Connect with us

Cabaret

What to Watch in The New Year: May 20

Published

on

Brutal Imagination: Vineyard Theatre Artistic Directors Douglas Aibel and Sarah Stern announce the company’s second original cast benefit reading, reuniting renowned actors Joe Morton (“Scandal”) and Sally Murphy (August: Osage County) for Oppenheimer Award-winning playwright and poet Cornelius Eady’s (Vineyard’s You Don’t Miss The Water) play, Brutal Imagination. Directed by Joe Morton, this digitally-staged reading includes video design by Jared Mezzocchi and is available for on demand streaming through June 3.

Twenty years after first premiering at The Vineyard in 2001, Brutal Imagination remains a potent examination of racial attitudes in America. The play is based on Eady’s poem cycle which explores the notorious 1994 incident in which Susan Smith, a white woman from South Carolina, claimed that a Black man had kidnapped her children. The FBI searched for the man until Smith confessed that she had invented him and had in fact drowned her children. Brutal Imagination, two voices inside one consciousness, brings this invented man to life.

Joe Morton shares, “One of the things that sparked coming back to Brutal Imagination was the Amy Cooper incident when she was using race and the police department as a weapon against a man who was actually doing her no harm. It reminded Cornelius and me about what this play is about.”

Camille A. Brown – A Glimpse Behind The Curtain MTC’s Snapshot Series presents Camille A. Brown – A Glimpse Behind The Curtain. Conceived and created by Tony Award nominee Brown, featuring Juel D. Lane, with a prologue and original music by Daryl Waters.

Camille A. Brown

Visit the virtual stage for a rare and intimate look inside the mind and creative process of this superstar director and choreographer as she prepares for her re-envisioned production of the landmark musical Ain’t Misbehavin’, an upcoming co-production between Westport Country Playhouse and Barrington Stage Company.

The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles Antaeus Theatre Company highlights the culture and history of six additional Los Angeles neighborhoods with Season 2 of its popular The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles podcast series.

The latest installments will introduce audiences to the geographically, historically and culturally diverse locales of Echo Park (90026), West Hollywood (90069), Inglewood (90303), Pacoima (91331), North Hollywood (91601) and Monterey Park (91754). 

Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo

2pm: Life in Stages Series: Sophie Okonedo Tony winner Sophie Okonedo sits down for a conversation as part of the National Theatre’s Life in Stages series. Filmed on the empty Lyttelton stage, each pre-recorded episode sees the artists reflect on their theater careers.

2:30pm: Herding Cats Starring Jassa Ahluwalia, Greg Germann, and Drama Desk nominee Sophie Melville, Herding Cats by Lucinda Coxon is a chillingly funny play about a generation negotiating intimacy and independence in the 21st century.

Meeting the demands of modern life is as impossible as herding cats for Justine, Michael and Saddo. To deal with work, Justine talks—a little too much—to her roommate Michael who earns a living by chatting with strangers like Saddo. But all three will soon find that in a cold, disconnected world, words may not be enough.

Directed by Anthony Banks, this revival of Coxon’s play uses the technical feats that adventurous theatre artists have discovered during the pandemic and combines them with the raw intimacy of in-person performance. This first-of-its-kind, transcontinental event features Ahluwalia and Melville performing for an in-person audience on Soho Theatre’s London stage with Germann performing live via video from the United States.

This production contains distressing themes of sexual abuse. If needed, you may seek help from the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. (Click here to access their website.)

5pm: 25th Anniversary of The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group Primary Stages holds a digital celebration for the 25th Anniversary of The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. The evening will also celebrate Noelle Viñas, the recipient of the 2021 Jeffry Melnick Award.

In addition to celebrating Viñas, the evening will feature a retrospective look back at 25 years of The Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, highlighting some Group Members’ favorite memories, plays they’ve written, and their advice to up-and-coming writers; a panel discussion including shared snippets of new plays with past and present Group Members featuring Joshua Allen, Bekah Brunstetter, Elizabeth Irwin, and Matthew Paul Olmos; and other surprise announcements with special guest Theresa Rebeck.

