Featuring and all female cast, all female design and production team, Lou is a powerful and intellectual piece about Lou Salome, an accomplished writer and psychoanalyst in the late 19th century. By spotlighting this little known thinker, Haley Rice’s work questions the equality of women in the eyes of history.
Framed by memorabilia (set design by Marisa Kaugers), Lou opens with men singing the praises of Lou Salome (Mieko Gavia), who abruptly cuts them off to begin telling us her story. Chronicling her academic journey from tutoring with Henrik Gillot (Natasha Hakata) at the age of 17 to her private sessions with Sigmund Freud (Natasha Hakata) at the age of 50, Lou Salome’s intense spirit and charming personality is revealed in her relationships with the great thinkers of her time. Through the Baroness Malwida von Meysenbug (Valeria A. Avina), Lou meets Paul Ree (Olivia Jampol), who in turn introduces her to Friedrich Nietzsche (Jenny Leona). In her debates and conversations with Ree and Nietzsche, we get a taste of Lou’s quickness and hardness. Though she has vowed to never be with a man, both men become infatuated with her and her refusal to have either of them eventually causes them to part ways. Eventually, she takes a husband, Fredrich Andreas (Olivia Jampol), under the condition that they are companions and never lovers. Poet Rainer Maria Rilke (Erika Phoebus) finds a muse in Lou, and the two become lovers and friends.
Lou Salome is in constant search of an equal, and though it is difficult to tell if she finds one, she deeply influences some of the greatest men of her time. By helping them to become “giants” she makes her mark on history, and raises questions about what it means to be free and equal as a woman in society.
The shining achievement of this play is Haley Rice’s successful balance of content and accessibility. Her characters do not get so deep into the jargon of academia that we cannot follow the characters through their debates. The arc of the play is clear and smooth; the wit is quick and nothing is superfluous. Kate Moore Heaney’s directing excels in demonstrating equality and power without the use of forceful position. Becky Heisler Mccarthy’s lighting and Almeda Beynon’s sound design soften the moments of intimacy and shatter moments of dissonance. The talented actresses capture the minute nuances of each character, and with the help of colorful costumes by Katja Andreiev, it is easy to forget the male characters are played by women. While Mieko Gavia is a force to reckon with, she grounds the entire cast with her stunning presentation of Lou Salome.
This production generates reason to wonder exactly how long women have searched for equality and recognition in history for outstanding achievement. Lou Salome’s work suggests that society can create free and equal people while also celebrating our differences; her life and work, as presented in this production, is a testament to the reality of such a society.
Lou: Theatre 4the People at The Paradise Factory, 64 East 4th St. Closes June 3rd.
My View: Palm Beach This Week…Paul Anka, Rita Rudner, Linda Purl & BIlly Stritch!
If there was any doubt that Cafe Centro was a bona fide Cabaret Venue it was dispelled last night. Billy Stritch was seated at the Cafe’s Grand Piano and Linda Purl was the songstress headlining on the cabaret stage of the South Florida restaurant. The SRO crowd that had managed to snag dinner/show tickets got to hear one of the most skillful performances of the Great American Songbook and Broadway show tunes currently out there in Cabaret world. Linda Purl, an extraordinary actor is also an extremely talented vocalist who makes you fall in love with the song and also with Linda Purl, and I might add she is oh so great to focus on through my camera lens.
Billy Stritch was the music director for this gig and he brought his creative, virtuosic, jazz infused piano playing to accompany her. Billy was an engine of harmony and rhythm that coupled with Linda’s natural swing and romantic ballads perfectly. The overflow crowd loved every note of the performance. Mr. Stritch usually adds his lush voice underneath his stable of super singers to create some fantastic musical symmetry, as he has done for some of show biz’s legendary entertainers (Liza Minnelli, Christine Ebersole, Linda Lavin, Linda Eder, and Marilyn Maye to name a few.) During this show he wowed us all with his keyboard artistry. BTW, BIlly, an extraordinary singer/ entertainer on the cabaret and concert stages worldwide can be seen at the new WICK Museum nightclub on April 1st for a special one night only engagement performing his Cy Coleman show. Not to be missed by music lovers.
Sanford Fisher produced the Linda Purl evening. It brought these two super stars of the Cabaret and Concert stages together for an outstanding evening at Cafe Centro, our local oasis of live music in Palm Beach.
Another great Palm Beach event this week…..the “LADY IN RED” LIFE Gala at The Breakers……Congratulations to Lois Pope, the Board of LIFE and Entertainment Chair Sunny Sessa for creating a fantastic evening……
RITA RUDNER & PAUL ANKA……What a show!
My View: It’s Today! It’s Tonight! Marilyn Maye Rehearses For Her New York Pops Carnegie Hall Debut
Sometimes you have to pinch yourself at the opportunities you are presented with. TODAY would be one of those. Or as Marilyn Maye might sing to you, “It’s Today.”
This afternoon I had the privilege of witnessing the 95 year old star, rehearsing on the stage of Carnegie Hall, under the baton of Maestro Steven Reineke, in front of the mighty New York Pops Orchestra. It all happens tonight and has been a lifetime in the making. As if The New York Times piece, bylined by Melissa Errico, wasn’t enough to whet your appetite for what is sure to be a historic evening, maybe these photos will help get you even more excited. Thank you to all who made this happen for me, to present to you….Humbly Yours, Stephen
My View: Someone Named Storm Caused Lots Of Excitement In New York City Last Night
Storm Large has made a name for herself from tours with Pink Martini to orchestral appearances at Carnegie Hall to the television stage of “America’s Got Talent.” But it is with her loyal and fearless band, Le Bonheur, that she grabs audiences. by the lapels and refuses to let go. Love, Storm her new show played 54 Below last night. It’s a playlist of songs by pop luminaries, rock goddesses, and Storm’s fiery originals. There might be someone in the news with a variation of her name currently causing some political excitement, but few entertainers can create the musical excitement that exists in a Storm Large performance.
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