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FAMILY Theatre - Featured


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SHOWTIMES: Mon-Thurs 9:30pm, Fri: 9:30pm & 11:30pm, Sat: 8:30pm/10:30pm/12:30am, Sun: 8:30pm

at The Times Square Arts Center, 300 W 43rd Street | 4th Floor - 

Tel:  917-677-5481 |  email: lolcomedyclubnyc@gmail.com



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"FIRST FROST FESTIVAL" Opens at LIC's Chain Theatre December 4th

By Roger Gonzalez

Long Island City’s Variations Theatre Group at The beautiful Chain Theatre, a venue located in Queens, only minutes from midtown Manhattan by subway, will be closing its doors in February of 2016 and relocating to a new venue, but not before returning with this year’s “FIRST FROST FESTIVAL.”

The group's final festival at this location will feature a variety of Performances from the comedy of “BENNY AND GRIFF SHAKE YOUR CRAZIES OUT” to spoken word, improv and radio shows including “DO RE MIC,” “VoiceScapes,” and a brand new radio play adaptation of “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE.” The Usual Rejects are also returning with their latest parody: “I’VE GOT A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS: STAR WARS.

This year’s performances also include a number of brand new one acts written by artists from around the tri-state area, including Amber Kusching’s “CRAZY,” Nick Hulstine’s  “GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE,” Meghan Crosby’s “IMPRINT,” and Yvonne Hernandez’s “QUEER MONOLOGUES.” Additionally, a number of readings and other special events have been scheduled including Brandon Ferraro’s “WHO DOESN’T LOVE BEN FRANKLIN?” as well as the most recent installment of VTG’s often-partner taxdeductible theatre’s “THE DARE PROJECT.

As this final project at the closing venue gets underway, Variations Theatre Group has already actively started searching  for a new location in Long Island City with the intention to keep bringing high quality visual and performing arts to this neighborhood they call home. The company, which has enjoyed both critical and box-office success in its time at this LIC location, has no intention to slow down its momentum.

The performance schedule for the FIRST FROST FESTIVAL  is available at www.variationstheatregroup.com. Ticket prices vary for the events and are available through the web site or by calling 866-811-4111. The Chain Theatre is located at 21-28 45th Road in Long Island City, just ten minutes from Times Square via the 7, E and M trains to Court Square Station.

Below is a full line-up of this year’s festival.

It’s A Wonderful Life

A New Radio Adaptation Written and Directed by Greg Cicchino

An exciting and enchanting take on the timeless Christmas and American classic with live sound effects and music. Starring Justin Randolph* as George Bailey and Leigh Anne West* as Mary. Also featuring Nick Fondulis* Clint Carter, Sebastian Gutierrez, Patrick Pizzoloruzzo*, Alexandra Rose Kopko and Jackie Collier*.

(*Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association)

December 4 at 8pm

December 6th at 3pm

December 9 at 8pm

December 13th at 3pm 

December 18th at 8pm


The Dare Project

taxdeductible theatre boldly returns with the most unreasonable Dare Project yet!

December 8th at 7pm and 9pm



Benny & Griff’s Shake Your Crazies Out

Join musical comedy duo Benny and Griff on an absolutely insane journey in the magical land of Umbachtu as they sing, dance, meet some friends along the way and most importantly SHAKE YOUR CRAZIES OUT!

December 15th at 8pm


Do Re Mic

A show that combines stand-up comedy with musical improvisation. Stand-up comedians perform, each followed by an improvised song inspired by their set

December 13th at 8pm


Queer Monologues

Synopsis: Based on real interviews and true stories. Sad, funny with a touch of history.

December 6th at 8pm

December 12th at 2pm

December 17th at 7pm



December 19th at 2pm


Who Doesn’t Love Ben Franklin?

by Brandon Ferraro

One year after the tragedy that killed one hundred, the town is still not the same. Of those who responded, only one survived. Ben Roosevelt was named the “home town hero” for his service that day.  Since then he has struggled to live up to that title, to himself, and to those around him. Who Doesn’t Love Ben Franklin? tells the story of the fall of the Great American Hero.  Four archetypes are given and then we are forced to question who really embodies this title; if anyone really can.

December 16 at 7pm


The Birthday 

December 7th at 7pm


The Great Somewhere

Clark and Hudson’s parents are dead. Or they might be. In the aftermath of a category 5 tornado that hit their Iowa hometown, it will take more than a set of shovels to make peace with decades of family debris.

December 6th 5:30pm 

December 10th at 7pm



5 different patients, 5 different reasons. Do their conditions make them “crazy”?


Geography of Nowhere

Jimmy thinks his gangster days are finally over. He only has one job left to do… kill his best friend.



Complementary colors Orange and Blue are not an automatic couple. Blue is smitten and performs the most comical tasks to get Orange to trust her. But Orange has a secret she’s too ashamed to share. Imprint is a story of darlings, dread, and daring. Only through their shared experience, can these hues make peace with their true colors and support each other.

December 10th at 9pm

December 16th at 9pm

December 17th at 9pm



Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door for most events
Click on Event date and time for more information




VENUS / ADONIS Returns January of 2016 With an Eclectic Offering of Plays and Playwrights.

By Roger Gonzalez

It only seems like a few weeks ago that the Thespis Theater Festival at the Hudson Guild Theatre wrapped up after almost 3 months of exciting new plays.  Here it is in November and already their Winter offering, The Venus / Adonis Theater Festival is ramping up! Almost at capacity (but still accepting submissions until December), it is no surprise that the buzz is starting 2 months out.

This is not an uncommon cycle for the festival’s Artistic Director/Founder, Franco Moschetti. Moschetti and his team at the Thespis & Venus/Adonis festival have  taken a relatively unknown theatre festival from a “playwright-friendly” concept to one of the fastest-growing festivals in the Northeast in only a matter of a few short years in what is a fairly competitive New York City theatre market.

But for Mr. Moschetti, this is no surprise. Their approach from the start has been to focus on the playwrights and their specific needs in an effort to get their written work on to the stage in a manner that is friendlier, less stressful, less costly and more geared at the needs of the writer/producer. To Mr. Moschetti & team (to be introduced in a later article), the emphasis is on the work and not on the festival, although clearly they both go hand in hand.

The hotly anticipated Venus/Adonis Theater festival was created primarily as a focus on women playwrights, although it is open to men.  It is also a festival that draws submissions from all over the country and seems to pull in quite a diverse and eclectic number of submissions. This year’s line-up includes quite a few interesting topics and playwrights of varying backgrounds and levels of experience. Here are just some of the plays and playwrights we can expect to see.

Serena Belsby is one playwright who has written her first full-length play, “Ms Senior USA,” a story inspired by the time spent with her mother, and will be seeing her play come to the stage this Winter. A Washington State resident, she is re-locating to New York City after a career writing screenplays and directing film back on the West Coast.  

From nearby Hoboken, New Jersey comes Emily Dinova and her play, “Capture” about a woman coming to grips with her past and looking to move towards a brighter future.

Coming out of Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania is a young, creative team led by playwright, Leah Alfieri.Playwright, Leah Alfieri Her play, “Old Maid,” a dark comedy, will be her first play to see the stage. “Of my plays, it's the one that I'm most proud of, so I'm very excited to see what it'll look like off the page,” she says. Leah is an actor who happened to stumble upon the festival while seeking acting work.

Playwright, Catherine HurdFrom Northern California comes playwright Catherine Hurd. Her play combines sacred marriage vows, lost love, dementia, eccentric daughters, a mystery writing detective, and an ex con bent on revenge, add a love     triangle with a pinch of murder plot, scramble it all together, and you have the slightly dark, slightly silly, bittersweet comedy, “Until Death Do Us Part.

