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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
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ATW Digest - Home revival opens off-Broadway - read the reviews

New York Times

A Cast of 3 Populates the South in ‘Home’
The revival of Samm-Art Williams’s play “Home” moves in tune with the easy rhythms of the writing.

Associated Pres

A Heartwarming 'Home' Returns to off-Broadway
For a critic anyway, ''heartwarming'' can be the scariest adjective. But don't let the word -- highly appropriate in this case -- deter you from visiting ''Home,'' Samm-Art Williams' deeply felt memory play

Variety

Review: Home
... Modern auds experiencing the new production -- beautifully designed by Shaun Motley -- may waver between genuinely liking the play and genuinely trying to like it, but Kevin T. Carroll's surefooted turn as the central troubled everyman will likely turn fence-sitters toward "Home."

Back Stage

Home reviewed by Andy Propst
Lyrical, genuinely sentimental, and filled with a terrific social consciousness, Samm-Art Williams' Home takes theatregoers on a journey through roughly two decades of an African American's life.

TheaterMania

Review: Home
Signature Theater Company offers a sensitively directed and beautifully acted revival of Samm-Art Williams' lyrical 1979 play

Talkin' Broadway

Review: Home
There’s little actual music in Home, the heartfelt 1980 play by Samm-Art Williams that the Signature Theatre Company is reviving at Peter Norton Space. But what’s revealed in Ron OJ Parson’s spirited production, the second in Signature’s season-long tribute to the Negro Ensemble Company, is that this is a work of symphonic scope capable of putting most current Broadway musicals to shame. . .

CurtainUp

Review: Home
The Signature Theatre Company could not have picked a sweeter play to be part of its season-long celebration of the historic Negro Ensemble Company.

ATW Digest - Slava's Snowshow opens on B'way - read the reviews [updated 12/9/08]

ADDITIONS - 12/9/08 - 8:23AM EST

Associated Press

'Slava's Snowshow' Brightens Broadway
The Great White Way just got a fresh dusting of snow -- all the way from Russia and just in time for the holidays.


AmericanTheaterWeb

Review - Slava's Snowshow - A Blizzard of Fun

New York Times

When They Send in These Clowns, Every Day Is a Snow Day
If I were charged with the entertainment of children under 10 and had a Broadway budget at my disposal, this would be the show I’d favor.

New York Daily News

'Slava's Snowshow' is clowning up a storm
True to its title, "Slava's Snowshow" is filled with flurries. Rain, too, since water gets splashed during the interactive intermission. Intense fog also rolls in beware if you're in the first row. ...

amNY

Theater Review of Slava's Snowshow
Upon entering the Helen Hayes Theatre, you’ll notice the rectangular pieces of white paper that cover the floor. It’s snow. Or at least it’s supposed to be. You can pick up and crush it in your hand. Or maybe throw a little at your neighbor.

New York Post

You won't snow what hit you
There's no business like snow business, especially around the holidays. After a flurry of "Nutcrackers," Radio City, "Wintuk" and "Irving Berlin's White Christmas," "Slava's Snowshow" drifted into the Helen Hayes last night - about 10 percent inspiration, 90 percent precipitation. You may...

Bergen Record

Slava has a ball on a wintry set

Variety

Review: Slava's Snowshow
...the refurbished show boasts fresher set pieces, sharper lighting, cleaner costumes, better beach balls, more "snow" -- even more clowns. And if one should whisper that some of the magic has evaporated, who would hear that voice above the screams of laughter of a delighted audience?

Back Stage

Slava's Snowshow reviewed by Adam R. Perlman
It's not unusual for colorful family-friendly entertainments to douse audience members or drag them on stage.

TheaterMania

Review: Slava's Snowshow
This hilarious yet haunting winter spectacular is taking Broadway by snowstorm.

Talkin' Broadway

Review: Slava's Snowshow
Whether you prefer sampling childlike joy through the eyes and experiences of actual children or through the hands, feet, and mouths of artists skilled in creating ironic distillations of it for more sophisticated palates, you’ll get your fill at Slava’s Snowshow. The warming spectacle that’s just opened at the Helen Hayes, where it’s running through January 4, asks only that you be open to whatever it throws at you. . .

CurtainUp

Review; Slava's Snow Show
The Cirque du Soleil of clown shows returns for the holidays, this time on Broadway. .

Philadelphia Inquirer

'Slava' is nonsense on Broadway

ATW Review - Rough Crossing - Strong Ensemble Sails Full Steam Ahead

Rough Crossing is smooth sailing at Yale Rep where a strong ensemble cast, kept on course by director Marc Rucker, launches full steam ahead into playwright Tom Stoppard’s humorous word-play tour de force.

With their new musical is about to open on Broadway, playwrights Turai and Gal (Reg Rogers and Greg Stuhr), are steaming their way across the Atlantic aboard the SS Italian Castle, fretting about the ending they don't have for the show and worried that the tuner's beginning and middle need some work too. Matters are complicated when their composer, Adam (Sean Dugan), throws the score overboard and threatens to jump himself after he overhears leading lady Natasha (Susannah Schulman), the object of his devotion, and leading man, Ivor (John G. Preston), rekindling their romance. To help salvage the show, Turai concocts a plan to convince Adam that what he heard was the couple rehearsing the new ending for the musical.

What ensues is madcap comedy complete with perfectly cheesy choreography from Michelle Lynch (musical numbers by André Previn and Musical Director Erica Schroth with lyrics by Stoppard) and some fun running gags. Ship steward Dvornichek (in a strong performance by Patrick Kerr), can’t find his sea legs and through a series of Stoppard’s signature wordplay miscues, continually drinks every cognac ordered by Turai. Adam has a stutter, the result of having been traumatized by his mother, and he’s unable to get his words out quickly, sometimes not until they seem they seem to be in response to more current dialogue and to which they give new meaning. Dugan’s buzzing sounds and facial twitches in response to references to his mother are particularly funny.

Preston is delightful as the pompous and hammy Ivor, particularly in silly pajamas (Luke Brown’s period costumes contain terrific character detail). His guffaw-inducing panache is nowhere more apparent than when he delivers his character’s one sung line. Rogers plays the straight man to the other zanies well, and Stuhr brings good humor to the always eating, oblivious Gal, even if his choice to deliver lines like Cary Grant seems curious. Schulman is engaging and lends a strong singing voice to Natasha.

The set design from Timothy R. Mackabee (lit by Jesse Belsky) is not only practical, it's fun. When rotated by the crew and six-woman chorus, a two-deck exterior deck set becomes a dining room, and when a large chandelier swings like a pendulum and a piano and table slide back and forth across the stage, the impression of a rocking ship is marvelously achieved.

The thorniest design element in the show could be the recorded music that accompanies the proceedings, but thanks to sound designer and orchestrator Phillip Owen the music sounds terrific, and ultimately, "Crossing, which Stoppard adapted from Ferenc Molnár’s Play at the Castle, proves a pleasurable cruise through wit and words.

---- Lauren Yarger


Rough Crossing plays at the University Theater (222 York Street, New Haven, CT) through Dec.20. Performances times are Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm with matinees at 2pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Tickets are $35-$65. and can be purchased by calling 203-432-1234 or by visiting www.yalerep.org.

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ATW Review - Sister's Christmas Catechism - Holiday Fun Like ‘Nun Other’

A mystery, a quiz on the Catholic Christmas story and a bunch of unsuspecting audience members who make up one of the most motley looking nativity scenes you’ll ever see are all part of the non-stop laugh fest that is Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold playing at Long Wharf’s Stage II.

Nonie Newton-Breen, who starred as Sister in last summer’s Late Night Catechism at Long Wharf, reprises the role in this holiday sequel penned by "Late Night" creator Maripat Donovan, with Jane Morris and Marc Silvia. In "Christmas Catechism," we visit with Sister in her classroom, where wrapped gifts are piled on her desk. They’re all different size Whitman samplers, she tells us, because no one knows what to give nun for Christmas. A few reject ideas are shared: “My Sin” perfume and a toy gun that fires nun-shaped bullets called a “nun chucker.”

The fun, which includes with Christmas carols led by music director Mathew Wrather on the keyboard, continues as Sister gives some of the gifts to various audience members who answer her quiz questions correctly. Newton-Breen’s gift for improvisation finds added humor in some of the responses, or in what audience members are wearing or doing. One woman incurred Sister’s wrath for answering “prostitute” instead of “virgin” when asked a question about Mary. Two women in the front row were frequent targets for “drinking so early in the day” and a guy named “Griz” took a lot of grief for his name and size. One audience member won praise for her name: Regina Theresa, with a confirmation name of Ann.

