Friday, August 31, 2007

The Public Preview Pack

The Public Theater's Preview Pack is a great deal. It's simple: you get five tickets to use any way you'd like to for their season (but you have to attend during the first two weeks of performances, hence the name) . The hardest part is narrowing your choice between these great shows:

  • The Wooster Group: HAMLET
    After a not-open-for-review presentation at St. Ann's Warehouse, The Wooster Group's HAMLET is back for it's official premiere. I saw it in March and it's great!
  • Yellow Face
    Leigh Silverman directs David Henry Hwang's new play about the controversy and protests over the hiring of Jonathan Pryce in the original Broadway production of Miss Saigon. I wonder if he'll mention Face Value?
  • Conversations In Tusculum
    Richard Nelson directs his own play that chronicles those entangled in Julius Caesar’s world of manipulation and power. Brian Dennehy, David Strathairn and the wonderful Maria Tucci star!
  • Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?
    A new Carol Churchill play in New York. What more is there to say?
  • Kicking A Dead Horse
    A new play written and directed by Sam Shepard about the myth of the West, a Manhattan art dealer and a dead horse staring Stephen Rea.
  • The Little Flower of East Orange
    Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and director Philip Seymour Hoffman bring us their latest collaboration, an inter-generational ghost story set in an upper Manhattan charity hospital.
Get one here:

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Nebraska, 1958: the world is closing in on Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate, teenage lovers charged with committing eleven murders in the course of a week. Under pressure to confess by dawn, facts blur and loyalties shift, and the question remains: how far will you go for someone you love?

The NYMF show I am most looking forward to is Love Kills, with book, music and lyrics by Kyle Jarrow and staring the always-amazing Deirdre O'Connell. The musical is based on the true story that inspired the film Badlands.

For Info:
For Tickets: - single tickets go on sale 9/1

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Dig Doug Added to Fringe Encores Series!

So happy to report that the fabulous I Dig Doug is a late addition to the Fringe Encores Series.

It will be at the Bleecker Street Theater, 45 Bleecker Street:

TH 8/30 - 9pm
FR 8/31 - 7pm
SA 9/1 - 9pm
SU 9/2 - 8:30pm
FR 9/7 - 11pm
SA 9/15 - 7:30pm
SU 9/16 - 5:30pm

For Tickets & Info:

Monday, August 27, 2007

FringeNYC 2007 Announces Overall Excellence Award Winners

These are the Fringe 2007 Overall Excellence Award Winners:

Outstanding Play:
Lights Rise on Grace
I Dig Doug
Catch The Fish

Outstanding Musical:
Bash’d: A Gay Rap Opera
Piaf: Love Conquers All

Outstanding Playwrighting:
Mac Rogers - Hail Satan
Corey Patrick - Bombs in Your Mouth
Sara Jeanne Asselin - The Rise and Fall of Miles and Milo

Outstanding Music & Lyrics:
Kurt Gellersted & Brooke Fox - Williamsburg! The Musical
Kevin So - Victor Woo: The Average Asian American

Outstanding Solo Show:
Bent to the Flame: A Night with Tennessee Williams
Paper Son

Outstanding Direction:
Jessica Beck - All Alone
Emily Fishbaine- Dressing Miss Julie
Jon Lawrence Rivera - Hillary Agonistes

Outstanding Costume Design:
Anne Aberjonois - Show Choir The Musical
Meganne George - John Goldfarb, Please Come Home

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Seth Reiser - The End

Outstanding Actor:
Siobhan Donnellan - Married to the Sea
Gardi Hutter - Joan of ARPpO
Mary Theresa Arnold - Jazz Hand: Tales of a One-Armed Woman
Christopher Domig - Dirt

Outstanding Ensemble:
Naked in a Fishbowl
Farmtrucks: A Corporate Coffee Adventure
Roxy Font
Show Choir The Musical
End's Eve: The Feast of 2012

