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What to Watch: July 18



All-Asian American production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder until July 22nd. Donations for are now being accepted and tickets for the virtual show are now available. CollaborAzian’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder will be helmed by theatre and television director Alan Muraoka, who has played Alan, the owner of Hooper’s Store on Sesame Street for the past 23 years. He most recently played Iago in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, and starred as the Engineer in Miss Saigon. The all-Asian American cast will star Cindy Cheung (13 Reasons Why), Karl Josef Co (Pacific Overtures), Ali Ewoldt (The Phantom of the Opera), Diane Phelan (School of Rock), and Thom Sesma (Sweeney Todd). Steven Cuevas (Once On This Island) serves as music director.

2021 Jimmy AwardsThis national talent showcase celebrates high school students from across the country and features dynamic ensemble and solo performances. Presented by the Broadway League Foundation, 20 scholarships are set to be awarded at this year’s show. Available through July 18.

2pm: Goodman Theatre’s I Hate It Here Goodman Theatre’s streaming-in-real-time Live series concludes with I Hate It Here by Ike Holter. Streaming through July 18. There’s one thing Americans can agree on: it’s that 2020 was not the best way to begin a new decade. With guts and humor, punctuated with story and song, the play asks who we are in a world on the brink explosion.

The cast features Patrick Agada, Jayson Brooks, Sydney Charles, Behzad Debu, Kirsten Fitzgerald, and Gabriel Ruiz. Lili-Anne Brown directs.

Bay Area Playwrights Festival One of the nation’s oldest and most successful new play development programs, Bay Area Playwrights Festival will introduce five new works to streaming audiences this year.

The 2021 BAPF features ten readings of five new works, including Jaisey Bates’ Real Time remix, a new selection of short works in which four storytellers crisscross paths across dimensions; Miyoko Conley’s Human Museum, a wildly imaginative drama depicting a future where a human museum is curated by robots; Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin’s Tiger Beat, a coming of age story about pop stardom in the 2000s; Sam Hamashima’s Supposed Home, a time-bending anime adventure investigating the lasting effects of the Japanese American Concentration Camps; and Johnny G. Lloyd’s The Problem with Magic, Is:, a magical exploration of family, gentrification, and a spell gone wrong. Until July 25.

7:30pm: Puccini’s Turandot A legendary ancient princess presents each new suitor with a series of riddles; success will win her hand, but failure costs his head. One brave warrior prince rises to the challenge, determined to thaw Turandot’s frozen heart. Puccini lavishes the tale with some of his finest and most spectacular music—not to mention “Nessun dorma,” an aria instantly recognizable far beyond the confines of the opera house. Combined with Franco Zeffirelli’s breathtakingly opulent production, it makes for one of opera’s grandest experiences.

Until the Flood Dael Orlandersmith performs her play based on interviews she conducted with the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, in the months following the shooting of Michael Brown. Filmed Off-Broadway at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in 2018. adaptation of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker’s film Town Bloody Hall, documenting a raucous 1971 debate on Women’s Liberation held at Town Hall in New York City. Filmed in 2017 at The Performing Garage in New York and on tour. Until the 26th.

Lines in the Dust Streaming on demand through August 8. New Normal Rep presents Lines in the Dust by Pulitzer Prize-nominated and Obie Award-winning playwright Nikkole Salter.

2010, Essex County, NJ.  When Denitra loses the charter school lottery for her daughter, she must find another way to escape from their underperforming neighborhood school. The answer seems like a risk well worth taking, but may end up requiring a bigger sacrifice than she ever could have imagined. Set over a half-century after Brown Versus The Board of Education, Lines in the Dust questions how far we’ve come and more importantly, where we go from here.

Awoye Timpo (The Loophole at The Public Theater) directs a cast including Jeffrey Bean (Amadeus), Melissa Joyner (Maids Door, the FX Original Series Mrs. America), and Lisa Rosetta Strum (She Gon’ Learn at the Emerging Artist Theatre Festival at TADA!, and United Solo Festival on Theatre Row).

Myths and Hymns: Faith Jennifer Holliday, Mykal Kilgore and Anthony Roth Costanzo star in the final installment of Adam Guettel’s song cycle.

The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles Antaeus Theatre Company highlights the culture and history of six additional Los Angeles neighborhoods with Season 2 of its popular The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles podcast series.

The latest installments will introduce audiences to the geographically, historically and culturally diverse locales of Echo Park (90026), West Hollywood (90069), Inglewood (90303), Pacoima (91331), North Hollywood (91601) and Monterey Park (91754). 

The Destruction of Jane Edgar Rice Burroughs will be spinning in his grave this spring. A new seven-part miniseries, inspired by the infamous film Tarzan the Ape Man, debuts this month.

The Destruction of Jane is an unauthorized parody of the King of the Jungle is told from the point of view of Miss Jane Parker. 

Weekly installments premiere on Thursdays.  

The miniseries stars stars Paul Pecorino and Rob Eco as Jane and Tarzan, respectively, and features special cameo appearances by Mario Cantone and Randy Rainbow. The show is written by Paul Pecorino and directed by Drue Pennella.

Set in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this comedy follows Jane to the African jungle where she meets and falls in love with the spectacular specimen we all know as the legendary Tarzan. The 1981 Tarzan film became a massive financial hit due to its dizzyingly unintentional bad taste, and screenwriter Paul Pecorino has set out to push these offensively vulgar boundaries even further.

