This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


kevin geeks out about famous monsters

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry St. & Wythe Ave.
Friday, May 25, $16, 9:30

Film fan and historian extraordinaire Kevin Maher will be taking a scary look at monster movies for the May entry of his monthly Kevin Geeks Out presentation at Nitehawk. On May 25 at 9:30, he’ll be joined by Amber Dextrous, Jon Abrams, Kevin Rice, Kevin Harrington, Chris Smith, and Jack Theakston, who will each discuss their favorite monster. There will be rare footage of classic films, not-so-classic remakes, and other strange versions of well-known and not-so-well-known behemoths. The trailer includes clips of numerous hellions — if you can recognize most of them, you need to be at this event — from Count Chocula to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, so clearly anything goes.


(photo by Monique Carboni)

Derrick (Jonny Orsini) and his brother, Patrick (Noah Bean), argue over baseball, beer, and more in The Whirligig (photo by Monique Carboni)

The New Group at the Pershing Square Signature Center
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
480 West 42nd St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through June 18, $75-$120

When the audience enters the Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center, the curtain is up, exhibiting a young woman lying on a hospital bed. She is hooked up to an IV drip and revolving slowly around the stage, surrounded by thick horizontal tree branches on either side, bursting with green leaves. She is twenty-three-year-old Julie Evans Tyler (Grace Van Patten), who is dying in the Berkshires. She is joined by her divorced parents, Kristina (Dolly Wells) and Michael Tyler (Norbert Leo Butz), who are trying their best to face the reality of the situation but are not succeeding very well. “Do you think it’s your fault?” Julie asks her mother. Actor and writer Hamish Linklater’s The Whirligig, a New Group world premiere that opened last night at the Griffin, is an emotionally powerful drama about love and addiction, friendship and responsibility, and what encompasses “fault,” as the truth about how Julie arrived at death’s door is gradually revealed. The tale is told by her tightly enmeshed group of friends and neighbors — and just how tightly bound they are to one another is gradually revealed as well. “I know specifically when it turned, when things got really bad for her — and it wasn’t the mom, it wasn’t the dad — I know the exact day it happened,” Derrick (Jonny Orsini), the brother of Julie’s doctor, Patrick (Noah Bean), tells Julie’s former best friend, Trish (Zosia Mamet), who has yet to visit the hospital or talk at all to Kristina and Michael. Trish is married to Greg (Alex Hurt), a former acting student of Michael’s and a bartender in Great Barrington who regularly serves Mr. Cormeny (Jon DeVries), a bloviating former high school teacher who waxes not-quite-poetic about the Russians but occasionally does pick up on human emotions. “I just hope Mr. Tyler’s OK,” Patrick says after Michael falls off the wagon and Greg helps him outside. “Him? Oh no. That poor gentleman is in a whirligig of grief,” Mr. Cormeny says as he heads behind the bar. “There is a silver lining, howsomever: I’m de facto barkeep. Tipple?” the septuagenarian offers.

(photo by Monique Carboni)

A bar is one of several rotating sets by Derek McLane in Hamish Linklater’s world premiere for the New Group (photo by Monique Carboni)

Linklater’s narrative weaves seamlessly between the present day, where, among other things, Trish and Derrick spy on Julie from a high branch in a tree, and fifteen years earlier, as carefree teenagers Julie and Trish talk about sex and drugs, Michael battles the bottle, and Kristina tries not to lose her grip. It’s quite fitting that Michael and Kristina met at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia and that their favorite poem is “Annabel Lee.” As Julie deteriorates, her friends, relatives, and acquaintances, each connected, whether they know it or not, like the branches of a tree, argue over how and why it has all come to this. The torrent of revelations could overwhelm the story but instead helps everything fall into place, although there are no simple answers to the main questions. Linklater, who was born in Great Barrington to a mother named Kristin (a theater professor and cofounder of Shakespeare & Co.) and a father whose last name was Cormeny, is better known as an actor, appearing in such films as The Big Short and 42, such television series as The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Crazy Ones, and such Shakespeare in the Park productions as Cymbeline and Much Ado About Nothing. He has previously written The Vandal for the Steep Theatre in Chicago and The Cheats for the Flea in Lower Manhattan, and he has made a significant jump now with his third play.

