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Tribeca Festival Announces Thrilling Feature Film Lineup for 2024

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The 2024 Tribeca Festival, presented by OKX, today unveiled its features lineup, offering a diverse array of narrative, documentary, and animated films. Scheduled to run from June 5-16 in New York City, this year’s Festival promises a thoughtfully curated program and includes everything from timely documentaries addressing political and social concerns to independent narratives showcasing award-winning actors. Additionally, the opening night event, presented in partnership with OKX and City National Bank, was announced.

Tribeca kicks off on Wednesday, June 5 with the world premiere of Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge, an intimate look at the life of the fashion designer and cultural luminary. The film captures Diane von Furstenberg’s impact as a creative icon, who challenged the status quo with the bold inquiry, “Why shouldn’t a woman do what a man can do?” Directed by Tribeca alumni Trish Dalton and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Woman in Charge opens the lineup of features.

The 2024 selection of feature films includes Jazzy with Lily Gladstone; Daddio starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn; Firebrand starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law; BRATS, directed by Andrew McCarthy, with Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, and Lea Thompson; Sacramento, directed by Michael Angarano, starring Michael Cera, Kristen Stewart, and Maya Erskine; Winter Spring Summer or Fall starring Jenna Ortega and Percy Hynes White; and Liza: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story with Liza Minnelli. Comedic stars are in Group Therapy, including Neil Patrick Harris, Mike Birbiglia, and Tig Notaro; All That We Love stars Margaret Cho and Jesse Tyler Ferguson; and Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution features Lily Tomlin, Wanda Sykes, Rosie O’Donnell, Hannah Gadsby, and Joel Kim Booster.

Music documentaries highlight the boldest voices of each generation with They All Came Out To Montreux with Prince, Sting, Carlos Santana, Aretha Franklin, and Keith Richards; Satisfied about Renée Elise Goldsberry; Linda Perry: Let It Die Here with Linda Perry, Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, and Christina Aguilera; and Avicii – I’m Tim with Tim “Avicii” Bergling, Chris Martin and David Guetta. Renée Elise Goldsberry and Linda Perry will be performing following the world premiere of their respective films.

“Each year, the Tribeca Festival reflects our culture, capturing the essence of the present moment. We’re thrilled to showcase our 23rd edition, delving into captivating explorations of artificial intelligence with Demis Hassabis, thought-provoking discussions on the future of democracy, and so much more,” Tribeca Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “Storytelling possesses a remarkable ability to bring us together, offering hope in these challenging times. We eagerly anticipate engaging with audiences on difficult yet timely subjects.”

The 23rd edition of Tribeca reflects our activist roots, to showcase a slate of films that speak to today’s political moment and inform voters ahead of the upcoming election. Hacking Hate, directed by Simon Klose, questions the role of social media in amplifying hate speech and extremism. McVeigh, directed by Mike Ott, portrays right-wing extremism with chilling modern implications. America’s Burning, directed by David Smick and narrated by Michael Douglas, dives into the economic root of hate and division.

At the core of our mission is the belief that art can spark change, particularly in the aftermath of global conflicts. The Cranes Call, directed by Laura Warner, spotlights war crimes investigators for the Clooney Foundation for Justice, led by Amal and George Clooney, as they risk their lives traveling across Ukraine to build cases against Russian soldiers and commanders. Antidote, directed by James Jones, digs into the truth about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly regime. Checkpoint Zoo, directed by Joshua Zeman, documents the daring rescue of thousands of animals trapped behind enemy lines in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As War continues to affect regions like the Middle East and Ukraine, art serves as a powerful reminder of our shared humanity.

“In a year of record high submissions, despite industry-wide challenges, and global tumult, our incredible filmmaking community delivered again with some of the most surprising, inspiring, hilarious, galvanizing, boundary-breaking, and downright entertaining work we’ve had the privilege to feature at the festival,” said Tribeca Festival Director and SVP of Programming Cara Cusumano. “Whether grappling with everything from the crisis of global democracy to the most intimate of human dramas, it was heartening to be reminded of the undeniable power of a great film to illuminate our world.”

