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A CurtainUp Report
2004 New York International Fringe Festival




Update: August 26, 2004


Click on Show Title or Scroll Down Page to Browse

The Adams Conglomerate High School Drama Club Presents: Tales of the 8th Grade!! | A is for Aardvark | Andru's Head | Armless | Assyrian Monkey Fantasy | Barrymore's Body | Believe in Me... A Bigfoot Musical | The Bicycle Men | Big Trouble in Little Hazzard | Cane's Bayou | Chekhov On the Wing | Confessions of a Mormon Boy | The Cosmic Calamities Of Henry Noodle | Daddy Was the Biggest Stagemother in Texas | Dog Sees God | Golden Prospects: A Los Angeles Melodrama | Granola! The Musical | Hanging Chad | The Imaginary, All-True Leni Riefenstahl Show | How to Draw Mystical Creatures | Irish Authors Held Hostage | Nicky Goes Goth | Patriot Acts (The Constitution Project) | Queer Theory | Radio :30 | Scarlet Sees The Light | Simple Thoughts | Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act | Terrible Infant | Unaccessorized | Vampire Cowboy Trilogy | Vuillard's Room | Wrong Barbarians | Young Zombies in Love | You've Never Done Anything Forgivable

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Fringe Festival's 8th year follows in its predecessor's footsteps, which means it continues to upgrade itself from a creature comfort standpoint, while continuing to offer a fair number of shows which can be described as "Fringe-only" enterprises. In light of the ensuing Republican convention, which commences as the Festival ends, this year's Fringe carries the tag line "Defying Convention" and includes several shows which might be viewed as a reaction to it. We will report on them in the reviews below.

The movement out of the Lower East Side/East Village home of the Fringe continues, to the point that only a minority of venues this year are in the old stomping ground; the 14th Street Maginot line remains intact, and the number of theaters below Canal Street has increased substantially. Recent concessions by Actors' Equity have also opened larger off-Broadway venues to Fringe shows operating under Equity's Showcase Code, so the Fringe now boasts a number of substantial theaters that can be used for Equity and Non-Equity shows alike.

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. The festival runs from August 13-29. Further information, schedules and reservations are available prior to the show day by phoning 212-279-4488 or 1-888-FRINGENYC (4-8 PM Mon - Fri, 2-8 PM Sat - Sun); on the web at: www.fringenyc.org or in person at Fringe Central 127 MacDougal (between West 3rd Street and West 4th Street), from noon until 8 PM. Day-of-performance tickets are available at the door at each venue, 15 minutes prior to the show. Prices: $15, reduced to $8 for kids 12 and under to FringeJR events and for seniors. There are also passes: 5 shows for $65, 10 shows for $110 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.


Reviews

The Adams Conglomerate High School Drama Club Presents: Tales of the 8th Grade!! | Wrong Barbarians
After my enthusiasm for Timothy Nolan's Acts of Contrition at last year's Fringe (I was not alone -- it won a playwriting award), his offering this year seemed like a good starting point for our Fringe coverage. Like Contrition, Wrong Barbarians chooses to focus on a subject with much currency. In this case, it is the fear of enemies putatively lurking everywhere in the post-9/11 world. Alicia Stone (the convincing Patricia Sones), a history teacher, sits in a diner imagining that Adam (Gil Deeble), a follower of Islam, is a terrorist. For his part, Adam is already edgy, having had a run-in with the police (Harry Burney, an understudy at this performance, and Tod Engle) after he left a bag on the subway, rushing to get off the train. As he waits endlessly to be served, he hears the voice of his dead Army Sergeant father (also Burney) preaching pearls of wisdom. For her part, Mrs. Stone's paranoia is fueled by the racist incitement of a fellow teacher (Engle, again), after she tells him she may have heard two Jordanian students talking about 9/11, in advance. The brew is mixed further by a government special agent (Gena Bardwell, doing double duty as a waitress) who makes it clear "we want you fearful". Acts of Contrition excelled by taking us beyond the superficial story. Unfortunately, Barbarians doesn't rise to that level. Here, Nolan doesn't reveal much we don't already know, and his almost surreal story line is far too diffuse to bring matters into any sort of sharp focus. At Cherry Lane. 1 hour, 20 minutes. [Gutman]

Confessions of a Mormon Boy
This Fringe offering is truly a confessional, and quite a long one at that, framed by home voice recordings of performer/writer Steven Fales when he was a small boy of about five. The approximately 30 years since then are described in his often funny and equally often desperately sad recollections that center on his early awareness of same-sex-attraction, described by some from whom he once sought treatment and relief as "SSA." Fales is an adept performer and an appealing presence; he even makes some winning singing contributions, but I'm surprised that veteran director Jack Hofsiss took on this project without employing editorial scissors more liberally than is in evidence. The litany of anecdotes is excessive, and the man's willingness to serially give in to and then share temptations far beyond the sexual made me at times feel more like a censorious Aunt Minnie than I ever could have imagined. Fortunately, he seems to have survived his astoundingly rocky youth very well, although the emotional and psychological scars seem to be substantial; while his Mormon church apparently has failed to welcome him back with his warts, perhaps the larger world has. The theater, pliable as it has been in our time, in offerings like this seems not far from an appearance at a 12 step program, or even a condensation of a television reality show. Be sure to read the playwright's letter and note in the program, if possible before the performance. They add considerable perspective. (Note that the venue's sightlines are extremely challenging, and offerings involving multiple performers might be very difficult to follow.) At Pace Plaza Café. 1 hour, 40 minutes. [Bradley]

The Adams Conglomerate High School Drama Club Presents: Tales of the 8th Grade!!
Imagine being an early-age female teen, and writing a novel about four thirteen year-old girls. What in the world would you write for 154 pages? Well, Tara Ariano self-published hers, called Untitled: A Bad Teen Novel, and her chiquitas, placed in 1987 Saskatchewan, are not your average gang of eighth graders. Imagine an internet fantasy fiction of a bad after-school special, times four, and you've got this show's premise. Luckily, in the hands of adapter/director Brad Akin and music writer Michael Mahler, the musical adaptation of Ariano's book is nothing less than hysterical. Especially if you get a kick out of good actors portraying bad actors, and good actors pretending to be bad non-actors (who knew there was a difference? Clever director Akin did). I won't comment on the story issues; it's better to take those in 13 year-old author stride. But this production is at its funniest when the story is not in the realm of the basically impossible, and the performers are able to let their subtle, satirical choices shine. Joanna Rudnick's choreography is 80's bad music video inspired -- and right on, but unfortunately goes missing during the bulk of the play. This cast successfully dives head-first into this teen world, and special mention goes to Martha Marion's unwieldy Brandon. At The Players Theater. 70 minutes. [Cooper].

