Awesome 80's Prom
Friday and Saturday Nights @ 8PM
Opens September 10th - Open Run
by Tara Koppel
Lace up your Pumas and give Boy
George a call, were moon-walking
our way back into the 80s! The
Awesome 80's Prom, written and directed
by Ken Davenport, is a high-energy, interactive
experience set in the school gymnasium
at Wanna Get High. All of your favorite
classmates from 1989 are there competing
for Prom King and Queen: Whitley Whitiker;
(Jenna Pace) head cheerleader with attitude,
Blake Williams; (Brandon Williams) captain
of the football team, and Kerrie Kowalski;
(Kathy Searle) everybodys favorite
spaz, just to name a few, and the audience
decides who will be crowned! If you dig
turtle racing, watching mold grow, and
any given episode of The Facts of Life,
than this play is too hip and fun for
you. But if youd rather Walk
Like an Egytian, figure out
a rubix cube, and harm the Ozone with
aerosol hairspray, then come to the prom!
be transformed from audience member to
class member, and I promise youll
have a blast Wang Chunging
the entire night. The nerd, Louis Fensterspock
(Noah Weisberg) nervously admitted that
hes had a crush on me all year and
asked me to dance. In true 80s fashion,
we were flailing our arms side to side
to Karma Chameleon
Whered you get that sexy pocket
protector, I asked him.
My dad gave it to me.
Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma-Chameeeleoooooon.
Cool. I smiled.
Hes dead now.
You cooome and gooo. You cooooome and
I had more
fun at this prom than I did at my own.
(Maybe because this time my date wasnt
do you even know how difficult
it is to slow dance with plastic?!) The
Awesome 80s Prom includes all the nuances
of what you remember from your own high
school years: Principal Snelgrove (Edward
Kelly) yelling on the microphone at students
with alcohol, recently outed
gay guy, Dickie Harrington (Stephen Guarino)
pleading for your vote for Prom Queen,
and my head getting flushed in the toilet
bowl by an experimental Science Team (Their
hypothesis was correct: apparently my
head is too dense to stay afloat.) Flush
Face or not, you will absolutely adore
this play. Ill be going again. Ive
told every single one of my friends about
it and she really wants to go too.
classmates of 1989 also included: Phil
Burke, Nicole Cicchella, Tom Dooley, Jeff
Hiller, CP Lacey, Sarah Katherine Mason,
Emily McNamara, Troy Metcalf, Regina Peluso,
Brian Peterson, Jessica West Regan, Jennifer
Winegardner, and Simon Wong. Marty Postmas
lighting had the perfect balance; flashy
enough for a prom, yet subdued to avoid
capturing all that bad teenage skin, while
Drew Geracis choreography was so
energetic that it made even Richard Simmons
back to the subway felt like detention.
There I was on the 2004 sidewalk, knowing
that exciting 1989 was just a few blocks
away. Who could have been prepared for
life after the 80s? Not even Miss Cleo
could have predicted the future would
hold a Monica Lewinsky, a Chia pet, and
a white Michael Jackson. Similar to the
situation with New Jersey Governor McGreevey,
things have certainly changed.
The Awesome 80's Prom is like the
first time you had sex, except the play
lasts longer and actually feels good.
If you were one of the cool kids in high
school, it is a chance to relive those
memories, and if you were one of the dorks,
The Awesome 80's Prom is the party
that you were never invited to. So fish
out those leg warmers, cuddle up in a
letter jacket, and drive your Camaro straight
to the prom!
: $59.75 PROM COMMITTEE; $69.75 PRINCE/PRINCESS;
$99.75 KING/QUEEN: www.theatermania.com
or phone: 212-352-0255
Webster Hall |125
East 11th Street
Lissa Moira & Richard West’s
The Best Sex of the XX Century Sale
Theater for the New City
A song and dance
show about the history of the horizontal
by Wendy R. Williams
Lissa Moira & Richard West’s
The Best Sex of the XX Century Sale
is a collage of musical numbers and
sketchs that depict the history of sex
in the 20th Century. And it's all there,
from the long skirts of the early 1900's
all the way to hip hop.
is similar in tone to an old timey vaudeville
shows and is cast with a group of fun
attractive actors who give their all,
moving from skit to skit to skit. Many
of the vignettes are a lot of fun, filled
with cute songs and funny jokes. Some
of them are absolutely hysterical. If
there is any criticism, it would be that
there is just too much of it. Sex
runs approximately two hours (with no
intermission), a pretty long time especially
considering the show's 10:30PM time slot.
Picking the best numbers and culling the
running time down to approximately an
hour and fiften minute would result in
a hotter tighter show that would have
the audience leave wanting more. Cuz when
it comes to good sex and good shows, there
is a certain point when you are just done.
talented and attractive cast consists
of: Lissa Moira, Miron Lockett, Rick Kunzi,
Amy J. Albert, Farah Bengon, Marty Bischoff,
Emily Florence Brownell, Melissa Enochs,
Chip Landry, Josh McLane, Timothy Ryan
Olson, Tammy Smith, Franca Vercelloni,
Sarah Weinstein, Chelsey Whitlock and
Jason Wynn. All of these performers were
filled with energy and gave it their all.
Best Sex of the XX Century Sale was
written by Lissa Moira & Richard West,
directed by Lissa Moira with musical direction
by Richard West and choreography by Mariana
Bekerman. Many props to the artisitic
team and keep up the good work.
$15 - www.theatermania.com.
For more information: www.theaterforthenewcity.net.
Theater for the
New City |
155 First Avenue
Eat The Taste
Barrow Street Theater
by Jonathan Greene
the future hold for our country and our
government? The "liberal media"
doesn't have a clue. Not even the "right-wing
machine" is in the business of glass
ball projections. But one needs to look
no further than the Barrow Street Theater
to find out. Kick lines! Chorus Girls!
