Photo from Stew’s Facebook announcement of the upcoming gig at Barbès.
There was a moment or two of confusion Thursday morning when Stew,the singer-songwriter and Tony winner for the book of Passing Strange posted on Facebook that he and his band, The Negro Problem, would be appearing two weeks from now at “our beloved Barbès” and included the date of Oct. 25.
If the predicted nightmare blizzard doesn’t bring New York City to a screeching halt on Friday, you should be at Barbès in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood to catch a surprisingly un-publicized gig by Stew & The Negro Problem.
Ivanov (Rob Campbell) dances on the water of Lake Lucille in the magical conclusion to Chekhov's Ivanov. (Photos copyright 2010, Steven P. Marsh)
Lake Lucille echoed with the sounds of stagecraft for five days last week as a company of 60 actors, musicians and various other theater professionals put together a free, outdoor production of Ivanov, by Anton Chekhov, performed from a new translation by Curt Columbus.
This production of Chekhov on Lake Lucille was particularly welcomed because it marked the return of a neighborhood tradition. The annual run was broken last summer when host-producers Melissa Kievman and Brian Mertes moved to the West Coast for personal and professional reasons. But they kept their wonderful brownstone house — which is the centerpiece of the set for each Chekhov production — and managed to return this summer with a bigger-than-ever performance and neighborhood cookout and potluck supper at intermission.
Melissa Kievman, Brian Mertes and the band.
You could call it summer camp for theater professionals. Most of the volunteer staff spent the week living in tents, eating meals alfresco in the neighborhood and working to create a context for Chekhov’s drama in the suburban landscape of the Lake Lucille neighborhood.
It drew hundreds of guests to enjoy the creative staging under clear skies with moderate summer temperatures.
Dozens of neighbors and local businesses provided support for an undertaking that costs thousands of dollars. This year, the West Branch Conservation Association, Rockland’s Land Trust, helped produce the play with a grant obtained by the office of Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski and the late state Sen. Thomas P. Morahan. The Tisch East Alumni Council help with a microgrant for costuming.
The production uses the natural features. Here Ivanov makes an entrance from the lake itself.
Ivanov emerges, dripping wet.
Ivanov walks through the audience toward the stage.
As is often the case in Chekhov, the characters complain of boredom.
But Jesse J. Perez, who played Kosikh, choreographed some great routines to keep things interesting: