Did you know that fewer than 1 percent of American citizens currently serve in the military?
Did you know 22 veterans commit suicide per day in the US?
Did you know a report released by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee found that as many as 9,000 Americans were left behind in Afghanistan during the Biden Administration’s withdrawal?
According to the U.S. State Department 74,000 applications for special immigrant visas for Afghan interpreters who served America despite the target on their back, have still not been processed and yet we are allowing immigrants to flood our borders who care nothing about our country.
Over 300 translators and their family members have been killed by the Taliban, because of this insight.
“Shit happens, and then you drive on” is the motto they are given. Reciting this allows a person to survive.
War is something that is looming and we need to prepare our young men and women with more than just basic training. We need to teach them how to deal with where they are going, what’s in store, death, the loss of friends, the impact of how killing someone can have an effect on your soul and so much more.
Now at the A.R.T. Theatre is the Pulitzer Prize nominated War Words. Here the words of the men and women who served in the U.S. Military during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are told. Michelle Kholos Brooks’s docudrama is based on Brooks’s interviews with real veterans and it is powerful.
Underscoring these stories of courage, valor and emphasizing the horrors that have been inflicted is Andrew Beall acting as a live DJ with live percussion music and so much more. Orchestrations by Mariana Ramirez highlight this piece making it more complete.
Director Sarah Norris’s keeps this show bare with just chairs on an empty stage with the words illuminating and taking over the stage. Here we are brought into the world of 14 men and women who lived through this hell.
The performers are perfection and a complete ensemble or better yet a band of brothers and sisters. Two served in Iraq. They fill the stage with truth and honesty.
Imagine that your friend was one of the more than 300 US soldiers murdered in the “green-on-blue” violence and you want to bring him home, but the governmental red tape makes it next to impossible. You find a way to make this happen, after all he is your brother.
Drone pilot, Dan F (Kevin Loreque) spends his days and nights in America trying to protect those in Iraq and Afghanistan and for his efforts is barely recognized as are any of the people who perform this service. When he returns home after a long day of “killing,” he is expected to be ok and to return to normal as a civilian. All of these men and women are given NO help, encouragement or training to deal with what will never be normal.
Amy (Jennean Farmer), is an real veteran and when she tells how see peed her pants while standing guard, she brings humor to what could have been devastating.
Danny (Jakob von Eichel) and his wife, Kimberley (Bethany Geraghty) are dealing with PTSD. Danny has returned from war with a traumatic brain injury and is now an abuser, threatening to kill Kimberley as she stands by him. In the meantime every day he sticks a revolver in his mouth wanting to end it all. What keeps him from doing this is his daughter.
Janis (Haythem Noor) is an Afghan translator who is not recognized as a veteran by the US government, despite his eight years of service. He saved the life of Matt (John J. Concado) by shooting two Taliban militants who were sneaking up on him. He has a target on his back and Matt helps get him to America when he is unceremoniously left behind by the Biden administration and the red tape makes it next to impossible. What Janis does with the help he is giving will make you ashamed we have not done more.
All these stories tell of these brave men and women’s ability to survive and move forward, forgive, and learn how to live in a world that has abandoned them after giving their all.
It seems lately I have been called on to bring light to this subject. I learned and have been helping vets learn about camp4hereos where they can go for free and be healed with friendship, camaraderie and practical applications.
We need to do more for these humans that give of their lives to keep us alive. Just saying thank-you should no longer be enough.
War Words: by NewYorkRep in association with New Light Theater Project at A.R.T. Theatre, 502 West 53rd Street, through December 17th.
Ruth Stage’s “Lone Star” Guzzles Down Edgeless Revelations and Trauma at Theatre Row NYC
By Dennis W
Hey, grab yourself a six-pack and head out to Angel’s Bar (at NYC’s Theatre Row) where Ray, Roy, Cletis, and Elizabeth will meet you in the backyard. It’s just a place to hang out, where tired old lawn furniture and a few milk crates hiding in the scrub go before they retire to the junk pile. It’s the early 1970s, and there isn’t much to do in the backwater town of Maynard, Texas, as a matter of fact, the town almost disappeared not too long ago.
