Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Painting Churches' Despite a Jaundiced Eye

Kathleen Chalfant and Richard Easton are the subjects of “Painting Churches.” Photo courtesy of Keen Company.

HEAD’S UP: Here it is past mid-December and holiday shopping isn't yet an item on the to-do list. What’s a body to do? One option is to give money. Everybody needs money, right. Well … almost everybody does. Yet the idea of gifting money seems a bit slapdash and last-minute, which it is, of course. Never fear. The elves at VEVLYN’S PEN are here to help in what has become a tradition. Commencing today right through 24 Dec., we will introduce one or a series of products, items and brands that we believe is worthy of consideration as a holiday gift(s). And … we’re off !!!!

Gift Idea(s), Pt. 1:

By TAMARA BECK

THE
excitement and anticipation of the curtain rising offers an invaluable experience. And shared experiences provide the best kind of memories.

The Keen Company production of Tina Howe’s “Painting Churches” will begin a limited run on 14 Feb. (through 7 April) with a cast that includes Kathleen Chalfant, Richard Easton and Kate Turnbull.

“Painting Churches"($58.50), the first New York revival of the Pulitzer finalist, is a nostalgic look at a New England family. The Churches – Fanny and Gardner, a poet heading quietly toward senility – are the aging parents of Mags who has returned home to help her parents pack up their Boston townhouse to move permanently to Cape Cod. Now a New York-based painter, Mags wishes to attempt an honest portrait of her parents despite past resentments that could threaten her efforts.

Visit http://www.keencompany.org/home/ to learn more about “Painting Churches.”

A Little Less of 'Nutcracker'&Co. Goes a Long Way
The New York Theatre Ballet produces truncated versions of ballets, including "Nutcracker." Photo by Richard Termine.

CHOREOGRAPHER Keith Michael’s “Nutcracker” is a great way to start a holiday tradition with 3- to 10-year olds. The New York Theatre Ballet specializes in family-friendly, compact versions of classic ballets.

The “Nutcracker” keeps all the drama and flair of the longer versions around the country. Of course, the story takes place at Christmas when the toymaker Drosselmeyer brings the nutcracker in question as a gift for the daughter of the household. After the excitement of the holiday party, with its dancing and games, the young girl dreams about her Nutcracker prince. In this dream, she and her prince ride into the Sugar Plum Fairy’s wonderland where they are entertained by dancers from all corners of the world.

While the “Nutcracker” plays through today at Florence Gould Hall for the year, other fairytale ballets are on offer for the younger set. In January and February, NYTB will be peforming the Alice in Wonderland Follies. In March, comes Sleeping Beauty. (Tickets are $31 for children and $36 for the adults who accompany them.)

Visit http://www.nytb.org/ to learn more about the New York Theatre Ballet’s abbreviated versions of classic ballets.

Want Teen Drama? Here's Team Play (Harnessed, Thankfully!).
Team Play is an opportunity for teens to do something productive with their drama. Photo courtesy of Primary Stages.

HERE’S an opportunity for that dramatic teen to strut his or her stuff in front of a captive audience.

Team Play is a seven-session, intensive workshop from Primary Stages workshop. It encourages students to unleash the performer buried deep inside or residing just below the surface. The class, which is geared to 14- to18-year-olds and begins in January, is led by working theater artists.

Playwright-director Eric Holmes and actor-musician Chesney Snow will guide participants through exercises meant to generate theatrical ideas and unlock their skills.

Team Play ($250) culminates with a showcase, allowing students to present their work to an invited audience.

Visit http://www.primarystages.org/teamplay or email Sarah Matteucci at sarah@primarystages.org to learn more about “Team Play.

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