Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NEWS Zoo Revue

Rory O"Malley, Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco and Michael West in NEWSical.

If Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert decided to sing their way through an episode or two of their politically charged TV shows, the result might sound something like the Off-Broadway revue NEWSical the Musical, albeit with a battery that's been partially drained.

When I caught Last Cargo Cult, the new Mike Daisey monologue, I was glad to see him performing in an actual theater for the first time in three shows, instead of at Joe's Pub. His verbal wordplay is too clever and finely honed to be lost amid the inevitable bustle of a cabaret room. NEWSical, however, would likely be enhanced in such an atmosphere – and slight inebriation could only add to an audience's enjoyment.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let It Snow

New York magazine devoted its year-end double issue to "Reasons to Love New York." Although lately I'm more likely to be contemplating reasons to leave New York, after this cold, snowy, slushy weekend, I'd like to add my own accolade to their extensive list: New Yorkers are extremely hearty people. Either that, or their apartments are so small that they'd sooner face frost bit and hypothermia

As a snowstorm engulfed the city on Saturday, I was certain that that evening's Winter Solstice contra dance would be sparsely attended, if not canceled altogether. But the basement auditorium at the Church of the Village was as packed with people as it would be on any other ordinary night. And we weren't the only ones. The Good Stuff diner on 14th was doing a steady stream of business earlier in the evening, and the subway to Brooklyn was packed as we headed home. (Still, if I'd known how windy it would be or how much snow I'd have to climb over to get home that night, or that I'd have to walk in the street to get to my apartment building, I probably wouldn't have been so bold as to venture out for the evening. Above is what happened when I tried to take a photo.)

The next day I thought anyone longing to see part one of the Signature Theatre's excellent production of Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle would have ample seating opportunities at the 2 pm matinee. But not only was every seat filled, a few people were even stuck sitting off to the side, on the steps for nearly three hours.

This weekend was enough to put me in the holiday spirit. How many more reasons could one need to love New York?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cult Favorite

The always provocative Mike Daisey has a new monologue at the Public, The Last Cargo Cult, a provocative, political and personal look at the global financial crisis. And this time he's performing in an actual theater, not at Joe's Pub -- a definite improvement.

So is the fact that you get a playbill and a dollar bill. when you take your seat, as I explain in my Time Out New York review.