The main players, Roy and Ray, in Ruth Stage’s Lone Starwritten by James McLure (Original Adaption by Ruth Stage) seem to be the brothers. They exist here, living out a dark comedy about a psychological casualty of war who comes home. It begins with a substantial monologue and mini-concert by Roy’s wife, Elizabeth, played by Ana Isabelle (Off-Broadway’s I Like It Like That). She is trying to save her marriage to her high school sweetheart, a former soldier who came home from Vietnam two years ago and suffers from PTSD (which was not even acknowledged by the military until the 1980s). Isabelle gives an adequate performance but it feels very odd that she is alone on stage talking about how her husband’s condition has and is affecting her, him, their life together, their family, and their strained marriage. What’s odd is that when she’s finished she leaves, not to be seen again, until just before the final curtain.
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Have You Begun Dreaming of It Yet? (PART I)
What else – White Christmas, of course!
December is jampacked with great entertainment, so I hope you’re caught up on your shopping, because there are lots of treats for you this month. Here’s a stockingful of events that you shouldn’t miss.
If you’re looking for probably the most glamorous gift of the season, drop by Doyle Galleries to at least look at The Ellin and Irving Berlin Sapphire and Diamond Ring. Bidding is estimated to begin at $200,000 at the December 14th auction.
Jason Henderson kicked off the month reprising his highly acclaimed latest venture, Getting to Noël You at Don’t Tell Mama on the 4th. If you missed this evening, don’t worry – he’s back by popular demand—same time, same location—on January 24th and February 11th. It’s quite a curious and fast-paced ride he takes us on, and it’s one not to be missed.
The York Theatre has delivered a mitzvah–just in time for Christmas. Billed as a Musical Comedy of Biblical Proportions, The Jerusalem Syndrome certainly lived up to expectations. You must see it to discover the meaning of the title, which is fact, not fiction.
While this has been in development for several years, the skilled midwifery of the York brought forth a little bundle of joy that had the audience laughing at its humor and touched by its message. Sensitive to the current Middle East conflict, the York bravely went ahead with the project, which affords everyone a chance to marvel and understand the miracle that is Israel.
It’s running through the end of the year—visit the York website https://yorktheatre.org for more info.
Urban Stages has announced its “2023 Winter Rhythms” series, the award-winning music festival at Urban Stages Theater (259 West 30th Street – between 7th & 8th Avenues).
It began with a gala on December 6 entitled “Nights at the Algonquin: A Celebration of The Oak Room Supper Club,” featuring many legendary cabaret performers including Natalie Douglas, Boots Maleson, Steve Ross, and Daryl Sherman. Hosted by Michael Colby (author of The Algonquin Kid), the evening began with a champagne and wine reception followed by the show at 7:30 with a post-show gathering to follow.
On Sunday, December 10 at 3pm “Created at the Algonquin: Songs from Musicals Written at The Algonquin,” featuring performances by Craig Bierko, Shana Farr, Jenn Gambatese, Anita Gillette, Jon Peterson, Steve Ross and others. The program will be directed by Sara Louise Lazarus with Michael Lavine directing the music.
As part of the festivities, Shana Farr will reprise her glorious Barbara Cook tribute on the 16th. Ice Cream,. Anyone?
Everyone’s favorite is Karen Mason, whose show Christmas! Christmas! Christmas! is one night only at Birdland at 7 pm on the 11th.
Stay tuned for Part II for Christmas romance, tradition, and good will!
T2C Talks to Patrick Olson About Emergence
Patrick Olson, is a musician-scientist and now a performer with his own show Emergence, Off-Broadway at The Pershing Square Signature Center through January 7, 2024.
T2C talked to this prolific artist to learn more about what seems more like a movement and a unique experience.
See t2C’s review here.
Emergence: Things Are Not As They Seem: Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street through January 7th. Tickets and information: emergenceshow.com
Video by Magda Katz
Off Broadway Girl Talk Madwomen of the West
Right now at the Actors Temple Theatre, 339 West 47th Street is the New York premier of Sandra Tsing Loh’s Madwomen of the West. The show in a way reminded me of the 1996 play Love, Loss, and What I Wore, where celebrities joined on stage. Here you have Caroline Aaron, Brooke Adams, Marilu Henner, and Melanie Mayron, all actors who have performed on film, TV and stage. They are like long lost friends, they are so familiar.
