Tag Archives: Slow Dance In Midtown

‘SLOW DANCE IN MIDTOWN’ – A Fast Ticket to Unforgettable Theatre

Nick Stabile and Don Swayze star in the World Premiere Play "SLOW DANCE IN MIDTOWN," written and directed by Elizabeth Sarnoff and now playing at the Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks. PHOTO CREDIT: Ty Donaldson

The fully realized dive of a New York bar draws you in, even before the play begins. (“Nice set”, remarked a woman as she took her seat.)  And the actors keep you there for a riveting two hours of heightened reality.  Writer/director ELIZABETH SARNOFF brings the same genius to the stage that raised the bar for television (Lost, Deadwood, Alcatraz). Slow Dance in Midtown is a triumph and a vibrant rebuke to the tired cliché that the LA stage is glorified auditioning for film.

Sal (NICK STABILE) and Frank (DON SWAYZE) are family members stretched on the rack of opposing, equally compelling loyalties. Former best friends Maria (MEREDITH SCOTT LYNN) and Kate (TRICIA SMALL) confront a searing betrayal and volcanic feelings no longer dormant.  The masterful unfolding of the characters and their

Meredith Scott Lynn and Tricia Small star in the World Premiere Play "SLOW DANCE IN MIDTOWN" PHOTO CREDIT: Ty Donaldson

predicaments is a seductive slow dance of language, leading us around the stage floor to every corner of emotion.

Slow Dance in Midtown has a richness that repays a second visit. With artful recollections of past atrocities and sly allusions, Sarnoff draws the connection between the world’s unforgettable atrocities and how we face the enduring pain from those we love. In her Director’s Notes, Sarnoff wants to celebrate the miracle that “through all our hurt, our wounds our incredible, fragile and flawed humanity, we somehow find the strength to keep trying”.

Slow Dance in Midtown summons that miracle with inspired acting and language beautifully profane and brutally honest.

Tickets $20. Continues Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. thru May 12 at the Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd.  Call 818-990-2324 or visit slowdanceinmidtown.com.

Writer/Director Elizabeth Sarnoff Talks About ‘Slow Dance in Midtown’

Only a few writers are in the elite ranks of being their own top competition. ELIZABETH SARNOFF (Lost, Deadwood, Alcatraz) is one of them. In 2005, both Lost and Deadwood were nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series. (Lost won.) But perhaps being multitalented (writer, director, producer, actor and bass-playing musician) has something to do with it.

Just prior to being the writer/director for Slow Dance, Elizabeth had served as the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of the Fox television sensation, Alcatraz.  BNB’s Greg Simay caught up with her at the opening night party at La Loggia.

Elizabeth Sarnoff

Q: How did you handle being the writer and the director for Slow Dance In Midtown? Does the “writer” part of you quarrel with the “director” part?

ES: I think the two roles blend. And it’s wonderful to have a thought and not have it run the gauntlet of being re-interpreted by a dozen different people. It’s a liberation!

Q: During the play, I really enjoyed the eloquent-but-natural dialogue. It reminded me of [the critically-acclaimed HBO Western] Deadwood.

ES: Well, my Dad talked that way, so it seemed very natural to me. And working with a fantastic mentor and writer like David Milch really helped me tap into the all the wonderful ways with words I heard growing up.

Q: You certainly didn’t need a play to put yourself on the map.

ES: Slow Dance In Midtown was totally a labor of love. I wrote it (back in 2000) at a painful time of my life, and I was dealing with loss and betrayal like the characters in my play. And last November I had quit the show (Alcatraz) that I had created, and was looking for a new creative direction. And then came the opportunity to direct Slow Dance In Midtown.