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A CurtainUp Report

2007 New York International Fringe Festival

Updated August 27, 2007.
For a list of awards (marked by ), click here.
For information on Fringe Encores, click here.

Click on Show Title Below, or Scroll Down Page to Browse

36:24:36 | Action Jesus | All Aboard | Angela's Flying Bed | Another Day on Willow Street | Antarctica | BANG/Whimper | A Beautiful Child | Better This Way | Boiling Pot | The Box | Bucharest Calling | Bukowsical! | Bye, Bye Big Guy | Cancer! the musical | Catch the Fish | Chaser | Chekhov Jazz | Ching Chong Chinaman | The Consuming Passions of Lydia Pinkham and Rev. Sylvester Graham | Dirt | Fish | The Game | Gamers | The Gospel According to Matthew | Hail Satan | Hamlet - a stand up | Helmet | The Hoarde | Horatio | Jesus Rant | John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! | Juliet: A Dialogue about Love | Kiss and Make Up | Len and Ernest | Leni | The Life & Times of Martin Luther | Lost in Hollywoodland or the Slugwoman from Uranus | The Medicine Show (A Play with Music) | The Miracle on Monroe Street | Night | Pedagogy | Piaf: Love Conquers All | PN1923.45 LS01 Volume 2 (The Book Play) | Poppies | Princess Sunshine's Bitter Pill of Truth Funhouse | The Rat King | The Reader | Requiem pour une ame seule | Revolutionaries | Roll with the Punches | She Wolves | Slut à la Carte | The Sunshine Play | The Terrible Girls | Third Child: Orestes Revisited | Too Clever by Half | unrest | The Unusual Suspects | Williamsburg! The Musical | The Winter's Tale Project | The Wisdom that Men Seek

EDITOR'S NOTE: Now in its eleventh year, FringeNYC runs August 10-26, 2007. This year's festival has scheduled 188 shows at 19 venues. We will report on a healthy dose of this year's offerings in the reviews below.

Many people do their show-picking on the fly, but readers are advised to consider making reservations for popular shows they don't want to miss. What shows are those? We don't like to predict. Further information, schedules and reservations prior to the show day are available by phoning 212-279-4488 or 1-888-FRINGENYC (9AM-7PM); on the web at: (also prior to the day of performance) or in person at Fringe Central, 80 Carmine Street (@Varick). Day-of-performance tickets are available (cash only) at the door at each venue, 15 minutes prior to the show. Prices: $15, reduced (only at Fringe Central or at the door) to $10 for kids 12 and under to FringeJR events and for seniors. There are also passes: 5 shows for $70, 10 shows for $120 and the "Lunatic Pass," which entitles you to attend as many shows as possible, for $500.

A complete list of venues (with addresses) can be found at the end of this page or by clicking here.
The last name of the author of each capsule review is indicated at the end of the review in brackets.


Slut à la Carte
One-woman performance pieces about women and their sexuality have been around at least since the 1970s, but there is always room for more. Writer/director Brenda McFarlane's Slut à la Carte is an amusing, pointed take on a culture that still views the sexual woman as the slut next door. Piece starts out with Matilda (Heidi Weeks) being arrested for supposedly running a whorehouse. Wearing fish-net stockings, high heels and a short, pink, satin robe, Matilda waits in jail to be bailed out and along the way talks about the frustrations of her love life. To her dismay, both women and men have trouble understanding how a woman can like sex and even fall in love, at least temporarily, with many lovers. Piece gains ground as it goes along, primarily because Weeks adeptly transforms from one character to another, creating distinct and believable cameos through shifts in physical stance, voice timbre and accent. The script's light if unsurprising ending could be strengthened-particularly Matilda's tag line-but generally Slut à la Carte serves up a pleasant mixture of humor and seriousness, along with a pleasurable performance. At Players Loft. 55 minutes. [Greene]

Austrian novelist and playwright Robert Schneider wrote the one-man play Dirt in autumn 1991, and a startling and unsettling work it is. Set in an American city much like New York, courtesy of an excellent translation and adaptation by Paul F. Dvorak, Dirt delves into the hurt, loneliness, self-hatred and outright fury of an Iraqi refugee who calls himself Sad (Christopher Domig). In his new city illegally, Sad sells roses on the street and lives in a room lit only by candles, for his (unseen) Arab roommate has not made enough money to pay the light bill. From that room, its poverty cannily suggested by designer Gabriel Garza with upturned plastic buckets and the occasional milk crate, Sad tells the story of life among people who disdain his dark skin, black hair and beard, and what they perceive as his general filthiness. On one level Sad (short for Saddam, or simply the English word for unhappiness?) has taken their disgust to heart-he believes he is "a piece of shit." But on another level he nurses a growing anger for the people who fear him and, he is sure, wish him harm. Schneider's writing is courageous, poetic, theatrical, and disturbingly prescient. Under David Robinson's smart direction, Domig draws us into Sad's wry humor and deep distress, and holds us there. At Players Loft. 75 minutes. [Greene]

Bucharest Calling
Pity the five men and women of Bucharest Calling, the over-long drama by Romanian playwright Peca Stefan about life in the capital of post-Communist Romania. Money is scarce, and young people, depressed about their futures, turn to prostitution, illegal car racing and call-in radio programs to help them survive. Katia (Katia Pascarlu), a student, feels lashed to her (unseen) bed-ridden mother, whom she would like to murder, while her sister, would-be actress Iulia (Isabela Neamtu), earns money taking S&M clients for a pimp who calls himself Pall Mall (Cosmin Selesi). Alex (Daniel Popa) radio-jockeys for an unsuccessful show named "Bucharest Calling," while his younger brother, Andrei (Laurentiu Banescu), drives around all day, looking for the wife that he knows is dead. Written in an affectless and ironic style reminiscent of early Edward Bond (Saved), this episodic play contains some scenes that successfully jar and frighten, others that meander and bore. Part of the difficulty is the staging by Romanian director Ana Margineanu, who tiresomely brings actors on and off, on and off, a low platform, for even the briefest of sequences. A more fluid approach would help play and production (slide projections on a screen upstage add little). Director Margineanu also apparently encourages acting that looks and sounds improvisational, with the result that pacing is absent and energy frequently low. Stefan and Margineanu have supposedly collaborated many times before; this particular effort still needs work. At 45 Bleecker - Lafayette. 1 hour, 35 minutes. [Greene]

A flirtatious first date between two men quickly takes a dangerous turn when Dominick (Jake Alexander) confesses to Val (Wil Petre) that he is HIV positive. Val is not dissuaded by this complication much to the surprise of Dominick who slowly begins to let down his guard. Their attraction to each other is insistent and draws them into bed together, but in the heat of the moment, Val pleads with Dominick to infect him. He admits that his desire is to belong, having been rejected by his former lover who was infected because he didn't want to put Val at risk. He doesn't want to contract it from just anyone. He wants a real connection, which he feels is palpable between the two of them. His desire for the disease is sharply contrasted with Dominick's difficulty and pain of accepting that he has it. Director Shaun Peknic instills Howard Walters' sometimes choppy play with a driving pace that keeps one on edge and off balance. Wil Petre's honest and charming portrayal safeguards this one act from veering into trite waters, and Jake Alexander's emotional journey as Dominick compels. An intimate glimpse inside two men's confrontation with the emerging phenomenon of "bug chasing," Chaser explores a world in which sickness is sometimes considered the greatest gift. At Cherry Lane Studio. 1 hour. [Winchester]

Nanci Richards is a high school teacher with tenure. No, really, she is. She also happens to be a stand-up comedienne who gets her kicks by bringing her humor to the classroom and her classroom to the stage. In this one-woman show, Nanci shares her rich experiences in the field (of battle/ teaching) as well as her philosophy on how to stay sane doing it. A realist with no shame about being initially drawn to teaching for the benefits, she embarks on the 185-day journey of a school year at New Dorp High School on Staten Island. Throughout, the stereotype of "teacher" as a soft-hearted, mild-mannered servant to society is laughingly blown as Nanci re-enacts scenes which include the classroom, staff breakroom, and a student's sweet 16 party. She may dance to her own unique beat, but it's obvious that Nanci loves what she does and her kids with a real passion. In performance, when she's on, she's on, but there are some fairly frequent lulls in transition that hold up the flow of the show. Nevertheless, her anecdotes leave the audience loving her kids, co-workers, and most of all, her as a representative of the untraditional in an arena that truly needs her. At Center for Architecture. 1 hour. [Winchester]

If it takes both courage and humility to admit to now being or having been a gamer in the past, whether of Dungeons and Dragons or the more technologically advanced computer variety (I'm guilty on both counts), it's got to take a whole lot more to write, direct, and star in your own show about the subject... accurately. Indeed, Brian Bielawski and Walter G. Meyer get so much right about the life of a gaming geek, here embodied in the character Steve (played believably by Bielawski), an MIT dropout who rules the universe of an online role-playing game and works a real life tech support job to support his virtual one, that the non-gaming members of the audience which find his behavior so bizarrely funny would probably be shocked to learn how accurate the portrayal actually is. What's fun about this show is that it packs more inside gamer/techie/webhead jokes into an hour than seems possible without leaving the "outsider" part of the audience behind, and thus everyone gets to have a good time. Typical of the Fringe, there are a few rough edges here, and Bielawski himself occasionally drifts a bit out of his generally consistent character portrayal, with profanity-laced tirades galore. (Despite the title, this is definitively not a show for young children.) And if you're looking for a deeper meaning behind the Mountain Dew-drinking, frantic mouse-clicking vibe of the production, you're at the wrong play. (They start the whole business by playing the opening music to the online role-playing game Dark Age of Camelot, for heaven's sake!). But the show doesn't pretend to be anything that it's not, and the fact that both gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy its humor is reason enough to recommend it. At Independent Theater. 55 minutes. [Wilson]

