The Noble prize winning British playwright Harold Pinter, acclaimed for his dark menacing stories of bleak lives, passed away at 78 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 2005 and his acceptance speech at the time was most profound. Just this past season, Pinter was represented on Broadway with a star studded revival of his classic The Homecoming.
Jamie deRoy & friends brought their charming "Holiday/Magic" to The Metropolitan Room where a host of talent including The Accidentals, Loni Ackerman, David Buskin, Julie Budd, Jake Holmes, Will & Anthony Nunziata, Oz Pearlman, Lee Roy Reams, and Caroline Rhea spun an array of entertaining spells in preparation of the season. Lee Roy Ream was in grand Broadway form with a melody of songs from "Holly Dolly" and some priceless imitations of the ladies who played her. Another highlight was the very funny take off on "The Grass is Always Greener" amusingly sung by Jamie and Loni.
Liza Minnelli brought her electrifying presence to Broadway in her new show “Liza’sAt The Palace…, " where the three time Tony Award winning superstar "razzle dazzled" the opening night audience with a confident, grity and of course magical display of showmanship. Liza’s very personal show plays tribute to her godmother Kay Thompson, who as vocal coach and arranger for MGM during that studio’s musical heyday period in the 1940s and 1950s taught Lena Horne and Judy Garland how to sing.
"Quiet please, there’s a lady on stage. She may not be the latest rage, But she’s singing and she means it; And she deserves a little silence…"
[Carole Bayer-Sager/Peter Allen]
Well, she didn’t get it!
The audience response was near pandemonium. After Liza with a Z took six bows, including ones with her pianist Billy Stritch, music director Michael Berkowitz and the 12-piece orchestra, she reluctantly left the stage, completely drained and wet from perspiration, wrapped in Stritch’s arms.
Urban Stages kicked off their 25th season with the world premiere of Joe Iconis’ delightful new musical ReWrite, a trio of off-beat mini musicals by the award winning composer, who’s Things to Ruin, a revue of his songs just completed a well received run at The Zipper Factory. With ReWrite, a trio of mini-musicals (Nelson Rocks, Miss Marzipan, and The Process, Iconis takes a look at normal people in frustrating everyday situations that seem to overwhelm them. The evening directed by John Simpkins with ditzy style is performed by a wonderful cast of young performers, who pull out all the stops to lift this little musical a mile high.
The 5th AnnualBroadway Unpluggedconcert at Town Hall produced, written and hosted by Scott Siegel featured more than a dozen Broadway and Cabaret stars headed by perenial "unplugged" favorite Marc Kudisch, along with Aaron Lazar(Tale of Two Cities) and Broadway’s Mary Poppins, Ashley Brown.
Mary Jo (Hallie Foote) looks like she has spent her life sucking on lemons with the pucker that’s formed around her lips just begging for a do over. Actually what she arrives begging for in “Dividing the Estate”, Horton Foote’s comedy about a Southern family, is her anticipated inheritance.
Andrea Marcovicci has returned to the Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel for an unprecedented 22nd season and will be performing her outstanding show called “Marcovicci Sings Movies 11” until December 27th. Her long-time Musical Director, Shelly Markham was on piano, with Jared Egan on bass. This show brings us back to the romantic era of the movies with songs that serve as a “catalyst in recalling our memories.” Andrea entered the Oak Room in an obviously good mood, as she had just celebrated her 60th birthday the day before. She was wrapped in a shawl for the first song and then removed it to reveal a dazzling antique gown worthy of any movie star in an MGM musical.
Men in pink are taking over. With duo Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow, from Alberta Canada performing their show, “Bash’d”, a gay rap opera at the Zipper Theater, pink is the color du jour, but the act is anything but flaming. And even though Nathan Cuckow does a mean Cher impersonation, neither he nor his partner are drag queens nor do they act like them. In fact, the show is done entirely in rap, spoken word and poetry.
Director Matthew Warchus and his outrageous cast have turned the revival of the slight Boulevard farce "Boeing-Boeing" into a hilarious highlight of the season. Warchus expertly guides his gifted ensemble to fits of inspired lunacy lifting the 1960’s vehicle a mile high with a bold physical production that is a laugh out loud riot.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING, the title of Mike Daisey’s new monologue which he performs at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, is all about a bomb. The one he describes so vividly that he actually makes you see it.
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.