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 Michael Rosen, Michael Urie

Michael Rosen, Michael Urie photo by Joan Marcus

It all begins, under the broken neon red Torch Song sign, with the illusion of perfection with big dash of fabulousness, well, one that is under construction. A drag queen preparing in front of a mirror for her performance to come. Applying the layers of camouflage make-up, slinking into a glittery long dress, slipping on some high heels, and carefully donning a wig all the while engaging us in an intimate discourse about unrequited love and desire in a gay man’s world. The application is like preparation for a type of war that is going on in the world outside, a protective armor against the hate and misunderstanding of a gay man’s right to be who they are. All the attempts of love, false or otherwise, coupled with the adoration an audience will give is a tonic (gin perhaps) against what lies beyond in the early 1980’s in New York and America. And now in our present situation, come to think of it. All of that, wrapped up in the final “tragic Torch Song status” of heart break and pain that “ I admire so in others”, as the main character laments; the signature trademark of a true drag queen star. The ‘Lady Blues’ finale song that is destined to always bring down the house in the end. That’s what a drag performer aims for, and what this play wonderful and respectfully delivers.

A ‘Torch Song’ is defined as a sentimental love song, in which the singer laments on unrequited or lost love. This is the emotional staple of every drag queen’s repertoire. It’s the drama and the tragedy of the evening. The drag queen, at least the one in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song revels in the hurt of unrequited love, of lost love, or forbidden love. In this production at Second Stage Theatre, it encompasses every part of each, rolled up into each part of the trilogy, Torch Song. Every relationship within this emotionally intoxicating play explores the idea of love, wanting love, giving love, and holding up a flame for unrequited love, all of which are complicated, addictive, and all of which can bring such pain. No surprise there.
Estelle Getty, Harvey Fierstein

Estelle Getty, Harvey Fierstein. 1982.

Most people who saw the original production back in the early 1980’s remember it as if it was etched into their soul in the same way we talk about muscle memory. The play resides in the fibers of their hearts and anyone who was lucky enough to see it on stage will gladly tell you all the ways it affected them. I was not one of these lucky souls to have been witness to Harvey Fierstein’s devastating performance, described at the time by Mel Gussow (New York Times, Nov. 1, 1981) as “an act of compelling virtuosity”, but you can feel the historic emotionality in the air of this off-Broadway theater. It is thick, and heavy, yet devastatingly glorious.

Harvey Fierstein, Estelle Getty

Harvey Fierstein, Estelle Getty. 1982.

Initially Torch Song, written by Harvey Fierstein (Kinky Boots, La Cage aux Folles, Casa Valentina) was presented as three separate one act plays, International Stud (first presented at La Mama on Feb. 2, 1978), Fugue in a Nursery (first presented at La Mama one year later on Feb. 1, 1979), and Widows and Children First! (first presented at La Mama on Oct. 25, 1979). These names are most wonderfully and proudly illuminated within David Zinn’s (PH’s Hir) perfect and inventive set design, with beautiful lighting by David Lander (Roundabout’s Love, Love, Love), concise costumes by Clint Ramos (Six Degrees of Separation), and distinct sound design by Fitz Patton (MTC’s The Little Foxes)currently at Second Stage.

Reworked back then, into a singular four-hour theatrical event, Torch Song Trilogy as it was called, opened at the uptown Richard Allen Center in October 1981, produced by The Glines, a nonprofit organization dedicated to forwarding gay-themed cultural endeavors. It transferred on January 15, 1982 to the Actors’ Playhouse in Greenwich Village, where it ran for 117 performances. The cast included Fierstein as Arnold, Joel Crothers as Ed, Paul Joynt as Alan, Matthew Broderick as David, and a star-making turn for Estelle Getty as Mrs. Beckoff. Subsequently, on June 10, 1982, Torch Song Trilogyopened spectacularly on Broadway at the Little Theatre, where it ran for a wondrous 1,222 performances. It won a Tony Award for Best Play (Fierstein) and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (Fierstein) and instantly became iconic. Fierstein, Joynt, and Getty remained, and were joined by Court Miller as Ed and Fisher Stevens as David. I wish that this had been one of the plays I saw during any of my numerous secret trips (don’t tell my Ma) to New York City when I was a teen. How it would have affected me, is beyond comprehension. I never had to deal with the parental drama that Fierstein wrote so vividly about, but it certainly still resonates to this very day. One thing I am sure of, had I seen Torch Song Trilogyin 1981, my worldview would have been altered, most likely for the better. In the same way I believe anyone seeing this play now at Second Stage will be altered forever as well.

