Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review - Tallish Tales (Midtown International Theatre Festival)

By Rebecca N. Robertson

Tallish Tales: A Cautionary Fable for Children and Adults brings to the stage Victorian tales about rowdy little girls, examined in a 1950's context. Originally published in 1845, "Der Struwwelpeter" (Shaggy Peter) is a book of satirical tales by German psychologist Heinrich Hoffman that exaggerates the advice of the other children's books of the time wherein children who are badly behaved invariably suffer dire consequences. Tallish Tales is an adaptation for the stage of one of the translations of this book, "Slovenly Betsy".

This show may not be for everyone. Ample gore is suggested with brightly colored strips of cloth and puppet-like prosthetics, but long bouts of sobbing and no understanding the original satirical context could make this somber show frightening for small or very sensitive children. Adults expecting something intellectually stimulating, such as an examination of child rearing morays over the past two centuries, or feminist points of nurture vs. nature, will find only simplified dramatic action contrasted with clever rhymes of classical verbosity. But naughty children of all ages who are well-accustomed to the violence of the average cartoon may mischievously giggle at over-the-top antics and appreciate the feat of animating these dark humored stories on stage.

Tallish Tales: A Cautionary Fable for Children and Adults
Book Adaptation / Costume Design by Amy Kitzhaber
Directed by Brian Maschka
Set Design: Christine Peters
Composer: Benjamin Furiga
Audio Engineer / Sound Designer: Nathan Manley
Lighting Designer: Matthew Gross
Props / Puppet Building: Rachel Baron, Anne M. Thorson
Public Relations: Julia Browning

Featuring: Stacia Newcomb, Nicole Stefonek, and the voice of Joseph Bergquist

The Dorothy Streslin Theatre
312 W. 36th St.

July 13th @ 8:00pm
July 14 @ 6:00pm
July 24th @ 7:00pm
July 25th @ 5:30pm
July 29th @ 8:00pm
July 31st @ 3:00pm

Review - Asian Belle (Midtown International Theatre Festival)

By Rebecca N. Robertson

Asian Belle was workshopped in Mark Hoverman's "Create Your Own Solo Show" workshop and appears to be a work in progress, a cathartic showing that is still seeking concise expression. Ms. Glick's breathy performance is physically overly enthusiastic. However, she has good comedic timing and the sort of genuine wide-eyed vitality that easily captures empathy and makes us want to forgive the desperate tension that impedes natural presentation.

In the first of two acts, Glick tells us what it was like for her to grow up in Alabama. The U.S. born daughter of a Vietnamese woman and an American man, she finds herself amid blonde and blue-eyed classmates that seem to have everything they want. She struggles to be accepted, embracing materialism as a means to inclusion, and sometimes denying her uniqueness for the sake of "chumming it up" with those that have little sympathy for outsiders. Years later, Ms. Glick discovers an appreciation for the heritage she once denied, and she mourns for what she has lost for the sake of assimilation.

Thematically, the second act appears to have little to do with the first. Glick portrays her mother and we learn the circumstances under which the war bride fell for her American soldier husband and came to Alabama. Mother Glick's monologue highlights a universal parental struggle to reconcile the decisions she has made for herself and, indirectly, for her children. Too much of the remaining dialogue and action appears to have little purpose than to celebrate the character's more stereotypical traits. An overused bit with a pop song quickly wears out what humor can be found there. The more genuinely entertaining moments are the most human ones, such as when she describes an encounter with her ex-husband's ridiculous new wife, her feelings of rejection plain to see.

In Asian Belle, Ms. Glick explores some interesting themes about belonging, materialism, and heritage. She gives us a tiny glimpse of her heritage through her eyes, a first generation American. She tickles us with some humorous stories of adolescent longing and adult jealousy. But she stops short of letting us claim her story as an American tale, preferring to continue to straddle two worlds rather than accept where they are one.

Asian Belle
Written and Performed by Michelle Glick
Directed by Christine Renee Miller
Lighting/Sound & Stage Manager: Guinevere Pressley
Production Coordinator: Vickie Lazos
Publicity: Judd Hollander, Bunch of People Press & PR

Featuring: Michelle Glick

Dorothy Streslin Theatre
312 W. 36th St.

July 15 @ 6:00pm
July 17 @ 3:00pm
July 23 @ 8:00pm
July 24 @ 5:00pm
August 1 @ 4:00pm

Review - Songs From An Unmade Bed (Counter Productions)

Review by Byrne Harrison

Songs From An Unmade Bed, the song cycle featuring lyrics by Mark Campbell and music by a number of composers, celebrates the small, quiet moments in urban gay life - no coming out stories, no politics, no wringing of hands over the state of things today. It's just the sly smiles after a tryst, a boyfriend's charming but somewhat inept attempts to play the cello, and seeing a lover naked for the first time. Nothing profound and earth-shattering. Just normal, everyday events.

Brian Dunham takes on the songs with appropriate enthusiasm. He cuts a pleasant figure, and has a good voice, though he tends to become overly breathy on his high notes. He shows a particular gift for the show's quiet and touching numbers, and is able to create an almost palpable wistfulness during some of the songs. Some numbers which are a little more cynical in nature, or those that have a hint of anger, are not as effective, as he has a tendency to miss the wry, self-deprecating humor that should accompany them. Overall, however, he performs well and keeps the audience engaged.

The show is perfectly suited for Counter Productions' intimate studio space on Whaler's Wharf, and director Susan Grilli uses the space to maximum effect. There are a few times when she allows Dunham to wander into shadow, but this is a minor distraction. Music Director Jim Rice and Cellist Elizabeth Schultze perform well, though there are times when Dunham and Rice seem slightly out of sync. These lapses never last particularly long, but they are enough to pull one out of the moment.

Despite a few rough patches, Songs From An Unmade Bed provides a pleasant diversion for those seeking theatrical pleasures in Provincetown.

Songs From An Unmade Bed
Lyricist: Mark Campbell
Composers: Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Duncan Sheik, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock, Joseph Thalken
Diretor: Susan Grilli
Music Director: Jim Rice
Cellist: Elizabeth Schultze

Featuring: Brian Dunham

Counter Productions Studio
Whaler's Wharf
237 Commercial Street

Mondays and Tuesdays through August 10th

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review - Canned Ham (TWEED TheaterWorks, Kearns Artist Services, and David Drake Productions)

Review by Byrne Harrison

Shows featuring former porn stars seem to have become de rigueur in Provincetown during the summer season. They draw in the crowds, not because the actor is talented or the show is compelling, but because the actor is (or was) sexy, and there is a high likelihood that he will get naked at some point in the show.

In that sense, it comes as no surprise that Tom Judson makes his first appearance in Canned Ham posing on a platform, a jockstrapped Olympian made flesh. What does come as a surprise is when he picks up an accordion a few minutes later and starts belting out "Lullaby of Broadway." This is clearly not your typical porn star memoir. This one has a sense of humor... and a talented performer.

Judson tells of the long and winding road that led from musical theatre (he was in the touring companies of Cabaret and 42nd Street) to his chance meeting with director Chi Chi LaRue. It was Chi Chi's perseverance which led to the creation of "Gus Mattox," Judson's porn alter ego, and his eventual winning of the GayVN Performer of the Year Award, sort of a Best Actor Oscar for gay porn, at the inconceivable for the industry age of 45.

Unlike many of the one-man porn star shows, Canned Ham never becomes a morality tale. No descent into drug use and degradation for Judson, porn is merely another in the amazingly long and diverse line of jobs that he has had in his life. For him, porn was a lark. That seems to be how Judson approaches much of his life, with a kind of joy and wonder.

That's not to say that Canned Ham is all light and humor. Part of what led Judson on this particular path was the death of his lover from AIDS. Though it was the roughest period of his life, it led to one of his most sublime experiences on the island of Capri, one that he describes in magical detail.

As a performer, Judson is open and amusing, with an infectious, likeable grin. At times his performance lacks a certain spontaneity - that spark that makes the audience feel that they are the only ones that Judson has told these stories to - but in the long run, his personality and the stories themselves more than make up for this. He is approachable, and happy to meet his fans after the show (and, of course, to sell them merchandise - an adorable Canned Ham t-shirt). He is just as winning offstage as on.

Canned Ham is worth seeing just for the charming and multi-talented Judson. His life stories, good natured backstage bitchery (Judson's porn co-star Pierre Fitch takes a bit of a pounding, so to speak, as does Teri Hatcher), and musical talents combine for a fun evening of theatre.

