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Janet McTeer, Cush Jumbo

Janet McTeer, Cush Jumbo (JOAN MARCUS/©2016 JOAN MARCUS)

I do not like politics, especially in this race because there are NO winners. The country will lose, no matter who wins. I also hate when overly ambitious directors think it is ok to screw with an authors text, especially when the author is dead, because this does not happen when they are alive. Look at what happened to The Mountaintop when they tried to do it a Kent State. In Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of The Taming of the Shrew, at the Delacorte Theatre is an all out Trump hate feast and not the play.

Donna Lynne Champlin, LaTanya Richardson Jackson,Cush Jumbo

Donna Lynne Champlin, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Cush Jumbo photo Joan Marcus

The only reasons to see this production is for the fabulous Janet McTeer who makes Petruchio a swaggering, crotch grabbing, peeing, barfing, farting, strutting man, watchable and the wonderful Donna Lynne Champlin, playing multiple roles. The usually layered Cush Jumbo makes, Katherina s screaming one note annoyance and I blame this on the direction.

In this production women mock men and especially Trump, as the show begins and ends with a Miss Padua beauty Pageant, emceed by an unseen Donald Trump. We become entrapped for two hours with no intermission, onto a three ring, ok 2 trailers and a ring carnival, where Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart and Elvis Presley’s music blur the time frame. The costumes consist of hideous red prom gowns, overtly tight baby-doll dresses, business suits and or muscle shirts. We have Mark Thompson to thank for the tacky visuals, as he did the sets and the costumes.

Part of the plot remains intact youngest daughter Bianca (Gayle Rankin), can not get married until her sister Katarina (Ms Jumbo), ties the knot, declares their father Baptista (LaTanya Richardson Jackson). However Kate does not want to marry and her temper scares off all potential suitors until Petruchio arrives from Verona. His only requirement is a hefty dowry. Petruchio has all confidence in the world he can tame this hell cat. He does so by starvation, sleep deprivation and humiliation. In the end Kate is tamed and teaches other women how to be subservient. However in this production once she does Bianca wins the pageant, lines are cut to keep this play politically correct.


When a stage prop gets stuck Judy Gold, as Premio comments as “Trump” again about the indignity of serving a female director and God forbid a female president.

In the end the song “Bad Reputation,” from the 1999 cult flick “10 Things I Hate About You,” a modernized version of Shrew invades the stage as the actors awkwardly dance in ecstasy.

Just because you have an agenda and New York is as liberal as it comes, does not mean you have the right to make a dead playwrights intentions your own. Fine if you say a show is based on someone else’s work and then re-do it, but to change the intent of the play is just wrong and does not honor the writer. I guess it is only ok if the playwright is alive and can pitch a fit.

The Taming of the Shrew: The Delacorte Theatre, Central Park and June 26th



Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:


James Monroe Iglehart At The Drama Desk and A Rap For A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical



T2C was at the Drama Desk Awards and talked to our friend James Monroe Iglehart. Years ago I learned that James could make up raps instantaneously, so I had him do one at the Hamilton opening night for Lin Manuel Miranda. Since James is opening up in October in A Wonderful World: The Louis Armstrong Musical, I ask him to do a rap to pug his show. This is the result.

James’s new musical is about the life and loves of Louis Armstrong and Tony Award® winner James Monroe Iglehart is the legendary American icon. A Wonderful World charts Armstrong’s incredible journey from the birth of jazz in his native New Orleans through his international stardom. It features beloved songs recorded and made popular by Armstrong, including favorites like “What a Wonderful World” and “When You’re Smiling,” among many other standard favorites.

The show is conceived by Tony Award® nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Christopher Renshaw (Broadway’s The King and I, Taboo), and novelist Andrew Delaplaine. Book by Aurin Squire (“This is Us,” “The Good Fight”). Directed by Renshaw, with choreography by Rickey Tripp (Associate Choreographer for Broadway’s Hell’s Kitchen, Once on This Island, and Choir Boy). Featuring classic songs from Armstrong’s catalogue.

We look forward to seeing James and this new musical.

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Jill Zarin’s Luxury Luncheon Set for Hamptons Return



TV Personality Jill Zarin is happy to announce the return of her invitation only event, MEND Skincare Presents Jill Zarin’s Luxury Luncheon by Laifen & Ticket2Events, will take place this again in Southampton, NY.

