decomP Magazine is a fine read and a wonderful place to submit your work. Read it first so you know what they take.
What a brilliant comic Howie Mandel is. Yes, some material is prepared, but he gets involved with the audience and ad libs so much. And his gestures, movements, voices! Wow! He told about what a cut up he was in high school. Never even got a diploma. So if you have a kid who is carrying on, maybe you have a comic on your hands.
He had everyone so hysterical that some poor woman lost control of her bladder. She left her Spanx and panty girdle in the stall and walked off, commando.
STRAIGHT, by SCOTT ELMEGREEN and DREW FORNAROLA, begins like a sitcom. Ben, (JAKE EPSTEIN) a 26-year-old investment banker is drinking beer in his Boston apartment with Chris, (THOMAS E. SULLIVAN) a college student he met online. Ben, closeted, has such angst that it takes time and lots of belts of beer to get going sexually. Just as they are about to kiss, the phone rings. It’s Emily, (JENNA GAVIGAN) Ben’s girlfriend of five years. “I love you, too,” he tells her within earshot of Chris. And the vertexes of the triangle become clear.
Emily, a grad student in science who worries over the mice she gives leukemia to and euthanizes for the sake of her study, worries over Ben, too. She’s always checking that he’s had enough food so he doesn’t get cranky. Her put-on, chirpy voice is annoying at times and she doesn’t have the depth the other characters do, but you ultimately get to like her and see how Ben could be attached to her. They do have sex. It just isn’t as satisfying for Ben as when he has sex with men. And they have been close (as close as can be if one person is keeping a secret.) In college, Ben and Emily saw each other through family deaths and other traumas. So this isn’t just who Ben will end up with, but what life will he choose to openly live and whose heart he will break, including his own.
Ho, hum, you might think. This would have been a hot topic fifteen years ago, but what this play shows us is how damn hard it still is for someone to come out, even to himself, and even in this age of gay pride and legal marriage.
ANDY SANDBERG directed Straight with such fluidity that at one point, I gasped, thinking that when Emily walked through the door, she’d found Ben and Chris in hot embrace that even she couldn’t fluff off. The pacing worked so well that at the end of the 90 minutes with no intermission, I wanted the play to go on. It ended perfectly, although not for the characters.
Afterward, when I looked at the playbill, I was stunned to realize that Ben was Gerry Goffin in the Tony-nominated, Grammy-Award-winning, Beautiful: The Carol King Musical and Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and Craig Manning on Degrassi, for which he received a Gemini Award. Wow! I had no idea that I’d see such a celebrated actor in small, out-of-the-way Acorn.
And Jenna Gavigan was in Gypsy, Come Back Little Sheba, and Deliver Us From Evil, and Kinsey, and more.
Thomas E. Sullivan is a recent graduate of NYU Tisch and this is his Off-Broadway debut. He was such a natural that I’m sure I’ll be seeing him again and again and applauding as loudly each time.
The Acorn theater 410 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
until MAY 8th
CALL TELECHARGE AT
Theatre Row Box Office
410 West 42nd Street
(between 9th & 10th Aves.)
Just standing in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera is an event. It was bitterly cold out, but some stalwart women showed up in gowns with plunging necklines, jewels shining above cleavage. They wore black velvet opera coats, capes really, with no button. Oh, to see women in gowns instead of jeans! I was thrilled, I must admit how glad I was that the woman in the fathered hat didn’t end up sitting in front of me.
Before curtain rise, it was announced that the star, Ana Maria Martinez, Madama Butterfly, has a bad cold. I thought I was going to hear a phlegmy Cio-Cio San, a snuffly butterfly, but what a performance! How she fluttered around the stage in her anxiety, her kimono sleeves becoming wings. Her every gesture, inflection, step. pulsed with emotion. There she was, a 15-year-old, whose father lost all his money and in shame, committed suicide. She was left with no choice other than entertaining men. She believes that Pinkerton, a naval officer played by Gwyn Hughes Jones was going to take her back to the U.S. with him when actually he was taking her for his wife until he can get back to the states and marry an American. The Japanese divorce laws were so lax that it would have been no problem for him to accomplish this. Madama Butterfly was an example of sexual and cultural imperialism. Cio-Cio-San says, that she heard that in America, they stick pins in butterflies.
Cio-Cio-San has a son with Pinkerton that is played poignantly by a puppet operated by Kevin Augustine, Tom Lee, and Marc Petrosino. The way the puppet looks up at Cio-Cio-San, clings to her leg. No child could have been more convincing.
The dancing, the set with its mirrored ceiling reflecting lit lanterns, dancers with their swirling scarves! Sometimes words just cannot do it. You have to be there.
Good thing I don’t wear mascara. I was sobbing when Pinkerton came with his American wife to take their son away. Like her father before her, Cio-Cio-San killed herself with the same knife her father used.
On the way out, a woman turned to me and said, in a tremulous voice, “I just have to tell you that my son is profoundly deaf and this is his first opera, and he loved it.”
I don’t know why she felt she had to single me out from all the other strangers to tell me, but I’m so glad she did!
Two of my poems will be published in Superstition Review. (Actually it was three, but one of the poems was already accepted elsewhere). I had to do a Podcast for it. All day I worked at it, each time stumbling over some new word and having to redo the whole thing because I didn’t know how to edit it. I had to take photos too. They want grayscale, so I’m posting both the color one here, my preference. What good are blue eyes if they are gray? :). Best, The Gray Fox
Wait until you see this. Moore’s best, I think. One of the many things that got me razzed up was that in Norway, kids go to school less hours than hours, NEVER have homework, and have the most successful and happy students in the world with the highest academic standing. If anyone is sick of seeing their child oppressed by homework, storm the Bastille! Sign petitions! Freak out! Take action!
