One of the most lovely things to do in New York City in the summer is to take in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park. Free for all, it’s a grand tradition that every resident and lucky tourist should partake in, but it does have a few risks. Namely, the weather. And because pretty much rain or shine, the show at the Delacorte Theater will go on, just like it did last Friday night. When we started to make our way to Central Park for one of the many press shows, I looked up to the skies and just like the weather apps were suggesting, I saw trouble ahead. And I was right. It started to rain about 20 to 30 minutes into this magnificently fun musical version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and much like the frolicking and fun that was kicking into high gear on stage, the rain just never let up. It was just mild to moderate for the first little while, teasing us with the idea that we might get through this without getting completely drenched (I had been wise and brought a very good rain coat, but my plus one only had brought an umbrella, a tool not allowed during a performance), but the thunder and lightning that was giving us quite the backdrop to this Shakespearean love story suggested a different kind of outcome to this non-tragic musical. And with a theatrical flash and rumble, the rain suddenly turned into a downpour about two-thirds of the way through the ninety minute musical treat. It came down so fast and heavy that for only the second time in my personal memory, the show was briefly halted so we could scramble for cover. But before we could even ring out the towels we brought to whip down our seats, the show resumed, quickly and joyfully. We trotted back in to take our seats for in the remaining 30 minutes under a constant light rain that just got heavier and heavier until the final bow. It seemed like a communal rite of passage for us, and the cast, one that was happily undertaken by all with smiles and a laugh. Without a frown to be seen.
That was our night at the Delacorte, and even with the soaking we got, it still was an absolute pleasure of an evening. Conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah (Artistic Director of the Young Vic in London), the co-director, sharing credit with Oskar Eustis, the Artistic Director of The Public Theater, and the brilliant and delicious Shaina Taub (Old Hats, Natasha, Pierre..., Hadestown), who not only wrote the intoxicatingly fun music and lyrical adaptation, but played the fool Feste with a perfect frivolity, the show perfectly encapsulates the charming treaty on love and attraction that has played on numerous other stages this past year.
This particular time, Public Works, an organization created in 2012 within The Public Theater that attempts to blur the line between professional artists and the community members, engaged the people of New York to become active creators rather than just spectators by partnering with community organizations across the city and involving them in their Shakespearean productions. The Public Works invites members of community organizations, such as Brownsville Recreation Center (Brooklyn), Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (Brooklyn), DreamYard (Bronx), The Fortune Society (Queens), and Military Resilience Foundation (all boroughs), to take classes, participate in workshops, and attend performances, as well as audition and perform in their summer production. “Public Works exemplifies The Public’s long-standing commitment to community engagement that is at the core of the theater’s mission. It is animated by the idea that theater is a place of possibility, where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away.”
In the well-known festivities of Twelfth Night, a beautiful Countess, a head strong Duke, and feisty young lady and her brother, find love and attraction in the most unusual cross-dressing of ways. As the story goes, a shipwreck (naturally as Shakespeare loves a good storm and that particular night seemed to want to oblige us), causes a sister, Viola, portrayed with perfection by Tony winner, Nikki M. James (the 2014 revival of Les Misérables), and her brother, Sebastian to be washed ashore on the coast of Illyria, separate and unknowing of the other’s fate. Both believe their very similarly looking sibling has died in the tempest that brought down their ship, so each on their own seek salvation and safety in the same welcoming land. Viola disguises herself as a man for her own protection, and in the guise of ‘Cesario’, she is taken under the wing and employed by the handsome Duke Orsino, played by a dashing and well voiced Ato Blankson-Wood (MCC’s Transfers). He sends her to court a countess he desperately wants to believe he is in love with, but in the traditional Shakespearean manner and folly, the Countess Olivia, played with a wild abandonment by the glorious Nanya-Akuki Goodrich (DreamYard) falls for the manservant Cesario instead, just as quickly as Viola falls deeply in love with the Duke. He and the manly dressed Viola, as Cesario, share the wonderful of love songs, misdirected across the divide, but the look on James face is a delight, just like the song that rings out from the two, teasing us about what really is being said. But Sebastian, strongly played by Troy Anthony (Dream Yard) as we know, did not perish in the storm, but was rescued by a well-crafted character by the name of Antonio, beautifully portrayed by the wonderfully voiced Jonathan Jordan, an actor/recruit from the Military Resilience Foundation by Public Works for this part. It’s only a matter of time, and in this shortened musical adaptation, time is of the essence, that the handsome Sebastian will be mistaken by the love-sick Olivia, and the love triangle is dutifully and playfully expanded into a square (and maybe even a lop-sided pentagon if I heard the lovesick Antonio correctly professing Love for the saved brother, and I hope I did, because I thought it was a gorgeous touch).
