Who: Tony Roberts, Jodie Markell, Stephen Schnetzer, Rex Reed
What: Live monthly readings online and in person
Where: Theatre 80, 80 St. Marks Place
When: September 29, free in person, Zoom $25, 646-366-9340, 2:00
Why: Food for Thought continues its twentieth anniversary season with a program that provides yet more food for thought. On September 29 at 2:00, the company, founded in 2000 to present one-act plays in intimate settings, with little or no sets or costumes, just actors reading well-known or less-familiar works, is performing a trio of tales, both online and in person at Theatre 80 at 80 St. Marks Place. Yes, a limited number of first-come, first-served free seats are available at the historic Village theater, following New York City guidelines with temperature checks, masks, and social distancing, and all attendees must have recently tested negative for Covid-19; you can also livestream the show over Zoom for $25. The matinee includes Tony nominee Tony Roberts reading excerpts from his 2015 autobiography, Do You Know Me?, and Jodie Markell, Stephen Schnetzer, and Rex Reed (yes, that Rex Reed) starring in Oscar, Tony, and Emmy winner Peter Stone’s Commercial Break (previously performed by Lauren Bacall and Robert Preston and initially written for Audrey Hepburn in Charade) and FFT creator Susan Charlotte’s Come On, directed by Antony Marsellis. A live Q&A will follow. The season began with Arthur Miller’s I Can’t Remember Anything, Robert Anderson’s I’m Herbert, and Daniel Rose’s Eichmann in Israel on July 13 (with Bob Dishy, Judy Graubart, Marilyn Sokol, and Schnetzer) and Christopher Durang’s Mrs. Sorken and Tennessee Williams’s I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow on August 17 (with Nathan Darrow, Delphi Harrington, Kristine Nielsen, and Schnetzer); next up for Food for Thought’s “Live Performances in a Safe Environment” series are Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are and excerpts from the work of Lynn Nottage on October 19, A. R. Gurney’s The Love Course on November 16, and Mel Brooks’s Of Fathers and Sons and Durang’s Wanda’s Visit on December 14.
Who: Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre, Ma-Yi Theater Company, the Classical Theatre of Harlem, American Players Theatre
What: Inaugural curated list of classic plays written by women
Where: Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre online
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays, September 21 - October 1, suggested donation $15, 8:00
Why: On Monday, September 21, at 8:00, in “The Matchlorette: Meet Your Classical Play Match!,” Brooklyn-based Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre, in conjunction with Ma-Yi Theater Company and the Classical Theatre of Harlem, will drop its inaugural annual curated list of nine classic and classical plays by a diverse group of women. The works, selected by an international committee of eleven women from American Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Texas, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other organizations, will kick off “Do This Play: Expand the Canon Virtual Reading Series,” with several of the plays, including two new translations, being performed online Tuesday and Thursday nights through October 1. The cast features Hedgepig ensemble members Madeline Egan Addis, Desirée Baxter, Fara Faidzan, Jamal James, Kubbi, Andrew Hutcheson, Sara Hymes, Jory Murphy, Skye Pagon, Gregory Jon Phelps, Basil Rodericks, Rachel Schmeling, and Olivia Williamson, in addition to actors from partner companies. The suggested donation for this inclusive call to action, which focuses on timely, relevant works, is $15; we will add the full schedule below following the official announcement. [Ed. note: The selected plays are House of Desires by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, A Bold Stroke for a Husband by Hannah Cowley, A Bold Stroke for a Wife by Susanna Centilivre, Her Soul by Amelia P. Roselli, Rachel by Angelina W. Grimke, Restless Night in Late Spring by Fumiko Enchi, Spunk by Zora Neale Hurston, The Drag by Mae West, and Wedding Band by Alice Childress.]
