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The Australian Discovery Orchestra (ADO), the world’s first solely digital streaming orchestra, is proud to announce “16 STORIES” – a worldwide online vocal competition. Renowned musical theatre creators from around the world have contributed a song from a musical they have written that has never previously been recorded for commercial release; these 16 songs will comprise an upcoming Australian Discovery Orchestra album, to be released on the Broadway Records label. This Friday, February 1st, an online global vocal competition will commence to find 16 vocalists for each song on the album – who will appear on the album as well as in the accompanying music videos. The competition will be open for submissions from midnight on February 1st until midnight on March 15th, 2019. For more information, including submission instruction, entry rules and fees, visit ADO online at https://australiandiscoveryorchestra.com/16-stories-introduction/.

ADO Conductor Kevin Purcell says, “Our greatest hope is that we will attract 16 amazing voices, whether they be seasoned professionals or completely undiscovered talent, from anywhere in the world, who will bring that indefinable quality to a song we all know when we hear it for the first time.”

The songs – and songwriters – included on “16 STORIES” are:

(1) ‘Good Enough for Me’ from Scotland, PA (based on the film by Billy Morrissette)
Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon

Adam is an award-winning composer and lyricist whose credits include Ordinary Days(Roundabout, Off-Broadway; Trafalgar Studios, West End), Old Jews Telling Jokes (Westside Theatre Off Broadway); String (Village Theatre, WA), Cake Off (Signature Theatre, VA Helen Hayes Award nomination; Bucks County Playhouse), Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), The Boy Detective Fails (Signature Theatre, VA), and Bernice Bobs Her Hair (Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma).

(2) ‘Sixteen Bars’ from The Taxi Cabaret
Music, Lyrics and Book by Peter Mills

Peter is a recipient of the Kleban Prize, the Ebb Award, the Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, the Cole Porter Award, and a Jonathan Larson grant. He received two Drama Desk Award nominations for The Pursuit of Persephone, and his other shows include Illyria, The Flood, Golden Boy of The Blue Ridge, and most recently, he wrote lyrics for The Honeymooners (Paper Mill Playhouse).

(3) ‘Pretty Little Thing’ from Vigil
Music by Joe Chindamo, Lyrics and Book by Steve Vizard

A collaboration between renowned jazz pianist Joe Chindamo and writer Steve Vizard, Vigil premiered at the 2017 Adelaide Cabaret festival and was nominated for 5 Green Room Awards and a 2018 Writers Guild Award for Best New Musical.

(4) ‘You Were There’ from Electric Dreams: The Musical (based on the 1984 film by Rusty Lemorande)
Music and Lyrics by Drew Lane

A producer, arranger and award-winning composer from Australia, Drew’s musicals have been performed throughout Australia, and have had seasons in the UK and USA. Highlights include presenting his musical Marking Life to Stephen Schwartz as part of Australia’s Festival of Broadway in 2010, having the first professional performance of Final Words in New Mexico in 2015, and gaining an Australia Day Award for his youth musical Somewhere To Fight For in 2012.

(5) ‘It Starts Again’ from Einstein
Music, Lyrics and Book by Jess Newman

An award-winning Australian composer, lyricist and performer, Jess was a winner of the 2017 New York City Center Encores songwriting competition, for which he performed an original song for Stephen Sondheim. Einstein had its premiere in Melbourne, Australia in 2016 and was selected byThe Age newspaper as one of the year’s theatrical highlights. A resident of NYC, he is currently completing a Masters of Musical Theatre Writing at Tisch, NYU.

(6) ‘Tuscany’ from Days Like Today
Music and Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler

Alan’s work has been performed across the US and internationally, and has also created work for television, podcasts and digital formats. Winner, 2018 Kleban Prize in Musical Theater; 2017 Webby Award; 2017 Sarah Lawrence International Audio Fiction Award. His work is published by R&H.

(7) ‘Real Adventure’ from Yo, Vikings!
Music by Sam Willmott, Lyrics and Book by Marcus Stevens

Sam is the recipient of the Kleban Prize, Fred Ebb Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, and ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson and Cole Porter Awards.

