Posted in dance

Don’t say a word

In ballet, actually in all dance, actions really do speak louder than words.

Edgar Degas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Edgar Degas [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
What exposition–i.e. story ballets– there is is spelled out in movement. There will be no exclamation of rights and wrongs; no one will make a declaration of love. At least not in so many words.

By Otria (Own work My library collection) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Otria (Own work My library collection) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
There may be a sudden gambol, a leap, a plié, a grand jeté, a dip, a swirl, but no one will burst into song or speeches.

The quiet, except for music, and in the case of the New York City Ballet–always live music, is contemplative. We are mesmerized by the movement, and immersed in the excitement of motion.

Live music is also featured at Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, starting its spring New York season at the David H. Koch on March 16th (through April 3rd.) Leaping–almost flying through air– is de rigeur for the PTAMD.

Dance is action. It is dramatic, dynamic and animated.

We are witnesses to the buoyancy, exuberance and vivacity of the dancers. While we are watching them, the dance is all we need to know, to hear.

This just in from PTAMD:

March 15, 2016, at 7pm has been added to the New York season, and every seat at the David H. Koch Theater for PTAMD’s kickoff night is priced at just $5. The featured dances are Mercuric Tidings (1982), Dilly Dilly (2016), and Esplanade (1975). March 15 tickets will go on sale on Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. If you miss this opportunity for a gift of dance, there will still be tickets for the rest of the season as low as $10. On the other hand, tickets for the gala on March 16th are still available at $1000, $2500, or $5000.

Posted in circus, circus. vaudeville

Polishing the “…Apple”

On February 12th, Big Apple Circus returns to Bridgewater, New Jersey for the company’s 38th season with the New Jersey Premiere of The GrandTour! Tickets start at $25, running through March 13, 2016 under the Big Top at TD Bank Ballpark. For tickets or to get more information, visit http://www.bigapplecircus.org.

See our other mentions and critiques of the Big Apple Circus at:
**http://wp.me/p5jq0w-Ay
**http://wp.me/p5jq0w-zp
**http://wp.me/p5jq0w-z0

 

Commenting

We are eagerly anticipating our trip to the circus, which brings us to this riff on its history.

(Big Apple Circus, a one-ring spectacle, returns to Lincoln Center with a premiere set in the 1920s, from October 21st to January 10th.For the October 28th and 29th at 11am, there are specially adapted performances for those with vision or hearing impairments to enjoy The Grand Tour at Lincoln Center: Big Apple Circus presents Circus of the Senses: http://wp.me/p5jq0w-z0 On November 17th at 11am, Big Apple Circus invites families with members who are in the autism spectrum to a special performance. )

Circuses have a long and storied history. B.C. Romans put on shows in the round, hence the name,  to distract the populus from the corruption around them.

Laughter, shock and awe are the best medicine. The circus is a spectacle, a spectacular sporting event that brings together acrobats, jugglers, and equestrians…

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Posted in African-American playwrights, dining, dinner, musical theater, Shakespeare, short play festival, theater

Dinner and a show OffBway Edition

Source: Dinner and a show:

With Off-Broadway Week 2-for-1 overlapping by a few days with Restaurant Week (the former starts Feb 1 and the latter ends Feb 2), you can take your sweetie out for an evening for around $100pp. Consider it nycgo.com‘s pre Valentine Day treat. We are making a few suggestions, not necessarily from the nycgo list.

Broadway and The Bard, produced by Amas Musical Theatre at The Lion on Theatre Row from January 28th through March 6th, unfortunately is not a 2-for-1 option this go round. This should not deter you from catching the wonderful stage and screen veteran Len Cariou anyway.  Combining his two great loves – Shakespeare and American Musical Comedy – into one rich and diverse tapestry; Cariou pairs classical soliloquies and sonnets with inventive musical numbers from the great repertoire of the Great White Way.

Two shows you will find in the 2-for list are Daddy Long Legs and Trip of Love. Both, like Broadway and the Bard, are conveniently located in the theater district where there are lots of $38pp dinner options– from Aureole’s Liberty Room to The View in the Marquis.

In midtown west, Maurice Hines’ Tappin’ Thru Life, at New World Stages has been added to the 2-fer list at nycgo. Grab a bite at 21 Club (Bar Room Pre-Theatre saves you $10 during Restaurant Week) and then head over toward 8th Avenue for the show.

Downtown, at the Kraine Theater there’s a The Fire This Time 10-Minute Play Festival directed by Nicole A. Watson that opened on January 18th and runs to February 6th. Like Broadway and the Bard, you won’t find this short play Festival on the 2-for-1 list. Go there and accompany your visit with a meal at say Root & Bone or Miss Lily’s 7A nearby.

The Festival, now in its 7th season, is a forum for emerging African-American playwrights whose talents and interests are represented in the short plays on the calendar. The program is diverse:

  • Pride by Tanya Everett explores how pride inhibits our relationships and ability to connect with another.
  • Keelay Gipson in Time in the Penn looks at how media affects mob mentality.
  • God Will Know The Difference by Jiréh Breon Holder looks at how identity, family and love can collide to shatter or unite.
  • In Hard Palate,  Roger Q. Mason wonders if the old stigmas about gays still apply in the age of dating apps and PrEP.
  • In Slavesperience by Stacey Rose, a progressive young white woman gets a better understanding of life in Black America from two professional slaves for her 30th birthday.
  • clarity by Korde Arrington Tuttle has a man questioning his impending marriage.
  • You Mine by Nia O. Witherspoon nightmarishly takes place in a senior-living facility in which an Alzheimer’s patient believes her caregiver is actually her slave.

The immersive theater event from the Third Rail Projects, The Grand Paradise is likely to have a long run if their earlier projects like Then She Fell is any indication. The Grand Paradise, previewing January 28th and selling tickets through the end of March in Bushwick,  takes you into a fountain of youth destined to quench all your desires.

Dine at some of the nearby Williamsburg establishments, like MP Taverna Brooklyn or Esh Restaurant and Bar as part of your evening.

The Foundry Theatre offers up an inspiring manifesto for transformative theatrical experiences. The Foundry Theatre’s O, Earth by Casey Llewellyn takes us back to Manhattan where it plays in the HERE space from January 23rd through February 20th.
O,Earth is an inclusively celebratory re-mix of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town as seen
through the lens of queer and trans culture and history.

In Soho, you’ll find the well-represented Dos Caminos chain offering Restaurant Week menus, as well as David Burke’s Kitchen, Mercer Kitchen and The Dutch, to name just a few, offer both lunch and dinner,  but most Restaurant Week participants exclude Saturday evenings.

 

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Posted in avant garde, dance, love story, theater

Romance and Dance Just Around the Bend

Love is eccentric. It often erupts in or from unresolved disagreements and conflicts.

Some “lessons” about the messy nature of romance were witnessed first-hand by author Ellen Maddow in her role as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court.

Maddow applies what she learned to create the chaotic music-filled comedy, Burnished by Grief-A Romantic Comedy, at La MaMa’s first floor theater from January 22–February 7,  in which she investigates the symphonic beauty of cramped New York City life.

Burnished by Grief, written and composed by Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, partners since 1974 in the Talking Band,  one of the city’s foremost avant-garde theaters.   La MaMa joins with Talking Band to present the world premiere of Burnished by Grief, an offbeat and disturbing romantic comedy.

DRUNKThe creative team—including Anna Kiraly (Set and Video Designer), Kiki Smith (Costume Designer), Lenore Doxsee (Lighting Designer), and Tim Schellenbaum (Sound Design) – will transform LaMaMa’s First Floor Theater into a prismatic and halucinatory Brooklyn with a backyard surrounded by peering neighbors and stationery bikes in the midst of the disarray of a traffic island.

Visit www.lamama.org to find out more about Burnished by Grief.

Love is a form of intoxication for some. LABAlive presents Drunkan Evening of Wine, Jewish Text Study, Art, Music, Theater and Imbibing at the 14th Street Y on January 21, explores the more traditional kinds of inebriation. LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture presents this event in which wine is paired with scriptural text.

To find out more about LABA and Drunk, visit http://www.labajournal.com/drunk.

There are additional January off-Broadway “treats” at http://wp.me/p5jq0w-FA

Sometimes love and art marry. Bob Fosse, for instance, was not just influenced by Jack Cole, the legendary “inventor” of the theatrical jazz style of which Fosse, along with Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, and Gower Champion, was a practitioner, he also married Cole’s assistant, Gwen Verdon.

From January 20 through February 4, MOMA presents a film (series) tribute to Jack Cole, All That Jack (Cole). Cole’s style of dance–combining elements from ethnic, ballet and popular dance idioms– is what we have come to  expect on stage and screen.

For a schedule, please visit the MOMA calendar.

Speaking of dance… and dance on film:

Movies by Movers will merge with The American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival to become ADF’s Movies by Movers. Directed by Cara
Hagan, ADF’s Movies by Movers will be a festival dedicated to the exploration and celebration of human movement in film and digital media. The festival will hold screenings in Durham, NC during ADF’s season and in Boone, NC in September.

 

Teach your children well:

Exposure to dance performances can be a formative experience for youngsters.

A new initiative by Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance (PTAMD) called the Tier 3: Arnhold Dance Education and Audience Development Initiative is a free program introducing New York City students K-12 to modern dance.  After its success as a pilot program last year, Tier 3 will invite New York City teachers, administrators, principals, students, and parents joined PTAMD to experience great works of modern dance at the highest standard of excellence—performed by amazing dancers, with live music, at one of the world’s greatest dance venues, free of charge to PTAMD’s annual New York Season at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in March.

Tier 3 will also make available a customized Study Guide that contains primary source material, critical thought provokers, and links to video documentation and will give teachers an opportunity to attend a Professional Development workshop to deepen their understanding of the modern dance genre so they can maximize the benefits of the performance component when following up in their classrooms.

About the (PTAMD) Spring season:
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance opens its annual Season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, on March 16. (It runs through April 3.)

The prolific Paul Taylor presents his 143rd dance, Sullivaniana, and his 144th work, Dilly Dilly this spring.

Taylor Company Commissions, initiative Paul Taylor has undertaken to ensure that the vitality of modern dance continues, will feature commissioned world premieres of dances by Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins.

To honor the Martha Graham Company’s 90th Anniversary, Paul Taylor chose to present her Diversion of Angels during the seven seasons he danced with the Martha Graham company beginning in 1955. Helping him oversee the production, to be staged by Blakeley White-McGuire and Tadej Brdnik, will be Linda Hodes, Taylor’s partner in Diversion of Angels. and who was the founding Director of Taylor 2 in 1993.

Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, Donald McKayle’s 1959 signature work, depicting workers on a chain-gang, is another historical masterpiece that will be on the Season’s programs; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform.

Music will be performed live by the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by long-time Taylor Music Director, Donald York.

To learn more about the PTAMD New York Season, please visit http://ptamd.org/LC2016/

 

 

Posted in tap dance, tap dance musical

Maurice Hines remembers “Tappin’ Thru Life”

Logo for the musical
Logo for the musical

Tap dance is an American art form–with roots in traditional dances from all over the world. Some of you may have noticed that we are great fans of all dance,  and have a soft spot for what we call the percussive style (à la Riverdance, for instance as in the recent Lords of the Dance.)

Much as we like watching the pyrotechniques of the latter, we have always enjoyed the quieter shuffle and pat of Gregory and Maurice Hines. Gregory Hines is remembered in his brother Maurice’s new musical tribute, along with an array of greats with whom Maurice Hines worked over the years.

Tappin’ Thru Life, at New World Stages through March 13th, written by Maurice Hines introduces two new tapstar brothers, John and Leo Manzari. The musical is directed by  Jeff Calhoun, a nominee for Tony bests in choreography (Grease) and for direction of a musical (Newsies), and a dancer in his own right. The dancing and story are backed by the all female vivacious Diva Jazz Orchestra, led by drummer Sherrie Maricle.

For more information and tickets, please visit
http://www.tappinthrulife.com/

Posted in comedy, dining, dinner, drama, musical theater, theater

Dinner and a show

Book dinner and a show for ridiculous prices– no not those ridiculous prices, the ones that are considered moderate in this town!

Winter 2016 Restaurant Week and Broadway 2-for-1 coincide this season. The latter starts on January 19th and runs to February 5th, while Restaurant Week gives you an extra day to get ready on January 18th.

You can be sure that Hamilton did not make this list of 2-fors, but there are still plenty of big-ticket performances to see. 

This is a perfect time to catch An American in Paris, or The Color Purple, The King and I, or Beautiful, On Your Feet!, Something Rotten!, School of RockThe Humans or Phantom— to name just a few of the productions featured in the 2-fers. Dine before the show at Aureole, one of a couple of Bobby Van’s or The View at the Marquis for $38pp. If you hit a matinee and grab lunch it’s just $25pp at places like Victor’s Cuban Cafe, The Capital Grille (Times Square) Steakhouse, Butter Midtown or Barbetta. The list could go on, but you get our drift.

Everyone loves a bargain, so plan ahead for a table and your seats!

