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Sunday
Jun212015

SUMMER THEATRE FESTIVALS HEAT UP NYC

If you haven't noticed, the Summer theatre festivals are upon us. And they are not just arriving, they are arriving almost at once!

This is not to say that theatre festivals are exclusively a Summer event, but in the next few months (having started in mid June), there will be hundreds of festival productions to choose as FringeNYC, Thespis, Midtown International Theatre Festival, New York Musical Theatre Festival and quite a few others make their 2015 debut. These offerings will include everything from plays in development to finished works looking for production deals from off Broadway producers, independent theatre companies and more.

If you think making it big is a long shot, think again. Urinetown, The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told, Sistas and The Imbible are all productions that started humbly at the festival level and made the jump to the big league, some with seemingly realtive ease.

The Imbible, as an example, recently (just last Thursday, June 18th) celebrated its 100th performance since debuting at the FringeNYC Festival in 2014. For The Imbible, it began with a few festival dates, continued through Fringe Encore and quite litereally never stopped. They found a home at Soho Rep and are still going strong. For more on The Imbible or to purchase tickets, click here: http://imbible.org/.

This year, even before some of the festivals open, we are seeing and hearing about some interesting and potentially groundbreaking theatre sitting in the wings. Theatre with a cause or a social message is nothing new, but things change and so does the message. A few of these shows haven't even begun casting, but the buzz has already created the stage for some great expectations.

In less than one month, The Thespis Festival, which is fast becoming one of the fasted growing and biggest theatre festivals in the New York area, opens with over 60 productions that will run into late September at the beautiful Hudson Guild Theatre on the Westside. The festival offers both equity showcase and non-equity productions in just about every genre you can imagine, but it is aleady showing some promising works in the making.

Anthony Inneo's "You Just Don't Get it, Do You?" is a strong and powerful story about the recent "great recession" that makes a social commentary about the banking and financial industries in a sort of Quentin Tarantino manner. This is a play that appeals to a very base, anger-laden and emotional reaction that comes at the heels of  losing your life's saving to corporate stupidity and greed.  Yet it is written with great passion, understanding and intelligence by Mr. Inneo. Imagine your golden years destroyed financially and what you would want to do about it and you will quickly catch a glimpse of where this staged dramedy can go. The show is currently in pre-production and will open on Labor Day weekend.

Another socially themed work is Carol W Berman's "Parking Lot 63," a chilling and touching piece also opening at Thespis an dealing with abuse, sexual slavery and prosititution. Dr. Berman, who is a New York City psychiatrist, is also an accomplished playwright and artist with several works under her belt. She is looking to tell a story that hopefully will draw attention to a subject that is seldom discussed, but certainly merits our attention. Her play opens in mid-August also at the Hudson Guild.

But there is an abundance of great new works we can catch right now. 

Now running through July at The Paradise Factory is The Planet Connections Festivity, "New York’s premiere socially-conscious arts festival." This Festival is designed to "invoke the power of art in motivating philanthropy, community outreach and social change" and offers quite a range of productions that are produced to directly benefit different causes.

You can find a full list of their productions BY CLICKING HERE, but we've featured a few highlighted productions below:

Buddhas Are Screaming In China - “A play about love, luck, loss, and Elephants.”

Benefiting: Big Life Foundation

Written and Directed by: Maggie Surovell | Choreographed by: Jill Echo

Buddhas are Screaming in China (written and directed by Maggie Surovell and choreographed by Jill Echo) is a play about love, luck, loss, and Elephants. Hai’ou is studying the conservation of endangered species when she is forced to confront her mother who buys ivory Buddhas for good luck.  As we follow Hai’ou’s journey, we witness a family of life size elephant puppets trying to survive. Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street. Run Time: 50 minutes

Tuesday, 6/23/15, 8:00pm, Saturday, 6/27/15, 12:30pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 6:00pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 8:00pm, Sunday, 7/5/15, 6:45pm, Tuesday, 7/7/15, 7:15pm

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In Our Own Voice: Women Veterans Tell Their Story

“The hardest part is coming home.”

