Gossip columns. How the news is overcome by “movers and shakers” — Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears! Often as in the case of The New York Post’s Page Six, rife with trumped up reports engineered to trigger a Jerry Falwellish sense of moral outrage. It’s this “state-of-the art” in journalism that Karen Finley turns into her very own ruthless mockery.
BROADWAY STAGEHANDS STRIKE Stagehands are set to strike effective 10:00 am Saturday, shutting down most of the shows on The Great White Way with a walk out that will affect all the theaters owned by the Shubert, Nederlander, and Juyamcyn organizations. Talks between Local One, the union for the stagehands, and the producers came to a head this Wednesday and Thursday with the union setting the Saturday deadline. Stagehands have been working without a contract since July, when negotiations began and. Actors' Equity announced support for the strike on their website. Both sides appear prepared to dig in, with little indication as to how long a walk out might last. The musicians strike in 2003 shutdown Broadway for four days, an estimated $5 million loss at that box office. The New Amsterdam, Hilton, Helen Hayes, and Circle in the Square are not affected as well as the four non profit houses, Roundabout, MTC, and Lincoln Center – theaters with a separate contract with the union. Also not affected are all Special Events and Off- Broadway shows.
Secret Order, a compelling drama by Bob Clyman at 59E59 Theaters is a thriller about the medical industry. The playwright tackles some provocative territory with style and wit while crafting a timely tale about cancer research.
Aaron Sorkin’s new play TheFarnsworth Invention is an engrossing tale chronicling the invention of television and the subsequent clash over patent rights. As drama the evening lacks tension, but Des McAnuff’s beautifully acted stylish production moves along with such razor sharp precision that the unfolding events make for a compelling, richly satisfying evening nonetheless.
One of the nicest guys in the business, Tony Walton the gifted set designer, whose career encompasses Theater, Film, & Opera was honored by the National Arts Club at a festive dinner celebration presided over by Tony Award winner Jim Dale. Legendary friends like Sidney Lumet, Richard Pilbrow and Mike Nichols came to lend their support to "A Night The Stars Come Out," organized by Rose Billings (Governor of the NAC) as a loving tribute to Mr. Walton's ongoing career. Still working more than ever, Mr.Walton has now turned increasing to Directing. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1991. Photography: Barry Gordin
The producers and Labor Union Local 1 came to a settlement late November 28 opening the door for the curtain to go up on Broadway. The strike lasted 19 days, shutting down 26 of the 35 shows on the Great White Way, at a reported cost of nearly $40 million. The union has 10 days to ratify the tentative agreement. Most shows plan to re-open for the Thursday evening performance November 29. Check with the theater to be certain.
“Answered prayers” indeed! After 19 days of rigorous negotiations the stagehand’s strike is finally over and the Broadway community staged a party by giving a free public concert, BROADWAY’S BACK, headed by theater legends Angela Lansbury and Bernadette Peters. Bob Martin hosted the show which The League of American Theatres and Producers put together in just over 12 hours.
The event featured cast members from dozens of Broadway shows on stage in costume at the Marquis Theater, where Mr. Martin performs in The DrowsyChaperone, his Tony and Drama desk award winning musical. Right at home Martin was a witty host, but the highlight was the Irving Berlin classic “There’s No Business Like Show Business” given a special twist, the lyrics were adapted to fit the occasion. The cast and audience sang along with Ms. Peters in a unified spirit of thanks making a blissfully memorable moment. Seth Rudetsky, currently in the revival of The Ritz, led a full orchestra for the occasion.
“Broadway’s long dark night is over,” said Mr. Martin. The lights are shinning brightly all along the Rialto and this will be a joyous holiday season after all.
This Thanksgiving Weekend the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor will present the World Premiere of “Simeon’s Gift,” a new hour long musical adapted from the 2003 best-selling picture book of the same name by Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton. The two women, who together have written 17 children’s books, have provided the script for the musical as well, but this will be the first time one of their books has ever been developed for the stage. A dynamic team of collaborators, both behind the scenes and on the stage, have come together to mark the occasion.
As an ode to the theater the new musical The Glorious Ones, stylishly directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, is a sublimely funny treat served with winning wit by a marvelous ensemble of seven headed by the divine Marc Kudisch. These are singers who act having a joyous blast breathing life into the bawdy little one act.
Frankenstein’d to death? Is he out to kill us or is he just kidding us? In any case he must be a powerful dude, because if your name is Frankenstein, the show must go on. Proof? “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” and its gothic sibling, “Frankenstein”, a new musical at 37 Arts Theatre are keeping the fires of show biz burning, at least during the strike.
Adam Rapp’s new one act Bingo With The Indiansopened at The Flea on November 8, 2007. Directed by the playwright the tale is a fascinating jumble, but nonetheless hauntingly memorable with an excellent cast that features an outstanding performance by Evan Enderle as Steve, the story’s emotional center. Bingo sets a disgruntled East Village theater company in a seedy New England motel, where they have come to rip off the local bingo game. Rapp, a prolific writer, novelist, filmmaker, and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Red Light Winter, always bears watching and BingoWith The Indians is no exception.
Kevin Kline dazzled with magnificent command of the language and the stage as Cyrano the title character, a lovelorn poet with a sword and a deformed nose, in the visually stunning Broadway revival of the Edmond Rostand's 1897 classic Cyrano de Bergerac helmed by British director David Leveaux. Opening night at the Richard Rogers Theater brought out a throng of Broadway celebrities as the beautiful film star Jennifer Garner, looking marvelous in the 17 century costumes, made a confident Broadway debut as Roxane opposite Mr. Kline, who was conspicuously absent from the opening night party.
There is a sense of deja vu in Adam Bock’s suspenseful one act The Receptionist premiering under Joe Mantello’s skillful direction for the Manhattan Theater Club. Last year Mr. Bock gave us the critically praised The Thugs, which debuted downtown and like that previous effort his new play takes place in an office where small talk seems the order of the day, but beneath the glib chatter some sinister plot is unfolding. Both plays share the same clever gimmick, a normal everyday façade eventually reveals some horrible truth. The brisk 70 minute tale is an outstanding production with a pitch perfect performance by Jayne Houdyshell as Beverly the title character at the center of the story and a set by David Korins that becomes on ominous fifth character. But nonetheless this entertaining Receptionist feels incomplete awaiting a second act.
The American premiere of J. T. Rogers’ new play TheOverwhelming grippingly directed by Max Stafford-Clark for The Roundabout Theater Company is a thought provoking tale of an American family, newly arrived in 1994 Rwanda, where a genocidal civil war is about to break out and nothing or anyone is exactly what they seem. The family will find themselves embroiled in grim events beyond their understanding as they struggle to find the truth and ultimately discover what they will do to protect themselves.
A Gala Benefit celebration, Hooray for Hollywood, honoring the legendary Oscar winner Patricia Neal, (First Actress ever to win a Tony Award), Smith Barney’s Shirl Penney and The Count and Countess de Lesseps was held at Steiner Film Studios in Brooklyn, the largest sound stage on the East Coast. The gala evening chaired by David Steiner benefited The Auditory Oral School of New York, a non profit organization which specializes in teaching deaf and hard of hearing children to listen, talk, think and socialize.