While I've been busy in Philly, Little Lord's Michael Levinton was interviewed by Clyde Fitch Report's Tim Cusak in a roundup of 2015's most memorable theater events. So excited that Bambifucker was included! And even more excited by Levinton's theater pick for 2016!
Levinton’s pick is a new adaptation of The Black Crook by Joshua William Gelb, opening at Abrons in September: “It’s supposedly the first true piece of American musical theater, and it has this crazy back story, and 2016 is the 150th anniversary of it’s premier.” Gelb also appeared as Bambi with Levinton’s company, so if his performance in that show is any indication, New York is in for a treat.
Thrilled to annouce that The Black Crook has been selected to receive a Creative Engagement LMCC Grant this year! 150 years ago The Black Crook opened at Niblo's Garden on the corner of Prince and Broadway (it's an Armani Exchange now) and I can't wait to share this original downtown theater juggernaut this September at Abrons Arts Center (another downtown Manhattan stallwart) with support from the Lower Manhattan Culture Council!
Thought we'd never finish this silly little short. And honestly, it's still not finished. But it's almost finished. And for that, I am posting this screenshot. #comingsoon
Stephanie Johnstone and I are Philly bound, bringing Sometimes in Prague to the UArts Polyphone Festival. This incredible lineup of new musicals also includes "Finn the Fearless" with music and lyrics by Andrew Butler, book by Andrew Farmer, directed by Kent Nicholson; "Annie Salem: An American Tale" with music and lyrics by Heather Christian and book by Rachel Chavkin; and "Material World" by Dan Fishback, directed by Stephen Brackett. If you're in Philly, or if you plan on coming down to check it out, you can get tickets here!
There are still some tickets available to HAIL OBLIVION: A Pirate Fantasia (in concert), October 12th at JACK, featuring Bryce Pinkham (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Gentlemen's Guide, Heidi Chronicles), Ato Blankson-Wood (Lysistrata Jones, Hair), Amber Gray (Great Comet, An Octoroon), Julian Fleisher (February House), Rick Burkhardt (Three Pianos), among so many others. This epic pirate adventure unfurls across the globe and across centuries as three ordinary men from three different eras are brought together by the Sirens’ call to the open sea. From the Bahamas (1717), where Major Stede Bonnet deserts his family overnight to become an actual pirate, to Hollywoodland (1943), where Errol Flynn is arrested and exonerated in a very public statutory rape case, to present day Seattle, where a young advertising executive attempts to sell a luxury cruise in light of a recent Somali-Pirate hostage crisis, this swashbuckling fantasia features a roller coaster score of sea-shanties, jazz, and rock. An outlandish and provocative new piece of music theater HAIL OBLIVION takes on our cultural infatuation with piracy, challenging the tantalizing prospect of shedding moral, legal, and social obligations in pursuit of individual freedom upon the high seas. $10 Tickets can be purchased at: hailoblivioninconcert.brownpapertickets.com.
The haggard Impresario, dragging only a worn-out steamer trunk onto the stage, attempts to resurrect the spectacle and fanfare surrounding the once world-famous and now forgotten Hunger Artist - a performer whose act consisted solely of publicly starving for days on end. Using puppetry, clowning, and toy theater, Jon Levin and I are thrilled to present our new adaptation of Kafaka's short story for Sinking Ship Productions. Check out our first draft of this new piece this weekend, September 19th & 20th @ 7pm, The Jalopy Theater (in Red Hook), 315 Columbia St, Brooklyn, NY 11231. Tickets $12.
Co-Created and Performed by Jon Levin. Directed and Co-Created by Joshua William Gelb. Additional text by Josh Luxenberg. Costume Design by Peiyi Wong. Puppet Design by Charlie Kanev. Sound Design by Joshua William Gelb
It's been such a pleasure being dropped into Woodshed Collective's madcap immersive experience known as Empire Travel Agency. Thrilled they're getting so much love. Check out the latest Times Review. "The future belongs to Canada!"
After a 6 year hiatus I have returned to French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, where I've spent the last 2 months directing and teaching an incredible array of student performers. What a privelage to work with such talented kids. Cheers to the casts and crews of HMS Pinafore, Spelling Bee, Amadeus and Finian's Rainbow (which opens tonight!). It's been a real nostalgia trip to return to my old stomping ground after so many years. Now on to Cambridge, NY to join Jon Levin and Josh Luxenberg at the Freight Residency to work on Sinking Ship's adaptation of Kafka's Hunger Artist. After that I'm back in New York starting rehearsals for Woodshed Collective's Empire Travel Agency!
In this action adventure tragi-comic bromance, two men decide they must go to Alaska and kill a bear despite their complete lack of preparation, gun training or survival skills. Bear suits and Walmart gun buying excursions drive you to ask: how far is too far?
Dan O'Neil's Bear Slayer will be making its world premiere at Ars Nova's Ant Fest on June 12th for one night only! I'll be straddling the stage and the directing chair on this one, playing a character not so loosely based on myself alongside a character not so loosely based on Dan. With us will be Madeleine Bundy and R.N. Healey. Design by Josh Smith and Gavin Price. Choreography by the incomparable Katie Rose McLaughlin. Tickets here. Don't miss it!
