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Encores Mack And Mabel Brings back Jerry Herman’s Fabulous Score

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Alexandra Socha, Doug Sills photo by Joan Marcus

I saw the original Mack & Mabel in 1974, when they had their pre-Broadway try-out in LA at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Though a pre teen, I fell in love with this score and show. It was dark and didn’t have that feel good happy ending, but it was emotionally riviting. The score played against that gritty book by Michael Stewart, that told a lot about the silent film era of Hollywood. Everything made sense, if you understood the scandals of the day and the fact that this was the depression and that movies were the only uplifting hope for a lot of Americans. Before I saw the show, I knew who Mack Sennett, Mabel Normand, the Keystone Kops, William Desmond Taylor and Fatty Arbuckle were. I knew their scandals and I knew their work.

Even though this Jerry Herman, Gower Champion show only ran for 66 performances on Broadway, it was nominated for several Tony awards.

Doug Sills, Ben Frankhauser photo by Joan Marcus

The revival at City Center sadly does not live up to what I first saw. There are many wonderful elements, such as the score superbly played by a 28-piece orchestra and directed by Rob Berman. Mack & Mabel has one of Jerry Herman’s best scores and any chance to hear it played and sung is a treat! The costumes by Amy Clark that are wonderfully created and make you want to go shopping in the costume department.

Alexandra Socha stars as Mabel in Mack & Mabel.
Alexandra Socha photo by Joan Marcus

Douglas Sills, as Mack Sennett is an obvious choice, but he sometimes misses the charm that Robert Preston had. Though Mack was gruff, we got the fact that he was a man trapped by his inability to express his feelings. Sills does put over a winning “I Won’t Send Roses”. What Sills also does right is the chemistry with Alexandra Socha. We believe this romance. Socha’s Mabel, is delightful and real. She also knows how to take “Look What Happened to Mabel”, “Whenever He Ain’t” and “Time Heals Everything” and make them her own. She has a vulnerability, but also a toughness. We see her descent into pills, which we really didn’t see in the original.

Alexandra Socha, Lillie Cooper and cast of Mack and Mabel photo by Joan Marcus

Stewart’s book has been revised by his sister Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High) and she has literally taken out what made this show work for me. Originally Mack (Sills) Sennett returns to his old film studio in Brooklyn, as actors are shooting a scene for a talkie. As he does we see his Bathing Beauties, Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops come to life as he sings “Movies Were Movies”. It was all about the progression into talkies and the scadals that brought the stars down. In this version it is all about Mabel.

Alexandra Socha and the cast of Mack and Mabel photo by Joan Marcus

The next scene originally had Mabel, a delicatessen worker, delivering a sandwich to Lottie (Lillie Cooper), the actress that Mack is filming, Lottie is unable to pay, and Mabel reacts violently and is caught on celluloid. Now it is Mack who won’t pay as he sees potential in the girl as she reacts to him.

Major Attaway photo by Joan Marcus

In the original Mack after sleeping with Mabel, wakes up horrified and leaves in a hurry, Mabel wanting to move on from comedy turns to William Desmond Taylor ( Michael Berresse) whose influence gets Mabel to take heroin, Mabel returning to Mack of her own accord and the song “Tap Your Troubles Away” about Mabel’s drug addict has been glossed over. Even the song “I Promise You A Happy Ending”, has been made to be happier.

Michael Berresse who is the perfect song and dance man, is good in how director/ choreographer Josh Rhodes has staged this show, but in the original he was charismatic, slimy, with an undertow of evil. He was played by James Mitchell (Palmer Cortlandt in “All My Children”). Again a little sweeter and it just doesn’t ring true.

Lilli Cooper, Major Attaway, Evan Kasprak and Ben Frankhauser all have moments to shine.

Josh Rhodes excels in the big tap numbers such as “Big Time” and “Tap Your Troubles Away”.

“When Mabel Comes in the Room” reminds us of Herman’s amazing work in Hello Dolly! , as well as Mame, a time when hummable melodies that stayed in your head were in abundance.

Thank-you Encores for bring back Mack and Mabel, I just wished the book had not been tinkered with.

Mack and Mabel: Encores at City Center, until Feb. 23rd.

