Jun 25

They say that it isn’t over till the fat lady sings well…there was no fat lady but there was some beautiful singing! The festival closed on Saturday evening and it was easily our most successful, most all around talented, and most attended festival ever! Thank you for all of those who made this possible! A special thanks to Ms. Shanna Brown who is going far far far away now but we will forever love her! For those who were unable to make it…here are the results:

Best Overall Production: My Past Girlfriends
Audience Favorite: It All Leads to the Lemon Scene
Best Actor: Sam Daly
Best Actress: Sheila Russell
Best Director: Karen Raphaeli
Best Supporting Actor: George Abud
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Renee Russell

Congratulations to all of our participants, casts, and crews it was surely a good time! Let’s keep in touch!


Jun 21

It was a fun filled, talent infused, and entertaining night of theatre that we would like to thank you for being invloved. The voting was just a few percentage points away and this is our closest festival final yet…which means Saturday night is going to be crazy. Please come out and vote for your favorite so we can choose the most deserving show! Anyway, with out further ado congratulations go out to the following finalists in the 2012 New York Avant Garde Arts Festival:

In Performance Order:

Odette

Shooting Abe

My Past Girlfriends

It All Leads to the Lemon Scene

Special congrats go out to all those involved in Jump for Aid and The Tasting…you both were great and we had so much fun working with you! We will see you all on Saturday @ 7pm for what is sure to be a phenomenal night of theatre! Remember the closing ceremony is immediately following and remember that the dress code for the night is formal attire….let’s get dressed up and take some photos to remember this great time that we have all had!


Jun 19

It was a hard faught battle but after the night was over…we have a winner of our Wild Card Round…congratulations go out to Pamela Winfrey and the Cast/Crew of It All Leads to the Lemon Scene. They will join and already talented line up in our 2nd Annual Avant Garde Arts Festival. the semi-finals looks like this (shows are in performance order):

Thursday @ 7pm:
Odette
Jump For Aid
Intermission
My Past Girlfriends

9pm
Shooting Abe
The Tasting
Intermission
It All Leads to the Lemon Scene

Who is going to move on to the Finals on Saturday @ 7pm? Is your favorite going to? The only way to help guarantee is how up and vote! Audience votes still count towards the final tallies! Tickets are available online! We hope to see you there!


Jun 17

Tonight we ended our first round of productions and boy was it good. We had packed houses throughout and the talent was through the roof. It was certainly a fun filled first week and we are quite excited about announcing the Semi-Finals/Wild Card now…for those that didn’t make it…we hope that you would consider coming out and viewing any of the future productions. It will be a great last week!

Wild Card Night, Tuesday @7pm (in order)
The Girlfriend Experience
Press
It All Leads to the Lemon Scene

Semi-Final 1: 7pm (in order)
Odette
Jump For Aid
My Past Girlfriends

Semi-Final 2 @ 9pm (order tbd)
Wild Card Winner
The Tasting
Shooting Abe

Congrrats to all of our winners! This is going to be a tough one…


Jun 16

It has been a crazy opening week at The New York Avant Garde Festial. We have seen several famous people and a lot o soon to be famous folks. Congratulations to all of those performers who have graced our stage in past few weeks. We have now completed the 1st Round of plays for Groups 1 and Groups 2. After tallying the critics votes and the audience votes, we are excitedo announce the two (2) shows that are guaranteed to move on to our Semi-finals on this Thursday evening….

Program 1 winner: My Past Girlfriends By: Michael Skidmore
Program 2 Winner: The Tasting By: Joe Krawczyk

Those other shows don’t lose faith….Wild Card Selections will be announced tomorrow evening along with the rest of the semi-finalists and time slots! Congratulations all!


Jun 14

There is an amazing interview courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter of a round table discussion involving some of thes most talented actors working in television today:

Bryan Cranston Breaking BadKelsey Grammer BossJon Hamm Mad MenPeter Krause Parenthood,Damian Lewis Homeland and Kiefer Sutherland Touch

Click here and enjoy:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/video/drama-actors-full-uncensored-interview-336389

-Kirk


Jun 7

Harvey

Harvey playing at Studio 54 (254 W. 54th St) through August 5th 2012

Many actors I know in the industry are very angry at how all of Broadway has turned into a project for celebrities who are on hiatus from their TV or movie gigs.  They come here to prove that they have the real acting chops to be on stage.  And unfortunately most of them do not.  But who would know because their shows sell out anyway.  Broadway used to be a place where an unknown could flex their acting muscles and propel their career to greater heights.  Now due to outrageous ticket prices it seems like the chances for an unknown to headline a Broadway comedy or drama are slim to none.  I bring this up because it’s a valid argument and one that I’m sure you’ll see me talk about from time to time here.  However, Harvey  is not one of those kind of productions.

Jim Parsons has shot to fame in a relatively quick period of time.  But theatre was his first true love.  He is currently 37 years old and had been fighting and struggling out here with the rest of us for quite some time.  I heard him say in an interview, I think it was on Conan, that Big Bang was his first audition in L.A. Now I’m sure he had big time representation by that point who were selling him, but the point is we can all look at Jim as a benchmark of success.  If you are talented and the right role comes along, the doors will open for you and the sky is the limit.  His performance as Sheldon is something to behold.  The eccentricities, ticks, the way he laughs, the specifics that make that character are Parsons creating a masterpiece of a performance.  Just the amount of specific scientific dialogue he has to learn every week for The Big Bang Theory is something to marvel at.

