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Blair Brown, Jessie Mueller, Austin Pendleton and More to Star in Tracy Letts The Minutes on Broadway

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Tony & Pulitzer Prize winning playwright & actor Tracy Letts (August: Osage County, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Linda Vista) will return to Broadway with Steppenwolf’s production of his new play The Minutes, in which he will also star. Letts will reunite on Broadway with Tony Award-winning director Anna D. Shapiro (August: Osage CountyFish in the Dark, This Is Our Youth) following the play’s premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2017. Starring alongside Letts are Ian Barford (Linda VistaAugust: Osage County), Tony Award winner Blair Brown (The Parisian Woman, Copenhagen), Cliff Chamberlain (Superior Donuts, Homeland), Tony Award nominee K. Todd Freeman (Airline Highway, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Golden Globe nominee Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name, Straight White Men), Danny McCarthy (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Iceman Cometh), Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller(Waitress, Beautiful), Sally Murphy (Linda Vista, August: Osage County), Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton (Choir BoyThe Diary of Anne Frank), Jeff Still (To Kill a Mockingbird, Oslo). 

Performances begin Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at the Cort Theatre (138 W 48th St) on Broadway, and officially opens on Sunday, March 15, 2020. This is a 16-week limited engagement through Sunday, June 14, 2020.

With The Minutes, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts and Tony-winning director Anna D. Shapiro return to Broadway together for the first time since their Tony-winning sensation August: Osage County. The record-breaking hit production from Steppenwolf Theatre Company takes a look at the inner-workings of a city council meeting in the small town of Big Cherry—and the hypocrisy, greed, and ambition that follow. “Nothing in this explosive 90-minute play is as it seems…A real-life heart-in-the-mouth experience,” declares Chicago Tribune. This powerful, resonant, and funny portrayal of democracy in action proves that everything you know can change—it’s just a matter of minutes. After all, the smallest towns keep the biggest secrets.

The producing team includes Jeffrey Richards, Rebecca Gold, Carl Moellenberg, Spencer Ross, Steve Traxler and Jacob Soroken Porter. Mr. Richards is represented as lead producer on Broadway this season with Ms. Gold on The Great Society and The Sound Inside, and as a co-producer with Mr. Traxler on Beetlejuice.

Ian Barford, Cliff Chamberlain, K. Todd Freeman, Tracy Letts, Sally Murphy, Austin Pendleton and Anna D. Shapiro are members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble.

The creative team will be announced at a later date. 

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Dance

Chita Rivera Awards Part 1 In Pictures

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The wnners for the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards were announced yesterday evening. Presented at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park), the Chita Rivera Awards are produced by Joe Lanteri, Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation Inc., in conjunction with Patricia Watt.

Joe Lanteri

Michael-Demby Cain

Joe Lanteri and Michael-Demby Cain

The Rockettes

The mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence, preserve notable dance history, recognize past, present, and future talents, while promoting high standards in dance education and investing in the next generation.

Bernadette Peters

Bebe Neuwirth and Bernadette Peters

Bebe Neuwirth and Bernadette Peters with Joe Lantern

At this year’s Chita Rivera Awards, Bernadette Peters received the Lifetime Achievement Award

Mayte Natalio

and Mayte Natalio (Suffs) received the Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics’ Choice Award.

Phil LaDuca

Phil LaDuca was also awarded.

Presenters and performers at this year’s Awards included

Corbin Bleu, Debbie Allen

Bebe Neuwirth, Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon

Debbie Allen and Norm Nixon

Debbie Allen

Corbin Bleu and Sasha Clements

Corbin Bleu and Sasha Clements

Corbin Bleu (White Christmas)

Wayne Brady (The Wiz)

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Ali Louis Bourzgui (Tommy)

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked)

Anthony Crivello

Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman)

Lorin Latarro and Huey Lewis

Huey Lewis (The Heart of Rock and Roll)

Norm Lewis

Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera; Porgy and Bess)

Joe Morton

Joe Morton (Scandal, ART)

Bebe Neuwirth

Bebe Neuwirth (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Chicago)

Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente and Kenny Ortega

Kenny Ortega (High School Musical)

David Hyde Pierce (Here We Are, Spamalot)

Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga (Miss Saigon, Old Friends)

Chloe Davis and Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan; The Adams Family)

Ben Vereen (Pippin)

Lorna Luft, Riki Kane Larimer and Grant Plotkin

Lorna Luft, Riki Kane Larimer

Riki Kane Larimer producer and one of the major sponsors of The Chita Awards.

