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He Says: ATC’s Sunday on a Saturday with the PH’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning Proudly Shooting in from Above

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On a long but fascinating Saturday, I attended too very different theatrical debates. One was a gaggle of twenty-somethings high on vodka and cocaine debating literature, privilege, and toxicity, and the other was an alcohol-infused discussion by the far-right on political agenda and Christian identity. Both were late-night, wildly combative dances due to the drunkenness of unfiltered truth. But only one really captured the essence of authentic humanity and its deep-rooted human conflicts, and it was not the one I expected. I also must add that neither are gatherings I would want to attend, let alone be entrapped in the devises of their theoretical debates, post-ironic jokes, and spiritual assertions, deliberating and engaging in the drill of reflectiveness and self-pity. Only one of the meetings pulled me in though, keeping me curious and attentive.  The other just made me feel old and cranky.

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Maurice Jones (Bill), Sadie Scott (Marie) and Ruby Frankel (Alice) in Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere production of Sunday at Atlantic Theater Company. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.

Spiraling into the night, backed by a towering collection of hardback novels, collected but not loved, a group of young adults; twenty-somethings trying to understand their relationships to one another and the world that surrounds them, gather on a Sunday night for book club. Guided into a youth culture of disappointment and dismissive verbiage by an awkwardly scripted narrator, played earnestly by Alice Ruby Frankel (AAS’s The Seagull), Atlantic Theater Company delivers to the door the World premier of Sunday at the Linda Gross Theater, a new work by playwright Jack Thorne (Broadway’s King KongHarry Potter…) that attempts to give us a new vantage point on the lives of these young somewhat dysfunctional and erratic souls.

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Zane Pais (Milo), Juliana Canfield (Gil), Ruby Frankel (Alice), Sadie Scott (Marie) and Christian Strange (Keith) in Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere production of Sunday at Atlantic Theater Company. Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

As directed with oddly inserted choreography by Lee Sunday Evans (LCT3’s In the Green), the evening of novel introspection is bookended with an interaction more interesting than anything in between. A nervous neighbor by the name of Bill, portrayed with quiet intensity by Maurice Jones (MTC’s Linda) comes to the door, asking the tenants to keep it down tonight, as it is Sunday and he knows they are having a gathering. Marie, gently played by Sadie Scott (TNG’s Downtown Race Riot) assures him that it is just a friendly book club, not a party, and that they will be quiet. It’s clear almost instantly that this is not going to be the case, especially as we watch the attendees arrive one by one with a stifling bland introduction by the narrator.  The structural narration feels lazy, giving us all this info and nuance for each rather than letting the story and their interactions do the work. And it is presented by one of the most unclear and least likable characters at the gathering. He keeps feeding us, like spoonfuls of corn flakes mixed with guacamole, as if we are as helpless as these participants to understand the complexities of their time and age, and the modern choreography dance breaks do little to deepen our engagement and understanding. It’s as if Evans wants to throw so much inventiveness at as to keep us feeling like this is something deeper and more profound than it is, as the insights don’t really add up to a heightened pile of books.

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Ruby Frankel (Alice), Juliana Canfield (Gil), Zane Pais (Milo) and Sadie Scott(Marie) in Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere production of Sunday at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street). Photo Credit: Monique Carboni

