Monthly Archives: November 2013



(via Tom McCormack)

"EXPECTING" (formerly "Gus"), the feature film playwright Jessie McCormack wrote/directed/produced, is now available nationwide on VOD and various digital platforms (see info below). Although the film will have foreign distribution, renting digitally is currently the best way to see the movie.

If you live in the LOS ANGELES AREA OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO DOES, the movie will be opening at the Laemmle Music Hall theater in Beverly Hills on DECEMBER 6th.

“This is a very small, independent film and we really need your support!! Please help spread the word!! Thank you, kindly.” – Jessie McCormack

Info: Cable VOD means the film is available to rent via download through your cable or satellite provider. Each provider has a slightly different channel/interface, but in each instance there’s a dedicated channel on your TV for “Movies On Demand” where a mix of studio and independent titles are sortable alphabetically, by genre, and in our case in a branded “Tribeca Film” folder that really helps our content stand out from the pack. In many cases there’s actually a button on your remote that takes you directly to the On Demand channel.

How to see it DIGITALLY:

Digitally, the film will be available on iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, Vudu and Google Play/Youtube Rentals. Each of these platforms basically function just like cable VOD, but you don’t need a cable subscription to access them – anyone with an internet connection can sign in and stream them or download a 48-hour rental file.

“EXPECTING” will eventually be available to rent on NETFLIX (but please don't wait that long!)





Venue: St. Ann's Warehouse

A new show by the British monologuist Daniel Kitson. In previews. Opens Dec. 4.


Event: Beautiful—The Carole King Musical

Venue: Stephen Sondheim Theatre

This new Broadway musical follows the rise of Carole King, from her life growing up in Brooklyn to her career as a writer of hit pop songs. With songs by King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil and a book by Douglas McGrath. Jessie Mueller stars; Marc Bruni directs. In previews.


Event: Chéri

Venue: Signature Theater Company

Signature Theatre presents a new theatre-dance work by Martha Clarke, inspired by the 1920 novella by Colette. Featuring the ballet dancers Herman Cornejo and Alessandra Ferri, with text by Tina Howe. In previews. Opens Dec. 8.


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For students of all ages: The prophecy, murder, betrayal, genocide and revenge of Shakespeare's Macbeth.

Listen at:\


(Feingold’s article appeared on Theatermania, 11/15.)

"I have learned," says an elderly character in one of Shaw's less familiar plays, "not to expect too much from life. That way I am always getting pleasant surprises instead of desolating disappointments." Long ago, I adopted this little maxim as the best guideline for theatergoing, and it has held up handsomely over the decades. So it was in my mind this past month when I went to sit on a panel that was to discuss, before an audience of would-be commercial producers, what makes a good play.

At least I thought that was to be the topic. When we began, however, the moderators announced it as, "What makes a successful production?" I groaned inwardly, but my Shavian guideline preserved my equanimity: What, after all, could I have expected would-be commercial producers to think a good play was, if not a successful production? A good play should be a successful play, right? And a successful play always gets a successful production, doesn't it? The distinctions involved were tricky to explain in this context — these were not folk who would put much credence in Henry James' claim that "There was something a failure was, which a success somehow ineffably wasn't." Understandably, neither I nor the other panelists — all smart, articulate people — made much effort to clarify the matter.



(Emine Saner’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/12.)

Kathryn Smith, director of operations at the Alzheimer's Society, visited a singing group in Wales run by the charity as part of its Singing for the Brain programme. One woman with Alzheimer's would sit in silence, smiling occasionally. Nobody had ever heard her speak. But when the group started a song in Welsh,suddenly this lady started singing.

"Memories are hard to retrieve," says Smith, "but music can help. If they hear a song from their childhood or youth, that might remind them. Perhaps this lady felt able to communicate because her first language was Welsh. She might have been struggling to remember how to communicate in English."

Smith says she isn't surprised by the results of a new study on the benefits of singing for people with Alzheimer's, recently presented at the Society for Neuroscience conference in the US. American academic Linda Maguire studied 45 people between the ages of 70 and 99 at a US care home over a four-month period. All took part in three singing sessions a week, divided into groups of singers or listeners. Maguire found that the singing group showed improved mental ability.



