Gordin's View

Five Opens @ Theater 555

Anyae Anasia as Ivana, Gabriella Joy Rodriguez as Marla, Gabi Garcia as Stormy, Hanna Bonnett as Ivanka, Jamie Lyn Beatty as Melania,, and Jasmine Rice Labeija as Hillary Clinton.

FIVE: The Musical Parody, a WICKEDLY FUNNY tale, inspired by the former President opened at Theater 555 on 42nd Street.

February 20, 2024:  FIVE: The Musical Parody, which opened last night at Theater 555,recounts the stories of the women linked to our disgraced 45th President. The musical, directed and choreographed by Jen Wineman, is a wickedly funny romp that spoofs the Tony winning hit Broadway musical Six about the wives of King Henry VIII.  Set on a debate stage in Ronkonkoma, New York, The Donald’s three wives, Ivana, Marla, and Melania, one mistress, Stormy, and his only daughter, Ivanka, fight to be declared the winner of “Who really had it worst” with the fake president.  

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Reviews

I Love You So Much I Could Die **1/2

Mona Pirnot

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 18, 2024: On Thursday, a day after seeing Corinne Jaber’s Munich Medea: Happy Family at the WP Theatre, I wrote about my disappointment at its being entirely written for three actors who ignore dialogue in favor of delivering expository monologues. However, on Thursday night, I was even more put off by Mona Pirnot’s similarly undramatic use of monologues in I Love You So Much I Could Die, at the New York Theatre Workshop. 

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

Southampton Arts Center

LIVE: LOOK AT THE BOOK Opening Reception @ SAC Saturday, February 24/5pm

February 17, 2024:  Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, will host an opening reception for LOOK AT THE BOOK on Saturday, February 24th @5pm.  Curated by Christina M. Strassfield LOOK AT THE BOOK Is a multimedia exhibition that pays homage to “Books.” The exhibition will focus on how contemporary artists have engaged with the book as a surface, structure, found object, philosophical, and literary guide. The works will include various types of books, accordion books, video books and audiobooks, graphic novels, sculpture, photography, and several site-specific installations created with and from books.

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Reviews

Munich Medea: Happy Family ***

Heather Raffo

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 16, 2024: Like Corinne Jaber, whose first play this is, Alice, the heroine of Munich Medea: Happy Family (at the WP Theatre, coproduced with Playco),is a Syrian-German born in Munich and raised in Canada and Germany. As a girl, Alice (played by Iraqi-American Heather Raffo), whose father hitchhiked from Syria and whose mother came from East Germany, faced identity issues when other Germans had difficulties accepting her as one of them. Once, when her German-language abilities were questioned, she shot back with, “I was born in Germany and went to school here you fucking moron. I’ve probably read more Goethe than you ever will.” 

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Around The Town

Christine Jorgensen

Mark Nadler and Jesse James Keitel.

By: Alix Cohen

Background: Who Was Christine Jorgensen?
“We didn’t start the sexual revolution, but I think we gave it a good kick in the pants!” Christine Jorgensen

February 15, 2024: George W. Jorgensen, Jr., aka Christine Jorgensen (1926-1989), was assigned male at birth, but self identified as a female. In her late 20s, she became aware of medical sex reassignment, began taking estrogen, then followed up with hormone replacement therapy in Denmark. Her parents were Danish. It was easy to mask the trip as a family visit. Operations in Scandinavia and the United States completed transition. “Remember the shy, miserable person who left America? Well, that person is no more,” she wrote friends. “You have lost a son, but gained somebody new,” she told her parents. The Jorgensens were supportive.

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Reviews

Appropriate ****1/2

Sarah Paulson (left) and Elle Fanning.

By: Isa Goldberg

February 14, 2024: Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins deals in the lexicon of racism that speaks to our American heritage.

His earlier, Obie Award-winning Octaroon, is a farcical send off to the slaves of a foreclosed plantation. In that play, their inheritance is their dispossession. It’s just what they’ve always been.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Michael Esper, Corey Stoll and Sarah Paulsen in “Appropriate”. Credit: Joan Marcus

Appropriate Moves; News of Kristin Chenoweth, Amy Ryan, etc.

By: David Sheward

February 13, 2024: The Second Stage revival of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate will be moving from the Hayes Theater (to make room for Paula Vogel’s Mother Play) to a limited run at the now-vacant Belasco Theater (after How to Dance in Ohio closed) from March 25 to June 23. The entire company will repeating their roles, except for Elle Fanning who has a scheduling conflict. Her replacement for the role of River will be announced in the coming weeks. The transfer will increase the play’s chances at the Tony Awards. There still has not been a ruling if the production is a revival or a new play since the work was previously seen Off-Broadway at the Signature Theater in 2014 where it won an Obie Award. The Tonys only consider Broadway shows.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Drama Desks and Theater World Awards on the Same Day

By: David Sheward

February 13, 2024: Two major NY theater awards will be held on the same date. It was announced the 78th annual Theater World Awards will be held on Mon. June 10. The day before, the Drama Desk Awards had announced the same date for their 69th annual accolades. However, the Theater Worlds which are given for outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances, listed 7PM as their start time. Last year and the year before, the DDs were held in the afternoon, so things may work out for winners who wish to attend both ceremonies. Neither event has listed a venue. Hopefully they will be close to each other so double attendees will have a short trip and time for a bite to eat.

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Reviews

Oh, Mary! ****

Cole Escola and Bianca Leigh.

By: David Sheward

February 11, 2024: Mary Todd Lincoln is an odd choice as the main character of a raucous, drag-centered satire. Most campy stage spoofs written by and starring either Charles Busch or Charles Ludlum have usually centered on movie heroines played by the likes of Joan Crawford or Bette Davis in spectacularly soapy melodramas, or they are historical epics featuring over-the-top royalty in divinely diva-ish gowns. Mrs. Lincoln’s story is a truly tragic one and does not afford much opportunity for sartorial fabulousness. But that didn’t stop YouTube sensation-playwright-drag performer Cole Escola from transforming one of our nation’s saddest figures into a bawdy, naughty vamp in a riotous travesty of American history and morality, Oh, Mary! at the Lucille Lortel.

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

White Room Gallery


Opening reception for LOVE IS THE DRUG now on view at The White Room Gallery, 3 Railroad Avenue East Hampton, through March 30.

February 11, 2024: Andrea McCafferty & Kat O’Neill, co-owners, and directors of The White Room Gallery, hosted the opening reception for LOVE IS THE DRUG, their new exhibition featuring artists John Grande, Rebecca Russo, Grace Baley and more. The show will be on view at The White Room in East Hampton through March 30, 2024. 
Photographs from the reception Saturday February 10.

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Reviews

Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy ****, Our Class ****

Haskell King, John Lavelle, Christine Lahti, Renata Friedman and Hadi Tabbal in “Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy”

By: David Sheward

February 8, 2024: The line between the truth and fake news becomes a blurry limbo pole the characters dance around, above and below in Sarah Gancher’s brilliantly relevant and wildly funny new play Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy, now at the Vineyard Theater. This inventive playwright starts out with the shockingly real fact that Putin’s government interfered in the 2016 presidential election by sending out conspiracy-theory-laden tweets and social-media messages from thousands of fake accounts, tipping the scales for a certain orange-hued candidate. She goes inside the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg (an actual company) and creates a frightening and fiendish look at the interrelationships among five trolls, how they turn on each other, poison the information well and threaten democracy around the world. The scary part is many of the tweets were taken from IRA fake accounts and Gancher had to make up only a few.

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Reviews

Days of Wine and Roses ***

Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 4, 2024: Note: The following is a slightly revised version of the review I posted on Theater Life last June, when this musical was at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater. The show has now moved to Broadway’s Studio 54, with all but one of its five principal actors intact. I can’t point to any important specifics in the production, other than its expansion for a Broadway stage, that caught my attention as differing radically from the Off-Broadway version, but I do believe the central performances of Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James have grown even richer and more powerful, if that’s even possible. On the other hand, my original assessment of the material as depressing was only deepened on a second viewing. For all the artistry and charisma of the stars’ portrayals, their characters remain so unpleasantly self-centered it’s impossible to empathize with them, no matter how much one may wish to do so.

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

Southampton Arts Center

LIVE: JazzFest – Azar Lawrence Quintet @ SAC on Saturday, February 17th

February 3, 2024: Southampton Arts Center is excited to celebrate Black History Month and welcome Azar Lawrence to their stage at 7pm on Saturday, February 17. Doors open at 6:30pm for a social hour with complimentary wine. Azar is a Spiritual and Musical disciple of Coltrane with a healthy mix of soul, funk and music beyond category.

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Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Chita Rivera

Historic Flashbacks from Broadway Babe include West Side Story, Carol Burnett, Donna McKechnie & the original Sandy from Grease, Carol Demas.

February 3, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has found some entertaining and historic videos, which include the 50th anniversary reunion of the original cast of “West Side Story”;  Carol Burnett starring in “Once Upon A Mattress”; Donna McKechnie at Joe’s Pub; as well as Carol Demas, the original Sandy in the Broadway musical “Grease”, singing a song she introduced over 50 years ago. How is it that so many of these women look so great in their 80s?

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Reviews

Jonah ***1/2

Gabby Beans (Ana) and Samuel Henry Levine (Danny).

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 2, 2024: An enthusiastic response greeted the end of Jonah, Rachel Bonds’s intriguing, if determinedly ambiguous dramedy – receiving its world premiere at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre – when I attended; however, as the audience moved up the aisle to leave, I overheard more than one playgoer ask their partner something along the lines of, “What did we just see?” Good question.

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