Sunday, November 11, 2018

Girl From the North Country - Bleak, Beautiful and Absolutely Brilliant


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

For those who have known nothing but despair for far too long, the idea of one's survival takes on an almost fervent urgency. A reality brought devastatingly home in Girl From the North Country, now at The Public Theater. Writer Conor McPherson melding his text with the songs of Bob Dylan to examine the deeply buried or long-forgotten passions of the inhabitants of a Duluth, Minnesota boarding house during the Great Depression.

It’s November of 1934 and the boarding house in question is run by Nick Laine (Stephen Bogardus), who lives there with his family. Nick, who has no head for business, is barely two months away from losing the building to a bank foreclosure. A fate to which Nick is now resigned. He doing his best in the meantime to care for his wife, Elizabeth (Marie Winningham), who has suffered what appears to be a mental breakdown. Nick is also continually urging his ne’er-do-well son Gene (Colton Ryan) to find a steady job; while trying to convince his daughter Marianne (Kimber Sprawl), pregnant by someone long since vanished, to wed a much older man. Someone she does not want or love. Said union however, would ensure a future for herself and her unborn child. Nick's actions toward his children taking on an increasing air of desperation as he tries to help them the only way he knows how.

Also part of this ever-growing tableau are the various guests and long-term residents of the boarding house. Among them, Mrs. Neilsen (Jeannette Bayardelle), a woman in love with Nick and currently awaiting a long-expected cash windfall; Reverend Marlowe (David Pittu). a bible-selling preacher; Joe Scott (Sydney James Harcourt), a former prize fighter recently released from prison; and Mr. Burke (Marc Kudsich) a once-prosperous factory owner who lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. Burke now trying to stay one step ahead of his creditors, with his long-suffering wife (Luba Mason) and somewhat slow-minded son (Todd Almond) in tow. 

Each of the characters are also carrying their own personal secrets, and will do almost anything to keep them hidden. Though when some are pushed to the breaking point, everyone around them becomes a potential sacrificial lamb in order to ensure their own survival.

Despite their circumstances - or more accurately, because of them - many of the characters also have a need to leave behind some kind of mark to show they passed this way. Even if it’s only an attempt to bring truth to the lies they tell themselves. Burke’s actions and statements when he tries to convince Joe to let him become his manager being a perfect example of this.

Todd Almond (center) and the cast of Girl From The North Countrywritten and directed by Conor McPherson, with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, running at the Public Theater. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

It’s the show's seamless blending of text and music which brilliantly brings the characters to life. Each of these fully-developed individuals quickly becoming far more than just an object of pity. The effect something akin to tapping directly into these people's psyches to reveal the torment within. Many longing most of all for a place and time that no longer exists. It may take a few minutes for the audience to become accustomed to this particular type of narrative structure, but by the time the third such song is introduced in this manner, one is able to easily move with the transition and perception of one scene to another.

An excellent example of these conflicting emotions can be seen in the character of Nick. Nick believing, after all he's seen and experienced, that he's no longer capable of loving anyone. At one point he even questions if he still has a soul. Yet it eventually becomes obvious that Nick does care. As do they all. It's just that some of them have gone so far past the point of redemption, there's nothing left but despair. Kudos to Bogardus in making Nick come across as someone far more than just a simple loser.

In a particularly nice touch, Tom Nelis does an excellent job as Mr. Perry, the owner of a shoe store, and Marianne’s would-be suitor. An old man, he's clearly making a fool of himself, and knows it. Yet he's quite willing to risk his pride and self-respect for the chance of a little happiness. Other standouts include Winningham, for whom fantasy seems to have become a refuge (her marriage to Nick having long since ended in all but name); Ryan, who must face losing the girl he loves (Caitlin Houlahan); and Pittu, who dreams of God and a perfect world, but who is forced to make his way amidst the gullibility and failings of man.

(L-R) Caitlin Houlahan and Colton Ryan in "Girl From the North Country, written and directed by Conor McPherson, with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan, running at the Public Theater. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The score is exquisite, with poetry of Dylan's lyrics never more evident. In many ways, it's as if one is hearing these songs for the first time. The scenarios and accompanying music such a perfect fit, it feels like they've always belonged together.

McPherson shows the same sure-handedness with his direction that he does with his writing. The result being a smooth flowing presentation with not a single bit of business feeling out of place, extraneous or tacked on. Each character is also given their own chance to shine, so to speak, as the story spins toward its conclusion.

Rae Smith’s set design is excellent. The pieces and backdrops calling to mind the time and era depicted. Also quite good is the on-stage orchestra. Several of the cast taking turns on one instrument or another during the performance. A process which, unlike other shows that have used this method, doesn't take a single thing away from the overall effect, but rather, helps add to it.

Girl From the North Country (also the title of a Dylan song) offers a heartbreaking look at those who have lost what they care about the most, and who are desperately trying to begin again. If such a time is truly possible. It's an experience which stays with you long after you leave the theatre.

Featuring: Todd Almond (Elias Burke), Jeannette Bayardelle (Mrs. Neilsen), Stephen Bogardus (Nick Laine), Sydney James Harcourt (Joe Scott), Matthew Frederick Harris (Ensemble), Caitlin Houlahan (Kate Draper), Robert Joy (Dr. Walker), Marc Kudisch (Mr. Burke), Luba Mason (Mrs. Burke), Tom Nelis (Mr. Perry), David Pittu (Reverend Marlowe), Colton Ryan (Gene Laine), Kimber Sprawl (Marianne Laine), Rachel Stern (Ensemble). Chelsea Lee Williams (Ensemble), Mare Winningham (Elizabeth Laine).

Girl from the North Country
Music & Lyrics by Bob Dylan
Scenic & Costume Design: Rae Smith
Lighting Design: Mark Henderson
Sound Design: Simon Baker
Orchestrator, Arranger & Music Supervisor: Simon Hale
Additional Arrangements: Simon Hale, Conor McPherson
Movement Director: Lucy Hind
Fight Director: Unkledave's Fight-House
Music Coordinator: Dean Sharenow
Music Director: Marco Paguia
Production Stage Manager: Arthur Gaffin
Stage Manager: Jeff Brancato
Fight and Dance Captain: John Schiappa
Written and Directed by Conor McPherson

The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Avenue
Tickets: 212-967-7555 or www.publictheater.org
Running time Two Hours, 20 minutes one intermission
Closes: December 23, 2018


Waiting for Godot - The Messages Still Resonate


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

“Extraordinary the tricks that memory plays”, a character exclaims in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. One would be hard pressed to find a truer statement. Especially here, as recollections play a central part in this classic tragicomedy. The work being given a very fine revival by Druid Theatre as part of
Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival.

