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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Measure for Measure

Would you sacrifice your virginity to a smarmy dignitary if it meant freeing your brother from execution? Set in Vienna at a time of judicial reckoning, Shakespeare’s comedy Measure for Measure is a delicious mixture of sex, religion, and politics. When set in a garden and produced by The New York Neo Classical Ensemble, such a twisted premise gets a delightful new slant, giving way to clever staging and keen physical comedy.

Ariana Venturi and Richard Douglass / Photograph by Jim Bridges

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

Lately, Duke Vincentio (Brandon Uranowitz) has been dodging his regal responsibilities, traipsing about town disguised as a friar. In his absence, ironfisted Lord Angelo (Richard Douglass) steps up to power, taking matters into his own hands. That’s not a good thing for Claudio (Tommy Heleringer), who has gotten Juliet (Danielle Levanas) pregnant out of wedlock. Claudio’s sister, nun-in-training Isabella (Ariana Venturi), pleads with Angelo for mercy, inadvertently seducing him in the process. As it turns out, he has it in his heart to retract his decree, but only in conjunction with his lust for Isabella. Dire ultimatums such as these are the name of the game, or at least the play – Measure for Measure. This becomes a delightful puzzle to solve, perfectly matched for by the cast’s infectiously energetic performance. In addition, this revival gives the play a bawdy, oversexed makeover. These actors don’t waste any opportunity for shock factor or big laughs, nor do they shy away from physical comedy. The result? All the dirty jokes are that much easier to understand; they’re digestible but by no means dumbed down. The choice to perform in an outdoor venue also revitalizes the piece; the garden setting of weeping willow trees and ivy-covered chain-link fences adds a soft romance to a play otherwise rooted in debauchery. Directed by Stephen Stout, this production of Measure for Measure takes risks without detracting from central themes. Isabella remains a character of chaste perseverance, for example, and despite all intentions to not get involved, Vincentio can’t help but meddle.

Clad in a hooded robe for most of the play, Uranowitz counteracts the seriousness of his appearance with the flightiness of a fugitive. His paranoia starts to fade into a sage confidence as people buy his religious status, and Vincentio takes on a gleefully patronizing confidence. The stunning Uranowitz also brings to light the underlying implications of his dialogue: his Vincentio clearly—outrageously—likes men. Even this small an exaggeration manages to give the piece a modern spin, playing up the sexuality both visually and verbally in a way that older productions may not have. While the audience can’t help but grin at being let in on such all of these gleeful ruses, Isabella’s fateful answer to Angelo must still be derived, and it’s the driving force of the rest of the play.

As Isabella, Venturi evokes gut-wrenching sympathy from the audience. She’s shy and strong at the same time, and her quivering, stuttering performance truly transforms her into a young, terrified virgin whose convictions have been threatened. Her aversion is all the more easy to believe given the physical brutality of Douglass’s performance. When Angelo first propositions Isabella, for example, he hurriedly unzips his pants to make his intentions known in no uncertain terms. Before he dismisses her to think about his request, he pulls her towards her in a forceful embrace. Their obvious tension—his repugnance, her resistance—is easy to see and uncomfortable to watch. Their contrasting characters make it hard to choose sides or even consider what one would do in Isabella’s position. No one is safe from Angelo’s arbitrary laws in this play, however. The supporting cast all have their own troubles to deal with, as well, but they do so in a way that brings in much-needed jest, keeping the pacing light and the plot unpredictable.

Breaking up tension with unbeatable slapstick chemistry are the bumbling and dim-witted constable Elbow (the hilarious Bill Griffin) and the carefree pimp Pompey (Teddy Alvaro). Elbow has been looking for someone to lock up in order to Angelo in the hopes of a promotion when he comes across Pompey, whose blissfully uncomplicated lifestyle and boyish outlook charm the audience from the get-go. Another ludicrous member of Vienna’s society is Lucio (Cale Krise). Serving as comic relief, Lucio often speaks out of turn, trying to answer questions not asked of him, and Krise’s know-it-all performance makes him the largest yet most lovable fool of all. He fights then runs away, he bellows then steps back, and he breaks the fourth wall in ways that the audience can’t help but be engaged.

Stout has made sure to involve the audience by staging the actors’ blocking, entrances, and exits amidst the outdoor seating. In addition, he directs any rhetorical question found in the script back to the audience, no matter how absurd or irrelevant. Another testament to Stephen Stout’s directing is the disciplined focus despite a myriad of circumstantial variables such as fading sunlight, a nearby bus stop, and pedestrians on cell phones. Measure for Measure sometimes goes overboard – for instance, a gratuitous karaoke scene featuring Danielle Lavaras and Traci Thomas’ muddled half-hipster (corduroy blazers, ties, and loafers) and half-classical (hoods, habits, and threadbare vests) costumes. Overall, however, Measure for Measure is a strong, well-thought-out production. You may not have an answer for the question posed at the beginning of this review, but you’ll enjoy Shakespeare’s opinion on the subject, and the New York Neo Classical Ensemble rousing take on civil injustice and personal imperfection.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Le Serpent Rouge!

Last year, Company XIV's The Judgment of Paris gave us a "dramatic entertainment." This year, bringing their epic burlesque to the Adam and Eve story in Le Serpent Rouge!, the show is a "titillating tragedy." In both cases, Austin McCormick has expanded far beyond the subject material, looking now at the plight of Woman when God listens to James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." The terrifically sexy result strips emotions (and clothes), and even the cryptic bits are beautiful to watch.

Photo/Steven Schreiber

Reviewed by Aaron Riccio

Company XIV's last show, The Judgment of Paris, may have set a war to the can-can, but it's their latest production, Le Serpent Rouge, that hammers home the Moulin Rogue aesthetic. Sure, both shows put a decayed decadence behind the chintzy cheer, from the burlesqued costumes to the vinyl crackle of classic soundtracks (Eartha Kitt to James Brown). And Austin McCormick's expert choreography remains a slow, languorous seduction, enhanced by the obvious chemistry between his tight-knit Company XIV. (For what it's worth, they're also both about magic apples.) But the specificity of this retelling of the Adam and Eve story (with a primer on the seven deadly sins thrown in for good measure) puts more emphasis on solos and duets, evoking far more than just "titillating tragedy." (Last year, it was "dramatic entertainment.")