Tuesday, September 22, 8:00
Bold Stroke for a Husband, by Hannah Cowley, directed by Emily Lyon, and featuring Skye Pagon, Shannon Corenthin, David Huynh, Basil Rodericks, Sara Hymes, Rachel Schmeling, Jory Murphy, Andrew Hutcheson, Gregory Jon Phelps, Marcus D. Johnson, and Madeline Addis
Sunday, September 27, 8:00
House of Desires, by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, directed by Melisa Pereyra, produced in partnership with American Players Theatre, featuring Cher Alvarez, Eduardo Xavier Curley-Carillo, Triney Sandoval, Alejandro Cordova, Sebastian Arboleda, Basil Rodericks, Jamal James, Olivia Williamson, and Desiree Baxter
Tuesday, September 29, 8:00
Restless Night in Late Spring, by Fumiko Enchi, directed by Chari Arespacochago, produced in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company, featuring Sasha Diamond, Shannon Tyo, Daniel K. Isaac, and Fara Faidzan
Thursday, October 1, 8:00
Spunk, by Zora Neale Hurston, directed by Bianca LaVerne Jones, produced in partnership with the Classical Theatre of Harlem
Who: Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Mignolo Dance, Christy E. O’Connor, Dimitri Reyes, Lisa Campbell
What: Livestream broadcast
Where: Ramapo College Berrie Center YouTube channel
When: Saturday, September 19 & 26, free (donations accepted for the Contemporary Arts Fund or the Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund through the Ramapo Foundation), 8:00
Why: The New Jersey arts community responds to the pandemic lockdown with “Leaning into the Unknown,“ two evenings of dance, spoken word, and performance art hosted by Ramapo College's Berrie Center. On September 19 at 8:00, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company of Fort Lee will perform Ripple Effect, Desk and I, Phase II, Emissary of Light, and Tomorrow, along with poet Marina Carreira of Union and performance artist Christy E. O’Connor of Middletown. The lineup for September 26 features Mignolo Dance of Metuchen, spoken word artist Dimitri Reyes of Kearny, and the Moving Architects of Montclair. Each evening will conclude with a live Q&A with the artists, moderated by Berrie Center director Lisa Campbell. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted for the Contemporary Arts Fund or the Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund through the Ramapo Foundation.
Who: Kimberly Brown
What: Virtual book launch party
When: Monday, September 14, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: In her new book, Steady, Calm, and Brave: 25 Practices of Resilience and Wisdom in a Crisis (Publishing with Heart, July 2020, $12.95), New York City meditation teacher Kimberly J. Brown offers advice on how to deal with the current pandemic and the protests raging across the country. “Our delusions about being independent from other people, or separate from those we don’t like or don’t know, are revealed as dangerous and demonstrably false in any time of crisis,” she writes in the preface. Later, in the chapter “When It’s Us Against Them,” she explains, “Divisive thinking is a root cause of racism and so many other social problems throughout the world. The idea that we can separate ourselves from others is a type of delusion that Buddhism calls a ‘wrong view.’ Right view is the scientific fact that all humans — all living beings — are profoundly connected. We live together on the same planet, breathe the same air, share the resources of our ecosystem, and all of our actions affect one another. There is no us and them — only us.”
Brown teaches guided meditation and mind-body therapy at the Rubin Museum, the Interdependence Project, the Shantideva Center (“Metta for [Self]Compassion” on Thursday nights), and other institutions as well as privately; in addition, her “Wisdom and Healing for the World” class takes place every Sunday morning at 10:00. On September 14 at 7:00, she will be hosting a virtual book launch party for Steady, Calm, and Brave, which includes such chapters as “Harm and Healing,” “Grief and Loss,” “When Your Family Is Making You Crazy,” “When You’re Mad at the World,” “When Others Behave Badly,” and “When You’re Keeping Your Distance.” The book also features extensive back matter with blessings and resources, and Brown offers numerous types of meditation practices (five-minute, virtual, safety) for experienced meditators as well as beginners. The book is as warm and lovely as she is — I’ve known her for about ten years — so you can expect a warm and lovely event, much-needed healing during these intense times of stress and pressure coming at us from all sides.