To register for the event, email SpecialEvents@PrimaryStages.org.

6pm: Disability Representation in Storytelling Disability Representation in Storytelling will explore the connections between how disability has been historically represented in literature, TV/Film, and Theatre, and contemporary views of disability as an intersectional identity. What does responsible representation look like in 2021?

The panelists will offer practical suggestions for ways that theatre makers can improve disability representation and create radically access-centered spaces for disabled actors, artists, administrators and audiences to support those who are most impacted by ableism, racism, colonialism, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. ASL and Captioning will be provided. 

Panelists: Elbert Joseph (they/them, he/him), Andrea Kovich (she/her), D’Arcee Charington Neal (he/they)

Panel Coordinator: Talleri McRae (she/her)

7pm: This is New York: John Benjamin Hickey and Julianna Marguiles Symphony Space  presents a special conversation between Emmy winner Julianna Marguiles and Tony winner John Benjamin Hickey.

The hour-long virtual event, part of Symphony Space’s This Is New Yorkseries, follows this month’s publication of Marguiles’ acclaimed memoir Sunshine Girl.

7pm: Once Upon A (korean) Time Daniel K. Isaac’s Once Upon A (korean) Time mixes traditional Korean fables with the horrors of the Korean War, and is an analog for the experiences of the Korean American diaspora.

In addition to Isaac, the reading stars Diana Oh, Jon Norman Schneider, James Seol, David Shih, Shannon Tyo, and Jeena Yi.

Stream on demand through May 23. 

7:30pm: Bellini’s La Sonnambula An immediate success in its day despite a plot that stretched the bounds of plausibility, this operatic gem from one of the great masters of melody was categorized as semiseria, or “semi-serious.” Deeper than a comedy, but in no way a tragedy, La Sonnambula reaches its conclusion through genuine, poignant character development, rather than by intrigue or farce. And the role of Amina, the sleepwalking “somnambulist” of the title, requires a rare combination of innocence, charm, and breathtaking vocal virtuosity.

UNSPECIFIED – MAY 20: In this screengrab, Elizabeth Hurley speaks during the Breast Cancer Research Foundation Virtual Hot Pink Evening on May 20, 2020. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for Breast Cancer Research Foundation)

8pm: A Virtual Hot Pink Evening  Elizabeth Hurley, Sir Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris & David Burtka, Sebastian Arcelus, Will Chase, Kathryn Gallagher, Orfeh & Andy Karl, Karlie Kloss, Mandy Gonzalez, Laura Osnes, Adam Pascal and many more stars support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s gala. The night is in support of a global legion of 275 scientists pursuing high-impact research that is saving lives.

8pm: Spotlight on Plays Series: The Sisters Rosensweig Anna D. Shapiro directs Wendy Wasserstein’s play about three very different sisters who reunite after a lengthy separation in this serious comedy about sisterhood. The cast includes Kathryn Hahn, Jason Alexander, John Behlmann, Lisa Edelstein, Kathryn Newton, Tracee Chimo Pallero, Chris Perfetti and James Urbaniak.

8pm: This American Wife on demand May 29. Michael Breslin and Patrick Foley are returning to the world of live internet theatre with their deep dive into the world of reality TV—and America’s obsession with them. This American Wife, first seen at New York Theatre Workshop’s Next Door series in 2018.

Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris, the latest iteration is a multi-camera, live-streamed, dark comedy investigation into the obsession, idolization, and all-consuming-hunger sparked by the women of The Real Housewives franchise.

In addition to the co-conceivers, the production will also feature Jakeem Dante Powell (Slave Play). This American Wife escapes from the real world to play out scenarios, texts, and choreographies from the massively popular and endlessly memed franchise. As the boys travel deeper into the dark walk-in closets of their minds, they are forced into crises of desire, repulsion, identity, and autobiography.

