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I’d Like to Propose a Toast to the 2019/20 Broadway Play Opening Night Schedule Excitement



Sea Wall/A Life snuck in over the summer, giving Broadway a magnificent head start to a stellar 2019/20 season, filling the Hudson Theatre with an audience eager to hear the two stories told by these two fantastic actors on that grand stage. It’s an impressive construction, beautifully aligning two one-act plays by two different, but exceptional playwrights into an evening’s meditation on fatherhood drenched in grief and love. Sea Wall clicks instantly into place with the Tony Award nominee Tom Sturridge (Broadway’s 1984, Orphans), snapping the lights on to shed light on his third collaboration with Tony and Olivier Award winner Simon Stephens (HeisenbergOn the Shore…Wastwater). His sentences drop off leaving us dangling like a swimmer at the Sea Wall. It’s a truly mesmerizing performance, pulling us towards his love and hurt like a strong undertow that will leave us gasping for air and battling the waves to survive. After we catch our broken hearted breath at intermission, Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Broadway’s Sunday in the Park..) saunters onto the stage in a similar fashion, flipping the power switch but then struggling to find his circle of light. It’s a perfect re-entry, keeping us at bay wondering what his own grand artistic collaboration with the fantastical detailed Nick Payne (Broadway’s Constellations) will be, and how if would expand or contrast with the previous confessional. The two dive in deep, swerving back and forth between waves, dousing themselves to the bone with the condition of what it is like to swim in a father’s ocean of pain, anger, joy and the hopefulness of humanity. If you haven’t bought into Sea Wall/A Life, then you must, and not just for Jake.

Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune

But the first true show of the new season is and was the already shuttered Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune which played with our hearts at the Broadhurst Theatre, closing far too early on July 28th.  The two leading ‘love birds’; the gloriously heart-breaking Audra McDonald (Broadway’s Lady Day…Shuffle Along…) and the phenomenally determined Michael Shannon (Broadway’s Long Day’s Journey…), square off in this classic play, face to face before diving in and shedding all of their superfluous armor in an intense coming together that is, simply, a fucking great start to this engagement. It’s clear from that first scene, after coming to its natural climax, that the two, dynamically played with a clarity for realistic pain and discomfort, are on a difficult journey forward. But the play rolls out with passion and a solid preciseness that could only be lead by exceptional pros, but unfortunately, their difficult journey was matched by the box office ticket sales in the middle of the summer.  It’s a tough time I guess, those hot summer months, unless of course, you’re Jake Gyllenhall.


• Theatre: Jacobs
• First Preview: August 14
• Opening: September 5
• Written by Harold Pinter
• Directed by Robert O’Hara


These three aren’t matinee idols, but these three actors bring a pedigree of excellence in an assortment of genres. All three were present when I saw this production of Pinter’s Betrayal in London earlier this year, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it has flown over the pond to Broadway. It’s breathtakingly simple in concept and design, ending just as it is beginning, as this play is about an affair, in reverse. “A triangle within a circle against a rectangular wall, poised for interaction, one by one, as directed with precision by Jamie Lloyd (Trafalgar Studio’s The Maids). The pairs unwrap a series of betrayals between friends, lovers, and partners, as the clock turns backwards, beautifully structured and balanced, facing off against the things they don’t know are coming, but strangely we do”.

Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London. Photo: Marc Brenner.

It’s a powerful altercation, starring the fantastically elegant Tom Hiddleston (Cheek by Jowl’s The Changeling), having reached fame as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leaning in quite brilliantly as Robert, the husband; Zawe Ashton (Royal Court’s Rhinoceros) as the sensual Emma, the deceiving wife; and the gloriously sexy and intense Charlie Cox (MTC’s Incognito) as Jerry, the best friend of Robert and the lover of Emma. Strikingly heavy with the stillness breathing loud, Betrayal was first staged in 1978 featuring Penelope Wilton, Michael Gambon, and Daniel Massey, but seen on Broadway in the 2013 revival starring Daniel Craig, his real-life wife Rachel Weisz, and Rafe Spall at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. And even though that production broke records in weekly revenue, the play felt fussy and overly produced, oddly stripped of its power and its passion.  Here void of locational references, the triangulational impact of the secrets and lies told within an extra-marital affair by all three, lash out harder and pin point the pain of love and deception with an exacting punch. Take your best friend, or your partner, or both, if you dare, as this Betrayal is as seductive as one can imagine.

The cast of The Inheritance.

• Theatre: Barrymore
• First Preview: September 27
• Opening Night: November 17
• Written by Matthew Lopez
• Directed by Stephen Daldry


The show I’m most excited to see this fall though is also a show that I have already seen in London’s West End last November (I feel I’ve made some good choices over in London). Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, winner of the 2019 Olivier Award for Best New Play, is a queer-themed, two-part play loosely inspired by E. M. Forster’s Howards End. Set in New York City a generation after the HIV/AIDS crisis of the ‘80s and ‘90s, the play follows a group of gay men as they struggle to connect to the past and maintain a sense of history. Paying a certain homage to the fore-bearers of gay culture, The Inheritance tackles a tremendous amount of complicated territory, pushing its place onto the fireside mantle somewhere beside Kushner’s far more ethereal Angels in America. With a slightly aggressive and pompous stance of an overly confident pretty boy, Lopez dares us to look away from its imperfect but devastatingly emotional six acts and seven hours, even as the play pretends to be a bookend to the angelic. Even in comparison to that, The Inheritance is most decidedly a masterpiece, almost measuring up to Kushner’s triumphant Angels as it dives head first into 21st Century queer politics and the economic discrepancies within modern culture and society. It’s epic in its journey, and even with the hours that one must commit to seeing it, I’m looking forward to donating that time once again.

