Broadway Update

Broadway Update: Lea Michele Joins Funny Girl; Ain’t No Mo Transfers; Paradise Square Closing

By: David Sheward

July 12, 2022: It was one of the worst kept secrets in recent Broadway history, but now it’s official. Lea Michele will be taking the lead role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein in the current revival of Funny Girl. In addition, Tony nominee and Drama Desk winner Tovah Feldshuh will take over for Jane Lynch as Fanny’s mother. Both will begin performances Sept. 6 at the August Wilson Theater. Beanie Feldstein, currently playing Fanny, was initially slated to leave the show on Sept. 25, but that was moved up to July 31 with Feldstein announcing her departure on Instagram. Standby Julie Benko will play the lead from Aug. 2 through Sept. 4 and will continue for Thursday performances starting Sept. 8. 

Broadway Update: Lea Michele Joins Funny Girl; Ain’t No Mo Transfers; Paradise Square Closing

By: David Sheward

July 12, 2022: It was one of the worst kept secrets in recent Broadway history, but now it’s official. Lea Michele will be taking the lead role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein in the current revival of Funny Girl. In addition, Tony nominee and Drama Desk winner Tovah Feldshuh will take over for Jane Lynch as Fanny’s mother. Both will begin performances Sept. 6 at the August Wilson Theater. Beanie Feldstein, currently playing Fanny, was initially slated to leave the show on Sept. 25, but that was moved up to July 31 with Feldstein announcing her departure on Instagram. Standby Julie Benko will play the lead from Aug. 2 through Sept. 4 and will continue for Thursday performances starting Sept. 8. 

Michele was last on Broadway in Spring Awakening. During her tenure on six seasons of Glee, she often performed songs from the Funny Girl score and at one point there were rumors she would star in a production which never came to fruition. Glee cast member Samantha Marie Ware has accused Michele of creating a toxic work environment on that series. She tweeted her displeasure with the casting news.

Feldshuh was last seen on Broadway in the Pippin revival and she has been nominated for four Tonys (Golda’s Balcony, Lend Me a Tenor, Sarava, Yentl) and won two Drama Desks (Golda’s Balcony, Lend Me a Tenor). But I remember her most for playing Peter Pan at Philadelphia’s Playhouse in the Park.

Jordan E. Cooper in his play Ain’t No Mo.
Credit: Joan Marcus

An announcement of a new Broadway production was made the same day as the Funny Girl news and got somewhat overshadowed. Ain’t No Mo, Jordan E, Cooper’s satiric comedy which played the Public Theater in 2019, will move to Broadway, with Oscar nominee Lee Daniels (Precious, The Butler) and Brian Anthony Moreland as lead producers. Cooper and Daniels  worked together on the BET sitcom The Ms. Pat Show. Previews begin at the Belasco Theater on Nov. 3 with an opening set for Dec. 1. The play is a fantastic spoof imagining a future where the US government offers descendants of slaves free transportation to Africa. Coopers plays Peaches, a flight attendant administering the “reparations flight” at Gate 1619, an ironic reference to the year slavery began in America. There follows a series of sketches and vignettes examining African-American life. Stevie Walker-Webb who directed the Off-Broadway production remains with the show. Additional casting will be announced. With the Belasco snapped up, it looks like To Kill a Mockingbird will not be returning to Broadway. The Harper Lee adaptation had announced it would re-open at that venue after closing at the Shubert. But Girl from the North Country took the spot for a limited run to remind Tony voters of its existence during the voting period.

In other news, Paradise Square has posted a closing notice at the Barrymore Theater. Despite an amazing performance at the Tony Awards by Joaquina Kalukango who won the Best Actress in a Musical prize, the box office never recovered from multiple shutdowns due to COVID outbreaks. The final performance is July 17 and Paradise will have run 108 performances and 23 previews. 

Joaquina Kalukango in Paradise Square.
Credit: Kevin Berne

On the critical side of things, Helen Shaw, theater critic for New York Magazine‘s Vulture, will join the New Yorker on Aug. 22 as a staff writer covering theater. She has also written for Time Out New York, 4Corners.org, Artforum, Art in America, and The Village Voice. Shaw is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle and co-won the 2017-18 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism.

2022-23 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule

July 21–The Kite Runner (Hayes)

Aug. 25–Kinky Boots (Stage 42)

Aug. 30–As You Like It (Delacorte)

Sept. 19–The Piano Lesson (St. James) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 19–Death of a Salesman (Hudson) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 22–Sesame Street: The Musical (Theater Row)

Sept. 24–Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 27–A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Oct. 2–Leopoldstadt (Longacre)

Oct. 6–1776 (Roundabout/AA)

Oct. 20–Topdog/Underdog (Golden)

Oct. 26–Straight Line Crazy (The Shed/Griffin)

Oct. 28–Where We Belong (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Oct. 30–A Man of No Importance (CSC)

October–Catch as Catch Can (Playwrights Horizons); Downstate (Playwrights Horizons)

Nov. 2–Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Nov. 3–Almost Famous (Bernard Jacobs)

Nov. 4–Plays for the Plague Year (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Nov. 10–Kimberly Akimbo (Booth)

Nov. 17–& Juliet (Sondheim)

Nov. 20–KPOP (Circle in the Square)

Dec. 1–Ain’t No Mo (Belasco)

Dec. 4–A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical (Broadhurst)

Dec. 11–Some Like It Hot (Shubert)

Dec. 20–The Collaboration (MTC/Freidman)

February–The Trees (Playwrights Horizons)

March–Regretfully So the Birds Are (Playwrights Horizons)

April 13–Camelot (Lincoln Center/Vivian Beaumont)

May–Wet Brain (Playwrights Horizons)

Fall 2022 (no dates yet)

Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)

the bandaged place (Roundabout/Underground)

Camp Siegfried (Second Stage/Tony Kiser)

Cost of Living (MTC/Friedman)

Summer, 1976 (MTC/City Center Stage II)

2022-23 (no dates or theaters yet)

Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Black Orpheus, Cinderella, Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical, Dancin’, The Ohio State Murders, Pal Joey, Square One

Winter 2022-23

Dark Disabled Stories (Public)

The Wanderers (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Spring 2023 

Prime Facie (a Shubert theater TBA)

The Thanksgiving Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

Good Bones (Public)

Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage II)

Shadow/Land (Public)

2023 and Beyond

Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future–Good Night, Oscar; The Devil Wears Prada; The Griswolds’ Family Vacation; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future; Our Town; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Sing Street; Smash; Soul Train; The Who’s Tommy

Broadway at Birdland

Jamie deRoy & friends acclaimed Cabaret Show To Benefit The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) Special Guests include: Julie Gold, Ben Jones, Daisy Jopling,  Robert Klein and Lianne Marie Dobbs.

July 14, 2022: Show business tour de force and eight-time Tony® Award-winning producer Jamie deRoy brings her acclaimed Jamie deRoy & friends cabaret show back to New York’s famed Birdland, Monday, July 11th, at 7:00 p.m.  

Monday, July 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Jamie deRoy & friends acclaimed Cabaret Show To Benefit The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) Special Guests include: Julie Gold, Ben Jones, Daisy Jopling,  Robert Klein and Lianne Marie Dobbs.

July 14, 2022: Show business tour de force and eight-time Tony® Award-winning producer Jamie deRoy brings her acclaimed Jamie deRoy & friends cabaret show back to New York’s famed Birdland, Monday, July 11th, at 7:00 p.m.  

Jamie deRoy

Performers who light up the marquees of cabaret, theatre, music and comedy will join Ms. deRoy. The one-night only show is part of the club’s Broadway at Birdland Concert Series. Birdland is at 315 West 44th Street in New York’s theatre district.

Proceeds from the event, produced by Ms. deRoy, will benefit The Entertainment Community Fund: Jamie deRoy & friends Cabaret Initiative which assists those in the cabaret industry who have medical needs and concerns. The Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs honored her with a MAC Award for her many shows that have benefited her signature initiative. The Jamie deRoy & friends cabaret series has been attracting New York audiences for over 30 years.

Ms. deRoy will host the show and welcome special guests: 

Ben Jones

Ben Jones is a 2021 Broadway World Cabaret Award winner for work he performed in clubs in New York City during the pandemic. Regional credits include The Pajama Game (Sid), Guys and Dolls (Sky), Show Boat (Ravenal), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Jimmy), The Last Five Years (Jamie), Sweeney Todd (Tobias), Candide (Governor, Vanderdendur), Follies (Buddy), Cats (Munkustrap/Quaxo) and Chicago (Mary Sunshine). Ben has appeared as soloist with such great American symphony orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, the Columbus Symphony and the Oakland East Bay Symphony,

Daisy Jopling

Daisy Jopling is a world renownedclassical/rock violinist who has toured the world with her own band, the “Daisy Jopling Band” and with the creative string trio “Triology.”  She has recorded 9 CDS, 2 with BMG RCA Victor. Her solo work has included playing a concerto at the Royal Albert Hall in London at the age of 14, playing twice before 30,000 people at the opening of the Vienna Festival, touring with her band to 53 stunning concert halls in China, creating “Illuminance” on Bannerman Island, NY which aired on PBS in 2021, and performing her own “Awakening” Concert at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in 2017.  In 2021 Daisy premiered a new show called “Transcendence”, directed by iconic Olympic Ceremony creator Daniel Flannery, based on African American author Sarah Bracey White’s memoir “Primary Lessons”. As well as touring, Daisy is currently working on a concert with her band at the Great Pyramids in Egypt on November 4, 2022.

