer. She is also a co-founder of Earthwatch, the scientific research expedition company, and served as the editor of Bostonia, the prize-winning alumni magazine of Boston University.
Feb

Witness Uganda

A dozen African-American artists begin by blasting out an enthusiastic melodious chant in one of the Ugandan languages, followed by a spirited dance that even Jerome Robbins would envy. All flailing arms and flying legs, accompanied by more chanting.

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Feb

Death House

I have to emphasize, once again, that this play is remarkable for its verbal exchanges and for the way the three magnificent actors bring it to life.  It’s a production that ought to be seen by everyone, no matter which side of the death penalty issue they espouse.

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Feb

LINDA VISTA

Wheeler is an unhappy man, drifting through life without direction, without ambition, without compassion, without hope. He is not as great a photographer as the “greats” that he admires and, at 50, he is “too old to be something I’m not.” Ian Barford plays Wheeler surrounded by an awesome team of his fellow ensemble members from Chicago’s wonderful Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and all of the characters are effectively galvanized by the impeccable direction of Dexter Bullard and the creative scenic design of Todd Rosenthal. But the last word goes to the playwright, Tracy Letts, because he has so many of them. Humorous, humiliating, witty, and grim. But thoroughly engaging.

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Jan

An Inspector Calls

The play is “An Inspector Calls”. Unfortunately, he was calling from another country. And another century. With accents so “teddily British” that the play could have really used subtitles.
An Inspector Calls”, in my view, does not warrant being hailed as “the theatrical event of its generation,” as it has been, in spite of Director Stephen Daldry’s version having won three Oliviers, four Tonys, and seven Drama Desk Awards.
It starts out on a virtually empty stage, much too spacious for the oddly designed house plunked in the middle of it.
The Inspector arrives to question the principals about a young woman who has committed suicide. The two young men, Gerald and Eric, recognize her as a woman they had each slept with (gasp!). Eric, in fact, had impregnated her, and Gerald had stolen money to help her out (gasp! gasp!).
If there are any thrills or chills to be had, as advertised, they turn up at the end of the play, but I wasn’t particularly thrilled or chilled.

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Jan

Forever Brooklyn

Can you imagine seeing the name “Melvyn Kaplofkis” up in lights on Broadway? Well, neither could he. So he changed it to “Mel King” and became “The King of Brooklyn.” Although Danny DiTorrice has charm, a pleasant singing voice, and a legitimate Brooklyn accent, the play is badly misidentified as a “musical comedy”. Relabeling it a “coming-of-age drama” would certainly help.

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Jan

LOVE ACTUALLY LIVE

The film is much fun, but the current musical is absolutely sensational! Each of the principals in the film is matched by a doppelganger on stage dressed in outfits similar to the film actors’ and they arrive on stage and continue to walk across it just as the film actor reaches the edge of the screen. Moreover, each and every member of this huge cast has an unbelievably beautiful singing voice, which they put to great use singing most of the songs on the original “Love, Actually” soundtrack.

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Jan

Famous

All the factors involved in becoming a leading man add up to his current state of decrepitude, but Dietrick in portraying the older, addled Jason, gives a performance that would certainly win him a Tony if this play were staged in New York.

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Jan

Wink

“Wink” is a badly written one-note play about a young person who is both male and female. He/ she is not gay nor transgender, but a non-binary human, according to the identification in the playbill of Andrik Ochoa, who plays a character like himself, and/or Wink. I thought it might be enlightening and interesting. I was wrong on both counts.

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Jan

A Misunderstanding

At some point in his life the thinking man will usually ask himself three important questions: Who—or what—am I? Where am I? and How did I get here? At this point in time a select group of thinking men have come up with two distinct hypotheses. Unfortunately, the two are mutually exclusive. And trying to integrate them usually leads to a misunderstanding. Which leads to Matt Chait’s new play “A Misunderstanding” which attempts to explain it all.

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Nov

Cost of Living

“Cost of Living” is not a dreary treatise on economics. It’s a story about survival in the face of physical and emotional pain: aloneness, neediness, distrustfulness, catastrophic disabilities, and chronic indignation. And it is, quite simply, one of the best plays I’ve ever seen.

