Sunday, August 7, 2016

As You Wish



NEW YORK MUSIC FESTIVAL
presented
AS YOU WISH 


Created by CRYSTAL KELLOGG, ANDREW WHEELER, & TOM WOJTUNIK

Starring CRYSTAL KELLOGG

Featuring KATE ROCKWELL & JUSTIN SARGENT

Musicians
Piano: Andrew Wheeler
Guitar:  Micah Burgess
Bass:  Marc Schmied
Drums: Spencer Inch

Stage Manager: NATALIE WAGNER

The Laurie Beechman Theater at the West Bank Café
407 West 42nd Street, New York City

Visit http://www.nymf.org for more information about the festival.
As You Wish performed August 2 and August 6, 2016

It all started last year when Crystal Kellogg (Creator/Performer) entered New York Music Festival's (NYMF) Next Broadway Sensation and claimed the ultimate prize of having her own solo concert produced by NYMF with collaborators Andrew Wheeler (Creator/Musical Director) and Tom Wojtunik (Creator/Director). Together, they created AS YOU WISH which depicts the ten year long journey of Crystal's foray as an actor/singer in New York City.

Her story was told through her choice of songs with beauty and a sense of humor. How some of her auditions, although creative didn't cut it like her dual perspective of Maria in West Side Story switching back and forth from a girl with a Puerto Rican accent to an opera singer which was actually priceless as a performance.

Onwards towards relationships and singing a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1970  rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar  I Don't Know How to Love Him which brought tears to many audience members. Success, trials and tribulations were part of the mix but winning NYMF's Next Broadway Sensation landed her a new agent and her Broadway debut with the School of Rock (another Webber musical) and presently, with Finding Neverland.

Her Broadway dreams came true and as part of her solo concert, she invited her friends, Kate Rockwell and Justin Sargent to perform skits with her that added fun and joy to the overall concert. Crystal Kellogg is certainly a performer to watch.  

Crystal acknowledged that her parents encouraged her to follow her dreams and she did. She ended the concert by saying, "If I'm happy and feeling good, then I must be doing something good." It appeared as though feeling good was the theme of the concert. There were smiles all around. The concert finished with the song Never Can Say Goodbye--appropriate because she wants to return to the stage again and again!

I'd highly recommend to see Crystal Kellogg in upcoming appearances On Broadway and in concert.

- Laura Thompson -
(Certified Executive/Life Coach & Arts & Culture Freelance Journalist)

http://www.laurathompsoncoaching.com       @LORALIA                  





Friday, June 17, 2016

Satellite Collective presents Dig Dance

SATELLITE COLLECTIVE
presented
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.
By
- Laura Thompson -

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Leonard Nimoy's Vincent




STARRY NIGHT THEATER COMPANY

presents

VINCENT

By LEONARD NIMOY



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
Production Manager:  CHRISTOPHER SHANE DONAVAN
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

BALLET HISPANICO
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.

By
- Laura Thompson -

Monday, March 28, 2016

Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter


THE IRISH REPERTORY THEATRE
in association with NICK BROOKE LTD. & PLEASANCE EDINBURGH  presents
JULIAN SANDS
in
A CELEBRATION OF HAROLD PINTER


Directed by JOHN MALKOVITCH
Artistic Director:  CHARLOTTE MOORE
Producing Director:  CIARAN O'REILLY
Lighting Design:  MICHAEL O'CONNOR
Wardrobe:  NICOLE FARHI
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

Visit http://www.irishrep.org
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

NEW YORK THEATRE BALLET
presented

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 www.nytb.org
NYBT, Founder and Artistic Director: Diana Byer

By
- Laura Thompson -