BEST OF 2011
It's again a good year for new music and reissues. The usual disclaimers stating the obvious but pertinent: We were not able to hear all the concerts and discs of 2011. We merely give credit to the ones we geographically, financially or by circumstance were able to lay our ears upon.
Happy hunting to
all, and an artistically rich 2012.
New York City
10 memorable rituals
@ Zebulon 2/22/11
/ Atom TM @ David Rubinstein atrium 4/7/11
Pikacyu & Makoto
Kawabata at Monster Island Basement 5/11/11
at Japan Society 5/13/11
- the transfinite exhibit at the Armory 5/20/11
Wu Fei at
3 at Le Poisson Rouge 9/13/11
at Death By Audio 11/2/11
& Christian Marclay at Japan Society 11/19/11
solo organ at Miller Theater 12/9/11
Cuidad México, D.F. / Mexico City
Weird synthetic sounds for acoustic levitation.
1. DJ RASHAD.
Just A Taste. Ghettophiles.
2. HYPE WILLIAMS.
One Nation. Hippos in tanks.
POINT NEVER. Replica. Mexican Summer
4. JAMES FERRARO.
Far side Virtual. Hippos in tanks.
5. STEVE HAUSCHILDT.
Tragedy & Geometry. Kranky.
6. BYTONE. Symeta.
7. ANDY STOTT.
We Stay Together. Modern Love.
8. ZOMBY. Dedication.
9. DEATH GRIPS.
PALACES. Black Up. Sub Pop.
Archeology: New discoveries of Cosmic Sounds heard in 2011
1. CAL TJADER.
Latino. Originally released in 1960 by Fantasy Records.
2. IDRIS MUHAMMAD.
Power of Soul. Originally released in 1974 by CTI Records, Original
recording remastered by Sony 2002.
3. PAX NICHOLAS
AND THE NETTEY FAMILY. Na teef know the road of teef. Originally
released in 1973 by Tabansi label, reissue by Daptone Records, 2009.
4. GRACE JONES.
Warm Leatherette. Originally released in 1980 by Island Records.
islanddefjam.com [Editor's Note: Better yet, find the original punk single "Warm
Leatherette" by The Normal.]
5. RHYTHM &
SOUND w/ Tikiman. Ruff Way EP (Afefe Iku Remix). (Unofficial Release
ARP 001) originally released 2007.
Ethnomusicologist, composer, improviser
Ensemble. Showqname. 3 CDs. 2011.
dile min. CD. Aydin Müzik Yapim. No date.
from the Uma: Music from Siberut Island. 2 CDs. PAN Records. 2009.
Çocuk Hakli. CD. Kalan. 2011.
Hearth and Ash: Kurdish Alevi Laments. CD + book. Kalan. 2011.
Komela Jinen Serhede. Kurdish women singers from Van who are living
in a tent, their homes having been destroyed by the recent earthquake.CD. Asanlar
Müzik Yapim. 2011.
in Z. CD. A.K. Müzik Yapim. 2011.
Risonanze erranti. CD. NEOS. 2011.
Eyse SAN. Hepsa
Diyarbekir. CD. Asanlar Müzik Yapim.
The Viola Works. CD. Mode Records. 2011.
Mass in 40 Parts. CD/DVD. Decca. 2011.
New York State
Best of 2011
a better year than I had thought. When the time came to compile this list it
seemed to keep growing endlessly.
Having gotten the
beast under control, it was hard to whittle it down to just these. Clearly a
banner year for the Clean Feed label, at one point I had ten titles on the list
and seven of them belonged to them. Alphabetical rather than in any order of
preference, although if pressed to pick a number one it would handily be Adam
Lane's corker for Clean Feed. Someone else's review began with simply, "Wow!
What a record!" and I tend to agree. And special kudos must go to any disc
that's fun enough to make me get up and shake my leaden ass, which Stefan Zeniuk's
wonderful Gato Loco did several times. Not always a safe idea while driving...
[Editor's Note: Thanks to Señor Zeniuk and Gato Loco, you can hear one
of their live performances in our Musician's Gifts section: acousticlevitation.org/gatos.html,
and then buy this CD too.]
Full Throttle Orchestra. Ashcan Rantings. Clean Feed.
Fernández. Morning Glory. Maya,
Arrive. 'there was...' Clean Feed,
Comes Everybody. Jazzland,
Trio. Big Gurl (Smell My Dream). AUM Fidelity
Graylen Epicenter. Mythology,
Quintet. Tribe. ECM,
& Sinfonias for Oboe. Heinz Holliger. ECM New Series,
Daydream Full Lifestyles. Protest Heaven. 482,
Jim Black Trio.
