Saturday, May 30, 2009

OBIE award winner David Drake Brings 2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter's Night Back to P'town

After a sold out run at the Absolut Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, producer/director David Drake and stars Scott Douglas Cunningham and Spencer Keasey (a/k/a Spencer Quest) are bringing James Edwin Parker’s 2 Boys in a Bed on a Cold Winter’s Night back to Provincetown this June for a nine-performance limited engagement. Returning to the Art House Theatre -- where the show was a runaway hit for two smash months last summer -- 2 Boys in a Bed… will play the first two weekends in June - the 5th, 6th, 7th and 12th, 13th, 14th, with three extra performances on Tuesdays June 9th and 23rd, and Wednesday June 24th. All performances are at 9PM.

Performed without an intermission, the 65-minute play explores the emotions and needs that arise between two gay men after a one-night stand in New York’s Greenwich Village.

2 Boys in a Bed... contains nudity and sexual situations and is for adults only. To see the show's trailer, click here (features some fleeting nudity).

The Art House Theatre is located at 214 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA. All tickets are $28, and can be purchased in-person at the Art House box office, daily after 2PM, or online.

“Intelligent, moving and superbly performed, James Edwin Parker’s play is in the tradition of Terrence McNally, tracing the obstacles to communication, intimacy and love in 1980s Manhattan, sensitively realized by director David Drake.

Sex may sell, but Scott Douglas Cunningham and Spencer Keasey prove that honesty lingers much longer. Anyone who bought a ticket in the hope of a repeat performance of the star of Manplay 18 won’t get what they bargained for, but one thing is for sure: they’ll never look at a gay porn star the same way again.” -The Irish Times, Chief Drama Critic Peter Crawley -- May 8, 2009


In an effort to promote some discussion of the plays being reviewed by, I have turned on the commenting feature. I will be moderating the comments in order to keep spam to a minimum, but I hope to see some lively discussion.

If you are interested in writing for or if you have a show that you would like listed or reviewed, please contact Byrne Harrison using the link to the right.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Announcement - Independent Theater Bloggers Association Award Winners Announced


The Independent Theater Bloggers Association is thrilled to announce the winners of the first annual ITBA Awards for Excellence in Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater.

The ITBA (Independent Theater Bloggers Association) was formed in 2009 by a group of the most passionate theater bloggers on the World Wide Web (partial list below). The members of the Association blog about all aspects and all varieties of both commercial and non-profit theater, from big Broadway musicals performed in Times Square, to the most unique forms of entertainment performed off-off Broadway on the Lower East Side, as well as productions all over the country and all over the world. Together they see thousands of productions, and, without being paid or prodded, they write about them.

Ken Davenport, founder of the ITBA, said, “The Association was formed out of a desire to provide structure to the quickly growing theatrical blogosphere, as well as to give the new media voices a chance to recognize excellence in three of the very distinct theatrical markets that make up the New York City theatrical landscape: Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.”

In true “new media” style, there will be no live awards ceremony for the ITBA Awards. Instead, there will be a virtual awards ceremony, with video acceptance speeches for the winners posted electronically in the coming weeks on ITBA’s website.

This year’s winners of the ITBA Awards are as follows:


Reasons To Be Pretty

Written by: Neil Labute
Directed by: Terry Kinney
Produced by: Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Ted Snowdon, Doug Nevin/Erica Lynn Schwartz, Ronald Frankel/Bat-Barry Productions, Kathleen Seidel, Kelpie Arts, Jam Theatricals, Rachel Helson/Heather Provost and Scott M. Delman

Billy Elliot

Music by: Elton John
Lyrics by: Lee Hall
Book by: Lee Hall
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Produced by: Universal Pictures, Working Title, The Old Vic Company, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene


Music by: Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by: James Rado, Gerome Ragni
Book by: James Rado, Gerome Ragni
Directed by: Diane Paulus
Produced by: The Joseph Papp Public Theater / New York Shakespeare Festival, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Kathleen K. Johnson, Nederlander Productions, Fran Kirmser Productions/Jed Bernstein, Marc Frankel, Broadway Across America, Barbara Manocherian/Wencarlar Productions, JK Productions/Terry Schnuck, Andy Sandberg, Jam Theatricals, The Weinstein Company/Norton Herrick and Jujamcyn Theatres

The Norman Conquests

Written by: Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by: Matthew Warchus
Produced by: Sonia Friedman Productions, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Thomas Viertel, Dede Harris, Tulchin/Bartner/Lauren Doll, Jamie deRoy, Eric Falkenstein, Harriet Newman Leve, Probo Productions, Douglas G. Smith, Michael Filerman/Jennifer Manocherian and Richard Winkler