As the show begins, Vladimir (Marty Rea) and Estragon (Aaron Monaghan) are standing in a rather empty setting, with only a barren tree and a boulder big enough for them to sit on to be seen. It soon becomes apparent these two men have long since fallen on hard times. They now existing on the fringes of society. Vladimir, the more intellectual of the two, continually tries to find ways to keep their spirits up; while Estragon, who can best be described as a defeated realist, tends to forget more than he remembers and would just like to find some peace in the world – either through sleep or death. Estragon does however, remember when pain is afflicted upon him. Though he’s not always sure by who or when.

Vladimir and Estragon’s one apparent hope of salvation is the mysterious Mr. Godot. This is the reason the two are waiting at this spot, and why they will continue to do so until he appears. Though exactly when that auspicious moment will occur is a matter of conjecture. Until then, they remain trapped in a cycle of passive waiting. They basically repeating the actions of the previous day, albeit with certain differences.

A true testament to the staying power of any theatrical work is its timeless quality and openness to interpretation. Director Garry Hynes and movement director Nick Winston tapping into both in this production, which emphasizes its potential for humor, as well as various phrasings in the Beckett text. Bits of physical comedy abound here, particularly in the movements of Vladimir. Rea giving extra emphasis to his character’s walk and gestures. He at times bouncing about rather than simply moving. Monaghan is usually more subdued as Estragon, but does get in several nice comic moments. Especially when trying to pull his boots off. Or put them on.

(L-R) Mary Rea as Vladimar and Aaron Monaghan as Estragon in Druid's production of "Waiting For Godot" by Samuel Beckett.  Directed by Garry Hynes. Photo Credit: Matthew Thompson

Exactly who Vladimir and Estragon are can be interpreted in many ways, as can just about everything else in the play. However certain key words and phrases do crop up, which help to define them. Estragon says at one point that they’ve lost their rights. Vladimir immediately correcting him, saying “we got rid of them”. This exchange having a somewhat chilling connotation that can easily be applicable to today's world. Where those too content with the way things are, find themselves unprepared when change appears. There’s also a moment when Estragon tells his friend, in response to a query “don’t let’s do anything. It’s safer”. Thus showing how these two prefer to stay on the edge of events, rather than becoming directly involved in them. This attitude even extending to the possibilities of suicide. Estragon often contemplating the two killing themselves, with Vladimir continually talking him out of it. Not that Vladimir doesn’t think the idea has merit. It’s just that they never seem to have the necessary equipment to carry out Estragon’s plan.

Another theme present in the play is the need to affirm one’s one own existence. Vladimir drives this point home most effectively when, after surrendering to a moment of despair, he asks a Boy (Nathan Reid), who has come to deliver a message from Godot, to “tell him that you saw me”. This air of hopelessness popping up again and again throughout the story. In a nice twist of irony, it is the more fatalistic Estragon who occasionally suggests the two leave this place and start afresh somewhere else, only to have Vladimir always remind him why they cannot. At least not yet.

(L-R) Marty Rea as Vladimir and Aaron Monaghan as Estragon in Druid's "Waiting For Godot" by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Garry Hynes. Photo Credit: Matthew Thompson

Monaghan and Rea have a comfortable chemistry with one another, and one can easily believe their characters have been together for fifty years. Also quite good are Rory Nolan and Garrett Lombard, who appear as Pozzo, a well-to-do-sort, and his ironically-named servant Lucky. Pozzo clearly a parody of an overstuffed and entitled ruling class, yet completely dependent on Lucky for his own survival. At the same time Lucky, despite being treated horribly by Pozzo for so long, simply refuses to leave him because he can no longer conceive of any other form of existence. It’s a situation Vladimir and Estragon are also heading for if they're not careful. Interestingly, there are moments when Pozzo and Lucky so fully take the center stage, Vladimir and Estragon become little more than observers in the production.

The set by Francis O’Connor is bleak, bare and perfectly matches the story’s overall atmosphere. O’Connor’s costumes for the characters work quite well, particularly the black outfits worn by Vladimir and Estragon. Also perfectly integrated into the piece is the alternatively stark and subdued lighting by James F. Ingalls, and the sound design by Gregory Clarke.

Offering a thought-provoking look at the dangers of having one’s fate being determined by others, this production of Waiting for Godot makes for quite the illuminating experience.

Featuring: Garrett Lombard (Lucky), Aaron Monaghan (Estragon), Rory Nolan (Pozzo), Marty Rea (Vladimir), Jaden Pace/Nathan Reid (Boy).

Waiting for Godot

By Samuel Beckett
Directed by Garry Hynes
Produced by Druid
Francis O’Connor: Set and Costume Design
James F. Ingalls: Lighting Design
Gregory Clarke: Sound Design
Nick Winston: Movement Director

Presented at the Gerald F. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
524 West 59th Street
Tickets: 212-721-6500 or www.WhiteLightFestival.org
Running Time: 2 hours 45 minutes, with one intermission
Closes: November 13, 2018


Friday, October 26, 2018

Provincetown Theater's "The Laramie Project" Sparkles


By Greg Waagner

From the moment theatre patrons tender their tickets and enter the performance space for the Provincetown Theater’s production of The Laramie Project, they are transported from the cheek-by-jowl nature of life on the Outer Cape to the windy sparseness of the high prairie isolation of Laramie, Wyoming, home of Matthew Shepard’s short life and infamous death.  In-the-round seating is designated by a series of fenced allees with lamp posts, while other lamps, a few benches and boxes designate the perimeter of the stage area.  As the show begins, the company enters together and then recede into the allees, as this documentary play gets underway.

Laramie, we learn, owes its prairie isolation to its origin as a tent city where the transcontinental railroad crossed the Laramie River, and later, as a brick and mortar city where the railroad was serviced.  A number or railroad businesses thrived there and others developed due to the proximity to rail shipping.  Eventually the University of Wyoming found a home there, followed by a community college and the city with its population of over 26,000 became known for its scenic locales, educational and employment opportunities and low taxes.   And then in October 1998, openly-gay college student Matthew Shepard was killed and the Gem City of the Plains became known for something else entirely.

