By Susan Hasho
There are a million stories in the naked city and a million ways to talk about them. The group doing New York Stories has a sketch-comedy and song-and-dance approach that is fresh and fun. Take an actor all- knowing in the theatre of the ridiculous (Everett Quinton) and put him together with actor/dancers who can sing, comedians who can sing and dance, and a composer who has a warn folksy voice and plays a lot of instruments sometimes all at once—and you have a prescription for serious and silly all set to music. The director/choreographer Liz Piccoli has added classy choreography that sets the show on a bit of a unique path.
Instead of just zany sketch style, she adds segments that are beautifully danced and serious into the mix. And the performers are very capable of coming up to the challenge. Man 1 (Napoleon W Gladney) is an excellent dancer and singer. He adds polish and style to everything he does in the show. Man 2 (William Boyajian) is a very enjoyable comedian but also has the vocal chops to do a send up of Michael Buble that is very good—and very funny. The women are equally adept. Woman 1 (Alia Munsch) is gorgeous and a sexy, talented dancer and singer. She can be both sultry and silly which is surprising and a joy to watch. Woman 2 (Amanda Joy Loth) is a blonde comedic presence that adapts easily to every situation thrown at her with élan. Everett Quinton as Julius/Julie has a more serious function in this show than the others. He carries the storyline as a recent widower who is not quite sure if he wants to keep on living. But he handles his character with honesty and wit, and is wonderfully touching and funny.
The music and lyrics by Valdaniel Martins and Tryston Trazon are palpable and always support the style and fun of the show. And as a performer and constant presence during the show, Valdaniel is both a good singer and an excellent backup to the action.
These artists cover many New York experiences, from first audition, first apartment, busking in the street, madness on the subway, loneliness at night and two club singers vying for the height of the microphone and the attention of the crowd. Even the weight of the world is expressed—with the sadness of losing a long-time partner—all done with originality, passion and talent.
Look for it to come around again. It’s bursting with possibilities.