Marcus is a Richard Rodgers Award winner and a member of the BMI Workshop, ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild. Yo, Vikings! is published by Samuel French, Inc.

(8) ‘Long Way Home’ from Start Again
Music and Lyrics by Nikko Benson

Nikko is an NYC-based writer and performer, a recipient of a 2016 Jonathan Larson grant, and an O’Neill Music Theater Conference Finalist. Projects include Nikola Tesla Drops The Beat (w/ Benjamin Halstead, Adirondack Theater Festival); Start Again (Musical Theater Factory); and In Pursuit of Magic (Kennedy Center Millennium Stage). He has received development residencies with Village Theater Festival, Pace New Musicals, the Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, Catwalk, and Goodspeed Writers Colony.

(9) ‘My World’ from The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit
Music and Lyrics by Andre Catrini

Andre is a proud ASCAP member and the recipient of the 2014 ASCAP Foundation Cole Porter Award, given “in recognition for his outstanding talent as a musical theatre composer and lyricist”. Stage works include The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchit, A Game Called Life (book by Laura Zlatos) and The Wolf (book by Joe Calarco).

(10) ‘I Didn’t Know’ from Where Were We?
Music and Lyrics by Oliver Houser

Oliver’s work has been performed at The Other Palace Theatre, The Kennedy Center, The New York Musical Festival, the New York Fringe Festival and The SoHo Playhouse. He has developed work at Goodspeed Musicals, the ASCAP and BMI Musical Theatre Workshops and the Ucross Foundation. Oliver is a 2017 Dramatists Guild Fellow and winner of the ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award for songwriting.

(11) ‘The Spark’ from The Enlightenment of Percival Von Schmootz
Music by Michael Kooman, Lyrics and Book by Christopher Dimond

Kooman and Dimond received the Fred Ebb Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, and are the first recipients of the Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and the Samuel French Next Step Award. Their most recent musical, Romantics Anonymous, debuted to rave reviews at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2017. They also serve as songwriters for Vampirina an animated Disney TV series, which has reached over 49 million viewers in 115 countries. Other projects include The Noteworthy Life Of Howard Barnes (Village Theater), Orphie & The Book Of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), The Enlightenment Of Percival Von Schmootz (commissioned by the Canadian Music Theatre Project),Judge Jackie Justice (Pittsburgh CLO), Dani Girl (licensed by Samuel French), Golden Gate(Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Junior Claus (licensed by Dramatic Publishing).

(12) ‘El Amor’ from The Stranger from Seville
Music by Kevin Purcell, Lyrics and Book by Victor Kazan

Kevin is a multi-award-winning international Opera and orchestra conductor, musical director for theatre and songwriter/arranger. He is the Principal Conductor of Australia’s national symphony, the Australian Discovery Orchestra (ADO). Most recently, Kevin was the initial Musical Director for the first UK/Eire national tour of Wicked. He has worked extensively over the years for the Really Useful Group and Cameron Mackintosh as musical director in London’s West End and South East Asia, most notably with the original London production of Cats.

Victor has worked in the entertainment industry for fifty years. Born in London, he carved a distinguished reputation as a writer and director in British theatre and television before taking up residence in Australia in the early 1980s. Since then, his major work has been in film and musical theatre. Among his Australian screenplays is the popular, feel-good movie ‘Dalkeith’.

(13) ‘When I Slay My Rival’ from The Rivals (Adapted from Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals, 1775)
Music by Stephen Weiner, Lyrics and Book by Peter Kellogg

Stephen won two Richard Rodgers Awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Jonathan Larson Grant, Global Search for New Musicals Award and the ASCAP Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award for Musical Theatre. Latest works include The Rivals and The Honeymooners.He has written numerous musicals Off-Broadway, regionally and overseas. Steve is a graduate of the renowned BMI Musical Theatre Workshop and proud member of The Dramatists Guild and ASCAP.

Peter has two Tony nominations for book & lyrics to a musical of Anna Karenina (composer Dan Levine). Anna Karenina has had 3 tours in Japan. With David Friedman: Chasing Nicolette, based on Aucassin and Nicolette produced at Westport Playhouse, the Prince and Village Theatre; Stunt Girl, about Nellie Bly, New York City’s first female reporter; and Desperate Measures, a western, loosely based on Measure for Measure.

