Categories


THE NEW PRE-TONY SEASON BEGINS

WITH A HIT

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS     photo by Jerry Dalia

 

& A MISS!

CONSTELLATIONS                                       Photo by Joan Marcus

 

A BLIZZARD BLITZED BROADWAY
ALL BROADWAY PERFORMANCES IN NEW YORK CITY CANCELLED TONIGHT,
MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2015

BUT BROADWAY BOUNCED BACK!
 Most Broadway evening performances in New York City will play as scheduled tonight, Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BROADWAY THEATERGOERS MOURN THE LOSS
OF TWO FRIENDS OF THEATER

BROADWAY’S
“I T ’ S  O N L Y  A   P L A Y”

DEDICATES TODAY’S
MATINEE PERFORMANCE
TO THE MEMORY OF
JOE FRANKLIN

 

 

Franklin was a fixture on late-night radio and TV in New York,
The theater world lost two luminaries who each lent another dimension to the community – not in front of the footlights but from the periphery
What both men had in common despite divergent backgrounds was their friendliness and love of theater
On any press night in any given theater one was likely to spot Joe Franklin in the audience, a lovely young woman on his arm.  He said “hello” to everyone and often invited anyone connected with theater to guest on his show along with the many celebrities who did.. His affability was undeniable and constant – always smiling, basking in being recognized, his happiness at just being there was contagious and brought a smile to those around him. He was 88.
and

 

JEAN-CLAUDE BAKER,
OWNER OF CHEZ JOSEPHINE

 


Jean-Claude Baker, right, and Josephine Baker in 1973,

Jean-Claude Baker similarly had the capacity to make anyone and everyone who entered his restaurant, named for his adopted famous step-mother Josephine Baker, feel special, while offering gigs to needy musicians.
Whether a celebrity or an out of town-er he greeted you so graciously you felt like a relative. The first time I there he swooped down on me and enveloped me with such a flattering sense of importance - he was irresistible. He had no idea who I was and it didn’t matter. Perhaps that’s why he and his restaurant were so beloved.
He was 71.
It was his wish that the restaurant, on Theater Row,
414 West 42nd Street, remain open.


In addition to the myriad of off Broadway openings (including New Jersey, Brooklyn, and Westchester)

join us,
Joel Benjamin, Eugene Paul, Dierdre Donovan, Eric Grunin, Roberta Pikser, Linda Ameil Burns, Michall Jeffers, David Schultz, Stewart Schulman, Dorothy Marcic

for the fifteen plus shows scheduled to open before the Tonys:
March 5 Fish in the Dark
March 8 The Audience March 12 On the Twentieth Century
March 19 The Heidi Chronicles March 29 The Heart of Robin Hood
April 2 Skylight April 7 Hand to God April 9 Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2
April 12 An American in Paris April 14 It Shoulda Been You
April 15 Finding Neverland April 16 The King and I April 21 Doctor Zhivago April 22Something Rotten! April 23 Airline Highway

New shows covered in this issue:
Winners
Cedars
Honeymoon in Vegas
A Delicate Balance
Nevermore - The Imaginary Life And Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe
A Good Thing Going
Constellations
NJ SHAKESPEARE CONCERT
HMS Pinafore
Invisible Hand

see you in the theater!!!

 

Jeanne Lieberman, Publisher

Columns

Editor's Notes: POP WRITERS ON BROADWAY
By Jeanne Lieberman on Jan. 30

Basically no matter how big the pop composer, its never a guarantee on Broadway.

Editor's Notes: BROADWAY’S FREAK SHOWS
By Jeanne Lieberman on Dec. 31

In the old days matinee idols and chorus girls ruled.
Now? How do you like your freaks; straight, no frills, but served up by a Hollywood movie star or two unknowns in satin and sequins, eye filling production numbers, and glorious music?
Guess who wins!

Editor's Notes: Tributes to Joan Rivers, Marian Seldes, Geoffrey Holder & Mike Nichols
By Jeanne Lieberman on Dec. 29

BROADWAY DIMMED ITS LIGHTS

Editor's Notes: The New Season ’14-‘15
By Jeanne Lieberman on Sept. 18

Star Power on Broadway
Producers have figured out they can recoup their investments quickly and painlessly by casting Hollywood stars in their shows. Actors can also make a quick bundle (and satisfy their acting chops) in limited runs. The result – a celestial jamboree on Broadway for savvy theatergoers who will make sure to get their tickets often and early!

