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Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

Will the Shriner’s scene be cut, because if anything is sexist this is. Plus Rosie has just gotten drunk, due to the fact Albert choose his mother over her. Hmmm how are they handling that?

The musical  will close with the climatic Ed Sullivan Show performance, which originally appears at the end of the stage show’s first act.
Book writer Michael Stewart is gone. He dies in 1987, but before he did Mr. Stewart bemoaned the fact that musical-book writers did not get the kind of appreciation accorded composers and lyricists. ”I don’t know why any bright person would want to be a musical-book writer,” he said in an article in The New York Times in 1979. ”You’re scorned by critics, you get no recognition from the public, and the money isn’t that good, either. I feel I’ve written two classic American musicals – ‘Birdie’ and ‘Dolly’ – but both books got terrible reviews.” Now his work will be changed without his consent, just like Arthur Miller’s work was and Miller was adamant that his work not be changed.
If you are going to revive a classic, why can it not stay as written? After all Stewart won the Tony for Best Book for both Birdie and Dolly. When will an author’s words be allowed to be protected and “PC” free?
Tony winner Jerry Mitchell and Emmy winner Alex Rudzinski, who both worked on NBC’s Hairspray Live!, will return for Bye Bye Birdie Live!. Mitchell will provide stage direction, while Rudzinski will head the technical aspects of the event.

Lopez will executive produce alongside Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina, as well as Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Out of Town

Comedy On in Noises Off

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Opening their 2024 Season at the Bucks County Playhouse is Noises Off, a farce by the English playwright, Michael Frayn. Definition of “farce” – a comedic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including ludicrously improbable situations. Yes, yes and yes. Synonym: slapstick comedy.
To be in this production, directed by Hunter Foster, you must either be an olympic gymnast or have the stamina of a race horse for there is much hopping up and down stairs, pratfalling, back flipping, slow splits and general rolling about.

Ah, but I digress. Let us get to the plot. The what? Well, actually there really isn’t much of a plot. You see, the play is a play within a play. It is a troupe of second rate actors in a second rate tour of a second rate play, a sex farce entitled, “Nothing On”. It begins at midnight the night before the cast’s first performance and they are ill prepared. Many things go awry. Missing props, missing cues, missing lines, etc. etc. etc. And to top it all off, there are relationship problems amidst the members which become exacerbated as the tour progresses. Act One is the rehearsal. Act Two is a performance viewed from behind the scenes and Act Three is the disastrous results at the end of the tour.

The play premiered in London in 1982 directed by Michael Blakemore. The 1983 Broadway production again directed by Blakemore earned four Tony nominations and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play and Outstanding Ensemble. Since then it has had seven revivals between Broadway and the West End and has become a staple of both professional and community theaters alike. Standout performances are in order for the entire ensemble.

Amanda Kristin Nichols

Amanda Kristin Nichols (as Brooke Ashton) is hysterical in her skimpy underwear preening and posing in the most ridiculous positions, thinking she’s looking sexy.

Jen Cody

Jen Cody is appropriately dotty as the sympathetic Dotty Otley, whether she’s doing a split or hanging upside down.

John Bolton

John Bolton is simply super as Frederick Fellowes, the sensitive actor who always needs to know “why” he must complete an action on stage no matter how nonsensical it is.

John Patrick Hayden

John Patrick Hayden is marvelous as the director we sympathize with for having to deal with these screwball actors even though he turns out to be a cad. Though Roe Hartrampf is hard pressed to express himself with words as Garry Lejeune, he goes ballistic when he mistakenly thinks that Dotty is seeing Frederick.

Marilu Henner

Marilu Henner is the proverbial peacemaker always trying to smooth things over even when they are inextricably fouled up. Barrett Riggins as Tim Allgood, the Assistant Stage Manager, has greatness thrust upon him through no fault of his own.

Folami Williams

Folami Williams as Poppy Norton-Taylor, the Stage Manager is adorable as she reveals her secret at the end of the play.

