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Lin Manuel and The Miranda Family Honored by The Jazz Power Initiative

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Lin-Manuel greeting Jazz Power Initiative’s Eli Yamin, Co-Founder, Managing and Creative Director at 20th anniversary celebration where The Miranda Family were honored. Photo by Tatsiana Kulesh

On a rainy New York evening it was all sunshine, joy and music at 1 Vanderbilt Avenue, where the 20th floor, location of TD Bank’s Conference Center, had been transformed for the 20th anniversary celebration of Jazz Power Initiative, an organization founded by two friends: writer/educator Clifford Carlson, and jazz musician/educator Dr. Eli Yamin.  Over the last two decades, under the leadership of Dr. Yamin who is now managing and artistic director, the organization has become an influential part of the NYC arts education community.


Through the power of Jazz and the Afro-Latin rhythms that have contributed to the growth of this truly American music genre, and the inclusion of original jazz musicals, written by Clifford Carlson and Eli Yamin for the children, the organization has transformed the lives of young people from Upper Manhattan, Washington Heights, and the Bronx.  Engaging young people in music, theatre, and dance programs, that are taught by award-winning professional artists, helping them find their creative voice, fostering positive self-expression, and building community – is what JPI does so well.

Lin-Manuel greeting Jazz Power Initiative’s Eli Yamin, Co-Founder, Managing and Creative Director at 20th anniversary celebration where The Miranda Family were honored. Photo by Tatsiana Kulesh

This year the organization was delighted to honor three unwavering supporters who have helped them achieve incredible success and growth, and who have been there continuously.  The staunch support of people and organizations over the past 20 years – including the leadership of those being honored – has helped Jazz Power Initiative to achieve its mission in Northern Manhattan.  They have been able to serve thousands of New Yorkers and visitors annually – including students, teachers, artists, families, and general audiences ages 6-80, to build more creative and inclusive communities through jazz music, arts education, and performance.

The Honorees

Tanya LeMelle, an executive with TD Bank, and a Jazz Power Initiative board member talked about the corporate giant’s investment in the communities they serve.  “TD Bank is a long-standing supporter of the Jazz Power Initiative and our community focused efforts, which closely align with the bank’s own work to support and create dialogues in arts and culture that reflect diverse voices.”

The organization was the recipient of the Corporate Social Responsibility award presented to TD Bank and accepted by Ralph Bumbaca, TD Bank’s Market President-Commercial for the New York City Market, who echoed the sentiments expressed by his colleague.

The extraordinary, award-winning founder of The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, leader of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, an educator, composer – Arturo O’Farrill took the podium to introduce his friends, The Mirandas.  His remarks began with the words, “Jazz is sacred music!” And it proved to be just that when the young Zah! group took the stage that night. He went on to list the contributions made over the past 40-years, by The Mirandas, as champions of community activism, and their support of institutions like Jazz Power Initiative that have “uplifted underserved populations in upper Manhattan, including those across New York City, across the country and in Puerto Rico.  And their continued commitment and advocacy for education in the arts and social justice.”

Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, the matriarch of the family, flanked by members of her family, Lucecita Miranda-Crespo, Lin-Manuel and Miguel Towns were all on hand to receive the inaugural Philanthropy Award.  “Music is very important to our family,” she began. “When Luis and I met, one of our many connections was around our shared love of music.”  She spoke about the importance of music and the arts in teaching and imbuing young people with empathy.

The youngest member of the family, Miguel Towns spoke about the power of music and quoted Stevie Wonder, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.”  He went on to explain what music represents, “…it is the only art which is experienced through sound and lets us experience or convey emotions with one another, in a way unique to the human experience.”

