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What to Watch in The New Year: February 3

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Rebecca Luker, Sally Wilfert


My Lord, What a Night Orlando Shakes and Theatre UCF through February 14. $15 Deborah Brevoort’s play about the friendship between singer Albert Einstein and singer Marian Anderson

3pm: Love, Noel Theatre@Home Winter Festival at Irish Rep. Based on Noel Coward’s songs, stories and personal letters, Steve Ross and KT Sullivan transform into some of the many characters that made up Coward’s unique life…Gertrude Lawrence, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Elaine Stritch, Lynn Fontanne, Virginia Woolf, Edna Ferber, the Queen Mother, and of course Noël Coward himself. This performance is captioned.

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.

7pm: Black Butterfly AMAS Musical Theater through February 6
N’Kenge co-wrote and stars as Tahja, an aspiring opera singer leaves behind her life in Florida, including her fiancée, to attend the Juilliard School and immerse herself in New York’s music scene. The benefit reading is free but reservation required.

7pm: Meet Me in St. Louis Theatre@Home Winter Festival at Irish Rep
This is a special rebroadcast streaming event, part of Irish Rep’s Theatre @ Home Winter Festival.

Adapted and directed by original Meet Me in St. Louis Broadway cast member (and Irish Rep Artistic Director) Charlotte Moore, the virtual production will feature Shereen Ahmed as Esther Smith, William Bellamy as Lon Smith, Rufus Collins as Alonzo Smith, Kerry Conte as Lucille Ballard, Melissa Errico as Anna Smith, Ali Ewoldt as Rose Smith, Kathy Fitzgerald as Katie, Ian Holcomb as Warren Sheffield, Austyn Johnson as Agnes, Jay Aubrey Jones as Grandpa, Kylie Kuioka as Tootie, Ashley Robinson as Postman and Trolley Man, and Max von Essen as John Truitt.

Meet Me in St. Louis, with a book by Hugh Wheeler and songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, concerns the Smith family as they grapple with life changes and new love in a bustling St. Louis on the brink of the 1904 World’s Fair.

This new digital production is an abridged version of the 1989 Broadway musical, based on the 1944 film of the same name starring Judy Garland. Irish Repertory last presented the show in 2007.

Meet Me in St. Louis will also have musical direction by John Bell, orchestrations by Josh Clayton, scenic design by Charlie Corcoran, video editing by Meridith Sommers, sound design and mix by M. Florian Staab, and lighting design by Michael Gottlieb. Tracy Christensen is the costume consultant, Pamela Brusoski and Rebecca C. Monroe are the production managers, and Simon Patrick Geaney is the production assistant.

7pm: What Do They Call Us Ars Nova. An evening of stories and rituals featuring musicians, poets and dancers coming together to honor & celebrate Black Trans Legacy.

7pm: The Lesson and Nothing to See Here New York Theater Barn
Excerpts from two new musicals: 1. A chance encounter between Beethoven and Mozart is reimagined “in a new, fun, queer, political space.” 2. The 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial” in Dayton, Tennessee, which put evolution on trial. Unlike the well-known play about the event, “Inherit the Wind,” this new musical focuses on Frank Robinson, the man who built the trial as a publicity stunt for his town, and his wife May, as well as reporter H.L. Mencken

7pm: Dog Act The Seeing Place Streaming Feb 2-12
A darkly comic variation on the classic doomsday genre, with five original songs.

7pm: Reflections of Native Voices Festival By La Mama until February 7th

:30pm: Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites Since its premiere in 1957, Poulenc’s shattering drama about a group of Carmelite nuns during the French Reign of Terror has maintained its ability to shock: Its blunt final scene is about as intense and gripping as opera gets. But the opera is also disarmingly tender, with scenes of poignant intimacy and sweetness, and a sensitive score well suited to its almost entirely female cast. The composer’s deep-seated fascination with spiritual music enabled him to craft an opera that brilliantly conveys the power of faith and loyalty, even during one of history’s darkest moments. This historic 1987 telecast of the opera, featured as a Nightly Opera Stream for the first time, features notable performances from Maria Ewing as Blanche de la Force, Jessye Norman as Madame Lidoine, and Florence Quivar as Mother Marie.

7:30pm: The Nourish Project WP Theater available each night through Feb 7th. A 70-minute show conceived and directed by Rebecca Martinez has a large cast and uses music, dance, and poetry, with the intent of allowing the virtual audience “to follow their curiosity and explore their own paths during the experience.”

Rebecca Luker, Sally Wilfert
Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

8pm: Stars in the House All The Girls – Celebrating Rebecca Luker and Sally Wilfert’s CD with Sally Wilfert, Joseph Thalken and George Dvorsky

Simply Sondheim Signature Theater of Arlington. Available through March 26. Thirty Sondheim songs performed by a 16-piece orchestra and a dozen singers, including Norm Lewis, Emily Skinner, Solea Pfeiffer and Conrad Ricamora

Kelli O’Hara, Renée Fleming, More Sing Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns (Episode 1) 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. Inspired by Greek myths and a 19th-Century Presbyterian hymnal, the 1998 cycle is a kaleidoscopic collection of musical genres as it explores the nature of faith and longing in a secular world. New short musical films will illustrate the protagonist’s attempt to seek answers in four ways – through Flight, Work, Love, and Faith. The four chapters of this personal voyage will be released in free digital installments throughout the winter and spring.

Molly Sweeney Lantern Theater Company through February 14. This Philadelphia company’s newly filmed performance of Brian Friel’s gentle tale from the shifting perspectives of Molly Sweeney, her husband Frank, and the surgeon who values his skills above his patients.

The Niceties Forward Theater through February 7. In this Wisconsin theater company’s production of the play by Eleanor Burgess, Zoe, a Black student at a liberal arts college, is called into her white professor’s office to discuss her paper about slavery’s effect on the American Revolution. What begins as a polite clash in perspectives explodes into an urgent debate about

Cathy Belton, Derbhle Crotty, and Aisling O’Sullivan portray three women, two of them sisters, who have drifted apart and are now catching up over coffee. Over the course of three conversations spanning five years, we learn that they have allowed relationships with their partners to come between their relationships with each other. Gradually, a common secret of tragic consequence is revealed.

Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, More Star in Jerry Herman Tribute From Pasadena Playhouse Pasadena Playhouse will pay tribute to the late composer of Hello, Dolly!Mame, and La Cage aux Folles with You I Like: A Musical Celebration of Jerry Herman.

Conceived and music directed by Andy Einhorn, the revue will be available to stream January 10. A live virtual opening night will also take place that night, with guests including Bernadette Peters and David Hyde Pierce.

Available to stream through February 7.

The Haunting of Alice Bowles A new theatrical production streaming online from Original Theatre Company (Apollo 13: The Dark Side of The Moon) debuts.

The Haunting of Alice Bowles by Philip Franks, based on M.R. James’ short story The Experiment, stars Janie Dee, Max Bowden, Stephen Boxer, Jack Archer, Alexandra Guelff, Robert Mountford, Poppy Roe, and Tim Treloar.

In 1918, the recently widowed Alice Bowles is left destitute as she seeks to solve a mystery left by her late husband Francis. Moving to 2020, YouTube urban explorers Matt and Caitlin uncover a mysterious grave in an abandoned churchyard. What starts as harmless entertainment turns darker when their discovery begins to unwrap a mystery which has lain dormant for over a century.

The digital production is co-directed by Philip Franks and Alastair Whatley, designed by Adrian Linford, and edited by Tristan Shepherd, with sound design and original music composed by Max Pappenheim.

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

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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Cabaret

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

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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