The Drama Desk Board voted to institute a new award recognizing individual achievement over the course of a substantial career in New York City theater. The hope was that this award, which will be determined annually by the Board, would go in its first year to director/producer/writer Harold S. Prince, who died on July 31, 2019.
The plans for this new award were delayed due to New York City’s lockdown. The Board has announced that Mr. Prince – not only an innovator in American musical theater but also a mentor to an untold number of younger artists and theater-business professionals – is the first recipient, and that this honor will be presented to his family as part of the Drama Desk Awards celebration on May 31st.
Further, the Board is announcing that this annual accolade for outstanding contributions over a lifetime will be called the Drama Desk Harold Prince Award. Although this first presentation is to a person no longer living, the Board’s aim is to honor pivotal figures in the theater while they are still alive.
The 65th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be announced during a special presentation of Spectrum News NY1’s On Stage on Sunday, May 31, at 7:30 pm. The awards special also will stream on NY1.com and DramaDeskAwards.com. Additional details will be forthcoming.
RSVP for free to WE ARE ONE PUBLIC, a one night only virtual event on June 1st, to support The Public Theater, and you’ll be automatically entered into a raffle to win a $100 Seamless eGift Card. Seamless – how New York still eats. At 7:15PM Cocktail Reception**, 8PM Performance, Post-performance Dance Party with a dress code that demands virtually stunning. Streaming on The Public’s website, YouTube, and Facebook.
Hosted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, directed by Kenny Leon, with musical direction by by Ted Sperling The evening will feature performances and more from artists like Antonio Banderas, Laura Benanti, Kim Blanck, Ally Bonino, Danielle Brooks, Glenn Close, Jenn Colella, Elvis Costello, Claire Danes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Holly Gould, Danai Gurira, Anne Hathaway,Stephanie Hsu, Oscar Isaac, Nikki M. James, John Leguizamo, Audra McDonald, Grace McLean, Sandra Oh, Mia Pak, David Hyde Pierce, Philippa Soo, Trudie Styler & Sting, Will Swenson, Shaina Taub, Kuhoo Verma, Ada Westfall, Kate Wetherhead, and more.
*To enter the Seamless $100 eGift Card Raffle, between May 1, 2020 at 12PM EST and June 5, 2020 at 7:59PM EST, RSVP or donate to WE ARE ONE PUBLIC. All RSVPs and donations are automatically entered into the Raffle. No purchase, payment or donation is necessary to enter the Raffle. Making a donation will not increase your chances of winning. Only one (1) entry per person, household and email address permitted. The raffle is open to U.S. residents 21 yrs of age or older. For complete rules visit our Terms and Conditions. **Please note, invitations to pre-show cocktail reception rooms are based on giving level.
Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern announce that the show – the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show! – must go on! With the initial goal of raising $100,000 by May 15, The Campaign For Right Now was established to help fund The Vineyard’s commitment to paying artist and staff salaries and health benefits during this closure, while continuing to create and develop new work with its artists and students in online rehearsal rooms.
Thanks to the generosity of nearly 500 individual donors and “tossers,” the[title of show] team, Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Jeff Bowen, will host the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show! on Saturday, May 30 at 8:00 pm ET. The show is directed by Michael Berresse with musical direction by Larry Pressgrove and edited by Matt Vogel.
In the spirit of a classic variety show, the [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show! will feature new material from the cast and creators of [title of show] and Now. Here. This., and renowned special guest artists from theatre, film and television sharing performances, sketches, reflections, special quarantine talents, and more.
The line-up of special guests includes Bill Irwin, Cheyenne Jackson, Linda Lavin, Leslie Odom Jr. and Nicolette Robinson, Steven Pasquale andPhillipa Soo, Zachary Quinto, Brooke Shields, The Lopez Family Singers (Bobby Lopez and KristenAnderson-Lopez and Family), and more to be announced soon.
Access to the show is available with a donation of $25 or more made before 12:00 pm ET on Saturday, May 30 through this link: https://donate.onecause.com/vineyardtheatre. Donors will receive a registration email followed by a pre-show email with an exclusive link sent an hour before performance time to stream the show.
The Times Square Alliance announced today the first ever Songs for Our City, a songwriting challenge commissioning new original music from Broadway actors and composers in response to the current COVID-19 crisis, in order to both support artists during this time and provide a unique and interactive way for audiences to enjoy new music while in-person events are on pause.