The Laramie Project represents the efforts of playwright Moises Kaufman and the company of the Tectonic Theater Project, who (through the University of Wyoming theater department) visited the prairie city a month after Matthew’s death, in search of the real story hidden beneath the controversy of the event and the one-note stridency of media coverage, hoping to commemorate the story of Matthew’s death while helping the residents of that torn city to find some peace and closure. 

The resulting play draws its story from hundreds of interviews TTP members conducted in Laramie, as well as news accounts and company members’ journal entries.  As the eight cast members enter and recede through those fenced allees, they make subtle changes to costume, posture and accent, becoming over sixty different characters as they spin the events of that fateful evening and its aftermath into the light.

In many ways the people of Laramie represented national feelings about LGBTQ people at the time of Matthew’s death.  The Pride movement born in the late sixties had spread enlightenment to many parts of the nation and some acceptance at a distance was beginning to grow.  Reaction to this new openness, and, eventually, fears born of the AIDS crisis fueled rebound in more conservative corners.  “Fag Bashing” was common enough to have its own name.  A memorial display in the lobby of the Provincetown Theater reminds patrons that many others have been attacked and/or killed for their sexuality, both before and after the events in Laramie.  

As we meet various members of the Laramie community, that national stage is reflected locally.  It’s no wonder that many more stereotypical gays might move away from Laramie and why other gays and lesbians who stayed were often wary of the danger of being seen in the company of those who were out.   “Hate is not a Laramie value,” some said, “We aren’t that kind of place”, while others opined about Matthew’s HIV status and suggested he was flaunting his gayness and maybe “asking for it.”  Local religious leaders alternately held vigils or made strong statements about what constituted acceptable families.  It wasn’t that they condoned that sort of violence, but they didn’t condone that sort of lifestyle either and generally hoped the whole situation would just go away. 

As cast members of the Laramie Project embody various characters and begin to fill in the mosaic of Matthew’s story, their entrances and exits from all corners of the room set up a sort of spinning wheel momentum as the tale unspools before us.   We meet the bartender who served both the victim and the assailants that night, the DJ who saw them leave, the cyclist who found Matthew 18 hours later, the sheriff’s deputy who suffered HIV exposure whilst freeing Matthew from the rope which held him fast to the fence post.  Cast members supplement prerecorded sounds of prairie wind and distant railroad hum, with live ambient sound of crowd noise, media cameras and other scene-setting, sometimes unsettling effects.  Benches become bars and churches and hospitals and courtrooms and living rooms.  Lamps become vigil candles and video cameras  As we barrel toward intermission, the blare of an approaching diesel locomotive seems to represent the firestorm of controversy and change Laramie will endure in response to Matthew’s death.

Vigils were held in Laramie, Denver and everywhere.  Los Angeles saw 5000 protesters, in New York civil disobedience sparked many arrests.  A national call for hate crimes legislation rose up, met with protests from others suggesting that all murders were “hate crimes”, why should this be special?  A contingent of marchers remembering Matthew more than doubled a local homecoming parade size, leading one Laramie gay man to express his guilty gratitude to Matthew for shining a light on a hidden community.

Act Two brings Matthew’s death, the vigils, and subsequent trial.  We meet the doctor who treated both Shepard and one of this assailants, who was touched by the tender age of each and who was later accused of “crying for faggots” at a presser announcing Matthew’s passing.  We learn of Matthew’s friends who designed large-winged angel costumes to wear outside the funeral to conceal the venomous hatred of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist protesters from the Shepard family.  A college theater student finds his attitude and those of his family changing toward gay people.  
Eventually, Matthew’s death would become the catalyst for a national Hate Crimes Prevention act.  So isn’t that the story over and done with?  What more is there to say?  After all, twenty years later, many Americans are more accepting in their views of the LGBTQ+ community.  Same sex marriage is now the law of the land.  But at least twenty states still do not consider attacks on LGBTQ+ people to be hate crimes.  As recently as last year, Mike Pompeo and the Republican alternative facts machine have suggested that Matthew’s death was not a hate crime but a bisexual drug partnership gone wrong.  The need to tell the story of Matthew and all that transpired in Laramie goes on.   History must be learned and retold or it is forgotten and needlessly repeated.

Provincetown Theatre’s 20th Anniversary production of The Laramie Project is directed by Leigh Fondakowski    a member of Tectonic Theater Project who served as head writer for the play (as well as the HBO film adaptation) -  who is pleased to have brought this production to our amazing Provincetown, a place Matthew would’ve loved.   The Outer Cape spirit is well-represented by the cast – John Dennis Anderson, Andrew Clemons, Paul E. Halley, Tamora Israel, Fermin Rojas, Julia Salinger, Sam Sewell, Tom Sharp, Myra Slotnick and Anne Stott – who are dynamic in their embodiment of so many different characters.

As the performance nears its conclusion, Dennis Shepard asks the court to consider a life sentence over the death penalty for one of his attackers, knowing it would be what his son would have wanted.  Shepard wonders what his son (who died 50 days away from his 22nd birthday) might’ve become if he’d lived and he contemplates the sparkling Laramie sky his son loved, which would’ve been among Matthew’s sights as he waited to be rescued. 

With Matthew in their hearts, the cast and crew of The Laramie Project sparkle like that Laramie sky, illuminating each of the stories which come together to create the shining constellation of Matthew Shepard, keeping his story alive for future generations.

The Provincetown Theater’s 20th Anniversary production of “The Laramie Project” is presented on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 pm and on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm, through October 28th.  Tickets are $30/$35.  After the Sunday matinees, a talk-back discussion is hosted in the theatre with the cast, crew and is free to the public. 

Tickets may be purchased online at www.provincetowntheater.org, or at the Downtown Box Office at 230 Commercial Street.  (508) 487-7487.

Almelem - Creating the narrative and spinning the story

By Byrne Harrison

Some of the stories I've enjoyed most over the years are those that take something completely familiar and turn it on its head.  Sean Williams' remarkable Almelem joins that list with his retelling of the Christ story--one less concerned with the Messiah, and more with the story behind the story.

