Monday, May 23, 2011

COMPS: Hushhhh! the Musical, 2011 Mid-Winter Madness Festival Winner, Opens at The Triad Theatre NYC

Free cover ( mention Emelise frmo GIAA sent you ) cash bar 2 drink minimum.

Hushhhh! the Musical, 2011 Mid-Winter Madness Festival Winner, Opens at The Triad Theatre NYC

“Sonorous voices and acutely nuanced performances”
The DailyBeast/Newsweek

“A lively musical with a positive message” - Reviewfix

Hushhhh! the Musical in Review, a production from Charles Rocco Mandracchia & the Frizzi & Lazzi Musical Theatre Company, has emerged as the Winner of the Mid-Winter Madness Theatre Festival after playing sold out shows at the Roy Arias Theatre in Times Square, NYC. Hushhhh!returns for an encore, two performance run May 19th at 7 pm and May 26th at 7 pm at the world famous Triad Theatre NYC, 158 West 72nd Street between Broadway & Columbus Avenue. Tickets: call: Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. For further information: http://www.triadnyc.comor the Hushhhh!website @ See video clips on the website. See reviews below.

Look for Hushhhh! the Musical in Reviewin the 2011 NYC FRINGE FESTIVAL this August and the cast recording to be released in June. Hushhhh!is set in the VIP waiting room at LaGuardia airport during a blinding snowstorm which has halted all departures. Several stranded, eccentric characters and their opposing philosophies are forced into comical confrontations with delightfully humorous consequences. Georgia, a New Age Buddhist meditation instructor encounters a successful, materialistic businessman, Othello Salviati. They are joined by an inept Hit Man, a kooky Stewardess and Othello’s Wife. Music forHushhhh!is composed/co-conceived by Charles Mandracchia, who also directs and produces. The libretto was adapted by Emelise Aleandri, Artistic Director of Frizzi & Lazzi, from Etta Cascini's original one-act Italian comedy, SHHHH!

The Hushhhh!Company features Seth Blum as Othello. He recently created the role of Balthazar in the original musical adventure, Lighthouse. He previously played Leon Whittaker in the debut of Chains of Dew at the Wings Theatre, NYC. Coming soon, Seth can be seen in the role of Morty in the independent film, I Hate Tom Petty.

Emelise Aleandri creates the role of Georgia. She is featured as the Mother in the film, Vito Bonafacci, now premiering in New York City at Loew's Theatre, 3rd Avenue and 11th Street. She creates the title role of Sister Italy (Paisan Films) by Angela Rago, and is featured in numerous TV shows, theatrical productions and films, including Spike Lee's Crooklynand Summer of Sam, Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasionsat the Walnut Street Theatre, and the documentaries: Teatro(CUNYTV), Little Italy: Past, Present and Future (NBC TV) and The Italian Passion for Life(PBS).

Tommy J. Dose plays Nick, the incompetent Hit Man. His credits include Phantom, Spamalot, My Fair Lady, In the Beginning, Urinetown, Assassins, Into the Woods, Oklahoma, Captains Courageousand Oliver.

Madelyn Schwartz plays the kooky Stewardess. She recently made her NYC stage debut in Nicu's Spoon Theatre children's production of Cinderella. Oregon credits include Wild Oats, As You Like It, The Person I Once Was, Big River, Spelling Bee, Beauty and the Beast, Honk, Oklahomaand The Boys From Syracuse.

Elizabeth McMonagle sings the role of the Wife. After completing her BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, she made her regional debut as Lizzie Fields in Arizona Broadway Theatre’s production of Baby. She recently played Missy Morals at the New York Fringe Festival in the musical comedy, Invader? I Hardly Know Her!for which she received rave reviews. Previous roles have included Maureen in Rent, Nicole Johnson in 40 Days, Little Becky Two Shoes in Urinetown.

Charles Mandracchia, Composer/Director/Producer of Hushhhh!,is a 20 year stage veteran and has appeared in numerous Broadway and Off Broadway productions, such as the original Broadway cast of Grand Hotel, South Pacificand Porgy and Bess, as well as New York City Opera productions . His credits include: Composer/Co-Creator of Valentino the Musical, numerous television and film appearances, and creation and development of projects for Paramount Pictures. Charles has coached numerous celebrity musical talents as vocal consultant for Atlantic, Epic, Sony and Warner Brothers Records.