Joe Morris &
Agusti Fernandez. Ambrosia. Riti,
String Choir. The Music of Paul Motian. Sunnyside
The Age We Live In. Mythology,
Shadowless. New For Now,
Orchestra. Lio Leo Leon. PSI,
The Necks. Mindset.
Glow. Pirouet Records,
Quartet. Undeniable. High Note,
Quintet. Ghosts. More Is More,
Invocation. Suno Suno. enja,
Rob Brown Trio.
Unknown Skies. Rogue Art,
Min-Yoh Ensemble. Watershed. Libra,
Double Demon. Delmark,
Gato Loco. Winter & Winter,
Paroxysmal Postural Vertigo. Auand,
& ICI Ensemble. Winter Sun Crying. NEOS Jazz,
Wadada Leo Smith's
Organic. Heart's Reflections. Cuneiform,
New York City
Killer (Remaster). This plus Love It To Death are the two
of twelve Japan-only Alice Cooper remasters released on SHM, whose technology
makes little sense, yet has rarely failed to make an audible difference when
played in my system. You have to reach Japan to track down remasters of masterpieces
afforded crap treatment stateside: grab Van Morrison's Japan-only remaster of
Astral Weeks and Laura Nyro's Japan-only remasters of Christmas and
The Beads of Sweat and Smile while you still can. On this remastering
of Killer, which sounded execrable on original CD and even worse on original
LP, all fears of a bad master-tape are allayed. Revel to the basslines and the
trumpets (synths?) on "Dead Babies" and the chorus on Love It To
Death's "Ballad of Dwight Fry." Worth the bucks if you have a
yen for the music. Warner WPCR-14392, SHM-CD (Japan only), 37:01, wmg.jp
Stockholm, Berlin 1966. Some has been on bootleg, but the Stockholm,
I believe, is the first ever appearance. Whether you have had some of this before
or not, the audio, from European radio broadcast tapes, is spectacularly vivid;
you've never heard Ayler's horn sound so real. Tthere's no excuse not to add
this to your collection. HatOLOGY 717, 59:18, hathut.com
THE BEACH BOYS.
The Smile Sessions Box Set. Packaged in a way oversized 3-D diorama
box, 2 picture-sleeve original-label 45s, 2 original-label LPs, 5 original-labels
CDs, poster, large color photo booklet, and 12x12" hardcover book; most
of the music available on bootleg before, but not in sound like this and certainly
not in packaging like this. If you're new to the "long-lost" Smile
album, some of these songs have appeared on Smiley Smile and other albums,
and everybody knows "Good Vibrations" and "Heroes And Villains,"
but now it's a full-length suite that charms and charms and is worth every penny.
Non-collectors can make do with the double-CD edition. Capitol 509990 27658
BEETHOVEN. Piano Sonatas. Peter Takacs. No one set will do everything
brilliantly, but the majority of the "32" is better than fine, plus
he performs nine early sonatas plus one for four hands. The These are hybrid-SACDs
in a hardcase folio with an extremely informative 144-page book with essays
about each sonata, plus a fold-out timeline poster of the history and music
of the times of these sonatas. 5.1 surround layer for those who care about such
things. Cambria Music CD-3800A, cambriamus.com
(This is the same label who put out a great 12-CD box Composer Portrait series,
now available individually, including volumes containing Cage, Carter, Wuorinen,
William Kraft, Krenek, Mel Powell, and Wadada Leo Smith.)
To Get Back! A Memphis soul group that revives the spirit of Booker
T and the MG's (that stands for Memphis Group, y'all). Put this on after Green
Onions and the Bo-Keys stand proud at the same time as they move your soul
and ass at the same time. Electraphonic Recording ER-106, electraphonicrecording.com
ROB BROWN TRIO.