The creative team includes director of photography Erik Paulsen, composers Drew Fornarola and David Nehls, musical arranger Paul Doust; costumes & wigs designer David Mitsch; makeup & wig styling designer Vera Stromsted and Donanyely Mejia and Marty Thomas; and specialty costumes designer Gail Baldoni. The Destruction of Jane is presented by Pure Motion Pictures.

Back to the Future: From Screen to Stage Ahead of the Back to the Future musical opening in the Adelphi Theatre on August 20, BFI at Home presents an online discussion with members of the cast and crew about how the hit film became a full-fledged stage musical.

The Woman’s Party Clubbed Thumb presents the world premiere of The Woman’s Party. Originally slated to premiere as part of the 2020 Summerworks Festival, the piece will now premiere virtually.

Written by Rinne B. Groff and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, The Woman’s Party has been divided into three 30-minute episodes.

1947 is the year that the savvy politicos of the National Woman’s Party will finally get the ERA passed once they quash that insurgency—or oust the old guard. The Woman’s Party takes place 27 years after the ratification of women’s suffrage, when the Equal Rights Amendment was poised for passage. 

The cast includes Rosalyn Coleman, Alma Cuervo, Laura Esterman, Marga Gomez, Marceline Hugot, Emily Kuroda, Lizan Mitchell, Socorro Santiago, Rebecca Schull, and Connie Winston.

Shadow/Land Michelle Wilson, Te’Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet and Sunni Patterson star in the world premiere of Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s audio play. The drama is set amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and is part of the Public Theater’s digital stage.

The Thanksgiving Play Spotlight on Plays returns with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Leigh Silverman. The cast features Tony nominees Heidi Schreck and Bobby Cannavale, along with Keanu Reeves and Alia Shawkat.

Romeo y Julieta Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano star in this free bilingual audioplay of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, presented by the Public Theater and WNYC Studios.

La Femme Theatre Productions: The Night of the Iguana The show will feature Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Dylan McDermott (Netflix’s “Hollywood”) as Reverend Shannon, Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad  (Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Maxine, Roberta Maxwell (Broadway’s Summer and Smoke) as Judith Fellowes, Tony nominee, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Broadway’s Choir Boy) as Nonno, and Jean Lichty (Off-Broadway’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady) as Hannah, with Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Jitney, American Psycho) as Jake, Carmen Berkeley (Off-Broadway’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) as Charlotte, Eliud Kauffman (Roundabout Theatre’s 72 Miles to Go) as Hank, Julio Macias (Netflix’s “On My Block”) as Pancho, Stephanie Schmiderer (No Exit, The Human Voice) as Frau Fahrenkopf, Bradley James Tejeda (Broadway’s The Inheritance) as Pedro, and John Hans Tester (Amazon’s ”Hunters” ) as Herr Fahrenkopf.

Waiting for Godot Directed by Scott Elliott, the classic features Tony nominee Ethan Hawke as Vladimir, Tony recipient John Leguizamo as Estragon, Wallace Shawn as Lucky, rapper Tarik Trotter as Pozzo, and Drake Bradshaw as Boy.

In Waiting for Godot two wanderers wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, who they hope will change their lives for the better. Instead, another couple of eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope.

The creative team also includes production designer Derek McLane, costume designer Qween Jean, sound designer Justin Ellington, director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, editor Yonatan Weinstein, and associate director Monet.

The New York Pops Up Festival a thousand in-person performances throughout the state from now through June. Most events associated with NY PopsUp will be unannounced (and unticketed) and will be designed so that New Yorkers happen upon them in their everyday lives. (Since we can’t have large gatherings right now, we want to bring a lot of small things to the public where they are) NY PopsUp is a surprise that you happen upon, rather than an event or concert you are alerted to via a notification or a schedule.

Julius Caesar, Starring Patrick Page By Shakespeare@ Tony nominee Patrick Page (Hadestown) stars in the title role with Jordan Barbour (The Inheritance) as Brutus and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor) as Cassius. West End Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performers Jamie Ballard and James Howard co-star as Mark Antony and Metellus Cimber, respectively. 

The production is also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

Produced by Jersey City’s Shakespeare@, this audio production is the third installment of the season, produced and adapted by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty.

Hagerty has crafted the production into four weekly parts and partnered with the Emmy-winning team at Sonic Designs to capture the lost art and thrill of radio drama all without leaving the confines of quarantine.

Julius Caesar features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by the Emmy-winning team of Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor, and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele serves as the associate producer. 

Assassins Reunion: Original Off-Broadway Cast The original cast and creative team of the 1991 Off-Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning Assassins will reunite virtually to celebrate the musical’s 30th anniversary.

The free online event is part of the Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy series and will feature Studio Tenn Artistic Director Cassidy as well as other original cast members Victor Garber, Greg Germann, Annie Golden, Lyn Greene, Jonathan Hadary, Eddie Korbich, Terrence Mann, Debra Monk, William Parry, and Lee Wilkof plus Sondheim and Weidman, director Jerry Zaks, musical director Paul Gemignani, and orchestrator Michael Starobin.

The Things Are Against Us Susan Soon He Stanton’s The Things Are Against Us will be the next production in MCC’s LiveLab one-act digital reading series. Ellie Heyman directs the cast, which includes Juan Castano, Emily Davis, Susannah Flood, Babak Tafti, and Danny Wolohan, in tthe play set in a mysterious house with a mind of its own. 