Robert Klein

Robert Klein has entertained audiences and has an acclaimed career in comedy, on Broadway, on television and in film. In 1975, Klein was the first comedian to appear in a live concert on HBO. He has gone on to do nine one-man shows for the network and garnered two Emmy nominations. Among dozens of starring and guest-starring roles, he recently co-starred in two NBC hit series, “Sisters” and “The Mysteries of Laura”. Most recently he appeared as Grace’s father, Martin Adler on “Will and Grace”. Klein has also appeared in many notable films including, “Hooper,” “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “Primary Colors,” “People I Know,” “Two Weeks Notice,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” and “The Back-Up Plan” with Jennifer Lopez. He has been nominated for Grammy Awards for “Best Comedy Album of the Year” for his albums “Child of the Fifties” and “Mind Over Matter.” He received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor, and won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance in the hit Neil Simon musical, “They’re Playing Our Song.” In 1993, Klein won an Obie and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in Wendy Wasserstein’s, “The Sisters Rosensweig.” In the spring of 2017, his documentary “Robert Klein Still Can’t Stop His Leg” aired on STARZ. 

Julie Gold

Julie Gold is a singer/songwriter best known for Bette Midler’s version of “From a Distance,” for which Ms. Gold won a Grammy (Song of the Year). Her songs have been performed by artists including Patti LaBelle, Patti LuPone, Cliff Richard, The Byrds, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lea Salonga and Jewel.  She has 5 CDs documenting her work over the years: Dream Loud, Try Love, The Girl I Found, Love is Love is Love, and Sixty.

Multi-award winning Composer, Book Writer and Lyricist Barry Kleinbort directs Ms. deRoy’s July 11th show with musical direction by award-winning arranger, orchestrator and conductor, Ron Abel and Steve Doyle on Bass. 

Ms. deRoy is an acclaimed producer; cabaret, stage, film and TV performer; recording artist and humanitarian. In addition to Tony Awards, she has won eight MAC Awards, four Back Stage Bistro Awards and 11 Telly Awards for her extensive work on stage and screen. She has appeared on stage with such luminaries as Joan Rivers and has headlined at many New York nightclubs. Ms. deRoy has produced nine CDs in the Jamie deRoy & friends series, all of which are available on Harbinger and PS Classics labels. Her cabaret shows serve as the basis for her award-winning cable television show which spotlights well-known entertainers and newcomers. 

Photography: Maryann Lopinto

Robert Klein, Jamie deRoy
Ron Abel
Joe Benincasa, Jamie deRoy
Ron Abel, Lianne Marie Dobbs

Richard III ***

By: David Sheward

July 11, 2022: There have been female Hamlets (most notably Sarah Bernhardt, Diane Venora, and Ruth Negga), female King Lears (Glenda Jackson on Broadway and the West End), and even a female Richard II (Fiona Shaw). But the new Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III is probably the first to feature an actress in the lead role of the most vile of the Bard’s villains. Danai Gurira, an award-winning playwright (Ecliped) and an actress best known for her bad-ass heroine roles on TV’s The Walking Dead and in Marvel Universe franchise films, brings the requisite snark and unrestrained relish in savoring the character’s bloodthirsty deviousness. Director Robert O’Hara has made some inventive staging and casting choices, but too often sacrifices Shakespeare’s points on unchecked ambition for the sake of laughs and talking down to the audience. (Richard’s brother Clarence is now called Georgie, presumably to make the text easier to understand.) This Richard is an entertaining and highly theatrical evening, but fails to attain the full impact of an indictment of overweening corruption and power. 

By: David Sheward

July 11, 2022: There have been female Hamlets (most notably Sarah Bernhardt, Diane Venora, and Ruth Negga), female King Lears (Glenda Jackson on Broadway and the West End), and even a female Richard II (Fiona Shaw). But the new Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III is probably the first to feature an actress in the lead role of the most vile of the Bard’s villains. Danai Gurira, an award-winning playwright (Ecliped) and an actress best known for her bad-ass heroine roles on TV’s The Walking Dead and in Marvel Universe franchise films, brings the requisite snark and unrestrained relish in savoring the character’s bloodthirsty deviousness. Director Robert O’Hara has made some inventive staging and casting choices, but too often sacrifices Shakespeare’s points on unchecked ambition for the sake of laughs and talking down to the audience. (Richard’s brother Clarence is now called Georgie, presumably to make the text easier to understand.) This Richard is an entertaining and highly theatrical evening, but fails to attain the full impact of an indictment of overweening corruption and power. 

Ali Stroker and Danai Gurira.

O’Hara, known for his edgy productions of his own plays like Bootycandy and Barbecue and similar sharp satires like Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, gives us a gender-blind Richard, but not a color-blind one. Gurira plays the twisted, narcissistic Duke of Gloucester as male, yet the fact that the role is played by a woman subtly adds to the character’s outsider status. O’Hara chooses to emphasize her race as a motivation for treachery. During the “Now is the winter of our discontent” speech, when Richard speaks of his deformed body, Gurira indicates her black skin as the handicap that keeps him from attaining love and position, unlike his siblings enacted by white actors.

Gurira does not play Richard as having physical defects and, interestingly O’Hara has surrounded her with performers with physical challenges. Gregg Mozgala, who has Cerebral Palsy and walks with a limp, doubles as Richard’s brother King Edward IV and Richmond, who slays Richard and goes on to become Henry VII. So, ironically, a limping actor defeats the villain normally played as having a limp. (Mozgala is suitably commanding as Richmond.) 

Sharon Washington

Similarly, Richard’s mother is enacted by a deaf actress (Monique Holt) in a silently eloquent performance and Lady Anne, Richard’s unfortunate wife, is taken on by Ali Stroker, who as Ado Annie in the recent Oklahoma! revival,was the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony Award. Perhaps by this casting, O’Hara is saying Richard’s flaws are all internal and his mind has been diseased by perceived racism rather his body by physical ailments.

Stroker exhibits power and passion in her initial wooing scene with Richard, but O’Hara has added too many broad comic touches for the encounter to be entirely effective as a depiction of Richard’s terrifying trail of treachery. Now when Richard threatens to slay himself for Anne’s love, it’s revealed the knife has a retractable blade and the two incongruously guffaw. Then when Richard slips a ring on Anne’s at-first unwilling finger, Stroker overplays her stunned lust for the dazzling rock. There are many other examples of broad comic mugging, particularly in the sequence where Richard manipulates the populace of London to advocate for his ascent to the throne, which throws the show off balance.

Ali Stroker and Heather Alicia Simms.

O’Hara does make clever use of Myung Hee Cho’s revolving set and trapdoors with the various figures involved in court intrigue spinning around and descending into nether regions, but not nearly enough. Likewise, Elisheba Ittoop’s unsettling sound design of constant warfare played before the opening establishes the proper atmosphere of dread, but it’s not employed as frequently as it should be during the action.

There are also spicy confrontations between Sharon Washington’s steely Margaret and Heather Alicia Simms’ haughty Elizabeth. When these two queens battle it out, the sparks fly. Sanjit De Silva’s Buckingham and Ariel Shafir’s Hastings have power while Michael Potts’ Stanley conveys the appropriate dignity. There is much to enjoy in this innovative production, but a little less comedy and more court intrigue would have served the play better. Gurira does deliver a solid, frightening Richard, perhaps opening the doors for more non-traditional casting in future classic productions.

Richard 111
Previews start June 21, runs through July 17, 2022.
The Public Theater/Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater, Central Park at W. 81st St., NYC. Tue—Sun 8pm. Running time: two hours and 40 mins. including intermission. Free admission. www.publictheater.org
Photography: Joan Marcus

Danai Gurira 
Danai Gurira and Matthew August Jeffers.
Sam Duncan, Matthew August Jeffers, Thaddeus S. Fitzpatrick, Wyatt Cirbus, and Heather Alicia Simms.

Broadway Barks

Broadway Barks Returns to Shubert Alley

July 11, 2022: BROADWAY BARKS returned to Shubert Alley on Saturday, July 9th, 2022 for the 24th annual star-studded dog and cat adoption event, the first in-person event since 2018. Co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, the event featured adoptable animals from 25 NYC area adoption agencies and rescue groups along with Broadway’s biggest names who use their star power to help them find loving homes. 

Broadway Barks Returns to Shubert Alley

July 11, 2022: BROADWAY BARKS returned to Shubert Alley on Saturday, July 9th, 2022 for the 24th annual star-studded dog and cat adoption event, the first in-person event since 2018. Co-founded by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore, the event featured adoptable animals from 25 NYC area adoption agencies and rescue groups along with Broadway’s biggest names who use their star power to help them find loving homes. 

Bernadette Peters

This year, Peters hosted the event with The Music Man’s leading lady, Sutton Foster. Produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Barks took place in Shubert Alley (located between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and Eighth Avenues).  Festivities began at 3 p.m. with a ‘meet and greet’ featuring all the adoptable pets (adoption event); from 5-6:30 p.m. adoptees made their Broadway debut on stage alongside some of Broadway’s favorite stars (celebrity presentations). 

Hugh Jackman, Sutton Foster
Randy Rainbow

Over the past 23 years, more than 2,000 cats and dogs have stolen Broadway’s spotlight and the hearts of all who came to the event. Approximately 85% of these furry friends have successfully found forever homes.

Barks featured adoptable animals from the following New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies including: Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniels Rescue Inc, Adopt A Boxer Rescue, AdvoCat Rescue, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Care & Control (ACC), Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Anjellicle Cats Rescue, Bide-a-wee, Bobbi and the Strays, City Critters, Francis’s Friends Inc., Husky House, Linda’s Cat Assistance, Little Shelter, Long Island Bulldog, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue, Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Rescue League Inc, Pet ResQ Inc., SaveKitty Foundation, SPCA of Westchester, Urban Cat League, Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue and 1 Love 4 Animals. 

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources and generosity of the American theater community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and other critical illnesses across the United States.

Claybourne Elder
Jane Lynch

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the major supporter of the social service programs at the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund), including the HIV Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative and The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway Cares also awards annual grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., providing lifesaving medication, healthy meals, counseling and emergency assistance.

For more information about Broadway Barks please visit them online at broadwaybarks.com. For more information about Broadway Cares, please visit them online at broadwaycares.org.
Photography: Rick Edwards

John Andrew Morrison, Bernadette Peters, Jaquel Spivey, James Jackson,Jr, and John Michael Lyles
John Andrew Morrison, Bernadette Peters
Donna Murphy, Bernadette Peters
Giuseppe Bausilio
Abby Mueller, Andrea Macasaet
Kerry Butler
Randy Rainbow
Lilli Cooper
Julianne Hough
Billy Crystal and Shoshana Bean.

Michael Maliakel, Jacquel Spivey
Kerry Butler

Notre Dame de Paris

French Music and Dance Spectacular Notre Dame de Paris Makes New York Debut

By: Ellis Nassour

July 9, 2022: After more than two decades playing in over 23 countries (selling more than 15 million tickets and millions of original cast albums), Richard Cocciante and Luc Plamondon’s  Notre Dame de Paris, the international musical and dance sensation adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1831 classic novel,makes it long-awaited and much-anticipated New York debut. It officially and aptly opens at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre on Bastille Day, Thursday, July 14. It will preview on July 13. In all, there’ll be 12 performances (including matinees) through July 24.  

French Music and Dance Spectacular Notre Dame de Paris Makes New York Debut

By: Ellis Nassour

July 9, 2022: After more than two decades playing in over 23 countries (selling more than 15 million tickets and millions of original cast albums), Richard Cocciante and Luc Plamondon’s  Notre Dame de Paris, the international musical and dance sensation adapted from Victor Hugo’s 1831 classic novel,makes it long-awaited and much-anticipated New York debut. It officially and aptly opens at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theatre on Bastille Day, Thursday, July 14. It will preview on July 13. In all, there’ll be 12 performances (including matinees) through July 24.  

The production, from producers Nicolas and Charles Talar and Adam Blanshay, will be   performed in French with English supertitles and featuring an international 30-member cast and live orchestra. The quite avant-garde production tells the timeless story of the disfigured Notre Dame Cathedral bell ringer Quasimodo, and his devotion to the beautiful Esmeralda, a tale that  has inspired generations of readers, and been adapted for films, opera, ballet, and TV.

In 1998, Italian singer and composer Richard Cocciante and legendary French songwriter Luc Plamondon adapted the title for their unique musical extravaganza, combining elements of musical theater, dance, and acrobatics. The production originally debuted at the Palais des Congrès in Paris in 1998, where in its first year, it sold more than a million tickets and over three million albums, making it the most successful musical production ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

 Co-producer Talar says, “It has long been a dream to stage Notre Dame de Paris in New York. After more than two decades and a wait made longer due to the pandemic, it is truly a thrill to know we will share this immortal story with New York audiences in one of the greatest arts complexes in the world. We hope Notre Dame de Paris will please our existing fans as well as make new ones.” 

The score of Notre Dame de Paris is on LP and has produced two hit singles: “Belle,” which has received airplay in 17 countries, and “Vivre [Live],” recorded in English, has been a hit for international superstar Céline Dion.

The principals in the cast of 30 are Angelo Del Vecchio as Quasimodo, Hiba Tawaji as Esmeralda, Daniel Lavoie as Frollo, Gian Marco Schiaretti as Gringoire, Yvan Pedneault as Phoebus, Jay as Clopin, and Emma Lépine as Fleur de Lys. Each has played these roles in countless worldwide productions in many languages. 

If there is one name associated with French songwriting around the world, it is Luc Plamondon (book and lyrics). This prolific written has penned over 500 songs and five musicals. With composer Michel Berger, he wrote the first French rock opera, Starmania. He’s the recipient of several Quebec Felix Awards, the French Victoires de la Musique, a World Music Award (Notre Dame de Paris) and the career achievement MIDEM Award. Plamondon was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Knight of the French Legion of Honour and is the first Quebecer inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Long before Notre Dame de Paris became an international success, Richard (music) Cocciante was already established as an international artist-singer-composer with more than 40 albums in Italian, Spanish, and French. He’s written for the stage (Starmania), opera, and film. He began a second career as composer of People’s Opera from Saint-Exupéry’s Le Petit Prince to Giuletta E Romeo.

Directing is Canadian actor, writer, director, teacher, set designer, choreographer, and filmmaker, Gilles Maheu. Celebrating four decades in show business, he was awarded the Compagnon des Arts et des Lettres du Québec for his contribution to cultural life. With his company Carbone 14, he toured over 30 countries and received numerous awards.

Choreographer Swiss former figure skater Martino Müller, danced with the Stuttgart Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. He’s won numerous awards and staged works worldwide, including in Austria, Macao, Singapore (Cendrillon), and for the Belgium theater spectacular Peter Pan, the Never-Ending Story.  

The lead cast:

Angelo Del Vecchio (Quasimodo), is an international opera star and pianist, who began his career in theatre at age 15. He starred in the Italian, Asian, Russian, Turkish and Middle Eastern adaptations of Notre Dame de Paris. He also had the lead in a huge Spanish hit, Rock Revolution.

Hiba Tawaji (Esmeralda), a Lebanese opera singer, stage/film/TV actress, recording star, filmmaker, and director, has firmly established herself in the music scene throughout the Arab world. Disney Theatrical Group and Stage Entertainment selected Tawaji as the voice of Jasmine in the French release of Aladdin. She was also invited by tenor Andrea Bocelli to join him in concerts.

Canadian poet, composer, actor, comic, and prolific recording artist (20 albums) Daniel Lavoie (Frollo) is celebrating four decades in worldwide show business. He’s the recipient of a dozen French Canadian Félix Awards, four French Victoires de la Musique Awards, and a World Music Award for his participation Notre Dame de Paris.

Gian Marco Schiaretti (Gringoire) is an accomplished worldwide opera star. In Europe, Disney Theatrical chose him to play Tarzan (nearly 1,000 times) in their hugely-successful production of Phil Collins and David Henry Hwang’s musical. He also starred on the West End, Europe, and the UAE as Che in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita

Yvan Pedneault (Phoebus) is an international rock star/recording artist. Brian May and Roger Taylor, founding members of rock group Queen, chose him at 25 to play the lead the Toronto production of We Will Rock You, which ran two years and earned Pedneault numerous acting honors. Following a tour across Ontario in Rock of Ages, he was chosen by Taylor to star in the first North American tour of Queen Extravaganza. Eventually, all roads led to co-starring in Notre Dame de Paris in eight countries.

Nicolas and Charles Talar, the original producers of Notre Dame de Paris, have been a team since 2000. Charles produced European records since the early 70s. In 1996, he developed Notre Dame de Paris into France’s most successful production. Their shows have played worldwide. On Broadway, they are co-producers of the Tony-winning Moulin Rouge! – as well as on the West End and in Australia.– and the Broadway revival of Funny Girl.