How to Draw Mystical Creatures
In Ellen Margolis's new play, she paints an interesting social commentary on the troubling world our children live in and the "impossibilities" of parenting in the present day. The play explores topical issues from the overworked single mother, to the over-protective mom, the cycle of dysfunctional child-rearing and the sympathetic Social worker. Its main focus is on two older mothers (Debra Lass and Caroline Luft), one overworked, the other over-protective, and their children (Susan Maris and David Michael Roth) who have been raised in fatherless households. Coincidentally, the two siblings meet in college, fall in love, marry and have a child. The young mother, struggling with depression, is pushed to her limit. In the climax, the young mom kills her baby, in what may be seen as an act of protection from the cruel world. (Ironically, it is a fate that she herself might have endured, had she not been left on her adoptive mother's door step at the start of the play.) Throughout the story there is a wolf character (John Moletress) who metaphorically represents the evil our children face in society. Poignantly, the young mom ends up in the arms of the wolf. Margolis also toys with the idea of sainthood, as Saint Christina (Janet Dunson), the patron saint of social workers, sits in juxtaposition to the wolf. While the play has an interesting approach, it could be more concise. For the most part, the characters and their portrayals are believable and the use of the Wolf is an "amber alert" for the audience. So a lesson for all parents: beware of the wolf's growl! At Our Lady of Pompeii. 1 hour, 50 minutes. [Cote]

Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act
Sometimes nudity can be the saving grace of an otherwise lackluster show, but in Athol Fugard's classic, the nudity is the whole point of the show. In this invigorating production, a biracial couple is caught in the act of making love in 1964 South Africa. They are arrested, photographed, and interrogated by the police, and are forced to justify their love to the public, to each other, and to themselves. Megan Leigh and Noel Arthur give riveting performances; Shep Gest's video effects add a startling dimension to the story. Though the accents are forced, everything else about this production recommends it. At Pace-Schaeberle. 1 hour, 15 minutes. [Sandman]

Young Zombies in Love
As the Zombies start to reach critical mass (not a good thing, take my word for it), we learn that eating the brains of living humans is their only palliative. It's far earlier, however, when Young Zombies in Love starts to eat away at the audiences's brain. Despite eclectic and sometimes quite catchy songs by Gaby Alter (the zenith being a song called "Flee (A Brief History of Zombieism in Western Thought)", sung by Professor Itsucolt (Kevin Townley, who is exceptional)), this musical suffers under Damian Hess's book which never really rises about skit territory. It centers on a pair of ill-fated high school lovers, Nick (the quite charming Daniel Zaitchik) and Lu (Erica Ash) who are tripped up by the growing horde of Zombies as more and more of their classmates disappear. The adults are no help as first Nick and later Lu become victims. They die happily ever after. Zombies features a huge cast including ten dancers (Joshua Carlson's choreography revealing a number of inventive ideas mixed with some pretty banal ones) plus a band of four musicians under Alter's lead. Jackson Gay deserves credit for directing this many performers on the cramped stage without causing (unintended) bodily injury. At Players. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Gutman]

Believe in Me... A Bigfoot Musical
Believe in Me... A Bigfoot Musical, a very funny show, has a lot to say about values and truth, and presents a great deal of effective theatrical style in the saying. This treat lives up to its high pre-production hype, offering a wonderful collection of performances, seamless staging, and an entertaining score that helps to tell its story as well as any musical on Broadway in several years. There are a number of delightful characters, including an idealistic television writer, a wise Bigfoot expert, and a salt-of-the-earth Native American. The plot, which interweaves difficult-to-document mysterious monsters with health industry scandals, is a bit overburdened with dramatis personae, and some loose ends are left dangling at the finish. But this show is so much fun! Who knew that the perhaps mythical Bigfoot, female reproductive health issues, and both opposite sex and same sex couples could comfortably commingle in a delightful new musical? Much credit belongs to writers Michael Holland (music and lyrics) and Adrien Royce (book, based on her own play) and director Drew Geraci for a memorable production that thrives without even scenery, let alone the technological gimmickry common in large-cast musicals. Standout performers in a strong cast of 15 include David Gurland, Jamie Laverdiere, Audrey Lavine, Christina Norrup, and Kelly Kinsella. At Pace - Schaeberle. 2 hours including intermission. [Bradley]

Barrymore's Body
This show has a wonderful first act which credibly and amusingly delivers not only the iconic presences of Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre, but also crisply conveys the time and place of wartime Hollywood, soon after the 1942 film Casablanca had commenced production. The plot hilariously spins oft-told rumors about the disposition of the remains of the recently-expired John Barrymore, and cleverly interweaves into the mix another actor from Casablanca, Paul Henreid, as a stooge for the more famous tough guy and peculiar guy. Unfortunately, the script falls apart in a very awkward second act. But on the strength of the three performances (Christian Baskous as Bogart, Dan Truman as Lorre, and Gregory Steinbruner as Henreid), as aided by adept director Jeff Tabnick, the first act is a delicious film fan's delight. If Mr. Tabnick, also author, can rethink his second act for simplicity, clarity, and an ending, he'll have a terrific dark comedy. If not, his strong first act would work fine paired with another effective short piece on Hollywood history. At Cherry Lane. 1 hour, 40 minutes including intermission. [Bradley]

