Monday, December 31, 2012


Netflix wanted me back and willing to give me a one month free trial.  Competition is high with video rentals in both being sent snail mail and streaming online.  The deal is that for one month I can get a DVD sent, send it back and get another one, until a month later.   I can also stream as many movies, tv shows, etc. as I want.  Needless to say the streaming movies are not any of the latest and there are not many shows that if I have already missed, is most likely not important enough for me to see. 

Fios, for instance, offers free "on demand" stuff, mostly tv programs, so if I missed an episode of Glee, I could see that.  There never seems to be a movie on demand that I want to see for free.  Fios claims that the movies that they have on demand that you pay for come out before Netflix. 

The advantage to any of this is that you can sit at home in your underwear, if you choose, stop the movie, prepare your meal, go back, stop the movie, continue preparing you got it.  The cost is pretty good as it is not per person as in "going to a movie theatre". 

Then, again, there is your "plan" with Fios, Directtv, etc. that can include a whole bunch of premium movie channels. 

So, let's get back to Netflix.  I received a movie on Friday.  It skipped a bit and was annoying to watch. I let them know.  I send it back on Saturday.  They can't receive it on Sunday and I don't get an email on Monday that says that they received it.   I call Netflix and speak with supervisor  Michael, number 87341750.   It occurred to me that if they didn't receive it on Monday that they certainly won't receive it on Tuesday, a holiday.   They will most likely receive it on Wednesday and send out the next one on my list, which I won't receive until Thursday, the earliest.  

I'm asking, in order to view Netflix as something that I would continue, to send me the next two on my list at one time.  After all, they wouldn't want me to get the sense that for the offered price, I wind up with one per week, even though I send it back the next day.

Michael is not a very good public relations person.  He and the first person I spoke with just keep telling me that there is a three day period for them to receive the DVD back and if they don't they could look into considering it as being lost.  That and their not accounting for the postal days.  This has nothing to do with the conversation on hand.  He just didn't want to give me a free DVD.  "If we do this for one customers, etc."

When the exact date hits I will cancel.  They are certainly going to ask me why.   I will tell them that Netflix's staff is totally clueless when it comes to public relations and wanting to keep a customer.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


There is a Chinese Restaurant on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven called Carnival House.  They've been around for a long time.  I tend to get something there if I want it delivered, although I haven't placed an order in quite a while. I didn't have a menu, concluding that I must have thrown it out.  I guess there was a reason.

I was simply in the mood for some boneless spare ribs and fried chicken wings.  One thing that I remembered about this restaurant was that when you buy chicken wings they are not wing parts, but whole wings.  The last time the price was about $3 for 4 wings and they were not small sized wings.

Was it a change in management or simply not caring about quality?   The boneless ribs had a bit of a weird taste.  Considering the size of the take-out restaurant that has a few tables, I believe that the rib slabs are already marinated when they receive them and they simply brush the slabs with a packaged bbq sauce and place it under the broiler.  When done, they slice it up.

The wings were an even bigger....or should I say "smaller" disappointment.  I received 4 regular sized wings and certainly not worth a buck a wing.

If you place an order that's $10, they give you a choice of a free can of soda, egg roll or soup.  They didn't ask me and delivered a can of just about un-fizzled Coca Cola.  I don't drink carbonated beverages, let alone Coca Cola.

So I wound up costing me over $10 (tax and tip) for an "Un-happy Meal".   For that price I could go to the Genting Palace and get a lunch of all you can eat dim sum!

Oy, I don't feel too well. I think the restaurant made my stomach turn.

Monday, December 24, 2012


It's one thing when I get mail addressed to a former residence of my home but when I get mail addressed to my neighbor, I have to think about where my mail is going to.  On Saturday, I received a piece of mail addressed to my neighbor on the right.  Today, it was THREE pieces of mail addressed to the neighbor on my left.  Just the legality alone of dropping mail into the mailbox of another is something to look at but this is the post office and it's my regular mailman delivering the mail.

My biggest concern is that my bills will not get to me and then I'm penalized.  One of the pieces of mail that should have gone to my neighbor came from a bank.  I called the post office to tell them as this is not the first time that this has occurred.  They even sent me a sticker to place above my mail slot alerting the carrier to make sure that it's going to the correct address.  After enough weather related upsets to the sticker, it is no longer there.  So, does that mean that the carrier now does not have to look at the address?  Am I expected to be a mail carrier and deliver the incorrect mail to the correct address?

