Celebrations Two Legends Remembered During PRIDE Month

It's been 30 years since photographer  Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) and choreographer Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) died from AIDS.  The June-long celebration of civil rights and respect is also a reminder that while there are now ways of controlling the disease, there remains no cure. Two recent performances were timely reminders that both left indelible marks on art and society.   Triptych (Eyes of One on Another).  New York premiere. BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, June 6-8, 2019. In 1989 when the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. caved to pressure from politicians and the Religious Right and cancelled the travelling Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment exhibit, protesters aimed a high-power scenic projector and

Madame Lynch at New Ohio Theatre

Madame Lynch is a buffet of bloodthirsty; maniacal madness, flavored  heavily with every theatrical device imaginable. It's quite simply delicious from start to end. The Drunkards Wife theater company espouse a maximalist design sense  -a core tenet of their mission, with a glorious over-the-top exuberance. It's superior theatrical eye candy. Normandy Sherwood and Craig Flanagin exhume the legacy of Eliza Lynch  - the "Empress of Paraguay" to interrogate her influence on cultural imperialism. Her history is really worth a Google search - born Irish, fled to France to escape the potato famine, french courtesan turned mistress-wife to Paraguayan dictator  -Francisco Solano Lopez,

Pilobolus –The Joyce Theatre

Pilobolus is performing two programs during its three-weeks at the Joyce Theater this summer, and each piece is unique while being ineffably consistent with the style of the company. It is dance in the broadest sense of the word, rhythmic movement. Yet, the company borrows from gymnastics and acrobatics, and sometimes, the closest parallel one can find is the Moscow Circus in the old Soviet Union. The five pieces in program A are distinct and appeal to both dance mavens and neophytes. “On the Nature of Things” is a classical study in movement. Nathaniel Buchsbaum, Krystal Butler and Quincy Ellis

NY Philharmonic Ends Its Season with David Lang’s ‘prisoner of the state’

Composer David Lang. Photo: Peter Serling

    The New York Philharmonic  began the 2018-2019 season in light and ended in darkness with the world premiere of David Lang's opera prisoner of the state. The NYP commission, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, performed June 6-8 as part of the orchestra's Music of Conscience series, explored the long tendrils of totalitarianism - and an opera born out of hate is brilliant. prisoner of the state is a meditation on Beethoven's only opera Fidelio (1805), whose titled character infiltrates where her wrongfully incarcerated husband is held and saves him from execution.  Written during the Napoleonic wars, Beethoven never hid his passion for freedom.  Lang removes

The Day I Became Black at The SoHo Playhouse

The Day I Became Black is a heart opener, a mind shifter, a bridge builder. Bill Posley's life-storytelling is the antidote to desensitizing discourse overload. Today we are inundated with concepts, theories, verbiage writ large and Bill cuts through the noise with an honest memoir that makes you want to hold hands with complete strangers. My plus one, Elizabeth, said it was healing theater and I agree - Posley has a potent curative gift. It's like he is laying theatrical hands on you and raising you from the complacency couch. He achieves this feat through the power of laughter, joy and

New York Opera Fest: LOTNY’s ‘Owen Wingrave’ by Benjamin Britten

Photo: Tina Buckman

The Metropolitan Opera season is over and summer festivals featuring opera (Bard, Caramoor, Mostly Mozart, not to mention Saratoga Springs and Tanglewood for long weekends) are months away, the New York Opera Fest takes place all over town through June 30.  The schedule features operas from its Baroque origins through the present.   On May 9-11 at the GK ArtsCenter , little opera theatre of NY (LOTNY) presented the NY premiere of Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave, written for television in 1971.  Yes, opera was part of pre-cable television, and Britten wasn't the hard sell the Met now treats his as. Based on a short short by

Mobile Unit’s THE TEMPEST at The Public Theater

The stormy start to May has served as a fitting setting for the debut of The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, that washed up on its home shores near Astor Place after a three-week, 17 stop tour to correction facilities, homeless shelters, libraries and community centers across all five boroughs of New York City. The Mobile Unit really puts the “public” in The Public Theater, whose prestigious productions continue to sell out, garner audience and critical praise and conquer both the commercial (anyone heard of a little historical musical about a dead politician called Hamilton?) and

BEETLEJUICE the Musical on Broadway

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Cheering his name three times from the rafters wouldn’t be nearly enough to glorify this utterly fantastic stage adaptation. Praise the dark forces that conjured such a demonic delight! Its wild antics and grotesque yet glittery depictions of the underworld have restored lightness, cheek-aching laughter (as well as glimmers of unexpected depth) and unabashed, over-the-top, go-for-broke fun back to Broadway that hasn’t been this good since The Book of Mormon took over the town. It is a crowd-pleasing wonder that’s as irresistible as it is playfully offensive, just like the namesake character, who could have only been

‘Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie’ at Ars Nova Greenwich House

Courtesy of Ben Arons Photography

  A show that's sold old since previews is pretty much reviewer-proof, but, if possible, try to catch Mrs. Murray's Menagerie  at Ars Nova at Greenwich House  (27 Barrow Street, NYC).  Created by The Mad Ones and Phillip James Brannon, Brad Heberlee, Carmen M. Herlihy and January LaVoy, the 90-minute send-up ends its run on May 11. Mrs. Murray's Menagerie is a fictitious 1970s children's television show - an idea already loaded with potential.  Rather than do the show, the script and director Lila Neugebauer bring it to life with songs and guest appearances by its heavily licensed and franchise puppet cast members.  (Not

Numbness: Chapter 2 at New Ohio Theatre

Laura Butler Rivera & Michael Leonard. Photo Credit: Mathew Dunivan NUMBNESS: CHAPTER 2, breach birthed into being by One-Eighth Theater is a quick firing collage of absurdist clues to find your way through the maze of each moment. Reality, rules, linear, logic are to be left at the door. You're invited into the circle to witness the circusy atmosphere of new ways of thinking, from behind the comfort of the plastic splash sheets provided. It's eccentric neccessary nonsense. Can you joyfully jump into the contagious insanity or will you stay comfortably numb? Black Water by Sylvia Bofill and Yovo by Robert Lyons are the text trampolines

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