The single mother unfolds her sofa bed, gets undressed, and settles in to check over a huge binder containing medication levels for her seriously ill child. This simple scene is performed in a seemingly offhand manner by the magnificently subtle Carrie Coon as the title character in Amy Herzog’s shattering play Mary Jane, yet it speaks volumes of a heartbreaking situation without tears or bathos. The fact that Mary Jane has to sleep alone in her living room tells us that Alex, her two-year-old son is in need of such constant and extensive medical support that the equipment required to keep him breathing takes up the master bedroom (which is offstage in Laura Jellinek’s masterfully functional and evocation set design.) And, it incidentally emphasizes the not-insignificant detail that Alex’s father is nowhere in her life. It’s a beautiful demonstration of the playwright showing rather than telling the trials Mary Jane must go through.
Tony Award winner Frances Ruffelle is back in town with her stunning solo performance: “Frances Ruffelle Live(S) in New York!” an intimate evening of song that whispers seductive secrets, lays bare the naked truth and explodes with the one of a kind bottle rocket charisma that’s kept “Frankie’s” ardent fans coming back for more since she created the iconic role of “Eponine” in “Les Miserables” and turned “On My Own” into one of Broadway’s most beloved standards.
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright in residency with The Red Letter Plays
Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African- American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, is the Residency One Playwright at the Signature this season. Her plays F**king A, directed by Jo Bonney, and In the Blood, directed by Sarah Benson, are being produced in tandem as part of an event called The Red Letter Plays. The two plays are riffs on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and is a rare opportunity to see two plays by one writer in dialogue with each other.
Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Jenkins, Keith Reddin. Lisa Emery “For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday’
By: David Sheward
The interplay of childhood fantasy and harsh adult reality is the subject of two current Off-Broadway plays. Sarah Ruhl’s To Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday at Playwrights Horizons is a melancholy meditation on death, age, and the constant cycle of life while Frederick Stroppel’s Small World at 59E59 Theaters is a shallow sketch attempting to address big themes but producing only occasional chuckles and mild nods of recognition.
Robert LuPone stars in World Premiere of Dan McCormick’s THE VIOLIN at 59E59 Theaters
September 19, 2017: THE VIOLIN, a melodramtic tale by Dan McCormick about two ill-fated brothers, Bobby and Terry, and their elderly friend, Gio a tailor, opened at 59E59 Theaters for a limited run through October 14. When Bobby, played by Broadway veteran Robert LuPone, realizes his brother Terry, played by Kevin Isola, has found a priceless 1710 Stradivarius violin in his gypsy cab, Bobby sees an opportunity to cash in. The action, directed by Joseph Discher, is set in motion with Gio, played by Peter Bradbury, joining the brothers in an attempt to ransom the violin for $800,000.
As the last millennium ended, when Suzan-Lori Parks penned her Red Letter Plays, two theatrical riffs on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter, the horrifying issues of alienation, racism, misogyny, and class oppression that they raised were prevalent. Then we had a black president and for a few brief moments, it seemed we really were living in a post-racial world. Or at least, the more extreme manifestations of these nightmares appeared to be laid to rest. Now almost twenty years since these pieces were written, those same demons have crawled out of their hiding places. Their resurgence in the Age of Trump makes the Signature Theater Company’s tandem revival of both works especially moving and relevant.
Randie Levine-Miller hosted a megawatt “Showstopper Divas/Divos” concert at The Triad Monday night. The show starred Beth Fowler; Lee Roy Reams;Adam Grupper; Barbara Minkus; Richard Skipper; Susan Vardy, and Kathleen Waters, and benefited The Actors Fund.
Playwright Simon Stephens has a way with the inexplicable – and sometimes creepy, as in his stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime. In this current production, at the Atlantic Theater, one feels as if they’re walking into a Pinteresque nightmare, in which the existence of a mysterious other creates an underlying threat. This atmosphere permeates in this story about unfulfilling marriages, played out by 3 generations of the same family. Set in a bleak area of England, life is neither jolly nor well off here.
Michael Yates Crowley’s new play, The Rape of The Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias is another coup from The Playwrights Realm, a company which produces new works by emerging playwrights. Last season, The Wolves, about a girls’ soccer team, was heralded for its strong characters and powerful ensemble acting.This current show, a dark comedy about rape, written by a man, is inventive, and powerful.
Small World, Frederick Stroppel’s new play about Igor Stravinsky and Walt Disney, is subtitled “a fantasia,” and for good reason. Although this two-hander, directed by Joe Brancato imagines that Stravinsky never liked what Disney did to his music in the film Fantasia, the record shows this is not exactly true.
Barry Levitt, Deborah Tranelli, Valerie diLorenzo Sal Viviano
Guild Hall in East Hampton presented a musical evening of songs by legendary composer Jerry Herman.
A Grand Tour, a spirited celebration of one of Broadway’s greatest composers, under the musical direction of Barry Levitt. The evening featured songs from many of Jerry Herman’s shows including Mame, La Cage aux Folles, Hello, Dolly, Mackand Mabel, Dear World, and Milk and Honey performed by Broadway veterans Sal Viviano, and Deborah Tranelli with Charlie Romo and Valerie diLorenzo. Popular favorites included: “Before the Parade Passes By,” “ If He Walked Into My Life,” “ I Won’t Send Roses, “ “I Am What I Am,” “Time Heals Everything,” “ Song on the Sand,” “ It Only Take a Moment,” “The Best of Times” amongst others.
Jimi Hendrix Filming Janis Joplin Backstage, 1968, 2017, archival pigment print edition of 25, 30 x 40 in.
Photographs of Jim Marshall (1936-2010)
September 14, 2017: ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, in the Gallery Districted hosted an opening reception for Peace: Love, Rock and Revolution, an exhibition of photographs by Jim Marshall, who captured many of the most important cultural and social events of the 1960s and 1970s.
British playwright Simon Stephens is best known on these shores for his Tony-winning adaptation of the novel The Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But he has had many original works as well including Heisenberg and Bluebird, both short and minimalist pieces, but loaded with intense emotions and truthful insight about human relationships. In On the Shore of the Wide World, his latest play to be imported to America, now at the Atlantic Theater Company, Stephens has gone in the opposite direction. The title is from a Keats poem but the play is less than poetic. While this dysfunctional family drama has some arresting moments, it drags on too long and becomes predictable and cliche-ridden.