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Monumental Women Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana and Meryl Streep Portray Talking Statues in Central Park

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Today Monumental Women, the all-volunteer nonprofit group bringing the first statue depicting real women to Central Park, is pleased to announce that award-winning actors Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana and Meryl Streep will portray Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in English and Spanish-Language ‘Talking Statues’ monologues that will accompany the ​Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument.​ The Monument featuring Truth, Anthony and Stanton is set to be unveiled on Central Park’s Literary Walk on August 26, 2020, the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19t​ h​ Amendment, when women won the right to vote.

Actors Jane Alexander and America Ferrera will voice Susan B. Anthony, Viola Davis and Zoe Saldana will voice Sojourner Truth, and Meryl Streep and Rita Moreno will voice Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Monumental Women began working to develop the ​Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument​ and “break the bronze ceiling” by securing a prominent location on Central Park’s famed Literary Walk in 2014. The organization raised $1.5 million in private funding to pay for the statue, which is being designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Meredith Bergmann. In the statue, Bergmann shows Anthony, Stanton, and Truth working together when they met to advance the fight for equality, justice, and women’s rights. They are depicted as equals, working together at a table, with each taking on an essential element of activism: Sojourner Truth is speaking, Susan B. Anthony is organizing, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton is writing. ​The ​Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument​ honors three New York women who dedicated their lives to women’s rights and to women winning the franchise, though none of them lived long enough to see it happen.

‘Talking Statues’ is ​a project started by documentary filmmaker David Peter Fox in Copenhagen in 2013, to tell the stories behind statues through short monologues. The public can easilypage1image30309568page1image30299008

access the monologues by scanning a QR code on a smart-device or by downloading the Talking Statues app on a mobile device.​ ​The app is part of Monumental Women’s education campaign to educate Park visitors, young people and schoolchildren around the world about women’s history. ​Scriptwriter Joanne Parrent crafted the ‘Talking Statues’ narration as a conversation between the three women as portrayed in the Monument by using speeches and writings of Truth, Stanton and Anthony.

Monumental Women President Pam Elam​ expressed excitement and gratitude: “Combining the voices of six of the greatest artists of our time with the spirits of the three Women’s Rights Pioneers we honor in our Monument is a dream come true. We are thrilled to have the support of Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana, and Meryl Streep since they bring not only great artistry but, through their own work for equality and justice, bring a commitment to carrying on the work of the valiant women who came before us.”

Monumental Board member and Talking Statues Project Manager Brenda Berkman​ expressed her thanks to all the narrators, staff and supporters who made this recording possible, even in the midst of a pandemic. “Everyone worked really hard to create this tool for educating the public, especially ​young people​, about women’s history. Technological challenges were overcome. Special thanks go to our editor, Emily Dombroff, for all her expertise and hard work.”

About the Actors

Jane Alexander​ is an award-winning film, television and theater actress, writer and conservationist. Alexander, a Tony award winner, has performed in over a hundred plays on Broadway, off-Broadway, London and in regional theaters nationwide. In 1994, Alexander was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Her film career includes four Academy Award nominations, for “The Great White Hope,” “All The President’s Men,” “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Testament.” In over 40 television movies she has been honored with two Emmys, for the roles of Alma Rose in “Playing For Time” and Sara Delano Roosevelt in “Warm Springs.” She was most recently seen on Broadway in Grand Horizons. A dedicated conservationist and birder, Alexander has served as a Park Commissioner for New York State and is currently on the board of the Audubon Society. Her book ​Wild Things, Wild Places​, documents her travels with field biologists around the world.

Viola Davis ​is an award-winning actress of film, television and theater. She is the first black actress to win two Tony Awards​ f​or “Fences” and “King Hedley II”, an Oscar​ ​for “Fences” and an Emmy​ f​or the ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder”. In 2015, Davis received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series,” in addition to becoming the first African American actress to receive the P​ rimetime Emmy Award​ for “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.” Davis was recently seen in Amazon Studio’s family comedy, “Troop Zero,” and will next be seen in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on the play of the same name by August Wilson. In 2012, Davis and herpage2image30152704

husband founded JuVee. The Los Angeles-based and artist-driven company produces film, television and digital content across all of entertainment, with its focus being to give a voice to the voiceless through strong, impactful and culturally relevant narratives.

