Friday, June 17, 2016

Satellite Collective presents Dig Dance

Performed at 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Home of Dance Education Laboratory, NYC
June 10-12, 2016

still from "Gran Jericho"
directed by Lora Robertson
presented by Satellite Collective
92Y; Dig Dance

Artistic Director Kevin Draper gave a lovely introduction of the various genres of works to be performed by emerging artists from New York City Ballet and Juilliard and more seasoned artists who recently retired from Alvin Ailey. The program opened up with the spoken word, followed by four works of contemporary ballet, modern dance, a short film and a live string quartet. The multidisciplinary approach proved to be an interesting paradigm with some collaboration between the musicians and dancers.

The dancers were beautiful, the musicians talented, although the music was not for everyone's ears. The short film by Lora Robertson with the protagonist dancing around a steeple seemed a bit long. Satellite Collective brought the steeple physically to the space so it would have been more creative to have had the dancers dance around the real steeple as a surprise for the audience after the short film ended or during the short film.

The last dance was about kindred spirits or lovers who portrayed a relationship that was appreciated, then spurned with retreat, to turn back into the embrace of one another resembling a typical sequence to most types of relationships. Or was the story about the beginning, maturation, and death of a relationship, to be reborn again?

 Overall, the interdisciplinary program showcased new works but it needs fine tuning.
- Laura Thompson -

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Leonard Nimoy's Vincent





Starring JAMES BRIGGS as Theo Van Gogh

Directed by DR. BRANT POPE

Lighting Design:  SCOTT PINKNEY
Costume Design:  BARBARA POPE
Scenic Design:  JAMES BRIGGS
Sound Design:  JAMES BRIGGS
Press Representative:  CHARLIE SIEDENBURG
Marketing/Advertising:  RED RISING MARKETING

Theatre at St. Clement's
423 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

April 1 - June 5, 2016

Leonard Nimoy's Vincent has made its Off-Brodway debut starring James Briggs as Vincent's brother Theo who tells the tragic story with brotherly love. It's a one-man show based on their correspondence through letters. The setting is August 5, 1890 in Paris, France.

Nimoy delves into parts of Vincent that perhaps the world was unaware of like Vincent being a lover of God who wanted to be a preacher like his parents but it didn't work out, then he became an artist, a lover of art. He devoted his life to art and produced over 70 paintings during the last 100 days of his life. One of his paintings finally sold for 400 French francs right before he died. The relationship between the brothers was very close and Theo died six months after Vincent.

It's a difficult story to portray by one actor but Briggs did a good job. The content in the letters told the stories of Vincent's journey through life spiritually, emotionally, physically, and psychologically. It's said he wasn't mad only suffered from Epilepsy, later determined a genius. The nice part of the set design was that it showcased Vincent's most famous paintings that brought the whole story into perspective.

If you love Vincent Van Gogh's paintings, then I'd recommend to see this play and learn about his life from his brother's Theo's perspective through their letters and their strong bond.

- Laura Thompson -

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ballet Hispanico at The Joyce Theater

Performed its 45th Anniversary New York Season at The Joyce Theater from April 5-10, 2016

New York Premiere of Flabbergast by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano
Bury Me Standing by Ramon Oller
Club Havana by Pedro Ruiz

The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue  (at 19th Street), New York City

Ballet Hispanico is touring the world, please visit their website for more information.

Artistic Director and CEO Eduardo Vilaro commented that the program this year reflected the "breadth and range of the company over the past 45 years of artistic reflection" and the works of the choreographers honor Ballet Hispanico's ballet legacy fused with eclectic contemporary dance that portrays America's diversity.

Ballet Hispanico, the nation's premier Latino dance organization, presented three programs. It began with Choreographer's Gustavo Ramirez Sansono's Flabbergast, a story about immigrants with preconceived notions concerning a new and foreign land and it was done with humor and fast-moving, stylistic modern dance set to the music of Juan Garcia Esquival.