Canned Ham
Written and Performed by Tom Judson
Directed by Kevin Malony
Costumes by William Ivey Long

The Art House
June 6-September 6, 2010

Review - Christine Pedi in "Great Dames" (Post Office Cabaret)

By Byrne Harrison

I've been fortunate enough to see Christine Pedi perform a number of times, most often as part of the Forbidden Broadway franchise. She is a brilliant impersonator (her Ethel Merman is my absolute favorite) and an excellent performer.

I was thrilled to find out that Pedi would be performing this summer in Provincetown (which took away some of the sting of finding out Lea DeLaria would not be). Great Dames, a celebration of her most well-known divas, does not disappoint.

For those who have never seen her perform, Great Dames will serve as a good primer. Running approximately an hour, it allows Pedi to show off her best impersonations (Barbra, Liza, Judy, Angela, Carol, Joan... the list is long) and a couple of hilarious videos (if you've ever wondered what Angela Lansbury would sound like as a phone-sex worker, you can find out). If you have seen her before, the advantage of seeing her perform at the Post Office Cabaret is that it is a very intimate venue and will make you feel like Pedi is performing just for you.

Great Dames is fun post-Tea/pre-dinner show. I recommend buying Pedi's latest CD and taking time to chat with her after the show. She's just as charming in person as she is on stage.

Christine Pedi in Great Dames
The Post Office Cabaret
303 Commercial Street

Thursdays through Sundays, 7:30 PM

Review - John Thomas & Company featuring Adam Berry and Ben Griessmeyer (The Waterford Tavern)

By Byrne Harrison

It's vacation time at, and what could be more relaxing than exploring the theatre scene in Provincetown? As expected in the East Coast's most vibrant arts community, there are a myriad of plays, musicals and cabaret to experience. Reviews, of course, will follow.

In the meantime, I highly recommend that people visiting P'town on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer head to the Waterford Tavern to see Adam Berry and Ben Griessmeyer perform with pianist John Thomas during his afternoon cabaret show on Captain Lavender's Deck. This talented trio performs a nice mix of songs, concentrating on the standards. Their song list is flexible, changing depending on their mood and on which of their talented friends drop by. A recent Saturday featured some of their co-stars from Candide, in which Adam and Ben are performing under John's musical direction, and showcased a few songs from the show. Friday's performance was more traditional, featuring such standards as "Blue Skies," "Get Happy," "Summertime," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," while working in some William Finn ("I'd Rather Be Sailing"), Alicia Keys ("If I Ain't Got You"), Jonathan Larson ("I'll Cover You"), and other current pop and Broadway artists.

Although the music is always the most important thing in a cabaret act (and frankly, Berry, Griessmeyer and Thomas have that well in hand), I'll admit that what brings me back to see Berry and Griessmeyer perform isn't just the duo's vocal abilities. The two, who are partners both personally and professionally, have such wonderful chemistry that they are a constant source of fascination. As they perform, they share glances, smiles and the occasional good natured eye-roll if something goes south. Berry's face lights up when Griessmeyer nails a particularly challenging song. Griessmeyer can be seen silently singing along with Berry at times with a big smile on his face. It's charming to see two people so happy to be performing together.

Captain Lavender's Deck is a fairly small space and the shows are well attended, so if you want to be seated during the performance, it pays to get there a little early. The Waterford Tavern features good food, strong drinks, and a charming and attractive wait-staff, so being early is never a burden.

The Waterford Inn, Cafe & Tavern
386 Commercial Street

Fridays and Saturdays, 4:30-6:30 PM.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Review - Man Boobs (Three Monos Ensemble and the Fresh Fruit Festival)

Review by Byrne Harrison

Playwright J. Julian Christopher doesn't pull any punches when it comes to the issue of body image in his play Man Boobs, currently being produced as part of the 8th Annual Fresh Fruit Festival. Spence (Jeffrey Marx) has a lot going for him. He's a curator at a library, well-read and well-spoken. He has a handsome man, Marty (Robert Valin), actively pursuing him, not just for sex, but possibly for something a little deeper. But no matter what he has or is being offered, he can't see himself in a positive light. Spence is very overweight and is suffering from crippling self-esteem issues.

Where Marty sees a handsome and sensitive man, Spence sees only man boobs. He views himself as a punchline in some sort of cosmic joke and sabotages his relationships by waiting for the other shoe (imaginary though it may be) to drop.

Thrown by Marty's request that they spend the night at Spence's apartment (they've mostly had a series of semi-public trysts to this point), Spence's unease about getting physical with Marty seems to be based more on this invasion of his space, but as Marty cajoles and Spence demurs, the real issue comes to light. Spence's refusal to take off his shirt, and what happens when he finally does, brings everything to light - his self-loathing, inherent suspicion of anyone who finds him attractive, and various humiliations from his childhood.

Can he overcome this for a truly open and non-judgmental man? Well, let's not give away too much.

Christopher's play is mostly well written, though I don't think there is enough of an attempt to give each character his own voice. Considering the differences in their backgrounds, truck driving, working class Marty often sounds quite a bit like white-collar bibliophile Spence. More distinctive voices would highlight those times when their roles reverse, Marty showing his surprising depth and empathy while Spence becomes almost monosyllabic in his shame and self-hatred.

Robert Valin is terrific as the horny and jovial Marty. He is especially effective during his heartbreaking attempts to break through Spence's reserve and suspicion, and during a great scene where he catches a glimpse of himself through Spence's eyes. As Spence, Jeffrey Marx is good, though he seems to have issues with his timing, often pausing before speaking in a way that slows down the scenes (and undercuts the emotion of the particularly fraught moments) and seeming at times to bobble his lines. In fairness, this is not uncommon in festivals due to the short rehearsal times involved. All this said, Marx does an amazing job during Spence's breakdown after removing his shirt. His performance at that moment is raw and moving.

Though this production is in need of a stronger touch by director Web Bogole, there is a lot to recommend it and Christopher's script.

Man Boobs
Written by J. Julian Christopher
Directed by Web Begole
Producer: Kristen Luciani
Lighting Design: Sheila Donovan
Set Design: Web Begole, J. Julian Christopher
Sound Design: J. Julian Christopher
Stage/Light Crew: J. Julian Christopher, Sheila Donovan, Richard Ponce
Postcard Design: J. Julian Christopher

Featuring: Jeffrey Marx (Spence) and Robert Valin (Marty)

Cherry Lane Studio Theater
38 Commerce Street

Closed July 24th

Review - Alice and Elizabeth's One Woman Show (Midtown International Theatre Festival)

By Rebecca N. Robertson

One day, as she stands before the mirror, a voice in Alice's head tells her she's too old to wear her favorite pleated mini. Startled and confused, she does what any single, modern woman would do -- she calls her best friend to confirm that, yes, indeed, she has heard that voice, too! In Alice and Elizabeth's One Woman Show, two BFF's embark upon a project to explore and, hopefully, to reconcile with that moment in womanhood when one begins wondering just what it is she should and should not be doing, wearing, and feeling at her age.

Lights fade up on Alice, dressed in a gauzy batik dress, dancing to a life-celebrating song of the modern Indigo Girl variety. She quips that "it's not everyday that you see a middle-aged woman dancing on stage." I begin to worry: Have I dragged my unsuspecting boyfriend to one of those angry feminist one-woman shows peppered with self-conscious comedy and woman vs. society baiting? Being nearly of a certain age, I can probably relate to the sentiment, but must I really endure 70 minutes of that particular genre with a squirming companion at my side?

What unfolds, instead, is a brave and moving act of universally digestible storytelling born of an extraordinary friendship. Still searching the dwindling dating pool for your other half at 45? What if she's been there all along in the guise of your once roommate turned best friend of twenty-something years? And what if it takes the possible loss of said best friend to an agonizing fight with cancer to realize it?

In the telling of the story, Alice Barden skillfully portrays multiple characters, including her present and former selves. Without sparing her own pride, she describes in hindsight her naive first impressions of Elizabeth from first meeting to their inseparable party girls phase. We see awe and wonderment envelop her as she recalls their shared mourning of a beloved cat. We empathize with the simultaneous annoyance and unconditional love that can only coexist between two people so close.

Though ultimately effective as a device to create suspense, the story of Alice and Elizabeth is not told in a linear fashion and leaps to and fro through time, sometimes to its detriment. Changes in stage position and lighting are used to help suggest each setting, but it can be a struggle to keep up with where in the timeline each intermittent monologue takes place. However, these few rough spots in timing are smoothed over by the actress's ability to ever so gently disarm the audience with candid vulnerability.

This festival production of Alice and Elizabeth's One Woman Show could be an excellent start to a bigger dramatic project and, perhaps, a springboard for a feminist dialogue such as: with friends like these, who needs a marriage? As it is, it's a well told story that succeeded in making, at least, this woman of nearly a certain age, imagine aging gracefully a little differently.

