Saturday, July 25, 2009

This is Your Ridiculous Life!!! (Castillo Theatre)

By Zak
improv • comedic therapy • short but sweet

BOTTOM LINE: an improv show with a therapeutic twist

There are a lot of improv comedy shows in the city. You could witness Tina Fey and her "30 Rock" friends ham it up at The Upright Citizen’s Brigade, for example. Or you could check out top notch comedy up-and-comers from "The Office" and "Flight of the Concords" entertaining weekly at The People’s Improv Theatre. But if you are looking for something a little different, check out the folks yukking it up in the long running improv show at The Castillo Theatre.

Most improv shows consist of a team of actors who field suggestions from the audience and create funny scenes on the spot. This is Your Ridiculous Life takes this premise further by employing a real life therapist who conducts an impromptu therapy session with audience volunteers and then the actors act out scenes and scenarios from the “patient’s” life. If audience participation isn’t your thing, don’t worry, they won’t force anyone to come up and there and face the doctor unless you volunteer.

All right, I’m sure that this scenario could not work to it’s full potential all the time since it is entirely reliant on the guest “patients” that are interviewed. However, the night that I attended This is Your Ridiculous Life, my friend was chosen from the audience to have her life acted out on stage. And I have to say, it was hysterical. One of the reasons it was so good is that she gave very specific details about her life that were referenced in the scenes acted out by the actors. It didn’t hurt that her life is extremely entertaining as well. The troupe of actors captured her unique personality and created scenes that were extremely funny, not just for people who knew her, but for the entire audience. So, they really hit it out of the park. The other person that was selected from the audience was not nearly as interesting. For one thing he was really young, and had to be really pushed to give specific detail about his life, which to be completely honest, wasn’t very interesting. So if you are chosen, be specific when you are talking about your life. It’s funnier for all of us. Also, remember that the show is called This is Your Ridiculous Life, so if your life is not at least a little ridiculous, let someone else get up there and have a crack at it.

That being said, I still had a really great time. The show is short, running just over an hour so you don’t have that much time for the novelty of the concept to wear off. If you are looking for a quick laugh and an interesting take on improv, this could be the show for you. If you are in major withdrawals from the long television absence of "Whose Line is It Anyway" or maybe can’t afford your regular therapy sessions in these hard economic times, This is Your Ridiculous Life might be just what the doctor ordered.

And if comedy isn’t your thing, check out the political play reading series every Monday night or the film series every Thursday night in August. Check out for more information.

(This Is Your Ridiculous life will play next on August 8th at 7:00pm. The Castillo theatre is at
543 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. Tickets $15; Seniors and Students $10 or call 212-941-1234.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Celebs on Broadway, 2009-2010

By Molly

It's no surprise that Broadway producers like to cast celebrities in their shows. If your show, let's say, is a dramatic British play about horses that wouldn't attract the average tourist (ehem Equus), throw a naked Harry Potter on the stage and voila, you just made additional millions. (And this is good because Harry Potter probably doesn't get naked for cheap). To no one's surprise, the 2009-2010 Broadway season is stacked with celebrities. Here's who you can expect to see, for better or for worse. Let the celeb worship/bashing begin! (And I suppose it's only fair to remind you that many of these celebs are stage actors with credible resumes).

John Stamos, Gina Gershon
Bye Bye Birdie (musical, revival)
Performances begin September 10, 2009
Henry Miller's Theatre

Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman
A Steady Rain (drama, new)
Performances begin September 10, 2009
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre

Jude Law
Hamlet (Shakespearean classic)
Performances begin September 12, 2009
Broadhurst Theatre

Sienna Miller
After Miss Julie (drama, revival)
Performances begin September 18, 2009
American Airlines Theatre

Carrie Fisher
Wishful Drinking (one-woman show, new)
Performances begin September 22, 2009
Studio 54

Julia Stiles, Bill Pullman
Oleanna (drama, revival)
Performances begin September 29, 2009
John Golden Theatre

James Spader, Kerry Washington
Race (drama, new)
Performances begin November 17, 2009
Ethel Barrymore Theatre

Alicia Silverstone, Laura Linney
Time Stands Still (drama, new)
Performances begin January 5, 2010
Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Evan Rachel Wood, Alan Cumming
Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark (musical, new)
Performances begin February 25, 2009
Hilton Theatre

Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth
The Addams Family (musical, new)
Performances begin March 4, 2010
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bird House (KNF Co.)

