The Resistable Rise of J.R. Brinkley at FringeNYC

This is a fresh, energetic, biting satire that deconstructs the power of the con man and the charming story teller. It has a Brechtian frame where political ideas are dissected and the audience are encouraged to engage their critical faculties while being entertained by exceptional performances and sublime musical interruptions. The Resistable Rise of J.R. Brinkley has enormous production value for a typical fringe show. It is a polished, innovative piece of political commentary that stays with you and inspires a burst of rampant googling because it’s based on a real person - John R. Brinkey. He was a quack,

Salome at The Irondale Center

James Rutherford’s new translation of Oscar Wilde’s 19th Century play gives us a palatable Salome for 2018 audiences. It interrogates the nature of desire and the fallout that ensues from the repression of self-expression. This production has an intense muscularity that makes you feel like you're a spectator at a gladiatorial fight between the unrequited and the objects of their sexual obsession. It sparks a sense of urgency as you get caught up in the various devices that instigate the unravelling and revelation of the characters true nature. We’ve all heard the story. Herod asks his step daughter to dance for

Ars Nova presents the world premiere of ‘Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future’

It's 2318 or thereabouts.  The United States is divided into Republics, Mars and the Moon colonized and technology restricted by law.  Despite everything, music survives! - thanks to Rags Parkland (Andrew R. Butler) and his show, Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future.  Rags is appearing nightly thru November 3, 2018 at Ars Nova in this provocative, thoroughly entertaining musical. Developed over an eight-year period at Ars Nova via ANT Fest and workshops, Butler's book, music and lyrics are set in Richmond's Over/Under Club run by saxophonist Gill (Tony Jarvis).  It's a both a return engagement and return to Earth for Rags, back from serving time in

Charles Goonan: Tune In To Goonan: The Story Of A Little Guy Making It Big

      Photos by: Tune In To Goonan     Cartoon Animation Credit: Chris Slavin Countless significant events happened forty years ago on October 20th 1978. "The Police" had their first concert at NYC's CBGB's, The U.S. Dollar devalued below Dutch Y2 and one Charles Xavier Goonan was born. My apologies, Xavier is not his middle, but it should be. Charles Goonan is a comedian and a product of Midwood Brooklyn. A town he has called home most of his life. Ask him about it, I'm sure he has a song that'll tell the story. Charles is a very talented comedian who has

Love Deadline at the 2018 United Solo Theatre Festival

This is the third time I have had the honor of reviewing a show by the colossal talent that is Ji Young Choi. She is a South Korean performer who blends classical Shakespearian texts with rituals and cultural practices from her home country to create an entirely new form. In Love Deadline she tackles the inner thoughts of the character of Desdemona as she stays isolated in her tea room for seven days wrestling with the source of Othello’s unexplained rage. This production had its world premiere at the United Solo Theatre Festival – a perfect platform for a solo

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

Theatre East’s presents Romulus Linney’s ‘Holy Ghosts’ at Urban Stages

Photo: James M. Wilson

  Nancy (Lizzy Jarrett) finds the strength to leave husband Coleman (Oliver Palmer) with the help of Obediah Junior (John Cannon), a clean-living preacher's son.  Soon it's apparent hers is not an ordinary love triangle or redemption story.  Nancy is in love with the older Obediah (James Anthony McBride), preacher of a Pentecostal Church whose denomination handles snakes.  Private and communal passions come together during the service that forms Romulus Linney’s Holy Ghosts.  Theatre East's outstanding revival of this provocative drama is entering in its final week of an too-short run at Urban Stages. When Holy Ghosts premiered in 1976, Pentecostals and other charismatics represented a

The Gimmick & You with Michelle Drozdick at The Pit: Underground

     Photos by Christina Georgandis - red dress Clinton Jones - green dress   I've spent many of my 41 years on Earth on the fringe of the entertainment world, vicariously living life through the success of others by attending their shows and creative efforts. I've acquainted myself with a great many talents. This was true again on this very singular occasion, a Solo Improv production starring Queens native, Michelle Drozdick. I have been visiting The Pit as a performer and audience member for many years. Meeting friends and connecting at every turn. During my time there The Pit has solidified it's positioning

Jaap van Zweden’s First Week at The New York Philharmonic

With an opening night gala and an ambitious, awesome sounding first subscription concert, Jaap van Zweden officially became the New York Philharmonic's 24th Music Director.  The Dutch maestro, who transitioned from Concertmaster of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to conductor with the Leonard Bernstein's encouragement, comes to an orchestra still in serious need of overhauling and/or dynamiting David Geffen Hall and continuing its overdue image change.  van Zweden's predecessor Alan Gilbert succeeded making the NYP a local and digital presence (here's hoping Gilbert gets his wish to one day conduct Olivier Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise because Manhattan socialites will never sign off on it unless

Satellite Collective presents ‘Echo & Narcissus’ at BAM Fisher

"Then she still had a body - she was not just a voice" is how Ovid describes the lovesick nymph Echo in Metamorphosis.  The poet is less kind to Narcissus, the object of her desire.  The royal teenager possesses too "much cold pride within his tender body."  Though the romance one-sided and symbolism overt, the artists of Satellite Collective vividly and memorably reinterpreted the myth at BAM Fisher.  It is too bad that there were only two performances of this imaginative production directed by Philip Stoddard. Literally reflecting Narcissus falling in love with his own image, Stoddard and Satellite Artistic Director

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