BWW Special Feature: 99 and Under the Radar; New Directors Make a Splash this Summer
Welcome to 99 AND UNDER THE RADAR: A LOOK AT INDIE THEATER'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS, BroadwayWorld's new weekly series that showcases standout productions and production companies from the independent theater scene in New York City. Each week, independent producer Michael Roderick will be discussing the latest goings on in the theatrical wings, highlighting those with potentially bright futures.
This Week's Topic: New Directors make a splash in the Summer months
One of the great things about Indie Theatre and the festivals that pop up during the summer, is the fact that it provides fertile ground for discovering new talent. This week will take a look at five directors who are doing great work in festivals and beyond.
First up is Glory Bowen, who is the artistic director of The Planet Connections Festivity which is in it's final week. Ms. Bowen's inventive adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray received very high praise in the festival and this comes as no surprise. The production had incredibly clean and crisp staging, engaging character work on the part of the performers, and startling stage pictures that made extraordinarily effective use of lighting and picture frames. It would certainly be no surprise to see this production mounted again on a much larger scale. Bowen is certainly one to watch as her festival concept continues to grow and as she takes on new projects. To read more about her work, click here.
Next is Michael Schwartz who in addition to directing numerous Indie Productions with wit and precision is taking on the direction of a very exciting and ground breaking project: An awards show. Mr. Schwartz will be directing this year's Tommy Awards which is an awards show he and his colleagues developed to honor alumni from the University of Southern California. From the Press release: " The evening will showcase the creative talents of USC graduates, honor the extraordinary contributions of USC alumni to the New York community, and award over $30,000 in scholarships to incoming freshman and continuing students from the area. We are proud to be honoring Broadway composer/lyricist Frank Wildhorn (Jekyll & Hyde, Scarlet Pimpernel, Civil War) and Timothy Coleman, Senior Managing Director and Co-Head of Restructuring at The Blackstone Group, among others." The event is set to feature a number of great Broadway talent including Kevin Mambo of Broadway's Fela! For more info click here.
Next up is the always impressive director/choreographer/ impresario Angela Harriell who manages to create some of the most eclectic performances out there. Her group of talented dancers and artists from the now well-known The Love Show continue to create the kind of work that has to be seen to be believed. Their latest offering Raising Capital was performed at the famous aerial space, the House of Yes and featured everything from an impromptu beat boxing session with Reggie Watts, to a fire eater, to a magician. Couple all of that with Harriel's razor sharp choreographer and there is an evening an audience will not soon forget. The Love Show, which has been know for its wildly popular Nutcracker Rated R, continues to grow in its abilities to entertain and it seems only a matter of time before Harriell and her clan will be performing on much bigger stages.
Next is Luke Harlan who impressed audiences as well at the Planet Connections Festivity with his deft comedic direction of one of the pieces in Clandestine. Luke has an incredible eye for style and is always working on something new and exciting. His latest project is Cou-Cou Bijoux Written & Performed by Raquel Cion which will be presented at Galapagos Arts Space in Brooklyn for one night only. From the Press release: "The character of Cou-Cou Bijoux was brought to life at the acclaimed vaudeville/burlesque show The Va Va Voom Room. Since then she's been seen wearing her heart on her sleeve at Fez under Time Café, CSV, Show World, The Triad, The Plush Room Cabaret in San Francisco, The D-Lounge, The Bubble Lounge and Dixon Place's Lounge. The New York Times has described Raquel Cion as "half witch and half cabaret performer." Harlan will no doubt engage his talent for comedy in bringing this inventive and wild piece to life. More info can be found here.
Last is Jeremy Bloom. Bloom has been covered in this column a number of times, but his work continues to grow by leaps and bounds. His latest offering takes on a classic tale and again completely re-imagines it. From the press release: "He came to Camelot on Christmas Eve. The green knight, his green horse, his great green axe. A beautiful being, and terrifying, but he knew what justice was. And perhaps justice is greater than the grail. A story of man and beast, and man and woman, newly adapted for the stage."Set in the underground space at 45 Bleecker while making use of a committed ensemble, The Green Knight is sure to be another great offering. Bloom's talent and vision shines through the pieces he directs and this piece will surely be one to keep and eye on. To get tickets go here.
This is just a small taste of some of the directors who are doing the kind of work that is sure to get recognition far beyond this column. Catch them now and get out to the festivals, the talent within them is boundless.
Read more of Michael's insights at www.oneproducerinthecity.typepad.com.
From This Author Michael Roderick