“This is my story, told as I remember it . . . and I remember it as though it happened yesterday,” Immaculée Ilibagiza writes in Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, about her experience trying to stay alive during the 1994 Rwandan genocide of the Tutsi people by the Hutu government. Leslie Lewis and Edward Vilga have adapted her harrowing tale into a one-woman show, Miracle in Rwanda, which begins previews April 4 at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row. Rwandan actress, poet, and activist Malaika Uwamahoro (Measure Back, Our Lady of Kibeho), a Fordham grad, portrays Ilibagiza and two dozen other characters in the play, including a pastor, a machete-wielding murderer, refugees, friends, family members, soldiers, and more. The role was originally played by cocreator Lewis on its world tour.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Directed by George Drance, Miracle in Rwanda runs April 4 through May 11 (with an April 9 opening) at the Lion Theatre at Theatre Row, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, phone number, and favorite one-woman show to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, April 3, at 5:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.
ACTUALLY, WE’RE F**CKED
Cherry Lane Mainstage Theatre
38 Commerce St.
Tuesday - Sunday through April 7, $55-$95
If you’ve been paying attention at all to what’s going on around the globe these days, you might very well think that the world has finally, truly gone to hell in a handbasket. That’s the theory behind Actually, We’re F**ked, debuting at the Cherry Lane this week. Mairin Lee, Keren Lugo, Ben Rappaport, and Gabriel Sloyer star as millennials who want to do something about it — until a surprise changes their future. The play is written by Emmy nominee Matt Williams (Bruce Lee Is Dead and I’m Not Feeling Too Good Either, Jason and the Nun) and directed by Obie winner John Pasquin (Moonchildren, Landscape of the Body); the two men have previously collaborated on the Tim Allen television series Home Improvement, with Williams one of the creators and Pasquin a producer and director on the first two seasons. Williams was also the creator of Roseanne and a writer and producer for The Cosby Show, while Pasquin’s working relationship with Allen continued on the movies The Santa Clause and Jungle 2 Jungle and the current series Last Man Standing. Williams is the secretary of the Cherry Lane, which is owned by his wife, artistic director Angelina Fiordellisi. The set is by Robin Vest, with costumes by Theresa Squire, lighting by Paul Miller, sound by ML Dogg/MuTTT, and projections by Brad Peterson.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Actually, We’re F**ked runs February 26 through April 7 (with a March 7 opening) at the Cherry Lane, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, phone number, and favorite play or movie with a curse in the title to email@example.com by Thursday, February 28, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.
PROFESSIONAL BULL RIDERS MONSTER ENERGY BUCK OFF AT THE GARDEN
Madison Square Garden
31st - 33rd Sts. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
January 4-6, $28-$226 ($551 for PBR Elite Seats)
There are a lot of traditions in New York City tied to the New Year, and one of the most exciting is the Professional Bull Riders opening its season at the World’s Most Famous Arena the first weekend of January. The sport’s twenty-sixth season, dubbed Unleash the Beast, gets under way January 4-6 with the Monster Energy Buck Off at the Garden, as thirty-five riders attempt to hold on to hard-battling bulls for eight damn-tough seconds. Among the anticipated competitors are PBR legend and two-time world champion J. B. Mauney, a three-time MSG winner and all-around badass cowboy; 2016 world champ Cooper Davis, who we introduced you to three years ago; and 2017 Garden victor and world champion Jess Lockwood. Due to injuries — bull riding is one of the most dangerous sports on the planet — 2018 world champion Kaique Pacheco and 2018 MSG winner Gage Gay will have to sit out the contest.
PBR riders and bulls first invaded New York City in 2007, and the event keeps getting bigger and better, with pyrotechnics, cowboy hats worn the wrong way by Brooklyn hipsters, and a barrel of laughs from PBR “Exclusive Entertainer” Flint Rasumussen, who we interviewed in 2017. In addition to the competition, PBR will be hosting a Cowboy Brunch on January 5 at the Renaissance Hotel ($75, 10:00 am), with Rasmussen, such riders as Stetson Lawrence, and other special guests; you can also join PBR and Boot Barn as it rings the morning bell at the New York Stock Exchange on January 4 at 8:00 ($225), including a continental breakfast and photo ops with PBR CEO Sean Gleason and Canadian superstar Tanner Byrne, who we profiled with his brother Jesse two years ago. (Yes, we kind of have a thing for this crazy event at the home of the Knicks and Rangers.)
