Lower East Side #6 – The Abrons Arts Center, Henry Street Settlement

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Abrons Arts Center

I love the theater, plays and musicals, Broadway and Off Broadway, you name it.  When I moved to the Lower East Side, I assumed that my closest fix would be the Public Theater on Lafayette Street.  At the time I didn’t realize that, in fact, there is a theater less than a five-minute walk from my apartment, at the Henry Street Settlement‘s Abrons Arts Center.  I know now.   As their website explains:

The Abrons Arts Center brings innovative artistic excellence to Manhattan’s Lower East Side through diverse, cutting-edge performances; exhibitions; residencies; classes and workshops for all ages; and arts-in-education programming at public schools.

There are classes for adults – dance (ballet, ballroom, belly, modern), music, theater, and visual arts – and for children of all ages – tap, salsa, and krumping for teens (who knew?), flamenco, children’s ceramics, digital photography, and musical theater, and even Broadway Babies and Creative Dance Movement for toddlers.  This is just a sampling of what’s available.  The complete list of Classes & Workshops can be found here.

Classes at the Abrons Arts Center

As for the much-anticipated theater aspect, last Friday night I made my first visit.  I saw one of the final performances of Christina Masciotti’s new play, Vision Disturbance.  I had intended to see the two-hander from the moment I walked by the center and saw the sign positioned out front.  And then I read Ben Brantley’s review in the Times and David Cote’s review in TimeOut New York, and I new I had to go.  The play lived up to the reviews; it was insightful and moving, operating on multiple levels through witty, razor-sharp dialogue and monologue, and simple staging.  The performances of the two leads, Linda Mancini as Mondo and Jay Smith as Dr. Hull, were funny and heartbreaking.  Everything you want in 80 minutes of sustained disbelief.

Joey Arias at the Abrons Arts Center

There is an impressive schedule of events between now and the end of the year, including a couple of plays, as well as musical and dance performances.  Next up for me?  Joey Arias in Concert which I am attending with with good friends who’ll finally make the trek to my “neck of the woods.”

Can’t wait.

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