Friday, September 29, 2006

NYMF Review - The Screams of Kitty Genovese: 09/29/2006

There are some truly thrilling moments in The Screams of Kitty Genovese, which is being presented as part of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Surprisingly, none of those moments are musical. The Screams of Kitty Genovese tells the story of the night that Kitty Genovese was murdered in Kew Gardens, Queens, while her neighbors ignored her screams for help. This tabloid story was used as an example of the apathy of New Yorkers. The story had the potential for a very gripping piece of musical theatre that unfortunately is never realized. Ten actors portray Genovese’s unresponsive neighbors, each with their own reasons, excuses and guilt over their indifference. Only occasionally does their story approach the real emotion at its root. More often it is just the mundane details of that fateful evening. Stirring far more emotion is the evening’s saving grace: a tremendously moving performance by Sheri Sanders in the title role.

For Tickets & Info:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Coming Soon: THE THUGS

I count Soho Rep among the reasons to live in New York. Their next show is The Thugs by Adam Bock; directed by Anne Kauffman. The description goes like this: Mysterious things are happening on the 9th floor of a big law firm. What could a new temp have to fear? A new play about work, thunder, and people you don't know. With Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Lynne McCollough, Brad Heberlee, Chris Heuisler, Carmen Herlihy, Keira Keeley, Maria Elena Ramirez and the always fabulous Mary Shultz.

Performances begin October 5, 2006.Tickets: $15 ($10 tickets available with the code “ temp” - must be purchased by October 7th)

Soho Rep.
46 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013
2 blocks below Canal Street (between Broadway and Church)

For Tickets:

Sunday, September 24, 2006


29th Street Rep presents BRUTAL READINGS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL, part of it's FREE PLAYS IN MOTION Play Reading Series.

The schedule is:

Tuesday, September 26th
by Francis Ford Coppola
adapted to the stage by Kate Harris

Tuesday, October 3rd
by Sean Graney

Tuesday, October 10th
by Brett Neveu

Tuesday, October 17th

All are @ 212 WEST 29th STREET
3rd Floor (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
All are at 7pm
CALL 212 465-1714 to make reservations

For more info:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

SubUrbia: 9/23/2006

Eric Bogosian definitely has something to say; I think he’s just not very good at saying it in the form of a “play.” SubUrbia, is currently being given a “second staging” at Second Stage, and you couldn’t ask for a better production. Set designer Richard Hoover has literally erected a 7-eleven where the stage used to be and it and its surroundings are well lit by David Weiner. The ensemble cast is uniformly good, with Keiran Culkin, Peter Scanavino, Gabby Hoffmann and especially Daniel Eric Gold being excellent. Jo Bonney has staged the play efficiently and Bogosian was created a challenging polemic. But by the time it reaches its forced “climax” and its abrupt ending you certainly leave ultimately unfulfilled.

For tickets & info:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Uncertainty Principle: 09/20/2006

What is it about science and math that inspire playwrights; Copenhagen, The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem, Proof and QED are just a few that come to mind. Bethany Larsen’s The Uncertainty Principle uses Heisenberg's theory as a metaphor for the life and troubles of the lead character, Cassie, who has just lost everything she owns in a fire. The Uncertainty Principle is a clever play that will hopefully, one day, get the production it deserves. It’s current presentation, by The Milk Can Theatre Company, has some good things going for it – most notably a rich performance by Lauren Gleason as Cassie and a wonderfully comic performance by Judy Chesnutt as her Mother. Unfortunately the rest of the cast isn’t as interesting and the entire physical production suffers from a sense of drabness. Hopefully, though, we will see more of Larson’s work in the future.

For Tickets and Info:

Monday, September 18, 2006

I [Heart] Kant: 09/18/2006

The four women from New Jersey in Ken Urban’s I [Heart] Kant all seem to be at a crossroad in their lives. Whether it is drug addiction and an abusive boyfriend, dead-end jobs and depression, and unfinished dissertation on Kant, or a ticking bomb – things are about to change for Maureen, Betsy, Linda and Pam. Urban’s play shows us what leads up to the epiphany that is in store for each of these woman by way of some very clever, startlingly raw, and funny writing. The four leads are all very good. Lee Savage’s set is excellent. The major problem with I [Heart] Kant is with director Dylan McCullough slow-paced production. I can even admire his experiment, explained in the program notes, wherein each performance is different by way of changing lighting and music cues from night to night; although how this aids the play I’m not quite sure.

