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The Streamed Love Never Dies Tries Desperately to Rise Up to Paris, But Lands in Coney Island

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Now I can’t say with all honesty that I was super excited for this streaming adventure this weekend. As I wrote in my posting last weekend, I did have some connecting history with The Phantom of the Opera, now including the streaming experience from last weekend which restored a lot of my love for the piece.  It’s melodrama in the highest order, but that sumptuous production, the 25th Anniversary Celebration at the Royal Albert Hall was most impressive in its staging and performances. It still isn’t my favorite piece of musical art, I’m sorry to say, but I now don’t think of it as ‘dusty’ as I had in the past. It actually was impressive and illuminating. So when it was announced early last week that the next Andrew Lloyd Webber streaming event on his #ShowsMustGoOn YouTube channel was going to be Love Never Dies, the sequel to his mega-smash Phantom, I was more curious than excited. The West End debut got a lukewarm reception, but this presentation was filmed later in Melbourne at the Regent Theatre after its West End debut and after some significant retooling. I will add, that walking into this show (or sitting down in my living room, to be honest), I expected to have a similar reaction within. Turns out, a lowering of one’s expectations does this production a whole lot of favors. I was, surprisingly, generally pleased, well entertained, but not blown away by any means.

The lush, gorgeous strings played strong, delivering what was expected, right from the beginning. It was clearly its own thing, but it did give us a connection to the iconic original music. He’s there, from the get-go, standing proud, silhouetted against a misty gothic world. Masked and singing full throttle as if he just stepped out of the 1980s, he shares his heartbroken soul with us, tortured by the absence of his true love and former student, Christine Daaé. In the achingly dramatic “Til I Hear You Sing“, his voice carries the desperate longing to hear her sing again, and we easily feel his pain. Beautifully voiced by the debonaire Ben Lewis (West End’s Company), the sound is exquisite and rich, bursting forth with just enough tinting from the Phantom to make us feel well cared for in the sequence. I was about to say, “but then it all shifts“, when in reality what follows is something compellingly different, although this Phantom remains as true to form as one could hope for and imagine, but living in a different time, place, and style.

We find ourselves thrown into an abstractly parallel universe, where opera has been replaced by a sideshow oddity kind of entertainment down in Coney Island.  Someone that resembles a toy soldier beacons us into the carnival wonderment that has been marvelously redesigned and created by director Simon Phillips, choreographer Graeme Murphyam, and designer Gabriela Tylesova. It is called Phantasma, and a trio of freak show performers; Dr. Gangle (Dean Vince), Miss Fleck (Emma J. Hawkins), and Mr. Squelch (Paul Tabone), take us deep inside the magically cavernous space, introducing us all to the wonders of “The Coney Island Waltz“. It doesn’t feel like the same show, but the artifice has something compellingly similar in its core; a dark sinister quality that although isn’t gothic, it’s something quite emotionally close.

Love Never Dies, Regent Theatre, Melbourne

It’s a spectacular alteration of style, and even though the opening cacophony of altered musical sounds and visuals are almost overwhelmingly different and carry on a bit too long without any explanation, the distorted new vision is arresting, albeit over the top. The reason we find ourselves in such a different local is finally unveiled to us by the stern Madame Giry, forcibly portrayed by Maria Mercedes (Regent’s Sunset Boulevard). She explains how she and her daughter, Meg Giry, played by the very game and charming Sharon Millerchip (Sydney Theatre Company’s Into The Woods), Christine’s dancer friend from the Paris Opera, had smuggled the Phantom in from France to New York City ten years ago and assisted him in gaining some stability and success in the very different world of Coney Island.

The Phantom’s vaudeville show, which Madame Giry orchestrates features Meg who dreams of winning over the crowd, and the Phantom with their performance. It’s “Only for You” is what she sings when hearing that her friend and, I guess, her rival, Christine, has been lured to New York City to open Oscar Hammerstein’s new Opera House. In one of the more compelling harmonious moments of multi-layered conflict and intention, Madame Giry angrily expresses concern that Meg will not be able to hold the Phantom’s attention with Christine’s arrival, but Meg ignores the warnings and looks with joy and excitement to her old friend’s arrival after  “Ten Long Years“.

