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Loney's Show Notes
By Glenn Loney, December 2016
About Glenn Loney
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.
Please click on " * " to skip to each subject in this index:
Sleeping Over at The White House? *
Overheard at Westsider… *
Nia Vardalos' Adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS [*****] *
Itamar Moses & David Yazbek's THE BAND'S VISIT [*****] *
Jenny Rachel Weiner's KINGDOM COME [*****] *
Richard Greenberg's THE BABYLON LINE [*****] *
Kristen Anderson Lopez, James Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan , Sara Wordsworth's IN TRANSIT [*****] *
Bill Shakespeare or Chris Marlowe's OTHELLO [****] *
Dan LeFranc's RANCHO VIEJO [**] *
Tom Schuiman's DEAD POETS' SOCIETY [*****] *
Sarah DeLappe's THE WOLVES [*****] *
Chris Cragin Day & Max McLean's MARTIN LUTHER ON TRIAL [*****] *
Brooke Maxwell & Jacob Richmond's RIDE THE CYCLONE [****] *
Laoisa Sexton's THE PIGEON IN THE TAJ MAHAL [****] *
The Q Brothers [JQ & GQ] Offer: OTHELLO: THE REMIX [****] *
Robert Creighton, Peter Colley, & Christopher McGovern's CAGNEY [*****] *
Neil Simon's SWEET CHARITY [****] *
Georg Frideric Händel's MESSIAH [*****] *
Drue Droege's BRIGHT COLORS & BOLD PATTERNS [*****] *
SWINE LAKE, PATTERNS IN SPACE, NAPOLI PAS DE SIX, & RAYMOND'S WEDDING [*****] *
LOOKING FORWARD TO THE HOPEFULLY HAPPY NEW YEAR OF AD 2017!
President Bill Clinton was roundly criticized for rewarding Super Generous Campaign Contributors with Sleep Overs in The Lincoln Bedroom…
President Elect Donald Trump can soundly Trump that with an Oval Office Overnighter!
How about turning the Entire White House into a Trump Taj Hotel, with the Rear Garden transformed into a Trump Golf Course?
Instead of that tired old Easter Egg Rolling, how about Ivana & Ivanka joining in a Rousing Chorus of: The Donald is Eggsceptional but also Eggscentric…
The East Wing could be redesigned for Water Boarded Press Conferences!
Three Off Broadway Actors are talking about Audition Techniques…
One says he always Douses himself with a Bucket of Ice Water to get the Blood Flowing Faster!
I ask, somewhat innocently: Do you Change Your Clothes, or do you go into the Audition Soaking Wet?
They All Three Laugh: Hey, We're not Wet Behind The Ears!
Certainly Not! I really admire you Guys!
Live Actors working really hard in Off Broadway Revivals to make Dead Playwrights Look Good!
What I Wish: To Make a Video at the Westsider of some Off Broadway Actors talking about Audition Techniques!
PASSING GLANCES AT SCENES SEEN:
At The Public Theatre:
"Dear Abby" Letters to the Lovelorn Now Out of Style:
Replaced by Interactive Internet Advice, Vocally Shared by "Sugar" on Her Home Computer…
If you have somehow failed to read Cheryl Strayed's extravagantly admired Tiny Beautiful Things, now is your chance to have a Strayed Experience Live at the Public!
Instead of Generic Canned Advice--possibly Recycled from Abbey Van Buren's Old Newspaper Columns--"Sugar" kindly draws upon Her Own Experiences & Deep Gut Feelings to help Ordinary Folks deal with Personal Problems…
Rachel Hauck has created a Cluttered Kitchen Setting far more Complicated than that for Richard Nelson's Gabriel Family Election Saga, also down at the Public Theatre.
Thomas Kail has staged Tiny Beautiful Things, which he Co Conceived with Marshall Heyman & Nia Vardalos--who is Central in the Ensemble, which also includes Phillip James Brannon, Alfredo Narciso, & Natalie Woolams Torres.
Miriam Silverman is the "Sugar Cover," just in case…
At The Atlantic Theatre:
All the Way Across the Suez, A Handsomely Uniformed Egyptian Band Has Come to Play in Israel:
Landing in the Wrong Town, They Make Wonderful Music & Yearning Hearts Are Opened…
If you Missed the Movie, now is Your Lucky Chance to see it Live Onstage as an Arab Israeli Musical, just on the Edge of Heartbreak.
Landing in the Middle of an Israeli Nowhere, the Elaborately Outfitted Instrumental Ensemble was supposed to Perform in a Major City, but, when you write a Two Word Address down on a Scrap of Paper, it can Lose a Lot in Translation.
Instead of Petah Tikva, this Oddly Assorted Arab Band has unfortunately arrived in Bet Hatikvah, where some of the Locals are Lonely, Lovely, Generous, Furious, Funny, & Variously Obsessed.
Among the Show's Attractive Melodic Plaints--devised by the Dynamic & Multi Award Winning Lyricist/Composer David Yasbek--are: Welcome To Nowhere, Waiting, Omar Sharif, Aziza, It Is What It Is, Beat of Your Heart, & Something Different.
You may remember David Yasbek as the Musical Genius responsible for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, & Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
Tony Shaloub is wistfully charming as Tewfik, the Band's Conductor.
Katrina Lenk is Open & Appealing as the Equally Charming Dina.
Other Charmers include Daniel David Stewart, John Cariani, & Rachel Prather.
Not only do the Musical Arabs make Moving Melodies, but they also find a Warm Welcome while they wait for the Next Bus.
David Cromer--much admired for his Barrow Theatre productions at Greenwich House--has ingeniously staged, using Scott Pask's Revolving Stage, complete with Roller Skates for Agile Israeli Actor/Singers.
At The Black Box Theatre of The Harold & Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre:
Watch Out for Those Cutely Named Dating Websites:
What You Thought You Saw Or Heard Is Not Always What's Really On Line…
Well, It's Like This: At Age 88, I am still Internet Ignorant.
I do not have--nor have even Entertained the Idea of having--a Cell Phone.
Nor do I Obsessively take Selfies of my Self, nor of Me Hugging Passing Celebrities, even if they did Not Vote for Donald Trump…
President Trump! Let's make the Dial Phone Land Line Connection Great Again!
So it was with some Degree of Trepidation & Alienation that I beheld a Large Scale Computer Screen projected over the King Sized Bed of a Seriously Obese Young Woman, named Samantha [Carmen M. Herlihy].
But she is Not What She Seems, at least not to her New Girl Friend on the Kingdom Come Dating Website.
No, Indeed! She has been posting Selfie Pix of her Colombian Caregiver's Son, Dominick, identifying herself as Dom.
Her Designated Target calls herself Courtney & identifies herself as an Airline Stewardess, which Sam swiftly Politically Corrects to Flight Attendant.
