“How to Handle a Woman”
A review of the revival of
Rogers & Hammerstein‘s “Carousel”
I am not particularly fond of Rogers & Hammerstein‘s “Carousel”.
Even though much of the music is among my favorite in the Rogers & Hammerstein catalogue, save for the Soliloquy which to me is a cringe worthy 6 minutes – I even joked pre-show that Soliloquy was my early intermission bathroom break, to hear a brilliant Rogers & Hammerstein score played by a Broadway orchestra is one of the reasons that I decided to attend this Revival,
Much to my dismay I did not even get that.
The orchestrations were flat, two dimensional representations, and the sound design by Mr. Scott Lehrer woefully underwhelming. Sitting in the Orchestra I expected the music to be spectacular but I was sadly disappointed – especially after the recent multi-million dollar remodel of the Imperial Theatre.
I also could just not get past “Carousel’s” main character, Billy Bigelow, the dishonest, wife-beating, carnival barker not being portrayed by a white actor.
Go ahead, get it out of your system, start calling me all kinds of names (you’d be totally wrong) but here’s the thing – perhaps it’s conditioning, perhaps it’s purism, I’m not sure, but in my mind the connotations of such a vile character being played by a Black man is just wrong. The thought kept going through my mind, ‘Why would any person of color agree to play this role?” As far as performance goes, Josh Henry nails it, and nails it strong. His smooth, silk like, baritone voice in any other role would, and have, taken me to great heights emotionally.
Throughout the entire show I felt like I was at a performance of MCC’s Miscast. Great voices cast in the wrong roles.
Further, while I have always felt that the part of Julie Jordan, played by a delightful, if not completely doe-eyed and confused Ms. Jessie Mueller, is terribly underwritten, there were times Mr. Jack Doyle, the Director seemed to forget Julie/Jesse was even in the show. More disappointment came from Ms. Renée Fleming, whose gorgeous operatic soprano voice is just too prim and proper to be Aunt Nettie.
Then there’s the casting of a Middle Eastern actor, the talented and graceful ballet dancer, Amar Ramasar, making his Broadway (and possibly acting) debut, to play “Jigger”, another monster of a character. This is yet another dangerous step towards stereotyping. Every time I heard Billy Bigelow call his name I thought he was using the N-word .
There is some good news. The shining stars of the show were most definitely the lark-voiced Ms. Lindsay Mendez who portrayed Carrie Pipperidge with a delightful and quirky style to her that played extremely well off of Mr. Alexander Gemignani’s playfully-teasing Mr. Enoch Snow. As a matter of fact, Mr. Gemignani’s performance is award worthy in my opinion.
I must also admit to you that while I tend to tune out the seemingly obligatory ballet sequences of most early 20th century musical theater, Ms. Brittany Pollock and Mr. Andrei Chagas were graceful and visually stunning in the Fairground Ballet sequence – a great tribute to the fabulous Choreography of Mr. Justin Peck.
Santo Loquasto’s scenic design was executed well, although there were too many ‘played in front of the curtain’ scenes while scenery was being noisily shuffled around Backstage. Note to Production: PLEASE Oil the stage right light motors and the sheer curtain pulleys.
Sadly, Ms. Ann Roth’s costumes look like they have been recycled from my high school production of ‘Oklahoma!’ And what’s with those baggy pants that come up to the men’s bellies?
The lighting design by Brian McDevitt left me squinting many times to see what was happening on stage and again, that was from Orchestra Row M – I can only imagine what it was like up in the oxygen-tank seats.
Speaking of seats, it appears to me that when they remodeled the theater after “The Great Comet“ they added many more seats then there were before. In my cushy (read expensive) Orchestra seat I was sucking on my knees or more annoyingly to her, scraping the back of the chair of the lady in front of me.
All that being said, I haven’t told you the worst part:
I DIDN’T CRY!!!
Me – the person who “cries at everything” – DIDN’T CRY!!!
