Features

Oscars

91st Annual Oscars Telecast Live on ABC Sunday; Barbra Streisand Will Be Among the Presenters/Hosts

By: Ellis Nassour

February 21, 2019: There’ll be no host with the mostest on Sunday’s live telecast of the 91st annual Oscars from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre – that is, unless rumors of Whoopi Goldberg being a surprise host are true. Variety has listed her as appearing, which means she must be recovered from a very serious bout of pneumonia. The plan in place is to have a totally disorganized extravaganza with literally a zillion presenters from the ranks of celebs and near celebs.

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Reviews

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark ****, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine ****

Jessica Frances Dukes, Jenni Barber, Heather Alicia Simms in “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark”

By: David Sheward

February 20, 2019: As L.P Hartley stated in his novel The Go-Between, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” In two current Off-Broadway productions, playwrights translate the unfamiliar people and events of previous decades employing modern sensibilities, creating a pair of fascinating portraits of America’s cultural, social and political history. From Signature Theatre Company, Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark—ironically a revival of the original Second Stage production from 2011—employs a mix of satire and sharp observation to comment on African-American women’s depiction in popular media and how it effects their self-image. Jack Cummings III’s adaptation of The Trial of the Catonsville Nine reimagines Daniel Berrigan’s 1971 work on the infamous civil disobedience action he and other eight others took against the Vietnam War. Both give us startling and fresh visions of where we’ve been as a country.

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Reviews

The Shadow Of A Gunman *****

Meg Hennessy, James Russell

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 15, 2019: The Sean O’Casey Season is off and running at the Irish Repertory Theatre, giving Irish and all other eyes every reason to smile (and weep). The “Dublin Trilogy” series, which begins with an exemplary production of O’Casey’s first produced play, The Shadow of a Gunman (1923), will continue in chronological order with the playwright’s two other Dublin-based classics, Juno and the Paycock (1924)and The Plough and the Stars (1926). 

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Reviews

The Dance of Death ***1/2, Mies Julie ****

Cassie Beck, Richard Topol “The Dance Of Death”

By: Isa Goldberg

February 14, 2019: Off Broadway, CSC (Classic Stage Company) is performing 2 Strindberg plays in repertoire. In Dance of Death, an ageing couple, in a hateful marriage, are pitted against one another in a life and death struggle. Last seen on Broadway in 2001, with Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen, this new translation by Conor McPherson mines the contemporary spirit of Strindberg’s marriage play, its bleak pessimism, and absurdity. Written at the turn of the 20th century, Strindberg’s black comedy was well ahead of its time. 

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Reviews

True West ****

Paul Dano, Ethan Hawke

By: Isa Goldberg

February 14, 2019: Riding into the sunset, that’s the way all true cowboy movies end, isn’t it?  At least, Sam Shepard seems to have thought so. His popularly revived, True West, currently at the Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre drives a classic Hollywood chase scene, to a heightened level of dark comedy. 

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Around The Town

Westminster Dog Show

Winner Best in Show Wire Haired Fox Terrier “King”

Wire Hair Fox Terrier, King, takes Best in Show

February 12, 2019: King, a Wire Hair Fox Terrier, triumphed over last year’s Best in Show winner and crowd favorite Bean, a Sussex Spaniel, who earlier in the evening was named the winner of the Sporting Group for a second year in a row.

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Reviews

My Very Own British Invasion ***

Paper Mill Playhouse Presents World Premiere of Rick Elice’s My Very Own British Invasion, Based on the Life of Herman Hermit’s Peter Noone

By Ellis Nassour

February 11, 2019: Paper Mill Playhouse(Milburn, NJ) is presenting the world premiere of My Very Own British Invasion, through March 3. Billed as “a musical fable of rock n’ love,” the book is by two-time Tony nominee Rick Elice(Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher), currently represented on Broadway with The Cher Show,  loosely based on the life of Herman Hermits’ vocalist/guitarist Peter Noone. Direction and choreography are by two-time Tony winner (choreography) Jerry Mitchell(Kinky Boots, 2005 La Cage aux Folles), recipient of eight nominations (including one for Hairspray).

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Reviews

To Kill a Mockingbird **1/2

Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

By: Paulanne Simmons

February 11, 2019: Even before its official opening on Dec. 13, To Kill a Mockingbird may have been the most talked about show on Broadway. Not only is the play based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that was the inspiration for the 1962 film starring Gregory Peck; the production was almost derailed by what The New York Times called “a blistering pair of federal lawsuits.” Harper Lee’s estate was concerned over changes playwright Aaron Sorkin made to several of the characters: Atticus Finch; his children Scout and Jem; and the family housekeeper, Calpurnia.

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Around The Town

Westminster Dog Show

The dogs take over Madison Square Garden for two nights.

February 11, 2019: On Monday evening competition at the143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show moved from Pier 92 & Pier 94, where the preliminary breed competition is held, to Madison Square Garden, where the group competition began at 7pm. In total 2800 dogs compete in seven groups. Monday evening was the Hounds, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding groups, which will be followed on Tuesday by Sporting, Working and Terrier groups. On Tuesday the seven group winners will compete for the coveted title of Best in Show at Westminster.

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Reviews

The Light **1/2

Mandi Madsen, McKinley Belcher III

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 10, 2019: The grand opening of the MCC’s beautiful new, state-of-the art, two-theatre complex—the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space—gives what was once a quiet stretch of Hell’s Kitchen real estate yet another reason to celebrate as a growing theatrical/cultural center. Bunched together on W. 52nd and W. 53rd Streets near Tenth Avenue we now have the MCC, A.R.T./New York Theaters, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, INTAR, and Ars Nova. And just a short distance away, on W. 51st Street, there’s the Irish Arts Center, which sometimes stages plays, and is running a capital campaign for a new building on Eleventh Avenue. 

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Around The Town

Westminster Agility 2019

Border Collie, Verb, takes top prize at Agility Championship.

February 10, 2019: Border Collies dominated on Saturday at the 6th Annual Westminster Agility Championships presented by Purina Pro Plan.  Not only did Verb, a Border Collie, take the top prize, along with winning the 20” category, Pink, another Border Collie, won the 16” category with a narrow victory over Boss. 

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Features

Bye Bye Birdie

on BroadwayHD

February 7, 2019– It’s time to put on a happy face because BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for live theater, is bringing the 1995 Star-Studded TV adaptation of the delightful Broadway musical Bye Bye Birdie to its platform on February 7.  This Emmy Award nominated musical comedy directed by Tony Award-winner Gene Saks (The Odd Couple) is supported by an all-star cast featuring Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty), and Chynna Phillips (Bridesmaids).  

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Reviews

Maestro **1/2

John Noble

By: David Sheward

February 7, 2019: The life of Arturo Toscanini, perhaps the greatest conductor of the 20th century, would make a fascinating drama. In addition to collaborating with all the top names of the music world in his decades-long career, he bravely took a stance against fascism in his native Italy and in Nazi Germany, leaving Europe in the late 1930s to lead the NBC Orchestra and bring the classics into millions of American homes over the radiowaves. Plus a recent discovery of a cache of letters offers a glimpse into his intimate life, particularly a long-term affair with the pianist Ada Colleone Mainardi. Unfortunately, Maestro, a strange combination of solo show and concert presented by Ensemble for the Romantic Century, is not that work. 

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