"Fuerza Bruta: Look Up" - This is more a happening than cohesive show. The audience gathers in a large room and for the next 65 minutes looks up as action goes on above them. Actors jump, crash through barriers, and even "swim" as techno music blares. The whole thing felt much too young and "NYU" (the show is nearby in Union Square) - or maybe I'm too old and Barnard. As we were herded to different parts of the room with no idea what was about to happen, it almost felt like we were in a concentration camp moving toward the showers. Maybe that's extreme, but the atmosphere was like a particularly icky disco. Not for me.
"The Common Air" - Alex Lyras plays multiple characters linked in plot to a delay at JFK airport. This is a one-man tour de force, and Lyras gives his all. However, I wasn't riveted by the story itself.
"South Pacific" - I didn't see the original (though I think I saw the movie), but do know the score. When the full orchestra emerged from the pit, I knew this Lincoln Center revival (scheduled to close in August after over 2 years) was going to be special. Though some of the ideas about prejudice seem outdated (she's shocked that he has interracial children?), the show still works perfectly and the cast (with no big names) was wonderful.
"In the Heights" - That's Washington Heights, Nueva York. The play immediately establishes a sense of this neighborhood and its mostly hispanic residents. Vibrant and worth seeing.
"Love, Loss and What I Wore" - The cast of 5 women dressed in black, sitting onstage reading vignettes about life and wardrobe, rotates monthly. My performance had Katie Finneran, Monique Fowler, Judy Gold, Melissa Joan Hart, and Karyn Quackenbush. No matter who's performing, there's something for every woman to relate to. And maybe for men, too.
"Banana Shpeel" (Cirque du Soleil) - The stage at the Beacon Theatre is much smaller than Madison Square Garden where I saw Cirque's "Wintuk" so the acrobatics weren't quite as dazzling (no death-defying skateboarding). Still, the contortionists, balancing acts, and jugglers had room to do their thing. The plot about impresario Schmelky was corny (though not as corny as the kid-friendly plot of "Wintuk"), and the clowns were a little weird, but it had its moments. Unfortunately, the sound was way too LOUD (in went the earplugs).