By Molly

an imaginative story • existential and thought-provoking • very artistically presented • puppets • cool set design and projection design that meshes two contrasting worlds

Christina Shipp and Cotton Wright in Bird House.

BOTTOM LINE: A fairytale fantasy world about growing up (with puppets).

I'm sorry I'm writing this review a little late, because it gives you less time to see Bird House, a captivating new play by Kate Marks currently running at Theatre 3. The short 12 performance run concludes Sunday, July 26th. If you have an inkling to see an artsy (but not fartsy) play with an expressive, "downtown" vibe, Bird House might be your perfect fit.

Bird House is the story of Louisy and Syl, two friends of indeterminate age (let's say young adults) who live together in a treehouse. They live on the Bright Side, the part of the world where things are cheery and peaceful. Syl (Christina Shipp) feels restless and decides to go be a hero on the Lop Side, the other side of the world where a war-ravaged society tries to perservere. Louisy (Cotton Wright) is abandoned by her only friend, and through her lonliness must resume her life and move on.

Bird House is a warped fairy tale, kind of like the Mad Hatter's teaparty. It's sort of nonsensical. It's sort of light and fun. But there's a layer of something darker and unsettling resting underneath. Although it's a story about youthfulness, it's probably not for kids. There are moments of humor to be sure, but there is something deep and poignant at its core.

Marks' script is enthralling. The way she arranges her words and creates these characters is meticulously stylized. She writes in an almost poetic way, where the words themselves are important, not just what is being said. And the world she's created is something unique in and of itself; although little is ever explicitly defined and the audience must interpret the play in their own way, the stylistic vocabulary is undeniably marvelous. It's easy to dive right in to the tale.

Heidi Handelsman's direction keeps the contrast between the Bright Side and the Lop Side crystal clear. Capable actors and puppeteers draw the audience in deeper. Sets, lighting and projections (Sara C. Walsh, Rebecca M. K. Makus and Alex Kock, respectively) keep the audience glued to the story. For a new play off-off-Broadway, I am extremely impressed by the professionalism of the production.

I wish Bird House offered a little more distinction into what was happening specifically, rather than being so open-ended and up for interpretation. Its existentialism was exciting to experience during the show, but I would've liked a little more closure at the end. It's always nice to feel like you've shared a theatrical experience with your fellow audience members rather than being isolated in your own mind. But that is a minor complaint compared to the solid production value and magical story that Bird House has to offer. I'm definitely excited to see what's next from both Marks and producers KNF Co.

(Bird House plays at Theatre 3, 311 West 43rd Street, 3rd Floor. Performances run through Sunday, July 25th: Thursday through Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at or by calling 212.352.3101. For more show info visit

Suspicious Package: Rx (The Brick Theater)

By Dan

interactive theatre/walking tour/video game • great for teenagers, dates, and small groups • great for the summer-you aren’t stuck inside on a nice afternoon • for anyone and everyone (except perhaps the extremely self-conscious) • GO!

BOTTOM LINE: HIGHLY recommended for everyone; if you can follow instructions, you’ll have a great time.

Describing something as “Interactive Theatre” might seem off-putting to some, evoking images of audience participation in which you might be brought on stage and made to do silly things, or else a kind of cheesy feel-good experience in which everyone claps along in time to music. But as someone who does not like most kinds of audience participation, to the point where I refuse to clap in time when certain musicals ask the audience to do so, Suspicious Package: Rx is a different kind of interactive theatre.

Suspicious Package: Rx has a cast of 6, and ALL are audience members. But don’t aren’t “performing” for anyone else; rather, you “experience” this show rather than simply watch it. The experience begins at the Brick Theater, where Creator/Director Gyda Arber meets with the group of six people. Everyone is assigned a role (Colonel, Chemist, Secretary, Computer Whiz, Doctor, Executive) and gets a costume piece. Arber has everyone introduce themselves, and asks each one a question designed to get you into character. I was the Computer Whiz, and she asked me to talk about any ways in which I was nerdy (of course I had many to choose from!)

Then Arber gives everyone a Zune Media Player (its like a video iPod) to guide you through the experience. Periodically, you receive instructions about where to go and what to do (“Facing the Brick theatre, turn to your left and walk up the stairs ahead of you”). Interspersed with this are video flashbacks that fill in your backstory, and audio “inner dialogue” that tells you about what “you” are thinking. At times, you will wind up in the same location as one or more of the other participants, and you’ll be given lines to read (this is the theatre aspect).

The key thing is that each person’s experience is different. The media players are coordinated; you might walk away from someone else in the group, only to meet up with them at some point later on, and have a scene together. Then you might leave and go somewhere else, and speak with another character. As the experience goes on, you learn more about the story and the characters. (Without giving too much away, Suspicious Package: Rx is a sci-fi dystopia, set in 1960's Williamsburg, with survivors of a recent plague taking an antidepressant drug.)

I had a terrific time at Suspicious Package: Rx, as did my friend (who normally does not like theatre, especially on a beautiful summer afternoon). We enjoyed the experience of walking around, following the directions, and then all of a sudden talking to another character. And because we didn’t know much about the plot, we also had to work to piece together the different pieces of the story, trying to figure out what exactly was going on. All was clear by the end, but I would definitely return again to experience a different character (you get to choose your character when you reserve).

Do I have any criticisms? The acting and costumes in the video footage was fairly amateur, although this didn’t matter at all. And the more amateur look kind of fits in with the entire experience, since the “cast” of each show is of course decidedly amateur. And there were a couple times when I anticipated some directions. For instance, I was told to walk to an establishment. I walked there, went inside and sat down. I watched some video footage, and then heard the instructions “go inside and sit down”- turns out I had entered and watched a dialogue I wasn’t really supposed to have seen. It didn’t ruin anything, and these slight deviations from the script are a part of any piece of live theatre. But I’d advise following the directions as closely as possible. And keep in mind that not knowing what is going on is part of the experience.

Note- if you’re extremely self-conscious, you might feel a bit strange. You wear a small costume piece throughout the show, and occasionally have conversations with other people in public places that might seem weird to those who aren’t part of the experience. Of course, this is NY, so most people walking the streets of Williamsburg won’t bat an eye. At the end, the table next to us started listening in on our conversation. Turns out they had finished the experience an hour earlier. But of course, we didn’t know that at the time, so it suddenly felt like we had a real audience.

I highly recommend Suspicious Package: Rx. While it isn’t scheduled to run much longer, Arber told me they were thinking of extending the show. She also said she would do it by appointment, so if you have a group of six people, you can probably arrange a time with her. If you have a group of 4 people, ask Arber about the original Suspicious Package, which has a film noir theme. If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, definitely check it out.

(Suspicious Package: RX plays at the Brick Theater, 575 Metropolitan Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. ½ a block from the Lorimer stop of the L train. All tickets $20, including a post-show beverage. Reservations Required. The entire experience runs about an hour. Tickets available through (212-352-3101 or 1-866-811-4111). For more information visit Right now, you can only buy tickets for July 18th, 19th and 25th, but you might be able to arrange additional experiences by contacting Gyda Arber directly:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Two off-off-Broadway extensions

Just a quick note to let you know that 2 shows Theasy recently covered and loved are extending their runs off-off-Broadway...

The Pied Pipers of The Lower East Side
Extended through August 17, 2009 at PS 122
From The Amoralists Theatre Company, this love story is about young idealists living above a vegan restaurant in NYC. Read Le-Anne's glowing review here.

(Shows take place on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 5:30pm. Tickets are $25, $15 for students/seniors and $10 for P.S. 122 members, and can be purchased online at or by calling 212-352-3101. Warning: Explicit sexual content and utopian ideals – no one under 17 will be admitted. Running time is 2 hours and 45 minutes including two intermissions. For more information visit

Thank You For Being A Friend
Extends through August 23, 2009 at The Kraine Theatre
This unauthorized musical parody inspired by the beloved TV sitcom “The Golden Girls,” features book by Nick Brennan, lyrics by Luke Jones and music by Jeff Thomson. Read Scott's enthusiastic review here.

(Shows take place Sundays at 8pm. The Kraine Theater is located at 85 East 4th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues. Tickets are $20, available at 212-352-3101 or

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Best Bets!

Summer is a good time for Broadway. Although it's a bit off a tourist trap, you can find good deals at the TKTS booth and ticket discounts online (since nothing much opens in the summer, there aren't many super-hot, sold-out shows). Here's what Theasy recommends!


Take A Date: Rock of Ages
There is nothing sexier than 80s hair bands and drinking beer during a Broadway show.
Visit for future discount codes.

Take Your Parents: Jersey Boys
Tickets are hard to come by, but this story of The Four Seasons is a seriously parental crowd pleaser.
No discount codes, sorry!

Take A Theatre Novice: 9 to 5: The Musical
Light, silly, cheesy entertainment that doesn't require work from the audience.
Use discount code 3BBOX to save 35%.

Take A Theatre Snob: Mary Stuart
This British import boasts some of the best acting on any New York stage.
Use discount code QSBBX615 for $55/$65 tickets.

For A Laugh: 39 Steps
A quick paced salute to Hitchcock movies, this four person play is hilariously clever.
Use discount code 39BX0407 to save over 50%.

For A Cry: Next to Normal
A new groundbreaking musical reminiscent of Spring Awakening and Rent.
Use discount code NNBBX0420 for up to $38 off.

For Brilliant Storytelling: The Norman Conquests
Ayckbourn's play-in-three-parts is British humor at its absolute finest.
Use discount code NCBXEONM to save up to 40%.

Before It's Too Late: Avenue Q
This 2004 Tony Winner for Best Musical closes September 13th. Its R-rated puppet madness is not to be missed.
Use discount code AQBBX0313 to save up to 40%.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Therese Raquin (PTP/NYC at Atlantic Stage 2)

By Molly
hauntingly scary • based on a novel written in the 1800's • hyper-sexual but no nudity • artistically interpretive story telling (in a good way)

BOTTOM LINE: A very theatricalized presentation of a very creepy story.

Potomac Theatre Project's 2009 summer repertoire include two plays that propel the company's mission: they are highly theatrical and thought-provoking work of contemporary social and cultural relevance. One of these offerings, Therese Raquin, is all of the above in the style of a somewhat cracked-out horror flick. It offers a lot to its audience and indulges anyone with a penchant for both theatre and scary movies.

Adapted from a novel by Emile Zola that was written in the 1800's, Therese Raquin takes place in Paris and tells the story of tortured soul, Therese (Lily Balsen). Raised by her aunt (Helen-Jean Arthur) and having grown up with her sickly cousin Camille (Willie Orbison), Therese is somewhat maladjusted to begin with. When she is an adult, she marries Camille as was always the intended plan. Camille is whiney and pathetic and Therese quickly tires of him. Enter Laurent (Scott Janes), an old family friend whom Therese instantly falls for. They begin an intense affair and then decide they're sick of having a secret relationship so they take drastic action to get rid of Camille. Cue Psycho shower scene music.

This production is overly theatrical and indulgently verbose at first. I have to say I was confused by the morose presentation at the beginning of the play; I mean, the story was sad, but it wasn't immediately unsettling (unless you think marrying your first cousin is unsettling but that's a different story). So just as I was questioning the tone of the play in accordance with the action, and just as I was wondering when they would stop talking and do something, the drama pushed forward and the story was on a fast and wonderful track to crazy-town. The set-up made sense and I was happily on the ride. By the end, the artistic choices worked perfectly and I felt a little bad that I wasn't more trusting from the start.

Therese Raquin is acted convincingly well. Balsen makes a terrifying Therese (who really just wants to be happy). Arthur is fantastic as Therese's aging aunt. With strategic direction that utilizes the four main characters and four other characters (who serve as a makeshift Greek chorus), director Jim Petosa paints an eerie picture. Considering the stage consists of only two chairs and up to eight actors, Petosa specifically blocks the scenes in ways that fill out the space and pin-point the story in clever and accurate ways. Awesome lighting design contributes to this overall visual effect as well. There is a disturbing chill in the air.

Much of Therese Raquin is over-written and I'd bet this has more to do with the story's original roots rather than this adaptation by Neal Bell. The result (plus the over-theatrical storytelling utilized for the production) gives the show a kind of highbrow vibe. It probably wouldn't make a neophyte an instant fan of the theatre. This show is for those who already like watching live theatre (in all its pretentious glory). And if you are also a fan of horror movies, then this show is definitely for you.

(Therese Raquin plays through July 26th at Atlantic Theatre, Stage 2, 330 West 16th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. Remaining performances are Sat 7/11 at 7:30pm, Sun 7/12 at 2pm, Thu 7/16 at 7:30pm, Fri 7/17 at 7:30pm, Sat 7/18 at 2pm, Sun 7/19 at 7:30pm, Tue 7/21 at 7:30pm, Wed 7/22 at 7:30pm, Sat 7/25 at 7:30pm, Sun 7/26 at 2pm. Running time is 2 hours and 5 minutes including intermission. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students/seniors and can be purchased at or at 212-279-4200. For more show info visit
Stan Barouh if a photo is used. Thanks.

