All articles by James MacKillop

Apartheid Recalled in Syracuse Stage’s Comedy-Drama

(Review) Sizwe Banzi is Dead

For the first 45 minutes of the celebrated South African drama Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Syracuse Stage audiences may feel that they have stumbled on to a comedy duo from old-time vaudeville instead.

Students Devour Meaty Roles in Teeth Apart

Terrence McNally’s ‘Lips Together, Teeth Apart,’ performed by the Syracuse University Drama Department

The title of Terrence McNally’s 1991 dour comic hit Lips Together, Teeth Apart, performed by students of the Syracuse University Drama Department, does not contain a sexual in-joke.

A Letter-Perfect Spelling Bee at Le Moyne

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Le Moyne College

The title’s long, but the show goes down easily. The Rachel Sheinkin-William Finn musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has had a batch of local community and professional productions since it burst upon the scene five years ago. But this one from Le Moyne College’s Boot and Buskin troupe, with performers only a few years older than the spellers, is the first collegiate mounting.

Out of Africa

Stage critic James MacKillop chats with John Kani, co-author of Syracuse Stage’s apartheid-era work ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’

“I was never a victim of apartheid,” John Kani says with a wicked smile. An actor, as well as a playwright, novelist and director, Kani savors the momentary puzzlement of his table companions over morning coffee at Phoebe’s restaurant.

A House Divided in Clybourne Park

Clybourne Park is a coup for Central New York Playhouse

Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, a dark comedy-drama about history, race and real estate, is a triple-hitter, having copped both a Tony Award for Best Play and a Pulitzer Prize, and then an Olivier for the London production.

Denmark Goes Uptown in New-Jack Hamlet

James MacKillop reviews Syracuse Shakespeare Festival’s ‘Hamlet’

Now is the winter of the smartphone Hamlet.

Socko Sondheim at Syracuse Opera

Syracuse Opera’s ‘A Little Night Music’ at the Mulroy Civic Center’s Carrier Theater

Stephen Sondheim is the equal of Giacomo Puccini? That claim by Syracuse Opera artistic head Douglas Kinney Frost is borne out in the melancholic romanticism of A Little Night Music at the Mulroy Civic Center’s Carrier Theater.

Hum’s the Word in Vibrator Play

(Review) In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play at Syracuse Stage

Audiences are so likely to be distracted by a word in the title of In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, Sarah Ruhl’s much lauded new work at Syracuse Stage, that they may overlook the visual joys of that room itself.

More Wilde Times at the Redhouse

(Review) The Importance of Being Earnest at Redhouse Arts Center

Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is to comedy what Peter Pan is to children’s theater and Hamlet is to tragedy: unsurpassable. This puts a heavy burden on a director, especially a young director. Respect the masterpiece, but find something new, damn it.

Redhouse Goes to the Oscars

James MacKillop reviews Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and A Man of No Importance

For the past three Januarys the Redhouse Arts Center has presented two productions in repertory on pretty much the same set, sharing many of the cast members. The two would be written by different people at different times, but as artistic director Stephen Svoboda asserted, by juxtaposing them one could be seen to be illuminating the other. By turning your head a bit and squinting, you could always sorta see his point.