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Saturday
Aug192017

SUMMER'S OVER - WE'RE BACK BABY

BY MATEO MORENO

WEEEEEEEE ARRRRRE BACK!

After taking a summer break, THE ARTSWIRE WEEKLY is back starting THIS SUNDAY, AUGUST 20th with reviews, postings about movies, theatre, and comics. There will be check-in's with television and streaming shows (wanna know our opinions on THE DEFENDERS? Information on our upcoming Podcast this fall? It's coming!) and even more!

 

Check out the new content debuting this Sunday night! Thanks for making us one of your Entertainment resources. We know that you have a lot of options and we are very grateful that you include us in those options. See you Sunday Night (editors note: It is perfectly fine to check us out AFTER GAME OF THRONES. Hell, WE will check us out after GAME OF THRONES).

 

Love, Mateo and the crew at THE ARTSWIRE WEEKLY

Friday
May272016

BEHIND THE CURTAIN // A DEEPER LOOK INTO "AN UNSEEN VISITOR"

BY DEREK JORDEN

The Athena Theatre Company has been crafting great theatre for more than a decade. This past January, a group of ten playwrights were chosen by the company as the playwriting group “Athena Writes” and got started on each crafting ten-minute pieces. The results were presented on May 17th at Symphony Space in the Upper West Side, where a sold out, packed audience were able to see what they came up with.

Nora Sørena Casey, Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, Sari Caine, Veronica Cooper, Alex Hersler, Mateo Moreno, Lia Romeo, Kenzie Ross, Marianna Staroselsky, and Xavier Toby each debuted a short work at Symphony Space on Tuesday night, all based on a common theme: AN UNSEEN VISITOR (also the name of the evening). It was apparent watching these that Athena Theatre excels in their mission to create “contemporary, off-beat and irreverent psychological dramas and dark comedies that challenge traditional stereotypes.”

One standout was Hersler’s ACI which chronicles a dispute between an artist (Tyler Jakes) passionate about his work, and his agent (Lana Young) who has started taking on new and philosophically controversial clients. Artificial Creative Intelligence may already be upon us (there’s already free apps on your phone that basically create art), but Hersler did a stellar job giving a voice to both sides of the debate while Jakes fiercely and Young--with a palpable ambivalence--gave it life.

Lia Romeo’s “Unseen Visitor” brought together an unseen raven flying on our side of the fourth wall and the fear and doubt that sinks into any relationship in her contribution to the night SIGNS. Tom and Kerry are out for a picnic. Sounds lovely. But the couple (well played by Veronique Ory and Perri Yaniv) are plagued by Tom’s ongoing sad obsession with superstition. Simple natural realities and sophisticated coincidences give her an insight that makes her go the other way. Of note here, while we got to see Ory as a sweet girl turn Jersey strong in SIGNS she was equally good as an oddball waitress in PAPER AIRPLANES by Mateo Moreno. The words that came out of Ory’s bizarre but well-meaning waitress made me even me feel like a normal fella.

What drew some of the biggest laughs of the night was Veronica Cooper’s THE BRIGHT SIDE OF KEURIG. Joanie Anderson was on stage alone for this one...or was she? Turns out An Unseen Visitor can lead to existential questions and Anderson does the best job I’ve ever seen at arguing with a coffee maker. And we’ve all seen someone doing exactly that.

Athena Theatre Company and more specifically this Athena Writes Project put a great night together this week. Rumor has it one of these pieces may get the greenlight to become a full-length play, and the group of budding playwrights might work together to make it so. I’ll be a visible visitor that night and can’t wait to see what this talented group comes up with next.

Photos by Nestor Correa.

"ATHENA WRITES 2016" is made up of ten selected  playwright/actors assembled for a one-year exploration of the theme: “An Unseen Visitor,” and is centered on Athena Theatre’s commitment to supporting new work which pushes at the boundaries of live theatre. The Athena Theatre Playwright Group of 2016 is:

Nora Sørena Casey (Athena Theatre Playwright-in-Residence), Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich, Sari Caine, Veronica Cooper, Alex Hersler, Mateo Moreno, Lia Romeo, Kenzie Ross, Marianna Staroselsky and Xavier Toby. For more information about "Athena Writes" and Athena Theatre please visit: http://www.athenatheatre.com/

 

DEREK JORDEN is an actor currently living and working in New York City. He, his wife, their new little one and their dog all live on a Spaceship on the top of a building, which makes for some interesting dinner parties.

Monday
May022016

THE ARTSWIRE WEEKLY PICK THE TONY NOMINEES!

BY MATEO MORENO BY RICKY JONES

It's Tony Nomination Time Again! Here at The ArtsWire Weekly, Ricky and I love to see if we can guess the winners (or push forth positive vibes for our favorites)! Because there are soooo many alternate choices, we've narrowed down our predictions to Best Musical, Play, Director, Choreography, & Actor/Actress. The supporting through lighting design will be in our Tony Win article next month. Now, without further ado...

BEST MUSICAL

Hamilton

Shuffle Along

Waitress

School of Rock

Wild Card: I think American Psycho could possibly nab either a fifth slot or the School of Rock slot. Ricky however, thinks Psycho is a lock for spot number four and his wild card is Waitress.

 


BEST PLAY

The Humans

Eclipsed

King Charles III

**We are split between the fourth nominee. Ricky thinks it'll be the newest adaptation of Therese Raquin whereas I think it'll be MTC's The Father (I'm right).

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL

Fiddler On The Roof

The Color Purple

She Loves Me

Spring Awakening

**There's a weird rule that may affect this catagory this year. It states that "Where there are five or fewer eligible shows in a Best show catagory, at the Tony Nominating Meeting, the Nominating Committee will be instructed to cast one vote each for the three eligible shows as nominees on his/her secret ballot. The three eligible shows with the highest number of votes will automatically be designated as the nominees in such catagory. A fourth nominee shall be added to the catagory in the event that the Accounting Firm determines that the difference in votes between the third highest-ranked show and the fourth highest-ranked show is three votes or less." MEANING, we sadly may only see three noninated shows this year since there are only 5 possible nominees total. I hope this isn't the case. If it is, I think it'll be a battle between Spring & She Loves Me.

BEST PLAY REVIVIAL

A View From The Bridge

Long Day's Journey Into Night

Noises Off

**Here is where Ricky and I split. For the fourth nominee, Ricky is going with The Crucible where I am leaning towards Blackbird. To be fair, Blackbird is Ricky's Wild card choice and The Crucible is mine.

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Danny Burstein, Fiddler On The Roof

Benjamin Walker, American Psycho

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Ricky: Alex Brightman, School of Rock

Mateo: Zachary Levi, She Loves Me

Leslie Odom Jr, Hamilton

**We both agree on this list for Best Actor. This we feel is a pretty locked down one.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day's Journey Into Night

Jeff Daniels, Blackbird

Mark Strong, A View From the Bridge

Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III

Ricky: Ben Whishaw, The Crucible

Mateo: Frank Langella, The Father

**There's NO WAY Frank is not getting a nod here. Sorry Ricky.

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Ricky: Audra McDonald, Shuffle Along

Mateo: Carmen Cusack, Bright Star

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Jessie Mueller, Waitress

Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me

**This is a strong category, though I think the always amazing Audra will get switched out for the wonderful Broadway debut of Carmen Cusack for Bright Star.

 


BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Mateo: Michelle Williams, Blackbird 

Ricky: Jessica Lange, Long Day's Journey Into Night

Lupita Nyong'o, Eclipsed

Annaleigh Ashford, Sylvia

Mateo: Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible 

Ricky: Nicola Walker, A View From the Bridge

Mateo: Laurie Metcalf, Misery 

Ricky: Kiera Knightly, Therese Raquin

**A bit of a difference here, though I personally think the fifth slot may not be either of these and a completely different surprise.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

Rupert Goold, American Psycho

George C Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening

**Here's your probably  directors list. Though I'm on the fence with Rupert Goold. Scott Ellis may sneak in with She Loves Me.

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY

Joe Mantello, The Humans

Ivo van Hove, View From the Bridge

Rupert Goold, King Charles III

Jonathan Kent, Long Day's Journey Into Night

**We both The only spoiler may be Jonathan Kent being snubbed for Ivo van Hove getting two noms, the other for The Crucible. Thought that's a VERY small chance.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Savion Glover, Shuffle Along

Ricky: Casey Nicholaw, Tuck Everlasting

Mateo: Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof

Spencer Liff, Spring Awakening

**In my book, expect Casey's good luck to run out this year in favor of the first new choreography allowed in a Broadway production of Fiddler.