Call and response song and dance! You
heard it right, folks: our governments
going to BROADWAY!!! Or at least that
is what "Eat the Taste" - the
hilarious new play from writer Greg Kotis
and song man Mark Hollman supposes. Yeah,
you might remember these two from their
last fringe to riches satire named "Urinetown."
to this teeming satire, it is four years
in the future. President Bush is coming
to the end of his second term, and we
find ourselves in a dingy motel room somewhere
outside New York City with bound and gagged
playwright Greg Kotis, who is being held
against his will by three agents: number
3, 72, and 20 . . . respectively. They
are inter-departmental government sneaks.
3 and 72 are from the DOHS (Department
of Homeland Security) and 20 from the
DOJ (Department of Justice). They have
a proposition for the shaking and cuffed
playwright: write the book for a new musical
for none other than John Ashcroft, the
one and only Attorney General, former
Attorney General . . . Attorney General.
He has never retired, and now he is about
to emerge from behind the curtain for
a triumphal re-introduction to the American
Public, in his one-man-show on Broadway.
Of course Mr. Kotis is none-too-at-ease
with his surroundings, and everything
certainly has an air of secrecy about
it: the agents constantly referring to
"Cheney's boys" afraid they
might break up the meeting, and a giant
syringe making its first appearance early
on for effect. Soon there is a knock at
the door. Enter Mathew, Broadway Producer
extraordinaire (his last project Wicked),
and later Mr. Hollman himself all with
the intentions of turning Mr. Kotis onto
this truly exciting and lucrative project.
I would tell you how it all goes down
. . . but then I'd have to kill you.
moment you step into the theater you are
in for something out of the ordinary.
Director John Clancy sets the stage with
the Overture's from such White Way classics
as Annie and Hello Dolly. His direction
is smooth and clever, bringing the pieces
together and really exercising the entire
production team's farcical side as well
as pushing the actor's slapstick abilities.
And everyone is up to the task. Fight
director J. David Brimmer stages a grand
fisticuff duel for agents 3 and 72 (the
resident buffoons of the story) that is
performed perfectly: slowed down a bit
for comic effect. Paul Urcioli is hilarious
as agent 72, his sense of timing in tip-top
shape (he reminded me of Christopher Guest,
able to make more than the most out of
his already meaty role).
Kudos goes to Mr. Kotis, for his sharp
witty script, and Mr. Hollman for the
new song. The play moves with a break-neck
speed, and it is Mr. Kotis' script that
pushes it forward. Fueled by inside jokes,
slapstick, puns, propaganda, hilarious
governmental acronyms, and a sense of
paranoia - in the writing and acting -
so deep it is downright side-splitting.
I'd tell you about the new song, but then
again, I'd have to kill you.
Ashcroft puts in a great turn on his new
recording of "Let the Eagle Soar"
that classic tune we have all become so
familiar with thanks to a political subservient
named Michael Moore. Point being: run,
don't walk to the Barrow Street Theater
to see this show, before it's too late
and you're paying full price for Mr. Ashcroft's
The Taste" by Greg Kotis (with a
new Song by Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis),
Presented by Scott Morfee and Planetearth
Partners, Inc. Starring Bill Coelius,
Paul Urcioli, Eva Von Dok, Greg Kotis,
Gibson Frazier, Mark Hollman, and understudy
Casey Weaver. Directed by John Clancy,
set by Lauren Helpern, Lighting by Tyler
Micoleau, Sound by Brian Ronan, Costumes
by Kim Gil, Fight Director J. David Brimmer,
Stage manager Jeff Meyers, and General
Manager Cris Buchner.
Tickets for the open-ended, Mondays-only
run are $25/$20 for students, and can
be purchased by calling Telecharge at
212-239-2000 or www.telecharge.com
or at the Barrow Street Theatre box
office, noon--7pm daily (Mondays, noon--9pm).
Barrow Street Theatre
|27 Barrow Street at 7th Avenue
Maria Irene Fornes'
Fefu and Her Friends
Saturday at 8 PM, Sundays at 7 PM
December 2nd - December 19th
The Culture Project
by Wendy R. Williams
Fefu and Her
Friends, written by Marie Irene Fornes
and directed by Krissy Smith, is a period
piece of theater set in 1930's New England.
On the surface the play tells the story
of a group of upper-middle-class-housewives
who meet one afternoon to plan an educational
benefit. But the play is much more than
that. The play has two layers - a life
of forced and false gaiety and (to paraphrase
Fefu) the slime you find when you turn
over a stone.
a quote from Timothy Haskell's press release
(Publicity Outfitters): "In Marie
Irene Fornes' groundbreaking 1977 environmental
drama, Fefu and Her Friends,
the allegorical fuses with reality. Broken
up into three parts, one of which has
the audience touring four different rooms
in no particular order, the play follows
eight complex women through one day at
Fefus' New England estate in 1935. Under
the aegis of organizing a charity benefit,
the day has a transformational quality
for these women as they realize the dual
reality of their lives - the happy, glossed
over one and its dark underbelly. Told
with a strong feminist bent of breaking
societal restrictions, Fefu ends in tragedy."
The world of Fefu and Her friends
is a claustrophobic one - appearing compressed
like an oozing underground gas leak that
could exploded at any moment. And the
women of this world are slowly driving
themselves crazy in reaction to being
locked in the "harem" that was
the life of upper-middle-class-college-educated-women
in the period between the two World Wars.
Fefu (played by the very talented Nikki
Alikakos) and her friend Julia (the also
talented Elizabeth Howard) appear to be
the most effected. Fefu seems to be suffering
from what used to be diagnosed as female
hysteria - seemingly gallantly coping
with her life, but then exhibiting utterly
bizarre behavior such as firing a gun
(loaded with blanks?) at her husband while
he hunts in the field. Her friend Julia's
behavior is even stranger. Julia has developed
a hysterical paralysis after seeing a
hunter kill a deer and in one of the more
compelling scenes, Julia delivers a long
feverish monologue about how she was "shot."
