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The Glorious Corner



G.H. Harding

THE COX SOCIETY — I’ve been a fan of Brian Cox for years. His role as Logan Roy on HBO’s Succession has been like a master class with each installment. It’s actually given me tremendous pleasure to see the show embraced as it has.

Its second-season finale two weeks back still has people talking. My colleague Roger Freidman wrote a fantastic review of Cox’s playThe Great Society at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and we caught it Saturday night.

Cox is simply brilliant and yes, at times, channels his Logan Roy character on Succession. It’s written by Robert Shenkkan, who last year did the brilliant LBJ-play All The Way with Bryan Cranston. Cox plays LBJ on this as well, but with a startling cast: from Richard Thomas to Marc Kudish and the awesome David Garrison.

Largely at issue in Great Society is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, initiated by Kennedy just before he was assassinated, and the hell that Johnson put himself through to get it sanctioned in both substance and spirit by African-American leaders and then passed through a fractious Congress.

With a litany of characters: J Edgar Hoover to Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, and General William Westmoreland, the dialogue is at times a bit much to consume, but the finesse that Johnson graces each character with is tremendously relayed. Be it Kennedy or King, Hoover or Governor George Wallace (again, brilliant played by David Garrison) Cox’s reading of the lines is brilliant. At times, the play reminded me of an Aaron Sorkin-epic.

His performance hits its peak in the second act; viewing the damage done. From the riots in Chicago and in Watts … he angrily addresses everyone when he says … why do they hate me so much.

Suffice to say, this is not a play for the meek. I loved it!

Wendy Stuart Kaplan & Alan Kaplan  

KAPLAN’S RAINBOW — Last Friday, before heading downtown we attended the 7th edition of the Chelsea Film Festival and watched Rainbow Ending/Director’s Cut, from filmmaker Alan Kaplan.

Kaplan’s film, about a community that fully welcomes members of the LGBTQ community was terrifically heartfelt. Kaplan, also a photographer of major note, wove his tale seamlessly with a terrific nuanced portrayal of the many personalities there. I particularly loved the interview with The Mayor of the town, whose message was truly from the heart. I wish more political-figures shared his pride and joy in what his community has accomplished.

Alan is married to social-influencer Wendy Stuart Kaplan, who also participated in the production of the film. Rainbow Ending: a gem of a film.

Robert Miller & Project Grand Slam

MILLER’S GROOVE — Robert Miller and his Project Grand Slam, through the course of seven albums, have made some outstanding music; including their #1 album last year, Trippin’. We caught them Friday night, after a particularly crazy day, and just loved the show; relaxing and terrifically enjoyable. Miller had told his PR-man David Salidor, that they’d be playing some new music for a forthcoming album for 2020, so I was ready for the new material.

After a rousing beginning with the track “Redemption Road” (off their current PGS 7 album), they debuted their new material, “It Is A Miracle To Me,” and “Constable on Patrol.” The packed Groove-nightspot loved it. I found myself sitting next to a couple who had never heard them before and by-mid set they were fans for life.

I’ve been fortunate to have seen them numerous times, at The Groove and Rockwood, and this was their best performance by far. The interplay between the musicians has never been better and for me, the jazz-rock-fusion aspect is intoxicating. Marilyn Castillo, their vocalist, was just on fire.

The last portion of their set rocked with PGS-signatures: “No No No,” “The Queen’s Carnival” and they closed the set with their revamp of Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.”

I also want to note the terrific sound this night. Previous performances have not benefited from such great sound.

I want to see Miller and his PGS-outfit at bigger venues; they’re right on the cutting edge of the new burgeoning jazz-fusion genre. They deserve to be seen.