(photo by Monique Carboni)

Julie (Grace Van Patten) and Trish (Zosia Mamet) share a sweet moment before it all came crashing down in The Whirligig (photo by Monique Carboni)

“And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges,” Feste tells Malvolio in the fifth act of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The title of Linklater’s play could refer to a pinwheel, time, or even a medieval torture involving a revolving cage used to discipline “trifling misdemeanors,” particularly committed by women. The Whirligig investigates punishment and revenge, as well as forgiveness and making amends, told with a clever circularity, with well-developed characters and a tightly written script that, despite some bumps and bruises — the scene in which Kristina celebrates her thirty-fifth birthday in the bar with Michael could use some rethinking — bring it all together, complete with unexpected twists and turns. Director Scott Elliott (Evening at the Talk House, Mercury Fur) successfully circumnavigates through the rotating set and two time periods, which occasionally appear to merge, as past and present clash. The cast is excellent, with standout performances by DeVries (Sweet and Sad, The Wayside Motor Inn), Orsini (The Nance, Incident at Vichy), Wells (Blunt Talk, Doll & Em) and Mamet (Girls, Really Really). So whose fault is it that Julie is in the situation she’s in? “Everyone knows everyone tonight, and I don’t recognize a soul,” Mr. Cormeny says at one point. The Whirligig is populated with people who have some serious soul searching to do of their own, and it’s about a lot more than just who is to blame.


fleet week

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and other locations in all five boroughs
Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th St.
May 24–29, pier activities free unless otherwise noted

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will be pouring into New York City for Fleet Week, which takes place May 24-29 at the Intrepid and other locations. The annual celebration, which began in 1982, leads into Memorial Day weekend, reminding everyone that the holiday is not just about barbecues and beaches. Below are only some of the highlights; all pier events are free and open to the public. Admission to the museum is $17-$33 but free for all U.S. military and veterans.

Wednesday, May 24
Parade of Ships, New York Harbor, 8:15 am - 1:00 pm

Fort Wadsworth Fleet Week and National Park Centennial Celebration, Fort Wadsworth Overlook, Staten Island, 9:00 - 11:30 am

U.S. Navy Divers, New York Aquarium, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Thursday, May 25
U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Performance, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 11:00 am

U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team Performance, 9/11 Memorial Plaza, 1:00

Thursday, May 25
Friday, May 26

Public Tours of Visiting Ship Research Vessel Neil Armstrong, end of pier 86, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm

Thursday, May 25
Friday, May 26
Saturday, May 27

U.S. Navy Dive Tank in Times Square, plaza between 43rd & 44th Sts., 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday, May 25
Monday, May 29

General Public Ship Tours, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, Homeport Pier in Staten Island, Pier 92 in Manhattan, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday, May 26
Movie on the Flight Deck: Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986), introduced by former NASA astronaut and T-38 pilot Gregory C. Johnson, 7:00

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 8:00

Friday, May 26
Monday, May 29

Giant Leaps Planetarium Show, Intrepid, Hangar 3, Rotunda, 12:15 – 3:15

Saturday, May 27
Marine Day, with a formation run, military static displays, demonstrations, and a performance by the USMC Battle Color Detachment, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Broadway Showcase: Cats, Kinky Boots, School of Rock, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking, and Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, emceed by The Play That Goes Wrong, Pier 86, Main Stage, 12 noon

U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo, Homeport Pier, Staten Island, 12 noon

CAMMO Voices of Service, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:30 & 4:30

American Military Spouses Choir, Pier 86, Main Stage, 3:30 & 5:00

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 6:00

Battle of the Big Bands, with Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, Glenn Crytzer Orchestra with guest vocalist Hannah Gill, Gunhild Carling with the Swingadelic Big Band, Jason Prover and the Sneak Thievery Orchestra, swing dancing lessons, the Bathtub Ginnys, the Intrepid Swing Dance Brigade, contests, MC Dandy Wellington, DJ VaVa Voom and Odysseus Bailer, Flight Deck, $55-$95, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am

U.S. Marine Corps Battle Color Detachment Performance, Father Duffy Square, Times Square, 8:00

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 24-30 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Fleet Week will feature celebrations, commemorations, and memorials May 24-30 in all five boroughs (photo courtesy Fleet Week New York)

Saturday, May 27
Sunday, May 28

Activities, displays, demonstrations, tours, and more, including “Dive into Density,” U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team, SeaPerch Pool Demonstrations, antique military vehicles, “Signal Flags,” CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation’s STEM activity, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, “Catch a Cable,” 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Saturday, May 27
Sunday, May 28
Monday, May 29

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Navy Divers, New York Aquarium, Coney Island, $11.95 - $14.95

Meet the Author: Julia Maki, My Mom Hunts Submarines, Hangar 2, Stage, 11:00 am, 12 noon, 1:00

Sunday, May 28
Performance by Tap Life, Pier 86, Main Stage, 12:30

Performance by America’s Sweethearts, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:00 & 3:00