America Ferrera​ is an award-winning actress, director and producer known for her breakthrough role as “Betty Suarez” on ABC’s hit comedy, Ugly Betty. For her performance, Ferrera was recognized with a Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG Award, as well as ALMA and Imagen Awards. Ferrera most recently produced and starred in the NBC workplace comedy, Superstore. She also executive produced and directed episodes of NETFLIX’s new Latinx dramedy, Gentefied. A longtime activist, Ferrera most recently organized the ‘Letter of Solidarity’ with Eva Longoria in response to the El Paso, Texas shooting in 2019. Over 200 Latinx community leaders signed, urging others to turn this time of despair into a time of action. In 2017, she worked as one of the driving forces alongside other powerful women in Hollywood to establish the TIME’S UP movement.

Rita Moreno​ has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. Her career spans more than six decades, beginning with her Broadway debut at age 13. Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films, countless television shows, and has performed in numerous regional theaters including her one woman show, L​ ife Without Makeup​ at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Currently, Moreno stars in the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, ​One Day at a Time o​ n POP TV. She also co-stars and serves as an Executive Producer in the Steven Spielberg remake of ​West Side Story,​ scheduled for a December 2020 release. Most recently, Moreno received the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Zoe Saldana ​is a film and television actress, awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018 and best known for her starring role as Neytiri in the record-breaking film “Avatar.” Saldana recently reprised her role as Gamora in 2019’s box office hit, “Avengers: Endgame” and previously starred in “Avengers: Infinity Wars.” Saldana’s other film roles include “Live By Night,” “Star Trek: Beyond,” the third installment of the 2009 hit in which Saldana played Nyota Uhura and “Columbiana.” She will reprise her role as Neytiri in the highly anticipated sequels “Avatar 2, 3 and 4” slated for release in 2021. Behind the camera, Saldana spends her time with Cinestar, a film production company she founded with her two sisters. Cinestar produced the NBC Mini-Series “Rosemary’s Baby,” the AOL Digital series “My Hero” and THE HONOR LIST. When not in production, Saldana engages in philanthropic work involving children’s development, well-being and confidence building, and was previously the ​global ambassador for Shot@Life, an organization that aims to ensure that children around the world have access to life-saving vaccines. Saldana is currently focused on BESE (pronounced “Bee-Seh”), her digital platform that provides a voice for Latinx youth through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as, YouTube videos and podcasts.

Meryl Streep ​is an award-winning actress whose career has cut its own unique path from theatre through film and television for more than 40 years. She began her professional career on the New York stage, where within three years of receiving her MFA with Honors from Yale University she made her Broadway debut, won an Emmy for “Holocaust” and received her first Oscar nomination for “The Deer Hunter.” She has won three Academy Awards and in 2018, in a record that is unsurpassed, she earned her 21st Academy Award nomination for her role as Katherine Graham in “The Post.” She was most recently seen in HBO’s second season of “Big Little Lies” and Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated “Little Women.” ​She has been named a Commandeur de L’Ordre Des Arts et des Lettres and a Kennedy Center Honoree, and she has received both the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. ​In 1989 Streep co-founded the consumer advocacy group Mothers and Others, that for ten years worked to promote sustainable agriculture, establish new pesticide regulations, and ensure the availability of organic and sustainably grown local foods. ​She also lends her efforts to Women for Women International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Donor Direct Action, Women in the World Foundation, and Partners in Health.

About the Scriptwriter

Joanne Parrent​ is an author, screenwriter and activist, who co-founded the first feminist credit union in Detroit, Michigan. She first learned about the courageous and tireless work for women’s rights of Anthony, Stanton and Truth in the 1970s and has championed efforts ever since to get their stories told for current and future generations. She is proud to have worked with the amazing team at Monumental Women on the Talking Statue app for the Central Park statue of these three extraordinary women.