For the first time, Tribeca’s signature Viewpoints section of bold original visions and innovative perspectives will be in competition. The interdisciplinary program encompasses U.S. and international films across narrative, documentary, and animation, including the animated feature Boys Go to Jupiter starring Elsie Fisher, Tavi Gevinson, Julio Torres, and Sarah Sherman, and the narrative thriller Darkest Miriam with Britt Lower. Documentaries include Champions of the Golden Valley, directed by Ben Sturgulewski, an inspiring sports fable and portrait of people in profound political and social transition, and Searching for Amani, directed by Debra Aroko, a 13-year-old’s dramatic quest to investigate his father’s mysterious murder in one of Kenya’s largest wildlife conservancies.

The final selections were chosen from a record-breaking number of submissions (13,016). This year’s program includes 103 feature films from 114 filmmakers across 48 countries. The lineup comprises 86 world premieres, two international premieres, six North American premieres, and eight New York premieres. Half of the films in competition are directed by women. Additionally, 35% (36) of feature films are directed by BIPOC filmmakers. There are 30 films directed by first-time filmmakers and 25 directors returning to Tribeca with their latest projects.

The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and SVP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Shorts Programming Ben Thompson; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz, Faridah Gbadamosi, Jarod Neece, José F. Rodriguez; Programmers Casey Baron, Jason Gutierrez, Jonathan Penner, and Madison Egan; VP of Games and Immersive Casey Baltes and Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska; EVP of Artist Relations Nancy Lefkowitz and VP of Artist Relations Meredith Mohr; Curator of Audio Storytelling Davy Gardner; Music Programmer Vincent Cassous; along with a team of associate programmers; supported and inspired by the legendary Paula Weinstein.

The full feature film lineup is detailed below. For more updates on programming follow @Tribeca and #Tribeca2024 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A Tribeca Membership or 2024 Tribeca Festival passes and ticket packages can be purchased at tribecafilm.com.

 

ElizaBeth Taylor is a journalist for Times Square Chronicles and is a frequent guest at film, fashion and art events throughout New York City and Los Angeles due to her stature as The Sensible Socialite.Passionate about people ElizaBeth spent many years working as a travel reporter and television producer after graduating with high honors from University of Southern California. The work has afforded her the opportunity to explore Europe, Russia, South America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. It has greatly influenced the way in which ElizaBeth sees a story and has created a heightened awareness for the way people around the world live today.

Celebrity

In “Back to Black,” Star Marisa Abela Turns in An Uncanny Performance as Amy Winehouse in The Sam Taylor-Johnson Biopic

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Evoking classic R&B, the late Amy Winehouse emerged as a celebrated new stars by making old music sound fresh. She possessed a deeply soulful voice which she used to sing songs of love, heartbreak, and struggles with substance abuse, as in her Top-10 hit “Rehab.” Winehouse sold 16 million copies of the LP Back to Black” and won big at the 2008 Grammy Awards, taking home Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. All that success was overshadowed by the Brit’s personal troubles, which, according to MTV News, included an arrest for drug possession — there was a viral video of the singer smoking what was reportedly crack cocaine — and an emphysema diagnosis.

Winehouse’s demons tragically got the best of her. According to The Guardian, authorities were summoned to the singer’s north London home in July 2011, where they found her dead at the scene. Winehouse was reportedly a heroin user, but a post mortem inquest pinpointed a different cause of death. According to “The Independent”, a London coroner found no drugs in her system, ruling that the singer died of alcohol poisoning following a period of three weeks of sobriety. Winehouse is believed to have consumed 416 milligrams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, well over a fatal level of 350 milligrams. She was 27 years old.

This complicated history has been fodder for articles, books, a notable documentary and now a feature film, “Back to Black”. The movie’s title is taken from the hot album of the same name. Directed by 57-year-old Sam Taylor-Johnson, her feature film debut was 2009’s “Nowhere Boy,” based on the Beatles’ singer/songwriter John Lennon’s childhood experiences.

Taylor-Johnson’s star for “Back to Black,” Marisa Abela, made her TV debut in 2020 with leads in the Sky One political thriller, “COBRA” and the BBC Two/ HBO office drama, “Industry.”  Abela appeared in the 2022 films, “She Is Love” and “Rogue Agent.” In July 2022, she joined the cast of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” (2023). Then the actress starred as Winehouse in this biopic.