Book by: Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones
Directed by: Bill T. Jones
Music and Lyrics by: Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Add'l Music by: Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean
Add'l Lyrics by: Jim Lewis
Produced by: Ruth and Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay


Written by: Lynn Nottage
Directed by: Kate Whoriskey
Produced by: Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre

Our Town

Written by: Thornton Wilder
Directed by: David Cromer
Produced by: Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Ted Snowdon, Eagle Productions, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, The Weinstein Company, Burnt Umber Productions

Universal Robots

Written by: Mac Rogers
Directed by: Rosemary Andress
Produced by: Manhattan Theater Source

Suspicious Package

Written by: Gyda Arber & Aaron Baker
Directed by: Gyda Arber
Produced by: The Fifth Wall as part of The Antidepressant Festival

Flux Theatre Ensemble

Members of the ITBA include:

Bill Brown

Linda Buchwald
Pataphysical Science

Donald Butchko

Chris Caggiano
Everything I Know I Learned from Musicals

Zack Calhoon
Visible Soul

Jodi Schoenbrun Carter

Corine Cohen
Corine's Corner

Kevin Daly
Theatre Aficionado at Large

Ken Davenport
The Producer's Perspective

Ryan J. Davis
Ryan J. Davis Blogs

Jeremy Dobrish
Jeremy’s Green Room

Donelle Foreman

Michael Gilboe
Broadway Bullet

Dan Gilloon
One NYC StageHand

Diana Glazer

Byrne Harrison

Leonard Jacobs
The Clyde Fitch Report

Patrick Lee
Just Shows to Go You

James Marino
Broadway Stars

Tulis McCall
Usher Nonsense

Jesse North
Stage Rush

Aaron Riccio
That Sounds Cool

Sarah Roberts
Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment

Michael Roderick
One Producer in the City

Adam Rothenberg
Adaumbelle’s Quest

David Spencer
Aisle Say

Ethan Stanislawski
Tynan's Anger

Gil Varod
Broadway Abridged

Kim Weild

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review - Finding the Rooster (Thirteenth Street Repertory Company)

Review by Byrne Harrison
Photo by Marc Nykolyszyn

Finding the Rooster, Terence Patrick Hughes' second installment in his ten-play cycle The Trials of Oscar the Great, is a strange little play. Mind you, strange is not a bad thing. Strange can be unique and fascinating or creepy and offputting. Finding the Rooster manages to be all of that and more.

The story, set in mid-1960s New England, follows the disintigration and rebuilding of the Fine family. Richard (Jonathan Harper Schlieman) and Evelyn (Kathryn Neville Browne) are in the middle of a nasty divorce brought on by Evelyn's alcoholism and Richard's emotional distance after the death of their elder son in the war. Their younger son, Oscar (Dave Benger), has taken the death hard as well, becoming fascinated by Holden Caulfield and wearing his dead brother's army jacket. Unable to deal with the boy, Richard decides to have him disassembled, literally, and shipped to a military school. The company handling the job sends the cheerfully crass Stoker (Reggie Oldham) to dismember the boy. Evelyn tries to thwart Richard by bringing in her delusional brother Pinkie (Kevin Hauver), a WWII war hero and self-proclaimed friend to his generation's greatest writers. The only member of the family who seems to even notice Oscar as a person, Pinkie uses his storytelling gifts to comfort the boy even at the risk of holding himself up for ridicule by the overbearing Richard.

As the dismemberment and planned reconstruction of Oscar indicates, this is not a realistic play. There is a hefty vein of absurdism running through this odd mix of drawing room comedy and family drama.

War plays a huge part in this play. Richard has made his fortune as an arms manufacturer. While this has made him rich, it has also cost him his son. Despite this, he is willing to send Oscar to military school because he knows no other way to deal with complicated things. Pinkie's experiences in WWII have left him living in a fantasy world, one that he is eager to share with young Oscar. Evelyn deals with the death and destruction in the only way she knows how, by drowning her sorrow in alcohol and staging an affair with a younger man. Like war, it takes a common enemy to bring the Fines together, in this case, a flock of rampaging divorce lawyers bent on taking Oscar, another wonderfully absurdist touch.

While Hughes' script does have some flaws, it is clever and fascinating overall. His take on war and the havoc it causes makes for an entertaining play. The production's weakness comes not from Hughes the playwright, but from Hughes the director. As a director, Hughes lacks the strength to coax subtlety from the actors' performances, and perhaps the distance needed to smooth over some of the rougher portions of the script. From a purely technical standpoint, his direction features awkward blocking, unmotivated movement on the part of the actors, and listlessness where there should be crackling, electric energy. Of the actors, Kevin Hauver gives the best performance, but Pinkie is the most fleshed out character. Dave Benger gives a solid, though occasionally unpolished performance as the young Oscar. His scenes with Hauver are by far his strongest, and the chemistry between the two actors is excellent. Reggie Oldham is amusing as the vulgar yet charming Stoker. Some of his humor is undercut by awkward timing, though again, some of this falls back on Hughes' direction. Schlieman and Browne as the Richard and Evelyn seem like cartoon versions of bickering adults, skating on the surface of their characters without showing any real depth. This may have been intentional, but if so, it is jarring.