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Nov

A FLOCK OF MACAWS

Sam Henry Kass has written a bold new play and his friend Ronnie Marmo has directed it for its World Premiere in Los Angeles. A story of loss and longing, the play features hilarious dialogue, absurd plot twists, and superb acting. It might be classified as “a poignant comedy.”

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Sep

Martians – An Evening With Ray Bradbury

Many people believe that when you die you go to Heaven. But not Ray Bradbury. I am sure that he thought, when he died in 2012, that he would be going, at long last, to Mars. That would be entirely fitting for this Mars “historian”, the primary storyteller about adventures on The Red Planet. Beginning in the 1930s this prolific writer produced more than 600 novelettes and short stories in addition to more than two dozen plays, several dozen teleplays, 27 non-fiction books, a dozen children’s books, books of poetry, and literally hundreds of audio cassettes. Most of them science fiction, fantasies, gripping mysteries, and other unique and thought-provoking tales which were ever afterward included in anthologies of the best stories of the year.

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Sep

Arrival & Departure

“Arrival and Departure” is based on Noel Coward’s screenplay for the 1945 film “Brief Encounter”, but if you say, “Oh, I saw that movie…” let me tell you “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” Sachs’ romantic drama stars Troy Kotsur and Deanne Bray, two amazing performers who were born deaf, are married in real life, and can exhibit more emotion communicating in American Sign Language than many actors do shouting at the top of their lungs. And as they sign, their words are voiced simultaneously by Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke, two equally fine actors.

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Sep

Screwball Comedy

Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you’ll giggle your way through this one!

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Sep

RUMORS

“Rumors” is not one of his most spectacular plays, though it’s his first farce, written in 1988. But it’s funny and fast-paced. Lots of talk, but no music.

Perhaps it would have been better if Simon had collaborated with Garfunkel.

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Aug

Screwball Comedy

Theatre 40 has a long-established record of presenting wonderful professional actors in enjoyable plays, and “Screwball Comedy” meets their high standards. Even if you are not a fan of slapstick comedy, you’ll giggle your way through this one!

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Aug

Arrival & Departure

Stephen Sachs has provided every imaginable detail to make this enchanting story another artistic triumph. Noel Coward would be so proud!

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May

Engaging Shaw

A century before the egomaniacal prevaricator took over the White House and tried to convince the world of his unique brilliance, there was an Irish intellectual who actually accomplished the things he set out to do and was not shy about acknowledging it. By the time he died in 1950 at the age of 94 he had written more than 60 plays, produced a multitude of tracts and essays to express his opinions, and was an influential political activist in Britain. That man was George Bernard Shaw. What playwright John Morogiello focuses on instead is the “true story” of Shaw’s “capture” by Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a 40-year-old virgin who is not overwhelmed by Shaw’s celebrity and treats him as an equal, an attitude which he hasn’t encountered in a woman before.

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May

Engaging Shaw

A century before the egomaniacal prevaricator took over the White House and tried to convince the world of his unique brilliance, there was an Irish intellectual who actually accomplished the things he set out to do and was not shy about acknowledging it. By the time he died in 1950 at the age of 94 he had written more than 60 plays, produced a multitude of tracts and essays to express his opinions, and was an influential political activist in Britain. That man was George Bernard Shaw. What playwright John Morogiello focuses on instead is the “true story” of Shaw’s “capture” by Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a 40-year-old virgin who is not overwhelmed by Shaw’s celebrity and treats him as an equal, an attitude which he hasn’t encountered in a woman before.

sweet - ...read full review

Apr

Engaging Shaw

A century before the egomaniacal prevaricator took over the White House and tried to convince the world of his unique brilliance, there was an Irish intellectual who actually accomplished the things he set out to do and was not shy about acknowledging it. By the time he died in 1950 at the age of 94 he had written more than 60 plays, produced a multitude of tracts and essays to express his opinions, and was an influential political activist in Britain. That man was George Bernard Shaw. What playwright John Morogiello focuses on instead is the “true story” of Shaw’s “capture” by Charlotte Payne-Townshend, a 40-year-old virgin who is not overwhelmed by Shaw’s celebrity and treats him as an equal, an attitude which he hasn’t encountered in a woman before.

sweet - ...read full review

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