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What To Watch August 28th To Take Away The Blues

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Virtual Godspell Concert By Hope Mill Theatre. Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre will present a virtual concert of the Stephen Schwartz musical Godspell August 27–29.

The cast will be led by Ruthie Henshall (Chicago) and Darren Day (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), who were featured in a 1993 cast recording of the musical. They’ll be joined by Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen), Ria Jones (Evita), and Jenna Russell (Sunday in the Park With George).

The cast will also include Jodie Steele, Danyl Johnson, Jenny Fitzpatrick, Natalie Green, John Barr, Sally Ann Triplett, Gerard McCarthy, Alison Jiear, Shekinah McFarlane, and Lucy Williamson.

Godspell, which tells a series of parables leading up to the Passion of Christ, features a score by Schwartz (WickedPippinThe Prince of Egypt) and a book by John-Michael Tebelak. Songs include “Day By Day,” “Save The People,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All Good Gifts,” “Turn Back, O Man,” and “By My Side.”

The concert will raise money for Hope Mill Theatre, Acting For Others, and National AIDS Trust.

12pm: Peanut Butter Jams is a half-hour interactive living room concert/music class, designed to entertain and teach kids from the comfort of their own homes. Brought to you by Broadway performers Lilli Wosk and Brad Standley, PBJams is high-quality fun for the whole fam. 

12pm: Lang Lang

1pm: College Theatre Auditions: University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Webster University By Playbill Faculty from theatre programs at university’s go live to answer your questions about their specialized college theatre experiences, audition tips, and more.

2:30: Showstopper! The (Socially Distanced!) Improvised Musical Olivier Award winners and Fringe favourites The Showstoppers are back with another socially distanced and completely improvised smash hit musical. 

Using state-of-the-art technology and rigorous social distancing, the company will take live suggestions from the audience watching at home to create a full-length brand new musical, while socially distanced from each other behind clear screen.  

So whether you fancy Hamilton on Hampstead Heath or some Sondheim set in a castle, you say it and – as always – The Showstoppers will make it happen! 

The show will be available to watch for 48 hours after the live event so those who can’t watch it live, can catch up after.

3pm: Behind The Curtain Of Kooza Join Cirque Du Soleil’s 20th production! Expect the unexpected as we invite you behind the scenes of this crowd-favourite. Not only will you learn more about how to land a double backflip on one stilt, you will also be given an exclusive look at all the preparation that goes into putting on the show

3pm: The Early Night Show with Joshua Turchin

4pm: Creators’ Cut: Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven By Atlantic Theater Company. This Creators’ Cut features the playwright behind the Atlantic Theater Company’s Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven with writer Stephen Adly Guirgis and director John Ortiz.

4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar 

Linda Lavin

5pm: Julie Halston: Virtual Halston Broadway actress/comedienne Julie Halston is coming to a laptop near you! After ranting and raving on stages and cocktail parties, the comedy queen will launch “Virtual Halston,” a weekly half-hour gab-fest spotlighting her famous friends. This week’s guest

Linda Lavin best known for playing the title character in the sitcom Alice and for her stage performances, both on Broadway and Off-Broadway. On Broadway in the 1960s, she earned notice in It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman, receiving her first Tony Award nomination in Last of the Red Hot Lovers in 1970. She moved to Hollywood in 1973 and began to work in television, making recurring appearances on the sitcom Barney Miller before getting the title role in hit comedy Alice, which ran from 1976 to 1985. In 1987, she returned to Broadway, starring in Broadway Bound (winning a Tony Award), Gypsy (1990), The Sisters Rosensweig (1993), The Diary of Anne Frank (1997–1998) and The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (2000–2001), among others. In 2010, she appeared as Ruth Steiner in Collected Stories, garnering her fifth Tony nomination.

5pm: OnStageOff Savannah Repertory Theatre has begun a weekly online talkshow called “OnStageOff” to help connect Savannah theatrical artists and projects to the national conversation and to bridge the gap between what’s now and what’s next as the company plans a safe, authorized return to live performance.

