News & Reviews from New York
June 23rd, 2015

In Karen Mason’s performance at Don’t Tell Mama on W, 46th St. we enjoy a superbly talented singer who gives us all the nuances and dimensions of the songs she sings— all from the highest pop library— from the Gershwins, Lerner & Lowe, Jule Stein/Leo Robin, The Beatles, and a terrific “Over The Rainbow”. This top-level cabaret act is totally engaging, with a strong comic undertone, and it’s a treat. Her clear strong voice takes us to the land of exquisite music performance. Music director Christopher Denny and stage director Barry Kleinbort lift the show to the sky. She’ll do it all again Sunday and Monday, June 28th and 29th at 7:PM.


Richmond Shepard----

Performing Arts Insider,

May 21st, 2015

The Triad on West 72nd St. has done it again-- a super musical performance: Karen Jacobsen, in a spectacular gown, is beautiful, funny, a lovely light-fingered pianist and a terrific singer with a fine clear voice who writes melodically original personal songs giving glimpses of her life and relationships (breaking up and one with ironic humor: “Your Body Over Mine,”etc.). Some are gifts to friends, to husband, and most recently to her mother. She’s Australian, and was inspired by Olivia Newton John as a child. The inspiration worked— she’s great. Ten million people hear her in their cars— she’s the voice on your GPS. She totally engages her audience with her charm, her voice and her wit, including a bit about her test for citizenship in the US. And she can hold a note like Jerry Colonna. She closes with an Australian classic. It’s a treat to be entertained by this talented, lovely woman. Catch her if you can. It’s one of the best performances of the decade.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,

May 14th, 2015

With the cleverest lyrics since Moss Hart Or Oscar Hammerstein, the lively, zippy IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, music by Barbara Anselmi, is the funniest show in town. Director David Hyde Pierce has put together a gang of comedians, each a comic personality with a good voice. Quips abound in this mixed up stew of romances, crossing and recrossing sexual expectations, set in a wedding hall where a marriage is supposed to take place. Scenic designer Anna Louizos gives us lots of doors to open and close, as in a Fedeaux farce, and innovative, zany choreography by Josh Rhodes keeps things jumping. Lisa Howard as the sister has two great numbers, and, for me, is the star of the show. Michael X. Martin and David Burtka do a song and dance that is splendid, Tyne Daly is very strong as the mother, Sierra Boggess shines, Harriet Harris is hilarious-- so is Chip Zien. The whole cast is perfect as they become part of a sexual kaleidoscope. Pierce seems to really know something about Showbusiness. This show is the living definition of the old term they used to use for wild and funny movies: Madcap. This is the maddest of caps. A flawless production.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,

A long time ago Friedrich Durrenmatt wrote a play: THE VISIT, which was adapted by Maurice Valency, and then re-adapted into a musical with book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. It’s now playing on Broadway with the live wire Chita Rivera and Roger Rees in the leads and a large, very strong cast, including a vivid Mary Beth Pell. A woman leaves her poor small town, and comes back years later a billionaire, with the murder of her former lover in mind. This parable of greed is directed with great imagination by John Doyle, with stunning choreography by Graciela Daniele, a set with style by Scott Pask and all with a Brechtian sensibility. The counterpoints of movement, including straight lines of townspeople, a seldom seen sight in today’s theatre, are exciting. The large cast has no flaws-- all sing well, move well, interact well. I liked seeing the two leads when they were young played by the fine singers John Riddle and Michelle Veintimilla. THE VISIT is an unusual, complex, gripping musical experience- the songs of Kander and Ebb cook.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,

May 01st, 2015

The new POMPIE’S PLACE, part of the show center at Don’t Tell Mama on West 46th St. gives us first class musical entertainment and first class food- a great combo. The three talented, accomplished singers, Hilary Gardner, Brianna Thomas and Lezlie Harrison take us on a thrilling jazz/blues trip from St. Louis to Creole-land to Broadway. When Ms Harrison sang “Ten Cents a Dance”, I really wanted to dance with her. Music director/pianist Ehud Asherie, who has the fastest fingers in the west, has assembled a hot band – the sizzling Ken Peplowski on reeds, Jackie Williams on drums and David Wong on Bass. The ensemble has exquisite timing, and is a big step into the heights of blues/jazz. It’s a class act that could play at Under 54 or Café Carlyle. The atmosphere in the room gives a pleasant feeling, and the audience was rapt. This is superior entertainment, and with the delicious food, we get enjoyment in sight, sound, and taste— a treat-- a banquet for the senses. 343 W. 46th St. 866-811-4111.

May 10- 1: PM, May 11- 7: PM, May 28 7: PM.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,, Outer Critics Circle.

ALL ABOUT THAT FACE gives us four talented well-trained lively, beautiful women, Amelia Hart, Courtney Cheatham, Eva Richards and Roxy Reynolds, singing love songs, patter songs and throwing in sketches. Wow! A contemporary group of young women with well-trained voices and a comic flair. Solos for each, duets, ensembles, all well written, staged and coordinated. It’s the brainchild of Phil Hall who taught them singing, arranged and directed the show. With its impeccable timing, harmonies, counterpoints, it’s entertainment of the highest level, and the group, with its modern style, some hip Hop influence, and classic songs, could go all the way. “I Know Him So Well” and “Just Old Bill” knocked me out. They don’t make better singing groups than this. All they need now is a name for the quartet, a record deal, and they’ll be on their way.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,, Outer Critics Circle.

GO TO SLEEP, GODDAMIT! by The Krumple Theatre Company at The Tank Theatre is a rare theatrical spectacle: Mask Theatre which communicates with grotesque masks blowing up human features (you’ve never in your life seen less attractive faces), and one terrific dog, body language, comic walks, no spoken words, music punctuating everything, sound effects, noisy props, bells and whistles. It’s silent acting by a physically-trained, flexible troupe, but not really Mime— Mime uses no real props—we mime them. There are church references—a priest figure, nuns, a golden statue of Jesus, Noah’s Ark in miniature. It’s a totally engrossing show by these students of the mask maven Jacques Lecoq, and it will take you on a very entertaining trip.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,, Outer Critics Circle.

FUN HOME, music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, is, for me, not a lot of fun. My notes include: busy, busy, busy; lots of running around; quite annoying; Circle in the Square in-the-round stage doesn’t feel right for this show. Lots of cavorting kids; a play about homosexual confusion as a girl recognizes, in three stages of her life, her lesbianism, and it is revealed that the father was gay and committed suicide. The women are terrific: Judy Kuhn as the mother, the delightful Sydney Lucas as the very young Alison, emotionally powerful Emily Skeggs finding her path, and the very strong grownup Alison telling the story. I found Michel Ceveris, the father, to be unconvincing, and towards the end, he proved to be self-indulgent, and moved himself to tears. “It’s Hard to be Old When You’re Gay.” The rest of the cast is fine, and I thought Roberta Colindez was splendid. In the middle of the show there suddenly is a costumed musical number that seemed to me had nothing to so with the play. Could it be a vision of the future where Alison and her father meet in Heaven? Anyway, it wad cute to have a musical production number in the middle of a musical. Sam Gold has directed it all vigorously.

Richmond Shepard, Performing Arts Insider,, Outer Critics Circle.

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