Archive for the Indie Theatre Category

Two Exciting Early O’Neill Offerings

Posted in Indie Theatre, PLUGS with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2016 by travsd

I am a huge fan of early Eugene O’Neill and so was much excited to learn about these two new offerings. Last night, Target Margin launched The Unseen O’Neill Lab at our old stomping grounds, the Brick, in Williamsburg, featuring five early to mid career O’Neill works:


More info at Target Margin’s web site. Also, as a head’s up, Target Margin will be showing Mourning Becomes Electra at the Abrons Arts Center in Spring 2017.

Meanwhile, tonight on the Lower East Side, the Wild Project is launching their version of Anna Christie:


Details and tickets for that one are here.

I’m in America’s First Play — Having Its World Premiere This Friday!

Posted in AMERICANA, Bowery, Barbary Coast, Old New York, Saloons, Indie Theatre, ME, My Shows, PLUGS with tags , , , , on November 2, 2016 by travsd

I am extremely excited to be taking part in this special theatrical event by Peculiar Works Project. It’s a production of Androboros the first play written and published in America (and ’til now, unproduced). It was written by New York Colonial Governor Robert Hunter in 1714 — it’s a political satire, and it’s quite funny! Furthermore, director Ralph Lewis is staging it in a boxing ring! Just in time for the national box that is the presidential election. I’m told the three night run is very close to selling out already so get your tickets now! See below for more details:

Patriotic Boxing Gloves with Democratic                             and Repubican Mascots on Them
We’ve added more seats for Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Peculiar Works Project presents


Adapted by S.M. DALE from the play by GOVERNOR ROBERT HUNTER (1666–1734)
Directed by RALPH LEWIS

Running time: 1 hour – Please note unique show times!

Take a break from the current election and vent with us at
OVERTHROW Boxing Club, 9 Bleecker St, NYC

Special Pre-Election FREE Event (Donations accepted) – Reserve Your Place at

Original Music SPENCER KATZMAN • Music performed by CLYDE DALEY, ROB MITZNER

When they go low, we go lower!

One Week from Today: W.C. Fields for President!

Posted in Comedians, Comedy, Indie Theatre, PLUGS, SOCIAL EVENTS, W.C. Fields with tags , , , , , , , on October 25, 2016 by travsd


Tuesday, November 1, 7:00pm: W.C. Fields for President!

You may not have heard, but we’re in the middle of a Presidential election season! Well, not the middle so much as near the end of a process that has been going on for about a year and a half. And after all that winnowing, all that thinning of a very large pack, the American people in their wisdom managed to select two candidates whom large numbers of their fellow Americans just can’t stand!

It’s time to take a break from all the madness. Which is why I hope you’ll join us one week from today for W.C. Fields for President, a mock campaign event starring the eponymous screen comedian, as played by Glen Heroy of PBS’s CircusW.C. Fields for President is based on the humor book Fields for President, which was written by the comedian and published just in time for the 1940 Presidential election. The original edition looked like this:


Then it was republished in the early 1970s, just when Fields’ popularity was experiencing a resurgence. In the mid ’80s I got a copy of that edition, and it was highly influential on me. My edition looks like this:


And, lastly, just a few weeks ago it was recently re-released with a new forward by Dick Cavett). Ultimately that (and the current election) are what precipitate next Tuesday’s event. Every shelf should have one. Buy your copy here. 


Here’s me and W.C.’s only granddaughter Dr. Harriet Fields at our planning meeting a few weeks back (a.k.a Through the Looking Glass):


The present show was adapted from the book, and is directed by me, Trav S.D. It stars Glen Heroy of PBS’s Circus and will feature special guests, including Lauren Milberger, as Gracie Allen (who also ran a comedy Presidential campaign in 1940). 

Our event is going to be held at the Lambs — the historic theatrical club, of which one of the most famous members just happened to be…W.C. Fields. Here is Heroy rehearsing at the Lambs, only yesterday:


And by rehearsing, I mean playing pool. The Lambs is located at  3 West 51st Street, 5th floor. A suggested donation of $10 supports The Lambs Foundation. Attendance is limited, please RSVP to Kevin Fitzpatrick, kevin [AT ]  Again, it takes place Tuesday, November 1 at 7pm.

W.C. Fields for President is part of Fields Fest, a festival of talks, screenings, walking tours and other events celebrating the life and career of W.C. Fields. For more on Fields Fest and some of our other events, go here. Fields Fest is our follow up to the highly successful Marxfest, which took place in May of 2014. 

