Thursday, August 31, 2006

2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival Preview

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is back for year #3 and what it lacks in quantity it certainly makes up for in quality. Here are a few of the productions that have caught my interest:

Kitty Genovese fights for her life in the dark of the street while thirty-eight neighbors watch from their windows - silent, afraid, paralyzed. Why do decent people look away? With a thrilling score by Will Todd and libretto by Jonathan Larson Award-winner David Simpatico, THE SCREAMS OF KITTY GENOVESE explores the events of that fateful night.

Meet Jerry Gorman. He’s a regular guy from Passaic, New Jersey who just wants to fly. The neighbors think he’s nuts. His mother disapproves. But Gracie (Donna Lynne Champlin) believes in him. Laugh and cheer as Jerry (Christopher Sutton) soars to 16,000 feet with nothing but a lawnchair and 400 helium balloons. FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN is a new musical that reminds the world that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself.

When Ben Harper steals ten thousand dollars from a bank in depression era West Virginia and tells his young son and daughter never to reveal the whereabouts of the cash, he sets in motion one of the most thrilling, frightening, and heartfelt stories ever to fill the pages of a best selling novel. In 1954 Davis Grubb penned THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, a southern gothic tale that spent weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. The film version, named one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th Century, starred Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. Stephen Cole (book and lyrics) and Claibe Richardson (music) have transformed this powerful tale into a bold, daring, and beautifully melodic work for the musical stage. With Beth Fowler, Brian Noonan and Dee Hoty.

THE CHILDREN is a hilarious new musical based on the 1980 b-horror movie of the same title. A low-hanging cloud of radioactive waste turns a school bus full of children into second-rate zombies, who proceed to track down and zap their negligent parents one by one ... Book and lyrics by Stan Richardson; Music by Hal Goldberg. Tony Speciale directs.

Single tickets go on sale September 1.
For tickets and info:

FringeNYC Encore Series

It's very rare that you get a second chance at seeing a theater production; usually when it's gone, it's gone. Here's the exception...

Producers John Pinckard and Britt Lafield will allow theatre lovers to get a second chance at seeing some of the Festival's favorite shows with the FringeNYC Encore Series. Beginnng September 5th, this new annual series will present 14 works in rotating repertory at two venues: The 14th Street Y (344 East 14th Street, between 1st & 2nd Aves) and The Lion Theater (410 W. 42nd Street at 9th Avenue). Selected show have either been audience favorites, lauded by critics, or both.

Scheduled performances are as follows:

Billy The Mime
Sept 22 at 4 & 7pm; Sept 23 at 2 & 7pm; Sept 24 at 2pm. Lion.

Broken Hands
Sept 11 at 9:30pm; Sept 18 at 4:30pm; Sept 19 at 6:30pm; Sept 21 at 9:30pm. Lion.

Danny Boy
Winner: TheaterMania Audience Favorite Award.
Sept 15 at 9:30; Sept 17 at 2pm; Sept 18 at 9:30; Sept 19 at 9:15; Sept 21 at 6:30. 14th Street Y.

The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos
Winner: Outstanding Playwrighting.
Sept 9 at 4pm and 930pm, Sept 11 at 8:30pm, Sept 17 at 930pm.
14th Street Y.

Diving Normal
Sept 5 at 9pm; Sept 6 at 7pm; Sept 7 at 9:30pm; Sept 8 at 9:15; Sept 9 at 7pm; Sept 10 at 4:30; Sept 12 at 7pm; Sept 21 at 4pm; Sept 24 at 4pm. 14th Street Y.

Winner: Outstanding Set Design.
Sept 6 at 9pm, Sept 7 at 5pm, Sept 8 at 7pm, Sept 9 at 4:30pm, Sept 11 at 7pm, Sept 12 at 4:30pm. Lion.

The Infliction of Cruelty
Winner: Outstanding Direction.
Sept 6 at 9:30; Sept 8 at 7pm; Sept 10 at 10:30pm; Sept 12 at 4:30 & 9:30pm. 14th Street Y.

I Was Tom Cruise
Winner: Outstanding Play.
Sept 5 at 7pm; Sept 7 at 7pm; Sept 8 at 4:30pm; Sept 10 at 8pm; Sept 11 at 6:30pm; Sept 15 at 7pm; Sept 18 at 7pm; Sept 22 at 9:15. 14th Street Y.

