Artists On Art Series
Review by Robert Urban
"ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World (Vol. 1)"
Opening Night - November 10, 2002 - The Producer's Club, NYC
Review by Robert Urban
About the reviewer-Robert Urban
When's the last time you heard a
street-wise Latino drag/hustler name-drop British philosopher Alfred North
Whitehead? Or learn the mythic secrets of ancient Japanese Samurai from a source
more "Gilda Radner" than "Joseph Campbell" in spirit? Or
witness archaic SAPPHO stride across a stage poetizing... with just a touch of
Joey Heatherton in her gait?
The answer, my friends, is JADE ESTEBAN ESTRADA's charming, ambitious and... yes! - scholarly one-man show "ICONS (Vol. 1)", currently touring the U.S.
Though I had only heard of him as a musical performer, JADE appears perfectly at home on the theatrical,
(and especially the comedic), stage. With a keen, coy and sometimes wicked wit, he skillfully blends gay silliness
with academic erudition in a way that both entertains and educates.
Through original songs, dance, costumes and monologues, Jade gleefully channels such famous characters as
Sappho, Michaelangelo, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Silvia Rivera (of Stonewall Rebellion fame) and even Ellen DeGeneres. He lovingly takes on the roles of these historic "icons"; and relishes speaking their great thoughts aloud.
Onstage, Jade carries himself through his characters with a self-assured, flowing body language. Amusingly, he has the ability to come off as both innocent and naughty at the same time - with a kind of Barbara Eden-as-Jeanie
demeanor. He delivers his icons' thoughts via beautiful smiles and loving eyes... (so much so that when, late in the show, he arrives at the ultra-deadpan persona of Gertrude Stein - the change comes as a shock).
Here and there, to punctuate a poignant idea or to just make us laugh - He purposely steps out of character to briefly deliver a side-comment or wise-crack using his own sweet personality - with great effect. As some of his icon's lived hundreds, even thousands of years ago -Jade is thus time-traveling at high-speed all over the stage.
ICONS emphasizes the UNIVERSALITY of each gay/lesbian icon's contribution to the world; in that each icon's life & thoughts are of great value not not just to GLBT people, but to ALL people. Indeed, the message of Jade's play may well be - ALL our lives and thoughts are of importance to ALL people. I particularly enjoyed the choice of quotes in ICONS. It managed to create more than a few "I never knew that about him/her" murmurs among the packed opening-night house during the evening.
In this day and age, it's heartening to see a young person so "into" the teaching, awareness and appreciation of the humanities and world history. While ICONS will surely succeed in its current tour of theatrical entertainment venues across the U.S., I hope Jade also gives a thought to it's potential in colleges and schools as a valuable tool for educating students in both GLBT history AND the humanities.
It is a show worthy of a grant.
ICONS runs thru Nov 10-28th at The Grand Theater at the Producer's Club (west 44th Street btw 8th & 9th Aves)
Book, music and choreography by J.E. Estrada Directed by Aliza, Costumes by Aliza, Additional musical arrangements by Tracey Stark
Jade Esteban Estrada Website Jade Esteban Estrada Wing on StoneWall Society
Review by Robert Urban URBAN PRODUCTIONS, NYC www.roberturban.com
About the Reviewer - Robert
Robert Urban Wing at StoneWall Society
|This award winning musician, instrumentalist, vocalist has three original CD releases to his credit with a fourth due in 2002. Robert is also owner/operator of his own Manhattan-based Urban Productions Recording Studio. Urban has assisted and supported the GLBT music community through producing and hosting "Urban Productions BOLDLY Presents" an all GLBT multi-artist live-in-concert series, "Open Wide" open mic series, and as accompanist, session musician, producer/arranger/sound engineer and private music teacher for a variety of GLBT artists. An uncompromising and distinctly unique queer rock-artist, Robert performs both solo and with his band. He has provided musical scores for numerous professional music, dance, theater & film productions, and is a 2002 Independent Music Award (IMA) finalist. Also a 2002 recipient of the StoneWall Society Pride In The Arts Awards. Robert now lends his literary talents as reviewer to further support and promote GLBT music and artists through the StoneWall Society Artists on Art program. Learn more about this exciting, talented, and community giving artist at his website: www.roberturban.com|
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