Is it true that youth is wasted on the young? Perhaps not, at least this group of youngsters is making the most of their time and talents. And yes, I am a little jealous.
There is a good deal to be said for getting an early start. Youth is lithe and agile. It is a great season for dancing, Movement can be the lingua franca for the young; it is their body language as it were.
Ellen Robbins’ Dances By Very Young Choreographers at Live Arts, on January 26th and 27th, will be showcasing works by children as young as 8. The dance-makers, ranging in age from 8 to 18, study modern dance and choreography with Ms. Robbins.
The program ranges across the many styles of dance performance, from the humorous, narrative, to the lyrical. The music selections, chosen by the choreographers, include folk, jazz, classical, contemporary.
Ellen Robbins has been teaching dance sine 1966 and has received honors for her work with children. She has taught dance education at Sarah Lawrence and been on the faculties of Bennington College, the 92nd Street Y, and other distinguished institutions. In 2001, Dances By Very Young Choreographers was on the program at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
After the matinee on January 26th, there will be an evening concert by the Alumni of Dances by Very Young Choreographers, which presents work by dancers who studied with Robbins from 1982 to 2016.
History can sometimes revel in a very personal dynamic.
For instance, those of us who lived through and joined in protests against the Vietnam War may not share the viewpoint of the main character in Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone, currently playing at MTC’s City Center Stage I through December 4th.
Quang (Raymond Lee) was a pilot in the South Vietnamese armed forces. He was trained in the United States. He saw the North Vietnamese as a genuine threat to life and liberty and welcomed the help of American soldiers in the struggle.
Vietgone is a fast-paced kind-of-multi-media excursion into the hero’s and heroine’s, Tong (Jennifer Ikeda), survival. They meet at a state-side refugee camp where Tong and her mother (Samantha Quan, in a number of roles) have come after the fall of Saigon.
The piece is, and isn’t, narrated by the Playwright (Paco Tolson, also playing several people), who is commemorating his parents’ story. There are rapped love songs, (original music by Shane Rettig) motorcycles, a roadtrip, and a bromance– all trappings to some extent of the era portrayed in the plot.
For the most part,Vietgone is entertaining, interesting, unusual in structure, and well presented. There is room for some cuts here and there. The cast, under May Adrales’ direction, and staging, with scenic designs by Tim Mackabee and projection design by Jared Mezzocchi, are excellent.
In other subscription house news from our household:
Over at Studio 54 througfh January 15, 2017, Roundabout has mounted a vehicle for nostalgia. Holiday Inn, with no irony whatsoever, cries out for Mickey and Judy. It is well-served by the cast on hand, however, and a pleasantly tuneful production makes for a great afternoon at the movies, er theater.Bryce Pinkham and Corbin Bleu are the friends and dancing partners, along with Megan Sikora, and Lora Lee Gayer who lead the ensemble in song and dance.
MTC gives us Heisenberg at its Broadway venue, the Friedman Theatre through December 11th. Why Heisenberg? The play, so well-acted by Denis Arndt and Mary-Louise Parker as to have one puzzling over the quantum physics of it name, is an enjoyable two-hander. It’s gimmicky staging notwithstanding, the dynamic of the drama is captivating. Heisenbergis a sweet-crazy story, written by Simon Stephens, the pen behind The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Heisenberg was a transfer from Off-Off, and as such had some buzziness surrounding it.Director Mark Brokaw elicits strong performances from both his actors. Parker, who unleashes the odd-ball in her character in little bursts, is fun to watch.Arndt’s charm reveals how a pent-up man can suddenly be both impetuous and child-like. So, back to the title: Heisenberghas an underlying ifsmall principle of uncertainty that you will likely enjoy.
Alan (Keith Nobbs) should have heeded the old warning about being careful what you wish for….
Keith Nobbs as Alan with Kevin Kilner as Doug in a photo by Richard Termine
What if your dad turned out to be just the sort of creep who abandoned his family as Doug (Kevin Kilner) had when Alan was five?
There is nothing Alan wants more, in Lanford Wilson’s “Lemon Sky,” playing at Theatre Row in a Keen Company production through October 22nd, than to live with the father he never had.
Doug says he has dreamed of having him out to California to be with him, but that Alan’s mother would never let Alan come. Doug also tells him that his mother hounded him and spied on him, but that his current wife, Ronnie (Kellie Overbey), lets him breathe.
Now that Alan wants to go to college, he can be with Doug and his family, 12-year old Jerry (Logan Riley Bruner) and 5-year old Jack (Zachary Mackiewicz), and the two foster children, Carol (Alyssa May Gold) and Penny (Amie Tedesco)who live with them, and maybe with Doug’s help get a part time job.
Alyssa May Gold as Carol with Keith Nobbs as Alan and Amie Tedesco as Penny in a photo by Richard Termine
The idyllic quickly turns ugly, but expecting the dire outcome in “Lemon Sky” should not be a deterrent to enjoying the play’s unravelling. “Lemon Sky” spools out the story, using narration as a dramatic technique, and promising drama as the narrative unfolds.
Alyssa May Gold’s Carol is a sad teenage femme fatale whose fate, like much of the plot, is perhaps predictible. Kellie Overbey’s Ronnie is strong, understanding, and protective of the life she has chosen for herself.
Kellie Overbey as Ronnie with Keith Nobbs as Alan and Kevin Kilner as Doug in a photo by Richard Termine
Lanford Wilson’s “Lemon Sky” was written in 1970 and is autobiographical. He is best known as the author of “Talley’s Folly” and “The Fifth of July.”
“Lemon Sky” is a small play, that is nonetheless engrossing, and all the actors do their best to let it breathe.