Profile of Ethan Kanfer
Articles written for the California Literary Review:
- Broadway Review: Orphans
Posted on 02 May 2013 in Theatre
In the early 1980’s, Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater and others with a similar aesthetic, gave American theater a shot of testosterone it desperately needed at the time. Self-identified as “rock and roll theater”, Steppenwolf’s style was raw and confrontational, its narratives populated by virile, troubled archetypes. The language was rooted in the American lexicon, a poetry of the streets.
- Broadway Review: Motown: The Musical
Posted on 22 Apr 2013 in Theatre
The story begins in 1983, when a gala concert is scheduled in honor of Motown’s 25th anniversary. All the big stars will be there, but the very man whose name is synonymous with the legendary label refuses to attend. Embittered and abandoned, Gordy (Brandon Victor Dixon) wants nothing to do with the super-talents he discovered and nurtured, only to watch them seek bigger paydays elsewhere.
- Broadway Review: Dead Accounts Starring Katie Holmes
Posted on 20 Dec 2012 in Theatre
Everyone notices Jack’s flamboyant behavior and his sudden preponderance of cash. Jack evades their questions until, finally, he can no longer bear lying to his family. He finally confesses that he and his old-money wife Jenny are splitting up. Oh, and one more thing: Jack has embezzled 27 million dollars from the bank where he works.
- Theatre Review: The Good Mother
Posted on 07 Dec 2012 in Theatre
Angus maintains that everything went okay, but Larissa notices something odd in her daughter’s behavior. She fears Angus has done something “inappropriate,” although what that might mean is never specified. Allyson can’t speak, so Larissa takes her to a specialist who can interpret her signals.
- Broadway Review: Chaplin
Posted on 24 Sep 2012 in Performing Arts, Theatre
All in all, the show is most remarkable for its performances, especially the lead. McClure nimbly captures both Chaplin’s physicality and the contradictory aspects of his personality. He is as cantankerous as he is vulnerable, uncompromising in his pursuit of his own vision even as he aches for approval.
- Is there life after Fringe? Four shows that deserve longer runs.
Posted on 05 Sep 2012 in Blog-Theater, Theatre
In the meantime we Fringe attendees enjoy compiling our personal wish lists. Here, in addition to the shows praised in previous columns, is a critic’s lineup of productions that show promise.
- NYC Fringe Report: Domestic Disturbances
Posted on 23 Aug 2012 in Blog-Theater, Theatre
Two of the standouts, Michelle Ramoni’s June and Nancy and Camilla Ammirati’s In the Ebb take place in very different times and places, but they share a common theme. Both stories include searching, imaginative female protagonists who struggle to discover themselves as they question the stability of their marriages.
- NYC Fringe Report: Murder and Mayhem, California Style
Posted on 21 Aug 2012 in Blog-Theater, Gay and Lesbian, Theatre
East Coasters rarely think of Los Angeles as a great theater town. But, as two ambitious entries in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival prove, there’s a talent pool out there that has much more to offer than just good looks and cry-on-cue naturalism.
- Broadway Review: Nice Work If You Can Get It
Posted on 03 May 2012 in Performing Arts, Theatre
Broderick gives a generous performance, turning on his patented man-child charm when called upon, but also stepping back and allowing his leading lady and sidemen plenty of space to maneuver. O’Hara makes an apt foil for him, as her persona, even in upbeat scenes, always carries an undertone of fragility.
- Broadway Review: Jesus Christ Superstar
Posted on 05 Apr 2012 in Performing Arts, Religion, Theatre
Today, with The Book of Mormon taking irreverence to new heights and shows like American Idiot cranking up the power chords, any production of Superstar will have to rely on the score’s intrinsic qualities in order to compete for the attention of younger theatergoers. The good news is that the show’s construction holds up well.
- Broadway Review: Alicia Keys’ Stick Fly
Posted on 15 Dec 2011 in African American, Performing Arts, Theatre
This setup abounds with comic potential, and Diamond wrings plenty of laughs out of the awkward dynamics at hand. But there is much more here than just the usual dysfunction junction drollery. The youths, especially Taylor, have a lot to say about the way the world looks now, and much of their criticism is justified.
- Broadway Review: Private Lives
Posted on 23 Nov 2011 in Performing Arts, Theatre
Luckily, any such anti-Tinseltown prejudices are quickly dispelled within the first few minutes of Private Lives. Cattrall and Gross, who both sport impressive theatrical résumés in addition to their IMDB credits, are perfectly at home with Coward’s pacing, elegance and theatricality. At the same time, they wisely steer clear of old school stiffness or stock deliveries of the play’s well known zingers.
- Broadway Review: Venus in Fur
Posted on 18 Nov 2011 in Performing Arts, Theatre
Anyone who has been through the process will recognize the exasperation, drive and excitement of Dancy’s eerily accurate portrayal of a playwright birthing a new piece (although few of us look as good doing it). He is an apt foil for Arianda, who navigates the hairpin turns of the story with ferocious speed and stunning comic imagination.
- Theater Review: Godspell on Broadway
Posted on 16 Nov 2011 in Performing Arts, Theatre
Most haunting of all is the ballad Beautiful City, in which Christ speaks not of a kingdom of heaven awaiting us after death, but of faith in the possibility of a better world here on earth. The pained relationship between Jesus and Judas Iscariot is played with moving delicacy by Parrish and Smith. The crucifixion scene, which could easily have been cringeworthy, is instead cathartic and powerful, thanks in part to the way David Weiner lights its Rembrandt-like tableau.
- Theater Review: Relatively Speaking
Posted on 20 Oct 2011 in Performing Arts, Theatre
In Woody Allen’s Honeymoon Motel, young bride Nina Roth (Ari Graynor) enters a gaudy roadside inn with not-so-young novelist Jerry Spector (Steve Guttenberg). They’re excited to get away from all the wedding hoopla and take pleasure in simple joys like pizza and tacky furniture. Obviously, this is no typical pair of newlyweds. In fact, as it is soon revealed, they aren’t a couple at all. Nina was betrothed to Jerry’s stepson, but has run off with Jerry in an impulsive moment.
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