Patriot Acts (The Constitution Project)
Patriot Acts, a sharply-constructed series of ten short pieces, incisively takes simultaneously serious and humorous looks at the weaknesses and threats involving our constitution as seen in various social issues including criminal justice, marriage and civil unions, abortion, and capital punishment. Most of the plays and monologues are wonderfully written, directed, and performed, although the first two unfortunately have a predictable sitcom tone that temporarily lowers expectations. However, each of the other eight segments is strong, and the evening increases incrementally in power, reaching its height in "Just Like That," which explores the devastating consequences that can follow the death of a loved one who is not legally considered family. Production conceiver Rich Cole and his co-writers, co-directors, and performers from the Urban Rock Project deserve considerable praise. Impressive is the work of writers Timothy McCracken, Andrea Cirie, Joseph Collins, Lori Fischer, Jeremiah Miller, Adele Ahronheim, Barry P. Katz, and Mr. Cole, along with that of directors Stephen Hollis, Melissa Maxwell, Jake Storms, Jeremiah Wiggins and Messrs Cole, Katz and Wiggins. In the fine cast, standouts include Kenya Rome, Ms. Fischer, Ginger Grace, and especially Mr. Miller, a young actor of extraordinary power. This event takes both the skit and the one-act play to new contemporary sophistication in conveying urgent social issues with extraordinary dramatic power. At Soho Playhouse. 2 hours including intermission. [Bradley]

The Bicycle Men
I don't recall when an hour of entertainment was such an unqualified delight. The Chicago-centered quartet of intoxicating improvisationally-trained artists responsible for The Bicycle Men managed to paste a broad grin across my face throughout their antic performance, even with a late curtain time wedged between two busy days on my schedule. The trick they have cleverly employed is to begin with every cliché in the book about a familiar topic, in this case the French people and their response to foreign tourists, and add an edge to the behavior to turn each cliché on its ear. This hilarious show almost defies description. It could be called a fanciful Gallic chamber musical; it could be called a surrealistic farce; and it could be called an athletic mime performance/faux puppet show. In fact it is all of these, and wonderfully satisfying on all counts. The winning clowns on view, Dave Lewman, Joe Liss, Mark Nutter, and John Rubano, also created their own material, and Mr. Nutter both wrote and plays the songs and incidental music that charmingly inflect the entire program. At Players. 1 hour, 5 minutes. [Bradley]

Cane's Bayou
Notwithstanding the trappings of a white trash living room play, Matthew Holtzclaw's new play, directed collaboratively with his fellow actors, almost all of whom are Florida State theater grads, is a surprisingly textured and touching story that is both well written and performed. Luther (Mr. Holtzclaw) lives with his brother, Cane (Michael McElroy, in a remarkably difficult but thoroughly convincing portrayal), in a trailer by a bayou far from town. Their parents are dead (under slightly obscure but definitely unpleasant circumstances); Luther is lonesome, socially inept and clearly suffering from familial memories; Cane is developmentally disabled (less politely, "retarded") but with his hormones apparently fully developed and a severe crush on another similarly impaired girl, known as Bang-Bang (Betsy Winchester). Enter Lila (Rachel Plotkin), from a rich but even more redneck family, who draws Luther out of his shell and in the process dredges up his demons. She too has family baggage, in the form of her beer-toting asshole brother, Gamey (Tony Larkin) and his running buddy, Hunter (Matt Hobby). A final character, an old black man named Ol' Boot (Delano Dunn), is the boss at the construction company where Luther, Cane and Bang-Bang work, as well as substitute father, seemingly to all of them. Though one senses he is present to reinforce the play's thematic elements, he represents the work's only poorly realized aspect, and his interludes serve to underscore the length of this one act, which would be even better trimmed of 15-20 minutes of running time. At Pace - Schaeberle. 1 hour, 55 minutes. [Gutman]

Vampire Cowboy Trilogy
Shortly after this show began, I felt duped. It became clear that this trilogy of drawn-out skits was NOT about Vampire Cowboys, nor did they contain any Vampire Cowboys, or even cowboys or vampires (though there were some zombies). Ok, there were some VC fight breaks in between the evening's episodes, but they were over in a flash, not even leaving time for the victor to sink their fangs into the exposed neck of the fallen. The skits themselves were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, with a dark edge when convenient. First we meet a Williamsburg paranormal detective who has delusions of his life being Film Noir. Next up are faux super-heroes whose saving of the world goes horribly awry when their fantasy world bubble is burst. Batting clean-up, teenage warrior princess Tina has to save the socially awkward while battling the evils of the cheerleading captain. Sure, even without the ten-gallon hats and black capes this would seem to be a clever evening of mockery, but save for a few noble performances, an original song at the end and some energizing choreography, the jokes do not gel. A wink to the audience may be funny, but this production has not yet found a way to make each wink funnier than the last. It does not build on its own momentum; in fact the show lacks momentum. Likewise, when dark undertones are pushed into the realm of blatant, we have not yet been equipped by the production to approach these issues from a fresh angle. Andrea Marie Smith is appealing as Missy, whose school-girl crush on best friend/warrior princess Tina may or may not be unrequited. Temar Underwood, appearing in all three skits, hits his mark in his final appearance as the multiply disabled Brad. Vampire Cowboy, aside from being the producing theater company, is also a certain aesthetic, according to the show's program. What that aesthetic is, is unclear. At Collective: Unconscious. 90 minutes. [Cooper].

Dog Sees God
At each year's Fringe, there are a few shows that arrive with their future seemingly mapped out. Bert Royal's "unauthorized" parody of Peanuts as its characters' hormones fully engage has all the trappings of a production that will be a Fringe survivor. With an irreverant Fringe spirit, a game cast and enthusiastic audiences, it's hard to imagine that anyone missing the remaining Festival performances will be shut out for long. As the show opens, C.B. (the right-on-target Michael Gladis) is writing to his "penpal" about the recent death of his beloved dog. Soon, we will meet his friends, each with a name crafted with lawyerly precision to avoid trespassing while making its identity clear to us: Van (Tate Ellington), Matt (Jay Sullivan), "Beethoven" (Benjamin Schrader), Tricia (Bridget Barkan) and Marcy (Stelianie Tekmitchov), as well as C.B.'s sister (Karen DiConcetto) and Van's sister (Melissa Picarello). Suffice it to say this gang experiences a host of typical high school crises, some reflecting important social issues and others far more mundane. As the story progresses (and it's best that I leave the details to be seen and not read about), Royal shifts the tone from one prompting laughter to one that might well prompt a few tears. His script could use additional attention, especially toward the end, but there is no doubt he is onto something. At Soho Playhouse. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Gutman]