But all the women are effected in varying
degrees. Bizarre sad tales keep "gurgling
out," only to be quickly covered
up by clever repartee about lunch, croquet
and repairing the toilet (an allegorical
stopped-up toilet?). Even when they are
being highly entertained, like they are
whenever the free spirited Emma (the charismatic
Margarita Martinez) is speaking, there
is still an underbelly of melancholia.
I have always been interested in Ms. Fornes'
work. Ms. Fornes was born in Cuba and
moved to the United States in 1945 when
she was fifteen. So, when she wrote about
1930's New England, she wrote from an
outsider's prospective, similar to the
outsider's perspective exhibited by the
Taiwan-born movie director Ang Lee in
his depictions of New England life in
The Ice Storm and Jane Austen's
England in Sense and Sensibility.
Sometimes an outsider can "get"
a world better than someone from the period
being depicted. They can see the lines
of a story because they are not bogged
down by knowing all the details of the
Many other reviewers have written that
they don't understand Fefu - there
is no plot to speak of and the script
seems stilted and poetic. And after seeing
Fefu, I can certainly agree that
the dialogue is highly stylized and difficult
to deliver and if the play were not cast
with actors who thoroughly understand
what each character is trying to convey,
the lines can come across as flat and
obscure. Ms. Fornes play script certainly
demands the same type of highly skilled
actors that are required by the plays
by Shakespeare and Mamet (I do not mean
to imply that the last two mentioned playwrights
are equals). As Ms. Fornes has Emma say,
"It's not acting, it's being."
I, however, was very glad I saw this play
(it was my first time to see Fefu)
and many kudos to Ms. Smith for bringing
it to the stage. The sets and costumes
(unaccredited) were superb. And Ms. Smith
also cast a group of talented and attractive
women. Of particular note were the before
mentioned Nikki Alikakos, Elizabeth Howard
and Margarita Martinez. Sasha Cucciniello
(Paula) also stood out as a compelling
presence on the stage. Bravo to all and
keep up the good work!
Fefu stars: Nikki Alikakos (Fefu); Sameerah
Luqmaan-Harris (Cindy); Courtney Reynolds
(Christina); Elizabeth Howard (Julia);
Margarita Martinez (Emma); Sasha Cucciniello
(Paula); Nicola Riske (Sue)
are $15 and can be purchased by calling
Theatermania at 212.352.3101 or by going
The Culture Project|
A One-woman Show by Jackie Clarke
Upright Citizens Brigade
by Alixandra Liner
METAL JACKIE, by writer/performer
Jackie Clarke, is a hilarious one-woman
show in which Clarke takes us on a wild
journey through her days as a twenty-two-year-old
woman with both braces and a major drug
addiction. The setting is a Maine vacation
nerd who grew up in Massachusetts, Jackie
was raised by her single dad. Although
her accomplishments included achieving
straight A's, being voted the girl most
likely to succeed, and later winning the
title of Junior Miss Massachusetts, Jackie
found life was hard. She was chubby and
unpopular. Her first rock and roll crush
was on Tom Petty, a happening she now
finds a bit strange. Her father promptly
asked her if she wanted to become a nun--a
code word for the real question, "Are
you a lesbian?" Jackie wasn't a lesbian;
she just didn't know how to act around
As a teenager,
she compared herself to Lenny from OF
MICE AND MEN when dealing with boys her
age. Jackie did have another crush while
in high school--on Kevin, the jock. He
was the cool guy at school, but she ended
up breaking his nose.
to a point in Jackie's life when she was
twenty-two and had just graduated from
college, we see the writer/performer asking
the basic question, "How the fuck
did I get here?" as she pretend-snorts
cocaine. Her off-the-wall answer: adult
braces. Fresh out of the hallowed halls
of academia, she thought the braces would
help her remain a kid and responsibility
free. The braces also made her feel ugly--thus
she could let herself go because she didn't
moved to a vacation spot in Maine, started
working at The Quarter Deck (a local restaurant)
and attempted to reinvent herself. Here
she met her epileptic-drug-addict-boyfriend,
Stacy, who turned her on to the pleasures
of cocaine addiction. Although Stacy was
thirty-six, lived with his parents and
had a young son, he was considered the
cool guy at The Quarter Deck, which says
something about the restaurant's standards,
and Jackie's. But then again, Jackie was
just a twenty-two-year-old with braces
and she didn't really care. She was burden-free
for just this one summer.
Jackie enjoyed the rush she got from cocaine.
The once-chubby nerd became skinny from
the effects of the drug, not to mention,
popular because her boyfriend was the
dealer. This crazed pattern continued
for most of the summer--Jackie would work
at the restaurant by day and snort cocaine
night, there was no more cocaine left
and Jackie went with Stacy and a bunch
of his friends to get more. They drove
all the way from Maine to Massachusetts.
It was then, while witnessing the drug
deal, that Jackie finally realized how
disgusting the transaction was. Jackie
also had a moment of self-realization,
when she saw herself as she really was--recognizing
that, despite all her accomplishments,
she was now scraping the bottom, part
of a drug deal in Lowell, Massachusetts.
way home her friends talked about how
they would never do heroin, and Jackie
found this ironic. If her cocaine-addicted
friends looked down on heroin addicts,
then who did heroin addicts have to look
down on? But even as she judged her friends,
Jackie realized she was just like them.
