Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: This is the Moment for Kennedy Davenport

By Michael Block

Once upon a time on RuPaul's Drag Race season 7, Kennedy Davenport roared her way to victory by eliminating fan goddess Katya in an epic lip sync. Based on the ridiculous challenges and "the edit", losing Katya was devastating simply because we watched more of her story than Kennedy's. We didn't see her in her prime. But boy did she make up for it in The Gospel According to...Kennedy Davenport.
photo by Michael Block
Turning the lounge vibe of the Laurie Beechman into a house of worship, Kennedy Davenport takes you to church. A celebration of classic tunes and personal stories, assisted by pianists to the Drag Stars Christopher Hamblin, Kennedy Davenport makes a wondrous New York City solo cabaret debut. Beginning the night with Hamblin tickling the ivories with "Try to Remember" leading into the Babs standard "The Way We Were," this was one of those nights where you should expect the unexpected. Kennedy recounts the times prior to her appearance on Drag Race in a very religious world while exploring the list of substance abuse and depression, Kennedy is eager to share and get these stories off her chest. She dove deep to tell her personal experiences, offering her emotions to beautifully take over. With such weighty material, the show does get a reprieve from the ballad heavy score with "Tooty Fruity", an ode to her Snatch Game character Little Richard. For someone who experienced such hardships, Kennedy ensured a message of hope filled the room. Even as she rambled on, motivation was at the forefront. Capping off the night, Jekyll and Hyde's "This is the Moment" seemed like an odd pick but it made complete sense in context. The message within is fitting. From a structure perspective, the piece had a good flow, keeping things chronological. As a performer, Kennedy Davenport is a pageant queen and the epitome of diva. Just look at that stunner of a dress that was too hot for daytime.
We may not have seen her dance, but she made up for it through story and song. It's likely that the Beechman can't handle her moves. No matter what, The Gospel According to…Kennedy Davenport was spectacular. This is just another example of a Drag Race queen getting to showcase the rest of herself in an intimate setting. Beg Kennedy Davenport for a return engagement.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spotlight On...Edward Heinemann

Name: Edward Heinemann

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Education: Coker College B.S. Psychology Minor in Theatre Arts; Two Year Conservatory Program The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute (NYC)

Select Credits:  Metamorphoses (Orpheus, Dir Kindra Steenerson, Coker College), Dog Sees God (Van, Dir Patrick B. Doughty, Coker College), Balm in Gilead (Tim, Dir Jenna Worsham, The Lee Strasberg Institute

Why theater?: There is just something exhilarating about performing in front of a live audience, that you cant get anywhere else.

Who do you play in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot?: The Bailiff and Simon The Zealot

Tell us about The Last Days of Judas Iscariot: Stephen Aldy Guirgis' plays are always so hard to label into one genre because they are very charming with comedic moments, but always end up ripping your heart out. However, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is a courtroom drama that has Judas Iscariot on trial, in purgatory, to see if he is going to Heaven or Hell.

What kind of theater speaks to you?: Geoffrey Horne, one of my many lovely teachers I've had in my life, once said that a good play is meant to show you a piece of the human experience that you wouldn't know about unless you saw that play. Thats what kind of Theatre speaks to me.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Cliff from William Mastrosimone's The Woolgatherer and Doug From Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries

What’s your favorite showtune?: "Popular" from Wicked

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Annie Baker

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Im going to have to call an "8 Mile" on this one and say I'd have to play myself.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The original production of A Raisin in The Sun with Sidney Poitier as Walter Lee.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I haven't really recommended anyone to see anything because Im broke.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Pickles. Ill eat a whole jar in one sitting and drink all the brine in the jar.

What’s up next?: Rhapsody Collective at The Tank, May 18th, 20th and 21st!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Pawn Down

By Michael Block

John Cage was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher, and artist. He seemed like the perfect subject for a work of theatrical art. Presented by Abingdon Theatre Company, SITI Company’s Chess Match No. 5 finds the world of John Cage live on stage. Conceived and directed by Anne Bogart and text arrangement by Jocelyn Clarke, Chess Match No. 5 maintains your attention for some time until it just becomes a superfluous examination of what else can be thrown at the wall.
photo by Maria Baranova
Adventurous to say the least, Chess Match No. 5 brings the words of John Cage to the stage in an array of movements to create a grand symphony of music, dance, and conversation. An exploratory work of art, Chess Match No. 5 is most exciting when it comes to the theatrical vision rather than the content of the material. If you’re not a Cage aficionado, you’re likely lost. Trying to ingest the words and make sense of them in the grand scheme of the piece is like finding a needle in a haystack. But if you open your mind to the nearly five senses production, there’s something to take away from Chess Match No. 5. But no matter what, it went on a little too long. Anne Bogart ensures the specificity of her work in this piece. Bogart maintains a consistency in theatrical vocabulary in her staging. When the door opens, the sounds of the world flood in. The chess match is riveting each time the pair plays. We find the musicality of everyday objects as a highlight in the piece. It’s easy to appreciate the individual moments but as a whole composition, Chess Match No. 5 is sadly unsatisfying.
If the experimental elements of SITI Company is not for you, the production design will keep you enthralled at least. This piece cannot exist without sound. And the sound design from Darron L. West is out of this world. Between the placement of microphones to the incorporation of atmospheric sounds, West’s design is just another example of how important sound is to live theater. Pairing it with Brian H. Scott’s lighting design, Anne Bogart told a story in this art piece. Scott introduces the audience into his light show by dousing the big bright open stage in light when the house opens. At first, it may be a bit much. Scott used the various exposed bulbs regularly as the focal point of light but when he brings in the colors, Chess Match No. 5 becomes more stimulating. But those moments are far and few between simply due to the structure of the narrative. Bogart and scenic designer James Schuette strategically placed every piece of random furniture on the open stage. And yet with only two performers, Will Bond and Elle Lauren got trapped at times.
Chess Match No. 5 is fun for the first five minutes. Then it seems to drag on and on. Having an appreciation for SITI Company and John Cage is nearly essential for this show to be invigorating.

Review: The Past Echoes the Present

By Kaila M. Stokes

Feeling like you’re living in a world where your voice is not heard? Ever think that our government was never going to take us seriously unless we do something drastic? Should we send a violent message to President Trump? Congratulations, your views align with the Weathermen Underground of the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The Assembly Theater Project presents Home/Sick, directed by Jess Chayes, a play that explores these humans that were once a thorn in the government’s side. Some may call them anarchists, some heroes, but no matter your beliefs - you must be curious how the country let people get to feel so hopeless that violence was the only answer. Although set in the 60’s and 70’s this play is incredibly timely. It deals with the same questions people ask themselves today.
Home/Sick begins with helicopter sounds, actors at microphones trying to rally their angsty crowds, and an overall flood of noise that exposes one’s senses (Sound by Asa Wember). Then there we all are in the bunker of the Weathermen Underground! Six characters are on stage experiencing different levels of commitment and places in their lives, and yet they all ended up together in this one hideout for a cause that will mean the end for some of them. Anna, played by Emily Louise Perkins, is wide-eyed and completely naive to the world. She is the comic relief, often times chiming in when completely unexpected for humor that is welcomed since the topics ring so heavy. Bernard, played by Kate Benson, is the leader of this group. She guides people, fucks people, and overall is one of the people that allowed the Weathermen Underground to be as successful as they were even if it was short-lived. Paul, played by Luke Harlan, is a nervous-nelly and has a conscious greater than most of the others. His reasons for being there are very different from everyone else’s which ultimately allows him to break away before the group's demise. Tommy, played by Ben Beckley, was the playboy anarchist of the group. He had a knack for speaking to the public, but was not on-board with most of the violence that occurred. Kathy and David, played by Anna Abhau Elliott and Edward Bauer, were similar in that they had let their rage and conviction for “the cause” completely overtake them. It became about ego, which led to their fall. The entire cast was a unit, not one weak link. Their passion was so clear and appreciated by the audience. This may be because the cast were also the writers of this passion project.
photo by Nick Benacerraf
The story told was very interesting and dynamic, it had many great ideas! But in that, there were at times too many ideas. The play was very focused on the timeline of events, so the development of the characters suffered. Each character starts out all in with “the cause” and then slowly some become unhinged because of it and some simply don’t believe anymore. Because the events were being focused on, that transition got lost and happens a little too quickly on stage. As an audience member, you were invested in these characters and wanted to know when they shifted.
One of the most interesting parts of the show, was when each actor broke character and spoke into a microphone about why this story was important to them and how they got involved - this part was audience interactive. It made the audience feel like they were involved and had a place in the story as well. This was an idea that worked. The show is very long and there are places that could be buttoned-up a bit. The first act flowed well, but the second act drags. It would have been great if the first act held all of the events, then the second act was the unraveling of the Weathermen Underground and each of the characters. This would have given the story more of an arc and well-rounded feeling. It would have also allowed some of the unnecessary moments to be cut/edited down.
The set was created throughout the show which was visually stunning. Must have been awful for the stage manager (Anna Engelsman), but as an audience member to see the chaos created more and more throughout made it feel tangible. It was quite impressive that they made the entire space into their giant canvas. Home/Sick is an important piece to see, it really rings true with today’s society, unfortunately. The audience was full of both old and young - but their was a cohesiveness because the passion of the writers jumped out into the audience. Home/Sick is highly recommended even in it’s flaws, it is too relatable not to see.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Review: A Real Unicorn

By Michael Block

First it was Shakespeare. Ibsen and Chekhov followed after. Even Miller has been reinvented. Now's the time for Tennessee Williams to be redefined on stage. In the latest revival of The Glass Menagerie, the memory play finds itself in modern times. Purists, stay far away. Helmed by Sam Gold, this reinvention brings some incredible new insights into the text yet also veers, at times, unrecognizably too far.
The Glass Menagerie is regarded highly as one of the greatest American plays. And it is. It’s a family drama told through the perspective of Tom Wingfield. It should be remembered that The Glass Menagerie is in fact a memory play. And a memory play can be interpreted as one sees fit. There is wiggle room. But how much until its no longer the play? The production has a modern perspective with nearly blank stage featuring a basic folding table, chairs, and prop shelf curated by scenic designer Andrew Lieberman. To walk into a Broadway house and encounter this minimal set, it’s jarring. There’s nothing lavish about it. You wonder why not stage this production in a more intimate theater. But with near nothing, it allows Williams’ text to take center stage. You hear the words in a new way. And at times, Gold blatantly defies the text. From Amanda yelling at Laura to sit on a non-existent couch in a different room to a distinctly stating it’s time for the lace tablecloth yet it’s anything but. Gold interprets the text a manner that may be confusing but he goes all in with it. But there are some haphazard inconsistencies when it came to staging and defining the rules of his world. It may have taken some time to get into this version of the play. But strip it down to candlelight and Williams' exquisite text, The Glass Menagerie was at its best. Jim and Laura scene was extraordinary. But it lived in another world from the rest of the play. It’s so stripped down that when something fantastical is introduced like the waterworks creating the misty rain of the St. Louis night, it causes confusion. Lighting designer Adam Silverman shined brightest with the usage of the neon sign. In a production of bold moves, the insanely slow fade down of the house lights needed to be deliberate. When the house was fully out felt arbitrary. If this is a memory play designed by Tom, shouldn’t he be the one manipulating the world? Wojciech Dziedzic’s costume design was comfy modern but Dziedzic’s moment of courage was the loud pink dress Amanda puts on. It was a statement piece to say the least. It caused a laugh from the crowd, but was that truly the intent?
photo by Julieta Cervantes
This production was essentially a showcase for Sally Field as Amanda Wingfield. And boy does she know how to work her magic. Despite the flaws of the production, Field gave a dynamic performance. With this casting, Gold highlighted the ladies of the play to create a true examination of the relationship between Amanda and Laura. Rather than living a life vicariously through her daughter, this Amanda was a biting, bitter woman jaded for living a life of care for her handicapped daughter. It was a lens that was beautifully unique. And it’s a shame that the production got the best of it. As Jim, Finn Wittrock is a captivating charmer. He has a genuine goodness that makes his rejection of Laura even more heart shattering. Madison Ferris as Laura held her own amongst her starry scene partners, though with the lack of stage busy work, Ferris got stuck when forced out of the main part of the scene. Joe Mantello as Tom was subtle, shockingly fading into the back. With the focus mostly on Amanda and Laura, Tom’s outburst didn’t land as it should.
The Glass Menagerie is a play that has been done to death and yet there will always be something to explore. Sam Gold’s rendition is stripped down, that if it’s not to your taste, the intermissionless production can be hard to sit through. Gold made a noble risk that unfortunately didn’t pay off this time.

Spotlight On...Alexander Sage Oyen

Name: Alexander Sage Oyen

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

Education: University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program

Favorite Credits: I played Willy Loman as a 17 year old in high school.

Why theater?: Theatre is the most collaborative art form that I’ve ever found- it gives me the opportunity to meet and work with people from all different mediums and styles of collaboration.

Tell us about DIVA: Live from Hell: DIVA is a musical about a young man named Desmond Channing who takes his role as Drama Club President a little too seriously. When Desmond’s theater school rival Evan Harris muscles in on Desmond’s territory, Desmond takes things into his own hands. Oh, yeah, also Desmond’s dead and the whole thing takes place from a cabaret room in hell.