(14) ‘Somebody Else’ from Connected
Music, Lyrics and Book by Craig Christie

Craig has worked for twenty-eight years as the principal of No Mates Productions, creating original musicals in educational, community and commercial settings. Craig’s theatre works includeCrusade and Eurobeat, which won Best Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe and enjoyed an acclaimed London, West End season. His annual children’s book tours have been seen by over 2.5 million school children internationally.

(15) ‘Out On A Limb’ from Marryin’ Marian
Music by Joel Evans, Lyrics by Adryan Russ, Book by Keith Huff

Joel’s credits include more than 90 movies and 400 television episodes, including Wedding Crashers,”Friends”,”Life in Pieces,” Glenn Close’s The Wife, and the 2014 Daytime Emmy Award-winning special “The Young & the Restless – Tribute to Jeanne Cooper.”

Adryan’s off-Broadway musical Inside Out, co-written with Doug Haverty, has played across the U.S. and Europe. She has received ASCAP Awards for Popular Music, is a member of The Dramatists Guild, and serves on the Board of the Society of Composers & Lyricists.

As a playwright, Keith’s notable theater productions include A Steady Rain featuring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman (Broadway), The Detective’s Wife (Writer’s Theater), Big Lake Big City (Looking Glass Theater), Pursued By Happiness (Steppenwolf Theater), The Bird and Mr. Banks (Road Theater), and Six Corners (American Blues Theater).

(16) ‘’Listen’ from The Trouble With Words
Music and Lyrics by Greg Nabours

Gregory’s award-winning song cycle The Trouble With Words debuted in 2011. In 2013, Gregory was selected to join the Johnny Mercer Songwriter’s Project, and in 2015 an evening of his work was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His new musical Marilyn! (The Official Marilyn Monroe Musical) is now playing an open-ended run at Paris Casino in Las Vegas.

Launched in 2015, The Australian Discovery Orchestra, (Kevin Purcell, Conductor) provides 68 exceptional professional musicians from across the country, the opportunity to come together several times each year to perform repertoire embracing classic masterworks, the catalogue of extraordinary orchestral music rarely heard live in-concert, and, premiering new Australian music. ADO events are live as well as captured in multi-camera HD for both streaming and Pay-per-View. The orchestra is committed to seeking new ways of engaging viewers and listeners by making the music it performs a catalyst for interaction with its Internet-wide audience. Holding to the core belief that live orchestral concert music is really one of the most humanly transformative activities imaginable, the ADO strives to create unique modes of musical storytelling able to be told across multiple media channels simultaneously.

Since its founding in early 2012, Broadway Records has become one of the premiere record labels in its industry. From cast albums of major Broadway shows (i.e. Matilda) to the preservation of shorter run Broadway shows (i.e. Bonnie & Clyde), Broadway Records believes in delivering the best cast recordings to its customers. In addition to an emphasis on delivering first rate sound on their recordings, the label also believes strongly in the whole cast album experience, including packing cast album booklets with a plethora of photos from the show, lyrics and more. They also strive to innovate with the critically acclaimed “Live at 54 BELOW” series featuring top Broadway stars including Patti LuPone, Aaron Tveit, Norbert Leo Butz, Sierra Boggess, Laura Benanti and many others. They are also strong supporters of the next generation of talent, including albums from up-and-coming composers such as Drew Gasparini and Michael Mott. Broadway Records also believes in leaving the world a better place, and this has inspired the work on albums such as “From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook” (with 100% of our profits going to the Newtown-Sandy Hook Community Foundation), A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream (with 100% of our profits going to the 12.14 Foundation), “An Evening With Norbert Leo Butz” (with 100% of our profits going to the Angel Band Project) and “Shapiro Sisters: Live Out Loud – Live at 54 BELOW” (with a portion of the proceeds going to “No Bully”).