Visit http://www.nycgo.com/broadway-week to see what you haven’t seen yet. Go to http://www.nycgo.com/restaurant-week to snag a place at the table of your choice. Atlantic Grill, the Lincoln Ristorante and Boulud Sud are also participating in this winter’s Restaurant Week.

Posted in comedy, dance, drama, musical theater, theater

January treats

It’s not hard to stay busy and entertained in the Big Apple. There’s theater and dance everywhere around town.

photo by Ian Douglas: McGinn & Again is a multidisciplinary family art collective initiated by James and Jen McGinn.
photo by Ian Douglas: McGinn & Again is a multidisciplinary family art collective initiated by James and Jen McGinn. Pictured, World Premiere, Over the River | Through the Woods

We’ve picked a few interesting highl points for the first couple of weeks coming up:

McGinn & Again is the multi-disciplinary family collective of James and Jen McGinn. The brother and sister maintain professional autonomy as artists, but their working practices often produce collaborative projects. They can be found downtown in a couple of venues in the coming days.

Movement Research @ The Judson Church
Monday January 11, 2016 @ 8pm
Over the River | Through the Woods 
American Realness @ Abrons Art Center
Saturday January 16, 2016 @ 5:30pm
Sunday January 17, 2016 @ 7pm

January 13-31 at the Abrons Art Center and American Realness present the world premiere of  Erin Markey’s A Ride On The Irish Cream, directed by Jordan Fein. A Ride On The Irish Cream is an insightful yet playful performance art musical that investigates how childhood effects our adult intimacies.

Interdisciplinary is not just a hackneyed discription for entertainments that veer into the space between performance, music, plastic arts at PS122’s annual COIL Festival. Working with new technologies and through installations, live and virtual practices, PS122 is committed to redefining how, where and when performance is experienced.

 

There are four theatrical premieres in the 11th annual COIL, including the well-researched Confirmation. Broadway-bound director Rachel Chavkin (Great Comet) has collaborated with Chris Thorpe to create Confirmation,  which runs from January 13-17. Exploring the psychological phenomenon of Confirmation Bias, the piece attempts to have an honorable dialogue, bothreal and imagined, with political extremism.

FRIGID New York @ Horse Trade presents the Cave Theatre Company’s production of Toni Press-Coffman’s Touch, directed by James Masciovecchio and running January 14-24 at UNDER St. Marks. Touch has previously been produced at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Theatre of N.O.T.E. in Los Angeles, as well as other theatres throughout the United States and Europe.

 

It’s the Year of the Monkey

Not just any monkey, but the Red Fire Monkey, the most aggressive and ambitious of the Monkeys celebrated in the Chinese zodiac.

There are several events in New York leading us up to the Chinese New Year’s celebration of the 4713th.

2Dragon Boat Racing, playing a strictly limited run the David H. Koch Theater from January 7-10, 2016, is a presentation of the Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble.  The Ensemble is brought to the United States by The China Arts and Entertainment Group (CAEG), founded in 2004, and the first large state-owned cultural enterprise in China. CAEG has undertaken thousands of governmental cultural exchange projects and staged commercial performances and arts exhibitions both at home and abroad. Its many productions world-wide have attracted audiences of 10 million people annually.
7The  Guangdong Song & Dance Ensemble is a state-owned unit directly under the Department of Culture of Guangdong Province, and the successor of the former South China Art Troupe formed in July 1949. In its six+ decades, the Ensemble has nurtured and witnessed the success of many Chinese artistic virtuosos, and promoted cultural exchange between China and other countries around the world.
21Dragon Boat Racing is colorful with scenic design by Qin Liyun and Ma Jun, lighting design by Liu Fengshu and Qin Nianfeng, and costume design by Yang Donglin. The cast includes Li Xing (He Liunian), Li Yanchao (Xu Chunling), Sun Ran (He Shaoyan), Wang Minrui (Pan Hongying), Qi Qi (Xu Chunling’s father), Li Chaoyi (Japanese General), and an ensemble of 38 dancers.
Visit http://www.davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfoDBR.html to learn more about the performances of Dragon Boat Racing at the Koch. For a tour schedule, visit the http://www.dragonboatracing.net/en/index.php site.
unnamed (1)On January 31st, the New Jersey-based Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents an all-new celebration of Chinese culture.  Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College  once again partners with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company for its third annual Lunar New Year Celebration, this year commemorating the Year of the Monkey, a year characterized by cleverness, curiosity, and playful mischief.
unnamedAlong with its own original choreography to live musical accompaniment by the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will be joined by two international artists from Beijing, sponsored by the Cultural Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, performing a special excerpt from Monkey King in the Heavenly Palace, one of the most celebrated Peking Opera productions in China.