Mitch Marcus, Music Director, is a composer, pianist, and saxophonist/clarinetist whose career spans the vast spectrum of musical genres from classical and jazz to rock, R & B, and musical theatre. He is active in the NYC music scene playing for myriad groups such as his own Mitch Marcus Quintet, The Get It, and Icelandic folksinger Anna Hallsdóttir. Mitch also accompanies ballet and modern dance classes at dance centers across the five boroughs including The Mark Morris Dance Group and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.

Etta Cascini, author of the one act play, Shhhhh!, was born in Salerno, now lives in Genoa, and is a freelance theatre critic for the Italian journal, Sipario, an award winning writer for theatre, radio and press and the former Director of the Drama Seminar at the University of Genoa. Her plays have been produced and performed in Italy and broadcast by RAI and Swiss Radio. Her one act play, Donne Africane(African Women), was 2nd Prize Winner of the "Luigi Antonelli 91" International Competition and was featured during "Human Rights Day" in 1994 by the Soroptomist International Women's Association. Shhhhh!,whose American Premiere in English was produced by Frizzi & Lazzi in 2000 at the Miranda Theatre, in association with Mario Fratti's Pirandello/Brecht Project, was also featured in the "Conoscere il Teatro" project sponsored by Sipario, the Carlo Terron Italian Theatre Foundation of Milan, and 2001 Women's Day (Il Giorno Delle Donne).

Review in The Daily Beast

Midwinter Madness in New York 2011 Midwinter Madness Takes New York By Storm
by Lizzie Crocker

A staple of New York's theater scene has been heating up the city's off-off Broadway with his first annual festival of one-act plays this month. Lizzie Crocker has your front-row seat.

Anything is possible during Midwinter Madness, the three-week-long festival of one-act plays that’s been heating up New York City’s off-off Broadway scene this month.

And it showed during Monday night’s debut performance of Hush: The Musical Review at Roy Arias Theater. Frizzi & Lazzi Theatre Company’s absurdist confection brings together four eccentrics in a VIP lounge at LaGuardia Airport during a snowstorm that has delayed all departures. Glued to his BlackBerry and impatiently awaiting his flight, a twitchy businessman named Othello is comically juxtaposed with a New Age meditation instructor, Georgia, who is content to wait out the delay studying her star-shaped, self-made “affirmations.” A bubbly stewardess cheerfully announces more postponements and flight cancellations, offering Champagne to the elite passengers before sneaking a few swigs herself. But Georgia can’t help overhearing Othello on his BlackBerry, plotting the murder of his adulterous ex-wife with an affable, rotund, and inept hit man, but a hit man nonetheless. The vengeance-seeking, obstinate businessman and peace preacher are soon forced into a farcical confrontation.

Despite their supporting roles, the young stewardess and Russian hit man are arguably the highlights of the show. Their sonorous voices and acutely nuanced performances earned the most praise from the audience at the debut of the musical, which is delivered in a string of predictable rhyming couplets, from Othello’s bitter take on life (“This horrible world may seem hard to survive, but everyone does it and I’ve got the drive!) to Georgia’s countering affirmations (“Take a chance! Take a chance! Let forgiveness be the key to some new romance!”). Were the show longer, the folksy rhymes could grow tiresome, but instead, they are perfectly in tune with Hush’s slapstick storyline. When the four characters line up on stage for a grand finale, with beaming smiles and arms outstretched to the audience as they sing, “We send love to you,” onlookers realize they mustn’t take Hush for anything more or less than what it is: a comical sketch of ordinary life gone awry, suffused with cornball optimism. And seemingly, that’s exactly the kind of distraction Midwinter Madness community theater companies and theatergoers are hoping for.

John Chatterton, a staple in New York City’s theater scene, conceived this year’s first annual Midwinter Madness Festival. “I’ve always been a fan of one-act works,” Chatterton told Broadway World, “not only as a form of storytelling, but also because it gives playwrights a chance to see what they’ve got and gauge the audience reaction before taking it to the next level.” Now, Chatterton’s giving emerging playwrights, directors, actors, and musicians the opportunity to showcase their talents during February’s 21-day Midwinter Madness extravaganza in 60 minutes or less.

