Few production attempts are more risky and more ambitious than taking William Shakespeare’s 16th-century verse and setting it in a more modern time. Baz Lurhmann’s 1996 “Romeo and Juliet” and Joss Whedon’s more recent “Much Ado About Nothing” have been examples of arguably successful attempts.But those were big cinematic productions. How can a small theater, where Shakespeare’s words are more at home, make it work?
The excitement was palpable as a sold-out house anticipated the opening night curtain for Marathon Little Theatre Group’s production of the widely popular “Hairspray” on Saturday night. And the energy exuded by the intergenerational cast did not disappoint.
Despite a rash of recent illnesses that had several of the performers on vocal rest leading up to the first night, the enthusiasm of everyone on stage was undiminished. And though inclement weather toyed with many a rehearsal, the opening performance went off with nary a hitch.
The Queens World Film Festival celebrates filmmaking from around the borough and around the world and runs from Wednesday to Saturday. Here is a guide to the films being shown in selected thematic blocks this weekend.
Baby boomers will fondly remember the early 1960s television cartoon series “Rocky & Bullwinkle,” created by the late Jay Ward, which smartly satirized both American pop culture and the headlines of the JFK era in America. While Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Bullwinkle the Moose were understandably the most memorable characters (though I was partial to the duo’s inept villainous Russian counterparts, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale), the “Peabody and Sherman” segment of the show had its share of fans.
Mr. Peabody was a brainy canine who spoke with a patrician lilt and had adopted a boy he named Sherman. Peabody was an inventor for whom no obstacle was insurmountable. In a tongue-in-cheek salute to HG Wells, Peabody created a time machine which he named the WABAC (“way back”), in which he and Sherman traveled back to major events and interacted with historical figures in a playful manner. It was Ward’s way of wanting to impart the joy of history to his audience while thumbing his nose at dull school history textbooks.
Unlike the 2000 film flop “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” that was a mixture of live action and cartoon (a la 1987’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”) and starred Robert De Niro, Rene Russo and Piper Perabo, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is an entirely animated feature.
With so many documentaries and feature films on the subject, being deployed sounds terrifying to many civilians. The fear of death is enough to prevent many from enlisting.
But few consider the good experiences that come with serving.
In recent years, interest in ballroom dancing has reached heights not seen in decades, thanks in large part to shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”
Now, men and women of all ages can kick up their heels and take to the dance floor themselves as Queens Theatre kicks off a brand-new series of ballroom dance lessons — all for a nominal fee.
Shipyards and fishing poles, dirt-caked tires, wet grass and rocks. A soggy peripheral city, quietly breathing. This often-neglected side of the city is what Queens-based artist Accra Shepp showcases in the exhibit “The Islands of New York” at the Queens Museum.
Shepp has been documenting the city’s coastlines since 2008, “these zones,” as the exhibit program puts it, “where underbrush meets concrete and water,” where the city’s geography is shifting, where bright billboards scream over pavement and dry grass.
The largely residential streets of Elmhurst aren’t exactly what comes to mind when one thinks of the perfect location for heavy metal venue.
Then again, rock and roll is about going against the grain and doing what you want.
So often do extraordinary occurrences get touted as proof of a higher being. Choosing not to go to work on the day your train crashes or surviving a topple off a building are instances of surviving the unsurvivable.
“The Unlikely Ascent of Sybil Stevens” attempts to decipher the meaning of survival when the meaning of life isn’t so obvious.
Between Jackson Heights and Elmhurst, in the nucleus of the most diverse region on Earth, Queens doctor and entrepreneur Freddy Castiblanco has created a hub of cultural and political collaboration, that also sells a killer Pisco sour, at Terraza 7.
He wanted it to be a bar for and composed of the community. He remembers discovering, after moving from Colombia to Queens in 2002, both the diversity and the cultural isolation of the borough.
It’s always wonderful to go back to a favorite restaurant and discover all over again why you like it. That’s definitely the case with Villaggio Ristorante in Whitestone, an Italian dining experience that will never let you down.
Opened almost 10 years ago in a former bakery, Villaggio is located at 150-07 14 Road, near the Cross Island Parkway. You enter to a cherry wood bar and brick-oven pizza-making area, a warm and cozy spot during this blustery winter.
