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Showtime! features reviews, commentary and assorted theatrical musings from Michael Dale, BroadwayWorld.com's Chief Theatre Critic. To submit amusing backstage banter, absurd audience observations or noteworthy links to Showtime!, click here. Anonymity's guaranteed. My not taking credit for your clever remark isn't. Subscribe to RSS Feed



Greene Glimmers

 

The singer isn't Edith Piaf and the song isn't "La Vie En Rose" but for a few minutes on the City Center stage, there really isn't very much difference as Ellen Greene, playing a woman who endures beatings and verbal abuse from her lover because she doesn't think she deserves any better, sings of her simple dream to marry a nice, kind man and live happily ever after in the comfortable conformity pushed by television commercials as early 1960s American heaven.

 

Click here for my full review of Little Shop of Horrors.

 

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Posted on: Friday, July 03, 2015 @ 09:23 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Three Sisters in Cape Cod

 

The eldest Stockton sister in Melissa Ross' funny and emotionally engaging Of Good Stock may have a few qualms about what the title suggests about her gene pool as she approaches her 41st birthday with dark humor about having officially outlived her cancer-stricken mother, just as her own treatments have begun.

 

Click here for my full review of Of Good Stock.

 

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Posted on: Wednesday, July 01, 2015 @ 05:27 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


The Drama of Community Theatre

 

"On stage, ginger ale is champagne," observes the lead character of Douglas Carter Beane's funny and sentimental new comedy, Shows For Days. And while his nostalgic look at the backstabbing and bitchery at a 1973 Reading, Pennsylvania amateur theatre company may not exactly be of an exceptional vintage, there's plenty of fizz; especially if you were once there.

 

Click here for my full review of Shows For Days.

 

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Posted on: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 @ 01:07 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Broadway By The Year

 

Along with the great entertainment featuring top flight theatre and cabaret performers, Scott Sieget's Broadway By The Year concerts always provide lessons in the artistic developments in Broadway musicals.

 

 

In the concert covering 1941-1965 we heard how showtunes matured in that span, with more attention to plot and character. The 1966-1990 edition chronicled the influence of both American and British rock on Broadway. The selections for this past week's concert, covering 1991-2015, made clear the growing number of main stem hits that are containing scores made up of songs not originally written for the theatre and older theatre songs showcased into new musicals.

 

Click here for my full review of Broadway By The Year.

 

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Posted on: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 @ 01:07 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Something Else To Celebrate

 
On this day in 1928, Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five made this recording of King Oliver's "West End Blues," which is regarded as the recording most responsible for popularizing New Orleans jazz throughout the country.

 

Two years later, Ethel Merman made her Broadway debut in a supporting role in Girl Crazy and became an immediate sensation singing "I Got Rhythm."  I have no documentation to back this up, but it's my theory that one of the things that contributed to Merman's immediate popularity is that she was giving notes the same kind of inflections with her voice that Armstrong was giving with his horn.

 

Posted on: Sunday, June 28, 2015 @ 05:25 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


The Tide's Unebbing

 

How the world can change,
It can change like that,
Due to one little word,
SCOTUS.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, June 27, 2015 @ 11:43 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Minor Surgery

 

So what's a Tony-winning composer/lyricist/bookwriter to do after recovering from surgery for an arteriovenous malformation on his brain stem? Write a musical about it, of course.

 

Click here for my full review of A New Brain.

 

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Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2015 @ 08:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Very Little Chill

 

The two one-acts that make up the bill Atlantic Theater Company presents as Ghost Stories aren't exactly the kind of fare audiences are accustomed to when they think of David Mamet. Strutting misogynist males and scatological dialogue are set aside here for attempts at spine-tingling atmospheres.

 

Click here for my full review of Ghost Stories.

 

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Posted on: Friday, June 26, 2015 @ 08:53 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Yeah, right...

 

Some people buy Playboy for the articles and some people go to Broadway Bares for the choreography.

