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Dirty Great Success

By Martin Burgess

FAMERS if you are up for some British action check out Dirty Great Love Story at 59E59 Theaters. It’s a clever, stripped down, well-delivered, simple play about Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, whose relationship takes two years to develop into something serious after a one-night stand.

DGLS3webIt all begins when Richard and Katie meet for the first time in a nightclub; both happen to be at a bachelor and bachelorette party. In a drunken blur Richard and Katie wake up in a cheap hotel room the following morning.  He’s in to her, she’s not in to him and runs away trying to forget about the whole thing. The problem is…Richard’s friend Westie has hooked up with Katie’s friend CC, and the hilarity ensues as Richard and Katie keep bumping into each other at social events.

Here’s the twist; there are only two actors on stage, no set, no costumes, nada – just two chairs, mood lighting and some background music. If you’re worried about the fact that it’s British and you’re still traumatized by Shakespeare in high school, do not be, the language is very modern and easy to understand. The script is well written and the delivery is flawless. The dialogue weaves between spoken word and poetry, which really helps keep the play flowing smoothly.

Because the play is British there are lots of drinking references, which only leads to one thing, highly embarrassing moments. This new interpretation of the classic “boy meets girl” story is universal. Even hip hop fans should check it out; there is lots of good rhyming and call and response.

Pia Furtado directs this production and the play is written and acted out by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, who give an outstanding and unblemished performance. They have great chemistry between them and do a superb job of connecting to the audience and setting up the scenes.  Dirty Great Love Story is part of 59E59 Theaters’ Brits Off-Broadway Festival and will be playing a limited engagement until June 30.

Photos: Carol Rosegg

 

 

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59E59 Theaters Gets Sailing With Brits Off Broadway and The Boat Factory

Yes, despite the miserable weather it is that time of year to catch some jolly ole productions from across the pond as Brits Off Broadway takes residency at 59E59 Theaters.  The Boat Factory is set in Belfast 1947 and centers on a 16-year old boy beginning an apprenticeship at Hartland & Wolffs’ Titanic Shipyard.  World War II is over but the ripple effects of the war are still fresh.  This production provides a powerful voice to everyday people struggling to make a living during the glory days of Belfast’s shipbuilding era.

The Boat Factory’s limited engagement run will end on Sunday, June 30. Tickets are available by calling Ticket Central at 212-279-4200 or online at www.59e59.org. For more information, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.

59E59 Theaters Gets Jazzy with The Anderson Twins

59E59 Theaters is known for bringing downtown theatre to the upper East side.  Sometimes provocative, but always inventive, productions playing at 59E59 never cease to showcase the unbridled potential of Off-Broadway theater.  Future jazz maestros The Anderson Twins are no strangers to 59E59 Theaters, once headlining every Thursday evening at the theaters’ bar.  And this fall they are starring in their own production recreating the music of The Dorsey Brothers in The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys!

Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey were jazz musicians and fronted their own band, The Dorsey Brothers, until they fell out in 1935, disbanding their group and pursuing their own musical endeavors.  The brothers reunited the band in 1945, made a biopic about their lives and had their own TV series.  During the late 1920s and early 1930s, The Dorsey Brothers were among the most sought-after musicians in New York City.   Tommy Dorsey died in 1956, with Jimmy Dorsey passing away in 1957.  The Dorsey Brothers are still considered two of the most influential jazz artists and band leaders of the Big Band and Swing era.

Playing at venues such as The Blue Note and Lincoln Center, twins Pete and Will Anderson have already cemented a name for themselves in the jazz scene.  Just like The Dorsey Brothers, The Anderson Twins have been playing since they were small children.  And as leaders of their own sextet, they are the perfect candidates to bring story of The Dorsey Brothers to a stage.

The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys!  is an exciting mixture of mixed media, showcasing the best and worst of The Dorsey Brothers.  The Anderson Twins provide dialogue and the soundtrack as snippets of the film The Fabulous Dorseys tell the story of The Dorsey Brothers musical beginnings, rise as musicians and band leaders as well as how sibling rivalry kept them at odds since they were kids and ultimately led to the disbanding of the group at the height of their fame.   The true star of this production is the music, which are not only jazz classics, but American standards.  The theater is set up like a club complete with tables and patrons are allowed to bring in their drinks.  Even if one was unfamiliar with the music of that era, they will still appreciate the wonderful live show of The Anderson Twins Sextet.  Whether you are a jazz buff or novice, anyone that loves to hear music from real musicians will enjoy this production.  I found it to be extremely entertaining.

Photos:  Lynn Redmile

Brits Off-Broadway Off To a Smashing Start

 

 

The British are here…the British are here!  And they are residing Off-Broadway.  November kicks off the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, but at the 59E59 Theatres, November is the start of the 2011 Brits Off-Broadway Festival.  From November 1 to January 1, 59E59 Theatres will feature the most innovative productions the UK has to offer.  The festival begins with three titillating solos: Bunny by Jack Thorne and featuring Rosie Wyatt, The Maddening Rain by Nicholas Pierpan and featuring Felix Scott and Shadow Boxing by James Gaddas and featuring Jonny Collis-Scurll.  Each of these expressive narratives can be seen alone or in succession.

Bunny tells the coming of age story of an 18-year-old girl named Katie.  During a blistering afternoon, Katie witnesses her boyfriend get into a fight and comes face to face with racism, the future of her relationship and the truth about her pseudo contumacious way of life.  Bunny is a superbly wicked fusion of The Breakfast Club and Rebel Without a Cause and includes all the oversized angst of being a teen in the 21st century.  And it is only natural that it would considering Jack Thorne, the writer behind the BBC series Skins, was the mastermind behind this potent monologue.  Rosie Wyatt lends a commanding voice to Gen Y that can be understood no matter which continent you reside from.  She has Natalie Wood looks and Jimmy Dean swagger.  Although there are some areas where Katie tends to ramble, the dissonance works with the theme of disaffected youth.   

 There is a line in The Talking Heads classic “Once In a Lifetime” that says, “You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife.  You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”  It is almost guaranteed that most adults ask will ask that question once in a lifetime.  It is similar to going to bed and waking up on a foreign shore.  The life you dreamed of, or even sometimes did not dream of, never materializes and you are living an existence that you did not sign up for, yet are mechanically doing anyway.  The Maddening Rain explores the journey of a man without a plan that ends questioning the life he carved out for himself.  The protagonist, simply called “The Man,” takes the audience on a diatribe about love and finance and the consequences of losing both during the height of the global economic crisis.   Poignant, zany and very well written, The Maddening Rain is a must see for any thirtysomething individual going through an existential crisis. 

James Gaddas’ Shadow Boxing has been billed as, “An emotionally intense and highly physical performance.”  This 60-minute pulsating, pounding drama has received rave reviews from Backstage and www.womanaroundtown.com.

If these three solos are just a sample of what is to come, then I cannot wait to view the rest of the festival.  The east side should be in for some bloody good theater.

To view the current and upcoming schedule for 59E59 Theatres, click http://59e59.org/.

Photos:  Joel Fildes and Upstart Theatre

Don’t Ask, I’m Gonna Tell Anyway

When most people think about war, their imaginations tend to lead them to the traditional sense – old and middle-aged men and women in Brooks Brother’s suits sitting in the House chamber making proclamations of war, the president reciting a skillfully prepared address to the American people describing why we must plunge into a conflict, young men and women in fatigues flying off to foreign lands, carrying the fears, pride and sometimes anger of a nation square across their shoulders all while preparing to face death daily.  But what if the war is not being waged in humid jungles or blistering deserts, what if the battleground lies within? 

A soldier’s job is not to ask why, theirs but to do and die.  But what if you cannot relegate yourself to be a weapon of destruction killing on the government’s command?  What if the word “why “echoes in your head until the sound replaces a soldier’s instinct to act without question?

Opposing fractions gripping and ripping at one’s soul can be just as deleterious and exhausting as watching for landmines or dodging bullets.  Former Lance Corporal Jeff Key was already at war when he was flying off to Iraq to strike as our sword of vengeance for the attacks of 9/11 and liberate our country and indeed the world from terror-mongers like Saddam Hussein.  The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy instituted under President Clinton forced a soldier to betray his existence.  The propaganda President Bush used to invade Iraq forced a soldier to betray his oath. What to do?  Keep a descriptive journal and transform it into a robust, introspective one-man stage production.

There is no doubt that the American public was inundated with images, video streams and commentary from the Iraq War.  It was like a soap opera “As the War Turns” or a Sony Playstation videogame, only this version had real casualties.  Using photos he took and the illumination of his rhythmical verse, Key’s narrative transports the audience into the Iraq War in a more intimate way than CNN and other network’s daily updates ever did.  The Eyes of Babylon is a spellbinding 90-minute monologue that is real soldier’s story instead of a manufactured segment of media.  Told with humor and conviction, Key relates a story with his Alabama/Forrest Gump accent that displays pure emotion.  He takes the audience on a journey that begins with 9/11 and ends with him coming out as a gay man on CNN.  Along this journey Key communicates the feeling of connecting with the universe’s most insignificant creatures, the eroticism of a subtle shared moment with a gay Iraqi man, the joy for simple pleasures such as the soundtrack from Rent that allowed him to mentally venture off from the state he was currently in, the realities of how soldiers shower and move their bowels in combat situations, the brutality of soldiers with a hard on to get their gun off and his growing abhorrence for the war he was sent to.

The words of this warrior poet are as powerful as a M16 with a full clip and no less haunting than a wolf howling at the full moon.  I was beyond transfixed; I hung on to every word that flowed from his lips like a recruit swinging on an immense set of monkey bars.  Key was my sergeant and it was up to me to follow his guidance and make the links until I had finished the task, feeling better for going through the exercise with him. Key is truthful and is the personification of the Marine term “Semper Fi”.  Always faithful, Key demonstrates what it means to be a true patriot all while changing conventional paradigms of the expression.  This production is a significant piece of theatre – it is Off-Broadway’s To Hell and Back. Exchanging a rifle and assault vehicle for a pen and stage Key is more formidable.  Using his weapon to the fullest, The Eyes of Babylon challenges the status quo, flips them the bird and gives them a salute at the same time.  Key is mercenary for those who have known little mercy, for those who are used by this government and forgotten about like cracked egg shells after the omelets has been cooked and you best believe he will go down with his boots on.

The Eyes of Babylon is not just a gay man’s account of his stint in the military during wartime.  It is a story every military person can relate to.  A person joins the military for different reasons.  When he spoke I felt the presence of my friend that gave the ultimate sacrifice in a gun battle in Iraq, a man that joined the military to provide a better life for his two sons, a man whose beautiful face I will never see again.  On a personal note, this production was closure for me.  I want thank Key for sharing his story.  I was so angry upon hearing of my friend’s death, knowing that he lost his life without any of his friends or family around as he made his transition plagued my heart.  But after viewing The Eyes of Babylon I realized that he was surrounded with love from his fellow brethren and if he passed serving with anyone like Key, he was never alone.  I salute you Jeff Key for a job well done.

Photos courtesy of The Mehadi Foundation

The Earp Women Revisit History

One of the most retold stories of the old west is the account of the events that occurred at the O.K. Corral.  It has been the subject of dozens of films, books and documentaries – some historically accurate, while others are unadulterated romantic fantasy.  Generally this story is told from the Earp brothers’ perspective, but a new musical gives audiences a glimpse of the harshness of the west from a feminine point of view. I Married Wyatt Earp is based on a book of the same name penned by Glenn G. Boyer and tells the story of Josie Earp (Wyatt’s third wife and widow), Allie Earp (Virgil’s widow), Bess Earp (James’ wife), Mattie Blaylock (Wyatt’s ill-fated second spouse) as well as the events that led up to the famous gunfight.

Life in the west was hard and love was even harder.  Josie Marcus is weary of her restrictive life in San Francisco.  Refusing to live the existence of an upper-class Jewish woman, the naive young girl finagles her way into becoming a member of a traveling troupe of actors in search of adventure.  The troupe travels to Tombstone, where Josie meets a whole horde of personalities and falls in love with Wyatt Earp.   Her affair with the married lawman comes off the heels of her break up with Sheriff John Behan and also adds fuel to a rivalry between Behan and Earp.  The feud also enlists Wyatt’s brothers and Doc Holiday on Wyatt’s side and the Clanton-McLaury gang on Behan’s.  The bad blood felt between these men would spill over in a 30-second gunfight on October 26, 1881.  Subsequently, Wyatt and Josie’s affair also rippled into the discentagration of Doc Holliday’s relationship with Kate, his traveling companion, and the ruination of Mattie and Wyatt’s relationship, which also led to Mattie’s descent into addiction and her death from an overdose of laudanum. The production deals with these themes as well as Josie’s guilt over her decisions as an older Josie and Allie recall the past and how that fateful day affected their lives.

I Married Wyatt Earp is being touted as a “creative nonfiction” musical.  To retell a story that has been told countless times is a definitely a daunting endeavor.  The narration of this famous legend from the wives and girlfriend’s viewpoint is definitely creative, but the creators of I Married Wyatt Earp relied too much on this concept to try to sell the production.  It appears the rest of the production had not been fleshed out, so its innovative concept became reduced to a ploy to pull in the audience.  While the musical does have some southern fried charm, it lacks the grit that is associated with the old west.  It is sort of like Gunfight at the O.K. Corral light, similar to a decaf cup of coffee it has flavor but is deficient of a kick.   The cast delivers with the material, but the material could have been more polished.  The choreography is mediocre; however the music and lyrics are memorable.  “Don’t Blame Me For That,” “Pins and Needles,” “Did Ya Hear” and “Stand Our Ground” are songs that will remain in your head long after the show closes at 59 East 59 Theatres on June 12.   

While I do believe this story may have to go back to the proverbial “drawing board” if it wants to take the O.K. Corral to Broadway, I also feel there is enough there to keep an audience with a proclivity for American folklore interested.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Gerry Goodstein

WTC View Rocks the Eastside

There is no New Yorker, indeed no American that has not been affected by the tragic events of September 11, 2001.  The images of that day have been indelibly seared into our minds and the emotions branded into our hearts.  But the days and weeks following that catastrophic day can sometimes be as blurry as a Monet and other times it is as vivid as a Matisse.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of that infamous day.  Playwright Brian Sloan explores the surreal time after the 9/11 attacks in WTC View.

WTC View examines the psychological effects on a group of New Yorkers after the World Trade Center attacks.  It centers on a photographer named Eric and his quest to find a roommate to assist in paying the rent in his two bedroom SoHo apartment.  Eric, portrayed by Nick Lewis, was in his apartment when the attacks began, which has a bird’s eye view of the Twin Towers; he witnessed the cataclysmic episode unfold outside a bedroom window.  He meets an array of interested applicants, each with their own perspective on 9/11.  Jeremy, played by Bob Braswell, is the British St. Regis employee who loses his job because of the lack of tourists and returns home to England.  Kevin, played by Michael Carlsen, was unable to go back to his Battery Park apartment after the attacks and was stuck in New Jersey with a one night stand for three days.  Jeff, depicted by Torsten Hillhouse, is a democratic campaign worker who was born in NYC and decided to return because he felt New York City needed him.  Alex, played by Patrick Edward O’Brien, worked at the World Trade Center and was present during the time of the attacks.  His story is one of the carnage left in the wake such a vicious act of terrorism as well as one of hope.  Max, played by Martin Edward Cohen, is a young NYU student that mixes his feelings of guilt and activism into one huge twenty-something M80 that is just ready to burst.  All these young men, along with Eric’s friend Josie, played by Leah Curney, and Eric’s ex-boyfriend (who is only heard via Eric’s answering machine) assist Eric in coming to terms with the loss he felt as a result of 9/11 as well as the hysteria that subsequently followed in the days and weeks that followed.

With September marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this review is the first time I have written anything about what happened on that Tuesday morning in September 2001.  Somehow I could not locate the words that I felt adequately expressed my pain.   Almost ten years later, and it was not until I witnessed WTC View that I realized why I never did.  All humans react differently during times of distress and earth-shattering events.  I was like Eric.  I wanted desperately to pretend that watching those towers fall did not affect me.  I wanted to believe that the weeks of watching funerals on television or passing by dozens of missing person bulletins had no impact on my psyche, but the glaring truth for me and the protagonist of the play is that it did.  Eric finally came to grips with his pain after several breakdowns.  I buried it as deep as I could and as a result it paralyzed my fingers and mind.  I thought I had covered the wounds inflicted on us as a society that day with the finest emotional band-aids, but as I watched each actor recount how 9/11 changed their life as they knew it and observed Eric slowly succumb to his grief and fear, I could feel the bandage being ripped from my heart.  What I found was that I had not healed at all, but thanks to the crafty storytelling of Brian Sloan, I recognized that I was ready to go back to the pain and try to heal.

Watching WTC View is similar to having the deepest deep tissue massage you will ever have.  The right hand grabs your heart, the left clutches your soul, sometimes you will wince in pain, but you will leave feeling more healed than when you came in.  WTC View is a must see for all New Yorkers, it is a riveting piece of theater, powerfully acted by an impressive cast.  Currently playing at 59E59 Theaters until June 5 as part of the America’s Off-Broadway series, WTC View is a production that embodies the true spirit of New York and its unrelenting resiliency.   

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

Triangle Offers Homage to a Centennial NYC Tragedy

March 25, 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  The inferno was the most deleterious industrial catastrophe in NYC history and ranked the fourth highest in casualties from an industrial accident in US history.  It was also the most mortiferous tragedy in Manhattan until 9/11.  The sweatshop blaze, located in the Asch Building on 23-29 Washington Place, resulted in the deaths of 146 workers, most of whom were Jewish and Italian immigrants.  Because of locked doors, people jumped to their deaths and created outrage with the community and politicians alike. But the fire’s lasting legacies were not just the deaths, it was the legislation passed to improve factory safety standards and the creation of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. 

Currently, the Americas Off-Broadway series offers a production that exhumes the ghosts of that tragedy and the lives it affected with TriangleTriangle is a 120 minute drama that recounts the adulterous liaison between “Big” Tim Sullivan and actress Margaret Holland against the backdrop of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the events that followed.   When young, beautiful Margaret goes to audition for Big Tim at his headquarters, he is already known as “The Boss of the Bowery.”  Along with being a one of the prominent politicos of Tammany Hall, he was also the kingfish of various criminal enterprises which included prostitution, gambling and extortion.  Margaret, a highbrow, progressive woman, becomes seduced by Tim’s immoral, yet captivating demeanor.  Tim immediately recognizes Margaret’s beauty and casts her in his productions out of state.  While Margaret continues to tour on the acting circuit, she and Tim fall in love and have an illegitimate daughter named Mary Catherine.  But the Triangle Factory fire forever changes Margaret, Tim and Mary Catherine.  Margaret tirelessly works as a reformist, causing a strain on her relationship with her growing daughter, and blames Tim for taking kickbacks.  Guilt spurs Tim into using his political muscle to aide the reformers and sponsors legislation limiting the maximum number of hours women were forced to work despite his failing health from syphilis. 

One aspect I find with Off-Broadway productions is that they are generally hit or miss.  This production teeters somewhere in the middle.  At best Triangle is a nondescript tribute to the legacies of the women and men who perished in Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, focusing more on the love affair between Tim and Margaret instead of the immigrant men and women who toiled and died in the fire.  It reminded me of Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam, a think piece that provided a glimpse into the lives of people placed in a stressful situation.  The acting in Triangle impressed me more than the story itself, and when the play did focus on the fire specifically, it showed flashes of brilliance.  Ruba Audeh is superb, playing dual roles as a young Jewish girl and a former Triangle Shirtwaist worker turned hooker – her scenes are some of the most telling, emotional moments of the play and will painfully stick with you like burnt clothing on skin.  Donna Davis and Dennis Wit are very engaging as Cathleen Murphy and Izzy Weissman, a common law couple on Big Tim’s payroll.  Their banter and narration throughout the production not only offered comic relief, but prevented the show from dragging.  They, along with Audeh, are without a doubt the most memorable characters and performances.  Joe Gately, Ashley C. Williams and Michaela McPherson round out the cast giving fine performances as Tim Sullivan, Margaret Holland and Mary Catherine. 

Triangle’s final performance at 59E59 Theatre is May 1.  It is my conclusion that parts of this show were greater than its sum.  Overall, Triangle is a satisfactory play that produced solid performances, but the jury is still out on whether this drama did or did not deliver on its commitment to honor the victims of the fire.

Photos:  Carol Rosegg

Intonations of Love

Love is an all-encompassing entity.  It can be displayed through all five senses.  You can hear the sounds of love coming from a bedroom or pining through a radio.  You can see it dancing in someone’s eyes or in their gestures.  There is a different aroma that follows a couple in love – even food taste different when the person preparing it is in love.  In contrast, a person lacking love in their life is as anemic as a person living with diabetes.  And this is where the audience finds Beane, the tragic, young protagonist of John Kolvenbach’s brilliant romantic comedy Love Song, when the play begins.

To say that Beane is an eccentric would be an understatement.  He lives alone in an apartment void of furniture; his worldly possessions include a cup, a spoon, a couple of pairs of socks, two button down shirts and two slacks.  Beane is a shadow and likes it that way.  Like the boy in the bubble, he encloses himself in an orb to survive, but for Beane his oxygen is filled with misery.  He desires no interactions with humans, if he desires at all.   Outside of work, the only people Beane sees are his sister Joan and her husband Harry, an upwardly mobile couple too busy with work for Beane or even themselves for that matter.  Then along comes Molly, a hellcat/burglar that robs Beane and incidentally develops a weird infatuation for him as does Beane for her.  Suddenly, the light in Beane’s dreary world has been turned on.  His whole outlook on life changes, which does not go unnoticed by Joan and Harry.  In fact, Beane’s new attitude is contagious and assists in reigniting the romance in Joan and Harry’s life. Molly is like the Sazón that adds essential flavor to a dish of arroz con pollo – there is only one problem with her – she is as real as the Easter Bunny.  Once Beane’s secret is out in the open, he must decide whether to move forward or shrink back into the existence he once had.

Love Song is one of the best character studies I have ever witnessed.  It is Punch Drunk Love on LSD – a wild, trippy ride into the dimensions of love, loneliness and lunacy – three paths that can sometimes run side by side or collide into each other like a messy intersection.  Playwright and director John Kolvenbach aims for the heart and hits his target dead on the mark.  I adore this comedy; it is great theatre plain and simple.  The cast radiates even brighter than the light Beane has been trying to avoid all his life.  Laura Latreille and Ian Barford are a scream as Joan and Harry.  Their chemistry was extremely organic.  Zoe Winters is the most convincing imaginary girlfriend I have seen and Andrew Pastides makes quite an impression as Beane.  Love Song is playing a limited engagement at 59E59 Theatres until May 8 as part of their America’s Off Broadway series.  There are many tales of love in the world, but this one that should not be missed.

Photos:  Jeff Larkin

The Promise Delivers

To walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is a task most people can conceive, but rarely can be executed.  Why, because it is more difficult to actually live another person’s experiences than one might believe.  This is why empathy is such a virtuous emotion.  Thanks to the exquisite delivery of Scottish actress Joanna Tope, the audiences watching The Promise embark on a 90-minute trek following in the footsteps of Maggie Brodie in an alluring monologue that holds the viewers captive from the first sentence. 

The Promise, a drama inspired by true events, centers around one climatic day in the life of twice retired school teacher Maggie Brodie.  She is an alcoholic struggling with the ghosts of her past – her father’s pride and demeanor (which she inadvertently inherited), her disdain for religion, the broken relationship with her little sister and vampish ways with men.  But Ms. Brodie has one thing on her side, she has always been able to keep a promise.  On this day she is called back to do a substitute teaching gig, her ability to keep a promise will be tested as a new student matriculates into the classroom – a young Somali girl named Rosie who refuses to speak.  Maggie sees little Rosie as a mirror and instantly connects with her.  When community leaders, who have arranged a deal with the school to have a ritual performed in class, attempt to free Rosie of her evil spirits, Maggie’s demons come full circle as she zealously defends Rosie and the promise she made to keep her safe and not disclose her secret.

Playwright Douglas Maxwell has written a gripping story that reminds me of Ravel’s Bolero.  Just like the classic composer, he excels in bringing drama to a frenzied crescendo.   Both he and Joana Trope are Scottish imports that I would not mind having around for a while.  Too bad countries cannot trade actors and playwrights they way the NBA trade players.  Watching Joanna Tope sashay across the stage in fire engine red patent leather pumps like a weathered gunslinger aching for the opportunity to get her gun off is a rare treat – her commanding presence is sexy and spellbinding. She is a definitely a force to be reckoned with.  The only problem I had with The Promise is its limited run at 59E59 Theaters.  The final performance is April 17; FAMERS, make a promise to yourself and go see The Promise before it ends.  It is a covenant of terrific theatre with a twist you will never forget.   

Photos:  Niall Walker