Pioneer Press :: The Best Theater and Dance Shows of 2013
1. Children's Theatre Company's "The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chubacabra Go!" (Oct. 11- Nov. 17): I never laughed more heartily in a theater this year than at this wonderfully entertaining sci-fi spoof that Children's Theatre co-produced with New York's Ma-Yi Theater Company. Lloyd Suh's script is a hoot, but it also deftly deals with the emotional turbulence of the early teen years and makes an eloquent case for how we're all strengthened by diversity. Even while battling planet-eating monsters and hopping between dimensions.
Almost immediately after returning form the Twin Cities, jumped onset for 2 Girls | 1 Asian as Albin De Los Santos, the cousin of one of the two half-Asian girls on this new web series about love, work, & finding your identity in NYC.
Also got to be The Chameleon, a trained assassin and master of disguise, on Andoni Elias Nava's latest project, Best Served Cold. When one of their roommates is killed, Mark & Julia rampage on a revengeful ... rampage in this buddy-cop comedy. There was a torture scene.
Had the pleasure of co-production managing The School for Lies by David Ives for Boxed Wine. The direction and cast made this site-specific adaptation of Moliere's The Misanthrope a laughter-filled evening. Performing in a bar has its perks.
Then, we had a week to re-stage and remount Jolly the Christmas Walrus 2013 Revival in All Angels Church's gymnasium. Reuniting (as Jolly) with most of the original cast (plus some hilarious new additions) was a week-long Christmas party that will forever live in our hearts.
And the cherry on a year-long banana split, was being asked to do workshops for two of the six Yuan Drama adaptations commissioned by Ma-Yi and The Flea. It was great to reunite with Ben Kamine and meet Fan Chongren, one of the new Resident Directors at The Flea. The most fun part was jumping between the dark revolutionary world of Injustice by A. Rey Pamatmat to an absurd world full of self-involved people & 80's songs in Orphan Dog by Rehana Mirza Lew.
2013 came and went like a crash of thunder. It was bright, surprising, and full of electrifying potential.
In October, began training as Bruce Wong for The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra GO! by Lloud Suh. The play, co-commissioned by Ma-Yi and Children's Theatre Company, is a fast-paced superhero adventure comic starring two bickering siblings navigating their way through per-pubescence.
A month later, the cast, production team, and stage management migrated west (slightly west) to our temporary home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Children's Theatre Company adopted us into their family - and the run has been a blast thus far. Along with the usual show schedule, we are privileged to do autograph sessions where we get to meet the young audience members and school performances with talk-backs.
Though I miss New York, I could get used to life in the Twin Cities.
Earlier this week, Jessica G. Smith and I were a young couple with unspoken issues in Breakfast a 16MM film by Tyler Byrnes. So much thanks and respect for the crew and Dorian, who made the delicious(-looking) morning meals.
Yesterday, Boxed Wine Productions hosted their first (annual?) Boozy Brunch! Three inebriated playwrights were asked to each write a three character short play. These plays were then performed during a three-course brunch by a troupe of intoxicated actors. Had the pleasure of being in Jeb in a Box by A.P. Andrews directed by Lauren Erwin playing Hickle holding a job interview for Hickle Enterprises; and directing & acting in AJ Ditty's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dragon as The Guy allegedly born of spinach and an acting Dragon who spontaneously combusts in front of his co-star. Many thanks to Chef Nick and the bottomless glass of mimosa.
In other news, recently became a member of The Bats, the resident young company at The Flea Theater. The first show I will be doing with this company is christopher oscar peña's a cautionary tail as part of the ensemble and understudying the role of luke. It's a play about tradition, the future we carve out with the choices we make, and the past we will never be able to escape. Performs May 29 - June 30 at The Flea Theater.
2013, how you've crept up on us.
Visited home for a month, and while there worked on a vlog mini-series titled Since the World is Ending... about how a man deals with the impending end of the world and decides to cross things off his bucket list. Thanks to Dorian, Gabe, Laura, and Hamlet for playing along.
In February, rejoined my friends at Concrete Temple Theatre and the original cast of The Bystander Project.
02.12.13 :: performed at the NYPL Bronx Library Center with a post-show talk back.
02.26.13 :: a day filled with three performances for the students, parents, and educators of the Taconic Hills Central School District in their beautiful theater.
Also, played a leading character in a short non-narrative art film by Dorian Carli-Jones titled Fugue about two young people who, during a night of passion, realize that the bond between them goes well beyond the world which they think they know. It touches upon concepts such as past lives, twin souls, and reincarnation, as well as the universality of love and the many different forms it takes.
To close up the month, last night I had the honor of being master of ceremony at Boxed Wine Productions' evening of prohibition and 1920s themed revelry Speakeasy: a cabernet cabaret at Jimmy's No. 43 in the East Village. It was a swell night of dancing flappers, songstresses, burlesque, stand-up, and even a silent movie with live accompaniment.
Coming up, signed on to play the lead in a short film by Tyler Byrnes titled Breakfast. The script deals with a pretty heavy and rarely discussed topic - one that I'm humbled to be able to address in this role.
This evening is Boxed Wine Productions' one-night-only holiday pageant Jolly the Christmas Walrus created by A.P. Andrews & Michael Lapinsky. Had a fitting this morning at the Public Theater with Heather Stanley, who is busy finishing my outrageous costume for the titular marine mammal. And after the pageant, there will be a carnival with crafts, raffles, games, and even a cake walk! Come, be merry, and share a glass of mulled boxed wine!
All Angels Church Gymnasium
251 W. 80th St. (at Broadway)
doors open at 7:30p, pageant starts at 8p, party lasts till 10p
Our Chinatown :: “DREAMers” Seeks to Tell the Stories of NYC’s Undocumented Youth :: “We are in New York City and trying to be actors – and what is that but the American Dream? We are privileged youth who can do this, but we’re talking to youth who have a lot of weight on their shoulders,” cast member Alton Alburo said, articulating what has been particularly compelling about the DREAM Act for all U.S. residents, undocumented or not – the fact that the convenient acronym and its implications parallel the myth of the American dream.
Many cast members felt a personal connection to the project beyond their roles as actors: “I’m from California, so I have friends with undocumented family members. One of my good friends, his grandfather was deported. My friend is a citizen, so he can still leave and visit him. But [undocumented] kids here, if their grandfather gets deported, they can’t go visit. … I wanted to learn more,” said Alburo. read more...