|Daniel N. Durant and Krysta Rodriguez in Spring Awakening.|
Photo: Joan Marcus
Fool For Love: Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda are two of the most magnetic actors working today. Put them together in Sam Sheperd's tinderbox of a play and you better have Ladder 4 on standby.
Heisenberg: After disappointing outings in Hedda Gabler (2009) and The Snow Geese (2013), Mary-Louise Parker returned to top-form in this quiet, moving dramedy by Simon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) Stephens. She was ably matched by Denis Arndt, a prolific regional actor who should be seen more often in New York.
|Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt in Heisenberg.|
Photo: Richard Termine
John: Never before have I gotten out of my seat at intermission of a show I was seeing, walked to the box office, and purchased another ticket for a future performance on the spot. But that is exactly what I did at the first (of two) intermissions at an early preview of Annie Baker's John. I ended up seeing three performances of this ambitious, atmospheric play, directed to perfection by her frequent collaborator Sam Gold and starring Georgia Engel in a career-best performance. I would be delighted if, as was the case with her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick, this supernaturally-tinged ghost story had a second life soon.
|Georgia Engel in John. Photo: Matthew Murphy|
Spring Awakening: I admired Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind's controversial classic when I saw it at the Atlantic (and later, on Broadway) a decade ago, but stopped short of loving it. Thus, the passionate response I felt seeing Michael Arden's conceptually ambitious, heart-stopping revival -- produced in association with Deaf West, the vital California-based theater company that has been leading the way for Deaf and hard-of-hearing actors for 30 years -- surprised me. This is theater at its finest, highlighting exactly what a revival should do: place an existing work in a new context. After the performance I attended, I immediately called five people and told them to buy tickets.
|Phoebe Fox, Mark Strong, and Nicola Walker in A View From|
the Bridge. Photo: Jane Hobson
Happy New Year, dear readers -- and here's to some great theater-going in 2016!