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Sitting in the theatre waiting for The Metromaniacs, a new play from the King of 17th and 18th Century adaptations, David Ives (The Liar, The Heir Apparent), a good stiff drink, maybe a Red Bull and Vodka would have been just the ticket.  Not that I needed it, although the caffeine in the Red Bull would have helped get me through the slightly slower first act, overall it would have just added to the fun. I was also told by my lovely theater companion to refocus my attention from naval-gazing and people watching to the program notes as written. He instructed me to read the interesting few paragraphs from the playwright Ives describing his inspiration for this new adaptation.
Haphazardly, he stumbled upon an obscure play with the intriguing, and in his mind, most superb title, La Métromanie (simply translated: The Poetry Craze), and he couldn’t help himself. He just had to dig in to this French farcical world, finding a “blurry offprint” online that, to his surprise, had the most disparaging introduction by a French scholar who found the play completely amoral and couldn’t hold back his disapproval. The author, Alexis Piron, a poet from the late 1600’s/early 1700’s, had lived a life “dogged by controversy”, and an “uncanny ability to make powerful enemies”. Mostly forgotten today, his fascinating and intoxicating back story only enticed Ives even more. You see, Piron had a grand and naughty existence, living a life of material comfort (much like his lead character in The Metromaniacs) but failing to be indicted into the Académie Française, for a number of reasons, including a lengthy piece of writing entitled Ode To The Penis. Naturally, with a life and literary history like that, Ives was hooked, as was I. What’s not to love about this story, and what a great way to set oneself up for a night of frivolous and fun farce at the theatre. And it is exactly as one would imagine: it’s playful and ridiculous, just as one should expect from an obscure poet who likes to write long rhythmic studies about genitalia, especially when guided and fiddled with by the witty and genius modern french farce adaptor, David Ives.
Dina Thomas, Noah Averbach-Katz, Christian Conn, Adam Green and Adam LaFevre. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
Last January, with the same manner of thought, I entered another of Ives’ adaptations at the Classic Stage Company, truly believing that a play written in rhyming pentameter couplets could or would almost always send me instantly into panic mode. In my review of The Liar I wrote that “way back, when I was in my late teens, I sat through a play at the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario that was in verse,..that production goes down in my own theatrical history as the most excruciating time spent in a theatre, even more so than Finding Nederland… It’s like PTSD (Post-Theatric Stress Disorder). I literally groaned (internally)“, but much like that gloriously fun farce, my response, I am quite happy to say, was not warranted for The Liar, and most definitely not for The Metromaniacs either. As it began, I reminded myself of his witty and smart writing style and his delight in wordplay, making it possible to set that worry aside, sit back, and be ready to be thrilled and delighted by all the silly jokes and sharp-witted asides. It’s like having a few quick and fizzy cocktails just before the curtain rises; a few Red Bull and Vodkas to sharpen our senses and slap a silly smile on our collective faces. The play is an effervescent tickle and alcohol high, a guaranteed laugh, especially when mixing in the historical reality of the playwright’s muse that spiked this adaptation. So make the next one a strong one, Mr. Barman!
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The story line is based on the academically ridiculed Piron play, which back in the day played up a surprisingly true scandal that rocked Paris in its time. In my reading of the literary scandal, it feels almost too far-fetched that this charming and silly play in rhyme could have any connection to reality or history. Knowing the true tale parallels just adds to the joy of Ives adaptation, especially in the details of its fame and popularity. It seems that there was a Parisian poet who wrote under the pen-name of Mademoiselle Malcrais de La Vigne from the distant Brittany, a place not very well-regarded by those snobby Parisians at the time. Her writing was so celebrated and loved by all that the satirist Voltaire publicly declared his love for the lady-writer and her works, offering to marry the poetess, even though they had never met face to face.  It was revealed later on that the poetess was really a man by the name of Paul Desforges-Maillard seeking to have revenge upon the poetry establishment for not appreciating his poetic genius. Voltaire, naturally, wasn’t exactly pleased, especially when Piron staged his embarrassment for  all to laugh at. And to make matters worse, the show was a hit. Cheers to Piron!
Amelia Pedlow, Adam LaFevre, and Noah Averbach-Katz. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