Ben Lewis and Anna O’Byrne in Love Never Dies, Regent Theatre, Melbourne.

Christine arrives, finally, with Raoul, her husband, and their young son, Gustave at her side on a ship from Europe, and climb in, hesitantly into an awaiting black vehicle that has been sent for them. It’s a visually arresting scene, but way over the top for what it is, and overly filled to the edge with dramatic clashes and conflict. As Christine, Anna O’Byrne (Sydney Opera’s 60th-anniversary production of My Fair Lady) cuts a beautifully and stylishly silhouette, but their marriage is fraught with tension, far from the place we last saw them when they escaped their last run-in with the Phantom. Raoul, portrayed by Simon Gleeson (West End’s Les Mis) is testy and on edge, constantly snapping at Christine and their gentle yet needy son, lovingly portrayed by the gorgeously voiced Jack Lyall. It’s a shame their marriage is not painted in a less obvious stroke, setting up a clash between Raoul and the Phantom that would feel less certain. The battle feels in a way already settled before Christine even comes face to face with her former lover and teacher. It plays down the drama and siphons out any sexual or romantic tension as we have a hard time embracing the bitter and mean-spirited Raoul from the moment he steps off the ship.

Ben Lewis and in Jack Lyall in Love Never Dies, Regent Theatre, Melbourne.

Once the Phantom easily lures Christine away from the overly spoken-about Hammerstein Opera House to sing one song at his carnival ride of a theatre, the other mystery of the show gets tossed out quickly and again, without any tension attached. It revolves around the origin of the musically gifted ten-year-old Gustave, not surprisingly, and with that said, all that lays in between Christine’s arrival and the finale is pretty obvious and easy to guess, or at least understood in a House of Mirrors kind of way. The part you can’t guess is how lovely yet unremarkable the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Glenn Slater truly are, and how most songs don’t advance the plot up and around the story, as much as the actors do on that fantastical multi-layered set creation.

There are few strikingly memorable musical moments, and that’s not to say that the score of Love Never Dies isn’t well crafted or luscious in its melodramatic form, it just doesn’t pull you in with as much force as The Phantom of the Opera. That 1980s musical easily seduced us down into the cavernous waterways, jumping gladly into the dark watery shadows with these two obsessive lovers, but in Love Never Dies, we only sit back and observe, enjoying the wall-to-wall Lloyd Webber sound, but never getting hooked. Even with the two or three songs that are great stand-alone numbers, such as the beautifully sung “Before the Performance”, the overall effect stalls within the framework of mild entertainment, but never swooning nor transformative.

It says quite a lot about this show that it has never made it to Broadway. There is definitely a global Phantom-loving fanbase that would eagerly shell out the cash to reconnect to the emotional lives of the three main characters, but they would be jarred by Christine and her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, so out of love with one another throughout. Instead of working up to a real or melodramatically conflict, Phillips concentrates on conceptually spectacular visuals, while ignoring the emotional dynamics. This is particularly true with the lost opportunity for the lonely young son and his real father to share a more compelling moment or a song together once the truth is revealed. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber started working on Love Never Dies in 1990, but it was not until 2007 that he actually began writing the music. I heard a tale about a cat on a piano erasing the score, but I’m not sure if that is true or a dramatic reading of an artist blocked. Regardless, the show opened at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End in March of 2010 to mostly negative reviews, dashing all hopes of a planned Broadway opening soon after. But the subsequent Australian production, filmed here for our streaming pleasure, features a new director and an entirely new design team, with heavy revisions granting the production more positive reviews. The original Phantom had a number of awkward plot points that never really made a lot of sense if you stopped and thought them through, but the emotional and sensual journey kept us moving briskly through the tunnels of love. Here the exquisite performances hold us, especially O’Bryrne’s thunderously good “Love Never Dies“, but then the show drops us down off the pier (that I didn’t know was a pier). We don’t see or feel the same level of grandeur. Beauty has been chosen over genius, just long or often enough to see the clumsy mechanisms behind Meg’s final ridiculous jealous actions. The Phantastic carnival masks are shed, and the abstract shiny surfaces that are pretending to be far more beautiful, are revealed to be just staging pieces, not as glamourous as we first thought.

love-never-dies-trailer

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

Broadway in Bryant Park And You Are There With Hell’s Kitchen, Water For Elephants, The Wiz and More

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July 11, 106.7 LITE FM’s Broadway in Bryant Park kicked off its 2024 program, bringing the best of Broadway back together for free performances, every Thursday in July.

