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Get Ready for the 31st Festival Of New Musicals From National Alliance for Musical Theatre

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National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Betsy King Militello, Executive Director) is thrilled to announce this year’s directors and musical directors for their  31st Annual Festival Of New Musicals, which takes place on Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, 2019 at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). The Festival events will kick off on Wednesday, October 23, with the return of The 46th Minute Concert at The Green Room 42.

Festival registration for industry members is free and now open at www.namt.org/festival. The public can also receive passes to the Festival through a donation to NAMT. There is also a day-of standby line for the general public for free admission (based on availability). Tickets are available for The 46th Minute at www.namt.org/events/the-46th-minute-2019.

This year’s NAMT Festival of New Musicals features an impressive line-up of directors and musical directors including: Hunter Bird (NY: The Laodamiad), Liz Carlson (NY: SeaWife, Drama Desk Nom), Amy Corcoran (NY: Unexpected Joy; National Tour: Escape to Margaritaville), Portia Krieger (NY: The Tomb of King Tot; Regional: Be Here Now), Sarna Lapine (Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George), Jonathan McCrory (NY: Dead and Breathing), Arpita Mukherjee (NY: Eh Dah? Questions for My Father, Elements of Change), Jesca Prudencio (NY: Hoax; Regional: Man of God). Musical Directors include Simone Allen (Broadway: The Cher Show, music assistant; NY: Octet at Signature), Tommy Crawford (NY: SeaWife, Drama Desk Nom), Anessa Marie (NY: Lysistrata Jones, City of Lights), Charity Wicks (Broadway: Billy Elliott, Spring Awakening). 

NAMT is also excited to announce this year’s class of observers for the Festival Observership for Early-Career Directors. This program provides professional development and networking opportunities to early-career directors, while simultaneously expanding diversity in the musical theatre pipeline by providing these opportunities for underrepresented communities. This year’s observers are Britt Berke, Brittany Coyne, Rachel Dilliplane, Ryan Dobrin, Sarah Hartmann, Kemar Jewel, Dominique Rider and Ricardo Vazquez. 

The Festival has introduced musical theatre producers to 260 musicals and 491 writers from around the world. As a direct result of the Festival Of New Musicals, more than 85% of the musicals presented have gone on to subsequent readings, workshops, productions, tours, been licensed, and/or recorded on cast albums. Some past Festival shows include The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, Benny & Joon, Come From Away, Darling Grenadine, The Drowsy Chaperone, Gun & Powder, It Shoulda Been You, Lempicka, Ordinary Days, Striking 12 and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others. 

Now in its 31st year, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival Of New Musicals attracts theatre producers from around the world for this industry-only event to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute concert presentations over two days. All production costs are underwritten by NAMT, at no cost to the writing teams. As a non-profit organization, NAMT funds the Festival entirely through donations, sponsorships and contributions.  

This year, a committee of 17 theatre professionals selected eight new musicals out of 219 blind submissions. The musicals they chose for the 31st Annual Festival are: 

Hi, My Name is Ben, book & lyrics by Scott Gilmour, music by Claire McKenzie: Director: Hunter Bird (NY: The Laodamiad)

“Hi, my name is Ben. I can’t talk, but I can hear.”

A true, New York story of how one man changed the lives of those around him, without ever speaking a word. Using just his notepad, pen and open heart, Ben turned a neighborhood of strangers into a community of friends, before finally encountering a miracle of his own.

Claire McKenzie, composer, and Scott Gilmour, book writer/lyricist, make up the writing partnership Noisemaker. Both graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, they have worked throughout the UK and internationally creating innovative, original work to challenge the expectations of musical theatre. In 2016 Noisemaker was chosen as New Voices by Walt Disney Imagineering and NMI Inc. and, most recently, won the award for Unique Business of the Year at the 2018 Scottish Business Awards.

Noisemaker credits include; Hi, My Name is Ben (Goodspeed Musicals), The Snow Queen, Little Red and the Wolf (Dundee Rep), My Left/Right Foot (NTS/Edinburgh Fringe – Winner of Best Music at Critics’ Awards in Scotland 2019, Fringe First, Herald Angel Award), Legend Trippers (National Youth Music Theatre/The Other Palace), Atlantic: A Scottish Story (Edinburgh Fringe – Winner of Herald Angel Award), Forest Boy (NYMF, Arcola Theatre, The Other Palace) and their new choose-your-own-adventure musical The Girl Who (AMTP at Northwestern University, Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival). www.noisemaker.org.uk

Interstate, book, lyrics & music by Melissa Li, book & lyrics by Kit Yan, Director: Jesca Prudencio (NY: Hoax; Regional: Man of God), Musical Director: Anessa Marie (NY: Lysistrata Jones, City of Lights

Interstate is an Asian-American road trip musical about Dash, a transgender spoken word performer who embarks on his first national tour with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. Their political and personal music inspires Henry, a trans teenage blogger living in a small town in Kentucky, to make a series of life-changing decisions. A parallel story about two trans people at different stages of their lives, the musical explores love, family and masculinity in the age of social media.

Kit Yan is a Yellow American New York-based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit is a 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, 2019-2020 Musical Theatre Factory Maker, and a 2019-2020 Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellow. Works include Interstate, which won Outstanding Lyrics at the 2018 New York Musical Festival, and Queer Heartache, which won five awards at the Chicago and SF Fringe Festivals. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theatre Factory, the New York Musical Festival and Diversionary Theatre. They have been a resident with the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theatre and Village Theatre.

Melissa Li is a composer, lyricist, performer and writer based in New York and Baltimore. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 Musical Theatre Factory Maker, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival, Winner Outstanding Lyrics), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for Best New Play 2007) and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from The 5th Avenue Theatre, =Village Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place and others.

Iron John: An American Ghost Story, music & book by Jacinth Greywoode, lyrics & book by Rebecca Hart, director: Jonathan McCrory (NY: Dead and Breathing.

Welcome to the little Southern town of Good, Alabama. It’s wild, woodsy, down-home…and very, very haunted. One hundred years ago, a love triangle ended in an act of racist violence that seems to repeat in every generation—until now. This dark and lyrical tale pits good old-fashioned American denial against the redemptive power of facing your truth.

Rebecca Hart is a performer, composer and writer based in NYC. On stage: SWEAT (Public Tour), The Revolutionists (CT Critics Circle Award), Midsummer (TheaterWorks Hartford – CT Critics Circle Nom.), Rimbaud in NY (The Civilians @ BAM), Microcosmos (The Civilians) and frequent gigs with her six-piece altfolk band. Writing/composing credits include: Microcosmos and Rimbaud in NY (Civilians), GLORIA (Woolly Mammoth – Helen Hayes Nomination), The Cabaret at the End of the World (NY Innovative Theatre Award), Aaron Jafferis’ How to Break (NAMT Festival 2014), Iron John (2019 O’Neill Semifinalist, NYU staged workshop) and her album The Magician’s Daughter. Civilians Associate Artist, MFA NYU GMTWP. www.rebeccahart.net

Jacinth Greywoode is a Brooklyn-based composer of classical and theater music whose work has been performed throughout the Americas and in Europe and Africa by such groups as the Calidore String Quartet, So Percussion and The Civilians. Jacinth has also performed as singer and pianist at such venues as the Apollo Theater, Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center and the Greene Space at WNYC. Recent writing credits include Iron John (2019 O’Neill NMTC semifinalist; staged workshop at NYU); G’day, Ivan!Master (American Opera Projects); and White Raven, Black Dove (commissioned by Cerise Jacobs/White Snake Projects, Boston 2022). www.jacinthgreywoode.com

Lautrec at the St. James, music by Julianne Wick Davis, book & lyrics by John Dietrich, director: Sarna Lapine (Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George), mMusical Director: Charity Wicks (Broadway: Billy Elliott, Spring Awakening)

March 1899 – French artist, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, passes out in a gutter and is kidnapped. He awakes in the Chateau St. James, an asylum. Triggered by his imagination and a need to understand his downfall, the St. James continuously transforms around Lautrec into an intoxicating and provocative world—one that inspires yet may destroy him.

Julianne Wick Davis: (composer/lyricist) Larson Award 2012; 2018 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award.  Southern Comfort (NAMT Festival 2012) (music), with Dan Collins (book and lyrics) – The Public Theater (Lortel Nomination), Barrington Stage Company, CAP21; Trevor (music) with Collins (book and lyrics) – Writers Theatre (Jeff Award); The Pen (music) with Collins (book and lyrics); The Willard Suitcases (book, music & lyrics), American Shakespeare Center Fall 2019; Lautrec at the St. James (music) with John Dietrich (book and lyrics). Dramatist Guild Fellow, York Theatre’s NEO 9, Sundance Fellow at UCross. MFA, NYU Tisch Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

John Dietrich: Director/Choreographer/Writer including 17 years with Radio City Entertainment. Director/Choreographer for the world-famous Rockettes / Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Book Writer/Lyricist: Things As They Are (Composer: Jonathan Comisar), New York Musical Theatre Festival Next Link Selection, Best of Fest Award winner;  Only Anne (Composer: Will Buck), Rhinebeck Writer’s Retreat, Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals; Lautrec at the St. James; The Last War (Composer: Julianne Wick Davis); The Nureyev Project (Composer: Will Buck). He has written/directed for Walt Disney Entertainment, Dolly Parton & Dollywood Entertainment. Education: MFA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts: Musical Theatre Writing; MA, NYU Gallatin: Musical Theatre Structure/Directing Theory; BM (Music), University of Wisconsin.

