BATWOMAN’S NEW KATE KANE — The CW11’s Batwoman has been something of a mixed bag this season. When its first season ended, you’ll recall, star Rudy Rose abruptly announced she was quitting as the titular hero. Too many injuries was the cause, yet the rumors flew furiously. Rose, for her part, wisely kept quiet.
She was replaced by Javica Leslie, from TV’s God Friended Me – actually, a rather brilliant show from last season. I started watching Batwoman (with Rose) and was intrigued by it’s characters and very good writing, plus, Rose was simply terrific. She was, without question, the star of the whole show.
Whether Rose’s claim about the injuries true or not, she definitely left the show in a hole. I, for one think there was much, much more to it and hopefully one day, we’ll find out.
Yet, Leslie was good and all the shows this season focused heavily on where Rose (aka Kate Kane) was and how they would get her back. Four or five episodes in, they have addressed the situation head on, and last night – on episode 8 – Kate Kane re-appeared … now to be portrayed by actress Wallis Day.
The first season ended with Rose/Kane on a plane that perished – with no reason given. In last night’ EP, titled Survived Much Worse, there was a ton of narrative (almost too much) … between all of the complicated characters and finally, even the admission -by Sophie- that Kane was dead.
Yet, in the final moments, bandaged and captured … there was Kate Kane.
Now, it’s interesting to note that when Rose jettisoned the role, the show-runner said the part would not be re-cast … yet, all of their shows this truncated season have been about searching for Kane … so, in a way, how could it not be addressed.
Leslie is good … but, does the show now have 2 Batwomen?
MORE MELONI — Fans clamoring for more crossovers between the new Organized Crime and established SVU series may get their wish.
SVU showrunner Warren Leight responded to a fan’s Twitter query about future crossovers by noting that scenes featuring Christopher Meloni (aka Detective Elliot Stabler) were shot for a future SVU.
Leight did not say specifically that the scenes were for a crossover episode, and it could just be Meloni appearing on SVU. But the Chicago-SVU franchise has done multiple crossovers each season for the last couple of years, so it’s an encouraging sign for fans of the melded universes.
Meloni returns as Stabler as part of easing back into the role he’ll play in the new Dick Wolf series Law & Order: Organized Crime, which features the return of Meloni as the NYPD detective he played for years in Law & Order: SVU. He will be reunited with Olivia Benson as the series debuts April 1 as part of a two-hour crossover with SVU.
The crossover starts with Law & Order: SVU at 9:00 PM, followed by Organized Crime at 10:00 PM. It marks the reunion of Meloni’s Stabler with Mariska Hargitay’s now-Captain Benson after they starred together on the first 12 seasons of SVU from 1999-2011. Stabler abruptly retired from the force, off-camera- in the Season 13 premiere.
Good news for sure, but as the April 1 date draws closer, I hope we get a moment of two of true honestly between the two. Sure, Meloni left due to contract squabbles, that he now calls inelegant, but these two characters should get to clear the slate as well onscreen.
Also, there’s the brilliant actor Dylan McDermott that needs to be properly introduced as well to the new show. He’s long been a favorite of mine and really got his shot in Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood (where he portrayed Ernie West). He should have won that Emmy for his sterling performance!
SHORT TAKES — Elton John dropped 30 lbs. during the lockdown. I want that diet-regimen! … Happy 70th to The Stylistics’ Russell Thompkins . Here’s a great post from Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman: https://www.showbiz411.com/2021/03/21/happy-birthday-russell-thompkins-jr-the-famed-falsetto-lead-singer-of-the-stylistics-turns-70-today … Tom Silverman turned me onto “Sunscreen” from director Baz Lurmann. Astonishing and outlandish. Take a listen:
… And, hard to believe, the premiere of I Love Lucy was 70 years ago.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Andy Fuhrmann; Coati Mundi; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Jerry & Michelle Church; Alan Rothstein; Lush Ice; Donna Quinter; Deb Caponetta; Ed Steinberg; Chuck Pulin; Bruce Haring; Art Bell; Anthony Pomes; Tony King; Brad LeBeau; Melissa Davis; and, ZIGGY!
Here We Are Or The Search For The Meaning of Life
Let me just state that I love the Stephen Sondheim/David Ives musical/play Here We Are. It’s as if the genius, known as Sondheim was trying to resolve his life. The first act is cynical and the characters are hypocritical, while the second act is about coming to with grips with life’s choices and surrendering to the inevitable.
