Posted in Clsoing this week, Clybourne Park, Memphis, Sister Act

We will miss them when they’re gone….

Shows come and go all the time. It’s the nature of theatrical presentation. Here are a few closing soon, you should catch if you can….

 “Memphis: The Musical” is heading out on tour around the country after its close this Sunday, August 5th. It has had more than 100 performances during its run. When Chad Kimball left the show, Adam Pascal (as Huey) joined the fabulous Montego Glover (as Felicia) in the dramatic musical. Go to http://memphisthemusical.com/ for tickets and informaton.

Despite it’s Tony win, the Broadway transfer of “Clybourne Park” will go dark after it’s September 2nd performance, although it’s website refers to this as an extension: http://clybournepark.com/.

It’s based on the film and a bit of fluff, but the star,  Patina Miller [since replaced by Raven-Symone] was a standout. It’s closing on August 26th.

Visit http://sisteractbroadway.com/ for tickets.

 

Posted in based on a film, cruelty, moving musical drama, musical, second look, Vietnam background

Ugly is as ugly does in ‘DOGFIGHT" — gets a second look

This is an update since we had a chance to give “Dogfight” a second look!
For some, cruelty is a birthright. For others a rite of passage. 
“Dogfight,” the new musical  playing at Second Stage Theatre through August 19th, doesn’t examine the fine points of meanness and callousness. It does offer an improbable, or on second peek moving, redemption for Eddie Birdlace (Derek Klena.) Rose Feeney (Lindsay Mendez) sees past the ugliness of his actions and his physical good looks.

Lindsay Mendez as Rose with Derek Klena as Birdlace and company in the musical “Dogfight.” Photo © Joan Marcus.
 
In “Dogfight,” with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a book by Peter Duchan based on the 1991 indie film of the same name, male bonding is mostly abusive and nasty. The girls, like Marcy (Annaleigh Ashford) and Chippy (Deirdre Friel, who also plays a number of other cameos) and even Rose are either victims, or just wanna have fun. Eddie and his pals, Boland (Josh Segarra) and Bernstein (Nick Blaemire), the three Bs, are marines on the eve of shipping out. Their destinaton is Vietnam. 
F. Michael Haynie as Fector, Nick Blaemire as Bernstein, Adam Halpin as Stevens, Josh Segarra as Boland, and Steven Booth as Gibbs in “Dogfight.” Photo © Joan Marcus.
This last night in San Francisco is for them to have “Some Kinda Time,” as the opening number suggests. The songs are not unpleasantly generic ’60s style pop, maybe with a bit of an edge to match the subject matter. The acting is good, particularly Derek Klena and Lindsay Mendez as the leads, and Annaleigh Ashford’s Marcy is tough as nails and terrific.
DeirdreFriel as Bernstein’s silent date, Nick Blaemire as Bernstein, Derek Klena as Birdlace, Lindsay Mendez as Rose, Josh Segarra as Boland, and Annaleigh Ashford as Marcy in the musical “Dogfight.” Photo © Joan Marcus.  
“Dogfight” is about insensitivity and heartlessness. Why are we not championing the women these marines treat so badly? It seems like we should be more concerned. The story line while both disturbing and satisfying, still manages to be bland. “Dogfight” uses the familiarity of its musical style, the dancing, and the wrap-around sets of staircases and catwalks, designed by David Zinn, to bolster the weakness of its plot.

So, about that second look: “Dogfight” was much more engaging the second time around. Its central characters were touching and its storyline was poignant. Even the music flowed better and was more interesting.  

  Derek Klena as Birdlace, James Moye as the party singer, Lindsay Mendez as Rose in the musical “Dogfight.” Photo © Joan Marcus.
To find out more about “Dogfight” visit http://www.2st.com/.
Posted in 2-hander, emerging playwright, family drama, LEED-certified theater space, mystery, Željko Ivanek

"Slowgirl" exhilirates

“Slowgirl” at Claire Tow

So often it happens that bad things come from the exercise of poor judgement.

In Greg Pierce’s “Slowgirl,” produced by LCT3 at the new Claire Tow Theaer, and in a twice-extended run through August 5th, there is plenty of anguish to go around.

A tragedy brings Becky (Sarah Steele) to seek haven with her uncle Sterling (Željko Ivanek).

Like Becky, Sterling is harboring a secret.  The fast-talking Becky and her near-silent uncle are each complicit and share a sense of guilt for very different incidents in their lives.

Sarah Steele and Željko Ivanek Photo © Erin Baiano.