Rosanna Hope Radja, Ward Horton, Michael Rosen, Michael Urie

Rosanna Hope Radja, Ward Horton, Michael Rosen, Michael Urie photo by Joan Marcus

The newly reworked and edited trilogy by Fierstien, now goes by the more succinct Torch Song. The three chapters remain, brightly claiming their presence over the individual scenarios, but shortened into two solid acts. The story remains centered on Arnold Beckoff, played impeccably by the magnificent Michael Urie (Shows for Days, Buyer & Cellar). He manages, with a thrilling expertise to both create his own clear version of this iconic Jewish gay man and drag queen performer while also paying tribute to the character created by Fierstein. It’s a loving and brave performance by an actor coming into his own, owning the stage at every moment with ease, letting us into Arnold’s heart and soul. His opening soliloquy is a master class in vulnerability and engagement, in which he explains his cynical disillusionment with love. It’s clear his heart yearns to hear someone he cares for say, “I love you”, while also admitting his weaknesses and his complexities with the giving of his own heart. The beautifully signed “not” “enough” says everything you need to know about Arnold, and Urie does him proud, embodying him purely and entirely. It’s a thorough and thoughtfully brilliant performance for the ages.

Sign language
At times, my companion thought he sounded whiney and maybe that is true, somewhat. It’s an interesting cultural dynamic to consider, the fine line between whiney, needy, desperate but honest and vulnerable. Maybe when written in the 1970’s, gay men could act and be perceived as whiney and desperate more freely, at least among their own kind, while in our current gay culture, that is seen as weak and discouraged. This is debatable and I’m talking more about inner gay culture rather than a more global one. Gay men today seem more perplexed by acts of femininity within their own, shaming and marginalizing those that aren’t masculine. It’s not that simple, I know, and possibly better for a discussion of perception and gay culture within someone’s PhD thesis than here in a few sentences. For me, Urie walks the difficult tight rope expertly by being the Arnold he wants to be with truth and an open heart. His comic ability, so apparent in the hilarious The Government Inspector is on full display here, but it’s in his thoughtfulness and humanity that we really see something special and profound.
Each of the three stories told offer up different complexities in Arnold’s quest for love, acceptance, and companionship. The first, International Stud is embodied in the handsome and unavailable Ed, strong and solidly played by Ward Horton (Neil LaBute’s Bash), who may not be the international variety, but he sure is the American 1980’s equivalent. The whole segment is perfectly orchestrated, edited, and presented in mostly a series of spectacularly performed monologues. Climaxing hilariously in the back room, but leaving its emotional climax for the scene when Ed and Arnold finally engage face to face in a fierce, yet honest reunion and ending. Or is it just a beginning?
Stay tuned for part two, Fugue in a Nursery, which jumps forward a year, and introduces us to two more characters; the lovely and feisty Roxanna Hope Radia (Broadway’s Frost/Nixon, After the Fall) as Laurel, and the equally lovely and adorable Michael Rosen (Broadway’s On The Town, West Side Story) as Alan. Beautifully balanced against each other, the two new love interests add a wonderful new depth to the idea of complicated love relating. All the interpersonal drama is played out with wit and authentic charm, an impressive piece of acrobatic dexterity. My least favorite of the trilogy, it still resonates and draws us in through a dynamic love story that sets us up perfectly for the final punch that is part three.
Jack DiFalco, Michael Urie, Ward Horton

Jack DiFalco, Michael Urie, Ward Horton photo by Joan Marcus

So prepare yourself boys and girls, and all those who identify somewhere in between or beyond, for part three, Widows and Children First! is the segment that all earlier theatrical memories seem to circulate around. Estelle Getty seems to be the actor most remembered, second to Fierstein, and no wonder. It’s a part written to have the greatest impact. And here at the Second Stage Theater, the role of ‘Jewish Mother visiting her gay son’ is played miraculously by Mercedes Ruehl (Broadway’s Lost in Yonkers, The Shadowbox) who matches Urie’s Arnold as if they were truly related. Their entanglement is beyond explanation. It’s layered and deep, filled with tragedy, trauma, and a love that aches. It is the true Torch Song of the evening, clawing at our hearts, and pleading for compassion. For the lot of them. That includes the lovely and beautifully rendered performance by Jack DiFalco (Roundabout’s Marvin’s Room, MCC’s Yen) as foster son, David, and the touching return of Horton’s Ed. ‘Family’ is evident in the end, be it ever so humble and strange, and filled with love requited. “You hear that, Ma?“, as Big Maybelle sings, “I Will Never Turn My Back On You“.

Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Urie

Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Urie photo by Joan Marcus

The play’s true vulnerability lies in the honest depiction of its characters and their struggles with those others that hold that special place in their heart, courtesy of the exacting direction by Moisés Kaufman (33 Variations, I Am My Own Wife). No one is safe in Torch Song from pain, confusion, anger, and disappointment; not a mother, a lover, or a son, but the power of Torch Song lies in its balls. Figuratively speaking. It has guts and a drive to grab hold of some respect and dignity within the pain, against all odds, and it does so beautifully. The fight is ageless, as this play from the early 1980’s resonates as powerfully now as it did then. Maybe not in the same detailed way, as the culture of today has changed a bit here and there, advanced while staying the same (you’ll still hear the same gasps of recognition when certain old and negative comments are stated), but it remains, most definitely and defiantly, a profound, hilarious and deeply affecting experience. One that will be remembered for a lifetime.

“But that’s alright. It becomes part of you, like wearing a ring or a pair of glasses. You get used to it and it’s good [so good] because it makes sure you don’t forget. You don’t want to forget him, do you?” I sure don’t.

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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


Theatre News: Wicked, The Wiz, Hypnotique, Female Troubles and Love In The Time Of Crazy



Broadway’s blockbuster Wicked, in partnership with National Day Calendar, has announced that October 30 will officially become National Wicked Day, in honor of the hit Broadway musical’s debut at the Gershwin Theatre (245 West 51st Street) on October 30, 2003.

This marks the first time that a Broadway show will have its own official day in the National Day Calendar. With this inclusion, Wicked joins some of the most recognizable National Day celebrations, including National Barbie Day, National Star Trek Day, National Scrabble Day, National Winnie the Pooh Day, and National Teacher Appreciate Day, among others.

Read the official announcement HERE.

Currently Wicked 4th longest-running show in Broadway history, and will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Broadway this October 30th.

The Broadway production of Wicked currently features Alyssa Fox as Elphaba, McKenzie Kurtz as Glinda, John Dossett as The Wizard, Michele Pawk as Madame Morrible, Jordan Litz as Fiyero, Jake Pedersen as Boq, Kimber Elayne Sprawl as Nessarose, and William Youmans as Doctor Dillamond.

Adam Blackstone

Emmy Award®-winning music director and Grammy Award®-winning writer, Adam Blackstone, joins the creative team as Dance Music Arranger for the revival of The Wiz. The Wiz will launch a national tour on September 23, 2023 in Baltimore, MD before returning to Broadway for a limited engagement in the 2023/24 season.

Adam Blackstone

“Joining The Wiz’s creative team has been a very surreal moment. I remember watching the film on VHS daily for years, wondering how it sounded so incredible, how MJ transformed into the Scarecrow, and the score and orchestrations truly told a story all of its own. Fast forward to today, I get to musically partner with Terence Vaughn and reunite with my brother, super choreographer and creative director JaQuel Knight, and explore our own interpretation for a revival of this masterpiece. I am excited and look forward to this body of work changing lives, just like it did for me in the 80’s!” stated Adam Blackstone.

The cast will include previously announced Wayne Brady to lead the production as the Wiz on Broadway in Spring of 2024, San Francisco (January 16 – February 11, 2024) at the Golden Gate Theatre, and Los Angeles (February 13 – March 3, 2024) at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. Alan Mingo Jr. will star in the role of the Wiz in the following cities of The Wiz National Tour this fall, kicking off with the tour launch in Baltimore, including Cleveland, OH, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, PA, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Greenville, SC, Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Tempe, AZ and San Diego, CA.

The cast will also feature Nichelle Lewis as Dorothy, Deborah Cox as Glinda and Melody A. Betts as Aunt Em and Evillene, Kyle Ramar Freeman as the Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson as the Tinman, and Avery Wilson as the Scarecrow. The Wiz ensemble includes Maya Bowles, Shayla Alayre Caldwell, Jay Copeland, Allyson Kaye Daniel, Judith Franklin, George, Collin Heyward, Amber Jackson, Jackson, Jones, Jones, Kindle, Mariah Lyttle, Kareem Marsh, Anthony Murphy, Rae, Matthew Sims Jr, Avilon Trust Tate, Keenan D. Washington, and Timothy Wilson.

The production will include ‘Everybody Rejoice’ music and lyrics by Luther Vandross, as well as the ‘Emerald City Ballet’ with music by Timothy Graphenreed.

The McKittrick Hotel (530 West 27th Street, NYC), home of Sleep No More, announced the opening of Hypnotique – A Late Night Sultry Spectacle. Performances have been extended on Friday and Saturday nights through October 14, 2023. The all-new Hypnotique revue offers a unique after-dark experience that envelops you. Audiences are captivated by spontaneous performances and mesmerizing dancers, accompanied by daring sonic soundscapes in a surreal ambiance in The Club Car.

The cast features Chloé Lexia Worthington, Courtney Sauls, Fabricio Seraphin, Haley Bjorn, Jacob Nahor, Jesseca Scott, Maurice Ivy, Maya Kitayama, Samantha Greenlund, Victoria Edwards, and swings Alex Sturtevant, Cameron Arnold, Kennedy Adams, and Stacey Badgett Jr..

Cocktails inspired by the experience, including the signature Hypnotonique (an electrifying punch made with cucumber-infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, and grapefruit juice), are available from The Club Car’s bar.

Performances are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 10:30PM. General Admission tickets with standing room are currently priced from $65 per person.

Kevin Del Aguila and the cast Photos by Marc J. Franklin

Two industry readings for Female Troubles, an original musical comedy, will happen next week at Open Jar Studios. Female Troubles is a completely original musical comedy featuring lyrics by two-time Tony Award nominated and Grammy Award nominated songwriter Amanda Green (Mr. Saturday Night, Hands On A Hardbody, Bring It On), music by three-time Emmy Award nominee Curtis Moore (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), book by Emmy Award-winning writers Gabrielle Allan and Jennifer Crittenden (“Veep,” “Arrested Development,” “Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons,” “HouseBroken”) and directed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gattelli (Disney’s Newsies, My Fair Lady, “Schmigadoon,” “Schmicago”).

Lesli Margherita

Lesli Margherita

The cast for the readings will includeKrystina Alabado, Kevin Del Aguila, Amanda Green, Lilli Cooper, Lillias White, Lesli Margherita, Ryann Redmond, Kate Rockwell, Matt Saldivar, Alanna Saunders, Trent Saunders, Jake Swain, Sav Souza, Rachel Stern and Frank Viveros. In Female Troubles, Elinor Benton finds herself surprisingly and undeniably “knocked up” — and, since she’s unmarried and this is 19th century England, she has a very big dilemma. Facing ruin, she and her girlfriends embark on a raucous  journey to find the one notorious woman who can help them with their “female troubles.” Their misadventures change the course of each of their lives. This uproarious musical comedy asks the trenchant question “Can you believe this sh*t is still happening in 1810?”

I attended the reading of Love In The Time Of Crazy withbook and lyrics by Peter Kellogg (Outer Critics Winner for Desperate Measures)music by Stephen Weiner (two-time Richard Rodgers Award winner) and David Hancock Turner (orchestrator for Desperate Measures and Penelope), directed by Lauren Molina (Desperate Measures ). The cast stared Philippe Arroyo, Stephen DeRosa, Robin Dunavant, David Merino, Josh Lamon, Roe Hartrampf and Alexis Cofield .

