Billy McEntee is a freelance writer with bylines in The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Vanity Fair, and others. He is the Theater Editor at the Brooklyn Rail and recently released his first short film, “Lindsay Lindsey Lyndsey.”
All Roads (And Genres) Lead To TIGUEBy Billy McEntee
Instrumental music, when expertly crafted, often shimmers with something beneath its surface, a spring-loaded energy set for flight. Without words to act as release, the body turns to other solutionsdance, most notably, but in the case of Brooklyn-based band TIGUE, perhaps something more surreal.
Gathering Round The Hearth: New Theater, Strong Women, and Fiery PlaysBy Billy McEntee
The Hearth, Greer’s new theater company that she co-founded with Emma Miller is creating a fire for female artists to gather around. Or, more literally, “The Hearth tells the stories of women,” as the company’s website states.
Sam Hunter Brings Two New Plays—and a Meal—to RattlestickBy Billy McEntee
Sam Hunter’s plays are tightly constructed, hauntingly beautiful, and hold a striking alchemy of contradictions: his works are small, despite the vast lands on which they’re set, and they’re also poignant, despite—or perhaps because of—their lack of sentimentality.
Jeremy O. Harris Continues His Firecracker Season with “Daddy”By Billy McEntee
With two searing world premieres in one season, Jeremy O. Harris isnt making a splash; hes summoning a tidal wave.
In Their Changing Village, Two Artists Reflect on a Lost HospitalBy Billy McEntee
Prior to rehearsing for Novenas for a Lost Hospital, cast member Ken Barnett saw his relationship to the titular medical center, St. Vincents, as twofold.
Trickling Up: The Theater Community Uplifts its OwnBy Billy McEntee
Theaters have been shuttered for a record number of days: with Broadway venues currently closed through at least June 7and many Off-Broadway theaters following suitwe are quickly approaching our 100th day without communing together. It has had a devastating effect on the industry, and none have felt this seismic shift more acutely than its artists.
A Song for the Strivers in Evanston Salt Costs ClimbingBy Billy McEntee
Evanston Salt Costs Climbing, directed by Danya Taymor and produced by The New Group, is a song for the striving: a love letter to those who feel too much, who cant help but give and give of themselves even if it comes at their own expense. Such characters exist throughout Arberys other plays, including the wounded Emily in Heroes of the Fourth Turning and saintly Isabel in Plano.
A Bonkers Workplace Comedy About Life and Grief in EventsBy Billy McEntee
If youve dreaded going back into the office, Events confirms the return may be worse than you imagined. Much, much worse.
Despite its Bumpy History, Merrily We Roll Along Glides Back to New YorkBy Billy McEntee
The first time I saw Merrily was at Fair Lawn High School in New Jersey in 2008; Stephen Sondheim apparently attended a performance and spoke to the cast. I remember being amazed by the score, confused by the story, but moved by the endingin that amateur productions final gesture, as the chorus refrains me and you during Our Time, antihero Franklin Shepards piano comes back on stage and he, alone, faces it. Maria Friedmans production, now sold out at New York Theatre Workshop, concludes with a similar visual, and an idea clicked: music is the you to Franklins me, the thing he cares most about and what he has to lose when the people who make him sing fade away, dimming like distant stars.
Embracing Mist: The Questions, Not Answers, Grey House ProposesBy Billy McEntee
Grey is an apt qualifier for the house in Levi Holloways play. For one, like Holloways ghost story, the color is eerie; the hue is associated with fog, drear, and mystery. But grey also suggests a vague middle ground, neither black nor white. En route to her fathers home, Max (Tatiana Maslany) and her husband Henry (Paul Sparks) are driving between two placeswherever they came from and wherever they are heading, locations that are never fully defined. The house they stumble into is an in-between.
The Universe Doesn't Cast Leading Roles: Zhu Yi's You Never Touched the DirtBy Billy McEntee
In her surreal new comedy You Never Touched the Dirt, the wealthy Lis have lived detached from the land that nurtures them while also paying exorbitant prices to enjoy its unspoiled splendor in a private lakeside community somewhere outside Shanghai. Zhu Yis play is a bonkers, tilted, and utterly delightful eclogue; naturally, experimental mainstay Ken Rus Schmoll directs this New York premiere that bows at Clubbed Thumbs Summerworks starting June 3.
Let Constraints Set You FreeBy Billy McEntee
The play feels simultaneously apiece with our politically confused world and also contained totally unto itself. I'm interested in writing plays that feel like microcosms of the larger world, Einspanier said. At the time of writing, I was thinking a lot about the struggle towards kindness. We talk a lot about conflict (drama!) in the theaterI wanted to explore care, and how we might embody it onstage.
In Pursuit of the Urgently InexplicableBy Billy McEntee
Arberytender, clement, and an exposed nerve who shines with a quiet charismadoes not intend to be the center of attention, even as his career is exploding, and so it seems fair that he wouldn't force a principal role on anyone else, even a fictional character.
National Queer Theater: Building Community, Shining a Light, and Raising HellBy Billy McEntee
New Yorks theater scene is not an ecosystem short on gay plays. However when it comes to showcasing all the colors of the LGBTQ+ rainbow, these plays predominantly come in one shade: white and gay. To fill in the gaps and build bridges to underrepresented communities, Adam Odsess-Rubin founded the National Queer Theater.
Looking Back, and Forward, as Ma-Yi Celebrates 30 Years of Innovative WorkBy Billy McEntee
The Obie and Lucille Lortel award-winning theater company started out in 1989 producing solely the work of Filipino American writers; while that has evolved, so has the theaters definition of what a Ma-Yi play is. And thats a strength: in a company whose ethos and blessings are fortified by its creators, each new playwright brings with themto Ma-Yis numerous productions and artistic programstheir own world and experiences to expand and delight the companys evolving landscape of thought-provoking, envelope-pushing American plays.