Theater

Mar. 13 CNY Playhouse: God’s Favorite

CNY Playhouse’s ‘God’s Favorite’ a divine comedy

Like the hero in the biblical tale, the company’s well-crafted reworking of the ‘Book of Job’ passes every test

By David Abrams

With friends like Joe Benjamin’s God, who needs enemies? That’s the question Neil Simon appears to raise in his quick-witted comedy God’s Favorite, a modern day setting of the Book of Job that opened on Broadway in 1974…

Feb. 27 Syracuse Stage: Sizwe Banzi is Dead

Syracuse Stage’s ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’ keeps the message very much alive

This compelling character-driven drama set within the grip of Apartheid in 1972 South Africa resonates just as powerfully in 2015 America

By Malkiel Choseed

Syracuse Stage’s elegant production of Sizwe Banzi is Dead is a beautifully wrought and profoundly moving pieced of theater that captures the essence of the human drama — and drives home its message with humor and sensitivity…

Feb. 21 SU Drama: Lips Together, Teeth Apart

SU Drama’s ‘Lips Together, Teeth Apart’ struggles to transcend the aging AIDS crisis

Bereft of strong character interaction, this student production has difficulty making the political climate of the ’80s and ’90s seem relevant today

By Michael O’Connor

Lips Together, Teeth Apart, which takes place at the height of the AIDS crisis, follows a pair of siblings (Sam and Chloe) and their respective spouses (Sally and John) as they spend a weekend together at a beach house Sally has recently inherited from her deceased brother, David…

Jan. 30 Syracuse Stage: In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play

Syracuse Stage’s ‘In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play’ hits the spot

Sarah Ruhl’s amusing play about treating ‘female hysteria’ during the Victorian Era is just what the doctor ordered

By Barbara Haas

It’s fascinating to see what a truly creative mind can do with original source material. That’s one of the many pleasures of seeing Sarah Ruhl’s very funny, sweetly tender play, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play…

Jan. 10 CNY Playhouse: Lend Me a Tenor

CNY Playhouse’s ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ keeps the laughs coming and the action going

Who knew a performance of Verdi’s ‘Otello’ could be this amusing?

By David Abrams

What can possibly be funny about Verdi’s Otello, the opera generally acknowledged to be the culmination of Italian tragic opera? Kenneth Ludwig believes he found the answer — and three Tony Awards say he’s on to something…

Dec. 5 Syracuse Stage: Hairspray

‘Hairspray’ paints a smile across the face that holds

There’s ‘real good’ singing and dancing in this ‘feel good’ co-production by Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

By Michael O’Connor

Love wins out against all odds in the Syracuse Stage-SU Drama co-production of the charming holiday spectacle, Hairspray — the delightful musical that tackles issues of race relations, class discrepancy and body image without becoming overbearing…

Nov. 15 SU Drama: Stepping Out

SU Drama’s ‘Stepping Out’ is in-step with dance, out-of-step with drama

Blame Richard Harris, whose humorous play about amateur tap dancers suffers from a script with two left feet

By Michael O’Connor

There’s no shortage of spectacle in Stepping Out, Richard Harris’s 1984 comedy about amateur dancers looking to overcome their inhibitions by learning to tap dance at a shabby church hall in North London…

Oct. 29 NT Live: Frankenstein

NT Live’s ‘Frankenstein’ a monster in need of some tender loving care

It’s alive! That is to say, National Theatre Live

By Barbara Haas

The National Theatre’s sell-out hit Frankenstein is one of those productions that leaves a reviewer searching for fresh superlatives. “Brilliant,” “amazing,” “memorable” — it is all these things. If you missed the 2011 NT Live performances, you have another chance. It’s back, as they say, by popular demand…

Oct. 24 Syracuse Stage: The Piano Lesson

Syracuse Stage’s ‘The Piano Lesson’ plays its doleful tune with virtuosity

Timothy Bond’s beautifully crafted production of the August Wilson play is buoyed by an ensemble of first-rate actors

By Malkiel Choseed

Syracuse Stage’s new production of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson is a beautifully wrought, wonderfully acted rendition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece. Every aspect of the dramatic experience comes together to near-perfection — from sets to costumes to lighting…

Oct. 11 SU Drama: Parade

SU Drama’s ‘Parade’ pleases the ear, challenges the mind

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about intolerance and bigotry in the old South raises issues America has not fully addressed

By Michael O’Connor

Like many Americans, I grew up reading and learning about America’s civil rights movements. Victims of racially motivated violence in this country are burned into my memory — names such as Emmett Till, James Byrd Jr., Mary Turner, Vincent Chin, and Leo Frank.

These names remain symbols of America’s difficulty in coming to grips with its past and present…

Sep. 28 Syracuse Stage: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

Syracuse Stage’s ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’ keeps the laughs coming

Christopher Durang takes the audience on a wild romp in this Tony Award-winning Chekhov mash-up

By Barbara Haas

At one point in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the Christopher Durang comedy that opened Syracuse Stage’s 2014-15 season, the audience broke into spontaneous applause.