Monday, March 23, 2015

Andrew P. Clunn Impeached, Convicted & Expelled From Beaux Arts Society, Inc. For Misfeasance & Nonfeasance In Carrying Out His Responsibilities As Treasurer

On March 23, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. made the final decision to expel Andrew P. Clunn as a member after impeaching and convicting him of "misfeasance" and "nonfeasance" in carrying out his responsibilities as Treasurer.

The "misfeasance" involved his handling his duties as Treasurer in a negligent manner requiring others to have to pick up the slack. The "nonfeasance" involved his failure to act when under an obligation to do so and his refusal to do that which was his legal duty. Specifically, Andrew P. Clunn failed to file Tax Forms with the IRS by the multiple deadlines agreed to between himself and the Society; ceased all communication with the Society for almost four months, not responding to e-mails or phone messages; and failing to return to the Society all of the financial records, receipts and deposit slips entrusted to him. When placed on notice that the Board of Directors would address these issues if he did not respond in a prompt and professional manner, he used profane language clearly indicating he did not care what action the Society took against him.

Andrew P. Clunn of 8 Wendy Lane, Burnt Hills, New York 12027-9754 joined the Beaux Arts Society, Inc. in 2014. He was designated a Patron Of The Arts in 2014 for making a Financial Contribution to the 2014 Beaux Arts Ball. Mr. Clunn was a Foundation Member who was later appointed Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors. He was classified as a Regular Member for dues purposes since he was born on March 7, 1985.

Dr. Tom Stevens, President of the Beaux Arts Society, issued the following statement in response to the expulsion, "All reasonable steps were taken to avoid this drastic action. There were no advance indications Mr. Clunn would abandon his duties and responsibilities in this manner or that his response to the situation would be so volatile and unprofessional. If he was unable to handle his duties as Treasurer, all he had to do was to reach out to the Society, explain the situation, resign and return any official records in his possession."

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of New Yiddish Rep's Seltzer Nights: A Yiddish American Vaudeville at the Castillo Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of New Yiddish Rep's Seltzer Nights: A Yiddish American Vaudeville at the Castillo Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Seltzer Nights: A Yiddish American Vaudeville
Castillo Theatre (543 West 42nd Street, NYC)
Reviewed 3/21/15 at 7:00 p.m.

Seltzer Nights: A Yiddish American Vaudeville, co-created by Shane Baker, Beck Lee, Frank London and David Mandelbaum (your host for the evening), is the first of four monthly shows taking place at the fictitious Golden Beacon Theatre (located on a side street off Delancey) that will feature Yiddish songs and talent which has as its goal the perpetuation of Yiddish culture and the Yiddish language. It is hoped the best of the acts presented will be melted together into a new Yiddish Vaudeville Musical that will evoke the spirits of legends like Molly Picon, Jenny Goldstein, Jacob Adler, Boris Thomashefsky, Menasha Skulnik, Dzigan & Schumackher, and Fanny Brice. The goal is to incorporate and bring to life some of the risque songs and comedy routines that were all the rage on a Second Avenue once dotted with Yiddish Theatres and to present them to a widely diverse, mostly non-Yiddish speaking audience. There is no doubt the New Yiddish Rep will fail in that goal. This proposed new Yiddish American Musical has a future, but it is not on Broadway or Off-Broadway. Seltzer Nights, populated with a barely professional group of performers (with the definite exception of Daniella Rabbani, and the possible exceptions of Gina Healy and Amy Coleman) will instead do very well performing in front of older Yiddish-speaking Jewish audiences in Nursing Homes and retirement communities, especially in New York and Florida.

The one and only song that showed promise for bridging the gap between Yiddish and non-Yiddish speaking audience members was the song Fokhn, expertly and entertainingly performed by the very talented Daniella Rabbani. If the show featured songs and performers such as that, it would have been a whole different experience for audience members. Instead, the audience members around me mostly sat on their hands wondering when the torture would come to an end. The words "embarrassing" and "disaster" were commonly uttered during this amateur hour that failed to connect to non-Yiddish speaking audience members. The only relief was the occasional funny story or joke told by some of the performers, and even those jokes were so old the dust had to be blown off them before they were read. David Mandelbaum, the Master of Ceremonies, reported we were going to see a magician who is "so good that when he appears on stage, the audience disappears." Daniella Rabbani introduced a song about a young girl and an older man by saying, "Nowadays we'd call it pedophilia. Back then, it was just called love." Other jokes and funny stories included:

What do you call a Lesbian Dinosaur? A "LickALotAPuss". 