Eight-time Tony and six-time Olivier Award winner Adam Blanshay has produced and co-produced theater across the U.K., Australia, and the U.S. Recent shows on Broadway include The Inheritance, Moulin Rouge!, and the Funny Girl revival. He’s deeply involved in presenting highly-acclaimed French theatre for English-speaking audiences. 

Tickets for Notre Dame de Paris can be purchased without outrageous fees, in person at the Koch Theatre box office, via the Koch Theater website at www.davidhkochtheater.com, or by phone at (212) 496-0600. The Koch does “dynamic pricing,” which means prices may change. However, for a number of performances tickets from the site range from $27 – $303. The sooner you purchase, the better for best pricing.
 
The Notre Dame de Paris performance schedule is weeknight performances are at 7;30 P.M.  Friday and Saturday nights at 8 P.M.; Sunday night at 6 P.M.; Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 P.M.

Broadway Babe’s Showbiz Picks

By: Randie Levine-Miller

July 8, 2022: Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has some great entertainment finds for us, perfect for a long weekend. In honor of Mel Brooks 96th birthday, there’s a tribute show to Mel from the Kennedy Center a few years back. A terrific Jack Paar Special, “The Sound of Applause” featuring some amazing old timers, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Plus some of Randie’s fun sidebars. Musical Tribute…

By: Randie Levine-Miller

July 8, 2022: Our Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has some great entertainment finds for us, perfect for a long weekend. In honor of Mel Brooks 96th birthday, there’s a tribute show to Mel from the Kennedy Center a few years back. A terrific Jack Paar Special, “The Sound of Applause” featuring some amazing old timers, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Plus some of Randie’s fun sidebars. Musical Tribute …

They don’t make entertainment like this anymore! “The Sound of Applause”, hosted by Michel Legrand, was recorded live in Cannes, France in 1982, with some of the most lauded pop singers of the last century: Steve Lawrence,  Eydie Gorme, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, Vic Damone, The Lettermen.  And they all sing songs that they are identified with… This is a must see!

Sidebar:  When I was 20, I had the opportunity to work on what was then called a music promotion film… It is now called a music video.  I was the location scout and was assigned to find a working windmill for the music promo for “The Windmills Of Your Mind”, Written by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Noel Harrison was the singer and we filmed quite a bit around the Plaza Hotel. And so, I enlisted my mother,  to drive me, and come up with a windmill !   It was quite a task because we didn’t have computers or Google in those days… But I was a pretty good researcher. We wound up at Windmill Farms in Armonk, New York, where there were 6 working windmills near a stream.  But alas, someone else on the team found another windmill which they decided to use for the film !  But it was quite an experience because I believe this was only the second music video that was made at that time… The other being “Hush-A-Bye Mountain,” sung by Tony Bennett.

The Sound of Applause

They don’t make entertainment like this anymore! “The Sound of Applause”, hosted by Michel Legrand, was recorded live in Cannes, France in 1982, with some of the most lauded pop singers of the last century: Steve Lawrence,  Eydie Gorme, Jack Jones, Shirley Bassey, Vic Damone, The Lettermen.  And they all sing songs that they are identified with… This is a must see!

Sidebar:  When I was 20, I had the opportunity to work on what was then called a music promotion film… It is now called a music video.  I was the location scout and was assigned to find a working windmill for the music promo for “The Windmills Of Your Mind”, Written by Michel Legrand and Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Noel Harrison was the singer and we filmed quite a bit around the Plaza Hotel. And so, I enlisted my mother,  to drive me, and come up with a windmill !   It was quite a task because we didn’t have computers or Google in those days… But I was a pretty good researcher. We wound up at Windmill Farms in Armonk, New York, where there were 6 working windmills near a stream.  But alas, someone else on the team found another windmill which they decided to use for the film !  But it was quite an experience because I believe this was only the second music video that was made at that time… The other being “Hush-A-Bye Mountain,” sung by Tony Bennett.

Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin

“Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – Live in New York,1977”..in concert at the Westchester Premier Theater… Two legendary entertainers who were best friends right to the end. They loved performing together; however,the only time they toured together was the summer of 1977. The show was videoed by producer/director, Greg Garrison who thought for sure that one of the networks would pick it up. The show never aired.

Sidebar: The Westchester Premier Theater in Tarrytown,  New York, was a new facility and the two legends were brought there to initiate its status. Famed producer Garrison believed that ABC would purchase the rights as a TV special. In the days following this concert, a photograph circulated that had been taken backstage, which featured Sinatra surrounded by numerous mob figures. It was then suggested that the theater was built with syndicate funds and that Sinatra and Martin appeared as a favor. The poor publicity surrounding this tale eliminated any TV deal.

Jack Paar Is Alive and Well

They don’t make ‘em like the legendary and quirky Jack Paar anymore.  From 1987, “Jack Paar Is Alive and Well”, was an hour special that aired on NBC-TV, which is the network where Paar held court as the host of “The Tonight Show” from 1957-1962, and then “The Jack Paar Program” from 1962-1965.  This special includes scenes, featuring some of Paar’s guests on those shows, including comedy legends Mike Nichols and Elaine May,as well as several others.  In the live in-studio portion of the show, Paar is in conversation with Debbie Reynolds and Jackie Mason, who was truly in his prime, and his jokes and stories still hold up! It also includes footage from 1960, when Paar walked off the show in protest of network censors’ decision to edit out a joke for his use of the word “water-closet”!  And that’s the absolute truth….Times have really changed!

Sidebar:  Jack Paar’s wife was Miriam, and his daughter was Randy, who he often spoke of on the show. I’m Randie and my mother was Miriam….I remember meeting Charles Nelson Reilly who asked my name, and he immediately blurted out, “You mean like Randy Paar??”!

Harvey Fierstein

By: Alix Cohen

July 9, 2022: First, multi-hyphenate talent Harvey Fierstein is not just a good writer, but a talented storyteller. You may be familiar with his plays, screenplays, and books for musicals, but authoring one’s own recollections is a very different challenge. Fierstein’s are vivid, candid, coherent, and perceptive. Theater aficionados will not only satisfy curiosity about his personal history, but enjoy a savvy look backstage and in dressing rooms high and low. Second, the actor/writer/activist is, as you might suspect, eminently likeable.

I Was Better Last Night – A Memoir by Harvey Fierstein

By: Alix Cohen

July 9, 2022: First, multi-hyphenate talent Harvey Fierstein is not just a good writer, but a talented storyteller. You may be familiar with his plays, screenplays, and books for musicals, but authoring one’s own recollections is a very different challenge. Fierstein’s are vivid, candid, coherent, and perceptive. Theater aficionados will not only satisfy curiosity about his personal history, but enjoy a savvy look backstage and in dressing rooms high and low. Second, the actor/writer/activist is, as you might suspect, eminently likeable.

At a Bensonhurst elementary school, Harvey Fierstein found himself looking in the mirror thinking, “Are you a girl?” He’d been cast in Sleeping Beauty “…because I was generally perceived as having the most theatrical flair. In 1959, they called it flair.” The boy twirled. His utterly unique voice is the result of an overdeveloped vestibular fold in his vocal cords. (Prior to puberty, he was a soprano in a boy’s choir!) “The norm, I began to realize, meant nothing but the majority. The majority looks down on minorities.”

Left: Irene Stein took this shot of me in the East Village Right: Flo Tosca (me) makes a deal with vice detective Scarpia (Norman Jacob) in this scene from Flatbush Tosca.

Stage aspiration was realized early on, off off off Broadway. “Theater is what you do when you don’t have a job or have such a great job you can afford to take time off,” his mother admonished the Pratt student. A small role in Andy Warhol’s Xircus at La Mama opened doors to an accepting community. (Harvey admired Warhol for his fashion illustration.) Acting in experimental productions, the young man learned to apply make-up and experience drag. La Mama’s grande doyenne Ellen Stewart kept an eye on him. “A career in the underground theater guaranteed I’d stay penniless.”

Fierstein began to write for himself. It wasn’t long between Blanche Does Boys to Torch Song Trilogy – featuring a young Michael Broderick. (Best Play and Best Actor in a Play Tony Awards when it moved to Broadway) Carol Channing called this “a gay Raisin in the Sun”; its author felt like “the gay playwright du jour.” I saw the immensely funny and wrenching play in its first incarnation. It was, in fact, a game changer.

Left: Torch Song reaches Broadway Right: Court Miller and me celebrating in the wings after our first Broadway curtain call.

The author talks about the AIDS epidemic, how La Cage aux Folles (Tony Award Best Book for a Musical) came together and unsuccessfully trying to get the leads cast with gay men. Harvey was always “out.” He blanched at magazine covers decrying Ellen (DeGeneres) Denies Being a Lesbian and Elton John Threatens to Sue Over Gay Claim. “I used to tell reporters that if they saw me with a celebrity, it was proof that person was straight. No closeted gay actors wanted to be seen with me. Even Rock Hudson…” Who he is runs through Fierstein’s book like vertebrae but never threatens to take over. It affects. A student of humanity, he was as able to manifest Tevye in Fidder on the Roof as authentically as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.

