Gordin's View

The York Theatre

Curtain Call – Victoria Byrd, Jeremy Benton, Melanie Moore, Phillip Attmore, Kaitlyn Davidson, Joseph Medeiros

Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood opens at The York at Theatre at St. Jean’s on 76th Street.

December 3, 2021:  Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood, an insightful song and dance celebration featuring the music and lyrics of the legendary Irving Berlin opened at The York Theatre Company’s temporary home at the Theater at St. Jeans on East 76th Street for a limited engagement through January 2, 2022. This world premiere, produced in association with Riki Kane Larimer,  is The York’s first mainstage production since the pandemic began in March 2020 and the flood which forced them from their home of 30 years at St. Peter’s Theater in January 2021.  

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Reviews

Cullud Wattah ***1/2

The Company of Cullud Wattah

By: David Sheward

November 28, 2021: Though it takes place five years ago on the brink of the incoming Trump administration, few plays are as of the present moment as Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s Cullud Wattah, now at the Public Theater. The poetic and political play depicts the devastating impact of the Flint, Michigan water crisis on a three-generation family of African-American women. The crisis continues right up until the final curtain when the actresses directly address the audience to inform us that as of the date of the performance attended, Flint has not had potable water for 2,769 days. The lights come up, the cast exits without a curtain call and we are left with the staggering truth. 

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Around The Town

Thoughts and Memories of Stephen Sondheim, 1930-2021

Stephen Sondheim Credit: Erika Kapin Photography

By: David Sheward

November 27, 2021: On the Friday after Thanksgiving, my husband and I were driving back from Philadelphia  after a visit to my mother. For some unknown reason, I got the urge to listen to Sondheim. We had not been listening to the radio news, so I didn’t know about his death. I punched his name into the Spotify search engine we heard “A Little Priest,” “Another Hundred People,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “The Miller’s Son,” “Hello, Little Girl,” and “Now You Know.” A loving and unexpected tribute to the greatest musical theater writer of the 20th century. Then we got home, I opened my computer and got the shocking news.

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Around The Town

ACA Galleries

GRACE HARITGAN & LARRY RIVERS: The Poetry of Painting on view through January 29, 2022.

November 27, 2021: ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, in the Gallery District announced a two–person exhibition featuring artworks by Larry Rivers and Grace Hartigan. The exhibition, The Poetry of Painting, is on view at ACA Galleries through January 29, 2022. Widely regarded as two of the most important members of the New York School, the friendship and artistic parallels between Grace Hartigan and Larry Rivers are often overlooked.

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Reviews

The Alchemist ***1/2

Reg Rogers (Subtle), Jennifer Sanchez (Dol), Manoel Felciano (Face)

By: Alix Cohen

November 25, 2021: Ben Jonson wrote The Alchemist in 1610 when London theaters were closed for two years during the plague. Sound familiar? Samuel Coleridge called it “one of the three most perfect plots ever planned.” (The other two were Oedipus and Tom Jones) Its freewheeling comic nature finds the play repeatedly revived. Who doesn’t enjoy the cleverness and comeuppance of resourceful con men?

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Reviews

Trouble In Mind ***

Brandon Micheal Hall, LaChanze, ChuckCooper

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 24, 2021: When Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind was produced at Off Broadway’s Greenwich Mews Theatre in November 1955, it received a brief but positive review in the New York Times. The critic (a stringer signed A.G.) noted that it was “A fresh, lively and cutting satire” about “the foibles and crotches, the humor and pathos of backstage life in the type of Broadway production that utilizes a predominantly Negro cast.” 

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Reviews

Man Of La Mancha *****

Bruce Rebold and Tony Castellanos as Quiixote and Sancho.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 22, 2021: Before I say another word, let me spill out my gut reaction to the revival of Man of La Mancha that just opened at Plaza Broadway Long Island’s theatre in Elmont, Nassau County’s only Equity company. I have a few quibbles, as expected, but cumulatively, it’s a great show that entertains you, moves you, and makes you think about how to be a better person. The music remains marvelous, and the actor playing Cervantes/Don Quixote, Bruce Rebold, is superb. 

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Reviews

Morning’s At Seven ***1/2

Alley Mills, Lindsay Crouse, Patty McCormack, Alma Cuervo 

By:  Isa Goldberg 

November 21, 2021: Reviving “Morning’s at Seven”, Paul Osborn’s old chestnut of a comedy, is the stuff we reserve for Olympians, such as this impressive cast from The Peccadillo Theater Company. While it is rife with clichés about family life and maturing, Dan Wackerman’s revival highlights the contemporary nature of these dysfunctional families as well as their sexual values. In a certain sense, these Midwestern folks are more contemporary than we would imagine of people in the 1920s, the period in which the play is set.  

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Around The Town

BroadwayHD

Black Matter, Giles Terera’s powerful song cycle, now available on BroadwayHD.

November 20, 2021:  Inspired by the unrest of 2020, Olivier Award winning star of the West End production of Hamilton, Giles Terera, created his exciting song cycle, Black Matter. Now the song cycle can be seen by audiences around the world on BroadwayHD, where it began streaming on November 12th.  Black Matter is a 60-minute song cycle featuring multiple styles of music – funk, jazz, ballad –  What’s on Stage said, “From the first song to the last, I was gripped. I couldn’t look away.

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Reviews

Trouble in Mind ***, Assassins ****, The Visitor *,Morning’s At Seven ****

The Company of “Trouble In Mind”.

By: David Sheward

November 19, 2021: Revivals and adaptations are proving startlingly relevant on and Off-Broadway. Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind premiered Off-Broadway in 1955. The play centering on an African-American actress’ confrontation with racial stereotypes in the theater was all set to transfer to Broadway, but the playwright refused to tone down the controversial subject matter and the production was cancelled. Now, 66 years later, Trouble has finally made it to the Main Stem and Childress’ fiery words are just as pertinent as the day they were written. Charles Randolph-Wright’s production for Roundabout Theater Company is too broad in places, but still captures the author’s unflinching portrait of race relations through the lens of the stage.

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Reviews

Morning Sun *****

Edie Falco, Marin Ireland, Blair Brown

By: Isa Goldberg

November 18, 2021: Stealthy, indeed, is a quality that distinguishes playwright Simon Stephens, whose latest work, “Morning Sun”, is as unusual in its exploration of form as it is in its reflection on love. Because ultimately it is all about love.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: ‘for colored girls’ Sets Dates and Theater

The cast of for colored girls at the Public Theater in 2019

By: David Sheward

November 16, 2021: The previously announced revival of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has set definite dates and a theater. The new production of the long-running “choreopoem” will begin previews on March 4, 2022 at the Booth Theater where it debuted on Broadway in 1976 and ran for 742 performances. 

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Reviews

The Visitor **1/2

The company of the world premiere production of “The Visitor”.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 15, 2021: The Visitor, a new musical at the Public based on the Thomas McCarthy film of 2007, was on the verge of opening last year when, like so many other shows, it was shut down by the pandemic. It turns out to have a decent-enough score by the Pulitzer Prize-winning team (Next to Normal) of Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (lyrics), a satisfactory company led by David Hyde Pierce, a well-oiled production staged by Daniel Sullivan (with choreography by Lorin Latarro), and, as its raison d’être , a subject of stinging social significance. Nonetheless, for all its intermittent pleasures, it fails to rivet attention. What seemed real on screen feels flimsily contrived on stage, and it doesn’t take long before one wonders whether this material really demanded to be musicalized.

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Interviews

Judy Kaye

Diana’s Judy Kaye: Celebrating Six Decades in Show Business

By: Ellis Nassour 

November 12, 2021: Judy Kaye has had a storied career over six decades in opera, operetta, symphony concerts, TV and Soaps, voice work in animated features, records, and theater. Her path led to two Tony Awards for Featured Actress in Musicals, The Phantom of the Opera (the diva Carlotta, opposite Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman): and Nice Work If You Can Get It (the madcap Duchess Estonia Dulworth, opposite Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara).

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Reviews

Trevor ***

Holden William Hagelberger (left) and Sammy Dell (right)

By: David Sheward

November 11, 2021: The new musical Trevor could easily have been an extended Afterschool Special, an overly preachy message tuner with more PSA vibes than entertainment value. Set in 1981, the show follows the travails of a show-biz-loving adolescent discovering his gay sexuality and attempting suicide after a humiliating incident in middle school. He meets a sympathetic volunteer in the hospital with a shared interest in pop music divas and learns to accept and value himself. There are elements of syrupy sweetness and caricatures in this musicalization by Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music), but fortunately, they are balanced out by moments of genuine empathy, pathos and honesty.

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