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

Entries in Theatre (117)

Sunday
Oct142012

Owen Dunne's Positions: Show's promise in 52 ways

On October 11, 2012 I was introduced to a promising new playwright named Owen Dunne when I attended the NY premiere of his new show "Positions," directed by Steve Bakunas, and presented by Red Barn Studio, Steven Bakunas and Tony and Golden Globe winner Linda Lavin

Starring Michelle Gagliano, Anna Stromberg, and Mike O'Neil, "Positions" is a dark comedy about sexual dysfunction in a marriage and a husband's desperate attempt to remedy the situation. When the lights went down, I was quickly immersed in Owen's strong, witty, and relatable writing, which was aided by Mike and Michelle's great comedic acting as husband and wife "Leo" and "Hilary." Full on, out-loud laughter ensued throughout the first act. I have seen and heard similar stories to the ones of "Leo" and "Hilary," however, I was not prepared for the twist this story took, which made me eager for the intermission to end!

At the top of the second act, we are introduced to "Cassandra," played by Anna Stromberg, who is interestingly brought into the lives of "Leo" and "Hilary." Anna shined brightly and added much comedic flair to a second act. It's during this act that my favorite line in the whole show was uttered by "Cassandra," "They maybe good men, but they don't make good husbands." While the second act was entertaining it left me wanting a few moments more. 

As a director, Steve Bakunas presented a great interpretation of Owen's words. I hope he will get to direct more shows here in New York!

I think Owen has a lot of promise as a playwright. The strength of the first act is a testament to that. Its comedic and dramatic moments demonstrate Owen's good writing. If this show has another life, I hope the second act could get fleshed out a bit more, but it definitely has a great start. I just wanted a few more links connected, but I can see why it was written the way it was.

I would still recommend "Positions" because Red Barn Studio and Owen Dunne are new entities in New York, but well known in their hometown of Wilmington, NC. So many theatre companies have closed their doors over the years that it's nice to see there are still more emerging! I hope you do take a chance with "Positions" because it's a new original work by a rising playwright and theatre company. For $20, you'll be helping support live theatre and be entertained!

"Positions" plays at the Roy Arias Theatre in NYC (300 West 43rd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenue) through October 21. Click here for tickets!

Saturday
Oct132012

Robert Cuccioli "A Standard Love": A Fine Romance

Adam Rothenberg and Robert CuccioliI had the pleasure of attending Robert Cuccioli's CD release concert "A Standard Love" in celebration of his debut album "The Look Of Love" at Birdland on Monday, October 8 as part of Jim Caruso's Broadway in Birdland series. The evening was a smashing success as Robert delighted the sold-out crowd to some of his favorite songs from the 30s and 40s.

Robert Cuccioli has one of the most beautiful male voices I have ever heard. His skilled and powerful vocals echo throughout every venue he performs in, whether that be an intimate setting like Birdland or a big Broadway theatre.

Photo Credit: Seth WaltersI am so happy to have been able to attend Robert's show for Robert found a way to rope me in from the moment he started singing. You see, I'm not the biggest fan of 30s/40s music, but when Robert was singing, I found myself immersed in to this time and found a new appreciation for the music. Robert's magical voice and commanding stage presence showed me just how great this music really is. There were many wonderful moments in this show and some of my favorites were the opening number "The Look of Love," as well as "Ain't That A Kick In The Head," "A Fine Romance," "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "I Like To Lead When I Dance," "I Wanna Be Around," "Our Love Is Here To Stay," "Day By Day" and the glorious encore of "This Is The Moment" from Broadway's "Jekyll and Hyde."

In addition to these great songs were the multitude of stories Robert told in between. He took the audience on a journey of love, which he had a lot of experience with. Not only is Robert a great singer, but he's also a terrific storyteller who made me feel as though we were just sitting around in his living room talking and singing. 

Photo Credit: Seth WaltersThe next time Robert Cuccioli performs, I strongly recommend attending. He will dazzle you with his glorious vocals, funny stories, shining stage presence, and booming personality. If you can't wait for his next concert, then you can catch him in Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn of the Dark" where he is currently starring as "The Green Goblin."

For more on Robert be sure to visit http://www.robertcuccioli.com and follow him on Facebook! 

Click here to purchase Robert's CD "The Look of Love" at CD Baby.com.

Wednesday
Oct102012

Stephen Sondheim's Marry Me A Little

On September 28, I attended the Keen Company's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Marry Me A Little" at Theatre Row. Starring the amazing talents of Lauren Molina and Jason Tam, "Marry Me A Little" tells a tale of love, loneliness, and survival as a modern single.

As a modern single, these were all themes I could identify with. I've struggled with finding the courage to tell the guy I have a crush on that he's cute. I've sat home on a Saturday night watching TV thinking of ways to tell him, but I've also enjoyed the moment of the first meeting with hopes that it will go somewhere.

