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Report for February 2016


Report for February 2016



At The Minetta Lane Theatre:

Austin McCormick?s AMDM-Production of SNOW-WHITE [***]

Austin! What Happened Between 2015 & 2016? Cinderella Was Great, But Snow is a Mess!

When Company XIV?s Sun-King-Inspired Cinderella opened Last-Fall, it was Astonishing, not only for the Tasteful-Erotic-Nudity & the Athletic, Balletic, & Acrobatic Talents of its Awesome-Cast, but also for the Fantastic-Inventiveness of its Smoke-Shrouded Sung-&-Danced Fairy-Tale-Narrative.

Cinderella really did get a Fairy-Prince: indeed, a Prince with a Bare-Backside!

Nutcracker-Rouge was also Visual-Tonic! It surely would have given Hans Christian Andersen & the Brothers-Grimm a real Wake-Up-Call in the Kiddie-Entertainment-Sweepstakes!

Among the most Arresting & Memorable Features of Cinderella?in addition to the Graceful-Movement & the Germanic-Inflected-Singing?were the Acrobatic-Acts, fully worthy of Cirque-du-Soleil or the Big-Apple-Circus!

But in Snow-White, they all seemed to happen almost At-Once, even Not-Well-Lit?

Yes, we did have some Red-Shoes, but I kept looking for The-Seven-Dwarfs.

Where were Sleepy, Happy, Dopey, Grumpy, & Doc?

Oh, Oh! They belong to Walt-Disney-Enterprises©, not to Charles Perreault, Hans Andersen, or Jake Grimm?

Dwarfs & Midgets?like Lithe-Jockeys?are rumored to have Enormous-Endowments. Perhaps to make up for other Short-Comings?

At the close, I overheard one of the Sexier-Dancers tell an Enthusiast that the Troupe only performs in New York. It does not Travel.

If & When Snow-White returns next Season, I do hope Company XIV will be able to devise a more-effective Visual-Narrative.

As the Evil-Queen is so Obsessed with Personal-Beauty, perhaps Revlon might want to Sponsor?

Beauty-Products could be sold in the Foyer, along with Liquid-Refreshments that can be spilled on Your-Neighbors!

Oh! What about Prada? Everyone now knows that: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA?

Perhaps Meryl Streep could be persuaded to make a Personal-Appearance?

At The Lion Theatre on Theatre-Row:

Len Cariou?s BROAWAY & THE BARD [*****]

Beloved Broadway-Star Len Cariou Reprises Shakespeare-Gems & Broadway-Hit-Songs!

Unlike Senator Ted Cruz, Broadway-Boy Len Cariou has No-Problem with being born in Canada.

In fact, that Canadian-Origin helped him Make-His-Mark at the Stratford-Festival-of-Canada, where Shakespeare is both King & Emperor, as well as Poet & Peasant?

Now, Looking-Backward, Cariou is down on Theatre-Row, celebrating a Long-Life on the Legitimate & Musical-Stages, both in Manhattan & Elsewhere, concentrating on his Love-Affair with the Bard-of-Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Cariou?s Bardic-Collage is Umbilically-Connected with Broadway-Melodies that Lyrically-Echo Shakespearean-Sentiments.

Magically, Broadway & The Bard is a Rich-Autumnal-Harvest of Stratfordian-Passions & an Eloquently-Elegant-Valedictory as well.

Friar Len Cariou does not here Roast-Himself, but he also does not Spare-Himself, recreating the Rages of a Blind, Foolish, Old Lear or the subtle Crowd-Arousals of Marc-Antony, Orating at the Coffin of the Villainously-Murdered Julius Caesar.

But it?s not all Bardic-High-Drama: How about Jacques? Narrative-Summation of Human-Life?The-Seven-Ages-of-Man?

The Sonnets are Invoked as well: When in Disgrace with Fortune?

There?s also Comedy-Tonight as Cariou invites us to: Brush-Up Your Shakespeare!

And Who but Len Cariou would think to couple Shakespeare?s Meditations on Old-Age with Max Anderson & Kurt Weill?s September-Song, from Knickerbocker-Holiday?

Magisterially & Magnificently, Cariou finally becomes the Aged-Sorcerer-King, Prospero?

To Know-All, is to Forgive-All, or so they say.

But not an Elizabethan-Word is spoken about the Shadow-Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe?

Nonetheless, Bravo & Thank-You, Len Cariou!

At New World Stages:

James Ortiz? THE WOODSMAN [*****]

Axe-Alert! Woodman, Spare That Tree! Don?t Turn into Tin! If You Only Had a Heart?

Bunkraku Invades Oz! Mimed Dance-Drama Amazes! Simple-Lad Learns Axe-Craft!

Savage Ravens & Crows Swoop Down on Munchkin-Land! Where Are The Monkeys?

Watch-Out for Flaming-Flying-Witches! Do Not Be Mauled by Monsters?

Only at the End of this Magical-Mystery-Tour of the Blue-Province of OZ do we see Dorothy, with her Apron & Basket, setting-off for the Emerald-City?which is only hinted-at with Gleaming-Green Mason-Jars overhead.

Indeed, the Skies are Alive with Mason-Jars, filled with glinting-buzzes of Firefly-Lights, while the Munchkin-Borderlands are Plastered with Family-Photos & Other-Kansas-Memorabilia?

The Altogether-Amazing James Ortiz?who Conceived & Co-Directed, with Claire Karpen?notes in the New-World-Stages Playbill that The Woodsman is adapted from "The Beloved-Writings of L. Frank Baum.?

The Creator of Ozma-of-Oz, The Wizard-of-Oz, Glinda-the-Good, & The Cowardly-Lion?as well as the Nominal-Inspiration for Wicked on Broadway, Now & Forever?would surely be Astonished at what Ortiz-Has-Wrought!

The Ortiz-Stage-Space is inhabited by Mute-Black-Clad-Performers who could be Old-Country-Amish, On-Leave from Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

They Mime & Sometimes-Hum?to Solo-Violin-Accompaniment?the Fantastic-Fable of the Boy who becomes not only a Man, but a Woodsman, Axe-in-Hand, to tame the Savage-Forest, through which an Angry-Evil-Witch periodically-passes, her Furious-Face & Flaming-Robes even swooping-out over the Audience!

Ortiz & his Amazing-Ensemble have created one of the most Arresting & Affecting Dance-Dramas that I?ve ever seen?even with years as a Contributing-Editor to Dance-Magazine.

An Odd-Collection of Boxes become Instantly-Improvised-Props, but the Greatest-Amazement-of-All is the Invasion of Kansas & Munchin-Territory by Japanese-Bunraku-Puppet-Handlers!

As the Unfortunate-Woodsman loses Limb-after-Limb?he needs Adept-Axe-Handlers more than Puppet-Handlers?Arms & Legs are replaced with Prosthetic-Metal-Extensions, moved by Black-Clad Silent-Enablers.

Bit-by-Bit, Piece-by-Piece, he becomes entirely The Tin-Man of Oz?

This is One of those Unforgettable-Theatre-Experiences?which so seldom are seen in Manhattan or Across-the-Country, especially Not-In-Kansas!?that deserves all the Special-Achievement-Ensemble-Awards you can think-of. Or: Of-Which-You-Can-Think!

Unfortunately, The Woodsman has already been shown, over at 59E59?from which I have Been-Banned, through No-Fault-of-My-Own?so I cannot Nominate this Astonishing-Ozian-Adventure?

