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What To Watch November 11th To Take Away The Blues

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Laura Osnes, Corey Cost, Bandstand

12pm: George Street Playhouse: Conscience The original cast of Tony winner Joe DiPietro’s Conscience, previously seen at the George Street Playhouse prior to the shutdown, will reunite for virtual readings October 27-30.

Harriet Harris Photo by T Charles Erickson tcepix@comcast.net

The readings will reunite the original cast—Tony winner Harriet Harris as Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Lee Sellers as Senator Joseph McCarthy, Mark Junek as the strategist William C. Lewis, Jr., and Cathryn Wake as Jean Kerr, McCarthy’s researcher and later his wife. David Saint directs.

On June 1, 1950, Senator Margaret Chase Smith stood on the Senate floor and delivered her “Declaration of Conscience” in a historic moment of political courage.

3pm: The Show Must Go Online: The Tempest British actor and director Robert Myles launched The Show Must Go Online, a weekly online reading group—performed by actors via Zoom and live streamed on YouTube—that works through Shakespeare’s plays in the order they were written.

All readings are saved to enjoy at a later date once they’ve been live streamed.

Shakespeare scholars have long referenced the fact that the Bard penned some of his greatest works in the midst of the plague, penning not only poetry while the theatres were shut, but plays too. Inspired by this, and in the wake of coronavirus restrictions around the globe, The Show Must Go Online was born.

4pm–9:30pm: Marie’s Crisis Virtual Piano Bar Tonight’s scheduled pianists are James Merillat (@James-Merillat-2) and Franca Vercelloni (@Franca-Vercelloni).

Kristine Opolais

5pm: Metropolitan Opera: Free Student Stream La Traviata Michael Mayer’s new production of Verdi’s La Traviata. Yannick Nézet-Séguin, in his first performances as Met Music Director, conducts an all-star cast led by Diana Damrau and Juan Diego Flórez.

6:30pm: Creative Youth Studio By The Old Globe Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio’s next stage, has joined the The Old Globe’s roster of digital programming.

Providing a series of professional development opportunities for youth to advance their creative and professional careers, it aims to reach a broad swath of aspiring thespians, including high school theatre enthusiasts and community members new to our programs.

Participants will explore audition preparation, portfolio building, voice work, dance, and clowning in free weekly one-hour classes, Saturdays at 11:00 AM PT live on The Old Globe Arts Engagement’s Facebook page.

6:30pm: New Student Master Classes with Betty Buckley Performer Betty Buckley will offer weekly virtual master classes designed for singers and actors who have not previously worked with the Tony winner.

Click here to sign up or email Sally@tschreiber.org for more information.

Texas native Buckley, recently seen in an acclaimed performance as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the national tour of the Tony-winning revival of Hello, Dolly!, won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, later earning another nomination for her work in the musical Triumph of Love.

She starred in both the London and New York productions of Sunset Boulevard, earning an Olivier nomination for her take on the ill-fated silent-screen star Norma Desmond. London audiences have also enjoyed Buckley’s work in Promises, Promises and Dear World, and her other Broadway credits include CarrieSong & DanceThe Mystery of Edwin Drood, and 1776.

7pm: Broadway’s Great American Songbook: Lee Roy Reams Join The York Theatre Company for their online cabaret series, Broadway’s Great American Songbook, beginning next Wednesday, November 4. Hosted by 5-Time Grammy Award nominee Michael Feinstein, and directed by MAC Award winner Barry Kleinbort, this week Lee Roy Reams.

7pm: New York Theatre Barn Ramona / Johnny and The Devil’s Box Based on the classic novel by Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona is a new musical written by Nevada Lozano. Ramona tells the story of an orphan girl growing up on a Mexican hacienda in Southern California in the 1850s. She falls in love with a Native American ranchero, and together they journey across the new U.S. state in search of a place to call home. With a blend of American, Native American and Mexican musical styles, Ramona is a love story set during one of the most violent, tumultuous times in American history. Featuring performances by Amanda Robles (BSC’s Into The Woods) and Shereen Pimentel (West Side Story).

