7:30pm: Volpone, Or The Fox by Ben Johnson Directed by Jesse Berger, this online benefit reading will feature André De Shields as Volpone, Jordan Boatman, Sofia Cheyenne, Franchelle Stewart Dorn, Clifton Duncan, Amy Jo Jackson, Peter Francis James, Hamish Linklater, Roberta Maxwell, Sam Morales, Kristine Nielsen, Mary Testa, and Shannon Wicks.
7:30pm: The Indomitable Irishry: An Online Celebration Irish Repertory Theatre presents The Indomitable Irishry: An Online Celebration, this season’s Gala benefit production. The evening will honor Tony Award winner Bill Irwin and Mary Lou and Joe Quinlan, longtime members of the Irish Rep family both on and off stage.
Join Irish Rep online for an evening of music and songs celebrating their thirty-two years of bringing the best Irish and Irish American stories to the stage. This one-night-only event, whose title is drawn from W.B. Yeats’s poem “Under Ben Bulben,” will celebrate their “indomitable Irishry” and look to the future as they celebrate their artistic accomplishments.
7:30pm: Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra The title ruler of Simon Boccanegra is one of the repertory’s most compelling characters, a 14th-century Doge of Genoa, beset on all sides, juggling political adversaries bent on murder with his love for his long-lost daughter Amelia. In addition to Boccanegra’s searing internal conflict between public duty and private grief, the story offers cloak-and-dagger intrigue, passionate young love, and noble sacrifice—set to an unfailingly dramatic, enveloping score that only Verdi could have created.
8pm: Jim Caruso’s Pajama Cast Party: For the past seventeen years, Jim Caruso’s Cast Party has been inspiring superstars and up-and-comers to storm the Birdland stage with memorable impromptu performances. The “extreme open mic” takes place in New York City every single Monday, Broadway’s “dark” night, making it the regular go-to place for show folk and the people who love them. But these aren’t regular times. We’re all searching for ways to entertain ourselves and everyone else! Host Jim Caruso decided it was high time to bring the Party to you! And so, this Monday night, a slew of deliriously-talented people will join you in the comfort of your home…from the comfort of their homes! Put on your finest pjs and be entertained by some favorite Broadway babies, swingin’ jazzers and cabaret divas.
Becoming Dr. Ruth Tovah Feldshuh stars as the legendary Dr. Ruth Westheimer in Mark St. Germain’s play through California’s North Coast Repertory Theatre. David Ellenstein directs the production that tells the extraordinary true story of the real-life radio and television sex therapist and her rise to fame. Available through July 4.
Vienna Waltzes was created in 1977 and set to waltzes by Johann Strauss II, Franz Lehár, and Richard Strauss. It features more than 50 dancers and is only performed by New York City Ballet. Through Rouben Ter-Arutunian’s evolving scenery, Ronald Bates’ lighting, and Karinska’s costumes, which were the last that the famed designer created for the Company, the ballet transforms from a sylvan forest glen to a dance hall to a glittering society café to, at last, a majestic mirrored ballroom.
Juliet and Romeo Romeo and Juliet is reinvented as a musical comedy when the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance, Southern Utah University’s (SUU) Department of Theatre, Dance and Arts Administration and Catalyst: A Theatre Think Tank premiere Juliet and Romeo.
Co-written by Paul Gordon, a Tony Award nominee for Jane Eyre, and Curtis Moore, an Emmy Award nominee for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the production will be accessible through midnight Pacific on June 5.
Myths and Hymns: Faith Jennifer Holliday, Mykal Kilgore and Anthony Roth Costanzo star in the final installment of Adam Guettel’s song cycle.
Empress Mei Li Lotus Blossom Abingdon Theatre Company presents this short film written and directed by Christine Toy Johnson that tells the story of a Teaneck-born Asian American actress who poses as an exotic Hong Kong movie star so she can get her shot at Broadway. Reggie Lee moderates a talkback with the cast and creative team after the viewing that celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
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).
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here We Are Or The Search For The Meaning of Life
Let me just state that I love the Stephen Sondheim/David Ives musical/play Here We Are. It’s as if the genius, known as Sondheim was trying to resolve his life. The first act is cynical and the characters are hypocritical, while the second act is about coming to with grips with life’s choices and surrendering to the inevitable.
The music is like playing Sondheim jeopardy. His motif’s from other shows are blended into new songs that make you want to have a pen and paper to play the game. I can’t wait until the CD comes out. I’ve been told that it is being recorded in January.
The show is highly surreal, with life’s journeyIn question. Think “The Outer Limits” or “The Twilight Zone,” very Rod Serling.
