Read top-notch poetry, flash fiction, short story. They nominate for Pushcart Prizes. (Not all magazines can.)
Read top-notch poetry, flash fiction, short story. They nominate for Pushcart Prizes. (Not all magazines can.)
THE NEW GROUP presents THE SPOILS
Written by and featuring Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by Scott Elliot
Meet Ben (Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network, Zombieland and also costar and writer of The Reivisionist) who, like Dennis in This Is Our Youth, is one of those rich New York kids who live off their parents. But Ben has an apartment to die for—a terrace that you worry various characters are going to jump from. The set, designed by Derek McLane features wide, comfy couches that I heard people in the audience sigh over. “I had couches like those,” or “I wish I had them.” But Ben, having been kicked out of grad school, is one of those lonely braggarts who believes he will make the great American film. Of course, the only thing he’s done so far is hector his sincere and endearing Nepalese roommate, Kalyan (Kunal Nayyar of The Big Bang Theory) and alienate Kalyan’s ambitious girlfriend, a doctor named Rashma (Annapurna Sriram (The Happiest Song Plays Last). When an old high school friend Ted, an investment banker (Michael Zegan of Bad Jews, Boardwalk Empire, and Girls) looks him up, Ben, who is hostile to every ethnic group, dismisses him as a Jewish banker. But when he finds out that Ted is about to marry Sarah, the girl he’s had a crush on since grade school, (Erin Darke of Still Alice), who gives a delightfully wise and nuanced performance, the already wired Ben hatches a plot to win her back. There are hysterical moments in The Spoils, but ultimately, unlike Dennis in This is Our Youth, what spoils the play is that Ben remains an unsympathetic hero.
The New Group, in association with Lisa Matlin.
NOW THROUGH JUNE 28
At THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE CENTER
for THE ALICE GRIFFIN JEWEL BOX
480 W. 42nd St. New York, 10036, NY
Tuesday-Friday @ 7:30 pm
Saturday @ 2pm and 8pm
Sunday @ 2pm
Wednesday matinees @ 2pm on 6/10 and 6/24
Sunday evenings @ 7:30pm on 6/7 and 6/21
TICKETS may be arranged at www.thenewgroup.org or by calling Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, or in person at 416 W. 42nd St. (12-8pm daily).
In A.R. GURNEY’S play, WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER, we find the fourteen year-old protagonist and star, Charlie (NOAH GALVIN of The Real O’Neals, Promised Land) jumping out of his skin and out of his bathing suit to moon the babysitters on shore while forced to stay in an upscale vacation colony with his mother and sister. His father is away at war as most of the men are. Charlie is so out of hand and opens such a mouth to his mother (CAROLYN McCORMICK of Equus, Private Lives, The Dinner Party) that she gives him a crack across the face. But nothing can force Charlie to be cooperative like his big sister Elsie (KATE McGONICLE who will be in Woody Allen’s Irrational Man). Elsie not only helps her mother with groceries and other chores, but collects money for Bundles for England. She’s reading War and Peace for her summer reading while Charlie is eating up all the butter rations and failing Latin with his summer tutor just as he had at school. There is an onstage battle for who is really the star of the play. Even Bonny (JULIET BRETT, off Broadway The Jacksonian), the fourteen year-old girl next door that both Charlie and his friend, Ted, woos, wonders if she’s the star.
Besides the war and how it impacts the family, social class is also a theme. Charlie’s family is well-to-do part of the tennis and sailing club set, while Ted (PICO ALEXANDER of Punk Rock, and A Most Violent Year) is a Canadian whose father is a keeper of the grounds in this vacation getaway for the wealthy of Buffalo. He remembers as a child being treated like all the other kids who summered there. But now that he’s seventeen, girls’ parents shoo him away. “A poor Canuck,” he calls himself. Anna Trumbell (KRISTINE NIELSEN of You Can’t Take it With You, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) a wildly spiritual art teacher, half-Indian, and former mistress of a town doctor who kept her hidden in the country, used to be part of the upper crust, but lost her fortune along with the desire to live straight-jacketed by conformity. Poorest in the area, she is in some ways the richest for living as a free spirit without regard for what others say of her. And talk they do! Ted keeps remarking, “Is it true she doesn’t wear underpants?” Her character exists as a symbol of how isolated and broke someone will become if he or she wants to be an artist rather than taking a safer route, which, in this play is the death of art. And that’s the choice Charlie has to make when Anna tries to stretch his mind by teaching him art and introducing him to radical ideas about life.
