Posted in American Ballet Theatre, ballet, children's shows, comedy, dance, drama, events, kid-friendly, Manhattan Theater Company, Matthew Bourne, musical theater, The Women's Project, theater, theatrical events, Theresa Rebeck, writing about NYC

What’s on your calendar?

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from cafepress.com

As always, and as our standard preface for these listings, there’s a lot to do and see. New York City theater can keep a body very busy.

Listings for October-November and maybe even December 2017

PortugueseHow time flies? Is it almost the end of this year? Could Halloween be just a week away?

Women’s Project gave this a go in 2016, and it is being reprised at the Westside Theatre.
The cast in Stuffed, playing through February 18th, has changed, except for creator and star, Lisa Lampanelli, and under the same director, Jackson Gray,  but it is still a very relateable comedy. You or someone you know has been on and off the diet wagon for a long time.  Everyone of us has a relationship to food– love it or loathe it.  Can this lead to funny circumstances? With Lisa Lampanelli giving voice to the issues, you bet it can.

Meanwhile, currently at Women’s Project Theatre, What We’re Up Against, a new dark comedy by Theresa Rebeck, playing from October 28th to November 26th, is directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt, and features Skylar Astin, Marg Helgenberger, Jim Parrack, Krysta Rodriguez, and Damian Young.

John Patrick Shanley writes wry comedies based in realism with surreal twists. Examples include Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, as well as Moonstruck, in which Cosmo’s moon overwhelmes the landscape and Cher’s Loretta tells Nicolas Cage’s Ronny Cammareri
that he’s a wolf who chewed off his own hand. His latest, The Portuguese Kid, at MTC at City Center Stage I through December 3rd, stars Jason Alexander as a lawyer beleaguered by family and clients.

 

Listings are only represent some of the presentations on NYC stages

American Ballet Theatre is in week two of its two week run through October 29th at the David H. Koch at Lincoln Center. Lots of premieres, including a Millipied World Premiere, as well as classics from Frederick Ashton and Jerome Robbins.

Matthew Bourne has a new ballet, his first in many years, which is spending five days on the City Center mainstage, from October 26th through November 5th. There’s a rotating cast for The Red Shoes, and a suggestion that children over the age of 8 would enjoy it.

Speaking of the kiddies, take them to Symphony Space on the weekend with Just Kidding, a series of programs dedicated to events for children. This weekend, there is a Halloween fun day planned for Saturday, October 28th at 11am with Joanie Leeds who will lead the musical costume party. Check out the full schedule at the Just Kidding website.

On Saturday, November 4th, the Symphony Space program offers a new way to teach your little ones new languages. Future Hits, a Chicago rock group, brings their irrestible mix of song with learning to the Just Kidding series. One show only at 11a.m.

Zoe Kazan, actress, playwright, has written a new dystopian play, After the Blast, which is at LCT3 in the Claire Tow Theater through November 19th.

Tired of the dystopian world view? Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves,  about a girls’ soccer squad, is coming to L.C.’s Newhouse Theater beginning November 1st. The team are highly competitive but there is no end-world scenario here. The Wolves had its well-received premiere with Playwrights Realm last year.

John Leguizamo gives us lessons in Latin History for Morons, another Broadway transfer from the Public, to Studio 54 through February 4, 2018. (You may recall that Hamilton went this route….) Leguizamo was inspired by the ignorance of Latino history in his son’s school to create this primer. More information on Latin History for Morons can be found at its official webpage.

 

 

Posted in adaptation, anticipation, Chekhov, Chekhov interpretations, drama, feminism, Ibsen, Ibsen adaptation, Ophelia Theatre Group, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Pearl Theatre Company

Classics anew

opheliaMankind has had the urge to tell its stories since time immemorial. The stories told in different voices all have universal themes. Theatrical history has a long time-line.

Warping that time-line is also a stage-borne tradition. Retelling Antigone’s
tale, as Ivo Van Hove did at BAM last year, for instance, is one way to honor
theatre’s lineage.

Stephen Karam has been charged with recharging Chekhov’s classic Cherry
Orchard for the Roundabout this season. David Harrower is reworking Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People into Public Enemy, currently playing through November 6th over at the Pearl.

