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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Entries in Off-Broadway (116)

Friday
Aug182017

Adam's Call: The Government Inspector: Funniest Show Off-Broadway

There are just four chances left to see, Red Bull Theater's The Government Inspector, the funniest show Off-Broadway! I have seen this show twice and was doubled over in laughter both times. The Government Inspector is about the crooked leadership of a provincial village who discovers that an undercover inspector is coming to root out their commonplace corruption (where is this Government Inspector for you know who). When the town learns of his impending arrival, they weave together a web of bribery, lies, and utter madness.

While I'll highlight each person's brilliance below, this show is truly an ensemble production! Everyone is given their moment to take the lead, but it's their combined talents that really make the laughter ensue!

Mary Testa, Michael McGrath, Michael Urie, and Talene Monahon in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael Urie and Arnie Burton in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael Urie's physical comedy in this show reminds me of Chevy Chase in the heyday of Saturday Night Live. Michael is a comedic genius as is the rest of the cast, getting the laugh every time! Mary Testa ("Anna Andreyevna") takes the spotlight whenever she is on stage, with a delivery like no one else can do! Arnie Burton steals every scene he is in, jumping between his two roles effortlessly! Arnie gives such distinction to each character, that often times, I had to remind myself, that the same actor was playing both roles.

Ryan Garbayo, Michael Urie, and Ben Mehl in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggThe cast of "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael McGrath kicks the laughter off from the minute the curtain rises. He is hilarious as "The Mayor." Ryan Garbayo and Ben Mehl are perfectly cast as twin brothers "Bobchinsky" & "Dobchinsky." They took me back to the 80s cartoon G.I. Joe when the "Crimson Guard Commanders ("Tomax" and "Xamot") were on the show...while each one posesses their own talents and traits, together, they are a winning team! Stephen DeRosa had me in stitches as the "Hospital Director" while Kelly Hutchinson had me peeing in my pants in the role of "Innkeeper's Wife." Her accents, facial expressions, all won me over. David Manis ("School Principal"), Luis Moreno ("Svetsunov"/"Imperial Messenger"), James Rana ("Doctor"), and Tom Alan Robbins ("The Judge") keep the laughter going, often in scenes together, they played off of each other very well.

Kelly Hutchinson, Stephen DeRosa, David Manis, Michael Urie, Tom Alan Robbins, and Mary Lou Rosato in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael McGrath, Mary Testa, and Talene Monahon in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggLet's not forget Mary Lou Rosato ("Grusha"/"Locksmith's Wife"/"Waitress"). She killed each role she played! I thought I was going to have a permanent smile imprinted on my face from the amount of laughter she provided me. She really knows how to make each character their own landing the joke at just the right moment. Saving the best for last is Talene Monahon. She is great as "Marya," the daughter of "The Mayor" and "Anna Andreyevna." Her character's traits of defiance, yearning to get away from her family, and longing to win over the heart of Michael Urie's "Hlestakov" had all the ingredients of Winona Ryder's character in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice that I adored! Talene tackled each of these moments with raw emotion and ease. If Beetlejuice were to be re-done, she would be the ideal choice for "Lydia."

Talene Monahon and Michael Urie in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggArnie Burton, Mary Lou Rosato, Mary Testa in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggFor a show written in the 1800s, it sure stands the test of time. I have been recommending this show to everyone I can. In these trying times, laughter is so important. The Government Inspector will make you laugh more than you know! So, treat yourself this weekend to the funniest show Off-Broadway!

The Government Inspector plays at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) through August 20 only! Click here for tickets!

For more on Red Bull Theater be sure to visit http://www.redbulltheater.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Thursday
Jan262017

Adam's Call: Yours Unfaithfully: Still holds court in today's world

I recently took in the world premiere of Yours Unfaithfully, by Miles Malleson, playing at The Beckett Theatre on 42nd Street. Presented by The Mint Theater Company, Yours Unfaithfully stars Todd Cerveris, Elisabeth Gray, Mikaela Izquierdo, Stephen Schnetzer, and Tony nominee Max von Essen (in his play debut), Yours Unfaithfully takes a look at the life of a couple in an open marriage and the after effects of this decision.

Yours Unfaithfully may have been written in 1933, but it stands the test of time, still holding court in today's world. I have encountered many couples in an open relationship, so this story really fascinated me. Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray play husband and wife "Stephen and Anne Meredith." "Stephen" is an author who's creative juices have stalled, so as a way to get them flowing again, "Anne" encourages him to find excitement outside their marriage. This is where the drama starts. Lines are crossed, feelings are hurt, and emotions are high. It's very interesting to see how the one who encouraged opening up the relationship is the one who's most affected. "Anne" has a very hard dealing with "Stephen's" play time. While "Stephen" may be happier, "Anne" is suffering and starts playing around herself, which causes even more drama.

Max von Essen and Todd Cerveris in "Yours Unfaithfully", Photo Credit: Richard TermineMax and Elisabeth's chemistry is terrific! They really play off of each other very well. From the loving moments to the painful ones, Max & Elisabeth feel like a real married couple. Mikaela plays the part of "Diana" very well, the friend of "Anne" who is ultimately seduced by Max's character of "Stephen." Mikaela and Elisabeth do a great job of portraying rivals. Some of their scenes reminded of just why I love soap operas. Joining in the choas is Todd Cerveris who plays "Dr. Alan Kirby," a friend of "Stephen's" and old flame of "Anne's," who's also affected by "Stephen and Anne's" open marriage. I wish the depths of his hurt were explored more, but you get a sense of it. Rounding out the cast is Stephen Schnetzer who plays "Stephen's" father "The Reverend Canon Gordon Meredith" who tries to mend the breaking down of "Anne" and "Stephen's" marriage as well his relationship with "Stephen," his son.

Elisabeth Gray and Mikaela Izquierdo in "Yours Unfaithfully", Photo Credit: Richard TermineAs the show progresses, the drama and pain get deeper, while constantly wondering if "Stephen" and "Anne" will remain open or close things back-up. I think Miles made a good choice in how the show ends, but the questions continue long after.

Yours Unfaithfully raises many questions about love, monogamy, and relationships. What makes a couple decide to open up their relationship? Is it better to open things up rather than break-up? Is the decision to open up based upon one event or several events? Does the love you once had for each other remain or is lost when a relationship expands? Once the relationship is open, can it ever be closed? The answers won't be found in this three act, but only 2 hours 15 minutes show. They will need to be considered and thought about by you and your partner, for everyone must come to their own conclusion. What works for one couple doesn't necessarily work for another.

Yours Unfaithfully plays at The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through February 18th only! Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Sunday
Aug072016

Adam's Call: "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse: Still Heaven Sent

Bucks County cast for "The Divine Sister," from left to right: Erin Maguire, Alison Fraser, Charles Busch, Jonathan Walker, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Julie Halston, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusIt's been five years since Charles Busch's The Divine Sister closed in New York City. Over the past five years, this world has changed so much that I longed for the joy and laughter this show brought me. When I heard that Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, PA was going to mount a production of The Divine Sister, featuring the majority of the original New York cast, I was beyond excited!

This past weekend I had the privilege of heading to Bucks County Playhouse to see The Divine Sister, once again directed by Carl Andress, and I am pleased to say, it's still heaven sent with laughter, campiness, and lots of talent! Sure, there are a few slight changes, like a 15-minute intermission and the addition of Erin Maguire in the role of "Agnes," but other than that, The Divine Sister is as funny and brilliant as ever.

Charles Busch as "Mother Superior" in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusJennifer Van Dyck and Jonathan Walker in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusThe Divine Sister pays homage to Hollywood's "nun" movies telling the story of "Mother Superior's" determination to get The Convent at St. Veronica’s of Pittsburgh a new school no matter what. Charles Busch is such a strong playwright that the story and jokes held up just as well today as they did five years ago. Some of them even landed better in this election year.

It was great to see Charles Busch, Julie Halston, Alison Fraser, Jennifer Van Dyck, and Jonathan Walker all reprise their roles. The chemistry they have together is timeless! I could tell they all love performing together. Knowing how strong their bond is with each other, I did wonder how Erin would fit in to the mix. Well, Erin fit in perfectly. You'd never know she wasn't in the original New York production. It's such an ensemble driven show that everyone gets their moment to shine.

Alison Fraser and Julie Halston in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusErin Maguire and Charles Busch in "The Divine Sister" at Bucks County Playhouse, Photo Credit: Joan MarcusThe Divine Sister really transported me to another place. It made me forget my troubles and hard times we live in. It brought me to a place where laughter ensued for two full hours. I pray everyone reading this write-up will get tickets and take the ride to Bucks County Playhouse to see this hilarious show! It's the closet to heaven we'll get anytime soon. The Divine Sister plays through August 13! Click here for tickets! 

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Friday
Jun262015

Adam's Call: A New Brain: New York City Center Encores! Off-Broadway: Just Go

I was so lucky to get a chance to see New York City Center Encores! Off-Broadway staging of William Finn and James Lapine's A New Brain starring Tony Nominee Jonathan Groff, SNL's Ana Gasteyer, Broadway's Aaron Lazar, Quentin Earl Darrington, Spelling Bee's Dan Fogler, along with Jenni Barber, Bradley Dean, Josh Lamon, Alyse Alan Louis, and Rema Webb.

For those of you who don't know, A New Brain is William Finn's autobiographical musical about surviving a brain tumor. After struggling composer "Gordon Michael Schwinn" (Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff) collapses at the piano, he is diagnosed with a brain tumor and is forced to come to terms with his creative ambitions and the people in his life: an overbearing mother (Ana Gasteyer), a ruthless kiddie-show host (Tony Award winner Dan Fogler), and a boyfriend who’d "rather be sailing" (Aaron Lazar).

Originally produced in 1998 (which starred Malcolm Gets and Penny Fuller), Encores! staged version is one NOT TO BE MISSED! This powerful show really sends a message about second chances, living in the now, loving as big as you can, and holding tight to the people you care for most.

