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The Annual NY Clown Theatre Festival Yucks it Up

Clown Theatre FestivalBig shoes and face paint and red noses oh my! It's time for the New York Clown Theatre Festival at The Brick (575 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn, NY)! From September 6th through the 26th, 2010, mimes, acrobats, contortionists, side show specimens and, of course, clowns will be taking over Brooklyn.

It's time to abandon notions of sophistication and have a laugh. With 20 stage shows, five cabarets, several workshops, a parade, and even a clown funeral, the zany annual NY Clown Theatre Festival promises to bring in the clowns. The event will showcase performances by comedic talent from all over the country and the world. Content runs the gamut from lighthearted and family-friendly silliness to some rather off-color Tom foolery.

Read more: The Annual NY Clown Theatre...

Strawberry One Act Fest Provides Opps for A Bwy Hopeful

While Mitchell Robert Glazer serves (so to speak) as food services director at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Long Island's north shore at Kings Mitchelll Robert GlazerPoint, he serves up another type of fare as well.

Though he provides three squares to over 1000 hungry midshipmen, the 58 year-old has not allowed his hectic schedule to interfere with writing and performing his plays. His latest, Simply Me, was one of only 36 entries (out of 204) accepted in the 2010 Strawberry One Act Festival – Summer 2010 edition, running from August 12 – 22, 2010. The first performance was held at the Riant Theatre at St. Clement’s in Manhattan, on August 15th, 2010.

Celebrating its 18th season, the festival, brainchild of Artistic Director Van Dirk Fisher, is a play competition in which the audience and the theatre's judges cast their votes to select the best play of the season. Twice a year, hundreds of plays from across the country are submitted for the competition. Plays move from the 1st Round to the Semi-Finals and then the Finals. The playwright of the winning play receives $1,500.00 and the opportunity to have a full-length play developed by the Riant. The awards to be presented are Best Play, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

Glazer's play advanced to the semi-finals to be held at St. Clement's on Wednesday, August 18th.

Growing up in 1950s Brooklyn had a tremendous impact on Mitch and his passion for theatre. Mitch points to such icons as the late Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra and one of comedy's living legends, Jackie Mason, as profound influences.

 Said Glazer, “I remember watching Jackie and thinking that I can write something for him. He is a world famous comedic genius and yet a regular guy who is always himself, not a Hollywood phony at all.”

After watching one of his shows, Mitch visited Mason backstage and offered him a few original jokes. Mason, impressed with Glazer's genuine heartfelt intentions, eventually became Mitch’s mentor and life-long friend.

Although a first timer at the Strawberry One Act Festival, Mitch is no stranger to the stage and bright lights. He has been writing, singing, and performing for over 25 years in a variety of venues, including the New York Comedy Club, where his 2001 show, It’s Definitely Going to Happen-Maybe, was staged.

While he always loved performing, Glazer was realistic about making a living in show business. "You’re either rich because you made it big, or poor and still struggling for recognition." In light of this, Mitch nurtured his gift and desire to perform while working as the controller for 30 Macy’s restaurants and later at the USMMA.

 “If I didn’t think I had good material, I wouldn’t do it," asserted Mitch. “I do it because I don’t want the classics that I grew up with to disappear.”

As testament to his dedicated yet light spirit, Mitch states, “As I approach the milestone of 60 years old, I realize that if I obtain notoriety a little later in life, this can be a plus since no one can say, ‘Look how old he got!’”

Known professionally as Mitchell Robert, his two-hour script of Simply Me contains 13 original songs composed with the assist of musician Albee Barr. Mitch hopes that his 30 minute mini-performance at the Strawberry One Act Festival will gain recognition with agents and others in the business so that he might take another step closer to his dream of performing regularly on Broadway, or at least somewhere in the general vicinity.

Tickets may be purchased online the Strawberry One-Act Festival or at the Box Office for the Strawberry One-Act Festival from Aug. 12, 2010 at The Theatre at St. Clement's.

