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The New Group’s “The Seagull/Woodstock, NY” and Soulpepper’s “The Seagull” Flies Out With Force in Uniquely Different Ways Over a Vastly Different Lake



It must be something in the spring air. Maybe it’s the warming idea about spending time up at a country house by a lake with nothing to do. Some of the characters think this is boring, while others find amusement on the lake forever fishing (that would not be me). But others discover discontent there on the shores of the lake, as we watch them give their love and affection to the wrong artistic soul. And they do the same, as if they can’t see what is happening around them. But more importantly, one person casually shoots a seagull for no apparent reason other than he can. He kills the soaring bird who knows that lake and lives in the joy of flying above it. Another does it to one that loves him.

Something about those sad love pieces of this Chekhovian puzzle inspired two very modern playwrights to take on and tackle this classic, creating two very different renderings of the 1895 play, The Seagull for two different theatre companies in North America. Spinning out their own particular visions, the two writers, I’m sure, hoped with all their might that they too didn’t, in the end, shoot down all the joy of the play like the one character who literally did just that, and the other who did it metaphorically. The first reformed production that I saw at The New Group in New York City, was the one written by Thomas Bradshaw (Intimacy and Burning), a writer described in the program as “one of the most deliberately and effectively confrontational… of his generation” called, most tellingly, The Seagull/Woodstock, NY, while the other, penned by the impeccable and oh-so-talented Simon Stephens (HeisenbergOn the Shore…Wastwater) does its duty with a steadfast too literal take for Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto. And boy, are they different boats to ride around that lake in.

Stepping forward into the moonlight in these two different theatre towns; New York City and Toronto, their unique adaptations based upon Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece, find meaning within the text to different levels of success and pleasure, with Bradshaw’s going for something far more complicated and altered than Stephens somewhat too tight rendition. Bradshaw’s Seagull/Woodstock, with an impeccably confrontational and clever cast of experts, directed loosely and wisely by Scott Elliott (TNG’s Black No More; The True), unpacks the humor and the ridiculousness at every turn, even when the journey isn’t curved. He holds tight to Chekhov’s statement that he had always viewed the play as a comedy, a vision he would maintain towards all his plays. Unfortunately for us and its talented cast, the Soulpepper‘s Seagull, as written by Stephens and directed by Daniel Brooks (Soulpepper’s A Doll’s House; Endgame) doesn’t quite seem to match up and spin forward as well, shifting itself back and forth from modern to problematic period wordings without understanding the disconnect and the distraction it brings.

Parker Posey, Nat Wolff, and Daniel Oreskes in Thomas Bradshaw’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY. Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni.

It is astounding that Chekhov’s play is still going as strong as it is, being produced regularly after, what many considered, its disastrous 1896 premiere. It is said that on the play’s first opening night, the actress playing Nina was so intimidated by what she perceived as hostility coming from the audience that she lost her voice, and Chekhov, himself, left his seat and spent the last two acts hiding out of sight. When supporters wrote to him that the production later became a hit, he assumed that they were merely trying to be kind, making me wonder what he would think of these two rebootings. Stephens seems to have tied himself tightly to Chekhov’s mast in a way that Bradshaw has not, creating something far more unlikely and playfully demented for The New Group‘s production at Signature Theatre. He, and director Elliott, throws us delightfully into the absurd dramatic waters almost instantly, manifesting an entry that makes us take notice of the artificiality of the play, while also inviting us to take up one of the folding lawn chairs and relax in the night air. This is not to be taken to the hearts and minds as darkly as it may seem. We are here to have fun and laugh at the silliness of the theatricality. Even as the darkness rolls in.

