Axis Company will present the first Off-Broadway revival of Benjamin A. Baker's 1848 melodrama A Glance at New York since the end of the Civil War. The original production of this short play which follows the exploits of Mose The Fireman became a huge cult hit and spawned many imitation "Mosaic" plays, as they became known.
The Axis production, beginning performances May 29th, is adapted and directed by Randy Sharp using music and mixed-media.
A Glance at New York is set during a particularly dangerous and raw period in New York City history. It is an unmitigated conglomeration of vulgarity and illiteracy following a burly firefighter named Big Mose. Known as the toughest man in the nation's toughest city, Mose spends much of his time beating whomever is in his path before rushing off to rescue a screaming innocent from a burning tenement.
Benjamin A. Baker was a volunteer fireman with Old Engine Co. #15 who worked as a prompter at Mitchell's Olympic Theater (on Broadway between Howard & Grand Street -- where A Glance at New York was originally staged). He based A Glance at New York on a real-life fireman, Moses Humphrey, an Irish printer employed by The New York Sun and a volunteer fireman. After the overwhelming success of A Glance at New York, Baker again used Mose as the central character in New York as It Is (1848), and the interest in that form of play was capitalized immediately by other writers and actors.
The cast for A Glance at New York features Wren Arthur, Brian Barnhart, David Crabb, Joe Fuer, Laurie Kilmartin, Sue Ann Molinell, Edgar Oliver, Margo Passalaqua, Jim Sterling, and Christopher Swift. The production features lighting by David Zeffren, sound by Steve Fontaine, music by Randy Sharp & Steve Fontaine and set & costumes by Kate Aronsson.