If you’ll remember, I said up front that I’m not the biggest fan of this show – BUT when I DO see it I always CRY – ALWAYS! This tells me everything I need to know.
All said, the audience seemed to love the show, hooting and hollering along with their thunderous applause, it was a Press Preview, so perhaps you too will enjoy Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s Carousel as much as they did.
Me, I’m still optimistically looking forward to Lincoln Center’s revival of “My Fair Lady”
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Rogers & Hammerstein‘s Carousel
Opens Thursday, April 12th 2018
To order tickets online
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VISIT THE IMPERIAL THEATRE
249 W 45th St,
between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue
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(Beginning March 25: Noon–6pm)
Cast Announced for the New York Regional Premiere of
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
at White Plains Performing Arts Center
December 22 – January 14
The White Plains Performing Arts Center (WPPAC) is proud to the present the first New York professional production of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME onstage from December 22 – January 14.
From the Oscar-winning composer team Alan Menken (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid) & Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin) comes a lushly scored retelling of Victor Hugo’s (author of Les Miserables) epic story of love, acceptance, and what it means to be a hero. The Hunchback of Notre Dame showcases the Disney film’s Academy Award-nominated score.
The musical begins at the famed cathedral in fifteenth-century Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer who longs to be “Out There,” observes all of Paris reveling in the Feast of Fools. Held captive by his devious caretaker, the archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, he escapes for the day and joins the boisterous crowd, only to be treated cruelly by all but the beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda. Quasimodo isn’t the only one captivated by her free spirit, though – the handsome Captain Phoebus and Frollo are equally enthralled. As the three vie for her attention, Frollo embarks on a mission to destroy the gypsies – and it’s up to Quasimodo to save them all.
A sweeping score (accompanied by a 15 piece orchestra & 30 person choir) and powerful story make The Hunchback of Notre Dame an instant classic. Audiences will be swept away by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.
The cast features the talents of Anna Baker (Ensemble), Matthew Billman (Captain Phoebus de Martin), Melanie Burg (Ensemble), Bobby Cassell (Quasimodo), David Thomas Cronin (Saint Aphrodisius), Jenna Dallacco (Esmeralda), Jarrad Biron Green (Clopin Trouillefou), Chris Guzman (Lieutenant Frederic Charlus), Katelyn Lauria (Madam), Joey Nelan (Ensemble), Rebecca Skowron (Ensemble), Dustin Harris Smith (Jehan Frollo), James Smith (Father Dupin), Cecilia Snow (Florika), Anna Laura Strider (Ensemble), Esteban Suero (Ensemble) and James Zannelli (Dom Claude Frollo).
The 30 person choir includes Brian Brammer, Brad Baron, Richie Barrella, Jesse Bush, Sofia Christensen, Rachel Fournier, Mick Gloss, Alexandra Imbrosci-Viera, Brianne Keefe, Sam Kronenfeld, Andrea Levinsky, Tara Llewellyn, Ethan James Lynch, Tyler Mell, Casey Miko, Sarah Ruth Mikulski, Kurt Perry, Frank Radice, Connor James Reilly, Joseph Sanzaro, Hillary Schranze, Rebecca Simpson-Wallack, Jodi Snyder, Jonathan K. Stevens, Sam Sultan, Justin Tepper, Elora Von Rosch, Tara Lynn Wagner, Katherine Ross Wolfe and Jamie Zeidman.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is Directed by Frank Portanova with Musical Direction by Stephen Ferri and Choreography by Lexie Fennell Frare. Scenic Design by Christopher & Justin Swader, Lighting Design by Jamie Roderick, Choir Direction by Tom Cuffari, Stage Managed by Jessie Jardon. Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Book by Peter Parnell. Based on the Victor Hugo novel with songs from the Disney film.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME will play the White Plains Performing Arts Center Friday, December 22 7pm; Saturday, December 23 2pm & 7pm; Wednesday, December 27 7pm; Thursday, December 28 2pm; Friday, December 29 7pm; Saturday, December 30 2pm & 7pm; Thursday, January 4 11am; Friday, January 5 7pm; Saturday, January 6 7pm; Sunday, January 7 2pm; Wednesday, January 10 2pm; Friday, January 12 7pm; Saturday, January 13 7pm; Sunday, January 14 2pm. The White Plains Performing Arts Center is located on the third level of City Center off Mamaroneck Avenue in downtown White Plains, minutes from the White Plains Metro North Station. For tickets visit the theatre box office Monday-Friday (11am-6pm), purchase the tickets online at wppac.com or call 914-328-1600.