Mike's Incredible Indian Adventure
Winner: Outstanding Solo Show.
Sept 13 at 4:30 & 7pm; Sept 14 at 4:30pm; Sept 15 at 4:30; Sept 17 at 2pm; Lion.

Never Swim Alone
FringeNYC Overall Excellence Winner '99Sept 5 at 7:30pm; Sept 6 at 7pm; Sept 7 at 7:30pm; Sept 8 at 9:30pm; Sept 9 at 10pm; Sept 10 at 5pm; Sept 12 at 9:30; Sept 15 at 7pm; Sept 16 at 4:30; Sept 17 at 5pm; Sept 18 at 9:30pm. Lion.

Open House
Winner: Outstanding Ensemble.
Sept 12 at 7pm; Sept 14 at 6:45; Sept 16 at 2pm; Sept 17 at 6:45; Sept 18 at 7pm. Lion.

The Penguin Tango
Sept 5 at 9pm; Sept 6 at 4:30pm; Sept 7 at 9:15; Sept 8 at 5pm; Sept 9 at 7pm; Sept 10 at 7pm; Sept 14 at 9:15; Sept 15 at 9pm; Sept 16 at 6:30pm. Lion.

Perfect Harmony
Sept 21 at 9:30pm; Sept 23 at 7:45 & 11pm; Sept 24 at 6:30 and 9:30pm. 14th Street Y.

Rainy Days and Mondays
Winner: Outstanding Costume Design.
Sept 13 at 9:15; Sept 16 at 9pm; Sept 17 at 9:15; Sept 19 at 9pm; Sept 20 at 6:30pm; Sept 21 at 7pm; Sept 22 at 9pm; Sept 23 at 4pm; Sept 24 at 5pm. Lion.

Winner: Outstanding Actor (Anna Jayne Marquardt).
Sept 15 at 4pm; Sept 17 at 5 & 8:30pm; Sept 18 at 4pm; Sept 19 at 6:30pm; Sept 22 at 4pm; Sept 23 at 2 & 5pm. 14th St. Y.

FringeNYC Encore Series runs September 5 - 24. Tickets are $18 and go on sale Friday September 1, 2006 at or at 212-279-4200. For more information visit

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Every Halloween, Evangelical churches across America stage haunted houses that replace traditional ghosts and ghouls with real depictions of evil: high school cheerleaders getting abortions, gay men dying of AIDS, and children reading Harry Potter. Now, for the first time ever, this cultural phenomenon comes to New York City—with the Church's own script fully intact. Obie award-winning Les Freres Corbusier (A Very Merry Unauthorized Scientology Pageant, Boozy, Heddatron) transforms St. Ann's Warehouse into an authentic multi-chambered Hell House of horrors. Part installation, part performance, part haunted house—Hell House culminates in a celebratory hoedown with bands in the “Christian rock” tradition, punch, and a friendly game of “Pin the Sin on Jesus.” Alternately hilarious and horrifying, come celebrate like the true believers.

TUES-SUN; OCT 1-OCT 29 $25
Tours begin every 15 minutes starting at 7:30pm (until 9:45pm)

For Tickets & Info:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Coming Soon: Wooster Group "Who's Your DADA?!"

In conjunction with the Dada exhibition at Museum of Modern Art, the Wooster Group has created a performance entitled Who's Your DADA?! a new performance based on original Dada materials. Questions and processes that informed Dada are parallel to interests of The Wooster Group, including experimentation with new technologies, collage techniques, and the deliberate misuse of convention. Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, the three performances feature core Wooster Group members Kate Valk, Scott Shepherd, and Ari Fliakos with special guests. The Wooster Group's technical design team will contribute to the sound and video elements of the piece, and architects Liz Diller and Ricardo Scofidio will consult on the set design. Approximate running time is one hour. No fixed seating; the audience is free to move throughout the performance.

September 6, 7 & 9, 9:00 p.m.
Agnes Gund Garden Lobby at MOMA

For info: MOMA and

Monday, August 28, 2006

FringeNYC 2006 Overall Excellence Award Winners have been announced!

...And the winners are:

Outstanding Play:
I Was Tom Cruise
Modern Missionary

Outstanding Musical:
The Fartiste
58! A Comedy About Bike Messengering
Fallen Angel

Outstanding Playwrighting:
Matt Hoverman - In Transit
Moby Pomerance - Broken Hands
Geoffrey Decas - The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos

Outstanding Music & Lyrics:
Danny Ashkenasi - The Tell-Tale Heart

Outstanding Solo Show:
Flying on the Wing
Mike’s Incredible Indian Adventure
Democrats Abroad

Outstanding Direction:
Mark Steven Robinson - Don’t Ask
Jonathan Silverstein - Red Herring
Joel Froomkin - The Infliction of Cruelty

Outstanding Costume Design:
Robin L. McGee - Rainy Days & Mondays
Renee Mariotti & Bernard Grenier - Trouble in Shameland

Outstanding Set Design:
Shane LeClair - A Small Hole
Robin Vest - Hermanas

Outstanding Actor:
Anna Jayne Marquardt - Walmartopia
Helen Stratford - Suicide - The Musical
Steve Hayes - The Pengiun Tango
Cory Grant - Broken Hands
Margaret Daly - T.L.C.

Outstanding Ensemble:
Open House
Vice Girl Confidential
The Onion Lovers
Diving Normal

Outstanding Choreography:
Paula Kroening - Band Geeks

Sunday, August 27, 2006


The press release invites us to "join Pac-Man as he travels through an endless world of chasing dots, chasing Ms. Pac-Man, and chasing that elusive cherry. Equal parts gaming-manual and Brechtian postmodernist absurdism, SONGS FROM THE PAC-MAN inhabits a world of over-consumption and repetition, sex and death, high-scores and game-overs, where there may be NO end... as long as you don’t run out of quarters." This is a world premiere of this new musical on a double bill with Act One of another new musical, LOOSE LADIES. This is a production of a new company called The Bureau.

September 7th, 8th and 9th at 8pm
Triskelion Arts Center
118 N 11th St. 3rd Fl.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Berry and Wythe. Bedford Ave L-stop)

For info:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Open House: 08/26/2006

Open House is a very contemporary farce/social satire. Alistair and Beverly are tying to sell their house to move to a better neighborhood, one town over. The problem is that their neighbors have erected a huge and tacky patriotic 9/11-tribute lawn display that they believe may deter buyers. Trouble ensues when they ask their neighbors, Lewis and Melanie, to remove the thing. Meanwhile, Alistair and his daughter Sylvia are both competing for the affection of Alex, the neighbor’s son. Politically, Open House is messy - which I am sure is exactly how playwright Ross Maxwell wants it. But it’s also very funny until it runs out of steam about three quarters of the way through. There are some very good performances as well, especially Bess Rous's Sylvia and Kathryn A. Layng’s Melanie. With a little trimming here and there, this could be a very good play.

Fringe Rating: 8 (out of 10)

For info: and

Lizardskin: 08/26/2006

Jenn Silverman’s Lizardskin is a very good play. Moscow and Norway are brother and sister and their absentee father is a diplomat for the UN who parents via postcard. They are very close, Norway acting as a substitute mother for her younger brother and they occupy a lot of their time by playing made-up games. Enter the mysterious Max who seduces them both and disappears. They take turns telling the story of the play, filling in the gaps in the plot and ever filling in for characters. It is very well written and very well served by this excellent production, directed by the talanted Katherine Kovner. All three actors (Melissa Miller, Paul David Story and Chandler Williams) are very convincing, giving equal parts humor, suspense and feeling. I can’t wait to see what is next for this very talented new playwright.

Fringe Rating: 9 (out of 10)

For info: and

Only A Lad: 08/24/2006

For the most part, “jukebox” musicals don’t work. To take a catalogue of songs by an artist or musical group and try to force them into a plot may be a fun exercise but in practice the end result is usually a stupid mess. I love the music of Oingo Boingo, which is the reason I wanted to give Only A Lad a chance, but it only re-enforced my belief that these products will mostly fail artistically, even if they sometimes succeed commercially. Some songs managed to work in the premise (“On the Outside” and “Private Life”) but most seemed a forced fit. Barrett Hall (pictured right) in the lead role of Johnny is a confident, polished performer who we will certainly see in the future. Only A Lad did have some fun 80’s style choreography towards the beginning and the costumes of the leads were appropriately period, otherwise there is little else good to say about the show.