What inspired you to compose the music for DIVA?: I saw a version of the show as a play at a solo festival and I absolutely fell in love, both with SP Monahan’s incredible writing but also with the idea of crafting an idiosyncratic score to this style of storytelling.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like a lot of eclectic art- I find that if any style is being presented in its most authentic manner that I can find something to relate with. I love the fact that I get to see so many stories told in so many different ways.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tony Kushner but like, obviously, who wouldn’t right?

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Come From Away- it’s a really fun and engaging little musical.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: James Franco (as his character from Pineapple Express), “Offer Only.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I wish I could’ve seen the original Merrily We Roll Along. I wish so desperately.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Other than Peanut Butter? Oh, were we talking about theatre? Epic modern musicals.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Lost.

What’s up next?: My band, Discount Ghost Stories, will be playing this summer and some other shows are getting some developments!

For more on DIVA: Live from Hell, visit https://www.desmondthediva.com/

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: The Beauty of Intimacy

By Michael Block

What brings two humans together? Is it fate? Or maybe circumstance? Perhaps it's a superpower. A play about human connection, Omega Kids by Noah Mease is a subtly stunning drama about two young men spending a rainy evening in an unfurnished apartment as they bond over the titular comic book while exploring the bounds of their newfound companionship.
Produced by New Light Theater Project in association with Access Theater, Omega Kids follows Michael and Michael as one gushes over his favorite comic universe and it's new reboot as the other looks longingly for something else. While they both seem to be on the same page, there's a fear of uncertainty that defies the magnetic force. If you read Noah Mease's text, it may feel like it's literally about two guys talking about comics. It's like Annie Baker's Circle Mirror Transformation. It's all in the subtext. The beauty is defined in the physicalization of the pair. With the tools on the page paired with Jay Stull's impeccable direction, Noah Mease has crafted a marvelous universe. It’s a spellbinding story. It’s a modern story yet it’s timeless. The characters are simple yet clear.
Omega Kids captures the intricacies of human connections. And Jay Stull insured this in his approach of the piece. His work was exceptional to say the least. The two Michaels have a special relationship. Stull unfolds the nature of their friendship slowly and at times sloppily. Yet Stull and Mease makes us believe we know them from the start. And know them well. Stull's vision capitalized on the intimacy. Every beat was intricately active, continuing the narrative through the transitions. His focus on storytelling was careful. Each scene, as they grew closer, how Stull positioned them in the room and in the floor, how they were sitting and where the focus was, each moment was alive. If your heart wasn't beating fast with the late game foot touch, you might not be an owner of a heart. Speaking of, this scene may have been Mease's strongest writing.
photo by Hunter Canning
The power of intimacy was carried through the exquisite technical design. The play was staged literally within a black box. Sitting a level above the cream colored carpeted floors, the space was small yet scenic designer Brian Dudkiewicz made the space feel vast. To help bring personality into this world, lighting designer Scot Gianelli allowed a flow to illuminate from below the rafters and reject off the ceiling. The bursts of color became more prominent, filling the space, as the Michaels grew closer but the second the draw of love broke, the snap of color dissipated and the luster disappear. And that moment was heartbreaking. It's a turn that you hate happened but it's far too real. Not every story can have a happy ending. As you sat in the lobby, an atmospheric drone fills the room. Sound designer Eben Hoffer continues the design into the show with great precision. The atmospheric cues, such as running water, were not stock sounds. They sounded real. When a cue is introduced, like the flushing of a toilet, and it sounds like an effect, it pulls you out and ruins the moment. Though some were superfluous, Hoffer's ability to root his design in reality allowed the authenticity of the universe to feel present.
This play is a celebration of chemistry. Omega Kids would not be what it is unless the pair of actors weren’t as strong. As the Michaels, Fernando Gonzalez and Will Sarratt were extraordinary. As the more dominant of the two, Gonzalez found layers upon layers as the kid with a troubled past. He played things coy with the other Michael yet the slight smile he often brought out told a different story. Opposite him, Sarratt took on the shy kid who comes to life when the conversation revolves around a comic book. The exploration of comfort was a joy to watch. With the story occurring over only a few hours, Sarratt’s Michael ran the gamut of feelings impeccably.
No matter who you are, there is something to relate to in Omega Kids. Noah Mease’s play is nice but vastly elevated by the remarkable direction by Jay Stull. Omega Kids truly is a spellbinding production. To commemorate the show, you get a take home souvenir comic book. If you were touched by the play, glance through the comic book, created by Mease. It’s filled with so much more that adds to the show.

