December, 2014

The Play’s the Thing

Art and commerce are not mutally exclusive

You may have heard that the rich are getting richer, and that income inequality is expanding. They say you can’t take it with you, and according to scripture, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. So it’s up to the rest of us to help the wealthy spend their money. After all, this is the giving season. Comment.

Titan Co. brings reimagined ‘A Christmas Carol’ to Queens Theatre

Although Charles Dickens was not the first author to write a holiday story, his tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is often credited with helping to create the modern Christmas celebration. Comment.
Long Island City

Live from Long Island City: Variations’ scores big with holiday radio play

At the end of the calendar year, smaller theater companies face some fierce competition from “The Nutcracker,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and Mr. Dickens’ story of a miserly old man and a trio of ghosts. Comment.
Long Island City

Queens theater companies come bearing gifts this holiday season

It’s the most wonderful time of the theater year. Comment.

November, 2014


Borough’s theater options provide laughs and bring tears

The 2014-15 theater season kicked off with the return of a breezy comedy and the premiere of a heavy-handed drama this past weekend in Queens. Comment.

A throughly enjoyable show now on stage in Flushing

When a community theater production needs to cast two characters who speak Chinese, there is always the fear that performers will overact to the point of offensiveness. Comments (2).

Pay another visit to ‘The Cottage’ at Queens Theatre

After successful productions in Arizona, Massachusetts and Colorado, playwright Sandy Rustin’s Noël Coward-esque comedy “The Cottage” makes a triumphant return to the borough where it all started. Comments (1).
The Play’s the Thing

Queens needs better theatrical treats

Happy Halloween to all you trick-or-treaters! Let’s see if I have any goodies for you before you slip into your costumes. Perhaps a poll will keep you interested — Election Day is almost here and it seems these days that almost all political decisions are based on what those in office think the electorate thinks. Comments (2).

October, 2014


Unique event space to open in Astoria

A new hybrid performance art and teaching venue called Q.E.D. opens in Astoria next week and the owner plans on giving “mixed-use” a whole new meaning. In the daytime the 1,200-square-foot-space will have classes and in the evenings there will be comedy shows and guest lectures. Comment.

Hard lessons learned in a humorous way

As clichéd sayings go, you don’t always know what you’ve got till it’s gone covers territory from the commonplace to life-changing events. Comments (1).

Something funny is happening in Queens

From cave men telling rock-rock jokes to comedian Chris Rock and everything in between, the Reduced Shakespeare Company will leave no gag untold while de-constructing “The Complete History of Comedy (abridged)” in just 90 rollicking minutes at Queens Theatre. Reed Martin is one of the managing partners of the RSC as well as a longtime actor. The company is a three-man comedy group. Comment.

Bayside theater group keeps audience guessing

When examining what makes a good mystery story, the discussion invariably turns to the element of surprise. Comments (1).

September, 2014

Long Island City

Step right up and join this social justice show

The circus is coming to town — sort of. Comment.

August, 2014

Jackson Heights

Actors take to the street in Jackson Heights

Queens’ al fresco theatrical season wraps up Sunday when Theater for the New City rolls into Travers Park with its original street operetta “Emergency!!! or The World Takes a Selfie.” Comment.

Titan Theatre Co.’s new season takes shape

As the Titan Theatre Co. prepares to settle into its marriage with the Queens Theatre, audience members should expect something old, something new, something borrowed and maybe even something blue. Comment.

Students encouraged to act up in this summer school

For the past 25 years, Sofia Landon Geier has appeared on stages across New York City and has even popped up on TV shows like “Law and Order” from time to time. Comment.
Rockaway Park

Let Rockaway Theatre Co. entertain you

Rockaway Theatre Co. may be a bit out of the way with a bridge toll along the route, but it is well worth the schlep for its current production of “Gypsy.” Comment.

July, 2014

The Play’s the Thing

Summertime and boro theater choices are easy

Whether or not your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’, check out Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of this ballad on YouTube, and put yourself in the mood for some summer fun. Comments (1).
Rockaway Beach

Everything’s coming up Rockaways

After the Park Place Seaport Theatre in Rockaway Beach closed in September 1997, the recently formed Rockaway Theatre Co. was left without a place to perform. Comments (1).

Funny business going on in Astoria

Former Mayor David Dinkins loved to spread the gospel of New York City’s eclectic makeup of cultures and people by referring to it as a “gorgeous mosaic.” Comment.

June, 2014


Play explores how a dozen minds become one

Theatre Time Productions opted to delve into its own past with a revival of the classic American courtroom drama “12 Angry Men.” Comment.

Theater alive and growing

Theater producer Sean Williams has a theory as to how the two biggest outer boroughs developed into distinct artistic centers outside Manhattan — it’s the subway system. Comment.
Rockaway Park

Older residents keep their SPARC going

SPARC, Seniors Partnering with Artists Citywide, marries members of the creative set with older residents in community arts projects across the five boroughs. Comment.

Glitter and be gay, lesbian, bi, transgender or questioning

With Pride Month winding down, Flushing Town Hall has decided to celebrate the borough’s diversity with a special concert honoring Queens’ LGBTQ and immigrant communities. Comment.

Summer in the borough means Shakespeare

If it’s summer in Queens, then the borough’s parks are once again filled with free Shakespeare, courtesy of Hip to Hip Theatre Co. Comments (1).

May, 2014


Actors right at home in Astoria

When starry-eyed youngsters around the country dream of moving to New York City to pursue a life on the stage, they probably don’t imagine themselves in Astoria. Comment.

Queens Impact Awards: Arts enthusiast spreads her passion for performing

Susan Agin believes she has been destined for her current job since the day she was born. Comment.