Alice and Elizabeth's One Woman Show
Written by Alice Barden and Elizabeth Walker
Directed by Patsy DeDongo
Lighting Designer: Gilbert Pearto

Featuring: Alice Barden

Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
312 W. 36th St.

Friday, July 16th @ 8:00pm
Sunday, July 18th @ 5:30pm
Thursday, July 22nd @ 8:00pm
Saturday, July 24th @ 1:00pm
Sunday, July 25th @ 7:30pm

Review - The Irish… and How They Got That Way (Irish Repertory Theatre)

By Bryan Clark
Photos by Carol Rosegg

A quick scan of the press notes for The Irish…and How They Got That Way seemed to promise a light cultural romp: a "tapestry of classical songs and stories." So I grabbed a pair of tickets, rang up an Irish lass—and I let the reference to "bitter irony" slide. But fair warning: the bitter irony does not slide by unnoticed. The wry frustration is central, and that core is both the rich pleasure and the challenging darkness of this musical revue.

Yes, it is in fact a revue. Due to the literary pedigree of author Frank McCourt, you might impulsively assume the show is a musical with a plot-driven book. It's not. McCourt connects a large selection of public-domain Irish songs with a basically chronological but occasionally meandering narrative of the history of the Irish people, from the Norman invasion to the apotheosis of U2. The narrative is always informative, frequently enlightening, and occasionally borders on didactic.

The show succeeds when it is active and on its feet. Dancing of any duration is welcome when it occurs, as is any stage movement at all. When one actor engages another in dialogue, we are watching a play for a passing moment. However, director Charlotte Moore keeps the cast of four actors and two musicians largely rooted in the same spot. In fairness, the writing does not lend itself well to staging, beyond show-and-tell. Still, numerous opportunities for onstage activity are missed. McCourt presents the Irish as a tribe who has fought its way past every obstacle, not one that sat idly by.

Two of the cast are Dublin-born holdovers from the 1997 world premiere at the same venue, and they bring an undeniable authenticity if not always the biggest bang. Terry Donnelly is arch, earthy, and entirely credible, but her darkness is so strong it actually pulls focus on occasion. Ciaran Sheehan has a resonant if somewhat bland tenor. But the show's real treat is Gary Troy, who leads the narrative and fully delivers the goods in song, dance, and earthy character creation.

McCourt's musical history of the Irish provides an amusing and thorough examination of how they got that way. It does not address what that Irish want to do, or have ever wanted to do, beyond surviving the injustices of this cruel world. The show's closing number, "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," is a fitting selection, but would be even more appropriate to this show's message if the lyric were "I still don't know what I'm looking for." It is hard to guess what the reaction of most Irish people would be to this presentation, though I brought along one for that very purpose. But my Irish companion simply, and perhaps evasively, proclaimed that she "knew all of those songs, every one."

The Irish…and How They Got That Way
Written by Frank McCourt
Director: Charlotte Moore
Musical Director: Kevin B. Winebold
Choreographer: Barry McNabb
Set design: Shawn Lewis
Costume design: David Toser
Lighting design: Michael Gottlieb
Projections: Jan Hartley

Featuring: Kerry Conte, Terry Donnelly, Ciaran Sheehan, Patrick Shields, Gary Troy, Kevin B. Winebold

Irish Repertory Theatre
122 W. 22nd St.
(212) 727-2737

Closes September 5

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Patti LuPone Discusses "Patti LuPone: A Memoir"

To find out more about Patti LuPone's upcoming memoir, which will be available for sale on September 14th, click here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review - The Starship Astrov (Oberon Theatre Ensemble and the Midtown International Theatre Festival)

By Byrne Harrison
Photo by Brad Fryman

The Starship Astrov: A Chekhovian Space Comedy. I'll admit, it sounds a little... unlikely. Chekhov meets Chekov. What's next? The Triffid Orchard? Three Klingon Sisters? Uncle Adama?

Well, you get the picture.

The remarkable thing is that it actually works, and works well, due in large part to playwright Duncan Pflaster's ability to walk the fine line between humor and pathos, just like Chekhov before him. Astrov is a very funny play, especially in the first half, but it still presents sad, lonely people longing for purpose, meaning and love. The twist is that it presents them not in a country estate, but in possibly the loneliest place of all - the endless void of deep space.

In the year 3047, Professor Cole (Ariel Estrada), his beautiful alien wife Celaria (Elizabeth A. Davis) and faithful doctor, Michael Rosy (Philip Emeott), board the Starship Astrov, traveling to a conference with news that will shatter the lives of everyone in the galaxy. Seemingly just another boring diplomatic mission, the crew of the Astrov - Captain January (Walter Brandes), his daughter Ally (Jennifer Gawlik), Marcus Washington (Rafael Jordan) and "Sparky" Camilo (Christine Verleny) - have no idea the twists and turns this trip will take, as they navigate a minefield of hidden love, misunderstandings, bigotry, and longing.

Since The Starship Astrov is part of a festival, the production elements are on the understated side. Despite consisting of very little other than boxes, chairs and tables, Darby Cire's set is a little unwieldy, leading to longer set changes than should be necessary. Isabelle F. Byrd's lighting design is good, especially for a festival, though director Eric Parness allows the actors to wander into shadow from time to time. Sound designer Nick Moore borrows liberally from old sci-fi shows (the swoosh of the automatic doors in particular is a lot of fun) and creates white noise in the background to simulate being on a ship. A very nice touch. Mark Richard Caswell's costumes are a joyful throwback to the cheesy uniforms and gauzy dresses of the original Star Trek. He is especially clever in creating a costume for Celaria, a green alien, whose green comes from Caswell's costume, not makeup.

The acting is anything but cheesy. There is not a single Shatner in the cast. In particular, Philip Emeott does an outstanding job as the conflicted Dr. Rosy. Torn between his rather humiliating obsession with Celaria and his duty to his employer and completely oblivious to the stary-eyed longing from young Ally, he often gets the funniest and most moving scenes in the play. Other performances of note are given by Elizabeth A. Davis as the alien trying to understand and be understood by the humans around her, and Christine Verleny as Sparky, the member of the crew that has the most to lose with Professor Cole's announcement. Verleny is particularly effective in her scenes with Walter Brandes' Captain January.

If you are a fan of Chekhov or a fan of sci-fi, The Starship Astrov is worth a look. I'd suggest getting to the theatre early - the house music is a fun mix of theme songs from sci-fi shows. I was amused, but not surprised that I knew every single one of them.

The Starship Astrov
Written by Duncan Pflaster
Directed by Eric Parness
Associate Director: Jaime Robert Carrillo
Stage Manager: Jenna Lazar
Set Designer: Darby Cire
Costume Designer: Mark Richard Caswell
Lighting Designer: Isabelle F. Byrd
Sound Designer: Nick Moore
PR Consultant: Antonio Miniño, Kampfire PR

Featuring: Walter Brandes (Captain Jonas January), Elizabeth A. Davis (Celaria), Philip Emeott (Dr. Michael Rosy), Ariel Estrada (Professor Jason Cole), Jennifer Gawlik (Ally January), Rafael Jordon (Marcus Washington), Christine Verleny (Jenny "Sparky" Camilo)

Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 W. 42nd St.

Saturday, July 17th at 9:00pm
Tuesday, July 20th at 8:00pm
Friday, July 23rd at 8:00pm
Thursday, July 29th at 7:00pm
Saturday, July 31st at 2:00pm

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

See The Cast of Fela! Live On Thursday

By Byrne Harrison

WNYC's Soundcheck will be broadcast live on Thursday the 22nd at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at 44 Charlton Street and will feature the cast of Fela!. Led by Sahr Ngaujah, one of two actors who play Fela Kuti, Fela’s cast and band will perform for Soundcheck’s audience. The husband-and-wife duo Dean & Britta will also perform.

Soundcheck will be broadcast from 2-3 PM. Tickets are $10.

NY Innovative Theatre Award 2010 Nominees Announced

By Byrne Harrison

The 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominees were announced Monday evening at the Carmine Street Recreation Center at 25 Carmine Street. James Scruggs, Nicky Paraiso, Tzipora Kaplan, Doug Strassler, Jay Aubrey and Linda S. Nelson had the honor or announcing the nominees to the crowd.

This year the ceremony will be recognizing a new category, The Innovative Design Award. "This award recognizes those designers, whose work is such an intricate part of these productions, but is so often overlooked such as masks, props and audio/visual designs" says Shay Gines, Co-Executive Director of the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. "This award is a direct result of feedback from the community and we are excited to be able to honor these theatre artists."