(The article by Philipp Oehmke and Martin Wolf appeared in Der Spiegel, 11/12.)

There's an Eames chair in Roman Polanski's Paris office near the Champs Elysées. The seat back is broken, but Polanski is attached to the old armchair. He bought it together with Sharon Tate, his second wife, who was murdered in 1969. Tate's slaying is just one of the great calamities in Polanski's life. The first happened during his childhood in the Krakow ghetto, when both of his parents, who were Polish Jews, were sent to a concentration camp. His father survived, but his mother died in Auschwitz.

As a young man, Polanski had difficulty finding his bearings. The third calamity occurred eight years after Tate was killed by followers of the Satanist Charles Manson, when Polanski sexually abused 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in Los Angeles. He was tried in the United States and spent 42 days in prison. But after he had completed his sentence, the judge withdrew from the deal that had been reached by the district attorney and lawyers for Polanski and Geimer, which prompted the director to flee to Europe. He was arrested again in Zürich in 2009. In an interview with SPIEGEL in September, Geimer made it clear that she had forgiven Polanski long ago.



(Katherine Cooper’s article appeared 11/5.)

When I walk through the cement bowels of the Abrons Arts Center and into the rehearsal room where Tina Satter’s House of Dance premiered on October 23rd, it feels like home. I sense an immediate affinity for the ludicrous, absurd, and ridiculous. House of Dance chronicles the emotional and choreographic events of a one hour tap class in a dingy basement. Think: Glitter. Pink. Bandannas. Tap shoes. Hilarious puppet dance breaks abut poignant moments of silence. Operatic music breaks rub up against mundane cellphone vibrations. Actor, Jess Barbagallo whips out the most ridiculous bright pink monster suit you’ve ever seen from a backpack covered in middle-school-esque graffiti and then proclaims with complete sincerity, “I want to look and feel pro and awesome, you know.”

It feels like a queer version of Santa’s workshop.

Members of the cast and crew dart around the room adjusting sound levels, pieces of choreography, and angles of miniature top hats. This basement room houses these students of the ridiculous and Tina Satter is their leader. As I sit down to speak with her it becomes clear that while she is profoundly devoted to stupidness she is also a scholar of form.

It seems fitting that Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth plays in the background of the Williamsburg coffee shop where we sit and talk. Tina wears a neon insignia-ed lid that says “LA.” in rainbow letters. She is small and wired. Her gaze remains focused and unflinching. She often encourages her interlocutor with an affirmative “yeah!” or “riiiiight…” I’m struck by her combination of youthfulness and sagacity. Tina’s eyes twinkle with mischief and she has a laugh like a fat man. She takes play very seriously.


(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/13.)

Jez Butterworth's first play burst on the scene like a fireball in 1995, and it's fascinating to see it revived now in a superlatively acted production by Ian Rickson. Mojo is defiantly urban where the subsequent work is mainly rural. But, like Jerusalem, it is about people who become legends in their own minds and use language to buttress their fragile sense of self. "Out there it's wolves," says a resident of the tacky Soho club, where the action is set in 1958, just as rock'n'roll is becoming big business. But the idea of the club as a safe haven is shattered when its owner, Ezra, refuses to sell his new discovery, Silver Johnny, to a powerful rival, Sam Ross. As a result, Ezra's body is returned to the premises in two dustbins, and the club is placed under siege during a hot summer weekend. What follows is a battle for power between Ezra's sidekick, Mickey, and the late owner's psychotic son, Baby.



(Cameron Woodhead’s article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 11/10.)

From the moment you step into the theatre, it's clear you're in for something special. I don't want to spoil the surprise of Marg Horwell's camp and colourful set design but it's one of her best.

Summertime in the Garden of Eden is a trashy subversion of melodrama in the Civil War South. It is set on a plantation in Georgia, where a former Southern belle returns a decade after running away. Honey Sue Washington (Olympia Bukkakis) saw something she wasn't supposed to see in Big Daddy's greenhouse all those years ago, and during her adventures has piled up secrets of her own.

Meanwhile, her sister Daisy May (Agent Cleave) is engaged to a gallant young officer (or is he?). Machinations and reversals fly as the downtrodden house-slave Mammy looks on.