Performance by Deployed: A New Musical, Pier 86, Main Stage, 1:30 & 4:30

Performance by the 78th Army Band, Pier 86, Main Stage, 2:00

Performance by Exit 12 Dance Company, Pier 86, Main Stage, 3:30

Navy Band Concert, with Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound, Military Island, Times Square, 4:00

Theater of War, with Zach Grenier, Kathryn Erbe, and Reg E. Cathey, Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater, free with RSVP, 7:00

Monday, May 29
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance, commemorating the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Midway, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Riverside Dr. & 89th St., 10:00 am

Activities, displays, demonstrations, tours, and more, including Minus 5 Ice Sculpting Experience, CEC/Seabee Historical Foundation’s STEM activity, FDNY Fire Safety Experience, Dina Parise Racing 3,000HP Fallen Heroes Cadillac and Porta Tree display, Veterans Vision Project and Arizona State University, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Veteran Artist Program, Hudson Valley Paws for a Cause, Intrepid former crew members, “Dive into Density,” SeaPerch Pool Demonstrations, “Signal Flags,” “Catch a Cable,” “What Floats Your Boat?,” Pier 86, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Memorial Day Ceremony, Pier 86, 11:00 am

Search & Rescue Demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard, end of Pier 86, 2:00

Bubble Garden by the Gazillion Bubble Show, Pier 86, 2:00 – 6:00


Museum of Food and Drink event  brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

Museum of Food and Drink event brings Brooklyn, Poland, and vodka together

62 Bayard St., Brooklyn
Thursday, May 25, $30, 6:30

The Spring Spirits series at the Museum of Food and Drink continues May 25 with “The Vodka Contract: Rediscovering Vodka in the Heart of Polish Brooklyn,” in which curator and artist Elizabeth Koszarski-Skrabonja tells how her father, Kazimierz Koszarski, brought the vodka brands Zubrówka, Wisniówka, and Wyborowa to America in August 1939, distributing them through the Austin-Nichols building in Williamsburg. Promising “a dramatic story of love, herbs, and vodka,” the evening, which is copresented by the Polish Cultural Institute of New York, will also feature Polish bites from Karolina Gumpert, live entertainment (the tango!) from Azuz Ensemble, and the introduction of the new cocktail the Kosciuszko Bridge, designed by Joel Lee Kulp. After the event, attendees will be able to get drink specials around the corner at Pete’s Candy Store, including the vodka-based Greener Pastures.


theater of war

Who: Zach Grenier, Kathryn Erbe, Reg E. Cathey
What:Free performance of scenes from ancient Greek play, followed by Q&A
Where: Allison & Howard Lutnick Theater, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, West Forty-Sixth St. & Twelfth Ave.
When: Sunday, May 28, free with RSVP, 7:00
Why: In conjunction with Fleet Week, Theater of War is presenting a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles’ Philoctetes, translated, directed, and facilitated by Brooklyn-based artistic director Bryan Doerries, author of The Theater of War: What Ancient Greek Tragedies Can Teach Us Today. The event, part of a project that “is designed to promote understanding, compassion, and positive action,” features Tony nominee Zach Grenier (The Good Wife, 33 Variations), Tony nominee Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Speed of Darkness), and Emmy winner Reg E. Cathey (The Wire, House of Cards). The dramatic reading will be followed by a Q&A with community panelists.


The Lucky One (photo by Richard Termine)

Brothers Gerald (Robert David Grant) and Bob (Ari Brand) face off against each other in A. A. Milne’s The Lucky One (photo by Richard Termine)

The Mint Theater
The Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row
410 West 42nd St. between Ninth & Tenth Aves.
Tuesday - Sunday through July 2, $65

