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Picture by Jairo Goldflus, Época Magazine

Picture by Jairo Goldflus, Época Magazine

Fabio Porchat, actor, comedian, writer, producer, TV host, celebrates his career’s 10th anniversary this year. The numbers are impressive and truly overwhelming. He commands all his successful projects, with a drive and energy that very few people have. He reminds me of an interview I once saw with Will Smith, in which Will said, in a summarized version, that when people are traveling, he’s working, that when people are partying, he’s working, that when people are sleeping, he’s working. Point blank, he’s working all the time, and that is precisely the same drive and energy that Fabio has. Not only is he working all the time as well, but in different kinds of media ( TV, Cinema, the internet, the printed press). A Brazilian magazine described him as Brazil’s current Leading Entrepreneur of Laughter.

Entre Abelhas

Entre Abelhas

Born on July 1st, 1983, in Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Porchat came to live in Sao Paulo a baby. He stayed in the city until 19. From a very early age he put on small plays with his cousins, using puppets and they would entertain the whole family. When it came to choosing a major in College, it was Business Administration he applied for. Sometimes, and this is fortunate, certain events can change the course of one’s life and throw them in the right direction. For Fabio, that event was the day he went with his college buddies to watch the taping of the most famous TV Talk Show in Brazil, called Programa do Jo, starring the acclaimed and renowned Comedian Jose Eugenio Soares, or as everyone calls him, Jo.

 Fabio Porchat, Mia Mello

Fabio Porchat and Mia Mello

That day he had the nerve to ask, (encouraged by his friends), through a note he had written right there and then, for a chance to show one of his sketches, that had been based on a famous TV Show at the time, called Os Normais (The Normal Couple). Jo, gave him that chance, and boy, did he take it. Fabio made the audience, the musicians and most importantly, Jo, laugh hard. From that day on, he never looked back. He dropped out of college, moved to Rio, and started studying acting in one of the best acting schools in the country, Cal, Casa de Arte das Laranjeiras. He had made his decision, he was going to be an actor.

Fabio

Fabio Stand Up Show

His numbers prove he knew what he was doing, in these ten years he has starred in 4 very successful movies, 3 were among the 10 biggest box-offices of the year of 2013. It is relevant to say he has also written some of these movies as well. The newest one is being released now, on April 30th.  In Entre Abelhas (Among Bees) was written by Mr. Porchat and director Ian SBF, his long time friend and business partner. This movie promises to be a turning point in Porchat’s career as it a drama, despite maintaining the sense of humor and generating laughter. It is the kind of movie that really makes the audience wonder what they have been doing with their lives, their relationships and their dreams. It was certainly a leap of faith that Fabio took when he decided to do this film. It was well worth the effort and movie goers can look forward to a very intriguing and fascinating so called tragic-comedy. It has received excellent reviews and opens a whole new range of possibilities for him as an artist.

He is well known for his stand-up show, called Fora do Normal (something like, Outside Normality),which marks it’s 6th year on the road. Mr. Porchat has travelled all over Brazil, and abroad to Portugal, England and Japan. He also performed in a play called, Meu Passado me Condena, or, (something like: My Past Speaks Against Me) by Tati Bernardi, with actress Mia Mello. Ms Mello is also very funny and has worked with Mr. Porchat in the movie that was develop on the same topic of the play. The premise is a recently married couple. Mr. Porchat is versatile. He is also dubbed the character of Olaf from the movie Frozen in Portuguese. I could go on and on about his projects, but it is just too much to keep track of.

What really made him see his career change and grow astronomically is on YouTube, called Porta dos Fundos, ( or Exit or Back Door) which he co-founded with Antonio Tabet, Gregorio Duvivier, Ian BSF and Joao Vicente de Castro. It has 10.8 million subscribers and 1,5 billion views accounted for. This makes it the number one YouTube video in the world, in terms of number of views.

This has led to a TV show on Fox. He is now being paid around two hundred thousand dollars for events and other similar types of jobs such as TV commercials, which are a total of 17 since 2011.

Despite all this success, he is very down to earth and believes that this is his moment and that his career is a roller coaster. He wants to guarantee that he will continue working doing what he loves, for the rest of his life. That is precisely why he works so hard and so much, the fact that now he is taking this risk and releasing a film in which he plays a serious even depressed character, shows that he wants to be considered a complete actor, an actor that could play any kind of role. In Entre Abelhas(Among Bees), he is Bruno, a man in his early thirties who after getting separated, stops seeing people, he can’t see them anymore, even though they are there.