You wouldn't think so at first: Zane Pihlstrom's set is a gilded iron circus ring, with a giant chandelier in the center, and two trapeze-like swings on either side. Gina Scherr largely avoids overhead lights in favor of footlights and a wheeled-on spotlight, which creates a lovely silhouette. And Olivera Gajic's costuming leaves no doubt that the apple-wielding narrator is a Ringmistress (Gioia Marchese), from her tiny top hat and giant whip to the thrust of her bust. Davon Rainey's back in drag, too, serving up both an all-frills palate cleanser and chilling denouement with Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is." But these effects are just the comfort zone--a familiar atmosphere for Company XIV--which is why they're able to dig deeper into an all-too-familiar tale.

As she did as Helen last year, Laura Careless embodies the essence of Woman in the role of Eve, brought to the garden by the Ringmistress, and made to serve Adam (John Beasant III). However, she slowly comes to terms with her own body, losing the false smile she's forced to wear when seeing Adam and Lillith (Yeva Glover), and it's only a matter of time before she's trying to define herself on her own terms. A giant gilded mirror, a fancy ball gown, and the timeless Eve now confronts Vanity. As Adam joins her in a contemporary setting, their curtained silhouettes succumb to Greed; helpless once more, they are stripped by Sloth.

"Good weather," says the Ringmistress, "is like a good woman. It doesn't always happen." Vilified forever by the burden of one bite of an apple, knowledge can be a curse--or so says the plot. It's an interesting thought, but Le Serpent Rogue focuses more--wisely--on the images, heating up from a chair-dance of Jealousy to a fiery duet of Wrath before smoothly rolling into a three-way moment of Lust. Even the cryptic moments of sad loss that follow the Fall are terrifically sexy: the visceral act of Adam walking over Eve, the symbolism of Eve slipping through a watery mist onto the plane of that giant mirror, the far-away sight (through a door at the back of the stage) of Eve in the dressing room with the Ringmistress, staring at that apple.

It's a sort of epic burlesque, except that McCormick and Company XIV are in the habit of stripping away the glamor--ironically, using glamor itself to get back to the humanity of these ancient tales. This apple bites back, and the taste of Le Serpent Rouge lingers on.

Le Serpent Rouge (80 min., no intermission)
Company XIV @ 303 Bond Street
Tickets (212-868-4444): $20
Performances (through 6/6): Thurs. - Sat. @ 8

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Pays to Advertise

In the Metropolitan Theater’s revival of It Pays to Advertise, two reunited college buddies go into business despite the fact they lack any experience, office space, or even a product to sell. Instead of merchandise they decide to sell an irresistible campaign slogan, creating a hilarious mixture of business and pleasure delightfully combines rapid dialogue, multiple façades, and bumbling characters. Demand soon rises, and their fast-talking, dizzying sales pitch leaves consumers ready to buy and investors ready to sign.

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

It Pays to Advertise is a rollicking story of an entrepreneur who gets fooled into thinking he wants success. Rodney Martin (Scott Kerns) is son of soap baron Cyrus (George H. Hosmer) but has no interest in the business. Instead, he leads an aimless, blissfully uncomplicated life, sponging off his father’s hard work. He proceeds to push his luck even further when he declares his love for his father’s secretary, Mary Grayson (Maire-Rose Pike): he’s cut off without a cent. In truth, Mary’s working with Cyrus: if she can turn Rodney into a successful businessman before the end of the year, Cyrus will give her a raise and a commission of Rodney’s net profit.

The show is filled with good chemistry, starting with Rodney’s first hire, his old college buddy, Ambrose Peale (Brian Cooper). They make a flawless team: their arguing and scheming is lightning speed comedy. When he’s not acting, Cooper must freelance in the marketing sector, for he believes in and relishes his lines with a passion that would make any used-car dealer jealous. This captivating duo is all the more appealing with Pike’s brilliant portrayal of Mary. In equal measures, we get Rodney’s sweet and encouraging fiancée and the shrewd businesswoman hell-bent on winning a bet. Her perfectly-drawn duplicity even dupes the audience, nobody knowing when to gauge her onstage persona as superficial or sincere.

The madcap comedy keeps flowing with the arrival of principal characters, specifically Ellery Clark (Aaron Gaines) and the Comtesse de Beaurien (Nalina Mann). While quite forgettable as Cyrus’s butler Johnson, Gaines gets a shot at redemption when he reenters as the son of a rival soap manufacturer, the artsy and impressionable Ellery Clark. At first swindled by Ambrose and Rodney to back their phony enterprise, Clark then falls for the Comtesse, a charming con artist. Spending the first half of the play speaking only French, The Comtesse de Beaurien comes on the scene to strike an international investment deal in the soap industry. During her dealings she upstages all others with her ringer performance, even almost convincing the foolproof Ambrose. She never quite achieves her ulterior agenda, but her elegant sex appeal and hard-boiled street smarts makes it an enjoyable effort to watch. In addition, her delicious 1930s slang adds a little film noir to this overall the screwball production.

The play’s detailed sets and costumes also tightly follow the script’s historical context, making for an uncompromising production. Heather Wolensky’s use of dark, masculine furniture and red velvet drapery provokes a serious business atmosphere—chock full o’ rubber stamps, checkbooks, and cigars—that meshes well with the less serious comedy. Rebecca Lustig’s vibrant costumes also add to the old-fashioned charm, with men in three-piece plaid suits and matching ties, and ladies with gloves and hats at all times.

This revival at Metropolitan Theater makes an insightful statement on the power of suggestion, the idea of a product versus its actual quality, and how investing in advertising is the best way to make money talk. A world in which one snobbish quip from Sideways can slash merlot sales and boost pinot noir purchases validates the show’s statement that 97% of the public believe what they hear when making expenditure decisions. If this extends to the theater, as the former Broadway press agent Peale tells Rodney, then allow me to help you and your friends make up your mind: it pays to see It Pays to Advertise.

