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Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald, who today announced her pregnancy, will take temporary maternity leave from her starring role in Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, beginning on July 24. She will return to the Tony Award-nominated musical this winter.  During Ms. McDonald’s hiatus from the production, the role of ‘Lottie Gee’ will be played by Grammy Award-winner Rhiannon Giddens, fresh off of ecstatic rave reviews for her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn.  During this same time period, Savion Glover, Shuffle Along’s Tony Award-nominated choreographer, and widely considered to be the world’s greatest living tap dancer, will also step into the show, as envisioned by the Director and Book writer, George C. Wolfe.

In a statement, Ms. McDonald said, “Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy? Will and I are completely surprised—and elated—to be expecting a new addition to our family. I am so very grateful to everyone in New York and London for allowing me to rearrange my schedule to accommodate this little miracle. While I’m disappointed I have to postpone my West End debut in Lady Day, I’m glad I’ll be able to spend a little more time in Shuffle Along this summer and will look forward to setting up a 1920s-themed nursery in my dressing room when I return to the show.”

Audra and her husband, actor Will Swenson, married in 2012, and that while this is their first child together, she is mother to a daughter, and he is father to two sons, from their previous marriages.

Rhiannon Giddens was a 2000 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where she studied opera. The North Carolina native is a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning African American folk band, Carolina Chocolate Drops. In September 2013, she stopped the show and brought the audience to its feet at the Another Day, Another Time concert, produced by T Bone Burnett and Joel and Ethan Coen at Town Hall. In 2014, Giddens recorded alongside Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford, Taylor Goldsmith and Jim James forLost on the River: The New Basement Tapes, a compilation of previously unreleased songs written by Bob Dylan. In February 2015, she released her solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn on Nonesuch Records, including songs written by Patsy Cline, Odetta, Dolly Parton and Nina Simone, among others.  Reviewing the album, the UK’s Sunday Times wrote: “Every now and then, an artist comes along whose voice transforms almost any kind of song.  Rhiannon Giddens can sing blues and Gaelic jigs, Nashville ballads and vintage jazz, Appalachian laments and sassy R & B.  She is a performer who thinks long and hard about how to approach material, yet manages to tap into the emotional core of everything she touches.” Shuffle Along will mark Ms. Giddens’ Broadway debut.

Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, Shuffle Along is now nominated for 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. Presenting both the 1921 musical itself, and additionally details the events that catalyzed the songwriting team ofNoble Sissle and Eubie Blake, and librettists F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles to create this ground-breaking work. Shuffle Along has a new book by George C. Wolfe, is choreographed by Savion Glover, and is directed by Mr. Wolfe. Shuffle Along marks the first time that the writer/director and choreographer will have worked together since their 1996 hit Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk.  The production is playing at the Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street).

Shuffle Along stars six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, Tony Award-winners Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter, and Tony Award-nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry, featuring Brooks Ashmanskas, Adrienne Warren, Amber Iman, Phillip Attmore, Alexandria Bradley, Darlesia Cearcy, Darius de Haas, C.K. Edwards, Leo Ash Evens, Afra Hines, Curtis Holland, Jason Holley, Adrienne Howard, Lee Howard, Kendrick Jones, Lisa LaTouche, Alicia Lundgren, JC Montgomery, Erin N. Moore, Janelle Neal, Brittany Parks, Arbender Robinson, Karissa Royster, Britton Smith, Zurin Villanueva, Christian Dante White, Joseph Wiggan, Pamela Yasutake, and Richard Riaz Yoder.

This is one of the best shows on Broadway!

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

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.

For Tea Lovers with a Twist – 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.

For Wine Lovers Who Love Sophistication – Miraval

Miraval Rosé is a perfect summer day in a glass. With blend of fruits aromas and freshness, made on an exceptional terroirs in Provence.

Attractive bright and translucent colour,  its divine aromatic bouquet combines fresh fruit, freshly cut currants and roses, seasoned with a zest of lemon. A glass can be perfectly enjoyed with a luxurious meal with friends as the sun sets.