What I Did Last Summer is directed by JIM SIMPSON. The design team includes Michael Yeargan (Scenic Design), Claudia Brown (Costume Design), Brian Aldous (Lighting Design), Janie Bullard (Sound Design), John Narun (Projection Design). Donald Fried is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Telsey + Company, William Cantler, CSA. James Houghton is Signature’s founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin the Executive Director.) Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. )
Supplemental programming has been set for What I Did Last Summer. There will be post-show talkbacks on 21, 26 and June 2. Talkbacks brought to you by American Express. These events are free and open to the public. No reservations required
Signature recently announced programming for its 2015-16 25 Anniversary Season. To purchase subscriptions for next season, as well as tickets for all Signature productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit signaturetheatre.org.
Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature productions at THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE THEATER (480 W. 42nd St. Between 9th and 10th Aves. ) in the IRENE DIAMOND STAGE are $25, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable and accessible tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
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, Maria Irene Fornes, 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.
Terrific article by writer-friend Lisa Gornick, a psychoanalyst who decided she had to leave her analytic practice for writing and why. Her novel, Tinderbox, won many awards and her new book of short stories, Luisa Meets Bear , will be out June 9th. The advance reviews are raves.
I remember a New Yorker cartoon, maybe twenty years ago, of a guy covering his nose as he ran across a bridge, smokestacks billowing black clouds into the soot-dense air. The caption was, “Houdini escaping New Jersey.”
Well, New Jersey is HAPPENING. Not only their universities, seaside wonders which are recovering from Sandy, restaurants, shopping, but Art. Art in Jersey City. Check out MANA Contemporary, a museum that invites artists from all over the world to work in studios inside the museum, network with each other, and the U.S. art scene. It’s a collaborative community that brings together art, music and dance.
Shebooks has just put out my collection of short stories as an audio book narrated so beautifully by Stephanie Tucker. I promise you that even if you’ve read the stories already, it’s a whole new, thrilling experience to hear them on your audio device.
In her Broadway debut Renée Fleming, as the diva Raquel De Angelis, brings this light comedy, LIVING ON LOVE, to life. Who knew that besides her exquisite, world-famous operatic voice for which she won four Grammies, she is a terrific comic as well? As soon as she enters the drawing room in her gorgeous Michael Krass designs, awed, you suck in your breath. And when she sings, even a comic riff, you sigh with pleasure.
When her husband, Vito, a temperamental, dramatic maestro played by Douglas Sills (The Scarlet Pimpernel) falls in love with a young woman hired to ghostwrite his totally fictionalized autobiography, Raquel retaliates by hiring a dashing young male ghostwriter to chronicle her life as a famous diva. Vito’s heartthrob, Iris Peabody, who he keeps referring to as “Irish,” is played by Anna Chlumsky (You Can’t Take It With You). Robert Samson, Raquel’s new love, is played by Jerry O’Connell (Stand by Me, Jerry Macguire). In the screwball chaos, snow globes and silverware fly. Between the couples, there’s plenty of insider jokes about the publishing world and what it means to be displaced by Leonard Bernstein or aging out of a soprano voice to a deeper alto. And the madcap butlers played by Blake Hammond (First Date, Sister Act) and Scott Robertson (Cabaret, Damn Yankees) have their own secrets to reveal. Whenever Trixie, Raquel’s Pomeranian, comes onstage, she steals the show.