Benefiting: Women for Women International

Written by: Beverley Coyle - Directed by: Colleen Britton

What do you do when you’re a young woman and a recent veteran – when the hell of war is being eclipsed by the hell of coming home?IN OUR OWN VOICE is a lively and funny but devastating interchange between young women who’ve just come back from Iraq and Afghanistan. They know way more about war than their families want to know they knowVenue: Paradise Factory, Downstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street - Run Time: 60 minutes

Wednesday, 6/24/15, 4:30pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 5:00pm, Thursday, 7/2/15, 8:45pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 6:00pm, Thursday, 7/9/15, 8:00pm, Saturday, 7/11/15, 1:45pm BUY TICKETS HERE

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Lost In Place - “A look back at today with the hindsight of tomorrow.”

Benefiting: Coalition for the Homeless

Written by: Secondhand Theatre Company | Directed by: Secondhand Theatre Company

Conceived and created by the ensemble:
Jenn Calhoun, Nicolas Carra, Ashley Ford, Lesley Shannon, Brandon Hollely, Eunyoung Bona Jung, Evan Kincade, and Liberty O'Dell.

Lost In Place is a collaborative exploration by the Secondhand Theatre Company, a look back at the “Now” through the neo-vaudevillian orators of a future generation. Return to the birth of storytelling with us! Dance around fires while aiming a playful, yet critical eye at our modern society. Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street. Run Time: 90 minutes

Saturday, 6/20/15, 11am, Sunday, 6/21/15, 12:00pm, Monday, 6/29/15, 4:00pm, Saturday, 7/4/15, 12:00pm, Monday, 7/6/15, 9:15pm, Friday, 7/10/15, 6:30pm BUY TICKETS HERE

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When the Party’s Over

“Bon voyage, champagne and caviar!”

Benefiting: World Wildlife Foundation

Written by: Glory Kadigan
Directed by: Eric Mercado

Broadway actress Anna takes her mother Adriana on an Alaskan vacation in the hope of repairing their terse relationship. It’s “all aboard” as the ladies sail off, but Anna and the other passengers get more than they bargained for on their magical glacial adventure as Anna encounters ghosts from the past - Venue: Paradise Factory, Upstairs Theater, 64 East 4th Street - Run Time: 90 minutes

Schedule: Thursday, 6/18/15, 4:30pm, Monday, 6/22/15, 8:45pm, Sunday, 6/28/15, 3:45pm, Friday, 7/3/15, 6:00pm, Saturday, 7/11/15, 7:00pm, Sunday, 7/12/15, 11:00am - BUY TICKETS HERE

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Women and Children - “For years these guys thought they were on a sinking ship. Turns out it was a lifeboat.”

Benefiting: SAGE Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Elders

Written & Directed by: Michael Boothroyd

After years of dodging obstacles, from prejudice, inequality, plaques, and grindr, a group of NYC gay men realize they landed on their feet. However, when a straight-man, separated from his wife and children, interrupts their dinner, they struggle to make sense of the choices they made and the paths they took.

SCHEDULE: Wednesday, 6/17/15, 7:45pm, Sunday, 6/21/15, 2:00pm, Tuesday, 6/23/15, 9:30pm, Wednesday, 6/24/15, 4:30pm, Tuesday, 7/7/15, 4:00pm, Thursday, 7/9/15, 6:00pm - BUY TICKETS HERE

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For more information about other upconming festivals, please check back shortly.

Monday
Jun082015

Manhattan Repertory Theatre To Offer a Memorial For Scotty Decker

The Manhattan Rep Theatre Company in Times Square will be holding a memorial at their theater on 42nd Street this coming Saturday for actor/playwright Scotty Decker.

Decker was a well known actor and playwright who was recognized for his unique writing style, memorable characters and high-energy performances in the New York Theatre circuit. He had been featured more than several times on LocalTheatreNY.com and will be dearly missed. Friendly, hardworking and a well-respected and talented playwright, he created plays and characters that he would embody and bring to life with tremendous effect. 

