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.
The Theatre Museum presented their 2007 Awards for excellence at a ceremony hosted by Tony Award winner Jim Dale at The National Arts Club in Gramercy Park. Actress Ellen Burstyn was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence. The evening featured marvelous performances by James Naughton, Jim Dale, Jessica Grove, Tovah Feldshuh, and Kerry Butler, now staring on Broadway in Xanadu.
The 2007 Tony Honors for excellence in the theatre given annually since 1990 to Broadway’s unsung heroes, who toil off stage, were presented at Tavern on the Green this past Tuesday. The honorees Gemze de Lappe, Neil Mazzella, Alyce Gilbert, and Seymour “Red” Press were feted at a festive luncheon ceremony hosted by Tommy Tune that featured a performance by Patti Lupone. The Honorees, whose names have been in the fine print of your theater programs for decades, boast 150 years of collective experience in the business. Mr. Tune hailed them as “The virtual backbone of Broadway.” The Tony Honors are presented by The American Theatre Wing and The League of American Theatres and Producers.
Making his Broadway debut Chazz Palminteri plays all 18 characters in A Bronx Tale with impressive panache. His semi autobiographical reflections, although sentimentalized, is quite charming, even disturbing, but what stands out is Mr. Palminteri’s strong feeling for the old neighborhood and the forces that helped shape his character. Viewed from a distance of almost half a century his tale takes on added nostalgia that does not necessarily make for dynamic theater, but is nonetheless most entertaining.
Jamie deRoy & Friends honored Broadway Star and Grammy Award Winning Singer/Song Writer, Larry Gatlin with a musical tribute at the Friars Club hosted by Jamie deRoy. The evening directed by Barry Kleinbort featured James Naughton, Lari White, Sal Viviano and others with musical direction by Ian Herman.
A sex farce about a straight businessman hiding from the mob in a gay bath house must have been risqué to Broadway audiences back in 1975, but despite some funny situations, witty dialogue and much physical humor played at full throttle by the talented cast, the revival of Terrence McNally’s ground breaking play, The Ritz directed by Joe Mantello for the Roundabout, feels decidedly tame and dated. Mantello’s kind hearted send up of a more innocent time, the decade that predated the AIDS epidemic, is pure physical farce, an amusing homage to slapstick, but the dazzling tri-level set by Scott Pask with a series of shimmering red doors manages to upstage most of the action turning the evening into more of an interesting walk down memory lane than a riotous good time.
When the The Color Purple opened on Broadway back in December of 2005 we raved, “Hallelujah! The new musical is a joyous celebration of the human spirit, culled from Alice Walkers 1982 Pulitzer Prize winning novel,” and exclaimed “The impassioned tale is a shimmering mosaic, a triumph in every way. Here is a serious musical graced with intelligence and humor that is destined to become a classic.”
Live Out Loud, one of New York’s best non-profit organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, will hosted a special benefit performance of Charles Busch’s DieMommie Die on October 10 @8pm at New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street. Die Mommie Die is one of the most-anticipated new comedies of the fall season, described as a riotous thriller set in the glamorous world of 1960s Hollywood. Die Mommie Die is written by and starring drag legend Charles Busch as Angela Arden and Emmy Award nominee Van Hansis as Lance. The play is directed by Carl Andress and presented by Bob Boyett and Daryl Roth. Check out the Photographs Below from the evening…Barry Gordin
The illustrious actress/humanitarian Vanessa Redgrave is the embodiment of an extraordinary life well lived. Her name conjures up vivid images and memories that span five decades of film and her Theater work is even more encompassing taking in an extra decade of diversely challenging roles. The world renowned actor, who Tennessee Williams called “The greatest actress of our time,” will be honored at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival with the Golden Starfish Award for career achievement in acting, and she will be making her first visit to our stunning shores as well. Part of the festivities will include the World Premiere engagement of “The Shell Seekers,” a two hour Hallmark Channel original film she made opposite Maximilian Schell that will premiere at the festival, prior to its U.S. television network showing next summer.
KLEINFELD generously sponsored an Afternoon ofElegance, a glamorous Fashion Show with a dash of bold modern style, at their magnificent 35,000 square foot showroom to benefit the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. One hundred seventy five guests attended a private Champagne Reception and Fashion Show at Kleinfeld’s extraordinary fashion emporium, which runs the length of an entire city block on West 20th Street in the heart of Chelsea.
A suspenseful new drama, Maritius, from the playwright Theresa Rebeck launches Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2007-2008 season and if the tantalizing play does not fulfill completely, the evening is nonetheless clever entertainment by way of an accomplished cast. Two postage stamps from Maritius, a picture perfect island in the Indian Ocean, propels the action of five people, who squabble over the ownership rights of a stamp collection that may be worth over 6 million dollars.
The prolific playwright Adam Rapp is at it again, stirring up a heady brew of gritty realism stuffed with the twisted values of the Sligo household. Dysfunctional families and misfits have always been a favorite of his, and with his dark new comedy American Sligo, making its World Premier at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in the West Village, Rapp does not disappoint. Nicely directed by the playwright himself to maximize the play’s jarring effects and served with committed gusto by an excellent cast, the satire is a scathing attack on the moral decay of the American family that is by turns both shocking and hilarious.