“They’re just Nazis because they haven’t met Alex yet,” he muses, recalling a formulation that both registers as authentic and utterly naive. But that’s what makes Alex Edelman: Just For Us shine so bright. The balance is hilariously beautiful, treating the disturbing hierarchical world of whiteness, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy with sharply written and performed humor and clarity with little-to-no irony. You never do know what will happen when you put down that racist pastry and dig into the social commentary before us. “Who knows?” But what I do know is that this is a not-to-be-missed theatrical event, one that will remain happily and fascinatingly inside my head for a long time coming. So settle into a chair in that semicircle of hate, and settle in beside Alex Edelman and his one-man show Just For Us. You’ll have the best time having met him.
I had no idea what I was walking into. Much like Alex Edelman’s wild encounter with a roomful of racists that is at the center of this wonderfully funny and thoroughly engaging one-man narrative show, Just For Us, that is currently captivating its Broadway audience at the Hudson Theatre. He’s quite the captivating character, connecting with wide-open energetic ease as he wears his Jewishness with casual-connected pride. It’s not exactly the place you would imagine finding this young, sorta nerdy, sorta cute man playing wisely and hilariously to the crowd. But it works its magic almost instantly on us all. The show, and the comedian, are as smart as they are funny, and his rushing energy is as big as this Broadway stage with jokes that start off, knowingly, so dumb and small, you can’t help but fall for him as he warns us upfront of his love for “a silly joke” or two. Yet somehow, without us even really seeing the tactics ahead, he takes us slyly down a commentary road that is as brilliant and direct as it is wise, random, and expressively funny.
After Edelman saw a tweet about a gathering in Queens, one that probably any wise young Jewish man would have/should have stayed far away from, the comedian, post being daringly prompted by a British comedian to dig into what’s happening in the world today, wisely dons his most open-mannered approach and rush enters into the fray with as open a heart as he can find. It’s a straightforward circuitous route, this fantastically funny show, one that Alex Edelman; comedian, actor, and writer of his award-winning, first solo show, Millennial, takes us on without stopping for a moment to stand still or seemingly catch his breath.
His movement pattern is all over the place, making his Broadway debut in this award-winning solo show a mesmerizing treat. He swings and bobs around the core throughout the 75-minute running time with hilariously nervous energetic ease, forever pacing and circling around the stage like he does its subject matter. Dressed casually buttoned up to the throat, he gives into his curious nature as we give into his casually but sharply focused humor that never feels forced or inauthentic. And we are well gifted with cookies and milk for our attention.
Fueled by an energy to engage with a grin and a nervous brushing of his hands through his messy sweet natured hair, this 34-year-old comedian starts it all off by telling us about a different plan for the show. Still, one by one, with lots of sidestepping, he gets us in and by a puzzle-lady moment that expands on an idea that never stops giving and giving until the sharply defined end. It’s cleverly constructed, thanks to the sharp focused, loose-gripped elegance of director Adam Brace (Liz Kingsman’s One Woman Show)[who unfortunately passed away from a stroke this past April], with a helpful assist by creative consultant Alex Timbers (Broadway’s Moulin Rouge!). Edelman makes his way down the hall and into this living room in Queens where a group has gathered to engage in white supremacy chatter. It’s a hot and heated moment, but Edelman delivers it with a singular sense of charming humor that in one way humanizes even as he unpacks his underlying approach to engagement.
Head To The The Algonquin Hotel For Some Holiday Cheer
As we head into the holiday season, The Algonquin Hotel’s December event lineup is open to both hotel guests and New York City locals. The hotel will spread holiday cheer with a variety of festive performances, cocktails, and experiences including:
- Cocoa and Carols Happy Hour: Daily, 5-8PM, Every evening this December, all are invited to enjoy Specialty Cocoa while Christmas carols chime at the Blue Bar. Drinks will include Mexican Hot Chocolate spiked with mezcal
- KT Sullivan Cabaret: December 5th, 12th and 19th, Sullivan will perform her iconic Christmas Cabaret. As noted by The New York Times, Sullivan is a thrilling Off-Broadway performer with over eight published albums
- Rocco Dellaneve’s Rat Pack Christmas: December 7th, 14th and 21st, Rocco Dellaneve will perform iconic songs from the Rat Pack Christmas album with special inclusions of Santa with Sinatra, Rocco of the Snow, Rudolph and the Rat pack
- The Serafina’s and Broadway Vocalists: December 8th, 15th and 22nd, enjoy the high kicking – precision line dancing Christmas tradition around The Algonquin tree. The Serafina’s will be available for pictures and autographs from 6pm to 7pm, followed by special Broadway vocalists
A portion of proceeds from all events will be donated to Toys for Tots.
Beyond the December events, The Algonquin Hotel is located in a prime position nestled in the heart of Times Square and Fifth Avenue, making it the perfect launchpad for a New York City holiday experience. The hotel is a historical jewel that emphasizes the importance of making unique, storied experiences. Since its opening in 1902, The Algonquin Hotel is famous for its timeless style and desire to honor the literary and cultural elite. The distinguished Round Table Restaurant and Blue Bar offer tasteful dining inclusions and curated cocktails that are sure to excite everyone.
Photo credit: The Algonquin Hotel, Autograph Collection
Countdown to Christmas: For The Dancer and Theatre Lover Chita Rivera
2o days to go! Every year people panic to find the perfect gift. We at T2C have been collecting idea’s all year long to bring you the perfect gift guide at all price levels. When you’re at the end of your rope trying to find the perfect Christmas present this year, come to this guide for some great suggestions.
There are a lot of books out there this year but we highly recommend Chita: A Memoir , the critically-acclaimed book is written by the legendary Broadway icon Chita Rivera with arts journalist Patrick Pacheco. Chita takes fans behind-the-scenes of all her shows and cabaret acts, she shares candid stories of her many colleagues, friends, and lovers. She speaks with empathy and hindsight of her deep associations with complicated geniuses like Fosse and Robbins, as well as with the mega-talent Liza Minnelli, with whom she co-starred in The Rink. She openly discusses her affair with Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as her marriage to Tony Mordente and her subsequent off-the-radar relationships. Chita revisits the terrible car accident that threatened to end her career as a dancer forever. Center stage to Chita’s story are John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriters and dear friends indelibly tied to her career through some of her most enduring work: Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Visit.
Chita’s love of performing began as a child in Washington, D.C., when her mother enrolled her in a local ballet school to channel her boundless energy. Still a teenager, she moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet after an audition for George Balanchine himself and winning a scholarship. But Broadway beckoned, and by twenty she was appearing in the choruses of Golden Age shows like Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In the latter, she received special encouragement from its star Gwen Verdon, forging a personal and professional friendship that would help shape her career. The groundbreaking West Side Story brought her into the orbit of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, and Stephen Sondheim. After Bye Bye Birdie further burnished her rising star, she reunited with Verdon and her then-husband Bob Fosse to work on the film version of Sweet Charity and the celebrated original Broadway production of Chicago.
Chita: A Memoir was published in English and Spanish and the English audio version of the Memoir was recorded by Chita. A Spanish audio version is also available.
“Chita Rivera blazed a trail where none existed so the rest of us could see a path forward. She has been part of some of the greatest musicals in the history of the form, from Anita in the trailblazing West Side Story through Claire Zachanassian in the underrated masterpiece The Visit, over 60 years later. She is a Puerto Rican Broadway icon and the original ‘triple threat.’ We’re so lucky to be alive in the same timeline as Chita Rivera.” — Lin-Manuel Miranda.
“A frank and fascinating memoir from one of the truly great artists of the American Theater. Lots of stories … Lots of insight … and quite a few caustic statements from Chita’s alter ego, Dolores. An illuminating history and a guaranteed pleasure!” — John Kander
Broadway legend and national treasure Chita Rivera, multi-Tony Award winner, Kennedy Center honoree, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – has taken no prisoners on stage or screen for seven decades. From her trailblazing performance as the original Anita in West Side Story—for which she tapped her own Puerto Rican roots—to her haunting 2015 star turn in The Visit. Chita has proven to be much more than just a captivating dancer, singer, and actress beloved by audiences and casts alike. In her equally captivating and one-of-a-kind memoir, Written with Patrick Pacheco, the woman born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero shares an incomparable life, both on stage and behind the curtain.
By the way this Memoir has won a Gold Medal for “Best Autobiography – English” at the 2023 International Latino Book Awards. https://www.latinobookawards.org/
Click here to buy your copy.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Spamalot
Here is the amazing cast of Spamalot. Christopher Fitzgerald as Patsy, James Monroe Iglehart as King Arthur, Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer as The Lady of the Lake, Ethan Slater as The Historian/Prince Herbert, Jimmy Smagula as Sir Bedevere, Michael Urie as Sir Robin, Nik Walker as Sir Galahad and Taran Killam as Lancelot.
I was so inspired I drew the whole cast.
To read T2C’s review click here.
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.
Young Girl in Green painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1927). Oil on plywood.