Posted in Uncategorized

The short list: Coming up

It’s so easy to get excited about things theatrical. It is particularly easy to get thrilled by events like a new iteration of a work by Lynn Nottage, or a new work at the Mint Theatre.

The frequently recurring Gingold Theatrical Group presentations of Project Shaw always gets our attention. On Monday, January 20th, the play in question is the well-known Major Barbara. On February 24th, GTG will present What Every Woman Knows by J.M. Barrie.

If you are like me, you are enticed by a work in progress. The series at the Guggenheim, Works & Process has an extreme appeal. One such, is the upcoming Company with Tony-winning director Marianne Elliott on February 3, 2020 at 7:30pm. Ms. Elliott gives insights into her “process” in directing the Sondheim-Furth revival. Patti LuPone and Katrina Lenk, both Tony winners, are her co-panelists; members of the cast will perform high-lights from the show. Company premieres on Broadway on March 22nd in a gender-swapped version.

Lynn Nottage with Ricky Ian Gordon

You have only to wait a few days before going back for more from the Works & Process folks when on February 9th they present Lincoln Center Theater: Intimate Apparel by Ricky Ian Gordon (music) and Lynn Nottage (libretto) with Bartlett Sher (direction.) The occasion for this panel, moderated by Paul Cremo, is the chamber opera Mr. Gordon has generated from Ms. Nottage’s play. Cast members perform highlights from the opera ahead of its February 27th opening.

The Mint Theatre is a destination venue for any theater-goer who is intrigued by the masters of the form. There upcoming production is a little off the usual path with a CHEKHOV/TOLSTOY:
Love Stories
adapted for the stage by Miles Mallesondirected by Jonathan Bank & Jane Shaw. Performances begin January 23.

Posted in #festivital, 1st Irish Origins Festival, comedy-drama, dark comedy drama, festival, Festivals, Irish, Irish drama, Irish theatre, one-woman show

Irish Feast

The 8th written and directed by Seanie Sugre. Photo by Reiko Yanagi

Or that should be fest, as in the 12th Annual Competition in the  2020 Origin 1st Irish Theatre Festival which includes six mainstage productions across various venues across town. This is the only festival dedicated exclusively to producing the plays of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the globe.

The locales in which the productions from playwrights from from Belfast, Dublin, Wexford, Manhattan and Queen will be presented include the Irish Repertory Theatre, 59E59 Theaters, The NY Irish Center, The Secret Theatre, and The Alchemical Studios. 

In addition to the competing productions, there are 9 special events during this festival–concerts, readings, talks, screenings. These out of competition events will take place at The American Irish Historical Society; Scandinavia House; A.R.T. New York; The National Arts Club; The Cutting Room; Symphony Space, Torn Page and The Irish Consulate. A total of 15 contemporary Irish writers are represented with work in the Festival.

Eva O’Connor’s acclaimed Maz and Bricks gets an American premiere and opens the festivities, running from January 7th through February the 2nd at 59E59. The provocative comedic drama is directed by Jim Culleton, and features Ciaran O’Brien and Eva O’Connor.

Also kicking off the Festival on January 7th is the he world premiere of The 8th, a new play written and directed by Seanie Sugre. Produced in New York by Locked in the Attic Productions with Five OHM Productions, the play stars Julia Nightingale (“The Ferryman” on Broadway), Una Clancy, and Gerard McNamee.  The 8th, referring to Ireland’s 8th Amendment, since repealed, outlawing abortion, ran through January 18th at The Secret Theater.

The Irish Rep’s production of Dion Boucicault‘s London Assurance, directed by Charlotte Moore opened on December 6th and runs through January 26th. The classic farce, which premiered in London in 1841, is given a classy treatment at the Irish Repertory.

Another American premiere, The Scourge, is written and performed by Wexford native Michelle Dooley Mahon and directed by Ben Barnes, former artistic director of The Abbey. The solo show detailing her mother’s slide into Alzheimer’s is produced by the Wexford Arts Centre in association with the Irish Repertoy where it will run from January 22nd through February 2nd.