Spotlight On...Sarah Beth Pfeifer

Name: Sarah Beth Pfeifer

Hometown: Elliott City, MD

Education:  BM in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University of America

Select Credits:  Enid Hoopes in the national tour of Legally Blonde, Patsy in Always, Patsy Cline at Toby's Dinner Theatre, Cochina in Ferdinand the Bull at Imagination Stage

Why theater?:  The act of getting a bunch of real live humans in a room together to play pretend and tell stories...that's a craaazy powerful thing! I've loved performing since I was a kid, and as I grew up I really came to appreciate how theatre promotes community and helps us realize our shared humanity. There's nothing else like it!

Who do you play in The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical?:  I play a bunch of different characters! My main character is Clarisse, daughter of Ares, but I also play Katie Gardiner, Mrs. Dodds, and a very sassy squirrel, among others!

Tell us about The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical:  Oh, man.  The Lightning Thief is a story about Percy Jackson, who finds out right in the middle of growing up that Greek gods are real and one of them is his dad! This, plus all the monster attacks and a quest where the fate of the world pretty much hangs in the balance, makes for a pretty complicated year for Percy...and we do it all live on stage!! The music rocks, the cast is amazing, and the show is hilarious and touching and totally taps into what it really feels like to be a teenager...trying to find your identity while feeling trapped in between childhood and the "real" adult world.

What is it like being a part of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical?:  It. Is. So. Much. Fun! We don't use any "Hollywood" type special effects to portray all the crazy epic stuff that happens to Percy and his friends...so as a company of actors (and under the brilliant guidance of our director, Stephen Brackett, and choreographer Patrick McCollum), we've figured out ways to make things like flying shoes and bus explosions come to life using just our bodies and found objects from our set.  Stuff like that is my absolute favorite kind of creative challenge!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: My favorite kind of theater embraces theatricality, inspires conversation around what divides and unites us as human beings, and doesn't shy away from good, silly fun when it's called for :) I'm always trying to consume as much art from as many diverse sources as possible to feed my own artistic pursuits...at the theatre, I'm loving anything Lin Manuel or Joe Iconis is doing these days, I'm watching a ton (too much? nah...) of great TV (some of my favs recently have been Mad Men, Fleabag, Love), I love catching live music in the city and checking out art exhibits...anything and everything!

Any roles you’re dying to play?:  My absolute favorite projects to work on as an actor are new works...so I like to say that all of my dream roles are ones that haven't been written yet!

What’s your favorite showtune?: Ooo...these days, I gotta say "My Shot." It's a modern masterpiece!!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I'm a big fan of Great Comet...I'd love to get to collaborate with Dave Malloy, the composer, or Rachel Chavkin, the director!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: In my dreams, I'd have Lena Hall play me (I mean...she's literally the coolest...) aaaand it would be called...hmm....how about we quote the Bard on this one and say "Though She Be But Little, She is Fierce"? Hah that was hard!

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I've always kicked myself for missing Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Willie Loman in Death of a Salesman

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Come From Away! So beautiful. A must see...but bring tissues.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:  Ya know, I put a lot of effort into eating right and staying in shape, but there's just something about the neon orange cheese dust they put on Cheetos, etc, that just gets me every time...

What’s up next?:  I do a lot of work in the voice over world, so once Lightning Thief closes, I'll be getting back to that and maybe taking a trip to Europe this summer!

