All posts in THEATER

Red-Eye to Havre de Grace at NY Theatre Workshop

One must assume that they didn’t have red-eyes in 1849 – don’t you need an airplane for that? – but the title isn’t the only anachronistic reference in the strange, compelling and utterly fresh Red-Eye to Havre de Grace, now playing at the New York Theater Workshop in the East Village through June 1.

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Based on letters, poetry, lectures and other contemporary accounts written by or about the great 19th century American poet and thinker Edgar Allen Poe, Red-Eye to Havre de Grace is an impressionistic recreation of Poe’s last few days before he died in mysterious circumstances at 40 (the play seems to claim 39). Read more…

Vaclav Havel’s The Pig at 3-Legged Dog

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I arrived to see the Untitled Theater Company #61’s new imagining of Vaclav Havel and Vladimír Morávek’s The Pig – also known as Vaclav Havel’s Hunt for a Pig – at 3LD Art + Technology Center all the way downtown. Read more…

Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information at the Minetta Lane

The title of British playwright Caryl Churchill’s new play, Love and Information, now at the Minetta Lane Theater in Greenwich Village, clearly states the play’s subject.

But the play’s context – or rather, many contexts – only become apparent during its rapid succession of vignettes, acted with precision and panache by 15 actors playing multiple roles. Read more…

Steampunk musical retools The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 book The Wind in the Willows has seen many adaptations, from cartoons to musicals – one of which is running on London’s West End through January – and has attracted interpreters from playwright Alan Bennett to electronica DJ Paul Oakenfold.IMG_0502

So when composer Collin Simon and his lyricist partner Liz Muller found themselves inspired by the century-old tale of Mr. Toad and his animal friends, they felt free to take it somewhere the story had never gone before: Steampunk. Read more…

Lee Breuer’s epic La Divina Caricatura shines at La Mama

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Health issues delayed the world premier of Lee Breuer’s new spectacle, La Divina Caricatura until last night. But the three-hour, multidisciplinary production, featuring actors, singers, musicians, puppets, puppeteers and a sound effects man, showed that Breuer, who is 76, remains a staggeringly vital creative mind. It opens tonight.

Tuesday night, we got a look at what is just the first part of a planned Caricatura trilogy at La Mama, in a co-production with St. Ann’s Warehouse. Its subtitle, The Shaggy Dog, is the essence of truth-in-titling: The show’s twisting plot tells the epic tale of a dog, Rose, who falls in love with her artist master, John, and the results are salacious and hilarious, heart-breaking and philosophically-charged. Read more…

Squonk Opera’s Mayhem and Majesty at 59E59

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What does music look like?

That was the question that Squonk Opera proposes to answer with its latest show, Mayhem and Majesty, which opens the second week of a four-week run tonight, 12/17/13, at the 59E59 Theaters in Midtown East.

Pittsburg-based Squonk, now in its 21st year of performing the creations of composer/artists Jackie Dempsey and Steve O’Hearn, has been asking (and perhaps less-importantly, answering) provocative questions for two decades. This is their first time performing Off-Broadway since 2000. Read more…

“Downtown Performance Artist of 2013” Joseph Keckler

IMG_4044Joseph Keckler has been working as a multi-disciplinary performance artist in downtown Manhattan since he moved to New York from his native Michigan eight years ago.

But 2013 has been his best year yet. This summer, he debuted his latest multimedia performance piece, I Am An Opera, a monologue-with-arias (sung in Italian, with funny supertitles) about a mushroom trip gone wrong.

Read more…

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to close in January

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the $75 million blockbuster show will be closing in January after a troubled three-year run. “Troubled” was the word most-often attached to the show, and the show’s deep-pockets investors are likely feeling the same. But they know when to cut their losses. Read more…

Big Fish flops; parting thoughts

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Many, if not most, of today’s Broadway musicals are the products of a difficult transition: From film to stage, from drama (or comedy) to musical, a transition that can go any number of ways. Whether or not we enjoy such musicals depends on how much we love the originals – and on how well that transition is handled.

Little Miss Sunshine, Once, Kinky Boots: How we receive a movie-based musical is inevitably tied to how we felt about the film. I was eager to see director Susan Stroman’s musical version of Tim Burton’s 2003 film version of Daniel Read more…

Ten Minutes with: James Judd

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James Judd has done a lot of things in his life – comedian, vintner, lawyer – but at the end of the day, he is a very funny, quick-witted guy, made to perform. He’ll be performing a workshop version of his strange, hilarious and oddly-moving monologue, Killer Quack, during the last weekend of this year’s All For One Festival.

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Mike Albo’s “The Junket” at Dixon Place

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If you work for the government, or a family business, or at a long-established company in a safe industry, you probably laughed like crazy during the opening performance Friday of Mike Albo’s three-weekend run of his new monologue, The Junket.

If you’re a freelance writer, or an actor, or a playwright, or a practitioner of any number of other creative callings, you probably laughed as well. And then went home and slit your wrists. Or at least thought about it.

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A stageful of Good at the Public Theater

02-1 As someone still just becoming familiar with theater, especially with the classics, I was intrigued by the buzz on The Foundry’s recent production of Bertolt Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan. Based on superficial acquaintance, I admit that I have long thought of Brecht’s work as being too didactic, or self-consciously arty, or (egad) too hyper-political to be actually enjoyable.

But the word on The Foundry’s new production, based on a translation by John Willett, directed by Lear DeBessonet and starring the gender-bending performer Taylor Mac, was so good – and tickets were so hard to get when it ran at La Mama last winter – that when I saw it was opening at the Public Theater, I jumped on the chance to see it. Twice. I may go a third time.

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