Showing posts from 2019

News: Award-Winning Dark Comedy "Cooking with Kathryn" at LadyFest Tonight Only

NYC-based, award-winning comedy actor, writer, and professionally trained clown Kate Owens’s similarly award-winning dark comedy Cooking with Kathryn has played throughout NY (Solocom, The PIT, The Tank, Dixon Place, The Shitshow, Personality Test) as well as at the PortFringe Festival (Critics Choice for Best Acting) and Los Angeles (Moving Arts Theatre), and tonight, August 17, it comes to The Tank's LadyFest for one night only. The play follow a down-home, liquored-up southern belle as she stumbles her way to her own birthday party with more wine in her veins than Jesus. Kathryn rewards her party guests with an easy-peasy egg-bake cooking demo… the problem is, she can’t even see straight, much less teach a cooking lesson.

Kate Owens has been developing this Amy Sedaris-inspired character for the past three years, and the PortFringe review team called Cooking with Kathryn “A no-fear comedy, this show is a must see,” as well as “Furious, gratuitous, and moving" and maybe &q…

Review: Catch "The Plague"

The Plague Written by Rachael Carnes Directed by Heather Arnson Presented at The Tank 312 W 36th St., Manhattan, NYC August 14-15, 2019
Zombies have become a ubiquitous signifier, used by artists in various media to comment on everything from consumer capitalism to militarism, social inequality, race relations, queerness, and the nuclear family. Rachael Carnes's The Plague, however, a new play in development, may be the first time that the critical lens provided by the zombie has been brought to bear on sexual harassment in the workplace. The Plague is being presented in the form of a staged reading as part of the third annual LadyFest at The Tank, which features new work by woman-identified artists, and Carnes writes in the program, "This play was born of my experience being sexually harassed by my supervisor, in a professional working environment, for more than a year." The Plague filters an examination of this all-too-common experience through the dynamics not only of…

Review: Hip to Hip Brings "Richard III" from Park to Park

Richard III Written by William Shakespeare Directed by David Frederick Mold Presented by Hip to Hip Theatre Company at various locations July 24-August 25, 2019 When we arrived at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens for Hip to Hip Theatre Company's free outdoor production of William Shakespeare's Richard III, actors were guiding a group of about ten young children through some rudimentary stage fighting reactions as part of the "Kids & the Classics" interactive workshops that precede Hip to Hip's summer repertory shows. Families (and to a lesser extent, picnickers) were a strong presence in the audience, and at the end of the workshop, the participants and other children in the audience were given a "Bingo" sheet with stickers to be removed when corresponding events in the play occurred. This Richard III, playing in rep with A Midsummer Night's Dream (directed by S.C. Lucier), is part of Hip to Hip's Free Shakespeare in the P…

News: CUNY Dance Initiative and Mari Meade Dance Collective Announce September Premiere of "immigration stories"

The CUNY Dance Initiative and John Jay College, in collaboration with Mari Meade Dance Collective/MMDC, have announced the world premiere of immigration stories on Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 W. 59th Street, NYC.
MMDC's residency and performance at John Jay College is part of the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), a program that opens the doors of CUNY campuses to professional choreographers and dance companies; and immigration stories, a series of dances based on true experiences about relocating to the United States, opens up the vastly different paths people take to come this country. What began with a frustrating phone call for choreographer Mari Meade to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has evolved into a full evening of personal stories, music and dance. From a young man who was born in Germany and lived in Ghana before making his way to New York to a Russian woman who moved to Florida as a teenager, these i…

News: New York Innovative Theatre Awards Announce 2019 Nominees

On Monday, July 29, 2019, The New York Innovative Theatre Awards announced the 2019 nominees for the annual Off-Off-Broadway awards in a ceremony at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The NYIT Awards have celebrated NYC's vibrant and creative theater community for the past 15 years, and this year's nominees were announced by six celebrated artists and producers from the community: Jazmyn Arroyo, Jennifer Betite Yen, Iyvon Edebiri, Chris Ignacio, Ashley Rogers, and Erez Ziv. “Fifteen years is a big milestone for our organization, and we are making the most of it. We are looking forward to sharing some amazing surprises over the next few months,” said Executive Director Shay Gines.

This year’s nominees include 147 individual artists and 64 productions presented by 73 theater companies (see below for a list of nominees). Two honorary awards, “The Founders Award” were presented by the co-founders, Shay Gines and Nick Micozzi, plus Akia, to publicist Katie Rosin and volunteer Christopher Borg fo…

Review: “A White Man’s Guide to Riker’s Island” Delivers a Stellar Performance But Gets a Bit Preachy

A White Man's Guide to Rikers Island Written by Richard Roy and Eric C. Webb Directed by Thomas G. Waites Presented at The Producer's Club 358 W 44th St, Manhattan, NYC July 18-August 31 By any account, Rikers Island is an awful place. From the infamous violence and deliberate mismanagement to the fact that 85% of those in Rikers have not been convicted of a crime, Rikers consistently ranks as one of the worst “correctional” facilities in the country on any list. Most of those held at Rikers are there because they cannot afford bail. It really defies belief that such a place still exists, let alone in New York City—a city that has prided itself for being on the forefront of progressive movements. It is also impossible to ignore the fact that the vast majority of Rikers’s population is black and Hispanic. The city’s mayor recently announced his intention to close the facility and disperse those held there throughout the boroughs, but that plan is more of a stated intention than…