Upcoming guests include Tony Award winner Bill Irwin (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?Fool Moon), Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris (Fun HomeAssassins), Michael Jacinto (Girls at Yale Rep), and Karla Knudsen with musical guests including Chris Blisset, Stephen Lyons, and Nygel D. Robinson. The show is hosted by Savannah Rep’s Executive Artistic Director Ryan McCurdy. 

6pmBOLD2020 The premiere of a festival of ten-minute plays that’s in response to the systemic silencing of Black womxn’s voices

7pm: The 19th Amendment Project Bitter Flower by Jennifer Natalya Fink presented by the Gilbert Theatre and Burning Coal Theatre Company
Follows the relationship of two major figures in the suffrage movement, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Jane Addams, and the fault lines of black and white feminists that continue to the present day.  Content Warning: death, racism, abuse

Burning Coal Theatre is pleased to present The 19th Amendment Project, a collection of short plays written by some of the most accomplished women and/or non-binary playwrights working today, writing on the passage of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago and its ongoing impact. 

7pm: LimeFest Alternate Realities The FemFilm Festival screens short films written, directed and starring women. This year’s cross-genre theme, Alternate Realities, showcases surreal work that comments on the strange realities of modern life. The FemFilm Festival was founded in 2019 by Francesca Pazniokas, and this year will be co-curated by Felicia Lobo.

7pm: Fountain Theater: The Ballad of Emmett Till The original director and cast of our 2010, multiple award-winning production of The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza will reunite for a finely produced, live-streamed reading of the play on the 65th anniversary of Till’s murder. Directed by Shirley Jo Finney with original cast members Bernard K. Addison, Rico E. Anderson, Lorenz Arnell, Adenrele Ojo and Karen Malina White. The reading will be available on demand through the end of the year.

7:30: La Traviata Few operatic figures are as beloved as Violetta, the dignified, selfless, and sickly heroine of Verdi’s classic tragedy. An elegant courtesan with a heart of gold, she chooses true love over the amusements and riches of her glamorous Parisian life, then sacrifices everything for the sake of a young woman she’s never even met. All of this—the glitter of her earlier wealth, the heat of her passion with the ardent young Alfredo, the pain of their separation, and her tragic end—lands with devastating weight thanks to Verdi, whose score stands as one of music’s greatest depictions of love and loss.

Shaina Taub
Shaina Taub

8pm: Stars in the House: Shaina Taub, Johnny Butler and Peter Shane Stars in the House is the daily live streamed concert series created by Playbill correspondent and SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley.

8pm: Quantum Theatre: Constellations Roland, a beekeeper, and Marianne, a quantum physicist, meet through a chance encounter and a multitude of possibilities stretch out before them. Three couples of married actors lead us through shifting realities and an infinity of parallel universes in this romantic play exploring the intersection of free will, destiny, and love. Starring Julianne Avolio, John Michnya, Daina Griffith, Daniel Krell, Marva Williams-Parker and Rico Romalus Parker

Originally produced on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club, Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director, Barry Grove, Executive Producer, and The Royal Court Theatre by special arrangement with Ambassador Theatre Group and Dodgers on December 16, 2014.

The production is offered in two live 30-minute segments, and presented over four nights. Live broadcasts begin each evening at 8:00 PM, preceded by recordings of Part 1 on Friday and Sunday. Though we hope fans will tune into the livestream, registered participants will also be able to view a recording of the broadcast at their convenience throughout the 4-day period.

8pm: Plays for the People: Cell Surface By Black Lives Black Words International Project. Black Lives Black Words International Project’s Plays for the People series continues with Dominic Taylor’s Cell Surface. Jerrell Henderson directs.

Cell Surface is a play about making a play in Zoom about two amazing African-American scientists,  Dr. E.E. Just and Dr. Roger Young. Ernest Everett Just was the first Black graduate of Dartmouth. His graduate assistant, while he was a professor at Howard University, was Dr. Roger Young. She was the first Black woman to get a Ph.D. in science from U Penn.

