Category: Review

REVIEW: You Love That I’m Not Your Wife

“Black box theater in New York is an amazing experience but very so often productions are not fully committed to their best results for many different reasons, scarce profits, small audiences etc etc. There was never a second in this production in which I doubted or even worse forgot the importance of the job that we are all responsible for.” -Silvia Morigi who plays Giulia an Actress/Healer

You Love That I’m Not Your Wife is a fast-paced romp through the dysfunctional lives of five couples who are each searching for love in LA but in all the wrong places. Written and directed by Joanne Mosconi-Piano and coproduced with her husband John and theatre veteran Blake Boyd who also stars in the play as Tony Cicarelli, a smooth-talkin’ player who tries to win the heart of Marie, played by the mesmerizing Frankie Gallucci. Underscored by singing, live piano and non-stop laughs, YLTINYW is as clever as it is salacious and with a cast of this caliber you won’t want it to end! There is something magical impacting the cast’s onstage chemistry because shortly after opening night, the rest of the show sold out.

Freya Lund who is originally from the UK takes the role of Sophie to new heights, delivering non-stop laughs as the sweetly uptight Zoloft popping girlfriend of Dan, her sugar daddy played by the engaging Len Rella. Freya elaborates on the experience, “This experience allowed me to step in someone else’s shoes and fall in love with the character. I live in New York and things move really fast here, so to be able to dive into a project and work with such talented people helped me to step up my role because I want to be at the same level as them. More importantly, I learnt from our amazing director Joanne, who truly put her heart and soul into this project and taught us that if you believe and work hard anything is possible.” Silvia Morigi, an Italian actress who’s portrayal of Giulia is as riveting as she is raw, edgy and smart. “The biggest learning experience that I got from this production is to take on little pieces of any task that is not necessarily acting related in order to be able to do your best work. There is so much work behind a production that goes far beyond the acting skills and scene work. It’s very easy for actors to get self-involved and ignore that the creative process doesn’t stop when the scene is over but is alive in any prop setting, stage building, lighting and so on. The sooner we understand this, the richer our experience is going to be on and offstage.”

Offstage, Freya and Silvia are best friends which has worked out in their favor as Silvia testifies, “Freya is a woman and an actress with a tremendous amount of energy and charm. I went through very conflicting feeling when I knew she was going to be a part of this production. I was excited to have one of my closest friends with me but also scared of having to compete with such a shining creature that was going to leave everyone breathless. The moment I decided to let go of my fear our relationship went on a whole different level. Most of my closest friends have no idea what theater means to me. They respect it, but they don’t know it. I have Freya tattooed on my heart forever after sharing this with her. This is never going to leave us.” Freya adds, “My favorite thing about performing with Silvia is that she truly gives her all on stage and sets on fire her element of truth and in doing so helps to ground everyone around her in telling their own truth. She brings fire, vulnerability and charm to the stage making not only the audience fall in love with her but the characters too… one day I will be saying ‘I shared the stage with Silvia Morigi!’”

Which begs the question, how much are Silvia and Freya like their characters in real life? According to Silvia she “found a lot of Giulia in my tendency to focus my attention on others as a way not to face something painful that is going on with myself, which I thought is one of the main reasons that gets Giulia into healing. I identify very much with her loneliness too and the free passionate spirit with which she moves through life.” Freya Lund adds, “Sophie is an extremely complex character, like most of us actors! I feel as Freya I share Sophie’s desire to avoid conflict- which Sophie definitely does. We are also similar in our ways of people pleasing and also putting other people’s feelings before our own. And did I mention that we both love tea?”

The cast of You Love That I’m Not Your Wife is rounded out by the uber-talented Miguel Carlos Alves, Jeremy Bright, Genevieve Coovrey, Staffan Edelholm, Jennifer Silverman, Sarah Voigt and Dr. Mike.

