Hamilton Bullying, Really?

Don’t Call Hamilton Curtain Speech Bullying

By: David Sheward
Brandon_Victor_Dixon_of_Hamilton_addresses_Mike_Pence_copy
Brandon Victor Dixon of Hamilton addresses Mike Pence

Don’t Call Hamilton Curtain Speech Bullying

By: David Sheward
Brandon_Victor_Dixon_of_Hamilton_addresses_Mike_Pence_copy
Brandon Victor Dixon of Hamilton addresses Mike Pence


The tempest in a teap
ot over the speech delivered by
Hamilton cast member Brandon Victor Dixon to audience member and
Vice-President-elect Mike Pence appears to have finally died down. It has
elicited a firestorm of comments on both sides of the political aisle. The
hashtag #BoycottHamilton trended on Twitter, but it appears the box office has
not been significantly affected. A pro-Trump audience member get rowdy at a
Chicago performance, but there have not other reports of a major backlash. On a
public bus I was standing right next to a group of young people talking about
Broadway in general and how difficult it is to get tickets to the hip-hop Tony
winning show. “But it may be easier now because some people are calling
for a boycott because of the lecture they delivered,” said the young man.


“It wasn’t a lecture,” I snapped without thinking. I don’t think I was being
rude. It didn’t say it in a nasty way and the group smiled at me and went back
to their conversation. I reacted so quickly because it enraged me to have
Dixon’s remarks which were reportedly partially written by the show’s author
Lin-Manuel Miranda, characterized as a lecture. Dixon was unfailingly polite in
his delivery, even calling on the audience not to boo Pence and expressed
genuine concerns about the Trump administration’s racist (or at best race-baiting)
rhetoric during the campaign. The cast were asking the future VP to remember
ALL Americans should be treated equally and to think about the founding of our
country as depicted in the show they had just performed for him.

 

In a piece for the website Times Square Chronicles which she co-owns and publishes, Suzanna Bowling labelled the speech “bullying” and cast Pence as a victim of the mean old cast members. This I have a problem with. We can debate if the speech was condescending, elitist, or a lecture, but I don’t see how you can call it bullying. I was
bullied all through elementary and high school and I know what bullying is.
It’s being threatened with physical violence by someone much bigger, stronger,
and more powerful than you. When it’s used as a verb, the dictionary defines
bullying as to be intimidating or domineering someone weaker. How can the cast
of a Broadway show threaten or intimidate the second most powerful man in the
free world, surrounded by Secret Service agents and NYC police?  What were
they threatening him with? A few moments of slight discomfort? Disapproval? Bad
seats? Pointing out his own bigotry and homophobia?

 

Bowling also points out the event was covered by
television crews as if the media had been tipped off about the speech and they
were laying a trap to embarrass Pence. The new Vice-President who campaigned
with a racist agenda attending a show celebrating American diversity is big
news, so of course they would film it. I’m pretty sure there were photographers
and camera crews when Obama attended Hamilton, A Raisin in the Sun, and Joe
Turner’s Come and Gone. BTW, when Hillary attended Hamilton, she got booed
too–and some cheers as did Pence.

 

I guess what really irks me most about Bowling’s
calling the Hamilton cast bullies is that Trump is biggest bully going. He set
the combative tone by threatening those who disagreed with him during his
rallies, making personal insults his default response against opponents rather
than offering constructive alternative opinions, and generally being a
harassing jerk. Trump is the dictionary definition of a bully. And his
mouthpieces like Kellyanne Conway, Pence, and Paul Ryan have the gall to call
him “refreshing” and that he “tells it like it is.”

 

Bowling wrote a follow-up piece in which she
defended her characterization of the event and cast her critics as bullies for
daring to have a different view than the stereotypical liberal New York one.
She states she has lost friends because of her stance and that people are
vilifying her because she is in the minority among the theater crowd. Bowling
has a right to her opinion and to express it in whatever terms she choses. I,
in turn, have the right to criticize her use of the word “bullying”
and call into the question the right’s twisting and warping of language and to
point out that theater is not necessarily a “safe space” for elected
officials and public figures.

 

Art and theater have always dared to
be speak truth to power, or at any rate they should. Eartha Kitt spoke out
about the Vietnam War and the poor conditions of African-American youth when
she was invited to the Johnson White House. LBJ was satirized by Barbara Garson in
a parody called MacBird. Gore Vidal skewered Tricky Dick in his play An Evening
with Richard Nixon as did Peter Ustinov in a comedy called Who’s Who in Hell.
No doubt there will be satires aplenty on the Trump administration. Will that
be considered bullying?

Rue_McClanahan_and_Stacy_Keach_in_MacBird__1967_ 
Rue McClanahan and Stacy Keach in MacBird (1967)


Pence has stated he was not offended by Dixon’s remarks and did not need an apology. Although I disagree with everything Pence stands for, he at least has, acted like a mature adult while his boss has behaved like a spoiled child, twitter-ranting about the Hamilton speech and whining about SNL mocking him. How would Trump have handled an audience  booing him? Probably he’d have cried like a baby on Twitter. That’s how bullies are, they can dish it out but they can’t take it.

Originally Posted on The David Desk  2 on December 5, 2016 

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Michael Riedel’s Razzle Dazzle

Michael Riedel’s Theatrical Tell-All Is Reissued in Trade Editio

By: Ellis NassourRazDaz

Michael Riedel’s Theatrical Tell-All Is Reissued in Trade Editio

By: Ellis NassourRazDaz

You know that famous Boston TV bar, Cheers, where everybody
knows your name. In theater, that would be true of New York Post’s theater
gossip maven Michael Riedel. Everyone who’s anyone and then some know his name.
Some have praise for his gotcha journalism as long as it’s in praise of them.
Others – well, you know. Riedel wields enormous power – as much as and maybe
more than top critics. Producers take his calls and have his ear for any morsel
of an exclusive.



Once, at a theater publication where he, fresh out of university was in a top
editorial position, was being vindictive in print toward an actor, I, a lowly
contributor, politely castigated him, saying, “You’ll never get anywhere being
cruel.” He roared with laughter. He’s shown you can make a career out of it –
if you don’t mind stepping on toes and hurting people.

Not only are his columns eagerly devoured, but Riedel has a loyal TV following
for two decades, as co-host with Susan Haskins, on THIRTEEN’s Theater Talk,
engaging the crème de la crème of theater folk in insightful conversation.
Turning aside from the occasional forays noted above, Riedel has a deep
knowledge of the business of show.