The second program was Bury Me Standing choreographed by Ramon Oller with traditional gypsy melodies and flamenco music by Lole y Manuel. Oller created this piece based on the culture of the Gypsy or "Roma" people that reflected their strong communal bonds, sensuality, feelings of oppression and longing and strength. The sensual music was felt in the heart and soul of audience members who were moving their bodies rhythmically in their seats. It felt like a Latino counterpart to Alvin Ailey, the dance troupe that celebrates African-American ethnic traditions.

The third and last program was Club Havana choreographed by Pedro Ruiz set to Latino dance music like the Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Bolero, Rhumba and Conga. It was a fusion of modern dance and ballet with Latin dances. It's a portrait of glamorous Havana of the 1950s during the heyday of Cuban music, dance, and nightlife. It ended with a Latin social dance under confetti which was magical.

Overall, the Ballet Hispanico dancers are wonderful to watch and they portray their characters so the stories are understood. The dancers can bend in every direction, leap, strut, and engage in inventive partnering moves. At the end of the entire program, one feels real joy.

I would highly recommend to go to Ballet Hispanico's other performances throughout the year whether in the United States or around the world.

- Laura Thompson -

Monday, March 28, 2016

Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter

in association with NICK BROOKE LTD. & PLEASANCE EDINBURGH  presents

Artistic Director:  CHARLOTTE MOORE
Producing Director:  CIARAN O'REILLY
Lighting Design:  MICHAEL O'CONNOR
Production Stage Manager:  CHRISTINE LEMME
Press Representative:  COYLE ENTERTAINMENT

The Irish Reportory Theatre Company
The Season in Union Square at the DR2 Theatre
103 East 15th Street

March 15 - April 3, 2016

Julian Sands performed brilliantly in A Celebration of Harold Pinter directed by John Malkovich. The idea to explore the structure and content of Harold Pinter's prose, poetry, and political activism started with a luncheon given by Harold's wife, Antonia Fraser, that developed into a wonderful collaboration to create this solo show. Sands brings a personal touch to the stories and poems by Pinter because he knew the man and his entourage. Greetings were even conveyed to the audience from Antonia in London to the New York audience on Easter Sunday.

Harold Pinter (October 10, 1930 - December 24, 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning author with a career spanning more than 50 years. He's a renowned playwright, The Birthday Party and the Tony Award-winning The Homecoming, a screenwriter, actor, director, poet, and political activist. Sands re-enacts Pinter's description of himself, "I'm well aware that I have been described in some quarters as being 'enigmatic, taciturn, terse, prickly, explosive and forbidding' and that set the tone for many of the stories and poems to follow, along with wry humor.

There were touching remarks about Pinter's admiration for Samuel Beckett (Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright , theatre director, and poet--died December 22, 1989) who brought forth beautiful works like Waiting for Godot and Endgame.

What surprised me the most, were Pinter's poems about the dying process, looking death in the mirror, and exploring rituals associated with death. It was real and poignant. On the lighter side, there were many poems about his school days, cricket, Ireland, and current affairs.

It's a delightful journey that Sands brings you on and at the end you can get your own dedicated copy of Various Voices by Harold Pinter signed by Julian Sands on behalf of Pinter. It's a nice way to end the performance and keeps the voice of Pinter alive.

I'd highly recommend to go and watch the production of Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter directed by John Malkovitch and presented by The Irish Repertory Theatre at the DR2 Theatre in Union Square.