Tickets may be purchased online and picked up 30 minutes before show time.

Box Office Hours:
Monday - Friday:  6pm - 10pm
Saturdays:  2pm - 10pm
Sundays:  1pm - 9pm

The Award Ceremony  and performance will be held on August 22nd at 2 pm.  In addition, some of the plays in the festival will be selected for publication in the anthology: The Best Plays From The Strawberry One-Act Festival: Volume 7.

For more info on the fest go to:

2010 Strawberry One Act Festival
August 12 – 22, 2010
The Riant Theatre
at St. Clement’s
423 West 46th Street

Between 9th & 10th Ave.

Stratford and Shaw Festivals, Summer 2010

The Tempest
Written by William Shakespeare
Kiss Me, Kate
Music & lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Sam and Bella Spewack
(Tempest through September 12; Kate through October 30)
Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Canada

John Bull’s Other Island
Written by Bernard Shaw
The Doctor’s Dilemma
Written by Bernard Shaw
(John Bull through October 9; Doctor through October 30)
Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

Summer in Canada has much to recommend it, notably more bearable weather than hot, sticky New York. But Canada’s best are its theater festivals at Niagara-on-the-Lake and Stratford, as excellent actors and inventive directors combine for top-notch productions of great plays by Shakespeare, Shaw and others—with a musical or two thrown in.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival gives preeminence to the greatest playwright in English (or any other language). And this summer’s star is our greatest living classical actor in English: Christopher Plummer unforgettably plays Prospero in The Tempest, and if Des McAnuff’s visually dazzling, sometimes too-clever staging doesn’t always let Shakespeare’s final masterpiece breathe, it at least lets Plummer—who enacted a monumental Caesar in Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra on the same stage two summers ago—to crown a storied stage career.

Now a spry 80 years old, Plummer uses his lifetime of experience to plumb the depths of Shakespeare’s deposed duke turned magician on a magical isle with his teenaged daughter Miranda, orchestrating the play’s events to happen in his favor with the help of the sprite Ariel. If McAnuff’s staging drags during the usual overdone comic scenes featuring a drunken Trinculo and Stephano with the monstrous Caliban, there’s ample compensatory theatrical razzle-dazzle, including an enchanting opening image of Ariel descending to snatch Prospero’s magic book.

The cast is not nearly on Plummer’s level, with Peter Hutt’s dull Alonso and Julyana Soelistyo’s disastrous Ariel on the lowest rung. But Plummer controls the stage throughout, whether reacting angrily as he recounts his banishment to Miranda or playfully aiding her courtship with Prince Ferdinand: here’s an actor in complete command of his resources and who, like his character, relies on them to do his stage magic. Plummer has the rare ability to speak Shakespeare’s lines so trippingly off the tongue as to sound like everyday speech. And his final speech to the audience is as unbearably moving as only a great actor can make it.

Also at Stratford is Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me Kate, based on Shakespeare’s early comedy The Taming of the Shrew. Happily, there’s little of director John Doyle's penchant for ruining musical theater works from Company to Peter Grimes. Porter’s songs, of course, are killers—“Wunderbar,” “So in Love,” “I Hate Men” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” for starters—as are the women, led by firecracker Chilina Kennedy, who came from the Shaw Festival to become a star at Stratford with a booming voice and charm to spare. Likewise, there’s Monique Lund, a fabulously-talented comedienne with an operatic voice. Their leading men aren’t as memorable, but no matter: Kiss Me Kate is a keeper.

The Shaw Festival’s two namesake plays this summer are rarely done in New York. Christopher Newton has staged John Bull’s Other Island as if it was a fairy tale. That’s not far off the mark: Shaw’s beguiling (if dated) comic drama is about an Englishman who goes to Ireland for the first time with his Irish business partner and falls for the charms of the Emerald Isle—including the Irishman’s former gal. Newton wittily uses British and Irish music by Vaughan Williams, Arnold and Harty, and his actors—led by Shaw vet Benedict Campbell, typically debonair as the Englishman—lead the way to a frolicsome, if ultimately frivolous, 2-1/2 hours in the theater.