The play, written by an established playwright, feeling unfocused, like a young person’s attempt for understanding in the modern digital world. It sadly fails to engage, wrestling with the hyper-intellectual critique of privilege, and inauthentic friendship. I didn’t understand the impulses of Jill, portrayed by the talented Juliana Canfield (TFANA’s He Brought Her Heart…) and her attachment to the handsome, but horridly rude Milo played by the game Zane Pais (CSC’s Dead Poets Society), unless she is trying to inform us of the superficiality and the blindness of this generation.  Her character, even with the kind and warm connection she attempts to have with the troubled and complex Marie, is given little to engage nor connect clearly with, beyond Milo’s monied charm and good looks. Keith, tightly portrayed by Christian Strange (Alex Dinelaris’ “In This, Our Time“) climbs around on the books showing his desperation, while never really giving us much of a view inside. It’s a shame, but the fault lies not with the actors, as they are trying to give us a gentle tragedy filled with sweet reveals and truthful reactions, but with the context and the interactive exchanges. It all rings false, with the beats and the impulses firing up and falling down, as these five don’t really feel like friends, or as people who know, or even like, one another deeply.  They feel more like random constructs fulfilling quotas on qualities and types. It’s a gathering I would have hated to be stuck in, and never would have stayed beyond the first drink, let alone the descriptions of their defining moments in life and legend as they left late into the night.

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Maurice Jones (Bill) and Sadie Scott (Marie) in Atlantic Theater Company’s World Premiere production of Sunday at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street). Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.

But on a thoughtfully esoterically pilled set by scenic designer Brett J. Banakis (Broadway’s The Cher Show), with strong costuming by Ntokozo Fuzunina Kunene (Public’s Wild Goose Dreams), telling lighting by Masha Tsimring (PH’s Noura), solid sound by Lee Kinney (Signature’s Thom Pain…), and pulse enlivening original music by Daniel Kluger (PH’s I Was Most Alive…), the Sunday evening book club only finds its compelling lost ingredient after the kids run off into the night. It’s in Bill’s return, where the defining moment of Sunday finally arrives and saves the piece from destruction. In what is described as the most boring man around, Jones’ Bill gives us shades of what truly is missing in the morality of those twenty-somethings hearts. Even in the clumsiness of the back and forth dialogue with Marie, an essence of authenticity is finally felt; fleeting, but true. The beats of interconnection don’t solve the dilemma, but they at least make us sit up and take notice.

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Sadie Scott (Marie) and Juliana Canfield (Gil) in Atlantic Theater Company’sWorld Premiere production of Sunday at Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater (336 West 20th Street). Photo Credit: Monique Carboni.
Heroes of the Fourth TurningWritten by Will Arbery Directed by Danya Taymor
John Zdrojeski, Zoë Winters, Jeb Kreager, Julia McDermott in Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Over and up at Playwrights Horizons, another new play, Heroes of the Fourth Turning by playwright Will Arbery (Piano, Evanston Salt Costs Climbing), finds a clearer task in its straightforwardness, and an inner courage beyond just trying to be modern and unique. It’s a quick blast into a brutal beginning that shapes our perspective on these folks, courtesy of the finely focused Justin, directly portrayed by Jeb Kreager (LCT/Broadway’s Oslo). The play in its simplicity, solidly sets forth an agenda, giving us a much needed view into the backyard dynamics of the other side, perfectly designed by the talented Laura Jellinek (PH’s A Life), with strong subtle lighting by Isabella Byrd (PH’s The Thanksgiving Play), exacting costuming by Sarafina Bush (Greenwich House’s Broadway Bounty Hunter), and startling sound by Justin Ellington (LCT’s The Rolling Stone). Arbery has stated in an interview, “People say, who are these people that voted for Trump?” and in Heroes… we are given the difficult opportunity to join a few of them for a late night gathering to listen in as they discuss the religious war that is coming, and to try to understand the expanse of the grateful acre under their feet. It’s jaw-dropping-ly difficult and ear crushingly obscure, but it works, leading us to the roots of a Christian republic and mindset that truly believes in the “natural good” that should be operating within our society.

Heroes of the Fourth TurningWritten by Will Arbery Directed by Danya Taymor
John Zdrojeski, Jeb Kreager, Zoë Winters in Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Set in a small Wyoming town on August 19, 2017, the former fellow students of a right wing university gather to celebrate the naming of its new president, but its noteworthy to realize, as we are told, that this is also the day that Stephen Bannon, chief strategist for the Orange Monster, is fired (although Bannon insists that the parting of ways was his idea). It is also known and reported that he will return to Breitbart News, and begin his ramped up war against all those who oppose Trump, and that battle cry is regurgitated here clearly and defiantly in this peaceful backyard by a few of his devoted followers.