One Way, music & book by Ben Bonnema, lyrics & book by Christopher Staskel, director: Arpita Mukherjee (NY: Eh Dah? Questions for My Father, Elements of Change. Musical Director: Simone Allen (Broadway: The Cher Show, music assistant; NY: Octet at Signature) 

When Naomi becomes a finalist for the first one-way mission to Mars, she must choose: pursue her ambition or stay on Earth with the woman she loves. With a soaring, contemporary score, One Way is a moving portrait of how our choices affect those closest to us.

Ben Bonnema: is a Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer-lyricist. Theatre: The Apple Boys with Jonothon Lyons (“Clever, catchy songs” –The New Yorker, HERE Arts Center), Boys Who Tricked Me (Musical Theatre Factory, “heart-healing musical theatre” -Joshua Barone of the New York Times), One Way with Christopher Staskel (Goodspeed Musicals’ Johnny Mercer Writers Colony),  The Lost Girl with Arianna Rose, Sleep No More (additional sound design and composition). New Media: Peter Panic with James Marion (Adult Swim Games, two million downloads). Film: Mary Poppins Returns (Music Associate to Marc Shaiman, Best Score Oscar Nom.). Ben holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. 

Christopher Staskel is a writer and musical theatre lyricist-librettist. Recent projects include  One Way (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals; Rhinebeck Writers Retreat) with Ben Bonnema and The Firebird (2014 NMTC/O’Neill finalist) with Lisa Whitson Burns. He was a 2015 Kleban Prize finalist and a winner (with Max Mamon) of New York City Center’s Sondheim Remix contest, which granted him the surreal opportunity to rap for Stephen Sondheim. He holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Elon University and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch. www.christopherstaskel.com

SeaWife, music & lyrics by The Lobbyists, book by Seth Moore, directed & developed by Liz Carlson, director: Liz Carlson (NY: SeaWife, Drama Desk Nom). Musical Director: Tommy Crawford (NY: SeaWife, Drama Desk Nom) 

SeaWife is a haunted tale of the high seas. Both historical and pointedly modern, the sumptuous and energetic music of The Lobbyists guides us through Seth Moore’s world of whale hunts, ghosts and adventure to ask: “Can humanity save itself from its own devouring?”

Seth Moore is a polyartist who works in theater, film, visual art and music. His play Jonesin’ was produced by The University of Michigan; it won the 2008 McIntyre Prize, the Naomi Saferstein Literary Award and The Avery Hopwood Award for Drama. In 2009, his play The Man With America Skin also received the McIntyre Prize and The Hopwood Award and was produced for The Araca Project in 2012. Other Writing: Ghosts in the Tapestry (The Claque); Catch (Cincinnati Fringe); Wolf Inside (WNYC). He makes films with his company, Sheep Eats Wolf, and is a frequently commissioned muralist and Illustrator.

Liz Carlson is a director and producer of new work. She is currently in her fourth season as the Artistic Producer for New York Stage and Film. Prior to NYSAF, Liz worked as a freelance director and served as the Artistic Director of Naked Angels. She has directed at Ars Nova, The Dramatists Guild, EST, The Flea, Keen Company, Manhattan School of Music, MTC, The New Group, Playwrights Horizons, The Playwrights Realm, Signature Theatre Company, Studio 42, Williamstown Theatre Festival and more. MFA, The New School for the Performing Arts. Alumna of the Drama League Directors Project.

The Lobbyists (Tommy Crawford, Eloise Eonnet, Alex Grubbs, Will Turner, Tony Aidan Vo and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman) are an NYC-based band and theater company that creates and performs original music and innovative music-theater. The group takes its name from the lobby of The Flea Theater, where the founding members met in 2012 while working on the Drama Desk-nominated These Seven Sicknesses. Since then, the group has played many iconic venues in New York, such as Joe’s Pub, Rockwood Music Hall and Mercury Lounge, and toured to various locations in the northeast. As a theatrical and songwriting collective, the group’s work has been developed with NY Stage & Film, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Ars Nova, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Playwrights Realm and Musical Theatre Factory. The group’s debut theatrical piece, SeaWife, was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Lighting in a Musical in 2016. New and upcoming projects include The Golden Spike with Don Nguyen. Stay in touch and learn more at www.wearethelobbyists.com and @thelobbyistsnyc.

Simon & Jorge Pay Their Student Loans, book, music & lyrics by Jesse Gage, director: Amy Corcoran (NY: Unexpected Joy; National Tour: Escape to Margaritaville)

In life, we face many seemingly unanswerable questions. Why are we here? How does WIFI work? Why has there never been a stoner bromance rock musical about the impending student loan crisis and ever-growing income inequality gap? Well, ask no more. Behold: Simon & Jorge Pay Their Student Loans.  

Jesse Gage is an NYC-based musical theatre writer and veteran of the Bleeker Street music scene, often found wheeling his upright piano around the West Village. His television credits include Fox, NBC, BBC, PBS and a bevy of Brazilian soap operas. After writing the cult hit Oklahomo: Enforcer of Justice (NYMF 2010), he was awarded a musical theatre fellowship at NYU/Tisch, and in 2016 and 2017 was recognized by Barrington Stage Company as one of the “ridiculously talented writers you should know (but probably don’t).” Jesse lives in Coney Island with his amazing wife Marlena and son Jonah Blue.  

Teeth, book & lyrics by Michael R. Jackson, book & music Anna K. Jacobs Director: Portia Krieger (NY: The Tomb of King Tot; Regional: Be Here Now)

Adapted from the 2007 Sundance Award-winning indie horror film by Mitchell Lichtenstein, Teeth tells the story of Dawn O’Keefe, an evangelical Christian teen with a powerful secret: she has teeth in her vagina. When the men in Dawn’s life try to exploit her, she is forced to choose between survival or destruction.

Anna K. Jacobs is a Brooklyn-based composer, lyricist and librettist. In addition to Teeth (O’Neill Musical Theater Conference), her musicals include POP! (Yale Rep, Pittsburgh City Theatre, Studio Theatre), Harmony, Kansas (Diversionary Theatre), Anytown (George Street Playhouse), Echo (The Gallery Players, MTF), Kaya: Taste of Paradise (NY Film Academy) and Stella and the Moon Man (Sydney Theatre Company/Theatre of Image). Currently, she and playwright Anna Ziegler are collaborating on a new musical for Barbara Whitman Productions and Grove Entertainment. Anna is the proud recipient of the 2018 Eric Salzman Award for New Music Theater Composition and 2016 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award. MFA NYU-Tisch. www.annakjacobs.com 

Michael R. Jackson holds a BFA and MFA in playwriting and Musical Theatre Writing from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. As a songwriter, he has seen his work performed everywhere from Joe’s Pub to NAMT. He wrote lyrics and co-wrote book for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with composer and co-book writer Anna K. Jacobs. He wrote the book, music and lyrics for the musicals White Girl In Danger and A Strange Loop (2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in co-production with Page 73 Productions). Awards and associations include a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award and a Dramatist Guild Fellowship. He has commissions from Grove Entertainment & Barbara Whitman Productions and LCT3.

The National Alliance for Musical Theatre, founded in 1985, is a national service organization dedicated exclusively to musical theatre. Their mission is to be a catalyst for nurturing musical theatre development, production, innovation and collaboration. Their 238 members, located throughout 33 states and abroad, are some of the leading producers of musical theatre in the world and include theatres, presenting organizations, higher education programs and individual producers. Among the 260 musicals launched by NAMT’s annual Festival of New Musicals are The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, Benny & Joon, Come From Away, Darling Grenadine, The Drowsy Chaperone, Gun & Powder, HONK!, It Shoulda Been You, Lempicka, Ordinary Days, Striking 12 and Thoroughly Modern Millie, among many others, representing 491 writers.

The 31st The Green Room 42 is overseen by NAMT New Works Director Ciera Iveson and Festival General Manager Dailey-Monda Management and General Management Consultant Lisa Dozier Productions. 

The Green Room 42, Broadway’s Funky New Cabaret Club, recently celebrated its two-year anniversary as the theater district’s premiere destination for live music events and nightclub acts. The space lets audiences experience shows featuring Broadway’s biggest names and emerging talent up close and personal like no other space in the world. During the shows, guests can enjoy Mediterranean-inspired dishes alongside signature cocktails, craft beer and curated wine lists with no food/drink minimum. Tickets can be purchased at www.TheGreenRoom42.com. The Green Room 42 is located at 570 Tenth Avenue inside YOTEL in New York City; @TheGreenRoom42.

