Off Broadway (and sometimes Broadway) Reviews and Information.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Casting Society Awards

Awards come in all shapes and sizes.  The Casting Society gave their annual awards this last week.  Here are the results for Theater.

The Casting Society of America (CSA) winners were announced tonight of the 28th Annual Artios Awards® For Outstanding Achievement in Casting.  Hosted by Nicole Sullivan, the award ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In Los Angeles.  Presenters included Anna Kendrick, Jeremy Renner, Armie Hammer, Jean Smart, Nat Faxon, Atticus Shaffer, Michael Hoffman, and Cedric the Entertainer.  The New York ceremony was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Given each year, in addition to the awards presented to casting directors for their achievements in Theatre, Television, and Film casting, the CSA also gave out the following special awards to Casting Director Lora Kennedy for the Hoyt Bowers Award given for excellence in casting;Harvey Fierstein received The New York Apple Award given to individual for contributions to the New York casting community and Ben Affleck, who received the Career Achievement Award.

If you line up a cast like this (Andrew Garfield, Finn Witrock, Philip Seymour Hoffman & Linda Emond)
..then you have a pretty good chance of winning.

New York Broadway Theatre – Drama
“Death of a Salesman,” Mele Nagler  **
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” Will Cantler, Bernard Telsey
“The Columnist,” David Caparelliotis
“The Mountaintop,” Jim Carnahan
“Wit,” Nancy Piccione

New York Broadway Theatre – Comedy
“Venus in Fur,” Nancy Piccione, James Calleri  **
“The Best Man,” Will Cantler, Bernard Telsey
“Harvey,” Jim Carnahan, *
“One Man, Two Guvnors,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, *
“Peter and the Starcatcher,” Jim Carnahan, Tara Rubin, *

New York Broadway Theatre – Musical
“Once,” Jim Carnahan  **
“Evita,” Bernard Telsey, Craig Burns
“Newsies,” Justin Huff
“Nice Work If You Can Get It,” Jay Binder, Jack Bowdan
“Porgy and Bess,” Bernard Telsey, Justin Huff

New York Theatre – Comedy or Musical
“The Cherry Orchard,” James Calleri  **
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” James Calleri, Paul Davis
“All New People,” David Caparelliotis
“Close Up Space,” Nancy Piccione
“Sons of the Prophet,” Carrie Gardner

New York Theatre – Drama
“Tribes,” Pat McCorkle  **
“Dreams of Flying, Dreams of Falling,” Will Cantler
“Happy Hour,” Will Cantler
“How I Learned To Drive,” Mele Nagler
“The Submission,” Bernard Telsey, Will Cantler

Special Theatrical Performance
“Merrily We Roll Along,” Jay Binder  **

Regional Theatre East
“A Doll’s House,” James Calleri  **
“A Streetcar Named Desire,” James Calleri
“It Shoulda Been You,” Jay Binder, Mark Brandon
“The Realistic Joneses,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman
“The Winter’s Tale,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman

Regional Theatre West
“Hands On A Hardbody,” Rachel Hoffman  **
“A Room With a View,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, Dale Brown (Associate)
“Aladdin,” Tara Rubin, Eric Woodall, Merri Sugarman, Dale Brown (Associate)
“The Rocky Horror Show,” Carrie Gardner
“The Whale,” Elissa Myers, Paul Fouquet

Los Angeles Theatre
“Art,” Jeff Greenberg  **
“Cabaret,” Amy Lieberman
“Jitney,” Joanne DeNaut
“Our Town,” Pat McCorkle
“The Heiress,” Michael Donovan

Monday, October 29, 2012

Upcoming: Take Her To See The Maco Lights

Superwolf Presents New Play by Bekah Brunstetter
Performances begin November 14

Superwolf will present the New York Premiere of Bekah Brunstetter's TAKE HER TO SEE THE MACO LIGHTS, directed by Sherri Kronfeld and produced by Jamie Effros. Performances begin November 14 at The Invisible Dog Art Center.

Tobacco land, North Carolina: A boy with a guitar, trapped in time, lurks near the abandoned railway tracks, waiting for a glimpse of an infamous ghost train- the legend of the Maco Lights. 50 years earlier, the white son of a tobacco magnate woos Mattie, his father’s beautiful young black receptionist. A play about money and power, love and ghosts, with music.

