The new year started slowly with A Small Fire, Adam Bock's metaphorical family drama, which divided critics between rapturous and disappointed for a B grade. And the season took a positive stage dive with the F+ squeezed out by a misbegotten (and since already closed) Dracula.
The year picked up a second wind, though, with Daniel Alexander Jones' so-close-to-real soul extravaganza Jomama Jones: Radiate, which stands at an admiring A-, and continued apace with the acclaimed UK import Pants on Fire's Metamorphoses, with a B+. When it came to the New Group's Blood From a Stone, critics mostly loved the cast and the production but dissed the play, for a split decision that has kept the grade hovering between D+ and C-.
January's second week closed strong with a resounding A for the year's first Broadway bow, Brian Bedford's triumphant staging of Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, in which the director also plays the role of Lady Bracknell, a star turn that critics say is hardly a drag. Strong hurrahs with a few blue notes netted a B+ for Jon Robin Baitz's family drama Other Desert Cities, while Ibsen's seldom-revived John Gabriel Borkman at BAM brought out kudos mainly for the female leads (Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan), less so title star Alan Rickman and for the play itself, resulting in a B-.
Meanwhile, in a tiny hotel room not far from Times Square, audiences of 14 have been privy to a brief, intense rough-sex scrimmage by Tennessee Williams, Green Eyes, which roused critics to a solid A-.
In other Broadway news, a little show called Spider-man: Turn off the Dark postponed its opening again, for roughly the fourth or fifth time (we've lost count), to Mar. 15. A few critics have already broken rank and reviewed the show (three, to be exact; more if you count MTV and our own Isaac Butler, in his non-StageGrade capacity as an arts blogger). If the number of mainstream theater critics reaches five before the official opening, StageGrade may have a scoop for you. We'll keep you posted.