Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category
No-Win Productions presents the World Premiere of Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck, FJF, at the New Ohio Theater, February 28 – March 21 (closed)
-+*Georg Büchner, in Germany, is considered one of the nation’s greatest writers, and their most prestigious literary prize is named after him. However, productions of his plays are rare in this country, most likely to be found on university and college campuses—even during the bicentenary of his birth in 2013. That is why I was so especially keen to see the No-Win Productions’ staging of his most famous play, Woyzeck, in Jeremy Duncan Pape’s adaptation, entitled Woyzeck, FJF (the protagonist’s initials).
Comden and Green’s On The 20th Century Revived by the Roundabout, with Kristen Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, and Andy Karl
-+*A main curtain that challenges the Chrysler Building in Art Deco beauty. Four luggage-tossing, red-capped porters who tap dance and sing their way across the stage. Then the big reveal of the huge 20th Century Limited train itself—blue-gray metallic, slanted out toward the audience under the black iron and glass ceiling. Surely this set, which appears only once in the show, is the most magnificent Broadway has seen in years.
-+*very character in The Insurgents, a new play by Lucy Thurber at The Bank Street Theater, is or has been disenfranchised. Sally Wright, played by Cassie Beck, has lost her athletic scholarship and returns to a dead-end, no hope town in the rural Northeast, joining her father, a drinker and womanizer and her brother who can’t get anything right.
-+*After its impressive fall production of Conor McPherson’s Port Authority (2001), the Irish Rep has moved on to an older play from an older generation, Hugh Leonard’s Da (1978), which was a huge success in New York and on a ten-month American tour, winning all three of the major Best Play awards in 1978, the Drama Desk, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, and the Tony. It premiered off-off Broadway, soon transferred to the Morosco Theatre on Broadway (which fell prey to the wrecker’s ball shortly afterwards) and almost became a New York institution over its 687 performances. It was made into an American film in 1988, with Martin Sheen playing Charlie opposite Barnard Hughes, who created the role of Da on stage.
-+*Kentucky Cantata by Paul David Young is supposed to be about issues of important issues of our time including violence against women, race and immigration. However, it doesn’t rise to the importance of these.
-+*For several years now, one of the joys of the Williamstown Theatre Festival has been the revivals of obscure, but cherishable British plays of the 1960’s and 70’s, David Storey’s Home, for example or Simon Gray’s Quartermaine’s Terms, to name two examples. Bernard Pomerance’s The Elephant Man is a late (1979) product of the period, even if it is by no means obscure today, thanks mostly to David Lynch’s remarkable film (1980), and even if it was written by an American.
-+*The original Side Show was an anomaly on Broadway. Although it opened to rave reviews in 1997, it was a mega-flop. Hardly anyone wanted to see a show about “Siamese” twins, freaks, and it closed after only 122 performances and a $6.8 million loss.
Now Side Show has been totally reimagined with a new director, a new choreographer, and several new songs. The show has evolved. And so has its audience. We’re a more diverse, open, and tolerant society with a much broader definition of “normal.” The headline of the original review in The New York Times said “Illuminating the Freak in Everyone.” The perspective of that headline today would surely change the words to “Illuminating the Humanity in …”
-+*Vivian Nesbitt, born in Ohio and currently active in Albuquerque New Mexico, where she is Director of the Sol Acting Academy, studied acting in New York, and has been working in theater for many years as an actor, writer and teacher. Her play, The Bark and the Tree, is substantially autobiographical, but it transcends her personal perspective and the specifics of her own life into potent themes, like what is passed down in families, ancestry, history and its deliberate remaking, one’s debt to the past, art, creativity, and, ultimately, our spiritual lives, which form a continuum beyond life and death. She addresses all this from deep personal experience, which gives all these different aspects of her play substance and ballast, so that one would have to be a total clod, or stone drunk, not to be engulfed by her story and enlightened by it. You know what it’s like when the faeries and leprechauns come out. I assure you there are none of them here.