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Two Shakespearean Winter’s Tales by UK’s The Globe and Cheek by Jowl, Streamed Over a Long American Holiday Weekend from Canada

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Edward Sayer, Orlando James, Natalie Radmall-Quirke, Tom Cawte in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

This is a play that suffers from something akin to theatrical bipolar, manuevering deep into unmedicated tragedy and paranoia but then, midway, shifting to some form of musical romance full of delusional play and music. Originally published in the First Folio of 1623, The Winter’s Tale is considered one of Shakespeare’s magical “problem plays”, for that very pathological duality. The first three acts are filled with an intense dark dash of  psychological accusational torture, while the final two are somewhat lighter and comedic, and even though the last bit gives one more Kingly punch of paternal disturbia, The Winter’s Tale always finds it’s way to a happy statuesque ending, finding more of a commonality with other Shakespearean comedies than his tragedies. 

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Jordan Metcalfe and Sirine Saba in The Globe‘s The Winter’s Tale

The tale of this sordid Winter is made up of two opposing halves, just like my weekend of streaming theatre. I found myself watching two very different versions aligned and designated into two very dissimilar camps. Shakespeare’s Globe finds a way to enrich and deliver the piece with joyful precision, making the harshness of cold Sivilia, where King Leontes decsends down into a rabbit hole of jealousy, clear and sharp, while the pastoral Bohemia, where 16 years later, his lost daughter Perdita lives in love amounst merry shepherds, delightful and detailed. It realizes itself as something akin to a very well put together teaching tool for high school students, enlightening their posture to Shakespeare while also avidly entertaining them.  The Globe has a way to make the words of Shakespeare sing wisely and wittily out, embracing its audience in the pure joy of the event and the play. Cheek by Jowl, a London based theatre group, is known for its smart innovation offering up productions cut from a very different, somewhat more refined and modern cloth. Their streamed production of The Winter’s Tale finds abstract modernism within the daringness that is asked of the piece without ever loosing itself to the implausibilities and magic of Shakespeare’s last solo-written play. It challenges us to see beyond the classical cut into another place entirely, full of well-known speeches and text abstractly united for a deeper purpose. Placed side by side, the two show excitedly illustrate just how wide-ranged a Shakespeare play can be without ever throwing away the penned order of the story and the creativity of theatre itself.

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Will Keenin The Globe‘s The Winter’s Tale.

The Winter’s Tale, as if told by the young prince at bedtime to a raptured audience, follows the King of Sicilia, Leontes, who falls victom to the raging fever of jealousy. He unconsciously grabs hold tight to the unfounded paranoid belief that his dear good friend, the King of Bohemia, Polixenes, is having a passionate love affair with his faithful and very pregnant wife, Hermoine. The wild mad fantasy spins out of control driving himself down into the darker belief that the unborn child in Hermoine’s belly in not of his own making, but borne out of a secret love affair with Polixenes. There is no proof or good reason for this extreme folly, beyond that it is a belief that gribs Leontes so tightly that it drives him mad. It’s strong illogical pull results in a disastorous domino-effect that leaves both Hermione and their young son, Mamillius, dead, and sends the newly born female child out into the dangerous woods where she will surely perish in the bear-ravaged wilderness.

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Annette Badland and Jordan Metcalfe in The Globe‘s The Winter’s Tale.

