You can also visit Don at

Email Don Grigware

  Stan Mazin Reviews BROADWAY!

Here's my list for this year. I hope I live long enough to see a thousand more shows in the future. And I hope you do too.
Stan Mazin

music & lyrics by George & Ira Gershwin, with book by Joe DiPietro...

a delightful 'old school' musical, filled with great Gershwin standards as well as some not often heard songs. The show stars Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara, as well as Judy Kaye, Estelle Parsons, and a great comic actor, singer/dancer Michael McGrath. Matthew does a very charming turn as a very rich, never working, naive playboy during prohibition. He isn't the greatest of all singers, but his charm more than makes up for that minor adjustment… and he does a very credible job in the role. Kelli sounds great, and does her own turn as a bootlegger who travels with her 2 fellow 'leggers'. Almost stealing every scene he is in, is the multitalented Michael McGrath. Estelle Parsons shows up toward the end of the play, but is no disappointment in her commitment to her role. Judy Kaye always does a more than formidable job. The sets (Derek McLane) and costumes (Martin Pakledinaz) are terrific, as is the choreography and direction under the supervision of Kathleen Marshall. A delightful (albeit sometimes corny) show that had the almost filled to capacity audience standing on its feet during the bows.

with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and book by Harvey Fierstein, directed by Jeff Calhoun and choreographed sensationally by Christopher Gattelli...

I have never seen a show, Broadway or otherwise, that had so many showstoppers built in… primarily due to the choreography and direction. When you see 16 of the youngest and most brilliant dancers go through their paces, one can hardly sit still. Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly leads the newsies on their journey against the newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer (John Dossett). In smaller but no less important roles are Kara Linsay (playing Katherine), Ben Fankhouser (playing Davey), Capathia Jenkins (playing Medda Larkin), and Lewis Grosso (playing Les, the smallest of the Newsies). The audience could not stand soon enough to show their approval for the show they had just seen…

written by and starring Charles Busch, directed by Carl Andress

If one is fortunate enough to have seen Charles Busch in one of his plays, one knows what to expect. His character is always in drag, and this play is no exception. He is funny, campy, clever, and more… and all of these are compliments to his enormous talent. He even chooses to give us a little Mae West from time to time. He is supported in Bethulia quite humorously with the likes of Mary Testa, Jennifer Van Dyck, John Wojde, Christopher Borg, and Jennifer Cody, among others. This is a tasty bit of very special talents in a very special show, and everyone had an enormously gleeful time.


by Enda Walsh with music & lyrics by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

What a delightful surprise this show is! Entering the theatre, there seemed to be a party going on onstage, with the cast playing music while the audience was invited to go onstage and be a part of the party. Before the show began, they were allowed back to their seats, and the wonderful musician/singer/actors began. They did everything from changing the set pieces to changing our emotions. Led by Steve Kazee and Christin Miloti, this 14 member cast with great Irish accents (Christin and others had great Czech accents as well) took us on a journey based slightly on the film of the same name. I cannot lie when I tell you there was more than one tear in my eye several times during the show… while at the same time it was filled with humor… a delightful combination. I was thoroughly entertained, as was the entire audience. This was absolutely a new type of show for me, and it will probably be copied in the future because it is such a success.

by Rick Elice

This show stars Christian Borle, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Chandler-Borat, and many other hysterically funny actors. I'm told the off Broadway work project of this show had all the actors playing instruments. This isn't the case here, and that time allows them to 'play' with each other onstage in a way that often seems improvised, but is very well planned. Standouts certainly are the 3 stars already mentioned, Christian, having stepped right out of his role in Smash… as a matter of fact he is doing both, unless his TV show is finished shooting for the season. It all comes together in the second act when you realize how Peter Pan and the other well known characters of his story developed, in a fantasy tale with more antics than in a Marx Brothers' movie. Delightful fun for the entire audience!
by Peter Quilter, direction by Terry Johnson, with Tom Pelphrey, Jay Russell, Michael Cumpsty and starring Tracie Bennett...

