Showing posts from June, 2019

Review: "Afterparty: The Rothko Studio" Takes Audiences Inside the Artist's World--Literally

Afterparty: The Rothko Studio Choreographed by Rachel Cohen; composed by Maria Dessena; adapted by Barry Rowell; story by S.M. Dale Directed by Ralph Lewis Presented by Peculiar Works Project at 222 Bowery, NYC June 27-30, 2019 The raison d’être of Afterparty is the space where it’s staged: 222 Bowery. While it was built in the 1880s to house New York’s first YMCA, the building’s chief claim to fame is that artists like Mark Rothko, Fernand Léger, and the beat writer William S. Burroughs called it home. It was Burroughs who dubbed the building “The Bunker.” Rothko lived and worked in a studio on the 2nd floor in the 1950s, when cheap rent attracted a host of artists to Bowery lofts. The poet and artist John Giorno still lives and works there—The New York Times ran a sketch of him and his Bowery habitat back in 2015.

Now Rothko’s studio, which has been vacant for a decade, is going on the rental market along with other properties in the building. When the building’s space manager learn…

Review: Amina Henry and Project Y Create a Feminist "Sleeping Beauty" for Families

Sleeping Beauty Written by Amina Henry Directed by Michole Biancosino Presented by Project Y Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres 502 West 53rd Street, Manhattan, NYC June 22-30, 2019
Fairy tales have been a consistent site for feminist rewriting, remixed and reimagined by authors including Angela Carter, Anne Sexton, and A.A. Balaskovits, among many others. With Sleeping Beauty, playwright Amina Henry joins these ranks, but, in contrast to the darkness, violence, and eroticism of the aforementioned authors, Henry’s critique of gender roles and expectations is aimed squarely at younger audiences (but with a sense a humor that will keep the adults entertained as well). Henry has several plays on NYC stages this summer: The Great Novel, which we reviewed here, is currently running at The Flea; Rent Party will premiere on July 12 at The Tank; and Sleeping Beauty is part of Project Y Theatre’s fourth annual Women in Theatre Festival (the WIT Festival also features Three Musketeers 1941, whi…

Review: In "Drowning in Cairo," Those Who Tell Don’t Die, But Sometimes They Drown

Drowning in Cairo Written by Adam Ashraf Elsayigh Directed by Celine Rosenthal Presented by National Queer Theater at IRT Theater 154 Christopher Street, Manhattan, NYC June 13-16, 2019 In May 2001 fifty-two men, known as the Cairo 52, were arrested on the Queen Boat nightclub, a boat docked on the banks of the Nile that served as a club and was known to be gay-friendly. It was one of the only clubs in Cairo a man could enter unaccompanied by a woman, making it the default gay club in the city. The Cairo 52 were accused of “devil worship” and “habitual debauchery,” and during the drawn-out trial, Cairo newspapers published scathing stories about the men next to their pictures. Twenty-one of the men were sentenced to three years of prison despite international outcry from Human Rights Watch and the United Nations. The incident has been featured in two documentaries: Dangerous Living and A Jihad for Love.

It is also the incident Adam Elsayigh takes up in his play Drowning in Cairo. The…

Review: "The Great Novel" Asks Whose Stories Are Worth Telling

The Great Novel Written by Amina Henry Directed by Sarah Norris Presented by New Light Theater Project at The Flea Theater 20 Thomas St., Manhattan, NYC June 7-29. 2019Anyone who has set out to write just about anything will be familiar with the intimidating whiteness of the blank page or screen. When we meet Bertha (Nikki E. Walker), protagonist of Amina Henry’s play The Great Novel, she is attempting to define her own protagonist, for the as-yet-unwritten eponymous work of literature. Bertha, of Jamaican ancestry, concludes of her potential main character, “Of course, she’s white. White as a ghost.” Her conclusion elegantly establishes from the play’s opening her project’s dual hauntings by a dominantly white literary tradition on one hand and the wealthy white family for whom she has worked as a live-in maid for a decade on the other. At the intersection of these cross-cultural and cross-class currents, The Great Novel fashions a witty, delightful exploration of art and identity. 

News: "Past and Present: Scenes from American Operas" *Free* on Governors Island on June 22

The little OPERA theatre of ny will present a FREE concert of scenes from American operas in collaboration with Bronx Opera and operamission. The concert will showcase the diversity of music and stories written for the opera stage by both native-born and immigrant composers and librettists. The concert will take place June 22, 2019, outdoors on Governors Island in Nolan Park, in front of building 25. The performance is at 5pm and is FREE to the public. (Rain date: Sunday, June 23 at 4pm.)

Each of the three companies will present excerpts from operas with singers and piano. The little OPERA theatre of ny will showcase Luna Pearl Woolf and Caitlin Vincent's Better Gods, which tells the story of the last Queen of Hawaii, Lili'uokalani, and the annexation of the island in 1898. Originally commissioned by the Washington National Opera, Better Gods premiered January 8 and 9, 2016 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Woolf, co-founder of Oxingale Records has been called pa…

News: Free Productions of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Richard III" in All 5 Boroughs, LI, and NJ

Hip to Hip Theatre Company, dedicated to stimulating and developing interest in the theater arts in underserved communities by providing free, family-friendly, professional productions of popular classics and free theatre workshops for children, has announced its 2019 Free Shakespeare in the Parks summer tour. Hip to Hip will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream (directed by S.C. Lucier), and Richard III (directed by David Mold) in repertory. After this, the company's season will culminate with an indoor winter production of Troilus and Cressida (directed by Jason Marr).

