Review: “The Floor is Lava” at LaMama Experimental Theatre Club

Review: “The Floor is Lava” at LaMama Experimental Theatre Club

As we get closer to the point where Millennials and Generation Z makes up a solid majority of the voting age population, there has been an increased desire not just for younger people to see perspectives like their own represented in the world of theatre and film, but also for content that helps Baby Boomers and Generation X better understand the unique struggles that today’s young adults – born in the 1980s and 1990s – continue to face in life. Judging by the way it’s been advertised, it’s clear that the main goal of The Floor is Lava is to become the latest creative effort to try and fill that role

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Off-Broadway Review: “Original Sound” at Cherry Lane Studio Theatre

Off-Broadway Review: “Original Sound” at Cherry Lane Studio Theatre

What a pleasant surprise to walk into the Studio space at Cherry Lane Theatre and see a fresh, new look developed for the exciting new production “Original Sound” by Adam Seidel. Scenic designer, Justin Townsend has transformed the space into a multi-purpose set used for several different locations but always having the lingering aura of a contemporary, professional recording studio. Lighting by Kate McGee supports specific locations and has created a multi-colored neon tube installation as a focal point that pulsates during scene changes adding to the highly charged production and sleek design.

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Off-Broadway Review: “Happy Talk”

Off-Broadway Review: “Happy Talk”

Happy talk – the type of verbal communication, replete with counterfeit smiles, that too often serves as a replacement for authentic connection between individuals – cascades across the stage at the New Group’s world premiere of Jesse Eisenberg’s “Happy Talk” at the New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre.

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Review: Vanguard Theater Company presents “A Little Princess”

Review: Vanguard Theater Company presents “A Little Princess”

Vanguard Theater Company’s “A Little Princess” bursts with the earnest vivacity of a small child at Christmas—or make that rather, twenty small children shining on stage currently in this valiant tale of a girl whose spirit can’t be squashed. Based on the classic novel by Frances Hodson Burnett, this “A Little Princess” by composer Andrew Lippa and book and lyric writer Brian Crawley hops, skips, and jumps it’s way around the dark Victorian undercurrents of racism and classism, preferring instead to bask in the warm glow of youthful optimism and defiant “keep your chin up” songs.

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“Antigone” at the In Scena! Italian Theatre Festival NY

“Antigone” at the In Scena! Italian Theatre Festival NY

Telling the classic story of the doomed daughter of Oedipus, Debora Benincasa’s one-woman adaptation of “Antigone” is incredibly refreshing. Beginning with an acknowledgement that we are about to watch a play, this version of “Antigone” sets the tone of the piece right away. Benincasa brings great humor and thoughtfulness to a piece that is typically tragic and free of much laughter. She knows this too, even encouraging you to recall sad things like your spouse leaving you or your mother yelling at you in order to get you  in the right frame of mind, because, as she says, it’s a tragedy, afterall.

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Review: “Friendly’s Fire” at Theater at the 14th Street Y

Review: “Friendly’s Fire” at Theater at the 14th Street Y

“Friendly’s Fire” is a new play by John Patrick Bray, following Gulf War veteran, Guy Friendly (Matthew Weitz), as he struggles to maintain control of his mind and emotions as a drug attack from a recent lover brings out his, already prominent, PTSD. He creates visions and a whole cast of characters that help guide him to a deeper understanding of himself. Along for the ride is his friend Todd (Adeyinka Adebola), who, not seeing any of what Friendly is seeing, goes along in the hopes that, while they wait for help, he can understand his friend just a little better. What follows is a play incredibly moving in story and almost psychedelic in atmosphere.

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Review: “The Buffalo Play” at The Tank

Review: “The Buffalo Play” at The Tank

Taking place entirely in a jail cell near Yellowstone National Park, “The Buffalo Play” tells the story of a Woman (Ciara Griffin) as she is visited by the vision of a buffalo (Kendra Potter), after having just taken a baby buffalo and put it in her car because she thought it looked cold. This eventually leads to the baby being rejected by the heard and having to be euthanized. The Woman and the Buffalo discuss life and nature and the morality of human interference. Combing realistic and abstract elements, this new play by Ciara Griffin and Kendra Potter, explores human’s relationship with wildlife and our internal connections to the nature around us.

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Review: “Evil Clowns Have Feelings Too” at the Producer’s Club

Review: “Evil Clowns Have Feelings Too” at the Producer’s Club

Clowns!

Some people find them entertaining, or at the very least amusing. Others might find them creepy, perhaps to the point where they appear in their nightmares. For a select few, it may be a combination of all of the above. In IRTE’s latest show – which, as the title suggests, is all about evil clowns – that combination is exactly what is shown to theatergoers…although thankfully, it leans far more toward the silly and whimsical side of these characters.

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Off-Broadway Review: “BLKS”

Off-Broadway Review: “BLKS”

Poet-playwright Aziza Barnes puts many ingredients into their script blender to whip up a “comedic look” at the lives of Octavia (Paige Gilbert), Imani (Alfie Fuller), and June (Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, three twenty something black women living in New York City – a city where black lives seem not to matter and where, for that reason, it has  become difficult for the trio to navigate the bumpy road to finding intimacy and purpose.