Richard Kline

And Richard Kline as Selsdon Mowbray, the man with a drinking habit is quite lovable. They say the director’s hand should be invisible in a play, but I’m afraid that Mr. Hunter’s hands are all over this one for this production is choreographed to a “T”. Credit must be given to this director because usually there aren’t many laughs in Act One as it’s all just a set up for Act Two and Three. However, there are a lot of laughs in the first act. And needless to say, it’s a non-stop laugh fest for the next two acts. So if you need a good laugh – and who doesn’t with fire, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes all around us – this show is a very good panacea.

For tickets visit buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.

Noises Off by Michael Frayn Directed by Hunter Foster
Running now through June 10, 2024 70 South Main Street

New Hope, PA 18938

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Out of Town

Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall Rewinds With Layered Results

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The “sweet, sweet boy” lies in a spotlight, shrowded in Spanish moss and mystic lighting. He’s drowning in the mystic feeling of death with ghostly faces of ancestorial connection shimmering forward to engage and recount. This memory play, written with purpose and desire by Audrey Dwyer (Calpurnia), spans time and place, layering in the histories of both Black and Indigenous teachings that float out the realities of the cultural framing. Spanning generations and one man’s ever-so-long lifelin is as epic in its scope as can be, distinct and smart in its construct, and sometimes lacking in focus, leading us to lean in and tune out with some regularity.


Daren A. Herbert & Emerjade Simms with Nicole Joy-Fraser & Brandon Oakes in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The beginning, as staged by Tarragon artistic director Mike Payette (Tarragon’s Cockroach), floats into our system like the smell of ghostly swamp air, hidden behind layers of mist and secrecy. Giving abstract vantage points to breathe in the complexities of this man’s trauma, the play spirits out souls from his epic life for us all to engage with, as well as a future generation stumbling forward while trying to unpack a past, all so he, Billie, played by Troy Adams (TIFT’s The Other Place), a descendant, can understand the present condition and navigate life forward from a wiser perspective. The framing is unique and contextual, letting Hall’s mixed heritage of Mowak and Black Jamaican ancestry find equal footing on that somewhat overstuffed stage, designed by Jawon Kang (Tarragon’s A Poem for Rabia), while giving layers of space to try to understand personal trauma and confusion.

Helen Belay & Daren A. Herbert with Troy Adams, Emerjade Simms, Brandon Oakes & Nicole Joy-Fraser in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Hall, played forcibly by Daren A. Herbert (Soulpepper’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train), finds clarity in his rewinding, looking back over his timeline with curiosity. He fought as a Black loyalist in the War of 1812. He survived capture by American forces and was systematically enslaved in Virginia and Kentucky. He escaped, with his wife, using a threaded map of rice and beans braided into his hair that helped lead him back home to safety in Canada. Throughout his journey, he held true to his yearnings for home, family, and love, marrying, we are told, up to six wives and was father, or should I say “Daddy Hall” to somewhere around 21 children. It’s a lot to cover in this one-act wonder of a play, and even when it falters in its complicated unpacking, muddling the journey with an overly fussy rearrangement of wood pieces and somewhat jarring blocking and movement, the journey has marked moments of wonder that are highlighted and expanded by the gentle fantastical music delivered out from the depths by Unsettled Scores (Spy Dénommé-Welch & Catherine Magowan), the production’s sound designers and composers.

The notes float in, elevating the dialogue with background poetic illusions of ancestorial and cultural undercurrents that consistently save the framing from sinking down underneath the crackling ice. They trigger tragedy and loss, even when the interconnectivity feels jagged and forced. Lit from a place of historic warmth and engagement, designed by Michelle Ramsay (Factory’s The Waltz) with simple yet clever costuming by Christine Ting-Huan 挺歡 Urquhart (Tarragon’s Cockroach), Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall works hard to relive all those key moments in this man’s complex life, particularly around the ideas of home, safety, and attachment. The cast, that includes Indigenous actors Nicole Joy-Fraser (Tarragon’s My Sister’s Rage) and Brandon Oakes (CBC’s Diggstown), and Black actors Helen Belay (Soulpepper’s Queen Goneril & King Lear) and Emerjade Simms (Cahoots Theatre’s Sweeter), engages with intent in the non-linear mystical unpacking, allowing us to consider and engage with Hall’s ancestral lineage and all the trauma that has been layered on this man throughout his journey.