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

Art

Events for March

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St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, a Harlem Renaissance exhibit at the Met with160 works by Black artists. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature,at The Morgan Library & Museum through 6/9. The Orchid show continues until 4/21 at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Florals in Fashion highlights the work of designers Hilary Taymour (Collina Strada), Olivia Cheng (Dauphinette) and Kristen Alpaugh, aka FLWR PSTL Also Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s “Giants,”is at the Brooklyn Museum until 7/7. The exhibition features artists who have made and continue to make a significant impact on the art world and contemporary culture. The show features 98 artworks by Black American, African, and African artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald.

3/1 -3: The Vienna Philharmonic one of the world’s most celebrated orchestras, takes center stage at Carnegie Hall.

3/3 -5: Coffee Fest NY Javits.

3/3 -5: International Beauty Show Javits.

3/6 – 10: The New Colossus Festival provides a platform for new artists, including international bands making their NYC debuts. The festival will take place across multiple venues mostly spread throughout the Lower East Side and the East Village, including Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, Heaven Can Wait, and others. This year’s artists include Cucamaras (UK), Ducks LTD (Canada), Heffner (US), Holiday Ghosts (UK), Hotel Lux (UK), Housewife (Canada), and more. You can check out the full lineup and schedule of events here.

3/8: International Women’s Day 

Steven Reineke by Michael Tammaro, Bryan Terrell Clark by Asher Angeles, Valisia LeKae by Antonio Navas

3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown

3/1 -17: The Annual Flamenco Festival with 22 performances across 13 different venues all over the city.

3/1 -17: The New York International Children’s Film FestivalHappy St. Patricks Day
3/17: Join in on the 263rd celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. The parade kicks off at 11am, moving along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 82nd Street. This year’s grand marshal, Maggie Timoney, president and CEO of Heineken USA, is only the fifth woman to lead the parade since its inception.

3/20 -24: Affordable Art Fair with over 400 living artists to discover you are sure to find your next perfect artwork.

3/23 – 11/: JAPAN Fes, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is the largest Japanese food festival in the world, with over 1,000 vendors.

The Macy Flower Show

3/24 – 4/7: The Annual Macy’s Flower Show created in partnership with Dior.

3/26 – 10/2: Apollo: When We Went to the Moon at The Intrepid Museum. The exhibit is included with museum admission.

3/29 – 4/7: The International Auto Show at the Javitts.

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Cabaret

Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For March

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Brave the rain and head out to the clubs for they abound in entertainment galore. Here are our top picks.

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 3/ 2 – 4: Soul Picnic: The Songs and Legacy of Laura Nyro; 3/ 11: Cabaret Conversations Sally Mayes and 3/18: The Ally: Josh Radnor and Playwright Itamar Moses in Conversation Co-presented with The Public Theater.

 

Karen Mason

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawksand 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; 3/11: It’s De-Lovely: Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter and 3/25: Karen Mason In “Just In Styne: Karen Sings Jule”.

 

Orfeh

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 2/1-3: Through 3/2: Jennifer Holliday; 3/3 – 4: Mallory Portnoy and Nick Blaemire; 3/5 – 20: Hamilton Leithauser and 3/21 -23: Orfeh.

Steven Reineke by Michael Tammaro, Bryan Terrell Clark by Asher Angeles, Valisia LeKae by Antonio Navas

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown; 3/20: of Sinéad O’Connor and Shane MacGowan; 3/23: Meow, Meow and  3/27: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 3/10: Klea Blackhurst; 3/11: Mark MacKillop and 3/16: Randy Edelman.

Klea Blackhurst

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 3/3: Marcus Simone & Tracy Stark and 3/16: Lucille Carr-Kaffashan.

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas.

Ann Hampton Callaway

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 3/8 – 10: Ann Hampton Callaway and 3/21; Songbook Sundays Rodgers and Hammerstein.

54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 3/1: The Leading Lady Club: A Celebration of Women on Broadway and Beyond; 3/2 – 3 : Alysha Umphress: 15 Stories; 3/4: Songs From Women At The Table; 3/6: Hugh Panaro: Man Without A Mask; 3/8- 9: Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway; 3/15 – 16: Melba Moore: From Broadway, With Love; 3/19: 54 Celebrates The Marquis Theatre, feat. Kate Baldwin, John Bolton, & more!; 3/20 – 21 and 23: Leslie Uggams; 3/22: My First Sondheim; 3/24: A Gentleman’s Guide 10th Anniversary Celebration, feat. Lauren Worsham & more!; 3/25: The Wicked Stage: Songs About Show Business, Hosted by Christine Pedi;  3/26 – 27:  Nicole Henry: Decades of Diva; 3/28: Ute Lemper: Rendezvous with Marlene and 3/29 – 30: Andrea McArdle: Confessions of a Broadway Baby.

