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Indoor Comedy Shows, A Multitude of Taylors, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via LAWL / Eventbrite)

LAWL
Thursday, May 25 at New Women Space, 7 pm: $5

It is good to laugh, and there are allegedly real scientific statistics to back up such a claim. In fact, I just found something literally called the Laugher Online University, and you know what, I have a lot of questions about it.  But why spend your time on weird websites when you can venture into the real world and get some actual laughter?

You’re in luck— Thursday night is LAWL (Ladies and Womyn Laughing), Arti Gollapudi’s comedy night showcasing women, trans, and gender non-conforming funny folk. Gollapudi is no stranger to curating spaces prioritizing these groups, as she is also a co-founder of the Comedy Cunt Collective. Tonight at LAWL, you can see jokes n’ silly stories by Sue Smith, Shannon Odell, and Wanjiko Eke. And if I’ve made you too curious about this University of Laughter, you can always just look it up on your phone in between acts or something. Keep Reading »

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Great Comet‘s Dave Malloy On Epic Choral Songs, Hamilton, and Showing Tunes to a New Generation

(photo: Chad Batka)

Nowdays, the commercial and insular shell that is Broadway is feeling a little less untouchable. Of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is a major catalyst behind this shake-up, but the latest to breathe new life into the Great White Way has been Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, an “electro-pop opera” based on a drama-laden portion of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

The immersive show began at Ars Nova in 2012 and has gone through many iterations, including a funky stint in a pop-up tent in the Meatpacking District. Now, it’s landed at Broadway’s Imperial Theater, which has been totally restructured to accommodate the show’s 360-degree, immersive staging. Directed by Rachel Chavkin, it remains one of the most authentic transfers of a smaller, more experimental production to a Broadway stage I have observed.

I have seen every NYC production of this show now, and always maintained it was too odd and unique to ascend to the oh-so commercial realm of Broadway. Turns out I was absolutely wrong, and audiences and critics alike are gobbling it up with a voracious enthusiasm. (Singer Josh Groban is now in a starring role.) There is even fanart of the characters, so you know it’s real. The 12 Tony nominations don’t hurt, either.

Great Comet‘s original Broadway cast recording will be released tomorrow and is now available for first listen over at Vulture. We caught up with the show’s writer and composer Dave Malloy, fresh off his Broadway debut temporarily stepping back into the role of Pierre, to talk how the Broadway transfer has affected the show’s music and even got him a little closer to Bowie. Keep Reading »

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For Samara, Soho Rep Goes Uptown and Into Another World

(L-R): Jasper Newell, Paul Lazar (photo: Julieta Cervantes)

I don’t often think about laser tag. Maybe my life would be more interesting if I did, but it’s just not frequently on my mind. However, I was thinking of that childhood adventure game as I walked up the stairs into A.R.T. New York’s theater building in Hell’s Kitchen. There, I was handed a square of grey foam that I held to my chest like a shield as I walked into a industrial-feeling room constructed of black rubber milk cartons. Not that I was about to be faced with beams of light and fog. Not yet. I was here to see a play. Keep Reading »

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Little Green Guys, 5-Hour Durationals, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(poster by Mikey Heller, via Facebook)

Little Green Guys: An Evening of Comedy About Frogs and Lizards
Wednesday, May 10 at Babycastles, 8 pm: $5

First of all, I don’t know what I can say about this show that will make it any more appealing than the title already makes it. Little green guys! Why make jokes about people and places when you can make them about frogs and lizards. They’re small, they’re wacky, and they’re one of a kind. A grand old lineup of people will be stopping by to wax comedic about these green-hued critters, including Jo Firestone, Lorelei Ramirez, Annie Donley, Anthony Oberbeck, Carmen Christopher, The Junk Bros, and more, plus your amphibian-and-reptile-loving hosts Joe Rumrill and Andrew Tisher.

The only thing that would make this show better is if actual frogs and lizards made their way up the steps to Babycastles, clambered up the mic stands, and croaked out their own jokes and humorous musings. I guess we will just have to wait for the sequel to see that. Keep Reading »

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Sci-Fi Egg-Laying, Ski Shop Fantasies, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(flyer via ROFL3 / Facebook)

ROFL3: The Slumber Party
Wednesday, May 3 at Our Wicked Lady, 8 pm: FREE

“Comedy shows” sounds a lot like “comedy shoes.” What are comedy shoes? Maybe they’re big ol’ clown shoes, or super squeaky slippers, but it doesn’t matter what you think they are. The dynamic duo of Edy Modica and Eliza Hurwitz have declared their comedic footwear of choice to be roller skates, proclaiming (and skating) this loud and clear in their monthly show on wheels, ROFL. Bet you never knew that age-old internet acronym was actually referring to roller skates.

This month, a fine bunch of funny folk will be rolling in to tell jokes and make merry, including Marcia Belsky, Dan Licata, Jaboukie Young-White, Charles Gould, and Aparna Nancherla. I once tried to perform as a character wearing roller skates and when I tried to stand in one place for a duration of time I slowly and endlessly rolled forward and did not know how to stop. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

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Sasha Velour on 4/20, The Postmen Move to Bushwick, and More Performance Picks

THURSDAY

(image via Sasha Velour / Facebook)

Sasha Velour’s Nightgowns
Thursday, April 20 at National Sawdust, 8:30 pm doors, 10 pm show: $18 advance, $22 doors

If you live in Brooklyn and are watching this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there’s probably a pretty good chance you’re only a degree or two of separation from some of the queens competing. One of these hometown heroes is Sasha Velour, who has continued to host the unique drag variety show Nightgowns on a regular basis. The show is typically at Bizarre Bushwick, but is making the move to dear old Williamsburg and its funky, classy music hall National Sawdust.

Given that they’re moving to a bigger, swankier space, the lineup is pretty big too. You can see shows after fabulous show from Francesca, Hystée Lauder, Kandy Muse, Olive d’Nightlife, Pearl Harbor, Severely Mame, Scarlet Envy, Untitled Queen, and Vigor Mortis. And hey, it’s 4/20, so there’ll probably be some sort of relevant performance themes going on. Keep Reading »

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Steve Earle Gets Theatrical, Philippine Dance, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Soho Rep)

Samara
Now through May 7 at the Mezzanine Theater at A.R.T. New York Theaters, 8 pm (select times at 3 pm and 5 pm): $35+

Though this show is playing up near Hell’s Kitchen, it’s commissioned by Soho Rep, the acclaimed and boundary-pushing theater that recently left its longtime home base on Walker Street, downtown, due to conflicts regarding what the building was zoned for and what they needed to do to operate the theater. Without any sign of stopping their production output, Soho Rep and artistic director Sarah Benson have been putting up shows elsewhere in the meantime.

Samara unites two downtown theater heavy-hitters, Benson and Richard Maxwell of the New York City Players. Maxwell rarely brings outside directors on board, but has asked Benson herself to direct his latest work. They’ve assembled a cast that is diverse in gender, race, and even age, as the ensemble’s age range is 14 to 92. Notably, the cast includes singer-songwriter Steve Earle, who has a storied (and Grammy-winning) career in American roots and folk music and has penned tunes recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and more. Earle has also composed music for the play, so whether you’re a fan of avant-garde theater or just good old-fashioned American grooves, you’ll probably find something to like about this show. Keep Reading »

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Kyle, a Cocaine Comedy, Aims to Have You Snorting With Laughter

Kyle, a ‘cocaine comedy’ (Photo: Jody Christophersen, courtesy of Frigid New York, Horse Trade Theatre Group)

Up until, ahem, pretty recently, you could get away with making the claim that as Americans we are far more enlightened than we were 50, or even 10 years ago. The numbers appear to support this–  fewer of us are going to church, the youngins among us are far more tolerant than the olds, 60 percent of us are down to see marijuana legalized, and best of all, this whole “Golden Age of TV” thing means that even our beloved Idiot Box is smart these days. We all know what happened next– which meant that progress was not only going to be stopped, but deported back to Angela Merkel’s lap and replaced by nonsense rhetoric (the “best people” are doing “tremendous” things to make the U.S.A. “great” “again”) and “alternative facts.” We are only a few months into this horror show, but the impact on art, and how we process art, is already being felt.

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Hairy Ape in an Armory, Patriarchy Smashing, and More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Chris Tyler / Facebook)

Not Normal: Intersection, Corporate Doubleteam, and Orangutan
Wednesday, March 22 at Irondale Ensemble Project, 8 pm: FREE

As long as politics are a hellscape, there will be artists to create work about it. Tonight, Not Normal will present a three-part evening all about the utter nonsense that seems to grow greater every day. Even the word “greater” seems tarnished now and conjures images of red hats and the pallid, fleshy faces wearing them.

In any case, the evening’s programing begins with The Intersection, an “artistic conversation about identity” spearheaded by a group of creators but open to the public. It’s dubbed a discussion “jam session” of sorts. Next is Chris Tyler’s Corporate Doubleteam, a play about how the white boys will play when the Trump is away, and by “play” I mean do a circle jerk potentially involving an intern. Haven’t we all been there? Closing out the night is Orangutan, a one-woman show written by Troy Deutsch and performed by Kristina Mueller all about the curious character of Trump’s mother. If you’re feeling generous, the show will also be accepting donations for Planned Parenthood.

THURSDAY

(image via Knockdown Center / Facebook)

Incarnata Social Club
Thursday, March 23 at Knockdown Center, 8 pm: $10 suggested

The experimental art salon started in a basement by Kembra Pfahler and Orlando Estrada has moved on to bigger digs, taking up residency in the massive Knockdown Center this Thursday. A fittingly sizable lineup will be showing work, with a bill comprised of Social Club regulars and newcomers alike, including Nandi Loaf, Chris Cole, Whitney Vangrin, Cameron Cooper, Shawn Escarciga, and more. Anyone with a bigoted attitude will presumably be booted, as Estrada proclaims the show a “queer, femme, trans, POC, GNC safe space” and a “no shade zone.”

FRIDAY

(flyer via New York Neo-Futurists)

The Neo Show: Smash the Patriarchy
March 24-25 at The Kraine Theater, 10:30 pm: $20

The New York Neo-Futurists have recently rebranded their recurring show, formerly known as Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, but they’re still up to the same artistic madness. Which is to say, they’re definitely still trying to do 30 short and strange plays in 60 minutes. Or, at least “a barrage” of short plays in an evening. This weekend, in a reprisal of sorts of their popular Too Many Ladies show last year, an all-female cast of Neo will be taking over the Kraine Theater to strut their stuff and dismantle some oppressive systems in the form of many feminist short plays. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this show to include a literal smashing of the patriarchy, as the Neo-Futurists pride themselves on their unique technique of creation in which everyone plays themselves and what they are doing in the moment is true. Aside from that, they’re up for anything.

SATURDAY

(image via Park Avenue Armory / Facebook)

The Hairy Ape
March 25-April 22 at Park Avenue Armory, various times: $30+

The glorious Park Avenue Armory will see a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s classic 1921 expressionist play The Hairy Ape, starring Tony-nominated actor Bobby Cannavale. The Armory is no stranger to elaborate theatrical productions, acting as host to such spectacles as Paul McCarthy’s grotesque and sprawling WS installation. The production, directed by Richard Jones, initially appeared at The Old Vic in London. Its subject matter is certainly relevant for American audiences, as it centers around a worker who seeks for belonging amidst a sea of the filthy rich, including those found in the money-laden areas of New York. Will capitalism ever be dismantled? Not if you spend money on this play, I guess.

SUNDAY

(flyer via In the Works / Facebook)

In the Works
Sunday, March 26 at The Duplex, 9:30 pm: $10 advance, $15 doors plus a 2-drink minimum

Spend your Sunday taking in the musical stylings of several new composers at this edition of the In the Works series, presented by Honeck-Moss Productions. The evening will showcase a handful of composers, each presenting about 15 minutes of newer material that they are working on. This time around, you’ll hear pieces from patriotic songbird Marcus Goldhaber, edgy belter and rock opera creator Terra Warman, and “piano troubadour” Peter Trevino, who has collaborated with members of Journey and The Foo Fighters.

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Something ‘Terrifying’ and Four More Performance Picks

WEDNESDAY

(image via Maude Gun / Facebook)

Maude Night #4
Wednesday, March 15 at Muchmore’s, 9 pm: $5-7 suggested donation

This is decidedly not the UCB showcase, but a queer/femme/POC space for variety performance and expression helmed by witchy, culty performance-art band Maude Gun. The lineup includes “Mountain Moving Witch of the West Coast” Carissa Matsushima, “Ritualistic Serotonin Poem Witch” Tara Jayakar, “Nose Bleeding Drama Queen Healer” Holly Simple, and a closing piece by Maude Gun themselves. Though it is the name of their band, they seem to be rather generous with the term “maude,” referring to their booked performers and potentially everyone in the room by the moniker. In the event description is a reminder: “let’s mind our pronouns! (call everyone a MAUDE if you’re lost)” Keep Reading »

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This Hip-Hop Dance Production Involves a Mascot, Wrestling, and a Senior Aerobics Class

(photo: Maria Baranova)

It could take something as simple as a step-touch to unite the generations. At least that’s the impression you might get in a room with the company of experimental hip-hop and dance group Yackez. Most contemporary dance projects are rife with young and lithe bodies, but the cast of the latest and largest Yackez production, Give It To You Stage, ranges from ages 25 to 87. Keep Reading »

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Performance Picks: Communal Reading for the ACLU, Space Travel Blues Cabaret, and More

WEDNESDAY

(flyer by Phoebe Randall, via The Silent Barn)

This Is How You Talk To People
Wednesday, February 22 at The Silent Barn, 7 pm: $5

Tonight, Bushwick mainstay The Silent Barn will welcome a “communal reading” of a play by Rachel Davies, who has written for outlets such as Rookie, Complex, Nylon, and The Le Sigh. This Is How You Talk To People is Davies’s first play, and chronicles a variety of women from a talk show host  to a student who are collectively trying to navigate shifting friendships and relationships. The reading will be done communally in “an attempt to make the performance more accessible,” and profits from the evening will be donated to the ACLU.

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