Author’s Night 2018

East Hampton Library’s 14th Annual Authors Night

August 11, 2018:  The literary event of the Hamptons and one of our country’s leading annual literary celebrations began at 5 pm with the Authors Book Signing Reception under a tent in Amagansett, where  guests enjoyed scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and fine wine while mingling with the over 100 authors.  The evening provides an opportunity to have books personally inscribed by the authors when purchasing. Afterwards at 8 pm twenty-four private dinner parties  featuring one or more of the guest authors, followed the reception.
Photography: Barry Gordin

East Hampton Library’s 14th Annual Authors Night

August 11, 2018:  The literary event of the Hamptons and one of our country’s leading annual literary celebrations began at 5 pm with the Authors Book Signing Reception under a tent in Amagansett, where  guests enjoyed scrumptious hors d’oeuvres and fine wine while mingling with the over 100 authors.  The evening provides an opportunity to have books personally inscribed by the authors when purchasing. Afterwards at 8 pm twenty-four private dinner parties  featuring one or more of the guest authors, followed the reception.
Photography: Barry Gordin

Attending this year’s event were Honorary Founding Chair, Alec Baldwin, and Honorary Co-Chairs, Hilaria Baldwin, Robert A. Caro, Lee Child, A.J. Finn, A.M. Homes, and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Other authors confirmed to participate included: Amy Chozick, Tom Clavin, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Elliott Erwitt, Florence Fabricant, Jules Feiffer, Emily Jane Fox, Wendy Goodman, Michael Gross, Michael Isikoff, Steve Israel, David Itzkoff, Ndaba Mandela, Wednesday Martin, Malcolm Nance, Geraldo Rivera, Bob Roth, Gretchen Rubin, Jill Santopolo, Beck Dorey-Stein, Nathan Turner, Piper Weiss, and Chris Whipple.

Proceeds benefit the East Hampton Library, a private, not-for-profit organization providing outstanding library services to the community. Authors Night proceeds are used for essential programs and services at the Library throughout the next year.

Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin

Sponsors of the event are:  The Hilaria & Alec Baldwin Foundation • CIBC Private Wealth Management • Saunders Real Estate  • “Moms Don’t Have Time To Read Books,” The Podcast With Zibby Owens • Alice & Stanley Harris  • Jane Friedman  •  Swedish Culinary Summer • Domaine Franey Wines & Spirits • Starbucks • Montauk Brewing Co. • WPPB 88.3 FM •

Dr. Ruth Westheimer
Tovah Feldshuh
Lee Child, Durell Godfrey
Bridget LeRoy
Jane & Bart Shallot
Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Owain Hughes, Kimberly Goff
Tom Clavin
Leslie Cohen
Amy Zerner, JZ HOlden, Monte Farber
A.J. Finn
Chike Franki Edozien
Geraldo Rivera with his Family
Marcia Butler, Jamie Brenner,Judy Blundell
Elizabeth Flock, Lance Richardson
Madisyn Taylor
Nathan Turner
Glynnis Macnicol
Jeffrey Sussman
Diane Reverand, Gerald P. Curatola, D.D.S.
Peter Hellman
Stuart E. Eizenstat
Wendy Goodman
Joanna Coles
John Aldridge, Anthony Sosinski
Kathryn Sermak
Geraldo Rivera
Jake Rose

 

 

 

West Side Story **** The Cunning Little Vixen ****

By: David Sheward

August 12, 2018:  Casts and creative staff trained in opera don’t always gel with musical theatre material. The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, has sought to combine the two disciplines in its annual offerings since Broadway and opera director Francesca Zambella took over the reigns as artistic director. Under her leadership, of the four mainstage productions, at least one has been a popular musical. This summer, opera and theater blend almost seamlessly in Zambella’s staging of West Side Story, the landmark updating of Romeo and Juliet which electrified Broadway when it premiered in 1957. Street gangs replaced Shakespeare’s battling Italian noble houses. Jerome Robbins effectively integrated his explosive dance sequences and Arthur Laurents’ snappy book scenes. Leonard Bernstein’s innovative score balanced popular Latin American and jazz elements along with atonal and harmonious chords, expressing the clashing emotions of the characters. A young Stephen Sondheim’s intricate lyrics were sophisticated yet believable as uttered by unsophisticated youths. 

By: David Sheward

August 12, 2018:  Casts and creative staff trained in opera don’t always gel with musical theatre material. The Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY, has sought to combine the two disciplines in its annual offerings since Broadway and opera director Francesca Zambella took over the reigns as artistic director. Under her leadership, of the four mainstage productions, at least one has been a popular musical. This summer, opera and theater blend almost seamlessly in Zambella’s staging of West Side Story, the landmark updating of Romeo and Juliet which electrified Broadway when it premiered in 1957. Street gangs replaced Shakespeare’s battling Italian noble houses. Jerome Robbins effectively integrated his explosive dance sequences and Arthur Laurents’ snappy book scenes. Leonard Bernstein’s innovative score balanced popular Latin American and jazz elements along with atonal and harmonious chords, expressing the clashing emotions of the characters. A young Stephen Sondheim’s intricate lyrics were sophisticated yet believable as uttered by unsophisticated youths. 

Corey Bourbonniere as Bernardo, Joseph Leppek as Tony, Brian Vu as Riff and PJ Palmer as Action in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

Even though this is a traditional production retaining Robbins’ original dynamic choreography, faithfully and intensely recreated by Julio Monge, the material retains its relevancy. In Trump’s America, cultural and ethnic divisions are as strong as ever and the violence between the second-generation Italian- and Polish-American Jets and the Puerto Rican Sharks is all too familiar, though their neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side was razed to make way for Lincoln Center not long after filming was completed for the Oscar winning film version. Peter J. Davison’s flexible and realistic set could be any blighted urban landscape in the past 60 years and Jessica Jahn’s costumes have a hint of hip-hop.