This Q&A comes from an appearance made by the duo at the Museum of The Moving Image shortly before the film’s May 17th release.

T2C: This is a remarkable story and one that, in some ways, is privy to when she was alive. For each of you, what moved the dial from this is a remarkable story to this is a remarkable story that I need to tell?

Sam Taylor-Johnson:

Sam Taylor-Johnson: When Alison Owen, our producer, called me and said, “I’m looking to make the story of Amy Winehouse, which would be interesting,” I felt like I couldn’t say “Yes” quick enough. After I said so, I suddenly processed the enormity of what I was taking on. It felt like it had to be made from [Amy’s] perspective because, by living in London around the time when she was alive, I watched how her life was dissected and pulled apart in the tabloids and similarly post-death. I felt like going directly into her perspective. It was almost like allowing her to tell her own story through her words and her lyrics. It felt like a timely thing to do.

Marisa Abela

Marisa Abela: Basically, I got a call from my agent who said they’re doing it. I was about 13 when “Back to Black” came out, so I was aware of her music. I was singing the songs, but when you’re singing “Love Is A Losing Game” and you’re 13 years old, it doesn’t mean that you really understood it fully. That was my understanding of Amy [at the time]. Then, because of all of the tabloids and the images and stuff, I knew of her in that way. So, I said, “Let me think about it.” I was then in front of Sam Taylor-Johnson and Nina Gold, an amazing casting director in London. I knew they were being quite specific about who they were seeing, so I just didn’t want to make a fool of myself, essentially.

Then I started watching footage, the documentary, interviews about her life – things that really were quite telling [about] who she was as a person. There was just this thing about her and that carried me through the entire process I was watching. And there was this magnetism, this intensity, this deep well of feeling, emotions and intensity, that I was so drawn to. I felt that we’d drawn from Amy, herself. It was all there in her music. And for the people who still listened to her music often, this is for them. In the narrative around her life and death, I felt that what we’d lost really came through, but it seems like there’s a double-edged sword here.

T2C: There’s so much media and coverage, so many perspectives to sort through. Talk a bit more about your process and how you blocked out the noise and chose to privilege us with her perspective with what was there?

Sam Taylor-Johnson: It was important from the beginning to just block out the noise. There was a lot, especially when we were filming, and it became louder and louder. The louder it became, the more determined I was to just keep driving forward with it through her eyes and to uphold her. Our press are quite famous for pulling down anything that might seem to be successful in any way. It felt like those voices saying we need to protect her legacy were also the ones who pulled her apart during her lifetime. That emboldened me in a way to shut those voices out. The decision around how and what sort of film was going to be quite quickly came into place.

When I sat down with Matt Greenhalgh, who wrote the movie, I said, “If we are going through her workstyle perspective, with “Frank” and then “Back to Black,” obviously those are the keys to this film. “Back to Black” really is a love story and tells us everything within it. It became our framework. I knew that that was difficult for a lot of people who had a lot of opinions and judgments. I felt like her declaration of love and the power of that love was important to uphold in order to understand the creative journey of “Back to Black. In a way, we went into her perspective saying, she loved her father and she loved Blake: therefore, that’s our view. We still see some of the things that are highlighted in the documentary that people feel strongly about. They’re still part of our film, but they’re not seen through the lens of judgment. It was quite freeing to stay in her shoes on that journey.

T2C: This being a love story, you think immediately of romantic love. But the relationships that I was most struck by were those she had with her family. Talk a bit about choosing actors and having them light up those roles?

Sam Taylor-Johnson: With her Jewish grandmother, it was clear — during the research and hearing the stories from the family and others — that she was so much a part of the fabric of who Amy was, through Grandma Cynthia’s style and love of jazz and music. So it felt like, “Okay, this is worth going further into and strengthening that relationship.”  But when I went to Lesley [Manville] initially, she said, “Oh, I don’t know if there’s enough on the page for me.” I said, “Look at it like this is the fabric of Amy.” Once Lesley came on board, we then wrote more scenes because she was just so exceptional. We just honed in on those relationships that we felt were really important to the narrative of this story. Obviously, within — I don’t know how many minutes it was, I’ve forgotten — so much had to be dropped by the wayside. For me, as a storyteller, I have to just find my path. The Winehouses — Cynthia, Mitch, and Janis — plus husband Blake were on a path.

