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

Tag: festival

Press Release | New York Innovation Theatre Foundation Awards for Off-Off Broadway

… complete listing …

The New York Innovation Theatre Foundation

Honors The Best And Brightest Of Off-Off Broadway

For more information, Katie Rosin at 917-438-9223 and pr@nyitawards.com
2016 Recipients marked with **

New York, NY: On Monday, September 26, 2016, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation, the organization who for the past 12 years has been dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway, announced the 2016 recipients at its annual awards ceremony, The IT Awards. Hosted by a crowd favorite, Jason Kravits and directed by award winning director and sound designer, DeLisa White the ceremony took place from 7pm to 10pm at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

The beautiful event included presenters from the vast theater community, including Jenny Lyn Bader & Ari Laura Kreith (Theatre 167), Ken Billington (lighting designer),Klea Blackhurst (Everything the Traffic Will Allow), Andrew Block (TDF), Anne Bogart (director), Mallory Catlett (Obie award winning director), Rebecca Cunningham (costume designer), Sol Crespo (Missteps of a Salsa Dancer), Alec Duffy (Hoi Polloi, JACK), Richard Frankel (producer), John Gromada (Next Fall, A Bronx Tale), John Benjamin Hickey (The Normal Heart), Elena K. Holy (FringeNYC), Cady Huffman (La Cage aux Folles, Big Deal), Andrew Long (Curious Incident of the Dog in The Nighttime), Neil A. Mazzella (Of Mice and Men, After Midnight…), Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!), Crystal Skillman (playwright), Peggy Shaw (Split Britches Theater Company, WOW Cafe Theatre), Alisha Spielmann (Producing Juliet), Carmelita Tropicana (performance artist), Lois Weaver (independent performance artist),Robert Witherow (Violet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth), andEli Zoller (Violet, First Date: The Musical)

The 2016 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominees represent 145 individual nominees, 50 productions and 44 theatre companies. In the past 12 years, the IT Awards have honored nearly 2,200 artists, 600 productions and 550 companies.

Outstanding Ensemble

** The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Fred Backus, Broderick Ballantyne, Rebecca Gray Davis, Lex Friedman, Ian W. Hill, Bob Laine, Matthew Napoli, Timothy McCown Reynolds, Alyssa Simon, Anna Stefani
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Gus Birney, Joachim Boyle, Robby Clater, Ella Dershowitz, Midori Francis, Dana Jacks, Thomas Muccioli, Aria Shahghasemi
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company

Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen, Aidan Sank
Street Theater, TOSOS
Tim Abrams, Chris Andersson, Christopher Borg, Éilis Cahill, Jonathan Cedano, Desmond Dutcher, Russell Jordan, Josh Kenney, Jeremy Lawrence, Michael Lynch, Joe MacDougall, Rebecca Nyahay, Patrick Porter, & Ben Strothmann
The Further Adventures Of…, TOSOS
Tim Burke, Mark Finley, & Jamie Heinlein
Unity (1918), Project: Theater
Wendy Bagger, Alicia Dawn Bullen, Jessi Blue Gormezano, Doug Harris, Beth Ann Hopkins, Joshua Everett Johnson, Joe Jung, Alexandra Perlwitz, Melanie Rey

Outstanding Solo Performance

**Siobhan O’Loughlin
Broken Bone Bathtub, Elephant Run District
David Carl
David Carl’s Celebrity One Man Hamlet,
Project Y Theatre, PM2 Entertainment and Richard Jordan Productions in associate with Underbelly
Laura Hooper
Crumble, MORA Theater
Peter Michael Marino
Late With Lance!, PM2 Entertainment
Colin Summers
Steve: A Docu-Musical, New York Neo-Futurists
Yolanda K. Wilkinson
Bible Study for Heathens, New York Neo-Futurists

Outstanding Actor In A Featured Role

**Timothy McCown Reynolds
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Deven Anderson
The Pillowman, Variations Theatre Group
Joseph D. Giardina
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Alex Grubbs
Utility, The Amoralists
Ryan Johnston
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
Mike Phillips Gomez
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio

Outstanding Actress In A Featured Role

**Midori Francis
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Kelly Barbarito
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Adrian Grace Bumpas
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Anwen Darcy
Romeo And Juliet, The Drilling Company
Noelle McGrath
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Lauren Nordvig
Rush, Team Awesome Robot

Outstanding Actor In A Lead Role

**Fred Backus
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Adam Belvo
Butcher Holler Here We Come, Aztec Economy
Dave Klasko
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
Lee Slobotkin
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Charles Socarides
How to Live on Earth, Colt Coeur
Jonny Stein
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre

Outstanding Actress In A Lead Role

**Maeve Yore
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio
Becca Andrews
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Holly Heiser
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Christina Elise Perry
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Geena Quintos
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre
Vanessa Vaché
Utility, The Amoralists

Outstanding Choreography/Movement

**Becky Baumwoll
Above Below, Broken Box Mime Theater
Corrie Blissit
In the Soundless Awe, New Light Theater Project
Nikita Chaudhry& Ian Fields Stewart
Untameable, The Unsoft War and Highly Impractical Theatre
Patrice Miller
City of Glass, Untitled Theater Co. #61
Katie Proulx
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Geena Quintos
A Chorus Line, The Secret Theatre

Outstanding Director

**Fritz Brekeller
Composure, WorkShop Theater Company
Michael Bello
In the Heights, The Gallery Players
Kirk Gostkowski& John Arthur Long
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Ian Harkins
She Stoops To Conquer, Hudson Warehouse
Travis Russ
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Terry Schreiber
Harper Regan, T. Schreiber Studio

Outstanding Lighting Design

**Aaron Gonzalez
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Chelsie McPhilimy
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
John Narun
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Kia Rogers
Rizing, Flux Theatre Ensemble
Govin Ruben
Exposure, Next In Line Productions LLC
Serena Wong
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective

Outstanding Costume Design

**Kaitlyn Elizabeth Day
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Mary Cann
Hot L Baltimore, T. Schreiber Studio
Viviane Galloway
A Little Night Music, Theater 2020
Jennifer A. Jacob
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Emily Rose Parman
She Stoops To Conquer, Hudson Warehouse
Ashley Soliman
Fatty Fatty No Friends, Mind The Art Entertainment

Outstanding Set Design

**George Allison
Hot L Baltimore, T. Schreiber Studio
Aaron Gonzalez
Wait Until Dark, Variations Theatre Group
Jennifer Neads
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
Kate Noll
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective
Travis Russ & Carl Vorwerk
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Sandy Yaklin
Office Politics, One Wild Jew Productions

Outstanding Sound Design

**Joe Jung& KJ Sanchez
Unity (1918), Project: Theater
Andy Evan Cohen
In the Soundless Awe, New Light Theater Project
M.L. Dogg
How to Live on Earth, Colt Coeur
Ian W. Hill
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Matt Sherwin
Gluten!, Adjusted Realists
Mark Van Hare
Gordy Crashes, Ricochet Collective

Outstanding Innovative Design

**Berit Johnson
(Props Design)
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks
Andy Evan Cohen
(Video Design)
Natural Life, T. Schreiber Studio
Aaron Gonzalez & David Rey
(Projection Design)
The Pillowman, Variations Theatre Group
John Narun
(Projection Design)
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company
Gil Sperling
(Video Design)
City of Glass, Untitled Theater Co. #61
Lynda White
(Mask Design)
The Bacchae, The Faux-Real Theatre Company in association with LaMaMa ETC

Outstanding Original Music

**Matt Sherwin
Gluten!, Adjusted Realists
Christian De Gré
Fatty Fatty No Friends, Mind The Art Entertainment
Jonathan Elliott,Mark Greenfield,Tony Naumovski& Emily Serotta
The Bacchae, The Faux-Real Theatre Company in association with LaMaMa ETC
James Brandon Lewis
Dvorak In America, GOH Productions
Ryan McCurdy
Rush, Team Awesome Robot
Anna Stefanic
The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks

Outstanding Original Short Script

**Kim Katzberg
Strays, Kim Katzberg in collaboration with Nora Woolley and Raquel Cion
Keelay Gipson
Time in the Penn, The Fire This Time Festival
Ayun Halliday
Fawnbook, Gemini CollisionWorks
Jiréh Breon Holder
God Will Know The Difference, The Fire This Time Festival
Roger Q. Mason
Hard Palate, The Fire This Time Festival
Siobhan O’Loughlin
Broken Bone Bathtub, Elephant Run District
Christopher Torres
We Come Here as part of Astoria Stories, Astoria Performing Arts Center
Kathleen Warnock
The Further Adventures Of…, TOSOS