Once again, we find ourselves joining in with a pack of entangled souls at a party that I wouldn’t want to be at, but as directed with a sharp focus and deliberate action by Danya Taymor (Vineyard/TNG’s “Daddy”), the debate is one that pulls us in, even when the ideas and slogans turn our collective “nice young liberal” stomachs inside out. Don’t start with all that empathy, demands the impassioned and iconoclastic Teresa, played to prickly perfection by Zoë Winters (Public’s White Noise). We can find poetry in her fiery offensive war talk to the messy easily-influenced Kevin, portrayed drunkenly by the creative John Zdrojeski (13th Street’s Before We’re Gone) but it leaves a harsh aftertaste. Teresa’s fast-talking proposal of leveling up and prepping for battle rings solidly true, frighteningly so, as it is not new to our ears. We watch, uncomfortably, as it is easily digested by the weak-minded and confused Justin, a “future-priest type who always wants a girlfriend and doesn’t know quite how to be, but is so sincere and so striving“. It’s a compelling litany of information, ringing loud and clear, focusing completely on the crisis that she believes is ahead, while failing to give any weight to the artist at hand.

Heroes of the Fourth TurningWritten by Will Arbery Directed by Danya Taymor
John Zdrojeski, Julia McDermott in Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.

These are the people, most clearly, who have given rise to the current abomination administration, and it’s uncomfortable to watch, even when given the softer voice of suffering Emily, beautifully organized by Julia McDermott (Druid’s Epiphany). She is the pained daughter of the heavyweight leader, Gina, dynamically embodied by the fantastic Michele Pawk (Broadway’s Cabaret, PH’s A Small Fire) who everyone waits to see. The clash of ideals and disappointments finally arrive, but in unexpected ways and means, forcibly and diametrically giving us conflicting ideas existing in the same wide open space. At first it’s Emily’s openness being slapped aside by Teresa’s sure-footedness, but the real battle is within former teacher Gina and past student Teresa. This is where the backyard battle truly heats up in a way that is most thrilling to watch, even though there isn’t a side I’m willing to sit on, as both are problematic to my liberal Canadian heart.

Teresa embodies the strident believer who digs in deep to “The Fourth Turning“, a pop history book by William Straus and Neil Howe that was published in 1997, that describes the generational cycle of destruction and reconstruction. It informs her, almost as clearly as the lives of the liberals she studies, and lives among in Brooklyn, of her true righteousness and stance against liberalism. She’s entrenched in this structural view, one that a New York Times article wrote about and that Steve Bannon is obsessed with. She is quick to lay claim to the ideas it fosters, spouting them off as if they were channelled through her from God, including the idea of a war that we are in the midst of.  She’s intent on judging anyone who doesn’t want to join the battle cry, especially people like Emily’s friend who works for Planned Parenthood, in a way that is both provocative but recognizable, while also being confident in her direction to stand up to the powerful Gina and the serious Catholic intellectuals that she represents, who think about liberty in a society that answers to its people and honoring the promise of freedom in America as ordained by God.

Heroes of the Fourth TurningWritten by Will Arbery Directed by Danya Taymor
Michele Pawk, John Zdrojeski, Zoë Winters in Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The broken generator sounds its own earth shattering conclusion, as we watch the forces stagger off into the night. Kevin speaks of a dream in the mountain that is mysterious and beautiful. Emily, inexplicably being triggered by her buddy Justin, stands up towards a different state of being. It’s all powerful and ugly, joyfully harsh and dynamic, giving words to those generally ignored in the New York theater world, with little to balance our liberal beliefs on. As Asbery comments: “Your heart screams at the people you love sometimes. It rages against them And then you come back to them, and you love them, and you move forward.” This is a telling statement, and in Emily, somewhere, there is that similar testament to love, faith, and suffering, one that rang far more true and clear in the hearts of Heroes… than it did in the five twenty-something brats discussing self-pity and depressive thoughts during Sunday night book club. It was quite the Saturday.

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John Zdrojeski, Julia McDermott in Heroes of the Fourth Turning at Playwrights Horizons. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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

Off Broadway

STILL at DR2 Compelling Theater Can Still be Found Off Broadway

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Two strong and vulnerable characters portrayed by two flawless actors, a script with wit, sentiment and realistic conflict, seamless well-paced directing in a set that is surprising for an Off Broadway production proves that great theater is STILL achievable in New York. STILL, a new play by Lia Romeo, opened April 18th at DR2, currently running through May 18th is a show that is worthy of a longer run.

The question raised in the first few minutes of the play paraphrased here, ‘as you keep replacing parts of a boat when does the boat become a new boat?’, also applies to a person or a relationship, as a person grows in life with various new ideas and experiences when is that person no longer the same?

Tim Daly and Jayne Atkinson Photo by Joey Moro

Two old friends/lovers, Helen and Mark effortlessly and naturally played by Jayne Atkinson and Tim Daly, meet in a hotel bar after 20 years. The conversation is one that brings them and us, as audience members, up to date on their lives. Both successful in their own professions and at a crossroads where a renewed spark is possible, they have humorous banter that leads to flirtation, despite each of them humbly admitting to the other and themselves that they are in their 60’s. The set, designed by Alexander Woodward, adds to the intimacy of the meeting and as the conversation was leading to a more amorous setting, I was wondering how on the DR2 stage where could these flirtations lead figuratively and literally. Mr Woodward answers this question and does not disappoint with his scenic design.

As polite conversation leads to the ultimate kiss and more we root for the two to find their lost love and are rewarded when they do have their night together. The conflict that arises after their lovemaking is one that all of us are experiencing in today’s world. The rewriting of our own histories, the different feelings people have while experiencing the same event and the divergent beliefs we develop after separate lives are lived all contribute to us not connecting. The question is – will these two overcome all these obstacles to finally be together – soulmates meeting again after decades?

While tempers flare and some attacks by the two protagonists could be classified as hitting below the belt, Ms Romeo throws in a few funny lines, as well as an avocado, to make those punches palatable so that we still like them both and despite our own personal views can relate to each.

Jayne Atkinson and Tim Daly Photo by Joey Moro

Neither the wonderful dialogue nor the compelling acting could have been actualized so well without the direction of Adrienne Campbell-Holt. The movement of the actors whether casually sipping wine, blissfully lying in bed or violently tossing items Is choreographed like a dance. Ms Campbell-Holt is an award winning director, a recipient of the Lucille Lortel Visionary Director Award and is the Artistic Director of the theater company Colt Coeur, which brought this show to stage. Her direction is well paced and thoughtful and I look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.

With relatable dialogue, spoken by two seasoned pros, directed seamlessly in an impressive set STILL is a proof that theater can still bring out our emotions and make us think about ourselves and those around us.

STILL: DR2, 103 E 15th Street until May 18th.

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Broadway

Vanessa Williams & Bebe Neuwirth Announce the 2024 Drama League Award Nominees

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This morning Vanessa Williams and Bebe Neuwirth announced the Drama League announced their  2024 award nominations honoring Broadway and off-Broadway productions for Outstanding Production of a Play, Outstanding Revival of a Play, Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Outstanding Direction of a Play, Outstanding Direction of a Musical, and the much-coveted Distinguished Performance Award. Honoring Broadway and Off-Broadway achievements,

Bonnie Comely

President Bonnie Comely was on hand to introduce the two presenters at the official announcement held at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, which was streamed live online by BroadwayWorld.com.

