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Timothy John Smith, Lizzie Klemperer, Matt Monath

Timothy John Smith, Lizzie Klemperer,. Photo by Matt Monath

I have been a fan of Leonardo Da Vinci for a very long time. When I heard there was a musical at NYMF about him I was excited. I sat watching Lisa and Leonardo wondering if I had missed some major history lessons. Turns out I didn’t, but Ed McNamee, Donya Lane and Michael Unger did. Either that or they decided facts in history can just be thrown out when writing a historical musical. Here are the facts they got blatently wrong:

1: The Statue of David was not modeled after Leonardo Da Vinci. He was consulted to work on the project, but was not involved in one bit. As a matter of fact it was done after the Medici rule which this show mixes the time frame.

2: Leonardo never fathered any children. He was gay and did not swing both ways according to history. As a matter of fact he was brought up on sodomy changes over Salai who lived with him until he died.

3: Lisa not only loved her husband, but went on to have 5 children with him.

4: Isabella D’Este was a patron and huge supporter of Da Vinci and he never turned her down. He drew her portrait on a journey through Mantua.

5: The smile on the Mona Lisa is said to be that of Salai’s.

I could go on and on, but that is only a small part of what is wrong with this show. The music by Ms. Lane is all over the map with only “Life Itself,” “Take Me There” and Fixed to a Star” being up to par and they are all in the second act after 17 other songs. The lyrics by Mr. McNamee have so many missed accents and trip over the music. I will say that the songs did move the plot line. The book is a bore and factually a mess. The choreography by Johnathan Cerullo just odd and the direction by Michelle Tattenbaum has the cast moving scenery.

As for the cast there is NO chemistry between Lisa (Lizzie Klemperer) or Leonardo (Timothy John Smith) or Salai (Ravi Roth). Cooper Grodin and Brian Owen try to offer some levity and sing quite well, but it is only Samia Mounts who in singing “Life Itself,” stands out.

The band however sounded amazing with the fabulous Sean Harkness playing guitar.

 Lisa and Leonardo: The Duke Theatre, 229 West 42nd St. 7/23 @ 9pm, 7/25 @ 12pm, 7/28 @ 4 and 8 pm.

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

The Acting Company Honors Stephen McKinley Henderson and William H. Wright II

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The Acting Company (Kent Gash, Artistic Director; Devin Brain, Producing Director; Erik Schroeder, Managing Director) is proud to announce that Stephen McKinley Henderson will receive the John Houseman Award Honor, and William H. Wright II will receive the Joan M. Warburg Award Honor, as part of The Acting Company’s “Fantastic Journeys” Gala on Monday, April 29. Additional details and performers to be announced in the next few weeks.

This one-night-only event will celebrate more than a half a century of developing emerging actors by bringing classics and new plays across the US on fantastic journeys that have changed the American cultural landscape. The evening will include a cocktail hour that begins at 6:30 PM, followed by a silent auction, special guests, performances, dancing and a gourmet dinner.

“The Acting Company is thrilled to honor exemplary Actor, Director, Mentor and Professor of Acting, two-time Tony Award nominee, Obie Award winner, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award winner Stephen McKinley Henderson with the John Houseman Award,” said Artistic Director Kent Gash. “A veteran of theatre, film and television, Mr. Henderson has created an impressive body of work originating varied and indelible roles for nearly 50 years, written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights August Wilson and Stephen Adly Guirgis among many others. Without the work of Stephen McKinley Henderson many of us would not have careers. He is the gold standard of excellence that we aspire to reach.”

Tickets and tables for the “Fantastic Journeys” Gala on Monday, April 29 are available for purchase by calling 212-258-3111 or by visiting https://theactingcompany.org/gala.

Stephen McKinley Henderson has worked on stages throughout the United States and abroad, on and off Broadway, and in television and film. His eight Broadway performances include Between Riverside and Crazy (Tony nomination), Fences (Tony nomination), A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and A Doll’s House Part 2. Off-Broadway roles include LAByrinth Theatre Company’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot and Second Stage Theater’s Jitney (Drama Desk, Obie, and Audelco awards for outstanding ensemble). He is the 2023 recipient of the Drama Desk’s Harold Prince Lifetime Achievement Award. His stage directing credits include Signature Theater’s Zooman and the Sign, Ali! in New York, London, and Atlanta, and The Meeting for St. Louis Black Repertory Theater presented at the Kennedy Center.  Stephen’s work appears in six Oscar nominated films: Dune; Fences; Lady Bird; Lincoln; Manchester by the Sea; and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In his freshman year at Lincoln University in Missouri, a historically black institution, he auditioned for John Houseman and Michael Kahn and became a member of Group l, Juilliard Drama Division in 1968. His conservatory training continued at North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA) where he served as president of the student government and at Purdue University Graduate School (MA), where he was Director of the Drama Workshop for the Black Cultural Center. Stephen was part of a master class taught by Lloyd Richards at the Actor’s Center and he continued to study with Mr. Richards on a Fox Foundation Fellowship for three years. He is a Lunt and Fontanne Ten Chimneys Fellowship Teacher and a former Chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Theatre and Dance. John Houseman cited Stephen’s work as a student in his memoir, Final Dress, and Dr. Samuel Hay cites his work as an actor, director, and educator in his text, African American Theater, A Critical Analysis

