Written and performed by Patrick McCartney (From Cold Lake, Elf, Conan O’Brien), Sinister Kid explores mental illness, trauma and addiction with humor and absolute truth. This deeply personal solo show starts with the death of McCartney’s mother and becomes an exploration of his alcoholism and heroin addiction, all the while taking the audience through his journey to reconnect with his mom. McCartney also shares the stage with violinist Mae Roney, whose music provides color and texture to the piece, and the show is directed by Shira Piven (Welcome to Me, Transparent).
The term “immersive theater” has been thrown around so much in recent years that it has lost much of its meaning and purpose as a storytelling device. Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More is an example of doing it right, letting the audience explore the story as they please and have different experiences on each visit. Mamma Mia! The Party is tourist-friendly, and it’s more of an excuse for audiences to drink and dance to ABBA songs. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Even the newest Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma, which is already unconventional enough, is serving corn bread and chili at intermission.
Just as audiences are starting to get immersive theater fatigue, writer Matt Cox and director Kristin McCarthy Parker (Kapow-i GoGo, Puffs) come along with a premise that is insanely ambitious, technically challenging to say the least, and gobsmackingly brilliant. Their new play The Magnificent Revengers, which is currently playtesting at the People’s Improv Theater, is a choose-your-own-adventure revenge Western. Using their phones, the audience votes on a wide range of decisions, including whether to kill or spare an enemy, buy a boat, and which of your companions will get a pretty flower. Some of these decisions may seem minor, but there are always consequences down the road.
Jamie Aderski draws from her own experiences in pregnancy and motherhood with her one-woman show Cry Baby, now playing at the PIT thru November 10. She brings a raw (and hilarious) honesty to the subject of parenthood and shatters myths of childbirth, all while enjoying a bottle of wine on-stage. This week, she sat down with Ludus NYC to talk about her creative routine, the lies hidden in diaper commercials, and why Christopher Guest is her writing inspiration.
Aliens Coming, a new musical at the Peoples Improv Theater, is a comedic take on low-budget sci-fi movies with a blatant naughty streak. The plot is pulled from some of the best/worst episodes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 with some modern touches, and it centers on two teenage girls, Brandi and Clementine, who are about to graduate from high school. They have been best friends since they were kids, but Clementine’s interest in art (and the “cool art kids” culture) is pulling them in different directions. When Brandi is abducted, however, Clementine sets out to save Brandi and the world’s genitals from a prudish alien race. Along the way, Clementine finds herself and loses her virginity, and Brandi becomes a YouTube make-up tutorial star. Really, it’s a typical coming-of-age tale of friendship and following your dreams. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
Comedy writing team Marina Tempelsman and Niccolo Aeed’s new show Unpacking: A Ghost Story Told in the Dark opens its run at HERE tonight at 7:00 PM. I was a huge fan of last year’s Room 4, which also featured Unpacking star Temesgen Tocruray, and I couldn’t wait to see what was next from this hilarious and insightful writing team. Before opening night, I sat down with Marina and Nicco to discuss the show’s novel lighting design, developing an on-stage romance, and what scares them off-stage in the real world.
Praise Avril Lavigne! Pop Punk High – a musical tribute to pizza, skateboarding, Battle of the Bands, and parents who “just don’t get it” – is getting extended at the PIT Loft.
Pop Punk High opened March 3 at The PIT Loft, located at 154 West 29th Street. General admission tickets are $7 and are available for purchase in advance online here, and student tickets are $1 at the door with valid student ID.
Just before Christmas, I saw a poignant show (with an extraordinarily long name) that deconstructs Thornton Wilder’s classic play Our Town in a modern-day high school. On the night before it is scheduled to be torn down, generations of students – both current and former – converge on Ridgefield High School’s gymnatorium, and playwright Augie Praley as the story’s narrator reflects on the many lives that were changed in that multi-purpose space and recollects young love, heartbreaking loss, and frequent productions of Our Town.
January is possibly the dreariest month of the year. Christmas is over, the New Year has begun, and the first few weeks are full of overly optimistic and newly broken resolutions. However, there is one last chance to recapture that holiday cheer and warm, comforting nostalgia, and that is Recent Cutbacks’ KEVIN!!!!!, an on-stage shot-for-shot re-enactment of Home Alone.
Recent Cutbacks’ KEVIN!!!!! opened December 3 at The PIT, located at 123 E 24th Street between Park and Lexington Avenue. Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase in advance online here or by phone at 212-563-7488. Recent Cutbacks returns with its newest parody KEVIN!!!!!. This Christmas, Kevin is alone…at home. The team that brought…