MICHAEL BRACKEN

Theater: Our picks from Fringe Fest

"Vestements of the Gods" is one of the shows running at this year's Fringe Fest.Credit: Michael HullWhile only five of the 205 shows playing at the 18th annual New York International Fringe Festival have Australian passports, at least two merit a trip “down under” 14th Street, where NYFF’s 18...

Monday, August 18, 2014, 9:36 PM

Theater: 'When We Were Young and Unafraid' starts strong, ends overblown

Agnes (Cherry Jones, right) alternately comforts and confronts a battered housewife (Zoe Kazan) in MTC's "When We Were Young and Unafraid."Credit: Joan MarcusDespite some overblown flourishes, like a trap door in the stage, Sarah Treem’s “When We Were Young and Unafraid” begins with promise. It’s...

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 1:10 AM

Theater: 'The Village Bike' treads an uneven path

The dynamic between Becky (Gerwig) and Oliver (Shepherd) creates a welcome diversion from scenes of everyday life —and we're sure Becky couldn't agree more.Credit: Matthew MurphyPoor Becky (Greta Gerwig): Newly pregnant, she’s aching for sex. But her husband, John (Jason Butler Harner), isn’t...

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 1:03 AM

Theater: Let 'Too Much Sun' shine in

Linda Lavin and Jennifer Westfeldt share a moment in "Too Much Sun."Credit: Carol RoseggHow does she do it? Always remaining gloriously in character, Linda Lavin makes sure every one of her laugh lines — and she has plenty — makes a perfect landing in Nicky Silver’s “Too Much Sun” at the Vineyard...

Thursday, May 22, 2014, 12:21 AM

Theater: 'Playing with Grown Ups' is cynical and sharp

Stella (Daisy Hughes), a 16-year-old with all the answers, is dating Jake (Alan Cox), an academic pushing 40, in "Playing with Grown Ups."Credit: Carol RoseggOut of the mouths of babes, they say. Playwright Hannah Patterson would seem to agree. In her shrewd “Playing with Grown Ups” at 59E59,...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 2:30 AM

Theater: 'The Realistic Joneses' challenges yet champions reality

Michael C. Hall and Marisa Tomei play one pair of Joneses.Credit: Joan MarcusLike TV’s “Seinfeld,” “The Realistic Joneses” is a show about nothing. It’s often very funny and features a gang of four (all named Jones), although they are not as self-involved or minutiae-obsessed as their broadcast...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 1:44 AM

Theater: 'Stage Kiss' is authentic

Catch Jessica Hecht in "Stage Kiss" before March 23 at Playwrights Horizons.Credit: Joan MarcusPlaywright Sarah Ruhl's acute sense of whimsy comes through once again in “Stage Kiss” at Playwrights Horizons.In this new work, which features a play within a play, she weaves an imagined 1930s...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 3:36 AM

Theater: 'Rocky' describes this new musical perfectly

Andy Karl plays this generation's Rocky —and this Italian Stallion can also sing.Credit: Matthew MurphyAfter over two hours of lackluster development, “Rocky,” the musical adaptation of the film that put Sylvester Stallone on the map, bursts into glorious life as Rocky (Andy Karl), the Italian...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 12:22 AM

Theater: 'Kung Fu' tries to highlight the life of Bruce Lee

Cole Horibe stars as Bruce Lee in a stilted "Kung Fu."Credit: Joan MarcusNo, “Kung Fu” is not a stage adaptation of the '70s television show starring David Carradine — although the series does feature in the play. David Henry Hwang’s latest is a blurry biography of martial arts legend Bruce Lee (...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014, 1:30 AM

Theater: 'Love and Information' is too ambitious

Here's one of the 50 brief scenes that make up "Love and Information."Credit: Joan MarcusTo quote architect Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more.” Too bad Caryl Churchill, author of “Love and Information” at the Minetta Lane Theatre, didn’t heed his counsel. Effortlessly intelligent and often...

