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Off Broadway

He Says: How Many Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscows Does It Take to Get Us Going



How many Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow‘s does it take to get us fully going and engaged? I guess the answer is six. But you might want to ask the brilliantly twisted Halley Feiffer, the whip smart playwright that was also behind another long-winded-titled play,  MCC’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City and the gorgeously funny The Pain of My Belligerence that played last season at Playwrights Horizons. While being somewhat ridiculous in her repetitiveness of the title, she also manages to shine a lightness and humor on the obstinate pathos of the Chekhovian structure and the sisters’ dream. “Obvi” I mean, this is a complete compliment, just to be clear, as the play frolics forward with speed and demented delightfulness and although the creationism involved starts to weigh a bit heavy on the ear, the preciseness and star casting lands so much brighter than the less successful Vanya update, Life Sucks, currently playing at Theatre Row.  Like that remodeling, MCC Theater has procured its own Chekhov to update, bringing forth a wild and wonderfully fun Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, a six-tiered modern retelling of his famous Three Sisters. All in a quick one act wonder that never fails to surprise or entertain.

The cast of MCC Theaters MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Feiffer plays the sisters for laughs, most expertly in a rambunctious frenzy of fire-breed fury, while systematically placing it with precision inside a stylistic and solid construct. It’s done with a decisive directorial hand by Trip Cullman (Broadway’s Lobby Hero) letting the millennial shorthand take over and speed the languishing sisters to a surprisingly optimistic end without missing a beat.  Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow… would make it all better, the thought is, but I’m not sure what Chekhov would have to say about this quick witted treatment, but Feiffer gets the gist of these privileged bores with ease, delivering  a snarky and smart 95 minute take on the long winded Chekhov ‘comedy’ with a baked in emotionality that zings in its inertia and brattiness.

Matthew Jeffers Rebecca Henderson Tavi Gevinson, Chris Perfetti. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The title is more a poke than a convoluted joke, making me feel as lazy a typist and/or writer as those Prozorova children moored without purpose in a Russian countryside farmhouse, designed with a wise wink by Mark Wendland (ATC’s The Mother), circa 1900 by way of 2019 emoji-speak. Dressed in modern tee shirts and colorful running shoes, courtesy of costume designer Paloma Young’s (MCC’s Alice by Heart) playful wit, the three sisters moan and complain about life and love as they are want to do, while they wait for something to stir them into action, and maybe even lead them back to their aristocratic upbringing in their hometown of Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow… It is there, in that Russian city, the root of their maladaptive belief system, where they fully believe they just might find the happiness that truly must await them.

Steven Boyer, Tavi Gevinson. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The oldest sister, the schoolteacher and spinster Olga, dynamically played to perfection by Rebecca Henderson (Signature’s The Wayside Motor Inn) leads the trio forward in delicious unified laughter and brittle bitter asides.  It’s Irina’s birthday, so they must celebrate, but it’s also the anniversary of their father’s death, so there’s that too, hanging over their heads. Tavi Gevinson (Broadway’s The Crucible) plays the young featherweight most beautifully, pulling and pushing aside advances with a bored gesture, particularly from the somewhat gay Baron Tzaenbach, deliciously played by Steven Boyer (Encores’ Assassins). Ramping up a deadly dark and twisted triangle of sorts, the efforts of Solyony, hilariously and complexly well played by Matthew Jeffers (NYTW’s Light Shining…) are also discarded with a petulant grimace of a millennial teenager who thinks she’s all that. Little does she know what will come of that.

Ryan Spahn, Chris Perfetti, Rebecca Henderson. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Then there is Masha, the hot one, majestically played to the max by the wonderful Chris Perfetti (Public’s The Low Road). The drag-free performance by a actor in a long skirt excellently shoves aside her husband, Kulygin, the Latin teacher, hilariously portrayed by the Sondheim spewing Ryan Spahn (Primary Stage’s Daniel’s Husband) for the love and passion of the married Lieutenant-colonel Vershinin, handsomely played by the delightfully serious Alfredo Narciso (Public’s Tiny Beautiful Things).  “Careful the things you say…“, as he has a wife and two children – “We know!” – but that doesn’t stop this desperate sister of dreaming of the day she might just run off with her soldier to Moscow Moscow Moscow… Perfetti manages to be funny, natural, dismissing, and heart-breaking all within seconds of each other, making the character as real and solid as any other Masha around.

