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What To Watch July 30th To Take Away The Blues

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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).

12:00: SigSpace: Arts Lunch with Nikiya Mathis By Signature Theatre Company. Arts Lunch is back and we are closing out this month with a bang! Join us with Nikiya Mathis (Fabulation, Or The Re-education of Undine). The Antonyo Award-winning actress and hair & wig designer will take over our Instagram Live with special guests Jessica Frances Dukes, Heather Alicia Simms, and J. Bernard Calloway from our productions of Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation, Or The Re-education of Undine, and By The Way, Meet Vera Stark.

1pm: Irish Repertory Theatre: Meet the Makers By Irish Repertory Theatre. John Douglas Thompson and Obi Abili on Breaking Barriers in Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones

2pm: Live with Carnegie Hall: Judy Collins, Alan Cumming, More By Carnegie Hall. Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Judy Collins has appeared at Carnegie Hall more than 50 times. She returns to host a Live with Carnegie Hall episode on Thursday, July 30 at 2PM EDT joined by special guests, Shawn Colvin, Alan Cumming, Steve Earle, and Jimmy Webb for a discussion and performance of both original songs as well works by Stephen Sondheim.

2:10pm: A Midsummer Night’s Stream New York City-based actor and cabaret star Stephen S. Miller, the host of the internet TV show The Mama Rose Show, will be making his London cabaret debut via London-based Harold Sanditen’s Open Mic Zoom on Thursday, July 30, titled “A Midsummer Night’s Stream,” which is the last show of the summer.

Harold Sanditen is a jazz and cabaret singer and the host of the über-popular Open Mic Party, Live at Zédel – the longest running show in the Crazy Coqs – London’s most beautiful music room. 

Joining Miller will be Elizabeth Desiree and Oliver Harris, Jeudi Cornejo Brealey, Monica Salvi, Dillie Keane, Nina Pelton, David Pevsner, Gabrielle Stravelli, Mychelle Colleary, Juliet Wood, and Isabella Allon. 

3:30pm: Moment Matinee Presents Songs of the Decade: The Fabulous Forties

Michael Lavine is presenting a special Webinar Zoominar benefit series: Moment Matinee Presents Songs of the Decade. The last of the three decades will be The Fabulous Forties, with live performances from Broadway and cabaret acclaimed artists as well as some premiere recordings.

Performers for the 3rd episode include Steven Brinberg, Barbara Minkus (Funny Girl); Jon Peterson (Cabaret national tour); Michele Ragusa (GypsyRagtime); Arbender Robinson (Book of MormonHair), and singer-pianist Steve Ross.

4pm: The Receipts with Davon Williams a virtual forum created and moderated by actor, singer and artist Davon Williams to enact vital and necessary change in the American theatre, returns Thursday, July 30, with a new episode.

Episode 8, “Williams Investigates the 2020 Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) Election, Presented to the Council of Black Excellence” will live stream here.  

Williams will be challenging the decision of the AEA Election Compliance Committee regarding electioneering, exploring the case for cyber-bullying by council members, and investigating reports of race-baiting. 

The discussion will feature “The Receipts” Council of Black Excellence, including Tony winner Tonya Pinkins, retired NASA mathematician Valerie L. Thomas, Judge Odell McGhee, II (Senior Judge, Iowa District Court), and Black Theatre Girl Magic’s Mandi Jo Szendrei and Caila Carter.

4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar Tonight’s scheduled pianists are Alex Barylski (@Alexander-Barylski) and Adam Michael Tilford (@Adam-Tilford-1).

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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: Classic Conversations: Becky Ann & Dylan Baker By Classic Stage Company hosted by Artistic Director John Doyle. The series continues with Emmy nominee Becky Ann Baker (GirlsGood People) with husband Tony nominee Dylan Baker (La Bête), both of whom starred in the Doyle-directed Peer Gynt at CSC in 2016. 

6pm: Empower Artist virtual fundraiser Off The Lane is hosting its first annual, “Empower Artist” virtual fundraiser. The event is hosted by, Betsy Spina (Radio Disney Country), and will feature performances from, Billy Gilman (The Voice), Daniel Quadrino (WickedNewsies), Lisa Ramey (The Voice), and more Broadway artists.

Proceeds and donations will benefit Off The Lane’s programs and operational costs as they continue to be a leading resource for young artists looking to pursue careers in New York City.

6pm: West Adams Viewing and Conversation By Skylight Theatre. Live for a special dialogue with the writer, director, and cast after watching the archival recording of West Adams as it was performed before an audience earlier this year. Written by Penelope Lowder. Directed by Michael A. Shepperd. Performed by Andrés M. Bagg, Allison Blaize, Clayton Farris, and Jenny Soo

7pm: Quarantine Cabaret and Cocktails produced and hosted by entertainer and LML Music founder, Lee Lessack, and actor and frequent SNL regular, Robert Bannon. The duo hosts a star-studded group of performers every week with laughs, music, and stories.

Previous guests include the Broadway cast of Mrs. Doubtfire, Diana DeGarmo & Ace Young, Nick Adams, Mandy Gonzalez, and more. 