Jack Noseworthy and Sergio Trujillo

Stephanie Pope and Lloyd Culbreath

Marina Tamayo

Bruce Robert Harris

Lorna Luft

Avery Wilson and Phillip Johnson

Tommy Bracco

Tommy Bracco and Ross Lekites

Michael Garnier and Amy Hall Garnier

Leo Moctezuma

Lainie Sakakura and Isa Sanchez

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY IN A BROADWAY SHOW

Bebe Neuwirth, Camille A Brown

Bebe Neuwirth

***Camille A Brown, Hell’s Kitchen (tie)

Julia Cheng

Julia Cheng, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Rick and Jeff Kuperman

Rick and Jeff Kuperman and Tilly Evans-Krueger

Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders

Lorin Latarro

Lorin Latarro, The Heart of Rock and Roll / The Who’s Tommy (joint nomination)

Justin Peck

Justin Peck, Illinoise

Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll

***Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants (tie)

OUTSTANDING DANCER IN A BROADWAY SHOW

***Antoine Boissereau, Water for Elephants

Ben Cook, Illinoise

Chloe Davis

Chloe Davis, Hell’s Kitchen

Gaby Diaz, Illinoise

Tilly Evans-Krueger

***Tilly Evans-Krueger, The Outsiders

Rachel Lockhart, Illinoise

Phillip Johnson Richardson, The Wiz

Byron Tittle, Illinoise

Ricky Ubeda, Illinoise

Avery Wilson, The Wiz

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A BROADWAY SHOW

The Cast of Cabaret that includes- Kayla Jenerson, Corinne Munsch, MiMi Scardulla, Pedro Garzo, Julia Cheng, Rebecca Frecknall, Loren Lester, Hannah Florence, Colin Cunliffe, David Merino, Spencer James Weidie, Sun Kim, Deja McNair, Karl Skyler Urban

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

The Cast of Hells kitchen-
Nyseli Vega, Jackie Leon, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, Susan Oliveras, Michael Greif, Onyxx Noel, Niki Saludez, Timothy L. Edwards

Hell’s Kitchen

***Illinoise

The Heart of Rock and Roll

From The Cast of The Outsiders-Melody Rose, Sarah Grace Mariani, Tilly Evans-Krueger, Kristen Carcone, Henry Julian Gendron, Milena J. Comeau, Rick Kuperman, Barton Cowperthwaite, Victor Carrillo Tracey, Jordan Chin, RJ Higton, Sean Harrison Jones, Kevin Csolak, Jeff Kuperman

The Outsiders

Water for Elephants

FILM & DOCUMENTARY

 

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY IN A THEATRICAL RELEASE

***Barbie, Choreographer: Jennifer White

Carmen, Choreographer: Benjamin Millepied / Marina Tamayo

Color Purple, Choreographer: Fatima Robinson

Mean Girls, Choreographer: Kyle Hanagami

Wonka, Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A DANCE DOCUMENTARY

Daughters, Directors: Angela Patton / Natalie Rae

Eldorado: Everything the Nazis Hate, Directors: Benjamin Cantu / Matt Lambert

Diane Byer and David Petersen

***Lift, Director: David Petersen

Marc Saltarelli

Studio One Forever, Director: Marc Saltarelli

Swan Song, Director: Chelsea McMullan

2023-2024 CHITA RIVERA AWARD NOMINATING COMMITTEES

Awarding Committee

Chair: Sylviane Gold, Gary Chryst, Robert LaFosse, Wendy Perron, and Lee Roy Reams

Broadway Nominating Committee

Chair: Wendy Federman, Caitlin Carter, Gary Chryst, Don Correia

Jamie deRoy and Rachel Stange

Jamie deRoy, Sandy Duncan, Peter Filichia, Dr. Louis Galli, Sylviane Gold, Jonathan Herzog, Robert La Fosse, Joe Lanteri, Michael Milton, Mary Beth O’Connor, Wendy Perron, Lee Roy Reams, Andy Sandberg, and Randy Skinner

Film Nominating Committee

Chair: Jonathan C. Herzog, Steven Caras, Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Mary Beth O’Connor, and Andy Sandberg

All proceeds of the Chita Rivera Awards benefit the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation Scholarship Program. The NYCDA Foundation is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) committed to broadening performing arts awareness while advocating education and high standards of excellence in dance.

