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For That Strength You Pay A Price.
That’s Just Reality In 1973.
You’d Better Stop Bein’ So Wide-Eyed.
This Is A Battle Firing From All Sides And We’ve All Been Wounded, Some Have Died. The Best Revenge Is Just To Stay Alive.

Michael Longoria, Ben Mayne, Frenchie Davis, Benjamin Howes, and Nathan Lee Graham

Michael Longoria, Ben Mayne, Frenchie Davis, Benjamin Howes, and Nathan Lee Graham Photo By: Kurt Sneddon

Max Vernon’s thoughtful exhilarating new off-Broadway musical The View UpStairs, brings back to mind all those friends who died from HIV/AIDS. In my youth, I use to sneak out of the house to go to bars and discos with my friends, back in late 70’s, early 80’s. Tonight the bar where the show takes place not only brought back life the UpStairs Lounge in the French Quarter of New Orleans, but to those etched in my memories living and dying. Shout out to Brad and Stacy!

Frenchie Davis, Taylor Frey, Jeremy Pope

Frenchie Davis, Taylor Frey, Jeremy Pope Photo By: Kurt Sneddon

The View UpStairs is based on a true life event, that until last night I did not know about. In 1973 a gay bar that doubled as the home for the pro-LGBT Metropolitan Community Church was set fire to and thirty-two people died, while fifty more were seriously injured. It was the biggest attack on gay lives by what is thought to have been an angry gay man. Nobody cared that this had happened and some of the family members were terrified to claim their bodies, in fear of losing their jobs, apartments and more. The arson occurred on Pride Sunday, yet pride back then was a silent prayer.

The View Upstairs

Nathan Lee Graham Photo By: Kurt Sneddon

You enter the Lynn Redgrave Theater at 45 Bleeker and are transported back to a kitschy 70’s gay bar where a nude Burt Reynolds centerpiece is hanging and a phallic chandelier is dangling above your head. There are tables where some audience members sit and a piano that has seen better days with icons of the day pasted on for decoration. Wes (Jeremy Pope) a budding fashion designer, has just bought the building. Suddenly he is transported back in time to The Upstairs, the night before it burnt down. Anyone who lived through these times, has been in a bar like this. Here we meet proprietress and den mother Henri (Frenchie Davis), married piano player/bar entertainer Buddy (Randy Redd) who hasn’t come out to his wife or children yet. The handsome Patrick (Taylor Frey), is a hustler scarred by his first lover being “cured,” who finds a moment with Wes. The flamboyant transgender Willie (Nathan Lee Graham) entertains to pass the time. Freddy (Michael Longoria), is a young Latino drag performer whose support from his mother Inez (Nancy Ticotin) gives hope. The preacher Richard (Benjamin Howes), tries to get the community this group has built, to offer unconditional love against the hate. They have been repeatedly been attacked by resident cop (Richard E. Waits.) Rounding off the cast is Dale (Ben Mayne), a hustler who resents not being noticed.

The View Upstairs, Nathan Lee Graham,Randy Redd

Nathan Lee Graham,Randy Redd Photo By: Kurt Sneddon

Vernon’s music is infectious and I dare you to see this show without dancing in your seats. The melodic structure is old, yet with a fresh take and melodies that go into uncharted territories and urges the audience to journey along for the ride. The lyric’s hit home and though at times political it makes a strong point as to why the LGBT community is afraid and willing to fight back against the current political climate. The script though a fairy tale of sorts, hits home. Kevin, Brian, Brian, Dennis, Mark you all still live in my heart and I will always remember the music, dancing and the good times.

Ben Mayne

Ben Mayne Photo By: Kurt Sneddon

Director Scott Ebersold, keeps this show sparkling and though we cry, we are not called on to be maudlin, but are brought to the point where we can not forget.

The cast is energetic and each individual has moments of shinning bright and making their mark. I loved discovering Mr. Frey, who is like a 24 year-old James Barbour. Mark my words this is one of the next leading men on Broadway. Mr. Longoria breaks free in “Sex On Legs” and has the audience roars in laughter. Mr Graham is simply ….fabulous and well French knocks her numbers out of the park. Just because I am singling out these individuals, does not mean the whole cast isn’t marvelous, because they are.