The press release for Isabelle Assante's Horatio says that the playwright has "shaken the universal beliefs about the underwritten and omnipresent Horatio". If this is actually Assante's intention, I wish it could have been expressed more clearly in the production, which can't seem to decide what "universal belief" it most wants to shake in a little over an hour. The play (directed by Troy Miller) apparently wants to re-imagine the relationship between Horatio and Hamlet, challenge the conventional wisdom about Hamlet's motivations for revenge against his uncle, and do so all in original Shakespearean language-in fact in his exact words, as the entirety of the play's lines are taken from the First Folio original text of Hamlet itself, reorganized to fit the new plot. This is an interesting idea, but frankly seems better in theory than it works in reality; even a Shakespearean play text is limited by, well, itself, and the strain of trying to cherry-pick lines to fit an entirely different set of imagined circumstances often shows. It also seems more appropriate to an academic exercise than a theater performance, and that feel permeates the production-beyond its issues with incoherency, the show is frankly a little boring, and both director and actors (competent but not compelling) don't help matters. Even Horatio himself seems as oddly underplayed by Richard Gallagher as the press release claims is the standard in most productions of Hamlet... whether this is a directorial decision or an acting choice is hard to determine, but either way the method doesn't work. This along with the determined adherence to the First Folio lines both confuses the audience and drags the show down considerably-I suspect that Assante added these elements (especially the Shakespearean language) to validate her "shaking universal beliefs," but in reality the play just isn't very shocking, and thus neither needs nor is helped by these ideas. In principle Horatio is a great idea (and in some ways is worth seeing just for the attempt), but in practice a more focused production would have been much more effective in the long run. At Linhart Theater. 1 hour, 5 minutes. [Wilson]

Anyone who has ever turned down a piece of chocolate cake they really craved, put in three hours on the treadmill to lose one pound, or binged on Rocky Road at 2 o'clock in the morning should see 36:24:36. That means women and men, teens and 50-somethings. Created by Ann Malinowsky, but written, staged and performed by a dedicated group that includes Malinowsky, the director James Duff, and actors Candice Holdorf, Naomi McDougall Jones, Erin O'Connell, Stephanie Schweitzer, Danielle Tafeen, and Gavin Bellour, 36:24:36 is a personal, forceful, funny-sad performance piece about being obsessed with your weight. A mélange of satiric scenes and confessional monologues á la A Chorus Line, 36:24:36 (a woman's supposedly ideal measurements) shows the many roads to obsession, all of them, according to the characters' stories, arising from inner dissatisfaction and pressure, and all fated to hurt more than help. Several of the characters are bulimic and one, a successful painter named Amy (Jones), dies of anorexia. Another doesn't have an eating disorder but spends at least six hours each day at the gym. And just in case you begin to envy the slim, buff actors on stage, program notes reveal that several have wrestled desperately with eating disorders for much of their lives. Scenes could be tightened, send-ups of commercials could be sharpened (there's one for a "petite puker" that fits easily into an evening purse)-but the gang who created 36:24:36 should take their show on the road to high schools, colleges and any place where women and men obsess about their weight. Which, in this country anyway, means practically everywhere. At Linhart Theatre. 1 hour, 25 minutes. [Greene]

Larke Schuldberg's play, the unfortunately titled BANG/Whimper, takes on hefty issues such as the ugliness of war, the awfulness of torture and rape, the guilt of those who commit such dastardly acts. But this play about a Serbian fighter turned portrait artist who lives in Berlin, where the sister of one of his possible victims tracks him down with revenge in mind, is so overwritten and cliché-ridden, that its good intentions sink beneath a welter of melodramatic surprises and bursts of passion. Goran (Drew Buck) has picked up an attractive woman who says her name is Sabina (Risa Sarachan) and taken her back to his loft with an eye toward drawing her portrait and seducing her. But soon Sabina (as in the Romans' rape of the Sabine women?) has revealed her real intentions and is saying things like "Tell me what it's like to kill," and Goran is saying things like "You're not going to get that power over me. I won't let you have it," and each is pointing a gun at the other. The play is not helped by overacting, especially from Sarachan. If director Slaney Chadwick Ross could encourage the actors to tone down their yelling, one might at least be able to pay more attention to the play. At Independent Theatre. 55 minutes. [Greene]

Another Day on Willow Street
Three people live on Willow Street in Brooklyn Heights. Ian Brown (Fred Backus) and his eight-month pregnant wife, Stacy Gold (Pamela Sabaugh) reside in an expensive brownstone. Mark Gray (Craig Bentley) inhabits a tiny apartment while he pursues an acting career. Stacy, who has just quit her job as a book publicist, wants her husband, a Wall Street banker, to spend more time with her. Mark wants his lover, Boston lawyer Paul Green (Frank Anthony, who is also the playwright) to come out to his parents and move in with him so they can get married. Stacy meets Mark on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and confides her problems to him, which somehow doesn't dampen his desire for marriage. Anthony wants us to believe there's something special about the people in Another Day on Willow Street. But with lines like "You sure are sweet" "Not as sweet as you" and consistently bland acting, Another Day on Willow Street is, in fact, no more than its title. At Players Theatre. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Simmons]

The Box
The refrigerator onstage in Steffi Kammer's autobiographical one-woman show, The Box, doesn't work and contains no food. But it is here that Steffi stores the objects that stir her memories of growing up in Brooklyn's Farragut Housing Project while attending the prestigious Dalton School on scholarship. Steffi's memories include sexual abuse, hunger, and a fierce love for her younger brother. Through it all, Steffi is inspired by the artist Joseph Cornell, who also collected objects and put them in his boxes. Although the proliferation of one-person shows can make them ho-hum, no matter how many roles the performer plays, Kammer, who plays over a dozen, has put into The Box enough original ideas and genuine emotion to make her work both outstanding and moving. At 45 Bleecker - Lafayette. 1 hour, 5 minutes. [Simmons]

A clever concept guides Helmet, an imaginative and touching play by Scottish dramatist Douglas Maxwell about a teenage boy obsessed with video games. Rather than write a conventional, realistic drama about lonely Roddy aka Helmet (Troy David Mercier), who spends his days hanging out in the video game store owned by Sal (Michael Evans Lopez), Maxwell has the characters in Helmet move much of the time like the automaton-like figures in animated video games. Under Maryann Lombardi's smart, sensitive direction, there is no set: only Mercier and Lopez often walking on diagonals, bumping into each other and collapsing on the floor to the sounds of dings, buzzes, and other noises associated with the violent games that Roddy adores. This could get tiresome, except that Maxwell weaves a compelling story about a damaged boy and, by adopting the game device that allows a player to choose more than one move, more than one outcome, writes variations on several scenes. What emerges is a drama that young audiences familiar with the likes of Bionic Commando will immediately understand, accompanied by the clear, but never didactic, message that life is more than a playstation. Lopez is strong as the store owner who dislikes but also pities Helmet, and Mercier, a young actor endowed with an expressive face and the ability to move in graceful, controlled fashion, gives an unsettling performance as the unhappy teen who takes his games too much to heart. At Players Loft. 1 hour. [Greene]

The Gospel According to Matthew
From the title of this surprisingly compelling one-act you might be expecting a Sunday school historical dramatization of the millennia-old scripture. Fortunately you'll be pleasantly surprised. The gospel-or good news-according to performer Matthew Francis is that there is experience beyond the dusty stories and morals of childhood. With a sleek and fine-tuned production, Francis spins a well-crafted tale of spiritual struggles between two very different perspectives on sexuality and lifestyle in contemporary America. Francis became a born-again Christian in college but then found this doctrine coming into conflict with his "homosexual dreams and fantasies," as he describes it to his spiritual mentor in college. His struggle takes him through both various "ex-gay" ministries, and "open and affirming" Christian churches who support homosexuality. Balancing various voices through careful juxtaposition-which still favors one side, after all this is New York and not Nebraska-Francis tells the story in all its present turmoil, as filtered through his experience. The material is presented verbatim, allowing each voice to come through-a technique which keeps the audience engaged throughout the 90-minute one-act. Francis keeps on tirelessly, working for each laugh. If it's a little over the top, so much the better; it's done with a finesse that keeps it more amusing than annoying. Francis' ease with the audience is particularly enjoyable: He engaged in an improvised dialogue about the fourth wall during an audience participation scene when the audience got a little presumptuous. The ending is a bit abrupt and leaves a few too many questions but perhaps that's fitting for a play about issues with no easy solutions. At Soho Playhouse. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Banks]

Jesus Rant
Perhaps more aptly titled Grandfather Rant, the material in this one-man show is compelling, if not particularly out of the ordinary. Storyteller H.R. Britton begins his tale with an amusing anecdote of 5 year-old huggus interruptus followed by an immediate prayer circle. Britton then recounts a fairly typical path through spiritual questioning in adolescence and young adulthood, looking into Buddhism and Hinduism in search of an alternative to the evangelical Christianity of his youth. But when Britton attacks Christianity, he's really only discussing his grandfather's brand of faith, which seems to be based on memorizing Bible-verses and homophobia. His exclusion of most other views of Christianity (the Jesus seminar and the "historical" Jesus aside) makes the grandfather more the focus of the play than Jesus. And, in the end, the blurring of religion and family makes it difficult to tell exactly what Britton is ranting about. But, as faith and family are usually intertwined, this blending occurs more often than not, and can make for surprising insights. Unfortunately Britton's stilted delivery fails to mine any of this potential depth out of the material. While the writing itself is funny at times, it failed to get the laughs it deserved during the reviewed performance. In typical fringe style, Britton wears black and sits on a stool throughout the hour-long ramble, occasionally getting up to rummage through a pair of suitcases for illustrative props, which are often the funniest part of the scene. At Players Loft. 1 hour. [Banks]

