Around The Town

25th Annual Hulaween Bash

Gloria Gaynor headlines Boogie Frights Hulaween Friday, October 29th at Cipriani South Street to benefit The New York Restoration Project (NYRP).

October 26, 2021:  Disco legend and two-time GRAMMY Award winner Gloria Gaynor will headline Boogie Frights Hulaween, the 25th Annual Hulaween Bash to benefit the New York Restoration Project, this Friday, October 29 at Cipriani South Street.  Bette Midler, currently in pre-production for Hocus Pocus 2, is unable to attend this year’s event. As Founder of NYRP, she continues to enthusiastically support the organization and this event and will be virtually co-presenting the awards to the two honorees via video during the evening.  Lance Le Pere will receive the Wind Beneath My Wings Award for his longstanding support of NYRP and Miriam Wheeler, Co- head of the Americas Real Estate Financing Group at Goldman Sachs, will receive the Green Goddess Award for her commitment to serving underserved communities in New York City.

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Reviews

Lackawanna Blues ***1/2

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 24, 2021: Ruben Santiago-Hudson is certainly a talented man. He’s a great writer, a great actor and a great director. His solo show at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre demonstrates all those talents. But it is not a great show.

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Reviews

Is This A Room ****, Dana H *****, Lackawanna Blues ****, The Lehman Trilogy *****, Letters of Suresh **

“Is This A Room”

By: David Sheward

October 22, 2021: After a long absence due to COVID, Broadway is slowly starting to come back. But the majority of new productions are not the typical Main Stem fare of jukebox musicals, revivals, or tuners based on popular movies. Most of the recent openings have been transfers or returns of unconventional Off-Broadway offerings. Two of them, Is This A Room and Dana H., are derived from transcripts of recordings of real people living frightening events and are running in repertory after award-winning runs at the Vineyard Theater. This pair of unusual evenings are both short (only 70 minutes each) and small-scale with simple sets, but pack an enormous wallop. 

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Reviews

The Lehman Trilogy *****

Adam Godley, Simon Russell Beale and Adrian Lester in “The Lehman Trilogy”.

THIS is Great Theater

By: Alix Cohen

We are merchants of money. We use money to make more money.”

October 21, 2021: The remarkable Lehman Trilogy comes to Broadway by way of London’s National Theatre, the Park Avenue Armory, and London’s West End. I saw it at the Armory. Adrian Lester has replaced Ben Miles; scale has been adjusted. At  three hours, 20 minutes, with two intermissions, it remains as fully captivating as it was upon first viewing. GO.

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Features

Chicken & Biscuits

Five Reasons Why Chicken & Biscuits is Broadway’s Delightful Main Course

By: Iris Wiener

           October 14, 2021:  Chicken & Biscuits is a delectable treat, one that excites the pallet and leaves its audiences satiated with joy. A funeral may not be the first place one would imagine a comedy being set, but this feast delivers at every turn. Playwright Douglas Lyons builds a full Baptist memorial service in a Black church, at which the Jenkins’, a family of misshapen, foiled characters, arrive to mourn (or celebrate) the passing of their elder. The uplifting heart and abounding humor are only two of many reasons audiences will want second helpings of this perfect reason to revisit Broadway. Here are five more:

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Reviews

Thoughts of a Colored Man *****, Chicken and Biscuits **1/2

Luke James, Esau Pritchett, Da’Vinchi, Forrest McClendon, Dyllón Burnside, Tristan Mack Wilds, Bryan Terrell Clark in Thoughts of a Colored Man.

By: David Sheward

October 13, 2021: While Broadway theaters were shuttered and demonstrations erupted across the country protesting the killing of George Floyd, an African-American, by a white police officer, the industry underwent a reckoning to be more inclusive and diverse. As stages are slowly reopening, the number of productions written by African-Americans like Keenan Scott II’s Thoughts of a Colored Man and Douglas Lyons’ Chicken and Biscuits has increased above the usual token two or three per season.

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Around The Town

ACA Galleries

African American Abstraction at Frieze Masters on view October 13-17 at The Regent’s Park, London.

October 13, 2021:  ACA Galleries is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by African American artists at Frieze Masters on view October 13 through October 17, 2021 Booth B10 at The Regent’s Park, London. The exhibition examines the often-overlooked contributions of African American artists working in abstraction and aims to give new perspectives on artists not always associated with the genre. The exhibition presents exceptional examples by Henry “Mike” Bannard (1910-1965), Romare Bearden (1911-1988), Winston Branch (b.1947), Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), Ed Clark (1926-2019), Paul Keene (1910-2005), Norman Lewis (1909-1979), Richard Mayhew (b. 1924) and Faith Ringgold (b. 1930). While Clark, Keene and Lewis are known for their contributions and commitment to abstraction, artists like Bearden and Ringgold are largely recognized for narrative and figurative works.

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Reviews

South Pacific ***1/2

Michael Santora, Sarah Colt, Eriel Milan Brown, Tierney Rose Bent, Katherine Leidlein, Lauren Anne O’Brien, Kate Wesler, Madison Claire Clark (Nellie), Jordan Bell (Luther Billis)

“Most People Long for Another Island”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

October 11, 2021: Theatre-loving residents of Nassau County (not to mention the nearby borough of Queens) have reason to rejoice in the presence of Plaza’s Broadway Long Island (a name in need of a redo). The county’s only professional (Equity) company, it just opened its agreeable production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s 1949 musical classic, South Pacific, the first in an ambitious 2021-2022 musical theater season. Following it will be Man of La Mancha, The Color Purple, and Something Rotten! If you’re still pandemic-hesitant about going to Broadway, why not let Broadway come to you?  

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: Buffalo, Funny Girl, Pal Joey

Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss will star in American Buffalo

By: David Sheward

October 10, 2021: With recent announcements of firm openings, casting and theaters, the 2021-22 Broadway season appears to be solidly set. American Buffalo and Funny Girl have solidified their locations and performance dates. That leaves only Sing Street dangling. The musical had announced a Broadway transfer from its New York Theater Workshop run before the pandemic, but that doesn’t seem likely now since almost all of the theaters have been snapped up. Many shows have reopened and a few new ones have opened their doors. There have been bumps on the road–Aladdin had to suspend performances due to a breakthrough outbreak of COVID in the company and Lackawanna Blues cancelled a few shows due to the back injury of Rueben Santiago-Hudson, the playwright and sole performer. But, Broadway is definitely back and open for business.

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Around The Town

Tomatoes Got Talent

Robin Lyon Gardiner

Robin Lyon Gardiner Wins The Seventh Annual “Tomatoes Got Talent” contest at the Triad Theatre.

October 08, 2021: The 7th Annual “Tomatoes Got Talent” contest happened at the Triad Theatre, 158 West 72nd Street, on Monday, October 4. Robin Lyon Gardiner took the evening’s top honor, and the runners-up were Lisa Kerr, Leyla Zalutskaya, and comedian Judith George. The contest showcased eleven extraordinary women over 40, who were chosen to perform in the contest finals.The evening is co-produced and hosted by Randie Levine-Miller, who opened the show. “Tomatoes Got Talent” highlights the talents of women, who have made their marks outside of the entertainment world, but who consider the craft of singing and performing to be integral to their lives. Gardiner, a full-time real-estate broker by day, received the highest marks from this year’s judges, Tony nominee Lee Roy Reams, and Tony Award-winning Broadway producers Margot Astrachan and Ken Waissman. Judith George owns her own video production company and is a stand-up comedian. Lisa Kerr is a risk manager with major corporation is, also,  a student of the piano and ukulele. Leyla Zaloutskaya is a global IT trainer for the United Nations.

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Reviews

Six the Musical ***

Abby Mueller (Jane Seymour), Samantha Pauly (Katherine Howard), Adrianna Hicks (Catherine of Aragon), Andrea Macasaet (Anne Boleyn), Brittney Mack (Anna of Cleves), & Anna Uzele (Catherine Parr)

“Six is a Seven”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

October 7, 2021: The number of shows, films, and TV series inspired by the marital maelstroms of British monarchs is legion. For sheer numbers, none, however, not even the recent outpourings about Princess Diana and her death by paparazzi, can compete with the sixteenth-century tale of King Henry VIII and his six wives. For starters, take a peek at this list of film and TV versions

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Reviews

Diana: The Musical **

Jeanna de Waal in “Diana: The Musical”.

By: David Sheward

October 6, 2021: The disappointing Diana—The Musical occupies an awkward position—not entertaining enough to be a guilty pleasure and not bad enough to be a campy hoot. Puerile, tasteless, and simplistic, this tabloid tuner is the first show to be streamed on TV before it opens on Broadway and will probably suffer big time at the box office as a result. The live version of the musical portrait of the late Princess of Wales was forced to close up shop while in previews because of the COVID pandemic. Perhaps anticipating a long quarantine and a massive financial loss, the producers sold the streaming rights to Netflix and taped a performance in the empty Longacre Theater in September 2020. The video edition began airing on Oct. 1, weeks before the official Broadway opening on Nov. 17. It will be interesting to see if this move will damage the show’s fate. Will virus-shy audiences be willing to plunk down cash for a production they can watch from their couches?

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Around The Town

BroadwayHD

Acclaimed musical theater films, West Side Story & Yentl starring Barbra Streisand join BroadwayHD’s October slate.

October 5, 2021:   Discover the magic of movie musicals this month as BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for theater fans, delivers an unforgettable lineup of some of the most beloved and well-known productions in history.  Starting October 1, West Side Story, winner of 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture and starring Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, and EGOT winner Rita Moreno, who is playing Valentina in the upcoming new West Side Story from Director Steven Spielberg, will make its way to the platform along with Academy Award-winning musical film Yentl, starring Barbra Streisand.  Additionally on October 1, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, an unsettling tale of a Victorian-era barber starring Tony Award winners Angela Lansbury and George Hearn, joins the streamer’s library along with Vincente Minnelli’s Bells Are Ringing, which features the iconic Judy Holliday and Dean Martin.  

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Around The Town

Feinsteins/54 Below

Cristina Fontanelli returns to Broadway supper club in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on Tuesday, October 12 at 7pm.

September 23, 2021: Back by popular demand, Cristina Fontanelli, the award-winning singer/Actor/PBS-TV host, returns to Feinsteins/54 Below in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Two, accompanied by her fabulous trio, Dennis Buck on piano, Ray Kilday on bass and Ray Grapponon on drums. 

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga to Star in Macbeth

Daniel Craig, Ruth Negga

By: David Sheward

October 1, 2021: Broadway is definitely back with Sunday night’s long-delayed Tonys followed by announcements of new productions. Then Slave Play and Skin of Our Teeth released dates for openings. Now, we heard Daniel Craig will bounce back on stage after his fifth and final performance as James Bond in No Time to Die. The action and dramatic star will headline a revival of Macbeth opposite Ruth Negga, who played Hamlet at St. Ann’s Warehouse. This new production of the Scottish Play will begin previews at the Lyceum Theater on March 29, 2022 in advance of an April 28 opening.

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