Category Archives: Events


(Andriy Bondar’s article appeared in the Kiv Post, 12/3; Photo:  Les Kurbas, c. 1908.)

The seeds sown by Les Kurbas on the Ukrainian stage sprouted in the following generations of artists, with great works of theatrical art and bold innovations of modern theater.

Theaters, streets and art centers bear the name of Les Kurbas, books and theses are written about him, his creative system is studied at art schools, and his phenomenon is scrutinized by numerous scholars and experts. A hundred years ago, the young man from western Ukraine, who preferred philosophical books and meditations to noisy pastimes, threw down the gauntlet to the old Ukrainian theater.

Les Kurbas (full name: Oleksandr-Zenon Kurbas), the famous Ukrainian director, philosopher, publicist and teacher, was born on Feb. 25, 1887, in the small town of Sambir, 70 km southwest of Lviv. His parents, who were actors, did their best to give him the finest education they could afford. He was one of the brightest students at the Ternopil gymnasium, and then Lviv University, where he took an active part in the student movement advocating Ukrainianization as opposed to Polonization.

In protest against the university leadership’s policy, he left Lviv for Vienna University, where he studied philosophy and took lectures in Slavistics. He also graduated from a drama school at the Vienna Conservatory.

He started out at several theaters in western Ukraine where he performed as an actor, but after several years he made what he described as a “decisive upshift,” becoming a stage director.

In the fall of 1917, two weeks before the Bolshevik coup, he founded and headed the Young Theater in Kyiv, and in March 1922 the Berezil Theater in Kharkiv. Berezil became a unique, innovative union of likeminded theater enthusiasts, with more than ten labs and workshops, including four in Kyiv. The others worked in Odesa and three towns near Kyiv. He sent his disciples to those labs to stage theatrical performances there. “My choice is Berezil, because it is a tempest, because it is a force, because it is an upheaval from which summer is born,” wrote Kurbas.

Berezil theater, Kharkiv. In 1922-1933, its walls witnessed a grandiose theatrical experiment under the guidance of the legendary reformer of the Ukrainian stage who was later expurgated as a “formalist” and a “political felon.” Here began his last road to the GULAG.

Raised at the threshold of great historical turbulence and transformations, Kurbas filled the stage with the sensation and spirit of his time, its dynamics and pulse. Destroying frozen forms of the old realistic art, he created a theater of revolutionary experiment, a theater that did not mirror life but turned it into a new esthetic reality; a theater of symbols and metaphors, of expression and grotesque; a theater dominated by the spirit of studio work and creative quest; a theater where the actors were masters of any genre – “intelligent harlequins,” as he called them.

Kurbas said, “Theater must be very modern.” He created his own theatrical system and brought up a generation of actors, directors, playwrights and stage designers who became the pride of Ukrainian theater.

Les Taniuk, the renowned Ukrainian stage and film director, member of parliament and public activist and one of the leaders of the People’s Rukh of Ukraine in the 1990s, described Kurbas as “a figure of the Renaissance scale” and a powerful personality: “I would say he was more than just a director. He was a philosopher who modeled a new reality. Kurbas was a trailblazer. When someone says that Kurbas reformed Ukrainian theater, I can’t agree with that. Kurbas didn’t just reform Ukrainian theater. He formed it.”

Cut down by the NKVD in his prime

Kurbas dreamed of elevating the Ukrainian stage up to the world level, but his wings were clipped at takeoff. The irrepressible reformer, who did not fit the canons of socialist realism and went against the grain of Communist policy, was excommunicated from theater. In 1933, he was arrested, charged with “counterrevolutionary and nationalist activities” and thrown into the chasm of Stalin’s concentration camps, where the best sons and daughters of Ukraine were exterminated.

(Read more)


(Arifa Akbar’s article appeared in the Guardian, 12/5; Photo: Sparkling with knowing humour … Pacific Overtures at Menier Chocolate Factory. Photograph: The Stage.) 

Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Co-production with Osaka company brings 1976 study of American imperialism arriving in Japan to subtle, funny life

When Stephen Sondheim’s 1976 musical premiered on Broadway, it was staged in grand kabuki style. By contrast, this Umeda Arts Theater co-production, already mounted in Tokyo and Osaka, goes small – and beautiful.

Directed by Matthew White, the story of four 19th-century American warships that appear on the coast of Japan and open it up to westernising forces is performed straight through in under two hours. A snug traverse stage never looks tight, but is rammed with fast, funny theatricality.

The music is a pleasure, too, and creates an almost physical immersion in such an intimate space, with hammering drums in moments of high drama.

The staging brings great visual wit and wonder, from Ashley Nottingham’s attractive choreography to Paul Farnsworth’s set design. The warships first appear as paper boats held by actors, and later as a giant triangular sheet, alongside curved steel structures that look like expressionist nods to Hokusai’s The Great Wave.

Ayako Maeda’s costumes are variously witty and exquisite, while Paul Pyant’s lighting brings its own delicacy, projecting raindrops and rippling ocean water on to the floorboards.

Some scenes sprint, with instant set changes but without feverishness, while there is a meditative pacing to the songs. Welcome to Kanagawa, in which a madam prepares her geishas for the arriving Americans, averts the reductive cliches of Miss Saigon with its tongue-in-cheek humour. Someone in a Tree, capturing an elderly man’s memory of his younger self, is a delight.

The reciter (Jon Chew, shrewd and agile) looks like he has stepped out of a boyband. The friendship between samurai Kayama (Takuro Ohno), who is drawn towards western culture, and Manjiro (Joaquin Pedro Valdes), who takes the opposite trajectory, has a restrained affection even when the men fall out. The shogun is played with a gender twist by Saori Oda, who brings comic relish but never becomes outrightly clownish.