He can be nice, even charming; but he knows his way around a boiling pot, and
how to stir and stir it. Riedel may be the only person who can get blood out of
a turnip. Sometimes, you may not like what he writes – and he can be cruel, but
you can’t wait to read it – however, he gets it right 99% of the time.

Anyone who’s followed Riedel knows he can write with beguiling naiveté and has
a yen to act [there’s a slim chance he’ll ever be grasping a Tony]. Of his
columns, he has stated they are “snarky and sarcastic and sneering and preening
and full of silly jokes.” He notes that he’s never regretted a column, stating
that he’s devoid of “empathy, compassion, sympathy.”

Riedel’s come a long way, finally with his name in lights: on the cover of his
theatrical tell-all, Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway (Simon &
Schuster; 447 pages; hardcover/e-book/and new trade edition; two notated
B&W photo sections; B&W double-trunk endpapers of the Deuce before and
after Disney [in the hardcover]; 10 pages of source notes; four-page
bibliography; index; SRP $27; Trade, $17), formerly on the NYTimes
best-seller list. Throughout the book, are numerous footnotes, well worth
reading.

The book is not so much about theater as it is about how those in theater get
power, hold onto it, and what they do with it – “and, ultimately, how power
affects them.” To get the nitty gritty, Riedel digs and goes to the sources –
those who lived it. He has stated, “I was not there — so it was not my job to
comment on the decisions they made, why they made them.”

There isn’t a lot or razzle dazzle in Razzle Dazzle for 63 pages, as
Riedel he takes us through the creation of Broadway as we now know it, the
moguls-that-were-and-are, their behind-the-scenes intrigue and power ploys,
feather-bedding, and questionable business practices.

Readers may not be too shocked to find some legendary names were corrupt. A few
notable ones [for instance, the Shubert brothers) certainly had more on their
minds than ars gratia artis – as in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Latin slogan
that translates “art for art’s sake.”

Things start to pop with potboiler tales of Broadway’s so-called Golden Age and
such important players as Berlin, Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein,
Porter, Lerner and Loewe, Bernstein, Comden and Green, and Robbins; the death
and rebirth of Broadway with players such as Merrick, Prince, Fosse, and
Bennett; the game-changing A Chorus Line; and the Brit invasion.
 
It gets more riveting as New York declares war on drugs, massage parlors, and
the derelicts of Times Square; then comes urban renewal as historic theatres
are razed in the name of progress and rivalries emerge among producing
entities.

The most entertaining portion of the book comes as Riedel builds suspense
recounting the bitter battle for awards and audiences of two vastly different
musicals, Nine and Dreamgirls. Both had troubled beginnings [one
had a leading lady with rapturous reviews who knew how to get under her
director’s skin ala antics worthy of Judy Garland], but ended up having huge
box office.

Dreamgirls, with music by Henry Krieger and lyrics/book by  om
Eyen, was a fast-paced show biz musical with R&B overtones, about a trio of
Chicago vocalists loosely based on The Supremes and Diana Ross’ solo stardom.
Directed by Michael Bennett, it opened December 20, 1981 at the Imperial Theatre
on West 45th Street, and was nominated for 13 Tonys, including Best Musical –
and won six.

Nine, an adaption of Fellini’s semi-autobioraphical by Mario
Fratti with a score by Maury Yeston, was an Tommy Tune epic-staging with
knock-out costumes and sex appeal. As the project developed, Arthur Kopit was
hired to further develop the book. Set in a spa in the environs of 60’s Venice,
it told of a famous director’s midlife crisis as he turns 40 – his addiction to
women, and the loss of creativity. It opened May 9, 1982, the absolute deadline
for nomination consideration, at the 46th Street [now, Richard Rodgers]; and
was nominated for 12 Tonys and, in a heated contest among producers and voters,
took home five, including an upset as Best Musical.

Though the entrances are on different streets, the theatres abut, which led to
stories of trembling walls from amped music and fierce name-calling. There were
rumors of Oscar-like canvassing for votes and accusations of payoffs. Then came
the error in judgment of a Broadway producer and the betrayal of NYTimes
powerful critic Frank Rich. Sadly, Bennett, recovering from the failure of Ballroom,
returns to the drugs and heavy drinking that began during production of the
West End Chess.

Subsequent chapters deal with the Brit invasion; the impact of AIDs; the
sung-through Chess, a West End smash conceived by Bennett after a bitter
start due to relations with Tim Rice, and ABBA’s Benny Anderson and Björn
Ulvaeus; the cover-up of Bennett’s AIDS diagnosis; Trevor Nunn taking over
after a blackmail megadeal for a tour of his Nicholas Nickleby. The
musical’s failure on Broadway, which almost bankrupted Rice, was puzzling. It
had great actors, voices, and a stunning production. Many said the fatal
mistake was the addition of a book.

Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway continues onward and upward with
Sondheim’s critically-acclaimed works and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenon Cats.

Riedel digs deep to recount the creation of two of worldwide theater’s longest
running shows: Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera, both
of which suffered through birth pains and panic, with the latter having
revolving door director choices [first, Hal Prince, then Nunn, then a very
determined Prince].

Both opened in the U.K. to blistering or mixed reviews, but had great appeal
with the public. Riedel’s tale of POTO‘s debut on Broadway, after Lloyd
Webber’s duel with Actors Equity over Sarah Brightman and a war among the
Shubert, Nederlander, and Jujamcyn entities to grab the show, aptly serves the
book’s subtitle.

Times Square becomes family friendly after a clean-up and grind houses
returning to legit use. Disney’s entry into theater, not only changes The
Duece, with endless amounts of money and its emergence as a Broadway powerhouse via family entertainment.

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The Band’s Visit ****1/2

By Paulanne Simmons

At the beginning of The Band’s Visit, Dina (Katrina Lenk), the proprietor
of a cafe in a small Israeli town called Bet Hatikvah, tells the audience, “Once
not long ago group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt. You probably didn’t
hear about it. It wasn’t very important.” She repeats the statement at the end.
But by that time, everyone realizes the band’s visit was indeed of great
importance to that little, sleepy town.
90_1 Katrina Lenk, Tony Shalhoub

By Paulanne Simmons

At the beginning of The Band’s Visit, Dina (Katrina Lenk), the proprietor
of a cafe in a small Israeli town called Bet Hatikvah, tells the audience, “Once
not long ago group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt. You probably didn’t
hear about it. It wasn’t very important.” She repeats the statement at the end.
But by that time, everyone realizes the band’s visit was indeed of great
importance to that little, sleepy town.
90_1 Katrina Lenk, Tony Shalhoub

The Band’s Visit is a new musical with music and lyrics lyrics by David Yazbek and a book by Itamar Moses, based on a film by Eran Kolirin. Despite its shift from screen to stage, the story remains solid – funny and moving in all the right spots. What’s more, director David Cromer, working with scenic designer Scott Pask (who has made clever use of a revolving set) and lighting designer Tyler Micoleau, has kept much of the fluidity of
film.