The music is like playing Sondheim jeopardy. His motif’s from other shows are blended into new songs that make you want to have a pen and paper to play the game. I can’t wait until the CD comes out. I’ve been told that it is being recorded in January.
The show is highly surreal, with life’s journeyIn question. Think “The Outer Limits” or “The Twilight Zone,” very Rod Serling.
Based on two Luis Buñuel films “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) and “The Exterminating Angel” (1962). Act one has Leo Brink (Bobby Cannavale) a entitled tycoon whose opinion is the only one that matters, his wife Marianne (Rachel Bay Jones) who lives for beauty and is a bit on the vaped side, their friends Paul Zimmer (Jeremy Shamos), a plastic surgeon celebrating his 1,000th nose job, his wife, Claudia (Amber Gray), an agent who lives for the celebrity of it all, Raffael Santello Di Santicci (Steven Pasquale), an ambassador from Moranda who lives for the number of notches on his belt and Fritz (Micaela Diamond), Marianne’s younger sister, who wants a revolution, while also wanting to live the good life, searching for brunch. It turns out Leo, Paul and Raffael run a drug cartel. As the day goes down the hill Marianne keeps asking Leo to “buy this perfect day for her.”
Act two is a little more dark. While they finally find food, the consequences of their choices keeps them trapped in purgatory. Enter a colonel (Francois Battiste) whose parents were killed for $26.15, a soldier (Jin Ha) who has feelings for Fritz due to his dreams and a bishop (David Hyde Pierce) who wants another job, has a shoe fettish, and plays piano, until there is no more music. This act is very reminiscent of Steambath. I love the homage to “The World According to Garp” and the bear.
Playing butlers and maids and assorted restaurateur’sare the incredible Tracie Bennett and Denis O’Hare. Kudos has to go out to the wigs by Robert Pickens and Katie Gell and the neon various establishments. white box set and costumes by David Zinn.
Joe Mantello’s staging is exquisite, allowing for each of these brilliantly talented performers to take center stage. This is true ensemble acting and I hope when the Drama Desk is giving out awards this wins.
Where many have criticized the lack of music in the second act, it makes perfect sense. The music stops. The concept very much reminds me of Davids Cromer’s Our Town, when Emily dies and suddenly things are in color and have smells. It makes complete sense that once you are trapped the music would die.
Natasha Katz’s lighting really helps the shinny set take shape, Tom Gibbons’s sound makes the inner world come to life and Sam Pinkleton’s choreography is just enough to make this move seamlessly.
Alexander Gemignani, and Jonathan Tunick, make Sondheim’s music an art and I for one appreciate the subtlety and musicality. Many may not know that Sondheim was a game master and in this it is like he won the final game of “putting it together”.
Here We Are, is intelligent, witty with so much to say and if you ponder the meaning of life you to will walk away extremely fulfilled.
Here We Are, The Shed, 545 West 30th through January 21st
Avengers Tower Sets Meet And Greet With Signing
C. B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and The LEGO Group Senior Graphic Designer Mark Tranter will be at the Fifth Ave LEGO Store this Friday, December 1st from 5pm-6pm signing the Avengers Tower set—the most iconic building in the Avengers Universe, with 5,201 pieces and an all-star cast of 31 figures.
The Avengers Tower, formerly known as Stark Tower, was a high-rise building complex located in Manhattan. Constructed by Tony Stark, the tower was powered by an Arc Reactor that made it capable of running itself for over a year. The top ten floors housed the research and development initiatives.
Following the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Tower became the main headquarters of the Avengers. However, after the Ultron Offensive, Stark refurbished a Stark Industries warehouse upstate into the Avengers Compound to use as their primary base while Avengers Tower was repurposed for Stark Industries’ use. In the aftermath of the Avengers Civil War, Stark sold the tower and moved all of its equipment to the Avengers Compound.
By 2024, the tower, under its new ownership, had gone through extensive construction and renovation.
Unpacking Frontmezzjunkies’s London Theatrical Trip 0f 2023
It was one of those spontaneous but well-planned cross-Atlantic journeys, fueled by a one-show idea that blossomed into something bigger. Antonio and I (two theatre junkies of the highest order) typically would find ourselves traveling to London, meeting there for about five nights, give or take. That is after I spent one evening with a good old friend and his longtime husband. Which was a personal requirement, and then, Antonio and I would dutifully schedule one theatrical event after the other, building a theatrical plan that would make others weak in the knees. But for the two of us, a London trip was exactly that. As much theater as we could fit in, with a few museums mixed in with at least one tourist attraction that was new to at least one of us. And a lot of great breakfasts made up of coffee and baked goods, as well as dinners with friends or just the two of us. Close to the theatre that was housing that night’s show. That was also a requirement. Born out of one too many breathless runs through Times Square trying to get to that scheduled curtain on time.
This year’s trip started with a casual statement about Andrew Scott doing a one-man Vanya in the West End. And the rest, as they say, is history. What soon followed was a Mark Rylance-starring play, Dr. Semmelweis, courtesy of a long-waiting National Theatre credit from March 2020. Then an immersive Guys and Dolls, and a quick grab at some standing-room-only tickets for a sold-out Next to Normal that we thought we had missed out on until we got that early morning email announcement. An Ian McKellen-starring Frank and Percy soon followed, as did the play Hamnet, based on a book I’ve never really heard of (but it seems many others had, including Antonio).
That was the plan. But I decided to stay even longer than normal. Surprising even myself. Usually, I would EasyJet myself off to some locale in Europe that I’ve never been to before, or to someplace I wanted to revisit after a far too long absence. But this time I just wanted to stay put a wee bit longer. And to give myself some time to see others that I might not have had the chance to see or spend time with. And of course, some more shows followed. The British farce Noises Off and a new musical The Time Traveler’s Wife with friends that weren’t Antonio. A matinee at the National Theatre on the day Antonio would fly home. And a last-minute day-of TKTS purchase in Leicester Square for a musical about an old English woman going to Paris to buy a dress from Dior. I probably wouldn’t have gone to see that one. Maybe I would have seen the Stephen Sondheim songbook show Old Friends starring Bernadette Peters and Lea Salonga, or the recently transferred National Theatresoccer play, Dear England, starring Joseph Fiennes. But the new musical, Flowers for Mrs. Harris starred Jenna Russell, one of my all-time favorites, and that was just too good to resist. So why would I?
So ten shows. In about ten days. Not a record mind you. But a pretty satisfying theatrical and social undertaking. And here are a few words about each of the shows. If you’ve managed to get through this long-winded introduction. So here it is: My London theatre trip of 2023.
London Theatrical Trip 2023
SHOW #1: DONMAR WAREHOUSE’S NEXT TO NORMAL
SHOW #2: WEST END’S DR. SEMMELWEIS
SHOW #3: WEST END’S VANYA
SHOW #4: THE OTHER PLACE’S FRANK AND PERCY
SHOW #5: BRIDGE THEATRE’S GUYS AND DOLLS
SHOW #6: WEST END’S HAMNET
SHOW #7: NATIONAL THEATRE’S THE FATHER AND THE ASSASSIN
SHOW #8: WEST END’S NOISES OFF
SHOW #9: RIVERSIDE STUDIO’S FLOWERS FOR MRS. HARRIS
SHOW #10: WEST END’S THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE
For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com
Ahead of the Broadway Opening of Lempicka The Longacre Theatre Is Showcasing Art Work By Tamara de Lempicka
The Longacre Theatre (220 W 48th St.), soon-to-be home of the sweeping new musical, Lempicka, is showcasing a curated selection of renowned artist Tamara de Lempicka’s most famous works. Eschewing traditional theatrical front-of-house advertising, the Longacre’s façade now boasts prints, creating a museum-quality exhibition right in the heart of Times Square. The musical opens on Broadway on April 14, 2024 at the same venue.
The Longacre’s outdoor exhibition includes works of Self Portrait (Tamara in a Green Bugatti) (1929), Young Girl in Green (1927), Nu Adossé I (1925), The Red Tunic (1927), The Blue Scarf (1930), The Green Turban (1930), Portrait of Marjorie Ferry (1932), Portrait of Ira P. (1930), Portrait of Romana de la Salle (1928), and Adam and Eve (1932).
Starring Eden Espinosa and directed by Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin, Lempicka features book, lyrics, and original concept by Carson Kreitzer, book and music by Matt Gould, and choreography by Raja Feather Kelly.
Spanning decades of political and personal turmoil and told through a thrilling, pop-infused score, Lempicka boldly explores the contradictions of a world in crisis, a woman ahead of her era, and an artist whose time has finally come.