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Theatre: What Will the Neighbors Say presents ‘The Diana Tapes’ at HERE

During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's touching marriage ceremony, cable hosts and invited "experts" still called his parents' nuptials "the wedding of the (20th) century."  Among the embarrassing lack of research (identifying celebrity guests but not most of Harry's extended family or cellist Sheku Kanneh-Maso and the music he played), the worst was insisting that the July 1981 wedding was romantic.  Both then and now, the event watched by millions reveals a very nervous teenager who on that day became so famous that she would be known by her first name.  A defining chapter of Diana's life is the subject

Theatre: Isabella Rossellini’s ‘Link Link Circus’ at BAC

  Fans of Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno will love Link Link Circus, her "from the waist up" follow-up at the Baryshnikov Arts Center.  So will animal lovers, TED Talk types and theatergoers with a sense of humor. Surrounded by her collection of wooden and wind-up childhood toys, Rossellini is the ringleader/lecturer (is there really any difference?) sharing her love and knowledge of animals.  Unlike certain celebrity activists, she practices what she preaches with an Master's Degree in Animal Behavior - hence the Link Link  - from Hunter College.  Then along with her honorary PhD from the University of Quebec at Montreal, she is

For the Weekend: ‘Wind-Up Variations’ written and starring the New York Neo-Futurists

Do you like unicorns?  Baked goods?  Balloons?  That and more is packed into the New York Neo-Futurists' Wind-Up Variations at the Kraine Theatre, which winds up its brief run at The Kraine Theatre this Saturday. Written and directed by Rob Neill, the story is ostensibly about the quartet pictured above.  Wind-Up Monkey (spirit animal of Daniel Mirsky) is finds himself alone following an unspecified disaster.  Along the way he encounters a Dinosaur (spirit animal of Ayun Halliday), Robot (Spirit Animal of Eevin Hartsough) and Unicorn (Spirit Animal of T Thompson).  Their journey is interrupted by their human counterparts talking over each other,

Theatre: Two Local Festivals Celebrate Ancient Greek Theatre

Despite their rigid structure, Ancient Greek plays resonate in whatever era they are presented. Gods and demigods dealt with the same jealousy, conflict, passion, and humor mortals encounter in the real world.  These powerful emotions are the centerpieces of two festivals:  The Third Annual Onassis  Festival, "Birds: A Festival Inspired by Aristophanes", offers Nikos Karathanos’s magical production of the comedy at Brooklyn co-producer St. Anne's Warehouse, and The Seeing Place Theater's "Whistleblower Series" at the Lower East Side Paradise Factory features Brandon Walker's timely and provocative recreation, The People vs. Antigone. "Where are the birds?"  Pisthetaerus (Nikos Karathanos) and Euelpides (Aris Servetails) ask each

Music: Exploring the Sights and Sounds of ‘Symphonie Fantastique’

Recently, two opportunities arose to hear Hector Berlioz's "Symphonie Fanstatique" within days of each other.  This isn't surprising - it's been a crowd pleaser since its 1830 premiere .  With that also comes with a lot of  "over"s" as in over-programmed and overwrought.  Happily, both Bard College's Orchestra Now (TŌN ) conducted by Music Director/College President Leon Botstein at Lincoln Center's Frederick P Rose Hall and Basil Twist's landmark abstract puppet ballet at HERE encouraged audiences to forget everything they thought they knew about this music to discover it for themselves.  Their thoughtful invitations to do so succeeded. Limited program notes made

Theatre: The Flea Theater presents ‘MS. ESTRADA’ by the Q Brothers Collective

Malena Pennycook (center) and the cast of "Ms. Estrada". Photo: Hunter Canning.

This season female empowerment dominates two big Broadway musicals.  Sure, both "Frozen" and "Mean Girls" have female leads but those #MeToo connections are slightly perfunctory: the only change Disney princesses and a SNL alum bring to commercial theatre are record ticket sales + pricing along with celebrity audience sightings on Instagram.  For those in search of a night out with their tweens or long for an original musical with a positive message delivered by "woke" females there is "Ms. Estrada" - the Q Brothers Collective shrewd Hip-Hop adaptation of Aristophanes’ ancient sex farce in its world premiere at The Flea.  If

Music: the little OPERA theatre of ny in collaboration with New Vintage Baroque presents the New York City Premiere of Johann Adolph Hasse’s ‘Piramo e Tisbe’

Tisbe (Summer Hassan) wearing her fatal shawl and Piramo (Sarah Nelson Craft). Photo: Tina Buckman

Because early opera is highly regimented and at times surprisingly experimental, the right performance space makes all the difference.  The little OPERA theatre of ny (LOTNY) presented the NYC premiere of Johann Adolph Hasse's "Piramo e Tisbe" at the Baruch Performing Arts Center on the East Side.  The CUNY campus housing the theatre is in the corporate, no-frills Kips Bay neighborhood - making its intimate size ideal for students and those new to opera.  Since the sold-out audience consisted primarily of students, and Hasse's 1768 opera (revised, 1770) was new to most likely new to everyone else, LOTNY and the New Vintage Baroque orchestra conducted by Elliot Figg  proved both outstanding musicians and

Music: Curtis Opera Theatre presents ‘A Quiet Place’ at the Kaye Playhouse

Cast of Curtis Opera Theatre 's production of "A Quiet Place". Photo: Andrew Bogard

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein's birth.  Accomplishments such as the first American music director of the NY Philharmonic, music educator who united the concert hall with television, and composer "West Side Story" fill more than one lifetime.  Yet that formidable legacy overshadows his lesser-known work worth knowing, including "A Quiet Place." On March 13, 2018 his alma mater, the Curtis Institute of Music, visited from Philadelphia for a single performance of the 1983 opera at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. "A Quiet Place" is the sequel to Bernstein's 1951 "Trouble in Tahiti".  Both are one act, and Bernstein

Theatre: The New Group presents ‘Good for Otto’ at the Pershing Square Signature Center

Rileigh McDonald, Charlotte Hope, Ed Harris (back) in David Rabe’s Good for Otto, directed by Scott Elliott. Photo credit: Monique Carboni.

Non-spoiler alert: the title character never appears in David Rabe's "Good for Otto", making its New York premiere onstage at the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center.  Unlike Harvey the rabbit, the beloved pet hamster really exists.  His well-being is one of several crises in Rabe's passionate exploration of mental health providers and patients.  Like the subject matter, there are no easy solutions.  Such long-term perimeters limit the play's message that even its accomplished cast cannot answer in three hours. Rabe returns to his familiar theme of the extended family created by circumstance. Drs. Michaels (Ed

Theatre: Theatre of War presents “(Flying) Dutchman” at The Tank

He said nothing.  She said nothing nice.  He tried.  She still made no effort.  He got angry.  She got violent.  That is the double one-sided conversation at The Tank in Theatre of War’s reimagining of Amiri Baraka’s “(Flying) Dutchman”, which is as confrontational and relevant as it was in 1964. Rather than setting the interaction between middle-class African-American Clay (Malcolm B. Hines) and White poetess Lula (Jonathan Schenk) in a subway like Baraka did, director Christopher Stevenson has the two “talk” across a long table.  Microphones provide the public performance Lula craves and testimony Clay provides her with regarding his life. 

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