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Tina Benko, Gregg Henry

Tina Benko, Gregg Henry

I was so excited to review The Public Theatre’s production of Julius Caesar. I happen to love this play, I adore Oskar Eustis’s work and love Shakespeare in the Park, however I was not prepared for the deconstruction of a play, that made me wonder, if I even knew this play at all. It is also hard to reviewknowing you too could be verbally stabbed by people who read you. Being in a city where if you say one word for President Trump, you are the one who is assassinated. I know this, because when I spoke out about the treatment of Vice President elect Pence at Hamilton, my Facebook page was deluged by hate. I feel now as I felt then, only at a higher level. We can not sink down into the same depths of those who we despise. We need to take the higher ground. Like Kathy Griffin, this production, Oskar Eustis and the Public Theatre have gone too far.

Tina Benko, Gregg Henry

Julius Caesar (well done by Gregg Henry) is Donald Trump. There is no way around this. His wife Calphurnia is Melania (the terrific Tina Benko) and the seven senators who murder him are US senators. Hello, what’s up with the American flag in the senate, even though we are in Rome?

Gregg Henry, John Douglas Thompson

Gregg Henry, John Douglas Thompson

Mr. Eustis states; “Those who attempt to defend democracy by undemocratic methods, pay a terrible price and destroy their republic,” but that is not the message you get when you see a resemblance of President Trump stabbed to death or naked. Also Mr. Eustis planned this production on election night. My guest who is not originally from America stated “This is not good for your county,” and he is right. Mr. Eustis added only three words to the text, but reduced it by a quarter, which takes on many different meanings. We are told before the play starts that the  line was added “If Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less” added “on Fifth Avenue.” What’s with the cheap shot?

Elizabeth Marvel, Gregg Henry

Elizabeth Marvel, Gregg Henry

Marc Antony (Elizabeth Marvel) is a women with a Southern accent. Completely weird, as she seems like Ivanka and again we are in Rome. The normally wonderful Corey Stoll plays Brutus like he’s on depressants, John Douglas Thompson as Cassius seems in a different play (and that is a good thing), Teagle F. Bougere as Casca seems like he is in a show based in the 60’s and Nikki M. James as Portia just meanders. The show is so muddled and I blame this on Mr. Eustis, as these are all winning and competent actors.

Mr. Eustis, has also gotten who Julius Caesar was, wrong. Caesar was a great war hero, a diplomate who created social and governmental reforms. He was killed because the corrupt senate was afraid he would have too much power.

Gregg Henry

David Rockwell’s set contains graffiti, a poster of the Muslim women dapped in the American flag, the preamble to the Constitution and a senate that looks like Lady Liberty’s head, that is then split. Paul Tazewell, dark suits and trench coats, federal lapel pins all resemble the FBI, pussy hats, masks that look like Anonymous and a couture Calpurnia, strut the stage. Jessica Paz’s sound design and Bray Poor’s soundscapes are well done.

I am not political and yet I am forced to speak out, for I do believe we need to make our voices heard. Mr. Eustis stands by what he has done, as does NEA The National Endowment For the Arts, Bank of America, Delta Airline, the countless audience goers who were left in shock and as do I. Violence begets violence and this was just in poor taste.

Julius Caesar: Public Theater – Delacorte Theater81 Central Park West. until June 18th.

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

They Burnt The American Flag and Chanted Death to America How is This Not Illegal

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On Monday hundreds of anti-Israeli protesters descended to Lower Manhattan taking on the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping traffic, burning American flags and Jewish flags yelling “Death to America.” They also set fires to One Police Plaza later on that night while chanting pro-Palestinian slogans.More than two dozen were taken in custody, but will DA Alvin Braggs again let them go? So far only one was arrested.

The group responsible was “Within Our Lifetime” and this is not the first time this group has done this. Their rights are protected, yet we are not! They can disrupt our lives and we can do nothing! Something is wrong with this picture.

By the way did you  know there is a flag code, but though it is a federal law, guidelines are only stated and no matter what you do it is not illegal.

Most speech, including offensive, hurtful, and words of hate are protected by the First Amendment, unless it is a true threat. This means a statement that puts someone in fear of bodily harm or death, specifically illegal violence. Say someone says “I’m going to kill you” even this could be called protected speech.

Under federal law, it is illegal to threaten the president, vice president and certain high-ranking officials in line for the presidency. Saying or writing “I’m going to kill you” to the president could prompt a visit from the Secret Service or FBI. But such threats must be investigated and shown to be true and actionable.

In political speech, even words that are aggressive or perceived as hateful, are largely protected.

Sadly this is now being used against us and though we can be mad as hell, the victims are now unprotected.