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker

From AMDA College of the Performing Arts-Kyle Taylor Parker, Charity Arianna , Destiny David, Ailadis Hernandez De Leon, Nyjair Wilkerson and Jackson Bateman

This week’s performances included: a preshow featuring students from AMDA

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte and Ali Louis Bourzgui

Bobby Conte, Ali Louis Bourzgui and Adam Jacobs

Ali Louis Bourzgui, Bobby Conte,

Lily Kren, Alexandra Matteo, Daniel Quadrino, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Nathan Lucrezio, Reagan Pender, Bobby Conte, Tyler James Eisenreich, Mark Mitrano, Haley Gustafson, Afra Hines, Dee Tomasetta, Adam Jacobs, Ali Louis Bourzgui, David Paul Kidder, Jeremiah Alsop, Andrew Tufano and Ronnie Bowman, Jr.

The Who’s Tommy (Ali Louis Bourzgui, Adam Jacobs, Bobby Conte, Haley Gustafson and more)

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Isabelle McCalla and Ken Wulf Clark

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Sara Gettelfinger

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul and Asa Somers

Ken Wulf Clark, Joe De Paul, Asa Somers and Isabella McCalla

Water for Elephants (Isabelle McCalla, Ken Wulf Clark, Asa Somers, Sara Gettelfinger, Joe De Paul)

Avery Wilson

Kyle Ramar Freeman and Nichelle Lewis

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Melody A. Betts

Kyle Ramar Freeman

Nichelle Lewis

Nichelle Lewis, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Avery Wilson and Polanco Jones Jr.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Polanco Jones Jr., Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts and Avery Wilson

The Wiz (Avery Wilson, Kyle Ramar Freeman, Melody A. Betts, Nichelle Lewis, Polanco Jones Jr.)

Jelani Remy

JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Jelani Remy and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, Katie Laduca, JJ Niemann and Aaron Alcaraz

Hannah Kevitt and JJ Niemann

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy and The Cast of Back To The Future that includes Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Evan Alexander Smith, JJ Niemann, Jelani Remy, Hannah Kevitt, Cixtoria Byrd, Kimberly Immanuel, Jessie Peltier, Gregory Carl Banks Jr., Katie Laduca, Joshua Kenneth Allen Johnson and Aaron Alcaraz

Back to the Future (Jelani Remy, JJ Niemann, Evan Alexander Smith)

Gianna Harris and Lamont Walker II

Lamont Walker II

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Jade Milan, Jackie Leon and Gianna Harris

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino

Donna Vivino, Gianna Harris, Lamont Walker II, Jade Milan and Jackie Leon and Jackie Leon

and Hell’s Kitchen (Gianna Harris, Vanessa Ferguson, Jackie Leon, Donna Vivino, Lamont Walker II)

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little

106.7 Lite FM’s Helen Little is joined by Co Host Kyle Ramar Freeman

with host Helen Little and co-host Kyle Ramar Freeman.

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Events

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ARGENT RETIRES — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Rod Argent, a founder and longtime keyboardist for the British Invasion band the Zombies, has announced his retirement from touring following a stroke.

The group’s management announced in a statement that said: “We are saddened to report that Rod Argent, founder, keyboardist and primary songwriter of the Zombies, has suffered a stroke. Rod had recently returned home from a triumphant Zombies tour of the U.K. and spent a weekend in London with his beloved wife, Cathy, celebrating his 79th birthday and their 52nd wedding anniversary, before the stroke occurred.