Frank Baum?Baum means Tree in German?originally intended his Wizard-of-Oz to be a Hidden-Political-Satire. Well, Frank! So much for Good-Intentions?

How about coming-back to Kansas?from Wherever Beloved-Children?s-Authors Go when they Pass-Over into Unknown-Realms?to give us a Re-Run, featuring Donald Trump as The Republican-Wizard of Real-Estate?

Just Asking?

Oh, Mr. Ortiz?

Another Oz-Query: Whatever became of Toto?

At The [Harold] Clurman Theatre on Theatre-Row:

Jeremy Tiang?s Adaptation of the Beloved-Chinese-Classic: A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS [*****]

Beautifully-Embroidered-Costumes; Ritual-Pecking-Orders: The Rise & Fall of a Chinese-Family?

It?s Not-Problematic-Enough to have One of the Lovely-Daughters of this 18th-Century Noble-Chinese-Family chosen to be Chief-Concubine of the Qing-Emperor.

No, Indeed!

What the Aged-Matriarch [Shigeko Sara Suga] & the Frustrated-Courtier-Father [Fenton Li] do not understand is that their Only-Son [Vichet Chum] is not just any Noble-Child, but an Immortal-Stone, come down from the Heavens to be on Earth with his Beloved-Astral-Flower [Kelsey Wang], also taking Mortal-Form.

Of course, when the Son is born with a Chip-of-Jade in his Mouth, they should have known that Things might not Turn-Out-Well?

A Dream of Red Pavilions is one of the Great-Chinese-Classics, which also include My-Favorite, Journey to the West, with the Fantastical-Monkey-King.

The California-Dramatist, Maxine Hong Kingston, has also revisited the Classical-Chinese-Canon, with The Woman-Warrior?

There are Overtones & Undertones of the Classical-Chinese-Opera in Tisa Chang?s Handsome-Staging of Red Pavilions, but, for the most part, Stylized-Movement is replaced with Traditional-Forms of Class-Oriented Polite-Behaviour.

What is At-Stake in Red Pavilions, however, is not a Tempest-in-a-Teapot.

A Family & A Fortune will be Totally-Lost?

But, in the process, Tisa Chang?s Admiring-Audiences are treated to a Classically-Red-Pavilion, wonderfully-designed Court-Gowns, Haunting-Projections on Rice-Paper-Screens, & Desperate-Women, trying to be Civil & Subservient, with an Overbearing-Father of Ministerial-Rank.

Ah, Mother-China! Qing & Ming, Moghul & Manchu?

What Passions & Persecutions have your Ancient-Fortresses, Palaces, & Walls not seen?

In Our-Own-Era, Chairman Mao?s Long-March changed Everything: from Peking to Nanking, from Canton to Shanghai, from Xian to Chengdu?

Then there was Chiang-Ching?Ex-Actress Mme. Mao?who swept away Red-Pavilions & Somnolent-Scholars, replacing Traditional Peking & Cantonese-Operas with The Red-Detachment-of-Women, which, in its own way, was a kind of Woman-Warrior?

Thank-You, Tisa Chang, for keeping us dramatically-aware of an Imperial-Archive of Classic-Performance, while, at the same time, introducing us to Modern-Chinese-Theatre.

A Longtime Critic-Collaborator with LaMaMa Ellen Stewart, I have been following Tisa & her Pan-Asian Repertory-Theatre since Ellen introduced them to Off-Off-Broadway, over on East-Fourth-Street.

This is their Thirty-Ninth-Season in the Sun, with Red Pavilions having had UK-Origins, but further-developed at the Oregon-Shakespearean-Festival in Ashland, OR.

In Britain, Soho-Theatre, Birmingham-Rep, & The Young-Vic all had a hand in the Production now on-view on Theatre-Row.

Tisa?s Program makes reference to the Aid of the Phil Killian Directing-Fellowship.

Does this mean that Phil Killian is Dead?

Years & Years Ago, I interviewed Phil when he was one of those Scapino-Scamps in the Frank Dunlop/Jim Dale Version of Moliér??s Les Fouberies de Scapin.?

At The Broadway Theatre:

Joe Stein, Jerry Bock, & Sheldon Harnick?s FIDDLER ON THE ROOF [*****]

Pogroms Are on the Program, As Well as Arranged-Marriages & Orthodox-Pieties?

But There?s Nothing Like a Stage Full of Singing-&-Dancing Jewish-Dervishes, Recapping Robbins!

This is Not-a-Show for Al-Jazeera, but Everyone-Else?if they can get Tickets to Fiddler-on-Broadway?is sure to love this Wonderful-Recreation of the Original, Traditional, Broadway Anatevka, as imagined by Twenty-One-Time-Tony-Winner Director Hal Prince, with occasionally Un-Orthodox-Choreography by the Late Jerome Robbins.

Yes, there are Hints of Jack Cole & Bertolt Brecht in the Dynamite-Staging of Bartlett Sher?Our Younger Hal Prince!?with Super-Charged Choreographies by Hofesh Shechter.

The Admirable, Lovable Danny Burstein is also an Admirable, Lovable Tevya, the Milk-Man, who has to pull his own Cart, owing to the Indisposition of his Cow.

Tevya carries on an Amusing-Conversation with Yahweh or Jehovah: an On-the-One-Hand, On-the-Other?

What Tevya learns, over time, is that even though some Commandments may be Written-in-Stone, you Roll-with-the-Punches & Deal-with-Realities.

Loving Life, Loving Your Family, Longing for the Best-Outcomes?

What could be better than leaving the Shtetl for Chicago?

Jessica Hecht plays Tevya?s Long-Suffering-Wife, who has to worry about Marrying-Off Five-Daughters Without-Dowries.

The Historic-Expulsions of Pious-Jews from Czarist-Domains were Nothing-to-Sing-About, but Stein, Bock, & Harnick somehow managed to craft a Dynamic-Musical-Narrative.

Thanks to the Ever-Changing Scenic-Shtetl-Fa?ades of Designer Mitch Yeargan, the Stage-Picture is often in as Much-Motion as the Energetic-Cast: Look Where It Comes Again!

Catherine Zuber?s predominantly Kosher-Costumes also evoke the Ethnic-Disaster that drove so many Russian-Jews to American-Shores.

Yente, The Matchmaker, however, is not bound for Hester-Street or Chicago. She announces her Option for "The Holy-Land,? which should also appeal to Born-Again-Evangelicals. She does not call it Palestine?

One of the Most-Popular Dance-Set-Pieces is that Bottle-Balancing-Act. Five Orthodox-Dancers manage to cavort with Tall-Bottles atop their Flat-Hats!

This Crowd-Pleaser was long ago reprised in Zorba, which had that Memorable-Hit-Song: Life Is What You Do While You?re Waiting To Die?

Curiously, although the Orchestra was crowded with Enthusiastic-Onlookers, the Upper-Reaches of the Balcony were Closed-Off.

Nonetheless, Fiddler should have a Long-Run?

Has the Marc-Chagall-Estate ever received Royalties from this Charming-Appropriation of his Iconic-Fiddler-Paintings?

At One of The Many Peter Jay Sharp Theatres?This One at the Juilliard-School:

Felice Romani & Vincenzo Bellini?s LA SONNAMBULA [****]

Much Musical-Ado about Getting-Married To Mr. Right?with Beautiful Bel-Canto Along the Way?