The 2019 Festival Committee is co-chaired by Pamela Adams, General Manager, Atlantic Theater Co. (NY) and Yuvika Tolani, Associate Producer, The Public Theater (NY). Committee members include: Victoria Bussert, Director of Musical Theatre, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music (OH); Taneisha Duggan, Producing Associate, TheaterWorks Hartford (CT), Rick Edinger, Associate Professor of Music Theater, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama (PA); Kate Galvin, Artistic Director, Cardinal Stage Company (IN); Marguerite Hannah, Associate Producer, Horizon Theatre (GA); Dana Harrel, Executive Creative Director, Disney Parks Live Entertainment (CA); Branden Huldeen, Artistic Producer, Barrington Stage Company (MA); Tim Kashani, Co-Founder/CEO, Apples and Oranges Arts (CA); Dan Murphy, Managing Director, Broadway Rose Theatre Company (OR); Danielle Karliner Naish, General Manager, RCI Theatricals (NY); Patrick Parker, Associate Artistic Director, Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ); Ann-Carol Pence, Co-Founder/Associate Producer, Aurora Theatre (GA); Matthew Schneider, Co-Owner/Producer, Creative Endeavor Office (NY); Søren Møller, Creative Producer, Fredericia Teater (DK), Chair Emeritus; and Adam Gwon (Alumnus Writer Representative), writer of Ordinary Days (Fest ’08), Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Fest ’11) and String (Fest ’14).

NAMT thanks the following foundations, government agencies and organizations for their ongoing support of our programs: The Alhadeff Charitable Foundation, The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York Creative Space Grant, ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund, The Austin Community Fund, BMI Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund, The Hargrove Pierce Foundation, The Hollywood Pantages, Howard Gilman Foundation, The Lucille Lortel Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Ted Snowden Foundation and Anonymous donors.

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

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

YOUNG’S 12 — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Since he began making records in the 60’s, Neil Young has seldom let a year or two pass between albums. Even as the last LP by Buffalo Springfield was being prepped for release, the Canadian singer-songwriter was making his self-titled solo debut, which came out just a few months later.

Young has never been reluctant to follow his creative muse, even if he’s in the middle of another project. More than one time during his career he’s shelved a project just to move on to something else. Sometimes – as in the case of Homegrown and Chrome Dreams – those records would be released at a later (sometimes much later) date; in other instances, we’re still waiting.

All this productivity and activity can lead to periods of inconsistency, as you’ll see in the below list of the 12 Worst Neil Young Albums. One era in particular stands out: the ’80s (spoiler: Six successive albums during the decade make the list). But LPs from the ’60s, ’70s, ’90s and the ’00s are here, too.When you’re as prolific as Young, they can’t all be After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Even when the records didn’t reach his usual standards, most of them still found new ways to continue on the restless path he started in the mid-’60s. From synth-pop and traditional country to ’50 rock ‘n’ roll and horn-spotted soul, Young’s instincts rarely took him to expected destinations.

Are You Passionate?’ (2002)

Young’s 24th album was supposed to be another Crazy Horse collaboration, Toast, which didn’t get released until 2022. Instead, he pivoted to a record with Booker T. & the MG’s that was billed as a soul album and included Young’s response to 9/11, “Let’s Roll.” One of the shelved Crazy Horse tracks is included, and it concludes with a nine-minute jam. Scant direction and thin songs sink Are You Passionate?

‘Peace Trail’ (2016)

Young’s 36th studio LP was sandwiched between a live album with Promise of the Real and a solo archival release recorded in 1976. Both are preferable to this quickly assembled record made with drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Paul Bushnell. Its political points are similar to the ones he’d been supporting since the ’60s, but now with a technological lean (there’s even some Auto-Tune on a track). Instantly disposable.

‘Storytone’ (2014)

The second of two albums released by Young in 2014 (the first was the solo acoustic A Letter Home), Storytone featured big band and orchestral backings to songs inspired by a new romance with actress Daryl Hannah. Forgettable and uncertain – swing and classical don’t mix all that well – the album arrived during a period of prolific activity. An equally unmemorable stripped-down version of the album was released at the same time.

‘Old Ways’ (1985)

Young’s country album Old Ways was first proposed after 1983’s Trans, the synth-based LP he delivered to Geffen. The label balked and insisted on a rock album instead; they got the 1950s throwback Everybody’s Rockin’. Young returned to his country album in 1985, enlisting Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and fiddle and pedal steel musicians. Another unremarkable genre detour during Young’s most dour decade.

‘Everybody’s Rockin” (1983)

Young’s second Geffen LP was as baffling as the first. But where Trans moved forward, Everybody’s Rockin’ was a throwback to 1950s rockabilly, complete with a retro look (pompadour, face-dominating sideburns) and name (Neil and the Shocking Pinks). Four songs were covers; an original (“Wonderin'”) dated to 1970. It runs less than 25 minutes. Geffen soon sued Young for making deliberately uncommercial records.

