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Ruthie Ann Miles, Jonathan Blumenstein

Ruthie Ann Miles and Jonathan Blumenstein

Ruthie Ann Miles was due to give birth to a baby girl, more than two months after she lost her daughter, Abigail, in a fatal crash in Park Slope. On March 5, the pregnant Tony Award-winning actress four-year-old daughter was killed after they were mowed down by a Dorothy Bruns who ran a red light in Brooklyn. Ruthie was in her 39th week, has lost her unborn child.

“At the time of the crash Ruthie was pregnant and was severely injured,” Miles’ family lawyer, Ben Rubinowitz, told the NY Daily News. This past Friday Ruthie and [husband] Jonathan [Blumenstein] lost their baby, Sophia Rosemary Wong Blumenstein.”

Ruthie Ann Miles is a Broadway star who won a Tony Award for her performance in The King and I.

She also has a recurring role in the hit television drama The Americans.

 

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

Broadway

Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen

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Tyne Daily

Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.

The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.

The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.

Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in  “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.

Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play  by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.

David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.

In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.

Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.

I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.

Photo by Murphymade

Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.

Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.

Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.

Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.

Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.

The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.

The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.

 

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Broadway

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban in Sweeney Todd

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Sweeney Todd is a show that thrilled me when I saw the original Broadway production in 1979. The current Broadway production is just as thrilling, with Annaleigh Ashford and Josh Groban making the roles of Mrs. Lovett and Sweeney Todd their own unique creations. The entire cast is excellent.
I wish I had the time to draw everyone in this terrific production. I consider Sweeney Todd to be the best of all of his greats. Each song is so special.
Here in my drawing, I tried to capture the feeling and atmosphere  that Annaleigh and Josh put on that stage.
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Broadway

Grey House Is Haunting in More Than One Way

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Levi Holloway’s Grey House is a mental mind bend. It tries to come off as a haunted thriller with blackouts galore, moments left hanging, loud noises and flashes in the dark of dead things, but deep down it is a lot more than that. The script lacking in text, takes awhile to figure out the ins and outs.

Colby Kipnes, Laurie Metcalf, Sophia Anne Caruso, Millicent Simmonds, Alyssa Emily Marvin, Tatiana Maslany, Eamon Patrick O’Connell Photo by MurphyMade

We starts off as a blizzard rages outside, four feral teenage girls, a young boy (Eamon Patrick O’Connell) and their mother Raleigh (Laurie Metcalf), who is asleep on the couch or is she passed out, entertain themselves. There is Bernie (Millicent Simmonds) who is deaf, a cynical Marlow (Sophia Anne Caruso), the unpredictable Squirrel (Colby Kipnes), and the sweet A1656 (Alyssa Emily Marvin). The girls do what looks like a spell, as a car crashes bringing in Max (Clare Karpen, standing in for Tatiana Maslany) and Henry (Paul Sparks). From the beginning you know nothing good is going to happen.

Paul Sparks, Cyndi Coyne Photo by MurphyMade

Henry called Hank by the girls has broken his ankle and is given “moonshine” for the pain. The refrigerator mysteriously offers this liquid when it feels like it. Henry becomes addicted to the liquid as he encounters first Squirrel, then The Ancient (Cyndi Coyne).

Millicent Simmonds, Laurie Metcalf Photo by MurphyMade

In the meantime Max is manipulated into playing games with these strange children, as Raleigh throws caustic asides and distain to her.

As Henry gets more and more into his “moonshine” addiction he becomes the men who have abused all the inhabitants of this purgatory. The house it turns out is a cross over between heaven and hell or is it way station where karma is played out? It is a surprisingly that this play is written by a man, because at the crux of this play is men will always hurt, disappoint and destroy the female gender.

Director Joe Mantello (Wicked) has used set designer Scott Pask, sound designer Tom Gibbons and lighting designer Natasha Katz to make Grey House a living breathing entity that haunts from within. His cast is uniformly excellent with Sophia Anne Caruso bringing yet another haunting performance to life with a scalding clarity. Metcalf brings to mind every Stephen King novel and gives a masterclass in acting. Karpen gives us a women who is lost in mourning  due to her father just passing and a long-dead sister whom she loved. We see the weight put upon her that ultimately binds her to this place. Sparks is the epitome of a week man who fight is within himself.

This play leaves more questions than answers that are left to the audience to figure out. At the heart of this story is grief and how we are trapped and make our own prisons instead of moving to the light.

Grey House: Lyceum Theatre, 149 W 45th Street, through September 23rd.

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Entertainment

Get Ready to Party With Gatsby

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Upon purchase of your ticket, you are invited to one of Jay Gatsby’s infamous parties. As invites go, this is the hottest ticket in town. A world of red-hot rhythms, bootleg liquor, and pure jazz age self-indulgence awaits. Spend the evening dancing, gossiping and clinking glasses with Nick Carraway, Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Myrtle Wilson, and the perfect host, Mr. Jay Gatsby himself. The champagne flows and the drama unfolds. Dress to the nines and join this heart racing, immersive theatrical adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic tale direct from London after 7 years of sold-out performances.