The four have gathered together for Claudia’s (Mayron) birthday. It is being thrown at the Brentwood home of Jules (Adams) and Marilyn (Aaron) has decorated. Enter the long lost Zoey (Henner) and what you think you know about these friends, isn’t what it seems. As a matter of fact, this birthday brunch is about to turn into the brunch from hell. These Baby Boomers, are also feminists admiring Hilary Clinton and Gloria Steinem, though not always on the same side. They break the 4th wall, as they banter back and forth to themselves and to us, the audience. They confront, encourage, justify and talk about transgender, health, the horror of Trump and those “pussy hats”, sex and so much more. Think “girl-talk” to the max.
They sit on couches, as a backdrop of palm trees, and a lone piñata take center stage, thanks to set designer Christian Fleming. The play has no money, so the production is bare bones…. so they say. Everything about this show is tongue and check and is well directed by Thomas Caruso.
Each actor here shines and in an out of the way aside, each has pieces of their real selves written into the roles they play. Not having seen Aaron on stage before, I was impressed by her vocal quality and humor. Adams brings sophistication and Mayron adds that knowing, we are all in the same messed up boat. Henner will make you want that body and her sex appeal.
These women knocked down doors for the women to come, but I was surprised that the one issue they missed out on was that women are still not equal in this country. It takes 1, count it 1 state to approve this and yet plays about feminism leave this vital information out.
The show ends with “The Bitch is Back.” they sing in glee. I guess it is ok when we call ourselves that.
Madwomen of the West: The Actors Temple Theatre, 339 West 47th Street through December 31.
“Stereophonic” at Playwrights Horizons Sings Solidly
It’s July 1976, in a recording studio in Sausalito, CA and we are being invited into a space that only a select few get to visit, let alone witness. This is art in the making, pure and simple, with ego and love, getting mixed and faded in through the process most musically. In Playwrights Horizons‘s magnificent new play, Stereophonic, written most delicately by David Adjmi (The Blind King Parts I and II), a band on the cusp of greatness has assembled, and they are tasked, casually and with great intent, to something magnificent and meaningful, a lasting piece of musical art, to follow up their last album that has become, over the timeframe, a breakout hit.
The play is exceptionally well framed and constructed; both musical and meandering, in the best of all possible ways, yet somewhere inside Adjmi’s engaging Stereophonicand its three-hour running time, a deeper level of contextual art formulation is unpacked quite beautifully. It saunters forward, with a complicated level of exhaustion, angst, and inspiration, unearthing something that almost defies expectations and compartmentalization. It’s a 1970s rock saga, clearly modeled on the legendary Fleetwood Mac and their dynamic backstage friction, that leans into and plays with the problematic relationships within this unnamed band as they try to create magic behind a glass wall, while also trying to fulfill their emotional needs in the confines of the studio and real life.
It’s all emotional breakups and reconciliations, with a layer of bored and sleep-deprived banter; around a broken coffee machine and the annoying reverberations of (not only) the drum. It’s electric and conflictual, playing havoc on every one of these characters’ insecure hearts, while offering up no grand solutions or final product. Stereophonic is all about the tiny details and the little frustrations that grow and become emotional cannonballs bent on destruction, leveled and defused out of an undercurrent of love and need for creation. It is incandescent in its artful construction, displaying and writing about a realm few of us can understand. It’s the agony and ecstasy that lives and sings inside the magnificent creative process of musicians, arts, singers, and writers, who hear aspects that most of us can’t understand, let alone hear or comprehend. And we have been invited in, to bear witness to its creation, in all its meticulously dull and exhausting detail. Giving light to the darkness of the process, and how art can both create and destroy those involved in its coming to life.
How To Dance In Ohio Shows How Broadway Musicals Should Be Done
The Glorious Corner
Countdown to Christmas: A New Musical Song Cycle Well-Behaved Women
Romantic and Meaningful Love Quotes For Her To Help Win Her Heart
How to Take Advantage of Virtual Numbers for SMS
Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?
Family1 day ago
Countdown to Christmas: Own The Moon
Events3 days ago
Happy Chanukah Day 2: Light One Candle With The Carney’s
Events1 day ago
Happy Chanukah Day 4 Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik Explains The Holiday
Events2 days ago
Happy Chanukah Day 3: Food For Thought
Family3 days ago
Countdown to Christmas Day: Map The Song Of Your Life
Family2 days ago
Countdown to Christmas Day Our Holiday Gift Guide: A Portable Campfire
Off Broadway4 days ago
T2C Talks to Patrick Olson About Emergence
Cabaret3 days ago
Have You Begun Dreaming of It Yet? (PART I)