Uneasy laughs are plentiful in The Doctor's Dilemma, Shaw’s prescient black comedy about a doctor who must choose between two very different sick men to partake in a miraculous new treatment: a great artist who’s an awful human being or an elderly doctor as honest and humane as they come. Morris Panych’s production is hampered by the large Festival Theatre stage, which dwarfs the drawing-room intimacy of Shaw's philosophizing, and his “ironic” use of the Rolling Stones songs “Under My Thumb” and “You Can't Always get What You Want,” which smothers the beginning and end of each act. But the performances are top-notch, particularly Patrick Galligan as the perplexed physician and Michael Ball as his esteemed yet crusty colleague.

Ever Larger, The Fringe Fest 2010

Featuring Orson Welles, Sarah Palin, Jay Leno, Marilyn Monroe,Harvey Milk and Bruce Vilanch, the largest multi-arts festival in North America, The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC), will present the 14th Annual one from August 13th - 29th, 2010.

This year, the festival will offer programming by 197 of the world's best emerging theatre troupes and dance companies in 20 venues in Lower Manhattan. Attendance at last Sign At FringeCentralyear’s festival topped 75,000 people, making it New York’s fifth largest cultural event (just behind New York International Auto Show, Tribeca Film Festival, New York City Marathon, and New York Comic Con).

Among the nearly 200 productions being presented are 183 representing 18 US states including New Jersey, California, Chicago, Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas and Louisiana, as well as 14 international productions representing 12 countries including Singapore, Italy, France, Ireland, Norway, India and Australia.

Some of the more unusual FringeNYC 2010 titles include:

  • Jurassic Parq: The Broadway Musical
  • Vinnie Vidicici
  • T-O-T-A-L-L-Y!
  • Pope! An Epic Musical
  • Heterosexuals
  • Good Good Trouble on Bad Bad Island
  • The Battle of Spanktown
  • Eternity in an Hour
  • AK-47 Sing-Along
  • Love in the Time of Swine Flu

One noteworthy “trend” among the 197 productions could be labeled as “Muslim tales.”

From India, the festival offers A Personal War: Stories of the Mumbai Terror Attacks, a documentary drama based on interviews of people who experienced this monumental event.

Norway’s controversial Muslim comedienne Shabana Rehman (best described as a combination of Margaret Cho and Karen Finley) premieres her tale of immigration For Kingdom and Fatherland.

Other titles include Headscarf and The Angry Bitch, Driving the Saudis, Abraham’s Daughters, Flesh-Light Stories, and Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto.

Shakespeare also makes a strong showing with numerous productions of and inspired by the Bard. These include:

  • MacChin: The Lamentable Tragedie of Jay Leno (the Scottish play with a late-night TV twist)
  • Hamlet Shut Up (a silent re-telling)
  • Getting Even with Shakespeare (five of the Bard’s tragic heroes meet in a bar)
  • Orson Welles’ Julius Caesar: The Death of a Dictator
  • Hamlettes Richard 3 (set in a punk post-nuclear wasteland)
  • As You Like It

In addition to the previously mentioned appearance of Jay Leno, several other noteworthy public personalities also show up on the stages of FringeNYC 2010 -- in spirit only, of course. These include:

  • Sarah Palin (Picking Palin)
  • Morrissey (William and the Tradesmen)
  • Harvey Milk (Dear Harvey)
  • Joe DiMaggio (Marilyn Monroe: Wouldn’t It Be Fascinating)
  • Katherine Hepburn (Just in Time - The Judy Holliday Story)
And, in a year ripe with LGBT theater on and off Broadway, FringeNYC adds over two dozen more entries. Direct from Singapore, Ah Kua Show tells the personal story of author and activist Leona Lo, that country's most prominent transsexual. Confessions of a Mormon Boy star Steven Fales returns with his latest exploration of gay Mormons, Missionary Position. The Five Lesbian Brothers’ hit Off-Broadway The Secretaries, a comedy about a cabal of murderous office workers, gets a revival by TOSOS. And in both Veritas and The Twentieth-Century Way, little-known episodes of homophobia in American history are explored.