The night we went, we were presented with the BLUE team, a multi-cultural collection of people of almost every age playing a few selected parts, dancing and singing in a gloriously joyous and solid stepping ensemble choreographed with love and a smile by Lorin Latarro (Broadway’s Waitress). It was pure pleasure in every aspect of the word, making us all feel like we were invited to one big party, hosted by the citizens of Illyria, and egged on by the wonderfully playful drunkard, Sir Toby Belch, uncle to the mourning Olivia. The playfulness of the ensemble enliven every scene they participate in with energy and joy, especially the night of revelry by Sir Toby, played most excellently by Shuler Hensley (TNG’s Sweet Charity), and his fellow trouble makers, Maria (an adorably funny Lori Brown-Niang from DreamYard), Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Daniel Hall from DreamYard), and the slightly discarded but fun character, Fabian (Patrick J. O’Hare from Military Resilience Foundation). These four, after getting hilariously scolded by the pompous Malvolio, played to the hilt by the fantastically delightful Andrew Kober (Roundabout’s She Loves Me) decide to play a nasty but funny trick on the arrogant servant, Malvolio, punishing him for his attempt to chastise the lot for being too jovial. Sir Toby famously exclaims in the Shakespearean text, “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”. Here in Central Park, Malvolio is punished for his attempt to reestablish order within the house by being given one of the best musical numbers of the night, and a hilariously dirty reentry for the finale. Generally in the straight forward text, I find his treatment uncomfortably mean-spirited and dark, as dark as the chamber he finds himself trapped in, but within Taub’s musical Twelfth Night, he really is the most fun, even when the joke’s on him.
I have seen the Shakespearean tale numerous times in the past year, most notably at TFANA in May, 2018 and the fun Fiasco version at the CSC in December, 2017, both of which were smart, clever, well enacted (in general), and heart-warmingly funny. As I wrote in my review of The Acting Company’s version at TFANA, Twelfth Night “one of Shakespeare most playful and endearing, but also one that requires a delicate hand in finding the correct comic pacing and the joyfulness within the sometimes mean-spirited revelry. Twelfth Night refers to the twelfth night after Christmas Day, called the Eve of the Feast of Epiphany. It was originally a Catholic holiday and like many other Christian feast days, it gave rise to an occasion for fun and mischief, with one of the themes being the inversion of the social order; a fairly direct cultural parallel to the play’s gender confusion-driven plot.” Kwei-Armah and Taub get the balance just right, perfectly and enthusiastically bringing everyone together in a joyous celebration of love embraced. Even with the rain coming down (or maybe because of it), we gladly cheered and joined with the frivolity and fun, clapping and encouraging them all to keep happily marching forward.
Set on a perfectly designed stage by Rachel Hauck (Public’s Tiny Beautiful Things), with colorful (wet) costumes that held together beautifully against Mother Nature by Andrea Hood (CSC’s Othello), as did the wigs and hair by Cookie Jordan (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park…), generous lighting by John Torres (St. Ann’s Taylor Mac), with a strong assist by the same Ma Nature who also contributed to the sound design by Jessica Paz (NYTW’s Othello), the musical playfully retracted the storm that threatened the fun. Safely under a tent, the orchestrations by Mike Brun (music coordinator: Dean Sharenow; music supervisor: J. Oconer Navarro) played out to us beautifully, brought forth with love by the smiling accordion playing fool, the incredibly talented musical genius, Shaina Taub. In the end, love is found, and the twins are reunited. Sir Toby marries the wonderful Marie; Orsino is proposed to and marries the gorgeous Viola, Sebastian and Olivia rejoice in their marital attachment, and Antonio and Malvolio are both released from the chains that bind them, and maybe, if their hand holding is any indication, the two find a much better future than either dreamed of at the beginning. The rain attempted to wash away the musical joy that Taub and team brought forth, but love triumphed, and we all walked out of Central Park, damp but refreshed, filled to the brim with incandescent creativity and a community coming together for the pure pleasure of art and inclusion.
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Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen
Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.
The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.
The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.
Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.
David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.
