70 THE QUEENS COURIER • BUZZ • OCTOBER 11, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
‘Leaving Brooklyn’ at Queens Theatre
Miracles. Miracles. Miracles. What
makes a miracle? Is it the 1955 Brooklyn
Dodgers’ fi rst World Series win against
their nemesis, the New York Yankees?
Or should it be the triumph of a family’s
love and loyalty over greed and self-interest?
Playwright Jeff Mandels confronts
these issues in the New York premiere of
“Leaving Brooklyn” at Queens Th eatre.
It is opening night. Th e packed house
is just feet from the action. Th e set is
amazingly realistic with furniture, magazines
and even laundry detergent from
the 1950s. Director Bill Russell off ers
four actors with various degrees of TV,
Broadway and regional experience. Th e
fi ft h performer, John Garvey, delivers a
wrenching, honest performance as the
disabled younger brother, wishing desperately
to please his family and achieve
some level of “normal.”
A very, very funny interaction between
doting, eccentric Aunt Pearl (Lanie Zera)
and her painfully practical niece Dot
(Barbra Wengerd) lays the groundwork
for the entire family’s genuine aff ection. It
will soon be challenged by the cruel, harsh
realities of life.
Older brother Paul (Eric Phelps) displays
paradoxical rage against his seriously
disabled brother Danny (Garvey)
and equally fi erce, protective aff ection.
Well done! Th e boys’ blue-collar father
Lee (Jonathan Gregg) has sacrifi ced his
own dreams as a big league ballplayer to
care for his wife and sons. Is he heroic or
merely a bitter failure?
Kudos to the entire production and
design teams for creating a down-toearth
presentation that is heavenly in
its intense impact. For information on
this and future productions, call 718-760-
0064 or surf to www.queenstheatre.org.
As always, save me a seat on the aisle.
UnFringed Festival winners return to Secret Theatre
Th is past summer’s competition at
Secret Th eatre has delivered a new winner.
Th e 2018 victors at the “Unfringed”
Festival off er “Eight Tales of Pedro.” Th ey
have returned to the mainstage by popular
demand for several encore performances.
On opening night, the six actors and
one guitarist (Luis D’Elias) split the action
between the 17th century and current
times. We witness several reenactments
of popular folktales from Mexico, Puerto
Rico and many points south. In the same
play, we are also whisked forward to the
21st century as a van approaches the
Mexico/California border. Yes, there are
some political overtones but the essence
of “Eight Tales…” goes far beyond today’s
With minimal costumes, sets, sounds
and lighting, the story emphasizes the
unmistakable aff ection between the six
characters. Th ey use exaggerated mannerisms,
vocalizations and physicality to portray
folk legends Pedro Urdamales and
Juan Bobo. Yes, there is a strong Latin-
American fl avor but the ultimate message
of undying hope for one and all is truly
Director Rodrigo Ernesto Bolanos and
playwright Mark-Eugene Garcia encourage
the mischievous behavior of the characters.
At the same time, they are very serious
in the importance of pride, honor and
family. Kudos to the entire cast including
Germainne Lebron, Kat Pena, Richard
E. Calvache, Laura Aguinaga, Stephen
Santana and Federico Mallet.
For information on this and future productions,
or www.secrettheatre.com. Call them at
718-392-0722, “like” them on Facebook or
check Twitter and Instagram. As always,
save me a seat on the aisle.
A VIEW FROM
BY CLIFF KASDEN