And the nominees are:

Outstanding Production of a Play
The Comeuppance
Flex
Grief Hotel
The Hunt
Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Mother Play
Oh, Mary!
Patriots
Prayer for the French Republic
Stereophonic
Wet Brain

Outstanding Revival of a Play
An Enemy of the People
Appropriate
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
Doubt: A Parable
The Effect
Mary Jane
Our Class
Purlie Victorious
Uncle Vanya
The White Chip

Outstanding Production of a Musical
Buena Vista Social Club
Dead Outlaw
Harmony
The Heart of Rock and Roll
Hell’s Kitchen
Illinoise
Lempicka
The Notebook
The Outsiders
Suffs
Teeth
Water for Elephants

Outstanding Revival of a Musical
Cabaret
Gutenberg! The Musical
Here Lies Love
I Can Get It For You Wholesale
Merrily We Roll Along
Monty Python’s Spamalot
The Who’s Tommy
The Wiz

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Tara Ahmadinejad, Grief Hotel
Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic
Sam Gold, An Enemy of The People
Rupert Goold, The Hunt
Rupert Goold, Patriots
Jamie Lloyd, The Effect
Lila Neugebauer, Appropriate
Lila Neugebauer, Uncle Vanya
Sam Pinkleton, Oh, Mary!
Eric Ting, The Comeuppance
Whitney White, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Saheem Ali, Buena Vista Social Club
Sarah Benson, Teeth
David Cromer, Dead Outlaw
Rebecca Frecknall, Cabaret
Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along
Des McAnuff, The Who’s Tommy
Leigh Silverman, Suffs
Alex Timbers, Gutenberg! The Musical!
Alex Timbers, Here Lies Love

Distinguished Performance
Betsy Aidem, Prayer for the French Republic
Shoshana Bean, Hell’s Kitchen
Gabby Beans, Jonah
Joshua Boone, The Outsiders
Ali Louis Bourzgui, The Who’s Tommy
Steve Carell, Uncle Vanya
Jenn Colella, Suffs
Danny DeVito, I Need That
Caleb Eberhardt, The Comeuppance and An Enemy of the People
Alex Edelman, Just for Us
Cole Escola, Oh, Mary!
Eden Espinosa, The Gardens of Anuncia and Lempicka
Paapa Essiedu, The Effect
Melissa Etheridge, Melissa Etheridge: My Window
Laurence Fishburne, Like They Do in the Movies
Josh Gad, Gutenberg! The Musical!
Eli Gelb, Stereophonic
Brody Grant, The Outsiders
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along
Dorian Harewood, The Notebook
Willam Jackson Harper, Primary Trust and Uncle Vanya
Amber Iman, Lempicka
Eddie Izzard, Hamlet
Nikki M. James, Suffs
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Spamalot
Jessica Lange, Mother Play
Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen
Nichelle Lewis, The Wiz
Maribel Martinez, Bees and Honey
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along
Tobias Menzies, The Hunt
Cynthia Nixon, The Seven Year Disappear
Eva Noblezada, The Great Gatsby
Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious, A Non-Confederate Romp Through The Cotton Patch
Patrick Page, All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain
Nicole Ari Parker, The Refuge Plays
Jim Parsons, Mother Play
Sarah Paulson, Appropriate
Sarah Pidgeon, Stereophonic
Aubrey Plaza, Danny and The Deep Blue Sea
Maryann Plunkett, The Notebook
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along
Gayle Rankin, Cabaret
Andrew Rannells, Gutenberg! The Musical!
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret
Conrad Ricamora, Here Lies Love and Oh, Mary!
Corey Stoll, Appropriate
Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots
Jeremy Strong, An Enemy of the People
Zenzi Williams, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through The Cotton Patch
Jehan O. Young, The Cotillion

Special Awards
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater – Jonathan Groff
Founders Award for Excellence in Directing – Schele Williams
Contribution to the Theater – Jessica Lange
Gratitude Award – Kandi Burruss

The nominations announcement begins a month of celebrations leading up to the 90th Annual Drama League Awards, which will be held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom (141 West 54th Street, New York City) on Friday, May 17, 2023 at 12:00PM. Tickets and tables to the star-studded luncheon are available for purchase at dramaleague.org/2024-awards or by calling The Drama League event office at 212.625.1025.

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Broadway

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Pat Addiss and Dan Lauria

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I am so pleased to announce our guests for next Wednesday’s show on April 24th are Producer Pat Addiss and Dan Lauria.

Pat Flicker Addiss has been a producer on the following shows: Little Women​, Chita Rivera: A Dancer’s Life, Bridge & Tunnel, Spring Awakening, Passing Strange, 39 Steps, Vanya, Sonia, Masha & Spike, Promises, Promises, Gigi, Love Letters, Eclipsed, War Horse, A Christmas Story ​and Harmony on Broadway. Off-Broadway she produced Jane Anger and Buyer and Cellar starring Michael Urieher show, Dinner With The Boys with Dan Lauria and Desperate Measures, is currently playing around the country. A native New Yorker, Pat was a child model and actress. Went to Finch College where she majored and graduated in honors in Costume Design and Merchandising. She started her own Company Pat Addiss Enterprises which designed and manufactured all items and widgets with Corporate names and logos. For her work she was honored by the LPTW Oral History that was filmed for the archives of Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library. She was also given the Woman of Purpose Award by the “Three Tomatoes.”. With colleague, Magda Katz, she has initiated a formula to connect women through YaYa lunches, dinners and now the addition of upscale tea. She loves to speak to women over 50 “How to Reinvent Yourself.”

Dan Lauria is best known for playing the dad Jack Arnold on the TV series The Wonder Years. He also played NASA Administrator James Webb in the 1998 TV miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and Commanding Officer, USA in 1996’s Independence Day. More recently he has appeared as Police Commissioner Eustace Dolan in The Spirit. He appeared as Coach Hamstrung in The Three Stooges N.Y.U.K. on AMC in 2000. Lauria appeared on stage in New York in the summer of 2006 in an off-Broadway production of A Stone Carver by William Mastrosimone with Jim Iorio and Elizabeth Rossa. Lauria also had a small role in a season two episode of Army Wives, as well as a season one episode of The Mentalist. In 2009, Lauria has appeared as General Lee Whitworth, M.D. in Criminal Minds season 4. He has also appeared in an episode of Boy Meets World. In late 2009, Lauria returned to the off-Broadway stage, appearing as Jimmy Hoffa in Brian Lee Franklin’s Good Bobby, a fictionalized account of Robert F. Kennedy’s rise.

Dan is also a very familiar face to the off-off, off and regional theatre scene having performed, written or directed over 50 professional stage productions.  He has appeared as a guest star in over seventy television episodic programs and more than twenty ‘Movie Of The Week’ productions plus a score of motion picture credits.  

In 2010-11 Dan was seen on Broadway in the long running production of Lombardi as the legendary coach Vince Lombardi with the beautiful and talented Judith Light, directed by Thomas Kail of Hamilton fame and returned again in the 2013-14 productions of the Tony nominated A Christmas Story: The Musical, directed by John Rando. 

Dan and dear friend, the lovely and talented Ms. Wendie Malick have performed the play The Guys by Anne Nelson (about our first responders) for numerous theatre and fire departments, around the country. Wendie and Dan also perform Love Letters as a fundraiser for regional theatres, for the development of new plays.  

Dan has now wrote and starred in the off Broadway production of Dinner With The Boys produced by the one and only Pat Addiss and the NJ Rep. This was followed by a off Broadway production of The Stone Witch  and the upcoming Regional production of Lee Blessings new play; Tea With The Boss with Gwenn and Wendie Malick.  

He is about to star in Just Another Day written by Lauria. The show will run May 3-June 30 at Theater555 and also stars Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed). Between them, Lauria and McCormack have over 100 years of live theatrical experience, as well as over 150 television shows and films.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a new show filmed in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode here, six episode here, seventh episode here, eight episode here and ninth episode here.

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Off Broadway

Gun & Powder is a Powerful Piece of Musical Theatre

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Over at Paper Mill Playhouse there is a new powerhouse musical that opened last night. Gun & Powder is the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke, African American twin sisters who, pass as white to settle their mother’s sharecropper debt. In the meantime they learn to love who they are, celebrate their history and bloodline.

The direction of this show by Stevie Walker-Webb features a superb cast, a compelling story, and possibly one of the best new scores to come along in awhile, sung to perfection.

Liisi LaFontaine Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Set in 1893 Texas the show is centered on the book writer and the lyricists Angelica Chéri great- great aunts Mary and Martha Clarke (the incomparable Ciara Rene and Liisi LaFontaine who sing and act these roles flawlessly). Born into slavery, their mother Tallulah Clarke (Jeannette Bayardelle) had the girls with a Caucasian man so they are light skinned. When they are penalized for not reaching their quota of cotton, they will lose everything unless they come up with $400. Mary and Martha decide to leave posing for white. Martha is given a gun by her mother and when she finds the power that gun affords her, the two ended up robbing to get ahead. They ended up in a saloon owned by Jesse (Hunter Parrish) and Mary falls in love and ends up marrying him, but that is when the real action begins.

Sonya Love and Aurelia Williams Photo by Jeremy Daniel

There are also the two housemaids of the Salon, Flo and Sissy (Sonya Love and Aurelia Williams) who almost steal the show with their attitude and killer vocals in “Dirty Shame”. Also standing out are Aaron James McKenzie as Elijah a black servant who falls in love with Martha and sings “Invisible”. His duet with LaFontaine “Under a Different Sun” is in a word, gorgeous. The fabulous Katie Thompson, plays Fannie Porter a white saloon singer who sings “Frenchman Father” and makes you really listen.

Katie Thompson Photo by Jeremy Daniel

The star of this show is Chéri’s lyrics and composer Ross Baum’s music. From Jazz, to Gospel, to Spirituals to blues, to Broadway, this score soars. It is like going to musical theatre church. From the “Prologue”, to “Wide Open Plains” until “All of Me,” this score captures you heart, mind and soul. The orchestrations by John Clancy, just enhance the whole experience.

Hunter Parrish Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Tiffany Rea-Fisher’s choreography keeps the show in a profound transformation.

The scenic design by Beowulf Boritt is simple yet effective. The lighting design by Adam Honor really makes the set come to life and the costume design by Emilio Sosa keeps us in the period.

Gun & Powder and Chéri and Baum are a show and a team of writers to keep your eye on. I predict big things for both.

This musical is fresh and exciting and if it doesn’t make it to Broadway next year I would be surprised.

Make sure you get your tickets. You will not be disappointed.

Gun & Powder: Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Dr, Millburn, NJ until May 5th.

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Broadway

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Pascale Roger-McKeever and Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. This particular episode was filmed in two parts at different times due to the weather and extenuating circumstances.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Pascale Roger-McKeever and Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton.
We are so proud because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

Austin Pendleton, Suzanna Bowling

Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever

I am so grateful to my guests Pascale Roger-McKeever and Austin Pendleton. for joining me.

Austin Pendleton, Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling

Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever

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 Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

Austin Pendleton

Suzanna Bowling, Pascale Roger-McKeever, Craig J Horsley

Suzanna Bowling

Pascale Roger-McKeever will be starring in Fingers and Spoons directed by Tony Award nominee Austin Pendleton. Soho Playhouse 15 Vandam Street. starting on April 25th.

Roger Sichel, Austin Pendleton, Rommel Gopez, Suzanna Bowling

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 17th. We will be announcing our guests tonight.

All photo’s except for the picture with Roger are by Roger Sichel.

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