“Cagney” – Toe-Tapping Story of a Movie Tough Guy’s Life

By Karen Isaacs Cagney, the new off-Broadway musical is a toe-tapping delight. You might not think that possible, if you only know James Cagney from his iconic gangster movie roles of the ‘30s and ’40. But Cagney actually had learned how to dance as a child, and got his start in show business in the chorus of a Broadway musical, Every Star, which featured military … Continue reading “Cagney” – Toe-Tapping Story of a Movie Tough Guy’s Life

“Long Day’s Journey” – A Classic Play Receiving a Thought-Provoking Production

By Karen Isaacs Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night” is a classic of American theater. O’Neill is considered America’s first great playwright – and even today may be our greatest. It also offers spectacular roles for actors, including a role that older actresses view as the Mt. Everest of roles. Given the many challenges it presents, it is a wonder that the play is … Continue reading “Long Day’s Journey” – A Classic Play Receiving a Thought-Provoking Production

“The Father” – Puzzling and Frightening

By Karen Isaacs I’ll admit that I am still puzzled by The Father by French playwright Florian Zeller that is now at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater on West 47th Street to June 10. Is it meant to be a surrealist play?  Is the playwright attempting to have us experience what the central character, André, played by Frank Langella, is experiencing?  Is it a take … Continue reading “The Father” – Puzzling and Frightening

“She Loves Me” – A Favorite Show but Not a Favorite Production.

By Karen Isaacs  Roundabout Theater is doing a fine revival of the musical She Loves Me at Studio 54.  And yet….. This Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock musical, with book by Joe Masteroff, has become a musical theater classic even if its original Broadway run was much too short (302 performances).  It is based on the play The Little Shop Around the Corner, which was … Continue reading “She Loves Me” – A Favorite Show but Not a Favorite Production.

“Blackbird” – A Disturbing, Haunting Drama

By Karen Isaacs  Blackbird, which is now getting a belated Broadway production starring Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, is a disturbing play.  It will alternately have you horrified and unsettled.  It exemplifies what drama should do for an audience. David Harrower’s play debuted in 2005 at the Edinburgh Festival and went on to London, where it won the Olivier award for best new play, and … Continue reading “Blackbird” – A Disturbing, Haunting Drama

“The Humans” – A Family Drama over Thanksgiving Dinner

By Karen Isaacs  The Humans opened off-Broadway at Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theater last fall to very positive reviews.  It had a limited run, but now the production has moved to a relatively small Broadway house – the Helen Hayes – with its cast intact. The Humans, written by Stephen Karam who is a younger playwright of much promise. I’ve seen his Speech & Debate; his … Continue reading “The Humans” – A Family Drama over Thanksgiving Dinner

A “Fiddler” that Touches the Heart

By Karen Isaacs  Fiddler on the Roof is such a classic musical that is done in so many places by so many groups that it is hard to get excited about yet another production; even one directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Danny Burstein. But after seeing this production at the Broadway Theater, I am excited. It is a marvelous production that moved me more … Continue reading A “Fiddler” that Touches the Heart

“Noises Off” Backstage Farce about Farce

By Karen Isaacs  Noises Off is a farce about the problems of putting on and then continuing to perform a farce.  Confused?  You might be at the beginning, since the play opens with the cast rehearsing a scene and the director coming down the aisle to correct some business.  But you will soon catch on. Roundabout Theatre has assembled a fine cast for this production … Continue reading “Noises Off” Backstage Farce about Farce

“The Body of an American” Requires You to Think

By Karen Isaacs  How do war correspondents and photojournalists cope with the constant barrage of violence, tragedy and human suffering that they record and present to the world on a daily basis? After all they jump from one disaster/war zone to another. That is part of the question asked and discussed in the play The Body of an American now at Hartford Stage through Jan. … Continue reading “The Body of an American” Requires You to Think

Young Vic’s “A View From the Bridge” Diminishes Power

By Karen Isaacs Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is an epic tragedy – almost from the beginning you realize things will not go well and that only one person can prevent it but he cannot see or acknowledge the errors of his thinking.  It has definite Greek tragedy overtones though it deals with ordinary people not kings or gods. I have fond memories … Continue reading Young Vic’s “A View From the Bridge” Diminishes Power