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Happy Birthday Shakespeare, Celebrating with Globe’s Romeo and Juliet

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It’s William Shakespeare’s birthday today, and we are celebrating in self-isolation style in Toronto last night and tonight. The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on the South Bank of London has gloriously gifted us all with the free streaming of their 2009 production of Romeo and Juliet. And tonight, I’ll carry on the celebration with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival‘s filmed version of King Lear, which I’m totally excited about. Both bring back memories of past productions and of course the magnificent Canadian television series, “Slings and Arrows“, a show that after I finish writing this piece, I’m going to try to track down online and also dive into that a bit.

It’s about youthful passion and love’s young dream filled to the edge with impatience and desire. I’m also wanting to talk some sense into these love-struck kids, telling them to take a breath and pause for a second, and the outcome might be different, but it never seems to be heard. As directed with a sure-footed sense of humor by Dominic Dromgoole, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre production fills my heart with love sick glory, wanting to feel that flutter once again, but not to the same point these teenagers do.

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Adetomiwa Edun and Ellie Kendrick in The Globe‘s 2009 Romeo and Juliet.

I was told when I watched the romantic tragedy last night that some feminists refer to it as ‘the rape play‘ as Juliet, played intensely by Ellie Kendrick (Meera Reed in “Game of Thrones“) is almost 14 years old when she gets married off.  Now, granted, this was more the norm back in the day of fair Verona, but the beauty of this production is we feel Juliet’s young heart on fire, while we also see her inability to fully understand what the fire brings along with it. Touchingly serious, her Juliet might want to develop a wider range to her emotionality to make us really quake for her pain and desire. She seems more permanently angry all the time, even when dreaming of her wedding bed. But for all her hot-blooded urgency the young love feels right and true.

Romeo, in the hands of the handsome young Adetomiwa Edun (National Theatre’s Translations), is also well defined and filled with a fiery passion for life and love. His speech is perfection, and his intent well designed. He and Kendrick fill the space with a strong intelligent reading of the verse, but fail to really convince me of their undying love for one another. Their meeting at the ball registers as profound and life-altering, but the Capulet vault scene fails to register the sadness and hurt.

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Philip Cumbus, Jack Farthing, and Ukweli Roach in The Globe‘s 2009 Romeo and Juliet.

Director Dromgoole (Arcola Theatre’s Americans) unearths such clever use of music and frivolity in the interactions in between the drama and flailing around in heartbreak. This is most apparent with Benvolio, beautifully portrayed by Jack Farthing (BBC One’s “Poldark“), and his sidekick in play, Mercutio, smartly portrayed by the wonderful Philip Cumbus (Globe’s Macbeth),  who never seem to stop having a good time with their wise and witty interactions, even when in battle with the angry Tybalt, well played by Ukweli Roach (NBC’s “Blindspot“). Cumbus’ Queen Mab speech is one of the true highlights of this production, starting out as a childish lark, but gradually grows into something deeper and far darker than one expected from the playful beginning.  This shifting of tone is exactly what is needed throughout, especially in terms of the delivery of Romeo and Juliet’s poetry with one another, but more importantly, when they talk to themselves.

There are scenes throughout that I don’t recall ever seeing, most of them filled with good fun, diving headfirst into the playfully twisty wordplay of Shakespeare. It’s a shame the deadly pain of loss and separation within the leads’ hearts never feels as true or honest as the playful tossing around of mirth and merriment by the others. But it does, in the end, make for a well-paced and fine rendering of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. But I think I’ll watch, instead, Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic version if I truly want to be emotionally swept away and destroyed by young love and passion.

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Full cast of Globe’s Romeo and Juliet 2009.

If you are able, please donate to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (click here) or a theatre company that you love. They could all use our help, as they are in desperate need.

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

FOLEY’S FUN — I watched Axel F: Beverly Hills Cop the other night and though everyone looked dreadfully old, I rather enjoyed in. Murphy was 23 when the first one came out in 1984 and was a massive hit; 40 years later, the demand is perhaps not the same, but I was surprised by how much of the original music was repeated in this one: from The Pointer Sisters on down to Bob Seger; it was almost like a walk down memory lane.

Kevin Bacon, as a corrupt police captain, is the big bad here and while he was good, he was nowhere near as bad as Stephen Berkof as Victor Maitland in the original. Face it, the badder the bad-guy is, the more it works. It was great seeing the original cast back; I love Paul Reiser, Judge Reinhold and John Ashton, but newcomers Taylour Paige, who essays Foley’s daughter, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt bring real gravitas to the screen. Levitt continues to impress every time I see him. I predict he’ll find that one big role and will be a major, major star.

The script by Will Beall; Tom Gormican and Kevin Etten is pretty bland, although one line that Murphy says to Paige is a killer:  I’ve been a father as long as you’ve been a daughter.

Don Simpson

If you’ve seen the trailer and it evoked similar feelings as the one in 1984, it’s because the studio brought back the original editor to do the new trailer. Smart move for sure. Also impressive was adding the name of producer ‘Don Simpson’ in the opening credits. Much missed.

TRUMP BIDNESS — After the weekend’s events with Trump, what can you say. He survived and the ;photos and videos have been used and viewed hundreds of times. We don’t even talk about a replacement for Biden anymore?

There still are some that say it was staged, but were the injured part of the plan too?. Even for me, that’s a bit cyclical.

I lived through the Kennedy (both); King; Wallace; Reagan and Scalise events and they were just terrible.

Still you’ve got give Trump credit for pushing on …. right?

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe LIVE AID was 39 years ago last weekend. We we’re there, actually sitting in the row where they stopped to hose the crowd down. Was a terribly hot day at JFK Stadium. My main memory was Clapton, The Cars and Hall & Oates and of course, all of Phil Collins. Quite a day …

Have you seen this latest video from Ringo Starr? “Gonna Need Someone”- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9r0NthMLvtQ And that’s Nick Valensi (the Strokes) on guitar. Song was written by Linda Perry and from Ringo’s current EP Crooked Boy Sign Of The Times: LA’s famed Record Plant is closing after 55 years as one of the industry’s most in-demand recording studios. Hotel California and Rumours were recorded there. New York’s Record Plant closed their doors in 1987. Check this out from MIXhttps://www.mixonline.com/business/renowned-record-plant-studio-shutters?utm_term=2B400D4A-A644-43F4-980A-3A38D94AC1E6&utm_medium=email&utm_content=F16B421C-44D3-4A98-81C2-A992E5552E7D&utm_source=SmartBrief …

Jonathan Wolfson just sent us the new Daryl Hall album, D. Review next time …

Palm Restaurant

PR-pasha David Salidor’s book on the infamous Palm restaurant is due in September … Happy Bday Angelo Babbaro; Ron Shuter and Bill Evans. RIP Richard Simmons; Dr. Ruth; James B. Sikking; and Shannen Doherty.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Al Roker; Bruce Grakal; John Billings; Jane Blunkell; Chris Gilman; Peter Shendell; Barry Fisch; Eppy; Vinny Rich; Anthoiny Noto; Anthony Pomes; Matt Crutch; Lush Ice; Belinda Carlisle; Gary Gershoff; Steve Walter; Chubby O’Brien; Pat Walsh; Mike Shanley; and ZIGGY!

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Broadway

Hell’s Kitchen And New York Liberty Host Block Party At Block Party

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The new musical Hell’s Kitchen will be the presenting sponsor of the New York Liberty’s game today July 16th. As a celebration of New York culture, Hell’s Kitchen and the New York Liberty will host a free open-to-the-public Block Party for fans on Tuesday, July 16 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. on the Ticketmaster Plaza at Barclays Center. The New York Liberty continue to underscore their intentional focus to bring together its passionate community and fanbase.

To emphasize the unique intersection of sport and theater, the Block Party will include a meet and greet with select cast members of Hell’s Kitchen, special performances from the New York Liberty Entertainment team and the Brooklyn Elite Jumpers Double Dutch, exclusive giveaways from Keys Soulcare and American Express, food vendors and more!

The festivities will continue during the New York Liberty’s game against the Connecticut Sun, where the Liberty aim to build upon the historic momentum experienced throughout the 2024 WNBA season. During the game, there will be a special halftime performance choreographed by Hell’s Kitchen’s choreographer Camille A. Brown and associate chorographer Rickey Tripp featuring the New York Liberty mascot, Ellie the Elephant, and dance team, as well as an on-court giveaway where two fans will have the chance to win tickets to an upcoming Hell’s Kitchen performance.

Ali is a 17-year-old girl full of fire – searching for freedom, passion and her place in the world. How she finds them is a New York City coming-of-age story you’ve never felt before – Hell’s Kitchen, a new musical from 16-time Grammy® Award winner Alicia Keys, whose songs and experiences growing up in NY inspire a story made for Broadway.