A Jewish woman, married for many years, goes to her Rabbi and says she wants a divorce. The Rabbi asks why and the woman says her husband no longer satisfies her sexually. He says, "When did you realize that?" She says, "Last night and again this morning."   

An old Jewish man looks down at his small penis and says, "We were born at the same time but you died before me!"

Two co-workers talking about a beautiful girl on the construction site. One says, "I really like her. She's such a good lay." The other co-worker says, "What are you talking about? Your wife is a better lay!"

An 86-year-old Jewish man goes into a confessional in a Catholic Church and tells the priest of his sexual exploits with a very young girl. The priest says, "You sound Jewish, are you?" He says yes and the priest asks, "You realize this is a Catholic Church and I am a priest, why are you telling me?" The Jewish man responds, "I AM TELLING EVERYONE!"

Seltzer Nights promises to keep you up at night...just like a good pastrami sandwich! I'd rather have the pastrami sandwich with mustard on rye bread and forget the Seltzer Nights. Still, if you are an older Yiddish-speaking Jewish person who is easily entertained and without very high artistic standards, then this show might be for you. For everyone else, I recommend you stay away. You can make your own egg cream! For more information about upcoming shows, visit:

Applause! Applause! Review of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe at New World Stages by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of “Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe” at New World Stages was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe
Written, Composed & Directed by Jonathan Christenson
Costume & Lighting Design by Bretta Gerecke
New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 3/19/15 at 8:00 p.m.

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe was written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson with costume and lighting design by Bretta Gerecke. It was originally produced in 2008 at the Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, eventually opening at the Barbican Centre in London (July, 2010) and the New Victory Theater in New York City (October, 2010). It continued to be produced in many theaters and film festivals throughout Canada before opening at New World Stages in New York City in January, 2015. In 2009, the musical won seven Sterling Awards (The Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award - Edmonton’s Theatrical Honors) including Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Director (Jonathan Christenson), Outstanding Costume Design (Bretta Gerecke), Outstanding Lighting Design (Bretta Gerecke), Outstanding Score of a Play or Musical (Jonathan Christenson & Wade Staples), Outstanding Musical Director (Jonathan Christenson) and Outstanding Choreography or Fight Direction (Laura Krewski).

This compelling musical biography of the tragic life and death of Edgar Allan Poe is a unique storytelling experience. The elaborate costumes, mostly black and white, exude a Goth, Steampunk sensibility. In fact, New World Stages sponsors “Goth & Steampunk Thursdays” in conjunction with the musical so all audience members coming to the show dressed in Goth or Steampunk inspired clothing get a free drink ticket. Each show of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe is becoming a bit of a happening with a growing number of loyal fans attending multiple performances. The night I attended, Denny Daniel of the Museum of Interesting Things was present before, during intermission, and after the show to interact with audience members and to show them some of the 19th century historical items he has in his collection.