When the Egyptian band mistakenly arrives at Bet Hatikvah (their real destination is
the much more cosmopolitan Petah Tikvah), they find the town filled with
unhappy and incomplete people. Dina has had a string of unhappy love affairs.
Itzik ((John Cariani), a cafe regular, has a carping, discontented wife, an
infant child and no job. Papi (Daniel David Stewart) panics at the thought of
intimacy with a woman. 

Each of these people is “adopted” by some member of the band. Tewfiq (Tony
Shalhoub), commander of the Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra, allowing
Dina to usher him around the city, reassures her she is a good woman. Simon
(Alok Tewari), the clarinetist, reminds Itzik that it’s not too late for him to
take charge of his life. Haled (Ari’el Stachel), who is in the habit of telling
women they have beautiful eyes, counsels Papi on how to approach a woman.

The Israelis, in their own way, also manage to help their visitors heal. Dina eases
some of the pain Tewfiq is carrying. Simon is inspired to work on his
unfinished clarinet concerto.

Yazbek’s score reflects a middle eastern motif, but it is not always particularly
compelling. His lyrics can have an aching dignity (“Look at those hands, those
are not young hands/But they move like they are swimming through the music”).
But they can also be trite (“Time’s like a river, sometimes”). 

Somehow the cast makes everything work, even the not so wonderful lyrics. Shalhoub and Lenk are particularly heaatbreaking as a mismatched but infinitely sweet and
soulful couple.

Best of all, The Band’s Visit relies on a premise we cannot get too much of
these days: human beings are perfectly capable of relating to one another, no
matter what their ethnic backgrounds.

The Band’s Visit is at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater, 336 West 20
St., through Dec. 23,
www.atlantictheater.org. Photo: Ahron R. Foster


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The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World *** 1/2

By:  Isa Goldberg

It’s not entirely clear what Suzan-Lori Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is
up to in her phantasmagoria at The Signature Theatre, Off Broadway. Written in
1990, it still makes for a captivating 70-minutes of theater.

Patrena_Murray__Jamar_Williams__Daniel_J__Watts__Reynaldo_Piniella__David_Ryan_SmithMARCUSPatrena Murray, Jamar Williams, Daniel J. Watts, Reynaldo Puneulla, David Ryan Smith

By:  Isa Goldberg

It’s not entirely clear what Suzan-Lori Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is
up to in her phantasmagoria at The Signature Theatre, Off Broadway. Written in
1990, it still makes for a captivating 70-minutes of theater.

Patrena_Murray__Jamar_Williams__Daniel_J__Watts__Reynaldo_Piniella__David_Ryan_SmithMARCUSPatrena Murray, Jamar Williams, Daniel J. Watts, Reynaldo Puneulla, David Ryan Smith


A cacophony of characters, ranging from Prunes and Prisms (Mirirai Sithole), who
only says those very words, and in the strictly affected manner described in
Dickens’ novel,
Little Dorrit; Voice on Thuh Tee V (William Demeritt),
who looks and speaks like a TV reporter, and Quen-Then-Pharaoh Hatshepsut
(Amelia Workman), among several others. Black Man With Watermelon, the central
character is powerfully portrayed by Daniel J. Watts.

Together these characters, brilliantly costumed unto their iconic natures by Montana
Blanco, create a vivid ensemble. Dancing around Riccardo Hernandez’s set, an
electric chair, a long extended dead limb, and a rope for hanging, they evoke a
panorama of choreographic styles from the minstrel show to pharaonic dance. 

At one point, they are encouraged to put the chair in the middle of the city so people
can come to watch with their picnic baskets. Raja Feather Kelly’s choreography
creates a wonderful sense of movement and action on the stage, in spite of the
underlying outrage.

That they are desperate to bring attention to their situation explains Prunes and Prisms
prim and proper speech, and the need for Voice on Thuh Tee V’s pronouncements.
Driven by the fear that the past will be erased and history distorted, they
decide to document their lives, but even then they realize the document may not
survive, and in the future, people will not be aware that the black race ever existed.

Accompanied by outrageous sound effects (Palmer Hefferan), and projections (Hannah
Wasileski) of video static that grow into thundering drums, the Black Man With
Watermelon is lynched. He is joined, ceremoniously, by several other watermelon
bearing Blacks.

Passionately and energetically directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, Parks’ black comedy show us lies that parade as truths, and the lives that are usurped by those lies.

The Death of the Last Black Man in America
 is now playing at Signature’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater, 480 West 42 Street through December 18, 2016. Photo: Joan Marcus

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The Band’s Visit ****1/2

A Visit We’re Sorry to See Come to an End

By: Lauren YargerAri___el_Stachel__David_Garo_Yellin__George_Abud__Tony_Shaloub__Harvey_Valdes__Sam_Sadigursky__Alok_Tewari__AHRON_R__FOSTER
Ari’el Stachel, David Garo Yellin, George Abud, Tony Shaloub, Harvey Valdes, Sam Sadigursky, Alok Tewari

A Visit We’re Sorry to See Come to an End

By: Lauren YargerAri___el_Stachel__David_Garo_Yellin__George_Abud__Tony_Shaloub__Harvey_Valdes__Sam_Sadigursky__Alok_Tewari__AHRON_R__FOSTER
Ari’el Stachel, David Garo Yellin, George Abud, Tony Shaloub, Harvey Valdes, Sam Sadigursky, Alok Tewari


What happens when you mix s
ome lost Egyptian musicians with some Israeli
residents bore
d with life in the dessert? With Director David Cromer as the
chef, you get a recipe for a satisfying slice of life in the world premiere of
David Yazbek’s
The Band’s Visit Off-Broadway at Atlantic Theater Company.

With a book by Itamar Moses, based Erin Kolirin’s screenplay for the film by
the same name,  and music and lyrics by Yazbek, The Band’s Visit
transports us to another world, yet tells a warm, refreshingly human story that
feel close to home.