The choreography by Al Blackstone brings back those days of last dances. The costumes by Anita Yavich are stupendous and I want Freddy’s black dress. The set by Jason Sherwood is exceptional made hauntingly eerie by lightening designer Brian Tower.

The clash between those living the nightmare that they made into a good time and Wes who thinks being gay is seeing your rights acknowledged is made searingly clear. When attacked by the police the patrons sing “The World Outside These Walls.” For them The Upstairs is their solace, so when they are trapped and burnt to death, by what seems one of their own, it is heartbreaking. The man who is thought to have caused this tragedy took his own life the following year.

The View From UpStairs is an uplifting reminder of our past. Maybe if audiences around the country saw this piece, understanding could commence.

The Nights We Braved Together Live On Inside Our Hearts.
We’ve Got An Iron Bond No Hate Could Break Apart. Now And Forever, Come whatever, You and I. The Nights We Braved Together Live On Inside Our Hearts.

The View UpStairs: Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project, 45 Bleecker Street; until May 21st.

Video by Magda Katz

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

Off Broadway

MART Foundation presents Arlekin in Residence at Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company with Two Productions

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After its sold-out run at Brooklyn Academy of Music in winter 2024, the off-Broadway production Our Classby Polish playwright Tadeusz Slobodzianek, and helmed by Ukrainian-born, Jewish director Igor Golyak, will transfer to Classic Stage Company’s Lynn F. Angelson Theater (136 E. 13th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues) in Manhattan for a limited run September 12-November 3. It will be immediately followed by Golyak’s adaptation of The Merchant of Venice November 22-December 22 featuring the same cast. As wars rage in Israel and Gaza, and in Ukraine, neighbor fights neighbors, and antisemitism rises across the globe, these two plays are acutely relevant and timely, and together comprise a powerful four-month artistic residency Arlekin in New York, presented by MART Foundation.

Our Class follows ten Polish classmates, five Jewish and five Catholic, growing up as playmates, friends, and neighbors, who then turn on one another with life and death consequences. The piece comes at a time when the world is facing an increase in antisemitism across the globe. Our Class was a featured production of the 2024 Under the Radar Festival and has received multiple award nominations: a Drama League Award Nomination for Outstanding Revival of a Play; an Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination for Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play (Gus Birney); and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Outstanding Projection and Video Design (Eric Dunlap).

Critics raved about the New York Premiere production of Our Class at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). The Wall Street Journal cheered, “An epic and intimate drama…stark and uncompromising,” and the Boston Globe agreed, saying “This production is a dead-serious indictment of antisemitism and bigotry from a dizzyingly kaleidoscopic array of angles. The entire cast is excellent!”

Our Class is the first of two productions that comprise Arlekin in Residency at Classic Stage Company, directed by Igor Golyak, playing back-to-back on the Lynn F. Angelson stage.

The second is a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Adapted by Golyak and starring Richard Topol as Shylock, the play will feature much of the same cast as Our ClassThe Merchant of Venice will be performed for the first time in New York from November 22-December 22.

The cast of Our Class features Gus Birney (The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window) as Dora, Andrey Burkovskiy  (Call DiCaprio!) as Menachem, José Espinosa (Take Me Out) as Rysiek, Tess Goldwyn (New Amsterdam) as Zocha, Will Manning (As Reaper in the Summer Gain) as Heniek, Stephen Ochsner (Chicks) as Jakub Katz, Alexandra Silber (Fiddler on the Roof) as Rachelka/Marianna, Richard Topol (Indecent; The Normal Heart) as Abram, Ilia Volok (Gemini Man, The Gaaga) as Władek and Elan Zafir (Hedda Gabler) as Zygmunt.

Much of the company will return for The Merchant of Venice. Richard Topol will play Shylock, joined by Birney, Espinosa, Goldwyn, Ochsner, and Alexandra Silber as Portia. Additional casting to be announced.