Almelem (Dani Martineck) is the protege of Gestas (Nat Cassidy), a cynical pimp, merchant and power broker in ancient Judea.  Non-binary in a time when such things didn't have a name, Almelem has heard of a man named John (Mac Rogers), who can wipe clean a person's soul by laying them down in the water of the Jordan.  With the faith of a true believer, Almelem entreats Gestas to help spread the word about John and his miracle baptisms.  Perhaps even show the world that he could be the awaited messiah, sent to expel the Romans and the decadent ruling class, a create an Israel just for the Jews.

Gestas knows the real story behind John the Baptist--they grew up together and Gestas can smell bullshit from a mile away--but he sees the potential in helping him.  Driven not by a lust for power or the chance to create a free Israel, Gestas seems to relish the thought of seeing how far he can make this go.  Whispers in the right ears, talk of miracles, and the eventual help of representatives of the powerful families of Jerusalem, Mary Magdalene (Charleigh E. Parker) and Salome (Yeauxlanda Kay), could turn the fiction into fact.

That is until the arrival of a young man from Nazareth changes the plan.

What follows is an incredible story of how far you can take the truth without it becoming a lie, what it may mean to be born anew, how a cynic and a true believer can serve the same purpose, and how, in the end, the story that survives will always become the truth.

Almelem features a small, but exceptional cast.  Nat Cassidy is astounding as Gestas.  Vulgar, cynical, driven by self-interest, yet with a surprisingly steady (though somewhat skewed) moral compass, Gestas is a great character, and Cassidy is excellent in the role.  His interactions with Dani Martineck's Almelem, especially toward the end of the play when Gestas finds himself thrust into the Christ story in a way he couldn't have imagined, are fantastic.  Also excellent is Kristen Vaughan as Mary, the mother of Jesus.  A simple woman who has come face to face with things completely outside of her ability to comprehend them, Vaughan's Mary is fragile, even a bit broken, but in awe of the role she is playing in this story, even if she can't quite understand it.

Mac Rogers, Chareigh E. Parker, and Yeauxlanda Kay give strong performances, aided in no small part by the excellently nuanced characters that Sean Williams has created.

The play is tautly directed by Jordana Williams, and features a spare, but very adaptable set by Will Lowry, who also designed the lights.

For me, the best part of the show is ambiguity that runs through it.  Is John the Baptist just a scam artist, or did he find his own personal salvation along the way.  Was Mary visited by an angel, and was she the chosen one of God?  Did Almelem find an empty tomb?  Does it even matter in the long run, if the story is accepted as, well, gospel truth?

The fact that I can still ponder these questions days after seeing the play, shows that Williams' well-crafted Almelem has gotten under my skin, in the best possible way.  Entertaining, though-provoking, and a delight to watch, Almelem is not to be missed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Oklahoma! - Far More Than Just Okay


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

The true strength of a classical piece of theatre is its ability to be re-imagined without losing those elements which made it special in the first place. Case in point: the rousing production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! at St. Ann’s Warehouse. Director Daniel Fish, choreographer John Heginbotham and a top-notch cast transforming the 1943 musical into a stripped-down, semi-immersive experience. With a score that, thanks to the very capable hands of orchestrator/arranger Daniel Kluger, remains as sparkling as ever.

Set in the early 20th century, before Oklahoma became a state, the story opens on the farm of Laurey Williams (Rebecca Naomi Jones). A somewhat headstrong girl, who lives there with her Aunt Eller (Mary Testa). Laurey is the object of two very different men’s affections. Curly McClain (Damon Daunno), a good-natured if somewhat irreverent cowhand, who would like to sweep Laurey off her feet and into matrimony; and Jud Fry (Patrick Vaill), a brooding hired hand who lives alone in the smokehouse with only his dark thoughts to keep him company.

Rebecca Naomi Jones and Damon Daunno in Oklahoma!  Photo by Teddy Wolff

Laurey is clearly attracted to Curly, even though she refuses to give him the time of day. She agrees to go to a box lunch social with Jud basically out of spite towards Curly’s teasing ways, rather than any romantic feelings toward Jud. Jud’s attitude towards Laurey making her very uncomfortable. Especially when his actions call to mind something boarding on obsession.

Meanwhile, a more comic love triangle is also taking place. This one involving Will Parker (James Davis), a likable cowboy, if a little on the dim-witted side; Ado Annie (Ali Stroker), the love of his life; and Ali Hakim (Michael Nathanson), a traveling peddler. Ado Annie loves Will dearly, but has a habit of falling for any man who takes a shine to her, resulting in her current infatuation with Ali, a man quick with the fancy words.

Oklahoma!” is, first and foremost, a show about everyday people with everyday problems. Albeit with a musical spin and set in a long-gone era. Yet all the issues presented (i.e. falling in love with the wrong person, trying to be good neighbors with others; and paying the price for your indiscretions) are universal themes which work just as well today as when first presented. The various characters coming brilliantly to life, thus allowing the audience to understand the passions which drive them.

This is particularly evident with Jud. While the character's comments hint at a checkered past, one can also see the hatred he's carried for years from being treated as not worthy to associate with decent people. Vaill giving a powerful performance as an angry and tormented man a hair's breath away from lashing out.

Stroker, quite simply, steals the show as Ado Annie. The actress taking what could be, in the wrong hands, a rather cynical woman, and presenting her as a worldly, yet naive soul. Her delivery of “I Cain’t Say No”, a song which could be seen as offensive in some quarters, comes off beautifully here. The character also meshing perfectly with both the down-to-earth Will and the roguish Ali. The latter being someone who, despite his best efforts and fast-talking ways, often ends up the worse for wear due to his own volition. Elsewhere, Testa gives nicely understated portrayal of Aunt Eller; the character offering both an air of stability and, when needed, a large dose of common sense.

Ali Stroker in Oklahoma!  Photo by Teddy Wolff

Jones and Daunno are very good as Laurey and Curly. Both characters coming off as appealing but never overbearing, with a very strong chemistry together. Curly’s use of a guitar, and Laurey's acknowledgement of same, being one of the few tweaks the company has made to the libretto, but one which only serves to add an extra sense of fun to the story. It's also the precursor for a peak into the subconscious of the characters, via some interesting lighting work by Scott Zielinski. Another good use of lighting, and lack thereof, takes place during a deceptively quiet scene between Curly and Jud.