Tony Shalhoub stars as conductor Tewfiq, who in 1996 has traveled with Eygpt’s
police band to play at a dedication ceremony for the new Arab Cultural Affairs
Center. A mix up in the name of their destination lands the band in the middle
of nowhere — Bet Hatikva — instead of the city of Petah Tikva.

Residents of the town welcome the travelers — after all, this is the most
exciting thing that has happened around there in a while — share food at the
local cafe owned by made-hard-by-life Dina (Katarina Lenk) and offer the men
places to sleep in their homes until they can catch the right bus to their
destination the next morning.

It’s amazing what can happen in one night. Tewfiq and Haled (Ari’el Stachel),
who is responsible for the mixup, stay with Dina. Others stay with new father
Itzak (John Cariani), whose wife is about to leave him, and in the restaurant
itself. Dina decides to be spontaneous and takes Tewfiq out to show him the
sites — as they are — and others head out on a roller skating date. The
evening is magical with regrets and confidences being shared and unexpected
friendships taking root. And could Dina be feeling something more than
friendship with her shy, widowed companion?

The action, expertly directed by Cromer who works his usual magic, takes place
on Scott Pask’s bleak set — as colorless as the lives of the people living
there. A revolving moves the story from place to place partnered with subtle
lighting shifts designed by Tyler Micoleau.  Choreography by Patrick
McCollum and movement by Lee Sher assist. .

The plot unfolds in songs full of emotion, yearning and heartfelt desires. One
character, identified only as Telephone Guy, waits expectantly by a pay phone,
frozen in time as he awaits a call form his girlfriend. The longing  and
need in his soul is visible. We don’t know why he thinks she is going to call,
or whether there is any chance she might, be we sure hope she will.

A nice touch is that, despite our expectations, politics really isn’t a factor.
How refreshing to think that people can come together and find kindness and generosity despite differences in politics.

The band members are just in name only. The actors actually play instruments —
sometimes as accompaniment, sometimes as part of the visit — and later, a
small concert delights the audience. Music Director Andrea Grody goes for raw
feeling rather than perfect pitch and the effect sharpens the songs as part of
storytelling rather than performance. The cast also features George Abud,
 Bill Army Erik Liberman, Andrew Polk, Rachel Prather. Jonathan Raviv,
Sharone Sayegh, Kristen Sieh, Daniel David Stewart and Alok Tewari.


I didn’t want the visit to end. “Monk” fans, this character won’t
remind you of your favorite TV detective, but you will want to see Shalhoub
shine in this heartwarming, magical musical.


The Band’s Visit 
plays through Jan. 1 at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda
Gross Theater, 336 West 20 St., NYC. Performance times vary. Tickets are
$90: atlantictheater.org/playevents/thebandsvisit; 866-811-4111.

 Additional credits: 
Sound Design, Clive Goodwin; Projections content design, Maya
Cirrocchi; Projections system design, Five OHM; Hair and Wig Design,
Charles La Pointe
Language and Dialect Coach,  Mouna R’miki.

Photo: Ahron  R. Foster

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The Bodyguard @ Paper Mill ***

Paper Mill Playhouse Debuts U.S. Premiere of The Bodyguard Starring Deborah Cox 

By: Ellis Nassour

BodyguardCorrectedLogo

Paper Mill Playhouse Debuts U.S. Premiere of The Bodyguard Starring Deborah Cox 

By: Ellis Nassour

BodyguardCorrectedLogo


The North American pre
miere of The Bodyguard opened Sunday at Milburn, NJ’s Paper Mill Playhouse, which was honored  with a 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award. It stars multi-platinum R&B/pop record artist and film/TV actress Deborah Cox
(Broadway Aida and Jekyll & Hyde revival) as idolized singer/actress Rachel Marron
, with Judson Mills (Film/TV, including Westworld and Walker,
Texas Ranger) as Frank Farmer, former Secret Service agent, now a
bodyguard for hire to the rich and famous. It is set to run through January 1.


The musical is the stage adaptation of the 1962 Warner Bros. hit
film, which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Kostner. Following the Paper
Mill, Cox will embark on a national tour with the show. With such Paper Mill
productions as Newsies, Honeymoon in Vegas, and A Bronx Tale
moving to Broadway one might wonder if The Bodyguard will join that
roster.

Award-winning Brit Thea Sharrock (U.K./Broadway Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe) is director, with book Alexander Dinelaris, one of the four Oscar-winning
screenwriters of 2015 Best Picture Birdman …, adapted from Lawrence Kasdan’s
screenplay.

Houston fans will be in heaven with the 16 mostly-chart topping tunes written by numerous pop composers. They include with
“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton, a smash for Parton and Houston,
“Greatest Love of All,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,””I’m Every Woman,” “All
the Man that I Need,” “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving ALL My
Love,” “Run to You,” and “I Have Nothing.” The tunes are cleverly placed
as concert numbers and book moments.

It’s a heavy load, but Cox has the pipes to deliver them, too. She’s not only has great stage presence, but also stamina. She’s rarely off stage during the two
hour abridgement of the film [with 20 minute intermission]. Amazingly, three
days a week she does matinee and evening performances. 

When she’s given a break, audiences will be mesmerized
by the powerhouse voice of Jasmin Richardson, who plays Rachel’s sister Nicki,
who acts as her secretary and confidant but also has dreams of stardom. You may
recognize her from her Clinque ads or seen her on tour with Memphis and Dreamgirls.
Considering her very important featured role and stunning voice, it’s
surprising she’s not given special billing.

Mills is handsome and macho and adequately goes
through the paces, but with more stage experience he would really shine.
Chemistry is vital for Frank and Rachel to fall so quickly in love. Mills and
Cox work well together; but the vast Paper Mill’s auditorium and huge stage
[certainly larger than 90% of Broadway’s], work against each other in intimate,
romantic moments.

BodGuardDCoxCompany

In addition to five featured cast members, which
includes the standout young Douglas Baldeo as Rachel’s son Fletcher
[alternating with him at several performances is Kevelin B. Jones III], there’s
an ensemble of 13.  

The Bodyguard is a by-the-books adaptation of the screenplay. Frank is brought
aboard to protect superstar Rachel after she receives threats of bodily harm
from a stalker obsessed with her. We never find out why he is or what has
turned him so drastically against her. In one precarious moment, with Rachel
performing for avid fans, Frank spots the stalker, rushes to the stage, and
copying that iconic moment from the film and which is well-staged, sweeps her
into his arms and carries her off.

