Posts Tagged ‘off broadway’

Six Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows Closing This Month

It’s time to make good on that New Year’s resolution to see more theater this year.  Book now to see these six great shows which will be ending their runs in January.

Brought to you by Fiasco Theater, the classic Shakespearean comedy, Twelfth Night, tells the story of shipwrecked twins Viola and Sebastian on the island of Illyria. Shakespearean disguises, romance, and humor reign throughout. Classic Stage Company, 136 East 13th Street, New York City. Tickets at http://www.classicstage.org/shows/2017/04/twelfth-night/

Two Lincoln Center shows are closing January 7. The first, Junk, is a fast-paced story about markets, drive and intrigue, set in the 80s. Starring Steven Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County). Vivian Beaumont Theatre. 150 West 65th Street, New York City.

Tickets at http://bit.ly/2A7VSnv

Photo by T. Charles Erickson

The second, The Wolves, is a story of high school girl angst and issues told by a girls’ indoor soccer team during warm-ups and practices. Great performances and creative staging. Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. 150 West 65th Street, New York City Tickets at https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/The-Wolves/Overview.

Photo by Julieta Cervantes

The Irish Repertory Theatre’s staging of James Joyce’s haunting novella, The Dead, 1904, takes place at a Feast of the Epiphany party over the course of one evening, with conversations, music, dancing and dining. What does it mean to be alive, or to be dead? The play ponders these questions. With a premium ticket, you sit a dinner with the actors. Starring John Treacy Egan. The American Irish Historical Society. 132 West 22nd Street. Closing January 7. Tickets at https://irishrep.org/show/2017-2018-season/the-dead-1904-2/.

Photo by Carol Rosegg

If you haven’t made it to Hamilton, but especially if you have, Spamilton is a must-see. Gerard Alessandrini’s hilarious take-off on Hamilton draws from his Forbidden Broadway background, with satires, spins, and superb talent. With Christine Pedi (Sirius XM). 47th Street Theater/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. 304 West 47th Street, New York. Closing January 7. Tickets at http://bit.ly/2qeF0vF

Willy Wonka will be leaving Broadway on January 14. Starring Christian Borle (Something Rotten, Smash), Emily Padgett, Bed Crawford and Jackie Hoffman. The Broadway adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is all about chocolate, The Candy Man, Oompa-Loompas and a chance to win the Golden Ticket. Catch it before you can only see it on the small screen. Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. 205 West 46th Street. Tickets at http://bit.ly/2A7Of0s

Photo By Joan Marcus

The stunning remake of Boublil and Schönberg’s legendary musical Miss Saigon will also be flying away on January 14. Don’t miss your  chance to hear “The American Dream” sung by the fabulous Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer, or see Eva Noblezada in the title role made famous by current Once on this Island star Lea Salonga. Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway, New York. Tickets at https://www.telecharge.com/Broadway/Miss-Saigon/Overview

Oh My Fellow Droogies, This Is a Show for You: A Clockwork Orange Opens Off-Broadway

If you remember seeing the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange and might have possibly read Anthony Burgess’s chilling version of a dystopian society in England, this play should be on your must-view list. You’ll completely understand the plot and be enthralled by the energetic, theatrical treatment given it Off-Broadway at the New World Stages.  If you’re a newbie to the story, you might want to grab a copy of Burgess’s landmark book with its glossary in the back pages and read a bit to prepare you for the play. The experience is somewhat like seeing a Shakespearean play for the first time: it takes you a while to understand what’s being spoken and to follow the story line.

Photo By: Caitlin McNaney

Little Alex and his band of delinquents are committing mayhem throughout England, responsible for a good deal of the “ultra-violence” so prevalent during this time period. In the movie, the establishing shots occur over a much longer time frame than in the play, making it easier to understand the underlying threat to society that this gang poses.  Here, the set-up is quick, and the ensuing events are also fairly quick. The general result is clear, but it will take some paying attention to follow.

Additionally, Burgess has created his own language for droogies Alex, Dim, Georgie and Billy Boy. It’s a mix of Russian and English, morphed into words that Alex frequently uses as verbs, nouns, and situational descriptors. That’s where having some familiarity with the book’s glossary is useful. I speak Russian and could figure out what the words meant, but they will sound like gibberish to most.

Photo By: Caitlin McNaney

The comparisons between the movie and the show are notable, with some exceptions. This version, brought over by director Alexandra Spencer-Jones of London, is even more stylized than the movie (which was already visually arresting and somewhat surreal).  In another creative digression from the movie, the all-male cast takes turns playing various roles, including some female ones, cued by a piece of clothing or a pair of shoes, for instance. Again, concentration is needed to follow these changes and to understand the role of music in the storyline.

Alex is played by a British actor, Jonno Davies, with a background in Shakespeare at London’s West End. Others in the cast hail from the US and include Broadway veterans Matt Doyle (The Book of Mormon, War Horse, Spring Awakening) and Jordon Bondurant (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Mamma Mia!) as two of Alex’s counterparts in crime. The ensemble is also the most physically fit group of performers that I’ve seen together on a stage, using striking choreography to tell significant parts of the tale.

Photo By: Caitlin McNaney

Brush up on your Burgess and get a ticket for this limited-run show playing, through January 6, 2018. New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, 800-447-7400.  www.AClockworkOrangePlay.com. https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/A-Clockwork-Orange-by-Anthony-Burgess/Schedules-Prices

4 Broadway and Off-Broadway Shows to See Before They Close This Fall

Although I’m excited about the upcoming fall theater season with its variety of Broadway and Off-Broadway openings, it’s always sad to see some favorites like Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 or Bandstand close. Here are my suggestions for four shows that you absolutely don’t want to miss – check the individual websites and sites like Playbill.com; you might either have a tough time scoring tickets or be privy to a host of discounted offerings.

Closing Sunday, September 3, 2017

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812
Featuring Denée Benton, Scott Stangland, Lucas Steele, “The Great Comet” is a loud and lively immersive musical based on “War and Peace.” The story revolves around Natasha who is visiting Moscow while her fiancé Andrey is off in the war. Her attraction to the seductive Anatole and her relationship to Pierre and the rest of the characters forms the crux of the story. Be prepared for an evening of Russian-style cabaret where you can choose to sit on-stage if you like. Imperial Theatre, http://shubert.nyc/theatres/imperial/, 249 West 45th Street, New York, NY

HAMLET
The classic Shakespearian drama about Hamlet, a Danish prince who discovers that his uncle Claudius murdered his father and took the throne, has received rave reviews at the Public. The story is one of betrayal and revenge, written as only the Bard could. The stars shine in the production, arguably the most comic version every made, with comedian (aka Luther) Keegan-Michael Kay as Horatio and Oscar Isaac as Hamlet. The Public Theater, https://www.publictheater.org/Public-Theater-Season/Hamlet/,425 Lafayette Street, New York, NY

Closing Sunday, September 17, 2017

BANDSTAND
A showpiece by Andy Blankenbuehler, choreographer of “Hamilton” and “Cats” fame, Bandstand features musical theater stars Laura Osnes, Corey Cott, and Beth Leavel. The show is set in 1945 and depicts an America filled with joy as soldiers return from the war. With no money and just his own talent to save him, Private First Class Donny Novitski puts together a group of veterans, all of whom are musicians, to enter NBC’s national musical competition. Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, 242 West 45th Street, New York, NY.


Closing Saturday, October 21, 2017

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Produced by the Harlem Repertory Theatre, “A Raisin in the Sun” is a timely story about American-American life during the civil rights era. Walter Younger and his widowed mother, Lena, both strive to move from Chicago’s black ghetto, Lena hoping to move to a house in a white neighborhood.  Tato Laviera Theatre, http://www.harlemrepertorytheatre.com/current_season.html, 240 West 123rd Street, New York, NY

Last Chance to See “Attack of the Elvis Impersonators”: Elvis is Really Leaving the Building

If you’re an Elvis Presley fan, or you loved the 1992 movie “Honeymoon in Vegas” with its Elvis impersonators — the Flying Elvises, Utah Chapter, this is an off-Broadway show you don’t want to miss.  And you only have one more week to get caught in the Elvis-Drac Frenzie frenzy.

The campy musical comedy “Attack of the Elvis Impersonators” at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row is about to bid Elvis a fond goodbye. The musical, which opened in June, features a crazy cast of swooning fangirls, a supervillain, a social media star, religious rockers, and a fearless leader, Elvis Presley (aka Drac Frenzie).

The original score and story by Lory Lazarus revolve around Drac, a world-famous heavy-metal rock star who is infused with the spirit of Elvis. What happens next is Drac’s re-invention from burnout to world hero as he becomes the leader of the Elvis impersonators and the new religion of peace, Hound Dog.  Also key in the story is Prissy Bordeaux, a news reporter whose obsession with Drac leads to her own metamorphosis into Drac’s sidekick and eventual love interest. Played by Eric Sciotto (Something Rotten, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Drac Frenzie has the moves and the vocal chops to fit his multiple personalities. Laura Woyasz (Wicked, The Marvelous Wonderettes) is his worthy partner.