In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.
Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.
I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.
Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.
Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.
Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.
Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.
The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.
The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.
Shakespeare Loose and Rollicking in Bryant Park
Eric Paterniani as Launce and Chewy as Crab (Launce’s ornery hound) in “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” 2015. Photo by Rosalie Baijer.
By Drew Valins
A couple of weeks ago I received a text: “Shakespeare’s Bday #459. We’re doing a sort of Greatest Hits thing. Are you in?” It was the Bat Signal from our own Hamilton Clancy, the Artistic Director of the Drilling Company. He was planning a sort of Shakespeare variety show. Although the run would be brief (May 25 only), it would be auspicious as the first production of the 2023 New York outdoor Shakespeare season.
We call our company the Drill for short. We are the Drillers. Every summer we do a Shakespeare play or five, and we split them between a parking lot on the Lower East Side and Bryant Park. This evening would be a lookback on our ten years of presenting Shakespeare in Bryant Park.
Of course I was in. This had become a ritual, something we previously did in Bryant Park to celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthday in April. Each year held different surprises. One time we gathered about 30 actors and did a flash mob choreographed for optimal surprise. I decided to become a “drunk” Hamlet with brown bag and bottle in hand, ranting about how much of an asshole I was next to a garbage can: “O what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” Another time we celebrated The Immortal Bard with a full brass band doing a New Orleans style serenade of Shakespeare’s songs to accompany our scenes and monologues.
It would be fun. It would be loose. It would be rollicking. It would be like getting the band together again to do our songs. Who doesn’t like rock and roll?
Our company is no stranger to Bryant Park. We know the drill. We gathered at the Upper Terrace, some of us early to rehearse a bit and grease the wheels, others showing up at the last minute due to…well, life.
I recall one time we lost a key cast member who was stuck on the F train somewhere between “who knows where and who cares, you’re late!” We knew our #1 Drilling Company Rule: “Show up before your entrance or we skip forward”. It’s outdoor theater and the show would go on.
We set up our tent for changing and got our costumes and props in order. We did sound checks with the friendly Bryant Park staff and ran through the running order so that we’d know who to hand off our mics to and when.
It was a beautiful crisp evening in Bryant Park. The stage was set, the chairs were out, the audience was ready. I breathed in, closed my eyes, and let the sun wash over me. Ahhh. Outdoor theater. This is what summer means to me in NYC.
Doing outdoor Shakespeare in Bryant Park is like being the center act in a ten ring circus. You have the biggest audience you can ever dream of. I recall our “Romeo and Juliet” had upwards of 700 people. And at the same time you are in fact in the dead center of Manhattan, contending with a kind of manic energy all around you. I’ll tell you one thing I know. The Bryant Park Grill Happy Hour crowd may be the loudest din a theater company ever had to overcome. And yet it’s a beautiful thing to embrace for both performer and audience. The audience has so much to look at and that’s a big reason they come. You catch our show but you also get to look around and see all the teeming life of the city. For me, Shakespeare’s prose scenes, which tend to be comic in nature, adapt very well to this ambience. As Autolycus from The Winter’s Tale, I had the chance to grab the audience’s attention by shuffling through the aisles, offering folks free T shirts, Covid Tests and Toilet Paper. People laughed and as a performer, that’s food for my soul.
“Why do we do this stuff?” one of my fellow actors asked me once while we were waiting to go on. Before I had a chance to open my mouth he answered his own question: “Because we are addicts. We just love this shit. We need this shit.”
There is no backstage in Bryant Park. You don’t hide and enter on your cue. You are already there. The line between audience and performer is playful.
When we did Much Ado About Nothing set in the post WW1 Suffragette period, the men entered the scene from way way back behind the audience singing. Weaving our way through the yoga mats and picnic mats, the children doing hula hoops, and the lovers smooching on blankets, we sang our wartime song and it was awesome to hear our voices echoing through the entire park.
Come chaos! We are ready for you. Performing outdoors requires flexibility, to put it delicately. Among the many instances of chaos, I recall a few. In Two Gentlemen of Verona, the clown Launce had a real dog with him which, of course stole the show especially when it didn’t listen. An acting teacher once told me: “Never act alongside a dog or a baby. You’ll lose every time.”
In Much Ado, during the b allroom dance scene, a drunk dude (probably from Bryant Park Grill) wandered on stage thinking it was a real event and started dancing with us. We looked at each other and under our breath we said: “just keep going!”. When he realized that there were a lot of people sitting in chairs watching him, he found his inner superstar and started putting on a show. Eventually he wandered off to his next adventure.
