Low. Very low. The lowest of the low, as in burlesque. ABSINTHE in the Spiegeltent by The South Street Seaport evokes German cabaret of the 30’s & 40’s as though it were iPod music with an ear to the taste of today’s busy urban professionals.
As the lead singer, a cross dresser and female impersonator Paul Capsis says early in the show “Marlene let me be your personal iPhone.” Besides Miss Dietrich and Janis Joplin, he does a Judy Garland imitation in which he takes the hand of an audience member. The night I attended it just happened to be the gossip columnist Cindy Adams. He looked deeply into the octogenarian’s surgically enhanced eyes and remarked in a drunken haze, “Liza, it’s Mama. We look more and more alike every day.”
Lonnie Price has directed the American Premiere of "The Night Season," a new play by the gifted Rebecca Lenkiewicz that opened May 16 at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Price, who helmed the current revival of "110 In the Shade" for Roundabout Theater at Studio 54, has assembled a magnificent cast headed by Katherine Helmond as an eccentric grandmother, who sings show tunes. The charming story that takes us to Sligo, Ireland, the idyllic home of William Butler Yeats, where a charismatic movie star lodges with three fiesty sisters and their family while shooting a film about the poet's life. Helmond won a Golden Globe for her outrageous portrayal of Jessica Tate in ABC's ground breaking sitcom "Soap" in the late 1970's, but she is probably best known to the world as Mona from television's "Who's the Boss?" with Tony Danza. The remaining cast in the winning production of the bittersweet tale includes Rosie Benton, David Patrick Kelly, Michael O'Keefe, Kellie Overbey, Ana Reeder and Richard Short. "The Night Season" was a resounding success in 2004 at the National Theatre's Cottesloe stage in London and will run through July 1 at Bay Street Theatre. For tickets and more information call 631- 725-9500. Photography: Barry Gordin
The opening night performance of "Romeo & Juliet" at Shakespeare in the Park ended suddenly just before the tragedy Shakespeare had intended. Alas, the two lovers on this particular night will forever remain alive. Intense thunder storms may have halted the performance, but the after party at Belvedere Castle was not a washout, as the cast celebrated their marvelous production directed by Michael Greif.. Tickets are Free! Performances are Tuesday thru Sunday at 8:00pm until July 8. Free tickets are available in Central Park at the Delacorte Theater (81st Street entrance) after 1:00pm or downtown at the Public Theater (425 Lafayette St between Astor Place and West 4th) from 1-3pm on the same day of the performances…Photos: Barry Gordin
Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring By Gordin & Christiano
Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, the creators of a new rock opera, Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring, which will be making its World Premiere at Bay Street from July 10 – August 5, are a dynamic duo that just happen to be married to each other. I met with them a couple of weeks ago at a rehearsal studio on the 5th floor of Playwright’s Horizons on West 42nd Street in New York City, where Diane was hard at work putting the cast through their paces in preparation for this week’s opening. Their hip new musical is based on a classic fairytale "Turnadot," not the Puccini opera, although, their account bears many similarities. Their Turandot, however, is set in the violent World of Professional Wrestling, but the press release declares the show is "jam-packed with some of the greatest arias from other operas…only this time they are set to a rock beat." After watching a portion of a rehearsal and chatting with the stimulating couple, I am convinced this clever theatrical event may be one of the most unique happenings on the East End this summer.
As a part of Black History Month, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts celebrated with a concert, "Melba Moore On Broadway" at their Whitman Hall Theatre. The Tony Award winning Melba Moore began her career in the ground breaking musical "Hair", where she eventually replaced Diane Keaton, becoming the first black actress to replace a white actress in a lead role on Broadway.
The two time Tony Award winning Broadway icon Tammy Grimes charmed a sold out audience of friend with songs and tales about her fascinating life at the Metropolitan Room. Photos By Rose Billings & Barry Gordin
In celebration of the 45th Anniversary of The American Place Theatre, The Players hosted a cocktail reception at their Gramercy Park South club, where they honored the theater's Aritstic Director Wynn Handman, a unique figure for over 50 years in New York theater. Photos by John Wegorzewski & Barry Gordin
The Donmar Warehouse's original production of Peter Morgan/s new play "Frost/Nixon opened on Broadway and the evening directed by Michael Grandage is dynamic all around. The dramatic tale recounting how David Frost scored the 1977 interview with Nixon, and how television humbled, the already discrased President Nixon is compelling theater with terrific performances by both Frank Langella as the President and Michael Sheen as David Frost. The highly anticipated production was an acclaimed hit in London last year. The after party was at Tavern On The Green."Frost/Nixon" opened on April 22, 2007 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Ave for a limited 20 week run.For tickets call 212-239-6200 or visit the box office.
Two vastly different brothers confront their traumatic past in Neil LaBute’s latest offering In a Dark Dark House, a mysteriously twisted tale of sibling rivalry and abuse that despite a powerfully volatile performance by Frederick Weller in the central role, curiously lacks tension. MCC Theater is presenting the world premier of the new drama Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, where the play opened a limited run engagement just last week.
The American Theatre Wing honored theater legends, Carol Channing, James Earl Jones, and Tommy Tune at their lavish Spring Gala held again at Cipriani. The 61st Annual Tony Awards, founded by the Wing, will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall this Sunday June 10th, from 8:00 – 11:00 CBS. For more information on the American Theatre Wing's diverse activities go to www.AmericanTheatreWing.org
Omigod I think Broadway’s Palace Theater totally has a huge hit with the new musical Legally Blonde. Based on the Reese Witherspoon film of the same name, the savvy new show is an effervescent delight, bristling with non stop energy for almost two and a half hours of lively fun. First time Broadway director Jerry Mitchell rarely lets up on the frenzied pace and I doubt the target audience will care one iota. The smart creative team has delivered the message of being true to yourself in a candy coated; pastel colored package that explodes with oomph bombarding the senses like an overdose of adrenalin.
The rock musical Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater took home eight Tonys including Best Musical making the ground breaking show the big winner at the 2007 Tony Awards presented live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday. Tom Stoppard's three part epic tale The Coast of Utopia stunningly produced by Lincoln Center was right behind winning seven awards including Best Pay, Director, Lighting, Scenic Design, Costumes, and Acting Awards for Billy Crudup and Jennifer Ehle. Besides Best Musical Spring Awakening took Best Book, Director, Music & Lyrics, Orchestrations, Lighting, Choreography, and Featured Actor in a Musical for John Gallagher, Jr.