A BRONX TALE

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
presents

Chazz Palminteri in A BRONX TALE

Written by and featuring Chazz Palminteri

Press Representative: Michelle Tabnick Communications

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College
Campus Road at Nostrand Avenue
http://www.brooklyncenter.org


Chazz Palminteri’s A BRONX TALE was first told as a one man show in Los Angeles prior to hitting the silver screen and becoming a major motion picture, which put Mr. Palminteri on the map. He has returned to the original format, delivering a one-man show about his colorful childhood in the Bronx. It is an engrossing tale full of quirky characters like Eddie Mush, Frankie Coffeecake, Tony Toupee, JoJo the Whale, Jimmy Ten-to-Two and Rudy Ice, among others.

Mr. Palminteri becomes all these characters, taking on their idiosyncrasies in how he walks, slouches, hulks, contorts his face, while employing a variety of accents. It’s a coming-of-age story of an adolescent boy who witnesses something that changes his life forever. A much revered and feared gangster, named Sonny, and Chazz’s father are his main influences, and he seems to have adopted the best of both - over time.

When nine-year-old Chazz does not rat him out in a police line up, after witnessing a murder, mob boss Sonny takes him under his wing. Against his father’s wishes, Sonny becomes a second father figure to him, instilling some good lessons along with the bad.

Chazz tells his story in a lively 90-minute show that takes you from his stoop in Brooklyn in the 1960s to his teenage years in the 70s. Vividly, he brings to life the characters, place, story, music and culture of the times. Unfortunately, it played for one show only at Brooklyn College. Perhaps he will return soon and tell his tale at a venue in the Bronx, maybe near 187th and Belmont!

- Gloria Talamas -

SELF MADE MAN: THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS STORY

Derek Yip and Nikita Productions present

SELF MADE MAN: THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS STORY

Performed by PHIL DARIUS WALLACE
Co-Creators: PHIL DARIUS WALLACE, MELANIA LEVITSKY
Directed by MELANIA LEVITSKY
Scenic Design: ANGELINA MARGOLIS
Costume Design: KATJA ANDRELEV
Lighting Design: NATASSIA JIMENEZ
Sound Design: ERIK T. LAWSON
Composer: JOHN McDOWELL
General Manager: RACHEL McMULLIN
Press Representative: GLENNA FREEDMAN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Advertising: HOFSTETTER + PARTNERS LLC
Production Stage Manager: DAVID BELLER

Arclight Theatre
152 West 71st Street
(866) 811-4111 or www.frederickdouglassplay.com
11/18/14 – 12/14/14; Opening Night: November 24, 2014

Born into slavery in 1818 and later turned Abolitionist leader dedicated to exposing slavery, Frederick Douglass was a self-made man who acknowledged the roles that circumstances and other people played in the journey of his life. In Phil Darius Wallace’s and Melania Levitsky’s SELF MADE MAN: THE FREDERICK DOUGLASS STORY, his amazing life is recounted through his writings, speeches, letters and autobiographies. Wallace commands the stage as he portrays not only Douglass, but also his grandmother, Little Freddie, Old Barney, the white lady who taught him how to read, William Lloyd Garrison, John Brown, President Lincoln, and a couple of Civil War soldiers and slave-owners. In a deep resonant voice he orates the philosophies, recounts the stories, and sings the songs that shaped Douglass’ forceful existence. His performance is so realistic and believable that at times it is difficult to watch.

SELF MADE MAN reminds us of the struggle, putting today’s events into perspective, while paying tribute to a remarkable man who shaped history. You can just imagine Frederick Douglass smiling down on the Wallace Eagle as he soars to dizzying heights in this performance.

- Laurie Lawson -

NUTCRACKER ROUGE

Company XIV
presents

NUTCRACKER ROUGE

Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Austin McCormick
Set/Costume Design: Zane Pihlstrom
Lighting Design: Jeanette Yew
Sound Design: Austin McCormick
Stage Manager: Natalia Vasilyeva

Starring: Cassady Rose Bonjo, Marisol Cabrera, Laura Careless, Katrina Cunningham, Alexander Hille, Courtney Giannone, Molly Griffin, Jakob Karr, Nicholas Katen, Kana Kimura, Nico Maffey, Tyler Phillips, Davon Rainey, Jeff Takacs, Allison Ulrich, Shelly Watson

Press Representative: DARR Publicity

XIV
428 Lafayette Street
November 13, 2014 - January 04, 2015; Opening Night:  11/22/14
http://CompanyXIV.com


NUTCRACKER ROUGE telling by the title, is a titillating retake of The Nutcracker. In classic style, Marie Claire is delighted with her nutcracker gift, gets lost in the woods with it, and stumbles upon the Kingdom of Sweets. The show then takes a colorful and risqué turn. In this burlesque castle inhabited with scantily clad dancers - who twist and turn in sexually suggestive fashion - she is entertained by their sweet “treats”.

The dance performances include Cherries, Turkish Delight, Candy Cane, Macaroons, Licorice Boys and other bawdy decadence, fantastically costumed in lush colors. The dancers, entreated by Drosselmeyer and his wife, perform ballet and some impressive circus acrobatics. The music is a mix of classic and contemporary adaptions of Tchaikovsky, jazz and Madonna.

Marie Claire’s exposure to this new world adds the gusto she needs, and the performance ends with her lusty and seductive take on the Sugar Plum Fairy dance. Terrific dancers and beautiful bodies move through the music, noise and glitter, highlighted by the very talented Davon Rainey.

Gloria Talamas 

NANCY REDMAN'S THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN

NANCY REDMAN’S THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN
A Sci-Fi Comedy That Explores the Hypocrisy of Hippocrates

Written and Performed by NANCY REDMAN
Directed by AUSTIN PENDLETON

Studio Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com
October 25 @ 9 PM and November 15 @ 2 PM


Writer/Performer NANCY REDMAN and Director AUSTIN PENDLETON are at it again. The collaboration of these two award winners as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival has resulted in THE DOCTOR IS NOT IN – A Sci-Fi Comedy that Explores the Hypocrisy of Hippocrates. And as always, Ms. Redman is absolutely delightful. In an improbable story line that involves clones, the Tonight Show, doctors, and a One-Jew Chorus, she delivers her hilarious perspective on the inhumanity of the medical profession and throws in an alien takeover just to keep it wild and wacky. Running her hands through her bright red hair, her timing is so perfect and her delivery so succinct that you quickly forget that she is on stage. Suddenly you and Nancy are best friends and she is sharing a ridiculous story guaranteed to keep you laughing from beginning to end. Nancy Redman never disappoints.

- Laurie Lawson -

DEAD SPECIAL CRABS

Wide Eyed Productions
presents

DEAD SPECIAL CRABS

Written by DAN KITROSSER
Directed by KRISTIN SKYE HOFFMAN

Featuring
GREG CARERE, SAMANTHA COOPER, ELLEN DAVID, ANDREW HARRISS, NIC MARRONE, AMY LEE PEARSALL, LEE SEYMOUR, & AUREA TOMESKI

Lighting Design: CATE DiGIROLAMO
Costumes: ELIVIA BOVENZI
Sound Design: J. ALEXANDER DIAZ
Graphic Design: MAYA ELIAM
Set Design: JOSHUA ROSE

TGB Theatre
312 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
www.BrownPaperTickets.com
November 12 through December 6, 2014

It’s a cold Maine autumn when Aunt Missy decides to take a road trip to Florida. She wants her nephew Loomer to drive her there in the tan Corolla. That will be Loomer’s sister’s wedding gift. Loomer does not want to spend days in the car with his aunt. When you meet her, you will understand. He wants her to fly down and he will make the drive with his friend June. That is the last sensible moment in this production. From that point on, everything goes beyond haywire.

Loomer’s gay, June is disappointed and obviously consumes way too much caffeine, a serial killer is stalking I-95 and seems to be always near them, a cult couple takes them in for the night and tries to convert them, various characters die violently, yet the Corolla rolls on. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, Aunt Missy has hired a private detective to drive her to Florida and catch up with Loomer before he gets to the wedding.

“Madness ensues” doesn’t cover it. Heaps of shrieking, mystery, deus-ex-machina, plot twists like curly fries, Dickensian revelations and unbelievable coincidences, philosophy, 1920’s-movie type emoting, operatic tragedy, and pure weirdness. There’s more, but I’ve run out of adjectives. Let’s just say it is one crazy ride, yet totally understandable. Clever playwright, DAN KITROSSER. The entire cast gets A+ for energy. DEAD SPECIAL CRABS is fun, thought-provoking, and great entertainment.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

A WAKE OR A WEDDING

Encompass New Opera Theatre
presents

A WAKE OR A WEDDING

Music and Libretto by Richard Pearson Thomas
Directed by Nancy Rhodes
Conducted by Mara Waldman
Set Design by Stephen H. Carmody
Costume Design by Angela Huff
Lighting Design by Colin Chauche

Featuring: Marie Anello, Alison Davy, Joy Hermalyn, Eapen Luebner, Scott Lindroth, Caroline Bassett MIller, Lindsay Rider Adrian Rosas and the Ionisation Orchestra.

Press Representative: Audrey Ross

Baruch Performing Arts Center
55 Lexington Avenue
Through November 16, 2014
encompassopera.org; 866.811.4111

A WAKE OR A WEDDING is a comic opera, and a spoof on several well-known operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, Il Trovatore and Cosi fan tutte.

A Montana copper magnate passes away on the eve of his daughter’s wedding, wreaking havoc on the relationships of his relatives and household staff. He was a wealthy and miserly ogre, who leaves them fighting for his inheritance.

Once the wedding entertainment arrives, the opera comes alive, and surprises unfold. Though the wedding is postponed, they are invited to stay and perform for the family. The duo consists of an Egyptian tenor and a flamboyant, slapstick diva.

As each performer’s secret is revealed, no one is who they appear to be. The widow who at first appears dazed and confused, reaches her long awaited clarity. The spoiled daughter gets her comeuppance. Even the suffering servants and entertainers become embroiled in the fiasco. The story gets twisted beyond belief, and tests the boundaries of what family is.

The music, performed by the Ionisation Orchestra, was solid, though at times drowned out the performers. Joy Hermalyn provided the most comic relief and biggest voice of the group as Marcella Sorella, the wedding entertainer, reminiscent of Bette Midler.

Lots of silly fun.

- Gloria Talamas -

VIETNAM...THROUGH MY LENS

LSNelson Productions
presents

VIETNAM…THROUGH MY LENS

Written & Performed by STU RICHEL
Directed by LINDA S. NELSON

Voiceovers: CHET BROOKS, AL SMITH, & TERENCE McCARTHY
Scenic Designer: MARISA MERRIGAN
Lighting Designer: ELAINE WONG
Photo Montages/Video Design: MICHAEL LEE STEVER
Costume Consultant: SAMANTHA NEWBY
Graphic Designer: PHILIP EMEOTT
Website Design/Development: CHRISTOPHER A. McCARTHY & CHRISTOPHER T. EVANS
Marketing Consultant: TERENCE McCARTHY
Assistant Stage Manager: MELISSA E. CARROLL
Stage Manager: AMY HENAULT
Press Representative: DALE HELLER, HELLERHIGHWATER

Dorothy Strelsin Theater
312 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
www.vietnamthroughmylens.com
November 9 through 23, 2014

STU RICHEL had just earned his law degree when New York called him up for the draft in 1967. He kind of took his time reporting, and when he did, it was too late for him to go in as an officer. Straight to boot camp in Georgia, and here’s your stylish new haircut. Get ready for reality, city boy.

