Around The Town

Broadway Update

Drama Desks and Theater World Awards on the Same Day

By: David Sheward

February 13, 2024: Two major NY theater awards will be held on the same date. It was announced the 78th annual Theater World Awards will be held on Mon. June 10. The day before, the Drama Desk Awards had announced the same date for their 69th annual accolades. However, the Theater Worlds which are given for outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debut performances, listed 7PM as their start time. Last year and the year before, the DDs were held in the afternoon, so things may work out for winners who wish to attend both ceremonies. Neither event has listed a venue. Hopefully they will be close to each other so double attendees will have a short trip and time for a bite to eat.

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Reviews

Oh, Mary! ****

Cole Escola and Bianca Leigh.

By: David Sheward

February 11, 2024: Mary Todd Lincoln is an odd choice as the main character of a raucous, drag-centered satire. Most campy stage spoofs written by and starring either Charles Busch or Charles Ludlum have usually centered on movie heroines played by the likes of Joan Crawford or Bette Davis in spectacularly soapy melodramas, or they are historical epics featuring over-the-top royalty in divinely diva-ish gowns. Mrs. Lincoln’s story is a truly tragic one and does not afford much opportunity for sartorial fabulousness. But that didn’t stop YouTube sensation-playwright-drag performer Cole Escola from transforming one of our nation’s saddest figures into a bawdy, naughty vamp in a riotous travesty of American history and morality, Oh, Mary! at the Lucille Lortel.

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

White Room Gallery


Opening reception for LOVE IS THE DRUG now on view at The White Room Gallery, 3 Railroad Avenue East Hampton, through March 30.

February 11, 2024: Andrea McCafferty & Kat O’Neill, co-owners, and directors of The White Room Gallery, hosted the opening reception for LOVE IS THE DRUG, their new exhibition featuring artists John Grande, Rebecca Russo, Grace Baley and more. The show will be on view at The White Room in East Hampton through March 30, 2024. 
Photographs from the reception Saturday February 10.

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Reviews

Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy ****, Our Class ****

Haskell King, John Lavelle, Christine Lahti, Renata Friedman and Hadi Tabbal in “Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy”

By: David Sheward

February 8, 2024: The line between the truth and fake news becomes a blurry limbo pole the characters dance around, above and below in Sarah Gancher’s brilliantly relevant and wildly funny new play Russian Troll Farm: A Workplace Comedy, now at the Vineyard Theater. This inventive playwright starts out with the shockingly real fact that Putin’s government interfered in the 2016 presidential election by sending out conspiracy-theory-laden tweets and social-media messages from thousands of fake accounts, tipping the scales for a certain orange-hued candidate. She goes inside the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg (an actual company) and creates a frightening and fiendish look at the interrelationships among five trolls, how they turn on each other, poison the information well and threaten democracy around the world. The scary part is many of the tweets were taken from IRA fake accounts and Gancher had to make up only a few.

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Reviews

Days of Wine and Roses ***

Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 4, 2024: Note: The following is a slightly revised version of the review I posted on Theater Life last June, when this musical was at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater. The show has now moved to Broadway’s Studio 54, with all but one of its five principal actors intact. I can’t point to any important specifics in the production, other than its expansion for a Broadway stage, that caught my attention as differing radically from the Off-Broadway version, but I do believe the central performances of Kelli O’Hara and Brian d’Arcy James have grown even richer and more powerful, if that’s even possible. On the other hand, my original assessment of the material as depressing was only deepened on a second viewing. For all the artistry and charisma of the stars’ portrayals, their characters remain so unpleasantly self-centered it’s impossible to empathize with them, no matter how much one may wish to do so.

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

Southampton Arts Center

LIVE: JazzFest – Azar Lawrence Quintet @ SAC on Saturday, February 17th

February 3, 2024: Southampton Arts Center is excited to celebrate Black History Month and welcome Azar Lawrence to their stage at 7pm on Saturday, February 17. Doors open at 6:30pm for a social hour with complimentary wine. Azar is a Spiritual and Musical disciple of Coltrane with a healthy mix of soul, funk and music beyond category.

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Around The Town

Broadway Babe

Chita Rivera

Historic Flashbacks from Broadway Babe include West Side Story, Carol Burnett, Donna McKechnie & the original Sandy from Grease, Carol Demas.

February 3, 2024:  Broadway Babe, Randie Levine-Miller has found some entertaining and historic videos, which include the 50th anniversary reunion of the original cast of “West Side Story”;  Carol Burnett starring in “Once Upon A Mattress”; Donna McKechnie at Joe’s Pub; as well as Carol Demas, the original Sandy in the Broadway musical “Grease”, singing a song she introduced over 50 years ago. How is it that so many of these women look so great in their 80s?

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Reviews

Jonah ***1/2

Gabby Beans (Ana) and Samuel Henry Levine (Danny).

By: Samuel L. Leiter

February 2, 2024: An enthusiastic response greeted the end of Jonah, Rachel Bonds’s intriguing, if determinedly ambiguous dramedy – receiving its world premiere at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre – when I attended; however, as the audience moved up the aisle to leave, I overheard more than one playgoer ask their partner something along the lines of, “What did we just see?” Good question.

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Reviews

Jonah ****, Days of Wine and Roses ***1/2

Gabby Beans (Ana) and Hagan Oliveras (Jonah) in “Jonah”

By: David Sheward

February 1, 2024: “The present and the past. But everything is slippery.” So reads the time of the play in the program from Jonah, Rachel Bonds’ somewhat confusing but ultimately affecting new work presented by Roundabout Theater Company at its Off-Broadway stage, the Laura Pels. The confusion is prevalent at first. But by the final curtain, all the disparate pieces of Bonds’ scattered plot come together to form a full portrait of the lead character, Ana, a shattered young woman, beautifully played by the intense and versatile Gabby Beans. So why isn’t it called Ana instead of Jonah? An answer would be a spoiler, but I’ll attempt to give you the gist without revealing too much.

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Around The Town

Obie Awards

Francis Guinan and K. Todd Freeman in “Downstate”.

Dark Disabled Stories and Downstate Among 67th Obie Winners

By: David Sheward

January 31, 2024: Dark Disabled Stories, Downstate, and The Comeuppance were among the winners of the 67th annual Obie Awards, presented by the American Theater Wing on Jan. 27 for excellence in Off and Off-Off-Broadway theater. The official 67th Obie Awards season includes shows that opened between September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. 

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Features

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera 2018

Legend Synonymous with Broadway … A Tribute

By:  Ellis Nassour

January 31, 2024: Long after many other performers of a certain age had disappeared from the scene, Broadway’s former Queen of the Gypsies, Chita Rivera, a.k.a. Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero, like the Battery Bunny was still going, going, going. In fact, it seemed for the longest time, in spite of great obstacles and huge challenges, she showed no signs of stopping. The indefatigable Chita Rivera was synonymous with Broadway throughout her seven-decade career in show business. She was a gleaming star, a national treasure, and a trailblazer as an Hispanic star on Broadway. 

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HamptonsLife - At the Galleries

White Room Gallery

John Grande – Lucid Dreams – Oil on Repurposed Board 80 x 32 x 43 in

The White Room Gallery will present LOVE IS THE DRUG from February 9th through March 30th at their new East Hampton location/3 Railroad Avenue. 

January 25, 2024: The White Room Gallery will present LOVE IS THE DRUG featuring artists John Grande, Rebecca Russo, Grace Baley and more. The exhibition will be on view from February 9th through March 30. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, February 10th from 5-7pm at 3 Railroad Ave, their new East Hampton location, across from the Railroad Staton. 

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

The cast of “How to Dance in Ohio” Credit: Curtis Brown

Patriots to Open; Ohio Closes; OCC and Chita Rivera Dates.

By: David Sheward

January 24, 2024: One closes and another opens. How to Dance in Ohio will join the soon-to-shutter Harmony and play its final performance at the Belasco Theater on Feb. 11 after 27 previews and 72 regular performances. The musical inspired by Alexandra Shiva’s documentary on autistic young adults preparing for a dance at their center, opened on  Dec. 10. Meanwhile, Peter Morgan’s Patriots about Vladmir Putin’s rise to power will be going into the Barrymore (where Harmony is about to close) for a limited, 12-week engagement starting with previews on April 1 and opening April 22. This will make for an extremely crowded final week before the Tony eligibility cut-off of April 25. The Heart of Rock and Roll, the Huey Lewis jukebox musical, will also be opening on April 22.

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Features

Leslie Uggams

The Irresistible Leslie Uggams: Celebrating 75 Years in Show Business, 
Stormy Weather or Not, She Manages to Bring Out the Sun.

By: Ellis Nassour

January 26, 2024:  For an unbelievable 75 years, the indefatigable Leslie Uggams has covered all the bases in the game of show business. She began onstage while in the first grade, segued to becoming one of the most seen and beloved singers on countless TV variety shows – and even had her own, starred and guest starred in countless TV shows. 

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Reviews

White Rose: The Musical **

By: Samuel L. Leiter

January 26, 2024: The terror of life during the Third Reich—which would, of course, include the Holocaust—continues to generate a goldmine for dramatic treatment, so much in fact that it takes a lot to be surprised by any new film or play about the era. There definitely are no surprises in the latest iteration of such a background in White Rose: The Musical, an insubstantial new Off-Broadway show about a substantial subject, at Theatre Row, with music by Natalie Brice and book and lyrics by Brian Belding. The only surprise is that it’s being done at all.

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