The Manic Monologues Current Slave Play Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Accidentally Brave playwright Maddie Corman, and more stage favorites will explore mental health this winter in a new digital production from the McCarter Theatre Center.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


Theatre News: Wicked, Kimberly Akimbo, Alice in Neverland and Ballad of Dreams, The Night of the Iguana and Ode To The Wasp Woman



On Monday, October 30th, the blockbuster musical Wicked will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Broadway, a milestone achieved by only three other Broadway productions in history.   To commemorate this landmark, Wicked is partnering with several national organizations to celebrate all things Oz.

Additional Wicked celebrations, including cast appearances, New York City food and drink collaborations, and special events throughout the month of October, will be announced in the coming weeks.


In celebration of Wicked’s 20th Anniversary on Broadway, Moleskine has created a beautiful Wicked-inspired 20th Anniversary notebook that can be purchased in theatre, Moleskine Direct channels, and with several Moleskine wholesale partners, beginning October 23rd.  This limited-edition notebook will inspire Wicked fans to put pen to paper (following in the footsteps of Wicked novelist Gregory Maguire and book writer Winnie Holzman) to bring their own stories to life.


Hill House Home, a New York-based fashion brand founded by Nell Diamond, worked closely with Wicked’s Tony Award-winning costume designer, Susan Hilferty, to create a Wicked-inspired Nap Dress™ collection in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary. The collection will include two adult dresses and two children’s dresses inspired by the characters Glinda and Elphaba. The styles will be available for purchase online and in Hill House’s store at Rockefeller Center toward the end of the year.


Little Words Project, which started in 2013 in founder Adriana Carrig’s parents’ basement, creates handcrafted word bracelets with messages of kindness and love that aim to support women and to remind us to be kind to one another. In the past ten years, the company has become a worldwide brand with an extremely engaged and loyal community of fans. This fall, Little Words Project is partnering with Wicked to create four exclusive bracelets inspired by the unique friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. The collection will be featured in all nine Little Words retail stores across the country. To honor 20 years on Broadway, Little Words Project has designed Wicked-inspired bracelets. Little Words Project creates handcrafted bracelets, each with an inspirational word displayed on the beads. The bracelets – in the spirit of the “pay it forward” movement – are meant to uplift the wearer, and then be passed on to someone else who needs them more. The Wicked bracelets are inspired by Glinda and Elphaba, who helped uplift one another through their friendship; they will feature the words “Wicked,” “Unlimited,” “Defy Gravity,” and “For Good.”


Beginning October 6th, WICKED fans can indulge in the elegance of The Plaza Hotel’s Wickedthemed Afternoon Tea at The Plaza’s famed Palm Court Restaurant. The “Defying Gravi-tea” will feature special sweet and savory delights, like the “Look To The Brest’ern Sky” pate a choux, or the “Flying Monkey” Macaron. Under the Palm Court’s iconic dome, which will be lit Emerald Green, guests can also enjoy The Palm Court’s mixologists’ most Wicked cocktails in high Plaza fashion. The venue will be adorned with emerald-green accents, glittering with hints of emerald and black, paying homage to Wicked’s beloved story.

The Plaza is also offering “The Emerald City Experience,” which includes a stay at The Plaza, as well as tickets to the special 20th anniversary “Green Performance” of Wicked on October 29th, the Wicked-themed Afternoon Tea, a Playbill signed by the full company, and house car transportation to the Gershwin Theatre. For details, pls visit The Emerald City Experience | The Plaza ( 


Capital One became Wicked’s official Credit Card Partner in May of this year, marking the first time the company has partnered with a Broadway musical. Eligible Capital One cardholders had pre-sale access to tickets for the anniversary performances on October 29th and 30th. Cardholders were also able to gain entry to exclusive events taking place at the Museum of Broadway during Wicked’s Anniversary weekend, featuring alumnae Brittney Johnson and Kara Lindsay, available only on Capital One Entertainment.


American Girl, known for helping girls grow up with courage, confidence, and strength of character, has teamed up with Wicked to celebrate their 2023 Girl of the Year™, Kavi Sharma™.  Kavi is an Indian American girl growing up in New Jersey who loves singing, dancing, and performing with her friends. Her favorite Broadway show is Wicked and American Girl has designed special Wicked costumes for Kavi to celebrate her love of the musical.

Hear Your Song – a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young people with serious illnesses and complex health needs through collaborative songwriting – continues its partnership with Broadway’s Tony-award winning show Kimberly Akimbo with a special concert at Green Room 42 on November 12th at 7 pm. You can find tickets to the in-person concert and livestream alongside more details here.

In this evening of songs and performances from both Kimberly Akimbo and Hear Your Song, Broadway company members sing alongside youth songwriters to showcase the score of Kimberly Akimbo and a treasure trove of songs written by kids who, in a lot of ways, have a lot in common with Kimberly. There will be performances by Kimberly Akimbo company members, such as Tony nominee Justin Cooley, Alli Mauzey, Betsy Morgan, Miguel Gil and Alex Vinh, as well as children and teens from Hear Your Song. 

Within this partnership, Hear Your Song participants had the opportunity to develop their own songs and gain a deeper understanding of the songwriting process through a songwriting masterclass led by Kimberly Akimbo’s creators, composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire. 16-year-old Hannah, who will be performing at the concert, is an accomplished youth songwriter living with Crohn’s Disease. She shared her songs with Tesori and Lindsay-Abaire in a virtual masterclass in March.  

Hear Your Song’s mission is to provide a platform for youth to share their experiences and perspectives through the art of songwriting. By partnering with members of the Kimberly Akimbo team, Hear Your Song is able to offer a unique opportunity for young people living with serious illnesses to be heard by a wide audience as they learn from professionals in the industry and gain valuable skills and experience. 

