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Book Reviews

Learn About The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age

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Author Jake S. Friedman is coming to The Lambs on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7:00 to discuss The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age. With the WGA and SAG/AFTRA strikes currently taking place, it’s the perfect time to look at this: In the summer of 1941, Walt Disney’s top animators led hundreds of Disney artists out on strike, nearly breaking the studio. This is the true story of those two creative geniuses, plus a corrupt advisor and a mafia gangster, who collided to cause the greatest battle in Hollywood history.
An essential piece of Disney history has been unreported for eighty years.

Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and FantasiaBut as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone’s wiseguys who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators’ union.

Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.

The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age is an American story of industry and of the underdog, the golden age

The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age author Jake S. Friedman, The Lambs Thursday, Sept. 7, at 7:00pm.
To RSVP to The Lambs

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

Book Reviews

Steven Immerman’s In Search of Pleasure Island

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G.H. Harding

Steven Immerman’s debut novel In Search of Pleasure Island delves into the bowels of ‘international sex trafficking’ as Dr. Mathew Noble (a professor of criminology and retired special warfare operator) journeys across the globe in the search for his daughter and the men responsible for her abduction and his wife’s murder.

Framed for both crimes, Noble is taken into custody by crooked FBI agents, shot and tossed over a cliff into a raging river. Miraculously Noble survives. Now considered a fugitive, Noble is forced to live in the shadows as he takes on the most important mission of his life.

With his knowledge of criminology, his elite military training, and the help of his Delta Force teammates, Noble’s search takes him back to his hometown of Philadelphia, down through the back country of West Virginia, across the Atlantic, to Paris, Milan, Lake Como, and eventually to Pleasure Island – an impenetrable fortress off the coast of Tunisia in North Africa.

In Search of Pleasure Island is a engrossing read. Immerman’s specific descriptions of the ways-and-means of each character is positively enticing.

Immerman grew up in Northern New Jersey. While studying economics at Temple University in Philadelphia, he joined the teamsters, working at a local trucking company. After graduating college, Steven moved to NYC and began a career in advertising, all the while making time to travel the globe to places like Tibet, China, Western Europe, and Central America.

While in New York Steve attended NYU’s school of film and television where he developed his love for writing. Eventually Steven made his way to Los Angeles where he represented a number of novelists to the film and TV community. In Search of Pleasure Island is his first novel.

We ZOOM-ed with the West Coast-based Immerman for our interview:

Steven Immerman

T2C: Pleasure Island is your first novel and it’s a great read. How long had you wanted to write this first one?

Steven Immerman: Since I was a kid, I always had a vivid imagination, playing with toy soldiers creating battles and campaigns. As an adult, while running a company in NYC, I took 3 semesters of screenwriting classes at NYU (film and TV) at night but wound up representing other well-known authors to the filmed entertainment community in Los Angeles. Almost 4 years ago, with some time on my hands, I started gathering ideas and stories I wanted to tell. The notion of sex trafficking was always so abhorrent to me, and I became interested in doing research. It became the genesis of this book.

T2C: The book ends on a great note – which I won’t give away here- setting up the sequel. Are you at work on that now?

Steven Immerman: Unlike many action thrillers that focus on the hero and his or her travels, I wanted to give an in-depth portrayal of the victim and her journey as well. In many ways she IS the heroine of the story. It was always her story, just as much as Noble our hero.  I struggled with this during the process but settled on making Noble the main character. So, without giving it all away… hopefully there will be a sequel?

T2C: Obviously your film and TV background helped with the direction of the book as it’s just about perfect for a TV-movie or film? Might that be happening?

Steven Immerman: My writing style is direct.  I just picture what is happening and write it as if I was watching it on the screen or telling the story to a friend. My agent, Tony Seidl and I worked together many years ago representing well-established authors published works to the filmed and entertainment community. It takes an awful lot to take a book and bring it to the small or big screen. I believe In Search of Pleasure Island would be great entertainment for Netflix or Paramount, or any of the major streaming services, or even a motion picture.

T2C: Who would you like to see play Mathew Noble?