You Love That I’m Not Your Wife
Fridays & Saturdays, 7pm
November 3-18, 2017
Steve and Marie Sgouros Theatre
The Players Theatre
115 Macdougal Street, NY






The House on Poe Street

When twin sisters inherit the house where Poe composed The Raven, their lives take twisted turns that affect the future of mankind.

The House on Poe Street by Fengar Gael, directed by Katie McHugh is a sharp, witty escapade through an incredibly wide range of topics including chemistry, poetry, the occult, privilege, and gender bending.

The twin “sisters”, Fluorine & Argonne, played by Eliza Shea and Olivia Nice, are wonderful to watch as they lure the hapless male characters into their experiment(s). If you have even the slightest interest in science or Poe’s poetry, you’ll delight in the intelligent discourse.

The well-constructed set (love that curtain!) firmly positions you in the 1800s, but then the dialogue quickly yanks you into the present with modern issues and references. As our world becomes increasingly compartmentalized, it’s refreshing to find characters that cross so many of these boundaries and illustrate for us how to live with joy in the midst of the muck.

The House on Poe Street is playing at the 14th Street Y Theatre until November 12th.

Gothic ghosts encounter modern monstrosities when twin sisters inherit the house where Poe is reputed to have composed “The Raven”. The House on Poe Street reflects Poe’s macabre spirit while exploring issues of gender parity, the presumptions of wealth, and the power of poetry to conjure spectral visions. Running Time: 95 Minutes | No Intermission

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The Box Show

The Box Show by Dominique Salerno and directed by Sash Bischoff is a clever, fast-paced one woman show that takes place inside of a box the size of a cupborad. Over the course of the performance, Salerno introduces the audience to 25 hysterical characters that range from over-the-top pop icons to borderline insane interpretations of the absurdity of common events such as childbirth and marriage proposals.

Salerno’s world is non-stop laughs but it’s also as smart as it is edgy and provocative. Running the majority of her lighting and costumes from within the box, Dominique is a master at seamlessly weaving together dance, inventive props and singing into a creative, in-your-face, laugh-out-loud experience. The only bummer of the evening was learning that there are no current plans to re-open the show, this show would shine on the comedy channels.

The Box Show
The Pit, NYC
Fall 2017
Dominique Salerno, Creator/Writer/Performer
Sash Bischoff, Director
Ann Beyersdorfer, Scenic Designer


Molly’s World

Andrea Alton is magnificent as her alter ego “Molly ‘Equity’ Dykeman” in Molly’s World, a rainbow romp through the mind of a pill-popping lesbian security guard and part-time poet. If Ellen Degeneres, Rosanne Barr and the Trailer Park Boys had offspring, they might look something like Molly, an in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is type of gal with a naive version of the world.

Alton spins together Cheetos, vagina poems and nuclear warfare in ways that’ll keep you laughing out loud. Molly’s story about her motorcycle trip from New York through Toronto and towards outer space is made funnier with her use (or anti-use) of props. Molly would often deviate from whatever story she was telling, spinning seemingly random thoughts together, yet the audience laughs kept coming. If you’re the persnickety theatre type, the noise from people unwrapping their Cheetos packages might drive you crazy however, Andrea’s stage presence creates an unpretentious, larger-than-life experience that will leave you wanting more of everything, including the Cheetos.

Street Theatre at The Eagle

The Eagle in New York City is a gay leather bar located in Chelsea. Normally this is a male cruising institution but the production company TOSOS has reimagined the space as the site for the award-winning romp about the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Doric Wilson’s Street Theatre delivers a 90 minute laugh-a-minute spectacle through one of the most historic moments in queer history. The cast was beyond amazing. In particular were the riveting performances delivered by Jeremy Lawrence who played a closeted old pervert, T. Thompson’s spunky lesbian and Chris Anderson and Michael Lynch who played outlandish drag queen sex workers. If only we could all be so quick-witted in our everyday conversations as this performance treated us to.

