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 Daily Prompt, dysfunction, farce

Not my favorite kinda theater

via Daily Prompt: Farce

3494The farce has a time-honored tradition. It’s as old as the hills in art-form years. So why my personal distaste for it. Too much chaos and running about is the only thing I can point a finger at with any certainty.

  • It makes fun of convention. (✔, that works for me.)
  • It is an irritant, using comedy to point out foibles. (✔ also good as above.)
  • It can be very confusing but in a way to make you think. (✔ thinking, okay!)
  • There is always a lot of action in a farce. (✔, nothing wrong with that, either.)\
  • The average farce puts a lot of value in silliness. (✔, not an essential for me, but ok.)
  • Silliness rather than gravity or satire is the main point of farce. (X this does not attract me, particularly to slapstick or farce.)
  • They run in and out of doors, sometimes carrying sardines. (That’s it. I am not fond of that, even though RTC’s not so recent production of Noises Off was rather fun.)
  • The slamming doors thing is something I like to see reserved for household tiffs.

All that said, the farce is sometimes irrestible. Take for instance, Something Rotten!, underappreciated by the Tony voters, but valiantly drawing laughter long after the ceremonies. I loved it! In truth, it may not really be so much farce as send up. The trilogy of House and Garden brought us in, eagerly, to see all three pieces, slamming doors and all. Lend Me A Tenor is reliably as delightfully foolish as Fortune’s Fool, for instance. It Shoulda Been You is another example of the farcical theater that was marginally entertaining, and featured a fan fave of ours, Tyne Daly.

Of course, when we call something a farce, we are denigrating it, to some extent. We mean it’s ridiculous. it’s just that at the theater, the ridiculous can, so often, transcend!

 

 

 

 

Posted in dark comedy drama, odd, offbeat work, Playwritghts Horizons

All Alone

Well-written, well-played and ultimately, well, annoying, Adam Bock’s A Life has gotten great reviews from almost everyone. We are the dessenting few.

extended2-124There is a banality in our daily lives that we want to hide behind long narratives of what we’ve done, and how we feel. We desperately want the ordinary to be extraordinary.

A Life by Adam Bock at Playwrights Horizons Directed by Anne Kaufman Starring David Hyde Pierce (pictured) and with Marinda Anderson, Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus
A Life by Adam Bock at
Playwrights Horizons
Directed by Anne Kaufman
Starring David Hyde Pierce (pictured) and with Marinda Anderson,
Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus

In A Life, Adam Bock’s new play at Playwrights Horizons through November 27th, the characters find it hard to connect.

Nate (David Hyde Pierce) delivers a long and (at least in my lights) tedious monologue, centering on relationships and the astrological that charts them. It’s a tribute to his talent and timing that he can hold our attention for as long as he does.

Bock engages the audience, although perhaps engage is too strong a word, involves the audience, first in

A Life by Adam Bock at Playwrights Horizons Directed by Anne Kaufman Starring David Hyde Pierce and with Marinda Anderson, Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus
A Life by Adam Bock at Playwrights Horizons. Directed by Anne Kaufman. Starring David Hyde Pierce and with Marinda Anderson, Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus

Nate’s soliloquy and then when his sister Lori (Lynne McCullough) thanks us all for coming. It is an irony that she is grateful that Nate had so many friends in his life, since the theme in A Life seems to be his isolation.

A Life by Adam Bock at Playwrights Horizons Directed by Anne Kaufman Starring David Hyde Pierce and with Marinda Anderson, Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus
A Life by Adam Bock at Playwrights Horizons. Directed by Anne Kaufman. Starring David Hyde Pierce and with Marinda Anderson, Brad Heberlee, Nedra McClyde, Lynne McCollough. Photo © Joan Marcus

Of all the friends Nate narrates about, we meet only one in A Life.  Nate shares a coffee and man-gazing with his best friend is Curtis (Brad Heberlee) at a shop near his apartment.

Laura Jellinek’s active set pivots from one scene to another with deliberate drama. Anne Kaufman’s direction cannot keep the pace on this slow moving 85-minutes fast enough to keep the drama from sagging under its own weight.

To learn more about A Life, and for tickets, please visit the PH website.

Posted in #Roundabout, Manhattan Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, The Flea Theater, The Mint Theatre, The Pearl Theatre Company, theater, theater lovers

Happy New Year

Black Moon Theatre presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead September 8-25, 2016 Photo by Steven Pisano
Black Moon Theatre presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
September 8-25, 2016
Photo by Steven Pisano

The moment between December 31st and January 1st so widely celebrated, and especially so at the hub on Broadway’s Times Square, is not the real new year.

Every summer-tired kid can tell you that the new year starts in September when school opens. Theater nerds will likewise say that this is the beginning of the year. Broadway will have two openings on the 20th with The Encounter at the Golden and The Front Page at the Broadhurst. Manhattan Theatre Company also starts previews for Heisenberg, a Broadway transfer to the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on the 20th. Holiday Inn started previews at Roundabout’s Studio 54 on September 1st, while their The Cherry Orchard previewed on the 15th at The American Airlines.

Off-Broadway has already been perky this season. Playwrigths Horizons opened its first show of the season, Julia Cho’s Aubergine. PH’s second show, A Life, which begins previews on September 30th, and features David Hyde Pierce in the cast, has already extended its run to November 27th. The Mint has  A Day By The Seaplaying since July 22nd and through October 23rd. The Pearl’s A Taste Of Honey began previews on September 6th and has already extended the run through October 30th. Starting on September 29th, it will be running in repertory with David Harrower’s Public Enemy, an adaptation of Ibsen’s Enemy of the People.

