Athol Fugard ‘s new play The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek makes little sense and at the performance I saw was unprofessional.
The first act takes place in 1981 on a Sunday morning, as 11-year-old Bokkie (Caleb McLaughlin) and Nukain (Leon Addison Brown), an old farmworker, create and paint the rocks on the land where they work in South Africa. The two talk about how Nukain has painted flowers, yet there is not one rock painted as a flower. In tribal array yes, but not one flower. The last rock has been left as the monument to Nukain’s demise. He knows once it is painted that his life will expire. He has been reticent to paint it. Finally he paints his story and explains to his young charge, “They got eyes but they do not see us.” When the owner of the farm Elmarie (Bianca Amato) sees what he has painted, she becomes fearful and insists that Nukain wash it away and paint a flower. Bookie, insists that this is his story and it stays. He is told he has lied and should be punished. Bookie furious throws the gift of food in the dirt.
In act two, it is 2003. Time and weather have worn away much of Nukain’s work. Bookie returns now named Jonathan (Yagel T. Welch) to restore the garden. Here is where the show for me became unprofessional. Mr. Welch was put into the show on Friday due to an illness. Here it was Tuesday and he had book in hand. Had I not started off as an actress, I would have thought ok, however I was put into three shows with a less than 4 days to learn lines and they were learned as well as dance routines and musical numbers. The actor literally had script in hand. Another problem here is I know very little about apartheid, so black people brutally massacring white people to me is inhuman. For that matter anyone massacring anyone is unforgivable. It is hard to have sympathy for that. Violence of any kind is inexcusable. Elmarie, not knowing who Jonathan is points a gun at him. Farmers are being brutally attacked and killed. Apartheid has ended, but widespread anger remains over redistribution of the land. Elmarie and Jonathan come to see each other with new eyes.
Mr. Brown and Mr. McLaughlin bring an energy and warmth, but it is hard to understand their words under the heavy South African accents. The night I attended a large portion of the audience left after the first act due to this problem. Ms. Amato goes through the most amount of changes as she is forced to deal with a world that has left her nothing. It is hard to judge Mr. Welch with a book in his hand. Fugard or set designer Christopher H. Barrerca need to come to an understanding. The set had NO flowers, however if this is based on the rock gardens by Nukain Mabusa the set designer has the right look and Fugard needs to explain how these are flowers. It was stated that this was not based on Mabusa’s life, however his life is far more interesting than this play.
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek: Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd St. until May 31st.
My View: Clint Holmes Is In Town!
In the golden age of Manhattan night life top vocalists of the day would begin their engagements in venues like The Copa, Latin Quarter, Oak Room, Living Room, and similar glamorous nightspots. In the same month you might have Jack Jones at the Plaza’s Persian Room, Buddy Greco swinging in the Americana’s Royal Box and Vic Damone headlining the Rainbow Room. It all created a special kind of entertainment euphoria and excitement in New York City.
When the 54 Below advertisements came out heralding Clint Holmes’ engagement it rekindled that feeling for me. Clint’s talent and fame have been well established over decades and he’s just the type of performer who makes a town more exciting when he’s appearing in it. Seeing Clint’s extraordinary performance last night at 54 Below in his show celebrating Peter Allen, (back to back after being thrilled by Tom Jones at The Beacon and Barry Manilow at Radio City) brought me back to that era of New York’s glittering night life. What a joy to be in the audience and get that adrenaline rush from legendary performers whose artistry and charisma have not diminished, and are now communicating an even deeper expressiveness and musical eloquence than in their earlier years.
Here are photos from the closing night of Clint Holmes sensational run at 54 Below and an after party hosted by Producer Sunny Sessa saluting Director Will Nunziata, Music Director Michael Orland, guest artists Nikki Renee Daniels and Kelly Clinton- Holmes.
Theatre News: Doubt: A Parable, Here Lies Love, Prayer for the French Republic, Eisenhower and Hell’s Kitchen
Tyne Daly and Liev Schreiber will star in a revival of Doubt: A Parable on Broadway. The production is to begin performances next February at the American Airlines Theater.