 

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Cabaret

My View: Dick Robinson’s Birthday Continues at 54 Below with Marilyn Maye

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Marilyn Maye (96) and Dick Robinson (86), a decade apart in age… both have a youthful exuberance for the music and performance of The Great American Songbook. The Songbook is played on Robinson’s Legends Radio stations worldwide ‘round the clock’ and Marilyn is singing it around the country in nightclubs and concert halls.

The “old jock”, as Dick is affectionately referred to may not be able to do that Marilyn Maye kick when she sings “IT’S TODAY” but he sure was swinging along with the rest of us last night at 54 Below. Dick was celebrating his 86th birthday while watching Marvelous 96 year old Marilyn celebrate her Birthday Month with another phenomenal show.

MARILYN MAYE

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DICK ROBINSON

DICK ROBINSON & SALLY ROBINSON

DICK & SALLY ROBINSON, MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

TEDD FIRTH & MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

MARILYN MAYE

JIMMY, MISSY,JILL ROBINSON & ROB RUSSELL

DICK & SALLY ROBINSON

JILL ROBINSON, MISSY ROBINSON, EDA SOROKOFF

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Cabaret

My View: Dick Robinson & Family Celebrate at Cafe Carlyle With Peter Cincotti

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Cafe Carlyle, a preeminent location in the world of Cabaret was visited by a preeminent figure in the world of radio broadcasting last night.  Dick Robinson, founder of The Society For The Preservation of The Great American Songbook (SPGAS) and Legends Radio (WLML) was in the house for a performance by Peter Cincotti, who is in the midst of a residency in the historic Woody Allen Monday spot.

Bobby Short began his residency at Cafe Carlyle in 1968, Woody Allen in 1997, and Steve Tyrell in 2005.  Now it’s   Peter Cincotti in the legendary hotel exhibiting the exciting pianistic and vocal style (with his killer band) that have made Cincotti a world famous songwriter and entertainer….. and Dick Robinson was there to enjoy the show with family and friends celebrating “the old jocks” birthday!

Singer, Pianist, Composer, Cincotti was recently awarded SPGAS’s “Legend Award” at their annual Gala held at The Kravis Center For The Performing Arts.

DICK ROBINSON & SALLY ROBINSON

PETER CINCOTTI

Jimmy Robinson, Jill Robinson, Eda Sorokoff, Stephen Sorokoff, Dick Robinson, Sally Robinson, Missy Robinson

ROB RUSSELL, STEPHEN SOROKOFF, PETER CINCOTTI, EDA SOROKOFF, DICK ROBINSON, SALLY ROBINSON, MISSY ROBINSON, JILL ROBINSON, JIMMY ROBINSON

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

PETER CINCOTTI

CAFE CARLYLE

CAFE CARLYLE

PETER CINCOTTI, SCOTT KREITZER, JOE NERO, TONY GLAUSI, COLE DAVIS

STEPHEN SOROKOFF, EDA SOROKOFF, MISSY ROBINSON, JILL ROBINSON, ROB RUSSELL, JIMMY ROBINSON, DICK ROBINSON, SALLY ROBINSON

MISSY ROBINSON & JILL ROBINSON

MISSY ROBINSON & EDA SOROKOFF

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News

Corruption in The Courts

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I have been writing about the discrepancies in my friends divorce case (See part 1 and part 2 and part 3). I wrote about it for several reasons; 1: After being in the court for over a year, being told multiple times I was not being called as a witness, in order to intimate my friend all of a sudden I was called. I still have not been subpoena and I doubt I will. However how can you truly be a witness in a court that breaks the basic principle of equality before the law and deprives people of their right to a fair trial? In a corrupt judicial system, money and influence may decide which cases are prioritized or dismissed. From what I have witnessed this seems to be happening.

Another reason I wrote about this is our judicial system is broken and we all need to speak up about this. The most relevant fact is that America’s criminal justice system is ineffective. Right now perpetrators are getting away unpunished while victims are left with no answer, no justice and in many cases paying the price. How are illegal migrants getting away with theft, rape and murder, while my friend in a divorce court due to un-factual evidence is threatened with Rikers and a pediatrician with a pre-up is force to pay his wife’s attorney bill and before he does is thrown in Rikers?

If someone breaks into your house and squats, you can be arrested and fined for exercising your rights. If you don’t pay the bills involved your credit is destroyed, while the people committing the crime are given a slap on the hand by the time it is over.

The wave of random street and subway violence, the deepening migrant crisis and the fatal shooting last month of an officer during a routine traffic stop, has those in charge saying everything is ok. Is it? Rape, car jackings and felony assaults are at an all time high.

In the mean time Mayor Eric Adams has claimed that “crime is down” in the Big Apple. Mr. Adams what does it take for you to say the truth?

When will our laws work for the people? When will our lawmakers stop trying to help the person committing the crimes and help the victims?

