Jun 17, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
In March, downtown Syracuse’s forward-thinking arts facility, the Redhouse, took a troupe of area actors to present “Odysseus DOA” Off Broadway, a stone’s throw from New York City’s Times Square.
This summer, Syracuse’s fledgling Covey Theatre Company will stage “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” at the scene of the crime in Fall River, Mass.
Meanwhile, music by Salt City band Jonathan Dinkin & Klezmercuse is being showcased in a European stage production.
Redhouse in Big Apple
From March 16 to 20, for the first time in its history the Redhouse brought a production from Syracuse to Manhattan. Written and directed by Steve Svoboda, “Odysseus DOA” – a play about a hospital patient dying of AIDS which debuted here in January – was staged by its original cast at The Lion Theatre on New York’s Theatre Row.
Writing for nytheatre.com, reviewer Martin Denton raved about the play.
“‘Odysseus DOA’ is stirring, emotional theatre with much to teach us about the strength of humanity and the power of love…The staging is fluid and tight, on a simple set conceived by Michiko Katayama consisting of a few chairs, a mobile hospital bed and three stark white moving screens. Kristi McKay’s costumes blend complete naturalism with occasional fanciful touches. John Czajkowski’s lighting and Svoboda’s sound design contribute mightily to the play’s slightly surreal, abstract ambience.”
Covey coming to Fall River
Another impressive show penned by a local playwright, “Lizzie Took an Axe” by Garrett Heater, hits the road in August.
The play which won two 2011 Syracuse Area Local Theater Awards, will be performed in Fall River, Mass., where Lizzie Borden was tried for the bloody murders of her father and stepmother in 1892. Replacing actress Jodi Bova in the title role will be Katie Gibson, but otherwise the Syracuse cast remains intact.
Bova will miss the road trip because she’s expecting a baby, but Gibson should have no problem taking over as the middle-class Massachusetts murderer. Gibson won a 2009 SALT Award for best actress for her work in Simply New Theatre’s harrowing “Agnes of God”
“Lizzie” will be staged at the Robert J. Nagle Theatre in Durfee High School, in Fall River, at 8 p.m. on Aug. 5 and 2 and 8 p.m. on Aug. 6. For info, visit thecoveytheatrecompany.com, or call 420-3729.
Klezmercuse tunes in Austria
This month, a theater group in Wels, Austria is using music by Klezmercuse bandleader and composer Jonathan Dinkin in its current production.
The company is le bagage, and the play is “Nachtasyl” (“The Night Asylum”) by Maxim Gorky which originally debuted in Moscow in 1902. The gloomy four-act drama, a vivid example of Gorky’s socialist realism, is set in a Russian slum filled with alcoholics, card sharps and loose women.
Le baggage is using songs from the Syracuse band’s CD, “Lily’s Hora,”
“They heard the music on the Internet and loved it, so I sent them the sheet music, and they’ve hired a violinist and pianist to play the music,” Dinkin said. “Pretty wild, huh?”
Wild, indeed and also well-deserved.
Klezmercuse remains the Syracuse music scene’s best-kept secret, a dynamic dance band driven by Dinkin’s keyboard and colorful compositions.
When Klezmercuse performs a free concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 at Liverpool’s Johnson Park, the band will welcome clarinetist Ken Frieden to its ranks. Frieden leads the Syracuse University Klezmer Ensemble.
Baldwinsville Theatre Guild actresses Robin Bridenbaker and Aileen Kenneson shine as two middle-aged yentas in its current comedy “At First Sight,” running through June 18, at the Presbyterian Education Center, 64 Oswego St., in B’ville.
Bridenbaker and Kenneson elicit laughs with their giddy Yiddishisms and world-wise cynicisms. Their spot-on Lower East Side accents enrich their characters with a verisimilitude that really accentuates the situational humor.
Oh, yeah, the situation.
Bridenbaker’s Julia, a 51-year-old widow, dresses like a schlub but has lovely, long dark hair and a personality pleasant enough to have attracted a stranger at an out-of-town business convention. After an evening of kibitzing over drinks, nature took its course and Julia is pregnant, leaving her two grown children dismayed and disbelieving.
After Julia reveals her condition and lack of information about her shtuper, her ostentatiously stylish sister Verna steps in to play shamus.
“At First Sight” continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18, in Baldwinsville. Admission costs $15, or $12 for students; 877-4183.