Outstanding Original Full-Length Script

**Scott C. Sickles
Composure, WorkShop Theater Company
Jamal Abdunnasir, Tim Craig, Peregrine Heard, Lauren LaRocca, Emily Stout,Beatrice Vena, & Ayana Wilson
Black Protagonist, The Associates Theater Ensemble
Niki Hatzidis& Anastasia Rutkowski
Steel Birds, manhattan theatre source’s Estrogenius Festival
Lia Romeo
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company
Emily Schwend
Utility, The Amoralists
Seanie Sugrue
One Way To Pluto!, Locked In The Attic Productions
Colin Summers
Steve: A Docu-Musical, New York Neo-Futurists

Outstanding Performance Art Production

**Above Below
Broken Box Mime Theater
Broken Bone Bathtub
Elephant Run District

City of Glass
Untitled Theater Co. #61

Electronic City
The New Stage Theatre Company

Nord Hausen Fly Robot: (Invisible Republic #3)
Gemini CollisionWorks

War of the Worlds

Outstanding Production Of A Musical

**Steve: A Docu-Musical
New York Neo-Futurists
A Chorus Line
The Secret Theatre
A Little Night Music
Theater 2020
Fatty Fatty No Friends
Mind The Art Entertainment
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Astoria Performing Arts Center

The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit
WorkShop Theater Company

Outstanding Premiere Production Of A Play

The Amoralists
WorkShop Theater Company

Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey
Life Jacket Theatre Company

Natural Life
T. Schreiber Studio

One Way To Pluto!
Locked In The Attic Productions

Steel Birds
manhattan theatre source’s Estrogenius Festival

Outstanding Revival Of A Play

**Street Theater
Project Y Theatre Company

Harper Regan
T. Schreiber Studio

Hot L Baltimore
T. Schreiber Studio

Unity (1918)
Project: Theater

Wait Until Dark
Variations Theatre Group
Special Awards:
2016 Ellen Stewart Award
The Fringe NYC

2016 Artistic Achievement Award
Carmelita Tropicana

2016 Caffe Cino Fellowship Award
New Stage Theatre Company

The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation is a not-for-profit organization recognizing the great work of New York City’s Off-Off-Broadway, honoring its artistic heritage, and providing a meeting ground for this extensive and richly varied community. The organization advocates for Off-Off-Broadway and recognizes the unique and essential role it plays in contributing to American and global culture. They believe that publicly recognizing excellence in Off-Off-Broadway will expand audience awareness and foster greater appreciation of the New York theatre experience.

Sponsors: Kampfire Films PR www.kampfirefilmspr.com; United Stageswww.unitedstages.com; Kyden Machine Inc.  www.kydeninc.com; Theatre Development Fund (TDF) www.tdf.org

For More Information, contact Katie Rosin 917-438-9223 or pr@nyitawards.com.

Dance of Life with Gwynedd Vetter-Drusch in FringeNYC 2016. Photo: James Jim

Press Release | Fringe NYC | New York’s Festival Of New And Independent Theater | August 2016

Contact: Ron Lasko @ 212-505-1700 / ron@spincyclenyc.com


Returns for 20th Anniversary Season
August 12-28, 2016

Press Release | Fringe NYC — 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
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.

Press Release | FringeNYC — New York International Fringe Festival | August 10-August 26, 2012

Tickets Now On Sale For
16th Annual Festival Runs August 10 – 26, 2012

Tickets are now on sale for The 16th annual New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), the largest multi-arts festival in North America, which runs August 10th – 26th, 2012.  FringeNYC will offer programming by 190 of the world’s best emerging theatre troupes and dance companies in 20 venues in Lower Manhattan. With attendance topping 75,000 people, FringeNYC is New York City’s fifth largest cultural event (just behind New York International Auto Show, Tribeca Film Festival, New York City Marathon, and New York Comic Con). A complete list of shows with schedules is now available at www.FringeNYC.org  — a downloadable guide is also available.

Press Release | Fringe Festival NYC 2011 | Overall Excellence Awards | Here Are the Winners!