It Pays to Advertise (2 hours 15 minutes; one intermission)
Metropolitan Theater (220 East Fourth Street)
Tickets (212-995-5302): $20 General $15; Students & Seniors; $10 Children under 18
Performances (through 5/31): Thurs.-Sats. 8pm; Sats. & Suns. 3pm

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mare Cognitum

David McGee’s Mare Cognitum, an ostensible story about three idealists who decide to fly to the moon, considers the notion of change. Each of the characters represents an ideology that is presented and then juxtaposed to the audience. Despite the silliness of the premise, Mare Cognitum successfully inspires thought about the best way to effect change in society.

Reviewed by Nicole C. Lee

Set in a country on the brink of warfare and bombings, the plot is simple enough to follow: three roommates seek to join a public protest against the impending war. Their procrastination leads them to miss the protest, so when the bombings begin, two of them decide to take action by heading to the moon. What playwright David McGee seeks to provoke is more difficult to comprehend: the nature of protests, the most effective method to enact change, and the notion of self-deception.

To help us understand, Mare Cognitum presents us with three characters and three distinct philosophies. Jeff (Kyle Walters) stands in his apartment with a sign that reads “Homo sapiens sapiens” as a protest takes place outside his building. As much as he believes in the basic human rights and nonviolence they’re fighting for, he is against mob mentality. His idealism also shows an element of harsh reality: nonviolent protests only work when violence occurs, so the protesters must be willing to die for what they believe in (like Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mahatma Gandhi). How can he support the sort of protest that requires permission to assemble from the very government it is protesting? At times Walters portrays Jeff as opinionated and passionate. Yet there are also moments when Jeff is inexplicably stolid and apathetic in solitude.

Lena (Devon Caraway) resides on the opposite side of Jeff’s philosophy. She is the impassioned supporter of protests, claiming the world is huge and people should act accordingly. At first, she supports the use of protests as the only means of discouraging war and enacting change. Later she runs to a Catholic congregation, listens to a choir, prays, and experiences what she claims is an epiphany. When she learns the bombings have begun, undeterred, she becomes dejected and suggests escaping to the moon: to do something is to do something good. Caraway supplies her character with energy that propels the plot; she first suggests joining the protest and then suggests escaping to the moon. Yet her performance was somewhat marred by the lack of vocal projection during moments of the show.

Thomas (Justin Howard) is more difficult to understand. He is first introduced to the audience as someone who has just experienced an odd job interview. As he re-enacts the interview, he reveals he was actually confessing to a priest and has been doing so for the past eight months. Throughout his “interview,” he explains that the notion of God is problematic because it perpetuates the notion that God will eventually “fix” the world’s problems, taking away the responsibility of people to do it for themselves. As Jeff and Lena initiate an escape to the moon, Thomas is skeptical and unwilling to participate. Finally, Thomas hears his phone ring and the charade comes to an abrupt halt. Jeff and Lena realize they have “returned” to their apartment. At this point, it appears the trip to the moon was a delusion concocted by Lena and Jeff to escape their current situation. When Lena and Thomas leave Jeff alone in the apartment, there is no resolution and the audience is left to wonder what just happened and why.

The play’s setting draws real-world comparisons: the United States is currently experiencing an economic recession, and is arguably still at war abroad. Director Jesse Edward Rosbrow puts together a decent production that is thought provoking, yet it is still unclear by the play’s end what the audience should come away with. Protests have been organized over the years, yet the situation remains the same. The audience may question whether Jeff and Lena were deluded enough to believe they had successfully arrived on the moon, yet the real question seems to be: what other options are available to a person when all hope is lost?

Mare Cognitum (90 minutes, no intermission)
The Workshop Theater (312 W 36th Street, 4th floor)
Tickets ( $12
Performances: through 5/30

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Geographical History of America

Seeing The Geographical History of America is a lot like diving into the ocean: excitement and anticipation quickly give way to dread and possible drowning.


Reviewed by Ryan Max

The Geographical History of America, adapted from a dizzyingly dense Gertrude Stein novel, starts out with the giddy anticipation of the climb up to the diving board: the bar where the audience has been corralled buzzes as the plays’ three actors enter. They sing and dance in their cuffed jeans and sun dresses, and then lead the audience up a flight of stairs to the bare, black-and-red theater. The audience is now at the edge of the board, and the water below looks warm, inviting. The play begins. Now we've leapt head first and the blood is rushing: what kind of play is this?

Hitting the water, though, brings a cold and disappointing sting. The play opens with the line “The world as we see it looks like this. In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is...Does it make human nature in America what it is? If not, does it make the human mind in America what it is?" The excitement evaporates as dense monologues like this dominate the action, dragging the audience down with concentrated currents of thought and drowning them with wordy philosophical puzzles. There are beautiful moments of reprieve where the characters and director breathe life into the proceedings, but they are not enough to fully resuscitate the onlookers.

The ideas Stein tackled in her book are big. Very big. Like "human condition, questions unanswered because they are unanswerable" big. And so it is easy to see why Lindsey Hope Pearlman and Randi Rivera, the play's co-writers, were so eager to try and translate them to the stage. This rich (if oblique) novel obsesses with some of America’s most enduring quandaries regarding truth and identity, and what is the purpose of art if not to parse life's problems and meanings? But Stein was a playwright, too, and her choice to render The Geographical History of America as a novel was a wise one: its power still resonates most strongly on the printed page. As a result, this adaptation resembles a highly animated encyclopedia, with announced chapter headings, a somewhat arbitrary ordering (it’s hard to tell once one gets lost in the murk), and actors reading the loquacious entries on American identity aloud.

However, floating in this sea of heady concepts, one is occasionally rewarded. The play has no characters or narrative to speak of, and so it is the shifting tone and mood that allows the cast and crew to show off their talent. The actors start the play by delivering their logic puzzles in a naïve sort of sing-song, playfully satirizing nostalgic depictions of American dreamers. But once the implications of American obsessions are considered more deeply, these lines are delivered in flatter, more ominous tones. "What is the use of being a little boy if you're going to grow up to be a man?" the male cast member (Phil Gasper) repeatedly asks in one scene, staring out at the audience, wearing a crisp suit in place of his saggy flannel. The contrast to his earlier delivery—not to mention the rare line that is rendered directly (and not, as is usual, in a swirl of word play and repetition)—makes for a powerful moment.

