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Happy Martin Luther King Day

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To Honor and pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there is a Free Family Event: ‘Justice January’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Festival. Join to celebrate the inspirational and unfinished legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a day of creativity, friendship building, performance, and good deeds to bring out the best in one another! RSVP Required – Register on Eventbrite Here!

The event takes place from 1- 5 at Ceremonial Hall (4th Floor) 2 W 64th Street and will feature:

  • Social justice writing workshops with Writopia Lab, for ages 10-12 and 13-17 (please email Audrey Kindred to reserve a seat in a workshop)
  • Amnesty International’s Write for Rights Campaign, an opportunity to learn about and support dissidents and activists who are being punished for writing or speaking out for justice
  • ‘Drum Majors for Justice’ workshop for Ages workshop for children under 10
  • A participatory dance experience with Simba Yangala and Kamutshima Dance Troupe
  • All-day arts and crafts to create a community Peace Mural
  • Songs of liberation sing-a-long with DuPree and Barry Kornhauser
  • Pizza, snacks, and refreshments

 

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

Entertainment

Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe: Meet me at the Show Low Film Festival Arizona!

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H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe

A Royal in Arizona: 

H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe is honored to be in the Honorary Advisory Board of the prestigious Show low film festival with Kat Kramer, Bev Moore, Jimmy Star, Pete Wooster, Wolfgang Bodison and Jeff Reynolds.

“The fabulous Martina Beate Webster invited me to join the Advisory Board of her legendary film festival, and I can not wait to be there in person in October 2024 to award the hottest new films in the industry”, H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe the German Prince and Royal states. “My father Prince Waldemar and my mother Princess Antonia zu Schaumburg-Lippe are filmmakers and working Royals and so am I and therefore i love to dedicate my time to this artistic cause in the industry”, and even Prince Mario-Max Grandmother Her Royal Highness Princess Feodora of Denmark has been a film-lover. Very eclectic films Prince Waldemar often commented about his Royal mother.

The Prince hopes that many readers will join his friends and family up in the wonderful mountainscape: https://www.showlowfilmfestival.com/princemariomax

(more…)

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Celebrity

As Host of “The Traitors,” Multi-talented Alan Cumming Brings a New Flamboyance to The Peacock Network’s Hit Reality Game Show

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Not one to watch reality TV, I didn’t really get what “The Traitors” (the US version) was all about. But since it was hosted by Alan Cumming, the gender fluid actor/artist, I was intrigued to hear him speak about the show. He’s the host of the reality game show which is based on “De Verraders,” the Dutch show created by Marc Pos and Jasper Hoogendoorn.

Having completed two seasons, the offbeat American version features Cumming in flamboyant costumes making grand gestures and arch pronouncements as contestants in the game move into a majestic castle. As a result, Cumming has garnered an Emmy nom for Outstanding Host for A Reality or Reality Competition Program (“The Traitors”). This further enhances the show’s impact — but hopefully positive results will be in when the 75th edition of The Emmys airs September 15th on ABC.

The contestants work as a team to complete a series of dramatic and challenging missions. All of this to earn money for the prize pot. Some contestants are loyal, some are traitors — all of them established characters from other reality series.

Cumming — born on January 27, 1965, in Aberfeldy, Scotland — has had a long and distinguished career. He’s done everything from editing pop magazines, a cabaret show, dramatic TV series, various stage versions of Shakespeare’s plays and many starring roles in award-winning films. And, according to IMDB.com, “he’s able to flawlessly change his voice and appearance for each role.”

Now as he tackles “The Traitors” reality show, as both host and a producer, Cumming creates a new icon to connect to the LGBTQ community. At a recent screening of an episode, he spoke about this series just in time for Pride Month and preceding the Emmy nominations.

T2C: Alan Cumming, what makes you such an incredibly fun host to watch is that, unlike a lot of other reality shows, you really get into character. You become part of the cast in so many ways. What were your thought processes in coming into the show and figuring out how to play the role that you do within “Traitors”?