Andrea McArdle

Andrea McArdle Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 3/4: Figaro a New Musical; 3/22: An Acoustic Evening with Sondheim & Melissa Melissa Errico; 3/23: Nic and Desi: 3/23: Joshua Turchin Composers In The Green Room 42 and 3/24: Reeve Carney.

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St.

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. 3/2,3, 9,10, 16, 17, 23,24, 30 and 31: Lucky Cheng’s Drag Brunch.The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 3/16: Stay Golden – The Golden Girls Drag Tribute!The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 3/4: RuPaul The House Of Hidden Meanings

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Cabaret

Moonlight and Love Songs 

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And so promised Steve Ross in his new show at Birdland, and he delivered both with his customary style, wit, and superb interpretations. This fabled music room takes on the hush of a cathedral when Steve performs there, evidenced by the silent reverence of the audience throughout his performance. Sporting his subtle homage to Cole Porter—a red carnation—Steve began the evening with tunes that described being on the brink of that most coveted of falls, and as the inevitable approached, his carefully curated selections become more tantalizing. Never has “On a Slow Boat to China” been more inviting– sign me up now! A few moon-titled songs followed, including one written by Steve himself. His guest star, Nina Wachenfeld, sang in German and seemed to conjure up Marlene as a bonus.    

Kurt Weill and his haunting melodies were presented next, with appropriate tribute given to that great American wordsmith, Ogden Nash. Another aspect of the topic of the evening was Steve’s review of a few songs about love at first sight. Messrs, Coward and Porter put their two cents in, with the penultimate and heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine” putting a twinge in the heart of everyone as only Rodgers & Hammerstein can. Cole then did what he does best: teased and tickled the memory with his thoughts on the matter. 

Steve’s ability to find new ways to make all these songs new for an audience is part of his wonder. He snapped us out of our dreamy reveries with a joke and then the ever-hilarious “Dolphins” and then encouraged everyone to do what we were aching to do—sing along to some classics from the 1940s. He has an uncanny ability to know what an audience wants and needs and switched the dial to drama with Dietz and Schwartz’s haunting “Dancing in the Dark”.  The charming conclusion to this Valentine was the duet of “Married”. I have tried many times to dissect the magic Steve brings to his music and never quite capture it with words. You just must see it for yourself! A performance by Steve Ross is indeed transformative, as his ever-full audiences will attest.   

In between engagements on both sides of the Atlantic, Steve appears regularly at Birdland. Check his website for future appearances, and possibly even a master class! 

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Music

Jason Robert Brown’s The Connector Is Intelligent, Thought Provoking and Musically Seamless

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“The truth is not about the facts – forgive me. The facts can always be manipulated, arranged, massaged – We are not purveyors of facts, we are tellers of truths.” …..Or are we?

The Connector now playing at at MCC’s Newman Mills Theater space, has twice been extended and in all honesty should move to Broadway this season. If it did it would stands a massive chance of being nominated or winning Best Musical, Best Score, Best Orchestration, Best Direction, Best Lead Actor and many of the technical awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the Drama Desk and The Outer Critics Circle Awards come award season.

Set in 1996 at a newspaper called “The Connector”, this unrivaled purveyor of “the truth and nothing but the truth,” is about to be put to the test. Enter Ethan Dobson (the remarkable Ben Levi Ross), fresh out of Princeton who’s arrived with talent, guts and a smarmy style.

Scott Bakula, Ben Levi Ross By Joan Marcus

Ethan has long admired and longs to work for the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Conrad O’Brien (welcome back to the fabulous Scott Bakula), who is being over run by new owners, who care more about circulation and the color turquoise, than facts.