This is “Our House“, they tell us with sing-song voices, and like all good actors warming up, they float out casually, entering the space that is designed a bit too fussily by Derek McLane (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!), with subtle lighting by Cha See (RTC’s You Will Get Sick). They form a company, as only actors would, stretching and limbering up their instruments to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Some of us are born to suffer we are told, as the set-up for heartbreak and disappointment is assembled with frantic care by the desperate son of a fading actress in the backyard of a country home in Woodstock, NY. And some of us are born to bear witness to that suffering with an indifferent shrug. It’s a clever reformation, giving the young writer, Kevin, played manic and forlorn by Nat Wolff (A24’s “The Kill Team“), plenty to chew on before the young actress, Nina, portrayed glowingly by Aleyse Shannon (Netflix’s “Beauty“) arrives to make her debut in front of the whole cast of characters who are staying or living at the house. Kevin is in love, the head-over-heels kind, that has no logic. Nina, well, I’m not quite sure what she thinks of Kevin, beyond that he is the son of a big-named actress, who she likes, well enough, but not strong enough, to satisfy.

Hari Nef and Patrick Foley in Thomas Bradshaw’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY. Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni.

The black-clad depressed Sasha, played hilariously dark by Hari Nef (TNG/Vineyard’s Daddy) is a work of art all on its own, delivering forth lines with a wry wit and angle to the perfectly restructured Samuel, played beautifully by David Cale (We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time). He is a much-loved older gay man who is looking back on his underwhelming life with a very telling glimmer of something utterly compelling and sad. Their interactions flicker with connection, similar to the touching engagement Sasha has with the handsome Bill Sage (“Nurse Jackie“) as Doctor Dean. Sasha is dynamically mourning her life before it has even begun. She finalizes her sadness by marrying the poor (in more ways than one) lovestruck Mark, played well by Patrick Foley (Yale Rep’s Indecent), even as she states quite clearly that she is deep in an unrequited love trap with Kevin, who loves Nina, who loves..well, eventually another, who doesn’t exactly love another, but chooses another in the end, casually. As easy as shooting a seagull as it flies across the lake.

But the one we are all waiting for is for Irene, the fading actress and grand dame of the manor, to make her entrance, and as portrayed with full force by the talented Parker Posey (TNG’s HurlyBurly; “Best in Show“), the short wait is worth its weight in satiric gold. Posey, dressed to the meaningful nines by costume designer Qween Jean (TNG’s One In Two), has built a career playing these outlandish women, dripping with highly referential jokes that are both ridiculous and determinately direct. She asks for sympathy, slightly, from us, and while getting it a little here and there, she never lets us look away for too long, nor lets Irene off the narcissistic track. It’s devilishly funny, expensive, and superficial, delivering and getting Bradshaw’s jokes as they get tossed around with an ease that only a New Yorker can. And the rest of the finely tuned cast join her in this realm, bringing clever impolite lines about everything and anything, including a gender-reversed production of True West, La Mama, and P.S. 122 to the forefront, showing disdain for all, and a desperate need for so much. (And if you get these references, this might be the production for you.)

Ato Essandoh and Nat Wolff in Thomas Bradshaw’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY. Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni.

The jokes and asides ring out much as they should, dismantling theatre like Chekhov’s Konstantin and Bradshaw’s Kevin would as they showcase Shannon’s Nina on that little backyard stage, performing a monologue about saying the N-word and masturbating in the bathtub. Yes, you heard me right. And it’s Irene’s new lover and partner, William, played strong by Ato Essandoh (Williamstown’s Six Degrees of Separation) that gets the peek, and that look of love from Nina post-performance. Not Kevin. Because William, as the celebrated Black novelist who is both published in “The Atlantic” and who Nina adores, is Bradshaw’s Boris Trigorin wrapped up in a more modern approach to literal genius in a world that values something else, where slices of overinflated ego and self-regard can be unpacked inside a racial standpoint.

It’s all very clever, this reformulation, yet sometimes, almost a bit too clever for its own good. We never get too close to these outlandish characters, even when they let us see the more vulnerable parts underneath the flash and folly. They find connection to their upstate roots, discussing electric luxury cars, rather than horses, as they leave this country estate for the big city, which makes a lot of sense (I’m looking at you Stephens as I write this). The Chekhovian tragedy is played out with a steep satirical slant, understanding pain, but keeping it on the lighter posturing side of humanity. And even though the play feels like it runs longer than the updated story needs, it’s clear that much of the action is presented to keep in line with Chekhow’s detailed plot.