Outstanding Choreography:
Isabelle Barbat - Requiem pour une ame seule
Jimmy Tate - Thunder
JD Aubrey Smith & Akim Funk Buddha - Victor Woo: The Average Asian American

The Village Voice Audience Favorite:
Riding The Bull

Saturday, August 25, 2007

FringeNYC Encore Series Announces Lineup

80 Performances of 12 Shows in 2 Theaters
August 30 - September 16 at Soho Playhouse & Bleecker Street Theater


As Far As We Know
unCommon Cause
Writer: Created by The Torture Project Ensemble in collaboration with Christina Gorman / Director: Laurie Sales.
A gripping and gritty ensemble performance chronicles the struggles of an Ohio family tortured by the absence of their son, a soldier abducted during an ambush on a Halliburton transport in Iraq. Inspired by the April 2004 capture of SSG Matt Maupin.
2h. Thur 9/6 @ 7pm; Sat 9/8 @ 11pm; Sun 9/9 @ 4:45pm; Mon 9/10 @ 9:30pm.

A Beautiful Child
The Courthouse Theater Company and Michael Howard Studios
Writer: Truman Capote / Director: Linda Powell.
Manhattan, 1955: Truman Capote and Marilyn Monroe attended the funeral of Constance Collier, Marilyn's acting coach. Afterward, they wandered the city, and shared secrets and a bottle of champagne. Capote presents a vivid snapshot of the Marilyn only he knew.
50m. Tues 9/4 @ 9:30pm; Wed 9/5 @ 7pm; Fri 9/7 @ 7pm; Sat 9/8 @ 9:30pm; Tues 9/11 at 7pm; Fri 9/14 @ 9:30pm; Sat 9/15 @ 3pm; Sun 9/16 @ 9:30pm.

… Double Vision
Don't Say Miami and Joshua P. Weiss
Writer: Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich / Director: Ari Laura Kreith
Love hurts. Running from it can leave you half-crazy and riding the subway nude. Six singles navigate the tricky waters of urban, modern relationships in this quirky tale of love on the lam. A dark romantic comedy. Note: Contains nudity, no one under 18 admitted.
2h. Sat 9/8 @ 2:30pm; Sun 9/9 @ 9:15pm; Wed 9/12 @ 9:30pm; Thur 9/13 @ 7pm; Sat 9/15 @ 5pm; Sun 9/16 @ 7pm.

Hillary Angonistes
Playwrights' Arena in Association with Frantic Redhead Productions
Writer: Nick Salamone / Director: Jon Lawrence Rivera.
Spring 2009. Hillary in the White House. 65 million people disappear. Is the Rapture upon us? Pat Robertson, Stephen Hawking, Chelsea and the Antichrist weigh in. Can Madame President avert Armageddon? Starring Priscilla Barnes (TV's Threes Company) as Mrs. Clinton.
1h 35m. Fri 9/7 @ 9:30pm; Sat 9/8 @ 5pm; Sun 9/9 @ 7:30pm; Mon 9/10 @ 7pm; Wed 9/12 @ 7pm; Thur 9/13 @ 9:30pm; Fri 9/14 @ 7pm; Sat 9/15 @ 9pm; Sun 9/16 @ 3pm.

Lights Rise On Grace
61 Academy in Association with Partial Comfort Productions
Writer: Chad Beckim / Director: Robert O'Hara
Grace falls for Large. Riece falls for Large. Large... falls. First love. Lost love. New love. Tough love. "Lights Rise On Grace" follows three desperate New Yorkers as they defy tradition, uncover and recover secrets.
1h. Thur 8/30 @ 7pm; Fri 8/31 @ 9pm; Sat 9/1 @ 7pm; Sun 9/2 @ 5pm; Mon 9/3 @ 7pm; Thur9/6 @ 9:30pm; Sat 9/8 @ 7:30pm; Sun 9/9 @ 3pm.

