Monday, December 20, 2010

Theater Blogs and John Adams

Considering my laziness and recalcitrance vis a vis blogging, it's nice to make someone's top 50. (Especially considering she included some real blogs, like the inexhaustible Adam Szymkowicz, who's now interviewed some 300 playwrights.)

And by the by, this book had been recommended to me by Kevin Newbury, and some other friends, and it's very smart, funny, self-deprecating and has some intriguing things to say about a hard won creative life; John Adams' "Hallelujah Junction." I was a big fan of his "Doctor Atomic" at the Met, and this is a great one to read while dashing around town, doing last-minute holiday shopping.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Damned Shame

"The Scottsboro Boys" will play its last performance on Dec. 12. I thought this show, one of the last works of musical theater masters, Kander & Ebb, was a brilliant attempt to theatricalize one of the more monstrous chapters in American history.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"She Goes About Using Sex as a Sort of Shrimping Net"

I've been reading a lot of Noel Coward recently, and the above line is one from "Hay Fever" that made me laugh out loud - have also read for the first time,"The Vortex" and "Nude With Violin." Even on the page, these plays are incredibly entertaining.

I read somewhere once that Sean O'Casey used to spit spiders at the mention of Coward's name. Shallow, trivial commercial stuff, you know. But I can't recall the last time I read O'Casey for pleasure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

This However, Makes Me Smile

An Italian art historian, Elena Lazzarini, says in a new book that male figures in Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" fresco are based on the bodies of prostitutes and laborers he encountered in the bathhouses and brothels of Rome.

"One of the damned is dragged down to Hell by his testicles, and amongst those who are blessed there are kisses and embraces, undoubtedly homosexual in nature," said Miss Lazzarini, whose book is called "Nudity, art and decorum: aesthetic changes in the art of the 16th century".

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Makes Me Very Sad

Gene Robinson, the Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, is stepping down. From CNN: "Death threats and a life plagued with controversy have taken their toll on the 63-year-old, leading him to announce this week he will be stepping down as bishop in 2013, seven years before the mandatory retirement age of 72."

I've never met Bishop Robinson, but have heard of him through the church and through friends who have met or worked with him. They all speak of his kindness and grace. I wish him well.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Quiet Place

I went last night to City Opera's A Quiet Place, the New York premiere of a full-length opera by Leonard Bernstein. If you can believe that sentence. But it's true - written almost thirty years ago, it's now making its debut in his hometown.

A Quiet Place is long-ish, and overstuffed with musical ideas and I loved it. The music is almost too beautiful and the performances are lovely, across the board. The first act takes place at a funeral, and it feels like every fucked up memorial service you've ever been to, only set to Bernstein music. (The chorus even sings at one point, "What a fucked up family!")

The staging is by Christopher Alden, one of my new favorite directors, after this and last season's Don Giovanni at City Opera. He's got a knack for staging that manifests the psychology of the characters, in ways that never seem obvious or ham-fisted. Or goes against the grain of the music.

I walked up to the window two weeks ago and got a twelve dollar ticket, fifth ring. (The acoustics there always sound better to me than fourth ring, further to the back of the house.) It's gotten rapturous reviews, but the place didn't look full to me. There are five more performances, so go and listen. This man was a giant and it's great to see this work getting its due.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Faiths

An absolutely gorgeous exhibition over at the main branch of the NYPL. They have a King James Bible from 1611, the Gutenberg, early medieval Islamic prayer books and beautiful illuminated Ethiopian gospels. You can look at the exhibition online here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Great Weekend

Marymere from American Opera Projects.

"Psycho" with Jane.

Edward Albee's Me, Myself & I. I know, a lot of people didn't like this show. I love Albee and I'm a bit of a completist when it comes to seeing his work. And any excuse to watch Brian Murray.

The Walking Dead. Lots of fun, especially the scene where the streets of Atlanta are taken over by zombies.