He had numerous tv credits including roles on "Law & Order: SVU", recurring role on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and the pilot of "The Mysteries Of Laura."

He was waked on Sunday June 7th 2-6PM at Yorktown Funeral Home in Shrub Oak, New York. The Mass was earlier today, Monday June 8th at 10AM at St. John The Evangelist 225 East Lake Blvd. Mahopac, NY, 10541.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, June 13th 3PM at Manhattan Repertory Theatre 303 W. 42nd Street at 8th Ave. It will be an opportunity for all to share memories of Scotty.

MRT describes the loss to the theatre community as follows:

"Scotty was amazingly talented, a super star of the Theatre, an absolute gentleman and a part of the Manhattan Rep family.  He will be greatly greatly missed. 

Scotty presented a myriad of plays here at Manhattan Rep and he brought one of his characters "THE CAPTAIN" in to many of our Event's programs just for fun. (I remember at one event he dressed up one of his actresses as a "Bottle of Mustard" just so "THE CAPTAIN" could make a crudely clever Condom / Condiment pun.) Scotty's acerbic wit and gift for language was like no other playwright/performer I have ever known. And he said that Manhattan Rep was his favorite stage to perform on.

His passing is so wrong. He was a great, courageous, super talented, prolific, amazing man. And he will be greatly missed by all of us here at Manhattan Rep, and in the theatre community here in New York City."

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to manhattanrep@yahoo.com to confirm participation with "Scotty Memorial" in the subject. Include if you'd like to speak so that they can plan the memorial.

Food & Drink are welcome.

 

Sunday
Apr262015

LONGTIME FANS OF THE FANTASTICKS STEP IN TO RESCUE THE WORLD’S LONGEST RUNNING MUSICAL FROM CLOSING

Producers of THE FANTASTICKS, Catherine Russell and Al Parinello have announced that they will now be able to keep Off Broadway’s longest running musical from closing. Two donors (longtime fans of the show who have asked to remain anonymous) have stepped in and pledged to keep the production running, making the Sunday, May 3rd performance a 55th anniversary celebration of the opening of the show in 1960 – not a farewell.

“Over the past few weeks, two longtime fans of the show called yelling at me for not letting them know the show was closing,” explains Producer Catherine Russell. “Each offered financial help keep the show running in NYC. I initially declined the offers, but after much thought and consideration, I've decided to accept their generous offers that will help keep The Fantasticks alive. I was surprised and moved to see the enormous outpouring of emotion and attention the closing announcement received. People called the box office crying and telling stories about the first time they saw the show. I didn’t realize how many people love the show and feel like it’s an important part of their lives. The Fantasticks truly is a treasured and iconic piece of NYC that should live on.

A modern twist on Romeo and JulietTHE FANTASTICKS (music by Harvey Schmidt, book, lyrics, and direction by Tom Jones) is the quintessential story of a boy and girl who fall in love and then quickly grow apart when they realize they want to experience the world.  What follows is a hilarious and heartwarming story for all ages.  The score, which includes the hit songs “Try To Remember”, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and “They Were You”, is as timeless as the story itself.

Hailed as "A Gem" by The Wall Street Journal, The Fantasticks is not only the "perfect first musical for any child to see" (amNewYork), butThe Fantasticks at The Theater Center is the definitive way to see the show.

The play has become a true New York institution. For many people, seeing The Fantasticks when visiting New York is as important as seeing The Statue of Liberty or The Empire State Building. In fact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended the New Year's Eve performance of the show before ringing in 2008 in Times Square. In 1992 The Fantasticks won The Tony Award for Excellence and remains the only Off-Broadway show ever to have won a Tony.

