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

      

 

Entries in Playwright (15)

Wednesday
Jul132016

Adam's Call: Michael Raver's Fire on Babylon: The Heat is On

Michael Raver is a rising playwright everyone should have their eye on! His new play, Fire on Babylon, which is in the Fresh Fruit Festival, is HOT! In fact, it's scalding with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole play!

Fire on Babylon is about two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Between Michael's script, the set, the acting, and the direction, Fire on Babylon took me back to August 14, 2003, the day of the Northeast blackout. I was filled with emotions and those feelings lasted the throughout the show. The uncertainty of what was initially happening in the city, the fear, the crowds of people you saw walking the streets, the comradery of strangers, were all perfectly conveyed here.

Michael Raver in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyJeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyAt the onset, I thought, perhaps, the play was going to be a typical gay story of older man/younger man, but little did I know, that feeling was going to be short-lived. It wasn't long until the lights went out and we were in the darkness of the blackout watching little rays of light shine through as secrets are revealed. First one secret, then another, and another, and before you know it, Fire on Babylon is taking you on a road you did not expect to go. As the truth unfolded, so did their hurt, which just seemed to get deeper and deeper throughout the play. But through these revelations, I learned so much about each character and how they got to where they are. Fire on Babylon really displayed the sentiment of how secrets and lies can crush a person's soul, but when the truth is set free, one can rise up and move forward.

Michael's words are rich, powerful, and intriguing. He has a great way to setting the story up and just when you think you might know what's going to happen, he throws a wrench in the mix and takes you in a different direction, only to make another turn you were not expecting, but leads to the end. While the road to the end might be full of twists and turns, it's these uncertainties that kept captivated me. Life is unpredictable and Michael did an excellent job of showing that in Fire on Babylon.

Michael Raver and Jeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyNot only did Michael write the play, but he starred in it too, opposite Jeffrey Hayenga. Michael and Jeffrey had great chemistry together. They played well off of each other and effortlessly made me feel as though they could have been in a real relationship. Paul Mason Barnes' direction was great. I felt he really understood the concept of the play and helped excute it very well. I loved the set. Simple, but super effective. It easily reminded me of the apartment I had to stay in during the blackout as I could not make my way home.

Fire on Babylon is a strong piece that is worth checking out. There are only two performances left of this show in the Frest Fruit Festival: Friday, July 15th at 6pm and Sunday, July 17th at 5pm. Be sure you get there before the lights go out forever on this run of the show! Fire on Babylon plays at The Wild Project in NYC's East Village (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B). Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Michael Raver about this show, click here to read it!

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

Tuesday
Jul122016

Adam's Call: Charles Busch: The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below: An Evening Filled with Laughter, Smiles, and a Walk Down Memory Lane

Charles BuschThis past June I had the pleasure of seeing Charles Busch's newest show The Ultimate Playlist at Feinstein's/54 Below. It's always a joy when Charles and his musical director Tom Judson return to Feinstein's/54 Below because I know I'm going to have an evening filled with laughter, smiles, and a walk down memory lane, well Charles' memory lane to be exact. 

Charles has a way of captivating the audience with his stories. Whenever he tells a story, it feels as though we are seated in his living room around his fire place. He has excellent story telling skills, hence why he's been such a successful playwright. My favorite story Charles told that night was about his Aunt Lillian and how when he was a little boy, she took him in, because she was the only person who truly understood him. Though Charles was a bit rebellious at first, he ended up having a very special and wonderful relationship with his Aunt Lillian. He learned a lot about himself, life, and theatre from her. He had so many fond memories of their time together. It made me think of the great relationship I had with my grandparents, whom have passed, but have left me with a lifetime of loving memories to remember.

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoI also really enjoyed Charles' re-enactment of "Miriam Passman," the character who inspired him to write his Tony-nominated play The Tale of the Allergists Wife. While I've heard him tell this story in some of his other cabaret shows, it's still enjoyable to hear how he came up with the character and then developed the play around her. But what's even more fun is getting to watch Charles become "Miriam" and do a skit he used to do back in the day. What a treat to get to see a Charles Busch classic skit!

