Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Songbird, the new musical by Michael Kimmel (book) and Lauren Pritchard (music and lyrics), directed by JV Mercanti, brings The Seagull to Nashville in the 21st century. The book is effective and the songs soar.

Erin Dilly, Kate Baldwin
Photo: Jenny Anderson Photography
There's just one problem: they don't add up to a musical. The entire score is diegetic, which doesn't have to be a negative, but in this case it is. Unlike Dreamgirls, where the diegetic songs act almost as character songs by matching the mood and situation of each person, Songbird metes its music out almost at random. There are few songs that could be sung only by that character at that moment. The result is a country version of The Seagull featuring people who happen to sing a lot. The whole becomes less than the sum of its parts.

But the parts are good enough that Songbird is still worth seeing, particularly with its excellent cast. Kate Baldwin, fine as the endlessly bitchy mother who cannot relinquish even one watt of the spotlight, sounds the best I've ever heard her. Considering that she is always wonderful, that is saying something. Baldwin nails the country sound, and I would gladly listen to her sing all night. Erin Dilly is also at her impressive best. Adam Cochran is heart-breaking as the son who would die for his mother's attention. Kacie Sheik nicely shows the cost of compromise as the Masha equivalent Missy. Bob Stillman is excellent as the diva's brother, trying to bring peace to the family, and it's fun to see him cast against type. The rest of the cast also shines: Ephie Aardema, Don Guillory, Drew McVety, Eric William Morris, and Andy Taylor.

The more I think about it, the more I would prefer to see an evening just of Lauren Pritchard's work, sung by those terrific singers. The Seagull plot kinda got in the way.

Wendy Caster
(8th row, press ticket)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

William Finn: Broadway Close Up

William Finn, lyricist-composer of Falsettos, Elegies, and Little Miss Sunshine, writes at the corner of idiosyncratic and heartfelt. His topics range far and wide: e.g., a baseball game, trying to recover from a stroke, and having sex with a Republican. And, yes, he also tackles the biggies, like family and romantic love. Sometimes Finn's music is cozily melodic; other times, not so much. Sometimes his lyrics are tight and perfect; other times, they feel jammed together with almost random rhymes that somehow work. His songs dazzle, entertain, reveal people's secrets, make you laugh, and break your heart.

William Finn
As seen in the Broadway Close Up evening of his songs, Finn is also a fabulous interviewee, gravel-voiced, dry, funny, and deeply grateful for what life has given him. (He can also truly sell a song, as when he did "Stupid Things," from The Royal Family of Broadway, somewhat in the style of Elaine Stritch, who originated the number.)

Finn clearly had a great time all evening, as did the audience. The highlights for me included Sally Wilfert's three numbers: "Anytime," from Elegies; "Something Better Better Happen," from Little Miss Sunshine; and "Raise Up Big Please This Umbrella," from What You Think When You Can't Sleep (music by Deborah Abramson). The songs required three distinct moods and styles, and she did each with subtlety and verve.

Betty Buckley was lovely on "Only One" and "14 Dwight Avenue, Natick, Massachusetts" (ably assisted by Finn's student Matthew Krob).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour

For its 38th season, the Big Apple Circus presents an frequently charming, often thrilling new show called The Grand Tour. Using large travel posters and appropriate scenery and costumes, the Big Apple's clowns, Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth, take us around the world on various modes of transport, including the Orient Express and a (fake) camel. (I'm not a big fan of clowns, but Jeske and McBeth had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.)

The Dominguez Brothers 

on the Wheel of Wonder
Photo © maike schulz: Big Apple Circus
Along the way, we are treated to truly amazing wonders of the world:
  • Chiara Anastasini, a 9th-generation circus performer, is, I would imagine, the world's foremost hula hoop artiste. Her act is both kinda silly and completely impressive. 
  • Alexander Koblikov juggles with more balls than I could even count, but for me the highlight of his act was when he balanced one ball across his arms and shoulders with preternatural grace. 
  • Want to see beautiful, lithe men with zero body fat do acts requiring 1,000% strength and agility? The Chinese hand balancers, The Energy Trio, are for you.
  • One of my favorite acts of the show, the Dominguez Brothers, are both thrilling and terrifying on the Wheel of Wonder. They are talented, dexterous, athletic, and seriously brave.
  • The African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma provide a jolt of beauty and energy and fun.
  • And my other favorite act of the show, the Dosov Troupe, soars off the teeterboard, landing on each other's shoulders and on extremely high chairs. Their finale is one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a circus.
And at the Big Apple Circus, you get to see all of these wonderful acts up front and personal. As advertised, no seat is further than 50 feet from the stage, and that level of intimacy ups the oohs and aahs.

