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Malcolm X ,Muhammad Ali-

Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali-, Muslim

Muhammad Ali, was a civil rights champion who proclaimed himself “The Greatest.” After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Cassius Marcellus Clay “Muhammad Ali” has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer death has sparked a wave of tributes across the internet. A funeral service is planned in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Even as his health declined, Ali did not shy from politics or controversy. Being a Muslim he criticized presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States. In the early 1960s, Inspired by Malcolm X, he converted in 1963 and refused to serve in the Vietnam War.

Muhammad Ali, Sonny Liston

Muhammad Ali vs. Sonny Liston

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, on January 17, 1942, Ali started boxing when he was 12, winning Golden Gloves titles before heading to the 1960 Olympics in Rome, where he won a gold medal as a light heavyweight. He turned professional and when heavyweight champion Sonny Liston agreed to fight Ali he Liston in a sixth-round in a technical knockout and proclaimed, “I am the greatest! I am the greatest! I’m the king of the world.” He was 22 years old. When he refused to fight in the Vietnam War he was stripped of his boxing title, convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison. Released on appeal Ali was unable to fight or leave the country. His appeal took four years to reach the U.S. Supreme Court and in June 1971 the court reversed the decision.

While he was awaiting that discussion, in 1969 Ali starred on Broadway in the musical Buck White. He played a militant black lecturer in Oscar Brown Jr.’s musical adaptation of Joseph Dolan Tuotti’s Off-Broadway play Big Time Buck White. The supporting cast included Ted Ross (The Lion in The Wiz) and Donald Sutherland. The show ran seven performances.

Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier,Madison Square Gardens

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier at Madison Square Gardens

At a sold-out Madison Square Garden, he lost to Joe Frazier in “the fight of the century.” Ali and Frazier fought again in 1974 and won. He fought George Foreman later that year in a “The Rumble in the Jungle.” A third fight followed in 1975, with Frazier called “Thrilla in Manila.” It is regarded as one of the best boxing matches of all time. Ali won in a technical knockout in the 15th round. Ali successfully defended his title six times, including a rematch with Liston. Ali defended his title until 1978, when he was beaten by a young Leon Spinks, and then quickly took it back. He retired in 1979, when he was 37, but, due to money woes he returned in 1980 for a title match against Larry Holmes, which he lost. He lost to Trevor Berbick, the following year.

Muhammad Ali, George Foreman

Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman

The following year, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

He traveled to Lebanon in 1985 and Iraq in 1990 to seek the release of American hostages. In 1996, he lit the Olympic flame in Atlanta. In 2005, President George W. Bush honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and his hometown of Louisville opened the Muhammad Ali Center, as a forum for promoting tolerance and respect.

Divorced three times, the father of nine children including Laila, who become a boxer.

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

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Richard M. Sherman Songwriter for Mary Poppins and Jungle Book Passes On

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Richard M. Sherman, was a nine-time Academy Award nominee along with his brother Robert. The Sherman Brothers wrote more than 200 songs for some 27 films and 24 television productions. Their film credits include Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Absent-Minded Professor, The Parent Trap, Summer Magic tv, The Sword in the Stone, That Darn Cat!, Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, The Happiest Millionaire, The Aristocats, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The won two Academy Awards for Mary Poppins, taking home the trophies for Best Score – Substantially Original and Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”). They won three Grammy awards and received 24 gold and platinum albums and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the US National Medal of the Arts in 2008.

They also wrote the score on Broadway for Over Here.

The brothers were portrayed in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, which told the story behind the making of Mary Poppins.

Sherman died of age-related illness at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. His brother Robert died in 2012.

 

 

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Cabaret

My View: Jimmie Herrod….America’s Got Talent!

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Our table of four “judges” at 54 Below (Steven Reineke, Eric Gabbard, Storm Large, Eda Sorokoff) didn’t have a Golden Buzzer to ring for “America’s Got Talent” winner Jimmie Herrod last night, but we all gave this super singer a standing ovation and a thumbs up at the conclusion of his solo Cabaret debut in Broadway’s Supper Club.

Jimmie’s tonal dexterity, vocal chords that have no limits, and imaginative jazz interpretations of Broadway and Pop standards  thrilled a room full of music lovers.

Not everyone in America has talent, but Jimmie Herrod sure has!

From blowing the judges away as a finalist on “America’s Got Talent” to playing Angel in the symphonic version of Rent at The Kennedy Center, and touring the world as a member of Pink Martini, Jimmie shared his favorite songs and stories in an unforgettable intimate and personal show. 

Alex Boniello (Dear Evan Hansen, Deaf West Spring Awakening) was Jimmie’s special guest

About Jimmie Herrod

Jimmie is a vocalist who brings singular power an expressivity to his global career as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer on stage and screen. As a solo artist with a uniquely high vocal range, Jimmie has appeared to critical and audience acclaim multiple times with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, including on the nationally broadcast “Joni Mitchell Songbook,” and alongside luminaries such as Renee Fleming and Raul Midon.

Recent appearances include solo debuts with the St. Louis, Nashville, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, starring alongside vocalist Storm Large in a weekend of concerts with the Oregon Symphony, and touring the globe as a member of the band Pink Martini.  Herrod first came to worldwide prominence as a finalist on the NBC nationally broadcast television show, “America’s Got Talent,” earning the rare “Golden Buzzer recognition from actress Sofia Vergara and returning the following year on the AGT All-Star series. IN 2024 Jimmie launches his first national tour as a solo artist, in support of his forthcoming full-length album.

JIMMIE HERROD, STEVEN REINEKE, The New York Pops, ERIC GABBARD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

ALEX BONIELLO

JIMMIE HERROD & ALEX BONIELLO

STANDING OVATION

EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, STORM LARGE, ERIC GABBARD

STORM LARGE & EDA SOROKOFF

STORM LARGE & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

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Cabaret

My View: Julie Wilson Honored By The Mabel Mercer Foundation at The Pierre Hotel

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Cabaret luminaries, supporters, and officers of The Mabel Mercer Foundation gathered at The Pierre Hotel last night to celebrate the100th anniversary of the birth year of cabaret legend Julie Wilson.  Julie’s dominant presence in the cabaret world over the many decades led her to be called “The Queen of Cabaret”. Cabaret’s current guiding light, KT Sullivan, the artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation hosted the evening’s celebration which included a gourmet buffet followed by performances from some of cabaret’s most beloved artists and friends of Julie Wilson.  Entertaining the Gala audience of music connoisseurs and honoring the legacy of Julie Wilson were: Karen Akers, Carole J. Bufford, Melissa Errico, Jeff Harnar, Sue Matsuki, MOIPEI ( Mary, Maggy & Marta), Sidney Myer, Craig Rubano, KT Sullivan and Amra-Faye Wright…. John Weber (piano) and Steve Doyle (Bass).

An especially emotional moment of the evening was actor Holt McCallany (son of Julie Wilson) paying tribute to his mother and singing “I’m Becoming My Mother”.

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

KT SULLIVAN, artistic director The Mabel Mercer Foundation

KT SULLIVAN

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

JEFF HARNAR

JEFF HARNAR

SUE MATSUKI

SUE MATSUKI

CRAIG RUBANO

CRAIG RUBANO

KAREN AKERS

KAREN AKERS

SIDNEY MYER

SIDNEY MYER

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

MOIPEI

MOIPEI

PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN,MELISSA ERRICO,MOIPEI

HOLT McCALLANY & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MOIPEI & HOLT McCALLANY

EDA SOROKOFF & ELIZABETH SULLIVAN (Happy 94th Birthday)

MELISSA ERRICO PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN

JEFF HARNAR & MOIPEI

HEATHER SULLIVAN, HOWARD MORGAN, Chairman of the board Mabel Mercer Foundation, ELANOR MORGAN

KT SULLIVAN, ELIZABETH SULLIVAN, HEATHER SULLIVAN,Dr. Patrick Sullivan

KT SULLIVAN

KT SULLIVAN, PETER HANSON, Linda Hanson

EDA SOROKOFF & CRHRISTEL IBSEN

MONAH GETTNER,KT SULLIVAN, ALAN GETTNER

BRIAN KALTNER, Board Member Mabel Mercer Foundation & DEBBIE DAMP

HOWARD MORGAN, KT SULLIVAN, CAROLE J. BUFFORD,MOIPEI, MATHEW INGE

PATRICK McENROE & MELISSA ERRICO

KT SULLIVAN & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

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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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Columns

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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