Steven Immerman: Tough Question.   Noble and Dutch -from the book- are my favorite characters, although Danni, Noble’s daughter is special to me as well.  I also, always love a good villain. and we have plenty in this book.

Back to your question. Depends on if it’s for the big screen or a series. Noble is both vulnerable and tough. He is a family man but also a veteran special warfare operator and a master profiler. Mark Walberg, Chris Hemsworth, Jason Statham, Hugh Jackman, Keanu Reeves, Mark Damon are a few names that come to mind.

Dutch – he’s older, hardened and a “no holds bar” “son of a bitch”, and based on a real person; actually two! I think it’s a great part for some of our well established tough guy action stars … Liam Neeson, Denzel, Stallone, and Schwarzenegger of course

T2C: What books and authors have you followed?

Steven Immerman: Its eclectic. But what sparked me to write this book was the Man On Fire book by A. J. Quinnell. So In Search of Pleasure Island is an ode to that author.

James Fenimore Cooper in the original English (Leather Stocking Tales). I enjoy seeing how those people wrote in his day and it feels like you are there. LOVE Robert Ludlum (Osterman Weekend and the Bourne trilogies) I enjoy  Nelson DeMille (The General’s Daughter and Charm School). A different genre but I enjoyed Hannibal Rising and Red Dragon. Godfather of course … but also enjoyed Harper Lee’s  To Kill A Mockingbird; and Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea and The Sun Also Rises.

 

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Book Reviews

Merrily, Gatsby, Mary Jane, and More Win Applause at 2024 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards

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Merrily We Roll Along has continued its award-winning roll, topping the list of winners for the 2024 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, chosen by Broadway.com readers.

The hit revival won in a total of five categories, including Favorite Musical Revival. They honored all three of its stars: Jonathan Groff was named Favorite Performance of the Year (Musical), while Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez won in featured categories. Groff and Radcliffe also won a second award for the category of Favorite Onstage Pair.

The Great Gatsby won the award for Favorite New Musical, while the musical’s stars Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada won in the leading musical acting categories. Other musical performers who won awards included Spamalot’s Leslie RodriguezKritzer for Favorite Diva Performance, Gutenberg! The Musical! star Josh Gad for Favorite Funny Performance, and Grant Gustin, the lead of Water for Elephants, won for Favorite Breakthrough Performance.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (center) and the cast of Spamalot. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman, 2023.

On the play front, David Adjmi’s Stereophonic was named Favorite New Play, and An Enemy of the People won for Favorite Play Revival. Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch star Leslie Odom, Jr. and Mary Jane star Rachel McAdams won in the leading acting categories, with Appropriate‘s Elle Fanning and Alex Brightman from The Shark is Broken named featured acting favorites.

The Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards contains many unique categories. Favorite Replacement awards, honoring actors who stepped into hit shows, were won by Jordan Fisher for Hadestown and Sutton Foster for Sweeney Todd. The composer for The Notebook, Ingrid Michelson won for Favorite New Song for “Carry You Home.

This year’s winners will be honored at a private reception at 48 Lounge on June 6.

A complete list of winners follows.

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

Favorite New Musical
The Great Gatsby (Book by Kait Kerrigan, Music by Jason Howland, Lyrics by Nathan Tysen)

Favorite New Play
Stereophonic (Written by David Adjmi)

Favorite Musical Revival
Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Play Revival
An Enemy of the People

Favorite Long-Running Show
Wicked

Favorite Tour
Beetlejuice

Favorite Performance of the Year (Musical)
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Performance of the Year (Play)
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young in Purlie Victorious – Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical
Jeremy Jordan, The Great Gatsby

Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical
Eva Noblezada, The Great Gatsby

Favorite Leading Actor in a Play
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Favorite Leading Actress in a Play
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane

Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Featured Actor in a Play
Alex Brightman, The Shark is Broken

Favorite Featured Actress in a Play
Elle Fanning, Appropriate


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

Favorite Diva Performance
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Spamalot

Favorite Funny Performance
Josh Gad, Gutenberg! The Musical!

Favorite Onstage Pair
Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Male)
Grant Gustin, Water for Elephants

Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female)
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane

Favorite Replacement (Male)
Jordan Fisher, Hadestown

Favorite Replacement (Female)
Sutton Foster, Sweeney Todd

Favorite New Song
“Carry You Home,” The Notebook (Music and Lyrics by Ingrid Michelson)

Rachel McAdams in MTC’s Mary Jane. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Shows with Multiple Wins
Merrily We Roll Along – 5
The Great Gatsby – 3
Mary Jane – 2
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – 2

Performers with Multiple Wins
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along – 2
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane – 2
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – 2
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along – 2

Jeremy Jordan, Eva Noblezada, and the cast of The Great Gatsby. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

 

 

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Book Reviews

Mark Bego: The Prince Of Pop Biographies Gets Political With Yorkshire Publishing’s Campaigning For President

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What is the best-selling rock & roll biographer in the show business realm doing, writing a book on politics with “Campaigning For President?” asks author Mark Bego, “One of the reasons why this is a viable transition into another literary genre for me, is that political campaigns are 90% show business, and the act of finding an audience and playing to it—just like the music business.”

Mark Bego

Bego, whose last two books— “Band of Gold” with Freda Payne, and “Joe Cocker:  With A LOT of Help from His Friends”—both from Yorkshire Publishing—electrified the charts and further solidified his position as “the Prince of Pop Biographies” (a title given to him by Publisher’s Weekly).  On the heels of the Cocker biography, Bego was approached about reviving and updating the popular 2008 book: “Campaigning For President.”  According to him, “I am always up for a new literary adventure—and this seemed like a fun and historically relevant one to be involved with!”

Jordan M. Wright was the owner of the world’s most extensive collection of U.S. Presidential campaign memorabilia when he published the original 2008 book, “Campaigning For President.”  Only months later Wright tragically died, and his collection eventually found a permanent home at Long Island University. Since that time there have been five new presidential campaigns to write about, including the current 2024 Trump vs. Biden battle.  Bego was approached by Wright’s widow, Pamala Wright, about writing five new chapters, a new beginning, and re-imagining the original coffee table book.  “It intrigued me, and I was up for the challenge,” proclaims Bego.

According to Mark, “The five political campaigns that I have written about for this book have undoubtedly been the most dramatic ones ever mounted. And, the best part of this assignment is the fact that the book does not take political sides.  It is all about the memorabilia that is created for a presidential campaign, not the politics of it.  You can be a Republican, an Independent, or a Democrat, and still find everything in this book to be fascinating and of historical significance.”

“In my mind, a political rally can unfold the same way as a rock concert,” says Bego. “People can walk away from such an event with a Donald Trump ‘MAGA’ hat, or an ‘I’m With Hillary’ bumper sticker, or any number of catchy marketing items.  While I have spent my time collecting PEZ dispensers, and memorabilia on The Supremes and The Beatles, the original author of this book—Jordan M. Wright—was busy collecting political campaign items from George Washington in the 1780’s, up to George W. Bush in the 2000’s.  It is basically the same act, just a different arena.”

This new and fully updated version of the lavishly illustrated book “Campaigning For President,” with all new Bego material, is due to be released on June 4 from Yorkshire Publishing.  It represents Mark’s 69th published book.

Bego explains, “There is flattering memorabilia in this book about every candidate, and there are also some unflattering memorabilia about many of them too.  My task here is to present both sides of the coins, and to view the items in this book for their cleverness, their bitchiness, their ideals, their humor, and—ultimately—their effectiveness in the political outcome.”

Mark Bego’s next literary effort will undoubtedly return him to his musical wheelhouse. “I have several titles in my head; and in fact, have already begun writing one of them,” confirms the author.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Douglas J Cohen, Stephen Cole ,Alison Louise Hubbard and David Spencer, musical theatre writers, who all have books out.

We are so proud 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 Douglas J Cohen How To Survive A Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway, Stephen Cole Mary & Ethel… and Mikey Who?, Alison Louise Hubbard The Kelsey Outrage, The Crime of the Century A historical true crime novel and David Spencer The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

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

Stitcher:

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

Spotify:

Amazon:

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

Apple Podcasts:

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

We hope to see you there on April 24th. We will be announcing our guests tomorrow.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

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I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:

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David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

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 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit www.stephencolewriter.org.