The creative teams consist of artists from New York and across the world. For Our Class, scenic designer Jan Pappelbaum of the Schaubuehne, сostume design by Sasha Ageeva, lighting design by Adam Silverman, music by Oscar® winner Anna Drubich (Navalny), music direction by Lisa Gutkin, projections design by Eric Dunlap, chalk drawings design by Adreea Mincic, choreography by Or Schraiber, intimacy design by Leana Gardella, hair & makeup design by Timur Sadykov, and dramaturgy by Dr. Rachel Merrill Moss. Kyra Bowie is the production stage manager. Helmed by Golyak, this cross-cultural collaboration between actors, designers, producers, artists, and technicians is an effort to untangle traumas of the past and wrestle with these same questions of today. Our Class is co-executive produced by MART’s Sofia Kapkova and Arlekin’s Sara Stackhouse.Stackhouse also executive produces The Merchant of Venice.

The Arlekin Residency at Classic Stage Company (September 12–December 22) is helmed by Arlekin artistic director Igor Golyak and producing director Sara Stackhouse (The OrchardJust Tell No One; State vs. Natasha Banina), in partnership with Sofia Kapkova of MART Foundation.

Tickets for Our Class are available on the official website (https://ourclassplay.com). Our Class plays Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 1:30pm.

Tickets for The Merchant of Venice are available on the Classic Stage Company website (https://www.classicstage.org/venice). The Merchant of Venice plays Tuesdays at 7:00pm, Wednesdays at 7:00pm, Thursdays at 7:00pm, Fridays at 7:00pm, Saturdays at 2pm & 7:30pm, and Sundays at 1:30pm & 7:00pm.

Golyak, founder of Boston’s Arlekin Player Theatre, was born in Kyiv and came to the US as a Jewish refugee at age 11. The New York Times praised him, saying “Igor Golyak is among the most inventive directors working in the United States” and The Forward called Igor “a visionary theater maker [who] never thought he’d be ‘Jewish Director’ — then the times demanded it.’’ In 2022, Golyak conceived and directed The Orchard at Baryshnikov Arts Center starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht. Golyak received global acclaim during the pandemic as he conceived and directed WITNESS, chekhovOS/an experimental game/ and State vs. Natasha Banina, each playing virtually around the world and receiving multiple New York Times Critics Picks.

The Company of Our Class Photo: Pavel Antonov.

Arlekin has been warmly welcomed for this artistic residency by CSC Producing Artistic Director Jill Rafson. “We’re so pleased to welcome Arlekin and the riveting work of Igor Golyak into our theater,” says Rafson. “We’re thrilled to bring in work that is aligned with CSC’s mission and that uses our unique space both to expand the canon and to embrace the theatricality of the Lynn F. Angelson Theater. We’re excited about this Arlekin residency and the collaboration with MART Foundation that is making it possible, and we can’t wait to share these plays both with the CSC communities and audiences who will set foot in our space for the first time.”

During its premiere at BAM earlier this year, Our Class struck a nerve and took on a life of its own that continues to grow as world events unfold. With this Our Class transfer to the illustrious Classic Stage Company, we have the opportunity to share it with more audiences, this time with a powerful companion,” said Igor Golyak. “I feel compelled to pair it with The Merchant of Venice because the human tendencies illuminated in Our Class track back through the centuries, and there is an artistic connection between the two pieces — they speak to each other. There are powerful threads that link these incredible stories and our lives today. We think it’s important and timely that both plays will be performed all Autumn, on stage in the same theater, with many of the actors acting in both productions and with the magnificent Richard Topol playing Rabbi Abram and then Shylock. There is no project that feels more important to direct right now than this one.

The Company of Our Class Photo: Pavel Antonov.

Arlekin in Residence at Classic Stage Company is presented by MART Foundation with support from Jadow Productions.