This adaptation of that farce, written by the genius Ives, takes great pleasure sending up all the stories that Piron most lovingly created, converging them all in the fanciful ballroom of his Desforges-Maillard/Piron stand-in creation, the very wealthy and ill-regarded poet by the name of Francalou. He is played here in the Red Bull Theater production with a sweet simpleton manner by the always delicious Adam LeFevre (The Liar, Broadway’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert), having a grand old-time ushering in the far too numerous goings-on. Ives described his play as “a comedy with five plots, none of them important“, and he couldn’t be more correct in that statement.  But it is in the ridiculousness of these plots (especially knowing they all are sort of based on fact) that the beauty and the fun flows like cheap champagne. So please sir, refill my glass. I want some more…
Christian Conn, Noah Averbach-Katz and Amelia Pedlow. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
There is a [editor’s note: please place the adjective ‘ridiculous’ before each and every character descriptive] young poet by the name of Damis, played with a grin and a smirk by the handsome Christian Conn (Red Bull’s The School for Scandal). He has, like Voltaire, fallen in love with the prose of the mysterious, but unseen female poet. Arriving at the home of Francalou with his trusted valet, Mondor, played with a drunken and adorable charm by Adam Green (Red Bull’s The Witch of Edmonton), he is playing a different part with almost every person who walks into the ballroom, one of which is surprised by the arrival of his angry uncle, Baliveau, well-played by the wonderfully fun Peter Kybart (Broadway’s Awake and Sing) who has an axe to grind with his young and frivolous nephew. Why all the different names and disguises incognito? I could try to explain, but in more ways than one, you should just swallow it all like a stiff shot, and just believe that with enough, it will all come close to seeming necessary. Or at least feel like a whole lot more fun. So order me another one, and make it quick!
Adam LaFevre and Peter Kybart. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
There is the young dull-minded and dim-witted Dorante, played with a glorious physicality by the dashing Noah Averbach-Katz (Two Rivers’ The Lion in Winter) who wants desperately to be loved by Francalou’s lovely and poetry-obsessed daughter, Lucille, played with a perfect level of distracted deliciousness by Amelia Pedlow (Primary Stage’s Pride and Prejudice). Dorante, in need of some great help and guidance in this matter, as it appears he’s quite unable to manage this himself, is assisted by the gloriously funny Dina Thomas (Off-Broadway’s Tribes) as Lisette, Lucille’s maid and sometimes stand-in actress. She is wonderfully silly in the part, flinging herself into every situation with glee and levitating all around her, or “vice versa“. All of these seven delectable characters are having the time of their lives, running in and out, frolicking and diving into each other in a manner that could only happen in a farce of this nature.  It’s gloriously fun, as the rhythmic words fly off each other’s lips with aplomb, as if they are all drunk on love, poetry, and a never-ending supply of mirth and bubbly.
Amelia Pedlow and Dina Thomas. Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
It’s a perfectly delectable fun couple of hours.  The first act does drag a bit, feeling less like champagne, and more like fizzy water. I did occasionally lose track of myself, but the second half finds its teetering footing and skips easily homeward bound, wrapping up all the story lines with zeal, and finding love and companionship for all.  The Liar, Ives’ modern take of Shakespearian proportions on a French Comedy, which in turn was based on a Spanish play, La Verdad Sospechosa, somehow seems a stronger and structurally better play, suited more to this type of ingenious adaptation. It might just be that The Metromaniacs‘ base ingredient is not as high quality or top shelf as The Liar‘s, but director Michael Kahn (Broadway’s Whodunnit), as he did with The Liar, keeps the giddiness at a high and festive level. With strong work from the design team of James Noone (set design), Murell Horton (costumes), Betsy Adams (lighting), Adam Wernick (composer), Matt Stine (sound), and wig design by Dori Beau Seigneur, Ives generously treats us to his quickness and fanciful flair for the ridiculousness, just like any good bartender pouring some inventive cocktails should. The production keeps the energy and the charm flying high and free, with the flavorful bubbly flowing, but the buzz can’t last forever. It fades not too far from the theatre once all this madness gets wrapped up, but the time spent inside the Duke on 42nd Street drinking in the joyfulness of The Metromaniacs is time well spent. The remedy, you see, for all that scandal outside the door, is right here, inside this farce. So drink up fellas, so that we all can handle another day of CNN and MSNBC, cause that scandal is not going to go anyway any time soon.
Peter Kybart, Dina Thomas, Adam Green, Adam LaFevre, Christian Conn, Noah Averbach-Katz and Amelia Pedlow in a scene from David Ives’s THE METROMANIACS, directed by Michael Kahn, presented by Red Bull Theater at The Duke on 42nd Street Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