The mystery that is buried in “Slowgirl”unravels over four scenes at Sterling’s Costa Rican jungle home.
Sterling’s affection for his niece eventually gives him the impetus to move ahead.

Sarah Steele’s privileged 17-year old hides her pain in bravado. Hers is a smooth and seamless performance. In the diminutive and lovely Claire Tow Theater, its easy to see Željko Ivanek’s every raised eyebrow. His dismay as Becky chatters, blurting every inappropriate thought, is beautifully nuanced and perfectly timed.  Anne Kaufman’s direction allows the plot to unfold unexpectedly, keeping the enigmaiic center of “Slowgirl” alive throughout.

The sets, by Rachel Hauck, and sound, by Leah Gelpe, imaginatively invoke the bucolic tropical forest.  Their designs add to the simple exoticism of “Slowgirl.”

To get tickets and find out more about “Slowgirl” visit http://www.lincolncentertheater.org/.

Željko Ivanek Photo © Erin Baiano.

A word about the theater at LCT3:

The Claire Tow Theater sits atop the Vivian Beaumont and Mitzi Newhouse Theaters on the Lincoln Center Campus at 63rd and Broadway. The newly-built LEED-certified strucure is really extremely beautiful. It features along with its expertly designed 112 seat interior, a green roof; insulated glass and recycled materials were used in its construction.

The Claire Tow is a breathtaking space in which to showcase the works of emerging playwrights.

Posted in dark comedy drama, hell and heaven, Hell: Paradise Found, whimsical, witty

"Hell: Paradise Found" is– dare I say it– Heavenly

Stacy Panitch as Mother Maria Theresa with Matt Lewis as Simon Ackerman in “Hell: Paradise Found” Photo © Chip Cooper

Is Hell the thinking man’s Heaven?
In “Hell: Paradise Found,” at 59E59 Theaters through July 22nd, playwright Seth Panitch envisions an alternative view of Hell and Heaven.
In Panitch’s minority report, there’s less brimstone and more brainstorm, as it were, in his Hell. Hell is the destination for “the originals,” as The Interviewer (Seth Panitch, who directs) puts it while inducting Simon Ackerman (Matt Lewis) into the afterlife.
Simon is reluctant to go to Hell even though Heaven is dull. “Who do you suppose goes to Heaven anyway,” The Interviewer asks. “Anyone…. anyone who defers to another explanation, anyone who believes because they are told to believe… or stops questioning,” he says, ” because they are told to ‘have faith.'”
In this witty play with music, Hell is peopled with luminaries from Vlad the Impaler (Chip Persons who also plays Lucifer, a Dapper Devil in the opening dance number, and a judge), Don Juan and Hitler (Lawson Hangartner who also has a turn as Adam and Elvis), Eve and Lizzie Borden (Alexandra Ficken), Mother Maria Theresa (Stacy Panitch) and Einstein, Shakespeare, Sinatra (all Peyton Conley who also portrays a childish and narcissistic archangel Gabriel.)
The Devil and God (Dianne Teague) ultimately have an old-fashioned tousle over Simon’s immortal soul, but this “Hell…” is not for humbugs.
For more information about “Hell: Paradise Found” at 59E59 Theaters, go to http://www.59e59.org/ 
Posted in 2-hander, absurdist, comedy, drama, Festival Fringe-bound, monologues, musical theater

A Pitstop On Route To The Venerable Edinburgh Festival Fringe

In 1947 eight theater groups turned up uninvited to the then brand-new Edinburgh International Festival. These pioneering 8 went ahead and staged their shows; in 1959 these “fringe” players were made official by the Festival Fringe Society. The policy The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society established at the start was that “anyone with a story to tell and a venue willing to host them” could present on the annual programs.

59E59 Theaters offers some of those heading out to The Edinburgh Festival Fringe a place to tune up and refresh for the long trip. At “East to Edinburgh 2012,” there are sixteen new shows prepping for the competition at the Festival Fringe to delight and intrigue.

Catch up with some old favorites, or meet up with some completely new productions, as the pre-Festival starts on July 10th and runs through July 29th.

Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” rings in from the 19th to the 21st with a young cast. Teen angst set to 1960’s Brit-pop rocks “MOD” in performances beginning on July 21st.

“Captain Ferguson’s School for Baloon Warfare” makes another appearance at 59E59 before going across the pond to Scotland. (See our review from the eccentric Captain’s earlier visit to 59E59.)

From monologues and standup to serious drama, East to Edinburgh showcases a taste of what the big Festival offers.

To find out more about East to Edinburgh and the other productions at 59E59 Theaters, visit, http://www.59e59.org/.