Also quite good is Laura Jellinek's set. The playing space made to look like a gigantic barn, with colored streamers and lights strung across the ceiling and walls. There are also multiple gun racks on one wall, and a number of large wooden tables on the stage. The direction by Daniel Fish is excellent in making the show engaging for those unfamiliar to it, while at the same time making it feel totally fresh for those who have a greater familiarity with the work.

Although there are no splashy dance numbers here, there's plenty of foot stomping, knee-slapping moments to enjoy. Heginbotham’s choreography, with one exception, being a perfect fit for this production. Especially exuberant are the musical sequences featuring Ado Annie. The only moments that don't always work are in the dream ballet section. While the reinterpretation of the Agnes de Mille concept is interesting, it takes too long to get where its going, with ballet's ultimate meaning not made clear until more than halfway through the sequence.

This production of Oklahoma! is a very enjoyable experience that's well worth checking out. If that weren’t enough, there's chili and corn bread available during intermission

Featuring: Damon Daunno (Curly McLain), Mary Testa (Aunt Eller), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Laurey Williams), James Davis (Will Parker), Anthony Cason (Cord Elam), Patrick Vaill (Jud Fry), Ali Stroker (Ado Annie), Michael Nathanson (Ali Hakim), Mallory Portnoy (Gertie Cummings), Mitch Tebo (Andrew Carnes), Will Man (Mike), Gabrielle Hamilton (Lead Dancer/Dance Captain).

Dancers, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Dance:
Sierra Berkeley Fisher, Savannah Gaillard, Sarina Gonzalez, Amanda Labuda, Rachel Lee, Taína Lyons, Elexia Martinez, Mo Minami, Ida Obediente, Clairisa Patton, Riana Pellicane-Hart, Isabella Pete, Taylor Stansfield, Makenna Wolff, Jordan Wynn

Dancers, Dance Division, The Juilliard School:
Nina Peng, Kayla Schultz

Dance Company for Oklahoma! also includes:
Elisa Clark, Marjorie Folkman, Kristen Foote, Lindsey Jones, Courntey Lopes, Kemi Mugo, Macy Sullivan, Uta Takemura, Vanessa Walters

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play "Green Grow the Lilacs" by Lynn Riggs
Original Choreography by Agnes de Mille

Orchestrations & Arrangements: Daniel Kluger
Choreography: John Heginbotham
Music Direction: Nathan Koci
Set Design: Laura Jellinek
Costume Design: Terese Wadden
Lighting Design: Scott Zielinski
Sound Design: Drew Levy
Productions Design: Joshua Thorson
Props Design: Noah Mease
Special Effects: Jeremy Chernick & Lillis Meeth
Casting: Tesley + Company
Production Stage Manager: Jason Kaiser
Directed by Daniel Fish

Oklahoma!
St. Ann’s Warehouse
Brooklyn Bridge Park
45 Water Street
Brooklyn
Tickets: 718-254-8779, 866-811-4111 or www.stannswarehouse.org
Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes, one intermission
Closes: November 11

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Theatre in Troubled Times - "Eight Tales of Pedro" and "Nazis and Me"

By Byrne Harrison

Art is a product of its time, and for many artists, now is a particularly difficult one.  In the era of Trump values, artists, especially those from traditionally marginalized groups, are responding with a message of hope and a reminder that things can and will someday get better.

Playwright Mark-Eugene Garcia draws on his Latinx background (while also acknowledging his non-Spanish speaking suburban upbringing) in his "Eight Tales of Pedro."  Based on the folk tales of Pedro Urdamales and Juan Bobo, Garcia creates a play that emphasizes the commonality of those of Latinx heritage, even though each nation has a slightly different version of Pedro and his stories, and the resilience of those facing terrible obstacles.

"Eight Tales of Pedro" is built around a framing device of a group of people being deported to Mexico.  To pass the time and keep their spirits up, they take turns telling the tales of Pedro and Juan, each tale shedding a little light on the lives of people acting out the stories, while entertaining their fellow travelers.  Drawing on a framework familiar to those who've read The Canterbury Tales or One Thousand and One Nights, the stories are humorous and poignant, while touching on a variety of topics, especially, as one would expect, that of racism and the value of people who are different.

Ably directed on a nearly bare stage by Rodrigo Bolaños, the play lets the actors shine, as they bring to life both their characters and those in the Pedro and Juan Bobo tales.  Of particular note are Germainne Lebron, who takes on the crafty Pedro, and Stephen Santana, who plays the naive Juan Bobo.  The rest of the cast is outstanding, and features Kat Peña, Richard E. Calvache, Laura Aguinaga and Federico Mallet.  The play also features live music performed by Luis D'Elias, a perfect complement to the show.

David Lawson's latest one-man show, "Nazis and Me," also deals with Trump and the normalization of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., in the current climate.  Drawing on his experiences dealing with antisemitism as a youth (including bomb threats and vandalism at his local JCC) to his more recent attacks from incels, the alt-right, and random bigots who find him through online media, Lawson's show doesn't let us off the hook by saying that the past was so much better than today, but shows that while the far-right rage may be bubbling to the surface, it has always been there.  Given the subject matter, Lawson's show could have been a heavy political screed, but he is a deft writer and performer, who above all else, manages to find the humor in even the darkest situations.

"Eight Tales of Pedro" ends with some uncertainty, as the characters, buoyed by the tales of Pedro and Juan Bobo, still face a future that they can't imagine in a country that for some of them has never been home, "Nazis and Me" ends with an uplifting wedding with guests who under the current climate are being told to hate each other, but instead find a common humanity that brings them together.  But in both cases, the playwrights are making an appeal to us to find the things that bring us together, and to remember them when the struggle seems to be too much.

"Eight Tales of Pedro" runs through October 14 at The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd Street, Long Island City.

“Nazis and Me” will be performed October 16, November 6, and November 13, 2018 at Under St. Marks Theatre, 94 St. Marks Place. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur - Settling for what you can get


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

A feeling of despair lurks just below the surface in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. This seldom-seem Tennessee Williams drama, which had its initial New York run in 1979, now being given a sturdy revival Off-Broadway by La Femme Theatre Productions.

It's the late spring of 1937 in St. Louis, Missouri, and Dorothea (Jean Lichty) is a high school teacher approaching that nebulous age bracket for what used to be called an unmarried spinster. Dotty, as she is known to all, making great efforts to keep that perception at bay. Undertaking a series of daily exercises, dressing like a person ten years her junior, and continually keeping her eyes out for romantic prospects. Of late she has reason to be hopeful in the marriage department, having recently caught the attention of the well-to-do T. Ralph Ellis. On this particular Sunday morning, Dotty is anxiously waiting for his promised phone call and instructs her roommate Bodey (Kristine Nielsen) to keep the telephone line clear.

Bodey, a single woman who, as later pointed out, will never see forty again, is working overtime to arrange a match for Dotty and her brother, Buddy. Bodey giving her sibling continual advice on how to act in that regard. Dotty however, sees Buddy as someone not at all her type and has long since become annoyed at Bodey's matchmaking efforts. Dotty also making clear that she will definitely not be joining the two today on a picnic at Creve Coeur; a local lakeside area not too far from the end of the streetcar line.

(L-R) Kristine Nielsen and Jean Lichty) in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. Photo by Joan Marcus

Dotty and Bodey's various plans for the day are suddenly interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Helena (Annette O'Toole). A forceful, no-nonsense type who teaches at the same school as Dotty, she has come to discuss some important matters. Dotty having previously agreed to move in with Helena in a more fashionable area of the city. A location not at all convenient to Dotty's place of work, but a much more socially acceptable section of town than where she lives now.

Dotty and Helena's plans were completely unknown to Bodey until this moment. The apartment's already tense atmosphere becoming even more so with Helena and Bodey's caustic comments to one another. Dotty, whose health is not always the best, finding herself caught between them while desperately trying to maintain her own sense of equilibrium and emotional sanity.

It’s strange that A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur is not performed more often, as the Williams text offers a richly layered work. One which also offers some powerful acting opportunities for the cast. In many ways the play recalls A Streetcar Named Desire, with Dotty in the Blanche DuBois role of a fading Southern belle. Dotty, like Blanche, trying to create a fantasy world of how she feels her life should be. Which is one reason why she buys the type of clothes she wears. Others being to attract a eligible man, and to prove to herself that she's still desirable to the opposite sex.

Also present in the play is a painful air of resignation as the characters are forced to accept the crumbs life has to offer, rather than anything more substantial. A telling conversation in this vein being when Bodey continually reiterates her desire for Dotty and Buddy to end up together. Yet while Bodey clearly wants to help her brother in this endeavor, it's also clear that she desperately needs something else such a relationship can provide. Specifically, the presence of children. Then she can get to play the loving aunt and not be alone in the years to come.

In an interesting bit of irony, the characters of Bodey and Helena - the two mixing like oil and water in their conversations and worldviews - are more alike than either will admit. Though to be fair, one is better dressed. Helena making clear how she refuses to wind up as part of a gaggle of unmarried women with only their gossip to keep them company. Yet her plan to move into a building with the more fashionable set, where one's duties include playing bridge with the right kind of people, reveals the same need as Bodey of not ending up alone.

(L-R) Jean Lichty, Annette O'Toole, Kristine Nielsen and Polly McKie in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Cour. Photo by Joan Marcus

Lichty, Nielsen and O'Toole are all excellent here. Each bringing their role to life with the stories and scenarios their characters have created for themselves in an attempt to make their dreams come true. Nicely rounding out the cast is Polly McKie as Miss Gluck; a lonely and elderly neighbor to whom Bodey has opened her door. Both Dotty and Helena bound and determined to avoid Miss Gluck's fate of depending on the kindness of strangers.

Austin Pendleton's direction is well done, though a bit awkward at times. Especially in the early stages of the play, which is rather talky and takes too much time to get where it’s going. Harry Feiner's set offers a nice lived-in and claustrophobic feel, and his lighting design also works well. Beth Goldenberg's costumes are very good. The standout being the outfit worn by O’Toole.

A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur present a picture where hope brutally collides with harsh realty - both from within and without. The different characters in the end, inevitably sadder but wiser by what they have been forced to face.

Featuring: Jean Lichty (Dorothea), Kristine Nielsen (Bodey), Annette O’Toole (Helena), Polly McKie (Miss Gluck).

A Lovely Sunday For Creve Coeur

By Tennessee Williams

Scenic & Lighting Design: Harry Feiner
Costume Design: Beth Goldenberg
Original Music & Sound Design: Ryan Rumery
Wig & Hair Design: Leah Loukas
Dialect Design & Dramaturgy: Amy Stroller
Fight Director: Ron Piretti
Casting: Stephanie Klapper Casting
Movement Consultant: Shelley Senter
Assistant Director: Jonathan Mann
Production Stage Manager: Marci Skolnick
Assistant Stage Manager: Will Chaloner
Production Manager: Gary Levinson
General Management: LDK Productions
Advertising & Marketing: Red Rising Marketing
Press Representative: JT Public Relations
Directed by Austin Pendleton

Presented by La Femme Theatre Productions
Theatre at St. Clement's
423 West 46th Street
Tickets: 866-811-4111 or LaFemmeTheatreProductions.org
Running Time: 1 Hour, 50 Minutes, no intermission
Closes: October 21, 2018
                                                                                
Please note: the theatre is not wheelchair accessible

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Resident Acting Company in Reading of Shaw's DON JUAN IN HELL September 24 at Players Club

This fall, The Resident Acting Company, a new troupe drawn from the performing ensemble of The Pearl Theatre Company, will present "The Language Series," a new readings series at The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South. The series is devoted to plays that delve into the use of words to lie, deceive, manipulate, conquer, tell the truth, work out the meaning of life and even to find love.

It launches Monday, September 24 with Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell," followed by Cowley's "The Belle's Strategem" October 29 and Pirandello's "It Is So (If You Think So)" November 19.

The company will explore ways that playwrights have used language to portray the human condition, to get to the heart of how we communicate, and to understand reality itself. All three plays explore questions of fake or real, true or false and truth that isn’t truth. Through the lens of these classics and their approach to language, the troupe aims to help us sharpen our perception of the rumors, reports, misleading statements and alternative facts we now experience every day.   



September 24, 2018
"Don Juan In Hell" By George Bernard Shaw
$35
6:00 PM Cash Bar, 7:00 PM Reading
Don Juan is in Hell and he’s not happy. Turns out Hell is where most people go when they die and it’s actually a very nice place. He is determined to go to Heaven so he can contemplate the great questions of human existence, but first he must debate Satan, an ex-girlfriend, and her father, whom Don Juan killed back on earth and with whom he has become very good friends. This is Shaw’s hysterical funny dream sequence from his play "Man and Superman." Shaw presents us with a fun, playful and thought provoking examination of Religion, Marriage, Death, and the all-powerful Life Force. With Bradford Cover as Don Juan, Dan Daily as The Statue, RJ Foster as The Devil and Rachel Botchan as Ana. Directed by Bradford Cover.

