Disorder in the Court

"If you don't want to be witnesses, stop looking at me!" The main character of Franz Kafka's The Trial breaks the fourth wall to bark this line at the audience. He speaks with such intensity that several heads turn sheepishly away before realizing the humor in such a command. The Trial, performed by members of the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, is a powerfully acted play that immerses you in its world: a corrupt, totalitarian government where you do as you are told and do not ask questions. When a Grand Judge demands order in the court from his chair towering over the stage, backs arch in attention as the audience forgets they are not in a real court being chastised by a real judge.

If only the same could be true for Joseph K (John Lenartz), the unfortunate protagonist of The Trial. One morning he is dragged out of bed, surrounded by strange men, and told he is arrested. What he is being arrested for neither he nor anyone else seems to know. Joseph K comes to the reluctant realization that an accusation, no matter how vague, is all it takes to start the justice system's wheels turning. Soon he is fighting not to prove his innocence but to put off the verdict of guilt. The longer he does, the longer he has to live, because no one is ever declared innocent.

As Joseph K's trial date approaches, his world closes in. Onstage, black wooden planks on wheels are used to show the walls inching closer. Open doorways turn to closed doors, and unoccupied space is rapidly filled with the muttering accused and shifty-eyed police. Characters often hide behind planks onstage, giving the impression that there is always someone listening even when you think you are alone. Creepy xylophone music signals each scene transition with a melody so eerie it sends shivers up your spine.

Sound plays a significant role in creating a suffocating mood. At Joseph K's bank, a line of identically dressed men take turns musically snapping dollar bills while the manager strikes a bell and Joseph K loudly stamps a document, all in perfect unison. The robotic movements that make this difficult melody possible are hypnotizing to watch and fearful to consider. Joseph K regularly bears witness to these mindless group movements but refuses to believe his world operates in the same manner. It is the scene-stealing artist, Titorelli, who sets him straight once and for all.

Titorelli, played to haunting perfection by Jason Crowl, destroys all hope of a happy ending emerging from behind black doors. With exotic dress, eerie facial expressions, and a deep, attention-grabbing voice, Titorelli embodies the sprit of absurdism with his every gesture. He rattles off Joseph K's options for freedom in great detail but finishes his speech with the devastating bottom line: guilt can never be avoided, never pardoned.

The moment where Joseph K embraces this truth as his fate is both the climax and the ending of the play. There is no time for the symbolism of his actions to be interpreted, contemplated, or discussed. He makes his decision, the Court does what it must, and both he and the audience are left stunned in the silent darkness that follows.

Those looking to put this play in a historical context can refer to Kafka's life in Eastern Europe, where totalitarian governments smothered many an innocent life. The Trial carries the theater of the absurd label, but what is absurd to one audience is truth to another. Governments like the one depicted in The Trial do exist, but they begin small, like a seed. The play is less about targeting the existing government than it is about identifying this seed and making sure it never grows into the horror you witness unfolding before you in The Trial.

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Hallie Flanagan Sent Me

See here now, I'm gonna tell you about a show, but you can't squeal to nobody. It's a real secretive-type thing. They call it SpeakEasy, and they gotta keep it real quiet so the fuzz don't catch on. They won't charge you a fin to get in, but you do gotta be connected to find out where it is and how to get in. But I'm connected, so it wasn't no problem for me. I showed up to Galapagos Art Place on Saturday night with my dame in tow. When the moll at the door asked for the password, I let her know, "Hallie Flanagan sent me." She looked us over to make sure we wasn't no undercover fuzz or nothin

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Give Me an Occupation...Now Give Me a Location...

One of the beauties of theater is the feeling that anything can happen on any given evening, making every performance night a smidge different from the nights before and certainly the nights to come. Consider that on this particular evening you have tickets to see Noo Yawk Tawk, an improvisational troupe working for two years under the direction of Richmond Shepard, and feel satisfied that there will be no other night quite like this one. This past Friday night I trotted down to Dillon's to take in the 10:40 show. The audience was not huge, and I wondered, even in the city that never sleeps, if perhaps 10:40 was too late for theater. This type of show is quite dependent on the audience. It is set up in skits that have a particular structure but garner specific details from audience members.