The Free Shakespeare in the Parks summer tour will run from July 24 to August 25 at fourteen parks throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Performances will also take place in Jersey City and Southampton. In addition, Hip to Hip’s popular interactive children’s workshop “Kids & the Classics,” designed to give children ages 4 to 12 a chance to interact with the text by previewing the…

John and Leah Review "Three Musketeers 1941" on Culture Catch

Three Musketeers 1941
Written by Megan Monaghan Rivas
Co-directed by Michole Biancosino and Andrew William Smith
Presented by Project Y Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres, NYC
June 5-29th, 2019

You can read John and Leah's review of the WWII-set Three Musketeers 1941, about an all-woman French Resistance cell, over on Culture Catch

Review: Faith Clashes with Family in the Superbly Acted “To She Who Waits”

To She Who Waits Written by Bob Clyman Directed by Maria Aladren Presented by The American Renaissance Theater Company at Theatre 54 244 W. 54th St., 12th floor, Manhattan, NYC May 23-June 8, 2019 Set primarily in Mccullough County, the geographical heart of Texas, 2018 Kaufman Award-winner Bob Clyman’s new play, To She Who Waits, has at its own heart a perceptively drawn and keenly affecting mother-daughter relationship. When we first meet Meg (Carol Todd), her 16 year-old daughter Hannah (Lee Eden) is angrily calling her a liar during a court-appointed visit. Meg has a limited time before the court system, along with Hannah herself, decides whether Hannah will be returned to her mother’s custody and move to Austin or will remain in the extremist Christian community called “The Realm” to which her father, Jack (Brian Homer), signed over legal guardianship of Hannah before he died. To She Who Waits uses this central conflict to explore the messy complexities of family, fulfillment, an…

News: Programming Announced for 17th Fresh Fruit Festival, July 8th to 29th

The 17th consecutive Fresh Fruit Festival,afestival of LGBTQIA+ Arts, is coming soon to the wild project (195 E. 3rd Street, between Avenues A & B, Manhattan, NYC) and other venues. Produced by All Out Arts, the festival will run from July 8th to July 21, 2019. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online at or at the box office, which opens one hour prior to curtain. 
Shows in the Fresh Fruit Festival include the following:

Fresh Fruit Week 1: July 8 – 14
Parlor Tricks,by Charlotte Bush Monday 7/8 at 8 pm; Wednesday 7/10 at 6:30 pm; Sunday 7/14 at 4:30 pm

A quasi-historical comedy of sex, seances, and sisterhood would quote the universality of femmes+’s need for respect. “The Mystic Thornes” – Margaret, Lillian & Ida – survive as a spiritualist act, but could one of them be the real thing? The final seance is in 1910, and beyond.

Metropolitan, by Thomas Picasso and Mikey Rosenbaum Tuesday 7/9 at 6:30 pm; Thursday 7/11 at 7:00 pm; Sunday 7/14 at 6:30 pm

A mus…

News: Ballet Hispánico Joins Four Dance Companies for Free Hudson River Dance Festival June 6 and 7

Ballet Hispánico, America's leading Latino dance organization, with its bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance, will be one of five companies in the fifth annual Hudson River Dance Festival on Pier 63 Lawn Bowl (at W. 23rd Street, Manhattan, NYC). The women of the Ballet Hispánico Company exercise their athleticism and power in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Sombrerísimo, originally created for six men and inspired by the surrealist world of Belgian painter René Magritte, famous for his paintings of men in bowler hats. Sombrerísimo references the iconic sombreros (hats) found throughout the world that help to represent culture. Hudson River Park and The Joyce Theater bring Ballet Hispánico together with four additional companies for two shows, on June 6 and 7, 2019 at 7pm, presented by SHS Foundation and celebrating the vibrant and diverse voices and styles that NYC has to offer, set against the backdrop of the Hudson River sunset. 
The festival is FREE, and details are avail…

News: World Premiere of "Public Servant" at Theatre Row Announces Open-Captioned and Audio-Described Performances

Theater Breaking Through Barriers was founded in 1979 by as Theater by the Blind, and it begins its 40th anniversary with the World Premiere of Public Servant, written by Bekah Brunstetter, of NBC’s Emmy-winning drama This Is Us and the just-announced Oklahoma TV series. The company's mission is to change the image of people with disabilities from one of dependence to independence, to fight stereotypes and misperceptions associated with disability, and to show how vibrant, fluid, and exuberant the work of artists with disabilities can be. “As New York’s only Off-Broadway theater company dedicated to advancing the work professional artists with disabilities, it has been a key priority of ours to create theater that is fully accessible to all,” notes TBTB Artistic Director Nicolas Viselli. “Over the years we have been actively working to increase the number of open captioned and audio described performances for our deaf/hard of hearing and blind/low vision patrons and we are extreme…