Unknown Skies. With pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Nasheet Waits
at the Sons d'Hiver Festival. Rogue Art, roguart.com
ROB BROWN. Unexplained
Phenomena: Live At Vision Festival XV. With Matt Moran on vibes, Chris
Lightcap on bass, Gerald Cleaver drums, this was a memorable set live and remains
so on CD. Marge 48, futuramarge.free.fr
Freak Miracle. Featuring the singer's regular collaborators including
bassist Joe Fonda, pianist Frank Kimbrough and drummer Harvey Sorgen, this has
been on constant play since it arrived and yet it is no slur to say she is even
better live. Innova 802, katiebull.com
Superman (UK mono + US Stereo Edition). 155 minutes of the first Mickey
Most Donovan productions. EMI UK, 2 CDs, emimusic.com
Potsa Lotsa: The Complete Works of Eric Dolphy. Following a superb
duo with Aka Takase in tribute to the compositions of Ornette Coleman, Ms. Eberhard
here turns her arranging to Dolphy. This alto tenor trumpet bone quartet navigates
the ins and out of Dolphy's compositions. At times invoking groups like the
World Sax Quartet when they play ensemble, more often the solos, especially
of trumpeter Nikolaus Neuser and trombonist Gerhard Gschöbl (all new to
me). Jazzwerkstatt 086, 2 CDs, naxos.com,
FAB TRIO (Joe
Fonda, Barry Altschul, Billy Bang). History of Jazz In Reverse. Totally
exciting session with excellent audio, fine notes and photos. TUM CD028, tumrecords.com
FAME STUDIOS STORY 1961-1973: Home Of The Muscle Shoals Sound."
75 tracks, some famous, some obscure, in a lavishly-illustrated 84-page hardbound
book. Tommy Roe, Arthur Alexander, Clarence Carter, Mitty Collier, Etta James,
Joe Simon and many more. Kent KENTBOX 12, 3 CDs, acerecords.com
FLEMISH POLYPHONY / LA POLYPHONIE FLAMANDE." Works by Dufay, Binchois,
Ockeghem, Obrecht, Brumel, de la Rue, Josquin, et al. Performed by Cappella
Pratensis, Capilla Flamenca, Discantus, Romanesque, Vox Luminis, Ensemble Organum,
Diabolus in Musica, et al. A treasure you can (and should) get lost in. Ricercar
RIC 102, book style slipcase with 200-page illustrated hardbound book and 8-CD
50 Miniatures for Improvising Quintet. Michael Sarin, Sylvie Courvoisier,
Jennifer Choi, Trevor Dunn. Each morsel delicious. Skipstone SR006, 36:32, skipstonerecords.com
MIN-YOH ENSEMBLE. Watershed. The prolific pianist/composer, with
many ensembles and many CDs has put out at least three this year, but this one
is my favorite. Libra, librarecords.com
Madrigals. Kassiopeia Quintet. Wonderful performances in a midprice
repackage with complete texts and English translations. Globe GLO 5241, 6 CDs,
QUARTET. Take Your Time. Relative Pitch RPR1003, relativepitchrecords.com
JEFRY STEVENS QUARTET. Only Love. Miles Griffith is, as the youth
say, one sick singer. One of the wildest and best in the business, the inimitable
Griffith sounds like no one else and makes you laugh with joy as you deeply
feel music that is no joke. Recently "featured" on several other discs,
it's about time we have another disc all his own. Pianist Stevens is a well-known
quality and they're joined by bassist Dominique Girod and drummer Dieter Ulrich.
Creative Improvised Music for sure. Artists Recording Collective ARC-2185, milesgriffithmusic.com,
GRIMAUD. Resonances. Mozart Sonata 8, Berg Sonata,
Liszt Sonata, Bartók Romanian Folk Dances. The Liszt is
just good, but the rest is amazing. The Mozart and the Bartók blow the
competition out of the water, and I'm talking octane, passion and dexterity.
Deutsche Grammophon 477 8766, helenegrimaud.com,
Four Sonatas for Violin and Piano. Hilary Hahn, violin; Valentina
Lisita, piano. These have the style and fluidity that make these works equally
classical and Americana.Deutsche Grammophon B00162082-02, 66:26, deutschegrammophon.com/hahn-ives
Rio. Yes, another Jarrett solo gig, with fifteen sections averaging
six minutes, making this a collection of pieces rather than the grand swooping
architecture of the Köln Concert, but by turns pensive, frisky,
fluttery, and his usual gospel and boogie woogie. The only negative is the rampant
applause after each and every section. Hey, why doesn't Manfred Eicher encourage
Jarrett to do a disc of Villa-Lobos piano music; all being Bach-lovers it would
make sense. ECM B0016119-02, 2 CDs, ecmrecords.com
The Land That Is Not. One of the great folk voices in a folk-jazz
setting. Fans of Jacqui McShee and Maria Del Mar Bonet need audition this. Swedish
texts and English translations included. ECM B0016066-02, ecmrecords.com
Mephisto 1, Liebestraum, Lugubre Gondola, Prelude and Fugue. Khatia Buniatishvili,
piano. This is the one which made me fall in love with the Liszt Sonata. Sony
88697873852, CD + DVD (NTSC) documentary short,
Schumann Kreisleriana, Holliger
Partita. Lonquich equals or bests the Big Names in the Schumann,
and finds the perfect proportion of mystery and flow in the Holliger. ECM 2104,
but not simpler
New works for the iO String Quartet including
the title track, Sparkler for orchestra and live electronics is deliciously
fizzy, and Jeux Deux for Hyperpiano and Orchestra. Bridge 9346, 53:36,
2. Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker, Kate Royal, Magdalena Kozená.