Queer Theory
The estimable Theatre Rhinoceros in San Francisco ("America's longest-running professional queer theatre"), in its original play Queer Theory, explores gender slippage, the notion that each of us possesses an element of the other gender which, given the right set of circumstances, can slip out (or in, we might say, given the punning in the performance) at any moment. While the philosophy is couched in rather farcical comedy, the results certainly do keep one thinking, particularly with regard to familiar terms of adjusted identity including transgender and transsexual, and sometimes ranging to offensive put-downs including "sick freak" and "gender nazi." Unquestionably, the company's motto of "Queer entertainment for the Queer in Everyone" is aptly delivered. We begin at a classroom lecture on the eponymous "Queer Theory" at a prestigious California university (apparently Berkeley), where the professor, Dr. Jeff Webster, explains his hypothesis to inquiring students. Soon we realize that Webster is experiencing gender slippage himself, as does the entire cast before the show is finished. As Webster, Matt Weimer is excellent. Writer John Fisher gives us much to chew on, and he directs his strong cast of seven at a brisk pace that keeps the comedy in focus as alter-egos pop up first peculiarly, and ultimately, all over the stage. Male nudity, cross dressing, and a lot of implied and even some simulated sex will attract some Fringe goers and perhaps repel a few. For musical fans, be advised that, while this is definitely not a musical, there is a title song, performed with full awareness of that form of theater. At Soho Playhouse. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Bradley]

Daddy Was the Biggest Stagemother in Texas
A mostly amiable comedy with melodrama at its heart, Daddy Was The Biggest Stagemother in Texas does a gender switch on Mama Rose, the iconic pushy parent from the legendary musical Gypsy. Here also we have a son, rather than a daughter, who is pushed into show business and who is pleased with the idea. The father has no suppressed ambitions of his own, and, while he generally holds to traditional male role expectations for his dance-wiz son, quickly becomes obsessed with molding the boy's stage career. This show begins with an ironic, almost satirical cheekiness that plays for laughs, and runs into trouble when it reveals some agonizing results of the father's initial success in molding his son. The cast of four is has been paced effectively by director Joan Eileen Murray. Keith Everett gives a charming and textured performance as tap-dance phenom Jack (a nod of applause goes to choreographer Della Lahane for the effective musical inserts), and Theresa Rose is impressively varied as a sextet of diverse women in the lad's life from age five into adulthood. Fine, too, are Ron Palillo who shades the often profane positivism of Daddy Brady and Kelly K. Griffith who imbues an underwritten Mother Jeanne as clever in responding to challenges rather than merely long-suffering. However, the title role needs development which will better explore Daddy's conflicts and prepare the play for its difficult moments that lie ahead. As it stands, Jack Dyville's script has a schizophrenic personality that is unable to effectively balance its dual missions of having fun and telling a troubling story. A note on the venue: it is only for the very patient and hardy, involving two flights of stairs, horrid sightlines, and unreliable climate control. At Players Theatre, Studio 3C. 1 hour, 15. [Bradley]

The Cosmic Calamities Of Henry Noodle
This "sci-fi musical comedy adventure" has three major things going for it. The first, and perhaps most important, is that everyone involved in this productions seems to understand the Fringe aesthetic, and embrace it. (It may be surprising but far too many Fringe shows fail because they are at war with their environment, whereas Henry Noodle is empowered by it.) The second is that its songs are what they should be -- well crafted, tuneful, integral, funny and smart, or at least smart in their silliness. (Surprising also is how many Fringe musicals are hampered by lousy or ill-conceived songs.) The third is that in Matt Wilson, the show has a star who is endearing and believable, and who energizes the entire production (the latter to such a degree that when he is briefly off-stage, the show falters.) The Noodle's "adventure" finds him blasting off from Earth (far in the future) because he is convinced it is about to explode. His travels will take this goofy dork of a man on a search for other life forms, some of which he will encounter along the way. The show is filled with references to everything from Star Trek to Gilligan's Island to Shakespeare, and is more often than not delightful. A book writer could help the show's creator, Tim McCanna, refine and improve his storytelling, but Henry Noodle seems like a show that could end up drawing audiences around the country. Though there are a few sexual references, they are mild and of a type that would fly over the heads of the youngsters; the lone five year old at the performances I attended had an absolute blast. At Pace - Schaeberle. 1 hour, 45 minutes. [Gutman]

Nicky Goes Goth
Ah, the Hilton Girls. I, for one, find them funny, but not all that fascinating. Yet the idea of watching a playwright's fantasy, of the more introverted sister dating a much more "fringe" member of society, seemed quite appropriate material to see at the fringe festival. The play uses the Hilton sister's makeup artist as narrator and tracks a day in the life of Nicky (played moodlily by Zoe Kazan) and a day in the life of Shithead (the piercing Michael Nathanson) - Nicky's future goth interest. We are even given the ability to hear their thoughts through talking ganglion, dendrites and an amygdala (various parts of our nervous system, for those of you who may have slept through/blocked out high school biology). Later that evening and late into the show, these two meet in a club and have an instant connection. But their onstage relationship is so short-lived, and so far into the play that it feels more like a tease. Sure, as narrator Aaron says, "No one stays goth, it's just a moment, then it passes," but what about the day-to-day maintenance of a relationship and people's differences? Couldn't that have provided some fun scenes between Nicky and Shithead? But author Elizabeth Meriwether decided to leave the humor of the show to the supporting roles, with Paris and her hookup buddy Christian expressing elitist stupidity, and monopolizing the laughs. Meriwether's agenda is unclear. Is this a show mocking the lifestyle of the Hiltons and others, and pointing out how foolish we are to eat up the media gossip around them? Or are the Hiltons just a tool being used to look into the world of teenage goth and the potential psychology behind it? Metaphorically we all may go through our own goth phase, but why should we take Nicky Hilton's fictionalized moment so seriously? At Players Theater. 75 minutes. [Cooper]

