Connect with us

Book Reviews

The Glorious Corner

Published

on

G.H. HARDING

LIDDY PASSES — (Via Deadline) G. Gordon Liddy, a central Watergate figure who spent more than four years in prison but went on to appear in a number of TV series, a few films and hosted a radio talk show for two decades, died Tuesday in Virginia, his son Thomas told media outlets. He was 90.

Unrepentant till the end, the imposing, mustachioed Liddy led the “Plumbers,” President Nixon’s secret White House group, but was not among those caught burglarizing the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in June 1972. Still, he was tried on conspiracy and burglary charges as the mastermind of the scheme. Also convicted of refusing to testify at the Watergate hearings, he served more than 51 months in federal prison.

He famously did not implicate Nixon, but the 37th president of the United States was forced to resign in August 1974 amid the growing scandal.

Liddy is referenced — but his character did not appear — in the 1976 Watergate film All the President’s Men, when Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) tells his source Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), “We’re beginning to hear a lot about a lawyer, crazy, Gordon Liddy. Gordon Liddy was fired by [John Mitchell] because he wouldn’t talk to the FBI.” After a few beats, Deep Throat replies: “I was at a party once and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, ‘What’s the trick?’ and Liddy said, ‘The trick is not minding.’”

When Woodward complains that the reporters only have pieces but can’t figure out how to tie them together, Deep Throat famously tells him to forget the myths the media has created and “follow the money. Always follow the money.”

Born on November 30, 1930, in Brooklyn, Liddy by the mid-1980’s became something of a media darling. He appeared on Tom Snyder and David Letterman’s respective late-night talk shows early in the decade and earned his first acting credit in for playing crooked CIA agent William Maynard, aka “Captain Real Estate,” in a 1985 episode of Miami Vice directed by star Don Johnson. He reprised the role for a Season 3 episode the following year.

In the next few years, Liddy would guest on such series CBS’ helicopter drama Airwolf, ABC’s original MacGyver, NBC’s big-truck actioner The Highwayman and others. He also appeared in some episodic TV in the early 90’s and recurred on Al Franken’s late-90’s NBC comedy LateLine and the syndicated action series Super Force.

He also appear on game shows and reality competitions, including a two-week run on Super Password and competing in the celebrity version of Fear Factor that served as the series finale of NBC’s original run in 2006.

Liddy got his first starring TV role, playing a crime boss in the TNN crime drama 18 Wheels of Justice opposite Lucky Vanous, who was a fed posing as a truck driver. Billy Dee Williams co-starred on the series, which aired 44 episodes over two seasons from 2000-01. The show hailed from King World Productions

In 1992, Liddy began hosting a syndicated talk show for Radio America — a gig he would hold until his retirement in 2012. He also was the voice of a talk show host in Rules of Engagement, William Friedkin’s 2000 thriller starring Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Kingsley.

Liddy’s other film credits include co-starring in the 1990 feature Street Asylum — about a city that is terrorized by a rogue police force — Adventures in Spying (1992) and Underdogs (2006).

I wonder if Anthony Pellicano (aka the Pelican) had Liddy as a role model. The notorious Hollywood fixer never divulged what must have been a wealth of information about his star-studded clients. He too was convicted and spent 16 years in prison. But, when he got out, there was bank account in his name with a ton of money there. 

Liddy, who most likely has been forgotten over the years (as has Oliver North), was an unforgettable character. Certainly more brawn than smarts … but, he never gave up the goods as it were. When he appeared on two Miami Vice-episodes in the 80’s, he was unsurprisingly good. His character’s nickname, Captain Real Estate was spot-on.

He also correct in an interview that the story from All The President’s Men was never a candle, but a cigarette-lighter. Touche!

I remember which I was in High School literally addicted to the daily Watergate hearings, led by the indefatigable Senator Sam (I’m just a country lawyer) Ervin.

