Often as not, a gimmick can be the framework that showcases a great talent, particularly when it’s the hook for an act that’s really got the goods.
For the saxophone duo, Peter and Will Anderson, the trick that underscores their accomplishments is that they are twins, with Peter on the tenor and soprano sax (plus clarinet) and Will on the alto, the clarinet and the flute.
This summer they will head up a 2018 Songbook Summitat Symphony Space where they will be joined by Molly Ryan (vocals), Tarlo Hammer or Steve Ash (piano), Clovis Nicholas (accoustic bass) and Philip Stewart (drums). (NB there was a 2017 Summit as well.)
There is no denying the charm the brothers Anderson bring to their curaitons. The schedule for the jazz events gives us, first up, Irving Berlin from August 7 through 12; next Jerome Kern is featured from the 14th through the 19th. The fellas and their sextet pay their respects to Hoagy Carmichael from August 21st through the 26th, and Jimmy Van Heusen from August 28th through September 2nd.
Watching movies about the civil war is a fraught experience. Whose side am I on? Which side is represented by Jimmy Stewart when he picks up his gun? Can we admire the artistry with which DW Griffiths gives the KKK a valiant star turn? Does irony excuse the racial politics when a mixed-race band of […]
That at least is the case for The Mushroom Cure by Adam Strauss and developed and directed by Jonathan Libman. In his Fringe Fesitval winner (2016 Overall Excellence for a Solo Performance,) Strauss recounts his attempts to self-medicate his crippling OCD. Fittingly for a solo show that explores the mental health benefits of hallucigenic fungi, The Mushroom Cure is simultaneously being performed in the East Village (at Theatre 80 St. Mark’s), and in Berkeley and (fleetingly) in LA. Sponsorship for the productions is provided by The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a psychedelic research and advocacy organization.
Smith Street Stage is putting on the greatest summer comedy in the repertoire at The Actors Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as directed by Jonathan Hopkins, is transported to our New York, looking at the magic in our home town in the spirit of Shakespeare.
There is more Shakespeare on offer, of course, this summer; as is its custom. the Public gives us Shakespeare in the Park, but this year, Boomerang Theatre Company is puttng on Twelfth Night (or What You Will), directed by Sara Thigpen, on the lawn in Central Park. Be grateful to the Bard as Twelfth Night is a tonic for our times.
Everything has an origin story, and Chicago, The Musical, has one in this 1926 play. Maurine Dallas Watkins provided the inspiration for the show that’s been running on Broadway since forever. Like it’s lead characters, Chicago had a rocky start, opening June 3, 1975 and closing two years later on August 27, 1977; it reopened in revival in November of that year in the West End and then hit Broadway with a flair. Ann Reinking, using the Fosse style, choreographed the revival under Walter Bobbie’s direction to resounding success.
Watkins wrote Chicago for a class assignment at the Yale School of Drama. It, too, went on to have a resounding success, not least because it provided the story for the musical. The story of Roxie Hart and her fellow inmates also inspired a 1927 film named Chicago and in 1942 one named after our anti-heroine. Watkins’ version of her the tale was based on her coverage on the crime beat of the Chicago Tribune, and opened on Broadway in 1926, where it lasted for just 172 performances, under the direction of George Abbott. It’s after-life is a matter of record.
The Gingold Theatrical Group (GTG) will perform the play that spurred the famous Broadway hit on Monday, July 23rd at Symphony Space at 7pm.
“The past is prologue….” It’s a saying that suggests we learn from what has transpired before. At the theater, we certainly try hard to look at history and see where it has gotten us, how we approached our problems, what solutions were on offer. Great thinkers–and dramatists are definitely philosophers in action– have made their suggestions clear.
Shakespeare confronted every manner of political upheaval as well as all the dystopias of the soul. We regularly worship at his altar. This year, The Public Theater puts on a summer in the park season with his Othello and Twelfth Night.
George Bernard Shaw looked at askew the world from a totally original perspective. The Gingold Theatrical Group celebrates his musings in their regular Project Shaw series at Symphony Space and with Shaw Club meetings on Mondays. Manhattan Theater Company and the Roundabout folks have tackled Shaw over the years with productions of Major Barbara and, currently on stage at MTC’s Friedman, Saint Joan.
The roiling and effervescent stories told by James Joyce in Finnegan’s Wake are part of the annual Bloomsday readings, here in New York with one at Bloom’s Tavern and the other at the above mentioned Symphony Space. The Bloom’s Tavern event is coordinated through Origin Theatre Company and includes both celebrities and an Irish breakfast. To be more exacting, it also features a of the Joyce period costume contest.
A great performance has an air of inevitability as well as a feel of spontaneity.
It looks like an improvisation, as if invented on the spot.
NYCB carries off this impersonation of spontaniety so well that I often sit through a performance feeling as if it were created there and then just for me.
I am aware that this is a fond delusion on my part. Warren Carlyle plumbed the choreography of the Broadway work of Jerome Robbins to put together the spontaneous combustion that is Something to Dance About, for instance. The cast rehearsed this brilliant compilation, as it did Justin Peck’s tribute to Robbins, the deceptively-titled Easy.
Even pieces I have seen many times, like the great Four Seasons which Robbins set to Verdi grant me the perception of a sneak peak into a newly minted work. Roman Mejia, a young (and apparently much noticed) member of the corps, was a startling revelation to me as the Puckish faun in the fall section of this ballet.
The pas de deux often also looks like invented in the spur of the moment as the show-off pottion of the program. Each dancer jumps in –often literally– to the performance, and takes his or her turn impressing us.