Monday, May 28, 2007

PHOTOS: The Wooster Groups's La Didone

The Wooster Group's new show, La Didone, will be performed May 30 - June 2 at ROTTERDAMSE SCHOUWBURG Rotterdam, The Netherlands and August 18 - 22 at the EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 07 Edinburgh, Scotland. The following description id from the Edinburgh International Festival:

The Wooster Group’s production of Francesco Cavalli’s opera La Didone takes up a work from the days when opera was an emerging art form, and sets it down in a new world splintered by video imagery and made brazen by the electric guitar. Stirring another Italian cultural work of art into the mix, the Group brings into collision the ancient shipwreck tale of Aeneas and his Dido with the crashed spaceships of Mario Bava’s 1965 Sci-fi B-movie horror film Planet of the Vampires. Identical leather spacesuits, forbidding planetary landscapes and battles with the walking dead meet with the baroque qualities of Cavalli’s score.
Let's hope we'll get to see it in NYC soon!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cast YOUR Vote For The TONY AWARDS: The Results

What the BUG?

The William Friedkin directed film version of the Off-Broadway Tracy Letts play Bug opens today. The trailer (above) makes it look like an out-and-out horror film, but Modern Fabulousity is reporting that it's not.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Theatre World Award Winners Announced

The 63rd annual Theatre World Award winners for Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut performances during the 2006-2007 theatrical season are:

Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple
Eve Best, A Moon for the Misbegotten
Mary Birdsong, Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me
Erin Davie, Grey Gardens
Xanthe Elbrick, Coram Boy
Johnny Galecki, The Little Dog Laughed
Jonathan Groff, Spring Awakening
Gavin Lee, Mary Poppins
Lin-Manuel Miranda, In the Heights
Bill Nighy, The Vertical Hour
Stark Sands, Journey's End
Nilaja Sun, No Child…

Monday, May 21, 2007

52nd Annual Village Voice Obie Awards

Here are the winners of the 2006-2007 Obie Awards:

Betsy Aidem, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Donna Lynne Champlin for her performance in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
Andre De Shields, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Ain Gordon for his performance in Stories Left to Tell
David Greenspan for his performance in Faust and Some Men
Nina Hellman for her performance in Trouble in Paradise
Ron Cephas Jones, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Nancy Opel for her performance in My Deah
Roslyn Ruff for her performance in Seven Guitars
James Saito for his performance in Durango
Michael Stuhlbarg for his performance in The Voysey Inheritance
Nilaja Sun for her performance in No Child
Harris Yulin for his performance in Frank's Home
Ensemble of Tale of 2Cities (Winsome Brown, Michael Ray Escamilla, Tracey A. Leigh, Leo Marks Diane Rodriguez, Ed Vassallo, Heather Woodbury)

Adam Bock for The Thugs

Lou Bellamy for Two Trains Running
Anne Kauffman for The Thugs
Matthew Maguire for Abandon
Eirik Stubo for The Wild Duck
Chay Yew for Durango

Michael Friedman, Sustained Excellence in Music
Bill T. Jones for his choreography of Spring Awakening
Lin-Manuel Miranda for his music and lyrics for In The Heights

Beowulf Boritt, Sustained Excellence in Set Design
Robert Kaplowitz, Sustained Excellence in Sound Design
Rae Smith for the set and costume design of Oliver Twist

Alvin Epstein

Young Jean Lee

THE ROSS WETZSTEON AWARD ($2,000 given annually to a theatre that nurtures innovative new plays):
Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre

Daniel Beaty, writing and performance Emergence-SEE
Edward Hall & Propeller, Taming of the Shrew
Tim Crouch, An Oak Tree
The Living Theatre, Ensemble and director Judith Malina, The Brig (Ensemble: Gene Ardor, Johnson Anthony, Kesh Baggan, Steven Scot Bono, Gary Brackett, Brent Bradley, Brad Burgess, John Kohan, Albert Lamont, Peter Lester, Jeff Nash, Josh Roberts, Bradford Rosenbloom, Jade Rothman, Isaac Scranton, Morteza Tavakoli, Evan True, Antwan Ward, Louis Williams; Steve Ben Israel, ensemble director)

GRANTS (Totaling $10,000):
Transport Group
Peculiar Works Project
Synapse Productions
The Play Company

God's Ear: 5/20/2007

While watching God's Ear tonight I couldn't help but be reminded of the ridiculously lame choice of Rabbit Hole for the Pulitzer earlier this year. While both plays deal with the loss of a child, Jenny Schwartz' new play deals with the experience in a more abstract and ultimately more honest fashion than did David Lindsay-Abaire's movie-of-the-week-like Rabbit Hole. What separates the two plays is the abstractness of Schwartz' language. The question “why” must turn up five or six dozen times in the play, and like true life, there are multiple answers, but no satisfactory ones. The always terrific Christine Kirk is at the center of God's Ear as Mel, the grieving mother dealing with her surviving daughter and absent husband. And Annie McNamara has a hilarious scene in which and Mel's husband, Ted (Gibson Frazier), share flirtations over a drink (pictured above). Anne Kauffman once again proves she is one of downtown's most consistently exciting directors. Kris Stone's set is beautiful and perhaps the best set ever to be created for The East 13th Street Theatre – the home of Classic Stage Company. Bravo and thank you to New Georges for giving us this excellent play and thrilling production.

For tickets and info:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

On The Verge: 05/18/2007

Eric Overmyer's 1985 play, On The Verge, is being given a first rate production by Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. If you don't know the play, it follows the Victorian female explorers as they travel through time and space and wind up in 1955. As the explorers, Angela Madden, Elise Stone, and especially Angela Vitale give great performances and Michael Surabian finds lots of fun in the various males they encounter. Director Karen Case Cook for the most part does a fine job, and one point having our three heroines scale the risers of the Connelly Theater; I only wish she had found a more ineteresting way of handling the women's monologues. But overall, if you don't know this wonderful play, this is a great way of experiencing it.

