Just when every girl in high school is yearning to be Lea Michele and every boy, Jonathan Groff, the teen idols of Television’s “Glee,” “Most Likely To: The Senior Superlative Musical” comes strutting down the corridor. The show, at Greenwich Village’s Players Theatre, stars real teenagers from Syosset’s Long Island High School for the Arts in a musical spoof that covers the playing field, mostly high school musicals and reality TV shows with a tad of the Olsen Twins and Harry Potter thrown in for good measure.
The stellar line-up of stars slated to perform for the 26th Annual Drama League Gala, a musical celebration, honoring Angela Lansbury at The Pierre will assuredly make for a memorable evening. The one night only black-tie gala hosted by Victor Garber and the international film star Catherine Zeta-Jones, both who are currently treading the Broadway boards in Present Laughter and A Little Night Music, respectively, will feature highlights from Ms. Lansbury’s illustrious career, including songs from Mame, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Beauty and the Beast, and Anyone Can Whistle.
Scott Siegel outdid himself this year at the 2010 NIGHTLIFE AWARDS hosted by a raucous Bruce Vilanch at Town Hall. Conceived and produced by Scott the awards honor the critic’s selections from the New York club world – cabaret, jazz, and comedy. The winners perform instead of giving the usual acceptance speechs. Everyone was wonderful, but Christine Ebersole, Cheyenne Jackson, Tovah Feldshuh, and James Barbour were stand outs from the marvelous evening directed by Scott Thompson with musical direction by Tedd Firth
Ragtime’ Foreshadowing the Era of Obama By: Isa Goldberg Imagine the shape of our American heritage as a series of simple lines and curves. Move through them quickly like an animation and a silent movie stutters into motion. Now watch them move with full orchestration and you have “Ragtime”, making its resounding revival at the Neil Simon Theatre.
Bebe Neuwirth, the Tony & Emmy Award winning star of stage and screen shared some great stories about her life in show business with NY Post theater columinst and talk show host Michael Riedel at a The Friars Club celebrity luncheon produced by Randie Levine-Miller. Best known for her starring roles on Cheers and Frasier, Bebe has also graced the Broadway stage in Chicago, Damn Yankees and Sweet Charity. Photography: Richard Lewin
Ardelle Striker, Artistic Director of the Blue Heron Theatre/Arts Center (who would have been 81 in February) died on Thursday evening, December 3rd, 2009, after a valiant two year long battle against MDS (myelodisplastic syndrome). She and her husband John had just celebrated their 60th Anniversary in November and he was at her bedside during her final struggle.
With racial issues as a recurring element throughout many new productions this season, the Obama presence is everywhere on Broadway. “Race”, David Mamet’s new play, the revival of the old-fashioned musical “Finian’s Rainbow”, the first 90’s musical to be revived on Broadway, “Ragtime”, and Bill T. Jones’ biographical show, “Fela”, about the Nigerian singer and political activist.
Scott Siegel’s Broadway Unplugged featured Bill Daugherty, Jeffry Denman John Easterlin, Kelsey Fowler, Lisa Howard, Marc Kudisch, Sarah Jane McMahon, Janet Metz, William Michals, Manu Narayan, Jill Paice, Daniel Reichard, Emily Skinner, Tony Yazbeck and others at Town Hall this past Monday November 16th. The successful concerts series that has become a staple at Town Hall on Monday nights with great stars singing great songs the old fashioned way with no microphones was the brainchild of host Scott Siegel. The 2010 Nightlife Awards will be held on January 25, 2010
SPALDING GRAY: STORIES LEFT TO TELL a performance of words by one of Sag Harbor’s most renowned storytellers Spalding Gray featured an ensemble cast including Kathleen Chalfant, Michael Cunningham, Hazelle Goodman, Ain Gordon and Mercedes Ruehl. The actors spoke directly to the audience, as Spalding himself would have done, focusing on different aspects of the writer’s life, including private journal entries, as well as excerpts from Gray’s unpublished works.
Talking to Laura Benanti “In The Next Room” By: Isa Goldberg Watching Laura Benanti one might imagine that success comes easily. With three Tony nominations and one Tony Award for her blazing performance in “Gypsy”, several recording albums, and a recurring role on TV’s “Eli Stone” behind her, one would never entertain the grueling spinal surgery that followed a potentially paralyzing pratfall in “Into the Woods”, or the loneliness and awkwardness she recalls feeling as a high school student. Regardless, she is in private conversation just as she is in public, lovely and unassuming.
Billy Elliot the Musical, based on the film, and with music by Elton John was the big winner at the 54thAnnual Drama Desk Awards winning 10 awards including Outstanding Musical at the ceremony hosted by Harvey Fierstien and produced by Robert Blume in association with TheaterManina.com. Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s play Ruined was named outstanding play. Liza Minnelli, a beloved theater icon, was given a special award for her enduring career and her hit show this season Liza’s at the Palace.
Elysabeth Kleinhans of 59E59 Theaters and Allan Buchman of the Culture Project were honored respectively with the TRU Spirit Award and the 2009 TRU Humanitarian Award at Theater Resources Unlimited Tru Love Benefit 2009 at Carolines on Broadway. The luncheon featured songs and readings from shows that made debuts at the Culture Project and 59E59 Theaters this past season.
The gifted Friar Tovah Feldshuh was honored with a star studded musical celebration at The Friars Club, which featured Len Cariou, Jim Dale, Lee Roy Reams, P.J. Benjamin, Dr. Joy Browne, Christine Pedi, Martin Vidnovic, George S. Irving Douglas J. Cohen and others. Tovah became the first woman to receive The Friars Thespian Award for Lifetime Achievement presented to her by Dean Freddie Roman at the evening produced by the incomparable Randie Levine-Miller. Photography: Barry Gordin