My one complaint is that the Big Apple Circus still has animal acts. Those dogs and horses just don't look happy, with the smaller dogs quivering and one horse clearly not wanting to do as told. I think the day of the animal act has passed...

On a whole, however, the Big Apple Circus is both a great deal of fun and a testament to how wonderful human beings can be. Listening to the news, I sometimes forget the human race's good points, but the Big Apple Circus is a marvelous reminder.

(around 6th row, press ticket)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Humans

In The Humans, Stephen Karam's funny, sad, squirmily accurate play about family dynamics in troubling times, the supernatural is repeatedly implied. The newly rented, ground-floor New York apartment the play is set in--creepy enough as it is in its whitewashed, prewar emptiness--makes all kinds of strange creaks and groans, is subject to frequent and random power outages, and is regularly stomped upon by a never-seen upstairs neighbor who is, even by New York standards, excessively noisy. Family members talk over dinner about the unknown: scary comic book creatures, brushes with death, strange and unsettling dreams. And while the ending of The Humans builds toward a climax befitting the kind of terrifying surprise one expects of a horror flick, the eerie vibe infusing this smart, affecting play ultimately has little, if anything, to do with the otherworldly. People, it turns out--especially the ones you love and trust the most--can burrow into and fuck with your head way better than any ghost can. Especially when they, like you, are preoccupied with the most terrifying of human anxieties: rejection, poverty, sickness, age, death.

Joan Marcus


Photo: Joan Marcus
My colleagues Wendy and Liz generally offered praise for Robert O'Hara's Barbecue, which runs through next Sunday at The Public's Newman Theater (read their thoughts here and here). In keeping with their earlier reviews, mine will be somewhat cagey, as I agree that knowing too much about this play before going in may spoil the experience. However, unlike my co-writers, I am not going to enthusiastically recommend this play, which too often feels like a Tyler Perry movie without the Christian subtext. O'Hara may have set out to skewer the ways in which Hollywood/Broadway/the memoir industry prey on the sad, drug-addled lives of the downtrodden, but the finished product is neither profound nor particularly interesting. The large cast work their butts off but can't overcome the fact that the play isn't as funny the author thinks -- and I had a hard time believing that many of the actors, playing siblings, were family. (Most of them seemed like they'd just met moments before taking the stage.) Kent Gash's production is, oddly, too slow and too short. I wanted to like Barbecue, but like a burger that stays on the grill a few minutes too long, it left an odd and unsatisfying taste in my mouth. -- by Cameron Kelsall

[Member tickets, mid-orchestra]

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Rothschild & Sons

Have you noticed that whenever someone announces a "re-imagining" of a musical, the show gets smaller? Why does no show ever get bigger? Why does no one add more instruments? Why doesn't Dames at Sea have a chorus on Broadway?

Jamie LaVerdiere, Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper,
David Bryant Johnson, Robert Cuccioli,
Curtis Wiley, Christopher M. Williams
Photo: Carol Rosegg
Of course, I'm being disingenuous here. We all know the answer: money. Shows with smaller casts and orchestras--i.e., less expensive shows--have a better chance of being produced in New York and elsewhere.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Honeycomb Trilogy: Advance Man, Blast Radius, Sovereign

On one hand, Mac Rogers' Honeycomb Trilogy is a highly entertaining sci-fi epic, covering over 20 years and an extraterrestrial invasion or two. It has everything you could ask for: a fascinating alien race, a believable version of earth, characters with strong desires and stronger personalities, danger, and suspense. It's also funnier than many comedies I've seen. On the other hand, Honeycomb Trilogy is a smart and thoughtful examination of family, free will, the power and powerlessness of love, the arrogance of people who decide to change the world, the importance of that arrogance, and many other important and thought-provoking topics. In its own way, it's a masterpiece. What Mac Rogers has done is extraordinary: he has nested philosophy in frivolity and the result kicks ass.

