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My View: Opening Night…”peerless” at Primary Stages

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PRIMARY STAGES (Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director; Shane D. Hudson, Executive Director; Casey Childs, Founder) and 59E59 Theaters (Val Day, Artistic Director; Brian Beirne, Managing Director), in association with Jamie deRoy, presented peerless, last night at 59E59’s Theater A  by 2019/20 Tow Playwright-in-Residence Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo) and directed by Margot Bordelon (…what the end will be)

Check out the opening night photos:

BENNY WAYNE SULLY, SASHA DIAMON, SHANNON TYO, MARIE BOTHA, ANTHONY CARSON

peerless began previews at 59E59’s Theater A (59 E 59th Street) on September 24, 2022, and opened October 11 for a limited run through November 6, 2022. 

A darkly comedic twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in the cutthroat world of elite college admissions, Jiehae Park’s clever and incisive adaptation, peerless, is a comedy…until it’s not. This new version of the classic story centers on M and L, twin Asian-American siblings who have given up everything to get into The College. When another classmate claims what they feel is rightfully “their spot,” the twins decide they have only one option: murder. 

The cast of peerless includes Marié Botha (“Dickinson”) as “Dirty Girl/Preppy Girl,” Anthony Cason (Oklahoma!) as “BF,” Sasha Diamond (Teenage Dick) as “M,” Benny Wayne Sully (My First Native American Boyfriend) as “D/Brother” and Shannon Tyo (The Chinese Lady) as “L.” 

peerless features scenic design by Kristen Robinson (Oratorio for Living Things), costume design by Amanda Gladu (The Jury), lighting design by Mextly Couzin (Which Way to the Stage), compositions and sound design by Palmer Hefferan (The Skin of our Teeth), fight direction by Michael Rossmy (These Paper Bullets), and props supervision by Sean Sanford (Sanctuary City). Vickie Ramirez is the Cultural Consultant, Megan Schwarz Dickert is the Stage Manager, Malie Fujii is the Assistant Stage Manager, and Tameishia Peterson is the COVID Safety Manager. Casting is by Stephanie Yankwitt, CSA, of TBD Casting and Tanis Parenteau is the Casting Assistant. 

The performance schedule for peerless is as follows: Tuesday – Saturday at 7:00pm and Saturday – Sunday at 2:00pm. Exceptions: there will be no performances on Tuesday October 18, Tuesday October 25 or Friday October 28. 

Tickets to peerless begin at $25 and are available now at 59e59.org/shows/show-detail/peerless. 

peerless is made possible, in part, through the generous support of The Tow Foundation, public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

peerless was developed during Jiehae Park’s 2019-2020 Tow Playwright Residency at Primary Stages. Previous production and development include the world premiere produced by Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT (James Bundy, Artistic Director and Victoria Nolan, Managing Director); developed by the Cherry Lane Mentor Project (Angelina Fiordellisi, Artistic Director); originally developed in the Soho Rep Writer Director Lab (Sarah Benson, Artistic Director and Cynthia Flowers, Executive Director).