Mary Brigit Poppleton is Writing a Memoir
Madeline Walter in Association with The Strollers
Writer: Madeline Walter
Fake babies, Catholic chaos, and escaping Long Island in a rowboat: this and more when virginal teen Mary Brigit Poppleton fakes her own pregnancy. Why? Because she's writing a memoir, and who wants to read about a happy childhood?
2h. Mon 9/3 @ 9pm; Tues 9/4 @ 7pm; Wed 9/5 @ 9pm; Tues 9/11 @ 9:30pm.


Bombs In Your Mouth
bipolar and wej productions
Writer: Corey Patrick / Director: Joseph Ward
Chug beer, eat Jello, arm wrestle. Do whatever it takes not to talk about the memory of your deadbeat dad in this comedy by Corey Patrick. bipolar teams up with wej productions for its third stint at FringeNYC.
1h 15m. Tues9/4 @ 9pm; Thur 9/6 @ 7pm; Tues 9/11 @ 7pm; Sat 9/15 @ 7pm; Sun 9/16 @ 5pm.

Jamaica, Farewell
Meadowbrook Entertainment
Writer: Debra Ehrhardt / Director: Monique Lai.
Jamaica. Revolution. Visa. Impossible. CIA. Seduction. Desperation. A dream. Heartbreak. Handsome. American. Customs. Million dollars. Duffel bag. Machetes. Goats. Prostitutes. Bullets. Adrenaline. Kerosene. Run for your life. A true story.
1h 30m. Fri 9/7 @ 7pm; Sat 9/8 @ 10pm; Sun 9/9 @ 3pm; Mon 9/10 @ 9:30pm; Wed 9/12 @ 7pm; Fri 9/14 @ 9:30pm; Sat 9/15 @ 9pm; Sun 9/16 @ 7pm.

Naked in a Fishbowl
Dragonchase Productions
Writer: Katharine Heller, Brenna Palughi, Lynne Rosenberg, Lauren Seikaly
Director: Hugh Sinclair.
Unscripted, uninhibited, and wildly entertaining, this unique improv-comedy eavesdrops on the lives of four friends in NYC. Witness original performances full of raw humor and startling honesty. Unlike anything else on the New York City stage.
1h. Sun 9/9 @ 8pm; Sun 9/16 @ 3pm.

Paper Son
Let It Ride Productions
Writer: Byron Yee
"Ragingly Funny, Riveting. Hilarious and Irreverent, Yet Deeply Touching." - Variety. "Artfully Constructed, Poignant and Funny" - SF Examiner. WINNER - Best of SF Fringe. I grew up in Oklahoma. Moved to California. Became a comedian. THEN discovered I was Chinese. Who knew?
1h 30m. Thur 8/30 @ 7pm; Fri 8/31 9:30pm; Sat 9/1 @ 2:30pm; Sun 9/2 @ 2:30pm; Tue 9/4 @ 7pm; WE 9/5 @ 9:30pm; Fri 9/7 @ 9pm; Sat 9/8 @ 8pm; Sun 9/9 @ 5:30pm.

Piaf: Love Conquers All
LVR Productions
Writer: Roger Peace / Director: Naomi Emmerson
For those who have loved, suffered and survived. Come share a cocktail with a French legend as she shares her passion for music, men and morphine! "Top Ten of the 2005 Toronto Fringe". Experience the power of 'chansons' and l'amour!
2h 5m. Thur 8/30 @ 9:30pm; Fri 8/31 @ 7pm; Sat 9/1 @ 8pm; Sun 9/2 @ 4:30pm; Mon 9/3 @ 9:30pm; Wed 9/5 @ 7pm; Sat 9/8 @ 5pm.