The newly revamped Queens Museum has made a point of curating thought-provoking pieces by artists from around the world, and its latest exhibit, “Raising the Temperature,” has proven to be eye-catching, frightening and beautiful without the preachy undertones many other climate change exhibits possess.
The museum’s new curator, Luchia Meihua Lee, has done a wonderful job collecting pieces from nine artists. She has split the exhibit into two trajectories in order to better organize discussion.
With a sunny, and mostly musical, community theater spring season in the forecast, and more than half a dozen shows scheduled to open between now and late April, it’s time to sing the winter blues away!
First up is the Parkside Players’ production of “The Uninvited,” a good old-fashioned ghost story which begins thrilling audiences Friday night. The play, by Tim Kelly, is directed by Bill Logan and features a cast headed by Laura Cetti and Nick Radu.
The museum garden is blanketed under snow, and the open-air gallery halls are calm in the cold. Underground in the Noguchi Museum education center, spectators warm up with a lively discussion of Isamu Noguchi’s life and work, as part of the monthly Second Sundays program.
Second Sundays is the Noguchi Museum’s monthly interactive event intended to complement the museum’s collection. February’s program, “Conservation Case Studies,” featured Leslie Gat in conversation with Dakin Hart, senior curator at the museum, and Matthew Kirsch, associate curator, and a presentation of four Noguchi pieces that have undergone or are undergoing reconstruction.
In college dorm rooms and basements across the country, football fans and video game enthusiasts alike love nothing more than firing up the Xbox and playing as their favorite National Football League team in a game of Madden, the popular video game franchise.
Any Madden player will testify that the thrill of a last-second touchdown pass to down your opponent while your friends cheer you on can be more exciting than the game’s real-life counterpart.
The day of love will be full of candy hearts and smiling teddy bears but Broadway’s Christine Andreas and her husband, Martin Silvestri, will fill the LeFrak Concert Hall with their love for each other and their music in their Valentine’s Day program, “Love is Good.”
“I developed it with my husband and basically we’re performing the music that has found us through the years,” Andreas said. “It’s our lives in music and without being sloppy and sentimental, it can be interesting to watch a couple sing together.”
Reminiscing about your neighborhood can be a fun way for older and newer generations to bond and celebrate their history.
Especially with the rapid changes occurring in Queens due to development, increased population, immigration and socio-economic shifts, it is important to keep a record of where neighborhoods started and how they’ve grown since.
Louis Armstrong was known to sit out on his porch, playing his trumpet while the streets bustled around him.
It wasn’t New Orleans, Chicago or Harlem where the jazz legend hung his hat, it was Corona, and Armstrong wasn’t alone in calling Queens home for so many years.
The Queens Library had to get an early start on its celebration of Black History Month, kicking off on Jan. 25 in order to get all of its cultural and educational programs in.
The 29th annual Langston Hughes Celebration, at the library named in his honor on Northern Boulevard in Corona, will run from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8.
Queens is full of different cultures, ethnicities and social groups, and the art produced in the borough reflects that.
African-American theater, film and music venues have become major contributors to the borough and help tell the stories of nearby artists and artists from around the world.
The effects of climate change have generated debate for some time now but 11 artists sought out the most drastically changing parts of the world to see the transformations for themselves.
Their findings were made into art and are now on view at the Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City.
Founded under the belief that the relationship between artist and art lover is an essential one, artistRun Gallery in Long Island City opened its doors on Dec. 1, offering a platform for artists to exhibit their creativity and admirers to enjoy displays right in their own backyards.
Painter and mixed-media artist Kaiser Kamal, one of three individuals who joined forces to establish the new gallery, said the site was chosen because “Long Island City, I believe, is going to be the next Soho. In the 1990s, Soho looked like Long Island City looks now.”
Flushing is most heavily populated with Asian Americans. In fact, it has the largest Chinese population in New York.
For that reason, the Lunar New Year — celebrated by the Chinese diaspora to begin the lunar calendar — will be celebrated in all of Flushing and other parts of Queens in February and March.
It’s film festival season, and while there are plenty of promising venues screening indies throughout the city, the First Look series at the Museum of the Moving Image is one not to be missed.
To kick off the week-long film fest, dozens crowded into the museum’s theater last Friday to watch the U.S. premiere of Alexandre Rockwell’s “Little Feet.”