Did you know in New York there are 11 different trial courts and multiple levels of appellate courts, far more than any other state in the nation?

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Broadway

We Say Good Bye To Costume Designer Extraordinaire Carrie Robbins

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I met Carrie Robbins at an art gallery with Louis St Louis, Baayork Lee and Judy Jacksina. The four of us stayed well into the morning talking, laughing and having a fabulous time. Carrie and I bonded after that as she turned to playwriting. It broke my heart to learn that on the evening of April 12, 2024 Costume Designer extraordinaire Carrie Robbins passed away.

Carrie’s work has been featured in over 30+ Broadway shows, including Class Act, Grease (original), Agnes of God, Yentl, Octette Bridge Club, Sweet Bird of Youth (Lauren Bacall), Frankenstein, Happy End (Mary Streep), Boys of Winter, Cyrano (Frank Langella), & Shadow Box (Mercedes Ruehl).

Her awards and nominations included: 2012 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Theatre Development Fund & the tdf/Costume Collection with the support of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. 2 Tony (Noms.), 5 Drama Desks, Maharam, USITT/Prague International, L.A. Dramalogue, Henry Hughes, F.I.T-Surface Design, & Audelco, among others.

Robbins’ costumes for the Irving Berlin musical White Christmas played major cities in the USA, Broadway, and Great Britain. Her regional work included M. Butterfly and On the Verge, for director Tazewell Thompson (Arena Stage) and the Gershwin musical American in Paris by Ken Ludwig for director Gregory Boyd (Alley Theatre, Houston) as well as The Tempest (Anthony Hopkins as Prospero) & Flea in Her Ear (director Tom Moore at Mark Taper Forum), many productions for the Guthrie (MN), Williamstown, and many others from Alaska to Buffalo.


Locally, in NYC, Robbins designed for many productions for The Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, Chelsea Theatre at BAM, Acting Company at Juilliard and NY Shakespeare Festival.

She also designed for the Opera and they included Death in Venice for Glimmerglass (’08 Prague International Design Exhibit), Samson et Dalila (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand, more), and many productions for Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston. Her work has also been seen at the Hamburg StatsOper.

For film Robbins designed the movie “In The Spirit” (Elaine May, Peter Falk, Marlo Thomas); TV design included: Saturday Nite Live, PBS Arts in America, & several unseen pilots.

Robbins has designed clothes for several seasons of Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers’ European Tour. She also did the designs for The Cincinnati Ballet’s new Nutcracker, in December of 2011

Robbins was an MFA grad from the Yale School of Drama and was Master Teacher of Costume Design at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for many years. She is extremely proud of the extraordinary number of award-winning, successful young costume designers and costume teachers across the country who came out of her classes.

Besides being a costume designer Carrie also was a playwright. In August 2010, her play, The Death & Life of Dr. Cutter, a Vaudeville, based on the true stories told by her husband Dr. R.D.Robbins, had its 4th reading at the Snapple Theatre Center; it was chosen by Abingdon Theatre Co, NYC, to be part of its First Readings Series in Fall, 2009. In 2011-12 the  League of Professional Theatre Women chose The Dragon Quartet as part of its 30th year anniversary celebration. In 2012-13, La MaMa (oldest off-off-Broadway theater in NYC at 51 years) chose The Diamond Eater for its “Concert Reading Series”. In 2013: TACT (The Actors Company Theatre, chose Sawbones for part of its newTACTics New Play Festival. In 2014 both The Diamond Eater and Sawbones  received 6 Nominations from N.Y. Innovative Theatre Awards (the most nominations given out in the 2014 season). In 2015, Le Wedding Dress, was a semi-finalist in NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016: Obsessions Of An Art Student chosen by NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016, The Actress, was a finalist in NY Thespis Summer Festival. In 2017, My Swollen Feet, chosen by NY Summerfest Theatre Festival/ Hudson Guild Theatre. In 2018 The Diamond Eater , semi-finalist at the 14th St. Y competition War + Peace/2018/19 season and The Dragon Griswynd, was chosen by Theater for the New City for its “Dream-Up Festival” In 2019 Pie Lessons, was invited by Crystal Field, Exec. Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, to be part of “Scratch Night at TNC”.

The last thing Carrie was working on was For The Lost Children Of Paris. This play was about how the Nazis, with help from the Vichy Government, collected French-Jewish schoolchildren and delivered them to Auschwitz. Excellent German record-keeping revealed 11,400 children were taken. At the liberation, only 200 were found alive. This is the story of one classroom’s collection day and its aftermath.

She did this play using puppets as the children.

Carrie had a voice that she used in a multiple of ways. She was a caring friend, a dedicated teacher, a prolific writer and costume designer, who always cared about others first. Carrie you will be missed.

 





 

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