Theater

December, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

‘Forbidden Broadway’ a sparkling revue on classics

Broadway musicals are serious business. Most of them cost tens of millions of dollars to produce and less than one-third make back their investment. Two of every three tickets are sold to tourists, and the efforts to attract and satisfy those out-of-towners are not for the faint of heart. Comment.
Flushing

Queens theater junky produces public television

It seems obvious that the first rule of life is to have a good time. Brendan Gill, The New Yorker. Comment.
Jamaica Estates

Dreaming to be a Rockette

Unlike other kids, it was not the inflated balloons that most mesmerized Stacey Sund during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It wasn’t the floating cartoon Kermit, Mickey Mouse or even Spider-Man tethered to his strings. Comment.
Corona

Making fun of modern marriage at Qns Theatre

In a 75-minute comedy, Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn will take their audience through the ups and downs of love and marriage in the stage play “You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!” The couple adapted the play from their book of the same title. Comment.

November, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

Musings on Queens theater mark 103 iterations

Hard to believe that a numbers-and-dates guy like me would fail to take notice of my hundredth Play’s the Thing column in August, but miss it I did. Blame it on election stress. Now recovered and optimistic, I write my 103rd, not counting the special Leap Year piece in February. Comment.
From the Footlights

Experience the magic of theater

For the past decade, the TimesLedger’s From the Footlights column has profiled Queens’ residents who have been cast as members of some of the most acclaimed Broadway and off-Broadway productions in the city. Comment.
From the Footlights

Entertainment tastes for all palates this season

Last week, the TimesLedger’s From the Footlights column featured a preview of the new Broadway and Off-Broadway seasons. Comment.

October, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

Theatre Time’s back, don’t forget the Mallomars

Mallomars are back and so is Theatre Time Productions. But unlike those addictive chocolate-coated marshmallow treats (absent during the summer) that give you a sugar high, Theatre Time can give you a rush of pleasure any season without causing an overdose. Comment.
Letters

Theater group returns to Queens

This letter is in response to Ron Hellman’s Sept. 13-19 Astoria Times article “Queens deserves another dedicated theater space,” which called for more theater spaces in Queens. Comment.

September, 2012

Ridgewood

Ridgewood Theater could be concert venue

The Ridgewood Theater’s current owner is marketing the landmarked building as the possible site of a concert venue, according to a source. Comment.
St. Albans

‘Ella’ musical brings jazz spirit back to Queens

How many people know that Queens, starting in the 1920s, was once home to a colony of jazz greats? Many of them had sumptuous homes within a few blocks of each other in Addesleigh Park, although Louis Armstrong was famous for living in Corona. Among the denizens of Addesleigh Park back then was Ella Fitzgerald, and a new musical about her, called simply “Ella,” will premier at the Queens Theatre on Sept. 27. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Queens deserves another dedicated theater space

Does Queens have the theater it deserves? Considering that our borough is more than one-third the area of New York City with a population, if the last census really counted everyone, of about 2.25 million, are we a major player? Not that we don’t have a lot of theater companies — Roger Gonzalez on his new-and improved site LocalTheatreNY.com lists almost 30 — but how do we stack up against the competition? Comment.

August, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

It’s all in the name, if you’ve got the money, that is

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (“Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare) Comment.
Glendale

Students act to save drama teacher’s job

Parents and students are stirring up some drama in support of a school’s theater department. Comments (4).
The Play’s the Thing

A Jew coming of age in Queens

Jake Ehrenreich admits that the title of his Off-Broadway show, “A Jew Grows in Brooklyn,” might easily include the addendum, “but also blossomed in Queens.” Comment.

July, 2012

Neponsit

Free Shakespeare, Queens-style

Are you dreaming of something different to do on a midsummer afternoon or evening that won’t break the bank? Comment.
Corona

Dancing with Dragons

From the Cirque Du Soleil-inspired human pyramids to frenetic unicyclists circling the stage while playing catch with wide-brimmed hats, the Golden Dragon Acrobats brought their own brand of hot, summer entertainment to Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Queens Theatre. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

How to celebrate 1,000 years in show business

Sometimes they get it right, and such a time was a Sunday evening in June when the remarkable Sonya Tannenbaum was the star of a surprise celebrity roast. The event, which took place at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Oceanside, was billed as a tribute to Sonya for “her first 1,000 years in show business,” and was attended by a number of luminaries from the Long Island stage. Love was in the air. Comment.

June, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

Theater rats hit the gym and find camaraderie

I was never a gym guy, but some stints a few years ago led me to the Cardiac Health Center, a small workout facility run by New York Hospital Queens, where members of the mainly Medicare generation exercise to keep up with their grandchildren and all you other kids. It’s a friendly place, staffed by medical pros who look after your health and show you how to work the equipment, and frequented by a lot of interesting old-timers who have some good stories to tell. Comment.
Laurelton

Laurelton woman shares in ‘Porgy and Bess’ Tony award

It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy for one Laurelton musician whose adaptation of “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” is enjoying a run on Broadway by winning the coveted Tony Award for the best revival of a musical. Comment.

May, 2012

The Play’s the Thing

Bring contemporary hits to the stages of Queens

There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams – not through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. “The Great Gatsby”, F. Scott Fitzgerald Comment.

April, 2012

Bayside

Mixing wine and murder at Fort Totten castle

Bayside will be serving up some wine with a side of murder. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

It takes a borough to raise a theater company

“The Waste Land”, by T.S. Eliot Comment.

March, 2012

St. Albans

Lessons learned and souls laid bare in new play

A circle of black women over 70 enjoys a day at the spa, and as the steam opens their pores they lay bare their true selves to each other in an original play set to premiere this weekend at the Black Spectrum Theatre in St. Albans. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Let’s at least stop the dumbing down of theater

“Being current, being responsive to the world we’re living in, is simply good theatre.” Comment.
Theater

Humanizing Beasts of Burden

One of the many unique aspects of Lincoln Center’s production of “War Horse” is the number of actors in its rather sizable cast who play more than one role. Comment.

February, 2012

QueensLine

Astorian Bracken landed roles on radio, TV and in film

Born Feb. 7, 1915, to Catherine and Joseph Bracken, Astoria native Eddie Bracken enjoyed a career that spanned seven decades as a movie, television and stage actor. Comment.
Bayside

‘Oliver!’ by the Bay

In celebration of the 200th birthday of English author Charles Dickens, the Bayside-based community theater group Theatre by the Bay will be performing its own rendition of Dickens’s classic “Oliver!” at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center in Bayside. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Diversify the stage to bring in bigger audiences

Queens is touted as the most culturally and ethnically diverse county in America, even in the entire world, yet you wouldn’t know it from what is typically offered on its stages. Local theater producers often say that the plays they select are what their audiences want to see. Audience attendance, however, is dwindling and even attracting enough actors to fill the roles can be a challenge. Comment.
Jackson Heights

‘Jackson Heights 3AM:’ A showcase of diversity

“Jackson Heights 3AM: is a quirky, funny love letter to this fractious, multifarious region of Queens, one of the most diverse places on earth. Conceived of by director Ari Laura Kreith, it was written by an ensemble of writers and actors called Theatre 167, referring tothe number of languages spoken in the area. Comment.

January, 2012

Theater

‘Hairspray’ energizes the stage at the BroadHollow Theatre

“Where are they getting all that energy?” the reviewer wondered halfway through the first act of the rowdy, joyful production of “Hairspray,” now at the BroadHollow Theatre. For the singing and dancing is just about nonstop throughout this two-hour musical. Comments (2).
Cambria Heights

Cambria Heights students relishes her spectacular gig

What started out as an unexpected call from an acting school has turned into a budding career that has spanned TV and stage for one Queens elementary school student. Comments (7).
The Play’s the Thing

Unity Stage: A shining grassroots theater project

While I continue to look for a new venue for The Outrageous Fortune Company, homeless these past 18 months, Sofia Landon Geier and her Unity Stage Company continue to demonstrate that good theater can be performed almost anywhere. Established in 2009, Unity has found space in back rooms of restaurants, community centers, churches, basements, and you name it. Where there’s a will there’s a way, and Geier has the determination, energy and talent to make sure that her company succeeds. Comments (1).
CNG: Community Newspaper Group