RICHEL wrote this memoir from the viewpoint of how his service in Viet Nam changed him. He had opportunities to avoid the draft. One was to join the Coast Guard National Guard. But something in him prevented him from taking that route. A slim, scholarly looking young man, he neither acts nor thinks like a “killer”. Yet he decides he wants to see action. Once in ‘Nam he is assigned to the JAG office, far from the front and using his legal skills to deal with soldiers who had gone AWOL. He still wants to go into combat. His pals decide he is crazy.

He gets his wish, stuffed into a cargo plane headed into conflict, into an area filled with booby-traps and gunfire. He takes up smoking, since all the C-Rations (Army for “food”, sort of) contain a little pack of cigarettes, generously supplied by the tobacco companies. The camaraderie was deep, the dangers many, and RICHEL wonders at the many potentially suicidal things he did, like crawling into underground tunnels with just a flashlight and a gun. He recounts the joys: a weekend pass to Saigon with its hot showers, real food, and wonderful smells. R&R was in Taiwan with an equal array of delights. During his days at the front, he even meets a very brave, devoted man---who will turn out in the end to be a famous spy.

By 1970 he’s back on Long Island, passing the N.Y. bar exam. He bounces out to San Jose, then to Greenwich Village. In April, 1995, the twentieth anniversary of U.S. withdrawal from Viet Nam, he gets a call from CBS. They are doing a special broadcast and would like him to participate. He’s not sure he wants to go back and touch that sadness.

I’ll let him tell you the rest, including the lessons he learned from the war. RICHEL has written and performs an absolutely engaging, realistic yet primarily light-hearted, view of his participation in a war that tore not only Viet Nam, but this country, to shreds. During the production, photos from his days in the jungle are displayed on a white screen behind him, including pictures of his pals. In a postscript, the screen displays then-and-now photos of him and his friends, and what they are doing in life these days.

VIETNAM…THROUGH MY LENS will resonate with anyone who remembers that era. If you know the Viet Nam War only through history books or your father’s stories, this play will fill in the lines with colorful details and cruel truths. RICHEL tells a great tale, no matter what your age.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

SIGNAL FAILURE

Sasha Ellen Productions
presents

SIGNAL FAILURE

Written by SASHA ELLEN
Directed by PETER DARNEY

Featuring
SASHA ELLEN & SPENCER COWAN

Lighting Design: SHERRY COENEN

SoHo Playhouse
15 Vandam Street
New York, NY 10013
www.sashaellenproductions.com
October 8 through November 16, 2014

The term “short and sweet” fits perfectly here. Young Lorna, taking the subway to work in London, passes the time looking at other travelers. Young Brian does the same, coming home from his night shift.
Each alone, yet mobbed with other people. One day Brian notices a newspaper column called “Missed Connections”. People send tweets about/to strangers they’ve noticed on the daily commute. Rather anonymous and general information, but it intrigues him. Soon thereafter Lorna notices the same column. She begins to read it daily, just in case someone has noticed her. She pretends not to care, but she does.

Symbolically, each character talks in monologue until Brian dares to put an item in the column. Lorna responds. They meet and like what they see. Dialogue begins, as the two move into a relationship. Young love and all its silliness begins. Then, as the title betrays, they hit some accidents, delays, and signal failures. Youthful hearts are easily broken, but perhaps as easily mended. Everyone, including the audience, must wait and see.

This play moves swiftly and is totally relatable to anyone who has had even a crush on someone. It is sweet, but not overly so, and the characters are very real and uncomplicated. Anyone who has ridden a subway knows the truth of the situation. Sometimes eyes do meet for a second. A very nice second. Who hasn’t thought “what if…”?

-Karen D’Onofrio-

POWERHOUSE

Sinking Ship Productions
presents

POWERHOUSE

Created by Josh Luxenberg (writer) and the Sinking Ship Ensemble
Directed by Jon Levin
Produced by Dina Vovsi
Stage Manager: Carly Levin
Puppet Design: The Puppet Kitchen
Costume Design: Erin Schultz
Lighting Design: Nicholas Houfek
Sound Design: Sean Brennan

Featuring: Erik Lochtefeld, Jessica Frey, Hanley Smith, Tyler Bunch, Spencer Lott, Eric Wright, Clare McNulty

Press Representative: David Gibss/DARR Publicity

New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street
November 3- 23, 2014
http://www.powerhouse-theplay.com


POWERHOUSE introduces us to Raymond Scott, a composer and machine tinkerer unfamiliar to us. Many of his compositions were soon adapted for cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Ren and Stimpy, Daffy Duck, and Porgy Pig, among others). We are now being introduced to the man behind the music.

Raymond Scott is quite eccentric. Bland, yet obsessive about precision. He insists on perfection and having his Quintette play his songs with soul, testing their patience. His need for perfection takes a toll on those around him. He is not the easiest person to work or live with as his band members and many wives come and go.

He is more comfortable with his instruments and machines than with people. He is driven to create the grand machine that can allow people to listen to compositions in a composer’s mind. His obsession went beyond what was humanly possible, and kept others distant.

The cartoon puppets that appear in the show are hilarious, and a reminder of the Warner Brothers Saturday morning cartoon shows. The animators and their “Kalamity Cartoon” puppets steal the show.

The play is an introduction to an interesting American composer. Though a bit confusing, as it moves from scene to scene, one gets to know the various pieces and periods that makeup Scott’s life. The set design with the rolling desks that serve as pianos, machines, TVs and more are handy. Erik Lochtefeld does a fine job portraying Scott and the animators are great fun.

- Gloria Talamas -

OCTOBER IN THE CHAIR AND OTHER FRAGILE THINGS

oldsoundroom
presents

OCTOBER IN THE CHAIR AND OTHER FRAGILE THINGS
Based on the Short Stories of Best Selling Author Neil Gaiman

Adapted by the oldsoundroom ACTING ENSEMBLE
Directed & Scored by MICHAEL McQUILKEN

Featuring
WILLIAM DeMERRIT, LAURA GRAGTMANS, ELIA MONTE-BROWN,
JACKSON MORAN, & MICHAEL McQUILKEN

Lighting Design: SOLOMON WEISBARD
Masks & Sunbird Puppet Design: MICHAEL McQUILKEN
All Puppets Except Sunbird: ELIZABETH BARRETT GROTH
Sound Design: MICHAEL McQUILKEN
Clothing Donated by NICHOLAS K
Press Representation: GLENNA FREEDMAN

The American Theatre of Actors
314 West 54th Street
New York, NY 10019
www.oldsoundroom.com
October 29 through November 2, 2014

If you are unfamiliar with NEIL GAIMAN, he is the author of the novel “Coraline” and helped adapt it for the animated film version. Beyond that, his dark absurdist tales are cult favorites of fantasy and sci-fi fans. This production is an interpretation of five stories from his book “Fragile Things”.

Five of The Months are assembled. October sits on his throne, ruler of the meeting. He is a fearsome creature with devilish horns and a painted face. His authority is unquestioned, his power obvious in his words and actions. Reigning among the dead trees and cobwebs in the half-light, he orders each of the others to tell a tale never told before, then receive a reward.

Cantankerous August complains his way into going first. His creation is suitably black and macabre. It’s adapted from GAIMAN’s story “Feeders and Eaters”. It is a grim as it sounds. It involves blood and raw meat. Let’s just leave it at that.

Second is the lovely, chain-smoking February. Her imaginative recital of a most intriguing yet morbid Valentine’s Day love story also involves blood and red meat. There is definitely a trend here.

Third is timid, flighty, manic May. Hers is a tale within a tale. She portrays a Victorian writer whose quill pen never stops moving and whose narrative bounces around like a tennis ball. Hers is the most entertaining narrative, with its jolts and jumps and revisions. Melodrama is her forte, and LAURA GRAGTMANS goes all the way in emoting May’s confusion and self-doubt at lightning speed. Consider that her part comes from GAIMAN’s “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire”. It’s a complicated experience, to say the least. It includes an impressive ballet of a duel as well as puppetry. And many other things. So many other things. And, though in constant motion, she never stops talking. Never.

March, a troll, has perhaps the saddest story. Portrayed by MICHAEL McQUILKEN, he leads an unlikely group to an unlikely dinner. McQUILKEN also shines as the on-stage musician, subtly playing the piano and other instruments over in his dark corner, enhancing every morbid, funny, queasy moment of the whole production.

OCTOBER IN THE CHAIR AND OTHER FRAGILE THINGS defies classification. It is brilliantly performed and totally enjoyable, even if your skin crawls from time to time. It has ingenious yet funhouse terrors scattered throughout. It is too gory to be “Twilight Zone” material, but emits that same suspenseful feeling to permeate the dark around you. Per meat. Per me ate. Definitely a word made for these tales.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

THAT PLAY

Tom Gualtieri & Heather Hill
in association with
Stage Left Studio
present

THAT PLAY: A SOLO MACBETH


Written by TOM GUALTIERI & HEATHER HILL
Directed by HEATHER HILL

Starring TOM GUALTIERI

Original Music & Sound: ERIN HILL
Lighting: ELLEN ROSENBERG

Stage Left Studio
214 West 30th Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10001
October 28 & November 4 & 8, 2014
www.stageleftstudio.net

It’s enough of a miracle when an actor playing Macbeth in a traditional production can nail that complex character. TOM GUALTIERI not only grabs Macbeth by the throat and shakes him down to DNA level, he also portrays the delightful (heavy irony here) Lady Macbeth, the ultimate “power behind the throne”; the three witches, Macduff, Banquo and his apparition, King Duncan, and other characters adding up to a total of nineteen, and one wickedly witty narrator. All this with no props and wearing plain brown modern casual clothes.

Alternately sympathetic, heroic, evil, murderous, brave, and insane, he pauses from time to time to break that fourth wall and make light-hearted comments on what just happened. Then snap! Back into character and on with the play. It is a true miniature of Macbeth and, at the same time, a highly entertaining twist on the play.

The original music and sound, plus subtle lighting changes, enhance the atmosphere. There is audience participation at one point. Don’t worry. He just passes out note paper. No stage fright involved. But those papers drive home his point: do we all have a bit of Macbeth in us? Or a touch of Lady Macbeth? Perhaps we, too, are capable of evil. Or at least of thinking of evil. It’s but a short step from the thought to the deed. We see that in the news every day.

