Theatre News: 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival, The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room, Brickman for Broadway Christmas, Political Idol 2020 and Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies
A number of notable productions are screening this week through Sunday as part of the 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival, produced by the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC). Here are a few highlights from among the 24 productions from 20 countries being show as part of the 10-day event. Visit www.jctcenter.org for details. 1/ “The Tin Ring” (England) – By Zdenka Fantlová, adapted by Mike Alfreds and Jane Arnfield. A dramatization of the true-life story of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlová, performed by Arnfield, and directed by Alfreds. One-woman performance in English. Recorded performance. Sat Oct 24, 10am, talk-back with Arnfield following performance ($10)
2/ “Antigone” (Estonia/Iran) – RAAAM Theater Group (producer) adapted by Iranian exile Ghanizadeh, written in Estonian, this censored work in Farsi and Estonian was produced with Estonian actors from RAAM Theater Group. Modern adaptation of Sophocles. Recorded performance with subtitles. Sat Oct 24, 4pm ($10)
3/ “Mönster Outside,” (USA) – Sidra Bell Dance. The award-winning, New York based choreographer by Sidra Bell, who calls herself a movement illustrato, performs a piece about the nature of outliers and constructed self-identity. Performance dance. Recorded performance. Sat Oct 24, 7:30pm ($10)
4/ “Chernobyl… At the Beginning and the End of Time” (Russia) – Roman Viktyuk Theatre. Winner of the 2016 Golden Mask, conceived and directed by Roman Viktyuk. A family lives in the exclusion zone in Chernobyl following the nuclear disaster of 1986. Ensemble performance. Recorded, in Russian with English subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 10am ($10)
5/ “Myth,” (Israel) – Matara (producer). A play by Iddo Netanyahu. An examination of the conflict of our times between society’s self-declared elites and its populace. Classic chamber theatre format, Recorded performance, in Hebrew with subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 2pm ($10)
Nearly all of the 24 productions being seen will have talk-backs with the artists immediately following the broadcast of their productions, giving audience members ample opportunities to engage with artists from around the world.
You are invited to review The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room (www.TheDooWopProject.com) , a virtual theatrical concert, broadcast live from Shubert Studios, on Sunday, October 25th at 7:00PM EST. The Doo Wop Project traces the evolution of Doo Wop from the classic sound of five guys singing tight harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio today. The theatrical concert takes audiences on a journey from foundational tunes of groups like the Crests, Belmonts, and Flamingos through their influences on the sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Seasons all the way to “Doo-Wopified” versions of modern musicians like Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Maroon 5. The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room is produced by Ken Davenport. Featuring stars of Broadway’s smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The Musical, The Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate-and in some cases entirely reimagine-some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history. The last five years have seen sold-out shows across the country and performances with everyone from Katy Perry to Jon Bon Jovi to Jay Leno. The Doo Wop Project has been seen in theaters across the country from Minnesota and Maryland to California and New Jersey. Their popular Symphonic Pops show has been performed with dozens of symphonies including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Omaha, Vancouver, Detroit, and more.
The cast of The Doo Wop Project includes: Charl Brown (Motown: The Musical), Dwayne Cooper (Smokey Joe’s Café), John Michael Dias (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys), Dominic Nolfi (Jersey Boys), and Santino Paladino (Pippin). Critics are raving about The Doo Wop Project. The Chautauquan Dailysaid, “Doo Wop Project is street corner music for a new generation” and The Omaha World-Herald cheered, “Refreshing pop flavor… a rowdy standing ovation!” Nuvo Indianapolis applauded “lush orchestral arrangements,” and Maryland Theatre Guide praised the show saying, “The joy of the group’s performance was infectious and it was clear the guys were having as much fun as the audience.” Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with each other AND with The Doo Wop Project via a live chat, which will appear next to the video stream. Attendees can request songs to The Doo Wop Project in the chat. The Doo Wop Project is also offering a DANCING GUARANTEE. That’s right, just like their live shows, they will GUARANTEE that audience members are up on their feet, dancing in their living room when watching their live stream . . . or they’ll get their money back.
The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, announced today that Grammy nominated songwriter and piano sensation Jim Brickman will be taking the nation by storm this holiday season with Brickman for Broadway Christmas Live. All proceeds from the virtual concert on November 28 at 8 pm ET and the album sales will benefit The Actors Fund. Broadway fans and their families can enjoy this unique virtual concert experience from the comfort of home, while supporting The Actors Fund and their COVID-19 relief efforts. Click here to pre-order Brickman for Broadway Christmas (including the Brickman on Broadway limited edition) albums ($29.99). Click here to for tickets to the Brickman for Broadway Christmas Live November 28 virtual concert (ticket packages start at $20).
The Brickman for Broadway Christmas album features sensational performances from Megan Hilty, Santino Fontana, Kelli O’Hara, Norm Lewis, Adrienne Warren, Shoshana Bean, Max von Essen, Sierra Boggess and Matt Doyle and celebrates the season with soaring vocals, and a merry and bright holiday spirit.
Brickman will bring his November 28 live virtual concert experience up close and personal for supporters of The Actors Fund by blending yuletide memories and holiday carols. Scheduled to appear with Jim Brickman are Kelli O’Hara, Matt Doyle, Adrienne Warren, Max von Essen, Shoshana Bean, Norm Lewis, Megan Hilty, Wayne Brady
After sold-out runs in New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago, the smart and witty, political parody, Political Idol 2020, written by Robert Yarnall and Marc Emory, directed by Michael Goldfried, with music direction by Anessa Marie will debut its newest 2020 edition on October 27. Tickets are $20.20 and can be purchased on PoliticalIdolLive.com.
A wickedly funny and witty musical parody in the vein of Forbidden Broadway, Political Idol 2020 is hosted by Oprah Winfrey with constant interruptions by Donald Trump and features appearances by stars of the 2020 campaign season including Melania Trump, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Carson, Bill Barr, Mitch McConnell, Mayor Pete, and Bernie Sanders.
Political Idol 2020 features 16 lyrically altered songs including “I Really Need Your Vote” (“I Hope I Get It “A Chorus Line) “Strangers on the Right” (Strangers in the Night”), SEASONS OF TRUMP (Based on Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”), IT’S DIVERSION (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”), FAKE (“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John), KAMALA MEDLEY (“Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club) and many more.
During its last run, critic’s raved about Political Idol saying its “Armed with irreverence, wit, and spot-on impressions of Hillary, Obama, Giuliani, and George W., a quartet of seasoned entertainers turn familiar songs into show-stopping political parodies.”
The cast includes Lara Buck Antolik (Film: Lady Hunters), Enga Davis (Broadway: ONE MO’ TIME. Film: IN THE FAMILY WAY), Joe DiSalle, Scott Foster, and Robert Yarnall, Creative team includes Sara Jean Tosetti (Costume Designer), Quentin Madia (Choreography), James Rushin (Audio Engineer), Bruno-Pierre Houle (Virtual Production Designer), LCM247 (Video Production and Editing), Will Chaloner (Production Supervisor), Leah Michalos (Director Marketing), LDK Productions/ Lisa Dozier King (General Management).
Marc Emory and Olson Rohdes (Executive Producers), with LCM247’s Patrick Heaphy (Producer).
Internationally acclaimed one woman show Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies has added live streaming and in-person performance options through November 12. Written and performed by Jessica Sherr (Blue Bloods, Annie, Claws), it directed by Karen Carpenter (Harry Townsend’s Last Stand, Love Loss and What I Wore).
In Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies , Sherr channels 31-year old Bette Davis’ fight against the male-dominated studio system. On the night of the 1939 Oscars, Bette Davis returns home knowing she’s to lose Best Actress to Vivien Leigh’s Scarlet O’Hara, because the press has leaked the winners. Davis takes us on the bumpy ride of her tumultuous rise, as the tenacious actress fights her way through the studio system to the top. Witness Bette triumph over misogyny to win roles and compensation on par with her male counterparts. See what happens when someone who always wins…loses.
STREAM ON YOUR COMPUTER FROM HOME:
• Thurs. October 22 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. October 29 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. November 5 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. November 12 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
Tickets are $18.50 each, available at www.bettedavisaintforsissies.com.
LIVE & IN PERSON POP UP SHOWS IN NEW YORK CITY:
• Sun. October 25 @ 3pm EDT – Upper West Side/10025
These intimate live-and in person pop up shows will be presented using the LiveTours app and performed for an audience of 12. Ticket buyers must have a smart phone and headphones or earbuds. By downloading the app in advance, patrons will be able to clearly hear Bette while being able to maintain a safe social distance from her and other guests. The exact meetup location (as well as instructions and safety protocols) will be emailed to ticket buyers in advance of the performance. It is suggested that patrons bring their own pillow/blanket/portable chair for seating and wear comfortable shoes. Face masks must be worn at all times — no eating or drinking during the course of the event. In case of rain, refunds will be issued. Tickets are $20 each, available at www.bettedavisaintforsissies.com.
Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2008 and has gone on to sold-out five-star runs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival over three consecutive years, a month-long run in Chicago, a US tour in 2015, and a run at St. James Theater in London. The show has been seen in 12 US states, including stops in Tuscon, San Antonio, Roswell, San Jose and Little Rock, among many others and in three countries. For more information visit bettedavisaintforsissies.com.
The Glorious Corner
TODD’S AWATS — (from World Cafe) Fifty years ago, Todd Rundgren released his album A Wizard, a True Star, and it sounded like nothing else. World Cafe correspondent John Morrison says Rundgren was pushing boundaries, both in the technical creation of the music but also on a higher level. “Really, the entire approach to sound in this record is exploration of the mind, the spirit, the nature of sound itself,” Morrison says. “Like, the whole album is a trip.” In this session, Morrison takes us on a journey through Rundgren’s A Wizard, a True Star, exploring what the album meant when it came out and how its influence continues to reverberate.
Currently he’s touring with Daryl Hall and there’s a bunch of sessions with Hall that are on Daryl’s House. The way their two voices blend is simply amazing. One of my all-time favorite albums is War Babies, from Hall & Oates in 1974. Just amazing songs and the production, courtesy of Todd, is equally compelling. Stunning!
SHORT TAKES — Joe Pantoliano (Joey Pants) is essaying Morris Levy in the forthcoming play Rock & Roll Man about Alan Freed. Freed is played by Constantine Maroulis. Also coming is the movie Spinning Gold; the story of record exec-Neil Bogart. Both should be something to see … Am reading and reading nothing but rave reviews of Sunday’s Succession on HBO; the first of ten episodes which will wrap up the story. In all the reviews, the writing emerges the star. Jesse Armstrong, a genius for sure. Can’t wait. Check out Roger Friedman’s take from his Showbiz 411: https://www.showbiz411.com/2023/03/22/succession-returns-for-finale-season-sit-down-have-a-drink-or-two-its-intense-as-ever … 79 year old Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer: “Don Simpson (Bruckheimer’s late-producing partner) used to say we’re in the transportation business: we transport you from one place to another” …
Terrific Accused episode this week, starring Jason Ritter in Jack’s Story. Jason, John Ritter’s son was just excellent; the show was just renewed by Fox … Steve Miller, out on the road, has some interesting openers for his upcoming tour: Dave Mason and Joe Bonamassa. Mason’s book (Only You Know and I Know) is out in May … Dennis Scott hosted a special invitation-only Happy Birthday, Mister Rogers event in Nashville for media, TV, radio and music industry professionals, with support from ASCAP, this past Monday.
The event featured special musical performances given by country singer-songwriter Teea Goans, singer-songwriter & guitar virtuoso Parker Hastings, who put a Chet Atkins-like spin on the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood theme song “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” and studio vocalist Gary Janney. Here’s the cake prepared for the event … Happy Bday William Shatner ; Chaka Khan; Reese Witherspoon; and Anthony Pomes!
Happy Birthday To Andrew Lloyd Webber On His Opening Night
Although composer Andrew Lloyd Webber wasn’t in the house, and missed last night’s opening of his new musical, Bad Cinderella (the first time he’s ever been absent one of his Broadway opening nights), the cast and entire sold-out crowd sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Tony Award winning Broadway legend and wheeled out a five-foot birthday cake after the bows at the show’s final preview performance last night.
Lloyd Webber explained his absence in a statement he issued last week.
A STATEMENT FROM ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER
I am absolutely devastated to say that my eldest son Nick is critically ill.
As my friends and family know, he has been fighting gastric cancer for the last 18 months and Nick is now hospitalised.
I therefore have not been able to attend the recent previews of Bad Cinderella and as things stand, I will not be able to cheer on its wonderful cast, crew and orchestra on Opening Night this Thursday.
We are all praying that Nick will turn the corner. He is bravely fighting with his indomitable humour, but at the moment my place is with him and the family.
Bad Cinderella opened last night, Thursday, March 23, at the Imperial Theatre in front of an expected audience of film stars, stage legends, senators, media moguls, and various ‘Real Housewives.’ T2c caught a few of the attendees while we waited to review Parade.