After all, she used her braces as an excuse
to put cocaine on her gums, saying it
made her feel better.
had to ask herself if this life was for
her . . . but then rationalization crept
in. She had already paid for the drugs,
so why not use them? She was still Ugly
in Braces, so why not? Still, afterward,
while she was at her friend's house getting
high, her survival instincts kicked in
and she grabbed Stacy and left. While
she drove toward Stacy's house, he passed
out and she wondered how much cocaine
it must take to make someone lose consciousness
that way. After all, coke was a stimulant
and meant to keep you awake. Then she
watched a couple jog by and noticed how
happy and healthy they were. That's when
she knew she had to get out of Kittery,
Maine. She dropped Stacy off with an unusual
but hilarious goodbye and drove to New
is a very funny show. Clarke skillfully
commands the stage and uses lighting and
musical excerpts to highlight the different
beats of her half-hour presentation. The
storyline evolves in a flashback format
that is easy to follow: The music sets
the mood; the lights go down; then a red
spotlight beams on Jackie as she dons
the appropriately outrageous sunglasses
to match each scene of her personal journey.
is also a seasoned, skilled performer.
Even when her musical cues misfired, she
rolled with it like a true professional
and even had a good laugh. Bottom line:
Discovering how Jackie Clarke came to
be among us is a most entertaining and
enlightening experience, so go see FULL
METAL JACKIE--you'll have a blast.
are on Mondays, before THEMEPARK SUPERSTAR.
Tickets are $5.00 and can be purchased
at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater at
307 West Website: www.ucbtheatre.com
Upright Citizens Brigade
Theater |307 West 26th St.
The Good Body
The Booth Theater
By Jessica Cogan
became a household name for, well, exploring
her most private of parts. The Vagina
Monologues has now been translated
into more than 35 languages and is performed
all over the world. In her latest piece,
Ensler moves slightly north to explore
her most committed and conflicted lifelong
relationship her relationship with her
begins her performance by baring her belly.
The culprit is pretty average - there's
no six pack, but it's hardly a beer gut.
Still, she explains that she's battled
the flabby little spot her entire life.
It began early. As a child, she navigated
complicated relationships with her unsympathetic
mother and her alternately cold and predatory
father. Predating the South Beach craze,
Ensler learned in her family kitchen to
despise bread. According to her father,
eating it was evidence of one's shameful
hunger. In her adult life, her stomach
has wedged itself between her and her
partner, preventing her from fully participating
in an intimate relationship and shackling
her to treadmills all over the world.
Good Body is not all about Eve. She
moves transparently from confessional
moments into other characters from around
the world. There's Bernice, a chunky but
confident girl she encounters at a spa/fat
camp. And the self-assured African woman,
confounded by American women's hatred
of their bodies. Ensler also adopts some
more famous feminist personas - Helen
Gurly Brown and Isabella Rosselini. In
each case, Ensler sets up a dialogue with
the other woman and tries to reason her
way through her lifelong obsession with
this is a struggle that needs explaining.
How could Ensler, a feminist, a creative,
intelligent and attractive woman, be so
derailed by a little extra around the
middle? How could any liberated, intelligent
woman in 2004 worry about something so
trivial as appearance? I think this is
a question a lot of us have. And that's
why The Good Body, re-traveling
well-trod ground of women and body image,
still manages to be fresh and engaging.
And while the piece doesn't offer any
clear, straightforward answers (I don't
think there are any), there's a kind of
cathartic, confessional pleasure to hearing
other women, successful ones at that,
admit to the same obsessions.
shows great humor, compassion and honesty
in The Good Body, and it will no
doubt draw audiences who see their own
struggle in Ensler's - be it with their
bellies, their thighs, their breasts,
their noses or whatever. After all, we
all have our demons. Ensler's just happens
to take the form of a maple walnut scone.
Good Body stars Eve Ensler and is
directed by Peter Askin. It opened November
15 at the Booth Theatre, 222 West 45th
I Love Paris
Tuesdays @ 8PM Sept 7th - 28th
Mondays @ 8PM beginning October 4th.
Blue Heron Arts Center
by Armistead Johnson
Paris takes place backstage at the
daytime talk show, The View,
where Paris is waiting to audition for
a slot as one of the show's co-hosts.
The play is a stream of consciousness
monologue of musings from America's favorite
hotel heiress and B porn star, Paris Hilton.
on Paris's mind," you ask? Everything
from her hair to terrorism and thankfully,
Doug Field's (Down South, An Enola Gay
Christmas) script provides no segue from
topic to topic, giving I Love Paris
an authenticity that fans of Paris's
The Simple Life have come to
appreciate from Ms. Hilton.
are critics out there who claim that Paris
Hilton is nothing more than a pretty face
and hot body with millions of dollars.
"How has I Love Paris dealt
with such harsh remarks," you ask?
By taking her hot body and pretty face
out of the equation and having the reality
TV star and Guess? model played by someone
who no more resembles her than he does
her dog Tinkerbell; veteran Broadway actor
Kevin Shinick. The bold direction, by
Timothy Haskell (one of the most talented
directors in New York right now), has
Kevin playing Paris as a man, so there
is no pretty face or hot body (or horrid
drag performance) to get in the way of
Paris's intriguingly empty words.
should I be doing this weekend,"
you ask? Well, if you are interested in
an intelligent take on one of the most
seemingly unintelligent stars of this
day and age, going to see I Love Paris
would be a great option.
are $20.00 and can be purchased by calling
or by going to www.smarttix.com.
Blue Heron Arts
Center | 123 E. 24th St. at Park Avenue
It's Karate, Kid! The Musical
Teatro La Tea, Clemente Soto Velez Cultural
Center, 2nd floor
Reviewed by Jessica Cogan
When I went to
check out It's Karate, Kid! The Musical,
I was worried that I'd be in for a musical
re-hashing, blow-by-blow, of the 1984
underdog movie. Call it a Christmas miracle
if you like, but what I got was much,
Karate, Kid! The Musical borrows characters
and plot points from the original, but
they've been reshaped and reworked to
create a hilariously clever spoof. In
the musical, the star is still Danny Laruso,
recent Jersey transplant to Reseda, California.
