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Wendy Tonken

EDITH O’HARA—A PERSONAL REMEMBRANCE

October 21, 2020

There were few women in positions of authority when she started in theater.  But as she once told me, “If I wanted to do something, I just went ahead and did it.”  She blazed a trail for others to follow.  And she was proud of the fact that many notables had worked at The 13th Street Theatre, at one time or another (often when they were just getting started), including Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, Chazz Palminteri, Amy Stiller, Jamie DeRoy, Christopher Meloni, Armelia McQueen, Charles Ludlam, Austin Pendleton, Barnard Hughes, Richard Dreyfuss, and  many others. For 17 years, the unique, dark monologist Brother Theodore--a Greenwich Village icon, whose wonderfully theatrical late-night rants enthralled fans--made The 13th Street Repertory Company his base.  Her production of Israel Horovitz’s “Line” ran at her theater for some 45 years, becoming the longest-running theatrical production in New York.  She liked to have things happening at her theater, day and night. [more]

A Life in the Rye

November 9, 2019

A seated actor dressed all in black wearing a beret beats a conga drum on a confined playing area.  Other actors in period costumes sit at small cabaret tables and chairs as thick wafts of smoke envelop the stage. On the back wall is a white screen and from behind it is the shadow of a woman dancing. Such is the arresting 1950’s classic beat coffee house imagery director Joe John Battista conjures up for playwright Claude Solnik’s fascinating fantasia derived from the life of J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), "A Life in the Rye." [more]

Lone Star

June 11, 2019

Such lukewarm response may be attributable, at least in part, to the changing times. Lone Star focuses on a not-so-old Good Ol’ Boy from rural Texas named Roy (de Rogatis). He’s a Vietnam veteran who drunkenly bullies his younger brother, Ray (Chris Loupos), outside the back of a local bar called Angel’s. Roy also bedevils a former high school classmate named Cletis, aka “Skeeter” (Michael Villastrigo), a nerdy nincompoop who has long envied Roy for his swagger and alleged popularity with women. At one point in the show, Roy enumerates for Ray the ugly atrocities against Vietnamese citizens that he saw during the war, in essence bragging about his capacity to endure it all. In a culture that has become increasingly sensitive about the horrors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, there’s little room now for humor surrounding such content. Perhaps, too, audiences are simply less amused than they used to be by depictions of rural Texans as dung-kicking buffoons, which is probably a good thing. [more]