From the last pages of brutal Sicilia, the most famous and challenging stage direction of any Shakespearean play, “Exit, pursued by a bear”, brings the harsh madness to an end. The baby is found, by a shepherd and son, quickly flipping the switch from tragedy to a comedic resolution and new beginning in the starkly different land of Polixenes’ Bohemia. The air and light is different here, and the land of the shepherd is full of festivities and love. In the latter scenes, The Winter’s Tale finds pleasure, love, and music in the survival and growth of Perdita, the abandoned daughter of King Leontes. She is now sixteen years old, and the beautiful young woman, after being raised by the loving shepherd, has fallen deeply in love with the equally transfixed Prince Florizel, Polixenes’s rebellious but honorable son. They want against all odds to be married, and even though Polixenes is being left out of the planning because it is known he would object, their intended marriage reunites Leontes with, not only the daughter he believes to be dead by his own order, but his dear old friend whom he wrongly accused of having an affair with his wife. It’s most definitely an odd twist that brings all back into good graces with one another, and the play joyfully concludes when a life-like statue of his beloved wife, Hermione returning to life (was she ever really dead, or just “mostly dead” – but that’s a different story), uniting the now repentant husband, the reinvigorated wife, and the lost daughter into each other’s arms with all past wrongs forgiven, along with the loving reunion of Prince Florizel and his father, the King of Bohemia. Sweet, right?

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Luke MacGregor and Norah Lopez-Holdenin The Globe‘s The Winter’s Tale.

Luckily for all, the twisted tale of madness turns itself around into a comedic story filled with love and romance, with everyone finding reconnection and resolution within the final few scenes. In its bipolared disorder, The Winter’s Tale poses a series of daring complications to any director who willingly takes on this problem play. Cheek by Jowl dives head first into the mess, and layers exploitative talk-show modernism on top, wonderfully daring us to disagree. At The Globe, director Blanche McIntyre (Headlong’s The Seagull) keeps the action floating along quite simply and effectively using a different angle from beginning to end. The first bit, designated by the more somber middle eastern robes for the lads and ladies of Sicilia (with a pair of oddly thrown in Elizabethan outfits near the end), finds its sure footedness in the clarity, shifting to a more contemporary design for those country folk and disguised gentry in the land of Bohemia at the end. Designed with a fun flair for floral shirts and snakeskin boots, the patterns of the opposites rally forth and onward until they come smashingly together in the final few scenes. McIntyre stays clear, telling the complicated tale with strong voices and sharp minds, delivering excellent and enjoyable performances from all. The standout who represents all that McIntyre is trying to do throughout, is Norah Lopez-Holden as Perdita. She finds balance in her own brand of bipolar with authentic speeches of care and engagement, jabbing in a few sharp angry blasts of frustration and disappointment that registers authentically. The devious trouble-maker, Autolycus also has a certain amount of fun and frolic in the spritely steps of Becci Gemmell, giving us some genuinely mischievous moments that are equalled to the nicely rendered shepherd family portrayed enjoyably by Jordan Metcalfe and Annette Badland.

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Priyanga Burford and Oliver Ryan in The Globe‘s The Winter’s Tale.

The entire cast finds easily understandable meaning in the Shakespearean text, finding the pathway to deliver the tale as perfectly as one could hope.  It’s a sparse but clever production, as most are at Shakespeare’s Globe, working well for the style and structure of theatre. The first bit of this tale is utterly serious and twists forcibly in the psychological uncertainty of rage and jealousy. As the pregnant Hermoine, Priyanga Burford (2017 televised film adaptation of King Charles III) attempts to find strength of character within each moment, but comes off a bit cool, giving us less bandwidth to attach to her frightened anguish. Sirine Saba (“The Black Forest“) as her ally, Pauline, comes off as the stronger of the two, standing up to the wild jealousy like a warrior remaining upright against the brutal force of a hurricane.  As that unwieldy storm, Leontes, solidly portrayed by Will Keen (Trafalgar Studios’ Huis Clos), delivers emotional clarity as he falls head first into a pit of dementia. It’s manic and sharp, with speeches that stutter but stay true in the roaring fire. His undocumented zeal lands a bit more on the lighter side of anger, particularly when compared to the more dangerously violent Cheek by Jowl modern-dress production, directed with a mature force by co-founder Declan Donnellan (West End’s Shakespeare in Love).