Riding the Bull
Flux Theatre Ensemble
Writer: August Schulenburg / Director: Kelly O'Donnell
A love affair between a devout rodeo clown and a hellraising rancher leads to Graceland, prophetic sex, and cows that rise from the dead in what called "a charming and unconventional look at the nature and definition of belief."
1h 50m. Sun 9/2 @ 7pm; Mon 9/3 @ 7pm; Fri 9/7 @ 11pm; Sat 9/8 @ 2:30pm; Mon 9/10 @ 7pm; Tues 9/11 @ 9pm; Wed 9/12 @ 9:30pm; Sat 9/15 @ 5pm; Sun 9/16 @ 9pm.

Tickets are $18 and go on sale Monday, August 27. For more information visit or call 212-691-1555.

In Support of Fringe

All-in-all, 2007 New York International Fringe Festival seemed to have a lot more quality shows than past years. A friend of mine said that maybe I was just getting better a picking shows – but I don't think so. Maybe Elena Holy and the adjudication panel is getting better at picking shows? It's ironic, because there seemed to be a lot of Fringe-Bashing going on this year – mostly prior to anyone seeing this year's shows.

The Village Voice's piece (Welcome to the Fringe! Now Where the Hell Is It?) has three wildly different suggestions from three fringe-veterans. John Clancy suggests opening up the fringe to the other boroughs and opening up the festival in general to a model (You got a show? Find a venue and you're in!) similar to the Edinburgh Fringe. While I think that the way fringe shows are chosen, basically from an application, can result in a lot of bad shows – I think opening it up geographically would result in a complete disintegration of the energy that the Festival now creates. A major complaint of the NY Fringe is that unlike the Edinburgh Fringe, the NY Fringe doesn't bring NYC to a grinding halt of all other activity. Edinburgh's population is 457,830 (or was in 2005). I think that is roughly the number of people who live in my apartment building! New York would have to have a fringe venue on every block to generate that kind of excitement city-wide. You can walk down 6th Avenue on the last Sunday in June and not realize there is a parade of a million people happening a block away. That's just New York.

David Cote, on his blog Histriomastix , basically argues for the same opening up of the NY Fringe as Clancy. Cote also goes on to say “I love theater. I love artists. But I don't love scores of mediocre, barely trained amateurs who put together a showcase so that producers will come and give them paying jobs on TV.” Now, I was always under the impression that the Fringe was giving an opportunity for smaller, financially strapped companies an opportunity to produce inexpensively and have somewhat of a built-in audience by way of the Fringe's popularity. After Urinetown, there was realization that a show could have a life beyond the Fringe, but I think Elena and the adjudication process have managed to keep that in check by way of having the Festival be somewhat curated. I've not really got the feeling that Fringe participants were participating as a way of auditioning for TV. The Equity term “Showcase” was created way before the Fringe existed in NYC.

What direction would I like to see the Fringe go? Ideally it would be great if it could be more geographically contained (not less!), the way it was in the early years on the LES. East 4th Street has at least eight theaters between 2nd Avenue and the Bowery. I say take over East 4th Street! And then if there is a demand for a non-curated version of the festival – let those shows go beyond the actual Fringe venues.

But I say CONGRATULATIONS to Elena K. Holy, Shelley Burch, Ron Lasko and the whole Fringe gang for a great 2007 Festival!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hail Satan: 8/24/2007

It was nice to end my two weeks of Fringe-going on a high note. Mac Rogers' Hail Satan is a smart and funny satire. How would you feel if you took a job in a five-person office, only to find out they everyone went to the same church on Sundays? How would you feel if that service was in worship of Satan? Well that's what happens early on in Hail Satan. The play gets even more complicated and outrageous after the arrival of a baby during one of the office's rituals. While the cast isn't top-notch (except for the wonderful Laura Perloe), director Jordanna Williams keeps things moving nicely but not too rushed. And while the play may try to tackle a few too many issues, it's completely entertaining.

