The play's the theme wherein we catch the cunning of the creators (with apologies to the esteemed Bard-upon-Avon). The theme material starts up right out of the gate with DRAMA at 1A. To that is joined a cast of thousands of other theme-related entries including CURTAINCALL, SPITTAKE (my personal favorite), SUMMERSTOCK, STAGELEFT, CASTPARTY (which, perhaps, wins the award for trickiest theme clue (Fly fisherman?)), and KATISHA (whose right elbow has a fascination few can resist) to name just the longer entries. In addition to fill with starring roles, the grid features AHEAP of associated entries from TV like SHO ("Dexter" channel, in TV listings) and Broadway ("PAL Joey.") The puzzle brings down the curtain with ACTOR at 63A. Bravo!
Awards for best supporting entries go to DESTROY, TASTY, CORNY, PENTUP, and PINENUTS.
Once INA while, critics do have to throw a rotten tomato. Here's mine: 3D Gillette razors (ATRAS) - boo!
There were also a couple of tired old reruns like ETA, TEC, and TMEN, but the criticisms notwithstanding, I look forward to a sequel.