Though Peter Allen’s Legs Diamond bit the dust, A Catered Affair (which he wrote and appeared in) garnered the Drama League Award for Distinguished Production of a Musical. Fierstein traveled with an original one man cabaret show and appeared in films including Mrs. Doubtfire during which he bonded with Robin Williams. “A tiny voice from deep within (him) called out in pain, and I was never sure he knew that I heard it.” (He’s acted in 29 films and considerable television.) Observations about friends and peers are tender, wry, and/or astute, eschewing moral judgment.

Seen here for their last time together, Sheldon Harnick, Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock- the creators of Fiddler on the Roof. I bowed to their genius.

Becoming sober in 1996 after decades of self-abuse is honestly described, though we don’t read about bad behavior that preceded. “It is suggested that you make no major life changes during your first year of sobriety…Emotionally raw, your first instinct is to clean up the mess you made while using. Truthfully you’re barely in shape to do the dishes…” Fierstein took a step back and got into quilt-making. The author writes discreetly about relationships and later his heart surgery, another wake-up call.

Next came the book for Newsies (from the Disney film), then his marvelous turn as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. (Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Tony Award) “I knew what it was like to be overweight and what it was like to be ruled by fear…still, I dragged my ass to the mall and trailed large women to see how they moved…” Then Kinky Boots – it was Fierstein who suggested Cyndi Lauper for music and lyrics. He enjoyed the collaboration. Casa Valentina was based on the true story of 1960’s Casa Susanna, a Catskill resort that catered to men who liked to crossdress. Here was a play that explored alternative desires of straight men, not gay. Like Kinky Boots, protagonists attempted to make peace with who they grew up to be.

Left: Working with Cyndi was a blast in so many ways. Right: It broke my heart to leave my Hairspray family.

“The play simply wants each of us to ask, who am I? and then have the courage to live up to the truth…When I was a kid, I believed there were straight people and gay people, period…As experience opened the world to me, I realized my views were baby steps from those bigots who held there were straight people and sick people.” Acting in Martin Sherman’s lovely Gently Down the Stream which depicts the vicissitudes of a relationship between an older and younger gay man in the 21st century, Fierstein once again manifests the authentic.

Undergoing childhood condemnation at home isn’t addressed until Chapter 57 when Fierstein tracks back to a revival of Torch Song Trilogy. In the play, Ma tells her son, “What do you think? You think you walk into a room and say, ‘Hi, Dad, I’m queer,’ and that’s that? Believe me, if I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered.” “That really happened, didn’t it?” his brother whispered to him in the audience. After decades of denying the character was based on his own mother, he admitted the truth. We read the real incident.

The prolific writer/performer last appeared in his insightful one man show Bella Bella about the groundbreaking congresswoman Bella Abzug. Seemingly indefatigable, certainly in demand, he undoubtedly has a dozen projects on various burners. This one, at least, is complete.

All quotes are Harvey Fierstein from the book.
All photos courtesy of the publisher. Captions by Harvey Fierstein. Opening: From Bensonhurst to Hollywood. What a ride!

I Was Better Last Night
Harvey Fierstein

Broadway Update

Broadway Update: Collaboration, & Juliet, Almost Famous

By: David Sheward

July 8, 2022: Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Fewer shows are opening so my life isn’t quite so hectic. But we do have some news of Broadway openings and changes for the fall season. Two productions from London have confirmed Broadway transfers and a previously announced new musical has landed a theater and shifted its dates.

Broadway Update: Collaboration, & Juliet, Almost Famous

By: David Sheward

July 8, 2022: Summertime and the livin’ is easy. Fewer shows are opening so my life isn’t quite so hectic. But we do have some news of Broadway openings and changes for the fall season. Two productions from London have confirmed Broadway transfers and a previously announced new musical has landed a theater and shifted its dates.

The Collaboration, a new play by Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten (The Two Popes, The Theory of Everything, Bohemian Rhapsody) focusing on the relationship between artists Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, will open on Broadway as part of Manhattan Theater Club’s season at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater after a hit London run at the Young Vic. Previews begin Nov. 29 in advance of a Dec. 20 opening. McCarten is also the book-author of A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical which will open Dec. 4 at the Broadhurst.

Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope will repeat their London performances as Warhol and Basquiat. The play, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic, takes place in 1984 when the two influential artists were working together on what would become one of the most famous exhibitions in modern art history. Bettany, best known for his film work including several Marvel Universe films as The Vision and A Knight’s Tale, A Beautiful Mind and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, will be making his Broadway debut. Pope recently achieved the rare feat of receiving two Tony nominations in the same season–for Choir Boy and Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations. He also received an Emmy nomination for the Netflix mini-series, Hollywood. 

The Collaboration will follow MTC’s staging of Cost of Living at the Friedman, but no specific dates have been announced yet for that production. 

Note: While this show adds to the number of new British plays planned for Broadway, there are no new original American plays which have not been seen previously Off-Broadway, with definite Broadway dates for 2022-23.

Lorna Courtney and Melanie La Barrie in & Juliet Credit: Matthew Murphy

The second London show coming our way is & Juliet, a new musical envisioning an alternative ending for Shakespeare’s star-crossed heroine. The musical which is still playing in the British capital and is currently having its North American premiere in Toronto, will begin previews at the Sondheim Theater on Oct. 28 and open there on Nov. 17. The book by Schitt’s Creek writer David West Reid imagines what would happen if Juliet decided not to off herself after Romeo dies. The score features pop hits by Max Martin who has worked with Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys and Katy Perry. These include “Since U Been Gone,” “Roar,” “Baby One More Time,” “That’s the Way It Is,” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” 

The cast includes Lorna Courntey repeating her West End performance in the title role, UK cast member Melanie La Barrie as the Nurse, Tony winner Paulo Szot (South Pacific) as Lance, Tony nominee Stark Sands (Journey’s End, Kinky Boots) as Shakespeare, and Betsy Wolfe (Falsettos, Edwin Drood) as Anne Hathaway. Luke Sheppard, the director of the London version, continues as helmer.

Casey Likes and Solea Pfeiffer in Almost Famous. Credit: Neal Preston

Meanwhile, Almost Famous, the musical version Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical 2000 film about his time as a teen rock critic, has found a theater and pushed back its preview and opening dates. The show had previously announced a September start date for previews with an Oct. 11 opening. Famous will now begin previews on Oct. 3 and opening on Nov. 3 at the Bernard Jacobs Theater (where Company will be closing on July 31). The show premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theater in 2019.

2022-23 Broadway/Off-Broadway Schedule

July 10–Into the Woods (St. James)

July 11–Richard III (Public Theater/Delacorte)

July 21–The Kite Runner (Hayes)

Aug. 25–Kinky Boots (Stage 42)

Aug. 30–As You Like It (Delacorte)

Sept. 19–The Piano Lesson (St. James) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 19–Death of a Salesman (Hudson) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 22–Sesame Street: The Musical (Theater Row)

Sept. 24–Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Sept. 27–A Raisin in the Sun (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Oct. 2–Leopoldstadt (Longacre)

Oct. 6–1776 (Roundabout/AA)

Oct. 20–Topdog/Underdog (Golden)

Oct. 26–Straight Line Crazy (The Shed/Griffin)

Oct. 28–Where We Belong (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Oct. 30–A Man of No Importance (CSC)

Nov. 2–Where the Mountain Meets the Sea (MTC/City Center Stage I)

Nov. 3–Almost Famous (Bernard Jacobs)

Nov. 4–Plays for the Plague Year (Public Theater) (previews begin; opening TBA)

Nov. 10–Kimberly Akimbo (Booth)

Nov. 17–& Juliet (Sondheim)

Nov. 20–KPOP (Circle in the Square)

Dec. 4–A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical (Broadhurst)

Dec. 11–Some Like It Hot (Shubert)

Dec. 20–The Collaboration (MTC/Freidman)

April 13–Camelot (Lincoln Center/Vivian Beaumont)

Fall 2022 (no dates yet)

Between Riverside and Crazy (Second Stage/Hayes)

the bandaged place (Roundabout/Underground)

Camp Siegfried (Second Stage/Tony Kiser)

Cost of Living (MTC/Friedman)

Summer, 1976 (MTC/City Center Stage II)

2022-23 (no dates or theaters yet)

Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, Black Orpheus, Cinderella, Come Fall in Love–The DDLJ Musical, Dancin’, The Ohio State Murders, Pal Joey, Square One

Winter 2022-23

Dark Disabled Stories (Public)

The Wanderers (Roundabout/Laura Pels)

Spring 2023 

Prime Facie (a Shubert theater TBA)

The Thanksgiving Play (Second Stage/Hayes)

Good Bones (Public)

Poor Yella Rednecks (MTC/City Center Stage II)

Shadow/Land (Public)

2023 and Beyond

Game of Thrones, The Great Gatsby

Future–Good Night, Oscar; The Devil Wears Prada; The Griswolds’ Family Vacation; The Karate Kid; Back to the Future; Our Town; The Nanny; The Normal Heart/The Destiny of Me; Sing Street; Smash; Soul Train; The Who’s Tommy

Anna in the Tropics @ Bay Street

Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Anna in the Tropics, opens at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

By: Patrick Christiano

July 6, 2022:  Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor is on-a-roll. Their second production of the Mainstage Summer Season, Nilo Cruz’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics, is another winner, and yet decidedly different from the absurd comedy they offered last. Anna is an intoxicating tale of love, lust, and dreams, with Chekhovian overtones. The Anna in the play’s title refers to another Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, who wrote “Anna Karenina.” Cruz’s language is hauntingly lyrical and the staging by Marcos Santana highlights the poetry of his writing exquisitely.. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Anna in the Tropics, opens at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

By: Patrick Christiano

July 6, 2022:  Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor is on-a-roll. Their second production of the Mainstage Summer Season, Nilo Cruz’s 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics, is another winner, and yet decidedly different from the absurd comedy they offered last. Anna is an intoxicating tale of love, lust, and dreams, with Chekhovian overtones. The Anna in the play’s title refers to another Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, who wrote “Anna Karenina.” Cruz’s language is hauntingly lyrical and the staging by Marcos Santana highlights the poetry of his writing exquisitely. 

Maria Isabel Bilbao, Iliana Guibert, and Christine Spang.

Set in a Tampa, Florida cigar factor in 1929, on the eve of the Great Depression, the drama is built around the almost forgotten profession of a lector, someone who entertains the workers by reading to them as they perform the repetitive task of rolling perfect cigars by hand. Cruz skillfully uses Juan Julian, the exotic lector (Anthony Michael Martinez), as a catalyst for the unfolding action. The new lector’s anticipated arrival is already causing ripples of conflict. Then, when Juan Julian shows up, dashingly dressed all in white, his polished presence further arouses passions. And when he reads Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” with a smoldering seductive voice, he fans the already simmering flames and ignites new desires. 

The lector introduces them to an exciting new world, and the drama looks at the ways Tolstoy’s great novel mirrors and, ultimately shapes the lives of these relatively simple and uneducated people. The play’s conflicts of fantasy versus reality and tradition versus progress, cleverly reflect the struggles of Tolstoy’s characters in “Anna Karenina.”

Serafin Falcon, Iliana Guibert, and Maria Isabel Bilbao.

Santiago (Serafin Falcon) is the humble owner of the cigar factory with a love for drinking and gambling. His long-suffering wife, Ofelia (Iliana Guibert), bickers with him constantly, but loves him and is content with their life. Their daughters are less content and dream of possibilities. Conchita (Christine Spang) has an unfaithful husband, Palomo (Guillermo Ivan). She has accepted her situation, but longs for a lover of her own, while her sister Marela (Maria Isabel Bilbao), a virgin, dreams of an idealistic love. Yearning, as in Chekov, is a condition for them. 

Rounding out the characters is CheChe (Christian Barillas), Santiago’s half-brother, whose wife ran away with the previous lector. His resentments and frustrations fuel the escalating tensions. He feels it is time to do away with the lectors, He is for progress and wants to install machines to roll the cigars. 

Anthony Michael Martinez and Christine Spang.

The intimate set design by Luciana Stecconi, simple and bold, could not be more perfect. We, the audience, feel as if we there, in the factory, with them.

An interesting note, Marcos Santana, the director, chose the actors with authenticity in mind, resulting in an all-Latin American cast of mostly Cuban American actors. They serve the play and the playwright’s lyrical language beautifully.

The evening, a testament to the powers of art, is a rare opportunity to see a Pulitzer Prize winning drama, in an intimate setting served by a consummate cast.

Christian Barillas, Guillermo Ivan, Anthony Michael Martinez, Maria Isabel Bilbao, Iliana Guibert, and Christine Spang.

Anna in the Tropics
Runs through July 24, 2022
Bay Street Sag Harbor, Corner of Bay St. and Main St. Downtown Sag Harbor
Box Office: 631-725-9500 Photos: Lenny Stucker For Tickets Click Here
Click Here for Opening Night Photos of Anna in the Tropics by Barry Gordin

Candace Bushnell @ WHBPAC

“Sex and the City” creator Candace Bushnell brings her one woman show to Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center this Saturday, July 9 at 8pm.

July 7, 2022: Ladies, just three more days before “Sex and the City” creator, Candace Bushnell takes the stage at WHBPAC with her new one woman show, Is There Still Sex in the City. So, grab a friend and head to Westhampton Beach, because Candace is inviting you behind the scenes for a whirlwind tour of New York City. The author is sharing her philosophy with clever and smartly observed stories about fashion, friendship and sex, while pouring cosmos in her Manolos. The show was received well in New York City, playing the Daryl Roth Theater in Union Square in late 2021 and subsequently downtown at the SoHo Playhouse earlier this year. This is your chance to see Candace here at the beach.

“Sex and the City” creator Candace Bushnell brings her one woman show to Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center this Saturday, July 9 at 8pm.

July 7, 2022: Ladies, just three more days before “Sex and the City” creator, Candace Bushnell takes the stage at WHBPAC with her new one woman show, Is There Still Sex in the City. So, grab a friend and head to Westhampton Beach, because Candace is inviting you behind the scenes for a whirlwind tour of New York City. The author is sharing her philosophy with clever and smartly observed stories about fashion, friendship and sex, while pouring cosmos in her Manolos. The show was received well in New York City, playing the Daryl Roth Theater in Union Square in late 2021 and subsequently downtown at the SoHo Playhouse earlier this year. This is your chance to see Candace here at the beach.

Candace Bushnell

Bushnell’s column for The New York Observer was developed into the best-selling novel that was the basis for the hit HBO series, Sex in the City. In her new one woman show, the designer clad Candace invites audiences behind the scenes into the mind of the remarkable woman, who created the HBO series that became a cultural phenomenon and gave the World the character of Carrie Bradshaw. Tickets are still available. For Tickets Click Here 

Also @ WHBPAC on July 17 is Kelli O’Hara

East Village All Stars

East Village All Stars Make Hot Jazz for the Summer

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 8, 2022: If you’d happened to be walking past Greeley Square any late afternoon on a Thursday in June, you would have heard some really hot jazz coming from a group of enthusiastic young men. The band’s name is the East Village All Stars and they are one of the happier creations of the pandemic.

East Village All Stars Make Hot Jazz for the Summer

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 8, 2022: If you’d happened to be walking past Greeley Square any late afternoon on a Thursday in June, you would have heard some really hot jazz coming from a group of enthusiastic young men. The band’s name is the East Village All Stars and they are one of the happier creations of the pandemic.

According to one of the band’s founders, trombonist Mark Nagy, he and trumpeter and vocalist Joshua Irizarry (whom he calls “the real star of the show”) had been playing at the East Village Social at St. Marks Place two or three times a week when the pandemic hit, and the owner had to shut down. But in May 2020, he asked them to come back and play outdoors. Soon the duo was drawing such crowds the owner was told by the police he had to stop the entertainment. 

Shortly afterwards, Mark and Joshua were joined by drummer Christobal Miranda and they started playing outside bars and “passing the hat.” According to Mark, “We were making a ton of money.”

The group repeated past success in 2021, and in 2022 Ariana Hellerman of the 34thStreet Partnership asked Mark if he could form a band to play in Greeley Square. Mark contacted buddies Nick Trautman (bass) and Leo Mintek (guitar) and the group was formed.

The East Village All Stars plays a mixed repertoire of New Orleans Jazz and old and not-so-old standards. Songs familiar to anyone who loves music: “House of the Rising Sun,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Everybody Loves My Baby” and “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love, Baby.” When Joshua puts his trumpet down and sings, he has a gravelly voice that is reminiscent of the great Louis Armstrong.

If you missed the East Village All Stars at Greeley Square, take heart. You can still hear them at St. Mazie in Williamsburg. “A nice supper club,” says Mark, “where we play the late set from 10 to 12:30.”

Anna in the Tropics @ Bay Street

July 5, 2002: The Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics, opened at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. The moving drama directed by Marcos Santana won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Set in a cigar factory in Tampa, Florida, the story follows the lives of a Cuban-American family challenged by the vices and temptations surrounding them.  The play is the second of the Mainstage Summer Season and runs through July 24.

Opening Night Photography: Barry Gordin

July 5, 2002: The Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics, opened at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. The moving drama directed by Marcos Santana won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. Set in a cigar factory in Tampa, Florida, the story follows the lives of a Cuban-American family challenged by the vices and temptations surrounding them.  The play is the second of the Mainstage Summer Season and runs through July 24.

Opening Night Photography: Barry Gordin

Director Marcos Santana
Flora Schnall, Carol Konnor, John Frawley, Eric Segal, Riki Kane Larimer,
Tracy Mitchell (Executive Director), Scott Schwartz (Artistic Director) 
Bruce T. Sloane, Patricia M. Canero
Executive Director Bay Street Theater Tracy Mitchell, Artistic Director Bay Street Theater Scott Schwartz
Will Pomerantz, Patrick Christiano
TJ Clemente, Cindi Sansone-Braff
Scott Schwartz, Ada Samuelson
Curtain Call “The Cast of Anna in the Tropics“.
Anthony Michael Martinez, Christine Spang, Director Marcos Santana, Guillermo Ivan, Christian Barillas, Maria Isabel Bilbao, Serafin Falcon, Iliana Giobert, Tracy Mitchell and Scott Schwartz.
Jane & Barton Shallot
 Iliana Guibert, Randie Levine Miller
Emma Jacobs, Patrick Woerner, Alexis Melancon Rogers
Will Pomerantz, Ron Sickmen, Paul Kushner, John Sullivan, Kim Fink, Mick Johnson
Anthony Michael Martinez, Maria Isabel Bilbao,
Emma Jacobs, Maria Isabel Bilbao,

Hamlet ****

By: David Sheward

July 4, 2022: Shakespeare’s Hamlet is usually conceded to be the greatest play in world literature, because its essential conflict of the individual with him or herself can be applied to any culture, time period or setting. The most famous line of the text, “To be or not to be,” echoes man’s eternal search for meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe. That journey resonates as much today as it did in the Bard’s time. Hot British director Robert Icke employs video and modern dress to bring the Melancholy Dane into the 21st century, but his thoughtful, passion-packed production at the Park Avenue Armory after a smash run at London’s Almeida Theater, does not rely on gimmicks or technology for its impact. His insightful staging and editing as well as layered performances from a skilled cast led by a intensely emotive Alex Lawther in the title role, keep this version from lapsing into trendiness. The production plays in repertory with Ickes’ adaptation of Oresteia at the Park Avenue Armory after a smash run at London’s Almeida Theater.

 By: David Sheward

July 4, 2022: Shakespeare’s Hamlet is usually conceded to be the greatest play in world literature, because its essential conflict of the individual with him or herself can be applied to any culture, time period or setting. The most famous line of the text, “To be or not to be,” echoes man’s eternal search for meaning in a seemingly meaningless universe. That journey resonates as much today as it did in the Bard’s time. Hot British director Robert Icke employs video and modern dress to bring the Melancholy Dane into the 21st century, but his thoughtful, passion-packed production at the Park Avenue Armory after a smash run at London’s Almeida Theater, does not rely on gimmicks or technology for its impact. His insightful staging and editing as well as layered performances from a skilled cast led by a intensely emotive Alex Lawther in the title role, keep this version from lapsing into trendiness. The production plays in repertory with Ickes’ adaptation of Oresteia at the Park Avenue Armory after a smash run at London’s Almeida Theater.

Alex Lawther and Jennifer Ehle.

Icke’s Elsinore is indeed very modern, a sleek corporate environment with multiple video screens reaching into each corner of the castle (Hildegard Bechtler designed the chilly set and austere costumes, lit coolly by Natasha Chivers). The production opens with slick news footage of the funeral of Hamlet’s father and then the palace guard sighting of his ghost on CCTV cameras. There have been previous surveillance-state Hamlets such as Gregory Doran’s RSC production with David Tennant (seen on PBS in 2019) and Nicholas Hytner’s National Theater version with Rory Kinnear (caught by this critic in an NT Live cinema screening in 2015). Both those stagings featured omnipresent intelligence agents, constant videotaping and an overt political emphasis. Icke’s edition stresses the psychological rather than the social. He examines the psychic damage caused not only by the King’s death, but the reaction to it.

His and Lawther’s indecisive prince is no macho action hero (like Mel Gibson in the 1990 Hollywood-style film) nor is he a boisterous clown like Tennant. This is an emo-protagonist, overwhelmed by grief, quite possibly mad in truth rather than as a stratagem to trick out the guilt of his uncle Claudius as his father’s killer. Slight of build and tender of years (Lawther is 27 but convincingly looks 17), this teen Hamlet wears his heart on his sleeve and is unafraid to unpack his warring emotions with detailed care. Fortunately, he is not overindulgent (as Peter Sarsgaard was in a 2015 Off-Broadway CSC production where he came across as a spoiled brat.) Lawther balances Hamlet’s mad rashness with a keen intelligence, howling like a whipped dog at one moment and the reasoning out his next course of action in beautifully spoken soliloquies the next.  

Angus Wright, Jennifer Ehle, and Peter Wight.

Likewise, Angus Wright’s Claudius is not just a kissable villain, but an ambiguously motivated ruler. Jennifer Ehle, a late replacement for Gertrude when Lia Williams sustained an injury, ably fulfills the roles of passionate lover of her new husband and doting mother to Hamlet. Her American accent stands out amid the company of Brits and gives her characterization a novel rough edge.

Ickes’ psychologically deep approach extends to the family of Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes. The director sees them as victims of royal corruption just as much as Hamlet. He has re-arranged the text, placing several scenes in a different order so as to play up this usually secondary group of characters’ prominence. Laeretes’ farewell which gives many details of Ophelia’s relationship with the Prince, is now placed earlier in the evening. Ophelia (a complex Kirsty Rider) is now a more vital presence in Hamlet’s emotional life, we see them necking and hiding from their elders, so her eventual madness has more resonance when she is forced to reject him. In a chilling touch, the flowers in her mad scene are replaced with scars from self-inflected wounds. Peter Wight’s compassionate Polonius and Luke Treadaway’s fiery Laertes are equally multidimensional.

Alex Lawther

Even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, usually played as negligible accomplices in Claudius’ machinations, have depth and importance here. Now Guildenstern (soulful Tia Bannon) is a woman who appears to have had a collegiate crush on Hamlet which he reciprocated and Rosencrantz (comically pathetic Calum Finlay) is an uncomfortable third wheel. Both R&G are unwilling pawns here, much like in Tom Stoppard’s famous rift on the pair.

Some of Ickes’ choices are confusing, such as having Claudius directly address a pistol-wielding Hamlet during the former’s confessional speech, usually played alone. Is this encounter in Hamlet’s imagination or is Claudius brazenly daring his stepson-nephew to blast him away? 

Luke Treadaway and Kirsty Rider

But so many more of the decisions are right and fitting. The ghost of Hamlet’s father and the Player King are played by the same actor (a commanding David Rintoul), doubling the force of the play-within-a-play. Ophelia’s encounter with Hamlet in her closet takes place in the palace kitchen as she is raiding a refrigerator for a forbidden midnight snack (an eating disorder added to her symptoms). Horatio (sturdy Joshua Higgott) now confides with Gertrude as to Hamlet’s intentions and Claudius’ treachery. The play-within-the-play ends the first act with the real audience as awkwardly stunned as the Danish court with Claudius abrupt exit. The final dueling scene is elaborately and intricately staged as if it an Olympic fencing event. Then in a shattering touch, Ickes blots out some of the famous dialogue with Bob Dylan songs, increasing the visceral blows of the violence which shatters a kingdom and destroys the hero.

All of these insights make this a rich Hamlet, offering new views on Shakespeare’s most interpreted and complex work.

Hamlet ****
June 28—Aug. 13, 2022
Park Avenue Armory and Almeida Theater at Wade Thompson Drill Hall, Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave., NYC. Schedule varies (runs in repertory with Oresteia).
Running time: three hours and 40 mins, including two intermissions. $45-$199. www.armoryonpark.org.
Photography: Stephanie Berger / Park Avenue Avenue Armory

Kirsty Rider, Peter Wight, Jennifer Ehle, Angus Wright, and Luke Treadaway.

Epiphany ***

By: Isa Goldberg

July 4, 2022: It verges on being a little too “Arsenic and Old Lace,” but in the agile hands of Marylouise Burke, “Epiphany” is a deliciously acidic satire about people who poison it. Brian Watkin’s new play at Lincoln Center Theater at The Mitzi E. Newhouse plays on the familiar trope of a dinner party. 

By: Isa Goldberg

July 4, 2022: It verges on being a little too “Arsenic and Old Lace,” but in the agile hands of Marylouise Burke, “Epiphany” is a deliciously acidic satire about people who poison it. Brian Watkin’s new play at Lincoln Center Theater at The Mitzi E. Newhouse plays on the familiar trope of a dinner party. 

It’s the hallmark event in such American classics as Donald Margulies’ “Dinner with Friends,” for instance, in which shifting loyalties, and ageing are served with a dose of comedy. Here, in “Epiphany,” the swinging doors, and pratfalls add a tad of savory farce. But as directed by Tyne Rafaeli, the satire at work twists to the more dramatic flavors of our day – the horror film, and the supernatural. Ironically, nothing just happens in these alternate realities. That we often miss their meaning reflects our certain disregard.

Marylouise Burke as Morkan

Opening with the sound effects of a storm (designed by Daniel Kluger) – an immense primal roar, and flickering lights (Isabella Byrd) erupt in the black space. As soon as the guests arrive, however, a traditional drawing room scene takes place. It’s the beauty of the overheard conversation that forecasts some well-known triteness between friends. 

As we rarely see such a large cast – nine actors on stage, in a straight play – the volume of humanity huddled together feels formidable. Rafaeli’s rendering of subtle stage tableaus – understated visual statements about gathering are visually arresting.  And the characters are noticeably diverse in race, age, sexual orientation, occupation, etc.

At this gathering of friends, we meet a young lawyer, (Francois Battiste) and his self-obsessed skinny wife (Heather Burns). What they may lack in class they compensate for, with style. Battiste’s evokes the flair-your-tailcoat, and move Fred Astaire style, while Burns’ plays herself as a diva of the classic film variety. 

Morkan’s helper and friend Loren (Colby Minifie) in all yellow, offers both a light in the dark, and a message about courage, or the absence of it.  The most down-to-earth among them is C.J. Wilson, an alcoholic school teacher grieving the loss of a father who passed away a while ago. 

C.J. Wilson (background) and Heather Burns in Epiphany.

Still, what would a dinner party be without a celebrity guest. This one never arrives, dispensing of the situation by sending a speech which his wife, played by Carmen Zilles, is to read. His is an ordinary dismissal, not any more alarming than the fact that Julia, the host’s sister who was living with her, also isn’t coming. 

As portrayed by Marylouise Burke, Morkan is a fabulous host – a raconteur of sorts with wiry arms flailing. Even Burke, with her wily manner, can’t think of what more she can do to endear herself to her friends. While she is clearly confused, delusional even, she has the energy of a little league baseball player, and the moxie of an uncaged gerbil. 

Pathos breaks loose when Sam (Omar Metwally), the gay psychiatrist who’s married to a black man (David Ryan Smith), with whom he has children, serves a special dish he made for the occasion, a galette. 

How cutting a pancake turns into a conversation about love, humanity, truth, and empiricism is supposed to be very edgy. That that knife lands in one of the guest’s biceps is indeed bleak humor. 

Carmen Zilles, C.J. Wilson, Colby Minifie, Marylouise Burke, Omar Metwally and David Ryan Smith

It’s a precipitous moment, however, leading to discoveries about others, who have been damaged and dismissed, and for whom we only now experience the real loss. In the end, the story, left in the hands of Morkan and Ames, opines sadly on our inability to reach beyond ourselves. It’s not at all sentimental. Beyond intellectual pretenses, a simple, quiet observation takes hold, that by the time we’re able to appreciate life, it’s almost over. 

Indeed, it’s a quirky play. It’s also especially fun to watch Marylouise Burke perform theatrical trickery, for the benefit of comedy, of course. But as one can feel at plays centered around dinner parties, the author has bitten off more than he can reasonably chew. At least, the satire is too broad for us to take it all in.

Costumes by Montana Levi Blanco (“The Skin of Our Teeth”) speak to the characters’ individuality. Pot bellies and sinuous bodies alike are finely displayed. John Lee Beatty’s set – a great big old mansion somewhere in the snowy woods, creates the ambiance for telling ghost stories and secrets of the unknown. 

Epiphany ***
Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center
150 W. 65th Street in NYC.
Tue 7pm; Wed 2pm & 8pm; Thu 7pm; Fri 8pm; Sat 2pm & 8pm; Sun 3pm. Running time: one hour, 50 mins. with no intermission. $92. www.telecharge.com.  June 23—July 24, 2022
Photography: Julieta Cervantes

FESTIVAL DE LA POSIBILIDAD

Arts Education Nonprofit Hosts Festival De La Posibilidad, a Festival of Possbilites, celebrating cultural diversity July 16 & 17 at The Clemente Cultural and Educational Center on the Lower East Side, NY.

July 3, 2022: NEWYORK, NY– The Foundation for New American Art, an art education nonprofit dedicated to nurturing the visionary artists of tomorrow, is hosting a two-day festival of multi-cultural arts, music, dance and creative experiences for all ages. 

Arts Education Nonprofit Hosts Festival De La Posibilidad, a Festival of Possbilites, celebrating cultural diversity July 16 & 17 at The Clemente Cultural and Educational Center on the Lower East Side, NY.

July 3, 2022: NEWYORK, NY– The Foundation for New American Art, an art education nonprofit dedicated to nurturing the visionary artists of tomorrow, is hosting a two-day festival of multi-cultural arts, music, dance and creative experiences for all ages. 

– The family friendly free festival of fun will be held July 16 & 17 at The Clemente Cultural and Educational Center, in the heart of the lower east side at 107 Suffolk St, New York, NY 10002 and will feature performances and workshops by master artists and musicians from Africa, Latin America and China.

Foundation for New American Art (FNAA), a 501c3 nonprofit founded by multi-disciplinary artist Phoebe Legere, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to assist in producing the multi-cultural family festival.

The Foundation for New American Art mission is to educate, strengthen and nurture the artistic and musical spirit of the children of low-income communities. 

According to Founder and Executive Director of FNAA, Phoebe Legere, “We have no words to express our gratitude to the people who helped us and fortified our resolve on our beautiful journey: fourteen years of service as a grassroots nonprofit charity organization! Now, the National Endowment for the Arts joins us as partner. Gracias a todos nuestros amigos y vecinos.”

FNAA grew from a curating and presenting arts organization called the New York Underground Museum to an arts education and cultural resource for children and families. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Foundation for New American Art that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. 

“Foundation for New American Art in NYC is among the organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.” 

According to Legere, “The children we serve attend public schools where the budgets for art & music have been cut or drastically eliminated.

To learn more, visit our website at foundationfornewartamerican.org 

Schedule of FREE Events:

Saturday, July 16:

A multimedia Global Musical Journey in the Fabulan Theater at the Clemente Cultural and Educational Center 107 Suffolk St. 7-10

-Tamir Hargana, a Mongolian Throat Singer who plays many instruments including the “Horse Guitar.” Tamir is known for combining Heavy Metal and traditional Mongolian vocals. 

-Maria Raquel, a charismatic singer from Medellin, Columbia with a powerful voice. Maria is an ambassador for Latin American music. 

-Salieu Suso, an “edu-tainer” from Africa. Salieu is a culture bearer from the thousand year old Griot tradition who plays the Kora.

– Master of Ceremonies will be Phoebe Legere, (Abenaki/Cajun) President of the Foundation for New American Art. Phoebe will present and interview the artists in Spanish and English.  

Sunday, July 17:

Sunday July 17

11- 5 outdoors, FREE, on La Plaza of The Clemente 107 Suffolk St. 

11 am -Let Every Child Sing –co-led by Tamir Hargana and Phoebe Legere combining traditional vocal techniques from around the world including

– Mongolian throat singing, 

-Cumbia Villera (slum cumbia) 

– Open Heart Vocal Technique for children and youth developed by Foundation for New American Art.

 All ages welcome. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 

12 noon – Paintbrushes Not Guns: Art Workshop for teens & children, 

1 pm – Los Colores de Frida – Bilingual show about artist Frida Kahlo – with puppets & music for children 

2 pm – Learn Mongolian Throat singing with Tamir Hargana and Phoebe Legere!

3pm -Carolina Jaurena, teaching beginner level Salsa for the whole family! Try it! 

4 pm -All girl Tango dancing with Phoebe Legere on Bandoneon!  And the Zen Tango Band. 

All Day: Games, Puppets, Storytellers

4:30 pm The Climax of the Festival  de la Posibilidad will be The Rumberos – a pan Latin Dance Orchestra playing live for our Community Dance on La Plaza of the Clemente at 4:00 pm.  

Let’s DANCE together to integrate the amazing energies of diverse cultural traditions from all over the globe!

Let’s SING together to celebrate a culture of belonging, tolerance and inclusion in New York!

Let’s CELEBRATE and GIVE THANKS for the gorgeous  immigrant traditions so integral to the powerful and world-changing culture of our great city!

Communal art practices are the very best way to eradicate the systemic racism, sexism, ageism, and intolerance that plague us. Dance, song and art have harmonized and brought mental stability to communities for 100,000 years. It is time to return to organic solutions to modern problems. The names of our programs tell the story of our mission: 

“Paintbrushes not Guns!” 

“Let Every Child Sing!”

“Music Teachers Without Borders!”

The two-day Festival de la Posibilidad will be filmed by Haoyan of America for broadcast on our free educational online show:

“The Color Wheel”

Phoebe Legere is available for interviews, comments on the Festival and her work in nonprofit arts education. 

To learn more, visit our website at foundationfornewartamerican.org