John Simon

  1. Trio BravaBritish threesome Fascinating Aïda is a witty delight; Boy is intriguing but manipulative; and Here Lies Jenny tries (and fails) t […]
  2. Second SightA revival of Donald Margulies’s brilliant play about Jewish identity; Kia Corthron’s babble; Jon Robin Baitz’s improbable triangle.
  3. In Brief: Tony Kushner’s Homebody/KabulI sometimes wonder whether Tony Kushner’s greatest talent isn’t for marketing. A play with very legitimate concerns about the roles of gays and […]
  4. In Brief: Tennessee Williams’s Spring StormTennessee Williams’s early and immature Spring Storm is best as a game for Williams fans: How many names, characters, situations, and devices of […]
  5. Soap OperasProblematic to begin with, the dour Caroline, or Change loses steam in the move to Broadway; animal repulsion rules Prymate’ […]
  6. Stereo TypesA pair of Broadway revivals stirs up an old debate about British versus American drama—brain candy or matters of the heart.
  7. Show GunsTwo knockout revivals affirm what the originals revealed: that Sondheim doesn’t always hit his target, and that Larry Kramer once, assured […]
  8. MentionablesLynn Nottage’s new play is as memorably intimate as the intricate unmentionables its heroine creates. In Glocca Morra, things seem a tad u […]
  9. Sleeping BeautyBroadway’s spring awakening comes in the form of a finely observed drama about a ballet master and the mysterious couple who visit.
  10. Scott-FreeLarry Gelbart’s freewheeling Sly Fox seems starless without George C. Scott, but Barbara Cook’s concert provides all the char […]
  11. Out of SteamThe Great Depression bequeathed us screwball comedy, a genre beyond the stars’ grasp in this train wreck of a revival.
  12. America the BlindIn Small Tragedy, an amateurish acting company rehearses Oedipus Rex, and it gradually emerges that America is as blind as the self-blinded Oedi […]
  13. Fool’s ErrandDirector Jonathan Miller and his star, Christopher Plummer, conspire to cut Shakespeare’s towering tragic hero down to size.
  14. Up on the RoofA revival of Fiddler strikes a universal note; a tennis legend, warts and all; Roulette fires blanks, but bridge & tunnel i […]
  15. The Tell-Tale ArtConfronted with divine works, the characters in Terrence McNally’s two playlets react with decidedly profane thoughts.
  16. Places in the HeartIn Valhalla, a gay romance in the forties; in Eden, an Irish marriage in tatters; in Agamemnon, the timeless Greek tale of […]
  17. Winging ItAdam Bock’s aviary parable aims for fanciful but delivers tedium; Musical of Musicals, on the other hand, hits its targets with sop […]
  18. Vanishing ActsJulia Cho writes with elegant lyricism about a family’s disintegration before coming together; Ute Lemper’s cabaret turn is hard to […]
  19. Shawn ‘NuffA revival of Wallace Shawn’s play merely reiterates how little there was to begin with; clown Bill Irwin revisits the past, too, but some […]
  20. Ghost StoriesNeil Simon is trumped by his own now-distant triumphs; Jonathan Reynolds dishes—literally and figuratively—about his colorful past.
  21. In Brief: Nothing But the Truth and The StorySome plays solicit a critical double standard. The South African actor-playwright John Kani’s post-apartheid Nothing But the Truth concerns the […]
  22. The Happy HooferNever Gonna Dance has good dancers and better dances but little charm; an adaptation of Birdy solves literary problems with thea […]
  23. Star TurnsKevin Kline heads a smashing production of Henry IV; Raúl Esparza sparkles in Taboo; Jimmy Smits breathes life into Anna i […]
  24. Bum RapA Pinter revival makes no case for The Caretaker; Paula Vogel’s Christmas tale is a multiculti mishmash; Fame wonR […]
  25. Publish and PerishRichard Greenberg’s new play heads right to the remainders bin; Ned Beatty’s Big Daddy roars; can Hal Prince salvage Sondheim̵ […]
  26. Ding-DongWicked tells the backstory of the witches of Oz, but it’s lifeless; Golda’s Balcony is the perfect merging of playwrig […]
  27. Both Sides NowAn impartial observation of a marriage in tatters, brilliantly acted; a dubious classic, ignobly acted; and a new play that possibly can̵ […]
  28. All Petered OutPeter Allen married Liza Minnelli and struck gold with I Go to Rio. But despite a game impersonation by Hugh Jackman, The Boy From Oz< […]
  29. Smart as a PistilAudrey the hungry musical plant finally makes it to Broadway, but Living Out, a powerful new play, reminds us of why we go to the theater.