You might have expected more from Dinelaris. He does
create some suspense, but this romantic thriller never rises much above pulp
level or an extravagant soap-opera. Since it’s not the two-hour-plus film,
things have to move fast. Rachel and Frank are at odds one moment and before you
know it in a romantic entanglement. One of the show’s highlights is the date
Frank takes Rachel on. Instead of a busy café, as in the film, it’s a dive of a
karaoke bar, where she dares him to sing. Before we hear Rachel sing “I Will
Always Love You,” Frank, who admits he can’t sing a note, murders it. To prove
her credentials, she follows with “I Have Nothing,” which segues into a
big-belt, heavily-orchestrated triumph.

BodGuardFinaleCoxMillsRichardsonJones

Into Act Two, Frank soon realizes he can’t have it
both ways – be in love and remain focused on protecting his star. He breaks off
the relationship – well, yes and no, as you’ll find out.

The stage version opens just as the film does – with a
jolting loud bang – gunshots ringing out that elicited quite a reaction from
the audience. Fans of the film will be quite startled by a quite drastic change
from the screenplay Dinelaris makes re: Nicki’s role. No spoiler alert. As in
the film, she’s also attracted to Frank, especially when she sees how Rachel
initially treats him because his strict security is denying her access to her
fans. He appears to be attracted to her. But who’s he there to protect and
serve? Nicki’s fervor grows along with jealously when she realizes he’ll never
be hers.

The Bodyguard, seemingly set present day, has glitzy
Vegas revue-style costumes and gorgeous and sexy gowns for Cox by Tim Hatley.
There’s nothing original about the choreography by Olivier winner Karen Bruce
(Donmar Warehouse’s Pacific Overtures; numerous West End shows/U.K.
tours). For production numbers that Cox fronts, it’s the acrobatic and wildly
energetic style she’s successfully done for stage and top-rated TV dance
shows. 

The orchestrations by Chris Egan, who has worked in all aspect of show business, are stellar. Music director/keyboardist Matthew Smedal conducts a seven-piece orchestra which often sounds like a full
symphony.

Paper Mill’s acoustics are great. But production musical supervisor Mike Dixon, musical supervisor Richard Beadle, and Sharrock have chosen
overamplification through banks of speakers which, with the addition of back-up
singers, makes it difficult to hear Cox in the production numbers. Luckily,
hopefully, a majority of the audience, especially the Houston fans, know the
tunes. The musical moments that really shine are the quieter ones, such as when
she sits at a piano or sings longingly of wanted to be loved for more than her
fame.   

The Bodyguard debuted on London’s West End in 2012, starring R&B recording artist Beverly Knight, knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2007.

It was nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best Musical and won
Whatsonstage’s Award for Best Musical. The show has toured the U.K. and is now
back on the West End, starring R&B artist Alexandra Burke (British X-Factor
winner; Sister Act tour as Sister Mary Clarence, then taking over the
role of  Deloris Van Cartier, the role Color Purple’s Tony and
Drama Desk-winner Cynthia Erivo created. Burke headlines the cast recording
(First Night Records).  

Essential information:

The Bodyguard
has some startling gunfire and a few low-level risqué moments,
it’s fairly PG-13. 

Paper Mill productions are made possible with support from the NJ
State Council on the Arts.

Bodyguard tickets are $32 – $113 and  may be purchased box office, by calling (973) 376-4343, or online at www.PaperMill.org. Student $20 rush tickets
can be purchased by phone or at box office day of the performance. Groups of 10
or more receive up to a 40% discount by calling (973) 315-1680.

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Winter Rhythms ***

Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits Series 

By: Paulanne Simmons

 Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms, which benefits its Arts & Education program,
features over one hundred artists in more than twenty cabaret and musical
theater shows. Each show only runs for one night. And each night is a gem.
HeaderWR2016

The Dec. 3 Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest
Hits Series
at the Metropolitan Room featured performances that were funny,
moving and sentimental. Given the opportunity to present their very best, many
of the performers chose songs that were extremely personal.

Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits Series 

By: Paulanne Simmons

 Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms, which benefits its Arts & Education program,
features over one hundred artists in more than twenty cabaret and musical
theater shows. Each show only runs for one night. And each night is a gem.
HeaderWR2016

The Dec. 3 Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest
Hits Series
at the Metropolitan Room featured performances that were funny,
moving and sentimental. Given the opportunity to present their very best, many
of the performers chose songs that were extremely personal.

Mark Nadler and Adam Shapiro were both in their effervescent prime. Nadler triumphed with the tour-de-force tongue-twister, “Tschaikowsky (and other Russians).”
Shapiro took a hilarious jab at our dating practices with”Hey Let’s Be Friends
(for Rule #6 Never Use the F Word)” and “Making Love Alone.” Meg Flather taught
the audience a whole bunch of unrelated French words and phrases, helping
enormously those in need of extra sophistication.

There were a few numbers from tribute shows. Jenna Esposito sang Connie Frances with ,”Many Years Ago” and the spring break movie song “Where the Boys Are.” Karen
Oberlin paid tribute to Frank Loesser with “Hamlet” and “What Are You Doing
Christmas Eve?” Mareen Taylor reprised “Some Mistakes” and “My Place in the
World” from  Taylor Made: Bob Merrill.

 Susan Winter sang “Old Friend” for her parents, and Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin
“How Do You Fall Back in Love” for themselves and anyone who’s ever lost a
lover.

Finally July Reyburn provided a strong emotional ending with Sondheim’s cautionary
“Children Will Listen” and Disney’s inspirational “When You Wish Upon a Star.” 

 Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30 St., www.urbanstages.org,
(212) 695-5131

HeaderWeb2

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ACA Galleries Opening

Michael Netter: CRYPTOGRAPHICS on view through July 29

ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street in the Gallery District, hosted on opening reception for the exhibition of Michael Netter’s paintings, video art and assemblages from the 1970s to the present. A self-taught artist and a protégé of Andy Warhol, Michael was fully immersed in the dynamic art world of New York City in the early 1970s working continuously for more than 40 years.


Michael_Netter__Casey_BergenMichael Netter, Casey Bergen

Michael Netter: CRYPTOGRAPHICS on view through July 29

ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street in the Gallery District, hosted on opening reception for the exhibition of Michael Netter’s paintings, video art and assemblages from the 1970s to the present. A self-taught artist and a protégé of Andy Warhol, Michael was fully immersed in the dynamic art world of New York City in the early 1970s working continuously for more than 40 years.

