These pigeons greet EST patrons in their own special way.
(Ensemble Studio Theatre, 52 St & 10 Av, Manhattan)
As my holiday gift to all you loyal readers, I’m going to share my favorite NYC find of 2007: the drama student productions at The Juilliard School. These shows feature the drama program’s third and fourth-year students and are legendary for their amazing acting and high production values. This fall, I’ve seen Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Ibsen’s Ghosts, and Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves. They’ve all been terrific — in fact, the production of Joe Turner is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, anywhere.
Tickets are free, but hard to come by as the shows always sell out. Getting tickets is easier if you’re “industry” or know a student there. Shows also have standby lines that fill up early with sharp-elbowed Upper West Side retirees. It’s a hassle, but these productions are well worth the effort.
Photography is probably not allowed, so don’t snap photos like the one you see above taken at House of Blue Leaves after the show.
(Juilliard School, Manhattan)
Opening night of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner is the star-studded event you’d expect it to be — red carpet, TV crews, young fans, Ben Affleck in the lobby.
And the show? It’s just okay. The actors are wonderful, but the writing just seems so flabby and indulgent. A play about the beauty of language shouldn’t be a license to overwrite, but that’s exactly what this show feels like. I’m sure the style and language made sense in a historical context, but a 2007 Broadway production with movie stars isn’t an academic production by any means, and a little tightening up would have served the actors and audience much better.
(Richard Rodgers Theatre, Manhattan)