Last spring, Philip Boroff visited the Series to see James Braly's "Life in a Marital Institution." I asked if he would like to be interviewed for our site. Philip goes to the theatre as much as five times a week to write reviews, feature stories, producer profiles, and to report on industry trends. I thought it might be interesting to hear from him. And do check out his online column for his up-to-the-minute impressions.
AB: What have you seen lately that you would recommend?
PB: "[title of show]" at the Vineyard Theater, a musical about making a musical, was one of my favorites of the past year. It's funny, tuneful, satiric and warm. A particular treat for anyone immersed in musicals, because of the inside jokes scattered about. I'm also enjoying the new cast recording. I read, but haven't yet seen, A.R. Gurney's "Indian Blood" at Primary Stages. Funny and moving. I saw "Sweeney Todd" three times and will try for a fourth before it closes on September 3rd. The score is brilliant; add to that ten performers who sing, act, and play instruments without so much as a conductor to guide them. The show has only gotten better as the performers became more comfortable with the demands.
AB: Oh, how interesting. When we interviewed Michael Brandt, who performed "A Spalding Gray Matter" for us last April, he mentioned "[title of show] as his best pick too. I should also point out that Primary Stages will be heading to The Ridgefield Playhouse (see the post on this site about Judith Ivey) to offer a sneak preview of the show that premieres after "Indian Blood." So you are making picks that hit close to home here. In general, what form of theatre do you enjoy most?
PB: I have a weakness for musicals. But it's such a difficult, costly art form: So many elements and expenses, for shows that can take years to create. Generally, I'm grateful for anything -- plays, musicals, whatever -- that are thoughtful, original, and done with care.
AB: Are you seeing any trends in form, theme, or otherwise, lately?
PB: The most obvious trend in New York theater is smallness. Whether off-Broadway or on, producers are attracted to tiny casts and simple sets. No wonder. With costs escalating it's tough to recoup investments on even the tiniest shows.
AB: What would you like readers to look for in a review or feature article in terms of making a decision about what they should see?
PB: I'm a fan of most of the New York critics. Yet every so often I think they're out to lunch. Theater is so personal. We all have our quirks. If one relies on reviews, best to read a bunch of them.
AB: Where do you recommend people go to get useful theatre-going information?
PB: I look at playbill.com for news and discounts, talkinbroadway.com/allthatchat for gossip. As for Bloomberg.com/muse, we have theater news and reviews from around the world throughout the week. John Simon's reviews run on Friday.
If you would like to contact Philip Boroff , he can be reached at email@example.com.