  30. Send in the ClownSome art forms have worn less well than others, notably the epic poem and the commedia dell’arte. The prose novel killed the epic, but it is les […]
  31. In Brief: Matt & BenIf you are under 30—correction, make that 25—live physically or mentally in the East Village, derive your intellectual sustenance from cult movi […]
  32. Hearts and LettersDalton Trumbo’s words inspire his son to create a moving portrait of courage; The Thing About Men is a felicitous blend of musical […]
  33. Some of That JazzShe may not offer much in the singing and dancing departments, but Melanie Griffith does inject a certain breathy star power into Chicago.
  34. PlathitudesA rehash of Sylvia’s Plath’s life, Edge doesn’t have any; a revue featuring the songs of a risqué chanteuse, on the oth […]
  35. Guerre Is HellHenry V in Central Park has the usual Shakespeare Festival excesses and foolishness—along with a few decent performances.
  36. In Brief: The Notebooks of Leonardo da VinciIf there is any material that refuses dramatization, The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci is it. On more than 5,000 loose pages without order, the […]
  37. SpectersIngmar Bergman bids farewell to the theater with Ibsen’s haunting modern classic; Ellen McLaughlin makes Aeschylus seem contemporary.
  38. In the RedJules Feiffer looks at the child of communists as she approaches adulthood in the fifties, but it’s hard to tell what he sees. Intrigue […]
  39. Southern ComfortsAn unlikely sexual roundelay in the south of France provides the frisson of Marsha Norman’s Last Dance; for Douglas Carter Beane […]
  40. Dance With MeIn “Master Harold” … and the boys, Athol Fugard turns a fox-trot into a haunting allegory of racial equality; Humble […]
  41. High As a KiteVanessa Redgrave’s journey into madness isn’t long—she’s gone from the beginning of Eugene O’Neill’s shatter […]
  42. Rose Is a RoseThere’s no gimmick in the latest revival of Gypsy, just Bernadette Peters’s sheer star power; Enchanted April makes an […]
  43. Too Much BullA little of the humor in The Play What I Wrote goes a long way; too many inexperienced hands have made Urban Cowboy as mechanical […]
  44. Little DemonsKids haunt three new shows: Antonio Banderas’s younger self, in Nine; a brain-damaged daughter, in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg […]
  45. Sex and the VilleMolière’s steamy potboiler Don Juan gets a crude revival; the RSC’s epic treatment of Midnight’s Children i […]
  46. Expletive CommittedPulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks riffs on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A, but the letter she really deserves is an F. David Ives re […]
  47. Graffiti Isn’t EasyA high-energy musical about the late street artist Keith Haring nevertheless fails to make the case for his work; another new musical takes Prou […]
  48. Diamond in the BuffDirector Joe Mantello creates a powerful ensemble for Richard Greenberg’s baseball play, and the shower scenes don’t hurt; Vincen […]
  49. In Brief: Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the SommeCritic John Simon reviews Frank McGuinness’ new play: “The American actors were so good at their Irish that I often lagged behind. The bigger pr […]
  50. Nothing to Speak OfAll the events in Dublin Carol take place offstage, and the characters reveal little of interest about them. Encores! presents a rare mis […]
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