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What to Watch in The New Year: April 7

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Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal Check out the latest episode of the only nationally syndicated theater news program! Hosted by Emmy-winning anchor Tamsen Fadal and powered by Broadway.com, the weekly show features interviews with the stars who make Broadway shine bright. Premieres on Broadway.com prior to nationwide broadcast.

Aria Code Podcast Rhiannon Giddens and a roster of classical singers and experts from various fields will dive deep into some of opera’s most renowned melodies for the third season of Aria Code

In each episode, Grammy winner and MacArthur Fellow Giddens introduces a recording of an operatic performance—often of an aria familiar to listeners. However, as the piece is broken down into beats, a panel explores the music through technical, academic, and human interest lenses. Most episodes feature insight from the singer on the recording, a scholar on the title’s subject matter, and an additional individual outside the opera world.

In its 18 episodes, Season 3 will explore such topics as hope and resilience (with Turandot’s “Nessun dorma”), the Black experience in the South (with an aria from the new opera adaptation of Charles M. Blow’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones), forced migration (“O patria mia” from Aida), and depictions of mental health (the Lucia di Lammermoor “mad” scene).

Among the guests slated to lend their voices—whether spoken or sung—throughout the season are singers Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato, Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Nina Stemme, Latonia Moore, Pretty Yende; music journalists, critics, scholars, and educators Anne Midgette, Naoomi André, Fred Plotkin, Philip Ewell, and Alex Ross; Eritrean-Ethiopian artist Mahtem Shiferraw; humanitarian and Karma Nirvana founder Jaasvinder Sanghera; and critical care physician Dr. Michael Cho.

12pm: Actors’ Equity Association Webinar on Vaccines and the Theatre Industry in partnership with the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, will present a webinar for theatre workers to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines at noon ET April 7.

AEA President Kate Shindle will moderate the event with a panel of top epidemiologists including CDR David Fitter, MD of the Center for Global Health; and Peter Marks, MD, PhD, a hematologist with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

The panel will answer questions submitted by Equity members to address topics such as vaccine safety and access, vaccinating theatrical workers, and testing workers for COVID-19.

The webinar is open to the public. 

6pm: Centerstage with Healthcare Heroes: LaChanze By Playbill The live interview series Centerstage With Healthcare Heroes returns on World Health Day April 7 at 6 PM ET with LaChanze (The Color PurpleOnce on This Island) speaking to Weill Cornell Medicine physicians Dr. Nivee Amin, Director of Women’s Heart Health Program, and Dr. Susan Loeb-Zeitlin, OB/GYN and Menopause Health.

6:30pm: Deborah Sampson Unveiled: A Virtual Conversation American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University and the Museum of the American Revolution co-present the next event in A.R.T’s Civically Speaking series, Deborah Sampson Unveiled: A Virtual Conversation.

To be held on the wedding anniversary of Deborah Sampson, a Revolutionary woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the Revolutionary War, the event will feature conversation between Fashion and Costume Designer Emilio Sosa (A.R.T.’s upcoming production of 1776 among others) and acclaimed historical fiction author Alex Myers, plus a virtual tour of the Museum’s special exhibition, “When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story, 1776-1807,” which features Sampson’s wedding dress, on loan from Historic New England.

6:30pm: New Student Master Classes with Betty Buckley Performer Betty Buckley will offer weekly virtual master classes designed for singers and actors who have not previously worked with the Tony winner.

Texas native Buckley, recently seen in an acclaimed performance as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the national tour of the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!, won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, later earning another nomination for her work in the musical Triumph of Love.

She starred in both the London and New York productions of Sunset Boulevard, earning an Olivier nomination for her take on the ill-fated silent-screen star Norma Desmond. London audiences have also enjoyed Buckley’s work in Promises, Promises and Dear World, and her other Broadway credits include CarrieSong & DanceThe Mystery of Edwin Drood, and 1776.

6:30: La MaMa LiveTalks: Take 16 By La Mama conversations with artists, activists and thought leaders from around the country and around the world who join in discussions about art and life in times of crisis. 

La MaMa’s 59th Season, “Breaking It Open,” will explore how new works are created, performed, and experienced during a pandemic. The season revolves around development residencies that are customized to the specific needs and processes of each artist. Each residency is customized to suit the artist, their unique vision, and where they are at in their creative work.

