Thursday, May 18, 2006

Expanding horizons ...

The very first show I saw in the Off Center Theater (now the Shimberg Playhouse) was a hip-hop styled one-person show by Danny Hoch which was titled Jails, Hospitals and Hip Hop. I was there opening night, as was local actor/comedian/griot "ranney" - but we were about it. In all seriousness, there was probably only a dozen of us there to see the show, which was fantastic. Danny has gone on to make that show a movie in addition to a lot of TV and film (White Boys, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Black Hawk Down, Bamboozled) and it's always exciting to see him on the big or small screen after sharing such a great night of theater with him.

I've been a big fan of the one-person form for a long time. They're really, really great stuff. I've previously mentioned Leguizamo and Bogosian here before, but there are many others though who have made the form what it is today - David Sedaris, Whoopi Goldberg, Spalding Gray and a legion of comedians who've all created a one-man show in hope of landing an HBO special or network TV pilot.

One of the greatest advantages to seeing shows in the Shimberg is the intimacy of the venue. Unlike the almost palacial in comparison Carol Morsani Hall, the Shimberg is roughly 30 feet by 60 feet and only seats 75 to 130 people. You just can't replicate the immediacy of seeing a show in that size venue. One can quite literally almost reach out and touch the action (though that's typically really frowned upon). A lot of folks from places like New York often comment that the space reminds them of a lot of the theater spaces back home.

So I'm excited to get another opportunity to check out a show this weekend. (For me especially it's nice to go see a show that I'm genuinely interested in and that I don't have a hand in producing - it's nice being able to go to the theater to just relax and enjoy yourself) Teo Castellanos is in town to perform his one-man show N.E. 2nd Ave. Imagine the characters you could meet as a small Caribbean bus travels down the bumpy urban streets of Miami ...

As I was doing a bit of research on the show it all came full circle - I found this link for a hip hop festival in New York that Teo is performing at in New York with ... Danny Hoch. I was also told that this will be Teo's final "small" tour like this before you looks to move onward and upwards. I wonder how long until he pops up in a movie and I can say "I saw him when ..."

Here's a podcast I found interviewing Teo:

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- David J.

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