Around The Town

BroadwayHD

Black Matter, Giles Terera’s powerful song cycle, now available on BroadwayHD.

November 20, 2021:  Inspired by the unrest of 2020, Olivier Award winning star of the West End production of Hamilton, Giles Terera, created his exciting song cycle, Black Matter. Now the song cycle can be seen by audiences around the world on BroadwayHD, where it began streaming on November 12th.  Black Matter is a 60-minute song cycle featuring multiple styles of music – funk, jazz, ballad –  What’s on Stage said, “From the first song to the last, I was gripped. I couldn’t look away.

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Reviews

Trouble in Mind ***, Assassins ****, The Visitor *,Morning’s At Seven ****

The Company of “Trouble In Mind”.

By: David Sheward

November 19, 2021: Revivals and adaptations are proving startlingly relevant on and Off-Broadway. Alice Childress’s Trouble in Mind premiered Off-Broadway in 1955. The play centering on an African-American actress’ confrontation with racial stereotypes in the theater was all set to transfer to Broadway, but the playwright refused to tone down the controversial subject matter and the production was cancelled. Now, 66 years later, Trouble has finally made it to the Main Stem and Childress’ fiery words are just as pertinent as the day they were written. Charles Randolph-Wright’s production for Roundabout Theater Company is too broad in places, but still captures the author’s unflinching portrait of race relations through the lens of the stage.

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Reviews

Morning Sun *****

Edie Falco, Marin Ireland, Blair Brown

By: Isa Goldberg

November 18, 2021: Stealthy, indeed, is a quality that distinguishes playwright Simon Stephens, whose latest work, “Morning Sun”, is as unusual in its exploration of form as it is in its reflection on love. Because ultimately it is all about love.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: ‘for colored girls’ Sets Dates and Theater

The cast of for colored girls at the Public Theater in 2019

By: David Sheward

November 16, 2021: The previously announced revival of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has set definite dates and a theater. The new production of the long-running “choreopoem” will begin previews on March 4, 2022 at the Booth Theater where it debuted on Broadway in 1976 and ran for 742 performances. 

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Reviews

The Visitor **1/2

The company of the world premiere production of “The Visitor”.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 15, 2021: The Visitor, a new musical at the Public based on the Thomas McCarthy film of 2007, was on the verge of opening last year when, like so many other shows, it was shut down by the pandemic. It turns out to have a decent-enough score by the Pulitzer Prize-winning team (Next to Normal) of Tom Kitt (music) and Brian Yorkey (lyrics), a satisfactory company led by David Hyde Pierce, a well-oiled production staged by Daniel Sullivan (with choreography by Lorin Latarro), and, as its raison d’être , a subject of stinging social significance. Nonetheless, for all its intermittent pleasures, it fails to rivet attention. What seemed real on screen feels flimsily contrived on stage, and it doesn’t take long before one wonders whether this material really demanded to be musicalized.

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Interviews

Judy Kaye

Diana’s Judy Kaye: Celebrating Six Decades in Show Business

By: Ellis Nassour 

November 12, 2021: Judy Kaye has had a storied career over six decades in opera, operetta, symphony concerts, TV and Soaps, voice work in animated features, records, and theater. Her path led to two Tony Awards for Featured Actress in Musicals, The Phantom of the Opera (the diva Carlotta, opposite Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman): and Nice Work If You Can Get It (the madcap Duchess Estonia Dulworth, opposite Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara).

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Reviews

Trevor ***

Holden William Hagelberger (left) and Sammy Dell (right)

By: David Sheward

November 11, 2021: The new musical Trevor could easily have been an extended Afterschool Special, an overly preachy message tuner with more PSA vibes than entertainment value. Set in 1981, the show follows the travails of a show-biz-loving adolescent discovering his gay sexuality and attempting suicide after a humiliating incident in middle school. He meets a sympathetic volunteer in the hospital with a shared interest in pop music divas and learns to accept and value himself. There are elements of syrupy sweetness and caricatures in this musicalization by Dan Collins (book and lyrics) and Julianne Wick Davis (music), but fortunately, they are balanced out by moments of genuine empathy, pathos and honesty.

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Around The Town

Broadway Update: Billy Crystal and Audra McDonald Return to the Stage

Billy Crystal

By: David Sheward

November 11, 2021: Billy Crystal and Audra McDonald will return to Broadway after long absences. Crystal will star in and co-author Mr. Saturday Night, a new musical based on the 1992 film comedy in which he played Buddy Young, a once famous TV comedian looking for a comeback in his old age. The musical, featuring music by Jason Robert Brown, lyrics by Amanda Greene and a book by Crystal, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel (who also collaborated on the screenplay) will begin previews at the Nederlander Theater on March 1 with an opening on March 31. David Paymer will recreate his Oscar-nominated role as Buddy’s brother and manager. Also starring will be Tony winner Randy Graff (City of Angels, Fiddler on the Roof) and Chasten Harmon (The Good Fight, Elementary). Tony winner John Rando (Urinetown) directs. The show recently had a presentation at the Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts.