Oct 29, 2018 7:00 PM
"The Belle’s Stratagem" By Hannah Cowley
$35
6:00 PM Cash Bar, 7:00 PM Reading
In 1780, David Garrick presented this play at The Drury Lane and it was a smash success. Letitia Hardy is engaged to marry the handsome and wealthy Doricourt, but there is one problem – he has agreed to marry her but seems totally uninterested in her. She loves him and is determined to get him to feel the same. So she endeavors to get him to hate her as she believes it will be easier to flip hate into love rather than indifference into love. With a cast of wild characters--including Flutter, Miss Ogle and Sir George Touchwood--we galivant through the amusing misadventures of these anti lovers until they reach their final realizations in a “crazy” final scene. Casting TBA as of this writing.

Nov 19, 2018 7:00 PM
"It Is So (If You Think So)" By Luigi Pirandello
$35
6:00 PM Cash Bar, 7:00 PM Reading
What do you do when a new family moves into your small Italian town? You absolutely welcome them and ask them where they came from and why they moved here. However when each member of that family gives you a vastly different version of their story, what do you do then? In this wonderfully absurd piece of theater Pirandello asks us to examine why we think we know certain things. The play creates a hilarious world in which one doesn’t know who to trust, and the more we learn the less we know. It is possible to learn the truth, right? Translation and casting are TBA as of this writing.

The True - Where Loyalty is Everything


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

What do you do when the one thing you’ve always counted on is suddenly yanked out from under you? This is the question posed in Sharr White’s new political drama The True, presented by The New Group at The Pershing Square Signature Center.

Albany 1977. Dyed-in-the-wool Democrat Polly Noonan (Edie Falco) is one of those tireless party workers who lives and breathes politics. A staunch defender of long-time Albany Mayor Erastus Corning II (Michael McKean), Polly has worked by his side for close to 40 years. Indeed, in many ways, Polly is closer to Erastus then she is to her own husband.

Though Polly uses the term “confidant” when describing her and Erastus’ relationship, their long-time association has long since caused tongues to wag. Polly often thought of as “the Mayor’s girlfriend,” as well as other, less polite terms. Despite Polly and Erastus’ continual denials of anything improper, the issue has put a strain on Polly’s marriage to Peter (Peter Scolari), someone who Erastus considers to be his best friend; as well as on the Mayor’s relationship with his wife Betty.

On this particular night Polly, Erastus and Peter are gathered at the Noonan home while reflecting on the recent death of Dan O'Connell, the 91-year old Democratic party chairman who Erastus regarded as an important father figure. Eventually Erastus makes an announcement which dramatically changes his relationships to the Noonans, and leaves Polly stunned and confused. Yet even as word of the Mayor’s actions sends more rumors flying, Polly must decide whether to help Erastus when he needs it most. Erastus finding himself in the fight of his political life as he faces both a battle for the party chairmanship and a serious primary challenge in the upcoming election.

 L-R: Michael McKean, Edie Falco, Peter Scolari in The New Group Production of  The True.   Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.


The True offers a nuts-and-bolt look at party politics, through the work Polly does to ensure her team’s machine runs smoothly. She knowing every major political player, as well as all the important constituents, donors, and their families. This knowledge, which stems from endless hours of phone calls, and meet and greets, allows her to make sure those in need are properly helped out, regardless of their political persuasion. Polly reasoning that being good to those who don’t always agree with you just might help change their minds, come election time. Though coupled with this pseudo-altruistic scenario is the realization that politics, especially when it comes to party infighting, turns on backroom deals, clandestine meetings, and loyalty that all too often only goes so far.

Also explored is the danger people face when they get too comfortable or rigid in their thinking. Thus making them incapable of adapting to a changing world. Polly and Erastus both looking a bit like relics from a bygone era whose time may be drawing to a close. Polly gets a particularly abrupt wakeup call when she meets Bill McCormick (Austin Cauldwell), a young man who she convinced the Mayor to appoint to an important position in the party. However, she explodes in rage when, after outlining Bill’s career track for him, he responds by saying he doesn’t want to be a politician for the rest of his life. Or at least not in the manner she’s laid out.

While offering a fascinating look at politics, as well as the sexism that exists therein, as a piece of entertainment, The True falls rather flat. Clocking in at an hour forty-five, parts of the work still end up feeling bloated. A good example of this is how long it takes for Erastus to explain exactly why he changed his relationship with Polly and her husband. Said answer being parceled out in endless dribs and drabs. Additionally, none of the characters presented are particularly likeable and, other than Falco’s powerful portrayal of Polly, none are strong enough to hold one’s interest. 

McKean’s character in particular comes off as tired and indecisive, with no shading or subtlety that would better define him. Scolari, it should be noted, does nicely portray Polly's husband as a long-suffering spouse. Peter never wanting to force his wife to make a choice which he knows he will lose. However, we never get enough information to really care about this person, or his eventual fate. As for the other characters in the show, they all exist solely as plot points, rather than anything resembling flesh and blood.

L-R: Michael McKean & Edie Falco in The New Group Production of The True.  Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.



On the plus side, Falco grabs and holds the spotlight as Polly. A take-no-prisoner type in both conversation and action, and who, when she finds her back against the wall, fights to reaffirm her self-worth the only way she knows how. Unfortunately, Falco’s efforts are also hamstrung by the lackluster script, which covers no new ground and ends not with a bang, but rather a whimper. Scott Elliott’s direction is rather uneven here and is unable to make the story, or the characters, anything more than mildly diverting.

Feeling more like a novel one would read on a commute to kill time rather than a piece of theatre, The True makes some interesting points; but other than a sterling performance by Falco, doesn't have that much to recommend it.

Featuring: Austin Cauldwell (Bill McCormick), Edie Falco (Dorothea “Polly” Noonan), Glenn Fitzgerald (Howard C. Nolan), Michael McKean (Erastus Corning II), John Pankow (Charlie Ryan), Peter Scolari (Peter Noonan),
Tracy Shayne (Voice). 