Rebellious and stifled by an overprotective single mother, Ali is lost until she meets her mentor: a neighbor who opens her heart and mind to the power of the piano. Set to the rhythm of the 90s, Hell’s Kitchen is a love story between a mother and daughter.  It’s about finding yourself, your purpose, and the community that lifts you. Come remember where dreams begin.

The “powerhouse cast” is led by Tony Award® winner Maleah Joi Moon, Shoshana Bean, Brandon Victor Dixon, Tony Award® winner Kecia Lewis and Chris Lee. Hell’s Kitchen is directed by four-time Tony Award® nominee Michael Greif, with choreography by four-time Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown, a book by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award nominee Kristoffer Diaz – and the music of Keys, featuring new songs and her greatest hits.

The Hell’s Kitchen Original Broadway Cast Recording is available now via Alicia Keys Records/Interscope Records on streaming and digital platforms worldwide with a physical release to follow.

Hell’s Kitchen lottery tickets are available through a digital lottery the day before the performance at rush.telecharge.com. The digital lottery opens at rush.telecharge.com at 12AM (ET) one day before the performance with winners announced that same morning at 10AM (ET), with a second announcement of additional winners that afternoon at 3PM (ET). Winners may purchase up to two tickets at $39 each (inclusive of $5 service fee), subject to availability. Seats may be partial view.

A limited number of in-person Hell’s Kitchen rush tickets will be available on the day of each performance for $39 per ticket when the Shubert Theatre box office opens. Maximum of two tickets per person, subject to availability. Seats may be partial view. The box office opens Monday through Saturday at 10AM (ET) and Sunday at 12PM (ET).

Tickets for Hell’s Kitchen are available at HellsKitchen.com and Telecharge.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the Shubert Theatre box office. Ticket prices range from $59-199.

Season ticket memberships and single game tickets for New York Liberty home games at Barclays Center are on sale now via Ticketmaster. To learn more and view additional ticketing options such as group tickets and ticket plans, visit liberty.wnba.com/tickets.

The performance schedule for Hell’s Kitchen is Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 7PM, Wednesday at 7:30PM, Saturday at 8PM, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2PM, and Sunday at 3PM.

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ALEC BALDWIN — I’ve had my own issues with Alec Baldwin for years; then, literally on a dime, it all turned around and I found him to be pretty compassionate, intelligent and a nice guy. What happened in Santa Fe on the Rust set was an unspeakable tragedy, and his trial was halted yesterday and the case was dismissed due to evidence not being given to the Baldwin-team. The Santa Fe prosecutor Kari Morrisey seemingly told two different stories on the stand and outside the court room. She is, without a doubt, toast.

Baldwin is still liable for civil suits, but this case is gone and he cannot be tried again. A win for sure, but the questions still remain: who brought live ammo onto the Rust-set. Clearly that may never, ever be determined.

Baldwin’s a good guy with a short fuse, but this situation, once and for all, is done.

Mirage

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe the Las Vegas Mirage is closing … after 35 years. Opened in 1983 it was a great hotel and hosted The Beatles’ Love show. I have stayed there numerous times and loved it. The new owner will build a Hard Rock hotel there, with a HUGE guitar in front. Yet again changing the skyline of that town. It’ll open in 2027 …

Lyndsey Parker

Lyndsey Parker is a terrific writer. Her new site, Lyndsanity just posted a great interview with Micky Dolenz about his direction of the video “Love Is Dangerous” from Noel – masterminded by the Mael Brothers in 1979. Great piece, check it out here:  https://www.lyndsanity.com/music/micky-dolenz-on-directing-long-lost-dancing-is-dangerous-video-for-sparks-protege-noel-its-pretty-weird-huh/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2W-9c0OfpLdT3WVy52ZWliQu7XTVoVjaYREbiUMSAUcdgJatcsL547X8c_aem_8St7LVBDI_U5Qp-ZJ5lxQA

… Hard to believe there are only 8 episodes left of CBS’ Blue Bloods. Salary concerns killed this show and it’s a shame as it was really superb for 15 years. Bad move on CBS’ part …

Zach Martin

Veteran-broadcaster Denny Somach joins Zach Martin’s NEW HD radio – https://newhdmedia.com/rock-and-roll-for-grownups-debut-denny-somach/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR1j_BeyvWnRksk6pRN7IUtWK-kzu5G35zKqcjBUjVJOJ3w_b4IVFjDE6UI_aem_hW0aEBIVaHEwpJXVTItulA

Benny Harrison

Whatever happened to Benny Harrison’s album Pages? It was a great one. Heard an early advance and loved it …And, (via Deadline)

Stevie Nicks

There are special guest stars, and then there’s extra-special guest stars. Which is what Harry Styles what is as he joined Stevie Nicks at her July 12 concert in the UK for versions of her hits “Stop Draggin’ My heart Around” and “Landslide.” Styles played guitar on stage and held up on the Tom Petty/Lindsey Buckingham vocal parts. It was familiar turf, as Styles has joined Nicks on stage several times in the past. Nicks was appearing at the BST Hyde Park concert series on Friday. Nicks told the audience in London that she asked Styles to help her in commemorating what would have been her late Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie’s 81st birthday … RIP Dr. Ruth!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Nancy Ruth; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Jerry Brandt; Kent & Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Terry Jastrow; Steve Immerman; Jordan Immerman; Tony Seidl; Roy Trakin; Markos Papadatos; Sparks; Pat Prince; Cindy Adams; Tony LoBianco; Tone Scott; David Adelson; Joel Denver; Pat Prince; and SADIE!

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Events

The Ellen Hermanson Foundation Raising Money For Breast Cancer

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The Ellen Hermanson Foundation hosted their Summer Gala 2024 fundraising event, on Saturday, July 13th, from 6:30PM-11:30PM at Bridgehampton Tennis & Surf Club in Bridgehampton, NY. Oceanside cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the deck, dinner, dancing and an auction, with an after-party with a beach bonfire and s’mores followed. The gala raised over $350,000

The Foundation honor Dr. Fredric Weinbaum, medical doctor extraordinaire and former Chief Administrative Officer/COO of Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and The Honorable Rebecca A. Seawright, Member of the New York State Assembly whose 3-D screening bill signed into law expands access to cancer screenings without cost sharing, to include 3-D Mammagraphy. These are two brilliant people who have done so much to make our community a healthier place.

Jean Shafiroff, noted philanthropist and author, is the Gala Chair, along with the Young Professional Committee, Host Committee and The Board of Directors.

Notable guests were Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Martin Shafiroff, Kenneth Fishel, Ann Cirdullo, Lucas Hunt, Jane Scher, Gayle Brophy, Keith and Carol Grupman, Victoria Schneps, Alexandrea LaFata, Mady Schuman, Monty Farber, Amy Zerner, Allison Silver, Julie Feldman, Rakesh Nigam, Elizabeth Dew, Scott, Lori, and Justin Levine, Paulina Berse, Julia Haart, Rakesh Nigam, Elizabeth Dew, Daniel Padnos, Andrea and Maynard Hellman, Michael and Bernadette Olsen, Vinay Tack, Edna Kapenhas and Michael Valdes, Roger and Ilene Schiel, Minerva Perez, Tien Ho So, Rita Bonicelli, Rachel Goldberg, Cathy Norman, Norman Yojy, Leslie Grand, and Linda Bieniewicz, Liz Derringer, Phyllis Chase, Dr. Paul Trotta, Dr. Gary and Karen Boxer, Jody and Jack Wasserman, Howie and Sherri Lippman.

Photo’s taken by Roger Sichel

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Entertainment

Come Celebrate Harry Potters Birthday at Harry Potter: The Exhibition

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In the first Harry Potter story, The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry turns 11 on July 31st. In honor of his birthday, Harry Potter: The Exhibition at 50 West 34th Street, is celebrating with a variety of birthday treats and specials for visitors, including: free admission for anyone named “Harry” , $11 ticket special for everyone else, with code HPBDAY2024 (on sale now!), free ice cream for visitors between 11am – 1pm , one-of-a-kind commemorative birthday buttons  and ticket giveaways & contests with Z100 host Crystal Garcia.


Harry Potter: The Exhibition
is the record-breaking exhibition taking visitors of all ages on a one-of-a-kind journey celebrating the entire Wizarding World and includes some of the most iconic moments from the beloved books and films of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. Upon entry, everyone is given an exhibition wristband for a personalized experience using best-in-class immersive design and technology. From selecting a Hogwarts house (either Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin) to picking your wand and Patronus, visitors will be able to create their own, uniquely magical moments while earning points for their house with each interactive activity.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition closes August 11, 2024, so now is the perfect time to visit.

 

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