Author: Stanford Friedman

Life Without Parole

The five principal characters in Life Without Parole, the Working Artists Theatre Project’s entry in this year’s New York International Fringe Festival, spend roughly 80% of the show stuck in their folding chairs. This is a kind way of saying that the production is about 20% on its feet. Historically, shows that have done well at Fringe were often offbeat musicals, or comedic one-handers. An 85 minute, large-cast drama about prison life, domestic abuse, and endangered children is a much tougher task given the festival’s time, space and financial limitations. Here, an unsteady ensemble and a problematic script do...

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The Travels

The dark pit of totalitarianism is never so fun filled as when it is pondered over in song, dance and pop culture references. That is the take away from The Travels, a clever political cartoon of an entry in this year’s New York Musical Theatre Festival. Taking place in the “U.S. of A” of a not too distant future, the country is in the firm control of Mr. Ruler, a masked and disembodied head seen only on TV. His minister of propaganda, Mr. Travel (J. Anthony Crane) is the axis upon which the show rotates. As the host of Travelbration!, the...

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As We Lie Still

No animals were harmed in the staging of As We Lie Still, an entry in this year’s New York Musical Theatre Festival, but several fake doves and a lump of fur made to resemble a rabbit do get manhandled. Also, plot lines suffer some disfiguring twists and more than one song falls prey to cliché. To say that death is in the air would be to understate the point of the play. To say that a rainbow is a central metaphor of the piece is to indicate that the book could use a little work. Employing a projection screen, six...

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