9pm: A Midsummer Night’s Zoom Through a creative collaboration, UCI faculty members Eli Simon and Julia Lupton are reimagining and re-envisioning one of the Bard’s most enduring and beloved works, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for live streaming and community interaction.

By examining the human condition through the ubiquitous themes of forbidden love, heartbreak, social conventions, and parental approval, to name a few, the relevance and appeal of Shakespeare plays are timeless.

9pm: Hollywood Fringe Festival: Romeo and Juliet; Virtually Theater Asylum and #FringeFromHome presents Romeo & Juliet;Virtually LIVE! (the original #AloneTogether couple) in the most tragic online video party event ever! Fridays and Saturdays, August 21, 22, 28 & 29 only, at 6 pm PDT. Virtual doors open at 5:30 for a pre-show welcome from fair Pomona’s Mayor Escalus.

A live Zoom party? With a modern day Romeo and Juliet? “How does that work?” we hear you thinking. Mom and Pops Capulet are throwing an online bash with fair Pomona’s finest, and you’re welcome to attend, just so long as you’ve no relation to that rotten Montague family. Sure, their kid Romeo is handsome and rich, but he’d better not come virtually anywhere near daughter Juliet.

There are thugs onboard on both sides of these families, so just how wrong could this all possibly go? At least you’re fairly safe partying on from home. Wait! What’s that pounding sound at your front door?

Each performance invites a limited number of revelers, so grab your ticket to reserve your spot for the jeers and tears. A custom link will be emailed directly to you to join in. The fun begins at 5:30 pm PDT for the West Coast (and in earnest at 6:00), 8:30 pm on the US East Coast, and at 10:30 am AEDT on Australia’s East Coast for our Ren-Faire friends down under.

$9 VIP Party Experience – Your ticket link gets you INTO the party, text chatting in real time with the cast and fellow partiers. Do you have some advice for Juliet about this new guy Romeo, or perhaps for Juliet’s BFF Nurse Nan, or for Romeo’s pal Freddie Mercutio? You’ll be in the Zoom where it happens, so let them know! Maybe your emojis and words of wisdom can help these star-crossed lovers get it untwisted. The VIP party experience then continues directly after with a live talkback with the cast.

10pm: Latino Theater Company: August 29

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: suzanna@t2conline.com

Off Broadway

The Journals of Adam and Eve The World’s First Love Story Starring Hal Linden and Marilu Henner

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photo by Paul Aphisit

“Some day we’ll look back on this and laugh.”

The Journals of Adam and Eve The World’s First Love Story starring Hal Linden and Marilu Henner is a master class in acting. Created by Emmy-winning comedy writer Ed Weinberger (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi, The Cosby Show), the show is very reminiscent of Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve. Ultimately an endearing love story, the  show records the couple’s initial ambivalence to growth within themselves and in love.

Done like a reading, the actors are in black street clothes. They refer to their scripts from adjoining music stands. There is water on small tables and a chair for each.

Hal Linden and Marilu Henner are very amusing and powerful storytellers. Linden’s journey as Adam, starts off with “Much to my amazement, I was born a full-grown man,” to “It wasn’t the Garden of Eden. Not by a long shot.” We meet and see a man who is flawed, childlike in full blown ego to a man content with the journey. It is truly funny to see Mr. Linden recall his favorite herb. “A few swallows of the bud and I soon found myself wolfing down handfuls of figs drenched in honey and sprinkled with crunchy chili peppers. It also made me giggle when I counted my fingers.”

Henner commands the stage squeezing every laugh out of goading Adam, flirting in a way that is subtle and innocent. When he tries to rule over her she states; “Well, it just so happens that this living thing that ‘moveth’ is not one of your birds, fishes, or any other animal you have dominion over. So maybe you and this God ought to have another little talk about who is whoest and what is whateth.”