Micky Dolenz and Broadway Records’ Van Dean

SHORT TAKES — Tom Cuddy, at WOR in NYC, told me he just received the new Stephan Bishop album, We’ll Talk About It Later In The Car. We’ve been waiting for it from Bish’s PR-man Michael Jensen for what seems like ages … but, it hasn’t showed up yet. I’m sure it’s sensational, but would love to give it a whirl and give it a proper review. Bish is the best! … The photos last time from the Fifty Years Ago-tour were shot by Gary Hahn. Also, this one of Micky Dolenz and Broadway Records’ Van Dean. Just terrific and thank you Sir. Speaking of that tour, the first-leg ended last night at The Warner Theatre in Washington. After a break in November, it resumes in December. Again, for my money, the tour of the year. Just a wonderful show from start to finish …

Kjersti Long

12-year Kjersti Long’s podcast with Zach Martin (talking about her debut album Stronger Thank You Think I Am on Broadway Records – was a hit. Giver it a listen here:

Mary Wilson and Mark Bego … Look for another event for Supreme Glamour, from authors Mary Wilson and Mark Bego at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room in November, They’re both in New York for a series of in-stores at Barnes & Noble: in Paramus, New Jersey on Saturday, November 16 and Clifton, New Jersey on Sunday November 17… RIP Nick Tosches … terrific and fitting obituary in yesterday’s New York Times 

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Katrina Moran; Van Dean; Jeremy Long; Dan Zelinski; Roger Chasteen; Yorkshire Publishing; Chris Gilman; Dave Mason; Jason Cooper; Eppy; Jane Blunkell; Dennis Scott; Tony Seidel; Harrison Jordan; Joe Lynch; Elinor R. Tatum; 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.


Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain



I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.

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T2C Sends Our Prayers to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lea Michele



Saturday, March 25, 2023

 A Statement From Andrew Lloyd Webber

 I am shattered to have to announce that my beloved elder son Nick died a few hours ago in Basingstoke Hospital. His whole family is gathered together and we are all totally bereft. 

 Thank you for all your thoughts during this difficult time.

The 75-year-old Oscar-winning composer son Nicholas followed in his father’s footsteps and was a successful composer in his own right, having written Fat Friends The Musical. He was married to musician Polly Wiltshire, who appeared on the soundtrack of his father’s 2019 movie Cats.

During his career, Nicholas also scored music for an adaption of The Little Prince as well as composing numerous TV and film scores, including for the BBC1 drama Loves, Lies, and Records.

Nicholas previously spoke about making his own way in the theatre world away from his famous family name in a 2011 unearthed interview.

He said he wanted to be ‘judged on his own merits’ so dropped his surname when working to see what the reaction would be.

Our hearts and prayers go out to his family.

Also on Saturday Lea Michele updated her fans on the status of her two-year-old’s health via her Instagram  after he was hospitalized earlier this week.  Her son Ever was in the hospital, but is now out due to a ‘scary health issue. She posted a picture backstage in her dressing room ahead of her Broadway performance in Funny Girl. Lea had been out to focus on her family.

“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for just so much love and support this week. I really really appreciated it”.

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Parade: A Musical That Asks Us Do We Have The Eyes And Ears To See.



Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus

I have always loved Jason Robert Brown’s score for Parade. “You Don’t Know This Man,” “This Is Not Over Yet” and the wonderfully romantic “All the Wasted Time” are just the tip of the iceberg for music that stirs your soul and tells a tale of heartbreak. There is a reason this score won the Tony Award in 1999.

Ben Platt Photo By Joan Marcus

The musical now playing on Broadway dramatizes the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank (Ben Platt), who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle). The trial was sensationalized by the media, newspaper reporter Britt Craig (Jay Armstrong Johnson) and Tom Watson (Manoel Feliciano), an extremist right-wing newspaper aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the U.S. state of Georgia. When Frank’s death sentence is commuted to life in prison thanks to his wife Lucille (Micaela Diamond), Leo was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where a lynching party seized and kidnapped him. Frank was taken to Phagan’s hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree. 

Erin Rose Doyle, Photo by Joan Marcus

The telling of this horrid true tale begins with the lush ode to the South in “The Old Red Hills of Home.” Leo has just moved from Brooklyn to in Marietta, where his wife is from and he has been given the job as as a manager at the National Pencil Co. He feels out of place as he sings “I thought that Jews were Jews, but I was wrong!” On Confederate Memorial Day as Lucille plans a picnic, Leo goes to work. In the meantime Mary goes to collect her pay from the pencil factory. The next day Leo is arrested on suspicion of killing Mary, whose body is found in the building. The police also suspect Newt Lee (Eddie Cooper), the African-American night watchman who discovered the body, but he inadvertently directs Starnes’ suspicion to Leo.

