December, 2010

BAM does ‘Borkman’ — with Alan Rickman!

Theater: The first must-see show of 2011 is the Abby Theatre’s month-long production of Ibsen’s “John Gabriel Borkman” at the BAM Harvey. Comment

Gallery Players’ ‘Lughnasa’ is something to dance about

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: The last thing anyone needs is another “Dancing at Lughnasa,” the Brian Friel drama that made its debut 20 years ago before earning three Tony’s on Broadway and more acclaim for Meryl Streep in the subsequent movie version. Comment

November, 2010

‘Fight Fest’ returns to Williamsburg’s Brick Theater

Theater: Finally, a theater series that asks the question, “Are you ready to rummmmble?” Comment

Buggin’ out! BAM’s ‘Metamorphosis’ is a real change

Theater: If you thought the book about a guy transformed into a bug was haunting, wait until you see it on stage. Comments (1)

A rave for St Ann’s ‘Red Shoes’

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, “The Red Shoes,” has inspired its fair share of adaptations, from films to musicals. But none have stuck as closely to the source material, while still making the story its own, quite like this one. Comments (1)

Yards drama will delight Ratner, appall opponents and confuse everyone else

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: “In the Footprint” retells a story best left to the historians, not the playwrights. Comments (10)

The Atlantic Yards saga is now a play

Theater: The battle over Atlantic Yards may be over, but it’s still brewing on stage. Comment

Call the Heights Players for ‘Room Service’

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: If there’s any community theater company that can pull off a good show about a community theater company trying to pull off a good show, it’s the Heights Players — and they did with their modern rendition of the 1930s-era “Room Service.” Comments (3)

Stage version of Kurosawa’s ‘Macbeth’ film is a chrysanthemum ‘Throne’

Theater: “Throne of Blood” plays at BAM next week. Comment

This theater piece puts a church in play

Theater: For Abby Browde and Michael Silverstone’s latest production, the two theatrical types wanted to work in the least theatrical-like setting possible. And lucky for them, they found it only a few blocks from where they live. Comment

October, 2010

One ‘Curious’ play headlines the fall at the Narrows Community Theater

Theater: A forgotten gem is getting its due. Comment

‘Reefer Madness’ is a hit!

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Marijuana makes even more inroads! Now the Gallery Players is even celebrating it. Comment

Is she really going out with him — and that yarmulke?

Theater: An unorthodox new play delves into modern Judaism and romance. Comment

‘Knitting’ together a new theater community

Theater: It’s “Monday Night at the Knit,” thanks to new play productions at The Knitting Factory. Comment

Oh, doctor! Theater company gives hot new life to ‘Frankenstein’

Theater: It’s time to reanimate a centuries-old corpse — and this time, it’s a woman! Comment

Slope theater troupe aims high with ‘Reefer Madness’

Theater: Marijuana makes even more inroads! Now the Gallery Players is even celebrating it. Comment

So what is ‘Reefer Madness’?

Theater: The musical “Reefer Madness” is based on a 1938 film originally titled “Tell Your Children,” which was made by a church group to warn folks that weed ruins the lives of unsuspecting teens. Soon after the film was shot, it was picked up by the exploitation circuit — a nod to its campy nature and overall ridiculousness — and retitled “Reefer Madness.” Comment

Julia Stiles stars in a ‘Persephone’ for all seasons

Theater: What do you get when you combine an ancient Greek myth, a pioneering theater ensemble, two experimental musicians, and a Hollywood movie star? Nothing less than an intoxicating, multimedia play fit for the gods. Comments (2)

Morning, Wood! Brick’s take on ‘Plan 9’ is late-night fun

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: If you need a fix of camp and kitsch this Halloween season, look no further than the Brick’s production of “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” Comment

Call this avant-cowboy show ‘Naked Brokeback Lunch’

Theater: The Brick Theater is up to its old tricks with “Git Along Li’l Doggies.” Comment

Not the same old ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Theater: Yes, everyone stages “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — all the time — but don’t let that persuade you from checking out the version by the hip Aquila Theatre at Brooklyn Center this Sunday. Comment

Heights Players’ ‘Mikado’ is riotous good fun

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Sure, it’s community theater, but the Heights Players stage a fun and funny version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado.” Comments (1)

Worst movie ever? Sounds like a great idea for a show!

Theater: “Plan 9 From Outer Space” gets the theatrical treatment this month at the Brick. Comment

It’s Wagner on steroids (and with burlesque) as ‘The Ring’ hits Bushwick

Theater: Forget holy deities — the gods of 1980s-era America were World Wrestling Federation stars. Comment

The tragedy of war — quite literally — in this play about Kosovo

Theater: It took a very real tragedy to get a group of actors to confront a ruthless world. Comment

September, 2010

This ‘Dead’ play is very much alive

Theater: Paging Mr. Sartre! A new play at the Irondale Center offers a new ‘Exit’ ramp Comment

‘Animal Farm’ reimagined as an Orwellian circus

Theater: The circus and communist Russia never had much in common, but House of Yes is looking to change all that. Comment

Church hosts T.S. Eliot’s murderous play

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Spoiler alert! “Murder in the Cathedral” is about a brutal killing in church — but don’t worry, we didn’t just ruin the play for you. Comment

See ‘What the Butler Saw’

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: The Gallery Players make good work of Joe Orton’s comedy. Comment

This ‘Cuckoo’ makes complete sense

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: The Heights Players have a hit with stage version of Kesey novel Comment

It’s ‘Hansel and Regretel’ in new post-modern fairy tale

Theater: What actually happened after “happily ever after”? Comment

August, 2010

Clowning around with ‘Pagliacci’ at the Coney Sideshow

Theater: Send in the clowns. Comment

Shakespeare in the Park? Feh — we got Calderon’s ‘Dream’ play

Theater: There was Shakespeare in the Park this summer. Now there’s Calderón in the Park. Comments (1)

‘Devils’ and ‘Spacemen’ fill the Brick Theater this month

Theater: At the Brick Theater this month, you’ll be sure to laugh and cry, just like the Greeks intended. Comment

July, 2010

Shakespeare — stripped down!