Miguel was followed by Lin-Manuel who was exuberant about being on-hand to receive the inaugural Philanthropy Award, on behalf of his family.  “Thank you all for being here, and thank you for this tremendous honor,” he said, before reminding his friend Arturo, that one of the great moments of his life as a composer, was having Arturo do an arrangement of Piragua, from In The Heights.   He went on to reflect on “how much Eli and Jazz Power” have been a part of his life and childhood community. “I come not just as a musician, but as a product of the privilege of a wonderful public-school arts education, which underscores the importance of what Jazz Power does.”

The message that resonated most during the night, as Lin-Manuel emphasized was the importance of Jazz Power’s contributions – “it brings music to young people at the most important time in their lives; when they are connecting music to their own emotions and how they are feeling.”

Filmmaker, Phil Bertelsen, who received two extraordinary introductions, due to traffic.  Rachel Dretzin, who has worked with Bertelsen on Who Killed Malcom X (Netflix series) and author/educator, Donald Bogel who was supposed to introduce him, but arrived late due to New York traffic congestion, recalled how impressive he was as a student of his at NYU, and how later he hired him to help research a book on Dorothy Dandridge that he was in the midst of writing.

Phil received the Changemaker Award from the organization he has had the pleasure of working with for some time now.  For him, the moment was humbling, “Change is not something that comes easy and it’s not something we do alone.” He acknowledged many of the people who have had a hand in helping him along the way as he made his “avocation, his vocation.” Phil has won numerous awards, among them a Peabody and an Emmy for his work which he considers a way of paying it forward by telling interesting and important stories that make a difference.

What began as an idea in 1998, thanks to a grant from Meet the Composer/New Music for Schools, in tandem with funding from the Louis Armstrong Education Foundation awarded to acclaimed jazz musician and educator Eli Yamin, led to the first iteration of the organization.  In 2003 it incorporated as The Jazz Drama Program, and later underwent another evolutionary transition to become a nonprofit organization in 2004.  Then it rebranded in 2017 as Jazz Power Initiative the organization that has become a permanent fixture in schools and in the communities it services.

In its 20-year existence, under the leadership of a brilliant staff headed by Dr. Eli Yamin – the organization has touched the lives of over 6,000 young people; engaged the knowledge and experience of some 1,000 educators; and cultivated an inclusive audience, of over 100,000, reached through live performance attendance and virtual participation.

Eli summed up the evening and his joy at being at the helm of this important organization as follows – “As a child of the 1960s, born in 1968, I find myself often wondering about that time and how it shaped me through my parents, my mentors, and my friends.  I watched a documentary about Bobby Kennedy and when asked what drove him to do the work he was doing, he said:  ‘What I think is satisfying…what makes it worthwhile is that you feel that you can have an effect and perhaps do some good for other people…that there is the possibility that if you make the right kind of an effort that their lives are going to change and that therefore their whole existence is going to change and therefore, their children’s lives are going to change…’”. Jazz Power Initiative has been changing lives and adding a sense of joy through their various programs:

-Jazz Power Youth – provides vocal, dance and theatre training in culturally diverse environments, to build courage, curiosity, and compassion.
-Jazz Power Community – provides education in jazz music, dance, and theatre to inspire and empower.
-Jazz Power Musicals – through the creation and commission of original jazz musicals that address socially relevant issues, JPI hopes to inspire and unite audiences.
-The Power Pro – offering professional, experiential training to educators and business leaders.
The evening wrapped with a call to action to make the next 20 years of Jazz Power Initiative even better.  Felix Hernandez, WBGO Radio personality and host of Rhythm Revue on Saturdays and Sundays, turned the night into a dynamic party to remember.

If you wish to get more information about the organization, or if you would like to donate to Jazz Power Initiative, please go to www.jazzpower.org.

Jazz Power Initiative (JPI, a dba of The Jazz Drama Program), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2003, serves thousands of New Yorkers and visitors annually – students, teachers, artists, seniors, and general audiences, ages 8-80+, to promote music education, and build more creative and inclusive communities through jazz music, theater, dance education, and performance.   