Actually, Courtney is really a Lonely, Frightened, Ageing Young Woman--named Layne Falcone--who fears that True Love may never Come Calling at her Actual Door.
So she Digitally Knocks at the Kingdom Come Metaphoric Door…
Here are My Drama Desk & Outer Critics Circle Nominations for Crystal Finn as Most Outstanding Actress of Our Season of 2016 17!
Seen initially at her Computer, Layne/Finn seems really a Plain Jane, also Plainly Grayly Dressed, as though she wanted to Fade into Insignificance.
As Things Turn Out, when Layne Meets Cute--after a Frantic Drive from Carson City/NV, to LA/CA--She & Dom are Right for Each Other!
There are some Structural Infelicities that Novice Playwright Jenny Rachel Weiner might want to think about before she comes into her Broadway Kingdom.
But both Wiener her ingenious Stage Director, Kip Fagan, have been Blessed with an Acting Ensemble that is High Octane--but not High Maintenance: Socorro Santiago, as Caregiver Delores Aquendo; Stephanie Styles, as Layne's Lively Chum, Suz Miller--with Fantastic Outfits by Tilly Grimes, and Well Muscled Alex Hernandez as Dom, who does not seem to be an Undocumented Alien…
Do You Know the Way to Santa Fé? may be OK for Song Lyrics, but Carson City is not something anyone would want to sing about, let alone Actually Occupy, as Layne does.
Carson may be Nevada's State Capital, but it's not up there with Reno & Vegas.
More like a slightly Upscale Winnemucca…
I mention Winnemucca only because I was once slated to teach Public Speaking for a Summer Session in Winnemucca!
This followed Two Successful Semesters at Nevada Southern--before it became the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
But I was spared Winnemucca by an Invitation from the University of Maryland Overseas--to teach Public Speaking at Pepperell Air Force Base, in St. Johns, Newfoundland…
You really Want & Need to Come?
Not just Metaphorically--on your Computer or iPad--but with a Link Up in Real Time?
Why not Check Out Kingdom Come for Starters?
At The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre:
End of The Line in More Ways Than One: "Creative Writing" in Lonely Levittown Evenings…
Robert Moses built the Long Island Freeways to open up Former Farmlands to Real Estate Development.
Along came Mr. Levitt--a Donald Trump before his time--to construct a Model Suburbia, which he modestly named Levitttown.
Levitt was even so Protective of his Cookie Cutter Houses & their Identical Front Lawns that he would come to measure the Height of the Grass, to ensure Uniform Turfs.
For many House Bound Women, this was a Wonderful Change from a Cramped Brooklyn Apartment in Flatbush, while Dad continued to be a Manhattan Wage Slave.
Fortunately, when the Family Unit was still Brooklyn Based, Restless Wives could always go off to the Brooklyn Museum for a Change of Décor.
Or they could even take a Night Course in Public Speaking at Brooklyn College, taught by Dr. Glenn Loney…
But, Stranded way out in Levitttown, what were they to do with all those Lonely Evenings, when Hubby was either still in Manhattan--"Working Late at the Office"--or stuck on the LIRR on The Babylon Line?
In Richard Greenberg's tart & amusing Evening School Satire, The Babylon Line, Enterprising Wives enroll in Self Improvement Classes, like the one now being conducted at the Lincoln Center Theatre by Aaron Port [a perpetually frustrated Josh Radnor].
Port/Radnor is a Blocked Author of Questionable Talents who lives in Greenwich Village & takes The Babylon Line out to Levitttown to conduct a Course in "Creative Writing."
Of course, Randy Graff [Frieda Cohen], Maddie Corman [Anna Cantor], & Julie Halston [Midge Braverman] could just as easily have Enrolled in such Evening Academic Attractions as Flower Arrangement, Copper Tooling, or Gourmet Cooking…
Graff is now a Grown Up High School Bully, so Port/Radnor has always got to watch his Metaphoric Ass.
Terry Kinney pulled out all the stops on The Babylon Line, with an 'sAnimated Cast including Frank Wood, Michael Oberholtzer, & Elizabeth Reaser--who plays a Levitttown Dweller who Doesn't Mingle & has Stayed Inside for Seven Years.
This Satirical Scenario Struck Home:
When I returned from Five Years of Teaching Our Troops in Europe, North Africa, & the Middle East, my First Employments were teaching Public Speaking & English Comp way beyond The Babylon Line, at Lake Ronkonkomo & Old Sayville.
Daytimes, I was paid on a Per Course Base--$250 per course per Semester--at both Hofstra College & Adelphi College, before they were raised to the Magnified Dignity of University Status!
A young Francis Ford Coppola was our Star Student in Speech & Theatre!
Thank You, Richard Greenberg, for bringing back All Those Memories, even though I was Too Poor to live in Greenwich Village & commute on The Babylon Line.
I bunked in an A Shaped Attic out in Valley Stream…
At The Circle in the Square Theatre:
These Subways Are Definitely Not For Sleeping!
Underway with In Transit--Many Metrocards & Multiple Mini Dramas:
MTA May Not Always Run on Time, But These In Transit Passengers Are All Marathon Winners!
Only in the Elongated Arena of Circle in the Square--which is neither Circular nor Square--could the Dynamic Director & Creative Choreographer Kathleen Marshall have staged this Rush Hour Mini Masterpiece.
Of course she Had Help from Designer Donyale Wehrle who has Recreated the Atlantic Avenue Subway Station in the Theatrical Basement down below the Major Stage upon which Wicked has been playing for what seems like Forever.
There is a Central Black Track Moving Runway on which Familiar Furnishings & MTA Ads frequently appear, along with Stalwart Manhattan Strivers & Out of Town Would Be's, All hoping that This Will Be The Day!
But it's not All About Auditions--Missed or Misfired…
How about Losing Your Daytime Job, left with No Money on Your Metrocard?
Do Not Think that that Ferocious Lady in the Metrocard Booth is going to give you a Free Pass!
All kinds of Metro Stories are sung & danced, with Hip Hopper Steven "HeaveN" Cantor Leading the Pack, making a Miniature Musical Mash Up with his Hand Held Microphone.
If you have just Broken Up or you have No Rent Money, where do you Go? Not Back Home! No! Never!
In Transit is Whirlwind Winner & should have a Very Long Run on its Long, Long Stage!
Outstanding Ensemble Awards for All the Cast: David Abeles, Moya Angela, Justin Guarini, Telly Leung, Erin Mackey, Gerianne Pérez, Margo Seibert, Chesney Snow, James Snyder, Mariano Torres, & Nicholas Ward.
But Donald Trumpers Beware!
There is a Handsome Twosome on Hand who are planning to Get Married, but they are Both Gay, which Creates a Problem because the Mother of One is a True Believer.
