“Shirley and Me” revolves around life versus art at Planet Connections Theatre Festivity

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The Clemente (107 Suffolk St.) sets the stage for “Shirley and Me.” Written and performed by Jan Wallace, the one-woman show has audiences laughing while wiping away their tears. Performed as part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, the piece raises money for the National Brain Tumor Society.

3Wallace takes on Willy Russell’s strong-willed “Shirley Valentine” and as she confronts Valentine’s shortcomings and triumphs she’s mirroring her own.  “Shirley and Me” plays the Latea Theater until July 7th so “shirley” don’t miss your chance to see Wallace’s heartfelt performance.

Photo credit: Sara Solo Press

BRP is back and IRTE’s big, rich and powerful production!

BRPII-landscape-postcardThe Producers’ Club  (358 West 44th St.) rolls out the red carpet for BRP’s second season. The rich are richer, the laughter is bigger and audiences are the winners.

The award-wining improv troupe ensembles Robert Baumgardner (Director), Bill Berg, Nannette Deasy (Artistic Director), Curt Dixon and Jamie Maloney with impromptu performances by Michael Hauschild and Sam Katz delivering a scheming group of rich fits. Guests will love to hate the snobbish socialites and the quick-witted improv team, provide side-splitting antics.

Serving up a musical interlude, Craig Greenberg returns to the Producers Club and the piano is key to setting the tone for the rest of the night. Greenberg spotlights Friends with Benefits, Aberdeen and All the Pretty Things. Ending his set with a sing along, guests ready themselves for the next portion of Big, Rich and Powerful.

Will the schemers get their just rewards and or will villainy prevail? BRP II commands the Prince’s stage until June 24th so reserve your spot before the curtain closes on IRTE’s season.BRPII-postcard-WEB

Photos credits: IRTE

P.O.W. Captures and Confronts the Past

1American Theatre of Actors soldiers in the tale of Sidney Pollack (Ken Coughlin) whose Vietnam service is called into question after a college reading. In order to advance her career, Amanda Howell (Victoria Christi) deems Pollack’s actions unethical, threatening his job and freedom.

2Facing trumped-up charges regarding his conduct, a previously deemed mercy killing is now murder. Were his actions justified or as a commanding officer, did he kill his platoon member?

3Amorously awaiting Amanda’s love, Robert Gordon (Anthony J. Gallo) throws Greenfield’s book at Pollack in order to score time with Howell. A battle ensues as Pollack is court-martialed and has to defend his life. Bridging the past with the present, Sidney and his wife, Louise (Amy Losi) must challenge the court or risk becoming prisoners of the system.

4When their delinquent son, Murry (Harrison Benjamin) sets his guns on destroying his father, will the family survive? Under Laurie Rae Waugh’s direction, the Sargent Theatre commands a thought-provoking production. P.O.W.’s flag remains at full mast until June 18, 2017 so don’t miss your chance to be captured by the show’s spirit.

“Kennedy’s Children” produces the unrest of the ‘60s merged with modern strife.

Cast of Kennedy's Children 7After Kennedy’s assassination, the country was left whirling and in desolation. Under the semblance of moving on, the characters depict their world into pre and post-existence.

Wanda’s (Nicole Greevy) world was turned upside down and she felt compelled to change her life in order to make the world a better place. Emily Battles as the bartender serves up drinks, character sketches and delivers sage advice to her patrons. Colin Chapin as Sparger has a large-than-life persona that has his audience shaking their heads at his antics. As the layers are peeled away, a broken soul emerges that’s crying out for connection to this new reality.

Mark (Timothy Regan) illustrates isolation mixed with confusion as he corresponds with his mother about his war memories. At times, he brigades himself with his comrades while others, he shies away from his war-torn survival in an attempt to regain a sliver of his former self. While Rona (Sara Minisquero) is initially perceived as an aging flower child/ hippie, she provides a first-hand account of youth trying to find a way to understand the world around them. Last but not least, Jessica Carollo as Carla rounds out the crew personifying a Marilyn Monroe bombshell whose sense of self was molded by the starlet. As the golden age slips away, the harsh reality emerges and the industry’s “Monkey Business” is revealed.

Cast of Kennedy's Children 4Under Erin Solér’s direction, Robert Patrick’s play comes to life paralleling the ’60s with today’s turmoil Will love prevail or will the times ensure that we must repeat our mistakes? The Regeneration Theatre hosts the thought-provoking show and ties the past to the present generation.

Photo credit: Regeneration Theatre

“Let Me Entertain You, Again” Proves “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” in June.

Don’t Tell Mama set the stage for Lane Bradbury, Broadway’s original “Dainty June” to entertain audiences. The intimate venue was enhanced by Joe Goodrich’s accompaniment and Doug DeVita’s writing, expertly weaving Bradbury’s past to complement the score.

The set list included songs from Henri Betti/ Andre Hornez, Cole Porter. Stephen Sondheim/ Jule Styne, Cole Porter and Stephen Schwartz/ Frederic Lowe. Under Elkin Antoniou’s direction, guests were brought back in time where Ethel Merman stormed the stage and Lane was an ingenue, making her first Broadway foray.

Sprinkling in humorous stories from the stage and screen, Bradbury dazzles audiences with her sunny disposition, endearing smile and enduring talent. For “Some People” who missed June 7th’s performance, there’s a final one on June 29th. While “Dainty June” has hung up her batons, Lane Bradbury steps into the limelight, showcasing that it’s Lane’s turn.

Photo credit: Cabaret Life Productions

 

Shakespeare’s Richard III tempests the John Cullum Theatre and delivers a powerful production.

Richard IIIThe American Theatre of Actors presented an unabridged account of Shakespeare’s Richard III. The talented troupe of actors delivered heartfelt performances, displayed comedic timing and brought patrons into the tale.

Thomas Leverton’s beguiling depiction of Richard III had audience members rooting for the villain until his madness proved destructive. Under James Jennings’ direction, the cast created a Shakespearean world where Leah Bloom, Sandra M. Bloom, Justin Clark, Eli Cox, Jane Culley, Marie Bridget Dundon, Yasemin Eti, William Greville, Alex Jaloza, Martin Maldonado, Lucy McKown, Uriel Menson, Adam Pine, David Remple, Stephen F. Smith, Richard Stelnik, Stephen Wagner and Jack Wink played to their audience.

Taking on the Bard, requires a love of his work and the performers delivered measure for measure. The cast provided humorous quips amidst the characters’ tragic defeats. Blending comedy and tragedy, the American Theatre of Actors delivered a royal performance.

IRTE’s Avoidance improvs not hinders the production

Photo Evie Aronson, L-R Michael Hauschild, Nannette Deasy, Curt Dixon, Robert Baumgardner, Tym MossAvoidance isn’t a problem for IRTE as the award-winning improvisational group gives its all at each performance. The Producers Club’s Crown stage rolled out the red carpet for contestants to confront their demons for a chance to win the grand prize.

Skillfully mastering the curveballs the audience pitched at them, the cast played a game where the winning introvert would procure his/her own isolated island. The extroverts did their best to draw their constrained counterparts out of their shell while cavorting with Tym Moss to show the introverts what they are missing.

Under Marc Adam Smith’s direction, Getchie Argetsinger, Robert Baumgardner, William Berg, Nannette Deasy, Curt Dixon, Mike Hauschild and Jamie Maloney take on the audience’s challenging circumstances while delivering their own spin on the situation.

You’ve pressed your luck and missed the final Avoidance! performance but the only losers are those not taking advantage of an upcoming show.

Photo credits: IRTE