Under My Skin Provides A Healthy Dose of Laughter

I don’t think there is a person alive that hasn’t heard the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  As for myself, I prefer “Laughter is the best medicine.”  Laughter may not have the ability to cure all ailments, but it definitely heals the soul.  And a prescription filled with laughs is what the members of the audience at The Little Shubert Theatre will receive when they view Under My Skin. 

6.200106Taking cues from Switch, Big and Freaky Friday, Under My Skin adds a whole new chapter to the old body exchange tale. So here’s the story… Mr.  Harrison Badish III is the CEO of Amalgamated Healthcare, the nation’s leading healthcare provider.  He’s a cold, shrewd business man who cares more about making money for the company than making a difference or knowing his employees, one of whom is Melody Dent.  Melody is a single mom from Staten Island who works part-time at Amalgamated with her best friend Nanette.  Both she and Nanette had a problem being seen by Badish until one fateful day when a cup of coffee sets off a chain of events that leads to Melody and Harrison coming face to face with an angel.  The angel, compassionate to their pleas, decides to bring them back to life, but there is a catch, their souls are placed into the wrong bodies.   And while the pair waits for the angel to switch them back, they discover what life is really like for each other and learn more about the trials and tribulations of the opposite sex. By the time Melody and Harrison are themselves again, they realize they can’t live without each other.

6.200111Cheeky and chock full of humor, Under My Skin lodges itself directly into the marrow of the audience’s funny bone.  Husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser harmoniously weave comedy and social commentary with this production.  The good ole “make ‘em laugh” approach is a tried and true method of slipping in points of view that require introspection.   Along with adding new layers to the age old battle of the sexes debate, they also weigh in on the state of healthcare, or lack thereof, in our nation and how it affects the everyday, working American.

6.200112The neon lights of Broadway do burn bright. But sometimes they shine even brighter Off-Broadway. Under My Skin is one of the most dynamic shows I’ve seen in a while.  If you find yourself on 42nd Street, take a walk down to The Little Shubert Theatre for an thoroughly enjoyable 90-minute laugh-fest.

Photos: Joan Marcus

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Under My Skin Ticket Giveaway

That’s right FAMERS, it’s contest time!

F.A.M.E NYC is giving away a pair of tickets for Under My Skin, the new comedy in previews at The Little Shubert Theatre.  This production takes the battle of the sexes to new heights.  And one of you FAMERS could be the lucky winner if you can answer this question…

What iconic blue-eyed singer from Hoboken N.J. recorded a rendition of “I’ve Got You under My Skin?”

 The winner will be announced on Good Friday at 5 p.m.

Happy spring and good luck!

Under My Skin Is On Stage at The Little Shubert Theatre

They say, and John Gray Ph.D. wrote, men are from Mars and women are from Venus.  But how do we know that for sure unless we are willing to take a visit to each other’s planet, or to borrow another famous idiom, “walk a mile in someone shoes” or stilettos.

Husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser add another chapter to this ongoing debate with Under My Skin.  Sternin and Fraser are no strangers to the subject of the male/female relationship conundrum with shows like “Three’s Company” and “Who’s The Boss?” under their belts; Under My Skin takes that enigma and turns it into an out-of-body experience.

The prescription for this new comedy involves a CEO of America’s leading healthcare provider, a single mom from Staten Island and one big outrageous twist of fate.  Under My Skin is directed by Kristen Sanderson and stars Kerry Butler and Matt Walton.  Under My Skin began previews at The Little Shubert Theatre, located at 422 West 42nd Street, on April 5 and is scheduled to open on May 15. FAMERS be on the lookout for a ticket giveaway coming soon!

To learn more about the play click, www.undermyskintheplay.com.  Or click below to meet the cast!

 

Photo and video courtesy of Serino Coyne

LOL! Ticket Giveaway

With the way this economy is going, we could all use some laughter. Wouldn’t you say? 

F.A.M.E NYC can supply you with two tickets for a night of laughter with Old Jews Telling Jokes if you can tell me, who was the New York comedian that insisted that he got “No Respect”.

Comment as much as you like.  Every comment increases your chances of winning. 

Contest ends on October 5th at midnight.  This is a quickie giveaway, so act fast!

GOOD LUCK FAMERS!  I JUST LOVE A QUICKIE…DON’T YOU?

Tickets courtesy of Serino Coyne.  To learn more about Serino Coyne visit, http://www.serinocoyne.com/.

To learn more about Old Jews Telling Jokes visit, http://oldjewstellingjokesonstage.com/.

Gefilte What…Gefilte Who?

Hey FAMERS, how many of you have know what Gefilte Fish is?  If you don’t, don’t feel bad, seems most visitors in Times Square don’t know either.

Do you guys remember me telling you about a hilarious new Off-Broadway comedy titled Old Jew Telling Jokes?  Well, if you don’t this video below well serve as a reminder of some of the zaniness that is offered up on stage during the show.  Recently, OJTJ cast member Audrey Lynn Weston took to Times Square to test people’s knowledge about the delicacy and the responses are funny as H-E-Double hockey sticks!

Old Jew Telling Jokes is billed as the comedy that will make you laugh until you plotz, and I guarantee you will.   If you think that clip is funny, then you need to get yourself down to The Westside Theatre and get your laugh on. 

But if you keep checking out F.A.M.E NYC, you might just win some tickets for Old Jews Telling Jokes.

To learn more about Old Jews Telling Jokes, visit www.OJTJOnStage.com or check them out on Facebook, Facebook.com/OldJewsTellingJokesOnStage.

Video courtesy of Serino Coyne

A Celebration of Chinglish

Life is filled with episodes of hilarious miscommunication, none of which are more comical than those that occur in the boardroom and bedroom.  Unfortunately when these real life scenarios transpire, the people involved do not have the brilliance of playwright David Henry Hwang to create side-splitting prose and provide subtitles for what is actually going on.  Fortunately for theatergoers, Hwang did exactly that with Chinglish – the best comedy to hit Broadway in an extremely long time. 

Chinglish explores the idea of being lost in translation through the eyes of businessman Daniel Cavanaugh, a ne’er do well entrepreneur running his family’s flailing signage company (and did I mentioned he worked for Enron).  He travels to a modest province in China with the hopes of acquiring a few contracts that would significantly revive his business and life.  But he soon learns that it is not only the language of Chinglish that is convoluted.  Chinglish commonly refers to mash-up of spoken and written English language that is interpreted from Chinese, often times very badly.  It is best exemplified in signs that grossly misconstrue Chinese symbols with English transcription.  During the course of his stay, Daniel realizes that like Chinglish, one thing often times means something else when it comes to navigating business and love in China.  But alls well that ends well, through a series of missteps Daniel learns about himself as well as how to maintain relationships, both professionally and personally.

Daniel’s initial journey in China is a comedy of errors, but this play is a comedy of triumphs!  Chinglish is spectacular – it is innovative, proactive, sophisticated and extremely entertaining.  The set design is as titillating as the play itself.  Reminiscent of a Rubik’s Cube, the set is an ever-changing moving background, constantly folding out of itself, creating awesome synchronicity with the events happening on stage.  The actors, the majority of whom are making their debut on the Great White Way, have the serendipitous fortune of using the wonderful script of David Hwang as a vehicle to introduce themselves to a Broadway stage.   Gary Wilmes, who plays Daniel Cavanaugh, excels at displaying American arrogance and naiveté when dealing with individuals from different cultures.  Jennifer Lim, who plays Xi Yan, is captivating; even when she is speaking in Chinese the audience will have a hard time looking away.  The most riotous lines are delivered by Stephen Pucci and Larry Lei Zhang who portray Peter Timms, the British teacher trying to pass as a consultant, and Minister Cai Guoliang, the quirky politician who is in charge of approving Cavanaugh’s proposal.

Although Chinglish is about miscommunication, it is right on time.   This play is primed for this millennium.  It transcends the themes explored on stage and becomes a microcosm for the current state of affairs between the US and China – two entities desperately trying to figure the other out, each step toward each other taken with great trepidation.  When discussing her initial reaction to the concept of Chinglish, director Leigh Silverman states, “It sounded like the most relevant, important play.”  David Henry Hwang describes the system of Chinglish to be a phenomenon; well I say Chinglish the play is a phenomenon also.  During a recent blogger meet and greet with Silverman and Hwang courtesy of Broadway’s Best Shows, Hwang admits, “The first time we had it read it was a lot of laughter and I realized that I written a comedy.”  And through laughter, the audience discovers that human nature is the same, no matter which continent one hails from.   Do not “Slip down and fall carefully,” do not gamble on missing this show, run to the Longacre Theatre and get tickets for this play.  Chinglish is a winner.  I smell another Tony win on the horizon for David Hwang.

 

Photos: Michael McCabe

Video courtesy of Broadway’s Best Shows

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

A Freestyle Thing

In the 90’s freestyling, an improvisational form of rapping in which lyrics are produced off-the-top-of-the-head, was the test to prove a rapper’s true MCing prowess.   With an accompaniment of a beat box, track or simply acapella, rappers proved why this burgeoning form of music was truly an art.  In the theatre, the art of improvisation is nothing new; improvised performing can be traced back as far back as the 16th centuries across Europe.  Modern improv is generally accredited to Viola Spolin, widely considered to be the grandmother of improvisational theatre and falls into two groupings, shortform and longform.

Fusing the best of shortform (short scenes initiated by an audience suggestion) and longform (a production in which short scenes are connected by the story and characters), Baby Wants Candy is an autoschediastical klatsch of epic proportions.  A cast of rotating players breaks the fourth wall (generally a standard in live theatre) and asks the audience for a title to a production that has never been seen.  Once one is shouted out, the actors and a live band construct a side-splitting musical that is guaranteed to be one of the blithest 60-minutes one will ever spend in a theatre.  Baby Wants Candy offers an once-in-a-lifetime theatre experience; the scenes, dialogue and musical numbers are only displayed for that performance.  If you missed it, then you missed it.  But the silver lining is there is always an innovative, clever, inspiring musical on the horizon just waiting for the audience to name it.  Baby Wants Candy is an unforgettable display of the human imagination.

Like hip hop, jazz is another musical genre that welcomes improvisation.  A group of players on stage make an offer, inviting us to come on an aural journey of pop-up riffs and harmonious ad-libs. It is an offer most times the audience can not refuse.  In improvisational theatre, an offer, which refers to an actor defining a scene, is also made.  Once an offer is accepted, another actor will initiate a new offer and so on creating a spontaneous house of cards.  Improvisers call this “Yes, And…”  While watching artisans on stage, I also have a sort of “Yes, And…” experience.  Generally it happens when something is lacking in the performance, but with this troupe of zany entertainers, I did not say, “Yes, and…,” I screamed, “Woohoo!”  On the way home I had to convince myself that the audience member that provided the title was not a mole, which I believe is the greatest testimony to the cast’s mastery of their art.  Baby Wants Candy makes me crave improv. 

Baby Wants Candy will be performing Saturday evenings at the SoHo Playhouse, located on 15 Vandam Street, until February 26.  To learn more about Baby Wants Candy, click www.babywantscandy.com.

Cast photo and logo courtesy of Noreen Heron & Associates, Inc.