Ever read this book? Me, neither. It's great.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Scottsboro Boys

Saw a preview of "The Scottsboro Boys" last night at the Lyceum (thanks to my friend Bobby at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS) and it blew me away. It's nasty, dark, brutal and almost too entertaining.

For all of us downtown theater types who think we're so risky and out there - Kander and Ebb makes us look like a bunch of babies.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Student of Prague in Gowanus

Went to a very interesting music event last night. (First, I snagged Trumbull to come with me to get drinks beforehand.) Evan Mazunik, who heads the ZAHA Ensemble, was performing his score for a silent film from 1913, "The Student of Prague." "Student" is a very creepy old variation on the Doppelganger story and the 40 minute film - nearly a hundred years old - manages to be charming, quaint, and kind of nightmare-icky all at the same time.

Evan is a member of the Douglass Street Music Collective, performing in their teensy space at Gowanus. The Doppelganger score was really great - a lot of electronic/modern sounds layered over top of this old film, but still managing to find this weird heightened core of emotion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blogs for Theatre Lovers

For some unexplainable reason, I've been included in a list of 50 Best Blogs for Theatre Lovers.

I say unexplainable, since I blog little these days and many times just post pictures of my Dad at a game of the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

I'm notable!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Letter from the Bishop

I got this in my email box over the weekend, and wanted to share.


A letter from the Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Diocese of New York

I am writing to tell you that I wholeheartedly join other religious and civic leaders in calling on all parties involved in the dispute over the planned lower Manhattan Islamic community center and mosque to convert a situation that has sadly become ever more divisive into, as Archbishop Timothy Dolan recently stated, "an opportunity for a civil, rational, loving, respectful discussion."

The plan to build this center is, without doubt, an emotionally highly-charged issue. But as a nation with tolerance and religious freedom at its very foundation, we must not let our emotions lead us into the error of persecuting or condemning an entire religion for the sins of its most misguided adherents.

The worldwide Islamic community is no more inclined to violence that any other. Within it, however, a struggle is going on - between the majority who seek to follow a moderate, loving religion and the few who would transform it into an intolerant theocracy intent on persecuting anyone, Muslim or otherwise, with whom they disagree. We should all, as Christians, reach out in friendship and love to the peaceful Islamic majority and do all in our power to build and strengthen bridges between our faiths. We should also all remember that the violence and hateful behavior of the extremist are not confined to any one religion. Over the centuries we Christians have numbered more than a few among us who have perpetrated unspeakable atrocities in Christ's name.

I must admit that I also have a more personal connection with this issue. At the Episcopal Diocese of New York we know the leaders of this project, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan. We know that they are loving, gentle people, who epitomize Islamic moderation. We know that as Sufis, they are members of an Islamic sect that teaches a universal belief in man's relationship to God that is not dissimilar from mystic elements in certain strains of Judaism and Christianity. Feisal Abdul Rauf and Daisy Khan are, without question, people to whom Christians of good will should reach out with the hand of hospitality and friendship, as they reach out to us. I understand and support their desire to build an Islamic center, intended in part to promote understanding and tolerance among different religions.

For these reasons I applaud the positions taken by Governor Patterson, Mayor Bloomberg and others and look forward to furthering the efforts to resolve this issue. I am convinced, aided and guided by the One God who is creator of all, that people of goodwill can find a solution that will strengthen, rather than divide, the human condition,

The Right Reverend Mark S. Sisk
The Episcopal Diocese of New York

Friday, August 13, 2010

Go to This Damn Party

Enfant terrible Matt Freeman is having a fundraiser tomorrow night for his new show, "Brandywine Distillery Fire." Ten bucks gets you in at the door at some chi chi pad in Williamsburg owned by some guy who made money in TV. (All right, it's Steve Burns - he's in the show and I've seen him, he's pretty funny.)

