Don’t Miss These Two Off-Broadway Gems

April 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Photo: publictheater.org

Time Out New York gave it 5-out-of-5 stars and had this to say:

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a new breed of rock musical, the dementedly sassy love child of South Park and Spring Awakening. From socialist rabble-rousers to Hutaree inbreds, this fist-pumping historical travesty has something for every disenfranchised groupie.

But there’s more. To wit: acknowledging the downside of being all things to all people. The creators of this whip-smart entertainment gleefully tickle the creepy, racist underbelly of populism, where ignorance meets insularity. By fusing rural America’s perennial paranoia of being invaded to the teen-angst idiom of emo rock, songwriter Michael Friedman and book writer/director Alex Timbers build a perfect pomo, transhistorical frame to lampoon the life and political career of our seventh President (played with towering charisma by Benjamin Walker). The supporting cast is equally on fire, including Colleen Werthmann’s chipper Storyteller, who perseveres despite a bullet in the neck.”

And my dear theater-going friend said it was fantastic and funny (and I trust him more than the critics).  That and the fact that the run has been extended until May 9th.  So, get thee downtown to the Public Theater.  You don’t want to miss this one.  Tickets are available online and by phone (212-967-7555).

North Atlantic

North Atlantic, The Wooster Group, Photo:bacnyc.org

Time Out New York gave this production 5-out-of-5 stars as well.  In their words:

“Some historians of the modern American surveillance state identify 1983 as the year it all started, with the terrorist bombing in Beirut that killed 241 Marines. Then-national security advisor John Poindexter instituted a process of exhaustive data-mining to anticipate future attacks. By a strange coincidence, 1983 is also the year the Wooster Group started developing James Strahs’s metanoir Cold War satire, North Atlantic. Like Poindexter (but infinitely cooler), director Elizabeth LeCompte and her merry band of avant-garde troupers are happiest wallowing in reams of assorted data. …

LeCompte’s typically stunning mise en scène looks amazing in the sleek Jerome Robbins Theater. Jim Clayburgh’s cantilevered-platform set tilts up and down as troops slide down the deck and scuttle under the hydraulics, conveying both a ship at sea and an elaborate simulator. Only LeCompte can orchestrate so many layers of choreographic and sonic complexity. There’s lots of fuzz and static in the air, but one piece of chatter comes through clear: North Atlantic is a dirty, clever, exhilarating thrill ride as only the Wooster Group could devise.”

The play is currently running at the Baryshnivkov Arts Center (37th Street between 9th and 10th avenues).  My theater-going friend gave this one a “thumbs-up” as well.  North Atlantic runs until April 25th.  Order tickets online.

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