Years & years-ago, I wrote an as-yet-unpublished Opera-Book, titled Opera-Theatre, or Concerts-in-Costume?

Having watched many a Traditional-European-Production in the 1950s?especially in Italy?I wondered why they had Wasted so much Money on Sets-&-Costumes when the Major-Singers made No-Attempt to Move or Emote as both the Libretto & the Musical-Score indicated they might, to suggest some Sense of Real-People with Powerful-Problems.

Why not present Period-Operas that were principally Musical-Excuses for some Brilliant-Bel-Canto as Concerts rather than as Musik-Theater?

Actually, when Donizetti & Bellini were in their Prime, their Operas were often presented against Fake-Architectural-Fa?ades or Conventional Drop-&-Wing Generic-Settings.

Fortunately, for the recent Met+Juilliard La Sonnambula, Conductor Speranza Scappucci & her Musical-Cohorts decided on a Concert-Framework.

Romani?s Plot is not exactly a Cliff-Hanger: Will the Virtuous & Lovely?but Sleepwalking?Amina finally marry Elvino, who is shocked, shocked that she has been found Asleep in the Bed of the Long-Absent Count Rodolfo, newly-returned to his Looming-Castle?

Well, yes! The Nosey-Villagers didn?t know about Sleepwalkers?

The Astounding-Coloratura Giuditta Pasta was a Fast-Learner, so La Sonnambula became one of her Signature-Roles, followed, much later, by Maria Callas as a Radiant-Amina.

Long, long-ago, I was Dissertation-Advisor to Dr. Kenneth Stern, whose copiously-documented Thesis, Giudittta Pasta: A Life on the Lyric-Stage, was handsomely-published in 2011.

Ken Stern had actually gone to Pasta?s Historic-Villa, where he found Important-Manuscript-Letters, some concerning such Pasta-Triumphs as her Norma, Tancredi, Desdemona, Medea, Semiramide, & Beatrice di Tenda?

Conductor Speranza Scappucci?whose Name sounds like an Opera by either Bellini or Donizetti?was well-advised to elect the Concert-Format for the Combined-Vocal-Forces of Young-Talents from both the Met & the Juilliard.

As the Sleepy-Amina, Hyesang Park was superb, with an Often-Upset Potential-Husband voiced by Kang Wang?surely a Name-To-Remember?

In the Libretto & Onstage, Amina is presented as an Orphan, cared for over the years by a Loving-Foster-Mother.

Could the Long-Gone-Count possibly be Amina?s Natural-Father?

This Lingering-Question is Not-Resolved, but, in the Original-Libretto, that is what Romani & Bellini envisioned. But they later Dropped-the-Idea?

So we have lost several Potentially-Powerful Bel-Canto Arias & Duets, as Father & Daughter are Reconciled & Reunited.

Oh, Well! Win a Few, Lose a Few?

At The 2econd-Stage Theatre:

Lydia R. Diamond?s SMART PEOPLE [*****]

Doing Racial-Research in Cambridge? Do Not Embarrass Harvard: Four-Uneasy-Friendships?

The "Bible? of Press-Listings for Broadway & Off-Broadway Shows?Performing-Arts-Insider?briefly describes the Plot of Lucy Diamond?s Smart People thusly: Four Harvard-Intellectuals debate Obama?s First-Election.

Somehow, I don?t think that was the Production that I saw onstage at the 2econd-Stage, where Director Kenny Leon had deftly-deployed Four-Excellent-Performers who were Making-Friends in Awkward-Fits-&-Spurts.

Central is a Harvard-Research-Prof Brian [Joshua Jackson], a Troubled-White, who has some Unusual-Ideas about White-Black-Interactions.

Over time, he develops an Uneasy-Relationship with the somewhat-aggrieved Black-Surgeon, Dr. Jackson [Maherhala Ali], who initially has treated Aspiring-Actress Valerie [Tessa Thompson] for a Head-Cut.

In Blue-Operative-Scrubs, Jackson is sometimes mistaken for a Hospital-Janitor?

Yes, the DC-Coronation of President Obama?accompanied in Video-Footage by his Wife & the Presidential-Kiddies?is projected on a Large-Rear-Screen, but this Foursome has Personal-Issues to resolve that cannot be simply dissipated by Good-Will & watching DC-Celebrities on Breaking-News.

Oddly enough, although Brian is almost totally-absorbed in his White/Black-Theorizing, he does not seem to notice that the Smartest-One of this Foursome is Asian, neither Black nor White?

She is the Highly-Organized Ginny [Anne Son], who is irrationally-drawn to Brian, who seems to be a Good-Fuck, even if he often behaves like a Desperate-Dim-Wit?

Curiously, "Debate? may well be an Operative-Term for How-the Story-Is-Told?or the Yarn-Is-Untangled?because the Stage is initially Bare, like a Lecture-Platform, with only Four-Chairs, which are moved-around as Video-Images are Projected on the Rear-Screen.

Nonetheless, Scenic-Designer Riccardo Hernandez still had to select the Projections, both Still & Moving.

While Black-Lives-Matter very much indeed, it is indeed Odd that Asian-Americans are often Overlooked, if not merely Taken-for-Granted.

Many years ago, when I was teaching Speech-&-Theatre at Brooklyn-College, we had a number of Asian-Students, mainly from Taiwan, but also from South-Korea, Japan, & Mainland-China.

I took Special-Care to help them with English-as-a-Second-Language, as well as to Explain-the-Incongruities in the Dramas of Eugene O?Neill.

For this, I was mockingly-referred-to by my White-Colleagues as "The Chinese-Professor.?

"Hey! How are your Fortune-Cookies??

But when I arrived in Taipei, as a Guest of my Former-Students, I was not only introduced to Everyone-of-Importance & invited to speak about our Theatre-Program at Brooklyn, I was always Honorably-Referred-To as "Our-Chinese Professor, " who had introduced the Adoring-Students not only to American-Theatre, but also to Blintzes & the Brooklyn-Museum.

At The Mint Theatre?Currently-Downstairs with MTC?at New York City-Center:

Hazel Ellis? WOMEN WITHOUT MEN [****]

Not Easy Being an Embattled-Schoolteacher at a Protestant-Irish Private-School in Catholic-Dublin!

The Background-Materials in the Mint-Theatre?s Handsome-Program are almost as interesting as watching an Ill-matched-Faculty of Difficult-Women attempt to pass-on the Beloved-Basics of a Traditional-English-Education?including Latin?to Young-Uniformed-Protestant-Girls, some of whom are actually seen onstage in Vicki R. Davis? comfortable Common-Room, circa 1937.

I had the Uneasy-Sensation that I had actually seen this play somewhere in England in the 1950s, but it may well be that Hazel Ellis? Troubled-Teachers are somewhat Generic-Brits.

Unmarried-Women?with No Husbands nor Children & No real Economic-Security?were always at-risk in Pre-War-Post-Empire-Eire, so being Certified or Qualified to Teach-School was an Absolute-Plus, to be Defended at all Costs?

The Territorial-Claims in the Common-Room surely echo those in the Unseen-Classrooms.

What does seem a bit Odd in Hazel Ellis? Drama-Construct is the introduction of a New-Teacher who is Friendly, Open, Fair, Helpful, Hopeful, & Generally Too-Good for any Pre-War-Classroom?

Was there ever such a Goody-Two-Shoes in any Private-School-for-Girls, English or Irish?

