Man, realizing that he could not remain forever young, bestowed immortality on his gods and let them frolic in their gardens. Then he became jealous of their frivolity, and searched for the fountain of youth, for his own opportunity to act with irresponsibility.
For J.M. Barrie, the hunt for that “Neverneverland” was led by Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up. Peter Pan was played by a number of actresses over the years– Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan, among them– and spawned a psychiatric syndromenot listed in the DSM.
In For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday, at Playwrights Horizons previewing August 18th and running through October 1st, Sarah Ruhl examines issues of immortality.
Her titular Peter is Ann (Kathleen Chalfant), an actress in community theater who played the boy 50 years ago in her youth. Those seeking to find their youth along with Ann are the “lost boys,” Wendy (Lisa Emery), Michael (Keith Reddin), Jim (David Chandler), John (Daniel Jenkins) and a dog named Macy. The cast, under Les Waters direction, is rounded out by The Father (Ron Crawford.)
For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday is the first play of the season at @PHnyc on their mainstage. On September 6th, the world premiere of a Playwrights Horizons commission, The Treasurerby Max Posnerwill begin at their Peter Jay Sharp space.
Once upon a time, there were hucksters and rich artists. The latter grew rich sometimes with the help of a kind of door-to-door hucksterism wherein they shilled their works to the public.
In the case of Georama: An America Panorama Told in Three Miles of Canvas, the artist was one John Banvard, now unknown.
Who was John Banvard (P.J. Griffith)? He was a showman, mainly because of the skills of his composer, Elizabeth (Jillian Louis) who worked the towns up and down the coast to promote and show off his new moving panorama of the Mississippi.
Success breeds imitation, and there are those who will take the opportunity. The huckster, who helped and then stole much of Banvard’s thunder, was Taylor (Randy Blair, in a very appealing role.) The businessman and showboat owner who remained Banvard’s friend through thick and thin was William Chapman.
To catch this musical by West Hyler (Hyler also directs) and Matt Schatz, with music and lyrics by Schatz and additional contributions to the latter by Jack Herrick, visit nymf.org. There are a couple of performances left through August 6th, which is also the end of the New York Musicals Festival.
Intrepid archeologists find lost, forgotten, hidden, unsung or underappreciated treasure.
The explorers at the Mint Theatre Company are no less persistent in valiantly unearthing the charms from the past. Their hunt is among the history of theatrical productions.
In their search, they have uncovered many gems, especially several from the prolific pen of Teresa Deevy, an Irish dramatist active with Dublin’s Abbey Theatre in the late 1930s and ’40s. It’s always a special occasion when a Teresa Deevy play is on view.
This year, they kick off the early fall 2017 with The Suitcase Under the Bed, a quartet of short plays found from whence they were stored. Three are world premieres and are presented here as part of the Mint’s Deevy Project.
The Suitcase Under the Bedbegan production on July 21st and runs through September 23rd at Theatre Row’s Beckett Theatre. For information and tickets, please visit The Mint’s website.
In honor of their 20th anniversary, Dzieci Theatre will reinstate its Gypsy-infused production of Macbeth, MAKBETfor a 5-Week run starting on September 6 at Bushwick’s Sure We Can. Our guest reviewer, Mari S. Gold had a chance to see it in October 2015.
Having a successful older sibling can be both a point of pride and a burden.
For Musicals in Mufti, at the York Theater on E54th and Lexington,despite its excellent and clever name and long history (they’ve staged 100 productions to date). the better-known City Center Encores! series is that more prominent sib.
Like Encores!, Musicals in Mufti takes a bookish approach to musicals of seasons past. The average production is only some 11 performances long, and the actors are in street dress, often carrying the texts of the musical they are performing with them.
Me and Ella, written and performed by Andrea Frierson, closed at the York Theatre on July 23rd
It is a reading or a concert version of a classic work, not seen on Broadway for some time. The upcoming summer production at the York is Jerry’s Girls, running from August 5th through the 13th, a tribute to the women of the Jerry Herman repertory, featuring songs from Hello! Dolly,Mame, La Cage Aux Folles, Milk and Honey, Mack and Mabel, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, and Dear World.
In the original 1985 Broadway run of the revue at the St. James, featured Chita Rivera, Leslie Uggams and Dorothy Loudon.
For more information about Jerry’s Girls in the Musicals in Mufti summer series, please visit the York Theatre website.
Nativist sentiments are often rooted in the stories of European conquerors who obliterated and enslaved native populations, and then high-handedly saw themselves as the rightful owners of the lands they seized.
This is the story of Puerto Rico as depicted in Temple of the Souls, part of the New York Musical Festival and playing at the Acorn at Theatre Row. Puerto Rico, named for the golden riches the Spanish found in the port of this island, was once such a promised land; its indigenous inhabitants, the Taino Indians were defeated by the invading Spaniards. Time has melded the heritage of the isle so that most Puerto Ricans recognize themselves as descendents both of the Spanish and the Taino.
Temple of the Souls is an exploration of this history, filtered through a love story–actually several love stories. Amada (Noellia Hernandez), the daughter of one of the conquistadores, Don Severo (Danny Bolero) falls in love with Guario (Andres Qunitero), a Taino she meets in the rain forests on a fiesta day. They are the Romeo and Juliet figures in this musical. Amada’s “nurse” is Nana (Lorraine Velez in a truly earnest performance) who has kept a secret all these many years.
The music, by Dean Lanon and Anika Paris, with lyrics by Paris and Anita Velez-Mitchell, is affecting. Paris, Velez-Mitchell along with Lorca Peress, who also directs the proceedings, are responsible for the book.
Temple of the Souls is a sometimes erratic work that does not always hit its mark. It aims to elucidate the story of a country and its peoples with warmth and understanding. It’s sincerity is indisputable; its artistry is less marked. The plot and its intermingling of past and present is more intriguing in concept than in execution.The cast, mostly Equity, are all good, some even excellent.
NYMF is an annual event. It is a showcase for new musicals in development. Some make it to off- or off-off-Broadway, a few to Broadway houses. Just getting into the Festival means they have been percolating for some time.