Twenty-seven artists, including Alice Ripley, Ethan Slater, Rob Rokicki and more, will share their new original songs during a series of concerts that will be live-streamed for free to the public throughout the month of June, culminating in a finale on June 21 as part of Make Music New York. The series will be streamed on the Times Square Alliance’s website and social platforms in partnership with Time Out New York, as a part of their recently launched Love Local campaign. All participants will receive a stipend from the Times Square Alliance, and finalists will receive additional cash prizes. The concerts will also raise funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, which provides urgent resources to those within the performing arts community.
The artists participating in Songs for Our City are previous performers from the Broadway Buskers concert series, which showcases Broadway performers’ original music through free concerts in the Times Square pedestrian plazas as part of the Alliance’s annual free public programming. Events for this summer were originally planned to begin as early as May but have been delayed due to the ongoing crisis.
“As the entity responsible for taking care of and celebrating the Theater District, this is a symbolic and simple way for us to continue to showcase and support Broadway performers who create their own original work throughout June,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance.
“Our friends in the theater community are remarkably talented even beyond their night jobs on Broadway, and we’ve been lucky to have some of them share their singer-songwriter side during the past two seasons of Broadway Buskers. With the halt of performances, we wanted to find a way to support our community while providing an outlet for their incredible creative energy. We are so excited to offer a platform for them to continue sharing their music with the world,” said Sophie Aung, Programming Manager of the Times Square Alliance.
Each songwriter participant will write and perform a new song about community, the Theater District, or their memories on Broadway. Participants include: Leslie Becker; Sam Carner, Derek Gregor, and Selda Sahin; Jaime Cepero; Lauren Elder; Drew Gasparini; John Arthur Greene; F Michael Haynie; Marcus Paul James; Donnie Kehr; John Krause; Janet Krupin; Molly and the Memphis Thunder; Anthony Norman; Alexander Sage Oyen; Alice Ripley; Rob Rokicki; Jennifer Sánchez; Max Sangerman; Heath Saunders; Dru Serkes; Ethan Slater; Starbird & the Phoenix; Will Taylor; Will Van Dyke & Jeff Talbott; Joel Waggoner; Mike Wartella; and Tim Young. The series will be hosted by Broadway Buskers host & curator Ben Cameron.
Songs for Our City will take place over seven concerts in June. The initial six concerts will feature participants performing their new songs, and will allow for audience members to vote to send one participant from each concert into the finale. During the finale, audiences will also be able to vote for their favorite participant to receive the Audience Choice Award. The final concert will take place on June 21, 2020, and will be judged by a panel of esteemed Broadway and music industry notables to determine a winner. Judges will be announced at a later date.
The concerts will be streamed live at 7:05PM EDT at TSQ.org/Songs, immediately following the collective applause for essential workers in NYC, on the following dates:
Tuesday, June 2nd
Wednesday, June 3rd
Tuesday, June 9th
Wednesday, June 10th
Tuesday, June 16th
Wednesday, June 17th
Sunday, June 21st (Finale)
Events for March
St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, a Harlem Renaissance exhibit at the Met with160 works by Black artists. Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature,at The Morgan Library & Museum through 6/9. The Orchid show continues until 4/21 at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. Florals in Fashion highlights the work of designers Hilary Taymour (Collina Strada), Olivia Cheng (Dauphinette) and Kristen Alpaugh, aka FLWR PSTL Also Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz’s “Giants,”is at the Brooklyn Museum until 7/7. The exhibition features artists who have made and continue to make a significant impact on the art world and contemporary culture. The show features 98 artworks by Black American, African, and African artists including Gordon Parks, Kehinde Wiley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mickalene Thomas, Hassan Hajjaj, Barkley L. Hendricks, Lorna Simpson, and Amy Sherald.
3/1 -3: The Vienna Philharmonic one of the world’s most celebrated orchestras, takes center stage at Carnegie Hall.
3/3 -5: Coffee Fest NY Javits.
3/3 -5: International Beauty Show Javits.
3/6 – 10: The New Colossus Festival provides a platform for new artists, including international bands making their NYC debuts. The festival will take place across multiple venues mostly spread throughout the Lower East Side and the East Village, including Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge, Berlin, Heaven Can Wait, and others. This year’s artists include Cucamaras (UK), Ducks LTD (Canada), Heffner (US), Holiday Ghosts (UK), Hotel Lux (UK), Housewife (Canada), and more. You can check out the full lineup and schedule of events here.