Photo: Willie Orbison (rear) as Camille Raquin, Helen-Jean Arthur as Madame Raquin and Lily Balsen as Therese Raquin. Photo by Stan Barouh.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

9 to 5: The Musical (Marquis Theatre)

By Molly
music and lyrics by Dolly Parton • who doesn't love Allison Janney? • new musical based on the movie • optimistic and energetic

Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty and Allison Janney plot their boss's demise in 9 to 5.

BOTTOM LINE: Check your theatre pretension at the door.

Dolly Parton's sassy new musical, 9 to 5 (based on the 1980 movie of the same name), is about three ballsy ladies sticking it to their chauvinistic boss, Mr. Hart. Parton starred in the movie as Doralee, the big-boobed Texan with a brain. The other two women, Violet and Judy, were played by Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, respectively. Though not a particularly challenging story, 9 to 5 is an uplifting tale of girl-power and ultimately women's rights. And due to its cheery, happy-ending nature, it translates pretty effectively to the stage.

For what it's worth, 9 to 5 is an enjoyable musical theatre experience. Directed by the Joe Mantello (Wicked, Assassins) and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights, The Wiz at Encores!), the show is as schnazzy as you would expect from a theatre extravaganza with Parton at the helm. It delivers glitzy Broadway pizazz and still maintains that down-home, inside-jokey, fun-loving spirit that Parton is all about.

The three leading ladies, Allison Janney as Violet, Megan Hilty as Doralee and Stephanie J. Block as Judy, are all incredible performers perfectly suited to be playing these roles. Janney gets the humor in Violet, and Hilty and Block have Broadway-diva voices. They certainly make a solid threesome. Marc Kudish as Mr. Hart is also well-cast; he is a despicable caricature whom the audience loves to hate.

9 to 5 has been relatively snubbed by the theatre community since it opened in the spring. Both in reviews and at the Tony Awards, this show hasn't received much positive attention considering it's a big, expensive production with big, impressive names attached. It has, however, received a great audience response and when I saw the show on a Tuesday, the house was packed and the audience was having a blast. 9 to 5 is very silly, pretty low-brow, and certainly not a theatrical challenge...but that doesn't mean it's not a good time. Despite feeling underdeveloped and overproduced, 9 to 5 delivers an entertaining evening for any audience member looking for an uplifting night out. And sometimes that's all you need. I can easily put on my critic pants and tell you everything that I feel is wrong with 9 to 5, but it feels unnecessary to go there with this show.

Parton's music and lyrics are exuberantly sincere and the score itself is pretty decent on the whole. "9 to 5," the title track from the movie, is also the opening number in the musical and plays throughout the production between scenes. And 9 to 5 is all about the music. Sure, it's musical theatre, but this show provides a consistent barrage of production numbers, power ballad solos and hamonic trios. And the entire cast is talented, capable and fun to watch.

9 to 5 is a giddy theatrical spectacular and great escapist entertainment. It's a good pick for out-of-towners who want to experience Broadway but aren't theatrically inclined. Anyone with a penchant for classical theatre or anyone who watches theatre with an analytic eye should be warned that this show is a fun romp and not much more. You won't enjoy yourself if you give it too much thought. But if you're looking for an upbeat evening out, 9 to 5 is worth experiencing.

(9 to 5 plays at the Marriot Marquis Theatre, 1535 Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. Performances are Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday at 2pm and 8pm, Thursday and Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Tickets are $75-$125 and can be purchased at or by calling 1800.982.2787. Win tickets for $36 by entering the lottery held at the 9 to 5 box office. Click here for lottery info. Visit for more show info.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Twelfth Night (Shakespeare in the Park)

By Le-Anne

Audra McDonald - yes • Hamish Linklater - yes • original music • Anne Hathaway holds her own and will definitely please her fans and create new ones • see it

Anne Hathaway and Raul Esparza in Twelfth Night. Photo by Sara Krulwich (NY times).

BOTTOM LINE: Totally worth the wait in line. (Besides, the waiting in line is half the fun and a unique NYC experience.)