The Winter's Tale Project
In Shakespeare's tragicomedy The Winter's Tale, one of the characters departs the stage (and play) with the memorable stage direction "Exit, pursued by a bear." Whether this was actually Shakespeare's original idea or just something added by a later producer who wanted something to spice up the action, the manifest silliness of the concept has colored perceptions of the play for centuries, with some unfortunate interpretations as a result. For much of Bridget Ryan and Chris Wynters' NYC Fringe musical version of the work, it seems they've fallen into the same trap of viewing The Winter's Tale more as cartoony slapstick than thoughtful drama. Of course there are a lot of comic elements in the play... and besides, the performing company can (within reason) make whatever choices it likes for its production. But I'm pretty confident that awkward and goofy aren't the best interpretive options available, and sadly this production chooses them much too often. This might be mitigated with a better cast, but many of the performers (of whom there are far too many for a small stage) are subpar, even in major roles, and spend more time hamming it up than really allowing the music and story to breathe (though Hermione, excellently played and sung by Emily Mattheson, is a notable and welcome exception). This is a shame on both counts, since much of the music is pretty, albeit too quiet at times, and there are moments where the magic of the tale shines through-as in the final reconciliation scene between Leontes and Hermione. But the audience barely has the opportunity to register the moment before a final up-tempo disco number brings the production to a jarring close. Giggling at the idea of a bear chasing someone off stage is understandable... building an entire show around the same reaction isn't, and doing so in this case leads to a rather disappointing result. At Village Theatre. 1 hour, 45 minutes. [Wilson].

Juliet: A Dialogue about Love
It occurred to me, watching Bucharest Calling and now Juliet, that Eastern Europeans have a different sense of time than Americans, especially when it comes to theater. Juliet, a play for one woman, has been written by Romanian-born dramatist András Visky with an affection for what feels like every turn and twist, every recollection and detail of the character's awful story of imprisonment and survival-not surprising, perhaps, since the woman was his mother. Set in a Communist prison camp during the late 1950s, Juliet is more novelistic than dramatic, and most American playwrights, fearing pressure from potential producers, would have edited it severely. Indeed, as acted by Melissa Hawkins, who has a soft, frequently uninflected voice, and as directed by Christopher Markle with infinite patience, this piece sometimes feels as though it is trickling along endlessly. Still, performance and play seep into your consciousness and eventually command your concentration. On the Independent Theater's minute stage, Hawkins, costumed in a rag of a dress, and with only a small trunk and dirty straw for props, embodies each painful or surprisingly joyous moment of Juliet's imprisonment with her seven children. The theme of this narrative is love: Juliet's love for her husband, a Hungarian pastor who may or may not be alive; her love for her children; and her simultaneous love for and irritation with a God who allows such suffering. But the strength of Visky's writing, and the production, lie in the narrative's sensory images: the cold and dirt of the camp; the rain falling into the roofless barracks and washing them; the sun drying them; the miraculous milk and honey that Juliet's children force down her throat at one point to revive her. Juliet lacks the high points of conventional theater, but it leaves you with a cumulative awareness of one woman's strength, vulnerability and endurance. At Independent Theater. 90 minutes. [Greene]

Boys, best friends, nosebleeds, insecurity - Antarctica, written and directed by Carolyn Raship, starts more or less as you'd expect a play about two girls in high school to start. Things take a left turn, however, when Magda (Maggie Cino as the brainy one) and Winnie (Jessi Gotta as the ditzy one) get bored at a party and suddenly decide to head to Antarctica. When they get there, the play shifts from a teen drama to a modern day fairy tale, with an enchanted cave, a prince under a spell from a witch, a magical dogsled, and so on. As the girls later inform us, we're soon treated to a play that features"romance, adventure and tragedy." It's not that the story is spellbinding (it isn't) or that these characters are memorable (they aren't). What wins us over here is the modern spin on the quest story: the girls make jokes about Antarctica's endless whiteness and complain about how they thought reaching the South Pole would be a lot more exciting. Raship's script is best at its most playful; her poetic, descriptive passages tend to sound a bit obscure by comparison. Nevertheless, Antarctica's length, energy and warmth make this new play a nice fit for the Fringe. At New School for Drama. 45 minutes. [Furay]

Third Child: Orestes Revisited
Vigorous and passionate, the cast of Third Child fling themselves through the open space of the Linhart Theatre and into the text conceived of by Maria Porter and the actors themselves. Their stunning and sometimes disturbing physicality is derived from the Suzuki Method, and their vehicle is based on the ancient story of Orestes, son of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who was sent into exile as a young child when his father was to lead an army against Troy. Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, so that the battle can take place, and Clytemnestra, in a fit of rage, takes revenge on her husband by taking his own life. Orestes is pulled back into this messy family affair by the oracle at Delphi who tells him he must in turn kill his mother. And so he does, only to suffer crippling guilt because of his actions, driven mad by the memories of the oracle who compelled him to carry out his dark deed. This harrowing tale is not wholly conveyed in this piece, but rather refracted, pried apart to examine the heart of the matter: What is one's responsibility to Destiny and how does one reconcile his 'higher nature' with 'earthly attachments'? This meditation, too, was overshadowed by the thrilling and rigorous theatrical movement of the cast, which was worthwhile in and of itself. At Linhart Theatre. 42 minutes. [Winchester]

The Medicine Show (A Play with Music)
In David Dannenfelser and Patrick Gallagher's Medicine Show everyone wants to be what they're not. The snake oil salesman Elmer Boggs (Rico Rosetti) wants to be a real doctor. His daughter, Hannah (Jessica McKee), wants to get rid of the ugly red birthmark that mars her otherwise pretty face. Nate Rogers (Ryan O'Nan), who plays in Boggs' medicine show band, hopes to become a successful musician. The Indian Dark Cloud/Sunshine Speaking (Joe Cross) wants to be a philosopher like his father. And the town sheriff (Christopher Halladay) wants to be Matt Dillon (although this may be unintended). Like the myth it is based on and the fairy tales it resembles, The Medicine Show cautions us to be careful of what we wish for. Despite a tendency toward overacting and an over reliance on stereotypes, the show is quite effective. It's also extremely entertaining, thanks mostly to the lively jug band music of The Lonesome Prairie Boys. At CSV Center - Flamboyan. 1 hour, 40 minutes. [Simmons]

Hamlet - a stand up
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark has been performed in many ways. It has been set in any number of times and environments. It has been interpreted with Hamlet as a woman. The hero himself has been portrayed as various ethnicities. But this reviewer has never before seen the tragedy performed as a 100-minute one-man show without intermission. Using music, clowning, mime, anachronism, parody, various accents and his considerable acting ability, Roger Westberg presents the entire play from the first appearance of the ghost to Hamlet's death. It is a grueling experience for both the audience and (one imagines) the actor. But for those who can endure and pay attention, the rewards are enormous. At Gene Frankel Theatre. 1 hour, 40 minutes.[Simmons]

A Beautiful Child
Joel Van Liew (playing Truman Capote) and Maura Lisabeth Malloy (playing Marilyn Monroe) both have effectively adapted this Capote memoir into a gem of a one-act play for themselves. The fine production by Linda Powell does not make a priority of impersonating either iconic character; it instead gives us their essence quite convincingly and is remarkable for both excellent timing by the performers and deft switching between narrative and dramatic forms. The surprise is the extraordinary level of humor derived while still being faithful to both central characters. The vignette begins with moody jazz music in the background, and the action commences at the funeral home where the remains of Constance Collier, MM's acting coach, were on display. Capote had agreed to accompany Marilyn for the occasion, only partly, apparently, to preserve her privacy. MM is variously described as fragile, subtle, a hummingbird in flight, and even "a platinum sex explosion." Having been working on the Shakespearean character of Ophelia with Cummings, MM interestingly at times suggests a rather less fragile figure, Little Edie Beale, recently seen in the musical Grey Gardens. Comparisons with Elizabeth Taylor and Greta Garbo become particularly interesting, and the production, perhaps unwittingly, implies MM's possible bipolar condition, as her wide range of moods essentially leave unanswered the eternal question, "What was MM really like?" Yet the genuineness of both characters is so compelling as to leave the audience craving more at the end. At Soho Playhouse. 45 minutes. [Bradley]

All Aboard
This is a rather impressionistic dance work on the history of rail travel in the USA by the Carisa Armstrong/Christine Bergeron Dance Company based in Bryan, Texas, and featuring both of the company's creators as well as several of their female students. The dances suggest virtually no story or characterization, but are lyrically engaging, and are decidedly enhanced by interesting filmed interviews of current devoted long distance railroad passengers and even one youthful rail employee. The film segments, also featuring engaging shots of the dancers in Texas, Chicago, and New York (especially at Grand Central and in the city's subway system), are projected on a fluid moveable screen which is virtually choreographed itself, sometimes virtually upstaging the dancers. Given the impact of historic rail travel across ethnic and gender lines, I was puzzled by the relative sameness of the dancers. The music of Steve Reich is liberally used to underscore the repetitiveness of the movements, yet less frequently musical sounds by Roy Acuff and others seem to give the work more visceral dimension. At Linhart Theatre. 1 hour. [Bradley]

Boiling Pot
This script is a very effective distilling of 125 interviews conducted in the Midwest by the two performers when they were still Yale undergrads. Both skilled young artists, Evan Joiner and Kobi Libii give delicate, powerful, and varied performances. Libii is especially extraordinary in his power, in assorted characters, to reach the audience with subtle and meaningful changes in his performance. The duo begins its sociological investigation with the question, "What is race?" and of course they get enormously varied responses to that seminal inquiry. One interviewee meaningfully describes races as more of a life shaper "than I was aware of." Some surprising statistics are included, such as the notation that while Ohio's population is only 11% black, its prison population is precisely five times that percentage. Clearly influenced by similar works pioneered by Anna Deavere Smith, this piece nevertheless does contribute a value in making us more aware of how much of our lives are influenced by directly racial elements. At Cherry Lane Studio. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Bradley]