Maybe the one hero of the whole Watergate-imbroglio is the Watergate Hotel. I never even knew there was a Watergate Hotel … but, it’s been used in numerous movies and TV-shows since as a prominent Washington locale. As a good PR-pal said, “You can’t buy press like that!”

KNIVES BACK — (Via SHOWBIZ 411) The first film was a crazy hit from LionsGate, getting Oscar nominations and lots of kudos. Everyone loved that murder mystery. Ana de Armas became such a star she moved in with Ben Affleck for a while. Chris Evans made cable knit sweaters sell out. Don Johnson had his best role since “Miami Vice.”

Daniel Craig

Now  Deadline.com is confirming our scoop. The sequels will come from the bottomless money pit of Netflix, not Lions Gate. Rian Johnson has written them or is finishing them. Daniel Craig, who may wind up his James Bond run if “No Time to Die” is ever released, headlines another franchise. He’s terrific as Benoit Blanc.

The next installment films this summer in Greece. Johnson will have actors clamoring for roles, but he’s smart not to have superstars. just eclectic casts like chapter 1. Will any of the original cast return? Something tells me Ana de Armas, now free of Ben Affleck, will turn up to help Benoit solve the crime. Maybe the victim will be killed wearing a cable knit sweater!

That first movie was curious for sure. Great cast, Craig was awesome, but was it a great story?

If memory serves, it came out when there just wasn’t much else around … and, yes, Craig was the calling card.

Sort of like Agatha Christie-on acid if you ask me. Jamie Lee Curtis was superb, as was Don Johnson.

Director Johnson, if he’s smart, will definitely grab Ana de Armas – as she was terrific. But, a better, more ingenious story might be called for. What do you think?

And, btw: Is that James Bond movie ever coming out? 

SHORT TAKES — Decades-old East Village institution the Pyramid Club — known at its heights for its drag performances and punk rock scene — will not be reopening after the coronavirus pandemic. Managers Maria Narciso and Quirino Perez confirm that the venue’s owners have decided to permanently close after 41 years, citing the economic downturn from the pandemic and a lack of guidance around nightclubs being able to reopen. Like countless restaurants and bars across the city, the Pyramid Club temporarily closed its doors in early March ahead of the indoor dining shutdown but never reopened them. “No one expected this pause to last more than a year,” Narciso tells EV Grieve. “While many businesses were allowed to open with heavy restrictions, nightclubs and performance venues/theaters have suffered the most.” Narciso, along with fiancé Perez, reportedly had plans in place to reopen the bar with a food menu and socially distant dance floor, but they were never able to present them to the venue’s owners. “For decades, managers have run The Pyramid Club with unfortunately very little communication from the owners,” adds Narciso. “We don’t know what their plans are, as they are very private people and rarely, if ever, talk about their business plans with us” …

Micky Dolenz will appear at Steel City Con in Pittsburgh June 11-13 and the first single from his eagerly awaited album Dolenz Sings Nesmith(7a Records) will be “Different Drum.” That single will be available April 23. “Different Drum” (written by Nesmith) as I understand it, was first brought to The Monkees’ Don Kirschner, but was rejected and Linda Ronstadt had a major hit with it. It was always a favorite and can’t wait to hear Dolenz perform it …

Richard Thompson, from Fairport Convention, has a memoir coming out entitled BEESWING: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice (1967-1975 (Algonquin Books) on 4/6. Fairport Convention was an era-defining group. This one should be excellent. More to come on this one … Ivan Taub’s (from The Oxfords) new play Mercy Street debuts online this Sunday … And, HAPPY BDAY Peter Abraham and (former Anna Nicole Smith mouthpiece) David Granoff.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Ivey Passion; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Shendell; Randy Alexander; Lee Jeske; Tony King; David Beckham; Amanda Dissinger; Ken Dashow; Jeff Smityh; Steve Walter; Ricki Lee Jones; Tom Waits; Nick Ware; Thomas Silverman; and, ZIGGY!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Merrily, Gatsby, Mary Jane, and More Win Applause at 2024 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards

Published

on

By

Merrily We Roll Along has continued its award-winning roll, topping the list of winners for the 2024 Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, chosen by Broadway.com readers.

