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Broadway

Jagged Little Pill Bah Humbug

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Lauren Patten and the Company of Jagged Little Pill. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

I was so excited to see Jagged Little Pill. I had be privileged to listen to the CD before hand and Tom Kitt’s orchestrations were superb. The vocals were perfectly blended and it kept Alanis Morissette’s 1995 pop-rock album alive, but with a new edge. Then I saw the show. The music that sounded so glorious on the CD, is just loud and in your face. Sound designer Jonathan Deans should be jailed for how these vocals and orchestrations sound.

Nora Schell (center) and the Company of Jagged Little Pill. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The show that is geared towards the 20 year old market, felt like coal in my stocking. This show is so full of angst ridden people and teens whose disregard should be made to support their families or at least themselves for a year, before they rail against how much they despise them.

Celia Rose Gooding, Derek Klena, Elizabeth Stanley & Sean Allan Krill in Jagged Little Pill. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

We are introduced to the Healy family from white bread Connecticut. Steve Healy (Sean Allan Krill), who works way too much to give his family the lifestyle, in which they spend his money is condemned for not being present. Why he isn’t having an affair on his wife Mary Jane (Elizabeth Stanley), who is addicted to the pain pills she was given due to a car accident, is beyond my comprehension. Instead he is addict to porn. Mary Jane is cold, heartless and you really do not like her. Her kids consist of Nick Healy (sensitively played by Derek Klena), the golden child pressured to be an over achiever by his parents and teachers. Nobody can live up to the expectations put on this teen. Then there’s Frankie (Celia Rose Gooding), who feels uncomfortable as the black adopted daughter in a white Connecticut family. She is ungrateful in every sense of the word. Why she is so angry is inconceivable. In a school where these kids have money, she wants them to provide free tampons and kotex.

Celia Rose Gooding, Lauren Patten and the Company of Jagged Little Pill Photo by Matthew Murphy.

At the top of the show “All I Really Want” has the cast expressing about how they want their painful needs met. Ironically it is a song about blame and not about how they can make a difference or show some initiative.

The book by Oscar winner Diablo Cody, allows for no character development, nor does it give reasons why most of these characters are so self deluded.

The choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui is spastic, almost a protest of what dance should be. As Emily Rebholz’s costumes of shorts that are beyond short and grudge clothes seem as disjointed as this show.

The most pivotal songs go to Frankie’s girlfriend, Jo (Lauren Patten, giving a energetic and heartfelt performance). “Hand in My Pocket” has the teen talking about her strictly Christian mother and “You Oughta Know,” has her raging over the fact her girlfriend went bi and cheated on her.

Celia Rose Gooding and Antonio Cipriano Photo by Matthew Murphy

Even that whole storyline seems contrived. 16 year old Frankie who seems so into Jo immediately wants and does sleep with Phoenix (Antonio Cipriano). When Jo finds out, she not only outs Frankie to her parents, but seems almost stalker like. Frankie when her parents find out, runs away. According to the authors, all 16 year olds should be given permission to have sex and not face consequences.

Elizabeth Stanley, Kathryn Gallagher and the cast of Jagged Little Pill
Photo by Matthew Murphy

The one character that seems to have been thought out is Bella (the wonderfully sensitive Kathryn Gallagher). Assaulted at a party, she is mocked and put on social media by her classmates. She brings out the shame and guilt hidden in Mary Jane.

Diane Paulus, direction and Diablo Cody’s book just throw too much into the pot instead of grabbing one issue and really making a statement. Opioid addiction, racial and sexual identity, the effects of social media and teenage sexual assault are all covered here. The men no matter what they do are always to blame.

Derek Klena Photo by Matthew Murphy

I was filled with just as much anger, after seeing this than what was presented upon this stage. Is this where the state of theatre has gone? If so I am extremely saddened by it. In a season full of joy, this show is basically countering with humbug.

Jagged Little Pill: Broadhurst Theatre,  235 W 44th St

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

Broadway

Stephen Schwartz To Be Inducted into The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Legendary Award Winning Broadway and Movie Music Composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) will be inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 at 7pm.

There will also be concert emceed by Musician Paul Shaffer (from the David Letterman Show) who worked with Schwartz early in his career.

Schwartz has won 4 Grammys and 3 Oscars among other awards in his career that spans over 50 years both on Broadway and on the silver screen. Additionally, Schwartz has contributed music and lyrics to several movies such as “Pocahontas” (1995), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996), “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), and “Enchanted” (2007).He was also involved with the upcoming feature film adaptation of Wicked to be released in the fall.

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Broadway

Ani DiFranco and Lola Tung Join Hadestown

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The Tony and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical Hadestown is currently stars Grammy Award winner Ani DiFranco as Persephone singing “Our Lady Of The Underground”.

 Lola Tung (“The Summer I Turned Pretty”) as Eurydice, Jordan Fisher (Dear Evan Hansen, Grease: Live,) as Orpheus here singing “All I’ve Ever Known”.

Grammy Award nominee Phillip Boykin as Hades, and Tony Award winner Lillias White as Hermes.

They are joined by Belén Moyano, Kay Trinidad, and Brit West as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Chibueze Ihuoma, Alex Puette, and Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Sojourner Brown, Brandon Cameron, Tara Jackson, Max Kumangai, Alex Lugo, and Tanner Ray Wilson.

Hadestown originated as Anaïs Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Rachel Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

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Broadway

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Goes Live With Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane

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Photo of Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane and Suzanna Bowling

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that is filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. We will run the video on our site every Thursday and then it moves onto the podcast networks.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Broadway royalty and longtime married couple Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. We talk about the Palace Theatre, Broadway HD and so much more.

We were also so excited because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

I am so grateful to my guests Bonnie and Stewart for joining me. Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Edison Hotel for their kindness and hospitality.

We hope to see you there on February 21st for our guests the creator of Times Square and Hampton Fashion Week Dee Rivera, Celebrity hairstylist Samantha Smoker and Fashion Designer Shani Grosz.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley

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I am so pleased to announce our guests for Valentine’s Day are Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, the founders of BroadwayHD.com, an online streaming service on a mission to promote and preserve live theatre, extending the reach of Broadway and Broadway-caliber shows to anyone, anywhere. BroadwayHD currently has a catalog of over 300 full-length stage plays and musicals available for streaming on demand, so when you can’t get to Broadway, go to BroadwayHD on your tv, phone, or tablet!

Mr. Lane and Ms. Comley have collectively produced over 40 films and 45 Broadway shows, garnering nine Tony Awards and another 14 Tony nominations. They have also won Olivier Awards, Drama Desk, Drama
League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for their stage productions. Lane has co-owned Broadway’s famous Palace Theater for almost 40 years.

The theater community has honored the couple for their philanthropic work, including The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, The Drama League Special Contribution to the Theater Award, The Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons, and The Theater Museum Distinguished Service Award. The stage at Boston University’s new theater center is named in their honor, as is the Music Theater Program. The Musical Theater Society Room bears their name at Emerson College, and the 500-seat theater at the University
of Massachusetts Lowell is known as the Comley Lane Theater. Lane is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University, and Comley is Distinguished Alumni of both Emerson College and UMass Lowell.

Mr. Lane is a theater historian and playwright and has written the critically acclaimed “Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way” (Square One Publishers), “Jews on Broadway” (McFarland Publishers), “Let’s Put on a Show” (Working Arts Library), and the plays “In The Wings (published in spring 2008 by Hal Leonard), “If It Was Easy” (published by Performing Books and nominated for Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association), and the musical “Back Home Again” (with music
and lyrics by John Denver) which he was awarded The 2011 John Denver Spirit Award for his work.

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that will be filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here.

Originally our guest was Maury Yeston, but he had to reschedule. He will be our guest at a later date, however Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, our guests for Valentine’s Day could not be more perfect. They are the epitome or Love and Broadway.

See you at The Edison Hotel.

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Broadway

Chita Will Be Honored As Lights Dim

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Broadway will dim its marquee lights to honor the two-time Tony-winning star of the original West Side Story Chita Rivera. This iconic star died January 30 at the age of 91.

The dimming of Broadway marquees will occur for the traditional one minute on Saturday, February 17 at 7:45 p.m./ET.

“Chita Rivera was Broadway royalty, and we will miss her with all our hearts,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “For nearly seven decades she enthralled generations of audiences with her spellbinding performances and iconic roles. The triple threat actor, singer, and dancer leaves behind an incredible legacy of work for which she was honored with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.”

Rivera’s Broadway career began in 1950 with Guys and Dolls. Her signature role came in 1957 when she played the original “Anita” in West Side Story. Other Broadway credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Visit and The Rink. She was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. She received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018.

We give you the talented Ken Fallin’s drawing of Chita in The Visit.

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