“He was hospitalized overnight and released the next day. Doctors have advised that Rod will need several months of rest and recuperation. Rod has asked us to convey that he has made the very difficult decision to immediately retire from touring in order to protect his health. He was already preparing to wind down his live performance schedule after health scares on recent tours.”

In January 2022, the Zombies pushed back tour dates to 2023 after an unnamed member required an “urgent but non-life-threatening” medical procedure.

The band has been active in recent years, following their 2019 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They released their seventh album, Different Game, last year.

Argent and the Zombies had their first hit in 1964 with “She’s Not There.” The Hertfordshire, England-formed band, featuring singer Colin Blunstone, scored three Top 10 singles by the end of the decade, including “Time of the Season” from their classic 1968 album Odessey and Oracle, their last before a 1991 reunion LP.

During the break, Argent led the band Argent, which had a Top 5 hit in 1972 with “Hold Your Head Up.”

Argent and Blunstone, along with original bassist Chris White and original drummer Hugh Grundy, got back together for a 50th anniversary tour of Odessey and Oracle in 2017. (Original guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004.) The quartet has since toured with other current members of the band.

The statement concluded, “We don’t know what the future holds. What we have to tell fans today is that all upcoming performances by the Zombies will be canceled.”

SHORT TAKES — Watched the cast of Stereophonic perform two numbers on Thursday’s Today show.

This is the show that openly boasts that the play is a performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and how it was recorded. I was actually surprised by just how closely it sounded like that album. If I was Mick Fleetwood, I’d ask for some of the profits. Amazing! …

Nicky Hopkins

You may not know the name Nicky Hopkins, but in the 60’s and 70’s he played with everyone from Joe Cocker to John Lennon and George Harrison.

He also put out a killer solo album called The Tin Man Was a Dreamer in 1983. He passed away years ago, but there’s a new doc on him (Session Man). He was a great player. Check out the trailer: https://thesessionmanfilm.com

… A Broadway-play on the life of Muhammad Ali is in the works … Saw the first commercial yesterday for back-to-school. does that mean the summer is officially over? …

Kevin Costner’s Horizon is going to MAX shortly. Sadly, it has not been the smash everyone desperately wanted. Check out Deadline’stake on it: https://deadline.com/2024/07/horizon-2-delayed-1236006327/

The Alec Baldwin trial has begun in Santa Fe. Will he testify? Hard call. Again, I think it was just a terrible accident. Should gun-safety be increased on movie sets? Of course …

Jeff Zucker

The Zuck returns? Rumors spread like wildfire Thursday that Jeff Zucker (NBC and CNN) will now run CBS News. He’s a visionary for sure … Happy Bday Shep Pettibone … RIP Shelley Duvall

NAMES IN THE NEWS —– Jackie Stander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Owen Bradley; Jon Bon Jovi; Brad Balfour; Jordan Gray; Steve Immerman; Tony Seidl; Frank’s Steaks; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Freda Payne; Brenda Lee; Mike Campbell; Veruca Salt; Bonnie Culpeppersmith; Roy Trakin; Daryl Hall; Jonathan Wolfson; Carl Perkins; Tommy James; Carol Ross; Marty Ostrow; Jann Wenner; and BELLA!

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

JON BON HISTORY —- (Via Ultimate Classic Rock) Bon Jovi’s new album Forever certainly didn’t live up to its name on the charts. As noted by Forbes, after debuting at No. 5 in its first week of release, the album fell all the way out of the Billboard 200 album sales chart the following week. Unless it returns in the future, Forever will be the first Bon Jovi studio album to only last one week in the Top 200.The band’s previous album, 2020’s pandemic-delayed 2020, only notched two weeks on the chart. It debuted at No. 19, then fell 126 spots the following week before departing for good.

With their touring future in doubt due to singer Jon Bon Jovi’s medical issues, the band promoted Forever with a multi-pronged media campaign that included the release of the documentary series Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story. The series showed Bon Jovi being diagnosed with loose vocal cords after he was unable to perform up to his usual standards on the band’s most recent tour, then undergoing surgery and a rigorous recovery program.

