Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Month: August 2014

FringNYC — Complete Listings for Encore Series and Solos Sept 4 – Oct 5, 2014

                                                        For Immediate Release:
                        Contact: Ron Lasko at ron@spincyclenyc.com or 212-505-1700 x. 11

Nearly 2 Dozen Festival Favorites Get Extensions at
FringeNYC ENCORE SERIES
September 4 - October 5 at Baruch Performing Arts Center & SoHo Playhouse

In 17 days, even the most intrepid theatergoer can only sample a fraction of the
over 200 offerings at the New York International Fringe Festival. Now in its
10th year, the official 2014 FringeNYC Encore Series gives theatre lovers
another chance at seeing some of the most critically acclaimed and most
crowd-pleasing shows from the Festival.

This year, the FringeNYC Encore Series will be divided into two separate mini
festivals. Baruch Performing Arts Center will present exclusively solo
performances as part of its ongoing "Solo In The City" performance series (which
has previously presented works by Sandra Bernhard, Jackie Hoffman and Tovah
Feldshuh), while SoHo Playhouse will host an array of drama, comedies and
musicals. FringeNYC and The FringeNYC Encore Series are servicemarks and/or
trademarks of The Present Theatre, Inc. and are used with permission.

SOLO IN THE CITY: THE FRINGENYC ENCORE SERIES runs September 11 - October 3 at
Baruch Performing Arts Center, located on the campus of Baruch College in
Manhattan on East 25th Street between Lexington & 3rd Aves. Tickets are $18 -
$20, available online at www.baruch.cuny.edu/bpac, by phone at 646-312-5073, or
in person at the box office at 55 Lexington Ave. (enter E. 25th St. between
Lexington & 3rd Aves.)  Performances will include:

Confessions of Old Lady #2
Joan Shepard's sparkling account of 74 years on Broadway and on TV. Laced with
side-splitting stories & witty songs, this musical memoir won four stars from
the London Times.
Sept. 18 at 7 PM & Sept. 22 at 2 PM

Fearless
The story of one man's broken engagement (not his fault), failed suicide attempt
(definitely his fault), the relationships that followed (probably his fault) and
the misguided attempts to teach his students how to take risks and become
fearless.
Sept. 20, 27 at 9 PM

Gary Busey's One Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl)
In this absurdist romp through Shakespeare, pop culture, and life in the
theatre, iconic actor Gary Busey (played by comedian David Carl) will perform
all the parts in "Hamlet", using homemade puppets, videos, live music, and
poetry. FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Sept. 19, 26 at 9 PM & Oct. 3 at 9 PM

Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey, with the generous assistance
of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran
Ever wish the Holocaust hadn't happened? Some say it didn't! Join Barry's
journey to find deniers from Illinois to Iran, meeting engineers and
ex-presidents, dodging a brother in Hungary and a boyfriend back home to
discover the truth. FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Sept. 11, 18, 24 at 7:30 PM & Sept. 21 at 3 PM

Magical Negro Speaks
Jamil Ellis gives voice to the Magical Negro -- one of Hollywood’s favorite
tropes -- and examines what images in entertainment mean for future generations.
FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Sept. 19 at 8 PM & Sept. 20 at 7 PM

Murder Margaret and Me
Margaret Rutherford became a global legend playing Miss Marple. Originally she
didn't want the part, and Agatha Christie didn't want Marple played by "the
funniest woman alive." This British sell-out sensation sees Christie playing
detective, unearthing Rutherford's terrible secrets. FringeNYC Overall
Excellence Award winner.
Sept. 13 at 3 PM; Sept. 19 & 20 at 7 PM

The Pawnbroker: Lies, Lovers, and Bertolt Brecht
What price would you pay for love -- your dignity, your sanity, your place in
history? Discover the lies behind Brecht's legend - and what five women lost to
create it.
Sept 17 at 7:30 PM; Sept. 28 at 7 PM