For Group Sales, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is a WPPAC MainStage Production which is a professional production featuring union and non-union actors from Broadway, national tours and regional theatre across the country. These productions are created from scratch, staffed with professional production teams (directors to designers), large LIVE orchestras and boast high-quality sets and costumes.
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is sponsored in part by the Cappelli Organization, The Complete Golfer, Entergy, GA Fleet and Yost & Campbell.
White Plains Performing Arts Center
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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INTERNATIONAL MUSIC SENSATION
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6 EPIC WEEKS ONLY
AT THE BROADWAY THEATRE
MARCH 20 – APRIL 29, 2018
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“Rocktopia creates a world where Mozart and Led Zeppelin coexist”
– Chicago Tribune
(NEW YORK – October 11, 2017)This spring, the international music sensation ROCKTOPIA will rock Broadway for six epic weeks, March 20 – April 29, 2018 at The Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway). ROCKTOPIA is a musical revolution that celebrates the fusion of the best rock songs of the past century with some of the greatest classical music ever written. ROCKTOPIA showcases the works of musical innovators including Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Journey, Handel, U2, Tchaikovsky, Pink Floyd, Heart, Rachmaninoff, Foreigner, Copland, The Who and more.
Created through the unique vision of vocalist and recording artist Rob Evan and Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, a pioneer in the fusion of symphonic rock and world music, ROCKTOPIA delivers one-of-a-kind, spine-tingling musical arrangements with insanely talented lead vocalists, a 5-piece rock band, a choir of 40, and an orchestra of 20.
Developed over eight years, ROCKTOPIA is inspired by the idea that if Beethoven or Mozart were alive today, they would be modern-day rock stars. With extensive knowledge of both genres, Evan and Fleisher looked for common themes, potency, and emotional resonance in the songs before fusing them together to create explosive and moving new musical arrangements.
“We love both classical music and classic rock. There are so many parallels between the genres and between the “rock stars” who composed and performed them,” says Evan. “With Rocktopia, we want to break down barriers and any preconceived notion of what either genre is about – and electrify and inspire lovers of either musical styles with these completely original new pieces.”
The groundbreaking live concert will be performed by a celebrated, diverse array of rock, Broadway, and opera vocalists: Rob Evan (Broadway: Les Miserables, Jekyll & Hyde and more, multi-platinum recording artist); Chloe Lowery (Chris Botti, Yanni’sVoices); Tony Vincent (Broadway: American Idiot, RENT, NBC’s “The Voice”); Kimberly Nichole (NBC’s “The Voice,” performs with Janelle Monae, Slash, Joe Walsh, The Heavy); and featuring Alyson Cambridge (The Merry Widow atThe Met, Madame Butterfly, La Boheme, Show Boat). The world-class musicians featured in the ROCKTOPIA band include Grammy and Emmy Award nominated violinist Máiréad Nesbitt (Celtic Woman, Lord of the Dance); acclaimed guitarist Tony Bruno (MD & guitar for Enrique Iglesias & Rihanna, “America’s Got Talent”); pianist Henry Aronson (MD/Conductor/keys for entire Broadway run of Rock of Ages, The Who’s Tommy); bass player Mat Fieldes (Joe Jackson’s Grammy winning album Symphony No. 1, the Gorillaz, Book of Mormon); and drummer Alex Alexander (David Bowie, Jimmy Cliff, Ritchie Blackmore). An additional 40-person choir and a 20-person orchestra enhance every performance of ROCKTOPIA.
An inaugural performance of the show, “Rocktopia: Live from Budapest” produced by Two Hands Entertainment/Jeff Rowland, was recorded in front of a live audience in June 2016 at the 19th century Hungarian State Opera House for PBS. It was performed with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra with six vocalists, a five-piece rock band, the Hungarian State Opera Chorus, and the Jazz and More Choir. ROCKTOPIA has since toured over twenty cities in the United States, featuring local symphonies and choirs across the country.
ROCKTOPIA is produced by ROCKTOPIA Broadway LLC (William Franzblau, Executive Producer and Maggie Seidel-Laws, Associate Producer) in association with HUGHES WALL LLC. Additional cast, creative team, and the New York orchestra and choirs that will join each performance, will be announced at a later date.
American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Monday, October 30 at 10am (EST) through Monday, November 6 at 9:59am. Beginning on Monday, November 6 at 10AM, tickets will be available exclusively to Audience Rewards Members via AudienceRewards.com. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, November 13 at 10AM via Telecharge.com. Special student pricing, beginning at $39, will be available for the duration of the run.
Performance schedule, complete creative team, and opening night will be announced shortly.
For Performance Photos, visit: http://bit.ly/2yeP6PJ
For Video, visit:http://bit.ly/2g8tFpI
ROB EVAN (Co-Creator, Vocalist) is a highly accomplished actor, singer, and producer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the entertainment industry. He has performed in seven leading roles on New York stages including the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles more than 1,000 times over three years. His rendition of “This Is the Moment” was performed at numerous prestigious events, including the 2001 Inaugural Gala for President George W. Bush, the Millennium Independence Day US Naval Revue aboard the USS JFK for President Clinton, the Millennium World Forum Conference with speaker Mikhail Gorbachev, and the New York City Mayor’s Inaugural Gala. Rob also appeared on Broadway as Jean Valjean in Les Miserable, Kerchak in Disney’s Tarzan, The Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires. Off-Broadway, Rob created the roles of The Dancin’ Kid in Johnny Guitar and the hero Miles Hendon in The Prince and the Pauper. Rob is a member of the multi-platinum-selling band, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He can be heard on TSO’s The Lost Christmas Eve and Night Castle, which debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 100. He was also the lead vocalist for Jim Steinman’s The Dream Engine, and recently released the debut album from his progressive rock band, Menrva Realm. Rob has also been a regularly featured soloist for over 40 symphonies around the world, including appearances in San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Hong Kong, and the Czech Republic.
RANDALL CRAIG FLEISCHER (Co-Creator) Active as a composer and arranger, Mr. Fleischer is a national leader in the fields of symphonic rock and world music fusion. His works and arrangements have been played by many world-renowned orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, China Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, the National Symphony, and many others. Fleischer has also worked with artists such as John Densmore (The Doors), Natalie Merchant, Blondie, Ani DiFranco, John Cale (Velvet Underground) Garth Hudson (The Band), Kenny Rogers, Chris Baron (Spin Doctors), and Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai, Burning Sky, The Hawk Project, The Benaly Family, and others. Mr. Fleischer’s operatic repertoire includes productions of La Boheme, Turandot, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Don Giovanni, La Traviata, and others. Fleischer received his Bachelor of Music Education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, Otto Werner Mueller, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Gustav Meier, and others. He first came to international attention when, at the National Symphony Orchestra, he conducted Dvorak’s “Cello Concerto” with Mstislav Rostropovich as soloist. In December of 1992, Mr. Fleischer conducted an ensemble of more than 70 cellos, including YoYo Ma, and a 190 voice chorus in a tribute to Rostropovich, broadcast on CBS with then-President and Mrs. Bush in attendance. In 1993, Mr. Fleischer conducted a private concert for Pope John-Paul at the Vatican. The Pontiff awarded Mr. Fleischer a medal for his achievements in music. A passionate educator, Fleischer has co-authored several instructional pieces for children in collaboration with his wife, comedian Heidi Joyce, which were premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, including three rap pieces for orchestra. Mr. Fleischer lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi and daughter Michaela.
CHLOE LOWERY (Vocalist) is an American singer, dancer, actress, and songwriter born in Largo, Florida. At age12 she was signed to RCA Records, and soon after being signed was featured on two movie soundtracks, Boys and Girl and Joe Somebody. She went on to tour with Big Brother and the Holding Company and work with world-renowned producer Ric Wake, which then led to a collaboration with Yanni on the 2009 Yanni Voices Project. After tours of the U.S. and Mexico with Yanni, she signed to Disney/Hollywood Records as a solo artist. Chloe has since been featured on three Yanni records: 2013’s Truth of Touch, 2014’s Inspirato, and 2016’s Sensuous Chill. Chloe joined multi-platinum selling rock band Trans-Siberian Orchestra performing as Theresa on their Beethoven’s Last Night Tours and continues to work with the band both in the studio and live on stage. Lowery has also toured with Chris Botti, performed with the New York City Ballet as a featured vocalist, and contributed her talents to collaborations with artists like Everclear. Chloe will independently release a solo project in early 2018.
ALYSON CAMBRIDGE (Vocalist) is one of the most diverse and compelling vocal artists on the scene today. Her rich, warm soprano, combined with her strikingly beautiful stage presence and affecting musical and dramatic interpretation, have brought her over a decade of successes on the world’s leading opera and concert stages, including The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Vienna Konzerthaus, among others, as well as recent debuts Paris , Warsaw, Beijing, and other musical capitals throughout Europe and Asia. Her repertoire includes the beloved heroines of Puccini, Verdi, and Mozart (Mimi, Madama Butterfly, Donna Elvira, Violetta, and Micaëla among them) as well as successful forays into the crossover, Broadway and jazz repertoire, most notably with award-winning and critically-acclaimed performances of Julie in Show Boat and Vi in Gershwin’s rarely performed jazz-opera Blue Monday. Alyson’s debut album, “From the Diary of Sally Hemings,” a song-cycle by acclaimed American composer William Bolcom, premiered at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall to rave reviews, and her newest album, Until Now, a mix of jazz, pop, and musical theater standards was released in January 2016 on the Naxos imprint Suite 28 Records, and is available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
TONY VINCENT (Vocalist) Best known for his appearance on NBC’s “The Voice”, Tony Vincent is a recording artist, actor and producer. In 1993 Vincent started his own record company, Adobe Flats, writing and producing the EP Love Falling Down that led to a recording contract with EMI records. The two solo albums that followed, Tony Vincent & One Deed, produced six #1 Billboard radio singles. Soon after, Vincent took a detour into rock-based theater, starring on Broadway in RENT (Mark, Roger), Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas Iscariot) and Green Day’s American Idiot (St. Jimmy). He played Simon Zealotes in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s film remake of Jesus Christ Superstar, and is also featured in the film Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece. Vincent originated the role of Galileo Figaro in the rock band Queen’s We Will Rock You in London’s West End, and opened the U.S. production. He also fronted the band itself, performing “Bohemian Rhapsody” for Queen Elizabeth II, with a live audience of over 1 million people at Buckingham Palace. Vincent independently released two more albums, A Better Way, produced by Adam Anders (“Glee”), and the self-produced In My Head, following his appearance on NBC’s “The Voice”. He is currently headlining the North American symphony tour of The Music of David Bowie, and working as a record producer at his New York recording studio, Soundshop 370.
KIMBERLY NICHOLE (Vocalist) exploded onto the national scene on season 8 of “The Voice”, earning praise from Pharrell Williams, Christina Aguilera, Lionel Richie, Mark Ronson and Reba McEntire, with her show-stopping performances, stylish presence and vocal power. Her covers ranked on iTunes’ Top 20 three weeks in a row and made the Billboard 100 Charts. Over the course of her career, Nichole has share the stage with Slash (Guns N Roses), Living Colour, Alice Smith, Janelle Monae, Nona Hendryx (Labelle), Aloe Blacc, Bilal, Joe Walsh (The Eagles) and Jon Bon Jovi. Her mesmerizing performance style has captured the attention and support of Quincy Jones, songwriting duo Ashford & Simpson and fashion savant Andre Leon Talley, who featured her in an issue of Vogue. Her original music has been featured on MTV, VH1, BET, LOGO, Lifetime and Showtime, and Tony award winning director George C. Wolfe personally selected her to be the featured rock performer in his film You Are Not You, which stars Oscar-winner Hilary Swank. She’s been crowned ‘Mistress of Ceremonies’ at New York City’s wildly popular private night club ‘The Box’, and has received ASCAP Foundation’s “Reach Out and Touch” Award, given to promising songwriters. She most recently was featured in the NETFLIX, Ezra Koeing-created (Vampire Weekend) anime series “Neo Yokio” (starring Jaden Smith, Jude Law, Susan Sarandon and more).
TONY BRUNO (Guitar) became the music director and guitarist for Enrique Iglesias in 1999. Since then, he has put together six of Iglesias’s tours and done countless TV performances. In 2005, he partnered with choreographer Tina Landon to create the show for artist Anastacia’s Live at Last tour. He has also worked with artists such as Rihanna, Enrique Iglesias, K’naan, Karmin, Delta Goodrem, and many others. TV production credits include “America’s Got Talent”, “X-Factor”, “American Music Awards,” “Top Of The Pops”, “MTV Music Awards”, TRL, “Wetten Das”, and others. His song “Daylight in Your Eyes” for German artists No Angels was the second best-selling German single of all time. Tony has worked on writing songs with the world’s top songwriters including Shelly Peiken, Lindy Robbins, Kara DioGuardi, and Ty Lacy. In the studio, Tony has lent his extraordinary guitar skills to numerous hit records with top producers like Ted Templeman, Bob Rock, and Desmond Child.
MÁIRÉAD NESBITT (Violin) For more than a decade, Máiréad Nesbitt has enchanted millions of fans around the world as the Celtic violinist and founding member of the globetrotting music phenomenon Celtic Woman. Loyal fans of all ages, across geographical and cultural boundaries far beyond the musical heritage of Ireland, have adored her beguiling stage presence and versatile instrumental talents. As the featured violin soloist on all 11 Celtic Woman albums, each title achieved the coveted #1 slot on the Billboard World Music Chart, an Emmy-nomination for one of her companion television specials and her most recent album with the group, “Destiny”, received a 2017 Grammy Nomination for Best World Music Album. Máiréad is also an accomplished solo artist who released her newest album Hibernia at the end of 2016. Upon its release, Hibernia charted on four different Billboard charts, including the World Music, Classical Crossover, Heatseekers, and Classical charts. Máiréad also released a special album, reaching back to her family roots called “ The Nesbitt Family – Devils Bit Sessions”. In 2017 the “Máiréad Nesbitt Celtic Violin Collection” was launched and is available exclusively online and in specialty shops in North America and Ireland. Máiréad has appeared with the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, Berne Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and more.
HENRY ARONSON (Piano) is among the most in-demand music directors in the Broadway theatre. He was the music director/conductor/keyboardist for the Broadway run of Rock of Ages. Also on Broadway, he was music director for Grease, The Times They Are A-Changin’, In My Life, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent, Rocky Horror Show and Starmites; associate conductor of Cry Baby, Good Vibrations, Parade, Saturday Night Fever, Mail and Prince of Central Park; and conducted The Who’s Tommy and On Your Feet; he also conducted and played many seasons of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Off-Broadway, he conducted at Cagney, was music director of Once Around the Sun (Zipper), King Lear (Public Theater, starring Kevin Kline), The Wind in the Willows (New Victory), 3 Guys Naked From the Waist Down (Minetta Lane), and numerous productions at Playwrights Horizons and Naked Angels. He studied piano at Mannes College of Music, and received his Music degree from Columbia University. His musical Loveless Texas, which he wrote with his wife Cailín Heffernan, was produced this year by Boomerang Theatre Company at the Sheen Center in New York City.