Lizzie Crocker is an editorial assistant at The Daily Beast.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at

When Othello Met His Destiny
Posted by Ekaterina Lalo on 3/05/11 • Categorized as Arts and Dining

A lively musical with a positive message, "Hush," which is based on an Italian play by Etta Cascini, sounds like a buoyant chord of the first annual Midwinter Madness Short Play Festival. As the play is a mix of a musical, a comedy and a regular performance, it is hard to determine which part of it to appreciate the most.
Perhaps, that's why "Hush" makes such a good impression on the audience: it has more than one dimension, and it is wholesome with all of them united.
The play's setting is a VIP waiting area of LaGuardia airport where Othello Salviati, successful and materialistic businessman (Seth Blum), meets Georgia, Buddhist meditation instructor (Emelise Aleandri, who also adapted the libretto). It is already funny that they happened to be in the same place at the same time, stuck in the same room because of the blizzard. They are absolutely different- from the way they look to their principles, and this is what makes the situation comical, to start with.
When Othello shows up at the stage, he wears a grey striped business suit, holds a cell phone near his ear, and regrets that "no liquor is sold at the cafe." As a contrast to that, Georgia wears a bright yellow cloak decorated with a silver sparkling star. The rim of her glasses sparkles as well, as do her ring, her bracelets and even the stripe on her long drinking cup one usually brings on a trip. Georgia's affirmations, which she insists on handing to Othello, are also star-shaped. She herself seems to be a star shining with optimism and kindness, a tiny sun ray that is meant to enlighten Othello's soul hardened with the desire for revenge.
Revenge, by the way, is the main reason why Othello is so nervous about the delay. His wife was unfaithful, and the businessman calls up a young, plump and cheerful hit man (Tommy Dose), who is supposed to teach the disloyal wife a deathly lesson. But as the stewardess (Madelyn Schwartz) shows up and announces that the cleaning of the snow will take at least, ten hours, which sounds a lot like New York City during the blizzard that took place last year after Christmas, the killing has to be postponed until Othello gets there. The businessman has nothing else to do but to hang in there.
Or, as he intends to, hang out with Georgia in his car, which she chastely refuses offering an affirmation to instead.
"To hell with the affirmation," Othello must think, turning to a magazine about cars.
Not concentrating on the main characters only, the audience notices that thehHit man is a jolly young guy who doesn't seem suited to be a killer. He has a funny Eastern European accent and makes sexy movements with his hips when singing. He is not eager to murder Othello's wife, and his skills leave plenty of room for doubts, as he confesses to the viewers, "Every time I try to shoot, I always hit my boot." In short, he is delighted with the delay and pretends to be looking forward to another phone call.
One more thing that the audience points out is that the stewardess possesses an amazing soprano, as she reveals how lonely she is. Here the audience dreams that she will hook up with the hit man, who is also lonely and has a nice voice, too. But for now, she does her job at Destiny Airlines and does her best to treat their VIP passengers with a lot of attention.
By the way, the name of the company, Destiny Airlines is not symbolic only for the stewardess. Through Georgia's meditation, the hours spent in the airport soften Othello's heart, and he almost becomes a new person, to everyone's relief.
Singing their beautiful arias about love, forgiveness and virtue accompanied by Charles Mandracchia's music (he is three in one: a composer, director and producer), the actors illuminate the audience with their constructive energy and kind affirmations. And the performance sounds like a short vivacious piece for the piano, which leaves us hoping that the world around us is just as bright and praiseworthy as they portrayed it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Punch Theatre

Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 14:09:07 -0400
From: Punch Theatre

Subject: Theatre Company Traveling to Tuscany for Festival

Hi, my name is Vanessa Lancellotti, and I am writing because Punch
Theatre, the non
profit theater company I founded in December, has been invited to present our
second production at the CrisisArt Festival in Arezzo, Italy this
July. We're especially excited because our mission is to focus on
physical theatre inspired by the Italian tradition of commedia
dell'arte. I have attached a press release and hope that we
can get the word out within GIAA, perhaps on your blog.

Thank you,

Vanessa Lancellotti
Founding Artistic Director
Punch Theatre
P.O. Box 5802
Hillsborough, NJ 08844