The stage direction also provides moments of stark beauty. One scene opens with all three characters backlit and hunched over asleep on one another: they woozily rise almost as one creature. Another sequence has the cast using cameras to snap shots of one another and the audience, cutting through the dark with startlingly bright flashes. This moment wonderfully marries the meaning to the medium: the actors are rambling (somewhat intelligibly) about identity, which when perceived and acted out is just like a photograph: a tiny and limited rendering of reality, without all of the messy confusion of truth. It is moment of which Stein would be proud.

And then there are the meta-references that abound in the play. From working with characters that aren't really characters (which is surely makes some comment on identity), to explicit references to the play and audience from within the play, self-reference is not handled as carefully as such a tricky tool demands. Some instances are very clever: the conflation of the performance by the actors and the more figurative performance that identity requires are played with and satirized to great effect. But that is not always the case. Take, for instance, a line uttered multiple time which seems to poke fun at the play's own insecurities and inaccessibility, a line that the play's writers should have regarded with much less irony: "And how do you like what you are / And how are you what you are / And has this to do with the human mind? / I do not think I would care about that as a play." And that is the problem exactly.

The Geographical History of America (60 minutes; no intermission)
The Red Room / KGB Bar (85 E. 4th Street.)
Ticket: $15.00
Through May 23

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Dishwashers

In The Dishwashers, a novice college dropout joins a hardworking team of lifers in the most unpleasant aspect of the restaurant business. Together they clear leftovers off plates and blast away encrusted creams and sauces with industrial-strength streams of hot water, all under the invasive supervision of a seasoned ringleader. Their conflicting approaches to the mindless and routine work is at first hilarious and then thought-provoking, as management politics and pecking order get questioned not only on the job, but in life.

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

Morris Panych’s latest play exposes the unsightly innerworkings of a fine-tuned eatery through three staff members the public rarely sees in action: The Dishwashers. A bum market has cost Emmett (Jay Stratton) his fortune, forcing him to take on the unlikely occupation of a dishwasher for one of the prestigious restaurants he once patronized. Joined by delusional soap-scrubbin’ veteran Moss (John Shuman) and the unfazed commanding chief Dressler (Tim Donoghue), Emmett soon learns about the tight political ties that compose his new working conditions. None of his stock trading has prepared him for the job orientation he undergoes in his basement banishment, and although his morals and work ethic do not turn a complete 180, his subtle and idealistic reactions are enough of a change to create a genuine sense of morality. Dressler’s dry, subtle wit balances out this sentiment, especially with Donoghue’s point-blank delivery. He constantly rebuffs Emmett’s earnestness to change the way things are, and this evenhanded outlook reveals his tenure in the trade. Together Stratton and Donoghue create both great comedy and sobering drama, and their believable chemistry makes each scene achingly realistic.

The central plot (and spotlight performance) rests with Tim Donoghue’s genius portrayal of the straight man Dressler. His crusty cynicism makes the script come alive with a one-two comic timing usually found only in duo acts. He sets up his own jokes while delivering the last word, each impeccably inserted comment a testament to his dry wit and hardened experience as a lifer. With the stellar support of costar John Shuman as Moss, these two men provide an eye-opening look into a life spent in black smocks and rubber gloves. At first they shock Emmett with their steadfast commitment to such an unglamorous profession, working together with such practiced precision that the handing off and rinsing of plates looks machinelike, a well-executed assembly line. They realized long ago that scrubbing plates, glasses, and flatware until shine-worthy enough to be sent back upstairs is very dirty work. They don’t complain, and underneath their gruff professionalism tenderness can be found. As the slightly delusional and harmless elderly employee, Shuman sleeps with his eyes open and forgets whether or not he has gotten paid this week. Dressler knows this, and makes sure he leaves with his money or takes a cigarette break, revealing these characters to once again be adorable and pitiable at the same time.

As for Emmett, he learns to accept his new line of work, a natural transformation that truly captivates the audience. We see him progress from an oblivious preppy white-collar kid to a hardworking drone who ultimately accepts his fate. When he leaves to pursue other arenas, he realizes the value of menial labor, like the industrial-strength dishwashing solution his hands have been soaking in, doesn’t completely dissolve from his fingertips. The final scene shows him returning one evening for a gratuitous, hilariously awkward faceoff with Dressler. While Stratton’s performance is so optimistic at times it borders an ill-fitting campiness, it remains an undisruptive undercurrent, overshadowed by Dressler’s blunt realism.

The candid commentary between Moss and Dressler remains refreshing and never tires, for example. Panych writes with Beckettian grace: despite being stuck in the same kitchen, day in and day out, the conversations, like the setting, are timeless and universal. The characters also have a long history of working together, adding to the sense of monotony and futility. Are the issues they mull over from yesterday or five years ago? Their induced loneliness from the nature of their work and in their personal lives also provides a poignant sense of the human condition. Like Beckett’s depiction of society through a minimal cast and setting, Panych has created a microcosm out of the world of cleanliness, and the high stakes of perfecting a craft rooted in mindless anonymity – after all, nobody notices the plates they eat off in a restaurant unless they come chipped or speckled.

Set designer Charlie Corcoran continues this theme of anonymity through an arrangement of grays in the floors, walls, and furniture. Equally daunting are the stacked boxes of “Sudz-O” trailing the stage’s perimeter, indicating the neverending routine of washing and rinsing. The play’s lighting, designed by Jill Nagle, while pretty standard throughout each scene, changes to startling geometric shadows during silent interludes where the cast scrapes dishes or rinses glasses, creating a prisonlike sense of no escape. Panych’s sardonic humor and his eye for the human condition clean the plate for quality theater with The Diswhashers. Audiences may no longer have the budget for foie gras, artichokes and crème brulée before the curtain, but know the gamut well enough to recognize (and even enjoy) the mockery. The Dishwashers is thorough and satisfying, with the moral that hindsight truly is 20/20, especially when looking at one’s own reflection in a bone-white china charger plate.

The Dishwashers (Two hours; one 15-minute intermission)
59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street)
Tickets ( or 212-279-4200): $35
Performances (through 6/7): Tues. 7:15pm; Weds.-Fris. 8:15pm; Sats. 2:15pm, 8:15pm; Suns. 3:15pm

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Murgatroyd’s Hospital for Mental Rehabilitation presents Ruddigore, or, The Witch’s Curse

Murgatroyd’s Hospital for Mental Rehabilitation presents Ruddigore, or, The Witch’s Curse is energetic and funny, but its lack of emotional sincerity, unrealized framing device, and confusing plot will put off audience members unfamiliar with the source (a mediocre Gilbert and Sullivan operetta).