But here he's gay and badly missing the
boys back home. He and his mom, played
to drunken crack whore perfection by Jennifer
Byrne, move into a dumpy apartment complex
populated by odd characters. Eventually,
Danny befriends the mysterious maintenance
man, Mr. Miyagi, an aging kabuki queen
from Okinawa who still has some tricks
up his silken sleeves. After Danny gets
his ass kicked by Johnny, the closeted
high school bully, and his girl gang (the
bitchkicks), Danny convinces Mr. Miyagi
to teach him karate. So there's the coaching,
the "wax on - wax off," the
chopsticks catching the fly, the knee
sweep and final crane kick - and in between,
there's tremendous singing and dancing.
as a whole is very strong - great voices,
good acting. Andrew Rannells as the posturing,
Vanilla-Ice-swaggering Johnny steals just
about every scene he's in, and Kevin Smith
Kirkwood as Mr. Miyagi moves fluidly between
standoffish Asian mentor and feisty queen
with attitude - and his dance moves are
practically acrobatic. In fact, across
the board, the choreography both of dance
and fights is fantastic.
there are the songs. Mercy. The lyrics
to the songs are epic. I needed to rewind
and replay after laughing over so many.
Particularly good are "Movin to
Reseda," the opening song with
The Larusos complete with Ms. Laruso banging
a hitchhiker in the backseat. In "We
Are the Bitchkicks," Johnny and
the melodious Bitchkicks introduce themselves
and do The Robot to the tune of an 80's
commercial (remember those Gem dolls?
Truly, truly, truly outrageous
And "The Way of the Fisting"
by the Evil Sensei and cast reveals their
for defeating opponents. If the It's
Karate, Kid! The Musical CD comes
out, I want it.
a very funny, very entertaining, very
lewd show. Don't bring the kids. But definitely
bring your friends and get thee to the
Byrne; Charles Duff; Kerry Flanagan; Sarah
Hubbard; Mary Kelly; Kevin Smith Kirkwood
(also Musical Director); James Larosa;
Thomas Lash; Nicole Lewis; Melina Lizette;
Andrew Rannels; Matthew Simpkins, Karl
Warden; Amanda Weeden.
Karate, Kid! The Musical is directed
by Jake Hirzel.
Karate, Kid! The Musical
plays at Teatro La Tea, Clemente Soto
Velez Cultural Center, 2nd floor 107 Suffolk
Street. It runs through December 18. Tickets
are available online at TheaterMania.com
or by calling 212-352-3101. For more
information, log onto: http://www.itskaratekidthemusical.com
Teatro La Tea, Clemente
Soto Velez Cultural Center |107
Upstairs at Studio 54
by Dinika Amaral
the times we live in, times when cornerstone
companies like Arthur Andersen close down
in a matter of weeks, and celebrity success
stories (Winona Ryder, Martha Stewart)
turn into sob stories overnight. NEWSICAL,
by Rick Crom, is a musical satire of our
spoofs of political figures like John
Kerry and George W. Bush. And we learn
that straight men, in flannel shirts no
less, would like gays to experience the
hellishness of married life. Actor Todd
Alan Johnson pleads, "Please let
them marry!" My personal favorite
among the zingers is one on the entertainment
world, where we hear testimony of the
tiger that nipped, to put it lightly,
the neck of Roy Horn of Vegas illusionists
Siegfried and Roy fame.
in NEWSICAL is constantly changing,
which makes it "uber" cool.
Seriously, I have no bones to pick. Donna
Drake's direction is flawless-and while
the best direction is futile with a badly
written script, this is not the case with
NEWSICAL. Rick Crom, I hope you're
reading this because the music and lyrics
were, to borrow from Austin Powers, very
groovy, baby. In comedy timing is the
key, and NEWSICAL'S timing is impeccable,
earning more kudos for Crom and Drake.
While the cast has immense stage presence
and are all excellent performers, I thought
two spoofs were particularly well done.
Stephanie Kurtzuba had the audience in
stitches with her portrayal of the dominating,
"I want it all," child wonder
and adult media mogul, Martha Stewart.
And when Jeff Skowron donned a wig to
play former President Clinton, complete
with black pinstripe suit and blue tie,
I held my breath. His flashing baby blues
and enigmatic pearly whites were almost
too real, sort of like a figure at Madame
to THE DAILY SHOW, the exciting
spin of NEWSICAL is that the news we see
and hear everyday is magically transformed
into an entertaining musical. I'm certain
that all current events junkies as well
as anyone seeking a good laugh will appreciate
Cea, Stephanie Kurtzuba, Todd Alan Johnson,
Jeff Skowron, Peter P. Allburn, David
Kaley, Michael Flink, Jason Hayes, Gary
Maffei, Jacki Florin, Barry Fisher, Jesse
Adelaar, Ed Goldschneider.
are Mondays, as well as Wednesdays through
Saturdays, at 8:00 p.m.; Wednesdays and
Saturdays at 2:00 p.m.; and Sundays at
3:00 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$60 and
can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster
at 212.307.4100 or by going to www.ticketmaster.com.
For more information, please visit www.newsicalthemusical.com.
at Studio|54 254 West 54th Street
by Elias Stimac
Presented by the Obie Award-winning theater
company Todo con Nada in association with
Symphony Space, Caraid O'Brien’s
“The Sandpiper” was billed
as “a verse response to Chekhov's
‘The Seagull’ about three
generations of Irish artists.” An
ambitious project playing to a full house
for one night only, the dramatic saga
featured innovative direction and dramatory
by Aaron Beall and imaginative video design
by Raphaele Shirley. The result is a stage
play with a filmic feel.