For the Traditional Lovers – Jefferson’s Bourbon

For Those Looking for Perfect Summer Refreshment –

Topo Chico Sabores is a collection of premium flavored sparkling waters with filtered sparkling water, crisp bubbles and blend of minerals added for taste, meant for everyday drinking. It’s the first-ever Topo Chico sparkling water available in a slim, aluminum can. Best served cold, Topo Chico Sabores can be enjoyed alone, on-the-go or over ice paired with your favorite meal or occasion.

Flavors are delicious and free of added sugar and artificial ingredients. They include Lime with Mint extract, Tangerine with Ginger Extract and Blueberry with Hibiscus Extract. Each is the refreshing and delightful sip you are looking for this season.

 

Cover art by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

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New York Women’s Foundation Celebrating Women Breakfast

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New York Women’s Foundation Celebrating Women Breakfast took place on May 8 to celebrate leading change-making organizations and individuals.

Held at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, honorees and The Foundation’s grantee partners who are advancing innovative and bold solutions to create an equitable and just future for women and families in the New York City metro area and beyond were recognized.

Cynthia Nixon

The day recognized Foundation CHANEL with the Vision Award for the organization’s courageous efforts in creating a world where women and girls are free to shape their own destiny. The following changemakers were awarded with Celebrating Women Awards: Andrea Arroyo, an award-winning visual artist, New York Liberty, an original WNBA team who embraces its role to elevate and embrace women while building community, Cynthia Nixon, Emmy and Tony award winning actress, activist, and theater director, Toshi Reagon, a singer songwriter who knows the power of song to unite and mobilize people for justice, and S. Mona Sinha, Global Executive Director of Equality Now.

Ana Oliveira

 

The awards were presented by Jacqueline Woodson, MacArthur Fellow and National Book Award-winner for her children’s and adult books, Ana Maria Archilla, immigrant rights, worker justice, LGBTQ rights, and women’s rights advocate, and Foundation Board Members Anne Delaney, Helene Banks, Lola C. West, and Karen Choi.

Notable attendees included Fogo Azul NYC, Andrea Arroyo, Cynthia Nixon, Toshi Reagon, S. Mona Sinha, Jacqueline Woodson, Ana Maria Archilla, Anne Delaney, Helene Banks, Lola C. West, Karen Choi, Ana L. Olivieri, and Jean Shafiroff.

Since 1987, The Foundation has invested $125 million in 500+ organizations, creating a vibrant community of grantees, philanthropists, advocates, innovators, and change-makers.

To learn more about The New York Women’s Foundation’s work to transform lives, families, and communities, please visit www.nywf.org

 

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The 78th Theatre World Awards Winner Are Announced

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The Theatre World Awards Board of Directors has announced the 2024 Honorees for the Theatre World Award for an Outstanding Debut Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway Production. Also announced, A.J. Shively will receive the 15th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater. As previously announced, Tony Award winner Len Cariou will receive the 11th Annual John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, and a 2024 TWA Special Award will be presented to Peter Filichia.

The historic *78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony, in keeping with the decade old tradition of being held the Monday before ‘TONY’ Sunday, will be held Monday evening, June 10, 2024 beginning at 8:08 p.m. on the set of the Broadway Revival of The Wiz at the Marquis Theatre (1535 Broadway).*

Hosted annually by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia, the 78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony will be produced by Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors /Dale Badway with Executive Producers Karen Johnston & Jeffrey Grove. Associate Producer James Sheridan, Production Assistant Christopher Calhoun and Michael Lavine as Musical Director.

2024 Theatre World Award Honorees
For Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance
during the 2023-2024 theatrical season

Ali Louis Bourzgui, The Who’s Tommy
Cole Escola, Oh, Mary!
Brody Grant, The Outsiders
Michael Imperioli, Enemy of the People
Phillip Johnson Richardson, The Wiz
Will Keen, Patriots
Nichelle Lewis, The Wiz
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane
Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen
Tom Pecinka, Stereophonic
Sarah Pidgeon, Stereophonic
Chris Stack, Stereophonic

15th Annual Dorothy Loudon Award
For Excellence in The Theater
A.J. Shively, Philadephia, Here I Come

11th Annual John Willis Award
For Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Len Cariou

2024 Special Award Honoree
Peter Filichia

First presented in 1945, the prestigious Theatre World Awards, founded by John Willis, the Editor-in-Chief of both Theatre World and its companion volume, Screen World, are the oldest awards given for Outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway Debut Performances. The Theatre World Awards are presented annually at the end of the theatre season to honor twelve significant, reviewable, debut performances in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. The ceremony is a private, invitation-only event followed by a party to celebrate the new honorees and welcome them to the Theatre World “family.”

In what has become a highly entertaining and often touching tradition, 12 previous winners serve as the presenters, and often relive moments from past ceremonies and share wonderful stories rarely heard at other theatrical awards. Many people feel that this is the most fun and enjoyable awards show of the Broadway season! The historic 78th Theatre World Awards Ceremony will celebrate past and present honorees showcasing the historic heritage of our organization.

Previous winners who have won the prestigious Theatre World Award at the beginning of their careers include Meryl Streep, Rosemary Harris, Marlon Brando, Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Anne Bancroft, James Earl Jones, Liza Minnelli, Alan Alda, Zoe Caldwell, Christopher Walken, Alec Baldwin, Bernadette Peters, Audra McDonald, Al Pacino, Grace Kelly, Hugh Jackman, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Cynthia Erivo, Danielle Brooks, Lupita Nyong’o, John Krasinski, and so many more.

The Theatre World Award honorees are chosen by the Theatre World Awards Committee which is comprised of Linda Armstrong (Amsterdam News), David Cote (The Observer), Joe Dziemianowicz (New York Theatre Guide), Peter Filichia (Broadway Radio), David Finkle (New York Stage Review), Elysa Gardner (The New York Sun), Harry Haun (Observer.com), Cary Wong(The Interested Bystander), and Frank Scheck (New York Stage Review/ The Hollywood Reporter).

The Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors is headed by Dale Badway (President) with Tom Lynch (Vice-President), Michael Kostel (Vice-President), Stephen Wilde (Secretary), The Honorable Ilene Zatkin-Butler (Treasurer), James Sheridan, and Karen Johnston.

The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater honors an Outstanding Performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production. Dorothy Loudon, who had the unique talent of being able to make audiences laugh and cry, made her Broadway debut in Nowhere to Go But Up for which she received a Theatre World Award for her performance. She received a Tony® Award for her incomparable performance as ‘Miss Hannigan’ in Annie and went on to triumphs originating roles in Noises Off, The West Side Waltz, and Michael Bennett’s Ballroom.

Previous recipients of the Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater include Julie Benko (2023), Michael Oberholtzer (2022), Audra McDonald (2021), Hampton Fluker (2019), Ben Edelman (2018), Katrina Lenk (2017), Nicholas Barasch (2016), Leanne Cope (2015), Celia Keenan-Bolger (2014), Jonny Orsini (2013), Susan Pourfar (2012), Seth Numrich (2011), Bobby Steggert (2010), and Susan Louise O’Connor (2009). Due to the pandemic, there was no honoree in 2020.

The Dorothy Loudon Award for Excellence in the Theater is chosen by the Trustees of The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, Lionel Larner, Executive Director, together with recommendations from the Theatre World Awards Committee.

The John Willis Award is given for lifetime achievement in the theatre to honor the man who created and maintained the Theatre World tradition for 66 years, encouraging new talent in an often-challenging business. The John Willis Award is presented annually by the Theatre World Awards, Inc. Board of Directors to an individual whose lifetime achievements and personal generosity to the Theatre Community merit special recognition and acknowledgement.

Previous recipients of the John Willis Award include Brian Stokes Mitchell (2023),Harvey Fierstein (2022), André de Shields and Patti LuPone (2021), Nathan Lane (2019), Victor Garber (2018), Glenn Close (2017), Bernadette Peters (2016), Chita Rivera (2015), Christopher Plummer (2014), and Alan Alda (2013). Due to the pandemic, there was no honoree in 2020.

In 2023, Special Award Honorees were bestowed for Outstanding Swing: Marilyn Caserta (Six) and Outstanding Contribution to The Theatre World: Dale Badway (Actor, Producer, and President of the Theatre World Awards Board of Directors).

The Theatre World Awards Board encourages theater lovers to “LIKE” the Theatre World Awardsfan page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheatreWorldAwards/and follow on Twitter at @TWAwards.

For additional information about the Theatre World Awards, visit www.theatreworldawards.org.

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Composer Randy Edelman Will Be Honored And Closes The Evening At The Metropolitan Club for Career Bridges

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On Tuesday May 7, 2024, The Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges, David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Bender will be celebrating their Twentieth Annual Concert and Dinner at the historic and illustrious Metropolitan Club located @ 1 East 60th Street, NYC. There will be a cocktail reception & silent auction beginning at 6:30 and the dinner and concert will begin at 7:30. Black tie is preferred, tickets are still available at careerbridges.org.

David Schuyler Bender and Barbara Meister Bender

The mission of Career Bridges is to help young opera singers launch their careers by awarding them grants in voice coaching, diction, language, repertory and stage presence. Many of the grant recipients will be performing at this year’s Gala hosted by renowned Metropolitan Opera Star Denyce Graves and Theodore S. Chaplin, former President of Rogers and Hammerstein Organization.

As one of the prestigious honorees, eminent Symphonist Randy Edelman will be granted “The Lifetime Achievement Award” for his endless contributions to the cultural mosaic of music in film, television, recording, and nearly every aspect of the music industry.

The music of composer Randy Edelman isn’t just a tune, but rather a touch, a supernatural force that makes galaxies collide and creates a million tiny universes. His music is an emotion unfurled and perfectly orchestrated, a melody that becomes a story making song and singer, a single force engulfed by the notes. The crowd caresses the echoes of his lyrics replaying past memories that awaken forgotten worlds. His music is stronger than time.

Others to be honored alongside the multi-award winning composer include: Jason Kwintner, Director of Special Events for the Metropolitan Club, Dr. Joan Taub Ades, who will receive the Humanitarian Award for her musical philanthropic work, and Tony Award winning producer Jane Bergère.

Special thanks to Lorraine Silvetz (Executive Director Of Global Stress Initiative), Yvette Wenger and Jane Thorngren.

The official website for tickets may be found at the Career Bridges Website here:
https://careerbridges.org

T2C will be interviewing Randy Edelman this Wednesday at The Hotel Edison.

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Art

Tony Bennett Auction Exhibition at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco

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Tony Bennett: A Life Well Lived,” exclusive exhibition opening at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California, celebrating the legendary life and career of the iconic pop jazz vocalist before its two-day auction event by Julien’s Auctions taking place April 18th and Friday, April 19th, 2024 at Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in Jazz at Lincoln Center. The free public exhibition opens April 8th and runs through April 10th (10am-6pm daily).The Fairmont San Francisco and Mr. Bennett have enjoyed a special relationship for decades. Mr. Bennett first performed his hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in the Venetian Room at the hotel in 1961. The Fairmont San Francisco has had the honor and pleasure of welcoming Mr. Bennett and his family to the hotel for decades. The hotel also touts a special Tony Bennett suite that pays homage to his career and features several pieces of his artwork.Highlights of the exhibition include artifacts pertaining to the American songbook master’s life and career with his special link to San Francisco such as a San Francisco cable car bell award presented to Bennett for his instrumental role in saving the city’s iconic cable car system in the 1980s; a San Francisco Giants jacket worn by Bennett as the Texas Rangers faced the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco, California, October 27, 2010 and his white personalized “Bennett” San Francisco Giants jersey; his original “Landscape San Francisco” watercolor painting; as well as record awards, a Grammy nomination plaque for his iconic hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and more.

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