Category Archives: Happening in New York

Cynthia Nixon from “Sex in the City” in “Distracted”!

Okay, okay… not our version of Distracted.  Ms. Nixon was in New York and on Broadway when she did a production of Lisa Loomer’s wonderful play about modern family life.  Check out this video interview with her where she talks about her thoughts on the show and being onstage.  (Note: there are scenes from the play in this interview.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Happening in New York, Plays and Productions

Actors’ Theatre ExPats Out in The World – Michael Davis

Interview by: Shayne Dukevitch

Grand Rapids native, Michael Davis now appearing in New York!

Over the years Actor’s Theater has worked with actors, directors, choreographers and stage technicians who have gone on to pursue full time careers in the theater outside of Grand Rapids.  We’ve contacted some of these ex-pats to ask them to bring us up to date on their current work and share a few reminiscences about their time at Spectrum Theater.  Our second ExPat interview is with actor Michael Davis.

What shows did you work on with Actor’s Theater and in what year?
I was lucky enough to be an ensemble player in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde directed by Jean Bahle, in 1999.

What’s your favorite Actor’s Theater memory?
My favorite memory of Actor’s Theater is not one that I had as an actor but a transcendent moment I had as an audience member seeing Angels in America: Millennium Approaches.  I was a student of GRCC who worked in the box office which gave me the opportunity to see shows for free – even when they were sold out.  It worked in my favor because Angels in America was a hot ticket that sold out all of their performances if memory serves right.  I’ll never forget how excited I was to sit in the audience to watch an event.  The moment that stays at the forefront of my memory is the scene at the beginning of the play when Prior collapses in his apartment, exhausted and debilitated by the symptoms from his HIV positive status, yelling for his partner Louis help him.  It was a riveting scene that was performed with such honesty and immediacy that it took my breath away.  It’s those kinds of moments that I live for in the theater!

What have you been up to since leaving Grand Rapids?
Not too long after appearing in Gross Indecency, I moved to New York City to be a professional actor.  Over the past ten years, I’ve been fortunate enough to land paying jobs as an actor, however most of my life has been about doing indie theater. Indie theater, as I define it, is non-profit theater that pays some, if at all, but whose interests lie in relevance to one’s community and not as concerned with profit.  I was thrust into indie theater in 2006 when I became a Flux Theatre Ensemble member.  I found a community of theater professionals who shared my values and passion for theater that is interested in alternative viewpoints and ideas.  It’s been a wonderful partnership and I’ve learned a lot about myself as an artist and a person.  Flux Theatre Ensemble has also inspired me to create other opportunities for myself which is how I came to be the Managing Director of a new company called Eurisko Performance Group.  It’s an exciting new venture that I co-founded with my friend Shayne Dukevitch.  Our mission is to “inspire partnerships between performing artists across media, disciplines and distance” which we believe is long overdue in New York and elsewhere.

What projects are you currently working on?
There are a number of things on my plate that keep me busy and fulfilled.  As far as Flux Theatre Ensemble is concerned, we are producing a new play by our Artistic Director called Jacob’s House, a retelling of the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling the angel.  That will go up in late May. Further information can be found at

I am a co-producing and directing an ongoing cabaret show called Chuck & Ginger.  They’re two characters who were cryogenically frozen in the 1950’s – now they’re unfrozen and coping with a world that is unlike the one they left behind.  The next show should be arriving in late April.

Eurisko Performance Group is looking forward to producing it’s inaugural play called The Great Divide this summer. Shayne and I have submitted the play to be a part of the NYFringe Festival this year and we’re hoping to hear if our submission was accepted in a few weeks. In the meantime, we are hosting workshops, readings and a fundraiser to help produce The Great Divide as well as our other projects that you can find at:

What have you taken with you from your Actor’s Theater experience into your current career?
It’s very simple: To work hard and to have fun while you’re doing it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Actors' ExPats, Happening in New York

New York City Review: The Accidental Pervert

Review by: Shayne Dukevitch

As the “Off-Broadway of Grand Rapids,” Actors’ Theatre likes to keep its ears to the ground when it comes to what’s happening in the real off-Broadway… the one in New York City!  Fortunately for us, we have Shayne Dukevitch, our corespondent in the big apple, seeing shows and reporting back.  Here’s her recent review of The Accidental Pervert.

Andrew Goffman’s one man show The Accidental Pervert, currently running off-broadway at The Player’s Theatre in New York City, is not a show for the faint of heart.  A personal story chronicling Goffman’s own past struggles with porn addiction, it is raunchy, lewd, shocking, and brutally honest – which is what makes it such compelling theater.

Right from the first scene the audience is propelled into the middle of the ignominious life of a porn addict.  We observe Goffman watching one of his cherished XXX-video tapes for a starling, if hilarious, introduction into his secret world.  It’s enough to set most of the audience to squirming in their seats, accompanied by titters of uncomfortable laughter.  But just when the absurd scene is about to really get out of control, he turns to the audience and declares, “Ya know, none of us starts out to be a pervert.”

