Posted in Che Malambo, City Center, dance, dance making, Fall for Dance, folkloric, Joyce Theatre, Malevo Malambo, Revolution Queens, tango, tap dance, traditional dance

Dance fervor

New Yorker’s Goings On About Town** led me to check out this troupe. Their style is a mucho macho tango and completely mesmerizing. Watching their performance led directly to another interesting find, Malevo Malambo, and from there onto Picahueso Malambo and then an all women’s troupe called Revolution Queens. Like the men from Che Malambo, Malevo Malambo are energetic, aggressive and graceful. The women of Revolution Queens exhibit similarly fierce showmanship.

Malambo, as it turns out, is an Argentine folk style that features footwork called zapeteo. The Malevo group has gone on America’s Got Talent (NBC) in an attempt to popularize this dance form which at home is seen in competitions, and not in theaters. The ladies of Revolution Queens have also been on the TV show. They came out brandishing drums and banging their feet with all the force of the all-male proponents of this genre.

Like the Irish percussive stomp dancers, these Malamboistas present more spectacle than dance performance. Can the French choreographer Gilles Brinas turn his Che Malambo company into a destination for dance fans? Malevo was created by choreographer and dancer Matías Jaime, a native Argentine, in 2015. His troupe appeared at last season’s Fall For Dance at New York City Center. Che Malambo performed at the Joyce this past February.

Seems like mainstream dance fandom, along with the folkloric crowd, is not far behind. Especially if the women of malambo continue to sing to the tune of “Anything you can do….”

**Note, I am always several weeks behind in my New Yorker reading, which is devoted and involves going cover to cover.

Posted in City Center, musicals, The York Theatre Company

Bell, book and…

Having a successful older sibling can be both a point of pride and a burden.

For Musicals in Mufti, at the York Theater on E54th and Lexington, despite its excellent and clever name and long history (they’ve staged 100 productions to date). the better-known City Center Encores! series is that more prominent sib.

Like Encores!, Musicals in Mufti takes a bookish approach to musicals of seasons past. The average production is only some 11 performances long, and the actors are in street dress, often carrying the texts of the musical they are performing with them.

Me and Ella, written and performed by Andrea Frierson,  closed at the York Theatre on July 23rd

It is a reading or a concert version of a classic work, not seen on Broadway for some time. The upcoming summer production at the York is Jerry’s Girls, running from August 5th through the 13th, a tribute to the women of the Jerry Herman repertory, featuring songs from Hello! Dolly, Mame, La Cage Aux Folles, Milk and Honey, Mack and Mabel, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, and Dear World.

In the original 1985 Broadway run of the revue at the St. James, featured Chita Rivera, Leslie Uggams and Dorothy Loudon.

For more information about Jerry’s Girls in the Musicals in Mufti summer series, please visit the York Theatre website.

Posted in City Center, going to New York to be a writer, New York City, The Women's Project, writing about NYC

"The Architecture of Becoming" — Is It Too Many Chefs?

L-to-R Christopher Livingsont, Vanessa Kai, Jon Norman Schneider and Claudia Acosta. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

In Sarah Ruhl’s brilliant “Stage Kiss,” the character named He disparages a play that required more than
two collaborators– “Isn’t a bad sign when three people wrote a play? I mean if two people wrote it, it’s
one thing, but three, come on, three?”

So it’s probably not a good sign that there are five named playwrights on “The Architecture of Becoming,” at City Center Stage II through March 23rd. The enterprise, penned by Kara Lee Corthron, Sarah Gancher, Virginia Grise, Dipika Guha and Lauren Yee is represented by Siempre Norteada (Claudia Acosta), a writer who has a commission on the City Center.  By the way, not only are there 5 writers, there are 3 directors for this hour and a half interlude.

L-to-R Christopher Livingston, Danielle Skraastad, Vanessa Kai and Claudia Acosts. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

There are other storytellers enacted in the vignettes that comprise this “play,” including Vanessa Kai’s
Tomomi Nakamura, a 1940 Japanese housewife who wants only to tell her own story. “I only want to play
myself I only want to tell my story. I only want to tell my story. Does that mean I am not an actress?”
Siempre Norteada merely connects the pieces, or does her best to do so.

Vanessa Kai as Tomomi and Danielle Skraastad as Virginia, the fishmonger. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
“The Architecture…” is meant to be a paean to the building, in which the Women’s Project has found its 
home. There are references to the City Center’s rich history. It is also an ode to artists who come to New York to seek inspiration.
The actors, Danielle Skraastad, Jon Norman Schneider, Christopher Livingston, and the aforementioned
Vanessa Kai and Claudia Acosta, all fine, are ill-served by this hodgepodge. 
City Center, the glorious recently restored 90 year old landmark which started life as a Masonic Temple,
and now is home to theater and ballet from around the world, deserves better too.
To find out more about “The Architecture of Becoming,” visit http://wptheater.org/