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June, 2004

 

 

JUNE/JULY UPDATE

by Steven Thornburg

 

There are many things to tell.  While Spotlight On folks are doing shows all over town at other venues, Frank Calo, Sue Marticek, and Ricardo Cordero are working hard to find the right venue for our new home.  Excellent leads are popping up; and they say they are getting warm, very warm.

Glory Bowen, Andrew Rothkin, and comrades, just did an amazing production of The Tempest to sold-out houses.   

Friends such as Richard Lay, Shannon Sweeney, and Lizzie Brown succeeded in opening Richard's newest play, The Oboe Player.     

Cuchipinoy is ever-growing and now doing a strong and formal membership drive.    

There are many other sweet endeavors from among our ranks.  While some are vacationg on the beach, others are finding time to appear in cabarets and stand-up comedy stores.    

I have been busy and creative with my latest production of Thor's Day.  Although there have been changes in my staff due to illness and other work, I have great pride in our new creation at Wings.  Hope all of you come to see us and check it out before we transfer to Broadway.  The press release follows this article.    

In this issue you will also find a review, by Dennis Henson, for The Tempest at the Looking Glass Theatre & a review of Thor's Day, by Kenneth Weller, at Wings.    

Finally, the Spotlight On Voting Committee will soon announce the date of the Awards Ceremony (likely in August).  We're going even more upscale this year if the rumor is right that we will have it at the beautiful Iridium Jazz Club.  This is the venue where Frank Calo just put on a delighful and new melodrama, Streets of Old New York (by Edward Crosby Wells) with a bunch of Spottie folk.  Iridium has first-rate food at reasonable prices.  Yummy.    

Happy theatre-going, one and all.       

 

WINGS THEATRE & SPOTLIGHT ON PRODUCE  
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeffery Corrick

June 15, 2004                                                                                                             
212-627-2960 (office) or Box Office direct:  212-627-2961

Thorís Day, a provocative new thriller, begins previews at Wings Theatre June 18

Wings Theatre, Jeffery Corrick Artistic Director, announces the opening of Thorís Day, a new drama by Edward Crosby Wells, Directed by Steven E. Thornburg.  Previews for Thorís Day begin June 18 with opening night June 25.  The performance schedule is Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8pm, with Sunday performances at 7pm.  Wings Theatre is located at 154 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. Tickets are $19 and may be purchased online at www.wingstheatre.com or by calling the box office at (212) 627-2961.  TDF vouchers are accepted at all performances.   Thorís Day is an erotic, powerful, provocative and terrifying thriller.  Philip, an insurance-selling nebbish, brings home a gorgeous and funny young man for an afternoon tryst; their encounter is fraught with pleasure and danger as the clock ticks down to an explosive and unexpected climax.  Buck, perhaps possessed with supernatural powers, takes Philip on a breathtaking, life-altering journey into the unexplained territory of his long-suppressed and hidden desires.

Thorís Day has an interesting history.  It was first produced by The Glines in 1997 under the direction of Steven E. Thornburg (now directing for Wings as well).  The only other known production of it was the 2003 Spotlight On Festival Production, presented by The Glines and directed by Steven E. Thornburg.  Playwright Dan Trujillo raves that THORíS DAY is "a great playÖa fantastic play, or letís say a fantastically crafted play."  John Chatterton called the original production "complete commitment by playwright, director, and actors."  Other reviews:  "...an intriguing mixture of the erotic and dangerous..." (HX Magazine), "...strong, haunting, intense, suspenseful..." (G.S. Bowen/High!Drama Review), "...a brilliant creation..." (S. Braun/Stage Pages), "...not a show for the faint of heart, the squeamish..." (OOBR), and "Both actors are a match made in heaven...truly a master piece of art" (Global Network Pictures).   Featured in the cast are Adam Mervis and John Rengstorff.  The Assistant Director is Henry Segovia, with sound and original music by Tom Hasselwander, lighting by Sean Linehan, set by Robert Monaco and costumes by Tom Claypool.  The production is stage managed by Elias Stimac.

Steven E. Thornburg (Director) is an actor, director, filmmaker and Associate Producer of Spotlight On Productions.  Formerly at Wings, Steven directed Sea Cruise and Thereís a War Going On.  For The Glines, he staged Nooses, Knives and Lovers and Thor's Day.  For Sage: Stars (OOBR Award), Kept Men, Texans Do Tap Dance, The Twilight Ladies, The Aluminum Garden and Poster of the Cosmos (Sage Awards).  Spotlight On: Yet, Another Fairy Tale, The Tragedy of King Richard The Second and Michael Doesnít Live Here Anymore (Spotlight Awards).  Award-winning teacher:  A Living Tableau and several student showcases. Producing: Ice In April (OOBR Award), Circle (OOBR Award).

EDWARD CROSBY WELLS (Playwright), born in New York in 1944, began playwriting shortly after the life-altering experience of seeing the Bíway production of Albeeís Tiny Alice.  Among those who have produced his work are Circle Rep (Leaving Tampa and Flowers Out Of Season), the Greenwich House Theatre (The Moon Away), New Mexico Rep, the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, and the United Nations (Tough Cookies), The Glines (Thorís Day), Iridium Jazz Club (Streets of Old New York) and Frank Calo (Three Guys In Drag Selling Their Stuff, The Proctologistís Daughter and others).    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jeffery Corrick
June 15, 2004                                                                                                             212-627-2960 (office) or Box Office direct:  212-627-2961
    

 

"A Mighty Wind"  
Review of The Tempest
By Dennis Henson
      

Let me get a couple things off my chest.  I am not a big fan of hour-long Shakespeare adaptations (unless performed by teenagers and under) or the alterations of a characterís sex to fit actors.  I think it underestimates actressí ability to transform into men (and vise-versa for men into women).  Finally, if this review comes across as a love letter to Randi Sobolís acting ability then you hit the bulls eye. 

Okay, with all that off my chest, bravo to Glory Bowen and her luscious production.  Even with my caveats I still managed to love this entirely too slim production.  I think someone should give this Tempest, and especially this production, its full-length due.  Even though I am not a fan of altering the sex of characters, here it works. 

Letís talk about true actors and true Shakespearean actors.  Letís talk Ms. Sobol and her incredible gift as a performer.  Not only is her delivery of Shakespeareís text pitch perfect, she gives Prospero (now Prospera) weight, a soul and supreme magic that this role requires -- part stage charisma, part acting ability, part technique.  Not only can Ms. Sobol fill the tiny black box of The Looking Glass but a Broadway stage.  Any stage producer is insane if he doesnít see the gem in Ms. Sobol.  She may be the best thing in our theaters this day and age.

Thatís done.  There are many other gems in this evening.  Susan Rankusí Caliban is an excellent example of gender switching that works and is very clever to boot.  I liked the re-imagining of  Caliban into a beaten down Raggedy Ann doll.  Andrew Rothkin (Stephano) and Michael Whitney (Trinculo) are equally as good.  Tina Chow is a very alluring Ariel.  All of the sequences with Ariel and the fairies, played by Emily Dres Brand, Chiasui Chen and Sacha Iskra, work very nicely.  There is very good choreography by Jennifer DiMinni with a great touch with the fairies dancing behind scrim.   Rusty Gunther is a very fetching Mirando and Hana Rosenberg is a very seductive Ferdinanda.  The scenes between the two are very clever; and here the play on the sexes (and itís reverse) are a lot of fun. Anthony Abdallah (Gonzalo),  Stella Inserra (Queen Alonsa), Gina Stec (Sebastiana), Jennifer Stokes (Antonia) and Kimberly Felipe Villanueva (Ceres) round out this terrific ensemble.

 The costumes by Rebecca Lustig are dead on, but sometimes it appears some of the actors seem a little under-costumed.  Almost as if a period custom were thrown onto contemporary clothes?  The scenic design also by Rebecca Lustig enhanced The Looking Glass Theater; and if it were not for the unbearable lack of air in that black box, I felt I was transformed onto Prosperoís Island.

So hats off to Glory Bowenís production which has a very good ensemble of players, a too brief adaptation of The Tempest (which at times resembled a backerís demo reel) and the remarkable and talented Randy Sobol.  If any producers wish to bring good Shakespeare and just plain good Theater to the people, I suggest you give Ms. Bowen a shout; this is a keeper.

 

 "Temptation in Hobbs"  
THOR'S DAY Review 
by Kenneth Weller
  

If you're married (with repressed desires) and your spouse is away for the day in the hospital, this isn't your average day.  If you cruise  the parking lot of the local porn store and take home a hot stranger half your age and taller, stronger and perhaps possessed of magical powers, this is an unlikely day.  If you start to feel in danger for your life and you suspect the motives of this funny guy whom may be a psychopath, this is a setting for a new classic -- the heir to The Zoo Story.   

Wings has a very electric cast with John Rengstorff (Philip Winter) and Adam Mervis (Buck Rose). Writer Edward Crosby Wells has a great time with symbolism (Philip's wife is Daisy; and she paints flowers).  The production design is hugely elaborate.  The set (Robert Monaco) is an informal home in Hobbs, New Mexico -- which looks warm and homey like an on-going craft project.  Lighting (Sean Linehan) and Sound (Tom Hasselwander) are meticulous.  Philip is handsome in his earthy suit; and hunky Buck is appropriate in his working-class western get-up (Costumes by Tom Claypool).   

Director Steven Thornburg has just the right timing for the revelations.  The story-telling is assured and highly intriguing.  Every behavior leads logically to the next.  This property has a movie in it.  This team tells me that they have the vision of a studio movie -- much like TAPE -- and I whole-heartedly back that idea.    

I jumped in my place more than once.  If you like suspense, good drama and the best acting on any stage, go to Thor's Day.   

Thor's Day, by Edward Crosby Wells.  Director:  Steven Thornburg.  Producer:  Wings Theatre Company (Jeffery Corrick, Artistic Director/Robert Mooney, Managing Director).  Co-Producer:  Spotlight On, Frank Calo and Steven Thornburg.  With Adam Mervis (Buck) and John Rengstorff (Philip).  Assistant Director:  Henry Segovia.  Stage Manager:  Elias Stimac.  Set:  Robert Monaco.  Lighting:  Sean Linehan.  Costumes:  Tom Claypool.  Music and Sound:  Thomas Hasselwander.  A.S.M.:  Nayibi Vergara.  Jennifer Clarke (Development Director).  Nelson Rosado (Box Office Manager).  Thomas Claypool (Technical Director).        

In previews at Wings Theatre Company, 154 Christopher St.  June 18 through July 17.  Official opening:  June 25.  Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 8:00 PM & Sundays at 7:00 PM.  212-627-2961 or http://www.wingstheatre.com/