From there Goffman goes on to try and explain himself, revealing how at the age of eleven he come across a box full of ninety-six porn tapes his father had left behind in his closet after his parent’s divorce.  Left alone in his house for a few hours after school each afternoon, young Andrew had taken to watching the tapes every day.  The images he observed while still too young to understand the difference between sex-fantasy and reality, skewed his outlook on intimacy and women to the prurient side and made it difficult for him to relate to real girls his age.  This alienation continued on into his twenties, dooming the addict to a series of one-night relationships that never seemed to live up to the images he found on screen at home.  The pattern persisted until he finally met the right woman – his wife Maria – and their relationship helped him to pull away from his addiction.

The Accidental Pervert is full of hilarious stories of dirty fantasies, bad behavior and embarrassing experiences.  There are the obligatory references to twisted porn film titles, and a few tongue-in-check dream sequences that leave the audience shouting with laughter.  In the end though, it is the play’s heart that keeps it from spiraling into a hollow piece of shock theater.  Goffman’s sincerity and genuine decency make him completely relatable, so that by the time he starts talking about his wife and baby girl, you’re completely on his side.  He doesn’t pull punches – he’s honest about his past and the distorted ideas he once held about women.  But he’s also a man who clearly loves his wife, and who understands that the porn stars he used to fantasize about are someone else’s little girls.  The Accidental Pervert is ultimately a story about reformation and the power of love, which makes it a surprisingly uplifting night of down and dirty theater.

Under the careful direction of Charles Messina, Andrew Goffman gives an excellent, brave performance geared for laughs.  He handles his difficult subject matter with just the right balance of humor and gravity.  The Accidental Pervert takes a rousing, honest look at a concealed world that challenges the audience to move beyond self-conscious eye-rolling so that they can better understand the heart of a guy gone wild.  It’s fun, insightful and uplifting; an impressive piece of theater.

Written & Performed By: Andrew Goffman
Directed By: Charles Messina

The Players Theatre
115 MacDougal Street, New York, NY 10012
Reservations – – 212-352-3101
Tickets $30

Leave a comment

Filed under Happening in New York

Review of “Wishful Drinking”

Review by Shanye Dukevitch

EDITORS NOTE:  Our new New York corespondent, Shanye Dukevitch, is going be bringing us Grand Rapidians theatre fans a taste of the Big Apple.  She’ll be reviewing current plays in the big city and letting us know what to check out when we’re in town. Wishful Drinking

Wishful Drinking is a hilarious window into the life of a bona-fide Hollywood Princess.   Running at the famed Studio 54 on Broadway, Carrie Fisher’s one woman show invites the audience into the most embarrassing and horrifying moments of her life and encourages them to laugh along with her at the absurdity of it all.

The daughter of 50’s icons Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Ms. Fisher was born into the surreal world of celebrity.  At the age of nineteen she earned super-star status in her own right when she landed the role of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars Trilogy.  Her unique insight into the effects of fame and the insanity that sometimes comes along with it is derived from having been both a spectator and insider in the world of icons.

Wishful DrinkingIn Wishful Drinking the audience is ushered right into the heart of Fisher’s weird and wonderful existence.  Staged on a set that purports to be her living room, the actress enters the scene in pajamas and robe and begins her stroll down memory lane by talking about the night a close friend died in her bed while sleeping next to her.  To break the tension over sharing such an unsettling story she raises the lights in the house and invites the audience to ask her any questions they might have about the experience.  Her wry sense of humor and quick wit swiftly has everyone laughing – which sets the tone for the rest of the show.  Whether she’s talking about her parent’s messy divorce, her own drug use, her failed marriage to singer Paul Simon or her struggles with bi-polar disorder, Fisher always manages to keep the audience in stitches.

Star Wars fans have a lot to love about the show.  Fisher takes great pleasure in poking fun at George Lucas, her own performance in the films and the horrors of merchandising.  Sporting a trademark Danish-bun wig she relishes in showing pictures of some of the more bizarre items that hold her likeness, like soap, (“Lather up with Leia and you’ll feel like a Princess yourself!”), Mr. Potato Head, (Princess Tater), and a stamp, (“Which is totally cool – and not just because of the licking.”)  She even brings out on stage a life-sized doll of herself and has some fun with it at the expense of a brave audience member.

Wishful Drinking The second half of the show is slightly darker than the first, as it deals more with the issues of Fisher’s past drug use and her struggles with manic depression. Still, she keeps the tone light throughout, reminding the audience that sometimes the only way to survive is to laugh.

Wishful Drinking is a truly fun and crowd pleasing night of theater.  It’s an unvarnished window into a world that many dream about but only a few have experienced.  Fisher is insightful, sarcastic, at times brutally honest – and always funny.  Her performance is wry and enjoyable, and the direction by Tony Taccone is appropriately quirky, just like the piece.  All together it’s a unique theatrical experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Wishful Drinking
Written and Performed by Carrie Fisher
Directed by Tony Taccone

Studio 54
254 West 54th Street
Tickets: 212-719-1300 or
Running Time: 2 Hours
Closes: January 17th, 2010

Leave a comment

Filed under Happening in New York