Theater talk this week centered around the 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards Nominations announced at the Friars Club. A Catered Affair, the Harvey Fierstein "little gem" (no pun intended) with 12 nominations headed the list, followed by Adding Machine, a brilliant musical adaptation of the 1923 Elmer Rice classic with 9 nods, while the acclaimed Lincoln Center production of "South Pacific" and the critically hammered commercialization of Mel Brook’s "YoungFrankenstein" both scored eight.
Len Cariou, Tony Award winner for "Sweeney Todd," shared behind-the-scenes stories about his life and times in show business at The Friars Club during an afternoon luncheon produced by Randie Levine-Miller.
Kathleen Clark’s charming new play "Secrets of a SoccerMom," directed by Tony Award winner Judith Ivey scored a big win for "multitasking mothers" on opening night at the Snapple Theater Center in NYC located at 510 West 50th Street at Broadway. Caralyn Kozlowski, Nancy Ringham and Deborah Sonnenberg give lovely nuanced performances as three mothers who rediscover their spirit for life with poignant results. The humorous tale explores the bonds of friendship and the need for self examination in a highly entertaining evening that is consistently winning.
"Beebo Brinker Chronicles" adapted from Ann Banon’s 1950’s lesbian pulp novels follows the lives and loves of four friends in pre-Stonewall Greenwich Village. Leigh Silverman directs Carolyn Baemler, Jenn Colella, Bill Dawes, Autumn Dornfeld, David Greenspan and Xanthe Elbrick (Coram Boy), who replaces Marin Ireland in this funny, sex and booze filled tale of surpressed passions. Beebo Is playing thru April 27 at 37 Arts at 450 West 37th St. For Tickets call 1- 212 307- 4100
Barbara Colacello will perform her one woman show LIFE ON THE DIAGONAL, her personal slant on survival in this crazy world of ours, at Theaterlab, 137 West 14th St., btwn Sixth and Seventh Avenues this Thurs, Fri., & Sat. An intimate of the Warhol factory scene, Colacello celebrates life’s mysteries and imperfections with humor, sexuality and a little madness. She charts her journey from her NY Italian Catholic roots to her current role as wife, mother, and artist with pentetrating wit weaving origninal music with spoken word and story telling.
A Drama Desk luncheon-panel discussion at Sardi’s in New York featured actors from two current Broadway plays focusing on dysfunctional familes. From the
revival of Harold Pinter’s award winning play "The Homecoming" were Ian McShane and Raul Esparza, while Randi Reed, Sally Murphy and Amy Morton spoke about Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Tracy Letts’ acclaimed drama "August: Osage County." The lively discussion was modereated by USA Today’s Elysa Gardner.
"Missives," an engaging new play by Garret Jon Groenveld opened in New York at 59E59 Theaters for a limited engagement through April 6. The story directed by Elysabeth Kleinhans explores the bonds of a most unlikely friendship when one of the friends suddenly disappears. For tickets call 212-279-4200.
As part of BLACK HISTORY MONTH, West Harlem Senator Bill Perkins honored Tony Award Winning actress Trezana Beverley, who is appearing in at The National Black Theatre, Fifth Avenue and 125th Street. The new translation of the Euripides classic by Nicholas Rudall, directed by Petronia Paley for Take Wing And Soar Productions features an all black ensemble in a powerful staging of the Greek tragedy through March 2nd. For tickets call www.smarttix.com 212-868-4444.
Downtown the LAByrinth Theater Company, now in residence at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street is presenting the world premiere of Brett C. Leonard’s Unconditional a brutal depiction of nine New York stories charged with themes of race, sex, drugs, love, justice, and betrayal. Director Mark Wing-Davey has explosively staged the violent drama for maximum effect. Under his skillful guidance, the cinematic like-tale told in brief , shocking, overlapping scenes adds up to more than is actually on the page. Wing-Davey’s powerful production unfolds on Mark Wendland’s innovative shifting set, where audience members view from all sides at different heights looking down on the action.
"Jersey Boys" Jennifer Naimo wowed them with her distinctive style and delicious voice at The Triad Theater, 158 West 72nd St (between Broadway and Columbus). Her smartly conceived cabaret show "Many the Miles" showcased her supple voice with a tasty choice of eclectic tunes for a true original. Directed by Andy Gale, with Musical Direction by Chris Haberl.
Bay Street Theatre, a not-for-profit professional regional theater located in the Hamptons on the magnificent Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, recently announced its 2008 Target Mainstage Season that will include Alec Baldwin, Kate Burton and Charles Busch. The season will run June 3 through August 31 and tickets are on sale now at www.baystreet.org
Tricia Walsh-Smith’s play “Addictions” will be presented in London and Los Angeles this May. The one night only events will be special benefit performance starring the film actress Trudie Styler, who has been married to the rock star Sting since 1991 and will be directed by the British actor Christopher Biggins.
BROADWAY STAGEHANDS STRIKE Stagehands are set to strike effective 10:00 am Saturday, shutting down most of the shows on The Great White Way with a walk out that will affect all the theaters owned by the Shubert, Nederlander, and Juyamcyn organizations. Talks between Local One, the union for the stagehands, and the producers came to a head this Wednesday and Thursday with the union setting the Saturday deadline. Stagehands have been working without a contract since July, when negotiations began and. Actors' Equity announced support for the strike on their website. Both sides appear prepared to dig in, with little indication as to how long a walk out might last. The musicians strike in 2003 shutdown Broadway for four days, an estimated $5 million loss at that box office. The New Amsterdam, Hilton, Helen Hayes, and Circle in the Square are not affected as well as the four non profit houses, Roundabout, MTC, and Lincoln Center – theaters with a separate contract with the union. Also not affected are all Special Events and Off- Broadway shows.
One of the nicest guys in the business, Tony Walton the gifted set designer, whose career encompasses Theater, Film, & Opera was honored by the National Arts Club at a festive dinner celebration presided over by Tony Award winner Jim Dale. Legendary friends like Sidney Lumet, Richard Pilbrow and Mike Nichols came to lend their support to "A Night The Stars Come Out," organized by Rose Billings (Governor of the NAC) as a loving tribute to Mr. Walton's ongoing career. Still working more than ever, Mr.Walton has now turned increasing to Directing. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1991. Photography: Barry Gordin