Tony Award winning Broadway couple Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley co-chaired the 2008 Theatre Museum Awards, at The Players Club in Gramercy Park, where entertainment legends, songstress Barbara Cook and comedian Pat Cooper presented awards to Rick McKay and Joe Franklin hosted by Broadway’s Boy George, Euan Morton.
Michael Weller dissects a volatile modern day marriage in his new drama FiftyWords, which takes a harrowing look at the challenges of an upper middle class couple struggling with their careers and a troubled son approaching his teen years. Norbert Leo Butz and Elizabeth Marvel portray Adam and Jan, the battling pair going through a major “rough patch,” with a passionate physical style that makes George and Martha from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf appear tame.
"The Return of the Playwright," a stimulating panel discussion featuring Tina Howe, Leslie Lee, Adam Rapp, Joseph Stein, and Michael Weller was presented at Sardi’s by the Outer Critics Circle in partnership with Samuel French, Inc.
Grease, the 1972 hit musical that ran for years playing over 3,388 performances on Broadway went on to become even a better 1978 film blockbuster boasting two charismatic star turns by John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in the leading roles of Danny and Sandy. There was another revival in 1994, but the little musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey is back again this time with a smart marketing scheme geared to luring television’s young audience into the theater.
Yasmin Aga Khan, a Southampton summer resident since the early 1960’s, is a real princess, but her life is not the stuff of fairytales. Real life rarely is and nothing is quite what it seems. Born in Lausanne, Switzerland Yasmin is a modern day Princess, the second child of the American film icon Rita Hayworth and Prince Aly Khan of Pakistan, a United Nations ambassador from that country. Her father, once the Vice President of the UN general assembly, died in an automobile accident when Yasmin was just 11.
Broadway Diva Patti LuPone taking her turn as Mama Rose, the mother of all stage mothers, commands the stage like no other in the Arthur Laurents’ revival of the great American masterpiece “Gypsy,” which began life last summer as part of City Center’s Encores! Series. The musical boasts a legendary score by Jule Styne with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim that includes such classic songs as “Some People,” “Small World,” ‘You’ll Never Get Away From Me,” Everything’sComing Up Roses,” and “Rose’s Turn. Add to that the first rate book by Mr. Laurents and you have what is considered to be the definitive back stage musical.
The first big musical of the new season A Tale of Two Cities based on the classic 1859 Charles Dickens novel opened at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre. The rousing pop opera, inventively designed by Tony Walton, makes a handsome showcase for some of the most gifted voices on Broadway. The staging of the compelling love story, told against the backdrop of the gritty French Revolution, is a bold attempt to recreate the heart stirring emotions of Les Miserables. If the musical is not always successful at recapturing the sweeping thrill of Les Miserables, the creators and cast have tapped into the universal appeal of the well read Dickens’ story that has sold over 200 million copies around the world.
The high concept production of Arthur Miller’s morality drama All My Sons directed by Simon McBurney is a sight to behold. Burney is one of Europe’s most innovative theater makers, and his production with a Brech-like representational style, while always arresting, does little to aid his sterling cast. Commanding performances by John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, and Patrick Wilson, along with a game Katie Holmes, making her Broadway debut, are all upstaged by McBurney’s cinematic flourishes. You will either love it or hate it.
Dorian and Jeff Bergen hosted the 10th anniversary celebration party for The Anyone Can Fly Foundation. The festive event at their ACA Gallery in Chelsea featured live music by Gia Williams and her band, great food by Spoonbread, and silent actions all for a great cause – to the raise the profile of great African American artists.
Bay Street Theatre hosted "Celebrity Autobiogaphy: In Their Own Words," a star studded weekend created by Eugene Pack, where celebrities that included Joy Behar and Richard Kind had the audience laughing with delight as they read from other stars’ autobiographies.
Spotted backstage at the Tony Award-winning show "Inthe Heights" were local New Age authors, Monte Farber and Amy Zerner with an original Broadwy Gypsy, Shirley MacLaine. The legend was wearing one of Amy’s Spiritual Couture jackets. Shirley has a line of Chakra jewelry which she will show at Bergdorf Goodman, where Amy sells her Spiritual Couture evening wear. Shirley played Coco Chanel in a miniseries on Lifetime
Producer Stewart F. Lane and his sons Lenny & Frankie with Melissa Lewis at the opening of her interactive musical for kids, P is for Party." The show "really rocks." Bring you little ones and check it out. Prizes for Best Pirate and Princesses in the audience. On Sundays September 21 through October 26, 11am and 1pm at the DR2 Theater, 103 East 15th Street in Union Square. For tickets call telecharge 239-6200
Sam Shepard’s new play Kicking a Dead Horse, directed by the playwright himself and starring the acclaimed Irish actor Stephen Rea, is a black comedy with a grim message. The tale making its American premier at the Public Theater is a potent metaphor about our current political atmosphere and the barren existence most Americans lead in pursuit of false values. Covering familiar Shepard themes and philosophies the thought provoking story is an inventive homage to Beckett. Although beautifully acted the evening doesn’t go far enough theatrically, and is continuously upstaged by the carcass of the character in the title, a dead horse.
A. R. Gurney returns to Primary Stages at 59E59 Theaters with the New York premier of his charming new comedy Buffalo Gal. Set in a regional theater where a production of “The Cherry Orchard” is about to be mounted, Gurney bows in homage to the greatness of Chekhov. He draws many amusing parallels to Chekhov’s characters and themes in this latest effort. Television star Susan Sullivan (Falcon Crest and Dharma & Greg) makes a fine presence as the fading Hollywood star at the center of his bittersweet tale, and the direction by Mark Lamos mines the backstage story for all the humor while lamenting the diminishing power of the theater and the changes wrought by the passing of time.