Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Someone Who'll Watch Over Me at the Canal Park Playhouse

Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, now at the Canal Park Playhouse, is an intense study of three men kidnapped in Beirut in the early 1990s.  It is a tense and tight play set in a single cell, the kidnappers never seen, but always oppressively felt by the characters.  The men in question are the American Alex, the Irishman Edward and an Englishman Micheal. 
Twenty years is a long time in terrorism.  Twenty years ago, when Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me was written and first produced, Beirut was infamous for kidnapping of foreigners.  The motivation of the kidnappers was always a question in the audiences’ mind; why does this happen, what do they want?  But as the world has moved onto bigger and more horrifying terrorism, Someone Who’ll Watch over Me actually becomes a more universal play, exploring man’s common reactions to a helpless plight.  
The three men have to learn to trust and depend on each other, despite their personal differences and national backgrounds.  The mens’ wild imaginations and perilous conditions blur the boundaries between purposeful humor and manic response.  The wildly emotional Edward, played by Timothy Riley, plays with the Irish reputation for drink and madness.  His outrageous comments are used to mask his fear.  Mr. Riley does an excellent job of showcasing Edward’s bravado and his insecurities.
The stoic American Alex is played by director Justin Lauro, who stepped into the role late due to cast issues.  Mr. Lauro is an accomplished actor, and does a great job with Alex - riding an American’s grit and determination right up to the cliff edge.  But it is Alex Teachey, as the British Michael, who carries the audience’s emotional center.  Like the audience, Michael is introduced as Alex and Edward who have already developed a relationship based on survival.  Michael has to learn how to adapt not only to his captors, but also to the odd dynamic that Alex and Edward have.  Michael is a stereotypical British man, reserved and rational to the point of annoyance.   Mr. Teachey pulls this attitude off, while showing it as a coping mechanism.

Someone ... is paired with Sarazad and the Monster-King, a retelling of 1001 Arabian Nights for a younger audience.  Both of these plays make use of story-telling.  In Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, the men tell each other tales from the past, often acting them out in order to keep their sanity and strengthen their bonds.  The tales they spin give voice to their hopes and dreams. It is very well done.
The simple staging (lighting by Daniel Dungan) is effective in the intimate room.  Justin Lauro has directed the show with a nice feel for how much the audience can take before becoming numb to the situation.  Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me has grown in impact since its introduction 20 years ago.  The emotion of helplessness in the face of unfocussed anger has spread much across the population, no longer confined to small cells in Beirut. 
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
Playwright: Frank McGuinness
Director: Justin Lauro
Cast: Timothy Riley, Alex Teachey

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gay Pride Week: Shows Upcoming

It is that time of year again, Gay Pride in New York City.  So the Laurie Beechman Theater has a number of shows planned.  Here is the run-down.

Tuesday, June 19:
Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street at 9th Ave.
Cult sensation DINA MARTINA returns to NYC for her annual one-night-only Gay Pride show. Ample Wattage is another nearlyindescribable night of entertainment that assaults the senses like no other show. Don't miss this delightful blend of unequalled song, unnecessary dance, unattractive costumes, unbelievable video and unwanted gifts for lucky audience members. 4 TICKETS JUST BECAME AVAILABLE for the 9:30pm SHOW. SO HURRY.  Tix are $22 (+ $15 food/drink minimum) at 212-352-3101 or click HERE.

Wednesday, June 20:
Crimson, 915 Broadway (between 20th & 21st Streets).

It's that time of year!  Join Spin Cycle for our annual Kick Off to Gay Pride party, featuring performances by RuPaul's Drag Race winnerSharon Needles and Brad Loekle, music by DJ Steve Sidewalk, and a delicious Barefoot Wine open bar throughout the party (Barefoot is really getting into the spirit - they've made a generous donation to Heritage of Pride in honor of the party!). Hosted by Dallas DuBois with a bevy of her drag friends. 8pm - 11pm.  There's no admission charge for the Kickoff party, but you must RSVP for admission, and space is limited -- ONLY A FEW SLOTS LEFT! Click HERE to RSVP!
June 21-23:
Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street.
Comedy cult sensation Molly "Equality" Dykeman, a barely lucid but loveable lesbian poet/security guard from Brooklyn's P.S. 339, presents her first Gay Pride variety show -- even if every day is Gay Pride in the Percocet-fogged haze that is Molly's mind! The show includes Molly's home movies; new poetry about vaginas, nachos, and mullets; and Molly's tribute to the many, many ladies she loves. Each evening features appearances by The Mollettes (Molly's backup dancers) and a rotating roster of gay guests including girl group Xelle (featuring Drag Race star Mimi Imfurst), acclaimed comics Brad Loekle, Robin Cloud & Allen Warnock; drag king Shelly Mars, author Lea Robinson; actress Rebecca Mills; Latin ACE Award winner Inma Heredia & lezbologist Ariel Speedwagon. June 21-23 at7:30pm. Tix are $20 (+ $15 food/drink minimum -- full dinner menu & bar available). Buy tickets at 212-352-3101 or click HERE.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This Is Fiction: Review at Cherry Lane Studio

This Is Fiction is the first play by Megan Hart, an accomplished actress in off-Broadway circles.  Mounted at the small Cherry Lane Studio Theatre, it is an engrossing and humerous family drama that speaks with an honest voice.

Bernardo Cubria and Aubyn Philabaum in This Is Fiction

Aubyn Philabaum is Amy, a writer whose first novel is about to be published.  But before she releases it, Amy needs to discuss the story with her family.  While the story is fiction, it is based on her family’s journey.  From the moment the story moves to her family home in New Jersey, the audience knows the book will be about the missing mother.

Richard Masur and Michelle David
Amy’s Father is well portrayed by Richard Masur, as an older man with the beginning of dementia.  Mr. Masur does an excellent job of defining a good man who isn’t completely in control of his facilities, but still is able to hold it together when he wants to.  Michelle David is excellent as Celia, the bitter sister who has taken care of dad for too many years.  Ms. David’s portrayal is so tight, that the few moments she relaxes cast a calm over the proceedings.  She defines the mood of the play at any moment.

The final character is Ed, affectionately played by Bernado Cubria.  Mr. Cubria’s role is primarily that of a catalyst, but he brings a real warmth to the character of Ed.  Ed manages to bring a better side of Amy out.  Aubyn Philabaum does a good job as Amy, showcasing more than bitterness or anger.  She has the thankless task of postponing the inevitable discussion, but Ms. Philabaum fills in the little moments of family time in small ways that seem quite authentic.

Well paced and directed by Shelley Butler, This Is Fiction moves quickly and doesn’t drag.  The piece employees humor, but never falsely.  Ms. Hart’s story is very well done.  The main device is the same one used in Other Desert Cities, but it is used more intimately here – as a way for Amy to bridge the gap between herself and her family.  It is a touching and funny piece.

This is Fiction
Playwright: Megan Hart
Director: Shelly Butler
Cast: Bernardo Cubria, Michelle David, Richard Masur, Aubyn Philabaum

Monday, June 11, 2012

Back in Business

Well, I have been on vacation, and got back yesterday.  It was a great trip.  One fascinating stop was Bodrum, Turkey.  Just outside of the city is an ancient Greek Theater.  They found these theater masks, which were very cool.
Back in business soon.  First up Tuesday night is the review of "Rapture, Blister, Burn" @ Playwrights Horizon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chimichangas & Zoloft

Somethings just look like fun.  This is another one I have missed.

World Premiere

After the disappointment of her 40th birthday, Sonia leaves her family and goes on a prescription Zoloft and greasy chimichangas binge. Meanwhile her daughter Jackie and best friend Penelope team up to get Sonia back home.

Their fathers continue their ongoing infatuation with each other as the girls struggle to keep the families intact. This irreverent story examines happiness and sexuality through the eyes of two brazen teenagers.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Storefront Church .. now playing at the Atlantic Theater Company

Most well known for Doubt and Moonstruck, John Patrick Shanley's latest is playing at the Atlantic Theater Company.
More Info... LINK