Ten bucks at the door, all you can drink (what a leap of faith these people are taking - I know their guest list)- fortune tellers, raffles, cocktails, a vj, and naked amazing hookers of your choice giving it away for free! OK, I made that last one up, but Matt tells me there will be a raffle.

It's August. Don't even pretend you have something better to do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Photo of the Day

My Dad on Tuesday night at a Richmond Flying Squirrels game, with Larry Bruce, a former VCU basketball star who just signed a pro contract.

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Fabulous Facts from the NY Post

Murdoch's expensive hobby, The New York Post, had a rather strange write up by that creepy theater guy.

OK, I'll admit it. I love Vanessa Redgrave. She's a great actress and lady who's had a horribly tragic year. But read this piece. Does anything strike you as the least bit odd about the apocryphal and unattributed story of the Orient Express? Like - um - why is a British film subject to the rules of Actors Equity, the American stage union?

UPDATE: OH, alright. As a friend has just pointed out to me (yes, Wayne) there is a British Equity and it covers film. So I retract my previous snark on the Post. Most of it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Firebird is a Stallion."

Brando, Brando. Was anyone ever able to use a prop to convey such longing? When he puts on Eva Marie Saint’s little white glove in “Waterfront.” There’s a similar bit in “Reflections on a Golden Eye” when he picks up an empty cigarette pack that Robert Forster, the silent sexy private, has dropped. Brando - as the repressed army man Penderton - picks it up like it’s a piece of Waterford crystal. You later see him in his study, carefully smoothing out all of the wrinkles in the cig pack, hiding it away in a box of treasured mementos. You see him as he hears Forster coming up the stairs in his house, smoothing his hair and looking like a nervous virgin on her wedding night.

So interesting to look at Brando in that role next to Stanley in “Streetcar.” Stanley is such an animal, someone who so delights in his own body, his own movements. Penderton is so deeply uncomfortable in his own skin. It’s like he’s forced to exist in a frame that isn’t his, a rented body.

“Reflections” is a Carson McCullers freak show; Julie Harris plays the colonel’s wife who’s cut off her nipples with garden shears after a baby dies. She keeps a flaming queen of a Filipino house boy, and they sit around doing water colors in the evening. Elizabeth Taylor is wonderful as the life force Leonora, so ripe she’d burst if you touched her. She’s great in the scene where she horsewhips her impotent husband in front of a roomful of guests. In “Reflections” she shows how good she could be with good material, co-stars and a director like Huston.

Harris nails one scene in particular. She comes back into her own house, after seeing Forster enter Penderton’s house and thinking he’s her husband. She slowly climbs the stairs as a torrent comes out of her, aimed at her husband, Brian Keith; she’s divorcing him, he needs to loan her five hundred dollars which she will pay back at five percent interest, she is leaving in the morning and will never set foot in this house again; all the time she’s climbing the stairs slowly, gripping the rail with Keith slack-jawed at the bottom. It’s a breathtaking moment, when you finally see this character shatter and an avalanche comes out of her mouth.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Harper Lee Speaks to a Journalist

One of the great American writers, Harper Lee, actually spoke to a journalist while feeding ducks near a pond in Monroeville, Alabama. I know, I know. But I love this lady.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And Coming Up Next...

...Cherry Picking on July 12 at the Cherry Pit downtown. A new short piece for the evening entitled DELICIOUS BROWNIES.

Here's What I've Been Up to This Month...

...just back from Marshall University, where I worked with Stephen Speights and my old summer stock pal, Bruce Rous. A good productive week with the students and folks from the community.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


"Short Plays to Long Remember" was a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award, Anthology Category. Available at Drama Book Shop and Amazon.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Hollywood is easy to hate, easy to sneer at, easy to lampoon. Some of the best lampooning has been done by people who have never walked through a studio gate, some of the best sneering by egocentric geniuses who departed huffily - not forgetting to collect their last pay check- leaving behind them nothing but the exquisite aroma of their personalities and a botched job for the tired hacks to clear up." - Raymond Chandler

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

B.H. Barry Gets a Tony

Very exciting press release on the Tonys for this year. In addition to Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (a great organization), Tom Viola of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (where my pal Bob works - also a fantastic organization) - a teacher of mine from Circle in the Square is being honored. Years ago, I was taught stage combat at Circle by a magic man named B.H. Barry. He was a pioneer in teaching stage combat, and I still remember some of the things he told us.

"What I teach is about making ten percent effort for a hundred percent effect. This is the easiest stuff in the world. If you can't learn this, then I'm a bad teacher. Anyone can do this."

He said this about leaping around with swords, tumbling, taking a fall, stage punches. And you know what? We all learned how to do it. Even incredibly clumsy, un-athletic me. He really could teach anyone. We all looked forward to his Friday afternoon classes. It was always the perfect end to the week.

So congratulations, B.H. You are the master.

Monday, April 19, 2010


This is an email from my old college pal, Gary Cowling, on AIDSWALK.

Dear William & Mary and Friends Team - AIDS Walk NY 2009,

Thursday I went to an AIDS Walk thank you lunch. Over the years there have been many team leader events, so I was surprised to see such a small elite gathering (at a nice, swanky place). Then I was really surprised when presented with an award for our team.

1st Place Fundraising Team
From a School or University Team.

I knew we had (for the first time) raised more than any other school group - but didn't know there was a prize!


If you haven't sponsored anyone for AIDSWALK yet, why not me?

And if you'd like to join our award-winning W&M team - click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

4Play at the LGBT Center

"Saturday with Martin," part of "Short Plays to Long Remember," tonight at the LGBT Center.

AIP last night at University Settlement, where Leanne Hutchison did a lovely job on "Sadie Lou Tells Her Own Side of That Unfortunate Business..." Also, Carrington Vilmont singing "McNally's Row of Flats" and essaying about a dozen roles for the AIP writers. Upcoming events include the Martin Segal Center at CUNY and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Admission is free.

And by all means, go see Martin Casella's The Irish Curse, running at Soho Playhouse. A very funny, touching play, with an excellent cast. I saw Bill Timoney in Dan Butler's role, and didn't realize until after the performance that he was the understudy when someone told me. And Austin Peck is far funnier than someone that good-looking should be allowed to be. Tickets are available here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


A shot taken by Jonna at confirmation last Saturday night, the Easter Vigil at St. John's. That's me, Alex Coffey and Nolan. Great night.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rochelle at Plays & Playwrights

Rochelle Denton posted info on the "Saturday with Martin" reading and the upcoming "America in Play" project at University Settlement. More info is here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Upcoming Events, More on "Beautiful Darling"

Come to the LGBT Community Center, Tuesday April 13, 2010 at 6:30PM. (The Center is at 208 West 13th Street, near 7th Ave.) As part of the Center’s 2nd Tuesdays Cultural Series, "4Play," featuring readings from "Short Plays to Long Remember." And - the evening includes a reading of "Saturday with Martin," featuring George Hosmer and Brian Fuqua, who originated the roles in 2003 for Blue Coyote. Original direction by Kyle Ancowitz. Ten bucks at the door. This is a script I'm very fond of, and I'm very excited I get to hear George & Bri go at each other again. UPDATE: Reservations at the Center are available here.

On Monday, April 12 at 6:30, America in Play presents "Crossing Over" at University Settlement, 184 Eldridge Street. While I haven't been able to be as active with AIP this spring, the evening does include some of my material and it's a terrific group of writers, led by Lynn Thomson. More info here. Admission is free.

And "Beautiful Darling" - the Candy Darling documentary years in the making - screened at MOMA on Friday night, part of the New Directors series for Film at Lincoln Center. OK, I was disappointed they cut my interviews for the film - but it's a gorgeous, touching piece of work. Lots of film footage and interviews that have never been heard or seen before. It was kind of overwhelming for me to hear Tennessee Williams' voice talk about working with Candy in "Small Craft Warnings," know what I mean? I hope this one has a long long life.