Also worth the price of admission alone was seeing Timothy, a naive school boy cruising for sex, played by Tim Abrams, who stripped down to a pair of red underwear dawning a cowboy hat. The smart, over-the-top characters combined with the setting created a sense of suspended reality. This larger than life version of our history is told through the lives of people who were active in the streets and clubs and came together in a courageous act of resistance against the police raid of the Stonewall Inn. The Eagle makes for an intimate experience, however the space is small and because there are only three shows left I recommend you get tickets fast.
The Eagle, NYC
554 West 28th Street
Directed by Mark Finley
October 2, 3 and 4, 2017
7:00 pm.


Damaged Goods

Combine Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a gay South Park you’d end up close to TOSOS Damaged Goods. Virginia Baeta’s queer metaphorical twist on a murder mystery is a fun and whimsical journey into the gender-bending world of Thomas Sparks, a private dick who is bent on bedding the seductive Iris Carnegie played by the uber-talented Karen Stanion.

Sexy, sultry and seductive, the cast of Damaged Goods are as smart as they are funny. If the writing doesn’t hook you, the adorable and enduring characters will. Although, good luck figuring out who the cis characters are, but perhaps that’s the point.

Photo: Karen Stanion and Virginia Baeta by Ben Strothmann.

15 W 28th Street
New York, NY 10001
Until March 18th, 2017 or

Introducing Mr Wilde or Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class


Written and performed by Neil Titley, “Introducing Mr Wilde, or Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class” is a smart and often cheeky introduction to the life and death of Oscar Wilde. Introducing Mr. Wilde has literally toured the world including sold out performances for the last three years at the highly competitive Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and is now at the Red Sandcastle Theatre as part of The Wilde Festival. What Titley lacks in flamboyant dress he makes up for with deliciously dreamy story-telling and a sincerity of character that was as compelling as he was funny.

Introducing Mr Wilde, or Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class
Jan 6–15, 2017, various showtimes
Red Sandcastle Theatre
922 Queen St E, Toronto

Street Children

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Street Children by Pia Scala-Zankel is pure unadulterated street realness. Unsettling at times, Street Children is set during the 1986 on the Hudson Piers in New York City and portrays the lives of the LGBT street youth in a real and honest light. This period in our history was one of the most exciting times for our community because our of our struggles an entire activist community was born.

This period was also the most dangerous because of the prevailing homo/transphobia as well as the AIDS crises. Street kids, hustlers, prostitutes, drug addicts and criminals are labels that are used to cast off the ‘other’ yet despite this this, these kids formed into a family that bonded together in order to ride the most tragic circumstances imaginable. Street Children is a ninety minute journey into the courageous lives of our communities unintended activists. If there is an activist bone in your body, this play will find and expose that part of yourself that is willing to fight and protect the most vulnerable people in our culture, LGBT street youth. #StreetChildren #NoShade


New Ohio Theatre
Vertigo Theater Company


Photo: Ted Alcorn


Black Boys

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As provocative as it is entertaining, Black Boys is a camp adventure into queer male blackness. Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah Ben M’Carthy, and Thomas Olajide make up the three member performance team Saga Colectif which mix together personal stories, beautiful choreography, smart dialogue and potent stage presence into a metatheatrical experience that’ll reinvigorate your love for live theatre. The performances were potent, complex and brought out more questions than answers, which fuelled the sense of urgency behind the exploration of the ties the bind us to our past, and each other.

Black Boys
November 19 – DECEMBER 11, 2017
Buddies In Bad Times Theatre

Photo by Tanja-Tiziana

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Hosanna’s Higher Self
If Requiem For A Dream, Moulin Rouge and Carrie had a rendezvous their offspring would be a lot like Hosanna. Damien Atkins was riveting in his portrayal of Hosanna, an aging drag queen who models herself after the legendary Elizabeth Taylor. Hosanna’s outrageously sharp tongue lands her in a fight with her biker boyfriend Cuirette played by the larger than life Jason Cadieux. From the first scene Jason and Damien had the room in the palm of their hands as Hosanna’s life gets told through a heated argument between the two of them which makes for an incredible amount of edgy tension.

The Gender Offence
I can see why this play was controversial, especially to some within the LGBT community because it portrays gender in a way that is arguably not realistic. Written by Michael Tremblay, Hosanna tells the story of a transvestite who ultimately comes out as a gay man.

The program labels Hosanna a “drag queen” which is quite different from how she actually was throughout the story. Typically a drag queen is someone who dresses up for theatrical purposes with the word ‘drag’ referring to clothing. That’s different from a Trans person who has chosen to live their life as another gender. One is entertainment while the other is an expression of authenticity so when our heroine Hosanna retires all of her womanly things and comes out as a gay man the suggestion is that Hosanna really just needed to find her prince charming and then she would be able to give up wanting to be a woman.

Being LGBT, coming out or coming of age are processes that propel people towards authenticity which something people generally desire more of over time.

Sexuality is far more fluid than we give it room for in our current binary system so perhaps her gender expression was more reflection of the time period in history. After all, this play was written in 1973 which was a time when our society was literally at war with the LGBT community. In many ways one could almost view Hosanna as a tragic love story because her choice to give up being a drag queen came on the heels of her realization that not only did society hate her, everyone in her community did too. Hosanna is powerfully acted and at its core is a twisted love story and beautiful train wreck all in one.

Blowing Smoke, The Irony of Scents 
Side note: The program notes say that playwright Michael Trembly had wanted the audience to experience the heavy cheap perfume Hosanna spritzed throughout the show but we Canadians have banned scents so the audience smelt nothing. Ironically all the way through the show both actors smoked ‘fake’ cigarettes made of what smelled like lettuce or rose leaf which is precisely 100 times more disgusting.

Young Centre for the Performing Arts
On stage from September 23, 2016


Blind Date: The Nose Knows


Blind Date is a raw, intimate and honest portrayal of what it means to put yourself out there. Rebecca Northan creates an experience that moves beyond the traditional notion of theatre. The performance takes the entire audience along with them on a voyeuristic journey into someone else’s life and the date is both familiar and not. When I go to a play I sometimes wonder if the actors or director has considered the entire space. Often theatre is set up so that we go in, all face forward on our chairs and watch as the actors entertain us from the confines of the stage. Blind Date used up the entire space, the actors knew we were all there and this became “our” experience.

Prior to the show we’re all hanging out in the Cabaret space and mingling with the performers. You can tell who’s in the show because they have red clowns noses on which at first I didn’t quite understand because if this is a play about a blind date, how is a clown’s nose appropriate?

By the end of the show the noses provided two really important functions for me. First, they created a separation between the actor and the selected ‘date’. In this particular show the audience member was really on his game and I had brief moments where I forgot he wasn’t a professional actor. That being said there is an unbelievable risk being taken by both David Benjamin Tomlinson and Julie Orton because they become fully responsible for carrying the full weight of the performance. No matter what happens. When you stick an unknown entity such as an audience member into a full show there is no telling how many terrible things can go wrong. The audience member could just be impossible, difficult, afraid, defensive or a whole host of possibilities. I suppose on that’s not unlike going on a blind date where your mind will want to run over all the scary things that could go wrong which is precisely why this show works so leaving meriting on the edge of my stool for the whole show.

“Fundamentally it’s the same show every night but then again it’s not.” -Mark Aikman, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre

The clown noses were also a metaphor for how brave it is to put oneself out there. Whether that’s in the form of a blind date or by being visibly queer when you make some portion of your self stand out you risk being made fun of. That’s kind of what the whole performance was like, a giant risk-taking adventure that paid off.

“Where does the date begin and the fantasy end? By constructing this simple yet brilliant meta-theatrical premise in her show, Northan has created a spellbinding evening of unpredictability and performance acumen.” -David Bateman, Bateman Reviews

The show takes the entire audience on a voyeuristic journey and David Tomlinson where truly lots could go wrong and yet nothing did. Even the moments when it seemed the ‘date’ was upstaging David, he handled it with mastery which filled the space with authenticity. I’m going back for another Blind Date.

Julie Orton and David Benjamin Tomlinson take turns in the starring role. Check the schedule below to see who’s performing when. Until October 9th, 2016 at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.

 Photo of Julie Orton and  David Benjamin Tomlinson by Tanja-Tiziana.

Julie Andrews is the Devil



Virginia Baeta and Andrea Alton in Julie Andrews is the Devil
A captivating Virginia Baeta with funny woman Andrea Alton in Julie Andrews is the Devil

Julie Andrews is the Devil is a funny and charming love story about Tabitha, played by a magnificent Andrea Alton, who is a lesbian nun fixated on Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music. When Tabitha goes to Provincetown during Women’s Week she meets her love interest, a guitar wielding lesbian folksinger hot-pot named Marissa, played by the captivating Virginia Baeta.

Directed by Ed Valentine, who boasts three Emmy awards for his writing on Sesame Street, Julie Andrews is the Devil has been selected by TOSOS, NYC’s first AND oldest professional LGBT theatre company, to participate in the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival this May.

To rephrase the Baroness from the Sound of Music “There’s nothing more irresistible to a woman than a woman who’s in love with her.”

Julie Andrews is the Devil
Dublin Gay Theatre Festival
May 2nd to May 15th, 2016

Lady Bunny in Trans-Jester!


Raymond Helkio, Lady Bunny, Shirley U. Jest, Stonewall Inn, NYC
Raymond Helkio, Lady Bunny, Shirley U. Jest, Stonewall Inn, NYC

Trans-Jester is a fitly, potty-mouthed, politically incorrect, mean spirited show and the most fun I’ve had in years. Behind the succession of cheap-shots and endless poo jokes is a deeper, philosophical commentary about a culture of inclusive political correctness that has started to suck the uniqueness right out of the human race. But who really cares about deeper meanings when you’ve got comedy of this calibre. This show is funny as hell and can cleanse even the most hardened politically incorrect soul. I got there and thought “Oh my God, she did not just say that!” and then it got worse, in the best way possible.

Lady Bunny in Trans-Jester!
Until April 30, 2016
Stonewall Inn, New York City

Trans-Jester is written by Lady Bunny and Facebook sensation Beryl Mendelbaum.


Israel Horovitz’s Line is an authentic New York theatre experience in part because at 45 years it’s the longest running show and also because it’s a fine-tuned drama at it’s most absurd. Line takes us into the lives of five people who struggle to be first in line for a completely unknown event. It’s the story of their struggle to get ahead and a metaphor for urban life in general.

The set is comprised of a piece of masking tape stuck to the stage floor but that’s all that’s needed to bring to life this smartly written examination of winning at all costs. Marcus Brandon is captivating as Flemming, Christopher Augustin was over-the-top outrageous in his role as Stephen. This adaptation was produced by Women of Color Productions yet in a cast of five had only one was woman of color, the rest were men. Molly was brought to life by the fiercely sensual Lisa G., wife to Arnall who was played by a very moving Tony Del Bono. When Molly decides to sleep her way to the front of  the line it was an empowered move yet her husband kept referring to her as a ‘bitch’ which was a disconnect. In any event Molly was as riveting as she was passionate and Hector Brito balanced out the show’s shenanigans as the Latino funny man who was sparkling with charm.

13th Street Rep
March – June, 2016
Monday evenings
Directed by Jacqueline Wade

I Will Look Forward To This Later


I Will Look Forward To This Later is the story of author Wyatt Holloway who passes away leaving his family to deal with the aftermath of a tumultuous life fuelled by Bourbon, art and infidelity. James Himelsbach plays Wyatt, the eccentric playboy who is a seamless combination of Ricardo Montalban from Fantasy Island and Henry Kane from Poltergeist.

His two sons, Robert and Samuel, played by Edward Bauer and Ben Beckley were the perfect opposites and helped to ground the story in reality. Betsy, Wyatt’s dedicated and now widowed wife is a strong-willed character who, like Wyatt, had been ignoring her marriage and was now having to face the reality of who they had grown into.

I Will Look Forward To This Later is rich with beautiful writing and the staging was much like William Boroughs’ A Naked Lunch in that it blended fantasy and reality into one intelligent and provocative package with just enough risk-taking to keep me at the edge of my seat.

I Will Look Forward To This Later
APRIL 4 – 23, 2016
New Ohio Theatre
154 Christopher Street, NY

Photo credit (above): Nick Benacerraf

Text by Kate Benson and Emily Louise Perkins

Directed by Jess Chayes
Dramaturgy by Stephen Aubrey
Production Design by Nick Benacerraf

Cast: Edward Bauer, Ben Beckley*, Vinie Burrows*, James Himelsbach*, Linda Marie Larson*, Emily Louise Perkins*

Costume Design: Kate Fry
Lighting Design: Christina Watanabe
Sound Design: Asa Wember
Movement Direction: Katie Rose McLaughlin
Creative Consultant: Barbara Samuels
Production Stage Manager: Megan Sprowls
ASM: Hanako Rodriguez
Movement Direction: Katie Rose McLaughlin
Producer: Lucy Jackson
Associate Producer: Emily Caffery

*courtesy of Actor’s Equity.


Fuerza Bruta


Seriously, WTF was that?! The Fuerza Bruta experience was like watching the MOMA have sex with The Roxy – for our Canadian friends that’s like the AGO copulating with The Guvernment Nightclub… I’m definitely going back.

Fuerza Bruta
Daryl Roth Theatre
101 East 15th Street

Dying Like Ignacio


An actor and his best friend, a New York police officer, have tickets to see a play on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The officer cancels at the last minute and his friend gives the extra ticket to an unassuming man while waiting for the theater to open. . . This rather ordinary gesture sets the stage for playwright Louis Mascolo’s new dramatic play, Dying Like Ignacio. Mascolo weaves a tale of passion and suspense in which the limits of friendship are challenged, the consequences of sacrifice are questioned and the line between obsession and abuse are drawn.

Not since Oliver Twisted has a play taken me off guard in quite the way that Dying Like Ignacio did. It’s as moving as it is disturbing both because of its subject matter and in particular how each character’s relationship to it shifts over time. On the surface, Dying Like Ignacio is a dark tale about BDSM fantasies gone awry but it’s the relationship between Michael, played by a brilliant Jeff Hathcoat, and his best friend Maureen (Meredith Lark) that is most gripping because it drags “regular” people into the space between fantasy and abuse and while I had moments where I squirmed in my seat I was equally riveted by the complexity of the actors.

Dying Like Ignacio by Louis Mascolo
March 30 – April 10, 2016
Workshop Theater’s Main Stage Theater

Produced by Willow Mill Productions, Directed by Karen Case Cook, Featuring *Michael Basile, Jeff Hathcoat, *Meredith Lark, *Thomas Raniszewski // *Actors’ Equity Association.


House Rules


A clever play about forgiveness, House Rules is a smartly layered story about two Filipino families trying to make sense of the impending deaths of each others ailing parents. Mia Katigbak is hilarious as Vera, the sharp-witted mother of duelling sisters Twee and Momo whose stage presence is rivalled only by JoJo Gonzalez’s deeply moving performance as Ernie, the miserable bed-ridden father to JJ and Rod. Rod’s flaky boyfriend is played by the adorable Conrad Schott who is unpretentiously funny in his role.

The set was impressive with its multiple levels, each creating their own sense of space yet all open to one another; two living rooms, an elevator, a rooftop, restaurant and hospital all functioning in the same wall-less space. Impressive and creative as it was, the set and furnishings were large and took up a lot of physical space sometimes over-powering the actors or creating extraordinary distances between them and their mark on stage. Despite this, they still earn brownie points for trying something fresh.

Go see House Rules is a lovely reminder that the harshest parts of our lives can also be the richest – you’ll laugh, cry and even learn to appreciate the dysfunctional parts of your own family.

House Rules
March 25 – April 16, 2016
Here Theatre
145 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10013

Tina Chilip
Jojo Gonzalez
Mia Katigbak
Jeffrey Omura
Conrad Schott
Tiffany Villarin
James Yaegashi

Playwright: Rey Pamatmat
Directed: Ralph B. Peña
Scenic Design: Reid Thompson
Costume Design: Martin Schnellinger
Lighting Design: Oliver Wason
Sound Design: Fabian Obispo
Production Stage Manager: Jennifer Delac
Public Relations: Sam Rudy Media Relations
Producer: John Kurzynowski


Golden Boy by The Instigators


Golden Boy
 by Clifford Odets is about Joe Bonaparte whose gives up on his dream of becoming a violinist when he gets seduced into the world of prize fighting. Joe Bonaparte is played by an entertaining Fergus Scully who could rival Billy Elliot for genuine tenderness. His on again off again relationship with Lorna Moon, played by Alexandra Allwine was filled with rich with meaningful moments.

On the surface Joe is risking his career as a violinist by subjecting his hands to injury but the real story is between Joe and his Italian immigrant father portrayed  by a powerful and moving Mark Couchot. Golden Boy starts off really big which only gives them room to go down but they make up for it with immersive acting and genuine moments of family, love and dirty business. The minimal stage elements were smartly placed and there was an ease and elegance with which all of the actors moved set pieces and framed the space. It doesn’t matter if you like boxing or not, this is a brilliant cast of actors who will literally take you into another world and for a play that was almost two hours long I left wanting just a little bit more.

Golden Boy
March 23-27, 2016
The Secret Theatre
Long Island City, New York

Written by Clifford Odets, directed by Lillian Meredith, starring: Alexandra Allwine, Mark Couchot, Brian Dunlop, Bryan Hamilton, Hunter Hoffman, Kazu Imafuku, Tucker Lewis, Taylor Petracek, Fergus Scully, Elizabeth Seldin, Malachy Silva

The Snail

A native of Italy, Fabio Zito has a history of work that has continually been supported and produced by his home theatre but the topic matter of his latest work proved to be too much and for the first time his script was rejected. Not being discouraged, Fabio went of the hunt for a replacement company who could provide them residence and a public performance space – enter the spunky East Village theatre Wild Project.

The Snail is a story about a boy who is locked in a body that he doesn’t recognize until he decides to start living as a woman and while the premise is intoxicating, the execution of the story fell short of making a connection with the audience. The Snail is part Jay & Gloria from Modern Family meets Brandon Teena from Boys Don’t Cry and while Arianna Luzi gave a mesmerizing performance as Andrew, it wasn’t enough to fully bring the audience into the narrative. New York has numerous trans/gender-themed plays (see MDLSX and Boy), some experimental and others very thoughtful, but The Snail was a slow and sticky attempt at telling somebody elses story and it reminded me of a life lesson my cohort Amy Pearl once told me.

For years, Amy had been trying to get her work accepted into Toronto’s queer Rhubarb Festival but Buddies in Bad Times Theatre turned her down. Frustrated, Amy called up the artistic director at the time (and founder) Sky Gilbert to find out why her work, despite being queer in content, was continually passed over. He told her that it wasn’t what was in her work but rather what wasn’t. Amy’s work was probably gayer then most gays could ever hope to be yet it was lacking the vulnerability and insights that can only come as a result of an actual lived experience. It’s not that Amy couldn’t tell a gay man’s story (she’s gayer then most gays I know), Sky was suggesting that she get comfortable in her own shows before attempting a mile someone else’s heels. It’s sage advice because most people spend their entire lives trying to unpack their own identities and so aiming to do that for another human being just pushes the story that much farther from reality.