7pm: Theater of War EMS Dramatic readings of Sophocles’ Ajax as a catalyst for a discussion about the impact of Covid-19 on frontline medical providers. Best-known for Antigone in Ferguson, the company founded by Bryan Doerries performs classical plays to prompt community discussions about urgent issues. This edition features performances by Chad Coleman, Amy Ryan, and Anthony Almojera.

7pm: We Need Your Listening Three individual slots per day through August 2 As part of the Ice Factory 2020 Festival, this half-hour encounter is described as “a series of intimate, one-on-one exchanges with performers – discovering and re-discovering the act of listening as radical engagement….This is a one-on-one experience that will require you to have your camera turned on.”

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7pm: The Spoils New Group available until August 2. Billed as a reunion reading of this play by Jesse Eisenberg, it features the starry cast of the original 2015 Off-Broadway production (pictured), including Eisenberg himself. (My review, which I subtitled “Jesse Eisenberg makes himself an insufferable jerk, again”) $25

7pm: The 7th Voyage of Egon Tichy Theater in Quarantine. Space traveler Egon Tichy likes his quiet time. But when his ship gets hit by a chunk of interstellar detritus, he’s sent careening into a minefield of time vortexes. This 30-minute solo slapstick science-fiction adventure stars Joshua William Gelb

7pm: We’re Still Here: A Virtual Cabaret by Alliance Theater  a free variety show featuring Broadway stars Terry Burrell (Ethel) and Courtenay Collins (The Prom).Burrell and Collins will alternate as hostess, as they entertain audiences from home with songs, stories, special cocktails, and maybe a surprise guest or two.  

7pm: Humanities Symposium Series: Murder Mysteries By Paper Mill Playhouse Join us on the set of the 1997 production of The Mask of Moriarty.  Moderated by Amber Edwards with panelists such as authors Justin Scott and Carol Higgins Clarke, with Executive Director of Mystery Writers of America Priscilla Ridgway.

7pm: Constantine Maroulis in Concert By Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Tony Award nominee and Broadway star Constantine Maroulis will be performing his favorite rock songs plus songs from his brand new album, Until I’m Wanted. Maroulis, known for his star turns on Broadway in Rock of Ages and Jekyll and Hyde, performed in the Axelrod’s 50th Anniversary Concert of HAIR in 2018.

7pm: Ailey All Access: Awakening Ailey All Access releases its next recorded performance: Awakening by Artistic Director Robert Battle, a ballet that expertly balances chaos and resolution, dissonance and harmony.

7:30: Verdi’s Il Trovatore The clichéd quip, attributed to Enrico Caruso, is that it’s easy to put on a great performance of Verdi’s hot-blooded potboiler—all you need is the four best singers in the world. In this Live in HD transmission, the Met sought to do just that, assembling a powerhouse quartet to tackle the daunting principal roles: Sondra Radvanovsky, Dolora Zajick, Marcelo Álvarez, and the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky. The four stars tear into Verdi’s thrilling score, packed from beginning to end with memorable arias, searing and swooning duets, and rousing ensemble and choral numbers.

8pm: Fatchley She NYC Theater Festival. In Zoe Kamil’s play, Brooklyn actress Reina is determined to make a comeback after a public breakdown, but the pain of her past isn’t as far removed as she would like.

8pm: Stars in the House: Original One Day at a Time Reunion Norman Lear and producer Patricia Fass Palmer will join the Romano sisters, otherwise known as Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips; Michael Lembeck  (Max Horvath), and Glenn Scarpelli (Alex Handris) to share favorite stories from life on the set of one of the most beloved sitcoms of the 70s and 80s in support of The Actors Fund

8pm: Scar Tissue She NYC Theater Festival In this play by Victoria Fragnito, best friends Jessica and Sam each have scars from their pasts that haven’t healed. After years of denial, an impromptu lunch date and a surprise overnight guest forces them both to confront these wounds and face what they didn’t want to see head-on.

8pm: New Songs Now in Your Living Room: Masi Asare, Troy Anthony, Andrew Butler, Julian Hornik, Jean Rohe, Ellen Winther By Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Produced in partnership with Rosalind Productions, Inc., New Songs Now is an unplugged concert series that gives inventive songwriters the opportunity to test out new material in a low-key, fun environment.  Each night, composers share selections of their work, followed by a conversation with the artists to demystify the songwriting process. 

8pm: 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards By GLAAD. Broadway alums Peppermint and Beanie Feldstein, Dolly Parton, and more are set to appear during the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which have moved online for a virtual ceremony. The in-person shows in New York City and Los Angeles scheduled for the spring were postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic. 

The awards honor fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ+ people and issues.

As previously announced, the awards will welcome back the theatre favorite category: Outstanding Broadway Production. Nominated this year are Jeremy O. Harris’ Slave Play, Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, Alanis Morissette and Diablo Cody’s Jagged Little Pill musical, Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me, and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Choir Boy.