Based on two Luis Buñuel films “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) and “The Exterminating Angel” (1962). Act one has Leo Brink (Bobby Cannavale) a entitled tycoon whose opinion is the only one that matters, his wife Marianne (Rachel Bay Jones) who lives for beauty and is a bit on the vaped side, their friends Paul Zimmer (Jeremy Shamos), a plastic surgeon celebrating his 1,000th nose job, his wife, Claudia (Amber Gray), an agent who lives for the celebrity of it all, Raffael Santello Di Santicci (Steven Pasquale), an ambassador from Moranda who lives for the number of notches on his belt and Fritz (Micaela Diamond), Marianne’s younger sister, who wants a revolution, while also wanting to live the good life, searching for brunch. It turns out Leo, Paul and Raffael run a drug cartel. As the day goes down the hill Marianne keeps asking Leo to “buy this perfect day for her.”
Act two is a little more dark. While they finally find food, the consequences of their choices keeps them trapped in purgatory. Enter a colonel (Francois Battiste) whose parents were killed for $26.15, a soldier (Jin Ha) who has feelings for Fritz due to his dreams and a bishop (David Hyde Pierce) who wants another job, has a shoe fettish, and plays piano, until there is no more music. This act is very reminiscent of Steambath. I love the homage to “The World According to Garp” and the bear.
Playing butlers and maids and assorted restaurateur’sare the incredible Tracie Bennett and Denis O’Hare. Kudos has to go out to the wigs by Robert Pickens and Katie Gell and the neon various establishments. white box set and costumes by David Zinn.
Joe Mantello’s staging is exquisite, allowing for each of these brilliantly talented performers to take center stage. This is true ensemble acting and I hope when the Drama Desk is giving out awards this wins.
Where many have criticized the lack of music in the second act, it makes perfect sense. The music stops. The concept very much reminds me of Davids Cromer’s Our Town, when Emily dies and suddenly things are in color and have smells. It makes complete sense that once you are trapped the music would die.
Natasha Katz’s lighting really helps the shinny set take shape, Tom Gibbons’s sound makes the inner world come to life and Sam Pinkleton’s choreography is just enough to make this move seamlessly.
Alexander Gemignani, and Jonathan Tunick, make Sondheim’s music an art and I for one appreciate the subtlety and musicality. Many may not know that Sondheim was a game master and in this it is like he won the final game of “putting it together”.
Here We Are, is intelligent, witty with so much to say and if you ponder the meaning of life you to will walk away extremely fulfilled.
Here We Are, The Shed, 545 West 30th through January 21st
Talking to The Creatives Of War Words
I was so moved by War Words the Pulitzer Prize nominated docu-play based on the words of the men and women who served in the U.S. Military during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, T2C set up an interview with the playwright Michelle Kholos Brooks, Sarah Norris the director and Donald Calliste on of the actors in the show, who is also a vet and served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
War Word is based on Michelle Kholos Brooks interviews with veterans of the 20-year Long War and their families, War Words is composed of heroic and heartbreaking stories of the veterans, families, and allies of people who served: those who came home, and those who were left behind. The playwright and NewYorkRep have felt that there was always a need for civilians to better understand the motivation and sacrifice one makes to serve.
War Words: by NewYorkRep in association with New Light Theater Project at A.R.T. Theatre, 502 West 53rd Street, through December 17th.
Video by Magda Katz
I Can Get It For You Wholesale Shines Bright /Dark at Off-Broadway’s Classic Stage Company
That young boy, running and dancing around that Classic Stage Company theatre floor, flinging fabric in exchange for coins has everything one would want in a musical theatre hero, and we instantly feel for him, and his pain when some guy, “always bigger,” pushes him to the ground in a jarring antisemitic assault after taking his money while lobbing a slur right at him. We take in his pain and frustration, especially when, after, his mother, played to utter perfection by the always magnificent Judy Kuhn (CSC’s Assassins; Broadway’s Fun Home), sings the sweetest of care-taking songs, begging him to “chew a little something” for her. It’s the kindest of engagements. One that enters our collective hearts and stays with us, even as we watch the show, and him, turn so utterly dark.
Well, that was Harry Bogan, then, and he had us totally on his side cheering him on simply because of that first, well-executed, scene. Now, well, the theatrical now being 1937 New York City, as adult-played by Santino Fontana (LCT’s One Act; Broadway’s Tootsie), he’s a different kind of man. At first, we think of him as driven and ambitious, something that we can also get behind, but as the revival of 1962’s I Can Get It For You Wholesale rises forth most dynamically, we see another side of Harry, one that makes him and this musical a different kind of breed than I realized walking in. I had no idea that it was such a dark horse kinda of a show, and as unspooled meticulously well by director Trip Cullman (Broadway/2ST’s Lobby Hero), the anti-hero status of Bronx-born Harry stitches himself well into our psyche, giving us enough connection to make us struggle with our ongoing care, while also cringing when he deceives. And he does that often, and with such cleverness, we feel, since he buddies up to us so directly, a little guilty as well for all of his transgressions.
When this dark horse of a musical first opened on Broadway in 1962, it had a fairly solid run (300 performances) but failed to garner the same enthusiasm that another show that opened that same season did (beyond what it did for a certain star-making turn of one Funny Girl). Five months earlier, to be precise, and that show, another dark anti-hero horse by the name of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying had what was referred to as a more “cuddly betrayer” in the likes of J. Pierrepont Finch. Theatre historian Ken Mandelbaum noted that “audiences were less willing to confront Wholesale‘s unflinching portrayal of Harry’s little world of men and ulcers on parade.” Finch was more for them, and Harry, well, not so much.
I guess it’s a bit understandable – one anti-hero musical at a time – but it’s one of those sad theatre stories that casts a unfortunate shadow on the musical’s true cleverness. Yet, with this production and John Weidman, the book writer of Assassins, on the job, revising his father’s work for this Classic Stage Company production, the edges and the ending have solidified into something darker yet more direct and engaging. We hear more from Harry, through his inner dialogue monologues spoken directly to us, sometimes asking us to forgive him for the terrible thing he’s about to do, basically trying to get us to stay with him as his lies and scheming get more and more profitable for him, and more uncomfortable for us to watch. Until we can no longer, but that takes a bit of time, and, that’s basically because of the show’s now strong structuring and Fontana’s detailed delivery. Our turn happens much later than we expect, making us feel even more complicit to his so-called crimes as we watch it all seemingly unravel, bringing down one truly lovely trusting character, and hurting numerous others along the way.
In the part of Harry, originated back in the day by Elliot Gould, Fontana works his superb magic, casting illusions that we buy into with all the charm in the world (displaying that glorious voice of his every chance he can get). He’s devilish, pretty much from the beginning, throwing his Union brothers under the bus right off the bat in his first adult move up the ladder. We watch him climb, becoming more and more successful, and buying his loving mother a shower of expensive gifts, too soon and too fast for us not to question how he is doing all that. He conquers the 1930s garment trade, one step at a time, but Harry’s climb seems to be always on the backs of others. It initially feels enterprising, but quickly shifts to something more dirty and troubling. Especially when it comes to netting some much-needed capital from a childhood sweetheart by the name of Ruthie, played gorgeously by Rebecca Naomi Jones (Broadway’s Oklahoma!). Their “Gemini meets Capricorn” number is delightfully playful and endearing, even as we unconsciously underscore the sweet serenade with the bitter smooth-talking schemer vibe. You better watch your back (and pocketbook) Ruthie, or else you might have a fall ahead of you. Just listen to his Mama, OK?
Harry follows that sad desperate stain with another sweet-talking con of a dinner, courtesy of Mama’s fine cooking (and a spectacular subtle performance). We watch as he bluffs and convinces two other guys to go into business with him, while scheming his way around corners to get his share of the down payment. He keeps talking to us, entwining us, trying to explain and ask our forgiveness, and even when he starts losing us, Fontana still finds a way to keep us completely tuned in. When he leaves the sweet Ruthie standing there with a plate she put together for him to basically sing a strong duet about the love and sound of money with a showgirl, it sits heavy in our hearts. Portrayed regally by Joy Woods (Off-Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors) as that other woman, actress Martha Mills, who values money almost as highly as Harry, we can’t help but think that our anti-hero and this glamour girl are an equal match “as dollars meet in sweet surrender.”
As played out on that simplistic, yet overly cluttered stage, courtesy of Mark Wendland (PH’s Unknown Soldier), with strong detailed costuming by Ann Hould-Ward (CSC’s The Cradle Will Rock), straightforward clear lighting by Adam Honoré (CSC’s Carmen Jones), and a solid sound design by Sun Hee Kil (CSC’s A Man of No Importance), I Can Get It for You Wholesale sings beautifully through the darkness, even if all those tables and chairs keep getting in the way of letting these truly fascinating characters fully spread out. It rarely feels necessary, all those items crowding the stage, even when the staging makes strong use of the haphazard placements of it all. The choreography by Ellenore Scott (Broadway’s Funny Girl), is charming, effervescent, and fun, but suffers because of all that clutter. She finds ways to utilize the obstacles well, but the movements forever feel like its crowding in the energy, all to the beautifully adapted score arranged by David Chase (Broadway’s 1776) with music direction and orchestrations by Jacinth Greywoode (Iron John: An American Ghost Story).
