Reviews

The Heart of Rock and Roll **

Corey Cott and McKenzie Kurtz.

By: David Sheward

April 22, 2024: “Oh my God! It’s cardboard,” exclaims one of the characters in The Heart of Rock and Roll, the latest jukebox musical to hit Broadway, now at the James Earl Jones after a run at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. He’s describing the packaging business the main character wants to succeed in, but he could be giving a summation of the plot and the show itself. Employing songs recorded by Huey Lewis and the News and a sitcom-level book by Jonathan A. Abrams (the story is credited to Abrams and Tyler Mitchell), this so-so musical rom-com feels like a retread of a retread. (One of the songs, “Power of Love” is already being used in another musical this season, Back to the Future.) 

Read more >

Reviews

Suffs ****, Teeth ***

Jenn Colella as Carrie Chapman Catt and “Suffs” Company.

By: David Sheward

April 19, 2024: When it opened Off-Broadway at the Public Theater for a relatively short run in 2022, Suffs, Shaina Taub’s sweeping musical history of the women’s suffrage movement, got lost in the shuffle of the end-of-the-season, theater-award-deadline madness. There were also several cancelled performances due to COVID infections among the cast. As a result, this promising show was shunted aside. Now Taub has considerably revised her book and the score, Leigh Silverman has restaged it, there is a new design team and with two high-profile producers above the title (Hillary Rodham Clinton and Malala Yousafzai), Suffs has opened on Broadway at the Music Box. It’s one of the most captivating, entertaining, and educational musicals of the season. And yes, it’s possible to be entertaining and educational at the same time.

Read more >

Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Phil Silvers and Nancy Walker in “Do Re Mi” (1960).

Nostalgic picks from Broadway Babe include Sondheim, Jule Styne, Do re Mi and more.

April 21, 2024:   Broadway Babe, Randie Levine Miller has some truly nostalgic finds—with some going back to the 1950s, including the legendary early TV producer Max Liebman Presents with some faces you will recognize before they were icons; composer Jule Styne at the piano, sharing some great anecdotes; excerpts from the 1960s Broadway show, “Do Re Mi”; and an extraordinary benefit concert for Carnegie Hall that pays tribute to Stephen Sondheim.

Read more >

Reviews

The Outsiders ***

THE SOCS (Top Row) Barton Cowperthwaite (Brill), Dan Berry (Paul), RJ Higton(Chet), Kevin William Paul (Bob), Emma Pittman (Cherry Valance), Melody Rose (Beverly); (Front Row) Sean Harrison Jones (Tripp). Credit Mathew Murphy (2024)

By: Paulanne Simmons

April 19, 2024: S.E. Hinton began writing the coming-of-age novel, The Outsiders, when she was fifteen and finished it when she was a junior in high school. Viking Press published the novel when she was eighteen. Such precociousness is admirable. And the novel has certainly become a beloved classic. 

Read more >

Reviews

The Wiz ***

Wayne Brady

By: David Sheward

April 17, 2024: There are a few bumps on the yellow brick road in the new revival of The Wiz at the Marquis Theater, but this shiny new rendition of the Tony-winning 1974 African-American retelling of L. Frank Baum’s beloved fantasy classic is a roof-raising crowd pleaser. Starting with the positive, the cast is full of exquisite triple threats who can sing, dance, and act their way into your hearts and make you believe all the magical elements of the story though you’ve heard them a thousand times before. The physical production, particularly the costumes of Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Sharen Davis, are imaginative and startlingly different from previous Oz iterations. Hannah Beachler’s sets, augmented by Daniel Brodie’s projections create a fabulously fantasy – filled environment.

Read more >

Reviews

Lempicka *****

Eden Espinosa and the cast of “Lempicka”.

By: Isa Goldberg

April 17, 2024: The scandalous, and dangerous life of art deco artist, Lempicka fuels this exciting new Broadway musical. And a smashing Broadway debut for the writers Carson Kreitzer and Matt Gould it is. 

Read more >

Reviews

Lempicka ***1/2

The Cast of “Lempicka”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

April 15, 2024: We were pushing our way through the excitedly buzzing crowd leaving the Longacre Theatre after just having seen Lempicka, the new musical about Polish artist Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980). As we found a clearing, my middle-aged daughter surprised me by the enthusiasm of her opinion. “Oh my God, that was soooo good! I wasn’t bored for a minute. I loved the music and everything about it!” My daughter isn’t an easy customer, but during the show I did notice that her vigorous clapping was in sync with most of the audience following each number.

Read more >

Around The Town

Sideshow Hootenanny 2024

By: Alix Cohen

April 15, 2024: “The sideshow as a separate, specialized variety form begins around the same time as dime museums (mid 1800s)… relatively wholesome alternative for a working class family who wanted to take in a little entertainment, including a variety show (often featuring future vaudevillians). It flourished in its original incarnation until around the 1950s. Sideshows were a part of circuses, carnivals, fairground midways (including all the great World’s Fairs), and amusement parks like New York’s Coney Island.”  Trav S.D. for Travelanche; His book: No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

Read more >

Around The Town

Broadway Update

Patti LuPone and Mia Farrow will return to Broadway in “The Roommate”.

Patti LuPone, Mia Farrow, Tom Holland.

By: David Sheward

April 13, 2024: According to the New York Post, Tony winner Patti PuPone and Mia Farrow will return to Broadway in a two-person play called The Roommate by Jen Silverman. Directed by Tony winner Jack O’Brien (Hairspray), the play will begin preview performances at the Booth Theater in late August and open in September. After her last Broadway appearance in the revival of Company, LuPone announced she was turning in her Equity card. Guess she will be renewing it now. Farrow last appeared on Broadway for a week of performances in A.R. Guerney’s Love Letters

Read more >

HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

White Room Gallery

Kat O’Neill and Andrea McCafferty.

Opening reception for METAMORPHOSIS now on view at The White Room Gallery, 3 Railroad Avenue East Hampton, through May 19.

April 14, 2024: Andrea McCafferty & Kat O’Neill, co-owners, and directors of The White Room Gallery, hosted the opening reception for METAMORPHOSIS, their new exhibition featuring Sara Conca, Patrick Schmidt, and others. Also, the premier of The Back Room featuring artist, Punk Me Tender. METAMORPHOSIS will be on view through May 19 at The White Room Gallery, 3 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton. 

Read more >

Around The Town

Broadway Babe

“Bombshell” the Musical

Vintage Musical Theater finds from Broadway Babe & A Day in the Life of Kristin Chenoweth.

April 14, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller, has come up with some musical theater finds, Including: The Actors Fund benefit performance of a concert of the musical within the musical, “Smash” about Marilyn Monroe; old clips of the original stars of “On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever” performing; video following the delightful Kristin Chenoweth; a 1997 PBS Avery Fisher Hall concert with leading opera stars singing songs from Broadway musicals.

Read more >

Reviews

Tuesdays With Morrie ****1/2

Chris Domig and Len Cariou.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

April 11, 2024: As is well known, sports writer Mitch Albom’s 1997 book, Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lesson, one of the best-selling memoirs ever, tells the story of Albom’s weekly visits to Morris S. “Morrie” Schwartz, his former sociology professor at Brandeis, after he learned that Schwartz was afflicted with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The sentimental yet uplifting story was made into a 1999 film, Tuesdays with Morrie, starring Hank Azaria and Jack Lemmon, and then a successful Off-Broadway play, cowritten by Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, seen at the Minetta Lane Theatre in 2002. 

Read more >

Reviews

The Outsiders ***

THE GREASERS (Top Row) Jason Schmidt (Sodapop Curtis), Renni Anthony Magee (Steve), Daryl Tofa (Two-Bit), Tilly Evans-Krueger (Ace),Sky Lakota-Lynch (Johnny Cade), Joshua Boone (Dallas Winston), Brent Comer (Darrel Curtis); (Front Row) Brody Grant (Ponyboy Curtis). Credit: Mathew Murphy 2024

By: David Sheward

April11, 2024: In her classic YA novel The Outsiders, SE Hinton’s teenage protagonist Ponyboy Curtis explains the difference between “tough” and “tuff”: “Tough and tuff are two different words. Tough is the same as rough; tuff means cool, sharp— like a tuff-looking Mustang or a tuff record. In our neighborhood both are compliments.” In the new musical version of The Outsiders, now at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater after a run at the La Jolla Playhouse, the creative team is trying for “tuff,” but the results are “tough” as in “rough.”

Read more >

Reviews

Ibsen’s Ghost ****

Charles Busch

By: David Sheward

April 11, 2024: Playwright, performer and drag legend Charles Busch is back and Henrik Ibsen’s got him. This may seem like an unlikely pairing, but Ibsen’s Ghost, Busch’s latest parody-romp ranks with his funniest efforts. Previously Busch has written delightfully campy send-ups of Hollywood movies and lavish costume spectacles with himself as the leading lady, inspired by the likes of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn. Here he follows the great ladies of the stage who starred in Ibsen’s dramas such as Eva La Gallienne, Alla Nazimova, Glenda Jackson, Janet McTeer, Jessica Chastain, and yes Talulah Bankhead (who played Hedda Gabler on TV). 

Read more >