BY JERVELLE FREDERICK

Sanitation or Off the Grid is daring, fresh, informative and entertaining. Three NYC sanitation workers have saved up their sick days to go on vacation, after dealing with hurricane Sandy their tough boss finally gives them a break. The group then finds themselves in sticky situations involving a sinking ship, mermaids suffering from garage in the sea, drones in the Middle East and much more.

The musical charges head on at the issues facing this country with honesty and courage! A show like this would be expected to be a dull adult conversation but it is done in a manner that is children friendly.

Crystal Field is a triple threat having written the book, lyrics and being the one behind the amazing direction. The book feels like a series of events but still right because one focuses more on the topics. The score composition and arrangement by Joseph Vernon banks is wonderful, there are some great melodies and smart musical choices made–the closing number especially is one I wouldn’t mind having on my iPod. Speaking of electronics the musical also talks about the digital age and how everything is consumed within the technology world.

One of the stand out aspects of the show are the costumes. Desiree Conston, Kima Baffour, Carlos DeSantiago and David Zen Mansley give the eye a colorful show. The set pieces by Walter Gurbo also bombard the audience’s sight with creativity.

The actors and actresses range in ages—which is a plus—and all are superb! Their singing is quite appealing; chords are held with substance and there are some stand out voices that could fill seats at Lincoln Center or the Barclays Center. Yes, there are some real stars on that stage and the energy is right where it needs to be and more.

The production brings awareness to hydro fracking, pollution of the water and air, weapons of mass destruction, stop and frisk as well as government spying. I’ve often asked for a production just like this one to come into being to educate the public on the events and problems facing America and the world–you would be surprised how many people don’t know what fracking is. Everyone involved with this production is in their own right an activist, they have the wellbeing of the citizens in their hearts—I applaud them all for their work.

The best part and the most unbelievable perk of this show is that it is free! Yes, Free! I encourage all to watch. Take the kids, bring a friend, it’s worth the hour of one’s day.

Sanitation or Off the Grid is a traveling show, you can catch the piece at the flowing venues.

Sun, August 18th – 2PM Manhattan Central Park Bandshell, 72nd Street Crosswalk
Sat, August 24th – 2PM – Brooklyn Sunset Park, 6th Avenue & 44th Street
Sun, August 25th – 2PM – Queens Travers Park, 34th Ave between 77th & 78th Streets
Sat, September 7th – 2PM Staten Island Corporal Thompson Park, at Broadway & Wayne Street, West New Brighton
Sun, September 8th – 2PM Manhattan – Washington Square Park
Sat, September 14th – 7PM – Manhattan – Tompkins Square Park at E. 7th St and Ave. A
Sun, September 15th – 2PM – Manhattan – St. Marks Church, E. 10th St at 2nd Ave

Sanitation or Off the Grid:
Book, lyrics and direction by Crystal Field.

Featuring, Joseph Vernon Banks (Score Composer and Arranger) Mary Blanchard and Bill Bradford (Cranky Design),
Walter Gurbo (Flats and Set Pieces), Joy Linscheid (Sound Design), Susan Hemley (Lead Costume Designer), Desiree Conston, Kima Baffour and Carlos DeSantiago (Costume Designers), Lytza Colon (Props), Daivd “Zen” Mansley (Special Costume Designs), Mark Marcante (Production Director), Jonathan Weber (Production Administrator), Christopher Busch, Jeff Woodbridge and Emily Pezzella (Assistant directors).

Crew: Mark Marcante (Crew Chief), Alexander Bartenieff (Crew Chief),
Matthew Angel (Crew Chief), Tashika Futch (Stage Manager), Hyun Moraes (Stage Manager), Alex Santullo (Sound), Aaron Chieu, Tara Dalton, Nicholas Iannacone, John Mok, Briana Randall, Jonpaul Rosado, Luis Royo II, Ross Soloff, Natasha Velez, Zusha Woolstone.

Cast: Lenin Alevante, Matthew Angel, Alexander Bartenieff, Briana Bartenieff, Celeste Bradsher-Layne, Celestina Bradsher-Layne, Sean Bryant, John Buckley, Carla Ellis, Crystal Field, Autumn Fore, Lily Fremaux, Cheryl Gadsen, Michael-David Gordon, Ben Harburg, Danielle Hauser, Ajna Jaisinghani, Isaisah Lebron, T.Scott Lilly, Michelle Maccarone, David “Zen” Mansley, Mark Marcante, Brandon Mellette, Allison Patrick, Holly Rae Phillips, Primy Rivera, Justin Rodriguez, Jon-Paul Ruiz, Andres Sosa, Natasha Velez, Juan Villegas, Christine Yarde, Lei Zhou.

Musicians: Joseph Vernon Banks (Piano), Michael Grayson (Drums), Phil Smith (Bass), Steven Himmelstein (Guitar)

Workshop Consultants: Joseph Vernon Banks, Michael Bongar, Kenny Demmerle (DSNY), Clare Donohue and Denise Katzman (SaneEnergyProject.org), Michael David Gordon, John Grimaldi (NYLyricCircus), Abi Hassen (National Lawyer’s Guild), Monica Hunken (Occupy the Pipeline), T.Scott Lilly, Mark Marcante, David McReynolds (WRL), Elizabeth Ruf and Bina Sharif.