Editor’s Notes: What happened to the Broadway Musical?
by Jeannie Lieberman on Feb. 15

Broadway - Musicals

Honeymoon In Vegas
by joel Benjamin on Jan. 27

A totally delightful escapist old-fashioned musical with a witty book, funny songs and an energetic cast of oddball characters.

Side Show
by Eugene Paul on Nov. 28

You’ll be happy you saw the show and better yet, you’ll be happier you’re you.

On The Town
by Eugene Paul on Oct. 28

Bigger and more beautiful, wiser and wittier, funnier and more affectionately satisfying than ever before. Don’t even hesitate..

‘Phantom of the Opera’
Welcomes Norm Lewis as its First Black Lead on Broadway

by Jeanne Lieberman on June. 18
Lewis brings a sexually intense, almost menacing persona, overpowering in this version and every indication the magic of this opus still works.

Cabaret
by Laura Jo Trexler on May. 8
Though The Newest Revival Is Far From Original Or New, Kander And Ebb’s Cabaret Still Compares To Few.

A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder
By Michall Jeffers on May. 8
Lunacy abounds in a gleeful Gilbert-and-Sullivan-meets-music-hall delight featuring the incomparable Jefferson Mays.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch
By Michall Jeffers on May. 1
Tony presenter Neil Patrick Harris should be up for his own Tony this season. This is not a production for those of delicate sensibilities but definitely has the potential to become another cult musical.

After Midnight!
By Jeanne Lieberman on May. 1
The performances are a series of gems that shine brightly alone but blaze in unison until your heartbeat echoes the music’s rhythm, cardiologists take note! Artistic director Wynton Marsalis, and his Jazz at Lincoln Center All-Stars, launch you on a magical musical carpet ride that will eventually carry you on out to the street

If/Then
by Eugene Paul on Apr. 6
Devotees of Broadway belters are destined to flock to Idina Menzel’s huge sounds in her new show filled with good company.

Aladdin
by Jeannie Lieberman on Mar. 26
A true Disney magic carpet ride of opulent costumes, dazzling sets, creative choreography, savvy showbiz shtick and a Genie for all time.

Beautiful - The Carole King Musical
by Jeannie Lieberman on Jan. 29
A feel good evening of special delight to her fans and all those who just want a slick, nostalgic, music-packed evening.

Broadway - Plays

A Delicate Balance
by by David Schultz on Jan. 27

Darkly humorous classic Albee revival, strangely muted and defanged, hits the boards again in a languorous production.

Constellations
by Joel Benjamin on Jan. 20

The exquisitely detailed performances by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson cannot hide the dearth of material.

The Elephant Man
by Michall Jeffers on Dec. 17

Bradley Cooper takes Merrick from a grunting, inarticulate “imbecile” to a man of culture and substance.

The River
by David Schultz on Nov. 28

A cabin in the woods, fly-fishing exploits, lost love - an inscrutable, ponderous evening.

DISGRACED
By Eugene Paul on Nov. 12

The hatreds inculcated in childhood poison our present days. The most challenging play in years

THE COUNTRY HOUSE
By David Schultz on Oct. 30

Chekhov Lite in the Berkshires.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
By Eugene Paul on Oct. 21

Be prepared for jolt after jolt in one of the most inventive, immersive, exciting evenings you will spend in the theatre.

It’s Only A Play
by Michall Jeffers on Oct. 16

Both self-referential and self-reverential this smash hit is playing to full houses chocked with appreciative theater goers.

You Can’t Take It With You
by Michall Jeffers on Oct. 10

Director Scott Ellis has taken this old chestnut and used his alchemy to turn it into spun sugar.

Off-Broadway - Musicals

Hamilton
by Deirdre Donovan on Feb. 27

Lin-Manuel Miranda creates a trailblazing new musical about one of our founding fathers and steps into the titular lead at the Public Theater.

Lady, Be Good!
New York City Center Encores!
by Joel Benjamin on Feb. 16

Encores! has taken a silly period piece and turned it into an entertaining, if slight, confection. Tommy Tune a plus!

Cambuyon
by R. Pikser on Feb. 16

An hour’s worth of energy can be enough to keep us going for a week, at least.

Texas In Paris
by Ethel Wynn on Feb. 6

Scott Wakefield and Tony-Winner Lillias White sing their way through a touching journey of discovery and growing friendship.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
by R. Pikser on Feb. 3

No electronic device can replicate the visceral excitement generated by this group of peace loving professionals.