Vanessa Becerra as Maria and Joseph Leppek as Tony in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

In addition to Zambella’s incisive and fluid staging and the incomparable musicianship of conductor David Charles Abeil and the Glimmerglass orchestra, this West Side Story succeeds because the majority of the cast are the right ages with most coming from the festival’s Young Artists Program. Many’s the West Side revival marred by casting obvious thirtysomethings as teenagers. Both Joseph Leppek as Tony and Vanessa Becerra as Maria, the doomed lead lovers from rival gangs, exhibit strong, expressive voices as well as dramatic chops. In their solos and duets, they are fully convincing as passionate youngsters falling into the first throes of romance. Amanda Castro sizzles and simmers as Anita, equally effective in the show-stopping “America” and in her mournful, angry number with Maria, “A Boy Like That.” Corey Bourbonniere and Andrew Vu exude energetic rage as the competing gang leaders Bernardo and Riff as do those playing the Jets and Sharks and their girls, creating individual characters rather than anonymous chorus figures. My only quibble is with the liming of the adults which tends to be over-the-top.

Joanna Latini as the Vixen and Michelle Arotsky as the Cricket in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen.”

Youthful exuberance also infuses E. Loren Meeker’s sleek and endearing production of Leos Janacek’s 1923 folk opera The Cunning Little Vixen. Like West Side, Vixen features numerous Young Artists as woodland creatures and village inhabitants enacting a tale of the endless cycle of life. Based on a series of Czech newspaper features and drawings, the story blends folk music and lush orchestrations in its depiction of the relationship between a kindly forester and a untamable female fox. Conductor Joseph Colaneri produces a symphonic, massive sound, evoking an entire woodland world full of life. The vixen represents wild, joyous nature. When the forester attempts to capture her as a pet, only tragedy can ensue. The simple travails of the animals in their search for love and shelter is echoed in the behavior of their human counterparts. A covetous badger resembles a grasping, selfish preacher. A marauding wolf is like a avaricious poacher. This duality is cleverly emphasized by Erik Teague’s imaginative costumes which have the animals dressed up like Victorian middle-class townsfolk.

The main thrust of the opera is the connection between the forester and the vixen. Resident Artist Eric Owen and Young Artist Joanna Latini create a moving and mercurial bond. Owens’ rich bass-baritone conveys the Forrester’s love of the natural world and his tender memories of early manhood, both qualities he sees reflected in the vixen’s spunky spirit. Latini’s gorgeous soprano captures that attractive feralness as does her animal-like movement (Eric Sean Fogel created the choreography which replicates nonhuman physicality). As with the Sharks and the Jets, the chorus of Vixen are all individuals with signature characteristics from the strutting rooster to the bustling hens to the bloodthirsty mosquito to the preening screech owl. Each plays their part in this rarely-performed charmer.   

Joanna Latini as the Vixen and Katherine Maysek as Lapak, the Dog, in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen.”

West Side Story ****
 July 7—Aug. 24. Glimmerglass Festival at the Alice Busch Opera Theatre, 7300 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY. Repertory schedule. Running time: 2 hours and 30 mins. including one intermission. $26-$149. 607-547-2255 or www.glimmerglass.org.
Photography : Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”
Brian Vu as Riff and Corey Bourbonniere as Bernardo in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

The Cunning Little Vixen ****
 July 8—Aug. 25. Glimmerglass Festival at the Alice Busch Opera Theatre, 7300 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY. Repertory schedule. Running time: 2 hours and 10 mins. including one intermission. $26-$149. 607-547-2255 or www.glimmerglass.org.
Photography: Karli Cadel/The Glimmerglass Festival

Dylan Morrongiello as the Mosquito in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen.”
Brian Wallin as Pasek, the Innkeeper, and Eric Owens as the Forester in The Glimmerglass Festival’s 2018 production of Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Vixen.”

Originally Posted on ArtsinNY

B’way Update

B’way Update: ‘Network’ ‘Glengarry’ News; Dziemianowicz Out at the Daily News

By: David Sheward

August 10, 2018:  The new Broadway season just got more exciting. In addition to Glenda Jackson playing King Lear and Elaine May appearing on a Broadway stage for the first time in 50 years in The Waverly Gallery, Tony-Emmy-Golden Globe winner Bryan Cranston will recreate his Olivier-winning performance as crazed newscaster Howard Beale in a transfer of Ivo van Hove’s stage version of the Oscar-winning Network. Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) adapted Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay. Previews begin Nov. 10 at the Cort Theater in advance of a Dec. 6 opening. No announcement if the rest of the cast will be American or British.

B’way Update: ‘Network’ ‘Glengarry’ News; Dziemianowicz Out at the Daily News

By: David Sheward

August 10, 2018:  The new Broadway season just got more exciting. In addition to Glenda Jackson playing King Lear and Elaine May appearing on a Broadway stage for the first time in 50 years in The Waverly Gallery, Tony-Emmy-Golden Globe winner Bryan Cranston will recreate his Olivier-winning performance as crazed newscaster Howard Beale in a transfer of Ivo van Hove’s stage version of the Oscar-winning Network. Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) adapted Paddy Chayefsky’s screenplay. Previews begin Nov. 10 at the Cort Theater in advance of a Dec. 6 opening. No announcement if the rest of the cast will be American or British. Michele Dockery (Lady Mary on Downton Abbey) took on the Faye Dunaway role of a ruthless network exec in London. She would certainly qualify as an international star. In one of van Hove’s staging coups, audience members were seated on stage enjoying a five course meal prepared in an onstage kitchen. Characters would play scenes amidst the diners. There was nothing in the press release stating if the onstage restaurant would be recreated for the Cort, but the elaborate video design and numerous giant screens and cameras will no doubt make the transatlantic trek. Network was prescient in its vision of a reality-TV-mad society where rage and flash outweighed honest journalism. In the age of Trump, Beale’s rants should resonate deeply.

This just in: Tootsie has announced specific dates and a theater: previews begin March 29 at the Marquis and it opens on April 23. Also Amy Morton (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Chicago PD) will direct an all-female version of David Mamet’s profanity-laden Pulitzer winner Glengarry Glen Ross, set to open on Broadway next May. This should be interesting since all the characters are  testosterone-fueled real estate salespeople and casting them with women will shatter many stereotypes.

Critical Shrinking News

In the latest round of critical bootings, Joe Dziemianowicz was removed from his position as theater critic and reporter for the New York Daily News. He was only part of a massive slaughter at the storied tabloid which cut 50 percent of its already depleted staff. Joe worked at the News for 17 and half years and has served as Vice-President and Treasurer of the New York Drama Critics Circle. It’s unclear if the News will continue to bother covering theater at all moving forward. (I called the paper’s customer service line, got an actual person, but couldn’t get a straight answer.) Since Joe’s departure, there have been two Broadway openings–Straight White Men and Head Over Heels. The News did not run reviews of either show on its website’s theater page which has not been updated since the firings. Incidentally the New York Post did review Head Over Heels with a negative notice by entertainment reporter Johnny Oleksinski, but didn’t bother with Straight White Men even though it features a hot movie star–Armee Hammer.