Fringe Rating: 4 (out of 10)

For Info: or

Friday, August 25, 2006

24 is 10: The Best of The 24 Hour Plays: 08/24/2006

The concept of the 24 Hour Plays is that a short play is written, rehearsed and performed in the span of 24 hours. 24 is 10: The Best of The 24 Hour Plays is a collection of the greatest hits of this series brought back to celebrate the 10 Annual NYC International Fringe Festival. To complicate things more, each of the performances for the Fringe will consist of a different collection. Of the five that I saw one was cute (“Karla Says”), one was an extended SNL skit (“Vikings!”), one was very good, due in great part to the always-interesting Elliotte Crowell (“Poor Bob”), one was inexplicable (“The Woman”) and one was just wacky (“A Weekend in Brazil”). Overall it was a fun evening at the theater, I’m just never sure what is to be gained to creating art under such forced circumstances.

Fringe Rating: 8 (out of 10)

For info: and

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Chrysalis Stage: 08/23/2006

The Chrysalis Stage is appropriately disturbing. Frank has abducted Shawna from a roller-skating rink and is holding her captive. Frank is completely looney-toons crazy and Shawna is a teenage tuff street urchin, and yet as three years pass, Shawna has come to see him as a substitute father/would-be lover. After a very rocky first few minutes of Frank addressing his non-responsive prisoner, things pick up considerably and rise to a very tense climax. Timothy Roselle is suitably insane as the abductor and Jessi Campbell manages to pull off the complex emotions of his hostage. Writer/director Cobey Mandarino does a respectable job staging his own play – which is certainly no easy task.

Fringe Rating: 7 (out of 10)

For info: and

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Walmartopia: 08/20/2006

Walmartopia is a tuneful satire of the retail behemoth. Vicki is trying to do her best at the big “W” with the hope of getting a promotion and hopefully being able to afford health insurance and to move out of the hotel room she shares with her daughter. But when she gets passed over again and instead is volunteered to try-out for a Wal-mart musical to improve their image with women, she decides to use the opportunity to speak out to the Board and is propelled thirty years into the future – in which everything is controlled by Wal-Mart. There is some clever ideas and some pleasant tunes (“Baby Girl” and the witty “A Woman’s Place is at Wal-Mart”) but while Walmartopia is briskly staged by Catherine Capellaro, the cast is strictly “community theater” quality. There may be enough good material for this show to have a future, especially here in the anti-Wal-Mart capital of the world. Stay tuned.

Fringe Rating: 7 (out of 10)

For info: and

Seven Guitars: 08/19/2006

The Signature Theatre Company’s next three shows will be by the late August Wilson. The first is Seven Guitars. It was weird to see this very polished, expensive production in the middle of the Fringe Festival. Seven Guitars is sort of the antithesis of a Fringe show – it’s well rehearsed, played on a detailed set (complete with live chickens - and if you are keeping score, this is the second appearance of live chickens on stage in as many months), and it’s all very professional. It’s also just under three-hours long. The house and pre-set fade alone last about five-minutes. Seven Guitars takes it time. One of the rewards being characters that are well developed; anther being a mood that is created on stage that never leaves. Ruben Santiago-Hudson, a member of the original Broadway cast of Seven Guitars, directs with purpose. Kevin Carroll, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Brenda Pressley, Lance Reddick, and Roslyn Ruff do fine work in this production. All this polish, however, does not create an excitement that you feel some shows that are loaded-in in fifteen minutes, created by up-and-coming artists with day-jobs who are taking risks with no money. The irony is that Signature’s season, being under-written by Time Warner, allows for all tickets to be $15 – the same price as Fringe tickets. That's show biz.

For info:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Minimum Wage - Blue Code Ringo: 08/18/2006

Originally produced at the 2002 New York Fringe, Minimum Wage is back and I’m glad because I didn’t catch its quickly sold-out original engagement. The premise is that five employees of Happy Burger are training new employees the Big Brother-like fast food chain. The vocal talent of the cast, performing the hilarious acappella score, is unbelievable. The show has some very creatively silly choreography and bizarre Orwellian video interruptions. Written by Charlie and Jeff LaGreca (who also perform in the show) along with Sean Altman, this is basically a ninety-minute one-joke sketch, but much of that joke is very funny.

