2016-07-27 / Front Page

Queens Theatre Announces New Theatrical And Dance Programs

By Thomas Cogan
At a press conference held last Friday at the Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, QT Executive Director Taryn Sacramone announced several theatrical, dance, family and special programs taking place at the theatre between October and the spring of 2017. 

The theatrical events include a new play, produced by QT, which is also producing a classic from the 1950s. Another play, an early comedy by Neil Simon, is being produced by the oldest theatrical group in the United States. Productions of Dickens and Shakespeare will be put on by the Titan Theatre, QT’s company in residence.  The dance companies, Paul Taylor’s among them, will appear on weekends in October, December and April, and at a one-day show in April.  The family series will present three works for children, with performances in October, November and April.

The Theatre Series begins with the first of the Queens Theatre productions, In the Car with Blossom and Len, a new work by Joni Fritz. Blossom and Len, parents of Holly and Fern, have always been a wacky couple, but now they’re old and in need of their daughters’ intervention.  It’s characterized as a sharp and painful comedy and will be performed at 8:00 p.m. Friday, November 11 and Saturdays, November 12 and 19; at 2:00 p.m. Saturdays, November 12 and 19 and Thursday, November 17; and at 3:00 p.m. Sundays, November 13 and 20.  The other QT production is The Miracle Worker, William Gibson’s 1959 play about Helen Keller, a deaf and blind Alabama child, and Anne Sullivan, the woman given the seemingly hopeless task of making her a functional human being.  Brant Russell, director of the production, said at the press conference that this dramatization of a true and famous story “is about the way the community deals with things they can’t understand”—in this case with a brilliant result.  Performances are at 8:00 p.m. Friday, May 12 and Saturday May 13; at 2:00 p.m. Saturdays, May 13 and 20 and Thursday, May 18; and 3:00 p.m. Sundays, May 14 and 21.

Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Neil Simon’s 1969 comedy about a long-married man who looks for an affair to lift him out of the doldrums, and fails repeatedly and farcically, is being produced by Walnut Street Theatre, considered America’s oldest theatrical company.  It is being presented on the weekend of March 10-12, with an 8:00 p.m. performance Saturday, March 11 and three Friday-to-Sunday matinees at 2:00 (Friday and Saturday, March 10-11) and 3:00 (Sunday, March 12).

The Dance Series features four companies, each appearing three times, on Saturday evening (8:00) and in matinees Saturday (2:00) and Sunday (3:00).  The first is Keigwin + Company, appearing October 22-23 and presenting a special tribute to Leonard Bernstein.  Next is the Paul Taylor Dance Company, appearing December 17-18.  Some enthusiasts call Taylor, who turns 86 this month, the greatest living proponent of modern dance.  Sacramone said that when she became QT’s executive director in 2013 several subscribers asked her if the Taylor Company would still be on the schedule each year, and so it is.  Flamenco Vivo will appear February 11-12, headed by Artistic Director Carlota Santana and presenting flamenco and other Spanish dances that reflect centuries of Moorish, Gypsy and Sephardic influences.  Finally, the Rennie Harris Puremovement will perform April 1-2.  Puremovement is a hip-hop dance group that attempts to expand the horizons of this dance and music movement that by now has been around for several decades.

The Special Events category includes the one-day shows, Visuality, on Saturday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m., and Latin Dance Fiesta Saturday, April 27, also at 8:00 p.m.  Another Latin  troupe, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, QT’s dance company in residence, will perform Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Saturday, October 29 at 8:00 p.m. and  Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 p.m.  The dance explores the relationship between living and dead in Mexico.  Calpulli’s later dance, Boda Mexicana, which looks at love, courtship and marriage, will be performed Saturday and Sunday, March 18-19, at 8:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. respectively.  Visuality merges music, visual art and technology.  Each musical piece develops with new creations from other arts, such as sculpture, painting, choreography and writing.  Latin Dance Fiesta brings in four dance companies from four Latin countries. 

Spirits of Another Sort is a workshop production by The Apothetae of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The Apothetae is a company that explores and illuminates the disabled experience.  Spirits is a one-hour adaptation of Midsummer, with a cast of physically and intellectually disabled members along with able-bodied ones.  There are two shows Saturday, March 4 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. and a Sunday, March 5 show at 3:00 p.m. 

The in-residence Titan Theatre Company presents 13 performances of a stage version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, beginning Friday, December 9 at 7:30 p.m.  With the exception of Sundays, December 11 and 18, which have 4:00 p.m. shows only, there are evening shows at 7:30 from December 9 through Thursday, December 22; and 2:00 p.m. matinees Saturdays, December 10 and 17.  (There are no performances Mondays, December 12 and 19 and Tuesday, December 13.)  

In the spring, Titan will present nine performances of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, from Friday, March 24 through Sunday, April 9.  Sunday performances, March 26 and April 2 and 9, are at 4:00 p.m.  The remaining six are at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, March 24-25 and March 31-April 1; and Saturday and Sunday, April 8-9.  (No performances Mondays-Thursdays, March 27-30 and April 3-6.)

Finally, there is the Family Series, three shows derived from noteworthy children’s books and presented on Sundays in October, November and April.  The first is Pete the Cat, October 2 at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.  The second is Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School, November 25, also 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.  The last, April 23 at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m., is Seussical, derived of course from The Doctor’s books.

Before all this begins, there is Lincoln Center Local, four Fridays of free performances from Lincoln Center, screened at 8:00 p.m. on the Festival Lawn behind the theatre.  If it’s dance you want, there’s The Nutcracker on July 29; if a musical, there’s Show Boat, August 5.  The Richard Tucker Opera Concert of 2015, including Renee Fleming, Andrea Bocelli and Lawrence Brownlee, is available August 12 and Act One, James Lapine’s dramatization of Moss Hart’s 1959 memoir about making it on Broadway, can be seen August 19.

Information about ticket prices is available from Thibault Courtois:  email tcourtois@queenstheatre.org or call 347-472-3705.

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