8pm: Stars in the House Wicked Game Night featuring the Glindas (Brittney Johnson, Alli Mauzey, and Patti Murin) vs. the Elphabas (Stephanie J. Block, Lilli Cooper, and honorary Elphaba Seth Rudetsky). May the most “popular” team win!

Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again TheaterWorks Hartford and Goodspeed Musicals announced today present Christiane Noll: Coming Alive Again.

Fourteen months of quarantine, a Broadway shut down, a roller coaster of good news and bad news, but Tony-nominee Christiane Noll is optimistic. With a little caution and a lot of hope, she’s ventured out of her home to share an intimate cabaret. A thoughtful, moving and funny (virtual) concert experience exploring themes of motherhood and complex women, through the lens of a Broadway artist navigating a crazy COVID-paralyzed world.

Broadway, the Maye Way Cabaret legend Marilyn Maye celebrates her 93rd birthday with a new streaming concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Filmed live at the venue, audiences can enjoy the show through May 29.

Missed Connections Jon Tai and Alex Gruhin’s live, interactive play with magic begins its run of livestreamed performances as part of 59e59 Theaters’ Plays in Place series. Inspired by the work of writer Haruki Murakami, philosopher Marshall McLuhan, and magician Derek DelGaudio, Missed Connections is a magician’s cosmic love story—one that explores the fleeting bonds that can emerge between total strangers. Audiences can experience the magic for themselves through May 20.

Carry On Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan This event is being streamed online through BroadwayWorld Events. There will be no in-person audience.

Broadway’s Jeremy Jordan, known for his powerful voice and provocative storytelling, returns to the stage with his most ambitious and personal performance to date. Equal parts humor and heartache, Carry On takes us deep into Jeremy’s new life as a father. Unpacking and attempting to reconcile his own complicated childhood, Jeremy soon discovers there is more to being a parent than he could have ever imagined. Featuring an array of musical styles, as well as some never-before-heard songs, Carry On has been thoughtfully reimagined for the virtual stage after winning multiple awards for its premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below just over a year ago. Featuring musical direction by Benjamin Rauhala.

Black Beans Project Huntington Theatre Company presents Black Beans Project, a world premiere digital work by Huntington artist-in-residence Melinda Lopez and Joel Perez.

In the play, created specifically for a virtual presentation, Lopez and Perez play siblings who reconnect online to share a secret family recipe that forces them to reveal secrets of their own.

Black Beans Project is available for on-demand streaming May through 30. 

The Waves in Quarantine: A Theatrical Experiment Begins Raúl Esparza leads a star-studded cast, including Alice Ripley, Carmen Cusack, Nikki Renée Daniels, Darius de Haas and Manu Narayan, in this musical adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Watch through May 28.

Twelve remarkable singer actors and eleven musicians are creating a wholly original, completely Pastiche way of bringing you back in time with our latest technology.

Diverse and distanced, gorgeous and witty, liberating talent from Canada to Israel and all over the US, for Austen, Beethoven and musical theater fans all over the world. Ludwig calls the tune as we celebrate Jane Austen, and her ability to create happy endings in her stories, when real life so often sadly disappoints.

Animal Wisdom Heather Christian’s Animal Wisdom will unfold on screen rather than on stage. The writer-performer’s show originally debuted at The Bushwick Starr in 2017 but now gets a film adaptation. 

In Animal Wisdom, singer-songwriter-soothsayer Christian lays to rest the souls that haunt her, shape-shifting between rock star, folklorist, and high priestess, as she conjures a constellation of souls in an effort to confront her family’s mythologies.

Amber McGinnis directs the film, with stage direction by Emilyn Kowaleski. The cast also includes Sasha Brown, Eric Farber, B.E. Farrow, and Maya Sharpe.

The film is presented by Woolly Mammoth Theater Company and American Conservatory Theater. 

Capricorn 29 The Tank and Post Theatrical present Capricorn 29 by Alex Hare and Julia Izumi. The show is directed by Hare and co-produced with Sami Pyne.