3/8: International Women’s Day
3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown
3/1 -17: The Annual Flamenco Festival with 22 performances across 13 different venues all over the city.
3/1 -17: The New York International Children’s Film Festival
3/17: Join in on the 263rd celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. The parade kicks off at 11am, moving along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 82nd Street. This year’s grand marshal, Maggie Timoney, president and CEO of Heineken USA, is only the fifth woman to lead the parade since its inception.
3/20 -24: Affordable Art Fair with over 400 living artists to discover you are sure to find your next perfect artwork.
3/23 – 11/: JAPAN Fes, in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. This is the largest Japanese food festival in the world, with over 1,000 vendors.
3/24 – 4/7: The Annual Macy’s Flower Show created in partnership with Dior.
3/26 – 10/2: Apollo: When We Went to the Moon at The Intrepid Museum. The exhibit is included with museum admission.
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For March
Brave the rain and head out to the clubs for they abound in entertainment galore. Here are our top picks.
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 3/ 2 – 4: Soul Picnic: The Songs and Legacy of Laura Nyro; 3/ 11: Cabaret Conversations Sally Mayes and 3/18: The Ally: Josh Radnor and Playwright Itamar Moses in Conversation Co-presented with The Public Theater.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawksand 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; 3/11: It’s De-Lovely: Jeff Harnar Sings Cole Porter and 3/25: Karen Mason In “Just In Styne: Karen Sings Jule”.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 2/1-3: Through 3/2: Jennifer Holliday; 3/3 – 4: Mallory Portnoy and Nick Blaemire; 3/5 – 20: Hamilton Leithauser and 3/21 -23: Orfeh.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 3/15: The New York Pops Hitsville: Celebrating Motown; 3/20: of Sinéad O’Connor and Shane MacGowan; 3/23: Meow, Meow and 3/27: Standard Time with Michael Feinstein.
Moonlight and Love Songs
And so promised Steve Ross in his new show at Birdland, and he delivered both with his customary style, wit, and superb interpretations. This fabled music room takes on the hush of a cathedral when Steve performs there, evidenced by the silent reverence of the audience throughout his performance. Sporting his subtle homage to Cole Porter—a red carnation—Steve began the evening with tunes that described being on the brink of that most coveted of falls, and as the inevitable approached, his carefully curated selections become more tantalizing. Never has “On a Slow Boat to China” been more inviting– sign me up now! A few moon-titled songs followed, including one written by Steve himself. His guest star, Nina Wachenfeld, sang in German and seemed to conjure up Marlene as a bonus.
Kurt Weill and his haunting melodies were presented next, with appropriate tribute given to that great American wordsmith, Ogden Nash. Another aspect of the topic of the evening was Steve’s review of a few songs about love at first sight. Messrs, Coward and Porter put their two cents in, with the penultimate and heartbreaking “This Nearly Was Mine” putting a twinge in the heart of everyone as only Rodgers & Hammerstein can. Cole then did what he does best: teased and tickled the memory with his thoughts on the matter.
Steve’s ability to find new ways to make all these songs new for an audience is part of his wonder. He snapped us out of our dreamy reveries with a joke and then the ever-hilarious “Dolphins” and then encouraged everyone to do what we were aching to do—sing along to some classics from the 1940s. He has an uncanny ability to know what an audience wants and needs and switched the dial to drama with Dietz and Schwartz’s haunting “Dancing in the Dark”. The charming conclusion to this Valentine was the duet of “Married”. I have tried many times to dissect the magic Steve brings to his music and never quite capture it with words. You just must see it for yourself! A performance by Steve Ross is indeed transformative, as his ever-full audiences will attest.
In between engagements on both sides of the Atlantic, Steve appears regularly at Birdland. Check his website for future appearances, and possibly even a master class!
Jason Robert Brown’s The Connector Is Intelligent, Thought Provoking and Musically Seamless
“The truth is not about the facts – forgive me. The facts can always be manipulated, arranged, massaged – We are not purveyors of facts, we are tellers of truths.” …..Or are we?
The Connector now playing at at MCC’s Newman Mills Theater space, has twice been extended and in all honesty should move to Broadway this season. If it did it would stands a massive chance of being nominated or winning Best Musical, Best Score, Best Orchestration, Best Direction, Best Lead Actor and many of the technical awards. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the Drama Desk and The Outer Critics Circle Awards come award season.