Fringe Rating: 8/10

For Tickets:
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fringe Flashback

Two 2006 Fringe successes are back, beginning tonight:

Tonight thru September 29
created and performed by Billy The Mime
The Flea Theater
For Tickets & Info:

Previews begin tonight! Open Run
Walmartopia! The Musical
Minetta Lane Theatre
For Info:
For Tickets:
Click Here for my review from the 2006 Fringe!

Monday, August 20, 2007

ELEKTRAFIRE : A Modern Rock Opera - 8/20/2007

Unfortunately nothing in ELEKTRAFIRE : A Modern Rock Opera is as much campy fun as it's postcard image – that is if you don't count the unintentional laughter. Doug Thoms has written some good music & lyrics, most unfortunately, though, Doug Thoms is also the director – or so it seems. There is no director actually credited in the program, and that is the biggest problem of ELEKTRAFIRE; it seriously needs the focus of a good director, as it stands now there is no point of view or tone, only the doggedly plowing through the piece to it's ridiculous interpretive dance of an ending. Beware!

Fringe Rating: 3/10

For Tickets:
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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Elephant in the Room - 8/19/2007

Inpired by Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, Dan Fogler's Elephant in the Room is a modern-day farce set in Manhattan plagued by global warming and a population turning into elephants. Part Ionesco, part South Park, part Mel Brooks, Elephant in the Room is a times very funny and ultimately thought-provoking. At one hour and forty minutes, it should be shorter – why the intermission? But the entire cast is having a blast and the fun is infectious. Fogler most likely does his play a disservice by directing it himself; he's be best to collaborate with a director and with a little work this could be a modern classic.

Fringe Rating: 7/10

For Tickets & Info:

Williamsburg! The Musical - 8/19/2007

For a fun time, check out Williamsburg! The Musical. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Williamsburg is sort of a low-rent Rent. The music by Kurt Gellersted & Brooke Fox and lyrics by Brooke Fox are the show's biggest asset, especially the “One Stop (To Excitement)” and “Craigslist Hook-Up/Missed Connections” numbers. Deborah Wolfson's choreography (she also directs) is excellent and she moves the large cast gracefully about the not-so-large stage. And among that cast, Nicola Barber (as Amina Snatch of the evil Snatch Realty) is a standout. While the show does run out of steam by the end, with a little work Williamsburg! could be this years Walmartopia!

Fringe Rating: 8/10

For Tickets:
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Jazz Hand: Tales of a One Armed Woman - 8/18/2007

Jazz Hand: Tales of a One Armed Woman is not more than a series of blackout sketches involving Mary Theresa Archbold, who was born with one arm – but that said it's one of the more enjoyable shows at this year's Festival! It's hilarious and touching and completely entertaining. Sharing the stage and his point of view is Mary's real-life husband, Pat Shay. Part of the charm of the show is it's “rough around the edges” style - sort of a performance-verite and knowing that the situations are all based on real experiences. I rarely wish the shows I see were longer, but clocking in at under fifty-minutes Jazz Hand definitely leaves you wanting more!

Fringe Rating: 8/10

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Fringe Update: Additional Performances

The first batch of additional performances have been announced:

Chaser - 8/22 @ 7:30PM (Cherry Lane)
Bukowsical - 8/20 @ 2PM and 7PM (Theaters at 45 Bleecker)
Hillary Agonistes - 8/23 @ 3PM (CSV Cultural Center)
Williamsburg: The Musical - 8/21 @ 7PM (Village Theater)

For Tickets & Info:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pigeon Man Apocalypse - 8/17/2007

Have you ever wondered how a person arrives at the point of being homeless? If so, then you may enjoy Pigeon Man Apocalypse. This dark one person play, performed by Andy McQuade, is a curious story of man who is squatting in a soon-to-be-no-longer-vacant building living on rainwater and – you guessed it – pigeons. Through the course of the fifty-five minute piece, we learn about Pigeon Man's messed up, abusive childhood and his last attempt at normalcy. While I'm not usually fond of one-person shows, I was rarely bored here; the text is unpredictable enough to maintain your interest and McQuade's performance is energetic enough to carry the evening.

