Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Best of 2006

Best Plays:
Back of the Throat by Yussef El Guindi @ The Flea Theatre
I Have Loved Strangers by Anne Washburn [Clubbed Thumb] @ Ohio Theatre
Orange Lemon Egg Canary by Rinne Groff @ PS122
Lizardskin by Jenn Silverman [FringeNYC] @ Access Theatre
The Thugs by Adam Bock @ Soho Rep

Best Productions:
Peninsula - written and directed by Madelyn Kent @ Soho Rep
Major Barbara - directed by Brooke O'Harra; Theatre of the Two Headed Calf @ LaMama
Heddatron - by Elizabeth Meriwether; directed by Alex Timbers; Les Freres Corbusier @ here
Not Clown - written by Steve Moore and Carlos Trevino; directed by Carlos Trevino; Physical Plant @ Soho Rep
The Emperor Jones - directed by Liz LeCompte; The Wooster Group @ St. Ann's Warehouse
Fatboy – written and directed by John Clancy; Clancy Productions @ Ohio Theatre

Best Performances:
Alec Baldwin in Entertaining Mr. Sloane
Jayne Houdyshell in Well
Ensemble of Stuff Happens
Steve Cuiffo in Orange Lemon Egg Canary
Nina Hellman in Trouble in Paradise
Kate Valk in The Emperor Jones
Giorgio Litt in Theophilus North
Ensemble of The Thugs

Best Puppet Performance:
Erik Sanko's The Fortune Teller

Best Musical:
Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik (mucic) and Steven Sater (book and lyrics); Directed by Michael Mayer

Best Set Design:
Jan Pappelbaum for Hedda Gabler [The Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz] @ BAM

Best Director:
Brooke O'Harra for Major Barbara [Theatre of the Two Headed Calf] @ LaMama

Thursday, December 28, 2006

NYT: New Trend or No Openings?

So, let's hope it's a new trend at The New York Times and not just that there are few openings this week between Christmas and the New Year - but have you noticed the plethora of theater NEWS stories this week? And many of these are non-Broadway news stories to boot! Just in case you missed them, they included:
  • news on a new Paul McCartney musical
  • a tribute to the 90th anniversary of Eugene O'Neill's New York debut
  • news on a new production of In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel by Tennessee Williams
  • a new translation/production of Antigone at LaMama
  • casting news on the Broadway production of Talk Radio
If I remember correctly, when the paper of record announced the demise of the Friday "On Stage and Off" column, they promised that there would be more regular "news" stories, as news occurred. Maybe they are keeping that promise?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Carrie: 12/27/2006

Theatre Couture's Carrie based on the famous Stephen King novel and the Brian de Palma film it inspired is a campy and funny good time. Of course Carrie tells of the fateful last few days of the awkward, telekinetic teenager Carrie White leading up to her apocalyptic night at her senior prom. Here, Carrie is played by Keith Levy (aka drag performer Sherry Vine) in a dramatically restrained hilarious performance. Levy's co-stars are mostly hysterically first rate, including Kate Goehring (doing an excellent send-up of Piper Laurie as Carrie's religious fanatic mother), Kathy Searle (as Christine – the mean girl), Keri Meoni (as Norma – the dumb-blond friend), Danielle Skraastad (as Miss Gardner, the gym teacher) and Matthew Wilkas (as Tommy – the prom date). Only a mis-cast Marnye Young, as Sue Snell, doesn't rise to the ridiculous occasion. But, the special effects and puppets by the wonderful Basil Twist don't fail to disappoint. Although I'm a little surprised that Eric Jackson's adaptation didn't fine even more humor given such rich source material, Carrie is still well worth a trip to PS122. Given the standing room only crowd tonight, I can't believe the last performance is December 30th.

For Tickets & Info:

Saturday, December 23, 2006


The Michael Chekhov Theatre Company presents True West by Sam Shepard

"realism without the magic"- JASON ZINOMAN, NY Times

Read the entire review here:

For Info & Tickets:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pic Preview: WAKE UP MR. SLEEPY!

Two production photos (above) from Richard Foreman's new work, WAKE UP MR. SLEEPY! YOUR UNCONSCIOUS MIND IS DEAD!, are live on Foreman's blog.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"Bitch of Living" from Spring Awakening

Click the icon below to watch "Bitch of Living" from Spring Awakening:


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Heartbreak House: 12/16/2006

Maybe it’s me, maybe I have A.D.D.; maybe it was this production, the pace did seem to lag at times; maybe it was the fact that there is only one intermission after act one and acts two and three are played straight through; maybe it was the typically annoying matinee audience – but at close to two hours and fifty minutes, Heartbreak House seemed unusually long and a little dull. Swoosie Kurtz is always fun to watch on stage, even if she’s more Swoosie than Hesione. Lilly Rabe, Laila Robins and Byron Jennings are all good, too. Philip Bosco is almost unrecognizable and slightly miscast as Captain Shotover. The last few minutes of this play always give me a thrill, but this time it was more out of gratitude that the show was over.