“A Catholic trifecta!” Sister exclaimed.

The second act deals with a mystery Sister has always wanted to solve about what happened to the gold brought to Jesus by the three magi, whom she refuses to call wise men, saying that going to Herod and asking where they could find the new king wasn’t exactly wise. To solve this centuries old mystery, Sister relies on the knowledge of forensics that she's gotten from television. She recreates the crime scene so she can collect evidence. Audience members, dressed in bathrobes, shower curtains, tablecloths and runners and other paraphernalia commonly used as costumes in children’s church pageants, become participants in a living nativity scene. The sheep, hands covered with black socks and clad in a fleece created with a white bath mat on her back, a matching toilet seat cover on her head and binder clips for ears and tail brought down the house.

More fun ensues as the participants try to act out their parts as Sister reads the nativity story and solves the mystery of the missing gold. It’s fun like “nun other” and you even have a chance to help out some real nuns if you’d like as Newton-Breen takes a post-show collection in the lobby to aid the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Bridgeport, CT.

---- Lauren Yarger


Sister’s Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi’s Gold plays at Long Wharf Theatre Stage II (222 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT) through Dec. 21. Performances are Tuesdays at 7 pm, Wednesdays at 2 and 7 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $25 and are available by calling 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.

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ATW Review - Slava's Snowshow - A Blizzard of Fun

Saturday, a thin coat of snow blanketed most of the Tri-State area. Sunday, a full blizzard set in on Broadway with the opening of Slava's Snowshow, a delightful, magical and often sublime theater piece, at the Helen Hayes Theatre.

The fun at "Snowshow" actually begins before the first performer takes to the stage. Audience members toss "snow" (small bits of white crepe paper) that has amassed around their seats from previous performances. The fun continues after the curtain call as the audience once again merrily takes part in the action: punching, tossing and hurling gigantic balls that have burst from the stage and into the house. In between, the glee and enchantment of "Snowshow" rests entirely with the company and Yellow, its chief clown (at some performances creator Slava Polunin, and at others either Robert Saralp or Derek Scott).

"Snowshow" looks like a cross between "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and Dr. Seuss. Large panels of blue quilt dotted with stars and trimmed with white gauze back the stage (the art direction is by Gary Cherniakhovskii). Yellow himself looks a bit like one of Seuss' fantastical creatures in a furry yellow outfit, a cross between an astronaut's G-suit and a child's snowsuit. Completing his Seuss-like image are the red furry shoes on his feet. The Green Clowns at Yellow's side are equally fanciful. They look something like donkeys which have been turned into humans and sport oversized hats with floppy brims that stretch to either side of their heads and long gray-green coats (the costume design also comes from art director Cherniakhovskii).

Some of the enchanting adventures in which Yellow and fellow mischief-makers are involved include the gigantic clean-up that closes the first half of "Snowshow." Here audiences can expect a cobweb unlike any they've ever encountered. At the top of the second half of the show, Yellow's nowhere to be seen, but that doesn't matter the Green Clowns are dealing with problems of their own as a rainstorm approaches. As the piece moves forward, an argument between Yellow and one of the Green Clowns goes a bit too far, causing an irreparable rift between the two. Yellow attempts to fill the void in his life with a woman (a hilarious sequence for one involving two phones) and then, begins packing for parts unknown (a truly touching sequence in which a coat on a hat-tree seems to come magically and expressively to life).

Yellow's departure sets the stage for the show's finale - a gargantuan blizzard that engulfs not only the stage but also the auditorium, as wind drives the snow off the stage into the audience's faces. It's a breathtaking moment in this show where even cold-sensitive snowbirds might find themselves intoning, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." Surely, "Snowshow" is the most welcome theatrically created meteorological event of late 2008.

---- Andy Propst


Slava's Snowshow plays at the Helen Hayes Theatre (240 West 44th Street). Performances are Tuesday at 7:00pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2 and 8pm; and Sunday at 2 and 7pm. Tickets are $69.50 - $111.50 and can be purchased by calling 212-239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com. Further information is available online at www.SnowshowOnBroadway.com.

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