It's always great to hear Charles sing. Until Charles started doing his cabaret shows more regularly, the only time I had ever heard Charles sing was during his annual Christmas Show Times Square Angel. The first time I attended a Charles Busch cabaret show, I remember going into it not fully knowing what to expect, but I ended up leaving with a huge smile on my face from having such a good time. Since that first cabaret show, I have been excited for every one ever since. In this particular show, I enjoyed Charles' varied set list. Charles opened the show with such energy singing "Taking A Chance on Love," a great song about new love. It was the perfect opener because it is such a positive song that it automatically put me in a mood to enjoy the evening set before us.

My favorite song of the night was Those Were The Days. I remember when Dolly Parton released her version of the song back in 2005. It was full of such energy that I was immediately hooked on it. Well, Charles' rendition of this song was just as fun! He got the whole audience singing along with him and he relished in the audience's energy and excitement over the song. He did such a great job with it, I didn't want the song to end!

Charles Busch performing "The Ultimate Playlist" at Feinstein's/54 Below, Photo Credit: Maryann LopintoCharles also did a beautiful mash-up of "The Summer Wind" and "That Sunday, That Summer." Two very sad songs about lost loves, but recalling happier times of each. Charles really brought such heart to these songs. I could feel his relationship to these songs and the sadness one can feel when you lose someone close to you.

Supporting Charles throughout the whole evening was his longtime musical director Tom Judson. I adore Tom! Him and Charles have terrific chemistry together. They play off of each other very well and I love whenever they do a duet together. They sound great! 

This show made me so happy and brought back some wonderful memories for me. I can't wait for Charles' next engagement at Feinstein's/54 Below and I encourage everyone to go see him the next time he's in town!

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

Saturday
Oct242015

Adam's Call: Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca" starring Daphne Rubin-Vega: Recipe for Success

Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"This is certainly the week for shows! Aaron Mark's Empanada Loca, written for and starring two-time Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, is another must see show! Inspired by the legend of Sweeney Todd, Empanada Loca is being presented by LAByrinth Theater Company and playing at The Bank Street Theater in NYC.

The combination of Aaron's writing and Daphne's talent is a definite recipe for success! From the moment the lights went out and the rumbles of the subway train were heard, I was taken into "Dolores'" world and was kept there the whole time. The set up of how "Dolores" got to living in the tunnels of the subway was perfectly written by Aaron. There were so many twists and turns in this show, I didn't want to leave! From drug-dealing to being an ex-con to now living far below the city streets, "Dolores" has seen and done it all. 

Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"Daphne does more than embody the character of "Dolores," a woman who has lived a life, she IS "Dolores!" There was not one moment in the show when I felt I was watching Daphne Rubin-Vega the actress. I only saw "Dolores" and that is a testament to the powerful performance Daphne is giving in this show as well as to Aaron's writing. Daphne is giving a performance of a lifetime!

Empanada Loca is the second show in Aaron's trilogy, the first being Another Medea, which starred Tom Hewitt. Aaron is definitely a rising playwright to watch! His writing is dark, sometimes uncomfortable, but always filled with just enough humor to help you through. Aaron is daring for bringing such captivating shows to the stage, re-imaging these classics for today's audiences and he's doing it with premier talent!

I was so captivated watching Empanada Loca that I can't wait to see it again! I'm telling you, this is one show that is worth the train ride into the tunnels of the subway system's unknown!

Empanada Loca runs through November 8th only at Bank Street Theater (155 Bank Street, between Greenwich and Washington). Click here for tickets!

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

Saturday
Apr182015

Adam's Call: JANKA A-20398: I Say See It!

There is a powerful new Off-Broadway show happening in NYC at the June Havoc Theatre entitled JANKA: A-20398 written by playwright Oscar Speace and starring Janice Noga (Oscar's wife). Inspired by a 60-page letter Oscar's mom wrote after she was freed from the Nazi concentration camps, this show recounts Janka's liberation and time spent in the concentration camps.