The hit revival won in a total of five categories, including Favorite Musical Revival. They honored all three of its stars: Jonathan Groff was named Favorite Performance of the Year (Musical), while Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez won in featured categories. Groff and Radcliffe also won a second award for the category of Favorite Onstage Pair.

The Great Gatsby won the award for Favorite New Musical, while the musical’s stars Jeremy Jordan and Eva Noblezada won in the leading musical acting categories. Other musical performers who won awards included Spamalot’s Leslie RodriguezKritzer for Favorite Diva Performance, Gutenberg! The Musical! star Josh Gad for Favorite Funny Performance, and Grant Gustin, the lead of Water for Elephants, won for Favorite Breakthrough Performance.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer (center) and the cast of Spamalot. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman, 2023.

On the play front, David Adjmi’s Stereophonic was named Favorite New Play, and An Enemy of the People won for Favorite Play Revival. Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch star Leslie Odom, Jr. and Mary Jane star Rachel McAdams won in the leading acting categories, with Appropriate‘s Elle Fanning and Alex Brightman from The Shark is Broken named featured acting favorites.

The Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards contains many unique categories. Favorite Replacement awards, honoring actors who stepped into hit shows, were won by Jordan Fisher for Hadestown and Sutton Foster for Sweeney Todd. The composer for The Notebook, Ingrid Michelson won for Favorite New Song for “Carry You Home.

This year’s winners will be honored at a private reception at 48 Lounge on June 6.

A complete list of winners follows.

The cast of Stereophonic on Broadway. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Favorite New Musical
The Great Gatsby (Book by Kait Kerrigan, Music by Jason Howland, Lyrics by Nathan Tysen)

Favorite New Play
Stereophonic (Written by David Adjmi)

Favorite Musical Revival
Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Play Revival
An Enemy of the People

Favorite Long-Running Show
Wicked

Favorite Tour
Beetlejuice

Favorite Performance of the Year (Musical)
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Performance of the Year (Play)
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Leslie Odom, Jr. and Kara Young in Purlie Victorious – Photo by Marc J. Franklin.

Favorite Leading Actor in a Musical
Jeremy Jordan, The Great Gatsby

Favorite Leading Actress in a Musical
Eva Noblezada, The Great Gatsby

Favorite Leading Actor in a Play
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Favorite Leading Actress in a Play
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane

Favorite Featured Actor in a Musical
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Featured Actress in a Musical
Lindsay Mendez, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Featured Actor in a Play
Alex Brightman, The Shark is Broken

Favorite Featured Actress in a Play
Elle Fanning, Appropriate


Sarah Paulson and Elle Fanning in 2ST’s Appropriate. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Favorite Diva Performance
Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer, Spamalot

Favorite Funny Performance
Josh Gad, Gutenberg! The Musical!

Favorite Onstage Pair
Jonathan Groff and Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along

Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Male)
Grant Gustin, Water for Elephants

Favorite Breakthrough Performance (Female)
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane

Favorite Replacement (Male)
Jordan Fisher, Hadestown

Favorite Replacement (Female)
Sutton Foster, Sweeney Todd

Favorite New Song
“Carry You Home,” The Notebook (Music and Lyrics by Ingrid Michelson)

Rachel McAdams in MTC’s Mary Jane. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Shows with Multiple Wins
Merrily We Roll Along – 5
The Great Gatsby – 3
Mary Jane – 2
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – 2

Performers with Multiple Wins
Jonathan Groff, Merrily We Roll Along – 2
Rachel McAdams, Mary Jane – 2
Leslie Odom, Jr., Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch – 2
Daniel Radcliffe, Merrily We Roll Along – 2

Jeremy Jordan, Eva Noblezada, and the cast of The Great Gatsby. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

 

 

Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Mark Bego: The Prince Of Pop Biographies Gets Political With Yorkshire Publishing’s Campaigning For President

Published

on

What is the best-selling rock & roll biographer in the show business realm doing, writing a book on politics with “Campaigning For President?” asks author Mark Bego, “One of the reasons why this is a viable transition into another literary genre for me, is that political campaigns are 90% show business, and the act of finding an audience and playing to it—just like the music business.”