Local playwrights are also going strong. Gloria MakinoPlaywright, Gloria Makinoa New York resident, is offering her play, “Unturning,” about a mixed race young woman caught at the center of a love triangle (based on the Thomas Hardy novel, “The Return of The Native”)

Equally fascinating are the men.  Derek Dean  is the writer of the play “Before The End.” (“When a Mark loses his families’ life savings, he believes he has lost it all. Feeling that he needs help, the members of the family have an intervention on the night Mark lost everything. But has he?” Rick Charles Mueller enters the competition with his play, “Brooklyn TidesDriftwood!” The play is about Alexandra, a liberal, successful, black woman, who is sexually obsessed with her separated husband: a bigoted, homophobic cop, also black, who believes in segregation and considers racism acceptable. There is Sam Graber’s “riotous and fast-funny take on today’s dating scene,” “The Field Guide To Mating,” Aaron Michael Krueger ‘s musical, “New Dawn.” (“As high school football captain Joey Johnson's life begins to fumble out of his control, he struggles to keep up the facade of his perfect "All-American" life. Accompanied by an electric pop/rock score, New Dawn is an inspiring coming-of-age story about overcoming life's obstacles to find a new way to begin,” reads the description.) All of the above are now New Yorkers.

There’s “The Rise of Mediocrity” by Larry Phillips, “Shatter” by Anderson Cook (synopsis: “The story of five 20 year-olds at the party that was never supposed to happen, “Shatter” dissects the lives of the newest wave of young adults as they deal with the realities of their present and past that have left them a little broken). Playwright Dr. Murray H. Kiok offers up “Men Talk,” Bill Rogers presents “Caldwell’s Bomb” about the dangers of domestic terrorist groups.

All in all, this year’s festival offers quite a few options as well as topics and talent from across the country. Franco believes in focusing on the writer and talent and giving them all the tools they need to get their shows up and running, or as he says, “To really create a platform that allows all playwrights and musicals to run in a high professional environment and setting...almost impossible in other festivals which are more focused in the monetary aspect of the run. We give everything we have.”

The festival arrives in full swing at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 West 26th Street, the same venue used for the Thespis Theater Festival this Summer. The festival runs from January 4th through March 10th, 2016 and play submissions are still be accepted through December 15th. For more information about the Venus /Adonis and an updated list of what to expect in terms of shows by date, click here:http://venusnytheaterfestival.com/shows-by-date-2016/

To submit a show, click here:http://venusnytheaterfestival.com/venus-adonis-theater-festival-thespis/


Queens' "Variations Theatre Group" Opens New Version of "Wait Until Dark."

"Wait Until Dark," the thrilling classic drama is opening in Queens with a unsettling newly adapted version that has never been seen before in the New York area just in time for that part of the season when chills of a thrilling type are exactly what audiences are seeking.

Following the success of critically acclaimed productions of THE PILLOWMAN, NYIT Outstanding Revival Nominee 2015 TALK RADIO, and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST; Variations Theatre Group will present a newly adapted version of the classic thriller, WAIT UNTIL DARK, never before seen within the five boroughs of New York City, opening on October 30, 2015 at The Chain Theatre

Forty-seven years after WAIT UNTIL DARK premiered on Broadway, Jeffery Hatcher has adapted Frederick Knott’s 1966 original, giving it a new setting.  In 1944 Greenwich Village, Susan Hendrix, a blind, yet capable woman, is imperiled by a trio of men in her own apartment, tormentors who will stop at nothing to get what they want.  As the climax builds, Susan discovers that her blindness just might be the key to her escape, but she and her tormenters must wait until dark to play out this classic thriller’s shattering conclusion. 

This chilling new version of WAIT UNTIL DARK under the direction of John Arthur Long and VTG Artistic Director Kirk Gostkowski will include: Christina Elise Perry* (Fool for Love) as Susan Hendrix, Paul Terkel (The Pillowman) as Mike, Patrick Pizzolorusso* (The Last Cyclist) as Sam Hendrix, David Rey (The Bear) as Carlino, Schuyler Press (Theresa Is A Mother) as Gloria, Kelsey Bowens (The Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby) as Lisa, and Kirk Gostkowski (Talk Radio) as Roat.

The production will play at the Chain Theatre, a 2-story black box events venue in Long island City, NY, which is also home to Variations Theatre Group. 

The performance schedule for WAIT UNTIL DARK will be Wednesday-Saturday evenings at 8pm with 2pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays October 30-November 14. Tickets are $18.

The Chain Theatre is located at 21-28 45 RD Long Island City, NY 11101

Subway: 7, E, G, and M to Court Square Station (Just 10 minutes from Manhattan, half block from the 45 RD 7 Train Station, One Block away from PS1)

For more information, please visit their website: http://variationstheatregroup.com/newsite/wait-until-dark-by-frederick-knott-adapted-by-jeffrey-hatcher/ 


*Actors appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association.


"Rabbit Hole" at The Davenport is Perfect Theatre.

By Roger Gonzalez

Howie and Becca in Rabbit HoleLike any young, modern family, Howie and Becca have seemingly rooted themselves in a safe and very typical suburban life. They own a beautiful home, all the basic amenities, and have journeyed to build their American dream like anyone else would: with love, hard work, family, kids and, yes, even a dog.

As the audience is drawn into this story like a fly on the wall, nothing appears to be amiss as two sisters sit in a clean and beautiful living room and chat like any two loving siblings on any given day. On the surface there is laundry folding (a child’s t-shirt, shorts, pants, sweaters) and talk about the younger sister’s wild night at a local bar that ended up in a brawl. Becca, the older sister, is clearly a sound and grounded, stay-at-home mom who is happily married. She is played to perfection by Suzie Cho. As she listens to her slightly rebellious but highly amusing and very charismatic younger sister Izzy (Ashley Ford) tell the tale of her exploits, we are drawn into the simplicity of the lives of these two women. We know and can connect to this shaky sibling relationship and this is what makes it a perfectly crafted play.

Written by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, Rabbit Hole is, well, a “hole” that hypnotically draws you into the lives of this family. We care because we relate. This opening scene is great theatre because it is simple and very real and true to life. It is masterful. In the wrong hands it can come across as boring and at the other extreme, over-played. But in the hands of a professional troupe, which this is, it is layered and subtle and complex and fascinating. Full Spectrum theatre has accomplished something quite magnificent in their first production out of the gate and there is really nothing this critic disliked.

Rabbit Hole is a powerful story about family and love and loss. It is also about hope and the pain and challenges of moving past a great family tragedy. In this case, it is about the aftermath of the accidental death of Becca and Howie’s 6-year old boy who was hit by a car driven by a young, guilt-ridden high school senior, played by Justin Hsu. The accident happened right in front of their home which means reminders are all around and the pain is ever present. But what makes this story so compelling is the desire to hold on to dear and cherished memories. 

The set is beautiful and functional and real in a venue (Davenport Theatre) that isn’t all that big. I’ve seen a few things in the space and no one has made it come to life like this production. I was drawn in immediately and never left. The lighting was professional and simple and worked in an almost cinematic fashion, knowing when to fade out slowly and enhancing the action like great lighting should. The blocking, the direction and staging where perfect. Director Maria Riboli did not miss a beat in capturing the pacing and depth of this material.

I cannot say enough about the acting. This material and dialogue can suffer as much from under-acting as it could from over-acting, but these actors were connecting in a manner that was natural and real and seemed so effortless. I seldom see this type of performance from a new troup, but not in this case. They worked beautifully together. There was not one weak performance; this ensemble gelled like a quiet running engine that needs no oiling and plows ahead without ever losing speed.

I was captivated by Ashley Ford’s work. Every expression and reaction is alive and vibrant and every delivery fully connected. As Howie, Amar Srivastava brings the complexity of having to deal with the loss of his son in a tender, but strong manner that digs deep and affects you. As a father myself, I really connected with this portrayal and left feeling with many mixed emotions. It was unforgettable. Suzie Cho as Becca gives us a character that complex and heartbreaking and strong. Her timing is impeccable. What a wonderful actor. And as the sister’s mom, Rebecca Smith brings to life how such a loss is not exclusive to just the parents but to the entire family. She is endearing, a little flaky, but loving in her loss. Justin Hsu captures the anguish and guilt of teenage Jason as he tries to deal with the sort of mistake that will forever change a young man. The acting alone is worth the price of admission.

You won’t be disappointed by this production. The notion that the loss of a child is a heavy subject that will leave you depressed as you exit the theatre is one misconception about this play that makes it a seldom produced piece. But it is great theatre when presented with confidence and strength and humor (yes, there are very funny moments). This production achieves all those things. It is easy to go catch an upbeat musical off Broadway, but enjoying a play that will leave you thinking about these characters for years to come is priceless.

Tickets are selling fast. See this play at the Davenport Theatre on 45th Street until October 24th.

Wednesday - Saturdays @ 8PM, Sundays @ 3PM

Additional Matinee Performance: Saturday, Oct 17th @ 2pm

The Davenport Theatre

354 W 45th Street, New York, NY 10036

Tickets Available Now at: www.smarttix.com




On Monday, September 21, 2015 The Innovative Theatre Foundation, the organization who for the past 11 years has been dedicated to celebrating Off-Off-Broadway, announced the 2015 recipients at its annual event. Celebrating eleven years and thousands of nominees, the New York Innovative Theatre awards took place at Mason Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center. 

The 2015 New York Innovative Theatre Award Nominees represent 145 individual nominees, 57 productions and 55 theatre companies. In the past 11 years, the IT Awards have honored nearly 2,000 artists, 550 productions and 500 companies.

Host was Jason Kravits (ADA Richard Bay on ABC's Emmy Award Winning Drama "The Practice"), presenters included luminaries from the theatre community: K. Todd Freeman (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Peter Aguero (Moth StorySLAM host), Ray Klausen (production designer), Stanley Allen Sherman, Andrew Block (TDF), Ben Stanton (lighting designer, Fun Home), San Kusnetz (sound designer), Jon Goldstein (composer), Marshall W. Mason (Circle Repertory Company founder), David Auburn (playwright), David Greenspan (playwright and actor), Mindy Cooper Grenke (director, choreographer, performer),  Igor Goldin (director), Vallejo Gantner (PS 122), Alice Ripley (actress), Woodie King Jr. (New Federal Theater), and various members of the Off-Off Broadway Community.

Special awards were presented in the following categories:

Artistic Achievement Award Recipient: Marshall W. Mason

Ellen Stewart Award: HERE Arts Center

Caffé Cino Fellowship Award: Theatre 167

Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award: Andrea Alton

Outstanding Stage Manager: Juni Li

2015 ** Recipients **:


**Much Ado About Nothing, Smith Street Stage, Inc.** 

Olivia Caputo, Michael Vincent Carrera, Mary Cavett, John Patrick Doherty, Austin Durant, Maxwell Eddy, Patrick Harvey, Alexandra Henrikson, Jonathan Hopkins, David Pegram, Lauren Pennline, Georgina Richardson, Sam Rosenberg, Will Sarratt, Kim Taff, Sophia Tupy, Corey Whelihan**


** Sylvia Milo The Other Mozart, Little Matchstick Factory **


** Dan McVey - Pretty Babies, Elsinore County **


** Mel House - In The Bones, Astoria Performing Arts Center **


** Matthew Trumbull - The Temple, or Lebensraum, Tin Drum Productions in Association with MozzleStead**


** Emily Koch - In The Bones, Astoria Performing Arts Center **


** Isaac Bush - The Mountain, The Circle Theater of New York **


** Isaac Byrne - In Vestments, Theatre 4the People **


** Nicole Pearce - The Law of Return, Newsom Zipoy Productions **


** Debbi Hobson - Unmentionables, Nylon Fusion Collective **


** Carolyn Mraz - The Twelfth Labor, Loading Dock Theatre Company **


** Jeanne Travis - The Temple, or Lebensraum, Tin Drum Productions in Association with MozzleStead **


** Stephanie Cox-Williams - (Gore & Blood Effects) R & J & Z, Hard Sparks **


** Phyllis Chen & Nathan Davis - The Other Mozart, Little Matchstick Factory **


** Lisa Bruna - Invasion from Estrogenius: Andi's Night, manhattan theatre source **


** Micheline Auger - Donkey Punch, Ivy Theatre Company **


** Night - The New Stage Theatre Company **


** Merrily We Roll Along - Astoria Performing Arts Center **


** In Vestments - Theatre 4the People **

For more information, CLICK HERE.