Three Witches kicked off our 2023 production with their cauldron scene in Mackers (you don’t say Macbeth in a theater) and they did it half in English and half in Gaelic. It was dynamite and set the ritual of the evening in motion.
Next up was an audience fave: Act 1, Scene 2 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or “Meet the Mechanicals.” The only problem was that our Quince was off in Atlantic City doing bawdy Spiegelworld stuff. So I was tasked with jumping in. No problem. I had a week to learn it, and I realized it would be perfect because Quince has a clipboard and so if I needed a line, I’d just look down at my clipboard, perfectly in character!
We had Hamlet trying to get a grip, Juliet lamenting her lost love, Gertrude in grief, Jacques dancing with his many truths, and Polonia, a female Polonius which Hamilton Clancy notes “is a character that should always be played by a woman because it’s better that way.”
And while Lady M bemoaned her husband’s weakness, I glanced over at the pastry shop called Lady M on 40th street.
As for two person scenes, we pulled from Othello and Taming of the Shrew. It was delightful to watch Alessandro Colla and Evangeline Fontaine, a real life married couple who met in the Drilling Company, bicker and bluster and love their way through the scene as Kate and Petruchio.
Autolycus made an appearance from Winter’s Tale.
We had one original piece called Dueling Dr. Caiuses, written by myself and Remy Souchon. We both played Dr. Cauis in former Drilling productions of Merry Wives of Windsor and in this comic scene the two of us competed to find out who was the “Real” Dr. Caius. In the end of course we both died and so neither of us got the part.
And gracefully running through all the acts was the music. Original songs written and performed by Natalie Smith. The sweet song “Springtime” from our production of “As You Like It” was the closer. The whole company gathered on stage and sang together as a goodbye to this spring evening and a hearty hello to Summer.
Drew Valins is an actor and playwright and proud 15 year member of the Drilling Company. (www.drewvalins.com)
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Presents NuWorks 2023
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre (Tisa Chang, Founding Artistic Producing Director) presents NuWorks 2023, the annual experimental series of self-created work from innovative and diverse artists exploring an eclectic range of genres and techniques using poetry, text, dance, and music. Featuring new works by diverse artists Sora Baek, Jan Barry & Jenny Pacanowski, AJ Layague, Sanhawich Meateanuwat, Lyra Nalan, Sai Somboon, Cody LeRoy Wilson, Mandarin Wu & Da Xu.
Performances begin in repertory Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 7:00PM and will conclude on Sunday afternoon June 11, 2023, at 3:00PM at Theatre 1 at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street).
General Admission tickets are priced at $27.50 and available at https://bfany.org/theatre-row/shows/nuworks-2023/ For additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre website at https://www.panasianrep.org/nuworks2023.
NuWORKS 2023Schedule of Events
PROGRAM APremieres Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 7:00PM Second performance Friday, June 9, 2022 at 7:00PM
Dream ReunionWritten by Lyra Nalan Starring Genevive Shi and Stephanie Gong Directed by Nina Lam
Ting, a Chinese woman living in America, runs over various possibilities of her reunion with her mother back home, hoping to find the right words that lead to a perfect scenario.
Lyra Nalan is a bilingual Chinese writer based in New York. She is the Judith Royer Award-winning playwright for the play Paper Dream and has been nominated for the Susan Blackburn Smith Prize and the Smith Prize for Political Theatre. Her work has been showcased at the Kennedy Center, Cherry Lane Theatre, Round House Theatre, Spooky Action Theatre, Miranda Theatre, Avant Bard Theatre, Tradewind Arts Asian American Artists, Strand Theatre, Three Cats Productions, and Adventure Theatre MTC. Lyra is currently working on a commission for Silk Road Rising theatre. She’s very honored and thrilled to be a part of Pan Asian Rep’s NuWork Festival! EDUCATION: Northwestern University: MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage. WEBSITE: Lyranalan.com.
SELL ME: I Am From North KoreaWritten and performed by Sora Baek
On her 15th birthday, a North Korean girl, Jisun makes the heart-wrenching decision to sell herself to an old Chinese man to make money for ger dying mother’s medications. However, after risking everything by crossing the Tumen River into China, she learns that she is not-sellable and finds herself on the streets.
