The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. presents ‘a photograph/lovers in motion’ by Ntozake Shange,

  Neither Michael (Imana Breaux) nor Sean David (Adrain Washington) would recognize their present-day San Francisco hometown.  The aspiring artists' relationship, told in Ntozake Shange's  a photograph/lovers in motion, develops during the late 1970s-early 1980s before SF's gentrification for the super rich and high tech.  While SF is not a "character",characters define themselves by it.  A rare revival of Shange's 1977 play is presented by The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.'s  plays through the end February at  Theatre St. Marks. Directed by Shange's sister and long-time collaborator Ifa Bayeza, a photograph/lovers in motion has the same lyricism found in her landmark for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ at New York City Center

Matthew Ball as The Swan. Photo: Johan Persson

  "DO NOT FEED THE SWANS" reads the sign posted at the edge of the lake The Prince (James Lovell) staggers towards.  Drunk, unhappy and unloved, he's ready to end it all when The Swan (Matthew Ball) who has haunted his dreams appears.  Like a real swan, he and his flock are beautiful.  Further defining their species and most unlike the traditional ballet kind, they are aggressive.  This flock will bite off whole hands of those daring feeding them.  Guided by the moonlight, Tchaikovsky's music and Sir Matthew Bourne's spectacular choreography, the Prince and Swan form an unbreakable union defying both

‘The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker’ at La MaMa

Puppet by Theodora Skipitares. Photo by Jane Catherine Shaw

  Imagine being  a primarily self-taught scientist who wrote several almanacs, built a clock that ran 50 years, corresponded with Thomas Jefferson and was so brilliant performing measurements you were invited to survey what become Washington, D.C.  With those accomplishments you'd rate a statue in the Nation's Capital, right?  Afraid not.  Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806) has a Park, but still no monument.  The current administration and their congressional minions are too busy building false facades to themselves to recognize the accomplishments of a great African-American thinker - or any for that matter.  In place of permanence and as a precursor to Black History

Theatre for a New Audience (TFANA) Presents ‘Timon of Athens’

  The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) approximates that the Bard wrote Timon of Athens and King Lear between 1604-1606.  Lear is a masterpiece about dysfunctional families, abuse of power and neglecting the elderly.  Timon is a "problem" play Shakespeare co-wrote with Thomas Middleton offering neither redemption nor emotional satisfaction. Though Timon might pose problems in a required rote humanities class and repertory justification, the rise and fall of a historic figure from Plutarch provides a cautionary tale: what happened to Timon can happen to anyone, the moral being the rich stick to their own kind.  Not exactly the perfect benefit night offering.  Since the protagonist lives in frivolous, dangerous times, the

New Ohio Theatre for Young Minds presents UP CLOSE FESTIVAL

  Being the reviewer is fun stuff but can be awkward - particularly when covering children's theatre, when the only reactions that matter most are from those wearing glittery unicorn horns and holding a parent or grandparent's hand.  Therefore, it's heartening that New Ohio Theatre takes such good care keeping them entertained and informed at their second UP CLOSE FESTIVAL. Rather than a seasonal story, UP CLOSE is about community; specifically, the Village.  Kids and their adults are divided into small groups and enter the theatre via a secret knock (it really works!).  They are greeted by Pizza Rat (Marisol Rosa-Shapiro), emcees their hour-long (give

The New Stage Theatre Company’s ‘Near to the Wild Heart’

Sarah Lemp, Markus Hirnigel. Photo by Nonoka Judit Sipos.

    2020 marks the centennial of Clarice Lispector's birth.  The Ukrainian-Jewish refugee who settled in Brazil has long been acclaimed as a feminist trailblazer in male dominated South American literature.  Fortunately, her canon is newly translated into English.   The New Stage Theatre Company celebrates Lispector with an evocatively uncompromising adaptation of Near to the Wild Heart.  Artistic director Ildiko Nemeth's production is both an English-language premiere and first-ever North American stage adaptation of Lispector's 1943 debut novel. Lispector's writing is semi-autobiographical and surreal - the artistically experimental, not the hashtag kind.  The "Wild Heart" belongs to Joana (Sarah Lemp), who is smart, bored and unhappily married to Otavio

The Chase Brock Experience’s ‘The Four Seasons’

Photo: Rosalie O'Connor

  The November 26, 2019 publication of The UN environment programme Emissions Gap Report 2019  confirms yet again that Earth is in serious trouble.  Findings directed specifically at the U.S. and China conclude that action must be taken ASAP.  Thru Sunday, December 8 at Theatre Row, The Chase Brock Experience provides a strong response to climate change with The Four Seasons, which Brock visualizes as a dance of destruction. Brock's 2008 ballet (female dancers wear ballet slippers instead of pointe shoes) is a loose, yet potent, narrative.  The dancers - Jane Abbott, Michael Bishop, Chloë Campbell, Kendrick D. Carter, Kassandra Cruz, Kory Geller, David Hochberg, Yukiko Kashiki, Honza Pelichovský,

BAM Next Wave 2019: ‘The End of Eddy’

  "From my childhood I have no happy memories. I don’t mean to say that I never, in all those years, felt any happiness or joy. But suffering is all-consuming: it somehow gets rid of anything that doesn’t fit into its system."  Édouard Louis Young Adults are not the usual Next Wave Festival crowd, so BAM's new Artistic Director David Binder included them in his inaugural season of debuts.artists.  He and Next Wave couldn't have made a wiser choice than selecting Pamela Carter's adaptation of Édouard Louis's autobiographical novel The End of Eddy.  The joint production of Scotland's Untitled Projects and the U.K.'s Unicorn Theatre  chronicling the author's

DruidShakespeare: Richard III at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival

Aaron Monaghan as Richard III. Photo: Richard Termine

  DruidShaekespeare's Richard III  is a bruising experience, which is as it should be.  The Irish troupe's contribution to the tenth anniversary season of Lincoln Center's White Light Festival  (playing thru November 23rd at John Jay College's Gerald W. Lynch Theatre), absolutely fulfills the festival's mission of looking and listening without distraction for greater understanding.  Shakespeare never hides Richard's ambition and watching it played out in the ugliness The War of the Roses created makes it inevitable. Director Garry Hynes has the perfect Richard in Aaron Monaghan.  No one would ever mistake him for a weakling, but when things don't go his way his voice becomes high pitched like a

Ars Nova presents ‘Dr. Ride’s American Beach House’ by Liza Birkenmeier

Kristen Sieh (left) & Erin Marke (right). Photo: Ben Arons Photography

  Historic events impact lives.  There are the famous examples of Walt Whitman's Civil War poetry, Abraham Zapruder's home movie of the events in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 and the January 21, 2017 Women's March posters currently displayed at Poster House.  But then there are the private ones.  BFFs Harriet (Kristen Sieh) and Matilda (Erin Markey) confront a turning point in their relationship during a landmark event in U.S. space history in Liza Birkenmeier's Dr. Ride's American Beach House, now playing through November 3, 2019 at Ars Nova at Greenwich House.  Birekenmeier is Ars Nova's current Tow Playwright-in-Residence. Harriet and Matilda

Top