Jim Parsons in Harvey

Parsons stars as one of modern theatre’s most lovable characters, Elwood P. Dowd. Charming and kind, Elwood has only one character flaw:  an unwavering friendship with a six-foot-tall, invisible white rabbit named Harvey. In order to save the family’s social reputation, Elwood’s sister Veta (Jessica Hecht) takes Elwood to the local sanatarium. But when Dr. William Chumley (Charles Kimbrough) mistakenly commits the anxiety-ridden Veta, Elwood—and Harvey—slip out of the hospital unbothered, setting off a hilarious whirlwind of confusion and chaos as everyone in town tries to catch a man and his invisible rabbit.

Harvey is a wonderful production.  The acting is consistently great throughout the cast.  Parsons steals the show, as he should and you know he would.  Whoever thought to put him into this role is a genius because it fits him like a glove. It was also great to see Charles Kimbrough who I know from Murphy Brown and Carol Kane from Taxi. The set designs are beautiful and really made me feel like I was watching this play in the 40′s. The play really does successfully manage to pull you back into that time period.  It makes me think about what it was like to be a working actor back then. Before TV and film completely took over and everyone went to the theatre.  There are so many great plays from that time period I hope to see them done more often!

The one comment I have to say though is damn, people must’ve all been lushes back then!  There is so much discussion about going to different bars I thought I was watching the comedic version of The Iceman Cometh.

So is a play that won the Pulitzer in 1945 still relevant today? Absolutely!  The central message of the play still holds true today and Harvey is definitely something to see.

Thank you Jim Parsons for a really great night of theatre!  And anytime you can bring a fresh crowd to the theatre is a great thing! I saw a lot of younger faces at the show than I’m used to.  Something tells me the heavy set gentlemen I saw in shorts and a t shirt that read: ‘Bazinga!’ might be seeing his first show.  Hopefully you’ve opened a world to him he didn’t know existed.

For more about the production and tickets visit: Roundabout Theatre Online

-Kirk

Jim Parsons and Carol Kane in Harvey


Jun 5

In part of the celebration of  the 100th anniversary of Paramount Pictures, Paramount has released a new poster.  I have to say… very cool. Test your movie knowledge to figure out all the films shown here!

100 years of Paramount Pictures

-Kirk


Jun 4

John Carter

New on Blu Ray/ DVD/ and VOD June 5th

So right out of the gate I’m going to make the controversial recommendation of John Carter.
Outrageous, you say! Blasphemy, you say! You say, I read about how that is the biggest flop in movie history! The head of Disney stepped down because of it!  Every news station since the weekend it came out in theaters told me what a devastating wreck this movie is.  But the question is…. have you actually seen it?

Director Andrew Stanton’s career can’t be called anything less than phenomenal.  He is one of the founding members of Pixar.

His film work includes writing and directing Pixar’s A Bug’s Life (as co-director),Finding Nemo and WALL-E, and his first live-action film, John Carter. He also co-wrote every film of the Toy Story franchise,Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University.

Finding Nemo and WALL-E earned him two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature. He was also nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay for both and Toy Story, and for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Toy Story 3.

So apparently he just missed the boat on his first live action feature right? You can’t be perfect all the time right?
Well if you are Andrew Stanton you can.  John Carter’s epic nature and scope can only be compared to the original Star Wars trilogy in my humble opinion.  They were setting something special up here with this film, which was to be the first of a trilogy.
Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.
And if you look at that quick synopsis you’ll say, “I had no idea what the hell the movie was about based on the commercials.” And that right there is the real problem with John Carter. Marketing.
The story line is amazing, the special effects are dazzling, and over the course of the film you see Taylor Kitsch become a real deal movie star.  Disney put a lot of money into this movie for a reason and it pays off. I just wish more people had seen it. So my first recommendation to you on this blog is John Carter.  It’s stunning to me that this is based off of a novel that is a hundred years old. To have that kind of vision and insight and create something that can stand up that long is breathtaking. If you like Scifi its really pretty much guaranteed to become a favorite movie of yours.

There are group of people dedicating quite a bit of time to try and get Disney to make a sequel. Visit backtobarsoom.com and see the passion people have over this film.
Available to rent or buy June 5th.
Click here for Amazon
And when we live in a world where $282 million worldwide at the box office is considered a failure I just don’t know what to say…
-Kirk

Jun 4

Kirk Gostkowski here, Associate Artistic Director of VTG

So I’ve thought about doing this for quite a while but I guess the time has come to make a blog. And when deciding what to contribute here I can only think of talking about what I know and love best: entertainment

I’ve been a movie junky ever since I can remember. At 3 years old I learned how to use the VCR and haven’t looked back since. I even had my stint working at the local video store doing what I’ll do for you here, making recommendations.

So if you’re looking for movies, tv shows, theater, or even comic books I’ll try and send you in the right direction. (Yes, that’s right I actually read those books all your favorite movies are based off of.)

So to be clear I’d like you to think of these as recommendations, not reviews.  I’ve always avoided doing this in the past because I don’t want to be the guy who publicly goes around bashing other people’s work.  It’s not that I don’t have feelings and opinions on the matter but I’d rather just stay positive on the whole thing.  Actors can have their work changed by directors; directors can have their work changed by studios… this list continues.  The person you could be bashing may not have had anything to do with the decision you so vehemently hate.  And to be honest, I tend to focus on the positives when viewing something. Things may not always be perfect but they can be unique and special in their own way.

So let the games begin… If I feel like I should tell you about something I will shoot it out. If it’s something old or new and I feel like talking about it I’ll send it out.  And if I see any articles that are cool I’ll shoot them your way as well.

-To the beginning of a beautiful friendship-

Kirk