As told in the first lines of this musical, this is a tale “of mystery and horror, and of unrelenting woe.” We find Edgar Allan Poe on a steamer from Richmond to New York City on which he meets a troupe of travelling players (or perhaps they were simply characters from his poems and stories who he dreamed about while in a drunken stupor) who offer to perform scenes from his life. What follows is an examination of his tortured and difficult life and how the darkness and loss he experienced may have influenced his writing. Not all the facts presented in this musical biography are accurate and many important, influential parts of his life were left out such as his time in the military, his work in New York City and his experiences at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Edgar Allan Poe, expertly and inspirationally played by Scott Shpeley, is portrayed as a deeply sensitive man, more influenced by the challenges of life than most but with an indomitable spirit, numbed when necessary with alcohol. However, the musical is so highly stylized that you never really get the opportunity to identify emotionally with any of the other characters portrayed during the various vignettes. You leave the musical wishing Edgar Allan Poe had experienced a better life than the one he did, filled with abandonment, death, madness and betrayal. Edgar Allan Poe was born to traveling actors in Boston on January 19, 1809. In reality, his father abandoned the family (including his brother William Henry Leonard Poe and Rosalie Poe) when he was only one-year-old. His mother died of consumption the next year. He was separated from his brother Henry and his sister Rosalie when Jock (John) and Fanny (Frances) Allan, a childless couple who were fans of his actress mom, agreed to become his foster parents. John Allan was a wealthy tobacco merchant who lived in Richmond, Virginia. Fanny, his foster mom and the only mother he knew, eventually went insane and was committed to an institution where she died. Elmira Royster, his first love to whom he was secretly engaged, married a richer man when he was away at college. His foster-father, who wanted Edgar to stop his gambling and drinking and be a businessman instead of a writer, cut him off financially (forcing him to drop out of the University of Virginia after only one semester) and eventually disinherited him. Both his older brother Henry and Virginia Clemm (his thirteen-year-old cousin and child bride) died at a young age of consumption. In the end,  Edgar Allan Poe, age 40, was found in a Public House in Baltimore on October 3, 1849, disoriented, delirious “in great distress and…in need of immediate assistance.” He was transferred to Washington Medical College. He never regained full consciousness and died on October 7, 1849. It was reported in the newspapers he died of “congestion of the brain” or “cerebral inflammation,” common euphemisms for deaths from disreputable causes such as alcoholism.

The musical, Nevermore: The Imaginary Life & Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe features a very talented, energetic, professional ensemble cast in costumes with hoop skirts and high hats that evoke a Tim Burton style alternative universe. Every actor is Broadway quality with Broadway talent. Scott Shpeley as Edgar and Ryan Parker as Rufus Griswold were particularly impressive. Jonathan Christenson and Bretta Gerecke offer us a highly unique style of presenting a story that includes impressive anthropomorphized Ravens in full-body costumes. It is beautiful, inventive, moving, exquisite, haunting and yet, funny at times; a perfect balance of hope and despair. My favorite line from the musical was when fifteen-year-old Edgar and his first love Elmira were hanging out in a graveyard, their favorite place to meet. Edgar is staring at Elmira and she says, “you should draw a picture” (instead of “you should take a picture; it would last longer”). I highly recommend you see Nevermore while it is here in New York City. This musical is destined to become a cult classic. For more information about the show and to purchase tickets, visit: 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dr. Tom Stevens Resigns As New York State Director Of Our America Initiative

On March 16, 2015, Dr. Tom Stevens resigned as New York State Director of Our America Initiative, an organization formed in 2009 by Governor Gary Johnson, who served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003 and who was the Presidential Candidate of the Libertarian Party in 2012.

Our America Initiative is based on a belief that a majority of Americans are classical liberals and that fundamentally, they believe that government and its cost should be limited and that civil liberties and individual freedom must be protected -- not threatened -- by the government. Our America seeks to give voice to the ideas of liberty, smaller government, and financial responsibility. Our America Initiative has the goal to redefine the Liberty Movement in America, to restore liberty, personal responsibility and economic freedom as the true American values, and to foster an environment that allows each person to pursue his or her individual dreams and happiness without the burdens of unneeded government restrictions. The focus of Our America is to speak out on issues regarding topics such as government efficiency, lowering taxes, protecting civil liberties, revitalizing the economy and promoting entrepreneurship. Governor Gary Johnson currently serves as Honorary Chairman of Our America Initiative.

Dr. Tom Stevens' involvement with Our America Initiative began on October 1, 2013, when he was appointed Queens County Coordinator. On August 12, 2014, Dr. Stevens was appointed Outreach Coordinator for all of New York State and on August 14, 2014, he was appointed New York State Director. At the time of his appointment as State Director, the positions of Outreach Coordinator, Campus Coordinator, and Financial Manager were vacant. As of the day of his resignation, John Clifton (who followed Dan King) served as Outreach Coordinator, Natale Corsi served as Campus Coordinator, and Amanda Gough served as Financial Manager. Under his watch, Dr. Stevens actively negotiated the co-sponsorship of two major projects. In September, 2014, the national leadership of Our America Initiative approved of New York signing on with the Equal Ballot Access Coalition of New York, which seeks to get the government out of the internal affairs and nomination processes of all political parties; to provide equal access and few, if any, barriers to candidates seeking a place on the general election ballot; and to have an Independent Election Commission responsible for coordinating and running all elections conducted in New York State. The second project approved by national in October, 2014 was to vigorously support the projects of SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education) to urge state political candidates to sign a pledge to repeal the 2013 SAFE Act and to oppose the SAFE Act II group of potential 2015 bills. Initial plans were also made to sponsor a Lobby Day in Albany, a project John Clifton was placed in charge of.