FringeNYC 2011 Overall Excellence Award Winners

Overall Production/Play
PigPen Presents The Mountain Song
The More Loving One

Overall Production/Musical:
Yeast Nation
Pearl’s Gone Blue

Jennifer Barnhart (The Legend of Julie Taymor,or The Musical That Killed Everybody!)
Ryan Barry (In the Summer Pavilion)
Miles Cooper (Elysian Fields)
Patrick Byas (Sammy Gets Mugged)
Casey McClellan (My Name Is Billy)
Brian Charles Rooney (Winner Takes All)
Lauren Hennessy (Ampersand: A R&J Love Story)

Nicholas Billon (Greenland)
A.D. Penedo  (The Three Times She Knocked)
Bella and the Pool Boy (Dennis Flanagan)

Music Composition:
Chris Rael (Araby)
Dusty Brown (The Ballad of  Rusty and Roy)

Jersey Shoresical
The Bardy Bunch: The War of the Families Partridge and Brady
Crawling with Monsters

Costume Design:
Stephanie Alexander (Le Gourmand, or Gluttony!)
Mark Richard Caswell (Parker and Dizzy’s Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow)
Tara DeVincenzo (Technodulia Dot Com)

Greg Foro (Hamlet)
Joshua Kahan Brody (Fourteen Flights)
Alaska Reece Vance (The Disorientation of Butterflies)

Solo Performance:
The Day the Sky Turned Black
Be Careful! The Sharks Will Eat You!
Paper Cut
Heroes and Other Strangers

When the Sky Breaks 3D

Video Design:
Cinty Ionescu (Nils’ Fucked Up Day)

TheaterMania Audience Favorite Award:
COBU – Dance like Drumming, Drum like Dancing.

Applications for the 2012 festival will be available online in November 2011 and completed applications will be due February 14, 2012. For more information, www.FringeNYC.org

In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco.  In its first 15 years FringeNYC has presented over 2500 performing groups from the U.K., Canada, Poland, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Germany, the Czech Republic and across the U.S., prompting Switzerland’s national daily, The New Zurich Zeitung, to declare, “FringeNYC has become the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” The festival 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, 21 Dog Years, Krapp 39, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, Silence! The Musical,  The Irish Curse, 666, Tales from the Tunnel and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party and as well as movies (WTC View) and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy.

Press Contact: Ron Lasko @ 212-505-1700 x. 11, ron@spincyclenyc.com

My Picks of the Edinburgh Fringe | Request Programme by Franz Xaver Kroetz | Directed by Hedvig Claesson | SIRIS Original Theatre | Kafka And Son | Directed by Mark Cassidy | Richard Jordan Productions Ltd/Threshold/Assembly

Viewing the Edinburgh Fringe

Two vignette reviews cannot do justice to the productive maelstrom that is Edinburgh Fringe Festival, run every August in parallel with the other Edinburgh Festivals (International, Book etc).  Of the 2,500 productions, most will make a considerable financial loss as in the past; nowadays, ribald so-called comedy has so outgrown experimental theatre that this is the association that many people now have for the Fringe.  It was always possible to go as couple and as an audience be outnumbered by the cast, and there is still much amateur acting, but also a very large number of good productions for which the audience and reviewers are not numerous enough.  Darwinian profusion and competition: much good writing and acting talent is first seen at this important showcase.  Aided by track record of author and company, and nowadays by internet-accessible reviews of the production before it came to Edinburgh (from almost any quarter of the globe), it is possible at relatively affordable prices to feast breakfast-to-suppertime on shows including music, dance, cabaret and children’s fare, whilst mostly avoiding those productions you need for the occasional laughable story, but would want to tell friends to avoid.  I am thus confirming rather than showing any original insight original in awarding  *****  to the following two.

Request Progamme by Franz Xaver Kroetz

The frightening thing about Miss Rasch, the sole character in Request Programme, is not that she is deeply abnormal, but that she is marginally normal with obsessive tendencies, and living alone, very very alone, in her mini-apartment.  The author Franz Xaver Kroetz is a much-honoured left-leaning German political playwright.  Rasch is a not uncommon name in German but it also means “quick” or “over-hasty”.  Controversial in the Germany of its birth in the 1970s, this play was staged in New York in the 1980s.  The script running to 7 pages is more like a screen-play and gives no words for the actress to speak, only broad prescriptions for her return from the office, domestic round of evening meal, cleansing of crockery and some acts of personal hygiene, and preparation for sleep. The challenge of this very free hand accorded to Swedish director Hedvig Claesson and actress Cecilia Nilsson is therefore to sustain sufficient interest in detailed observation of movements and objects through the long introduction, in which the mild obsessionality is only marginally humorous.  The excruciation is managed brilliantly by Nilsson with a facial expression blank and fixed, as is common in combined anxiety and depression.