Advance Man 
Sean Williams, Kristen Vaughan
Photo: Deborah Alexander
The current Gideon production at the Gym at Judson Church is splendid. Jordana Williams directs masterfully, succeeding on the macro and micro levels and everything in between. Her attention to detail is lovely, and her ability to keep the machinery of the trilogy (6 acts; 29 performers; 3 sets) moving is impressive. Kudos as well to her assistant directors (Audrey Marshall, Mikell Kober, Sara Thigpen) and stage managers (Victoria Barclay, Nikki Castle, Devan Hibbard). If "it takes a village" for most shows, this one took a small city, I'm sure.

And, oh, that cast. Brilliant performance after brilliant performance after brilliant performance. Each actor inhabits his or her role fully; even the smallest role becomes a rich presence, a person you know incredibly well. A lot of this is in Rogers' writing, of course, but the actors, guided by Williams, bring his world vividly alive. Becky Byers and Hanna Cheek play Ronnie at different times of her life; both are fierce, funny, and frightening as a small and difficult woman who becomes a great leader by sheer personality and conviction. David Rosenblatt and Stephen Heskett play Abbie at different times of his life; together they skillfully show us how a shy and sweet boy can turn into a dangerous man. Kristen Vaughan plays Amelia, Ronnie and Abbie's mother, who is (to say the least) pushed out of her comfort zone as the rules of society change or disappear; Vaughan is superb, as always. Sean Williams gives a wily performance as Ronnie and Abbie's father, an astronaut and maybe a hero, who may or may not ever be completely sincere. Jason Howard is extraordinary, as always, as the astronaut who returns from space drastically changed. Brian Silliman oozes cheerful sleaze as a venture capitalist thrilled to be in the presence of people who have actually been to Mars. The rest of the amazing cast comprises Rebecca Comtois, Neimah Djourabchi, Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy, Matt Golden, Felicia J. Hudson, Erin Jerozal, Ana Maria Jomolca, Yeauxlanda Kay, Daryl Lathon, Carlos Martin, Joe Mathers, Lori E. Parquet, Amy Lee Pearsall,  Seth Shelden,  Nancy Sirianni, Alisha Spielmann, Adam Swiderski, C.L.Weatherstone, and Cotton Wright. Each contributes significantly.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Honeycomb Trilogy Returns: Don't Miss It

We don't usually publish press releases at Show Showdown, but I want to make sure everyone is aware that The Honeycomb Trilogy is back. I recommend it very highly! (And if my plug is not enough, see the reviews below.)

Tickets are available here:

Marathon tickets are available here:





Gideon Productions will present the much-anticipated return of Mac Rogers’ three-part science fiction epic, The Honeycomb Trilogy, directed by Jordana Williams and running in rep October 13-November 14 at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street between West 3rd Street and Washington Square South). Tickets ($25) are available online at or by calling 866-811-4111.

THE HONEYCOMB TRILOGY is back by popular demand. A Critic’s Pick in The New York Times, Time Out New York and Backstage and winner of the Best Premiere Production honor from the New York Innovative Theater Awards, this decade-spanning science fiction epic follows one American family through an extraterrestrial invasion and occupation of earth. As son Abbie allies with the conquerors and daughter Ronnie leads the human resistance, THE HONEYCOMB TRILOGY explores culture, terrorism, sexuality, loyalty, justice, and forgiveness over the course of three action-packed, emotionally-charged stories. The entire saga takes place in the same house, as it – much like the world around it - is ravaged by war and rebuilt by hand over the course of twenty years. The three parts of the trilogy (Advance Man, Blast Radius, and Sovereign) will be presented individually on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. On Saturdays and Sundays audiences can binge-watch the entire trilogy.


We at Show Showdown seem to be in a Public Theater frenzy right now, but their season has just begun, it's very promising thus far, and I love the Public something fierce, so I'm happy to keep spreading the love. Especially since I just saw Eclipsed, Danai Gurira's moving, informative, brilliantly feminist play, in the appropriately intimate LuEsther Hall. Eclipsed was superbly acted by a cast of five women under the skillful direction of Liesl Tommy. I am glad to have seen it and haven't stopped thinking about it since I did.