Groundbreaking musical begins run in Astoria

How do you solve a problem like “Allegro”? Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Dear Madame President Katz: Let’s talk theater

If I get the chance, I’d like to sit down with Borough President Melinda Katz to talk to her about theater in Queens. She should be interested, not only as our newly elected leader, but as someone with artistic genes — her mother, Jeanne Dale Katz, started up the Queens Council on the Arts in 1966, and her father, David Katz, was founder (in 1953) and maestro of the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Comments (1).

New Venues Needed

Across the borough, the caliber of Queens-based theater groups continues to evolve and produce shows that would fit nicely below 23rd Street in Manhattan. Comment.

Titan delivers a monumental ‘King Lear’

Any man who offers to give his children their inheritance only after each one proclaims how much they love him would be lucky to get a tie on Father’s Day. Comment.

April, 2014


Astoria Performing Arts Center names new executive director

After a nearly year-long search, the Astoria Performing Arts Center’s board of directors announced Erin Moore has been tapped as its new executive director. Comment.

Titan Theatre Co. prepares for its next big role in Flushing Meadows Corona Park

At the end of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” with most of the cast lying dead on the floor, Horatio bids the title character farewell. Comment.
Long Island City

Like Pagliacci did, they try to keep their sadness hid

Next week audiences will have the chance to travel to The City of Lights circa 1930 without ever leaving Queens. Comment.

A high-flying storm is now brewing in Flushing

If the Flying Wallendas attempted to stage a version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” it would probably look a lot like Cirque du Soleil’s “Amaluna.” Comment.

March, 2014

Long Island City

Theater of the absurd mixes with historical drama

In fiction the individual who points out society’s hypocrisy and questions the status quo rarely earns a happy ending. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

S. Ozone Park playwright’s first piece set for its debut

A while ago I saw a Charlie Rose interview with Frank Langella on Channel 13. Langella was starring in “King Lear” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and he had a lot to say about playing such a demanding role and his approach to acting. Three elements of his craft are vital, he said: “Know the lines, know what they mean, and mean them when you say them.” Comment.
Long Island City

Take a walk on the wild side with the Queens Players

The Queens Player’s production of “Richard III” begins even before the audience gets to their seats. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Exploring a tale of two theaters here in Queens

Last week I had the opportunity to revisit two theaters in Queens, both remarkable as the all too rare significant theater venues in our borough of 2.2 million residents. I say significant in that these theaters are dedicated to the performing arts exclusively, and are not in schools or houses of worship or other places where space is shared with many other activities. Comments (1).

February, 2014

Long Island City

Seven characters in search of happiness in LIC

Although he spends his days snorting cocaine, smoking marijuana and guzzling alcohol, Hollywood casting director Eddie draws the line when it comes to drinking coffee. Comment.
Long Island City

When looking for meaning, be ready for nothing

A horrific plane crash, which serves as the catalyst in Kari Bentley-Quinn’s new play, “The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens,” happens before the stage lights go up at The Secret Theatre. Comment.

Acting legend John Barrymore once called Bayside home

Known to the world as John Barrymore, stage and screen star John Sidney Blyth was born in Philadelphia Feb. 15, 1882. His English father, Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blyth, was a dashing leading man on the late 19th century stage, and his mother, Georgie Drew, was also an accomplished actress. Comment.

January, 2014


Queens Museum to showcase plays about prison, cocaine

The Queens Museum is hosting two plays performed by homeless people from Los Angeles about the California prison system and cocaine trafficking. Comment.
Forest Hills

Forest Hills playwright looks at love gone wrong

Forest Hills native Michael Brody doesn’t call himself a playwright, yet. Comment.

Sunnyside actor Brian P. Murphy hits the boards in new Off-Broadway play

When Sunnyside resident Brian P. Murphy decided he wanted to be an actor, he made sure no other career path would remain open to him. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

No winter slowdown for Queens theater scene

Have you missed me? It’s been several weeks since my last column, and I was hoping for a barrage of letters, e-mails, texts and phone calls seeking my whereabouts and an immediate resumption of The Play’s The Thing. After all, I’ve been writing this column since June 2007, and some of you may have gotten in the habit of reading it. Comments (1).
Long Island City

‘This Prison Where I Live’ examines a life lived in the now

On the surface, Angela Iannone’s play, “This Prison Where I Live,” appears to be little more than an historical ghost story, but underneath it asks tough questions about ambition, forgiveness and redemption. Comment.
Forest Hills

Forest Hills theater troupe stages a fanciful farce

First String Players hopes to heat things up this season with a comic production to combat the winter doldrums. Comment.

Interactive production plays the Queens Museum this weekend

Theatre 167 invades the Queens Museum this weekend with performances from “The Jackson Heights Trilogy.” Comment.
Long Island City

Queens theatrics earn our Kudos

After a quick review of the Queens theater scene for 2013 one thing became increasingly clear: The past 12 months could be labeled the “Women of the Year.” Comments (1).

Now is the winter of our entertainment

Even though “The Nutcracker” has been packed away, the Boston Pops have headed back to Beantown and the last choruses of hallelujah have been sung, Queens’ performing arts scene does not go into hibernation. As the calendar flips to 2014, cultural venues around the borough kick things up with a winter packed with entertainment choices. And whether you are looking for a concert from a ’90s soft rock icon, a ballet with a spicy Latin beat or the chance to brush up your Shakespeare, you can find it in Queens this season. Comment.

Astoria writer finds humor in an unlikely profession

Taren Sterry realizes whenever she is asked, “what do you do?”, her answer is not really an ice breaker as much as a Titanic sinker. Comment.

December, 2013


Baba John Watusi Branch, 70, founded Afrikan Poetry Theatre

John Watusi Branch, co-founder of the Afrikan Poetry Theatre in Jamaica, died last week. He was 70. Comments (12).
CNG: Community Newspaper Group