THAT PLAY is a compelling perspective on what is one of Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies. No happy ending here. No redemption. But excellent entertainment thanks to the skills of TOM GUALTIERI and HEATHER HILL.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

SHUT UP SIT DOWN & EAT

The Anne L. Bernstein Theater
At The Snapple Theater Center
Plomedy Production presents

SHUT UP SIT DOWN & EAT
www.shutupsitdownandeat.com
a.k.a. Stai Zitto Siediti E Mangia

Written by and Starring

TINA GIORGI, JOE MOFFA, ERICE TARTAGLIONE, CHRIS MONTY

Co-Written by TOM INGEGNO
Directed by EVE BRANDSTEIN
Advertising & Marketing: DTE AGENCY
Publicity: JT/PR JOE TRENTACOSTA

The Snapple Theater Center
1627 Broadway at 50th Street, 4th Floor
(212) 921-7862 or www.ticketmaster.com
October 12 through December 28; Opening Night: 10/26/14

SHUT UP SIT DOWN & EAT is a plomedy which has defined itself as “the only cure for Italian insanity.” A plomedy is a new theatrical event that blends the wit of stand-up comedy and the intensity of a one-man show presented in an innovative play format by professional comedians. Whatever. All you really need to know is that this production is hilarious. Full of sharp-witted comedy, this is a grand celebration of Italians in all their glory

Four individuals of Italian heritage (Tina Giorgi, Joe Moffa, Eric Tartaglione, and Chris Monty) meet for the first time in a group therapy session. From gravy to grandmas to macaronis and mamalukes and onward through funerals, vasectomies, marriage, divorce, and child-rearing, these four shine a light on the Italian way of thinking, eating, and dealing with issues in both the group and as asides. A funnier time could not be had. And there’s even room for a few heart-breaking moments.


SHUT UP SIT DOWN & EAT is such an exquisite piece of work that you will either leave glad that you’re Italian or wishing you were. Tell everyone you know – dese Italians are funny guys.

- Laurie Lawson -

THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN

Brierpatch Productions on behalf of VH Theatrical Development Foundation presents

THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN
www.TheBrightnessOfHeaven.com

A New Play by LAURA PEDERSEN
Directed by LUDOVICA VILLAR HAUSER

Featuring

MARK BANIK, EMILY BATSFORD, PETER CORMICAN, BILL COYNE, PAULA EWIN
JAMES MICHAEL LAMBERT, KATE KEARNEY-PATCH, KENDALL RILEIGH

Costume & Scenic Designs: MEGANNE GEORGE
Lighting Design: NATALIE ROBIN
Sound Design: JANIE BULLARD
Dialect Design: AMY STOLLER
Ms. Pedersen’s Publicity: WILEY SAICHEK
Marketing & Advertising: RED RISING MARKETING
Press: COYLE ENTERTAINMENT
Fiddler: KENDRA JO BROOK
General Management: BRIERPATCH PRODUCTIONS
Production Stage Manager: ALISON HASSMAN

Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Lane
(866) 811-4111 or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/33005
October 16th - December 14th; Opening Night – 10/26/14

What is it about family get-togethers around a dinner table that brings out the insanity and dysfunction? Laura Pedersen’s THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN has this inevitable phenomenon down pat. The Kilgannons are a typical Irish Catholic family residing in Buffalo, NY, in 1974. In celebration of the head of the household’s (Peter Cormican) birthday, different generations collide and clash as secrets are revealed and dogmas are challenged. The rules are so simple for the older peer group (Kate Kearney-Patch, Paula Ewin) because the Bible tells them so. Their offspring (Mark Banik, Emily Batsford, Bill Coyne, James Michael Lambert, and Kendall Rileigh) are a part of changing times that include the Vietnam War, Watergate, Hippies, drugs, and the dreaded long hair. Throw in homosexuality, unwed mothers, and Jewish suitors, and chaos reigns.

In this delightful comedy of Faith vs. Reality, Pedersen has perfectly captured the 1970’s in attitudes, fears, and hopes of this era. Sexual harassment is a way of life for working women, punishment is severe for homosexual sinners, motherhood is expected but only when properly wedded within one’s own race and religion, and men are the strong ones who never admit they have feelings. Fantastic sets and costumes (a stage full of polyester) by Meganne George further serve to authentic the time period. As the lines become blurred, the family fights for survival while each generation clings to their beliefs and the gap widens. An impressive cast and succinct direction by Ludovica Villar Hauser allow an entertaining peek at the future and THE BRIGHTNESS OF HEAVEN.

- Laurie Lawson -

EXCUSE MY DUST

Michael Shannon and Soho Playhouse
present

EXCUSE MY DUST - “A Dorothy Parker Portfolio”

Written by Jennifer Engstrom
Directed by Darren Lee Cole

Featuring: Jennifer Engstrom

Soho Playhouse
15 VanDam
October 5- November 9, 2014
www.sohoplayhouse.com
212.691.1555

The title of this play is derived from Dorothy Parker’s wish to have her epitaph read “Excuse My Dust”. This one woman show enacts 5 female characters from Ms. Parker’s short stories. Each monologue is of a frustrated woman longing to be loved and accepted, providing us with some of the witticisms Ms. Parker is known for.

In the first vignette, a woman weaves her way through a party where she knows no one, and nervously fidgets with her broken garter. She sits and criticizes people, while feeling left out. In the next vignette, a woman waits obsessively by the phone for her suitor to call as promised. She prays and complains to God for the phone to ring, promising to be a better person, but to no avail. She hates herself for being “bitter, querulous and unkind”. At last, she screams to God: “Do you think your hell is worse than mine?”

In another skit, a woman is at a dancehall and reluctantly agrees to waltz with a partner who has two left feet; and in another, sitting at a bar stool with a man named Fred, a woman drowns her sorrows in alcohol. Through her tears, she utters: “I gotta give up using mascara, Fred. Life’s too sad.” The final story goes back to the broken garter, where she continues to fret and hide behind her sadness and loneliness.

As one of the characters quoted - “sorrow is tranquility remembered in emotion”, the basis of all these short stories. It’s not a subject matter that appeals to most, but Ms. Engstrom does an admirable job projecting these characters’ vulnerability and rage.

- Gloria Talamas -

ANTONIO AND SHYLOCK:  MONSTERS

Stage Left Studio
presents

ANTONIO AND SHYLOCK: MONSTERS

Adapted and Directed by DIKRAN TULAINE

Featuring
DIKRAN TULAINE, KC WEAKLEY, LIAM BOBERSKY, TC CORWIN,
CHERYL KING, & ANNETTE GUARASSI

Board Operator: ELLEN ROSENBERG

Stage Left Studio
214 West 30th Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10001
October 19, 22, 23, & 26, 2014
www.stageleftstudio.net

This production is a complete remake of the play of the same name presented by Stage Left earlier this year. It is now performed with great effect in-the-round. And as opposed to the “groundlings” of Shakespeare’s age, this play has “stage-lings”, because the audience is welcome to seats on the stage while the players occupy the center of the usual seating space.

Based on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, MONSTERS concentrates on the bigotry of Christian versus Jew and vice-versa. It focuses intensely on the scenes where the bargain for the pound of flesh is made, and the trial scene in which Shylock vehemently demands exactly that as his payment. Examining the complicated relationships of Shylock and Antonio and the times they live in, playwright DIKRAN TULAINE expands on and deepens these characters, their conflicts, and their rationales. All is trimmed to an exploration of hatred and the desire for revenge.

TULAINE also plays Shylock, and he is fabulous. His dark, deep intensity makes him a “monster” that still evokes the sympathy of the audience. His rage has a valid basis. Christians subject his race to verbal, personal, and economic abuse—until they need something from them. Shylock loaned Antonio the money when he needed it. Antonio did not pay it back on time. It is not about money now, it is about invoking the law to permit Shylock’s brutal revenge for every insult, every mockery. A lifetime of anger will be resolved when he carves out that pound of flesh.

The traditional “quality of mercy” speech is made. Shylock couldn’t care less. He wants his pound of flesh and nothing can change his mind. The Venetian judges plead with him to accept a large sum of money instead, or simply abandon his devilish deal. It all has a very modern ending, based on tricky legal wording. Some things never change. Another excellent production from Stage Left.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

POWWOW HIGHWAY

American Indian Arts, Inc. (AMERINDA) presents

POWWOW HIGHWAY

Adapted by William S. Yellow Robe, Jr (Assiniboine)
From the novel by David Seals (Huron)
Directed by MADELINE SAYER (Mohegan)

Starring
WYATT TRUE ASH-MILBY (Navajo), DONNA BROOKS (Sac and Fox), DYLAN CARUSONA (Ojibway/Turtle Clan Oneida), JOE CROSS (Caddo/Potawatomi), BOB JAFFE, TANIS PARENTEAU (Metis/Cree/Sioux), AUTUMN PETERS (Ojibway/Santo Domingo Pueblo), ANNA RAHN, and JOHN SCOTT RICHARDSON (Haliwa-Saponi)

Stage Manager: SAMANTHA DAVIS
Scenic, Puppet & Prop Design: RAPHAEL MISHLER
Costume Design: LUX HAAC
Lighting Design: EVAN ROBY
Sound Design: MARK VAN HARE
Associate Line Producer: BRETT HECKSHER (Cherokee)
Creative Line Producer: AMANDA FELDMAN
AMERINDA Director & Founder: DIANE FRAHER (Osage/Cherokee)

HERE
145 Avenue of Americas at Dominick Street
(212) 352-3101
October 10 -25, 2014; Opening Night – 10/16/14

POWWOW HIGHWAY is the route that Philbert (John Scott Richardson) and Buddy (Dylan Carusona) take from Montana to New Mexico. Inspired by Aunt Harriet (Donna Brooks), their goal is to retrieve Buddy’s sister (Tanis Parenteau) from jail. The trip is fraught with difficulties and tempered with spiritual beings. Heritage and faith are strange traveling partners.

As delightful as it is to see a production where the majority of the cast is Native American Indian, POWWOW HIGHWAY is at times a bit confusing and the storyline is difficult to follow. While the acting provided some insights into Native American heritage and ways, such a rich legacy could easily educate and entertain the audience but for the most part that opportunity was missed.

- Laurie Lawson -

RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS

Barbara Ligeti & Jeffrey Altshuler
present

RIDING THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS

Written & Performed by BILLY HAYES
Directed by JEFFREY ALTSHULER

Lighting Design: STEPHEN ARNOLD, SARNOLDESIGN
Graphic Design: ALAN BUTTAR, MUSE DESIGN LTD.

Barrow Street Theatre
27 Barrow Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 868-4444 or www.Smarttix.com
October 2 through November 30, 2014

Billy Hayes. A name that sounds like the boy next door. Which he was, until he became a multi-media news headliner in 1970. Something about getting arrested in Istanbul with two kilos of hash taped to his body. The Turkish government doesn’t play around. Life sentence, young man, in a Turkish prison. Not the future mom, dad, or son had envisioned.

His notoriety morphed into fame with the publication of his best-seller, Midnight Express, in 1976. That was followed by the release of the Oscar-winning movie in 1978. Now Hayes has created an electrifying one-man recounting of his youthful stupidity, his existence in prison, and the coup de grace: his hair-raising escape. He reveals aspects of his experiences never before told, elaborates on many instances portrayed in the film, and corrects some plot-lines and scenes that were fictionalized for the movie. Most especially he takes us through the incredible drama surrounding his white-knuckle escape. His is an epic journey of personal growth, fortitude, survival, and spiritual discovery. He definitely learned his lesson.