Hosted by Ryan Leach

Featuring Yoshiko Chuma, Shauna Davis, Tarish Pipkins a.k.a. Jeghetto, Murielle Borst-Tarrant

7pm: Right Now Created by playwright/deviser Max Mondi and director/deviser Emerie Snyder, Right Now! appears across The Tank’s digital programming in 2021.

The show’s segments embrace and play with new digital platforms—poking holes in them, stretching the fabric of their limitations, and exploring the surreal nature of our lives during this time of terrifying change and uncertainty.

Each segment debuts as a prelude to one of the Tank’s currently running shows. Then, once a month, these Right Now! segments turn into a full-length live show, featuring additional sketches, and a wide array of theatre artists—comedians, musicians, dancers, designers, and more. Primary collaborators include: Adrian D. Cameron, media designer & technical director; Daisy Long, lighting consultant; Mx. Brian Lowdermilk, composer; and Celia Krefter, stage manager. 

7pm: Williamstown Theatre Festival Gala Marisa Tomei, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Lithgow, Michael R. Jackson, Steven Pasquale, Phillipa Soo and more are participating in this annual fundraising celebration. The gala includes an interactive VIP pre-show for event sponsors and virtual table buyers and features musical performances and special appearances.

7:30pm: “The People in the Picture” Discussion This Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), join the Marlene Meyerson JCC for a conversation with the writers of The People in the Picture, Iris Rainer Dart (Beaches) and legendary composers Mike Stoller (Smokey Joe’s Cafe) and Artie Butler (“Here’s To Life” by Barbra Streisand).

Interviewed by original cast member Rachel Resheff, they will take you behind the scenes of the musical’s journey to Broadway in 2011, its subsequent rewrites, and its future. Featuring musical numbers performed by four time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn (Fun Home) as Bubbie/Raisel and Samantha Massell (Fiddler on the Roof) as Red.

7:30pm: Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece exemplifies the dramatic sweep, complex characterization, and insight into human nature that define great Russian literature and music. The story comes from Pushkin and provides one of opera’s most compelling heroines: Tatiana, an intelligent but naive adolescent girl who is first rejected by an older, more worldly man, then blossoms into an elegant, rich, aristocratic woman and returns the favor when the two meet again. The score is a chiaroscuro tour-de-force, sensitively capturing the many shades of the characters’ turbulent, conflicted emotions.

8pm: Stars in the House Rock of Ages Reunion with Kerry Butler, Constantine Maroulis, Adam Dannheisser and Frankie Grande 

8pm: The Broadway Cast Reunion Series: Jersey Boys A new live online series, giving audiences an opportunity to get close to Broadway during this unprecedented moratorium on in-person, live entertainment. 

The series offers online Broadway cast reunions of many major musicals unable to tour this season, providing audiences the chance to stay connected to some of their favorite performers in a unique way. 

Amour, Starring Derrick Baskin, Adam Pascal, Christiani Pitts, More Be a part of our Playbill Opening Night Celebration for the virtual revival of Amour. Join host Felicia Fitzpatrick who will take us to the “red carpet” to talk to the stars of the show and hear from behind the scenes how this special event was inspired and came together. Beyond the show, enjoy the party with tips on cooking your own French meal and learn a bit about wine.

Ailey All Access: Blues Suite Ailey All Access releases a recorded performance of Blues Suite from 1985 PBS Great Performances. 

“Blood memories” of rural, Depression-era southern Texas, come to life in Blues Suite, which launched Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958 and defined Alvin Ailey’s choreographic genius of presenting real people on the concert dance stage. With the rumble of a train and the toll of distant bells, a cast of vividly-drawn characters from the barrelhouses and fields of his Texas childhood are summoned to dance and revel through one long, sultry night. 

Ailey’s classic is set to songs of lost love, despair, and protest, expressing the sorrow, humor, and humanity of the blues, the heartfelt music that he called “hymns to the secular regions of the soul.” 

Home Sweet Homeland, a one-act play by presents Joanna Rush Amas Musical Theatre  

Trapped in a building across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11, Home Sweet Homeland is the story of a family and the Angel of Stand-Up Comedy who watches over them. Based on Joanna Rush’s own experience, they work to take control of their lives and find a way back to the new normal.

Directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, the cast features Jonathan Brody (A Bronx Tale, Amazing Grace), Robert Cuccioli (Jekylll & Hyde, Les Miserables), James Rana (The Band’s Visit, The Government Inspector), Laila Robins (The Herbal Bed, The Apple Family Plays), Joanna Rush (KICK!, Accidental Mummies), Chuja Seo, Sophia Stzougros and Mia Mei Williamson (Once on This Island). The stage manager is Brian Lawton. The assistant stage manager Benjamin A. Vigil. Casting by Carol Hanzel.

Registration is free, but required. 

Manahatta This 2018 world premiere by playwright, activist, and attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle illuminates the consequences of commercial exploits, including the removal of the Lenape people and the attempted eradication of their culture that gave rise to the America we know today.

This Oregon Shakespeare Festival production is directed by Laurie Woolery.

Lilies, or The Revival of a Romantic Drama The Drama Company NYC presents a revival of Lilies, or The Revival of a Romantic Drama by Michel Marc Bouchrd with English translation by Linda Gaboriau, and direction by Andrew Benvenuti.

Lilies will be seen in New York City for the first time in nearly twenty years—staged outdoors and recorded live to be streamed on demand.

Set against a backdrop of revenge, obsession, and love, Lilies tells the story of Simon Doucet, recently released from prison after serving a 30-year sentence for a crime he did not commit. He arranges a private meeting with his former school friend, Jean Bilodeau, now a powerful Bishop. Simon and his friends, all former prison inmates, revisit the harrowing events that occurred during their final year at St. Sebastian’s school for boys.

The cast of Lilies features an all-male ensemble with Michael Walls as Simon 1952/Timothee Ducet; Andreas Pilitsakis as Bishop Bilodeau; Jason Schlaman as Simon Ducet 1912; Florimond Le Goupil-Maier as Count Vallier De Tilly; Dylan C. Wack as Jean Bilodeau; Bill Morton as Countess Marie-Laure de Tilly; J.P. Ross as Lydie Anne De Rozier; Drew Paton as Father St. Michael and Baron De Hue; and Grant Hale as Baroness De Hue.

The Thanksgiving Play Spotlight on Plays returns with Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play, directed by Leigh Silverman. The cast features Tony nominees Heidi Schreck and Bobby Cannavale, along with Keanu Reeves and Alia Shawkat.

Whiterock Cliff Goode Productions presents a streaming production of Ryan McCurdy’s one-man Off-Broadway musical Whiterock Cliff will be performed live at New York’s Funkadelic Studios for a five-week virtual run.

The show features a book by Ryan McCurdy and Ellie Pyle, music and lyrics by McCurdy, and directed by Mary Chieffo.

Whiterock Cliff weaves together memory, music, mental health, the creative process, the stories we tell ourselves, and the ones we tell to each other.

This act is performed live each night with the permission of Actors’ Equity from a Times Square studio with one performer, three cameras, and eight musical instruments.

Prometheus Bound By The Tank Through the prism of racial and gender injustice, Prometheus Bound is a protest against the discrepancy between what’s legal and what’s right, against oppression veiled as order.

Director Ran Xia sets Howard Rubenstein’s adaptation of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound against a backdrop of the tumultuous American socio-political climate. Prometheus Bound is fully designed and staged for an audience of no one in The Tank’s 98-seat theater. Instead, it is captured for the screen by Iris Media Works as a purely cinematic experience, with masks, original music and deeply compelling performances of the late Rubenstein’s visionary text.

The cast for Prometheus Bound includes Sophia Aranda, Juan Arturo, Olivia Rose Barresi, Chloe Simone Crawford, Brenda Crawley, Iván 

Wish You Were Here: The world premiere of Sanaz Toossi’s new work releases as part of the partnership between Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible Theater. Nikki Massoud, Marjan Neshat, Nazanin Nour, Artemis Pebdani, and Roxanna Hope Radja star in the podcast production directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.

Breaking the Waves LA Opera and Opera Philadelphia co-present an online stream ofBreaking the Waves, an opera by composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek that was previously scheduled to open on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage this month. Available through April 12.

The opera is a faithful adaption of Lars von Trier’s extraordinary 1996 film, in which a devout young woman deciphers the meaning of fidelity, facing the condemnation of her church as she puts herself through a series of dangerous sexual encounters. With its intense subject matter, violence, language and nudity, the production is recommended for mature audiences only.

Breaking the Waves was filmed during its world premiere production at Opera Philadelphia in 2016. For the 2021 stream, director James Darrah, who staged that production, presents a remastered release of that recording, featuring color correction by cinematographer and colorist Michael Thomas, remastered sound from George Blood Audio, and a new edit from Active Image Media.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Lincoln Center offers a streamed recording of Christopher Durang’s Tony-winning play, which stars Sigourney Weaver, David Hyde Pierce, Kristine Nielsen, Billy Magnussen and Shalita Grant. The comedy transports characters and themes from Chekhov’s work to present day Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where siblings receive a visit from their sister and her 20-something boy toy Spike.

Gutenberg! The Musical! A newly filmed presentation of Gutenberg! The Musical!, starring Bobby Conte Thornton and Alex Prakken, will stream as a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The performance, recorded by Pierre Marais at Open Jar Studios, features piano accompaniment by Andrew Callahan and choreography by Kaitlyn Frank.

The musical follows two aspiring playwrights, Bud and Doug, as they attempt to secure producers for their new musical about printing press inventor Johann Gutenberg. The pair sing all the songs and play all the parts in the hope of a Broadway contract.

The Sound Inside Mary-Louise Parker and Will Hochman reprise their roles in this audio production of Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside, which earned six Tony Award nominations, including Best Play, for its 2019 Broadway run.

Romeo y Julieta Lupita Nyong’o and Juan Castano star in this free bilingual audioplay of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, presented by the Public Theater and WNYC Studios.

Lights on the Radio Tower Originally developed at the Adirondack Theatre Festival and Bloomington Playwrights Project, this thrilling two-hander rock musical tells the story of Molly and Jesse, a brother and sister who, after eighteen years apart, reunite at their decaying childhood home following the death of their father. The estranged rock duo’s competing recollections of their childhood, their last night together, and their final gig force them to face the painful truth of their past.

La Femme Theatre Productions: The Night of the Iguana The show will feature Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Dylan McDermott (Netflix’s “Hollywood”) as Reverend Shannon, Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad  (Broadway’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) as Maxine, Roberta Maxwell (Broadway’s Summer and Smoke) as Judith Fellowes, Tony nominee, Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Austin Pendleton (Broadway’s Choir Boy) as Nonno, and Jean Lichty (Off-Broadway’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady) as Hannah, with Keith Randolph Smith (Broadway’s Jitney, American Psycho) as Jake, Carmen Berkeley (Off-Broadway’s Our Dear Dead Drug Lord) as Charlotte, Eliud Kauffman (Roundabout Theatre’s 72 Miles to Go) as Hank, Julio Macias (Netflix’s “On My Block”) as Pancho, Stephanie Schmiderer (No Exit, The Human Voice) as Frau Fahrenkopf, Bradley James Tejeda (Broadway’s The Inheritance) as Pedro, and John Hans Tester (Amazon’s ”Hunters” ) as Herr Fahrenkopf.

The New York Pops Up Festival a thousand in-person performances throughout the state from now through June. Most events associated with NY PopsUp will be unannounced (and unticketed) and will be designed so that New Yorkers happen upon them in their everyday lives. (Since we can’t have large gatherings right now, we want to bring a lot of small things to the public where they are) NY PopsUp is a surprise that you happen upon, rather than an event or concert you are alerted to via a notification or a schedule.

Julius Caesar, Starring Patrick Page By Shakespeare@ Tony nominee Patrick Page (Hadestown) stars in the title role with Jordan Barbour (The Inheritance) as Brutus and Keith Hamilton Cobb (American Moor) as Cassius. West End Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performers Jamie Ballard and James Howard co-star as Mark Antony and Metellus Cimber, respectively. 

The production is also be available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

Produced by Jersey City’s Shakespeare@, this audio production is the third installment of the season, produced and adapted by Artistic Director Sean Hagerty.

Hagerty has crafted the production into four weekly parts and partnered with the Emmy-winning team at Sonic Designs to capture the lost art and thrill of radio drama all without leaving the confines of quarantine.

Julius Caesar features original music composed by Joan Melton with sound design by the Emmy-winning team of Dan Gerhard and Ellen Fitton of Sonic Designs. Justin Goldner is the music producer and supervisor, and casting is by Robin Carus. Sydney Steele serves as the associate producer. 

Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera In the award-winning documentary, Riders of the Purple Sage: The Making of a Western Opera, opera’s hallowed traditions and America’s cowboy culture converge to celebrate the collaborative power of art. The documentary details the creative process of all artists involved in live theatre onstage and backstage.

Zane Grey is read by Peter Coyote, with performances by shining young opera stars, Karin Wolverton, Morgan Smith, Laura Wilde, Joshua Dennis, Joshua Jeremiah, Keith Phares, and Kristopher Irmiter. 

Paradise Blue Dominique Morisseau’s play premieres as part of the partnership between Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible Theater. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Paradise Bluestars André Holland (above), Kristolyn Lloyd, Simone Missick, Keith Randolph Smith and 2020 Tony nominee Blair Underwood.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice By Southwark Playhouse The Sorcerer’s Apprentice gets an encore on-demand run. The pay-per-view stream will be available until April 11.

Assassins Reunion: Original Off-Broadway Cast The original cast and creative team of the 1991 Off-Broadway debut of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Tony-winning Assassins will reunite virtually to celebrate the musical’s 30th anniversary.

The free online event is part of the Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy series and will feature Studio Tenn Artistic Director Cassidy as well as other original cast members Victor Garber, Greg Germann, Annie Golden, Lyn Greene, Jonathan Hadary, Eddie Korbich, Terrence Mann, Debra Monk, William Parry, and Lee Wilkof plus Sondheim and Weidman, director Jerry Zaks, musical director Paul Gemignani, and orchestrator Michael Starobin.

SuperYou Musical the new musical that last year pivoted from its traditional opening to a drive-in concert in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, is now heading online. A filmed version of the drive-in presentation will stream on Broadway On Demand 

The musical, penned by Lourds Lane, tells the story of a woman and her superheroine creations that suddenly come to life, reminding her of the power of her own voice.

Prior to the 8 PM stream, Playbill will host a virtual red carpet event, with interviews with the cast and creative team. A digital afterparty will also take place at 9 PM.

An Iliad (Streaming) Court Theater. A film of the site-specific production at Chicago’s Oriental Institute by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare.

The Things Are Against Us Susan Soon He Stanton’s The Things Are Against Us will be the next production in MCC’s LiveLab one-act digital reading series. Ellie Heyman directs the cast, which includes Juan Castano, Emily Davis, Susannah Flood, Babak Tafti, and Danny Wolohan, in tthe play set in a mysterious house with a mind of its own. 

John Lithgow, Daniel Breaker, More Sing Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns (Episode 2) By MasterVoices The central project of MasterVoices’ 2020-2021 season will be a virtual rollout of award-winning composer Adam Guettel’s theatrical song cycle, Myths and Hymns, in an online staging conceived by Ted Sperling. 

SoHo Playhouse Presents Typical Soho Theatre and Nouveau Riche present the world premiere of Typical, the film version of the stage play, released exclusively on Soho Theatre On Demand 

Written by Ryan Calais Cameron and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, Typical uncovers the man and the humanity behind the tragic true-life events of Black British ex-serviceman Christopher Alder and the injustice that still remains twenty years since his story emerged. 

Fully Committed Stage and screen star Maulik Pancholy stars in George Street Playhouse’s production of Becky Mode’s solo comedy, which is available to watch through April 11.

The Manic Monologues Current Slave Play Tony nominee Ato Blankson-Wood, Rent Tony winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Accidentally Brave playwright Maddie Corman, and more stage favorites will explore mental health this winter in a new digital production from the McCarter Theatre Center.

The Manic Monologues debuts February 18 with 21 true-life monologues that users can explore at their own pace and through an interactive element virtually respond to.

Simply Sondheim Signature Theater of Arlington. Available through April 16. Thirty Sondheim songs performed by a 16-piece orchestra and a dozen singers, including Norm Lewis, Emily Skinner, Solea Pfeiffer and Conrad Ricamora

Directed by Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason, Napoleon in Exile stars Emmy nominee Jane Kaczmarek and Will Dagger as mother and son. After the performance, the artists join host Claudia Catania to discuss writing for actors and bringing theater chops to the world of sitcom TV.

