Magazine article The New Yorker

The Theatre

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Theatre

Article excerpt

The Theatre

Gettin’ the Band Back Together

Belasco

The dregs of summer have delivered this bland Broadway musical, in which a forty-year-old finance dude (the colorless, odorless Mitchell Jarvis) gets fired, moves back to his New Jersey home town, and reconvenes his high-school rock band in an attempt to save his childhood home from foreclosure. It all comes down to the Battle of the Bands, where he faces off against his former rival, Tygen Billows (Brandon Williams). Along the way, John Rando’s production leaves plenty of room for racial stereotypes (traditional Indian father, sassy black woman) and generic rock numbers, by Mark Allen. Remarkably, the piece was developed through improvisation by a collective of actors called the Grundleshotz—so why is it the most paint-by-numbers musical comedy on Broadway? With Marilu Henner, as the hero’s mother, generally agreed to be a MILF.—Michael Schulman (Open run.)

The Heart of Robin Hood

Boscobel House & Gardens

David Farr’s 2011 play, directed by Suzanne Agins, turns the familiar legend on its feather-hatted head, and is all the more interesting for it. The Sherwood Forest denizen, charismatically played by Benjamin Bonenfant, is a highwayman who robs from the rich and keeps the loot for himself. It takes the influence of the noble Marion (a feisty Robyn Kerr) to inspire a charitable change in the outlaw. Drawing amusingly from influences as diverse as Shakespeare and the Little Rascals, the play contains a number of elements that this summer company is primed to knock out of the park: an arch-villain, Prince John, acted with quiet, insinuating intensity by Sean McNall; Marion’s faithful sidekick, Pierre (Wesley Mann, pulling out all the comedic stops); the clash of steel in some acrobatic sword fights; and a theatrical backdrop perfectly suited to the region’s beautiful natural setting. …

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