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

Events

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Kelley Curran and Frank Wood

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We are so pleased to announce our guest this week are Kelley Curran and Frank Wood

Kelley Curran

Kelley can be seen, as Turner, in Julian Fellowes The Gilded Age for HBO. Prior to the intricate characters she will now tackle in The Meeting: The Interpreter, she appeared off-Broadway in Half-God of Rainfall at NYTW; at The Public Theater opposite Glenn Close in Mother of the Maid, and as Clytemnestra in Ellen McLaughlin’s world premiere of The Oresteia at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. Kelley has also appeared on Broadway in Present Laughter with Kevin Kline, and at The Signature Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Theatre For a New Audience, and LAByrinth Theatre Company, among others. She made her network television debut on NBC’s The Blacklist, and recently appeared on the CBS drama God Friended Me. In 2019 she made her feature film debut in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.  Kelley was nominated for a SAG Award, won The Callaway Award, Emery Battis Award, NTC Emerging Professional Award, and in 2016 was nominated for a Drama League Award alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michelle Williams and Lin Manuel-Miranda. She has also been nominated for both a Princess Grace and Helen Hayes Award.

Frank Wood

Frank Wood was first celebrated for his work on the Broadway production of Side Man, a performance that earned him both a Tony Award and a Drama League Award. His portrayal of Gene, a jazz musician grappling with personal and professional turmoil, highlighted his profound emotional depth and versatility. It’s a role that parallels the soul searching experience of The Interpreter in many profound ways. Wood has an impressive array of Broadway credits, including notable performances in The Great Society, Network, The Iceman Cometh, Clybourne Park, August: Osage County, Born Yesterday, and Hollywood Arms. Off-Broadway, he earned a Lucille Lortel nomination for Toros at Second Stage and has graced stages at Signature Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Lincoln Center, Atlantic Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Playwrights Horizons. His filmography includes roles in acclaimed films such as She Said, Joker, St. Vincent, Changeling, Dan in Real Life, Thirteen Days, In America, Down to You, and The Royal Tenenbaums. On TV, he appeared in series like Billions, The Blacklist, The Night Of, Mozart in the Jungle, The Newsroom, Girls, Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos, and had a recurring role on

Law & Order: SVU.
These Two brilliant actors are starring in The Meeting: The Interpreter, a new play written by Catherine Gropper and directed by Brian Mertes, Previews begin Monday, July 29 with an opening night set for Sunday, August 4 at the Theatre at St. Clements 423 W 46th Street .

Set against the backdrop of the infamous Trump Tower Meeting of 2016, the play tells the story of an international interpreter thrown up against government systems of congressional and senate interrogations, catapulting him into circumstances beyond his control. “This man could be everyman … one of us,” says playwright Catherine Gropper.

This play is about the loss of individuality and privacy is based on actual events (a chance meeting between the playwright and an actual government interpreter). This two-person play supports a cast of thousands thanks to Mertes’ production scheme including puppetry, film sequences, projections, and intricate lighting and sound.

We are so proud and thrilled that Variety Entertainment News named us one of Summer’s Best Picks in the category of Best Television, Radio, Podcasts.

Host Suzanna Bowling was also just named Most Engaging Hosts on TV, Radio and Podcasts on “The Daily Geek Report.” We are so grateful.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed at the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here, thirteenth episode here, fourteenth here, fifteenth here , 16th here, 17th here, 18th here, 19th here, 20th here, 21st here and 22nd here.

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Broadway

Disney Broadway In Bryant Park Part Two

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106.7 LITE FM’s brought Disney to Broadway in Bryant Park. We brought you the video and now the pictures so you are there.

