Reviews

Butley **

Nathan Lane is giving what many will consider a dazzling performance as the title character in the troubled revival of Simon Gray’s 1971 play Butley that premiered back in 2003 at Boston’s Huntington Theatre. Mr. Lane is undoubtedly one of the few bankable Broadway stars around today, and he appears to be the main reason for the re-staging of this rather dated study of a brilliant, but self loathing college professor.With a reported three million dollars in advance ticket sales, what remains to be seen is if the limited run will have the legs to be a bona fide hit and ultimately be extended.

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Around The Town

Upfront February 7, 2007

Melba Moore

“ON BROADWAY WITH MELBA MOORE,” a rare concert event will happen 2:00 pm this Sunday Feb 11 at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts .Tony Award winning musical legend Melba Moore began her journey to fame as Dione in the original cast of the ground breaking Broadway musical, Hair, eventually replacing Diane Keaton, becoming the first black actress to replace a white actress in a leading role on Broadway. She won a Tony award in her next musical, Purlie, and stopped the show every night with her rendition of “I Got Love,” an amazing moment in Broadway history. Melba has never sounded better and she will be in concert at Walt Whitman Theatre on the campus of Brooklyn College this Sunday. For tickets call 718-9514500.

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Around The Town

Pan Asian Repertory Gala

David Henry Hwang, Tisa Chang

 

Witty conversation, cocktails, haute cuisine, beautiful women and ballroom dancing at the Copacabana. That was the scene on Monday, March 5th for the Pan Asian Rep’s 30th Anniversary Gala. The evening played like a Noel Coward comedy and a lot like the company’s 2006 production of “Private Lives” which featured an entirely Asian-American cast.

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Reviews

Adrift in Macao

Playwright/lyricist Christopher Durang and composer Peter Melnick have crafted a zany new musical, Adrift in Macao, a parody of romantic Hollywood film noirs from the 1940s that is an entertaining romp from the docks of exotic Macao to a nearby smoky nightclub. The musical directed by Sheryl Kaller with seductive style is a playful love letter to films that featured alluring women, mysterious men, shady characters, and a murky Orient atmosphere where nothing is what it seems.Although little more than a gleeful lampoon of old Hollywood films set in the mysterious orient, Adrift in Macao is a little musical with a big heart, and little is the operative word here. The plot is paper thin, the characters barely two dimensional, the songs modest pastiches, and there is even some dancing. The mini-musical fits beautifully onto the relatively small stage of 59E59 Theater and everyone involved has made the send-up appear larger than life. References to the classic film Casablanca are obvious, but there are nods to Alfred Hitchcock and winks at various archetypes as well.

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Reviews

BFF

Photo: Max Ruby

Imagine a lyrical little play couched as political theater and you would have a strange anomaly, like this new play “BFF” produced by WET, a young feminist theater company whose important voice is beginning to get heard. The subject appears way too simple. Call it mawkish if you like, but it’s certainly not trite. The story is about two girls who take the oath to be best friends forever, hence the title, “BFF”. But they wake up to adolescence, self consciousness and the fear that their affection for each other makes them lesbians. There are other problems, too, about family and loss that interfere with their coming of age. But the story clearly probes the impenetrable shell young women build around themselves and which we carry into adulthood, should we last that long.

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Around The Town

A Drama Desk Panel

“Movin On," a panel of professionals from “Grey Gardens” and “Spring Awakening” addressed the pros and cons of moving theatrical productions from off Broadway to Broadway. The event at BMI w

Michael Rosenberg, Michael Korie, Tim Sanford
Andy Hamingson, Tom Hulce, Ira Pittleman

as moderated by Leslie (Hoban) Blake and Ellis Nassour

Leslie (Hoban) Blake, Wiliam Wolf, Ira Pittleman, Ellis Nassour

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Around The Town

Monday, November 21, 2006

Jay Johnson & BOB's Caricature was inducted at Sardi's in New York City on Nov 21, 2006. Liz Smith was on hand for the ceremony.

Liz Smith with Bob and Jay Johnson
Jay Johnson, Leah Lane, Bonnie Comley, Producer Stewart Lane

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Reviews

A Spanish Play

Photo: Joan Marcus

Who knows what this play by Yasmina Reza at The Classic Stage Company is really all about? But who cares, when it’s so fascinating to watch this cast of characters, all actors in the titular A SPANISH PLAY about a family who act like they’re constantly in the throws of some catastrophic telenovella.

In fact, two of the sisters are actresses. As the famous movie star Nuria, Katherine Borowitz offers the evening’s eye candy. Deciding what she should wear to the Goya Awards (Spain’s version of the Oscars), she models a series of transparent frocks by costume designer Donna Zakowska. What she finally realizes looks shameless also bares all the trappings of beauty.