Further off the great white way, there is also a good deal of action, too. The list is too long to include every production, but we’ll sample a few here:

Black Moon Theatre Company presents Bliss based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead with performances on September 8-25, 2016, at The Flea Theater.
Core Creative Productions presents an updated version of ariveting and award-winning drama about police brutality called Chokehold at the 14th Street Y Theater from September 16th through October 8th.
Playwrights Realm started their 2016-17 season on August 29th with the world premiere of The Wolves by Sarah Delappe, and will also present a collab with (and at) the New York Theatre Workshop when it shows Mfoniso Udofia’s Sojourners & Her Portmanteau later in the Spring.
Meanwhile, currently playing at the New York Theatre Workshop is Nathan Alan Davis’ provocative new play Nat Turner in Jerusalem.
A musical with illusions promises to be a happy ride when On The Rails opens on September 29th, at The Actor’s Temple where it will continue through November 20th.
On The Rails is part of the Lady Liberty Theater Festival, as is Missed Connections, playing sporadically (aka check the scheds) from September 27th through the end of November at the Kraine.
A cinematic and live dance/theater work combines in Geoff Sobelle’s Pandaemonium, directed by Lars Jan with music composed and performed by Brooklyn musician Xander Duell looks to be a unique experience at New York Live Arts from September 28th through October 1st.
The no-holds barred comedy about race and American history, Underground Railroad Game began previews at Ars Nova on September 13th for an opening on September 26th and running through October 15th.  extended to October 29th! now in a final extension to November 11th!
Followung up on the introduction they made in 2014New Light Theater Project  is featuring playwright Ross Howard, a Brit indie sensation, in rep from October 19th through November 12th at the Access Theater.
In other festival news, the Flea is presenting a pair of A.R. Gurneys, Squash and Ajax, beginning October 10th.
EDWIN, The Story of Edwin Booth is at Theatre at St. Clement’s through September 18th, so hurry. The musical is about the most famous American actor of the nineteenth century, and, famously, brother to Abraham Lincoln”s assassin.
This list could go on and on, but you don’t want to hear that. Check out Soho Rep, and MCC, for example, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre.The Vineyard Theatre deserves a visit, too, especially for their kid-friendly productions. Lincoln Center’s The Claire Tow Theater deserves a visit if for nothing but its view, but its productions have been spectacular, too. Downtown, there’s also the Classic Stage Company, the Public, and for Off-Broadway in the heart of Broadway, the Signature Theatre Company and the resident New Group. Just to name a few theatrical companies waiting to entertain you.
Posted in comedy, love story, Uncategorized

It’s the weddings season!

Do you have a favorite wedding story? Was it a disaster? A shocker?

Chip Zien as Maury and Tyne Daly as Judy Steinberg with Harriet Harris as Georgette and Michael X. Martin as George Howard. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Chip Zien as Maury and Tyne Daly as Judy Steinberg with Harriet Harris as Georgette and Michael X. Martin as George Howard. Photo by Joan Marcus.

In It Shoulda Been You, at the Brooks Atkinson, the stress and distress happens during the Steinberg-Howard nuptials at the Saint George Hotel.

As at any wedding, one minute you’re laughing, the next you have to grab a hanky.

Anne L-Nathan, Edward Hibbert Adam Heller and Lisa Howard plan a wedding. Photo by Joan Marcus
Anne L-Nathan, Edward Hibbert Adam Heller and Lisa Howard plan a wedding. Photo by Joan Marcus

The bride’s older sister, Jenny (Lisa Howard) spearheaded the arrangements for a perfect day with the help of Albert (Edward Hibbert). wedding planner extraordinaire and his assistants, Mimsy (Anne L. Nathan) and Walt (Adam Heller.) Rebecca (Sierra Boggess) is marrying Brian (David Burtka) and everyone finds it a little unsettling.

When Rebecca’s ex, Marty Kaufman (Josh Grisetti) shows up both the bride’s parents, Judy (Tyne Daly) and Maury Steinberg (Chip Zien) welcome the possibility that he will be able to stop the wedding.

Brian’s parents, Georgette (Harriet Harris) and George Howard (Michael X. Martin) have plans of their own to take the nuptials off-track. The maid of honor, Annie Shepard (Montego Glover) and best man, Greg Madison (Nick Spangler) work just as hard to keep the plans for the big event from going awry.

Tyne Daly, Lisa Howard, Sierra Boggess. Photo by Andrew Eccles
Tyne Daly, Lisa Howard, Sierra Boggess. Photo by Andrew Eccles

Director David Hyde Pierce knows his way around a farce. The woman run around frantically while their husbands, well at least the father of bride,  indulgently stand-by.

The acting is just-so, no over the toppers except for bawdy Aunt Sheila (Anne L. Nathan, again) and Uncle Morty (Adam Heller who also plays the mordant Walt) who deliver the zingers. Maury’s bons mots: “Your mother and I had words. … I didn’t get to use any of mine,” should be preserved on a throw pillow but they would lack Chip Zien’s inimitable delivery. In life as in comedy, timing is everything.

Lisa Howard in her eleven o'clock--well maybe 9:30 (the show is only 100 minutes)-- number. Photo by Joan Marcus
Lisa Howard in her eleven o’clock number. Photo by Joan Marcus

Harriet Harris can really toss a line; Georgette’s passionate indifference is coolly conserved in her performance. Tyne Daly makes a wonderfully understated Jewish mother. Edward Hibbert’s Albert has a way of appearing and reappearing in perfect time and appropriate fanfare.  In fact, the cast are all excellent, with Josh Grisetti in a flamboyant role a stand-out.

Lisa Howard is superb in her starring role.

Brian Hargrove’s book and lyrics are a truly funny execution of Barbara Anselmi’s concept. Anselmi’s tunes are euphonious.

For more information, please visit the It Shoulda Been You website.