insightful in-depth reviews

Cabaret by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Joe Masteroff. Directed by Matthew Decker, Arden Theatre, September 2017.
 

Never has Cabaret seemed so timely as in the new production by Matthew Decker at the Arden Theater.

When Joe Masteroff wrote the script in 1966 with Fred Ebb supplying lyrics and John Kander the music, we all thought it was a look backward at the rise of Naziism in Berlin around 1930. Now we see it as a warning about current threats. No lines specifically name Putin, Trump or any neo-Nazi, but the implication is clear when we witness the …

Rock and Roll Man tells a true story

Rock and Roll Man: The Alan Freed Story, a new musical at Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, PA.
 

Cleveland was picked to be the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because a Cleveland disc-jockey, Alan Freed, was one of the first men to promote that type of music and he coined the phrase “rock and roll.” Yet his name became almost forgotten by a new generation.

Philadelphia lobbied hard to house the Hall of Fame, based on being the adopted home of Bill Haley and the birthplace of American Bandstand, originally known …

Two composers, one librettist

This article, prompted by the world premiere of two operas, was originally published in The Opera Critic, the international journal for opera professionals and aficionados.
 

Two high-profile opera premieres took place within two months — and both of them were created by one librettist, though with different composers. This is a most unusual occurrence.

Kevin Puts composed the music for Elizabeth Cree, a thriller about grisly serial murders in London in 1880, overlaid with the trial of Mrs. Cree for allegedly poisoning her husband. Mason Bates composed an opera about the life and communication inventions of Steve …

Braithwaite's backstage stories

Which Reminds Me. Written and directed by Tony Braithwaite. Through October 1, 2017, at the Act II Playhouse, Ambler, Pennsylvania.
 

Tony Braithwaite can do a one-man show on almost any topic and entertain us. This summer he’s chosen a new subject which is close to his heart — theater experiences — and calls the production Which Reminds Me.

Onstage mishaps, backstage gossip and barbs from critics each are given time, as Braithwaite conversationally ties these stories together. I had just returned to the Philadelphia area from two weeks in the warm and dry New Mexican desert, and here …

From The Publisher

The Cultural Critic is where thoughtful readers turn for in-depth reviews of artistic events and travel experiences. Our aim is to cover a wide range throughout every category. From theater to book critiques, travel to opera experiences, music to art analysis, The Cultural Critic is your destination for the most comprehensive reviews.

We are proud to have cultural historian Steve Cohen as our lead critic. He is a broadcaster and journalist with degrees in music, theater and communications.

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Geoffrey Dobrien, President

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