The survival of the American Songbook may well depend on youngsters like the talented Anderson Twins who keep it strong.
Each summer, the Andersons, Will (alto sax) and Peter (tenor, soprano sax and clarinet), join forces with stalwarts like Vince Giordano, Paul Wells and Molly Ryan to namedrop just a few to represent the songbook in much of its rich variety.
Here they are again to head up the Songbook Summit 2019 at Symphony Space in mid August. This year’s iteration covers the music of Duke Ellington (August 13-15) and Louis Armstrong (8/21-23).
The brothers may be young, but Peter and Will have been doing this for some years. They apply their expertise and training to performing the standards along side the older-timers on the bill.
The Andersons have a wit, style and finesse that permeates their performance and their curations. Join them later this summer to hear them and their colleagues perform tributes to just two of America’s prolific and inventive composers.
What is the Straight Pride Parade, I ask myself as I read Jamie Benson’s email. Subject line: “Queer Comedy Duo Reacts to Straight Pride Parade with “The Straight Man Celebrates Gay Pride” on June 29th.”
I Googled the “Straight” part of this new meme and found that there are many protests to its offensiveness. It is the elitist equivalent to “White Lives Matter” as if the #BlackLivesMatter movement takes anything away from people not of color. As if it could? Power and privilege really do put some of us at an advantage.
Inclusiveness or inclusitivity needs more practitioners.
Save yourself the fare for the trip to Boston where you will be ridiculed for your life choices and poor behavior, and go instead to see Jamie Benson’s comedy duo, The Straight Man (TSM-Hannah Goldman and Benson) and others.
Their program The Straight Man Celebrates Gay Pride is at the PIT (People’s Improv Theatre) on June 29th at 9:30pm.
The comedy duo and friends perform throughout the year as well. Says Jamie Benson, co-producer of TSM: “Considering that NYC comedy is still dominated by straight males, our search for queer comedic sanctuary is still so damn relevant. It’s a sad need that we’re filling with joy.”
Finally, Shakespeare is playing with the big boys. As a businessman, he probably would have welcomed all the attention he still gets. As an artist, he might have been fascinated by the “strange new world” in which theater can be turned into a CGI experience.
There is a burgeoning technology, called weARlive, developed by Technodramatists, a new company that combines technological innovations with drama.
It uses something described as a “face-sync application” and is being premiered by their Technodramatists Performance Laboratory ; weARlive allows one actor to take on many roles through animated creations motion-captured in real time.
Their first production using weARlive is Error: A Comedy Of, in which actress Claire Tyers is the live action model for the avatars of all the characters in the play, based on the Bard’s original.
Note that the emphasis here is not on the technical but on the artistry. Artfully intelligent applications of the new are a tradition in the theater, but the new today is much more surprising than it was in, say ancient Greece when cranes were introduced as the “Deus Ex Machina.”
Be prepared to be astounded and awed at TheaterLab where the latest in technological artistry will be presented by Technodramatists beginning June 6th through June 22nd .
Family Man, Sliding Doors, and the Broadway musical If/Thenall take a deep dive into questions of alternate realities. They involve shifting time, as does the Sandra Bullock-Keanu Reeves romance The Lake House to slightly disparate effect.
Sliding Doors and Family Man are films which explore what might have been by letting it happen to Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicolas Cage respectively. Similarly, If/Then let Idina Menzel experience a different life if she made different life choices. (The alternate reality I would have liked to see is for the musical play to be honored with a Tony in its 2014 bid.)
It is a giddy fact that the divergent paths the hero or heroine takes leads to different outcomes for him/her in each of these works. Makes you wonder what you might have done had you done differently!