October 23, 2009


October 23, 2009

TINY KUSHNER – Five short plays

TONY KUSHNER is the legendary playwright, who is best known for his “Angels in America” that started out in San Francisco at the Eureka Theatre and then went on to world fame.

He also wrote these amazing and wonderful hits: ‘Brundibar, ‘Homebody/Kabul’ and ‘Slavs’.
So, we know that he is a wonderful with words. However, I’m disappointed in the “Five” so-called short plays at the Berkeley Rep. It’s starts out with a little story about two people on the Moon. They are dead – one “The Queen of Albania” – doesn’t know that she is dead, but she does have one subject to rule – a young woman (Valeri Mudek). Cute concept, but not fleshed out very well. The possibilities vanished -- maybe because the U.S had bombed the Moon. I added that part – it’s not in the play.

The last two plays are probably the most entertaining. One is about former First Lady Laura Bush. It was fun and the actress Kate Eifrig, made it brilliant. Kushner’s humor and writing also shined brightly on this one.

Jim Lichtscheidl is an amazing actor. In one of the plays he gives a non-stop monologue that took longer than a side trip to the moon. He memorized an amazing bunch of words that went on for 35 minutes. Maybe that’s why they had an ambulance out in front of the Theater, just in case he drops dead. After all -- the plays are mostly based on the dead.

In one play there is a lot of talk about sex between same sex couples. J.C. Cutler (who plays various roles) is terrific as he tries to fend of sexual overtures from (Lichtscheidl). There is a lot of talk about S—T, back door entry, and other sexual proclivities. I think that after it was all over – we, in the audience were probably due for an enema.

Speaking of the audience – when I looked around, there were a lot of people that were fighting to keep awake. Of course, a big portion of the people there were elderly and it was past their bedtime. At the end, a few stood up and applauded. Most stayed in their seats – because they were catatonic.

Here’s my advice. If you have insomnia and can’t sleep – then this is the perfect evening out for you. Better than any pills. It won’t take long, so bring a comfy pillow.

Valeri Mudek is stunning to look at on the Moon, and she did what she could with Moon Dust. But, you know how the Moon is – it’s just dull. There aren’t any Starbucks.

I have an idea that these plays were laying around in a drawer at Kushner’s home. As I see it, he woke up one day and thought – I have those plays that I don’t know what to do with, so I’ll put them together to make an evening of it. In other words, I think they were throw-a-ways that all of a sudden became useful.

The evening is called “Tiny Kushner – 5 one-acts”. There is nothing “Tiny” about it. I felt like Gulliver, being tied down to an endless diatribe, with little Tiny trying to kill me with endless words. It went on for 2 and half hours.

I’m not saying that Kushner is not a gigantic talent. He is. That has been well established. But, this time, with this show, it didn’t work. You can do what you like. If you don’t believe me – go see for yourself. And then I can say, “I told you so.”

Here is my advice. In spite of the terrific acting – I say – MISS IT!



I’ve wanted to tell about Anne Kerry Ford for sometime, but so many shows have been opening at once – that I just couldn’t fit it in. But, now I can.

Kerry Ford is bringing her moving “Bilbao Moon” to Mill Valley on Oct. 30. This is a Kurt Weill Theatrical concert with pianist John Boswell. Ford is a passionate devotee of the music of Kurt Weill and has been applauded around the world as one of the best singers of Weil’s music. Broadway noticed, and she appeared in the Broadway production of Weill’s The Threepenny Opera. Sting was the star.

Ford has performed in Cologne (at Philharmonic Hall), Düsseldorf, Germany and Liege, Belgium. There is a C.D of this concert – and it has received high acclaim. Ford has a vision. And that would be to do a Theatrical tribute to Weill. And she found the perfect spot at the 142 Throckmorton, a 300-seat theater in Mill Valley. How heavenly is that? The theater is just north of San Francisco.

“This is the perfect setting for me on this stage where I’m not bound to the microphone. I can interpret the Weill songs in a more physical way.” – said Ford.

She will draw on her extensive theater and dance background. As you know Weill’s songs are dramatic, romantic, humorous and political and she wrings out all the potential in the lyrics.

I’ve heard her C.D. and she has an astounding voice. Her version of “Pirate Jenny” is extraordinary. What drama and passion. It sweeps you up in the pure mind bending perfect notes. There is no doubt about it. Ford is a dynamic singer.

Even if you are not a Cabaret fan – you’ll love this show. Every song is like a full-length story. She knows how to interpret Weill’s music. Ford has the depth and range. She has great style – not only with her voice, but her looks. She is stunning and her voice is gorgeous.
I know one thing – this is one of the most exhilarating shows that have come to the Bay Area in a long time. Anne Kerry Ford is “Impossible to forget.”



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