Fringe Rating: 6/10

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hillary Agonistes - 8/16/2007

So why is Priscilla Barnes only now making her New York stage debut? Best know for playing the third Suzanne Somers replacement on the sitcom Three's Company, Barnes is currently playing Hillary Clinton in Hillary Agonistes at the Fringe Festival and she's outstanding! The play itself is odd, but in a good way. The premise, that 65 million people have vanished off the face of the earth in what may or may not be the Rapture a few months after Hillary becomes President, has the makings of a very black comedy – and at the beginning it is. But as the show progresses, things become more high stakes until it's bleak ending. It's a great premise and a great show and Barnes is so excellent that you can't take your eyes off her. Nick Salamone, the playwright, also plays all of the male roles in the production, is also very good – I wanted to see his James Carville! Let's hope we see Priscilla Barnes back on the NYC stage soon!

Fringe Rating: 9/10

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PN 1923.45 LS01 Volume 2 (The Book Play) - 8/15/2007

I really like unusual titles, so I had to check out PN 1923.45 LS01 Volume 2 (The Book Play) and I'm glad I did. It's a time-trippy tale of two couples: a male/female couple from 1951 and a gay couple from 1981 and the book that brings them together. Bixby Elliot's play examines numerous subjects – many of which are not often tacked and handles it all well although I do think the play could use some editing. Marguerite Stimpson is excellent as the 50's librarian and the always fabulous Everett Quinton is terrific as the man who sort of brings it all together. Aside for some slow pacing of scene transitions Stephen Brackett directs the play well. All in all PN 1923.45 LS01 Volume 2 (The Book Play) is worth checking out.

Fringe Rating: 7/10

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dressing Miss Julie - 8/14/2007

What's in a gimmick? In the best circumstances a good gimmick can highlight a point or underscore an issue; in the worst circumstances a gimmick is a shallow attention-getting device with no relation to the work at hand. Dressing Miss Julie has a hell of a gimmick – in the best sense of the word. At any point during the performance, any audience member can ring a bell at either side of the stage at which point the two actors on stage (one male and one female) exchange the roles of Jean and Julie in Strindberg's famous play. Both actors handle the parts and the gimmick with professional ease and good sportsmanship! Kull and Perkins are also credited with the fun adaptation in the spirit of Charles Ludlum. Although the bell-ringing and role changing does grow tiresome by evening's end, Dressing Miss Julie is a smart, fun Fringe show!

Fringe Rating: 8/10

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Bash'd: A Gay Rap Opera - 8/13/2007

Bash'd: A Gay Rap Opera Fringe Review FringeNYCBash'd is subtitled “a gay rap opera” and it really is! Written and performed by Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow is a morality tale of homophobia and revenge and tolerance. Told almost exclusively in rhymes by rappers T-Bag and Feminem, it's a smart, funny and moving show that goes a long way in making a case for hip hop musical theater. Much credit must go to director Ron Jenkins; the show is tight - flowing effortlessly from song to song and the actors shifting from character to character (to narrator). The music, by Aaron Macri, using samples from many personal favorite 80's songs, is a highlight of the show. But, ultimately, the limitations of the wrap style of the authors weighs down the fun and my one criticism of Bash'd is the lack of variety in the songs. With that slight improvement, Bash'd could be a masterpiece. As it is now, though, it's still damn good.

Fringe Rating: 9/10

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

I Dig Doug - 8/12/2007

I Dig Doug Fringe Festival Review FringeNYC theaterI Dig Doug is the kind of smart and funny Fringe show you hope to see, but rarely do. Written and performed by Karen DiConcetto and Rochelle Zimmerman, it's a sort of “Politically Blonde” as it follows the tale of a ditsy girl who, after she becomes disenchanted with her favorite reality TV star, turns her admiration to Douglas Ward, a political candidate for president. The play follows her hilarious journey to get to Iowa to meet her man. DiConcetto is perfect as the girl and Zimmerman is terrific as everyone else! Bert V. Royal's spot-on direction and Mark Huang's sound design conspire to make for ridiculously funny wild ride of a show. Better hurry and get tickets if you want to see this show for the bargain price of $15!