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Edward Sayer, Orlando James, , Tom Cawte, and Natalie Radmall-Quirke in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

Their Leontes, portrayed intensely by the exciting Orlando James (2005’s ‘Doctor Who‘) swings wildly to and fro with unnerving violent energy. His jealousy is unhinged almost scarily, raging and ranting in a fit that borders on hysteria. Its manic emotional tantruming is easily mimiced by and seen in his young son, Mamillius, played uncomfortably by Tom Cawte, who throws himself down in an unstable unnerving manner, physicalizing his father’s complex mental reactions in a most disturbing of ways. They are a match made in family trauma, and one that makes sense psychologically but cracks the action into sharp cutting shards impossible to reconnect. Its off-putting at moments, much like the bursts of disturbed laughter that swings out from Leontes after the denoucing verdict of the Oracle. He’s far more terrifying than anything The Globe throws at us, and in that uniquely different curve, the two productions fly far from one another, bringing a compelling beauty to each vantage point.  

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Orlando James, Natalie Radmall-Quirke, Tom Cawte in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

I have never been to Cheek by Jowl‘s Silk Street Theatre (now on my list of must-dos), but in the streamed broadcast available on their YouTube channel as part of the three play schedule, the wide space is gloriously unpacked before our eyes, There is a large wooden shipping container backdropping a long white bench where the action plays out with a sculptured precision. The production puts forth an abstract minimalistic line where the jealous madness freezes the visuals for contemplation, while painting a picture of the tangled web inside the King’s conflicted mind. It wraps itself up in made-up conflict and accusation, as the temperature of pain and anger rocket upward to burning hot levels.

Cheek by Jowl‘s Hermione, dynamically portrayed by Natalie Radmall-Quirke (Gate’s Twelfth Night), finds the extra layer of distraught pain that is missing at The Globe. Punched and pulled off to jail, the jab hits us all hard in the gut, making us flinch solidly to the shocking stab to the pregnant belly. Leontes’ violent attack kicks his wife into early labour, followed by a thunderous crash from the wooden slats falling downward abruptly. Under a bright white beam of light, the unfathonable storm that has been unleashed shockingly reveals the destruction of the King’s son along with his own crowned sanity in one forceful action, bound together in a deafening deathbed clash.

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Guy Hughes, Orlando James, Joseph Black, and Chris Gordon in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

As the King and Queen entreat their case to the Gods at the planked lecturn, their singular blown up faces are projected with power behind on the wooden wall. We see with clarity what death is doing, giving all a closer look into the harshness of the lines, and pained shock that lives inside. The best blood turns to infected jelly, they say, as the process illuminates with a devastating focus, the core of this Winter’s Tale, in a much grander force than the Globe‘d other. It enlargens the tyrannical denial of Apollo’s verdict and the controlled anger of the “Good Queen“. The hysteria that engulfs the King effectively conveys all that is required of the moment to make the remainder of the tale of two countries make somewhat more sense, at least emotionally. It bashes us forcibly with a more adult-like madness than The Globe‘s gentler clarity ever could. The sharp lines and non-decorated surfaces focus the eye on the threatening creation, and we swallow nervously as the hyper intensity delivers the deadly half-ending. The plainness of the space has meaning, but the thought-out reveal comes after, once the rampaging beast is projected and his hunger satisfied (quite effectively, I might add), and the land of Bohemia comes cleanly into focus.

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The cast of Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

As designed with a clean-cut aesthetic by Nick Ormerod, with shifting symbolic illumination by lighting designer Judith Greenwood, the piece is constructed with a clearly defined separation of country and culture. Donnellan’s The Winter’s Tale finds clarity in the disconnect between the two with some dirty behind the door work and a rotation of all things for this new world order to come alive. His production beautifully uses color-coded cues to highlight the radically unique sensesibilites of the two communities. The former greens and blues illuminated the madness and uncertainty of the Sicilian courtroom, while the warm reds and yellow deliver a Bohemian sense of passion and sexual chemistry that are aflame in this new and exciting land.