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

Cabaret

My View: Lucie Arnaz Gloriously Finishes Her “Job” at 54 Below

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Lucie Arnaz concluded her “job” at 54 Below last night as she entranced a celebrity filled audience during the final night of her show titled “ I Got The Job”.   From beginning to end she garnered multiple ovations from an audience that included, Norm Lewis, Linda Purl, Murphy Cross, Paul Kreppel, Bill Hutton, Jamie deRoy, Rolanda Watts, Ken Fallin, MOIPEI, and many others.

LUCIE ARNAZ

LUCIE ARNAZ

LUCIE ARNAZ

LUCIE ARNAZ

LUCIE ARNAZ

EDA SOROKOFF, MOIPEI, NORM LEWIS

LUCIE ARNAZ & MARK SENDROFF

LUCIE ARNAZ & NORM LEWIS

RON ABEL & LUCIE ARNAZ

LINDA PURL & EDA SOROKOFF

RON ABEL, LUCIE ARNAZ, TODD McPHERESON

JAMIE deROY & RON ABEL

KEN FALLIN & STANLEY

EDA SOROKOFF, STEPHEN SOROKOFF, NORM LEWIS

RICHARD HILLMAN & ROLANDA WATTS

RON ABEL & TODD McPHERSON

MARK SENDROFF & LUCIE ARNAZ

THE PARTY

NORM LEWIS & EDA SOROKOFF

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Cabaret Loses The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre

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The West Bank Cafe and the Laurie Beechman theatre are closing their doors in August.

The West Bank Cafe opened in 1978. The restaurant’s early clients even included the notorious Irish gang, the Westies. The neighborhood was rough. In 1980, The New York Times awarded West Bank two stars, which increased its visibility and attracted a wider range of diners. 
In this era, West Bank Cafe’s owner, Steve Olsen opened the Laurie Beechman Theatre downstairs from the Cafe, which staged plays and hosted events nightly. A young Lewis Black was named playwright-in-residence; Howard Stern aired his third-annual live birthday broadcast from the theater; and the restaurant’s regulars included Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller and Bruce Willis, among others.

Soon the redevelopment of 42nd Street spread further west, bringing new businesses and residents to the area. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, the restaurant was a leader in the growing Theater District and Hell’s Kitchen dining scenes. As new theaters opened in the area, the restaurant’s connection to stage and screen remained strong as well. The Laurie Beechman Theatre continued to regularly stage the work of emerging writers, actors, and singers (many of whom later became stars) as well as established acts: The Who even gave four live performances at the restaurant while their musical Tommy was running on Broadway.

After 45 years, the restaurant’s surrounding neighborhood and America’s culinary tastes have changed dramatically. West Bank Cafe has evolved along with the neighborhood and maintained a commitment to serving high-quality food in a unpretentious setting where both theater-goers and theatre stars feel at home.

In 2020 the West Bank was likely to close imminently as it faced mounting debts and a steep drop-off in customers due to COVID. By Tuesday, though, there was an online fundraiser had raised more than $330,000, shooting past its initial goal of $250,000. Donations came pouring in thanks to Tom D’Angora, a Broadway producer and longtime customer. But things took off on Christmas Day, thanks to a star-studded, nine-hour telethon, featuring speeches and performances by Sean Penn, Nathan Lane, Pete Townshend, Debra Messing, Andre De Shields and dozens more performers who have called themselves West Bank regulars during its 42-year history.

The money raised allowed Olsen to pay off the cafe’s debts and save some cash for the future. Sadly it seems 2024 might be the end.

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Cabaret

Jason Robert Brown To Perform at Carnegie Hall In October

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Now here is a concert I will definitely be attending. Three-time Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown will perform a special concert event at Carnegie Hall on October 25, 2024, at 8:00 PM. He already had a sold-out concert at the London Palladium.

Expect to hear “Still Hurting,” and “Stars and the Moon.” I have included some of my favorite video’s of Mr. Brown’s music sung to perfection.

His repertoire, spans over thirty years of unforgettable and some of the best musical theatre songs ever written.

At the concert some of his closest collaborators and newest friends and some of the most celebrated performers of the stage and the music world – soon to be announced.

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York’s own chamber orchestra, will accompany Jason and his guests with their virtuosic 22-piece ensemble. The evening will be conducted by Jason Robert Brown and Georgia Stitt.

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 11am EST on July 19, 2024, with a general pre-sale on Wednesday, July 17th, and a Live Nation presale, starting Thursday, July 18th. Tickets start at $59.50. For ticketing information and further details, please contact CarnegieCharge at (212) 247-7800, carnegiehall.org, or visit the Box Office on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

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My View: Lucie Arnaz…..How Did She Get This Job?

