Posted in ambition, anticipation, aspiration, avant garde, based on a true story or event, based on a true story or event and historical documents, based on true events, chronicle, drama based on real events, expectations, fictionalization_of_real_events, historical drama, history, land of opportunity, play, Playwrights Horizons, storytelling, The Debate Society, theater, theater folk

Wonders never cease

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Brian Lee Huynh. Photo © Joan Marcus

The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, properly named the World Columbian Exposition in honor of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas, hosted 46 countries and over 25million visitors.

The 690 acres it occupied was a city of industry that represented and presented progress to the world: Juicy Fruit gum, Cream of Wheat and Pabst Blue Ribbon were introduced at the Expo.

A Ferris Wheel, a moving walkway, an electric kitchen that included an automatic dishwasher and printing press for Braille were also innovations first seen at the 1893 Fair.The Colunbian Exposition was also home to a sprawl of original architecture.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Rocco Sisto, Aya Cash and Erik Lochtefeld. Photo © Joan Marcus

In The Light Years, co-written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen and directed by Oliver Butler of The Debate Society, this and the subsequent Chicago World’s Fair of 1933 provide the background for a very unusual play. The Light Years  is presented with The Debate Society at Playwrights Horizons where it is playing through April 2nd.

Steele MacKaye (a wonderfully bombastic Rocco Sisto), envisioned an ingenius theater to celebrate the arts at this grand historic event. His 12,000-seat Spectatorium, was designed by the now forgotten theatrical impresario to harness the mechanical and electrical marvels of the time.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Aya Cash, Erik Lochtefeld and Brian Lee Huynh Photo © Joan Marcus

The Light Years is, in part, a love story, highlighted by technology and wonder and spun over 40-years. In it, we are transported to more innocent times, when novelty could inspire and awe was not an unsophisticated or naive response.

In 1893, the story centers on the progress of building and wiring MacKaye’s theater.

Hillary (Erik Lochtefeld in a star turn) and his assistant, Hong Sling (the charismatic Brian Lee Huynh) are the electricians in charge of making the Spectatorium shine. Hillary’s wife, Adeline (the appealing Aya Cash) is a very modern woman, cheerfully pedalling both iced tea and a bicycle.

The Light YearsPlaywrights Horizons February 17, 2017 – April 02, 2017
Aya Cash, Ken Barnett and Graydon Peter Yosowitz. Photo © Joan Marcus

When the scene shifts to 1933, it’s Ruthy (Aya Cash, again) who has to keep her family afloat, flipping pancakes and inspiriting her husband Lou (Ken Barnett, in an excellent awe-shucks mode) through the writing of musical ditties for this Fair’s many commercial enterprises. Their son, Charlie (the already accomplished young Graydon Peter Yosowitz) is smitten with the sensations the Fair promises.

The scenic design by Laura Jellinek and costumes design by  Michael Krass rise beautifully to the majesty of the occasion.

Every part of the theater space is treated to a bit of the performance. There are lights and things that go poof as well as narratives to explicate the drama. The ensemble engage, entertain and instruct.

The Light Years uses some of the devices Steele MacKaye introduced to turn this small-scale production into a grand spectacle.

For more information and tickets, please visit @PHnyc website.

 

 

 

Posted in acceptance, adultery, aspiration, comedy-drama, committment, couples, dalliance, dramedy, infedility, love, love story, loyalty, premieres, romance, serious comedy, The Mint Theatre

Monogamy

Is it really cheating if your spouse approves your infidelity?

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine.

Exploring the conventions of marriage and the humbug of monogamy, Miles Malleson wrote and published Yours Unfaithfully in 1933. Mint Theater Company is giving this charming and disarming comedy/drama a premiere showing through February 18th, under the direction of Jonathon Bank. For this discovery, we owe them a great thanks.

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Mikaela Izquierdo in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine

 

 

Stephen Meredith (Max von Essen) is blissfully enjoying his wife’s beneficence. Anne (Elisabeth Gray) has given her blessing for him to “get into some mischief” with Diana Streathfield (Mikaela Izquierdo) in the hope that an affair would rejuvenate Stephen and end his writer’s block.