Over the past six years, the IT Awards has honored over 1,000 individual artists, over 350 productions, and 250 theatre companies; having collected over 22,000 ballots and disseminated more than 4,500 judges. The 2010 Nominees include 118 individual artists, 55 different productions and 50 Off-Off Broadway theatre companies.

The Nominees for the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Awards are:


Christine Rebecca Herzog, Itsuko Higashi, Jubil Khan, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Kaela Crawford, Julia Giolzetti, Caitlin Mehner, Alison Scaramella, Stephanie Strohm, Pink!, Down Payment Productions

Marc Bovino, Joe Curnutte, Michael Dalto, Stephanie Wright Thompson, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

Jenny Bennett, Melissa D. Brown, John Graham, John J. Isgro, Courtney Kochuba, Kyle Minshew, Amanda Nichols, Katherine Nolan Brown, Jed Peterson, Sean Reidy, Miranda Shields, Douglas Taurel, Nate Washburn, The Disorder Plays, Milk Can Theatre Company

Joie Bauer, David Bishins, Gina Nagy Burns, James Patterson, Chris Skeries, Harris Yulin, Janet Zarish, The Glass House, Resonance Ensemble

Daniel Abeles, Craig Jorczak, Jacob Murphy, Anna O'Donoghue, Laura Ramadei, Claire Siebers, Too Little Too Late, Red Elevator Productions


Dan Berkey, Remission, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

Michael Graves, The Report of My Death, One Armed Man, Inc. in association with Oracle Theatre, Inc. and Faux-Real Theatre Company

David Harrell, A Little Potato and Hard to Peel, ADH Enterprises

Erin Markey, Puppy Love: A Stripper's Tail, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

Brian McManamon, It or Her, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

Avery Pearson, Monster, Really Sketchy and terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

Jesse Zaritt, Binding, Theatre C and terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival


Michael Cyril Creighten, MilkMilkLemonade, The Management & Horse Trade Theater Group

Amir Darvish, Psych, Cake Productions

Kyle Haggerty, The Hypochondriac, the cell theatre company

Douglas Scott Sorenson, The Hypochondriac, the cell theatre company

Evan Thompson, Loyalties, Unity Stage Company

Paco Tolson, The Brokenhearteds, I Mean! Productions


Jess Barbagallo, MilkMilkLemonade, The Management & Horse Trade Theater Group

Nikole Beckwith, MilkMilkLemonade, The Management & Horse Trade Theater Group

Jessica Crandall, Agamemnon, LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club

Jennifer Harder, MilkMilkLemonade, The Management & Horse Trade Theater Group

Elaine O'Brien, Granada, Polybe + Seats

Anna O'Donoghue, Too Little Too Late, Red Elevator Productions


Frank Anderson, The Return of Peter Grimm, Metropolitan Playhouse

Marc Bovino, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

Joe Curnutte, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

Christopher Domig, A Mysterious Way, Firebone Theatre

John Halbach, Children At Play, CollaborationTown

Harris Yulin, The Glass House, Resonance Ensemble


Elizabeth A. Davis, Emily, An Amethyst Remembrance, Firebone Theatre

Elyse Mirto, Next Year in Jerusalem, WorkShop Theater Company

Susan Louise O'Connor, Children At Play, CollaborationTown

Tanya O'Debra, Radio Star, Horse Trade Theater Group and Tanya O'Debra

Kristen Vaughan, The Desk Set, Retro Productions

Stephanie Wright Thompson, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones


Nina Ashe, Manhattanpotamia IV, The Hyperion Theatre Project

Jonothon Lyons, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Austin McCormick, Le Serpent Rouge, Company XIV

Christine O'Grady, Children of Eden, Astoria Performing Arts Center

Kim Weild, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Jesse Zaritt, Binding, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival


Daniel Brodie and Jonothon Lyons, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Heather Cohn, The Lesser Seductions of History, Flux Theatre Ensemble

Lila Neugebauer, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

Alex Roe, The Return of Peter Grimm, Metropolitan Playhouse

Brian Smith, Pink!, Down Payment Productions

Kim Weild, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks


Tim Cryan, Welcome to the Woods, The International Theatre Laboratory Workshop

Charles Foster, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Gina Scherr, Le Serpent Rouge, Company XIV

Joel Silver, Pink!, Down Payment Productions

John Tees III, Down Range, Delano Celli Productions

Christopher Weston, The Return of Peter Grimm, Metropolitan Playhouse


Stephanie Alexander, Pink!, Down Payment Productions

Brooke Berry and Mark Mears, Psych, Cake Productions

Olivera Gajic, Le Serpent Rouge, Company XIV

Viviane Galloway, The Desk Set, Retro Productions

Julianne Kroboth, Craven Monkey and The Mountain of Fury, Piper McKenzie

Lisa Zinni, Killing Women, kef theatrical productions


Daniel Brodie, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Rebecca Cunningham, The Desk Set, Retro Productions

Michael P. Kramer, Children of Eden, Astoria Performing Arts Center

Zane Pihlstrom, Snow White, Company XIV

Brian Scott, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Amanda Stephens, Pink!, Down Payment Productions


The Broken Chord Collective, Thunder Above, Deeps Below, Second Generation Productions, Inc.

Stowe Nelson, Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

Shane Rettig, Alice in Slasherland, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company

Philip Rothman, Proof, Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions

Jeanne Travis, The Desk Set, Retro Productions

Mark Valadez, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Performance Lab 115


C. Andrew Bauer, Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Daniel Brodie, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Heather E. Cunningham and Casandera M.J. Lollar, The Desk Set, Retro Productions

Daniel Heffernan, The Glass House, Resonance Ensemble

Jonothon Lyons, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Zane Pihlstrom, Snow White, Company XIV

Matt Tennie, Alice in Slasherland, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company

David Valentine, Alice in Slasherland, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company


Michael Kosch, The Return of Peter Grimm, Metropolitan Playhouse

Jonothon Lyons, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

Andrew Mauriello, Radio Star, Horse Trade Theater Group and Tanya O'Debra

Carl Riehl, Laika Dog in Space, New York Neo-Futurists

Colonna Sonora, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Toy Box Theatre Company

Mark Valadez, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Performance Lab 115


Lorraine Cink, Emilia’s Wish in The Disorder Plays, Milk Can Theatre Company

Cheryl L. Davis, BMW in The Disorder Plays, Milk Can Theatre Company

Amy Herzog, Christmas Present in Too Little Too Late, Red Elevator Productions

ML Kinney, What If… in The Disorder Plays, Milk Can Theatre Company

Bethany Larsen, The Third Date in The Disorder Plays, Milk Can Theatre Company

Jonothon Lyons, The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble


James Comtois, Infectious Opportunity, Nosedive Productions

Stacy Davidowitz, Pink!, Down Payment Productions

Ashlin Halfnight, Balaton, Electric Pear Productions

Adam Kraar, Empire of the Trees, Wizard Oil Productions

Tanya O'Debra, Radio Star, Horse Trade Theater Group and Tanya O'Debra

Crystal Skillman, The Vigil or The Guided Circle, Impetuous Theater Group & The Brick Theater


Binding, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

Craven Monkey and The Mountain of Fury, Piper McKenzie

Diagnosis of a Faun, LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club

Haunted House, Vortex Theater Company

Manhattanpotamia IV, The Hyperion Theatre Project

Remission, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

The Soup Show, New York Neo-Futurists


Caroline, or Change, The Gallery Players

Children of Eden, Astoria Performing Arts Center

Romance Romance, The Active Theater

Rootless: La No-Nostalgia, terraNOVA Collective’s soloNOVA Arts Festival

The Cradle Will Rock, Theater Ten Ten

Top of the Heap, The Gallery Players


Fêtes de la Nuit, WeildWorks

Pink!, Down Payment Productions

Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War, The Mad Ones

The Desk Set, Retro Productions

The Return of Peter Grimm, Metropolitan Playhouse

The Tenement, The Associated Mask Ensemble

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, which recognizes the great work of New York's Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage and providing an alliance for this extensive and richly varied community. As advocates for Off-Off-Broadway, they recognize its unique and essential role contributing to global culture.

Each season, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation publicly recognizes excellence in Off-Off-Broadway, with a high-profile awards ceremony. The New York Innovative Theatre Awards celebrate the community and honor some of the previous year's greatest achievements. The IT Awards heighten audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York theatre experience.

The Fifth Annual IT Awards will be presented on Monday, September 20th, 2010. Location to be announced.