Trumpers are Foremost among those Real Americans who know that God created Adam & Eve, not Adam & St ve…
These are the Decent, God Fearing Americans who are Sick & Tired of having The Gay Agenda rammed Down Their Throats!
Fortunately, instead of Agonizing over their Impending Nuptials & their Wedding Breakfast Gourmet Treats, this Delightful Duo go down--not in a Naughty Sense--to City Hall for a Civic Union.
They are anything but Union Square!
Speaking of Squares: Circle in the Square is So Named because--in its Original Incarnation, down on East Fourth Street in Greenwich Village--it was indeed a Circular Acting Space in a Square Auditorium.
Its First Memorable Duo were George C. Scott & Colleen Dewhurst, presented by Founder Ted Mann.
Added Afterthought about Train Times:
Benito Mussolini--Il Duce, to his Fanatic Fascist Followers--was Famous for, among Other Achievements such as Invading Ethiopia, Making The Trains Run on Time!
That is a Historic Claim that Mussolini's Italo American Counterpart, NYC Mayor William De Blasio, cannot make.
But he is Historically Off the Hook, because Time Schedules for the MTA & other Forms of Manhattan Transit are Not his Administrative Responsibility.
When an M1, M2, M3, M4, or M72 do not arrive On Time--or, sometimes, Not at All--it may well be that they have been Taken Out of Service to function as Affordable Housing, which was one of his Big Campaign Promises…
Speaking of Italian Trains & Time Schedules, Mussolini needs to make a Metaphoric Comeback!
Recently South of Naples--where I once taught Our Troops at NATO HQ--I & my Arts Archive Partner, Scott Bennett, found ourselves Broiling in the Midday Sun at the Pompeii Station, with no Trains in Sight nor in Prospect…
Fortunately, Mount Vesuvius was Quiescent!
At The New York Theatre Workshop:
NATO Troops Over The Top in Cyprus, Plus Two James Bond Surrogates at Top of Their Lungs!
Considering Director Sam Gold's Deliberate Up Dating of the Stage Scene in what used to be Understood by Shakespeare Scholars as Somewhere in Venetian Controlled Cyprus at Sometime in the Late Renaissance, this Odd Othello could be called a Nugget of Fool's Gold…
Considering the Central Significance to the Late Renaissance Plotting of the Blackamoor Othello being the Ultimate Outsider among both White Venetian Grandees & White Grand Canal Gondoliers, it is Even More Odd that Desdemona's Handmaiden & Confidante, Emilia, is as Black as Othello--maybe Even More So.
Considering that the White Racist Black Baiter Iago really Hates & Fears the Victorious Venetian Fleet's Moorish Champion, why has he chosen to Marry a Black Girl?
Back at The Globe Theatre in the Late Renaissance, Bill Shakespeare & his Dirty Rotten Scoundrels would have had a Good Long Laugh in considering Sam Gold's Odd Choices of Venues & Props.
Why use Revolvers & Sub Machine Guns when Swords & Daggers are Indicated?
Are all those Soiled Mattresses--Strewn around the Stage Area--On Loan from Sealey's or from Sleepy's?
Why is Shakespeare's Late Renaissance Text Articulated so Definitively?
Spoken Dialogue often sounds like Famous Quotations from Shakespeare's Greatest Plays…
Actually, Updated Armed Forces Palaver would better match the Visual Action, if not the Emotional Challenges.
Nonetheless, it was impressive to behold Daniel Craig as a Physically Fit Iago & David Oyelowo as a Thundering Othello.
Watching Sam Gold's Desdemona in Action, it was Difficult to Understand why Othello or, indeed, any of those Military Types who were Lounging About, Playing Guitars, or Looking at Websites could consider her an Object of Desire…
Considering that Your Reporter is just back from Venice, could it be that he at least expected some Venetian Flavored Late Renaissance Atmosphere down on East Fourth Street?
Considering all the Current Interest in Aleppo, it was Instructive to hear it Mentioned in a Late Renaissance Dramatic Context!
Good Thing that the Venetian Fleet was not Deployed in the Late Renaissance in such Troubled Areas as Benghazi…
Considering how Desperate Mayor Bill De Blasio is to create Affordable Housing in the Boroughs, why did Designer Andrew Lieberman build a Huge Unpainted Plywood Box for Othello inside the Actual Auditorium of The New York Theatre Workshop?
All that Laminated Wood could have been Better Deployed in Bushwick!
At Playwrights Horizons:
Lo Siento Mucho--But We Did Commission This Deliberately Banal Semi Satire of Suburban Life,
So We Are Really Obligated To Give It a Visually Banal Staging That Suggests
The Often Unwelcome Neighborly Interactions of Trumpian American Bubbleheads
Who Occupy Cookie Cutter Living Rooms Somewhere in the American Salsa Southwest…
Hey! Ben Brantley!
How Great that you really liked Rancho Viejo!
Like you, I also did not have to Buy a Ticket.
But, as I am neither Paid nor Thanked for what I write, I suddenly remembered--after a Second Act that was Very Like the First--that I had left the Baby in the Microwave, so I Hurried Home, Con Mucho Gusto!
The Awkward & Grotesque Neighbors who drop in on Pete & Mary--who are trying very hard to Make Their Marriage Work--may seem like Generic Constructs in a Quasi Phoenix Cul de Sac, but they are possibly Digital Clones from the Playwriting Universe also occupied by Adam Bock, whose A Life was Playwrights Horizons' most recent World Premiere…
What seems to Obsess both these Young Drama Heroes could be called Hyper Realism or Neo Realism.
I loved the Window Treatments of the Generic Tract Home that Scenic Designer Dane Laffery has deigned to design.
But let Dan LeFranc Speak for Himself: [with Italics Bold Face & Caps Added for Dramatic Emphasis]
Why does this play exist?
Well, this play does exist and it must exist and I hope there's a Pretty Good Reason for it. But really, seriously… Why?
…the Questions the People of Rancho Viejo are asking themselves… …they too--like many of us, I imagine, or at least me--are in a Constant Struggle with Trying to Understand the Nature of Their Own Existence… …Puzzling Out their Purpose and Solving the Mystery of Their Place in The Universe.
Tim Sanford, Artistic Director of Playwrights Horizons, also Explains the Play:
Pete & Mary want to Belong to their Community, but they just Don't Fit. Dan sets them up as Modest, kind of Nerdy, almost Childlike.
But the Other Characters in the play are Pure California…
That's where I Went Wrong!
I thought, all along, that Pete & Mary were living in an Arizona Tract House!
Rancho Viejo feels like Tempe, or even Scottsdale…
Maybe, On a Clear Day, you could even see as far off as Flagstaff!