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The cast of Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

Cheek by Jowl’s strong physical production transports the tale to Bohemia, opening up the crate’s walls to allow more air and festive light into the land. The revelry is spirited, driven with a sexy fun force by the thieving mischief of the charming Autolycus, played handsomely by the ripped jean-wearing Ryan Donaldson (West End’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin), engaging in his meta-marvelous banter with us all. We give in to his solid “shout out to all the poor people in the cheap seats”, as Donaldson musically pulls us under his wings, as he slyly pickpockets our heart with ease.  Perdita, played marvelously by Eleanor McLoughlin (“Forgotten Man“), and Florizel, beautifully portrayed by Sam Woolf (National Theatre’s Antony & Cleopatra), do their romantic duty with ease, even as he knowingly (and secretly) enrages his father, Poloxenes, played wildly by Edward Sayer (“Hearts & Minds“). There is good flavor in all their interactions, even as Cheek by Jowl spins wildly, and somewhat inventively off the handle with it’s madcap talk-show ridiculousness. You’ll either love it or hate it, but the modern antics are maddeningly fun, making little sense of Shakespeare’s convoluted second half, but the spontaneity rarely fails to keep our interest firmly in its favor.

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Eleanor McLoughlin and Sam Woolf in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

The frenzied action that brings everyone back to Sicilia for the warmer-than-though ending delivers the goods well. It threads the knots together quickly, before heading off to the Pigmaleon-esque ending that never really works for my won senses. The unifying of all around the statue of Hermoine, in both versions, at Shakespeare’s Globe and at Cheek by Jowl, tries to find closure in the often-argued conclusion. The Cheek by Jowl bench returns, and the characters line up with Radmall-Quirke sitting perfectly still lit by the warm orange of Bohemia. Life for the hidden wife returns, and The Winter’s Tale discovers its resolution. Both versions find their revitalized finale, as both Kings learn to swallow their unwise rants against their loved ones. Leontes crawls to his wife, fully repentant, while the other King embraces the son he so violently railed against earlier on. Love is restored and all is unbelievable forgiven. A second chance is given to the men, as honestly and clearly as Cheek by Jowl‘s reputation is firmly emplanted in my Shakespearean heart. It is clearly a company I need to experience sometime in the future when theatrical life returns to something close to a new norm. Just like The Globe whose straight-forward clarity is something I need to experience first-hand. Their productions continue to enhance my understanding of Shakespeare’s great text while playfully remaining the entertainment they were once meant to be.  But until that time, I am continuously thankful for these great companies live streaming their inventive and wonderful Shakespearean productions for us to contrast and compare, produced by companies that know their glory and strength. What’s up next Cheek by Jowl? and The Globe? I can not wait for more to dig my Shakespearean teeth into.

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Ryan Donaldson in Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

For those who are able in these trying times, please consider donating to these companies or any arts organizations near you, as they strive to continue to provide artistic beauty and intellectual stimulation in a world shaken by this pandemic. My hope is that these streaming events will remind people just how vital the arts and Shakespeare are to our communities, our sense of self, and (for many of us) our sanity.

https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/join-and-support/donate/
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Ryan Donaldson (right) and the cast of Cheek by Jowl‘s The Winter’s Tale. Photo: Johan Persson.

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

League of Professional Theatre Women Invite the Public to Oral History Interview Of Broadway Playwright Theresa Rebeck