Fringe Rating: 7 (out of 10)

For info: and

The Transformation of Dr. Jekyll: 08/18/2006

Rabbit Hole Ensemble’s production of The Transformation of Dr. Jekyll is a modern retelling of the classic tale scientific experiments that result in the releasing of animalistic urges of the title character. The show’s approach is totally minimalist with Dr. Jekyll miming most props, his two “assistants” controlling the majority of the lighting with clip lights and vocally supplying the sound effects and acting as assorted other characters. Paul Daily is very good as Jekyll and the production, directed by Edward Elefterion is highly imaginative - a shadow-puppet re-enactment of one of the crimes is a highlight! My only problem with the show was the uneven tone of the piece; it is at times earnest and at other times joking. But overall it is an hour of pure theatrical story telling.

Fringe Rating: 8 (out of 10)

For info: and

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Tell-Tale Heart: a musicabre: 08/17/2006

Edgar Allen Poe’s "The Tell-Tale Heart" lends itself perfectly to a solo performance. The story, told in the past tense, with its protagonist all the while claiming he is not mad, is highly dramatic. But can it make a good musical performance? After seeing The Tell-Tale Heart: a musicabre, the answer is YES! More a one-person modern chamber opera than a “musical” this is a tight, musically wonderful 45 minute piece. With music by Danny Ashkenasi (who also performs the role) and three cellists (Tara Chambers, Maria Bella Jeffers, Ella Toovy), this is a refreshing, tense and entertaining evening. While Ashkenasi might not have the most appropriate vocal talents for a theater piece wholly reliant on singing this only serves to better the verisimilitude of the creepy, murderous hero of this tale. It won’t be soon that I forget the cello thumping heartbeats of Poe’s tale.

Fringe Rating: 8 (out of 10)

For info: and

BLUE BALLS: In & Out of Uniform with the NYPD: 08/17/2006

Imagine a world in which instead of having to pay for therapy, people paid you to watch you perform your therapy and the people that came to watch were called Fringe Audiences. This was the fantasy I was having towards the end of Michael Tester’s BLUE BALLS: In & Out of Uniform with the NYPD. BLUE BALLS is the story of Tester’s experience of growing up gay, joining and eventually leaving the New York City Police Department. All if this happens amid the supposed irony of Tester breaking away from the “family business” which is the entertainment industry (his father was a professional clown). The real irony is that Tester is no more suited to “entertainment” then he was to law enforcement and the real shame of the performance is that I think there was a real story to be told by Tester’s experiences and that even after 90 minutes at The Flea Theatre, I feel like that story was nowhere in sight.

Fringe Rating: 3 (out of 10)

For info: and

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Henry Kissinger: A Romantic Comedy: 08/16/2006

John Attanas’ Henry Kissinger: A Romantic Comedy is the story of A.J., his mother, and the many girls in his life from grade school through college, most of who were math tutors. The plays is comprised of many very short scenes between A.J. and his mother, A.J. and one of his tutors/love interests, and on only one occasion all three characters at once. Henry Kissinger, with these repetative, alternating scenes has all the dramatic structure of a tennis match; and the back and forth structure wears you out after about thirty minutes. The title comes from A.J.’s mother’s worship of the former Secretary of State and the pressure for her son to follow in his historic footsteps. Of the three-person cast, Ilana Becker in the multiple roles of A.J.’s romantic interests shows real promise; looking like a young Ellen Greene with all of her own comic timing.

Fringe Rating: 6 (out of 10)

For Info:

The Secret Ruths of Island House: 08/16/2006

Seattle-based Nebunele Theatre’s The Secret Ruths of Island House was constructed around interviews with residents of a retirement home named The Island House where an unusual number of residents were named Ruth. The strength of this sixty-minute piece are the facts around its creation. Throughout much is the show the audience hears the (presumably) actually interviews with the residents while the three performers re-enact segments of the interviews and flashbacks of the content of those interviews. While the intentions behind The Secret Ruths of Island House may be finer than its execution, there are some poignant moments, like when the residents are asked, “When was the last time your life changed dramatically?” A special note should be made of performer and co-creator Claytie Mason’s hauntingly excellent masks for the piece.

Fringe Rating: 7 (out of 10)

For info: and

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Danny Boy: 08/15/2006

The premise of Marc Goldsmith's Danny Boy is great. Can four-foot tall Danny find love in New York City? Unfortunately, Goldsmith's play doesn't quite live up to that premise and director Christopher Goodrich doesn’t help matters much with a rather lackluster production. Danny meets Allison at work and is encouraged to ask her out by his slacker best friend, Gabe. Danny and Allison eventually wind up together, but Danny isn’t sure if it’s just a sex-fetish thing for Allison (as she makes him dress up as an elf for sex). Although there are some laughs in Danny Boy, the script doesn’t seem fully developed; the plot does 180 degree turns out of left field more that a few times. Thankfully Sarah Schoenberg lends some much-needed energy to the proceedings as Allison, but otherwise Danny Boy isn’t a big success.

Fringe Rating: 5 (out of 10)

For Info: and

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lulu: 08/12/2006

Silent Theatre’s Lulu is exactly what the Fringe is all about. A relatively new theater company (from Chicago) being given the opportunity to show what it’s got. And Silent Theatre has got a lot. Lulu is subtitled, “a silent play in black and white” and this is exactly what it is. Based on Wedekind’s “Lulu” plays, Lulu is a recreation of G.W. Pabst silent film version of the plays. So basically it’s a stage version of a film adaptation of a play. The cast (almost all of whom play multiple characters) is uniformly good. The show is briskly staged by Tonika Todorova and wonderfully scored by Isaiah Robinson, who accompanies on piano stage left.

Fringe Rating: 8 (out of 10)

For info: and

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos: 08/11/2006

CollaborationTown’s hilarious new project, The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos is a Fringe must-see. It’s sort of a post-apocalyptic Mother Courage, with zombies. Complete with Brechtian songs, dances and projections it’s Mel Brooks meets the avant-garde. But the references don't stop with Brecht – actually they don’t stop at all; “inspiration” was taken from Shakespeare, Marlowe, Charles L. Mee, George Romero, George Lucas, Tennessee Williams, and many more I’m sure I either don’t remember or didn’t catch.The text by Geoffrey Decas is wonderfully funny and smart and is served well by Ryan Purcell’s inventive direction. The entire cast could not be better with special notice to Chinasa Ogbuagu as Mother LaMadre, Boo Killebrew as her severely retarded daughter Kit Kat and Jessma Evens as Yvette. I can’t wait to see what CollaborationTown does next.

Fringe Rating: 9 (out of 10)

For info: and

The Penguin Tango: 08/11/2006

Stephen Svoboda’s The Penguin Tango is the story of a gay penguin couple in a zoo, one of whom is trying to be “turned straight” by his keepers. Much of the play is based on true events and is told from the point of view of the penguins. It’s a cute play, some of which is funny and sweet and it’s well staged by its author. But in it homage to Shakespeare, and all his love of sub-plots, forged letters, and mistaken love it just comes across as silly, and slightly overlong. Thankfully there are some good performances, most notably Steve Hayes doing his best Paul Lynde.

Fringe Rating: 4 (out of 10)

For Info: and

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Moscow and Norway are a brother and sister who spent their childhoods traveling the world with their diplomat father. Now they live together in New York City, working odd jobs and waiting to hear from their father. Isolated in their intricate, self-sustaining world of two, they invent private games until the enigmatic and seductive Max enters their lives and the games become more dangerous. Lizardskin is a darkly comic tale about how we remember those we love, how we attempt to narrate our pasts, and who we become through the retelling. This new play by Jen Silverman was workshopped at New Georges and New York Stage and Film. Katherine Kovner directs.

For info: and

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


You have to admire any anti-Bush political theater that comes out of Texas. Small Appliance Puppet Theater is based in Austin, Texas and “is dedicated to shining the light of truth on today’s political leaders – while creating an opportunity to laugh.” Puppet Government dares to ask: If President George W. Bush was an appliance, what would he be? The Appliance-in-Chief and his friends sing and dance in musical numbers, deliver bizarre press conferences, and start an exciting war. Puppet Government is written by Steve Barney and directed by Chris Humphrey who also composed and arranged the music, and designed the puppets.

