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For All Those Who Missed Their Prom

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I originally saw The Prom, back in November, but Beth Level was out. I was thrilled seeing this show with so much heart, after Head Over Heels, Pretty Woman and Getting The Band Back. Recently I returned to see the show to review, as well as vote.

Beth Level, Brooks Ashmanskas Photo by Deen van Meer

The shows premise is four Broadway narcissists need to fix their reputations, so they descend upon a town in the midwest. Leading the pack is Dee Dee (Beth Leavel), who uses her two Tonys to get a motel room upgrade. Then there is her current co-star Barry (Brooks Ashmanskas), who “Is as gay as a bucket of wigs,” and more hammy than Dee Dee. Angie (Angie Schworer) is always a standby never the star and Trent (Christopher Sieber), claim to fame is going to Juilliard. Now this actor/waiter is in the non-Equity tour of “Godspell”.

Isabelle McCall, Caitlin Kinnunen Photo by Deen van Meer

Their cause is Emma (Caitlin Kinnunen), a gay teen who just wants to take her closeted girlfriend Alyssa (Isabelle McCalla) to the prom. Her sympathetic principal Mr. Hawkins (Michael Potts), is more than willing to let this happen, but Alyssa conservative mom (Courtenay Collins) is not having it.

Christopher Sieber, Angie Schwerer, Beth Level, Brooks Ashmanskas, Josh Lamon Photo by Deen van Meer

When the self centered stars show up to help, all hell breaks loose. Mr. Hawkins is a fan of Dee Dee, but the town does not like newcomers.

Christopher Sieber Photo by Deen van Meer

Trent’s “Godspell” tour just happens to be arriving in the same town and their publicist Sheldon (Josh Lamon), gets them gigs that don’t land.

In the end a tuneful score by Matthew Sklar’s easy and Chad Beguelin’s witty lyrics keeps this show humming along and happy endings are guaranteed. You will walk out humming “Dance With You”.

Angie Schworer, Caitlin Kinnunen Photo by Deen van Meer

The cast is at the top of their games with Caitlin Kinnunen wining our hearts. Brooks Ashmanskas “Barry Is Going to The Prom” is reminiscent of everyone who didn’t get their prom dreams fulfilled. Angie Schworer “Zazz” brings out the Fosse in everyone. Beth Level has moments with “It’s Not About Me”.

Director/ Choreographer Casey Nicholaw keeps this show at its paces.He is the king of knowing how to please an audience.

Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone) and Chad Beguelin (Aladdin) book is funny and tender.

Isabelle McCall, Caitlin Kinnunen Photo by Deen van Meer

There is a lot of sentimentality at The Prom and craft. This musical will definitely win over a certain demographic and make them feel that this brings them just a little bit of closure.

The Prom: Longacre Theater, 220 West 48th.

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

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The Hotel Edison Opulent and Convenient with History

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George Burns and Gracie Allen lived on the 9th floor of The Edison Hotel. Their friend Jack Benny lived on the 4th floor. Moss Hart lived there after his Once in a Lifetime was a Broadway hit. He then moved his parents there until he found them an apartment. The Edison Hotel is featured in the movies “The Godfather” and “Bullets Over Broadway”, so history abounds.

Located at 228 West 47th Street, you are down the street from Six, Hamilton, Prayer for the French Republic and Sweeney Todd. Across the street is the Barrymore Theatre, but all of Broadway and Times Square is a hop, skip and a jump away. Talk about location, location, location.Built in the late 1920’s, Art Deco abounds from the hotel lobby to the lights and the bed spread in the lush rooms. The hotel is elegant and feels like you stepped back in time. My room was spacious with a king-sized bed that was so comfortable, I wish this was a staycation where I could have spent more time catching up on sleep. I also had a small sitting room with a couch, desk and more windows with views.

The rooms are well designed with great features, such as a Keurig coffee maker and coffee, black-out drapes, windows that opened, and a full-marble bathroom. In the bathroom fluffy towels, designer toiletries and a hair dryer awaited me. The spacious shower also had a relaxing rain shower. In the closet a safe, iron, ironing board and fluffy robes.

There were also two flat-screen high-definition smart TVs, Bluetooth-enabled audio, high-speed Wi-Fi which made my life so much easier, and an alarm clock.

The room was ultra clean and to get to it you need a room key, which you also need for the elevator, so you feel incredibly safe.

Another fun fact…when you arrive you will have a personalized note waiting just for you and some lovely snacks, which were highly appreciated considering I had been running all day and needed a pick me up.

Amenities to the hotel are a gym, two fabulous restaurants, a piano bar, complimentary wine and cheese receptions (Tuesday & Friday), with entertainment, as well as complimentary walking tours of the neighborhood.

You would think for this much pampering and convivence this hotel would be overpriced but it is not. There are rooms are the best offer and prices in town.

If you are looking for history, comfort, boutique, friendliness and luxury, this is the perfect place to stay.

The Edison Hotel: 228 West 47th Street

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Going Down The Rabbit Hole To Discover A Fabulous Unheard Treasure of Linda Eder

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In February one of my favorite singers is coming to 54 Below on the 6, 13, & 17. Linda Eder is forever linked to Broadway history via her Theatre World Award winning performance in Jekyll & Hyde. Her concerts sell out and the reason why is her voice is remarkable.

In 2020 she release an album that somehow slipped through my radar. Retro – volume two is full of Broadway and Standards. There are 17 tracks on the CD. Most are written by Frank Wildhorn with the exception of four tracks. There are two pop tracks, one written by Frank Wildhorn and one written by Jake Wildhorn. She recorded the vocals for four of the tracks at home by herself due to social distancing. This CD is only available at LindaEder.com.

Guest stars on the CD are Will Lee and Michael Lanning. Songs from Bonnie & Clyde, Svengali, Tears of Heaven, Havana andThe Last Five Years are heard here.

I can not believe this slipped through the cracks, but thrilled to find it. Can’t wait to see her at 54 Below.

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Celebrating Love in Times Square

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There’s no better place to say “I love you” than Times Square. On Valentine’s Day 2024, New Yorkers and visitors alike will once again declare their love and celebrate their relationships at the Crossroads of the World through surprise proposals, weddings in the heart of Times Square, and a Vow Renewal Ceremony on Duffy Square’s iconic Red Steps.

Want to participate? Click here for proposals. Click here to get married and click here to renew your vows.

 

 

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Cabaret

Felicia Finley Shines in From Backwoods to Broadway

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As Broadway veteran Felicia Finley proves in her one woman cabaret show, From Backwoods to Broadway, which she showcased at The Green Room 42 in NYC this week, you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. And that’s a very good thing!

Ms. Finley chronicles her lifelong journey from her Appalacian roots to the Great White Way in a program of emotionally powerful songs spanning both worlds with vocal mastery and personal passion.

She began her journey as a performer when she started singing at age four. Her first big break came at age nine, when she was cast in the Broadway company of Annie…and her first big heartbreak came when the show closed the very next weekend. Her early career was a roller coaster of promising opportunities and dashed hopes. She might have co-starred in the film of Gypsy opposite Bette Midler had five foot one Ms. Midler not refused to stand on a box to look Ms. Findley in the eye. But that’s show biz.

Finally her talent prevailed. She made her Broadway debut in Smokey Joe’s Café, before going on to play Amnaris in Aida, April in the original cast of The Life, and to create the role of Linda in The Wedding Singer.


Along the way, Ms. Finley has never lost track of her gospel roots, or her love for Patsy Kline. Her rendition of “Sweet Dreams”, one of Patsy’s big hits, was a highlight of the evening, flavored with the smoky sound that makes Ms. Finley’s voice so distinctive. Not surprisingly, Ms. Finley won a “Best Actor” award for portraying Ms. Kline in A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline at the Meadowbrook Theatre in Rochester, NY.

Ms. Finley was ably accompanied for this performance by her talented musical director, Michael McBride.

Under the direction of JoAnne Zielinski, From Backwoods to Broadway is like spending a welcoming evening in the intimate warmth of Ms. Finleys living room.  The next chance you get to see her, dont miss her.

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Sing Your Heart Out at Baby Grand

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In New York City everyone is a singer and or wants to sing. Well, one of the best places to go for karaoke is Baby Grand, located at 29 West 17th Street, With three private rooms, a large event space, a large neon sign to light the way and a main stage, you can have the time of your life. Get ready to show that you have what it takes to make it anywhere.

The hours are Sunday-Wednesday 5 pm – 3 am, Thursday-Saturday 5 pm – 4 am so you can sing into the wee morning. For just $2 a song in the main room you can rent a small room (1-5 people) for $50 a hour  a medium room (6-10 people) $75 an hour or for a $100 hour (11-16 people) a large room to party with all your friends.

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