Recommended by Michael C. O'Day

  • Echo & Narcissus Blast Third Eye Blind Outside a Diner in New Jersey at 2AM
    27 Jun. 2023
    We never stop being who we were in high school; no matter where our lives take us, or how drastically the world around us changes, we're still in perpetual thrall to the nascent, frequently worst version of ourselves, and still reliving the hurts (intentional or not) we inflict on others. Monokian has crafted a beautiful, poetic meditation on this theme, with sharply etched depictions of the ache of adolescence, the cruelties of the artistic life, and that sickening feeling you get when middle age is juuuust about to begin but nothing has fundamentally changed. Lovely work.
  • Founders, Keepers
    26 Jun. 2023
    With all the fantasy adolescent heroes who've risen up to save the world from fictional apocalypse, there's a tremendous kick in telling such a story for real - with five eleven year old girls tasked with rebuilding the government in the wake of an all-too-plausible catastrophe. To pull this off, of course, you have to understand our political realities and you have to understand adolescent girlhood - and Behlke depicts both just about perfectly. She's also an adept plotter, and FOUNDERS, KEEPERS has some of the best third-act twists I've seen in a good long while. Expertly done.
  • Don't Think About Elephants
    25 Jun. 2023
    They may only be off to the corner CVS and back, but Emily and Brittany's journey in DON'T THINK ABOUT ELEPHANTS is a classic American road trip, their seemingly mismatched souls' bickering gradually turning to fast friendship in the face of obstacles within and without. Rogers has a blast applying this classic structure to characters who've been too long relegated to the periphery. And she makes the brilliant choice to set the tale at the end of the COVID lockdown, with things returning to "normal" - which, as Rogers reminds us, is only what consenting, respectful adults decide it is.
  • A Tree Grows in Longmont
    23 Jun. 2023
    It seems heartbreakingly simple, at first - a man's mournful imagined conversation with his deceased partner. But then that man reveals himself to be a playwright, and casts himself and his lover's ghost as their fictionalized counterparts in an impromptu reading, and Williams reveals he's got something more complex in mind - a meditation on selective memory, and the ways we never say everything we need to say to one another in life, and yet those conversations still linger and continue when we're gone. A lovely pas de deux for two brave actors.
  • Worm Teeth
    21 Jun. 2023
    It defies all the laws of theatrical physics; how on earth has Sullivan combined questions of identity, mortality, self-acceptance, self-improvement, religious fanaticism, sadomasochism, the evils of capitalism, and the propensity of the class struggle to breed violence - and turned them into a happy little piece of (not exactly) children's theatre?! By staking out a hitherto undiscovered theatrical space lying somewhere between Dr. Seuss and David Cronenberg. Joyous, gleefully bonkers, and just begging to be staged.
  • The Manager
    20 Jun. 2023
    The troubles of fathers and sons may be familiar material, but if you think there's nothing new to be said on the subject then Gearhart's THE MANAGER will disabuse you of that notion in a hurry. Gearhart is a major Florida author in the making - up there with Hiaasen in many ways - and he approaches his story with a tremendous sense of place and detail, smart stagecraft, and profound empathy for his prickly characters. Beautifully done.
  • Fixed
    20 Jun. 2023
    A sweet, sad little gem of a two hander, Cathro's FIXED has some lovely points to make about the difficulties of connection, and how the armor we build up around ourselves to protect ourselves from our personal pain has a habit of wounding others in ways we never expect. A terrific duet for two actors that finds music in unexpected places.
  • The Bed Trick
    19 Jun. 2023
    It can be hard to create a piece of theater which interrogates the screwed-up unspoken values of theater while still remaining vividly theatrical - but don't tell that to Blevins, who makes it look absurdly easy. THE BED TRICK takes the disturbing trope of its title, flips our moral assumptions about its archetypal characters completely on their ear, then burrows into the psychology of three damaged characters - all trapped by the values of the world that gave us the bed trick in the first place - to devastating effect.
  • Simon Says
    19 Jun. 2023
    Great horror stories all require real-world anxieties and fears to fuel their make-believe boogeymen - here it's the myriad of ways the world contrives to take away our agency, our ability to consent - and Moughon is a great horror writer. She's also the rare horror writer who can make the form work in theater, and SIMON SAYS is a blistering little display of mastery.
  • The Presidential Chili Cook Off
    19 Jun. 2023
    Like Mel Brooks and the Zucker Brothers before him - and he more than earns the comparison here - Scott Sickles takes the narrative bedrock of ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN and builds upon it a dazzling contraption, firing off puns and pratfalls and vaudeville gags both high and low. Sickles does have serious topics on his mind - the insidious reach of propaganda, the resurgence of racism and fascism - but, again like Brooks, he knows how valuable humor is at getting the message across. Better even than a small town newspaper.