What test did this guy take to get the job?  

I wrote on each piece of mail, "Delivered to the wrong address".   The carrier is supposed to "swing around later" and pick up the mail.  Is that like waiting for the furniture to arrive? 

Sunday, December 23, 2012


How do take a 36 character cast of an Off-Broadway musical and work it so that six actors play all of the roles in a span of about 90 minutes?  Working is the name of the production that was first presented on Broadway in 1978 with stars that included Patti LuPone and Joe Mantegna.  It is now being presented in an Off (not sure if is Off-off) Broadway venue, 59E59 (Yes, it's located at 59 E. 59th Street), by the Prospect Theatre Company and called "Working, A Musical".

Working, from the book by Studs Terkel, adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso (with additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg (who directed this production) included songs by Craig Carnella, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers & Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz and James Taylor. It's all about finding significance in your jobs.

As the audience enters, we see actors preparing, stage crew setting up the stage, and the stage manager doing a pre-show check.  Half lights and the Stage Manager is cuing lights and some videos. Some are projections and we can see three old tape recorders playing at different points. One is of Chicago radio broadcaster Studs Terkel, who published a best selling compilation of interviews that involved a cross section of Americans talking about their jobs.  The entire company sings, "All The Livelong Day".

Let me first give you the cast:  Marie-France Arcilla, Joe Cassidy, Donna Lynne Champlin, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Nehal Joshi and Kenita R. Miller.  Now, I'll give you the cast of characters in order of appearance along with the numbers.

Mike Dillard, ironworker (Joe). Rex Winship, hedge fund manager (Joe). Amanda McKenny, project manager (Kenita). Freddy Rodriguez, fast food worker (Nehal) as he and the ensemble sing, Delivery.

Rose Hoffman, school teacher (Donna). She sing "Nobody Tells Me How". Terry Mason, flight attendant (Marie). Frank Decker, interstate trucker (Jay). He and the ensemble sing, "Brother Trucker".

Raj Chadha, tech support (Nehal). Sharon Atkins, receptionist (Marie). Kate Rushton, housewife (Kenita). She sings, "Just A Housewife".

Conrad Sweibel, UPS delivery man (Jay). Roberta Victor, prostitute (Kenita). Candy Cottingham, fundraiser (Donna). Grace Clements, millworker (Marie). She and the ensemble sing, "Millwork".

The entire cast will sing, "If I Could've Been".  Allen Epstein, community organizer (Nehal). Anthony Coelho, stone mason (Nehal). He sings, "The Mason". Eddie Jaffe, publicist (Joe). Delores Dante, waitress (Donna). She sings, "It's An Art".

Joe Zutty, retiree (Joe). He sings, "Joe". Tom Patrick, fireman (Jay). Utkarsh Trajillo, elder care worker (Nehal).  Theresa Liu , nanny (Marie).  Utkarsh and Theresa sing, "A Very Good Day".

Maggie Holmes, cleaning lady (Kenita). She and ensemble sing "Cleanin' Women". Ralph Werner, student (Jay). Charlie Blossom, ex-newsroom assistant (Nehal). Mike Dillard, ironworker (Joe) returns and sings "Fathers and Sons" along with an ensemble.

The last number is called "Something To Point To", sung by the company.   It is all about those that work who do not get the recognition but can point to a building, bridge, road or something that they can recall having even a tiny piece of the action involving the job that they do. "The lumber was cut, decisions were made, the office is run, the coffee is sold, etc.".

Working, A Musical will have it's run at this venue until December 30th.  The running time is 90 minutes with no intermission, now renamed, "inter-pish-ion" by Mark Lord and myself.  For those who are not privy to the Yidish word, "pish", it means "pee".  Any intermission is an interpishion.

My critique. Most times a cast member would go off stage and return in a different outfit for the different character.   There were many times that two members of the backstage crew would come onto the stage and redress the actor to change to another character without a change of lighting. Clever!

