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Articles by Tony Marinelli

Tony Marinelli
About Tony Marinelli (14 Articles)
Tony Marinelli is an actor, playwright, director, arts administrator, and now critic. He received his B.A. and almost finished an MFA from Brooklyn College in the golden era when Benito Ortolani, Howard Becknell, Rebecca Cunningham, Gordon Rogoff, Marge Linney, Bill Prosser, Sam Leiter, Elinor Renfield, and Glenn Loney numbered amongst his esteemed professors. His plays I find myself here, Be That Guy (A Cat and Two Men), and …and then I meowed have been produced by Ryan Repertory Company, one of Brooklyn’s few resident theatre companies.
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Sugar Daddy

February 5, 2023

Sam Morrison’s poignant "Sugar Daddy" has been “on the boards” for just under a year, but first coming to prominence at last year’s East to Edinburgh presentations at 59 East 59th Street Theatres as the Brits say “with a proper sendoff” before he struck gold at the Edinburgh Festival in August. It was only a matter of time before this jewel of a show received a longer run here in New York. It is truly a comfortable fit at SoHo Playhouse, with the only pity being it doesn’t have an open-ended run. "Sugar Daddy" is so many things. It is an off-beat love story; it is an expression of love as much as it is an expression of grief. Most importantly, it is an intensely personal story that he has chosen to share with total strangers, yet we don’t feel like strangers when he’s done. [more]

Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust Road

December 10, 2022

The York Theatre Company’s masthead reads “Where Musicals Come to Life…” and that couldn’t be more evident in their new production, "Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust Road." Originally scheduled for a Fall 2015 run at London’s St. James Theatre (cancelled due to a key investor pulling out), then workshopped during a summer student production at Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance in 2018, the show finally arrives in a beautifully crafted production at York’s Theatre at St Jeans, deserving of an open-ended run or commercial transfer. Conceived by director Susan H. Schulman, choreographer Michael Lichtefeld and musical arranger Lawrence Yurman, and developed with Hoagy Bix Carmichael (Hoagy’s son), "Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust Road" succeeds not by showing the audience another “And Then I Wrote” compendium, but by allowing the endless riches of the Carmichael songwriting catalogue to say it with music. We are treated to five extended “parts” where we meet seven characters, all friends, as they traverse the decades from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, through every high point and every heartache. [more]

Cocoon

November 25, 2022

Director Kotryna Gesait’s direction does not have the necessary distance from the material to realize that actors speaking simultaneously will blur content and intentions for the audience. Scenic design of Chantal Marks provides the obligatory cocoon-like fabrics draped from the ceiling as well as on the walls. Heather Crocker’s lighting design is supportive of the many changing moods of the piece from scene to scene. The sound design of Nadav Rayman underlines key shifts beautifully. [more]

Merciful Delusions : 4 One Act Plays by Tennessee Williams

November 10, 2022

Director Lorraine Serabian is faithful to the spirit of when these plays were written. She delves into the spirited dreamers and chance takers that Tennessee Williams so faithfully showed us in very poetic theatre of the rawest psychological insight. The scenic design of JR Carter is economical for fast changes between plays, yet evocative of the period it is asked to enhance. Adrian Yuen’s lighting design captures the dinginess and the squalor, yet always craving that sliver of brightness. Williams wrote more one-act treasures than we see here, and this production definitely makes an audience want to experience more of his minor masterpieces. [more]

38th Marathon of One-Act Plays: Series B

November 6, 2022

Ensemble Studio Theatre’s "38th Marathon of One-Act Plays," their first since 2019, is split up into two programs of five plays each, with an eleventh play, Vera Starbard’s “Yan Tután,” streaming free on-demand, in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre. Each of the plays in Program B is successful in telling us enough about the characters to make the audience care for them and empathize for what they experience in their short time on stage. ... The Marathon is a great venue for up-and-coming writers to hone their characterization skills. Some of these writers have already had full productions of other plays in their resumés, so for some their success is in full swing. Program B is a definite tease towards coming back to experience Program A. [more]

HOUND DOG

October 30, 2022

Director Machel Ross does little to guide this play to any semblance of cohesion.  Scenes 1 and 13, between Hound Dog and Ayse, her childhood best friend, begin with the exact same lines and stage blocking up to a point…so, did one scene happen and the other one not happen? Which is the real scene?  Scene 6, between Hound Dog and Yusuf, the neighborhood trash collector and best friend to Hound Dog’s father Baba, happened three days after their meeting in Scene 4, or is it, as Hound Dog perceives, only yesterday? [more]

Albert Camus’ “The Fall”

October 23, 2022

Belgian actor Ronald Guttman gives a subtle, yet wrenching performance in "The Fall," expounding the philosophies of Albert Camus trapped in the sad and now resigned character of the exiled Parisian lawyer Jean-Baptiste Clamence. Fellow bar mates, we the audience, are his confessors in a sailors’ dive bar in Amsterdam’s red-light district circa 1956. In adapting Camus’ last completed novel for the stage, Alexis Lloyd, has created a role of controlled emotions that belie the seething honesty struggling to rear its ugly head.  Director Didier Flamand encourages the full use of the space to make constant contact with members of the audience. Turning around from ordering his drink at the bar, he is in the best position to orate at will. As the performance takes place (and fits very neatly) in the entirety of the Huron Bar (the lower level of the SoHo Playhouse), the original architect of the building should be entitled to a scenic design credit. The best seat in the house is occupied by the bartender. [more]

Melissa Etheridge Off Broadway: My Window – A Journey Through Life

October 19, 2022

Etheridge may be 61, but she sounds just as she did when she first came on the American rock scene in 1988:  full-throated emotion and raspy vocals that bring honesty and pathos to intensely personal and confessional lyrics. The accomplishment in "Melissa Etheridge Off Broadway: My Window – A Journey Through Life" is not in the many scenes of heartache and a dense song list, but in the strength and the resilience that carries her to artistry that she shares so unselfishly and unselfconsciously to speak to and heal a legion of fans. [more]

Powerhouse

October 14, 2022

Harms’ play never lets up in its homage to corporate intrigue laced with humor. The audience’s caring for how Regan and Guy end up is a given, so that we can forgive his “poetic license” in that all legal personnel involved would be fully aware that the illegal recording of someone without their knowledge is a Class E felony in the state of New York, but nevermind.  Director Ken Wolf keeps the story moving at a great clip and gently supports all five of the thoroughly believable characterizations, to the point we hope even Meena will be okay after her hysterical breakdown akin to professional suicide. [more]

Complicity

October 10, 2022

On paper, Diane Davis’ play "Complicity" offers a stark, yet refreshing take on the now familiar Harvey Weinstein-tainted Hollywood story of women being victimized by a male-run, male-driven industry. On stage what we have instead are sometimes too-clipped scenes where an audience is left the chore of filling in the many blanks.  The actors sometimes attempt to do just that with histrionics that are unfortunately not reined in by director Illana Stein. [more]

Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

September 27, 2022

As conceived, directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner, who was also part of the creative team that brought the stage version of the 1954 classic Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas" to Broadway, "Cheek to Cheek" is a welcome addition to The York Theatre’s homages to Broadway and film composers. They strike gold again with this charming revue that focuses on the lesser known classic songs from the decades of Berlin moving seamlessly from movie lot to movie lot. The very talented Jeremy Benton and Kaitlyn Davidson, returning from the original run of this show, are joined by the radiant Darien Crago, Danny Gardner, Darrell T. Joe and Melinda Porto. The entire cast is made up of consummate singer-dancers, each featured in dance numbers and/or their own solo songs. [more]

Faust et Hélène & L’heure espagnole

September 21, 2022

Maurice Ravel’s delightful 'L’heure espagnole," usually paired with his other opera, "L’enfant et les sortilèges," is here paired with "Faust et Hélène," an obscure cantata by Lili Boulanger, one of Ravel’s contemporaries.  Hearing her exquisite Faust et Hélène is comparable to discovering a diamond you didn’t know you had. New Camerata Opera opens its seventh season with this very engaging double-bill.  Director John de los Santos has envisioned a world where the passage of time is the focus of both of these operas.  While the set for the Boulanger is spare, Mr. de los Santos is aided in this concept for the Ravel with projections of striking clockwork photography and a set filled with a collection of stylized grandfather clocks from NYC-based artist Atom Moore. Ashley Soliman’s costumes are timeless for the Boulanger work – the men are shirtless and barefoot in a variation on dhotis or male harem pants while Hélène is in an orange gown with a virtually endless train. [more]

On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning

September 15, 2022

Revived by Retro Productions, we are treated to Eric Overmyer’s alternative Victorian fantasy, "On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning," that takes three vibrant, independent women of 1888 on an expedition not just through deepest, darkest “terra incognita” but also forward 67 years into a very different America.  Mores, as well as language as they know it, are at risk. [more]

ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME

September 1, 2022

Commissioned by the Ma-Yi Theater Company, Daniel K. Isaac’s brilliant "ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME" was born out of the actor-playwright’s realization that he knew way more about Shakespeare and the Western canon than his own rich Korean culture of folk tales and origin myths.  He has fashioned, over the course of five scenes, beautifully layered storytelling in situations clouded by utter despair, without sacrificing great brushstrokes of humor. [more]