(Read more)


Cary Grant was considered one of the world’s best-known movie stars, but it turns out there was plenty that audiences did not know about the debonair actor. In fact, he was born in England as Archibald Leach, and grew up impoverished and neglected, before finding his way to the U.S. and transforming into the silver screen star we know as Cary Grant. The BritBox series “Archie” explores the actor’s complicated past. Correspondent Seth Doane talks with actor Jason Isaacs, who plays Grant, as well as Grant’s fourth wife, actress Dyan Cannon, who is a producer of the series. #carygrant #archie “CBS News Sunday Morning” features stories on the arts, music, nature, entertainment, sports, history, science and Americana, and highlights unique human accomplishments and achievements. Check local listings for CBS News Sunday Morning broadcast times.

Read Cary Grant’s Recollections, along with seeing the new series:

From Kirkus Reviews

“Forget the other books. This is it. Superb.”


Forget the other books, this is it. Superb. –Kirkus Reviews

Here’s a book as charming and likable as its subject and that’s saying a lot. –Booklist

The biography Cary Grant deserves . . . This is the standout Grant biography that should remain as his testament in print. –The Philadelphia Inquirer

“For a book about Grant that’s almost as much fun as his films, this is the genuine article.” ––Variety

“I adored Cary Grant—and I couldn’t put this wonderful book down. I read it in one sitting!” —Carol Burnett

“The first book about the real Cary—lively, warm, always entertaining, totally honest—like the man himself. —Gregory Peck

“It’s a funny, lovely book about Cary.” —Katharine Hepburn

“A charmer of a book. You’ll love spending Evenings with Cary Grant.” —Sidney Sheldon

“This wonderful book gives behind-the-scenes examples of an actor who was dedicated to the art of motion pictures and to the profession of acting.” —James Stewart

“Nancy Nelson has definitely captured the essence of CG in her wonderful book.” —Robert Wagner

“This delightful book gives everyone a chance to spend some time with that delightful person—Cary Grant.” —Helen Hayes

“It embraces the Cary Grant I knew and loved.” —Burt Reynold s “A truly wonderful book about a truly wonderful man.” —Liza Minnelli

“As one of the world’s great raconteurs, Cary Grant knew how to spin a yarn, tell a naughty joke, or shape a thoughtful observation. Thank God readers everywhere can now enjoy the company of this remarkable man.” —Jack Haley, Jr.

“In this book you will discover the real Cary Grant, and you will love him even more.” —John Forsythe

“An absolute treasure . . . the only authentic history of his life and loves . . . Reading this book will leave you with the feeling that you have just embraced the warm and wonderful Cary Grant. He was much more than a movie star. He was a magnificent man.” —Abigail (Dear Abby) Van Buren

“A celebration of a life well lived. Thank goodness there is a Nancy Nelson to tell the world about this beautiful human being we knew and loved.” —Jill St. John

A kind and gentle . . . shows the private man who doted on his daughter, lamented his failed marriages and could be as contemplative as he was comic.” –Baltimore Sun

The biography Cary Grant deserves . . . This is the standout Grant biography that should remain as his testament in print. –The Philadelphia Inquirer



(Claire Armitstead’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/29 Photo:  Power couple … Stoppard and Vaclav Havel attending Rock ’n’ Roll at the Royal Court in 2006. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images.)

As his Velvet Revolution drama returns, the great writer talks about his mounting Israel-Gaza uncertainties, the epiphanies he has in every hot shower – and our one-star ‘corker’ review of The Crown

Tom Stoppard is chatting in the theatre bar when I arrive to interview him about a revival of his play Rock ’n’ Roll. He was comparing ailments with an elderly director friend, he says cheerfully, as he heads up the stairs, having declined an offer of the lift. At 86 he has the nonchalant elegance of a spy in a cold war thriller, lean and mop-haired in a discreetly expensive-looking coat.

Though Stoppard is feted around the world for some of the cleverest plays of the last 60 years, as well as the Oscar-winning screenplay for Shakespeare in Love, he is more gossipy than grand. “I said to him,” he reports of the conversation from which he has just been dragged away, “I’m being interviewed by the Guardian in half an hour and it’s supposed to be about Rock ’n’ Roll, but I’m going to have to have an opinion about Gaza, aren’t I?”

Would I have been a dissenter, or someone who kept his nose clean? I’ve a terrible feeling it would have been the latter

Being canvassed for opinions comes with the territory for a playwright whose identity straddles two of the biggest faultlines of 20th century history. His most recent play, Leopoldstadt, was a monumental reckoning with a Jewish heritage of which he only became aware in middle age. It ended with Leo, one of three survivors of a mighty dynasty, returning after the war to a Vienna of which he had no memory, having adopted his stepfather’s surname and lived in England since infancy.

Stoppard himself settled in England and adopted his stepfather’s name when he was eight, though his early childhood was spent not in Austria but Czechoslovakia. Rock ’n’ Roll, which premiered at the Royal Court in 2006, contains a different reckoning: what if, instead of getting remarried to an Englishman after the death of Stoppard’s doctor father in the war against Japan, his mother had returned to Soviet Czechoslovakia with him and his brother? “I thought I could write a play which was about myself as I imagined my life might have been from the age of eight,” he says. “And then I would find out whether I was brave enough to be a dissenter, or just somebody who would keep his head down and his nose clean. And I have a terrible feeling that it would have been the latter.”