Armless
The program notes explain that Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) is not a psychosis. Though not much is known about it, it is currently most commonly paralleled to Gender Identity Disorder. Yes, Armless is funny, but what gives this production staying power is that it takes the plight of John, the main character with BIID, seriously. And he may be quirky, but as we learn more about his character, we see he is not crazy. We join John as he leaves his life behind to seek out the doctor who will help achieve his lifelong dream of being armless. And to the credit of actor Sam Turich and writer Kyle Jarrow, I wanted to champion both an intact John and an armless John. At the top of the show, John leaves his wife Anna for "the city" and the doctor who he has heard (in chat rooms, of course) will understand his struggle, and perhaps even surgically remove his arms. Turich's interpretation of John includes a sincere desperation, clearly understood through his wild eyes. And his arms seem to hang just that much farther down his sides, getting in his way and looking like the least efficient part of his body. Colleen Quinlan's Anna is snippy and oddly graceless, yet is still able to get her love of John across. The cast's energy (rounded out with flair by Gabrielle Reznek as the receptionist and Robert Carr as the doctor) pushes past the cramped stage, showing their devotion to the characters -- and perhaps director Ian Tresselt not having tailored the production for their space. Jarrow's writing is messy, giddy and poignant, and at its best, all three at once. Most importantly, Jarrow's work continues to prove that he is not afraid of playing with fire. You may never think of "nubbins" in the same way, but good theater should leave a lasting impression, right? At Pace -- Plaza Café. 60 minutes. [Cooper]

Hanging Chad
Straightforward political plays, where a person's opinions, analyses, and personal experiences are all clearly laid out, are almost impossible to do in a dynamic and attractive fashion. But I thought I'd give Hanging Chad a chance; after all, I was intrigued by the idea of seeing and hearing a young, black Floridian speak of his experiences down South during the 2000 election. Unfortunately, this show turned out to be an unfocused fictionalized account, performed by an uninspired actor given seemingly zero direction. The show began innocently enough, with a sweet, made-up childhood and adolescence mapping. But within the same breath, this narrative suddenly turns sour, jumping into political rant mode, barely breaking over the next hour. And solo performer Jordan Deas, as Chad, is unable to pull off any miracles with the flat script. Writer/director Greg Klein has not yet learned that audiences do not come to theater in order to get a lecture, but to be shown something, and decide for themselves what is being told. At Pace - Plaza Café. 65 minutes. [Cooper]

Andru's Head
"Mama" Higgenbottom (Brooke Elliott) is crushed when two repo men invade her home and attempt to take away her TV set. Pity them. The TV set is the only stick of furniture that "Mama" and her two boys Lawrence (Timothy James O'Brien) and Gregory (Kako Kitano) have left since "Mama" lost her job to "outsourcing." Their only pleasure is watching "Andru's Head" on a local cable access channel. Yes, Andru (Paul Jason Green) has no body, but he's got a smiling face and a wholesome attitude toward life expressed through song in his daily show and with ever growing popularity and success ("Life is easy. Don't let it get in your way"). The plot and the score thicken amusingly in the new rock musical conceived by Stephen Wilson, with music and lyrics by Stephen Wilson and book by Mark Dendy and Stephen Donavan. This, as Andru falls in love with studio intern Calliope (Denise Summerford), the winsome daughter of Phineas (Darrel W. Blackburn), an evil and unscrupulous media mogul, who buys the rights to the TV show in order to exploit Andru and "to control children's programming." Get set for revenge time when Mama's boys photographs Phineas murdering Mr. Stewart (Brad Bradley), the show's producer, and when Andru gets murder on his mind and a gun between his teeth. An engaging eclectic, if un-sophisticated soft-rock score; lively and inventive direction/choreography by Dendy and Jonathan Warman give slick support to a very talented company. While this is a basically one-joke musical, it provides plenty of laughs, including a football game played with Andru's head, Big "Mama" taking on Phineas' thugs in a knock-down drag-out fight, and the expected double entendres. What most impresses are the polish and the panache that has been afforded this modest (but creatively designed by Donovan) yet ethically and eccentrically propelled production. At Players Theatre (Studio 3C). 1 hour, 15 minutes. [Saltzman]

Assyrian Monkey Fantasy
Despite the weird title, this is not a weird show. It's two long monologues (about an hour each) written and performed by exiled gay Iranian playwright Assurbanipal Babilla. The first, "Confessions of a Latter Day Temple Prostitute," is about the life of a faded movie star/uber-diva. "My Windows in Brooklyn" concerns an illegal immigrant holed up in his Brooklyn apartment, and a visit from his kooky elderly neighbors. Turns out his strategically placed mirror reflects everything that goes on in his apartment--everything. Both are interesting and well-performed, though the second is much funnier and more engaging. Babilla is an excellent writer and actor, and is able to fill the bare stage with only his presence and some well-placed lighting effects. Watching him imitate faded divas and nosy old ladies while waggling his big white Mark Twain-like moustache has got to be one of the funniest scenes in the Fringe this year. At Cherry Lane. 1 hour, 50 minutes. [Sandman]

Big Trouble in Little Hazzard
Three years ago Yale School of Drama acting chums Peter Katona, Greg Derelian, Edward O'Blenis and Sarah Elliot had their fill evidently of the likes of Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Shaw, and decided to raid the canon of Gy Waldron, creator of the long-running TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard." The result was a cabaret show authored by Katona and Derelian that shamelessly lampooned the characters in a flimsy plot propelled by silly antics and sophomoric vulgarity. The famously infamous car (cardboard) General Lee and its riders have hit the Fringe. We first encounter the Dukes, Bo (Katona), Luke (Derelian) and Daisy (Lauren Bittner) speeding into Hazzard County. On route, there's a lot of double entendre-flavored two-way radio talk between the folks at home about Daisy's "new jugs," information that is presumed to be a code word for "moonshine" by CB tapping Sheriff Coltrane (Remy Auberjonois) and his deputies. Bo, the inveterate supplier of the inappropriate simile, and Luke, the master of redundancy, soon find themselves caught between the inept doings of the local law-enforcers and the dastardly machinations of their bad news look-alike cousins (think the Dromios), Coy (Matthew Schwartz) and Vance (Frank Liotti). They have returned to town from an exile to steal the General Lee, but stay to engage in various un-social acts, including impersonating Bo and Luke, kidnapping old Uncle Jesse (Connor Barrett), robbing Dr. Wilson, and otherwise providing circumstantial evidence for politician Boss Hogg (Mark Matek) to frame Bo and Luke. Under Will Frear's fearless direction, Daisy is characterized as much by her wiggling derriere in cut-off shorts as she is by her winsome illiteracy, while the principal males are characterized as formidably by the bulge in their jeans as they are by their flagrant imbecility. The acting for the most part is harmlessly over-the-top. The exception is Edward O'Blenis, who, as the dentist Doc Wilson, the only black man in town, gets laughs by merely looking nonplused and by underplaying such a cliché as, "I can't identify them. All white men look alike to me." But there is a lot of idiotically antic action that one is hard pressed not to respond to with a laugh. A frenetic car chase, involving the boys in the General Lee and a pair of police cars that zig and zag around the tiny stage and up and down the aisles is a hoot. Rick Sordelet's fight choreography is worth the price of admission. Yee ha. At Soho Playhouse. 1 hour, 10 minutes. (Saltzman)

Granola! The Musical
That Eric March, currently a sophomore at Yale University, wrote and composed this spoof of a musical when he was 16 year-old high school student is, in itself, a remarkable and laudable accomplishment. To see it produced on a rather grand scale in one of the larger Fringe venues must be a thrill for him. Obviously bitten by the theater bug at a young age, enamored by the products of the golden age of American musical theater, and gifted enough to graft some of the more endearing aspects of the genre into his own creation, March has only one thing more to do: Create something more mature and original. Although Granola is referred to in the press release as a satirical musical comedy, it offers not a trace of the kind of trenchant wit and irony that is generally employed (think "Urinetown") to either send up or scorn human folly. The basic plot, that both rivals and pays homage to various musicals from Oklahoma, to Carousel, and from Pippin to Les Miz, finds farm owner Joad (David Arthur Bachrach) and the happy-go-lucky singing and hoe-down dancing farmhands ("Granola Time") under siege by "EvilCorps," a greedy conglomerate run by a Russian named Vladimir (John D'Arcangelo). Vladimir wants to purchase and demolish the farm and build a parking lot. Things get complicated (for a musical that is) when the farmer's perky daughter Betty (Jennifer Wren) and Vladimir's son Clive (Michael Rader) fall in love at first sight. ("For I Love You"). Giving the farmers hope and "pep" all the way from the farm to the courtroom is Granny (Bonnie Lee). A limp lift is provided by Jessica DiMauro's turn-around, jump and kick choreography. For the most part, the show insists on relentlessly and shamelessly lampooning itself hoping to soften the audience's tendency to groan and cringe. March's innocently derivative score and book is not without merit or an intent to amuse, but it is ultimately too naïve and puerile to win us over. As a director March does what he can with a company of 20 that only sporadically reveals within it a spark of talent. Josh Miller's attractive production design and Amy Santo's colorful costumes hint at a brighter show than meets the eye. At Pace - Schimmel. 2 hours, including intermission. [Saltzman]

Irish Authors Held Hostage
This extremely clever spoof not only manages to amiably skewer a large number of Irish literary icons (and a couple of unexpected others); it also simultaneously provides rare and effective satire on international terrorism. Fortunately, the importance of neither literature nor global unrest is undermined in the innovative dramatic process. The production, understandably billed as "A Love and Terror Production," was written by John Morogiello, who seems to be extremely familiar with his chosen topics. In sequential episodes, we meet an assortment of noted Irish authors captured in serial fantasies by assorted terrorists. Of course the Irish have been familiar with acts of terror on their own soil for decades, so the present conceit which extends their literary luminaries into more international brands of jeopardy is entirely understandable. An excellent and versatile quartet of actors, Kevin Carolan, Lori Boyd, Terence Heffernan, and Mr. Morogiello, portrays assorted writers from Yeats, Shaw and Wilde to the more recent Beckett and Behan, as well as assorted terrorists from anywhere but Ireland. After all, that area has been well-traveled by Joyce, O'Casey (both also on view) and others. Supplementing the actors are musicians Tina Eck and Matt Shortridge, who provide delightful mostly instrumental Irish-inflected interludes between the episodes. Direct Martin Blanco deftly paces and focuses the program for maximum impact and entertainment. At Greenwich Street Theatre. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Bradley]

Chekhov On the Wing
This is an highly ambitious work which tries to weld assorted non-dramatic writings of Chekhov, especially his letters, onto A Water Bird Talk, itself already a curious musical merger by Dominick Argento of Chekhov's minor monologue "On the Harmfulness of Tobacco" with the unexpected although apt companion of selected slides and text from J.J. Audubon's Birds of America. The Argento chamber opera inflates the less than twenty-minute monologue to more than double its length, and that in itself is a stretch for most audiences. But here, with assorted Chekhovian elements, both autobiographical and fictional, interwoven around the musical adaptation, co-adaptors Vicki Hirsch (also director) and Dayle Vander Sande (also performer) unfortunately have created a program that is exceedingly overlong and ultimately becomes overwrought as well. Even my companion, well-acquainted with Chekhov, was lost in trying to sort out the dual personas of Chekhov himself and his Walter Mitty like monologist as both portrayed by Mr. Vander Sande. Neither element of the program even begins to tap Chekhov's abundant humor, instead leaving a mostly dreary and miserable portrait of the extraordinary man and his work. Two separate works might work much better, with the Argento opera a curtain raiser for a less cluttered and more concise biographical examination of Chekhov the troubled humanist and literary artist. At Access Theater. 1 hour, 45 minutes. [Bradley]

Golden Prospects: A Los Angeles Melodrama
Golden Prospects: A Los Angeles Melodrama proudly wears its florid antiquated performing style on its sleeve, regularly encouraging the audience to respond to nasty villains (Yikes-there are four here!) with boos and hisses, and to hero and heroine with warnings and sighs. This highly giddy and presentational theatrical outing happily recalls a distant time when audiences became so immersed in live performances that they treated the characters as if they were part of their own lives. A splendid ensemble cast from California takes us back to that state a century ago when Los Angeles was barely on the maps but life's challenges and horrors perhaps were not all that different from those of today. Added to a sparkling ensemble of actors are clever directorial touches (from writer/director Colon Campbell) that keep the audience in apoplectic laughter. Treats to look for include a sneering competition between two villains, an oversized rat crossing the stage, and delightfully exaggerated pronunciations which produce extra syllables in words like "cruel" and "foul." Everything is satirized here, from the innocence of Nebraska farmers to the corruption of urban shysters and the overblown manner of silent film directors. Important to the pacing of the furious fun is old-fashioned piano accompaniment, delightfully rendered by Edward Libby, who also gamely participates as a character of sorts. And, amazingly, an endless mess of loose ends is neatly resolved by play's end. While one character tells us "I have been a fool" as the curtain falls, the audience has had a grand time though all the foolishness. At Linhart Theater. 1 hour, 20 minutes. [Bradley]

Unaccessorized
Here is another gay autobiographical monologue that tries hard to be unique, but ends up being utterly predictable. Its central character, in this case an Illinois fashionista with Filipino roots, describes the tribulations of coming out to family and then moves on to both the joys and bumps in his quest for the perfect relationship. An elaborate use of sound effects does enhance much of the performance, but curiously is late in appearing, and instead actor/writer Rich Kiamco attempts many of the early sounds himself. His personality is appealing on the surface, but unfortunately, the performance rarely gets beyond the superficial. Even though he's portraying meaningful events in his own life, the anecdotes seem distressingly mired in artifice, leaving the audience with a strong sense of "Haven't we been here before?" At Pace - Plaza Café. 1 hour, 15 minutes. [Bradley]

You've Never Done Anything Forgivable
You've Never Done Anything Forgivable is an enigmatic title for an unusual solo performance that, while equally enigmatic in the writing, becomes a quite compelling theatrical outing, thanks especially to the striking performance by its actor Matthew Humphreys. Unfortunately, the adaptation by both Humphreys and Brendan Hughes and the direction by Mr. Hughes of short stories of George Saunders fail to unify the trio of tales on view, and the first two remain considerably oblique, in part owing to the adaptation's insistent retention of their third person narrative short story format. But the final and longest item, "The 400-Pound CEO" is thankfully told by its central character, and manages to relate a grisly and disturbing tale with enormous power. An otherworldly quality to all the writing is often perplexing, with bizarre, mysterious, and other science fiction elements at hand. But Mr. Humphreys' uncluttered and persuasive performance makes the difference here, and finally pays off substantially in the final haunting tale of an obese misfit. At Linhart Theater. 1 hour, 15 minutes. [Bradley]

Simple Thoughts
Fans of Langston Hughes, the wonderful African-American writer who was adept in a variety of literary genres, theatrically enjoyed his centenary a couple of years ago with the Amas Theater's fine musical adaptation of his Little Ham. Fringe followers this year have a chance to see a fine dramatization of Hughes's popular Everyman character Jesse B. Semple, known by the shorthand name of "Simple." Simple, a dramatic cousin to Little Ham, is a kind of spokesperson for Harlem, and the action of the drama is set in a jazz-inflected bar around and following World War II. A homespun philosopher, Simple refers to himself as "a colored Indian," and declaims that "Harlem is a state of mind." A surprising antiwar prayer heard at the end of the performance gives the work added timeliness. This fine presentation, by the Twilight Repertory Company from Charlotte, North Carolina, has been adapted and directed by James Vesce. Several performers from that city remain in the New York Fringe version, notably including the remarkable sight-impaired performer Calvin Thompson in the key title role. Also impressive in the cast are Lamont Bryant in two vastly different roles, and J. Morong as an outspoken bartender. Mr. Vesce also has created an elaborate sound design for the show, which effectively uses music as well as narrative voice-over to enhance his theatrical collage's aural texture. At Connelly Theater. 1 hour. [Bradley]

Radio :30
Voice-over work is a lucrative business, but it is also an incestuous one. Think movie-fone guy - forever recognizable in sound, but not looks. Radio :30 takes us on a backstage and backmind tour of a successful voice-over actor recording a thirty second spot for a restaurant. Writer/performer Chris Earle, as our main man Ron, talks of his days as a mediocre live actor, as compared to his current skills of being a good voice-over actor. Ron enjoys his smooth talking abilities, and even talks about how he would rather be good at something meaningless than not good at something meaningful. Earle shows us details into this industry (he is a voice-over artist in his own right), and he is clearly comfortable on stage, but his dynamism trickles away mid-show, proving how difficult it is to sustain a solo performance. Though we hear this 30 second "cute spot" many times over, this is not a show about voice-overs, but the stresses that mount in a person's life, and can surface in even the most mundane situations. This is a simply staged show by Shari Hollett, but the few times Earle does get up to walk around feel purposeless. Though no other performers are seen, Robert Smith does play Mike, the studio recorder who has a monopoly on the god-mike. This hour-long show is a cute play, with an ending that neither shocks nor disappoints. It is light, quality fringe-fare that may not turn any heads, but is an hour well spent. At Puffin Room. 60 minutes. [Cooper]

A is for Aardvark
Tarzan, Batboy, humans as animals, or being raised as animals, is a familiar concept. But a girl in New Jersey, as a senile man's pet Aardvark, is a whole new slant. And it turns out, one that supplies a funny, sincere, and ultimately heartbreaking look into one girl-turned-aardvark's coming of age. Ten years after her cryptic "purchase date," Winslow (her owner) is dying and so a young male nurse, Jimmy, becomes a part of their lives. Jimmy and our Aardvark are instantly intrigued by and attracted to each other. Jimmy comes to help her recognize her true physical self, and the meat of the play comes along as he then works on giving her a Self with purpose as well. Laura Grey, as the Aardvark, is brimming with talent. She takes us on her overwhelming emotional ride, providing a portrait complex enough to love her, be disappointed by her, and understand her. Grey is flanked by a faultless D. Michael Berkowitz as Winslow, whose dementia inspired repetitions of stories and phrases not only add humor, but help to push the story forward. Which brings me to playwright Jess Lacher. Extraordinarily creative ideas aside, Lacher has a superb ability to create characters with widely varying voices, giving performers multiplying layers for exploration. Maureen Towey's direction is bubbly and complimentary, easing the production through time passages and changing character relationships, while being without the stiffness often present in a young director's work. A is for Aardvark proves that those production aspects labeled as "experimental" - such as video feed, or presentational physical movement - is not needed, even in the 21st Century, in order to provide a fresh, emotional and even revelatory theater experience. This is not a flawless production, but it's damn close, and most certainly the favorite from my fringe handful. At Cherry Lane. 95 minutes. [Cooper]

The Imaginary, All-True Leni Riefenstahl Show
Truly amusing pre-show announcements usher in a play where the stage persona of the writer, Jen Ryan, comments on the play being put together. The idea is to show that the life of Leni Riefenstahl extends beyond her Uberfraulein persona as filmmaker to Hitler and the National Socialists. The central question of Leni's complicity remains lightly glossed as the writer/protagonist moves in and out of Leni's character looking at what she sees as the larger context. That would be other things in Leni's life including underwater photography and staying alive to 101. The real elephant-in-the-room that no one's talking about is Triumph of the Will and Leni's lack of concern for the inspiration for and uses of her work. The play doesn't chew on the idea that although officially exonerated, a towering talent arranged and understood the psychological dimension of her work. Integrated into the whole is a well synchronized catalog of pictures and sound featuring a notable AV Kristallnacht. But there's a hole where the centerpiece, a clip from Triumph of the Will might have been. Co-authored by Craig O'Connor, with added material by Leonard Jacobs, there are great moments-- a stuffed elephant as Hitler, and a raft of zany anachronisims. Everybody besides Jen-Leni is done by a sharp Ric Sansone, including cameos of an outrageous Marlene Dietrich and a Clark Gable. The Americanized pronunciation of "Leni" spins into a string of inspired Lenny impersonations, notably Lenny Bruce, and a Lenny Maltin who comments on the morally out-to-lunch. Jen Parks is Uber-cute, but is cute what Riefenstahl is about? Despite a nod to objectivity, what we have here is a well-packaged paen to the creativity, energy, and longevity of Riefenstahl in a light exploration suitable for Fringe purposes. Entertainment, but a dessert rather than a satisfying meal. At Cherry Lane. 1 hour, 40 minutes. [Osenlund]

Vuillard's Room
Fringe has seen many bio-pieces evoking notable personalities using their own words. Edouard Vuillard, late nineteenth-century French Symbolist painter, fills the bill nicely as a subject. Director J'aime Morrison has combed the artist's life and writings for material to flesh out reenactments of Vuillard's mesmerizing domestic interiors. With patterned hangings and drapings, the set is among the more colorful in this year's Fringe. Yael Lubetsky's lighting and Maro Parian's costumes are likewise heads above the competition. While admirable on the research side, this Cross Stitch Company realization is too fragmentary to consider it a finished effort. The major problem is Mabou Mines director Terry O'Reilly's lackluster (and sometimes inaudible) portrayal of the artist. Carine Montbertrand as the artist's mother tries hard to spark some interest. But it's not until Joshua Seidner (Roussel, artist's brother-in-law) appears at the halfway mark that the brief show can claim audience attention-too late to redeem it. But Morrison's thoughts are too blurry to determine what his interactions with the women (Animée Phelan Deconinck as his wife Marie and Morrison) might mean for Vuillard. Also, Morrison's jerk and lunge movements for mostly-mime Deconnick are completely out of synch with the Vuillard images the director is supposedly recreating. Vuillard's interest in photography is introduced without the explanation it deserves, while his involvement with the theater is left unexplored. At Connelly Theater. 40 minutes. [Lipfert]

Scarlet Sees The Light
Scarlet (Carlina Salemi) is a woman known, at least at a distance, by most of us: properly-educated and from a well-to-do family, she is staking out her terrain in the fashion magazine business, while trying to fathom her late twenties social life. Cocktails, of both the social (i.e., booze) and handbag (i.e., pill) varieties, fuel her. We meet her on the day of the latest blackout, on which things will take several expected (and unexpected) turns. Nathan Parker's new and exceptionally well written play develops its one character nicely, though at times it feels more like a work of prose than of drama. Director Ted Sod's largely sedentary staging doesn't help overcome this, and his failure to insist on a consistent focus hampers the very attractive Ms. Salemi, who certainly looks the part, and is otherwise believable. The production also boasts a particularly nice set, which utilizes what it finds in the small Next Stage space to its advantage, and both its lights and costumes are first-rate. At Next Stage. 75 minutes. [Cote]

Terrible Infant
Inversions Theatre, Inc, a 4 year old company dedicated to the production of new plays, presents Chris Van Strander's new backstage melodrama. Set in the 1840s its unusual plot centers around an exploited child prodigy. This is a small, serious play with an old fashioned feel to the writing that extends beyond the time setting. Precise, complete with laughs and pathos, although at times painfully slow, Terrible Infant boasts a fine cast and some solid directing. With the resolving of a few structural issues, this holds promise to be an even finer play. At Our Lady of Pompeii. 1 hour, 30 minutes. [Osenlund]

Venue Addresses

Access Theater - 380 Broadway, 4th Floor (@White Street)

The Black Box @440 Studios - 440 Lafayette St, 3rd Floor (Astor Place/4th St)

Cherry Lane Studio - 38 Commerce St (Bedford/Barrow Sts)

Collective Unconscious - 279 Church Street (@White)

Connelly Theater, 220 East 4th Street (Avs. A/B)

Greenwich Street Theatre - 547 Greenwich St (Vandam/Charlton Sts)

Linhart Theatre @440 Studios- 440 Lafayette St, 3rd Floor (Astor Place/4th St)

Lucille Lortel Theatre - 121 Christopher Street (Bleecker/Hudson)

MAP Penthouse Theatre - 42 Ann Street (Williams/Nassau)

The Next Stage - 312 West 11th St (Hudson/Greenwich Sts)

Our Lady of Pompeii, 25 Carmine St (@Bleecker St)

Pace University - Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts - 13 Spruce Street (East Of Park Row, near Gold)

Pace University - Plaza Café - 13 Spruce Street (East Of Park Row, near Gold)

Pace University - Schaeberle Studio Theatre - 41 Park Row, 12th Floor (facing City Hall Park)

Pace University - Spotlight Lounge - 13 Spruce Street (East Of Park Row, near Gold)

Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art - 86 Walker Street, 6th Floor (Broadway/Lafayette)

Players Theatre - 115 MacDougal (near W 3rd)

Players Theatre - Studio 3C - 115 MacDougal (near W 3rd)

The Puffin Room - 435 Broome (Broadway/Crosby)

Soho Playhouse - 15 Vandam Street (6th Av/Varick)

LINKS TO PAST YEAR FRINGENYC REPORTS
1998 Fringe Report
1999 Fringe Report
2000 Fringe Report
2001 Fringe Report
2002 Fringe Report
2003 Fringe Report





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Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide



Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam



Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers



The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century



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