Honor Molloy’s Round Room, directed by Britt Berke, with music by the Grammy Award-winning Irish singer/songwriter Susan McKeown is a play in development. It will be presented in three performances on January 27-28 at The Alchemical Studios. The New York-based cast features Gina Costigan, Brenda Meaney, Rachel Pickup, Maeve Prive, Zoe Watkins, and Aoife Williamson. 

On January 27th, Dublin’s Gúna Nua presents another American premiere with Sarah-Jane Scott’s dark comedy Appropriate at the NY Irish Center, running through February 1st. The story addresses the sports obsessive in a funny and timely manner.

For all Festival info visit www.origintheatre.org.

Posted in riff

What’s in a like? — Take Note

or in a like it alot? Our household has a favorite film which we have now watched dozens of times, and that fact has me wondering why? Why that particular film? We have a couple of other must-sees, like Connie and Carla, or Barefoot in The Park, or Moonstruck too. What draws us to these […]

What’s in a like? — Take Note
Posted in based on a movie, classic, musical, musicals, Rodgers and Hammerstein

Toot toot Tootsie, don't cry!

thanks to Cafe Press for the t-shirt logo.

Before he was Mrs. Doubtfire, he was a very personable Charlie Chaplin. Rob McClure is said to be doing wonders with this new musical transferring from a Seatlle run in 2020, just as he did marvels in the earlier Chaplin, The Musical.

McClure’s Scottish nanny has taken over for Santino Fontana’s Tootsie which is set to end its run on January 5th in the category of older women impersonations.

We’ll have to wait til March to see Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick’s Mrs. Doubtfire, another plucked from the screen project. (Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farell who collaborated on the book, here, along with Wayne Kirkpatrick, also were responsible for a favorite of ours, Something Rotten!, a Tony-“loser” from 2015.)

I am playing a replacement game with you in this post, so let’s take Oklahoma, closing on January 19th, and go to Ove Van Hove’s de-construction of another classic from the same canon, West Side Story. Currently in previews, it opens on February 6th. This musical has a revised book and some of the music as I understand it, has been cut. There is also new choreography, replacing Jerome Robbins’ original, by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Intriguing!

Posted in comedy, dance, drama, theater

Articulated

ONE GREEN BOTTLE, photo by Kishin Shinoyama,

It is sometimes harder to put a concept better expressed in the physical, into words.

I admit that it can be difficult for a critic to articulate what s/he sees presented on the stage. Some things are visceral. This is particularly true of dance where emotion and meaning are conveyed in gestures, movement and context. It also often applies to experimental theatre which tends towards the cerebral.

Katie Workum and her collaborators want to communicate about their work, The Door’s Unlocked in exclusionary descriptives. This is how the work is described:
“Let’s be clear:
This is not a dance piece. 
This is a conjuring inside a temporariness. 
This is connecting the dancers with the dance. 
This is a negotiation of our togetherness.  
This is entering the unknown without demanding to know. “

She and her collective, the eponymously named Katie Workum Dance, will perform the multi-platformed piece at Foley Gallery at 59 Orchard Street; they expect that it will change with each iteration and audience to which it is presented, from February 3 through 9.

In speaking of the experimental in theater, I am always referencing LaMaMa as a touchstone. So, I am glad to be able to include in this posting a little something of what they will be up to in the new year.

La MaMa, in association with Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre and NODA・MAP, presents the U.S. Premiere of One Green Bottle from February 29 through March 8, 2020 at The Ellen Stewart Theatre, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club. One Green Bottle is an absurdist work in which gender is bent, and our societal foibles, from consumerism to selfie-addiction, is explored.

LaMaMa may have been at the forefront of theatrical happenings, of course, but all theatre is about performance, sentiment and interaction. What is on stage is always a happening.

ABTC, Echoes in the Garden (reading) © Basil Rodericks 2019

The 1st Origin Irish Festival is in its 12th season of competition., beginning on January 7th and running through February 3rd. The festival is a highly curated event, devoted to producing the plays of contemporary Irish playwrights from around the world with a total of 15 productions being presented in venues all over NYC. During the Closing Night Ceremony on Monday, February 3rd, the Best of Festival Awards will be handed out.