All of Hear Your Song’s programming is free of charge for youth and families. Please visit to learn more about how to get involved and donate to support hundreds of youth songwriters like Hannah.
A sequel to one of the most beloved stories of all time, Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” the new musical Alice in Neverland took place. The cast was led by Allie Seibold, Heath Saunders (Company), Kyle Selig (Mean Girls), Grace McLean (Bad Cinderella), Courtnee Carter (Parade) and Rob Colletti (Almost Famous).

Growing older and obsessed with her memories of Wonderland, Alice embarks on the daring journey to recapture youth – including the sacrifices that might be required to never grow up. 

 Alice in Neverland features book, music and lyrics by Phil Kenny and Reston Williams, director Catie Davis (Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge), music director Kris Kukul(Beetlejuice), and general manager Joey Monda (Sing Out, Louise! Productions). The reading is being presented by six-time Tony Award® winning production team (& Juliet, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge).

Rounding out the reading cast are Travis Artz, Bobby Daye (Moulin Rouge), LaVon Fisher-Wilson (Chicago), Mia Gerachis, Stephanie Gibson (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Donnie Hammond, Benjamin Henderson, Eddie Korbich (The Music Man), Garth Kravits (Gettin’ the Band Back Together), Elliott Mattox (Beetlejuice), Tiffany Mann (Be More Chill), Adelina Mitchell, Chase Petersen, Honor Blue Savage, and Emmet Smith.

Based on the best-selling novel, Ballad of Dreams a new musical, will get an invite-only industry presentation on October 12, 2023, at Pearl Studios.

Inspired by a true story, a love letter to New York City, Ballad of Dreams illuminates the struggle of two resilient women fighting for their place in the glittering world of 1940’s theater, chasing the dream of being a performer and being a mother. Against insurmountable odds they must confront the universal question faced by women of every era: can we truly have it all?

Audrey McKenna, a vibrant grandmother and mother of thirteen, is confronted with the unfulfilled dreams of her youth to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City, circa WW2. With the help of her best friend Rose, they each journey in discovering love, their own identities, and independence as women in a time when society tried to define that for them.

The cast includes Hunter Parrish (Broadway: To Kill a Mockingbird, Showtime’s “Weeds”), Erin Davie (Broadway:  Diana, The Musical, Sunday in the Park with George), Nicholas Rodriguez (Broadway: Company), Allyson Hernandez (Off-Broadway: If This Hat Could Talk), Robb Sapp (Broadway: The Lion King, Wicked), Alan H. Green (Broadway:  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Sharon Wheatley (Broadway:  Come From Away), Neal Mayer (Broadway: Les Misérables), Emily Walton (Broadway:  Come From Away), Elizabeth Bedley (Regional: A Chorus Line), Noah Wolfe (Regional:  A Little Night Music), Laura Sky Herman (National Tour:  Hello, Dolly!), Emily Jewel Hoder (Broadway: The Music Man) and Charlie Carroccio (Film:The 12 Days of Christmas Eve), with Harmony Harris (Associate Director), Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (Casting) LDK Productions (General Manager).

For more information on Ballad of Dreams, please visit www.BalladofDreams.comLa Femme Theatre Productions (Jean Lichty, Executive Director), renowned for its dedication to showcasing the diverse female experience, is set to illuminate the Off-Broadway stage this season with an evocative 21st century production of Tennessee Williams’s timeless masterpiece, The Night of the Iguana. Under the direction of Tony Award nominee, Emily Mann , this production will star Emmy Nominee Tim Daly (Broadway: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.  TV: “The Sopranos,” “Madam Secretary,” “Wings’), Tony Award – Winner Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway: Rent, Anna in the Tropics), Drama Desk nominee Lea DeLaria(Netflix “Orange Is the New Black.” Broadway: POTUS) , Tony nominee Austin Pendleton (Broadway: Between Riverside and Crazy, The Minutes) , and Jean Lichty(Off-Broadway: La Femme’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady ). It will begin performances on December 6 in advance of its opening on December 17. It will run through February 25, 2024 at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street, Jim Houghton Way) . The Night of the Iguana is not a production of Signature Theatre.

 Sean Young (Blade Runner, Fatal Instinct) in Ode To The Wasp Woman, a new play by Rider McDowell (The Mercy Man, Wimbledon). The limited 13-week Off-Broadway engagement will play October 30, 2023 through January 31, 2023, at The Actors Temple Theatre (339 W. 47th St, NYC). Opening night is Thursday, November 9 at 7:30PM. Tickets are now on sale at

Ode To The Wasp Woman chronicles the last 48 hours in the lives of four 1950’s B movie stars; Susan Cabot, leading lady of the Roger Corman’s cult classic The Wasp Woman; George Reeves, the man who brought Superman to life on TV screens across America; Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer of the beloved “Our Gang” comedies; B-movie queen Barbara Payton. The desperate and sensational events that lead to the demise of these four fallen stars are told in four one acts with music, a veritable homage to film noir and true crime.

Rider McDowell directs Sean Young as Susan Cabot, leading a company of actors, To be announced, portraying George ‘Superman’ Reeves, Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, and B-movie queen Barbara Payton. 

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Out of Town

Totally “Appropriate” (for our time) and Phenomenally Brilliant, Housed and Unpacked by Coal Mine Theatre Toronto




Every season, to my amazement, there is always that one moment when you feel like you are witnessing something incredible. A theatrical alignment of the stars, when a great play reveals itself, coming to life and to your light before your very eyes. Even when, in this case, we are greeted with such dark vibrating intensity right from the beginning. And that moment is always courtesy of a mass of talented folks doing what they do best, creaking and screeching in an arena that just works. Just like the time I first saw The Lehman Trilogy, The Inheritance, or the epic Angels in America (all of which are going to grace a Toronto stage this coming season). They are moments to remember for a lifetime.

Amy Lee, Raquel Duffy, Andy Trithhardt, and Gray Powell in Coal Mine Theatre’s Appropriate. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

This season, Coal Mine Theatre just might be the one to take that highest of honors with the captivatingly revealing production of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ brilliant play, Appropriate. A play that is both hilariously morbid and disturbing, while being gravely fascinating and meaningful. Using gothic horror as its framework, Appropriate delivers a spectacularly distinct unraveling; intense and threatening in the darkness that initially takes over the space, destined to ensnare anyone who enters, with or without a flashlight. The play feels like a ghost story wrapped in the haunted memories of its vast connection to enslavement, and it plays with that notion that soon gets lodged in our heads, forcing us to squirm in the overpowering static darkness, waiting for what feels like forever before we can start making out the bones of the beginning. In a way the play is actually about ghosts, but not one where the undead will rise up out of the floorboards or appear at the window looking in – even though it always feels like the haunted past is there, floating around or peering in, having its way with us by mystically keeping us perched on the edge of our seats.

But the haunting demons come from within, scattered about the space, seen and unseen, known and ignored, just waiting to be discovered. Not floating down the stairs or up from the basement, but they are as determined as ever to unsettle most, but not all, who open up that one particular chapter of Southern history, and really see what is there. It’s all right there in black and white; jarred and jarring, cataloged and presenting a disturbing time and formulation, even if we are determined to swim in the murky waters of denial. Appropriate is that moment. And what a moment it is, engaging every fiber of my being, and fueling an overwhelming excitement and interest to a higher degree in anticipation of seeing this spectacular play make its Broadway/Second Stage debut starring Sarah Paulson on December 18th at the Hayes Theater in New York City.

Gray Powell, Amy Lee, and Raquel Duffy in Coal Mine Theatre’s Appropriate. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Written with direction and purpose, most intensely, by Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon; Everybody), Appropriate soars on that tiny theatrical stage at Coal Mine, designed with a tight purpose by Rebecca Morris (Lighthouse Festival’s Prairie Nurse) and Steve Lucas (CS’s Heisenberg), who also did the determined lighting design. The play overtakes the limitations with an expert eye for what is at the core of this compelling piece of theatre, shifting its brittle focus as easily as a wandering flashlight. The play won the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play, and as directed with clarity by Ted Dykstra (Coal Mine’s The Antipodes), the piece finds its delicious and angry dysfunction in the very bones and hidden remnants of this Lafayette family clan returning. They have all come together, much to the surprise and mistrust of most, to a decaying Arkansas plantation that is “more Gone With the Wind, and less hoarder” to deal with the familial history and their combustive alliances, but, on the more observerable surface, to untangle their recently deceased father’s complicated inheritance and somehow find closure.

That inheritance Is not all there in property and banknotes, laid out in their father’s will, but seared with more force in a bound relic that shines a sharp beam of light on their family’s possible problematic past. Casually found and revealed in distraction, it burns a bright hot light on their parental heritage, pushing to the surface decades of resentment and distrust, that has been ready and waiting for years to be unleashed on one another in a camera’s flash. Historical sin is what lies waiting on the shelf, biting in and drawing forth decades of unsaid venom into the family’s tight dysfunction. Bitterness and a punitive punishment have slowly burned itself steadfastly into their souls. Especially the oldest daughter, Toni, intensely and magnificently played by Raquel Duffy (Soulpepper’s Of Human Bondage). This desperate mother of one carries so much complicated embittered rage that one can’t help but lean in as you simultaneously want to back away out of fear and the instinctual need to protect. Duffy’s performance is a captivatingly stellar and tense unleashing, one that will register and be carried out of the theatre like a bruise on an arm, still stinging from all that hurt and pain that was thrown hard with such vengeance at almost every person in that room.

It’s a searingly difficult comedic drama, crawling in through the window from one of America’s most gifted young playwrights, to deliver the dynamic goods. The three adult children, rotting away from the insides, have come together, unwillingly and with a ton of baggage and resentment. They stand, un-unified, in a protective stance, wanting, in a way, to sort themselves out as they go through the hoarded mementos that their father had gathered around him before his death. But it’s more a collision course over debt and contention, with each carrying secrets from the other and themselves, ultimately determined to be the one who gets out less bruised than when they walked or climbed in. And if this non-typical haunted house has any say in the matter – and boy, does this house have a lot to say and unveil – this explosive reunion is a brawl just waiting to happen. Not the big familial hug that at least some of them are hoping for.

Beyond the recently divorced and rancorous Toni, and her troubled son, Rhys, assertively portrayed by Mackenzie Wojcik (RMTC’s A Christmas Story), her two younger brothers drag out more complications and skeletons than an old house could ever give, even one with both a familial graveyard and an unmarked slave graveyard out back. The older brother to Toni is Bo, the one who, at first, seems to have his business and life in some sort of order, even though he can’t seem to get off his cell phone and find a way to be present. But Toni doesn’t let that get in the way of flinging vile, foul-mouthed anger at Bo, played with detailed determination by Gray Powell (Crow’s Middletown), as his wife, the multi-layered Rachael, played strong by Amy Lee (RMTC’s Pride and Prejudice) orders and yells at their two children; the young fireball, Ainsley, played frantically by Ruari Hamman, and the older “almost an adult” daughter, Cassidy, sweetly and slyly portrayed by Hannah Levinson (TMSC’s Grey Gardens), in a frazzled frenzy of troubled form and function.

Raquel Duffy, Hannah Levinson, Gray Powell, Mackenzie Wojcik, Andy Trithhardt, and Alison Beckwith in Coal Mine Theatre’s Appropriate. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

But it’s Toni’s younger brother, Franz, tightly portrayed by Andy Trithardt (Station Arts’ Prairie Nurse) whose unexplained arrival, with his newly formed flower-child fiancé, River, played to perfection by Alison Beckwith (Driftwood’s Trafalgar 24), that really brings the trauma and the history of this family, drenched in addiction and pedophilia to the surface. Unearthed and dirty, Toni’s unhinged anger rises up quickly, ready to be flung with such hate and fury that it takes work to stay in the room with them. No one trusts anyone in that room, as the secrets and the shame keep rising up from the floorboards ready to sharply splinter and spear the skin with a bloody vengeance. Apologies find no weight in the bitter waters of Toni’s existence as the jarred evidential mementos are ignored and secreted away, much like that flag that just leans in the backroom, begging to be noticed by anyone, but unseen by all, from start to almost finish.

Secrets are thrown about, quickly and with intention, mostly hitting the targets, even when the target is hiding in the darkness. But oddly the longing for love and care, and the undercurrent need for familial attachment sneaks in, even when misdirected. Somewhere, underneath all that anger, bitterness, jealousy, and betrayal, some form of needed connection hangs in the balance, finding relief in an absence or from asked-for hugs. They all just seem scared by all that history and the mistrust that comes with it; terrified and haunted by the idea that it will consume them all. Costumed with skill by Des’ree Gray (Buddies’ The First Stone), with a solid static-intense sound design by Deanna Choi (Stratford’s A Wrinkle in Time) and Michael Wanless (“The Rest is Electric“), Appropriate never lets up, haunting the walls and the rooms with hate and racial disturbances, gobbling up the lives of sweet girls and sugar, as we watch it all crumble to the ground.

Gray Powell, Alison Beckwith, and Raquel Duffy in Coal Mine Theatre’s Appropriate. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Trapped in the intense disturbing sound of screaming cicadas and burned by all those shitty historic memories that have been buried deep for more than just seven years, these “misfit disaster people” swing hard, trying to bring as much damage to the other as they feel inside. Duffy’s Toni delivers the damaged goods with a rage that is wildly and magnificently mesmerizing. Her inner destructive power, unleashed from her pain and longing, is frighteningly clear, and never more apparent, and Appropriate, than inside that final disappearing act delivered on the stairs. It’s a performance that will live on inside me for a long long time, stinging and hurting like the wounds that were inflicted upon her so many years ago, from abandonment and love’s disappointment. Duffy is breathtakingly brilliant in the role, as powerful as the whole decrepit destruction that soon follows. Something I’m still thinking about to this very day.

There was an article in the New York Times this morning as I sat down to work on my review of Coal Mine Theatre‘s Appropriate. And it couldn’t have been more, well, Appropriate. It was entitled, “What Kind of Person Has a Closet Full of Nazi Memorabilia?” And at the edge of all these mismatched crazy memories, laced with blindness, anger, and denial, is the thing that makes Appropriate so fascinatingly magnificent. I’m still trying to unpack the chaotic, complex, and disturbing ending that destructively decays the formula before our very eyes, and the wordless wonder that fills those observing eyes as he takes in and sees what everyone else didn’t want to. Willful blindness is a crazy unhinged power, and also a defense, used to not see the ugly truth that is displayed before us. It’s not an Appropriate response, but in this play, it couldn’t be more Appropriate, especially for the times we live in.

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Gray Powell and Raquel Duffy in Coal Mine Theatre’s Appropriate. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

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VideoCabaret in assoc. with Crow’s Theatre presents the World Premiere of “(EVERYONE I LOVE HAS) A TERRIBLE FATE (BEFALL THEM)”




VideoCabaret in association with Crow’s Theatre presents



Written & performed by Cliff Cardinal. Dramaturged & directed by Karin Randoja

Produced by Aaron Rothermund & Layne Coleman

VideoCabaret in association with Crow’s Theatre presents the World Premiere of (EVERYONE I LOVE HAS) A TERRIBLE FATE (BEFALL THEM) by Cliff Cardinal from October 10-29, 2023 at the Deanne Taylor Theatre (10 Busy Street, Toronto).

Deep in the bowels of a church basement, Robert and his support group must come to terms with their mortality before the impending apocalypse. If only they had just one more day…. Like an asteroid hurtling towards Earth, (EVERYONE I LOVE HAS) A TERRIBLE FATE (BEFALL THEM) is a haunting and humorous portrayal of humankind on the brink of extinction written and performed by Cliff Cardinal, dramaturged and directed by Karin Randoja.

