Non-Registered Critics: Harker Jones

Nov

Neil Simon's Musical Fools

The actors give it their all, but the energy just isn’t there. And while most of them are capable of singing (like most of us are), they don’t appear to be accomplished vocalists (considering they’re in a musical and so much of this story is told through song), and they don’t project enough to make up for any weakness in vocal ability.

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Sep

LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS

He’s an electrifying performer who can hold an audience in thrall, eliciting loud and sometimes vociferous reactions, including cheers, laughter, and the occasional “Preach!” His characters are all distinct, and he paints them all—even the villains, such as Christopher Columbus, whom he calls a “genocidal, pedophilic rapist” and “the Donald Trump of the New World”—in broad, colorful strokes.

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Aug

THE LAST FIVE YEARS

Director Kari Hayter gets solid performances from her actors and utilizes the small space well. Parrish brings humor and nuance to Cathy, and Porter has an affable rakishness à la Chris Pratt, but with her story told in reverse chronological order as his moves forward, it’s difficult to follow.

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Aug

Daniel's Husband

Director Simon Levy infuses the stage with energy. The pacing never lags, even in the quiet, desperate moments of the second half. He allows his actors time to breathe and to let them give the lines (and the spaces between them) time to land.

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Mar

Bus Stop

Things wrap up a little neatly and quickly, but overall Bus Stop is a charming enough ensemble that's worth getting snowed in with.

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Feb

Scissorhands: A Musical

The Fuse Project, created by Kate Pazakis and Bradley Bredeweg, has breathed new life into the project with the bawdy humor and infectious enthusiasm we've come to expect from Rockwell.

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Feb

Death House

It all adds up to a shattering experience. You go on a journey with George, Allen, and Liliana, and though there are no easy answers or happy endings, it's a journey you'll be glad you took.

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Feb

An Inspector Calls

When BAFTA, Tony, and Golden Globe winner Daldry (who's also nabbed three Oscar nominations) revived the show in the early '90s, it won the Olivier, the Drama Desk, and the Tony for Best Revival of a play, and he hasn't lost his touch with this relaunch. He has a deft hand with his actors, leading them to flawless performances. Christine Kavanagh as matriarch Sybil and Harvey as frivolous, spoiled Sheila own the stage whenever they are present.

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Oct

WICKED LIT: THE CHIMES & THE CORPSE

Overall, despite the shows being less effective then previous years' productions, the Wicked Lit experience is a memorable one. The mausoleum is stunning, and when the stories aren't being presented, attendees are able to go around certain parts of the building and explore. In the quiet and the shadows, an eeriness is palpable. And who doesn't want to get creeped out right before Halloween?

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Jul

You in Midair

With a sparse stage of just three chairs, a red rotary phone, and the issue of Seventeen magazine with Rebecca's visage on the cover, Danna gives a vibrant performance with more heartfelt humor than one might expect considering the narrative revolves around a murder. But there is pathos in her levity. And there's a steeliness in her maternal instincts. She's a likable performer with a breezy style. She's someone you'd like to know, which magnifies the tragedy that befalls her.

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Jul

Cabaret

Director Michael Matthews gets energetic and layered performances from his cast... Choreographer Janet Roston gets a stunning amount of action on such a small stage. The energy never flags as the ensemble uses every inch available to them.

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Jun

BELLEVILLE

Unfortunately, what is promised to be a breathless Hitchcockian thrill ride is more of a slow burn of diminishing returns.

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Jun

Hostage

Director Elina de Santos doesn't create the tension necessary or elicit strong enough performances (an anomaly for Skylight) to give the show enough thrust. Lockwood's Barb never hits the emotional punch to make her character grounded and complex. It's a quiet show, with almost no score, which is admirable as some shows with a lesser director might rely on histrionics to create drama. But despite its good intentions, Hostage falls a little flat.

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Apr

Auto Draft reviewed by

Director Simon Levy gets sensitive performances from his ensemble. Gvirtsman's Danny is open, soulful, and tortured between his obligations and his yearnings. Gvirtsman is a good listener, too. Blumenfeld, as his father, is pitch-perfect as a man guided by God to lead his people and struggling to understand how not just the world but also his son are changing.

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Apr

What Happened When

The show is short, but you'll come out of it dazed from the emotional roller coaster ride its riveting ghost story of loss, dysfunction, and devastation takes you on.

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Apr

The Madres

Director Sara Guerrero brings Walker's words to vivid life and elicits fantastic performances from all five actors... The Madres is not just a solid and moving reminder of Argentina in the '70s. It puts a human face on political tragedies without being preachy, which isn't always an easy balance. And it's particularly timely with the oppression happening in this country these days. It should inspire us all to put on a white headscarf and march in front of the capitol under our own oppressive political regime.

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Feb

THE CHINESE WALL

There's wacky humor, some nudity and pointed observations about our current state of the union and the clowns running the White House, referencing "fake news" and the #metoo movement and sometimes breaking the fourth wall. It's an illuminating snapshot of where we are and where we're going in Trump's America with his hubris and stupidity clinging proudly to ignorance.

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Nov

SPAMILTON

It's not just a sensation; it's a phenomenon.

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Nov

The Secret in the Wings

It's a one-act show (which runs an hour and 45 minutes) that is oddly emotional by the end. The cumulative sadness sneaks up on you, and it lingers. It's hard to shake and even harder to pinpoint just why it's so heavy. That's a good thing. So many shows, even when they're enjoyable, are entirely forgettable a day or two later. The mournfulness of "The Secret In Their Wings" will haunt you.

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Aug

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Adam Langdon as Christopher gives a stunning performance, by turns annoying, sympathetic and humorous with an inordinate amount of dialogue to remember. He doesn't just inhabit the role, he becomes Christopher. The complexity of the role is staggering and he makes it appear effortless. (Benjamin Wheelwright trades off with Langdon on certain days.) Director Marianne Elliott takes a spare stage and a fairly small cast and creates an electrifying experience through the frenetic mind of our hero. She elicits solid performances from all of her actors, especially from Gene Gillette as Christopher's loving and hurting blue-collar father; Felicity Jones Latta as his overwhelmed mother (and who has several lengthy monologues); and Maria Elena Ramirez as Christopher's supportive mentor. John Hemphill gets a lot of laughs as Roger, Mrs. Boone's lover, and Kathy McCafferty, who gets a number of small showy roles, and nails every single one.

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