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With apologies to politicians who tout their job creating policies, Lucie Arnaz did not need any assistance to get her current job at 54 Below with a show titled “I Got The Job”.  Lucie got this gig because she is a supremely talented actor/singer/dancer who possesses a distinguished resume and long career of memorable performances on the stages of Broadway, Cabaret, and Concert Halls all over the world… and as I’ve said before about this show….

Lucie Arnaz hit the stage of 54Below with all cylinders on burn and guns ablaze! She performed an evening she calls “I GOT THE JOB” and kept the New York City audience entranced from beginning to end, garnering multiple ovations that seemed as natural as breathing.

For 85 minutes, she owned the stage, dressed to work, in black tights with tuxedo rhinestone striping and a dazzling orange silk blouse with glimmering buttons and cuffs. Basic, simple, perfect. This woman comes with all the equipment to perform, entertain and break your heart. She’s a master storyteller with impeccable timing and the voice shows up for her song after song, from show after show, exhibiting range and colors and nuancing that engage the audience at every turn. The star, of course, is the daughter of showbiz royalty, but she doesn’t rely on that one bit and has her own stories to tell, and they are mesmerizing.

Lucie Arnaz has had an extraordinary life and career and judging by what was on display, last night, I imagine, as Cy Coleman & Carolyn Leigh wrote, “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Lucie wrote and directed herself in this show, which opened the Birdland Theater years ago, but it has been fully fleshed out and brought to vivid life. Sharing the stage with her is what appears to be a musical soulmate in her Musical Director, Arranger and “Acting Partner,” Ron Abel, whose hands gave Ms. Arnaz her orchestra.

During the evening we were treated to a story of her audition (in a theatre) for THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG. During the audition, Neil Simon walked onto the stage and told her she was a breath of fresh air. She later “got the job.” Last night, she also stole our hearts and, now, we’re helpless and LOVE LUCIE.

LUCIE ARNAZ

LUCIE ARNAZ

RON ABEL

54 BELOW

LUCIE ARNAZ

RON ABEL & LUCIE ARNAZ

54 BELOW

MACRON PRICKETT

54 BELOW

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Cabaret Shows To Watch

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At Birdland Jazz Club the return of songwriter Scott Alan on Monday, August 5 at 7:00 PM. Alan will be joined by some of today’s brightest stars singing his compositions, including Audrey Belle Adams, Beatriz Melo, Marylee Fairbanks, LaRaisha DiEvelyn Dionne, Carla Mongado, Ashlyn Combs, Natalie Ortega, Cassidy Ewert, Eli Thomas, T’Arica Crawford, Jenna Miller Ferreira, Julian Carli, and Kendall Paige Parrett. There is a $34-45 music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Scott Alan is an internationally acclaimed songwriter who has worked with some of the biggest names in theater, TV, film, and recording. Some of those artists include Grammy Award-winning Pentatonix; Grammy Award-nominated artists Jane Monheit, Marc Broussard, Marc Feehily, and Taylor Dayne; Tony Award-winning artists Sutton Foster, Adriane Lenox, Randy Graff, Frances Ruffle, and Lea Salonga; film and TV stars Tracie Thoms, Patina Miller, Katie Stevens, Danny-Boy Hatchard, Cheyenne Jackson, Megan Hilty, Samantha Barks, and Jeremy Jordan; and reality stars Sam Bailey, Collabro, Diane DeGarmo, Christina Marie, and RJ Helton, among others.

After the 2007 release of his debut album Dreaming Wide Awake, Alan has gone on to release seven follow up albums that include KeysWhat I Wanna Be When I Grow UpLiveAnything Worth Holding on ToCynthia Erivo and Oliver Tompsett sing Scott AlanLifeline, and Nothing More. His compositions have been featured on “American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Entertainment Tonight,” HBO, MTV, and VH1.

Scott Alan on Monday, August 5 at 7:00 PM. There is a $35-45 music charge and a $20 food and beverage minimum. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in Manhattan. For reservations, please call (212) 581-3080 or visit www.BirdlandJazz.com.