Piaf: Love Conquers All
This chamber version of Piaf's life by Roger Peace compares favorably with the high profile current French film as well as the memorable Pam Gems play of some years ago. Although at first look, the printed program suggests typical signs of a vanity production, with the central performer, Naomi Emmerson, also listed as director, Ms. Emmerson is absolutely up to the task; moreover, she has designed a superb set of distorted furniture shapes, suggesting the style of Toulouse-Lautrec, and wonderfully suited to the production. As a singer and actor, she is radiant in the simplicity and honesty of her performance. The second performer, the unquestionably feminine Stephanie Layton, at first seems an odd choice, as she has to portray so many men, even if briefly. But she proves to be remarkably effective in several portrayals, and is uncanny in her ability to regularly switch from character to musician and back to another character. Her skills on both the piano and the accordion are outstanding complements to Ms. Emmerson's stunningly passionate portrayal of Piaf. The play moves from narrative segments to scenes which find Piaf engaged in key moments in her persistently tragic life. Although the dramatic elements are effectively integrated, this work is essentially a compelling monodrama liberally punctuated with mostly iconic songs from Piaf's remarkable career. The French lyrics and English text mesh smoothly. Here, Piaf's passion transcends any language. At CSV Center - Milagro. 2 hours, 5 minutes including intermission. [Bradley]

The Unusual Suspects
The Unusual Suspects advertises itself as "a twisted musical mystery." The truth is it isn't much of a musical or a mystery. The play opens with a party and a game of charades that is interrupted when Sarge (Nicholas Moran) bursts onto the scene and announces that a murder has been committed and he's come to find the murderer. There follows a good deal of discussion about the victim, the suspects and the crime before playwright and composer Derek Sonderfan gives the audience his first song. Throughout the rest of the show, songs arrive in a haphazard fashion that has more to do with Sonderfan's whim than advancing the plot. As for the murder, it turns out the party is really a reunion of mental cases once under the care of the victim's father. The suspects include the drag Queen Hopsabucket (Michael Poignand), who has an evil arm with a mind of its own; Glen (Bryan Fenkart), a pathological liar and lover; Kitty (Angela Sytko), an amnesiac who forgets what she's saying mid-sentence; and a blind man named Raymond (Eddie Varley), whose main function seems to be an excuse for blind man jokes. With all that going on, who cares about the murder? The Unusual Suspects has the cheap gags and raucous silliness of a comedy written by and for high school (or maybe college) students. One pictures a bunch of teenagers sitting in a candy wrapper littered room, drinking beer and laughing at their own jokes. The acting and singing are fine. But with that kind of material, it's hard to imagine why the performers didn't take their talents to another crime scene. At Players Theatre. 1 hour, 45 minutes. [Simmons]

Cancer! the musical
Part melodrama, part standard American Musical, part medical textbook, Cancer! the musical is an enjoyable romp through the perils of Cancer! The exclamation point is an important part of the title because this isn't a look at "cancer," the slow-acting life swallower, rather the cancer of the optimistic med student that blurts "I'm going to cure cancer!" This particular focus means the musical is much better when it sticks to the quite hilarious, nearly sketch comedy moments that exploit the perils of the cancer! system. The detours through an almost serious romance don't exactly jibe with the phamaceutical-company-hires-a-hitman main plot, but the cast puts enough sweat and energy into each choreographed number that it's worth wading through the slower moments. The ensemble fits perfectly with each other and does an admirable job of filling the cavernous Lady of Pompeii without much artificial amplification. The music is sweet, if not particularly memorable, and the two-man band at the side of the stage makes it come alive. The show's moral is simple: keep at it and you'll eventually triumph. But, as in most musicals, triumph is never as easy as it seems. If you weren't striving for something, what would you have to sing about anyway? At Our Lady of Pompeii - Demo Hall. 1 hour, 45 minutes including intermission. [Banks]

The Reader
Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden is of course a very famous play; however I was unaware that it is actually the first part of a trilogy. Premiering here at the Fringe Fest, One Year Lease's production of the third play in The Resistance Trilogy. Like the other plays in the cycle, The Reader deals with brutality and oppressiveness. It's similar to Death and the Maiden in that it's a story of how people will act under extreme situations, and how society can tear families apart. Unfortunately, The Reader needs to be a lot less muddled if it is ever to be as powerful of a play as its sister is. Dorfman tells the story of a man who reads stories for the censors in an ostensibly democratic (but actually dictatorial) society. He realizes with horror that one of the submitted stories contains his own thoughts and secret history, and becomes obsessed with stopping the author from publishing. As he does so, reality and fiction seem to blur. They blur for the audience, too, and soon we have no idea what's real, what's fake, who's who, or what's going on. Clarity is sacrificed for conceit, which turns out to be an insurmountable problem. But there are glimpses of great theatre in this production, too. Dorfman's undeniable talent for writing as well as the impressive and dedicated cast make The Reader an unusually tantalizing failure. At CSV Center - Flamboyan. 90 minutes. [Furay]

Better This Way
Better This Way isn't a play; nor does it attempt to be one. Theatre company Deliberate Motion actually calls it a "theatrical event." What it is: an amalgamation of film, movement, music, and text. Or to be even simpler: A guy and two girls say strange things and move like dancers in front of a seemingly unrelated videotape of themselves exploring abandoned buildings. The girls play the same role and switch in and out interchangeably, the three of them are depicting the ups and downs of a regular couple's relationship. It's an obscure and inaccessible piece, one which manages to come off as ponderous, repetitive, and even a little condescending. And yet it's perfect for the Fringe. I'm not criticizing the quality of Fringe shows; rather I'm applauding the sort of venue which enables a creative company like Deliberate Motion to spread its wings. I hope their next project takes some of the better aspects (nice cinematography, evocative physicality and seriously cool music) and fuses this talent with a more relatable text. At 45 Bleecker - Lafayette. 45 minutes. [Furay]

The Wisdom that Men Seek
In Robert Liebowitz's The Wisdom that Men Seek, the playwright seems to be saying that wisdom can be found in one's gruff but loving father. There's nothing wrong with this premise. But despite muscular performances by Joe LoGrippo as the ghost of Nathan Kessler, and J. Michaels as his son, Michael, the story, told in the present and through flashbacks, is neither as gripping nor as moving as it might have been. We've seen both Kesslers too many times before: the tough old Jew who served in WWII, imagined himself a professional fighter, ended up working in the garment district and loves a deli sandwich almost as much as he loves his family; the well-educated son who resents his father's lack of refinement, doesn't understand his own roots and is therefore making the same mistakes with his own son. Even the kiss and make up ending is as predictable as the pastrami on rye. At Players Theatre. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Simmons]

The Miracle on Monroe Street
With puppets, narration and music, Jennifer Levine recreates the world of the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century. More specifically, she lovingly tells the miraculous story of how her Aunt Sally survived falling off a tenement roof, as it was told to her by her Grandmother Pearl. Levine's puppets include a vibrant host of neighbors and relatives, from the loving father to the angry baker. They are pulled out of or placed on a suitcase and perform against Levine's evocative mini-sets. The night this reviewer saw the show, Levine's family was also in attendance. While watching the parade of characters, Sally's son turned to Pearl and said, "Do you remember all of them?" Pearl, like the rest of the audience, was too engrossed to answer. At Cherry Lane Studio. 30 minutes. [Simmons]

Where many downtown productions gravitate toward simplified extremes of either zany, light fare or choking gravity, Revolutionaries redefines and reinvigorates. Playwright Adam Mervis has outdone himself in this tight, surprising piece that shines a solar-powered light on the grey area of business ethics in our current, environmentally-conscious world. Two friends jump head-first into the uncharted waters of the energy business when Chevy (the endearing Robert Yang) invents a cheap solar panel that will allow people to get off the grid. A starry-eyed dreamer, Chevy wants to give away his invention to those in need, but Frank (Adam Mervis) convinces him to chip away at the injustices from inside the American system first. Frank invests his entire trust in the start-up business, and will let nothing cloud his vision of success, not even the needs of his girlfriend, Jean (Desiree Matthews), who, neglected, eventually leaves him. When business finally begins to boom, the team's vision of bringing power to the people is mutated by Frank's need for power himself. The cast is a compilation of powerhouses, each of whom wows, and at the curtain, some weighty questions remain. When even the most idealistic and immediate venture, green power, is corruptible, how do we as a people expect to make it? Is big business like the old adage--"Guns don't kill people, people kill people"? Does it follow that business doesn't corrupt, people corrupt business, or is the nature of capitalism ultimately to blame? Mervis doesn't attempt to answer these questions. Rather he states "I do not believe in the simplicity of good nor the complexity of evil." And all this substance is served up with a hefty side of humor. It's got some tough time slots, but it's worth every waking minute. Do yourself a favor: stay up late and join the revolution. At Players Theatre. 2 hours. [Winchester]

A wedding, a wheeler dealer, a midlife couple, a ghost, a house, and a psychic who wends her way through the stories of the night. The action takes place on one night that is important to different people for different reasons. Although billed as another night in NYC, it has no New York allusions and could be any city of the imagination. The premise is a stretch, but that's ok. It's an old fashioned love story caught within a web of cell phone calls. There are revelations about how people first connected and mysterious exposures of long held secrets. There's much that an audience can relate to emotionally as different stories touch different populations. Pieces interweave and it looks like the elements are going to work together. But the writer, Philip Gerson, who at times writes dialogue so well it's clear he could do it with both hands tied behind his back, at other times works too hard at enigmatic, and the dialogue loses bouyancy as words fall in love with themselves. The glue holding this together is unevenly applied, so the theme gets stuck in plot machinations and melodrama and the resolution of a very promising play loses clarity. By the Occasional Theatre. At the Connelly Theater. 2 hours. [Osenlund]