UPDATE: "Short Plays to Long Remember" is up on Amazon. Hell, as long as you're on Amazon, why not buy "Playing with Canons," which includes my adaptation of "The Eumenides?" Why NOT? And "A Funeral Home in Brooklyn," part of Best 10-Minute Plays of 2008, got a nice write up on Barnes and Buy it and give it to a loved one. OK, maybe not that, but buy it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It must be spring, 'cause I'm back raising money for AIDSWALK. Click on the link to donate. And thanks.

Great News

...about a show I really enjoyed at the York. Yank is moving to Broadway.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sony Masterworks

My friend Scott Farthing at Sony has a new website he's been working on - it's the Sony back catalog of over 400 Broadway cast albums. They'll be launching tomorrow so check it out.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Upcoming Events for "Short Plays to Long Remember"

They'll be doing selections from the book on Monday March 22 at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble, 65th and Broadway, for an event called NIFTY AFTER FIFTY at 7:30. Stop by, pick up a copy and hear selections from Daniel P. Quinn and Jane Chambers.

Also, stop by the RAINBOW BOOK FAIR at CUNY at 34th St. and 5th Ave on Mar 27th. At 1:30, Francine Trevens, editor and publisher of SHORT PLAYS TO LONG REMEMBER, will be part of a panel discussion on gay theater at the Fair at 1:30. Both of these events are free.

And in April, I'm excited to say, Brian Fuqua and George Hosmer, who originated the roles, will be doing a one-time reading of SATURDAY WITH MARTIN, at the LGBT Center at West 13th. 6:30 April 13, so mark your calendars.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

An Evening of "Deeply Offensive" Theater

My friend Matt's play, Glee Club - which I've gone on about - did get a very interesting review from Edge New York. Which included a nice shout-out from playwright Jonathan Leaf at the end.

If you haven't seen the show yet, GoSeeGleeClub.

If you haven't gotten a chance, go see Bette Bourne at St. Ann's before it closes. I saw him at Theater for the New City years ago, and he's a spellbinding storyteller.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pimping the New Anthology

TnT Classics, publisher of the just-released "Short Plays to Long Remember," will be at the NYCIP Independent Book Fair this weekend. It's Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7 at 20 West 44th Street, Room 404, from 11 to 5. This is the anthology which includes "Saturday with Martin," as well as works by Doric Wilson and Jane Chambers. Our intrepid publisher, Francine Trevens, who operates TnT, will be giving a talk on Sunday from 12:30 to 1 PM, on the arts and aches of putting together an anthology. She'll also be reading from some of her own works included in the anthology. Stop by and pick up a copy and say hey to Francine.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Go See Glee Club Now

OK, I talked about Matt Freeman's Glee Club last summer, when it played at the Brick's Anti-Depressant Festival. It's now in previews at Blue Coyote for a full run downtown at the Access. We all know the drill here - your friends tell you about shows, they're showcases, we all wait until the last weekend, slap our heads and say "oh crap, I have to get to it this weekend before it closes." We go begging for houses the first two weeks and then turn people away the last weekend.

This is not gonna work here. Go book a ticket now. It was full up on the first preview last night. No one's full at first preview. The Wooster Group is not full up at first previews. That's when you try a wrangle a comp. Trust me, this will fill up fast.

It's dark, it's mean, it's funny as hell, and it's the most fun you'll ever have with people who are this rotten.

And hey - this meant nothing to me because I was not watching children's programming in the nineties - but the guy from "Blue's Clues" is in it.

