Dostoevsky in 90 minutes or less…..
April 28, 2011

Murder, murder!!

I don’t know if you ever read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous 500 plus page novel Crime and Punishment…I never did. It is basically a murder story(a double murder of two women and a very gruesome one at that)…set in St. Peter’sburg, Russia. Put it in present day New York and it would make a fantastic Law and Order…with some fantastic twists about what is right and what is wrong. It’s not always simple.

But the play at Center Stage-more info here has taken this very long, complex novel, and shrink-wrapped  it into a tight, 90 minute, one act play(you know how I love plays with no intermission). Dostoevesky in 90 minutes? I’m all in. Director Jason Leowith calls it a struggle for the human soul, in which the detective who is trying to solve the murders meets and becomes interested with an extremely smart young man…”Something about him fascinates  the detective, so he casts aside the leads he’s already go to follow his hunch….and of course, he solves the crime“.

And it is a mesmerizing 90 minutes you spend with Sonia and Raskolnikov and won’t soon forget them. Here’s a thought… “If he has a conscience he will suffer for his mistake. That will be punishment-as well as the prison.” True, or not?  Crime and Punishment is at Center Stage through May 15th….don’t miss it.

February 5, 2009

She wont need those Jimmy Choos anymore...

She won't need those Jimmy Choo's anymore...

Ever heard of a fabulation? Me either…..but a fabulation is a fable that reveals some moral truth…that “chronicles a journey in which the expected is expected”. And Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine, now playing at Center Stage, is journey that many Americans are already on themselves, one they did not foresee. I doubt author Lynn Nottage could have foreseen the meltdown of the economy when this play was commissioned in 2003, and the much traveled road of downward mobility that many are experiencing today when she wrote Fabulation, but wow, does it hit the mark in 2009.

Undine is a strong, extremely successful African American woman who has disowned her lower working class family from Brooklyn…changed her name, hasn’t seen them in years, and doesn’t want to. It is only a fall from grace and her big bank account that puts her on a path where she has no other choice but than return to them. Funny, profane (I hope the f-bomb doesn’t bother you), and with a fabulous cast and staging….you really get your money’s worth  from this play. Great and inventive staging….I just loved it…and watch for actress Lizan Mitchell who plays the a junkie Grandma and an inmate in jail….hilarious…and touching. She has the sad little spidery movements of someone elderly, nailed.

Tickets start at $15….weeknights anyway, and while that is more than a movie….it is money well spent.

And if you’re looking for an inexpensive, good place to grab a bite to eat beforehand…well, home is cheapest, but if you’re going out….you can try Iggie’s Pizza, just up Calvert Street. My favorite pizza  is the Alice…pesto, goat cheese and fresh tomatoes…omigod it’s soooo good. They have a great spinach salad too, and Mac and cheese…and the place is byob. Big moneysaver. Iggie’s is pretty much self service…no tipping, but they have a jar where money is donated to the charity of the month…this month it’s  CASA…a group that protects children who are not safe living with their families.

Fabulous Fabulation and fabulous pizza….what’s not to like?

Ray Lewis and the Grinch….
November 14, 2008

I took this picture BEFORE the announcement about no pictures...really.

I took this picture BEFORE the announcement about no pictures...really.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas holds special memories for me. We have a dog-earred copy of that wonderful tale, and when my kids were little, it was brought out faithfully for their Dad to read to them every Christmas….he does wonderful voices, and really is a great grinch….in a good way.  So when I heard that the book, after becoming a movie(which I never saw) was now a Broadway play and in town…count me in, baby!  Waltzed down to the Hippodrome last night for the opening night…it’s the begining of the Broadway Show’s national tour….and let me just say right up front…I loved it. More on that later….but the show began with a surprise…it was past curtain time at 8 PM…and there were restless kids in the audience, and I’m thinking…”what’s the holdup? A rip in the Grinch suite? Cindy Lou Who having wig trouble…I got here on time, let’s start!!?” But then “who”(sorry) whould come on stage but the great Ray Lewis?

Ray-ray on stage!!

Ray-ray on stage!!

I know you can’t see in my picture, but take my word for it. It was Ray, surrounded by about 10 cute kids….who gathered at his feet, while be began reading  Dr. Seuss’ Christmas favorite. He just read the beginning of the story, and while he didn’t do any special voices (which the story really calls for Ray), he did fine….and on with the show.

Kids in the audience were mesmerized, beautiful colors, great songs…could it get better? Yes it does!! Saints be praised, hallelujah…..this play is 90 minutes long with NO INTERMISSION. I have a thing about intermissions. I hate them. So 1955, big time-waster, I’ve said it before….away with intermissions. Banish them forever. So last night, as is befitting a family performance, people were leaving at 9:30. Love it. And there are four performances on Saturdays, three on Sundays….so if you can afford it, it is a great holiday treat for your kids(tickets range from $25-$65 fyi, depending on location). And if the tickets don’t fit the budget, and hey, they may not this year….get a copy of Dr. Seuss’ book…get your Grinch voice going, oh, and one for Cindy Lou Who, who was no more than twoWHO was fabulous last night…what a voice in such a tiny body!!