Michael_Netter__Casey_Bergen
Michael Netter, Casey Bergen

From a family of Hollywood moviemakers, Netter at the age of 22 in 1970 was drawn to the Sony Portopak, the world’s first portable video system. At this point he was introduced to Andy Warhol by his good friend and fellow Georgetown alumnus and Interview Magazine editor, Bob Colacello. Michael shot 200 videos of Factory superstars and celebrities including Dennis Hopper and fashion designer Halston. Encouraged by Andy, Netter continuing to paint while building a successful corporate consulting practice over the next three decades developing logo designs, branding strategies, and product innovations for Verizon, United Artists, Coca-Cola, Merrill Lynch, Kraft, Chase Bank, American Express and other companies.

For Netter, painting has always been about self-fulfillment and the act of creation keeping the purity of his experience by remaining private with his art. The work now on exhibition at ACA Galleries showcases a raw talent long overdue for recognition. Rarely has such a body of work been hidden from the public for so long.

Photography: Patrick Christiano
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Susan___John_von-Brachel
Susan & John von-Brachel

Eliza___Hannah_Netter
Eliza & Hannah Netter

Jen_Devour__Nina_Fraas__Janie_Fine
Jen Devour, Nina Fraas, Janie Fine

Lynne_Gilson__Joel_Schuman
Lynne Gilson, Joel Schuman

Victoria_Hopper__Mikaela_Lamarche__
Victoria Hopper, Mikaela Lamarche

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Jaeq_Dowling__Vaughn_Bergen__Sherman_Lakha
Jaeq Dowling, Vaughn Bergen, Sherman Lakha

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The Bodyguard @ Paper Mill

The North American premiere of THE BODYGUARD, a hit new musical based on the Warner Bros. film by Lawrence Kasdan, with a book by Alexander Dinelaris opened at The Paper Mill Playhouse, the recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, in
Milburn, New Jersey. 
DSC_7170Deborah Cox, Judson Mills

The North American premiere of THE BODYGUARD, a hit new musical based on the Warner Bros. film by Lawrence Kasdan, with a book by Alexander Dinelaris opened at The Paper Mill Playhouse, the recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, in
Milburn, New Jersey. 
DSC_7170Deborah Cox, Judson Mills

Deborah Cox, a multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist, plays superstar Rachel Marron, the role made famous by Whitney Houston in the film. And television star Judson Mills plays Frank Farmer  (Kevin Costner is the film), a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, who is hired to protect her from a deranged stalker. Directed by Thea Sharrock with choreography by Karen Bruce the romantic thriller plays out like an extravagant soap-opera boasting scores of irresistible classic songs including “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving ALL My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” and Whitney Houston’s biggest selling hit of all time, “I Will Always Love You.”   

The limited engagement of The Bodyguard opened on Sunday, December 1 and continues through January 1, 2017 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive Milburn, NJ, prior to kicking off a national tour, which opens at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN on January 10. For tickets or more information call 973-376-4343 or online at www.PaperMill.org

Photography:Barry Gordin

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DSC_7184
Jasmin Richardson, Deborah Cox

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DSC_7197Jasmin Richardson

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Douglas Baldeo

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Marc Bouwer, Deborah Cox, Judson Mills

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Nick Scandalios, Deborah Cox, Judson Mills

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DSC_7120Judson Mills  Curtain Call

DSC_7122Deborah Cox, Judson Mills Curtain Call

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Curtain Call

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Deborah Cox, Jorge Paniagua Curtain Call

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Deborah Cox

Drama Desk 2016 Holiday Party

On Monday, December 5, 2016 the Drama Desk hosted their Annual Holiday Party for members and guests at the Coffee House Club on West 44th Street in the theater district. The 61st Annual  Drama Desk Awards will be presented by TheaterMania on June 5 2016 at Town Hall  in New York City.
1_21Lauren Yarger, Richie Ridge, Charles Wright, Edward Karam

On Monday, December 5, 2016 the Drama Desk hosted their Annual Holiday Party for members and guests at the Coffee House Club on West 44th Street in the theater district. The 61st Annual  Drama Desk Awards will be presented by TheaterMania on June 5 2016 at Town Hall  in New York City.
1_21Lauren Yarger, Richie Ridge, Charles Wright, Edward Karam

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4_10Richie Ridge, Lauren Schneider, Peter Filichia

10_9Isa Goldberg, Robert Blume

12_4John Istel, David Sheward

21_2William Wolf, Lilian Wolf

20_3Helen Freedman, Lauren Yarger

DSC_7231Leslie Hoban Blake, Charles Gross

14_6Paulanne Simmons, Patrick Christiano

22_2

Boychiks of Broadway ****

By Paulanne Simmons

 Although “White Christmas” is certainly appropriate for the season, as Alexis Fishman
said at the beginning of her show, Boychiks of Broadway, “It was not the
first song you were expecting to hear.” However, the truth is “White Christmas”
was written by that most Jewish of Broadway composers, Israel Isidore Baline,
a.k.a Irving Berlin. 

AlexisFishman-262x272
Alexis Fishman 

And, as Fishman pointed out, many of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews:
“Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and so many, many more.

By Paulanne Simmons

 Although “White Christmas” is certainly appropriate for the season, as Alexis Fishman
said at the beginning of her show, Boychiks of Broadway, “It was not the
first song you were expecting to hear.” However, the truth is “White Christmas”
was written by that most Jewish of Broadway composers, Israel Isidore Baline,
a.k.a Irving Berlin. 

AlexisFishman-262x272
Alexis Fishman 

And, as Fishman pointed out, many of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews:
“Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and so many, many more.

 
If Fishman began her show at Pangea in the holiday spirit, the rest of the evening
was devoted to a traditional Broadway repertoire. Fishman has a vibrant voice
and a versatility that allows for a great variety of singing styles. 

 
From Broadway’s Golden Age, she chose Bernstein/Comden & Green’s “Some Other
Time” from On the Town and a whirlwind 18 song medley that included
Frank Loesser’s “Luck Be a Lady,” George Gershwin (Gershowitz) and DuBose
Heyward’s “Summertime,” and Rodgers and Hart’s “Bewitched, Bothered and
Bewildered.” For Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s duet from Fiddler on the
Roof
, “Do you love me?,” Fishman selected a partner from the audience.
Reading from cue cards, he did quite well, and both performer and guest
received a hearty round of applause.

 
Of course there was lots of Sondheim: “Now You Know” from Merrily We Roll Along,
“Sorry Grateful” from Company and “Moment in the Woods”  from Into
the Woods
. Despite Fishman’s powerful voice and persuasive personality,
after three such songs, Sondheim’s persistently neurotic questioning was
exhausting.

