Countdown to 2017: 2016 TV

Disclaimer: I only rank shows that I watch and I’m not a TV critic. Also, there are some spoilers. Read at your own risk…

Just as it was last year, almost all of these shows have a woman as the main character. The ones that don’t are the family shows which have good mother and daughter characters. Also, THREE of these shows have Jewish female leads.

1. The Americans
The Americans has been my number one show for the past two years, and I’m happy it has maintained its status. The show manages to be both about the characters’ interior lives and the external events of the early 80s (now relevant again). A lot happened this season, but what sticks out is Martha, Paige and Pastor Tim, and Elizabeth and Philip’s slow descent into questioning their actions and choices. I always tell people they must watch this show, and now it’s on Amazon Prime so one can catch up. So, watch this show.

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Countdown to 2017: 2016 Movies

I saw 8 movies this year. This is a major drop from last year’s 18, which had already been a major drop from the previous year’s 25. Last year I said that I kind of gave up on movies, and this year I really saw the effects. Without the movie series we do at my company (Movies for the Mind), I would barely have enough films to warrant an end-of-year list (I don’t really have enough as it is). I usually see movies at MoMA–this year I saw none. I was only in a regular movie theater 4 times this year, but surprisingly that’s one more time than last year (last year I went to MoMA way more). With everything I do, something had to go.

I saw 3 new movies this year, all in a regular movie theater. Last year it was 4 new films. In total, I saw 0 films (both old and new) at MoMA (6 less than last year) and 4 at my company’s Movies for the Mind series (4 less than last year). Of the 8 movies I saw this year, I saw 7 for the first time.

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Countdown to 2017: 2016 Books

Last year, I read 12 books! This year I read 11, but the drop is due to only reading 1 A Series of Unfortunate Events book with my babysitting charge this year instead of 2. I’ve still read 10 books on my own, like last year. I’m glad I’ve kept up my reading pace.

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Countdown to 2017: 2016 Theater

Last year I saw 89 productions, which was a significant jump from the previous year’s 73. This year I saw… 69, the lowest it has ever been (yes, I’m aware I still see way more than the average person). I was hoping the number would be a little higher, but it’s understandable given how busy I was in other areas this year, especially during the fall when so much theater is opening. I’m also trying to balance life even more than in previous years to get my output to be equal to or to surpass my input. In other words, I think I’m at the point at which I should be producing more than I’m consuming, so while in previous years it was normal to have the number be in the 80s and 90s, I should accept that a lower number in the 60s and 70s (and maybe even lower) is going to be more typical.

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DAYS OF RAGE Reading

Tonight, New York Theatre Barn presents a reading of our musical:

DAYS OF RAGE

days-of-rage-concertBook + Music by Hyeyoung Kim
Book + Lyrics by Shoshana Greenberg  
Directed by Joe Barros (Gigi, Cagney)
Musical Direction by Christopher D. Littlefield
Associate Director Emily Briggs
Stage Manager Savannah Kurtz

With Adam Theodore Barry, Ben Bogen, Michael Enright, Luke Forbes, Jeremy Gaston (Sister Act), Michelle Beth Herman, Bruce Jones, Charlie Levy, Kelly McIntrye (A Night With Janis Joplin), Zurin Villanueva (Shuffle Along), Noah Zachary, and EJ Zimmerman (Les Miserables)

How far would you go for something you believe is right? Who is responsible for violence and how do you break the cycle? Inspired by the activities of The Weathermen/Weather Underground Organization and The Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Days of Rage captures the passion and conviction of that turbulent era and questions how far one should go in defense of what they believe is right. Days of Rage was featured in Theatre Barn’s New Works Series earlier this month

11.28.16 | 7pm @ The Cell | 338 W 23rd St., NYC

Photo by Michael Bonasio.

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“Days of Rage” at NYTB New Works Series

My musical Days of Rage with composer and co-bookwriter Hyeyoung Kim will be part of the November 7th New York Theatre Barn New Works Series! I’m thrilled to showcase songs from this politically-charged show the night before the election.

days-of-rage
Monday, November 7th, 7:30pm
The Cell: 23rd street between 8th and 9th Avenues

Days of Rage
Book and Music by Hyeyoung Kim
Book and Lyrics by Shoshana Greenberg
Directed by Joe Barros
Musical Direction by Christopher D. Littlefield

How far would you go for something you believe is right? Who is responsible for violence and how do you break the cycle? Inspired by the activities of The Weathermen/Weather Underground Organization and The Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Days of Rage captures the passion and conviction of that turbulent era and questions how far one should go in defense of what they believe is right.

