Features

Words of Wit & Wisdom

Tom McMorrow’s "Words of Wit and Wisdom"

THEATERLIFE.COM has discovered a delightful new book for which we hope to help find a publisher. Written by Tom McMorrow, a former theater critic of the Daily News, past president of The Drama Desk and editor of the Drama Desk News for all lovers of elegant language, Words of Wit and Wisdom has been hailed by educators (see below), who have called it “monumental” and compared it to Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary.

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Reviews

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

The historic African-American production of Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” directed by Debbie Allen, although not the crowning achievement one had hoped, scores as entertainment none the less. Approved by Williams’ estate for Broadway the revival has a star studded cast of charismatic actors, who understand the passions of Williams’ dysfunctional family, allowing the magic of the playwright’s language to overcome Allen’s uninspired direction.

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Photos

Mel Brook’s Honored

David Salle, Robert F.X. Sillerman, Mel Brooks, Joe Pintauro

Guild Hall, the cultural center of East Hampton, honored Mel Brooks with a Guild Hall Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the perfroming arts. The annual awards dinner at The Rainbow Room also honored playwright Joe Pintauro for literary arts, artist David Salle for visual arts, and a special award for his philanthropic endeavors went to Rober F. X. Sillerman, who produced both "The Producers" and "Young Frankenstein" with Mr.Brooks.

Photography by Barry Gordin

 

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Reviews

Passing Strange

Weaving a hypnotic spell the exciting new musical, “Passing Strange, has transferred to Broadway after a well received engagement downtown at the Public last summer. Breaking with tradition the musical is an amalgamation of styles that fuses a variety of distinctive forms from cabaret to gospel into a consistently inventive blend that feels more like a high concept hybrid performance art/ rock concert than a Broadway musical. Whatever you call it, there is no doubt this is beguiling theater, a new form that refuses to be pigeon holed.

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Reviews

Spamalot

The advance buzz has been overwhelming, and we have been inundated with questions about the new Broadway musical Spamalot. Did you like it? Did they do a good job adapting it for the stage? Is it all that? Did you have to see the movie to follow it? Yes, yes, yes, and no with superlatives all around for the entire team. How could anyone not like this affectionate send up of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, unless of course you are devoid of a sense of humor. The adaptation is amazing and then some with the added satire on Broadway musicals, especially skewing Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, indeed, we enthusiastically endorse Spamalot, an outrageously silly show and witty spoof, which will most assuredly entertain young as well as old.

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Reviews

Spamalot

The advance buzz has been overwhelming, and we have been inundated with questions about the new Broadway musical Spamalot.  Did you like it? Did they do a good job adapting it for the stage? Is it all that? Did you have to see the movie to follow it? Yes, yes, yes, and no with superlatives all around for the entire team. How could anyone not like this affectionate send up of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, unless of course you are devoid of a sense of humor. The adaptation is amazing and then some with the added satire on Broadway musicals, especially skewing Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, indeed, we enthusiastically endorse Spamalot, an outrageously silly show and witty spoof, which will most assuredly entertain young as well as old.

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Reviews

Crimes of the Heart

Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting the film and stage star Kathleen Turner making her New York directing debut with a confident, yet flawed production of Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Crimes of the Heart”. Ms.Turner’s staging bears her broad signature style, and while she has a talented ensemble doing her bidding, little about the evening feels organic. Much is quite funny, even touching, but the over the top approach does little to serve the playwright, turning her poignant character study into a superficial re-telling that accentuates the play’s shortcomings.

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Around The Town

“Medea”

Trezana Beverley, Debra Ann Byrd

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.

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Photos

“Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” Opens

James Earl Jones

Tennesse Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, a potent blend of sex and mendacity, severd by an outstanding ensemble of African-American actors headed by the legendary James Earl Jones opened March 6, 2008 at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre to decidedly mixed reviews.
Photography by Rob Rich

 

 

 

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Around The Town

“Unconditional” at the Public

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.

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Around The Town

Jennifer Naimo at The Triad

Jennifer Naimo, Zina Jasper


"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.

 

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Photos

“Jersey Boys” Christian Hoff

Bebe Neuwirth, Christian Hoff

Tony Award winner Christian Hoff from Jersey Boys performed his new cabaret act, an eclectic mix of songs about love, to a sold out house at the intimate Metropolitan Room in NYC. Christian was backed up two beautiful Broadway babes and an outstanding quartet of piano, bass, guitar and drums. Musical arrangements and direction was by Charles Czarnecki.

 

Barbara Siegel, Jamie deRoy

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Photos

The Drama League Gala

David Hyde Pierce, Debra Monk, Roger Berlind

Theater elite gathered at the Rainbow Room high above Rockefeller Plaza to honor Broadway producer Roger Berlind at The Drama League’s 24th Annual Benefit Gala.. The elegant black-tie event began with a cocktail reception overlooking the manificent Manhattan skyline before guests were ushered into dinner and a marvelous musical celebration hosted by David Hyde Pierce. All proceeds of the gala support the Drama League. For more information check on their website at www.dramaleague.org

 

 

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Reviews

November

Playwright David Mamet tackles American politics in his new satire “November” about an incompetent President running for a second term. Nathan Lane turns in a brilliant comic portrayal as the despicable President Charles Smith (Chuck for short), who’s unnamed political party has deserted him on the eve of the national election. Joe Mantello’s swift paced production whips Mamet’s slight spoof into a hysterical frenzy and the uniformly excellent cast delivers delicious support that keep the evening constantly amusing even as the farce falters.

 

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