With book, music and lyrics by Douglas Waterbury-Tieman (SeaWife), Johnny and the Devil’s Box is a new musical with one foot in the Georgia mountains and one foot in the Grand Ole Opry. The musical follows Johnny Baker, the best fiddler that’s ever been, until his boasting attracts the attention of another fiddler—the Devil himself—who shows up with a plan for Johnny’s destruction. With fame, fortune and love tempting him at every turn, Johnny must find his true path and the strength to win a battle of the bows with the highest possible stakes. Johnny and the Devil’s Box proclaims the power of music to heal broken communities when we put aside our pride and join hands in song and dance. Featuring performances by Annabelle Fox and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, and the acclaimed creative team includes dramaturg Anika Chapin, choreographer Jennifer Jancuska, and music supervisor Scott Wasserman. 

7:30pm: The Met: Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West The Met continues its nightly broadcast of productions. Tonight, it’s Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, conducted by Nicola Luisotti. The opera stars Deborah Voigt, Marcello Giordani, and Lucio Gallo.

Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Bandstand
Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Bandstand

8pm Stars in the House In Honor of Veteran’s Day, it’s a Bandstand Reunion with Corey Cott, Laura Osnes, Joey Pero and Beth Leavel

8pm: “Cabernet Cabaret” starring Catherine Cohen will returns. Prepare yourself for an elegant evening of song, storytelling, and standup comedy from the buzziest names in the biz. It’s time to wine and whine with your host Catherine Cohen. Since the start of the pandemic Cab Cab has found a virtual home on Instagram Live and YouTube featuring performances from an array of comedic all-stars. Produced by Lauren Mandel and Club Cumming Productions, the show is returning to its East Village home to broadcast bi-weekly shows online.  

Catherine is a comedian and actress based in NYC. She also co-hosts the popular weekly podcast, “Seek Treatment.” Catherine can be seen in the most recent season of HBO’s “High Maintenance,” as well as the final season of “Broad City.” She appeared opposite Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae in Michael Showalter’s feature for Paramount, Lovebirds. She was recently featured in Fox’s Night of Comedy 2018. Her writing has been featured on SplitsiderThe New YorkerThe Huffington Post and New York Mags The Cut. Time Out New York named her one of Five NYC comedians to look out for in 2018.  

Chesney Snow

8pm: Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay By Primary Stages59E59 Chesney Snow joins Pulitzer finalist and Obie-winning composer Diedre Murray for his new choreopoem commissioned by Primary Stages. Soil Beneath: An Empirical Decay is an exploration of race, class, and American political culture told through the mediums of poetry, storytelling, dance, and music.

The work is part of Primary Stage’s “Living Room Commissions,” which presents new one-acts.  

8:30pm: Behind the Curtain: Art of Protest By The Old Globe Back by popular demand, Behind the Curtain will premiere a new iteration, Behind the Curtain: Art of Protest, with host and Teaching Artist Kendrick Dial.

He will meet with protest artists to discuss their approach to the creation of innovative and progressive protest art, both installation and performative.

Learn more about the intersection between art and social justice every Wednesday at 5:30 PM PT through November 11.

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

Broadway

The Wiz’s Eases Back Onto Broadway

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There is much to love about the Broadway revival of The Wiz, which opened tonight at the Marquis Theatre. This beloved musical originally opened on Broadway in 1975, was made into film in 1978 and is back with a score by Charlie Smalls, that sparkles due to the orchestrations by Joseph Joubert and vocal arrangements by Allen René Louise. I love the Lalo Schifrin sound.

Nichelle Lewis, Melody A. Betts Photo By Jeremy Daniel

Directed by Schele Williams and an updated book by Amber Ruffin, what this revival has is heart, what it is missing is style.

Deborah Cox


Now Dorothy (a terrific Nichelle Lewis, a newcomer making her Broadway debut) has moved to Kansas to live with her Aunt Em (Melody A. Betts, who shines as  the beloved Aunt, but isn’t evil enough as the wicked witch Evillene, due in part to the sound designer Jon Weston and costume designer Sharen Davis). Dorothy has lost her parents and apparently her dog (no Toto), is being bullied, feels lost and alone, until a tornado sends her hurling to Oz. Her house still kills the wicked witch of the East, but Dorothy is introduced to golden glittery Glinda (Deborah Cox), by Addaperle ( a vocal glorious Allyson Kaye Daniel). She is sent to meet the powerful Wizard (a phenomenally grounded Wayne Brady) to get back home. Along the way meets the scarecrow (Avery Wilson) in need of a brain, the tinman (Phillip Johnson Richardson) wanting a heart and a lion (Kyle Ramar Freeman) in need os some courage.