He had smuggled hash from Istanbul before. He sold it in the U.S. for $5,000 and could live a life of ease on that. Every six months he did it again. Easy money. Then Nixon declared his “war on drugs”. Hayes didn’t do his homework and slipped-up. Next stop, a nasty jail with a hole in the floor for a toilet. He went on to learn Turkish, be transferred from jail to jail, and employ the power of bribing everyone. His parents continued to send him money, standing by him although broken-hearted. Hayes admits this is his biggest regret: he caused so much suffering to his parents.

HAYES has a gift for acting, that’s for sure. You find yourself tensing up and leaning forward as he goes through each step of his terrifying night, rowing through a storm, hoping to reach the right spot on the opposite shore. Bloody and wet, he continued his petrifying trek on land, always looking over his shoulder for fear the Turks would track him. He is absolutely transfixing. It is so real, you are there with him, riding the midnight express.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

ICEBOUND

Metropolitan Playhouse
Presents

ICEBOUND

Written by Owen Davis
Directed by Alex Roe
Set Design: Alex Roe
Lighting Design: Christopher Weston
Costume Design: Sidney Fortner
Stage Manager: Katy Moore

Starring: Victor Barranca, Connor Barth, Anne Bates, Quinlan Corbett, Gregory Dann, Sidney Fortner, Michelle Geisler, Olivia Killingsworth, Kelly King, Maria Silverman, Alyssa Simon, Rob Skolits

Metropolitan Playhouse
Through October 19, 2014
www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets 800.838.3006

Three siblings - ‘the Jordans' as they proudly refer to themselves - from rural Maine, sit in the parlor of their dying mother’s home, anxiously awaiting the doctor’s prognosis. They mask their greed by feigning love for their mother. But their real motives become clear once they discuss their mother’s will; which one of them needs her fortune most and whether it would be divided equally. They are like “carrion crows around a sick cow at pasture”.

Mother Jordan is a cold, unfeeling woman typical of stoic New Englanders. As she breathes her last breath, we learn from the Judge that she willed everything to Jane, their reliable, distant cousin who has been her caregiver for 7 years. She knew her children’s motives and knew they would be irresponsible, says the Judge.

Cousin Jane rules the roost now and keeps a firm hold on the family fortune denying the siblings any advances or loans without conditions. Youngest brother Ben, the outlaw, is coerced by Jane into working the family farm or else go to prison. There are twists and turns in who secretly loves (or lusts) whom and the story takes a dramatic turn when naughty Nettie (granddaughter) and ne’er-do-well Ben begin a flirtatious relationship.

But there is one last promise Mother Jordan asked of Jane which Jane cleverly uses to attempt to extricate herself from the Jordans. But all’s well that ends well and Mother Jordan still gets the last laugh.

ICEBOUND is a dark comedy that shows how cold and conniving people can be, especially in desperate circumstances and a frigid environment - and I don’t mean climate!

Ms. Killingsworth as Jane is convincing as the tough-love caregiver who emerges triumphant.

- Gloria Talamas -

CHINESE COFFEE

On The Wind Productions Presents

CHINESE COFFEE
www.chinesecoffee2014.com

Written by IRA LEWIS
Directed by LOUISE LASSER

Featuring

SEAN WALSH as Harry Levine & AUSTIN PENDLETON as Jake Manheim

Produced by SEAN WALSH
Set Design: ALISON BUATTI
Lighting/Sound Design: JONATHAN COTTLE
Press Representation: SPIN CYCLE/RON LASKO
Production Manager & Technical Director: JONATHAN COTTLE
Art Director: CHRIS CRISCOSTOMO
Additional Production & Promotional Imagery: JOHN LUSTIG
Publicity Photographer: R.J. CAPUTO

Roy Arias Stage II Theater
300 West 43rd Street (@ Eighth Avenue)
https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/937980 or (866) 811-4111
September 24 – October 03, 2014; Opening Night – 10/28/14

Ira Lewis’ CHINESE COFFEE takes place in a small apartment that serves as a seldom-used photography studio in New York City. Kudos to Alison Buatti for a realistic set design. Harry (Sean Walsh) has come to visit his best friend Jake (Austin Pendleton) to demand repayment of a $473 loan. Conversations that begin in the wee hours of a cold winter night rarely turn out well, and this one is no exception. Amidst neuroses and psychoses dripping with sarcasm and enmity (Jake refers to Harry as a “walking disorder factory’), along with much whining and philosophizing, the gentlemen engage in a pissing contest to see who has suffered the most. Their symbiotic relationship allows them to revel in each other’s pain while acknowledging their unique friendship. True motives and underlying insecurities begin to unravel this long-time alliance.

There are not enough superlatives to describe the excellence of acting on the parts of Walsh and Pendleton. It is so natural that you quickly forget you are watching a play. Clever repartee peppered with sophisticated humor and emotional outbursts make this a fascinating encounter. Direction by Louise Lasser is sharp while allowing flexibility for the many talents of the actors. CHINESE COFFEE should be seen just to witness the mastery of theatrical art.

- Laurie Lawson -

THE McGOWAN TRILOGY

the cell
presents

THE McGOWAN TRILOGY
A Serial in Three ActsT


Written by SEAMUS SCANLON
Directed by KIRA SIMRING

DANCING AT LUNACY

Featuring
PAUL NUGENT, MATT GOLDEN, PHILIP CALLEN, & CONOR McINTYRE

THE LONG WET GRASS
Featuring
PAUL NUGENT & ANNA NUGENT

BOYS SWAM BEFORE ME
Featuring
PAUL NUGENT & CINDY BOYLE

Fight Choreography: JED PETERSON
Scenic & Lighting Design: GERTJAN HOUBEN
Costume Design: SIENA ZOE ALLEN
Sound Design: DYLAN FUSILLO

the cell
338 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
www.thecelltheatre.org
September 13 through October 5, 2014

DANCING AT LUNACY

This is a rewrite of SEAMUS SCANLON’s earlier work of the same name. He has massaged the lead character, Victor McGowan, the better to flow into the two new plays that continue the saga of Victor’s life. Its tone has changed more toward the lunacy side of Victor, and expands his behavior and conversations to make him a more complicated character. Although the title may sound comic, this is a dark, violent, and challenging reconstruction of a critical moment in Irish political history. A tour-de-force production, it is set in Ireland in1984, during the era of hunger strikes and IRA bombings. The dialogue is absolutely brilliant and very funny. But some of the laughter is more from uneasiness than the clever wordplay. Victor makes everyone nervous. Very nervous.

In an illegal drinking club, IRA members gather in secret to sort out their issues. These men have a savagery and a wild disregard for what is now termed collateral damage. Enter Victor McGowan, absolutely the biggest arsehole terrorist you would never want to meet. Young and lean, he turns up the radio, dances around like a fool, insults everyone, and has a loaded gun. A weapon which he loves to play with and point at others. This may not end well.

The lad behind the bar is likeable and clueless. While amazed at Victor’s erratic behavior, he’s just the bloke who washes the glasses. It’s the other gent who is in Victor’s crosshairs. As they banter, the words become harsher, sharper. An elder IRA official joins the group. He and Victor hate each other, yet are on the same team. Someone in that little room is suspected of being a traitor. The sentence for that is always death.

PAUL NUGENT, who portrayed Victor in the earlier version, is once again a human whirlwind as the heartless villain. Though humor threads through the play, the black undertone is murderous madness. This is a brilliant snapshot of a grim instance in time, acted to frightening perfection.

THE LONG WET GRASS

Set several months after DANCING AT LUNACY, we meet Victor again, out in the countryside at night, in the long wet grass. Scenes projected on the wall behind him, and the music that plays as the characters enter, create an encircling mood of the Irish night. He is with a female companion his own age. Sadly, she is gagged and has been transported to this spot in the trunk of Victor’s car for the three-hour drive. He removes the gag and she is rather calm, considering her situation. She and Victor are old friends. She even had a crush on him for ages, but he never noticed. That surprises him, catches him off-guard. It puts a little hiccup in his intentions for the evening, possibly a wavering of his stone-cold heart.

She is another “traitor”, and we already know what happens to traitors. She recounts her “offence” in touching way, appealing to Victor because her transgression was so minor and harmless. But this is Victor she’s talking to. That tiny spark of heart we saw vanishes back into the blackness. Her fear is that she will be left in the long wet grass forever. And forever is a long, lonely time. We don’t know if we believe what Victor tells her. His words and actions do have a tinge of mercy. Her life is in his hands.

ANNA NUGENT is quietly but deeply believable in her bittersweet role, suspended between life and death. We have affection for her and wish her well. If only wishes could come true.

BOYS SWAM BEFORE ME

Just days after his walk in the wet grass, Victor pays a visit his mother. She is in a hospital bed and obviously has dementia. Sometimes she knows who he is, sometimes not. She breaks into a screechy song every so often, then babbles on about her past, real and imagined. Once you’ve heard her blather about Victor’s childhood, you begin to understand why he is what he is.

Her confusion doesn’t stop her from being sharp-tongued. He was a bad boy, she says. She thought that inside he was really a girl. She also lets slip a few heartbreaking secrets he was unaware of. He flinches but stays by her bedside. When she is cold, he pulls up her blanket. His face is still the same icy face, though. Would a “mercy killing” be a mercy to her, or to him?

--Karen D’Onofrio--

ROCOCO ROUGE

Company XIV
presents

ROCOCO ROUGE

Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by Austin McCormick
Set/Costume Design: Zane Pihlstrom
Lighting Design: Jeanette Yew
Sound Design: Austin McCormick
Stage Manager: Natalia Vasilyeva

Starring: Brett Umlauf, Shelly Watson, Laura Careless, Allison Ulrich, Steven Trumon Gray, Katrina Cunningham, Rob Mastrianni, Courtney Giannone, Davon Rainey, Cailan Orn,

Press Representative: DARR Publicity

Company XIV, Colonnade Row
428 Lafayette Street
Through November 2, 2014
www.companyxiv.com

Entering the bar at Company XIV (now located on Colonnade Row), you are taken back in time to a dark, red velvety, Parisian cabaret club at the turn of the century and greeted by numerous staff, dressed in 17th-century frills, or in New York black.

We were escorted through a closed door to the performance space. While waiting for the show to begin and our drinks to arrive, we were entertained by titillating, scantily clad dancers. The Madame who emceed the show was in opulent outfits and hairpieces. She glided between audience and stage, enchanting us in song. The Company, she proudly says, was named after Louis the IV, the patron saint of sinners.

The bawdy troupe performed a medley of musical pieces in a broad variety of styles, including RAP, operatic (e.g., Carmen), Piaf’s Padum, and an Adele clone. The music and circus acrobatics are the highlights of the show. The performers have wide ranging talents and are well put together in their skimpy outfits, with red feathers, high heels, thongs and nipple covers.
One audience member lamented that she was leaving town, but would love to return to see this show again. It’s a unique New York event.

