Showing posts from 2023

News: Acclaimed Solo Bioplay "Tennessee Rising" Returns January 19 - February 2

After critically acclaimed engagements Off-Broadway (you can read our review of the show's winters/spring 2023 run at AMT here .) and at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe, Jacob Storms’s  Tennessee Rising: The Dawn of Tennessee Williams will return to New York for a limited engagement. This solo play written and performed by Jacob Storms and originally directed for the stage by Alan Cumming will run January 19 - February 2 at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. What led Tennessee Williams to become the most groundbreaking and unique playwright of the twentieth century? Tennessee Rising: The Dawn of Tennessee Williams explores the formative six-year period from 1939-1945 in which an unknown writer named Tom metamorphosizes into the acclaimed playwright known as Tennessee. The solo play brings these unknown years center stage as the audience becomes friend and confidant to young Williams as he experiences the unexpected highs and devastating lows of his early career, wherein his most iconic charac

Review: "Before The Drugs Kick In" May Alter Your Perception

Before The Drugs Kick In Written and directed by Mike Lemme Presented by Mike Lemme at UNDER St. Marks 94 St. Marks Place, Manhattan, NYC December 8-22, 2023 Maria DeCotis. Photo by Arin Sang-urai. Why should a person be defined by her lowest, most vulnerable point? Why should such a point dictate the course of her life? Such questions pervade comedian and playwright Mike Lemme's Before The Drugs Kick In , currently making its New York debut in the fittingly intimate space of UNDER St. Marks. Before The Drugs Kick In made its world premiere at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, collecting not only critical praise but also nominations for the BBC Writersroom Popcorn Award for Best New Writing and the Mental Health Foundation Fringe Award . Inspired by personal experience, Before The Drugs Kick In invites us inside the mind of one woman for a riveting, empathetic, and darkly funny exploration of mental health and its (mis)treatments and stigmas, especially where women are concerne

News: Playful Substance Presents "Canary" January 9-20, 2024, at the Chain

This January, Playful Substance will present Canary , by Donald Wollner, its first full production since Raphael Perahia’s oddly prophetic Shelter in Place in the fall of 2019. “After nearly four years of focusing on development work, community events, and side projects, we are excited to open our return season with a world premiere from such a skilled playwright,” says Playful Substance’s Artistic Director, Bree O’Connor; “Don’s work embodies Playful Substance’s highest aspirations; to tell the truth with a quick wit and embrace discomfort as part of the fun.” In Canary , we are in the previous century, and Cassie wants to be the best copywriter in advertising history. She’s young, inexperienced, and a woman in a deeply sexist world. But she and her art director turn out extremely creative work. It gets noticed, and soon they are locked in a room grinding out their agency’s coveted “mystery” campaign. Can they get Americans to swallow the biggest chunk of bullshit this country has eve

Review: Musical "An Axemas Story" Delivers Sharply Hewn Fun

An Axemas Story Music, etc. by Anthony De Angelis Lyrics, etc. by Patrick Spencer Book, etc. by Charlie O'Leary Music direction by Sara Linger Associate conducting by Buck McDaniel Direction and choreography by Mackenna Goodrich Presented by Cartwheels Theatrical at The Players Theatre 115 MacDougal St, Manhattan, NYC November 30-December 17, 2023 Isabel Julazadeh and John Jeffords. Photo by EJ DeCoske When An Axemas Story calls itself a "sappy" musical, it refers not to holiday schmaltz, which the show actively satirizes, but rather to the spilling of vital fluids as the non-deciduous residents of Tree Town meet their fates at the edge of a blade. This 1980s-slasher-inspired story of sentient trees on a Christmas tree farm is perfect for the kind of person who seeks out appropriately themed horror films for major holidays, enjoys self-aware wordplay ( Axemas Story features a veritable forest of tree-related puns), or just likes a wildly entertaining time at the theater

Review: "United Nations: The Other West" is a Welcome Addition to Thirdwing's U.N.-iverse

United Nations: The Other West Written and directed by Cameron Darwin Bossert Presented by Thirdwing in association with Out of the Box Theatrics at 154 on Christopher 154 Christopher St., Manhattan, NYC November 21-December 10, 2023 Matthew Sanders, Wesli Spencer, and Yelena Shmulenson. Photo by Valerie Terranova While the U.N. diplomats and functionaries in Thirdwing's United Nations series may not often be very happy to be there, we are thrilled to be back in their company with the latest entry, The Other West . One might think of The Other West , written and directed by Thirdwing founder Cameron Darwin Bossert, as a workplace comedy with a global scope and an astute satirical edge. Thirdwing is a hybrid theater, streaming, and events company that offers monthly and yearly subscription options; its United Nations series began with the Pale Cast of Thought (2020) web series and the stage play The Border and the Coast (2022; you can read our review here ), and the theatrical

News: UP Theater Presents Solo Show "Good Medicine" November 16-18

  This week, upper Manhattan's UP Theater  presents Good Medicine , a solo show written and performed by Richard Grunn . In approximately an hour,  Good Medicine  takes on the “Medicine Show” from 19th-century snake-oil salesmen to New Age gurus. Directed by Leslie Kincaid Burby and with music by Joe Burby and Henry Burby,  Good Medicine plays November 16, 17, and 18th at Ft. Washington Collegiate Campus 729 W. 181st Street, NY, NY 10033.  Looking for that fast fix? That miracle cure? That key to a better life? Maybe what you need is some Good Medicine : Reserve your FREE tickets: .