The Glorious Corner
WOODSTOCK COVER STARS — (Via Best Classic Bands) — Bobbi Ercoline’s name may not be familiar to most, but millions own her photograph: Bobbi, whose last name at the time was Kelly, and her then-boyfriend, Nick Ercoline, were huddled together under a quilt at the 1969 Woodstock festival when photographer Burk Uzzle snapped their picture. The couple, both then 20, were unaware that their photo had even been taken until several months later, when the three-LP Woodstock soundtrack album was released. They were among friends when they first realized the couple on the album cover was them.
“We were passing the jacket around when someone pointed out the staff with the orange and yellow butterfly,” Nick told AARP in 2019 for the organization’s magazine. “That belonged to Herbie, a guy from Huntington Beach, Calif. He was lost and having a bad trip, and we hooked arms with him until he was clear-headed. Then we saw the blanket. Oh my lord, that’s us!”
Bobbi and Nick only lasted one night at Woodstock, and never even got near the stage. They had given it their all trying to get to the festival, ditching their car when traffic became snarled and walking the final two miles. They spent most of their single day there on the hillside where the famous photo was taken.
Two years later, in 1971, they married. They remained together until Bobbi Ercoline’s death Saturday (March 18, 2023).
Nick posted the news on Facebook: “It’s with beyond great sadness that I tell my FB family and friends, that after 54 years of life together, of the death of my beautiful wife, Bobbi, last night surrounded by her family. She lived her life well, and left this world in a much better place. If you knew her, you loved her. She lived by her saying, ‘Be kind.’ As a School Nurse she always championed the kids … ALWAYS! As a person, she always gave. ‘How much do you really need if you have all you need or want?’ So she gave and gave and gave. She didn’t deserve this past year’s nightmare, but she isn’t suffering from the physical pain anymore and that brings some comfort to us.”
We’ve spoken much over the years about how that Woodstock event was so cataclysmic – culturally; musically; and certainly philosophically. Elliot Tiber wrote beautifully about it in his first book Taking Woodstock – a classic if you’ve never read it.
They tried to re-create it in 1994 and though it was good, it just didn’t have that magical flavor of the first one. I wasn’t at either, but as you can imagine, music from that 1969 concert still lives passionately today. I was, however, at Live Aid and that was my Woodstock for sure.
Not to get too poetic, but I came across a great quote yesterday: It’s worth being older now, to have been young then.
SHORT TAKES — Derek & The Dominoes Bobby Whitlock on Jim Gordon: “Carl Radle and Jim Gordon … Didn’t get any better than that. The only other alternative [for Derek and the Dominoes] was Jim Keltner. And that’s who should have been the guy and who was supposed to be the guy. But it didn’t turn out that way. He was busy. The rhythm section of Carl and Jim propelled the songs we put together. Jim Gordon is the most musical drummer I ever heard. All of the drums were in tune. literally tuned to a key on the piano. Big kit. But Jim had this wonderful ability to interpret the nuances you could feel but not hear. Carl was solid as a rock. A downbeat player and right on it. So, we have Carl who is solid and down and Jim who is up and on it. So, it was perpetual motion” …
Do you remember “Vehicle” by The Idea of March back in 1970? It became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of “Vehicle” was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally … Dolly Parton sings with Elton John on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” on her forthcoming rock ‘n roll album. I bet it’ll sound great, but how many covers of that song has there been? Maybe they should have picked a John/Taupin deep-cut like “Come Down In Time” or “Amoreena.” Just saying … Does the phrase DLYZECOMKIN mean anything to you?
Believe it or not, in one of those crazy-jumble games online, the phrase translates into Micky Dolenz. Crazy, right? See for yourself: https://invasion24.com/2023/03/19/daily-jumble-puzzle-answers-march-19-2023/
… Speaking of Dolenz, he departs Thursday on a Flower Power Cruise; then starts his Headquarters-tour on April 1 in Orlando …
Charles F. Rosenay does the Zach Martin Big Fat American Podcast next week, for his new release, The Book of Top 10 Beatles Lists (KIWI Publishing) … HAPPY BDAY Gia Ramsey!
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Carol Geiser; Bob Meyerowitz; eYada; Andy Rosen; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Paul Haig; Terry Jastrow; Anthony Pomes; Mark Bego; Charles F. Rosenay; Bill Graham; Kip Cohen; Heather Moore; Charley Crespo; [Robert Miller; John Luongo; LIME; Carl Strube; Jen Ramos; and CHIP!
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