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Showing posts from 2024

News: "Before the Drugs Kick In" Extends Again, Comes to Theaterlab in March

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After an amazing run in Edinburgh, 10 performances at UNDER St. Marks, and 15 at the Court Square Theater, Mike Lemme's Before the Drugs Kick In , performed by NYC comedian and actress  Maria DeCotis , will be extending for a third time in New York City.  In our review of this excellent show , which takes the outward form of a stand-up set, we described it as inviting "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 concerned; the oppressiveness and isolation of the suburbs; and what Betty Friedan termed the feminine mystique." Before the Drugs Kick In will be coming to Theaterlab in Manhattan for 8 performances starting on Friday, March 15th at 7pm. Run time: 70 minutes, no intermission Performances Dates/Times: Friday, 3/15 – 7pm Saturday, 3/16 – 7pm Sunday, 3/17 – 4pm Friday, 3/22 – 7pm Saturday, 3/23 – 7pm Sunday, 3/24 – 4pm Friday, 3/29 – 7pm Sat

Review: "This is not a time of peace" Mounts a Multi-layered Memory Play

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This is not a time of peace Written by Deb Margolin Directed by Jerry Heymann Presented by New Light Theater Project at Theatre Row 410 W 42nd Street, Manhattan, NYC February 20-March 16, 2024 Charlotte Cohn as Alina, Roger Hendricks Simon as Hillel. Photo by Steven Pisano. The title of Deb Margolin's new play, This is not a time of peace , is spoken twice in the course of the performance, each time in reference to a different era. This doubling not only draws attention to historical correspondences but also evokes the play's emphasis on memory and experience–every part of which, we are told, "is still happening" "somewhere in time"–as fluid and malleable and exceeding boundaries, a conception echoed in the form of the play itself. Based in part on autobiographical connections to Margolin's actual father during the Cold War and making its world premiere at Midtown's Theatre Row, This is not a time of peace sketches parallels between the personal and

Review: On Site Opera’s "The Immersive Coffee Cantata Experience" a Caffeinated and Joyful Romp

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The Immersive Coffee Cantata Experience Music by Johann Sebastian Bach New English Libretto and orchestration by Geoffrey McDonald Presented by On Site Opera at The Lost Draft Coffee Shop 398 Broome Street, Manhattan, NYC February 14-24, 2024 Image from osopera.org Presenting a new English libretto and orchestration of Bach’s secular cantata BWV 211 Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be still, stop chattering), more commonly known as the Coffee Cantata, On Site Opera’s The Immersive Coffee Cantata Experience was a true delight from beginning to end. Its skillful adaptation to a modern context and outstanding musical performances, like the delicious coffee served throughout the performance, left the audience wanting more. Likely first performed in a coffee house in Leipzig, Germany, Bach’s cantata couples light-hearted jabs at the newly emerging coffee culture of his own time (and its critics) with his characteristically masterful blend of vocal and instrumental music. On Site Opera’s a

News: Thirdwing Presents Encore of Acclaimed Disney Unionization Drama "Burbank"

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Photo by Valerie Terranova Thirdwing , a hybrid theater company that has been presenting bold new works both live and streaming under a subscription model (like Hulu or Netflix) since January 2020, will present an encore production of its critically acclaimed Disney unionization drama Burbank , by Cameron Darwin Bossert, beginning March 12 at the wild project (you can read our review of an earlier production here ).   As part of its push for a new and affordable way to engage theatergoers, Thirdwing won’t be selling regular tickets to  Burbank . Instead, Thirdwing members can reserve a complimentary ticket after subscribing to its streaming platform for $4.99, which is the subscription's monthly fee. Membership includes tickets to all live performances and events year-round plus hours of original streaming theatrical and film content. Burban  tells the personal story of a 39-year-old Walt Disney fighting against Art Babbitt, the womanizing genius young animator and creator of Goof

Review: "The Good Soldier Švejk" Marches to the Tune of Some Great Puppeteers

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The Good Soldier Švejk and His Fortunes in the First World War Adapted and directed by Vít Hořejš Based on the novel by Jaroslav Hašek Presented by Theater for the New City , produced in cooperation with GOH Productions , at Theater for the New City 155 First Ave., Manhattan, NYC February 1-18, 2024 Michelle Beshaw, Deborah Beshaw, Rocco George. Photo by Jonathan Slaff. Published between 1921 and 1923, Czech writer Jaroslav Hašek's unfinished, multivolume satirical novel The Good Soldier Švejk and His Fortunes in the World War , commonly shortened to The Good Soldier Švejk , holds the distinction of being the most translated novel in Czech literature and has had a cultural impact of which its probable Influence on Joseph Heller, author of seminal World War II satire Catch-22 (1961), and its definite influence on Bertolt Brecht, who wrote a sequel titled Schweyk in the Second World (1943), represent only two examples. Now, adding a sadly necessary modifier to the title, the Czec