Reviewed by Max Rosen

Murgatroyd’s Hospital for Mental Rehabilitation presents Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse is a promising title for Theater Ten Ten’s current production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta. The title suggests an innovative twist on the original play: in the style of Marat/Sade or Quills, the inmates of an asylum will bring madness, subversion, and pathos to G&S’s safe (and confusing) tale of manners and etiquette (and a “horrifying curse”). As it turns out, the title is misleading—Ruddigore is not subversive or particularly sincere. It is, instead, a straightforward and faithful presentation of the source—full of some clever gags and talented performers, but never more than one-dimensional in its presentation.

Though the play’s title suggests complexity, the first scene of David Fuller’s production makes it perfectly clear that the mental hospital frame will never be more than a joke—a throwaway device to add a little zest to the staging. Christiane Young, playing both the matriarch of the psych ward and Dame Hannah (the only character in the play within a play to elicit genuine pathos), introduces the mental patients of Murgatroyd’s Mental Hospital by their respective sight gags. She then informs the audience that, sadly, the asylum will soon be shut down, and this will consequently be the last production of Ruddigore that these misfits will ever perform. The scene is conceived of as a gimmick: each actor plays their mental patient as a joke or one-liner—not as a genuine person—and the actors make little effort to extend the conceit of a character playing a character into the show. The actors are not alone—the creative team, much to the detriment of the show, drops the themes of loss, loneliness, community, and madness just a few moments after the opening credits. Ruddigore is already one-dimensional—what it needs to transcend its potential superficiality is a touch of genuine madness or pathos. Using the framing device as a gag is a waste—especially in a show that, at two and a half hours, is already an extremely long production.

The production does make some interesting choices. A ghost scene in Act II combines nifty lighting effects, shadows, and some Jim Henson-esque puppetry to put a little imagination into an otherwise dull act. Several of the actors—in particular Greg Horton and Ms. Young—use their fingers and eyes in very funny ways, each clearly skilled at physical comedy. The singers all have wonderful, well-projected voices, and the minimal accompaniment to the show (a lone pianist sits by the stage and keeps the music moving), means the audience never has to watch actors staring at their conductor or lose the text into a particularly loud orchestral rendition of a song. Yet the show never recovers from its lack of ambitious or dramatic choices: the craft, however impressive, seems unallied to a point or purpose, a display of witty virtuosity without depth.

To be fair, the same could be said about the source material. Gilbert and Sullivan wrote for an upper crust world mired in convention, and whether or not they were attempting to satirize or entertain that world, their characters come off as caricatures, all the more superficial after a century of modern, “epic” and realist theater. Their characters don’t seem to have dramatic arcs—making an already confusing plot even harder to follow. Yet these shortcomings of the source material make the unembraced framing device even more frustrating. Ruddigore contains only winking madness, the sort that entertains a bourgeois British audience, permissible so long as it exists within a certain confine. Insane asylum patients, in contrast to that audience, are ostracized for their very inability to conform to conventions—they are subversive by their nature, and in plays they evoke themes of loneliness—people robbed of a normal life. The play goes so far as to suggest such a theme, when Dr. Murgatroyd informs the audience that the patients are about to lose their mental hospital—the place to which they escape the rigidly defined world of Gilbert and Sullivan’s society. It even follows up on that theme once—near the end, when a bridesmaid/inmate gives up a puppet she uses as a crutch, in the sort of strange, poignant moment that could have, or should have, populated the show. Sadly, with only minimal exception, the production has no interest in this arc or any ideas that might emerge out of it. When, after two and a half hours, in the closing bows, a government authority informs the patients the hospital will stay open, the actors themselves don’t know how to react. As mental patients, their reaction might be complex and intriguing. Instead, they come off as actors a touch frustrated that someone is interrupting their bows. Their confusion, and ultimate reactions, reveal the emptiness at the heart of the conceit, and ultimately, at the heart of the play.

Murgatroyd’s Hospital for Mental Rehabilitation presents Ruddigore, or, The Witch’s Curse (2 1/2 hours; one 10-minute intermission)
Park Avenue Christian Church (1010 Park Avenue)
Tickets (212-352-3101): $20.00
Performances (through 5/24): Mon, Fri, Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm

Saturday, May 16, 2009

SoloNova/The Surprise

A family vacation in Asia becomes the backdrop for revealing long hidden secrets, in Martin Dockery's solo show.

Photo/Matthew Bressler

Reviewed by Ilana Novick

Defying recent cultural trends toward oversharing and openness, Martin Dockery's family hides their feelings. They don’t reveal big changes in their personal or romantic lives: they play "emotional chicken" instead, where the loser is the first to ask what's wrong or reveal a secret. Dockery's solo show, The Surprise, is Dockery’s chance to air these usually closely guarded feelings to an audience. The revelations are appropriately dramatic, but the impact is lessened without the perpsective of other family members to express their reactions to the surprises.

His father, a Vietnam vet, divorced from Dockery’s mother and now living in Vietnam, finally tells him what his life there really involves. The surprise includes a Vietnamese girlfriend and two half-siblings for Martin and his brother. Dockery's face makes the shock palpable, from the exaggerated shifts of his eyebrows, to the turns of his head and mouth, not to mention his lanky frame, which seems incapable of being restrained to a chair. His relentless energy is so engaging, you want to hang on his every word.

However, while Dockery’s physical presence is striking, his voice and pronunciation are often exaggerated— like a slam poet or rapper. The addition of rhythm distracts from what he’s actually saying, and makes it harder to keep up with the story. Also, despite the mocking tone he takes toward his families’ emotional reticence, he is shocked when Elke, his girlfriend, reveals that she’s slept with someone else—not because she has, as they’ve agreed to an open relationship, but because she’s honestly told him about it. Having the stage to himself also prevents Dockery from examining his father’s motivations for starting a new family and hiding that news from his first one. Long simmering secrets certainly create drama, but only hearing Dockery’s side of the story lessens the impact of the play’s revelations.