At Birdland Jazz Club Julie Benko returns. The Broadway star of Funny Girl and Harmony – as she marches her band out again on Monday, August 12 at 7:00 PM. Following her recent tour of sold-out shows at San Francisco’s Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel, Los Angeles’ Catalina Jazz Club, and New York’s Café Carlyle, and after announcing she was expecting her first baby, Julie introduces a new show that explores the surprises, challenges, and joys of pregnancy. This evening of music will highlight female songwriters (Brandi Carlisle, Laura Nyro), Broadway favorites (selections from Into the Woods, Baby and more), and Disney classics (songs from Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and more). The new arrangements are by her longtime music director and husband (and, of course, the father-to-be!) Jason Yeager. In addition to Yeager on piano, the show features Paul Francis on drums, Michael O’Brien on bass, Justin Poindexter on guitars and mandolin, and Gabe Terraciano on violin. Jeremiah James, Benko’s former Funny Girl co-star, will be featured as guest vocalist. There is a $40 music charge. Birdland is located at 315 West 44th Street in New York.

Jeff Harner

Jeff Harner

PS CLASSICS, the label dedicated to the heritage of Broadway and American Popular Song, has announced that the new album from MAC and Bistro Award-winning concert artist Jeff Harner – Jeff Harnar Sings Sammy Cahn: The Second Time Around – is available for iTunes pre-order starting today, Tuesday, July 16. This pre-order allows for instant download of two tracks, “I’ll Only Miss Him When I Think of Him” and “Come Fly with Me,” which features Grammy Award winner Nicole Zuraitis. The album will be released on CD and digital formats on Friday, July 26. Harnar revisits his 2001 Sammy Cahn recording, long out-of-print: the original album has been remixed, reimagined and expanded upon, reflecting both Harnar’s desire to widen his perspective on the lauded lyricist’s work – new tracks feature guest appearances by Grammy Award nominee Clint Holmes, the acclaimed vocal trio MOIPEI and Nicole Zuraitis – and his own growth as an artist and interpreter. The Second Time Around is also available for pre-order on Amazon.com. A special video trailer for the album, featuring exclusive studio footage, can now be viewed on YouTube HERE.

Harnar will celebrate the album with concerts at New York’s 54 Below on Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27. The album’s guest vocalists – Clint Holmes, MOIPEI, and Nicole Zuraitis – will appear on Saturday, July 27, while MOIPEI, Sally Mayes, and Eric Comstock will appear Friday, July 26. Harnar will also feature the Cahn program in London, England at The Pheasantry (9/13-14, 2024) and Boca Raton, FL, at the Adolph & Rose Levis JCC (1/22-23, 2025), with other tour dates to be announced.

July 22 (Monday) 7:00 PM – Birdland Jazz Club Telly Leung – “Back to Birdland”. Telly Leung is the  Broadway star of the musicals Aladdin, Allegiance, Godspell, Rent, and more – returns in the new show “Back to Birdland.” Leung’s six-year hiatus has taken him all over the world as a performer and director. Expect to hear Broadway classics, as well as songs from his solo recordings, featuring a trio of New York’s finest musicians with Gary Adler on piano, Mary Ann McSweeney on bass, and Joe Choroszewski on drums. Leung is a Chinese-American, New York City native, Broadway and television performer, recording artist, producer, director, theater arts teacher, and coach. His Broadway and national touring performing credits include Aladdin in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, In Transit, Allegiance (with George Takei and Lea Salonga), Godspell, Rent (final Broadway company), Wicked (Boq, original Chicago company), Pacific Overtures, and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. In 2010, he starred as Angel in Rent at the Hollywood Bowl opposite Wayne Brady, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. Television audiences will remember him as Marcel in Season three of “Warrior” (HBO Max), Wes the Warbler on “Glee,” as well as his guest star appearances on “Instinct,” “Odd Mom Out,” “Deadbeat,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” Telly is featured as a performance coach for the Jimmy Awards in the PBS documentary, Broadway or Bust.

July 29 (Monday) 7:00 PM – Birdland Jazz Club. A Celebration of Maurice Hines – Tappin’ Thru Life”. This concert will honor the life and legacy of show business icon Maurice Hines through his award-winning, autobiographical show “Tappin’ Thru Life.” The original cast, including John Manzari (vocals/tap), Leo Manzari (vocals/tap) and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, will reunite to celebrate Maurice’s remarkable career. Special guests will include Clint Holmes and Ann Hampton Callaway on vocals.

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