Okay, the News did update its Theater webpage with one story–reporter Brian Niemietz broke the important news that Julia Roberts attended a preview performance of Pretty Woman. We’ll see if Niemietz will actually review the show which opens on Aug. 16. Speaking of which, here’s an updated list of Broadway and Off-Broadway openings.

Aug. 13–Getting the Band Back Together (Belasco)

Aug. 16–Pretty Woman (Nederlander)

Sept. 12–Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties (MCC/Lortel)

Sept. 20–The True (Signature Theater)

Sept. 24–I Am Most Alive With You (Playwrights Horizons)

Sept. 25–Berndhart/Hamlet (Roundabout/American Airlines)

Sept. 27–The Nap (MTC/Friedman)

Oct. 1–Girl from the North Country (Public)

Oct. 7–Oklahoma! (St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Oct. 15–Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company)

Oct. 16–Apologia (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Oct. 18–The Lifespan of a Fact (Studio 54)

Oct. 18–Gloria: A Life (Daryl Roth)

Oct. 21–The Ferryman (Jacobs)

Oct. 22–Plot Points in Our Sexual Development (LCT/Clare Tow)

Oct. 23–India Pale Ale (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Oct. 25–The Waverly Gallery (Golden)

Oct. 25–The Niceties (MTC/Stage II)

Nov. 1–Torch Song (Second Stage/Hayes)

Nov. 4–American Son (Booth)

Nov. 7–Eve’s Song (Public)

Nov. 8–King Kong (Broadway)

Nov. 11–Thom Paine (based on nothing) (Signature Theater)

Nov. 15–The Prom (Longacre)

Nov. 19–The Hard Problem (LCT/Mitzi Newhouse)

Dec. 3–The Cher Show (Neil Simon)

Dec. 6–Network (Cort)

Dec. 13–To Kill a Mockingbird (Shubert)

Jan. 7–Blue Ridge (Atlantic Theater Company)

Jan. 22–Choir Boy (MTC/Freidman)

Jan. 24–True West (Roundabout/American Airlines)

Feb. 19–Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout/Fiasco/Laura Pels)

March 14–Kiss Me, Kate (Roundabout/Studio 54)

May 2019–Glengarry Glen Ross

2019–The Secret Garden, Burn This

April 11–King Lear (Theater TBA)

April 23–Tootsie (Marquis)

April 24–Ink (MTC/Friedman)

Feb. 6, 2020–West Side Story

2020–Michael Jackson Musical

Future–Dave, Death Becomes Her, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge the Musical, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical, The Devil Wears Prada, Jagged Little Pill, Working Girl, Half-Time, Roman Holiday, The Wiz, Camp David, Photograph 51, An Enemy of the People, Sherlock Holmes, Singin’ in the Rain, Pat Benatar Musical

2018-19 Broadway Season

New Plays

American Son

Bernhardt/Hamlet

The Ferryman

Ink

The Lifespan of a Fact

The Nap

Network

To Kill a Mockingbird

New Musicals

The Cher Show

Gettin’ the Band Back Together

Head Over Heels

Pretty Woman

The Prom

Tootsie

Play Revivals

The Boys in the Band

Choir Boy

King Lear

Straight White Men

Torch Song

True West

The Waverly Gallery

Musical Revivals

Kiss Me, Kate

2019-20 Broadway Season

Play Revivals

Glengarry Glen Ross

Musical Revivals

West Side Story

Originally Posted on The David Desk 2

Mike Birbiglia: The New One ****

By: Samuel L. Leiter

August 8, 2018:  Comedian, actor, filmmaker, and writer Mike Birbiglia (Netflix’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Thank God for Jokes) knows that the most annoying things in life can, with a little distance, sometimes be the funniest. If, like me after seeing his show last night, he’d been stuck for over an hour while wearing shorts on an over-air conditioned A train in the East River tunnel, he’d probably make it into a story that would have his audience as close to peeing in its pants as I was during my MTA ordeal.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

August 8, 2018:  Comedian, actor, filmmaker, and writer Mike Birbiglia (Netflix’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Thank God for Jokes) knows that the most annoying things in life can, with a little distance, sometimes be the funniest. If, like me after seeing his show last night, he’d been stuck for over an hour while wearing shorts on an over-air conditioned A train in the East River tunnel, he’d probably make it into a story that would have his audience as close to peeing in its pants as I was during my MTA ordeal.

A friendly, boyish dude on the cusp of early middle age, Birbiglia embodies the everyman personality of so many standup comics, reminding you of some talkative guy you know and enjoy hanging out with because he’s so funny. He tells honest-seeming, if slightly exaggerated, stories about his own life, larded with humor that’s often sexual or scatological; rarity of rarities, however, he keeps the profanity to a minimum so it makes more of an impact when he needs to use it. His current show, with which he’s been touring the country, runs an hour and a half, very little of it not filled with laughter from the Cherry Lane audience.

It’s hard to call Mike Birbiglia: The New One (whose subtitle has more than one meaning) a play; although carefully scripted (by Birbiglia and his wife, Jennifer Hope Stein), with a distinct, if pleasantly meandering, beginning, middle, and end, it’s more like an extended standup routine. Even Beowulf Borrit’s simple set of wooden planking (lit by Aaron Copp) placed against the stage’s clearly visible brick walls suggests a comedy club environment.

Birbiglia, casually dressed, puts on a body mic as we watch, and, as directed by Seth Barrish, walks freely about on an Oriental carpet, his sole piece of furniture a wooden stool, the classic standup prop. His manner is open and engaging, and, while he doesn’t actually laugh at his wisecracks, he follows most with a smile. Generally upbeat, he’ll now and then morph into a more serious mode, a device that you soon realize is a stealthy setup for a zinger.

His biggest drawback is a habit of slipping from a clearly articulated conversational tone into mumbling and whispers, the latter often delivered with exaggerated lip movements as if we’re lip readers with whom he’s sharing something on the QT. Regardless of their amplification, words that snap, crackle, and pop for the hearing-healthy sound like oatmeal for others. One even suspects that this nonmusical actor is wearing a mic in such an intimate venue because he’s well aware of this problem.

Birbiglia begins by talking about another piece of furniture, his couch, which leads to a series of couch jokes. These segue into life after his downscale marriage to Jen (whom he sometimes calls “Clo”), followed by his description of a visit to his brother’s family. This allows him to express his defiantly negative feelings about having kids (for which he soon offers seven hilarious rationales). Jen, however, despite initial reservations, now has other ideas about the matter, which lead to this big-laugh exchange: 

“If you don’t want to have a baby maybe I’ll have one on my own and we can stay married.” 

And I said, “That’ll be a good look, just you, and me, and this kid that’s a cross between you and some grad student jacking his way through SUNY Purchase.”

Among Birbiglia’s reasons for not wanting a kid is his medical history, which, for all its dire aspects, is mined for comic gold. He gets mileage from his sleepwalking problems (so scary he made a film about them), a cancerous bladder issue (and the need for annual cystoscopies), and other conditions equally serious but nonetheless funniness fodder. But even after he agrees to be a dad, which means abandoning a condom for the first time (wait for the analogy he makes for what that feels like), problems arise with his sperm. Fortunately, Birbiglia has the talent to transform this familiar subject (and even the urological procedure it requires for correction) into nonstop amusement.

Of course, we now get a slew of pregnancy jokes (including the weird cravings), the birthing classes, and the frustrations of parenting an infant (especially a sleepless one) while also accommodating a pet cat and dealing with the resulting marital pressures. None of this is very new but Birbiglia makes it all fresh. Which isn’t to deny that this new father’s self-centeredness can be irritating.

As I often do when preparing to see a show, I decided to read the press script beforehand. Half-way through, though, I stopped because I realized that if I was laughing now I’d laugh even harder when I heard Birbiglia’s jokes in person. It was a wise decision, wiser than not peeing before I left the Cherry Lane.

Mike Birbiglia: The New One ****

Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce St., NYC
Through August 19
Photography: Joan Marcus

Christine Ebersole & Michael Feinstein @ 54 Below

Michael Feinstein, Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, returns to the club that bears his name, alongside Christine Ebersole, two-time Tony Award-winner, for an unforgettable evening in Two for the Road.

Michael Feinstein, Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, returns to the club that bears his name, alongside Christine Ebersole, two-time Tony Award-winner, for an unforgettable evening in Two for the Road.

Michael Feinstein

Feinstein and Ebersole took a summer stroll through classic standards such as “Stormy Weather,” “Time After Time,” “On the Atchinson, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” and of course “42nd Street,” in a resplendent celebration of the Great American Songbook. Serenaded by these two legendary performers of both night club and stage, prepare to be charmed in a glamorous evening of duets and medleys from Manhattan’s Golden Age.

Christine Ebersole

Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world with recordings that have earned him five Grammy® Award nominations, Emmy® nominated PBS-TV specials, acclaimed NPR series, and concerts spanning the globe. His work as an educator and archivist define Feinstein as one of the most important musical forces of our time.

Winner of two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical (42nd Street and Grey Gardens), Christine Ebersole has also starred in film (Wolf of Wall Street), television (“Sullivan & Son,” “Royal Pains”), and has performed concerts in theaters and concert halls across the country, from The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall to The Pasadena and Boston Pops. She was most recently nominated for a Tony Award for her acclaimed performance in War Paint on Broadway.

MIchael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole

This show is part of Feinstein’s/54 Below’s Summer 2018 concert series: Duo Shows at 54! From partners to siblings to co-stars and beyond, these evenings will celebrate the special collaboration of two artists brought together. Join us as some of today’s greatest performers team up with each other for this unique and exciting series.

Photography: Maryann Lopinto

Feinstein’s 54 Below
254 W 54th St. Cellar, NYC 10019
TICKETS & INFO: 

Christine Ebersole, Michael Feinstein
MIchael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole
MIchael Feinstein
MIchael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole
MIchael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole

Newsies, Shrek

5 Reasons to Visit the John W. Engeman Theater This Summer

By: Iris Wiener

August 9, 2018:  The John W. Engeman Theater of Northport is often called the Broadway of Long Island for a reason. The mainstay is consistent with the Great White Way’s glamour, talent and charm, while one-upping it in intimacy. Here is a glimpse at why this summer is the perfect time to get to know why Long Islanders are staying close to home (and New Yorkers are venturing east) to get their entertainment:

5 Reasons to Visit the John W. Engeman Theater This Summer

By: Iris Wiener

August 9, 2018:  The John W. Engeman Theater of Northport is often called the Broadway of Long Island for a reason. The mainstay is consistent with the Great White Way’s glamour, talent and charm, while one-upping it in intimacy. Here is a glimpse at why this summer is the perfect time to get to know why Long Islanders are staying close to home (and New Yorkers are venturing east) to get their entertainment:

1. Sandalio Alvarez has concocted an invigorating, complex string of choreographed numbers in Newsies, now playing on the mainstage through September 2nd. The power and energy in “Carrying the Banner” is enthralling, as is the newsies’ ability to harmonize while taking the New York streets by storm. Igor Goldin’s direction is distinct; he has his large cast of actors create the bustle of the city with little use of props and set changes.

Dan Tracy (Jack Kelly)

2. Dan Tracy’s performance in the newsboy cap of Jack Kelly is transformative. Though many Broadway vets have graced the stage of the Engeman (Dames at Sea’s Danny Gardner and Something Rotten’s Brian Shepard most recently took on Singin’ in the Rain’s Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown, respectively), Tracy is a fresh talent, one that would be a shame to miss before he inevitably makes it to Broadway.

3. The children’s theatre is as charming as the mainstage show. Shrek the Musical, also running through September 2nd, craftily makes use of the stage set for Newsies, flawlessly transforming the gritty streets of 1899 New York to the swamps and palace of Duloc. The uniquely talented cast, led by the stellar Evan Schultz as Shrek and the cleverly hysterical Marlin D. Slack as Donkey, is an uproarious gift to the stage. Children and adults alike will be snorting through laughter at Pinnochio’s (Jojo Minasi) “glandular condition” and Gingy’s (Amanda Geraci) strong-willed confection. The creativity behind Kevin F. Story’s production is palpable, as is Danielle Aliotta’s joyous choreography in numbers such as “Story of My Life” and “Make a Move.”

4. No show at the John W. Engeman Theater ends with a curtain; After each performance of Shrek, kids will be overjoyed to meet the cast- in costume! The actors line up in the Engeman’s lobby, signing programs in the colorful autographs of their characters (6 year-old girls will treasure their “Fiona” signatures!), making it an immersive experience for youngsters. As for Newsies, you can’t help but appreciate the newsboy caps and suspenders on the valets and concession employees, a playful nod to how much the Engeman celebrates the culture and essence of its shows.

Dan Tracy (Jack Kelly) and Tom Lucca (Joseph Pulitzer) in “Newsies”

5. Both shows are especially poignant in 2018. Along with other essential lessons, Newsies is a reminder of the power of the press and its ability to manipulate the emotions of its readers. Pulitzer (Tom Lucca) spits the words, “If it’s not in the paper, it never happened.” Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein’s musical reinforces the idea that there is influence in numbers, and how the masses can come together to make change. In Trump’s reign, it is especially important to hear Katherine (Whitney Winfield) say, “Being boss doesn’t mean you have all the answers.” There is no bad time to revisit David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori’s Shrek the Musical, as it explores themes of compassion and appreciating our differences, whether it is in skin color, sexuality, or fairy tale animal species. This is an even more important message in these divisive days, and is essential for youngsters to witness.

6. (One for good luck!) A gem of a location in the heart of Northport, John W. Engeman Theater is a stone’s throw from independent restaurants and shops, as well as a scenic view of Great Cow Harbor. Drivers will be thrilled to find that parking isn’t a headache, as it is with most Long Island theatres; free valet parking is offered to all patrons, who can also wait for their cars while enjoying drinks in a renovated, comfortable lobby. Newsies and Shrek are that much more delightful, as their spirit remains with you as you make a full day out of your hassle-free theatre-going experience.

Visit EngemanTheater.com for more information about how to purchase tickets for Newsies and Shrek the Musical.

Photography: Michael DeCristofaro

Allyson Kaye Daniel (Medda Larkin) in “Newsies”
Cast of “Newsies”
Whitney Winfield (Katherine Plumber) “Newsies”

Photography: Iris Wiener

Amy Block, age 6, meeting the cast of “Shrek.”

Amy Block, age 6, meeting the cast of Shrek.”

Less Than 50% ***1/2   

By: Paulanne Simmons

August 7, 2018:  Statistically, less than fifty present of marriages in America will end in “death do us part.” This depressing prediction is the theoretical basis for Gianmarco Soresi’s semi-autobiographical show now at 59E59 Theaters. Less Than 50% is directed by Jen Wineman, and features Soresi as himself and Hannah Hale as his long-suffering on-again-off again girlfriend, Laura.

By: Paulanne Simmons

August 7, 2018:  Statistically, less than fifty present of marriages in America will end in “death do us part.” This depressing prediction is the theoretical basis for Gianmarco Soresi’s semi-autobiographical show now at 59E59 Theaters. Less Than 50% is directed by Jen Wineman, and features Soresi as himself and Hannah Hale as his long-suffering on-again-off again girlfriend, Laura.

The somewhat thin plot centers on Soresi’s creation of a Fringe show based on his life and his girlfriend’s attempts to get him to commit. The scenes careen loopily from rehearsal to real life in a way that sometimes confuses the audience. One suspects that’s deliberate. But the real problem is Soresi’s life is just not that interesting (certainly not worth 100 minutes, although the program says running time is 80 minutes) and Laura’s strategies are much too obvious.

But the good news is that Hale and Soresi (a nouveau Woody Allen, far more likeable and much less creepy) are both talented comedic actors, and many of the scenes (some of which use projections and videos in a highly creative way) are engaging. What’s more, Sorensi, who has performed in such well known venues as Carolines on Broadway and West Side Comedy Club, is a formidable standup comic. In fact, even at the show’s most sluggish moments, his standup skills often come to the rescue.

Hannah Hale, Gianmarco Soresi

As we follow Gianmarco and Laura from high school drama class to adulthood, it becomes apparent early on they are stuck in a relationship that refuses to adapt. They are both too needy and refuse to grow up and get on with life . At first, this is cute, but after a while it gets annoying.

At one point in the show Laura tells Gianmarco, “…this play isn’t about us, it’s about you figuring out a way to make me fall in love with you over and over and over again, so you can keep relying on me and kissing me and fucking me and dumping me without ever losing me.” By now, the audience has realized this many times over.

But Laura is not wrong. If the play had been a little more about Laura and a little less about Gianmarco, it would have been far more complex and layered. The lesson for emerging playwrights: sometimes you have to give up a little to end up with a lot more.

Less Than 50% ***1/2
Runs through Sept. 1 at 59E59 Theaters, www.59e59.org.
Running Time is 1 Hour and 20 Minutes with no Intermission

 

Evita ****1/2

Evita Soars at Bay Street Theater
Thrilling revival of classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical soars at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

By: Patrick Christiano

August 5, 2018:  The thrilling revival of Evita, the classic biography of Eva Peron with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, soars through the rafters at Bay Street with a luminous staging by Will Pomerantz, also the Associate Artistic Director of Bay Street Theater.  He impeccably incorporates every element into a visually lush evening that scores emotionally as well as musically. His Latin American cast is sensational led by a radiant Arianna Rosario as Eva, with a sensual Trent Saunders as Che and a strong Omar Lopez-Cepero as Peron. Pomerantz has able assistance from Marcos Santana’s spirited choreography, and Anna Louizos’ imaginative set that transforms the theater into a working-class tango bar in Buenos Aires circa 1962.

Evita Soars at Bay Street Theater
Thrilling revival of classic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical soars at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

By: Patrick Christiano

August 5, 2018:  The thrilling revival of Evita, the classic biography of Eva Peron with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, soars through the rafters at Bay Street with a luminous staging by Will Pomerantz, also the Associate Artistic Director of Bay Street Theater.  He impeccably incorporates every element into a visually lush evening that scores emotionally as well as musically. His Latin American cast is sensational led by a radiant Arianna Rosario as Eva, with a sensual Trent Saunders as Che and a strong Omar Lopez-Cepero as Peron. Pomerantz has able assistance from Marcos Santana’s spirited choreography, and Anna Louizos’ imaginative set that transforms the theater into a working-class tango bar in Buenos Aires circa 1962.