- Gloria Talamas -

MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL

AnthonyKen, LLC
Sheryl Lee Ralph & the D.I.V.A. Foundation Present

MIGHTY REAL
A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL

Starring ANTHONY WAYNE

Featuring
ANASTACIA McCLESKEY & JACQUELINE B. ARNOLD
With
DEANNE STEWART & RAHMEL McDADE

Director: ANTHONY WAYNE & KENDRELL BOWMAN
Choreographer: ANASTACIA McCLESKEY
General Manager: EDMUND GAYNEES
Musical Director: ALONZO HARRIS
Lighting & Scenic Design: DAVID LANDER
Sound Design: J. RAFAEL CARLOTTO
Costume Design: KENDRELL BOWMAN
Casting: ANTHONYKEN LLC
Associate Casting: PATRICE COVINGTON
Production Stage Manager: KATRINA OLSON
Press Rep: GLENNA FREEDMAN PR/COYLE ENTERTAINMENT/ MEDIA HUNTER PR

Theatre at St. Clement’s
423 West 46th Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(866) 811-4111 or https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34406
September 5 - October 5; Opening Night – 09/14/14

I walked into the Theatre at St. Clement’s not really sure who Sylvester was and I walked out a life-long fan. I might have been singing Mighty Real too. MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL chronicles the short but impactful life of Sylvester, the “Queen of Disco,” a talented and courageous singer/songwriter who lived life on his own terms. This musical tells the story hopefully in a way he would applaud.

Amidst disco balls and sequins, the stage explodes with talent. From the band to the backup singers (Deanne Stewart & Rahmel McDade) to the amazing Anthony Wayne (Sylvester) and his wonderful Weather Girls (Anastacia McCleskey & Jacqueline B. Arnold), the energy is non-stop and the music is oh-so-fine. Not only do you get to hear some of your favorite songs – “Do You Wanna Funk,” “Can’t Stop Dancing,” “You Are My Friend,” “Dance,” the title song and many more – but you also witness the glitz and glamour that was the trademark of Sylvester.

Go see MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL. You’ll be stomping your feet, dancing in your seat, clapping your hands, and singing along. If you weren’t there during the disco era, now is your chance. If you were fortunate enough to experience it all, come on back for a fabulous dance down Memory Lane.

- Laurie Lawson -

THE CLUB

Australian Made Entertainment Presents

DAVID WILLIAMSON’S
THE CLUB

Directed by ANDREW H. LYONS
Produced by KATHLEEN FOSTER & MATTHEW FOSTER

Featuring

SAMUEL DOUGLAS CLARK, MATTHEW FOSTER, MARC LeVASSEUR
PETER REZINKOFF, DAVID SEDGWICK, ANDREW JUSTIN SMITH

Scenic Design: TRAVIS BELL
Costume Design: EMILY ROSE PARMAN
Lighting Design: ANTHONY FREITAS
Sound Design: DAVID GREEN
Stage Manager: MARC EARDLEY
Assistant Stage Manager: ERICA PALMER

Urban Stages
259 West 30th Street (between Seventh & Eighth Avenues)
(800) 838-3006 or www.TheClub.BrownPaperTickets.com
September 12 -27, 2014

The game is on! Although set in 1977 Melbourne, David Williamson’s THE CLUB is a timely satire about corporate greed and corruption. In a boardroom where decisions are made about an Australian Rules football team that have very little to do with sports, a coach (David Sedgwick) fights for his job even though he has publicly announced his resignation. Gerry (Marc LeVasseur) is mediating (or manipulating?) between the coach, the president (Matthew Foster) and a former football star who now serves on the Board (Peter Renikoff). Samuel Douglas Clark and Andrew Justin Smith round out this fine cast as two players caught in the middle or perhaps playing their own game.

Clever writing and excellent execution make this an interesting observation of human nature and corporate shenanigans. Amidst back-stabbing, snide gossiping, ego flaunting, breast-beating, and spin controlling, a plot unfolds that reveals nothing is as it seems. Unraveling the scheme is part of the fun. In light of today’s sports scandals and resultant cover ups, you can’t help but wonder just how far we are willing to go in the name of the game. And as you realize that big bucks constantly lure us to cross the line, THE CLUB exposes that the majority of the games are never played on the field.

- Laurie Lawson -

FAULT LINES

Knife Edge Productions
presents

FAULT LINES

Written by STEPHEN BELBER
Directed by SHIRA-LEE SHALIT

Featuring
MICHAEL PUZZO, NEIL HOLLAND, CHAZ REUBEN, & DANELLE ELIAV

Set & Lighting: NICK FRANCONE
Costumes: NANCY LEARY
Sound Design: DANIEL SPITALIERE
Technical Director: CHIMMY ANNE GUNN

TBG Theatre
312 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
(212) 352-3101 or www.knifeedgeproductions.com
September 4 through September 20, 2014

Two longtime pals meet up in the empty back room of a neighborhood bar. Armed with beers & tequila shots, Jim starts giving Bill a hard time, calling him “old”. (He’s 39.) Jim is still “young”, 38, and digs at Bill both because he’s “old” and married. Jim lays it on thick that he is single, living the life, hitting on the babes, but Bill has to be home for dinner and go to bed early. This ribbing is not so good-natured. Rather harsh, actually. And more than a little obnoxious, even with tequila.

Bill is the serious type. He shares that he would like to be a father, but his wife wants to wait a while. This is obviously a touchy area for Bill, so Jim lays on even more abuse, thinly disguised as joking around. Bill isn’t laughing. Jim finally starts getting to the heart of his agenda. He has phoned Bill several times lately, and Bill hasn’t returned his calls. He wants to know why. It appears Jim has never heard of “drifting apart”, as friends often do with the passage of time.

The already uncomfortable evening is suddenly made worse by the entrance of an incredibly large, annoying, insulting older man, a stranger to them both. The fool crashes into their discussion, pulls up a seat at their table, orders more tequila, and never stops asking loud-mouthed personal questions. Very intimate questions. This is where the “willing suspension of disbelief” comes in. In the real world, Bill and Jim would have picked up their drinks and left the room. Or punched him out. But this being a play, they stick around to be harassed and disgusted by this overbearing moron.

Just when they’ve finally had enough, the stranger announces his “real identity”, then hassles them even more. Plot twists and turns follow, parts of which have more holes than Swiss cheese, but hey, it’s a play. If there’s a moral, it’s this: when a 19-year friendship fades away, just accept that. Don’t make it ugly, too.

The actors are excellently intense. The plot twists at the end are creative. MICHAEL PUZZO as Joe, the stranger, is so repugnant that I personally wanted to strangle him. His roaring questions make the play somewhat monotonous during this segment. The whole while you must ask yourself, why would these two men put up with Joe, much less answer his questions? Playwright’s choice is the only answer.

In the end this is a play about treachery, male unbonding, and pushing the boundaries of intrusion into the private lives of others. Even “friends” can hatch evil plots. And ruin lives.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

BASTARDS OF STRINDBERG

SATC Scandinavian American Theater Company Presents

BASTARDS OF STRINDBERG

By DOMINIQUE MORISSEAU, DAVID BAR KATZ, ANDREAS BOONSTRA, LINA EKDAHL
Directed by HENING HEGLAND and ALICIAN DHYANA HOUSE

Featuring

INGRID KULLBERG-BENDZ, VANESSA JOHANSSON, DEVIN B. TILLMAN, ALBERT BENDIX
RIKKE LYLLOFF, ZENZELE COOPER, KWASI OSEI, DREW O’KANE

Composer & Vocalist: ANETTE NORGAARD & ELYSSA SAMSEL
Choreographer: LAUREN CAMP
Set Design: STARLET JACOBS
Costume Design: NICOLE WEE
Sound Design & Composer: AMY ALTADONNA
Lighting Designer: YUKI NAKASE
Assistant Sound Designer: PAMELA McCADDIN
Violinist: ELYSSA SAMSEL
Fight Choreographer: JEFFERSON REARDON
Stage Manager: LAUREL DETKIN
Assistant Production Manager: MALIN BERGGREN LUNDELL

Lion Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com
September 2 – 21, 2014; Opening Night: 09/05/14

The Scandinavian American Theater Company commissioned four playwrights to produce short pieces in response to August Strindberg’s Miss Julie which he wrote in 1888. Originally a ground-breaking play that introduced a new theater of realism, Miss Julie is considered a classic masterpiece that dealt with social and economic inequalities and injustices. The new pieces, amidst haunting music and innovative choreography, all take place on Midsummer’s Eve where one night can change the direction of a life.

Chanting Hymns To Fruitless Moons by David Bar Katz warns of the ramifications of erotic arousal, ancient rituals, and forbidden acts. Lina Ekdahl’s Midsummer at Tyrolen unfolds an unlikely business plan tainted with escape. Truth About Froken Julie by Andreas Boonstra allows the characters to deconstruct their play and thereby create their own destiny. But by far the shining star of this quartet is Dominque Morrisseau’s High Powered. Two black servants define ambition and debate whether the cost is worth the effort and benefit. Poignant soliloquies beautifully performed by Zenzele Cooper and Kwasi Osei powerfully speak for any oppressed group or class of people.

Remaining somewhat true to Strindberg’s Miss Julie, two playwrights from Sweden and two playwrights from America update the version with underlying themes of disparities and discrimination in current time. But not to despair, the unifying refrain in each individual piece of BASTARDS OF STRINDBERG is hope and the desire to overcome. Ah, the human spirit!

- Laurie Lawson -

IN THE RING

Theatre for the New City, Crystal Field and
Dream Up Festival
present

IN THE RING

By Leonore Confino

Directed by Alexandre Oppecini
Translator: Perine Morran
Scenic Design: Lytza and Mark
Costume Designer: Sarah Thea
Lighting Designer: Kryssy Wright
Sound and Music Design: Ann Warren, Remi Oppecini
Stage Manager: Johanne Swhartzberg


Featuring: Nathalie Bryant and Kyle Tuck


Theatre for the New City
DifFRactions Theatre
155 First Avenue@10th Street

IN THE RING is set in a “boxing ring” where two actors set up shop to act out relationships between men and women - whether just friends, strangers, lovers, spouses or divorcees.
Each relationship brings out the best and worst when a man and woman fight for their own ground, and try to coexist … or not. Much is lost in translation as they try to understand one another.

The first relationship is between Adam and Eve. Eve decides there is no point in procreating since their children would incestuously create a degenerate society. The many scenarios that follow, marked by several changes of clothing, show the degenerate nature of modern relationships between men and women.

- Gloria Talamas -

SIMPLE AS LIFE AND DEATH

The Dream Up Festival at Theater for the New City
presents
Throes Theater's

SIMPLE AS LIFE AND DEATH

Written & Performed by MEIRAV KUPPERBERG & ALEXANDRA ZELMAN-DORING
Directed by KEREN TZUR

Set Design: KEREN TZUR
Dramaturge: ERAN SHADAR
Lighting Design: ALEJANDRO FAJARDO ARBALAEZ
Video: ROAN BIBBY
Production Manager: ALEXANDRA ZAJACZKOWSKI

Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 868-4444 or www.smarttix.com
August 17 through August 24, 2014

In SIMPLE AS LIFE AND DEATH we eavesdrop on two female friends in New York City: Efrat, visiting from Israel with an open-ended return ticket, and Anne, who’s not sure she likes that “open-ended” thing. They are catching up on each-other’s news, yet each seems to be holding something back.