Drama poses a problem, offers solutions and catharsis. To that end, Kelly

McCready, an actress and director we recently saw at the Mint in The New Morality has taken on Hedda Gabler. Ms McCready, who has re-imagined this Ibsen and is directing, at the Ophelia Theatre Group , starting on October 27th and running through November 19th, feels that Hedda is too often maligned. She has cut the play to 80 intermission-less minutes, and taken Hedda’s side, as an advocate and a friend. And why not? Hedda should be a feminist hero.

To quote Ms McCready, “This production seeks to throw out preconceptions of the play and the character herself. This Hedda is just a woman who tries to make her new life and relationship with Tesman work, but she can’t combat her circumstances and the expectations placed on her because she’s a woman.

She can’t change any of that.”

BTW, the Ophelia Theatre Group is in Astoria, and Ms McCready also

advocates for the “growing arts community” in this outer borough location.

She says, “Astoria has even earned the nickname “Actoria” in recent years, but it’s obviously difficult to get audiences to venture far from Manhattan. And that means people are missing out.”

The tickets for Hedda Gabler are available here; they are gently priced at $18 which should drag some of you from Manhattan to the wilds of, we might point out, nearby Astoria.

In another vein of adaptation altogether is David Stallings’ Anais Nin Goes to Hell, at The Theater at the 14th Street Y from October 14th through the 29th, which takes a comedic turn but looks at feminist icons. Imagine Andromeda, Heloise, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, Ophelia, Karen Carpenter and of course Anaïs Nin, all trapped together in the afterlife. The play was a hit in the 2008 Fringe Festival, and is being re-staged here under the direction of Antonio Miniño.

Posted in 59E59, dark comedy drama, musical

Don’t Renew My Passport

BY MARI S. GOLD

Under a hanging scimitar, a wall projection reads 1981. This sets the stage for Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at 59E59 Theaters through October 25th.

As a call to prayer issues, a handsome, bearded Arabic man in a white thobe and red-and-white checked keffyieh enters. He claps. The prayer stops and contemporary music begins while he breaks into a “penguin dance,” legs akimbo. He’s grinning, having a wonderful time and the audience loves him.

L-R: Christopher Michael McLamb and Joey LePage in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova
L-R: Christopher Michael McLamb and Joey LePage in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova

Enter American ex-pats Tina Murphy-Brown and her husband, Hank, drawn to Saudi Arabia by financial rewards promised by Aramco. Tina, who invokes God a lot, isn’t sure how she’ll cope with being covered from head to toe and not eating pork but, like her husband, wants to get out of the oil hell hole of Pasadena, Texas.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a “dark musical comedy” about barriers raised by gender and culture, developed by Monk Parrots, a NYC-based experimental theater company.

L-R: Christopher Michael McLamb, Jessie Dean, Sarah Grace Sanders, Ruthy Froch, Joey LePage, John Gasper and John Smiley in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova
L-R: Christopher Michael McLamb, Jessie Dean, Sarah Grace Sanders, Ruthy Froch, Joey LePage, John Gasper and John Smiley in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova

Most of the music is highly forgettable and, in many cases unintelligible, odd as the theater is very small and the actors use mics. The exception is Jessica Dean, who does a fine job as Tina, singing about her love of air conditioning and citing scripture. Joey LePage may have been cast as Hank for his buff physique; he lacks affect, even in the slightly disgusting episode when brown motor oil is poured over his briefs-clad body. Randy, the Brown’s stillborn son, is played by the talented John Gasper, wearing a baggy union suit and white facial makeup with tufts of hair sprouting from his otherwise bald head.  His role is confusing, including when he strangles himself, but so was much of the production that reminded me of TV’s long-gone Laugh-In, laden with talented people reveling in unrelated jokes, skits and musical numbers.