Just when we can take no more silence, sound arrives through the radio request programme.  This is a middle-brow medley but the musical content does not call for too subtle decipherment; it seems largely irrelevant with the exception of a piece of Tina Turner rock which briefly elicits some very human crazed gyration during the dish-drying — the only expression of any positive emotion, which is rapidly self-censored.  Significantly, all the dedications from the requesters to the show concern dysfunctional relationships, but these amount to at most a few hundred words.  Later, on checking the lock but failing to get to sleep immediately, Fraulein Rasch proceeds in steps of only minor hesitation to commit suicide, swilling down the pills with a pre-opened (therefore undoubtedly flat) mini-bottle of champagne from the mini-fridge.

Many Edinburgh Fringe productions are staged in church halls but this was in the loft office of a language school.  The central set is ingeniously designed for theatre-in-the round with an audience space of only 20 seats.  The mini-versions of sink, fridge, table and bed-sofa with bedding compartment, underline the hemmed-in quality of a life felt by its owner to be worthless.  These and more minor properties become very important with the lack of words, and give coherent hints of the emotional poverty of the character’s life, or perhaps some lost richness. A kitsch china dog of the type whose unglazed back permits home-grown cress shoots to grow for ultra-fresh but ultra-small vegetable portions; an equally kitsch candlewick rug which the character is completing, with a design featuring a dog and a baby.   Request Programme continues almost 40 years after it was written to push the boundaries of our idea of theatre.

Kafka and Son, developed by Alon and Mark Cassidy from a letter Kafka wrote to his father

Franz Kafka was a tortured soul, as is evident from his writing, in which there is renewed interest because of the currently contested ownership of the archived papers.  In 1919 Franz wrote his father Hermann a long letter full of psychological insight and not too self-centred, which Hermann probably never received.  The purpose was to explain why Franz was afraid of his father and to resolve an intolerable set of problems arising from that fear.  It is from this that the script has been meticulously constructed.

The father, a successful businessman was apparently not just a bully but a systematic tyrant, sarcastically deprecating and deriding all of Franz’s activities and thoughts: childhood milestones, writing, marriage intentions, and exhaustively undermining the boy’s confidence.  Even the Judaism to which Kafka senior paid lip-service, and might have offered some solace as an alternative authority structure, was vilified with little subtlety.  The letter is fashioned somewhat as a legal case.  Hermann is given some limited right of reply, via a repudiation of the complaints in the letter; but we are set up to find this unconvincing because it is in caricature form by the mainly Franz character (it would be marginally incorrect to call this a monologue).  In effect, Franz illustrates the bullying via ripostes presumed from the father, of which the argumentative content is poor, as we would now expect.  The father’s imputed replies grant no concessions, whereas in the writing Franz articulately and dispassionately gives some concessions, seeking chiefly to clarify rather than blame, and his position is consistent.  Arbitrariness and inconsistency, the hallmarks of tyrants, pervade these replies.

Whilst this plot is readily summarised, the dialectic and its illustrations are sufficient to support an hour’s one-man show.  At the most cataclysmic moments, scene-changes are in effect created by alterations of lighting along  with mood, and by altered use of the minimalist stage properties, a mattress free wire-sprung bed and some metal animal caging.  Periodically throughout, one of these serves also as the writer’s desk, but also once as a cage of refuge, underlining the refuge in writing.  These alterations are expertly managed in a virtuoso performance by Alon Nashman, abetted by skilled direction from Mark Cassidy, in a production that has played in major Canadian cities.

The writing desk cage is covered with black feathers, which serve variously as quills and other things — food for the gourmandising father or — when the feathers scatter — as general trappings of chaos.  Although Kafka wrote in German, the family name means “jackdaw” in Czech, a black bird to which European tradition ascribes kleptomania for bright objects.  There is also one large white feather.  In some contexts white feathers have been a badge of cowardice.  Indeed, fear and failure previously to confront his father are an issue that Franz himself recognised, but the symbolism imparted is more that of the escape into writing.  Does this piece of theatre render the letter more accessible and the writer and his works more explicable ?  Definitely.