Monday, July 19, 2010

5 Questions With undergroundzero Participant Leigh Evans

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Leigh Evans
Play: Quiet To Departure
Relationship to play: Choreographer and performer

At the intersection of dance, visual art, meditation, and theater, Leigh Evans' performance work explores the nature of perception by re-inventing our relationship to viewing the body. Evans' dance theater illuminates the darker aspects of human nature with the beauty of the physical form in rituals of invocation. Her explorations are fed by her fascination with the performance and meditative traditions of Asia. Integral to her work are her extensive travels and studies in the meditative and performance traditions of Asia, including Indian Odissi dance, Butoh, Yoga, Bulgarian singing and North Indian singing.

You've traveled extensively and have studied a variety of performance, movement and singing styles. Where does this interest come from?

I am interested in the internal energy of the dance, the sounds between the notes, the space between objects, and the deepening of consciousness. I felt unsatisfied with the Western theater and dance forms that I studied. I was drawn to Asian forms because they awaken energy in the body, deepen awareness, and offer a gateway to states of being beyond our concrete reality. I learned through Tadashi Suzuki's theater training how to awaken energy in stillness. In Butoh, I found a means to express the shadow side and explore the space between consciousness and unconsciousness, and between life and death. In my studies of Indian Odissi dance, I experienced how intricately interwoven their dance is with spiritual practice and an offering of one's creative expression to an energy beyond one's self. The sophisticated articulation of Odissi dance requires extreme focus and complete surrender simultaneously. I aim for this in my own work and in my life.

Quiet to Departure draws on Butoh, a performance and movement style that is gaining popularity in this country, but is not necessarily well known to Western audiences. What should your audience expect?

Butoh is unique to each artist's expression. As an audience member viewing my work, I suggest that you release narrative interpretations and allow yourself to be transported into the realm of dreams and the language of images and symbols. You can allow your relationship to time and space to shift. It will be helpful to release your expectations and relax into a meditative state of awareness, inviting your mind and body to settle in the stillness and embrace the opportunity to listen to the surfacing of the unconscious.

What drives you to create your work?

Fundamentally I am interested in developing presence and awareness. Performance provides the opportunity and support to drop into a deeply attentive state in which you are listening with every aspect of your being. This state of presence invites the audience to deepen their awareness as they experience the piece.

My work emerges from a very internal process. Images, gestures, movements, sounds, or songs come forward and I follow them. I often think of my pieces as movement paintings, or as live film.

What are your hopes for this production?

I'd love to perform Quiet to Departure for long run here in New York. I plan on performing it in San Francisco, where several of my collaborators as well as myself have spent alot of time. I'd really love to take it to Europe this Spring or Summer, I have my eye on Spain!

What is next for you after undergroundzero?

First, I'm going to go to the beach!! Then it's back to work, setting up the next venue to present the piece.

Quiet To Departure
Choreographed & Performed by Leigh Evans

P.S. 122
150 First Ave at 9th St. - Downstairs Venue

July 13, 14, 16, 17, & 18 @ 7:30pm, July 15 @ 9:30pm

Thursday, July 15, 2010

5 Questions With undergroundzero Particpant Doris Mirescu

By Byrne Harrison

Name: Doris Mirescu
Play: From Dawn Till Night
Relationship to play: Conceived, Designed and Directed

Doris Mirescu is a Romanian-born freelance director and writer. She is also the founder of New York based theatre company Dangerous Ground. Her most recent productions include John Cassavetes’ Husbands (Under the Radar festival at the Public Theater) and 3!, a multimedia experiment based on Fassbinder’s 1979 film The Third Generation (PS122 as part of the undergroundzero festival- winner of the 2009 undergroundzero “Best Production” Award). She directed Fassbinder’s Beware of a Holy Whore at the Visual Arts Theatre, Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris, Madness of Day by Maurice Blanchot and Neil LaBute’s The Distance from Here, all at Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory. She also directed the American Premiere of Paul Solomon’s Aching to go Home at the Epic Center Theatre (Kalamazoo) and Battle of Black and Dogs by Bernard-Marie Koltès as part of Koltès New York 2003, a festival which she also produced (Ohio Theater). Directing credits include Story of Rats, her adaptation of works by French writer Georges Bataille (Chashama) and the European Premiere of Les Nuits Sans Lune by French playwright Véronique Olmi (Parc de La Villette, Paris). Other New York credits include: Silence of Snow (Soho Rep) and Cocteau’s The Handsome Hunk. Ms. Mirescu was the assistant director of French director Brigitte Jaques, with whom she worked on Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (La Comédie, Geneva, Switzerland) and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost (Western Michigan University) and assisted Mr. Andrei Serban on Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Grand Théâtre of Geneva. Ms. Mirescu was four times the recipient of Etant Donnés, the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts. She holds a Summa Cum Laude Master of Arts in French Literature from Paris-IV Sorbonne as well as an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University. She has taught Advanced Acting and Directing at The School of Visual Arts, worked as a theatre and film critic for the Swiss magazine Scènes and as a translator/interpreter for Lincoln Center Theater, the Centre Chorégraphique de Montpellier and the French Cultural Services in New York. She is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. She is also a member of the Actors Studio Playwright and Director’s Workshop.

How long have you been involved in theatre and what is your background?

My parents left Romania when I was three years old. They didn’t want to raise a child in a dictatorship. I lived in Paris, did some of my studies there - literature at the Sorbonne - at the same time studying acting, theatre. Then I went to New York to study film and theatre. After I got my MFA at Columbia University, I founded my company, Dangerous Ground. So theatre has always been at the core… like a profound gesture of freedom, rebellion also… a political gesture. Something to give voice to the world we live in. And also what we aspire to… what we long for. The pain of being alive.

What led you to found Dangerous Ground?

The name of the company echoes one of my most beloved films, “On Dangerous Ground” by the great artist rebel Nicholas Ray. So danger is key. What I am looking for is what shatters the heart, the soul, what is dangerous… life is dangerous, messy, chaotic, sad, beautiful. Emotions contained in silence, nothingness. The simplest gestures. The quotidian. Time also. Dangerous Ground uses multimedia as an ultimate gesture of revelation. At the core is the erosion of human life, when we go beyond the wall of what is constructed, protected and we look at the wounds, at the trash, at what is hidden away. I am interested in raw emotion. In broken, ruptured things. It is the crack which I find most important, because therein is revealed something essential about human-ness. The imperfect is magnificent. What is unpolished, raw, hard. Not necessarily precise. Open…

This play concludes your Fassbinder trilogy. What drew you to Fassbinder's works?

Fassbinder is a revolutionary filmmaker. Danger is at the core of his work. The anarchy of imagination he used to say… He had the extraordinary ability to mix film and theatre and create a unique environment that revealed something very powerful about the world. He created disturbance in the most profound most moving way. Art is a disturbance. It creates discomfort. Awe. Each time I watch a Fassbinder film, I am in awe. Amazed at the risks he is taking and his willingness to destroy the obvious structure, to throw it all away. To look underneath.

Danger is there, always. This new piece is an ode to that danger… vivid and true. Real.

What are your hopes for this production?

The most important gift is that of performance. Which my friend Paul Bargetto, offered to us.

We need to be in the present… now… in the most fragile, vulnerable time… when the piece is about to take a life of its own. So every day is renewed and becomes the future.

What is next for you after undergroundzero?

A trip to Europe. Sleep. And then new work in the making. With my extraordinary friend and writer Ilana Ozernoy.

From Dawn till Night (The Earth is Uninhabitable Like the Moon)
Directed by Doris Mirescu & Produced by Dangerous Ground Productions

P.S. 122
150 First Ave at 9th St.

