NY Theater Review by Marcina Zaccaria
Who Knew? Productions presents the World Premiere of Moses, the Author at the New York International Fringe Festival.
The play, by Andrew R. Heinze, is about the prophet who led the Jews to the Promised Land. Beyond writer’s block, Moses deals with confrontations with his family and the need to have insight from God. The drama is set a very long time ago, just outside the Promised Land. Playwright Andrew R. Heinze is the writer of numerous plays including Hamilton, which was a semi-finalist for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in 2012. He is also the author of Jews and the American Soul.
Moses, the Author is primarily a play about a writer in crisis. As the drama smartly unfolds, special attention is paid to all of the characters in the play. Moses is played by the tall, charismatic Mitch Tebo. He questions the process of writing and the relationship between man and God. Tebo’s previous credits include Prospero in The Tempest and LBJ in The Great Society. Always able to bring nuance to the text while being an inspiration for the rest of the ensemble, Tebo perfectly holds center stage at The Players Theatre in Greenwich Village.
The play is well-cast as each member of the ensemble works with a great attention to detail – each line considered and well-executed. Thusie is played by Ramzi Khalaf, who performed in A Christmas Carol off Broadway. Gershy is played by Hazen Cuyler. Yoheved is played by Janine Hegarty, Zippy is played by Judy Rosenblatt, who has previously been seen in productions at NYSF/ Public Theater, La MaMa E.T.C., and New York Theatre Workshop.
Amy Wright does a fine job directing the ensemble. Each passage quickly clips along, and the stage space seems full of fine words and swift movement. The play does not lack for compassion or dignity. Set Designer Nikolay Sviridchik creates a fantastic chair stage center for Moses and scrolls on which the Bible was written. The costume design by Heinze & Heinze has great fabric that is billowy and indicative of Biblical times. Quick bursts of light by Designer A.J. Dobbs reminds us that the illumination from God might very well be above.
The play is comical, but never reaches the heights of a Mel Brooks musical. Though there are no actual lightning bolts or astonishing moments of revelation, Moses, the Author is a great work and an excellent choice for the New York International Fringe Festival. The characters are sincere, and the play shines light on the crisis of writing, and the possibility of new creation.
The 18th Annual New York International Fringe Festival is running from August 8th-24th. It is a multi-arts festival that features drama, comedy, dance, and more. Moses, the Author is playing at The Players Theatre at 115 MacDougal Street. Remaining shows are Wednesday, August 13th, Wednesday, August 20th, and Saturday, August 23rd. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at FringeCENTRAL at 114 Norfolk Street, between Rivington and Delancey Street. Additional information can be found at www.FringeNYC.org.