Greg Hildreth, Sas Goldberg. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Flailing away but on a different realm is the worshiped intellectual brother, Andrey, dynamically portrayed by Greg Hildreth (Broadway’s Frozen) who is in love with the yoga pant wearing Natasha, played to the hilt by the impressive Sas Goldberg (Broadway/RTC’s Significant Other). Little do they know that as time flies by (quite quickly here on the Feiffer landscape) and that marriage is consummated more than just once, this little dynamo of a character (and actress) would blossom into quite the controlling magnificent monster, even threatening to get rid of the sweet old housekeeper, Anfisa, perfectly portrayed by Ako (Primary Stage’s God Said This) who has been with the family, like forever. Filling out the edges, Ferapont, delightfully played by Gene Jones (Signature’s The Trip to Bountiful) wanders in to get papers signed and show exasperation in their narcissism and privilege, while old Chebutykin, heart-breakingly portrayed by the detailed Ray Anthony Thomas (Broadway’s Jitney) slurs and swings up and down with a fevered dual love for a dead mother and surviving child drunk on perpetual remorse and “just one“.  It’s in these small moments of silly stumblings that the art of the actors really find their weight in gold, working together with such finesse and fun that it raises the piece from good to grand, even as the Russian countryside awkwardly “blows” them down.

Steven Boyer, Matthew Jeffers. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Is this too dark?“, “Nothing is too dark for us.” Perfectly presented and expertly timed, this Moscow Moscow… fires off with a hilarious deadly aim. With strong stark lighting by Ben Stanton (Broadway’s JUNK) and a concise sound design by Darron I. West (MCC’s Punk Rock), the dystopian landscape of this Chekhov standard flies by at a furious clip hitting ever quota and stance, “la la la“.  Feiffer balances the hopes, aspirations and dreams of her headstrong characters, while also finding in the heart of their harmonious pathos, the loneliness and desperation of the Three Sisters, where nothing will actually change. Even with their never ending hope that Moscow… will bring something better for them, for no real reason, if only they would do something about it. It’s surprising, after all the jokes and laughter brought forth most beautifully on the charms and backsides of the magnificent actors’ presentation, the piece finds its blood and heartbeat at the core, making their decision to go even more touching and heartfelt.  Who knew that was gonna happen?!?

You’re staying, shut up!

Chris Perfetti in MCC Theaters MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW MOSCOW. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

Off Broadway

Winesday The Wine Tasting Musical Opening Night



Winesday: The Wine Tasting Musical, written by Jenne Wason (book and lyrics) and Joseph Benoit (music) and directed by Jamibeth Margolis with musical direction by Alec Bart, celebrated their opening night.

Shannen Hofheimer

Dawn Cantwell

Amanda Lea LaVergne

Debra Thais Evans

Michael Valvo

Jennifer Diamond

When these five wine-loving women get together every Wednesday night, they’re theoretically meeting for a book club or a yoga class, but really, they just want to indulge in wine and talk about their lives. It’s like Sex and the City meets the vineyard – including a friendly wine steward to guide the audience through the wine paired with each upcoming scene. Get ready for an intoxicating blend of friendship, wit, and wine that will leave your spirits lifted and your palate inspired.

Peter Breger

Christopher Devlin (Props Designer) and Grace Curley

Kimberly O’Loughlin (Sound Design)

Rob Diamond and Jennifer Diamond

Jamibeth Margolis (Director/Casting Director)

Jenne Wason (Book & Lyrics) and Jamibeth Margolis

Jenne Wason (Book & Lyrics)

Joseoh Benoit (Music) and Jenne Wason

Joseoh Benoit (Music)

The Band-Britton Matthews, Rick Snell and Alec Bart

Daniel Stanton

Michael Valvo, Daniel Stanton

Kathryn Eader (Lighting Designer) and Jenne Wason

Daniel Stanton and Merete Muenter (Associate Director/Movement Coordinator)

Performances will run through July 2024 at The Jerry Orbach Theater at The Theater Center (210 West 50 Street).