At The CSC Theatre:
Jason Sudeikis Is Never Going To Get Tenure: He Is Too Caring, Too Poetic, Too Ingenious…
Walt Whitman! Walt Whitman!
Thou Shouldst Be Living in This Hour!
Way down on East Thirteenth Street, Thy Name is Being Invoked, with O Captain! My Captain! as the Magic Password for a Select Male Group of Private School Students who are getting a Very Unorthodox Education from a Book Loving, Poetry Living New Hire who is not going to be around for Very Long, given the Intractable Demands of Academic Traditions & the Iron Clad Expectations of Wealthy Fathers.
How I wish I had had the Charismatic & Challenging Jason Sudeikis for my Home Room Teacher!
It would also have been Magical to Recite & Discuss Great Landmarks of Poetic Achievement with a Humorous Mentor who so clearly cared not only about Keats & Frost, but also about Who You Are & Who You Might Become…
Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood & Stage Director John Doyle has decided to bring Dead Poets Society back to Throbbing Life, rather than do yet another Cute Reduction of a Stephen Sondheim Classic.
Thanks to the Rise of the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, & Snapchat, Books are No Longer Really Necessary, so Scenic Designer Scott Pask has been able to fill the Backstage Wall at CSC with Acres of Old Tomes, which serve not only as Intimidating Décor but also as Impromptu Seating for these Elitist Students, in their School Uniform Drag.
We Are Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made Of but Playwright Tom Schulman subtly shows us how Tenuous is the Link between Everyday Reality & Poetic Fantasy.
What is perhaps Most Impressive about Doyle & Sedaikis' Dead Poets coming to Life in the Lives of Young, Unformed, & Uninformed Future Movers & Shakers of American Society is the Stunning Ensemble Performance that this Talented Company provides.
Highest Praise, therefore, for: Zane Pais, Thomas Mann, Cody Kostro, Bubba Weiler, William Hochman, David Garrison, & Yaron Lotan.
Thomas Mann shares a Famous Name, but Welton Academy, in New England, in 1959, is a Long Way Off from The Magic Mountain…
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May may well be Good Advice for Impressionable Young Lads possibly looking forward to Careers in Floral Arrangement for Events Management, but it's also a Poetic Warning for both the Welton Boys & their Endangered Mentor.
At the extremely intimate Classic Stage Company, Dead Poets is on a Necessarily Limited Run, so it's Devoutly to be Hoped that this Remarkable Ensemble Production can soon Move Uptown!
At The Duke Theatre:
Watch Out for These Teen Age Soccer Terrors! They Auditioned by Playing The Game!
Not To Be Believed!
Two Extremely Outstanding Ensembles onstage in the same Manhattan Sunday!
Something for the Boys on Sunday Afternoon at CSC, with Dead Poets!
Followed closely on Sunday Evening, at the Duke, with Sarah DeLappe's Warrior Women, those Fierce, Fearless Females, in their Bare Bones Soccer Scrim Staging of The Wolves.
As designed by Laura Jellinek, a Green Indoor Soccer Playing Mat swoops Upward, providing a Challenge Inducing Format for the Warm Up Exercises & the Emotional Crises so Frequent among Young, Conflicted, Competitive, Talented, Athletic, & somewhat Troubled Teens.
Kudos to the Entire Cast & Even More Praise for Stage Director Lila Neugebauer, who has had the Wit & Sensitivity to Bring Out the Best in these Exciting New Acting Entrepreneurs!
The Wolves is Sold Out, but it's so Good it should Move, but this Current Incarnation is already a Move…
It is a Playwrights Realm Production, but it was produced in a 2015 Workshop at the Playwrights Horizon Theatre School, working with Clubbed Thumb, who had initially worked on its Dramatic Development!
Sarah DeLappe's Script for The Wolves is carefully, minutely Plotted Out, but the Wonder is that she wrote it almost Off the Cuff, with Few Revisions!
Playwright DeLappe is currently In Process for an MFA in Playwriting at Brooklyn College!
Were she not So Very Young, she could have done her MFA at Brooklyn College with Dr. Loney, who used to supervise both MA & MFA Candidates in the Department of Theatre…
On THE RIDE at 7PM in December Darkness:
Great Neon Photo Ops! Dancing LEDs In Your Face! Blazing Store Fronts Galore!
In Spring, Summer, & Autumn, There's Light Enough to See Tiny Tim Clearly at Eventide…
Not Just Before Christmas: But You Do Hear Tim Loud & Clear, With Lots of Fun on the Bus!
When The Ride was launched, many, many Seasons Ago, the Working Press was invited along for a Free Ride!
Wow! We saw Times Square as we'd never seen it before:
Sitting in Bleachers on a Glass Fronted Tour Bus, we rolled past Familiar Scenes & Art Deco Architectures, while Period Characters on the Sidewalks below Danced & Sang for us!
My Favorite was that World War II Navy Swabbie, celebrating VJ Day on Broadway by clutching & kissing a White Clad Nurse…
This was--still is--in Broad Daylight, one of The Ride Highlights, for some Vintage Visuals work better by Day than at Night.
Nonetheless, now that The Great White Way is a 24/7 LED Color Riot, those Giant Moving Images work far more effectively after Sundown.
So The Ride at Night is a Real Winner, especially for Out of Towners, many of whom have No Idea of What to Expect…
Do they Get the Joke when we pass a Duane Reade Drugstore that is described as the Last of Its Kind?
Locals know that there is a Duane Reade/Walgreen's Drugstore on Every Corner that is not already Occupied by a Bank of America, Starbucks, HSBC Bank, Cohen's Fashion Optical, Wells Fargo Bank, or Glowing White Empty Two Story Big Box Flagship Rental Opportunity…
Of course, Seasoned--even Hardened--Locals will discover that they have a Lot to Learn from a Midtown Outing on The Ride.
There are Mini TV Panels at Eye Level which offer Astonishing Factoids about New York & New Yorkers: many of which were News to Me!
These Panels also show Outstanding Manhattan Photo Op Scenes that are not included in The Ride.
Day or Night, The Ride has become so Popular & Much Admired that it has won Plaudits & Awards from Manhattan Drama Critics, including The Drama Desk, of which I am the Oldest Surviving Member…
Looking forward now to The Tour, a Companion Bus Safari through the Wilds of Manhattan!
At The Pearl Theatre--Re Christened as FPA or Fellowship for Performing Arts:
Hier Stehe Ich! Ich Kann Nicht Anders…
Martin Luther, a Troubled Monk, Nails 95 Theses to the Church Door in Wittenberg,
Launching a Religious Revolution & Provoking a Remarkable Ensemble Production!
The Devil, you say?