Avery Wilson, Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson Photo By Jeremy Daniel

All shine in their performances and vocals though the sound design threatens to derails them. Ms. Cox who is gloriously in voice, is not well mic’d, nor is anyone else. I was in the sixth row and it was hard to hear and I really did want to as the vocals were terrific.

Wayne Brady and Emerald City Photo By Jeremy Daniel

The choreography, by JaQuel Knight, is clunky with numbers seeming not to gel with each other. Each number looks like it belongs in a different show. However the individual performances take the movement to levels that work. Mr. Wison’s scarecrow, is all limbs and displays his flexibility and acrobatic tricks to the nth degree. Mr. Richardson gives the tinman a heart with his soulful “What Would I Do If I Could Feel”. Freeman’s lion, is an amusing scaredy cat who breaks though.

Kyle Ramar Freeman, Nichelle Lewis, Wayne Brady, Phillip Johnson Richardson, Avery Wilson wanting a heart and a lion Photo By Jeremy Daniel

Wayne Brady is a standout as The Wiz and I was wow’d by him.
Lewis is a find as the teenager trying to find herself. “Home”, is now the final song and she nails it making us fall in love with this revival despite it’s designer flaws.

The Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler and costume’s look like they were designed on acid with no filter and no funding. The color choices and styles all look tacky. I really wanted to rip the tablecloth looking skirt off the lion and still do.

I have such fond memories of this show and I left with them intact. Sometimes things do not have to be perfect in order to shine.

The Wiz: Marquis Theatre, 210 W 46th Street, until April 18th.

 

 

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Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman and More At The Museum of Broadway As Harmony Is Honored

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On Thursday, April 18th Barry Manilow, Bruce Sussman, The Comedian Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey, as well as Company members including Chip Zien, Kate Wesler, Kyla Stone, Matthew Mucha, Stuart Zagnit, Zak Edwards, and more TBA will be at The Museum of Broadway to unveil a brand-new window display dedicated to the Broadway musical Harmony. Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman brought the long-forgotten story of The Comedian Harmonists, a German singing group of six young men whose fame was abruptly cut short by the rise of Nazism, to life in the 2023 hit Broadway musical Harmony.

The Museum of Broadway will honor their story with a dedicated window featuring exclusive items donated by Manilow and Sussman, and historical items dating back to the 1920s.

The program will include a special a cappella performance by the OBC Comedian Harmonists.

Harmony, featured an original new score by legendary Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award® winner Barry Manilow with lyrics and book by Drama Desk Award Winner, Bruce Sussman. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Warren Carlyle (The Music Man, Hello Dolly!), this timely and captivating rags-to-riches story lost to history came to dazzling life with a sensational cast of Broadway favorites.

Based on an unbelievable true story, the musical told the tale of the most successful entertainers you’ve never heard of. . . until Harmony. In the 1920s and 30s, The Comedian Harmonists sold millions of records, made dozens of films, and sold-out the biggest theaters around the world. Their heavenly harmonies and musical comedy antics catapulted these six talented young men from singing in the subway tunnels of Berlin to international superstardom.  What happened next was the story of Harmony.

The female-founded award-winning Museum of Broadway is the world’s first-ever permanent museum dedicated to the storied history and legendary artists, creators and stars of Broadway musicals and plays, past and present. Offering unrivaled “backstage” access, the Museum of Broadway goes behind-the-scenes to show guests of all ages how a Broadway show is made from conception to curtain call.  A one-of-its-kind entertaining and educational celebration of Broadway for the theatre enthusiast and insider alike, the Museum of Broadway transports visitors visually through centuries of time.  Experience a stunning, ever-evolving curation from the 1700s-present day one dazzling, unforgettable exhibit, costume, prop, rendering and rarity at a time. Through each piece, the Museum of Broadway honors the legacies of those who paved the way for today’s Broadway and the next generation of theatregoers and creators.

Founded in November 2022, the Museum of Broadway highlights more than 500 showstopping and hidden gem productions across three floors of exhibits.  Open seven days a week and welcoming thousands of guests weekly from all over the world, the museum also offers free educational programming, special events with your favorite Broadway casts and creatives, a membership program, merchandise from your favorite shows, and so much more. A portion of proceeds from every ticket sold is donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Be sure to follow @MuseumofBroadway on all social channels for the latest artifact drops, special offers, events and happenings and visit themuseumofbroadway.com to complete your perfect day on Broadway.