Fore more on Sarah Beth, visit www.sarahbethpfeifer.com

Review: Millennial Theater for Millennial Audiences

By Michael Block 

What do millennials in New York City love most? Brunch! Tell an audience you're giving them brunch food, you might get them to the theater. Brunch Theatre is brining eight new plays to the stage in Bangerz & Mash.
photo by Ellis Vizcarra
Brunch Theatre is millennial artists creating millennial theater about millennial topics for a millennial audience. Dropping references from today, from social media addictions to dating app woes to one night stands, these eight plays do their best to keep you captivated. Mostly rooted with comedic undertones, the overwhelming theme of the night is celebrating the generation and our real world problems. With eight offerings and live musical interludes provided by Kerri George and Lydia Granered, the night featured some dishes both hot and cold. The hottest dish by far was the silent slapstick comedy of filth, Sexybeer by Zachary Connolly. Michael, a nebbish guy, seduces the sultry Zoe at a restaurant. Told through impeccable physical lead by the chameleon of the stage, Forrest Weber, and the sultry Hanah McKechnie, this play, directed to the hilarious extremes by Liz Rogers, will leave you, and the stage, wet. Sexybeer defines the power of strong storytelling. Of her three appearances in the night's program, another great play was the heartbreakingly beautiful Tantalus, or Whatever by Haley Jakobson. A play about moving on and letting go of love, Conrad is visited by his deceased boyfriend on the night of their anniversary. Only getting seven minutes in heaven, Jakobson showcases a beautiful relationship as the pair grapples with their circumstance. Ryan Meyer as Conrad and Lukas Papenfusscline as his former flame had a natural chemistry. His costume was fitting as Papenfusscline was perfectly angelic. Rounding out the hot was Harrison Bryan's far too real Get Off Your Cell Phone (or World War III). World War III is upon us and four millennials are wound up on likes, and lack there of. A satirical comedy on the state of our priorities, Bryan paints a picture that ironically carried through into the audience. But more on that later. Sometimes absurdity can be comedy gold but there were a few misfires. And it started from the jump. Conceptually, Overshot by Taylor Beidler had all the right pieces, the execution missed the mark, dragging on a couple beats too long. Similarly, despite a fantastic punch line, Long List of Ex-Lovers by Trevor Stankiewicz needed to be shrunk to truly match the brilliance in concept.
Bangerz & Mash leaves you with a full stomach. Maybe dropping an entree or two may have been most satisfying. In a time where art is important, it's the millennial generation leading the charge. Brunch Theatre is taking advantage of it! Just expect to see some phone glows as you view as some of the crowd will be watching their snaps on snapchat during a live performance. Serve it up to the attention span of the demographic I suppose.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Block Talk- Episode 12- Sean Patrick Monahan



In a very special Block Talk, I sat down with the Diva himself, Sean Patrick Monahan to chat about being a diva and Diva: Live from Hell!

Diva: Live from Hell plays Theater for the New City March 23rd through April 9th.

To listen to this episode as well as previous episodes, visit iTunes or Soundcloud!

Don't forget to visit our Patreon page at patreon.com/theaterinthenow and learn about how you can support Theater in the Now!


Spotlight On...Darcy Dunn

Name: Darcy Dunn

Hometown: Warren Township, NJ

Education: BA

Select Credits: Carmen, Rosina, Cherubino, Hansel, Dido

Why theater?: I’m a classical singer who in recent years has enjoyed doing some musical theater and theater.  I love learning a new character and being that character on stage.  I love the kind of sacred process of making someone else’s words and music real to myself, and then hopefully to an audience, and the sharing that goes on between actors, as well as between actor and audience. I love the stories. I love the heart and art of making theater and its power to change.

Who do you play in Grand Theft Musical?: I play two roles. Rose Roseglass – an optimistic, joyful, stage mother who loves her life and even more, her son Ernest; and Chloe - an ex-lover of heartthrob Guy Loverly

Tell us about Grand Theft Musical: It’s a farcical musical that borrows from musicals of the past (hence the title).  There is a Broadway show designed to fail, mobsters looming, unfulfilled love, devoted love; oversexed stars of the stage, a stripper with a heart of gold….  It’s fun-filled and silly, with poignant moments and lovely music, and a terrific cast of performers bringing all the fun to life.

What is it like being a part of Grand Theft Musical?: It is great fun working with this talented and hilarious cast and crew. Lissa Moira, our director and playwright, imbues all her productions with joy and depth.  Over time, she’s created a bit of a troupe by working again and again with favorite actors, many of whom are cast members in this production, and I think this sense of ensemble adds to the overall experience for audience and actors alike.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Comedy, on the one hand, and psychological drama on the other.  Some favorite inspirations:  Stephen Colbert (our dog is named Colby), Carol Burnett, Maya Angelou, Joyce DiDinato.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’m still new to theater roles, so I’m open! I’ve always wanted to sing Mimi in La Boheme. As a mezzo, that hasn’t been an option, but stay tuned….

What’s your favorite showtune?: "Finishing the Hat"; "Mr. Snow"; "How Could I Ever Know"; "It Ain’t Necessarily So."

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Not to sound ridiculous, but who wouldn’t I like to work with?  I admire and love so many actors.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself, and what would it be called?: How about Frances McDormand?  Title:  "That Wasn’t Even My Worst Stepmother"

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Angels in America

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Tristan und Isolde at the Met

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Gritty psychological crime dramas.

What’s up next?: A weekend with American Bolero Dance (Spanish and Flamenco) Company in June at the Secret Theater in Queens.