As State Chair of the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania in 2012, Dr. Tom Stevens was responsible for leading the charge to get a sufficient number of valid petition signatures to get Governor Gary Johnson on the ballot as the Libertarian Party's Presidential Candidate in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and then defending those petitions against a well-financed GOP challenge. Richard Winger of Ballot Access News said, Tom Stevens led the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party to the greatest ballot access victory in the state party's history. The Pennsylvania Libertarian Party's 2012 ballot access victory was the first time any statewide minor party or independent candidate for statewide office has ever defeated a challenge backed by one of the two major parties. Dr. Tom Stevens was elected County Chair of the Libertarian Party of Queens County in January, 2014 and was unanimously re-elected to that position in January, 2015. He also serves as Political Director and Membership Director of the Queens Libertarian Party, and as State Chair of Empire State Libertarians.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Carol Shedlin's Child Of The '30s at Don't Tell Mama by Andrew Martin

This review of Carol Shedlin's Child Of The '30s at Don't Tell Mama was written by Andrew Martin and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Child Of The '30s - Carol Shedlin

Don't Tell Mama (343 West 46th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 3/16/15 at 7:00 p.m.

The longer one lingers in the cabaret arena, the more they become aware that there are three types of acts. The first is a brilliantly talented performer who does a brilliantly conceived show. These, of course, are the easiest to review. The second is a brilliantly talented performer who does a poorly conceived show. These aren't completely impossible to review by dint of constructive criticism. And the third is a poorly talented performer who does a brilliantly conceived show. It often leaves the writer at a loss for words. So it goes with Carol Shedlin in her show Child Of The '30s at Don't Tell Mama, who regrettably falls into that category. Granted, there is a fourth type, a poorly talented performer who does a poorly conceived show, which are easily reviewed by merely brushing them off with an utter pan, but Shedlin manages to escape that fate, squeaking by with a grade of D-minus rather than an F.

Although aided and abetted by musical director Jon Delfin at the ivories and the masterful Boots Maleson on bass, Shedlin offers very little by way of musical or lyrical communication. Her high points here are achieved in her storytelling, of having been a rich kid whose family fortune was all but wiped out in the Great Depression and a set of parents who refused to continue to do anything but live high on the hog, and her song selections (all from the 1930s) have been impeccably researched. But she simply doesn't have the chops to pull it off; her voice is an extremely weak vocal instrument which, though displaying reasonably beautiful pitch, doesn't possess the requisite power to allow her to emerge as a satisfactory artist. In point of fact, her audience offers little more than sympathetic applause, and even that appears at times a strenuous effort. She deserves props for working her hardest to make this an interesting evening, but to say it falls short is an understatement.

Ergo, when next Carol Shedlin makes a cabaret appearance, she might be worth considering to attend if the pickings of the evening are very slim. But it can't be said that she doesn't try. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour, Part 2: Be The Love at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes' Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour, Part 2: Be The Love at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour, Part 2: Be The Love

Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes & The Yolandaleers
The Duplex Cabaret Theatre 
61 Christopher Street
New York, New York 10014
Reviewed 3/12/15 at 6:30 p.m.

