Review: John & Jen
While musicals have license for unbridled imagination to reach the most extravagant of conceits (and we thank them for that), sometimes they can have the most profound effects when they’re brought down to ground-zero reality. The crushingly intimate John & Jen takes a magnifying glass to the relationship of a brother and sister who grow up (and apart) during the tumultuous 1960s and 70s. The revival of this two-hander by Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald is the rare musical that takes the time to examine the relationship between two sole characters, doing so to an impressively deep degree. Read more
Ticket giveaway: Play It Cool
Stage Rush wants you to get your new musical theater on, so we’re giving away three free pairs of tickets to the new off-Broadway musical Play It Cool. This new play at Theatre Row takes place at a Hollywood jazz club in the 1950s when had limited social rights and homosexuality was an unspoken subject.
Here are the easy steps you need to take to have your chance to win these tickets:
- Enter on Facebook by writing on Stage Rush’s Facebook wall (“Like” us, if you haven’t already done so)
- Enter on Twitter by retweeting a link to the Play It Cool contest page (a retweet button is located at the top of this page) OR one of Stage Rush’s tweets about the contest (@StageRush must be mentioned somewhere within your tweet, or else we won’t receive your entry)
- Subscribe to Stage Rush’s weekly newsletter. (Previous subscribers will automatically be entered into the contest.)
You can enter this contest one time via each method. So if you enter through Facebook, Twitter, and the newsletter subscription, you will have three entries in the contest. No more than three entries per person will count. If you play through Facebook, you must be able to be contacted via private message. If you play through Twitter, I must be able to direct message (DM) you (you must be following @StageRush in order for this to happen).
The giveaway will end on Friday, September 9. I will notify the winners through email, Facebook, and/or Twitter private message.
All participants must be able to see the show between the dates of September 2 and October 29, 2011. The tickets are not valid for resale.
What are you waiting for, Rushers? Get over to the Stage Rush Facebook wall, retweet us on Twitter, and sign up for the weekly newsletter—it couldn’t be easier!
Tickets are provided by Play It Cool.
Review: Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party
Surprisingly, Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party is a drama. Some might be compelled to call it a dramedy, but works that fall under that category display an equal balance in light and heavy tone. Dance Party is anything but balanced.
During a school Christmas pageant in Menard County, Illinois (a former residence of President Lincoln), the children, playing former presidents, shock the audience with lines that insinuate Honest Abe was homosexual. The teacher responsible for the controversy, Harmony Green, is swiftly fired and brought up on criminal charges for distributing harmful materials to minors. When two Illinois republicans competing for gubernatorial status fill the roles of defense and prosecution, the case becomes “the trial of the century.”
After these events unfold, the cast breaks the fourth wall and informs the audience that we are in control of the evening’s proceedings. We are to witness the story three times from the perspectives of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, and the New York Times reporter who comes to town. However, the audience gets to choose in which order we see them. The gimmick is interesting in the sense that when certain events happen in one act, the causes are further explained in other acts due to a difference in perspective and the play becomes a bit of an entertaining puzzle. Overall, it feels like a tool to complicate an uncomplicated story.
Further convoluting Dance Party is that it’s a bipolar play, much of which stems from its title. Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party infers a flashy, flamboyant, comical romp through the designated narrative. Yes, there are definitely moments like that in Dance Party. But instead of holding steady to that tone, there are also scenes where characters throw themselves at each other, screaming and gritting their teeth in vengeful agony about lost friends during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. These two tones do not match up and make for a confusing theater experience. Read more