Hazel Ellis came to the Irish-Theatre initially as an Actress, at the fabled Gate-Theatre, created & curated by the fabled Business & Life-Partners, Hilton Edwards & Miche?l MacLiamm?ir.

Her Career as an Irish-Playwright was, however, Brief?

Jenn Thompson ably-staged an Excellent-Cast, as is to be expected at any Mint-Theatre-Production, even though they have just lost their Long-Time-Home over on West-43rd-Street?

At The Signature Theatre?s Romulus Linney Stage:

Martha Clarke & Alfred Uhry?s ANGEL REAPERS [*****]

It?s The Gift To Be Simple?Live Onstage!

Spartan Evocations of Singing, Prancing, Dancing Shaker Men & Women, Transfixed in Time?

Thanks to the Vision & Imagination of that National-Treasure, Director/Choreographer Martha Clarke?assisted by Playwright Alfred Uhry?a Shaker Moment-in-Time is now recreated at the Signature Theatre.

In a bare?even barren?room, with two frame-windows gloomily-illuminating this Shaker-Space, haunted with Shadows & sparsely-furnished with Hand-Made Shaker-Chairs, Mother Ann Lee?s Male & Female Converts, sworn to Sexless-Lives of Prayer & Renunciation, allow their Pent-Up-Passions to erupt in Furious-Dancing & Ecstatic-Singing.

There is No-Spoken-Dialogue; No Essential-Narrative-Line?

Nonetheless, One Man & One Woman are suddenly seized by Carnal-Desire, which leads to Their-Expulsion from this Closed-Society.

Odd Mini-Religious-Movements have, over Centuries, emerged in Europe, but America, even from its Puritan-Beginnings in New-England, has proved a Fertile-Incubator of Unusual-Revelations.

The Quakers?unlike The Shakers?sat silently in their Quaker-Meeting-Halls, until one or another of the Congregants felt moved to Speak-Aloud, supposedly animated by the Mind-of-God?

Mother Ann Lee?who surely, early-on, had a Problem with Sexuality?decreed Communal-Living, with Handsome-Handcrafts, but No-Sexual-Congress.

As with Orthodox-Jews, Men kept with Men; Women kept with Women, but they joined in Community, praising through Ecstatic-Shaking, even with a bit of Quaking?

Today, we can still visit Shaker-Communities?or what survives of them?in Kentucky, at Pleasant-Hill, where "We make you kindly welcome,? or in Hancock, up in New-England.

Unlike that American-Prophet, Joseph Smith?who urged the Births of Many-Mormon-Children, even abetted by Plural-Marriage?Mother Ann Lee almost ensured the Eventual-Death of Her-Movement, by forbidding Sexual-Bedding.

The Shakers adopted Orphaned-Children, hoping that they would grow up to be Pious, Hand-Crafting, Singing Shakers, but that didn?t Work-Out.

Few of these Kids wanted a Shaker-Life when Mature.

If you can?t get Tickets to The Book of Mormon, why not check-out Angel-Reapers down at Signature?

Regardless of its Implicit-Commentary on Sexless-Religion, it is a Spartan-Visual-Amazement!

After watching the Furious-Frenzy of Martha Clarke?s Shakers, one might say that Donald Trump is A One-Man Shaker-Meeting?

At The Theatre-for-a-New-Audience?s Polonsky Shakespeare Center?

On the Samuel H. Scripps Mainstage:

William Shakespeare & Various-Other-Lesser-Talents? PERICLES [*****]

A Grab-Bag of Odd-Plots Becomes a Magnificent-Musical-Pageant?

Passionately-Played, Dynamically-Designed, Curiously & Costly-Costumed:

Entirely Worthy of the Royal-Shakespeare-Company or Britain?s National-Theatre!

Way over in Downtown-Brooklyn, a few steps from BAM, there is now one of the most Luxuriously-Lavish & Marvelously-Musical Productions of the Problematic-Play of Pericles that you will ever see.

When Ben Jonson wrote of Shakespeare?for the First-Folio?that he had "Little-Latin & Less-Greek,? it may well be that he knew that Bill Shakespeare was only a Front-Man for the True-Author of the Tragedies, Comedies, & Chronicles, Chris Marlowe.

Indeed, when John Heminges & Henry Condell were trying to decide which Elizabethan & Jacobean Plays should be included in their Shakespeare-Anthology, Pericles proved a Constant Question-Mark.

Britain?s National-Treasure, Director Trevor Nunn, has left London to astound both Bardolators & Brooklynites with one of the Handsomest-Mountings of a Quasi-Shakespearean-Drama ever.

The Polonsky Playing-Space is rather like an Elizabethan Cockpit-Theatre, with an Upstage-Fa?ade & a Downstage-Thrust, extending into the Audience, with Entrances & Exits through & around the Spectators, as well as Wrap-Around-Balconies.

The first Visual-Astonishment for me was the Initial-Impact of the Richly-Shining-Fabrics of the Fantastically-Formed-Costumes of Constance Hoffman. One Queen?s Headgear was a Tower of Black-Menace.

Old Gower?the Quasi-Welsh Story-Teller, who holds this Rag-Bag of Ancient-Plotlines together?appeared in a Sliding-Vertical-Aperture worthy of the Visionary Designer-Director Edward Gordon Craig & "The New-Stagecraft.?

He also sang some of the Simplistic-Couplets which surely are Not-Shakespeare?

Indeed, one of the Many-Glories of Nunn?s Staging is the Singing of Shakespeare & the fascinating Musical-Settings, devised by Shaun Davey.

Robert Jones, the Distinguished-Brit-Designer, has created an Ever-Changing, Ever-Astonishing Mise-en-Sc?ne, worthy of the Donmar-Warehouse or the RSC.

But this is not another English-Import!

It is so brilliantly-achieved that it should Reverse-the-Usual-Process & be shown later in London.

Except for the Principals, Nunn?s Large-Cast plays Various-Roles with Gusto, Bravura, Passion, & even Chagrin, when called-for.

Dumb-Couplets, HoHum-Poetry, Awkward-Plot-Transitions, & Soggy-Narrative-Sequences are somewhat?but Not-Entirely?saved by Songs?

This could be a Visual-Rerun of The Tempest, as there are so many Flapping-Sails & Riotous-Ropes flailing about the Stage from time to time.

The Burial-at-Sea of Pericles? Beloved-Wife is a Neat-Trick, as is her Recovery from Apparent-Death.

Then there is the Ethereal-Loveliness of Their-Daughter, Marina?

The Unfortunate Pericles, Prince-of-Tyre, takes us on a National-Trust-Tour of Antioch, Tyre, Tarsus, Pentapolis, Ephesus, & Mytelene.

Thanks to Nunn & his Demonic-Designers, this is a Sea-Journey not-to-be-missed.

If you have ever seen a Routine-Reading of Pericles, Prince of Tyre, & think you can sit-out this New-Vision of the Ancient-World of Pericles, Think-Again!

Frankly?especially with the Driving-Rainstorm over in Flatbush?I was not looking-forward to Yet-Another-Pericles.

Clearly, it is a Cut-&-Paste-Play, with Little-Shakespeare & Less-Greek?

Years & years-ago, when I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon to see Pericles performed by my Old Friend, RSC-Star Ian Richardson, I noticed some Constriction in his Line-Readings from Time-to-Time.

