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Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre

The Tiger’s Bride

February 21, 2024

Director/writer Suzanne Karpinski has made a valiant effort to corral the chaos by encouraging the audience to get a card stamped by the actors in the various spaces, presumably in the hopes they’ll avoid revisiting the same scene more than once, but the four floors of the building are quickly explored and there’s nothing new to discover after far too short a time. Sounds and dialog bleed across scenes in different areas separated only by curtains, splintering the audience’s attention. To the actors’ credit, they’re all having a marvelous time playing their parts; their enthusiasm is infectious, even if their acting often lacks the subtlety which the intimate playing spaces beg for. [more]


October 6, 2023

LaBanca’s performance in his own play defies superlatives. Including us in his choir at the beginning of the show says it all. We are relieved that he still finds joy in teaching. As he puts it, “I packed up my classroom and as God would have it, I was invited to move everything to a public school. Also in my neighborhood.” He takes comfort in an accidental meeting with a priest who was asked to step down and move to another parish. “It’s ok. Matthew, just remember. The church isn’t God.” [more]

I’m Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire

July 17, 2023

Playwright Samantha Hurley does beautiful justice to the life and times (and the inner workings of the mind) of this early teen with not a lot going on but for her own fantasy world and self-importance in the face of neglect, emptiness and lack of love. Shelby kidnaps Tobey Maguire because she has figured out how to get it done. Trapped inside her house with the object of her affection she realizes “Be careful what you wish for” only too well. We watch her growing pains as we see the actor she traps come to terms with his own failure to make success bring him happiness.  In the end, they leave us with our own hearts full. [more]

Fruma-Sarah (Waiting in the Wings)

July 9, 2021

In what might just be the best stage role of her career, Jackie Hoffman plays the multi-faceted Ariana in E. Dale Smith’s "Fruma-Sarah (Waiting in the Wings)" at Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre in Chelsea.  Sitting in place, attached to a hefty rope, she takes the audience and her co-star, Kelly Kinsella as Margo Peterson, “substitute fly captain,” on a journey of a life not well, but interestingly, lived. [more]