“Gratitude” — Urban Stages

Montreal's Mainline Theatre has brought “Gratitude” by Oren Safdie to New York's Urban Stages, and it is quite a strong premier for the show. Set in a private school in Canada in a disused locker room, the play explores teen sexuality (quite vividly), gender and consent. Throw in the clash between Canadian and the more traditional societies from whence some of its immigrants have come, and you have a play that is tense and uncomfortable to watch in places. The discomfort is deliberate. Indeed, it could be the whole point for some. “Gratitude” opens up a lot of topics that make

“The Motherf**ker with the Hat” — Denizens Theater Company

The premise of the play is simple enough. Jackie (David Feliz) is a former drug dealer freshly out of prison and determined to go straight. His girlfriend Veronica (Jillian K. Waters) is thrilled about this, but she is still using. Just before they get into bed to celebrate his successful job search, he sees a hat that doesn't belong to him. He suspects her of cheating; he goes off to meet his parole officer and AA sponsor Ralph D (Gregory Marlow), who is having trouble with his own wife Victoria (Lara Ruth Smith). Jackie gets a gun, is convinced to

“The Perplexed” at New York City Center Stage I

"The Perplexed" should be one of the events of the theatre this spring. A Richard Greenberg script directed by Lynne Meadow and presented by the Manhattan Theatre Club – what could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, the script leaves this production snake-bit from the beginning. A glorious set and a solid cast can not make up for the fact that the script is overly long and the characters rather unengaging. The action all takes place in the library of the Fifth Avenue apartment among various members of two families. The Resnicks and the Stahls have been involved with one

Radical Adaptations of Dracula & Frankenstein Ignite Classic Stage Company

For as many adaptations and interpretations as there are of the classic gothic horror novels Frankenstein and Dracula, it is hard to imagine two more creative, unique, radical and timely works that deal with the well-known tales and characters than the pair playing in a repertory cycle at Classic Stage Company (CSC). They are also strikingly contrasting works. Both are deeply engaging, provocative and compelling explorations of the source material -- each of which was written in the 1800s, one slightly predating the other near the end of the Victorian era. They remind the audience of timeless themes investigated in

The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. presents ‘a photograph/lovers in motion’ by Ntozake Shange,

Imana Breux as Michael. Photo by Jonathan Slaff

  Neither Michael (Imana Breaux) nor Sean David (Adrain Washington) would recognize their present-day San Francisco hometown.  The aspiring artists' relationship, told in Ntozake Shange's  a photograph/lovers in motion, develops during the late 1970s-early 1980s before SF's gentrification for the super rich and high tech.  While SF is not a "character",characters define themselves by it.  A rare revival of Shange's 1977 play is presented by The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.'s  plays through the end February at  Theatre St. Marks. Directed by Shange's sister and long-time collaborator Ifa Bayeza, a photograph/lovers in motion has the same lyricism found in her landmark for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

“Blues for an Alabama Sky” at Theatre Row

Pearl Cleage wrote “Blues for an Alabama Sky” in the mid-1990s, and it is astonishing that it has taken so long for a play set at the cusp of the Harlem Renaissance and the Great Depression to make it to New York. Thanks to the Keen Company, the wait is over, and this production makes the wait worthwhile. Angel (Alfie Fuller) is a singer living with Guy (John-Andrew Morrison), a flamboyant costume designer and unapologetic gay man whose ambition is to design costumes in Paris for Josephine Baker. Across the hall lives Delia (Jasminn Johnson), who campaigns for reproductive rights and

Metamorphosis” at Soho Playhouse, Fringe Encore Series

One of the highlights of this year's edition of the Annual Fringe Encore Series is Sam Chittenden's take on Kafka's novella, "Metamorphosis." While the script is intriguing, the performance of Heather-Rose Andrews in this one-woman show is what makes the production stand out. Kafka's tale is simple enough, Grego Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he has changed into an insect. Chittenden spins this in an interesting way by using Greta Samsa, Gregor's much younger sister, to tell the tale. Her metamorphosis from child to woman takes place against the backdrop of her brother's unlikely and disturbing change. Gregor's change

“Bat Out of Hell”, Finishes Up A Stellar Run At The New York City Center Theatre This Sept 8th

Andrew Polec, Christina Bennington ride into hellfire in Bat Out of Hell from August 1st to Sept 8th at The New York City Center. Photo By: Playbill.com The 1970's were a profoundly prolific time in American history. Whether it be politically, through fashion or musically, that time in history will stay saturated in the minds of those who were alive during it. 1977 specifically gave us many important historical moments and unforgettable events. It was the year Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President. 1977 boasts the release of Star Wars which changed the world of film forever. Also, just as important

DRAGON SPRING PHOENIX RISE at The Shed is a 21st Century Kung Fu Spectacle

Swords whizzed past heads close enough to cut their opponents’ hair; dancers dropped from or rose to the sky like celestial beings dangling on a mere thread; acrobatic action scenes shifted into nightclub extravaganzas complete with vogueing routines; fire and water danced alongside the performers as elemental partners, adding to the danger and thrills. A dream team of talents was assembled to realize co-conceiver and director Chen Shi-Zheng’s vision that was initially inspired by observing Bruce Lee’s audition tape for his film debut at age 18. All of this and more came together to create Kung Fu spectacle Dragon Spring

A STRANGE LOOP Raises the Bar for Queer Black Representation and Sets a New Standard for Musicals Today

I first encountered A Strange Loop in 2015 at the Musical Theatre Factory when it was still located in a gay porn video warehouse above (the original) Drama Bookstore just around the corner of Port Authority. It was a mixed bag evening with various composers and lyricists trying out their works on performers, both eager to be heard amongst an audience of supportive peers instead of cruel critics. The song, which is the second-to-last 13 o’clock number for A Strange Loop now called “The Memory Song,” featured lyrics sung in rapid speed with mournful wailing by Larry Owens (the unconventional

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