Afterward, over Ale at the Dirty-Duck, Ian vocally-demonstrated how Difficult it was to Shift from the Elegant-Verbal-Formulations of Shakespeare to the Dumbed-Down Vapid-Verse of what was clearly Non-Bardic.

Even more years & years-ago, I took my Father & my Mother?neither of whom had ever seen a Real-Play on a Real-Stage in a Professional-Production, because Theatre was Evil-&-Wicked?to the Annual Shakespearean-Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

My Father, David Merton Loney, had never finished Elementary-School because he had to go to work Full-Time on the Loney-Ranch.

He was gripped by Henry V, especially Henry?s Passionate-Entreaty: Once more to the Breach?

He cried at the Doomed-Love of Romeo & Juliet.

Mert Loney was devastated by Hamlet?s Multiple-Problems.

But?when we ended our Ashland-Outing with Pericles?he told me: That is really dumb, boring, & confusing.

I was astounded: Dad! I had to study for 18-years to understand what a Crappy-Play Pericles actually is.

You didn?t even go to High-School, but you instantly realized, Shakespeare or not, that this is a really Rotten-Show!

At The Signature Theatre?s Irene Diamond Stage:

Bill Irwin & David Shiner?s OLD HATS [****]

Beloved Old-Hats Mad-Hatters Are Back Again, in Rare-Form, But with Musical-Accompaniment?

Offered an Evening with Bill Irwin & David Shiner, most Folks know what they will See?but not Hear?because this charming Odd-Couple specializes in Hilarious-Mime.

When Shiner & Irwin are Onstage, there?s always a strong sense of Déj?-Vu, all over again?

The Old-Tricks & Old-Hats are always welcome, but this time Bill Irwin did not do his Signature-Trick of Walking-Downstairs in an Old-Steamer-Trunk.

Irwin & Shiner are not, however, Stuck-in-the-Past.

No, Indeed!

Hand-Held-Devices were Much-in-Evidence, even to the point of a Clash of Rival-Cell-Phones.

Bill Irwin also did an Arresting-Selfie on an iPad!

The Reprise of that always-unpredictable but always-amusing Making-an-Old-Western-Movie?with Audience-Participation?had Spectators "In-Stitches,? as Husbands, Chums, & Girl-Friends were Drafted & Coached in their Stereotyped-Roles.

What did not work for me was the Introduction?or Intrusion? of Music-Makers, with Music & Lyrics devised & performed by Shaina Taub, backed by her Jolly-Band.

Actually, they were Very-Professional & the Audience-Loved-Them, but, to me at least, this didn?t seem a Good-Fit.

Tina Landau was credited as Stage-Director, but Irwin & Shiner, retooling their Beloved-Routines, don?t seem to need much Direction?

Most-Fun for me was watching Irwin & Shiner in what looked like the Worst-Vegas-Lounge-Act ever.

As the Top-Hatted Shiner fumbled around as a Tremendously-Untalented-Stage-Magician, Irwin?garishly costumed as the Flooziest-Magician-Assistant ever?danced-around Shiner, Oohing & Aahing for the Benefit of the Audience, so they would understand what a Great-Treat they were witnessing.

If you have Digestive-Problems, you do not want Shiner to put you into that Red-Lacquer-Box & Saw-You-in-Half?

At The MTC Theatre:

John Patrick Shanley?s PRODIGAL SON [*****]

Playwright Shanley Revisits His Violent, Brilliant, Frustrated Teen-Self & His Baffled-Mentors?

The Time-Frame is 1965-68.

In the Distance, framed by Slender-Birches which keep scooting about the Stage, is a Mini-Model of a Noble-Mansion.

This is the Thomas More Prep-School in New Hampshire.

An Angry, Puzzled, Alienated, Teen-Aged John Patrick Shanley?here personified as Jim Quinn?has just won a Scholarship to Thomas More Prep.

Coming from a Catholic-Boyhood in the Bronx, Shanley/Quinn is something of a Genius-in-the-Making, but his Sudden-Passions & Self-Doubt?not to overlook his Drinking, Lying, & Thefts?present Real-Problems to Headmaster Carl Schmitt [Chris McGarry], who carries a Secret-Sorrow.

What is Most-Astonishing about this handsome MTC-Production of Prodigal Son is the All-Stops-Out Performance of Timothée Chalamet as Jim Quinn.

Quinn is Unquestionably-Brilliant, but he is also Out-of-Control, an Underage-Drinker, a Liar, & not very impressed with TS Eliot & his Wasteland?

In a Tea & Sympathy Mode, the Headmaster?s Sensitive & Sensible Wife, Louise Schmitt [Annika Boras] attempts to Soothe-the-Blind-Rages & Channel-the-Ungoverned-Intelligence of this Strange-Bronx-Boy.

Fortunately for Shanley/Quinn, he finds a really Caring-Mentor in Alan Hoffman [Robert Sean Leonard], a Handsome-Teacher who has more than just a Passing-Interest in this Troubled-Teen.

To provide a Teen-Age Sounding-Wall for Shanley/Quinn, Playwright Shanley has given him a Roommate, in the Smaller-Persona of Austin [David Potters], who doesn?t even have a Family-Name?

Will Shanley/Quinn Graduate?

Will Alan Hoffman be dismissed for Messing-Around with One-of-The-Boys & Maybe-More?

Will Shanley/Quinn Grow-Up, Control-His-Passions, & Brilliantly-Fulfill his Teen-Age-Promise?

As the Author of the Tony & Pulitzer-Winning Doubt?among many other Stage & Screen Triumphs?John Patrick Shanley has clearly justified the Tender-Love-&-Care he received at [Saint] Thomas More.

When you go off to MTC to see Prodigal Son, do not fail to read A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR in your Playbill©.

"?I wish you could have been there. I wish more generally that you could have shared my whole life with me, so we could discuss & compare. These plays I write are the best I can do to make that possible.?

Dear John Patrick!

I am also Irish-American.

But I grew up?not in the Bronx, nor even on the East-Coast?on a One-Family-Farm in Penn-Valley, in the Sierra-Foothills of California-The-Golden.

It was The-Great-Depression. Hope for the Future did not Loom-Large?

I went to a One-Room-School in Indian-Springs.

Grass Valley High-School was 71/2-Miles Uphill, with No-School-Bus.

Fortunately, then & now, I didn?t Smoke, Drink, Lie, or Steal, not only because these Temporal-Vices were Forbidden?We were Cornish-Methodists?but also because there was No-Reason-To-Do-So?

But, like You & Jim Quinn, I did get some Scholarships: UC/Berkeley, U-of-Wisconsin/Madison, & Stanford-University.

Instead of Writing-Plays, I have spent a Lot-of-My-Life reviewing The-Plays-of-Others, so that?s been my "Discuss & Compare.?

Please thank your Excellent & Prize-Winning Scenic-Designer, Santo Loquasto, for those White-Birches & that Mysterious-Mansion.

It reminded me of the Miniature-Chateau in Edward Albee?s Tiny Alice, where we can imagine Alice moving through her Many-Rooms toward the Chapel, as Lights-Go-On, Window-after-Window?

Whatever became of Edward Albee?

Fortunately, we do know What-Became-of-John-Patrick-Shanley!

With More-To-Come, surely?

