April 10 Covey Theatre: God of Carnage

‘God of Carnage’ a play for those unafraid of Virginia Woolf

Souls bare and tempers flare in this engaging Covey Theatre Company production

By David Abrams

Serious question: Is God of Carnage a play or a reality show? It’s difficult to tell, since the abstract dialogue leaves few clues as to the substance of the human interactions among the play’s four characters. But whatever logic may lurk between the lines in her script, French playwright Yasmina Reza deserves credit for finding the key to drawing crowds in America: staging couples that trade invectives and rip each other apart in the presence of total strangers. Just ask Jerry Springer…

Apr. 10 Syracuse Stage: Other Desert Cities

Syracuse Stage’s ‘Other Desert Cities’ unfolds at a furious pace

Better not sneeze during this Timothy Bond production ― you may miss something important

By Barbara Haas

At last, a play about a family that is not dysfunctional. Syracuse Stage is closing its current season with a rarity among dramas: a play about family members who really do care about each another. Not that the five members of the Wyeth household in Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities don’t have their differences. Truth is, they couldn’t be more unlike one another…

Mar. 25 Max Richter: The Leftovers and Infra

Max Richter: The Leftovers and Infra (photo: Geraldine Petrovic)

Max Richter and ACME light up Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge

The classical/alternative popular music composer teams with with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble in a thrilling program

By Natalie Piontek
Goldring Arts Journalism program, Syracuse University

Contemporary composer Max Richter and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble gave a mesmerizing, deeply moving performance of Richter’s music at the intimate venue of Le Poisson Rouge last Wednesday…

Mar. 19 Met (Live): Lucia di Lammermoor

The Met’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ a vocal, though not dramatic, triumph

Mary Zimmerman’s still-fresh production is made fresher still by Shagimuratova’s glimmering voice, but the acting disappoints

By David Abrams

There’s lots of life left in Mary Zimmerman’s handsomely staged and remarkably fresh Metropolitan Opera production of Lucia di Lammermoor, which debuted in 2007 with Natalie Dessay in the title role and has been reprised here several times since.

There’s lots of life, too, in the voice of Albina Shagimuratova — the title character in the company’s 2015 reprisal that opened March 16…

Mar. 28 SU Drama: Measure for Measure

By any yardstick, SU Drama’s ‘Measure for Measure’ stacks up well

Director Celia Madeoy takes the Bard’s 400-year-old play out of a purely academic context and makes it relevant

By Malkiel Choseed

It is almost considered a right of passage for drama students to stage a Shakespearian play. That they have chosen this particular play, Measure for Measure, to test and sharpen their skills brings about a whole other level of difficulty. The students and staff of SU Drama, however, have risen the to the challenge admirably, creating a visually stunning, fast paced and well-acted production…

Mar. 21 The New York Woodwind Quintet

The New York Woodwind Quintet shines in eclectic program of wind chamber music

Pavel Haas’s neglected ‘Quintet’ tops this handsome program spanning five centuries

By Natalie Piontek
Goldring Arts Journalism program, Syracuse University

The New York Woodwind Quintet, the long-standing and respected chamber ensemble revered for its homogenous sound, lived up to its reputation at Saturday’s Syracuse Friends of Chamber music concert…

Mar. 18 Broadway: On the Town

‘On the Town’ is off the charts

Dance is king in Broadway’s hottest show — but the staging, costumes and action will knock you off your feet as well

By David Abrams

The current Broadway revival of On the Town, now playing at the Lyric Theater on 42nd Street, will give you a taste of the Big Apple that will likely linger on your palette for some time to come. This two and one-half hour production is sheer joy from start to finish — with sparkling sets and costumes, spunky dance numbers and a clearly inspired 28-piece orchestra (the largest on Broadway, I am told)…

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…

Mar. 7 NY Philharmonic: New Music from Nordic Countries

Program of ‘New Music from Nordic Countries’ hits the right notes, yet misses the mark

The NY Phil’s challenging program, part of the orchestra’s innovative ‘CONTACT!’ series, appeared to favor technique over expression

By Natalie Piontek
Goldring Arts Journalism program, Syracuse University

“This is not always the easiest music,” warned New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert prior to Saturday’s CONTACT! concert of contemporary Nordic music held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art…

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…

Feb. 6 Syracuse Opera: A Little Night Music

Syracuse Opera’s ‘A Little Night Music’ a little too lean

With a pit orchestra of only six players and no projected titles, Sondheim’s “operetta” doesn’t seem whole

By David Abrams

There’s little point in arguing whether Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music is, at its core, a musical or an operetta. It could be either, depending on the resources put into the production effort. Syracuse Opera chose to trumpet the work as “operetta,” not musical theater, during the weeks leading up to Friday’s premiere. And that label calls into question the company’s use of a chamber-sized pit orchestra…

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…