Other titles include

  • Friends of Dorothy: An Oz Cabaret
  • Jen and Liz in Love
  • Open Heart
  • Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown

Additional highlights of the festival include:

  • Shine: A Burlesque Musical, a musical about an infamous downtown burlesque theatre and the misfits who try to save it from demolition... or worse, respectability.
  • Stripes: The Mystery Circus, a comedy about an audition that goes comically awry.
  • Cookie and A Matter Of Choice, full productions of two new plays by hot up-and-coming indie playwright Chad Beckim.
  • Platinum, a revival of a 1978 Broadway musical by Bruce Vilanch, Will Holt and Gary William Friedman.
  • Ruby Wilder, a hit Chicago drama that tells the story of a murder from 3 different pints of view including that of the victim and the murderer..
  • Trick Boxing, in this international hit from Minnesota, a 1930’s apple seller is fooled into becoming a prize fighter.
  • South Pathetic, Jim David’s solo comedy about a ramshackle community theater.
  • In Loco Parentis, a drama about the relationship that blossoms between a teacher and a student grieving the death of her mother.
  • Evan O’Television in Double Negatives, an absurdist video-ventriloquism comedy.
  • The Swearing Jar, a comedy about lies between married people.

In November 2007, FringeNYC was honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg with the Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture “for its phenomenal leadership in showcasing the best and boldest theater and performance by both established and emerging artists.

The New York International Fringe Festival is renowned for presenting work that reflects the excitement and energy of the contemporary theater world - locally, nationally and abroad.”  Previous recipients of the award include Woody Allen, Celia Cruz, Stephen Sondheim, Wynton Marsalis, The Tribeca Film Festival, Mark Morris, The Public Theater, Chita Rivera, and Edward Albee.

In 2010, many of New York City's most prominent downtown performance venues will host productions from around the globe as part of FringeNYC. Past participant venues, ranging in size from 50 to 700 seats, include Lucille Lortel Theater, SoHo Playhouse, Players Theater, Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, Cherry Lane Theatre, Actors Playhouse, Barrow Street Theater, Minetta Lane Theater, P.S. 122, and The Village Theater. FringeNYC is a production of The Present Company, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Elena K. Holy.

In 1997, New York City became the seventh US city to host a fringe festival, joining Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Orlando and San Francisco.

In its first 13 years FringeNYC has presented over 2100 performing groups from the U.K., Canada, Poland, Ireland, Japan, China, Singapore, Germany, the Czech Republic and across the U.S., prompting Switzerland's national daily, The New Zurich Zeitung, to declare FringeNYC as “the premiere meeting ground for alternative artists.”

The festival has also been the launching pad for movies (WTC View) and even a TV show (‘da Kink in My Hair) as well as numerous Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers, long-running downtown hits, and regional theater productions including 

  • Urinetown
  • Never Swim Alone
  • Debbie Does Dallas
  • Dog Sees God
  • 21 Dog Years
  • Krapp 39
  • Dixie’s Tupperware Party
  • Silence! The Musical
  • Matt & Ben
  • The Irish Curse
  • 666
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party

FringeNYC shows run 2pm - midnight weekdays and noon - midnight on weekends.

Tickets are $15 in advance beginning July 23 by calling 866-468-7619 or at; $18 at the door, subject to availability.

Discount passes for multiple shows ($70 for a Fiver Pass, $120 for a Flex Pass good for 10 shows, and $500 for an all-you-can-see Lunatic Pass) are also available.

For more information visit:

The Present Company

520 Eighth Avenue, Ste. 311
New York, NY 10018

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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