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Showing posts from May, 2019

Review: "Loveville High" Podcast Serves Up Bite-Size Broadway To Go

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Loveville High: A Prom in Nine Musical Podcasts Book and Lyrics by David Zellnik Music by Eric Svejcar Available at https://www.lovevillehigh.com/ The high-school musical genre is one I have always been attracted to without knowing exactly why. I think I can put the pieces together to make sense of my attraction, but the most important piece in the equation is the fantasy factor of the genre. High-school musicals, from Grease to High School Musical, allow a type of projection onto my own high school experience that enables me to relive it the way I would have liked it to be—freak flag unfurled with minimal consequences for waving it. This was the brilliance of Glee—even though the show lost its way. And this is just the musical front of the genre. The high-school genre is seemingly endless, and this makes sense for several reasons. First, it is a reference point most of us have and can be easily universalized by show writers. But there is also something about the genre that is fantasy…

News: Donations Needed to Complete Renovations of UNDER St. Mark's Theater

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Back in February 2019, just as the annual FRIGID Festival was scheduled to get underway, UNDER St. Mark's, one of the festival's two venues, suffered extensive damage from a combination of a burst pipe and, well, frigid temperatures in NYC, forcing it to shut down. With some last-minute rearranging and an assist from nearby IATI theater, the show(s) did go on, but now Horse Trade and FRIGID are asking for theater fans' help to complete repairs on this longstanding indie venue.
According to Managing Artistic Director Erez Ziv, about $15,000 are still required to finish renovations begun in December and complicated by February's damage. As Ziv wrote in a May 21 mailing, "It’s vital that we keep the spaces affordable, available and hospitable so artists don’t need a trust fund to create their work." 
Upcoming shows at UNDER St. Mark's include a night with Jackson Sturkey and His Orchestra on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm ("Music. Cabaret. Burlesqu…

Review: Spicy Witch Gives New Meaning to 'Justice' in "Measure for Measure"

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Measure for Measure Written by William Shakespeare Adapted and directed by Phoebe Brooks Presented by Spicy Witch Productions at The Flea Theater 20 Thomas St., Manhattan, NYC May 18-June 1, 2019 In each of its seasons, Spicy Witch Productions pairs contemporary and classical plays in repertory in order to explore gender and identity. The themes of previous seasons have included gender presentation, gendered violence, and the construct of relationships as a form of ownership. This season, Spicy Witch’s seventh, focuses on rebellion and revolution and puts a production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure into thought-provoking conversation with new play The Virtuous Fall of the Girls from Our Lady of Sorrows. In addition, putting its money where its theme is, Spicy Witch will donate a portion of sales of merchandise, available in the lobby, to Planned Parenthood. We discuss each production in a separate review: The Virtuous Fallat this link and Measure for Measure with referen…

Review: "The Virtuous Fall of the Girls from Our Lady of Sorrows" Asks If the Kids Will Be Alright

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The Virtuous Fall of the Girls from Our Lady of Sorrows Written by Gina Femia Directed by Blayze Teicher Presented by Spicy Witch Productions at The Flea Theater 20 Thomas St., Manhattan, NYC May 17-June 1, 2019 Shava Clarke, Alia Guidry, Renita Lewis, and Pearl Shin. Photo credit: Phoebe Brooks
In each of its seasons, Spicy Witch Productions pairs contemporary and classical plays in repertory in order to explore gender and identity. The themes of previous seasons have included gender presentation, gendered violence, and the construct of relationships as a form of ownership. This season, Spicy Witch’s seventh, focuses on rebellion and revolution and puts a production of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure into thought-provoking conversation with new play The Virtuous Fall of the Girls from Our Lady of Sorrows. In addition, putting its money where its theme is, Spicy Witch will donate a portion of sales of merchandise, available in the lobby, to Planned Parenthood. We discuss each product…

News: "Legal Tender" to Play One Night Only at ANT Fest on June 11

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AntiGravity, which has been creating ensemble-based cross-disciplinary performances since 2012, have announced a new collaboration with poet Kyle Dacuyan entitled Legal TenderLegal Tender describes itself as "a decolonized, queer hypnosis made up of poems and movement; a cross-country astral trip through small-town gay bars and newsrooms; a series of guided meditations on hustling, schlock, and the breaking points of reality. With cameo appearances and non-required exercise."

We wrote of one of AntiGravity's previous productions, Dear Diary LOL, that it offered "intriguingly intimate and consistently funny snapshots of what it means (and feels like) to grow up as a woman in America" ("The Silence of the Diary," Culture Catch, 30 Sep. 2018).