For more information and tickets for the Lunar New Year Celebration visit BrooklynCenter.org

Posted in musical theater

Somthing Rotten! Plays On

An ad for Something Rotten!
An ad for Something Rotten!

Somthing Rotten! makes (up) musical theater history! For the record, Somthing Rotten! did not win the 2015 Tony for Best New Musical. You can make it up to them:
Somthing Rotten! soldiers on at the St. James with its scrappy fairytale of the genesis of musical theater eight times a week. The idolized charismatic Shakespeare and his rivals the unsung Bottom brothers (they do sing, it’s a musical) are its center and its firmament. Catch up with Something Rotten!, again or for the first time now. It’s musical theatre history in the making.

For our review, click here.

Selling tickets through May at http://rottenbroadway.com/

Our Theater Blog: TandBOnTheAisle

Brian d’Arcy James is having the time of his life.

In the context of Something Rotten!, at the St. James Theatre for what is destined to be a very long run, his jubiliation seems unwarranted.

1. 3566Nick Bottom, the character James so winniningly inhabits, is a failed playwright, who has lost the patronage of Lord Clapham (Peter Bartlett.)  Nick’s deep envy of Will Shakespeare’s (Christian Borle) meteoric success gnaws at him.

To help with the family finances, Nick’s wife Bea (Heidi Blickenstaff) disguises herself as a boy in order to work at menial labor. She says woman should be allowed to work; “it’s the ’90s, soon it will be 1600; there’s a woman on the throne….” Nick’s writing partner is his brother, Nigel (John Criani), a talented young man who admires Shakespeare.

Something Rotten B-Roll

Nick is reduced to  paying a soothsayer, Nostradamus (Brad Oscar), for ideas from theatre-future. The result of the collaboration between Nick and…

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Posted in 2-hander, comedy, drama, musical theater, theater

Can’t stop making lists

Once you start making lists, it becomes a habit, an obsession, perhaps, and so you continue listing what’s good. Unlike the other lists we posted recently, this one is in anticipation. 2016 is upon us, and there will be so much more theater in the new year.

  1. Forest Whittaker is coming to the Booth Theatre as Hughie, with previews beginning on February 8th. Whitaker will star alongside Frank Wood, under Michael Grandage’s direction, in Eugene O’Neill’s two-hander.
  2. The Color Purple, starring  Jennifer Hudson–in her Broadway debut– is directed by John Doyle. This revival of the musical is coming to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, and is bringing both Danielle Brooks, and Cynthia Erivo from the British cast.
  3. This spring there’s more O’Neill is headed our way, when the Roundabout presents Long Day’s Journey into Night, starring Jessica Lange, Michael Shannon, John Gallagher Jr. and Gabriel Byrne under Jonathan Kent’s direction.
  4. The Public will have a Broadway transfer of last fall’s hit  Eclipsed by Danai Gurira, and starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. Liesl Tommy directs at the Golden, with previews scheduled from February 23rd.
  5. The Roundabout has a Broadway transfer of its own with The Humans moving from the Laura Pels this past season to the Helen Hayes Theatre on January 23rd. Wide critical acclaim (including ours) and an unstoppable creative team and cast helped in the move.
  6. Fiddler on the Roof has begun its previews at the Broadway Theatre. Directed by Bartlett Sher and starring Danny Burstein as Tevye, and Jessica Hecht as his wife Golde, this revival is set to make a new “Tradition.”
  7. Any chance to see Brian Stokes Mitchell and Audra McDonald together again is one we will grab. Shuffle Along, a musical that revolutionized Broadway back in the ’20’s, is being revamped and redone by George C. Wolfe, with choreography by Savion Glover. The new old musical hits the Music Box Theatre in March.
  8. Rebecca Taichman directs another play by Danai Gurira at Playwrights Horizons, Familiar in February.
  9. Two reasons to love Waitress, the musical version of the movie we saw recently, are the lovely off-beat script and Jessie Mueller who has been brilliant in everything from On A Clear Day… onward to Beautiful for which she won that Tony.
  10. Hanging in from the 2015 lists: On Your Feet! and School of Rock, along with Hamilton, because no list of New York theater is complete without this masterpiece for which we have posted multiple raves also at this site (see here.)