Favorite number was "It's An Art", due to both the humor, singing and presentation.  Kudos to Donna who got it.  Good voices.  All in harmony and professional.  However, there wasn't any particular performer that I would go out of my way to hear at a nightclub.  Talented cast.  All on cue. Good choreography by Josh Rhodes.  Band was hidden above the "cubicles". 

Here is Mark Lord's critique of the show.  
"All of the songs in the show are holdovers from Broadway, with two new additions by Lin-Manuel Miranda,
of "In the Heights" fame. A few of the original numbers have been cut. Several lines have been added, too,
bringing the show a more up-to-date feel and lending it greater relevance.

Here, a cast of six talented and versatile performers takes on over two dozen roles. This means a lot of very quick costume changes, several of which are cleverly done in view of the audience. The wardrobe assistants pitch in with panache."

The choreography is simple but effective. Scene changes are interwoven seamlessly. Use of multi media
recordings and projections enhances the show's effectiveness. The show runs 95 minutes without intermission and flies by. In today's economy, it takes on extra poignancy."

For a complete schedule of upcoming shows go to   


I have this indoor-outdoor zero gravity "chaise lounge" that I bought from Sharper Image.  Never hit the outdoors as I have been using it as my "recliner" in front of the tv.   It is made of steel, some type of non-chinsy material and wood on the arms.  You've probably seen these.  In the lying position, I tend to nod off due to it being so comfortable and having its own pillow as well.

With the many years of use and all I could do to mend the parts that keep it together (gaining weight will do that), I thought it was time to get a new one.  I had been looking all over for the same one but Sharper Image went out of business and had been taken over to be no more than an internet buying site.  Zero gravity chair not a part of it.

I googled and found a company called HAYNEEDLE.   It got lots of stars and I thought I found one that was perfect for indoor and moderately priced.  It showed being thick padded and close to what I wanted or at least what I would settle for.

Out of the box.  No instructions.  Didn't really look as if I needed any to put it together other than how to install the cup that goes with it.  No matter how I maneuvered it, it would not go into a sitting position and believe me I so stubbornly tried.  I spoke to customer service who said that there was a video on their website.  It showed the chair in a sitting position and how to turn a couple of knobs to get the position you want towards lying down.  It did not help.   You have to be able to sit in a chair such as this in order to work the knobs.  Funny that there were no instructions as if they had sent me one that someone had already returned and after looking at it and not testing it out, they just re-wrapped and threw it back in the box.

Hayneedle decided to refund my money and said that I should donate the chair or throw it out.  Donate it?  If it doesn't work, what would someone do with it.  It's not like a chaise lounge with no arms.  In its lying position, you can't get into it.  Perhaps HAYNEEDLE needs to check out the company that made it for them to sell, or perhaps they only use reviews that are positive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Big Apple Performing Arts, Inc. presented the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, this past Sunday, December 15th at Town Hall. Dr. Charles Beale, Artistic Director did such a FABULOUS job conducting those lovely voices. There were a few times that he stepped aside to allow James Gedge and Skie Ocasio to do there thing as well.  It was all to do from keep my eyes on Tom McGillis, the Sign Language Interpreter as he not only signed the words but used his acting abilities as well as his huge smile.

The performance was a combination of readings from a podium located below the stage on the left (stage right) and singing (vs. signing).  "I too sing America" was spoken leading into "The American Dream" and a salute to George Gershwin and Irving Berlin with "An American Holiday".  A spoken "Noel" was the followed by "Three Carols":  Emanuel, Shiloh, and Bethlehem, then into a reading of The Angel Gabriel salutes the blessed Virgin Mary.

"Ave Maria" (the Anton Bruckner version) following with "Gabriel's Message" and two speeches: "No struggle, no progress" and "Change".  Back to musice with "You Yourself Must Change It" and Over the Skies of Yisrael (yes, a token Jewish holiday number)".

The Legend of the Poinsettia was read followed by "Christmas Time is Here/Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".  Two firefighters were honored re hurricane Sandy ending the first part of the show with "Holding Out for a Hero".

A bit of humor after intermission with "What I Want for Christmas medley", "The Value of Singing", "High Middle and Low" and a sing along of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" with a twist having the words on the program insert.

GUEST STAR!  Judy Collins came on to the stage singing a few songs, telling a joke and letting us know about her Town Hall show coming up next June.