A multi-generational drama, Echoes in the Garden, is on offer at The Chain Theatre this March 11th through 29th. The world premiere of Ross G. Hewitt’s new play about family, grief and obligation is producted by American Bard Theater Company and directed by Aimee Todoroff.

Also at The Chain, beginning on February 7th and running through the 22nd is another premiere, Chasing the River. Written by Jean Dobie Giebel and directed by Ella Jane New, Chasing the River depends on memory and its intersection with PTSD to tell its tale of second chances, survival and the healing power of love.

Posted in Uncategorized

Resistance is insistence© — My Word! née 2017 — Commenting

This is a drama that needs an ending, and soon:

We’ve got sort of shoot the messenger administration in power. Senator Durbin reports an appalling truth and he’s faulted for the fact that the Congress can’t pass DACA legislation. People who’ve contributed to America, and lived here for years are being deported, and surely we can’t blame Dick Durbin for regressive policies carried out by the administration and its cohorts. Clearly, it’s their racism that is responsible for failing to allow immigrants who dream of a better life and whose dreams have been fulfilled during nearly a lifetime in the United States to continue living the American dream.

Most Americans come from a long line of dreamers. We are descendents of men and women who came here to start over and to do better. Chances are that your grandpa was an immigrant, or that great grandma came through Ellis Island. An ancestor worked the railroads or participated in the gold rush of 1849. There may be a Revolutionary War veteran on your family tree; he came to America to escape persecution. Some came for economic opportunities. Others travelled across the seas to find a freer society.

Still others were forced here against their will, and lived here enslaved until the Emancipation Proclamation attempted to integrate them into American life.  Racism, then as now, worked to keep these newly minted citizens from enjoying their liberties and rights. Americans who were brought here in shackles have traversed a tougher road in becoming part of the fabric of this democracy.

The main agenda for the dominant party today is a kind of war against people of color. The urban poor are the principal targets of this unprincipled party line. The tax bill, immigration policy, the fight over healthcare, attacks on Medicaid and the defunding of CHIP,  the call to close the borders, all affect services. Education, transportation, housing, are all left to flounder and founder under the burdens of making the wealthy a lot richer. Tax cuts to businesses and their owners will not trickle down to citizens living in or on the boundaries of poverty.

The  predominantly white, rural poor may still support the underlying principles of a racist political regime. They are also financially at risk, but they may feel gratified that inequality takes precedence in our national life, and white supremacy is not just condoned but a guiding political ideal. Is having token representation reward enough for their loyalty?

Posted in #Macbeth, based on a film, based on a Shakespeare play, classic, Classic Stage Company, DruidShakespeare, Richard III, Shakespeare

How Many Ways Can You Say Macbeth?

RICHARD III Druid: Aaron Monaghan, Garrett Lombard,John Olohan, Jane Brennan.Photo credit: Robbie Jack

Three versions of the Scottish play are on stages in New York City right now.

One, a more or less straightforward rendering, is at Classic Stages with Corey Stoll in the lead role and his wife, the actress Nadia Bowers as Lady Macbeth. CSC’s Artistic Director, John Boyle directs and is the scenic designer for the production. Opening night was October 27th. For tickets, go to the CSC website.

Using a quote from the Lady**, The Brick Theater presents a gender fluid version of Macbeth. The play, directed by Maggie Cino, is Unsex Me Here: The Tragedy of Macbeth, opening on November 8th. Moira Stone takes the lead, and Mick O’Brien plays the treacherous Lady.

Roundabout Theatre has a reimagined modern day McBeth presented, at the Laura Pels through December 8th, as Scotland, PA, based on the indie film of the same name. Set in a diner in the eponymous town, “Mac” is having a meltdown seeing hippies while our lady schemes at Duncan’s hamburger joint, girding her loins for a power play. Scotland, PA is a musical version of the Shakespearean tragedy, with book by Michael Mitnick and lyrics aind music by Adam Gwon.

Meanwhile over at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival the focus is on another of the Bard’s tragedies of power gone amok. DruidShakespeare: Richard III , opens November 9th, from Ireland’s Druid theater company and Tony Award-winning director Garry Hynes, starring Aaron Monaghan.

**Act 1, Scene 5, Lady Macbeth speaks, conjuring the spirit of manliness and resolve: “… Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!  …”