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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Events

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Kelley Curran and Frank Wood

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We are so pleased to announce our guest this week are Kelley Curran and Frank Wood

Kelley Curran

Kelley can be seen, as Turner, in Julian Fellowes The Gilded Age for HBO. Prior to the intricate characters she will now tackle in The Meeting: The Interpreter, she appeared off-Broadway in Half-God of Rainfall at NYTW; at The Public Theater opposite Glenn Close in Mother of the Maid, and as Clytemnestra in Ellen McLaughlin’s world premiere of The Oresteia at The Shakespeare Theatre Company. Kelley has also appeared on Broadway in Present Laughter with Kevin Kline, and at The Signature Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Theatre For a New Audience, and LAByrinth Theatre Company, among others. She made her network television debut on NBC’s The Blacklist, and recently appeared on the CBS drama God Friended Me. In 2019 she made her feature film debut in The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot.  Kelley was nominated for a SAG Award, won The Callaway Award, Emery Battis Award, NTC Emerging Professional Award, and in 2016 was nominated for a Drama League Award alongside Lupita Nyong’o, Michelle Williams and Lin Manuel-Miranda. She has also been nominated for both a Princess Grace and Helen Hayes Award.

Frank Wood

Frank Wood was first celebrated for his work on the Broadway production of Side Man, a performance that earned him both a Tony Award and a Drama League Award. His portrayal of Gene, a jazz musician grappling with personal and professional turmoil, highlighted his profound emotional depth and versatility. It’s a role that parallels the soul searching experience of The Interpreter in many profound ways. Wood has an impressive array of Broadway credits, including notable performances in The Great Society, Network, The Iceman Cometh, Clybourne Park, August: Osage County, Born Yesterday, and Hollywood Arms. Off-Broadway, he earned a Lucille Lortel nomination for Toros at Second Stage and has graced stages at Signature Theatre, Vineyard Theatre, Lincoln Center, Atlantic Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Playwrights Horizons. His filmography includes roles in acclaimed films such as She Said, Joker, St. Vincent, Changeling, Dan in Real Life, Thirteen Days, In America, Down to You, and The Royal Tenenbaums. On TV, he appeared in series like Billions, The Blacklist, The Night Of, Mozart in the Jungle, The Newsroom, Girls, Flight of the Conchords, The Sopranos, and had a recurring role on

Law & Order: SVU.
These Two brilliant actors are starring in The Meeting: The Interpreter, a new play written by Catherine Gropper and directed by Brian Mertes, Previews begin Monday, July 29 with an opening night set for Sunday, August 4 at the Theatre at St. Clements 423 W 46th Street .

Set against the backdrop of the infamous Trump Tower Meeting of 2016, the play tells the story of an international interpreter thrown up against government systems of congressional and senate interrogations, catapulting him into circumstances beyond his control. “This man could be everyman … one of us,” says playwright Catherine Gropper.

This play is about the loss of individuality and privacy is based on actual events (a chance meeting between the playwright and an actual government interpreter). This two-person play supports a cast of thousands thanks to Mertes’ production scheme including puppetry, film sequences, projections, and intricate lighting and sound.

We are so proud and thrilled that Variety Entertainment News named us one of Summer’s Best Picks in the category of Best Television, Radio, Podcasts.

Host Suzanna Bowling was also just named Most Engaging Hosts on TV, Radio and Podcasts on “The Daily Geek Report.” We are so grateful.

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents ”, is a show filmed at the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience. To see our past episodes; First episode click here second episode click here,  third episode click here, fourth episode click here, fifth episode click here, sixth episode here, seventh episode here, eighth episode here, ninth episode here, tenth episode here, eleventh episode here, our twelfth episode here, thirteenth episode here, fourteenth here, fifteenth here , 16th here, 17th here, 18th here, 19th here, 20th here, 21st here and 22nd here.

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Off Broadway

Oscar, Tony, And Pulitzer Prize WinnercJohn Patrick Shanley New York Debut Of Banshee At The Chain Summer One-Act Festival

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Chain Theatre, Kirk Gostkowski, Artistic Director, Rick Hamilton, Managing Director, Christina Elise Perry, Director of Development, is pleased to announce the 2024 edition of the Chain Summer One-Act Festival, featuring the New York premiere of Banshee by award-winning writer John Patrick Shanley,  the world debut of the Jesse Eisenberg-produced Catch by Jeryl Brunner, and two new plays by 2024 ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition grand prize winner Matthew McLachlan. The festival will feature over 50 new plays at the Chain Theatre (312 W 36th St, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 10018). The festival begins Thursday, August 8 and continues through Sunday, September 1.  Tickets will be $23 in advance and $26 at the door. More information available at www.chaintheatre.org

Now one of the largest theatre festivals in New York City, The Chain Summer One-Act Festival will celebrate over 50 plays this summer. The festival is a hub for new work by established and emerging artists. Chain Theatre is once again opening its doors to New York City’s playwrights, actors, and directors for a festival of original works. All productions are carefully curated and designed to create a ‘mix-tape’ of Live Theatre. Past festivals have included original works by Broadway’s Lyle Kessler (Orphans) and award-winning actor, and writer Eric Bogosian (AMC’s Interview With The Vampire).  Show your support for the arts and join us for an exciting festival of live performances created by the best artists at one of the top independent theatre venues in New York City.