This revival of the 1978 classic, originally staged by Harold Prince, takes a new look at the iconic Eva Perón’s ascent to the First Lady of Argentina. Her story, under Pomerantz’ guidance, feels equally relevant today, 40 years after Perón’s tragic death from cancer at the age of 33, resonating with themes of politics and women’s empowerment.

Bay Street, under Artistic Director Scott Schwartz, has developed a signature treatment for large-scale musicals, by adapting them into an intimate experience in a thrust theater that gives the audience an up close and personal view of the action without losing any of the grandness of the musical. Evita’s classic score has some of Webber and Rice’s biggest hits, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “High Flying, Adored” and “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.”

Omar Lopez-Cepero, Arianna Rosario

The cast features Arianna Rosario as Eva PerónTrent Saunders as CheOmar Lopez-Cepero as Peron,  Kyle Barisich as Magaldi and Gabi Campo as The Mistress.  Ensemble members are Julian AlvarezEdgar CavazosLauren CseteElisa Galindez, Danelle RiveraJuan GuillenJose OzunaDakota Quackenbush, and Carolina Santos Read.

Arianna Rosario, Trent Saunders

The creative team also includes Aaron Jodoin (Music Supersior)Mike Billings (Lighting Designer), Lindsay Davis (Costume Designer), Jon Weston (Sound Design)Andrew Diaz and (Prop Designer). 

Scott Schwartz said “Ever since joining Bay Street as Artistic Director, I have dreamt of bringing the brilliant musical 
Evita to our stage.  So, the summer of 2018 is truly a dream come true for me.  In Will Pomerantz and Marcos Santana’s dance-filled, visionary new production, the audience will be transported to a gritty Argentinean tango club…  I know Evita will be a thrilling theatrical event unlike any we’ve presented before.”

From his lips to God’s ears, mission accomplished!

Evita will run at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor through September 2.. To purchase tickets or for more information call the Box Office at 631-725-9500 or purchase online at www.baystreet.org

The 2018 Mainstage Season is made accessible for all through special ticket offers such as “$30 under 30”, which offers $30 tickets to individuals under 30 years old (sponsored by Corcoran), and “$20 under 20”, which offers $20 tickets to individuals under 20 years old. Bay Street Theater also offers Free Student tickets for all Sunday matinee performances (Student ID required) and will host a “Pay What You Can” performance of EVITA on Tuesday, July 31 at 7 pm, sponsored by Sotheby’s International Realty. Previews of EVITA are July 31 – August 3, and are sponsored by Peconic Landing.

“Talkback Tuesdays” with members of the EVITA cast will take place on Tuesdays August 7, 14, and 21, immediately following the performances. After the evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays August 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, and 26, guests are invited to stay after the performance for a sing-a-long night in Bay Street Theater’s lobby, in which guests can sing songs from the show together with piano accompaniment. On Sunday, August 19, Bay Street invites members of its LGBTQ audience to the 2 pm performance, with special after party to follow.
Photography: Lenny Stucker

Arianna Rosario and Ensembe

 

Evita Opening Night

August 4, 2018:  Opening Night Photos at Bay Street Theater’s “Thrilling” production of Andrew Llyod Webber’s Evita, now playing in Sag Harbor.

Click Here For Review
Evita will run at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor through September 2.   To purchase tickets or for more information call the Box Office at 631-725-9500 or purchase online at www.baystreet.org

Photography: Barry Gordin

August 4, 2018:  Opening Night Photos at Bay Street Theater’s “Thrilling” production of Andrew Llyod Webber’s Evita, now playing in Sag Harbor.

Click Here For Review
Evita will run at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor through September 2.   To purchase tickets or for more information call the Box Office at 631-725-9500 or purchase online at www.baystreet.org

Photography: Barry Gordin

Artistic Director Bay Street Scott Schwartz, Executive Director Bay Street Tracy Mitchell
Director Will Pomerantz, Choreographer Marcos Santana
Jules Feiffer, Will Pomerantz
Judy Carmichael, Jamie deRoy
Ana Daniels, Tracy Mitchell
JZ Holden, Jules Feiffer
Curtain Call
Trent Saunders
Cast
Will Pomerantz, Adrianne Cohen
Jerry Cohen, Adrianne Cohen, Marcos Santana, Nova Bergeron 
Arianna Rosario
Arianna Rosario, Patrick Christiano
Omar Lopez-Ceperp, Arianna Rosario

 

 

Head Over Heels **** Twelfth Night **** Fiddler on the Roof **** This Ain’t No Disco **

By: David Sheward

August 4, 2018:  A quartet of musical productions on and Off-Broadway mash up musical styles, time periods, and cultural perspectives. Three of these blenderizings result in diverse delight, while one produces a pulpy mess. Head Over Heels on Broadway and a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in Central Park employ Elizabethan romantic romps as their template and deliver modern messages of inclusion while a Yiddish-language staging offers a new and moving view of the beloved Fiddler on the Roof.

By: David Sheward

August 4, 2018:  A quartet of musical productions on and Off-Broadway mash up musical styles, time periods, and cultural perspectives. Three of these blenderizings result in diverse delight, while one produces a pulpy mess. Head Over Heels on Broadway and a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in Central Park employ Elizabethan romantic romps as their template and deliver modern messages of inclusion while a Yiddish-language staging offers a new and moving view of the beloved Fiddler on the Roof.

Andrew Durand as Musidorus, Alexandra Socha as Philoclea in “Head Over Heels”

Head Over Heels could have been just another jukebox musical, but the clever book originally by Jeff Whitty and rewritten by James Magruder mixes Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th century prose work The Arcadia and with songs by the 1980s girl group The Go-Gos (along with tunes from the solo career of member Belinda Carlisle) for a surprisingly fun, silly joyride. The usual tangle of hidden loves and gender-bending disguises gets a 2018 twist with lesbian, transgender, and feminist themes interwoven. 