The new production is produced by the Roundabout Theater Company, and will be directed by Scott Ellis, who has been serving as the nonprofit’s interim artistic director since the death of artistic director Todd Haimes in April.
The play, by John Patrick Shanley, is about a nun who suspects a priest has sexually abused a student at a Catholic school. In 2005, the year it first opened on Broadway, it won both the Pulitzer Prize for drama and the Tony Award for best play; it was later adapted into a film and an opera.
Daly, who will play the nun who serves as the school principal, and Schreiber, who will play the parish priest, are both Tony winners. Daly, is known for her role in “Cagney & Lacey”. She won the 1990 Tony Award for her portrayal as Mama Rose in the revival of Gypsy. Schreiber, is the star of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” He won a Tony Award in 2005 for a revival of Glengarry Glen Ross.
Doubt is one of three plays to be staged by Roundabout this coming season. The others are I Need That, a new play by Theresa Rebek starring Danny DeVito alongside his daughter, Lucy, and Home, a 1979 revival, directed by Kenny Leon, by Samm-Art Williams.
David Byrne, Fatboy Slim and Here Lies Love are causing controversy with their July Broadway debut. The show’s extensive use of prerecorded music has the American Federation of Musicians’ Local 802, up in arms. The Local’s Broadway musical contract stipulate that productions employ 19 live musicians.
In response to the union’s concerns, Byrne and the show’s PR team released a statement on Instagram to lay out the production’s revolutionary format and genre-bending originality. Here Lies Love is not a traditional Broadway musical. The music is drawn outside of the traditional music genre. The performance of the live vocals to pre-recorded, artificial tracks is paramount to its artistic concept. Production has ripped out the seats in the theater and built a dance floor. There is no longer a proscenium stage. The Broadway Theater has been transformed into a nightclub, with every theatergoer immersed in the experience.
Here Lies Love is on Broadway because Broadway must support boundary-pushing creative work. Broadway is also the venue for a well conceived, high-quality show that highlights the valued traditions of specific cultures whose stories have never been on its stages. Here Lies Love does not believe in artistic gatekeepers. Here Lies Love believes in a Broadway for everyone, where new creative forms push the medium and create new traditions and audiences.
I saw Here Lies Love at The Public and not sure what kind of fast talking this is, but this statement rings false and full of how can we cut the costs while sticking it to the audience.
Prayer for the French Republic, by Joshua Harmon is coming to Broadway this season.This award-winning Off Broadway production played to rave reviews at The Manhattan Theatre Club. The production was the winner of the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play. Broadway performances will begin previews on Tuesday, December 19, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, with an official opening night on Tuesday, January 9, 2024. David Cromer directs.
Off Broadway: Tony winner John Rubinstein starts previews June 13 at St. Clement’s in one-man show Eisenhower.
Alicia Keys’ musical Hell’s Kitchen will run at The Public Theater from October 24 – December 10, starring Shoshana Bean. Inspired by Keys’ own life, the new musical features an original score by the 15-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, with a book by Kristoffer Diaz. Hell’s Kitchen will be directed by Michael Greif and choreographed by Camille A. Brown.
Leading the cast will be Maleah Joi Moon as Ali, opposite Bean as Ali’s mother Jersey, with Brandon Victor Dixon as Ali’s father Davis, Chad Carstarphen as Ray, Vanessa Ferguson as Tiny, Crystal Monee Hall as Crystal, Chris Lee as Knuck, Jackie Leon as Jessica, Kecia Lewis as Ali’s piano teacher Miss Liza Jane, Mariand Torres as Maria, and Lamont Walker II as Riq.
Completing the cast are Reid Clarke, Chloe Davis, Nico DeJesus, Timothy L. Edwards, Raechelle Manalo, Sarah Parker, and Niki Saludez, with understudies Badia Farha, Gianna Harris, Onyxx Noel, William Roberson, and Donna Vivino.