Three highlights of the festival include:

  1. The New York premiere of Banshee by John Patrick Shanley. Starring Elizabeth Bays (Off-Broadway Simpatico) and Erik Betancourt (Broadway’s Cost Of Living, Between Riverside And Crazy) directed by Chain Summer One-Act Festival. (Off-Broadway Simpatico), Banshee is a mystical comedy about a banshee, a fantastical Irish spirit, who pays an ailing teacher a visit and makes him an otherworldly proposal.
  2. Academy Award-nominee Jesse Eisenberg returns to the Chain as the co-producer of Catch by Jeryl Brunner. Eisenberg and Brunner originally collaborated on the critically acclaimed Dill during the Chain Winter One-Act Festival, which marked Eisenberg’s stage directorial debut. Eisenberg co-produces Catch with Anna Strout and Barbara Toy.
  3. Lastly, Matthew McLachlan returns to the Chain with two new plays: Online Dates Are Hard To Handle, directed by David Zayas Jr., and Who You Are To Me, directed by Lee Zayas. McLachlan is the 2024 ScreenCraft Stage Play Competition Grand Prize Winner for This G*D Damn House, which was a world premiere at the Chain Theatre in 2023.

Chain Summer One-Act Festival boasts a production team featuring Spencer Giles (Hofstra University Graduate), Uma Rao-Labrecque  (Simpatico), Evie Brandford, Stewart Harrison, and Megan Sophie Gore. Publicity by Katie Rosin, Kampfire PR.

Running Time: 60-90 minutes depending on the program block

Website: www.chaintheatre.org

IG: @chaintheatrenyc FB: ChainTheatre

Chain Theatre always seeks to reflect and react to the world around us. Culturally. Politically. Socially. Audiences can find investment in the work at the Chain, because the work is about them, no matter what it might be. It’s a place where artists and audiences can expand their perspectives.

The critically-acclaimed Chain Theatre (NYT Critic’s pick macbitches) is a premiere Off-Broadway producing organization in midtown Manhattan. Chain Theatre produced the World Premiere of ​Garbageman​ by Emmy-nominated Keith Huff (A Steady Rain, Mad Men, House of Cards) and has also collaborated with Tony Award winner David Rabe (Streamers) Past award-winning productions include ​Hurlyburly​ by David Rabe, ​One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest​ by Dale Wasserman, and ​Talk Radio​ by Eric Bogosian. Most recent hit productions include A Will to Live, This G*d Damn House, and What Passes for Comedy. Chain Theatre is located at 312 W. 36th Street, 3rd and 4th Floor, New York, NY 10018 For more about the Chain Theatre visit ​www.chaintheatre.org @chaintheatrenyc

Chain Theatre is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

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Broadway

Theatre News: Teeth, Soft Power, Redwood, BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical and Pre-Existing Condition

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Jenna Rose Husli, Wren Rivera, Alyse Alan Louis, Phoenix Best and Helen J Shen in Teeth (Photo: Chelcie Parry)

Teeth is coming back to New World Stages in the fall for an open-ended run. The transfer begins on October 31, Halloween night, as its official opening. While casting for the commercial remount is yet to be announced, the Playwrights Horizons cast featured Alyse Alan Louis, Steven Pasquale, Will Connolly, Jason Gotay, Jared Loftin, Courtney Bassett, Phoenix Best, Jenna Rose Husli, Lexi Rhoades, Wren Riveras and Helen J. Shen.