For Tickets and Info:

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ludlow Ladd: 12/10/2006

Charlotte Sweet is one of my favorite musicals; so much so that I borrowed a character’s name for my pseudonym for this blog (minus a “d’). I wasn’t even aware that Michael Colby (libretto) and Gerald Jay Markoe (music) had written a prequel to Charlotte Sweet, actually called Ludlow Ladd, until recently. Ludlow Ladd is currently being performed as a staged reading (for, unfortunately, only one more performance on Monday the 11th), benefiting the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and it is a real treat. It maintains much of the loopy, dark humor and musical style of Charlotte Sweet, while being the perfect holiday show for those who don’t want to see the Rockettes. Let’s hope this great musical gets a full production next and every Christmas in NYC.

For Tickets & Info:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

FringeNYC 2007 Applications Now Available

Applications for the 2007 New York International Fringe Festival are now available, on line. Good luck to all that apply.

Fringe 2007 Application: Fringe Applications

Monday, December 04, 2006

Don't worry, FringeNYC is fine...

I just received the following e-mail:
Hey, Ludlow Lad,

I'm writing to introduce myself, and to put your mind at ease. My name is Elena K. Holy, and I'm the Producing Artistic Director of The Present Company (producers of FringeNYC). I've been alerted to your blogging about the 2007 festival, and I wanted to let you know that firstly, I SO appreciate your kind words about the festival, and secondly, we're on track, don't worry! Your concern is so appreciated.

The applications should be up in a matter of days. As you probably know, there are two of us who work at the Present Company. All of the rest of the staff members are volunteers. Four or five years ago, we converted to an "online" application process. This saved us a few weeks of data entry time, which we converted into a few additional weeks of adjudication time. It's working beautifully. This year, our sql database guru volunteer (who converts the word documents that I make into fill-out-able pdf's and sql databases) moved to London. This is fine, since she is one of the many volunteers who contribute to the festival from all over the world - I haven't seen her in person for a few years anyway! However, she has had a bit of a time getting stable internet service in her new "flat". British Telecom issues. But all is well now. That is one of the reasons we were delayed a bit.

The other reason is that Shelley Burch, our beloved Board President (and the Administrative Director of the festival for years) gave birth to a beautiful little girl on October 30th. In November, after we've closed the books (so to speak) on the prior festival, we have a great deal of analysis to do in order to make any changes to the festival. Every change effects the applications -

So it (understandably!) took a while for these changes to get approval from our very busy Board President. I also take my "big" vacation at Thanksgiving - to be with the entire extended family at the farm in Georgia. It's my one big break during the entire year - and is very restorative. And fattening. And wonderful. This year I took a whole week off.

Oh! And sorry - I hadn't noticed was down. I'm looking for a new hosting service. . . I'll remove the link from FringeNYC (I learned Dreamweaver!).

Anyway. That's MUCH more than you wanted to know, but since I can't seem to get an approval to be a member of All That Chat, you should feel free to post this reply (or your version of this reply) to let everyone know that FringeNYC '07 is going to be great ("it's eleven - it's like ten, but it's one more") and the apps should be up within a few days.

Tell everyone thanks for their concern. It really means the world to me and everyone at FringeNYC that you give a hoot whether FringeNYC happens. So cool...

Warm regards,

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Will there be an 11th Annual New York International Fringe Festival?

With the celebration of the 10th Annual Fringe last August some people questioned its relevance and importance and how long it would continue. Now I’m beginning to worry that it may not be around for an 11th year. According to the Fringe website,, “application(s) for FringeNYC 2007 will be available on (the fringe) website in November 2006” and “(a)pplications will be accepted from November 1, 2006 - February 14, 2007.” As of today, December 3rd, no application is available. Now anyone that has worked with the Fringe in the past, knows that their timetables are soft. More dirstubingly however, the credit that follows all official listings for The New York International Fringe Festival is “A production of The Present Company” and now The Present Company’s own website,, is down, giving the ominous message – “Gone”.

In a recent Thanksgiving Day posting, I listed Fringe NYC as one of the 9 things I am thankful for in NYC Theater. I am so hoping that we have not seen the last of the Fringe! Elena, tell us we are going to have a #11.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hedda Gabler [BAM]: 12/01/2006

The Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz production of Hedda Gabler is as stylish a production as one is likely to see. Ibsen's play has been updated to the present with laptops being smashed with hammers instead of manuscripts being burned. I'm no purist when it comes to the classics, but in this case it seems to be heavy on the style but unfortunately light on substance. Directed by Thomas Ostermeier, this version seamlessly runs together all four acts into one intermission-less two-hour and ten minute piece. Katharina Schüttler makes an always interesting and surprisingly young Hedda, but the real star of this production is Jan Pappelbaum’s sleek, revolving, glass, stone and concrete set complete with mirrored ceiling to reveal what would ordinarily be offstage. And Ibsen's famous final tableau looks great on this set as it revolves until the final blackout.

For Tickets & Info: