The 2007 Tony Honors for excellence in the theatre given annually since 1990 to Broadway’s unsung heroes, who toil off stage, were presented at Tavern on the Green this past Tuesday. The honorees Gemze de Lappe, Neil Mazzella, Alyce Gilbert, and Seymour “Red” Press were feted at a festive luncheon ceremony hosted by Tommy Tune that featured a performance by Patti Lupone. The Honorees, whose names have been in the fine print of your theater programs for decades, boast 150 years of collective experience in the business. Mr. Tune hailed them as “The virtual backbone of Broadway.” The Tony Honors are presented by The American Theatre Wing and The League of American Theatres and Producers.
Making his Broadway debut Chazz Palminteri plays all 18 characters in A Bronx Tale with impressive panache. His semi autobiographical reflections, although sentimentalized, is quite charming, even disturbing, but what stands out is Mr. Palminteri’s strong feeling for the old neighborhood and the forces that helped shape his character. Viewed from a distance of almost half a century his tale takes on added nostalgia that does not necessarily make for dynamic theater, but is nonetheless most entertaining.
Jamie deRoy & Friends honored Broadway Star and Grammy Award Winning Singer/Song Writer, Larry Gatlin with a musical tribute at the Friars Club hosted by Jamie deRoy. The evening directed by Barry Kleinbort featured James Naughton, Lari White, Sal Viviano and others with musical direction by Ian Herman.
A sex farce about a straight businessman hiding from the mob in a gay bath house must have been risqué to Broadway audiences back in 1975, but despite some funny situations, witty dialogue and much physical humor played at full throttle by the talented cast, the revival of Terrence McNally’s ground breaking play, The Ritz directed by Joe Mantello for the Roundabout, feels decidedly tame and dated. Mantello’s kind hearted send up of a more innocent time, the decade that predated the AIDS epidemic, is pure physical farce, an amusing homage to slapstick, but the dazzling tri-level set by Scott Pask with a series of shimmering red doors manages to upstage most of the action turning the evening into more of an interesting walk down memory lane than a riotous good time.
When the The Color Purple opened on Broadway back in December of 2005 we raved, “Hallelujah! The new musical is a joyous celebration of the human spirit, culled from Alice Walkers 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel,” and exclaimed “The impassioned tale is a shimmering mosaic, a triumph in every way. Here is a serious musical graced with intelligence and humor that is destined to become a classic.”
Live Out Loud, one of New York’s best non-profit organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, will hosted a special benefit performance of Charles Busch’s DieMommie Die on October 10 @8pm at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street. Die Mommie Die is one of the most-anticipated new comedies of the fall season, described as a riotous thriller set in the glamorous world of 1960s Hollywood. Die Mommie Die is written by and starring drag legend Charles Busch as Angela Arden and Emmy Award nominee Van Hansis as Lance. The play is directed by Carl Andress and presented by Bob Boyett and Daryl Roth. Check out the Photographs Below from the evening…Barry Gordin
The illustrious actress/humanitarian Vanessa Redgrave is the embodiment of an extraordinary life well lived. Her name conjures up vivid images and memories that span five decades of film and her Theater work is even more encompassing taking in an extra decade of diversely challenging roles. The world renowned actor, who Tennessee Williams called “The greatest actress of our time,” will be honored at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival with the Golden Starfish Award for career achievement in acting, and she will be making her first visit to our stunning shores as well. Part of the festivities will include the World Premiere engagement of “The Shell Seekers,” a two hour Hallmark Channel original film she made opposite Maximilian Schell that will premiere at the festival, prior to its U.S. television network showing next summer.
KLEINFELD generously sponsored an Afternoon ofElegance, a glamorous Fashion Show with a dash of bold modern style, at their magnificent 35,000 square foot showroom to benefit the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. One hundred seventy five guests attended a private Champagne Reception and Fashion Show at Kleinfeld’s extraordinary fashion emporium, which runs the length of an entire city block on West 20th Street in the heart of Chelsea.
A suspenseful new drama, Maritius, from the playwright Theresa Rebeck launches Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2007-2008 season and if the tantalizing play does not fulfill completely, the evening is nonetheless clever entertainment by way of an accomplished cast. Two postage stamps from Maritius, a picture perfect island in the Indian Ocean, propels the action of five people, who squabble over the ownership rights of a stamp collection that may be worth over 6 million dollars.
The prolific playwright Adam Rapp is at it again, stirring up a heady brew of gritty realism stuffed with the twisted values of the Sligo household. Dysfunctional families and misfits have always been a favorite of his, and with his dark new comedy American Sligo, making its World Premier at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in the West Village, Rapp does not disappoint. Nicely directed by the playwright himself to maximize the play’s jarring effects and served with committed gusto by an excellent cast, the satire is a scathing attack on the moral decay of the American family that is by turns both shocking and hilarious.
West Coast singing sensation "Devlin" will be performing at The Metropolitan Room on 2 consecutive Saturdays, October 6th & October 13th at 5:00pm. For Reservations call 212 206-0440. Devlin at her New York Cabaret Debut at Helen's last March with Julie Wilson
Walmartopia is the bargain basement of musicals: everything’s stuffed into it from musical genres spanning the last 60 years to anti-war messages that are just too contemporary. In aisle one you’ll find issues about women and minorities: in aisle 2 you can have your pick of lesbianism or cross-dressing: aisle 3, products from China: a few aisles away fire arms and fascism. Sprinkled all over is “the American Dream”. You get the point.
At Primary Stages there’s a string quartet. Let’s start again. It’s a story about a fictional string quartet performing Beethoven’s OPUS 131, a radical piece for its time, since it redefined the structure of the string quartet as a form.
Playwright/actor/songwriter Grant James Vargas plays a self loathing lead singer for a rock band in his new musical, 33 to Nothing, being presented as the first offering of the Wild Project in their sleekly renovated East Village Theater, formerly known as the Bottle Factory. 33 to Nothing chronicles a band’s turbulent rehearsal as they prepare for what will ultimately be their final gig. Although the evening often works as clever entertainment, especially the group’s performance of the songs, the concept seems to exist merely as an excuse to showcase the Vargas music and market the CD. Incidentally, Vargas wrote all the songs, except “Lost to Me,” which he co-wrote with John Good and Preston Clark.
Veteran Broadway director Daniel Sullivan has helmed a broadly comic production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, the second and final installment of Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater. The often produced romantic comedy in which the course of true love never runs smooth is a magical tale and directors over the years have often emphasized the dreamlike qualities inherent in the story, but Mr. Sullivan has given us a fast and furious staging that stresses the comedic aspects. His Midsummer Night’s Dream is a screwball comedy filled with an assortment of hilarious tricks that underscore many moments with extremely silly behavior that is often a raucous delight. The evening, however, despite all the calculated shenanigans is wildly uneven. Many of the mysteries of love, which are alluded to in the play, are glossed over as the complexities of that glorious emotion are left unexplored.