The off-Broadway cast album for Teeth, written by written by Pop! creator Anna K. Jacobs (book and music) and Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop creator Michael R. Jackson (book and lyrics), is now available to stream on all major music platforms. The physical CD will be released August 30. Teeth opened its off-Broadway world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in March with direction by Sarah Benson and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.

Based on Mitchell Lichtenstein’s screenplay for the cult-classic 2007 horror comedy, Teeth is a tale of revenge and transformation that tears through a culture of shame and repressed desire one delightfully unhinged song at a time. The musical follows Dawn O’Keefe, an evangelical Christian teen struggling to be an exemplar of purity amongst her community of fellow Promise Keeper Girls. As Dawn’s desires become tested and twisted by the men in her life, she discovers a deadly secret not even she understands: when men violate her, her body bites back—literally.

I loved Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang’s SoftPower when it appeared at The Public, now it’s coming to the Signature Theatre in Washington  D.C., newly revised production and directed by Signature Associate Artistic Director Ethan Heard. The show opens August 6 and runs until September 15. Could NYC be next? The cast will feature Steven Eng as DHH, Daniel May (Flower Drum Song) as Xue Xing, and Grace Yoo (Hadestown) as Hillary Clinton with Eymard Cabling (Miss Saigon national tour) as Randy Ray and others, Andrew Cristi (A Christmas Story) as Chief Justice and others, Jonny Lee Jr. as Bobby Bob and others, Quynh-My Luu as Waiter and others, Christopher Mueller as VEEP and others, Ashley D. Nguyen as Jīng and others, Chani Wereley as Betsy Ross and others, Nicholas Yenson as Holden Caulfield and others, and Sumié Yotsukura as Flight Attendant and others. Olivia Clavel-Davis, Brian Dauglash, Emily Song Tyler, and Joey Urgino are swings.

After the 2016 election, when a Chinese American playwright is attacked by an unknown assailant, he hallucinates a Golden Age musical comedy about a Chinese theater producer and Hillary Clinton falling in love. Hilarious and biting, this political satire dares to ask: Does American Democracy still work? And is it worth believing in?

An exhilarating ride through political absurdity with a faceoff between Chinese and American exceptionalism, Soft Power makes an electric debut in the nation’s capital.

Idina Menzel, will open at the Nederlander Theatre in Redwood. This new Broadway musical starts previews January 24,  with a February 13 opening. Written and directed by Tony Award nominee Tina Landau, Redwood features music by Kate Diaz and lyrics by Diaz and Landau. The show is conceived by Landau and Menzel, with additional contributions by Menzel. The musical premiered earlier this year at La Jolla Playhouse. “I made my Broadway debut at the Nederlander Theatre in Rent almost 30 years ago, so to be returning there with Redwood is very emotional for me as it feels like a real homecoming. It has been such a gift to collaborate with Tina and Kate on this show, and I’m so proud to bring it to Broadway” stated Menzel. Redwood follows Jesse (Menzel), a successful businesswoman, mother and wife who seems to have it all, but inside, her heart is broken. Finding herself at a turning point, Jesse leaves everyone and everything behind, gets in her car and drives. Thousands of miles later, she hits the majestic forests of Northern California, where a chance meeting and a leap of faith change her life forever.

BOOP! The Betty Boop Musical has found is set to open at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre on April 5, 2025. Tony Award®-winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell brings the Queen of the Animated Screen to the theater  with celebrated multiple Grammy® Award-winning composer David Foster, Tony Award®-nominated lyricist Susan Birkenhead and Tony Award®-winning book writer Bob Martin. This score is fabulous and we can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

Edie Falco Photo by Emilio Madrid

Today, producers O’Henry Productions, The Cohn Sisters, Jessica Chase, Taylor Williams, David Blum, Jesse Eisenberg and Charlie Kaufman announced that Pre-Existing Condition by Tony Award® nominee Marin Ireland will extend for two weeks through August 17 and will star Emmy Award® winner Edie Falco in the rotating role of “A” beginning on August 6

Pre-Existing Condition, directed by Maria Dizzia, is currently playing at the Connelly Theater (220 East 4th St.) in the intimate 60-seat Upstairs space. The play was originally set to close on August 3.

Pre-Existing Condition is a play exploring the challenges, shared community, and everyday indignities of learning to move forward after a life-altering, harmful relationship.

