Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: at the Fringe Encore Series, Soho Playhouse

This is my favorite kind of theater –physical, inventive, ingenious and funny. Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg’s comedic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, is theatrical catnip – you just can’t get enough of it. This multi-talented duo has written a sophisticated comic-tragedy, produced it and performed it – excelling in every area. It’s the kind of work I would also prescribe for all drama students to see as it is a prime example of performance skill, innovative design and clarity of directorial intention all rolled into one exceptional “fringe” performance. In a

Comic Genius: In the Frick of the Night, at Stone Creek

Comic Genius is "Fricken" funny. It's High Fidelity (Nick Horby) meets The Sopranos. Dan Frick has written a memoir style series that has a strong structure and ballsy, instantly lovable characters. The stage reading/T.V. pilot peepshow introduces the audience to the family "Frick". These are NOT descendants of Henry Clay Frick (perhaps a twisted side branch of that family tree) but are instead a band of fraudsters, con men, charmers and snakes. In this part memoir, part fantasy, Dan Frick exposes his own nuclear family's stubborn, explosive, hilarious streak. (D.B. says its 85% fact). This situational comedy is destined for digital

Chasing the New White Whale at LA MAMA

Chasing the New White Whale is an homage to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and explores the nature of deadly obsessions. In this play our Captain Ahab is Robbie Foerster – a New England fisherman chasing the “dragon”. Playwright Michael Gorman lost his older brother, a commercial fisherman, to a heroin overdose and this is the tragic wound that drives the creation of this brave work. This play has a literary quality about it in that the text is dense and like Melville’s work is not afraid to use a range of genres and theatrical styles to tell its tale. Where

THE PROM on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre

The Prom, now playing at the Longacre Theatre, might just be the show that single-handedly puts the Broadway back into Broadway musicals. With rare yet notable exceptions, most of them Tony winners -- Fun Home, Hamilton, Come From Away, The Band’s Visit and Dear Evan Hansen (the latter of which The Prom is a close cousin of but the cheerier, more bubbly sort) -- most musicals being produced today are based on branded properties: film or book adaptations, jukebox creations where the songs are guaranteed to be memorable hits (they already are) or pop culture icons (Spiderman: Turn Off The

Rebirth of Rabbit Foot

During my early years in Catholic Grammar School I was the only white kid to be seen. As a child from 5 to 13 years old one doesn't spend much time considering race. At least I didn't as a white person. I never really felt much different, never felt left out and I'm still in contact with many of the other students. All and all it was great experience and I didn't realize until later in life how much that experience helped me when considering the plight that people of color experience on a daily basis.   I consider myself to

My Birthday at Theaterlab

  My Birthday is a glorious occasion to celebrate the clown. Michaela Lind, has developed a delightful clowning framework to explore the complexities of the ritual of birthday parties and how unmet expectations around these events gives a “tragic” clown a lot of material. It is a heartbreaking and heartwarming interrogation of our need for friends and family at key moments of our lives. It’s a charming, playful and earnest little gem. Lind follows in the strong female clowning tradition that started in Greece in the 7th Century with the Dorian Mime troupes. We see female clown prowess in Medieval England as

Fancy DuCan’s Country Cabaret at The Duplex

A star is born! Fancy Ducan –can, can, can! Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit -I feel a cult classic coming on. This is comedy cabaret nirvana. You’re in send up country, you know you are here to holler and hoot as Fancy brings us a southern belle-rina full of home spun wisdom soaked in naughty innuendo. Then she opens her mouth and Bette Midler comes out and Barbara Streisand and Dolly Parton. Fancy (Jennette Cronk) has a foghorn – a powerful instrument that could lure sailors from their ships, that should launch No.1 singles, cleanse cobwebs

BATSU! Delves Into Virtual Reality and Worldwide Comedy Domination

Improvisational comedy holds a very special place in my heart. I first got my taste of improvisation at the age of 13 when I started performing with my high school comedy troupe. We would have improvisational competitions against other high schools. Improvisation is the basis of everything for me. It's the art of conversation. Life is improvisation. We definitely don't plan out every interaction we experience with others. All of life is sort of fly by night much like an improv comedy show. The pinnacle of that experience is BATSU!. BATSU! means punishment. Which is the game here at BATSU!, a

Wild Goose Dreams at The Public Theater

In Hansol Jung’s tender, poignant and humorously human Wild Goose Dreams, The Public Theater’s entire third floor space is transformed into a the city of Seoul, South Korea (the inventive and imaginative design is credited to Public and Broadway veteran, Clint Ramos) through a vibrant visual plethora of candy-colored campaigns and neon notifications with a small sampling of blown-up family photos scattered between. This manic mosaic sets the chaotic tone of a modern world where various sights and sound bites compete for attention -- though that only creates a feeling of deeper isolation amidst all the noise. But the eye-bruising visual

‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ at Classic Stage Company

Raúl Esparza . Photo: Joan Marcus

What does cauliflower resemble?  Fossilized flowers?  Dead algae?  Brain tissue?  Perhaps Bertolt Brecht had these and others in mind creating a "Cauliflower War" as the cataclysmic event of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, his deliberately unfunny lampooning of Adolph Hitler.  Brecht's protest play is now at the Classic Stage Company with a mesmerizing Raúl Esparza in the title role in John Doyle's uneven production. Brecht's inspiration for his 1941 play was Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.  Released one year before Arturo UI's premiere, Chaplin's intentionally funny film sends-up both Hitler and Mussolini.  (Chaplin not only resembled Hitler, they were born days apart.)  Unlike The

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