For info and tickets:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Richard II: 09/17/2006

Richard II isn’t Shakespeare’s best play. It’s basically the story of Henry IV’s power-grab from Richard. But even minor Shakespeare has a lot to offer. Brian Kulick’s production at CSC has a lot to offer as well, but like the play – it isn’t great. The major problem with the production is with so many of the performances – they are for the most part just vocally flat and uninteresting; the exceptions being David Greenspan (as Bagot, Bishop of Carlisle and a few other supporting parts), Doan Ly (as Queen Isabel) for the most part Jesse Pennington (as Aumerle) and Michael Cumpsty (in the title role). The remainder of the cast speak their lines in a dulling monotone that make the two and a half hours at times seem much, much longer. The physical production is excellent and Kulick’s staging mostly very good. The bigger problem I think is for Classic Stage Company, of which Kulick is the Artistic Director. With only two main-stage productions this season (the third is an Aquila Theatre production), they can't afford a mediocre production. I’d much rather see them spread the money over more, less glamorous productions – rather than two “Broadway-lite” productions. I wonder how much longer they can exist with this approach?

For tickets and info:

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Hell Houses are the Evangelical churches’ attempt to re-claim Halloween for their own purposes. They are a reaction against the Haunted Houses that pop up in October in celebration of Halloween. Instead of monsters and zombies, these Hell Houses present scenes of contemporary life that will lead to eternal damnation: suicide, affliction with AIDS and of course the grand-prize of all Christian obsessions – abortion. Les Freres Corbusier is presenting Hell House at St. Ann's Warehouse in October, using an actual text of one of these Evangelical scare-fests. Described as “part installation, part performance, part haunted house” irony seems to be in effect as the evening “culminates in a celebratory hoedown with bowls of punch, powdered donuts, and funky Christian rock jams.” This will require the delicate touch of a neurosurgeon, but if anyone can pull it off it is the wonderful Les Freres Corbusier. Their Heddatron, from earlier this year, is still one of the best things I’ve seen in a while.

They’ve launched a new website, so check it out:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Birth and After Birth: 09/14/2006

Two things are very clear to me tonight after seeing act one of Tina Howe’s Birth and After Birth at the Atlantic Theater Company. First, is Howe’s fascination with Eugène Ionesco. When Atlantic produced two new translations of The Lesson and The Bald Soprano by Tina Howe, it seemed like an odd match. But Birth and After Birth is a complete homage to the Theatre of the Absurd and Ionesco. The problem with the Absurdist plays of the 50’s is that after fifteen or twenty minutes their entire premise becomes obvious, yet they continue to meander on for another hour. Which brings me to the second thing that became clear tonight: the reason Birth and After Birth is only now receiving it’s NYC premiere. The play is nothing more than a “contemporary” absurdist play. It presents the absurdity of parenthood – for two hours. To make matters worse, the production it served well by neither it’s director, nor it’s two leads. Only Jordan Gelber’s portrayal of their four-year-old son gives the show an ounce of worthiness.

Monday, September 11, 2006


On Monday, September 25, WET (Women's Expressive Theater) will present a benefit performance honoring Anna Deavere Smith and risk taking artistry. Hosted by Daryl Roth and Martin Sheen, the evening will feature an all-star lineup reading from Anna Deavere Smith’s new book Letters To A Young Artist. Scheduled performers include Anna Deavere Smith, Eve Ensler, Bill T. Jones, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Cerveris, and Lisa Kron.

Created in 1999, WET produces works which challenge female stereotypes and advocate for equality. WET adheres to this mission by producing plays by female playwrights and events celebrating female artists.

