Donogoo

The Mint Theater Company on West 43rd Street has a fusty feel about it and the mission statement underscores its studied eccentricity: “…We excavate buried theatrical treasures…”

In Donogoo, Mint has excavated what it bills as “A Comedy in 23 Tableaux.” Written as a novel, in French, in the 1920’s, this excavation may have been ill considered.

Donogoo’s thirteen cast members work hard offering up at least 55 characters.

The stand out player, Mitch Greenberg, is oily and wonderful. He’s the one you watch. And while he plays the same character in various suits, he is disarmingly genuine in his superficiality. You not only forgive him; you wait for him.

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Pat Kirkwood is Angry

Pat Kirkwood spent her life missing the proverbial boat. Her parents were disappointed that she was born a girl and more or less shoved her aside when a beloved boy arrived. Her mother, when Pat asked if she was pretty, told her she was “irredeemably plain”. When she began to sing, however, her mother was on her like white on rice.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

John Greenleaf is a director to keep an eye on. Bringing Shakespeare to life in a park without a stage which has exit wings and curtains is an intimating and difficult task but Greenleaf pulls it off. He manages to use more of the space than you would believe possible. The actors stay in character whether they are running off in the distance or marching onto the “stage”. Every thread in the finished work is held tightly together—that definitely includes the costumes by Jessa-Raye Court which are superb.

Never before had I experienced Shakespeare in Central Park and this production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ushered me in to a new experience with an entertaining bang. I felt like a child being exposed to the theater all over again and the kicker is the entire event is free. Yes, F.R.E.E. I can’t tell you how many soul crushing performances I have witnessed in my day and had to pay on top of it.

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Holler if Ya Hear Me

Question: What do you do when you have an intimate musical booked into a theatre the size of the Goodyear Blimp. Simple. You start risers at the lip of the stage and let them climb all the way up to the Mezzanine. The people who sit in the top row, as did I, feel a little like Peter Pan. It is a wild effect. Wonder why it was never done before?

As to holler If Ya Hear Mei – prior to this I knew bupkis about Tupac Shakur. Well, a teeny bit. He was a rapper of some note who was murdered in 1996. And I guess I know a little more than that because there were some musical numbers in this show that I sort of recognize.

The night I attended this show I was in a serious minority on this. Which did not stop me one teeny tiny bit from having a great time.

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When We Were Young and Unafraid

Why does it always surprise me when good writing, acting and directing conspire to create excellent theatre. When We We Were Young and Unafraid at Manhattan Theatre Club is a production not to be missed.

This is a story that meets the “Duh Factor” requirements. It is about people you never knew existed, but when you stop to consider for a moment, you say to yourself, “Ah. Of course.”

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