Review: In "Katie's Tales," the Story of One is the Story of Many

Katie's Tales Written and performed by Agnieszka Kazimierska Directed by Mario Biagini Presented at United Solo Theatre Festival Theatre Row, 410 W 42nd St., Manhattan, NYC November 11, 2023 Agnieszka Kazimierska in Katie's Tales . Photo by Nikita Chuntomov Agnieszka Kazimierska's solo show Katie's Tales has been performed on four continents since its debut in 2018, and returned to New York City this week for a one-night-only showing as part of the fifteenth season of the United Solo Theatre Festival, the world's largest solo theater festival, which runs through November 19th at midtown's Theatre Row (and which allows audiences to vote for their favorite show). Kazimierska, an independent Polish performer, vocal practitioner, and theater researcher and pedagogue, forges in Katie's Tales an impactful bricolage of dialogue, movement, and (folk) song that is rooted in Polish history and tradition while simultaneously exploring grief, steadfastness, suffering,

Review: "La Monja Alférez" Presents a Triumphant 17-Century Tale of Gender Identity

La Monja Alférez (The Lieutenant Nun) Written by Juan Ruiz de Alarcón Adapted by Daniel Alonso de Santos and Germán Vega García-Luengos Directed by Daniel Alonso de Santos Presented by Teatro Círculo at the Chain Theatre 312 W 36th St., 3rd fl., Manhattan, NYC November 3-19, 2023 Mario Mattei, María Fontanals, and Pablo Andrade. Photo by Israel Franco Müller In the plays of William Shakespeare, the most prominent English-language playwright of the early modern period, changes in gender presentation are primarily undertaken under duress, as a protective measure (think As You Like It , for instance), and the associated transgressiveness is contained by slotting those involved into heterosexual marriages by the plays' ends. Viola may, for example, remain in men's attire at the end of Twelfth Night , but this is not an active choice, and she is herself headed for marriage with Duke Orsino. The 17th-century Spanish-language play La Monja Alférez ( The Lieutenant Nun ), by Mexican-b

Review: The Immersive "American Blues: 5 Short Plays by Tennessee Williams" Takes Audiences on a Marvelously Crafted Journey

American Blues: 5 Short Plays by Tennessee Williams Written by Tennessee Williams Directed by Jim Niesen Presented by the Irondale Ensemble Project at The Space at Irondale 85 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NYC October 27-November 26, 2023 Shadenia Savid in Moony's Kids Don't Cry . Photo by Natasha Rotondaro In 1948, Tennessee Williams published American Blues , a collection of five one-act plays, and a remarkable new production of this collection by Brooklyn's Irondale shows that these works have lost none of their power to both entertain and challenge audiences in the intervening three-quarters of a century. Comprising plays written in the decade between 1936 and 1946 - Moony's Kids Don't Cry (1936); The Dark Room (1939); The Case of the Crushed Petunias (1941); The Long Stay Cut Short, or, the Unsatisfactory Supper (1946); and Ten Blocks on the Camino Real (1946) - American Blues represents the second part of Irondale's American Century, the first install

Interview: Agnieszka Kazimierska Discusses Her Show "Katie's Tales," to Play NYC's United Solo Festival Nov. 11

Agnieszka Kazimierska in Katie's Tales . Photo by Renato Esposito. Agnieszka Kazimierska is an independent Polish performer, vocal practitioner, and theater researcher and pedagogue; and she worked in those capacities at the renowned Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards / Fondazione Teatro della Toscana - a theater research center founded by Polish theater artist Jerzy Grotowski - from 2007 through 2021, the year before the center's closing. Kazimierska, whose work is doubtless informed by her academic background in psychology, takes inspiration from magical realism, post-Jungian and depth psychology, and the intersections of the personal and sociohistorical, works both alone and in collaboration with an international array of theatermakers, and it was at the Workcenter, based in Italy, that she conceived and devised the solo show Katie’s Tales . Katie’s Tales assembles dialogue, poetry, and musicality in the form of traditional Polish songs into a representation

Review: FEARfest 2023 is Haunted by the Unknown

FEARfest 2023 Plays: A Year to Grieve , by Deirdre Girard & directed by Sydney Burtner; Cassie Strickland Is Not Under the Bed , by Vince Gatton & directed by Marie Elèna O'Brien; The Big Bad D Word , by Jennifer Downes & directed by Claire Shiell; Practice , by Caitland Winsett & directed by Lucy Roberts; Hysterical , by John Peña Griswold & directed by Maura Kelley; The Bowl , by R. A. Pauli & directed by David Adam Gill; and The Right One , by William Oliver Watkins & directed by Emily Hartford Presented by New Ambassadors Theatre Company at The Hudson Guild Theater 441 W. 26th Street, Manhattan, NYC October 25-29, 2023 Nicolas DiPierro and Marie Elèna O'Brien. Photo courtesy of New Ambassadors As we rapidly approach the uncontested best holiday of the year (Halloween, if that wasn't clear), New Ambassadors Theatre Company has played the Victor Frankenstein to another great slate of new short plays, assembling these parts into the 2023 incarn