Request Programme  plays at Inlingual School, 40 Shadwick PL » Pleasance, through 27 August.

Kafka and Son plays at Assembly George Square Edinburgh, through 28 August.

Press Release | Fringe NYC — 15th Annual New York International Fringe Festival: August 12 – 28

First Sold Out Performances Announce
New York International Fringe Festival
** 15th Annual Festival runs August 12 – 28 **

note:  to help you decide,  Ken Davenport, a producer of Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, sorts out his 10 to see in in his blog, date August 11. The official site of FringeNY with information and tickets is useful as is  Theatermania’s outline guide.

The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), the largest
multi-arts festival in North America, will present the 15th Annual Festival from August 12 – 28, 2011. This year, the festival will present programming by 192 of the world’s best emerging theatre troupes and dance companies in 20 venues in Lower

Dreamplay, photo Veseth R Sieu

Dreamplay, photo Veseth R Sieu

Manhattan.  Attendance at last year’s festival topped 75,000 people, making it New York’s fifth largest cultural event (just behind New York International Auto Show, Tribeca Film Festival, New York City Marathon, and New York Comic Con). The festival presents works covering a wide range of disciplines including drama, comedy, dance, performance art, children’s theater (FringeJr), outdoor theater (FringeAlFrecso), spoken word, puppetry, improv, and multimedia.

Thus far, advance sales are on par with last year. “At only $15 per
ticket, FringeNYC is one of Manhattan’s few remaining bargains,” notes
festival Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy.

Yesterday afternoon, Yeast Nation (a new musical by the Tony Award-winning team behind the FringeNYC-to-Broadway hit Urinetown) became the first show to sell out a performance. This is the earliest  a show has sold out in the 15-year history of the festival. In 2005, Silence! The Musical (which was co-produced by much of the same team behind Yeast Nation) became the first show in FringeNYC history to sell out before the opening day of the festival.

Today, Bella and the Pool Boy sold out its opening performance and several other productions are on track to sell out individual performances including: The Legend of Julie Taymor, Facebook Me, Pearl’s Gone Blue, Smoking Section, Jersey Shoresical, and The Bardy Bunch: The War of the Families Partridge and Brady. Other top sellers thus far are: Parker & Dizzy’s Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow, Whale Song, Sammy Gets Mugged, You’ve Ruined A Perfectly Good Mystery, Destinations, Pawn, and Hush The Musical.

In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco. In its first 13 years FringeNYC has presented over 2100 performing groups from the U.K., Canada, Poland, Japan, China, Germany, the Czech Republic and across the U.S., prompting Switzerland’s national daily, The New Zurich Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.” The festival has also been the launching pad for numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including Urinetown, Never Swim Alone, Debbie Does Dallas, Dog Sees God, 21 Dog Years, Krapp 39, Dixie’s Tupperware Party, Silence! The Musical, Matt & Ben, The Irish Curse, 666 and the current Off-Broadway productions of Tales From The Tunnel and Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party and as well as movies (WTC View) and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair). FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy.

FringeNYC shows run 2pm – midnight weekdays and noon – midnight on

Welcome Eternity, photo Dixie Sheridan

Welcome Eternity, photo Dixie Sheridan

weekends. Tickets are: $15 in advance at www.FringeNYC.org or
866-468-7619; $18 at the door, subject to availability. Discount
passes for multiple shows ($70 for a Fiver Pass, $120 for a Flex Pass
good for 10 shows, and $500 for an all-you-can-see Lunatic Pass) are
also available.

Press release contact:  Ron Lasko @ 212-505-1700 x. 11, ron@spincyclenyc.com

Review | Exit/Entrance by Aidan Mathews | Directed by M. Burke Walker | Origin Theatre Company | 59E59 Theaters | First Irish 2010 Festival

… Linda Thorson in a great performance …

EXIT/ENTRANCE is about two couples, one old, one young, who are much alike except for age, but that of course makes all the difference.  Both men are classical scholars, both women are without specific vocations, they all like the same music, everybody loves Greece, and (perhaps for some casting reason?) the men speak with American accents while the women speak with Irish accents;  the couples live side-by-side in identical apartments.  Charles of ACT 1 EXIT (old and young couple are given the same names) looks back on the excellent papers he’s written about classical literature.  Charles of ACT 2 ENTRANCE looks forward to ones he has in mind.