Cliff Cardinal is a polarizing writer and performer known for black humour and compassionate poeticism. His solo theatre productions Stitch, Huff, and Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special have toured extensively and won numerous awards. Cliff is an associate artist at VideoCabaret, where he premiered his multi-character play Too Good to Be True, “a captivating tale that solidifies Cardinal as one of the most talented and intriguing writers in the country” (NOW Magazine). He was named a “Canadian Cultural Icon ” in 2022 (The Globe and Mail) for William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling produced by Crow’s Theatre. The show has since toured across Canada, and was recently presented by Mirvish Productions in Toronto as The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It.

Karin Randoja is a dramaturg, director, actor, teacher, singer, and composer. For over 30 years she has specialized in creating and directing original devised performances including Cliff Cardinal’s CBC Special, This is the Point, Gertrude and Alice, Jacinto, Huff, Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera, Breakfast, and Clean Irene and Dirty Maxine. Karin was a founding member of Primus Theatre and The Independent Aunties. Her work has received numerous Canadian and International awards and has been seen in Australia, Denmark, England, India, Italy, France, Japan, Mozambique, Scotland, and across the US. As a teacher/director, she has taught at Humber College, The Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Brock University, and The National Theatre School of Canada, of which she is also a graduate.

VideoCabaret was created by Michael Hollingsworth, Deanne Taylor, and The Hummer Sisters, collaborating with Chris Clifford (videographer), Jim Plaxton (designer), and Andy Paterson (musician). With its innovative blend of live-video and rock ‘n’ roll, VideoCabaret reinvented classic works like Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World, and Verdi’s Rigoletto. VideoCabaret stirred controversy with Hollingsworth’s radical early plays such as Clear Light (which was famously raided by the police) and Strawberry Fields. Taylor’s work included the satirical civic-cabaret City for Sale and her epic rock-operetta 2nd Nature. The Hummer Sisters’ live-shows included Dressed to Kill, The Patty Rehearsed Story, and the Vox Pop cabarets.

All this grew out of Queen Street West’s legendary Cameron House where VideoCabaret refurbished a small backroom as a jewel-box stage for Hollingsworth’s The History of  the Village of the Small Huts, a 21-play cycle exposing Canada’s history of colonialism, with VideoCabaret’s signature “black box” staging. In 2016, VideoCabaret presented Hollingsworth’s The War of 1812 at the Stratford Festival and remounted the show at Soulpepper Theatre Company. This started a chain of collaborations with Soulpepper that included Trudeau & The FLQ, Trudeau & Levesque, and Confederation: Part 1&2. During this time Deanne and Michael mentored many young artists including Cliff Cardinal, whose play Too Good to be Truewas the first to be produced in VideoCabaret’s new east-end home at 10 Busy St in 2019. By 2022, Hollingsworth’s eerily timely history play The Cold War was produced in the new space directed by Mac Fyfe, and co-produced by Aviva Armour-Ostroff and Layne Coleman.

(Everyone I Love Has) A Terrible Fate (Befall Them) by Cliff Cardinal, co-produced by Aaron Rothermund and Layne Coleman, officially launches VideoCabaret’s ambitious new programming at Busy St. under the guidance of its new Artistic Producer and General Director, Aaron Rothermund.

It’s a distinct honour to work with Michael Hollingsworth, Layne Coleman, and Cliff Cardinal,” says Aaron Rothermund, “to further develop the legacy of VideoCabaret while celebrating the founding Artistic Directors and playwrights.”

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Out of Town

Tarragon Theatre’s “The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time” Stitches a Journey for the Ages




It’s [all in] the stitchin’, not the patches, that completes your handiwork.” And that, in essence, is what The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, Tarragon Theatre’s season opener, is all about… in a general sort of way. He’s “sick and tired of being sick and tired“, he will tell you that, but pay attention to the patches themselves is the framework we are being served up by the very game Walter Borden (Theatre Aquarius’ A Few Good Men). The playwright and performer of this epic quilt-unfurling has a lot to say about life as a gay black person as his voice resonates with deep personal tones of heartache and love; mischief and meandering attachment. Crouching to the unfolded quilt that is laid out before us, eventually, bit by bit over the 90min one-person show, the artist of a certain age majestically finds fervor in the fabric unfolded. He is a witness and a messenger; nature’s love child, using that incredibly seductive voice of his to wrap us up in his multi-faceted tale, trying his best to keep us in his memory-infused projected lane. And for the most part, he does. Even when we wander off here and there, taking in the view, feeling the rhythm, but getting sometimes lost in the rhyme.

Walter Borden in The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, from the Neptune Theatre production. Set, lighting, costume, projection design by Andy Moro. © Stoo Metz

Speak your speak,” Borden, the Dora-nominated, Order of Canada-honoured legend of Canadian theatre, says, sauntering into the space as if arriving for a shift at a parking kiosk or maybe, and more likely, a toll booth. We pay our fare, “playing on frazzled wits” so we can drive alongside, following him on this ten-character highway that he so dutifully created, deep and heavy, out of an intense historical and cultural dreamscape. It’s a “circus of the damned” where we find ourselves, guided by an expert hand across decades of perspective and precise personalities. It transcends time and place with intersectional poetry and observations, and in the age-old tradition, like Lily Tomlin’s  The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe and even the latest one-person exploration by Daniel Jelani Ellis in Buddies’speaking of sneaking, Borden winds and drives his own vehicle, The Last Epistle of Tightrope Timewith the ease of an expert witness, showing us all he knows and has learned about himself and the world around him.

