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Martha Wade Steketee

Critic. Dramaturg. Researcher.

New York, NY

Martha Wade Steketee

Lover of ghost lights, magic of live performance, and storytelling in song.

Featured

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Harvard and Yale Make Cantata Out of Regatta for the Fourth Time

The show starts on the stairs at 54 Below. Twice in the past few weeks, these aural pre-shows have been somber celebrations of great diva lives. On August 16, the soundtrack was Aretha Franklin, whose death earlier in the day had the world reeling. This evening, a recorded live performance by Marin Mazzie entertained the line that filled the stairwell.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Pointed Political Parallels in an Off-Broadway ‘Henry VI’

In Stephen Brown-Fried’s elegant new two-part adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy for Off-Broadway’s National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO), we don’t have to reach very far for present-day parallels.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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The Maria Irene Fornes Play Marathon We Need Right Now

On Mon., Aug. 27, a 12-hour marathon of staged readings at Public Theater will celebrate the life and work of Cuban-born playwright Maria Irene Fornes. The event falls amidst an encore week of screenings of an extraordinary documentary about Fornes, called The Rest I Make Up, that premiered at the Museum of Modern Art earlier this year.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Garcia Channels Bennett: “It’s All About the Material”

At his best, we are rapt by Garcia’s quiet singing style, often percussive piano playing, and his consciously meandering set (there are a number of last-minute additions, he tells us) designed to honor octogenarian performer Tony Bennett’s mastery of communicating material to his audiences.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’ Is So Unpretty

There’s a moment early in the first act of Pretty Woman: The Musical — adapted by the late Garry Marshall and J.F. Lawton from Lawton’s screenplay for the 1990 Julia Roberts film that has landed on Broadway with a neon-colored thud — that clues us into the show’s stumbling course and conflicting tone and messages.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Be More Chill is Infectious Joy On Stage and Off

You will hear, see, and feel the future of musical theater. In just over two hours, our adolescent protagonist loses and finds his way, his parent and best friend join forces to bring him back, several girls find each other and their own power, and evil is repelled by good.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Marcus Gardley Constructs ‘The House That Will Not Stand’

In Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand at New York Theatre Workshop, eight characters — seven women of color and one dead white man lying in state — populate a splendid New Orleans transmutation of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba. Lorca’s play, published in 1934 and first produced in 1945, involves a Spanish widow, the multi-year mourning period she imposes on her five daughters to honor her deceased husband, and how the children respond.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Destruction and Rebirth in Coney Island

"I'm interested in how we frame narratives and who is empowered to tell any particular story." Groff's latest play, Fire in Dreamland, is a time-traveling meditation on the cycle of destruction and rebirth seen through the eyes of local do-gooder Kate (Obie winner Rebecca Naomi Jones), who tries to help a Dutchman named Jaap (Enver Gjokaj) complete his passion project about an iconic amusement park that went up in flames.
TDF Stages Link to Story
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In ‘Mary Page Marlowe,’ Six Actors Create One (Un-) Exceptional Woman

Six actors and a fake baby in sequential performances dramatize one woman’s life journey in Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater. The story is an expertly selected set of key points in this woman’s life, from infancy to terminal diagnosis. And it’s a kind and cruel and glorious ride.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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Vivian Reed Performs Her Story to a Lena Horne Set List

We assembled to celebrate, with Broadway Baby and cabaret veteran Vivian Reed, what would have been Lena Horne’s 101st birthday.
Theater Pizzazz Link to Story
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Ezra, Henry and a Refuge From Adulthood in ‘Log Cabin’

What happens when you fold three couples with overlapping friendships and lurking past connections up against one another, throw in gender flexibility and sexual shenanigans, and add an element magic realism where infants speak more coherently than the adult caregivers around them? In playwright Jordan Harrison‘s Log Cabin, currently running at Playwrights Horizons, you have an old-fashioned romantic farce and comedy of manners seen through an early-21st-century social and political lens.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story
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In the Theater of Nwandu, Black Men Yearn to ‘Pass Over’

Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over, currently at Lincoln Center Theater, invites comparison with other plays but, in the end, stands on its own. “Waiting for Godot Meets Black Lives Matter,” mused Chris Jones in his Chicago Tribune review of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s 2017 world premiere — and the text and plot does hint at Samuel Beckett’s Godot, as well as the call-and-response conventions of vaudeville and sketch comedy.
The Clyde Fitch Report Link to Story

About

Martha Wade Steketee

Martha Wade Steketee works as a researcher, policy analyst, editor, theater critic, dramaturg. She writes for numerous outlets including her own site UrbanExcavations.com that focuses on theater, film, and live performance.

Steketee has served on theater awards committees (Jeff in Chicago, Drama Desk and Henry Hewes Design Award in New York); reads scripts for theaters, festivals, and competitions; and works with writers on plays and books in development. Has served on the boards of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and League of Professional Theatre Women, and is currently on the Executive Committee of the American Theatre Critics Association.

She lives in New York City with her husband, no pets, too many books, and four original Art Shay 1962 backstage photographs of Judy Garland at the Arie Crown in Chicago.