I think Lauren and Jason did an excellent job with the material. From their chemistry to voices, they were in sync with each other. They each held their own while hitting all the right notes. I also loved the added bonus of Lauren playing the cello. She's quite an accomplished musician in addition to actress.

I do wish there were a few more upbeat songs as the show does contain a lot of ballads, but some of my favorite numbers were "Saturday Night," "Bang!," "Your Eyes Are Blue," "A Moment With You," "Happily Ever After," "Rainbows," and "It Wasn't Meant To Happen."

If you want to see two rising stars, then go see Lauren and Jason in "Marry Me A Little." "Marry Me A Little" plays at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through October 27! Click here for tickets!

Friday
Oct052012

Ben Rimalower: Patti Issues: Star Quality

Adam Rothenberg and Ben RimalowerStand back, NYC, because, Ben Rimalower has arrived with his show "Patti Issues," currently enjoying an extended run at New York's most famous piano bar, The Duplex, in the West Village.

"Patti Issues" tells the story of Ben's tumultuous relationship with his father, who, came out of the closet when Ben was eight years old. Finding solace in the great Divas, specifically, Patti LuPone, Ben tells this engaging, hearfelt, and humorous story of how Patti helped him find his footing, not only in the theatre, but in life too.

Ben Rimalower in "Patti Issues", Photo Credit: Gustavo Monroy for Next MagazineWith lots of energy and excitement, Ben takes the stage, and immediately sucks the audience in with laughter and a bit of heart break. Starting the story a little bit forward, Ben then takes the audience back to the beginning. While the evolution of "Patti Issues" is quite amazing, the true spirit of the evening is seeing how Ben has become a man who is strong, compassionate, and most of educated on many levels. "Patti Issues" flips back and forth between the relationship Ben has with his father and family and his love of Patti LuPone. It's interesting to see how Patti has "traveled" with Ben along this road.

"Patti Issues" definitely left me wanting more because there were a few moments I felt the story could have been expanded or connected more smoothly. I remember saying to myself, "I want to see where this goes and then that moment was gone." If there is a rewriting phase after this run, I hope those missing moments, for me, become fleshed out more.

For someone who is making their writing and performing debut, Ben Rimalower is on the fast track to something great! I know that this is just the beginning of Ben's next phase. "Patti Issues" is the project that will take Ben to the next level, if it hasn't already.

Patti LuPone and Ben Rimalower at "Patti Issues", Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson for Broadway.comWith just five performances left, "Patti Issues" is one solo show not to be missed! You'll get the inside scoop into a man who's savoir has taken him on his own "Rainbow Tour" and dressed him up to the nines!

Ben Rimalower's "Patti Issues" plays at The Duplex in New York City through November 1. The Duplex is located at 61 Christohper Street at 7th Avenue. Click here for tickets!

Remaining showtimes are:

Monday, October 8 at 7pm

Sunday, October 14 at 9:30pm

Sunday, October 21 at 9:30pm

Sunday, October 28 at 4pm

Thursday, November 1 at 9:30pm

Monday
Sep102012

US by Michelle Clunie: Powerful and Multi-layered

Michelle Clunie and Adam Rothenberg at "US" Opening Night PartyMichelle Clunie ("Melanie" from Showtime's "Queer As Folk") has made her New York theatrical mark with the debut of her play "US," a powerful and multi-layered show set against the year we elected President Obama. Michelle has written a sophisticated show that tackles love, sex, power, politics, and self-worth.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandProduced by Kef Productions and directed by Jennifer Gelfer, "US" is not only written by Michelle, but she stars in it as well along with Jeff Lebeau. From the moment the show began, I was enticed until the very end. This emotionally drama filled show was aided by its comedic moments and intertwining of video projections.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandAs a playwright, it was evident that Michelle carefully chose her words, and an actress, she delivered those words brillliantly. Jeff's performance was equally as spot on, really helping bring Michelle's dialogue to life. Both performers have great comedic talents in physical comedy and doing impersonations, but it was their emotional moments that captured me.

Traveling between present day and the road that got them to where they are now, it was very interesting to see the build up of events, even though there were a few moments I had a little trouble following the sequence of events, overall, they were displayed well.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandOne of my favorite parts of the show was when each character came to a realization either about himself or herself about the situation and they didn't necessarily know how to change it, but continued on, learning from it. My other favorite part of the show was the true moment of self-empowerment, an action, I hope everyone is able to discover for themselves.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland"US" is a must see show whether you are looking for a new playwright with strong writing skills or if you are a fan of Michelle Clunie and want to see a different kind of emotion from her.

"US" plays at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through September 29! Click here for tickets!