‘TL;DR: THELMA LOUISE; DYKE REMIX’ Book and Lyrics by EllaRose Chary

“TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix” is a parody sequel, queer rock musical that asks the question “why do strong female characters always gotta die?” and turns the death as freedom narrative for women on its head. It starts mid-air in a Thunderbird convertible suspended over the Grand Canyon.

Starring Alison Lea Bender (Academia Nuts NYMF) and COURTNEY DANIELS (Shrek; National Tour) as T and L, TL;DR is backed by a band of badass rockstars. Loud and proud, TL;DR resists the idea that queer/lesbian narratives have to live in subtext and defies the “bury your gays” trope by giving our heroines the ending they deserve. TL;DR takes on the patriarchy, the gaytriarchy, and anything else standing in the way of T and L’s love.

TL;DR has a book and lyrics by EllaRose Chary and music and lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn (Dramatist Guild Fellows, Ars Nova Uncharted Residents, Feinstein’s/54 Below). The production is directed by Sash Bischoff (BWAY The Visit, On The Town, How to Succeed) and musically directed by ELLEN WINTER. The production features Scenic Design by Ann Beyersdorfer, Costume Design by JUSTIN NAKO, and is managed by CHRISTINE J. COLONNA. The band features SAM KASETA (Bass), WES RUIZ (Drums), and JULIET GARRETT (Guitar). NATE BERTONE produces the production.

This show is being produced as part of The Tank’s annual PrideFest 2017! Over the course of two weeks, The Tank is opening the floor to a wide variety of performances and discussions surrounding the topics of sexuality, gender, and equality. The works presented will celebrate this community, address challenges that are still faced as we strive for equal civil rights, and evoke or give way to new ideas and perceptions on how we define ourselves, individually, within our own community, and in the global community at large. Whether through unity or discordance, these performances and discussions, workshops and forums, ought to shed light on the dynamic individuals and groups who make up the vibrant LGBTQIAP community.

For tickets and more information, visit www.thetanknyc.org. Performances are July 6, 2017, 9:30 p.m., July 7, 2017, 7 p.m., July 14, 2017, 7 p.m., and July 15, 2017, 9:30 p.m.  From Broadway World.

MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, directed by Dawn Monique Williams, ‘Makes Hilarious Theater Magic’

One comes to “The Merry Wives of Windsor” expecting broad farce, this being arguably the most comically potent play in the canon. Rich with humor and ribald in plotline, it’s among the most reliable workhorses in the Bard’s canonical stable.

As such, a director might be forgiven for dialing it in. Dawn Monique Williams was having none of that on opening night. Playing to a packed house on a perfect spring evening at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, Williams and her troupe of bawdy thespians set the evening on fire with a night of theater that deliciously walks the line between classic Shakespearean hilarity and an entirely contemporary brand of satire. It takes guts to integrate 1980s culture into a play that was written circa 1597, but that’s what Williams has done, intermittently launching her actors into fabulously entertaining gyrations to the music of Whitesnake, Whitney Houston, and Blondie that somehow work ingenuously with the bawdy nature of the play. On production value alone, the costuming, lighting and musical composition are worth the price of admission — dance numbers by powerhouse choreographer Valerie Rachelle are superb. And we haven’t even gotten to the acting.

Read the full and raving review from Ashland Daily Tidings here.

Curt Columbus & Trinity Rep’s ‘Like Sheep to Water’ is as fresh as the news

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Directors and writers who revisit the classics of the theater love to suggest their contemporary relevance. Often that’s a stretch, but not in the case of Trinity Rep’s reworking of Lope de Vega’s “Like Sheep to Water,” penned four centuries ago, but all too familiar to fans of CNN and the evening news.

He may not tweet in the middle of the night or hang out in an “Access Hollywood” trailer, but Fred Sullivan Jr.’s abusive Spanish captain seems awfully familiar, the way he has his way with women, makes up his own rules and considers himself far above the law.

But Commander Gomez gets away with murder for just so long. There is sweet revenge to be had, revenge that in the end involves the entire audience.

Artistic director Curt Columbus and director Mark Valdez have wisely maintained a sense of history in the costumes and sets, even some of the music, just to make the analogy all the more clear, just to remind us that egomaniacal dictators have been around for a long time.

But while the play, which clocks in at just two hours, has a kind of antique formality, it is filled with human moments, with lovers’ spats and the like.

We feel the pain of the terrorized residents of the little village of Fuente Ovejuna, which roughly translates as “the watering place for sheep.” And we all know who the sheep are after watching Sullivan’s brutal Commander Gomez rip a young bride from her wedding party and pass her among his men like a party favor.

Read the full review by Channing Gray from the Providence Journal here.

Nature, nurture and ‘Relativity’ drive a new play about Einstein, written by Mark St. Germain

Mike Nussbaum stars as Albert Einstein in “Relativity,” a new play by Mark St. Germain at Northlight Theatre.

“Relativity,” Mark St. Germain’s new play about a largely opaque chapter in the life of the thought-altering physicist Albert Einstein, is an exercise in dramatic speculation. And before going any further two things must be noted.

First, the principal reason to see this Northlight Theatre production is to watch Mike Nussbaum, the 93-year-old actor who might easily be dubbed the eighth wonder of the modern world, work his magic as the complicated, ornery, sardonic and all too human genius whose celebrity surely became something of a curse in his later years. Second, this review must come with an immedate spoiler alert, for to explain the premise behind St. Germain’s play is to reveal the secret that is its animating force. So read on if you wish, or simply take this as an inducement to catch a remarkable actor (of any age) working at the height of his powers.

‘RELATIVITY’
Highly recommended
When: Through June 25
Where: Northlight Theatre,
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie
Tickets: $30 – $81
Info: (847) 673-6300;
www.northlight.org
Run time: 80 minutes
with no intermission

Mike Nussbaum plays Albert Einstein and Katherine Keberlein plays Margaret Harding in Mark St. Germain’s play “Relativity,” at Northlight Theatre.

Read the full review by Hedy Weiss from the Chicago Sun Times here.

With BEST OF ENEMIES, New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., confronted its audience with an unexpectedly timely tale of racial reconciliation.

When the Klansman and the Civil Rights Activist Could Be Friends

With ‘Best of Enemies,’ New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., confronted its audience with an unexpectedly timely tale of racial reconciliation.

Rus Blackwell and Marci J. Duncan in “Best of Enemies” at New Stage. (Photo by Greg Campbell)

Reynolds, artistic director of New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Miss., wasn’t even thinking about the then-upcoming 2016 election season, and, like many Americans, she couldn’t have imagined the outcome. In the ensuing climate of sharp political and social divides, Mark St. Germain’s 2011 play—based on the true story of a Ku Klux Klan leader and a Civil Rights activist who clashed over the desegregation of public schools in Durham, N.C., in 1971—took on a whole new meaning.

“I was thinking we’d celebrate how far we’ve come,” said Reynolds, who directed Best of Enemies at New Stage Feb. 28-March 12. “I still think that’s something to do—to look at what has occurred since the early ’70s and celebrate the progress that has been made. But I also think, realistically, it brings up how some things have not changed, how some things were maybe buried, how we weren’t paying attention to what was going on in people’s minds.”

In the past year, a number of events have put the issue of desegregation back in the spotlight. Last spring, 62 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that segregation in schools is getting worse, not better: As of 2014 the number of U.S. schools with majority black or Hispanic students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches has almost doubled, from 9 percent to 16 percent, since 2001.

Read the riveting article by Brad Rhines from American Theatre here.