Sora Baek (Writer/Performer) is grateful to Pan Asian Rep and Tisa for this wonderful opportunity to share her work. Sora is a New York-based actor and playwright from South Korea. She has been featured on News 12 NJ and the international Radio Show, Voice of America. Select theater credits include: SELL ME: I am from North Korea (International Human Rights Festival, Emerson Theater Collaborative, Jersey City Theater Center), The Storm, A Christmas Carol, 400 Parts Per Million, and Sworn Virgin (NYC and International Tour) with Blessed Unrest, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Calaveras Repertory Theatre). Sora won Best Actress at the Epidemic Film Festival in San Francisco. She also won Best Lead Performer at the U.K’s Scene Saver and her play was nominated for Best Play. She works with Only Make Believe where she performs interactive theater with children in hospitals and is an associate member of an internationally acclaimed theater company, Blessed Unrest. www.sorabaek.com
PROGRAM BPremieres Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 3:00PM Second performance Tuesday, June 8, 2023 at 7:00PM
A Sisyphean DreamWritten and Devised in Collaboration with Heen Sasithorn, Vin Kridakorn and Pacha Chantri Directed by Sanhawich Meateanuwat
A group of immigrant actors meets in a dream space to discuss their dreams as immigrant actors. Through challenges., self-doubts, and homesickness, they wonder if they made the RIGHT choice to travel across the world to pursue their dreams.
Sanhawich Meateanuwat (Playwright) recently moved to New York after graduating from the MFA Directing Program at Illinois State University. In Thailand, they worked as an instructor and resident director at Bangkok University, where they directed, adapted, and translated numerous plays. In 2022, they received the National SDC Directing Fellowship Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. They worked as a Directing Fellow at the National Playwrights Conference 2022 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. This year, they have been selected to be the part of The Drama League’s Directors Project as Directing Assistantships cohort and the KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Arts Leadership fellows. Website: Sanhawich.com
Bridge Back Home From WarA Conversion through Poetry About the Impact of War By Jan Barry and Jenny Pacanowski
After returning from the wars overseas, follow two veterans from different eras, different wars, navigate their experiences through an interactive writing workshop with the audience.
Jan Barry is a poet and author whose books include A Citizen’s Guide to Grassroots Campaigns,Earth Songs, Life after War & Other Poems and (co-editor) Winning Hearts & Minds: War Poems byVietnam Veterans. A U.S. Army veteran of Vietnam, he coordinates Warrior Writers workshops forveterans and family members in New Jersey. For more information: www.janbarry.net
Jenny Pacanowski served in the Iraq war in 2004 as a combat medic in the Army. Her military service led her back to the arts, which includes writing and facilitating workshops for veterans, their families and providing guidance on how their communities can support them through theatre. Jenny and her organization, Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving do their best to assist veterans to reintegrate and thrive.
PROGRAM CPremieres Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 7:00PM Second performance Saturday, June 10, 2023 at 7:00PM
Cowgirl Katarungan Is Fixin’ to FightWritten by AJ Layague
Cowgirl Katarungan is a Filipinx-American truthteller/detective who recounts – and dismantles – four historical vignettes where racism, misogyny, and the eugenics movement took center stage. And she does it in verse.
AJ Layague – she/her (Playwright) immerses into stylized historical worlds which typically center the non-binary and/or people of color, instead of relegating them to side characters or ancillary roles. They steer their narratives and their movement in their worlds, even when these narratives and worlds are bleak and not completely within their control. And as an ethnomusicologist – I lived and studied music in Southeast Asia – I am most interested in how music-cultures and cultures can evolve, respond, and even thrive during colonization. And how they sound and re-sound post-colonization.
Extraordinary AlienWritten and performed by Sai Somboon Directed by Nana Dakin
A solo show based on Sai’s lived experience expressed through movement/dance, comedy, monologues, and video projections. A reflection on their intersectional identities as a gay, cisgender Thai man, a recently naturalized citizen of the United States, and an actor/dancer navigating the audition and performance landscape in New York.
Sai Samboon (Writer/Performer) is a comedian, actor and dancer from Bangkok, Thailand. Based out of New York City, Sai has performed in Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel, FringeNYC, Astoria Performing Arts Center, Fulton Theatre, Maltz Jupiter, Dallas Musicals, North Shore Music Theatre and Daegu Opera House in Daegu, South Korea. Sai holds a Bachelor of Art in Anthropology from Franklin & Marshall College, and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University and he is finishing up the Master of Education program at Harvard University.
