Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Showgirls! The Musical" Moving to "Different Places" With an Off-Broadway Run!

Audiences can't get enough of drifter Nomi Malone, so it's time for "Showgirls! The Musical! to drift over to its own Off-Broadway stage at XL Nightclub, on W. 42nd between 10th & 11th Ave.  From May 15 through June 15, "Showgirls!" will really shine in its new home home at XL's 200-seat theater. Actress Rena Riffel will even be reprising her role as "Penny" from the Showgirls and Showgirls 2 films, through May 25.

Talented stage acting, witty writing, catchy tunes and, of course, nudity, make this a show that is heading to the top, even if it has to push you down the stairs to get there.

Purchase tickets now for upcoming performances on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 8pm. For more info, watch the show's trailer, check out the slightly-NSFW website, and read WGINY's in-depth review from the show's premiere at the Kraine Theater.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Trust the Thurst," Darling, With New Parody: "Showgirls! The Musical!"

"Showgirls! The Musical!" 
Remember when the zany "Zack Attack" came back in "Bayside! The Unmusical!"? Well the devious minds behind that unauthorized parody have created yet another sensational show that's wilder and more naked than anything you'd ever see at Bayside High -- "Showgirls! The Musical!"

With their musical interpretation of the 1995 cult classic film, "Showgirls," Medium Face creators want you to "Trust the Thrust" as you follow drifter "Nomi Malone" on her hilariously despondent journey to rise through the ranks of topless starlets in Las Vegas. This show forces audiences to do some serious soul searching to find the answers to hard questions, such as "Will Nomi lick that pole?" "Will Nomi's past come back to haunt her from different places?" "Will Nomi and Molly give in to the tension and become 'special' best friends?" Actress and Elizabeth Berkley look alike, April Kidwell, who also played "Jessie Spano" in "Bayside", portrays a tenacious Nomi Malone, complete with a fair share of freak outs and french fries. Her crazy eyes are so crazy, you'll forget she's acting!

The love-hate chemistry between "Nomi Malone" and "Cristal Conners," played by the dazzling Rori Nogee, is electric as they toggle for top-billed performer in the revue, "Goddess". Nogee thrusts herself far into the spotlight with her Southern Rock stylings, as she belts out "Look at Me," a song in which she tells of her superior status as Vegas Royalty. Marcus Desion, who portrays both Nomi's best friend "Molly" and one of Nomi's several love/lust interests, "James," also impresses with his talents as a skilled singer and dancer. Desion clearly excels as a physical movement artist, and brings a special comedic flair to an already absurd stage.

Recreated scenes at famed movie locations such as the "Krave Club," "The Cheetah," the "Boat Show," and "Kyle MacLachlan's pool" are wildly entertaining and completely over-the-top, as well as under the top, topless, on top of laps, and around poles. Kidwell's pole performance at "The Cheetah" is so incredibly athletic and poised, that the audience must wonder whether she has some classical dance or pole training, as she could probably match wits with some seasoned pole dancers.

Trust the Thrust! with April Kidwell as "Nomi Malone"
As if it couldn't get any more awesome, "Showgirls! The Musical!" is full of memorable dialogue and one-liners from the movie such as "You burn when you dance," "Dancing Ain't F*king," (also the title of one of the songs in the "Showgirls!" score) and "If you're the only one left standing, they'll hire you."

Unfortunately, any parody of "Showgirls" could not be complete without some references to the grievous sexual assault scene. The topic is at first addressed only suggestively, in passing comments, but the Medium Face team carries it out just a tad more than to a suggestion, and that part could probably be left out. Don't worry though, the show overall more than makes up for this faux pas, and Nomi climatically returns to kick some serious behind, and front, to the man who hurt her friend.

You won't want to miss this "Pollyanna's" limited engagement at the Kraine Theater, starting April 17. At only $18 each, tickets will sell out faster than Elizabeth Berkley did. Even if you're not familiar with the movie -- Come for the Dancing! Come for the Debauchery! Come for the Costumes, or lack thereof... Catch the show's trailer here and visit the "slightly NSFW" website to learn more.