Fringe Rating: 10/10

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The Winter's Tale Project - 8/12/2007

The Winter's Tale Project is a musical version of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Given it's promo tag lines (“LOOKING FOR A HOT PIECE OF TALE?” and “2007's Best Musical featuring death by a Bear”) I was expecting something a little more tongue in cheek, but save for a song entitled “Stuck With The Bear” commenting on the Bard's most ridiculous stage direction – this musical mostly plays it straight. The cast is mostly good, and some (the charming Farren Timoteo, the feisty Dot Portella and the lovely Emily Mattheson) better than that and Bridget Ryan's direction keeps things moving briskly.There is one standout song - “To The Moon And Back” - and given the sort rehearsal time, the low ticket price, and the effort of the game cast The Winter's Tale Project is a mild success.

Fringe Rating: 6/10

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

End's Eve: The Feast of 2012 - 8/11/2007

Beware of strangers carrying pork chops! End's Eve: The Feast of 2012 is one of those jaw-droppingly-bad plays about which you can only ask: What were they thinking? A group of friends gather on the night of December 20, 2012, to ring in what may be the end of the world (according to the Mayan calendar). When ridiculous news breaks announce weird occurrences (like the disappearance of Japan!), crop circles appear in the living room, and a large crystal skull turns up in the take-out – all without a hint of (intentional) humor – you know you are in for a rare evening in the theater. The proceedings are so hopelessly directed, and so amateurishly acted that I won't mention any names. But the majority of the blame goes to the play's two (!) authors – who seem earnest in their interest Mayan myth and culture (according to the program notes) and have managed to trivialize it in the form of this sci-fi silliness.

Fringe Rating: 1/10

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Riding the Bull - 8/11/2007

A religious rodeo clown with a big head (GL) falls for the mean fat girl who happens to be an atheist (Lyza). When they have sex, she shouts out the name of the next winning bull rider. They scheme to bet on these winners and so they become rich enough to hire an Elvis impersonator to be GL's mother's companion. Playwright August Schulenburg's Riding the Bull is the kind of quirky play for which the Fringe is famous - not always a good thing, mind you. GL's monologues are sharp and funny – the dialog, less so; and the reversals that both characters undergo seem to come from nowhere. The physical production is excellent and Kelly O'Donnell's direction is fine but in the end, unfortunately, Riding the Bull doesn't amount to much.

Fringe Rating: 5/10

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Friday, August 10, 2007

All Aboard - 8/10/2007

Armstrong/Bergeron Dance Company's All Aboard is a multi-media dance piece about train travel. Video of footage shot aboard Amtrack, the NYC Subway, and in various train stations and interviews with passengers and crew accompany many of the dances. The choreography itself is mostly terrific and enjoyable specifically "The Luggage Car". Unfortunately, not all of the dancers are technically at the same level, which does infuse the piece with unwanted dramatic tension. The use of music by Steve Reich without comment on the political nature of the music bothered my companions and given the apolitical nature of the piece, perhaps the choice of this music should be rethought. Removing that criticism, and I do note that is a huge caveat, All Aboard is an enjoyable work.