PROGRAM DPremieres Wenesday, June 7, 2023 at 7:00PM Second performance Sunday, June 11, 2023 at 3:00PM
Period.Written and by Mandarin Wu and Da Xu Performed by Mandarin Wu Sound Design by Da Xu
A tragicomedy starring Handy Mandy, as she tap dances through the conflicts of being an aging Asian-American modern woman and actor, navigating through current social climate and regularly incapcitated by the periods in her life.
Mandarin Wu (Playwright/Performer) is a theatre performer singer/dancer/actor/choreographer/ director. Selective credits: “PLEASED” (Pan Asian Rep 2022 NuWorks), A Dream of Red Pavilions (Pan Asian Rep), Follies (APAC), Orfeo ed Euridice(Met Opera). Choreography for Theatre: Skin (Rattlestick), Romance of the Western Chamber(Wildly Productive), Eastbound (NYTB), Legally Blonde_ (National ChiaYi University of Taiwan). NYU Tisch Dance MFA, UC Irvine Dance BA. Musical Theatre faculty at Marymount Manhattan College.
Xa Du (Playwright/Sound Design) Credits: “PLEASED” (Pan Asian Rep 2022 NuWorks), The Brothers Paranormal (East WestPlayers), Uncovered(UCLA). With Los Angeles Movement Arts: Momentum, Catalyst (co-curator), and audio/visual movement works for LACMA’s Art Walk. Live Visuals: Alienware Computers, LuLuLemon. Toured extensively with the seminal Chinese rock band 舌头(SheTou) as photographer and live visual collaborator. 2021 Westben International Performer-Composer Residency participant.
Did My Grandfather Kill My Grandfather?Written and performed by Cody LeRoy Wilson
A journey to find out what it means to be Asian-American, the piece follows Cody’s mother’s immigration story. Cody investigates their family’s story and gain new perspectives on the meaning of family roots and their Asian Decent.
Cody LeRoy Wilson (Playwright/Performer) makes his Pan Asian Rep debut at Theatre Row and he is beyond grateful for the opportunity. Other NYC credits include Off Broadway: Handbagged (59E59), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titus Andronicus with NYSX and Prisoners of Qual Dong at Prism Stage. Regional: Book of Will, Handbagged, and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time at Roundhouse Theater, As You Like It at The Folger, Measure For Measure, As You Like It, So Please You at Hudson Valley Shakespeare, and Miss Saigon at Missouri Playhouse. TV/Film: “Russian Doll,” “Impractical Jokers,” “Hello Tomorrow!,” and Money Monster.
For additional information, please visit the website at http://www.panasianrep.org/nuworks-2023.
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, celebrating its 46th Milestone Season, is the most veteran Asian American theatre company on the East Coast. Tisa Chang founded Pan Asian Rep in 1977 at Ellen Stewart’s La Mama ETC with the vision to promote equity and access that Asian Americans artists can equally follow, focusing on stories of probing social justice issues with distinctive Off-Broadway Productions, Tours, National Outreach, and Community Service. Mel Gussow of The New York Times described it as “A Stage for All the World of Asian–Americans” and wrote that “Before Pan Asian Rep, Asian Americans had severely limited opportunities in the theater….” The company has nurtured thousands of artists and is a “who-is-who” of Asian American theatre history, with notable alumni/ae: Ako, Ernest Abuba, Tina Chen, Philip Gotanda, Wai Ching Ho, David Henry Hwang, Daniel Dae Kim, Lucy Liu, Ron Nakahara, R.A. Shiomi, Lauren Yee, and Henry Yuk.
Pan Asian Rep Programs are made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; and major support from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Mary Li Hsu Charitable Trust, NY Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels, Lucille Lortel Foundations; and many generous individuals.
email@example.com Twitter & Instagram: @PanAsianRep www.facebook.com/panasianrep/
And The Winners of The 2023 Drama Desk Awards Are ………
The 2023 67th Drama Desk Awards, honoring artistic excellence on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway, will take place on June 6 at Sardi’s Restaurant. Today the winners were announced.