Across town, reporter Britt Craig see this story as (“Big News”). Mary’s suitor Frankie Epps (Jake Pederson), swears revenge on Mary’s killer, as does the reporter Watson. Governor John Slaton (Sean Allan Krill) pressures the local prosecutor Hugh Dorsey (the terrific smarmy Paul Alexander Nolan) to get to the bottom of the whole affair. Dorsey, an ambitious politician sees Leo as he ticket to being the Governor and though there are other suspects, he willfully ignores them and goes after Leo.

Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox Photo By Joan Marcus

The trial of Leo Frank is presided over by Judge Roan (Howard McMillan). A series of witnesses, give trumped up evidence which was clearly is fed to them by Dorsey. Frankie testifies, falsely, that Mary said Leo “looks at her funny.” Her three teenage co-workers, Lola, Essie and Monteen (Sophia Manicone, Emily Rose DeMartino, Ashlyn Maddox), collaborate hauntingly as they harmonize their testimony  (“The Factory Girls”). In a fantasy sequence, Leo becomes the lecherous seducer (“Come Up to My Office”). Testimony is heard from Mary’s mother (Kelli Barrett ) (“My Child Will Forgive Me”) and Minnie McKnight (Danielle Lee Greaves)before the prosecution’s star witness, Jim Conley (Alex Joseph Grayson ), takes the stand. He claims that he witnessed the murder and helped Leo conceal the crime (“That’s What He Said”). Leo is given the opportunity to deliver a statement (“It’s Hard to Speak My Heart”), but it is not enough. He is found guilty and sentenced to hang. The crowd breaks out into a jubilant circus.

Alex Joseph Grayson Photo by Joan Marcus

Act 1, is not as strong as it should have been. I have attended three different incarnations, the last being with Jeremy Jordan as Leo and Joshua Henry as Jim in 2015. Part of the problem is Michael Arden’s direction. Instead of allowing his performers to act, he has them pantomime, as the solo goes forth. “Come Up to My Office” was not as haunting as in past productions. The same can be said of “That’s What He Said”. Who’s stands out in the first act is Jake Pederson as Frankie and Charlie Webb as the Young Soldier who sings “The Old Red Hills of Home.”

Micaela Diamond and Ben Platt Photo by Joan Marcus

In Act 2, Lucille finds Governor Slaton at a party (the hypnotic “Pretty Music” sung wonderfully by Krill) and advocates for Leo. Watson approaches Dorsey and tells him he will support his bid for governor, as Judge Roan also offers his support. The governor agrees to re-open the case, as Leo and Lucille find hope. Slaton realizes what we all knew that the witnesses were coerced and lied and that Dorsey is at the helm. He agrees to commute Leo’s sentence to life in prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, which ends his political career. The citizens of Marietta, led by Dorsey and Watson, are enraged and riot. Leo is transferred to a prison work-farm. Lucille visits, and he realizes his deep love for his wife and how much he has underestimated her (“All the Wasted Time”). With hope in full blaze Lucille leaves as a party masked men kidnap Leo and take him to Marietta. They demand he confess and hang him from an oak tree.

Paul Alexander Nolan, Howard McMillan Photo By Joan Marcus

In Act Two Parade comes together with heart and soul. Diamond, who shines brightly through out the piece is radiant, and her duets with Platt are romantic and devastating. Platt comes into his own and his huge following is thrilled to be seeing him live. Alex Joseph Grayson’s also nails his Second Act songs.

Dane Laffrey’s set works well with the lighting by Heather Gilbert.

Frank’s case was reopened in 2019 and is still ongoing.

Parade has multiple messages and the question is will audiences absorb it. I am so glad this show is on Broadway, making us think and see. This is a must see.

Parade: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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