Jessica Molaskey By Joan Marcus

The first person Ethan meets and the voice of a collective conscience is Robin Martinez (normally played by Hannah Cruz, but at my performance Ashley Pérez Flanagan). At first attracted to Ethan, Robin starts to see the cracks, as does fact checker, Muriel (a layered performance by Jessica Molaskey). Right from the start, she does not like or trust Ethan. Nor do we. In a strange way, this almost seems like a musicalized version of “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

As Conrad takes Ethan under his wing, we see three of his stories, each done in a different musical style. The first is about an eccentric West Village scrabble player (the terrific Max Crumm). With a “Rhythm of Life” feel, Ethan becomes an over night success with circulation increasing and a fan by the name of Mona Bland (a memorable Mylinda Hull) who will end up being his downfall.

Fergie Philippe, Hannah Cruz, and Ben Levi Ross Photo: Joan Marcus

The next story is about the take down of the mayor of Jersey City, done in rap/ gangland style that gets him a nomination for the prestigious National Magazine Award. As his source Willis, Fergie Philippe gives his all, but the problem we soon find out, is that though the story is sensational, there are gaping holes in the facts, which Muriel, Robin and Mona glaringly see. 

In the end who is Ethan really? What is truth and what is fact? Does the public really care or do they just want sensationalism? Has the world really gotten over its sexism? It’s racialism? Sadly, I don’t think so. Everything becomes the movie of the week and then goes away until the next big scandal.

The Connector was conceived and directed by Daisy Prince, who does a remarkable job and asks some really intelligent questions. She has also gathered a fabulous cast, who makes this show seem real, relevant and up to date.

Ben Levi Ross By Joan Marcus

Ben Levi Ross will remind you of Jessie Einsenburg. He is loaded with talent. Not only does he posses a vocal prowess that is unmatched, his nuances and phenomenal acting choices make him so watchable. He is like an onion slowly peeling away each delicate layer. He is seriously brilliant.


As Robin, I saw the understudy who is about to take over the role, Ashley Pérez Flanagan. She sings and acts well, but lacks some of the nuances that originally made me want to see this show. I fell in love with the song “Cassandra” in 2017 and either Jason Robert Brown rewrote some of the notes or they were different in the production I saw. This song is pivotal to the show, as the lyrics talk about how women writers are written off.

“Half the stories of the world are left unwritten, half the stories have been lost along the way. And so the people of the world will not encounter, anything but one perspective, one reflection, one directive, male and white and unenlightened, every day. It’s easy for you, it’s easy for you and I’m missing it”

These are the lyrics by Jason Robert Brown for “Cassandra”. Not only is his music rich in rhythm and style, but it reaches into your soul to take capture. His lyrics hit at the heart of pain, truth, anger and honesty. Each song is a playlet with character-driven narratives and stand on their own. Smartly his band is electric and musically I could sit through this show every night of the week and hear new emotional tugs. I am so excited to announce the album will be released in late spring by Concord Theatricals Recording, because I want to listen to these songs again and again. A plus is JRB is on the piano playing with his band.

Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book is funny, terrifying and taps on timely issues, however I did want more as to the why’s and psychology of Ethan, but maybe that’s the point, we don’t understand the why’s and never will.

Not only is the show wonderfully done, but the raw masterful set by Beowulf Boritt, lighting by and projection design by Janette Oi-Suk Yew and choreography by Karla Puno Garcia are shear perfection.

You will not be able to stop thinking about this show, that is full of thought provoking ideas on journalistic integrity and the difference between fact and truth. This is a show not to be missed and that’s a fact.

The Connector: MCC Theater Space, 511 W 52nd Street, through March 17th.

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Broadway

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

MORE MURDER — (Via Deadline) Sophie Ellis-Bextor is gearing up to tour around North America for the first time and adding more cities for fans to see her perform “Murder on the Dance Floor” live.

The British singer’s song is featured in the final scene of Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, where Barry Keoghan’s Oliver dances naked around the manor. After the scene went viral, the song, co-written by Ellis-Bextor and Gregg Alexander, also went viral on social media. “Murder on the Dance Floor” was originally released in 2001, but it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 until now, peaking at 51 recently.

Ellis-Bextor recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon where she performed the viral hit and the star is now embarking on a North America tour.