Review: It's Poetry Against the Pyre in "Drinks with Dead Poets"

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  Drinks with Dead Poets Adapted by Glyn Maxwell from his novel of the same name Directed by Attilio Rigotti Presented by Phoenix Theatre Ensemble at A.R.T./New York Theatres 502 West 53rd St., Manhattan, NYC February 2-11, 2024 Elise Stone as Ashling, John Lenartz as Max, Antonio Edwards Suárez as Zach. Photo by Jonathan Slaff. Timely in our current era of book banning, the dystopian world presented in Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s Drinks with Dead Poets , an adaptation of Glyn Maxwell’s novel of the same name, is both entirely different from and eerily similar to our own. Set in the pub on the Hudson River in Nyack, NY, where it was originally performed, the play shows us traveler Max’s (John Lenartz) encounters with barkeepers Ashling (Elise Stone) and Zack (Antonio Edwards Suárez), who represent two classes of people, the Rags and the Flags respectively, in this parallel universe where books are blacked out and buried. The Rags are fettered women who are not just complicit in the ne

Review: "Aberdeen" Searches for Some Priceless Advice

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Aberdeen Written and performed by Cassie Workman Presented at SoHo Playhouse 15 Vandam Street, Manhattan, NYC January 30-February 11, 2024 Cassie Workman. Photo by Brett Boardman.  In early December of 1993, I (Leah) drove from San Antonio to Houston, Texas, to see Nirvana. Rather than bopping around a pit full of frat boys singing along to "Rape Me" without a hint of irony, I chose to worm my way up front, maybe 10 feet from the stage, and I spent most of the show watching Kurt Cobain. At several points during the latter part of the show, we made eye contact. We both loathed the frat boys and arena shows and flower-sniffin, kitty-pettin, baby-kissin corporate rock whores. There were several thousand people in the Astroarena, but he was doing the show for me because we connected. I believed it that night, on the long drive back to San Antonio; I believed it 4 months later on April 8, 1994, and I kind of still believe it today, even though I know better. Aberdeen , a poignant

News: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Pays Tribute to the Ladies of Disney on February 8th at the Slipper Room

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Persé Fanny. Photo by Jason Laboy.   Just in time for Valentine's Day, Hotsy Totsy Burlesque - in its 15th year of paying tribute to favorite movies and TV shows with rhinestones, glitter, and flying underpants, and winner of Broadway World's “Best Burlesque Show of 2023” - will present its fan-favorite annual tribute to the ladies of Disney. Prince Charming (Handsome Brad) and his wife, the Cherry Godmother, are throwing their annual Bride Finding Ball, this time for Tinkerbell, the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But is finding a handsome prince really her idea of happily ever after? The show will take place at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street, NYC), a 21+ venue, on Thursday, February 8, 2024. The performance will be hosted by Cherry Pitz & Handsome Brad, with special guest host Bimini Cricket; acts by Fortune Cookie, Persé Fanny, Betty Brash, and Rosie Cheeks; gogo by Bitsy Brûlée, and stage kitten duties handled by Dutch Baby. Admission is $25 pre-sold reserved s

Review: "Falling Sideways Off the Edge of the Earth" Offers Some Vertiginous Views of Existence

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Falling Sideways Off the Edge of the Earth Written by Pamela Enz Directed by C.C. Kellogg and Avery Wigglesworth Presented by Theater for the New City and Executive Director Crystal Field in co-production with Invulnerable Nothings at Theater for the New City 155 1st Ave., Manhattan, NYC January 13-28, 2024 Ginna Hoben and Marlon Xavier. Photo by Christian Frederick Stevenson Some plays are content to render the "big" metaphysical questions as subtext. Falling Sideways Off the Edge of the Earth is not one of those plays. From playwright Pamela Enz, who has described herself as a "hybrid theatrical collagist," Falling Sideways Off the Edge of the Earth comes at the big questions straight on and from multiple angles, foregrounding interrogations of sexuality, death, religion, the natures of humanity and the universe, and more in a poetic tissue of voices and viewpoints dense with both ontological inquiry and memorably crafted lines. This production demands the aud

Review: "Wounded" Goes Beyond Bone Deep

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Wounded Written by Jiggs Burgess Directed by Del Shores Presented by Beard Collins Shores Productions at SoHo Playhouse 15 Vandam St., Manhattan, NYC January 24-February 11, 2024 Shaw Jones and Craig Taggart in Wounded . Courtesy of Beard Collins Shores Productions. At one point in Wounded , a mesmerizing two-hander from playwright Jiggs Burgess, a man named Carrol (Craig Taggart) observes that one's roots can shift from providing a sense of protection to holding one back; and, indeed, in this play, the past, tied inseparably to the small hometown to which Carrol and his friend from youth, Robert (Shaw Jones) find themselves having returned to as middle-aged adults, inescapably ensnares the present. Carrol and Robert's reunion gradually and compellingly excavates the ways in which they have been shaped by their past environment as much as by their individual choices, personalities, addictions, and errors, and, in one significant instance, as much by intentional inaction as by

Review: "The Greatest Hits Down Route 66" Takes a Trip Through the American 20th Century

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The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 Written by Michael Aguirre Musical arrangements by Grace Yukich and Jennifer C. Dauphinais Directed by Sarah Norris Presented by New Light Theater Project in association with Calliope Stage and NewYorkRep at 59E59 Theaters 59 E 59th St., Manhattan, NYC January 13-February 18, 2024 L to R front: Erika Rolfsrud, Kristoffer Cusick, Joél Acosta. L to R rear: Kleo Mitrokostas, Martin Ortiz, Andy Evan Cohen. Photo by Hunter Canning Late in The Greatest Hits Down Route 66 , a new play with music from playwright Michael Aguirre, one of the characters brings up the philosophical truism that a person can never step in the same river twice, an observation that applies not only to individual and collective histories but also to performing a song. Just as with live theater, each live performance of a song constitutes a discrete, transitory text (and historical moment); and in the case of folk music, the genre from which the play's titular hits are drawn, it is

Review: New Location, Same Excellence for the 15th The Fire This Time Festival

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The Fire This Time Festival : Season 15: Ten-Minute Plays Ethel & Ethel , by Joël René Scoville; Mamas & Papas , by Kamilah Bush; What's Love Got to Do With It? , by LeeLee Jackson; Why Jamira Gotta Do All Da Werk? , by Nia Akilah Robinson; It's Karen B****! , by Taylor A. Blackman; The Mural , by Monique Pappas-Williams Directed by Cezar Williams Presented in collaboration with FRIGID New York at the wild project 195 E. 3rd St., Manhattan, NYC January 15-28, 2024 Marinda Anderson and Danielle Covington in Ethel & Ethel . Photo by Garlia Jones 2024 marks not only the fifteenth year of The Fire This Time Festival, which showcases "early career playwrights of African and African-American descent," but also a move south and east from the festival's longtime home at the Kraine Theater to the wild project, where audiences can experience an exhibition of paintings by multidisciplinary artist Moses Harper in the lobby prior to the show (or the festival'

Review: In "Canary," Creating a Big Lie Can Be Just Another Day at the Office

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Canary Written by Donald Wollner Directed by Bree O'Connor Presented by Playful Substance at the Chain Theatre 312 W 36th St., 4th fl., Manhattan, NYC January 9-20, 2023 Dan Kellmer, Yessenia Rivas, & Jason Scott Quinn. "Staff Meeting": Photo Credit: Amanda Lacson For the bulk of the twentieth century, the canary was instrumentalized by the working class as a warning device, employed by coal miners because it would indicate dangerous levels of carbon monoxide or other toxic gasses by succumbing to them. Donald Wollner's Canary , set several decades ago in roughly the same period as canaries were replaced with electronic detectors, takes its title from and plays on this proverbial usage of the bird. Making its world premiere at the Chain Theatre as the first full production mounted by Playful Substance since its fall 2019 production of Raphael Perahia’s Shelter in Place , Canary playfully but bitingly imagines a New York advertising firm as the location of an inf

News: "Before the Drugs Kick In" Extends Its Run Through January with a Move to Queens

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Maria DeCotis. Photo by Arin Sang-urai. Mike Lemme's Before the Drugs Kick In , performed by NYC comedian and actress Maria DeCotis , which concluded its December run at UNDER St. Marks, has added January dates at Court Square Theater in Long Island City, Queens. In our review of this excellent show , which takes the outward form of a stand-up set, we described it as inviting "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 concerned; the oppressiveness and isolation of the suburbs; and what Betty Friedan termed the feminine mystique." Before the Drugs Kick In runs from January 5th through 28th - see below for the complete list of performances - and Court Square Theater is located at 44-02 23rd Street, Long Island City, a 5-minute walk from the 7, M, and E trains. Tickets may be purchased at this link , and you can also support the show and its futu