Slave Play
James Cusati-Moyer in the New York Theatre Workshop production of Slave Play. All photos by Joan Marcus.

• Theatre: Golden
• First Preview: September 10
• Opening: October 6
• Written by Jeremy O. Harris (Broadway debut)
• Directed by Robert O’Hara

Just as powerful, and maybe even more daring, Slave Play rides into town, determined to throw convention off balance with its stark examination of the lasting impact of white supremacy through the lens of sexuality. With it’s complicated satirical approach, Jeremy O. Harris (Daddy) throws a reflective mirrored light on slavery, power dynamics, sexuality, and class, while trying with desperation to find the shades in between stances of racism, the power of internal music, and the ability to let it flow wild, fast and free. It’s all “work, work, work, work, work” when it ran Off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop in 2018 where the play earned Harris the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences and the 2018 Paula Vogel Award. Most of the Off-Broadway cast joyfully returns for another session: Ato Blankson-Wood, James Cusati-Moyer, Sullivan Jones, Chalia La Tour, Irene Sofia Lucio, Annie McNamara, and Paul Alexander Nolan, with Joaquina Kalukango joining in the festivities to play Kaneisha. Based on the viewing at NYTW, Harris seems to want to ask a lot of complex questions at this Slave Play colloquium, some more pointed than others, poking at our funny bones and our deep sexual fantasies, making us wiggle in our seat because of numerous observations that cling to our skin and our seminar materials. So sign up for this sexy and dynamic experiment and become engaged in a conversation that will likely continue long after the last group member leaves the stage. You all are “making such great progress” Broadway so keep up the great work bringing this level of dissection to the stage for all to see.


• Theatre: Helen Hayes
• First Preview: December 20
• Opening Night: January 23, 2020
• Written by Bess Wohl
• Director: Leigh Silverman

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Michael Urie, Thomas Sadoski, and Ashley Park.

Bess Wohl is certainly having quite the year. I just saw her fascinating Make Believe at Second Stage‘s off-Broadway Tony Kiser Theater where the four central kid characters’ games foreshadow a dangerous despair and a rupture that will have them ‘howling at the moon” in hunger while making our own hearts skip a few beats from nervousness. It gives a vantage point of historical painfulness that resides under the ghostly bruises that have since vanished. It’s a powerful view that left me triggered in its authenticity, and with her Broadway premiere, Grand Horizons, this time at Second Stage‘s Helen Hayes Theater, it sounds like inside the comfortable suburban home there is an equally uncomfortable breakdown to navigate. With Michael Urie (2ST’s Torch Song), Thomas Sadoski (Public’s White Noise), Ashley Park (Broadway’s Mean Girls), Maulik Pancholy (TNG’s Good for Otto), and Priscilla Lopez (the original Diana Morales in A Chorus Line) aligning themselves under the direction of Leigh Silverman (Broadway’s The Lifespan of a Fact) the foreshadowing feels all positive and exciting. Wohl, once again, wants us to bare down on that familial difficulty, a moment when Bill and Nancy, after spending numerous full years as husband and wife find some desperate trouble in their partnership. They have just settled down comfortably into their new home when Nancy suddenly announces she wants out. And their two adult sons must struggle to cope with the shocking news and what it all means. Forced to question everything they had assumed about the two people they thought they knew the deepest and the best, the two struggle on, and we join them in observance.

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• Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman
• First Preview: September 10
• Opening: September 24
• Written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton
• Directed by Jonathan Kent


The conceptual and emotional setup feels somewhat similar to Florian Zeller’s The Height of the Storm. For 50 years the lives of André and Madeleine, portrayed by the legendary Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins, have been filled with the everyday pleasures and unfathomable mysteries of an enduring marriage. That is until suddenly their life as a couple begins to unwind, and their loving relationship faces the difficult inevitability of change. Amanda Drew and James Hillier join these two formidable stars to reprise their performances from the spellbound London production. Lucy Cohu and Lisa O’Hare also co-star in The Height of the Storm, a translation by Christopher Hampton. This collaboration should crackle with tension and finesse, as it has done before when Hampton translated, to acclaim, Zeller’s The MotherThe Father, and The Son. I’ve seen two out of three of those, and will also hold my breath waiting for The Son to also arrive stateside. Or must I go to London’s West End to see it as it makes a transfer there?

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Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley, and Ben Miles in The Lehman Trilogy Photo: Mark Douet.

• Theatre: Nederlander Theatre
• First Preview: March 7
• Opening: March 26
• Written by Stefano Massini and adapted, English-language script by Ben Power
• Directed by Sam Mendes


Like The Height of the Storm which I was panting over when I was in London this past year, The Lehman Trilogy is another play that I’ve been holding my breath for.  The Broadway production has been bouncing around, back and forth across the pond. This transfer follows a sold-out premiere at London’s National Theatrein 2018, an acclaimed North American debut at the Park Avenue Armory earlier this spring (which sadly I was unable to fit into my schedule), and a subsequent West End engagement. Now as it makes plans to return to NYC, directed by Academy Award and Tony Award winner Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy will once again, dazzle, as it follows the 163-year saga that begins with a young man in Bavaria dreaming of a new life and ends encased, literally (I believe) inside one of the world’s largest financial crises.

Reprising their performances for the Broadway run will be Adam Godley, Ben Miles, and Simon Russell Beale, who play the three title brothers, their sons, and grandsons. This is the one to make sure you see. I couldn’t get it scheduled last time, and I’m not going to let that happen this go-round.


• Theatre: Vivian Beaumont
• First Preview: September 6
• Opening: October 1
• Written by Robert Schenkkan
• Directed by Bill Rauch

I’m looking forward to seeing Brian Cox star as former President Lyndon B. Johnson in this sequel to Schenkkan’s All the Way, a play I never did get to see. I might have to do a bit of homework for this Great Society. Brush up on my political history but also some theatrical, as this show begins right after Johnson’s landslide victory in the 1964 election, and then exploring his full four-year term against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement. Also appearing will be Tony nominee Marc Kudisch as Richard J. Daley, Grantham Coleman making his Broadway debut as Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Thomas as Hubert Humphrey, Barbara Garrick as Ladybird Johnson, and David Garrison as Richard Nixon. Maybe after I read up a bit on both the time and the play, I’ll be more intrigued, but right now my interest revolves around the stellar cast.

• Theatre: American Airlines
• First Preview: April 2, 2020
• Opening Night: April 21, 2020
• Director: Vivienne Benesch


I’ve never seen Debra Messing on stage, so I’m going to be excited to see her in the New York premiere of Noah Haidle’s play, Birthday Candles about a woman striving for significance in her life.  That’s about all I know about this new play by Haidle (Mr. Marmalade) but I’ll gladly show up to help her celebrate her birthday and blow those candles out. Here’s hoping we all get our wish.

• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: Spring 2020
• Written by Charles Randolph-Wright
• Music and lyrics by Nona Hendryx
• Directed by: Phylicia Rashad

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Phylicia Rashad and Charles Randolph-Wright.

This one feels a bit up in the air, as no theatre has been named just yet, but with Phylicia Rashad named as director, this play, Blue, about three generations of a small-town South Carolina family, will surely find the light of day. First premiering at Arena Stage in April 2000, with music by Nona Hendry and starring Rashad as the feisty matriarch, the revival, as written by Charles Randolph-Wright (Cuttin’ Up), sounds like a winner.

• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: Spring 2020
• Written by Tracey Letts
• Directed by: Anna D. Shapiro

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Sally Murphy. ‘The Minutes’, Steppenwolf Theatre, 2017. Photo: Michael Brosilow

Tracy Letts, as playwright, is back on Broadway again with The Minutes, a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist, reuniting him with his August: Osage County director, the incomparable Anna D. Shapiro. They wow’d us back then, winning  five 2008 Tony Awards for their August, giving us ample reason to be excited about this scathing new comedy about small town politics. The Minutes premiered at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre in 2017 with a cast of eleven. It was filled to the brim with back-stabbing manipulation and perhaps a few authentic power dynamic mistruths, leading us to believe that the Broadway version will dive in as tight and strong as we could hope, and give us a compelling and powerful vantage point on the current state of America by peering inside the politics of the very small fictional city of Big Cherry. That’s one town hall I’ll gladly attend this spring.

• Theatre: Helen Hayes
• First Preview: September 19
• Opening Night: October 10
• Written by: Tracy Letts
• Director: Dexter Bullard

“Linda Vista” at Steppenwolf Theatre in 2017, with Ian Barford and Caroline Neff. Photo: Michael Brosilow.

And that’s not all for the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, who also takes a brutally comedic look at a simple man’s troubles. Wheeler, a 50-year-old divorcee is in the throes of a mid-life spiral in Second Stage‘s Linda Vista. Just out of his ex-wife’s garage and into a place of his own, the path toward self-discovery is a complicated reconciling, one full of exploratory opinions, while somehow falling short of complete understanding and self awareness. Sounds too good to miss.

• Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman
• First Preview: January 6, 2020
• Opening Night: January 15, 2020
• Written by Elizabeth Strout and adapted by Rona Munro
• Director: Richard Eyre


My Name is Lucy Barton is another one flying over the pond on the wings of great reviews after a brief run at the Bright Theatre, UK. The namesake of the play, portrayed by the uber-talented Laura Linney, who enraptured the same MTC audiences with the alternating dual roles in The Little Foxes, wakes after an operation to find, much to her surprise, her mother at the foot of her bed. They haven’t seen each other in years, and during their visit, Lucy tries to come to terms with her past and family with the hope that would lead to finding her true self. Based on the Elizabeth Strout’s bestselling novel “My Name Is Lucy Barton” the play doesn’t scream theatrical adaptation as it is basically a rumination on a writer’s blurry remembrance of her life growing up all from the tight confines of a hospital bed. It’s a compelling challenge, to bring energy into and out of stillness and confinement, but the formidable director, Richard Eyre seems to have found a way to unearth the kernel of truth inside its quietness. With the exquisite Laura Linney leading Barton’s personal exploration, something bigger and more profound is said to have been found in the play that has scored Linney some of the best reviews of her career. I’m game for a visit to that hospital bed.