Who: Cara Robertson, Harold Holzer, Sarah Blake, Adrienne Brodeur, Roland Foster Miller, Matthew Rimi von Barton
What: Livestreamed book awards salon
Where: New England Society Zoom
When: Thursday, September 10, $25, 6:00
Why: The annual New England Society Book Awards, which honors titles by New England-based authors and/or books about New England history and culture, was scheduled to be held at the National Arts Club, but because of the pandemic it has been moved to Zoom, where it will take place September 10 at 6:00. The salon, featuring author acceptance speeches, a group interview emceed by NES board member Matthew Rimi von Barton, and an audience Q&A, will celebrate this year’s winners: The Trial of Lizzie Borden by Cara Robertson for Historical Nonfiction, Monument Man: The Life & Art of Daniel Chester French by Harold Holzer for Art & Photography, The Guest Book by Sarah Blake for Fiction, and Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur for Biography/Memoir.
“New England continues to draw from a deep well of talented writers,” Book Awards chair Roland Foster Miller said in a statement. “This year’s winners examine subjects as diverse as Daniel Chester French (the Lincoln Memorial sculptor), and Lizzie Borden’s double-murder trial, where readers take a virtual seat in the jury box. In her provocative memoir, Adrienne Brodeur, the publisher and editor, chronicles her life with her mother and her mother’s lover, and Sarah Blake’s novel tracks the foibles and challenges of three generations of a New England family summering in an island cottage in Maine.” The Zoom salon is open to the public; the $25 donation supports the New England Society [Ed. note: My wife is an NES officer] and its outreach, including the Scholarship Program, which “provides financial help to New York City students attending colleges and universities in the New England states.”
Who: Bruce Springsteen
What: Livestreamed address to incoming Boston College class of 2024
Where: Boston College YouTube
When: Thursday, September 10, free, 7:00
Why: Bruce Springsteen has been affiliated with Boston College ever since his son Evan went to school there, graduating in 2012, including playing benefit concerts. The Boss is now scheduled to deliver an address to the incoming class of 2024 on September 10 at 7:00, following the traditional torch-lit First Flight Procession, in which first-year students march down Linden Lane, descend the Higgins Stairs, then enter Conte Forum. Each member of the class has received a digital copy of Springsteen’s 2016 memoir, Born to Run, along with a reading guide. “Through his songs, Bruce Springsteen has long been such a conversation partner to his audience, masterfully portraying the American experience through lyrics that inspire reflection about our world, our families, our jobs, our struggles, and our relationships,” Student Formation executive director Michael Sacco said in a statement. “But in his memoir, Bruce reveals the conversation he had with himself as he approached many of his life’s crossroads. In doing so, Bruce shares how attentiveness, contemplation, and authenticity played a key role in his personal growth and honing his immense talents. Each BC student brings a unique set of talents, and reading Bruce’s story will give them an invaluable perspective as they begin their formation at Boston College.” You can watch the livestream of the First Year Academic Convocation on YouTube here.
In explaining why the book was chosen to be distributed to the students at the Jesuit school, the reading guide offers, “In this book, Bruce Springsteen shares his story — the meaningful events and the transformation he has experienced on his journey — and how his reflection on these experiences has impacted his engagement with the world around him. As you read Born to Run it is the hope of the university that it inspires you to reflect on your own story — the meaningful events and the transformation you have experienced and will continue to experience during your time at Boston College — and understand how your own personal narrative enables you to encounter God’s presence in the world. In reading Springsteen’s reflections on truth, identity, and love, you will be invited to consider your own values and encouraged to think about how you respond to life’s questions.” Another of life’s important questions is, Are the rumors of a new E Street Band album releasing October 23, preceded by a single on September 10, real? The truth will be revealed shortly.