Neither she nor Stephen imagine any other consequence. They are acting on their convictions that a strong marriage can withstand other and lesser alliances, just as Stephen’s father, the Rev. Meredith (Stephen Schnetzer) acts on his principles when he is shocked to learn of Stephen and Diana’s dalliance. Anne’s confidant and the Merediths’ friend, Dr. Alan Kirby (Todd Cerveris) preaches the counterbalance of the head to the heart.

The brilliantly deft production of Yours Unfaithfully is a welcome addition to the Mint archive. As is customary in a Mint production, sets and costumes have a panache as well. The scenic (by Carolyn Mraz) and costume (by Hunter Kaczorowski) design are admirable. The top-notch ensemble brings Malleson’s smart vision to life with an easy flair. It’s a tribute to all involved that one can’t peg Yours Unfaithfully as  drama, or drawing-room comedy; it transcends labels and stands on its own.

For more information and tickets, please visit the Mint website.

 

Posted in acting, activists, actors, allegory, artist, aspiration, athletes, ballet, balletic, comedy-drama, committment, concert, Daily Prompt, dance, dancing, drama, empowerment, expectations, farce, film, high expectations, jazz, joy, memory play, Meryl Streep, mime, modern dance, monologues, movie, multi-disciplinary performances, music, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals, musicals and dramas, mystery, narration, off Broadway, Off or Off-Off Broadway Transfer, offbeat work, one act plays, one man show, one-woman show, opera, painting, pantomime, parody, performance art, performance piece, performance works, photography, play, play with music, public performance in public spaces, radio play, revival, revue, rock and roll, satire, scary stories, sci fi, screwball comedy, Short plays, sketches, skits, tango, tap dance, theater for the common good, theater lovers, theatrical events, tragedy, tragi-comic

Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in #pointofview, 11 Tony Award winning musical, activists, aspiration, award winning, based on a true story or event, based on a true story or event and historical documents, based on true events, DC politics, economics, famous, fictionalization_of_real_events, Hamilton, long running Broadway musical, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals and dramas, Pulitzer Prize winning musical, riff, Tony winner

A Safe Place…

Tickets to Hamilton may (probably not) be available this holiday season thanks to a non-controversy P-E Trump fracked up from a non-incident at the theater. (As it turns out, Trumpistas did not relinquish their tickets en masse, and the show is sold out in all the cities across America in which it is playing.)

When VP-E Mike Pence attended a performance recently, cast member Brandon Victor Dixon used the curtain call to petition his elected official on behalf of the other half of our country. P-E DJT took offense, and a sort of boycott was born.

For the record, VP-E MP said he was not offended: “And I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like,” Pence said, according to news reports from CNN to the NY Daily News.

The play, which won 11 Tonys last year, has been a hot ticket since it started its Broadway transfer in the summer of 2015.

Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s paean to America, in which the Founding Fathers (and some Mothers) are portrayed by a racially diverse cast, and issues of states’ rights and federalism are rapped.

As with everything emanating from this inclusive show, the Hamilton curtain call was a model of restraint.Witness what was said below:

hamdoc

Posted in aspiration, estranged father, family comedy drama, marrying the master of the house, Teresa Deevy

For Better or Worse in "Katie Roche"

Patrick Fitzgerald, Jon Fletcher, Margaret Daly, Wrenn Schmidt in Teresa Deevy’s  “Katie Roche” in a
photo by Richard Termine

Irish playwright Teresa Deevy was a master of middle-class parlor-room dramas.

“Katie Roche,” at the Mint Theatre throough March 24th, is about a young serving girl who marries the master of the househould. Like most of Deevy’s characters, Katie (Wrenn Schmidt) aspires to better herself. She’s sure she comes from “grand people” and it is her cockiness that Stanislaus Gregg (Patrick Fitzgerald) finds most appealing. Stan also has aspirations; he believes that marrying will help his career.

Wrenn Schmidt as Katie in “Katie Roche.” Photo by Richard Termine.

Katie’s ascent from housemaid to mistress of the house does not go smoothly, of course. Amelia Gregg  (Margaret Daly), Stan’s sister is kind. On the other hand, their married sibling, Margaret Drybone (Fiana Toibin) is a meddling gossip. It’s Katie, however, who is her own worst enemy, flirting with Michael Maguire (Jon Fletcher) and with disaster.

Jon Fletcher as Michael with Wrenn Schmidt as Katie. Photo by Richard Termine. 

 Deevy’s gentle, well-mannered comedy gets off to a slow start in the first act, but then quickly finds its pace.

Wrenn Schmidt, as the headstrong Katie, Margaret Daly as her sweet employer turned sister-in-law, and Jon Fletcher as the charming working man who loses out on Katie’s affections are stand-outs in this nice ensemble. Jonathan Banks knows how to direct an old-fashioned story for the maximum pleasure of its viewers.

Teresa Deevy’s “Katie Roche” celebrate the ordinary, making it extraordinary. “Katie Roche” is a lovely evening (or afternoon, for that matter) in the theater.

To find out more about  “Katie Roche,” The Mint Theatre, and the Deevy Project, please go to http://minttheater.org/.

 

Posted in An Early History Of Fire, aspiration, David Rabe, family drama, fathers and sons, friendship, Gordon Clapp

Setting Hillside Fires

Theo Stockman as Danny Mueller and Gordon Clapp as his Pop, Emil in David Rabe’s “An Early History of Fire.” Photo © Monique Carboni.

Watching things burn has an almost universal fascination.

In “An Early History of Fire,” at The New Group at Theatre Row through May 26th, Danny Mueller (Theo Stockman) and his friends Terry (Jonny Orsini) and Jake (Dennis Staroselsky) have graduated from setting fires on the hillside to blue collar jobs in their small mid-western hometown.

Jake is a disgruntled, misogynistic bully. Terry reflects his sweetness on everyone. “This is a nice town,” he tells Danny, “with nice people in it. Why would you want to leave?” Danny yearns to escape from the town and his Pop, Emil’s, (Gordon Clapp) household where he feels like the family drudge.

Devin Ratray as Benji and Gordon Clapp as Emil in David Rabe’s “An Early History of Fire.” Photo © Monique Carboni.

Emil is a self-aggrandizing narcissist, who is dependent on Danny since he lost his menial job. His ego is buoyed by the mentally challenged Benji (Devin Ratray) who doggedly accompanies in his idleness. Danny rejects his father’s conventional suggestion that he finish college as a way out.

Danny is ambivalent about the rich college girl, Karen Edwards (Claire van der Boom), who fulfils his dreams of aspiration. He is both attracted and repelled by the genteel. Nonetheless, Karen and Danny get each other, even though he is not as simple as she wished when they first met.

Theo Stockman as Danny, Claire van der Boom as Karen, Jonny Orsini as Terry and Dennis Staroselsky as Jake in David Rabe’s “An Early History of Fire.” Photo © Monique Carboni

Karen, apparently an avid reader, quotes Kerouac, Salinger, and a little Ginsberg. She was looking for a bit of Lady Chatterley’s experience with someone with “a strong back and a weak mind,” she says. She is his ticket out even if he is only a diversion for her.

Theo Stockman as Danny, Dennis Staroselsky as Jake, Erin Darke as Shirley, Jonny Orsini as Terry and Claire van der Boom as Karen, in David Rabe’s “An Early History of Fire.” Photo © Monique Carboni

The atmosphere in “An Early History of Fire,” is not especially heated. There are confrontations but their intensity is banked, and they are not full-out battles. The actors all encapsulate the thin distinctions of class in an era in small-town 1960s on the brink of monumental change.

Stockman’s Danny is stolid, stumbling on a path that may give him the future for which he hopes. It’s Staroselsky’s Jake whose character is most combustible, hiding his sense of inferiority and misogyny behind a rakish charm. Gordon Clapp plays an Emil who has a capacity to disappoint anyone who relies on him.

Everyone in the fine cast treats the material in Rabe’s excellent new play tenderly.

For more information and a schedule of performances, visit www.thenewgroup.org