Thursday, February 20, 2014, 1:30 AM

Porn onstage: 'Intimacy' has a weak plot but plenty of sex scenes

The film's running and the clothes are coming off — and you'll see it all in "Intimacy."Credit: Monique CarboniThere is no gratuitous sex in Thomas Bradshaw’s “Intimacy,” at the Acorn Theatre. The play’s about pornography — some might argue it is pornography — so the cornucopia of sex is organic....

Thursday, January 30, 2014, 1:15 AM

Theater: 'Carole King' is uncomplicated, but still 'Beautiful'

Witness the journey of this incredible rising star. Jessie Mueller plays Carole King.Credit: Joan MarcusWould that life were as simple as it seems in “Beautiful, The Carole King Musical,” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. But, hey, we’re talking about a jukebox musical. If you’re looking for...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 10:45 PM

Theater: 'The Night Alive' will make you feel better about your life —or not

"The Night Alive" stars Ciaran Hinds.Credit: Helen WarnerFor a play with not one but two eruptions of violence, the overall effect of Conor McPherson’s “The Night Alive,” from the Atlantic Theater Company, is surprisingly muted. In fact, it’s downright bittersweet. This is both its strength and...

Monday, December 30, 2013, 2:30 AM

Cirque Eloize's 'Cirkopolis' questions progress while itself dated

"Cirkopolis" pits man against machine.Credit: Valeria RemiseIt’s a little hard to get a read on the mind-set of “Cirkopolis,” a production from the French-Canadian troupe Cirque Eloize at NYU’s Skirball Center. From the title, you’d expect it to explore the relationship between rough-edged urban...

Thursday, December 26, 2013, 8:30 PM

Theater: Sarah Jessica Parker at home in 'Commons of Pensacola'

SJP all but steals the show in "The Commons of Pensacola."Credit: Joan MarcusAs Becca, a struggling actress, Sarah Jessica Parker makes the ordinary seem extraordinary in MTC's "The Commons of Pensacola." Not that it’s ordinary for your father to be convicted for Bernie Madoff-style embezzlement...

Thursday, November 28, 2013, 7:45 PM

Theater: 'Little Miss Sunshine' could use some shade

The family sits down to a standard (for them) dinner, just before the tables are irrevocably turned.Credit: Joan MarcusWhy do producers keep making bad musicals out of good movies? They must think they have the next “Once,”when in fact their show is more likely to post a closing notice before you...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013, 6:40 AM

Theater: The truth about 'Luce'

This is not a typical PTA meeting.Credit: Jeremy Daniel“Luce,” at Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater, is anything but. In fact, JC Lee’s drama is about as tight as they come, as its cast relentlessly pursues the truth about its title character. But the play is unflinching in its refusal to reveal...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 5:46 AM

Theater: 'Glass Menagerie' is fragile, not cutting

Cherry Jones, left, pleads with Zachary Quinto's Tom as tenuous matriarch Amanda Wingfield.Credit: Michael J. LutchShe’s a bulldozer. With her imposing frame and boundless energy, Cherry Jones seems capable of plowing down anything in her path in the current staging of “The Glass Menagerie” at the...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013, 2:30 PM

Theater: 'Mr. Burns' brings 'The Simpsons' to the stage

Do these faces look somewhat familiar?Credit: Joan MarcusIf you’re looking for a theatrical fix of "The Simpsons," you might try Anne Washburn’s “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” at Playwrights Horizons. But be careful what you wish for. Pre-electric may be more up your alley.“Mr. Burns” begins...

Saturday, September 28, 2013, 2:30 PM

Theater: See one slice of life done five ways in The Hill Town Plays

"Killers and Other Family" is one of the features in The Hill Town Plays at the inaugural Theater Village festival.Credit: Sandra CoudertDavid Van Asselt, artistic director of Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, wanted to put together a West Village event for a long time.But it wasn’t until Lucy...

Monday, September 16, 2013, 9:33 PM