As the mysteries of life and love are explored desire, discoveries, temptation, lust, being the world’s first parents, joys, sorrows, separation and contentment in their twilight years all are explained and shown in a way that makes you think.

This thought-provoking comedy’s makes you wonder did we ever really know the first couple, that in a strange way has influenced all of our lives?

Amy Anders Corcoran’s direction is simple, yet effective and you will leave the theatre more satisfied than Adama dn Eve after they bit that apple.

The Journals of Adam and Eve: The Sheen Center, Loreto Theater, 18 Bleecker Street, until July 28th

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Off Broadway

Cats – The Jellical Ball at PAC NYC Death Drops Deliriously Divine and Feline-Free

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This is a ball darling, emote!” and with the glitter dust blown off an iconic album, this Jellicle Ball reimaging eyes the runway in classic form, giving a nod to the old, but radically restructuring this new version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats with divine aplomb. The shadow ballet to the overture, as directed by Zhailon Levingston (Broadway’s Chicken and Biscuits) and Bill Rauch (LCT’s The Great Society) with choreography by Arturo Lyons (Madonna’s Celebration Tour) and Omari Wiles (Les Ballet Afrik), sets fire to the excited crowd that has gathered around the runway at PAC NYC, giving mystical divinity to Gay Pride Saturday. It’s clearly the musical theatrical event of the summer, with nothing else coming close, other than a few shows that are coming to an end after reaping the awards of a Post-Tony upswing. And I couldn’t feel more blessed as I took my seat right behind the two special guests who were seated on each side of an empty throne. So prepare yourselves, kittens, for what is about to come, because it’s not what you remember. Not at all. It’s something very different, and magically magnificent in ways I could never have imagined before this construction. It has meaning, deeper than when it first crawled in from the streets, and a unifying sense of community that registers far beyond what one could have anticipated, culturally and emotionally.

For anyone of a certain age, this musical, Cats, which started out in the West End at the New London Theatre in May 1981, was a phenomenon that was unparalleled at the time. Interesting fact: Judi Dench was originally cast to play the glamour cat but tore her Achilles tendon during rehearsal and was replaced by Elaine Paige.  Later, it opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1982 with Buckley as Grizabella. Her 1983 Tony-winning performance has etched itself firmly into our collective theatrical minds with all of its pain, beauty, and power. I was not lucky enough to have seen either Buckley or Paige as Grizabella, but I did see Cats for the first time at the newly opened historic Elgin Theatre in Toronto in 1985.  It was a big deal for me and the city when this famous show ushered in a new period of theatrical renewal for Toronto, and I, as a university student studying Theatre Design at York University, could not wait to see it.

André De Shields in Cats – The Jellicle Ball at PAC NYC. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

I had worn out my record (or was it a cassette tape?) listening to all of those unique and exciting songs over and over again. I cannot tell you who played the part in the Canadian production for this two-and-a-half-year run (if you can tell me, I’d love to know) but I can honestly admit that I loved the experience. An idea that both tells you the state of theatre at the time, and how this musical, even if it has gained a certain level of disdain and unpopularity in the modern theatrical world, ignited something in our collective consciousness that hadn’t been seen on stage before it purred its way forward. It was revolutionary, even as we look back at it down our more enlightened noses.

When I saw the 2016 Cats revival, directed again by Trevor Nunn, it was like revisiting an old magician friend, but one that I had hoped would have tried a few new tricks, and maybe given us a bit different twist.  Cats, to be frank, is a ridiculously silly show in terms of modern-day musical theatre, but I do recognize that at the time, back in 1985, it was historic. Cats started a theatrical trend or model, whether you like it or not, for producers to create what was to be called the ‘megamusical’ phenomenon. It quickly established a global market for musical theatre, focusing the industry towards establishing big-budget blockbusters, as well as creating a theatrical entertainment landscape devoted to family and tourist-friendly shows. The musical’s profound but polarising influence also reshaped the aesthetic, technology, and marketing of the medium for the better, or maybe the worse for the industry today.  It changed what musicals were allowed to be.  And I get that.  But some shows don’t age so well.  Don’t get me wrong, Cats is not a bad show in any way but it was running out of lives, and needed viewing through a completely different lens.