Look for more from this tuneful musical that actually has you leaving humming the songs. The cast was terrific, the direction sublime and the show ready to move.

Love in the Time of Crazy is a riot, but, you know, in a good way.

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Off Broadway

Arms and the Man Meet The Press



Gingold Theatrical Group next show is a new production of George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man.

Shanel Baile

The cast of Arms and the Man will feature Shanel Bailey (“Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies”)

Delphi Borich

Delphi Borich (Camelot)

Ben Davis

Ben Davis (New York New York)

Keshav Moodliar

Keshav Moodliar (Queen)

Thomas Jay Ryan (Uncle Vanya)

Evan Zes

Evan Zes (The Kite Runner),

Karen Ziemba

Tony Award winner Karen Ziemba (Prince of Broadway).

Keshav Moodliar, Delphi Borich, Shanel Bailey, Thomas Jay Ryan, Karen Ziemba, Evan Zes and Ben Davis

Understudies for this production are Mazvita Chanakira (Gap Year)

René Thornton Jr (The Tempest)

Matthew Zimmerman

and Matthew Zimmerman (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

David Staller

Arms and the Man will be directed by David Staller.

Lindsay Genevieve Fuori (Set Designer)

Lindsay Genevieve Fuori

The production will feature set design by Lindsay Genevieve Fuori

Jamie Roderick (Lighting Designer)

lighting design by Jamie Roderick

Ariel Kregal (Assistnat Costume Designer), Cassie Williams (Hair and Makeup Designer), Tracy Christensen (Costume Designer) and Karine Ivey (Wardrobe Supervisor)

costume design by Tracy Christensen

Julian Evans (Sound Designer)

and sound design by Julian Evans. Prop design is by Emmarose Campbell.

Allie Posner (Production Manager)

Production management is by Allie Posner. Hair design is by Cassie Williams, and Stephanie Yankwitt of tbd Casting Co. is the Casting Director.

Logan Gabrielle Schulman (Assistant to the Director)

Logan Gabrielle Schulman is the Assistant to the Director and Ariel Kregard is the Assistant to the Costume Designer.

April Ann Kline (Production Stage Manager) and Jade Doina (Assistant Stage Manager)

The production stage manager is April Ann Kline and Jade Doina will serve as assistant stage manager.

Pamela Singleton (Gingold Board Chair), David Staller, Greg Santos (Managing Producer) and Sean Bertrand (Managing Producer Associate)

Natalie Kane (Administrative Assistant)

 Arms and the Man is one of Shaw’s most popular comedies. The plot follows a hunted soldier who, seeking refuge in a young lady’s boudoir, starts in motion a series of highly engaging and unlikely comedic events. His unusual philosophies about love, war and life in general open up a world of thought she’d never previously entertained–certainly not with her dashing war-hero fiancée who also arrives unexpectedly. This early work of Shaw’s is remarkably pithy.

Fareeda Ahmed, Ethan E. Litwin and Pamela Singleton

The play’s title, Arms and the Man, references the first line of the epic Virgil poem, The Aeneid, in which we’re reminded of how foolish humans can be by fighting each other and struggling against the best of human nature: “Arms and the man I sing, who, forced by fate / And haughty Juno’s unrelenting hate, / Expelled and exiled, left the Trojan shore.”

Arms and the Man will play Theater Two at Theatre Row (410 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036) from October 17 through November 18, 2023. Opening night is set for October 26. The performance schedule is Tuesday–Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. Cast and guest-moderated talkbacks will take place after each Sunday performance.

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Off Broadway

“Relapse” Musically Releases Some Compelling Voices in Our Heads




By Dennis W

Vinny Celerio (as Intrusive), Nicole Lamb (as Intrusive), Mia Cherise Hall (as Melinda), Zummy Mohammed (as Intrusive), and Audree Hedequist (as Intrusive) Photos by Thomas Mundell.

Relapse: A New Musical is filling Theatre Row with the sound of music from voices patients in a psychiatric hospital hear only in their heads. The 100-minute production captures the audience and brings them into the foggy, erratic, self-destructive world of this group who have lost their grasp on reality. It’s a difficult feat to write a musical about mental illness and get it right. The approach J. Giachetti takes in the book and lyrics, with music supplied by Louis Josephson, is quite inventive and works. The play takes place in group therapy sessions for four patients. But the music is about what’s going on in the minds of these people as they struggle with their sanity. And there are four more players called, ‘The Intrusive’ (the voices in the patients’ heads) doing whatever they can to keep the people in the group from breaking through to reality.

Bryan is played by Randall Scott Carpenter and this is his Off-Broadway debut. Bryan has an eating disorder and Carpenter captures a man searching for control right down to the nervous tick of shaking his leg. The schizophrenic in the group is Melinda played by Mia Cherise Hall. She has just the right spin on the character’s detachment from reality while still being part of the group.

Audree Hedequist (as Intrusive), Zummy Mohammed (as Intrusive), Becca Suskauer (as Kendra), Nicole Lamb (as Intrusive), and Vinny Celerio (as Intrusive) Photos by Thomas Mundell.

Kendra is played by Becca Suskauer (Pretty Woman, National Tour) making her Off-Broadway debut. Kendra is a sociopath who torched her home and killed her father. Rounding out the cast is Adam played by Jacob Ryan Smith (Lizard Boy, Off-Broadway) who is new to the group. He’s an alcoholic and this is his fourth relapse. All the characters have a singular goal: to get out. They are joined by ‘The Intrusive’ played by Vinny Clear, Audree Hedequist, Nicole Lamb, and Yummy Mohammed. They swarm around the patients blocking their way to progress, as well as, filling the void as a well-voiced chorus.

The lyrics by J Giachetti do the job of filling out the characters with titles like Psych 101, Outta Here, Shattered Brain, and What Would You Do. The rock edge to the music by Josephson (Composer, Additional Lyrics, Orchestrations, Julliard) adds to the chaos nicely.

Vinny Celerio (as Intrusive), Nicole Lamb (as Intrusive), Zummy Mohammed (as Intrusive), and Audree Hedequist (as Intrusive) Photos by Thomas Mundell.

Dr. Carlisle and Margot, the nurse, are played respectively by Troy Valjean Rucker (Romeo and Bernadette, Off-Broadway) and Ashley Alexandra (Tootsie – National Tour) who have a kind of antagonistic relationship. Margot is not completely happy with the doctor’s handling of the group and is not shy about speaking out. They also talk about how funding for the group session may be cut off. This is where the plot begins to wander somewhat unnecessarily.

Director and Choreographer Joey McKneely (West Side Story, Broadway) keeps all the characters moving to highlight their stories in the ensemble musical using all of the stage space. The eerie swarming of ‘The Intrusive’ works but as the show progresses their movements become somewhat repetitive.

Randall Scott Carpenter (as Bryan) Photos by Thomas Mundell.

The scenic design by Sheryl Liu (The Memorial, A.R.T.) is adequate, with six blue chairs in a semi-circle as you would expect. It’s easily moved around as needed. Liu, as costume designer, dresses the patients in simple scubs-like tops and pants. Except for Bryan who has a slouching muddy brown cardigan that he uses to his advantage as he nervously rubs it between his fingers hinting at his lack of control and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

This ensemble production of Relapse: A New Musical takes us inside mental illness. The problem comes within the optimistic ending. We really have mostly seen how the characters deal with their specific problems and how the voices in their heads keep holding them back. The doctor says he is moving a patient to the next level facility even though he isn’t ready just to show some progress on paper. Relapse isn’t perfect but it is definitely an evening of entertainment that will give you a lot to talk about when you leave the theater.

Ashley Alexander (as Margot) Photos by Thomas Mundell.

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Off Broadway

On The Red Carpet at Dracula Comedy of Terrors



The new hilarious Off Broadway show Dracula, A Comedy of Terrors by Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, officially opened at New World Stages September 18th.