Theater: Summer has always been a ripe time for productions of Shakespeare’s wildly popular “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” often as a light breeze suitable for children. Comment

Bard in Bklyn! This summer, it’s Shakespeare in the (real) park

Theater: It’s Shakespeare in the Park — our park! Comment

Too much summer Shakespeare? Here’s more

Theater: What is it about the summer and Shakespeare? Ibsen doesn’t get all of winter for productions of his dreary shows. And why doesn’t Arthur Miller get that ultimate season of death, the fall? Comment

Sedaris family values at the Old Stone House

Theater: The Park Slope-based Piper Theatre made a conscious decision to move away from Shakespeare this summer — and it couldn’t have found a better opposite to the Great Bard than the Sedaris Family. Comment

Scary stories for adults at the Old Stone House

Theater: For those looking for a way to cool down this summer, “Nocturnes” is sure to give you the chills. Comment

May, 2010

All the world’s a small stage at this festival

Theater: At this event, smaller is better. Comments (2)

Puppet collection finds new home at Brooklyn College

Theater: From the miniature to the gigantic. Comments (1)

Gallery Players have an ‘Angel’ on 14th Street

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: The troupe’s revival of “City of Angels” is a hit. Comment

New Nerve Tank piece is short on dialogue, long on modern angst

Theater: This avant-garde theater group aims to set off a dirty bomb in your brain. Comment

Holy trinity! Sarah Ruhl’s triptych ‘Passion Play’ coming to Irondale Center

Theater: A church is the most natural — and most unlikely — setting for playwright Sarah Ruhl’s triptych, “Passion Play.” Comment

April, 2010

Sing your barbaric yawp! Whitman’s masterpiece adapted as a piece of musical theater

Theater: Who needs to sound your barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world when you can sing it? Comment

Man, this new play at the Brick is just torture

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: In the last decade, a new sub-genre of horror flicks has developed called “torture porn,” which seeks to communicate in an extremely over-the-top manner the dangers of vengeance at any cost. Movies like “The Devil’s Rejects” and “Hostel” show how torture ends up turning the good guys bad, leaving the protagonists — and the audience — adrift in a post 9-11 world in which the moral high ground has been abandoned. Comment

Deserving its ‘Creditors’! BAM’s Strindberg revival is a solid gold hit

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Revenge is rarely as gripping, vicious and, yes, fun, as it is on stage at the BAM Harvey in August Strindberg’s “Creditors” — a thoroughly modern take on the battle of the sexes. Comment

Play explores mermaids, garbage

Theater: Now those are some topics you don’t see on stage that often! Comment

It’s hard to say good ‘Night’ at Heights Players

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: “Night Must Fall” lives up to its name. Comments (1)

Brick Theater’s new show about torture is a great night out

Theater: Human behavior can be a gold mine for a playwright, and Crystal Skillman has found her nugget — Mankind’s propensity to torture. Comment

March, 2010

Hey, Sean, what’s up with that towel?

Theater: Sean Edward Lewis is used to doing underground theater. With his ensemble Lilac Co. and St. John’s Theatre, he’s performed primarily in a church basement in Greenpoint. Comments (1)

A ‘Crucible’ of great theater by the Gallery Players

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Now that the hysteria over health care reform has reached its crescendo — hopefully — why not revisit the classic parable of groupthink run amok, Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”? Comments (2)

This ‘Bourne’ identity is a hit at St. Ann’s Warehouse

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: The amazing life of Bette Bourne. Comment

Heights Players keep the laughs coming in tired old ‘Leading Ladies’

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Sure, it’s predictable, but there are laughs galore. Comment

Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ is relevant — again

Theater: Old Stone House hosts yet another remake of the Great American Story. Comments (2)

February, 2010

No rough seas in this ‘Tempest’ — BAM show rocks!

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: Sam Mendes’s production of “The Tempest” is a gripping combination of excellent performances and stunning special effects that puts the perfect punctuation mark on Shakespeare’s oeuvre. Comments (1)

January, 2010

‘Sweet’ revenge! Melvin Van Peebles brings his X-rated masterpiece to the stage

Theater: “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” is back. Sweet! Comment

So what’s all this jive about ‘Sweet Sweetback’?

Theater: “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” tells the story of a black man whose rage against corrupt white authorities eventually reaches a boiling point, leaving two racist cops dead and him on the run to the Mexican border. Comments (1)

As who likes it? BAM’s Bard comedy is a true tragedy

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: And they call “As You Like It” a comedy? Comments (2)

The Butcher says that ‘Murder’ is most fair

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: A so-so review for the Brick Theater’s new play. Comments (1)

Heights Players hit home run with ballsy ‘Take Me Out’

The Butcher of Flatbush Ave. Extension: It’s a line drive over the wall, so go hit the showers! Comments (6)

‘Bridge’ to Shakespeare’s worst show?

Waiting in the Wings: The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s trans-Atlantic “Bridge Project” will start its second season with a Shakespeare play that’s a bit of a comedown from prior works in the series, “The Cherry Orchard” and “The Winter’s Tale.” Comments (6)

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