Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Editor's note: What do you do when a longtime friend asks you to review a play and your job has you being a theatre critic?   Here is my review for a show called "Let's Hear It For Queens" written by Mark Lord who has done much directing but a first at both writing the show and the song lyrics.

Although longtime Queens resident Mark Lord is a retired English teacher, he has spent much of his time acting and directing.  What is left in the way of Community Theatre?  Writing a script for a play and in this case, one with original music to which he also wrote the lyrics.   The play, presented as part of the FSF Community Theatre Group, located at the Free Synagogue of Flushing, is titled, Let’s Hear It For Queens.
The show is all about Queens County (not drag queens or the Queen of England), its history and culture as Keiran Larkin plays a 400-year-old Antiquous, a humorous man who has seen it all and done everything.   

Todd Berkun, for instance, wrote an article some years ago about a woman named Mary Sendek, who opposed having her house, located on the corner of 54th and Broadway in Elmhurst, bought up to make way for Macy’s.  The story was told with photos followed by a song called “At The Corner”; music by Joe Ferrante, lyrics by Mark Lord.

Let’s Hear It For Queens would be characterized as a “revue” vs a play as there is no plot.  At many times a group of actors would enter onstage and each would recite a line or two.  At other times, they were production numbers such as: “The Queens We Mean”, “Hello!”, “Unisphere” and a finale of “Anthem”, “We Point With Pride” and “Let’s Hear It For Queens”.

Landmarks were presented as surprised guests Daniel Dromm, Melinda Katz, Curtis Sliwa, and Carl Clay were given lines to read.  It was also a chance for Melinda Katz to announce her running for Borough President and John Liu to announce being the first Asian-American to run for mayor.  
Segments would have an actor portray an anecdote of personal information contributed to the production such as having Richard Weyhausen talking about “Gay Culture in 1970s Jackson Heights” through the eyes of Councilman Daniel Dromm.

Much of the second act was devoted to celebrating the 40th year of FSFCTG with songs from past musicals of which most were directed by Maryellen Pierce for the last 30 years.   As a song from Fiddler On The Roof was sung the front of the playbill was shown with the date of 1997.  Doing the math I realized that it was that many years ago when I had portrayed Yenta in that production.  It was this segment of the show that appeared the most polished and where the actors truly showed their talent.  Kudos goes to Richard Weyhausen, Donald Gormanly and Amanda Doris.   Larkin was a great choice having excellent acting abilities.

At most times I felt as if I were in an auditorium during “assembly” and being lectured.   The audience is asked if anyone speaks a language other than English or Spanish and called on to say a phrase in that language.  Another one is a contest at the end to see how many questions one can answer based on whether you remember what you heard in the show.   Alma mater songs were chosen as a sing-a-long to include one from Mary Louis Academy, where Pierce teaches.

For a first time author and lyricist I applaud Mark.   Two more performances: May 11th and 12th.  For tickets call (718) 428-8681

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