Review: "Go Puck Yourself" Dreams a Queer Midsummer Night's Dream

Go Puck Yourself: A Shakesqueer Comedy Adapted by Chris Weigandt and Genny Yosco Directed by Genny Yosco Presented by FRIGID New York and Sour Grapes Productions at The Kraine Theater 85 E 4th St., Manhattan, NYC July 18-August 4, 2019
When people think of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, most likely to come first to mind are faeries or a man with the head of a donkey. What looms less large in the popular imagination is the threat in the play's opening scene by Theseus, Duke of Athens, to execute Hermia or banish her to a convent if she does not obey patriarchal dictates regarding whom she should marry: "To you your father," Theseus tells her, "should be as a god" (The Norton Shakespeare, 1.1.47). In a new adaptation by Sour Grapes Productions, this attempted regulation of sexuality serves as a resonant analogy for queer oppression, despite Hermia's father, Egeus, becoming her mother and not least because queerness remains criminaliz…

Review: "Queen of Hearts" Conjures a Decadent Wonderland

Queen of Hearts Conceived, choreographed, and directed by Austin McCormick Presented by Company XIV at Théâtre XIV (21+ only) 383 Troutman Street, Brooklyn, NYC July 25-November 2, 2019
Queen of Hearts begins its first chapter, "Lady Alice," with Alice (LEXXE) installed on a bed set before a trio of mirrored wardrobes, pausing to regard herself in a handheld looking glass or to accept or wave away dainties and other offerings from servants. Soon enough, though, she is off down the rabbit hole, losing her baroque wig and eighteenth-century dress in the process. From there, Austin McCormick and Company XIV reimagine the major characters and events of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as a stunning, heady fusion of cabaret, carnival, dance theater, and burlesque.
McCormick, a Drama Desk Award nominee whose credits include choreography for Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and Theatre for a New Audience, is the founder and Artistic Director of Company …

Review: PTP/NYC's "Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth" is Spectacular Stoppard

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth Written by Tom Stoppard Directed by Cheryl Faraone Presented by PTP/NYC at Atlantic Stage 2 330 W. 16th St., Manhattan, NYC July 9-August 4, 2019 One semester, a college where one of us was working held a meeting in which a student demonstrated to the campus writing tutors how to make an origami crane. The catch was that the student spoke only in Japanese, and the intention was for the table full of people with advanced degrees in English to feel what it was like for the English Language Learners with whom they worked. A similar feeling of linguistic dislocation befalls delivery driver Easy (Matthew Ball)—along with the audience—in the first half of Tom Stoppard's two-in-one play Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth as his attempt to deliver some "blocks 'an that" is complicated by everyone else speaking only a language called "Dogg," made up of English words but not English. Playing in repertory with Havel: The P…

Review: Big Issues, Tiny Set in Amina Henry's "Rent Party"

Rent Party Written by Amina Henry Directed by Gretchen Van Lente Presented by Drama of Works at The Tank 316 W. 36th St., Manhattan, NYC July 12-21, 2019 “Ain’t no party without darkness and song.” –The Cat

People associate New York with many things. High rents top anyone’s list. Exorbitantly high rents in the city are a relatively new thing, though. One could find an apartment in many neighborhoods for just a few hundred, or even double digits, a month for most of the twentieth century. However, tenants’ relationships with landlords have always been sticky in the city—especially in Harlem. African Americans have faced more challenges regarding rent in NYC given that they were allowed (socially and for a time legally) to live only in a few areas of the city, and landlords took advantage of that. Enter the rent party. The burst of artistic activity in Harlem in the 1920s including poetry, fiction, music, drama, and visual art has given rise to all sorts of theories of origins. One ori…

Review: Don't Miss Your Chance to Czech Out "Havel: The Passion of Thought"

Havel: The Passion of Thought Works written by Harold Pinter, Václav Havel, and Samuel Beckett Directed by Richard Romagnoli Presented by PTP/NYC at Atlantic Stage 2 330 W. 16th St., Manhattan, NYC July 9-August 4, 2019 Authoritarianism is having something of a global renaissance these days. That dispiriting fact makes this a fitting time for PTP/NYC's staging of a trio of works by Václav Havel (1936-2011). Havel was a Czech dissident, writer, and repeated political prisoner during communist rule in his native country, and, after 1989's demonstration-fueled Velvet Revolution brought an end to the totalitarian government, Havel served as the final President of Czechoslovakia (1989-1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993-2003). With Havel: The Passion of Thought, PTP (Potomac Theatre Project, associated with Vermont's Middlebury College) fruitfully frames three of Havel's four "Vaněk plays" (the fourth, Dozens of Cousins, was written far after…