Yes, he's Front & Center in this Brilliant, Ingenious, Imaginative Staging of a Most Challenging Dramatic Debate, which does not take place at The Diet of Worms--where Luther narrowly escaped being Burnt at the Stake--but in Someplace the Playwrights have chosen to call The Afterlife…
The Troubles all began when the Infamous Pope Leo X decided to replace the Shameful Structure that then housed the Pope & the Holy Office, with a Really Splendid Basilica!
God has given Us the Papacy! Let Us therefore Enjoy It!
At least, that was what was reported Far North of Vatican City, with the Added Information that His Holiness intended to make the Germans Pay for It!
To that End, The Papal Delegate, Johann Tetzel, was dispatched to Sell Indulgences,
In the World of Medieval Catholic Christianity, this was not like "Indulging" yourself with Sweet Treats…
If you bought an Indulgence, it Guaranteed that you wouldn't Go To Hell or Rot in Purgatory!
Martin Luther--a Devout, Scholarly Augustinian Monk--found this Cynical Practice not only Dishonest but also Insulting to Truly Pious Christians.
But it was only the Metaphoric Tip of the Theological Iceberg in Rome, where Odd Interpretations of the Holy Scriptures were literally Carved in Stone.
So Young Martin Made a List of Fallacious Vatican Fatwahs & nailed them to that Famous Church Door--which can still be seen Today in Wittenberg!
Of course, few Ordinary Roman Catholics could read, so Martin's Theses could scarcely be scanned by the Locals, let alone Understood.
For Whom was he really Writing?
Church Fathers, however, soon Got the Message, but they were not about to grant Martin an MA or a PhD for his Theses.
He was summoned to the Cathedral in Worms--not far from the Cathedral Cities of Mainz & Cologne--where an Imperial Diet was invoked to Question this Dissident Cleric.
Fortunately for Martin, there were Powerful Nobles in North Germany who did not like sending Tribute off to Rome or being Told What to Believe & How to Live Their Lives.
In Effect, they were already Protestants, even before Luther became the Spokesman & Leader of the New Protestant Movement.
A Major Method in Maintaining the Power of the Church of Rome was Keeping the People in Ignorance, by Not Permitting them to Read the Bible, a Practice that was Kept in Place--Even in America--into the Twentieth Century.
As many Lay Catholics were already Illiterate, this was not Difficult, but this is why Gospels & Evangels were Read from the Pulpit.
Quite aside from the Major Political, Social, Economic, & Spiritual Convulsions Luther's Repudiations of Rome set in motion, his Magisterial Translation of the Holy Bible into High German gave Form & Substance to the Spoken & Written Language.
It helped, of course, that Johann Guttenberg had just Invented Printing in Nuremberg!
The Current Trial--down on West Forty Second Street--is a Novel Inquisition because an Aged St. Peter [John Michalski] & a Young Martin [Fletcher McTaggart] are Dealing with the Devil [Paul Scheoffler, who has all the Accusatorial Agenda of a Fox News Pundit].
Kersti Bryan--as the Runaway Nun, Katerina Von Bora--is Fierce in her Defense of Martin & of his Rejection of Rome.
But, as the Play Text makes abundantly clear, Martin Luther made a Big Mistake: He thought the Long Persecuted Jews would want at last to be Converted to Christ & achieve Divine Salvation.
So we have--as part of the Historical Record--an Anti Semitic Protestant Christian of Major Importance!
In order to Explore what Went Wrong with Martin Luther, we hear from such Diverse Witnesses as Adolf Hitler, Sigmund Freud, Philip Melanchthon, Martin Luther King, Jr., The Holy Roman Emperor, & Pope Francis--the Current Occupant of The Holy Seat.
He didn't Fly Over from Rome for this Show, however.
He is impersonated by Mark Boyett, who also does Hitler--with a Nazi Hackenkreuz Armband, which is Forbidden to be shown in Post Holocaust Germany!
If you want to see how the Playwrights & Stage Director Michael Parva have worked out all the Ins & Outs of this Unusual Excavation of Middle European Religious History, hurry down to the Pearl, where the FPA is offering a New Deal in Manhattan Drama!
For The Record: When I made my own Imperial Progress through East Germany in 1957--Two Years before the Fall of the Wall--I not only Photographed the Ninety Five Theses on the Wittenberg Church Door, where they are now Preserved in Bronze, but I was also able to Lens Martin Luther's Sterbebett--or Death Bed.
At The Lucille Lortel Theatre:
Death Does Not Take a Holiday Up in Canada!
This Bizarre Carnie Thrill Will Be Your Last Ever!
Cold in Vancouver; Colder Still in Saskatchewan; But Don't Stop The Music: It's Your Last Dance!
Lucille Lortel would be Amazed!
Down at what once was the Theatre DeLys--which La Lortel Bought & Recreated in Her Own Image, which, in fact, Hangs in the Foyer--some Super Talented Kids from Canada have installed what Looks Like a Condemned Carnival Concession, centered on one of those Gut Sickening Rail Rides: The Cyclone.
The Production Concept is that this will be a Ride into Infinity--but not into the kind of Afterlife to which I'd just seen Martin Luther Condemned.
At the Outset of the Descent of the Cyclonic Cars, the Front Axle breaks, killing the Entire Cast…
Well! How's that for a Start Up to an Expensive Evening in the Theatre?
Not to Worry!
A Monstrous Oddity at one side--which seems to be a kind of Seer, or Fortune Teller--informs us & the Dancing, Singing Newly Dead that One of Them will Survive, while the Others fade into Nothingness, along with the Mysterious Psychic, who will soon also Die, when a Monstrous Electric Guitar Playing Rodent chews through the Electric Cable…
These Six Plucky Kids are Members of a kind of Canadian Collegiate Chorale, so its to be Expected that they would want to Sing about Their Lives, Hopes, & Dreams…
What they have to Offer the Lortel Audience is Tremendous Talent, Surging Vocal Energy, Assured Self Awareness, Aggressive Presentation, & a Visual Bag of Stage Tricks that includes Videos Projected on Costumes, a Mini Revolve, & even one of those Cloudbursts of Colored Confetti, usually reserved for New Years Eve.
There is a Fat Girl, but she Means Well, plus a Front & Center A Plus Student, whose Voice is unfortunately Unpleasantly Strident.
There is a Russki Lad, who loves Vodka & Unbuttoning His Shirt. I thought he might be a Chernoblyl Survivor?
Ride The Cyclone has Homoerotic Overtones, but it's not exactly Gender Specific.
At one point, a Handsome Chap transforms himself into a Black Clad Femme Fatale who would have made Marlene Dietrich jealous…
One of the Undead Dead is named Ocean O'Connell Rosenberg, which could be Something To Sing About, but Jane Doe is the Lass who actually gets Her Name on a Snappy Show Song.
Among the Eminently Singable Songs are: Dream of Life, Space Age Bachelor Man, The Ballad of Jane Doe, Sugarcloud, & This Song Is Awesome.