Emerjade Simms & Daren A. Herbert in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

The play spirits forth the dynamic from this misty ancestral plane, sometimes finding complete visual and poetic illusions, like in the crackling watery descent of his wife, Mary, played lovingly by Belay. At the same time, other moments feel disconnected from the emotional journey and its overarching themes. The modern stance in Tarragon‘s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall never really finds its connective tissue throughout and feels put upon and not completely organic to the main Hall stance. There’s wonder in their search for bigger pictured themes and answers to complex historical and connective questions, sometimes feeling grounded in emotional truth, and sometimes masked behind layers of Spanish moss. The energy shifts, floating in and out of the murky cold waters of memory and ancestral history, and when it hits its mark, there is clarity, but other times, we swim in cold waters looking for the light and air of understanding.

Daren A. Herbert & Helen Belay with Nicole Joy-Fraser & Brandon Oakes in Tarragon’s Come Home: The Legend of Daddy Hall.  Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Broadway

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 2

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Yesterday we gave you part 1 of The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony held at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts 111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

In this part Steve Guttenberg gives the award to Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: Jay O. Sanders – Primary Trust


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical:
 Andrew Durand  Dead Outlaw

Current President David Gordon introduced Andrea Martin who gave away the awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone – Water for Elephants

A special award was given to Harry Haun longtime OCC member who served on the board as well.

Outstanding Choreography (Broadway or Off-Broadway):Justin Peck —Illinoise

And the tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play: William Jackson Harper, Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Primary Trust

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Dead Outlaw

Kelechi Watson presented the awards for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kecia Lewis  Hell’s Kitchen

Outstanding Direction of a Play: Daniel Aukin – Stereophonic

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical: Kelli O’Hara  Days of Wine and Roses


Outstanding New Broadway Play:
 Stereophonic

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Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Suffs

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

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Broadway

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) Awards And You Are There Part 1

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The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), awards ceremony for the winners was held on Thursday, May 23, 2024, in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).

Current President David Gordon and  Vice President Richard Ridge welcomed everyone. There were celebrity presenters and Tony Danza proved why he is a comedy star. The first award given out was to Outstanding Video/Projections: Peter Nigrini – The Who’s Tommy.

Danza also gave out the awards to Outstanding Orchestrations Marco Paguia – Buena Vista Social Club.

Outstanding Costume Design: Linda Cho – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play: Jessica Lange – Mother Play

Receiving the John Gassner Award for New American Play (preferably by a new playwright): Oh, Mary! and a tie for Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (tie): Cole Escola left a video message.


Next to present was Montego Glover who gave Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical (tie) Judy Kuhn – I Can Get It For You Wholesale

and to Thom Sesma – Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Book of a Musical and Outstanding Score Shaina Taub – Suffs

Outstanding Scenic Design (tie): Paul Tate dePoo III – The Great Gatsby

Outstanding Lighting Design: Brian MacDevitt  The Outsiders

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play: Kara Young – Purlie Victorious

Next up Steve Gutenberg gave awards to Outstanding Revival of a Play: Appropriate

Outstanding Sound DesignRyan Rumery – Stereophonic

Outstanding Solo Performance: Patrick Page – All the Devils are Here

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current President David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Cynthia Allen, Harry Haun, Dan Rubins, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating). Lauren Yarger serves as the Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony executive producer.

Tomorrow Part 2.

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Dance

Events For June

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On going is still  Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature, is at The Morgan Library & Museum through 6/9.Florals in Fashion highlights the work of designers Hilary Taymour (Collina Strada), Olivia Cheng (Dauphinette) and Kristen Alpaugh, aka FLWR PSTL Also Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s “Giants,”is at the Brooklyn Museum until 7/7. The exhibition features artists who have made and continue to make a significant impact on the art world and contemporary culture. The show features 98 artworks by Black American, African, and African artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald. Until 8/11 the Whitney Biennial, this happens every two years.  This year, the theme is “Even Better Than The Real Thing” and features the work of 71 artists and collectives. Also on display is Apollo: When We Went to the Moon at The Intrepid Museum. The exhibit is included with museum admission and goes until 10/2. The Rubin Museum, is permanently closing its physical space later this year and is open until October. If you’ve never been time to go. Until 10/27: The New York Botanical Garden is getting in on the Mad Hatter fun with a new, garden-wide exhibition for 2024 titled “Wonderland: Curious Nature.”

6/1 -23: How Long Blues at Little Island. Twyla Tharp featuring live music by T Bone Burnett and David Mansfield.

6/6 – 16: Tribeca Film Festival

6/7 – 9: Governors Ball

6/7 – 24: River to River Festival 50th anniversary has celebrations of dance, music, video, installation, and exhibitions. Featuring 13 projects of live art, performances, and participatory events in public spaces throughout Downtown New York, the 2024 River To River Festival explores themes of resonance, reconsideration, and resistance.  All events are free and open to all. Reservations are requested for some performances and events with limited capacity reserve here.

6/9: National Puerto Rican Day Parade

6/10: Movie nights in Bryant Park Forrest Gump (1994)

6/12: The Tony Awards

6/12: NY Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks

6/12 – 30: Summer for the City The Dream Machine Experience and The Bridge Lincoln Center Presents Time travel through an immersive AR experience across our outdoor spaces led by Cyboracle, the larger-than-life virtual avatar portrayed by Nona Hendryx.

6/12: The third annual Summer for the City festival. Over 200 free or choose-what-you-pay events that span a variety of topics, genres and  locations.

6/13 – 16: Juneteenth New York Festival

6/13: Summer for the City The Outdoor Film Series Black Swan Natalie Portman gives an Oscar-winning turn as a sheltered but driven young dancer with a ballet company in NYC who begins to buckle under pressure

6/17: Movie nights in Bryant Park The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

6/18 and 20: SummerStage The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital featuring Leah Hawkins, Mario Chang, Michael Sumuel

6/19 – 30: Black Restaurant Week up to 80 participating venues, including Red Rooster Harlem, Cascade Jerk, Twins BBQ Co., Collective Fare, Tamarind Island, Voila Afrique, Misfits Nutrition, Brooklyn Blend, Negril Village, Lee Lee’s Baked Goods, The Real Mothershuckers and many more.

6/20: Summer for the City The Outdoor Film Series Before Sunrise Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy) meet on a cross-Europe train. In Vienna, they walk, talk, look around—and fall unexpectedly in love. Damrosch Park

6/21: Summer for the City Social Dance Abaddón Tango. Get swept up in the majesty and beauty of Argentinian tango at this social dance night featuring the Abaddón Tango sextet.

6/21: 125th birthday of the Bronx Zoo 

6/21: Summer for the City The Outdoor Film Series Before Sunset. Nine years after Before Sunrise’s open-ended finale, Before Sunset’s immediate question—did Jesse and Céline reunite in Vienna—soon gets eclipsed.

6/21: Summer for the City Silent Disco. Strut your stuff under the stars as our popular Silent Disco series returns to NYC’s largest outdoor dance floor with a ten-foot disco ball.

6/22: The Coney Island The Mermaid Parade kicks off at 1pm.

6/22: Summer for the City Mykal Kilgore a concert for all ages featuring GRAMMY-nominated performing artist Mykal Kilgore!

6/22: Summer for the City The Wedding: New York’s Biggest Day Ever dreamed of getting married at Lincoln Center? For the third year in a row, we’re inviting hundreds of couples to celebrate love. Come join us!

6/22 -23: SailGP (Sail Grand Prix) will bring 10 international teams to the waters to race turbocharged F50 catamarans at more than 60 miles per hour. Fans can watch the action in stadium-style seats close to shore along Governors Island.

6/23: Summer for the City Rosanne Cash.  one of America’s leading songwriters and creative voices, performs a live set on the 30th anniversary of her classic album, The Wheel.

6/24 and 26: SummerStage The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital featuring Brittany Olivia Logan, Hannah Jones, Matthhew Cairns

6/26: Summer for the City ABT Silent Disco With DJ Remeice and Connor Holloway. Celebrate Pride Week with American Ballet Theatre in a silent disco spun by DJ Remeice and co-

6/24: Movie nights in Bryant Park Boomerang (1992)

6/26-29: Robeson at Little Island.

6/29: SummerStage Pride Disco: DJ Trixie Mattel + Amanda Lepore + Jess King

6/30: Pride Fest, The March

6/30: SummerStage Dreamland: Pride In Central Park With John Summit

 

 

 

 

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