Aaron Lazar and Jonathan Groff in "A New Brain" at New York City Center Encores! Off-BroadwayCast of "A New Brain" at New York City Center Encores! Off-Broadway, Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesThis extraordinary cast did a stellar job! Jonathan Groff was outstanding as "Gordon Michael Schwinn." He commands the stage and sings the heck out of all his songs. He has such an amazing singing voice and I am thrilled to have been there live to hear it! He really got down to the depths of the pain and struggle his character goes through. He really tapped into the emotions needed to play this role. Aaron Lazar was terrific playing "Roger," "Gordon's boyfriend!" I was definitely taken on "Roger's" journey and what journey it was. I went from hating "Roger" to adoring him by the end! What a transformation and Aaron's voice was just golden! I was delighted he got to showcase it several times throughout the show on "I'd Rather Be Sailing," "Just Go," "MRI Tomorrow," and "A Really Lousy Day in the Universe." I absolutely adore Ana Gasteyer. I've seen her in a few theatrical shows and I'm always impressed by her talent, especially her vocal quality. Tonight, as "Mimi Schwinn," "Gordon's mother," Ana shined bright especially during "Mother's Gonna Make Things Fine," "Throw It Out," and "The Music Still Plays On." She has quite the vocal strength and it's great she gets to use it! Then there was Rema Webb as "Lisa, a homeless lady." This was my first time being introduced to Rema and from the moment she set foot on stage, I was taken with her talent and soulful, powerhouse vocals! She definitely stole the spotlight every time she was on stage, especially during "Change," and "A Really Lousy Day in the Universe," and "The Homeless Lady's Revenge." Rema is definitely a talent I intend to keep my eye on!

Cast of "A New Brain" at New York City Center Encores! Off-Broadway, Photo Credit: Sara Krulwich/The New York TimesJonathan Groff and Ana Gasteyer in "A New Brain" at New York City Center Encores! Off-BroadwayWith only 3 performances left, "Just Go" see this life changing show! I was so moved by this production that I hope there is a bigger life then this limited run! It's a show everyone can relate to! A New Brain runs through this Saturday, June 27 only! Click here for tickets!

For more on New York City Center Encores! visit http://www.nycitycenter.org and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Sunday
Apr192015

Adam's Call: Natalie Douglas: Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton at Birdland: Stairway to Heaven

Natalie Douglas in dressing room just before hitting the stage for "Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton" at Birdland 2014, Photo Credit: Kevin AlveyIf you haven't purchased tickets yet for Natalie Douglas' show Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton which is returning to Jim Caruso's Broadway at Birdland concert series on Monday, April 20May 18, July 6, and August 10 at 7pm, then I'm not sure what you are waiting for! For tickets, click the date above you want to attend!

Natalie Douglas has one of the most soulful voices I have ever heard and when you mix in the great Dolly Parton, well, then "Don't Think Twice," you just need to attend this show!

I saw this show in September 2014 and it was magnificent! What made this show so fantastic was the way Natalie used her gifted vocal talent to make these songs her own. She and her music director Mark Hartman really styled these songs to suit Natalie's voice. All of these songs took on new meaning when I heard Natalie sing them. She really brought fresh arrangements to these timeless songs!

Natalie Douglas in "Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton" at Birdland 2014, Photo Credit: Kevin AlveyNatalie Douglas in "Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton" at Birdland 2014, Photo Credit: Kevin AlveyNatalie chose a wonderful array of songs from Dolly's vast catalog of music, focusing on many of the songs Dolly wrote herself as well as some cover songs Dolly has done throughout her career. There was a great mix of hit songs and songs that may not be as widely known. My favorite Dolly-written songs performed during this September show were "Down From Dover," (one of my favorite Dolly story songs), "I Will Always Love You," and "Jolene."

My favorite songs that Dolly has covered throughout her career were Neil Young's "After The Goldrush" (one of my favorite Dolly Parton cover songs), Michael O’Donoghue's "Single Woman" (a wonderful story song), Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil's "Here You Come Again," Yusuf Islam's (aka Cat Stevens) "Peace Train," and Jimmy Page & Robert Plant's, (with additional lyrics by Dolly Parton) "Stairway to Heaven."

Natalie Douglas in "Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton" at Birdland 2014, Photo Credit: Kevin AlveyNatalie Douglas and Jim Caruso, "Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton" at Birdland 2014, Photo Credit: Kevin AlveyWith each song, Natalie told some great stories that were either Natalie's association with the song or a fun fact about Dolly herself. Not only is Natalie an extrememly talented singer, but she is a great storyteller. She's very entertaining and captivates you from beginning to end!

I am so glad that this show is being featured throughout the next few months at Birdland because it's a show that I could sit through over and over and over again! Between Natalie's talent and Dolly's exquisite songs, Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton is like going on a "Stairway to Heaven!"

If you missed my original interview with Natalie about Hello Dolly...The Music of Dolly Parton, click here to read it!

For more on Natalie be sure to visit http://www.nataliedouglas.com and follow her FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!