Monumental Women’s future goals include a Women’s History Education Campaign, a Challenge to Municipalities across this country to re-imagine their public spaces to honor all women and people of color, and the creation of a New York City Women’s Rights Trail throughout all five boroughs. Follow Monumental Women on Instagram and Facebook @monumentalwomennyc, as well as Twitter at @MonumentalWomen.

To learn more about Monumental Women, click here.

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

Art

Tony Bennett Auction Exhibition at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco

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Tony Bennett: A Life Well Lived,” exclusive exhibition opening at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, California, celebrating the legendary life and career of the iconic pop jazz vocalist before its two-day auction event by Julien’s Auctions taking place April 18th and Friday, April 19th, 2024 at Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame in Jazz at Lincoln Center. The free public exhibition opens April 8th and runs through April 10th (10am-6pm daily).The Fairmont San Francisco and Mr. Bennett have enjoyed a special relationship for decades. Mr. Bennett first performed his hit “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” in the Venetian Room at the hotel in 1961. The Fairmont San Francisco has had the honor and pleasure of welcoming Mr. Bennett and his family to the hotel for decades. The hotel also touts a special Tony Bennett suite that pays homage to his career and features several pieces of his artwork.Highlights of the exhibition include artifacts pertaining to the American songbook master’s life and career with his special link to San Francisco such as a San Francisco cable car bell award presented to Bennett for his instrumental role in saving the city’s iconic cable car system in the 1980s; a San Francisco Giants jacket worn by Bennett as the Texas Rangers faced the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series in San Francisco, California, October 27, 2010 and his white personalized “Bennett” San Francisco Giants jersey; his original “Landscape San Francisco” watercolor painting; as well as record awards, a Grammy nomination plaque for his iconic hit, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and more.

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Events

Jameson Set to Take Over Times Square for Epic Event and More with Colin Jost and Michael Che

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To make St. Patrick’s Eve as epic as possible, Jameson is taking over Times Square on Saturday, March 16. Starting today, fans can visit JamesonSPE.com to enter for a chance to score a spot on the guest list for Jameson’s St. Patrick’s Eve celebration in New York City, co-hosted by Jost and Che, featuring a  surprise DJ performance and a can’t-miss, first-of-its-kind ‘rock drop’ – a Jameson version of the famous Times Square ball drop – at 8 p.m. ET (aka midnight in Ireland) to mark the occasion. Jameson Irish Whiskey is one of the first brands to ever drop the Times Square Ball to launch a celebration for a new holiday. To further spread the St. Patrick’s Eve spirit from coast-to-coast, Jameson will also light up the Sphere in Las Vegas in Jameson green, wrap the ferries and water taxis in the dyed- green Chicago River and have a complete digital takeover at L.A. Live – all marking the new holiday.

Anyone 21+ can tune into the rock drop live streamed on JamesonSPE.com and for those in NYC, Jameson will have a kick-off to St. Patrick’s Eve in Times Square Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets with a live DJ, giveaways and more from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET.

Because a special holiday deserves an equally stylish look, Jameson is releasing limited-edition, vintage-inspired jackets at JamesonSPE.com. The design includes a hidden pocket inside the jacket to perfectly

hold a Jameson hip flask that comes with the order, as well as luxe patches signature to the iconic Irish Whiskey brand. The Jameson St. Patrick’s Eve jacket will retail for $150 plus tax with free shipping in the continental U.S., and 50-jacket drops will take place weekly hrough March 12.

All proceeds will benefit the Restaurant Workers’ Community Fund (RWCF), a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for food and beverage service industry workers, continuing the brand’s long-standing partnership with the organization to support its bartending community.

For more details about Jameson St. Patrick’s Eve festivities or for St. Patrick’s Eve cocktail ideas, visit JamesonSPE.com and follow @Jameson_US.

 

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Off Broadway

Public Theater Brings “The Ally” Forward for an Intense Debate

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So here’s the pickle. This play, The Ally, clocking in at a far too long two hours and forty minutes, throws controversy at you in numerous long-winded speeches one after the other, filling your brain with details and complexities that clash and do battle with each other from beginning to end. The structuring is intelligent, as the Public Theater‘s new play, The Ally, written by Itamar Moses (Outrage; The Band’s Visit) and directed with precision by Lila Neugebauer (Second Stage’s Appropriate), strides forward into dangerous territory with determination against all odds. Wickedly smart and articulate, the play, in general, overwhelms the intellectual senses. It’s factual and intricate, somewhat off-balanced and attacking, delivering detailed positions with fiery accuracy, which only made me question whether I wanted to sit this one out. Or step more in.

It’s unsafe and determined, placing the action (or inaction, if you really want to get into it) inside a college campus, and attempting to engage in deep-level conversations and arguments with the complicated issues of the world. These are exactly the debates worth having, says basically one character to another, in the tradition of arguing. Because banning free speech is “weird on a college campus.” These conundrums and conflicts are core to passionate dialogue, and just the idea of having them is meeting with fierce debate at universities and colleges across the country. The complexities and the tipping points are layered and real, swimming in a sea of questions about what free speech really truly means, and how differing points of view, civil dialogue, and the stark polarization contrasts collide and enflame. And how, in discussion, defensiveness and aggressive emotional stances are taken on and used against one another like weapons; bullets, and missiles. I even feel a bit worried that taking this stance of wanting to back away might be taken as ‘part of the problem’.

Ben Rosenfield and Josh Radnor in The Ally at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

The program notes that “the theatre is a safe space in the most literal sense of that term: no one is going to be physically harmed during this performance in the Anspacher. But it is most decidedly not a safe space if by that term we mean a space where everyone will feel comfortable and no one will feel angry, saddened, or offended. It can’t be that kind of space. The theater depends on conflict – the form itself refuses the idea of a single truth. It’s why I [Oskar Eustis; Artistic Director of The Public Theater] believe that theater is the ultimate democratic art form – just like citizens in democracy, the theater demands that we listen to and share opposing viewpoints, and that from that conflict, a greater truth will emerge.” And I couldn’t agree more with that.

Yet, even with such heightened emotions on stage, delivered full throttle by the excellent cast that includes Cherise Boothe (Signature’s Fabulation,) as Nakia; Elijah Jones (Signature’s Confederates) as Baron; Michael Khalid Karadsheh (Target Margin’s The Most Oppressed by All) as Farid; Joy Osmanski (“Stargirl“) as Gwen; Josh Radnor (LCT’s The Babylon Line) as Asaf; Ben Rosenfield (RTC’s Love, Love, Love) as Reuven; and Madeline Weinstein (BAM’s Medea) as Rachel, who each try to make it sound more authentic than the writing really allows, the play suffers from how deep of a dive the writing goes. But not without a solid attempt by this cast, bringing qualities and characteristics to the forefront whenever they are given the chance. But a lot of the time, like their main focus, Radnor’s Asaf, they must stand and listen to whoever has the microphone at that one particular speechified moment. And wait, just like us, for the next round. And viewpoint.

Madeline Weinstein, Michael Khalid Karadsheh, and Elijah Jones in Ally at The Public Theater. Photo credit: Joan Marcus.

Playwright Itamar has certainly dived fully into some of the most difficult topics of our time and asks us to patiently listen to all sides, even when the dialogue doesn’t really resemble discussion but more like informed lectures or one-framed speeches. On the plainest of sets, designed by Lael Jellinek (Public/Broadway’s Sea Wall/A Life), with costuming by Sarita Fellows (Broadway’s Death of a Salesman), lighting by Reza Behjat (ATC’s English) and sound design by Bray Poor (Broadway’s Take Me Out), The Public‘s The Ally, uncovers some emotional space within the manifestos presented. Itamar states in the note section: It “wasn’t that i had nothing to say,” he carefully explains, like the main character who has to stand back and take on the full force and brunt of the argument. “Rather, I didn’t know where to begin because what I had to say was too confused, too contradictory, too raw.” And if that was the complicated stance he was trying to unpack, the playwright succeeded tremendously well.

But does that make The Ally, at The Public Theater, especially this long-winded one, worth sitting through? I’d say yes, and I’d say no. I couldn’t wait to leave that debate hall, but I was also impressed and intrigued by the arguments presented and discussed, even if ‘debate’ would not exactly be the word I would use for the ideas thrown around at one another with brutal force. One of the later statements said to Radnor’s Asaf by his ex-girlfriend, Nakia (Boothe) at maybe one of the few truly emotional moments of actual human souls speaking their truth, sums up my stance. “The thing you need, may not be words.” I won’t argue with that.

For more information and tickets, click here.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Family

The Hotel Edison Opulent and Convenient with History

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George Burns and Gracie Allen lived on the 9th floor of The Edison Hotel. Their friend Jack Benny lived on the 4th floor. Moss Hart lived there after his Once in a Lifetime was a Broadway hit. He then moved his parents there until he found them an apartment. The Edison Hotel is featured in the movies “The Godfather” and “Bullets Over Broadway”, so history abounds.

Located at 228 West 47th Street, you are down the street from Six, Hamilton, Prayer for the French Republic and Sweeney Todd. Across the street is the Barrymore Theatre, but all of Broadway and Times Square is a hop, skip and a jump away. Talk about location, location, location.Built in the late 1920’s, Art Deco abounds from the hotel lobby to the lights and the bed spread in the lush rooms. The hotel is elegant and feels like you stepped back in time. My room was spacious with a king-sized bed that was so comfortable, I wish this was a staycation where I could have spent more time catching up on sleep. I also had a small sitting room with a couch, desk and more windows with views.

The rooms are well designed with great features, such as a Keurig coffee maker and coffee, black-out drapes, windows that opened, and a full-marble bathroom. In the bathroom fluffy towels, designer toiletries and a hair dryer awaited me. The spacious shower also had a relaxing rain shower. In the closet a safe, iron, ironing board and fluffy robes.

There were also two flat-screen high-definition smart TVs, Bluetooth-enabled audio, high-speed Wi-Fi which made my life so much easier, and an alarm clock.

The room was ultra clean and to get to it you need a room key, which you also need for the elevator, so you feel incredibly safe.

Another fun fact…when you arrive you will have a personalized note waiting just for you and some lovely snacks, which were highly appreciated considering I had been running all day and needed a pick me up.

Amenities to the hotel are a gym, two fabulous restaurants, a piano bar, complimentary wine and cheese receptions (Tuesday & Friday), with entertainment, as well as complimentary walking tours of the neighborhood.

You would think for this much pampering and convivence this hotel would be overpriced but it is not. There are rooms are the best offer and prices in town.

If you are looking for history, comfort, boutique, friendliness and luxury, this is the perfect place to stay.

The Edison Hotel: 228 West 47th Street

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Going Down The Rabbit Hole To Discover A Fabulous Unheard Treasure of Linda Eder

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In February one of my favorite singers is coming to 54 Below on the 6, 13, & 17. Linda Eder is forever linked to Broadway history via her Theatre World Award winning performance in Jekyll & Hyde. Her concerts sell out and the reason why is her voice is remarkable.

In 2020 she release an album that somehow slipped through my radar. Retro – volume two is full of Broadway and Standards. There are 17 tracks on the CD. Most are written by Frank Wildhorn with the exception of four tracks. There are two pop tracks, one written by Frank Wildhorn and one written by Jake Wildhorn. She recorded the vocals for four of the tracks at home by herself due to social distancing. This CD is only available at LindaEder.com.

Guest stars on the CD are Will Lee and Michael Lanning. Songs from Bonnie & Clyde, Svengali, Tears of Heaven, Havana andThe Last Five Years are heard here.

I can not believe this slipped through the cracks, but thrilled to find it. Can’t wait to see her at 54 Below.

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