Next up Love Life Mar 18th – 22nd. Love Life, the only collaboration between Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner, is a journey through American history with a family that never grows any older. Directed by Victoria Clark and starring Kate Baldwin (Hello, Dolly!) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Shuffle Along, 2016) as the parents of this enduring, ageless household, the story is accentuated with vaudevillian acts and features some of Weill’s most beautiful and accessible songs, including “Mr. Right,” and “Here I’ll Stay.” Little-seen but much-discussed, Love Life has had a large and direct impact on Broadway shows such as Chicago; Cabaret; Follies; and Hallelujah, Baby!

and then Thoroughly Modern Millie May 6th – 10th. Dick Scanlan and Jeanine Tesori’s Thoroughly Modern Millie is a raise-the-roof tribute to the indomitable spirit of New York and the diverse people who call it home. Determined to make it in the Big Apple, Millie is kept on her tap-dancing toes in this Jazz Age inspired romp featuring showstopping numbers like “Forget About the Boy” and “Gimme Gimme.” Starring Ashley Park (Mean Girls, The King and I) with direction by Encores! Resident Director Lear deBessonet and playwright Lauren Yee working with the show’s original authors as creative consultant, the team will explore the work with a fresh perspective to deliver a thoroughly modern Thoroughly Modern Millie

I am so looking forward to seeing what Encores does with these two gems.

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

Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Douglas J Cohen, Stephen Cole ,Alison Louise Hubbard and David Spencer, musical theatre writers, who all have books out.

We are so proud because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

I am so grateful to my guests Douglas J Cohen How To Survive A Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway, Stephen Cole Mary & Ethel… and Mikey Who?, Alison Louise Hubbard The Kelsey Outrage, The Crime of the Century A historical true crime novel and David Spencer The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 24th. We will be announcing our guests tomorrow.

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Events

Jackie Siegel’s New Premium Brand, Queen Of Versailles Coffee Is A Luxurious Coffee Delight

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Jackie Siegel, American heiress and businesswoman AJ Catsimatidis, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe and brand partner Michael Glovaski

I was invited to an intimate tasting of a fabulous new premium brand coffee co-hosted alongside Queen of Versailles Coffee’s Brand Partner, Michael Glovaski. I headed to 8 East 48th Street to Benny John’s where socialite, actress, model and philanthropist turned entrepreneur, Jackie Siegel — AKA, ‘The Real Queen of Versailles’ brought her new venture Queen of Versailles Coffee to New York’s influencers.

Jackie Siegel

The ground coffee and espresso beans are picked, sorted, and specially blended on-site in the volcanic mountaintops in Acatenango, Guatemala. The flavor has a rich taste of sweet honey, warm vanilla, and smooth bourbon notes. It was truly the best coffee I have ever tasted.

American heiress and businesswoman AJ Catsimatidis, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe, and Suzanna Bowling

Adam Weiss and Angela Gorman

On site was also American heiress and businesswoman AJ Catsimatidis, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe, the writer of the new musical Queen of Versailles Lindsey Ferrentino, Gordon Winston, Italian restaurateur and master coffee blender Matteo and Pilar.

Jackie Siegel and Gordon Winston

Jackie Siegel, American heiress and businesswoman AJ Catsimatidis, Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe

Siegel, alongside Miami-based Glovaski and the Italian-Guatemalan Droccos, are introducing an unmatched level of luxury to the coffee industry. Catering to the modern connoisseur, the brand provides not just a superior coffee experience, but an escape into the world of supreme elegance with every canister.

The event was well done, serving treats but most of all, a taste of this exquisite coffee, that you will be addicted to once you taste it.

Available at https://qvcoffee.com/

#jackiesiegel/ #qvcoffee/ # queenofVersaillescoffee

 

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Art

Bonnie Comley, ART TO WARE and ChaShaMa Present Nothing to Wear

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Until April 30th Bonnie Comley, ART TO WARE and ChaShaMa Present Nothing to Wear in Port Authority’s 41st Street building.

Bonnie Comley and Anita Durst

Bonnie is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer. She has, also, won an Olivier Award and two Drama Desk Awards for her stage productions. She is on the Board President of The Drama League as well as a full member of The Broadway League and the Audience Engagement and Education Committee.

Nothing to Wear

Comley has produced over 40 films, winning five Telly Awards and one W3 Award. She is the founder and CEO of BroadwayHD, the world’s premier online streaming platform delivering over 300 premium live productions to theatre fans globally. Now she is an artist presenting her work at ART TO WARE (A2W) a wearable Art Gallery that curates up-cycled, hand-made, one-of-a-kind statement pieces to be seen, loved and taken home!