The Surprise (70 minutes, no intermission)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Liars, a collection of eight short plays, is a brutally honest glimpse at the business of deceit. Whether working too hard to convince a first date of your sexual prowess, inflating one’s college status in an online chatroom, or fabricating the contents of your lunchbox to keep a coworker jealous, Liars doesn’t give any of its characters the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they get stuck in their own web of lies, giving the audience a constant surprise of consequence and irony one minute to the next.

Jeff Sproul and Alicia Barnatchez in Wisconsin/photography by Darren Kaminsky

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

Part of the appeal of Liars is you can believe what you like. Each of its eight short comedies is unique, so it’s up to the audience to decide who’s fooling who. And, because each play leaps straight into the deep end, you’ll have to do so quickly. Director Lindsey Moore holds the show to her guarantee of 75 minutes, but doesn’t compromise on the fun and games. This urgency isn’t just compelling for the audience, it’s engaging for the actors, who find thoroughly grin-worthy ways to build the momentum from play to play. These seven versatile and hardworking actors adhere to Moore’s meticulous timing and staging to make each tightly-wound play a success. From moment to moment they assume different characters, costumes and settings, especially those cast in back-to-back scenes, creating a fun and spontaneous program: the audience is hooked from the get-go and in constant excited anticipation the entire evening.

The goofy humor and self-aware melodrama makes this evening a blast, but some shows are certainly better than others. Weight, LOL, The Meeting, Peek, and Wisconsin find the humor of seemingly simple situations, and also nail humanity’s vulnerability. The remaining three plays, on the other hand, fail to do so, which makes them incoherent and absurd. After all, these shorts work best when each playwright uses comedy to reveal our deepest social anxieties and most guarded nervous habits. Whether ascending that ominous modern oracle known as the scale (Weight), entering an online chatroom (LOL), receiving well-intentioned but insincere encouragement after a disastrous career move (The Meeting), going through with a first date despite second thoughts (Peek), or harboring a homemade lunch from a hungry coworker (Wisconsin), the candid realism behind Liars ultimately makes one out of all of us, evoking situations we all have been through. Just like in real life, the characters in each play believe each other when they shouldn’t and don’t immediately question things they aren’t ready to learn the truth about. These serious moral themes remain lighthearted, however, due to the cast’s wholesale-sized supply of energy. In fact, their interactive chemistry only heats up further as costars and dynamics change throughout the evening.

As the slick Hollywood agent who hates negativity, Olivia Horton in The Meeting is sassy, classy, and irresistible. Her fast-talking, overconfident performance is a delightful taste of L.A. smarm which brightens up and rejuvenates the entire revue. In Peek, Alicia Barnatchez is recently divorced and ready to start dating again. Her costar in this play, the highlight of the evening, is charmingly awkward funny man Jeremy Mather. Directly after, in Wisconsin, Barnatchez takes the stage again as a die-hard native of her home state. When asked why she won’t share her eight-ounce block of Wisconsin Brick, she answers with all the seriousness and protectiveness of a maternal lioness, this cheese is my birthright! This exaggerated take on an everyday scenario is just the kind of slapstick hilarity found in each fast-paced script. The laughs never quite subside as one play ends and another begins, and Moore’s shrewd directing maintains this sense of continuity by arranging each play to complement what precedes and follows, preventing any choppy transitions.

Lighting and sound technician and LOL playwright Caroline O’Hare also engages the audience during each scene change by blasting topical guilty pleasure tunes (including Fleetwood Mac). O’Hare takes the lying theme (and the overall production) even further with this ingenious finishing touch, while at the same time fending off awkward silences and the checking of watches among ticketholders. A great premise that translates well onstage through its high-spirited yet ultra-focused execution, Liars shows us that even as a spectator sport, innocent fibbing still proves to be great fun; just be sure to deny any corroboration you may be associated with as you enjoy the show.

Liars (75 minutes; no intermission)
Under St. Mark's (94 St. Mark's Place)
Tickets ( $15
Performances (through 5/23): Thurs.-Sats. 8pm

Monday, May 11, 2009

Way To Heaven

In Way to Heaven, Juan Mayorga decides to trust the audience, and doesn't fill his Holocaust play with atrocities or monstrous Nazis. Instead, he fills it with theater, dramatizing the drama that Jews were forced to enact at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. He knows that we will see view the fey Commandant's behavior with the horror of hindsight, and not--like the Red Cross--with the bliss of ignorance.


Reviewed by Aaron Riccio

See enough Holocaust plays, and inevitably, one grows at least a little inured to the scenes of violence (sad as that may be). That's why Juan Mayorga's Way To Heaven makes for such an effective show: instead of showing the actual atrocities, it shows only the artificial atmosphere of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, at which Jews were forced to pretend that they had been happily resettled so that the Germans could quell the worldwide "rumors" of mass extermination. The audience, cast at the wide, parallel ends of the set--a narrow strip of dead leaves--sits on with the burden of hindsight, much like the Red Cross Representative (Shawn Parr), whose opening monologue establishes the tone of the show: "I needed one of them to give me a signal," he says. In other words, we watch Way to Heaven with the horror of knowledge, not the bliss of ignorance.

Mayorga's script establishes all of this with excellent pacing, and David Johnston's translation nails the pitch-black humor of the show's "acting." ("What's the difference between a pause and a silence?" "Rhythm.") All of the "facts" of the first scene's description quickly show themselves as strained falsehoods, with everything--from the child with a doll at the river to the fey, Artistotle-quoting Commandant (Francisco Reyes)--giving weight to that horrible lie. It's here that the nature of the theater lends to our understanding: at the start of Scene II, we see two lovers, He (Trae Hicks) and She (Jennifer Vega) sitting on a blanket, and cannot get past how badly they say their lines. It's not until seeing the scene for a second time that we realize this is the rehearsal of the "show" within a show--none of this is real. The Girl (Samantha Rahn) begins to speed up her lines and shiver even as she tells her doll "not to be afraid," and after She freaks out ("What do you do not to hear them [the trains]?"), she is simply replaced by an identically clad She #2 (Emily Pote).