Rattle's remake doesn't eclipse but complement his EMI Birmingham with Arleen
Augér and Janet Baker, because of them, but the sonics and phrasings
here are rich and worthy. EMI 6 47363 2, 2 CDs, 86:45, emiclassics.com
6. Rough, passionate, resplendent sound despite the live audience. Gritty
in all the right ways. Antonio Pappano, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di
Santa Cecilia. EMI 5099908441234, 2 CDs, 38:49 + 45:59, emiclassics.com
Devil's Red. The style is a wonderfully bizarre mix of indie, folk,
trad ballads and Americana, delivered in a voice the love child of Paolo Nutini,
Dean Friedman, Marc Bolan and Morrissey. Listen here to the Montana-born singer's
"Find Your Way Home." Jesse Manley Music, 45:10, jessemanley.com
Icon Series: Music Among Friends. Half of it twentieth-century compositions.
EMI 9 18514 2, 11 CDs, emi-icons.com
MEZEI WIND QUARTET. Innen. My favorite find of the year. The leader's
viola is joined by a tubist, a trombonist and a clarinet/bass clarinet/alto
saxist who embody the true meaning of ensemble in a program of by turns fascinating,
haunting, and delightful paprika-flavored compositions played with free improvisation.
I will without a doubt explore his extensive back catalog. Ayler Records AYLCD-122,
Vespro della Beata Virgine 1610. L'Arpeggiata, Christina Pluhar cond.
My favorite is still the noble and haunting Parrott, also on EMI, but this
single-disc performance has a panache that is totally irresistible and could
happily serve as one's only version. EMI 509999 6419940 5, 75:11, emiclassics.com
DE LIèGE. Intégrale 1960-2010. Flemish and mainstream
classical composers, but a great (and inexpensive) way to get your Tournemire
symphonies, plus lesser-known Lekeu, Jongen, Vierne and Gossec works. Cyprès
CYP7650, 50 CDs, cypres-records.com
The Soviet Experience, Volume 1. Shostakovich SQ 5-8; Miaskovsky
SQ 13. Çedille CDR 90000 127, 2 CDs, 57:35 + 60:05, cedillerecords.org
Solo Bass: Crumbling In The Shadows Is Fraulein Miller's Stale Cake / Testimony.
It's delightful to hear such a variety of music covered over three discs
of solo bass. Two discs of new material plus a reissue of Testimony.
Centering/AUM Fidelity 1005/1006/1007, 3CD box, 65:43 + 62:22 + 78:27, williamparker.net,
LOU REED and
METALLICA. Lulu. I'm a fair-weather Reed fan, know nothing of Metallica's
music, and know Lulu via Alban Berg and Pabst. Probably the most controversial
disc of the year, but I find it to fit easily within Reed's oeuvre. It's not
Berlin, but Reed's vocal monotone droning above the band droning and
simple metal changes is appropriate. Warner Bros., 2 CDs, warnerbrosrecords.com
Complete Symphonies, Concertos and Tone Poems. Midprice repackaging
of essential 20th century works. Ari Rasilainen, cond. cpo 777 640-2, 5 CDs,
and MICHIYO YAGI. Reflexions. E#'s Koll 8-string guitarbass and Yagi's
kotos make a delightfully strung set. Not all tracks are up to the hypnotic
"The Jumblies" and delicate "Dreaming Darkly," but this
is one very cool record which rewards close listening. Idiolect/Bomba Records
(Japan) ID-04, 64:06, elliotsharp.com, japanimprov.com/myagi
and JOE MORRIS. Broken Partials. Morris on acoustic bass. NotTwo
MW 851-2, nottwo.com
DUO. Music of Mark Dresser. Phil Skalter and Danny Holt, both new
to me, turn in riveting performances of five Dresser tunes, performed on pianos,
celeste, toy pianos, melodica and percussion, on the little label that could.