William H. Wright II is an expert in investment banking, finance and corporate governance. Most recently, he was a managing director at Morgan Stanley, retiring in 2010 after 28 years with the firm. During his career in investment banking, he was a trustee of the Morgan Stanley Foundation. Wright has been consulted on securities regulation reform by the Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Corporation Finance and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services. He has also served on the faculties of the Ray Garrett Institute of the Northwestern University School of Law and the Practicing Law Institute. Wright is chair of the board of trustees at Doris Duke Foundation, he sits on the board of Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. and its seven member institutions, and he is a member of the board of directors of the New York City Ballet. Wright has also served as senior warden of St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and is currently a vestryman of Trinity Church Wall Street. He is also treasurer and a member of the board of trustees of Historic Hudson, as well as of the

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The Eighth Annual LOVE ROCKS NYC Benefit Concert for God’s Love We Deliver

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The eighth annual LOVE ROCKS NYC benefit concert for God’s Love We Deliver will be live from the historic Beacon Theatre in NYC on Thursday, March 7.  Executive produced by iconic international fashion designer John Varvatos, NYC Douglas Elliman real estate broker and prominent concert producer Greg Williamson and esteemed concert/events producer Nicole Rechter, and hosted by Conan O’Brien, Tracy Morgan and Jim Gaffigan, the concert will support and honor the work of the cherished New York-based not-for-profit.  The organization, which was founded during the AIDS pandemic in 1985, now addresses 200+ diagnoses with its medically tailored meals and nutrition services.  Last year, the staff and volunteers cooked, packaged, and home-delivered more than 4 million medically tailored meals to more than 14,700 New Yorkers living with and affected by severe illness.

Since launching in 2017, the annual LOVE ROCKS NYC concerts have brought together an astonishing lineup of musical talent, raising $30 million to date and helping to fund 3 million meals to New Yorkersliving with illnesses.  The benefit concert highlights the organization’s continued mission of providing life-sustaining meals and nutrition counseling for people in the New York Metropolitan area living with severe illness.  As a member of the Food is Medicine Coalition (FIMC), God’s Love we Deliver supports the coalition’s national mission while offering vital services to local communities. God’s Love has seen a 20% increase in meals delivered over the past year.

For the eighth anniversary, the LOVE ROCKS NYC 2024 all-star lineup, led by Music Director and Band Leader Will Lee (The CBS Orchestra), will feature The Black Keys, Hozier, Nile Rodgers, Tom Morello, Don Felder, Bettye Lavette, Joss Stone, Allison Russell, Emily King, Marcus King, Lucius, Larkin Poe, Trombone Shorty, Luke Spiller (The Struts), Quinn Sullivan, Bernie Williams and more to be announced.

The past seven LOVE ROCKS NYC benefit concerts have featured an outstanding array of music stars from legendary headliners such as Keith Richards, Jon Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews, Robert Plant, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples, Chris and Rich Robinson, Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, Warren Haynes, Buddy Guy, Billy F Gibbons, Ziggy Marley, Cyndi Lauper, Heart and John Mayer Trio to contemporary stars such as Andra Day, Sara Bareilles, St. Vincent, Yola, Leon Bridges, Nathaniel Rateliff, Maggie Rose, Ledisi, The War and Treaty and 2024 will keep the momentum going!

The outstanding house band will include Steve Gadd (James Taylor, Paul Simon), Shawn Pelton(Saturday Night Live), Larry Campbell (Levon Helm, Bob Dylan), Eric Krasno (Soulive, Phil Lesh & Friends), Pedrito Martinez (Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Camila Cabello), Jeff Babko (Jimmy Kimmel Live), Michael Bearden (Lady Gaga) and a six-piece horn section. Ken Dashow of Q104.3 Radio will also serve as the evening’s “voice of god.”

The evening’s sponsors are Bloomberg Philanthropies, RJKB Family Charitable Foundation and Secunda Family Foundation. Additional sponsors include Ernst & Young, JT Magen, Samuel N & Dena M Lombardo, The Campbell/Ribbecke Family, DK Display Corp., Daily Provisions, Gramercy Tavern, Shake Shack, Villa One Tequila, RWE Partners and official media sponsors iHeartMedia, Wall Street Journal, Q104.3 and Conde Nast.

God’s Love We Deliver pre-sale tickets go live on Thursday, February 8 at 10:00amET, and public tickets go live on Friday, February 9 at 10:00amET through www.ticketmaster.com. For more information, please visit: loverocksnyc.com

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

McCALLUM’S FAREWELL — Last night was the NCIS show dedicated to David McCallum (The Stories We Leave Behind) and it was simply terrific. Written by Brian Dietzen, who essays Dr. Jimmy Palmer on the show, it was extremely touching and featured some great clips from past shows.

The vibrant opening theme for the show was re-cast in a memorial-type tone and worked perfectly. There was also a reference to his cat named ‘Solo’ – a fitting nod to his Man From U.N.C.L.E. costar Robert Vaughn.

McCallum was just a tremendous actor. I one met him once in Bloomingdale’s of all places and he couldn’t have been nicer. There was also last-minute cameo from Michael Weatherly, who left the show several years ago. It was just a brilliant moment and though pundits are already saying he’ll return, I don’t think it will come to pass.

There was also a letter from Gibbs (Mark Harmon) whose shadow always lingers.

A touching tribute well done on every level. McCallum will be missed tremendously; an icon for sure. 7 million viewers thought so too.

Kelly Rowland

SHORT TAKES — Last week’s kerfuffle with Kelly Rowland abruptly leaving the Today Show, where she was pegged to co-host the fourth hour with Hoda, is much ado about nothing. Gossip pundits claimed it was because her dressing room was too small and Hoda herself sort of copped to it on Monday’s show. I predict she’ll be banned from the entire show for quite some time. It was probably more of a stunt pulled by her PR-people, as she generated a heap of press. For those who don’t know: most all of their dressing rooms are small …

Kjersti Long

17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long (her “Sad Song” was just released) looks to have her Relative Space-play begin in the West End, pegged for later this year  …

Vanessa Williams will have for the role of Miranda Priestly in the upcoming musical adaption of The Devil Wears Prada by Elton John, It’ll debut in the West End shortly … SiriusXM’s Evan Levy left the station for Amazon, but has now officially surfaced at Jason Spiewak’s Noble Steed Music.

Congrats … Micky Dolenz speaks to Goldmine’s Tone Scott today about his I’m Told I Had A Good Timebook and upcoming appearance at LA’s Troubadour on April 5 … The media was ablaze Tuesday with news that director Sam Mendes would make 4 movies featuring each of The Beatles. Astonishing. Mendez is a great director and this looms as a challenge for sure. As a group they were invincible, but it’ll be interesting to see how Mendes handles each of their post-Beatles work; which had their ups and downs. Stay tuned, this is a big one …

Rod Stewart sells his catalog for $100 million? … We started watching Feud: Capote vs. The Swans -featuring a bravura performance by Tom Hollander as Truman Capote- and am loving it tremendously. Hollander’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen in years on the small-screen. Absolutely stunning with the direction by none other than the stellar Gus Van Sant. More on this brilliant series next time …

Yoko Ono

Happy 90th Bday Yoko Ono.NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Leeds; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Adam Sandler; Jennifer Aniston; Curt Smith; Bob Small; Andy Forrester; Rob Dickens; Daryl Estrea; Jane Blunkell; Jane Berk; Eloise Keene; Eppy; June Pointre; Ken Kragen; Kent Denmark; Mark Bego; Jake Malooley; Graydon Carter; and ZIGGY!

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Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Has Added One More Guest Dee Rivera

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Women entrepreneur and empowering women is what this week’s podcast and show is about. Joining our guests Shani Grosz, Daniela Reginato and Jane Elissa is the fabulous Dee Rivera.

Dee Rivera is considered by many the Latina of fashion and the trailblazer in discovering new designers, bringing nearly 25 years of fashion and public relations experience, and working with some of the most recognizable fashion, beauty, luxury, lifestyle brands, and celebrities in the world, Dee has her polished finger on the pulse of the next big trend.

Dee’s background started in editorial fashion working for magazines such as Modern Bride Magazine, Essence Communication, and spent 3 years as the Director of Fashion at Latina Magazine. Her career shifted when she decided to dabble into public relations. Ever the entrepreneur, the rest is history. She is the creator of Latinista.com, Latinista Fashion Week, Hamptons Fashion Week, Times Square Fashion Week, and the author of Glambition Knocking Down Walls in Heels. As CEO and founder of DCG Public Relations and DCG Media Group, Dee is an expert at crafting and delivering the messages of her brands to the media, and consumers alike. She works tirelessly to secure the top print outlets as well as high profile digital magazines, blogs, and national TV with a gift of the pen and a flair for the dramatic, she is also a jet setting lifestyle writer, forthcoming author, and animal lover. Her goal is to have a farm & rescue all animals who need a home.

Follow her at IG: @dcgpublicrelations

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that is filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here and our second episode click here. Please join us this Wednesday at 5pm in the Edison Hotel lobby for this exciting chat.

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Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Our Guests Shani Grosz, Daniela Z Reginato and Jane Elissa

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Women entrepreneur and empowering women is what this week’s podcast and show is about. I am so pleased to announce our guests Shani Grosz, Daniela Reginato and Jane Elissa.

Shani Grosz

For over two decades, Shani Grosz has created beautiful dresses for women. Her signature line is known for its use of color blocking and cutting-edge tailoring, creating the perfect silhouettes.

Shani Grosz Fashion

Her message is very clear: See the dress but FOCUS on the woman. She dresses News anchors, Broadway stars, television personalities and many more in the entertainment industry who flock to Shani. Shani’s designs are like the perfect little black dress –something every woman needs in her wardrobe that she can always count on to let her look her best. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, Shani, is an internationally recognized designer with over two decades as the President and Designer of SHANI Collection. She has won many prestigious design awards for her well executed vision of “Wearable Art”. Shani works closely at developing up and coming talent. Shani designs for the modern woman, celebrating her multi-faceted lifestyle that allows her to be both feminine and strong.

Daniela Z Reginato

Daniela Zahradnikova Reginato, has over twenty years experience in haute couture, fashion distribution, customer acquisition and retention, marketing strategy, relationship management and social-media-driven market development.

Daniela Z Reginato Fashion

Following the launch of a successful and lucrative modeling career, Mrs. Reginato had leadership positions at the Mercer Hotel, Georgio’s in FL, Domenico Vacca and  Zoom, Southampton, NY where daily sales volumes averaged $10,000. Mrs. Reginato co-founded Space Sixteen, SoHo and Southampton, NY, where she served as Creative Director and Marketing Strategist.

Daniela in Daniela Z Reginato Fashion

In these capacities Mrs. Reginato identified emerging trends and nurtured leading designers, NFP, Fairchild Baldwin, Andraab, Casana, AGF, Tusk, Lorenz-Bach, Giorgio of Palm Beach, Olfactive Studio and Victor DeSouza each.  She recruited King Saladeenn, Craig Holt, Edwina Sandys and Jeffrey Teresen to provide artistic works. Mrs. Reginato also founded and funded Yoy Dally, an NGO dedicated to increasing awareness of the plight of the Romani children of Eastern Europe with links to a cultural center in Bucharest for Romani children and in concern with the Roma delegation to the United Nations, Office of Foreign Missions.  Specifically, Mrs. Reginato’s work focused on addressing the harsh treatment of Romani children in Eastern European schools including bullying, low graduation rates and educational under achievement.

Jane Elissa and Mauricio Martinez, a past recipient of the benefit’s Shining Star Award. Photo by Eleanor Tivnan.

For the past 25 years fashion designer, artist/designer and author Jane Elissa has been voluntarily raising money for cancer and leukemia research through her benefits and designs. She is also an advocate for Leukemia Research. Her whimsical hats have become best-sellers and her handmade creations have been collected by people from all over the world.

Jane Elissa luggage

Her unique one of a kind- appliqued, beaded, jeweled and painted NY pieces are made to inspire us to have a whimsical and positive vision of life. Her Victorian and Deco inspired retro pieces are collectibles that use vintage fabrics in combination with new ones to bring the past into the present.

Jane Elissa luggage

All of Jane’s works reflect her unique talent of putting unexpected pieces together in a collage to create a story. She not only encourages you to try and imagine “her” story, but also to see into the works and create your own. With her commitment to charity and her expert craftsmanship, she’s proud to present these works for sale.

Jane Elissa jacket

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that is filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our first episode click here and our second episode click here. Please join us this Wednesday at 5pm in the Edison Hotel lobby for this exciting chat.

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