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Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Ashley Griffin and Danny Gardner



We are so pleased to announce our guests this week are Director/ performer Ashley Griffin and Broadway’s Danny Gardner Join us Wednesday May 22nd at 5pm.

Ashley Griffin

Ashley Griffin is a Broadway writer/performer most well known as the first person in history to be nominated for a major award (New York Innovative Theater Award) for both playing and directing Hamlet (for a theatrical production.) As a writer Ashley’s work has been produced/developed at New World Stages, Manhattan Theater Club, Playwrights Horizons and more. Ashley received the WellLife Network Award and a county commendation for her Off-Broadway play Trial (directed by Lori Petty and heralded as “If this show were on Broadway it would win the Pulitzer” – Stagescore) which is currently in talks for a transfer. She has written extensively for film and T.V. and is the author of two bestselling novels, Blank Paige and The Spindle. As a performer, Ashley has appeared extensively on and Off-Broadway as well as in T.V. and film. Highlights include work at The Gershwin Theater, Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, MTC and The Public Theater, as well as on The Greatest Showman and “Homeland.” She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has trained at RADA, the National Theater and the Boston Conservatory.

Danny Gardner

Danny Gardner starred io Broadway Flying Over Sunset, A Christmas Carol and Dames At Sea. City Center Encores!: Dick Trevor in Lady, Be Good! (Subsequent Album). Radio City Music Hall: Dad / George M. Cohan in The NY Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. His national tours include Here to Stay – The Gershwin Experience!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and 42nd Street. Off-Broadway: Cheek To Cheek (The York Theater), Time Step (New Victory Theater), Room 17B and Everybody Gets Cake(59E59th Street Theaters). His regional theatre experience includes; Dial M For Murder (Geva Theater Center & Dallas Theatre Center), Bach At Leipzig (People’s Light and Theatre Company), Crazy For You (Signature Theatre), Singin’ in the Rain (Chicago’s Marriott Lincolnshire), Mary Poppins (Houston’s Theatre Under The Stars), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (John W. Engeman Theater). @dannyjgnyc,

These two are staring in a limited three-week engagement of The Opposite of Love presented by NewYorkRep May 28 through June 15 at Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 W. 46th Street, NYC). The Opposite of Love is an intimate story about a down on his luck hustler and a trust fund baby who form an unlikely bond when she hires him to help overcome her sexual trauma. Can this unexpected connection transcend their darker inclinations in a world where love is a commodity? Directed by Rachel Klein (The Gospel According to Heather). Opening night is Thursday May 30 at 7PM. Tickets are now on sale at

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed at the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here, thirteenth episode here, fourteenth here and fifteenth here.

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 2



Yesterday we gave you part 1 of The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts 111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

In this part Steve Guttenberg gives the award to Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Jay O. Sanders – Primary Trust

Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:
 Andrew Durand  Dead Outlaw

Current President David Gordon introduced Andrea Martin who gave away the awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone – Water for Elephants

A special award was given to Harry Haun longtime OCC member who served on the board as well.

Outstanding Choreography (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Justin Peck —Illinoise

And the tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: William Jackson Harper, Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Dead Outlaw

Kelechi Watson presented the awards for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kecia Lewis  Hell’s Kitchen

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Daniel Aukin – Stereophonic

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kelli O’Hara  Days of Wine and Roses

Outstanding New Broadway Play:

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Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Suffs

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 1



The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony for the winners was held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

Current President David Gordon and  Vice President Richard Ridge welcomed everyone. There were celebrity presenters and Tony Danza proved why he is a comedy star. The first award given out was to Outstanding Video/Projections: Peter Nigrini – The Who’s Tommy.

Danza also gave out the awards to Outstanding Orchestrations Marco Paguia – Buena Vista Social Club.

Outstanding Costume Design: Linda Cho – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play: Jessica Lange – Mother Play

Receiving the John Gassner Award for New American Play (preferably by a new playwright): Oh, Mary! and a tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (tie): Cole Escola left a video message.

Next to present was Montego Glover who gave Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical (tie) Judy Kuhn – I Can Get It For You Wholesale

and to Thom Sesma – Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Score Shaina Taub – Suffs

Outstanding Scenic Design (tie): Paul Tate dePoo III – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lighting Design: Brian MacDevitt  The Outsiders

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Kara Young – Purlie Victorious

Next up Steve Gutenberg gave awards to Outstanding Revival of a Play: Appropriate

Outstanding Sound DesignRyan Rumery – Stereophonic

Outstanding Solo Performance: Patrick Page – All the Devils are Here

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

Tomorrow Part 2.

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Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Times Three




It’s going to be some Shakespeare-heavy months ahead, especially around those famously doomed lovers named Romeo and Juliet, as I fly into the Stratford Festival (formally called the Stratford Shakespeare Festival) here in Ontario, Canada for their first big opening week of six shows. The week will start with Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night followed by the musical comedy about Shakespeare, Something Rotten, and then Shakespeare’s Cymbeline on night three. The fourth night will be the opening of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler; the fifth, La Cage Aux Folles, followed by, lastly (at least for this coming week) the final opening of this particular opening week, show number six, Shakespeare’s ultimate romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. (Much more follows over the summer of Canada’s fantastic Stratford Festival.)

As directed by Sam White, the founding Artistic & Executive Director at Shakespeare in Detroit, Shakespeare’s great romance Romeo and Juliet slides in at the Festival Theatre on Saturday, June 1st, 2024, starring Jonathan Mason (Stratford’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Vanessa Sears  (CS/Obsidian/Necessary Angel’s Is God Is) as those starcrossed titular characters and lovers. As with the whole season, I’m hoping this production, and all the others, will live up to the festival’s high standards, and be just the beginning of a spectacular year of Shakespeare. And of these two young lovers.

Kit Connor and Rachel Zegler. Photo by Sam Levy.

After that jam-packed week in Stratford, Canada, it doesn’t end for this theatre junkie and his faithful companion. Jetting off soon after to London, England, we have another week of theatre planned. As scheduled, the two of us will see an onslaught of plays, including Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Donmar, two National Theatreproductions; Hills of California and the Olivier-winning Standing at the Sky’s Edge, as well as Ian McKellen in Player Kings (Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 & 2), the Royal Court Theatre’s Bluets, and (of course) the much-talked-about production of Romeo & Juliet, directed and produced by Jamie Lloyd. It just opened this week at the Duke of York’s Theatre, running from Saturday, May 11 through Saturday, August 3, starring Tom Holland as Romeo and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers as Juliet.

#RomeoJulietLDN production photography by Marc Brenner

From the photos popping up on Facebook, Lloyd’s pulsating new vision of Shakespeare’s immortal tale of wordsmiths, rhymers, lovers, and fighters is sure to be something to see. It will definitely be talked about all over the world, yet it was truly disheartening to read about all the hateful postings around the casting choice of Lloyd’s Juliet. It says, sadly, so much about our world right now, but it seems to have quieted down some (although the sting and stink must still be lingering in the air for us all), and although the reviews of this West End production came out today, I will try to stay away from them until long after. Whether the production will follow the successful path of other Lloyd hits, including the pared-down stagings of A Doll’s House that starred the incredible Jessica Chastain or the phenomenal Betrayal with Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox, and Zawe Ashton, remains to be seen, but I am curious if it will also find its way across the pond to Broadway.

If it does, it will have some pretty fierce competition, as another Romeo & Juliet, this one starring Heartstopper‘s Kit Connor and West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler will begin Broadway performances on Thursday, September 26, at Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening night set for Thursday, October 24. The run, directed by Sam Gold, is a strictly limited, 16-week engagement, and I can not wait to get in to see it as well. All three really. And I won’t have to ask the forever question, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” I’ll just have to ask which Romeo are we looking for? And which Juliet.

See video here. 

Often called the greatest love story of all time, Romeo + Juliet has captivated audiences and artists for centuries and provided the inspiration for hundreds of films, ballets, operas, novels, including the iconic Broadway musical West Side Story.

Stratford Festival’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet officially opens on June 1 and runs until October 26 at the Festival Theatre. Tickets are available at

The West End’s Romeo & Juliet officially opened on May 23rd at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, and runs until Saturday, August 3. Tickets are available (although probably sold out) at

The Broadway production of Romeo + Juliet at Circle in the Square Theatre, with an official opening night set for Thursday, October 24, and running for a limited engagement of 16 weeks. Tickets will be available at

For tickets and more information, click here.

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