Legal Tender has been selected to play month-long indie theater festival ANT Fest at Ars Nova (511 West 54th St, Manhattan, NYC) one night only, on June 11th, 2019 at 7 pm. 
Get your $15 tickets here. $20 tickets …

News: Free Staged Reading of "Borgestriptych" on May 21

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As part of the European Month of Culture, Origin Theatre Company will present a free staged reading of Bulgarian playwright Yasen Vasilev's Borgestriptych, directed by Ashlin Hatch, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm at the Bulgarian Consulate NYC (121 E 62nd St, Manhattan, NYC; subway: F/Q/R to Lexington Ave/63rd St). 
Borgestriptych, the inaugural winner of the Interdisciplinary Art Grant, solely funded by the American Foundation for Bulgaria, and designed by the Council for European Studies, the Bulgarian Concert Evenings in New York, and the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, draws inspiration from three short stories by Jorge Luis Borges – it takes the narrative from the first one, the characters from the second, and the setting from the third. Four performers, each of them a version of Borges, are metamorphosing into his many characters. In this world, library and universe are equal, and the spaces and their occupiers are entirely made of quotes. 
Playwright Yasen Vasilev is a Bu…

News: Performers, Saks, and Stonewall Inn Initiative Partner to Mark 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Uprising

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To honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Uprising, Saks Fifth Avenue is partnering with the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGI) and Broadway and television performers. Saks has pledged to donate at least $100,000 from sales of the "Saks
x Stonewall" capsule collection, available in select Saks Fifth Avenue stores and on Saks.com, to SIGI, the mission of which is to eliminate social intolerance of LGBTQIA+ nationally. The partnership will also feature special Fifth Avenue window installations, a digital campaign featuring members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, and a celebration in New York City.

The collection features Pride-inspired clothing and accessories created in collaboration with designers including Alice + Olivia, Balmain, Christian Louboutin, Cinq à Sept, Jonathan Simkhai, Judith Leiber, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, and Stella
McCartney. (All items are available at Saks.com/Stonewall-Inn-50th-Anniversary/shop/_/N-52kknt/Ne-52iqfl?PA=TRUE

News: Shakesqueer Comedy "2 Shrews, 1 Chalice" Opens May 17

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Sour Grapes Productions has announced a new queer comic Shakespeare adaptation, to be presented by FRIGID New York beginning Friday, May 17, 2019. 2 Shrews, 1 Chalice: A Shakesqueer Comedy reimagines and recontextualizes Shakespeare's oft-considered-problematic Taming of the Shrew, describing itself as depicting "the courtship of Patricia and Katherina--both headstrong, loud-mouthed, and unfazed by the "charms" of men. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in any relationship; however, Patricia "tames" her with various BDSM torments, until she becomes a desirable, compliant, and obedient wife."

The show stars Genny Yosco as Katherine and Carroll Herring as Patricia, with Claire Unabia, Katherine Yacko, Katrin Mattson, Anthony OConnell, Daniel George, Alexander Gheesling, Hadas Pacholder, Dorie Casper, Ellen Ko, and Elizabeth Claflin rounding out the rest of the cast.
While we (the editors of this site) unfortunately can't make it to this…

News: TRU to Hold "Sexual Harassment Education and Prevention for Theater" Panel and Discussion on May 23

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Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU), the leading network for developing theater professionals, will present the panel discussion "It Doesn't Have to Be #MeToo: Sexual Harassment Education and Prevention for Theater" on Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm (networking begins at 7pm) at St. Luke's Theatre (308 W. 46th Street, Manhattan, NYC). The theater has its own #MeToo stories from both women and men, and artists will share stories of harassment and misconduct, followed by a presentation recognizing and fighting harassment, after which a panel of representatives from Dramatists Guild, ART-New York, and the Actors Fund will share what they are doing to empower their members and prevent harassment, misconduct, or assault in the theatrical workspace. The event, presented in association with the League of Professional Theatre Women, will be facilitated by Yvette Heyliger, with confirmed speakers Jenna Chrisphonte of the Dramatists Guild, Hope Chavez of ART-New York, Brittan…

News: Strawberry Milk Comedy's Next Diverse, Women-Curated Stand-Up Show on May 24

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Strawberry Milk is a monthly stand-up comedy series with a devotion to diversity and the laudable goal of a world where white men are not the majority in comedy. Strawberry Milk provides a platform for diverse voices to shake up the traditional comedy scene, and its next show, its eighth, will be Friday, May 24th, 2019 from 8 pm to approximately 9:30 pm at Escondido (146 Bowery, Manhattan, NYC). Strawberry Milk, which highlights both new and established talent, is produced by the all-women team of Olivia Auerbach, Glory, and Kate Robards. 
Auerbach, a TV writer and stand-up comedian recently featured in the Wall Street Journal born in Amsterdam and raised for much of her childhood in Asia, uses her comedy to elevate women’s equality, global issues, and the underbelly of society. Glory, a Dominican Harlem native recently featured in Teen Vogue, uses personal encounters as part of sharing observations of privilege, the cis female experience, and social injustices. Robards, an award-winn…

Review: Immersive Revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" Innovates with Genderqueer Blanche

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A Streetcar Named Desire Written by Tennessee Williams Directed by Kevin Hourigan Presented by The Coven and Precariat Productions in association with Wolfpack Theatrics at Mister Rogers 231 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn, NYC May 7-25, 2019
Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire needs little introduction. The 1947 play won a Pulitzer Prize, the 1951 film adaptation, with some of the play’s sharpest edges sanded off, received critical acclaim, and, of course, a Simpsons parody bestowed upon it one of our society’s more widely recognized imprimaturs of cultural importance. It continues to be widely read, taught, and produced; and a new production under the direction by Kevin Hourigan represents a new chapter in the play’s storied history. For the first time, a U.S. production of Streetcar has been licensed to allow a genderqueer/trans actor to play tragically distressed Southern belle Blanche DuBois, a project which had its genesis with performer Russell Peck a decade ago and which brings…

News: Free Ellis Island Asian American Heritage Festival May 19

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The National Park Service in partnership with Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company presents the Ellis Island Asian American Heritage Festival on Sunday, May 19, 2019, with ceremony and performances starting at 12 noon at The Great Hall of Immigration at Ellis Island, located on the second floor of the main Ellis Island building. A full schedule of performances of one hour by nationally renowned artists and performers will celebrate Asian American Heritage Month by showcasing traditional and contemporary Asian-American music and dance with notable performing artists from the community in New York and New Jersey, including the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Kindling Sindaw (Philipines), Vietnam Heritage Center, the Kalagangothri Foundation (India), and Hālau Hula O Na Mele 'Āina O Hawaii' (Hawaii).

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, which the New York Times has compared to "endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy," will perform the opening Dragon Dance and the ending Lion Dance, …

News: Neuro-Inclusive Musical "Welcome to My World" Premieres May 18

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Actionplay, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing children, teens, and adults on the autism spectrum and with related conditions equal access to education, arts, and culture, will present the world premiere of its neuro-inclusive musical Welcome to My World on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 7 pm and Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 2 pm. 

Welcome To My World was created by the participants in the Actionaplay's AIMS (Action Improv Musical) program, a 25-week musical theatre devising workshop for teens and adults on the autism spectrum and with related conditions. With direction by Executive Director Aaron Feinstein and musical direction by Artistic Director Gabriel Lit, Welcome To My World follows a teenage autistic girl named Aliza who is visited by an unexpected guest from another planet. The idea of the show and the theme song were created by actor and AIMS participant Natalie Kaiser, and the story and songs were devised by the group and reflect themes that the group deals with on a…

News: May 13th Gala Celebrates 5 Years of Musical Theatre Factory

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Musical Theatre Factory will be hosting a gala at Town Stages (221 West Broadway, Manhattan, NYC) on May 13, 2019 at 7:30pm to celebrate five years of growth while creating spaces to collaborate outside the pressures of critical and commercial success and dismantling oppressive ideologies in order to move towards collective liberation. As Robin Sokoloff, executive director of Town Stages, puts it, "MTF's wholehearted commitment to reimagining story-telling by creating avenues for equitable representation both onstage and offstage has transformed the face of musical theatre in New York City and beyond." 
The gala will feature a night of dance and song honoring Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop) and introducing the inaugural MTF Makers Cohort with work and performances by Troy Anthony (The River is Me), Jacob Jarrett (Wonder Boy), Melissa Li and Kit Yan (Interstate), Jillian Walker (SkinFolk: An American Show), AriDy Nox (Flawless Feminism) and Brandon Webster (Medicine f…

News: Women Stage the World Parade on June 11, Times Square

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The League of Professional Theatre Women, an organization which has been at the forefront of the gender parity conversation and championing women in the professional theatre for over 35 years, will lead the seventh annual Women Stage the World Parade on Tuesday, June 11 from 6-7 pm. The march will begin and end at the TKTS booth in Times Square, with the purpose of advocating for equal representation for women in theater.