The action takes place in the Western
Massachusetts home of Dervla Suibhne,
a radio personality on NPR, and the time
period spans from 1998-2001. Dervla and
her dysfunctional clan alternately clash
and commiserate with one another through
personal and worldwide hardships (the
events of 9/11 even touch their lives).
Drawing inspiration from several bird-themed
plays – Ibsen’s “The
Wild Duck” and Strindberg’s
“Pelican,” in addition to
– O’Brien’s script is
filled with overlapping subplots, and
could use some streamlining to achieve
maximum effect. But the angst-filled lives
of these family members strike a universal
chord. Beall and company make the most
of the material, staging it on and around
the impressive Leonard Nimoy Thalia venue
at the Peter Norton Symphony Space.
Beall’s ensemble features a versatile
cast, including Vera Beren as the no-nonsense
Dervla, playwright O’Brien as her
daughter Angela, Patricia O’Connell
as her spry but sickly mother, and Paul
Pierog as her cleric brother. Laurie Sheppard
and Zero Boy make an impressive couple
as Dervla’s younger brother and
sister-in-law, as does Mara McEwin as
their daughter. Amitai Kedar, Corey Carthew,
and director Beall complete the eclectic
“The Sandpiper” definitely
needs some pruning and polishing, but
as demonstrated in it first production
at Symphony Space, it is a promising play
that is one step closer to taking flight.
York Theatre Company
"People may say
I can't sing, but no one can ever say
I didn't sing." Florence Foster Jenkins
by Wendy R. Williams
is a subtly hilarious play about a wealthy
aristocrat named Florence Foster Jenkins
and her improbable singing career. Ms.
Jenkins was an eccentric widow who could
not hit a note or carry a tune, but who
truly believed that she was blessed with
great musical gifts that she desperately
needed to share with the world.
a quote from the press release (Cohn Davis):
"Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy
society eccentric, suffered under the
delusion that she was a great soprano--when
in fact the exact opposite was true. Nevertheless,
her charity recitals in the ballroom of
the Ritz Carlton Hotel and other New York
venues brought her extraordinary fame.
As news of her unfortunate singing spread,
so did her celebrity. Audiences fought
to get into her recitals; Mrs. Jenkins
blissfully mistook their muffled laughter
for cheers. One concert at Carnegie Hall
in the mid ‘40s sold out in two
hours and 2000 disappointed people were
by turn hilarious and poignant, tells
her story through the eyes of Cosmé
McMoon. As her accompanist, he begins
by treating her with derision which grows
into friendship as he comes to see that
this musical eccentric merits more than
plays Ms. Jenkins flawlessly, with wonderful
comic timing and a true gift for singing
very badly. She is hysterical in the way
only true comediennes can be - delivering
all her lines from a place of inner truth.
She sings all of her songs (actually shrieks)
as if she were bestowing gifts from the
musical gods. And at the end, as a example
of what Ms. Jenkins must have thought
she was doing, Ms. Kaye sang a flawless
accompanist, Cosme McMoon (what amazing
name that was) is played by the very talented
Jack Lee. Mr. McMoon (Mr. Lee’s
character) is the narrator of the play
and we follow Ms. Jenkins' career through
his eyes, from the time he first reluctantly
accompanied her (he needed the money)
until the end when he had became her dear
friend and confidante. Cosme McMoon was
a failed songwriter and even though he
certainly must have possessed a lot more
musical talent than Ms. Jenkins, he too
had a life’s ambition that had been
stifled. Mr. Lee is especially poignant
in the scene where Ms. Jenkins tells Cosme
that that she wants to sing one of his
songs at Carnegie Hall.
have asked how Ms. Jenkins could have
been so deluded? How could she have not
known that she could not sing? Psychology
and I guess common sense have always told
us that there are at least two layers
to every human endeavor - what we think
we are sending out into the world and
what the world perceives.
this: Ms. Jenkins, for all her musical
faults, gave many concerts and her music
was heard by many. My goodness, the lady
sold out Carnegie Hall! And she recorded
a record (in the 1940’s) and what's
more, the other night when I was attending
the play (in 2004), James Morgan, the
artistic director of the York Theater,
encouraged the audience to purchase the
CD of that record. And the York Theater
is putting up a wonderful musical about
the life of Ms. Jenkins with talented
Broadway actors like Judy Kaye and Jack
Lee in the cast. And the night I was there,
Joan Rivers (another lady who totally
believes in herself) was in the audience.
Now there must have been a lot of talented
singers who were giving wonderful concerts
during the same time period as Ms. Jenkins,
and I bet almost none of them have lived
on like Florence Foster Jenkins has.
can say she couldn't sing, but sing she
did and by doing so her singing has reached
an enormous amount of people, including
me. So bravo to Florence and bravo to
the York Theater for telling her story.
was written by the very talented Stephen
Temperley and directed by Tony Award-winner,
Vivian Matalon. Mr. Matalon won't be up
for a Tony for this production (the York
Theater is off- Broadway) but his Tony
Award level of talent certainly shows.
Tickets are $55. Student tickets are available
on the day of the performance for $20,
subject to availability. Tickets are available
at Smarttix.com, (212) 868-4444, or in
person at the box office on the lower
level at Saint Peter’s, 619 Lexington
Avenue (at 54th). More information: www.yorktheater.org.
York Theater at Saint Peter's |619 Lexington
by Tara Koppel
your palette and prepare your taste buds
for a dash of Sweet Paprika! I
promise this lineup of six comedians will
have you laughing until you don't want
Let's face it; this election
year has been very stressful. As Americans
we have demanded answers to some of our
nation's most important questions. Where
do the presidential candidates stand on
war? Domestic policy? Human rights issues?
And why exactly do they look like that?