The final performances are Thursday at 8pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm and 8pm, and Sunday at 3pm and 7:30pm.

For tickets, visit www.telecharge.com, or call 212-239-6200.

The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenues), Manhattan

https://www.telecharge.com/Off-Broadway/Attack-of-the-Elvis-Impersonators/Overview

Last Chance to see “Cagney” Off-Broadway — Closes May 28

You might have forgotten that James Cagney started off in Vaudeville as a song-and-dance man. It was later in life that he developed his “tough guy” persona, becoming one of the Hollywood’s top actors. And you might not even remember some of the songs that made him famous like pretty much everything that George M. Cohan wrote.

You have one more month to see Cagney the Musical, the off-Broadway musical that’s as much a powerhouse as James Cagney was.  Played by Robert Creighton, a Cagney lookalike with matching bravado and appearance, James Cagney dominates the stage as he takes on role after role starting as a chorus girl and rising to the top of the Broadway Vaudeville and Hollywood film scenes. Everyone tap dances in this show, not surprisingly, and it’s wondrous to see this dance form on the stage.  You know the songs: “Give My Regards to Broadway, ““You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Now you’ll also learn about how this spunky kid from New York City’s Lower East Side won the hearts of the stage and film world too.  The show which chronicles Cagney’s involvement with Warner Brothers over the years and includes both the classic Cohan tunes as well as original music.  Westside Theatre (upstairs), 407 West 43rd Street, Manhattan. For tickets, cagneythemusical.com, 212-239-6200.  https://youtu.be/7s0j_wSwl5w

Off-Broadway is Good for Laughs and Talent – See These 2 Fab Shows

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Not that Jewish.  In fact, the play is really a celebration of family values, family love, and family challenges.  Monica Piper, the writer, is a comedian who has written for the likes of Mad about You, Rugrats and Roseanne. She’s also a stand-up comedienne who began her career teaching English but quickly segueing into the world of improv via Second City in Chicago.

So what has being Jewish got to do with the show?  Well, the cultural richesse passed down from generation to generation among Jewish families lends itself to the creation of language and ritual fodder, making for neuroses, laughs, and, of course, family entanglements.

The play travels the life path of Ms. Piper’s beginnings as the daughter of a comedian through her passages as a single mother, as an adult encountering the old age issues of her parents, and through the successes of her career. It is both humorous and tender, touching and riveting, while hitting a chord with anyone who has endured the rituals of family.  Do you need to be Jewish to understand it?  Not really.  The touchstones are relevant to all, although knowing some of the Yiddishisms will certainly enhance your experience.  (A glossary is handed out along with the Playbill to help you understand the intricacies of this rich, rich but dying language).

Ms. Piper performs the 90-minute show seven times a week at the New World Stages at 340 West 50th Street.  Tickets are available at www.telecharge.com. www.notthatjewish.com.

For Spamilton, it does help if you’ve seen Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant history-making show Hamilton. www.hamiltonbroadway.com. The inside jokes take life from knowledge of the play, its foibles, its characters, and its songs.  They also incorporate a dose of pure Broadway, including some of the nuances that assume a fairly broad knowledge of what makes theater on the Great White Way endearing as well as annoying (or trite).

Written by Forbidden Broadway creator, Gerard Alessandrini, Spamilton is the consummate parody of a popular show. It exploits every nuance, every endearing or annoying gesture that you’ve come to love or hate about Broadway and about Hamilton in particular.

The show, which is extending its reach to Chicago this month, concurrent with the opening of the real Hamilton in that city, depicts all of Hamilton’s lead characters, from the Schuyler sisters to George Washington, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton himself with a frighteningly close degree of talent and dexterity.  The rapping is unmistakable. The lyrics implausibly phenomenal. If you are familiar with Hamilton, you will be howling non-stop while also remarking at the extraordinary talent of the cast. These actors are so good that you could easily imagine them assuming the Broadway roles of the characters they spoof.

My recommendation?  See this show after you’ve seen Hamilton. Or at least after you’ve listened to the cast album a few times. But given the luxurious price of these tickets compared to the inflated Hamilton ones, you can easily see this show over and over and gain something new from it each time. I can’t wait to see it again. And this time I know I’ll be in the room where it happened, up close and personal, and not perched in a mezzanine seat at the Richard Rodgers Theater.

Spamilton plays eight shows a week at the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, on the Upper West Side. Tickets are cheap. A two-drink minimum is required, as this is, after all, a cabaret, a cozy room where it will happen. http://www.triadnyc.com/buy-tickets www.spamilton.com.

Planning a trip to NYC?