Saturday, April 23, 2011

In 'Love Song,' Imagination Takes Flight

Andrew Pastides as Beane and Zoë Winters as Molly in "Love Song." Photo by Jeff Larkin.


JOHN Kolvenbach’s “Love Song,”
is a fantasy which raises a glass to toast [the] “death to literalism.”

JK suggests eschewing pedantry and thinking outside the box but “Love Song,” playing through 7 May as part of the celebration of American Theater called “Americas Off Broadway” at 59E59 Theaters, has an unfortunately blurry premise. Its tantalizing hypothesis squanders this comedy’s genuine charm and whimsy.

An imaginary love, Molly (Zoë Winters), enlivens the drab and withdrawn Beane (Andrew Pastides) and brightens the lives of his sister, Joan (Laura Latreille) and brother-in-law, Harry (Ian Barford).

Beane falls in love with Molly when she appears in his dull under-furnished room as a “fearsome force” who robs him of his second pair of pants. Molly is everything Beane is not – aggressive, unpredictable. She is also, as Beane fully understands, a figment of his imagination. Her energy awakens all his senses, but the hitch in this plot is that Beane has conjured her up as the object of all his affections.

Laura Latreille, Andrew Pastides and Ian Barford in "Love Song." Photo by Jeff Larkin.

Even when she inspires the taciturn Beane to become curious, sensual and talkative, Molly is more like his alter ego than his lover. Joan accepts her brother’s folly rather than have him revert to the sad sack he was. Will having known Molly give Beane the impetus to go ahead and embrace life?

Despite the failings of “Love Song” it is still an agreeable entertainment. And the actors are delightful, ably and credibly conveying the over-arching message of the play – that imagination can make us better.

Visit http:// for more information about “Love Song.”

If the Brits Can Have One, So Can the Yanks
last year, 59E59 Theaters presented “Brits Off Broadway,” a celebration of award-winning productions from the United Kingdom.(See review:

Andrew Pastides and Ian Barford in "Love Song." Photo by Jeff Larkin.

Now U.S. American theater is the focus with “Americas Off Broadway.” Running through 3 July, it features seven plays, a musical and a revue showcasing the music of Cy Coleman with some very nice Broadway names attached.

“Love Song” kicked off the festivities.
(See video of the 59E59 Theaters at

The revue, “The Best is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman,” premiered at the Rubicon Theatre in California in 2009. It will run in 59E59 Theater A from 18 May through 3 July.

“The Best is Yet To Come" will be making its New York premiere and features a cast of six award-winning and award-nominated Broadway stars (accompanied by an eight-piece band). The cast is Lillias White, Billy Stritch (also the musical director and conductor for this production), David Burnham, Sally Mayes, Howard McGillin and Rachel York.

Tony Award winner David Zippel devised and directed this revue, which will include favorites from Broadway (“Sweet Charity,” “City of Angels,” “Little Me,” “The Will Rogers Follies”), pop hits made famous by the likes of Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand, as well as new songs written toward the end of Coleman’s life.

Justin Preston and Marley McLean in “Julia.” Photo by Alex Moy.

Also included on the festival menu is “I Married Wyatt Earp” presented by Prospect Theater Company and New York Theatre Barn. It is based in part on Glenn G. Boyer‘s book of the same name. “I Married Wyatt Earp” runs from 20 May through 12 June. The cast includes Carolyn Mignini as Josephine Marcus Earp and Anastasia Barzee as Mattie Earp.

The Pacific Resident Theatre is bringing “Julia” by Vince Melocchi through 15 May. In this story about love lost 50 years ago at the start of the Korean War, Lou Perino (Richard Fancy) returns to his hometown to try to right the wrong he did when he went off to fight and then to Detroit.

Jack Finnegan (playwright/actor) presents a portrait of our country, constructed from the character of 24 American cities and the land and waters between them in “City Love Song.” This 21st century travelog runs from 3 May to 15 May before embarking on a tour of 13 international cities.

Visit http:// to learn more about “Americas Off Broadway,” including a schedule of programs.

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