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Around The Town

Sidney Myer Back at Pangea

Sidney Myer

By: Alix Cohen

November 11, 2021: Arguably one of New York cabaret’s treasures on and off the stage, Sidney Myer once again elicits both buoyant laughter and empathetic pathos from a not-to-be-missed show. AS vulnerable as Charlie Chaplin but with a proclivity to tease, the artist has only to raise a well timed eyebrow, glare, grow still, or grind his hip to affect an audience. He uniquely manifests wry, sexual innuendo with a sense of play, yet plumbs romance and innocence. .

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Around The Town

The Pass Musical

Denise Marsa’s heartfelt musical, The Pass, selected for United Solo Festival, NY 2021 on November 18 @ 9pm at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street.

November 7, 2021: The Pass, initially developed in 2017 with theater legend Gretchen Cryer, is a compelling series of autobiographical vignettes, incorporating songs and stories, written and performed by award-winning singer-songwriter Denise Marsa. Her raw and intimate tale is a testament to the human spirit, filled with moments of heartbreak, humor, and self-discovery. She   recounts her decades spanning career beginning at the end of the 70s to the present day through her beautiful songs and music. Denise’s journey is a nuanced and fascinating story about doing what you love in an ever-challenging world. The evening features renowned New York musician Tracy Stark on keys and additional vocals. Tickets are on sale now: https://unitedsolo.org/shows/the-pass-musical/ 

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Reviews

Morning Sun ***, Fairycakes *1/2

Edie Falco, Marin Ireland, Blair Brown in “Morning Sun”

By: David Sheward

November 6, 2021: The content of Simon Stephens’ Morning Sun is not extraordinary, earth-shaking, or even that unusual. He seems to be aiming for a portrait of universal humanity through one ordinary life, much like Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. The goal is ambitious and Lila Neugebauer’s spare, delicate production, performed by three of our top actresses (Edie Falco, Blair Brown and Marin Ireland) is beautiful and touching, but the play itself still feels slender, much like Stephens’ previous work Heisenberg about a quirky May-December romance which ran slightly over an hour and felt like a skinny short story.

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Around The Town

BroadwayHD

Barbra Streisand’s A Star is Born and Matthew Bourne’s Red Shoes head November’s line up of spectacular new titles on BroadwayHD.

November 1, 2021- BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for theater fans, unveils a lineup of star-studded titles with classic movie musicals, concerts and spectacular theater performances. Kicking off the month on November 1st is the 1976 musical romantic drama film, A Star is Born, featuring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. The film’s narrative follows a young singer who meets and falls in love with an established rock and roll star, only to find her career ascending while his goes into decline. Also debuting on November 1st is the Oscar-winning film of the Broadway musical, Fiddler On The Roof, which centers around life among the Jewish community of a pre-revolutionary Russian village. On November 2nd, a brand new episode of the hit BBC Comedy series, Goes Wrong Show Episode 206: The Cornley Drama Part 2,  is set to debut, followed by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starring Dick Van Dyke on the 4th. 

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Reviews

Thoughts of a Colored Man ***1/2

Luke James, Esau Pritchett, Da’Vinchi, Forrest McClendon, Dyllón Burnside, Tristan Mack Wilds, Bryan Terrell Clark.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 1, 2021: If one of the purposes of theatre can be said to be communion, the sense of shared emotional and intellectual response to an event, then the experience of watching Thoughts of a Colored Man certainly fits the description. Keenan Scott II’s new play, originally done by Syracuse Stage in 2019, had its Broadway opening delayed when the pandemic broke out. It may not achieve all the checkoffs one associates with first-class traditional playwriting, but as a dramatic—or even semi-dramatic—exercise, it creates a sense of warm engagement that keeps on giving through most of its ninety uninterrupted minutes at the John Golden Theatre.

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Reviews

Caroline, or Change *****, Fire Shut Up in My Bones *****

Sharon D Clarke in “Caroline or Change”.

By: David Sheward

October 30, 2021: When it opened on Broadway at the tail end of the 2003-4 season after an Off-Broadway run at the Public Theater, Caroline, or Change was overshadowed by the rivalry between Wicked and Avenue Q. This difficult, strange and complex musical by Tony Kushner (Angels in America) and Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Violet) about the relationship between an African-American maid and the little Jewish boy of the family for whom she works, was too rare a dish for audiences accustomed to a diet of witches and puppets. Tony Pinkins, who delivered a powerful performance in the title role, lost the Tony to Idina Menzel’s Elphaba in Wicked. Caroline’s only win was for Anika Noni Rose’s supporting performance as Emmie, Caroline’s rebellious daughter.

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Around The Town

The Flogsta Scream

By Sam Affoumado

December 6th 2021 … International university students, Angelo and Valentina meet in Flogsta, Sweden where a strange, weekly screaming ritual takes place. The New York war game designer and the Spanish pacifist are attracted to one another but will their ideological differences keep them apart or will screaming take them to the next level?

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