Producers Dane Levins and Drew Desky

Tally Sessions

Gordon Greenberg (Co-Author and Director)

Tally Sessions and Gordon Greenberg

Victoria Deloris (Sound Design)

Steve Rosen (Co-Author)

Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen

Gordon Greenberg, Chess Jakobs and Steve Rosen

Telly Leung and Karen Mason

Karen Mason

Telly Leung

Paul Rolnick and Karen Mason

Julie Halston

Darren Goldstein

Katie Finneran and Darren Goldstein

Katie Finneran and Darren Goldstein

Katie Finneran, Steve Rosen and Darren Goldstein

Katie Finneran

Dominick Laruffa

Brett Ricci

Kaitlyn Boyer

Sean-Michael Wilkinson and Kaitlyn Boyer

Sean-Michael Wilkinson

Rob Denton (Lighting Design)

B.D. Wong and Julie Halston

B.D. Wong

Drew Desky and Dane Levins

Creative Team Victoria Delorio (Music and Sound Design), Tijana Bjelajac (Scenic and Puppet Design), Ashley Rae Callahan (Wig and Hair Design) and Rob Denton (Lighting)

Arnie Burton and Julie Halston

Arnie Burton

Julie Halston, Arnie Burton and Richard Kind

Ellen Harvey

James Daly and Ellen Harvey

James Daly, Ellen Harvey and Arnie Burton

James Daly, Ellen Harvey, Jordan Boatman, Arnie Burton and Andrew Keenan-Bolger

James Daly, Ellen Harvey, Sean-Michael Wilkinson and Jordan Boatman

James Daly, Ellen Harvey, Sean-Michael Wilkinson, Jordan Boatman, Kaitlyn Boyer, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Arnie Burton

James Daly

Jordan Boatman

Andrew Keenan-Bolger

Gordon Greenberg, Steve Rosen, Drew Desky and Dane Levins

Performances will run through January 7th.

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Off Broadway

Dracula: A Comedy Of Terror Will Suck You In With Its Wit



Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, opened tonight at New World Stage and it is sure to wrap you in its spell. The script by Gordon Greenberg (also the director) and Steven Rosen, takes on Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror classic and spins it into a delightful, intelligent, 90 minutes of sheer delight. This version is more along the lines of Mel Brooks, Rocky Horror, Monty Python and The 39 Steps.

We start of course in Transylvania, this Dracula (James Daly) is smoking HOT! taking off his black-lace vest to the delight of the audience. He is tall, blonde, muscular and wears tight leather pants, but he is also hilarious. He is an equal opportunity bloodsucker, perfect for this day and age. When Jonathan Harker (Andrew Keenan-Bolger), a meek and germ-a-phob, brings to the count his new real estate contracts to be signed, he also shows him his fiancé Lucy (Jordan Boatman), and the count is in lust with her neck.

James Daly, Jordan Boatman, Photo by Matthew Murphy

Headed across the sea to meet Lucy, he arrives at her father’s Dr. Westfeldt (Ellen Harvey), who runs the asylum where Renfield also lives and is also played with break neck speed by Harvey. Lucy’s sister Mina, is a lustful Arnie  Burton who also plays the German Dr. Van Helsing as Cloris Leachman in “Frankenstein.” Harvey and Burton are consulate actors who make any show they are in perfection. Both play roles that cross genders in drag and take them to the hilt.

Ellen Harvey and Arnie Burtin Photo by Matthew Murphy

The direction by Greenberg is fast paced and well thought out. He brings the best out of this uber talented ensemble, that is a director’s and audience’s dream. There is nothing I can fault here, nor would I want to.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jordan Boatman, James Daly, Ellen Harvey and Arnie Burton Photo by Matthew Murphy

Not only is the play fabulous but the scenic and puppet design by Tijana Bjelajac, the costumes by Tristan Raines and wigs by Ashley Rae Callahan, lighting design by Rob Denton, original music and sound design by Victoria Deiorio are done to perfection.

If you want to laugh, be entertained and feel like life is care free for at least 90 minutes, go and see Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors, you’ll be thrilled you did.

Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors: New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, until January 7, 2024 or beyond

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