The musical is described as a coming-of-age story set in a cramped apartment in the neighborhood of the title near Times Square, where 17-year-old Ali is desperate to get her piece of the New York dream. Ali’s mother is just as determined to protect her daughter from the same mistakes she made. When Ali falls for a talented young drummer, both mother and daughter must face hard truths about race, defiance, and growing up.
The production has set design by Robert Brill, costumes by Dede Ayite, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Gareth Owens, and projection design by Peter Nigrini.
Countdown to The Tony Awards: Who Will and Who Should Win in Best Performance in a Musical
The countdown is on and the winners of the 2022/2023 season will be announced in a live televised ceremony on Sunday, June 11.
Here is who we think will win and who should.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Annaleigh Ashford, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sara Bareilles, Into the Woods
Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo
Lorna Courtney, & Juliet
Micaela Diamond, Parade
This to us is a no brainer … Victoria Clark performance has stood out since she brought Kimberly Akimbo to life off-Broadway in 2021. Though Annaleigh is a terrific performer this is Victoria’s year.
Will Win: Victoria Clark
Should Win: Victoria Clark
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Some Like It Hot
J. Harrison Ghee, Some Like It Hot
Josh Groban, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Brian d’Arcy James, Into the Woods
Ben Platt, Parade
Colton Ryan, New York, New York
This is another no brainer J. Harrison Ghee gives a textured layered performance. Ben Platt and Josh Groban cancel each other out, though both are riveting performances.
Will win: J. Harrison Ghee
Should win: J. Harrison Ghee
Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Julia Lester, Into the Woods
Ruthie Ann Miles, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Bonnie Milligan, Kimberly Akimbo
NaTasha Yvette Williams, Some Like It Hot
Betsy Wolfe, & Juliet
Bonnie Milligan took the theatre community by storm in Head Over Heels, but it was not her time. This year Milligan commands the stage and you definitely remember her performance.
Will win: Bonnie Milligan
Should win: Bonnie Milligan
Alex Newell photo by Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kevin Cahoon, Shucked
Justin Cooley, Kimberly Akimbo
Kevin Del Aguila, Some Like It Hot
Jordan Donica, Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot
Alex Newell, Shucked
Many think Alex Newell was snubbed in 2018 for his performance in Once on This Island. Newell gets standing ovations over at Shucked for “Independently Owned” and they are well deserved. Kevin Del Aguila to me was a breath of fresh air and made me love his performance not once, but twice.
Will win: Alex Newell
Should win:Kevin Del Aguila
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée With Barry Manilow, Julie Benko, Adam B. Shapiro, Michael Zegen and More
On June 19 the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene Summer Soirée at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers is set to impress. Adam B. Shapiro (from the cast of the award winning Fiddler on The Roof in Yiddish), will be the Master of Ceremonies The celebrity address will be by Michael Zegen, co-star of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” with a special performance by Julie Benko, the sensational breakout star of Broadway’s Funny Girl. Benko has joined the cast of Harmony coming to Broadway this fall.
Musical Moments from NYTF’s Upcoming Season including a performance by Danny Kornfeld from Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman’s Broadway Bound New Musical ‘Harmony’
The evening will also feature performances from artists who have been part of NYTF’s stellar productions, including a special appearance by The Mameles, whose singing trio – Maya Jacobson, Raquel Nobile and Jodi Snyder – met while starring in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish.
Throughout the night, attendees also will be treated to performances by: Dani Apple, Joanne H. Borts, Aaron Diskin, Brian Glassman, Sophie Knapp, Annette Ezekiel Kogan, Yosef Kogan, Frank London, Avram Mlotek, Jenny Romaine, Rachel Yucht, Avi Fox-Rosen, Ilya Shneyveys, Dmitri Zisl Slepovitch, and Matt Temkin and the Schechter Bergen Children’s Chorus
Indulge in a delightful cocktail reception followed by an exquisite dinner as you prepare to be dazzled with exclusive previews of musical moments from NYTF’s upcoming 2023-2024 Season.
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