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Time was when George Bernard Shaw’s effervescent comedies of ideas were seen on Broadway with fair regularity, but those days are long past. All the more reason, then, to praise David Staller, the artistic director of Project Shaw, a long-running series of semi-staged concert readings of the playwright’s 60-odd shows. In addition to Project Shaw, Mr. Staller’s Gingold Theatrical Group presented fully staged small-scale off-Broadway versions of “Heartbreak House” in 2018 and “Caesar and Cleopatra” in 2019, and now they’re doing “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” which hasn’t been seen anywhere in New York since the Roundabout Theatre Company mounted it 11 years ago. The production is completely satisfying, and the play gains immeasurably from up-close presentation (it is being performed in one of Theatre Row’s six 88-seat houses).
Mrs. Warren’s “profession,” which could only be alluded to by stealth and with carefully chosen synonyms when Shaw wrote the play in 1893, is prostitution….
The Roundabout Theatre Company is putting on a jumbo remount of the Michael Longhurst-directed West End revival of “Caroline, or Change,” the 2004 Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori musical about an angry, frustrated Louisiana maid (played with magnetic authority by Sharon D Clarke) and the eight-year-old Jewish boy who adores her. Set in 1963, right around the time of the Kennedy assassination, the semi-autobiographical “Caroline, or Change” portrays an inflection point in the civil-rights movement in a style not far removed from magic realism (Caroline’s washer and dryer both sing).
“Caroline, or Change” is one of the most widely admired musicals of the current century. I didn’t share that view when it was new, though, and haven’t changed my mind 17 years later….
* * *Read the whole thing here and here.