Monday, August 14, 2017

THE GREY SUIT SOCIETY
A STORY OF FAITH, FAMILY, DEVOTION, BETRAYAL AND…RATS?

A message that might seem so obvious in real life turns into a magic moment of awareness when it is takes to the stage with talented directors and a fine cast.

Carlos Heredia is the actor, director and writer who with David Fletcher as music director has brought together a group of actors for a family friendly opera. Together they sounded as good as the show’s beautiful theme of peace.

Who is the star of a show that is about family and devotion?  

Leading the cast, is Analia Heredia as Nia who must go against society’s grain, to bring human hypocrisy into the light.  

As she hopes to move out of the shadows in to a bright new world, her family includes Claudillea Holloway as Jelani,  Georgia Fender as Etana,  Sonya Rice as Achi, Carly Ameling as Jane,   Codie Milford as Omari,  Liz Neitge as Janna,  andTiana Markman as Dini.

The “others” are Shaotian Cai as the Host, Gabriel Arrieta as Dr Oppenheimer and Danielle Maqsood Giusto as the Mayor.

Kudos to them all and to Delsa Heredia  who as the Dance Choreographer kept them all moving.

The Grey Suit Society had a limited run from Aug. 8-10, 2017 -  its message of human hope lasts a life time.

WANT TO KNOW MORE: 

  http://www.hiphipheredia.com/shows.html



Monday, July 31, 2017


NUMBERS NERDS IS A WINNER!

AT  NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL 2017

Here’s a math problem for you:

Take four fine actors:  Danielle Davila (Mary Kate), Madison Kauffman (Barbie), Maisie Rose (Melissa) and Tiffany Tatreau (Amber) as the Math team in a formerly all-girls Catholic school.

Add: Jake Morrissy (Leroy) as the new guy in school to join the team and Sharon Sachs (Ms. McGery) as the adult to move it along.

Multiple them with the pressures  of winning a prestigious math tournament in this  1 book/story ( Laura Stratford and Larry Little)  +  music ( by David Kornfeld and Dylan MarcAurele)  + lyrics ( Alex Higgin-Hauser) 

And what do you have on the other side of the equation but  NUMBERS NERDS. 

This show at the New York Musicale Festival  overflows with positive vibrations from the singing and dancing.

But what is this thing about numbers?  

If you saw HIDDEN FIGURES, that success of a  film on women who despite obstacles through superior talent for math made a significant impact on the success of the space program, you might say, well it is important to get the math right.

NUMBERS NERDS takes that idea further — What numbers can mean in a life.  Each of the four high school girls has a love of math with a reasons for her pursuit  as individual as she is.  They are a math team determined to win but also at odds with each other.  How they work that problem out is how they add up together in teamwork.   

The opening number “This Is Gonna Be My Year” sums it up— This is going to be the year for NUMBERS NERDS!


THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL
 AT  NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL 2017



THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL is a big story with a big team putting it together for  a rousing performance of what might well be the most live-ly  show of this year’s NY Musicale Festival.

If they had headlines in the ninth century, this would have been the  trial of the century story.  But they didn’t, and all we have is some snippets recorded in Wiki (which they didn’t have then either) as to what was the real story of these events of  897 A.D.

 Pope Stephen VII dug up the rotting corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus for a trial.  

The Roman clergy along with aristocracy of the Holy Roman Empire attended and after all these years (over a thousand plus) we still don’t know why Stephen ranted and raged at the rotting body, had  it dismembered and thrown in the Tiber River, where of course it preceded to wash up and perform miracles.

Until now, that is.  

Through the miracle of punk and pop the pope story emerges along with ecclesiastical rhythms of another time to tell what no body knows but which  Robbie Florian with book, music and lyrics has created  a likely story in THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL. 

David Larsen  sings and screams as Pope Stephen VII.  He also
displays  perfect silence  with timing at a dramatic moment —all of which shows his emotional range as an actor as well as his enormous energy and powerful voice for this lead role.

Forest VanDyke with his smooth seducing voice  is Pope Formosus.  Don’t ask how this is possible since he is the dead pope on trial—you have to bring a lot of faith to a musicale just like you do to church. 

Ethan Gabriel Riordan is the Teen Deacon who is chosen to
defend Pope Formosus, a formidable assignment for a deacon performed  by a singer with a formidable talent.

Kudos to directors Ryan Emmons for the large team that put this spectacle together.

The ensemble is energetic, singing and dancing with super choreography by Gina Duci  with orchestration and  musical team under  Dan Garmon’s  direction 

Adding to the belief of the unbelievable that is the magic illusion of place  are the scenic design by Nate Bertone,  lighting by Ryan Hauenstein,  sound by Matt Otto, projection design by Kevan Loney, and video and media design by .

Daryl A. Stone’s Costume Designs were most appropriate for being both popular and pope-y.

And who will ever forget Puppet designer Marte Johanne Ekhougen’s freak-a-listic cadaver of Pope Formoso! 











THE FOURTH MESSENGER
  AT  NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL 2017


A young woman journalist -Raina—sets out to discover whether a celebrity guru Mama Sid is a fraud or the real thing.  This is her big chance for the big story!

Nancy Anderson is stellar as  Sid, the mysterious mystic. Samia Mounts as Raina is strong in her determination to uncover  the truth.  Together they unfold what is a story bigger than each of them. 

The excellent cast play multiple roles of “The Human Experience” in what follows the retelling of the classic story of the celebrity teacher of all time. Kudos to all:  Alan Gillespie (Sam/Delilah/Bread), Jacob Hoffman (Derekh/Yasha), Josh Powell (Mike/Sunny), Cali Elizabeth Moore (Harmony/Water), Terry Palasz (Clara/Hag), Faith Sandberg (Myra/May), Matt Hetherington (Andy). 

