Elysa Gardner

Freelance writer

Location icon United States

Elysa currently reviews theater for New York Stage Review, covers cabaret for the New York Times and hosts the podcast "Stage Door Sessions" for Broadway Direct. She has also written for The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today,Town & Country, Harper's Bazaar, Vibe and numerous other publications, and contributed to VH1, NPR and the BBC. She was on the drama jury for the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 and chaired it in 2017. She can be reached at [email protected]

Charles Busch's New Phase Isn't Drag. It's Green Paisley.

Perched on a stool on the stage of Feinstein's/54 Below, Charles Busch eased into the first bars of Diana Ross's torchy 1973 hit "Touch Me in the Morning," his voice soft and husky, his delivery relaxed but rueful.

New York Stage Review
Ink: Springtime for Murdoch - New York Stage Review

Long before Fox News was a twinkle in his eye, an ambitious Australian named Rupert Murdoch set out to remake a British newspaper for fun and profit. He wound up forever changing the media landscape abroad and, eventually, here-and not, most readers of this review would likely agree, for the better.

Mandy Patinkin Has Found a 'New Life Partner in Music'

"You know how people stand around and sing show tunes at parties?" Mandy Patinkin asked recently. "I hate it. Can't stand doing it." He noted, unnecessarily, "You can see the irony" in that confession - coming from a performer whose fire-and-honey voice made him one of the biggest musical theater stars of his generation in shows like "Evita" and "Sunday in the Park with George."

New York Stage Review
Eddie and Dave: Running with the Devil, in Drag - New York Stage Review

It's not often that I start a review by nodding to a hair and wigs designer, but truly, the ever-reliable Cookie Jordan, currently represented on Broadway by The Cher Show, deserves the shout-out for her new work downtown, where she's summoning the tonsorial splendor of other late-20th century pop stars.

New York Stage Review
Is God Is: Twisted Sisters Serve a Vengeful Goddess - New York Stage Review

They are curious furies, the two women who stand before us at the start of Aleshea Harris's electrifying new play, Is God Is, now running at Soho Rep. Twin sisters Racine and Anaia are young and black and would be beautiful were it not for the hideous scars they bear, souvenirs from a long-ago house fire.

Chita Rivera Is Happy to Look Back. But She Never Stops Marching Forward.

The musical theater veteran, 86, will nod at her signature roles in new performances at Feinstein's/54 Below. The young man, maybe in his early 30s, pretended not to stare at the striking woman who had just stepped into the elevator. She beckoned, teasingly, when he exited - "We're coming with you " - making him blush like a schoolboy.

10 ways that Frank Sinatra changed the world

CLOSE With the centennial of Frank Sinatra's birth approaching (Dec. 12), USA TODAY's Elysa Gardner counts the ways - a few, at least - in which the Chairman of the Board made his mark. 1. He made the popular song immortal. Before Sinatra, notes Will Friedwald, author of Sinatra!

A Playwright Who Puts Her Demons, and Family, to Work

At 28, Ms. Lázaro is as effervescent as her wit is sometimes morose, and she sees no contradiction in that. "The pain comes in through my back," she explained. "I'm always questioning: How do my characters stay sane? How do I stay sane in the world?

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