According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Photo by Martine Malle

Cycle, a new play previewing now at The Cherry Lane Theater, is an infectious and exhaustingly wonderful evening of theater. This tongue in cheek parody is, in my book, a winning combination of heart and wit.
Reviewed by Kristyn R Smith

There is no resisting this journey. You can't help but be caught up in the trials and tribulations of the actor's life. From just the first four lines of dialogue through to the end, the laughs persist without ceasing. Who knew the pressure to succeed as a performer and possible suicide could be so funny? Rose Courtney, it would seem.

, written by Courtney, who also plays the lead, is a compelling concoction of old and new. The show peddles along at breakneck speed presenting a multitude of different people and places in its 90 minute run time. Using a combination of classical texts, from Shakespeare to Chekhov, as well as 1940s songs, the audience is whisked along into the world of Charlotte Shrubsole, a struggling NYC actress who happens to be guided by a troupe of Vaudevillians on her mission to "unlock the Secret of Success." If the plot sounds confusing, well it is. There's a lot of unanswered questions and some interesting twists, but if you divert your attention for a moment to ponder the finer points of plot development, you've missed the next punchline. And with a cast so engaging, you won't want to miss a moment of the hilarity.

The actors assembled here are each noteworthy in their own right, but it is their work as an ensemble that truly leaves you breathless. These six Vaudevillians, J.T. Arbogast, Krista Braun, Michael Leydon Campbell, Sarah Hund, Halley Zien, and Eric Zuckerman, sing, dance, play instruments, juggle, mime, and do voices. Simply put, they do it all, even acting as set pieces, and for the most part, they do a great job.

Not surprising, considering they were led by a great team. The choreography, done by Laura Sheehy, is top notch. So too, the direction from Craig Carlisle. He effectively makes use of every inch of space here (which is on the small side), especially for a show with such a large cast. There's also some truly impressive navigation of a multitude of props and costume changes.
Only brief moments of an otherwise seamless Friday night performance stuck out as needing improvement. These moments centered around the occasional but gratuitous dead space, and the rare but obvious shaky line delivery.

Though Shakespeare it is not, I would certainly recommend a trip on this Cycle to anyone, for it is certainly nice to just lose yourself for little while and laugh.
Cycle is playing at
The Cherry Lane Studio,
Located at 38 Commerce Street,
It runs until March 3rd.
Tickets are $18, or $15 for students
Call 212-279-4200 for reservations

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