David Cale and Parker Posey in Thomas Bradshaw’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY. Photo courtesy of Monique Carboni.
Paolo Santalucia and Hailey Gillis in Simon Stephens’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull at Soulpepper.

The same can be said of Stephen’s 2017 adaptation currently playing at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre. The Seagull he created never strays far from the original as it unwraps the plot with careful control and a noticeable speed. He holds to the formula, insistently, hardly veering away, making it feel more like a retelling than a newly formed adaptation. I must admit, it’s been a long time since I last saw Chekhov’s version (and not to brag, but I was lucky enough that my NY buddy was happy to get up at 2am in the morning and wait in line at The Public Theatre to see their free 2001 Central Park production directed by Mike Nichols, starred Meryl Streep, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Goodman, Marcia Gay Harden, Kevin Kline, Debra Monk, Stephen Spinella, and Natalie Portman), so I might be off key here. But, Stephens appears to be staying pretty dutiful throughout, beyond the surprising monologues that are recited by many of the characters straight out into the audience. Overall, it hits most of the beats and blasts of tragedy and dismissal with this loyal rendering. He pokes hard at the theatrical convention, while never being daring or brazen enough to throw them into the lake like Bradshaw. This is possibly both a plus and a minus for this particular Seagull.

Soulpepper‘s production modernizes the local, giving the labeled restructuring plenty to giggle at, like the spotlight sign telling us that the blue wall utilized throughout for target practice is the “Lake.” All this, thanks to the somewhat flat and plastic set design by Shannon Lea Doyle (Soulpepper’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train), with determined lighting by Jason Hand (Soulpepper’s The Barber of Seville) and some fine costuming by Snezana Pesic (Ghost River’s One). But unfortunately, sometimes the language doesn’t fit the surroundings (Yes, I’m back to the horses vs cars comment). This disconnect works, I think, when an older play is utilized in its original form inside a modern framework, like a Shakespearian play set in Mexico or New York City, but this is an adaptation of a classic, not the original text, so when this cast of characters talks about needing horses to get to the train station, we are taken out of the modern moment for no good reason. I couldn’t tell if this was due to the adaptation itself, or a director’s problematic choice. That’s a question I can’t answer. But I sure would like to know the reason that horses, not Ubers, are even mentioned here.

Yet, the cast does the framing well, with determination and precision, inside a production that plays silly. Like when the handyman swimmer, Jacob, played hilariously dull by Dan Mousseau (Howland’s Three Sisters) nods and strolls around the stage nonchalantly in his speedo without a care in the world. His engagement with the piece is maybe what I was wishing there was more of throughout the whole, but as directed by Brooks, the players dig their heels in hard to the drama, focusing on the pain and not so much on the comedic elements that Chekhov was hoping and writing for. The characters do sound fairly convincing in their authentic interactions, beyond the direct fourth wall breaking, but the melodrama sometimes interfered with the structuring, causing us to lean back, rather than lean into the heartbreak.

Paolo Santalucia and Michelle Monteith in Simon Stephens’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull at Soulpepper.

With the central mother character, Irina played with an over-the-edge intensity by Michelle Monteith (Soulpepper’s Of Human Bondage), alongside her famous writer partner, Boris, portrayed by Raoul Bhaneja (Tarragon’s Bashir Lazhar), the pairing resonates, although Monteith never really feels ‘big’ enough for the role. Her voice doesn’t carry the weight of the woman, nor does her fits of narcissism ever feel solidly entrenched in her demeanor. She just doesn’t radiate that required kind of power that would make this woman work. Bhaneja’s self-obsessed ‘taker of notes’ does present well as someone who would blindly take on a lover without much regard for either woman’s emotional response or needs, but he also lacked, in his stance, a certain passion that would be at the core of this kind of impulse.

There are some clever tight bits of theatricality and engagement throughout though, as wheeled in by Hailey Gillis (Crow’s Theatre’s Ghost Quartet) as the young desperate and wide-eyed Nina to attend to the man who loves and adores her, Irina’s son, Konstantin, played passionately by the talented Paolo Santalucia (Soulpepper’s Spoon River). There is power in their off-balanced need for one another, and the way they attach for compellingly different reasons. Oliver Dennis (Soulpepper/Native Earth’s Where The Blood Mixes) as Irina’s ailing older brother, Peter Sorin, and Diego Matamoros (Soulpepper’s Waiting for Godot) as Doc Hugo, find an honest connection to those around them, especially with the sad and struggling Masha, portrayed somewhat stiffly by Ellie Ellwand (NTS’s Exit the King) who eventually enters into a one-sided marriage with Simeon, dutifully portrayed by Farhang Ghajar (Stratford’s The Tempest) in spite of herself.

Brooks and Stephens have created a Seagull that is more heartbreaking in its soul than Bradshaw’s. Theirs is filled with anguished speeches about love destroying sanity as well as the self-possessed passion that ends up being more ego than id. The two tertiary characters; Masha’s father and estate manager Leo, played haphazardly by Randy Hughson (Stratford’s To Kill a Mockingbird) has another type of self-absorption, telling old stories that could only be fascinating to the teller and not his audience, as well as his wife, Paulina, played with a wild wonton fire by Robyn Stevan (Factory’s Three Sisters), who literally tears into her passion for the doctor with a force that felt out of the blue and out of character. The New Group‘s Amy Stiller (TNG’s Hotel Universe) and Daniel Oreskes (TNG’s Happy Talk) as their equivalent couple, Pauline and Darren, suffer a similar fate, but at least their card game actually feels real and involved. The Soulpepper shuffling did not.

Soulpepper’s The Seagull.

Once again the circle of unrequited love for one that loves another who doesn’t return the favor flows and spins forth fairly strongly in the three-hour production (including an intermission), feeding on the ridiculous and the profound with a sad hunger, as the mismatching love brings destruction and jealousy to almost everyone who enters that country estate. Toxic ambition and blatant disregard for others feed the flames that drive all to shoot down the joy that flies above. Both productions find a unique way to navigate the waters, and although neither found the perfect route, each has forged something compelling and connecting, even in the rougher waters. It is astounding that Chekhov’s masterpiece continues to deliver in both of these creators’ able hands.

The New Group production wants us to “Dance with Somebody” on an insider laugh track, using & Juliet headphones to heighten the experience. It tosses bawdy jokes one after the other that can either make us laugh or cry out with a groan as we take in the line, “I didn’t mean it, and try not to be so unhappy.” Inside the Bradshaw reconstruction, we embrace the humor and the pain, but lightly, while Stephens wants us to understand the heartache to a much greater volume, even when the silly can seep into the crossing. I mean, the man behind me at Soulpepper was crying big time by the end of the play, sobbing almost uncontrollably, while I must admit that I couldn’t have located a tear inside me if I tried. Inside either of these productions.

But both manage to find the humanity stitched into the ridiculousness of most moments and throw-off comments that bite. And although I thought Soulpepper‘s Seagull took itself a bit too seriously emotionally and structurally, becoming something that could only be described as ‘an off-balanced modern old version of a classic’, rowing itself forward through choppy waters, it was difficult to compare it to The Seagull/Woodstock, NY. That fully realized version, steeped in clever dismissal is a blatant rebooting, telling the same tale but from a motorized power boat out for a joy ride. In looking at the pair a few weeks apart, both are fascinating examples of contrasting reformations, where two brilliant writers found different angles and routes of passage to the same casual indifference to death and disconnection. Each has value with complications that can’t be ignored. Yet, I will say that Posey is the power that made that New York one my favorite. No one would ever say to her “Your work isn’t good enough to get produced in a dinner theater in Kansas City.” Not in a million years. Even if it is one of my favorite lines.

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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

Off Broadway

Golden Rainbow…indeed! 




By Jacqueline Parker 

Nature’s reward for enduring a spate of rain and gloomy weather is a rainbow. The York has delivered just that in their latest production in their Mufti series, Golden Rainbow. This musical from the late 60s is always mentioned among aficionados of this art form with wistful smiles and fond remembrances. The York has brought it back to life in a version that features some new lyrics by original composer/lyricist Walter Marks that carry the storyline into this century.   

Robert Cuccioli , Max Von Essen
Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

From the opening notes of the Jule Styne-esque overture to the rousing finale, the audience was toe-and-finger tapping along to the sounds so evocative of the time when most of us were very young. The story itself is touching—a single father of a boy on the brink of teenhood must wrestle with the choice of saving his livelihood or letting his son move to the other side of the country with his aunt. The connection between father and son is made clear through several songs delivered touchingly by dad Max Von Essen and son Benjamin Pajak. 

Mari Davis Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

The arrival under a false pretense of Mara Davi as Aunt Judy sets the plot spinning and allows Robert Cuccioli as mobster Carmine Malatesta and Danielle Lee Greaves as Jill to play their part in the resolution with songs hilarious and touching.   

Max Von Essen and Mara Davis Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

If the story seems familiar it’s because it is taken from the film “A Hole in the Head,” based on the same source material, that starred Frank Sinatra and Eddie Hodges singing the Oscar-winning song High Hopes. Golden Rainbow opened in 1968 starring Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in the leads. They were household names at the time, based on their talent and popularity from television appearances and cabaret performances.   

Max Von Essen and Benjamin Pajak
Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

Perhaps most impressive in this production was Von Essen’s version of the hit song “I Gotta Be Me.” It was haunting as it built in intensity and left the audience almost breathless at the end of Act 1. 

Benjamin Pajak
Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

Pajak, familiar to all from his recent appearances in Oliver! and The Music Man was astounding in his ability to project the at times heartbreaking and lovingly joyous emotions of his character.

Mari Davis Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

Mara Davi’s character has her own roller coaster ride of emotions, which she transmits with style and conviction.

Robert Cuccioli Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

Robert Cuccioli was hilarious as a mobster singing Taste,

Danielle Lee Greaves Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

and Danielle Lee Greaves delivered two of the new songs, making me hope for a new recording of this terrific show soon.   

Max Von Essen and Benjamin Pajak
Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster

The clock is ticking on this gem of a show – it closes Sunday, October 1st.  Get your tickets at and find your own pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. 

Max Von Essen and Mara Davis Photo Credit: Rider R. Foster


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Theatre News: Here We Are, Some Like It Hot, A Beautiful Noise, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain and The Laramie Project



The curtain rose last tonight on the first performance of the final Stephen Sondheim musical. Here We Are, the new musical from David Ives and Sondheim, is on stage at The Shed’s Griffin Theater (545 W. 30th Street), with an Opening Night on Sunday, October 22, for 15 weeks only.

Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello, the cast of Here We Are will feature Francois Battiste, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos. The understudies for Here We Are are Adante Carter, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Bradley Dean, Mehry Eslaminia, Adam Harrington, and Bligh Voth.

Here We Are is inspired by two films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel, by Luis Buñuel.

Here We Are will include choreography by Sam Pinkleton, set design and costume design by David Zinn, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Tom Gibbons, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, musical supervision and additional arrangements by Alexander Gemignani, hair & make-up design by Wigmaker Associates, and casting by The Telsey Office.

Tickets are on sale on

For each performance, a limited number of $25 tickets will be available via a weekly lottery, which will open for entries on the TodayTix app each Sunday at 12:01 AM for the coming week’s performances and will close at 12:00 PM on the day before each performance. Winners will be notified by push notification and email between 1 – 4 PM on the day before their selected show, and will have 30 minutes to claim their tickets in the app. Entrants may request 1 or 2 tickets, and entry is free and open to all.

Via TodayTix’s mobile rush program, a limited number of $40 same-day rush tickets will be available for that day’s performance of Here We Are at 9:00 AM each day on a first-come, first-served basis. Users can download the app and “unlock” rush tickets by sharing the program on social media ahead of their desired performance day.  

The most award-winning musical of the 2022-2023 season, Some Like It Hot, will play for 13 more weeks through Saturday, December 30, 2023, at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre (225 West 44th Street) before launching a national tour and West End production.

Awarded Best Musical by The Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle, Some Like It Hot received over 20+ major awards throughout the 2022-2023 season, including four Tony Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Musical (J. Harrison Ghee), Best Choreography (Casey Nicholaw), Best Orchestrations (Charlie Rosen & Bryan Carter) and Best Costumes in a Musical (Gregg Barnes). J. Harrison Ghee made history as the first non-binary performer to take home the Tony Award in their category.

A national tour will launch in September 2024 and a West End production will follow in 2025, produced by The Shubert Organization and Neil Meron in partnership with Ambassador Theatre Group.

At the time of the final performance, the production will have played the Shubert Theatre for over a year, for a total of 483 performances.

Will Swenson and the cast. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Will Swenson, who is electrifying audiences with his star turn in A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical, will play his final performance as ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ at the Broadhurst Theatre (235 West 44th Street) on Sunday, October 29. Casting for the role of ‘Neil Diamond – Then’ will be announced at a future date.

The unofficial commencement of “spooky season” takes place this Friday, September 29, when Tony Award® Nominee and Grammy Award® Winner Patrick Page returns to the New York stage in All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain, a new work created and performed by Mr. Page, based on the villains of William Shakespeare. Directed by Simon Godwin, the solo show will play the DR2 Theatre (103 E 15th Street) beginning Friday, September 29, with an Opening Night set for Monday, October 16, for 14 weeks only.

Tickets are now available at, Telecharge  or by visiting the DR2 Theatre box office (103 E 15th Street).

Julie White

Julie White and Brandon Uranowitz will join Ato Blankson-Wood in a staged benefit reading of The Laramie Project. Moises Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project’s The Laramie Projectwill bedirected by Dustin Wills (Wolf Play, Wet Brain). The event, which will raise funds to support the work of The Trevor Project, will take place on Monday, October 16th at 7:00 PM at Peter Norton Symphony Space, and is being produced by District Productions. Additional casting is soon to be announced. For tickets and more information, visit

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Off Broadway

Meet Michel Wallerstein and Spencer Aste of Chasing Happy



Pulse Theatre will be presenting Chasing Happy a new comedy by Michel Wallerstein (Flight, Five Women Waiting, Off Hand). Directed by Pulse Theatre co-Founder Alexa Kelly (Strings Attached).

Video by Magda Katz

The company of Chasing Happy features Spencer Aste (Wake Up, Axis Theatre), Jenny Bennett (City of Ladies, Pulse Theatre), Schyler Conaway in his Off-Broadway debut, Christopher James Murray (The Falling Season, Theatre Row), and Elizabeth Shepherd (Relatively Speaking and Conduct Unbecoming on Broadway; War and Peace and Inherit the Wind in London’s West End).

T2C talked to Michel Wallerstein and Spencer Aste to learn more.

Chasing Happy is a modern comedy about personal identity, love, acceptance …and the elusive pursuit of happiness. Nick is in love with another man’s boyfriend. (Oops.) Nick’s mother says George Clooney wants to date her (Really?). Nick’s ex-wife says she has to have surgery.( Now?) …It’s a laugh a minute on an unexpected merry-go-round when you’re chasing happy.

The limited engagement will play a five-week limited engagement, October 11 through November 11, at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, NYC). Opening night is Thursday, October 19 at 7PM. Tickets are now on sale at or by calling the box office, 212-714-2442 ext. 45.

For more information visit

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Off Broadway

Primary Stages’ “DIG” Does Exactly That Into What’s Underground




By Dennis White

The theater is filled with eerie almost tribal music with birds chirping as the audience finds their seats for Primary Stages’ production of DIG at 59E59 Theaters. It’s a new play written by Theresa Rebeck (Bernhardt/Hamlet) who also directs and as the name implies, DIG is not going to let us just see what’s on the surface. This story wants us to DIG to find out what we don’t see going on underground. The play’s setting is a garden shop that we’re told is failing but is filled with what looks like thriving plants.

David Mason in Primary Stages’ DIG at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by James Leynse.

Roger, the owner, played with elegant restraint by Jeffery Bean (Broadway’s Amadeus, Bells Are Ringing) seems content with keeping his shop even though developers are buying up the neighborhood. But Roger is unaware of how his complacent life is going to change thanks to his longtime friend Lou played by Triney Sandoval (Broadway’s Bernhardt/Hamlet), a man who reluctantly has his tormented daughter Megan come live with him. Megan deftly played by Andrea Syglowski (Broadway’s Pass Over) is a woman lost but even though it seems futile, she has not given up – completely. Entering the shop Megan takes a seat in the corner facing the wall attempting to camouflage herself in greenery covering her face with a hoodie.

Greg Keller, Jeffrey Bean, and Andrea Syglowski in Primary Stages’ DIG, photo by Justin Swader.

She has committed an unforgivable act that has made national headlines. After a failed suicide her father agrees to supervise his daughter’s release even though he cannot forgive her. Megan reaches through her pain and within minutes she offers to repot a plant hoping to convince Roger he needs her help and she’ll work for free. You can feel how Syglowski’s Megan feels caught like the plant’s bound roots pushing against the sides of the pot, trapped and in pain. But she sees hope in the garden shop and Roger. The relationship between Roger and Megan is tenuous at first but the actors reel in the audience. The garden shop is coming alive as a place where they can both grow but it’s not as easy as they find out.

The rest of the cast is vital as they build the grotesque puzzle pieces of Megan’s horrifying past with pros like Mary Bacon (Public’s Coal Country) as Molly. Bacon does a good job as the judgmental nosy customer who turns into a helping hand. Stoner Everett aptly played in what can be described as a life lived in a pot cloud haze by Greg Keller (Playwrights Horizons’ The Thanksgiving Play) seems like a comical diversion but there’s a darker side coming. A surprising element is the appearance of Adam, Megan’s ex-husband, played with the intensity of a caged animal by David Mason (Broadway’s Pictures from Home) who makes the most of this small part. You can feel the audience cringing through the entire scene as writer/ director Theresa Rebeck finally gets her chance to see her play fully realized as she saw it in her mind, line by line.

Jeffrey Bean and Mary Bacon in Primary Stages’ DIG, photo by James Leynse.

DIG takes us to places we could not imagine when we first meet the characters. She builds relationships, tears them down, and then gives them some hope by the end. The play’s surprising revelation leaves the audience stunned, gasping at the turn of events and the secrets revealed. Rebeck’s direction seems effortless, moving her actors in the garden shop through this story of realization, forgiveness, and redemption. The scenic design by Christopher and Justin Swader (Off-Broadway’s The Boy Who Danced On Air) fill the garden shop with life, growing and changing reflecting the events of the play. Lighting by Mary Ellen Stebbins (MCC’s Space Dogs) helps set the mood with deep shadows and the original music and sound design by Fitz Patton (Broadway’s Choir Boy) give us an ominous melody to add to the tension, giving DIG a chance to get a lot of it right. The cast led by Syglowski and Bean hit all the right notes as they travel through tormented waters, some raging, while others swirl below the surface. Rebeck’s play with its unexpected twists and turns wrenches our guts and we follow gladly to the end.

Jeffrey Bean and Greg Keller in Primary Stages’ DIG, photo by James Leynse.
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Ken Fallin's Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Dracula: A Comedy Of Terrors



Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, is now playing at New World Stage, 340 West 50th Street, until January 7, 2024 or beyond.

In this caricature you will find James Daly’s Dracula and clockwise: Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Arnie Burton, Ellen Harvey and Jordan Boatman who make up this amazingly talented cast.

You can read T2C’s mouth watering review here.

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