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Warm up with theater for Valentine's Day

Love's Labors Lost at The New School for Drama Feb 20-22
Love's Labors Lost at The New School for Drama Feb 20-22
New School for Drama

In the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman's tragic and untimely death , I've been feeling very stumped, like a hole is in my heart where theater is concerned. For those of us who lived in the West Village, PSH was our neighbor. I used to see him and chat with him (and his family) at my local coffee house and I was always pinching myself because he was also my very favorite theater actor. Read more about my Village memories of Philip Seymour Hoffman here.

In memory of the amazingly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest actors of his generation or any generation (some say -- uh, I say!) here's some theater to check out for V-Day and during the month of February.

Not everyone knows this, but they should: seeing live theater is good for your soul. It's inspiring, thought provoking and alive. It's happening right in front of you, bubbling and spilling over with truth. As Philip Seymour Hoffman once said, "I'll never give up doing live theater."

Something else inspiring is happening this month: The Sochi Olympics in Russia. Not many people know this about me, but though I'm not of Russian decent, I'm very Russian. I'm married to a Russian from a very intellectual family. His grandfather was Zinovy Paperny, the official state dramaturg to Chekhov. Yes, this is true. I had some of his work translated to write a paper in graduate school about "The Seagull." I speak mostly in Russian to my mother in law when she stays with us from November through January. I was even the star of a Russian mini-series that aired all over the Russian Republic on TV in 2006 and lived in Moscow for two weeks by myself. My children speak Russian, I hire only Russian-speaking sitters. I do Russian play dates, I investigate Russian pre-schools and watch proudly as my daughter responds in Russian -- and whoa, I understand everything. The fact that I know a lot about Russians and their culture is a bizarre bonus to my life in New York, one that I never expected, and it is not always easy, but I've happily embraced the challenge.

So now that Sochi is getting you acquainted with Russian culture, you might want to check out "The Lower Depths" by Maxim Gorky, a famous Russian playwright. The play opens this Wednesday, February 12th and runs through February 23rd. It's playing at the Producers Club on 44th and 9th in NYC. Tickets are $18,

The producer, a friend of mine, is offering my readers a special offer on Valentine's Day, Feb 14th. Use the code LOVE when purchasing your tickets online or in person at the door and you can take a friend for free.

I love this offer almost as much as I love Russia.

Next up is a play in the same area, but it's in a bar.

Ego Actus presents a site-specific, Equity Showcase Code, workshop production of
"Bitten,"a new play by Penny Jackson, directed by Joan Kane

This show sounds like a good way to get in from the cold.

The show takes pace on the 2nd floor of Quinn's Bar and Grill, 353 W44th St in New York City in 2014.
The show opens February 6th and plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm.
All tickets are $10 cash at the door.
For reservations or press inquiries please call (646) 246-4131.

As a snowstorm is forming, Brian tries to convince his Irish grandmother Stella to just visit a nice retirement home. Will he be able to get her out of her favorite neighborhood bar before the blizzard hits? "Bitten" is about living and ending life on your own terms, no matter what.

"Bitten" features
Lucy McMichael*
Logan McCoy
Nick Palladino and
J. Dolan Byrnes

with music performed by Teddy Lytle
choreography by Shannon Stowe
sound design by Ian Wehrle

Next up, we move back downtown to the East Village.

"Oscar Tango-Bravo" is playing at the Frigid Festival at 94 St. Mark's Place. My friend and fellow playwright, Ed Malin continues his long tradition of writing and producing deliciously bizarre comedies with his latest work. The description says it's about a conspiracy theory surrounding a Cuban sandwich crisis, set in the land of comics. Sounds pretty fun to me.

The producers have agreed to give Examiner readers a 2 for 1 ticket offer any show of your choice. Just mention the deal at the box office and perhaps bring a copy of this article in as proof.

A new play by Ed Malin
Directed by Bricken Sparacino
Starring Kerry Fitzgibbons, Roi King, Tiffany May McRae, James Rieser, Glenn B.Stoops*
*appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association
Stage Manager Galore: Lauren Arneson

Five performances
Wed 2/19 @ 8:40 p.m. , Sun 2/23 @ 5:15 p.m.,
Thu 2/27 @ 7:05 p.m, Sat 3/1@ 12:30 p.m.
Sat 3/8 @ 3:40 p.m.

Finally, I wanted to let tell you about some FREE THEATER performances. From Feb 20-22, The New School for Drama, at 151 Bank Street presents "Love's Labour's Lost" by Shakespeare. What's not to love about free Shakespeare?

Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday matinee at 3:00 p.m.

The dance of life and dance of love collide in one of Shakespeare's wittiest and most profound comedies. This production is set in the passionate and sensual world of the tango, where desire and destiny lock in a timeless embrace. The King and his friends take an oath of celibacy in order to devote themselves entirely to scholarship, but the arrival of visiting foreign beauties challenges their commitment.

Set Design Caleb Levengood

Costume Design Allison Crutchfield

Lighting Design Adam Frank

Sound Design Janie Bullard

Properties Joshua Yocom

Production Stage Manager Kevin Clutz*

Assistant Stage Manager Alyssa Carlucci

The New School for Drama Theater

151 Bank Street, 3rd Floor New York City

Free general admission.

Seating is limited; reservations are recommended.

To make reservations, call

Ticket Central at 212.279.4200 or

visit www.ticketcentral.com