The great part of living in New York is the plethora of innovative theater that can be found. The bad part is the options can be overwhelming and the runs relatively short. This show closes Sunday, December 23, and is very, very much worth a visit if you can make it. Go to the producer’s website https://www.ootbtheatrics.com to learn more and get a virtual program (they are green and do not hand out the paper version that you will likely throw away).
The performance happens in basement of the Jefferson Market Public Market with the audience sitting at library tables and the play happening all around you. Joe Barros has done an exceptional job at directing and choreographing an amazingly talented cast in an environment that is unusual but fits very well. The action happens all around you and very close up.
As full disclosure, I participate in a playwriting workshop that book and lyric writer R.C. Staab leads so I have seen this script grow and change. I understand that he and composer Aaron Latina will continue to develop the show but this is a production very much worth seeing. Set in modern day Arizona, a family travels from Chicago after the traumatic death of the father to commit the mother for treatment and the children to stay with their uncle. The kids get into trouble when they unwittingly bring to life wild west figures (including Calamity Jane, Buffalo Bill, Geronimo and General Custer) from a board game in an old bunkhouse. Quite a bit of time is spent reconciling the language of the Cowboys and Indians age to modern sensitivity and quite a bit of pistol and arrow play ensue, but eventually the family re-unites and dispels the crazy western legends.
The performers and musicians are uniformly talented but actors Jonathan David Steffins, John E. Elliott, and Heather Jane Rolff deserve special recognition along with music director William Cody Dry. I look forward to discussing finer points with R.C. later but if you are done with your Christmas shopping (and am in New York) I strongly recommend you get a ticket for the last week at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/34781