Betrayal, John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and After Midnight

James Bond is ‘betrayed,’ Pizzarelli & Molaskey celebrate, Julie Taymor reinvents a Dream and After Midnight is sensational!

Betrayal   (3 stars)
John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey: Children and Art   (5 stars)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream   (4 ½ stars)
After Midnight   (5 stars)

The high-profile production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, directed by the legendary Mike Nichols and starring the seriously sexy Daniel Craig, his beautiful, Oscar-winning wife Rachel Weisz and British up-and-comer Rafe Spall, is a decidedly mixed bag despite its celebrity and literary pedigree.   Pinter has always been notoriously difficult source material and it’s the ‘tone’ in Nichols’ beautifully produced production that seems to vacillate too much between drama and comedy.  Moving backwards in time, Betrayal picks apart the dissolution of publisher Robert (Craig) and gallery-owner Emma’s (Weisz) marriage due to a lengthy affair between Emma and Robert’s best friend, literary agent Jerry (Spall).  All three actors are veterans of the stage so it’s not surprising that each of them has terrific moments.  But, ultimately, it’s hard to care about people who are as shallow and reprehensible as the ones created by Pinter when the chemistry isn’t there.

Acclaimed performers John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey are holding court again at The Café Carlyle, celebrating 15 years of marriage as well as the brilliant songs of Stephen Sondheim, Maltby & Shire, Adam Guettel and others.  Their new show, Children and Art, gives Pizzarelli and Molaskey the chance to stretch their wings with new material, the highlight of which is a dazzling medley of “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “It Amazes Me.”  Polished, talented and ultra-cool, Pizzarelli & Molaskey are the last word in sophisticated nightlife.

The inaugural production of Theatre For a New Audience’s new home in Brooklyn, is a magical staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream courtesy of the Tony-winning director, Julie Taymor, and her gifted design collaborators.  A droll Kathryn Hunter as Puck leads the talented cast in Taymor’s visually ravishing telling of Shakespeare’s classic comedy of fairies, lovers and a hilarious bad acting troupe intent on putting on a show.  Incorporating dazzling flying (yes, you heard right) during entrances and exits, this Dream is a delicious treat for the mind, eye and ear.  Treat yourself and don’t miss it.

Fantastic, thrilling, wonderful – what puny adjectives to describe Warren Carlyle’s After Midnight, a lavish new Cotton Club inspired revue that’s chock-a-block filled with talent and entertainment.  Chief among the talent is Wynton Marsalis’ ‘Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars’ orchestra, stunning sets and costumes, and a phenomenal cast led by Fantasia Barrino and Adriane Lenox.

Betrayal plays through January 5 at the Barrymore (243 W 47th St, BetrayalBroadway.com).  John Pizzarelli & Jessica Molaskey: Children and Art plays through November 23 at The Café Carlyle (35 E 76th St, TheCarlyle.com).  A Midsummer Night’s Dream plays through January 12 at Theatre For A New Audience (262 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, TFANA.org).  After Midnight plays at the Brooks Atkinson (256 W 47th St, AfterMidnightBroadway.com).

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