Nevermore, The Imaginary Life And Mysterious Death Of Edgar Allan Poe
by Eugene Paul on Jan. 27

Charming, whimsical, non-frightening. Bring the children.

H.M.S. Pinafore
by Deirdre Donovan on Jan. 19

The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players splash into the classic and salt it with New York style.

Nutcracker Rouge
by Joel Benjamin on Nov. 17

Filled with erotic dance, sexy acrobatics and music a perfect alternative to the routine family entertainments.

The Band Wagon - New York City Center Encores!
by Joel Benjamin on Nov. 17
Encores! turns a beloved Hollywood musical into a wittily entertaining new musical.

Here Lies Love
by Stewart Schulman on May. 30
An energetic “immersive” theatrical experience with a great cast and a great true story, unfortunately mostly untold.

Off-Broadway - Plays

The Iceman Cometh
by Joel Benjamin on Feb. 26

A magnificent and essential production of an American masterpiece.

Between Riverside and Crazy
by Joel Benjamin on Feb. 25

A complex, riveting, if oddly constructed, comedy-drama from a brilliant young playwright.

Churchill
by Dorothy Marcic on Feb. 18

A play brightened by the performance of its writer Ronald Keaton, who confidently inhabits the spirit of the leader who stood alone against the Nazis during the early years of WWII replete with his vibrant oratory.

A Month in the Country
by Dierdre Donovan on Feb. 2

Small-screen stars bring high-voltage to Turgenev’s 19th-Century bitter comedy.

Winners
by Joel Benjamin on Jan. 27

An eccentric but ultimately moving portrait of a financially and emotionally challenged middle class family.

Cedars
by R. Pikser on Jan. 27

These indigenous writers have much to tell us, not only about themselves, but about ourselves.

Invisible Hand
by Joel Benjamin on Dec. 27

Yet another look at the complexities of the relationship of Islam with the West, fascinating and irritating in equal measure.

Father Comes Home from the Wars
By Joel Benjamin on Dec. 23

An ambitious conflating of the plight of slaves with Greek mythology.

Sticks and Bones
By David Schultz on Dec. 10

Ozzie and Harriet seen through the dark refracted eye of playwright David Rabe. A heart wrenching revival, perfectly cast, deeply disturbing.

Major Barbara
By Deirdre Donovan on Nov. 24

The Gingold Theatrical Group collaborates with the Pearl Theatre to stage Shaw’s social satire in a new adaptation.

The Oldest Boy
By Eugene Paul on Nov. 24

What happens when two Tibetan monks tell a modern American mother that her young son is a reincarnated holy man? Beautifully, elaborately presented.

Billy & Ray
By Michall Jeffers on Nov. 17

How the renowned writer/director Billy Wilder teamed up with novelist Raymond Chandler to create what became a movie classic.

Chairs And A Long Table
By Eugene Paul on Nov. 16

In planning for a panel, a group of actors demonstrate by example that Asian actors play Asians best.

Grand Concourse
by Joel Benjamin on Nov. 16

A gentle, yet sharply focused look at the microcosm of a soup kitchen in the Bronx. One of the best plays of the season.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart
by David Schultz on Nov. 13

Rippling currents of unease finds a new audience.

James Dickey’s Deliverance
by Joel Benjamin on Nov. 10

A barebones, intensely theatrical version of James Dickey’s infamous novel.

Indian Ink
by Gene Paul on Nov. 4

Trailing rumors and intrigues in 1930 England, Flora Crewe ran off to India to collect herself. Fifty years later, a publisher wants her story.

Next to Normal
By Eric Grunin on Sept. 29
The Gallery Players in Brooklyn have mounted a straightforward production that demonstrates the solid excellence of the piece and tears your heart out.

Off-Broadway - Solo Performance

The Bullpen

By Eric Grunin on Feb. 16
Gives you more truths about the justice system in an hour than any cable drama gives you in a whole season.The Central Park Five, the group falsely arrested in 1989, spoke after the performance .

Every Brilliant Thing

By Dorothy Marcic on Feb. 6
You’ll root for this boy, and then man, who kept his Mum alive for many years, and who finally found his own life, inside himself.

The Belle of Amherst

By Deirdre Donovan on Nov. 24
Joely Richardson brings 19th Century poet Emily Dickinson alive in her one-woman performance at the West End Theatre.

Wiesenthal

By Eugene Paul on Nov. 17
Actor/playwright Tom Dugan gives a remarkable performance as remarkable Simon Wiesenthal, unexpectedly warm, uplifting, insightful.

Off-Broadway - Multimedia

A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa
Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre
By Joel Benjamin on Dec. 18
A gleefully messy version of the Dickens classic, complete with arch comments, music, period costumes and expert puppetry.

The Dancing Fox: Wisdom Tales of the Middle East
By R. Pikser on Sept. 18
Chosen from both Arab and Jewish traditions, these tales illustrate how people behave and about how they might behave better.

Abe Abraham
by R. Pikser on August. 7
A tightly controlled view of Hell – or trying to escape from one’s own Hell.

Amaluna
by Eugene Paul on Mar. 31
Cirque du Soleil’s newest of their many shows, thrilling, eye-popping, exciting, perhaps their most beautiful ever.

FEATURES

Everybody Rise! A celebration of Elaine Stritch

By Jeanne Lieberman on Nov. 24

Not the tender hearted, tear inspiring tribute of most memorials, the event was like its subject: over the top, irreverent and raucous.

John Lahr and Tony Kushner on Tennessee Williams
by Joel Benjamin on Oct. 8

Lahr's biography Mad Pilgrimage focuses on the interdependence of Williams’ mental and emotional health and the quality of his writing.

“FINDING NEVERLAND” PRODUCER HARVEY WEINSTEIN WINS “RIEDEL CHALLENGE” NEW YORK POST COLUMNIST MICHAEL RIEDEL ADMITS DEFEAT AFTER “FINDING NEVERLAND” EARNS THE LOVE OF 96% OF ITS AUDIENCE

“BLACK STARS OF THE GREAT WHITE WAY”
AT CARNEGIE HALL JUNE 23, 2014 8 PM
by Jeanne Lieberman on June. 18
In the wake of his appearance in Phantom, Norm Lewis and co producer Chapman Roberts have created an evening saluting some of the greatest musical heroes in history.

Broadway Up Close Walking Tours
by Deirdre Donovan on May. 30
Actor Tim Dolan invites everybody to get up close to Broadway and learn its history and lore on foot.

THE AWARD GOES TO:
The Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Theater World and the Obies announce their winners!
by Jeannie Lieberman on May. 22
Drama Desk and Tonys to come………………

AND THE NOMINEES ARE…………
by Jeannie Lieberman on May. 1
TIME TO GET SERIOUS AS THEATER ORGANIZATIONS SUMMON THEIR VOTERS TO DECIDE THE WINNERS OF THIS VERY VARIED AND WONDERFUL THEATER SEASON:
TONY AWARDS NOMINEES
DRAMA DESK
DRAMA LEAGUE
OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE
WITH NO OBVIOUS FRONTRUNNERS THE RACE IS WIDE OPEN.

Cabaret/Concerts/Opera's

Lyrics & Lyricists, 92st Y
Here’s To the Girls! Hollywood’s Leading Ladies

By Linda Amile Burns on Feb. 26

Charles Busch hosted a dazzling celebration of The Leading Ladies of Hollywood’s from the great film musicals to open the 2015 season.

Our Time: Sullivan & Harnar Sing Sondheim
54 Below

By Joel Benjamin on Feb. 12

Two cabaret greats at the top of their game.

A Good Thing Going: The Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince Collaboration
Lyrics & Lyricists , 92Y

By Joel Benjamin on Jan. 20

An evening of Sondheim songs, personal memories and great singing…what more do you need?

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Winter Festival: Lacombe Conducts Romeo and Juliet
By Deirdre Donovan on Jan. 19

The trio of Shakespeare-themed works underscored that the Bard can break out of his literary tradition-- and sound the better for it.

New York Pops – Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays
By Stewart Schulman on Dec. 29

Their reunion made even more perfect by Music Director Steven Reineke and his incredible orchestra.

Not the Messiah (He’s a Very Naughty Boy)
By Deirdre Donovan on Dec. 27

A program unlike any other playing in the city this holiday season.

NY Pops – By Special Request: An Evening With The Orchestra
By Stewart Schulman on Nov. 19

A concert where the orchestra was the star and the conductor its leading player.

Bobby McFerrin: Bobby Meets African in New York.
By R. Pikser on Nov. 10

Everything this extraordinary musician and improviser comes into contact with, he turns into music.

Ruddigore
by Deirdre Donovan on Nov. 10

In new digs at NYU Skirball Center, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players celebrate their 40th anniversary by kicking off their new season with a classic opera.

