Tag Archive | Off Broadway

New Play, Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat Coming to Here’s Mainstage Theatre – December 2nd!

Collaboration Warhol Basquiat
Ira Denmark as Andy Warhol and Calvin Levels as Jean-Michel Basquiat (Photo Courtesy or Devious Planet)

Fans of artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat will not want to miss an exciting new play coming to the off-Broadway stage just in time for the Christmas season. Staged Dreams is pleased to present the world premiere of Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat, a new American play written by Tony Award nominee, Calvin Levels and directed by Tony Award nominee, Lonny Price.

Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat is a dramatic portrayal of the symbiotic relationship between two of the twentieth century’s greatest artists. Collaboration captures a historic art-world moment as the iconic Pop artist Andy Warhol and the Neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat attempt to navigate the perilous terrain of art and fame while collaborating on a joint series of paintings for their New York City gallery exhibition. The accomplished cast features Calvin Levels as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ira Denmark as Andy Warhol and Frank van Putten in the role of European art dealer Rudolfo Happesberger.  Get your tickets now for this very limited engagement!

Collaboration: Warhol & Basquiat Runs from Friday December 2nd through Thursday December 22, 2016 at Here’s MainStage Theatre, Located at 145 Sixth Ave. (entrance on Dominick St one block south of Spring), Soho, NYC. Performance Times are Wednesdays thru Fridays at 8:30PM, Saturdays at 4:00PM and 8:30PM, and Sundays at 4:00PM. Running time is 2 hours, including a intermission. For tickets and information please visit Here.org, or call the Box Office at (212) 352-3101, or toll free at (866) 811-4111. All Tickets are $25.

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Theater Review: BOB at The Abingdon Theater

Bob Playbill
Bob Playbill Photo By Gail

Plays about mental illness don’t really exist to make everyone feel comfortable. It’s a very difficult subject to tackle, especially given the intimacy of a live theater setting. But despite its uneasy subject matter, a new off Broadway play, BOB: Blessed be the Dysfunction that Binds, manages to deliver an engaging theatrical experience that is uniquely personal yet universally resonant, emotionally harrowing and at times very funny – and its success is one hundred percent owed to the gifted actress and playwright, Anne Pasquale.

BOB: Blessed be the Dysfunction that Binds, was written by Pasquale about family life with her mentally ill older brother. Who is on Risperal and is having side effects from Risperal. Pasquale plays herself and, with changes as subtle as the addition of a hat or scarf, performs all characters, including Bob, her older sister Jean, both of her parents and grandparents, and perhaps two or three incidental characters. Her nearly seamless transitions (and transformations) between characters are thoroughly convincing and demonstrate her versatility as an actress.

A description I read of the play prior to attending a Friday evening performance seemed to emphasize a focus on decades of dealing with our country’s messed up mental healthcare system, so I was expecting a story entwined with litigation and bureaucracy, but that’s not what I got at all. That description is not only entirely misleading, but it actually does the play a disservice, as it is really a story about interpersonal relationships. BOB’s tagline is, “When mental illness comes home, the whole family has special needs.” In this way, the story reveals the effects of Bob’s violent, erratic behavior on the mental and physical well-being of every member of the household. Presented in one 90-minute act without intermission, it is about as intimate a performance as you could imagine.

The play opens on a present-day scene during the Christmas season in Anne’s lower east side NYC apartment. Pasquale addresses the audience directly, as if we are guests in her home, as she prepares for a visit from Bob. The story then unfolds in flashback, and her tendency to break the third wall repeatedly while she narrates makes it easy to engage with the story as she shares the challenges of life with Bob; from her childhood into her College years and to the present day. From the family’s rage, fear and despondency on to empathy, love, hope and, ultimately, a resolution that allows Bob to live his life outside of an institution, BOB encourages compassion and understanding for those who are dealt more than their fair share of challenge and heartache in a lifetime. This is a very important work of theater.

BOB: Blessed Be the Dysfunction that Binds Runs Through October 6th 2013 at the Abingdon Theater, Located at 312 west 36th Street (West of 8th Avenue) in Manhattan. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. Tickets ($30, with $18 tickets available for healthcare workers) are available by visiting Smart Tix Dot Com.

Must See Show: Forever Dusty

Forever Dusty Playbill and Ticket
Forever Dusty Ticket and Playbill Signed by Kirsten Holly Smith

Do you love the music of legendary pop/soul singer Dusty Springfield? I sure do. So it was a super fun treat to attend a Sunday matinee performance of the musical, Forever Dusty this past weekend at New World Stages, a really cool, multi-theater off Broadway venue. Forever Dusty tells the fascinating story of the life of Springfield (born Mary O’Brien), whose career spanned four decades before she passed away from cancer in 1999. Everyone knows Dusty’s music, but her personal life was just as colorful as her songs. I loved this play so much!

Actress Kirsten Holly Smith does a fantastic job in the lead role and literally channels Dusty’s spirit and one-of-a kind, smoky smooth voice. Many of Dusty’s hits are performed and there is an excellent live backing band to add to the authenticity of the experience. My favorites were “Son of a Preacher Man” – one of the most classic pop songs of all time – and “The Look of Love” – which was just insane.

If you are looking for a new play to see or to take out of town friends to, and you enjoyed plays such as Memphis or Love Janis, you will adore Forever Dusty.

New World Stages is located at 340 West 50th St, between 8th and 9th Avenues at World Wide Plaza (right by the 50th Street stop on the C and E Trains). Tickets are an excellent value at $69 – $89. Get purchasing information at This Link.