Rachel Rockwell Staged & Choreographed this Performing Sextet, first seen at the Atomic Vaudeville, in Victoria, BC--later moving onward to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, out on the Navy Pier…
Among the Many Aspects of Ride The Cyclone which puzzled me were those Dynamically Staged Musical Numbers, which Built to a Smashing Climax, only to be greeted by a Stunned Silence from the Aged Audience…
How Now, Canadian Cow?
At The Irish Repertory Theatre:
Kookie Outsider Is Living in an Abandoned Caravan at an Abandoned Trailer Site;
Eddie the Pigeon is Suddenly Surprised by Two Lusty Drunken Females in Damaged Costumes!
Hilariously Disconnected Eddie the Pigeon [John Keating] sorely misses his "Mammy," but Life Goes On for him in his Private Taj Mahal Camper until his Solitary Solace is invaded by Party Girls Lolly [Playwright Laoisa Sexton] & Crystal Chandelier [Zöe Watkins], Drunk Out of Their Minds, but willing to offer Eddie a Pinch of Tittie…
Lolly has been previously Dumped Outside Eddie's Tightly Packed Caravan by her Abusive Irish Boyfriend, Josie [Johnny Hopkins], who soon turns up to Make More Trouble…
They are all Getting High, so it's a High Old Time in Brit Free Ireland.
By now, I am Something of an Expert on Vans in Drama & Opera, having not only seen Mark Rylance outside his Caravan in Jerusalem, Maggie Smith outside that Van parked in front of Playwright Allan Bennett's home, & Richard Wagner's Evil Dwarf Sorcerer, Mime--conjuring outside his Art Deco Airstream Van on the Historic Stage of the Bayreuther Festspielhaus--as well as Less Exalted Vans on Stage.
As for the Obvious Jokey Name of Crystal Chandelier, this is not just a Lucky Invention of the Lady Playwright/Actress [Laoisa Sexton], because it has been Legally Used Years Ago, with a Slightly Different Spelling.
Way back in 1949--when I was Monitoring Correspondence Course Submissions for the University Extension at UC/Berkeley--one of my Favorite Write In Students was Crystal Shanda Lear!
Long Before the Massive Frauds of Trump University…
There is an Interesting Essay in the Irish Rep Program by Laoisa Sexton, in which she writes At Length about Irish Fairies & Fairy History, so close to Ireland's Craggy Coasts & Wooded Inlands.
I Didn't Get the Connection between Fairy Lore & Pigeon, but Josie does imply that Eddie the Pigeon may be a Fairy or "Queer."
As for Decent, Wholesome Irish Lassies, looking to have their Titties Pinched, this was, for me, a Big Surprise!
My Grandfather, Thomas Loney, left County Longford, in Famine Cursed Ireland, in 1854, arriving in California's High Sierras in 1856, where Religion was Very Big among the Oppressed Irish.
In the Loney Family, there was Never Any Mention of Sex, let alone Breasts & Titties…
As for Twentieth Century Ireland, my Drama Reference Points are Sexless Plays like Riders To The Sea & The Rising of the Moon.
Now, of course, both at the Historic Abbey Theatre & at The Gate Theatre, the Native Irish can be as Foul Mouthed & Naughty Thoughted as they please.
Post Play, there was a Discussion with the Cast, for which Artistic Director Charlotte Moore provided Wine in Stemmed Glasses!
Uptown, in an Historic Irish Mansion across from the Met Museum, Charlotte Moore is not only offering Audiences Bubbly in Champagne Flutes, but also Irish Gourmet Feasts, along with the Entire Cast of James Joyce's The Dead.
My ArtsArchive Colleague, Scott Bennett, was so Captivated by both the Production of The Pigeon in the Taj Mahal & the Entire Cast, that he stayed for the Post Mortems…
I had Left the Baby in the Microwave, so I Hurried Home!
At The Westside Theatre:
Well Rappered, Hip Hopped Up, & Re Mixed Chicago Shakespeare Othello Has Its World Premiere
In London at Shakespeare's Restored Globe Theatre, Before The Windy City & Off Broadway!
How about an Othello with No Visible Desdemona?
Master Rappers JQ & GQ may have wanted to keep Our Idea of Desdemona Pure & Unsullied, but they were no so Protective of Emilia, Iago's Unfortunate Wife & Desdemona's Maid/Confidante.
Emilia is impersonated by Jackson Doran, who also plays Cassio, but He/She looks like a Drag Clown, rather than an Abused Wife & Clueless Handmaiden.
GQ is both Iago & Brabantio, but not at the Same Time, with JQ as both Roderigo & Bianca, switching Roles almost Seamlessly.
Postell Pringle--Yes! That is his Real Name, not a Potato Chip Brand!--is a Much Abused Othello.
He can be both Poetic & Powerful, but the Magic of Rap demands Cascades of Ingeniously Rhyming Lines, which often Call Attention to their Cleverness, at the Expense of Emotional Impact & Rising Terror.
Given the Across the Board Broad Acting Style, it is Difficult--if not Impossible--to Take This Tragedy Seriously.
Nonetheless, it is Great Fun & the Stage Effects of Scott Adams Davis & Fellow Design Funsters only enhance the Sense of Amateur Theatre Mockery.
Rick Boynton--Chicago Shakespeare's Creative Producer--gets Directorial Credit, having Shepherded this Well Rapped Show through Development.
At The Westside Theatre:
Dynamic Dancing, Acting, Singing from Irish American Movie Tough Guy--Also Tops With Taps!
Over at the Miniscule York Theatre on Lex, Cagney already was an Explosion of Talent animating an Ingeniously Plotted Book & performing Instant Transformations in a Chameleon Like Stage Framing.
Now, at the Westside, Cagney is even more Visually Effective & Audially Supercharged than at the York.
But the Performance Powerhouse that is Robert Creighton is even Larger Than Life than he was at the York!
How can he Sing, Dance, & Emote at these Levels of Excellence Eight Times a Week?
But that's also a Question that you could well ask about his Shape Shifting Cohort of Coworkers: Jeffrey Denman, Danette Holden, Bruce Sabath, Josh Walden, & Ellen Zolezzi!
There's now No Show, On Broadway or Off, that has as many Split Second Costume & Character Changes: Your Head may well Swim, watching them, but Your Heart Will Leap Up!
Sursum Corda, Cagney/Creighton!
Creighton, like Cagney, is no Towering Tapper: he is, like Cagney, a Sawed Off Scrapper, ready for Any Challenge & Any Fight you might Unwisely Care To Pick…
Unlike some Celebrity Centered Musicals, which Pile Triumph upon Triumph, Cagney doesn't miss any Bumps along the Road, for Jimmy Cagney certainly had his Ups & Downs, notably trying to be a Movie Producer on his own.
