‘Burning’: are the sex scenes stage realism or failed porn?

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There’s been a lot of buzzing on the theater chat sites about the current New Group production “Burning,” running on Theater Row, because of its unusually frank treatment of sex. Thomas Bradshaw’s play has the heft of an epic — similar in style and content to “Angels in America” — about race, art and the theater […] [Read More]

‘Carols for a Cure’: how Broadway celebrates the holiday season

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Near the top of my list of things I look forward to each Christmas is the release of “Broadway’s Carols for a Cure” the annual CD that compiles holiday music from the casts of all the musicals running in New York. Producer Lynn Pinto came up with the idea 12 years ago as a fundraiser […] [Read More]

‘Best Friends’: the return of the Flying Scottolines

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People in Hollywood used to say that everyone has two businesses — their own and show business. Well, an ever-growing group of readers could say they have two families — their own and the Flying Scottolines. Best-selling novelist Lisa Scottoline has always given her Philadephia thrillers a warm personal tone that gives us a more […] [Read More]

‘Our Idiot Brother’: when smart people make dumb movies

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With a cast that includes Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks and Steve Coogan, “Our Idiot Brother” looked like it stood a fair chance of being a summer highlight before it opened in late August. Yes, the title was dicey, but the fact that Vanity Fair writer Evgenia Peretz worked on the story and script […] [Read More]

What Coppola made between the first two ‘Godfather’ pictures

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In what might have been an all-time peak in an individual filmmaker’s expression of creativity, Francis Ford Coppola had his name on two great movies released during the single year of 1974 — “The Godfather, Part II” and “The Conversation.” Both movies were nominated for the best picture Oscar and Coppola took home the best […] [Read More]

Happy Thanksgiving!

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‘Three-Day Town’: a New York honeymoon interrupted by murder

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Margaret Maron puts out a new crime novel every year and she never disappoints. In recent years, the writer has focused on North Carolina judge Deborah Knott whose family life is generally as important in the stories as the mystery elements — Knott is a very sharp and very funny lady who doesn’t usually put herself in […] [Read More]

Cheyenne Jackson knocks ‘em dead on 57th St.

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There is no hotter ticket on Broadway at the moment than the Hugh Jackman concert show — the performer’s combination of looks, talent and old-fashioned star power has drawn him comparisons with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Judy Garland. Last Friday night, just 10 blocks north of the Jackman show, rising star Cheyenne Jackson demonstrated at […] [Read More]

A late report on the Japanese gangster play ‘Kutsukake Tokijiro’

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The Flea Theater on White St. in downtown Manhattan is a hotbed of activity these days. Upstairs, the Dungeons and Dragons play, “She Kills Monsters,” has been gathering rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences; downstairs, an adaptation of a popular Japanese gangster story, “Kutsukake Tokijiro,” is mixing wonderful live music by composer Ryo Toshimata with a […] [Read More]

Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover – a star matures

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The Clint Eastwood bio-pic “J. Edgar” opened to decent reviews and moderate box-office success last weekend, but it would be a shame if this movie is damned by faint praise. As the legendary Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover, Leonardo DiCaprio delivers the most subtle and risky performance of what might be termed […] [Read More]