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The Django Reinhardt NY Festival is in full swing at Birdland, it’s New York City home. Jean “Django” Reinhardt was a Belgian-born, Romani French jazz guitarist and composer, regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century. He was the first jazz talent to emerge from Europe and remains the most significant by far. This is the 18th year that Gianni Valenti and Birdland have hosted the festival which is produced by Pat Philips Stratta. The love of this music and the players established thru the Festival validate the credibility of Django’s style of music as it builds greater and greater audiences in the US and stretches with new original music as well as some from the Great American Songbook.  It’s standing room only at the 2 shows a night at Birdland during the festival which runs from Nov. 7th – Nov. 12th.  The Festival is presented by AIRFRANCE

This year’s Django Festival Allstars are Ludovic Beier, Samson Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt, Amati Schmitt, and Pierre Blanchard.  They are joined by special guests during the run by Ken Peplowski, clarinet, Grace Kelly, sax, and Chris Smith, drums.  These extraordinary musicians keep audiences on the edge of their seats with their improvisations and melodic vertuosity.  The Jazz Greats of the world have appeared on the Birdland stage and these musicians currently performing in the Django Reinhardt  join their ranks.  The Festival is currently in the midst of it’s tour of the U.S. which has included The Kennedy Center in Wash DC.

(For another article by Stephen & complete photos go to Broadwayworld.com))

The Django Reinhardt NY Festival

 

Pat Philips Stratta

The Django Reinhardt NY Festival

Ludovic Beir

Elizabeth Aspenlieder & Eda Sorokoff

Birdland

  

Stephen studied at the Manhattan School of Music. Besides being a pianist, Stephen’s business career was in the Fashion Industry. He was CEO of a textile manufacturing facility and President of an international textile machinery company. Stephen was on the Board of Directors of the “First All Children’s Theatre” which brought the Stephen Schwartz musical The Trip and Captain Louie to the Kennedy Center in Wash DC. His wife Eda, an interior space designer and classical pianist was on the Board of Barrington Stage Company and is still active at BSC. Stephen’s photographs, videos and articles appear on Broadwayworld.com, T2Conline.com and The New York Observer. He is active in the entertainment events at the Friars Club, where he is a member. Stephen is also an Honorary Board Member of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook. Stephen Sorokoff@gmail.com

Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Ali Louis Bourzgui in Tommy

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Ali Louis Bourzgui is a Moroccan American, actor, singer, musician who is rocking New York in Des McAnuff and Pete Townshend’s revival of The Who’s Tommy as the “Pinball Wizard himself….Tommy.

He received rave reviews in Chicago and is doing the same here on Broadway.

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Cabaret

My View: Dr. Perrin Blank Makes His Cafe Centro Debut

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Dr. Perrin Blank, celebrity Dentist “filled” (no pun intended)  the Cafe Centro music room last night with friends, fans and probably some patients who came to hear this Palm Beach legend’s cabaret performance. It was Perrin this time who opened his mouth wide and sang a great curated song list accompanied by the extraordinary musical duo Maycol & Lilian, (who perform weekly at Cafe Centro). That old borscht belt saying “don’t give up your day job” does not apply to Dr. Blank.  Perrin created a wonderful evening of musical fun as he “pulled out” all the stops during his entertaining show.

PERRIN BLANK

PERRIN BLANK

MAYCOL

LILIAN & MYCOL

 

PERRIN BLANK & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

CAFE CENTRO

PERRIN BLANK

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Cabaret

My View: The Wick Goes For The Perfect “Trifecta” With Easter Brunch and HUGH PANARO

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Well, what more can I say about this extraordinary 10th Anniversary Weekend at The Wick? My wife Eda and I feel like it was prom weekend and are now “officially” exhausted, having experienced true theatrical joy and beautifully curated music, giving us a Broadway “fix” of the highest caliber.

Three days of pure bliss! Friday night, Hugh Panaro opened his new show MAN WITHOUT A MASK and he received 3 well deserved standing ovations. Saturday night was the 10th Anniversary Gala for The WICK and I shared with you what that was like.

Today, Marilynn Wick threw an easter Brunch in that beautiful immersive room and Mr. Panaro performed his final show, so beautifully crafted, with Musical Director Joseph Thalken at the keys and Jamie Ousley on bass. The arrangements so startling, moving and melodic, as each song called for its own nuances.

Marilynn Wick took to the stage to talk about the weekend, welcome everyone and then asked Hugh’s Director, Richard Jay-Alexander, to the stage. From there, the emotions got more and more palpable. To hear him thank Marilynn and getting emotional talking about how he feels about Hugh and his talents, put a lump in everyone’s throat and we were off to the races!

To have a weekend about a beloved theatre and beloved star and three solid days and nights of excitement is something that won’t soon be forgotten by any of us who were there.

Bravo to EVERYONE at The WICK!

MARILLYNN WICK & RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER

HUGH PANARO & MARILYNN WICK

JOSEPH THALKEN, HUGH PANARO, RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER, JAMIE OUSLEY

HUGH PANARO

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

HUGH PANARO

EDA SOROKOFF & MARILYNN WICK

OUR TABLE

KAREN DONNELLY & EDA SOROKOFF

RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER & LEE ROY REAMS

JANICE HAMILTON, auctioneer

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Water For Elephants

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The amazing Water For Elephants captured my attention with stellar performances by the ensemble who sends acrobats flying, Stan Brown, Joe De Paul, Sara Gettelfinger, Grant Gustin, Paul Alexander Nolan, Wade McCollum, Rosie, Isabelle McCalla and Gregg Edelman. This show is sure to take your breath away. It is high flying adored.

You can see T2C’s review here.

Water For Elephant is playing at theImperial Theatre, 249 West 45th Street.

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Columns

MY View: Unbridled Passion And Focus On The Future……The Wick Theatre 10th Anniversary Gala

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Last night, in addition to cocktails in a glamorous setting, another beautiful gourmet dinner, live music, an auction, a raffle and other moments of merriment, there was heart, “Miles And Miles and Miles of Heart.”

Kimberly Wick assembled a concise hour of entertainment and recognition to so many who have made this theatre what it is today. She also told the audience what it was like, for her and her sister Kelly, to join their mom on this unimaginable journey, The “mom” is none other than the formidable Marilynn Wick, who has become the heartbeat of the theatre scene, here in Boca Raton, Fl. with a reach around the globe. Everyone knows, has heard of, or been to the WICK. After Covid, like every theatre in America, the focus became laser like and the mission statement continued to evolve.

The show on stage consisted of stories, video packages and talent. Lots and lots of talent, both from the history of the Wick and currently. Broadway’s Hugh Panaro was the centerpiece, performing special material and dueting with Julia Suriano, who just completed the run of CAROUSEL at the theatre. Panaro mesmerized, as expected, and then broke our hearts with a stunning vocal and visual tribute to the late, great Chita Rivera.

Also, scholarships were presented to 3 young people who hope to pursue theatre as a career and profession.

Lee Roy Reams, Aaron Bower, Emily Jewel Hoder (who recently completed a run on Broadway in THE MUSIC MAN), Mallory Newbrough, Leah Sessa and Lourelene Snedeker all added their talents to the evening, with Bobby Peaco on the piano and Joseph Thalken playing for Mr. Panaro. Also, Janice Hamilton brought some real class to the auction and Charles Baran was the perfect host. Norb Joerder was presented a special award, having directed 22 shows over the Wick’s 10 year run.

An emotional Kimberly Wick introduced Marilynn Wick onto the stage and the Executive Managing Producer, Marilynn, was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation, which clearly moved her. When Marilynn speaks, something happens and your heart melts a little. She is one of the most affable individuals I have ever encountered and she is a warrior with her heart on her sleeve. But she also knows exactly what she’s doing and what the future looks like, so she’s already focused on the next 10 years….and we will all be here for it!

Marilynn Wick & Kimberly Wick

THE WICK 10th ANNIVERSARY GALA

CHARLES BARAN

KIMBERLY WICK

HUGH PANARO

HUGH PANARO

HUGH PANARO

HUGH PANARO & CHITA RIVERA

HUGH PANARO & CHITA RIVERA

LEAH SESSA, AARON BOWER, MALLORY NEWBROUGH

EMILY JEWEL HODER

LEAH SESSA, AARON BOWER, MALLORY NEWBROUGH,EMILY JEWEL HODER

MALLORY NEWBROUGH & LEAH SESSA

AARON BOWER

AARON BOWER

NORM JOERDER

AARON BOWER, NORB JOERDER, KIMBERLY WICK

AARON BOWER, NORM JOERDER, KIMBERLY WICK

LEE ROY REAMS

LOURELENE SNEDEKER

LOURELENE SNEDEKER

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

JULLIA SURIANO & HUGH PANARO

JULIA SURIANO & HUGH PANARO

HUGH PANARO & JULIA SURIANO

MALLORY NEWBROUGH

THE WICK 10th ANNIVERSARY GALA

THE WICK 10th ANNIVERSARY GALA

THE WICK 10th ANNIVERSARY GALA

HUGH PANARO & RICHARD JAY-ALEXANDER

THE WICK 10th ANNIVERSARY GALA

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