It would have been easier to have continued in his comfort zone, where he has millions of fans, but he is going for the difficult path, and that is certainly something to look up to. It just makes you stop and wonder, what mountain top will he climb, where will he get to. Is it Hollywood? He has said he wants to write a TV show in the US. After meeting with him and learning about all that he has achieved and made happen, one would have to say that the sky is not limit, it is only the first stop.

Valeria Gomes was born in New York but was raised and lives in Brazil. She is an actress, director, as well as a drama and English teacher. She is a certified public translator with dual citizenship.

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sweeney Todd’s New Cast

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Aaron Tveit and Sutton Foster joined the Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd February 9th, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. They replaced Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford, who both earned 2023 Tony nominations for their leading performances in the production.

The Tony Award winning Tveit stepped into the role of Sweeney Todd, which is his first Broadway role since he originated the lead, Christian, in Moulin Rouge! The Musical. He is also known for his performances in Wicked, Catch Me If You Can, Hairspray, and Rent. Tveit has also portrayed several musical theatre roles on screen, such as Enjolras in the film adaptation of Les Misérables (2012), as well as Danny Zuko in Fox’s Grease: Live (2016). In television, he was Gareth Ritter on BrainDead, Tripp van der Bilt on Gossip Girl, Mike Warren on Graceland, and Danny Bailey/Topher in Schmigadoon!.

Foster’s last Broadway role was Marian Paroo in the 2021 revival of The Music Man, which earned her a Tony nomination the following year. She has earned six additional nominations and she is a two-time Tony winner for Thoroughly Modern Millie and Anything Goes. Her other credits include Violet and Little Women. In 2016, she starred opposite Aaron Tveit and Betty Buckley in the Stephen Schwartz revue Defying Gravity in Australia. She appeared in the Off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity and was in the miniseries Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life opposite her ex-husband, Christian Borle. She made guest appearances on The Good Wife and Mad Dogs, she is known for her role as Liza Miller in Younger. A month earlier she wow’d audiences as Winfred in the Encore production of Once Upon A Mattress.

Now the two are winning raves in this macabre masterpiece of musical theatre,

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Art

Events for March

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St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, a Harlem Renaissance exhibit at the Met with160 works by Black artists. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature,at The Morgan Library & Museum through 6/9. The Orchid show continues until 4/21 at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Florals in Fashion highlights the work of designers Hilary Taymour (Collina Strada), Olivia Cheng (Dauphinette) and Kristen Alpaugh, aka FLWR PSTL Also Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s “Giants,”is at the Brooklyn Museum until 7/7. The exhibition features artists who have made and continue to make a significant impact on the art world and contemporary culture. The show features 98 artworks by Black American, African, and African artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald.

3/1 -3: The Vienna Philharmonic one of the world’s most celebrated orchestras, takes center stage at Carnegie Hall.

3/3 -5: Coffee Fest NY Javits.

3/3 -5: International Beauty Show Javits.

3/6 – 10: The New Colossus Festival provides a platform for new artists, including international bands making their NYC debuts. The festival will take place across multiple venues mostly spread throughout the Lower East Side and the East Village, including Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, Heaven Can Wait, and others. This year’s artists include Cucamaras (UK), Ducks LTD (Canada), Heffner (US), Holiday Ghosts (UK), Hotel Lux (UK), Housewife (Canada), and more. You can check out the full lineup and schedule of events here.

3/8: International Women’s Day 

Steven Reineke by Michael Tammaro, Bryan Terrell Clark by Asher Angeles, Valisia LeKae by Antonio Navas

3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown

3/1 -17: The Annual Flamenco Festival with 22 performances across 13 different venues all over the city.

3/1 -17: The New York International Children’s Film FestivalHappy St. Patricks Day
3/17: Join in on the 263rd celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. The parade kicks off at 11am, moving along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 82nd Street. This year’s grand marshal, Maggie Timoney, president and CEO of Heineken USA, is only the fifth woman to lead the parade since its inception.

3/20 -24: Affordable Art Fair with over 400 living artists to discover you are sure to find your next perfect artwork.

3/23 – 11/: JAPAN Fes, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is the largest Japanese food festival in the world, with over 1,000 vendors.

The Macy Flower Show

3/24 – 4/7: The Annual Macy’s Flower Show created in partnership with Dior.

3/26 – 10/2: Apollo: When We Went to the Moon at The Intrepid Museum. The exhibit is included with museum admission.

3/29 – 4/7: The International Auto Show at the Javitts.

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Cabaret

Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For March

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Brave the rain and head out to the clubs for they abound in entertainment galore. Here are our top picks.

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 3/ 2 – 4: Soul Picnic: The Songs and Legacy of Laura Nyro; 3/ 11: Cabaret Conversations Sally Mayes and 3/18: The Ally: Josh Radnor and Playwright Itamar Moses in Conversation Co-presented with The Public Theater.

 

Karen Mason

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawksand 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; 3/11: It’s De-Lovely: Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter and 3/25: Karen Mason In “Just In Styne: Karen Sings Jule”.

 

Orfeh

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 2/1-3: Through 3/2: Jennifer Holliday; 3/3 – 4: Mallory Portnoy and Nick Blaemire; 3/5 – 20: Hamilton Leithauser and 3/21 -23: Orfeh.

Steven Reineke by Michael Tammaro, Bryan Terrell Clark by Asher Angeles, Valisia LeKae by Antonio Navas

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown; 3/20: of Sinéad O’Connor and Shane MacGowan; 3/23: Meow, Meow and  3/27: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 3/10: Klea Blackhurst; 3/11: Mark MacKillop and 3/16: Randy Edelman.

Klea Blackhurst

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 3/3: Marcus Simone & Tracy Stark and 3/16: Lucille Carr-Kaffashan.

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas.

Ann Hampton Callaway

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 3/8 – 10: Ann Hampton Callaway and 3/21; Songbook Sundays Rodgers and Hammerstein.

54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 3/1: The Leading Lady Club: A Celebration of Women on Broadway and Beyond; 3/2 – 3 : Alysha Umphress: 15 Stories; 3/4: Songs From Women At The Table; 3/6: Hugh Panaro: Man Without A Mask; 3/8- 9: Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway; 3/15 – 16: Melba Moore: From Broadway, With Love; 3/19: 54 Celebrates The Marquis Theatre, feat. Kate Baldwin, John Bolton, & more!; 3/20 – 21 and 23: Leslie Uggams; 3/22: My First Sondheim; 3/24: A Gentleman’s Guide 10th Anniversary Celebration, feat. Lauren Worsham & more!; 3/25: The Wicked Stage: Songs About Show Business, Hosted by Christine Pedi;  3/26 – 27:  Nicole Henry: Decades of Diva; 3/28: Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene and 3/29 – 30: Andrea McArdle: Confessions of a Broadway Baby.

Andrea McArdle

Andrea McArdle Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 3/4: Figaro a New Musical; 3/22: An Acoustic Evening with Sondheim & Melissa Melissa Errico; 3/23: Nic and Desi: 3/23: Joshua Turchin Composers In The Green Room 42 and 3/24: Reeve Carney.

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St.

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. 3/2,3, 9,10, 16, 17, 23,24, 30 and 31: Lucky Cheng’s Drag Brunch.The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 3/16: Stay Golden – The Golden Girls Drag Tribute!The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 3/4: RuPaul The House Of Hidden Meanings

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Off Broadway

Jonah Off-Broadway at Roundabout Cracks Wide Open Trauma and Repair

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The story that is being told is a complete page-turner. Back and forth, up and around, and deep within, flipping from now to back then in a light flash of repeated verbal moment and some lightning cracks in the time continuum. It’s a fantastically compelling unpacking, these articulate moments of disturbing wonder, playing with frameworks and fantasies that gnaw at our stressful hearts and imagination. We are pulled, sweetly, at first, into the world of Ana, played to perfection by the magnificently detailed Gabby Beans (LCT’s The Skin of Our Teeth), completely and within an instant, wanting and waiting for this tender kind of interaction to blossom, but also realizing she walks too fast and too forward. We want to hold on to this cautious, overly emotional tingling, and gigantically charming awkward fumbling. It can make a young man cry. Or a young woman lean in with hope and faith.

Roundabout Theatre Company‘s Jonah, a new play most vitally and inquisitively written by Rachel Bonds (Goodnight Noboby; The Lonely Few), asks us to follow in the quick footsteps of Ana, begging us to keep up, but falling through doorways with abstract oblivion at a moment’s notice. It’s the tenderest of beginnings, with a crack that opens up a world of problematic trauma and complex formulations. Those trapped constructs, and those “deep deep sick” feelings, sneak inside our senses and leave us wondering where we are moment to moment, and what should we believe.

As directed with clarity and vision by Danya Taymor (Broadway’s Pass Over), the effect is deliberately destabilizing, giving you tenderness and discomfort within moments of each other, with the changing of the guard brought upon by sharp cracks and seizures in the universe. The titular character, Jonah, delicately and dynamically portrayed by the sweetest of creatures, Hagan Oliveras (“American Horror Stories“; Players Theatre’s The Trouble with Dead Boyfriends), runs in pursuit of the electric energy of Ana, trying hard to keep up with this fantastical creature. What is she running to? Or from? It’s the most engaging of beginnings, drawing us forward with awkward longing and a supersonic unseared outreach. We couldn’t want this union more as we say “yeah, yeah, yeah” to their cross-legged flirtation with love and understanding, but there is something that just doesn’t feel real, or maybe right, in their outreach. And an uneasiness starts to sink in.

I like you,” he says, with utter sincerity, and our hearts shimmer open a wee bit more. Jonah plays with our sensibilities and our own longing for this kind of thoughtful spring awakening, until that lighting crack and skipping occurs. Much like on an old-fashioned record player, courtesy of the stellar work of set designer Wilson Chin (MTC’s Cost of Living), lighting by Amith Chandrashaker (MTC’s Prayer for the French Republic), and sound design by Kate Marvin (MCC’s Wolf Play), a fracture comes into play, and we are thrown. Or is it he that is thrown? We are no longer in her dorm room, cozy and awkward, retelling our intricate fantasizes to a wide-eyed young man in love, but somewhere else, trying to survive the brutal hard world of before alongside her stepbrother Danny, played powerfully by Samuel H. Levine (Broadway’s The Inheritance). It doesn’t carry with it that same sense of authentic innocence and safety. It’s dangerous, and uncomfortable, even in the care and protective stance of her stepbrother.

Gabby Beans and Samuel H. Levine in RTC’s Jonah. Photo by Joan Marcus.

I do what I want,” is a refrain the young Ana keeps repeating to the lovestruck Jonah, and at first we believe in the bravado, until we see a different aspect of Ana’s existence, a parallel universe, in a way, where the trap has been set, not by her, but by the world of ‘have and have not’; ‘need and hunger’. “She just got trapped,” she says of her mother, “afraid of what he might do.” She knows this caged framework in a way that few of us can understand, yet maybe the third man that comes knocking on that door, later, in a different place and time, can ask the right question from the correct category of topics; the one that is now fixated on the flame of Ana; the very tall Steven, played to itchy delight by John Zdrojeski (Broadway’s Good Night, Oscar).

It is there in the third where something shifts, where protection and need come together, collide, and shatter on the floor. Ana is working hard to find something that resembles her fantasy, or push the thought away behind her writing and a closed door. But also, maybe she can discover at least a pathway for the opening up and the healing to begin. It’s the cleverest of constructs, looking at trauma and pain from a number of angles and vantage points, all at once, from up above, back and forward, and within such a detailed and unique lyrical unwrapping. Beans is absolutely ingenious in her complicated approach to the parallels, giving us a character worthy of the fixation. Jonah is the key, the ointment to stop the itch, and the pathway to healing.

John Zdrojeski and Gabby Beans in Roundabout Theatre Company’s .Jonah. Photo by Joan Marcus.

For more info and tickets, click here.

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Cabaret

Moonlight and Love Songs 

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And so promised Steve Ross in his new show at Birdland, and he delivered both with his customary style, wit, and superb interpretations. This fabled music room takes on the hush of a cathedral when Steve performs there, evidenced by the silent reverence of the audience throughout his performance. Sporting his subtle homage to Cole Porter—a red carnation—Steve began the evening with tunes that described being on the brink of that most coveted of falls, and as the inevitable approached, his carefully curated selections become more tantalizing. Never has “On a Slow Boat to China” been more inviting– sign me up now! A few moon-titled songs followed, including one written by Steve himself. His guest star, Nina Wachenfeld, sang in German and seemed to conjure up Marlene as a bonus.    

Kurt Weill and his haunting melodies were presented next, with appropriate tribute given to that great American wordsmith, Ogden Nash. Another aspect of the topic of the evening was Steve’s review of a few songs about love at first sight. Messrs, Coward and Porter put their two cents in, with the penultimate and heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine” putting a twinge in the heart of everyone as only Rodgers & Hammerstein can. Cole then did what he does best: teased and tickled the memory with his thoughts on the matter. 

Steve’s ability to find new ways to make all these songs new for an audience is part of his wonder. He snapped us out of our dreamy reveries with a joke and then the ever-hilarious “Dolphins” and then encouraged everyone to do what we were aching to do—sing along to some classics from the 1940s. He has an uncanny ability to know what an audience wants and needs and switched the dial to drama with Dietz and Schwartz’s haunting “Dancing in the Dark”.  The charming conclusion to this Valentine was the duet of “Married”. I have tried many times to dissect the magic Steve brings to his music and never quite capture it with words. You just must see it for yourself! A performance by Steve Ross is indeed transformative, as his ever-full audiences will attest.   

In between engagements on both sides of the Atlantic, Steve appears regularly at Birdland. Check his website for future appearances, and possibly even a master class! 

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