The cast of THE FANTASTICKS features Edward Watts as the Narrator (El Gallo), Daniel Berryman as The Boy (Matt), Samantha Bruce as The Girl (Luisa), Donald Corren as The Boy’s Father (Hucklebee), Joe Dellger as The Girl's Father (Bellomy), MacIntyre Dixon as The Old Actor (Henry), Michael Nostrand as The Man Who Dies (Mortimer) and Drew Siegla as The Mute. The production also features Dave Schoonover, Rita Markova, and Tom Flagg.

Robert Felstein is the Musical Director / Pianist and Maria Banks is the Harpist. Production Stage Manager is Paul Blankenship and the Assistant Stage Manager is Earlye Rhodes.

The performance schedule will remain the same -  on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 8PM, Wednesdays at 2PM, Saturdays at 2PM & 8PM and Sundays at 3PM & 7:30PM.

Tickets to THE FANTASTICKS are priced at $76.50 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (212) 921-7862, by logging ontowww.Ticketmaster.com or by visiting the Snapple Theater Center box office. A limited number of premium front row seats are available for each performance priced at $126.50.

THE FANTASTICKS plays at The Jerry Orbach Theater in the Snapple Theater Center, 210 West 50th Street at Broadway. The box office phone number is (212) 921-7862. www.SnappleTheater.com

Tuesday
Apr142015

NATHAN LANE RECEIVES EUGENE O’NEILL THEATER CENTER 15TH ANNUAL MONTE CRISTO AWARD

CEREMONY HONORS ACTOR’S CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS, COMMITMENT TO STAGE AND SCREEN WITH HELP FROM FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES

Preston Whiteway, Nathan Lane and Brian DennehyThe Eugene O’Neill Theater Center celebrated the 15th annual Monte Cristo Award ceremony with a presentation of the honor to theater, film, and television actor Nathan Lane last night at the Edison Ballroom. The Monte Cristo Award is presented annually in recognition of the honoree’s outstanding achievements and contributions to the American theater. 

“I realize I must be getting older because in the last few years, I have received a couple of Lifetime Achievement Awards. I guess this is what happens when you’ve been acting on stage this many years. But it is a little disconcerting. It’s not because I’m don’t appreciate the gesture, but as Hilary Clinton might say, ‘I’m not quite done yet.’”

Lane went on to discuss his recent experience working on THE ICEMAN COMETH, one of Eugene O’Neill’s most famous works.

“It was the highpoint of my acting career, and for that, I am forever grateful. O’Neill has got his hooks into me, and he won’t let go. If you want to shake things up for yourself as an actor and find out what you’re made of, I highly recommend (acting in an O’Neill play),” he said.

The Monte Cristo Award was presented to Lane by O’Neill Trustee and actor Brian Dennehy.  Directed by Marc Bruni and hosted by O’Neill Center Executive Director Preston Whiteway, the program featured stage acts by Patrick PageCarson Elrod and Tyler Bunch; a tribute video from Jesse Tyler Ferguson; musical adaptations by Jenni BarberJason Simon, Robert Creighton and Tim Shew; and remarks by Lane’s friends and colleagues, including Susan Stroman and Matthew Broderick, paying homage to one of America’s most iconic stage, television & film stars.

“When you work with Nathan, he gives you 100 percent. He comes in with his lines down because he wants to play; because he wants to take chances; because he wants to be challenged. He’s not afraid to fall on his face,” Stroman said of her time working with Lane on THE PRODUCERS. “As a director and choreographer, you look for these kinds of performers who are fearless. That’s whom you want to surround yourself with. Nathan Lane is really one of a kind. There is nobody like him. He can lift one eyebrow and make you laugh – and life the other eyebrow and make you cry.”

Nathan’s recent co-star Brian Dennehy shared how invested the audiences were in Nathan’s performance as Theodore Hickman in THE ICEMAN COMETH earlier this year.

“I was there for every performance, 20 feet away from him - listening, moved, dazzled – and the audience was, as well,” Dennehy said. “I will always be grateful to have been a part of it; to have been a witness to one of the greatest theatrical experiences and chilling performances I’ve ever been a part of.”