Last month, Bon Jovi confirmed that he was still unable to mount a full-scale tour in support of Forever. “It’s a work in progress,” he told The Guardian. “There’s no miracle. I just wish there was a fucking light switch. I’m more than capable of singing again. The bar is now: can I do two and half hours a night, four nights a week? The answer is no.”

The band did play a surprise five-song set to celebrate the opening of their frontman’s new Nashville bar and restaurant JBJ’s on June 7, performing Forever’s debut single “Legendary” in addition to classics such as “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Born to Be My Baby.”

With all the media on their Hulu-doc series, new album and almost incessant one-on-one interviews, the new album was either going to be a hit … or a miss. Sad for sure … I hope they don’t blame this on Richard Sambora!

Melrose Place

SHORT TAKES — 32 years since Melrose Place? I was never a fan but some of the original cast have reunited for – what else?

Micky Dolenz

A podcast … From Gold Radio in the UK:  https://www.goldradiouk.com/artists/the-monkees/micky-dolenz-age-wife-children-songs/ … Spent a few days in Waterbury, Connecticut and watched a lot of tennis. Beautiful up there. Stunning in fact …

Race

Congrats to radio-personality Race Taylor on inking a new contract-extension with WCBS-FM. Well deserved …

F1

Here’s the trailer for Brad Pitt’s next film F1


Looks good, but didn’t we just see this covered in James Mangold’s terrific Ford vs. Ferrari? It’ll be out in June 2025 …  

Billy Bob Thornton

Boy, I could have predicted this: Via Deadline – Paramount + has announced the premiere date for its latest Taylor Sheridan drama, Landman, starring Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, will premiere Sunday, November 17. The series will launch with two episodes, and subsequent episodes of the 10-episode long first season will be available weekly on Sundays. Set in the proverbial boomtowns of West Texas, – the show is a tale of fortune seeking in the world of oil rigs. Based on the 11-part podcast “Boomtown,” the series is an upstairs/downstairs story of roughnecks and wildcat billionaires fueling a boom so big, it’s reshaping our climate, our economy and our geopolitics … Finished watching The Veil on Hulu with Elizabeth Moss. Sort of an on-the-road mystery. Moss is great, but the plot is a tad murky. B + … And for all you Papaya King fans (me included) in NYC: https://gothamist.com/news/beloved-hot-dog-hotspot-papaya-king-reopens-on-upper-east-side … 

RIP Joe Egan from Stealers Wheel.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steven J. Immerman; Tony Seidl; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Pat Walsh; Mark Bego; Lamar Fike; Feda Payne; Kent & Laura Denmark; Nancy Ruth; The Church; Teresa Knox; Myles Smith; Chuck Scarborough; Joe Scarborough; Alison Steele; Carol Miller; Dan Ingram; Anthony Pomes; Brad Balfour; and ZIGGY!

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

TOWNE GONE — A few months back I watched the Robert Towne-written movie Chinatown and had exactly the same reaction as when I first watched it in 1974 – simply the best movie of all-time. Well, I still feel that way, although there are a dozen or so other movies that I would now put in that hallowed category.

Version 1.0.0

Towne passed on Friday and leaves just a splendid treasury of his work. Be it Tequila Sunrise or Without Limits or The Firm or Days of Thunder, Towne’s unique perspective and writing-style was pretty awesome.

Robert Towne

Check out Deadline’s take on Towne: https://variety.com/2024/film/news/robert-towne-dead-chinatown-1236059676/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3I2OAHgnXtKBODQUzXpIr-YzCHJYvPFDW6wrOp6HdEJUx-PQ5JfntN-Hk_aem_Rb9xsnahLuGqZLfRjIpyzA

Dave Mason

SHORT TAKES — Interesting review of the long-delayed Dave Mason bio, Only You and I Know, by Goldmine’s Lee Zimmerman. Check it out here: https://www.goldminemag.com/reviews/dave-mason-memoir-reveals-a-talented-artist-with-a-strong-willed-personality Still wondering if Mason’s former-manager, and Svengali, Jason Cooper (aka The Moke) is discussed at all.

