Monday Night Magic

“When you start to wonder, you start to think, and there isn’t enough thinking going on.” (Performer/Historian Todd Robbins)

By: Alix Cohen

October 15, 2021: At 24, Monday Night Magic is the city’s longest running Off-Broadway magic show. Except in Nevada and at private events, the art seemed to otherwise fade (though never disappear) from popular culture, then tenuously resurfaced with more theatrical shows. All the while, Monday Night Magic’s flame burned steadily at various Manhattan locations.

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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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Broadway Update: Funny Girl Confirmed; West Side Won’t Be Back, etc.

Beanie Feldstein

By: David Sheward 

August 12, 2021: it’s confirmed that Funny Girl, the 1964 musical bio of the legendary comedienne Fanny Brice which made Barbra Streisand a star will be returning to Broadway for its first revival. The lead role will be played by Beanie Feldstein who played Minnie Fay in the recent Bette Midler-led revival of Hello, Dolly! and will be featured as Monica Lewinski in the upcoming TV mini-series Impeachment: America Crime Story. Tony winner Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie, American Idiot) will direct and four-time Tony winner Harvey Fierstein will revise Isobelle Lennart’s original book. The iconic score which includes “People,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” is by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics).

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Showstoppers! Spectacular Costumes From Stage and Screen- Wonderful!

By: Alix Cohen 

Proceeds benefit the Costume Industry Coalition Recovery Fund advocating for the survival of New York City’s costume industry.                                                          

August 12, 2021: “Without us they’d all be naked!” flashes across the screen during this exhibition’s teaser video. While perhaps stretching the point, it’s impossible to recall New York theater experiences without the apt, imaginative, sometimes extraordinary couture costumes that enhance a production. On stage wardrobe can place a character’s era, location, economic status, attitude and taste.

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Happenings

Legendary Impersonator Rich Little Impeaches Richard Nixon Beginning August 5; And There’s More

By: Ellis Nassour     

August 1, 2021: Legendary voice impersonator, TV star, and long-time Las Vegas legend Rich Little, 82 years young, just can’t keep his mouth shut, but this time, finally making his Off-Broadway debut, is taking on Richard Nixon in Trial on the Potomac: The Impeachment of Richard Nixon by George Bugatt. The engagements runs August 5 (Opening Night/August 6) – September 4 at Theatre at St Clements (423 West 46th Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues). All performances are at 7 P.M. The play is premiering after a pandemic delay from May 2020. 

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Mostly Modern Projects

Javits Center, New York City

By: Paulanne Simmons

August 1, 2021: Nothing heals a troubled soul better than music. And in these troubled times it’s truly a blessing to discover music in the most unusual places. Victoria Paterson and her musicians have been proving this over and over again in the last few months as they appear in various venues around New York City and beyond.

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Paul Huntley

A Notable Death: Broadway’s Veteran Hair Magician Paul Huntley, 88 

By: Ellis Nassour

July 15, 2021 — Paul Huntley, 88, Broadway’s trendsetting go-to wig designer, passed on Friday. Liz Carboni, his longtime friend, confirmed his death in London from complications from a lung infection. He was honored in 2003 with a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theater. He also was the recipient of several lifetime achievement awards. 

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A Yiddish Renaissance: A Virtual Concert Celebration

The Sorceress, featuring Dani Apple, Lorin Zackular, Mikhl Yashinsky and Lexi Rabadi. Photo credit: Victor Nechay, properpix.jpg

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 15, 2021: Confined to their homes during the pandemic, many people decided to master a new skill. For some, that skill was speaking Yiddish. In fact, according to Motl Didner, associate artistic director of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, thousands of people have watched Folksbiene’s “15-Minute Yiddish” over the past year. This, says Didner, is just part of the “Yiddish Renaissance,” which began in the 1970s and received a huge online boost during the pandemic.

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The 93rd Oscars

The 93rd Oscars Telecast Live Sunday. WATCH!  It’s Going to Be Unique

By: Ellis Nassour

April 22, 2021: Doesn’t everyone love the movies? Even at those long ago cinemas where you could see them on big screens with an extra large soda and those refillable buckets of often stale popcorn – both of which you can’t avoid spilling on the pristine floors? Attendance is surely down, and the culprit is partly Covid 19, but we can be buoyed on Sunday as ABC will present live mostly from Los Angeles the 2021 Academy Awards, the 93rd, at 8 P.M. (E). It will truly be a global event, seen live or recorded in more than 225 countries and territories. 

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Welcome Back to Theater

A Door Opens to Off Broadway: Blindness

By: Ellis Nassour

April 16, 2021: The acclaimed Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness, adapted from Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago’s dystopian novel by Tony winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), has opened at the Daryl Roth Theatre (101 East 15th Street at Union Square East). The production is the first to cut the ribbon of the commercial return of much-missed performing arts. 

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Broadway Starting to Light Up Soon

Things are Lighting Up in Theater with Sneak Peeks at the Soon-to-Be Future

By: Ellis Nassour

April 15, 2021– Following a game-changing but one-night-only event of performances by Tony-winning Broadway Treasure Nathan Lance and faster-than-a-speeding bullet Tony-winning tapper/actor/choreographer Savion Glover for an acceptable roster of guests at the St. James.

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2021 Oscar Nominations

Nominations for the 93rd Oscars Announced

By: Ellis Nassour

March 15, 2021: The 2021 Academy Awards for the best in 2020 cinema were announced early this morning (March 15) on ABC by actor/producer Privanka Chopra Jonas and singer/writer/actor Nick Jonas. Emerging as leader of the pack was Netflix’s Mank with 10 nominations, including Best Picture, Actor, and Director. Other films receiving multiple nods are The Father,  Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. A bit of Oscar history was made with two women nominated for director for the first time: Chloè Zhao (Nomadland) and Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman); in addition, both received nods in the writing categories.

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Bob Avian Part 1

Bob Avian: Dancing Man, A Life in Theater as Choreographer/Director; Tales of Collaborating with Michael Bennett in New Autobiography
Part One

By: Ellis Nassour

April 6, 2020: Tony-winning scenic designer Robin Wagner, credited with over 50 Broadway shows, says, “Bobby, in addition to being an extraordinarily nice guy, is an absolutely brilliant director/choreographer. He and Michael Bennett was a pair. They knew each other inside out. Everything Michael did, Bobby contributed at least half. Michael trusted his instincts. Bobby was more collaborator than assistant.”

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Remembering Two Great Talents: Ann Reinking and Rebecca Luker

From Associated Press and other sources. Compiled and notated by Ellis Nassour

December 24, 2020: This is a year which could not have been sadder: more than 335,000 deaths from COVID-19. And now comes the disheartening news of the deaths of two giant, radiant, and very generous Broadway talents: actress and Tony-winning  choreographer Ann Reinking on December 12; and Tony-nominee and crystal-voiced Rebecca Luker on December 23. 

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The Actors Fund

Tis the Season to (Try) Be Merry and Give Thanks to The Actors Fund

By Ellis Nassour

December 7, 2020: The not-for-profit Actors Fund of America continues to be a vital resource for all members across the spectrum of the entertainment profession. There’s a vast array of programs, supported by people like you. With other fundraising events stymied by the pandemic, a godsend has been the numerous virtual events by so many talented industry members.

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