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Stage, film, television and novel writer Theresa Rebeck will be interviewed about her long and brilliant career at 6p.m., Monday, June 3, at the Bruno Walter Auditorium, at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center (111 Amsterdam Avenue at 65th Street), New York.
This event, which is FREE and open to the public, is part of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s (LPTW) Oral History Project in partnership with the Library and is a highlight of LPTW’s 41st season.
Theresa Rebeck is a widely produced writer for stage, film, television and novels, whose work can be seen and read throughout the United States and internationally. With five plays produced on Broadway, Rebeck is the most Broadway-produced female playwright of our time.
Rebeck’s Broadway credits include I Need That (starring Danny DeVito), Bernhardt/Hamlet (starring Janet McTeer), Dead Accounts (starring Norbert Leo Butz); Seminar (starring Alan Rickman); Mauritius (starring F. Murray Abraham). Other New York productions of her work include Dig (Outer Critic’s Circle nomination), Seared (starring Raul Esparza, DramaLeague Award) at MCC Theater, Downstairs (starring Tim Daly and Tyne Daly); The Scene (starring Tony Shalhoub), The Water’s Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage; Bad Dates, The Butterfly Collection and Our House at Playwrights Horizons; The Understudy at Roundabout Theatre Company; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Other notable plays include Poor Behavior, What We’re Up Against, and Omnium Gatherum (co-written), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013.
As an author, Rebeck has written three novels: Three Girls and Their Brother (Random House/Shaye Areheart Books, 2008), Twelve Rooms with A View (Random House/Shaye Areheart Books, 2010) and I’m Glad About You (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2016), along with Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business.
Rebeck made her NYC Directorial debut with Rob Ackerman’s play Dropping Gumballs on Luke Wilson at The Working Theatre and directed the World Premiere of her new play Dig at Primary Stages in NY and Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont. Her new podcast play, “Nightwatch” (starring Norbert Leo Butz), was released in 2023.
In television, Rebeck created the NBC showbiz drama “Smash,” and has written for “Canterbury’s Law,” “LA Law,” NYPD Blue,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Dream On,” Brooklyn Bridge,” and many more.
Her produced feature films include the big-budget all-female spy thriller 355 (co-written with Simon Kinberg for Jessica Chastain’s production company); Trouble (writer/director), starring Angelica Huston and Bill Pullman; Harriet the Spy; Gossip and the independent features Sunday on the Rocks and Seducing Charlie Barker, an adaptation of her play, The Scene.
Theresa lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jess Lynn.
To attend this event, please RSVP HERE.
To view past oral history interviews, visit the Library’s Theatre on Film and Tape Archive, or visit the LPTW’s archive.
Women working in the theatre industry are eligible to join LPTW.  For more information on upcoming events and to join LPTW, visit: www.theatrewomen.org.
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Broadway

Chita Rivera Awards Part 2 The Interviews

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T2C was at the 2024 Chita Rivera Awards at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. We got to interview some of the best in dance and look forward to sharing this with you.

On this video watch Michael-Demby Cain, Joe Lanteri, Bernadette Peters, Debbie Allen, Justin Peck, Norm Lewis, Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Chita’s daughter Lisa Mordente, Kenny Ortega, Serge Trujillo,  winners for Water For Elephants Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, winner Camille A Brown Hell’s Kitchen, Marina Tamayo, Lorin Latarro, David Petersen, Bruce Robert Harris, Ali Louis Bourzgui, Huey Lewis, Phil LaDuca, Riki Kane Larimer, Grant Plotkin and highlights from the show with Ali Louis Bourgzgui, Kristin ZChenoweth, Norm Lewis, Wayne Brady and more.

This was one spectacular night.

Video by Magda Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

TRUMPED AT CANNES — What with Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and Kevin Costner’s Horizon garnering most of the pre-Cannes ink, it turns out that The Apprentice; the so-called rise of Donald Trump, has become to must-see attraction there.

Starring Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan

and Jeremy Strong -as Roy Cohn-  its received the most attention after its screening this week. Check out this up-to-date spot from The Hollywood Reporter:


The Trump camp has threatened a lawsuit over a somewhat graphic scene between Trump and Ivana in the movie. The filmmaker Ali Abbasi has said that while the lawsuits may fly fast and furious from the Trump-camp, their success rate should be re-examined. A pretty savvy response if you ask me.

MORE TREK — (Via Deadline) Oscar winner  Holly Hunter has been tapped to star in Paramount+’s upcoming series Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Hunter will play the captain and chancellor of Starfleet Academy in the series which will begin production later this summer.

Produced by CBS Studios, the series will follow the adventures of a new class of Starfleet cadets as they come of age in one of the most legendary places in the galaxy.

