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Review: "Brokeneck Girls: The Murder Ballad Musical" Is Furious Fun

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Brokeneck Girls: The Murder Ballad Musical Written by Eve Blackwater Directed by Michael Hagins Presented at the wild project 195 E 3rd St., Manhattan, NYC April 6-19, 2024 L to R: Jeannie Skelly, Eve Blackwater, Kendra MacDevitt. Photo by Adrian Buckmaster. The 1890s-set Brokeneck Girls: The Murder Ballad Musical positions itself at a fertile crossing of several cultural currents, marrying–perhaps a bit of a loaded term here–historically and socially conscious theater with a dark folk scene including bands such as Bridge City Sinners and, more appositely here, American Murder Song and with the recent concept of the " Good for Her " subgenre, which itself emerged in the wake of #MeToo movement. The Brokeneck Girls of the title are a folk noir band based in NYC, comprising vocalists Eve Blackwater, who also wrote The Murder Ballad Musical , on guitar; Kendra Macdevitt on fiddle; and Jeannie Skully on banjo; and, within the world of the play, they function as the house band f

Review: Heroes and Villains Alike Are "A Little Less Than Kind" in Reimagined "Hamlet"

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A Little Less Than Kind Written by Gracie Rittenberg Directed by Slaney Rose Jordan Presented by Bluebird Theatre Company at UNDER St. Marks 94 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC April 5-20, 2024 A Little Less Than Kind is not the first Hamlet adaptation to re-envision Shakespeare's Danish royal family as a powerful corporate clan (see, for example, the 2000 film starring Ethan Hawke), but it's probably the first to do so in tandem with some canny gender swapping that includes a 21-year-old bisexual protagonist and some fruitful ratcheting up of multiple characters' moral ambiguity. From playwright, filmmaker, and actor Gracie Rittenberg, A Little Less Than Kind , which adopts modern language and a satirical tone in addition to its Silicon Valley setting, highlights the way in which women's lived experiences, from love to grief to ambition, are misjudged and misnamed by a patriarchal culture with a vested interest in doing so without insulating certain of their behavior

Review: "Solitary" Centers the Humanity of the Dehumanized

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Solitary Written and directed by Seán Griffin Presented at UNDER St. Marks 94 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC April 3-20, 2024 It is not controversial to assert that isolation is mentally and physically unhealthy for human beings. And while representatives of the carceral state may insist that isolation of individuals in the form of solitary confinement is a necessary tool, others more accurately view is as at best an injurious punishment and at worst, state-enacted torture (see Solitary Watch for reporting and other resources on this matter, as well as the ACLU on prisoners' rights more broadly). While organizations such as Social Workers & Allies Against Solitary Confinement are working to end this inhumane practice, it remains in widespread use across the United States. Seán Griffin's short play Solitary approaches the issue through a 30-minute real-time snapshot of one man in the midst of a stint in the eponymous confinement. Solitary is part of the 2024 New York C

Review: "Climate Fables: Debating Extinction" Offers a Vivid Fairy Tale for the End Times

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Climate Fables: Debating Extinction Written by Padraig Bond Directed by Padraig Bond and Torch Ensemble Presented by Torch Ensemble at UNDER St. Marks 94 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC April 3-17, 2024 Penelope Deen and Kristen Hoffman. Photo by Terrell Lopez Geologists may have recently rejected the Anthropocene as a unit of geologic time, but even in doing so, they acknowledged its usefulness in thinking about what has brought the world to its current climate crisis. Playwright Padraig Bond's Climate Fables: Debating Extinction peers compellingly into the apocalyptic future of the Anthropocene and wonders not only whether the age of humankind will continue but also whether it should. Debating Extinction played the 2024 New York City Fringe Festival–which features 46 plays over multiple venues and gives 100% of ticket sales to the artists–in repertory with a second climate fable titled The Trash Garden , a comedic twist on Adam and Eve in which the two remaining human beings

Review: “Conversations with My Divorce Attorney,” or All My Little Words

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Conversations with My Divorce Attorney Written and directed by Suzanne Bachner Presented by JMTC Theatre at the 14Y Theater 344 E 14th St, Manhattan, NYC April 5-19, 2024 Bob Brader and Kat Nardizzi. Photograph by Nadia Volvic. Divorce and its aftermath feel rather at home in New York, one half of the setting of Suzanne Bachner’s excellent two-hander Conversations with My Divorce Attorney . Set also in Los Angeles, its bicoastal setting not only provides a backdrop but offers something near a supporting character to the burgeoning relationship between a heartbroken New York playwright and her slick divorce attorney on the West Coast. What begins as a relationship defined by the parameters of attorney-client privilege evolves over the course of a fast-paced 90 minutes into something else altogether. Throughout the play we witness the development of a true love, as well as the negotiation of what power often means in a relationship. Bachner’s script shines with a startling blend of wit

News: In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY 2024 Announces Performance Schedule and Awards

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The New York City-based Kairos Italy Theater, along with the Italy-based KIT Italia and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, will present the 11th anniversary season of the In Scena! Italian Theater Festival NY , New York City’s premiere festival of Italian theater, from April 29th-May 13th in all five boroughs of NYC (and April 27th in Toronto). Performances will take place at Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ at NYU (24 West 12th Street, Manhattan), Casa Belvedere (79 Howard Ave, Staten Island), Culture Lab LIC (5-25 46th Ave, Queens), Center For Italian Modern Art (421 Broome St 4th floor, Manhattan), The Brick Aux (628 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn), The Atelier at Theaterlab (357 W 36th St. 4th floor, Manhattan), BAAD (2474 Westchester Ave, Bronx), NOoSPHERE Arts (520 Kingsland Ave, Brooklyn), and Playwrights Downtown (440 Lafayette St 4th floor, Manhattan). Admission to all shows and events in the festival will be FREE. All shows will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. E

Review: In "Witchland," There's Danger in What Lies Beneath

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Witchland Written by Tim Mulligan Directed by Ken Wolf Presented by Manhattan Repertory Theatre at the Chain Theater 312 W. 36th Street, 3rd fl., Manhattan, NYC April 5-14, 2024 L to R: Dave Silberger, Mars Holscher, Geoffrey Grady. Photo by Jordan Schreiber It might seem odd (at least to non-horror fans) to describe a play featuring catastrophic illness, tragic loss, and a "dead baby cemetery" as great fun, but the socially conscious scares of Witchland certainly earn that designation. First performed in 2021, playwright Tim Mulligan's story of a family who moves to a contaminated town and a house across the street from a locally infamous neighbor now brings its blend of spookiness and humor to midtown for a new production at the Chain Theater. Infused with creepy imagery and inventive staging, Witchland entertainingly explores the sicknesses that threaten both a family and a community, its outsiders included. The titular Witchland is Mulligan's native Ric