For his latest theatrical excavation, Jonathan Bank and his expert drama archaeologists at the Mint have resurrected Winnie-the-Pooh creator Alan Alexander (A. A.) Milne’s The Lucky One, presenting the first New York revival of the 1922 Broadway play at the Beckett Theatre through July 2. “The Lucky One was doomed from the start with a name like that,” Milne wrote in the introduction to a published volume of five of his plays written in 1916–17. “I see no hope of its being produced. But if any critic wishes to endear himself to me (though I don’t see why he should) he will agree with me that it is the best play of the five.” In 2004, the Mint brought back two other Milne works, Mr. Pim Passes By and The Truth About Blayds, and now is staging The Lucky One, which Milne wrote in 1917 while serving in WWI. It’s a slight but pleasurable tale of upper-class Edwardian desire and doom, featuring a compelling central plot but lacking any bigger scope. The first and third acts are set in the country home of Sir James Farringdon (Wynn Harmon) and his wife, Lady Farringdon (Deanne Lorette), where the golf-obsessed Tommy Todd (Andrew Fallaize) is bragging about a hole-in-one to dapper family friend Henry Wentworth (Michael Frederic). The Farringdons’ virtually perfect younger son, the tall, blond Gerald (Robert David Grant), handsome well spoken, and well placed in the Foreign Office, has just gotten engaged to the beautiful and charming Pamela Carey (Paton Ashbrook). But not everyone thinks he’s the bee’s knees. “The trouble with Gerald, Mr. Wentworth, is that he goes about expecting everybody to love him. The result is that they nearly all do,” says Gerald’s elderly spinster Great-Aunt Harriet, aka Aunt Tabitha. “However, he can’t get round me.” Miss Farringdon prefers Gerald’s older brother, “poor old Bob” (Ari Brand), a dark-haired, dour young man who regrets having been sent into the big bad city by his parents to work on the Stock Exchange. Bob is sore at Gerald, as Pamela was Bob’s girlfriend before he brought her home and introduced her to his brother. Bob is also embarrassed that he has to ask Gerald for help with a serious business problem; Bob’s partner has absconded with ill-gotten money and left him facing possible prosecution.

The Lucky One (photo by Richard Termine)

The Farringdons and friends face a crisis in Mint revival of A. A. Milne’s The Lucky One (photo by Richard Termine)

The middle act takes place in a Dover Street hotel in London, where the family discusses Bob’s situation. “I don’t want to be unfair to Bob; I don’t think that any son of mine would do a dishonourable action,” Sir James says, “but the Law is the Law, and if the Law sends Bob to prison I can’t help feeling the disgrace of it.” When Bob arrives, he has some terse words for his brother. “You could have saved me from this, and you wouldn’t help me,” he sternly tells Gerald. But soon there’s more than that coming between the siblings. One of the highlights of nearly every Mint production is the set, which is often deserving of its own applause (as well as oohs and aahs). In this case, Vicki R. Davis’s design is, like the play, rather pleasant but nothing more, an elegant main room with a few sofas and chairs, doors in the back leading outside, and a long, high two-sided staircase rising across the stage; at the top landing is a large photograph of Bob and Gerald as boys, a constant reminder of a more innocent time. The cast, which also includes Mia Hutchinson-Shaw as Letty Herbert, who provides comic relief with her bestie, Tommy, and Peggy J. Scott as Mason, the family’s longtime nurse and servant, is excellent — Grant (Merchants of Love, Clever Little Lies) is especially charming in his Mint debut — and Mint associate director Jesse Marchese (The Fatal Weakness, I Am a Camera) provides solid direction, particularly in the key scenes involving Bob, Gerald, and Pamela. But there’s not a whole lot of meat to the play, not enough for audiences to chew on. Milne rarely ventures past the well-groomed surface of the landed gentry and their actions. It all makes for a pleasant theatrical experience, but you’ll leave the Beckett wanting a little more — perhaps a few episodes of Downton Abbey.


block party

La MaMa hosts multidisciplinary block party on May 20

La MaMa
East Fourth St. between Bowery & Second Ave.
Saturday, May 20

La Mama will be celebrating its fifty-fifth season on May 20 with its annual block party, held in conjunction with the twelfth La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. “Dancing in the Street” takes place from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on East Fourth St. between Bowery and Second Ave., also known as Ellen Stewart Way, named after La MaMa’s beloved founder, who passed away in 2011 at the age of ninety-one. The afternoon will feature free performances and workshops with Al Son Son Tablao Flamenco, Alexandra Amirov, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, the Blue Bus Project, Brooklyn United Marching Band, DJ Todd Jones, East Village Dance Project, Janice Rosario, Kinding Sindaw, Kinesis Dance Project, Kinetic Architecture Dance Theater, Lei Making, Hula, Malcolm-x Betts, Pua Ali’I Illima O Nuioka, Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray and the D.R.E.A.M. Ring, Reyna Alcala, Rod Rodgers Youth Ensemble, Company, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Stefanie Batten Bland, Silver Cloud Singers, Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Step Team, White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, and Yoshiko Chuma. Food and drink will be available from La Contrada, Proto’s Pizza, the Bean, Express Thali, Sobaya, Hasaki, Otafuku, Robataya, Harlem Seafood Soul, Miscelanea, the 4th St Co-op, and Obsessive Chocolate Disorder. There will also be video montages running in the lobby of the theater highlighting the campaign for creative activism (#HereToDance). Attendees are encouraged to bring plastic bags, which Maura Nguyen Donohue will collect and incorporate into her Tides Project: Drowning Planet immersive, interactive installation.