pfMentum PFMCD062, 51:13, pfmentum.com
Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Remasters. These 48 tracks of
southern soul easily replace the bootleg single disc I had. Ace/Kent's usual
exemplary notes and photos. Kent CDKEN2 353, 2 CDs, acerecords.com
Doggonit. (Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight series.) 28-track compilation
of this smooth-voiced rockabilly and country crooner's original Dot, Vik and
Viv discs, with Bear Family's typically great 40-page booklet of all_English
notes and photos. Bear Family BD 16528AH, 57:28, bear-family.com
Icon: The Complete EMI Recordings. Underknown, unless you're of a
certain age, Steinberg's conducting is by turns frisky, playful, riveting, even
if he and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra often do not play it as straight
as others. EMI 0 026486 2, 20 CDs, emi-icons.com
A Worcester Ladymass. These three women have a rich blend, and have
seamlessly interpolated into this construction a Credo and Benedicamus Domino
from Gavin Bryars. Excellent musicological notes and sung texts in addition
to ECM's expected elegant artwork. ECM New Series 2166, 50:25, ecmrecords.com
CLARINET QUINTET (IRCHA). Lark Uprising. I saw Trzaska live with
Joe McPhee, who is in this quintet, and they were remarkable, as is this quintet.
A must-have. Multikulti Project MPT001, 43:13, multikulti.com
Symphony 6 "Strata." Noësis: Concerto for clarinet, violin
and orchestra. Anu Tali conducting the Nordic Symphony Orchestra; Jörg
Widmann, clarinet; Carolin Widmann, violin. Although the 32-minute symphony
can't be considered avant-garde, there's plenty of life left in this genre,
with tectonic plates of sound, Messiaen-ic wind rhythms and bells, strings melting
up and down, ominous brass. Good stuff. ECM 2040, 53:19, ecmrecords.com
Catachresis. Amazing piano, some of it prepared, which should appeals
to fans of John Cage as well as of Cecil Taylor. Nuscope cd 1025, 53:28, nuscoperec.com
DICK WOOD. Not
Far From Here. Post-Mingus avant-noir ensemble includes Hal Onserud
on bass and Mark Trayle's live electronics. Don't let the dull cover fool you
into thinking this is generic mainstream swill. pfMentum PFMCD065, 47:55, pfmentum.com
8 Syllables. Solo trumpet with amplifier, adapting the International
Phonetic Alphabet into sound. Absolutely striking. Peira PM09, 49:07, peira.net,
String Quartet No.1. Viola Variations. Piano Quintet No. 2. Peter Serkin,
piano; Lois Martin, viola; Brentano SQ. Naxos 8.559694, naxos.com
A riveting concert of material from her new album (see above) with Landon Knoblock,
Jeff Lederer, Joe Fonda and George Schuller. Evolving Music Series, Clemente
Soto Velez, NYC, June 27, 2011. katiebull.com,
BARRY WALLENSTEIN: Songs of Pepper Adams. Poet Barry Wallenstein wrote new
lyrics to the music of Pepper Adams, which Alexis Cole sang to the manner born.
Check out her great CDs. Cornelia St. Café, NYC. alexiscole.com,
ELLIOTT. His ramblin's alone are worth the price of admission. Oc tober
5, 2011, Highline Ballroom, NYC (excellent food!). highlineballroom.com,
2011: A SOUND AND PERFORMANCE EVENT DEDICATED TO COMPOSER MAURICIO KAGEL.
Rick Burkhardt, Stephe Cooper (producer), Sam Kulik, Jordan Maclean, Jason Mears,
Roberta Michel, Geoff Nosach, Sam Sowyrda, Dennis Sullivan. Roulette, May 1,
AND TOM RAINEY DUO. Clemente Soto Velez, NYC, July 25, 2011. visionfestival.org.
DAVIES. Kommilitonen! Premiere of a striking new opera by Sir Peter,
comingling three stories of political struggle and resistance: the Chinese Cultural
Revolution, American segregation, and Die Diesse Rose, a German resistance group.
The music itself is not in the least polemic. Libretto and direction by David
Pountney, Anne Mason conducting the Juilliard Orchestra and the Juilliard Opera.