The mythical kingdom of Arcadia, a weird collage of ancient Greek, Elizabethan and 1980s sensibilities (Julian Crouch designed the charming storybook sets), lives by the beat, a harmonious life rhythm and also a good excuse for the cast to open the show with “We Got the Beat,” the Go-Gos’ biggest hit, and dance Spencer Liff’s infectious choreography. The revelry is interrupted by a dire prophecy of doom delivered by Pythio, a sexually binary figure played by Drag Race contestant Peppermint. Chauvinist king Basilius (sturdy Jeremy Kushnier) leads his court into the woods to avoid the deadly predictions, much to the objections of his strong-minded queen Gynecia (diva-fierce Rachel York).

Confusion in the forest ensues, staged with just the right balance of zaniness and precision by Michael Mayer. Royal daughters Pamela (comic find Bonnie Milligan) and Philoclea (sparkly Alexandra Socha) find unconventional love with trusty handmaid Mopsa (vibrant Taylor Iman Jones) and shepherd Musidorus (adorable and funny Andrew Durand) respectively. Whitty and Magruder invert the usual gender-bending by having Musidorus disguise himself as a fetching Amazon lass. The myriad plot patches are woven into a brightly colored crazy quilt, reflecting the creators and cast’s appreciation and love of sexual diversity, pop culture and the beat.

Nikki M. James and the cast of “Twelfth Night”

The Central Park Twelfth Night gives off similar vibes of inspired nuttiness and celebratory sexual ambiguity. The Bard’s perennially popular tale of separated boy and girl twins has previously been musicalized with the hit Your Own Thing and the flops Love and Let Love, Music Is, Play On!, and All Shook Up. This latest updating is as much fun as Heels and obliterates any memory of predecessors. 

Like Heels’ Arcadia, Twelfth Night’s Illyria is an imaginary realm where identities blur and overlap. Director Kwame Kwei-Armah envisioned the setting as a gigantic block party with participation from local community groups when this production was done as a limited Public Works staging in 2016. Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis takes up the reigns for this renewed staging while Kwei-Armah fulfills his new position as artistic director of the New Vic in London.

The Delacorte stage literally overflows with people as Tony winners Nikki M. James and Shuler Hensley and other Broadway and Off-Broadway vets mix with nonprofessionals in a riotous configuration expertly controlled by Eustis with hip choreography by Lorin Latarro. In addition to the solid James and Hensley, Ato Blankson-Wood, Nanya-Akuki Goodrich, Daniel Hall, Andrew Kober, and Lori Brown-Niang prove capable clowns. Shaina Taub leads the orchestra with aplomb, plays the fool Feste with zip, and wrote the splendid songs which explore themes of gender switching and perspective. This infectious and fizzy spectacle rushes by in 90 minutes, a delicious summer cooler. What a pity it will gone soon. But that makes it all the more special. If the Public Theater attempts to transfer it to a commercial run they would have to scale back the size and trim its bubbling excess. It wouldn’t be the same indoors or smaller.

Kirk Geritano and Jackie Hoffman in “Fiddler on the Roof”

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene production of Fiddler on the Roof performs a reverse operation—reducing the scale of a huge Broadway smash to a more intimate experience in the small auditorium at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The result is not a diminishment. The production staged with love and professionalism by the Oscar-Tony-winning actor Joel Grey creates a sense of a community telling the story of a small village in Tsarist Russia rather than a series of star turns and showstoppers. The Yiddish-language adaptation by Shraga Friedman from the 1965 Israeli premiere further adds to the spirit of the setting since this is the language Sholom Aleichem’s characters would have spoken. (English and Russian translations are provided on screens on either side of the stage.) Grey’s staging and Stas Kmiec’s choreography convey the close connections within the village of Anatevka as its flinty inhabitants scrape out a living in the shadow of an oppressive anti-Semitic government. The horrors of the pogroms become frighteningly real as Beowulf Borritt’s simple set and a banner with Hebrew writing are ripped apart. 

Steven Skybell leads the company as Tevye the long-suffering milkman with five daughters, a nagging wife, and a close relationship with God. Skybell, a New York theatre veteran with numerous Broadway and Off-Broadway credits, conveys the full range of Tevye’s reactions to the eroding of his beloved Old World traditions as they give way to 20th century shifts. Here is a father wrestling with challenges to his authority and love for his children instead of a comic delivering a big number or going for the laugh lines. Jennifer Babiak captures the rough edge of Tevye’s spouse Golde as well as her hidden tenderness. Each member of the company becomes a full-fleshed citizen of Anavetka from Jackie Hoffman’s kvetching matchmaker to every beggar, butcher, and ghost.

Theo Stockman, Peter LaPrade in “This Ain’t No Disco”

The same cannot be said for This Ain’t No Disco, a new musical from Atlantic Theater Company with major-name involvement, but minor impact. The self-described “rock opera” also attempts to depict a community—that of the late ’70s-’80s NYC club scene—but produces only stereotypes and derivative songs. This is a surprise since the score is by Stephen Trask and Peter Yankowitz who worked on Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Trask as composer and Yankowitz as the original drummer), the book is by Trask, Yankowitz and Rick Elice (co-author of Jersey Boys), and direction by Tony winner Darko Tresnjak (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder).  

There are individual moments of excitement provided by Samantha Marie Ware as a troubled recording star, Chilina Kennedy as a smarmy publicist-turned-TV-personality and Will Connolly as an Andy Warhol clone. But the storyline is overly familiar with goodhearted Sammy (Ware) and Chad (sweet Peter Laprade) caught up in the phony milieu of Studio 54 and the Mudd Club. Instead of insightful commentary and portraiture of a bizarre and intoxicating era, we get warmed-over tropes of innocence corrupted accompanied by pedestrian tunes and lyrics, traffic-cop direction by Tresnjak, aerobic-class choreography by Camille A. Brown, and outrageous mugging by Theo Stockman as Steve Rubell, the real-life owner Studio 54.

You’ll have a joyful night at Head Over Heels, Twelfth Night, or Fiddler, but This Ain’t No Disco ain’t worth your time.

Head Over Heels ****
Opened July 26 for an open run. Hudson Theatre, 141 W. 44th St., NYC. Tue 7pm, Wed 2pm & 8pm, Thu 7pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 3pm.  Running time: two hours and 20 mins. including intermission. $49—$290. (855) 801-5876. www.thehudsonbroadway.com.
Photography: Joan Marcus

Andrew Durand as Musidorus, Alexandra Socha as Philoclea in “Head Over Heels”

Twelfth Night ****
July 31—Aug. 19. Free Shakespeare in the Park/Delacorte Theater, 81 Central Park West, NYC. Tue—Sun, 8pm. Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission. Free. (212) 967-7555. www.publictheater.org.
Photography: Joan Marcus

Shaina Taub in “Twelfth Night”

Fiddler on the Roof ****
July 15—Sept. 2. National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, NY. Wed 1pm, Thu 1pm & 7pm, Fri 12 noon, Sun 1pm & 6pm, Mon 7pm. Running time: three hours including intermission. $75—$105. (866) 811-4111. www.NYTF.org.
Photography: Victor Nechay/Properpix

Steven Skybell and Ensemble in “Fiddler on the Roof”

This Ain’t No Disco **
July 24—Aug. 12. Atlantic Theatre Company at the Linda Gross Theater, 336 W. 20th St., NYC. Tue 7pm, Wed 2pm & 8pm, Thu—Fri 8pm, Sat 2pm & 8pm, Sun 2pm & 7pm. Running time: two hours and 20 mins. including intermission. $91.50—$111.50. (866) 811-4111. www.atlantictheater.org.
Photography: Ben Arons

Will Connolly as the Artist in “This Ain’t No Disco”
Samantha Marie Ware in “This Ain’t No Disco”
“This Ain’t No Disco”

Avenue Q @ Feinstein’s 54 Below

Feinstein’s 54 Below celebrated the 15th Anniversary of Tony Award winning AVENUE Q. 

August 2, 2018:  The original cast and creators of Avenue Q, 15 years after their Broadway opening night, revisited the songs, stories, and memories that the show has provided over the last decade and a half. They were joined by friends – both human and felt – from throughout the show’s incredible run.

Feinstein’s 54 Below celebrated the 15th Anniversary of Tony Award winning AVENUE Q. 

August 2, 2018:  The original cast and creators of Avenue Q, 15 years after their Broadway opening night, revisited the songs, stories, and memories that the show has provided over the last decade and a half. They were joined by friends – both human and felt – from throughout the show’s incredible run. The evening  included several cut songs, alternate versions of songs, and behind-the-scenes stories from over the years on and off-Broadway at New World Stages where the show continues to run.

Featuring:
Jennifer Barnhart, Stephanie D’Abruzzo,
Carmen Ruby Floyd, Barrett Foa, Jordan Gelber, Maggie Lakis, Anika Larsen, Bobby Lopez, Rick Lyon, Jeff Marx, Rob McClure, Erin Quill, John Tartaglia

Stephanie D’Abruzzo (Kate)

Members of the current off-Broadway cast  at New World Stages 
Katie Boren, Ben Durocher, Imari Hardon, Jason Jacoby, Nick Kohn, Michael Liscio, Jr, Kerri Brackin and Dana Steingold

The show was Produced by Philip Romano, Music Direction by Gary Adler and Directed by Jen Bender

Photography: Maryann Lopinto 

Rod) Barrett Foa (Princeton) Rob McClure and Jordan Gelber
Carmen Ruby Floyd and (Nickie) Rick Lyon
(Princeton) John Tartaglia
Jen Barnhart (Kate) and (Nickie) Rick Lyon
Jeff Marx, Robert Lopez
(Rod) Rob McClure
The cast with the current cast “AVENUE Q”

Hayground School’s “Chefs Dinner”

Renowned Chef, Jacques Pepin, honored at the 14th Annual Hayground School’s benefit “Chefs Dinner.”

July 29, 2018:  Ten chefs prepared a five-course meal in honor of Jacques Pépin at the 14th annual Hayground School’s benefit “Chefs Dinner” on Sunday, July 29 on the School’s grounds in Bridgehampton, NY. The Chefs included Josh Capon, Jessica Craig, Christian Mir, Ayesha Nurdjaja, Francois Payard, Joe Realmuto, Hillary Sterling, Bill Telepan, Carissa Waechter, and Jason Weiner.  The benefit dinner raises much-needed financial aid for Hayground School, an inclusive, diverse school that incorporates an expansive Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program into its curriculum on its pastoral grounds. The honorary chairpersons of the Chefs Dinner are Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

Renowned Chef, Jacques Pepin, honored at the 14th Annual Hayground School’s benefit “Chefs Dinner.”

July 29, 2018:  Ten chefs prepared a five-course meal in honor of Jacques Pépin at the 14th annual Hayground School’s benefit “Chefs Dinner” on Sunday, July 29 on the School’s grounds in Bridgehampton, NY. The Chefs included Josh Capon, Jessica Craig, Christian Mir, Ayesha Nurdjaja, Francois Payard, Joe Realmuto, Hillary Sterling, Bill Telepan, Carissa Waechter, and Jason Weiner.  The benefit dinner raises much-needed financial aid for Hayground School, an inclusive, diverse school that incorporates an expansive Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program into its curriculum on its pastoral grounds. The honorary chairpersons of the Chefs Dinner are Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

Chef Jacques Pépin

The evening began at 4:30 with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served under a tent and prepared in Hayground’s Jeff’s Kitchen. A five-course dinner with superb wines followed—arguably the finest meal of the summer.  During the meal, for the first time ever, there was  a live conversation between chefs Jacques Pépin and Eric Ripert at the end of dinner.

To honor Chef Pépin, this year’s five-star chefs included:  Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar, Jessica Craig of L’Artusi, Christian Mir of Stone Creek Inn, Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka, François Payard, Joe Realmuto of Nick & Toni’s, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Bill Telepan of Oceana, and Carissa Waechter of Carissa’s The Bakery and Jason Weiner of Almond.  Cheeses from fromager Michael Cavaniola and wine from Château d’Esclans round out the tasting menu.

Funds from the Hayground Chefs Dinner to date have raised almost two million dollars in support of Hayground’s Jeff’s Kitchen culinary programs, as well as its overall curriculum. This enables the school to be readily accessible to the diverse spectrum of East End children, where currently, over 80% of all Hayground students receive some form of financial assistance.

Photography: Barry Gordin

Toni Ross, Chef Jacques Pépin
Chef Jason Weiner

Maggie Magerico, Kelly Beback, Liz Fecko, Sandy Casper
Toni Ross, Stuart Match Suna

Stuart Match Suna, Noah Salaway, Arthur Maslow
Eric Ripert, Chef Bill Telepan
Katlean De Monchy, Chef Jacques Pépin

Ron Kaplan, Toni Ross