About Me

Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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  • Shut Up, Spider-Man

    By Kyle | March 17, 2011

    All of Broadway is talking….about how sick they are of talking about “Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark.” (More news tomorrow, maybe!) It turns out you can do a musical comedy on the Book of Mormon and, even if you’re the South Park guys, you get no attention. This may be the first time Trey and Matt have gone looking for controversy and failed to find it. I’m with you, guys! If it’s one-fifth as funny as “Team America” it’ll be the hit of the year.

    But those attempting to switch the subject have often found themselves ensnared by public fascination with “Spider-Man.”

    During an interview last week on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” Messrs. Parker and Stone appeared less than enthused when Mr. Stewart raised the “Spider-Man” specter, asking whether they had considered “throwing people off of rafters on webs” in “The Book of Mormon.”

    “It’s been done,” Mr. Parker replied, somewhat curtly.

    Topics: Broadway | 2 Comments »

    Green Day Takes Broadway

    By Kyle | March 28, 2010

    In today’s Post, I talk to Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day about his band’s infiltration of Broadway with the musical “American Idiot,” which I hold out as a viable solution to B’way’s chronic candyassery.

    Topics: Broadway, Music, New York City | 5 Comments »

    Happy Birthday, Stephen Sondheim

    By Kyle | March 16, 2010

    Genius. And another 100 tributes just got off of the train.

    Topics: Broadway, Music | No Comments »

    “Frost/Nixon”: The Original Interviews

    By Kyle | August 3, 2009

    PBS is airing excerpts from the original David Frost-Richard Nixon interviews this week. I offer a thought on them in today’s Post.

    Topics: Broadway, History, Movies, Politics, TV | No Comments »

    Review: “Every Little Step”

    By Kyle | April 17, 2009

    The sloppy documentary “Every Little Step” revisits the legend of “A Chorus Line.” My review is up.

    Topics: Broadway, Movies, Music | No Comments »

    Review: “Kazan on Directing”

    By Kyle | April 12, 2009

    Also in today’s Post, I look at Elia Kazan’s remarks on directing, as gathered in an interesting new book that looks at the craft from one of its most talented practitioners, the director of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Death of a Salesman” and “On the Waterfront.”

    Topics: Books, Broadway, Movies | 2 Comments »

    One Man Rambo: Live on Stage

    By Kyle | March 23, 2009

    A review of a wacky-sounding one-man show called “Rambo Solo” happening in downtown New York now: a guy is acting out “First Blood” for your theatrical pleasure.

    Mr. Oberzan’s character — for ease I will henceforth refer to him as Rambo Nut — has plenty of time to kill, and maybe some emotional problems too. He wants to share with you his boundless admiration for Mr. Morrell’s novel, which he believes is superior to the movie version. Like many a talky youngster with a feverish affection for a life-changing experience (mine was the movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” incidentally) Rambo Nut believes the best way to transmit his joy is to narrate the plot in precise detail, scene by deathless scene, image by image, as if describing for the blind each shot of a movie endlessly playing on a screen in his mind.

    That movie’s not just in his strange psyche, actually. In addition to experiencing Rambo Nut’s monologue in person, you watch it unfold simultaneously on video. Projected onto rumpled white sheets hanging from a clothesline behind Mr. Oberzan are three homemade movies of him performing the same mad spiel in the cramped confines of a studio apartment.

    In the movies he huddles under a towel in the bathtub to simulate Rambo’s resourceful escape from his pursuers by lying at the bottom of a river, or crawls under his futon to evoke a scramble through thorny bushes. The camera chases him back and forth through the tight space as Rambo Nut recruits various household items for prop work. When it rains on the hero, the faucet in the kitchen sink is turned on.

    Topics: Books, Broadway, Movies | No Comments »

    Natasha Richardson’s Last Film

    By Kyle | March 20, 2009

    Lou Lumenick has the info on Natasha Richardson’s last, apparently dismal film, an Emma Roberts vehicle. (Young Roberts is, I think, going to be a big star. Check her out in the upcoming “Lymelife,” her first grown-up role….she even does an underwear scene and smokes pot.)

    I saw the beautiful and talented Richardson on stage twice, in “Closer,” in which she played the part later done by Emma’s aunt Julia in the movie, and in “Cabaret,” and she gave a knockout performance in both. She never became a big movie star, but it wasn’t for lack of looks or ability. The acting world is substantially poorer for having lost her.

    Topics: Broadway, Movies | No Comments »

    Will Ferrell’s Bush League Show

    By Kyle | February 8, 2009

    Inside the new Bush-bashing Will Ferrell show on Broadway–in which Ferrell uses our dead troops to set up a cheap joke. More in my Sunday column.

    Topics: Broadway, Comedy, Movies | 42 Comments »

    Will Ferrell’s Broadway Yawner

    By Kyle | February 6, 2009

    Rave reviews for Will Ferrell’s Broadway show “Thank You America: A Final Night with George W. Bush” today. No surprise there.

    But check out my upcoming Sunday column to learn something about the show that will disgust you, if you are a patriotic American.

    One excellent thing about the end of the Bush presidency is that we may stop hearing the same cracks again and again. Leaving aside, for the moment, whether they are justified, what value is there in a joke you’ve heard variations of dozens of times?

    Will Ferrell’s (almost) one-man Broadway show in which he portrays George W. Bush is full of tired gags about Brownie, Rove and the rest of the crew. There’s even a line about how Texas leads the nation in capital punishment, as though this longstanding policy had anything to do with Bush. (Funny, no one ever expressed horror at all the murderers who were executed when Ann Richards was governor; nor did liberals express much disgust when Bill Clinton actually left the campaign trail in 1992 to go and “preside” over an execution, i.e. provide a photo op for his tough-on-crime image.)

    The Ferrell show was so full of dusty “Weekend Update” gags–in what other context can you get away with making jokes about events that happened five years ago as though they were topical?–that some of the biggest laughs came when the star wasn’t even onstage. He changed costumes a few times, and every time he did so his “secret service agent” (played by Ferrell’s brother Patrick) came to the front of the stage and did a silly dance.

    Another of the biggest laughs came when Ferrell, as Bush, announced, “This is a picture of my penis,” and a picture of a hopeless-looking male organ flashed on the screen above his head. Still another of the laughs that brought down the house: an actress playing Condi Rice came out and did a sort of stripper dance. The political jokes were, by comparison, rote and worn-out.

    Topics: Broadway, Comedy, Movies | 10 Comments »

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