Through the pandemic shutdown, theaters reopening, and many performances currently being canceled to ensure safety, NYC companies continue to present online shows. Among the range of digital events over the holidays are free offerings of a proto-feminist Victorian comedy and a listening party for the concept album of a brand-new musical adaptation of a post-modern novel.
Before returning to live in-person performances in February 2022, The Mint Theater Company continues its series of virtual offerings with Hindle Wakes, available through Sunday, December 26. Running one hour and 50 minutes, the video is an archival recording of its 2017-18 Off-Broadway stage production – the first US revival of the controversial work in nearly a century.
Written by English playwright Stanley Houghton (1881-1913), the hit comedy, which premiered in London in 1912, sparked both critical acclaim and moral outrage with its bitingly candid look at two young people in the Victorian era in search of pleasure without commitment. Set in the provincial town of Hindle in Greater Manchester, the mill is closed for the old Wakes Week holiday and the workers have time off. Fanny Hawthorn and a girlfriend take a trip to the seashore, where she runs into the mill owner’s son Alan Jeffcote. He takes her to a hotel in Wales for a few days of fun, until their parents find out and the fun stops. Is she a gold-digger, will the families pressure them into marriage, or was she just having a good time for the weekend? Houghton, a prominent member of the Manchester School of dramatists, wrote more than a dozen plays, many of which, like this one, called for women’s sexual and economic freedom.
The newly launched production company The Bad Kids – designed to create a community-based platform that funds, develops, and promotes new and original theatrical works – will introduce itself to audiences with a year-end listening party of a concept album for the new musical How to Repair a Mechanical Heart on December 30.
Based on the 2012 novel by J.C. Lillis, the original adaptation, conceived and directed by Marc Erdahi, with a book and lyrics by Jay Falzone, music by Trent Jeffords, and musical direction is by Julianne B. Merrill, puts a modern queer twist on a romantic comedy about first love, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself, when Brandon and Abel, two very different guys, meet in an online fanfiction group devoted to their favorite sci-fi TV show Castaway Planet, and then maybe fall in love at the fan-con.
The special event, hosted by Tik Tok star JJ Niemann (Book of Mormon Ratatouille; The Tik Tok Musical), will include cast and creative team members, special guests, giveaways, and new music. The concept album features Broadway’s Troy Iwata (Be More Chill), Chris Medlin (Diana; Mean Girls), Ben Roseberry (The Lion King), and Ben Bogen (Frozen), along with Off-Broadway and regional artists Trey Harrington, Maria Habeeb, Lily Talevski, Stephen Smith, Mara Jill Herman, John Jeffords, Katelyn Lauria, Pilar Martinez, and John Rodney Turner.