Reviving the Genius of Zora Neale Hurston

Posted in African American Interest, BOOKS & AUTHORS, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Indie Theatre, ME, PLUGS, Women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by travsd


I first encountered the work of writer/ anthropologist/ folk-lorist Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) in the early 1990s when I was researching voodoo and the blues (thank you, New York Public Library). Her published fieldwork from the 1920s and ’30s is amazing, not just by reason of WHAT she captured for all time, African American byways that like all folk culture are ever in danger of dissolving in the face of modernity, but HOW she reported it. She brought an artist’s instinct to the table. She knew what was important, what would engage and entertain and move us, and how to shape it and present it. This gift would also inform her fiction, which she is better known for today, and which I finally read and enjoyed over the past few months.

The occasion for that recent reading binge was preparation for this feature in this week’s Villager, about the New Federal Theatre’s new revival of Laurence Holder’s Zora Neale Hurston: A Theatrical Biography. I was thrilled to get interview both Holder and legendary director Woodie King Jr. (founder of the New Federal Theatre) for the story. The show opened last night, and I can’t wait to see it. For my feature in The Villager go here, and for my earlier tribute to Hurston on Travalanche go here.

8th Annual Lovecraft Fest Approaches

Posted in Halloween, Horror (Mostly Gothic), Indie Theatre with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2016 by travsd


Why the World Needs More John Housemans

Posted in BOOKS & AUTHORS, Broadway, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Hollywood (History), Impresarios, Indie Theatre, LEGIT, EXPERIMENTAL & MUSICAL THEATRE, Melodrama and Master Thespians with tags , , , , , on September 22, 2016 by travsd


 Today is the birthday of that great theatrical man John Houseman (1902-1988). We’ve already done a biographical post on him (read that here), and we’ve done one on his late career television show The Paper Chase (read about it here).

Earlier this year I chanced to read the first volume of his three part memoir, Run Through, which he wrote in the 1970s. I found the book both inspirational and consoling. How heartening it is to know that, even for the greatest theatrical geniuses of the age, working on these now legendary productions, life was still feast-or-famine, precarious, on top of the world one minute, broke as a hobo the next, always surfing the miserable yet exhilarating metaphysical tsunami of risk — risking your reputation, your very SELF, repeatedly on the altar of the public’s approval. When looked at this way, is there any doubt that the theatre begins NOT with storytelling, but with human sacrifice? At the volcano’s mouth, at the stake, in the coliseum? It’s not just “putting on a show” — it’s KILLING yourself to put on a show, trying to make something important that will make a memorable impression on the audience, will make some kind of alchemical change in their heads. What a rush. Clearly he felt the same way, although perhaps to a less pathological degree than his partner Orson Welles. 

My other take away from this book is how badly the theatre needs more Housemans. Indie theater in particular has more than its share of wanna-be Welleses. Everyone can’t play the coddled genius in this life; someone has to pay the baby food bills. Much rarer and arguably more necessary than aspiring geniuses are willing, hard working business managers. The elephant in the room when discussing Welles, yet rarely brought up, is the fact that the “charmed” phase of his career ended when he alienated Houseman. With Houseman out of the picture, Welles’ life became a struggle instead of the cakewalk it had always been until that point.

Houseman spent his young adulthood toiling behind desks in a series of responsible positions which even he found dreary (he traded grain until the stock market crash). But it taught him worldly skills and discipline. What made Houseman even rarer, of course, was that he was such a highly cultured businessman. In fact most people today think of him primarily as an actor. He was also an accomplished writer, dramaturg and director in addition to being a producer, and was well cultivated in ALL of the arts. Thus, when it was his task to raise money for a project, he was a full creative partner and collaborator. He was necessary to the art; he wasn’t just a bean-counter in some compartmentalized department (as I’ve often witnessed in larger arts organizations). He knew whereof he spoke. Thus I say and say again:  The best thing that could happen to the arts in this country would be to start churning out far fewer Wellses, and many more Housemans. WAH! I WANT MY HOUSEMAN!

Tammy Faye Starlite is Back (and My Rave About Her is Up)

Posted in Art Stars, Comedy, Contemporary Variety, Crackers, CRITICISM/ REVIEWS, Indie Theatre, Jews/ Show Biz, Singers, Singing Comediennes with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2016 by travsd


I caught opening night of Tammy Faye Starlite in Holy War 2016 at Pangea and it was every bit as dazzling as I knew it would be. Read my rave here in Chelsea Now

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