Reviews

A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet **1/2

Ben Fankhauser, Bryonha Marie Parham, Alex Wyse

By: Samuel L. Leiter

September 27, 2021: It takes a lot of chutzpah for a show to announce beneath the title on its Playbill cover, almost as a subtitle, “A New Musical Hit in the Making.” This is, after all, a city where the “h”-word rightfully belongs to works of creative genius, like Come from Away, Hadestown, and Hamilton, to name a few. In the case of A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet, though, with its sixteen producers,it’s hard not to feel that pride goeth before a fall. 

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Around The Town

Tony Awards 2021

Adrienne Warren

Moulin Rouge and The Inheritance nab Top Honors at the 2021 Tony Awards .

By: Patrick Christiano

September 27, 2021:  Last night was an evening to celebrate Broadway! Broadway theaters are reopening and the long- delayed Tony Awards, originally scheduled for June 2020, finally happened at the ‘Winter Garden Theater. The ceremony follows the longest Broadway closing in history. “Broadway is Back” was the message that the Broadway community wanted to send to the public.

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Broadway Update: Slave, Skin, Sondheim

Tony nominees James Cusati-Moyer and Ato Blankson-Wood in “Slave Play”

By: David Sheward

September 27, 2021: The long-delayed Tony Awards (presented Sept. 26) were full of surprises from the Paramount Plus portion of the ceremony ending ten minutes early to an extra four minutes of Big Brother cutting into the opening of the CBS portion of the show to the unexpected shut-out of Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play. Harris’ controversial play about sex, race, and oppression received the most Tony nominations ever for a straight play with 12 and was thought to be a shoe-in to sweep the dramatic categories. But, Slave lost all of its categories.

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2021 Tony Award Predictions

By: David Sheward

September 26, 2021: After a year and a half, the long-delayed Tony Awards will finally be presented tonight. When all the Broadway theaters shut down in March 2020, the accolades were in limbo. The Drama Desks, Outer Critics and Obies decided to honor the achievements of the abbreviated 2019-20 theater season either online and by press release in the late spring of 2020. But the Tonys dithered for months, probably because they wanted to wait until all the theatres could be reopened to maximize the publicity values.

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Reviews

Between Fire & Ice ***** 

Adrienne Haan

Between Fire & Ice: A Diabolical Weimer Berlin Kabaret

By: Paulanne Simmons

September 27, 2021: The year may be 2021. And The Triad Theater may be located at 158 West 72 Street in New York City. But on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 25, Adrienne Haan transported the audience at the Triad to Weimar Germany. Despite Germany’s “sad attempt at democracy,” this was a time when populism, militarism, racism and anti-Semitism were all on the rise. But, said Haan, it was also “the creative time of the great cabaret artists.”

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Tony Awards

Leslie Odom Jr. Photo: Barry Gordin

The Tony Awards Will Feature Stars of Stage and Screen Live from the Winter Garden Theatre September 26

By: Ellis Nassour

September 24, 2021: CBS and  the American Theatre Wing’s 74th Tony Awards will feature a huge roster of stage and screen stars on Sunday in an entertainment-jammed live, four-hour event. The Awards and special The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back! will telecast from Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre, soon to be the home of the much-anticipated revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. 

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Reviews

The Last of the Love Letters **1/2

Ngozi Anyanwu

By: David Sheward

September 21, 2021: At first, Ngozi Anyanwu’s The Last of the Love Letters seems like a conventional breakup story. The audience enters the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater to find Anyanwu herself on stage as a character listed in the digital program as “You.” (The others are enigmatically called You No. 2 and Person.) This You is scribbling in a notebook, evidently she is writing the missive alluded to in the title. As the play begins, Anyanwu launches into a 20-minute monologue describing the defects of her relationship with the addressee and the reasons why she is breaking up with him or her. It’s funny and entertaining enough, with some sassy barbs aimed at the rejected lover. Anyanwu is a sharp writer and a confident performer, but this is familiar territory.

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Tony Awards

“The Tony Awards® Present: Broadway’s Back!,” Live From the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, Sunday, Sept. 26 on CBS and Paramount+

September 23, 2021:  CBS and The American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards announced that a bevy of stage and screen stars that will appear on “The Tony Awards® Present: Broadway’s Back!”  live from The Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, Sunday, Sept. 26 on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. The special will celebrate the return of live theatre and commemorate the 74th Annual Tony Awards® for the 2019-2020 season in a four-hour television and streaming event.

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Dear Evan Hansen

Ben Platt and Co-stars on Bringing Dear Evan Hansen from Stage to Screen

By: Ellis Nassour

September 23, 2021: Bringing the Tony-winning, generation-defining Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen (Universal Studios; two hours and 17 minutes [which includes the credit crawl] from stage to screen was a long-time dream of Tony, Grammy and Emmy winner Ben Platt, who in one of those rare occasions gets to reprise his critically-acclaimed performance for the movie. It must have been the same for the Oscar, Grammy and Tony-winning composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La LandThe Greatest Showman) and Tony-winning book writer   Steven Levenson, who, thankfully for the most part, got to do the screenplay. With the reviews and sold-out performances, it must have not have been a matter of when, but how soon. 
 

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Reviews

Sanctuary City ***

Sharlene Cruz, Jasai Chase-Owens

By Samuel L. Leiter

September 21, 2021: Martyna Majok, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for Cost of Living, her touching play about disabled people, continues to examine issues relevant to the socially dispossessed in Sanctuary City. It’s at the Lortel after its opening at the New York Theatre Workshop last year was suspended when the pandemic hit. Still under the NYTW’s aegis, the fitfully engaging Sanctuary City offers insights into the lives of young immigrants, the kind usually referred to as “dreamers.” Those, of course, get their name from the Dream Act proposal—swiftly alluded to-that would allow undocumented immigrants eventually to be granted permanent residency. It has other things on its mind as well.

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BroadwayHD

New production of Closer Than Ever debuts on BroadwayHD September 23.

September 21, 2021: Ginger Quiff Media and BroadwayHD, the premier streaming service for live theater, are partnering to bring the Outer Critics Circle Award-winning and Drama Desk Award nominated musical revue of Maltby and Shire’s Closer Than Ever exclusively to the platform.  The brand-new filmed production will featureX Factor (UK Edition) winner Dalton Harris, along with West End stars including musical theatre icons Lee Mead (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour DreamcoatWicked), Kerry Ellis (WickedWe Will Rock You) and Grace Mouat (Six; & Juliet).The film will be available on BroadwayHD exclusively to subscribers across the globe this September. 

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Tomatoes Got Talent

Randie Levine-Miller

Extraordinary women over 40 compete in the 7th Annual contest at The Triad Theater on Monday, October 4.

September 22, 2021: Delayed over a year, the finals of the 7th annual “Tomatoes Got Talent” contest will take place at The Triad Theater, 158 West 72nd Street, on Monday, October 4th at 7pm. The contest celebrates women over 40 with careers outside of entertainment and is co-produced by Cheryl Benton and Randie Levine-Miller, who will host and perform. The finals feature 11 uniquely talented women who have been waiting since last April 2020, when the Tomatoes contest was uprooted. This year’s outstanding jury is comprised of Tony nominee Lee Roy Reams, and the Tony Award-winning Broadway producers Margot Astrachan and Ken Waissman. The show’s music director is Paul Chamlin.

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Reviews

What Happened? The Michaels Abroad ****

Jay O. Sanders, Maryann Plunke

By: David Sheward

September 18, 2021: “I don’t know” is the answer the characters in Richard Nelson’s What Happened? The Michaels Abroad give when asked what they will do next after a year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gathered in an apartment in Angers, France for a dance festival, the Michaels and their friends ponder their future in an uncertain world. Just like the previous works in his Rhinebeck Panorama, there is very little plot or action and some may find the play dull or uninvolving, but this final work in Nelson’s 12-play cycle offers an intimate and detailed account of the current frightening moment as we deal with the continuing pandemic. Like the previous plays, there are no dramatic fireworks, the acting and staging are low-key. It’s like a visit to catch up with old friends, familiar and comforting after the rug has been pulled out from under you.

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ACA Galleries

Hugh Mangum

The Photography of Hugh Mangum 1897-1922 will be on view at ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, 5th Floor through October 23.

September 12, 2021: ACA Galleries is presenting Where We Find Ourselves -The Photography of Hugh Mangum 1897-1922 through October 23. Mangum was a self-taught photographer born in Durham, North Carolina. As an itinerant portraitist in the shadow of the segregationist laws of the Jim Crow era, Mangum welcomed into his studios a clientele that was both racially and economically diverse. After his death, his glass plate negatives remained stored in a tobacco barn on his family farm for 50 years. Slated for demolition in the 1970s, the barn was saved at the last moment, and with it, this unparalleled document of life at the turn of the 20th century. 

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