It is serio-comic, with an overall melancholy tone. We do learn the Hebrew word for “nipple.” Efrat has food issues, Anne has a cat allergy. Yes, you’re way ahead of me. Efrat has a cat. Not with her, but cat dander seems to be emanating from her every possession. Anne sneezes, Efrat starves. But their friendship continues as the personal secrets start to come out. Appropriately, in a play about two Jewish women, mama drops by for a quick visit (translation: to pry). This would be appropriate for all ethnic groups, actually. Mama’s visit can always be a mixed blessing. Especially when she drops in unexpectedly.

Anne has a very difficult personal decision to make. Neither Efrat nor mama are any help. It’s obvious that Anne is a strong, independent woman, and will make her own choice regardless of what others think.

Animal lovers should close their eyes and cover their ears during the wildlife video shown on the big screen at the rear of the stage. It inspires the women to create their own short video, “National Geographic: Humans”.

Half the fun of this play is the never-ending reconstruction (literally) of the set. Beds, tables, couches, stools, and kitchen appliances all come and go and come again. Everything is made entirely of jumbo Legos. The characters stack and unstack and reassemble these on a non-stop basis as they talk about past, present, and future. If only they could reassemble their lives as easily.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

2014 - WHEN WE WERE IDIOTS

2014-WHEN WE WERE IDIOTS

Created & Performed by XAVIER TOBY

Fringe CENTRAL at the Clemente
114 Norfolk Street
New York, NY 10002
www.fringenyc.org
August 8 through August 23, 2014

This is a comedy walking tour of the lower east side, hosted by your own personal penguin from the future, Xavier Toby. Put on your bright green traffic safety vest and follow the tall critter with the megaphone as passersby stare at you. A mix of historical trivia, humorous comments on our way of life, random talking to strangers, and applauding diners in local eateries, this is pure fun.

Tour participants are in the year 2114 and your guide explains the excavated ruins of 2014 New York City, recently excavated from a mountain of coffee cups, stale cupcakes, discarded subway tickets, cigarette butts, and coffee grounds. The penguin explains that all the buildings and vehicles we see are recreations of items used in 2014. All the people we will see are actors, playing their parts as characters from 2014.

Xavier does point out actual places and things of historical interest hidden in plain sight. These highlight fascinating trivia and obscure details of the area, including a certain large clock, a statue, and the story of Mr. Delancey of Delancey Street. We discover the real reason why the Dutch decided this was a great place to settle.

Because we are touring from the future, he must explain the concepts of “money”, “traffic”, and “garbage”, as these don’t exist in 2114. His narratives are hysterically clever. He is also an agitator, encouraging his followers to stand in front of restaurant windows and applaud the diners for their “good acting”, for example. The loveable penguin has a come-back for every question and remark. This tour is a wonderful treat on so many levels. It is true fun, letting you be a silly kid again while getting some exercise and learning some history. Xavier is charming and the “actors” we encounter are good-natured about our applause, if a bit confused. Totally different, utterly enjoyable, and peppered with surprises, this tour is not to be missed.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

MY STUBBORN TONGUE

MY STUBBORN TONGUE

By Anna Fishbeyn

Directed by Scott Klavan
Scenic and Lighting Design: Adrian Roman
Production Assistant and Social Media: Laurie Beckoff

Featuring: Anna Fishbeyn

New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street
August 6- 24, 2014, Opening Friday, August 8 at 8pm
http://newohiotheatre.org/ourcurrentseason.htm

Many immigrant stories are full of intrigue, adventure, sadness and determination. Anna’s story is no exception. She immigrated to the States with her family when she was nine years old, as one of the “grain Jews” – Soviet citizens who were traded for wheat. This was during the Reagan era, when Russia was referred to as the evil empire. The play begins at the end, with her graduation from Columbia, and travels forward as she recounts the obstacles and the loneliness in her new home and dealing with the stigma of immigrant life.

Her desire to fit in, get along and belong, propels her to excel in the tongue of her newly adopted country. Despite her efforts, she continuously gets tripped up with what it means to be “American”: from dressing right, suffering through relationships, and even using an alias. Anna undergoes six changes of clothing during the performance. A language and culture counselor mentors her over a loud speaker. She repeats: “I focus, I shift, I imitate. Assimilation is survival.”

Anna comes full circle, determined to be American, while she holds onto her Russian roots without pretension. She stands out with her superior intellect…. and succeeds. The show could benefit from a bit more editing, but in this one-woman show, Anna playfully acts out her adventures, and portrays various characters she encounters along the way, including various family members.

- Gloria Talamas -

THE LAW OF RETURN

THE LAW OF RETURN

Written by MARTIN BLANK
Directed by ELISE THORON

Featuring
JOEL ROOKS, BEN MEHL, & ANDRÉ WARE

Scenic Design: ALEXIS DISTLER
Lighting Design: NICOLE PEARCE
Sound Design: JEREMY J. LEE
Costume Design: DEBRA BERGSMA OTTE
Casting Director: STEPHANIE KLAPPER
Technical Director: MATT VIEIRA
Assistant Director: BECKY ABRAMOWITZ
Assistant Lighting Design: ALLING LANGIN
Stage Manager: CASKEY HUNSADER
Graphic Design: THERESA EVANGELISTA
Publicity: DALE HELLER

4th Street Theatre
83 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
(800) 838-3006
August 7 through August 24, 2014

THE LAW OF RETURN was inspired by events surrounding the notorious 1987 Jonathan Pollard espionage case. Pollard, a American Jewish civilian analyst employed by U.S. Naval Intelligence, took it upon himself to make off with thousands of ultra-secret documents and pass them to Israeli operatives. He was caught, convicted, and sentenced to life. He is the only person in U.S. history ever to receive a life sentence for spying for an ally.

He and his supporters insisted he did it for ideological reasons. Israel needed to know literally everything that U.S. intelligence knew, involving all countries, positions of ships and airplanes, plus details of satellites. He felt he was above and beyond the rules and laws, doing the “right thing”. Others held that he did it purely for personal gain, as intelligence agencies alleged he had also dealt with the governments of South Africa, Argentina, Taiwan, and attempted to pass information to Pakistan. Once discovered, Pollard raced to the Israeli embassy for asylum. That’s the Law of Return. Once on Israeli soil, he is out of U.S. control and on his native soil, as a Jew.

In this play he is portrayed as a brilliant but distracted professional. Bantering humorously with his boss, playing practical jokes, talking a bit too fast, bouncing around a bit too energetically. Idealistic, enthusiastic, and immature. But due to his superior skills, he is able to work in the most top-secret area. Soon he meets with his elderly Israeli contact, revealing that U.S. security is lax, that he feels Israel is in grave danger, and that the U.S. is withholding vital information just to keep Israel “squirming” and afraid. He wants to be the hero, although he has no stomach for battle. He doesn’t realize that he is playing way out of his league, and that treachery is a two-way street. Betrayal is a slippery path, no matter what the reason or what the result. If there is no honor among thieves, there is certainly no honor among spies.

Ben Mehl is outstanding as the conflicted but determined Pollard. Joel Rooks is perfect as the Israeli contact, offering matzos in times of stress. Andre` Ware is Naval authority personified, whether in jovial or official mode. The play has plenty of humor, clever wordplay, and light moments. It also has warm moments between the characters when faith fails or courage lags. Yet the serious undertones of Pollard’s betrayal are not underplayed. The story is told so that its intricacies are clearly understood. The ending is stunning, even more so because it truly happened.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

PUPPET TITUS ANDRONICUS

The Puppet Shakespeare Players present
www.puppetshakespeare.org

PUPPET TITUS ANDRONICUS

Featuring
ADAM WEPPLER, SARAH VILLEGAS, CHRSTOPHER GEBAUER, ALEX OFFENKRANTZ
TOM FORAN, DREW TURKELSON, MINDY LEANSE, ROSS HAMMAN
ABBY JUDD, A.J. COTE, SHANE SNIDER, RYAN RINKEL

Directed by RYAN RINKEL
Producers: RYAN RINKEL, A.J.COTE, SHANE SNIDER
Produced by S.T.T. PRODUCTIONS
Stage Manager: LAUREL DETKIN
Assistant Stage Manager: ABBY JUDD
Lighting Design: LESLIE SMITH
Sound Design: JOHN HULL
Assistant Sound Designer: RYAN FADDEN
Set Design: HOLLY TROTTA & KEVIN O’CALLAGHAN
Costume Design: SUZETTE SNIDER
Assistant Costumer: SARAH VILLEGAS
Puppet Design: A.J. COTE
Puppet Fabrications: MINDY LEANSE & SARAH VILLEGAS
Puppet Shakespeare Singers: A.J. COTE, CHRIS CEBEAUER & SARAH VILLEGAS

The Beckett Theatre @ Theatre Row
410 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 239-6200 or www.telecharge.com
July 24 – August 17; Opening Night – 07/30/14

Ah, what to do with one of Shakespeare’s “worse” plays that must have some redeeming qualities since it’s still hanging around? Give it to a bunch of hairy puppets, throw in a few cans of Silly String, add a pop music background, and sit back for the time of your life. PUPPET TITUS ANDRONICUS, in the capable and irreverent hands of the Puppet Shakespeare Players, becomes a hilarious offering of plots and poetry, blood and betrayal, dismemberment and death, and colorful charming puppets. Asides and improvisation enhance the wacky wildness and involve the audience – these folks are very talented.

There’s an occasional nod to The Bard with a few of his lines delivered intact, but for the most part, PUPPET TITUS ANDRONICUS is a free-for-all rendition that sweeps you along in its raucous merriment and tragic events. Shakespeare has never been such fun!

- Laurie Lawson -

SNOW WHITE & THE BEAST

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute
presents

SNOW WHITE & THE BEAST

Written & Produced by MATHILDE DEHAYE
Directed by RENOLY SANTIAGO

July 23 - 25, 2014

The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute
115 E. 15th Street, NYC

Set Designer LILIANA INES BARRERA
Costume Designer URSULA GARCIA TINOCO
Sound/Lighting Designer NICHOLAS THOMAS
Press Representative SCOTTI RHODES PUBLICITY

Cast

Lili - Mathilde Dehave
Vincent - Malik Ali
Harold - David Woodrow
Gregory - Andre Torquato
Jerry - Brad Bolle
George - Gary Tavitian
The Man - Mauricio Bustamante
Keira - Christine Paterno


SNOW WHITE & THE BEAST is a cautionary tale of life choices, love, abuse and addiction told through the stories of painter Lili and poet Vincent. After meeting in a bar in New York City, the two become virtually inseparable, slipping deep into drug addiction and the deception that comes with it.

The play introduces a lot of material, mainly told in flashback by bar owner, Harold, including Lili's abusive father and Vincent's second life in London, to act as biography to explain the characters as they have become, but almost every scene inevitably runs too long, and some do little to add to the impact of the play. Many of the scenes between Lili and Vincent feature the effects of their drug use, and while interesting exercises in character studies, repetitive glimpses of them in these altered states undermined the script. Shorter hints of their various faces - Vincent's undercurrent of rage turned to actual violence; Lili's defiance and determination in the face of abuse; their moments of infatuation and lust posing as love and romance - would have made the piece stronger.

The set design made good use of the stage, although some of the scene changes themselves were not as smooth as they could be. Props and costumes were on point too, allowing the art created by Lili and Vincent's poems to act almost as additional characters in the play with physical presence on the stage.

