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Shakespeare and Elizabeth I: The Reality Show

Theater for the New City Nov. 29 to Dec. 15

By: TFNC - 11/14/2013

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"Shakespeare and Elizabeth I: The Reality Show," written and composed by Phoebe Legere, will be presented by Theater for the New City November 29 to December 15. Phoebe Legere as Elizabeth I, David Zen Mansley as Shakespeare.  Photo by Jonathan Slaff.
"Shakespeare and Elizabeth I: The Reality Show," written and composed by Phoebe Legere, will be presented by Theater for the New City November 29 to December 15. Phoebe Legere as Elizabeth I, David Zen Mansley as Shakespeare. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Theater for the New City presents Phoebe Legere's "Shakespeare and Elizabeth I:  The Reality Show," a very funny musical about love, war, espionage and creative genius.  Performances are November 29 to December 15, Thursdays through Saturday at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 3:00 PM.

The play, directed by Zen Mansley, portrays the courtiers, scientists, artists, intellectuals, poets and ladies of Elizabeth's Court.  The play is a sex romp in the great Mae West tradition.  Elizabeth is in control all the way and her wannabe lovers are all fools or knaves. Phoebe is both funny and shapely as Elizabeth, switching from RP British pronunciation to Loisaida Yiddish in a nano second, showing off her hourglass chassis in costumes on loan from the Cloisters Medieval Collection.  The Bard, played by Mansley, is portrayed as a nebbishy front man for plays that were written by Elizabeth and her circle.

The book, music and lyrics, including 13 songs, are all written by Legere, who has composed for and conducted the NY Philharmonic Film Orchestra and been a featured soloist at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall and around the world. She was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her work with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony.  Legere and horn player Rhys Tivey will perform on period instruments: Virginals, Lute and Sackbutt (an ancestor of the modern trombone).

The play flashes through English history of the period and all the greats figures of the time have their turns.  Phoebe plays Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and Anne Boleyn.  Zen Mansley plays Shakespeare, King Philip of Spain/Richard III, Dr. John Dee and Henry VIII.  Rhys Tivey plays Elizabeth's favorite, Robert Dudley.  Haley Sullivan plays Bloody Mary Tudor and the Duke of Norfolk.  Michael Laporta plays Lady Lettuce Knollys. William Niederkorn plays Lord Cecil.  Period dances are by Catherine Turocy (of NY Baroque Dance Company).  Costume Design is by Jennifer Anderson.  Fencing is choreographed by William Giraldo

Phoebe Legere (book, music, lyrics) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, painter, filmmaker and bard.  A Vassar grad, she was signed to Epic/Sony Records as a teenager and is well known in the pop world for the movie "Mondo New York," for the hit record "Marilyn," for touring with David Bowie and for her roles in the "Toxic Avenger" movies.  Zen Mansley (director) is known for his character voice work cartoon series including "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "Speed Racer: The Next Generation." His Shakespearean roles include Macbeth (on both coasts), Richard III, and Claudius (the King) in "Hamlet." He is an accomplished puppet maker, scenic designer and resident artist of TNC

For more information, visit www.jsnyc.com/season/phoebe.htm. Photos are available for download on the Jonathan Slaff & Associates website, http://www.jsnyc.com.

Theater for the New City is located at 155 First Ave., at E. 10th Street.  We hope you will join the courtiers, scientists, artists, intellectuals, poets and ladies of Elizabeth's Court for this evening of dancing, singing, Shakespearean acting, love-making, gender disruption, gorgeous melodies and hilarious Legere humor.

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