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Dance In Times Square Today

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Ailey comes to Times Square for a series of free outdoor dance classes led by Ailey Extension instructors and NYC dance artists. Classes are open to people of all ages and all levels of dance experience!. These dance workshops are presented by Ailey Extension and one will happen today June 2 at 5pm, Broadway & 46th St. The class is Broadway Jazz with Judine Somerville to register click here.

On Wednesday, June 7 at 6pm, at Broadway & 46th St LiveDance /Time: Study III with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company co-presented with New York Live Arts

Culminating its 40th Anniversary celebration, the world renowned Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company makes its Times Square debut with /Time: Study III. This piéce d’occasion, featuring the outstanding performers of the company and guest musicians, marks the third annual New York Live Arts presentation in Times Square.

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

Broadway

Broadway’s “Illinoise” Dances and Sings, Igniting a Fire of Storytellers, Both Dynamic and Distant.

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I never know how to start things,” reads the graphic journal that is stuffed inside the program of Broadway’s last-minute entry into the Tony Awards race, Illinoise. This dance show musical is meticulously based on Sufjan Stevens’2005 indie folk concept album “Illinois,” an album I must admit I never heard of until it opened earlier this year at Park Avenue Armory. The show is overflowing with talent, much like the journal, which is a captivating written celebration of the thought process behind this 90-minute dance and sung piece. It draws out the whimsical and earnest qualities that resonate throughout the album and the production, and is a welcome reminder of what makes this show tick, when it ticks well.

Directed and choreographed by the ingenious Justin Peck (Spielberg’s “West Side Story“; Broadway’s Carousel) and with a book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview; Marys Seacole), Illinoise dives forward with clever light and energy. It is a celebration and a release of pent-up sorrowful energy. It delights in its own storytelling abstractionisms, brought forth gloriously on the vocal wings of three butterflies; Shara Nova, Tasha Viets-Vanlear, and Elijah Lyons, and delivered into our hearts by a crew of expert dancers; Ricky Ubeda, Ahmad Simmons, Christine Flores, Bryon Tittle, Kara Chan, Ben Cook, Gaby Diaz, Rachel Lockhart, Alejandro Vargas, Jeanette Delgado, Brandt Martinez, and Craig Salstein.

Ricky Ubeda (center) surrounded by company members Byron Tittle, Christine Flores, and Kara Chan of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Under a guiding billboard of epic informative dimensions, designed most beautifully by Adam Rigg (LCT/Broadway’s The Skin of Our Teeth), with dynamic lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker (New York City Ballet’s Dig the Say), and sound design by Garth MacAleavey (New York Philharmonic’s “Sound On: Leading Voices”), dancing fireflies gather around a lanterned fire pit to tell their stories, whether it’s about ghosts, UFO sightings, or zombies. We try to imagine what this is, these stars delivering signs emerging, quick and sharp, fast forwarding to the unveiling of their individual stories. “Are you writing from the heart?” they are asked, as we are guided through the entirety of Stevens’ album, with new arrangements by composer, pianist, and frequent Stevens collaborator Timo Andres (“The Blind Banister“).

The musical sounds range in style, dancing around the edges of folk, indie rock, and ambient electronic music, engagingly performed by an 11-member band, led by music director and supervisor Nathan Koci (Broadway’s Hadestown). It’s mysterious and captivating, tender and engaging, as the sound draws forth the exceptional dancers to explore the overwhelming condition of youth and “the sense of each other“. Finding emotional engagement within, on the road from childhood to adulthood, the dancers fly forward to the written word that hangs out center stage, and then leading us back to the tapping energy of Jacksonville, through the zombie nation, and the captivating unpacking tale of John Wayne Gracy Jr. “(or the damning cycle of exclusion borne of outcasts forced to sympathize with monsters).” The selections of journal entries are shared and engaged with, “in celebration of their memory and of our future.” And the allusions and feelings of shame and loss are not lost on me throughout.

Vocalists Shara Nova (at right) and Tasha Viets-VanLear of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

The piece defies categorization, especially in the framing of “a new Broadway musical,” which is what the piece is being billed as. The entire show is sung by those butterfly-winged performers, costumed by Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung (Broadway’s Dancin’). They feel forever disconnected from the movement, held up high like hummingbirds or fireflies looking for a place to land while watching those below engage in their storytelling with curiosity and admiration. They hover and sing most enchantingly, but the distance doesn’t bring forth a feeling of connection but rather emphasizes the opposite. Maybe I’ve been trained by the vast majority of musicals to find the song and the dance entwined within, but the separation of voice from the movement kept the piece removed from my soul, even when it occasionally connected to my heart. “It makes me want someone stronger to swoop in to save me from all of us.

It’s a dance show, packaged in the vein of Broadway’s Moving Out, delivered with gentle promise and determination. Peck’s choreography is as exciting as it is moving and captivating, sometimes spinning out the abstract, symbolic, gesture, while sometimes gripping itself to realism and straightforwardness. Combining almost all of the 22 tracks on “Illinois”, the narrative is delivered in a physical formulation, showcasing all the different ways we can tell our stories to others and the complicated ways we can make ourselves vulnerable in that “seductive fiction of the individual hero“. The central figure is Henry, delivered strongly by Ubeda (Broadway’s On the Town), who has gathered together this group of young people to allow them the space and permission to deliver their stories outward into the night air and to each other. The emotional release is evident, and as each story unfolds, we know a larger tale is on the brink of being unpacked, unwrapped, and discovered.

I know it will be easier for me, eventually, if I write it all down, but trying to put words to our whole…to put us to words, feels sort of impossible.” Those words aren’t exactly spoken out loud by Henry, but it is clearly present in his affect, as he begins to enter into the largest portion of the piece; his story, around his two deceased friends; Carl, portrayed tenderly by Ben Cook (Broadway’s Mean Girls), and Shelby, embodied by the wonderful Gaby Diaz (Off-Broadway’s Only Gold). And in their unveiling, we try to stay engaged. It is both easy, as it is well choreographed and emotionally delivered, yet also difficult as the structuring of the whole feels distant and detached.

I must admit that I’m not exactly the target audience, as I tend to veer away from dance and ballet shows and aim myself towards plays and musicals. That said, I’m always and totally astounded by the talent of bodies in motion, especially these dancers, and the intelligent way this particular show delivers on its desire to broadcast emotional and romantic ideals, matched most graphically to grief and sorrow. However, I have a harder time staying inside the piece, especially when there is a barrier between the voice and the body. All the dancers and singers are of the highest order, and even though I am sad that I missed Robbie Fairchild who danced the Henry role in the show’s previous run at the Park Avenue Armory, I was astounded by the effervescent energy and grace by each and every dancer of Illinoise, and the cathartic quality that floats out at the end of this show. If dance is your thing, I strongly suggest seeing this show. Even if dancing isn’t your vibe, it is still worth the introduction to the idea. “My heart keeps changing,” he writes. “I keep changing.” And isn’t that the point of theatre, to be forever curious and engage in something new to find change and enlightenment. Even if it isn’t your vibe, it will stay with you, opening yourself up to something truly unique and carefully constructed.

The company of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Broadway

The 2024 Chita Rivera Nominees Meet The Press

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On Monday the Chita Rivera Awards nominees met the press. You can see the nominees here.

In attendance were Justin Peck (Illinoise)

Lorin Latarro

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

Ricky Ubeda

Ricky Ubeda (Illinoise)

Camille A. Brown

Camille A. Brown (Hell’s Kitchen)

Jeff Kuperman and Rick Kuperman

Rick and Jeff Kuperman (The Outsiders)

Antoine Boissereau and Jesse Robb

Antoine Boissereau

Antoine Boissereau (Water for Elephants)

Ben Cook

Ben Cook (Illinoise)

Jesse Robb

Jesse Robb & Shana Carroll (Water for Elephants), Gaby Diaz (Illinoise)

Avery Wilson (The Wiz)

Ensemble Members from The Cast of Cabaret that includes- Chloe Nadon-Enriquez, Julian Ramos, Ayla Ciccone-Burton, Corinne Munsch, Gabi Campo and Loren Lester

Julia Cheng (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club)

Byron Tittle

Byron Tittle (Illinoise)

Tilly Evans-Krueger

Tilly Evan-Krueger (The Outsiders)

Chloe Davis

Chloe Davis (Hell’s Kitchen)

Rachel Lockhart

Rachel Lockhart (Illinoise)

Phillip Johnson Richardson (The Wiz), and many more.

Don Correia and Sandy Duncan

Joe Lanteri and Lisa Mordente

Sandy Duncan

Lisa Mordente

Michael Olaribigbe

From the ensemble Cast of The Heart of Rock and Roll that includes- Jennifer Noble, Mike Baerga, Michael Olarigibge, Olivia Cece, Taylor Marie Daniel and TyNia Rene Brandon

Ensemble Members from The Cast of The Outsiders that includes – Milena J. Comeau, Jordan Chin, SarahGrace Mariani, RJ Higton, Melody Rose, Barton Cowperthwaite, Tilly Evans-Krueger and Victor Carrillo Tracey

Sarah Parker, Chloe Davis, Camille A. Brown, Reid Clarke and Raechelle Manalo

Ensemble Members from The Cast of Illinoise that includes- Brandt Martinez, Craig Salstein, Gaby Diaz, Rachel Lockhart, Christine Flores, Ahmad Simmons, Ricky Ubeda, Alejandro Vargas , Jada German, Dario Natarelli, Ben Cook and Byron Tittle

Julian Ramos

Corinne Munsch

Loren Lester

Gabi Campo

Ayla Ciccone-Burton

David Peterson, Mary Recine and Steven Melendez

Joe Lanteri and Michael Demby Cain

Michael Demby Cain

Taylor Marie Daniel

Nicholas Jelmoni and Alexandra Gaelle Royer

Joe Lanteri

Sandy Ducan

Lee Roy Reams

 

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Broadway

2024 Chita Rivera Award Nominations Celebrating The Best in Dance and Choreography

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Nominations for the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards were revealed by Bebe Neuwirth, this afternoon April 29 at 1 p.m. on ABC News’ “GMA3: What You Need to Know.” Winners will be named at an awards ceremony on May 20 at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters

Bernadette Peters is the recipient of this year’s award for lifetime achievement.

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.

Nominators considered outstanding choreography, featured dancers, and ensemble in shows on Broadway and Off Broadway, as well as outstanding choreography in film, that opened in the 2023-2024 season. Nominations for the productions under consideration this season will be determined by the designated nominating committee. There are separate nominating committees for Broadway, Off Broadway and Film. There is also an awarding committee for Broadway, which determines the final nominations that are received from the Broadway nominations committee.

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.

Broadway

Outstanding Choreography In A Broadway Show

Camille A Brown, Hell’s Kitchen
Julia Cheng, Cabaret
Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders
Lorin Latarro, The Heart of Rock and Roll / The Who’s Tommy
Justin Peck, Illinoise
Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water For Elephants

Outstanding Dancer In A Broadway Show

Antoine Boissereau, Water For Elephants
Ben Cook, Illinoise
Chloe Davis, Hell’s Kitchen
Gaby Diaz, Illinoise
Tilly Evans-Kreuger, 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

Cabaret
Hell’s Kitchen
Illinoise
The Heart of Rock and Roll
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 / Casey Nicholaw
Wonka, Choreographer: Christopher Gattelli

Outstanding Direction Of A Dance Documentary

Daughters, Directors: Angela Patton / Natalie Rae
Eldorado: everything the Nazi’s Hate, Directors: Benjamin Cantu / Matt Lambert
Lift, Director: David Petersen
Studio One Forever, Director: Marc Saltarelli
Swan Song, Director: Chelsea McMullan

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

LET THE SWIFT-BACKLASH BEGIN — I think what Taylor Swift and her camp have accomplished has been nothing short of sensational. I’m not particularity a huge fan. Swapping music stories of behind-the-scenes escapades and ill-fated romances is not my idea of music. I mean, I can get personal, but I am very definitely not a Swift-ee.

With any success like this naturally comes the internet-trolls. And they can certainly be mean too. Witness these 2 posts:

** She doesn’t work WITH any producers. She sings. Her life has been a complete lie since the beginning. She has no idea what the truth is. I know the woman who wrote her first two albums and trust me. She has never written a single song or lyric herself. They can make her say anything they want and what they want her to say should be of concern or this

** I’ve been a fairly consistent fan in the past but this definitely felt like egg in the face. It was so lacking in creativity and just felt like someone read their high school poetry over mid melodies but expected me to think it was classy because of the marketing. I’m probably late to the party on folks who’ve already called her out for that but we all have our journey I guess 🤷‍♀️ 😂

Nothing succeeds like success. As I’ve said many, many times: Once you hit the top, there’s nowhere to go but down!

ROCK & ROLL HITS AGAIN — (from SHOWBIZ 411) Cher is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s been eligible since 1988. But last year she told an interviewer that she no longer cared –” You know what, I wouldn’t be in it now if they gave me a million dollars … I’m never going to change my mind. They can just go you-know-what themselves.” she said. Now. she’s in. That was the way to do it!

So are others who’ve waited too long: Dionne Warwick, the late Big Mama Thornton, the MC5, Temptations songwriter Norman Whitfield (also deceased), John Mayall, 90, the most influential blues musician, is in. So is the late Alexis Korner. Suzanne DePasse, the hardest working woman in the music biz, who has guided Motown for 50 years, will get the Ahmet Ertegun Award. Also, in: Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Frampton. Foreigner, and the late Jimmy Buffett. In R&B, Kool & the Gang, and Mary J. Blige are in. So is the cutting-edge group A Tribe Called Quest. The Rock Hall ceremony will take place in October, in Cleveland. It will be a long show, but well worth it. The Hall is righting wrongs incurred while Jann Wenner was in charge. It’s like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Congrats to John Sykes for getting this so right!

Lou Reed

Once again: an interesting list. But, honestly, how can The Guess Who still not be in? I watched Patti Smith’s induction speech for Lou Reed, back in 2015 and then watched Laurie Anderson’s acceptance speech, as Lou had already passed. Both inspirational and a must-see. Somehow, the R&R Hall events these days just don’t seem to have the muster of that moment.

SHORT TAKES — Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at the Patchogue Theater Friday night …

Ringo Starr has a new EP called Crooked Boy and the first single from “February Sky” is an amazingly entertaining track. Written by Linda Perry, it actually sounds like Ringo from his Beatle-days. There’s been a rumor for the past decade that Ringo’s voice has been auto-tuned; on this track his voice sounds more natural and it’s just sensational. More on this EP soon … Jeniffer Lopez has a new movie on Netflix shortly called Atlas with Sterling K. Brown. Take a look at the trailer:

(Via Ultimate Classic Rock) The simply titled Songwriter is a new collection of previously unreleased material from the late Johnny Cash, scheduled for a June 28 release via Mercury Nashville/UMe.  Announced on Tuesday, Songwriter brings together recordings that Cash completed in 1993, a collection of demos he put together while between record contracts. More on that specific era of the late legend’s career, per a news release: In early 1993, the legendary Johnny Cash found himself between contracts in his then nearly 40-year career and recorded an album’s worth of songwriting demos at LSI Studios in Nashville of songs he’d written over many years. LSI at the time was owned by his son-in-law Mike Daniels and daughter Rosey, and he wanted to help the family financially while also record some songs special to him. Not long after the fruitful session, Johnny met producer Rick Rubin, and the recordings were shelved as the two embarked on an important and prolific musical partnership that revitalized the Man in Black’s career that would last the rest of his life … Happy BDay Jill Christiansen and Chuck Darrow.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Mark Bego; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Brian Wilson; Jimmy Webb; Steve Plotnicki; Cory Robbins; Manny Bella; John Luongo; Mark Berry; George Michael; Terry Lippman; Michael Lippman; Don Wardell; Paul Cooper; Jim Kerr; Kent & Laura Denmark; Race Taylor; Robert Funaro; Steve Van Zandt; Richard Johnson; Michael Starr; Chris Gilman; Teddy Baxter; Simone Guess; Lush Ice; Tyrone Biljan; and CHIP

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Dance

Get Scottish and Join in The Celebrations With The Tartan Day Parade

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NY has been celebrating Scotlands heritage and culture with Tartan Week. This festival runs till the 7th with the Tartan Day Parade, which is held on Saturday, April 6 from 2-4pm on Sixth Avenue between 44th and 55th St.

Before the parade you can get Kilt Fittings with Geoffrey Tailor and 21st Century Kilts. Appointments required. Email howie@21stcenturykilts.com to schedule.

On April 6 @ 10:00 am11:00 am Kick-off Parade Day with the Kirkin o’ the Tartan service and pre-parade brunch. The service is a pan-denominational Christian blessing of the tartans of the clans, celebrating Scotland and Scots in America. A time-honored free event for the entire family. The Service will be followed by the pre-parade brunch. Afterwards, all are welcome to march. The Brick Presbyterian Church 1140 Park Avenue.

From 10:30 am12:45 pm Pipes and Drums on the Fountain Terrace at Bryant Park Fountain Terrace. Hear the sound of some of our leading Pipe Bands as they prepare for the 26th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade. This event is free for all to enjoy.

 NYC Tartan Day Parade, 6th Avenue 6th Avenue. The 26th annual NYC Tartan Day Parade on Saturday, April 6, 2024 – NYC’s biggest annual display of Scottish culture.For over 25 years, NYC Tartan Week has been celebrating Scottish-American heritage by providing meaningful connections through the celebration of Scottish heritage in NYC.
 NYC Tartan Week Sunday Brunch at The Tailor Public House 505 8th Avenue. Join the New York Caledonian Club on the final day of NYC Tartan Week 2024 for their annual Sunday Scottish fry!

This year’s parade will be led by Scottish actor of Mission: Impossible fame, Dougray Scott. The NYC Tartan Day Parade is the largest annual Scottish gathering in NYC. See 3,000 bagpipers, Highland dancers, clans, and Scottish dogs march up Sixth Avenue in this free celebration.

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