Rock ’n’ Roll takes place between the viciously suppressed Prague Spring protests of 1968 and the period just after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, which put an end to four decades of communist rule and saw the Rolling Stones bring 100,000 fans out for a historic concert in Prague in 1990. The play is framed as a decades-long argument between Jan, a Cambridge PhD student who goes back to Czechoslovakia in 1968, only to become badly disillusioned and nostalgic for the freedoms of the west, and his English professor, Max, who remains a Marxist idealist.

Along the way it takes in the poetry of Sappho, the music of the Stones, Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett and Czech rock group the Plastic People of the Universe, whose arrest at a rock festival in 1976 was one of the inspirations behind the human rights protest Charter 77. The play is dedicated to Stoppard’s friend Václav Havel, who went on to become president of the country in 1989.

Ever since he made his stage debut with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead in 1966, new Stoppard plays have been an event. Havel, Mick Jagger and the Plastic People were among the audience for the Royal Court premiere of Rock ’n’ Roll, along with Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, though sadly not Barrett, its wayward Pan figure, who died days after the play opened.

Why revive it now? Even then, it was a history play, he says. “Plays don’t become dated, they become a period, and that’s all to the good.” There’s the small matter that he hasn’t been moved to write anything new in the four years since Leopoldstadt. This is a rare visit to London from the Dorset cottage where he lives with his third wife, Sabrina Guinness. “I’m busy the whole time, but I’ve been completely unproductive,” he says. “And you know, I may have stopped without realising it.”

(Read more)



(from RadioFree Europe, 11/29; photo: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (left) poses with Jamala in Kyiv on November 29, 2022. )

The Moscow prosecutor’s office said on November 29 that an arrest warrant had been issued for Ukrainian Eurovison Song Contest winner Jamala, who is of Crimean Tatar origin, on a charge of distributing “fake” information about Russia’s armed forces involved in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Earlier this month, the Russian Interior Ministry added the singer, whose real name is Susana Dzhamaladinova, to its wanted list. In 2016, Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest for performing a ballad that described the brutal 1944 Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars from Crimea to Central Asia. To read the original story by RFE/RL’s Russian Service, click here.

(Go to RadioFree Europe)


Eddie Izzard

Returns to New York with One-Person

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

From January 25 – March 3

At Off-Broadway’s Greenwich House Theater

Opening Night February 11

Adapted by Mark Izzard

Directed by Selina Cadell

Produced by WestBeth Entertainment, Mick Perrin Worldwide,

and John Gore

Eddie Izzard will take the New York stage this winter for six weeks only, playing 23 characters in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, adapted by Mark Izzard and directed by Selena Cadell at off-Broadway’s Greenwich House Theater (27 Barrow Street) from January 25-March 3; opening night is February 11.

Eddie returns to New York following last year’s sold-out run of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which played to rave reviews at Greenwich House and in London’s West End. Hamlet reunites Eddie with Selina and Mark who collaborated on Great Expectations. It is produced by WestBeth Entertainment, Mick Perrin Worldwide, and John Gore.

In Hamlet, The King of Denmark is dead, and Prince Hamlet is determined to take revenge, initiating a cascade of events that will destroy both family and state. Eddie will be portraying men, women, ghosts, scholars, tyrants, courtiers, lovers, fools, and poets. She says, “I have always gravitated towards playing complex and challenging characters and Hamlet is the ultimate. This is a production for everyone, a timeless drama with an accidental hero. Selina, Mark, and I want audiences to see and hear an accessible, touching, scary and dramatic Hamlet.”

Best known as an actor, multi-lingual comedian, multi-marathon runner and trailblazing political candidate. Eddie Izzard’s career pushes boundaries and defies description with record-breaking comedy tours and critically acclaimed film, TV, and theatre performances.   

The design team is Tom Piper (set), Tyler Elich (lighting), Tom Piper and Libby DaCosta (costume stylists), and Didi Hopkins (Movement Director).  It is produced by WestBeth Entertainment, Mick Perrin Worldwide, and John Gore.

Tickets are now available here.



(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

EDDIE IZZARD’s Broadway credits are A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Tony Award nomination) and Race. Off Broadway: Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Her London stage credits include The CryptogramEdward II900 OneontaJoe Egg, and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Eddie’s film credits include Stephen Frears’ Victoria & Abdul opposite Dame Judi Dench, ValkyrieOcean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, Mystery Men, Shadow of the VampireThe Cat’s MeowSix Minutes to Midnight and the current Doctor Jekyll in which Eddie plays Dr. Nina Jekyll and Rachel Hyde. TV audiences also saw her as Dr. Abel Gideon in Bryan Fuller’s series, “Hannibal.” Izzard starred in and executive produced FX’s critically acclaimed series, “The Riches.” Other notable TV films include “Castles in the Sky,” “Treasure Island,” and the Emmy winning “Lost Christmas.” Izzard made her West End stage debut in 1993 in the solo show Live at the Ambassadors, receiving an Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement. That was followed by a succession of critically acclaimed shows: Unrepeatable, Definite Article, Glorious, Dress to Kill, Circle, Sexie, Stripped, Force Majeure, and Wunderbar. Eddie is the recipient of two Emmy Awards (for Dressed to Kill) and an Emmy Award nomination for the documentary, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story. Her autobiography Believe Me, entered the top ten in the New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller lists.  She performs her comedy shows in four languages and since 2009 has run 131 marathons to raise money for Sport Relief and her “Make Humanity Great Again” fund. 

SELINA CADELL (Director) is a director, actress, and coach. Theatre directing includes Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (New York and London), Love for Love (RSC), The Life I Lead (West End), The Double Dealer (Orange Tree London), The Rivals (Arcola London), The Way of the World (Wilton’s London), The Rake’s Progress (Wilton’s London). Films include The Turn of the Screw (Best Opera Film 2021 Critics Circle Award). Acting/Theatre includes Top Girls (NYC) /Obie Award, Stanley (NYC), Madness of King George (NYC), Twelfth Night, Cherry Orchard (NYC), A Monster Calls (London). TV includes “Midsomer Murders,” “Queens of Mystery,” “Poirot,” “Doc Martin” (Mrs. Tishell). Selina runs an opera company with Eliza Thompson, OperaGlass Works. Their new film of La Traviata will be out next spring.

MARK IZZARD (Adapter). Hamlet marks his and Eddie’s second collaboration, following Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Prior to this, Mark’s involvement with his sibling’s career has been limited to a brief stint as sound technician (cassette-recorder) in Eddie’s first ever comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1981 and a series of European tours (2014-18) when Eddie performed stand-up comedy in French, German, and Spanish. Mark’s role was to simplify and adapt the translated routines into a language which Eddie could reproduce on stage, a task made possible by Mark speaking all three languages. In the process both siblings discovered that they worked well together, their shared sense of humor offsetting the more ‘difficult’ moments of the creative process.

DIDI HOPKINS (Movement Director) is one of the foremost practitioners of Commedia dell’Arte and works physically and visually in theatre. She worked with writer Richard Bean’s Broadway success, One Man, Two Guvnors, and has worked with director Selina Cadell at the Royal Shakespeare Company as movement director on Restoration Comedy. She was co-founder of Beryl and the Perils who were the ‘hottest thing part from the weather’ (Village Voice), performed at WOW festival, Central Park, TNC, the Mudd Club. The National Theatre made five films about her work in Commedia. She was last represented in New York with Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

TOM PIPER (Scenic Designer/Costume Stylist) was Associate Designer at the RSC for 10 years and has designed over 50 productions for the company. Theatre work includes Medea (EIF/NTS); Girl on an Altar, White Teeth (Kiln); Faith (RSC/ Coventry City of Culture); Nora: A Doll’s House (Young Vic); The Tempest, Hamnet, Box of Delights (RSC) The Histories (RSC Olivier Award for Best Costume Design); As You Like It (RSC Armoury’s NY); Cyrano de Bergerac (NTS); Carmen La Cubana (Le Chatelet, Paris); Red Velvet Tricycle Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse NY); Orfeo (Royal Opera House); Tamburlaine The Great (TFNA, NY); The Great Wave (RNT). Turn of the Screw (Wiltons/OperaGlassworks film); Richard III, Tempest, As You Like It; The Bridge Project at BAM, and Eddie Izzard in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Design credits: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London and received an MBE for services to Theatre and First World War commemorations. Exhibition credits: Alice Curiouser and CuriouserWinnie-the-PoohCurtain Up (V&A, Lincoln Center NY); Shakespeare Staging the World (British Museum).

LIBBY da COSTA (Costume Stylist) is a London based costume designer who trained at the prestigious London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. Over the course of her career, Libby has had the pleasure of working for a diverse range of clients, creating unique and powerful designs for television, film, commercials and now theatre! Libby recently designed the feature film Doctor Jekyll, the story of Jacqueline Hyde in which Eddie plays the lead roles, Nina Jekyll and Rachel Hyde. Whatever the brief or project, Libby combines her passion, insight, and years of industry experience to realize any vision with imagination and flair. Libby has been seduced by the fast-paced, creative lifestyle involved in this line of work and is never afraid of a challenge. She is a storyteller and fantasist and through her costumes the characters are born. From contemporary through to period, Libby has worked with costumes that date back to as early as 1744. She was last represented in New York with Eddie Izzard in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in 2022.

TYLER ELICH, LIGHTSWITCH (Lighting Designer). Tyler’s passion for creating a powerful shared experience has allowed him to work in many different areas including rock concert touring, television broadcasts, corporate product launches, million square foot conventions, and special events. Tyler is super excited to be working with Eddie again after four worldwide comedy tours and the successful New York and London runs of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.

ELIZA THOMPSON (Music Composition) works in various aspects of music for film, TV, and theatre. Film Music Supervisor credits include: The Madness of King George, The Crucible, Dangerous Liaisons, Shadowlands, The Woodlanders, Groundhog Day. Music Consultant/Score Producer film credits include: Othello, The Importance of Being Earnest, An Ideal Husband, Fade to Black, Dorian Gray, St Trinian’s 1 and 2. As a composer, Eliza has composed and arranged the music for Selina Cadell’s productions of The Way of the World, The Rivals, Love for Love, The Double Dealer, The Life I Lead and Eddie Izzard’s Great Expectations. She is co-founder of OperaGlass Works, directing and producing chamber opera.