 
But happily all that Sondheim was followed by Tracy Stark’s relaxing piano
interlude of Broadway favorites from shows with Jewish composers: Oklahoma!,
A Chorus Line, Les Miserables, Rent and many etceteras.

 
Fishman devoted her considerable talents to a few of the more contemporary songwriters as well. The audience enjoyed her gorgeous renditions of Jason Robert Brown’s “Anywhere But Here” “ and Scott Whitman and Marc Shairman’s “They Just Keep Moving the Line,”

 
Perhaps the whole meaning of the show was best summed up by the last song, from Spamalot:  

 
You may have dramatic lighting,

Or lots of horrid fighting,

You may even have some white men sing the blues!

Your knights might be nice boys,

But sadly we’re all goys,

And that noise that you call singing you must lose.

 

So, despite your pretty lights,

and naughty girls in nasty tights,

and the most impressive scenery you use…

You may have dancing mana-mano,

You may bring on a piano,

But they will not give a damn-o

If you don’t have any Jews!

 
Pangea is located at 178 2nd Ave., www.pangeanyc.com.



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Notes From The Field *****

By Isa Goldberg

Cultural anthropologist, sociologist, and performance artist, Anna Deavere Smith returns to the New York stage, with yet another jolting theater documentary. This time the subject is “the school to prison pipeline”. 

Anna_Deavere_Smith_Joan_Marcus_NOTES

By Isa Goldberg

Cultural anthropologist, sociologist, and performance artist, Anna Deavere Smith returns to the New York stage, with yet another jolting theater documentary. This time the subject is “the school to prison pipeline”. 

Anna_Deavere_Smith_Joan_Marcus_NOTES

Here, at Second Stage Theatre off Broadway, the audience arrives to a scroll of data
projected on (a kind of) video wall. One of them states that in 2016, one of
every thirteen African American citizens was not able to vote because of felony
convictions – four times that of any other group.  Smith tackles her
subject with hard facts, extensive research, and in-depth interviews. 

To illustrate her point about “prison as a right of passage” for Black Americans,
she presents seven diverse case studies. Among them, Freddie Gray in Baltimore,
who at the age of 25 was murdered for the unforgivable act of looking a
policeman in the eye. And Niya Kenny in South Carolina, who at eighteen was
sent to an adult penitentiary for defending another girl from the demands of a
white male teacher.

Throughout these grueling tales of racial injustice, Smith ever the performance artist,
portrays all of the characters, one more poignant than the next. Through the
powerful words of her subjects, the playwright describes the process by which
African Americans are incarcerated, and the system of enforced slavery, through
poverty, which prevails and pervades.

From her early works, Fires in the Mirror and Twilight Los Angeles about
the riots in Crown Heights and LA respectively, Anna Deavere Smith has been a
chronicler of injustice. And she’s so entertaining, the didacticism simply
becomes a form of consciousness raising.” If everyone could just help one kid,
it would be a better world,” she tells us, and asks us to repeat it. 

Today, at time that is so heavy with political strife, Smith is as rousing as she has
ever been. Brilliant, focused, and deeply heartfelt.

Notes From the Field is now  playing at Second  Stage at the Tony Kiser Theater, 305 West 43 Street. For tickets call 212 246-4422.
Photo: Joan Marcus

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Steps on Broadway Benefit

Call Fosse at the Minskoff  December 3 Performance to Benefit Steps on Broadway

By: Ellis NassourCall_Fosse

Call Fosse at the Minskoff  December 3 Performance to Benefit Steps on Broadway

By: Ellis NassourCall_Fosse

Mimi Quillin is returni
ng to perform the one-woman play she penned about her experiences as a Fosse dancer and assistant to the late choreographer/director, Call Fosse at the Minskoff : A Dancer’s Journey, one-night-only, December 3. It’s a
benefit for the non-profit Steps Beyond Foundation and its Steps on Broadway
arm. It will be at 8 P.M. at Steps Studio Theatre (
2121 Broadway at 74th Street). Quillin debuted her play in September as part of the NYC United Solo Festival.


Steps on Broadway “is committed to connecting artists and the community through dialogue, dance scholarships, performance, and artistic collaboration.”


In 1985, when Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon joined forces for a revival of Fosse’s 1966  Sweet Charity, score by Dorothy Fields and Cy Coleman and book by Neil Simon
(adapted from Fellini’s saucy Nights of Cabiria), Quillin was invited
into their creative world not only to play the role of Mimi but also to assist
as dance captain – all a result of a fateful meeting with Gwen Verdon while a
dancer American Dance Machine.


“Gwen had been observing me and came over,” explains Quillin. “We chatted briefly and she handed me a note which read ‘Call Fosse at the Minskoff .’ I told her I had
just auditioned for Bob, and thought it had gone badly. In addition to his
phone number, she gave strict instructions on what to wear for my audition. It was that wonderful moment
and opportunity that changed the shape of my career.”


Fosse was one of Quillin’s idols, and she had auditioned for him. He said,
“You’re a good dancer, but you look terrible!” It was the very next
day that she met Verdon, who phoned Fosse to see if he had hired her. He said he hadn’t. When she gave Quillin the note scibbled on a torn off corner of an envelope, she told her, “He might want to see you again.” Verdon literally dressed her new friend “from head to foot and in much sexier clothing.”

Verdon told Quillin that she reminded her of herself, “not much up close, but
put me onstage and I light up.” Quillin took that as the ultimate compliment.
At her call back, so to speak, Fosse “put me through a complete chorus audition
all by myself.”  At the end, he told her, “Gwen was right about
you. What an eye she has!”

 

Quillin says that Fosse and Verdon, still
married at that point, “were inextricably linked artistically and through the
heart. Their relationship, while puzzling to outsiders, was rock solid. Gwen
was the one  with him when he died. I have this image of Gwen as
Bob’s ‘second,’ as in dueling. She protected him to the end.”

Fosse pushed the boundaries of traditional theater
dance with his unique blend of influences from ballet, ballroom, tap, soft
shoe, knee slides, and acrobatics.

Dancing for Fosse was “a roller coaster ride
for both body and soul,” states Quillin. “It’s not secret he was tough. His
choreography required physical discipline and complete surrender to his
masterful signature style. Bob directed his dancers like actors, telling them
to think of the steps in a dance like words in a script. He’d say, ‘Dance the
meaning of the steps. Don’t try to be real, just tell the truth and the
audience will come to you.’