Matthew Earnest's direction doesn't nail all of the intricacies of Mayorga's script (the ominous stage directions for a package containing the lover's "future": "The noise of a train. She drops the package. It sounds empty."), but it gets enough of them. He also innovates plenty of moments that add to the effect, such as playing carnival music during the most distorted part of the Commandant's monologue, and in the very placement of the audience itself, which mimics the atmosphere of the three-dimensional Theresienstadt "stage." Earnest is also helped by the great chemistry between the passive-agressive leads, Reyes and Mark Farr, who is coerced into playing the fake mayor, Gershom Gottfried.

The lengthy center of the show, "The Heart of Europe," focuses on the relationship between these two, and the performances should more than adequately explain to horrified audiences why Gottfried might have gone along with such an insidious plan: "Focus on one thought: 'As long as I'm here,'" reminds the Commandant, as he gently tsk-tsks Gottfried, "'I am not on that train.'" Reyes is especially remarkable, using every inch of his considerable charm to make his character all the more despicable. Just the use of the phrase "considerable charm" in a review of a Holocaust play should serve to illustrate how different Way to Heaven is, and while a few people (most notably Shawn Parr) hold the show back from getting all the way there, it's a moving production all the same.

Way to Heaven (95 min., no intermission)
Teatro Circulo (64 East 4th Street)
TICKET: $18.00

CLOSES: 5/24 | ENCORE 7/29 - 8/23

Friday, May 08, 2009

Pretty Theft

Adam Szymkowicz's latest play is hauntingly endearing, putting a bunch of antiheroes together to examine the emotional thefts--predominantly the loss of innocence--that, despite taking things away, also sometimes give us more.

Photo/Isaiah Tanenbaum

Reviewed by Aaron Riccio

In the broad scheme of things, everything is stolen from us: our beauty, our senses, our minds. The far more specific now of Adam Szymkowicz's latest play, Pretty Theft, dares to show us--elegantly--what's left behind after such robberies. It tempts and taunts us by dangling Allegra (Marnie Schulenburg) before us: a truly innocent young girl, who will surely be the victim of this show. The question, then, is what will be left of her.

Aside from a lack of confidence (we see her fail as a ballerina), Allegra serves as a benchmark to model the other characters against. Her mother (Cotton Wright) has lost her youth, and cares for little other than the television. (And why should she care for her deadbeat husband, now, at last, hospitalized?) Her boyfriend, Bobby (Zack Robidas), is a demanding, insensitive prick. As for friends, she doesn't have any, which makes her desperate enough for her former classmate Suzy's (Maria Portman Kelly) purposes (which, ironically, actually turns out to be her own need of friends, having slept around with the boyfriends of all her others). Allegra winds up working at a psychiatric home, where she meets Joe (Brian Pracht), an autistic who happens to be a genius handyman, a man who truly has lost everything, and who now attempts to cling to it in a box. Under the dreamlike glow of these nested situations, Szymkowicz draws out the endearing nature of their flaws, especially the roguish Marco (Todd d'Amour), who--"elsewhere"--seduces a dead-end waitress (Candice Holdorf) with deadpan lines like "You ever been kidnapped?"

Angela Astle's direction--particularly her dream sequences and smooth transitions between the many layers of the plot--keeps the show "pretty." But what delivers Pretty Theft is the varied tone of the script, from Bobby's pompous "My kiss is devastating" to Suzy's "incredible discounts" (i.e., shoplifting) and Joe's checklist of questions--a heartbreakingly succinct attempt for him to connect with something, anything, from the outside. These different voices, set against one another, sound a dissonant chorus of disappointments and disaffections, and it's as if no-one is able to give anything, only to take. In this light, the contrived circumstances that tie the pieces of the play together end up "pretty" satisfying.

Pretty Theft (1 hr 45 min, no intermission)
Access Theater (380 Broadway)
TICKET: $18.00
CLOSES: Sunday, 5/17

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

As You Like It

One of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, As You Like It takes a lighthearted look on several serious issues: banishment, inheritance, social status, etc. Though this production relies too heavily on the cheap jokes to balance the surface romance with the underlying drama, the pastoral set design and warm, spring-like lighting even out the main story. Frog and Peach Theater Company invites you to the dreamy Forest of Arden, to one of the year’s best and most memorable weddings: their antics are a sheer pleasure.

Camryn Grimes and Harry Oram/Photo by Jim Baldassare

Reviewed by Amanda Halkiotis

Tired of his daughter’s girlish escapades, the prideful Duke Frederick (Joe Corey) tells Celia (Monica Jones) that her behavior must change in order to uphold the family name. Otherwise, he will have to forbid her to see his niece, her cousin and best friend Rosalind (Camryn Grimes). So begins Shakespeare’s classic tale, As You Like It: women disguised as men, a series of misaligned romances, and a slew of idiosyncratic and affable leads. The devastated girls decide to run from this ultimatum, hiding in the Forest of Arden, where Rosalind’s father Duke Senior (also played by Joe Corey) has been banished. Rosalind has agreed to disguise herself by donning men’s hunting garb, with Celia pretending to be her sister, and the clown Touchstone (Lenny Ciotti) from Duke Frederick’s court, in tow. With this outline set firmly in place by director Lynnea Benson and executed by a strong cast, misguided emotions and mischief ensue as the play continues on in the depths of the forest.

Ms. Benson, the co-founder and artistic director of Frog & Peach Theatre Company, has an impressive working knowledge of the script and the characters, and she uses it to keep the show under two and a half hours. She also grabs the audience’s attention by engaging with it—the cast often speaks directly to those in the first few rows. No quick laughs are missed, and even the most subtle or offhand comment is emphasized, making the whole thing a bit more screwball than necessary. This competes with the drama instead of complementing it, so the serious scenarios are forced and over-the-top, instead of softly laying the groundwork for the final sentimental union.