Sex, Lies & Earl Grey
How do you take your tea? Georgina likes it hot with good manners, bad behavior
and a pianist. Her crash course in etiquette reveals more than she, or you might
expect.
Sept. 20 at 2 PM; Sept. 28 at 7:30 PM

_________________________

THE FRINGENYC ENCORE SERIES runs September 4 - October 5 at SoHo Playhouse  (15
Vandam Street between Varick and Avenue of the Americas). Tickets are $18,
available at 212-352-3101 or online at OvationTix at www.fringenyc-encoreseries.com.
Performances will include:

<50%
Gianmarco and Laura star in a completely factual play about the end of their
five-year relationship. Everything is exactly as it happened, is happening, and
will happen.
Mon 9/15 @ 9, Fri 9/19 @ 7, Mon 9/22 @ 8, Mon 9/29 @ 9:30 , Sat 10/4 @ 5

• Chemistry
Steph is a recovering depressive. Jamie overachieved himself off the deep end.
When they meet in their psychiatrist's office, they can't deny their chemistry,
but can they survive it? A pitch black and piercingly insightful comedy about
being crazy in love.
Sat 9/13 @ 5:30, Fri 9/19 @ 9:30, Sat 9/20 @ 7, Sun 9/21 @ 5, Sat 10/4 @ 7

Fatty Fatty No Friends
As the fattest kid in school, Tommy lives a lonely, living nightmare. When the
skinny kids’ taunting goes too far, Tommy takes revenge without amends. A dark
spoken-word Tim Burton-esque musical diving into the lunchtime of life, where
bullies are delicious. FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Wed 9/10 @ 8, Sun 9/14 @ 3, Mon 9/15 @ 7, Wed 9/17 @ 8, Thu 9/17 @ 7

Held Momentarily
Trapped on a stalled New York subway, seven strangers realize it's not just the
train that's stuck. A poignant musical comedy about making connections, living
in the moment and moving on in life... and a woman just went into labor.
Thu 9/11 @ 7, Fri 9/12 @ 9:30, Sun 9/14 @ 5, Thu 9/18 @ 9, Sun 9/21 @ 3

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
Join world-renowned mixologist and raconteur Anthony Caporale (Art of the Drink
TV) for a boozy romp through the history of alcohol. Cocktails and comedy
combine for an utterly unique musical theatre experience! “An absolute
must-see!” raves The Huffington Post. 21+ only
Fri 9/5 at 8, Fri 9/12 at 8, Fri 9/19 at 8, Fri 9/26 at 8

Jump Man
A musical parody of the Mario Brothers world. When a crime wave hits their
Brooklyn neighborhood, Mario and Luigi have their heroism tested. Jump Man
addresses age-old questions like "What defines a hero?" and "Do plumbers love to
sing?" FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Sat 9/6 @ 7, Fri 9/12 @ 7, Sat 9/13 @ 3 & 8, Sun 9/14 @ 7

• Moses, The Author
Meet Moses. He has family problems (gay son, rocky marriage), God problems
(existential), and career problems (writer’s block, a hellish deadline). To make
a better Bible he must become a better man. A love story, with scrolls. Don't
miss it.
Fri 9/26 @ 7, Sun 9/28 @ 3, Wed 10/1 @ 3, Sun 10/5 @ 3 & 7

Mother’s Day
Acid-tongued New York drag queen Helen Back incites a nuclear family meltdown
when she comes home to New Jersey for Mother's Day. The debut of a pitch black
comedy/drama that explores the rules of engagement for a family at war.
Thurs 9/4 @ 9:30, Fri 9/5 @ 9:30, Tues 9/9 @ 8, Thurs 9/11 9:30

No One Asked Me
Illegal. No papers. They are not supposed to be here, yet for thousands of
undocumented children, the U.S. is the only home they know. They face an
uncertain future, fearing deportation. Based upon stories of "illegal" NYC
students. FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Fri 9/26 @ 9, Sat 9/27 @ 4, Sun 9/28 @ 7:30, Mon 9/29 @ 7, Tue 9/30 @ 8