WESTBETH ENTERTAINMENT (Arnold Engelman, Founder/President) has consistently delivered critically acclaimed, financially successful, groundbreaking productions for over 40 years. Beginning as The WestBeth Theatre Center and morphing into WestBeth Entertainment, developing and introducing artists and talent to North American audiences is a big part of WestBeth’s history. From Billy Connolly to Eddie Izzard, The Jim Henson Company to John Leguizamo and Trevor Noah to Hannah Gadsby, WBE has been the creative catalyst, partner, and producer of some of the most innovative performances and productions on the continent in venues throughout North America including Madison Square Garden, The Hollywood Bowl, Toronto’s Massey Hall, The Chicago Theatre and Radio City Musical Hall. WestBeth’s most recent productions include Tommy Tiernan’s tomfoolery North America tour, Eddie Izzard’s The Remix Live North American tour, Aunty Donna’s ‘The Magical Dead Cat Tour’ across the US and Canada, Off-Broadway production of Eddie Izzard performing Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations followed by a critically acclaimed run in London’s prestigious Garrick Theatre, Professor Brian Cox’s Horizon‘ tour of North America, Eddie Izzard’s Wunderbar US and Canadian tours, and Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! Uncensored for multiple runs in Los Angeles. Other productions include Eddie Izzard’s first US book tour for his New York Times bestselling memoir Believe Me, North American debut of Australia’s comedy group Aunty Donna, Hannah Gadsby’s North American debut of Nanette and the off-Broadway run of Douglas, Dylan Moran’s Off The Hook North American tour, Noel Fielding (of The Mighty Boosh and “The Great British Bake Off,”) North American debut tour An Evening with Noel Fielding, Eddie Izzard’s Force Majeure American tour performed in all 50 states; Billy Connolly’s High Horse tour, the Off-Broadway debut of comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime; Eric Idle’s What About Dick? filmed for Netflix; John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown on Broadway, national tour, West End, and in Colombia, South America; off-Broadway, Australian tour, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Las Vegas runs of Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! Uncensored.

MICK PERRIN WORLDWIDE (Producer). Mick Perrin is a UK based producer/ promoter/agent with a company he began over 20 years ago. Mick spent his youth playing in various punk bands around the UK and was the original STOMP production/tour manager. An extensive career in tour management turned to promotion, with the first ever UK arena tour with Eddie Izzard’s Sexie Tour.  Mick Perrin Worldwide currently tours over 50 artistes across 45 nations and is a major producer of comedy talent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, first introducing the likes of Bo Burnham, Trevor Noah, Simon Amstell, and Brett Goldstein. Awards include an Emmy (Eddie Izzard’s “Dress to Kill,)” Olivier Award for La Clique, Olivier Award for La Soiree, and a Chortle Award for Off-Stage Contribution. He was last represented in New York with Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which was followed by a critically acclaimed eight-week engagement at London’s prestigious Garrick Theatre. 

JOHN GORE (Producer) has won 20 Tonys, two Oliviers, two Emmy Awards and the Actors Fund medal of Honour. Since 2019 he has been listed in the Variety 500 most influential business leaders in media. The John Gore Organization family of companies includes Broadway Across America,, The Broadway Channel,, and Group Sales Box Office presenting such hits as WickedHamilton and Disney’s The Lion King. As a film and TV producer his work includes the film Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story directed by Sarah Townsend (2010 Emmy nomination) and the nationally syndicated Broadway entertainment news program, The Broadway Show with Tamsen Fadal (2021 NY Emmy Award). He directed the only stage adaptations of Batman and Star Trek and produced the record-breaking Thunderbirds FAB, which at the age of 26 made him the youngest ever successful West End producer. In 2023 he became the owner of Hammer Films whose current release stars Suzy/Eddie Izzard as Doctor Jekyll. A committed philanthropist, John provides support to more than 60 organizations including the Princess Grace Foundation USA, underwriting Hamilton’s education programs, and providing theater educators in the NYC public schools through the Arthur Miller Foundation. He partnered with Scarlett Johansson to organize an all-star benefit reading of Our Town featuring Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., and the stars of the Avengers, raising $500,000 for Hurricane Maria Relief. Via he is an avid supporter of Family Equality advancing equality for LGBTQ families. His company recently sponsored the building of the Rita Moreno Arts Building in West Hollywood and made possible free tuition for all acting students at Julliard in perpetuity by funding their first year.

GREENWICH HOUSE was founded in 1902 with a mission to help New Yorkers lead more fulfilling lives through social and health services and cultural and education programs.  Annually, nearly 15,000 people are served at their Senior Centers, Music School, Pottery, After-School and Summer Camp, Nursery School and clinics addressing behavioral health for seniors, adults overcoming addiction and for victims of child abuse.




(Lauren Mechling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 11/19; Photo: Maleah Joi Moon in Hell’s Kitchen. Photograph: Photo Credit: Joan Marcus.)  

The Public Theater, New York

The star helps craft a show-stopping semi-autobiographical off-Broadway musical that brings the house down

Ah yes, the jukebox musical. That darling of fat-cat Broadway producers looking to make a quick buck by bringing a beloved songbook to life and packing the house night after night. Leaning on chart-topping numbers strung together via minimal dialogue, these mix-tape shows can also feel slapdash and witless, so much that the New York Times critic Jesse Green called jukebox musicals “the cockroach of musicals”.


Hell’s Kitchen, Alicia Keys’s live-wire theatrical adaptation of her own hit list, puts the rest of the genre to shame. Over a dozen years in the making, the show, which makes its off-Broadway debut at the Public Theater (where Hamilton had its original run), is no rewarmed songbook. It’s a surprisingly loose-limbed and rousing celebration of love, music and a pre-TikTokified New York City, directed by Michael Greif (Rent, Dear Evan Hansen) and overseen by Keys, who had a hand in everything from the fly-girl dance routines to the casting of understudies. A recent preview performance had members of the audience losing their minds, raising their arms in the air mid-song and wiping tears from their eyes between numbers.

Keys, the Grammy-winning and classically trained R&B star, loosely based the story on her Manhattan childhood. The erratically present father, powerful and possessive mother, and life-changing piano teacher are all there (played, respectively, by Brandon Victor Dixon, Shoshana Bean and Kecia Lewis, who together have enough star power to light up a constellation).

At the production’s center is Maleah Joi Moon, the radiant and angel-voiced 21-year-old newcomer who fell from the heavens (New Jersey, actually) and plays 17-year-old Ali. She lives with her mother in Manhattan Plaza, a subsidized apartment complex in the grimy midtown neighborhood from which the show takes its name. Donning the baggy pants and boxer shorts combo and Timberland boots that were standard city-girl attire in the 90s, and alternately channeling childlike giddiness and hormone-fueled rage, Moon is an unparalleled avatar of the torment of being 17.

Like Persephone, our heroine is unable to separate from her mother but simultaneously unable to resist the urge to stray from her. She’s on the verge, and the production gives voice to the seemingly fresh hell of late adolescence.

(Read more)



The Spanish Tragedy by Thomas Kyd Abridged and adapted by Pauline Harris and Emma Smith


Spain is in the middle of a peace treaty with Portugal, when Marshall Hieronimo is forced down a brutal path of vengeance from which there is no return. This bold and visceral adaptation is intercut with contemporary music in this new BBC Audio Drama production. It powerfully explores the morality of revenge, the stages of grief, and violence, and the poetry of extreme emotion.

Hieronimo – Robert Glenister Lorenzo – Sandy Grierson Bel-Imperia – Joanna Vanderham King of Spain/Bazardo – Michael Birtenshaw Duke of Castille/Viceroy of Portugal – Jonathan Keeble Ghost of Andrea/The Executioner/Portuguese Ambassador – John Lightbody Revenge/Maid to Isabella – Jessica Turner Isabella – Emma Cunniffe Horatio – Will Kirk Pedringano – Don Gilet Balthazar – Josh Bryant-Jones Alexandro/Paige – Tom Kiteley Requim song composed and performed by Jules Maxwell, Lina Rodriques, and James Chapman Production co-ordinator – Jonathan Powell Introduction by Professor Emma Smith from Hertford College, Oxford Sound by Keith Graham and Alison Craig Produced and Directed by Pauline Harris



Theater for the New City Presents


Flawlessa tale of enchantment

Written by Robin Goldfin 

Directed by Ed Chemaly


November 9-26, 2023 (12 performances)

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm

Sundays at 3pm

Plus, Wednesday, November 22 at 8pm

(no performance on Thanksgiving Day)


Theater for the New City

155 First Avenue
New York, NY 10003


General Admission: $18

Students and Seniors: $15

For tickets 

Runtime: 120 minutes with one intermission

Theater for the New City Executive Artistic Director Crystal Field presents Flawless, a tale of enchantment written by Robin Goldfin, based on and inspired by an award-winning essay by Canadian writer David J. Lawless. Ed Chemaly directs a cast of seven, including David Carson*, Page Clements*, Hannah Dillenbeck, Ricardo Gomez, Deanna Henson*, John Lampe*, and Hana LauerFlawless will be staged for twelve performances from November 9-26, 2023, at Theater for the News City, 155 First Avenue, New York, NY 10003. *Appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. AEA Showcase.


Flawless is staged with dance and movement by Laurie DeVito, live music composed and performed by Oren Neiman on the guitar, and Patricia Santos on the cello.


A family’s youngest daughter takes center stage as her father cares for his wife of over 50 years, who now has Alzheimer’s. Witnessing the relentless repetition of the disease and the extraordinary patience and unwavering commitment of her father’s love, Estella struggles to accept her mother as she is now. While recalling her mother’s former vitality, a world view emanates, and we see the same couple in their first year of marriage, filled with light and hope for the future. She moves through time and space to learn the flickering power of memory, and to  remember what is important when the mother she loves cannot.


“Alzheimer’s and dementia affect all family members, but in different ways. The original award-winning essay by David J. Lawless includes actual conversations Lawless experienced with his wife in the last year of her life, and those conversations are recreated in this stage adaptation,” said director Ed Chemaly. “Dramatized by a brilliant cast of performers to capture the heartache of these gut-wrenching diseases, Flawless is ultimately about the importance of memory, and the beauty and enduring nature of love.”

Performances for Flawless are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm, plus a special Thanksgiving Eve performance on Wednesday, November 22 at 8:00pm. There is no performance on Thanksgiving Day.


Ticket Prices are $18 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors.


For tickets, visit:


The runtime is two hours with one 15-minute intermission.

Robin Goldfin (playwright) is a playwright, performer and teacher based in New York. His most recent project was Suddenly, a Knock at the Door, a play based on stories by award-winning Israeli author and filmmaker Etgar Keret with original live score by Oren Neiman. Robin’s own 10-minute play The Acoustics, directed by Ken Talberth, was part of Artistic New Directions’ Eclectic Evening of Shorts. His solo play The Ethics of Rav Hymie Goldfarb, directed by David Carson, premiered in The Midtown International Theatre Festival. (“Splendidly crafted” wrote  Robin’s other writing has been published in Tikkun Magazine, Zeek, and The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide; and in the anthologies Queer Stories for Boys: True Stories from the Gay Men’s Storytelling Workshop and One on One: The Best Men’s Monologues for the 21st Century. As a performer, Robin danced for five years with Laurie DeVito’s She-Bops and Scats, a concert jazz-dance company and taught Simonson Jazz Dance Technique in New York and abroad. Robin has held artist’s residencies at Makor, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and at The Mishkan Omanim (Artists Residence) in Herzylia, Israel. Robin holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dramatic Writing from New York University and is recently retired as Clinical Professor of Writing in New York University’s Liberal Studies Program. He is a member of PEN American Center and The Dramatists Guild.

