Spiegelworld 2008 returns to the South Street Seaport for its third annual carnival with the world premier of Desir, an audacious new circus experience performed in an intimate cabaret like setting on a small round stage barely twenty-five feet in diameter. Patrons in the first four or five rows are right on top of the non stop action. Inspired by the adventurers of early 20th century Paris, the seductive Desir takes us backstage to one of the greatest nightclubs in the world for a Moulin Rouge-like revue of beguiling aerial and acrobatic acts from all over the world.
James Braly’s poignant Life in a Marital Institution opened at the SoHo Playhouse, 15 Vandam Street and will run through August 31. The tragicomic one man show is a semi-autobiographical account of married life. A sold out hit at 59E59 Theaters near the end of last season, the New York Times said the production was “Full of laughs and insights.” What underlines the humor most is the center of real emotion that runs throughout the evening.
The Signature Theater Company’s terrific production of Leslie Lee’s The FirstBreeze of Summer launches their 2008/2009 season dedicated to the historic Negro Ensemble Company, a fertile home for African-Americans writers and actors for decades. Nicely directed by the esteemed Ruben Santiago-Hudson the touching revival of Leslie Lee’s ambitious pot boiler features a skilled ensemble headed by the impressive Leslie Uggams. She portrays Gremmar Edwards, the matriarch at the center of the well crafted tale about three generations of a middle class African/American family living in a small suburb of Philadelphia.
Playwright Edward Albee has given us an indelible portrait of his good friend the artist Louise Nevelson in his 2001 play, Edward Albee’s Occupant, now making its delayed New York premier for the Signature Theatre Company. Starring the formidable Mercedes Ruehl, the two character play is a touching celebration of the determination (or is it destiny?) of his friend of many years, who just happened to be one of the most renowned sculptors of the 20th century.
The unveiling of the Mario Lopez portrait and a party for A Chorus Line was held at Tony di Napoli’s in Times Square. Tony’s prestigious Wall of Fame sports numerous portraits of Broadway stars including Whoppi Goldberg, Alec Baldwin, Chita Rivera, Cyndi Lauper and more. Photography: Linda Lenzi
Legendary singer songwriter and our own very favorite DISCO QUEEN now the EMPRESS Donna Summer ended her east coast "Stamp Your Feet" tour at The West Hampton Beach Performing Arts Center as part of WHBPAC 10th Anniversary season celebration.
The 2008 Bay Street Summer Gala Benefit Bash was back on the Long Wharf with music by 5th Avenue Band, Hank Lane Music, and catered by Robbins Wolfe eventeurs . Guest auctioneers Caroline Rhea and Michael Gelman kept the evening lively and the cast members of the upcoming production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ performed at the sold out event. Photography: Barry Gordin
The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Christopher Durang’s scathingly funny The Marriage of Bette and Boo is the first New York presentation since the play debuted at the Public in 1985, when the word dysfunctional was barely a part of our vernacular. Walter Bobbie puts a solid ensemble through their paces in a consistently amusing broad staging of the playwright’s dark comedy that deals with stillborn babies, alcoholism, emotional abuse and cancer.
Film star Laura Linney is returning to the Broadway stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s stylish revival of Christopher Hampton’s brilliant LesLiaisons Dangereuses. The British actor Ben Daniels stars opposite her as one half of the depraved duo that will wreck havoc with others’ lives in pursuit of their own selfish pleasures. The dark comedy, a scathing dissection of the cynicism and decadence of the pre-Revolutionary French aristocracy, is handsomely staged by Rufus Norris. His solid production is an excellent reminder of the malicious delights of Hampton’s take on the decay of French society.
Bailey House presented a staged reading of Arturo’s Window a provocative new play written by Cheryl King and Rod Menzies with music by John Mercurio at the Barrow Street Theater on Wednesday. The true-life tale was inspired by John Jerome, an event planner at a high level investment firm, who used his corporate credit card to help friends with aids. The reading was part of the 25th Anniversay Celebration for Bailey House. For 25 years Bailey House has provided assistance to people and families struggling with HIV and Aids.
Bay Street Theatre 2008 Target Mainstage Season presented the Christopher Durang comedy "Beyond Therapy" starring Kate Burton, Katie Finneran, Darren Goldstein, Darrell Hammond, Matt McGrath, and Bryce Pinkham in the funny tale about trying to find love via your analyst’s couch in our crazy mixed up world directed by Alex Timbers. Photography: Barry Gordin
If you are looking for a Broadway show for the entire family, Cirque DreamsJungle Fantasy, now playing a 10-week summer engagement, may be just the ticket. The evening is a colorful collection of musical numbers, where many of the talented acrobats and gymnasts dress up like animals from the jungle. Creator/director Neil Goldberg has spawned a jungle adventure themed musical, with songs by Jill Winters that have a driving disco beat to keep things lively. Although the outstanding routines, mostly acrobatic or aerial balancing acts are more than competent, the show lacks a needed spark of inventiveness.
Guild Hall, the cultural center of East Hampton, launched their Summer Season with an intimate performance by Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole and jazz pianist/singer Billy Stritch at East Hampton Point. Ebersole & Stritch took the stage after dinner and cocktails with a scintillating act that left them wanting more. Look for this duo to show up on the cabaret scene this Fall/Winter season. We overhead talk of the Carlyle. They were dazzling together weaving a subtle spell with their flawless easy style.