For more info: and

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Gay Penguins! The Penguin Tango is inspired by actual events at the Bremerhaven, Brooklyn, and Central Park Zoos. In this "ripped from the headlines" comedy about gay penguins, Roy and Silo's relationship is tested when the zookeepers introduce a Swedish temptress penguin and electro-shock therapy into the habitat to force Roy to turn straight and reproduce. But, the Penguin community joins forces to rescue Roy and Silo and take a stand for penguins everywhere. The Penguin Tango explores, stretches, defies, and pokes fun at customary definitions of sexuality and gender. In the world of the play -- the world of the Humboldt penguin -- there is no social norm for sexuality or gender. Homosexual couples and heterosexual couples exist equally. It is only when human zookeepers try to impose their traditional definitions of love, gender and mating that the penguins become confused and conflicted and comic chaos ensues. Woody Allen always jokes that penguins are like Catholics - they mate for life. I wonder what he'd think of this...Written and drected byStephen Svoboda, the production stars Steve Hayes from the movie Trick.

For Info: and

Monday, August 07, 2006


It’s probably a safe bet to say that the musical “hit” of the Fringe will be Walmartopia. The show originated in, of all places, Madison, Wisconsin, and is having its NYC premiere at the Fringe. According to the press release, Walmartopia tells the story of “Vicki Latrell, a single mom who speaks out against her company’s working conditions and finds herself jettisoned to 2036, into a future where Wal-Mart dominates the entire world. Yes, the musical features the singing head of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.” (Emphasis in the original!) You probably should get tickets quickly as this satire of big business should do big business at the box office.

For Info: or

Sunday, August 06, 2006


One Armed Man and Adam Klasfeld (author of last year’s Good Faces Make Good Neighbors) hit the Fringe for a second year in a row with The Prostitute of Reverie Valley. From the press release “this newest work takes place in a mysterious dreamscape. An unnamed prostitute decides to leave her life behind, and one of her most faithful johns tries to stop her. But before the night is over, she’ll find out shocking secrets about the mysterious town and herself. Who were her parents? How did she get there? Why are certain urges forbidden for her? Why is everybody so secretive? And most importantly, how does she get out?” Maybe an alternate title could be “Waiting For Good 'Ho”? Sherri Kronfeld directs.

For Info: and

Saturday, August 05, 2006

FringeNYC Preview: DANNY BOY

I'll keep this short...Marc Goldsmith’s Danny Boy is the story of Danny Bloch, whose search for romance is complicated by his stature--he stands about four-feet tall. From the press release "Danny Boy takes us through Danny's collisions and conciliations with friends, family, lovers and body issues on his dark, funny and poignant quest for love and self-esteem in present day New York.” Christopher Goodrich directs.

For Info: and

Friday, August 04, 2006

FringeNYC Preview: ONLY A LAD

A musical based on the songs of the 80’s rock band Oingo Boingo. Cool! Oingo Boingo was another one of those 80’s bands that almost “made it.” The band’s front man, Danny Elfman has since certainly “made it” as one of the more creative film composers. The band was part of the LA punk scene, but they were different; for one thing they had a horn section! And they were smart, funny, ironic and highly subversive. I’m not sure how well and show can be when created from a catalogue of songs by a specific band, but I’m willing to give this one a try. Only a Lad is the story of Johnny, a punk teenager living in 1984 America. He lives in a world of black, white and wild imagination. When Johnny is accused of murder, he must prove his innocence.

For Info: or

Thursday, August 03, 2006


THE FARTISTE sounds like the ultimate Fringe show. It has a catchy title, a loopy plot and it’s a musical. According to the press release, it’s the “strange but very true, story of Joseph Pujol…an ordinary French baker with a case of ambition and an unusual and ass-tonishing talent—the ability to manipulate a limitless supply of odorless gas from his rectum - fashioning an amazing assortment of musical numbers, imitations, and ass- tounding tricks." It’s directed by John Gould Rubin, a member of LAByrinth Theater Company, for which he created and directed Dreaming in Tongues; and directed the premieres of Stopless; The Trail of Her Inner Thigh by Erin Cressida Wilson – all of which were excellent productions.

For Info: or