"Let it Snow" and "Silver Bells" was followed by a reading of Gingerbread Spoon Cake, a recipe from Paula Deen.  "Hard Candy Christmas" led into a reading of Gift Suggestions.  It was then that I notice that Tom McGillis had departed from his spot and onto the stage.  We were taught how to sign the beginning of "Silent Night".  At first there was a solo in German, followed by the chorus with everyone signing.  Then there was no music while we all signed the song.

McGillis stayed on the stage while the chorus sang "This Holiday" and the finale, "Christmas Time's a-comin'".

Celebrities?   I believe that Sarah Rice (who was in the original cast of Sweeney Todd as Johanna) was seated beside me. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


One of the best ways to seek a restaurant near an event that you're attending is to simply place, "restaurant near (the address)" and look at their menu.  LaGuardia Place, near NYU and Washington Square Park found Favela Cubana, "Traditional Cuban and Brazilian Food".  A Happy Hour bill of fare sounded most interesting as each of five appetizers and drinks had a cost of $5.  Can two people share all five, each have a drink and have your taste buds as well as your tummy satisfied for $35?

Two bongo drums line the entrance and on a much warmer evening, it would have been pleasant to sit outside.  Favela connotes a shanty town in Brazil.  The inside was a tone of wood, a few murals, showcase of Cuban and Brazilian rum and a bar with bongo drums for bar stools (they are all playable).

Wanting to experience more than just the happy hour delights, I ordered one of them, Lula Fritas that consisted of fried squid and shrimp with pickled onions and chili aioli sauce. Served with house made plantain chips.  I was most pleased to find it cooked perfectly, let alone tasting so well being that it isn't an Italian restaurant.  I even chuckled that they used the word "calamari" instead of "squid".  Turned out that the owner, Marco Britti, spent most of his life in Italy before moving to Brazil.

With the assistance of Jelena, a was able to get a description of the other Happy Hour dishes: Chorizo Croquettes (3), Pulled Pork sliders (2), Empanadas (3) and a portion of Tostones (twice fried plantains) with Favela Sauce.

Rather than check out the pork sliders, my test for Cuban is the Cuban Sandwich, which consists of the roasted pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, fried pickles and honey dijon mustard done panini style on ciabatta.  It was served with a side of mixed greens. Test passed.

I continued eating. Pao de Queijo is a traditional cheese bread of Brazil. The small ball of dough, made with corn is wrapped around Asiago cheese.  Corvina Ceviche uses snapper as "corvina" is basically a white fish.  It is combined with cucumber, avocado, red onions, tomato, jalapeno, cilantro and fresh lime juice.

"Ensalada De Camarones" sounded good and tasted even better.  Seasoned grilled shrimp is the star as it is placed over a salad of baby arugula, toasted almonds, guacamole with a jalapeno dressing.

Beef was a must to sample typical Brazilian cuisine.  There were three different cuts of meat on the bill of fare.  Marco suggested the Ropa Vieja as this one uses skirt steak, one that is very tender and can be "pulled".  The meat is then mixed with bell peppers and Spanish onions.  Let's combine the Cuban cuisine by serving it with a side of Cuban black beans and white rice.

I guess I could have had coconut flan or tres leches, but I was intrigued with the Passion Fruit Panna Cotta (there was also a dessert choice of gelato). The panna cotta was served with blackberries and a cashew nut brittle.

As for a drink, I ordered a Cava Sangria that added white grape juice, grand marnier, mint and strawberries. Quite refreshing.

As for my experience of the food, I found each of the items to have much flavor, and tantalized my taste buds as well as my tummy.  Favela Cubana is located at 543 LaGuardia Place. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is probably one of the best dramas on Broadway.  Some year ago, I saw the movie starring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton (Martha and George), Sandy Dennis and George Segal (Honey and Nick).  I remember little about the movie so the play was pretty much brand new for me.  Although this cast was quite unknown to me, it certainly didn’t detract from giving a more than superb performance.

Martha (Amy Morton), a large boisterous woman, 52 looking somewhat younger. Ample, but not fleshy. George (Tracy Letts), her husband , 46. Thin, hair going gray.   Honey (Carrie Coon), 26, a petite blond girl, rather plain. Nick (Madison Dirks), her husband, 28, blond, well put together, good-looking.  The set takes place in the living room of a house on the campus of a small New England college.