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Around The Town

Friar Celebrity Luncheon

Emmy Award winning TV Host Bill Boggs interviewed comedy headliner Lisa Lampanelli for a riotous Friar Celebrity Luncheon produced by Randie Levine-Miller at the Friar's Club

Randie Levine-Miller, Caroline Hirsch
Frankie Valli, Bill Boggs

Lisa Lampanelli, Richard Lewis

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Around The Town

“Happening” Feb 14-17 Chinese New Year Spectacular

Photos: Rose Billings

This week a feast for the senses: The Chinese New Year spectacular at Radio City Music Hall (Feb 14-17) combines artistic performance styles from both East and West China. The evening is a poignant performance of music and dance by legends that have shaped China's history. The New Tang Dynasty Chinese will transport you across oceans and escort you back in time to China'sgolden age -The Tang Dynasty. Experience the soulful world of mythical dragons, heavenly maidens, and exhilarating drummers as they evoke the pangentry of ancient Chinese culture.

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Reviews

All That I Will Ever Be

Photos: Joan Marcus

Omar (Peter Macdissi) knows how to look good naked. Very good. Similarly, writer Alan Ball knows how to find the pulse of his self pitying, self destructive characters in ALL THAT I WILL EVER BE.

Ball, whose knack for writing has produced such works as SIX FEET UNDER and AMERICAN BEAUTY deftly turns a stereotype into an all consuming, all engrossing presence. Even more exacting is his sense of dialogue and the way he captures social nuance. In fact, the entire first act, structured around several quick scenes, runs like a series of digital photos or a video wall in which the characters’ poses speak volumes.

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Reviews

Jay Johnson: “The Two & Only”

Broadway’s newest star, Jay Johnson, is the talk of the town and in his one man show, The Two and Only. His 11 co-stars feature puppets, a vulture, a snake, a monkey, a nutcracker, a tennis ball, inanimate objects, and human caricatures, which Mr. Johnson brilliantly brings to life by giving them voice and personality.
Mr. Johnson, a man many regard as the world’s greatest living ventriloquist, is probably best known for his starring role as the schizophrenic Bob and Chuck in the cult 1970’s comedy classic TV series “Soap.” In his hilarious new show Johnson demonstrates his amazing art and why he deserves the vast accolades. His show is not exactly new since Mr. Johnson premiered a very similar much acclaimed show off Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre in 2004. He was scheduled to take up residency at the Helen Hayes Theatre last season, but was bumped due to the extended successful run of Bridge and Tunnel. Now finally here we can shout for joy! Johnson recounts a captivating tale as he chronicles his journey to Broadway that feels like destiny.

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Reviews

High Fidelity

Photo: Joan Marcus

Nothing much happens in the new Broadway musical High Fidelity, but the enthusiastic cast works hard trying to convince us otherwise. They dance with athletic bounce and deliver the not so bad pop/rock tunes with committed zest, but the evening directed by Walter Bobbie fails to engage and is most notable as an exercise in what not to do.

In bringing High Fidelity (based on the Stephen Frears’s 2000 successful film of the same name that was itself adapted from Nick Hornby’s 1996 novel) to the stage the producers of the mega hit musical Rent have latched onto a smart idea; turn the romantic comedy into a rock musical about hip young urban adults. In an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of Rent, they have put together a high profile team of talent that seems to have missed the point of the source material.

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Reviews

Translations

Photos: Joan Marcus

Brian Friel’s play Translations is being given a handsome revival by the Manhattan Theatre Club, in a production that focuses on the beauty of Mr. Friel’s powerful language. Indeed the power of language and the challenge to communicate are themes found in the unfortunately flawed play.

Translations was given an American premiere almost 25 years ago in 1981 produced then by MTC as well, and the play was revived again in 1995. The story takes place in 1883 and is set in the Irish speaking fictional Gaelic town of Ballybeg, a place the playwright has explored in his play Dancing at Lughnasa. The story depicts clashing cultures and the misfortunes in miscommunications.

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Reviews

Grey Gardens *****

*****

Christine Ebersole received a Drama Desk Award, an Obie, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a special citation from NY Drama Critics, and the Drama League Award last season for her towering performance in the limited run off Broadway production of Grey Gardens, set in a 28 room mansion in East Hampton. If you weren’t lucky enough to see this sublime actress in her awe inspiring portrayal, count your lucky stars, because the musical inspired by the Maysles brother’s 1975 cult documentary of the same name has opened on Broadway.

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