TICKET GIVEAWAY: PBR Unleash the Beast bursts through the gates of Madison Square Garden January 4-6, with such participants as Ryan Dirteater, Chase Outlaw, Dakota Buttar, Stetson Lawrence, and Keyshawn Whitehorse, which are their real, given names, and twi-ny has a pair of tickets to give away for free for Sunday afternoon’s finale. Just send your name and what your cowboy alias would be if you were insane enough to get on a one-ton bucking bull to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, December 17, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; one winner will be selected at random.
KENNEDY: BOBBY’S LAST CRUSADE
Theatre at St. Clement’s
423 West 46th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Wednesday - Sunday through December 9, $55-$85 (use code KNDYGEN for discount)
On June 6, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles during a presidential campaign stop. This month Bobby, the former US attorney general and, at the time of his death, New York senator, would have turned ninety-three. The new one-man show Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade honors the legacy of the man known as RFK upon the fiftieth anniversary of his murder. The world premiere at the Theatre at St. Clement’s was written by and stars David Arrow as Kennedy; “The Kennedys are a political dynasty and have had a lasting effect on America, and fifty years later the words of Bobby Kennedy need to be repeated so that we as Americans can remember that politics used to be about ideas and ideals, not about us versus them,” Arrow notes in a statement. The story focuses on Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign and is drawn from his public speeches and lesser-known private events; Arrow previously portrayed Kennedy in Jack Holmes’s solo show RFK, winning the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for his performance, topping Anna Deavere Smith, Steven Abbott, and Geoff Sobelle. The play is directed by Eric Nightengale, with set design by Jim Morgan and lighting by Miriam Crowe.
TICKET GIVEAWAY: Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade runs through December 9 (with a November 8 opening) at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play involving a real-life politician to email@example.com by Wednesday, November 7, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.
MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR: A WAGNERIAN COMEDY
Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA
10 West 64th Street
Tuesday - Sunday, September 25 - November 3, $67
The debates over whether German composer Richard Wagner was anti-Semitic have raged for more than a century, particularly since Adolf Hitler and the Nazis incorporated his music into their march for power. (Wagner died in 1883 at the age of sixty-nine.) One of his works that generates complaints of anti-Semitism is his final opera, 1880’s Parsifal, about the search for the Holy Grail. Writer, director, and producer Allan Leicht, who won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing for Ryan’s Hope and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for the TV movie Adam, explores the topic in My Parsifal Conductor: A Wagnerian Comedy, which was inspired by the real-life situation in which King Ludwig II of Bavaria commanded that German Jew Hermann Levi, the son of a rabbi, will conduct the inaugural performance of Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival in 1882. The cast features Eddie Korbich as Wagner, Claire Brownwell as Cosima, his wife, Geoffrey Cantor as Levi, Carlo Bosticco as King Ludwig II, Logan James Hall as Friedrich Nietzsche, Alison Cimmet as Dora, and Jazmin Gorsline as Carrie and Sophie. My Parsifal Conductor is directed by Robert Kalfin (Happy End, Yentl) and produced by Ted Snowdon (The Elephant Man, My Name Is Asher Lev).
TICKET GIVEAWAY: My Parsifal Conductor runs September 25 through November 3 (with an October 11 opening) at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA, and twi-ny has two pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite play involving opera to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, September 28, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; two winners will be selected at random.
L’ATALANTE (Jean Vigo, 1934)
209 West Houston St.
September 21 - October 2
French auteur Jean Vigo made only three shorts and one feature before his death from tuberculosis and leukemia in 1934 at the age of twenty-nine, but his wide-ranging legacy continues. Film Forum pays tribute to his lasting influence on cinema with “The Complete Jean Vigo,” new 4K restorations of all of his works in addition to a new bonus. In Vigo’s fourth and final film, L’Atalante, his only feature, Swiss actor Michel Simon is spectacularly hilarious as an aging, somewhat decrepit first mate with a peculiar lust for life and cats. After barge captain Jean (Jean Dasté) and Juliette (Dita Parlo) get married in her small, tight-knit country town, they head for the big city of Paris on the long boat, L’Atalante, that he captains as his job. First mate Père Jules (Simon) and his young cabin boy (Louis Lefebvre) come along for the would-be honeymoon, attempting to make sure it’s a smooth ride, which of course it’s not. Juliette wants to enjoy the Parisian nightlife, Jean is a jealous, overprotective stick-in-the-mud, and Père Jules — well, Père Jules is downright unpredictable, pretty much all id, living life footloose and fancy free even if he doesn’t have much money or many true friends. When a love-struck bicycle-riding peddler (Gilles Margaritis) tries to woo Juliette, Jean grows angry, and an emotional and psychological battle ensues. But through it all, Père Jules just keeps on keepin’ on, never getting too concerned, confident that everything will work out in the end, because that’s what happens in life.