I understand that the original play was performed by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and this is exactly where the present cast of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is coming from (at the Booth Theatre through February 24th).   

Act I is entitled “Fun and Games”.   George and Martha have just come from an event on campus.  In spite of the lateness, they have invited guests.   Here is where we get that both George and Martha are alcoholics.  In fact everyone is going to drink and most will get drunk.   First big laugh.  Guests Honey and Nick ring the bell.   Argument (there will be just about as much arguing as booze) as to who will answer door.   Just as George flings open the door, Martha, simultaneously yells, “F**K YOU!

There is an in-joke about the event that they came from singing, “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf” (vs. big, bad wolf).  In actually, the meaning turns out to be, “who’s afraid of to live without illusion.” Throughout the play, illusion seems indistinguishable from reality.

It is difficult to tell which of Martha and George’s stories ­ about their son or George's past ­ are true or fictional.  The same seems to be with Honey and Nick’s lives. Nick married Honey for money, rather than love and although he appears to be strong he is impotent. Honey has been deceiving him by using birth control to prevent pregnancy.  She “poofed” up as if she was pregnant but it was not real.

The games that they play are called Humiliate the Host, Get the Guests, and Hump the Hostess.   There are definite points of comic relief in this drama of love/hate between Martha and George.   If the subject of emotional abuse bothers you, by all means, this is not your cup of Long Island Iced Tea.   However, if you can get past it, this classic is performed so well, that the three hours (with two intermissions) can certainly be enjoyed thanks to Director Pam MacKinnon.   


Mummenschanz is celebrating their 40th anniversary with a show at the NYU venue of Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Trying to describe the type of performance is almost like giving a verbal description of how to tie your shoelaces.

To make it easier I will give you their description. "The ordinary becomes extraordinary as common materials of everyday objects - wires, tubes, fabrics and different shapes spring to life as fantastic characters".  You will see 30 sketches of playful, colorful creatures.

Non-verbal mime-masque theatrics with a cast of four includes Floriana Frasseto, the co-founder, who has been with the company since it originally performed in Paris in 1972.  We all wish we were able to move that well as we age.  How they do it is the awesome part of this and you can't help but laugh as well. 

The actors are clad in black as about half of the sketches focus on the lit up costumes.  You will view the creatures, characters, or whatnot going across the stage so it appears that there are no actors with them.  At other times actors are inside the "creature" and move about to create the sketch.  Okay, as an example...each of two actors were onstage "dressed" to focus more on their head than the rest of the body.  Why?  The eyes and other parts of their head were tubes of toilet paper.  This captured a love scene between the two by using the toilet paper. As I said, it's difficult to"you had to be there".

There are even times when the "character" comes off the stage and into the audience.  One of the funniest was this huge "ball" that kept approaching the edge of the stage with some reluctance and then simply rolled into the audience and on top of a few folks.  

What is so fabulous about Mummenschanz is that it's not limited to any type of audience.  All of the kids in the audience were awe could hear them.  Standing ovations and a few curtain calls.  Mummenschanz is a masquerade of pure joy.

Performances will be running until January 6, 2013.  Check it out at 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Good old Stop & Shop. Glendale, NY location.  I can always count on them to be aggravated.   Why do they post guarantees if they are going to make a big deal about them or even not honor them?  With a "double your money back" guarantee, you'd think that they would get things right.  NOT SO!

I had written that I purchased a semi-boneless leg of lamb (I still can't figure out as to what it would be if the whole bone was in considering that a bone went through the entire half leg) and had it cut up into a roast and some steaks.  Again, I had one steak that tasted a little weird and got nauseous.  Any time that I have had an issue with the fish or meat I have asked as to whether they wanted me to bring in the package.  They told me that I did not have to.  Just bring in the receipt or they have asked to have me bring in the price stickers as well.  This time I brought in the meat.  Total attitude as if I do this purposely to get double my money rather than monitor.  The people at the customer service area discussed it, asked what was wrong with what I brought back last week (believe me...there is a reason...look at the guarantee).  Interestingly, I did NOT get double my money back but the price I paid.  Who exactly gets to make the decision? 