Women Stage the World is an advocacy project designed to educate the public about the role that women play in creating theater and the gender barriers that they face as men continue to outnumber women by 4 to 1 in key roles such as playwright, director, and designer.

Women buy two-thirds of the tickets and represent 65% of the theater audience, yet 80% of the time, the storytelling on stage is shaped by men's rather than women's voices. The Women Stage the World Parade will prompt ticket-buyers to ask three vital questions as they make buying decisions: 
(1)…

Review: The Stellar Absurdism of "Numbness: Chapter 2"

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Numbness: Chapter 2 Conceived by Daniel Irizarry and Laura Butler Rivera Text by Sylvia Bofill and Robert Lyons Directed and choreographed by Daniel Irizarry Presented by One-Eighth Theater at New Ohio Theatre 154 Christopher Street, Manhattan, NYC April 26-May 18, 2019
One-Eighth Theater’s world premiere of Numbness: Chapter 2 throws into sharp relief the heights that experimental theater can achieve. Part of a planned trilogy that began with the company’s Mouthgasm: Chapter 1, which was developed in Ankara, Turkey, and explored the theme of empathy, Numbness: Chapter 2 explores its titular conceit in a mode that One-Eighth styles The New Absurd. The result is simultaneously challenging and riveting, a triumph of elliptical storytelling, intense physicality, and exhilarating unpredictability.

Numbness comprises the main play, Black Water, written by Sylvia Bofill, and an entremés (traditionally a short farce played between acts in a Spanish comedia) titled YOVO, written by New Ohio Ar…

News: New York Shakespeare Exchange's ShakesBEER Pub Crawls on May 11 and 18

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New York Shakespeare Exchange (NYSX), creators of The Sonnet Project short film series in addition to its full productions of Shakespeare, will hold its next two ShakesBEER pub crawl events on May 11 and May 18, 2019 from 3-6 pm. The pub crawl begins at The Gaf (401 West 48th Street, NYC) at 2:30 pm and subsequently moves to 123 Burger, Shot, Beer (738 10th Ave, NYC), The Waylon (736 10th Ave, NYC), and Perdition (692 10th Ave, NYC). 
These immersive experiences include a short scene with time afterwards for imbibing at each stop on the crawl. As veterans of several ShakesBEERs, we can personally attest to them being a great time and a unique way to take in some Shakespearean drama. 
This iteration is themed around "The Games We Play!" and will explore some of the great challenges, contests, and competitions in Shakespeare's most troubled dramatic relationships, including scenes from Hamlet, 1 Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Mart…

News: She NYC Arts Announces Inaugural CreateHer Program for High School Girls and Awards Inaugural New Play Residency to Natalie Margolin

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She NYC Arts has made a pair of announcements of interest to theater artists and audiences. 
First, She NYC Arts has awarded its inaugural New Play Residency to playwright and actress Natalie Margolin, a Kenyon College graduate and author of The Power of Punctuation, which premiered at the Davenport Theater in 2016. As New Play Resident, Margolin will create a new work to debut at the fourth annual She NYC Arts Summer Theater Festival, which takes place from June 19-30 at The Connelly Theater (220 E 4th St, New York, NY 10009). She NYC will provide updates on this creative process every Wednesday through its social media accounts, using the hashtag #NewWorksWednesday.

Second, as part of its mission to bring support and exposure to female theater artists, She NYC Arts has announced a new playwriting workshop called CreateHer.CreateHer is a free 6-session workshop open to high school student who identify as girls, and it will provide participants with mentors as they create, develop, an…

News: "Friendly's Fire" Shows How Far A Man Will Go to Preserve His Veteran Friend's Sanity; Opens May 3

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Beginning May 3, 2019, award-winning Rising Sun Performance Company presents a new comedy/drama, Friendly's Fire, under the direction of Akia Squitieri, at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St. between 1st and 2nd Avenues, Manhattan, NYC. Friendly's Fire, written by John Patrick Bray, had its world premiere in 2017 and has won and been nominated for several awards.

The synopsis reads:

"In a cabin in Alaska, Guy Friendly, a Gulf War veteran and bee-herder, has just had a tooth stolen during casual sex. His best friend Todd, a pawn-shop owner dressed as an astronaut, finds Friendly in a fevered state. Trapped by the snow, Todd has little choice but enter Friendly’s fevered dream, to unravel the events of the night before – and the events of the Gulf War that led Friendly to becoming a shut-in. An homage to Western movies, He-Man action figures, and the playwright's belief as a child that the Sesame Street Muppet Guy Smiley was in fact God, Friendly's Fire shows us to w…