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Kenneth Cabral, Eduardo Hernandez, Zell Steele Morrow, Taylor Caldwell, Ruth Righi, Anthony Rosenthal

Kenneth Cabral, Eduardo Hernandez, Zell Steele Morrow, Taylor Caldwell, Ruth Righi, Anthony Rosenthal. Photo by Joan Marcus

It’s funny how the world works sometimes.  Yesterday was not a typical day, but because we find ourselves in the middle of summer, I was particularly less busy at work than normal. And because of that free time, I was able to go see a matinee on a Wednesday, and still be able to see the Encores! Off-Center production of Really Rosie that same night.  The odd thing about this was basically the ‘demographics’.  For the sassy musical, Curvy Widow, I felt I was surrounded by older New Yorkers seeing a show that was basically written for them. It was about a New York woman of a certain age having to rediscover who she is after her husband dies. Sounds a bit morbid but it really wasn’t, it was fun and feisty, just like the lead actress, the very full-voiced Nancy Opel (a Tony nominee for Honeymoon in Vegas).  Than in the evening, I was surrounded by a whole other demographic: younger New York girls, maybe eight years old to early teens, with their parents in tow, (I’m not so great at guessing the ages of kids). We were all there seeing the family friendly kid’s show, Really Rosie, that was, just like the earlier show, basically written for that audience.  This time, it was about a fun and feisty young girl, Rosie, portrayed by a very similar, young and wonderfully voiced dynamo by the name of Taylor Caldwell (School of Rock). Rosie is a firecracker and working very hard in creating a persona for herself as she plays ‘making movies’ with her friends in Brooklyn. Who knew these two shows could be so similar, while also being so demographically the opposite.

 Anthony Rosenthal

Anthony Rosenthal (center). Photo by Joan Marcus

Sounds like a parallel process kind of day to me. Too young to really connect with the first one, and definitely too old to connect to the later. But if your idea of fun entertainment is hanging around a band of super precocious young Broadway kids, mugging and trying to hog the spotlight, this could be your thing. The preteens around me seemed awesomely inspired and star-struck by the big voiced star, Caldwell, who most definitely can knock a song out of the ballpark with those lungs and that presence.  She totally shined in the almost-finale, ‘Avenue P‘, one of the few songs sung with somewhat of an emotional core. But for me, as the epicenter of Really Rosie, I found Caldwell lacked the acting chops to find anything beyond a one-note Rosie, and that one-note was basically annoying. I don’t know why any of these kids wanted to hang around with her, she was loud, arrogant, and bossy, with no layers of kindness beneath.  If she was a kid in my neighborhood, I’d probably avoid her at all costs. But these kids seemed to enjoy the bullying. Her posturing and grandiose behavior didn’t grate on them, like it did on me. This tendency to annoy could be said of most in the cast though, especially those who had the spot light aimed in their direction.

Ayadele Casel, Kenneth Cabral

Ayadele Casel, Kenneth Cabral. Photo by Joan Marcus

But there were a few standouts that didn’t irritate this too-old-to-be-in-the-audience reviewer. Anthony Rosenthal (Falsettos) as Johnny carried himself well and seemed more than your average Broadway kid, styling a portrayal that etched out something close to a character than most of his counterparts. Kenneth Cabral (Encores! Runaways) as the tap-tastic Alligator claimed the most endearing spot on my list, especially when he and his choreographer, Ayodele Casel (Spoleta Arts Festival USA’s While I Have The Floor) danced us into a frenzy (check out her youtube video linked above). Mesmerizing is the only word that comes to mind. I wish I could say the same for the others. Poorly directed by Leigh Silverman to be loud and spotlight grabbing, they rarely managed to find much subtlety or character development within the text.  I expected, I guess, a bit more as these kids have resumes that many a Broadway performer would kill for, most notably; Ruth Righi (School of Rock) as Kathy, Zell Steele Morrow (Fun Home) as Chicken Soup, and Eduardo Hernandez (On Your Feet) as Pierre. Charlie Pollock (Violet, Urinetown) as the talented voice in the background does manage to steal the spotlight from these precocious kids. All he has to do is don a pair of glasses and he’s magic, as he created a different tone to portray an assortment of Mothers and one hungry Lion. It brought to mind the unintelligible Charlie Brown adult voices, but this time, we can understand the words.
Ruth Righi