Juilliard School of Music, Peter Jay Sharp Theater. NYC. maxopus.com,
EL NICHO / FESTIVAL
AURAL/ FESTIVAL DE MEXICO. March 2011, México City. Highlights were
Kan Mikami, a Japanese avant-blues vocalist who gave me the shivers, and John
Edwards' astounding 18-minute bass solo, in a corner of a wood and marble room
in the Casino Metropolitano, as prelude to a Germán Bringas/Evan Parker
duo and Chris Corsano solo. Newly subtitled in Spanish was Alan Roth's film
Inside Out In The Open about ESP Records. aural.elnicho.org,
2011. NYC. Highlights include the aptly named Pulverize the Sound
(trumpeter Peter Evans, Tim Dahl's murderous electric bass and Mike Pride on
drums); the Remi Alvarez Quartet with Dom Minasi, Ken Filiano and Michael TA
Thompson; Amir AlSaffar's Within/Between; and the amazing festival finale, wherein
William Parker led a large ensemble in an extended tribute to Billy Bang that
ended with everyone on their feet dancing. visionfestival.org,
with TIM HODGKINSON. Musical saw and vocals with clarinet. Downtown Music
Gallery, Oct.2, 2011. downtownmusicgallery.com,
ALEX WARD and
DOMINIC LASH. Clarinet and contrabass. Downtown Music Gallery, October 23,
Tony's World. The first poetry volume for some time which I reread
the way I re-listen to record albums. Tony's World is a world of jive and passion,
a bit of Runyon flavor but major Wallenstein. Read my review in Big City Lit:
ANGELS IN AMERICA:
A Gay Fantasia on National Themes by Tony Kushner. Cast: Robin Bartlett
(Hannah Pitt), Christian Borle (Prior Walter), Bill Heck (Joe Pitt), Zoe Kazan
(Harper Pitt), Billy Porter (Belize), Zachary Quinto (Louis Ironson), Robin
Weigert (the Angel) and Frank Wood (Roy Cohn). Directed by Michael Grief. Signature
Theatre, NYC. The texture and tone remain fierce, and the slight revisions refocus
on the contemporary and "national themes." signaturetheatre.org/angels
H4 by William
Shakespeare. Henry IV done as a television miniseries, to powerful effect. Adaptation
by Michael Chmiel, Allegra Libonati, Michael Nathanson and Brian Sillman. Directed
by Allegra Libonati. Resonance Ensemble, Clurman Theatre, NYC. resonanceensemble.org,
HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES
by Tony Kushner.
by Tony Kushner. Revival of an early work, a French-style farce with wit akin
to Stoppard. signaturetheatre.org
by Jez Butterworth. One might think Mark Rylance's tour de force overshadows
the play, and perhaps maybe, but the whole has a unity, reality and desperation
that carries you away with the undertow. Kudos to Mackenzie Crook as Ginger.
Directed by Ian Rickson. Music Box Theater, NYC.
GRISHAM by Jack Moore. Hysterically funny on-the-edge tale of a frustrated
author taking matters into his own hands. Perfect ensemble directed by Nicole
A. Watson. Fringe Festival 2011, NYC. fringenyc.org,
THE LADY'S NOT
FOR BURNING by Christopher Fry. Great ensemble acting in a spellbinding
revival of this mock-1400s dark comedy of a man who demands to be hanged, for
that would be better than life. Directed by Brian Close. Parenthesis Theater
Company, Walkerspace, NYC. parenthesistheater.com
by Lanford Wilson. The movie is a pale attempt; this production was my first
Lemon Sky (Wilson is a favorite of mine, The Fifth of July being indispensible),
and it floored me. Keith Nobbs embodies the protagonist Allen with such seemingly-easy
realism that one doesn't feel in a theater at all. Directed by Jonathan Silverman.
Keen Company, Clurman Theatre. theatrerow.org/theclurman
WITH THE HAT by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock, Elizabeth
Rodriques, Annabella Sciorra, Yul Vasquez. Directed by Anna D. Shapiro. Schoenfeld
THE NORMAL HEART
by Larry Kramer. Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin, Jon Benjamin Hickey and the
rest of the cast, directed by Joel Grey and George C. Wolfe, make the medico-political
circumstances surrounding the AIDS epidemic (I hate the phrase "AIDS crisis")
just as relevant as this riveting play was its first time around. John Golden
AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD by Tom Stoppard. Adam Aguirre (Rosencrantz), Jordan
Gray (Guildenstern). Jeremy Weber (The Player King). Dorothy Strelsin Treatre
at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex, NYC.
FIRST, adapted by Robert Brustein from the play by Isaac Bashevis Singer,
lyrics by Arnold Weinstein; music by Hankus Netsky. A totally delicious, through-sung
folk-farce with clever sets and staging, great klezmusic and faux-naïve
wit. Theatre for a New Audience, National Yiddish Theatre - Folksbiene, New
York University's Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. folksbiene.org,