Walter Borden in The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, from the Neptune Theatre production. Set, lighting, costume, projection design by Andy Moro. © Stoo Metz

Aligned and derived from his famous, 1986 semi-autobiographical solo play, Tightrope Time Ain’t Nuthin’ More Than Some Itty Bitty Madness Between Your Twilight & Your Dawn, this newly engaged manifest is etched and merged together from his past. The characters flip forth, merging into newly paved lanes with a clarity of thought and form. At first, it is hard to see the oncoming traffic, those dredged-up iconic memories from a time both past and present. But those images and ideas consistently surprise us when they race into our rearview mirror with urgency, sometimes confusingly, and sometimes enlightening the air around us. A voice, dripping and projecting mystical light, thanks to set, costume, lighting, and projection design by Andy Moro (Citadel/Tarragon’s The Herd), speaks of a destiny and a purpose that is carved in simple grounded poetry and grand beautiful lyricisms, and we gladly join in for the journey. I can’t say I stayed totally tuned in to all the layers and dream-like landscapes we passed during our ride through, but the humor and the humanity always pulled me back in from the haziness I might have slipped into.

“Your life is like this patchwork quilt where them pieces don’t mean nuthin’ when they scattered all about, but if you take the time to lay them side by side, they got a tale to tell.”

The voice, courtesy of the fine work done by sound designer and composer Adrienne Danrich O’Neill (LCT’s Intimate Apparel), speaks of a destination that many might not comprehend or even want to, but as directed with clarity and a forward motion by Peter Hinton-Davis (Tarragon’s The Hooves Belonged to the Deer), Borden drives on from one complexity to another, nudging us to look deeper within ourself, and the other. The view out the window isn’t always exacting, nor is it always easy to understand coherently, but the landscape that he wants to show us, intentionally incomplete and complex, gives way to a greater connection and understanding of humanity and beyond. Memories and vantage points are presented, bumping and grinding up against one another, delivering the contours of content with an easy wave of an arm.

Walter Borden in The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, from the Neptune Theatreproduction. Set, lighting, costume, projection design by Andy Moro. © Stoo Metz

To the “children of the diaspora, that is–the family,” this play carries four nations on his back, bringing forth memories that live on in his well-formed Last Epistle that unearths this landmark piece of Canadian theatre. It was created and embodied with a sharp determination to not only explore male homosexuality from a Black perspective but simultaneously and fearlessly unpack a life lived in poverty. And in love. Esoteric and enlightening, The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time has grown through time and years into something profound. Blessed and blurry with age, it will live on in abundance, opening our eyes and hearts to a world that continues to be seen and heard most wantedly, so we may understand and embrace.

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Walter Borden in The Last Epistle of Tightrope Time, from the Neptune Theatre production. Set, lighting, costume, projection design by Andy Moro. © Stoo Metz

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Ossie Davis’s Purlie Victorious Is A Satire On Fire



The cast of Ossie Davis’s 961 satire Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, is helmed by Leslie Odom Jr. as a conniving preacher with a conscience and made into comic genius by Kara Young. This revival brings humor against a prejudice South whose injustices were a crime against humanity. They say that all good comedy is bore out of pain and this show aims to fight historic injustice with laughter.

Leslie Odom, Jr Photo by Marc J. Franklin

The play tells the fictional story of Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson (Leslie Odom, Jr.), a dynamic traveling preacher who has returned to his hometown in rural Georgia, to save his small hometown church Big Bethel. He left due to a brutal whipping by the land owner Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee (Jay O. Sanders) twenty years, but has come back to save his church, and emancipate the cotton pickers who work on oppressive Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee’s plantation. He has brought with him Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins (the adorable Kara Young), to impersonate his long-lost cousin, Bee, and trick Ol’ Cap’n into handing over a five-hundred-dollar inheritance that he owes the family.

Kara Young Photo by Marc J. Franklin

To pull off this scheme he needs the help of his sister-in-law Missy (Heather Alicia Simms) and his brother, Gitlow (Billy Eugene Jones) who is the Cap’n’s main singing and shuffling work hand.

Kara Young and Heather Alicia Simms Photo by Marc J. Franklin

However thanks to another Black member of Ol’ Cap’n’s household Idella (Vanessa Bell Calloway), who raised Ol’ Cap’n’s son, Charlie (Noah Robbins), as if he were her own, does the church and Purlie get saved with a brave act of defiance.

Noah Robbins and Vanessa Bell Calloway Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Davis wrote and performed this play at the height of the Civil Rights Era, when Martin Luther King, Jr. words were having an impact. He even attended the show.

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Kenny Leon keeps this show at a fast pace, with wit and sarcastic humor abounding. He brings his exceptional cast to peak performances. Odom, Jr. (Hamilton’s original Aaron Burr), inhabits this preacher with conviction, fighting for justice and the rights of his people. Jones (Fat Ham and On Sugarland), brings a charm to Gitlow as he embodies those who had to bow low just to survive. Simms and Calloway ground the show with warmth and maternal longing. O. Sanders plays the Cap’n looking like a Tall Colonel Sanders, but sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. He is as amusing, as frightening as it is to look at the past. Playing his son, Robbins offers the hope of seeing and righting the wrongs. But it is Young (Cost of Living, Clyde’s) who walks away with her remarkable performance. Completely and utterly in love with Purlie, Young is a whirlwind of emotions and physical comedy. She is big and broad, all in one petite compact body. When she comes to tell of the misjustice done to her by the Cap’n she has us in the palms of her hands.

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Purlie in a word is victorious.

Kara Young, Heather Alicia Simms, Leslie Odom, Jr., Vanessa Bell Calloway, Billy Eugene Jones, and Noah Robbins Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street, until January 7th.

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