Sarah Greenman's two-hander, Leni, presents Hitler's famous documentary filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl, as an bitter, aging woman (Louisa Cabot) and in her prime (Olivia Mora). The older Leni (called Helene) is directing the young Leni in a biopic about herself. But the two often exchange roles, with the younger Leni mercilessly interrogating the older. This might have been awkward and confusing if not for the great skill of both actresses. The purpose of the play is to ask questions that continue to plague humanity: What is an artist? What do artists do? Are artists responsible for the social and political implications of their work? All these questions have been asked many times before, and, of course, remain unanswered. But what makes Leni particularly fascinating is the way Greenman (with the help of old footage) shows how Riefenstahl's aesthetic of triumphant youth and beauty has prevailed in the modern world and can be seen in such phenomena as "stunning, steroid-induced homeruns." Until her death in 2003 at the age of 101, Riefenstahl claimed she was never a member of the Nazi party, had no idea of the atrocities the Nazis were committing, and was simply the victim of "bad timing, talent and pride." Cabot and Mora's sympathetic yet scathing portrayal of the self-deluding artist makes this half believable - but only half. At Gene Frankel Theatre. 1 hour, 45 minutes. [Simmons]

Lost in Hollywoodland or the Slugwoman from Uranus
"The good news and the bad news. The bad news is that I've inadvertently sold my soul to the devil." Dex Webster, a producer's assistant's assistant in Hollywood just wanted to make a really good movie. But Malatoff Dyablik, an Eastern European Mephistopheles with personality to burn and a vocabulary problem, starts with Dex and, with the assistance of his gleeful heavies, spreads an epidemic of soul sign-offs. Dyablik, played by Alex Wexler, the writer and lyricist, eventually will be prominently featured in Dex's movie, Slugwoman from Uranus. Unfortunately, despite spunky music, good comic acting all around, some marvelous singing from a spiffy cast, and an ingenious folding screen backdrop, the whole show comes across inconsistently. Why? Because there are two overwhelming problems: The audio and the venue itself. The lyrics that could be discerned were clever as can be. They drew fewer laughs than they probably deserved, as so much was virtually inaudible. The performing space itself does not serve the production well. It would have been preferable to move the show off the stage entirely and on to the auditorium floor, where it could be heard, move more fluidly, and be appreciated for its smart, yet madcap qualities. At Our Lady of Pompeii - Demo Hall. 2 hours including intermission. [Osenlund]

Too Clever by Half
This play, also known -- and rightfully so -- as Diary of a Scoundrel, is one of the lesser known plays of one of the lesser known -- and wrongfully so -- Russian playwrights, Alexander Ostrovsky. It's the story of Glumov (Bujan Rugova), the young overly-upwardly mobile rogue of the title. He is smart enough to manipulate all of Moscow into getting what he wants, but not smart enough to resist the temptation of recording his true opinions of everyone in his diary. Sort of Richard Nixon, Russian bourgeoisie-style. Ostrovsky seems to owe quite a debt to Molière here, but that's another treatise -- a word you will never pronounce quite the same after seeing this show. The show is produced by a new company comprised of the first class of American students to attend the Moscow Art Theater School for a full four years. Their training shows. It's as good a group of young actors as one is likely to find anywhere, with well-crafted performances running deep in the cast but certainly with Mr. Rugova at the front of the line. The production features a live piano, and more singing and dancing than you might expect, as well as a confident dose of physicality in general. Design makes up in ingenuity what it lacks in expense. Director Vasanth Santosham stages the piece inventively and well, though his story-telling falls off its tracks a bit too often to escape notice. All in all, an auspicious New York debut for this company devoted to keeping Russian theater (and presumably beyond Chekhov) on our radar screens. At Connelly Theater. 2 hours, 15 minutes including intermission. [Gutman]

Fish, by Cyndi Williams, exposes its weaknesses immediately: fractured storylines, an intrusive soundtrack, and physically awkward direction by Rich Johnson. After five minutes, I was ready to give up and zone out. Thankfully, I didn't, for Fish turns out to be a funny, involving and well-acted play. It's about a neurotic middle-aged woman (Loretta Napolitano as Laura) who approaches a younger man named Charlie (Matt Munroe) in a bar and pays him to do her some pretty odd favors. Their dark pasts are gradually illuminated: we see who's haunting Laura and driving her to destruction, and why it turns out that Charlie is the perfect man for the job. In addition to Munroe and Napolitano, there's also excellent work from Theresa Gambacorta and Raine Brown as the ghosts who haunt Charlie and Laura. There are still problems: the show contains enough backstory for three separate plays, for example, and the sound seems to die onstage, making dialogue occasionally hard to hear. But both writing and acting improve as the play continues, and by its end Fish has become a surprisingly memorable, entertaining play. At Players Theatre. 60 minutes. [Furay].

Action Jesus
Action Jesus or more descriptively, "The Self-Actualization of Leslie Harrell Dillen" recounts a spiritual journey with pauses along the way for shopping, although "God isn't interested in a shopper." Like listening to a long-winded friend describe the minutae of her experiences, this reminds me of a line from Steel Magnolias, something like, "You know how I love it when you go on about your spiritual growth." Leslie has a Jesus action figure and she learns to see meaning in coincidence. Finally she finds fulfillment in being called a "true Bohemian". Ms Dillen has an engaging personality, still it would be enlightening to know why she was compelled to share, and what she intended an audience to get from this monologue. At Independent Theater. 75 minutes. [Osenlund]

Catch the Fish
This fish is a keeper. Set in Los Angeles, it's about two guys and a girl, immature and looking for experience, who encounter a lovely journalist who is chasing down a story about L.A. kids. She's trolling and they're biting in a tale of the treacheries of trust that strews little betrayals of friendship in its wake. Catch the Fish wasn't thrown together in a rush. The thought and work that went into this play have paid off in its authentic "youth" aesthetic and its structural sophistication. Jon Caren's fresh dialogue doesn't go for the all-too-easy cliches, but mines for the stuff that makes people do the things they do. The writing is so good that it can get away with the occasional line like, "We had a moment. Anyone can fall in love for a moment." Catch the Fish stands out at the Fringe with the leaders of the pack. Very well written, acted, and directed, it's a solid piece of theater. At New School for Drama. 90 minutes. [Osenlund]

John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!
In our post-9/11 world, it's hard to remember that once upon a time the Russians were the bad guys and Arab potentates were crafty but good-natured fools who happened to be sitting on vast oil reserves. John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!, a collaborative effort with book by William Peter Blatty, and music and lyrics by Michael Garin, Robert Hipkens and Erik Frandsen, takes us back to the good old Cold War days when all we had to worry about was mutually assured destruction. Based on the 1965 comedy film of the same name, the complicated plot involves King Fawzi (George DiCenzo) of Fawzi Arabia, who wants to create a football team for his son, Prince Ammud (Kamran Khan), after he doesn't make the Notre Dame team; an American Air Force pilot, John "Wrong Way" Goldfarb (Jay Klaitz), whose faulty sense of direction leads him to Fawzi Arabia instead of Russia; and Jenny "Iceberg" Ericson (Mardie Millit), who has herself implanted in the king's harem so she can get the inside scoop on his kingdom. The various predicaments they all get themselves into are resolved happily, thanks, in part, to the sound advice of the king's counselor, Guz (the excellent Erik Frandsen). John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!, unravels much like a Marx Brothers film might have if they'd been making movies in the 60s. Add to that a score with clever lyrics and catchy melodies and Jennifer Schmermund's witty choreography, and you have a real hit. At Skirball Center. 2 hours. [Simmons]

The Rat King
At once visionary and vaudevillian, genuinely macabre and undeniably hokey, The Rat King is sometimes inventive, but ultimately a disappointing and inconsistent new musical. It's billed as a rock opera by the team of Maggie McDonald and Laura Barrett (libretto and music, respectively), but the score is far more inspired by musical theatre than by rock. It's the apocalyptic story of a boy who's raised amongst rats (Glen Shepard), but soon finds himself the servant of a mad scientist (Ed Cannon) out to destroy rats altogether. The fun, Frankenstein aspect of the show notwithstanding, there are too many problems for this show to work. The songs feel disconnected from the story, the plot holes are gaping, and the characters are paper-thin. What's more, the direction and choreography fail to sustain a dark or creepy mood, and even the singing (excepting the golden-voiced Mr. Shepard) is subpar. The entire production feels half-baked. At Lortel Theatre. 70 minutes. [Furay]

The Life & Times of Martin Luther
"You're in deep, Friar.". For a history lesson, tomfoolery often can accomplish what lecturing can not. The Pythonesque Colonel's Men play various high churchmen and royals wearing colorful plastic buckets and burger crowns on their heads. A young blonde woman plays Luther. The narration, to which the action is closely tied, takes liberties and enjoys mild innuendo as it educates, but the show seems to want to be untethered. Much is charming about the frankly amateur approach taken by the Colonel's Men. Nevertheless, the polish needed for the Big Apple could only be achieved by more close work on this production. At Players Theatre. 75 minutes. [Osenlund]