Oscar didn't know much about his mom's time in the camps as Janka never spoke of it. This was a time in her life she wanted to forget. So, when the show opens, Janka asks the audience if she should tell her son her story and then says that she will first tell us and let us decide. So right from the start, the audience is sucked into this play. Oscar's writing style for this show is very cool in that it really is like sitting in Janka's living room listening to a story as opposed to a written script. While it's Oscar's words we are hearing, Janice Noga, should be commended for her terrific acting and making Janka so accessible to the audience.

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond ReillyJanice's performance was mesmerizing. From the moment she opened the show, Janice, I mean Janka, invited the audience into her life. Going between the present to her time just before going into the concentration camps to her time in the camps to her liberation, Janice easily guided the audience through the time period she was in. I will say I was most moved by Janice's performance when she was taking us through the concentration camps. There was a very vivid transformation in her character and it was quite moving. The horror she suffered, I still don't fully know how she made it through. How did she not speak of it? I guess it was just too painful. I often wonder if I would have what it takes to survive something like the Holocaust? If I made it out alive, would I be able to talk about it? I just don't know. But I am so glad Janka did survive and she did write this letter and that Oscar found it and made it into this show!

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond ReillyJANKA: A-20398 is so important to have on stage as we must NEVER FORGET what happened to the six million Jews who perrished in the Holocaust along with many other minorities the Nazis wanted to annihilate. This is not an easy show to sit through, but it is an important one, especially during this time of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day. 

This show is also important because it's so easy for a Holocaust or something like it to happen again, as we have seen with everything happening in the world. While most people will say I don't want to see a show like this, I say, see it! Challenge yourself and allow yourself to feel all the emotions this show brings up. We must not stop talking about the Holocaust as we must never let this happen again!

JANKA: A-20398 plays at The June Havoc Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) in New York City through May 2. Click here for tickets!

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

Thursday
Sep182014

Adam's Call: Barry Levey's Hoaxocaust: Can't stop thinking about this show

It's been well over 3 hours since I left Baruch College Performing Arts Center in NYC after seeing Barry Levey's, Hoaxocaust, as part of the 2014 International Fringe Festival Encore Series. Hoaxocaust is a compelling, thought-provoking, emotional, can't stop thinking about, how will I sleep tonight one-man show about those who deny that The Holocaust ever happened.

Barry Levey in "Hoaxocaust"I have not been so moved, riled up, and pushed forward with thoughts in a long time. Between my home life and my 7th/8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Laskey, I certainly grew up learning all about the horrors of The Holocaust and about the family members who were lost in it and those who survived. I mean, it was embedded in my brain that we must "never forget" and "we must keep talking about it so another Holocaust doesn't happen."

Even with this upbringing, the message of Barry's show seeped deep into my head. For the first time, I thought, could these deniers be right? Could it be possible that The Holocaust never happened? It astounded me that these thoughts were going through my head, but with what Barry presented, I could see how someone who's not as strong-willed as me could truly believe these deniers.

Dr. Ruth at a previous performance of "Hoaxocaust"It's terrifying to know that Holocaust deniers are out there, but it's even scarier to think that maybe one day their beliefs could become the norm. I mean, the survivors of The Holocaust are dying. The direct family members of the survivors are dying. If these family members don't pass along this history to future generations, who will be able to keep their legacy alive? I know there is plenty of documentation out there that The Holocaust happened, but with all the hate in the world and after seeing Barry's show, it does make me wonder, are there enough of us out there to make sure people know about The Holocaust? In the 1930s, no one thought The Holocaust would happen, but it did. We have succeeded in not letting another one happen, but who knows what the future will bring. Hate is everywhere and in some parts of the world (even right here in the United States of America), these Holocaust deniers are living, gaining members, and getting their message out there. If the ending of Barry's show is any indication of what we are dealing with, well, then you will see why I can't stop thinking about this show!

Barry Levey in 'Hoaxocaust"Barry has 2 performances left. This Sunday, September 21 at 3pm and Wednesday, September 24 at 7:30pm at Baruch's Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street). Click here for tickets!