At The Harvey Theatre of BAM:

Country-Doctor & Pioneer-Movie-Maker Tony Chekhov?s B&W of THE CHERRY ORCHARD [*****]

Watching These Thoughtless-Czarist-Patricians Fritter-Away Their Lands-&-Lives

Helps Explain the Russian-Revolution, But Not Why They Have a Movie-Screen Pre-Edison?

When the Eager-BAM-Audience files into the Harvey Theatre, those in the Front-Rows find themselves wedged-in among the Stage-Props for Genius-Director Lev Dodin?s Revolutionary-Production of The Cherry Orchard!

What is even More-Innovative is the Projection on a White-Cloth-Screen of some Fuzzy-Footage of the very Cherry-Orchard that is under Desperate-Discussion & Impending-Extinction.

As the Wildly-Romantic & Devastatingly-Impractical Lyubov Ranyevskaya?Longtime Absentee-Landlord of a Rural-Russian-Estate, famed for its Cherry-Orchard?the Sadly-Beautiful Ksenia Rappaport is both Frustrating & Heartbreaking to behold, so completely Out-of-Touch with Pressing-Realities & the Emotional-Needs of Those closest to her?

Wasting her Money & Affection on a Fickle-Parisian-Lover, she has managed to Bankrupt her Great-Country-Estate?with No Thought-for-the Future & not much more for the Present-Moment-in-Time.

Because Lyubov & Yermolai Lopakhin?the Newly-Rich-Son of a Former-Serf on her Estate?are often-emoting up-&-down the Harvey-Stairs, the Entire-Orchestra is intimately-involved in the Fortunes & [more-often] Misfortunes of Lyubov & her Foolish, Forgetful Brother Gayev [a wonderfully-fusty Billiard-Playing Old-Curmudgeon, crustily-played by Sergei Vlasov].

What is most amazing about Lev Dodin?s Virtuoso-Cast is how deeply each is involved in His or Her Own-World, almost to the exclusion of the Needs, Plans, & Longings of Family, Friends, & Retainers.

No wonder then that the Bonzes of the Former-Soviet-Union were so eager to endorse Endless-Productions of the Chekhovian-Canon, especially The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, & The Three Sisters.

Where Zionists dreamt of Next Year in Jerusalem, those Unfortunate-Siblings longed for Moscow?

By dramatically-disclosing how Thoughtless, Careless, Selfish, & Improvident the Rural-Patrician-Class?Inheriting-Heirs to Great-Country-Estates, not so long ago Worked-&-Tilled by Serf-Slaves?actually was, Chekhov was Fuelling a Nascent-Desire for Epic-Change, which led to the Empire-Destroying-Revolution of 1917.

A County-Doctor?as well as an Aspiring-Author?Anton Chekhov used Subtle-Humor, rather than Angry-Outrage to indict the Ranyevskyas of Imperial-Russia.

The Artist-Director who really made Chekhov famous, Konstantin Stanislavki, saw Chekhov?s Ranyevskyas as Tragic, rather than Comic.

When Anton Chekhov first witnessed a Moscow-Art-Theatre Stanislavski-Staging, he was both amazed & appalled: To Tony Chekhov, these were not People who deserved Audience-Sympathy & maybe a Few-Tears.

They were Rich & even Influential, but they were also Foolish, misunderstanding the Unspoken-Human-Obligation that their Wealth & Social-Position entailed.

As Yermolai Lopakhin, Danila Kolovskiy is both Matinée-Idol-Handsome & a Passionate-Dynamo.

He sees so very clearly what Lyubov needs to do, in order to save the Endangered-Estate: Cut-Down the Cherry-Trees, one-by-one, then Divide-the-Estate into Parcels for Cottages for the Summer-People who will soon come?

Lev Dodin is the Prize-Winning-Maestro of Leningrad?s Maly-Theatre: this is not a Stanislavski-Retread from the Moscow-Art-Theatre.

Oh Oh! I?m Living-in-the-Past! It?s not Leningrad anymore. No! They now call it Petersburg, after Peter-The-Great.

There is also a St. Petersburg in Florida, but Peter-the-Shipbuilder never Crossed-the-Atlantic?

In 2000, Lev Dodin won the Premio-Europa, awarded from Rome, but actually given the Winner in some Major-European-Capital, such as Torino or Thessalonika.

So I must have seen that Prize-Production, because every April, both I & my Playwright-Critic-Colleague Mario Fratti?Mario wrote the Musical Nine, with Maury Yeston?were regularly invited to Review the Signature-Production of that year?s Prize-Winner.

I searched the ArtsArchive Review-Files but I could not find what I must have written about Dodin, the Maly, & that Stellar-Staging, the Name-of-Which I have forgotten.

Unfortunately, I cannot any longer Report/Review the Premio-Europa because it comes annually during our OCC-Crunch-Week, when the OCC?Executive-Board-Award-Nominators must check-out Everything On-&-Off-Broadway that we deem Award-Worthy.

For The Record: The OCC is The Outer-Critics-Circle, created by John Gassner & John Mason Brown, to give a Voting-Voice to those Ink-Stained Reviewing-Wretches?either Out-of-Towners or Minor-Manhattan-Critics?who were excluded from the Prestigious Drama-Critics-Circle, all of whom reviewed for Major-Newspapers & Magazines.

Reel-Facts from Imperial-Russian-Archives:

Thomas Alva Edison?Chekhov called him "Tommy??was so impressed after reading

Every-Single- Page of Count Lev Tolstoi?s War & Peace that he thought it should be Filmed!

So he sent Tony Chekhov one of his First-Film-Cameras, urging him to Shoot-Some-Footage on one of his Country-Rounds as an All-Purpose-Doctor.

Edison wrote: Why not do some Establishing-Shots of one of those Aristocratic-Estates for Starters?

Unfortunately?although Edison also wanted to Show-Off by sending a Message with either Telegraph or Telephone?he had not invented them & so did not Control-the-Copyrights?

When Chekhov took his Exposed-Film to Konstantine Stanislavski, this Famed-Stage-Director was Irate-&-Outraged, as only a Famed-Russian-Stage-Director can be:

Dumkopf!, Esel!, Idiot! Where are the US-Chemicals to develop this Nitrate-Based Film-Footage?

What was your Mr. Edison, Famed-Inventor, thinking-of?

How am I going to project this Cherry-Orchard-Sequence at the Moscow-Art-Theatre without a Movie-Projector anyway?

Czar Nikki personally intervened, asking Rasputin to send a Fed-Ex-Letter to South-Orange, New Jersey, to demand a Single-Reel-Projector!

The Rest is Film-History: Even Kulaks clamored for Siberian-Showings of that Misty-Orchard.

From Stage-to-Screen became so Popular that Gogol, Turgeniev, & Sergei Eisenstein formed an Independent-Film-Combine?but they were Forbidden-the-Bolshoi, so they had to settle for Single-Showings in the Taganka & Side-Streets of the Arbat?

Famed Imperial-Russian-Composer Piotr I. Tchaikovski heard about all this Film-Fuss & decided it was High-Time that one of his Major-Works also got the Full-Screen-Treatment, so he chose Eugen Onegin for a Colorama©-Release, opening at Radio-City Music-Hall!

[Little-Known-Moments of Russian-Cultural-History, now Made-Manifest by The Maly over at BAM.]

At The Acorn Theatre on Theatre-Row:

Scott Elmegreen?s STRAIGHT [****]

Not So Long Ago, The Vice-Squad Would Have Closed This Shocking-Show!

Ben Has a Girlfriend! Ben Swings Both Ways! Ben & Chris Are Making-Out on the Open-Stage!