If Ms. Bennett does not win a Tony for her portrayal of Judy Garland in this play with songs, then something is rotten in the state of show business. Superlative does not even compute to the magnitude and depth of her ability to portray such a complex character as the one and only Judy. Before this, the only person I felt who came close was the impersonator Jim Bailey, who also sang in his own voice, and made you feel you were watching the real thing. Backed up by real musicians, when called for,Tracie Bennett soared, singing many of Judy's most famous songs, and I doubt there was anyone in the house who even tried to compare the two. The supporting cast was quite good, as was the interested set design (William Dudley), and particularly the musical direction (Jeffrey Saver), but it was Judy who starred in this play… and still it was Tracie Bennett who starred in this play… I think they are one.

music by Bobo & the Edge, book by Julie Taymor, Glen Berger & Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa…

With a musical based on a comic strip character that flies and climbs walls, one would need to have the same effects on the stage. This final production does exactly that. The flying is superb, and I have not seen flying like this in even the Cirque shows. The choreography, however, suffers but for a good reason. The male ensemble are all aerialists, and apparently are not dancers. The set design by George Tsypin is extraordinary. The musical stars Reeve Carney as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, with great assist from Patrick Page as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, and Rebecca Falkenberry as Mary Jane Watson/Jane Watson. Most of the costumes designed by Eiko Ishioka are appropriately fantastic. Overall this was an entertaining evening of theatre, and the full house loved it. Let's hope there is room on Broadway with shows that contain special effects, as well as those that contain great stories with great acting.

book & lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, music & lyrics by Dave Stewart & Glen Ballard, designer Rob Howell, lighting Hugh Vanstone, musical direction David Holcenberg, choreographer Ashley Wallen, and direction Mathew Warchus

Having reviewed this in London not so long ago, I just wanted to see if it has changed much, from the show I enjoyed so much over there. London brought over the stars of the show, Richard Fleeshman in the role of Sam, Caissie Levy in the role of Molly, and Da'Vine Joy Randolf in the role of Oda Mae Brown. They were all just as splendid as they were in London, and the role of Oda Mae has got to be a Tony winning role, particularly the way Ms Randolf plays it… brilliantly. I was given a happy surprise with the appearance of Lance Roberts in the show, whose work I was very familiar with. The computer graphics are perfect, and the illusions are still spectacular. The music was almost the same with the exception of one of the tunes that was replaced with another… but the show is well worth a very long Broadway run, and then some.

 book, music, & lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone with choreography by Casey Nicholaw, and direction by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker

If you are even slightly irreverent, you will absolutely relish this show. I did review it in last year's set of reviews here, and the same things apply. Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad still helm the show and complement each other brilliantly. The cast could not have been better, while the choreography and sets work very well. The sound did not seem to be as clear as it was when I saw the show last year, but that may have been that I was in a different location in the theatre… but that is still no excuse for not being able to understand all the words, both sung and spoken. This did in no way hinder us from howling at the antics of this amusing and award winning musical.

is one of the many fundraisers Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids has every year. Every Broadway show that chooses to build an Easter Bonnet, while at the same time collecting donations at their theatre for the event. The presentation of the bonnets are often huge song and dance numbers, sometimes scenes, and sometimes very small special 'spots'. Usually a show does a Broadway number from another show, but adds special lyrics, which make the numbers quite funny, and sometimes full of pathos. The emcees are usually Broadway stars and personalities. For me, one of this year’s highlights was the Bollywood number that the ladies of Mama Mia performed, which was a serious number; and I also loved their bonnet the best as well. The show is always a treat, and I try seeing it whenever I can, as long as I am in NYC when it is on.

That's it for another year!
Stan Mazin

4000 MILES
by Amy Herzog, directed by Daniel Aukin…

Stars Gabriel Ebert and Mary Louise Wilson with supporting cast Greta Lee and Zoe Winters. This play did not overwhelm me, other than the wonderful acting job of its cast. Beyond that, I felt the direction was a tad slow, and I personally dislike plays that after investing an hour and a half of my time, just stops, without any resolve. I couldn't help feel this was a great actors' exercise, but didn't really carry to the audience any sense of completion, or at least any understanding of what we were supposed to get from the experience of watching this play. The house was very full, but the applause seemed to me to be slightly apprehensive.