Alan Cumming: When they first talked to me about it, this was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. I couldn’t quite understand why they’d ask me but it sort of sounded fun. My agent said, “Oh, there’s some show in a castle and they want you to do it.” I took the meeting and realized they wanted me to, in a way, subvert the form of hosting a show like this by playing that sort of character. Everyone does a version of themselves when they host something that’s not very true. But in this [case], it was actually a version of me and it’s a very sort of down-to-east Scottish layout. [My dog] Lala wasn’t allowed to come the first time because of her papers, or COVID or something. But I said, “Oh, I should take my dog and pet her like a James Bond villain.” I thought of it, and I still think of it as a character that I play who happens to be hosting all these people in this castle, which happens to be being filmed for American TV.

T2C: What makes the character so interesting is that for long-time fans of reality shows, you have a lot of personalities who are binary in nature and larger-than-life. That is why we watch them year after year, characters like C.T. and Adra, who have been on American television for decades. You somehow manage to out-character them in many ways. It’s like navigating a lot of those personalities while playing that character.

Alan Cumming: In a way, it’s because they have characters and they all come with their shtick. That’s what’s so interesting about doing it. The first series was comprised of half-real and half-reality people. Definitely, the people who are used to the camera and have an inbuilt persona already, they play themselves very well and understand the role they have to do. Then they’re thrown into this thing where everything’s sort of destabilizing for them. I just guide them into situations that hopefully, will destabilize them even more. That’s what’s fun about it. Everyone has a character in a way.

I think we’re used to C.T. or Phaedra or people we’ve known for years. We understand their characters. We’re now associates getting to know my character in it. I’m sort of the stern daddy of it all. It’s interesting to play that role and also, to try to keep some distance from them — the cast — on set. I don’t talk to them or do takes. I don’t engage with them in a chummy sort of way like you might in a normal [situation] when there’s other cast members. I very much think it’s important that I have authority. They’re kind of scared of me. Then, of course, now, after it’s all done, I can be like a normal person with them. I think you find that really overwhelming. They all came to my bar as it was when they were here earlier in the year doing the press thing. It was so hilarious. It was like them seeing Father Christmas having a drink or something.

T2C: That’s the sign of a good host — that they’re scared of you.

Alan Cumming: They should be scared of me because I’ve got to reprimand them sometimes. There’s a lot of things, obviously, that are captured in the show that I’ve got in those situations where I’ve really got to intervene. My word is law. It’s great fun. Clearly, I’m a terrifying figure, but I don’t think I’m scary. Also, I don’t take any shit. I know how to play a scary person. I’m fair but firm in real life.

T2C: Part of what makes “The Traitors” so unique is that in so many other reality shows, both competition and lifestyle, there’s no real setting other than the competition. You go to “Survivor Island” and do this thing. Or, if you look at “Real Housewives,” it is their real-life kind of, from time to time. Here, you have this beautiful gothic backdrop. A lot of the events, whether it’s the funeral or going to a cemetery, feels very theatrical — and creepy. We’re almost subverting the narrative of what this type of show format really is while also being [true] to the format.

Alan Cumming: What I think is liberating is the theatricality of it. Everyone in television is very scared of theatricality. If you ever try to pitch a show to a TV executive, the word “theater” or “theatrical” is poison to them. It’s very liberating that theatricality is in its very DNA. It’s gothic and camp in the true sense of the term. American people sometimes don’t have the same understanding of what camp means to British people. What we’re doing on the trade is camp. There’s a sort of annoyingness to it, an archness of theatricality, and a winking at the audience all the time about what it is.

There’s me in those insane costumes in this castle saying, “Welcome to my castle.” We’re bringing all these nutty personalities out of their comfort zones and then making them do insane things and pitting them against each other. It’s so amped up already in a sort of gothic [manner] of what it’s trying to do. The core of it is just a game. All those shows – as I’ve discovered now in my crash course in reality competition television over the last couple of years – are basically the same.

“Survivor” is the same as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is the same as “The Chef” one. They’re all people doing things and then slowly one person gets put out and then they have to hold. Then there’s intrigue. Basically, it’s just like schoolyard games of pushing one person out until it’s just the next thing. In a way, what’s good about this is that that’s all it is. But it’s got all these psychological layers that I think people underestimate. Also, you’re in a castle and they’re maddened, these contestants, because they’re not allowed to pick up their phones. They’re not allowed to talk to each other. All they think about from morning to night is the show and the game. And they go nuts. It’s great.

T2C: We mentioned something, this idea of camp in the British sense of the term. Not necessarily what we think of it as evidenced by the Met Gala themes.

Alan Cumming: The theme was a good idea. People just didn’t understand it.

T2C: “The Traitors” has a British counterpart. There was a version of this before the U.S. version. What’s your take on what had to change within the format for a different audience, or if there had to be any changes, because television has become so much more globalized? Audiences are more open and receptive to different types of formats of television and different types of humor.

Alan Cumming: I don’t really know how to answer that question. I saw some of the first season of the British one. It’s not as camp and theatrical as ours. I think this is probably the first time in television history that an American version of the show is more camp and theatrical than the British one. I think that’s me, in my opinion. But I feel like, in a funny way, we were able to have more leeway in that department. That’s partly down to the costumes and Sam Spector, the stylist — he and I had an idea of the character I wanted to play.

[The British host] Claudia Winkelman has such a lovely personality and a lovely way in which she deals with people. They have real people, as well. They don’t have celebrities. It’s all a bit toned down and quite British. Whereas we were able — partly because it was a new show and partly because of the costume thing and me being this character — we’ve amped it up. It’s got this higher level of theatricality built into it. I think sometimes other countries try to do that. But I don’t think they’re quite as nuts as we are. I know that now there’s something someone said, “Claudia does your thing when she throws a picture on the floor now.” I was like, “Yes, you bitch, throw away my little picture.” But it’s kind of funny. Sometimes I see little clips of people from other countries’ versions. It’s like, “Oh, it seems like it’s sort of a fever dream.” You know vaguely what they’re talking about, but the circumstances are all different.

T2C: Going to the opposite of toned down, your outfits on the show are probably some of the best parts of it. They somehow get even more fabulous and glamorous every episode.  How involved are you with choosing the outfits versus someone else?

Alan Cumming: Well, very involved. I talk to Sam all the time. especially in the first season, because I said I wanted to be this dandy Scottish laird. You know what a laird means? It’s like lord in a Scottish accent, a Scottish dandy, sort of an aristocratic gent. To me, that means a lot of tartan, a lot of cloaks might be featured, things like that. I went to him with that idea and those sorts of things. Then he ran with it. We go back and forward. Then the second season, we were able to amp it up a bit. He themed the missions with my clothes. There’s one with birds. I just have a funny big peacock on my hat and stuff like that. For the next one, I’m about to go and do it again. It’s amped up again, more about layering things.

I have this great relationship with him. We text all the time. He sends some stuff to me, just ideas and things to improve. I think we’re going more and more and bigger and bigger. I think surely they’re going to stop us soon. But one thing I really do like about it is that — in terms of if we think about what’s happening in America and the way that trans people and non-binary people are facing lots of hatred and challenges — me, in this show as a middle-aged man, I’m being quite femmy and wearing a lot of practically feminine female clothes. What’s really interesting is to be able to do that in a mainstream way, and challenge people’s perceptions of what male and female is, and maybe be a bit in the middle.

Hopefully, when the audience sees someone in the street who’s non-binary or non-gender conforming, they won’t be as shocked or horrified. They’ll see me in a sort of a fanny dress and a cloak the night before. That’s a really positive, accidental thing that’s come out of this sort of theatricality of the costumes. One of the things that didn’t make it is … I saw it today in my dressing room in my house because I was doing a fitting for some little film I’m doing. I opened this cupboard in the last episode of the last season. It was all on this big ship, which was another story because we had a hideous storm and it was like “Triangle of Sadness.” It really was. I was vomiting into a metal bowl. I’ll never forget it. Thank you. And bon appetit. But there was a funny little hat that had a little galleon on it with sails. It was hilarious. It was sort of this Tracy-esque sort of thing. Absolutely bonkers. So impractical and nuts. It was on theme for the thing. But it was so windy that day that it kept falling off my head. Now I have it as a little memory.

T2C: As hosts, you are effectively the audience of the show. We’re seeing a lot of the things that you’re seeing and your commentary throughout the challenges is both biting and reflective of how we’re thinking. One of the themes that emerges in this episode you all saw as well leads up to this idea with these contestants, of gamers, those who have been on competitive reality shows and the non-gamers — what they refer to as the bravo, basically anyone that sits up and has fancy wine as part of their show. Is there a core advantage to one side or the other?

Alan Cumming: No, it was the funeral episode. The funeral. Yeah, hilarious. But I just love that because I liked it. As the series went on, they showed me more of me laughing. Obviously, it’s Pedro falling in the water. I just loved seeing how he’s always getting wet.

T2C: Who doesn’t?

Alan Cumming: Who doesn’t? But the thing I think about that, I thought was really interesting about the second season — this truly has been a crash course for me — I’m really at the center of it and I can experience it. I feel that a lot of people said that, “Oh, the gamers, they know how to do this, the survivors, the big brothers, the CT did.” The challenge, yeah. The perception is they are devious and they know how to do this game, whereas the outsiders are, oh, you know.

That’s not true. It was proven wrong in this season because — like, who was the one who worked it all out, kind of blew it in his execution of it — was the cutie little bachelor, Rafaela Peet. So, you know, the other non-gamer. That to me was really exciting because I loved when our sort of perception about the game was just smashed. And although I guess two gamers did win, but, you know … it didn’t necessarily mean it was because of their game win. It’s that somebody had to win. I think it’s really interesting. It’s a much more level playing field. Also, it’s a game of chance. You’re a traitor because I tap you on the shoulder.

That’s why I loved it when, a couple of weeks in, they’re going mental. They’re like, “I could never be a traitor.” I go, “You would if I tapped you on the shoulder.” That’s why the show is so good. It really screws with people’s minds, with the psychological, and the hurt and guilt that people get as well. The guilt [comes from] lying to your friends and everything. It’s layer upon layer of awfulness. Having seen people in physical distress, it’s always hilarious.

T2C: In the first episode of this [season], as you’re walking around, you’re going to pick the traitors. You do it a few times, and there’s conversation afterwards amongst the cast members about the sound of your jacket rustling as you lift an arm. Or your footsteps and the sound of breathing happening. How did you approach that moment of, “I need to make this as secretive as possible?”

Alan Cumming: It was absolutely the most terrifying part of the whole thing. I could fuck it up immensely in one fell swoop if they heard me or something. There were more of them this year. I do all sorts of things. The first year, we filmed a thing where I touched every single person. We’ve got the close-up of my hand going on the thing. We filmed that first. They’ve got an idea of what it feels like to be touched. Then we go round and round and round and round. In terms of the rustling, I would do this. Right in front of their ears. It’s so fun.

I really enjoy it; it’s the scariest part because I have a thing in my ear all the time. I can hear in the control room. When we’re inside the castle, they’re all in the control room, which is like NASA. It really is insane.  I could feel the tension because it was the first thing of the show. Obviously, it’s very tense in the room. When you’re blindfolded, your other senses get much more aware. So it’s really, really scary. I’m trying to get in and just do it without touching anything.

I was just talking with Sam, the stylist, this week about what I was going to wear for that bit. Of course, there were things on my lapels. I thought that would be terrible if you heard them. You have to be really conscious of stuff like that. It’s because everyone’s senses are so heightened. But it is exciting and terrifying.

T2C: Out of all of your friends or celebrities that you know, who do you think would be great on a season of “The Traitors?” And, what would you have more fun with? Or which role would you think would be better — a traitor or a faithful?

Alan Cumming: I would like to be a traitor. I think everybody would like to be a traitor. It’s just getting to go to the turret late at night and think who you’re going to kill. I just think it’s such fun. They get extra snacks when they go to the turret sometimes. But I don’t know. Some people really don’t want to be like that. That’s why we do this thing now when I interview them. It’s just hilarious. Lala and I are sitting there, and they come in one at a time, and they’re really terrified. Some people are adamant they don’t want to be a traitor.

Of course, that’s actually quite a good idea to make them a traitor when they’re doing that. That’s what I love about the game, is all these weird, confounding things you can do. Some people very much do think, well, you’re not going to. It’s actually really interesting, the mix of people that we choose for the show is all based on a lot of factors. But in terms of people that I know, we were just talking about her actually.

I think Martha Stewart would be so good at it. She’s so bossy and sort of strategic and so accomplished and everything. She would make that raft. She would get that catapult going. And, also, I just think she would be at home in a castle. So there’s people like that. But I love those people who come on the show. I don’t know who they are.

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Broadway

The Heart of Rock and Roll’s Huey Lewis Gets His Portrait On Sardi’s Wall

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Huey Lewis had the honor of being placed on the Sardi’s Walls of Broadway fame with his portrait at an unveiling by Max Klimavicius, owner of Sardi’s.

Huey Lewis Photos by Tricia Baron

Huey Lewis, Max Klimavicius – Photo by Tricia Baron

Huey Lewis, Max Klimavicius – Photo by Tricia Baron

Huey was represented on Broadway this season with the musical Huey Lewis  but he also made his Broadaway acting debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago in 2005 where the iconic Grammy Award wining rocker fell in love with the Broadway community.

Huey Lewis, Mike Baerga – Photo by Tricia Baron

Jonathan A. Abrams, Brian Usifer, Hunter Arnold, Huey Lewis – Photo by Tricia Baron

Brian Usifer, Huey Lewis – Photo by Tricia Baron

Many of The Heart of Rock and Roll’s creative and cast came out to congratulate him!

Lorin Latarro, Brian Usifer – Photo by Tricia Baron

Mike Baerga, Robin Masella, Huey Lewis, Autumn Guzzardi – Photo by Tricia Baron

Kayla Greenspan, Jonathan A. Abrams, Hunter Arnold – Photo by Tricia Baron

Huey Lewis, Tamika Lawrence – Photo by Tricia Baron

Huey Lewis, Ross Lekites – Photo by Tricia Baron

F. Michael Haynie, Huey Lewis – Photo by Tricia Baron

Autumn Guzzardi, Taylor Marie Daniel, Josh Breckenridge, Michael Olaribigbe – Photo by Tricia Baron

The Company of The Heart of Rock and Roll – Photo by Tricia Baron

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Events

A Dazzling Summer with Paramount+ Movie Nights at Bryant Park

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The magic of cinema is sparkling in a dazzling way this season at the 31st season of summer movies in Bryant Park.

The Big Apple’s movie nights have returned for another sparkling year as was demonstrated on July 22 with a screening of “Cinema Paradiso” thanks to Paramount+.

On the night that showcased the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1990, thousands of guests gathered on the great lawn to watch the first foreign film screening in Bryant Park’s outdoor movie history. Some attendees brought picnic dishes will others indulged in delicious and scrumptious dishes and drinks from Stout NYC and Hester Street Fair.

Coming up next for cinema delivers to attend:

July 29 – “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”

August 5 – “Arrival”

August 12 – “Titanic”

Paramount+ Movie Nights at Bryant Park are supported by Vulture and HSS. Screenings are free to the public and the lawn opens at 5 pm with films beginning at 8 pm.

For more info, please visit HERE.

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Columns

My View: Opening Night ….BOEING BOEING at Barrington Stage Company

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We were up at Barrington Stage Company last night for the opening night of BOEING BOEING and as Julianne Boyd BSC’s founder and recently retired artistic director had previously stated, “We need so much to laugh together. Each week, laughter becomes more important”. (Julianne Boyd directed the production.)

Well, the laughter from the audience at BSC’s Boyd/Quinson MainStage must have been heard all over Pittsfield MA. as they watched the classic comedy farce by French playwright Marc Camoletti unfold. 

The play came to Broadway in 1965 and was revived in London in 2007 and again on Broadway in 2008.

The cast featured Barrington Stage Company Associate Artists Mark H. Dold, Christopher Ingvar and Debra Jo Rupp, along with Gissela Chips, Stephanie Jean Lane, and Kate Maccluggage.

BOEING BOEING is deservingly getting rave reviews from all the Berkshire critics. It runs through August 3.

Here are some cell phone photos from the opening night festivities.

And…..stay tuned NYC for info on Barrington’s New York City Benefit this fall.

BOYD/QUINSON MAINSTAGE BARRINGTON STAGE CO

ALAN PAUL, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

DEBRA JO RUPP, MARK H. DOLD, CHRISTOPHER INNVAR…….JULIANNE BOYD, director

DEBRA JO RUPP, JULIANNE BOYD, EDA SOROKOFF

JULIANNE BOYD & EDA SOROKOFF

GISELA CHIPE

MARK H. DOLD

CHRISTOPHER INNVAR

STEPHEN SOROKOFF & ALAN PAUL

EDA SOROKOFF & RICHARD SLUTZKY BSC Board President

ALAN PAUL

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