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Lempicka Brings An Artist Work Back To Life

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In 1984, I saw the interactive show Tamara based on the life of the artist Tamara de Lempicka in LA and fell in love with it, so much so that it has stayed one of my favorites to this day. Lempicka is a new musical based more on her sexual choices than her stylized Art Deco portraits that changed and inspired generations. She was one of the first feminists, as Tamara choose art, sexual freedom and a lifestyle in a time of war and destruction.


The musical starts out on a park bench in LA as an older Tamara (Eden Espinosa) reflects on her life. Flash back to Warsaw, Poland as Tamara is to be wed to Lempicka (Andrew Samonsky) an aristocrat and is to live a life of luxury. Then the Bolshevik’s in prison her husband, she uses sexual favors to free him and they flee to Paris with their daughter. When her husband is unwilling to work she becomes a painter and uses the name Lempicka. There she is befriended by a wealthy art patron (Nathaniel Stampley) and his wife (Beth Leavel), is influenced by Marinetti (George Abu), the founder of the Futurist art movement, and is inspired and in love with Rafaela (Amber Iman). Both Lempicka and the musical come alive at this point. Tamara finds friendship and solace with a nightclub owner, Suzy (Natalie Joy Johnson), who gives her and others like her a refuge, until the Nazi’s invade. In the end, while breaking ground Lempicka’s life style becomes rather self centered or should I say one of self preservation as she loses her husband, her daughter and her lover.

Amber Iman, Eden Espinosa Photo by Matthew Murphy/Evan Zimmerman

Matt Gould’s music and Carson Kreitzer’s lyrics are well sung and the show sounds glorious. This is a new take on pop music. The problem here is the minor characters get the songs that make the show come alive. Iman, Abu and Johnson almost steal the show with their numbers. Level gets the 11 O’Clock number and breaks our hearts. Though Espinoza has some good numbers and sells them, none of them really stand out.

George Abud photo by Matthew Murphy/Evan Zimmerman)

Kreitzer also conceived the book and wrote it with Gould. Again the show does and doesn’t work. Instead of focusing on Lempicka’s art, the changing world around her and the fact that she was one of the first feminists, the story is more focused on lesbian repression. The show is billed as a triangle of love, but her husband once they get to Paris is in his own world until she gets together with Rafaela a prostitute. Rachel Chavkin’s direction makes the scenes between Rafaela and Lempicka beautiful and in a strange sense if feels a little like Indecent, however the show as a whole doesn’t jell.

Photo by Matthew Murphy/Evan Zimmerman

I did like Raja Feather Kelly’s choreography that seemed to evoke the changing world around.

Riccardo Hernández’s set of steel, seems like the world is on the verge of collapse and rebuilding. The lighting by Bradley King and projections by Peter Hylenski and Justin Stasi added to that effect. Paloma Young’s costumes missed the mark and seemed like they were in two different stories.

The reason to see Lempicka is it is sung and acted gloriously.

Once you see Lempicka, you will realize how much Tamara de Lempicka’s art change and influenced the world of art. This was a woman who survived at all costs and that should always be admired.

Lempicka: Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street.
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Ken Fallin’s Broadway: The Outsiders

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These boys are taking Broadway by storm Jason Schmidt, Sky Lakota-Lynch, and Brody Grant. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1967, the hardened hearts and aching souls of Ponyboy Curtis, Johnny Cade and their chosen family of “outsiders” are in a fight for survival and a quest for purpose in a world that may never accept them. A story of the bonds that brothers share and the hopes we all hold on to, this gripping new musical reinvigorates the timeless tale of “haves and have nots”, of protecting what’s yours and fighting for what could be.

The Outsiders opened on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W 45th Street.

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We Say Good Bye To Costume Designer Extraordinaire Carrie Robbins

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I met Carrie Robbins at an art gallery with Louis St Louis, Baayork Lee and Judy Jacksina. The four of us stayed well into the morning talking, laughing and having a fabulous time. Carrie and I bonded after that as she turned to playwriting. It broke my heart to learn that on the evening of April 12, 2024 Costume Designer extraordinaire Carrie Robbins passed away.