The True
By Sharr White
Scenic Design: Derek McLane
Costume Design: Clint Ramos
Lighting Design: Jeff Croiter
Sound Design & Music Composition: Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen
Production Supervisor: Five Ohm Productions
Production Stage Manager: Valerie A. Peterson
Casting: Judy Henderson, CSA
Public Relations: Bridget Klapinski
Advertising: AKA
Directed by Scott Elliott

Presented by The New Group
The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
Tickets: 212-279-4200 or www.NewGroup.org
Running Time: 1 Hour, 45 Minutes, no intermission
Closes: October 28, 2018

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Be More Chill - A Delightful Experience


Reviewed by Judd Hollander

Big Brother is no longer simply watching. He’s now taking an active role, in everything. So suggests the musical Be More Chill at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Boasting one of the most enthusiastic audiences in recent memory, and based on the novel of the same name, the show presents a refreshing new take on the oft-told tale of someone trying to become one of the cool kids.

Jeremy (Will Rolland), now in his junior year at a New Jersey suburban high school, just wants to survive it. A self-described “geek”, he’s regularly tormented by jocks and looked upon with disdain by the popular girls. Even Christine (Stephanie Hsu), a sensitive sort he would love to ask out, gives him little more than the time of day. Meanwhile at home, Jeremy’s Dad (Jason Sweettooth Williams) is going through a major downward spiral in the wake of his wife’s departure, and is no longer emotionally there for his son. Jeremy’s one great joy is spending time with his longtime friend and fellow social outcast, Michael (George Salazar). The song “Two-Player Game” giving a nice overview on the depth of their friendship.

(L-R) Will Roland and George Salazar in BE MORE CHILL
Photo by Maria Baranova

Things change for Jeremy when Rich (Gerard Canonico), a fellow junior, and one of Jeremy’s major tormentors, suddenly offers him the chance to jump to the top of the school social ladder. All thanks to a Squip. A grey oblong pill which, when taken, will show him how to make his dreams come true. Just as it has already done for Rich. No one now remembering him as the loser he used to be. Even Jeremy.

The Squip (Jason Tam) is, in actuality, a kind of supercomputer. Appearing inside Jeremy’s head in the persona of Keanu Reeves, it begins mapping out a course for Jeremy’s future. In short order, Jeremy starts to become one of the popular kids in school and gets invited to the important social gatherings. At the same time, he finds himself becoming estranged from Michael. The Squip explaining how Michael is no longer someone with whom Jeremy should associate.

As with many works of this type – Heathers and Mean Girls are two that immediately come to mind – the real issue facing Jeremy is the importance of staying true to what you believe. Rather than being coerced or convinced to go along with everyone else, simply because that’s the easier thing to do. Coupled with this is a warning to beware opportunities which seem too good to be true. It eventually becoming apparent that Jeremy and the others may be pawns in a much bigger plan. One which has to do with conformity and free will. Or the lack thereof.

Despite its various messages and more than a few serious moments, the heart of Be More Chill is its underlying sense of fun. The work often feeling like a spoof of the very situations it seeks to explore. More importantly, the musical never hits the audience over the head with its message, nor does it ever talk down to them. The entire show akin to a technological thrill ride through the territory that is teenage angst. A good part of the show’s success due to the strong work by lighting designer Tyler Micoleau, and the excellent projection design efforts by Alex Basco Koch.

Be More Chill can also be called “the little musical that could’. The show seeming to reach the end of the line after a regional production several years ago. However, thanks to a cast album and strong word of mouth, the work became a cult hit with an enormous online fan base. Its growing popularity leading to this current theatrical rebirth. One which will continue with a move to Broadway in 2019.

Will Roland and the cast of BE MORE CHILL
Photo by Maria Baranova

The score by Joe Iconis is enjoyable, if not always memorable. Direction by Stephen Brackett is, for the most part, rock-solid. The only missteps occurring during several early transitional moments, when cast members switched between singing and dialogue. These shifts not coming off as seamlessly as they could have. There was also a running problem with the music being too loud, it often drowning out the various song lyrics.

Roland gives a superb performance as Jeremy, a conflicted kid who just wants to fit in, and hopefully get the girl. Hsu is fine as Christine. Someone who, like the rest of the students, is just trying to make it through high school. Talia Suskauer (who subbed for Lauren Marcus the night I saw the show) and Katlyn Carlson worked well as the so-called “popular girls”. Salazar was nicely stalwart as Jeremy’s loyal friend Michael, while Tam did a great job as the mysterious Squip. Williams does a nice turn as Jeremy’s Dad. Particularly in the serio-comic number “The Pants Song”, when he realizes he has to do more than try to be Jeremy’s buddy. He has to start being his father again.

Be More Chill makes for a welcome addition to the New York theatre season and is heartily recommended.

Featuring: Gerard Canonico (Rich Goranski), Katlyn Carlson (Chloe Valentine), Stephanie Hsu (Christine Canigula), Tiffany Mann (Jenna Rolan), Lauren Marcus (Brooke Lohst), Will Roland (Jeremy Heere), George Salazar (Michael Mell), Britton Smith (Jake Dillinger), Jason Tam (The Squip), Jason Sweettooth Williams (Jeremy’s Dad/Mister Reyes/Scary Stockboy).

Be More Chill

Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Book by Joe Tracz
Based on the Novel by Ned Vizzini

Scenic Design Beowulf Boritt
Costume Design: Bobby Frederick Tilley II
Lighting Design: Tyler Micoleau
Sound Design: Ryan Rumery
Production Design: Alex Basco Koch
Wig/Hair Design: Dave Bova
Props Design: Sven Henry Nelson
Associate Music Director: Geoffrey Ko
Casting: Telsey + Company
Productions Stage Manager: Amanda Michaels
Production Supervisor: Senovva Production Core
General Management: LDK Productions
Advertising & Marketing: AKA
Social Media: Marathon Digital
Press Representative: Keith Sherman and Associates
Music Direction and Vocal Arrangements by Emily Marshall
Music Supervision and Orchestrations by Charlie Rosen
Choreography by Chase Brock

Directed by Stephen Brackett

The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
Tickets: 212-279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com
Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes with one intermission
Closes: September 30, 2018

Broadway previews begin February 19, 2019 at the Lyceum Theatre
Broadway tickets: 212-239-6200 or www.telecharge.com