Is Horrifying Previously-Illegal Sodomy Waiting-in-the-Wings? Can These Boys Find Happiness?

Well, that about Sums-It-Up for Scott Elmegreen?s Post-Post-Post-Stonewall Slippery-Sexual-Slope Post-Modernist Three-Hander.

What would Ben [Jake Epstein] do without a Cell-Phone?

Remember when it was all about Land-Lines & Elegant-Telephones to communicate Off-Stage-Information to the On-Stage-Actors?as well, of course, as to the Paying-Audience.

Thomas E. Sullivan plays Chris, Ben?s Barely-Legal Twenties-Squeeze: He seems, as they used to say, Hot-To-Trot.

As the Friendly-Emily?hoping for both Love-&-Marriage?Jenna Gavigan obviously has Her-Caught-in-Between-Role Cut-Out-for-Her?

Andy Sandberg Staged!

Not-Yet-Rated for Young-Audiences!

At The BAM Opera-House:


No Grand-Program-Ballets! No Firebirds! No R&Js! No Corps-de-Ballet! Just Ten Pas-de-Deux?

Superbly danced?under the Russki-Baton of Alexi Repnikov?among the Grand-Program-Ballets plundered for Historic-Pas-de-Deux-Choreographies were: Giselle, Carmen, Romeo & Juliet, Legend of Love, Fountain of Bakhchisarai, & Little Humped-Back Horse?

For Program-D of this Four-Pronged-Tribute to Maya Plisetskaya, Mariinsky-Great Uliana Lopatkina especially honored both Plisetskaya & Galina Ulanova?both of whom I was fortunate to see perform, both in Leningrad & Abroad.

The Bare-Stage Lighter-Than-Air-Performances concluded with Uliana Lopatkina dancing the famed Dying-Swan, as choreographed by Michel Fokine.

Anna Pavlova had long-ago made this Solo-with-Feathers a World-Class-Event.

She even danced it in the William-Randolph-Hearst Greek-Theatre, at UC/Berkeley, way back in 1906.

I was not, of course, present, but I do remember it well, because my Mother, Marion Busher?as a Tiny-Tot from the Oakland/Berkeley School-Systems?danced "One, Two, Button My Shoe,? on that same stage, but well before Pavlova came on, Festooned-in-Feathers.

Somewhere-in-Storage, I still have the Photos?


A Dramatic-Weekend in the Mile-High-City of Denver?

Now that Pot is Legal all over Colorado, Denver is Mile-High in more ways than Mere-Altitude?

Of course, Theatre-Critics?especially those who have flown-out from Manhattan?need to Keep-Clear-Heads, in order to Accurately-Assess the New-Plays that are on-view, with Denver-Theatre-Center?s High-Hopes that they will be Optioned for both Production & Publication.

Fortunately, the Denver-Weather was Clement, with Snowy-Peaks far in the Distance.

The Three-P?s: Producers, Publishers, & Press!

Actually, the Power-of-the-Press was not much in evidence, with many more Denver-Play-Summit-Visitors being categorized as "Industry.?

The Two-Major-World-Premiere-Productions?which both had Readings during the previous Summit?have already been Published by the Denver-Theatre-Center.

So New-York-Publishers & Regional-Theatre-Producers needed to concentrate on the Potentials of the Four-Readings of New-Scripts, two of which will become Major-World-Premiere-Productions in February 2017.

This February?s Major-World-Premiere-Productions were Fade & The Nest.

Four New-Play Readings?But Not-For-Review!

Although all Audience-Members are given Cast-Lists & Reaction-Forms so that they can help Playwrights & Denver-Directors improve these Works-in-Progress, Everyone?especially Theatre-Critics?was forbidden to write any Commentaries for Publication.

This is Unfortunate, for at least One of the Script-Readings looks like a Major-Motion-Picture, Waiting-in-the-Wings?

This is The Book of Will, by Karen Gunderson, who recently won the Prestigious ATCA-Steinberg-Award for a New-American-Play at The Humana-Festival, at Actors-Theatre-Louisville.

The Major-Dramatic-Question in Book of Will is: Which Plays Are Really By Shakespeare? Pericles, anyone?

The other Play-Readings were: Two Degrees, by Tira Palmquist; Midwinter, by Mat Smart, & American Mariachi, by José Cruz Gonz?les.

Which Two out of Four will be the Chosen-Ones?

At The Ricketson-Theatre of The Denver-Theatre-Center:

Tanya Saracho?s FADE [***]

Hey! You Stole My Stories for Your TV-Show! Latino-Janitor Empties Endless Wastebaskets?

So, it?s like this: Lucia has been given an Office so she can write some Scripted-Materials for a "Cut-Throat Hollywood-TV-Studio.?

Specifically, Lucia?an attractive Mexican-American?has been tasked with creating a Latin-American-Character for a Show-Series.

Her Good-Luck is to have the Office cleaned about Every-Five-Minutes, or so it seems, by Abel, a Latino-Studio-Custodian.

Abel is a Rich-Fund of Latino-American-Stories & Events, as he Empties the Office-Wastebaskets.

As is so often the case with Denver-New-Play-Summit-Readings that become Major-World-Premiere-Productions, the Reading of Fade was much more effective than the Actual-Staging in the Ricketson Theatre of the Denver-Theatre-Center.

As a Fast-Moving-Reading, Fade built steadily toward its Climax, with No-Long-Pauses while the Lights-Died, so that Abel could replace the Filled-Wastebaskets with White-Plastic-Bag-Lined-Empties.

Lucia was played by Mariana Fern?ndez, with Abel impersonated by Eddie Martinez.

Jerry Ruiz staged Tanya Saracho?s Fade, but there really wasn?t that much Stage-Action to choreograph?

At The Richard-Hay-Designed Space-Theatre of The Denver-Theatre-Center:

Theresa Rebeck?s THE NEST [***]

See, There?s This Historic-Old-Bar, with This Really-Valuable Old-Mirror Over the Bar,

Plus Endlessly-&-Aimlessly-Talking Barfly-Regulars & an Unhappy-Bartender & His Wife?

Even in its Initial-Reading, I didn?t much admire or enjoy the Self-Serving-Utterances of Theresa Rebeck?s Cast of Barfly-Characters.

Nonetheless, they all worked very hard to create the Grand-Illusion of Time-Wasting-Losers in an almost Forgotten-Saloon to which nobody much comes anymore?

The Big-Dramatic-Moment required a Lot-of-Imagination on the part of the Audience, when one of the Most-Annoying of the Barflies let-fly at that invisible Historic-Mirror, totally Smashing it.

I imagined Slivers-&-Shards of Silvered-Glass splattered all over the Salted-Nuts & Maraschino-Cherries?

The Cast included Kevin Berntson, Brian D. Coats, Brian Dykstra, Laura Latreille, Victoria Mack, David Mason, Carly Street & Andrea Syglowski.

Adrienne Campbell-Holt staged The Nest in Richard Hay?s Quasi-Modernist Architectural-Evocation of an Elizabethan-Cockpit-Theatre.

Thus, the Central-Design-Feature of The Nest is the Bar, which periodically-partially-rotates, but with that Fabulous-Old-Mirror invisible to the Naked-Eye?

Lisa Orzolek was responsible for designing the Mise-en-Sc?ne, with Costumes designed by Angela Balogh Calin.