In such a quick-witted play (double identities, not to mention double-casting), the actors mostly understand the importance of every word they utter, especially the supporting characters. They gleefully play off each other in arguments comprised entirely of sexual innuendoes or recite their tongue-in-cheek lines with absolute deadpan. In comparison, the two lead actors, Camryn Grimes and Harry Oram, who plays Orlando, sound over-rehearsed. Especially considering their monologues, they play up the drama and project their voices in an unnatural way, so that each word comes out too fast and too forced. The emotional dialogue surrounding the play’s dramatic romantic setups, which occurs in almost every scene, is breathless, emotional, and quite harried. Grimes, for example, is so focused on portraying Rosalind’s constant wittiness that she speeds through her lines when speaking to or about her beloved Orlando. Similarly, Oram does a grand job portraying Orlando as an innocent boy in love for the first time, but he exaggerates his infatuation to the point of near-bragging, focusing solely on his desires, his emotions. Instead of being helplessly adorable, he comes across as self-centered, making little effort to create believable chemistry with Grimes or passionately interact with her in scenes together. Luckily for the supporting cast, this weak precedence allows them to shine.

As the foppish and dirty-minded clown Touchstone, Lenny Ciotti is priceless. His powerful, animated performance carries the show to the extent that scenes which do not include him are dull and uneventful. When his object of lust Audrey (Amy Frances Quint) enters the play later on, together they add delicious color to the play. Quint is coy and coquettish while still being common and salacious, and Ciotti responds to her in pleading fashion, even using his jester’s staff to graphically portray his “growing” physical desire for her. As Celia, Monica Jones is a young, impetuous, and true hopeless romantic that wins over the audience from the beginning. Her previous experience with Shakespeare has turned her into a true pleasure to watch onstage: she uncannily balances all of Celia’s capricious qualities with a deliberate articulation. No matter how tongue-twisting or fast-paced, she gives a believable yet passionate performance that leaves no room of error.

Frog & Peach Theatre Company’s production of As You Like It could not have come at a better time. The jubilant subject matter, matched with a quirky and adorable cast, is the perfect transitional piece as we see a long, bitter winter slowly thaw into promising, pleasant weather. At a time when spring is on everyone’s mind, the play’s set and lighting truly manifest a romantic, warm and welcoming Forest of Arden. P. Costello Caldwell has painted a lush backdrop full of greens and blues that help to counter the space’s surrounding red velvet curtains and cathedral ceilings. Lighting designer Jak Prince has created a brightness that gives the sense of a real garden with strong, natural sunlight. His soft fade-outs for scene changes and at the close of the first act combined with the attending lords who sing and play guitar onstage as interlude music, give the whole evening a fantasy feel and compensate for any choppiness in the actors’ performances. A wonderful story that has been retold in a timeless manner with minimal flaws, you will like As You Like It. After all, nothing beats a spring wedding.

As You Like It (2 hours 30 minutes; one ten-minute intermission) The West End Theater (263 West 86th Street) Tickets: $18
Performances (through May 10th): Thurs.-Sats. 7:30pm; Suns. 3pm

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Oath

A traveling preacher gets entangled in the tense relationship between two Southern sisters while trying to maintain his morals during the Great Depression. With great performances, writing, and execution, The Oath: a southern gothic tale is an outstanding drama worth pledging your allegiance to.

Louise Flory (Cebe), Dianna Martin (Deck), Sarah Chaney (Ofah), and Maureen O'Boyle (Lady), in MTWorks' production of Jacqueline Goldfinger's The Oath April 23-May 10, 2009 at The ArcLight Theatre Photo Credit: Antonio Minino

Reviewed by Cindy Pierre

How well and how long do you think your integrity and ideals would stand against poverty and public opinion? Under what circumstances is it okay to keep secrets and tell lies? Those troublesome questions and many more are answered in the world premiere of Jacqueline Goldfinger's The Oath: a southern gothic tale, a wonderful, thought-provoking drama now playing at the Arclight Theater. In it, it’s the Great Depression, and sisters Deck (Dianna Martin) and Ophelia (Sarah Chaney) are struggling to take care of their home, their ailing father's church ministry, and their “charge” Cebe (Louise Flory), a promiscuous young woman. So when Joshua (Anthony Crep), a traveling preacher looking to repackage the gospel, comes to town, he brings not only rain showers, but the hope and faith that the town has lost. Of course, renewal tends to come with obstacles, and in Joshua's case, there are some unexpected ones.

First and foremost, it’s that although Deck’s invited him to stay in the home of a preacher he greatly admires (an even warmer sentiment, given Blair Mielnik’s beautiful and authentic set), he’s only allowed to talk to him through Ophelia (or “Opha”). Worse, Opha’s a bit spoiled—in fact, from the regal way she dresses to her haughty demeanor and carefully-coiffed pincurls, one forgets there’s a depression. Whereas Opha is a bit too structured, Cebe's lack of structure confounds and challenges him. Her wayward soul is enticing and troubling at the same time, but it doesn't stop him from trying to save her. All this leads to some nice contrasts, especially between sisters: although Dianna Martin often looks downtrodden and debilitated as Deck, she isn’t weak, and transforms from housemother to fierce mother wolf whenever the safety, integrity or reputation of her family members are threatened.

Despite some red flags, Joshua takes a job as the new preacher. His new role is met with some resistance by Lecroix (Robin Madel), the uppity wife of the church's board president and Lady (Maureen O'Boyle), one of the congregates. But Joshua presses on, stopping intermittently to deliver rousing sermons that are aided by Dan Gallagher's mood-precise lighting design. He soon finds out that this new role is much more comprehensive than he bargained for, and that balancing his love for God against his ambitions to have everyone love God is a tricky teeter-totter.

Though there are several complicated plot layers, Goldfinger marvelously unfolds the story with great dialogue and sympathetic characters. The show is paced evenly, and the themes are timely, given today's recession. It's hard to cast a stone on any character doing what they have to do to keep food on the table, even if Cebe is obviously the adulterer/prostitute in the Bible's chapter John, verse 8. She may not be getting pelted with rocks, but the scene in which a large cross with the words “whore sinner” is left by the house and the scene in which Lecroix spits in her face emulate that well enough. Director Cristina Alicea understands the turmoil of religious oppression so well that she guides Flory, endowed with the most poignant lines of dialogue and the most heart-wrenching role, to play Cebe with such pride and passion that even if she were getting hit, we would cheer her on as she went down.

The Oath is a powerful, dark tale about survival that is sometimes hard to swallow, but worth the effort. It may not be uplifting, but it is more than satisfying.
The Oath: a southern gothic tale (2 hrs, 1 intermission)
ArcLight Theatre (152 West 71st Street, NY NY 10023)
Tickets: 212-352-3101 ($18)
Through May 10th.