PRIMARY STAGES  PEERLESS

Andrew Leynse, Artistic Director & Shane D. Hudson, Executive Director

ABOUT PRIMARY STAGES 

Primary Stages is an Off-Broadway not-for-profit theater company dedicated to inspiring, supporting, producing. and sharing the art of playwriting. We operate on the strongly held belief that the future of American theater relies on nurturing playwrights and giving them the artistic support needed to create new work. Since our founding in 1984, we have produced more than 135 new plays, including Theresa Rebeck’s Poor Behavior and Downstairs; Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice and Little Women; Billy Porter’s While I Yet Live; Charles Busch’s The Tribute Artist and Olive and the Bitter Herbs; Sharon Washington’s Feeding the Dragon; Leah Nanako Winkler’s God Said This; In Transit by James-Allen-Ford, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Russ Kaplan, and Sara Wordsworth (on Broadway in 2017); Horton Foote’s The Roads to Home, The Day Emily Married, Harrison, TX, and Dividing the Estate (two Tony nominations); Donald Margulies’ The Model Apartment (1995 premiere and 2013 revival); David Ives’ Lives of the Saints and All in the Timing (original 1993 production and 2013 revival); Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent; Ike Holter’s Exit Strategy; Tanya Saracho’s Fade; Michael McKeever’s Daniel’s Husband; A.R. Gurney’s Black Tie; Terrence McNally’s Dedication or the Stuff of Dreams and The Stendhal Syndrome; Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter’s In the Continuum (which went on to tour the U.S., Africa, and Scotland); and Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas (which marked the playwright’s U.S. debut). Our productions and artists have received critical acclaim, including Tony, Obie, Lortel, AUDELCO, Outer Critics’ Circle, Drama League and Drama Desk Awards and nominations. Primary Stages supports playwrights and develops new works through commissions, workshops, readings, and our education and training programs: The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, the Marvin and Anne Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), Creative Access Grants, the Echoes Writers Group, the Free Student Matinee Program, and the Primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral History Project. Through these programs, Primary Stages advocates for our artists, helping them make important—and often transformative— connections within the theater community.

Jamie DeRoy & Richard Maltby Jr.

JAMIE deROY started producing theater by accident…which has led to 10 Tony Awards and credits on 100+ Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, including Leopoldstadt, The Piano Lesson, Death of a Salesman, Ohio State Murders, The Lehman Trilogy, Hangmen, TINA, Ain’t Too Proud, Company, The Inheritance, Beetlejuice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Play That Goes Wrong, among others. For Primary Stages, Jamie has co-produced 25 shows, including Downstairs, Dividing the Estate, Feeding the Dragon, and Exit Strategy (Off-Broadway Alliance Award, Best Play), among others. Additional awards include nine MAC Awards, nine Drama Desk awards, two Audience Choice Awards, 10 Drama League Awards, three GLAAD Awards, four Back Stage Bistro Awards, numerous Telly Awards and CaB Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been honored by Theatre Works/USA, Albert Einstein Spirit of Achievement, The Ruth Kurtzman Benefit Award, and Primary Stages – twice! A frequent presence on the New York night scene, Jamie has produced nine CDs for the Jamie deRoy & friends series on Harbinger and PS Classics. Her long-running variety shows have benefitted The Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund) and she also hosts a TV variety show which has been on the air for over 30 years. Onstage, she appeared with René Auberjonois in The Threepenny Opera and The Drunkard with musical direction by Barry Manilow. Other producing credits include Jamie deRoy & friends, CityArts including the Emmy nominated “The Biggest Little Operas in Town,” and the documentaries “Broadway: The Golden Age” and “Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age.” Jamie has also produced two short films: Wish on the Moon (16 Film Festivals) and Daddy’s Girl, just released.

59E59 Theaters

ABOUT 59E59 THEATERS

59E59 Theaters was established by the Elysabeth Kleinhans Theatrical Foundation in 2004 to grant professional space and expertise to non-profit theater companies premiering their work in New York City. Under the leadership of Val Day, Artistic Director, and Brian Beirne, Managing Director, 59E59 Theaters presents a year-round curated program of Off Broadway plays and musicals that are nurtured and supported through highly-subsidized rental rates as well as production, ticketing, FOH, marketing, and press support.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT

WWW.PRIMARYSTAGES.ORG

ANTHONY CARSON, MARIE BOTHA, BENNY WAYNE SULLY, SHANNON TYO, SASHA DIAMOND

ANTHONY CARSON, SASHA DIAMOND, SHANNON TYO

ANDREW LYENSE, MARGOT BORDELON SUSAN SOON HE STANTON

SHAYNE HUDSON, MARY BORBA, MARLA PERSKY, ANDREW LEYNSE

SHANE HUDSON, JAME DEROY, JIEHAE PARK, MARGOT BORDELON, ERIN DALEY, ANDREW LEYNSE

CECILLIA LIN, RICHARD MALTBY JR, JAMIE DEROY

JIEHAE PARK, PERSON, MARGOT BORDELON

JASON KRAVITS & JAMIE DEROY

CHRISTINE DELISLE, KEN KLEIN, JAMIE DEROY

ADAM GWON

 

JIEHAE PARK & EILEEN WISEMAN

TED SNOWDON & JAMIE DEROY

MARY BACON

REHANNA ALMESTICA & ANDRIES BERENDSEN

PAUL KATZ & friend

KATE HAMILL & ERIN DALEY

JIEHAE PARK & JAMIE DEROY

JIEHAE PARK & RICHARD MALTBY JR.

MARSI GARDINER & JASON KRAVITS

SASHA DIAMOND & SHANNON TYO

DANIEL DUNLOW & EDA SOROKOFF

 

 

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

Cabaret

My View: Why CAN’T A Woman…? This Woman Can…Lianne Marie Dobbs

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The actor Lianne Marie Dobbs played a 1900’s woman in the HBO series The Gilded Age. You also might have seen her in Law & Order, The Equalizer and F.B.I., but yesterday at Chelsea Tables + Stage she wasn’t just playing the part of a Cabaret singer!  Ms. Dobbs is the real deal, and she captivated an audience of music connoisseurs with her formidable vocal talents and wit in her show titled “Why CAN’T a Woman…? 

Lianne’s cabaret act utilizes Broadway leading men’s songs and sassy standards, served up with a twist of SHE, to celebrate all the hats that women wear, and she answered the shows question authoritatively….This woman sure can!

Lianne Marie Dobbs was named one of the Best Vocalists of the Decade (BroadwayWorld, 2020) and has filled The Green Room 42, 54Below, Feinstein’s at Hotel Carmichael, Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Blue Strawberry in St. Louis, and will be featured in Chicago’s Cabaret Week later in May.  “Why CAN’T a Woman…?” was named one of the best cabaret shows of the year (2022) by BroadwayWorld, and called “an honest to goodness emerging work of art”.  She has appeared in leading roles Off-Broadway, in National Tours, and at renowned theaters such as Denver Center, Repertory of St. Louis, Ogunquit Playhouse, Goodspeed and many more.

Ron Abel is Lianne’s music director and arranger, whose accolades include: LA Critics Circle Award Winner and L.A. Weekly Award Winner for his original compositions and unique arrangements of Broadway hits for orchestras and singers. He has been the music director for acclaimed vocalists such as Lucie Arnaz, Peter Allen, Joely Fisher, Valarie Pettiford, Julia Migenes, Helen Reddy, and John Lloyd Young.

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & RON ABEL

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

CHELSEA TABLE + STAGE

STANDING OVATION

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS

LIANNE MARIE DOBBS & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

PAUL KREPPEL, RON ABEL, EDA SOROKOFF, MURPHY CROSS

EDA SOROKOFF & TAKAKO HARKNESS

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My View: An Evening With Jason Robert Brown…One Evening Isn’t Enough

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The 92NY Lyrics & Lyricists presented An Evening with Jason Robert Brown last night.  Although it would take many evenings to appreciate the totality and brilliance of the triple Tony Award winner’s body of work, Mr. Brown together with his exceptional band of musicians and guest artists Mykal Kilgore and Heidi Blickenstaff thrilled an overflow audience in it’s Kaufman Concert Hall during the 2 hour show.  In contrast to many great composer/lyricists who have minimal performance capabilities, JRB is an exciting personality on stage both vocally and conversationally, and his fearless technique on the piano is reminiscent of  George Gershwin or Marvin Hamlisch when playing their own works.

Full Disclosure:

I’ve been a JRB fan since my daughter Caroline in the 1980’s wrote us a letter from Camp French Woods saying..”I can’t wait for you to come on Visiting day and hear my friend Jason play the piano.

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

JASON ROBERT BROWN

DANIELLE LEE GREAVES, TASHA MICHELLE, JASON ROBERT BROWN

MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BORWN & MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BORWN & MYKAL KILGORE

JASON ROBERT BROWN & MYKAL KILGORE

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN & HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN & HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF

JASON ROBERT BROWN

HEIDI BLICKENSTAFF, JASON ROBERT BROWN, MYKAL KILGORE

AN EVENING WITH JASON ROBERT BROWN at 92NY

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Cabaret

My View: The City Was Special Last Night….Melissa Errico at 54 Below

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The evening at 54 Below was advertised as a “ Vinyl Release Celebration Concert” and how apt that VINYL, the unrivaled substance utilized to capture the subtle nuances and breadth of music has now been used to capture the elegant voice of Melissa Errico singing the songs of  “Sondheim in the City” for posterity. 

Caveat: While Vinyl may capture in analog glory the beautiful notes and words of Melissa, one must be in her presence to experience her irrepressible beauty, wit, and intelligence on stage.

Melissa Errico….Sondheim In The City Vinyl Release Celebration at 54 Below May 7,8,9…..

Tedd Firth Music Director, David Finck (Bass), Eric Halvorson (Drums) Bruce Harris (Trumpet)

About the show:

After the critical triumph of her Sondheim Sublime album-called “the finest all Sondheim recording ever made” by the Wall Street Journal, Melissa Errico returned to one of her cabaret homes (54 Below) last night and to her favorite songwriter with an entire new program of Sondheim songs, celebrating her new album (released February 16, 2024 on Concord) and a different side of Steve, praised in The New York Times as “a New York house tour of thrill and heartbreak..from one of Sondheim’s deepest-hearted yet lightest-touch interpreters.”

Sondheim in the City is the Sondheim of smart, sophisticated New York, the Sondheim of the quick, witty, sardonic, love-seeking and sex-driven city that he recorded and worked in through his long life. From the anthem of city busyness “Another Hundred People” to the bittersweet hymns of city marriage, “Sorry, Grateful” and “Good Thing Going,” with time for hardboiled surprises like “Uptown, Downtown” and surprisingly soft-centered ballads like “All That I Need” and “Dawn”

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO & TEDD FIRTH, music director

54 Below, Eda Sorokoff

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Ken Fallin's Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Kelli O’Hara Returns In “The Hours” At The Metropolitan Opera

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Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Kevin Puts’s hit new opera, which played to sold-out audiences during its world-premiere production last season, triumphantly returns. The original trio of legendary divas—sopranos Renée Fleming and Kelli O’Hara and mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato—reprise their celebrated portrayals of three women from different eras whose lives are connected through Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway. Bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen also returns as the dying author Richard, and Kensho Watanabe conducts Phelim McDermott’s gripping staging of this heart-wrenching drama, adapted from Michael Cunningham’s acclaimed novel and the Oscar-winning film it inspired.

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Columns

My View: A Night To Remember..The New York Pops Gala Honoring Clive Davis

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Sometimes words just do not suffice and, last night, The New York Pops Annual Gala which honored Clive Davis would fit into this category. The orchestra, led by the esteemed and popular conductor, Steven Reineke, was ablaze for artist after artist, star after star, setting the place on fire! One of the most thrilling nights New York audiences and supporters could ever have hoped for. New York always delivers. So The New York Pops. Bravo and Congratulations

On a personal note, at our table… sharing the evening with my daughters Caroline and Laura, our friends Catherine Adler, Helmut Koller, Greg and Penny Sherry kids, and Storm Large made a special evening even more special.

Here are a few cell phone photos:

CAROLINE SOROKOFF, STEPHEN SOROKOFF, EDA SOROKOFF, LAURA SOROKOFF GELMAN

STEPHEN SOROKOFF, EDA SOROKOFF, HELMUT KOLLER, CATHERINE ADLER

CAROLINE SOROKOFF, LAURA SOROKOFF GELMAN, STORM LARGE, EDA SOROKOFF

NANCY PELOSI & MAESTRO STEVEN REINEKE

RIKI KANE LARIMER AND FRIENDS

ERIC GABBARD, EDA SOROKOFF, STORM LARGE

PAULO SZOT & EDA SOROKOFF

STORM LARGE

CARNEGIE HALL

CARNEGIE HALL

STEVEN REINEKE

BARRY MANILOW

MY GIRLS

STORM LARGE & RIKI KANE LARIMER

EDA SOROKOFF & ARI MELBER

CLIVE DAVIS

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