Promotional photos used with permission.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Art Comes Alive in NYC with "Season of Cambodia: A Living Arts Festival"

Officially kicking off this Saturday, April 13, Cambodian Livings Arts (CLA) presents "Season of Cambodia," a "living arts" festival of culture, performance and visual art across the city. Music and dance performances, theater, and film, populate April and May, while visual art exhibits continue through early summer.

CLA has humble beginnings as a creative arts organization founded in 1998 to revitalize and promote artistic development in a region debilitated by the Khmer Rouge regime. Cambodia has come a long way since then, and CLA proudly sets a model for other international non-profits to follow. With its "Season of Cambodia: A Living Arts Festival," CLA highlights over 125 visual and performance artists, bringing these talented artists right to New Yorkers' backyards.

The festival had its "soft" opening on February 23, with the visual art exhibition, "Cambodia Rattan: The Sculpture of Sopheap Pich," at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Pich uses natural and organic materials such as rattan and bamboo to create abstract forms often inspired by anatomy and biology. "Cambodian Rattan" is the longest running exhibit of the festival, showing through July 7. If you visit this exhibit on April 14, you may even get a chance to meet the artist himself and learn more about his inspirations. Learn more about others artists' talks and symposiums here.

The festival's official Opening Ceremony event takes place on Saturday, April 13, from 3pm to 5pm at the Rubin Museum of Art, a local museum known for its focus on Himalayan art and sculpture from ancient through modern times. The opening ceremony is set to coincide with the celebratory start of the Cambodian New Year, and will feature traditional Cambodian music and chanting.

What else can you expect to see, hear and experience during this "Season of Cambodia"?

If performance art is what you seek, consider purchasing coveted tickets to the festival's first major production, "A Bend in the River," which is currently playing at the Joyce Theater, through April 14. SOC notes that renowned Cambodian performance and visual artists collaborated to produce a richly narrated story of "love, heartbreak, vengeance, consequence and redemption," interpreted by Cambodia's own Khmer Arts Ensemble, as choreographed by transcendent choreographer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro. "A Bend in the Rivier" is set to an original, live musical score composed by Him Sophy, and also features puppets created by Sopheap Pich ("Cambodia Rattan" sculptor).

Put yourself right in the middle of the arts festival by taking a Master dance class in general movementCambodian Classical Dance or Khmeropedies III. If you'd rather be off the dance floor watching others perform, there is a great lineup of dance performances at the festival throughout the beginning of May. You may want to marvel at the opulent costumes and gracefulness of the performers of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia at "The Legend of Aspara Mira," which will be showcased May 2 through May 4 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

For indie rock fans, you'll want to head to Le Poisson Rouge this Saturday night at 7:30pm
to catch "Dengue Fever," a band based out of Los Angeles that mixes Cambodian pop with American indie rock styles. Preview their dynamic music here. Learn about other musical performances sponsored by SOC here.

Photography and visual art fanatics have a plethora of options to choose from as well. Exhibit themes include the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, rare images of female Royal Ballet of Cambodia principal dancers from 1927, as well as contemporary art and sculpture exhibitions throughout the city.

Finally, a living arts festival wouldn't be complete without a film series. Season of Cambodia's documentary film series features films that explore multifaceted themes in Cambodian culture and history, ranging from "Five Lives," a collection of documentary shorts about modern life in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Phen, to "S21: The Khmer Rouge Death Machine," which explores atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime from the point of view of former prisoners and the very guards who essentially enslaved them. All films will be screened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

"Season of Cambodia: A Living Arts Festival" presents an incredible opportunity for Americans to experience Cambodia like we've never seen it before, raise cross-cultural awareness, and promote and inspire artistic expression and more importantly, artistic freedom, worldwide. Browse the festival's Program of Events to find the experiences that most strike your fancy, though I can't promise it will be easy to choose!