• Theatre: Studio 54
• First Preview: September 14
• Opening: October 17
• Written by Adam Rapp
• Directed by David Cromer

Willl Hochman and Mary-Louise Parker in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of ‘The Sound Inside.’ Photo: Carolyn Brown.

One of my all time favorite stage actors Mary-Louise Parker, who sparked fire inside the small but magnificent Heisenberg in 2016, returns to Broadway in Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside. Directed by phenomenal David Cromer (Broadway’s The Waverly Gallery) , the engaging Will Hochman (CSC’s Dead Poets Society), making his Broadway debut, plays a student named Charlie who gets entangled in an Ivy League professor’s dramatic trouble. With Parker playing that challenged professor, the play, that first premiered at Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2018, is sure to fire up some similar sparks when it opens at Studio 54 this fall, and I’ll be more then happy to attend that lecture.


• Theatre: Samuel J. Friedman
• First Preview: March 27, 2020
• Opening Night: April 22, 2020
• Written by Paula Vogel
• Directed by Mark Brokaw

Broadway is wisely being given a double dose of Mary-Louise Parker (HBO’s Angels in America) this theatrical season, when she joins her former co-star, David Morse (Broadway’s The Iceman Cometh) to reprise their roles more than 20 years later after the 1997 Off-Broadway debut of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer-prize winning play, How I Learned to Drive. It follows Li’l Bit (Parker) as she looks back in time in order to make sense of an uncle (Morse) who impacted every part of her self and her being. It’s a play I have never had the opportunity to see, and a perfect example of what makes theatre so powerful and dynamic. It is the idea that once a production closes, the opportunity to bare witness to that particular event ceases to exist. But here, by the grace of whatever god you choose to pray to, this supposedly astounding play has returned giving us the rarest of opportunities. It’s not just a revival, but a chance to see these two stellar actors play it out once again, probably with an even greater edge and a more mature response to the tragedy in the driver’s seat. I’ll gladly sit in the back seat for that ride.

• Theatre: TBA
• First Preview: March 2, 2020
• Opening Night: April 9, 2020
• Director: Joe Mantello

Laurie Metcalf, Eddie Izzard, Russell Tovey, Patsy Ferran.

Here’s another that expresses the power of theatre: a great play reimagined once again by another crew of talented artists. This play never gets tired. I’ve seen it at least three times and counting, but all I really have to say is Laurie Metcalf (Broadway’s Hillary and Clinton) opening another play, her fifth consecutive on Broadway, in the spring just before the Tony deadline. Joining the Tony winner is Eddie Izzard (Broadway’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg), Russell Tovey (West End’s Angels in America), and Patsy Ferran (Almeida Theatre’s Summer and Smoke) bringing the booze and the acid to the Broadway revival party with the classic Edward Albee drama.

Albee’s powerful drama premiered in 1962 winning multiple Tonys including best play, lead actor Arthur Hill and lead actress Uta Hagen. Albee himself directed a 1976 revival that earned Tony nominations for its leads; Colleen Dewhurst and Ben Gazzara. There is of course the iconic movie version in 1966 directed by Mike Nichols in his first feature and written by Ernest Lehman. It starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal and Sandy Dennis, and was nominated for 13 Oscars winning five, including best actress for Taylor and supporting actress for Dennis, as well as best cinematography for Haskell Wexler’s richly textured black-and-white visuals.

I personally was around to see the astounding revival starring Kathleen Turner, Bill Irwin, David Harbour and Mireille Enos in a 2005 with Irwin taking home best actor honors. I also was blessed to see the 2012 revival that flew over from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre earning Tonys for best revival, lead actor Tracy Letts and director Pam MacKinnon, with fellow cast Amy Morton and Carrie Coon also being nominated. I have a feeling this revival and that wild drunken night of lies and attacks are going to play out similarly.  And I can’t wait.

• Theatre: Helen Hayes
• First Preview: March 31, 2020
• Opening Night: April 23, 2020
• Director: Scott Ellis

Jessie Williams from Grey’s Anatomy/ABC.

I saw this play many many moons ago at the Walter Kerr Theatre, probably sometime in 2003 after it transferred there from an off-Broadway run at The Public Theater. Wowing us at every turn, Denis O’Hare and Daniel Sunjata triumphed in this excitingly deep Richard Greenberg play about the coming out of a gay baseball player and his wonderfully geeky lawyer/friend. Frederick Weller co-starred as the redneck homophobe that adds trouble and drama to the game.

The revival of the Tony-winning comedy-drama stars the handsome and sexy Jessie Williams (ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy“) as Darren Lemming, a popular and successful mixed-race baseball player at the peak of his career, alongside the talented and funny Jesse Tyler Ferguson (PH’s Log Cabin) as his lawyer. Between the two and the other players and team mates, the themes of homophobia, racism, class, and masculinity in sports play out on the baseball diamond to a horrific conclusion. I’m game.


• Theatre: American Airlines
• First Preview: September 19
• Opening: October 15
• Written by Tennessee Williams
• Directed by Trip Cullman


Under the astute director Trip Cullman, Oscar winning actress Marisa Tomei takes on the pivotal role of Serafina Delle Rose, a recovering widow and dedicated mother looking forward into the next unwritten chapter of her life. This is the fourth time The Rose Tattoo has made it to Broadway after productions in 1951 (when it won the Tony for Best Play), 1966 and 1995. With a cast that includes Emun Elliott, Cassie Beck, Alexander Bello, Tina Benko, Susan Cella, Paige Gilbert, Greg Hildreth, Isabella Iannelli, Jacob Michael Laval, Antoinette Lavecchia, Kecia Lewis, Ellyn Marie Marsh, Portia, Ella Rubin, Jennifer Sánchez, Constance Shulman, and Burke Swanson, this four time Tony Award winning play from Tennessee Williams is sure to impress, and with Tomei, who is, for me, a mostly underrated actress will do what she always does, find intricate depth in every movement she makes. The Rose Tattoo is sure to blossom powerfully this time around and I’m looking forward to smelling its perfume.

• Theatre: TBA
• Target Opening: 2019
• Director: Amy Morton


With the venue, exact dates and casting information for the 2019 revival of David Mamet’s Pulitzer-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross still needing to be announced, the powerful classic hangs in limbo. Here’s hoping that two-time Tony Award nominee Amy Morton gets her chance to direct this exciting play with an exciting gender-swapping twist. Similarly to the  Tony Award-winning director Marianne Elliott’s production of Company coming to Broadway (check out my Broadway Musical preview post) hopefully around the same time, Morton hopes to reinvigorate the text with an all-female production, with women taking over all the parts traditionally played by men. The ruthless environment of salespeople competing to sell mostly worthless properties to unwitting customers in a cutthroat Chicago real estate office is the perfect setup to examine preconceived notions of female vs male stereotypes. One that I’m crossing my fingers will find the space and the placement in this year’s competitive theatrical market.

There will be no unwitting customers this 2019/20 theatre season, and hopefully no worthless properties to be sold.

Fingers crossed. So now let’s dance like we’ve inherited the best, and drink it all down in one exciting gulp.

inheritance dance
The Inheritance

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


Who Should/Will/Did Win a 2024 Tony Award? Predictions and Actual Winners.




Here’s my list of who I think will win, who I think should win, and who ended up winning on June 11th, Tony night, as I like to call it. There are a number of obvious choices, but a few races that are difficult to call. Like the Jessica Vs Sarah American Horror alumn battle, or the emotional contest of Best New Musical. Here are mine.

Below is the full list of winners (🏆), my predictions (⭐️), who I think should win (👍), and all of the nominations:

Here goes nothing.

⭐️= Who I think Will Win

👍= Who I Think Should Win

🏆= Who Did in the End Win (stay tuned Sunday, June 11th, 2023 from the United Palace Theatre in NYC)

Best Book of a Musical

Hell’s Kitchen – Kristoffer Diaz

The Notebook – Bekah Brunstetter

The Outsiders– Adam Rapp and Justin Levine

👍 ⭐️ Suffs – Shaina Taub

Water for Elephants – Rick Elice

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Days of Wine and Roses – Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Here Lies Love – Music: David Byrne and Fatboy Slim – Lyrics: David Byrne

👍 The Outsiders – Music & Lyrics: Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine

Stereophonic – Music & Lyrics: Will Butler

⭐️ Suffs – Music & Lyrics: Shaina Taub

Jeremy Strong in An Enemy of the People – Photo by Emilio Madrid.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

William Jackson Harper, Uncle Vanya
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Liev Schreiber, Doubt: A Parable
👍 ⭐️ Jeremy Strong, An Enemy of the People
Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots

This is a hard one, but I’m leaning on the overall effect of the riveting An Enemy of the People leading Strong to a Tony victory. Stuhlbarg was excellent in the lesser excellent Patriots. Odom and Harper are two good actors who I believe underperformed, and I’m hoping their star-power doesn’t push them over the winning line.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Betsy Aidem, Prayer for the French Republic
Jessica Lange, Mother Play
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane
👍 ⭐️ Sarah Paulson, Appropriate
Amy Ryan, Doubt: A Parable

Although everyone here excelled, particularly Aidem and Ryan, I do believe Paulson delivered something more profound and detailed than Lange, probably because the play gave her so many more complex opportunities which she gobbled up fantastically for our pleasure.

Sarah Paulson and Elle Fanning in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Brody Grant, The Outsiders
👍 ⭐️ Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along
Dorian Harewood, The Notebook
Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses
Eddie Redmayne, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

No shocker here. This is Groff’s moment, even though I loved Grant and Redmayne in their lesser received shows. James was also good, vocally, in a musical that I just didn’t connect to, so I wasn’t as connected to him or his performance. The same can be said of O’Hara. I just didn’t care, even within the dramatic ending.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

👍 Eden Espinosa, Lempicka
⭐️ Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen
Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses
👍 Maryann Plunkett, The Notebook
Gayle Rankin, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

I think the new kid on the block might take home the prize, although I would not be disappointed if either Espinosa or Plunkett jumped to the front of the Hell’s Kitchen train.

Eden Espinosa in Lempicka. Photo: MATTHEW MURPHY AND EVAN ZIMMERMAN

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

👍 Will Brill, Stereophonic
⭐️ Eli Gelb, Stereophonic
Jim Parsons, Mother Play
Tom Pecinka, Stereophonic
Corey Stoll, Appropriate

Such a hard call, but I fully believe that, as in many categories including this one, it will be a winning Stereophonic night. Some say Stoll might snatch it up, but I’d be very surprised.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Doubt: A Parable
👍 Juliana Canfield, Stereophonic
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play
👍 Sarah Pidgeon, Stereophonic
⭐️ Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Gosh. Young was, for me, by far the best thing in this revival elevating it spectacularly leaving everyone, including the bland Odem, Jr. At the bottom of the hill.

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young in PURLIE VICTORIOUS – Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Roger Bart, Back To The Future: The Musical
👍 Joshua Boone, The Outsiders
Brandon Victor Dixon, Hell’s Kitchen
Sky Lakota-Lynch, The Outsiders
👍 ⭐️ Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along
Steven Skybell, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

I’ll be cheering for Radcliffe when he wins the Tony for his performance in this stellar production, but I did love The Outsiders maybe more than most, and Boone really gave the new musical its solid emotional heart.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Shoshana Bean, Hell’s Kitchen
Amber Iman, Lempicka
Nikki M. James, Suffs
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Monty Python’s Spamalot
👍 ⭐️ Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along
👍 Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

What an amazing group, and I’d really be happy anyway this one went, but Neuwirth feels so damn perfect in the part, and Lewis made me cry, so there’s that….

Steven Skybell and Bebe Neuwirth in CABARET at the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Best Scenic Design of a Play

dots, Appropriate
dots, An Enemy of the People
Derek McLane, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
👍 ⭐️ David Zinn, Stereophonic

Conrad Ricamora (Ninoy Aquino – left), Arielle Jacobs (Imelda Marcos – right), and the cast of Here Lies Love in the Broadway Theatre.
Photo Credit: Billy Bustamante, Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman (2023)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

AMP featuring Tatiana Kahvegian, The Outsiders
Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Hell’s Kitchen
Takeshi Kata, Water for Elephants
David Korins, Here Lies Love
Riccardo Hernández and Peter Nigrini, Lempicka
Tim Hatley and Finn Ross, Back To The Future: The Musical
👍 ⭐️ Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Best Costume Design of a Play

Dede Ayite, Appropriate
⭐️ Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
👍 Enver Chakartash, Stereophonic
Emilio Sosa, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
David Zinn, An Enemy of the People

Eddie Redmayne (center) and the cast of CABARET at the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Dede Ayite, Hell’s Kitchen
Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby
David Israel Reynoso, Water for Elephants
👍 Tom Scutt, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
⭐️ Paul Tazewell, Suffs

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Isabella Byrd, An Enemy of the People
Amith Chandrashaker, Prayer for the French Republic
👍 ⭐️ Jiyoun Chang, Stereophonic
Jane Cox, Appropriate
👍 Natasha Katz, Grey House

The cast of The Outsiders. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Brandon Stirling Baker, Illinoise
⭐️ Isabella Byrd, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
Natasha Katz, Hell’s Kitchen
Bradley King and David Bengali, Water for Elephants
👍 Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim, The Outsiders

Best Sound Design of a Play

Justin Ellington and Stefania Bulbarella, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding
Leah Gelpe, Mary Jane
Tom Gibbons, Grey House
Bray Poor and Will Pickens, Appropriate
👍 ⭐️ Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

The cast of Stereophonic on Broadway. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Best Sound Design of a Musical

M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, Here Lies Love
👍 Kai Harada, Merrily We Roll Along
Nick Lidster for Autograph, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club
⭐️ Gareth Owen, Hell’s Kitchen
Cody Spencer, The Outsiders

Best Direction of a Play

👍 ⭐️ Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic
Anne Kauffman, Mary Jane
Kenny Leon, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch
Lila Neugebauer, Appropriate
Whitney White, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding

Gabriel Olivera de Paula Costa and Wade McCollum in WATER FOR ELEPHANTS – Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Best Direction of a Musical

👍 ⭐️ Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along
Michael Greif, Hell’s Kitchen
Leigh Silverman, Suffs
👍 Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants
Danya Taymor, The Outsiders

Friedman, in a way, did the impossible with this formerly problematic musical so her win is well deserved. But Stone also delivered a spectacular worthy of the Water for Elephants story it told.

Best Choreography

Annie-B Parson, Here Lies Love
Camille A. Brown, Hell’s Kitchen
👍 Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders
⭐️ Justin Peck, Illinoise
Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Water for Elephants

Ricky Ubeda and Ben Cook of Broadway’s Illinoise. Photo by Liz Lauren.

Best Orchestrations

Timo Andres, Illinoise
👍 Will Butler and Justin Craig, Stereophonic
Justin Levine, Matt Hinkley and Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance), The Outsiders
Tom Kitt and Adam Blackstone, Hell’s Kitchen
⭐️ Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

Best Play

Jaja’s African Hair Braiding – Author: Jocelyn Bioh

Mary Jane – Author: Amy Herzog

Mother Play – Author: Paula Vogel

Prayer for the French Republic – Author: Joshua Harmon

👍 ⭐️ Stereophonic – Author: David Adjmi

No contest. Really. And that’s no slight to the other wonderfully written plays in this group.

Kecia Lewis and Maleah Joi Moon in Hell’s Kitchen on Broadway. Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Best Musical

⭐️ Hell’s Kitchen


👍 The Outsiders


👍 Water for Elephants

This is a hard call cause none of them are perfect yet all deliver something pretty special. And unique. I loved The Outsiders, more than I imagined I would. Its heart beats the strongest for me, but I think Keys will triumph for expanding the genre and the audience up so many floors.

Natalie Gold, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Michael Esper, Sarah Paulson, and Corey Stoll in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Best Revival of a Play

⭐️ Appropriate – Author: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

👍 An Enemy of the People – Author: Amy Herzog

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

An Enemy of the People is solid and as strong as its Strong star, but Appropriatedelivers in so many unexpected ways it’s impossible not to be taken in completely, laughing in its uncomfortableness and its tense emotional turmoil.

Best Revival of a Musical

Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club

Gutenberg! The Musical!

👍 ⭐️ Merrily We Roll Along

The Who’s Tommy

Another no-contest win. But I also loved Cabaret far more than your average critic. And I’m still a little surprised by that.

Daniel Radcliffe, Jonathan Groff, and Natalie Wachen in Merrily We Roll Along. Photo by Mathew Murphy.

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Tony Predictions: What Will Win, What Should Win and What Should Have Been Nominated



Stereophonic, Illinoise, Sarah Paulson in Appropriate, and Jessica Lange in Mother Play, Julieta Cervantes; Matthew Murphy; Belasco Theatre; 2ndStage

There were 36 productions that included musicals, plays, and revivals, opening on Broadway this season. On Sunday the coveted statues will be given out at the 77th annual Tony Awards. Here is T2C’s predictions of what and who will win, what should win and what whould have been nominated.


What will win: Suffs, because Hillary Clinton is a producer and New York is a fan.

What Should Win: Hell’s Kitchen. This show shows New York in a fabulous light, unlike New York, New York of last year. Also Alicia Keys music will bring in a younger audience which will help Broadway survive.

What Should Have Been Nominated: Heart of Rock and Roll. This heartfelt musical was ignored by the critics, but is beloved by those who see it.


What will win, what should win: Merrily We Roll Along Hands down this is the chosen piece.


What will win, what should win: Maleah Joi Moon, They are going to want to honor Hell’s Kitchen and this is how they will do it.

Who will win: Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses. Brian has deserved this honor and his performance was layered and heartbreaking.


Who will win: Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret. It is a spectacular performance and Bebe has given a great deal to theatre.


Who will win: Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Have Been Nominated:George Abud in Lempika and Paul Alexander Nolan Water for Elephants. Mr Nolan’s performance was my favorite of the season.


Who will win: Maria Friedman, Merrily We Roll Along. Merrily is going to take every award it is nominated for.

Who Should Win: Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants. Her direction was like looking at slides from a view master.


What will win: Shaina Taub for Suffs. She is the darling of Broadway.

Who Should Win and should have been nominated: Music by Matt Gould, lyrics by Carson Kreitzer, for Lempicka. This was an exciting score and had songs that will last.

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Music by Barry Manilow and lyrics by Bruce Sussman for Harmony. This score is a classic and was ripped off.

BEST MUSICAL SCORE ( see my answers above)

What will win: Suffs

Who Should Win: Lempicka

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Harmony


What will win: Jonathan Tunick, Merrily We Roll Along

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Music orchestrated by Cian McCarthy; Music arranged by Remy Kurs for Lempicka


What will win: Justin Peck, IIinoise. This is a dance show so they will honor it.

Who should win: Rick and Jeff Kuperman, The Outsiders. The Kuperman’s have their cast flying and soaring and it is spectacular.

Who should have been nominated: Lorin Latarro  Heart Of Rock and Roll. Dancing on bubble wrap and cardboard is inventive and should have been reconized.


What will win: M.L. Dogg and Cody Spencer, Here Lies Love 

Who Should Have Been Nominated: Paul Tate dePoo III, The Great Gatsby 


Who will and should win: Linda Cho, The Great Gatsby 


What will win: Bradley King and David Bengali, Water for Elephants


What will win: Kai Harada, Merrily We Roll Along 



What will win: Stereophonic. It is the darling of the critics.

Who Should Win: Prayer for the French Republic. This play was so brilliantly done, but with the Pro-Palestinian conflict this show is being dismissed by the voters.

What will win: Appropriate 

Who will win: Sarah Paulson, Appropriate and Jessica Lange, Mother Play. This should be a tie, but if they give the award to one person it will go to Sarah Paulson

Who Will Win: Leslie Odom Jr., Purlie Victorious

Who Should Win: Michael Stuhlbarg, Patriots


Who will win: Kara Young, Purlie Victorious

Who Should Win: Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play


Who will win: Corey Stoll, Appropriate

Who Should Win: Will Brill, Stereophonic, but the nominees will cancel each other out. This was one of the best performances of the year.


Who will win: Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic


What will win: dots, Appropriate 


What will win: Dede Ayite, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding 


What will win: Jiyoun Chang, Stereophonic 


Who will win: Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic

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The  78th Annual Theatre World Awards And You Are There



The historic 78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony was held on Monday evening, June 10, 2024 at the Marquis Theatre.

The event was hosted by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia.

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Winners of the 2024 Theatre World Awards were honored The Who’s Tommy‘s Ali Louis Bourzgui

 Oh, Mary!‘s Cole Escola

 The Outsiders‘ Brody Grant was given his award by Daphne Rubin Vega

Michael Imperioli and wife

 An Enemy of the People‘s Michael Imperioli

Phillip Johnson Richardson

The Wiz‘s Phillip Johnson Richardson

Nichelle Lewis

Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson

and Nichelle Lewis

 Patriots‘ Will Keen

 Mary Jane‘s Rachel McAdams

Hell’s Kitchen‘s Maleah Joi Moon was given his award by Kristin Chenoweth

Casey Likes

Tom Pecinka

and Stereophonic‘s Tom Pecinka

Sarah Pidgeon

Sarah Pidgeon

Chris Stack.

and Chris Stack.

A.J. Shively

Also receiving honors were A.J. Shively, who has won the Dorothy Loudon Award for his work in Irish Rep’s Philadelphia, Here I Come

Len Cariou

Len Cariou, winning the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement

Peter Filichia

and arts writer Peter Filichia, this year’s Special Award honoree.

There to honor them were

Maria Friedman

André De Shields

A great night was had by all.

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Drama Desk Awards Backstage In The Press Room



T2C was backstage at the Drama Desk Awards last night. Here is a look at the action.

First in the room:

Kara Young

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Lange

Jessica Lange

Sarah Paulson

The Cast of Stereophonic-Will Brill, Sarah Pidgeon, Juliana Canfield, Andrew R. Butler, Tom Pecinka, Chris Stack and Eli Gelb

Nikiya Mathis

JR Goodman, Ray Wetmore and Camille Labarre

Nikki M. James

Patrick Page

Enver Chakartash

Paul Tazewell

Cole Escola

How to Dance in Ohio cast members that includes-Liz Weber, Jeremy Wein, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Nicole D’Angelo and Becky Leifman

Paul Tate dePoo

Avran Mlotek, Motl Didner, Dominick Balletta and Zalem Miotek

Jane Cox

Brian MacDevitt

Brian MacDevitt and Jane Cox

Isabella Byrd

Ryan Rumery

Walter Trarbach, Cody Spencer and Kai Harada

David Yazbek

Itamar Moses

Lady Irene Gandy

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick

Nathan Lane

Will Butler

Marco Paguia

Shaina Taub

Justin Peck

Daniel Aukin

Jessica Stone

Corbin Bleu and Sarah Hyland

Andre Bishop and James Lapine

Keisha Lewis

Maleah Joi Moon, Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara

Maleah Joi Moon

Keisha Lewis and Maleah Joi Moon

Kelli O’Hara

Brian d’Arcy James

Peter Nigrini

Carole Rothman and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Amy Herzog

David Adjmi

Adam Greenfield, David Adjmi

Sarah Hyland and Debra Messing


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The 2024 Winner’s Of The Drama Desk Awards The Red Carpet



The 2024 Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced last night at NYU Skirball Center. Tony Award Winners Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit hosted the ceremony.

Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit

Aaron Tveit

Sutton Foster

T2C was on the red carpet.

Andrew Durand

Rick Kuperman and Jeff Kuperman 

William Jackson Harper

Shaina Taub

Peter Nigrini

Kecia Lewis

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Jocelyn Bioh

Laura Benanti

Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll

Jessica Lange

Camille Labarre, Ray Wetmore and JR Goodman

Michael Starobin, Andrea Grody and Shaina Taub

Will Brill

Sarah Paulson

Richard Ridge

Sarah Hyland

Maleah Joi Moon

Patrick Paige

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields, Maleah Joi Moon

Brian D’Arcy James

Will Keen

Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Keen

Mary Louise Burke

Isabella Byrd

Justin Peck

Kara Young

Marco Paguia

Miss New York Rachelle diStasio

Josh Breckenridge

Lorin Latarro

Ricky Ubeda

Glauco Araujo

Dorian Harewood and Nancy Harewood

Mark Williams

Brody Grant

The Cast of Stereophonic-Andrew R. Butler, Will Brill, Tom Pecinka, Juliana Canfield, Eli Gelb, Chris Stack and Sarah Pidgeon

Paige Davis and Patrick Page

James Monroe Iglehart

Sarah Pidgeon

Nikiya Mathis

Montego Glover

Cole Escola

Tom Pecinka

Chris Stack

Leslie Kritzer

Miriam Silverman

Andrew R. Butler

Pat Swinney Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment with Juliana Canfield

Juliana Canfield

Enver Chakartash

Robert Pickens and Katie Geil

Will Butler

David Adjmi

Daisy Prince

Debra Messing

Lena Hall

Debra Messing

Nikki M. James

Michael Stuhlbarg

Paul Tazewell

Camille A. Brown

Marin Ireland

How To Dance in Ohio-Liz Weber, Jeremy Wein, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Nicole D’Angelo and Becky Leifman

Jacob Karr

Dylis Croman and Robert Montano

Eli Gelb

Walter Trarbach

Steven Valentine

Peter Charney and Brendan George

Rebecca Frecknall

Lady Irene Gandy

Timo Andres


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