They keep the story —with “Sid’s Temptations”  with its mix of suspense and inspiration moving along to the inevitable punch line that : "The Truth Must Come Out.”  

  Sid —that’s short for Siddhārtha Gautama aka Buddha who lived in the  6th century BCE.   SPOILER ALERT!   Buddha left his wife who died and his small son.








TEMPLE OF THE SOULS


  AT NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL 2017

Modern day tourists in a sacred spot in Puerto Rico find themselves enthralled in the history of  the place, once the home to Conquistadors who brutalized and extinguished the native people. 

Temple of the Souls is the backdrop for this retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet  story.

We know from the beginning that  the end is going to be bloody but the journey to that is filled with lush melodies of the joys of love and delight in life.

Noellia Hernandez is enchanting as Amada, the daughter of a mixed blood. Lorraine Velez as Nana, her nurse/her father’s mistress/and her real life but unrecognized mother, gives a heart stopping performance. 

Danny Bolero is powerful as Don Severo who rules everyone Andres Quintero is strong as the native who wins Amada’s love.  Jacob Gutierrez as Nemesio, her cousin and intended spouse is quite dashing.  

The ensemble was exuberant in song and dance in what was a two hour no intermission production that flowed seamlessly through time.  


Temple of the Souls— truly a treasure that transcends time and place!

Sunday, May 28, 2017


THE FATHER 

Ted van Griethuysen is so convincing as Andre in The Studio Theatre’s The Father that for the first few moments of the play I was sure that the other actors switching around as his daughter and her husband (a musical chairs feat of actors Kate Eastwood Norris Caroline Dubberly, Erika Rose, Manny Buckley and Daniel Harray)— were all in on a scam to commit him and take his worldly possessions.  

So was this a detective mystery  or a play about the declining brain?  

In a way, it turns out to be both, as we try to piece together reality from Andre’s demented viewpoint.

Seeing people who are not there, seeing people as being others then who they are— and the resulting confusion as to what he hears them  say to him— is part of his slow painful process of decline.  The flashing lights between the breaks in the scenes well suit the blank moments that memory recedes in the mind.  The confusion of what the place is— no longer about whether it is his apartment or if he has moved to his daughter’s—comes next as what he sees fade from his awareness of what is around him —now a stage bared of its furniture. 

Kate Eastwood Norris as his daughter is the first to latch on to  our sympathy. She is the embodiment of so many caregivers struggling with a living loved one losing it.  She is convincing—at least to me— that the apartment has always been hers (indeed it is too orderly to be someone in decline).  That she is a minimalist or moving to London—so that is why there is so little furniture left on the stage?

 But it is Griethuysen  who carries us along, with crusty charm as he crumbles beneath what he cannot fathom is happening to him. 

And in the end, it is all about Andre, as it shifts from what is going on in the real world outside shared with others to form the  cosmic void in his brain that is the loneliness of dementia.   

This is not a story about Alzeihmer’s that brings you to tears as much as it takes you to a place of realization of what is  inevitable in a human’s experience of decline. When only one piece of furniture, a bed,  remains on the stage transformed now to room in a nursing home, it is not as a symbol, but the reality. 

A stunning  achievement for The Studio!  Kudos to  Artistic Director David Muse who brought  Florian Zeller’s award winning play, (translated from the French by two-time Tony Award recipient Christopher Hampton)  and to the entire company and production crew. 

MORE INFO
The Studio (to June 18, 2017)
1501 14th St NW 
PHONE :202.332.3300               
Website:  studiotheatre.org       

E-mail: info@studiotheatre.org

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Arabian Nights

Constellation’s production of Mary Zimmerman’s The Arabian Nights is a dream come true. 
  
 As Constellation concludes its tenth anniversary season, it has its own story behind The Arabian Nights.  This was Founding Artistic Director Allison Arkell Stockman’s second production in 2007,  one which received great reviews and launched Constellation’s stellar career in Washington theater circles.  

That production also launched the collaboration with Tom Teasley, a world-renowned composer, instrumentalist, and teacher who created The Arabian Nights on his CD All the World’s a Stage

 Their formula of great stories accompanied by live original music continues. While it  might seem daunting for a small theater company with only 100 seats to attempt world classics,  Constellation shows never miss its target which is the human heart.

Eleven ensemble actors portray 40 characters from the legendary tales of a 1,001 nights.    Veronica del Cerro is the famed storyteller Scheherezade, with Ryan Sellers as the ruthless ruler Shahryar.   Matthew Aldwin McGee, who does double-duty as a member of the ensemble, playing Jester and others.  Lilian Oben is most impressive in her display of knowledge and wisdom as  Sympathy the Learned while Shravan Amin as Madman and  Jeremy Keith Hunter as Pastrycook are quite exuberant!

Making their Constellation debuts are Surasree Das, Thomas Howley, Yesenia Iglesias, Dallas Milholland, and Kevin Sockwell; and understudies Linda Bard, Justin Jarod Bell, Thomas Ellis, and Melissa Reed.

As the tales unfold,  one leading into another,  the  costumes continually  dazzle the eyes— thanks to costume designer Erik Teague— while our ears are enchanted by the musical magic of Tom Teasley throughout. 

The entire company join in spirited dances and fights, thanks to the choreography of Casey Keleba and Verionque Kim Tran.  Scenic designer A.J. Guban, with Matthew Aldwin McGee as property designer and lightening designer Jason Arnold, provide the imaginative setting and perfect atmosphere for recounting these tales.

Scheherezade’s storytelling is never-ending—that is what we wish for Constellation in its next decades.  

WANT TO KNOW MORE
Constellation is at 1835 14th St NW,
www.ConstellationTheare.org 
202-204-7741