The cast of Cats – The Jellicle Ball at PAC NYC. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.
But who could have guessed it would be reborn most brilliantly on the runway of Harlem Ballroom; a culture made iconic in shows like 2018’s “Pose“, as well as in the video for Malcolm McLaren’s “Deep in Vogue“, released in 1989, and Madonna’s “Vogue“, released in 1990, one year before the ground-breaking documentary “Paris Is Burning“, which really brought the iconic framework into our cultural sensibilities. They all did in their own ways, but co-directors Levingston and Rauch (artistic director of PAC NYC) took on this dusty ALW musical, that was famously inspired by “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T. S. Eliot, and sent it swirling and voguing itself into an astounding new Heaviside Layer (the Cats version of heaven), reforming and rebirthing these former felines into something very different, and absolutely earth-shakeringly fabulous.
Their new Cats has been reborn and redesigned, throwing itself into the competitive Ballroom Scene with a confident power that is intoxicating and electrifying. Played out on a long runway space running from the windows to the judges’ table, designed with a spirited sense by Rachel Hauck (Broadway’s Hadestown; MCC’s The Wrong Man), the newly formed megamusical delivers its mega reframing with an African-American and Latino underground LGBTQ+ subcultural slant, rolled out with pride and self-assurance. The retooling has nothing to do with the four-legged feline. These ‘cats’ are performative alter-ego contestants; magnificent and creative, competing in a captivating, integrated competition that has its historic soul coming from drag balls of the mid-19th Century. And those balls, in response to increasing racism and homophobia, evolved in the 20th Century into house Ballroom Competitions, where Black and Latino participants would ‘walk’ the runway in a variety of categories, resulting in the awarding of trophies and cash prizes. The framework is perfection for these personality introductions, and these ‘cats’ are ready to revel and death-drop dip into these historic roots like no one could have ever imagined possible.The newly formed framing works its magic throughout, creating community within the Cats clan of chosen names and chosen family. Adam Honoré (Broadway’s Ain’t No Mo’) delivers a spectacle in lights alongside the solid sound design by Kai Harada (Broadway’s Kimberly Akimbo), as does the recreated iconic projections by Brittany Bland (Public’s A Raisin in the Sun) that honor, enhance, and elevate. But like any ballroom competition, memorable magic is forever created in the costumes designed masterfully by Qween Jean (TNG’s Black No More) and the wigs created by Nikiya Mathis (Broadway’s Home), and neither let this ball drop.

Sydney James Harcourt and the cast of Cats – The Jellicle Ball at PAC NYC. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

Competing in an assortment of Ballroom categories like “Butch Queen Realness” and “Old Way vs. New Way” voguing, the cast fly themselves forward, finding authenticity in their irresistibility. It’s powerful exciting and theatrical, while only once purring itself a bit too closely to the actual idea of playing Cats. That moment aside, everyone in the cast is beyond excellent, dipping themselves down into death at the drop of a hat, while playing with the structure and feline concepts most majestically. The incredibly sexy Sydney James Harcourt (Public’s Girl From the North Country) makes an irresistible Rum Tum Tugger, winning his trophy easily, while Emma Sofia (Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) as Skimbleshanks, loses by a whisker. Antwayn Hopper (Broadway’s A Strange Loop) as Macavity steals the scene in designer labels with tags still attached, while later on, ballroom legend Junior LaBeija delivers a touchingly sweet spiriting as Asparagus, the old theater cat. But it is the long-legged “Magical Mr. Mistoffelees“, embodied by the mega-talented Robert “Silk” Mason (“Into the Colors“), that truly brings all that brilliance to the forefront, and ties it all together with such talent and presence.

