Author: Donna Herman

The Band’s Visit

“The Band’s Visit” is a modern Middle-Eastern fairy tale of a musical. Based on the 2007 Israeli film by Eran Kolirin, the stage version has a book by Itamar Moses and music and lyrics by David Yazbak. Directed by the brilliant David Cromer, it’s being presented by The Atlantic Theater Company at their newly renovated Linda Gross Theater. These days it’s hard to find a quiet little spark of hope and humanity reflected at us from any direction, let alone the Middle East. So, I was delighted to find my tight muscles relaxing, and my smile growing as “The Band’s Visit” unfolded.

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“This Day Forward”

“This Day Forward” by Nicky Silver at The Vineyard Theater starts out more in “I Love Lucy” sitcom land, but winds up in dysfunctional family “August: Osage County” world. Which is a place most of his work at least visits, if not lodges in firmly. And it’s directed by Mark Brokaw who is a frequent navigator of the Silver waters.

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I was intrigued by the premise of Paula J. Caplan’s play “Shades” currently making its NYC debut at The Cherry Lane Studio Theater. About a family with veterans from different wars, and non-veterans, the play asks the questions “how do people who love each other keep their differences from tearing them apart?” And “what does it mean to be a patriot, and can you be one if you don’t agree with what your government is doing?” The press release says it has been described as “a cross between Eugene O’Neill meets ‘All in the Family’ – because of its combination of drama and humor.” I know, I know, it’s a press release, It’s supposed to sell me.

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My Name Is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die Eventually

“My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die Eventually” is a charming and entertaining evening. It’s a solo show by, you guessed it, Gideon Irving, who invites us into what he claims is his home. Sure, I’ll play. I know it’s the stage of The Rattlestick Theater, but I believe that a lot of the stuff up there belongs to him personally. It’s looks like a crammed studio apartment, and Gideon plays the gracious host and shows us around. It’s clear from the beginning that he’s kooky and irreverent which is just what we’re here for. We’ve been promised music and laughter and a different take on the world from someone who has performed 504 shows in living rooms on 6 continents. No heavy lifting after the last couple of weeks sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

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Party People

The Oregon Shakespeare Company has an exciting project they’ve been working on since 2008, a 32-play series they’re commissioning in association with various theaters around the country: “American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle.” UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, and William Ruiz aka Ninja), was commissioned by OSF to create “Party People” in collaboration with Director and Developer Liesl Tommy (Tony win for “Eclipsed”). It’s opening on November 15th and has been extended one week through December 11th. Another offering from this OSF cycle, “Sweat” by Lynn Nottage is also currently playing at The Public Theater. After seeing them both, I’m tempted to book a ticket to Oregon and see the rest.

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