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Broadway

Good Night, Oscar is Sean Hayes’ Tour-de-Force Supreme

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Sean Hayes in Good Night, Oscar is giving one of the best performances of the year. He embodies Oscar Levant, the famed pianist, composer, comedian and actor as he appears on “The Tonight Show with Jack Paar” in 1958. Doug Wright’s new play at the Belasco Theatre, is a portrait of a mental breakdown and how Hollywood exploits talent. 

The play begins at a high-stress taping of a Jack Parr’s (Ben Rappaport) late-night show, as the network producer Bob Sarnoff (Peter Grosz), is breathing down Parr’s neck for ratings. He is not a fan of Levant or likes having him on the show. Parr defends Levant to the hilt, but of course he is running incredibly late. Oscar’s wife, June (Emily Bergl) tells Parr that she has decided to commit Oscar to a psychiatric hospital.  She has however, secured him a four-hour furlough to tape the episode.

Ben Rappaport, Sean Hayes, Peter Grosz
Photo by Joan Marcus

Oscar arrives with his orderly (Marchánt Davis), who is keeping his pills at bay, until the show;s assistant Max (Alex Wyse) a relative of Sarnoff, gets talked into giving Oscar the forbidden pharmaceuticals.

Marchánt Davis, Sean Hayes Photo Joan Marcus

In the meantime, Levant is hearing and seeing the ghost of George Gershwin (John Zdrojeski). His love/hate relationship with Levant, known as a major interpreter of his works; especially, “Rhapsody in Blue.” Levant was well known for his role in “An American in Paris,” but wanted to be known for his own works. Well known for his biting and outrageous wit, he was a guest on several talk shows. On the darker side, Levant struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety, OCD and schizophrenia.

Sean Hayes Photo by Joan Marcus

Hayes, is giving a genius one-man show that is zany and larger than life, but so was Levant. I had the opportunity to meet him and Hayes is brilliant in his interpretation. Hayes completely changes his physicality and his performance grows like an off-kilter, emotional rollercoaster.


Sean Hayes, John Zdrojeski Photo by Joan Marcus

When Hayes plays “Rhapsody in Blue” (Hayes is a classically-trained pianist), that alone is worth the price of admission as the waves of pain, resentment, disillusionment and ecstasy soar throughout his fingers and are splayed onto his face. This is a man high on pills, who gives his all because that is what is expected of him. It is heartbreaking.

Wright’s script captures the exploitation surrounding mental health and addiction, especially when it comes to celebrities.

Emily Bergl Sean Hayes
Photo by Joan Marcus

Lisa Peterson’s direction is spot-on and the supporting cast offers terrific performances that support and give him many layers to work with.

Alex Wyse, Sean Hayes
Photo by Joan Marcus

Set designer Rachel Hauck has the set of the network looking like a padded cell. Emilio Sosa’s costumes keep us in the era.

You will laugh wholeheartedly and then cry over the treatment and talent of Levant.

There are many who will not get the cultural icons of the time who changed history, or how powerful what Levant is saying for the era is; but hey,there are some who don’t even know who The Beatles or Judy Garland were. This is a must-see play, if just to hear Hayes play “Rhapsody in Blue,” but you will end up seeing so much more.

Good Night, OscarBelasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Broadway

Stephen Schwartz To Be Inducted into The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Legendary Award Winning Broadway and Movie Music Composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) will be inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 at 7pm.

There will also be concert emceed by Musician Paul Shaffer (from the David Letterman Show) who worked with Schwartz early in his career.

Schwartz has won 4 Grammys and 3 Oscars among other awards in his career that spans over 50 years both on Broadway and on the silver screen. Additionally, Schwartz has contributed music and lyrics to several movies such as “Pocahontas” (1995), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996), “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), and “Enchanted” (2007).He was also involved with the upcoming feature film adaptation of Wicked to be released in the fall.

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Broadway

Ani DiFranco and Lola Tung Join Hadestown

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The Tony and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical Hadestown is currently stars Grammy Award winner Ani DiFranco as Persephone singing “Our Lady Of The Underground”.

 Lola Tung (“The Summer I Turned Pretty”) as Eurydice, Jordan Fisher (Dear Evan Hansen, Grease: Live,) as Orpheus here singing “All I’ve Ever Known”.

Grammy Award nominee Phillip Boykin as Hades, and Tony Award winner Lillias White as Hermes.

They are joined by Belén Moyano, Kay Trinidad, and Brit West as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Chibueze Ihuoma, Alex Puette, and Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Sojourner Brown, Brandon Cameron, Tara Jackson, Max Kumangai, Alex Lugo, and Tanner Ray Wilson.

Hadestown originated as Anaïs Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Rachel Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

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Broadway

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Goes Live With Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane

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Photo of Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane and Suzanna Bowling

“Live From The Edison Hotel 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. We will run the video on our site every Thursday and then it moves onto the podcast networks.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Broadway royalty and longtime married couple Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. We talk about the Palace Theatre, Broadway HD and so much more.

We were also so excited 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 Bonnie and Stewart for joining me. 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 Edison Hotel for their kindness and hospitality.

We hope to see you there on February 21st for our guests the creator of Times Square and Hampton Fashion Week Dee Rivera, Celebrity hairstylist Samantha Smoker and Fashion Designer Shani Grosz.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley

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I am so pleased to announce our guests for Valentine’s Day are Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, the founders of BroadwayHD.com, an online streaming service on a mission to promote and preserve live theatre, extending the reach of Broadway and Broadway-caliber shows to anyone, anywhere. BroadwayHD currently has a catalog of over 300 full-length stage plays and musicals available for streaming on demand, so when you can’t get to Broadway, go to BroadwayHD on your tv, phone, or tablet!

Mr. Lane and Ms. Comley have collectively produced over 40 films and 45 Broadway shows, garnering nine Tony Awards and another 14 Tony nominations. They have also won Olivier Awards, Drama Desk, Drama
League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for their stage productions. Lane has co-owned Broadway’s famous Palace Theater for almost 40 years.

The theater community has honored the couple for their philanthropic work, including The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, The Drama League Special Contribution to the Theater Award, The Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons, and The Theater Museum Distinguished Service Award. The stage at Boston University’s new theater center is named in their honor, as is the Music Theater Program. The Musical Theater Society Room bears their name at Emerson College, and the 500-seat theater at the University
of Massachusetts Lowell is known as the Comley Lane Theater. Lane is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University, and Comley is Distinguished Alumni of both Emerson College and UMass Lowell.

Mr. Lane is a theater historian and playwright and has written the critically acclaimed “Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way” (Square One Publishers), “Jews on Broadway” (McFarland Publishers), “Let’s Put on a Show” (Working Arts Library), and the plays “In The Wings (published in spring 2008 by Hal Leonard), “If It Was Easy” (published by Performing Books and nominated for Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association), and the musical “Back Home Again” (with music
and lyrics by John Denver) which he was awarded The 2011 John Denver Spirit Award for his work.

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that will be 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.

Originally our guest was Maury Yeston, but he had to reschedule. He will be our guest at a later date, however Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, our guests for Valentine’s Day could not be more perfect. They are the epitome or Love and Broadway.

See you at The Edison Hotel.

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Broadway

Chita Will Be Honored As Lights Dim

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Broadway will dim its marquee lights to honor the two-time Tony-winning star of the original West Side Story Chita Rivera. This iconic star died January 30 at the age of 91.

The dimming of Broadway marquees will occur for the traditional one minute on Saturday, February 17 at 7:45 p.m./ET.

“Chita Rivera was Broadway royalty, and we will miss her with all our hearts,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “For nearly seven decades she enthralled generations of audiences with her spellbinding performances and iconic roles. The triple threat actor, singer, and dancer leaves behind an incredible legacy of work for which she was honored with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.”

Rivera’s Broadway career began in 1950 with Guys and Dolls. Her signature role came in 1957 when she played the original “Anita” in West Side Story. Other Broadway credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Visit and The Rink. She was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. She received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018.

We give you the talented Ken Fallin’s drawing of Chita in The Visit.

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