Next...there is a sign in the seafood department that guarantees "no pin bones" in the salmon.  In the last few weeks I have had to pull out a pin bone from my mouth.  The sign is pretty recent so if they think that by putting up the sign you would feel better about buying doesn't work!!!

I bring my own bags when I shop there.  I don't prefer to scan, but I place the items in each of the bags that I want "re-bagged".   It's a lot easier when I get home and have them separated by groups.  Even with cat food on sale at like 20 for $10...I put 20 in each bag.  Easier to carry as well.  And there is usually one large insulated bag for items that are either frozen or should be kept cold.   None of the cashiers have ever had a problem until MARY!  Last week I presented the logistics and she had an upset.  Everyone else moves things around and scans with the portable scanner, etc.  She has the need to pick up the bag turn it over and dump the items onto the counter.  And she has to life it high enough...if you get my drift.  Talk about drama!

I happened to have gotten her today and there was that attitude and asking why I don't scan it.  However, this time she picked up a bag of cans of cat food to dump and one fell off the counter and onto my foot (I wear sandals and it "smarted").   I had to ask if someone could pick it up as I have a cane....hint, hint. 

It was the last straw!!!   I had a conversation with the store manager about it all.  She apologized and said she would talk to everyone about the problems.  I called the corporate office a little while ago and expressed my complaints about EVERYTHING!!!   The customer service person took the info and said it would be sent on to the correct person who will be getting back with me.  Let's see if it happens and what they will do to keep me as a satisfied customer. 


Monday, December 10, 2012


Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas.  Is it a mystery or comedy?  There's really no mystery, it's just plain SICK!  Ya gotta have that sense of humor to enjoy this witty play aka "The Other F**king Christmas Story".

 Present time, Christmas Eve. A dingy dilapidated great room of Grandma Cathy's (Roxie Lucas) run down Victorian home. Furniture is completely outdated and a big picture of a Native American chief hangs crookedly next to the entrance to the kitchen. Get the idea? A wooden table sits in the center of the stage with several chairs around it. Brett (Kevin O'Donnell) is relaxed on the couch nest to a small stack of Christmas gifts.  This is the house of Jen's (Brandi Nicole Wilson) grandma, who is married to Brett.

We learn immediately that according to granny's will, she will inherit the house and is not really thrilled with the idea, since her sister Leigh (Katie Webber) is due to inherit two million dollars. Leigh is married to Carl (James Wirt) a wimpy, nerdy guy.  One more character is Ray (Adam Mucci) a wheelchair bound ex-marine whose disability stems from the Vietnam War.  He is the brother of Brett.

Everyone wants to get their inheritance as quick as possible and the solution is to off grandma.  From the moment grandma Cathy enters, we get that she has a "potty" mouth and personality to match.  The question is, who is going to do the deed?  Well, why not have the stronger grandson-in-law persuade the nerdy grandson-in-law to kill her off?  Especially when you have a funny character to boot?

But then there is a hitch.  It appears that grandma is a cougar.  Ray and her fall in love, set to marry and now the will gets changed.  Perhaps grandma should be offed before the wedding?

So, that's the story.  Roxie Lucas and James Wirt get the funniest characters and that's what stands out in this outrageous play written by Brian Gianci and produced by Robert Nicotra and John Dapolito.

I attended the opening night performance with another writer, Mark Lord who wrote: "Here's my take on "Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas:" Overall, I enjoyed it quite a lot. But I thought the play had a hard time deciding what it was supposed to be: a comedy, a satire, a commentary on the state of the world today? Regardless, it did keep the laughs coming and maintained interest because of its many twists and turns. Certain aspects were predictable, such as the ultimate fate of Grandma Cathy. Other developments were really far-fetched, most particularly the relationship that develops between Cathy and Ray. The performances were uniformly good, most notably those of Roxie Lucas as the potty-mouthed Cathy and James Wirt as the nerdy, abused Carl. The set was quite realistic and benefited from great details."

Let's Kill Grandma This Christmas is being performed at the Theatre at St. Clement's, 423 W. 46th St.  until January 6th.  In a nut need a twisted mind like mine to enjoy the humor. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Do you have a sports fan that you’re looking to buy a gift for?   Take, for instance, that they’re into the Brooklyn Nets.    You can go to the NBA store in Manhattan, check out the “store” on the Brooklyn Nets’ website or you may get a better bargain by going to a website called, Fanatics as in  

You don’t have to worry as to whether they are the real thing.  I checked.   What’s even great is that they have gear for a slew of teams and of various sports, including the Olympics, which is perfect for either nostalgia, a fan of a foreign team or a college supporter of his or her team.  Much clothing and collectibles as well.    


When I heard the description of the Off-Broadway production of Bare, I trumped up images of Broadway’s Spring Awakening with a gay plot.  As I scrambled through the actors’ bios, it did not surprise me to learn that there were at least four who were either in the Broadway version or touring.  That’s not bad since I happened to have loved Spring Awakening (saw it three times).

Curtain opens…oh, that’s right…there is no curtain.  The set has back and side fixtures of dozens of photos.  I couldn’t get close enough to see, but I think that they were photos of the students that were probably taken via a cell phone or such. 

Peter, (Taylor Trensch) a 16-year-old and sort of nerdy looking boy is upstage.  We are in the hallways of St. Cecilia’s Church. There is a large photo behind him stretched across the top of half the stage, that of high school students in the cast.  “I was asked to say a few words. I thought I should begin by telling you who I am. You know how, when you see a group picture, you try to find yourself in it? I never do that. I’m always surprised I’m there. I have a photographic memory. Another thing you probably didn’t know about me.  So I remember all of it. Every moment. It started on President’s Day. Well no, to be completely accurate, it started on Ash Wednesday. It began with a photograph”.   Time is then wound to earlier in the year.  Flashback.

Most of the cast enters to opening song taken place at Church, Fr. Mike (Jerold E. Solomon) at the pulpit.  Cast continues with “Million Miles From Heaven”.   Blackout. Lights go up to see Peter and Jason (Jason Hite) lying together in bed at Jason’s lake house.  Jason is a “jock”.   They are discussing Jason’s audition to play Romeo in the school play as well as a signal for them to be alone, “Can I borrow your math book?”

Let me get in some of the characters before I continue.  We have Ivy (Elizabeth Judd), the slut…we’ll at least rumor has it from the school she had gotten transferred from…then there is Jason’s sister, Nadia (Barrett Wilbert Weed) and Madison (Sara Kapner) who believes the rumors.  Needless to say, Jason gets the part of Romeo and is playing opposite Ivy.   Matt (Gerard Canonico), who also auditioned for the part of Romeo, is in love with Ivy and now Jason, who doesn’t want to come out will need to prove himself of being “normal” by making it with Ivy.  Get the picture?

Sister Joan (Missi Pyle), who was also transferred from another school, is hip to it all and just wants the students to lead a happy life.  She is directing the play and believes that roles can be played by either gender, since there were only male actors back in the days of Shakespeare.  Her father was a dj and mother a singer.  Pyle gets to show off her voice and style in a most of the cast number called, “Don’t Tie Up The Request Line” which turns into a lounge act, her being “Mary”.
Some more to point out….Diane (Alice Lee) who is a bit naïve with some of the funniest lines, Zack (Casey Garvin), the challenging “jock” and Alan (Alex Wyse) a Jewish boy who transferred due to it being “the best school in the area”.  He’s best lines were, “I’m not allowed to date girls who aren’t Jewish. Can’t choose you unless you’re Chosen. Sorry ladies. Choosy Jews choose Chosen Chicks.”

Enough of the plot as I don’t want to give away the rest.  It’s time to congratulate those talented people who were responsible for Bare starting with the music.  Damon Intrabartolo wrote the music and Jon Hartmere (who also wrote the book), composed this contemporary rock musical worthy of buying a CD. I’ve heard that one is not yet available. So sad.   Stafford Arima directed this need to go to Broadway winner.  Travis Wall gave us the choreography.  Thank you Travis.  

I have to say that the entire cast came together to pull off what I feel was the best musical for this season, especially since I love comedy as well.   Okay, they threw in a token "Jew" but for comedy. The “baring one’s soul” plot came across with little clichés, plenty of comedy, as well as the important drama, great music, and a cast if harmonious voices.   My only disappointment is that Bare is “Off-Broadway” and deserved an upgrade.   I give Bare two thumbs up and a big toe!  Don’t miss it!  

See it at the New World Stages, 340 W. 50th Street (there are five stages at this venue).