There’s so much that I’ve already forgotten For example, what did Moore say that Victoria’s Secret’s secret actually is.
And where was the prison where each prisoner had a key and his own shower and the focus was on rehabilitation, helping the prisoners become good neighbors in society instead of punishment? And where was it that the police are taught to respect each citizen?
Did I forget or am I cheating to motivate you to see it? A bit of both. 🙂
Went to the Chinese New Year festival at the Met. What an eerie experience to listen to two Tibetan musicians sing and play songs such as “O, crane, I wish I had your wings to fly back home” (home was a name of a town I couldn’t catch). The song, the chanteuse said, was about reincarnation. And there we are, in the great hall, surrounded by medieval tapestries and statues of the saints. Resurrection and reincarnation. Dreamlike.
Now Running Through April 3, 2016
Tickets on Sale at www.SignatureTheatre.org
Just saw OLD HATS at the Signature Theatre and I’m making it my mission to see it again. What an original mix of clowning, vaudeville, mime, great music, and uproarious surprises. The audience was screaming with laughter. Everyone said that it felt as if they had been taken out of themselves so thoroughly that it was like a vacation from whatever ails you. And you can bring your whole family! Using music, technology, and movement, Irwin and Shiner combine their magic and slapstick to create an unforgettable outing. The New York Times called the first production in 2013 of Old Hats “the secret to eternal youth,” while the New York Post hailed it as “one of the funniest shows of the past few years.” It won Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Awards, and was selected as a Critics’ Pick by The New York Times and Time Out New York.
Kudos to James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) for this return engagement of Old Hats created and performed by Bill Irwin and David Shiner, with music and lyrics by and featuring Shaina Taub, directed by Tina Landau. Opening night will be February 18 th at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Tickets start at $45. To purchase tickets for all Signature productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.
You’re getting a proven entity here. This production reunites clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner with original director Tina Landau and introduces their new songstress, songwriter, and comic foil Shaina Taub, hailed as “a young Judy Garland meets grown-up Lisa Simpson” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The design team includes G.W. Mercier (Scenic and Costume Design), Scott Zielinski (Lighting Design), John Gromada (Sound Design), Wendall K. Harrington (Projection Design), Mike Dobson (Foley Design). David H. Lurie is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company, William Cantler, CSA.
In a talk back after the show, Bill Irwin said that there is a wellspring of creativity in all of us and only fear stands in our way. An inspiring thought. Bill Irwin told about how many off-the-cuff changes they make that even cracks them up. Shaina Taub told how she had just gotten off the red eye from California to audition and was too exhausted to be nervous. Her accordion was hanging over her shoulder. She had left the case home so that her accordion could be her carry-on. When she walked in, she broke into song with barely an intro and, of course, landed the part.. I want to thank each of them for giving me one of the times of my life!
About SIGNATURE THEATRE
Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. By championing in-depth explorations of a playwright’s body of work, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award®.
Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects to host Signature’s three distinct playwrights’ residencies and foster a cultural community. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its founding Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency One, a first-of-its-kind, intensive exploration of a single writer’s body of work. Residency Five, the only program of its kind, was launched at the Center to support multiple playwrights as they build bodies of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature’s 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies back for productions of premiere or earlier plays.
The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City’s cultural landscape and provides a venue for cultural organizations that supports and encourages collaboration among artists throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café, bar and bookstore. Through the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, Signature has also made an unprecedented commitment to making its productions accessible by underwriting the cost of initial run tickets, currently priced at $25, through 2031.
Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. In addition to the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature’s productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions.
For more information, please visit www.signaturetheatre.org.
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When Marcel was 16, the Nazis marched into France, and the Jews of Strasbourg – near the German border – had to flee for their lives. Marcel changed his last name to Marceau to avoid being identified as Jewish, and joined the French resistance movement.
Masquerading as a boy scout, Marcel evacuated a Jewish orphanage in eastern France. He told the children he was taking them on a vacation in the Alps, and led them to safety in Switzerland. Marcel made the perilous journey three times, saving hundreds of Jewish orphans.
He was able to avoid detection by entertaining the children with silent pantomime.
Documentary filmmaker Phillipe Mora, whose father fought alongside Marcel in the French resistance, said, ”Marceau started miming to keep children quiet as they were escaping. It had nothing to do with show business. He was miming for his life.’’
Marcel’s father perished at Auschwitz. Marcel later said, “The people who came back from the camps were never able to talk about it. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”
While fighting with the French resistance, Marcel ran into a unit of German soldiers. Thinking fast, he mimicked the advance of a large French force, and the German soldiers retreated.
Word spread throughout the Allied forces of Marcel’s remarkable talent as a mime. In his first major performance, Marcel entertained 3,000 US troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Later in life, he expressed great pride that his first review was in the US Army newspaper, Stars and Stripes.
In 1947, Marcel created his beloved character Bip, a childlike everyman with a stovepipe hat and a red carnation. For the next six decades, Marcel was the world’s foremost master of the art of silence. Pop star Michael Jackson credited Marcel with inspiring his famous moonwalk.
In 2001, Marcel was awarded the Wallenberg Medal for his acts of courage during the Holocaust. When the award was announced, people speculated on whether Marcel would give an acceptance speech. He replied, “Never get a mime talking, because he won’t stop.”
Until his death at age 84, Marcel performed 300 times a year and taught 4 hours a day at his pantomime school in Paris. He died on Yom Kippur, 2007.
For risking his life to save orphans, and entertaining generations of fans without uttering a word, we honor Marcel Marceau as this week’s Thursday Hero at Accidental Talmudist.