When Felix Salten got a bad review he notoriously punched Karl Kraus, the critic in question, right in the face in the middle of a public street. What a relief that Bambifucker is a New York Times Critic's Pick! A lovely write up from Claudia La Rocco. Check it out!
For the next few weeks I'll be wearing tighty-whities and heels at The Brick in this absolutely bonkers new adaptation of Felix Salten's novel (fuck Disney) Bambi, which I bet you didn't know was banned by the Nazis for being an obvious allegory of the Austrian Jewish experience. Also Salten ghostwrote some seriously demented hard-core pornography on the side. I'll be playing Bambi, Salten, and sometimes an aging prostitute named Josephine. Don't miss this trip to the old Viennese coffee house scene. Seating is limited. Get your tickets and bambi-bucks while they still last. So many tags: #anxiousdeer #oedipalissues #zionismiscomplicated #artishard #areyoucircumsized ---- Also check out this preview in Heeb Magazine!
A fantastic post from our own Kaitlyn Gilliland detailing her experiences dancing The Nutcracker and how they relate to our recent collaboration.
My debut as the Sugarplum Fairy with The New York City Ballet fell on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Many of the corps ladies, myself included, had already paraded through the Land of Sweets several dozen times that December, once to the maddeningly off-tempo scream of the theater’s fire alarm for the entirety of the Waltz of the Flowers. (I kept close track of Nutcracker near-disasters that year, willing my first go at the great pas de deux not to be among the most memorable.) Much to my relief, my first performance was uneventful.
From Julia Katz: A really cool response to our production of A Nutcracker at the Knockdown Center. Check out more at Culturebot.
As someone who grew up as a dancer, A Nutcracker had immediate resonance for me. Even at a young age, I’ve questioned my changing relationship with my own body and wistfully looked back to high school dance photos, balanced on pointe shoes in a majestic costume. This story seemed to explore the overwhelming force of nostalgia, and the psychological tendency to relate one’s experiences back to an archetypical narrative. So while my background made me feel especially connected to A Nutcracker, its emotional reach is accessible to anyone wistful.
I know. You're already wondering what the hell this Jewish theater director is doing working on a Nutcracker ballet. Sometimes I wonder myself... But I've always had a weird little relationship with the Christmas season. My mother used to hang dreidel-shaped stockings over the fireplace accompanied by stories of Maccabee suicide brigades descending the chimney to fill them. Mall Santa's were frequently visited, to my father's chagrin. And almost annually, while my parents helped out at the local synagogue, I was left in the custodian's office to watch PBS, which is where an 8 year old Josh first saw Mark Morris' influential and delightfully irreverent Hard Nut. It's almost impossible to grow up in this country without being exposed in some way to the Nutcracker. In the coffee-shop where I'm drafting this very email, I've already heard the Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy three times (thanks, Pandora). This is funny, of course, because I can't even begin to tell you what in God's name the ballet is actually about. Is it a coming of age tale? A tale of coerced sexual awakening (don't tell me Drosselmeyer isn't a bit of a creep)? Why is everyone battling rats? And someone please explain to me the point of Act 2 beyond the conventions of Russian 19th century ballet. Is it all a dream? Or is it all a melancholy metaphor for Clara's death? -- These are the essential questions we've neglected to answer enitrely by tossing aside what Tchaikovsky himself considered a rather idiotic scenario. Instead, we've taken some of the principle themes and imagery, and newly arranged the iconic score, in order to tell the life-story of a dancer named Clara. From childhood to old age, each chapter of Clara's life is simultaneously depicted by world-class dancers in a playful yet poignant immersive dance-theatre performance. We are determined to make this production an annual holiday tradition, and we hope you'll join us for this first incarnation at the cavernous Knockdown Center, December 12th, 13th & 14th. I really, really hope you can join us. Of course, if you can't make it to one of the performances and you still feel moved by the ol' spirit of the season there's always the opportunity to give via our crowd funding platform Hatch Fund. With a little less than two weeks left in our campaign we are on the verge of crossing the threshold of our target goal and reaching for our more ambitious stretch goal! Yes, we truly need your help, and yes, those $25 contributions make a difference. And if you don't know about Hatch Fund, you should check it out, because they're pretty awesome. They curate their projects and also don't take a percentage (hence the surcharge). Also we've been a staff pick for the past week, so that's pretty cool too. With dreams of sugarplums,
On October 9th at 6:30PM JV Squad will be donning our signature tracksuits to present at excerpt of Marathon Play, an explorative fragment of a longer, endurance/performance project that literally places a marathon runner onstage in front of an audience, traversing 26.2 miles in a theatricalized spectacle of athleticism and perseverance. Created and performed by Liza Birkenmeier, Joshua William Gelb, Tegan Ritz McDuffie, Katie Rose McLaughlin, and Dan O’Neil.
After years of scheming, Katie Brook and I are finally bringing MOTHER! to the stage. This competitive-sport adaptation of Marsha Norman's 1983 Pulitzer Prize winning play Night, Mother will close the New George's Jam on Toast on Saturday night (May 31st), 9:30PM at Dixon Place. The brave performers joining us include Alex Spieth, Dan O'Neil, Jessie Shelton, Ben Viertel, Sarah Krohn, and Susan Bernfield, among others. And yes, that's my head submerged in a bucket of water.