“Working with Bob,” she continues, “you stepped on the gas the first day and
never let up. Everyone comes in with one thousand percent. In fact, working so
intimately with Fosse and Verdon was more
than just a job. It became a time of incredible self discovery and empowerment.

TaxiDancers


In her play she shares “a
professional relationship, with the highs
and lows of Bob’s final years. It reveals his fickle nature both on and off
stage, and provides an inside look into the unique relationship of this
fascinating couple.”  

There’s been high praise for her up-close-and-personal story, “which is filled
with comedy and one-liners. It’s as if Quillin is channeling Gwen Verdon.”

Quillin went on to appear in Ain’t
Broadway Grand
(1993) and Ragtime (1998),  her last Broadway
outing. She remained in touch with Verdon, working with her again on a Broadway
Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraiser – and stays in touch with Fosse’s “family
of dancers.” Quillin has danced and choreographed here and abroad. She also
teaches the Fosse/Verdon legacy in master classes.

Sweet Charity was Tony-nominated for Best Musical, with
a win for Fosse as choreographer and nods to him as director, Verdon, co-star s
John McMartin (Oscar) and Helen Gallagher (Nickie), and score. It played 308
performances. Christina Applegate starred in a 2005 revival.

The 1966 revival of Sweet Charity, starred Debbie Allen, Bebe Newirth as
Nickie, Michael Rupert as Oscar, and Mark Jacoby as Vittorio. It ran 369
performances.

The musical is currently in a 50th Anniversary revival by the New Group
which stars Sutton Foster, Asmeret Ghebremichael (Nickie), Shuler Hensley
(Oscar), and Joel Perez (Vittorio). It’s directed by Leigh Silverman, with
choreography by Joshua Bergasse.


Benefit tickets for the one-night-only
Call Fosse at the Minskoff: A Dancer’s Journey are $50, which, includes a post-performance reception. General admission tickets are $20, $15 for students. To purchase, visitwww.stepsnyc.com/steps-beyond. For more information on Steps Beyond Foundation and Steps on Broadway, visit www.stepsnyc.com.

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Kids’ Night on Broadway

The Broadway League announced the shows participating int he 21st Kids’ Night on Broadway, which will take place Tuesday, February 28th, 2017. Tickets to participating shows will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 10:30 am.
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The Broadway League announced the shows participating int he 21st Kids’ Night on Broadway, which will take place Tuesday, February 28th, 2017. Tickets to participating shows will go on sale to the public on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 10:30 am.
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Kids’ Night on Broadway® is an annual event where kids 18 and under can attend participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket includes restaurant discounts, parking discounts, activities, and more.

 
Participating* 2017 shows to date include:
Aladdin,  Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, A Bronx Tale, Cats, Chicago, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, In Transit, August Wilson’s Jitney, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, On Your Feet!, The
Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock the Musical, Significant Other, Waitress, 
and Wicked.

 
Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, says, “Kids’ Night on Broadway is growing up — this year we have a range of participating shows that will appeal to kids, teens, and their parents! Other League programs including the National
High School Musical Theatre Awards and our new website
BwayZone.com reiterate
our dedication to educating all ages about how live theatre can engage and
inspire.”

 
On Tuesday, February 28th, 2017, select shows will offer in-theatre activities for kids including post-show talkbacks, Kid’s Night on Broadway activity books and more. Participating restaurants will  offer specials for Kids’ Night on Broadway including discounts for kids and free entrees 
for kids. Check
www.kidsnightonbroadway to find participating restaurants 

 
KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY®, a program of The Broadway League, is generously presented by The New York Times and is sponsored by WABC-TV with additional support from Turnstyle and Westchester Family.



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This Day Forward **

By: Isa Goldberg

The horrors of family life have been fueling Nicky Silver’s dramadies for some time
now.  In his early play, Pterodactyls (1993), he wished the nuclear
family into extinction. And when he made his Broadway debut just four years
ago, with The Lyons, it was with an equally acrimonious family. In fact,
Linda Lavin couldn’t have been bitchier or funnier in her role as the wife of a
dying man.

ThisDayForward0361_Joe_Tippett__Holley_Fain__Andrew_Burnap_and_Michael_Crane

By: Isa Goldberg

The horrors of family life have been fueling Nicky Silver’s dramadies for some time
now.  In his early play, Pterodactyls (1993), he wished the nuclear
family into extinction. And when he made his Broadway debut just four years
ago, with The Lyons, it was with an equally acrimonious family. In fact,
Linda Lavin couldn’t have been bitchier or funnier in her role as the wife of a
dying man.

ThisDayForward0361_Joe_Tippett__Holley_Fain__Andrew_Burnap_and_Michael_Crane

Currently,  Off Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre with his latest comedy, This Day
Forward
– a dark one to be sure, he takes us back to the wedding night of
two, soon to be unhappily married people.  

Martin (Michael Crane) is a privileged Jewish boy who is head over heals over Irene
(Holley Fain). But Irene is in love with Emil (Joe Tippitt), a grease monkey
who drinks beer, and loses all his money at a game of dice. Besides, Irene’s
parents hate him. They love Martin – he’s wealthy, Jewish, and tame. 

At the realization of Irene’s discontent, however, Martin tries to buy her off with
the dream of a house in the suburbs – Westchester. It’s 1958. The entire
American economy is focused on building that ideal life style and the
incredible infrastructure that will make it possible. 

But at the end of Act I, Irene leaves him and their room at the St. Regis hotel, with its
tepid pink walls and milquetoast décor (scenic design by Allen Moyer). 
Martin’s only consolation is the Polish maid, portrayed with inconsolable wit
by June Gable  (television’s “Friends”).  She is right out of an “I
Love Lucy” episode. 

It’s 2004 when Act II opens. We are in a swank Manhattan condo. Here, Martin Crane
portrays Noah, Martin and Irene’s son, a theater director with lots of cred and
an avaricious eye for sexy young men. In that role, Andrew Burnap (the porter
from Act I) is well suited, albeit a bit sensitive. 

In reflecting on his youth, we learn that Noah’s dad had hit him with his belt,
and his mother let him know that she never wanted him. Nothing too out of the
ordinary, as director Mark Brokaw presents it. Just the outcome of the years of
bitter disappointment that marked their marriage, and destroyed their children.

As it turns out, This Day Forward is more of an indictment of American life,
and how we’ve built it, than a promise of a glowing future. In fact, these
beneficiaries of the aspiring ‘50s appear simply callow.

This Day Forward  is now playing at Vineyard Theater, 108 West 15 Street, through December 18, 2016 . For tickets call 212-353-0303

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