‘Landing on Water’ (1986)

Three genre-specific albums left Young at odds with Geffen Records in the mid-’80s to the point where the label sued him for making records that didn’t sound like Neil Young records. Landing on Water was his return (albeit once again stitched together from years-old sessions) to fuss-free rock music. Good luck finding a memorable song, though. Even Young has referred to Landing on Water as a “piece of crap.”

‘Broken Arrow’ (1996)

After 1989’s career-reviving Freedom, Neil Young had an admirable run in the first half of the ’90s. Then Broken Arrow arrived. Shaken by the death of longtime producer David Briggs, Young and Crazy Horse falteringly recorded the LP over a month, often with no guidance or direction (the first three songs each run more than seven minutes and are little more than aimless jams). An unsteady new era was around the corner.

‘This Note’s for You’ (1988)

After a contentious five-album run with Geffen, Young returned to Reprise for his 16th LP. But he still wasn’t ready to discard the ’80s explorations that marked the decade. The flimsy This Note’s for You, co-credited to the Bluenotes (a horn-based group with other ties to Young’s past), dipped into jump blues music while adhering to a slim conceptual thread about commercialism. At least it contained a minor hit in the title track.

‘Life’ (1987)

Neil Young made five albums with Geffen in the ’80s, none of them particularly good. But at least most of them have some sort of identifiable tag: synth-pop, rockabilly, country. Life has nothing to single it out. Mostly recorded live with overdubs added later, the Crazy Horse collaboration ended Young’s controversial relationship with Geffen on a sour, but expected, note. Maybe the most easily dismissed LP in his entire catalog.

‘Trans’ (1982)

After more than two dozen years with Reprise Records, Neil Young jumped to the flourishing Geffen label for his 12th album. Nobody expected his first record under the new contract to be a futuristic new-wave LP made with synths and a vocoder altering Young’s voice – especially the label. Young has said he made Trans to communicate with his son, who had cerebral palsy. A year later Geffen filed a lawsuit.

‘American Stars ‘n Bars’ (1977)

Neil Young’s catalog is scattered with albums stitched together from various session sources. For his eighth LP, he collected nine songs recorded over a two-and-a-half-year period, starting in 1974. The results were mixed. The stripped-back country rock made with Crazy Horse on Side One has little connection to the plugged-in fury of “Like a Hurricane,” a mid-decade highlight, and the solo acoustic “Will to Love.” Aimless.

‘Neil Young’ (1968)

Young’s solo debut isn’t terrible, it’s just a letdown after the buzz he generated with Buffalo Springfield. Only a handful of songs (including “The Loner,” fleshed out onstage over the years) make an impression; the rest finds the still-growing singer-songwriter tentatively stepping away from his former band while occasionally tethered to their era-identified folk rock. Better things were to come.

SHORT TAKES — On Wednesday’s Today Show, Carson Daly revealed his first concert ever was Ziggy Marley. And as he and a friend took their seats, it seemed to Daly as if smoke rose from the stage. Daly’s friend said it was happy smoke

Leah McSweeney

I never heard of Leah McSweeney (another Bravo Housewife), but Tuesday she filed a lawsuit against Andy Cohen. More lurid details for sure. Is Andy this year’s Harvey? I’ll tell you, between Cohen, Puffy and the gals … it’s a huge, huge mess and heads will definitely roll at NBC/Comcast. Stay tuned … Yankee-Bernie Williams is at the Carlyle?

I haven’t heard his music, but this reminds me of Knick-Earl Monroe years back introducing his Pretty Pearl Records. I honestly don’t even remember the artists, but the project came and went pretty quick … Debbie Gibson on the 80’s Cruise with Wang Chung; Escape Club; English Beat; Soft Cell; Air Supply; Ray Parker; Animotion; and Tommy Tutone. Check it out here: https://the80scruise.com/lineup/

Richard Lewis photo by Stephen Sorokoff

So sad about Richard Lewis. He used to be a very, very frequent companion to me back in the day at Lorelei on West 58th street. He was always so funny and sweet. A true companion for the naughty 90’s. He’ll be much missed …

Kjersti Long

Zach Martin interviews 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long on his NEW HD radio today …  Felix Cavaliere and The Rascals at the Patchogue Theater on April 26 and SONY Hall on May 17th … Happy BDay Zach Lloyd; Mitch Ryder; Roy Trakin; and Judy Libow!

Debbie Gibson

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Jacqueline Boyd; Nancy Harrison; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jim Kerr; Debbie Gibson; Heather Moore; Roger Friedman; Mark Bego; Melinda Newman; Joe Lynch; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Amanda Naylor; Tolouse Bean; Howard Jones; Mark Alpert; Donald Johnson Kyla Nicole; Angela Tarantino;n Barry Fisch; and SADIE!

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Events

Eli Marcus Brings His Networking Event to Fushimi Times Square

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Eli Marcus, Chief Marketing Officer of NYC’s largest circulation Visitor Magazine, City Guide, has done it again. On February 28th he organized a wonderful networking event for those in the hospitality and theater communities. And true to form he did so in a beautiful new restaurant on 43rd Street off 8th Avenue – in the heart of Times Square. Fushimi Times Square is the latest outlet for the Japanese group who has had success in Staten Island, Bay Ridge and Williamsburg. Their restaurant at 311 W43rd Street is a welcome entry to the area and now that the scaffolding is gone from that block it is a pleasant walk to the welcoming door of this beautiful space.

Fushimi Beautiful decorations

The decor has a beautiful sculpture of a fish hanging from the ceiling which depicts the delicious selections of sushi and sashimi prepared by the talented chefs.

The talented chefs are in view as they create these delicacies.

Guests at the evenings event were served appetizers of amazing tuna tartare and a variety of warm dishes of dumplings, and eggrolls – pork, shrimp and vegetarian.

Tuna tartare is a burst of flavor

Dumplings and Eggrolls were served

Barry Huang, manager of Fushimi Times Square is a silhouette in the long entry way to this beautifully designed restaurant.

Eli and Ramon

Eli invited some interesting people to the event. Publicist to megastars, Ramon Henry II, has an interesting podcast  and is the author of The Fame Game.

Eli and Hugh Hysell

Hugh Hysell is a major force in the New York social circles and it was great to see him at the event.

Errol, Quinn and Eli

Errol Rappaport, promoter, and singer, actress, Quinn Lemley, who just returned from London where she performed her one woman show about Rita Hayworth joined Eli at the event.

Rocksax gave out merch to lucky winners

Rocksax, purveyor of officially licensed music merchandise was in attendance and gave out some of their product to some lucky attendees.

The beautiful bar

In addition to the wonderful food, Fushimi’s beautiful bar is a welcome spot to relax.

The crowd

As usual the attendees had an excellent time meeting, chatting and enjoying the food

Barry and Eli

Eli looks on as the Fushimi manager, Barry Huang thanks the guests for coming

Barry and the DJ

Barry and the DJ kept the food, drinks and music going through the event

I look forward to returning to Fushimi at 311 west 43rd Street for a full dinner of their excellent visionary Japanese-fusion dishes.

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Broadway

Grand Hotel: The 35th Anniversary Original Broadway Cast Reunion Concert at 54 Below

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Grand Hotel original cast members Karen Akers, Timothy Jerome, Bob Stillman, David Jackson, David Andrew White, and Walter Willison, reunited last night at 54 Below. Even original bass player Ray Kilday was there.

Tim Jerome

The fabulous David Jackson, David White

54 Below was transformed into Berlin’s Grand Hotel for the event. The staging was immersive as Walter Willison, introduced, directed and produced. The choreography (originally done by Broadway legend Tommy Tune, was there celebrating his 85th birthday on Monday night).

Two tango dancers (Michael Choi and Vanda Polakova), circled the room making their way to the stage for “I Waltz Alone.” The concert featured choreography by Michael Notardonato, who also served as associate director.

Bob Stillman Jennifer Bassey Davis

Ken Jennings

Willison, who also played Colonel Doctor Otternschlag) kept Maury Yeston’s entire glorious score. “I Want to Go to Hollywood” for example. That number was skillfully sung by Susan Wood Duncan, who played Flaemmchen in the touring cast.

Bob Stillman

Walter Willison

Ken Jennings stepped in as Otto Kringelein, leading the company in a moving “We’ll Take a Glass Together!” was sung in the bar area.

Diane J. Findlay

A highlight was Diane J. Findlay

Karen Akers

Jennifer Bassey Davis as Elizaveta Grushinskaya, and Akers as Rafaella, were haunting.

Susie McCollum

Harper Lee Andrews and Susie McCollum played the roles their mothers originated.

The cast

On Monday Happy Birthday closed the show to a reprise of “We’ll Take a Glass Together” and thus they did.

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Entertainment

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Maury Yeston and Victoria Clark Rescheduled

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I am so pleased to announce that on March 13th we are rescheduling our interview with are two time Tony winner Maury Yeston and two time Tony winner Victoria Clark.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a new show that is filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here second episode click here and for our third episode click here.

Hope you can join us for what will be one fabulous musical night.

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Events

A Look At The Vineyard Theatre’s Starry Gala

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Photo Patti LuPone and Jesse Tyler Ferguson© Bruce Glikas @bruglikas@broadwaybruce_

Here are photos from the Vineyard Theatre’s 2024 Annual Gala honoring Tony Award-winning actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Take Me Out) held Monday, February 26, 2024, at the Edison Ballroom, the festive evening included performances by Sara Bareilles with Rosie’s Theatre Kids, Patti LuPone, Lea DeLaria, Celia Keenan-Bolger and more. Sarah Saltzberg served as host and Hiram Delgado, Bill Heck, Ken Marks, Michael Oberholtzer and Eduardo Ramos paid hilarious tribute to their Take Me Out co-star.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson at Vineyard Theatre 2024 Gala © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Chelsea Clinton at Vineyard Theatre 2024 Gala © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Also attendance to support were Chelsea Clinton, Kevin Cahoon, Crystal Dickinson, Brandon J. Dirden, Brandon Victor Dixon, Renata Friedman, Montego Glover, Michael R. Jackson, Haskell King, Christine Lahti, John Lavelle, Luke Macfarlane, Justin Mikita, Deirdre O’Connell, Hadi Tabbal and Rolanda Watts.

Celia Keenan-Bolger, Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton, Sara Bareilles, Kevin Cahoon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Lea DeLaria © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Christopher Shinn, Emily Bergl and Luke Macfarlane © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

Celebratory toasts were also given to Rosemarie Bray, Educator at Union Square Academy of Health Sciences and Christina Poon, General Manager of W Hotel – New York – Union Square. The Gala will be

Montego Glover, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Sara Bareilles © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

The Gala was co-directed by Leigh Silverman (Suffs, Harry Clarke, Sandra) and Colin Hanlon (DOT, “Modern Family”) with musical direction by Vadim Feichtner (Spelling Bee, Falsettos, New Brain).

Sara Bareilles and Rosie’s Theatre Kids © Bruce Glikas @bruglikas @broadwaybruce_

The Gala host committee includes the Patrick J. Adams, Blavatnik Family Foundation, John Barrie and Betsy Smith, Kathleen and Henry Chalfant, Ken and Rande Greiner, Mark Lerner and Steven Frank, Padma Lakshmi, Sue Marks, Justin Mikita, David J. Schwartz andTrudy Zohn, Annette Stover and Richard Feiner and Julia Vitullo-Martin. Under the artistic leadership of Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern, Vineyard Theatre develops and produces new plays and musicals that push the boundaries of what theatre can be and do. For over 40 years, The Vineyard has nurtured a community of fearless theatre makers whose work has expanded the form, the field, and the larger culture. Vineyard Theatre has transferred eleven shows to Broadway, seven directly after their acclaimed Vineyard premieres: Lucas Hnath’s Dana H. and Tina Satter’s Is This A Room (both New York Times Best Theatre of 2021); Paula Vogel’s Indecent; Nicky Silver’s The Lyons; Kander, Ebb and Thompson’s The Scottsboro Boys; Bell and Bowen’s [title of show]; and Avenue Q by Marx, Lopez and Whitty (Tony Award, Best Musical). In recent years, four additional shows launched at The Vineyard have been revived in their first Broadway productions: Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive; Lanie Robertson’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar And Grill; Becky Mode’s Fully Committed; and Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Three Tall Women. From our home in NYC’s Union Square, The Vineyard develops and premieres new plays and musicals which go on to be seen around the country and the world. Recently, Jeremy O. Harris’ play “Daddy” (2019) received its London premiere at the Almeida; Ngozi Anyanwu’s Good Grief (2018) and David Cale’s Harry Clarke (2017) were recorded by Audible; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Gloria (2014), a finali st for the Pulitzer Prize, transferred to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre; Paula Vogel’s Tony Award-winning Indecent (2016) aired on PBS’s “Great Performances” and was one of the most-produced plays nationwide in 2019; and Oscar Nominee Colman Domingo’s Dot (2016) is being adapted into an AMC series. The Vineyard’s first major digital work, Lessons in Survival, was named one of the top theatrical experiences of 2020 by the New York Times and has been viewed by audiences in more than 40 countries. The Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, Susan Stroman Directing Award, and Colman Domingo Award provide residencies to early-career artists and our education programs serve over 700 New York City public high school students annually, culminating in Developing Artists’ REBEL VERSES Youth Arts Festival. The Roth-Vogel New Play Commission is awarded annually to a mid to late-career playwright to create and develop a new play with The Vineyard. Our work and artists have been honored with numerous awards including Pulitzer Prizes and Tony Awards, and the company is proud to be the recipient of special Drama Desk, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards for artistic excellence and support of artists. 

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