The Narrative Frame of Cagney is the 1974 SAG Ceremony for the Lifetime Achievement Award he received from the Screen Actors Guild, which he helped create, to make sure Movie Actors were not Ripped Off by Rapacious Studio Heads like Jack Warner.
Warner, oddly enough, was chosen to Make the Award to an Always Feisty, Red Haired, Sawed Off Irish Mick--whose Terrific Talent he immediately recognized but was always down playing, preferring to have the Public believe that Jack Warner had "made" Jimmy Cagney.
In Cagney, not only do we get Rousing Songs from Creighton & Co Creator Christopher McGovern, but also from Another Irish American, George M. Cohan!
How about the Red White & Blueness of It's a Grand Old Flag & Yankee Doodle Dandy!
Not only was Jimmy Cagney a Fierce Fighter for Fair Wages for Screen Actors, but he was also all about helping The Unfairly Treated, The Unfortunate, & The Oppressed whenever & wherever he could.
Unfortunately, he chose to do this at a Precarious & Persecutorial Time in American History, when the Forces of Economic Fascism were on the Ascendant, using "Red Scares" & HUAC's Un American Activities Investigations to Harry, Hound, & Black List Industry Trouble Makers like Jimmy Cagney.
Senator Joe McCarthy, of course, was not so determined to Fight The Commies at Home & Abroad, as he was to Burnish His Own Image at the expense of Popular Public Figures.
Alger Hiss was a McCarthy Target for Hisssses, but the Hiss Brand Recognition was Nothing compared to that of some Hollywood Stars!
In Roosevelt's New Deal Thirties & well into the Post War Glory Years, All Real 100% Americans were Alert to the Clear & Present Dangers of Creeping Communism.
They were Constantly Reminded that Socialism was just another Code Word for Communism!
Even before Pearl Harbor, I well remember Rabble Rousing Radio Broadcasts by Walter Winchell in which he would often mention the Brave Work of Martin Dies & his Dies Committee to Expose Commie Plots & to Flay Fellow Travelers!
Oddly Enough, in Cagney, Dies is pronounced Dees, instead of Dyes…
That just shows you how Energetically Young is Creighton/Cagney, compared with this former Dance Magazine Contributing Editor, who Actually Lived Through "Red Scare on Sunset."
Considering how much Robert Creighton has done to make Cagney a Performance Reality, it comes as a Bit of a Surprise that he did not also Stage & Choreograph!
Bill Castellino Shows His Smarts as Stage Director, ably abetted by the Colorful Choreographies of Joshua Bergasse.
Congratulating Creighton/Cagney after his Shout Out Show at the Westside, I neglected to tell him my own Warner Brothers Tale.
Way back in 1952--when I was a Teaching Adjunct & PhD Candidate at Stanford University--I had a Lumpy Little Lad as a Sophomore Student in Oral Interpretation of Literature.
We were Reading Aloud Famous Play Scenes: Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Sheridan, Arthur Miller…
This Self Important Soph had, unfortunately, a Problem with Stuttering.
"Speech Correction" was one of my Public Speaking Specialties, so I knew that I could not Correct this Student Stutter.
Only He could do that, for Stuttering is a Not Uncommon Problem, which is often caused by an Epic Attack of Stage Fright, growing out of Personal Insecurities…
So I told him what he might do to Overcome. This was long, long before The King's Speech…
To which he disdainfully replied: You obviously do not know Who I Am!
His Name was Warner LeRoy, which Meant Nothing To Me.
So he Set Me Straight!
My Father is Mervyn LeRoy & My Mother is Doris Warner!
In that Moment, I saw my Hoped for Career as a Hollywood Screen Writer Slip from My Grasp…
In another Adjunct Class--this time in Public Speaking--I had a Late Teen Body Builder who was always Physically Preening for Our Teen Age Class.
I suggested that More Attention to Prior Research & Effective Organization of Materials might well be In Order, instead of Muscle Flexing?
To which he laughingly replied: You clearly do not know Who I Am!
This was none other than Dickie Zanuck, on the Cusp of a Career as a Hollywood Producer, Following in the Footsteps of his Famous Father, Daryl Zanuck, who was also into Body Building in a Very Big Way, having just Launched the Screen Career of Bella Darvi, whose Made for Hollywood Moniker was a Compound of His Own Name & that of his Trophy Wife, Virginia Zanuck.
Stanford University was a Mega Magnet for Hollywood Kidz:
Gary Crosby was enrolled in another of my Public Speaking Sections. He came only the First Day.
Never Again, but he never Formally Withdrew.
So I gave Gary an F.
The Provost came over to see me: You cannot fail Gary Crosby! We are hoping for a Big Bequest from Bing!
In The Event, Bing Crosby left his Final Bequest to Gonzaga, his own Alma Mater…
Added Info: When Warner LeRoy graduated, his Proud Parents gave him Manhattan's York Theatre, over on York Avenue, where he could flex his Directorial Muscles.
Warner's First Production--for which he also claimed Translation Credits--was Between Two Thieves, a popular Modern Italian Rehash of The Crucifixion Legend.
Unfortunately, neither the Translation nor the Staging proved Popular, so Warner changed the York Theatre into Maxwell's Plum, which soon became a Popular Watering Spot.
Indeed, Warner so well succeeded as a Restaurateur that he took over both The Russian Tearoom & Tavern on the Green…
The Rest Is History, which you can probably find On Line…
At The Signature Theatre:
Sutton Foster Stands In for Gwen Verdon, But Times Have Changed:
No More Whores with Hearts of Gold: Charge This Fuck To Your Wells Fargo Debit Card!
What's the Matter with Broadway Producers anyway?
Sutton Foster is a Major Star & she can really Dance Up a Storm!
So why would any Far Sighted Producer want to Consign her to a Limited Run as a Taxi Dancer in a Dim Witted Neil Simon Farce with Music?
Oh, it's all because the Score is by the Fabulous Cy Coleman, with Louche Lyrics by the Dynamic Dorothy Fields?
Nonetheless, All the Dime a Dance Girls are Brimming with Energy, glittering in Sequined Costumes by Clint Ramos.
Schlubby Shuler Hensley is Lovable as the Forlornly Shy & Overweigh Oscar, who thinks he has found True Love with Charity Hope Valentine, whom he believes to be a Virgin…
Leigh Silverman staged on a Miniscule Platform, with Audience crammed in on Three Sides.
Josh Bergasse choreographed what he could manage to squeeze in on that Miniscule Platform.
At Carnegie Hall in the Isaac Stern Auditorium on the Ronald O Perlman Stage:
Masterworks Chorus Celebrates Christmas with Handelian Know How…
Would You Believe It?
After a Rousing Rendition of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, some Paying Members of this Carnegie Hall Audience got up & presumably Went Home!
