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Off-Broadway


  • Originally published 01/28/2013

    A Gay Man, a Housewife, and Mussolini

    Working on a Special Day 59 E. 59 Theaters 59 E. 59th Street New York, N.Y.How do you turn a movie that was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and starred Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren into a successful play?Very carefully.

  • Originally published 01/27/2013

    Jam On

    The Jammer Atlantic Stage 2 330 W. 16th Street New York, N.Y.It's Brooklyn, circa 1958. The Dodgers have been gone for two years, Eisenhower is president and rock and roll music is sweeping the nation. It's nighttime at a local sports arena, time for outlandishly dressed men and women to crash over rails, leap over fallen skaters and elbow each other. It is time for fans to lose their sanity and yell and scream at the top of their lungs for the hometown team.It is time for roller derby.From the late 1940s to the early 1970s, the brazen men and wild women of roller derby were skating in smoky arenas all over America on wooden ovals in a frantic race for points and time. Teams from New York to San Francisco drew crowds as large as 50,000 fans at indoor and outdoor arenas and millions more watched on television.The roller derby skating teams, with names such as the Jolters and Bombers, gave the country a very rowdy, fast paced sport, supposedly a little fixed at times. It was like professional wrestling, with roaring crowds, bigger than life stars and non-stop violence.

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    The Tragedy of Involuntary Commitment

    Airswimming Irish Repertory Theatre 132 W. 22d Street New York, N.Y.Airswimming is a jolting shocker about two women incarcerated in a mental hospital in England for fifty years due to their eccentricity and because they violated British society’s rules of conduct during the 1920s. At the same time, Charlotte Jones’s 1997 play is an enduring, enchanting story of the strength of the human spirit and how two people’s friendship helped them survive a living hell.In 1922, Dora (played by Aedin Moloney) was tossed into St. Dymphnas Hospital for the Criminally Insane and followed there two years later by Persephone. They mark the first few years of their imprisonment, but so many years go by they lose count. The hospital has teamed them up to clean the bathrooms one hour each day, and that is the time we see them on stage. There, scrubbing down the bathtub, the pair realizes that they need each other to survive the Hades they occupy.

  • Originally published 01/15/2013

    The Agony of the Soldier Returned from the Wars

    Water by the Spoonful Second Stage Theater 305 W. 43rd Street New York, N.Y.Elliot, a hulking war vet, has been back from Iraq for two years. He's still trying to find himself as he struggles to rejoin his deeply dysfunctional and drug addicted family in Philadelphia. He faces many of the same problems that vets faced coming home from Vietnam, Korea, all the way back to the American Revolution. He served his country honorably, but suffered physically and mentally. He arrived back a hero, but not to a hero’s welcome.Elliot is the centerpiece of Water by the Spoonful, the new play by Quiara Alegria Hudes, the author of the successful In the Heights. It's a confusing play that rambles through act one in fits and starts, and long stretches of boredom, before finding its way in the middle of act two. That;s is when Elliot lets down his warrior macho and emotional shield. That is when we see the torment he has lived through in Iraq. He was wounded several times and became addicted to pain killers during his recovery. He also has nightmares about the first man he killed in Iraq -- the man’s ghost keeps getting off the ground to struggle with him.

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