But really we are all waiting for the arrival of Old Deuteronomy, knowingly played most deliciously regal by André De Shields (Broadway’s Hadestown) to take his seat on the throne. His entrance and demeanor couldn’t have been more perfect for the part, carrying himself forward like many of the trophies given out by MC Munkustrap, portrayed dutifully well by Dudney Joseph Jr. (Public’s The Harder They Come), to the young contestant kitties vying for Old D’s respectful nod. As in the traditional telling of this tale, a tribe of ‘cats’ called the Jellicles have come before the honorable Old Deuteronomy to make the “Jellicle choice”, deciding which of the many worthy cats assembled will ascend up to the Heaviside Layer and come back to the world in a new life. Here, under the strongly focused eyes of its determined directors, the lens has shifted yet remained tuned into the competitive introductions of ‘cats’ vying for the ultimate award of the night. And the experiment works, better than any of us could have dreamed or hoped for.

André De Shields (center) and the cast of Cats – The Jellicle Ball at PAC NYC. Photo by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman.

It’s a deliciously delivered radical relayering, that completely renders us helpless against the talented ‘cats’ laid out before us, choreographed to the heavens, and performed to energetic perfection by an astounding cast. Anyone familiar with this musical knows we are all waiting for the one who has fallen on hard times, the formally glamorous Grizabella, usually played by “Tempress” Chasity Moore, but on this particular night, understudy Garnet Williams (Parity’s At Hotel MacGuffin) majestically donned the smudged lipstick and ripped coat, delivering the goods with extreme gusto. The other cats pull back and away from her at first, but it’s only a matter of time until Grizabella is given the floor, and Williams, thanks to the strong musical supervision and music direction by William Waldrop (Broadway’s Evita; Cats) and Beats arranger Trevor Holder (Brian Jackson’s Gotta Play; Broadway’s The Wiz), weaves some “Memory” magic all around her, shining radiantly upwards to the Heaviside Layer in shimmering majestic fashion. It’s an exit worthy of the work being done here, and the supreme magic created in this radically magnificent restructuring of Cats – The Jellical Ball. Let’s hope this ‘radical reimagined’ production has a few more lives to live, and runways to walk. Is Circle in the Square its next alley cat Ballroom? Or are the whisperings I hear wrong?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrfstFrQKccTo see the video click here.

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Events

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicky Hopkins

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Zucker

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

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

 Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Off Broadway

Empire: The Musical Wants To Be What It Is Not

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I was so looking forward to Empire: The Musical. I was impressed at the press meet and greet, as well as the video on Youtube with the musical scoring, sadly it did not hit the mark. The book by Caroline Sherman and Robert Hull is confusing and doesn’t allow for us to become emotionally involved. For the most part the show takes place in Great Depression, however it starts off in 1976 and is seen through Sylvie Lee (Julia Louise Hosack the understudy for Jessica Ranville) eyes. My first question becomes how did Sylvie get to the era of the Great Depression and interact with it considering it started in 1929, the Empire State Building began construction in 1930 and, after an incredible 13 months (just 410 days), was completed in 1931?

Sylvie is the daughter of a worker who died during construction and hates the building and the past. She is resentful and now she is in the Great Depression interacting with  former New York City Governor Alfred E. Smith (Paul Salvatoriello), former General Motors executive John J. Raskob (Howard Kaye), architect Charles Kinney (Albert Guerzon), and Frances Belle “Wally” Wolodsky (Kaitlyn Davidson) who is the person behind Smith and girlfriend of Kinney. Another of the confusion here is Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates were the architect not Charles Kinney.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

As we learn this story we meet the workers which are written so stereotypical. There is Irishman Ethan O’Dowd (J Savage), the racist Italian Mateo Menzo (Robbie Serrano), the Polish Joe Pakulski (Devon Cortez) a dreamer, as is his Mohawk wife, Rudy (also Kianna Labeary), who disguises herself as a man in order to work alongside him.