T2C: Talk a bit more about the music. Obviously there’s a great blueprint here. Did you have to make difficult decisions about what songs were included?

Sam Taylor-Johnson: I’ll start, but I want Marisa to take over on this because I’m talking too much. What I had quite early on was one of her playlists. On that playlist were The Specials and Minnie Riperton. It was quite a gift to have that. Amazingly, of all the things that were written that weren’t Amy’s music, we managed to have access to it. But when I started the movie, I had all the music rights from Sony and Universal. I didn’t have to have approval for anybody. I could just make the movie I wanted to make. Matt wrote very specifically for the songs, almost like it’s a musical in the sense that it belonged to the narrative structure. You couldn’t choose “Love Is a Losing Game” and switch it with “Stronger Than Me.” It really was laid out that way.

I’ll let Marisa come into this because I just want to say, when I met Marisa for the audition, she said, I remember, “What about singing? I’m not a singer.” But Marisa sang that entire movie. Every song you hear. So from the position of declaring she couldn’t sing, what you saw is very contrary to that. Okay, you can talk about that…

Marisa Abela: I think what became clear was, as I was reading the script more and more, and watching more and more footage of Amy, was that these albums are so iconic and incredible from a songwriting perspective as well as a musical one. But what was so incredible about the performances I was watching was that they were completely different every single time. If she was in a bad mood – and she was often in a really, really bad mood – you wouldn’t get half the song from her. If she was in a great mood, she was singing all over the place, amazing riffs. To certain members of the audience, this is the thing that made Amy a live performer.

What weirdly felt like the most authentic choice was to be able to use my own voice to make whatever choice came to me in the moment from a purely impulse perspective as an actor. What was inspiring me at this moment? Is it that I’m looking at Blake during “There Is No Greater Love” and I’m so overwhelmed with feeling and emotion that I want to hold on to a specific sound for longer so that he can hear me through all of those decisions? In the same way, the first time you hear her write one of her own songs with “What Is It About Men,” I wanted to be able to think about each line. How am I formulating this moment? you get to see the behind-the-scenes of the creation of a song. That’s a really beautiful thing. If we were cutting to the studio recording of “What Is It About Men,” for example, you couldn’t have that scene of Amy sitting on the bed writing it for the first time, getting mixed up with certain words.

I basically felt I needed to get as close as possible to something that sounded as recognizable as possible to one of the most recognizable voices that you would believe in. The truth is, if you listen to them side by side, I’m sure there are huge differences. But it doesn’t matter as long as you believe what she’s saying and as long as you believe what she’s feeling. That, to me, was always the most important thing as an actor, obviously. It’s the intention that matters. Process-wise, I trained very hard and also learned to play the guitar. I listened to all the people that I think she would have grown up listening to. As Sam said, we had lots of playlists of hers.

I was aware that she grew up listening to Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, Ray Charles. I just surrounded myself with that music and was singing along to it all the time. Then I was using the techniques I was learning with my singing teacher that were Amy’s tecjmoqies. We have a different face. She has a bigger jaw than me. She had a different nose to me. We use different resonances. So, it’s different. But the intention is the most important thing. I was training for two hours a day, every day, over the four months with my singing teacher.

T2C: There’s so much to dive into with its emotionality, but you touched upon something that I wanted me to talk to you about – creating these scenes like Glastonbury, the Grammys and things that we have enormous touchstones for beyond Amy’s experiences. These are media events that happen all the time. So practically recreating these scenes, which you do so successfully, can you talk more about them?

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Oh, I’d love to because I’m so proud of Glastonbury. When you see that big open-air festival, we shot it in a room not much bigger than this theater. We just had brilliantly creative teams working on this. Glastonbury for the rest of the year is just a field. So all of those stages and everything, we had to recreate and film it. I had an incredible sound crew. What we created, it took months to get that sound exactly right. Then the Ronnie Scott scene early on. That was the only time I ever saw Amy play, in a young, up-and-coming Voices of Jazz. How old was she? Probably 19 or 20. It was at Ronnie Scott’s. I used my memory of what it felt like being in the room with her to recreate how that would have felt. But yes, a lot of it, like the Grammys, we had YouTube running alongside what we were filming to try and emulate it as much as possible – like the same camera angles. Marisa’s performance, as you can see, was absolutely spot-on. Every finger movement was incredible. So it was fun. It was so fun to recreate this. And, it’s fun to watch it.