The event will be produced by Sean Koski and Brian Kelly, celebrity event planners and co- founders of Ticket2Events, and will feature a red carpet, VIP entrance to their curated showcase of the greatest companies in categories such as fashion, spirits, home decor, beauty, technology, and tourism, all in support of Cancer Research and to honor Jill’s late husband Bobby Zarin.

The one-of-a-kind luncheon experience presented by MEND Skincare will treat invited guests to a day of complimentary on-site activations performed by top tier brands. Amongst the activations will be a gifting suite, known as the beauty bar, where giveaways from brands such as Mend Skincare, a luxury new skincare that blurs the line between science fiction and skincare, Laifen Technologies, who’s blow-dry bar will keep guests hair perfect, Oneisall, Coola, Corckcicle, Hanky Panky, Colleen Rothschild & so much more. The Beauty Bar will also feature on-demand wellness services from Laifen & MEND skincare, complimentary consultation with celebrity injector to the stars, Jennifer Anne Di Landro of Dolce Aesthetics NY, hair accessories from Teleties, Beachwaver and more.

Pop-up shops at the event will grant guests a one-on-one shopping experience with designers from places who are normally online only like chic furniture by CHITA, paw friendly gifts from Oneisall & Glow Pups, Derek Lam, Modus Rio & Jewelry by KC Chic Designs. Friends of Jill Zarin and Ticket2Events, Heather Rouffe at Atlas Event Rentals will be making the travel from Palm Beach to The Hamptons to showcase the event rentals for the entire event and GLASS HOUSE BOCA Raton, a modern luxury residence by Douglas Elliman will share an exclusive look at what’s in store for buyers interested in the booming South Florida market.

To keep guests cool Ticket2Events curated beyond just a rosé bar with a premier lounge featuring Gin Cocktails by Dillons Small Batch Distillers a hydration station that will feature LaCroix, Vida Life Science and ZEN WTR and even a temperature regulating device from Embr labs – the Ember Wave will be the official wristband for VIPS. A taste of the Hamptons will be available this time around too and is slated to feature fare from Shrimpy’s Burrito Bar, Suja Organic, OWYN and more.

The Jill & Ally brand is expected to showcase their latest products, which will include Pickle Ball paddles, home decor, and the latest scents from their stellar candle collection.

Jill Zarin’s Luxury Luncheon will also treat guests to the most talked about gift bag that is now valued up to $5,000 made by Quilted Koala and will include all of summer’s “must have” products noticed in newly launched Hamptons Storyboard magazine which was transported from Palm Beach to the Hamptons with the help of Roadway Moving. Anticipated products include items from Safely,,MEND skincare, Hanky Panky, GDFEY shoes, ALOAH collection, SkinMedica, Grande Lash, Nutrafol, V-Spot, Beachwaver, Jill & Ally, Foot Petals, Flat Socks, TONGO, LMNT, Manta Sleep, Bloom Essentials, Colleen Rothschild, Big Mouth floats and SO much more!

Invited guest include, but are not limited to; Real Housewives of New York Jill Zarin, Kristen Taekman, Ramona Singer, Luann de Lesseps, Real Housewives of New Jersey Margaret Josephs, Real Housewives of Atlanta Cynthia Bailey, Real Housewives of Miami Marysol Patton, Alexia Echevarria, Real Housewives of Potomac Gizelle Bryant, Real Housewives of Dallas LeeAnne Locken, Real Housewives of Dubai Caroline Brooks, Real Housewives of Dubai Caroline Standsbury, Real Housewives of Dubai Taleen Marie Real Housewive of Toronto Kara Alloway, Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip Phaedra Parks as well as additional notables such as Ally Shapiro, Joey Sasso (The Circle), Kristen Doute (Vanderpump Rules), Hannaher Berner (Comedian), JoJo Fletcher ( ABC’s The Bachelorette) Food God, Dina Lohan, Wendell Holland (Survivor), Patti Stanger (Millionaire Matchmaker), Carl Radke & Jason Cameron (Summer House), Chrissy Monroe ( Love & Hip Hop) Tayshia Adams (The Bachelorette), Shannon St. Claire (Netflix’s Love Island) Paola Mayfield ( Amazon Prime & 90 day fiancé) & So much more




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Tribeca Festival Celebrates ‘Between the Temples’



Roxstar Entertainment’s popular Cinema Center continued it’d Tribeca Festival run with a VIP hosted premiere party for Sony Pictures Classics’ film “Between the Temples” last night at Little Sister Lounge in the East Village.   Nathan’s film showcases comedic performances by the likes of Jason Schwartzman, Carol Kane, Robert Smigel, Celia Weston, and Dolly De Leon. With C. Mason Wells he wrote the funnhy written script which is the ultimate vehicle for this pitch-perfect ensemble to lovingly needle the conventions of religion, family and relationships.

The event was hosted by Sony Pictures Classics Co-Presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard who celebrated with filmmakers and cast for the film “Between the Temples” including cast Carol Kane, Jason Schwartzman, Robert Smigel, and Director, Nathan Silver.Guests enjoyed a gourmet selection of canapes including lobster rolls, spring rolls, wagyu sliders, and spicy tuna crisps, as well as featured cocktails by Hendrick’s Gin including the Hendrick’s Cucumber lemonade and Grapefruit Collins.

The Cinema Center will cap off the series with the closing night festival film “Satisfied” held Saturday night celebrating the 10-year anniversary Broadway debut of “Hamilton” with the original cast including Ariana Dubois. Lin Manuel, and Renée Elise Goldsberry.

“Roxstar Entertainment is pleased to continue to support independent filmmakers and distributors especially in its mission to get movie fans back into their true intended viewing medium, the movie theaters.  We are so grateful to be able to work with like-minded companies to sponsor and support the events and help drive the promotion and celebration for the films, filmmakers, and respective casts,” says David Manning, Roxstar Entertainment’s Executive Producer of the Cinema Center.

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Lin Manuel and The Miranda Family Honored by The Jazz Power Initiative



Lin-Manuel greeting Jazz Power Initiative’s Eli Yamin, Co-Founder, Managing and Creative Director at 20th anniversary celebration where The Miranda Family were honored. Photo by Ttsiana Kulesh

On a rainy New York evening it was all sunshine, joy and music at 1 Vanderbilt Avenue, where the 20th floor, location of TD Bank’s Conference Center, had been transformed for the 20th anniversary celebration of Jazz Power Initiative, an organization founded by two friends: writer/educator Clifford Carlson, and jazz musician/educator Dr. Eli Yamin.  Over the last two decades, under the leadership of Dr. Yamin who is now managing and artistic director, the organization has become an influential part of the NYC arts education community.

Through the power of Jazz and the Afro-Latin rhythms that have contributed to the growth of this truly American music genre, and the inclusion of original jazz musicals, written by Clifford Carlson and Eli Yamin for the children, the organization has transformed the lives of young people from Upper Manhattan, Washington Heights, and the Bronx.  Engaging young people in music, theatre, and dance programs, that are taught by award-winning professional artists, helping them find their creative voice, fostering positive self-expression, and building community – is what JPI does so well.

Lin-Manuel greeting Jazz Power Initiative’s Eli Yamin, Co-Founder, Managing and Creative Director at 20th anniversary celebration where The Miranda Family were honored. Photo by Ttsiana Kulesh

This year the organization was delighted to honor three unwavering supporters who have helped them achieve incredible success and growth, and who have been there continuously.  The staunch support of people and organizations over the past 20 years – including the leadership of those being honored – has helped Jazz Power Initiative to achieve its mission in Northern Manhattan.  They have been able to serve thousands of New Yorkers and visitors annually – including students, teachers, artists, families, and general audiences ages 6-80, to build more creative and inclusive communities through jazz music, arts education, and performance.

The Honorees

Tanya LeMelle, an executive with TD Bank, and a Jazz Power Initiative board member talked about the corporate giant’s investment in the communities they serve.  “TD Bank is a long-standing supporter of the Jazz Power Initiative and our community focused efforts, which closely align with the bank’s own work to support and create dialogues in arts and culture that reflect diverse voices.”

The organization was the recipient of the Corporate Social Responsibility award presented to TD Bank and accepted by Ralph Bumbaca, TD Bank’s Market President-Commercial for the New York City Market, who echoed the sentiments expressed by his colleague.

The extraordinary, award-winning founder of The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, leader of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, an educator, composer – Arturo O’Farrill took the podium to introduce his friends, The Mirandas.  His remarks began with the words, “Jazz is sacred music!” And it proved to be just that when the young Zah! group took the stage that night. He went on to list the contributions made over the past 40-years, by The Mirandas, as champions of community activism, and their support of institutions like Jazz Power Initiative that have “uplifted underserved populations in upper Manhattan, including those across New York City, across the country and in Puerto Rico.  And their continued commitment and advocacy for education in the arts and social justice.”

Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, the matriarch of the family, flanked by members of her family, Lucecita Miranda-Crespo, Lin-Manuel and Miguel Towns were all on hand to receive the inaugural Philanthropy Award.  “Music is very important to our family,” she began. “When Luis and I met, one of our many connections was around our shared love of music.”  She spoke about the importance of music and the arts in teaching and imbuing young people with empathy.

The youngest member of the family, Miguel Towns spoke about the power of music and quoted Stevie Wonder, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.”  He went on to explain what music represents, “…it is the only art which is experienced through sound and lets us experience or convey emotions with one another, in a way unique to the human experience.”

Miguel was followed by Lin-Manuel who was exuberant about being on-hand to receive the inaugural Philanthropy Award, on behalf of his family.  “Thank you all for being here, and thank you for this tremendous honor,” he said, before reminding his friend Arturo, that one of the great moments of his life as a composer, was having Arturo do an arrangement of Piragua, from In The Heights.   He went on to reflect on “how much Eli and Jazz Power” have been a part of his life and childhood community. “I come not just as a musician, but as a product of the privilege of a wonderful public-school arts education, which underscores the importance of what Jazz Power does.”

The message that resonated most during the night, as Lin-Manuel emphasized was the importance of Jazz Power’s contributions – “it brings music to young people at the most important time in their lives; when they are connecting music to their own emotions and how they are feeling.”

Filmmaker, Phil Bertelsen, who received two extraordinary introductions, due to traffic.  Rachel Dretzin, who has worked with Bertelsen on Who Killed Malcom X (Netflix series) and author/educator, Donald Bogel who was supposed to introduce him, but arrived late due to New York traffic congestion, recalled how impressive he was as a student of his at NYU, and how later he hired him to help research a book on Dorothy Dandridge that he was in the midst of writing.

Phil received the Changemaker Award from the organization he has had the pleasure of working with for some time now.  For him, the moment was humbling, “Change is not something that comes easy and it’s not something we do alone.” He acknowledged many of the people who have had a hand in helping him along the way as he made his “avocation, his vocation.” Phil has won numerous awards, among them a Peabody and an Emmy for his work which he considers a way of paying it forward by telling interesting and important stories that make a difference.

What began as an idea in 1998, thanks to a grant from Meet the Composer/New Music for Schools, in tandem with funding from the Louis Armstrong Education Foundation awarded to acclaimed jazz musician and educator Eli Yamin, led to the first iteration of the organization.  In 2003 it incorporated as The Jazz Drama Program, and later underwent another evolutionary transition to become a nonprofit organization in 2004.  Then it rebranded in 2017 as Jazz Power Initiative the organization that has become a permanent fixture in schools and in the communities it services.

In its 20-year existence, under the leadership of a brilliant staff headed by Dr. Eli Yamin – the organization has touched the lives of over 6,000 young people; engaged the knowledge and experience of some 1,000 educators; and cultivated an inclusive audience, of over 100,000, reached through live performance attendance and virtual participation.

Eli summed up the evening and his joy at being at the helm of this important organization as follows – “As a child of the 1960s, born in 1968, I find myself often wondering about that time and how it shaped me through my parents, my mentors, and my friends.  I watched a documentary about Bobby Kennedy and when asked what drove him to do the work he was doing, he said:  ‘What I think is satisfying…what makes it worthwhile is that you feel that you can have an effect and perhaps do some good for other people…that there is the possibility that if you make the right kind of an effort that their lives are going to change and that therefore their whole existence is going to change and therefore, their children’s lives are going to change…’”. Jazz Power Initiative has been changing lives and adding a sense of joy through their various programs:

-Jazz Power Youth – provides vocal, dance and theatre training in culturally diverse environments, to build courage, curiosity, and compassion.
-Jazz Power Community – provides education in jazz music, dance, and theatre to inspire and empower.
-Jazz Power Musicals – through the creation and commission of original jazz musicals that address socially relevant issues, JPI hopes to inspire and unite audiences.
-The Power Pro – offering professional, experiential training to educators and business leaders.
The evening wrapped with a call to action to make the next 20 years of Jazz Power Initiative even better.  Felix Hernandez, WBGO Radio personality and host of Rhythm Revue on Saturdays and Sundays, turned the night into a dynamic party to remember.

If you wish to get more information about the organization, or if you would like to donate to Jazz Power Initiative, please go to

Jazz Power Initiative (JPI, a dba of The Jazz Drama Program), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 2003, serves thousands of New Yorkers and visitors annually – students, teachers, artists, seniors, and general audiences, ages 8-80+, to promote music education, and build more creative and inclusive communities through jazz music, theater, dance education, and performance.   

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The Musical Titanic Successfully Sails onto the Stage at City Center



Titanic The Musical proves that the music and story does not need the special effects of a sinking ship to send the audience on an emotional journey. Twenty-five years ago when Titanic opened on Broadway, after reading headlines about the  malfunctioning unsinkable set, I skeptically went to the show; but, those first 18 minutes turned out to be the greatest opening number I had ever seen. The show is currently being performed at City Center in the Encores! Series and this score can stand alone without the trappings usually required to produce a Broadway spectacle. The opening number not only introduced us to the three focal people who each in their own way contributed to the disaster of the iceberg: Captain E.J. Smith (Chuck Cooper), Thomas Andrews (Jose Llana), J. Bruce Ismay (Brandon Uranowitz); but, also the members of all three classes aboard the ship and the crewmembers. As the 32 member cast raises their voices in beautiful harmony to cheer “Sail on, great ship Titanic” the hopes of the third class passengers, the wonder of those in first class and the pride of the crew are all felt by the audience. So moving is this song that we can suspend reality and wish that the maiden voyage of this “floating city” actually successfully makes it to New York.

This is not the Rose and Jack story that fictionalized a love story between a third and first class passenger but an even more beautiful story based on real people who either survived or were left onboard as the ship broke apart.

The music and lyrics by Maury Yeston are thrilling, cheerful, romantic and haunting. The story and book by Peter Stone who had previously done justice to the telling of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 again brings history to the stage with wit and suspense despite knowing the eventual tragedy.

Over twenty songs fill this musical score with a variety of styles and themes. Each one perfectly delivered by this amazing team of actors and singers briskly directed by Anne Kauffman. There is not a bad song in the mix nor a disappointing performer; but, in addition to that opening number I must highlight a few.

Lady’s Maid sung by the 3rd class passengers brings me to tears as three Irish lasses all named Kate start by telling their fellow travelers their dreams for America. Samantha Williams, Lilli Cooper, and Ashley Blanchet play the ‘three Kates’ and are joined by the ensemble all singing their own individual ambitions – to be a constable, engineer, and governess, etc. It fills my heart with pride that America is such a land of opportunity and then it breaks when I realize that some of these dreamers will never make it to their destination.

A pairing of two male singers, Ramin Karimloo and Alex Joseph Grayson, playing coal stoker Barrett and radio operator Bride, respectively sing two love songs one to his fiancé and one about his career choice is a magical duet where each voice is given a chance to shine.

Another example of Yeston’s genius is a song where three voices combine but certainly not in love; the ship’s owner, designer, and captain Blame each other for the inevitable sinking. It is a dramatic song that is rarely seen in such a show but too often seen in human nature.

The real life owner of Macy’s department store was actually onboard the Titanic with his wife. Chip Zien and Judy Kuhn portray the elderly Isidor and Ida Straus whose love proved even stronger than the two youngsters in the James Cameron film. Ida chose not to get on a lifeboat without her life long partner and that love is beautifully sung in their duet Still.

Love, anger, hope and desire are all represented on the stage but it is second class passenger Alice Beane that gives the tension a bit of comic relief. Wonderfully sung and acted by Bonnie Milligan, Mrs Bean dances into the first class salon and in one of the few choreographed numbers brings joy to the festivities. She and her husband Edgar (Drew Gehling) sing I Have Danced – a song that depicts the struggle of a happily married couple when ambitions are not in line.

We know the ship is going to hit the iceberg but as Matthew Scott as the ship entertainment sings the rhythmic tune Autumn coupled with the Company repeating the haunting No Moon the suspense grows as the ship sails in the night.

Anne Kauffman directs the cast seamlessly from scene to scene not only allowing the songs to tell a fantastic story but to bring out the wit and passion of Peter Stone’s words.

Rob Berman, the Encores! Music Director, again conducts this 30 piece orchestra with incredible ease despite the complicated orchestrations created by Johnathn Tunick. With every violin string, trumpet note, drum roll and cymbal clash the music envelops the huge theater yet touches every individual in it.

Encores! Began 30 years ago to honor scores that are not often revived. With minimal rehearsal time for this limited run some actors are still on book but that does not diminish either the music, story or the talent on the stage. Much has been written about the cost of producing on Broadway so a production with this many cast members and musicians may never be transferred to a Broadway theater as Encores other 2024 title, Once Upon a Mattress will be doing so do not hesitate to buy a ticket. Do not be left on the dock waving goodbye to this magnificent creation.

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