Posted in arts and events, children's shows, Children's Theatre, dance, Event Listings, kid-friendly, theater

Grown-ups welcome

7atoneblow
Seven at One Blow, or The Brave Little Kid

This is the season when grandma and grandpa, mom and dad, all look for entertainment that will please their youngsters. Lots of shows, like Balanchine’s Nutcracker at NYCB, are not just kid- but also adult-friendly. Here is a short list of some of the things you might want to do to occupy the holidays:

Bookish children will enjoy hearing their favorite authors read to them in Symphony Space’s interactive Thalia Kids Book Club series, produced in cooperation with Bank Street Bookstore. The series unites eager young readers with the creators of the books that inspire their imaginations. Each event includes a creative writing project, a discussion with the audience, and fun.

On December, 2 Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Paterson visits the series, and on Monday, December 4, Neil Patrick Harris will celebrate his middle-grade novel The Magic Misfits. More events, including a Judy Blume birthday celebration, are planned for winter and spring 2018.

Click on the link above for more information.

Christmas Past, Future and Present will make their appearance in a new site-specific parlor performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol taking place in the Chelsea townhouse and theater space, Torn Page from Thursday November 30 to Friday December 15.

Produced by Origin Theatre Company, the one-man version of the story, uses an adaptation of Dickens’ own little-used original performance text. The Origin’s A Christmas Carol features the distinguished African-American opera singer and actor Elmore James, and is directed by Erwin Maas and is set in the Chelsea home of the actors Rip Torn and Geraldine Page. The immersive staging transforms the Chelsea home, filling the 19th century townhouse with the sights, sounds and smells of both a large Victorian home, and a more modest dwelling circa 1853. Mince pie and mulled wine, prepared on the premises, will be served during the performance. A small, multi-racial chorus singing period carols, will also evoke the season.

More information can be found on the Origin Theatre’s website.

This December, Axis Theatre Company will present the 16th annual production of its beloved family holiday show, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid. Written and directed by Axis Artistic Director Randy Sharp in an adaptation of the classic fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, this festive, interactive winter play was created for kids, but resonates equally well for adults and features a Video Cameo from Debbie Harry.

Axis will stage Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid on Fridays at 7pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm, with an additional performance on Tuesday, December 19 at 7pm.

Click on the link to the Axis webpage above to find out more.

Puppetry that blends the avant-garde, pirates and Pinocchio at Just Kidding.
During the 2017-18 season at Symphony Space, families are invited to experience marionette shows with three acclaimed practitioners: November brings the antic Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers in Everybody Loves Pirates; December will see the expert National Marionette Theatre with the children’s classic Pinocchio, and the New Year brings the ingenious Milo the Magnificent to the stage.

Information and tickets is found on the links above.

This A Christmas Carol is playing more to the parents (and grands) than to the kiddies, but come see David Hyde Pierce as the iconic curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge in Crispin Whittell’s adaptation of the beloved Charles Dickens novella, directed by Joe Dowling. Joining David Hyde Pierce are John Glover, Harriet Harris, Edward Hibbert, Julie White, Matthew Amendt, Matt Bradford Sullivan, and Kaliswa Brewster, plus others to be announced. The occasion is The Acting Company’s one-night-only benefit reading on December 11 at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. Following the reading, the evening will continue with an exclusive cast dinner (jacket and tie required) at the nearby Union Club.

For performance-only tickets, please  visit www.hunter.cuny.edu/kayeplayhouse.

Posted in family, family affair, holiday event, holiday fare, holiday show, theater lovers

Kid friendly

Exposing our children (or grandchildren) to theater and dance could really be a year-round endeavor. Nonetheless, many of us choose to show them the grand repertories of kid-friendly shows over the holidays.

NYCB is not alone in mounting a lavish Nutcracker from November through December, but it is a go-to for lots of parents. ABT has yet to release dates for its Nutcracker spectacle, another rousing destination for families. (Those of you in New Jersey can enjoy the American Repertory Ballet’s version.)

Another newer tradition for some people is Peter & The Wolf at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process series which kicks off in early December.Brad Lubman leads Ensemble Signal in Sergei Prokofiev’s score.  Renowned fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi narrates, directs, designs the set and costumes. Mizrahi’s special cast performs choreography by John Heginbotham, at which the familiar characters come to life in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Peter B. Lewis Theater for ten performances.

Other holiday specials are all around the town. One, at the Axis Theatre, is from the Grimm canon and starts on December 2nd. Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid written and directed by Randy Sharp is in its 15th year of production.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/87891224″>Axis Company (a Meet the Theatre film)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/tdf”>Theatre Development Fund (tdf)</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Children’s theater gets the year-long treatment at The New Victory Theater. For November in their New 42nd Street studios, the company hosts something called Paper Dreams for 2-5 year olds, and on the mainstage for an older crowd, a magic show, Jason Bishop: Straight Up Magic. New Victory productions will charm adults as much as they do  youngsters.

Symphony Space on the upper west side has a series called Just Kidding that offers all-year programming for the younger crowd. There are hootenanies and game shows, puppets, plays and all manner of story-telling for them to enjoy almost every week. For the holidays, they have Just Kidding: National Dance Institute: The Celebration Team! with 100 kids dancing on November 19th and  Puppetkabob: The Snowflake Man on December 17th among other programs. November 13th brings the LIVE Trivia show for the whole family, called the Big Family Quiz Thing.