Bonnie Comley and Lelie Ware

Founded in 2021 by Lesley Ware, this Black-owned and women-run small business carries small-batch, socially conscious, up-cycled, and locally-made wearables and gifts. A2W curates an environment of creativity, acceptance, and collaboration within a dynamic retail setting that showcases the work of artists, designers, and creative visionaries.

Making this all happen is ChaShaMa and Anita Durst who helps create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world by partnering with property owners to transform unused real estate. Currently, they present 150 events a year, have workspace for 120 artists, and have developed 80 workshops in under served communities. They award 11 million worth of real estate to artists, subsidizes 300 artist work spaces, provide over 215 free art classes, gives 200 artists free space to present and upport over 75 businesses with free space.

Nothing to Wear is a provocative look at our relationship with our clothing choices as it pertains to our self image, fast fashion and textile waste. It challenges the fashion industry to create an alternative to current business models and the global appetite for consumption and asks viewers to question dress codes like the current policing of women in political office.

Jose Febrillet from Port Authority

 

 

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Entertainment

Tribeca Festival Announces Thrilling Feature Film Lineup for 2024

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The 2024 Tribeca Festival, presented by OKX, today unveiled its features lineup, offering a diverse array of narrative, documentary, and animated films. Scheduled to run from June 5-16 in New York City, this year’s Festival promises a thoughtfully curated program and includes everything from timely documentaries addressing political and social concerns to independent narratives showcasing award-winning actors. Additionally, the opening night event, presented in partnership with OKX and City National Bank, was announced.

Tribeca kicks off on Wednesday, June 5 with the world premiere of Diane von Furstenberg: Woman in Charge, an intimate look at the life of the fashion designer and cultural luminary. The film captures Diane von Furstenberg’s impact as a creative icon, who challenged the status quo with the bold inquiry, “Why shouldn’t a woman do what a man can do?” Directed by Tribeca alumni Trish Dalton and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Woman in Charge opens the lineup of features.

The 2024 selection of feature films includes Jazzy with Lily Gladstone; Daddio starring Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn; Firebrand starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law; BRATS, directed by Andrew McCarthy, with Demi Moore, Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe, Molly Ringwald, and Lea Thompson; Sacramento, directed by Michael Angarano, starring Michael Cera, Kristen Stewart, and Maya Erskine; Winter Spring Summer or Fall starring Jenna Ortega and Percy Hynes White; and Liza: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story with Liza Minnelli. Comedic stars are in Group Therapy, including Neil Patrick Harris, Mike Birbiglia, and Tig Notaro; All That We Love stars Margaret Cho and Jesse Tyler Ferguson; and Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution features Lily Tomlin, Wanda Sykes, Rosie O’Donnell, Hannah Gadsby, and Joel Kim Booster.

Music documentaries highlight the boldest voices of each generation with They All Came Out To Montreux with Prince, Sting, Carlos Santana, Aretha Franklin, and Keith Richards; Satisfied about Renée Elise Goldsberry; Linda Perry: Let It Die Here with Linda Perry, Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, and Christina Aguilera; and Avicii – I’m Tim with Tim “Avicii” Bergling, Chris Martin and David Guetta. Renée Elise Goldsberry and Linda Perry will be performing following the world premiere of their respective films.

“Each year, the Tribeca Festival reflects our culture, capturing the essence of the present moment. We’re thrilled to showcase our 23rd edition, delving into captivating explorations of artificial intelligence with Demis Hassabis, thought-provoking discussions on the future of democracy, and so much more,” Tribeca Co-Founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal. “Storytelling possesses a remarkable ability to bring us together, offering hope in these challenging times. We eagerly anticipate engaging with audiences on difficult yet timely subjects.”

The 23rd edition of Tribeca reflects our activist roots, to showcase a slate of films that speak to today’s political moment and inform voters ahead of the upcoming election. Hacking Hate, directed by Simon Klose, questions the role of social media in amplifying hate speech and extremism. McVeigh, directed by Mike Ott, portrays right-wing extremism with chilling modern implications. America’s Burning, directed by David Smick and narrated by Michael Douglas, dives into the economic root of hate and division.

At the core of our mission is the belief that art can spark change, particularly in the aftermath of global conflicts. The Cranes Call, directed by Laura Warner, spotlights war crimes investigators for the Clooney Foundation for Justice, led by Amal and George Clooney, as they risk their lives traveling across Ukraine to build cases against Russian soldiers and commanders. Antidote, directed by James Jones, digs into the truth about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly regime. Checkpoint Zoo, directed by Joshua Zeman, documents the daring rescue of thousands of animals trapped behind enemy lines in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As War continues to affect regions like the Middle East and Ukraine, art serves as a powerful reminder of our shared humanity.

“In a year of record high submissions, despite industry-wide challenges, and global tumult, our incredible filmmaking community delivered again with some of the most surprising, inspiring, hilarious, galvanizing, boundary-breaking, and downright entertaining work we’ve had the privilege to feature at the festival,” said Tribeca Festival Director and SVP of Programming Cara Cusumano. “Whether grappling with everything from the crisis of global democracy to the most intimate of human dramas, it was heartening to be reminded of the undeniable power of a great film to illuminate our world.”

For the first time, Tribeca’s signature Viewpoints section of bold original visions and innovative perspectives will be in competition. The interdisciplinary program encompasses U.S. and international films across narrative, documentary, and animation, including the animated feature Boys Go to Jupiter starring Elsie Fisher, Tavi Gevinson, Julio Torres, and Sarah Sherman, and the narrative thriller Darkest Miriam with Britt Lower. Documentaries include Champions of the Golden Valley, directed by Ben Sturgulewski, an inspiring sports fable and portrait of people in profound political and social transition, and Searching for Amani, directed by Debra Aroko, a 13-year-old’s dramatic quest to investigate his father’s mysterious murder in one of Kenya’s largest wildlife conservancies.

The final selections were chosen from a record-breaking number of submissions (13,016). This year’s program includes 103 feature films from 114 filmmakers across 48 countries. The lineup comprises 86 world premieres, two international premieres, six North American premieres, and eight New York premieres. Half of the films in competition are directed by women. Additionally, 35% (36) of feature films are directed by BIPOC filmmakers. There are 30 films directed by first-time filmmakers and 25 directors returning to Tribeca with their latest projects.

The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and SVP of Programming Cara Cusumano, Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Shorts Programming Ben Thompson; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz, Faridah Gbadamosi, Jarod Neece, José F. Rodriguez; Programmers Casey Baron, Jason Gutierrez, Jonathan Penner, and Madison Egan; VP of Games and Immersive Casey Baltes and Immersive Curator Ana Brzezińska; EVP of Artist Relations Nancy Lefkowitz and VP of Artist Relations Meredith Mohr; Curator of Audio Storytelling Davy Gardner; Music Programmer Vincent Cassous; along with a team of associate programmers; supported and inspired by the legendary Paula Weinstein.

The full feature film lineup is detailed below. For more updates on programming follow @Tribeca and #Tribeca2024 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A Tribeca Membership or 2024 Tribeca Festival passes and ticket packages can be purchased at tribecafilm.com.

 

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Team USA Olympic & Paralympic Athletes Light Up the Empire State Building for 100-Day Countdown

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Red, white and blue came together in the most thrilling way on April 17 when the Empire State Building hosted a lighting ceremony with Team USA Olympians and Paralympians including Evita Griskenas, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, Jessica Long, Nick Mayhugh, Blake Haxton, Daniela Moroz, Hans Henken, Cheryl Reeve, and Matthew Stutzman.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: Evita Griskenas attends as U.S.A. Olympians and Paralympians Light the Empire State Building to Mark 100 Days Out from the Olympics at The Empire State Building on April 17, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

The Empire State Building hosted a lighting ceremony with Team USA Olympians and Paralympians including Evita Griskenas, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, Jessica Long, Nick Mayhugh, Blake Haxton, Daniela Moroz, Hans Henken, Cheryl Reeve, and Matthew Stutzman who flipped the famous light switch.

Tonight the grand landmark will shine in America’s colors and will sparkle to celebrate the 100-Day countdown to the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place in Paris.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: Matthew Stutzman attends as U.S.A. Olympians and Paralympians Light the Empire State Building to Mark 100 Days Out from the Olympics at The Empire State Building on April 17, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

After the ceremony, the athletes toured the Observatory Experience – which was recently named the #1 attraction in the U.S. in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” for the second consecutive year – and posed for photos on the building’s 86th floor and 102nd floor Observatories.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: (L-R) Hans Henken, Matthew Stutzman, Daniela Moroz, Evita Griskenas, Jessica Long, Kaleo Kanahele Maclay, Gene Sykes, Blake Haxton, Nick Mayhugh, and Cheryl Reeve attend as U.S.A. Olympians and Paralympians Light the Empire State Building to Mark 100 Days Out from the Olympics at The Empire State Building on April 17, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust)

Founded in 1894, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. The USOPC is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, and serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S. For more information, visit TeamUSA.com.

 

 

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