 

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Posted on: Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 08:48 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Barely Selling It

 

If Chris Noth had made a blood pact with the devil he might have opted for a role in the more entertaining scenes of director Andrei Belgrader's lopsided production of Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

 

Click here for my full review of Doctor Faustus.

 

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Posted on: Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 08:45 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Wedding Bell Blues

 

There's a slang term - some celebrate it and others find it offensive - for single straight women whose closest relationships are with openly gay men. If there's a similar term for single openly gay men whose closest relationships are with straight women, it would certainly apply to the central character of Joshua Harmon's sentimental comedy, Significant Other.

 

Click here for my full review of Significant Other.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, June 20, 2015 @ 10:58 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Fighting For The Public's Collective Memory

 

One of the most interesting aspects of playwright Branden Jacob-Jenkins' masterful dark satire, Gloria, is the page in the script where he designates his characters as "white," "Asian," "white," "anything really," "black" and "unclear."

 

He adds, "You could toy with masks/facepaint/raceface if you think it'll pay off but I don't know...."

 

Click here for my full review of Gloria.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, June 20, 2015 @ 10:58 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Of The Teapot Variety

 

Throughout his notable career on stage and screen, Sam Waterston's forte has been to pull audiences in with underplay and sensitivity. This quality is certainly evident as he returns to the leading role of Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest, which he first tackled over forty years ago at Lincoln Center.

 

Click here for my full review of The Tempest.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, June 20, 2015 @ 10:58 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Prelude To What?

 

Alexander Glazunov was noticeably drunk that 1897 night in St. Petersburg when he conducted the premiere of 24-year-old wunderkind Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 1 in D minor, but even so the piece itself was torn apart by critics and the public alike.

 

Click here for my full review of Preludes.

 

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Posted on: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 @ 08:27 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Sex in Clybourne Park

 

That strange rush of déjà vu one might experience while watching playwright Bruce Norris' latest Pam MacKinnon-directed offering is intensified by having Jeremy Shamos (excellent, as always) pretty much playing the same character he did in the second act of the author's Pulitzer-winner, Clybourne Park.

 

Click here for my full review of The Qualms.

 

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Posted on: Monday, June 15, 2015 @ 03:27 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Big News

 

Chris Noth is starring in Classic Stage Company's new production of Doctor Faustus. In this version the devil turns him into a boring, commitment-phobic millionaire who is unconditionally loved by a clever, interesting and accomplished writer.

 

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Posted on: Sunday, June 14, 2015 @ 12:29 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


The Ugly Cost of Beauty

 

If you know anything about the legend of the extreme extent of 17th Century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan's ruthlessness then, despite the initially light comedic tone of Rajiv Joseph's thoughtful and engaging new entry, Guards At The Taj, you'll know exactly where the playwright is going.

 

Click here for my full review of Guards At The Taj.

 

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Posted on: Saturday, June 13, 2015 @ 12:55 PM Posted by: Michael Dale


Casual Culture's The Rule

 

Brooks Ashmanskas... Just pronouncing his name is refreshing enough.

 

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Posted on: Thursday, June 11, 2015 @ 09:41 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Pushing The Envelope

 

Rumors abound of grumblings at the Cort Theatre, where Jason Alexander has taken over for Fish In The Dark’s playwright/star Larry David.  Tensions began as soon as put-in rehearsals started, with castmates complaining that they can’t figure out Alexander’s comic timing.

 

“I love him, but I can’t figure out how to play off of him,” says veteran Broadway character man Lewis J. Stadlen.  “His instincts for doing a scene, where the comedy is, and mine, are always misfiring.”

 

“I just wanna kill him,” beloved actress Jayne Houdyshell was heard muttering backstage last night after her first scene with the Tony-winning star.

 

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Posted on: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 @ 11:02 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


Priorities

 

Next year can we have Matthew Morrison exposing his chest during a commercial break and Lisa Kron talking while on the air?

 

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Posted on: Tuesday, June 09, 2015 @ 02:19 AM Posted by: Michael Dale


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About Michael: After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they've had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Shea Stadium pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.





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