Casting was just announced today! The cast includes Drew Arisco, Adam Theodore Barry, Ben Bogen, Michael Enright, Luke Forbes, Jeremy Gaston, Michelle Beth Herman, Jonathan Hooks, Kelly McIntrye (A Night With Janis Joplin), Alexis Tidwell, and EJ Zimmerman (Les Miserables).

Purchase $20 tickets (or $15 student tickets).

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Blog Post: Natalie Babbitt and Tuck Everlasting, an Appreciation

tuck_everlasting25I want to say a few words about the author Natalie Babbitt, who passed away on Monday at age 84, because Tuck Everlasting was my favorite childhood book and remains one of my favorite books to this day. When people talk about the power of childhood books and their influence over how we see the world, that was Tuck Everlasting for me. We read it in my second grade class, and I remember everything.

I remember learning vocabulary words like “melancholy” and when I reread the book and I get to that word I still see it on my vocab list and am taken back to the exact moment of learning it.

I remember Winnie’s line: “I’m not exactly sure what I’d do, you know, but something interesting– something that’s all mine. Something that would make some kind of difference in the world.” And thinking, yes, that’s me, this book and this character is me.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

We’ve made it to fall! Soon leaves will turn brown, we’ll dust off our boots, and life will get crazy (because that’s what always seems to happen in the fall). But for now, let’s look back at what I did this summer.

Rehearsing Lightning Man

Rehearsing Lightning Man

Most of my summer writing activity happened in June when my collaborators and I had a reading of our show Lightning Man at Turtle Bay Music School. We had a wonderful cast and band, and we learned a lot about our show, which is what readings are really all about. Stay tuned for more updates about Lightning Man as it moves forward.

Lightning Man Reading Collaborators

Lightning Man Reading Collaborators

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Blog Post: Why We Need This Ghostbusters Reboot

Last night I watched the original Ghostbusters in anticipation of the reboot that opens this weekend. I have a discordant reaction to this film in that I always laugh through it but I also get so angry that one of the few female characters, Dana Barrett, is so awesome (she’s smart, she’s an accomplished cellist, she’s too busy to call her mom but still talks to her mom when she calls to check in) and yet Dana does absolutely nothing but get abducted and then possessed halfway through the film–but it’s FUN! because she’s acting so SEXUAL! (ugh). The sequel may be bad, but at least Dana has something to do when she goes after her abducted baby. At least she isn’t the one being abducted this time.

But now the genders are switched, and the Ghostbusters are female. Now the women are the active characters. Women will get to watch a film in which one of two supporting female characters isn’t getting abducted, possessed, and then rescued only to kiss someone she barely knows as the credits roll. All stories should have active women, but having active women in this new Ghostbusters film is especially important because the film is taking something that did not have active women and changing that.

This photo from the premiere has been making the rounds on social media (it was first shared on Twitter by Anna Spiess, a 16-year-old fan, according to the Facebook page “A Mighty Girl“). The young girls are dressed in Ghostbuster gear. They are smiling, and one has reached out her hand to connect with one of the film’s stars, Kristen Wiig. This image moved me to tears because it’s the manifestation of the contact young girls make with women on screen with whom they can identify, women who are active, who drive the story, the ones who bust the ghosts.

ghostbusters

Whatever you think about the Ghostbusters franchise–whether you love it, don’t care, or think the new film ruins your childhood–please know that this new Ghostbusters is important, at least to me, a woman who does things who wants to see women on film doing things as well.

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Reading of LIGHTNING MAN at Turtle Bay Music School

The musical Lightning Man, my collaboration with composer Jeffrey Dennis Smith and bookwriter Maggie-Kate Coleman, will have a public reading at the Turtle Bay Music School this Monday as part of Jeffrey Dennis Smith’s residency there. We are excited to present a new draft of the show with never-heard-before songs.

Logo by Elisa Schneider

Logo by Elisa Schneider

Monday, June 27, 2016 7:00 pm

Turtle Bay Music School
244 E 52nd St New York, NY, 10022
Free. RSVP.

Inspired by actual experiences, the musical LIGHTNING MAN tells the story of National Park Ranger and seven-time lightning strike survivor Roy Sullivan. Roy is relentlessly pursued, seduced, toyed with, adored, tortured and repeatedly struck by Lightning, appearing to him in the form of four very different but equally dangerous women, who may or may not also be his wives and ex-wives. As Roy struggles to regain control of his life in the aftermath of the strikes, he attempts to strike back against a force of nature.

Book by Maggie-Kate Coleman
Lyrics by Shoshana Greenberg
Music by Jeffrey Dennis Smith

Director: Jessica Beck
Music Director: Julianne Merrill
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