July 21 & 23 @ 9pm, July 22 @ 7pm, July 24 & 25 @ 5pm - Upstairs Venue

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

5 Questions With undergroundzero Participants David Barlow And Phil Soltanoff

By Byrne Harrison

Names: David Barlow and Phil Soltanoff
Play: LA Party
Relationship to play: Conceived and Directed by Phil Soltanoff, Written by David Barlow

Phil Soltanoff is a New York-based theatre artist. His most recent work i/o, created in collaboration with sound artist Joe Diebes, fuses sound installation, physical theatre, and opera. i/o premiered at Theatre Garonne in November 2008. Original and site-specific creations include to whom it may concern (BITEF-31), Strange Attractors (Mass MoCA), five movements for people and sound, TIME/PIECE, wrench, Experimental Actions (Mass MoCA), Peter Handkeʼs The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other and LEMNATION (Mass MoCA). In 1999, Soltanoff teamed with performing artist Hanne Tierney to create five myles, an alternative performance/exhibition space in Brooklyn. They received an OBIE Award in 2000. Since 2002, Soltanoff has created two works in collaboration with Aurelien Bory and CIE111 (Toulouse, France). Their two collaborations, PLAN B and MORE OR LESS, INFINITY have performed around the world including Theatre Garonne (Toulouse),
TNT (Toulouse), Kampnagel (Hamburg), Eurokaz Festival (Zagreb), Trafo (Budapest), Vidy Theatre (Lausanne), Centro Belem (Lisbon), Pina Bauschʼs NRW International Dance Festival (Dusseldorf), Maison de la Danse (Lyon), Queen Elizabeth Hall (London), Patra Vadi (Bangkok), Theatre de la Ville (Paris), BITEF-42 (Belgrade) and the New Victory Theatre (NYC) among others. LA Party has appeared at the Prelude Festival, Under The Radar Festival, Fusebox Festival, and The Collapsable Hole. Upcoming projects include a commission to create an original work for The Center Theatre Group in LA, a new site-specific performance for SIGHTLINES, and a new collaboration with Joe Diebes and Mac Wellman. Mr. Soltanoff was nominated for a Moliere Award in 2007. His work is dedicated in loving memory to his wife, Stephanie Mnookin.

David Barlow has written other true-life stories to be performed. As an actor, his collaborations with Phil Soltanoff include: i/o (Theatre Garonne), Experimental Actions (Mass MoCA), and to whom it may concern (BITEF-31). Off-Broadway: Rinde Eckert's Horizon (New York Theater Workshop), Scenes From An Execution (Potomac Theater Project), Mycenaean (BAM), Romola and Nijinski (Primary Stages); Oroonoko, Andorra and Saved (Theater For A New Audience), The Seagull (Roundtable Ensemble), and Smashing (The Play Company). Regional/International: King Lear (Kansas City Rep), On The Jump (Arena Stage), This Is Our Youth (Philadelphia Theater Co.), Bauern Theater (with dir. David Levine in Germany) and Babel (Avignon International Theater Festival). TV: "Without A Trace," "Third Watch,” "All My Children." Barlow earned his MFA at NYU.

Your press release for LA Party had me hooked from the line about a fanatical vegan falling off the wagon and going on a bender. Tell me a little bit more about your show.

David: I wrote LA Party a year ago. It takes place at my wild cousin Jon’s 30th birthday bash in LA at a time when I was just emerging from a long period of being rather hermetic and a strict raw food vegan. The story describes the extraordinary lengths I had gone to detoxify and purify my body, before it veers into a long night’s journey down the rabbit hole of that party’s drug-induced debaucheries.

Last year, I was sharing a lot of my writing with Phil Soltanoff, who has directed me in a number of his theater pieces, and when he was asked to present something at the CUNY Prelude Festival, he thought it would be cool to do something with one of my stories. So we chose LA Party, and he collided the story with a very simple but compelling video technology idea that he had first played with at Mass MoCA in 2002. Phil is great at taking two things that have nothing to do with each other, and then seeing how they rub up against one another to create unexpected meanings and discoveries. In this case, six of us are involved in creating a virtual composite human being that tells you the story of LA Party. And whereas I think the story would work spoken on the radio or read on the page, it is given much greater dimension and complexity by this captivating and unnerving low-tech video concept that requires all of us as performers to acutely listen to each other.

What are the strengths of multi-media theatre works?

Phil: Technology is part of our world and part of our art. Why not? It always has been. The real question becomes what do you do with the technology? Most video in live performance puts me to sleep. Its usually attractive and impressive, but inert. So, I'm always considering the "live" interaction between the elements of video, the performers and the audience. It means, in the case of LA Party, a very lo-fi, D.I.Y. technological approach. Six performers are constantly adjusting to each other to create one video organism, a sort of video "puppet". It makes a very simple technology into a very lively experience.

What is your theatrical background?

David: My theatrical background is pretty eclectic; I attended NYU’s Grad Acting Program, and since then I’ve acted in a lot of Shakespeare plays, contemporary plays such as Kenny Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth, and even a musical comedy, Perfect Harmony, that I helped develop with Andrew Grosso and The Essentials. Commercially, I have acted on several television shows too (most recently CBS’s Without A Trace). One of my favorite theater experiences was remounting Edward Bond’s Saved here in New York, directed by Robert Woodruff. Now I gravitate mostly to originating new work in collaboration with other artists I admire, such as Horizon with Rinde Eckert, and all the productions I’ve done with Phil. In 2007 I performed the role of a German farmer in David Levine’s Bauerntheater. For this work I literally planted by hand and hoe a ton of potatoes on an acre and a half of East German farmland 9 hours a day over the course of a month. Most of my writing is in the vein of storytelling, and I look forward to performing more of my own work.

Phil: I've spent much time in Europe with three shows I built with CIE111 of Toulouse, France. They're hybrid works mixing theatre, dance, circus and visual art. They don't fit easily into any one category. I like that position. I sort of pursue interesting projects with interesting collaborators rather than fixing my sights on any one particular way of doing things. You can check out my work at

What are your hopes for this production?

David: LA Party is built to tour, and we would like to perform it around the country, as well as in other countries. The show has so far had a wide appeal wherever we go. I see the show having a long run somewhere as well.

LA Party
Conceived and Directed by Phil Soltanoff and Written by David Barlow

P.S. 122
150 First Ave at 9th St.

Wed July 7, 8, 9, & 11 @ 7:30pm, July 10 @ 9:30pm - Downstairs Venue

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Visa Signature Cardholders To Receive $15 Off Tickets

Visa Signature cardholders are now eligible to receive $15 off every transaction.

If you have a Visa Card that simply says 'Visa Signature' across it, you could be one of the millions of Visa Signature cardholders and would receive $15 off every transaction, access to all Broadway shows, premium tickets, preferred service, and more!

Learn about this and many more, Visa Signature perks by visiting You can also become a fan on Facebook.


8coupons has teamed up with Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party Off-Broadway to offer 188 lucky people tickets for $8 (reg. $51.25). Tickets are first come, first serve and available for performances July 27 through August 10.

Who: &

What: 8coupons OCHO LOCO! First 188 people can see Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party for $8!

When: $8 tickets available for performances from July 27 through August 10.

Where: Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party is located at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd St.)

Why: In this politically charged mash-up comedy, a fourth-grade Christmas pageant in Lincoln’s rural Illinois hometown questions Honest Abe’s sexuality and sets off a firestorm of controversy. A thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny, and uniquely American story unfolds from three different character’s viewpoints - the audience decides the order - creating a truly democratic theatre-going experience. Finally, a Party you can get behind! What could be more American than that?

How: OCHO LOCO! Tickets now on sale. Be the first 188 - 2 Ways To Order:

1. Text yourself the special OCHO LOCO! coupon from and show your phone to the box office to redeem. Use promo code: OCHOABE.
2. Visit or call 212-947-8844 and use promo code: OCHOABE.


The Conditions: $1.25 facility fee will be added to each ticket (Total $9.25). Limit 8 tickets per order! Additional service fees may apply to phone/online orders. This offer is subject to availability and can be revoked at anytime.

New York's Longest Running Play, PERFECT CRIME, To Play 9,500th Performance

By Byrne Harrison
Photo courtesy of John Capo Public Relations

A secluded mansion. A would-be murderess. The perfect crime.

Perfect Crime, the longest-running play in the history of New York theater, will play its 9,500th performance on Wednesday, July 14, 2010.

To put things into perspective, since Perfect Crime opened in 1987...

· 237 actors have been employed
· Leading lady Catherine Russell has spent over two years (16,500+ hours) onstage, and has only missed four performances since the show opened
· She has shot 89 different men and kissed 57 others
· 82,718 bullets have been fired onstage
· 4,951 prop coffee cakes (an important clue in the mystery’s plot) have been eaten

Initially opening as an Equity Showcase on April 18, 1987 for a four-week limited run at The Courtyard Playhouse, Perfect Crime has since become what New York Times critic Jason Zinoman called “an urban legend” thanks to its incredible staying power.

In addition to Russell, the cast of Perfect Crime includes John Hillner (Georges in the 2004 Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles; Broadway’s Mamma Mia!, Company, Crazy For You, Woman of the Year, They’re Playing Our Song, Little Me, Footloose, Zorba, Big: the musical); television veteran George McDaniel (Hill Street Blues, Little House on the Prairie, Dallas, Cagney & Lacey, Mama’s Family, Saved By The Bell, ER, The West Wing); Patrick Robustelli (Guardian Star); and Richard Shoberg, who played Tom Cudahy on ABC’s All My Children for 24 years. Perfect Crime is directed by Jeffrey Hyatt.