For example, the first skit was named Lecture. Two troupe members take center stage and, after getting a topic from the audience, proceed to give a lecture on that topic. One begins the lecture

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A Powerful Punch of Christmas Spirit

Personal Space Theatrics' version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is not a play to sit and watch, but one to sit and experience. Audience members will find themselves ducking the lanterns of marching Christmas carolers while inching away from scurrying townspeople dropping plastic apples that threaten to roll under their chairs. Small children jump into their mothers' laps when asked by beggars if they have any money to spare, and those in the front row brace themselves every time Scrooge abruptly turns to face a ghost, giving those in his vicinity a good whip in the face with his coattails. While this in-your-face approach to storytelling may initially cause some to cringe, it later proves to be the play's most powerful method of transporting the audience from their modern-day seats to the 19th-century streets. As a viewer, you have no choice but to watch, listen, and react as the story spills off the stage and into your lap. You are in Bob Cratchit's shoes getting screamed at for being late, and in the midst of the annual Christmas party with lip-locked guests passionately kissing. When a chain-clad Bob Marley bursts onstage, Scrooge is not the only one screaming in surprise.

The stage itself is a black floor with audience members seated along the sides and back in folding chairs. There is even a row of chairs placed next to the production's skilled piano player, who performs classic holiday tunes beneath the glow of candlelight. The air is thick with mood. You feel Scrooge's goodness when he is young, his anger as he matures, and his grief when he realizes what he has become.

Townspeople traipsing about the theater with brooms and aprons recite each important plot moment and scene setting in Greek chorus fashion. The careful articulation each line receives from its speaker does great justice to the original text. These are the words of Charles Dickens with no frills or extra dialogue added, clearly spoken, with soft background music to emphasize their importance.

In this respect, Personal Space Theatrics does something that many extravagant theater companies with dazzling special effects and big actors struggle to: tell the story the way Dickens meant it to be told. In this Christmas Carol there are no fireworks or flying ghosts, but amazing acting, hypnotizing scenes, and beautifully sung Christmas melodies woven expertly throughout the narrative.

When the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to his nephew's holiday party, he witnesses an amazing battle of vocals between his nephew Fred (Michael Poignand) and another guest known as Topper (Kent Le Van). Both men hold high notes for so long that the walls shake with their melody while the audience stares wide-eyed, wondering how long their chords will last.

If you are not smiling by the time Scrooge is, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future will lock eyes with you and grin winningly until you do. Those who love A Christmas Carol will find heaven in this telling of it. Those who hate it will find themselves fully converted by its magic faster than Scrooge can say, "Bah, humbug."

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The Overlord's Guide to the Galaxy

I found it very appropriate that Salt Theater's production of Conquest of the Universe begins with a patchwork curtain

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Jesus Has Left the Theater

"You are the salt of the world," says Jesus, gazing out at the audience with intelligence, importance, and enough pretension to make the La MaMa crowd shift uncomfortably in their seats. The recorded music of mystic chanting reverberates against the slow sound of Jesus dropping pellets into a wooden bowl. He enters and exits through a womb of white fabric, never shifting his intense and purposeful gaze away from his viewers. After his fourth entrance, accompanied yet again by the inimitable "You are the salt of the world," I'm not sure how much more of this self-important, narcissistic performance I can bear.

Then the sound of a vacuum cleaner sings through the air, and a wave of relief washes over the audience. Perhaps we are not meant to take Jesus quite so seriously after all.

Or are we?

In The Pathological Passion of the Christ (written and directed by Dario D'Ambrosi), things are not always what they seem. The Jesus play that begins the show is soon interrupted by a host of characters, all of them "real" people who comment upon the play. Some think that the man playing Jesus is a brilliant actor, while others berate him for being a fake and a liar. One man dislikes D'Ambrosi's work and claims that directors and actors contribute little to modern society. Others defend Jesus's and D'Ambrosi's right to produce theater, begging the question, "Who are we to judge?"

As the discussion continues, a vague connection emerges that links each of the characters to a corresponding apostle or biblical character. For example, "Judas" is a drug addict who delivers a kiss upon Jesus's cheek, deeming him a great actor, while "Peter" is somehow involved with the opening play but repeatedly denies his relationship to Jesus.

A discourse on the meaning and purpose of the theater is cut short when Jesus, shaking and spitting, is wracked by a seizure. Medical assistants carry him out, and one of the "real" characters transforms into Satan. The last section of the play focuses on sickness and madness, culminating in a stomach-turning video of brain surgery. Mary holds Jesus in her arms as he dies, but before his maladies overtake him he heals a boy in a wheelchair, much to the amazement of the apostles and onlookers.

The difficulty in this play is that D'Ambrosi seems to be commenting fervently on something, but that "something" is never clarified. If he wants to liken actors to Jesus (and directors to God, perhaps?), thereby making a religion of the theater and an audience composed of doubters and sinners, then the play he creates should be worthy of such worship. Yet D'Ambrosi's piece is disjointed and unclear, and desperately needs something solid for the audience to grab onto.

Abstract theater can be very effective, and a clear narrative is not necessary for a performance to make sense. But The Pathological Passion does not offer anything novel or beautiful enough to hold the audience's attention during its meandering explorations and structural inconsistencies. The staging is not terribly creative or visually dynamic, nor does the Pirandellian disruption of the play maintain the momentum it initially generates. The music, lighting, and costumes are hyper-dramatic and theatrical, often wavering between the beautiful and the overindulgent.

Finally, the one thing that might improve the flawed writing is ultimately unable to deliver: the acting never rises above the level of a freshman monologue class, and the "real" characters are even less believable than the "fake" ones.

Of course, with all the allusions and self-reflective commentary flying by, one must consider the possibility that the acting is meant to be subpar, that perhaps the audience is supposed to feel alienated and lost in a meta-theatrical morass. But if these are all means to an end, if these are in fact innovative directorial choices that generate groundbreaking theater, then the end must justify the means, and the audience should ultimately realize the powerful culmination of D'Ambrosi's direction. Unfortunately, the choices feel random, the elements remain separate, and the meaning of the piece is never synthesized into something strong and clear.

But The Pathological Passion may appeal to some theatergoers not despite but because of its strangeness and intellectual obscurity. D'Ambrosi asks a lot of his audience, and his commentary, though hidden underneath layers of pretense and theatrical devices, is waiting to be decoded by those who enjoy a little difficulty in their drama.

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Bah, Humbug! (Or Not)

One of the things I dislike about Christmas is the inevitable onslaught of bad entertainment. Of course, there are a few seasonal classics that I will never grow tired of watching. But I would rather stick my tongue to a frozen flagpole than have to endure such garbage as Christmas With the Kranks or Surviving Christmas. Suffice it to say, I was a bit skeptical heading into A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol. But as I entered the Theater Under St. Mark's, the sight of an attractive woman in leather pants serving Jack Daniel's eggnog lifted my jaded spirits a bit, and gave rise to the hope that this show might separate itself from the rest of the holiday fare.

Writer James Comtois's version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol opens on the ghost of Jacob Marley lamenting his fate at having to teach Scrooge the same lesson, year after year, and of having to tell the same story to audiences year after year.

Throughout the play, Marley will continue his complaining, and his co-workers, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, will join in to gripe about their thankless and endless task of bringing annual enlightenment to one bitter, cranky old man. They even go so far as to contemplate smothering old Ebenezer to death, holding a pillow just inches above the slumbering Scrooge's face before thinking better of it. The ghosts decide to find other ways to break the tedium, keeping themselves amused by smoking cigars, drinking coffee, and ad-libbing lines from Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias while they lead Scrooge through all of his life's formative moments.

The production is about as bare-bones as a production can be. A foldaway bed, a table, a coffeemaker, a window, and a clock on the wall are the only props to grace the stage. But lighting designer Chris Daly does a great job in providing a unique atmosphere for each scene. The talented actors also invest themselves fully in their characters and their lines, enticing the audience to leave the Theater Under St. Mark's and travel with them to Dickens's London. Their fervor makes it easy to indulge this fantasy.

Much creativity is used to fill out the cast as well. Many parts are played by actors pulling double and triple duty. This gives the cast the opportunity to really ham it up, as men play women, women play men, and adults play children, walking around in a prolonged squat because, well, children are shorter than adults, I guess.

The carolers who anger Scrooge with their good tidings are homemade, cardboard-cutout versions of Kenny and Cartman from the TV show South Park. Tiny Tim is a monkey hand puppet.

With all these ridiculous characters, it seems as though the play might dissolve into absolute chaos. But it doesn't, with Patrick Shearer's downright nasty portrayal of Scrooge providing the serious edge the play needs to succeed. Shearer commands the stage with his imposing presence. At the performance I saw, he slammed the window shut on the aforementioned carolers, only to have the window fall off the wall onto the ground. Not missing a beat, he slammed the downed window shut again and gave it a kick for good measure. His is truly the best performance I have seen on off-off Broadway all year.

Christopher Yustin also stands out as the jaded Jacob Marley. He puts the audience in the mood for fun by eliciting laughter from the get-go with the hilarious and nuanced delivery of his opening monologue.

The performance of A Very Nosedive Christmas Carol that I saw was not perfect. A few lines were flubbed. There were a couple of problems with the props. And the noise from a nearby restaurant could be heard constantly. But I had a hard time getting caught up in the negatives, as I was laughing for the better part of the 75-minute show.

Smash Mouth's version of War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?" and Joey Ramone's take on the George Weiss/Bob Thiele standard "What a Wonderful World" served as musical interludes between scenes. I think Nose Dive Productions approached this project as a musician would approach a cover song, changing it around a little bit. They also had a lot of fun, and they let their audiences have the same.

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Locks and Keys

The Flying Machine's Frankenstein is more fable-like in duration and style than it is reminiscent of Mary Shelley's gothic nightmare. I am glad of it! I have had enough poor adaptations and loud, clanking monsters to satisfy my need for bastardized gothica. Look no further than Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation to look upon a real monster. I do not mean to cast a negative light on Shelley's book; it is a great book. The contemporary artists who fail so magnificently at adapting it, on the other hand? Well, fortunately for them, the Flying Machine is here to show us all how to adapt bravely. The ensemble tosses Shelley's narrative to the curb and starts fresh with the tale of a young scientific savant, Victor Frankenstein (Robert Ross Parker), and his penchant for giving life to toads and drunks.

Victor is plagued by thoughts of his deceased mother and a puzzle box he never solved. Driven by his haunting memories, his life is built around using his genius at solving impossible scientific problems. Problems like death and biological inferiority, for example.

In a sweet, socially awkward scene between Victor and his long-suffering maid, Sonia (Adrienne Kapstein), the eccentric, obsessive scholar reveals he has recently revived a hapless river toad. When he cautiously carts his beloved marvel off to class to show his professor and fellow scholars, he triggers a series of events that will catapult him through acts of pride, violence, stupidity, pathos, redemption, and, ultimately, contentment.

Thematically, the production immediately calls to mind Russian and Eastern European masters such as Kafka, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Dostoyevsky (program notes cite his Crime and Punishment as an additional source). Director Joshua Carlebach uses a bizarre, almost antediluvian aesthetic to highlight the deeper questions at stake in Shelley's tale. In Carlebach's world, characters are not quite human, which seems to imply we are all a tad monstrous at our core.

Along with writer Jason Lindner, Carlebach homes in on the philosophical, but also scientific, ramifications of human interference in the natural world. Victor is most obsessed with reversing entropy, the second law of thermodynamics (for example, perfume sprayed into the air cannot condense back into a bottle). His obsession leads him to break a law not only of the physical world but of the universe itself. Death cannot be conquered. But where Victor is stymied, Carlebach and Lindner offer a glimmer of hope. Together, they posit a world that can be changed, but perhaps should be changed only in small ways with slight acts of kindness and compassion.

The set, designed by Marisa Frantz, is immediately remarkable: a series of windows randomly attached to one another flank either side of the stage to create two transparent, changeable, moveable pieces endlessly reconfigured and manipulated by the actors. The window units do much to drive the whirlwind of events in this momentous single night in Victor's life, and do much more in suggesting a sense of location and atmosphere in each scene. With the addition of an upstage window unit on pulleys, the scenic elements alternate between practical and symbolic usage; clocks and guillotines come to mind. I will wager the ensemble will continue to discover new ideas in such a creative environment throughout the run.

With so many ideas, such clever design, and exemplary ensemble acting, what struck me most effective about Frankenstein were the moments of stillness and simplicity. Carlebach sets his scenes with Young Victor (Tami Stronach) so cinematically and delicately that innocence itself becomes a distant, untouchable world. The adult Victor's plight reminds me of the proverb that knowledge increases sorrow. In poor Victor's case, the more he knows of the world's systems and of science's functions, the less able he is to appreciate a cup of tea. The information makes him so anxious and troubled, he cannot live his life.

Carlebach and Parker effectively make the play turn from its manic course with nothing more than a music box. So as Victor learns he cannot conquer death, he also releases his hold on the childhood he can never recapture. It is an exquisite moment, dealt with lovingly, and it captures the grace and optimism of the Flying Machine.

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'Breakfast' a Worthy Meal

Times may change, but some things stay the same forever, including teen angst and alienation. You See Us as You Want to See Us: Reflections From The Breakfast Club, a parody/revival of John Hughes' subversive 1985 movie The Breakfast Club, recognizes that fact as it celebrates its source material with equal parts humor and reverence. For an hour, EchoHill Productions recreates the most memorable quotes and scenes from the movie

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Reason and Romance

When I closed the final page of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia eight years ago, time slowed. My head spun with more ideas than I could handle. Heartache crawled up the back of my throat. For the first time, I was able to see that what is in our heads can also be in our hearts, and the more relentless we are as thinkers, the more relentlessly we can love. Arcadia takes place in both the early 1800s and 2004. Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale are a modern-day pair of scholars independently visiting the estate of a landed aristocratic British family. Hannah seeks to unveil the identity of the Hermit of Sidley Park, while Bernard attempts to peg a murder he believes to have happened at the estate on none other than Lord Byron. Hannah and Bernard's scenes alternate with those involving a youthful tutor (Septimus Hodge) and his charge (Thomasina Coverly) from the time period Bernard and Hannah are studying.

The enormity of Arcadia is staggering. Stoppard takes on literature, science, mathematics, and philosophy; he questions predestination and the nature of God; he dramatically pits intellectual rivals against each other and effortlessly stirs up an engrossing narrative of graceful simplicity.

Every scene contains a core dramatic arc that shouldn't be hard to play correctly. Stoppard's dialogue is ferociously intellectual but full of nuances, wit, and beauty. He uses an enormous aristocratic estate as his setting and allows the play's action to bandy between two centuries. In short, he outdoes himself.

Against such magnitude, Invisible City Theatre Company's (ICTC) production is startlingly intimate. The ensemble is working in a very tiny space with crisp design elements. Rather than admiring the morning room of Sidley Park from afar, the audience is in it. In this space, with these people, it is impossible to avoid succumbing to the quickly paced frenzy of ideas, impossible not to feel as though we are part of the fabric of that world.

Kudos to ICTC for having the courage to mount this gigantic play in such a tiny space; their decision is counterintuitive, but it pays off magnificently. Rather than observe arguments, we are enveloped in them. And as Bernard, Hannah, and Valentine Coverly (Avery Clark), a graduate student studying mathematics, assert, the arguing itself is trivial, but the passions that drive the arguing are the reasons we live.

ICTC turns out a uniformly well-acted show: sound ensemble acting with intelligent, heady, passionate performances all around. Actors go to school so they will have the chops to play Septimus, should the opportunity arise. Adam Devine gets under Septimus's skin and does not look back; he's rakish and heartbreaking and totally swoon-worthy. Christine Albright's Thomasina is precocious, brilliant and innocent. The delicacy of their relationship is heightened by the restraint in David Epstein's direction. Rebecca Miller's Hannah and David Ian Lee's Bernard are delightful contemporary contrasts

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With Its 'Heart' on Its Sleeve

First, a confession. I missed three performances of The Hasty Heart in a row before I finally saw it. I nearly missed it entirely. The loss, clearly, would have been mine.

The Keen Company and director Jonathan Silverstein have assembled a cast of impressive talent and let them loose. The group has an old-soldier ease, the familiarity of an Elks lodge during happy hour. Their interactions are so affectionate and look so much fun that I was tempted to join, to get out of my seat and play solitaire with the boys.

John Patrick's The Hasty Heart takes place in a British Army hospital in South Asia, during the waning days of the Second World War. We see a single wing with six beds, occupied by five soldiers from the disparate colonies (and former colonies) of the Empire: the gentle Blossom (Chris Chalk), an African native who speaks little and understands less; compulsive gambler Kiwi (Paul Swinnerton), from New Zealand; the stuttering American, Yank (Chris Hutchison); tubby Englishman Tommy (Anthony Manna); and Digger (Brian Sgambati), the Australian.

One bed is empty, to be occupied by Lachie (Keith Nobbs), a Scottish soldier dying of kidney failure. He has, at most, a few weeks left, and the stuffy Colonel (Stephen Bradbury) asks the raucous men and their lovely nurse (Emily Donahoe) to look after him. A dying man, he says, should have some friends by his side.

There is just one problem

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It Can Be a War All the Time

Simply put, International WOW Company

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A Gay Fantasia on Karate Themes

Do you remember a time when pegged stonewashed jeans, Converse shoes, and crane kicks were all the rage? The Four Corners Project sure does, as it attempts to breathe new life into a 1980s film classic in It

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I Heart Freestyle

The great thing about writing reviews for improv shows is that one can never spoil the plot. Because the performance is different every time, one can expound upon the tiny details of the night's show without worrying that too much would be given away. Everything in Freestyle Love Supreme is inspired by the audience's suggestions, and the shockingly talented lyrical artists and musicians use their skills to take those suggestions to the limit, with hilarious results. Comedy improv is a form of theater made popular by groups like Chicago City Limits and the television show Whose Line is it Anyway?. Freestyle Love Supreme is in the same vein, but adds the element of music into the mix

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An Amazonian Tale

Federico Restrepo and his Loco 7 Troupe

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So, What is a Coolidge Dollar?

"You're the top! You're an Arrow collar! / You're the top! You're a Coolidge dollar!" What the heck is an Arrow collar?

With a basic education in U.S. history, you can take a stab at Coolidge dollar, but you would have to be a fashion historian, or 90 years old, to know what an Arrow collar is.

Legendary composer and songwriter, Cole Porter, encapsulated the popular culture of his time. Take a song like "You're the Top," and you can identify exactly what this country was obsessed with in 1934: everything from the marvels of science and advertising ("You're cellophane; you're Pepsodent") to public works ("You're the Dam at Boulder; you're the National Gallery"), with politicians and pop stars thrown in between. By all rights, songs like this one should now be quaint anachronisms, but they still sound so fresh today you get right into them, even if you do not know what they mean.

To hear Cole Porter performed both live and lively is reason enough to go see Anything Goes, a production of the Heights Players, the oldest theater company in Brooklyn. For nearly 50 years, this company of local talent has offered eclectic and challenging seasons of works ranging from fervent to farce, in a little theater in the half-round with actors and audience almost cheek-to-jowl. The challenge for the troupe this time was to take a musical whose book is a less-than-quaint anachronism and make it entertaining enough to tolerate while waiting for the next immortal song. And they actually pull it off.

The story, a Gilbert-and-Sullivan-type shipboard contrivance of disguises and wrong matches made right at the end, is just a fluffy little platform for a collection of Porter at his best, songs that, by now, need no platform at all. People may have found such devices amusing in 1934, but it is hard to do so now. The dialogue is barely witty, the characters flat, and the plot stereotypical. All the more challenge for a director to overcome these handicaps, and Steve Velardi has done an admirable job.

Given the restrictions of the original book by Guy Bolton, PG Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse, the acting was admirable too. Erika White as the blowsy, boozing singer Reno Sweeney - the part played by Ethel Merman in the 1934 Broadway production and subsequent 1936 movie - gives a gutsy if not lusty performance and belts out a good tune. Her fellow lead, Zachary Scott Abramowitz as the ingenuous but resourceful Wall Street lackey Billy Crocker, is not able to rise above the insipidity of the script and does not have the vocal range or power to do justice to Porter's romantic masterpieces "Easy to Love" and "All Through the Night."

Alea Vorillas as Billy's true love Hope Harcourt, sings touchingly but acts blandly, while Raymond Adams as her fianc

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What would you do to be first?

Have you ever been waiting with a crowd of folks for something to open or begin? There is a desire even before the official start time to get as close as possible to the front of the line. It is often accompanied by said folks nudging one another and muttering off-color comments under their breath, but it is seldom that one must worry about being personally attacked while waiting. This is hardly the case in Line by Israel Horovitz, the longest running play in off-off Broadway history, playing at the Thirteenth Street Repertory Company (TSRC). Line is the story of five people that will do anything to be the first in line. What are these people waiting for? Well, this question does not seem as important as what these people will do to get to the front. The show opens with a man named Fleming, played by Rick Sherman, waking from a night of holding first place in line behind a string of tape. There is some good

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Love: Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth


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The Imperfect Storm

It is a rare thing when every single part of a show

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On the Sweet Side

One-man shows are the bastard children of the theater world. With choice topics like cancer, divorce, stillborn babies, and the difficulties of dating when you are a 30-something Jewish woman, this is not surprising. My friends would rather stay home and watch America

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