Anna Deavere Smith’sLetters To A Young Artist
One Night Benefit - September 25, 7pm
at The Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th Street
Tickets are $115 in advance; $125 at the door.
For tickets and info:

Sunday, September 10, 2006

SPOLEUM: 09/10/2006

David lives in New York City, but dreams of Venice. However, other images are drifting into his dreams (memories?) – most notably images from the 1973 Nicolas Roeg film Don’t Look Now. SPOLEUM, written and directed by Daniel Allen Nelson, is the final presentation of the Ontological-Hysteric’s Summer Incubator Series. It’s a smart, ironic, visually stimulating sixty-minutes of theater; part travelogue, part dance-theater, part archeological lecture. SPOLEUM makes great use of the space at the Theatre at St. Mark’s Church, which is usually masked by the ornate sets of Richard Forman’s works. There is much of Foreman’s own aesthetic in SPOLEUM, but much of Nelson’s own personality as well. It is great to see the torch being passed to a new generation at the Ontological.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Coming Soon: EVIL DEAD the Musical

EVIL DEAD the Musical begins previews on October 2nd and officially opens on November 2nd. It’s based on the 1981 Sam Raimi film and its sequels. Did you ever get the feeling some shows are just trying a little too hard?

“A “dis-arm-ingly” riotous musical”
“A killer musical comes alive onstage!”
“…uproarious numbers like 'All the Men in my Life Keep Getting
Killed by Candarian Demons,' 'Look Who’s Evil Now' and 'Do the
““Splatter Zone” tickets are available in the front rows of the theater for $25.00. Patrons in the “splatter zone” should be prepared for a bloody good time and dress accordingly.”

We'll see...

For info:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Coming Soon: OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments

Peculiar Works Project presents OFF Stage: the West Village Fragments, a site-specific multi-venue performance that travels along historic West Village streets, along the way, performing short scenes from over a dozen landmark Off-Off Broadway plays will reawaken the actual sites where they premiered. There will also be original performances between stops. Stops will include Caffe Cino, Provincetown Playhouse, Washington Square Methodist Church, Judson Memorial Church, Circle-in-the-Square (Downtown) , Cherry Lane Theatre, Sheridan Square Playhouse and plays and playwrights include Kenneth Brown (The Brig); Diane di Prima (Monuments); Rosalyn Drexler, with music by Al Carmines (Home Movies); Maria Irene Fornes (The Successful Life of 3); Paul Foster (The Recluse); Robert Heide (The Bed; West of the Moon); William M. Hoffman (Goodnight, I Love You); Claris Nelson (The Rue Garden); Richard Schechner and The Performance Group (Dionysus 69); Gertrude Stein, with music by Al Carmines (In Circles); Doric Wilson (And He Made A Her); and Lanford Wilson (The Madness of Lady Bright). 14 directors will include: Tim Cusack, Julie Hamberg, Jeff Janisheski, Anna McHugh, Christopher Mirto, Renee Philippi, Gabriel Shanks, and David Vining.

For Info:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Goodbye, Sweeney

John Doyle’s high concept production of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, closes today at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre after having played 349 performances and 35 previews. The show had it’s hardcore fans and it’s rabid detractors, but I loved it and look forward to Doyle’s Company, which is scheduled to begin performances on Broadway in late October.

Tickets On Sale: Wooster Group's "Hamlet" in NYC

The Wooster Group's Hamlet is an archaeological excursion into America's cultural past, looking for archetypes that shadow forth our identity. The group has been drawn to Richard Burton's Hamlet, a 1964 Broadway production which was recorded in live performance from 17 camera angles and edited into a film that was shown for only two days in 2000 movie houses across the US. The idea of bringing a live theater experience to thousands of simultaneous viewers in different cities was trumpeted as a new form called “Theatrofilm”, made possible through “the miracle of Electronovision.” The Wooster Group's Hamlet attempts to reverse the process, reconstructing a hypothetical theater piece from the fragmentary evidence of the edited film, like an archeologist inferring an improbable temple from a collection of ruins. Channeling the ghost of the legendary 1964 performance, the Group descends into a kind of madness, intentionally replacing its own spirit with the spirit of another.

Arts at St. Ann's presents
HAMLET by William Shakespeare
Directed by Elizabeth LeCompte
FEB 27 – MAR 25

For Tickets & Info: - buy now and save $10 per ticket