Theater

New Ohio Theatre presents George & Co. in HOLDEN, written and directed by Anisa George

Scott Sheppard, Jaime Maseda. Photo plate3.com.

J. D. Salinger has been dead for seven years, and his admirers have long given up hope of an unpublished masterpiece emerging from the bunker in which he spent the greater part of his last forty years, struggling with drafts, ideas, and obsessions. His much-publicized life in isolation, where he vainly attempted to wring out another success of the order of The Catcher in the Rye acquired a universality as a Promethean myth of the agonies of the creative life. Whether the artist manages to keep inspiration alive or has in truth dried up, life is by no means easy. Salinger’s was a particularly American myth, foreshadowed by Ernest Hemingway and his decline in his later years and perhaps Melville, by those would discount Pierre and The Confidence-Man.

Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Cheek by Jowl, at BAM

Orlando James as Leontes, Natalie Radmall-Quirke as Hermione. Photo Rebecca Greenfield.

The Winter’s Tale has had a checkered career over the centuries. Its bipartite structure, with two lines of action, separated by many years, of strongly contrasting character offended the Aristotelian canon all-too-blatantly for the classicizing generations of the Restoration and Enlightenment. Acts I through III have every promise of ending with the most bitterly tragic outcome. This current is diverted to a happy ending in the last two acts, introduced by yet a third genre, the pastoral, in a staged enactment of a sheep-shearing festival. When the play began to find its way to the stage in the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, producers and actors saw in it a vehicle for over-the-top, classically inspired spectacle, as well as one of the great Shakespearean roles, Leontes, who is Iago and Othello rolled into one. It provided a powerful vehicle for Garrick, Kemble, and Kean. And three rich female roles as well, None of which were lost on the great actresses of the past 250 years.

I Giullari di Piazza and Alessandra Belloni to Perform La Cantata dei Pastori (The Shepherd’s Cantata) at the Theater for the New City, December 16-18, 21, 22

Come back in time to Southern Italy with Alessandra Belloni and I Giullari di Piazza, the renowned Italian music/theater/dance company, when they present their traditional Southern Italian “La Cantata dei Pastori,” (The Shepherd’s Cantata) a musical family holiday delight, at Theater for the New City, 155 First Avenue (between 9th & 10th Streets). Five performances, December 16 & 17 at 8 PM; December 18 at 5 PM; December 21 & 22 at 8 PM.   Starring as Mary in this unique production is the internationally renowned singer, percussionist, author, and director, Alessandra Belloni, an acknowledged authority on traditional Southern Italian arts, co-founder of I Giullari di Piazza (The Jesters of the Square), and solo guest performer in venues around the world.

Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at Glimmerglass

Greer Grimsley in the title of The Glimmerglass Festival production of Stephen Sondheim's "Sweeney Todd." Photo Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival.

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is dark, dark musical theatre. A vengeful barber returns to Victorian London, slits the throats of those who have wronged him and with his accomplice turns their bodies into the stuffing of meat pies. Todd’s London is as menacing as he is …

“There’s a hole in the world
Like a great black pit
And it’s filled with people
Who are filled with shit
And the vermin of the world inhabit it …”

So You’re About To See Hamilton …

Christopher Jackson as George Washington in "Hamilton". Photo Joan Marcus.

In the five seconds it takes Baby June to sing out Gypsy’s

“Let me entertain you. Let me make you smile,”

Lafayette in Hamilton’s “Guns and Ships” will have sung “I’m takin’ this horse by the reins makin’ redcoats redder with bloodstains. Lafayette. And I’m never gonna stop until I make ‘em drip, burn ‘em up and scatter their remains, I’m Lafayette”

That’s 9 words for Gypsy versus 32 words for Hamilton, nearly four times as many. Granted, “Guns and Ships” is one of the faster songs, but know this: there are about 24,000 words in Hamilton according to the book,  Hamilton The Revolution. That’s more than The Merchant of Venice! So if you think you’re going catch all the words when you see the show without a bit of study, think again. Even with headphones or sitting right under a speaker (where I sat), you will miss a lot. With Hamilton, you won’t want to miss a thing.

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