A few weeks back I went to the 30 Under 30 night at Playwrights Horizons, celebrating their new musical Fly By Night, written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, and Kim Rosenstock. The cast was packed with fabulous actors: Adam Chanler-Berat, Allison Cast, Bryce Ryness, Henry Stram, and Patti Murin, to name a few. 

Fly By Night was a musical all about love and fulfilling our destiny. Murin, an aspiring actress, and Case, a very meek but loving younger sister, move to New York City from some nowhere town and both end up falling in love with the same guy (Chanler-Berat). One’s destiny is to be with Chanler-Berat and one isn’t (though she may or may not be engaged to him already).

The cast, like I said, was fantastic. I especially loved Henry Stram as the charming and whimsical narrator. 

I really did like the show, although I think it’s closing this weekend, so run! The afterparty included Shake Shake, sandwiches, cocktails, and a photobooth (above). 

Totally a good time. Thanks, Playwrights Horizons!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of The Amoralists, an off-Broadway theatre company that I was first introduced to back in December 2010 with Adam Rapp’s Ghosts in the Cottonwoods. I’ve  seen four of their productions, each of which are unique and thought provoking. Their latest production, The Bad and The Better, is no different. 

For the first twenty minutes, we’re introduced to a number of characters in numerous settings and only when their connections are revealed could I truly start to appreciate the play. In an attempt to be commentary on stupidity in politics, the NYPD, anarchists, and protests such as Occupy Wall Street (there’s a ground which is similar to OWS, but not named as such), there’s a ton of action going on onstage. With plot twists abounding, it can oftentimes be confusing but it’s all wrapped up at the end so there are no lose ends (a lot of characters die, too). The name refers to the bad (the man, so-to-speak) and the better (the sometimes violent protesters). 

The cast is huge (26 people) and the set is an impressive mess of books, notebooks, a bar, and a desk. Amoralist’s alumni such as William Apps, Nick Lawson, and Sarah Lemp are impressive onstage as per usual. 

Sometimes confusing, always entertaining, and oftentimes brutal The Bad and The Better is an interesting and relevant piece. 

Yesterday I saw the matinee of Assistance at Playwright’s Horizons. Admittedly I went to see it because of Michael Esper being part of the company and secondly because Assistance is written by Leslye Headland (who wrote the epic play Bachlorette, which premiered at Second Stage’s uptown theatre in 2010). The play told the story of an assistant with hopes of being promoted over the course of 3 years, his assistant, and the couple of interns they have over time. Each of them also go crazy from the stress as time progresses. The play is constructed in an interesting way – you go from scene to a monologue (usually a phone call) and to another scene a year or so later.

At the top of the play, Nick (Michael Esper) has been promoted from first to second assistant when Vince (Lucas Near-Verbrugghe) has been made director of another department within this huge company (owned by a tyrant of a boss, though we never find out what the company actually does). The new second assistant, Nora (Virginia Kull) is nervous but a year later we see that she’s become equally as strung out as Nick.  

Bobby Steggert has a small part as another one of the assistants in the company, Justin, and his biggest moment was his phone call with his therapist where he loses it entirely. Heather (Sue Jean Kim), the intern that lets the bosses expenses become outstanding leading to his AMEX being shut off, has another great phone call during which her complete breakdown occurs after she’s been fired.  

Assistance’s ending is the most surprising part of all. Let’s just say there’s a 4-minute tap number with water thanks to the last intern, Jenny (Amy Rosoff).

I really enjoyed Assistance overall. As an assistant who is sometimes stressed out I could definitely somewhat relate to the story. That being said, this also made me thrilled not to have a high-strung boss who makes my life hell. The cast was thoroughly fantastic. As per usual at Playwrights Horizons, the set was detailed and beautiful.   

If you need some reminder of how good you have it at your job, Assistance is the play for you. Assistance is playing at Playwrights Horizons through March 11th. Click here for more information.