Film: Back to Black

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Cast: Marisa Abela, Jack O’Connell, Eddie Marsan, Juliet Cowan, Lesley Manville, Sam Buchanan, Pete Lee-Wilson, Thelma Ruby, Renee Matilda Thorpe, Ryan O’Doherty

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Out of Town

Comedy On in Noises Off

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Opening their 2024 Season at the Bucks County Playhouse is Noises Off, a farce by the English playwright, Michael Frayn. Definition of “farce” – a comedic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including ludicrously improbable situations. Yes, yes and yes. Synonym: slapstick comedy.
To be in this production, directed by Hunter Foster, you must either be an olympic gymnast or have the stamina of a race horse for there is much hopping up and down stairs, pratfalling, back flipping, slow splits and general rolling about.

Ah, but I digress. Let us get to the plot. The what? Well, actually there really isn’t much of a plot. You see, the play is a play within a play. It is a troupe of second rate actors in a second rate tour of a second rate play, a sex farce entitled, “Nothing On”. It begins at midnight the night before the cast’s first performance and they are ill prepared. Many things go awry. Missing props, missing cues, missing lines, etc. etc. etc. And to top it all off, there are relationship problems amidst the members which become exacerbated as the tour progresses. Act One is the rehearsal. Act Two is a performance viewed from behind the scenes and Act Three is the disastrous results at the end of the tour.

The play premiered in London in 1982 directed by Michael Blakemore. The 1983 Broadway production again directed by Blakemore earned four Tony nominations and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play and Outstanding Ensemble. Since then it has had seven revivals between Broadway and the West End and has become a staple of both professional and community theaters alike. Standout performances are in order for the entire ensemble.

Amanda Kristin Nichols

Amanda Kristin Nichols (as Brooke Ashton) is hysterical in her skimpy underwear preening and posing in the most ridiculous positions, thinking she’s looking sexy.

Jen Cody

Jen Cody is appropriately dotty as the sympathetic Dotty Otley, whether she’s doing a split or hanging upside down.

John Bolton

John Bolton is simply super as Frederick Fellowes, the sensitive actor who always needs to know “why” he must complete an action on stage no matter how nonsensical it is.

John Patrick Hayden

John Patrick Hayden is marvelous as the director we sympathize with for having to deal with these screwball actors even though he turns out to be a cad. Though Roe Hartrampf is hard pressed to express himself with words as Garry Lejeune, he goes ballistic when he mistakenly thinks that Dotty is seeing Frederick.

Marilu Henner

Marilu Henner is the proverbial peacemaker always trying to smooth things over even when they are inextricably fouled up. Barrett Riggins as Tim Allgood, the Assistant Stage Manager, has greatness thrust upon him through no fault of his own.

Folami Williams

Folami Williams as Poppy Norton-Taylor, the Stage Manager is adorable as she reveals her secret at the end of the play.

Richard Kline

And Richard Kline as Selsdon Mowbray, the man with a drinking habit is quite lovable. They say the director’s hand should be invisible in a play, but I’m afraid that Mr. Hunter’s hands are all over this one for this production is choreographed to a “T”. Credit must be given to this director because usually there aren’t many laughs in Act One as it’s all just a set up for Act Two and Three. However, there are a lot of laughs in the first act. And needless to say, it’s a non-stop laugh fest for the next two acts. So if you need a good laugh – and who doesn’t with fire, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes all around us – this show is a very good panacea.

For tickets visit buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.

Noises Off by Michael Frayn Directed by Hunter Foster
Running now through June 10, 2024 70 South Main Street

New Hope, PA 18938

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Out of Town

Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall Rewinds With Layered Results

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The “sweet, sweet boy” lies in a spotlight, shrowded in Spanish moss and mystic lighting. He’s drowning in the mystic feeling of death with ghostly faces of ancestorial connection shimmering forward to engage and recount. This memory play, written with purpose and desire by Audrey Dwyer (Calpurnia), spans time and place, layering in the histories of both Black and Indigenous teachings that float out the realities of the cultural framing. Spanning generations and one man’s ever-so-long lifelin is as epic in its scope as can be, distinct and smart in its construct, and sometimes lacking in focus, leading us to lean in and tune out with some regularity.