So why not continue the laughter and relieve
the stress by going to a comedy.
and Kerry took their stance on imperative
world issues, the Sweet Paprika comics
vocalized issues of their own, except
theirs are the type you discuss with your
therapist, not with your Congress.
what I mean:
Jeffrey James raised my awareness on the
issue of prejudice. He explains that among
all the discrimination in the world, there
is no greater prejudice than that against
people who are missing their two front
teeth. his harsh reality forced me to
look at my own discriminatory behavior
and that's when I realized that toothless
people are no different than you and me.
Just because they use thimbles as toothpicks,
doesn't mean they aren't people too. Thank
you, Jeff James, for making me a better
person. Because of you, instead of pointing
and laughing the next time I see a toothless
individual, I will just point.
As an American,
I understand the needs of our country.
We need a more stimulated economy, better
job opportunities, improved healthcare,
and most importantly, we are in desperate
need of more Donald Trump hairstyle jokes.
That's why when Shelagh Ratner started
taking shots at the most notorioushead
of hair since Don King, I knew she would
make a great comedic leader.
So on Friday
nights, I'm casting my vote for Dan Newbower,
Matt Goldich, Allison Castillo, Ophira
Eisenberg, and all the comics of Sweet
Paprika, because just like the Presidential
candidates, these comedians are really
funny to laugh at!
Village Lantern |167
by Alixandra Liner
SUPERSTAR is John Flynn's hysterical
story of his summer at Hershey Park, dubbed
"the sweetest place on earth."
In this one-man show, the writer/performer
takes us on a wild ride of racism, homophobia
and lewd sexual acts.
us back to the summer before his junior
year at college. He was a twenty-year-old
heterosexual male majoring in drama, but
now he was going to sing Madonna at Hershey
Flynn was promised the sweetest summer
of his life, he soon started to regret
his choice. Was he wasting his talents
as a trained actor by doing a "rock"
show? Did he need to suffer through lectures
by Alan, one of his superiors, also known
as "pure gay evil"?
minor injury lands John in the emergency
room at Hershey's hospital, Carlos, a
Hershey cast mate described as a gay slut,
helps him realize something: He has been
parading around the stage in a white leotard
and enjoying himself; he isn't the heterosexual
he thought he was. He is gay. Once his
admission is made, relief sweeps over
John . . . then so does José, another
member of the Hershey show cast.
an affair with José the day after
he realizes the truth about himself. He
continues with his job at the Hershey
Park Juke Box, doing the same dance routine
five times a day.
twenty-first birthday becomes a special
day at Hershey Park, the setting of a
large orgy involving most of the performers.
After Flynn sets up this racy scene, we
hear the torrid rush of "Purple
Rain" and experience the mood
of bacchanalia as we flash back to a time
when John and his cohorts Carlos, Scott
(who preferred to be called Missy), Timmy,
an anorexic girl and the "token black
couple" all engaged in the love-in.
The music couldn't have been more apropos
to the raunchy goings-on. But the message
was also clear: What have these misguided
fools really done? They have brought shame
upon the Hershey name.
the group grope, the cast started to leave
the park. Carlos became involved in an
affair with his stepfather. Scott met
a man and moved away in the middle of
the night. Soon the sweetest place on
earth degenerated even further; there's
a man masturbating at the back of the
theater, and people are coming out of
the closet one by one.
matter how twisted the place became, John
ultimately realized he went there to do
one thing: He was being paid to sing Madonna,
so that's what he decided to do. Abandoning
regret in favor of getting to "Vogue,"
be paid and have fun, John breaks into
a Madonna song that is like no other.
For despite all of the racism, homophobia
and sexual activity, this is the sweetest
summer of his life.
SUPERSTAR is hilarious. Flynn sings
and dances his heart out. His characters
are real and funny, and his mastery of
them enhances the impersonations he offers
of his cast mates, directors, and the
ever-present groupies who watch the rock
performances. His story is unflinchingly
truthful. Go see "Superstar"
and you won't regret it.
are on Mondays, after FULL METAL JACKIE.
Tickets are $5.00 and can be bought at
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater at 307
West 26th St. Website: www.ucbtheatre.com
Brigade Theater | 307 W. 26th St. (8th
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
(30 plays in 60 minutes)
by Tara Koppel
holiday season; stores are crowded, shoppers
are temperamental, and once again, you'll
be returning gifts the day after Christmas
(i.e. - last year's Monica Lewinsky toilet
plunger; all that gift did was "suck"...)
break from the chaotic mall/outlet/dumpster,
or wherever you may shop, and slip into
something more comfortable at the Belt
Theatre. Whether you've been naughty or
nice, Too Much Light Makes the Baby
Go Blind offers the perfect gift for
everyone on your list. Let me take you
through the experience. Giddy- up.
into the theatre I was handed a piece
of paper with a numbered list of thirty
plays. The actors set a timer for 60 minutes
and explained they were going to attempt
to perform all of these plays within that
time frame, each play being approximately
two minutes. I felt at home because I
am accustomed to two minute performances,
but of another kind, in which I have no
say in the matter. Um
is Too Much Light the perfect holiday
gift, you ask? Well, for one, if you have
a friend who needs to get in shape, instead
of buying them Twinkies, buy them a few
tickets for this show. You will get plenty
of exercise (your mouth that is) from
screaming at the actors. YES, THAT'S RIGHT
I SAID "SCREAMING!" When they
finish with each skit, they yell "Curtain!"
That's the audience's cue to scream out
a number from the list. Whichever audience
member is the loudest gets that play performed.
(Needless to say, I had much influence
in the sequence of the performances.)
