Broadway is down the street. About 7 blocks south and 3 blocks east. Ars Nova is not just off Broadway, it is down the street and around the corner, and in a lot of ways, a world away.
We found another venue to check out. Ars Nova is a theater dedicated to giving new emerging talent a place to test their chops, urging the creators to extend their horizons and push the envelope.
The show we saw was “Mother May I: a night of songs curated by our Moms”, an ensemble performance with 9 actors. Each act dedicated to their moms and ending with a song selection of their mother’s favorite tunes that represents their relationship. Some were really good, entertaining and innovative. Some were still early in development and needed work. Some were painful to watch.
The first act came on stage, realized he had left his script backstage and he left to retrieve it. When he returned, he placed his script on a music stand and began to read through it. He went through his act concluding his show with a strip tease dance wearing pink leggings and pasties. The crowd rewarded him with a rousing round of applause. I thought, “Well, this is weird, but…hey… this is New York.”
Following acts were interpretive dances, other monologue type performances, poetry readings, and so forth. A truly diverse collection of entertainment. The better of the evening was a set of twins who were able to sing harmony very well and slipped in a little soft shoe dance.
The best of the evening was a young lady who showed a video montage of movie clips from the past and present. She would dance around the stage and engage in the dialogue of the video clips, offering commentary and asides that were humorous, insightful and revealing of an artist on stage.
The audience also had an entertainment factor. It was apparent that many members of the audience were quite familiar with the players. The crowd would laugh loudly and applaud things that we didn’t quite get. That’s OK, though. We enjoyed the evening, the audience enjoyed the evening, and the cast really enjoyed the evening. That was apparent when they all assembled on stage at the end of the evening dancing and singing Mama Mia, led by an Abba video, projected on a screen above the stage.
We had a good time, and we recommend Ars Nova, for a reasonably priced evening of entertainment. Just give it a chance before you decide if you like it.