The son of anarchist Miguel Almereyda, who chose his last name because it is an anagram of the French phrase for “there is shit,” Vigo had been labeled a subversive for his first film, the twenty-five-minute À propos de Nice, and his third, the forty-one-minute Zéro de conduite (Zero for Conduct), had been banned. So he went a little more conventional, at least for him, with L’Atalante, rewriting with Albert Riéra an original script by Jean Guinée. The film is an insightful tale of love and romance, of wealth and poverty, of hard social conditions, focusing on a wacky man who has experienced a lot in his life, even though he looks like a bum, reminiscent of Simon’s brilliant portrayal of Priape in Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved from Drowning. Whether putting on a puppet show, displaying his tattoos, getting his fortune read, or walking around with cats on his shoulders, Père Jules is one of the most endearing and memorable characters in the history of cinema, a unique figure who surprises over and over again, and Simon’s portrayal is just amazing; it’s hard to believe that he was only thirty-nine when he made the picture.
The highly poetic film, featuring a lovely score by Maurice Jaubert, also echoes F. W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, only from a comic, often slapstick angle. After shooting was completed, Vigo’s already failing health took a turn for the worse, and a battle ensued over final cut involving the producers and editor Louis Chavance and cinematographer Boris Kaufman (Dziga Vertov’s brother, who went on to shoot such American classics as On the Waterfront and 12 Angry Men). Vigo died only a few weeks after L’Atalante was released. Film Forum is showing the restored director’s cut of L’Atalante from September 21 to October 2, along with “Vigo x 3,” consisting of À propos de Nice, the short documentary Jean Taris, and the restored director’s cut of Zéro de conduite. In addition, on September 30, Film Forum is screening Tournage d’hiver (Winter Shooting), a 2017 compilation of rushes and outtakes from L’Atalante and Zéro de conduite, narrated by film critic and historian Bernard Eisenschitz, who oversaw the restoration of L’Atalante.
A LOVELY SUNDAY FOR CREVE COEUR
Theatre at St. Clement’s
423 West 46th St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Wednesday - Sunday through October 21, $55-$85 (use code LOVELYRED for discount)
In a 2007 interview with The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, actress Charlotte Moore recounts the chaotic beginnings of Williams’s 1978 play, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, a companion piece with his 1970 one-act, The Demolition Downtown. She describes director Keith Hack fighting with Williams over rewrites, Williams talking distractingly in the audience during performances, and a cast change on opening night. “The opening night was nothing like the closing night at Spoleto. By the time it was over, it was pretty good!” she remembers. “Tennessee loved Creve Coeur. ‘It’s a bijou,’ he would say, ‘a bijou.’ A small jewel.” The rarely revived play, about four women trying to get by in Depression-era St. Louis, was one of six major works Williams wrote in the last four years of his life; it is now being brought back by La Femme Theatre Productions, running at the Theatre at St. Clement’s through October 21. (Opening night, which should be less hectic than the one at the Spoleto Festival nearly forty years ago, is September 23.) The impressive cast — the original featured Moore, Shirley Knight, and Jane Alexander — consists of Kristine Nielsen, Annette O’Toole, Jean Lichty, and Polly McKie, with the ubiquitous Austin Pendleton directing. “I think that A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur is one of the gentlest, funniest, loveliest, and most moving of Tennessee’s later plays, actually of all his plays,” Pendleton said in a statement. “And they could not be better served than by our brilliant cast. These women know all about acting, about Tennessee, about life, and the idea of all four of them together makes me tingle.”
TICKET GIVEAWAY: A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur runs through October 21 at the Theatre at St. Clement’s, and twi-ny has three pairs of tickets to give away for free. Just send your name, daytime phone number, and favorite Tennessee Williams play to email@example.com by Friday, September 21, at 3:00 pm to be eligible. All entrants must be twenty-one years of age or older; three winners will be selected at random.