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
Jude Law would seem to be the ideal choice to play Hamlet. It is, after all, a revenge play with all the trappings of a B movie. In fact, the actor’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s verse is easy enough to follow. One reason for the many accolades he’s received.
Superior Donuts, Tracy Letts’ Broadway follow up to his 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning drama August: Osage County, opened at the Music Box Theater on 45th Street, where a celebrity filled audience turned out for the playwright’s new work set in a seedy doughnut shop in Chicago. The story is a bitter sweet tale of friendship directed by Tina Landau making her Broadway debut guiding the original cast from the sold out run of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago production. For tickets call 212-239-6200.
Saucy Cops and Bud Lite: Whatever Happened to Family Dinners? Think fisticuffs instead of bare-knuckle boxing. It’s the classical term that suggests the genre of "A Steady Rain": male action tale laced with tragedy and cast with heavyweights, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.
her fabulous new video ‘Workin;Girl’ at New Yorks hottest nightclub Therapy (348 West 52nd Street) in NYC. The evening hosted by Ben Cameron (Aida, Footloose, Wicked) kept the audience cheering with delight as the packed house enjoyed performances by Danny Calvert (Altar Boyz) and Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid) and the in-comparable talented Kelly King.
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre became the talk of shoe business with its East Coast Premiere of “Imelda, A New Musical”. The production originated by the East West Players in LA opened at New York’s Julia Miles Theatre on September 30th. Running through October 18th, the show hosts 80 pairs of shoes (3,000 are lyricized), along with glam costumes, a rock score and a dazzling performance from Jaygee Macpugay as Imelda. By: Isa Goldberg Photography: Nanette Shaw
On October 5th, the Ali Forney Center honored NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council Member Lewis A. Fidler for their work in bringing much needed resources to homeless LGBT youth. The celebratory event, “A Place At The Table” featured food tastings from NYC chefs, a presentation from Mayor Bloomberg, a spectacular live auction and a live performance by Rufus Wainwright with MC Justin Bond.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a lot of clamor around the Cavendishes and it’s all self-created. George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s valentine to the theater, “The Royal Family”, takes off like a madcap evening with the Marx Brothers. The 1927 satire in revival at The Manhattan Theatre Club flaunts a lineup of theatrical royalty the likes of Rosemary Harris, John Glover, Jan Maxwell, Ana Gasteyer, Larry Pine, Reg Rogers and David Greenspan.
Well known to television audiences for her roles in “Designing Women” and “Will and Grace”, Ivey’s real distinction is as a stage actor. Her Tony Award-winning roles include “Steaming” (1983) where she spent most of her time on stage in the nude and “Hurlyburly” (1985) in which she portrayed a woman’s feral sexuality. And just recently, Ben Brantley described her portrayal of the matriarch in a double bill of Edward Albee plays as “priceless” like “the purring contentment of a cat who has eaten an entire aviary of canaries.” On that note, there is a peculiar quack to the voice of Ann Landers in “The Lady With All The Answers” that isn’t there when Judith Ivey talks.
Alan Alda and Joy Behar performed to a sold out audience at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor showcasing a very special evening of comedy and conversation. Alan Alda, actor, director, and screenwriter, perhaps best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce on the TV series M*A*S*H joined Daytime Emmy Award-Winning comedian, writer, actress Joy Behar, a co-host of "The View" for a marvelous evening. These two sensations had everyone laughing the second they hit the stage at a special benefit to support Bay Street. Well done!
Senseless killing revenged by more senseless killing is the subject of Daniel Goldfarb’s new play. Set between Paris, Nuremberg and Palestine during the years 1943-46, “The Retributionists” misfires as badly as the plot these Jewish youths cook up to revenge themselves against the German people.
Ask me what “Sex Ed” is about and I’ll tell you it’s what everyone learns from other kids on the street or, in this case, in the subbasement of a New York City private elementary school. That’s where Suzanne Bachner’s short play is set.