Theater

December, 2013

Long Island City

Borough actors consider themselves at home on stage

When Lenny Banovez was asked to direct the Secret Theatre’s recent production of “Oliver!” he said no thanks. Comment.
Jamaica

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).
Sunnyside

Hip to Hip Theatre Co. adds film star to board

Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Co. recently announced the addition of Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe to its board of directors. Comment.
Long Island City

Secret Theatre tinkers with classic ’60s show

Although the Secret Theatre’s new production is titled “Oliver! The Musical,” it could rightfully be called “Nancy! A Star is Born.” Comment.

November, 2013

Kew Gardens Hills

Boro pols strut their stuff in 2013 ‘Legislative Acts’

A night at the theater begins with a cocktail hour that includes an open bar, buffet of hors d’oeuvres and passed around canapés. The lobby is enveloped with local politicians and their friends and family as well as the attendees, who are anxiously awaiting for the production to start. Comment.
Flushing

Politicians take their show on the road

City Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) wants to make sure the opening number of his stage debut, a rousing reworked version of a song from “Chicago,” does not turn into a solo act. Comments (1).
The Play’s the Thing

Susan Agin runs the show at Bayside theater

When it comes to performing venues, Queens continues to be vastly underserved. Comment.
Flushing

It takes a community to make local theater happen

Free Synagogue of Flushing Community Theatre Group, better known as FSFCTG, is presenting yet another musical directed by Maryellen Pierce, a full-time teacher at Mary Louis Academy. This time it’s “Legally Blonde the Musical.” Comment.
Astoria

Check into ‘The Cottage’ for some oh so civilized laughter

In Sandy Rustin’s new play “The Cottage,” now at the Astoria Performing Arts Center, any doubt that we’re deep in Noël Coward territory simply vanishes after a very pregnant character is handed a scotch to sip while she enjoys long drags from her cigarette. Comment.

October, 2013

Long Island City

Titan Theatre Co. shakes things up with show

Sometime during the later part of the 20th-century, theater troupes started to tweak Shakespearean productions by performing them in modern dress, or setting them during World War II or even switching genders of some of the characters. Comment.
Sunnyside

From zipper factory to Academy Awards

When Lilia Skala arrived in Sunnyside, Queens in 1939 she spoke not one word of English, but a little more than two decades later she would star alongside Sidney Poitier in “Lilies of the Field” and receive an Academy Award nomination for her performance. Comment.
Long Island City

Much ado going on in Long Island City comedy

After closing out its last season with the blood and gore of “Macbeth,” the Queens Players have opted to lighten the mood with a slew of fairies and a scenery-chewing jackass in its fall opener, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Comment.

September, 2013

QueensLine

Queens’ Gorman made his name playing Lenny Bruce

Longtime New Yorkers should remember character actor Cliff Gorman for his breakthrough stage roles as Emory in “The Boys in the Band” and as Lenny Bruce in the eponymous “Lenny.” Comment.
Flushing

Kupferberg Center attracts A-list entertainment

When Jeffrey Rosenstock took over as executive director of Queens College’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts a little more than two years ago, his first assignment was to turn the campus into the premier fine and performing arts showcase in the borough. Comment.
Long Island City

Japanese comic storytelling bows in LIC

Tall and blond, Katsura Sunshine looks like he should be relating Nordic tales rather than funny Japanese stories. Comment.
Bayside Hills

Murder in Bayside, she wrote

Howard Beach resident and amateur actor Lori Santopetro believes waiting backstage to make an entrance must feel like the seconds before a circus performer gets shot out of a canon. Comment.

August, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Still time to catch a little theater this summer

August is winding down, things are slow and you’re wondering what to do next. Hopefully you realize that life is too serious to be taken seriously. Take politics for instance – you may have heard that local elections are coming up. On the positive side, your mailbox is full and all those robo-calls mean somebody knows your number. TV news leads with crime and natural disasters, sports emphasize those who game the system and the moviemak Comments (1).
Flushing

Queens Theatre to skip Latino Cultural Festival this year

Fans of the Queens Latino Cultural Festival should fear not: The show will go on. Comment.
Long Island City

For mindless fun, RSVP to ‘The Wedding Singer’

People who seek out live theater usually fall into one of two categories. Comment.
Richmond Hill

‘Anything Goes’ this weekend as group stages Porter musical in Richmond Hill

HJC Teen Drama Group sets sail this weekend with its production of the Cole Porter musical “Anything Goes.” Comment.
Long Island City

Hip to Hip Theatre Co. presents Shakespeare at parks across the borough

On a rainy Monday evening in April, Joey Lozada slipped into an L-shaped rehearsal room on the 12th floor of Manhattan’s Pearl Studios and frantically looked for shelter from the storm. Comment.

July, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Queens has plenty of performances but not enough playhouses

According to the latest census, Queens has about 2.3 million inhabitants, making it the second largest of New York City’s five boroughs and by itself bigger than most cities in the nation. Yet its theater facilities remain meager, almost to the point of non-existent. Comment.
Flushing

Queens Theatre hires new managing director

Nearly four months after beginning its search, the Queens Theatre has picked its new leading lady. Comment.
Long Island City

Something wicked this way comes to LIC

Watching a production of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” can often transport a viewer back to a 12th-grade English class. Comment.
Jamaica

A play grows in Queens: Hillcrest High senior creates winning comedy-drama

After watching a production of her recently published play, “Likkle Bowy, Big Mon,” Queens’ newest playwright, Amanda Morris, turned her attention to her next big project: picking up her diploma at Jamaica’s Hillcrest High School’s graduation ceremony. Comment.

June, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Theater company serves up murder mysteries

It was a dark and stormy night when suddenly gunshots rang out! If that sounds like a cliché start to a murder mystery, you’re right, only in this case the weather was real but the bullets were fake. The setting was Riccardo’s in Astoria, near the bridge that I still prefer to call the Triborough, and the host was The Killing Kompany. Comment.

May, 2013

Sunnyside

Much ado about something in Sunnyside comedic production ‘Secret Weapons of Fat Destruction’ at Thalia Spanish Theatre tackles life questions big and small

As my companion and I settled into our seats last Friday at the Thalia Spanish Theatre, we both scanned the office set recreated in front of the audience. Comment.
Long Island City

Variations Theatre’s ‘Some Girl(s)’ takes a calculated look at love

Fairly or not, playwright Neil Labute’s work often is called misogynistic and for the most part that is a pretty apt label. Comment.
The Play’s the Thing

Flushing writer tackles multiple genres to tell tales

I’m back from a couple of weeks in Central Europe — Prague and Budapest and thereabouts — and now I’m in a cozy corner of the West Village at the Cherry Lane Theatre listening to Richard Vetere tell some of his stories. Comment.
Douglaston

It’s elementary for Douglaston’s theater group

After her job as a New York City school guidance counselor became less permanent, Heidi Warm decided it was time to follow some of her own career advice. Comment.
Flushing

Flushing theater cast takes tour of boro’s musical past

The Free Synagogue of Flushing Community Theatre Group celebrates its 40th season with the premiere of a original musical written and directed by long-time Queens resident Mark Lord. Comment.

April, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Middle Village actor takes on his greatest role: Husband

Bernie Bosio is taking the plunge. Or so he claimed when we got together recently at my Douglaston law office, where we used to hold Outrageous Fortune Company auditions, barely tolerated by my attorney colleagues, even though I assured them that lawyers and actors have a lot in common. Comments (1).
The Play’s the Thing

Astoria PAC’s new musical tackles issues of class and family

One of the pleasures of the spring season in Queens is another musical from the Astoria Performing Arts Center. With production values worthy of Broadway and performers of professional caliber, APAC continues to lead the pack. And at a bargain ticket of only $18, how can you resist it? Comment.
Forest Hills Gardens

Gingerbread Players hit spotlights in sweet musical

After more than half an hour practicing the same dance steps, choreographer Mim Paquin gathers a dozen young actors center stage for a quick refresher in the art of musical theater performance. Comments (3).
Flushing

Play recounts true story of teen’s gang experience

The Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents the Off-Broadway production of “De Novo,” the tragic true story of a teenage gang member and his attempt to start a new life. Comment.

March, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Director gives insight into what it takes to stage a play

What a great time at the theater! Weeks later I’m still on a high after seeing the revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?”, Edward Albee’s masterwork, at the Booth Theatre, its limited run now ended. A production of the acclaimed Chicago-based Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the cast was led by Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as George and Martha, complemented by Carrie Coon and Madison Dirks as Honey and Nick. All brilliant — I’ve seldom, if ever, seen any better. Comment.
Howard Beach

Troupe actively seeks help

It was curtains for a Rockaway theater after Hurricane Sandy struck in October and caused thousands of dollars in damage, forcing the cancelation of the season’s final performance. Comment.
From the Footlights

Stage Door Stepmom

It would be difficult to think of a more recognizable and beloved character than Annie. With her radiant smile, curly red locks and even rosier disposition, the precocious comic book character manages to charm a president, billionaire and hundreds of theater-goers each night on Broadway. Comment.

February, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Theaters in Queens offer a sweetheart’s delight of picks

For another Valentine’s Day, I offer the gift of revisiting The Outrageous Fortune Company, my very own theater company, 17 years and 50 productions at Queens Theatre in the Park, still homeless and out of action for three years this May. Perhaps, in return, one of you faithful readers will lead me to a benefactor who will locate a new venue for our rebirth. Comments (1).

January, 2013

The Play’s the Thing

Groups raise the curtain on LIC musical theater

A lot is happening in Long Island City. Once a mostly industrial enclave in far west Queens, it’s now in the midst of gentrifying with the rise of several new residential buildings, and its main thoroughfares of Vernon Blvd., Jackson Ave. and Borden Ave. are sprucing up with amenities for the new inhabitants. Comment.
CNG: Community Newspaper Group