A number of fan favorites are also scheduled to appear, including Emmy winner Lena Waithe and Broadway alum Olivia Wilde (1984). Rounding out the line up are Cara Delevingne, Kaitlyn Dever, Sonya Deville, Jonica T. Gibbs, Dan Levy, Lil Nas X, Rachel Maddow, Ryan O’Connellthe cast and producers of Pose, Geena Rocero, Angelica Ross, Benito Skinner, Brian Michael Smith, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union, and Raquel Willis.

Comedians Fortune Feimster and Gina Yashere will host with a special performance from Grammy-nominated duo Chloe x Halle.

8:30pm: BPN Town Hall: E-Ticket to Broadway, Best Friends Edition! By Broadway Podcast Network BPN Town Hall: E-Ticket to Broadway LIVE, Best Friend Edition, featuring Jessica Rush & Michael James Scott, Ashley Brown & Josh Strickland, and Keala Settle & Jessie Mueller. To celebrate #InternationalFriendshipDay, these Broadway Besties will share their love of friendship and the Disney Parks! Hosted by David Alpert, the guests include Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful), Michael James Scott (Aladdin, The Book of Mormon), Keala Settle (Waitress, “The Greatest Showman”), Josh Strickland (Tarzan), and Jessica Rush (Tina, Jersey Boys). The event also serves as a fundraiser for Gilana’s Fund. See ya real soon! #disney #broadwaypodcastnetwork #broadway

9pm: The Soul Spot By The Tank The Soul Spot: Virtual Experience is an evening length dance show directed and choreographed by Candace Brown, a world renown and highly sought after commercial choreographer and teacher.

Brown has danced for Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and Dancing with the Stars. Candace has also choreographed for Nicole Scherzinger, Dream Dance Company (Australia), Unity Dance Ensemble (LA), and multiple showcases and artists throughout NYC and LA.

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

Tom and Michael D’Angora, Tim Guinee and Joe Iconis Are Back To Save The West Bank Cafe

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Steve Olsen, has his band of Merry Men with Tom and Michael D’Angora, Tim Guinee and Joe Iconis. In 2020, with a GoFundMe and a a star-studded Christmas Day Telethon they raised $345,422 (the target was $250,000). This year they are back with GoFundMe page and are in the midst of planning a star-studded gala event to assist with fundraising.  They have raised $18,755, but are looking for $850,000.
Steve Olsen has stated “Our business quadrupled last week since we announced our closing, There is a movement to keep our doors open a little longer.”
This is Tom D’Angora’s pitch on GoFundMe
Four years ago, we came together as a community and created a miracle to make sure that The West Bank Cafe/Laurie Beechman Theatre would survive the pandemic. Now Michael D’Angora, Tim Guinee, Joe Iconis and myself are asking you all to come together to create one last miracle so The West Bank Cafe can not only survive but THRIVE.
For 46 years West Bank Cafe has been a popular theater district haunt. It has been a launching pad for countless musicians, actors, comedians, and writers — a “must visit” for tourists, a “go to” for locals and a perfect spot for a business meeting, a pre-theater meal or after show drinks with friends.
The road post-pandemic has not been an easy one, but Steve Olsen and the incredible staff at The West Bank Cafe have soldiered on and sacrificed to keep the Cafe afloat. Unfortunately, the challenges have become overwhelming and without our help, our beloved Cafe will close for good in late August.
There were many factors that have led to this situation, but the largest and most unjust was that The West Bank Cafe was overlooked for the RRF grant, which is the reason most restaurants were able to make it post-pandemic. To make matters worse, due to an unfair and ridiculous technicality they were also denied the SVOG. Either of these grants would have made it possible for The West Bank to flourish over the past three years. Being denied both has resulted in the current situation.
It is left up to us as a community to once again step up and take care of our own. The West Bank Cafe will turn 50 in four years, and we must make sure that we are able to toast Steve, eat risotto balls together on the day of the iconic venue’s golden anniversary.
The West Bank Café is more than a restaurant and performance space. So many of us have celebrated birthdays, weddings, opening nights, closing nights, Tony wins, Tony losses, and everything in between there. Everyone is treated like a VIP when they walk through those doors.
The West Bank is home to The Laurie Beechman Theater -a legendary venue that is as vital to the New York theater scene as any Broadway house or Non-profit theater. There are less and less rooms in Manhattan for artists to birth new work in a safe and supportive environment. The loss of the downstairs performance space at the West Bank would be devastating to the community.. The Laurie Beechman is more than a beloved cabaret, it is an important piece of New York City theatrical history.
It is the stage where Joan Rivers performed her final set. It is the room where the original cast of Sunday in the Park With George rehearsed. It is where the Tony Award-winning play Side Man debuted, where Aaron Sorkin’s first two works were produced, where Lewis Black and Rusty Magee cut their teeth, Where countless Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony, and MAC Award-winning artists have developed new pieces. So many stars have not only played but have been born at the Laurie Beechman Theater.
What is more clear than ever is that this restaurant does not just belong to Steve and Janet, it belongs to all of us. It is truly our Westbank Cafe and I believe we can once again pull off a miracle TOGETHER.
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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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