TJ Dawe: A Canadian Bartender at Butlin’s at the Soho Playhouse

The Soho Playhouse has gifted us with encore performances of some of the finer productions from this year's New York International Fringe Festival. TJ Dawe is performing a one-man, autobiographical show discussing his life in general and in particular his time in England as a bartender at a Butlin's holiday camp in Bognor Regis. Dawe is a charming raconteur and his adventures in the UK offer a great opportunity for fish-out-of-water stories. Butlin's, for those unfamiliar with the chain, was an English institution, up there with mushy peas, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and losing in the

“Happy Birthday, Wanda June” at the Duke on 42nd Street

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote this piece in 1970. For better or worse, it's highly relevant to America in 2018. It's about men who like to kill, and about men who don't. Harold Ryan (Jason O'Connell) is an Hemingway-esque sort of fellow, a hard-drinking, war-fighting, animal-hunting he-man. He's been missing 8 years in the Amazon with his pilot Colonel Looseleaf Harper (Craig Wesley Divino) who dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and who seems rather sad about it. Harold has been declared legally dead, and this creates something of a problem when he turns up on his birthday. His wife, Penelope (Kate MacCluggage),

“The Niceties” at The Studio at Stage II

The Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Eleanor Burgess' “The Niceties” is a thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful piece. Set at an elite university in the northeast, it is the story of a white, female, history professor and an ambitious, black woman majoring in political science. They meet to discuss the latter's paper on the American revolution, and the exchange rapidly takes them into discussions of race, privilege and generational attitudes. It gets ugly, and the premise that these sisters are on the same side in The Struggle rings hollow. Yet, somehow, it irritates because there was so much potential that went unrealized

A Few Minutes with Ethan Hova of “The Nap”

Stagebiz.com recently caught up with Ethan Hova who is playing in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of “The Nap,” probably the best (only) play ever written about snooker, a version of pool that is to 8-ball what chess is to tic-tac-toe. He kindly answered our questions about the play, snooker, and his career. Stagebiz: The Nap, like a lot of comedies, depends on a degree of chemistry among the actors. How did the cast find that and how easily did it happen? Hova: It's a kind, funny group of people, so finding chemistry wasn’t hard. Alexandra Billings is a catalyst for real

The Nap – Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Manhattan Theatre Club's production of “The Nap” is the American debut of Richard Bean's new comedy about snooker, a British version of billiards that is to 8-ball what chess is to tic-tac-toe. Why would anyone who wasn't a snooker fan (and there can't be that many in the US) go see a play about it? Well, Bean has made it about gambling, cheating and quirky characters. To be fair, the play could be tweaked a bit to be about darts, golf or video games. It's the people we meet that makes the show work. In brief, Dylan Spokes (Ben Schnetzer) is

“Breaking up is Hard to Do” at Centre Stage, Greenville, SC

Jukebox musicals stand or fall on the strength of the songs and the ability of the performers to deliver on them. Plot and character often feel bolted on. In the case of “Breaking up is Hard to Do,” the music of Neil Sedaka forms the reason for the show, and the Centre Stage cast in Greenville, SC, deliver. I rather wish the book by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters gave the performers more scope for their talents. I feel that way about a lot of jukebox musicals. The plot is “Dirty Dancing” meets “Grease.” Set at a Catskills resort in

Being a Latina Comic in Long Island, NY

By Cristina  Arroyo (and NOT by Jeff Myhre, despite what Wordpress says -- we're working on it). Follow any LI comic or club on Instagram, and count the number of women or comics of color in the photos; you’d be hard pressed to get past single digits. The Long Island comedy scene in New York is very male and very White–I’m not trying to be controversial, just factual. Lack of diversity (race, gender, and even comedic style) is a glaring issue that, if continued to be pushed aside, will render LI comedy obsolete. Many seasoned comics and show producers and bookers dismiss

Sidra Bell Dance New York at New York Live Arts

If your idea of dance is the Rockettes or a big Broadway show-stopper, Sidra Bell Dance New York is probably not for you. The choreographer, composer and company seem comfortable just on the other side of the cutting edge. The performances at New York Live Arts of “Friction” and “garment” (lower case in the title) illustrated this nicely. To begin with, the company is diversity itself. Sebastaian Abarbanell is a former Berliner, Tushrik Fredricks is from Johannesburg, Drew Lewis learned to dance in Chicago, Misa Kinno Lucyshyn is from Eugene, Oregon by way of Vancouver, Madison Wada is a Californian, and

Othello at the Delacorte Theater, Shakespeare in the Park

The story of Othello has always bothered me. Simply put, Othello has to be country-bumpkin gullible to fall victim to Iago's plotting – smitten and jealous or not. Chukwudi Iwuji, in the title role in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, turned in such a performance that I could almost believe Othello is that naïve. I have seen Othello more times than I can honestly remember. This production, though, is beyond memorable, especially but not exclusively because of Iwuji's performance. Much of the play hinges on the performance of Iago, and Corey Stoll delivers the goods. He is both

Tony Awards Dominated by A Band’s Visit, Harry Potter

The American Theater Wing and its partner The Broadway League held their 72nd Annual Tony Awards on June 10, in New York City. The Band's Visit came away with 10 awards from its 11 nominations (including Best Musical), and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II scored six Tonys from its 10 nominations (including Best Play). Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Play Andrew Garfield, Angels in America Best Leading Actress in a Play Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women Best Featured Actress in a Play Laurie Metcalf, Three Tall Women Best Featured Actor in a Play Nathan Lane, Angels in America Best Direction of

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