Ed Chemaly (director) is a director, actor and writer. At New York’s Metropolitan Playhouse he directed The Jewish King Lear (NYIT Award Nomination), The Easiest Way (adaptor and director) and The Spirit House. Other New York credits include Labor Day, A Doctor In Spite of Himself, shows at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Mint Theatre, Henry Street Settlement, Spectrum Stage Co. and The Producers Club, as well as six original cabaret shows at The Village Gate, Eighty Eights and The Duplex. Regionally he directed the Deertrees Theatre Festival productions of Sleuth, I Ought To Be In Pictures and Almost, Maine; The Northeast Theatre and Electric Theatre Company’s The Odd Couple (female version), Almost, Maine, The Gibson Girl of His Dreams and Operation Opera, as well as Marriage Play at the Triangle Theatre in Philadelphia, Luv and Broadway Bound at Liberty Stage Co., a dinner theatre tour of Move Over, Mrs. Markham and a national tour of The Imaginary Invalid.


Oren Neiman (Composer/Guitarist) Oren’s compositions explore a combination of Jazz sensibility with Middle Eastern rhythms and melody. He was born in Israel and has lived in New York since 2001. Oren has released three albums as a bandleader, most recently the trio album “Serenity Now”(July 2023), and three albums with his band “Isra-Alien” – a high energy acoustic guitar duo. He also composes music for Theatre, most recently for Suddenly a Knock at the Door, which was staged at Theater for the New City in 2016. He performs regularly with his various musical projects in the NY area as well as touring wherever the music takes him. Oren was the Guitar/Mandolin chair in National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene’s award winning production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish directed by Joel Grey.


Laurie DeVito (choreographer) was a founding director of Dance Space/Dance New Amsterdam where she taught for 40 years. Along with her company, Laurie DeVito and Dancers, she has taught, choreographed and performed at schools and theaters across the United States, Canada and abroad. Most notably, she has worked at NYU Tisch School of the Performing Arts, Yale University, York University (Toronto), Montreal Jazz Festival, Spirit Square Center for the Arts(NC), Gustavus Adolphus College(MN), Tel Aviv Dance Center (Israel), I.A.C. Studio (Tokyo), International Dance (Spain), and Balettakademien (Sweden). She has self-produced 8 seasons in NYC. Throughout her tenure at Dance Space she co-created Dream Catchers Children Program and produced Susan Osborn’s Seeds of Singing workshops. Laurie brings Simonson technique which is specifically designed for dancers of all disciplines and injury prevention to Gina Gibney Center and Mark Morris Dance Center. For more information please visit:

Flawless is presented by Theater for the New City. Set Designer: Lytza Colon,  Lighting Designer: Heather Crocker,  Costume Designer: Anthony Paul-Cavaretta, Production Stage Manager: Mary Caitlyn Deffely; Poster Design: Janice Davis, Publicity: Paul Siebold OFF OFF PR.


Meet the Cast

David L. Carson (He) started his professional Actors Equity career in 1975. Since then, he as appeared with numerous New York companies including Metropolitan Playhouse (20+ productions over 14 years), MTWorks, and American Bard (Innovative Theatre nomination for Best Actor for Gloucester in King Lear). He has appeared regionally with Virginia Premier Theatre, IUP Theatre, and toured the country with Prince Street Players. He was directed by Tonya Pinkins in Glory Kadigan’s Till We Meet Again. David has worked with playwright Robin Goldfin on many projects since 2004. With Composer Oren Neiman, the three friends spent over 5 years turning 8 short stories by Israeli writer Etgar Keret into the play Suddenly a Knock at the Door, which premiered at Theatre For The New City. David and director Ed Chemaly have worked on projects together for over 30 years. Creating Flawless over the last four years has been a “Labor of Love by a Family of Friends.”


Page Clements (She) has appeared in over 60 productions in NYC and beyond. Her many credits include productions with The Roundabout Theatre Co., The Metropolitan Playhouse, The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, The New York Shakespeare Exchange, The Hudson Warehouse, The Electric Theatre Company, and The T Schreiber Theatre. She is an award-winning actress and coach and currently an instructor of voice, dialects, and Shakespeare at the famed T Schreiber Studio. She recently appeared in the film “Art Thief” by Arthur Egeli, premiering last June in the Provincetown International Film Festival. Page also has many directing credits, and you may see her work in a new play by Alice Jankell in January. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.


Hannah Dillenbeck (Dancer Em/Police Officer/Tina) is a dancer and Pilates instructor based in NYC. She is from Rochester, NY and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Modern Dance Performance and a BS in Biology/Neurobiology. Hannah dances professionally with Ballaro Dance (since 2020) and Alison Cook Beatty Dance (since 2023) and has performed as a freelance artist throughout the city with LimónLaunch (José Limón Foundation), MUMOS, Forza Dance Company, and visual artist, Reza Farkondeh. She has performed abroad at International Dance Conferences in Beijing, China and in Barcelona, Spain.