Rev. Yolanda won the 2014 MAC Award in the category of Impersonation/Characterization/Drag Artist for her show Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour. Now she's back with Part 2 entitled Be The Love where "the Divine Masculine meets the Divine Feminine in the Arms of Love!" The Yolandaleers, a four-member Gospel Band led by Musical Director Kenneth Gartman, open the show with a solo number containing the upbeat lyric, "I feel like something good is about to happen...This could be that very day!" and soon our anticipation is rewarded with the presence on stage of Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes, a voluptuous Drag Queen and Legal Interfaith Minister who offers up a lively celebration of self-love and empowerment. Rev. Yolanda's energy and charisma never fail as she inspires her audience to seek the light within them to co-create with her the experience both she and the audience are about to have. The fact that Rev. Yolanda is dressed as a woman, with a large red wig ("the higher the hair, the closer to God") and black platform shoes with 6 inch heels is completely irrelevant to her goal of delivering a totally legitimate, soulful Gospel Hour of inspirational music (and a few dance steps) that could successfully play before the most Christian Conservative audience in the nation and still get a standing ovation. In fact, Rev. Yolanda just came back from performing at the Wild Goose Festival in Hot Springs, North Carolina. That festival is "rooted in the Christian tradition" and "focused on justice, spirituality, music and the arts." Rev. Yolanda, a former Radical Faerie, has found that the most radical impact she can now have is to promote diversity, love and acceptance by being an Ambassador for all who are as unique as she is and yet, still, blessed by God's love and light.

Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama (The Hit Recording Capital Of The World), Roger always loved Big Hair, inspired by his mother, who went to the same hairdresser as Tammy Wynette. He sang in the choir of a Pentecostal Church and joined his first band, "Stained Glass Bluegrass", when he was only 17 years old. After graduating High School, he escaped Alabama and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida eventually hooking up with some Jesus Freaks, who didn't do drugs but liked Rock & Roll. To obtain admission to Jesus Manor (a Jesus Commune), he went back into the closet. As fate would have it, one of his two roommates, Ronnie, was also gay (they became Sister Friends who both had a crush on the third roommate, who was straight). Ronnie's tragic story ended with his "permanently moving into the Mansion on the Hill." Eventually, Roger went to college, majored in Drama, and at age 28, moved to the East Village, after spending some time living in the Radical Faerie Community in Vermont. It was during that time (1993) that Yolanda was born. Yolanda developed a loyal following in Vermont for her band Yolanda & The Plastic Family. In 2003, Yolanda was awarded OutMusician of the Year and, in 2005, Rev. Roger Anthony "Yolanda" Mapes was inducted into the GLBT Hall of Fame for Activism, Art Excellence & Community Awareness. Yolanda then began a spiritual journey in June, 2011 leading her to One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, where she became Rev. Yolanda, an ordained Interfaith Minister. In September, 2014, a feature film was released regarding her life, Rev. Yolanda's Old Time Gospel Hour: The Movie, (visit for more information about the movie) and in February, 2015, Rev. Yolanda was inducted as a "Great Blues Artist" in the New York Chapter of The Blues Hall of Fame. Rev. Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes is a survivor and a success in almost every aspect of her life. She is happily married and sharing the positive energy that comes with adopting the right mental attitude.

Rev. Yolanda is a serious musician with a powerful voice. She offers inspirational advice about the need to love and accept yourself as a "richly endowed Child of God" but recognizes that sometimes you just need "to step back and let God lead the way." The Gospel Hour features both traditional and original Gospel Music. You will recognize songs with lyrics such as "This little light of mine; I'm going to make it shine" and "How Great Thou Art." Then just when you least expect it, you are asked to clap "if you're happy and you know it." Rev. Yolanda is a plus-size performer with a plus-size personality and heart. She plays guitar, wears impressive wigs and delivers a message that can reach even the most hard-hearted heathen. I strongly recommend you spend an hour or more in Yolanda World soon! You will be better for having done so! For more information on Rev. Yolanda and her upcoming shows, visit   

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of O'Neill's Ghosts at The Barrow Group Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of O'Neill's Ghosts at The Barrow Group Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

O'Neill's Ghosts
Written by Jovanka Bach
Directed & Produced by John Stark
The Barrow Group Theatre (312 West 36th Street, NYC)
Reviewed 3/6/15 at 8:00 p.m. 