L-R: John Smiley, Sarah Grace Sanders and Joey LePage in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova
L-R: John Smiley, Sarah Grace Sanders and Joey LePage in Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produced by Monk Parrots at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Maria Baranova

Act Two, (another too-fast wall projection sets it in 1991), has a far grimmer tone as relationships fray and the Gulf War begins.  I thought the drunken neighbor and his sexy wife had returned to the U.S but there they are, she in bikini bottom and a half-burqua; later–for a reason I couldn’t grasp– bound and gagged by her husband in a Spiderman costume. Abdullah’s daughter, Zillah, (Ruthy Froch), wears a burqua while she tells jokes and sings until at the very end she abruptly appears in a tight sequined dress and belts “I am dark energy; I do not dilute even as my universe expands.” Huh?

The set is made of plastic cutouts with flopping hands that seemed more Halloween than Saudi.  There are a few effective numbers, mostly those performed by The Descendants of Abraham, a trio played by whichever company members are not already onstage, in superb camel costumes by designer Alison Heryer.

For more information on Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, please visit www.59e59.org.

Posted in comedy, dance, drama, for the family, musical theater, theater

Coming up: the short list

Produced by and benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Fire Island Dance Festival, returns to Fire Island’s Pines for three performances from July 17th through 19th. Since the summer of 1995, the Festival has raised money to help  ensure that men, women and children in all 50 states receive lifesaving medications and health care, nutritious meals, counseling and emergency financial assistance. Last year’s 20th anniversary celebration raised a staggering $530,860; over the years, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Keigwin + Company, ABT, MOMIX, NYCB, among others have performed on the outdoor waterside stage.
For a list of participating companies and tickets for Fire Island Dance Festival are on sale now at dradance.org.

Tommy Crawford and Eloïse Eonnet in SEAWIFE (c) Caitlin McNaney
Tommy Crawford and Eloïse Eonnet in SeaWife (c) Caitlin McNaney

Naked Angels, in partnership with the South Street Seaport Museum, presents SeaWife, a new immersive folk concert-play co-created by Seth Moore and indie-folk rock sextet The Lobbyists in a limited summer engagement through July 19 at South Street Seaport Museum’s Melville Gallery.
Extended to July 26th

 

Learn more about the production,  by visiting www.SeaWife.org or www.NakedAngels.com

For the kids: Sugar Free Allstars will perform at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 31 at Bloomingdale Park; at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2 at Clove Lakes Park (set time TBD); and at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3 at Morningside Park as part of SummerStage Kids, the city’s largest free performance festival. Learn more about this and the other 90 shows offered this summer by visiting the City Parks Foundation.

Definitely not for the kids, FRIGID NEW YORK @Horse Trade offers comedy, burlesque and open mic sessions.  They have a monthly literary salon in the buff, Naked Girls Reading, featuring burlesque stars, professional librarians and authors. This month it’s on July 15th at 9pm at UNDER St. Marks.  On July 26, Thus Spoke the Spectacle also continues deconstructing news overload at FRIGID at The Kraine Theater (see listing http://wp.me/p5jq0w-sS.)  On August 2nd, at the Kraine, there’s comedy in Stand Up and Take Your Clothes Off which mixes funny and girl-i-queVisit  www.horseTRADE.info for more information.

 Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca perform the Greek tragedy, Antigona in flamenco in a New York stop on their summer tour. The production runs from July 13 through August 8 at West Park Presbyterian Church. And, this one is for the KIDS, Noche Flamenca will be part of the New Victory Theater’s Victory Dance on July 15-17 as well. For more information on Antigona, please visit nocheflamenca.com.

Travelling? If you’re headed to Durham, NC, there’s the American Dance Festival, headed into its sixth week with luminous dancing by the likes of Monica Bill Barnes & Company and performances by ADF students in ADF-commissioned world premieres by groundbreaking choreographers, to name just a few of the many dance events on stage. There are kid friendly movement classes, too. Visit the ADF site for more information.

Posted in 1-hander, clowning, comedy

Who’s an “oxymoron” now?

MoronRobert Dubac seems to be bent on making the most of silliness in the shortest possible time. In The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron, at Urban Stages through April 16th, he tackles a dozen characters in 80 minutes, while (we are told) drinking a beer. Impressive!

The hilarity starts at the flyer (see stage left illustration.) A comedy so funny, they named it twice– The Book of Moron is also  The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron

For more information, please visit http://urbanstages.org/  and to get tickets, click here.