Ricardo Gomez (Alfredo/Police Officer) is a native of Colombia, S.A., and moved to the United States in 1989 on a scholarship to the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida for a BA. In 1993, while he was getting his MA from Hunter College he received a scholarship to the professional training program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in NYC. He danced with Martha Graham Dance from 1993-1996. Mr. Gomez has also worked with Pearl Lang, Marijeanne Liederbach, II Piccolo Theater Dell’Opera, Mary Street Dance Theater, Deuxalamori Ballet Company, Michael Mao and Danscores. In 1996 Mr. Gomez founded the Gomez Dance Theater where he is the artistic director and choreographer. His choreography has been performed in New York at the Riverside Theater, New Generation for Dance in Purchase, New Choreographers on Pointe, the Joyce SoHo and the 92nd Street Y. Additionally, his choreography has been presented throughout South America and Europe. Mr. Gomez was commissioned by the Grupo de Danca de Almada in Portugal to create a work for their European tour, also he was invited to the “Millennium Celebration” for the Annabella Gonzalez Dance Theater as a guest choreographer. Mr. Gomez was commissioned to create a work for the Veteran’s Day dance festival at the 92nd Street Y. He has taught extensively in Colombia, Portugal and the United States. While teaching on the faculty at Escola Superior de Danca in Lisbon, Mr. Gomez introduced and instructed the faculty in a new curriculum which was integrated permanently into the university’s offerings. At present he is working on a new work inspired by the paintings of the Portuguese painter Paula Rego that is going to be performed in the festival “Danza de la Ciudad” in Bogota Colombia in 2024.


Deanna Henson (Estella) has appeared in several film, television, and theatre productions in New York City. Past credits include Relentlessly Pleasant (TIC Theatre), The Jewish King Lear (Metropolitan Playhouse), And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little (Longview Theatre), The Man Who Came to Dinner (PlayMaker’s Rep), The Impressionists (world premiere by Michael McKeever), Outfoxed (FullStop Collective), and Sensitive People (directed by Dan Lauria), to name just a few. Among her many TV credits some favorites are “Billions,” “Dexter,” “C.S.I. Miami.” Her film credits include “Suicide by Sunlight” (directed by Nikyatu Juso for Tribeca Films) and “Straight,” for which she won two best actress awards, Rahway International Film Festival and Hang Onto Your Shorts. And a nomination from Golden Door Film Festival. She holds an M.F.A. from UNC Chapel Hill, and has studied in the city with Terry Schreiber, Michael Howard and David Vadim.


John Lampe (Daniel) is a New York based actor, musician, writer and director. Onstage he has performed with the New York Shakespeare Company, New Circle Theatre Company, Frog and Peach Theatre and at many historic New York venues such as Nuyorican Cafe, The Players Theatre and the Stonewall Inn. Most recently he brought his two-man musical comedy The Tuneabomber to the Edinburgh Fringe. He is currently the Artistic Director of AND Theatre Company, where he helps to bring new works to the stage. AEA. BFA: Stephens College. Keep in touch at


Hana Lauer (Em) is making her theatre debut in New York City having come from an extensive background of theatre training. She recently starred as Melinda in “Forgive Me Father” (Feature Film), “Manon in Mode” (Short), and is currently studying at William Esper Studio under Barbara Marchant.  She has also studied at the Barrow Group and is an alumnus of Denver School of the Arts.


Patricia Santos (Cellist) is a songwriter and singing cellist who draws on her classical training to meld the cello with non- classical styles. Her music inhabits blues, rock, folk pop, and avant cabaret. Lucid Culture calls her a “dark, diverse cello rocker”, and Vance Gilbert describes her “as if Nina Simone and Yo-Yo Ma had a kid.” She is a teaching artist for Musicambia, bringing music instruction to incarcerated communities. She serves on the Board of Directors of the New Directions Cello Festival, is a voting member of the Recording Academy, and is the proud daughter of immigrants. Learn more at


Flawless production photos, from Top (Photographer: Paul Siebold)

Hannah Dillenbeck, Ricardo Gomez 

Hana Lauer, Hannah Dillenbeck, Deanna Henson, Ricardo Gomez

Page Clements, Deanna Henson, Hannah Dillenbeck

David L Carson, Page Clements, Hana Lauer, John Lampe

Robin Goldfin photo, courtesy of the author


(Dinara Khalilova’s article appeared in the Kyiv Independent, 10/25/23; Photo:  Ukrainian ballet dancer Oleksandr Shapoval (top left), artist and researcher of Ukrainian cuisine Olha Pavlenko (top right), film editor Viktor Onysko (bottom left), artist and fashion designer Liubov Panchenko (bottom center), conductor Yurii Kerpatenko (bottom right). All of them were killed by Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. This audio is created with AI assistance.)

“My worst fear is coming true: I’m inside a new Executed Renaissance. As in the 1930s, Ukrainian artists are killed, their manuscripts disappear, and their memory is erased,” Ukrainian writer Viktoriia Amelina penned in the foreword to the published diary of another author, Volodymyr Vakulenko, murdered during the Russian occupation of Izium.

Amelina, who dug up Vakulenko’s notes he had hidden from the Russians in his yard and initiated the diary’s publication, was also killed by Russia’s war. She died on July 1 after being critically injured in a Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk.

Vakulenko and Amelina are among dozens of Ukrainian cultural figures killed by Russian aggression. There is no official record of such losses, but two lists compiled by PEN Ukraine suggest that the full-scale invasion has claimed the lives of at least 65 Ukrainian cultural figures.

Some were killed as civilians in missile attacks or in occupation, others as service members after joining the Armed Forces to defend their country. But all of these deaths have contributed to what experts call Russia’s hundreds-year campaign against Ukrainian culture.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin has said that Ukraine has no right to exist as a state, so they (Russians) are trying to erase all evidence of this existence,” Olha Honchar, director of Lviv’s Memorial Museum of Totalitarian Regimes, told the Kyiv Independent.

“If you have a pro-Ukrainian position, engage in culture, language, literature, history — then you are a target for destruction on the occupiers’ lists.”

The Kyiv Independent tells the stories of five cultural figures Ukraine has lost to Russia’s war since Feb. 24, 2022.

(Read more)