Per the logline: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy introduces viewers to a young group of cadets who come together to pursue a common dream of hope and optimism. Under the watchful and demanding eyes of their instructors, they discover what it takes to become Starfleet officers as they navigate blossoming friendships, explosive rivalries, first loves and a new enemy that threatens both the Academy and the Federation itself.

As a Treker-from the 60’s, where the hell is the next proper Star Trek-movie with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto? They both were fantastic in my mind. Into Darkness was sensational? Weird for sure.

Michael Jackson and Ron Alexenburg

SHORT TAKES — Record-industry icon Ron Alexenburg is penning his autobiography to be called From The Warehouse To The Penthouse. Alexenburg, when he ran Epic Records, worked with everyone from Michael Jackson to Meat Loaf, Boston, The Beach Boys, and Charlie Daniels. Here’s a great interview with him:

Oddly, he doesn’t mention his Infinity Records opus, where I worked with him. The opening night party for the label was at the NY Public Library in NYC. It was an awesome event …

Speaking of books, Dave Mason’s Only You Know and I Know is finally out after a massive delay. I saw a video of him opening the first box. Apparently it is only available through his website. Good luck Dave …

We haven’t seen Kevin Costner’s Horizon yet, but a report from Roger Friedman (Showbiz 411), claims Costner doesn’t even appear in the movie for the first hour. Really? …

Christopher Reeve

Great Hamptons Film Festival exclusive by Roger Friedman. Check it out: https://www.showbiz411.com/2024/05/21/hot-ticket-christopher-reeve-super-man-film-to-get-early-look-hamptons-screening-before-release-at-summerdocs … And, great spot on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on the new book from Michael McDonald with Paul Reiser (What A Fool Believes/DEY Street):

RIP Fred Roos.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Riley Keough; Edwyn Collins; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Tony Seidel; Jason Cooper; Bob Krasnow; Les Schwartz; Pete Sanders; Jeremy Long; Peter Shendell; Randy Alexander; Carson Daly; Pete Best; Cory Robbins; Bill Adler; Roy Trakin; Mark Bego; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Kent and Laura Denmark; and BELLA!

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

RASCALS AT SONY HALL — The Rascals long-awaited return to NYC proved to be a sensational evening of music. Their 16-song set, backed up by a terrific band -including bassist John Billings from Micky Dolenz’s band- was rocking from the start with their “Do You Feel It” and “”Beautiful Morning.” Felix Cavaliere’s vibrant vocals were just a joy. Face it, for people of a certain age, we grew up with this voice … just magical.

Micky Dolenz

Their cover of the Jackie Wilson-chestnut “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) High” set the SRO crowd afire.

Felix then brought his daughter Aria out for two selections. Clearly, she’s inherited by father’s dynamic vocal prowess. She was just terrific and a nice surprise.

Cavaliere then brought out guitarist Gene Cornish who was just wonderful. Gene has had some health issues, but his presence brought the show to a magnificent high-point.

Oddly, there was no mention of the rumored “My Hawaii” from Cavaliere with vocals from Dolly Parton. He mentioned it in a recent interview with Medium, but was mum about it on last Monday’s WOR-interview with Len Berman and Michael Riedel. I hear that the release has been held up several times. Sad … can’t wait to hear it.

The show ended with their signature classics “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure,” “People Got To Be Free” and Good Lovin’.” The Rascals’ music is ingrained and it was a joy to hear it once again. Truth be told, it sounded better than ever!

Seated in a corner booth by the stage was none other than Bill Murray – a huge fan. Great night sensational set. Also, there were Rascals-PR man David Salidor; Dan Zelinski; Billy Amendola; Magda Katz from Times Square Chronicles; and Susan Nuzzi Russo. Thanks to SONY Hall’s Peter Abraham for his assistance.