Set in 1996 at a newspaper called “The Connector”, this unrivaled purveyor of “the truth and nothing but the truth,” is about to be put to the test. Enter Ethan Dobson (the remarkable Ben Levi Ross), fresh out of Princeton who’s arrived with talent, guts and a smarmy style.
Ethan has long admired and longs to work for the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Conrad O’Brien (welcome back to the fabulous Scott Bakula), who is being over run by new owners, who care more about circulation and the color turquoise, than facts.
The first person Ethan meets and the voice of a collective conscience is Robin Martinez (normally played by Hannah Cruz, but at my performance Ashley Pérez Flanagan). At first attracted to Ethan, Robin starts to see the cracks, as does fact checker, Muriel (a layered performance by Jessica Molaskey). Right from the start, she does not like or trust Ethan. Nor do we. In a strange way, this almost seems like a musicalized version of “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.
As Conrad takes Ethan under his wing, we see three of his stories, each done in a different musical style. The first is about an eccentric West Village scrabble player (the terrific Max Crumm). With a “Rhythm of Life” feel, Ethan becomes an over night success with circulation increasing and a fan by the name of Mona Bland (a memorable Mylinda Hull) who will end up being his downfall.
The next story is about the take down of the mayor of Jersey City, done in rap/ gangland style that gets him a nomination for the prestigious National Magazine Award. As his source Willis, Fergie Philippe gives his all, but the problem we soon find out, is that though the story is sensational, there are gaping holes in the facts, which Muriel, Robin and Mona glaringly see.
In the end who is Ethan really? What is truth and what is fact? Does the public really care or do they just want sensationalism? Has the world really gotten over its sexism? It’s racialism? Sadly, I don’t think so. Everything becomes the movie of the week and then goes away until the next big scandal.
The Connector was conceived and directed by Daisy Prince, who does a remarkable job and asks some really intelligent questions. She has also gathered a fabulous cast, who makes this show seem real, relevant and up to date.
Ben Levi Ross will remind you of Jessie Einsenburg. He is loaded with talent. Not only does he posses a vocal prowess that is unmatched, his nuances and phenomenal acting choices make him so watchable. He is like an onion slowly peeling away each delicate layer. He is seriously brilliant.
As Robin, I saw the understudy who is about to take over the role, Ashley Pérez Flanagan. She sings and acts well, but lacks some of the nuances that originally made me want to see this show. I fell in love with the song “Cassandra” in 2017 and either Jason Robert Brown rewrote some of the notes or they were different in the production I saw. This song is pivotal to the show, as the lyrics talk about how women writers are written off.
“Half the stories of the world are left unwritten, half the stories have been lost along the way. And so the people of the world will not encounter, anything but one perspective, one reflection, one directive, male and white and unenlightened, every day. It’s easy for you, it’s easy for you and I’m missing it”
These are the lyrics by Jason Robert Brown for “Cassandra”. Not only is his music rich in rhythm and style, but it reaches into your soul to take capture. His lyrics hit at the heart of pain, truth, anger and honesty. Each song is a playlet with character-driven narratives and stand on their own. Smartly his band is electric and musically I could sit through this show every night of the week and hear new emotional tugs. I am so excited to announce the album will be released in late spring by Concord Theatricals Recording, because I want to listen to these songs again and again. A plus is JRB is on the piano playing with his band.
Jonathan Marc Sherman’s book is funny, terrifying and taps on timely issues, however I did want more as to the why’s and psychology of Ethan, but maybe that’s the point, we don’t understand the why’s and never will.
Not only is the show wonderfully done, but the raw masterful set by Beowulf Boritt, lighting by and projection design by Janette Oi-Suk Yew and choreography by Karla Puno Garcia are shear perfection.
You will not be able to stop thinking about this show, that is full of thought provoking ideas on journalistic integrity and the difference between fact and truth. This is a show not to be missed and that’s a fact.
The Connector: MCC Theater Space, 511 W 52nd Street, through March 17th.
The Glorious Corner
MORE MURDER — (Via Deadline) Sophie Ellis-Bextor is gearing up to tour around North America for the first time and adding more cities for fans to see her perform “Murder on the Dance Floor” live.
The British singer’s song is featured in the final scene of Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, where Barry Keoghan’s Oliver dances naked around the manor. After the scene went viral, the song, co-written by Ellis-Bextor and Gregg Alexander, also went viral on social media. “Murder on the Dance Floor” was originally released in 2001, but it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 until now, peaking at 51 recently.
Ellis-Bextor recently made an appearance on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon where she performed the viral hit and the star is now embarking on a North America tour.
The artist announced her first-ever live show in NYC, set to take place on June 6 at Webster Hall, and the date quickly sold out. Ellis-Bextor has now announced more dates across the U.S. and Canada that will take her to San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.
“Oh my… the New York show sold out in a day! Thank you thank you thank you,” Ellis-Bextor said in her newsletter announcing the additional tour dates. “So – how about some more shows in some more cities?! My band and I are coming for you! Super excited. Come and dance with me….”
May 30: August Hall (San Francisco, CA)May 31: The Observatory North Park (San Diego, CA) June 3: 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.) June 4: Royale Boston (Boston, MA) June 5: Union Transfer (Philadelphia, PA) June 6: Webster Hall (New York City, NY) June 8: Danforth Music Hall (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I love this record, because its an actual song. Sure, they repeat the title about three-dozen times, but its a great track.
NOISE CLOSES — (Via Deadline) Broadway’s A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical will play its final performance on Sunday, June 30, before launching a national tour this fall, producers announced today.
The musical, which began previews on November 2, 2022, at the Broadhurst Theatre and opened that year on December 4, will have played 35 preview performances and 657 regular performances when it closes.
As I’ve said, early reviews of the show, kind of stopped me from going to this. An artist who is even referenced in the play said to me ‘why would I go to a play that got bad reviews.’ Understood.
But, I did see it and absolutely loved it. Of course, I’m somewhat on the business side and loved all the insider-nuances. And, I saw it with the original performers in it.
There will be a national tour and I predict it will be a huge hit as Diamond’s music is multi-generational. As I’ve said, I preferred Diamond’s “Solitary Man”-period more than “America” and “I Am, I Said.” Although, “Turn On Your Heart Light” (written with Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach) was a great record.
An icon for certain.
SHORT TAKES — Warner’s second Aquaman movie; Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom will stream on MAX on February 27. The first Aquaman movie, out in 2018, remains the highest-grossing DC film of all time. The sequel, after a plethora of media, mostly about Amber Heard, disappeared in a matter of weeks … Broadway-journeyman and Rockers On Broadway-creator Donnie Kehr recupping. Get well soon brother! … Keith Girard’s New York Independent featured an interview with 17-old wunderkind Kjersti Long. Check it out: https://www.thenyindependent.com/music/1704991/kjersti-long-17-explores-her-jersey-roots-by-way-of-utah-with-power-pop-style-video/ …
Just listened to the Pet Shop Boys “West End Girls.” What a tremendous record that hold up amazingly well all these years later. It came out in 1984 and produced by Bobby Orlando … Amazon shuttering Freevee? First off, as an offshoot of Amazon, this has got to be one of the worst monikers ever! I mean, FreeVee ... always sounded like frisbee! Adios … Thursday’s Law & Order was the ode to Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy-character (Last Dance).
After 404 episodes, we had to say goodbye. It wasn’t the greatest episode, but when McCoy took over the case and presented it to the jury, Waterston shone brightly. When McCoy said to Hugh Dancy (Nolan Ryan), it was a hell of a ride, it resonated terrifically. Thanks Jack! …
I loved the finale on HBO of True Detective with Jodie Foster and Kali Reis. I didn’t understand it all, but the look and direction (by Issa Lopez) and Jodie Foster was just superb. I had forgotten just how good an actress Foster was. Sure, she was good in Nyad, but it was a supporting role. Here, she was just stellar. I’d like to see more of her …
It was a grim week medically speaking as talk-show hostess Wendy Williams was diagnosed with aphasia and dementia and Mick Jones of Foreigner, with Parkinson’s. Sending prayers to both … And finally, news surfaced Thursday that an “inebriated” Andy Cohen harassed Brandi Glanville. I don’t know Andy at all, but his bad-boy antics of the last several years were clearly leading to something like this. Glanville’s lawyers even invoked NBC’s Matt Lauer in their brief. Expect a huge media brouhaha over this one. Sad for sure … Happy Bday Lou Christie; Niki Avers and Chloe Gaier.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — Steve Walter; Obi Steinman; Felix Cavaliere; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent Kotal; Ace Frehley; Alex Saltzman; Lush Ice; Tony King; Barry Zelman; Justin Ridener; Kent & Laura Denmark; Mark Bego; Mark Scheerer; Barbara Shelley; and SADIE!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sweeney Todd’s New Cast
Events for March
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For March
Romantic and Meaningful Love Quotes For Her To Help Win Her Heart
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