If you were unaware of how absolutely dysfunctional the O'Neill family was, then O'Neill's Ghosts will provide you with insight into the recurring patterns of alcoholism, depression, drug addiction and parental neglect that revealed itself in multiple generations of that family. If you did not know that Eugene Gladstone O'Neill used his own family's troubled history as plot fodder for his many plays, then O'Neill's Ghosts will enlighten you on that issue. Finally, if you have not discovered what an egotistic, self-absorbed, uncaring, moody, unlovable and unloving man Eugene O'Neill was, then this is the play for you. No good outcomes here in this play set in 1950 with O'Neill being visited by ghosts of family members reminding him of how bad things always were. In flashbacks, we get to see James O'Neill, his career-plagued and alcoholic father; Mary Ellen Quinlan(Ella), his depressed and morphine-addicted mother; Jamie, his alcoholic, debauched brother who drank himself to death at age 45; and Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, Jr. (Bud), a Yale classicist who constantly sought his father's approval and ultimately committed suicide. The play doesn't even mention his daughter Oona, who was disowned for marrying English actor Charlie Chaplin when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54 nor does it mention Shane O'Neill, his other son, a heroin addict who moved into Spithead, the family home in Bermuda, and supported himself and his new wife by selling off the furnishings.

While O'Neill's Ghosts certainly gives you a feel for this troubled family, for whatever reason, Jovanka Bach used her literary license to play fast and loose with a number of facts. For example, Eugene O'Neill is depicted as being troubled by whether he or his brother Jamie gave his infant brother Edmund the measles resulting in his death but Eugene wasn't born until years after the young Edmund died. Similarly, Bud is said to have committed suicide by shooting himself in the head when, in fact, he slit his left wrist and ankle. In addition, Eugene and Carlotta's dog Blemie died years before the year in which the play is set. Many people unaware of the facts and circumstances of Eugene O'Neill's life and family are going to leave the theater having learned inaccurate information. On the other hand, does it really matter whether Eugene O'Neill missed his own brother's funeral and his own son's commencement speech? Does it matter whether he actually failed to read Bud's doctoral thesis? In those situations, it is the general point that Eugene O'Neill was an arrogant fellow who put his work and his own selfish desires above those of his family that matters most.

In the play, O'Neill's aloofness and dedication to his work are depicted by his not wanting anything or anyone to interfere with his writing. When Bud kills himself, O'Neill's character says, "I should never have let Bud into my life. I should never have let him get close." Whenever a family crisis was happening, his character says, "I will not be drawn into it." The best example of his complete detachment is when Blemie, their dog (who has been loyal and loving for 11 years), is dying and Carlotta asks her husband to pet the dog, O'Neill can't even be bothered to do that. So you can see how little time he would have for his own children and his wives, of which he had three. Even Carlotta Monterey, his third wife, was deeply affected by O'Neill's mood swings and ultimately became addicted to potassium bromide.

John DiFusco does a fine job portraying Eugene O'Neill and the very attractive Lisa Thayer is a pleasure to watch in the role of Carlotta. Phil Donlon very professionally exhibits the longings and frustrations of Bud while Tom Groenwald is impeccable as Jamie, O'Neill's brother. Dana Kelly is sufficiently believable in his paternal role as O'Neill's father. On the other hand, poor Mona Lee Wylde as Ella doesn't get to act much since most of the time she appears wandering the stage, saying nothing, in a morphine-induced stupor. Similarly, Tanya Starcevich has only a few lines as Maud, the maid.  

O'Neill's Ghosts is in New York for a limited engagement. For information about purchasing tickets, call 212-868-5252 or visit 

Applause! Applause! Review of Lucas Brooks' Cootie Catcher at Under St. Mark's Theater by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Lucas Brooks' Cootie Catcher at Under St. Mark's Theater was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Cootie Catcher
Written & Performed by Lucas Brooks
Directed by David Drake
Under St. Mark's Theater (94 St. Mark's Place, NYC)
Reviewed 3/6/15 at 5:30 p.m. 