Fringe Rating: 7/10

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Days and Nights: page 121, lines 11 and 12 - 8/10/2007

Anne Frank and family performing scenes from Chekhov's The Seagull while in hiding – a simple and effective premise; it immediately adds a layer of subtext absent in most productions of Chekhov productions. Adapted and directed by Marc Stuart Weitz, Days and Nights: page 121, lines 11 and 12, is a powerful piece of theater. Weitz isn't afraid of long stretches of silence or repetition of text and the results underscore the horror of their confinement. The cast is very good with Erin Gorski (Anne) Philippe Bowgen (Peter) and Catherne Gowl (Mrs. Frank) being particularly excellent. Fair warning though, familiarity with The Seagull is a must – it may be hard to follow as actors switch roles and plot is not a focus. That said, it was nice to start off this year's Fringe Festival with such a well though-out, mature and well-done piece.


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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Alexis Soloski asks How can we improve the New York Fringe?

The Village Voice's Alexis Soloski holds a frank discussion on the state of the NY Fringe Festival with John Clancy - a founding member of the festival, Nick Stuccio - the artistic director of the Philadelphia Fringe, and Vallejo Gantner - the former artistic director of the Dublin Fringe and current artistic director of P.S.122.

A must read:,soloski,77433,11.html

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Fringe Preview: John Goldfarb Please Come Home

John Goldfarb Please Come Home Fringe Festival...a new musical comedy about love, spy planes, harem girls, and the Notre Dame football team, complete with belly dancing and a Middle Eastern score. Book by Oscar winner William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist) and music and lyrics by Michael Garin, Robert Hipkens and Erik Frandsen.

For Info & Tickets: or

Monday, August 06, 2007

New Adam Rapp Play Premiering At The Flea

A new play by the acclaimed Adam Rapp will have it's premiere at the Flea Theater. Bingo With The Indians, written and directed by Rapp, is about a disgruntled East Village theater company with more on their minds then playing Bingo descends upon a small New England town.

Bingo With The Indians will run October 25 - December 22, Tuesday - Saturday at 9pm with 7pm shows December 2, 9 & 16. The official opening night will be November 9th.

This is going to be a hot ticket.

For Tickets & Info:

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Horse Trade Turns Ten

In a way it's hard to believe that Horse Trade Theater Group is only ten years old, it seems like they've been around forever. But in a real estate crunch that has closed theaters piling up like dead bodies in a slasher film (Actor's Playhouse being the latest causality) a ten year anniversary is a cause to celebrate. That Horse Trade runs three off-off spaces that offer affordable rent is cause for canonization.

Among the many, many shows that will pass through the doors of the Horse Trade theaters will be a production of Mac Wellman's Harm's Way, October 2nd - 27th.

For info on Horse Trade Theater Group and all the shows running there:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Karen Finley Says "WAKE UP!"

Karen Finley off-off blogwayNew York will be getting to see the new work by the fabulous Karen Finley titled WAKE UP! in October. WAKE UP! consists of two pieces: The Dreams of Laura Bush and The Passion of Terri Schiavo and it sounds fantastic.

Previews begin October 7th The Lafayette Street Theater at The Theaters at 45 Bleecker and runs through November 18 - Sundays at 7:00pm. It doesn't look like tickets are on sale yet, but will be eventually at Telecharge.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Old Acquaintance: 08/02/2007

After years of steady diet of The Wooster Group, Richard Foreman, Big Art Group, Soho Rep, etc., the Roundabout Theatre's production of Old Acquaintance seems positively avant-guarde – not that it is, of course, but it just has almost nothing that I love about the theater in it. The play, which probably seemed dated ten years after it was written, now almost seventy years later seems practically prehistoric. In fact my experience watching the show was not dissimilar to a trip to the Museum of Natural History observing an extinct species. Other than wanting to know what a 1940's equivalent to the sit-com was, there is little reason for reviving this play. Now, all that said – I didn't really have a terrible time at Old Acquaintance, mostly thanks to its two leading ladies Margaret Colin giving a mature, grounded performance and Harriet Harris' hilariously over-the-top antics. Cory Stoll has charm and it swell to look at, but the rest of the cast doesn't even have that. I wish there had been a director's note in the program – or even more importantly an Artistic Director's note explaining why they chose to do this play.

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