Welcome back to the roaring twenties!

The Great Gatsby is finally coming to its spiritual home in New York. Dark, hedonistic, literary, and theatrical, this immersive telling of one of the world’s greatest novels brings audiences closer to Jay Gatsby’s opulent world than ever before.

Following a record-breaking seven year run in the UK, Immersive Everywhere’s critically acclaimed immersive production of The Great Gatsby, will make its New York debut at The Gatsby Mansion at the Park Central Hotel New York (870 Seventh Avenue).

The party starts as soon as you arrive.

The Gatsby Mansion at the Park Central Hotel New York space has been transformed into a new interactive theatrical venue. With its own separate entrance on 55th Street and Seventh Avenue, visitors will enter immediately into Gatsby’s Mansion. A complete renovation covering over 16,000 square feet of the Park Central Hotel New York ballroom space will deliver audiences into a fully immersive and enthralling world of music, darks stories and wonder from the world of Jay Gatsby.

“Immersive” means that the environment is designed to deliver an all-encompassing experience; from the moment you enter Gatsby’s Mansion, you will feel like you have been transported back to the roaring 1920’s. You may have the opportunity to follow the other guests into smaller rooms and spaces, with Mr. Gatsby himself, if you are so lucky! You need only interact as much as you are comfortable to – if you prefer to observe from the side-lines, please do. In fact, Mr. Gatsby often enjoys doing exactly that himself! 1920s dress code is encouraged but not compulsory.

Tickets are $99 plus tax and you can get them here.

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Out of Town

Monty Python’s Spamalot Finds its Grail Hilariously at the Stratford Festival 2023

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Always look on the bright side of life“, that’s what they sing, so enthusiastically to all of us, with automatic head-bobbings from one joyous side to another in happy unison, and inside Stratford Festival‘s magnificent production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, there really is no other way to go. It’s deliciously fun and utterly ridiculous, as any Monty Python engagement should ultimately be, with stellar comedic performances riding in most delightfully to the sound of coconut shells banging together with determination by those that follow. Within seconds, after our surprising side trip to Finland, all hesitations are entirely washed away by the utter skillful hilarity of all involved. Purposefully directed with sharp clever focus by Lezlie Wade (La Jolla/Broadway’s Jesus Christ Superstar), the quest for extreme merriment is “steady and over we go” inside the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario as it is achieved wholeheartedly at every turn of phrase. And that is something no “doubting Dennis” will argue about.

From left – Aidan DeSalaiz, Liam Tobin, Jonathan Goad, Eddie Glen, Aaron Krohn and Josh Doig in Monty Python’s Spamalot. Stratford Festival 2023. Photo by David Hou.

Ripped expertly off from the motion picture “Monty Python and the Holy Grail“, this stunningly funny staging of the Broadway stage musical that in 2005 received 14 Tony Award nominations, winning in three categories, including Best Musical, finds its grail time and time again, delivering forth joke after silly joke with an expertise that is golden and holy. With a score by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, and lyrics and book by Idle, this superb parody of epic proportions is completely entertaining and non-stop irreverent, in the best of all possible ways. Playing parody with Arthurian legend, Spamalot leads itself in at the instruction of the Historian, played to perfection by Henry Firmston (Stratford’s Chicago). It’s all about the tale of King Arthur, hilariously well portrayed by Jonathan Goad (Stratford’s To Kill a Mockingbird) and his trusting right-hand coconut-wielding sound man, Patsy, awesomely embodied by Eddie Glen (MTC’s The 39 Steps), by his side. They are out on an expedition, searching for and trying to recruit a knightly army of men to serve and follow him. That is once we get our location settings all in order.

Jonathan Goad (centre) as King Arthur with (from left) Anthony MacPherson, Jason Sermonia, McKinley Knucle, and Devon Michael Brown in Monty Python’s Spamalot. Stratford Festival 2023. Photo by David Hou.

Now that we find ourselves (correctly) in dreary dark England, with penitent monks bashing themselves on the head to the beat of some drum, King Arthur hooves his way before us with his trusted sound man behind him, mimicking him to perfection. How do we know he’s the King? Well, “he hasn’t got shit all over him” is about the best response one could have, as the two go door to door trying to form a troupe of knights to sit at the round table in Camelot (and I must add, after watching the most recent revival of Camelot at the Lincoln Center Theatre a few months ago, this is the one I’d most like to hang out it, in spades). And as they say, whatever happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot.

Slowly but surely, they gather together this band of merry ridiculous men; Sir Robin, portrayed with song and dance in his heart by Trevor Patt (TIP’s Jersey Boys); Sir Lancelot, played tremendously (and violently) well by Aaron Krohn (Broadway’s The Lehman Trilogy); Sir Bedevere, cagedly portrayed with glee by Aidan DeSalaiz (Winter Garden’s Into the Woods); and Sir Dennis Galahad, beautifully embodied by the beautifully coifed (and very funny) Liam Tobin (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon). Even if his politically radical mother, Mrs. Galahad (DeSalaiz) is against it from the get-go. She states, most wisely, that they all must deny any king who has not been elected by the people, and therefore, Arthur has no legitimate right to rule over them. Well said. But it doesn’t really matter in the end. Just ask that Lady in the Lake, played magnificently by the oh-so-talented Jennifer Rider-Shaw (Stratford’s Chicago). She has another plan floating within her.

Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot need to navigate the Not Dead Yet Fred (Firmston) and his lively riotous number, “He Is Not Dead Yet.” Gloriously grand. But it’s Sir Galahad (and his mother) that needs to be convinced by the mighty charms and voice of the Lady of the Lake who has to prove to them that the story of Excalibur is real and true. Cheered on by the “Laker Girls Cheer“, she turns Dennis into the dashingly handsome Sir Galahad and together, they sing the most generic (and wonderfully long) Broadway love song, “The Song That Goes Like This“, complete with a falling chandelier and swampy boat ride in order to win out the day. With a grand fling of his locks, he happily joins Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot, and together with cagey Sir Bedevere and the “aptly named” Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Show (Knuckle), they all set off for Camelot and the adventurous quest that leads them through this ridiculously funny skit-filled show.

Liam Tobin (left) as Sir Dennis Galahad and Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Lady of the Lake with members of the company in Monty Python’s Spamalot. Stratford Festival 2023. Photo by David Hou.

If it isn’t some sentries debating whether or not one or two swallows are needed to successfully carry a coconut to this non-tropical land, or being taunted by a few lewd French soldiers high up on a wall that even an empty rabbit won’t remedy, it’s some singing and flying nuns and monks dancing the mamba that keep delivering the laughs time and time again. It’s brilliantly funny, and superbly choreographed, thanks to the work of Jesse Robb (Ogunquit’s Ragtime) and the fabulously talented ensemble. It gives and it gives in abundance, just like Rider-Shaw who keeps reappearing to remind us all of her glory. “Whatever Happened to My Part?” is the question she asks, and I couldn’t agree more because every time she steps on that stage, she brightens the moment with her wit and voice (Sweet aside, I was lucky enough to be in the Broadway audience for the first show after the 2005 Tony Awards and joined in with the standing ovation for Sara Ramirez, who just two nights prior had won the Tony Award for her portrayal of the Lady of the Lake. It was a glorious moment, one that I won’t forget.)

This “All for One” mentality wins big on a stage perfectly constructed by designer David Boechler (Stratford’s Chicago) with solid lighting by Renée Brode (Stratford’s Patience), spot-on projections by Sean Nieuwenhuis (Broadway’s Dr. Zhivago), and exacting sound by emily c. porter (Stratford’s Little Women). It shifts, shuffles, and presents found shrubbery with pizzazz throughout with some pretty magnificently funny and entertaining numbers, deftly presented by music director Laura Burton (Stratford’s You Can’t Stop the Beat), that zing and sing with exacting precision. There are some Broadway hopes that rely on finding some specifics, but one of the funniest bits revolves around Sir Lancelot who receives a stabbing letter from what he assumes to be a young damsel in distress. But it turns out, he is actually an effeminate young man by the name Prince Herbert, wonderfully portrayed by Josh Doig (Theatre Aquarius’ Hairspray) whose brutish father, the King of Swamp Castle (Tobin), is forcing him into an arranged marriage. And, even more horribly, refuses to let the boy sing and dance to his heart’s content.

As any great knight would do, Lancelot saves the young man, and then delivers a heartfelt speech about honoring his son’s gentle sensitivity. In return, Lancelot is outed as a homosexual, naturally, and the cast gyrates forward into a big wild disco dance number in celebration and acceptance of it all, and the fun we are having. “His Name Is Lancelot” is the Pride Month anthem of the show, and setting the puppet-controlled killer rabbit aside, this number, and Monty Python’s Spamalot as a whole, plays proud and hilarious to the end, thanks to its ridiculous roots and its perfect placement. After pondering the final stoney clue, with Arthur admitting that they’re all “a bit stumped“, God points it all out, rewarding the holder with a small trophy and a Polaroid photo. The grail is found, finally, and the marriage mamba can begin. We all rise in celebration, and join in with the welcomed repeat of the glorious “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” feeling completely entertained, overjoyed, and emptied of every laugh one could possibly have had inside their happy head.

From top to bottom – Aaron Krohn as The French Taunter, Anthony MacPherson as French Guard, Jason Sermonia as French Guard, and McKinley Knuckle as French Guard in Monty Python’s Spamalot. Stratford Festival 2023. Photo by David Hou.

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