This year, all funding and proceeds will support the creation of a new Chita Rivera Training Scholarship.

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Events

Amas Musical Theatre’s 55th Annual Benefit Gala Concert And You Are There

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Amas Musical Theatre celebrated its 55th Anniversary at Baruch Performing Arts Center. This was their 55th annual Gala Benefit Concert.

The gala started with a champagne toast, then a a concert performance of “A Lotta Night Music,” directed by Jonathan Cerullo. A cast of Broadway luminaries performed songs from such shows as Grease, They’re Playing Our Song, and A Little Night Music, among others.

Ilene Kristen and Patricia Birch

Liz Callaway

Carole Demas

Carole Demas

Teens from The Rosetta LeNoire Musical Theatre Academy were a part of the evening.

Dee Hoty

Hugh Panaro

Robert Cuccioli and Joanna Carpenter

Robert Cuccioli

The evening culminated with the presentation of the 2024 “Rosie” Award to Honorees award-winning choreographer and director Patricia Birch (A Little Night Music, Parade)

Honorees Len Cariou and Patricia Birch

Tony Award-wining actor Len Cariou (Sweeney Todd, Applause)

Donna Trinkoff and Honoree Tim Butler of Butler and Tibbetts

Liz Callaway and Len Cariou

Adran Zmed, Sharleen Cooper Cohen and Ken Waissman

Lorna Luft, Adrian Zmed and Patricia Birch

Robert Kalfin and Len Cariou

Cast and Creative of tonights show

Robert Cuccioli and Len Cariou

and Butler Tibbets, a beloved corporate sponsor for Amas programs for many years.

Kylie Kuioka

Patricia Birch , Lorna Luft

Lorna Luft,Adrian Zmed

Joanna Carpenter

Geoffrey Owns

Adrian Zmed

Carole Demas and Lorna Luft

Hugh Panaro and Len Cariou

Jonathan Cerullo and Richie Ridge

Jonathan Cerullo and Robert Cuccioli

Donna Trinkoff and Ken Waissman

Barry Kleinbort

Christopher Scott and Donna Trinkoff

Barry Kleinbort and Honoree Len Cariou

Fred Redd

Maria Torres and John O’Conner

Patricia Birch

Sam Freed and Patricia Birch

Lynne Taylor Corbett and Sean Corbett

Sarah Beth Grossman, Sharleen Cooper Cohen and Celso Gonzalez

Jonathan Cerullo

Lou Liberatore and Christopher Scott

Jennifer Toldeo and Antonio Baldbinas

Riki Kane Larimer and James Morgan

Stephanie Rosenberg

DAN MANJOVI

Bill Russell

Mark William

Jim Kierstead

Alexandra Trinkoff, Daryl Ruben Hall, Donna Trinkoff, Sharleen Cooper Cohen, Jason Rose, Stephanie Rosenberg, Linda Chichester and Eric Krebs

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Broadway

“The Heart of Rock and Roll” Does Exactly What It Needs To Do Joyfully 80s Style on Broadway

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Hey, Bobby!” she calls to snap him out of his constant, adorable daydreaming. But it’s a different Bobby than the one who’s having a birthday over at Company, and it’s a whole different beast of a show, to be honest, as The Heart of Rock and Roll, the new jukebox musical comedy, inspired by the iconic songs of Huey Lewis and The News, drives forward with appealing delight. It’s a feast of fun and frivolity, setting itself up in 1987, as this Bobby, played charmingly by the wonderfully gifted Corey Cott (Broadway’s Bandstand), has his musical mind wandering all over the place about the future. He’s forever daydreaming of a way to climb that corporate ladder and make a name for himself after giving up his nighttime dreams of being a rock and roll star.

The man has traded in his family heirloom, an electric guitar, for a seat at the corporate table. But first, he has to navigate himself off of the conveyor belt line, working for a cardboard box company struggling to make ends meet. Bobby has some big ideas that he wants to deliver to his boss, the “Hip to Be Square” Stone, playing lovingly by John Dossett (Broadway’s War Paint), and his tense corporate daughter, Cassandra, who’s as tightly wound as one could be. Played adoringly by the wonderful and talented McKenzie Kurtz (Broadway’s Wicked; Frozen), Cassandra is one unique creation. She has given up her independent dreams of making it big on her own in the big city to return home after the death of her mother and help out her grieving father and the family business. And to no audience members’ surprise, these two opposites are as blindly attracted to each other as two souls can be, and they can’t seem to fight “The Power of Love.” And we know right from the get-go that we don’t want them to.

Corey Cott, McKenzie Kurtz, and the Company of Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The Heart of Rock and Roll is exactly what you would imagine a musical comedy inspired by the songs of Huey Lewis and The News would be. It’s not breaking any new ground here, nor is it reformating or reinventing jukebox musicals. Many have called it the ‘first AI-invented musical’ as it checks all the boxes, moving like a well-timed machine through the framework of a well-intentioned musical. And I get why they say that, but as tenderly directed by Gordon Greenberg (RTC’s Holiday Inn) and inventively choreographed by profoundly good Lorin Latarro (Broadway’s Tommy), the show is definitely a whole lot more fun and enjoyable than many others who have tried and failed in the same format. It has a tender heart and a great comic backbone that never disappoints. The songs are as engagingly head-bopping as you remember, and performed with enthusiasm and love by a cast of pros that never let the piece falter or stall. The story is a rom-com joyride, fulfilling all the requirements of a feel-good jukebox show, but dressed up in the 80s, with costumes designed perfectly by Jen Caprio (Broadway’s Spamalot), a solidly functional set by Derek McLane (Broadway’s Purlie Victorious), well-formated lighting by Japhy Weideman (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen), a solid sound design by John Shivers (Broadway’s Shucked), and layered with a few other popular themes around dreams, fulfillment, and family. That’s what gives it the Heart that they all keep singing about.

It’s a magnificent cardboard dance and ride on a well-tuned conveyor belt that soars into your heart and soul like your favorite soda pop, thanks to the music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Brian Usifer (Broadway’s Book of Mormon) led by musical director Will Van Dyke (Off-Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors). The book and story by Jonathan A. Abrams (“Juror No. 2“) with an assist from producer Tyler Mitchell (“Lucky Number Slevin“) is as charming as it is fun, filled with so many musical moments that make you sit up and take notice, especially when Bobby’s best gal pal, Roz, played to the heavens by the miraculous Tamika Lawrence (TNG’s Black No More), strides onto the stage. She’s one of the best things in this show filled with many best things.

Corey Cott, Raymond J. Lee, John Michael Lyles, and F. Michael Haynie in Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Heart of Rock and Roll isn’t reinventing any kinda wheel, but there is enough playful energy flying forward from the cast that even though we see the ending pretty early on, we also want to enjoy the ride like that roller coaster we keep going on over and over again. Cause it’s just a whole heap of fun. The side kicks; Bobby’s former band mates: F. Michael Haynie (Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Glenn, Raymond J. Lee (Public’s Soft Power) as JJ, John-Michael Lyles (Broadway’s A Strange Loop) as Eli; and Casandra’s old school friends: Zoe Jensen (Broadway’s Six) as Paige and Josh Breckenridge (Broadway’s Come From Away) as Wyatt, all perform fabulously playing their parts with a wink and smile as they systematically deliver all the goods required. Orville Mendoza (CSC’s Pacific Overtures) as businessman Fjord, is a riot and delivers the ridiculous with the biggest Swedish wink you could give, and Billy Harrington Tighe (Broadway’s Pippin) as Tucker does a fantastic job playing the old boyfriend from Cassandra’s past who represents everything we don’t want for her. As written, it’s the perfect balance of sleaze and charm that makes us understand why she would have dated him before when she was at school, but also makes us want her to forget all about him and focus her eyes on Cott’s Bobby, cause that the ending we truly want.

The Heart of Rock and Roll does not disappoint, not in the slightest. It’s warm-hearted, well-played, beautifully performed, fantastically charming, and full of fun, without ever trying to be of a higher frame than it needs to be. I’m not surprised it didn’t garner a ton of nominations this award season. It’s not that kind of show, but don’t be fooled by this. It’s pretty much one of the funniest fun musical rides on Broadway. It doesn’t pretend to be ‘high art’ but doesn’t really need to be for us to laugh and cheer for these two to finally give it all up for Love.

Corey Cott, McKenzie Kurtz, and the Company of Broadway’s The Heart of Rock and Roll. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com 

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Events

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Jana Robbins and Tim Tuttle

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Our guests this week are Tony and Olivier Award winning Broadway actor and producer Jana Robbins and book, music and lyric writer Tim Tuttle. Join us Wednesday May 8th at 5pm.

Jana Robbins is thrilled to be back on stage with A Final Toast.  As an actor she has appeared in leading roles on Broadway in Good News, I Love My Wife, Crimes of the Heart, Gypsy  – covering Tyne Daly as Mama Rose while playing the “bump it with a trumpet” stripper Mazzeppa – and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife – where she covered both Linda Lavin and Michele Lee and starred opposite Valerie Harper in the National Tour.  Jana has played leading roles across the country in National Tours, as well as many of our well know theaters and repertory companies, including Seattle Rep, The Alliance Theater, Cinncinati Playhouse in the Park, Papermill Playhouse and many more. On TV she has appeared in Cheers, Babylon 5, The Good Wife, Law And Order, SVU, Nurse Jackie and more.  Her favorite film credit was working with Annette Benning and Meg Ryan in The Women. Jana’s Broadway and West End producing credits include Little Women, Ragtime, Company on Broadway and in the West End, (Tony and Olivier Award) and most recently The Shark Is Broken. Off-Broadway, Ms. Robbins was also the lead producer of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish directed by Joel Grey (Drama Desk Award).  As Pinnacle Productions, with producer Haley Swindal, she recently produced Rose at The Ambassadors Theatre (West End), as well as Death Note – The Musical at London’s Palladium and The Lyric Theater.  Just last month, they produced Your Lie In April at The Royal Drury Lane in the West End which transfers to the Harold Pinter Theater in the West End in June. They  also have a Broadway musical revival coming up, to be announced soon.  Jana is a proud recipient of The Jewish National Fund’s “Tree of Life” Award.  www.janarobbinsproductions.com

Her performance is dedicated to the memory of her beloved mother Edythe Elaine Eisenberg May 16, 1922 – Oct. 24, 2022

Tim Tuttle wrote the book, music and lyrics for 44 Lights: The Musical opening Wednesday nightTuttle spent a decade working as a trader on Wall Street, he moved to the world of commodities at the World Trade Center in the mid 90’s. On September 11th, 2001, everything changed. He got away safely that morning from Ground Zero, but he was forever altered by what he witnessed. The evening of 9/11, he wrote his first song. A song that would attempt to express the pain and loss he was suffering in the aftermath of the most tragic day in modern American history. He sang it to his wife Barbie in the darkness of their apartment. He kept writing as the list of friends and neighbors he knew had not returned home. He turned to music to heal. On the first anniversary of September 11th, he perform a memorial concert called “Music from Ground Zero”. 44 LIGHTS is a chance for Tim to tell his story, to remember the many who didn’t come home, and find a way to keep their memories alive forever.

44 Lights: The Musical, will begin Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 7pm, for a limited engagement through Saturday, May 25, 2024 at AMT Theater (354 West 45th Street – between 8th & 9th Aves). Visit 44Lights.com for more information.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here and our thirteenth episode here.

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Cabaret

Klea Blackhurst Brings The Songbook Of Jerry Herman To Life

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Klea Blackhurst returned to Chelsea Table and Stage last Sunday with another installment of her monthly series “The Box Set”. Each month Klea reprises one of her acclaimed shows. Last  Sunday she performed  One of the Girls: “The Words and Music of Jerry Herman”. Klea sang Herman’s songs that were made famous by the women in his life.

The evening started with Klea descending down the long staircase of the club singing “Just Leave Everything to Me” from the film, “Hello Dolly!” and she was off running. She is  an actress, singer, comedian and Mermanologist. What is a Mermanologist you ask ? Someone who is an expert on Ethel Merman.

Klea relayed some wonderful stories about Jerry Herman. She  got to know the composer well.  You can feel her admiration for him not only as a composer, but as a human being.

Klea was backed up by superb musicians: Michael Rice – piano/arrangements, Aaon Russell on drums and Tom Hubbard on bass. In between Jerry Herman stories Klea sang some of Herman’s great songs: “Put on Your Sunday Clothes”, “It Only Takes a Moment” from Hello Dolly!, “Open A New Window” and “It’s Today from Mame,  “Time Heals Everything” from Mack &Mabel, “Just Go to The Movies” from A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine and “I Don’t want to Know” from Dear World. Klea knocked it out of the park with her rendition  of “I’m  What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles.

Very seldom do I leave a show and feel I that I need to spread the world about a great performer but for Ms. Blackhurst… I do.

Klea is truly one of the greats of this generation of entertainers.

We have to wait till September 15, 2024 for her next show “Dreaming of A Song” The Music of Hoagy Carmichael co-staring Billy Stritch.

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