The New York Fringe Fest: Cocaine-Snorting Juliet Meets Japanese Electra

Categories: The Arts, Theater

Thumbnail image for Dreamplay1w_VesethRSieu(2).jpg
Veseth R. Sieu
Would Strindberg like big sun hats? Amanda Weiss in Dreamplay
We stepped back into this year's New York International Fringe Festival, which continues through Sunday. Below, some highlights and lowlights of a recent batch of theater-going.

Revision of a Classic
Highlights: Butoh Electra; Dreamplay
In Butoh Electra, Jordin Rosin reimagines Sophocles' tragedy: Mycenae becomes feudal Japan, the chorus an ensemble of Butoh dancers, and Electra dons a variation of hakama pants. Rosin's successful synthesis of classical Greek and Japanese traditions enriches the myth at the piece's core, as do commanding, physically impressive performances from the Ume Group.

Joseph Thierren's Dreamplay, an adaptation of August Strindberg's dizzying masterpiece A Dream Play, focuses the original's abstract, surrealist elements by combining masks and puppetry with the talents of seasoned performers and Suzuki movement. The result is compelling, if grotesque: Dreamplay is nightmarish in the best way possible.

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New Yorkers Still Want to See Wicked

Even after eight years, Wicked is still popular. (Sorry about that, we just had to.) HopStop calculated the top 10 Broadway shows New Yorkers have been going to see this summer, based on what theaters were most frequently inserted as HopStop destinations or starting addresses between the dates of May 23 through July 17. The long-running, Glee-covered, teenage girl-idolized Wicked came out on top.

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Michael Greif, Director, and Angela Wendt, Costume Designer, Revisit Rent

Joan Marcus
Since 1996, the musical Rent has entered the musical theater pantheon, won a Pulitzer, and been praised, parodied, and panned (when it made its way to the screen). Now, three years after the show closed its Broadway run after 12 years in 2008, a revival is in previews at New World Stages off-Broadway, and is set to open August 11.

Surely, you know the story. Rent is the work of rising talent Jonathan Larson, who died suddenly just before its off-Broadway opening; the show is about a group of friends in the East Village, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS.

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Same-Sex Couples Marry Onstage at Hair

Esther Zuckerman
John Raymond Barker and Jared Pike face Colman Domingo.
This week, theater usher Jared Pike will work at the production of Hair, which is playing on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on 44th Street. Monday night, however, he kissed his husband, John Raymond Barker, on that stage, surrounded by the show's fringe-clad tribe, as a packed house watched and applauded.

Pike and Barker were pronounced married, along with two other couples, by actor Colman Domingo in a brief ceremony in between the play's curtain call and the dance party with the audience that occurs onstage after every performance.

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Mike Bodge, NSKYC Creator, Talks New York City Weather, Food and Crushes

Mike Bodge
Yesterday we let you know about a neat new website called NSKYC that tells you what the average color of the sky in New York is every five minutes. The site, which launched on the solstice Tuesday, was created by Mike Bodge, the creative director at Lolz LLC, whose work includes a number of New York City-inspired web projects. Trying to find that person you fell in love with on the subway? Bodge has you covered. Same goes if you're looking or a place to eat in Williamsburg. We chatted with Bodge this morning about his creations.

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NSKYC Website Tells You Color Of Sky (It's Pretty Dismal Now)

Are you feeling a little gray today? Well, you have a right to be, because that is the average color of the city's sky right now, according to website NSKYC. The site updates every five minutes; we took the above screenshot at 11:55 a.m. NSKYC was created by Mike Bodge , who is also behind public transportation missed-connections site Subway Crush. Please, get blue soon, sky. [Gothamist]

Pop-Up Piano Comes to Astor Place

Esther Zuckerman
On Astor Place, next to the Mud Coffee truck and across from the 6 train, it can be sometimes hard to hear the person next to you. But artist Jennie Booth wants you to "try to be an ear." That's the title of the piano Booth painted in swirling blues purples and greens, which was installed today in that very spot this afternoon as part of Sing for Hope's Pop-Up Pianos project.

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Spider-Man the Musical Gets Spoofed by Sesame Street

You know, we might actually go see this show if it were performed entirely by a cast of muppets. Maybe.

2011 OBIES Theater Award Winners: The Complete List


This just in. . .

René Buch and Repertorio Español

Kristoffer Diaz, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
(includes $1,000 prize)

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Snooki Appearance Controversial Among Everyone Except Toni Morrison

Boy, are parents mad about Snooki's recent appearance at Rutgers. Both about the concept of it, and the cost (almost $10,000 more than they pay in yearly tuition). And everyone else is freaked out by the fact that Shnickers was paid $2,000 more than what Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison is being given to speak at commencement. You know who remains totally nonplussed? Morrison herself. When you're the person who wrote Beloved and Sula, you've really got bigger things to worry about. More »