Tshidi Manye

Jackie Rene

Jackie Rene and Gilbert Domally

Jackie Rene and Gilbert Domally

Jackie Rene and Gilbert Domally

Jackie Rene and Tshidi Manye

Jackie Rene and Tshidi Manye

Tshidi Manye and Gilbert Domally

Tshidi Manye and Gilbert Domally

Jim Ferris, Gilbert Domally and Ben Jeffrey

Jim Ferris, Gilbert Domally and Ben Jeffrey

Jim Ferris, Gilbert Domally and Ben Jeffrey

Ben Jeffrey, Jackie Rene, Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris and Gilbert Domally

Gilbert Domally, Jackie Rene, Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris and Ben Jeffrey

The Lion King’s Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris, Jackie René, Ben Jeffrey and Gilbert Domally

Charissa Hogeland

Charissa Hogeland

Chad Burris

Frozen’s Charissa Hogeland and Chad Burris

Michael James Scott

Adi Roy

Adi Roy

Michael James Scott, Adi Roy

Michael James Scott, Adi Roy

Sonya Balsara

Sonya Balsara

Adi Roy, Sonya Balsara

Sonya Balsara, Adi Roy

Adi Roy, Sonya Balsara

from Aladdin‘s Michael James Scott, Sonya Balsara and Adi Roy

106.7 Lite FM’s Hosts-Paul Cubby Bryant and Christine Nagy

Paul Cubby Bryant and Christine Nagy

The hosts were Paul ‘Cubby’ Bryant and Christine Nagy.

Chad Burris, Charissa Hogeland, Ben Jeffrey, Jackie Rene, Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris and Gilbert Domally

Chad Burris, Gilbert Domally, Jackie Rene. Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris, Charissa Hogeland, Ben Jeffrey, Sonya Balsara, Adi Roy and Michael James Scott

Chad Burris, Gilbert Domally, Jackie Rene. Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris, Charissa Hogeland, Ben Jeffrey, Sonya Balsara, Adi Roy and Michael James Scott

Chad Burris, Gilbert Domally, Jackie Rene. Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris, Charissa Hogeland, Ben Jeffrey, Sonya Balsara, Adi Roy and Michael James Scott

 

 

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Entertainment

Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe applauds Infolist’s CEO Jeff Gund, even my friend E! TV-Founder Larry Namer joined this VIP event.

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H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe at Jeff Gund Infolist Red Carpet Event

One of the first people I met in Hollywood was Jeff Gund. He runs Infolist and is the secret superhero of the entertainment industry. His network connects actors with directors, casting agents with producers and production companies with networks. watching my friend Jeff working endlessly to make The Industry in Hollywood an awesome and connected place, I am always speechless how he rocks his Red-Carpet extravaganzas. He personally invited me to attend his Infolist.com Red Carpet Pre Comic-Con Bash and it was spectacular.

E! Television Founder Larry Namer and H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe

Having just messaged with my friend Larry Namer, the nicest of the uber-accomplished Hollywood Moguls  – he founded E! Television – I was happy to see him there and he was the indicator for a great Red-Carpet event. My parents Prince Waldemar and Princess Antonia zu Schaumburg-Lippe have attended an Infolist event with me years ago and its just great fun to see so many industry friends again and meet new ones like Colin Ford from The Hill, Jordan Roman or Leckie Roberts. And all those news: Gennadiy Photography has a new pageant event coming up at the Taglyan, where i opened LA Fashion Week. Silvia Masera is branching out her Gala Events to Europe. And many new celebrity shows popped up on the red carpet, with wonderful hosts.

Infolist CEO Jeff Gund with H.H. Dr. Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe

(more…)

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

24 BACK — (Via TV Line) The clock is ticking (again): A movie adaptation of the hit Fox drama 24  is in early development at 20th Century Studios, our sister site Variety reports.

Keifer Sutherland

Brian Grazer, who executive-produced the original series, teased the prospect of a film version in a June interview with MSNBC’s Squawk Box. In a discussion of different legacy IP brands at his production company Imagine Entertainment, Grazer mentioned a 24 movie in the works “that we’re going to do in a very interesting way with Disney and Fox.”

The project is still in the very early stages, though, so there’s no word yet if Keifer Sutherland will return to reprise his role as counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer in the film. Sutherland starred as Bauer during 24′s original run, which aired for eight seasons on Fox beginning in 2001. The real-time thriller became a hit and won a number of awards, including Emmys for best drama series and for Sutherland as best lead actor in a drama. Sutherland returned as Bauer for the limited series 24: Live Another Day, which aired in 2014. Fox also tried a spinoff, 24: Legacy, in 2017 — with Corey Hawkins taking over the lead role — but that was scrapped after a single season.

The way I see if – and, as a longtime fan of both the show and Sutherland – is that if Keifer is not there, it’s not worth doing. Agreed?

Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford


SHORT TAKES — I watched an interview with Kathie Lee Gifford on Today Wednesday and didn’t even recognize her. Check out the clip here: https://www.today.com/health/news/kathie-lee-gifford-hip-surgery-rcna162079 … Great Micky Dolenz interview from the Monterey Country NOW by Dave FariesMicky Dolenz of The Monkees – and much more – still thrives on stage with songs and stories. | Music | montereycountynow.com

Brad Balfour (Film Festival Traveler) interviewed Steven J. Immerman on his In Search Of Pleasure Island tome this week… Home Depot loads in their Halloween-toys and treats this weekend. It may seem a bit early, but October will here before you know it. A PR-source of ours was about to work on a Halloween-movie coming out in September and had a co-promotion event with the store and the movie; then it all fell apart. Seems to me this would have been a superb tie-in … One of the great A&R men of them all Ed Rosneblatt passed this week in LA. From Peter Gabriel to Madonna to Neil Young; Eddie had a hand in it. Take a look at this story from Hits:https://hitsdailydouble.com/news&id=341939&title=EDDIE-ROSENBLATT-1934-2024 

Cameron Crowe

Meryl Streep is set to essay Joni Mitchell in a film by Cameron Crowe. Big news for sure. Crowe’s Almost Famous is a stone-called classic; as is Crowe …

Francis Ford Coppola

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors will be awarded to director Francis Ford Coppola, rock band Grateful Dead, blues and rock singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt, jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval and the venue The Apollo. The ceremony will take place on Dec. 8, for broadcast on Dec. 23 …

We haven’t weighed in on Apple +’s Presumed Innocent; the re-working of Scott Turow’s book (in 1987) and movie (in 1990), but the finale is next week and the show’s just been renewed for a second season. Jake Gyllenhaal has been great, as has Bill Camp, but David E. Kelly’s words have been just off the charts. For me, it’s the best Kelly’s done since Big Little Lies. If you haven’t seen this series yet, watch all the 8 episodes. It’s a gift for sure. Stunningly good … Just received: NYC’s legendary West Bank Cafe will close …

Tom Viola (by Tristan Fuge)

After an extraordinary run of 36 years, Broadway Cares’ Tom Viola is leaving. Bravo Tom! … RIP Bob Newhart!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Hoda Kotb; Roseanna Scotto; Ray ‘Pinky’ Velazquez; Jim Burgess; Stephanie Shepherd; Monica Lynch; Robert Dragatta; Len Berman; Brad Balfour; Jim Milliot; Sue Simmons; Cindy Adams; Liz Smith; Claudia Cohen; Neal Travis; Richard Johnson; Howard Smiley; and SADIE!

 Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Broadway

Disney Broadway In Bryant Park

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106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park brought Disney to its 2024 program. The Bryant Park stage is located at 6th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets. Lawn seating is first come, first serve.

This weeks performances came from Aladdin‘s Michael James Scott, Sonya Balsara and Adi Roy

Frozen’s Charissa Hogeland and Chad Burris

And The Lion King’s Tshidi Manye, Jim Ferris, Jackie René, Ben Jeffrey and Gilbert Domally

The hosts were Paul ‘Cubby’ Bryant and Christine Nagy.

 

 

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