If you enjoy sex as much a Lucas Brooks does, you are bound to have many stories about when you feared having contracted sexually transmitted infections. Those stories form the basis of his very entertaining new show Cootie Catcher. To fully understand the "cooties" and "cootie catcher" references, you really need to understand what they are, especially since Lucas Brooks literally uses a Cootie Catcher in his act. Cooties is a fictional childhood disease used in the United States and Canada as a rejection term and an infection tag game. A child is said to "catch" cooties (as one might catch sexually transmitted infections) through close contact with an "infected" person. The word is thought to originate from the Austronesian languages, in which the Tagalog, Maori and Malay word kutu refers to a parasitic biting insect, or kudis, meaning scabies. The earliest recorded use of the term in English is by British soldiers during World War I to refer to lice. An origami Cootie Catcher has eight flaps, each containing a message, and the person operating it, in this case Lucas Brooks, manipulated the device based on number choices made by the audience. When a particular sexually transmitted infection was selected, Mr. Brooks did a short dance number and then told a personal story related to his experience with that particular disease. The Cootie Catcher would traditionally be used as a pincer to play-act catching insects such as lice off the bodies of other children. You could also be immunized against catching cooties by drawing two circles and two dots on the arm of a fellow student and by reciting, "Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot. Now you have your Cootie Shot."

Lucas Brooks is a writer, performer and sex educator who lives in Brooklyn. He holds a BA in The Arts from Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts where he appeared in Operatta, Firefall and Love's Labours. He wrote two previous shows, VGL 5'4" Top and Fame Whore, and appears in burlesque venues as Lucky Charming, which explains why Mr. Brooks stated that "most people meet my butt before they meet my face." He is also the creator of The Intellectual Homosexual, a website where he analyzes gay culture and society. More relevant to this show, however, is that he is a self-described "exhibitionist slut" who, although a stickler for safe sex, has nevertheless had many scary close encounters of the sexually transmitted kind. In this show, Cootie Catcher, Lucas Brooks highlights his dance talents before sharing an intimate story about when he thought he may have been exposed to a serious sexually transmitted disease. 

Sex has become an important part of his identity and Lucas Brooks is not shy about discussing his past eclectic, sexual experiences, whether they be getting blown by five guys and fucking a guy in a swing at a group sex party in Park Slope, to discovering that an off-duty bartender (who was "a little fabulous") had a sore on the head of his dick, to his giving a blow job (when he was still "a little tramp-in-training") to an HIV-positive man (before knowing his HIV status). Each of these stories was followed in the show by a description of his visit to the Department of Health or local clinic, a recalling of his discussions with the doctor and finally, a reflection on what was learned as a result of all that uncertainty while awaiting the various test results. Although still HIV-negative, Mr. Brooks eventually was diagnosed with having contracted the human papilloma virus in the crack of his ass, resulting in his having warts both on and under the skin, which he found amusing since he has "never, ever" used his ass during any sexual experience. Just in case you are concerned, the human papilloma virus was treated, came back, was ignored by him, and eventually just went away. 

The anecdotes told during Cootie Catcher succeed in keeping the audiences' attention especially since you get the feeling Lucas Brooks is being totally honest about them. He is also a very talented dancer and storyteller. I should warn you in advance that there is no nudity in this show. Lucas Brooks does not strip and is always impeccably dressed. The message of the show is that there is no such thing as safe sex but that if you take appropriate precautions, you can remain sex-positive and sexually active. 

Cootie Catcher is being presented as a part of Frigid Festival New York. It was previously shown  at The Celebration of Whimsy Theater and as part of the HOT! Festival at Dixon Place. You can learn more about Lucas Brooks at his website 

Friday, March 6, 2015

PUBLIC NOTICE: Andrew P. Clunn Fired As An Applause! Applause! Critic


Please take notice that ANDREW P. CLUNN of 8 Wendy Lane, Burnt Hills, New York 12017-9754 has been FIRED as a critic for APPLAUSE! APPLAUSE! effective immediately.

If ANDREW P. CLUNN presents himself as a Critic for Applause! Applause! or requests free CDs or DVDs to review, immediately contact Dr. Tom Stevens, Editor-In-Chief for Applause! Applause! at

ANDREW P. CLUNN was FIRED for continuously missing deadlines, for the uneven quality of his work, for his failure to maintain communication for over a two-month period, and ultimately, for his extremely volatile personality. 

Dr. Tom Stevens, Editor-In-Chief of Applause! Applause! stated: "ANDREW P. CLUNN would appear calm and professional and then would suddenly disappear for months and cease all communication. When asked to explain his disappearances, I would be subjected to a barrage of profanities. While I wish him well, ANDREW P. CLUNN is not someone I would trust with an important assignment. However regrettable, we had no choice but to let him go."