Carrie’s work has been featured in over 30+ Broadway shows, including Class Act, Grease (original), Agnes of God, Yentl, Octette Bridge Club, Sweet Bird of Youth (Lauren Bacall), Frankenstein, Happy End (Mary Streep), Boys of Winter, Cyrano (Frank Langella), & Shadow Box (Mercedes Ruehl).

Her awards and nominations included: 2012 recipient of the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Theatre Development Fund & the tdf/Costume Collection with the support of the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. 2 Tony (Noms.), 5 Drama Desks, Maharam, USITT/Prague International, L.A. Dramalogue, Henry Hughes, F.I.T-Surface Design, & Audelco, among others.

Robbins’ costumes for the Irving Berlin musical White Christmas played major cities in the USA, Broadway, and Great Britain. Her regional work included M. Butterfly and On the Verge, for director Tazewell Thompson (Arena Stage) and the Gershwin musical American in Paris by Ken Ludwig for director Gregory Boyd (Alley Theatre, Houston) as well as The Tempest (Anthony Hopkins as Prospero) & Flea in Her Ear (director Tom Moore at Mark Taper Forum), many productions for the Guthrie (MN), Williamstown, and many others from Alaska to Buffalo.


Locally, in NYC, Robbins designed for many productions for The Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre, Chelsea Theatre at BAM, Acting Company at Juilliard and NY Shakespeare Festival.

She also designed for the Opera and they included Death in Venice for Glimmerglass (’08 Prague International Design Exhibit), Samson et Dalila (San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand, more), and many productions for Sarah Caldwell’s Opera Company of Boston. Her work has also been seen at the Hamburg StatsOper.

For film Robbins designed the movie “In The Spirit” (Elaine May, Peter Falk, Marlo Thomas); TV design included: Saturday Nite Live, PBS Arts in America, & several unseen pilots.

Robbins has designed clothes for several seasons of Queen Esther Marrow and The Harlem Gospel Singers’ European Tour. She also did the designs for The Cincinnati Ballet’s new Nutcracker, in December of 2011

Robbins was an MFA grad from the Yale School of Drama and was Master Teacher of Costume Design at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts for many years. She is extremely proud of the extraordinary number of award-winning, successful young costume designers and costume teachers across the country who came out of her classes.

Besides being a costume designer Carrie also was a playwright. In August 2010, her play, The Death & Life of Dr. Cutter, a Vaudeville, based on the true stories told by her husband Dr. R.D.Robbins, had its 4th reading at the Snapple Theatre Center; it was chosen by Abingdon Theatre Co, NYC, to be part of its First Readings Series in Fall, 2009. In 2011-12 the  League of Professional Theatre Women chose The Dragon Quartet as part of its 30th year anniversary celebration. In 2012-13, La MaMa (oldest off-off-Broadway theater in NYC at 51 years) chose The Diamond Eater for its “Concert Reading Series”. In 2013: TACT (The Actors Company Theatre, chose Sawbones for part of its newTACTics New Play Festival. In 2014 both The Diamond Eater and Sawbones  received 6 Nominations from N.Y. Innovative Theatre Awards (the most nominations given out in the 2014 season). In 2015, Le Wedding Dress, was a semi-finalist in NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016: Obsessions Of An Art Student chosen by NYNewWorks Theatre Festival. In 2016, The Actress, was a finalist in NY Thespis Summer Festival. In 2017, My Swollen Feet, chosen by NY Summerfest Theatre Festival/ Hudson Guild Theatre. In 2018 The Diamond Eater , semi-finalist at the 14th St. Y competition War + Peace/2018/19 season and The Dragon Griswynd, was chosen by Theater for the New City for its “Dream-Up Festival” In 2019 Pie Lessons, was invited by Crystal Field, Exec. Artistic Director of Theater for the New City, to be part of “Scratch Night at TNC”.

The last thing Carrie was working on was For The Lost Children Of Paris. This play was about how the Nazis, with help from the Vichy Government, collected French-Jewish schoolchildren and delivered them to Auschwitz. Excellent German record-keeping revealed 11,400 children were taken. At the liberation, only 200 were found alive. This is the story of one classroom’s collection day and its aftermath.

She did this play using puppets as the children.

Carrie had a voice that she used in a multiple of ways. She was a caring friend, a dedicated teacher, a prolific writer and costume designer, who always cared about others first. Carrie you will be missed.

 





 

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