We’ve been hearing some good buzz about two local plays — Measure for Measure and The Church of Why Not. Learn more about them below.
First, a review of Measure of Measure, playing at the The Bernie Wohl Center at Goddard Riverside at 647 Columbus Avenue through March 22. Tickets here.
By Jeff Stein
As staged in The Hudson Warehouse’s production of “Measure for Measure,” Lucio is witty, hedonistic, moralistic, confident, constantly cynical about the state of the world, and so opportunistic that he can chew gum and whistle while talking out of both sides of his mouth.
He is, in other words, the consummate New Yorker. And it’s that quality of Lucio — his stunning modernity — that’s most vividly captured by The Hudson Warehouse’s David Frisch. At one point, for example, the Duke asks if he can have a word with Lucio. Lucio’s response: “A hundred – if they’ll do you any good.”
Now over a decade old, The Hudson Warehouse is best known for its summer productions under the Soldiers’ and Sailors Monument in Riverside Park. But the local thespians are currently running a winter season, too: “Measure for Measure” will be playing from Thursday through Sunday until March 22 at the Bernie Wohl Arts Center on 92nd and Columbus Avenue.
At under $15 a ticket, it’s well worth your time and support. This weekend’s production brilliantly captured the twists-and-turns of one of Shakespeare’s least-understood works, a so-called “problem play” about a replacement duke who seeks to kill a man for a minor offense.
Frisch shines in it as an immediately relatable Lucio, sporting a tan baseball cap and Boston accent as he bridges the gap between the audience and dramatic action crafted for an Elizabethan audience. (New York similarities notwithstanding, the play is set in Boston.) There are many other stand-outs, including Alexander Taylor as the creepy and austere Angelo; Roger Stude as Constable Elbow, a buffoonish oaf; Vince Phillip as The Duke; and Emily Parman as Isabella.
And playing through March 15…
The Church of Why Not, at the West End Theater inside the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew on West 86th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue. Tickets here.
The New York Press wrote that the play focuses on the church’s role as a melting pot for various religions and cultures.
Though fictional, the play’s characters all connect to the real day-to-day-workings of the church, from a 13-year-old Jewish boy with adoptive Christian parents preparing for his Bar Mitzvah to an alcoholic walking into his first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to a recovering drug addict from Washington Heights who visits one of the church’s volunteer tax preparers and stumbles upon a 12 step program.
“It’s about looking at the ways that we’re all connected,” said Ari Laura Kreith, the director of the play and co-founder of Theatre 167. “And to understand both what we have in common and how we can move forward in the world in a way that serves not only our own interests but interests of the larger community, and understanding that those are actually our interests.”