Richard Hay has imagined, designed, & built all of the Indoor-Theatres of the Oregon-Shakespearean-Festival, in Ashland, Oregon.

Dick & I were both Grad-Students in the Department-of-Theatre at Stanford-University years & years ago?

A Long Loving Farewell to Don Seawell, who Created the Denver-Theatre-Center?

[This is the Obituary-Letter that I wrote for Don?s Family, Friends, & Colleagues, when he passed-on at 104-Years-of-Age.]

Every time I came out to the Mile-High-City to report on the Denver New-Play-Summit, my old LA-Times-Colleague, Sylvie Drake, would sit me next to Don Seawell at the Head-Table.

She?d say: "You are the only one around here who knows Don as a New-York-Producer.?

I never actually met Don when he was active in Manhattan, but I certainly saw all the Shows he was involved with & I knew many of the Theatre-People with whom he worked.

I especially admired Eugenia Rawls, a Great-Lady of the Broadway-Theatre!

Through my friend, Morty Gottlieb, who invested in Broadway-Productions for Helen Bonfils, I also got to know this Great-Denver-Lady, who was Theatre-Smitten.

In fact, for some years, when I was Director of AIDART at the ANTA-Theatre, my Landlord was Alfred de Liagre, or "Delly,? an old Producer-Partner of Don?s.

For the Record: AIDART was an Anagram of Advanced-Institute-for-Development-of-American-Regional-Theatre.

Just as ANTA was an Anagram for American-National-Theatre-&-Academy, although it was originally constructed as the Guild-Theatre for the Theatre-Guild.

After ANTA, it became the Virginia-Theatre [named for the then Owner?s Wife], now transformed into the August-Wilson-Theatre.

Don Seawell was certainly a Prime-Mover in the Development-of-American-Regional-Theatre in Denver!

What would Denver?not only Downtown-Denver?be without the Culture-Complex that Don got constructed?

What a Great-Gentleman! What a Civic-Powerhouse! What a Raconteur!

Every time I came out to Denver?my Kin live near Golden?Don would take me into his Theatre-History-Lair to talk about the Good-Old-Days.

We made a Video-Tape of one of these Sessions, so I hope my ArtsArchive-Colleague, Scott Bennett, can make copies for you.

Don must have known my British-Cousin, Col. Arthur Dangerfield, who was the Russian-Expert for MI6. Arthur was also UK-Liaison with Genl. Eisenhower & the Allied-High-Command.

One of the Biographies I?ve found noted that Don was with OSS, just as Arthur was with MI6.

I wish I?d known about this WWII-Connection, for I?m sure Don could have told me much about both Arthur & what it must have been like defeating the Nazis Behind-the-Lines?

When I first came to England?before I was assigned to Teach-Our-Troops-Overseas in the Brit-Midlands?I had a charming meeting with Arthur & Heather [an MI6-Egyptian-Specialist] at their home in Kew.

Next Entry into Britain, I found my name in the Black-Book at Passport-Control & Arthur & Heather always had Headaches or Fevers when I called. No Teatimes possible?

Years & years later, when Arthur had retired to Plymouth, we became friends & he told me MI6 thought I was an American-Spy.

This was because I was all over Eastern-Europe, with Special-Access to East-Berlin & East-Germany.

But not as a Spy!

I was then reporting for The Christian-Science-Monitor, which was respected, both East & West.

Don also knew Sir Winston Churchill?who was my Relative-by-Marriage. I?ll enclose my report on that Family-Connection, which also involves Cousin Arthur.

I?ll miss seeing Don at the Head-Table, but he had a Long & Great-Run, wearing So-Many-Hats & achieving So-Much for So-Many, especially his Fellow-Denverites?Denverinos?

In Sorrow & in Gratitude for a Life-Well-Lived!


PhD, Prof-of-Theatre-Emeritus/City-University-of New-York Grad-Center; Senior-Correspondent:;; Cont. Editor: European-Stages, Outer-Critics-Circle Executive-Board & Awards-Nominator, Drama-Desk, ATCA & International-Theatre-Critics-Assn, Music-Critics-of-North-America, American-Dance-Critics, etc.



How about $30.5-Million for a Baroque-Masterwork by Orazio Gentileschi!

As if the J. Paul Getty Museum did not already possess Vaults-Full of Fine-Arts, now it has acquired some Baroque-Porn: Orazio Gentileschi?s Bare-Breasted Dana?, or, if you prefer Englished-Greek, The Goddess Diana?

Diana is not shown with Bow-&-Arrow & her Sacred-Stag?in her Hunting-Mode?but Lying-Lasciviously on a Plump-Sofa, her Right-Hand extended upward into a Golden-Shower?

This is a Mythic-Metaphor, not for Naughty-Sex, but for Jove/Jupiter disguising Himself as a Shower of Golden-Coins in order to Penetrate-the-Premises.

This is a Monumental-Painting & it sold for more than Seven-Times the Previous-Record for a Masterwork by Orazio Gentileschi!

Sotheby?s Masters-Week Auction-Sales Total $97.6-Million!

Among the Major-Sales were The Crowning with Thorns?from the Fabulous-Collection of the Late A. Alfred Taubman, Big-Man at Sotheby?s for years?which sold for $24.1-Million, which works-out to about Five-Million-Dollars for each Foot of the Painting?s Five-Foot-Height.

Then there was that The Road To Rome Auction-Sale, composed of 33-Views & Portrait-Paintings, recalling Young-Noble-British-Collectors? Acquisitive-Tastes when making The-Grand-Tour, surrounded by Baroque-Splendor & Italian-Food.

It brought-in no less than $6.6-Million, with Gaspar Van Wittel?s View of the Riviera Di Chiaia fetching $1.6-Million.

This Riviera is not, however, over in France, but in Naples?a View on the Historic-Waterfront?

If the Name of Gaspar Van Wittel is not familiar to you, he was more widely known as Vanvitelli!

Onward & Upward to Asian-Week, Not Only at Sotheby?s, But All-Over-Town!

March may well be Greenly-Marked by St. Paddy?s Day, but Bonhams, Christie?s, Sotheby?s, & Philips will all have a Plenitude of Chinoiserie, Japanese-Screens & Fans, & Hindu-Miniatures up for Acquisition, often by Asian-Oligarchs who are bringing The-Ancient-Treasures back-home?




Question: What do you call a Factory that turns out OK?but Not-Great?Stuff?

Answer: A Satis-Factory?

Religious-Enquiries: Did Jesus Keep Kosher?

Why didn?t they have Bottled-Dead-Sea-Water at the Wedding-Feast at Cana? Instead of Wine?

Whatever became of Joseph in the Passion-Narrative?

Why wasn?t Dad at the Foot-of-the-Cross, along with George Clooney?

Evangelical-Baking: OK! So we already have Angel-Food-Cake.

How about Born-Again-Banana-Bread?

Or some Christian-Cupcakes?

Eat Baptist-Brownies & Experience The-Rapture!

What about Doctrinaire-Doughnuts?

But, Please, No Devils-Food-Cake?

Divinity-Fudge would be indeed Divine, but it?s not Baked-Goods!

Potential Architectural-Achievements of the Twenty-First-Century:

Considering how many American-Employments have been Exported to Former-Communist-China, how about having Donald Trump do a Job-Switch by Commissioning-Chinese-Construction-Crews to build The-Great-Wall-of-Juarez across the Mexican-Border?

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