Daren A. Herbert & Emerjade Simms with Nicole Joy-Fraser & Brandon Oakes in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The beginning, as staged by Tarragon artistic director Mike Payette (Tarragon’s Cockroach), floats into our system like the smell of ghostly swamp air, hidden behind layers of mist and secrecy. Giving abstract vantage points to breathe in the complexities of this man’s trauma, the play spirits out souls from his epic life for us all to engage with, as well as a future generation stumbling forward while trying to unpack a past, all so he, Billie, played by Troy Adams (TIFT’s The Other Place), a descendant, can understand the present condition and navigate life forward from a wiser perspective. The framing is unique and contextual, letting Hall’s mixed heritage of Mowak and Black Jamaican ancestry find equal footing on that somewhat overstuffed stage, designed by Jawon Kang (Tarragon’s A Poem for Rabia), while giving layers of space to try to understand personal trauma and confusion.

Helen Belay & Daren A. Herbert with Troy Adams, Emerjade Simms, Brandon Oakes & Nicole Joy-Fraser in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Hall, played forcibly by Daren A. Herbert (Soulpepper’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train), finds clarity in his rewinding, looking back over his timeline with curiosity. He fought as a Black loyalist in the War of 1812. He survived capture by American forces and was systematically enslaved in Virginia and Kentucky. He escaped, with his wife, using a threaded map of rice and beans braided into his hair that helped lead him back home to safety in Canada. Throughout his journey, he held true to his yearnings for home, family, and love, marrying, we are told, up to six wives and was father, or should I say “Daddy Hall” to somewhere around 21 children. It’s a lot to cover in this one-act wonder of a play, and even when it falters in its complicated unpacking, muddling the journey with an overly fussy rearrangement of wood pieces and somewhat jarring blocking and movement, the journey has marked moments of wonder that are highlighted and expanded by the gentle fantastical music delivered out from the depths by Unsettled Scores (Spy Dénommé-Welch & Catherine Magowan), the production’s sound designers and composers.

The notes float in, elevating the dialogue with background poetic illusions of ancestorial and cultural undercurrents that consistently save the framing from sinking down underneath the crackling ice. They trigger tragedy and loss, even when the interconnectivity feels jagged and forced. Lit from a place of historic warmth and engagement, designed by Michelle Ramsay (Factory’s The Waltz) with simple yet clever costuming by Christine Ting-Huan 挺歡 Urquhart (Tarragon’s Cockroach), Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall works hard to relive all those key moments in this man’s complex life, particularly around the ideas of home, safety, and attachment. The cast, that includes Indigenous actors Nicole Joy-Fraser (Tarragon’s My Sister’s Rage) and Brandon Oakes (CBC’s Diggstown), and Black actors Helen Belay (Soulpepper’s Queen Goneril & King Lear) and Emerjade Simms (Cahoots Theatre’s Sweeter), engages with intent in the non-linear mystical unpacking, allowing us to consider and engage with Hall’s ancestral lineage and all the trauma that has been layered on this man throughout his journey.

Emerjade Simms & Daren A. Herbert in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The play spirits forth the dynamic from this misty ancestral plane, sometimes finding complete visual and poetic illusions, like in the crackling watery descent of his wife, Mary, played lovingly by Belay. At the same time, other moments feel disconnected from the emotional journey and its overarching themes. The modern stance in Tarragon‘s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall never really finds its connective tissue throughout and feels put upon and not completely organic to the main Hall stance. There’s wonder in their search for bigger pictured themes and answers to complex historical and connective questions, sometimes feeling grounded in emotional truth, and sometimes masked behind layers of Spanish moss. The energy shifts, floating in and out of the murky cold waters of memory and ancestral history, and when it hits its mark, there is clarity, but other times, we swim in cold waters looking for the light and air of understanding.

