Recommended by Tom Rowan

  • Maui Wowee!
    3 Sep. 2023
    With its abundance of sharp one-liners and double entendres, this script is in the fine tradition of Neil Simon’s “suite” plays: a reminder of how easily the cracks in relationships can be exacerbated by what was meant to be a relaxing vacation. Comedically awkward situations and eccentric characters guarantee laughs, but the writer also surprises by digging a bit deeper and providing something more thoughtful than the anticipated Hollywood ending. Two very rewarding roles for older actresses should make this an especially appealing choice for local theatre groups.
  • WAKE
    31 Aug. 2023
    Complex relationships, vividly disturbing stories, and creepily convincing intimations of the supernatural come together in this expertly-written piece that keeps the audience guessing about what might really be going on. Gatton’s sharp ear for dialogue captures each character’s individual voice, and the well-observed domestic scenes feel personal and lived-in. But the play has larger resonances too: its scope expands almost imperceptibly as it examines and questions the bitter losses and hard-earned triumphs of the past several decades of American gay history. And it’s chock-full of fantastic audition monologues!
  • Fable
    9 Aug. 2023
    It takes confidence to write dialogue for iconic figures from theatre history like Merman, Robbins, and Laurents; DeVita pulls it off with grace and an insider's savvy. The achievement here is that he corrects some of the musical's misrepresentations of Havoc's story while still celebrating its legendary power. All done with great ingenuity and economy; a cast of just seven manages to evoke the bustle and grandeur of 1959 Broadway.
  • At Whose Expense
    6 Mar. 2023
    This play boldly tackles a very timely issue: the racial tensions and free-speech controversies currently rocking the academic community. Shineman doesn't condescend to any of the characters and gives all of the contentious parties space to express their points of view. Ms. Schultz's decision provides a ray of hope--right before the play hits us with an effectively ominous coda. This is a risky, provocative piece.
  • Cabana Boy
    3 Mar. 2023
    Another thoughtful, atmospheric piece by Mr. Williams. The characters seem close to stereotypes at first but then surprise us more than once by being more complex and better people than we expect. There's some nice, effortless humor woven into the very natural dialogue, and the play is very sexy without being obvious or vulgar. It's all done with compassion and understated charm.
  • The Fierce Urgency Of Now
    25 Feb. 2023
    DeVita skewers the work environment of a busy New York ad agency with terrific accuracy and economy. The characters are appealing even (especially?) when behaving atrociously, and DeVita imbues the relationships with growing emotional resonance without ever getting manipulative or sentimental. Expertly done.
  • Cooler Near the Lake
    21 Oct. 2022
    Returning to the place where you grew up—particularly for a funeral—can awaken all kinds of guilts, regrets, and other long-buried emotions. Williams explores this insightfully and with compassion. The play is full of authentic detail and atmosphere, the northern Michigan lakeside setting skillfully evoked. Themes of class prejudice and internalized homophobia are conveyed through nuanced character relationships.
  • Homecoming
    16 Oct. 2022
    This powerful piece has more depth and emotional resonance than one would expect from a ten-minute play. The very economical dialogue crystallizes the characters and key moments in their history with pinpoint accuracy and honesty. I felt the pain and the anger, the guilt and the loss, the sense of those moments in a family's history where things are said that can't be unsaid. Memories are the ghosts that continue to haunt us.
  • Dark Twist
    8 Oct. 2022
    This effectively atmospheric piece convincingly evokes the world of the traditional New England prep school: a fascinating subculture most of us have never experienced. Complex characters, literate dialogue, and concealed motivations keep the audience engaged and guessing. The view of the past is bleak, but the ending offers some welcome hope for the future.
    25 Feb. 2022
    This ambitious piece evokes an aura of mystery and foreboding. Schizophrenia, sexual abuse, racism, murder, alcoholism, and the devastating legacies of the holocaust and Vietnam all play into the story of a family trying to unravel the knots of their past. The image of a dying playwright who turns to painting--after losing his sight--is original and unsettling.