Also check out the Theater at the 14th Y for children’s fare. This December, for a limited run, there’s Hanna and the Moonlit Dress, based on the beloved Israeli book Hanna’s Sabbath Dress by Itzhak Schweiger-Dmi’el and is adapted for the stage by Ronit Muszkatblit and Yoav Gal.

There’s so much holiday fare for you and your children but we share only a select few things here. 

Posted in 1-hander, autobiographical, based on a true story or event, drama, drama based on real events

Growing Up Gay and Goth in Texas

Review by Mari S. Gold

BAD KID by David Crabbe, All photos by John Painz.
BAD KID by David Crabb, co-written with Josh Matthews, Performed by David Crabb. All photos by John Painz.

David Crabb grew up in the middle of Texas Goth and gay. You might anticipate that the adult Crabb be bitter or look, um, unusual, but you’d be wrong. Crabb, who co-wrote Bad Kid (playing at Axis Theater through August 1st) with Josh Matthews, comes across as an insightful guy –and a sweet one, at that–despite the trials of his teen years.

Crabb is a slightly-built, physical performer who begins by making easy contact with a few audience members before he brings his supportive mother, confused but stoic father and a host of friends to life. Surprisingly, much of the performance is funny, even though the overall premise is not. It’s been around before–kid starts out an outcast but comes to terms with his sexuality and in adulthood seems well-adjusted.

BAD KID by David Crabb, All photos by John Painz.
BAD KID by David Crabb, All photos by John Painz.

Crabb ends his show saying he hopes his parents never see it but I doubt if this is true. Sure, there are episodes involving drugs and debauchery, but Crabb’s intelligence enables him to get past that period in his life and become the performer and storyteller he is today. His parents obviously loved him all along and he’s grateful for their acceptance.

My biggest problem with the performance is that it’s too long by a good twenty minutes. After a while, we get it even as Crabb continues to wring big laughs from some of the audience. The last two “episodes” (announced by slides) before the final rounding out don’t add to the drama and seem repetative. Better for Crabb to end while he’s truly ahead.

“As Goth kids, we thought that everything honest was rooted in loneliness, even our sexual urges and our concept of ‘fun,’ says Crabb. Well, yes, but having largely non-critical parents and a strong enough sense of humor to look back at his earlier escapades enabled him to master his situation and grow up able to mock himself.

David Crabb is a Moth Story Slam host and three-time Moth Slam winner. This show premiered at the Axis Theater, where it’s now, running in 2012, earning kudos from The New York Times and praise from NYTheater.com that called Crabb’s performance a ‘tour- de- force.” Bad Kid also played in Washington, DC and Austin, TX. In May, 2015, Harper Collins Perennial published Crabb’s memoir, also titled Bad Kid that was hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “engaging” and by Kirkus as ‘upbeat, endearing and achingly funny.”

Crabb is indeed funny. His gestures and accents bring the people in his background to life but not as the stereotypes we think they will be. The diva who had him eat a Vick’s cylinder and the skinhead who becomes a good friend are real people although their lives didn’t end up as happily as Crabb’s. Cut to the chase (and cut some sections) and you have an evening that transcends the expected with warmth and humor.

To learn more, and for tickets, please visit http://axiscompany.org/index.php

Posted in comedy, dance, drama, theater

Game theory

Photo by Simon Hayter for "Winners and Losers"
Photo by Simon Hayter for “Winners and Losers”

Challenging each other in assessing who is successful and who is not, their game soon devolves into name calling. The two friends become abusive about each other and their families. In Winners and Losers, every choice either of them has made is scrutinized in light of the eponymous appraisal. Marcus Youssef and James
Long have created a satirical and acerbic view of how we judge ourselves and others.

At Soho Rep in its New York premiere from January 2nd through February 6th, Winners and Losers is produced in conjunction with John Adrian Selzer, and Theatre Replacement and Neworld Theatre. The play, written by Youssef and Long is directed by Chris Abraham.

More at sohorep.org.

Over at the New Ohio, the New York Neo-Futurists are playing the dating game. Dylan Marron found people willing to share their on-line dating experiences. From these first hand accounts of love in the age of internet, he has woven The Human Symphony.

If you have never seen a Neo-Futurist production, expect the unexpected.The Human Symphony is set in four movements and performed by a cast randomly selected from the audience.

The Human Symphony begins performances on Thursday, January 22 for a limited engagement through Saturday, February 14

Visit www.nynf.org.

Dating leads us not so directly to a marriage gone awry with Marc Palmieri’s The Groundling is performed by the Axis Company from February 11 through March 8, 2015. In The Groundling, landscaper Bob Malone is inspired by a production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost” to write and stage a play about his failing marriage.

Please go to www.axiscompany.org.

At the COIL 2015 Festival, where there are soem 13 productions in 15 days, we go back to dating again. This time with the darkly funny, The Blind Date Project (Jan 7–17) from Groundbreaking Theater Productions, at the Parkside Lounge. Starring Australia’s Bojana Novakovic (Rake, Shameless); The Blind Date Project is a real event in a real bar on a real blind date between two people in need of a real connection.

See video at https://www.youtube.com/user/PerformanceSpace122

Space 122’s tenth annual festival of contemporary dance, theater, and performance works runs from January 2 through the 17th in venues all over town, from the Vineyard and the New Ohio Theatres.  It is kicked off with a free installation at Times Square with the world premiere of Sebastian Errazuriz’s A Pause in The City that Never Sleeps, running daily from 11:57pm to midnight the entire month of January. A Pause in The City that Never Sleeps,co-presented by Times Square Arts, the Times Square Advertising Coalition, is a video of a giant and contagious yawn.

ps122.org