Tickets for Perfect Crime are available by calling the box office at (212) 921-7862 or at (212) 307-4100. Student rush tickets ($26) are also available by calling or visiting the box office.

The Snapple Theater Center is located at 210 West 50th Street at Broadway.

The Actors Fund To Present THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG

He writes the music. She writes the words. Can they make beautiful music together?

From America's premier funny man Neil Simon, Marvin Hamlisch, the Tony Award-winning composer of A Chorus Line and Oscar winner Carole Bayer Sager, this romantic musical comedy was a Broadway hit in 1979 .

And its back for one-night-only as a fundraiser for The Actors Fund.

An established composer (Seth Rudetsky) works beautifully with his lyricist (Tony® Award-winner Sutton Foster) – but personally, the sparks begin to fly!

They're Playing Our Song
Book by Neil Simon
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Carol Bayer Sager
Musical Director: Steve Freeman
Directed and Choreographed by Denis Jones

Monday, August 30th, 2010, 7:30 PM

The Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College
899 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY

Premium Orchestra seats - $250.00
(includes exclusive post show reception with the cast)
Orchestra - $150
Front Balcony - $100
Rear Balcony - $75

Broadway Stands Up For Freedom July 26th

Join the New York Civil Liberties Union for Broadway Stands Up for Freedom!, their annual star-studded concert to support the youth programs of the NYCLU.

Broadway Stands Up for Freedom will take place Monday, July 26 at 7:30 PM at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Pl. at Washington Square South.

Check out a video clip of last year's showand buy tickets on their website.

This year's show includes performances by Tony Award winners and nominees Kate Baldwin (Finian's Rainbow), Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins), Nellie McKay (The Threepenny Opera), Anthony Rapp (Rent), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), J. Robert Spencer (Next to Normal), and many more!

Host and Musical Director: Seth Rudetsky
Honorary Chair: Tony Kushner

Monday, July 12, 2010

Planet Connection Theatre Festivity Awards To Be Held August 1st

By Byrne Harrison

The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, New York's premiere eco-friendly/socially-conscious theatre festival, presents The Planet Connections Awards Ceremony, Sunday, August 1st at 7:00pm at The Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street. The awards will be hosted by Executive Director, Glory Kadigan, and emceed by festivity staff member and participant, Nathaniel Kent.

"We are so proud of the continued fabulous work done by our festivity participants. I am inspired daily by the collaboration of our fine artists with these local charities, all while maintaining a commitment to the environment. It is my pleasure to celebrate them in this manner."
-- Glory Kadigan, Executive Director

Awards and Nominees

Planet Activist Award is given to the group or individual, who goes above and beyond the call of duty working with their charitable institution.

Ashley Marracino, author of Decadent Acts
Andrew Rothkin, author of Danny, and Kim M. Jones, director of Danny
Mark J. Williams, author of Recovery
David Stallings, producer of Good Lonely People
Julia Rand of Sunrise, Sunset Or Breakfast with Julia
Erin Winebark of Are You There Zeus? It's Me, Electra and Mariel Matero of Clandestine

Greener Planet Award is given to the group or individual, who goes above and beyond the call of duty implementing Green aspects into their production.

Jeff Biggers and Stephanie Pistello of 4 ½ Hours
Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rand of The Green Knight
Nadine Friedman and Jonathan Cottle of His Beauty
Melissa F. Moschitto of Another Place
Calla Videt of the The Untitled Project

Congeniality Award

Anne Berlin of Revolution
Sergei Burbank author War Crimes
Jason Grossman, author of Love Me
Duncan Pflaster of The Thyme for the Season
Leah Bonvisutto and Felipe Ossa of Cake
JC Svec and the entire Small Bites team
Michael Roderick of Married Plus One

Outstanding Overall Production of a New Play

11 Seconds of Ecstasy An ETdC Projects' Lab Production benefiting the Children's Aid Society. Created, Written and Directed by: Roi Escudero with the participation of the artists in residence at ETdC Projects' Lab and other guest artists: Roi Escudero, Andy Chmelko, Eddy Rimada, Maria Salzano and Blake Ervin. Dancers & Choreographers: Mika Oyaizu, Alex Orzec-Byrnes & Richard Stevens. Voice Over: Patricia Herrara & Batt Johnson. Video Appearance: Jennifer Loryn, amongst others. Technical Director/Lights: Adam B. Orseck, Stage Manager: Blake Ervin, Sound & Video Board: Joanna DeLeon, Production Assistant & Literary Editor: Andy Chmelko, UFO Atmospheric Geometric Painting in Video: James Ewan, Production Designer, Multimedia Video, Light Design Concept, mise en scène, Costumes, Masks & Puppet-Dolls by Roi Escudero, Original Music & Lyrics: Roi Escudero and La Banda, Argentina: Melody McCluskey, Federico Serravalle & Gustavo Ortiz, Original Music Performed by La Banda Argentina with guests Donald McCluskey, Marcos Eduards & Miguel McCluskey, Original Music, Piano & Keyboard: Pablo Ziegler, Bandoneon: Walther Castro, Tango Music recorded and mixed by Héctor del Curto @ Green Parrot Studios.

The Manhattan Project A Mush-room Theatre Design production benefiting Coalition for the Homeless, Written by Ricardo Garcia, Translated by Adolfo Perez Alvarez, Directed and Designed by Oscar A. Mendoza, Musical Direction: Xavier Paez Haubold, Cast: Jeffery Steven Allen, Paul Daily, Christopher Diaz, Barbara Mundy, Fumi Nakamura and Danielle Patsakos, Music performed by Erika Bracy (based on Doris Day songs), Video Editing by Gabriel Comrie Pepin.

Good Lonely People Produced by MTWorks benefiting PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Written by Carol Carpenter, Directed by Diánna Martin, Cast: Barrie Kreinik, Robin Madel, Maureen O’Boyle, Trip Plymale, Marvin Starkman, Misti Tindiglia and Susan Wallack, Set Design: Julie Griffith, Costume Design: David Stalling, Lighting Design & Dramaturgy: Cristina Alicea and Sound Design: Martha Goode.

Love Me Produced by Funny....Sheesh Productions benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, Written by Jason S. Grossman, Directed by Daryl Boling,Assistant Director: Phillip Chavira, Stage Manager: Laura Schlachtmeyer, Lighting Designer: Lauren Parrish, Costume Designer: Isabelle Fields, Set Designer: Sheila Phalon, Cast: James Cichewicz, Kaira Klueber, Ridley Parson, Aaron Rossini, Daina Stefanie Schatz, Laura Schwenninger, Victoria Watson and Jeff Wills.

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, Play with Music, or Musical Event

BJ: A Musical Romp Musical Produced by Peter and Matt’s Production Company benefiting the Organic Consumers Association, Book & Lyrics by Peter Dagger, Music by Eric Jarboe, Directed by Matt Britten.

Green! Produced by The Mistake and The Icky House Club benefiting Early Stages.

Tess, A New Rock Opera Presented by Big Lady Productions, LLC benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Music, Lyrics and Libretto by Annie Pasqua, Additional Music and Lyrics by Jenna Pasqua.

Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities Produced by Shelby Company benefiting Democracy Now!, written by Ben Forster, Jonathan Goldberg and Dan Moyer. Directed by Jordan Fein.

Outstanding Overall Production of an Entire Evening of One-Acts

Small Bites Produced by Tribe Productions benefiting The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, Written and Directed by J.C. Svec.

Clandestine Produced by NewGround Theatre Collective benefiting Women In Need (WIN), Written by Glory Bowen, Ann Gillespie, Alex Goldberg, Duncan Pflaster, Nandita Shenoy and Jonathan Wallace; Directed by Luke Harlan, Cindy N. Kawasaki, Rachel Klein and Michael Schwartz.

The Riverside Symphony Produced by Ignited States Production Company benefiting The Children's Aid Society, Written by Michael Niederman, Directed by Hondo Weiss-Richmond.

Hourglass and One Hand Clapping Produced by Richard L. Gaw benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Written by Richard L. Gaw and Adam Satur; Directed by Rose Ginsberg and Adam Satur.

Outstanding Overall Production of a Solo Show

A Brown Monkey Goes to McDonald's A Sahil Farooqi production benefiting Democracy Now!; Directed by Regie Cabico; Written and Performed by Sahil Farooqi.

Dig and Be Dug: The Gospel of Lord Buckley Produced by INTERPROD Theatre benefiting Citymeals-on-Wheels, Written and Performed by Ryan Knowles; Directed by David Kraft; Music Arrangements by Peter Saxe.

Made for Each Other Produced by Monica Bauer; Benefiting Alzheimer's Foundation of America; Written by Monica Bauer; Directed by John FitzGibbon; Performed by John Fico*.