Much Light is completely random, replete
with energy, and chaotic but organized
at the same time. It requires lots of
teamwork as the cast quickly scrambles
together, shouting back to one another
like in a game of volleyball, in a collaborative
effort to get the stage and props set
for each skit. Remember, they're in competition
with the clock, trying to fit everything
into an hour. So, hurry-up and go. (And
if you still really need that Twinkie
at the show, gents, I'm sure you can sneak
one down your pants, and gals, smuggle
one in your shirt. Actually, make that
two, we don't want to be lopsided now,
and TEARS and WEIRDNESS, OH MY! The seven
actors of the night, or "Neo-futurists,"
as they call themselves, bring a menu
of variety to the stage. Each play is
different than the next. Reggie Cabico,
Sarah Levy, Rob Neill, Chris Dippel, Bill
Coelius, John Pierson, Justin Tolley,
and a mysterious cat will satisfy your
theater appetite, but still leave you
craving for more. (Especially you, fat
friend, the Twinkie eater.)
As to whether all the plays were completed
on time that night, I'm not going to tell
you. Everyone's experience will be different,
so you'll just have to see what ensues
when you attend. However, I will fill
you in on this: the performance is eclectic,
different, and extremely original. Too
Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
is the only race you'll take part in,
where you're not looking forward to reaching
the finish line.
The Belt Theatre |336
W. 37th Street |Manhattan
Who Is Floyd Stearn?
47th Street Theatre
by Armistead Johnson
Rarely does a piece
of theater move me to the point of wanting
to run through the streets and tell everyone
cab drivers, people on the subway, even
that they will regret
it for the rest of their lives if they
don't go see it. Who Is Floyd Stearn?
is such a piece of theater.
Who is Floyd Stearn? is brilliantly
written and performed by Michael Raynor,
brilliantly directed by Larry Moss, brilliantly
designed by Peter R. Feuchtwanger and
Jonathan Spencer and brilliantly ushered
by the person who took me to my seat.
Who Is Floyd Stearn? is the question
writer and performer Michael Raynor began
asking himself the day he received a FedEx
package telling him that Floyd Stearn
was dead. Who Is Floyd Stearn? Floyd Stearn
is Michael's father; but this, Michael
Who Is Floyd Stearn? is a deeper
question, and the second Michael finds
himself close to an answer, a whole new
set of questions arise.
According to Michael's grandmother, Floyd
Stearn was a saint. According to his mother,
Floyd Stearn was the devil himself. Floyd
Stearn seems to have been someone to everyone
in Michael's life; so why was he no one
Who Is Floyd Stearn? is a question
anyone with a family has about someone.
Maybe he isn't as close a relative as
Michael Raynor's Floyd Stearn; but your
Floyd Stearn is out there.
He's the one that's spoken about in whispers
she's the lady you have a flickering memory
of from childhood
he's the person
who's in only half of the family photographs
Floyd Stearn is out there if you're willing
Tickets are $35 - $45 and can be purchased
at Tele-charge at 212-239-6200 Groups
can be purchased at 212-302-4848 ext.
20. For more information, please visit
47th Street Theatre
|304 West 47th Street
(between 8th and 9th)
by Evan Sung
Robert Whaley and Tony Grimaldis
Wrong Way Up
The Belt Theatre
The Right Musical for the Right Audience
at the Right Time.
by Jessica Cogan
after the election results came out, I
needed a lift. So on November 3, I figured
I could either station myself under my
covers and drown my sorrows in Shiraz
and Mallomars, or I could head to the
Belt Theatre to see Wrong Way Up,
New York band The Niagaras' current musical.
Since seeing The Niagaras pretty much
guarantees I'll see a man in his underwear
(Robert's exhibitionism is legendary),
and sadly, being under my covers rarely
does, I chose the later. And it proved
a far wiser choice than 51% of Americans
had made the day before.
by band members Robert Whaley and Tony
Grimaldi, Wrong Way Up follows the story
of Arthur (played by Whaley), a misfit
trying to make good. Growing up in Syracuse,
Arthur has problems with authority (mom,
dad, teachers), love (damn that fickle
Diane), and his skin (zits!). His teenage
years are spent acting out, sticking out
and breaking out. But Arthur finds some
solace in music - specifically, his trumpet.
After high school, he moves to the big
city and is jostled and hustled through
his first sexy days in New York. Finally,
with the help of a hipster, wise-cracking
Jiminy Cricket-type (played by Grimaldi),
Arthur comes into his own - and gets a
band and a girl in the process.
of Wrong Way Up is superb. Rachel
S. Stern and Jeffrey Dean Wells join Whaley
and Grimaldi to flesh out the musical,
playing parents, love interests, lie detector
operators, a hilarious Chistopher Walken-esque
store manager (Wells) and more. Both Stern
and Wells have fabulous voices - strong
and flexible - that work in perfect harmony
with The Niagaras' signature sound. The
music and lyrics are great - think Oingo
Boingo meets Elvis Costello. And Whaley
and Grimaldi have perfected the banter
and seamless interaction of a vaudeville
duo, breaking into song, dance and comedy
whenever the story requires it.
my favorite things about a Niagaras' show
is that it's so energetic, joyful and
life-affirming -- without being cheesy.
Their songs pull for the underdog, the
outsider, those who feel different. And
they encourage us to be positive, to be
happy with what we've got.
Way Up delivers on all the sweet,
strange, hilarious and loving promise
that a Niagaras' show offers - and ups
the ante with the addition of Stern and
Wells. The energy is infectious and intense.
And like some mildly pornographic revival,
soon enough the audience is clapping and
singing in gratitude for our arms and
spleens and toes and necks and eye glasses
and hair and elbows
in his skivvies.
Way Up! plays at the Belt Theatre
(336 W. 37th St. between 8th and 9th)
every Wed. night through 12/15 (except
11/24) at 8:00pm. Tickets are available
online at www.theatermania.com
or by calling 212.352.3101.
Whaley and Tony Grimaldi - photographed
Belt Theater |336 W. 37th Street | NYC