Black Theatre Week By Black Theatre Networks from July 27–31, with a host of stage artists taking part in tributes, readings, and more.
Following a welcome address from BTN President Andre Harrington and Vice President Chris Berry, Tony Award winner André De Shields (Hadestown) will host a 50th anniversary celebration for New Federal Theatre, honoring Artistic Director Woodie King Jr., July 27.
Later events in the week (all free and open to the public) include a conversation between Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud) and political analyst Dr. Michael Eric Dyson moderated by playwright Michael Dinwiddie (July 28); a presentation of two-person plays focusing on the Black LGBTQAI+ experience (July 29), a panel with The Roots’ Tarik Trotter and Oscar winner John Ridley on their upcoming musical Black No More (July 29); and a showcase of upcoming seasons by culturally Black theatres across the U.S. (July 31).
1pm: Virtual Verbal Description Program: A Celebration of Tap Dance By Lincoln Center. Celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lincoln Center’s ADA in the Arts features programs with and for people with disabilities. Designed for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Behind-the-scenes exploration of tap dance materials from the archives of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division.
This program is free with registration. Click here to register »
1pm: The Broadway Q&A Series: Scott Ellis The Broadway alum will answer questions about Tootsie, She Loves Me, Curtains, 1776, and more.
3pm: The Seth Concert Series: Megan Hilty performs highlights from some of her biggest roles.
Hilty made her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked joining the production in 2005. She would return to the Great White Way in 2009, starring in 9 to 5 as Doralee Rhodes. Hilty was last on the Broadway stage Noises Off as Brooke Ashton, in a performance that earned her a Tony nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
In addition to her stage career, Hilty is known for her work in screen including her performance as Ivy Lynn in Smash, Patsy Cline in Patsy & Loretta, and more.
The Seth Concert Series is hosted by Sirius XM host and Playbill contributor Seth Rudetsky. While normally held in Provincetown, Massachusetts, under the Broadway @ Art House banner, the erformances will be held indoors from the stars’ homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar scheduled pianists are Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Brandon James Gwinn (@brandonjamesg).
5pm: Watch Me Work: Suzan Lori Parks She’s back. A meditation on the artistic process, and an actual work session, featuring Suzan-Lori Parks working on her newest writing project. Traditionally hosted on the mezzanine of The Public Theater Lobby, this new version will bring the program to your home via Zoom sessions and HowlRound livestreams.
6pm: #BwayforBLM Forum The Miseducation By Broadway Advocacy Coalition. This program centering the experiences of Black students in predominantly white theatre institutions. “The faculty, administration, and curricula of theatre schools place limits on what Blackness is and can be, creating an internal struggle for students’ most authentic selves,” says BAC Founder and President Britton Smith. “We owe our BIPOC students an equitable education framework that understands their uniqueness, and prepares them to participate fully in the theatre industry. We must acknowledge the roots of racism in our educational standards before we reach this goal.”
7pm: New Voices 2006: Pop! Goes the Musical. The annual New Voices concert is the culmination of Paper Mill Playhouse’s Summer Musical Theater Conservatory, featuring 120 talented student performers ages 10–18, directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional artistic staff.
7pm: Loser Boy: Boom Boom on the Zoom Zoom By The Tank. Behold! A live improv show on Zoom! You probably don’t know Loser Boy as an improv team charting a course to undiscovered improvisation, but that’s who we are. We’re taking our show online and that’s a new thing in itself!
Loser Boy features Dana Patrice, Emily Keown, Deirdre Manning, Jordan McDonough and John Racioppo plus special guests!!
7:10: Lost In The Stars a virtual reunion of our award-winning 1988 production of Kurt Weill’s musical tragedy — his final complete score.
Join director Alex Dmitriev, York’s James Morgan, theater historian Charles Wright, and cast members April Armstrong, Lothair Eaton, Connie Fredericks, Lee Lobenhofer, and Ken Prymus, with musical accompaniment by Nancy Ford for an evening of fond memories. A Zoom link will be sent out one hour prior to the panel start.
7:30: Works & Process at the GuggenheimAnnounces WPA Virtual Commissions “This Moment” by Stefanie Batten Bland“‘This Moment’ is an ongoing work and process between choreographic artist Stefanie Batten Bland and installation artist Conrad Quesen. Filmed respecting COVID distancing, the transparent use of PVC interrogates questions surrounding the definitions of safe space, indoor/outdoor, and the weight relationships of oppression.”
7:30pm: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor Starring Natalie Dessay, Joseph Calleja, Ludovic Tézier, and Kwangchul Youn, conducted by Patrick Summers. From March 19, 2011. The title role of Donizetti’s chilling tragedy based on Sir Walter Scott has become an icon in opera and beyond, an archetype of the constrained woman asserting herself in society. The insanity that overtakes and destroys Lucia, depicted in opera’s most celebrated mad scene, has especially captured the public imagination. Donizetti’s handling of this fragile woman’s state of mind remains seductively beautiful, thoroughly compelling, and deeply disturbing, but the score as a whole brilliantly displays the composer’s mastery of bel canto vocal writing.
8pm: On Seth Rudetsky fabulous series Stars in the House Guest Host Brenda Braxton
8pm: Jim Caruso’s Pajama Cast Party will feature Olivier Award-winning Broadway leading lady Lesli Margherita, jazz vocalist extraordinaire Tierney Sutton, violinist Edmund Bagnell, singer/host Matthew Rodin, soul singer CJ Emmons, and conductor/producer Brian Eads. In recent episodes of “Jim Caruso’s Pajama Cast Party,” stars like Kristin Chenoweth, Betty Buckley, Christine Ebersole, Jane Monheit, Kurt Elling, Melissa Manchester, Curtis Stigers, Michael Feinstein, Dave Koz, Linda Lavin, Ann Hampton Callaway, Mary Wilson, Jessica Vosk, John Davidson, Erich Bergen, Billy Stritch, Ty Herndon, Mo Rocca, David Osmond, Clint Holmes, and Max von Essen have served up musical performances via livestream from their homes. For seventeen years, host Jim Caruso has played equal parts showman, maestro, concierge and positive force for musical good with his “Cast Party” every Monday at Birdland in New York City. With the club shuttered due to the pandemic, Caruso has wasted no time in storming YouTube, thanks to the technical know-how of producer Ruby Locknar. The episodes can also be seen on the Birdland Jazz Club Facebook page. More information can be found at www.PajamaCastParty.com
8:30: Sunset 1919 By Lookingglass Theatre Company who launches its Chicago Stories initiative with the short film premiere of Sunset 1919.
Sunset 1919 commemorates the start of the 1919 Chicago race riots by creating art to honor the fallen. The start of the 1919 Chicago race riots was incited by the tragic murder of Eugene Williams, a Black teenager stoned to death after drifting into a “whites only” section of Lake Michigan while swimming with friends. Sunset 1919 is meant to peacefully honor the lives of Black humans impacted by the deadly racial attacks that swept the nation that summer, the roots of which stretch back across centuries, and the fruits of which we continue to pluck—a moment in an unbroken line.
The Chicago Stories initiative will feature COVID-considerate events/expressions that plumb the depth of Chicago’s history and people, while inventing new Chicago traditions to carry us forward…together.
A spoken word piece performed and penned by Ensemble Member and Mellon Playwright in Residence J. Nicole Brooks.
A musical selection from composer and cornetist Ben LaMar Gay.
A choreographed movement piece featuring artist Adeoye.
Directed by Artistic Associate Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz.
9pm: Mondays in the Club with Lance songwriter, pianist and performer Lance Horne hosts a night of piano-bar singing, storytelling and dancing at the East Village Club Cumming. Contributions to the nonprofit Orchard Project. You can tip Horne directly via Venmo at @LanceHorne.)
9:15am: The Muny’s 2020 Summer Variety Hour Live!clips from Muny productions of the past seven seasons, including The Little Mermaid, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Jersey Boys, Spamalot, Aida, Singin’ in the Rain, All Shook Up, The Wiz, Newsies, The Music Man, Annie, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and Paint Your Wagon.
Events For December
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For December
Tis the season to be entertained. Here are picks:
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 12/2 – 4: Lyrics & Lyricists In the Key of Life: The Genius of Stevie Wonder. Led by Broadway’s Darius de Haas; 12/5: Recanati-Kaplan Talks Death, Let Me Do My Show: Rachel Bloom in Conversation and 12/14: Sharon Stone and Jerry Saltz Talk About Art.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 12/11: Karen Mason for her annual Christmas show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”; 12/12 – 16 Stacy Kent; 12/18: James Barbour returns to Birdland with his annual Holiday Concert: 12/21 – 25: “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch and 12/28 – 31: Marilyn Maye.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 12/1 – 9: Sutton Foster; 12/12 – 16: Gavin DeGraw and 12/19 – 31: Michael Feinstein.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 12/5: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith; 12/6: Dee Dee Bridgewater with Sean Jones and the NYO Jazz All-Star Big Band; 12/13: Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and 12/22 – 23: The New York Pops The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St.