War-is-hell stories tend to focus on men: men going to war, men bonding and dying in war, men returning home broken from war. But Eclipsed, which tells its story unflinchingly and without condescension, emotional sog, or melodrama, examines women's roles in wartime. The play takes place during the second of back-to-back civils war in Liberia (the first began in 1989 and lasted through 1996; the second started in '99 and lasted until 2003).

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Constance Shulman, Arden Myrin
Photo: Joan Marcus
As Elizabeth Wollman points out below, Barbecue is a challenging show to review. Almost anything one could write about it would be a spoiler.

I am only posting about it here to say this: Go see Barbecue. It is funny, surprising, insightful, and thought-provoking. (It is also about 20 minutes too long, and it occasionally goes for cheap humor. However, its strengths truly tower over its weaknesses.)

(member ticket; 2nd row)

Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway (book review)

It's difficult to review Michael Riedel's Razzle Dazzle because it's difficult to figure out exactly what he's trying to accomplish. In the author's note, he writes that the book is about the struggle by the Shuberts and the Nederlanders to save Broadway in the 1970s. In the first chapter, where nonfiction generally sets the stage for the rest of the book, he focuses on "ice," or the money box office treasurers made in the 1960s by selling tickets, above list price, to brokers. The book then dips into the history of the Shuberts and Nederlanders, the takeover of the Shuberts by Bernard Jacobs and Gerald Schoenfeld, the rivalry between Nine and Dreamgirls, Michael Bennett's prodigious drug use, the effect of AIDS on Broadway, David Merrick's tricks, the development of A Chorus Line, the English invasion of Broadway, the Disneyification of Broadway, and so on.

In other hands, this breadth of content could be a selling point. But the chronology is random and awkward, and Riedel does not handle the transitions with a sure hand. Even worse, Razzle Dazzle lacks an overall theme. Nor does it have the sort of insight that can make reading nonfiction worthwhile.

Instead, the book is a haphazard collection of gossip that Riedel has collected over the years and in various interviews, with his signature focus on the petty, the nasty, and the mean. As I was reading it, I kept thinking, "Was everyone on Broadway really this juvenile, this stupid, this unforgiving, this narrow-minded?" And I kept reminding myself, "It's Riedel. This is what he likes to write about." And I also kept wondering, as I often do when I read his column or watch his TV show, "Does this guy even like theatre?"


Annaleigh Ashford garnered praise and a Tony nomination for her scene-stealing work in Kinky Boots; a year later, she walked away with the prize for her dizzyingly satisfying turn as Essie Carmichael in an otherwise banal revival of You Can't Take It With You. The occupational hazard of being a brilliant supporting performer is that one can end up fenced into the sidelines, never given the chance to shine in a leading role. And, of course, there are those whose talents don't translate to the ability to carry a production (I'm reminded of the usually wonderful character actor Michael Park, who floundered when tasked with leading Atlantic Theatre Company's revival of The Threepenny Opera). When it was announced that Ashford would headline the Broadway premiere of A.R. Gurney's sweetly funny 1995 play Sylvia, I found myself excited and trepidacious. Would her quirky comic style extend widely enough to cover this fairly substantial role? Or would it become clear that her gifts are best sampled in small doses?

I don't know why I worried. Ashford's Sylvia is a marvel, and one of the most ebulliently joyous comic performances I've witnessed in years. The role is tricky -- in case you didn't know, the lady in question is a an anthropomorphized dog -- and some of Gurney's humor can feel middlebrow. Ashford transcends any weakness in the writing, offering a master class in physical comedy, pitch-perfect timing, and even surprising subtlety.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bound for Broadway XVI

Part of the yearly Broadway Close Up series, Bound for Broadway presents songs from new musicals that may or may not actually be "bound for Broadway" (only time will tell). Past shows that made the promised land include Avenue Q, Next to Normal, High Fidelity, The Drowsy Chaperone, It Shoulda Been You, and Now. Here. This. Also, a few shows have appeared Off-Broadway (e.g., Musical, the Musical and Murder for Two). This is not a high success rate considering that over 100 shows have been featured, but there is something sweetly aspirational about retaining the name Bound for Broadway. After all, as poet Robert Browning pointed out, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

Bound for Broadway host Liz Callaway
This year's show presented four wanna-bes: The More Things Change, with book and lyrics by Kellen Blair and music by Joe Kinosian; LMNOP, with book and lyrics by Scott Burkel and music by Paul Loessel; The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, with book and lyrics by Lezlie Wade and music by Daniel Green; and Amelie, with book by Craig Lucas, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and music by Dan Messé.