The artist announced her first-ever live show in NYC, set to take place on June 6 at Webster Hall, and the date quickly sold out. Ellis-Bextor has now announced more dates across the U.S. and Canada that will take her to San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

“Oh my… the New York show sold out in a day! Thank you thank you thank you,” Ellis-Bextor said in her newsletter announcing the additional tour dates. “So – how about some more shows in some more cities?! My band and I are coming for you! Super excited. Come and dance with me….”

May 30: August Hall (San Francisco, CA)May 31: The Observatory North Park (San Diego, CA)June 3: 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.)June 4: Royale Boston (Boston, MA)June 5: Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA)June 6: Webster Hall (New York City, NY)June 8: Danforth Music Hall (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

I love this record, because its an actual song. Sure, they repeat the title about three-dozen times, but its a great track.

Neil Diamond and Micky Dolenz

NOISE CLOSES — (Via Deadline) Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical will play its final performance on Sunday, June 30, before launching a national tour this fall, producers announced today.

The musical, which began previews on November 2, 2022, at the Broadhurst Theatre and opened that year on December 4, will have played 35 preview performances and 657 regular performances when it closes.

As I’ve said, early reviews of the show, kind of stopped me from going to this. An artist who is even referenced in the play said to me ‘why would I go to a play that got bad reviews.’ Understood.

But, I did see it and absolutely loved it. Of course, I’m somewhat on the business side and loved all the insider-nuances. And, I saw it with the original performers in it.

There will be a national tour and I predict it will be a huge hit as Diamond’s music is multi-generational. As I’ve said, I preferred Diamond’s “Solitary Man”-period more than “America” and “I Am, I Said.” Although, “Turn On Your Heart Light” (written with Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach) was a great record.

An icon for certain.

SHORT TAKES — Warner’s second Aquaman movie; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will stream on MAX on February 27. The first Aquaman movie, out in 2018, remains the highest-grossing DC film of all time. The sequel, after a plethora of media, mostly about Amber Heard, disappeared in a matter of weeks … Broadway-journeyman and Rockers On Broadway-creator Donnie Kehr recupping. Get well soon brother! … Keith Girard’s New York Independent featured an interview with 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long. Check it out: https://www.thenyindependent.com/music/1704991/kjersti-long-17-explores-her-jersey-roots-by-way-of-utah-with-power-pop-style-video/

Pet Shop Boys

Just listened to the Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls.” What a tremendous record that hold up amazingly well all these years later. It came out in 1984 and produced by Bobby Orlando … Amazon shuttering Freevee? First off, as an offshoot of Amazon, this has got to be one of the worst monikers ever! I mean, FreeVee ... always sounded like frisbee!  Adios … Thursday’s Law & Order was the ode to Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy-character (Last Dance).

Sam Waterston

After 404 episodes, we had to say goodbye. It wasn’t the greatest episode, but when McCoy took over the case and presented it to the jury, Waterston shone brightly. When McCoy said to Hugh Dancy (Nolan Ryan), it was a hell of a ride, it resonated terrifically. Thanks Jack! …

True Detective

I loved the finale on HBO of True Detective with Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. I didn’t understand it all, but the look and direction (by Issa Lopez) and Jodie Foster was just superb. I had forgotten just how good an actress Foster was. Sure, she was good in Nyad, but it was a supporting role. Here, she was just stellar. I’d like to see more of her …

Micky Jones

It was a grim week medically speaking as talk-show hostess Wendy Williams was diagnosed with aphasia and dementia and Mick Jones of Foreigner, with Parkinson’s. Sending prayers to both … And finally, news surfaced Thursday that an “inebriated” Andy Cohen harassed Brandi Glanville. I don’t know Andy at all, but his bad-boy antics of the last several years were clearly leading to something like this. Glanville’s lawyers even invoked NBC’s Matt Lauer in their brief. Expect a huge media brouhaha over this one. Sad for sure … Happy Bday Lou Christie; Niki Avers and Chloe Gaier.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Ace Frehley; Alex Saltzman; Lush Ice; Tony King; Barry Zelman; Justin Ridener; Kent & Laura Denmark; Mark Bego; Mark Scheerer; Barbara Shelley; and SADIE!

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