I hope children who remember him from the thing with the cartoon dog do NOT show up at this. It might be traumatizing for them to hear their lovable childhood pal talk about the difficulties of getting through a scrotum without power tools.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Halls of the Madhouses are Filled with Governesses

Pal and muse Vince Gatton is appearing in this through tomorrow night - Jeffrey Hatcher's creepy two-handed adaptation of "The Turn of the Screw." This production places the show - set in the 1870s - in the Merchant House Museum on East Fourth Street, built in the 1830s. It's an inspired choice for this material and they even brought in a 'historical lighting consultant' to approximate the look of gaslight and kerosene without setting the place on fire. Some things are too historically accurate, you know?

I'd tell you to go see it, but the joint only seats about 34 people for the performance, and all the tickets are sold. But Vince said those who show up for cancellations are getting in. There's one show tonight and two on Saturday night.

This was excellent, trust me. I loathe Henry James and I loved it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Had a Snow Day Off So I Bought a Shitload of Used Jazz CDs

The World Wide Intraweb told me that Academy Records on West 18th Street had a much better selection of classical than jazz. Apparently, you have to go further downtown to dig that cool jazz. Perhaps this is true and if I had tromped in the snow to East 12th, I would have been even nuttier. But I gotta tell you - I found more than enough neat stuff at the 18th Street location to waste a whole winter afternoon. And they have good classical, too, it just wasn't what I was jonesing for yesterday.

And I ended up putting a lot of Eric Dolphy, Mel Torme and Dave Brubeck back because it was just getting out of control.

Monday, February 8, 2010

She Wouldn't Take the Dress Off

My review of Karen Finley's new show, a meditation on Jackie Kennedy, fame and assassination kitsch.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Can't Wait to Go to This!

I've been listening to the Jazz Loft series on NPR, and of course I'm totally smitten with the whole damn thing. Now I find out the NYPL is having an exhibition of over 200 photos taken at the Jazz Loft and I can't believe I have to wait like what - twelve days? - for them to hang the shit up so I can see it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"Saturday with Martin" in TnT Anthology, Coming out in March

Below is the official press release for "Short Plays to Long Remember," which includes "Saturday with Martin," originally presented by Blue Coyote with George Hosmer and Brian Fuqua. I'll keep you posted on more details as we get closer to reading events in March.


Compiled and edited by Francine L. Trevens due out in March

An eclectic anthology of plays ranging in playing time from seven minutes to over forty minutes. They cover the full gamut of styles and subjects, from atheism to zen, from actual incidents to zoological impossibilities, from aesthetics to zeitgeist, from apathy to zealotry. The 27 play collection has works from 14 authors, including Jane Chambers, among whose many awards in the seventies were Connecticut Educational TV. Award, Eugene O'Neill fellowship, National Writer’s Guild Award, and in the eighties, L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Award, a Proclamation from L. A. for Outstanding Theatre and Fund for Human Dignity Award. First play in the book is by Doric Wilson who won the 2007 IT Award for Artistic Achievement; and in 2009, the ATHE Career Achievement Award for Professional Theatre. Its other award winning authors are, Perry Brass, Michael Devereaux, Paul Dexter, Victor Gluck, (noted lecturer on theatre and an esteemed theatre critic), David Brendan Hopes, David Johnston, David J. Mauriello, Sidney Morris, William F. Poleri, Daniel P. Quinn and George Zarr, a noted radio drama expert.

Designed for colleges, universities, libraries and theatres seeking short plays, SHORT PLAYS TO LONG REMEMBER ISBN 978-1-886586-14-7 $16.95 retail, pre-publication orders accepted now directly from publisher. Email

SHORT PLAYS TO LONG REMEMBER will be featured in the Greater New York Independent Publishers NIFTY AFTER FIFTY program at Barnes & Noble Lincoln Square March 22. Selected gay plays from the anthology will be in a 2nd Tuesday program on April 12, called 4 PLAY and featuring 4 plays and authors, at the Center on 13th Street.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vision Quest at Observatory

My friend Pam's show, opening this weekend in Brooklyn! If you don't follow her blog, you're a chump.

Friday, January 8, 2010

And Remember...

If you're having a bad day. It could be worse.

You could be in the clutches of Eclipso.