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  • AmericanTheaterWeb Original News & Reviews

  • Use the calendar above to find ATW News & Reviews for a specific day, or use the list to the right to go to a specific review or article. The site's updated 3-4 times a day generally. For you convenience, links below will take you to ATWTopNews (a quick listing of links to some of the day's top stories) and to ATWClips (the complete digest of the day's news from ATW).

       ATWClips
       ATWTopNews

ATW News Digest - 'Len, Asleep in Vinyl' opens

You snooze, you lose (New York Post)
As character traits go, ennui is probably the least dramatically compelling. This may be why Carly Mensch's new play, "Len...

Review: Len, Asleep in Vinyl (Variety)
It may not be a full album, but it has a couple of great tracks. "Len, Asleep in Vinyl," Carly Mensch's enthusiastically slight new play about musicmakers, makes good on its small ambitions quickly, quirkily and with considerable style. Mensch's slick dialogue is an excellent match for Jackson Gay's offbeat directorial style, and the playwright's fisheye-lens characterization keeps things interesting even when the plot stalls. Leads Michael Cullen and Daniel Eric Gold make potentially unbearable characters easy to like with excellent turns as a disappointed punk rock father and a shy hipster son, respectively.

Len, Asleep In Vinyl reviewed by Andy Propst (Back Stage)
Director Jackson Gay's well-modulated staging always engages, but questions linger well after the end of this surprisingly brief play.

Review: Len, Asleep in Vinyl (TheaterMania) Carly Mensch's bland new play, about the relationship between a famous record producer and his aspiring musician son, offers few surprises.

Review: Len, Asleep in Vinyl (Talkin' Broadway)
Oops, she did it again! That pernicious, blonde-ish bombshell - you know, the one who’s always splashed across the tabloids - just won’t give up her libidinous ways, even when she’s just off-center in the latest news cycle. As much as you might want to, you just can’t rip your eyes from her - watching her spin quietly into ruin is much more interesting than watching other people ascend to personal success. . . .

Review: 'Len, Asleep in Vinyl' (CurtainUp)

ATW Review: 'reasons to be pretty' compels

Immaturity may reign among the four characters in Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, but interestingly enough, the piece, which opened last night at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, proves to be one of this prolific playwright's most mature works, confronting not only a specific issue as it relates to one character but also a more generalized one as it relates to the characters as a whole.

A comment by Greg (Thomas Sadoski) about his girlfriend Steph (Alison Pill) sets "reasons" in motion. Steph's best friend Carly (Piper Perabo) overhears her husband Kent (Pablo Schreiber) and Greg talking about a woman at the warehouse where they work. Greg's comparison of Steph and this unseen woman may not be the most flattering, but they do represent a certain clarity of emotion on his part. However, Steph refuses to see it this way. She goes ballistic during the play's opening scene as she confronts Greg about Carly's report, and not long after, Steph's moving her stuff out of Greg's house, feeling only absolutes in her reaction to what's she's heard and unwilling to listen to either explanations or his expressions of love.

Even as these two deal with the dissolution of their four year relationship, Kent and Carly must weather some difficult times in their marriage as they prepare for the birth of their first child. This is an event for which neither seems particularly well-prepared. Kent's seems to be stuck somewhere in mid-pubescence while Carly, a security guard at the warehouse, runs her marriage and her friendships as if they were extensions of some sort of high school clique.

The lessons that these four learn (and don't) when set against the characters' working class lives and their expectations - which have been shaped by advertising, film and television (consumerism is cleverly represented by the huge flats of products that surround the playing area in David Gallo's scenic design) – are not easy ones. During the course of "reasons," each of LaBute's characters has the opportunity to enter adulthood by choosing to go against his or her more juvenile nature, which characters do, and how they accomplish this feat often surprises.