Mark Bego

Bego, whose last two books— “Band of Gold” with Freda Payne, and “Joe Cocker:  With A LOT of Help from His Friends”—both from Yorkshire Publishing—electrified the charts and further solidified his position as “the Prince of Pop Biographies” (a title given to him by Publisher’s Weekly).  On the heels of the Cocker biography, Bego was approached about reviving and updating the popular 2008 book: “Campaigning For President.”  According to him, “I am always up for a new literary adventure—and this seemed like a fun and historically relevant one to be involved with!”

Jordan M. Wright was the owner of the world’s most extensive collection of U.S. Presidential campaign memorabilia when he published the original 2008 book, “Campaigning For President.”  Only months later Wright tragically died, and his collection eventually found a permanent home at Long Island University. Since that time there have been five new presidential campaigns to write about, including the current 2024 Trump vs. Biden battle.  Bego was approached by Wright’s widow, Pamala Wright, about writing five new chapters, a new beginning, and re-imagining the original coffee table book.  “It intrigued me, and I was up for the challenge,” proclaims Bego.

According to Mark, “The five political campaigns that I have written about for this book have undoubtedly been the most dramatic ones ever mounted. And, the best part of this assignment is the fact that the book does not take political sides.  It is all about the memorabilia that is created for a presidential campaign, not the politics of it.  You can be a Republican, an Independent, or a Democrat, and still find everything in this book to be fascinating and of historical significance.”

“In my mind, a political rally can unfold the same way as a rock concert,” says Bego. “People can walk away from such an event with a Donald Trump ‘MAGA’ hat, or an ‘I’m With Hillary’ bumper sticker, or any number of catchy marketing items.  While I have spent my time collecting PEZ dispensers, and memorabilia on The Supremes and The Beatles, the original author of this book—Jordan M. Wright—was busy collecting political campaign items from George Washington in the 1780’s, up to George W. Bush in the 2000’s.  It is basically the same act, just a different arena.”

This new and fully updated version of the lavishly illustrated book “Campaigning For President,” with all new Bego material, is due to be released on June 4 from Yorkshire Publishing.  It represents Mark’s 69th published book.

Bego explains, “There is flattering memorabilia in this book about every candidate, and there are also some unflattering memorabilia about many of them too.  My task here is to present both sides of the coins, and to view the items in this book for their cleverness, their bitchiness, their ideals, their humor, and—ultimately—their effectiveness in the political outcome.”

Mark Bego’s next literary effort will undoubtedly return him to his musical wheelhouse. “I have several titles in my head; and in fact, have already begun writing one of them,” confirms the author.

Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

Published

on

“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is  filmed live every Wednesday from 5 – 6 in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Edison, before a live audience.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Douglas J Cohen, Stephen Cole ,Alison Louise Hubbard and David Spencer, musical theatre writers, who all have books out.

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

I am so grateful to my guests Douglas J Cohen How To Survive A Killer Musical: Agony and Ecstasy on the Road to Broadway, Stephen Cole Mary & Ethel… and Mikey Who?, Alison Louise Hubbard The Kelsey Outrage, The Crime of the Century A historical true crime novel and David Spencer The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, the audience who showed up to support us, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

Spotify:

Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

We hope to see you there on April 24th. We will be announcing our guests tomorrow.

Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books

Published

on

I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:

page2image4238304

David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft

page3image8206560

 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit www.stephencolewriter.org.