Posted in #Tschaikovsky, dance, dance making, dancing with the stars, George Balanchine, Glazounov, Mr. B, New York City Ballet

George’s house of dance

Chase Finlay in Apollo with Sterling Hyltin as Terpsichore, Tiler Peck as Polyhymnia, and Ana Sophia Scheller as Calliope. Photo © Paul Kolnik

It’s George Balanchine’s birthday and the NYCB is celebrating it. The season continues amidst a backdrop of allegations of physical and sexual misconduct against Peter Martins, who has stepped down as Ballet Master in Chief. The company is under the collective management of an interim artistic team and a group of Ballet Masters. The backdrop is one I would like to ignore, as it seems likely NYCB boards may have been these many years. The scandal persists, and an email in which NYCB’s board thanks Martins for his service and leadership, and says they are independently investigating seems more problem than solution.

At any rate, New York City Ballet was only under his stewardship; the NYCB always belonged to Mr. B.

Tyler Angle, Maria Kowroski, and Daniel Ulbricht with students from The School of American Ballet in Mozartiana, Tschaikovsky’s tribute to Mozart interpreted by Balanchine for the NYCB in 1981. Photo © Paul Kolnik. At the Saturday matinée, Sara Mearns was in the lead.

Even the dancers who never had a chance to work with Balanchine honor him when they dance. This Saturday was all Balanchine, including Apollo (from 1928) and Cortège Hongrois (1973) as well as Mozartiana from 1981.

As Jared Angle and Megan Fairchild said in introducing the January 27th 2pm program, it covered over 50 years of Balanchine’s interpretations of  music. The choreography was brilliant, of course.

Apollo, Balanchine’s first internationally recognized triumph, created when he was just 24 years old, is a collaboration with his friend Igor Stravinsky. The latter provides the music for an idyllic god of prophecy and art  and his hand-maidens to captivate. On Saturday, Adrian Danching-Waring was the jazzed-up god as Tiler Peck took on the role as his dancing muse, Terpsichore. Indiana Woodward carried Calliope’s pad and pen, while Ashly Isaacs was Polyhymnia. This dance has never before been a favorite of ours; at Saturday’s performance we had a decided change of heart. Looking forward to a reprise this afternoon!

In Mozartiana, where Tschaikovsky pays homage to Mozart, we have the dual authorship of two outstanding composers, as it were. It is a soothing, elegant work, and the elegant Sara Mearns was joined by Chase Finlay as her leading man, and Troy Schumacher as well as an able corps, and students from the School of American Ballet.

The ensemble in Cortège Hongrois. Photo © Paul Kolnik.

Cortège Hongrois, on the other hand, mesmerized us when last we saw it. Yesterday. it was an agreeable dance-piece. Balanchine set it to Alexander Glazounov’s Raymonda, music that is varied and stirring. Cortège Hongrois opens with a grand processional, and has a rousing Finale. The frantic and gorgeous activity of the Czardas and its Variations is followed by the relatively restorative Pas de Deux, performed by Ashley Bouder and Russell Janzen on Saturday afternoon. One the dance regains its composure we witness a full cast frolic that is typical Balanchine, and therefore a perfect end.

Winter 2018 season the New York City Ballet is on now through March 4th. Visit for schedules and ticket information.

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?


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 dance, modern American dance, modern dance, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Spinning the human connection

Dance is music in motion which has “charms to soothe the savage breast.”

Photo © Paul B. Goode
Photo © Paul B. Goode
Photo © Paul B. Goode
2.Images 1
Photo © Paul B. Goode
3.Spindrift 2
Photo © Paul b. Goode

Paul Taylor Dance Company with the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, at the David H. Koch Theater through April 3rd, manifests the catharsis of which Congreve spoke with every leap across the big stage.

A program of Spindrift (1993,) Images (1977) and Promethean Fire (2002) speaks to the human connection with a religious awe. The trio of Taylor pieces is devoid of humbug, of course, but each looks at man’s existence relative to community (Spindrift), idols (Images) and evolution (Promethean Fire.) At least this is a broad stroke explanation of the stories these dances tell.

Images is the most pleasing of the works, with lively costuming by Gene Moore and a soupçon of an exotic variety in the movement, set to a Debussy piano . Promethean Fire has the gravitas of a Bach score and handsome Santo Loquasto costumes. Spindrift, which sent me scrambling for a definition– it is waves of sea or sand spray–is a very serious work with a string quartet for background.

By Lonpicman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Lonpicman (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons
Footnote: Larry Keigwin’s new work, Rush Hour, inspired by the George Segal sculpture of the same name, is on the bill again on Sunday March 27th and Friday April 1st.

Sullivania, one of Taylor’s two new works (along with Dilly Dilly), reappears later in the season as well. The final premiere is Doug Elkins’ The Weight of Smoke which also shows up on the bill of fare again in the next couple of weeks.

For more information and tickets for the New York season of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, please visit

Posted in based on a true story or event, musical theater, revue

Sex Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll

Skimming the surface for a few historical highlights is what a musical revue should do. Trip of Love runs through the ’60s via pop tunes and popular dances with a side of drugs and nods to the protest movement.

Trip of Love should have stayed with the surface, since any attempts to go deeper really back-fired. The low point was a recreation of the pain of sending young men to war. The high point was that “beautiful balloon”– when an actual hot air balloon lit off into the rafters.

Lavishly staged with mostly true-to-period (if a little dramatized) costumes, designed by Gregg Barnes, and very elaborate sets, co-designed by director/creator/choreographer James Walski and Robin Wagner, Trip of Love is a bit psychedelic and a little soft-core.

Billed as “Time: Now, Place: Here,” Trip of Love aims to be hip and happenin’ baby.

Austin Miller in <b>Trip Of Love</b>, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Austin Miller in Trip Of Love, Photo by Matthew Murphy
David Elder, Dionne Figgins, and the cast of <b>Trip Of Love</b>, Photo by Matthew Murphy
David Elder, Dionne Figgins, and the cast of Trip Of Love, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Dionne Figgins and the cast of <b>Trip Of Love</b> Photo by Matthew Murphy
Dionne Figgins and the cast of Trip Of Love Photo by Matthew Murphy
Joey Calveri, Tara Palsha, and the cast of <b>Trip Of Love</b>, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Joey Calveri, Tara Palsha, and the cast of Trip Of Love, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Tara Palsha, Kelly Felthous, Dionne Figgins and the cast of <b>Trip Of Love</b>, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Tara Palsha, Kelly Felthous, Dionne Figgins and the cast of Trip Of Love, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Laurie Wells in <b>Trip Of Love</b>, Photo by Matthew Murphy
Laurie Wells in Trip Of Love, Photo by Matthew Murphy

Trip of Love stars Joey Calveri and  David Elder, both of whom are very engaging,  Kelly Felthous, Dionne Figgins, Austin Miller. Tara Palsha, who is very agile, and Laurie Wells  with a large back-up crew.

Trip of Love comes to us from its 2008 world premiere in Osaka, with the backing of groups of Japanese producers. It is scheduled for an open run at Stage 42.

For more information and tickets, please go to

Posted in dance

Ready for Playtime

General Mischief Up and Away Photo by Joshua Green
General Mischief Up and Away Photo by Joshua Green

General Mischief Dance Theatre presents the World Premiere of Up and Away – Dances for all Hours, on October 11 at 1pm and 6pm at the Goldman-Sonnenfeldt Family Auditorium, JCC Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC.  Funding for the mobile that Kevin Reese produces which will be built in Washington, D.C. by hundreds of volunteers as part of the Atlas Arts Center’s “Mobilizing Our Community” project is provided by D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. More information about the project can be found here:

Photo by John Abbott
Photo by John Abbott


Play is for everyone regardless of how old they are– that’s the underlying message of General Mischief Dance Theater, a company dedicated to reinforcing the power that joy and laughter have in communicating ideas.  A performance by this winning group of young dancers left me smiling from ear to ear along with the rest of the audience who ranged from three to eighty-three or so.

General Mischief's "Shell Game" photo, (c) Lynn Redmile
General Mischief’s “Shell Game” photo, (c) Lynn Redmile

“Be ready to play,” the program instructs–good advice for a performance in which wiffle balls are handed out for tossing at the command “play ball,” a mobile is built by dancers as they skip and twirl and a dad from the audience comes to the stage to show his “favorite dance step” which the company incorporates into the next piece.

General Mischief Up and Away>/b> Photo by Joshua Green
General Mischief Up and Away>/b> Photo by Joshua Green

The five dances on display are lighthearted and impish–not a downcast moment throughout.  It’s a spoonful of sugar that might benefit from a dash of lemon juice if the troupe wants to move into more serious terrain.

General Mischief's 'Hardball' - Photo Copyright Eileen O'Donnell
General Mischief’s ‘Hardball’ – Photo Copyright Eileen O’Donnell

Cute is the word of the day, describing both the dancers and the dances whether they deal with baseball as in Hardball with Jane Abbott and Ellen Henry in pinstripes and baseball caps, both twined in harnesses that lift them up where they twist and stage a contest of wills set to “Dueling Banjos” or Suite Shel, inspired by the poems of Shel Silverstein, that begins as six pair of shoes from the audience are collected and become part of the work.