Unfortunately, while the characters and their situations fascinate, the play often feels overwritten. Monologues for each of the characters seem extraneous and only over-illuminate what has been expressed in scenes that have come before. Additionally, though Terry Kinney has elicited sterling performances from Pill, Sadoski and Schreiber, Perabo delivers a stilted and overly shrill performance as the mercurial and demanding Carly, which upsets the balance of this intriguing and often cutting look at four twentysomethings attempting to come into their adulthood.

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reasons to be pretty plays at the Lucille Lortel Theatre (121 Christopher Street). Tickets are $59.00 and can be purchased by calling 212-279-4200 or by visiting www.ticketcentral.com Further information is available online at www.mcctheater.org.

ATW News Digest - 'The Visit' reviews

The Independent

Great outdoors: this summer's best alfresco productions

Review: Troilus and Cressida, Barbican, London

Financial Times

Fat Pig, Trafalgar Studio 1, London
Neil LaBute offers a protagonist’s awkwardness at falling for a tubby woman and the peer pressure put on him, writes Ian Shuttleworth

Rosmersholm, Almeida, London
Anthony Page’s production plays out nimbly on Hildegard Bechtler’s pale, orderly set, which seems almost to mock its desperate inhabitants, writes Sarah Hemming

The Times UK

How the British have taken Manhattan
This year's Tony awards will have a strong English accent. Key players explain what's gone right with British theatre

Review: Running The Silk Road, Nothern Stage, Newcastle
Unfortunately Paul Sirett's earnest, ambitious production pulls itself in too many directions to ever gel convincingly

The Red Ladies of Clod Ensemble hit Oxford
Our reporter joins a 21-strong modern-day Greek chorus; identically dressed, silent observers of humanity

Rock, at Oval House, SE11
This tale of Rock Hudson is the stuff of film history cliché and offers little fresh perspective

The Guardian

Review: Running the Silk Road, Northern Stage, Newcastle
David Tse Ka-Shing's bilingual production crams Chinese culture into a powerful 90 minutes, writes Alfred Hickling

Review: Little Otik, Citizens, Glasgow
A screen adaptation of a nightmare fairytale film is visually ravishing, writes Mark Fisher

Daily Telegraph

Jude Kelly: Yellow brick road to the South Bank
Artistic director Jude Kelly tells Jasper Rees why she's turning the Festival Hall into a theatre to stage 'The Wizard of Oz'.

Theatre reviews: Absolutely Frank and The Quiz
Charles Spencer finds Absolutely Frank and The Quiz sympathetic and splendidly funny.

Whatsonstage.com

Jodie Prenger Wins Nancy Role via I’d Do Anything

ATW News Digest - The Visit at Signature Theatre

A quick set of links to the reviews that have appeared online for the production of Kander and Ebb's The Visit, which opened on Wednesday at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia:

Reviews

* Review: The Visit - Talkin' Broadway
* Vengeance Revisited, With Singing - New York Times
* Chita's Worth A Visit To Signature - DCist
* Chita Rivera heads the fine cast of 'The Visit' at the Signature Theatre - Associated Press
* 'The Visit': Pure Star Power - Potomac Stages
* The Visit - DC Theatre Scene
* Freed from Sept. 11, Goodman’s ‘Visit’ regains its power - Chicago Tribune Theater Loop Blog
* Chita Rivera Astounds in Kander, Ebb's Tuneful `Visit': Review - Bloomberg.com
* Review: 'The Visit' - TheaterMania
* ATW Review: 'The Visit' - AmericanTheaterWeb.com
* Dancing in The Dark: 'The Visit' With Chita Rivera - Washington Post
* Review: The Visit - Variety

Post-Opening Feature

A 'Visit' With Very Familiar Faces of Broadway: Signature Plugs Into Star Power Of Rivera & Co.

HERE Arts Center on YouTube

Well, one of the things I'm most looking forward to this summer is Arias with a Twist that begins on June 12 at the newly renovated HERE.

Last night got an email from the folks at HERE announcing that they had created a YouTube Channel for themselves, and there are a bunch of video interviews with Joey Arias and Basil Twist talking about the piece. Figured I'd share:

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For more information about the show, visit: www.here.org and www.basiltwist.com