Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

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Review of 2009 NYC Fringe Festival Events

August 27, 2009

New York City’s Annual Fringe Festival is a chance for artists to come together to showcase what they have been working on to friends, family, industry and theater fans. I attended two shows at the Connelly Theater on the East Side at this year’s festival to see if there was anything out there that our school groups might enjoy seeing in future seasons and I was pleasantly surprised. The first show, Sinking Ship Production’s Powerhouse, is the story of composer Raymond Scott and his passion in discovering new ways to create music. Actually, the entire play leads up to his invention of “The Electronium” (a machine that produced sounds and melodies randomly so you could always listen to something new). The show, which naturally incorporated a lot of Scott’s own music along with other sounds of the time, was well done and well acted with some very amusing puppets acting out the cartoons that Scott had composed for (even though sometimes I wasn’t really sure what the puppets were doing). It was touching and I laughed, but I don’t think school groups would be too interested in seeing this show with slightly more adult themes.

Later that day I got to see a great musical version of the Edgar Allan Poe classic, The Fall of the House of Usher from the Woodberry Forest School. When I decided to go see it, I thought, as I’m sure many high schoolers think, that Poe is going to be dark and depressing and kind of boring. I was pleasantly surprised. The music covered several different genres and added a definite tone to the show that helped the audience get into the mindset of the original poet who wrote over 200 years ago. I was impressed with the acting and how passionate they were in their roles and how exciting it was compared to other Poe works, such as “The Raven”. I thought this version is one that high schoolers could very much enjoy if they don’t think so much that they are “learning.”

All in all, I think it was a pretty successful first outing at the Fringe Festival. I enjoyed both shows and got to see what people in the industry were doing. The Festival only runs until August 30th, but I’m already looking forward to next year.

–Jenn Cunha, Education

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube.

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Don’t Stop Believin’ on the Great White Way

July 22, 2009

A guest blog by Marketing & PR Intern Jessica Quinlan

On a recent trip to New York City, I saw the new 80s musical, Rock of Ages. It proved to be an enjoyable and unique experience right from the get go. The theater was packed with a young crowd who grew up in the 70s and 80s – some still clad in their favorite leather jackets and vintage band T-shirts. Before and during the show, the wait staff scurried about the theater selling a variety of beverages to give it that real concert feel. From the moment the curtain rose to the tune of Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” to its close with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” the music, vocals, and special effects were quite impressive.

The fist pumping audience gave the show an energy and atmosphere in itself. The musical’s dialogue and plot were creative in the fact that they managed to tie the lyrics of many popular unrelated 80s bands together into a story of its own. Laughter often erupted minutes before the next song, simply because the dialogue easily predicted the plot and set list to such 80s fans. (For example, when dialogue started with “I can’t fight this feeling any longer” and broke out into REO Speedwagon’s power ballad.)

Set in 1987 California the plot did have some historical basis but this was easily overshadowed by the vivacious personalities of the show’s comedic and loveable characters. Many times throughout the show the cast urged the entire audience to their feet by singing and dancing in the aisles. I found that it didn’t take much to compel this crowd to belt out their favorite songs and relive their “glory days.”

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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VP for Education, ISO Great School and Family Performances for State Theatre Audiences

January 15, 2009

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting work to present for our school and community audiences, and theater conferences are a great way to see a lot of performances in a short time. This past week my staff and I went into NYC to check out a few of the hundreds of performances being showcased during the mother-of-all-booking-conferences, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) 

Attending theater showcases is a lot like the dating scene: you have to sort through a lot of mediocre, annoying, incomprehensible, inappropriate, and just plain stupid options before you find one that’s right for you. This year’s APAP conference was no exception. We were pleasantly intrigued by a couple of shows that were part of the Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater. Both incorporated performance poetry to illuminate powerful personal stories about class, race, identity, and culture. The quality of both productions was great—original, well-written, and movingly performed. Due to some of the language and subject matter, we’re not sure whether these pieces would be considered appropriate for school audiences. We’ll need to look into whether the artists would be willing to do some editing. 

As anticipated, we found ourselves sitting through some showcases that weren’t quite so successful. A couple of these showed promise, but will need a lot more polish before they’re ready for the State Theatre. We’ll be keeping an eye on them as they go through their development. Then there was another show that we all agreed was perhaps the longest hour we’ve ever spent inside a theater. (No, I’m not going to tell you what it was.)  

I will be flying off to Cleveland next week to attend my favorite conference: IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth), which specializes in programs for school and family audiences. As the name implies, the conference showcases performers from all over the world. Since the productions are required to go through a screening process in order to be selected for a showcase performance, the quality tends to be pretty high. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

 —Lian Farrer, Vice President for Education

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/.
Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.