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Stephen Sondheim’s A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

October 6, 2017

The St. Bart’s Players, NYC’s award-winning, longest running community theater group, proudly presents A Little Night Music as the final show of its 90th Anniversary Season [more]

Appreciation of Peter Hall by Stephen Unwin

September 25, 2017

This was a man who loved words, the exact turn of the phrase, its cadence and where the stress falls, whether in Shakespeare or Pinter, Beckett or Stoppard, and his commitment to the nuance of language lay at the heart of everything he did. He used to tell a story about working with Dustin Hoffman on The Merchant of Venice and being delighted when Dustin turned up to rehearsal one morning declaring that ‘you can’t improvise this shit’. For Peter, the detail of the language was everything. A young director mocked him as an ‘iambic fundamentalist’: Peter was thrilled. Words, words, words were everything. [more]

The Big Broadcast on East 53RD

February 14, 2017

Rounding out the cast are Alexis Bronkovic as Ruth--Penny’s best friend--and Bill Tatum, who plays Ray’s boss. Once again, the driving motivation behind nearly every character is nowhere to be found. It seems that simply for the sake of creating a play about fake news, Brukenfeld opted to fill his script with lifeless characters that don’t question anything and are content to believe that Ray is dead. The performances across the board are unsympathetic and played mind-bogglingly straightforward. For what it’s worth, the actors do all that they can with the material at hand, turning in acceptable performances given the circumstances. [more]

Made in China

February 5, 2017

The ensuing journey is a bizarre and sometimes hilarious exploration of China and the culture within, even if it doesn’t always make the most sense. "Made in China" makes the most of the liberties that puppetry allows, and features some very impressive techniques and performances from the actors behind the scenes. Though the two main characters are both interesting, they are both made all the more entertaining by their canine companions. The two dogs, Lily and Yo-Yo (Dorothy James and Andy Manjuck among others) are completely lovable, and every single scene they are a part of is instantly heartwarming. [more]

Incident at Hidden Temple

February 2, 2017

Behind the theme of war," Incident at Hidden Temple" is a thriller of sorts. Sisters Ava (Ying Ying Li) and Lucy (Briana Sakamoto), first seen in China travelling on a train littered with American soldiers, are separated when a disturbing road block forces their train to a halt. With some time to kill, the sisters exit the train and are introduced to a mysterious stranger--Dinh James Doan as a blind man with a penchant for speaking in riddles--who tells them about a Hidden Temple located just a short ways away. The temple, the blind man cryptically tells them, is filled with lost treasures but will only be revealed to those of pure heart. [more]

Lucky Penny

January 16, 2017

The stories included are equal parts humorous, stirring or sobering but always meaningful and intimately personal. Deblinger is a natural storyteller, and every tale is polished and fully developed, and--more importantly--consistent with the show’s overall theme. Further, Deblinger is a fantastic impressionist, and the show contains no less than 15-20 fully realized character impersonations. The versatility he displays is a testament to both his natural abilities as well as his dedication to his craft. [more]

The Portal

December 12, 2016

While the visual aid is being projected in the background, a rock concert/spectacle is taking place on stage in front of the screen, and this is--thankfully--more interesting that the latter content. Billy Lewis Jr. is the physical manifestation of Kelly’s Dante; a rock star whose belting is a metaphorical echo of his counterpart’s internal strife. Lewis Jr. is a natural at singing rock music, and his vocal prowess is a saving grace for the production. [more]

A Taste of Things to Come

November 25, 2016

During the first half of the 20th century, the perception of women and their place in society was archaic and harmful to say the least. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1950’s that the widely accepted oversimplification of the role of women was truly called into question and brought under scrutiny. Documenting the influential and crucial decade between the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, Debra Barsha and Hollye Levin’s new musical "A Taste of Things to Come" is a very pointed yet enjoyable exploration of these transformative years for the housewife, told through the eyes of four women who have a common interest in cooking. [more]

Don’t You F**king Say a Word

November 19, 2016

Though the premise is an interesting device for dissecting the friendship between two men--for surely many men are curious how they are perceived by their better halves (self included), the play doesn’t aim to say much otherwise. Acting choices, pacing and thematics are all appropriate thanks to Lee Sunday Evans' seamless direction, but it’s the script itself which is the production’s biggest hurdle. Though there are some interesting and engaging ideas presented regarding the mind of the male, the untidy and nondescript ending make no attempt to make any significant statement about any of it, ultimately shrouding the entire production in a veil of murky, middle-ground mediocrity. [more]

Roughly Speaking

November 9, 2016

Focusing on a group of roughly fifteen regulars that attend the homeless shelter in question, the play is a series of intimate and telling conversations between homeless people of all different walks of life--and their myriad ways of ending up in their current position. Playwright Zeiger, who is also founder and artistic director of producing company The Platform Group, plays Diana, a recovering addict and recent widow who is constantly struggling with staying clean. Playing a woman who is broken and beaten down, Zeiger’s familiarity with the script gives her performance an authenticity which is truly garnering of sympathy. Joanie Anderson plays a community college student named Melissa, who sleeps on the subway and desperately wants to better herself but just can’t seem to break the cycle. [more]

Duat

October 28, 2016

Constructed in three parts, the first part of Jones’ memoir-meets-manifest-destiny is an enchanting origin story that takes place in a mystical library that holds an archive of Jones’ life (set design by Arnulfo Maldonado). Though this portion of the story is filled with tidbits of information from his childhood and adolescence, the focus is on the story of the creation of his famous and renowned alter ego, Jomama Jones, and the book he discovered as a teen that aided in her creation (more on that later). [more]

90210! The Musical!

October 6, 2016

At certain points during "90210! The Musical!," references are made pertaining to actors or other people who were involved in the original TV series, and none is more self-referential or satirical than Caleb Dehne’s gratifyingly over-the-top portrayal of actress and Beverly Hills darling Tori Spelling. Dressed in drag and sporting a disheveled blonde wig and smeared lipstick, Dehne’s mannerisms are surprisingly spot-on, and his speech patterns are hilariously over-exaggerated. [more]

About Clarence and Me

September 4, 2016

To call "About Clarence and Me" simply a play is misleading, as the project features an entirely original score by co-writer Scott Hiltzik. A classical musician, Hiltzik’s music is technically striking but carries a modern flare. In additional to their finely tuned performances, both DeMone and Roll impress as musicians as well. Roll proves himself to be quite the accomplished classical pianist, demonstrating mastery of the keys by way of precision and constraint. DeMone, ever his opposite, produces from the piano a sound descendent of a ragtime piano roll, at times accompanied by the veteran singer’s sonorous growl. Directed by Hiltzik’s co-writer Jones, the duo’s intimacy with the material is plain to see in the final product. Full of nuanced moments both thematically and in performance, the writing team’s hands-on approach is responsible for this well-rounded and solid production. [more]

Las Vegas Supports Performing Arts

August 24, 2016

Vegas still maintains its status as a hotspot for Broadway musicals, theatrical plays, and live entertainment. Although Performing Arts doesn’t appeal as largely to today’s youth in relation to other forms of entertainment, the city hopes to draw in more young performers to the arts by creating public and supporting personal programs [more]

Implications of Cohabitation

August 16, 2016

Directed by Leni Mendez, "Implications of Cohabitation" is a smooth running machine, albeit some undeveloped moments in the script. The staging is fluid and the story is clear, but some exchanges between characters are borderline inauthentic. The set design by Anna Grigo is effective, but slightly repetitive. The main set piece is an empty apartment, and the decorum of the apartment is changed to reflect the change in location. Unfortunately, these changes are minimal and don’t do much to enhance or differentiate one scene from the next. [more]

A Man Like You

July 26, 2016

Stannah, who gives a wrenching and emotionally present turn as the diplomat in distress, rarely leaves the stage for more than thirty seconds out of the entire 100 minute production with no intermission. Whether he is being choked, thrown to the ground, or wrestling with his captors, Stannah’s performance is as impressive physically as it is emotionally. His performance is certainly enhanced by that of his scene partner Abdi, the Somali interrogator and captor played by Jeffrey Marc. Marc’s Abdi is an intelligent man--or rather a “child” if one were to ask Patrick North’s opinion--whose political motivations are complex and unflinching, but inevitably puzzling to any outsider. Stannah and Marc’s duologue is concise and briskly paced, and the intensity at the heart of the production is as a result of the palatable on-stage chemistry between the pair. [more]

Here I Sit, Brokenhearted

July 7, 2016

Bathroom humor is an art of its own kind, but Seth Panitch’s musical parody "Here I Sit, Brokenhearted: A Bathroom Odyssey" takes this particular blend of humor and exploits it entirely. The moment the stage lights rise to full, marking the beginning of the production, a monstrous flush of a toilet rings through the audience, and that’s about as sophisticated a moment as any to be expected from the rest of the evening. [more]

Michael C. Bernardi: An Actor and His Legacy

June 29, 2016

I’ve always felt my father (Herschel) very present in my life, and I think because in a lot of ways he left behind a pretty wonderful legacy--and there were a lot of people who adored him--I grew up with a lot of different people telling me stories of how great he was. And so I think I always had such a positive vision of him that I always felt like he was looking out for me. [more]

One Timeless Drama. Two Timeless Legends. Together Onscreen for the First Time.

June 28, 2016

Veteran film icons Academy Award® nominee Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Hobbit franchise, X-Men franchise) and Academy Award® winner Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs, Thor franchise, Mission Impossible II) star together for the first time ever in the captivating BBC production of the STARZ Original movie, The Dresser, arriving on DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Digital HD from Starz Digital July 12. [more]

The Block

June 9, 2016

An all-around tour-de-force, Dan Hoyle’s "The Block" is a stark portrayal of the times at hand in the Bronx. Though things have changed somewhat since the dangerous days of the 1960’s, the borough is still going through a major shift which has yet to be completed. Filled with interesting, thoughtful and sympathetic characters, this is a play that offers a harsh glimpse of some people’s realities, and that in itself inspires very real self-reflection. Complemented by excellent direction and seamless production design, the characters of "The Block" leave one with the sense that though the struggle seems--at times--absolutely insurmountable, every day is a new opportunity to escape the past as long as one holds onto that most sacred trait: hope. [more]

Sam Harris Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Film His “Ham: A Musical Memoir”

June 1, 2016

Sam Harris--the American actor and Broadway Alumni--recently launched a kickstarter.com campaign to fund the professional filming of his acclaimed one-man show, "Ham: A Musical Memoir." Best known for his Drama League Award winning performance in the Original Broadway Cast of Cy Coleman’s "The Life" (he was also nominated for the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award in the same role), Harris’s previous Broadway credits include Mel Brook’s "The Producers" and the Tommy Tune-directed revival of "Grease," for which he made his Broadway debut. Aside from his theatrical achievements, Harris has sold millions of records over the course of a recording career which has seen the release of nine studio albums filled with both fan favorites and original compositions. [more]

City Stories: Tales of Love and Magic in London

May 25, 2016

A seamless production in many ways, James Phillips’ latest is nothing short of ambitious, and Rosabella Gregory’s music is the perfect companion. Thoughtful and engaging, the enchanting collection of English fairy tales known as City Stories is a serendipitous affair. [more]

“ZIEGFELD GIRLS” Hosted by MARTIN SCHNEIT At Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College (68th between Park and Lexington Ave.) Saturday, May 28th at 3:30pm

May 25, 2016

ZIEGFELD GIRLS, a multi-media presentation hosted by historian Martin Schneit, known for his popular walking tours of New York City landmarks, pays homage to such iconic Broadway stars as Nora Bayes, Billie Burke, Fanny Brice, Ruth Etting, Gilda Grey, Anna Held, Peggy Hopkins Joyce, Lillian Lorraine, Doris Eaton Travis and others. Guest stars Jamie Buxton [A CHORUS LINE], Erin Cronican [DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, Veronica Mars], and Candice Oden [BOY’S LIFE] will perform songs introduced by Lillian Lorraine, Marilyn Miller and Ruth Etting, written by Buddy DeSylva, Jerome Kern, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, and others, with Mark York [JUST JIM DALE] at the piano. [more]

Strays

May 12, 2016

"Strays" is a challenge to describe as it is such a mash-up of traditional theatrical conventions that it doesn’t easily fall into any one category. Directed by Cion, Strays moves as through a haze, scenes folding one into the other, transitions covered by bizarre song and dance breaks (revolving around cats), characters speaking on top of each other almost constantly. The scenic design by Kerry Chipman is straight forward and aided largely by a projector, which displays videos by Maia Cruz Palileo throughout the production. The media element adds to the bizarre tone of the show, and though some of the videos played are designed to help advance the plot, others are simply trippy displays of superimposed kitties floating through the air. [more]

Fully Committed

May 10, 2016

Meet Sam, a struggling New York actor whose day job is as the reservationist for a popular albeit fictional Manhattan restaurant. Seemingly surrounded by phones at every turn, Ferguson’s Sam has devices that connects him to the chef, the hostess, his manager, as well as to the outside World and those looking for a much sought after reservation. Demonstrating a full spectrum of physical and vocal capabilities, Ferguson manipulates his body and voice to bring to life the many characters that Sam interacts with over the phone. [more]

On Set for Grave Secrets

May 3, 2016

Before the cameras started rolling, there was this anxiety and doubt, but I began to really focus and believe in myself, in my ability, in my technique, and in my drive, and that put me in the zone. [more]

Webcam

April 24, 2016

The simple staging also gave emphasis to this unique push and pull relationship between these two young men and the overall tone of the play. The story as well as Jake’s continuous pretentious commentary made me identify that there was a specific reason behind Jake’s intentions to be seen as this cool and confident man, while Noah is made out by Jake to be this hopeless, “more than likely” to be positive “fag”, when in reality Jake is actually the one who is hopeless and insecure. [more]

A Pregnant Pause

April 22, 2016

In theory, the material that "A Pregnant Pause" attempts to provide commentary on is thought-provoking. However, this production is one which unfortunately stumbles and falls within its very first minutes and never recovers. Calvin Knie and Carla Duval play the lovers Bob and Susan, respectively. Though the duo deserve some credit for their efforts, there is hardly any chemistry to be found on stage, and thus the entire premise on which the play is founded is hardly believable. Knie turns in an absolutely enigmatic performance as Bob, one which is confusing and muddled, lacking clear intentions and any kind of subtlety. He constantly resorts to screaming and yelling, a confusing choice which is often unfounded and simply out of character. [more]
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