Finding the Rooster is an intriguing play that has been given a mediocre production. It left me interested enough to want to see future installments in The Trials of Oscar the Great, and since you're always supposed to leave your audience wanting more, that's a good thing.

Finding the Rooster
Written and Directed by Terence Patrick Hughes
Executive Producer: Sandra Nordgren
Assitant Director: Miles Lott
2nd Assistant Director: Marc Nykolyszyn
Sound Design: Larry Wilbur
Lighting Technician: Rosanny Suazo
Sound Technician: Dylan Cohen
Set Design: Tom Harlan
Program Cover/Poster Design: Neil Feigeles

Featuring: Jonathan Harper Schlieman (Richar Fine), Kathryn Neville Browne (Evelyn Fine), Reggie Oldham (Stoker), Dave Benger (Oscar Fine), Kevin Hauver (Pinkie).

13th Street Repertory
50 W. 13th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues

Fridays and Saturdays at 7 PM; Sundays at 3:30 PM
Through June 7th

Tickets are $20 for adults; $15 for students and seniors
Tickets can be purchased on Theatermania or at the 13th Street Rep box office.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Review - Revealed (Horse Trade Theater Group presents a GiGi La Femme & Doc Wasabassco Production)

Review by Byrne Harrison

I will admit that I have only two points of reference when it comes to strippers. First, thanks to a life full of theatre, there are the Broadway burlesque girls - primarily the "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" strippers from Gypsy - plenty of art, but not much sex. Then there are the strippers from way too many frat and bachelor parties - lots of sex, not so much art. Each exists in its own reality, and never the twain shall meet.

Fortunately for New Yorkers who are looking for a taste of both, Doc Wasabassco and GiGi La Femme have created a show that not only gets art and sex together onstage, but adds a healthy dose of talent and fun. The result is Revealed, a wild and innovative monthly production featuring some of the lovliest and most talented burlesque performers you're likely to see.

The cast changes from month to month, but one thing remains the same, all the girls know how to put on a show.

April's performance featured a little bit of everything: traditional burlesque strippers, all lace and pasties; raunchy beer-guzzling beauties; comic futuristic geishas; and plenty more to boot. While I intend to discuss the performers, I'd like to say a little something about the audience. Revealed has an amazing mix of people at its performances. Downtown artists, directors, actors, playwrights, guys out for a night on the town, couples (of all sexes) on dates, it is an amazingly eclectic cross-section of the East Village scene. Go for the show, but stay for the crowd; you never know who might show up.

The host of the evening was Jonny Porkpie, the Burlesque Mayor of NYC, filling in for the ailing Bastard Keith and Madame Rosebud. Kicking off the show with an impressive, multi-costumed strip of his own, he set the mood and got the crowd going. The lovely ladies of April were Amber Ray, Peekaboo Pointe, Kobayashi Maru (yes, it's a Star Trek reference), Lil Miss Lixx, Harvest Moon, and GiGi La Femme. Each girl had her own style and specialty, and while each was remarkable and entertaining, the standouts were Amber Ray's sultry opening number, an old-school strip with corsettes, lace and amazing curves, Kobayashi Maru, whose robotic geisha tea ceremony could satisfy any number of odd fetishes, and the incomparable GiGi La Femme, who rang in the Spring in her own special way.

It should be mentioned that Revealed is not a g-string and pasties sort of show. If nudity offends you, this is definitely not for you.

Revealed is extremely popular; if you wish to attend the next performance on Wednesday, May 20th, you'd do well to buy your tickets in advance and get there early. The May performance features Anita Cookie, Peekaboo Pointe, Kobayashi Maru, GiGi La Femme, Sapphire Jones, and Stormy Leather in her Revealed debut.

Revealed Burlesque is on the third Wednesday of every month at 10 PM at UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st and Avenue A).

Tickets ($20) are available by calling Smarttix at 212-868-4444 or online at

Want to find out more about the performers? Visit their websites (some sites may be NSFW):

Amber Ray
Peekaboo Pointe
Kobayashi Maru
GiGi La Femme
Lil Miss Lixx
Harvest Moon
Jonny Porkpie
Bastard Keith
Madame Rosebud