Hail Satan
From the moment a group of office mates announces to a bemused coworker that they're Satanists, Mac Rogers' new play Hail Satan is humorously unpredictable. The play owes an enormous debt to Rosemary's Baby: it's the story of an innocent (Matthew Kinney) drawn into the world of Satanism and forced to raise Satan's own spawn. Nevertheless, Hail Satan feels fresh because it's really spoofing two things: office life and fundamentalism. Even better, Rogers' take on the mundane day jobs of a group of Satanists is played by the excellent Gideon Company with demonic fervor. The play is longer and feels more developed than many a Fringe show; thus its structural problems are correspondingly more disappointing. The second act, which traces the growth of the Antichrist, isn't nearly as winning or funny as the first - the joke's played out to some extent. But there's still lots to enjoy about Hail Satan. At 45 Bleecker - Bleecker. 2 hours including intermission. [Furay]

The Terrible Girls
Three women, left in charge of a restaurant by its absent owner, occasionally kill people and plaster their bodies into the eatery's walls. It's a chilling idea for a show, but murder and danger are only part of Jacqueline Goldfinger's The Terrible Girls. Yeah, these three girls are killers and all, but they're also modern and lovelorn Southern women. A risky but interesting concept. Here's the problem: Despite their obsessive tendencies, these girls fail to frighten as cold-blooded murderers, or engage us as characters. Therefore the production of The Terrible Girls (directed by Chelsea Whitmore) doesn't quite reach the macabre or darkly humorous tone it needs. On top of all that, there's plotting problems, too: The twist ending is fairly easy to guess if you've seen a horror movie lately. So while The Terrible Girls isn't exactly terrible, nor is it as terrifying as it should be. New School for Drama. 60 minutes. [Furay]

Ching Chong Chinaman
As is painfully clear from its title, Lauren Yee's Ching Chong Chinaman could care less about political correctness. Her well-crafted string of oddly-surreal-yet-real scenelets follows the saga of a Chinese-American family dealing with the struggles of everyday American life: college applications, golf, World of Warcraft. All of the characters are pretty much stereotyped cutouts of human beings reducible to three words; some of them, played ingeniously by Cirocco Dunlap, are actually labeled with signs. While it's blatant trading in stereotypes may be offensive to some and seem pointless to others, it serves a point. Yee's exploitation works to point out our own addiction to these stereotypes even as we claim to be above them. We all still laugh at the perfect "Asian wife" Grace, played with remarkable skill by Sandy Chen, even though we know we shouldn't. The relentless playing according to type also makes the brief descents into the reality at moments all the more poignant. The pacing of the show is still uneven, and the cast, though eager, isn't always well coordinated. The plot gains momentum toward the middle and keeps building to a final, surprisingly unsettling conclusion. In the end, the San Francisco-based work is thoughtful and funny, and worth seeing if only for the coordinated use of songs (sung/screamed by the cast) between scenes. At CSV Center - Flamboyan. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Banks]

Kiss and Make Up
This is a familiar backstage genre show with formulaic, OK songs. But with its broad humor and wild turns Kiss and Make Up could end up a hit in community theaters across the country. It's set on opening night of Fingers Crossed, a play about matchmaking with Jeanne Tinker as the matchmaker and a sharp Patti Perkins as a neophyte who keeps messing up. The diva (Capathia Jenkins) has popped too many pills and presumably is out of commission. David Sabelle-Mills is a joy as Charles, the much beset guy who heads up the community theater. He declares his love for the make-up artist (Stephanie D'Abruzzo), but an antagonist (Stanton Garr) schemes to ruin the budding romance, and de-rail the play. Charles was quite frazzled enough when a Secret Service agent played by Robert Rokicki, who very nearly steals the show, announces that the President of the United States is to be in the audience. "Complications" is too tame a word for the convolutions that ensue. By the end everything has gone completely, delightfully haywire. The question is, what is a conventional offering like this one doing in a fringe festival? Clearly this show is not out there on theatre's fringes. There's nothing of the edge about it. However, Kiss and Make Up is funny and cute and the audience definitely enjoyed it. Book, lyrics, direction by Kevin Hammonds. Music, lyrics by Mark Weiser. At Lortel Theatre. 2 hours including intermission. [Osenlund}

Chekhov Jazz
If you lose the entire Chekhov angle, all the naive lyrics, the singer Rebecca M and her meandering stage business, and just keep the tunes and the remaining very remarkable jazz quartet, you'd have a winner of a musical performance. Imported from Paris, the musicians are: Julien Lallier, Piano; Anne Paceo, drums; Simon Tailleu, bass; Quentin Ghomari, trumpet. At Village Theater. 2 hours. [Osenlund]

Princess Sunshine's Bitter Pill of Truth Funhouse
We've all seen kids' shows on TV or stage that play down to children or give them a glossy version of life lessons. This is not that type of show. In fact, its intended audience isn't even kids. Juliet Jeske has extrapolated her experience as a children's theatre performer and spiced it up with some Variety Show panache to create Princess Sunshine, the one kids' show host that's willing to give it to 'em straight. Supporting cast Joel Jeske, Brenda Jean Foley, and Timothy James-O'Brien all give delightful performances as tweaked versions of Nickelodeon-esque characters ranging from Yucko Stinko, the slimy player puppet, to Abby Angst, the spoiled brat spotlight-lover. The show is actually structured like a variety show with a series of vignettes, all hosted by Princess Sunshine. Juliet Jeske's command of an audience (and an accordion) is a pleasure to witness, and Joel Jeske matches her with some masterful physical comedy and character work. Director Mark Lonergan's simple staging and choreography along with the delightfully crude set give the actors plenty to play with and don't overcomplicate. Cabaret meets The Wiggles in this sassy showcase, and the combo delivers mischievous laughs. At Independent Theatre. 55 minutes. [Winchester]

The Consuming Passions of Lydia Pinkham and Rev. Sylvester Graham
A musical train ride from Boston to New York gives ample opportunity for two of the ultimate food and health fanatics to needle each other with witty barbs and period songs. The year is 1904. Graham (Joseph Neal) of the still-current graham cracker and Pinkham (Margery Cohen) of a less-remembered 44 proof vegetable elixir entertain us handily thanks to Woody Regan's turn-on-a-dime piano accompaniment and sound effects. Food is the overall subject and any song up until World War II is fair game. Cohen has added some extra lyrics, with similar ingenuous thoughts and corny rhyming to match the originals. Period-flavor costumes and accessories plus cute props cap the hour's excursion. Director Maris Heller has some homework. The pair's accents begin as fake upper class, slide to ersatz British and then revert to contemporary with no apparent motivation. Granted the space represents a train compartment or dining car, but the playing space seems unduly constrained. And disciple Pinkham always defers to guru Graham in duets and exchanges--period convention perhaps? At CSV Center - Milagro. 1 hour. [Lipfert]

An on-stage announcer barks at the audience that it is about to witness what will become "The next great musical experience... with your financial help." Yes, Bukowsical! is another musical masquerading as a backers' audition of same, and in this case centers on the life of the late prolific counter-culture writer Charles Bukowski. Buk, as we are told his friends called him, was a decidedly unvarnished sort who wrote of rough people and rough lives, and the lyrics in this musical are peppered with Anglo-Saxon expletives as if to prove the point. Unfortunately the musical arrangements are so noisy that many of the words are lost anyway. We are told that our hero was filled with hate, rejection, and pain, "all that's necessary to create great work." I don't think the show will bring many new readers to his work, for the performance is more a TV-sketch-version satire of modern society than an attempt to really understand Bukowski. I had hoped for some literary illumination, but the only available understanding was the feeling that Bukowski made Jack Kerouac look gentle and sweet by comparison. Bukowski's apparent endless crazing for booze and sex implies a hedonism considerably more ragged and sado-masochistic than that of his approximate contemporary, Hugh Heffner of the Playboy empire. The score includes some memorable segments including quite a rousing solo, "Take Me", by Lauren Rubin (as Sweet Lady Booze) and "Remember Me," a torch song by Fleur Phillips (as One True Love). If even a few of the many characters, especially the eponymous Buk, are given a third dimension and directorial effort is focused on delivering the words clearly, there might be a compelling and very funny show in Bukowsical! At 45 Bleecker - Bleecker. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Bradley]

Bye, Bye Big Guy
Rumplestiltskin, the mythical dwarf who spun straw into gold, was made eternally memorable by the Brothers Grimm almost two centuries ago. Now he is at the center of this sometimes edgy musical satire that seems born in improvisation, but occasionally reaches the sharpness of polished material. The performance is really a spoof of celebrity memorial services, so our man Rumple never really appears, although an assortment of his brethren are included in the endless cast list. Also on hand is a bald version of Rapunzel, a misunderstood artist, with the words "womyn power" emblazed on the rustic costume which covers her anorexic body. Jill Abramovitz chillingly sings in bitter irony Rapunzel's song that is literal and perhaps existential as well, "I am Hairless, I am Whole." We also see featured appearances by other Grimm favorites, including the Three Blind Mice as blues musicians in wide pinstripe suits, the clueless Emperor of no clothes fame, and Goldilocks and Baby Bear, apparently once a successful vaudeville act, here reunited in a reluctant and hostile duet after years of estranged rancor. The memorial event, or celebration, as we are told is the proper label, is co-hosted by an odd couple comprised of a wiry frog prince and an African-American Snow White. They bring on assorted guests in the manner of a daytime talk show, although the guest list soon overwhelms the hosts, who along with the several other performers present, are required to transform into multiple characters. Most successful of the game and capable cast of six is Orville Mendoza, whose every appearance adds another level of delicious madness to the production. If the actors can be given more rehearsal, the script can be edited, and the direction can be tightened, this irreverent romp may find a continuing audience, perhaps in a cabaret environment where much of the expectations of a physical production can be dispensed with. At Lortel Theatre. 1 hour, 40 minutes. [Bradley]

The Sunshine Play
This gentle depiction of romantic innocence is one of the few shows that validate the Fringe's international label. One of two imports from Romania by Peca Stefan and apparently featuring the original cast which performed in Romanian, the scene, set on a Bucharest rooftop, here is heard in very clear and idiomatic English. The stage is set with the sound of an old song, "Good Day Sunshine" that sets the easygoing mood as it takes our focus to whatever innocence we associate with the past. On this rooftop, Trifon, the most innocent of the three characters we meet, is eager for marriage to Iza, but she's not ready. He leaves, upset, and Dan appears. Iza and he share stories, and begin to bond. Dan, recently returned from abroad, is the most educated and travelled of the three, with a troubled history in Colombia and a divorce behind him. He's a chemistry professor and is hoping to reunite with this mother and three sisters and restart his life in Romania. The mesmerizing actor playing him, Daniel Popa, has remarkably lively eyes, and Isabela Namtu as Iza, the budding actress who is better known for her recorded announcements for the Bucharest subway, is hypnotic. Cosmin Selesi as Trifon is convincingly sweet and funny. Director Ana Margineanu makes remarkably effective use of a limited playing space (approximately 7 feet by five feet) that presents her actors the additional challenge of a mostly sloping rooftop. When one character says, "I don't trust anybody," we can read the line as applying to all three. Most of the play consists of two-person exchanges, although all three appear together in the final scene, when there is a kind of positive resolution. At 45 Bleecker - Lafayette. 1 hour, 20 minutes. [Bradley]

Poppies is a powerful drama, rich in both content and meaning. The play, which takes place during the 1999 NATO bombing of Belgrade, is adapted by Lane Keller from her expansive novel Covenant of Poppies. As the bombs explode overhead, an American journalist (Shawn Barber) stumbles into a Belgrade bar and meets the proprietors: a brother and sister who seem to exemplify the divisiveness and loss the war has caused. The brother, Nico (Evan Greenspoon), is a Serb in love with an Albanian Muslim; the sister (Dana Mazzenga) tries to win over the American in order to get a Visa out. Meanwhile, Nico's militant group plots a genocidal attack. And if that isn't enough action for you, there's also the commentator Bog (Brandt Adams). He's a subversive deejay who tries to fight the war in his own way: as an openly gay voice on the censored radio. It makes for a very harrowing story, one that's also unapologetically political and intellectual. The production itself is as strong as the script. Poppies is a play full of harsh, nationalistic, passionate people, and the cast brings all these characters to life vividly. I was especially impressed by Adams as Bog and Greenspoon as Nico, although the entire company of eight is dedicated and compelling. Additionally, composer Nikola Matic has contributed a score that fuses Serbian folk and contemporary influences to very good effect. Poppies is a real find for Fringe-goers looking for a thoughtful, moving piece of theatre. At Connelly Theatre. 75 minutes. [Furay]

The Hoarde
Although strong emotions pour from Courtney Ffrench's dramatic piece, it's the grand dance numbers for the entire company that claim attention. A hoard of invaders under Osiris (Charles Logan) subjugates an unspecified village and its iconic loving pair Isis (Jalila A. Bell) and Min (Ariel Polanco) to physical brutality that begets a cycle of violence that leaves all the principals dead. In the musical accompaniment there's an opera selection sung by Maria Callas that reflects Ffrench's penchant for grand gesture, but his basic vocabulary is Broadway-style jazz dancing with some Martha Graham overlay. Unfortunately it's not enough to make a convincing narration. Logan is more blustery than seriously threatening, and the lovers' emotions ring truer than their actions. Scenes with the village women -- an Afro-Caribbean intro and the finales to both halves -- have a special vibrancy enhanced by colorful costumes. Among the numerous soloists Tonika Custalow and Kara Ffrench stand out. At Skirball Center. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Lipfert]

The Game
A likeable piece from Movement Forum Dance Company of Salt Lake City in their second NY Fringe appearance, this is ostensibly a kind of parlor game for eight knee-padded participants. Don't expect New York style cutthroat competition -- this one's a friendly. After brief intros, Graham Brown's piece moves quickly to a succession of duos and solos nicely balanced with larger groupings. A kind of spin-the-dial game plays off the colors of the participants' jersey tops. "Hands on orange" or "feet on purple" find everyone's arms and limbs reaching for the target person. The contest proper is a (possibly rigged) audience vote for one of three couples to offer a demo dance, providing yet more opportunities to interject humor. A brief and unrelated elimination round whizzes by with good sportsmanship the winner. Although billed as completely improvised and the mood is clearly impromptu, surely blocking and timing to a varied sound score of music and spoken word are set. The vocabulary is largely contact inprov with inventive additions by the individual dancers. Refreshingly during the entire piece there is hardly a hint of jazz steps, a kind of knee-jerk fallback in comparable New York-based work. At Linhart Theatre. 1 hour, 10 minutes. [Lipfert]

Requiem pour une ame seule
From Paris comes Isabelle Barbat with a deeply moving solo piece. Beginning lying on the floor corpse-like in loose black pants and stretch top, she repeatedly unfolds her long arms and torso before compacting her body once more. A chorus enlivens the solo drum beats in the sound score as Barbat rises into a lunge accompanied by expressively swooping arms that lead her body into extreme stretches. Kicking the air and a bout of more violent moves are merely an extension of her extreme concentration. Exhaustion and desperation lead her to grab the black back curtain, and with her bare back to the audience a rather amazing section follows. In the dim lighting it takes a while to register that the other-worldly lament we hear is emanating from her. It is quite astounding that this rich contralto voice comes from such a slender figure almost completely motionless. A passage of extreme visual beauty caps the moment. Side lighting captures the patterns she creates in the air with white sand flowing from her hand. Barbat now favors us with a French-accented phrase, "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child," repeated in deep tones and gospel-style intensity. At the conclusion she comments to the audience that the music comes from Arvo Pärt's "Sarah at 90", while she is a mere 47 years old. May she continue dancing for a long time. At Gene Frankel. 45 minutes. [Lipfert]

Artistic director Holly Johnston has brought a winning piece to show off her lively company, Los Angeles-based Ledges and Bones Dance Project. But she offers a solo to begin, broad movements like arabesques contrasting with smaller gestures with her hands. Although wordless it feels as though she is reciting poetry replete with strong imagery, a nice flow to the language, even rhyming with repeated motifs strategically placed throughout. Certainly there is more specific communication (and also more beauty) here than in many dance pieces set to explicit text. Unrest continues with Johnston's eight member ensemble, a perfect size to feature individual dance personalities along with overall structure. Impromptu pairings dissolve into more structured scenes, always with a sense of fluidity. Johnston frequently has the dancers walking backwards but neatly avoiding collisions. The fast pace shows the "restless nature of being human," but she skillfully inserts introverted moments within the overall extroverted mood. As an example of Johnston's tight choreography, four men begin in diagonal lineup lying on the stage. They roll in tandem, kneel and then grind their cushioned knees into the floor before assuming kneeling position again then catapulting up. Aided by a strong beat in the largely electronic sound score, the women are less lyrical and more active than the men in the section that follows. A final ensemble cranks up the energy even higher. At Linhart Theater. 35 minutes. [Lipfert]

Williamsburg! The Musical
Will Brumley, Kurt Gellersted & Brooke Fox have put their heads together to create an energetic, cheeky musical about the infamous 'Burg that encompasses its charm, annoyance, and quickly changing dynamics in a tone that even a hipster can love. If you've ever hopped off the L train at Bedford, you couldn't help but notice that you were instantly plunged into a different world -- one in which grubby & chic go hand in hand and where musical taste is almost a form of currency. But Williamsburg isn't just Bedford Avenue, and even this area has gone through rapid change to become the underground fashion show that it is today. Gentrification moved with a quickness, simultaneously squeezing out renters and owners who have lived in the area all their lives. Williamsburg! playfully roasts the hipster lifestyle and the opportunistic real estate market with songs such as "One Stop (To Excitement)," "Craigslist Hook-Up," and "Million Dollar Crackhouse" and gives a nod to the plight of the local working class with "The Burg Was Burning" and "The Final Knish." With tongue stuck firmly in his cheek, Brumley centers his plot around Piper Paris (gutsy Allison Guinn), a 30-year old hipster whose mommy and daddy just cut off her trust fund. Seeking solace, she vows to fling herself off the Williamsburg Bridge where she meets and is instantly taken with Schlomo Zildenberg (the incredible Colin Israel), an Orthodox Jew drawn to the forbidden. Chai lattes thicken as Amina Snatch (Nicola Barber) of Snatch Realty reveals her plan to form a minion of hipster zombies to help her take over the 'Burg from local business owners. Even the Polish landlady renting Piper her new pad is in Amina's sights, and this motley crew must overlook their differences and band together to thwart Ms. Snatch's evil plot or forever languish in overpriced hipster hell. The supporting cast adds fantastic texture and considerable talent to the main bill, and it's obvious in their performances that all actors are thrilled to be skewering the elitist counter-culture. Though it includes some serious considerations about the fate of this artistic oasis, the funny persists, and rarely does it become heavy-handed. The main tone is in the voice of young professionals willing to look each other squarely in the face and laugh themselves silly. At Village Theatre. 90 minutes. [Winchester]

Len and Ernest
The biggest danger in a drama that relies on subtext to tell the story is the failure of physicality and emotion to communicate it. The worst case scenario is that in the end, nothing is said. Saviano's play directed by Mauricio Bustamante veers in and out of these rough waters before a reversal heightens stakes to a fairly interesting dynamic. Francesco (Len) and Michael Buscemi (Ernest) are natural and engaging, but the repetition of the text is frustrating and mandates that the action start from zero multiple times, so much so that they never really get off the ground. Len and Ernest are up early drinking at their bar, awaiting direction from a mysterious higher-up for a shady business deal. Ranking higher in the pecking order, Len takes the call and bullishly orders Ernest to go on the trip by himself. Len is suspicious that fowl-play is afoot and relentlessly grills Ernest about who was on the phone and why he has to go it alone. By repeatedly running over the situation though, it becomes unclear which man is in danger: Ernest, going to do the deal himself, or Len, left alone to man the fort. After a number of false starts, Ernest heads off, and we are left with the uncertainty of both men's futures. Admittedly similar in construct to Waiting for Godot, Saviano's play lacks Beckett's absurd tone and peters out into the same nervous energy which, perhaps accurate to the circumstances, doesn't make it interesting to watch. At New School for Drama. 50 minutes. [Winchester]

She Wolves
She Wolves begins with a fairly lengthy -- and pretty gorgeous -- video/slideshow on wolves and their mythology. Then out of the darkness slithers Raquel Almazán, who then goes on to represent a number of very human she-wolves: a Victorian debutante, a perky news reporter, a robot woman, a stripper, a housewife, and so on. Each segment has an introductory video, each of which is beautifully put together. Unfortunately, the execution onstage is nowhere near as accomplished as the videos are. Almazán is a fearless performer who yodels and writhes with committed frenzy. But she also tends toward manic and muggy performances that leave little room for nuance. Therefore She-Wolves gets old quickly and almost unbearably overdone by show's end. At Gene Frankel. 90 minutes. [Furay]

Roll with the Punches
Occasionally hilarious, more often just amusingly daft, this seriously over-the-top bit of camp and musical comedy has the spirit of a John Waters film, the absurd convolutions of a British mystery melodrama and the outré dialogue of a brainless American soap opera. As embellished with some disarming songs composed by John Bauers, this romp was written Garet Scott, who also plays the role of a seductive and scheming nanny. Performing in drag is part of the fun, but not the central focus, even as matronly accessorized Mark Finley plays a key role of a wheelchair-confined wife, Susan Evans, destined to die from a fateful ride down San Francisco's cable rails and falling off the edge of Fisherman's Wharf. Susan has been suffering from a case of hysterical paralysis. But this is nothing compared to the indignities she has suffered being married to the philandering neurosurgeon (David R. Gordon), and mother to a sluttish always-looking-for-trouble daughter (Jamie Heinlein), and effeminate son (Brian Vincent), who would prefer to bake puff pastries rather than attend Camp Ramrod. Everyone gets to play Nellie, the ubiquitous family maid at some time or another when duty and script calls. June Gaeke's costumes are a hoot, especially the slinky silky one worn by guilty-as-all-get-out Scott when she becomes the second Mrs. Evans. If the extenuated plotting becomes a bit wearisome and protracted over two acts, the show offers audiences quite a lot of goofy entertainment. The acting defines the genre, as does Kevin Thomsen's affectionately complicit direction. At 45 Bleecker - Bleecker. 1 hour, 45 minutes including intermission. [Saltzman]

Angela's Flying Bed
Writing musicals expressly for children is not an easy task. Collaborators Karl Greenberg and Dave Hall have, nevertheless, composed a potentially disarming show with some delightful music. Yet it has a story that desperately needs more clarity. Their instincts are right as they follow the fantasy dream of a little girl named Angela (Maya Gaston) who desperately needs more personal attention from her over-occupied parents (Lydia Gaston and Trip Plymale) who have no time to spend with her and evidently keep moving from home to home. In revolt against all the frequent moves and despite her parents' orders, Angela refuses to get out of bed. She has also been diagnosed with being "a farckle" by comical Dr. Spackle (Michael Huston). Once asleep, Angela is transported on a series of adventures to far off places aboard her new bed (Eleanor Ruth) that can talk and sing ("Sleep On It") and serves as her navigator. There are lessons for Angela to learn about such things as the difference between selfishness and selflessness, as expressed musically by a trio of shell fish who don't want to share their dinner, and other lessons about life from a pair of "Llamas in Pajamas" on a steep mountain in Chile. A pair of exotic birds explain to her that "It Depends On Your Point of View," and a family of dromedaries in the Sahara suggest that "life's a journey". Before Angela wakes up to parents who realize that they have been neglecting her, one dozen cheery songs have filled the time. Luke Marcus, as a junior dromedary, projects and has a good voice. However, too many of the performers had a hard time with the brisk lyrical patter and just plain singing the right notes to the songs, as played by pianist Sharon Fann. A more polished and effective cast is needed to help get the songs and messages across. Chris Clavelli's direction could also be sharper. Except for the bed, there is no set to speak of. At 45 Bleecker - Bleecker. 1 hour. [Saltzman]

PN1923.45 LS01 Volume 2 (The Book Play)
Playwright Bixby Elliot's acute observations and astute insights about what is means to be gay cover a lot of ground as well as time. Time travel is interpolated into this fascinating, if often enigmatic, play that spans a period between 1951 and 1981. It concerns the relationships of three couples, each of which defines a different aspect of being and living gay. The launching pad is the sub-basement of the San Francisco Public Library and where comely librarian Jonathan (James Ryan Caldwell) can barely restrain his lust for the equally responsive visitor Brad (Yuval Boim). Brad has a particular interest in a rare first edition, as well as in some hanky panky among the stacks. Their hot and heavy affair is presented in the light and mores of the pre-AIDS era. It is suddenly 1951 and our attention is on naïve spinster librarian Madeline (Marguerite Stimpson) who has been actively pursuing the attention of a meek and mild, but dapper looking, Laurence (Chad Heoppner), who is also intent on reading the book in question. The play finds the most incendiary and compelling hook, however, in the ranting and raving of Harry (Everett Quinton), an old queen in a wheel chair who, accompanied by his young, pretty-faced companion (Matthew Hoch), goes into long, vindictive diatribes on the plight of the homosexual. He also demands that pages, apparently torn from the book, be returned to him. The play is compelling and driven with candor as it follows Jonathan and Brad from their misunderstandings to the disintegration of their relationship as well as bringing insight to the inevitably ill-fated marriage of Madeline to closeted Laurence. Through a time warp, there is a climactic meeting in which all three couples, their relationships suddenly entwined and interdependent, find a kind of closure. Under Stephen Brackett's excellent direction, the play is buoyed by superior acting that reflects the changes in body language, attitudes and demeanor over thirty or so years. 45 Bleecker - Bleecker. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Saltzman]

Venue Addresses
45 Bleecker - Bleecker , 45 Bleecker Street (@ Lafayette)
45 Bleecker - Lafayette , 45 Bleecker Street (@ Lafayette)
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place (Bleecker/W 3)
Cherry Lane Studio, 38 Commerce Street (Bedford/Barrow)
Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street (Bleecker/Bedford)
Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street (Avs A/B)
CSV Center - Flamboyan, 107 Suffolk Street (Rivington/Delancey)
CSV Center - Milagro, 107 Suffolk Street (Rivington/Delancey)
Gene Frankel, 24 Bond Street (@ Lafayette)
Independent Theater, 52 A West 8th Street (6 Av/MacDougal)
Linhart Theatre, 440 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor (Astor Pl/E 4)
Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street (Bleecker/Hudson)
New School for Drama, 151 Bank Street (West/Washington)
Our Lady of Pompei - Demo Hall, 25 Carmine Street (enter on Bleecker, off 6 Av)
Players Loft, 115 MacDougal Street, 3rd Floor (s of W 3)
Players Theatre,115 MacDougal Street (s of W 3)
Skirball Center, 566 LaGuardia Place (@Washington Sq S)
SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street (6 Av/Varick)
Village Theatre, 158 Bleecker Street (@Thompson)

Outstanding Play:
Lights Rise on Grace
I Dig Doug
Catch The Fish

Outstanding Musical:
Bash'd: A Gay Rap Opera
Piaf: Love Conquers All

Outstanding Playwrighting:
Mac Rogers - Hail Satan
Corey Patrick - Bombs in Your Mouth
Sara Jeanne Asselin - The Rise and Fall of Miles and Milo

Outstanding Music & Lyrics:
Kurt Gellersted & Brooke Fox - Williamsburg! The Musical
Kevin So - Victor Woo: The Average Asian American

Outstanding Solo Show:
Bent to the Flame: A Night with Tennessee Williams
Paper Son

Outstanding Direction:
Jessica Beck - All Alone
Emily Fishbaine- Dressing Miss Julie
Jon Lawrence Rivera - Hillary Agonistes

Outstanding Costume Design:
Anne Aberjonois - Show Choir The Musical
Meganne George - John Goldfarb, Please Come Home

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Seth Reiser - The End

Outstanding Actor:
Siobhan Donnellan - Married to the Sea
Gardi Hutter - Joan of ARPpO
Mary Theresa Arnold - Jazz Hand: Tales of a One-Armed Woman
Christopher Domig - Dirt

Outstanding Ensemble:
Naked in a Fishbowl
Farmtrucks: A Corporate Coffee Adventure
Roxy Font
Show Choir The Musical
End's Eve: The Feast of 2012

Outstanding Choreography:
Isabelle Barbat - Requiem pour une ame seule
Jimmy Tate - Thunder
JD Aubrey Smith & Akim Funk Buddha - Victor Woo: The Average Asian American

The Village Voice Audience Favorite:
Riding The Bull

Fringe Encores
For the second year, after the completion of the Fringe Festival, there is an unaffiliated program of shows from this years festival. The 2007 Encores include A Beautiful Child and Piaf: Love Conquers All. Further information on the Fringe Encores program is available here.

1998 Fringe Report
1999 Fringe Report
2000 Fringe Report
2001 Fringe Report
2002 Fringe Report
2003 Fringe Report
2004 Fringe Report
2005 Fringe Report
2006 Fringe Report
broadway musicals: the 101 greatest shows of all time
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Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide
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Leonard Maltin's 2005 Movie Guide

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