Outstanding Play: “Leopoldstadt,” by Tom Stoppard
Outstanding Musical: “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Revival of a Play: “The Piano Lesson”
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: “Parade”
Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play: Jessica Chastain, “A Doll’s House” and Sean Hayes, “Good Night, Oscar”
Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical: Annaleigh Ashford, “Sweeney Todd”
and J. Harrison Ghee, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play: Miriam Silverman, “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” Brooklyn Academy of Music and Brandon Uranowitz, “Leopoldstadt”
Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical: Kevin Del Aguila, “Some Like it Hot” and Alex Newell, “Shucked”
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Max Webster, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Thomas Kail, “Sweeney Todd”
Outstanding Choreography: Casey Nicholaw, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Music: Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, “Shucked”
Outstanding Lyrics: Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Book of a Musical: Matthew López and Amber Ruffin, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Orchestrations: Charlie Rosen and Bryan Carter, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Music in a Play: Suzan-Lori Parks, “Plays for the Plague Year,” The Public Theater
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play: Tim Hatley, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical: Beowulf Boritt, “New York, New York”
Outstanding Costume Design of a Play: Emilio Sosa, “Ain’t No Mo’”
Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical: Gregg Barnes, “Some Like it Hot”
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play: Natasha Chivers and Willie Williams (video), “Prima Facie”
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical: Natasha Katz, “Sweeney Todd”
Outstanding Projection and Video Design: Andrzej Goulding, “Life of Pi”
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play: Ben & Max Ringham, “A Doll’s House”
Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical: Scott Lehrer and Alex Neumann, “Into the Woods”
Outstanding Wig and Hair: Mia M. Neal, “Ain’t No Mo’”
Outstanding Solo Performance: Jodie Comer, “Prima Facie”
Unique Theatrical Experience: “Peter Pan Goes Wrong”
Outstanding Fight Choreography: B.H. Barry, “Camelot”
Outstanding Adaptation: “A Doll’s House,” by Amy Herzog
Outstanding Puppetry: Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell, “Life of Pi”
Shows with multiple wins
Some Like It Hot: 8
Life of Pi: 4
A Doll’s House: 3
Sweeney Todd: 3
Ain’t No Mo’: 2
Prima Facie: 2
Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen McKinley Henderson has been bringing in-depth, gripping portrayals of memorable characters to the stage for over four decades. With his return to Broadway this season as Pops in “Between Riverside and Crazy,” which the Drama Desk previously nominated in 2015, this year’s Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award marks Henderson’s role in this powerful production as a celebration of his brilliant career.
The cast of Soho Rep’s “Public Obscenities” – Tashnuva Anan, Abrar Haque, Golam Sarwar Harun, Gargi Mukherjee, NaFis, Jakeem Dante Powell, and Debashis Roy Chowdhury – embodied the transnational world of Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s bilingual play with memorable authenticity, remarkable specificity, and extraordinary warmth.
Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award
From his standout performance in american (tele)visions, to writing and performing the autobiographical “Dark Disabled Stories,” Ryan J. Haddad’s work this season has expanded on and interrogated what the idea of “accessibility” really means. Whether riding a shopping cart like a throne, or relating his experiences on a “gay, pink bus,” Haddad shared with audiences an unabashed queer fabulosity that was both unforgettable and deeply human.
The Outer Critics Circle Awards and You Are There Part 1
The 72nd Annual Awards honoring achievements in the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season were presented on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Executive Producer Lauren Yager, did a marvelous job and the event was enjoyed by all.
Here are highlights from the show.
President of the Outer Critics Circle David Gordon and Vice President Richard Ridge welcomed everyone.
Presenter Lea Solonga presented Outstanding Director of a Musical to Michael Arden – Parade
Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play Sean Hayes – Good Night, Oscar was hysterical and the highlight of the afternoon.
Outstanding Solo Performance Jodie Comer – Prima Facie
T2C had a chance to talk to Lea beforehand
John Gassner Award for New American Play (Preferably by a New Playwright): Fat Ham by James Ijames
Outstanding Book of a Musical: Robert Horn – Shucked
We talked to Robert prior to his speech.
Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: K. Todd Freeman – Downstate
Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:Lindsay Mendez – Merrily We Roll Along
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: The Harder They Come and Outstanding Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Topdog/Underdog Suzan Lori Parks
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The New Dramatists’ 71st Annual Benefit Luncheon and You are There
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The 2023 Excellence in Theatre Education Award
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The New Dramatists’ 71st Annual Benefit Luncheon With Josh Groban, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ban Platt and More
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Summer of June
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Stratford Festival’s King Lear 2023 Struggles in the Controlled Column of Rain
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