- Laura Thompson -

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

New York Theatre Ballet Legends & Visionaries



NYTB 2016 Premiere of Jerome Robbins' Antique Epigraphs set to Debussy's "6 Epigraphes  Antiques" staged by Krya Nichols

Melissa Payne Bradley's Chemical Bond set to "Serenade Op. 98 Après un Rêve" by Gabriel Fauré

Richard Altson's Such Longing set to "Mazurkas" by Frédéric Chopin, restaged by Martin Lawrence

Philip Glass' Song Before Spring, Piano Etudes Nos. 1-10 choreographed by Zhong-Jing Fang and Steven Melendez, featuring NYU Steel Drum Ensemble led by Director Josh Quillen and his colleague, Jonathan Haas, Director Percussion Studies at NYU Steinhardt

New York Live Arts
219 West 19th Street, New York City

The New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) presented four ballets by acclaimed choreographers staged by emerging choreographers. The programming represented revivals of masterworks (Philip Glass and Richard Altson), a new work, Chemical Bond, by Melissa Payne Bradley that originally premiered in San Francisco, and of course, Kyra Nichols who staged NYBT 2016 premiere of Antiques Epigraphs (Jerome Robbins). NYBT's repertory programming maintains fidelity to the original movements, gestures, costumes and props, according to historical documents when it's based on a revival. As for new programming, it's a combination of dynamic movement, storytelling, and wit.

The ballet troupe performed as individuals, duos, trios, quartets, divided into subunits, all with creative costume designs to depict the scenes whether classical or contemporary (Costume Design: Sylvia Taalson Nolan and Florence Klotz). The dancers soared, jumped, pirouetted, fell elegantly to the floor, demonstrated excellent footwork, intertwined with one another in melodious movements sometimes sensual, other times flippant--all in all, it felt like harmony between the music and movement (Dancers: Steven Melendez, Amanda Treiber, Michael Wells, Elena Zahlmann, Joshua Andino-Nieto, Carmella Lauer, Mayu Oguri, Alexis Branagan, Guilia Faria, Chloe Slade, Amanda Smith and the rest of the company).

The four ballets were performed to live music. The musicians were superb (Piano: Michael Scales, Zheng Ma. Cello: Amy Kang. Flute: Mira Magrill). The last piece Song Before Spring with music originally composed by Philip Glass and arranged by Josh Quillen, NYU Steel Drum Director, turned out to be mesmerizing and surreal. I liked all the ballets but this one impressed me the most.
I think it's a pity it had such a short run but I would highly recommend to go to NYBT's other performances throughout the year. They also perform one hour storybook ballets for families which is tailored to the short attention span of children.

For more information, visit
NYBT, Founder and Artistic Director: Diana Byer

- Laura Thompson -

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

presents Rockefeller Productions U.S. Premiere of
Created by
Jonathan Rockefeller
based on Eric Carle's beloved children's picture books

The 47th Street Theatre
located at 304 West 47th Street, New York City
Tickets available at or by calling 212.279.4200
Opening is Sunday, February 7 at 3PM and will run through March27, 2016

Creative team also includes Eric Wright (Puppetry), Raul Abrego (Set Designer), Nicholas Rayment (Lighting Designer), Nate Edmondson (Sound Designer & Composer), The Puppet Kitchen (Puppets), Cesa Entertainment (General Management).

Eric Carle has delighted three generations of readers with his distinctive collage art and iconic characters in his children's picture books often linked to nature. Jonathan Rockefeller cleverly adapted four of Carle's books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar for the grand finale. A menagerie of 75 colorful and magical puppets during a fantastical 60-minute show mesmerized the children as well as their parents and grandparents. It's a great occasion to bring your young ones from age 2 to 9 to enjoy this show.

The painter in the first scene produced stunning paintings in the primary colors and each time he presented his painting, the children murmured, "oooohhhh." Mister Seahorse and a myriad of sea creatures were procreating with lots of little fishes being born centered around the theme of family. The lonely firefly lost his way and was looking for light to refind his way back to his tribe. And, of course, the very hungry caterpillar who ate too much but turned into the most magnificent butterfly. Imagine all this is done by enchanting puppets with dazzling colors and expertly performed by the puppeteers and actors.

I highly recommend this delightful show that brought smiles and a sense of wonder to all.
- Laura Thompson -