Two-time Tony Award-winning playwright, Joe DiPietro (Memphis), based this play on Garson Kanin’s Peccadillo, originally written in 1968. It feels like a summer stock production come to Broadway. And why not? Summer will soon be here. The production will play an 18-week engagement through Sunday, August 2, 2015.
The creative team includes Derek McLane (Scenic Design), Michael Krass (Costume Design), Peter Kaczorowski (Lighting Design), Scott Lehrer (Sound Design) and Rob Fisher (Music Consultant). Living on Love is produced on Broadway by Scott Landis, Philip Morgaman, Ryan Chang, Just For Laughs Theatricals, Glass Half Full Productions, Stephanie P. McClelland, Judith M. Box, No Saucy Productions, Alix Ritchie/John Yonover.
Living on Love is playing at the Longacre Theatre-220 West 48th Street, in New York City. For tickets, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200, or (800) 447-7400, or purchase them https://www.telecharge.com/
For more information, visit www.LivingonLoveBroadway.com
Tuesday through Thursday at 7pm; Saturday at 8pm; Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm; and, Sunday at 3pm
No Performances: Sunday, April 26 at 3pm; Sunday, May 10 at 3pm; Friday, June 26 at 8pm; Saturday, July 4 at 8pm
Performance Time Changes: Sunday, June 7 at 2pm; Sunday, June 28 at 2pm; Sunday, July 5 at 2pm
Added Performances: Monday, May 4 at 7pm; Sunday, June 28 at 7pm; Sunday, July 5 at 7pm
The producers are pleased to announce that at every performance, over 100 seats will be set aside to be sold for $25. Over 10,000 $25 tickets will be made available, bookable in advance, throughout the run giving more people an opportunity to experience this new play.
FUN HOME at CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE, (235 West 50th Street)
Fun Home gets you where your emotions live. Although it’s based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, Fun Home, and not your own life, we all know what it feels like to live in a family that has to keep up a façade. Here the façade is literal–a historical house in rural Pennsylvania that the father, Bruce (Michael Cerveris of Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Evita), has painstakingly restored. You see him pressuring his wife, Helen (Judy Kuhn of She Loves Me, Les Miserables), and their three kids to gussy up the house before public viewings just as he has to gussy up his own public image. Bruce is a man divided—a local high school English teacher, a mortician who took over his family’s business, a home restorer, a man with a wife and kids, and a guy who picks up young men for sex, each of his pick-ups played by Joel Perez (of Roy/Mark/Pete/Bobby Jeremy).
The story spotlights the Alison’s wrenching relationship to her erudite and volatile father. We meet her forty-three-year-old self played by Beth Malone (Molly Brown, Ring of Fire) all alone at her drawing desk, trying to come up with the words, the images, that will help her understand what she’s lived through. And then her past comes alive, with all the struggles of her own divided self. We see the mature Allison peering over the shoulder of her youngest self, played brilliantly by Sydney Lucas (youngest recipient of the Obie). We meet her college self (Emily Skeggs of I and Silence) at Oberlin, looking back at her high-jinx with her brothers, John (8 year-old Zell Steele Morrow) and Christian (11-year-old Oscar Williams). We see Alison’s college self embracing her own lesbianism and her first lover, Joan (Roberta Colindrez of Mala Hierba, Girls, Boardwalk Empire). And then, we see how the declaration of her new-found sexual identity to her parents sends a wrecking ball to whatever is left of their façade.
Obie-award winning and Drama Desk nominee Director Sam Gold enhances the theme of elusive memory when a piano slides into view or a coffin rises up from the floor and sinks again, interred. Ben Stanton’s lighting makes things seem to appear and disappear as memories in the subconscious.
The music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book lyrics by Tony Award nominee Lisa Kron is intimate. Who can stay dry-eyed with the youngest Allison, (Sydney Lucas) singing about being dazzled by a lesbian with cropped hair, laced-up boots, jeans, and a ring of keys? “Ring of Keys” is still wringing my heart. Allison’s love song to Joan, with lyrics about wanting to major in her body, is both comic and deeply affecting.
