Talk about malady, here’s a musical review without a single compelling note. SESSIONS with book music and lyrics by Albert Tapper is built around a psychotherapist and his patients who we meet primarily in group therapy. While the story is supposed to draw us into their human experience, it only latches on to issues that are both obvious and predictable. As musical theater goes, this is the stuff of amateurs.
Imagine the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as a modern day tale like this. Eurydice, played by Maria Dizzia arrives in Hades after falling from the penthouse apartment of a rich older man, a snake of a character portrayed by Mark Zeisler. Wearing a proper pink suit, carrying a suitcase and umbrella she travels on to the land of the dead. And what trumpets her arrival? Not the sonorous notes of her beloved Orpheus, but the clatter of tin pans created by sound designer Bray Poor.
Low. Very low. The lowest of the low, as in burlesque. ABSINTHE in the Spiegeltent by The South Street Seaport evokes German cabaret of the 30’s & 40’s as though it were iPod music with an ear to the taste of today’s busy urban professionals.
As the lead singer, a cross dresser and female impersonator Paul Capsis says early in the show “Marlene let me be your personal iPhone.” Besides Miss Dietrich and Janis Joplin, he does a Judy Garland imitation in which he takes the hand of an audience member. The night I attended it just happened to be the gossip columnist Cindy Adams. He looked deeply into the octogenarian’s surgically enhanced eyes and remarked in a drunken haze, “Liza, it’s Mama. We look more and more alike every day.”
Lonnie Price has directed the American Premiere of "The Night Season," a new play by the gifted Rebecca Lenkiewicz that opened May 16 at Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor. Price, who helmed the current revival of "110 In the Shade" for Roundabout Theater at Studio 54, has assembled a magnificent cast headed by Katherine Helmond as an eccentric grandmother, who sings show tunes. The charming story that takes us to Sligo, Ireland, the idyllic home of William Butler Yeats, where a charismatic movie star lodges with three fiesty sisters and their family while shooting a film about the poet's life. Helmond won a Golden Globe for her outrageous portrayal of Jessica Tate in ABC's ground breaking sitcom "Soap" in the late 1970's, but she is probably best known to the world as Mona from television's "Who's the Boss?" with Tony Danza. The remaining cast in the winning production of the bittersweet tale includes Rosie Benton, David Patrick Kelly, Michael O'Keefe, Kellie Overbey, Ana Reeder and Richard Short. "The Night Season" was a resounding success in 2004 at the National Theatre's Cottesloe stage in London and will run through July 1 at Bay Street Theatre. For tickets and more information call 631- 725-9500. Photography: Barry Gordin
The opening night performance of "Romeo & Juliet" at Shakespeare in the Park ended suddenly just before the tragedy Shakespeare had intended. Alas, the two lovers on this particular night will forever remain alive. Intense thunder storms may have halted the performance, but the after party at Belvedere Castle was not a washout, as the cast celebrated their marvelous production directed by Michael Greif.. Tickets are Free! Performances are Tuesday thru Sunday at 8:00pm until July 8. Free tickets are available in Central Park at the Delacorte Theater (81st Street entrance) after 1:00pm or downtown at the Public Theater (425 Lafayette St between Astor Place and West 4th) from 1-3pm on the same day of the performances…Photos: Barry Gordin
Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring By Gordin & Christiano
Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner, the creators of a new rock opera, Turandot: The Rumble for the Ring, which will be making its World Premiere at Bay Street from July 10 – August 5, are a dynamic duo that just happen to be married to each other. I met with them a couple of weeks ago at a rehearsal studio on the 5th floor of Playwright’s Horizons on West 42nd Street in New York City, where Diane was hard at work putting the cast through their paces in preparation for this week’s opening. Their hip new musical is based on a classic fairytale "Turnadot," not the Puccini opera, although, their account bears many similarities. Their Turandot, however, is set in the violent World of Professional Wrestling, but the press release declares the show is "jam-packed with some of the greatest arias from other operas…only this time they are set to a rock beat." After watching a portion of a rehearsal and chatting with the stimulating couple, I am convinced this clever theatrical event may be one of the most unique happenings on the East End this summer.
As a part of Black History Month, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts celebrated with a concert, "Melba Moore On Broadway" at their Whitman Hall Theatre. The Tony Award winning Melba Moore began her career in the ground breaking musical "Hair", where she eventually replaced Diane Keaton, becoming the first black actress to replace a white actress in a lead role on Broadway.
The two time Tony Award winning Broadway icon Tammy Grimes charmed a sold out audience of friend with songs and tales about her fascinating life at the Metropolitan Room. Photos By Rose Billings & Barry Gordin
In celebration of the 45th Anniversary of The American Place Theatre, The Players hosted a cocktail reception at their Gramercy Park South club, where they honored the theater's Aritstic Director Wynn Handman, a unique figure for over 50 years in New York theater. Photos by John Wegorzewski & Barry Gordin