Review | Edinburgh Festival | King’s Theatre | Caledonia, Edinburgh | National Theatre of Scotland | August, 21-26, 2010

… Pageant of Failure …

“The Scots are fond of blaming others for their own misfortunes, especially the English.” This maxim is well known to sophisticated and travelled Scots and holds a grain of truth; it is, almost verbatim, one of the more severe of the many self-mocking lines in this intriguing mixture, a staging of the tragedy of the 1698 Darien expedition by Scotland to colonize the isthmus of Panama. The dramatization raises two interesting issues: (a) what aspect do you concentrate on (politics, greed, human folly, texture of life) and (b) what theatrical register do you adopt (music-theatre, pageant, satire, searing personal drama with well-painted main characters? Caledonia is worth seeing and informative, but ultimately fails because it answers these questions with “a little bit of everything.”

Principles of investment and return have been known since Old Testament times, but that great social invention, the Joint Stock Company was fairly new in 1698, so its limitations were poorly understood. Explorers’ fantastical belief in Eldorado was paralleled with merchants’ and investors’ belief in the ability of these new companies, fuelled by some particular idea wth familiar or common-sense aspects, to multiply wealth indefinitely out of almost nothing. William Paterson, who had successfully established the Bank of England some years before, had patriotic as well as mercantile motives. He persuaded the Scottish Parliament to pass legislation enabling a state-backed but private venture analogous to the East India Company, so that Scotland too could get in on the burgeoning colonial activities of the seaboard nations of Western Europe. Half of the meagre national wealth was subscribed.

The particular idea was a road between the Atlantic and Pacific, analogous to the Panama Canal: it’s only 6 days’ walk, said the indigenous tribes, and common sense makes this compare well with a 2-3 months’ sail, particularly one round Cape Horn. The scheme was blocked by England (which had shared a monarch of Scottish lineage for almost a century) both at the investment and trade embargo stages. The very little and misleading information reaching home about the progress or otherwise of the scheme came via French and Dutch boats. Leaving aside this disappointing English self-interest and the inhospitable climate and terrain, the idea that Spain would have tolerated any continuing colony by a small nation on territory assigned by the Pope to Spain at the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1493, over 200 years before, was absurd from the start.

Given the successful Latin-American theme of this year’s Edinburgh Festival, the dismissal in a few lines of dialogue by Paterson of some expressed general doubts about risk with the demagogic assertion that Scots are undeniably hardy fighters seems an issue dodged not just by 1690s Scots, but by the author. Why was this not obvious, when the wealth and might of Spain were well-known and had a further century to run? After the inevitable failure (the US expedition of 1854 and the first attempt at the Panama Canal were not brilliant successes either), English guilt and intention to preclude further possibility of such ventures successful or otherwise, led to compensation of the main investors by England, and also to the loss of Scottish Independence (in 1707, when “Great Britain” became a reality.)  History shows that the lessons of prior history mostly go unlearned, and the collapse of the mainly English speculation known as the South Sea Bubble was only 2 decades later.

So with the main historical facts known, where does the dramatist begin? Even though the fiasco of Darien figures in outline standard Scottish histories, and is the subject of good recent books, audiences’ knowledge and concerns are parochial in time and space. Author Alistair Beaton adopts basically the pageant format, despite not having the resources (cruel parallel!) that the English National Theatre had for the successful and pageant-like Coram Boy, also with present-day temporary resonances (there’s child-abuse and sex-trafficking.)  Pageant can accommodate the other elements of music and satire but must inevitably sell short characterization and dramatic evolution. The unifying theme is the crowd unwillingness to evaluate the risks in get-rich-quick schemes. This opens up resonances between 1698 and 2008, particularly as the over-belief in the spreading of risk via a joint stock company has a close parallel in the over-belief in the spreading of risk via complex derivatives. Much of the slapstick and satire are well-executed and genuinely funny, as are the many jokes that exploit the financial resonances.

Resonances extend to jokes about trends in Scottish constitutional arrangements and the idea that votes of elected representative can be bought by providing a good meal, both topical. But this is all too obvious and laboured, being many versions of the same joke, leaving too little to the imagination. There is good acting, particularly by Paul Higgins as Paterson, but though some of Paddy Cunneen’s composition wittily combines the centuries, the singing is not good enough to swing it as musical theatre.

I found myself thinking at moments that the shades of Brecht and Weill were hovering in the wings and orchestra pit; but alienation was lacking, so I fear that this association could lead to more false expectations than ones that would be borne out for someone else. Regrettably, this is not another Black Watch.

A very pithy review by Brian Logan has to emphasize the financial resonances without the space for historical and  political context, and it does not comment on the musical aspect, but I agree with his 3 stars out of 5.

The lack of close or emotional treatment of bereaved families, ruined lives, and the lack of dramatic development are frustrating. The music-hall stereotype of the Presbyterian minister brings easy humor, but I missed any character embodying the counter-balancing moral virtues that Scots also have, and which enabled them from about 1750 to 1950 to be disproportionately making the British (ie mainly English) Empire work ? (see eg Niall Ferguson’s: Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World. Penguin, 2003). Are we meant to see the current trend to Scottish Independence as a return to a golden age where English shackles are shed, or a return to dangers of parochial folly? Some say that the current Libyan controversy has stopped that trend anyway.

It will be interesting to see whether this play has any wider effect on Scots’ idea of themselves. It is ironical (in the correct sense of Greek tragedy) that the foundation of the long respected Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was one direct consequence of Darien and the Act of Union. Other Scottish Banks had over-reached themselves in the recent unravelling of unregulated Reaganomics, but none so spectacularly as RBS.

Walking out into the night from the King’s Theatre, the theatregoer passes acres of unlettable office space that was to have accommodated the continuing spectacular growth of financial services in Edinburgh.

This is indeed a time for some national re-appraisal.

Review | Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson | Directed by Terry Kinney | Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, Long Island | Williamstown Theatre Festival

How many plays have been written as family sagas centering around who gets the house!  It all goes back to the Greeks, e.g. Aeschylus’ Oresteia.  The question is right up there with who gets the girl or guy.

The house in Fifth of July is “a prosperous southern Missouri farmhouse built around 1860” but the play, written in 1978, is set in the 1970’s and takes up the aftermath of the ’60’s and the Vietnam War.  Ken Talley, Jr., a gay Vietnam veteran who lost is lower legs in the war currently owns the house through family inheritance.  Living in it with him is his lover, Jed, a youthful, handsome guy who loves to plant things, as well as Ken’s sister June, a single mother, with her daughter Shirley, who represents an aftermath of the period in her own right:  it turns out she’s the daughter of John Landis, who is visiting with his wife Gwen.  They’re all old buddies from their politically engaged, free-loving, — and idealized — Berkeley days in the ’60’s.

Ken, an English teacher, can’t face the coming semester with students who, he’s sure, will be horrified and disgusted by his maimed body and is thinking of fleeing somewhere to get away from it all — like Greece.  The Landis’s are here to buy the house to turn it into a music studio from which Gwen, who’s inherited a large copper conglomerate, can launch her career as a country music singer — what better place to launch a country music career than from a Missouri farmhouse with roots?

The war, acting through Ken’s bitterness, and the Landis’ big money, together threaten the Talley family’s long hold on the house.  June, Shirley and Jed, for whom it’s home, would be forced out, the house abandoned to a commercial venture.  The day is saved by Sally Friedman, ne Talley, a central figure in the earlier Talley plays, in a bidding war with the Landis’s that reminded me of the ending of Ostrovsky’s The Forest, seen this past season at Classic Stage.

It’s a story with the potential to engage one through its human subjects and significant social resonance but these are not clearly expressed in this production.  It takes a long time to catch on to who’s who and what’s happening here — the first act is mainly confusing.  And the profound examination of the aftermaths of the Vietnam War and the 1960’s is almost lost in the piecemeal way the story is told.  The themes, some of which I’ve mentioned, are submerged.  The actors often speak too quickly to be fully understood — What did he sayWhy did she do that?  The set is generic “older American house” but lacks the specifics of lives lived in it and mellow sense of time to help bring the play alive, and includes elements that are never used in the course of the production.

Fifth of July is the third in Lanford Wilson’s trilogy that includes Talley’s Folly and Talley & Son, which were all first performed in NYC at Circle Repertory Theater in the 1970’s and directed famously by Marshall W. Mason — but the plays all stand on their own and don’t have to be seen in order, so that’s not the reason this one doesn’t fulfill its promise.

Fifth of July  plays at Bay Street in Sag Harbor through August 1.

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