15th Anniversary Season of Midtown International Theatre Festival Opened with Inaugural Party on 7/6

15th Anniversary Season of Midtown International Theatre Festival Opened with Inaugural Party on 7/6

Talent and wine flowed freely at the historic Actor's Temple on 47th Street Sunday evening, July 6, as John Chatterton's 15th anniversary season of the Midtown international theatre festival began with a joyous party featuring snippets of some of the 75 productions featured this year in a festival that includes fully-staged plays and musicals, as well as one-acts, 10-minute plays, readings, and cabaret performances.

The evening -- hosted by Louis S. Salamone -- began with words of welcome from founder John Chatterton before a cacophony of unique stage items greeted our eyes and ears. Legendary musician and composer, Bill Zeffiro, sang. Bill has a show he wrote in the festival (Frame 313) and will open the new cabaret section of the festival on July 17. Jennifer Pace serenaded us with Rosemary Clooney before Jim Vrabel, Renee McNeil, Meshelle The-Indie-Mom-of-Comedy, and Glynn Borders took to the stage with bits from their one-person shows: Homage to Henry, Chenel Star, Diary of a MILF, and Sleep Well, respectively. Henry bring to life John Berrymen's classic prose, Chenel is about a regretful stripper, MILF is about -nope not that - a working mom, and Sleep Well is anything but as two roommates are haunted by the same ghost. Dramas: The Bauer Sisters, Tide Beyond the Rift, Soundview Summer, and the peer pressure play, Eddie, gave us compelling dramatic scenes, while Glam Night, Woodstock 99, Déjà Who? and Richard Burd's trailer park treasure, Champagne Lady gave us comedy - wacky and otherwise. The music and all its diversity was represented well with Me & Caesar Lee - a love story placed in the recording industry in the 80s, This Will All Be Yours - a tuneful tome about a farm family, Pistrix - a Kafkaesque version of Pinocchio's Gepetto, Swans - a surreal take on Swan Lake, and Warp Speed an uproarious musical homage to Star Trek, were on hand with musical previews. And composer Omar Hansen armed with guitar and wit gave us a taste of what would happen if God and Satan wrote a musical - Bielzy & Gottfried.

The folksy atmosphere is indicative of Chatterton's artists collective mentality that has served him well for more than two decades - first as publisher of off-off Broadway's dedicated periodical OOBR, and then as one of the leaders of quality affordable theatre in New York.

The festival begins next Monday, July 14 and runs through August 10. Visit www.midtownfestival.org for further details including tickets to the parade of works.

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