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.

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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/