Debra Williams makes beautiful music at Trinity Baptist Church

More than just Saint Patrick was smiling this past March 17 in Brooklyn thanks to a stirring concert featuring soprano, Debra M. Williams at Trinity Baptist Church.

The church’s contribution to Women’s History Month was predominantly the angelic tones of Ms. Williams, a professional singer both of classical and contemporary material. Ms. Williams understated demeanor as she graciously spoke to her audience was the opposite of the powerhouse sounds emitted by her through a canon of songs ranging from Gospel favorites (“Oh the Glory of Your Presence,” “O, Glory!,” and the enduring “Jesus Loves Me”) to Negro Spirituals like the heart wrenching “Lord, How Come Me here?” to inspired interpretations of contemporary tunes like “Grandma’s Hands” and “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” Ms. Williams displayed a beautiful sound, knowing when to hold back and when to give us both barrels. She was as comfortable with a simple jazz favorite as with a rafter-shaking gospel standard.

The afternoon also featured the flawless ensemble work of Created to Praise and The Voices of Praise. Effortlessly these choirs lifted the spirits of the audience as they joined in with Ms. Williams as well as on their own for “I Love to Praise Him” and “How I Got Over.” Also sharing the stage was newcomer, Janokeil Clark, an aspiring singer and producer (he is currently preparing an off-off Broadway production) whose renditions of “I Look To You” and the heartfelt, “Tomorrow” showed a great promise in the voice of this young singer.

The singers were backed up by a three-piece ensemble consisting of Dennis Nelson on piano, Darryl Austin on drums, and Lino Gomez on bass. By the way they were introduced you got the sense they were just sort-of volunteering to help, but the exquisite sound that came from this tight-nit ensemble, and the precision by which they followed their singers was the stuff of professionals.

The final member of the concert was the audience. En masse they were moved by the gospel, hands flew in the air, heads nodded in soulful praise, voices joined either with the lyric or a quick “AMEN” punctuating even word. Laughter came from the crowd often and freely. Not the kind you get from humor or from derision – certainly not. The kind you get from when your soul has been touched.

Sponsored by Trinity Baptist Women’s Benevolent Circle, Rev. Dr. Glenmore Bembry, Jr., Pastor, the concert was the fastest – and most joyous – 2+ hours followed by the heartiest refreshments.  But it should be of no surprise that the concert would be so magnificent… considering their most important backer.

 

 

New Improv Group gives you a HINT

Go Where Laughing Don’t Cost A Thing!
The Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble joins the scene.

HINT! An Improvised Murder Mystery

Monday, March 19 & Monday, March 26 – 8:30 p.m. – Luca Lounge, 222 Avenue B, NYC
and Monday, April 2 – 7:00 p.m. – Parkside Lounge, 317 E. Houston St., NYC

Watch their sneak preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2F7WbtzhkY

New York – The latest is made up of the greatest as seasoned professional actors, writers, and improvisers have banded together to create IRTE, The Improvisational Repertory Theatre Ensemble, an ensemble of theatrical actors and writers who will develop, produce, and perform a season of original themed improvisational shows and video sketches following the basic model of traditional repertory theatre. Their first season opener is HINT! A long-form performance in the style of the grand old murder mysteries. As further incentive to the audiences to join the fun, all IRTE performances of “HINT” are FREE! Long form improv is longer, story-based improvisation focused on developing character and plot so that an audience becomes invested in the work being done on stage.

IRTE’s roster of merrymakers – led by artistic director Nannette Deasy – include Robert Baumgardner, Alex Decaneas, Curt Dixon, Adam Leong, Donna Lobello, Jamie Maloney, Danielle Montezinos, and Johnny Zito. What makes this group unique is their back-story: this is a group of professionals with celebrated careers on stage and film coming together to create on-the-spot humor. This group’s credits reads like a who’s who of the American theater including off-Broadway theater and feature film, with performances at The Public Theater, The Kennedy Center, Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, and the Groundlings; and stand-out showings at Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding and Paul Sills’ Wisconsin Theater Game Center.

“I couldn’t be happier,” says Ms. Deasy, “I have the brightest, funniest, and quickest on my team” she exclaimed. “Here’s to a great season!”

IRTE’s 2012 season continues with

vIRTEgo (April 16 & 23, 8:30pm @ Luca Lounge, April 30 @ TBA) a whirl-wind audience participation event.

Mrs. Carrol’s 3rd Grade Houghton Mifflin Spelling Class (May 14 &21, 8:30pm @ Luca Lounge, June 4 @ TBA) imagine the words this group can come up with … and then using them in a sentence!!??

vIRTEgo returns to the Luca Lounge on June 18 & 25 at 8:30 p.m. and July 9 @ Location TBA.

That Kick-Ass Time-Jump Show – please don’t sue us, Scott Bakula (July 23 & 30, 8:30pm @ Luca Lounge and August 6 @ TBA) IRTE takes you on a spontaneous sci-fi thrill ride filled with references ranging from Quantum Leap and Star Trek to Doctor Who!

Contact Jay Michaels at WrightGroupNY Communications
(646) 338-5472 or WrightGroupNY@gmail.com

 

 

Meredith Rings with Emotion & Memory

Meredith’s Ring
Reviewer: Kristin O’Blessin

Author and actor, Andrew Rothkin takes us on a trip down memory lane that is simultaneously funny and heartbreaking as he transforms, before our eyes, from a bitter middle-aged divorcee into a geeky teen falling in love for the first time in Meredith’s Ring. The object of his affection is the bristly Meredith (played well by Amanda Szymczak). She is a tough foul-mouthed girl made that way by a home life fraught with secrets. The lonely A.J. (Rothkin’s character) finds her irresistible.

It was delightful watching these two performers bring all the extreme emotions of teenage love to life. Having suffered through high school during the play’s flashback time period (the mid 1980s), the music and pop culture references woven into the dialogue vividly brought back all the uncomfortable feelings most of us try so hard to forget. The rich dialogue allows Meredith never to be a one-note character; within minutes of her arrival, hints of the vulnerable girl who wants to be loved slip through the almost-invisible-but-definitely-there cracks in her armor, and later, as Meredith sings to A.J., we see the happy little girl who grew into the young woman who fears she can’t escape destiny. An undercurrent of melancholy shades the play as A.J. is forced to come to terms with his feelings for Meredith against the harsh reality they must face. Mr. Rothkin walked an excellent line by showing us how bitterness is created when you mix sadness of reality and hope of something better. The flashback motif serves as an engrossing psychological study of how we are shaped by our surroundings and unforeseen – as well as unknown – elements.

The play is short – 45 minutes. The run is too short – it ends with a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m.