On the eve of her 29th birthday, a Very Online millennial stumbles upon a curious conspiracy theory: the powers-that-be have initiated a new capitalist plot to eliminate unsuccessful 30 year olds. What sounds at first like the byproduct of someone watching too many dystopian films from the 1970s quickly proves harder to dismiss. And as the countdown to 30 begins, surviving and saving a generation may be the opportunity one young-ish adult needs to finally fulfill her rapidly fading potential.

The Destruction of Jane Edgar Rice Burroughs will be spinning in his grave this spring. A new seven-part miniseries, inspired by the infamous film Tarzan the Ape Man, debuts this month.

The Destruction of Jane is an unauthorized parody of the King of the Jungle is told from the point of view of Miss Jane Parker. 

Weekly installments premiere on Thursdays.  

The miniseries stars stars Paul Pecorino and Rob Eco as Jane and Tarzan, respectively, and features special cameo appearances by Mario Cantone and Randy Rainbow. The show is written by Paul Pecorino and directed by Drue Pennella.

Set in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this comedy follows Jane to the African jungle where she meets and falls in love with the spectacular specimen we all know as the legendary Tarzan. The 1981 Tarzan film became a massive financial hit due to its dizzyingly unintentional bad taste, and screenwriter Paul Pecorino has set out to push these offensively vulgar boundaries even further.

The creative team includes director of photography Erik Paulsen, composers Drew Fornarola and David Nehls, musical arranger Paul Doust; costumes & wigs designer David Mitsch; makeup & wig styling designer Vera Stromsted and Donanyely Mejia and Marty Thomas; and specialty costumes designer Gail Baldoni. The Destruction of Jane is presented by Pure Motion Pictures.

Back to the Future: From Screen to Stage Ahead of the Back to the Future musical opening in the Adelphi Theatre on August 20, BFI at Home presents an online discussion with members of the cast and crew about how the hit film became a full-fledged stage musical.

Romeo & Juliet Jessie Buckley and Josh O’Connor star in a film of London’s National Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. It premieres on PBS as part of the Great Performances series. 

The Woman’s Party Clubbed Thumb presents the world premiere of The Woman’s Party. Originally slated to premiere as part of the 2020 Summerworks Festival, the piece will now premiere virtually.

Written by Rinne B. Groff and directed by Tara Ahmadinejad, The Woman’s Party has been divided into three 30-minute episodes.

1947 is the year that the savvy politicos of the National Woman’s Party will finally get the ERA passed once they quash that insurgency—or oust the old guard. The Woman’s Party takes place 27 years after the ratification of women’s suffrage, when the Equal Rights Amendment was poised for passage. 

The cast includes Rosalyn Coleman, Alma Cuervo, Laura Esterman, Marga Gomez, Marceline Hugot, Emily Kuroda, Lizan Mitchell, Socorro Santiago, Rebecca Schull, and Connie Winston.

Two Sisters and a Piano Emmy winner Jimmy Smits and Daphne Rubin-Vega star in a streaming production of Nilo Cruz’s 1999 play presented by the new streaming theater company New Normal Rep. Cruz also serves as director for the work that follows follows two sisters serving time under house arrest in Cuba, and the lieutenant assigned to their case who falls in love with one of them.

Cheyenne Jackson, Ted Sperling, More Sing Adam Guettel’s Myths & Hymns (Episode 3) 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. 

Fat Ham: world premiere of the digital production of Fat Ham by James Ijames from Philadelphia’s Wilma Theater will now stream April 29-May 23.

The play, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is being filmed on location in Virginia, and shot as a one-take film to retain the real-time storytelling of a play.

It is directed by Morgan Green and stars Brennen S. Malone, Taysha Marie Canales, Kimberly S. Fairbanks, Jennifer Kidwell, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Brandon J. Pierce, and Lindsay Smiling. 

Shadow/Land Michelle Wilson, Te’Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet and Sunni Patterson star in the world premiere of Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s audio play. The drama is set amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and is part of the Public Theater’s digital stage.

