Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bella's Dream

It's no wonder that Dana Boll wanted to write a play about her grandparents' experiences during the Holocaust. Their story, like so many, is an inspiring and moving one. Bella and Raymond were young newlyweds in 1939 Poland when Bella had a dream in which her uncle told her they had to leave their home. They left the next day (she was pregnant at the time) and started on a six-year journey that included traveling through Siberia and Uzbekistan.

Bella's Dream is playing at Celemente Soto VĂ©lez Cultural and Educational Center through June 30. Boll plays herself and the action switches back and forth from Bella (Lisa Kathryn Hokans) and Raymond's (Jon-Michael Miller) story to Boll's father, Ronny (Bob Angelini), dealing with anti-Semitism in a present-day supermarket. Much of the text was taken from recorded interviews with Bella and Raymond and sometimes we get to hear these recordings. It would have been nice to have a few more of these, though the play is already a little too long and could use some tightening, especially in the second act. Boll also choreographed this "play with dance" and all of the most horrifying moments, such as when a group of women is shot, are told through dance, creating a powerful contrast between the beauty of the movement and the horrible moments being depicted. This play is clearly a labor of love for Boll and that makes it easy for the audience to love with Bella and Raymond as well.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harry Potter in 70 Minutes

Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
Potted Potter, a Harry Potter parody in which all 7 books are performed in 70 minutes, is back at the Little Shubert Theatre for the second summer in a row. Full disclosure: I interviewed the creators and stars, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, last year, and they are nice and have British accents.

The show is exactly what is advertised: each book about the boy wizard is acted out and discussed in about 10 minutes. Turner plays Harry and Clarkson plays all the other characters. Sometimes the show goes off on silly tangents that don't have much to do with the books and Harry Potter fans like myself will find favorite plot points and characters that could have been included instead. But it is clear that Clarkson and Turner are fans themselves, and make some humorous observations (Why did Dumbledore, the greatest wizard who ever lived, go into teaching?). Those less familiar with the books and movies may miss some of the better jokes. But everyone, whether they read the books or not, will be able to enjoy the game of Quidditch. Kudos to Clarkson, Turner, and director Richard Hurst for figuring out how to stage a game of Quidditch that could get the whole audience involved. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Contest: Win Tickets to Forever Tango

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner was picked at random. Congratulations @kyledmorales!

It seems like we're still recovering from last Broadway season, but it's almost time for the 2013-2014 season. First up is a ten-week engagement of Forever Tango at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Performances start July 9. The first guest vocalist will be five-time Grammy Award-winner Gilberto Santa Rosa. The show originally opened on Broadway in 1997 and earned Tony and Drama Desk nominations. I've never seen the show, but tango is one of the sexiest dances there is, and when it's performed well, it's stunning.

I'm giving away a pair of tickets to the show. It's really easy to enter. All you have to do is tweet about the contest or retweet one of my tweets about it to enter. You must be following on Twitter to win. A winner will be chosen at random from all the entries on Wednesday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. Good luck!

If you don't win, you can use the following discount:
Purchase before 6/17/13:
$65 (orchestra & mezzanine, reg $125-$139)
Purchase after 6/17/13:
$75 (orchestra & mezzanine, reg $125-$139)
TELEPHONE: Call (212) 239-6200/(800) 432-7250 and mention code FTGNA603

ONLINE: Visit Telecharge.com and enter code FTGNA603

VISIT: Bring this offer to the Walter Kerr Theater box office (219 West 48th Street); opens Monday, June 17

Restrictions: Blackout dates may apply. All prices include a $2 facility fee. Limit 8 tickets per order. Offer subject to availability and may be revoked or modified at any time.