TAKE HER TO SEE THE MACO LIGHTS stars Sarah Stephens (Girls in Trouble) and Tommy Crawford (Heresy), both formerly members of the Bats at The Flea Theater.  This site-responsive production features set by John McDermott, lighting by Ben Kato, sound by Brandon Wolcott, and special seating created by local artists that will serve as both scenic elements and original art available for purchase after the show.

Bekah Brunstetter's plays include Cutie and Bear (Upcoming, The Roundabout) A Long and Happy Life (Upcoming, Naked Angels), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Spring 2011; Collaboraction – Chicago) House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival), Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater, 2009; Steppenwolf Garage – 2012), and Miss Lily Gets Boned (Finborough Theater 2010, Lark Playwrights Week 2009, Finborough Theater, June 2010). She is a New York New Voices Fellow through the Lark Play Development Center, member of The Primary Stages Writer’s Group, the Naked Radio writing team. She is an alumni of the Women’s Project writer’s Lab, the Ars Nova Play Group, and the Playwright’s Realm. She was the Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theater, London, 2010-2011. She is a two-time Samuel French Short play festival winner, and two-time winner of the New York Innovative Theater Award for Best New Play. She is currently working on an EST Sloan commission, and writing for a new MTV series created by Craig Wright, Underemployed.

TAKE HER TO SEE THE MACO LIGHTS runs November 14 - Wednesday - Saturday at 7pm, and Sunday at 6pm. The Invisible Dog Art Center is located at 51 Bergen Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn (accessible from the F & G trains at Bergen Street or the A & C trains at Hoyt-Schermerhorn). Tickets are $15, available at 800-838-3006 or

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Upcoming: The Outgoing Tide

Featuring an all star cast in its New York premiere, this transformative piece offers surprising humor as it thoughtfully explores the ebb and flow of a family dynamic. In a summer cottage on Chesapeake Bay, Gunner has hatched an unorthodox plan to secure his family's future but meets with resistance from his wife and grown son. This new drama by Barrymore Award winner Bruce Graham "hums with dark humor and profound emotion" - Chicago Sun Times.

The cast features Michael Learned (Emmy Award winner, "The Waltons," "Nurse," Gore Vidal's The Best ManThe Sisters Rosensweig), Peter Strauss (Emmy Award Winner, "The Jericho Mile," "Rich Man, Poor Man," "Masada"), and Ian Lithgow ("Third Rock From the Sun," "Boy Gets Girl").

Friday, October 26, 2012

Upcoming @ Red Bull: Volpone

The Red Bull Theater is bringing Volpone to the stage with a glorious cast!  Check out their details below.

Meet Volpone, the rich old magnifico, whose ingenious schemes and scams dupe his wealthy neighbors into showering him with gold.  This Jacobean juggler robs the rich to feed the richer, himself!  Considered one of the greatest comedies ever written for the stage, Jonson's merciless satire of greed and lust is a vicious delight, skewering the hypocrisies of the wealthy – and other all-too-human creatures – with irreverent comic relish. A feast of extraordinary language and outrageous characters will greet you in this timeless and timely classic from the pen of Shakespeare's greatest peer.

Don’t miss out on the first major New York revival of this Jacobean masterpiece in 50 years – Reserve your seat today!
Limited Engagement Starts Performances: November 27
Benefit Opening Night: December 2
Venue: Lucille Lortel Theater
Featuring Jen Eden, Alvin Epstein, Sean Patrick Doyle, Cameron Folmar, Tovah Feldshuh,
Michael Mastro, Christina Pumariega, Pearl Rhein, Rocco Sisto, Alexander Sovronsky, Teale Sperling,
Stephen Spinella, Charles Turner, Gregory Wooddell
Designs, Choreography and Music by John Arnone, Tracy Bersley, Scott Killian, Clint Ramos, Peter West
Directed by Jesse Berger

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Submissions Only Season 2 on YouTube

Kate Weatherhead is presently doling an amazing job in The Other Josh Cohen.  If you want to watch the web series, "Submissions Only", it is now out on YouTube.

Submissions Only", Broadway's favorite webseries is pleased to announce that all eight episodes ofSeason Two are now available on YouTube (
Created in 2010 by New York actors Kate Wetherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, "Submissions Only" is a grassroots web sitcom that shows viewers what really goes on off stage. Following the friendship of two theater professionals, an actress (Kate Wetherhead as Penny Reilly) and a casting director (Colin Hanlon as Tim Trull), as they try to build careers in the notoriously tricky and often absurd world of Broadway theatrics, “Submissions Only” proves there’s a whole lot of comedy in all the drama.