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street.
Alec Wilder Tribute
Devotees of the Great American Songbook have another reason to love living in New York. Yes, cabaret shows of the music of Porter, Rodgers et al abound here of course, but once a year there is a loving tribute to a lesser-known composer. Some of us may have even passed him on West 44th Street as he was leaving his home in the Algonquin Hotel. This dapper gentleman was Alec Wilder, a musician who wrote classical pieces as well as songs. He wrote words and music, and sometimes let the likes of Marshall Barer, Fran Landesman and even Johnny Mercer supply lyrics. There are a few of these titans who can have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall. George Gershwin comes to mind immediately; Cole Porter dabbled but reverted to what he could do best. Wilder also wrote American Popular Song/The Great Innovators 1900-1950, a volume respected by those who love the music of that era.
The Friends of Alec Wilder presented their 38th Annual Concert for an audience of seriously devoted fans of Wilder on November 11th at 54 Below.
Mark Walter, FOAW Board Member and son of noted pianist and friend of Wilder’s Cy Walter, introduced Honorary Host Steve Ross, who along with the ever-amiable Eric Comstock interspersed the music with anecdotes about Wilder which rounded out the portrait of the gentleman being painted so effectively by the rest of the cast.
The afternoon began with one of Wilder’s chamber works, presented lovingly by The Wilderness Trio. Eric Comstock followed, summing up Wilder by saying that his music never went out of vogue because it was never in vogue. Wilder is like that secret ingredient that once having tasted it, one yearns for it thereafter. Eric sang four songs, infusing I’ll Wait with his ineffable sass and charm before being joined by his wife, the spunky and gorgeous Barbara Fasano, who made each lyric come to life in ways Wilder would have appreciated. Sean Smith provided bass support, and the trio which has been a mainstay at Birdland illuminated Wilder’s deep emotional grasp of the human condition.
The Wildebeest Wind Quintet followed with the Alice in Wonderland Suite, which showed Wilder at his classically playful best. Jason Henderson carried some of that lightheartedness into his segment, with two songs that benefited from his natural charm and enthusiasm. Steve Ross made the heart ache a bit with his rendition of the plaintive Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneden’s? before closing the program by encouraging everyone to join him in singing I’ll Be Around, perhaps the best known of Wilder’s songs.
If your interest in Alec Wilder has been piqued, visit alecwildermusicandlife.com.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara With The NY Pops
One Night Only: An Evening with Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Pops is happening Friday 8pm, at Carnegie Hall. This unique program by NY Pops conductor Steven Reineke, pays homage to earlier icons of stage and screen who teamed up for memorable concerts.
T2C Talks To Paul Iacono, Unfiltered
Actor and writer Paul Iacono, best known for the films Fame, G.B.F., and MTV’s “The Hard Times Of RJ Berger,” returns to The Green Room 42 in “Paul Iacono, Unfiltered,” His bawdy evening of excess and exposé happens tonight Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM. T2C had a chance to talk to this 3 decade seasoned performer.
Paul Iacono, is best known for his portrayal of the title character on MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” Paul was first featured on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” at age eight, after she discovered his unique talents for impersonating Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman Favorite stage credits include Mercury Fur (The New Group), Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom (Joe’s Pub), Noël Coward’s Sail Away with Elaine Stritch (Carnegie Hall), John Guare’s Landscape of the Body with Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott (Signature Theater), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Donna Lynne Champlin and Michele Pawk (Transport Group). Favorite film credits include MGM’s remake of Fame, Drew Barrymore’s Animal, Darren Stein’s G.B.F., Extracurricular Activities, and Dating My Mother with Kathy Najimy. Iacono’s play Prince/Elizabeth premiered at The Teatro LATEA Theater co-starring Sofia Black D’Elia and Peter Vack, and The Last Great Dame (loosely inspired by his relationship with Elaine Stritch) at Jane Friedman’s HOWL! Happening Gallery. His cabaret “Where’s the Fucking Kid?” premiered at 54 Below, with “Psychedelic Hedonism” following at Joe’s Pub (New York Magazine “Critic’s Pick”), and “Psychedelic Playhouse” at The Green Room 42.
Join Paul for a surreal vaudevillian celebration through the highs, lows, and misadventures from his past five years out of the spotlight. Directed by Eric Gilliland and written by Iacono, Paul weaves insanely personal and wildly hilarious moments from Hollywood to 42nd Street and beyond, accompanied onstage by music director Drew Wutke, with music consulting and arrangements by Peter Saxe.
Paul Iacono, Unfiltered on Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel).
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