Those of us lucky enough to have a weekend, don’t have Daniel for a boss.
Rich, powerful, charismatic and abusive, Daniel is an off-stage presence in “Assistance,” at Playwrights Horizons through March 11. Daniel is unseen and unheard– calling in to his minions from London and Tokyo.
Vince’s (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe), Nick’s (Michael Esper) and Nora’s (Virginia Kull) reactions are the witness to his rants against their incompetence and grammatical failings. Meltdowns are legion as are firings.
Virginia Kull as Nora with Amy Rosoff as Jenny in background. Photo © Joan Marcus
Leslye Headland’s paean to the working classes. Well to those enthrall to the great wealth and financial success of ogreish moguls.
Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Vince and Michael Esper as Nick. Photo © Joan Marcus
Serving a petty tyrant is a choice for these young people. Jenny (Amy Rosoff) is thrilled at the chance to work more closely with Daniel, for instance. The hapless Heather (Sue Jean Kim), on the other hand, chooses her uncle’s funeral over an assignment in Chicago, with seemingly dire consequences for her.
Sue Jean Kim as Heather. Photo © Joan Marcus
Bobby Steggert’s Justin has a short but convincing stint on stage, demonstrating just how far around the bend the Daniels of this world can take their proteges.
The players in “Assistance” under Trip Cullman’s deft direction are all splendid. In the surprise coda to “Assistance,” Amy Rosoff exhibits outstanding and completely unexpected talents.
The assistants in “Assistance” might benefit from a workplace drug like the one in Kate Fodor’s “Rx.”
(See commentary on “Rx.”)
Visit www.playwrightshorizons.org for a schedule of performances.
Over at the glassworks, power also wrests in the master’s hands.
In “Rutherford & Son,” at The Mint Theater Company through April 8th, playwright Githa Sowerby captured the tone and cadence of a miserable rural life, both in John Rutherford’s (Robert Hogan) home and his factory. He has sacrificed his children’s happiness to respectability and financial success.
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It’s easy to see why “Rutherford & Son” was a sensation when it had its premiere at London’s Royal Court Theatre in 1912 and then again a few months later when it opened on Broadway. Githa Sowerby understood not only the mores of a small town but also the ebb and flow of business.
David Van Pelt as Martin and Sara Surrey as Janet. Photo © Richard Termine
The fine cast under Jonathan Bank’s sure-handed direction also understand the rhythms of this old-fashioned but very modern play. Sara Surrey particularly stands out as John Rutherford’s embittered spinster daughter, Janet, and Eli James is exceptional as his thwarted and feckless son, John.
For more information and a schedule of performances, please visit www.minttheater.org.
Working it in a completely different way were the guitarists (and their ensembles) Doug Wamble and Nino Joselle in Jazz Meets Flamenco at JALC’s Allen Room on February 24th and 25th, with two remarkable dancers, Jason Samuel Smith representing the jazz-tap side and Juan De Juan onboard to represent Flamenco.
See pictures from the show here.
Jazz at Lincoln Center invited the two guitarists to showcase their flamenco sensibilities. Doug Wamble rose to the occasion with a composition for reeds (John Ellis), bass (Eric Revis), drums (Rudy Royston) and most importantly tap (Jason Samuel Smith.) “The Traveler” is a song cycle, performed by Mr. Wamble and his ensemble, and punctuated by very fancy footwork by Mr. Smith.
The Flamenco side of the program, represented by the incredible and fierce Juan De Juan, dancing to the music performed by Mr. Joselle and his bassist (John Benitez) and percussionist (Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez) won the dance off despite Mr. Smith’s accomplished performance. Juan De Juan accomplishes the seemingly impossible in his Flamenco interpretations.
The special treat here was watching Jason Samuel Smith and Juan De Juan together for the finale of the program.
For more information about Jazz At Lincoln Center programs, visit www.jalc.org.
The Flamenco Festival 2012 in New York City continues this month with, among other venues, performances at New York City. Visit www.nycitycenter.org for more information.