Outstanding Overall Production of a Revival/Adaptation/Sequel (previously published/or adapted script)

Are You There Zeus? It's Me Electra Presented by On The Fritz Productions benefiting The Children's Cancer & Blood Foundation; Written and Directed by Aliza Shane.

The Green Knight A Jeremy Bloom and Brian Rady production benefiting 826NYC, Written by Brian Rady, Directed by Jeremy Bloom.

The Picture of Dorian Gray produced by G-Money Productions benefiting The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Written by Oscar Wilde, Adapted for the Stage and Directed by Glory Bowen.

Thyme of the Season Produced by Cross-Eyed Bear Productions benefiting Planned Parenthood; Written and Directed by Duncan Pflaster.

Outstanding Playwriting for a New Script (readings excluded)

Carol Carpenter for Good Lonely People
John Patrick Bray for Liner Notes
Jason S. Grossman for Love Me
Felipe Ossa for Cake
Lenny Schwartz for The Six Month Cure
Mark J. Williams for Recovery

Outstanding Playwriting for an Adaptation, Revival or Sequel

G. S. Bowen for The Picture of Dorian Gray
Duncan Pflaster for The Thyme of the Season
Brian Rady for The Green Knight
Aliza Shane for Are You There Zeus? It's me, Electra

Outstanding Book, Music and Lyrics

Trevor Bachman, Jonathan A. Goldberg, Dan Moyer and Ben Forster for Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Peter Dagger and Eric Jarboe for BJ: A Musical Romp
Annie Pasqua and Jenna Pasqua for Tess, A New Rock Opera
Ken Scudder and Mickey Zetts for Green!

Outstanding Playwriting Short Form (One Act)

Richard L. Gaw for Hourglass and One Hand Clapping - Hourglass
Alex Goldberg for Clandestine - Lying Naked
Duncan Pflaster for Clandestine - The Dark Night of the Russet Rascal
Nandita Shenoy for Clandestine - Rules of Engagement
Michael Niederman for The Riverside Symphony - Pidgeon's Story
Johnathan Wallace for Clandestine - UFO Weather

Outstanding Band, Orchestra and/or Musician (Lounge artists included)

Peter Saxe for Dig and Be Dug
Mickey Zetts and Ryan Cox for Green!
Trevor Bachman for Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Adam Kaufman, Jared Scot, Sal Barra, Ray Cetta, Peter Sachon and Chris Pagano, for Tess, A New Rock Opera

Outstanding Direction

Jeremy Bloom for The Green Knight
Leah Bonvissuto for Cake
Roi Escardero for 11 Seconds of Ecstasy
Nadine Friedman for His Beauty
Oscar Mendoza for The Manhattan Project
Aliza Shane for Are You There Zeus? It's Me Electra
Calla Videt for The Untitled Project

Outstanding Costume Design

Mark Richard Casswell for The Thyme of the Season
Deanna Frieman for Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Irma Escobar and Christina Hurtado for the Costume/Make-Up Design of The Picture of Dorian Gray
David Moyer for Are You There Zeus? It's Me, Electra
Erin Schultz for The Green Knight

Outstanding Sound Design

Roi Escudero for 11 Seconds of Ectasy
Martha Goode for Liner Notes
Oscar Mendoza for The Manhattan Project
Jacob Subtonik for The Picture of Dorian Gray
Calla Videt for The Untitled Project

Outstanding Scenic Design

Jonathan Cottle for His Beauty
Stephe Dobay for The Riverside Symphony
Starlet Jacobs for Danny
Craig Napolielo for The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Mendoza and Gabrielle Pepin for The Manhattan Project

Outstanding Lighting Design

Johnathan Cottle and Danny Abalos for His Beauty
Jake DeGroot for The Riverside Symphony
Mike Inwood for War Crimes
Stiven Luka and Will Moody for I Don't Want to Hurt Your Feelings
Yuriy Nayer for The Picture of Dorian Gray

Outstanding Use Of Projections, Special Effects, AND/OR Multi-Media Event

Sergei Burbank for War Crimes
Roi Escardero for 11 Seconds of Ecstasy
Ben Evans for 4 1/2 Hours Across the Stones of Fire
David Kraft for Dig and Be Dug
Gabriel Comrie Pepin for The Manhattan Project

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play

Brett Aresco for the role of Gawain in The Green Knight
Adam Barrie for the role of Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray
Andy Chmelko for the role of Chameleon Madagascar in 11 Seconds of Ectasy
Paul Daily for the role of Charles in The Manhattan Project
Jonathan Holtzman for the role of Michael in Recovery
James Pravaslis for the role of Gary in Danny
Aaron Rossini for the role of Charlie in Love Me

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play

Ramona Floyd for the role of Dana Dunnigan in Cake
Kathryn Elizabeth Lawson for the role of Alice in Liner Notes
Stephanie Pistello for the role of Marie in 4 1/2 Hours Across the Stones of Fire
Danielle Patsakos for the role of Margaret in The Manhattan Project
Anna Savant for the role of Dr. Jolene Shatila in Decadent Acts
Misti Tindiglia for the role of Kay in Good Lonely People
Elena Zazanis for the role of Kathleen in Recovery

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical, Play with Music, or Musical Event

Peter Albrink for the role of "Actor" in Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Nathaniel Kent for the role of "Actor" in Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Keith Panzarella for the role of Angel in Tess, A New Rock Opera
Andrew Redlawsk for the role of BJ in BJ: A Musical Romp
Evan Watkins for the role of "Actor" in Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, Play with Music, or Musical Event

Kate Bodenheimer for the role of Gabriel in BJ: A Musical Romp
Hadly Cronk for the role of "Actor" in Uncle Shelby's Wunderpanty of Possibilities
Valerie Graham for the role of "Actor" in Uncle Shelby's Wunderpantry of Possibilities
Jenna Pasqua for the role of Tess Durbeyfield in Tess, A New Rock Opera
Tro Shaw for the role of Destiny in BJ: A Musical Romp

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

Walter Brandes for the role of Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray
James B. Kennedy for the role of Carl in His Beauty
James David Larson for the role of Aegisthus in Are You There Zeus? It's Me, Electra
Eric Percival for the role of Basil Hallward in The Picture of Dorian Gray
Trip Plymale for the role of Verle in Good Lonely People
Jeff Wills for the role of Charlie's Inner Voice in Love Me

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

Amanda Anderson for the role of Darcie in Danny
Kerri Ford for the role of Chrysothemis in Are You There Zeus? It's Me, Electra
Rebecca Hirota for the role of Hermia in The Thyme of the Season
Tania Jeudy for the role of Pumpkinseed in The Thyme of the Season
Joyce Miller for the role of Morgan LeFay in The Green Knight
Daina Stefanie Scahtz for the role of Wendy in Love Me
Susan Wallack for the role of Darnelle in Good Lonely People

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical, Play with Music, or Musical Event

Ryan Cox for the role of Ryan, the Bass Player in Green!
Tramian Montell Ford for the role of Mullins in BJ: A Musical Romp
William Goulet Kean for the role of Jack in BJ: A Musical Romp
Chris Leidenfrost-Wilson for the role of Alec in Tess, A New Rock Opera
Andrew Martin for the role of Harwitz E. Green in Green!

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, Play with Music, or Musical Event

Fiona Choi for the role of Sienna in Green!
Paula Galloway for the role of The Happy Clown in Green!
Heather Jewels for the role of Retty in Tess, A New Rock Opera
Susan McBrien for the role of Mother in BJ: A Musical Romp
Sarah Shahinian for the role of Woman 2 in Women On Love

Outstanding Overall Production of a Reading

American Cow Girl
Cat Gets Credit Card
In The Wilderness
Laurie Deacon and the Night Caller

Outstanding Actor in a Reading

Spiro Galiatsatos for Cat Gets Credit Card
Reed Presscott for Cat Gets Credit Card
Karim Muasher for Another Place
Marek Sapieyevski for Revolution!
Dan Yoerges for In the Wilderness

Outstanding Actress in a Reading

Lauren Albert for American Cow Girl
Brianne Berkson for In The Wilderness
Caryln Connelly for Revolution!
Jillaine Gill for Laurie Deacon and the Night Caller
Bellavia Mauro for Revolution!

The Planet Connections Theatre Festivity is New York's premiere eco-friendly/socially conscious theatre festival. Fostering a diverse cross-section of performances, the festival seeks to inspire artists and audiences both creatively and fundamentally, in a festive atmosphere. At the heart of the festivity are like-minded individuals striving to create professional, meaningful theatre, while supporting organizations, which give back to the community at large.