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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 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


Theatre News: Smash, I Need That, Good Night, Oscar, Funny Girl, This Beautiful Lady and In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical



The NBC television series Smash is coming to Broadway for the 2024-2025 season. Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron and Steven Spielberg will produce. The musical will feature a book co-written by three-time Tony Award nominee Rick Elice and Tony winner Bob Martin. Tony and Grammy winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Some Like It Hot). The team earned three Emmy nominations for their songs from the “Smash” series will pen the score, which will feature numbers from the TV show.

Five-time Tony winner Susan Stroman (New York, New York) will direct and Tony nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse will choreograph.

The series was created by Theresa Rebeck and Spielberg, launch the series. Spielberg is also one of the co-producers of Good Night, Oscar, which begins performances at the Belasco Theatre on April 7.

Official dates, theater, creative team and casting for the “Smash” stage musical will be announced at a later date.

Speaking of the Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Theresa Rebeck, Danny DeVito and Lucy DeVito are set to star in her new play I Need That at the Roundabout. The new comedy will be directed by Tony nominee Moritz von Stuelpnagel which will open at the American Airlines Theatre in October. The cast will also include Ray Anthony Thomas. … Also newly announced for Roundabout’s new Broadway season is a spring 2024 revival of Samm-Art Williams’ 1980 Tony-nominated play “Home.” Tony winner Kenny Leon will direct

Speaking of Good Night, Oscar, Doug Wright’s play was named finalist for 2023 new play award by The American Theatre Critics Association. The other six finalists for the 2023 Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award include: Born With Teeth by Liz Duffy Adams, the ripple, the wave that carried me home by Christina Anderson, Sally & Tom by Suzan-Lori Parks, Spay by Madison Fiedler and
Swing State by Rebecca Gilman.

Paolo Montalban and Anne L. Nathan are joining Lea Michele in  Funny Girl as Florenz Ziegfield and Mrs. Strakosh. Montalban and Nathan will replace original cast members Peter Francis James and Toni DiBuono, who take their final bows on March 26th.

Elizabeth Swados’ This Beautiful Lady will play at La MaMa this May. Previews will begin May 5 for the Off-Broadway run ahead of the May 8 press opening, with performances set through May 28 in the Ellen Stewart Theatre.

In The Trenches: A Parenting Musical, with book, music, and lyrics by Graham & Kristina Fuller, will receive industry readings on Friday, March 24th at 11am & 3pm at Ripley Grier Studios. The readings will be directed by Jen Wineman (Dog Man: The Musical) and will feature music direction by Rebekah Bruce (Mean Girls) and arrangements by Dan Graeber, Graham & Kristina Fuller.

The cast of In The Trenches features Amanda Jane Cooper (Wicked), Jelani Remy (The Lion King, Ain’t Too Proud), Christine Dwyer (Wicked), Caesar Samayoa (Come From Away), Max Crumm (Grease, Disaster!), and Vidushi Goyal.Join two bleary-eyed young parents as they trudge through the trenches and discover their new post-baby identities. In an evening of new-parent greatest hits, a foul-mouthed toddler zeroes in on “the most dangerous thing in the room”, tap dancing towards bleach, knives, and tide pods; a chronically-overlooked younger sibling sings the “second child blues”; a mom trio celebrates yoga pants in an R&B love song to the “official mom uniform”; dad discovers he’s not the “ice-cream and movie-night cool parent” but rather the “do your homework real parent” amid a kiddo sugar-crash; and mom retrieves a sticky, hair-covered pacifier from the floor of a LaGuardia bathroom while her baby screams bloody murder and her flight boards without her. 

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Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and More To Perform at TheaterWorksUSA Spring Gala



TheaterWorksUSA, currently presenting the hit family show Dog Man The Musical at New World Stages, will host its annual Spring Gala on Monday, April 24 (cocktails begin at 6 PM) at The Current at Chelsea Piers.

100% of the net proceeds from the event will support our mission to create exceptional, transformative theatrical experiences that are accessible to young and family audiences in diverse communities across New York City and North America.

This year TWUSA will honor Lisa Chanel (TWUSA Board Chair 2019-2022), Andréa Burns  (Award-winning Broadway actress & educator), Peter Flynn (TWUSA alumnus and award-winning director, writer, and educator), and Holly McGhee (Founder and Creator of Pippin Properties, New York Times best selling author). The event will feature appearances by some of Broadway’s biggest stars, including Jason Robert Brown, Chuck Cooper, Janet Dacal, Kevin Del Aguila, Sutton Foster, Lillias White and more.

On behalf of TheaterWorksUSA’s Board of Directors, we are thrilled to celebrate the people who have generously supported our mission, making it possible for us to bring high-quality theater to young audiences of all backgrounds throughout the country. We look forward to recognizing Lisa, Andréa, Peter, and Holly publicly at this very special event. – Tracy A. Stein, Board Chair

It’s a privilege to honor these individuals for playing such an important role in the work we do. Their vision, creativity, and ongoing commitment to our mission is truly something to celebrate. They are very much a part of our TheaterworksUSA family.- Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director

TheaterWorksUSA (Barbara Pasternack, Artistic Director; Michael Harrington, Executive Director) has led the Theater for Young and Family Audiences movement in New York City and across North America for over half a century. At TWUSA, we believe that access to art—and theater, in particular—is vital for our youth. Since 1961, the 501(c)3 not-for-profit has captured the imaginations of 100 million new and veteran theatergoers with an award-winning repertoire of over 140 original plays and musicals. Acclaimed alumni include Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Disney’s Frozen), Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent), Jerry Zaks (The Music Man), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen), Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton), Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America), and Chuck Cooper (Tony award-winning actor, The Life). WWW.TWUSA.ORG

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Theatre News: Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, Parade, The Shubert Organization Donates to ECF and Millennials Are Killing Musicals,



Tovah Feldshuh, Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton at Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Bruce Glikas

The curtain was raised last night at The Music Box Theatre (239 West 45th Street) as Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, the American showbusiness legend’s landmark musical tribute to the artform that defined his life, opened on Broadway 45 years after the original smash-hit production premiered. The production’s direction and musical staging is by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento, one of the stars of the original Broadway production, and is produced in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.

Wayne Cilento and Bernadette Peters. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Chita Rivera at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

In attendance on opening night were Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nicole Fosse; original A Chorus Line cast members Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie, Priscilla Lopez; Chita Rivera; Erich Bergen; Jordan E. Cooper; Tovah Feldshuh;  J. Harrison Ghee; Jane Krakowski; Adam Lambert; Ralph Macchio; Abby Lee Miller; Audra McDonald; Casey Nicholaw; Justin Peck; Tiler Peck; Bernadette Peters; Tonya Pinkins; Tony Roberts; David Rockwell; Krysta Rodriguez; Christopher Sieber; Jennifer Simard; Will Swenson and more.

A CHORUS LINE original cast members Priscilla Lopez,Donna McKechnie Baayork Lee photo by Bruce Glikas

Priscilla Lopez at Opening Night of DANCIN. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Dancin’is Fosse’s full-throated, full-bodied celebration of dancers and dancing. Utterly reimagined for the 21st century, this Dancin’brims with a level of warmth, emotion, and color seldom seen in modern interpretations of Fosse’s influential style and features some of his most inventive and rarely performed choreography. With New York’s hottest cast performing wall-to-wall dance, including Fosse classics such as “Mr. Bojangles,” and “Sing Sing Sing.” Dancin’ delivers the quintessential Broadway experience for Fosse fans and first-timers alike. You think you’ve seen dancing, but you’ve never seen Dancin’like this.

Cast of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’ Opening Night photo by Emilio Madrid

Curtain call of Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

The cast, consisting of some of the best of Broadway’s elite dancers includes Ioana Alfonso (Hometown: Miami via DR/PR), Yeman Brown (Hometown: Tallahassee, FL), Peter John Chursin (Hometown: San Francisco, CA), Dylis Croman (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Jovan Dansberry (Hometown: St. Louis, MO), Karli Dinardo (Hometown: Melbourne, Australia), Tony d’Alelio (Hometown: Roanoke, VA), Aydin Eyikan (Hometown: Fairfield, CT), Pedro Garza (Hometown: Abilene, Texas), Jacob Guzman (Hometown: Brockton, MA), Manuel Herrera (Hometown: Charlotte, NC), Afra Hines (Hometown: Miami, FL), Gabriel Hyman (Hometown: Chesapeake, VA), Kolton Krouse (Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona), Mattie Love(Hometown: Layton, UT), Krystal Mackie (Hometown: Brooklyn, NY), Yani Marin (Hometown: Miami, FL), Nando Morland (Hometown: Colombia / Denver, CO), Khori Michelle Petinaud (Hometown: Centreville, VA), Ida Saki (Hometown: Dallas, TX), Ron Todorowski (Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA), and Neka Zang (Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ).

Adam Lambert at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Abby Lee Miller at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ is produced by Joey Parnes, Hunter Arnold, Kayla Greenspan, Rodger Hess & Michael Seago, Jay Alix & Una Jackman, Bob Boyett, The Shubert Organization, James L. Nederlander, Tim Forbes, Carson Gleberman, Park West Productions, McCabe Ventures, Fran Kirmser & Jodi Kaplan, Greg Young, The Fabulous Invalid, Julie Hess & Tommy Hess, and The Old Globe in cooperation with Nicole Fosse.

Wayne Cilento at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Nicole Fosse at Opening Night of Bob Fosse’s DANCIN’. Photo by Emilio Madrid

Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ originally opened on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on March 27, 1978 and later transferred to the Ambassador Theatre. The production ran for 1,774 performances. Dancin’ was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and brought Fosse his seventh Tony Award for Best Choreography.

Nicole Fosse and Wayne Cilento photo by Emilio Madrid

This production of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ premiered at San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre from April 19, 2022, to June 5, 2022.

Interscope Records is proud to announce the cast album for the “brilliant” (Variety) 2023 revival of Parade — Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown’s award-winning musical, which opened on March 16 at New York’s Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre to rave reviews. Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) features the vocal talents of Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond and conducted by composer Jason Robert Brown, and will be released on Thursday, March 23. Pre-order it HERE.

Leo and Lucille Frank (Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond) are a newlywed Jewish couple struggling to make a life in the old red hills of Georgia. When Leo is accused of an unspeakable crime, it propels them into an unimaginable test of faith, humanity, justice, and devotion. Riveting and gloriously hopeful, Parade reminds us that to love, we must truly see one another.

The current revival of Parade, which is directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, has received overwhelming acclaim since its debut. Entertainment Weekly called it “a phenomenal production that feels more poignant and powerful than ever,” while Variety said, “Ben Platt stuns in a powerful Broadway production of an essential American musical.”

Platt (Dear Evan Hansen, The Book of Mormon) and Diamond’s performances (The Cher Show) were singled out for praise. Deadline gushed “Ben Platt has no trouble reminding us just why he’s become one of Broadway’s most beloved performers. His vocals here are stunning in a pitch-perfect performance,” while The Guardian raved that “Micaela Diamond’s singing voice is luminous.” “Micaela Diamond, as Lucille Frank, breaks your heart with no affectation whatsoever, and a voice directly wired to her emotions,” wrote The New York Times in its Critic’s Pick review. Tickets are available now at

Parade (2023 Broadway Cast Recording) showcases their voices, as well as other members of the all-star cast, while capturing the essence of a musical that, Entertainment Weekly writes, “is the most gorgeous production on Broadway.” Viewers will get a special preview of the musical on March 23 when Platt and Diamond perform its signature ballad “This Is Not Over Yet” on NBC’s Today accompanied by Jason Robert Brown on piano.


Out of the Box Theatrics (Elizabeth Flemming, Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Ethan Paulini, Associate Artistic Director) is pleased to announce that Grammy and Emmy Award winner Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen) will star in the Off-Broadway developmental production of Millennials Are Killing Musicals, written by Drama League songwriting contest and NAMT Challenge winner Nico Juber. The production, to be directed by Ciara Renée(Waitress, Frozen), will play a limited engagement from May 7-28, 2023, at Theatre 71 at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament (152 West 71st Street). Opening night is May 15. Tickets are on sale now at Ovation Tix.

Bob Wankel Photo by Natalie Powers

The Entertainment Community Fund, formerly The Actors Fund, the national human services organization supporting the needs of those working in the entertainment and performing arts industry, today announced that The Shubert Organization has made a $5 million gift to the Fund to support expansion of The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey, and affordable housing and a community arts center at The Hollywood Arts Collective in Los Angeles.

The $5 million gift will be used to expand doctors’ offices and services at The Samuel J. Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, with additional support to the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, NJ. Funds will also be used to bolster the construction and programs of The Hollywood Arts Collective, a new affordable housing and community arts center located in the heart of Hollywood where the Central Gardens will be named in honor of The Shubert Organization.

The Shubert Organization has long supported the Fund’s ongoing work to help people in performing arts and entertainment. In 2017, The Shubert Organization unveiled The Shubert Pavilion: an expansion to the Actors Fund Home, an assisted living and skilled nursing care facility located in Englewood, New Jersey. The Shubert Pavilion houses a 25-bed short-stay rehabilitation center available to the general public and intended for people who are recovering from illness or surgery, as well as 14 assisted living beds. The facility also includes a fully equipped gym for physical, occupational and speech therapies. 

Robert E. Wankel, Chairman and CEO of The Shubert Organization, also serves as Chair of The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors, a role in which he supports and guides the development of affordable housing for the performing arts and entertainment community to improve lives, create jobs, foster economic development and revitalize communities. In 2022, Wankel received the Entertainment Community Fund’s Medal of Honor, an award presented at the Fund’s annual gala that recognizes individuals who have had a profound impact on the entertainment community.

“The Entertainment Community Fund is honored by the long-standing commitment of The Shubert Organization and the countless ways it supports our work to provide a safety net for people in the performing arts community,” said Fund Board Chair Brian Stokes Mitchell. “A special thank you to Bob Wankel for his continued leadership not only at The Shubert Organization, but also with the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors.”

“The Shubert Organization is proud to strengthen the Entertainment Community Fund’s ability to provide affordable housing, medical care, emergency financial assistance and so much more to those in our industry,” said Robert E. Wankel. “We look forward to all that’s to come in our ongoing collaborations, from Englewood to Times Square to Hollywood and beyond.”


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