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  • Article

    Gin and Tonic

    Imagine a brainy spider battling cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn and you'll get some idea of the shenanigans onstage in the National Actors Theatre touring production of The Gin Game, starring Julie Harris and Charles Durning. The Tony Randall-prod...

    by Robin Dougherty on March 18, 1999
  • Article

    Reckless Driving

    Li'l Bit, the haunted protagonist of How I Learned to Drive, compares her Uncle Peck to the Flying Dutchman, the legendary figure condemned to travel the Earth until a maiden loves him of her own free will. The play, which won author Paula Vogel the ...

    by Robin Dougherty on March 11, 1999
  • Article

    A Conductor's Moral Discord

    At the center of Taking Sides is a rube, a crass insurance salesman to be exact. A guy who doesn't know Toscanini from teriyaki. A man who sleeps through Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, "because Beethoven's Fifth Symphony bores me shitless," as he explai...

    by Robin Dougherty on March 4, 1999
  • Article

    A Spider Without Bite

    A movie, a novel, a Broadway musical, and a stage play. The only popular dramatic form Kiss of the Spider Woman hasn't conquered is the TV sitcom. Given its high-concept idea (a fussy homosexual and an idealistic politico sharing a small space and be...

    by Robin Dougherty on February 25, 1999
  • Article

    Tongue Repressors

    After the priest has cut out the tongue of the Marquis de Sade, he presents the meaty organ, encased in a black box, to the asylum's caretaker. Handing it over he comments, "It was so long and serpentlike that I had to wrap it around a dowel." Well, ...

    by Robin Dougherty on February 18, 1999
  • Article

    Saved by the Actors

    This is the season during which British playwright David Hare is printing his own currency on Broadway. In April the much ballyhooed The Blue Room, starring a naked Nicole Kidman, will be joined by a New York production of Amy's View, featuring theat...

    by Robin Dougherty on February 11, 1999
  • Article

    Saturday Night Dead

    A woman in Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile makes this comment about the famous painter: "He says that occasionally there is a 'Picasso' and he is him." You can substitute the word genius for Picasso and get the sense of what this phrase mea...

    by Robin Dougherty on February 4, 1999
  • Article

    The Powers That Be

    Imagine you're watching an early play by an obscure playwright -- say, a farce with a plot that's difficult to take seriously. Perhaps it contains a case of mistaken identity, at least one sharp-tongued female character, and some confusion about the ...

    by Robin Dougherty on January 28, 1999
  • Article

    The Age of Tallulah

    Add the late Tallulah Bankhead to the list of middle-age women throwing themselves into the national political fray this year. The celebrated actress, as currently portrayed in the American premiere of Tallulah by movie star Kathleen Turner, has even...

    by Robin Dougherty on January 21, 1999
  • Article

    Shooting Blanks

    "First of all, when you've got a gun," Stephen Sondheim points out in his musical Assassins, "everybody pays attention." That's for sure, as audience members experiencing the third-act explosion in a classic drama such as Chekhov's Three Sisters can ...

    by Robin Dougherty on January 14, 1999
  • Article

    Stripped of Spirit

    She's the Medea of all stage mothers, the most frightening diva of the American musical theater. That would be Mama Rose, of course, the stardom-fixated monster at the center of Gypsy. Since 1959 audiences have clung to her poisonous apron strings, h...

    by Robin Dougherty on January 7, 1999
  • Article

    Mary, Mary, Quite a Parody

    When a damsel with golden ring-curls finds herself tied to railroad trestles by a mustachioed villain, or, as in Little Mary Sunshine, strapped to a tree by a vicious Indian, most audience members know that the lady in peril will be rescued momentari...

    by Robin Dougherty on December 31, 1998
  • Article

    Star-Crossed Druthers

    In the second half of Steve Dietz's new play Rocket Man, time moves backwards in an enchanting fashion. The elderly are the newest people on Earth. Teenagers, veterans by comparison, choose the parents who will care for them as they grow younger and ...

    by Robin Dougherty on December 24, 1998
  • Article

    It's a Farcical Life

    Gavin MacLeod, erstwhile captain of the Love Boat, sails blithely through Moon over Buffalo with an erect rubber nose. He's playing Cyrano de Bergerac. Or rather he's playing an actor playing Cyrano in Ken Ludwig's 1995 Broadway hit, a comedy about a...

    by Robin Dougherty on December 17, 1998
  • Article

    A Dickens of a Duo

    Of all the repertory programs ever devised, the double bill playing this month at the New Theatre has got to be one of the most delightfully odd. Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is bound to pop up somewhere this time of year, of course, but would...

    by Robin Dougherty on December 10, 1998
  • Article

    The Lord Should Be So Lucky

    A tinsel-decked Christmas tree overwhelms the living room of Atlanta's upstanding Freitag family. The ceiling-scraping spruce is about to be topped by a star until one of the characters declares that "Jewish Christmas trees don't have stars." How the...

    by Robin Dougherty on December 3, 1998
  • Article

    Renaissance Men

    Given the vroom-vroom of their current go-round on stage, it's possible that, even with the theatrical equivalent of a road map, you might not be able to keep track of Kander and Ebb these days. Critically acclaimed revivals of the songwriting team's...

    by Robin Dougherty on November 26, 1998
  • Article

    Gray Matters

    When a play's title is The Adjustment, chances are the playwright will be suggesting a monumental shift in attitude or perspective on the part of one or more characters. In Michael T. Folie's new work, recently opened at the Florida Stage, tiny adjus...

    by Robin Dougherty on November 19, 1998
  • Article

    Shtick Shift

    If you had a conventional grammar school education and you don't watch too much Nick at Nite, chances are you don't think of Sebastian Cabot as the discoverer of the New World. According to The Complete History of America (abridged), however, it w...

    by Robin Dougherty on November 12, 1998
  • Article

    The Ghostwritten Henry James

    From the works of Edgar Allan Poe to Hollywood's The Fly, classic American horror stories indulge our fascination with the decay of the body. They're overrun with maggoty cadavers, tell-tale hearts, and monsters that stalk us through dark alleys, gra...

    by Robin Dougherty on November 5, 1998
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