With all the rehash on Broadway, #FunHome is worth tweeting about. Fun Home opened to rave reviews at The Public Theater in October 2013, and was extended four times due to popular demand. It was named Best Musical by the New York Drama Critics Circle, and received the OBIE, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle and Off Broadway Alliance Awards in the 2013-2014 season.
The creative team of Fun Home also includes Danny Mefford (Choreography), David Zinn (Set and Costume Design), Ben Stanton (Lighting Design), Kai Harada (Sound Design), Chris Fenwick (Music Direction), and John Clancy (Orchestrations).
The schedule is: Tuesday at 7:00 PM, Wednesday – Saturday at 8:00 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2:00 PM, and Sunday at 3:00 PM..reviews March 27,), with an official opening night set for Sunday, April 19, 2015.
Ticket prices for Fun Home range from $75 – $150 and are available for purchase via Telecharge.com, by calling 212-239-6200, or in person at the Circle in the Square Theatre box office.
Fun Home has partnered with TodayTix to allow its members to enter a mobile lottery via the TodayTix app, available in the App Store or Google Play Store. The entry period will begin each day at midnight, and continue until winners are notified via push notification 3-4 hours before the selected performance begins. Winners will be offered the opportunity to purchase either one or two $32 tickets, and can pick up them up from the box office of the Circle in the Square Theatre. Lottery tickets and seat locations are subject to availability.
Fun Home is produced on Broadway by Fox Theatricals (Kristin Caskey, Mike Isaacson) and Barbara Whitman, along with Carole Shorenstein Hays, Tom Casserly, Paula Marie Black, Latitude Link, Terry Schnuck/Jack Lane, The Forstalls, Nathan Vernon, Mint Theatricals, Elizabeth Armstrong, JAM Theatricals and Delman Whitney.
The Original Cast Recording of Fun Home is available on PS Classics.
The Clurman Theater
412 W. 42nd St., NY, 10036
April 11-May 10
On a cold and foggy night in the South of Wales, Richard Warwick, a wealthy, cruel man, sits in his wheelchair facing the windowed door of his darkened study, shot through the head. His wife, Laura (Pamela Sabaugh) leans against the wall. The foghorn on the channel sounds mournfully. Headlights sweep across the room, illuminating Laura, and then the French door opens. Enter the stranger, Michael Starkwedder (Nicholas Viselli), who came to make a phone call because his car broke down and discovers that he’s stumbled into a murder. And so begins Agatha Christie’s 1958 thriller, The Unexpected Guest, with its dazzling turns and twists. There was whip crack tension in the air and when the guy behind me sneezed loudly, I jumped in my seat and sucked in my breath. (Hope I didn’t catch anything).
The cast features core members of TBTB (Theater Breaking Through Barriers) which gives actors with disabilities a chance to take parts that have nothing to do with their disability and perform with the able bodied. Newcomers include Scott Barton as Julian Farrar, Melanie Boland, Christopher Abrosiano (The Good Wife), Anthony Lopez, Lawrence Merrit, Anne Marie Morelli, and Pamela Sabaugh (The Goldman Project).
Pamela Sabaugh will remind you of the glam of a Joan Crawford. How beautifully she wears the clothes designed by Amanda Jenks. And her every gesture has power, especially her posture at the end. No spoilers here!
The set for the play, Warwick’s studio, juts forward and recesses, which gives the feeling of so much more space and mystery. Kudos to the set and lighting designer, Bert Scott.
Director and Yale School of Drama graduate Vivian Rauch Lichterman was an actress on soap operas, a writer who has published in Redbook and written for the sitcom Kate and Allie, among a long list of other credits, including being a scholar of genocide. At sixty-seven, she is the oldest person in the CUNY system to be awarded tenure. How is that for breaking through barriers? She was a close friend of TBTB’s founding Artistic Director, of the late Ike Schambelan who died before this production opened.