Lane’s long-time colleague and friend Matthew Broderick reflected on his nearly 20-year history working with Lane.

“Even after all this time – a thousand performances or maybe more – I still find stepping onto a stage with Nathan to be absolutely thrilling,” Broderick said. “Anyone in this room who has worked with him will tell you, you start rehearsal, and it’s electric. And Nathan’s laser-like precision and atomic clock timing are exhilarating. And you know this is a precious, rare opportunity to mix it up with a great one – a DiMaggio, a Merman, a Gleason.”

Support for the 15th Annual Monte Cristo Award provided by Bisno Productions & Scott Yagoda, Disney Theatrical Productions, Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas, Roy Furman, Joyce & Seward Johnson Foundation, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Heather Henson, Jujamcyn Theaters, Laurie Connor & Chip Meyrelles, Nederlander Producing Company, The Shubert Organization, Bernie Schilberg - Prime Materials Recovery, Sally Speer, and Pat Daily & Tom Viertel.

The Monte Cristo Award is presented to a prominent theater artist each year in recognition of a distinguished career exemplifying Eugene O’Neill’s “pioneering spirit, unceasing artistic commitment, and excellence.” Past recipients of the Award include Meryl Streep, Christopher Plummer, Michael DouglasJames Earl JonesHarold Prince, Kevin Spacey, Neil Simon, Jason Robards, Jr., Edward Albee, August Wilson, Zoe Caldwell, Brian Dennehy, Karl Malden, Arthur and Barbara Gelb and Wendy Wasserstein.

For more information about the 15th Annual Monte Cristo Awards or the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, visitwww.theoneill.org.

Tuesday
Mar312015

BROADWAY TO DIM ITS LIGHTS Wednesday, April 1st For Gene Saks

IN MEMORY OF CELEBRATED DIRECTOR AND ACTOR GENE SAKS 

The Broadway community mourns the loss of acclaimed director and performer Gene Saks, who passed away on Saturday at age 93. The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in his memory on Wednesday, April 1st, at exactly 7:45pm for one minute.

Image Courtesy of The Hollywood ReporterThe accomplished actor who became one of Broadway’s most prominent directors and won three Tony Awards®in addition to receiving multiple nominations, helmed many Neil Simon plays on Broadway including Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Jake’s Women, Rumors, Lost in Yonkers, Broadway Bound, The Odd Couple, and California Suite.

Saks won his first Tony Award® for Best Direction of a Play in 1977 for the Cy Coleman – Michael Stewart musical I Love My Wife, and two more for Neil Simon plays, Brighton Beach Memoirs in 1983 and Biloxi Blues in 1985. He also received nominations for Half a Sixpence (1965)Mame (1966), Same Time, Next Year (1975), andLost in Yonkers (1991).

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League, said, “Gene Saks was a notable presence on Broadway for six decades as an acclaimed performer and celebrated director. His legendary collaboration with Neil Simon contributed unparalleled magic and laughter to Broadway, and he will be missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”

Additional Broadway directing credits include Enter Laughing, Nobody Loves an Albatross, and Rags. His final Broadway production was the bio-play Barrymore, which won a Tony for Christopher Plummer in 1997.

Saks, who was born in Manhattan and grew up in Hackensack, N.J., began his career as an actor. Saks made his acting debut on Broadway in South Pacific in 1949. On stage he also appeared in A Shot in the Dark, The Tenth Man, and his best-known stage role in A Thousand Clowns. He also appeared in the films Nobody's Fool and Deconstructing Harry.

Among Saks’ film directing credits included Simon adaptations of The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, and Brighton Beach Memoirs. He also directed the 1969 Cactus Flower, which won Goldie Hawn the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

He is survived by wife Keren, their daughter, Annabelle, and three grandchildren. He is also survived by sons Matthew and Daniel from his marriage to his first wife, actress Bea Arthur.

His full Broadway biography can be found on The Internet Broadway Database at ibdb.com.

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