Several dances blend arial work with floor movement and many draw on childhood pursuits like hopscotch, counting games and teasing.

General Mischief - Dad Moves (Square), Photo by John Abbott
General Mischief – Dad Moves (Square), Photo by John Abbott

The helpful dad kicked off The Love Trio, a three- part work celebrating the role fathers play in taking daughters to dance classes. Part One, The Deal, effectively performed by Jane Abbott, Wendy Lechuga, Ellen Henry, Saki Masuda and Emily Smyth Vartanian, culminates with one student stubbornly dancing in a rock ‘n roll style while her fellow classmates follow the classical steps as demonstrated by the instructor.  A similar tension informs the Suite Shel section when a dancer insists on singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider (in a language I couldn’t identify) as another tries to make friends and join the game but is constantly rebuffed. I found the final piece, Recreation, the least successful as constructing the large mobile, designed by Kevin Reese/School Sculptures, took precedence over the dancing, a small caveat. More dancing, less architecture please.

General Mischief was formally incorporated in 2008 to encourage the human desire to express oneself through movement. Their interactive work encourages the audience to loosen up, a welcome antidote to some dance performances that take themselves over-seriously. Up and Away is a joyful experience for anyone of any age who hasn’t forgotten how to play or wants the opportunity to relax, smile and enjoy attractive young people have a good time and make us have one, too.


Posted in events, festival, party, theater

Festivals and celebrations: it’s summer in the city

South Street Seaport: Dock Rocks
South Street Seaport: Dock Rocls: CANCELLED

Free Shakespeare in the Park and the Mobile Theater Unit courtesy of our friends at The Public Theater is just the tip of the ice-cone for a great New York City summer. Please visit to learn more.

Hamish Linklater, Teagle F. Bougere, and Jacob Ming-Trent in rehearsal for The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Cymbeline, directed by Daniel Sullivan, running at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park July 23 through August 23. Photo credit: Tammy Shell.
Hamish Linklater, Teagle F. Bougere, and Jacob Ming-Trent in rehearsal for The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Cymbeline, directed by Daniel Sullivan, running at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park July 23 through August 23. Photo credit: Tammy Shell.

Of course, it’s not all free but it is all fun.

On August 4th, the first annual fundraising bash in support the South Street Seaport features Duran Duran and Wyclef Jean for a five hour celebration. Dock Rocks  – Party on the Piers begins at 5pm on Pier 15 and Pier 16 at South Street Seaport with tickets starting at $55.

Visit and for more information on how you can participate. Due to issues at the site, this event has been cancelled.

Unity (1918), written by Kevin Kerr and directed by KJ Sanchez. begins performances on Thursday, August 6 for a limited engagement through Sunday, August 23 at The Gene Frankel Theatre. Part Gothic tale, part romance, part pandemic horror story, Unity (1918) recounts a historic moment in WWI when the “Spanish flu” killed more people than had been cut down in battle.

The small town of Unity takes drastic action, sealing off its borders and even burning incoming mail.  For more information on Unity (1918), which won the Canadian Governor General’s Award for Drama in 2002, please visit


Not strictly speaking at the height of summer: join The Wild Project for the fifth annual Between the Seas festival beginning on September 8th. Between the Seas is the only festival in New York celebrating Mediterranean performance, and presenting some of the most acclaimed and innovative performers– both theatrical and dance– from the region. Highlights from Between the Seas includean absurdist exploration on the nature of tyranny in The Dictator by Lebanese playwright Issam Mahfouz; The Dictator is offered in its English language premiere during the festival. Catalan artist Borja Gonzales performs a piece based on puppetry and sand drawing; Esperimenti, the Italian dance company is inspired by Italian songs of the 60s and 90s for its presentation; and Rebecca Tomas dances a vibrant flamenco for the Between the Seas audience. For more information, please visit

 The 27th Annual Festival Of New Musicals at New World Stages in October 15-16 is not yet ready for prime time.  NAMT’s goal is to expand the musical theatre repertoire, bringing new musical theatre to thousands of audience members around the world. In the meantime, the Festival connects producers with writers, so that their shows can continue their development trajectory. The 27th Annual Festival Of New Musicals, overseen by NAMT New Works Director and Festival Producing Director Branden Huldeen and Festival General Manager Lisa Dozier King, presents eight musicals in 45-minute presentations before an audience of over 600 industry professionals.

The general public is invited to join by making a donation to The National Alliance for Musical Theatre.

Visit to see about ticket availablity; there is also a day-of stand-by line for the general public for free admission (based on availability).

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

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 or

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  On August 2nd, at the Kraine, there’s comedy in Stand Up and Take Your Clothes Off which mixes funny and girl-i-queVisit 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

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.