Konstantin Soukhovetski at the Lyric Chamber Music Society
by Deirdre Donovan on Oct. 28

The Rock Star Pianist of the classical music world made old classics sound new.

A Maestro’s Memoirs
by Deirdre Donovan on May. 22
Musician Donald Pippin time-travels back through star-dusted moments in his long-and-winding career.

MURDER MOST FUN: A Conversation with the Team Behind “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” at the 92nd Street Y
by Linda Amiel Burns on May. 22
The audience couldn’t seem to get enough of the delightful inside stories of the birth of this “Killer New Musical"

Lyrics & Lyricists at 92nd Street Y
Ziegfeld Girl: The Many Faces of Fanny Brice

by Linda Amiel Burns on May. 8
L & L pays tribute to iconic Ziegfeld star Fanny Brice 50 years after Funny Girl opened on Broadway.

The New York Pops 31st Birthday Gala: “Make It Big” honored Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
by Stewart M. Schulman on May. 1
Under Music Director Steven Reineke, the roster of talent included over 230 musicians and guest artists, the largest cast ever in The Pops history, and the evening was a brilliant success!

David Ostwald and his Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland
by Jeanne Lieberman on May. 1
David Ostwald, who sets the pace and chooses the songs as he goes, leads a magic meld of multigenerational music meisters that varies slightly from week to week.

Dance

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
By Joel Benjamin on Dec. 30

Three new works expand the techniques and expressive power of this exciting troupe’s dancers.

American Dance Machine for the 21st Century
The Joyce Theater
By Joel Benjamin on Dec. 3

An important living repository of the works of important theater choreography.

Mikhailovsky Ballet at the David H. Koch Theater/Lincoln Center
By Joel Benjamin on Nov. 24

A major ballet company, a contender for world fame, presents four ambitious programs at Lincoln Center.

From the Horse’s Mouth Celebrates Phyllis Lamhut
By Joel Benjamin on Nov. 12

This was a particularly successful gala, honoring a particularly wonderful lady.

Kathryn Posin Dance Company: Voices of Bulgaria and America
By R. Pikser on Nov. 4

The beauty of trained bodies moving with precision is always enthralling, but sometimes more is needed.

Fall for Dance 2014
New York City Center

By Joel Benjamin on Oct. 24

Five programs of four dance companies each in two weeks? A public feast at such reasonable ticket prices at the New York City Center

New York New York a helluva town
Career Transitions for Dancers’ 29th Anniversary Jubilee

By Joel Benjamin on Oct. 10

Gala for the organization that has helped hundreds of dancers”transition” through the end of one career and into another

STEPS
by R. Pikser on Oct. 8

A safe environment in which to practice one’s craft can also teach something to the audience.

The Fire Island Dance Festival
Now in its 20th Year
Shatters Fundraising Record with $533,860

by Jeannie Lieberman on July. 24
Produced by and benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS a program of Broadway Cares/equity Fights AIDS

Regionals

Westchester Broadway Theatre: Camelot
by Edward Lieberman on Feb. 27


Go see this updated production, “a Camelot for the 21st Century!”

South Pacific
by Eugene Paul on Oct. 6


A beloved American classic whose songs are as fresh as ever.

The Wizard of Oz
by Eugene Paul on Sept. 9

After 75 years, the world wide beloved The Wizard of Oz and “Over the Rainbow” is now live, on stage in Westchester.

Kathy Najimy “Lift Up Your Skirt” at Ice Palace ICONS
by Sherri Rase on Aug. 28
photos by Jeannie

“imagine what we could be if we weren’t continually patching up the holes the world puts in us, telling us we’re wrong, or bad" 

Jackie Hoffman is on Fire! (Island)” at the Ice Palace
by
Jeannie Lieberman on Aug. 28
photos by Jeannie

“The kvetching continues, the whining will go on” promised the motor mouthed, mobile faced, manic purveyor of blue tinged jewish flavored humor.

Linda Lavin & Billy Stritch at Fire Island's Cherry Grove
by Jeannie Lieberman on Aug. 8

The duo set the bar high for elegant entertainment.

LINDA EDER LAUNCHES NARDICIO’S ICON SERIES at CHERRY GROVE'S ICE PALACE
by Jeannie Lieberman on July. 24
photos by Jeannie

From ballads to blues to bouncy pop the audience joyously rode that trip with her.