Ruth Righi (center). Photo by Joan Marcus

The stage is lovingly decorated with pretty clouds and an odd assortment of steps by set designer, Donyale Werle (In Transit), with garish costumes by Clint Ramos (Six Degrees of Separation), and not so subtle lighting by Mark Barton (Public’s Hamlet). It doesn’t exactly reach the same heights as most of the Encore! productions I’ve seen, but it did offer a colorful kid-pleasing esthetic which didn’t overshadow. With the ever glorious New York City Center Encores! Orchestra (music directors: Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Carmel Dean; music co-ordinator: Seymour Red Press; music supervisor: Chris Fenwick; original arrangements: Joel Silberman) playing those wonderfully charming songs, with music created by the legendary Carole King (1971’s album: ‘Tapestry’, Broadway’s Beautiful) and lyrics by the astounding genius that is Maurice Sendak (recipient of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for ‘Where the Wild Things Are‘), the songs excite and entertain.  These kids can really sell a song, not that this crowd needed much salesmanship to clap wildly with glee.  But this is a Glee world we live in now with these teens loving the big Broadway song (which I must admit makes me a happy theatre camper).  Now I just hope the next show they see has a bit more depth and feeling attached to it.  At least this is how this man of a certain age sees it.

So for more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Events

TODAY Show Celebrates 30 Years With Its 2024 Citi Concert Series

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The TODAY Show is celebrating 30 years so its 2024 Citi Concert Series lineup is pretty spectacular. Rockefeller Plaza will have country music with Wallows kicking things off. Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson and Thomas Rhett, as well as fan favorites Meghan Trainor, LL COOL J and Chance the Rapper.

Mark Your calendars:

May

Friday, May 24 — Wallows *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, May 31 — Anitta *Register for a Fan Pass

June

Friday, June 7 — Meghan Trainor *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, June 21 — Kehlani *Register for a Fan Pass

Tuesday, June 25 — Lainey Wilson *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, June 28 — Gracie Abrams *Register for a Fan Pass

July

Thursday, July 4 — Bleachers *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, July 12 — Rauw Alejandro *Register for a Fan Pass

August

Friday, Aug. 9 — Maggie Rogers *Register for a Fan Pass

Monday, Aug. 12 — Little Big Town and Sugarland *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, Aug. 16 — Chance the Rapper *Register for a Fan Pass

Friday, Aug. 23 — Thomas Rhett *Register for a Fan Pass

September

Friday, Sept. 27 — Chris Stapleton *Register for a Fan Pass

Date to be announced 

LL COOL J *Check back for Fan Passes

TODAY concerts are free and open to the public. The shows take place on the TODAY Plaza in Rockefeller Center, located at 48th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York City.

The closest subway stop to our TODAY Plaza concerts is the 47th — 50th Streets — Rockefeller Center station on the B, D, F, M trains. 24/7 parking is also available nearby at the Rockefeller Center Parking Garage at 53 West 48th Street. The garage is operated 24/7 and accepts reservations in advance. Hourly and daily parking rates apply.

Fan Passes are limited and available by advance request. Guests who receive them will be notified by email before the scheduled concert date.

Guests who do not obtain a Fan Pass can still attend the General Admission line the morning of the concert, and those fans will be let in if space allows. Other answers to commonly asked questions about the series can be found here.

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Events

Love at First Sight Campaign Adds Perks to Pet Adoption Drive with Meet Cutes NYC

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From June 7 to June 9, the PEDIGREE brand is reimbursing dog adoption fees nationwide as part of our Love at First Sight campaign, which stems from the belief that Love at First Sight still exists, and it’s available at your local shelter.

@MeetCUTESNYC  and the PEDIGREE brand is celebrating that magical meet cute moment when people find their perfect shelter dog.

In MeetCutesNYC latest video they capture in detail in NYC how the love and companionship people’s dogs have brought them have helped change their life for the better. Check out this ‘cute’ video of this on their Instagram HERE.

FOR MORE INFO CLICK ON THE LINK:

https://www.pedigree.com/adoption-drive

*Limit one dog adoption fee redemption per household, dogs only, max. adoption fee of $200, 50 US & DC only, valid only for adoptions made between 6/7/24-6/9/24; redemptions must be submitted between 06/07/24 and 07/10/24. Must be 18+ years old. Void where prohibited, maximum of $100K in adoption fees available while supplies last. 

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Events

Memorial Day Weekend Sips That Sizzle

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Summer, summer time is here!

Get ready for days in the sun that sizzle this Memorial Day Weekend with these amazing sips. Mix a cocktail or have it easy, breezy and straight from the can or bottle. All of these options will bring joy and delight to your picnic on the beach to your backyard BBQ!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Lipton Hard Iced Tea

 Lipton Hard Iced Tea is the tangy twist on a classic that you will love. Crafted from a triple-filtered, premium malt base and real brewed Lipton tea, it’s a perfect way to enjoy the best tea with a level of sweetness that will dazzle your senses.

Whether you’re firing up the grill, hitting the beach, or simply enjoying some outdoor fun, Lipton Hard Iced Tea has you covered. With flavors like Lemon, Peach, Strawberry, Citrus Green Tea and Half & Half, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

 

 

 

Cover art by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

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Events

The Abbot of Athos and The Consulate Midtown A Tale of How Food Can Bring Peace

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Greece and Macedonia, have had decades of tension, but yesterday at The Consulate Midtown, 44 West 56th Street The Holy Father, Geron Nektarios, Abbot of the Kalyve of Holy Cross in Skete of Saint Anne in Mount Athos and Kiril Mihajlov, showed how great food and conversation can give way to peace.

The Holy Father, Geron Nektarios, Abbot of the Kalyve of Holy Cross in Skete of Saint Anne in Mount Athos, Kiril Mihajlov

I met the Abbott in Greece last summer and he graciously agreed to have lunch with me and some guests I invited, before he returned to Greece.

Margarita Parlionas, Captain John Woodall

Margarita Parlionas is a business owner, who brought with her Captain John Woodall who runs Camp4Heroes, a place where Vets can get some much needed help.

Suzanna Bowling, The Holy Father, Geron Nektarios, Abbot of the Kalyve of Holy Cross in Skete of Saint Anne in Mount Athos, Kiril Mihajlov and George Tower

George Tower, is contributing writer for the, T2C, and speaks fluent Greek.

The Abbot, Margarita and Captain Woodall all supped on the Hangover Burger ($28) 8oz grilled patty, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, topped with a fried egg on a brioche bun, which they all claimed was the best burger they had ever had.

George had the Salmon Eggs Benedict ($26) poached eggs, smoked salmon, toasted brioche, espelette hollandaise sauce and was completely happy.

T2C’s Suzanna Bowling had her favorite Avocado Toast with Bacon ($24) scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and mixed greens. If you want sensational food with a elegant atmosphere, I highly recommend The Consulate Midtown.

The Abbot gifted a book about his life written in both Greek and English to the guests.

The Abbott has been in America since April visiting Boston, Washington, Chicago, Milwaukee, The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Queens and NYC. His message is of gratitude, love and healing. He has been raising funds to expand and offer more to men who want a spiritual retreat, which is what Mount Athos does.

T2C’s Suzanna Bowling and The Holy Father, Geron Nektarios, Abbot of the Kalyve of Holy Cross in Skete of Saint Anne in Mount Athos

If you wish to know more you can go to Athonite Foundation.

 

 

 

 

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

RASCALS AT SONY HALL — The Rascals long-awaited return to NYC proved to be a sensational evening of music. Their 16-song set, backed up by a terrific band -including bassist John Billings from Micky Dolenz’s band- was rocking from the start with their “Do You Feel It” and “”Beautiful Morning.” Felix Cavaliere’s vibrant vocals were just a joy. Face it, for people of a certain age, we grew up with this voice … just magical.

Micky Dolenz

Their cover of the Jackie Wilson-chestnut “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) High” set the SRO crowd afire.

Felix then brought his daughter Aria out for two selections. Clearly, she’s inherited by father’s dynamic vocal prowess. She was just terrific and a nice surprise.

Cavaliere then brought out guitarist Gene Cornish who was just wonderful. Gene has had some health issues, but his presence brought the show to a magnificent high-point.

Oddly, there was no mention of the rumored “My Hawaii” from Cavaliere with vocals from Dolly Parton. He mentioned it in a recent interview with Medium, but was mum about it on last Monday’s WOR-interview with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. I hear that the release has been held up several times. Sad … can’t wait to hear it.

The show ended with their signature classics “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “People Got To Be Free” and Good Lovin’.” The Rascals’ music is ingrained and it was a joy to hear it once again. Truth be told, it sounded better than ever!

Seated in a corner booth by the stage was none other than Bill Murray – a huge fan. Great night sensational set. Also, there were Rascals-PR man David Salidor; Dan Zelinski; Billy Amendola; Magda Katz from Times Square Chronicles; and Susan Nuzzi Russo. Thanks to SONY Hall’s Peter Abraham for his assistance.

David Sanborn

DAVID SANBORN — We don’t usually re-print tributes, but this, from David Sanborn’s wife Alice Soyer was so heartfelt.  Take a read:

Dave, my love, my warrior, my soulmate, my unique bird, my everything. I cannot believe what I’m writing right now but what I know is that you changed my life, because of you I know what true love is, I had and have it all. I have it all. Although I’m going to miss you every single minute of my life, I know that the pain you were enduring was not right, those pains are now released and you are completely free. You are and will be in every note, in every breath, in every sound that touches the soul, in every sun beam, in every cloud, in every beat of my heart. Dave you are an inspiration. Your courage to be yourself, to reveal this true voice screaming from inside, oh my love you are a true warrior, a pure artist, an extraordinary being.I will honor you every step on the way, I will represent you, us. I love you madly.

Dave forever

Don Grolnick

SHORT TAKES — First off, I left off one very important member when I referenced The Brecker Brothers last time: keyboardist-genius Don Grolnick: terrifically talented and much-missed …

George Harrison

One of the best parts of watching Let It Be(again!) was seeing John & Yoko dancing to George Harrison’s stunningly-beautiful “I Me Mine.” Awesome…  From Roger Friedman’s SHOWBIZ 411:Barbra Streisand just released a new a beautiful new single called “Love Will Survive,” for the closing credits of the upcoming series “The Tattooist of Auschwitz.” It’s maybe Streisand’s best new vocal in years thanks to producers Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey’s classics) and Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor classics). So now I’m told Streisand has booked the producing duo for her next album of duets. Barbra has a couple of these under her belt over her six decade career. But this one sounds like a powerhouse … Great interview with Micky Dolenz in advance of his Surf Ballroom show Friday in Clear Lake, Iowa: https://littlevillagemag.com/monkee-micky-dolenz-surf-ballroom/?fbclid=IwAR2jXAYYYCJ_19ovY4yT8DU8OfdaTU-GYdYhXahF-rvYj3yERRW_K5MmgrI

Francis Ford Coppola

With this year’s Cannes  Film Festival underway, the first big movie screened was Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and it generated some of the craziest reviews I’ve ever seen.

Mostly positive. Coppola’s a genius, so you know to expect the unexpected. I think my favorite was from the UK’s Daily Telegraph which gave the movie four stars, saying, “Coppola’s latest is like Succession crossed with Batman Forever and a lava lamp… Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this full-body sensory bath movie which follows a struggle for power among the elites of New Rome.” Me? I can’t wait to see it. The guy’s a bloody genius … 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long -co writer of Vanessa Williams’ current return to music “Legs (Keep Dancing)”- heads to NYC for the Tribeca Festival in 2 weeks … And Apple TV’s Sugar -with Colin Farrell- ended its run. The first few episodes were great; very LA Confidential, but then, it turned into a sci-fi adventure. Odd? You bet. The ending left room for a second season, but I highly doubt it. Farell was great, but the topsy-turvy plot twist was brutal.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — August Darnell; Coati Mundi; Jeff Vogel; Kent Kotal; Bruce Grakal; Ringo Starr; Danny Fried; China Club; Tony King; Peter Brown; Mark Bego; Kent & Laura Denmark Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Peter Lubin; Steve Plotnicki; Profile Records; Joe Cocker; Lush Ice; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; and BELLA!

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