Smashed: The Carrie Nation Story
A beer-soaked, absurdly comic opera loosely based on the hatchet-wielding
temperance leader Carrie Nation. Raise your frothy brew high!
Sun 9/21 @ 8

This is Where We Live
Two teenagers collide like a modern day Orpheus and Eurydice in a dead-end
Australian town. A dark, moving comedy infused with the rhythm of beat poetry.
Australia's Paperbark Theatre Company presents this US premiere, which won the
2012 Griffin Award. FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Thu 9/4 @ 8, Fri 9/5 @ 8, Sat 9/6 @ 9:30, Sun 9/7 @ 5, Mon 9/8 @ 8

Urban Momfare
Why don't we ever hear songs about moms not actually liking their kids? This
romp through motherhood on Manhattan's Upper East Side spans 17 years: "Music
For Gifted and Talented Babies" to bra straps and Bellinis. Sling on your
stilettos! FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award winner.
Sun 9/21 @ 7, Wed 9/24 @ 2, Thu 9/25 @ 7, Sat 9/27 @ 7, Sun 9/28 @ 5

Warm Enough For Swimming
Mom drowned years ago. Grandma died yesterday. Eddie fled his wedding. And
Bridget can't make coffee. Can estranged siblings clean the living room when the
bride arrives with a post-recession pyramid scheme and a Russian Mafioso stalks
their childhood home?
Sat 9/20 @ 9:30, Tue 9/23 @ 8, Thurs 9/25 @ 9:30, Sat 9/27 @ 9:30, Thurs 10/2 @
8

_________________________

Past FringeNYC Encore Series have served as a launching platform for many
commercial and regional runs including Silence! The Musical, Krapp 39, Triassic
Parq, 5 Lesbian Eating A Quiche, Jamaica Farewell, The Complete Performer and
Piaf, among others.

                                                                        ###

FringeNYC Announces Overall Excellence Award Winners

                                            For Immediate Release Contact: Ron Lasko @ 212-505-1700 x. 11, ron@spincyclenyc.com  FringeNYC 2014 Announces Overall Excellence Award Winners  August 25, 2014 -- Winners of the 2012 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Awards were announced by festival Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy during a brief ceremony at The Cutting Room in New York. As selected by an independent panel of over 30 theater professionals, the winners are as follows:  Overall Play: Absolutely Filthy The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen This is Where We Live  Overall Musical: Jump Man: A Mario Musical King of Kong Urban Momfare  Acting: Janet Prince - Murder Margaret & Me Stephen Wallem - Bedroom Secrets Gwendolyn Kelso - Interior: Panic Brendan Hunt  - Absolutely Filthy  Playwrighting: Briandaniel Oglesby - Halfway, Nebraska Catherine Yu - The Sun Experiment Sara Cooper - Things I Left on Long Island Daniel McCabe - The Flood Jacob Marx Rice - Chemistry  Solo Performance: Gary Busey's Hamlet Hoaxocaust Magical Negro Speaks No Static at All The Mushroom Cure  Music & Lyrics Composition: Elliah Helfetz - Dust Can't Kill Me  Ensemble: The List No One Asked Me Freaks: A Legend About Growing Up Vestments of the Gods The 8th Fold  Costumes: Ashley Soliman - Fatty Fatty No Friends Directing: Bronwen Carson - April's Fool Gregory Kowalski - Crave  TheaterMania Audience Favorite: Absolutely Filthy  FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy. In 1997, New York became the seventh U.S. city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco. FringeNYC has presented over 3000 performing groups representing every continent, prompting Switzerland's daily, New Zurich Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” FringeNYC has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Matt & Ben, Never Swim Alone, Debbie Does Dallas, Dog Sees God, Brandon Teena, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, 21 Dog Years, Bash'd, The Irish Curse, Jurassic Parq, The Fartiste, Silence! The Musical and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche; movies including WTC View and Armless; and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC alumni include Bradley Cooper, Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me, CNN's Inside Man), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Brooke Elliott (Drop Dead Diva), Melissa Rauch (Big Bang Theory), Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (Pippin), W. Kamau Bell (Totally Biased), Dan O'Brien (NBC's Whitney), and Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), among countless other success stories.  The 19th Annual New York International Fringe Festival will run August 7 - 23, 2015 and will once again feature nearly 200 of the worlds best emerging theater and dance artists. Applications for the 2015 festival will be available online in November; completed applications are due February 14, 2015. For more information visit www.FringeNYC.org                                                                      ###

REVIEW My Life Is A Musical by Adam Overett, a world premiere, directed and choreographed by Marlo Hunter, Bay Street Theater, Sag Harbor, Long Island

It feels exciting and even uplifting to attend the first performance of a new show.  This one, My Life Is A Musical, has a cute idea, some amusing moments, and some fine performances from its principals and excellent ensemble players.  On the other hand, the characters are thin, the story loose with predictable outcomes, and the music uninventive.    

What’s the cute idea?  Parker, who’s otherwise an uptight accountant, has a peculiar and lyrical trait:  he hears ordinary conversation as singing as in musicals, a quirk he hides because it makes him feel weird.  Like Jim Carrey in Liar Liar who can’t help telling the truth, Parker is mechanically locked in to a quirk he can’t help, leading to unavoidable — and potentially amusing — misunderstandings in his dealings with others. 

Roped in to being the accountant for a touring rock group, Parker encounters JT, the bouncy girl who’s group manager and Zach, its main singer. Since Parker is introverted and inexperienced with girls, and is used to hiding the truth about himself, he doesn’t confess his love to JT.  Meanwhile, with his special gift for hearing songs everywhere, he’s feeding Zach songs based on everything from fragments of overheard conversations to the words in his own heart about his growing love for JT.  Sure, Zach’s great at putting a song across but he has no soul within to write one himself (an unkind satire of rock musicians that I take in with skepticism).  Anyhow, Cyrano de Bergerac–like, JT falls in love with Zach who’s singing Parker’s love songs

And Zach, played by Justin Matthew Sargent, is great at putting a song across and some of the most enjoyable moments of the show are when he’s playing and singing.  The songs and styles are spoofs on famous singers:  “I’m just an ordinary dog,” sings the gyrating Zach.  

As Zach and the group rise to success because of Parker’s terrific songs (if only they were terrific, but they’re not), Randy, a music blogger who senses there’s something funny about the group’s sudden improvement, comes sneaking around in the guise of a suspicious detective to find out “the truth” about Parker and the group.  Randy, a spoof on “detectives you have known” from Sherlock Holmes to The Pink Panther and others in between, sings the song “What Have You Got To Hide” in the “Hernando’s Hideaway” style of covert excitement that’s enlivened many shows before.  Robert Cuccioli is theatrically commanding and archly funny as Randy, and the character lends itself to some engaging second act farce.

That’s a big improvement over what goes for humor in the first act:  I wish someone would explain to me why the phrase “It sucks” (variants he sucks, shethey…) used about 8 times early in the show, gets a laugh out of the audience every time.  Why?

Howie Michael Smith as Parker who comes out of his shell in the course of the show has a couple of introspective songs that come near to poignant but since he’s the only even partly genuine character, the others being amusing but campy caricatures (Randy, Zach) or cliché (JT), the songs spin off into nowhere.  Generally the songs, though energetically performed, tend to blend in to one another.  Put another way, “one doesn’t leave humming.”  The singers are miked, which should be unnecessary for professionals, all the more in a small theater.

Early on Parker confesses his quirk of hearing conversation as music — too bad because, he says, “I don’t like musicals.”  In spite of a laugh or two, I don’t think this one would have changed his mind. 

My Life Is A Musical plays at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island, NY through August 31.  For information and tickets, click on live link of title.

Yvonne Korshak

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