I well remember a show at Long Island’s Calderone Concert Hall, where Cooper passed around a jar of party favors – twice in the dressing room. It was indeed a great show which I watched from the side of the stage! He bolstered Mason’s career to it’s highest degree ever. Can’t wait to read this one … Biden will now not do any work after 8:00 PM? I don’t know, but this sounds a tad crazy, right? And desperate … Remember The Singhs? Randy Alexander did the PR for them. They played a bunch of NY-gigs and then sort of disappeared.

Next thing we heard; their new album Science Fiction was produced by Tony Visconti. Then, nada. Here’s a press release from 2013 formally announcing the album. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/science-fiction-the-new-tony-visconti-produced-album-from-boston-area-based-band-the-singhs-is-set-for-release-june-4-via-redstar-entertainment-206756061.html

They actually released a great album in 2008, Supersaturated. Bad management? Dunno, but they were a sensational band. Creative, inventive, it seemed they had it all …

Watched Apple’s Dark Matters and sort of loved it, although as it went on it got way too confusing. Based on the Blake Crouch book, it was really pretty spectacular. Australia’s Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Connelly were fantastic. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I’d say  it’s a must see … Happy Bday Danny Goldberg; Ron Fleeger; and Perry Michael Simon.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — David Duchovny; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tone Scott; Paul Cooper; Tony Seidl; Brad Balfour; Matt Lauer; Harry Burton; Lainey Wilson; Lyndsey Parker; Tony King; Brett Summers; Jane Blunkell; Steven J. Immerman; Lora Evans; Dan Zelinski; Norena Barbella; Ken Dashow; Barry Fisch; Wayne Avers; Victor Kastel; and BELLA.

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Entertainment

Macy’s Out Did Themselves

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I have covered the Macy’s Fireworks before and this year Macy’s out did themselves. Moving to the Westside meant the press was at The Lighthouse at Pier 60.

This venue is spectacular feeling like an open air loft space. The Lighthouse has over 10,000 square feet of event space overlooking the Hudson River. The guests felt they had room to move and to enjoy the phenomenal show Macy’s put on.

We were greeted with glasses of Champagne and a vodka lemonade spritz.

The spritz sounded good, but I am not a fan of  Vodka, so the fabulous Santiago made me a versions with rum.

Santiago

The passed appetizers were fresh and interesting

Marinated BBQ Chicken…..yum

My favorite a gourmet pigs in the blanket

Crab cakes

This was delicious and healthy cauliflower bites

Also healthy kale salad bites

And of course shrimp cocktails

As for the fireworks the space has a glass-enclosed terrace that opens up with outdoor waterfront access. My friends from GMA, CNN, Knockturnal, Variety and I took our chairs to that window opening and had the best seat in the house. Before the event we watch the life out on the water and Macy’s getting ready to surprise.

Performing were Lainey Wilson, Luis Fonsi, Tanner Adell and The War and Treaty, who took to the stage ahead of the fireworks display. We watched on Live Stream TV’s, as we ate our meals that came out of three stations plus a dessert station. The performers were just one pier away and the crowd went wild for Luis Fonsi and The War and Treaty.

Then the fireworks went off, but first a drone display.

These really are breathtaking. We seriously were the closest you could get. When we added our chairs to the end of the balcony, we had to tilt our heads and our camera’s back. This first video, I was taking pictures of the drones and turned it sideways to catch all five barges. It is quirky but it really shows you the set of five barges in full display

In slow-mo you really can feel the magic.

Inspired by “Summer’s Greatest Hits,” Macy’s new summer campaign, the custom 25-minute musical score of the fireworks show, missed the mark in being patriotic, however with songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Landslide” it felt familiar. The score was produced and arranged by Grammy and Emmy Award winner Jason Howland, and featured out and queer artists Brandy Clark and Alex Newell. The whole show felt very inclusive.

The show was conceived, designed and produced by Macy’s Studios in collaboration with Pyro Spectaculars by Souza, the show’s 48th edition featured more than 60,000 shells, more than 30 colors and never before seen effects.

Here’s to July 4, 2025 with Macy’s again!

 

 

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