Dave Clemmons once told me we sing in musicals, because words are no longer enough. The problemm here is though the songs are pretty, there seems no reason to sing them. Sherman and Hull also did the score. Almost all of the songs sound the same and the lyrics don’t always work. They are well sung. especially by Kaitlyn Davidson, Paul Salvatoriello, Julia Louise Hosack and April Ortiz. What is done well is the harmony.

Lorna Ventura’s choreography tries to succeed and does for the most par,t but it seems like this is a poor man’s Newsies. There are even some riffs in the songs, that sound borrowed.

The cast has spirit and energy and gives performances that make you wish they had a better show or director. Cady Huffman seems lost considering she was given very little to work with.

Photo by Matthew Murphy

Even scenic designer Walt Spangler seems lost with the odd set that has hidden treasure every where you look, but doesn’t fit the musical.

I do hope to see more of Ms. Davidson and the boy in the chorus Joel Douglas, both stand out and made the most of what they could of their respective roles.

Empire: The Musical: New World Stages, 340 West 50th Street, until September 22nd.
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Entertainment

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Foster Hirsch On Hollywood and Television

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“Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents”, is filmed from the Hotel Edison.

In this episode T2C’s publisher and owner Suzanna Bowling talks with Foster Hirsch. Hirsch is a professor, film historian, and interviewer A graduate from Stanford University (class of 65) he received an M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University and an M.F.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia in English. He joined the Department of English at Brooklyn College in 1967 and moved over to the college’s newly-formed Film Department in 1973 and has been there ever since.

He is the author of numerous books on both film and theater, including The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir; Detours and Lost Highways: a Map of Neo-Noir; The Hollywood Epic; Acting Hollywood Style; A Method to Their Madness: the History of the Actors Studio; Love, Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life: the Films of Woody Allen; Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King; Kurt Weill from Berlin To Broadway; Harold Prince and the American Musical Theater; Laurence Olivier on Screen; Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?; Joseph Losey; George Kelly.

His newest book is Hollywood and the Movies of the Fifties: the Collapse of the Studio System, the Thrill of Cinerama, and the Invasion of the Ultimate Body Snatcher – Television.

Hirsch is a frequent host/moderator at numerous venues, theaters, and festivals including the Lambs Club, the Coffee House Club, Film Forum, the American Cinematheque, the AFI Silver in Silver Springs, Maryland, the Music Box in Chicago, the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, the National Arts Club, the USA Film Festival in Dallas, the RiverRun Film Festival in Winston-Salem, the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, the Cleveland Cinematheque.

His numerous interviews with celebrities and authors – including those with Carroll Baker, Bobby Rydell, Todd Fisher, Juliet Mills, Piper Laurie, Harry Belafonte, among many others – are available online. He appears in documentaries about Rita Hayworth, Sidney Poiter, and Jack Garfein, and has recorded commentaries for many DVDs including IMITATION OF LIFE and AMERICA, AMERICA, which happen to be two of his favorite films. For the State Department, he lectured on American films throughout India and has spoken about American films in England, France, New Zealand, Russia, Israel, Germany, China, and Dubai.

He is now at work on a follow-up volume to his history of Hollywood in the fifties called Hollywood and the Movies of the Sixties: Wild In The Streets.

I am so grateful to my guest Foster Hirsch.

Suzanna, Foster and Rommel

Thank-you Magda Katz for videoing and creating the content to go live, Rommel Gopez and The Hotel Edison for their kindness and hospitality.

We are so proud and thrilled that Variety Entertainment News just named us one of Summer’s Best Picks in the category of Best Television, Radio, PodcastsThe company we are in, has made us so humbled, grateful and motivated to continue.

The Daily Geek Report” has also named host Suzanna Bowling on the list of Most Engaging Hosts. Thank-you so much for recognizing us and thank-you Eileen Shapiro who has helped us get noticed, we are so grateful.

You can catch us on the following platforms:

Pandora:

https://www.pandora.com/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/PC:1001084740

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/1084740

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Amazon:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/e3ac5922-ada8-4868-b531-12d06e0576d3

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/live-from-the-edison-hotel-times-square-chronicles-presents/id1731059092

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