Daren A. Herbert & Helen Belay with Nicole Joy-Fraser & Brandon Oakes in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall.  Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Music

The Canadian Festival of New Musicals Unveils Three New Works

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This Saturday, thanks to the theatre gods of Toronto, I was gifted with the chance to experience the next wave of new Canadian musicals. Getting underway earlier this week, the inaugural season of The Canadian Festival of New Musicals, running from May 23rd – 26th at the Berkeley St Theatre, unveiled a few new musicals. Presented by The Musical Stage Company in association with Canadian Stage, the three new shows were given the grand opportunity to present snippets of their work-in-progress; new musicals that are being experimented with, played with, and developed for our theatrical enjoyment. And what a joy it was to be in the room with all these enthusiastic souls.

New Voices. New Stories. New Musicals.” is the Festival’s motto, as I made my way downtown to join the celebration of creativity, innovation, and collaboration, giving the audience a glimpse of three of the Musical Stage Company’s musicals in development.

Featuring excerpts from IN REAL LIFE, AFTER THE RAIN, and COWBOY TEMPEST CABARET, the Canadian Festival of New Musicals was an electrifying showcase that gave audiences a first look and listen at the new stories being created by some of our country’s most promising lyricists, composers, and writers, and delivered by some amazing performers, such as Brandon Antonio (Broadway’s & Juliet), Raquel Duffy (Coal Mine’s Apppropriate), Eva Foote (Stratford’s Hamlet-911), Brendan Wall (MSC’s Natasha, Pierre…), and the phenomenal Elm Reyes (Factory’s Trojan Girls…). The festival also provided opportunities for music theatre creators to meet new collaborators, learn more from experts in the field, and engage in the conversation around the development of new musical theatre in Canada.

These musicals are all being developed for full-length productions, with AFTER THE RAIN already programmed into the upcoming Tarragon season, a production that I am super excited to have the chance to experience again.

THE CANADIAN FESTIVAL OF NEW MUSICALS

Details and schedule:

AFTER THE RAIN (Double bill with COWBOY TEMPEST CABARET)

May 23RD 8:00pm and May 25th 3:30pm

Co-Commissioned and Co-Developed by The Musical Stage Company and Tarragon Theatre

Book by Rose Napoli

Music & Lyrics by Suzy Wilde

Featuring Eva Foote, Raquel Duffy, Brendan Wall, and Shaemus Swets

Her parents are famous. Her boyfriend is stupid. And Suzie is a mess.

When she accepts a mature piano student obsessed with mastering only one song, Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1”, struggling songwriter Suzie’s life takes an unforeseen turn. Full of family turmoil, life’s complexities, and centered around a devastating discovery, AFTER THE RAIN is a musical based on a true story about the healing power of music.

COWBOY TEMPEST CABARET (Double bill w AFTER THE RAIN)

May 23rd 8:00pm and May 25th 3:30pm

Commissioned and Developed by The Musical Stage Company

Book by Niall McNeil, Lucy McNulty & Anton Lipovetsky,

Music by Anton Lipovetsky

Lyrics by Niall McNeil

Featuring Brandon Antonio, Raquel Duffy, Eva Foote, Dylan Harman, Yousef Kadoura, Elm Reyes, Shaemus Swets, and Brendan Wall

Guns and magic. Love and hurt. When gunslinger Prospero conjures a storm in the desert, he begins a chain of events that forces every cowboy and spirit into a fight for freedom. Created by an artist with Down Syndrome and his longtime collaborators, Cowboy Tempest Cabaret is a totally lawless adaptation of Shakespeare’s Tempest musicalized in the styles of rock, folk and country & western music.

IN REAL LIFE

May 24th and 25th at 8:00pm, May 26th at 2:00pm

Commissioned by The Musical Stage Company and Co-Developed by The Musical Stage Company and fu-GEN Theatre Company

Book & Lyrics by Nick Green

Music & Lyrics by Kevin Wong

Featuring Alicia Ault, Janelle Cooper, Colleen Furlan, Hailey Gillis, Matthew Joseph, William Lincoln, Jacob McInnis, and Daniel Williston

Set in a dystopian future, technological prodigy Max is an ideal student with a bright future, until, with a single swipe, he sets out on a journey to forbidden corners of the Internet, underground societies, and forgotten parts of himself. A story filled with twists and turns, In Real Life examines the complexities of power, technology, and freedom in the digital era.

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As you lay out by the pool, the beach, Central Park or on the sidelines of a parade, T2C offers you music to celebrate and get you in the mood.

 

 

 

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