HOOKED ON HAPPINESS at Theater for the New City

HOOKED ON HAPPINESS is an original climate change musical tackling the crisis through the perspective of a high school drama class. Two students Kim and Eric are inspired to create their own production after a heated debate on the beach where they commiserate on the inability of their parents to snap out of misery and embrace positive action. They infect their class with their enthusiasm and soon they are co-opting their teacher to allow them to write their own response to the climate crisis instead of doing the old standards of OUR TOWN or HELLO DOLLY!  for the yearly school

Virgo Star at La Mama’s Downstairs Lounge

VIRGO STAR heroically encapsulates the convergence of queer and cowboy in a homoerotic, fictionalized "Wild West". The Pioneers Go East Collective interrogates the notion of "masculinity" as personified by  American Cowboy iconography, visuality and sound. But this is a new riff on the spaghetti western - as the characters come face to face with their fragility, sense of belonging and rigors of their own nature in this steamy wild, wild west conjured by director Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte. This is no unrequited Brokeback Mountain love story but rather a fragmented "son of a gun stew" filled with every ingredient imaginable. They

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

The Bad’uns: Clown Acts of Contagion at La MaMa’s Downstairs Theatre

  On Saturday I found the wellspring of funny -Kendall Cornell's all-women clown troupe: Clowns Ex Machina. I am still suffering from acute bouts of sudden, uncontrollable laughing at the flashbacks from their show -The Bad’uns: Clown Acts of Contagion. It's 90-minutes of intense bliss. There is a palpable, vast intelligence that forms the canvas for every scene. The humor bounces off this backdrop imbuing each moment with the massive force of thinking, focused, funny women. The clever comedy comes at you faster than Venus Wiliams' 56.95 m/s tennis ball serve -you have to gird up your loins for the shock and the skill of

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

THE HOPE HYPOTHESIS at The Sheen Center for Thought and Culture

  THE HOPE HYPOTHESIS is a super slick production - a place for everything and everything in it's place. It is a neat freaks nirvana. The whole show feels perfectly conceived and executed. We are looking straight into the face of the absurdity of the American immigration situation in this tight, fast-paced dark comedy. The audience were laughing on cue offering a constant laugh track to this sitcom styled theater piece. Yet, through the fog of witty repartee the cruel, cold, ruthless face of the fascist interrogator peeps out at you, making you squirm in your seat. Cat Miller is both the

Monsoon Season at The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

You get two riveting solo shows performed by two exceptional performers for the price of one! Monsoon Season is a great gift to give yourself in November - a pre-thanksgiving/festive season present.It's almost like watching a theatrical episode of The Affair or The Slap where we get two versions of the same moment told from the perspectives of each character - it is deeply satisfying to watch. There are many elements that make this production rewarding - an engrossing text, expert direction, masterfully crafted performances, magical stage design transformations, daring lighting and a gloriously jarring sound scape. And it all plays out

‘Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation’ at The Triad

Jenny Lee Stern (left) as Gwen Verdon and Chris Collins-Pisano (right) as Bob Fosse in a scene from FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: THE NEXT GENERATION at the Triad Theatre.

Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation is review-proof.  Creator/Writer/Director Gerard Alessandrini started parodying The Great White Way in 1982, and The Triad Theatre (158 West 72nd Street) was packed with show-tune types for its first reincarnation in five years. Running through November 30, the 80-minute revue is the best kind of tried-and-true evening, matinee or celebratory time out with a great cast and Fred Barton at the piano. Alessandrini didn't have to look hard for new material.  Most of the skewering is for movies turned into musicals - a formula with mixed creative and box office results.  Moulin Rouge!, Tootsie and Beetlejuice  all get

Next Wave 2019: ‘The Second Woman’ at BAM Fisher

Alia Shawkat in The Second Woman at BAM_PC NayMarie-35.JPG

The happiest and worst memories are those that last, re-playing over and over in one's head.  Movies have the same effect, like smiling when thinking about Han Solo winking at Princess Leia in the throne room, or grinding teeth because the sights and sounds of La La Land won't ever go away.  Co-creators Nat Randall and Anna Breckon apply the continuous loop to The Second Woman.  Starting in BAM Fisher on Friday,October 18 at 5 PM and ending 24 hours later, the intrepid, amazing Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development, Transparent, Drunk History) repeated the same awkward love scene with 100 actors.  An

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