Mathilde Dehaye's SNOW WHITE & THE BEAST is the winner of the 2014 StrasbergWorks competition. It is a flawed work, but also one that shows the promise of better things to come from playwright/performer/producer Dehaye.

- Kessa De Santis -

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

Written by MANUEL IGREJAS
Directed by ROBERT TEAGUE

Featuring
CASEY BURDEN, AFRIM GJONBALAJ, & KEVIN PEREZ

Lighting & Sound: ELLEN ROSENBERG
Publicity: PROPAGANDA PR

Stage Left Studio
214 West 30th Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10011
www.StageLeftStudio.net
July 24 through August 16, 2014

NO STRINGS ATTACHED is a phrase that’s easy to say but hard to endure when it comes to love. Just ask Monty, a sweetheart of a guy who’s been in a romantic partnership with Luis for ten happy years. Monty is the sentimental one, wanting to get married on the beach, wearing a Vera Wang pantsuit. He works in publicity for a Styrofoam company, but dreams of writing a best-seller one day.

Luis is not sentimental. Nor is he employed. He decides to become a stand-up comic. Eye-roll from Monty. But he will be supportive of this goal, not matter how impractical and unachievable he considers it. That’s the power of love.

One evening they attend an art opening in Chelsea and are served drinks by the handsome Stefan. Electricity fills the air. Something about Stefan excites and delights Monty. He feels he knows Stefan from somewhere. Ah, yes. Porn films. Next Stefan encounters Luis, who exhibits the same symptoms as Monty, but for a very different and more destructive reason. Let the bad times roll.

This is a triangle, but hardly romantic in any positive sense. More a sexual triangle, strangely askew in its proportions. Luis dominates Stefan, Stefan dominates Monty, and Monty just tries to cope with his breaking heart. Three men, three different priorities: love, lust, and money. Perhaps another old saying will turn out to be true. Love conquers all?

-Karen D’Onofrio-

CLINTON

The New York Musical Theatre festival and Paul Hodge present

CLINTON
www.ClintonTheMusical.com

Book by PAUL HODGE & MICHAEL HODGE
Music & Lyrics by PAUL HODGE

Featuring
KARL KENZLER, DUKE LaFOON, ALET TAYLOR, TOM SOUHRADA, KEVEN ZAK
NATALIE GALLO, KARA GUY, and JOHN GREGORIO

Directed by ADAM ARIAN
Musical Direction by JAMES DOBINSON
Choreography by EMILY McNAMARA
Scenic Design: DAVID GALLO
Lighting Design: GREG MITCHELL
Costume Design: DAVID WOODARD
Sound Design: SHANNON SLATON

Orchestra
Musical Director/Keys 1: JAMES DOBINSON
Assistant Musical Director/Keys 2: ARI ROSSEN
Drums: YUICHI MIRAKAWA
Reeds: JASON CURRY

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org
7/18 @ 8 PM; 7/19 @ 9 PM; 7/20 @ 4 PM; 7/22 @ 9 PM; 7/25 @ 1 PM; 7/26 @ 5 PM

Michael and Paul Hodge’s CLINTON is a raucous, racy, and rollicking musical inhabited by some of the most unforgettable and unconventional characters ever to grace the American political stage. As if one wasn’t enough, there are two Clintons – serious statesman WJ (Karl Kenzler) and mischievous Billy C (Duke LaFoon) – and together they manage to stir up a great deal of trouble and fun. Alet Taylor is marvelous as Hillary. And they are joined by nemesis Newt Gingrich (Tom Souhrada), tenacious Kenneth Starr (the hilarious Kevin Zak), advisor Dick Morris (John Gregorio), Monica Lewinsky (Natalie Gallo) and of course Eleanor Roosevelt (Kara Guy). Together these folks resurrect fond memories – Newt’s Contract with America, Starr’s White Water/Monica Lewinsky investigations, and the shutdown of the government to name a few. Interweave these with a strip tease, a boxing match, the Macarena, and high-energy singing and dancing, and you can’t help but have a good ole time.

What’s truly entertaining is to reminisce of this momentous time in light of current-day events. Double entendres become triple entendres as the past and the present collide in hilarious fashion. What’s old is new again, and how fortunate are we that we not only got to live through the events but also experience it again through a delightful musical. CLINTON – may the name ring on into our future!

- Laurie Lawson -

FABLE

The New York Musical Theatre Festival
Christopher Mirto & Reed Ridgley present

FABLE

Book by H.S. KAUFMAN
Music & Lyrics by CHRISTOPHER ANSELMO

Featuring
JEFF BARONE, EDWARD WELLINGTON HARDY, DON LIEBER, MICHAEL LUWOYE, MADISON MICUCCI MARISSA O’DONNELL, GERIANNE PEREZ, RJ RAYBIN, DANROSALES, ALEX WALTON

Directed and Choreography by JEN WINEMAN
Musical Direction by KAREN DRYER
Orchestrations: ASHER DENBURG
Production Manager: SCOTT DELACRUZ
Associate Producer: JUSTIN PETERSON
Scenic Design: DEB O
Costume Design: ELIZABETH BARRETT GROTH
Lighting Design: ALAN C. EDWARDS
Sound Design: JESSICA PAZ
Casting: MICHAEL CASSARA, CSA
General Manager: REED RIDGLEY
Publicist: JUDY JACKSINA COMPANY
Stage Manager: KATY SWANN

Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org
7/22 @ 8 PM; 7/24 @ 1 PM; 7/24 @ 5 PM; 7/25 @ 1 PM; 7/26 @ 9 PM, 7/27 @ 1 PM; 7/27 @ 5 PM

Ah, youth. It’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. In H.S. Kaufman’s FABLE (music & lyrics by Christopher Anselmo), six friends get together on the eve of high school graduation to celebrate their last days of non-adulthood. Although there’s a party going on in the background, a tug of war between the angst of reality and the final grasp of fun is taking place in the foreground. As the friends grapple with first love, the quest for sex, getting into college, leaving home, starting a new life, saying goodbye, and relationships of all kinds, they realize that it is time to stop believing in fairytales and fables. This reality stuff is rough and trying to fit the mold can be difficult. But a funny thing happened on the way to growing up – they start to realize that it may be time to write their own fables.

Kaufman and Anselmo are the youngest artists ever to be invited to the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and it shows in the content of FABLE – the issues addressed are all “young.” Where youth takes a back seat is in the amazing talent that it took to put this musical together. Innovative songs, snappy music, compelling characters, and a rollicking story make you excited to see what they will come up with next. The talented cast breathe life into this ode to friendship, growing up, and forging your way. The result is an enjoyable theatrical presentation

- Laurie Lawson -

OPRAHFICATION

The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Adam Lowe Theatrical Present

OPRAHFICATION

Book and Lyrics by RACHEL DUNHAM
Music by SHANON D. WHITELOCK
Featuring RACHEL DUNHAM as Oprah
Directed by DIRK HOULT
Production Stage Manager: KELLY CAITLIN SULLIVAN
Musical Director: SHANON D. WHITELOCK
Lighting Design: ALEX BERLAGE, ROSS GRAHAM
Sound Design: SARAH J. TREVORROW
General manager: SHARON FALLON PRODUCTIONS, Sharon Fallon
Press Representative: JT-PR, Joe Trentacosta

Band Members
Keyboard 1 – SHANON D. WHITELOCK
Keyboard 2 – YUVAL SEMO
Lead Guitar – STEVE DAWSON
Bass Guitar – DANIEL ASHER
Drums – KEITH ABRAMS

Ford Foundation Studio Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street (between Ninth & Tenth Avenues)
(212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org
07/17 @ 8 PM; 07/18 @5 PM; 07/19 @ 9 PM; 07/21 @ 5:30 PM; 07/24 @ 9 PM

It’s a Landmark Day – Oprah has returned to television to conduct The Ultimate Interview! This delightful musical was written and is performed by Rachel Dunham. The original score was written by Shanon D. Whitelock, and Dirk Hoult does the directing.
Dunham has the OPRAHFICATION down perfectly – the over-exuberant, sometimes obnoxious enthusiasm; the attempt at modesty that often falls short in light of the many accomplishments; the celebrity/diva status; and the down-hominess that makes us all love the richest woman in the world.

And the lady knows how to work a room. Holding center stage, she reminisces about her 25-year domination of day-time television, shares insights about some of her A-list guests, addresses personal aspects of her life, and sings and dances her talented heart out all the while. The songs range from saucy (“Who Do You Think You Are?”) and sassy (“Fat, Black & Woman”) to downright poignant and touching (“Dreams Do Come True,” “Then Came A Miracle”), and Dunham uses her powerful voice and personality to sell them all.

If you ever wondered what it was like to be in the audience of an Oprah show taping, it’s not too late. Catch OPRAHFICATION – it’s probably even more fun that the real thing. Dunham is stunning!

-Laurie Lawson -

THE BAUER SISTERS

The Producing Club
in association with
The 2014 Midtown International Theater Festival
presents

THE BAUER SISTERS

Written by JOHN DIRRIGL
Directed by TROY DIANA

Featuring
DEBORAH UNGER, JACQUELINE KROSCHELL, COLLEEN SMITH WALLNAU,
SUZANNE H. SMART, CATHERINE COBB RYAN, & MICHAEL GNAT

Assistant Director: INGA MOREN
Set Designer & Prop Master: NATALIE PECORA
Costume Design: KAREN EILBACHER
Lighting Design: SEAN BEACH
Sound Design: JASON DIANA
Dialect Coach: JULIE FOH

Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
At the Abingdon Theater Company
312 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
(866) 811-4111 or www.midtownfestival.org
July 14 through August 3, 2014

It’s war! “Florida is for old people” versus “the family homestead”. The Bauer sisters, Ingie and Rosie, energetically argue this issue while preparing for their ladies’ book club. Actually, Rosie is preparing. Ingie is out in space, dreaming of Florida while sitting in the backyard of their Connecticut farm. They are older women, widowed, German-born and proud of it. Ingie stays afloat on her cloud of dreams, as Rosie slices and dices vegetables while simultaneously trying to drag her sister back to planet earth. The farm is good enough for Rosie. It holds a lifetime of memories and keeps her happily busy. But Ingie has dreams, dahling. And they do not include digging in the dirt. Sand, maybe, but not dirt.

The rest of the girls arrive for the luncheon, but somehow the book is never discussed. They carry on about marriage, love, cooking, all the unsuitable old men in the neighborhood, gossip, and other vital concerns of elderly small-town ladies. The conversation never lags, and everyone offers everyone else unsolicited advice on every topic. One can’t find a first husband. The others don’t want a second husband. They all had married the man they loved, but who loved someone else. Such a mess.

Speaking of old men, here comes Louie. He forgot what day it is and dropped by for a beer. He’s sweet on Rosie. Rosie says have one beer, then leave. She is not pleased. She is one of those down-to-earth realists and cannot be sweet-talked. Yet Louie ends up with a second beer. Hmmm.
These ladies are so realistic, so funny, so lovable, it is beyond belief. No scenery-chewing, no over-the-top carrying on. The laughs, the sorrow, the emotion come from inside these actors and they are wonderful. Arguments turn to laughs back to arguments in a flawless stream. Every facial expression is to die for. Only Ingie gets to play it up a bit, since she’s a space-case. They portray with total authenticity the interplay of women who have known each other all their lives and seen each other through joy and sorrow.