The more interesting shows were LMNOP and Amelie. The press release describes LMNOP as follows: "When letters begin to fall from a monument in town, government officials ban them one by one. Chaos ensues until a determined teenage girl rallies the community to fight for freedom of speech. This unique musical is part romance, part clever word game and part adult fable that reminds us of how precious our liberties are; how quickly unbridled extremism can take them from us; and how important it is to have the courage to stand up for what we believe." The two songs presented had clever lyrics and were wryly inviting.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine, Caryl Churchill's brilliant riff on sexual politics, colonialism, identity, and love, is receiving an excellent revival at the Atlantic, directed with a sure hand by James Macdonald. As the Playbill explains, "Act I takes place in a British Colony in Africa in Victorian Times. Act II takes place in London in 1979. But for the characters, it is 25 years later." This is not the only device that Churchill utilizes. Women are played by men, and vice versa; a doll plays a baby; a white man plays a black man. Years before people wrote about "performing gender," Churchill made the concept unmistakably vivid.

Chris Perfetti as Betty, Izzie Steele as Ellen
Photo: Doug Hamilton
In Act I, Betty, the mother, Clive, the father, Edward, the son, Victoria, the daughter, and Maud, Betty's mother, live in Africa, where Clive happily and pompously takes on the "white man's burden." He sees himself as the adult in all situations, and the others, including Clive's "boy," Joshua, seem to agree. But Betty chafes under her limitations; Joshua is not what he seems; and Edward wants to play with dolls. Enter Harry Bagley, the dashing, and omnisexual, explorer, along with a "native uprising," and all assumptions start to fray.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Fool For Love

Sam Shepard's Fool For Love is a strange, searing play. Although it takes place in real time, in the stark and unforgiving Western landscape the author so often favors, one cannot shake the feeling that the play is part dream, part nightmare. Does the dusty motel room occupied by May (Nina Arianda) truly exist? Is her long-lost cowboy lover, Eddie (Sam Rockwell), recently returned from a long absence, a figment of her imagination? And who, exactly, is the old man (Gordon Joseph Weiss) who haunts the periphery?

The weirdness that can make this work thrilling also renders its execution beastly. The two central actors need to be in perfect syncopation; the play's single act (70 minutes) must unfurl at a breathless clip. The director must strike a delicate balance between realism and fantasy. Robert Altman took too heavy a hand in the 1985 film version, starring Shepard and Kim Basinger. When watched today, it comes across as an unintentional comedy. A 2006 London production starring Juliette Lewis drew poor reviews. What, then, would be the fate of its long-awaited Broadway debut, at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, under the direction of Daniel Aukin?

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


Barbecue, Robert O'Hara's twisty, turny play at the Public, is a show I don't want to write extensively about for fear of giving any of the many Big Reveals away. So I won't say much of anything at all, except that the show makes me even sorrier than I was before to have missed Bootycandy last year. And that with Barbecue, O'Hara says a number of clever, layered things about race, class, representation, and the media. And that the play is very, very funny. And that the cast is, to a one, committed, appealing, and probably all loading up big-time on vitamin B and throat lozenges, what with all the wackiness and antics and herbal cigarettes and shouting (not to mention the occasional tasing). And that there is nothing more wonderful--or, goddamn it, more rare--than watching a play that treats all of its characters pretty equally--even if that means with equal amounts of snark--while sitting amid a truly diverse audience, the members of which seemed to take as much pleasure in the play as I did. Why is that so fucking hard?

Joan Marcus
I have a few--um--bones to pick about Barbecue: even with some of the Big Reveals in mind, the first act felt a little shrill, and in general, making the poor and uneducated the butt of extended jokes--however equally applied thouse jokes are--seems pretty cheap. But the ensemble work here is excellent--so is the direction and the set, which I dismissed as fairly dull at first and then somehow fell for midway through. And for my quibbles, the play's a genuine hoot. So if I happen to land on the most brilliant, deep, moving, and paradigm-shifting show at some point during my theatergoing adventures, I'll be sure to let you know. Meanwhile, Barbecue will do just fine.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Christians

Lucas Hnath's The Christians, which has recently been extended through mid-October at Playwrights Horizons, is a compelling play about contemporary evangelical Christianity. It asks a number of interesting and complicated questions about religion as a means to unite and to divide, to connect and to alienate, to sustain and to harm. It also touches on the need for religions to grow and change in order to adapt to the contemporary world, and on altogether more earthly matters: building maintenance, membership numbers, mortgages, money. It is not a perfect play, but it is a very good one, which is worth seeing for the questions it raises, its conception and direction, its strong and committed cast, and its totally excellent megachurchy set.