The cast is compelling, emotional, and exceptional, with Kuhn and Jones coming together beautiful and clear. Adam Grupper (Broadway’s (Pictures From Home) as Maurice Pulvermacher, Greg Hildreth (Broadway’s Company) as Teddy Asch, and Woods as the other woman giving Ruthie a run for her money, also give us their all, but the secondary heart sits firmly in that other family, the one that trusts Harry completely, with their love, security, family, and faith. In their union, played strong and true by Adam Chanler-Berat (Broadway’s Amélie) and Sarah Steele (RTC’s The Humans) as husband and wife; Meyer and Blanche Bushkin, the Jewish designer and his wife, they put their complete faith in Harry and usher forth a whole different element to the show. One that is completely devastating thanks to their and the cast’s delivery. It’s that uncomfortable conflict between faith, assimilation, and tradition, echoed in Kuhn’s carrying Mother and realized most fully in the celebration of Bushkin’s son, Teddy, portrayed by Victor de Paula Rocha (MUNY’s Rent) [who also earlier played the young Harry] and his Bar Mitzvah. That family’s betrayal is the final straw, yet it still stings true since, for some reason, we had not given up on Harry until that very moment.
But let’s not forget what most of us do know about this musical, historically speaking, and the main reason this show is remembered. It was the 1962 launching pad for a young, 19-year-old Barbra Streisand, making her Broadway debut as the loyal assistant to Harry, Miss Marmelstein, a part made bigger because of her just-seen talent. Funny Girl followed a few years later, and the rest is history, but inside this particular production, the making of another star is laid out right there before us. Maybe this part is the dress pattern for success, who knows, but with Julia Lester taking on the role, fresh from her Tony-nominated breakout performance as Little Red in Broadway’s smash revival of Into the Woods last summer, it certainly feels that Miss Marmelstein is the launching pad for success. Almost more-so than Harry, and Lester shines in the part, rolling about and rivaling all on top of those messy set pieces, commanding us to pay attention. How could we not? She shines super bright; hilarious and completely appealing, an equal to Fontana in his dark spotlight. I had no idea that I was walking into something like that, let alone the darkness of the anti-hero played out so deviously well, much like most I gather from the intermission reactions, but it’s certainly worth the trip to Union Square, to watch one star on the quick rise, and another cementing his already golden status in Classic Stage Company‘s solid revival of I Can Get It For You Wholesale. I’m glad I’m going to be able to say I was there when it all happened. Into the Woods and beyond.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Michael Urie and Ethan Slater
With the holidays, my caricature of Spamalot is taking time, so I decided to highlight the two performers who for me stood out.
I have drawn Michael Urie several times, but I love this picture with him and my drawing of him in Buyer and Seller. Urie as Sir Robin, shows a new side of him that is truly funny.
Ethan Slater should have won a Tony for Sponge Bob Square Pants. My guess is he will be nominated again for his multiple roles in Spamalot.
Up next my caricature of Spamalot
The Emergence of Profound Theatre at The Signature
Things are not as they seem. What is our place in the universe? Did you know we once co-created and still create our own universe…everyday? Are we alive? Where does love come from? These are the subjects that Emergence and Patrick Olson ask us to ponder. Featuring music, spoken word almost like Laurie Anderson or David Byrne and Alex Grey like visuals, Olson imparts what could almost be a movement towards a better planet. Olson, also a talented songwriter brings together Ian Jesse on bass, Nadav Hezi on guitar, Jordan Coker on drums, and Thomas Nickell on keys, four vocalists ala Robert Palmer (Cherry Davis, Samara Brown, Miya Bass, and Bella Kosal), 3 acrobatic dancers Summer Sheldrick, Dana Liebezeit, and Lavy Cavaliere, add to his universe.
Olson, founded a science publishing company, released an album in 2021 titled Music for Scientists. “Moons of Jupiter,” is featured in Emergence. Other songs include: “Time,” “In My Mind,” “Energy,” and “Becoming.”
A lot of Emergence is played off as scientific fact such as we are all made out of hydrogen, carbon, calcium, and phosphorus, which is not living. Tension holds us upright despite gravity and yellow tulips are actually not yellow. This is all done with thought-provoking monologues that is in essence basic knowledge, but sometimes the most simplest concepts are the most profound. Do most people even contemplate spatial paradigms and the relativity of time and space? I think not and yet if we did the universe would be a better place.
Some of this material and this world can seem overwhelming, but in this intimate space we go through the trauma of it together.
Olson truly likes being up on stage and sharing his knowledge, his music and his philosophy. He looks kind of like a rock Mr. Rodgers.
A lot of what makes this show is the lighting design by Jordan Noltner, and the projections, by Jonathon Corbiere and Tyler Sammy of Futuretalk, Inc., and Nick Proctor, of Wasted Potential. These almost become another character.
This show is uplifting, insightful and definitely a unique theatrical experience.
Emergence: Things Are Not As They Seem: Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street through January 7th. Tickets and information: emergenceshow.com
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