While the play is generally upbeat and warmly funny, things get darkly serious toward the end. Sometimes when people talk, they say too much. Surprising, hurtful things. This is the moment when the truth shall set one of the ladies free to live a new life, free of guilt and regret and a sense of obligation. We want to shout “hurray”!

-Karen D’Onofrio-

PENTECOST

Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC)
in association with Middlebury College
presents

PENTECOST

Written by DAVID EDGAR
Directed by CHERYL FARAONE

Featuring
ALEX DRAPER, JAKE SCHWARTZWALD, TOSCA GIUSTINI, JONATHAN TINDLE,
CHELSEA MALONE, LAWRENCE NATHANSON, CHRISTO GRABOWSKI,
NICHOLAS HEMERLING, MARTINA BONOLIS, MATT BALL, CAITLIN ROSE DUFFY, RISHABH KASHYAP, ERICA FURGIUELE, NINA SILVER, AUBREY DUBE, TOM BEYER, JOSEPH VARCA, MARI VIAL-GOLDEN, LILLI STEIN, & LILY BALSEN

Scenic Design: MARK EVANCHO
Lighting Design: HALLIE ZIESELMAN
Original Costume Design: JULE EMERSON
Co-Costume Design: ADRIENNE CARLILE
Sound Design: AUBREY DUBE
Press Representative: DAVID GIBBS/DARR Publicity

Atlantic Stage
330 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
(866) 811-4111 or www.PTPNYC.org
July 16 through August 10, 2014

David Edgar’s PENTECOST takes on Communism and Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. A 13th century fresco has been rediscovered, bricked-over and forgotten in an abandoned church in an Eastern Bloc country. If it predates the frescoes of the Italian artist Giotto, it could rock the art world’s accepted notions about European art. An American art expert, an Italian art expert, and the local government are at odds over what to do with this find. They all are on alert for each others’ secret agendas and sneaky tricks.

The second half of the play becomes a sort of second play. A group of heavily armed refugees storm the church and barricade themselves inside with the art historians. The invaders’ focus is on poverty, displacement, homelessness, loss, resentment, and violence. They care nothing for “art”. They are seeking freedom and will fight to the death for it. The church is now their fortress. Fragile post-Gothic art and bombs do not mix well. The desperate, angry refugees don’t want an art history lesson. Until they realize they can use this painting as a bargaining chip. Neither side will relent. A violent conclusion is inevitable, the details of which cannot be foretold. The end will come when it comes, as it comes.

PTP/NYC’s mandate is to present thought-provoking work of contemporary and social relevance. This play was first presented in 1994, and reflects the issues of that time, including the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. Sadly, today has the same issues, the same refugees, the same violence. The countries’ names may have changed, political parties have shifted, but it’s all about ancient grudges and an inhuman lust for revenge. The play is perhaps overly long and detailed both in the first and second halves. TMI, as they say. The bounty of historical data begins to overwhelm as the play goes on. But it is quality writing and quality acting that keeps the audience engaged until the final destructive moment.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

WORLD OF SINATRAS & EXQUISITE POTENTIAL

Project Rushmore Theatre Company Presents

WORLD OF SINATRAS
By SEAN O’CONNOR
Starring
JEFF RUBINO, DENNIS OSTERMAIER, DANIELLE DELGADO, SARAH ELMALEH, and JUSTIN CIMINO

And

EXQUISITE POTENTIAL
By STEPHEN KAPLAN

Starring
VINCE GATTON, RACHEL EVANS, MATT BIAGINI, BOB ADER, AIDEN McCALL CHUMBLEY, and SOPHIE KNAPP

Director: SYDNIE GROSBERG RONGA
Technical Director: ZACH COOK
Set designer/Props: SAMANTHA GASS
Costume Designer: RYAN HANSON
Lighting Designer: LIONEL CHRISTION, MAX SCHAFFER
Sound Designer: ABI DEGAY
Graphic Designer: VICTOR BARBELLA
Production Stage Manager: JOSEPHINE ROSE RONGA
Artistic Director: ADRIENNE DOUCETTE
Stage Managers: CHRISTAL VASSILYADI, JOSEPHINE ROSE RONGA
Videographer: JUSTIN HARRIS

The ArcLight Theatre
152 West 71st Street (between Broadway & Columbus Avenue)
July 15 – August 3, 2014

Project Rushmore Theatre Company is committed to exploring the American Spirit and takes their inspiration from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) of the 1930’s with a mission to create jobs in the performing arts. The two plays performing in repertory at the ArcLight Theatre from July 15 to August 3 are about families and relationships.

Sean O’Connor’s WORLD OF SINATRAS is narrated by Sam (Jeff Rubino), the product of Jack (Dennis Ostermaier) and Marie (Danielle Delgado) Murdoch. Theirs is a love story, marinated in alcohol and abuse, slowly going bad. Through music (the kind of music that had words and meanings) Sam relates the tug of war under which he develops, with Jack insisting that feelings are for sissies while Marie attempts to “slip a song into his soul.” This is an ambitious piece of work that chronicles 30 years of the life of a conflicted child who takes on the attributes of his parents as he ages. Although the performances by the entire cast are exquisite and the musical background enhances the story (amazing how a song can immediately break into your memory bank), WORLD OF SINATRAS is a bit too long and at times redundant. In trying to present a complete picture of Sam’s response to his family at different intervals of his life, repetition of the dysfunction is not needed. The reality is that alcoholism and abuse are destructive and dangerous no matter what age the viewer

Stephen Kaplan’s EXQUISITE POTENTIAL also deals with the complexity of familial relationships. All parents believe their children are special but Alan Zuckerman (Vince Gatton) thinks his son David is the Messiah. No kidding, he has documented “miracles” to back his belief, and he manages to convince his rabbi (Matt Biagini, Bob Ader). In addition to exploring the bonds between parents and children, Kaplan also delves into philosophical questions like “What is the definition of a Messiah?” and “What are the results of high expectations for your children?” Tempered with sophisticated humor and endearing characters, EXQUISITE POTENTIAL becomes a masterful theatrical presentation. Spanning the time period of 30 years, the actors take on the roles of both the parents and the siblings. Once again the cast is superb.

Project Rushmore Theatre Company has definitely accomplished their mission with both these offerings. You want to thank them for putting these talented actors on a stage and allowing them to breathe life into intriguing subject matters.

- Laurie Lawson -

GERTRUDE - THE CRY

Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC)
in association with Middlebury College
presents

GERTRUDE -- THE CRY

Written by HOWARD BARKER
Directed by RICHARD ROMAGNOLI

Featuring
BILL ARMY, PAMELA J. GRAY, ROBERT EMMET LUNNEY, ALEX DRAPER,
DAVID BARLOW, KATHRYN KATES, & MEGHAN LEATHERS

Ensemble
JOELLE MENDOZA, AASHNA AGGARWAL, & JAKE SCHWARTZWALD

Scenic Design: MARK EVANCHO
Lighting Design: HALLIE ZIESELMAN
Costume Design: DANIELLE NIEVES
Sound Design: CORMAC BLUESTONE
Press Representative: DAVID GIBBS/DARR Publicity

Atlantic Stage
330 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
(866) 811-4111 or www.PTPNYC.org
July 15 through August 5, 2014

This play unfolds in and around Elsinore, in the present. Yes, the Elsinore of Hamlet. And yes, the Gertrude who was Hamlet’s mother. Playwright HOWARD BARKER has turned Shakespeare’s Hamlet on its head, then shaken and stirred, then put the blender on “whip”, letting the modernized characters take you to places you’ve never dreamt of, even in your wildest dreams. Gertrude is a sex-machine, and Claudius (brother of her murdered husband) is all over her like a rash. Everywhere, anywhere, it’s time for him to unbuckle and for her to hike up that mini-skirt. Even funerals are suitable venues for lust. Pretty exciting stuff.

Although in modern dress (and undress), the characters speak in classical tones reminiscent of Shakespeare’s cadences. Hamlet is already mad, in the British sense, and he is angry, in the American sense. Gertrude is cold and controlling which seems to excite men even more. Men, plural. She really has no limits when it comes to lust. It doesn’t hurt that she is quite beautiful as well.

Humor also floats through this tsunami of sex. Hamlet often seems a bit like Dagwood in his cluelessness and confusion. His grandmother disapproves of all these goings-on, but rolls with it. Shrug. She gets a few zingers in when she can.

HOWARD BARKER enjoys grabbing great texts of the past and turning them inside-out to investigate their underlying assumptions and comment on the social mores of the past and the present. With GERTRUDE he has created a real psycho-sexual masterpiece.

-Karen D’Onofrio-

THE THREE IRISH WIDOWS VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD

THE THREE IRISH WIDOWS
VERSUS THE REST OF THE WORLD


Written & Directed by ED MALONE

Featuring
FERGAL TITLEY

The Theatre Space
at Ryan’s Daughter

350 East 85th Street
New York, NY 10028
(646) 384-0009
June 19 through July 24, 2014

Oh, bad boy. ED MALONE has written a play about his ma, her sister, and her sister-in-law. He says the play will never be performed anywhere near County Cork, Ireland, where mother lives. One must assume she would be displeased or embarrassed or both, and take after him with that classic weapon of women, the wooden spoon. Or perhaps the broom. Because these three widows mourn their “losses” by declaring riotous independence. Make the sign of the cross, then start laughing.

The play begins in1984 Ireland, where postureless pre-yoga women are housebound housewives, bending over the stove and the laundry. They had radios and perhaps TV. And husbands. One a polite British man, one a big drinker, and one who is, simply, the boss, and makes sure his wife doesn’t forget it. Life in the good old days.

The drunkard goes first, car versus tree. The tree won. His widow, Margaret, expresses her grief by going on a spending spree. Time passes and eventually “the boss” develops cancer and goes to that great pub in the sky. The polite gentleman, the playwright’s father Phillip, is last to leave this world, in 2007. The ladies don’t waste a moment before they start living their new lives of freedom to the fullest.

Off to the hair salon, then to the travel agency. First stop, Spain. Amor! These women are taking it all the way, baby. They are not little old ladies on a coach tour. They are hitting the clubs, flirting and way, way beyond. Then to New York, somewhere called Queens, where Nulla’s son Ed is working on Broadway…handing out leaflets. Widowed Brenda hits on a New York taxi driver, which turns out to be a bad idea. But these women don’t know the meaning of defeat. Next stop, India. Because Oprah liked it there.

FERGAL TITLEY plays 34 characters in this one-hour riot. By the end his shirt is soaked in sweat but his energy never lags. The venue, upstairs at Ryan’s Daughter, is a pleasant open space with slim windows, sunlight, a full bar, and upholstered couches and wing-chairs. The play is a dynamic whirlwind trip seen through the Irish eyes of the writer and performed by a classic Irish storyteller in the best tradition. A great way to forget your troubles. The non-stop narration doesn’t leave one second for your mind to wander. It’s irresistible total-immersion fun that takes you up, up, and away and keeps you there long after you leave the theater.

-Karen D’Onofrio-