About the play, Ms. Falco said, “I am thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of something that moved me so much as a spectator. It involves an intimacy and vulnerability that I’ve sorely missed in the theater. I can’t wait to work with these people who I deeply respect so that hopefully more people can see and feel what I did when I saw the play.”

The role of “A” has rotated throughout the production and is currently played by Tony Award® winner Deirdre O’Connell (Dana H.). Tavi Gevinson (“American Horror Story”) will play the role from July 24-August 3 with Ms. Falco starting August 6-August 17. Previously, the role was played by Emmy Award® winner Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Julia Chan (Uncle Vanya) and Tony Award® nominee Maria Dizzia (In the Next Room).

The cast also includes Sarah Steele (“The Good Fight”), Dael Orlandersmith (Pulitzer Prize Finalist, Yellowman), Greg Keller (Alliance); with Raquel Chavez (Uncle Vanya) and Gregory Connors (The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window), understudies.

Tony Award® nominee Anne Kauffman (Mary Jane) serves as Creative Consultant on the production. In addition to Ms. Kauffman, the creative team includes Louisa Thompson (A Simulacrum), Set Designer; Tony Award® nominee Enver Chakartash (Stereophonic), Costume Designer; Tony Award® nominee Isabella Byrd (Enemy of the People, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club), Lighting Designer; Tony Award® nominee Palmer Hefferan (The Skin of Our Teeth), Sound Designer. Taylor Williams is Casting Director, Ashley-Rose Galligan is Production Stage Manager, Eric Nolan Mattingly is Assistant Stage Manager with Wagner Johnson Productions serving as General Management.  Associate Producer is Joe Meyer. David Manella at Loeb & Loeb LLP serves as Production Counsel.

For information on performance dates, ticketing lottery information please visit preexistingconditionplay.com. Tickets start at $49.

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Off Broadway

Coney Island Nursery Rhyme Is a New Play Still In Its Embryonic State

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In the press release and on their own site Coney Island Nursery Rhyme sounds so intriguing. This historical fiction set in Connecticut and New York in the 1930’s is based on a true story. They state; Follows the esteemed incubator-doctor, showman, and unofficial father of Neonatology, Martin A. Couney. In a time where eugenics-focused medical culture refused to employ incubator technology. Martin A. Couney took it upon himself to save premature babies in his own incubators at a sideshow at Coney Island where funds were used to hire nurses and essentially create an unofficial hospital. We focus on Beatrice Winthrop, a woman from the American gentry who seeks Couney’s assistance after giving birth prematurely.

This is what we are told, but what the play is about, is less about the doctor and more about Raymond Abbot (Zachary Speigel) a fool who has a secret to confess. His friend Beatrice Winthrop (Jessica Noboa) has had a premie and her mother Candace Lahey (Phyllis Lindy) thinks the child would be better off dead. The doctor in charge (Judge Boothby) doesn’t hold out much hope and wants to send the child to Chicago. In the meantime Lt. Peter Petrovick (Pete Marzilli), wants to capture the killer of Mrs. Winthrop husband who was shot dead by his friend.

Jessica Noboa

The play by Lubomir Rzepka spends the first hour teaching us nothing about eugenics, making us wonder why we are here. We are introduced to Martin A. Couney (Mike Timoney), but Mrs. Winthrop dismisses him, until Raymond Abbot steals the child, saving the child’s life.

Mike Timoney, Jessica Noboa, Phyllis Lindy

Rzepka also directed the piece, but this was a mistake, as the actors for the most part scream for two hours.

Mike Timoney, Zachary Speigel

So little is spent on “The Infantorium”, in which visitors paid 25 cents to view prematurely born babies displayed in incubators. Thanks to Couney, who was one of the first advocates for premature babies, and his Infantoriums have become widely accredited with saving the lives of over 6,500 premature babies in the 30’s. Couney is additionally recognised as one of the first pioneers of neonatological technology. Now that is interesting.

Coney Island Nursery Rhyme: 754 9th Ave 4th floor (word of warning NO elevator). Premiering for 8 select shows July 12 through July 20th as an Equity Approved Showcase at the NuBox Theatre.

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