Thursday, September 29, 2016

IT Award Nominees and Winners 2016

On Monday, September 26, 2016, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation presented their IT Awards. Winners are marked with asterisks.

** The Golfer, Gemini CollisionWorks: Fred Backus, Broderick Ballantyne, Rebecca Gray Davis, Lex Friedman, Ian W. Hill, Bob Laine, Matthew Napoli, Timothy McCown Reynolds, Alyssa Simon, Anna Stefanic
Connected, Project Y Theatre Company: Gus Birney, Joachim Boyle, Robby Clater, Ella Dershowitz, Midori Francis, Dana Jacks, Thomas Muccioli, Aria Shahghasemi
Gorey: The Secret Lives of Edward Gorey, Life Jacket Theatre Company: Andrew Dawson, Phil Gillen, Aidan Sank
Street Theater, TOSOS: Tim Abrams, Chris Andersson, Christopher Borg, Éilis Cahill, Jonathan Cedano, Desmond Dutcher, Russell Jordan, Josh Kenney, Jeremy Lawrence, Michael Lynch, Joe MacDougall, Rebecca Nyahay, Patrick Porter, & Ben Strothmann
The Further Adventures Of..., TOSOS: Tim Burke, Mark Finley, & Jamie Heinlein
Unity (1918), Project: Theater: Wendy Bagger, Alicia Dawn Bullen, Jessi Blue Gormezano, Doug Harris, Beth Ann Hopkins, Joshua Everett Johnson, Joe Jung, Alexandra Perlwitz, Melanie Rey

**Siobhan O'Loughlin: Broken Bone Bathtub, Elephant Run District
David Carl: David Carl's Celebrity One Man Hamlet, Project Y Theatre, PM2 Entertainment and Richard Jordan Productions in associate with Underbelly
Laura Hooper: Crumble, MORA Theater
Peter Michael Marino: Late With Lance!, PM2 Entertainment
Colin Summers: Steve: A Docu-Musical, New York Neo-Futurists
Yolanda K. Wilkinson: Bible Study for Heathens, New York Neo-Futurists

Friday, September 23, 2016

Love, Love, Love

This is not a review. I saw the first preview of Love, Love, Love, and a review wouldn't be appropriate. However, the show is already in excellent shape, and quite interesting, and completely worth writing about. Take my random natterings with a extra-large grain of salt, and beware: there will be spoilers.

Love, Love, Love is by Mike Bartlett, whose King Charles III was downright thrilling. It follows a couple of remarkably self-centered people from their meet-not-so-cute in the 1960s  (Act I) through their marriage and life with teenaged children (Act II) to their retirement years (Act III). If drama is about people learning or growing or changing, this is not a drama, although parts are quite moving. If comedy is about laughing at people who neither learn nor grow nor change, it's definitely a comedy. And parts are quite funny.

Monday, September 12, 2016


James Blossom is a hero--over and over again. He defuses a Nazi nuke miles under the sea and "is given a ticker tape parade and his face on the five dollar bill." He saves the life of the Secretary of Agriculture by performing emergency surgery. He escapes from a "prison above the sea."

James Blossom has Alzheimer's disease. He is growing unable to tell fantasy from reality. He regularly thinks his daughter is his wife. And he has become potentially dangerous to himself and others, so his daughter moves him into a nursing home--a nice nursing home, but a nursing home. He is not happy, but he is also not ready to roll over and die. Little by little, he adapts. Blossom is an engaging character, and as we get to know him better, we like him all the more.

This is James Blossom:

James Blossom
Designed by Spencer Lott
Photo: Maria Baranova

Blossom, running at Dixon Place through September 24, was written and directed by Spencer Lott, who has an extra creativity gene (or 12!), a big heart, a huge desire to entertain, and a similarly huge desire to tell a real, believable, and heart-breaking story. He mostly succeeds--and succeeds big--but the show's flaws keep Lott from hitting the grand slam that he surely can.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Small Mouth Sounds

Six people assemble for a spiritual retreat with varying levels of comfort and enthusiasm: an ultra-limber, ultra-sexy yoga instructor; a lesbian couple, affectionate but annoyed with each other; a quietly friendly older man; a sad-sack white guy whose multi-colored skullcap seems to be covering a secret; and a blonde who is far more interested in texting her recently ex-boyfriend than achieving spiritual growth. They are spoken to by a loopy, self-important, unseen guru, who explains the rules of the retreat (many of which will be broken), talks about the philosophy of their time together, and announces that there will be no talking.

Zoë Winters, Max Baker, Quincy Tyler Bernstine,
Babak Tafti, Brad Heberlee, and Marcia DeBonis
Photo: Ben Arons Photography

By largely eliminating dialogue from the play, author Bess Wohl and director Rachel Chavkin have set themselves a fascinating challenge, one that they meet with intelligence, compassion, and humor. They give us three-dimensional people full of foibles and strengths and a gentle sorta-plot that fills the two hours beautifully. The cast is strong--Marcia DeBonis, Brad Heberlee, Babak Tafti, Max Baker, Quincy Tyler Bernstine--and the projections (Andrew Schneider) and soundscape (Stowe Nelson) effectively and attractively conjure up the idea of being in the woods.

I don't want to say more, since the delight of the play is watching it unfold in small, wonderful moments. It's running until October 9. I highly recommend it. (My colleague Elizabeth Wollman was somewhat less enthused.)

PS. It has the funniest nude scene I've ever witnessed.

Wendy Caster
(second row, tdf tickets)