I can think of no better way to spend a summer evening in New York City than enjoying a night of free, expertly produced, Shakespeare at Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre. Revered as one of the nation's premier producers of Shakespeare’s works, the Public Theatre continues the tradition this summer with Twelfth Night. In keeping with their practice of garnering a broader audience by using high profile names, Academy Award nominee and one of tinsel town’s young favorites, Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, The Devil Wears Prada, The Princess Diaries), headlines as Viola. Additional box office pull comes from four-time Tony Award winning actress Audra McDonald (Master Class, A Raisin in the Sun, television’s “Private Practice”) as Olivia, and three-time Tony Award nominee Raul Esparza (Company, Speed The Plow) as Orsino. The cast is littered with even more recognizable names and faces and to my pleasure they are mostly stellar.

Hathaway, while given top billing, is perhaps the weakest link in a platinum chain. That being said however, given the fact that this is her first large-scale stage production and she’s opening with A) Shakespeare and B) a cast chock full of incredibly experienced, many classically trained, award winning stage actors, you simply have to give the girl credit for her gutsiness. The lady’s got balls, pun intended.

Hathaway’s character, Viola, is forced to cross-dress as a man after being shipwrecked, losing her twin brother to the angry sea, and landing on the shores of Illyria. Because the noblewoman of the land Olivia (McDonald) is mourning the loss of her own brother, she refuses to meet any strangers. Therefore, Viola’s only choice is to disguise herself as a young man, named Cesario, and work for the nobleman of the land, Orsino (Esparza), who is busy pining over Olivia. Things get sticky when Viola realizes she has fallen in love with Orsino (who is under the impression that she is a young man) and even stickier when Olivia develops a crush on Viola (disguised as Cesario).

Meanwhile, Olivia’s servant Maria (Julie White, Tony Award winner for The Little Dog Laughed), clown Feste (David Pittu, LoveMusik and The Coast of Utopia), Sir Toby Belch (Jay O. Sanders, Pygmalion and Loose Ends), and his friend Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Hamish Linklater, The Public’s 2008 summer presentation of Hamlet, TV’s The New Adventures of Old Christine), conspire to make Olivia’s straight-laced steward Malvolio (Michael Cumpsty, Sunday in the Park with George) look like a fool.

Seriously, with a cast like this guided by established Broadway director Daniel Sullivan, how can this show go wrong? Okay, I take that back a little. It’s Shakespeare filled with “names” so lots can go wrong...but it doesn’t! This entire ensemble is outstanding. McDonald is fantastic. A more enjoyable Olivia I have never seen. Her nuances, facial expressions, reactions and use of the text are one of a kind. She proves her already award-winning chops in this. Linklater also deserves special mention. His distinctive voice, use of his lanky frame to exhibit superb physical humor, and his comedic prowess are simply expert. Both McDonald and Linklater may have spoiled me for any future Olivias or Aguecheeks.

Stealing the show along with McDonald and Linklater are White, Sanders and Cumpsty. Also, fight director Rick Sordelet (remember him from Theasy’s Caligula review last winter?) shows off some awesome, clever, and exciting fight choreography. Lastly, original music arranged by Greg Pliska provides an opportunity for McDonald, Esparza, and Pittu to showcase their award winning pipes and incidentally, in case you didn’t hear her sing when she recently hosted SNL, Hathaway also has a beautiful singing voice to share with the audience.

Hathaway is charming, attractive, smart, and even though she cries a bit too much for my taste, she holds her own. Even by the end of the performance, she was ten-times stronger than at the beginning. I have full confidence that this actress will grow tenfold again by the time the production closes. What’s wonderful for Hathaway is that she is in such great company, she has no choice but to join their high ranks, and she is a strong enough actress to do so. One of the great things about live theatre is that you, the audience, truly grow right along with the actor(s) on stage and by the end of the show everyone, on stage and off, is just a little bit older and wiser.

If you have never seen Shakespeare performed before this would be an excellent place to start. If you’ve only seen so-so, or bad Shakespeare done before, then it’s high time you wait in line for some free tix.

(Twelfth Night, or What You Will runs now through July 12th. Added performance: July 6
No performance: July 4, Limited ticket distribution: June 16, July 9. The show plays at the Delacorte Theater (located in Central Park at 81st Street) Tuesday through Sunday at 8 pm. It is approximately 3 hours with one 15 min. intermission. For tickets, wait in line at the Delacorte Theater or register at Arrive early!)