Hey! Music Lovers! Observant Christians! Jewish Intellectuals!
To Paraphrase William Shakespeare, It's Not Over until we really Do Know that Our Redeemer Liveth & that Death No Longer Has a Sting…
The Trumpets Shall Sound, but not Right Now, not This Week, not over in Carnegie Hall!
Decades Ago, when I first heard Messiah in the First Methodist Church, in Grass Valley, California, I was Sorely Puzzled by the Handelian Exclamation: For We Like Sheep…
What Did This Mean?
Country Matters? Keep Your Hands Off Bessie's Backside!
Or, in a more Culinary Vein: Lamb Stew? Lamb Shanks?
Not To Worry! Handel's Messiah will be around long after Music Lovers have tired of Handel's Ariodante, Athalie, & Alcina…
For The Record: Chris Shepard conducted, with Esther Heideman, Krista River, Ryan Turner, & Dimitrie Lazich as Soloists…
At The Barrow Street Theatre of Greenwich House:
Charles Isherwood Calls Drue Droege's Palm Springs Drag Show Hilarious!
Guffawing & Yelping Audiences Agree: Who Wants To Wear Gray Anyway?
Talk about Flamboyant!
Drue Droege gives New Meaning to Flaming Queen!
He is already Justly Famed for his Online Videos, mocking the Downtown Indie It Girl: Chloë Sevigny!
Drue Droege works out of LA, but he seems to have a Manhattan Gay Sensibility, as well…
On Stage at the Prestigious Barrow Street Theatre--near Christopher Street-- Drue Droege seems to be at a Pre Gay Wedding Cocktail Party in Sunny Palm Springs, where he Hilariously Trashes Absent Friends & Those Around Him.
On the Wedding Invitation, the Advice to Guests was not to wear: Bright Colors & Bold Patterns!
You just know how Absolutely Upsetting such Colorful Displays are to Decent, Right Thinking People, probably also Trumpers…
Because Abuse of Controlled Substances is not only Mentioned, but also Mimed, it will not be possible here to comment further on Ensuing Events, for fear that Impressionable Youngsters may be reading this Screed.
Not So Long Ago--in Major American Cities & Most Small Towns--we had Municipal Vice Squads, which would have closed down Drue Droege in an Instant.
Not Only That: They might well have sent him off to Solitary Confinement!
How Awesomely Awful for a Queen Who Needs an Audience!
Charles Busch! Watch Out for this Unexpected LA Competition!
By the Way, Bright Colors & Bold Patterns was staged by Michael Urie, whom you loved in Buyer & Cellar, the Barbra Streisand Tribute.
At The Joyce Theatre:
Les Ballets Trocadero de Monte Carlo Present:
Muscular & Beautiful Boys en pointe--with Tutus Galore!
Tchaikovsky Would Have Been Astonished--Especially as a Imperial Russian Closeted Gay…
Balanchine Was, At First Glance, Not Amused, but He Changed His Attitude, if Not His Mind.
So, OK! It wasn't Raymond's Wedding at all.
Ray [Not His Real Name] was dressed up to Look Like & Dance Like Raymonda, who was Delicately Danced by Lariska Dumbchenko [Not Her Real Name].
No, that Swine Side Swipe is Not a Typo, but surely Dead Russki Choreographer Lev Ivanovich Ivanov [No Relation to Ivanka Trump!] would wonder whether some Terpsichorean Pigs had somehow gotten loose & run around the Joyce Stage in Tutus…
Yes, the Trocs did offer us Anna Pavlova's Great Last Act: The Dying Swan!
But if all that Bournonville, Petipa, & Ivanov might be Just Too Much, we were astonished with some Vintage Merce Cunningham, "with Live Music after John Cage."
Among the Agile & Attractive Ballerinas were: Maria Paranova, Alla Snizova, Doris Vidanya, Ida Nevasayneva, Helen Highwaters [remember The Hightowers?], Varvara Bratchikova, & Tatiana Youbetyabootskya…
Among the Brave Ballerina Lifters were: Jacques d'Aniels [Jacques d'Amboise?], Mikhail Mudkin [Mordkin?], Velour Pilleaux, Innokentki Smoktumuchsky, & a Quintet of Legupski's.
Years & Years & Years Ago--possibly down at Ellen Stewart's LaMaMa ETC--I first witnessed a Troc Performance, having been Invited by the Ingenious Impressario, because I was a Contributing Editor for Dance Magazine at the Time.
I literally Could Not Believe My Eyes!
Hot Guys in Tutus?
Hey, we all know about "Dress Up" from Nursery Days onward to the Junior Farce in College.
But the Trocs were No Joke!
They were Really Good & Really Also Hilarious!
The Troc Mock Ballerinas could do anything a Balanchine Star could achieve!
But they also knew how to do a Faux Pas or Two, just to let the Astonished Audience know that this was All in Fun.
At that Time, Ex Brit Dance Critic Clive Barnes was the Big Man in both Dance & Drama at The New York Times, so we were often Aisle Seat Colleagues.
Clive, of course, knew of my Reviews & Interviews, so he Could Not Believe that I had admired The Mocking Trocs.
"Clive! It's No Joke! Their Technique is really Terrific! But they are also wonderful in the ways they make Loving Fun of Ballet Traditions, especially some of those Absurd Romantic Librettos."
[Libretti, it should be noted, that were Unwritten & Unsung, Danced Only…]
When Clive checked out The Trocs, he also became a Big Fan.
With Reference to Merce Cunningham, I might mention that I once interviewed him in Amsterdam, where his Troupe was performing in the Holland Festival.
Merce already knew me casually, for I was a Cunningham Concert Regular--as well as a Fan of Bob Joffrey & Elliot Feld--so he suggested I meet him up on the Stage of the Staatschouburg when everyone had Gone Home.
There was Merce, Wiping Off some Make Up & Standing Tall in his Jock Strap or Dance Belt.
After he'd De Kleenexed an Entire Box, Merce smiled & said: Want to see Something Huge?
Merce then shucked off his Remaining Shred of Decency…
Just imagine President Elect Donald Trump shucking off his Last Remaining Shred of Decency?
Hey, Marco Rubio & Ted Cruz! Lookie Here! No Small Hands!
Speaking of Anna Pavlova & The Dying Swan--which she performed in American Vaudeville for years & years--she once danced--Swanly, not Wanly--for President Theodore Roosevelt in the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre of the University of California at Berkeley.
My Mother, Marion Busher Loney, was also on that Same Program!
Her First Grade Class--from way over in Oakland--Opened The Festive Event with: One, Two, Button My Shoe…
But I never saw Clive Barnes in his Jock Strap!
Copyright Glenn Loney, 2016. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire." Reproduction rights please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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