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New York City - Theatre

Wendy R. Williams'
Theatre Column

January 29, 2012

I saw two great shows this month: Silence! The Musical at PS122 and Anne Bogart's SITI Company's sureal Bob.

Silence! The Musical
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 8 PM
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM
Sunday at 5 PM
Through March 1, 2012
Performance Space 122

The Laughs Are In

Silence! The Musical has joined Urinetown and Matt & Ben in the ranks of stellar shows that have originated at The New York Fringe Festival.

Silence! The Musical is an unauthorized parody of the cult classic film, The Silence of the Lambs. If you have never seen The Silence of the Lambs (starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins), you need to spend more time with Netflix so you will know what people mean when they reference chianti and flava beans.

Silence! The Musical is a kitschy, campy, filthy adaptation of the film. The cast is amazing: kudos go out to David Garrison's performance ad Hannibal Lector and Jenn Harris's depiction of Agent Starling (the roles played by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster in the film).

Garrison and Harris have great chemistry, both with each other and the rest of the cast, all of whom have great comic timing. One of the main reasons the show is so much fun is because the actors are obviously having a blast on stage. They embrace the insanity and simply "go for it."

Put his one down for a fun night with friends. (They sell wine by the bottle in the lobby.)

The original cast recording of Silence! The Musical has been released by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records online at iTunes, Amazon.com for digital download, and is available at www.sh-k-boom.com. Finally, musical comedy fans outside of New York are now able to enjoy the critically acclaimed score, including such song selections as “If I Could Smell Her C---” and “Put the F--king Lotion in the Basket.”

Silence! The Musical runs through March 1, 2011 at PS122. Tickets are $25 - $79 and are available by calling 212-352-3101 or through www.SilenceTheMusical.com.

Performance Space 122 | 150 First Avenue (at 9th St.)


Anne Bogart and SITI Company
Jan 19 - 21, 24 - 28 @ 7:30 pm
Jan 22, 28, 29 @ 2:30 pm
January 19-29, 2012
New York Live Arts

Robert Wilson is a larger than life talent, known for his productions of huge theatrical spectacles. I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Wilson in 2006 at the time of the release of the documentary about his life, Katharina Otto-Bernstein's Absolute Wilson. Then, when speaking about how he designs his productions, Wilson said, "I start with silence. An actor stands on the stage. You move your hand - will that hold and audience? A good actor is like a bear, he will never strike first; he will wait you out."

Wilson see the entirety of the stage and has started productions with the actor moving from lower stage left to upper stage right, walking on a diagonal away from the audience. His work is surreal, filled with strangeness and wonder. (Quote from my review of Absolute Wilson) "Wilson's lens on the world is from another dimension of time and space. He sees vivid colors, huge spaces filled with nothing, eloquence in silence and power in stillness."

The Martha Graham Dance Company staged Wilson's Snow on the Mesa last year and viewing the productions was like viewing a diorama created by Dali.

Anne Bogart's Siti Company's production of Bob, was staged in the whimsical world of Wilson. Here is a quote from their press release, "The 90-minute play is conceived and directed by Bogart, created and performed by Will Bond (a founding company member of SITI who has worked with Wilson), and based on hundreds of interviews Bogart collected and recorded over several decades, which were then adapted to the stage by Irish writer and dramaturg, Jocelyn Clarke."

Will Bond is a delightful actor who can simply by standing on a stage define "witty." The audience was filled with Wilson lovers who "got" all the insider bits and pieces from Wilson's life: his desire to not be an expat, his popularity in Europe, his relationship with The Met, how every performer actually has a back - the space behind. Bond took the audience on a trip through Wilson's head and it was a world well worth visiting.

TICKETS: $15 Previews (Jan 19 & 20) Through January 29, 2012
$40 Reg Price at door/ $32 in advance online
Call (212) 924-0077, or online at www.newyorklivearts.org

New York Live Arts | 219 West 19th Street, NYC
(btw. 7th and 8th Avenues)

December 5, 2011

In the last two weeks I have had the privilege to see two oldies-but-goodies - A Tuna Christmas and Godspell.

Thanksgiving week in Austin, Texas I saw A Tuna Christmas. New Yorkers won't be able to see the show anytime soon, the next stop for the Tuna Tour will be Galveston, Texas. But the Tuna boys have been to the big city before and I guarantee you, they shall return.

The Tuna shows are written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. They are performed by Williams and Sears under the direction of Howard. Williams and Sears play around twenty bizarre characters, the residents of the mythical Tuna, Texas - the third smallest town in the state. Male, female, young, old, fat or tall - they play them all.

If you ever get a chance to see any of the shows - Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas, Red White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas - drop everything and run to the show. And those boys are as blisteringly funny today as they were the first time I saw a Tuna show. And if I told you how long ago that was, I would have to kill you because you would then know my expiration date. Williams and Sears are living breathing Ever Ready batteries.


Then on to Godspell. Godspell has been around for a long time; it opened on Broadway in 1971 and there have been hundreds of regional and community productions. It would be hard to not be familiar with the music, which is quite wonderful. This music is sprinkled through the spoken words of the show - the "acted out" parables of Jesus Christ.

So how does the Circle in the Square theater revival measure up? It is quite good but even with the superb energy of the cast, it seemed dated to this reviewer. But that is only how it seemed to me because by now I have so many musical memories of the show, it would be hard for any production to compete with the musical-in-my-mind. I had a similar problem with the revival of Hair - another show that I had seen many times in the past.

But thank goodness, jaded old theater lovers like me are not the entire possible audience. So if you have never seen the show, listened to the sound track hundreds of times etc. etc, you should run to the Circle inthe Square. The show is very well done and the actors are simply amazing - wonderful voices and timing.

Godspell runs Tuesday - Saturday nights at 8PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30 and Sunday night at 7:30. Ticket Price: $125.00; $135.00 Saturdays Tickets by Phone: 212-239-6200
800-432-7250 http://www.Godspell.com

Circle in the Square Theatre | W. 50th St. Between Broadway and 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019




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