For Tickets & Info:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

2007- 2008 @ New York Theatre Workshop

The 2007- 2008 season at New York Theatre Workshop has a few excellent shows lined up:

  • The always amazing Ivo van Hove directing THE MISANTHROPE – lets hope Elizabeth Marvel is available!
  • JoAnne Akalaitis directing an evening of BECKETT SHORTS (including Act Without Words I and II, Eh Joe, and Rough For Theatre) that will feature Mikhail Baryshnikov.
  • A new play by Naomi Wallace called THINGS OF DRY HOURS.
  • And Elevator Repair Service's adaptation of THE SOUND AND THE FURY.

For full details of their new season:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors: 05/12/2007

Is it me, or is there a real sense of dread Off and Off-Off Broadway? These are dark times, and these times are certainly being reflected on the New York stages. Big Art Group's Dead Set #3, Adam Rapp's Essential Self Defense and Adam Bock's The Thugs only to name a few of the recent plays that have a undefined sense of terror that pervades. Add to that list Joseph Goodrich's play Smoke and Mirrors, a new play set in the smoking room of an unnamed company. Amidst the idle chat about unreasonable bosses, planned vacations and the lunch menu in the cafeteria are news stories of disappeared persons found dead, men in blood covered lab coats and anti-American letter being circulated around the building. But this new genre of plays, I'll call it Theater of Dread, are not reactionary, left-wing, preaching-to-the-converted, political diatribes; they are reactions to and studies in how are current climate of fear is affecting society. The Flea's production of Smoke and Mirrors is very good. Nick Faust does an excellent job with his cast of Bats (the Flea's ensemble actors). My one criticism is that I wish the writer and director had found a way of presenting the play in real time, doing away with the blackouts in between “scenes”. But that is a very small quibble for an otherwise solid evening of theater.

For tickets & info:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Fall and Rise of the Rising Fallen: 5/11/2007

I'd heard a lot about the company Banana Bag & Bodice so I was very much looking forward to their new show, The Fall and Rise of the Rising Fallen (having missed the much talked about The Sewers). Taking Des McAnuff’s Leave it to Beaver is Dead to it's logical next step, The Fall and Rise of the Rising Fallen uses a rock concert as it's dramatic structure. And the company has actually formed a band and created a back story. Many of the songs really rock, and you really don't doubt for a minute that you a watching a band and not a company of actors. The physical production is excellent, the band performing on a wooden platform that resembles an oil rig on which the band is performing, and it includes one of the most hilariously innovative, low budget, ad hoc stage special effect I've ever seen. My one disappointment is that their wasn't a more solid through-line for the piece. I'm the last person to ever complain about a lack of plot or narrative, but when your basic structure is that of a concert, some sort of cohesive adhesive would come in handy to hold it all together. But for something truly unique that you won't soon forget, don't miss this show.

For tickets & info:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Radio Golf: 05/10/2007

I've never been much of a fan of the plays of August Wilson and aside from about ten gripping minutes at the very end of act two, Radio Golf is his usual over-baked melodrama. The play focuses on the morality of its five characters – African-Americans of different economic backgrounds – and the life choices they make and justify. It's a very interesting topic, but in the trappings of heavy-handed foreshadowing, obvious symbolism and melodramatic plot developments, the theme is completely buried. The performances are all fine, but none outstanding and Kenny Leon's direction is serviceable but not much more, but no one involved can be blamed given the lead balloon they were given to work with. Had this play been written by anyone else but the already-famous Mr. Wilson it certainly would not be where it is.

For Tickets & Info:

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The New York Drama Critics Circle, which for some reason DOESN'T include critics for The New York Times, has chosen it's awards for the 2006-2007 Season.

Here they are:

Best Play: The Coast of Utopia, by Tom Stoppard
Best American Play: Radio Golf, by August Wilson
Best Musical: Spring Awakening, by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater
Special Citation: The Broadway revival of Journey’s End

You can check out the website for the NYDCC here:

It is always interesting so see how the voting goes for this award, with its first, second and third balloting. There were some cool shows among the mix, including: Adam Bock’s The Thugs and Christopher Shinn’s Dying City. I guess I don’t quite understand why a few critics would abstain from the first round of voting for a Best American Play (Robert Feldberg, Frank Scheck and Terry Teachout) only to go ahead and vote for three plays in the final round of voting?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Outstanding Play
Stuff Happens
by David Hare

Outstanding Musical (TIE)
In the Heights
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Spring Awakening
Book and Lyrics by Steven Sater, Music by Duncan Sheik

Outstanding Solo Show
No Child…
Written and Performed by Nilaja Sun

Outstanding Revival
Two Trains Running
Signature Theatre Company

Outstanding Director
Daniel Sullivan, Stuff Happens

Outstanding Choreographer
Andy Blankenbuehler, In the Heights

Outstanding Lead Actor
Peter Francis James, Stuff Happens

Outstanding Lead Actress
Gloria Reuben, Stuff Happens

Outstanding Featured Actor
Arthur French, Two Trains Running

Outstanding Featured Actress
Sherie Rene Scott, Landscape of the Body

Outstanding Scenic Design
Derek McLane, The Voysey Inheritance

Outstanding Costume Design
Gregory Gale, The Voysey Inheritance

Outstanding Lighting Design
Kevin Adams, Spring Awakening

Outstanding Sound Design
Martin Desjardins, columbinus