During the first two seasons, special guest stars have included Nick Jonas, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristin Chenoweth, Kristen Johnston, Michael Urie, Rachel Dratch, Roger Rees, Chita Rivera, Jeremy Jordan, MaryBeth Peil, Adam Pascal, Kerry Butler, Jackie Hoffman, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Harvey Fierstein.

Series regulars include Wetherhead, Hanlon, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Stephen Bienskie, Asmeret Ghebremichael andSantino Fontana.

For more information, visit

Season of Cambodia in 2013

More Information as it is closer (next year!), but I thought this was interesting.  Having been to Cambodia, I admire the people and the culture.  Attend if you can.  More information as we get closer.

New York City will host more than 125 artists from Cambodia for a major celebration of Cambodian arts, culture, and humanities when Season of Cambodia lights up the city’s cultural landscape in April and May 2013. Distinctive works from master and emerging artists and scholars—in ritual, music, visual arts, performance, dance, shadow puppetry, film, and academic forums—will be presented by 30 of New York’s most renowned arts and educational institutions, marking an unprecedented city-wide partnership initiative to celebrate one of the world’s most vibrant and evocative cultures.

Season of Cambodia will run from Saturday April 6 to Friday May 31, 2013, with opening ceremonies scheduled to coincide with Cambodian New Year on Saturday, April 13.  Leading cultural and educational institutions as varied as Asia SocietyBAMWorks & Process at the GuggenheimLower Manhattan Cultural CouncilMetropolitan Museum of ArtParsons The New School for DesignMark Morris Dance Group and Arts Brookfield will participate in Season of CambodiaThis historic collaboration featuring pioneering artists and organizations from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap comes at a critical moment in Cambodia’s artistic revival. Only one generation ago the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979) set out to eliminate the artists and intellectuals who comprised Cambodia’s flourishing artistic community; as many as 90% of them died. As a “living arts” festival, Season of Cambodia will serve as an international platform that not only promotes opportunities for cultural and artistic expression in a country where half of the population is under the age of 25, but also helps pave the way for long-term partnerships between members of Cambodia’s burgeoning arts community and pre-eminent artists and cultural institutions in New York City.

Season of Cambodia is an initiative of Cambodian Living Arts, a non-profit organization based in Phnom Penh and the U.S. founded in 1998 by artist and Khmer Rouge survivor Arn Chorn-Pond. Once focused on the critical task of preserving endangered artists and traditional art forms in the country, Cambodian Living Arts today collaborates with Cambodian artists and organizations, serving as a catalyst to help develop and foster arts in Cambodia.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Reality Washes Past (and Future) In The Summer Pavilion

In The Summer Pavilion is a fascinating journey across possible realities, imported to 59E 59 from the NY Fringe Festival.  But it isn’t some opaque drama / science fiction hybrid which requires you to follow confusing plot twists, it is a simple story told with sincerity.
Summer Pavilion opens with a pensive young man Ben (played by the always excellent Ryan Barry) alone on stage, pondering life.  A party at his parents’ house is steaming ahead inside, but Ben is alone in the garden.  In time, he is joined by the beautiful Clarissa (Rachel Mewbron).  With flirting and flattery, she entices him to return to the party.  He is hesitant, but willing to be tempted.  Soon they are joined by Nabile (Meena Dimian) a sensual young man with an eye for both Ben and Clarissa.  As the scene plays out, it is obvious that all three people have been sexually intimate, in every possible combination.  Nabile brings vodka (laced with LSD, Ben finds out later), which he shares to loosen everyone up – and they all then decide to play a game.
The “game” is suppose to be about guessing the future, but what unfolds is not what they expect.  Ben experiences many possible futures.  He sees what happens if he settles down with Clarissa, and what happens if he settles down with Nabile, what happens if he never settles down, and so on.
The outcomes portrayed are all unique and  all plausible.  One of the most interesting things is how different the life choices affect Ben and Clarissa’s personalities going forward.  Their choices lead to vastly different outcomes and levels of happiness.  Nabile’s future, on the other hand, is steadier – although with different levels of fulfillment.  This is a combination of both Nabile's culture and  parent’s wealth.  There is a subtle message that more freedom demands more responsibility.
The actors pull the various combinations off with unexpected ease.  Rachel Mewbron’s Clarissa may end up a successful artist, a bitter gallery owner or a bohemian, but her soul shines through in each case.  She is an artist at heart and happy when she is fulfilled.  Meena Dimian’s Nabile will end up a reasonably happy man, who manages to balance his personal orientation with an ability to provide grandchildren to his parents.
It is Ryan Barry’s Ben who has the starkest choices to make.  His possible futures range wildly from happily married to mentally unhinged.  Through it all, Mr. Barry manages to create a believe and relatable persona.
In The Summer Pavilion is directed by Kathy Gail MacGowan, and she who the complex story straightforward and clearly.   Some people will question the lack of resolution in the show, all the possibilities are presented but there is no indication of which comes to pass.  Others will enjoy the ambiguity and the message that we are the designers of our own fate.  Personally, I wanted Ben’s life to turn out well, I hope he made the right choices.

In The Summer Pavilion
Playwright: Paul David Young
Director: Kathy Gail MacGowan
Cast: Ryan Barry, Meena Dimian, Rachel Mewbron
59 E 59 Theater, website

The Other Josh Cohen: Clever and Very Funny

Steven Rosen, Kate Wetherhead, David Rossmer
Opening at the SoHo playhouse, The Other Josh Cohen is a lightweight, but extremely fun musical.  It whizzes by at 80 minutes, with plenty of laughs per minute.  As the audience is being seated, a man begins to remove all the set dressing, a box at a time.  Interspersed with the audience discussions of where to have a drink after the show and what little Billy did yesterday at school, a few people start tocomment; is the set being dressed for a different show, is the lead character going to be moving in, what exactly is going on?
Turns out that set is an apartment and, the yet unseen, Josh Cohen, is being robbed. Narrator Josh walks through the aisle and explains what has just happened, just as a frumpier and much angrier Josh Cohen arrives on stage to find he was just burgled. Narrator Josh is a year older and wiser.  He explains to stage Josh that is the story of what happened “back then”.  Narrator Josh’s acceptance of the circumstances is, unsurprisingly, of little comfort to the recently robbed Josh.  The interplay between these two characters, separated by a year, is charmingly funny.  Imagine your future self coming back to a venerable point in your life to tell you everything will be fine - when everything is, thank you very much, definitely NOT fine.  Even more annoying for real time Josh, his future self has lost weight, cleaned up a little and is entirely too smug.
The story then unfolds in song and sketch.  Not long after the burglary, when Josh has nothing, a check arrives in the mail for $56,000.  It is from Ida Cohen, a relative from Florida.  Well, maybe a relative.  Our Josh tries to ascertain exactly which relative it is, and why Ida is sending him money.  After some interesting exposition on the Cohen family tree and suggestions from his family to just take the money, Josh finds out there is, indeed, a different and unrelated Josh Cohen at a similar address. 

Davis Rossmer & Steve Rosen as Josh Cohen (Ken Triwush on Guitar in rear)
This is a simple set up, played with enthusiasm and heart by Steven Rosen (real time Josh) and David Rossmer (Narrator Josh).  These two gentlemen make a great pair and yet are still believable as the same character separated by a year.  These two talented men also wrote the book, lyrics and music - so their ease in the characters is organic.
The Other Josh Cohen has a veteran supporting cast who excel in playing in the band, while still performing all the other characters.  Ken Triwush, Vadim Feichtner and Hannah Elless all move from being band members to characters and back seamlessly with a real sense of joy and fun.  Kate Wetherhead plays a myriad of secondary chacters, transitioning from an attractive young woman to Seth Cohen, Patriarch of a vast Cohen family, and everything in between.  Ms. Wehterhead makes all the characters work wonderfully.  In particular, her Ida Cohen, circa Boca, is flawless.
Directed with a light touch by Ted Sperling, The Other Josh Cohen snuck up on me.  It starts gently and builds in humor and pathos as the show progresses.  By the end, I kind of loved it, and left with a huge grin.  You can’t ask from much more than that.
The Other Josh Cohen
Book, Music & Lyrics: David Rossmer and Steve Rosen
Director: Ted Sperling
Cast: Hannah Elless, Vadim Feichtner, Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Ken Triwush, Kate Wtherehead
SoHo Playhouse - Website