Reverb Theatre Arts Festival through May 20th. Reverb Theatre Arts Festival presents the voices of artists with disabilities on the virtual stage. Artists from around the country submitted their works of original theatre—monologue, spoken word, dance, or music—based on creative prompts on the theme of Connection. The work is the result of twenty-four collaborations between Participating Artists and Collaborating Artists. 

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.

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.

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.

Waiting for Godot Directed by Scott Elliott, the classic features Tony nominee Ethan Hawke as Vladimir, Tony recipient John Leguizamo as Estragon, Wallace Shawn as Lucky, rapper Tarik Trotter as Pozzo, and Drake Bradshaw as Boy.

In Waiting for Godot two wanderers wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, who they hope will change their lives for the better. Instead, another couple of eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope.

The creative team also includes production designer Derek McLane, costume designer Qween Jean, sound designer Justin Ellington, director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, editor Yonatan Weinstein, and associate director Monet.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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

Cabaret Loses The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theatre

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Cabaret

Jason Robert Brown To Perform at Carnegie Hall In October

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Cabaret

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

Published

on

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

Continue Reading

Cabaret

Cabaret Shows To Watch

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Cabaret

My View: An Evening With Rex Reed, Will Friedwald, & POLLY BERGEN

Published

on

Will Friedwald’s Clip Joint presented the legendary film critic and personality “Rex Reed Remembers Polly Bergen” last night at the TRIAD Theater.  It was a fascinating evening as Rex, who was one of Polly Bergen’s closest friends told fly on the wall show biz stories and personal anecdotes about her remarkable life.  An especially hilarious one occurred at the annual OSCAR NIGHT party that Polly had every year in her New York apartment.  There was Rex, watching the Oscars on a TV in Polly’s bedroom, Lucille Ball on one side of him and Paul Newman on the other .  Milton Berle who had been in another room parades past them wearing one of Polly’s gowns that he snatched from her closet!

Will and Rex reminisced about her amazing career in the movies ( including three classic comedies with Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis) but even more so on television.  In fact, her career spans the very history of the small screen medium, starting with appearances on pioneering broadcasts of the late 1940’s right up to a memorable regular role in the hit series DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES-although she was probably best known for starring in the legendary 1957 PLAYHOUSE 90 live television biography of HELEN MORGAN.  In other guises, she was an entrepreneur and political activist. 

Will Friedwald brought along his extensive library of film clips of her appearances on The Hollywood Palace, The Andy Williams Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Perry Como Kraft Music Hall, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show and appearances with Phil Silvers, George Burns, Red Skelton, Andy Williams and many more. Polly Bergen (1930-2014) had three husbands, and unfortunately became a Doris Day type financial victim because of her last one. And now “here’s the rest of my personal Polly Bergen story”.

Many years ago a firm placed a large order with my factory.  When I checked with our credit insuring agency they advised me that the company did not have enough finances to purchase that amount of goods and consequently the agency would only insure half the order.  Not wanting to reject a sizable order I made an appointment to meet the owner in his garment center office and check out his business for myself.  During the course of the conversation somehow the entertainment business came up (of course it did) and he mentioned that he was married to Polly Bergen.  Being a fan and and having reverence for the famous and talented artists in this world I dropped my usual due diligence guard and the hour was spent talking about show business, I loved it, especially when he invited me over to their apartment to watch the Super Bowl.   Well, I shipped all the merchandise…and you can guess what happened….Years later I met Polly Bergen at one of Rex Reed’s evenings and introduced myself with the opening line “ you cost me a lot of money” and then related the story of how her husband never paid.   Polly put her arm around me and said in her bawdy way, “ honey, you’re lucky it was only that much, he bankrupted me”.

WILL FRIEDWALD

REX REED & WILL FRIEDWALD

POLLY BERGEN

REX REED

POLLY BERGEN & DEAN MARTIN

PERRY COMO & POLLY BERGEN

REX REED & WILL FRIEDWALD

ANDY WILLIAMS & POLLY BERGEN

POLLY BERGEN & SANDLER & YOUNG

REX REED & POLLY BERGEN

REX REED & EDA SOROKOFF

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles