Area thespians expand their horizons

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"

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