Helen Shaw

Theater Critic

Helen Shaw has written about theater in New York since 2005, and for New York since 2019.

  1. remembrance
    Angela Lansbury Could Play Cozy or Criminal, Grand or Grand GuignolFrom Gaslight to Mame to Sweeney Todd to Beauty and the Beast, with a long, comfortable stop in Cabot Cove.
  2. theater review
    A Richard III Made Not So GloriousThe production works against the best qualities of its star, Danai Gurira.
  3. remembrance
    ‘A Combination of Permission and Exaltation’On Peter Brook and The Empty Space.
  4. theater review
    In White on White, an Anti-racism Conversation Turns Monstrous“When horror does finally arrive, it’s ecstatic and Cronenbergian and bizarre.”
  5. theater review
    A Hamlet That May Have Been Nobler in the West EndRobert Icke’s production lost something on its way across the Atlantic.
  6. theater review
    Strangers at My Table: Domestic Drama in Epiphany and ChainsA loose adaptation of The Dead, and a revival of largely forgotten 1909 London hit.
  7. theater review
    Will Arbery, Back in Texas With CorsicanaDeirdre O’Connell and Jamie Brewer star in the latest work from the Heroes of the Fourth Turning playwright.
  8. theater review
    Stroller-Size Theater: Josh Azouz’s Buggy BabyPlus, Beginning Days of True Jubilation at the New Ohio.
  9. theater review
    In The Orchard, Baryshnikov Co-Stars With a Robotic ArmDoes that thing get scale?
  10. theater review
    Circle Jerk, Now in the FleshPlus a two-part art-world sitcom: Weekend at Barry’s/Lesbian Lighthouse.
  11. tonys 2022
    The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the 2022 Tony AwardsBig night for two Michael Jacksons.
  12. theater review
    The Bedwetter Is a Real Story About Pain and PeeSarah Silverman’s memoir-musical is flush with jokes and tween anxiety, but that set really has to go.
  13. tonys 2022
    What Should Win at the 2022 Tony Awards?A conversation about the best of the 2021–22 theater season.
  14. theater review
    Dreaming Zenzile Makes Beautiful Music — If Not TheaterA Miriam Makeba bio-musical sounds better than it plays.
  15. theater review
    Drag Drag Revolution: Notes on Killing … Confuses Its Categories“While I like ontological mayhem as much as the next weird art freak, this is not that kind of generative confusion.”
  16. theater review
    Fat Ham Aims to Put the Ha in HamletToo too solid.
  17. theater review
    Who Killed My Father: Elegy Saturated With ClichéÉdouard Louis’s memoir has been bizarrely and frustratingly staged.
  18. theater review
    In Exception to the Rule, Detention Is a Whole Other Class of PunishmentDave Harris’s play goes into an after-school penalty that’s not really intended to teach lessons.
  19. theater review
    A Cherry Orchard That Chops Down Most of the TreesChucking out the familiar in search of the truth.
  20. comedy review
    Hannah Gadsby Stays Sunny by Any Means NecessaryIn Body of Work, the comedian shares her biggest lesson from fame: Give ’em a little less.
  21. theater review
    Which Way to the Stage Takes a Superfan’s View of the WorldEmbodied by two characters on the far fringes of theatrical success.
  22. theater review
    Oh God, A Show About Abortion Could Not Be More RelevantAlison Leiby’s one-woman show doesn’t have the spark it needs — so it’s handy that its audience is already on fire.
  23. theater review
    Alice Childress’s Wedding Band Returns, Well-BurnishedChildress’s bitter play, now married to a modern sensibility, returns on a wave of acclaim.
  24. theater review
    Two Men, Twin Falls: Samuel Hunter’s A Case for the Existence of GodSamuel D. Hunter’s play about male friendship, latter-day American desperation, and the passage of time.
  25. theater review
    Something Distanced This Way Comes: Craig and Negga in MacbethCelebrity squares off against experiment, from Birnam Wood to Dunsinane.
  26. theater review
    POTUS and Mr. Saturday Night Mine Laughs From Behind the ScenesTwo comedies about the business of image-making.
  27. theater review
    A Strange Loop Moves to Broadway, Its Furious Energy Changed But IntactMichael R. Jackson’s metamusical masterpiece spins forward.
  28. theater review
    The Skin of Our Teeth Is No DinosaurSure, some of the humor is dated. But that third act is anything but.
  29. theater review
    If Someone Takes a Spill: Funny Girl ReturnsBeanie Feldstein takes the titular role.
  30. theater review
    In Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen, Cruelty Provides the MuseIn this tale of an executioner in 1960s England, a master of the mean joke turns laughs against the viewer.
  31. theater review
    for colored girls Returns to Broadway in a Triumphant RevivalThe dance-theater gem still glows.
  32. theater review
    The Predatory Dance of How I Learned to DrivePaula Vogel’s play still manages to make the unbearable watchable — thanks in part to Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse.
  33. theater review
    The Minutes on Broadway Feels a Few Years Too LateThere was a time when Tracy Letts’s play, about a city council with a secret, felt prescient. But real life has outstripped its satire.
  34. theater review
    American Buffalo: Gorgeous Performances, Small Author IssueIt’s a beautifully served slice of classic Mamet … if you still have the appetite.
  35. theater review
    No Nose, Yes Delts: James McAvoy Is Our Generation’s Great CyranoYou will not (and I cannot) get over this performance.
  36. theater review
    The Little Prince Crash-lands on This PlanetNon.
  37. theater review
    Birthday Candles, With Debra Messing, Is Not Much of a PartyThere’s too much sugar in that cake she bakes.
  38. theater review
    Suffs Casts a Complicated Vote for a Complicated HistoryVotes for women, soberly musicalized.
  39. theater review
    Does Take Me Out Still Hit the Strike Zone?Richard Greenberg’s 2002 play about a gay baseball superstar returns.
  40. theater review
    The Multiple Original Sins of Paradise SquareOver-workshopped and yet still under-theatricalized.
  41. theater review
    Heather Christian’s Oratorio for Living Things Sings the Universe ElectricA hymn to the elemental life cycle.
  42. theater review
    Plaza Suite Contains the Bleakest Comedy I’ve Seen in YearsParker and Broderick drown the pangs of middle age in room-service Champagne.
  43. theater review
    Confederates Does Battle With Two Peculiar InstitutionsToggling between the antebellum south and the academy today.
  44. theater review
    Help Is an Essay Dressed Up As a PlayProfessor Claudia Rankine looks for America’s soul in its airports.
  45. theater review
    What’s Off-Off: From William F. Buckley to Unmarked GravesReviewed: A Song of Songs, Man Cave, Hart Island, and Debate: Baldwin vs. Buckley.
  46. theater review
    The Chinese Lady: Performing Asianness for a New York Audience, Once AgainToday’s viewers don’t gawk in quite the same way.
  47. theater review
    Jane Anger Puts Shakespeare in His Place, HilariouslyMichael Urie stars in a comedy of (male) errors.
  48. theater review
    Aleshea Harris Sends Up Another Prayer to the Dead in On SugarlandWhat she delves for, she finds.
  49. theater review
    Sunlight as Disinfectant: sandblasted, Pointed Comedy About Black Women’s WoundsIf you’re falling apart, touch sand.
  50. theater review
    Communities Lost in Translation: English and The Daughter-in-LawSeeking understanding, and not always finding it.
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