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Review: Retro Productions Presents “Mary, Mary”

Review: Retro Productions Presents “Mary, Mary”

Author Jean Kerr once quipped, “Being divorced is like being hit by a Mack truck. If you live through it, you start looking very carefully to the right and to the left.”

Kerr is full of such quips, and she uses them hungrily in her 1960s comedy hit, "Mary, Mary," being revived ambitiously by Retro Productions at the Gene Frankel Theatre downtown.

"Mary" is about what happens when two people have married each other, separated, and after vigorously looking to the right and left, through a number of snarky quips, get back together happily ever after, no questions asked.

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Review: “Miseducated: an oral history of sexual (mis)education” at The Tank

Review: “Miseducated: an oral history of sexual (mis)education” at The Tank

Sex Ed is something that everyone has had some sort of encounter with in one way or another, whether it was  extremely restrictive in the information given (perhaps even no information at all) or given way too much information to the point of confusion. Often as we grow older we find that the information that we received as children was a little off or just downright wrong. This is what “Miseducated” is about.

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Review: 'Sons of the Prophet' at Normal Ave

Review: 'Sons of the Prophet' at Normal Ave

In Normal Ave’s final installation in their 2019 season, “Sons of the Prophet” explores the tenacity of the human spirit in the face of senseless tragedy.  This production has made its home at the Medicine Show Theatre and will play through May 5th.  At the beginning of the matinee I saw, the show’s director Shannon Molly Flynn announced Normal Ave’s residency at the Medicine Show theatre. So first and foremost a huge congratulations to them for finding a home for what continues to be a talented and up and coming theatre company.

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Review: “Spanker Machine” at BAAD and the Bernie Wohl Center

 Review: “Spanker Machine” at BAAD and the Bernie Wohl Center

“Spanker Machine” is performed through the In Scena Italian Theater Festival and tells the story of a young woman, Anita, as she tries to make sense of the most traumatic moments of her life through dressing up as her favorite characters (Sailor Moon, Anne of Green Gables, Oren Ishi). Tormented by a mother who never accepted her controversial sexuality and a lover, Marco, who left without explanation, she finds refuge in her characters. We as the audience are given details of her life outside of the characters through, phone calls and Anita’s stories.

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Review: 'The Bigot' at the Theatre at St. Clement’s

Review: 'The Bigot' at the Theatre at St. Clement’s

Taking us back to those uncomfortable holiday dinners, this new play by Gabi and Eva Mor, tells the story of homophobic, racist, and all around bigoted, Jim. Jim’s narrow views and downright offensive language make him a very hard person to be around. Even his own son, Seth (played by Dana Watkins)  is exhausted with trying to get his father to understand just what is wrong with some of the things he says. Yet, with his father’s health waning and Seth the only one to take care of him, he hopes that he can use his time with his father to try and open his mind a little. Seth, along with the help of Jim’s next door neighbors, Paula and Aysha,(Played by Jaimi Paige and Faiven Feshazion) whose romantic relationship Jim has expressed extreme distaste for, attempt to open up Jim’s eyes to a world beyond his narrow understanding.

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Broadway Review: “Be More Chill”

Broadway Review: “Be More Chill”

It is difficult to separate “Be More Chill,” currently running at the Lyceum Theatre, from the hype surrounding what has become a teenage cult musical since its 2015 run at the Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey and its recent off-Broadway run at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center in 2018. This hype has been heightened by a cast recording and an extensive marketing campaign. What is this musical about and how successful is its current Broadway incarnation?

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Review: 'The Battles of Richmond Hill' at HERE

Review: 'The Battles of Richmond Hill' at HERE

Written by Penny Jackson and taking place in the Dublin Rose Irish Bar in Richmond Hills, Queens, “The Battles of Richmond Hills” tells the story of Sheila O’Connor, the O’Conner family and the “battles” they face every day, such as loss, substance abuse, addiction, and the inability to let go. It’s a story about family and what keeps it together as well as what tears it apart and how long one can keep grasping at the past before it slips between their fingers.

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Review: “Washed in the Blood” at the NuBox Theatre

Review: “Washed in the Blood” at the NuBox Theatre

On October 1st, 2015, the students at Umpqua Community College in Oregon became among the many to have experienced the firsthand horror of gun violence in their school, as an armed shooter opened fire on them, immediately after asking each of them the question: “Do you believe in God?” To this day, questions remain over the shooter’s exact motives, and why he would ask his victims that question. However, in Washed in the Blood – Joshua Crone’s fictionalized depiction of these horrific events – we are offered an idea of what might have happened that led to such a tragic incident.

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“Jilted to Perfection” at The Triad Theatre

“Jilted to Perfection” at The Triad Theatre

With a book, music, and lyrics written by Debra Cook, “Jilted to Perfection” tells the story of a divorced Mormon mom and her growing relationship with a scientologist actor/director. Through this relationship she takes many risks, makes many sacrifices, and watches her life change before her eyes.  Told mostly in a monologue with songs throughout, Cook takes us through her life in this new musical.

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