Posts Tagged ‘Plays’

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Lewis Black, Chris Botti and Chaplin On Broadway..This Weekend

October 9, 2012

A new ON THE SCENE will be on this weekend and it includes my interviews with comedian Lewis Black whose play “One Slight Hitch” just opened at George Street Playhouse.  Along with musician Chris Botti and Rob McClure who plays silent movie legend Charlie Chaplin in the Broadway musical, “Chaplin.”

It’s an eclectic mix of extraordinary talent so tune in News 12 New Jersey this Saturday and Sunday October 13th and 14th at 8:30 am, 11:30 am and 4:30 pm each day.

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Reliving “The Day The Music Died”

October 28, 2011
“A surprise makes life worthwhile.”
The great playwright and director Arthur Laurents said that to me when I interviewed him a couple of years ago. I realize again and again how true it is.
A surprise last week led me down a few country roads that I never expected to travel, but what a worthwhile journey.
 On October 21st, I found myself in Clear Lake, Iowa, a town plopped between expansive farm fields along the aptly named Clear Lake. The area is home to some of the most fertile ground in America and to one of the great legends of Rock And Roll: Clear Lake was the last place Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “Big Bopper” Richardson performed before the plane crash that took each of their lives.
The Surf Ballroom where the “Winter Dance Party Tour”  stopped that February night in 1959 is still in Clear Lake. In fact, it’s a thriving venue (ZZ Top will play to a sold out crowd of 2,100 tomorrow night). And it looks much as it did when the brightest stars in the rebellious new genre of Rock And Roll pulled into town more than 50 years ago. It’s unlikely beach club motif (this is north Iowa, not Miami) with ocean murals along the sides of the ballroom still welcomes dancers.
But the ballroom isn’t just for concert goers. Anyone who wants to relive “The Day The Music Died” is welcome to walk through at any time and as I did, sit down in a booth and imagine watching Buddy Holly performing “Peggy Sue,” or sit for a moment on the very stage where those pioneers of rock sang their hearts out for the last time.
I would never have made this trip if not for something that happened one week earlier in New York. I saw the reading of a promising new musical by Charles Messina, “The Wanderer,” based on the life of Dion DiMucci. He was the only headliner of the “Winter Dance Party Tour” not on the chartered plane leaving Clear Lake, and so the only one who survived.  Messina digs deep into the tensions, dreams, hurt, self destruction, soaring triumphs and unbearable losses that only a Rock And Roll life can provide.
And after seeing it, I had to get closer to the moment that crystalized all those feelings for Rock And Roll’s first generation.
A trip to Clear Lake and to the crash site memorial in a field  just five miles north of town gave me the education I was seeking. And,  a personal connection to an event that happened long before I was born yet is the most enduring and heartbreaking tale of “what might have been.”
As I drove down the gravel road leaving the crash memorial and thinking about what I had seen and learned that day, I started clicking through the radio.  At the fourth station, my heart skipped a beat. It was another little surprise to make the moment incredible. “Peggy Sue” was on.
You couldn’t script a better ending.
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“The Accidental Pervert”: A Review

February 2, 2011

Of all things to forge a sacred bond between father and son…tossing a softball in the park, fishing together at a favorite lake, watching the football game on a Sunday afternoon… this is not a shared interest that you’d post pictures of on Facebook. Or document in the family photo album. Or brag about to the grandparents.

You’d be more likely to tell it to a priest. At confession.

In fact, that’s what “The Accidental Pervert” is like. A confession. Andrew Goffman reveals in his one man show that the tie that binds his family is a G string.

Pornography. A father’s legacy. A son’s obsession.

Goffman’s entertaining semi-autobiographical comedy (a true story in which names and certain details are changed to protect the un-perverted) is a trip down a XXX-rated memory lane.

As Goffman tells it, at age 11 he stumbled upon a box of pornographic videotapes tucked away in a closet, left behind by his father who had moved out after a divorce. Curiosity+hormones=the rest of the story.

“No one starts out to be a pervert,” Goffman rationalizes to the audience. But those tapes, a VCR and abundant hours home by himself, turned Goffman’s young life into the Ron Jeremy edition of an after school tv special.

Set in Goffman’s room, circa 1980 and complete with a recliner, Norman Rockwell prints hanging on each wall and Goffman in boxers and a t-shirt,  he speaks directly to the audience, animatedly recounting with the help of some provocative sound effects and props.. and a dose of humility, charm and self-deprecating humor…how porn took over his life, warped his image of women and set him up for the most unrealistic expectations.

By the time the nearly 90 minute performance winds to close, Goffman’s conclusion that it has taken marriage and fatherhood to get him to put aside his penchant for porn and to have a healthy relationship in the living flesh, hardly comes as a surprise. The noteworthy twist is his relationship with his father…this odd, but intriguing and unspoken-between-them connection he now feels toward his father through these videos.  This is where Goffman’s show finds its heart and while drama does not seem to come as naturally to him (Goffman is a former stand up comedian and the comedic elements of his script are more strongly written)  he  succeeds in taking the audience in some unexpected directions.

“The Accidental Pervert” is written and performed by Andrew Goffman and directed by Charles Messina. It runs through June at the Players Theatre located on MacDougal Street in the West Village.