David Sanborn

DAVID SANBORN — We don’t usually re-print tributes, but this, from David Sanborn’s wife Alice Soyer was so heartfelt.  Take a read:

Dave, my love, my warrior, my soulmate, my unique bird, my everything. I cannot believe what I’m writing right now but what I know is that you changed my life, because of you I know what true love is, I had and have it all. I have it all. Although I’m going to miss you every single minute of my life, I know that the pain you were enduring was not right, those pains are now released and you are completely free. You are and will be in every note, in every breath, in every sound that touches the soul, in every sun beam, in every cloud, in every beat of my heart. Dave you are an inspiration. Your courage to be yourself, to reveal this true voice screaming from inside, oh my love you are a true warrior, a pure artist, an extraordinary being.I will honor you every step on the way, I will represent you, us. I love you madly.

Dave forever

Don Grolnick

SHORT TAKES — First off, I left off one very important member when I referenced The Brecker Brothers last time: keyboardist-genius Don Grolnick: terrifically talented and much-missed …

George Harrison

One of the best parts of watching Let It Be(again!) was seeing John & Yoko dancing to George Harrison’s stunningly-beautiful “I Me Mine.” Awesome…  From Roger Friedman’s SHOWBIZ 411:Barbra Streisand just released a new a beautiful new single called “Love Will Survive,” for the closing credits of the upcoming series “The Tattooist of Auschwitz.” It’s maybe Streisand’s best new vocal in years thanks to producers Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey’s classics) and Peter Asher (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor classics). So now I’m told Streisand has booked the producing duo for her next album of duets. Barbra has a couple of these under her belt over her six decade career. But this one sounds like a powerhouse … Great interview with Micky Dolenz in advance of his Surf Ballroom show Friday in Clear Lake, Iowa: https://littlevillagemag.com/monkee-micky-dolenz-surf-ballroom/?fbclid=IwAR2jXAYYYCJ_19ovY4yT8DU8OfdaTU-GYdYhXahF-rvYj3yERRW_K5MmgrI

Francis Ford Coppola

With this year’s Cannes  Film Festival underway, the first big movie screened was Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis and it generated some of the craziest reviews I’ve ever seen.

Mostly positive. Coppola’s a genius, so you know to expect the unexpected. I think my favorite was from the UK’s Daily Telegraph which gave the movie four stars, saying, “Coppola’s latest is like Succession crossed with Batman Forever and a lava lamp… Aubrey Plaza is fantastic in this full-body sensory bath movie which follows a struggle for power among the elites of New Rome.” Me? I can’t wait to see it. The guy’s a bloody genius … 17-year-old wunderkind Kjersti Long -co writer of Vanessa Williams’ current return to music “Legs (Keep Dancing)”- heads to NYC for the Tribeca Festival in 2 weeks … And Apple TV’s Sugar -with Colin Farrell- ended its run. The first few episodes were great; very LA Confidential, but then, it turned into a sci-fi adventure. Odd? You bet. The ending left room for a second season, but I highly doubt it. Farell was great, but the topsy-turvy plot twist was brutal.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — August Darnell; Coati Mundi; Jeff Vogel; Kent Kotal; Bruce Grakal; Ringo Starr; Danny Fried; China Club; Tony King; Peter Brown; Mark Bego; Kent & Laura Denmark Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Peter Abraham; Peter Lubin; Steve Plotnicki; Profile Records; Joe Cocker; Lush Ice; Anthony Pomes; Terry Jastrow; and BELLA!

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Film

Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Amy Winehouse

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Back to Black is a biopic based on the life of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, played by Marisa Abela. Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and written by Matt Greenhalgh, the film also stars Jack O’Connell, Eddie Marsan, and Lesley Manville.

After the death of Winehouse in 2011, filmmakers attempted to create a feature biopic with various projects. In October 2018, it was announced that Winehouse’s estate had signed a deal to make a biopic about her life and career. In July 2022, Deadline Hollywood reported that StudioCanal was moving forward with a feature film entitled Back to Black. Sam Taylor-Johnson directed from a script by Matt Greenhalgh. Alison Owen and Debra Hayward produced under their Monumental Pictures banner, alongside Nicky Kentish-Barnes.

The film was released theatrically in Australia in April 2024, and was released in the United Kingdom shortly after. Focus Features released the film in the United States on May 17 2024.

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