Joan Marcus
At the start of the play, which begins with a few energetic (if seriously underharmonized) numbers by the church choir, Pastor Paul (an appropriately soothing Andrew Garman) delivers a sermon in celebration of his huge church's final mortgage payment. Professing a spiritual crisis that began when he learned of a boy who gave up his own life to save his sister from a burning building, he announces to his congregants that such a boy should not be damned to Hell because he was not a Christian. Even further, he informs them, he no longer believes in the concept of Hell and feels that no one in his congregation should, either.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


The intimate atmosphere of the Minetta Lane Theater -- a venue that seats just under 400 -- provides a perfect place for Company XIV's 2015-2016 season. With their signature slinky and sexy dances, the venue heightens the voyeuristic nature of the Company's burlesque-infused take on classics such as Cinderella, their first offering, running from September 22-November 15th.

From the moment the audience enters the space, spectacle begins with scantily clad chorus girls and boys erasing the fourth wall, a trait you see often in Company XIV productions, as they peer into mirrors and recline on chairs before the "performance." This re-imagined version of Charles Perrault's Cinderella also showcases artistic director/founder Austin McCormick's knack for offering familiar narratives blended alluringly with opera, circus, vaudeville, cabaret and Baroque dance (Who else would feature the step-sisters singing Irving Berlin's "Sisters" in German while wearing a conjoined twins/sumo wrestler suit?).

                                          The cast of Cinderella/Photo credit: Phillip Van Nostrand

Like vaudeville, which challenged class and racial values with the diversity of its acts while still maintaining its audience's interest,  McCormick's choreography and direction explores sexuality in an open, ambitious way that might feel uncomfortable to mainstream folk even as they remain undeniably entertained. The cast contains an androgynous appearance featuring heavy makeup (by Sarah Cimino) that gives them a soft, other worldly look and costumes designed by Zane Pihlstrom and seemingly inspired by Las Vegas, Victoria Secrets and the Moulin Rouge (gilded thong, check; nipple glitter, check; garter belts, check; angel wings, check). Often, it is enough just to gape at the beauty of the actors and their lean, Grecian-statue-like bodies. McCormick exploits this by allowing performers to linger on stage, posing between scenes and acting as silent narrators as they hold chalkboards above their head, which contain scene details.

The cast is strong, especially Marcy Richardson (as the step-sister) who makes pole-dancing while singing opera more sexy than strange and Davon Rainey as the stepmother. He deliciously dominates the stage with his animalistic poses, lean look, over-the-top headresses and diva-like attitude (think Grace Jones in her heyday), making the most of the evil role while delivering some beautiful dancing that makes his ballet background apparent. Cinderella (Allison Ulrich) looks vulnerable in all she does, from becoming a table for her step family's use to meeting her fey prince (Steven Trumon Gray). This fragility offers a delicate version of the character, but also makes her appear wan in comparison to the more vivid personalities in the performance.

Cinderella also has vaudeville's pastiche quality: the audience always has something to look at. Here's another number. Another bit. During intermissions (and there are two), the show continues (so don't linger at the bar). Even the act of wiping down the stripper pole in preparation for the next scene becomes an exercise in expression. But that madcap variety doesn't always work. Some of the intermission pieces, especially a spirited mambo and a feisty, fun-filled cast dance party, captivate more than the main show -- which at two-and-a-half-hours and three acts is too long. The ball, for example features multiple dance numbers when one strong number would suffice.

Next up in the season is the revival of the holiday show Nutcracker Rouge (Nov. 24—Jan. 17, 2016), an erotic version of The Nutcracker, followed by the the world premiere of Snow White (Jan. 26—March 12, 2016).

(Press ticket, orchestra)

See Company XIV work, here: