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The Little Foxes, Cynthia Nixon, Laura Linney

Cynthia Nixon, Laura Linney

Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play The Little Foxes is a considered a classic of the 20th century drama and after seeing Manhattan Theatre Club’s version, I understand why. I rediscovered this prolific play first with Cynthia Nixon in the leading role of Regina and Laura Linney as Birdie. The next day they alternated and the result, lead to a master class in acting. I was so intrigued after the first performance, I immediately came home and watched the 1946 sequel Another Part of the Forest on youtube.

The Little Foxes, Cynthia Nixon, Laura Linney, Michael McKean

The set is gorgeously designed by Scott Pask. Justin Townsend’s lighting sets the mood and Jane Greenwood’s costumes are sublime. Expertly directed by David Sullivan this production is strong in every aspect. The Little Foxes seems to predict a future, that is here.

“There are hundreds of Hubbards sitting in rooms like this throughout the country. All their names aren’t Hubbard, but they are all Hubbards and they will own this country some day. Ben Hubbard

Richard Thomas, Michael McKean, Darren Goldstein,  Michael Benz, The Little Foxes

Richard Thomas, Michael McKean, Darren Goldstein, Michael Benz

The play concerns the Hubbard clan and their manipulation of each other and those around them. Money is their God and there can never be enough of it. It is 1900 and the South has fallen, the Hubbard’s are the white carpetbaggers that have used all of this to their advantage. The aristocracy has fallen and the foxes have take over.  The smartest and the most conniving is Regina (Linney and Nixon), who at a time when men rule, has learned to out fox them all. Her brother Ben (Michael McKean), is a force to be reckoned with, for he is the fox in sheep’s clothing. He is the older brother use to being  in charge. He and Regina are formidable partners having been sparring with each other for years. The last sibling is the cruel, greedy, not so bright and foolish Oscar (Darren Goldstein) who is the sly fox. Oscar married Birdie (Linney and Nixon), a once refined sweet tempered innocent left over from the Southern aristocracy. Berated and abused, Birdie has turned to alcohol for relief. Birdie finds solace in Alexandra (Francesca Carpanini), Regina’s daughter, as she despises her own son Lou (Michael Benz), who is more like his father than her.

At the height of the conflict is the past. Oscar married Birdie, strictly to acquire her family’s plantation and more importantly the cotton fields. Now the trio wants to construct a cotton mill and rape the hen house so to speak. Needed is $225,000.00. Ben and Oscar have their portion but Regina, needs her investment. Regina has been scheming to get her sick husband Horace (Richard Thomas) to come back home and make her dreams of becoming rich come true. The siblings fight over who’s to get the biggest share of the company as they pull cutthroat tricks on each other. Verbal cat-and-mouse games continue, as greed consumes them all. At the crux of this is the proposes marriage between Leo and Alexandra—first cousins. When Horace and Alexandra find out they are repulsed and Horace refuses to give Regina the money. Leo, a bank teller in Horace’s bank steals Horace’s railroad bonds from his safe deposit box. When Horace find out, he gleefully plays his last hand. Addie (Caroline Stefanie Clay) the maid, makes the most profound statement of all, which allows Alexandra freedom. “There are people who eat earth and eat all the people on it like in the Bible with the locusts. And other people who stand around and watch them eat.” In the end nobody wins.

The Little Foxes, Laura Linney, Francesca Carpanini

Laura Linney, Francesca Carpanini

Laura Linney’s Regina, is composed using her smokey tones to draw you in. She is deadly, confident, strong and a force to be reckoned with. Her Regina is one in complete control and who lures her victims with acidic sweetness. With Linney in charge, Cynthia Nixon’s Birdie, is a mouse for this cat’s enjoyment. Nixon plays Birdie as cornered and nervous, knowing she is doomed, but uses every ounce of strength to fight for life. When Birdie finally breaks down we see Birdie’s last stand and the past that can never be recovered. It is heartbreaking.

Nixon’s Regina is a skilled manipulator, whose cold detachment is chilling. This Regina is deadly and formidable. There is such a stark contrast in Linney’s Birdie who has retained her innocents. Linney uses the alcoholism to remember and stay locked in the past. Nixon’s Regina doesn’t use this Birdie for her pleasure, but ignores her like she does not exist.

Richard Thomas, The Little Foxes

Richard Thomas is the breakout performance. His superb interpretation brings morality, frailty and the last stand of one who knows he has nothing else to lose. Michael McKean also brings a subtle snake-like charm to the stage. The cast is all at the top of their game and this is a splendid production.

In the end Horace states: Maybe it’s easy for the dying to be honest. I’m sick of you, sick of this house, sick of my unhappy life with you. I’m sick of your brothers and their dirty tricks to make a dime. There must be better ways of getting rich than building sweatshops and pounding the bones of the town to make dividends for you to spend. You’ll wreck the town, you and your brothers. You’ll wreck the country, you and your kind, if they let you. But not me, I’ll die my own way, and I’ll do it without making the world worse. I leave that to you.

I expect Tony nods for Best Revival, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor.

The Little Foxes: MTC at The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 West 47th St.

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

Stephen Schwartz To Be Inducted into The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame

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Legendary Award Winning Broadway and Movie Music Composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) will be inducted into the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) on Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 at 7pm.

There will also be concert emceed by Musician Paul Shaffer (from the David Letterman Show) who worked with Schwartz early in his career.

Schwartz has won 4 Grammys and 3 Oscars among other awards in his career that spans over 50 years both on Broadway and on the silver screen. Additionally, Schwartz has contributed music and lyrics to several movies such as “Pocahontas” (1995), “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996), “The Prince of Egypt” (1998), and “Enchanted” (2007).He was also involved with the upcoming feature film adaptation of Wicked to be released in the fall.

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Broadway

Ani DiFranco and Lola Tung Join Hadestown

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The Tony and Grammy Award®-winning Best Musical Hadestown is currently stars Grammy Award winner Ani DiFranco as Persephone singing “Our Lady Of The Underground”.

 Lola Tung (“The Summer I Turned Pretty”) as Eurydice, Jordan Fisher (Dear Evan Hansen, Grease: Live,) as Orpheus here singing “All I’ve Ever Known”.

Grammy Award nominee Phillip Boykin as Hades, and Tony Award winner Lillias White as Hermes.

They are joined by Belén Moyano, Kay Trinidad, and Brit West as the Fates. The chorus of Workers is played by Emily Afton, Malcolm Armwood, Chibueze Ihuoma, Alex Puette, and Grace Yoo. The cast includes swings Sojourner Brown, Brandon Cameron, Tara Jackson, Max Kumangai, Alex Lugo, and Tanner Ray Wilson.

Hadestown originated as Anaïs Mitchell’s indie theater project that toured Vermont which she then turned into an acclaimed album. With Rachel Chavkin, her artistic collaborator, Hadestown has been transformed into a genre-defying new musical that blends modern American folk music with New Orleans-inspired jazz to reimagine a sweeping ancient tale.

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Broadway

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Goes Live With Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane

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Photo of Bonnie Comley, Stewart F. Lane and Suzanna Bowling

“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. We will run the video on our site every Thursday and then it moves onto the podcast networks.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Broadway royalty and longtime married couple Bonnie Comley and Stewart F. Lane. We talk about the Palace Theatre, Broadway HD and so much more.

We were also so excited because the show and our guests are now featured on the TV screens in the lobby and the hotel rooms.

I am so grateful to my guests Bonnie and Stewart for joining me. Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Edison Hotel for their kindness and hospitality.

We hope to see you there on February 21st for our guests the creator of Times Square and Hampton Fashion Week Dee Rivera, Celebrity hairstylist Samantha Smoker and Fashion Designer Shani Grosz.

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Book Reviews

Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley

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I am so pleased to announce our guests for Valentine’s Day are Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, the founders of BroadwayHD.com, an online streaming service on a mission to promote and preserve live theatre, extending the reach of Broadway and Broadway-caliber shows to anyone, anywhere. BroadwayHD currently has a catalog of over 300 full-length stage plays and musicals available for streaming on demand, so when you can’t get to Broadway, go to BroadwayHD on your tv, phone, or tablet!

Mr. Lane and Ms. Comley have collectively produced over 40 films and 45 Broadway shows, garnering nine Tony Awards and another 14 Tony nominations. They have also won Olivier Awards, Drama Desk, Drama
League, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for their stage productions. Lane has co-owned Broadway’s famous Palace Theater for almost 40 years.

The theater community has honored the couple for their philanthropic work, including The Actors Fund Medal of Honor, The Drama League Special Contribution to the Theater Award, The Paul Newman Award from Arts Horizons, and The Theater Museum Distinguished Service Award. The stage at Boston University’s new theater center is named in their honor, as is the Music Theater Program. The Musical Theater Society Room bears their name at Emerson College, and the 500-seat theater at the University
of Massachusetts Lowell is known as the Comley Lane Theater. Lane is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award at Boston University, and Comley is Distinguished Alumni of both Emerson College and UMass Lowell.

Mr. Lane is a theater historian and playwright and has written the critically acclaimed “Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way” (Square One Publishers), “Jews on Broadway” (McFarland Publishers), “Let’s Put on a Show” (Working Arts Library), and the plays “In The Wings (published in spring 2008 by Hal Leonard), “If It Was Easy” (published by Performing Books and nominated for Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association), and the musical “Back Home Again” (with music
and lyrics by John Denver) which he was awarded The 2011 John Denver Spirit Award for his work.

“Live From The Edison Hotel Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is a new show that will be 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.

Originally our guest was Maury Yeston, but he had to reschedule. He will be our guest at a later date, however Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley, our guests for Valentine’s Day could not be more perfect. They are the epitome or Love and Broadway.

See you at The Edison Hotel.

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Broadway

Chita Will Be Honored As Lights Dim

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Broadway will dim its marquee lights to honor the two-time Tony-winning star of the original West Side Story Chita Rivera. This iconic star died January 30 at the age of 91.

The dimming of Broadway marquees will occur for the traditional one minute on Saturday, February 17 at 7:45 p.m./ET.

“Chita Rivera was Broadway royalty, and we will miss her with all our hearts,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “For nearly seven decades she enthralled generations of audiences with her spellbinding performances and iconic roles. The triple threat actor, singer, and dancer leaves behind an incredible legacy of work for which she was honored with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement.”

Rivera’s Broadway career began in 1950 with Guys and Dolls. Her signature role came in 1957 when she played the original “Anita” in West Side Story. Other Broadway credits include Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, The Visit and The Rink. She was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1993. She received the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018.

We give you the talented Ken Fallin’s drawing of Chita in The Visit.

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