Equity Showcase On Track for Bigger Things

Growing Stronger, A Monkey King Swings Back To Roosevelt Island

Updated 1 year ago David Stone
Growing Stronger, A Monkey King Swings Back To Roosevelt Island

When The Monkey King premiered on Roosevelt Island, the MST&DA/Common Man Musicals effort served a dual purpose of showcasing local talent and nurturing a promising new musical created by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner, MST&DA's Assistant Executive Director. Evidence of its success will hit the Howe Theatre stage again in August.

Theatre is all about collaboration, and if anything gets credit for the progress of The Monkey King, from wild idea to professional staging, it's the Fadners' gift for working with a wide range of talents and resources to bring new music and a contemporary twist to reality.

As their press release describes it, "The Monkey King is a theatrical retelling of an ancient Chinese legend infused with a clever storyline and heart-pumping music.  The legend has entertained all ages for centuries with a cast of mythical creatures that can transform and transcend earthly realms and triumph amidst epic battles.  But can you imagine what happens when the King is born and he is… a woman...?"

Support seeding the emerging work is wide-ranging. It's "sponsored in part by Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance through the use of their theatre, and the Queens Council on the Arts through their 2018 New Works Grant."

Steven Eng returns to direct.
Steven Eng returns to direct.
Photo courtesy of Common Man Musicals

If The Monkey King eventually reaches "wider audiences," a goal that encompasses Broadway in a longer view, it will be remembered as getting its start on Roosevelt Island in the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance's Children's Theatre.

Kids trained at MST&DA had great fun with it, putting on a show for packed audiences in May and giving the creative team a chance to see their ideas played out live.

"The Fadners’ score and libretto has been expanded from the Children’s theatre version and will introduce more language and music for a savvy and sharp professional cast," Common Man Musicals says, "while maintaining the original concept and freshness."

Eleven actors are engaged, playing multiple roles, in "an Equity Showcase, treated like a work in progress with a strong focus on the story-telling along with minimal set and costume design." (An Equity Showcase allows for relaxed union rules to help promote new works that lead to more jobs for casts and crews.)

Among the professionals are Roosevelt Islanders Russ Cusick and Joan Marie. Kimbirdlee Fadner plays the title role she helped create while Steven Eng, a Lortell Award nominee, returns to direct, following up the successful, also original Common Man Musicals's Northanger Abbey.

The stage is set for The Monkey King performances starting Friday, August 3rd at 8:00 with and continuing with three more through the weekend. It's expected to sell out on its path through Roosevelt Island.

Tickets for The Monkey King are available now. Click here to reserve.

Comments powered by Disqus
data-full-width-responsive="true"

Assorted Ideas

Amanda Matthews Picked for Nellie Bly Monument

RIOC Picks Amanda Matthews for Nellie Bly Monument “The Girl Puzzle” will be located in Lighthouse Park The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) selected Amanda Matthews/Prometheus Art to construct the Nellie Bly Monument. The installation lands on the northern end of Roosevelt Island at Lighthouse Park. Recently, Lighthouse Park hostedContinue Reading

The post Amanda Matthews Picked for Nellie Bly Monument appeared first on Assorted Ideas, Large & Small.

Worth & Nancy Howe Return

Worth & Nancy Howe return to Roosevelt Island on October 26th when RIOC celebrates naming The Howe Theatre in the Cultural Center. The Howes pioneered MST&DA’s expanding role in community life. When we learned that Worth and Nancy Howe were leaving Roosevelt Island, I wrote a tribute. In Los Angeles,Continue Reading

The post Worth & Nancy Howe Return appeared first on Assorted Ideas, Large & Small.

What the hell’s going on with Blackwell House?

What the hell’s going on with Blackwell House? The question popped into my head last week when I saw the historic landmark under a protective wrap again. In a Roosevelt Islander blog post, they asked, “… at what point will the condition of Blackwell House be such that it can be used forContinue Reading

The post What the hell’s going on with Blackwell House? appeared first on Assorted Ideas, Large & Small.

Indonesian Fire Hits NYC

How an Indonesian Fire hits New York City… “It is with very heavy hearts we announce that Presbyterian Orphanage in Tomohon, where we found Mathew Tendean Luce 24 years ago, was burned to the ground,” wrote Roosevelt Island based humanitarian Jim Luce. No children were harmed, but there’s a surprisingContinue Reading

The post Indonesian Fire Hits NYC appeared first on Assorted Ideas, Large & Small.

Christopher Columbus Opposing Views

Christopher Columbus, Opposing Views adds a fresh angle to a debate we’ve had here since 2017. My critical view of the man who “discovered” America was countered by my friend, historian Ron Musto. And now, a new point of view emerges. “Understanding the truth about Christopher Columbus is not soContinue Reading

The post Christopher Columbus Opposing Views appeared first on Assorted Ideas, Large & Small.