MAT FIELDES (Bass) is a very active bass player on the New York freelance scene. He has collaborated with artists such as Jay-Z, Gorillaz, Joe Jackson, Ornette Coleman, John Cale, Peter Erskine, Jim Steinman, Sufjan Stevens, Steve Vai, PaquitoD’Rivera, Kristjan Jarvi, Joe Williams, Arturo Sandaval, Toni Tennille, Kelli O’Hara, and many others. Mr. Fieldes tours extensively as the solo bassist for Absolute Ensemble, an electro-acoustic crossover chamber orchestra, which performs at major venues worldwide. Broadway credits include: Mamma Mia, The Book of Mormon, Next to Normal, Billy Elliot, South Pacific, Mary Poppins, Kiss Me Kate, The Full Monty, Legally Blonde, and Saturday Night Fever,and Matilda. He has played with the New Zealand Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Auckland Philharmonia, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Key West Symphony (Principal), Long Island Philharmonic, Westchester Symphony, Moscow Chamber Orchestra, New Zealand String Quartet, New Zealand Trio, Continuum, Bronx Arts Ensemble, and has recently appeared in major festivals in Mexico City, Bremen, El Paso, Adelaide, and Montpellier.
ALEX ALEXANDER (Drums, Percussion) is a “first call” session drummer/percussionist residing in New York. He has performed and recorded with artists such as David Bowie, Dido, Eminem, Ritchie Blackmore, Rickie Lee Jones, Jimmy Cliff, YoussouN’Dour, Joy Askew, Bernie Worrell from P-Funk, Bruce Springsteen, The Association, Toots and the Maytalls, Sophie B. Hawkins, J.C. Chasez from NSYNC, Montell Jordan, Willie Nile, Dougie Fresh, Bebel Gilberto, Julia Fordham, The Barrio Boyzz, Eljuri, Chaka Kahn, Buddy Miles, and more. Alex has also performed on many soundtracks for films, including the cult classic, The Search For One-Eye Jimmy, the multi-award winning HBO film, Liberty Kid, the HBO film, Forged, as well as the soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary, Born Into Brothels. Alex has invented an instrument called the Electric Djembe. Using African djembes, ethnic percussion, Shure wireless microphones, and custom Guitar F-X pedals and loop boxes, Alex creates sounds that range from drum machine emulation to ambient keyboard pads and washes. His unique blend of hand percussion and guitar effects pedals can be heard on television and film soundtracks, which he composes through his production company, Perpetual Motion Productions.
Whitney Holden Gore
Vivacity Media Group
1650 Broadway, Suite 609, New York, NY 10019
Oh BroadwayKingdom, what a thrill to be able to present to you
An Interview with the amazing
star of the original Australian & Broadway productions of
“Priscilla Queen of the Desert”
and recently starred in Broadway’s “Amélie”
In this very fun interview Tony shares the story of his life and career, so far, and breaks some exciting news about the upcoming 10th Anniversary Australian National Tour of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”!
So get a beverage, make yourself comfortable and watch and enjoy…
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
ANNOUNCES NEW RINGMASTER
AND THE RETURN OF GRANDMA
40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
BEGINS OCTOBER 26, 2017
AT LINCOLN CENTER
(NEW YORK – May 18, 2017) The search is over! Producers Big Top Works are thrilled to announce that Ty McFarlan will be the new ringmaster for the 40th Anniversary season of the BIG APPLE CIRCUS. It was also announced that McFarlan, who has extensive experience as a ringmaster including several years with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, will be joined by fan favorite Grandma (performed by Barry Lubin), who makes her triumphant return after a five-year absence. McFarlan and Grandma join the previously announced headliner Nik Wallenda, the legendary high wire walker and ten-time world record-holding daredevil, who will perform the seven-man pyramid with his family – a feat never before seen under the big top. BIG APPLE CIRCUS proudly returns to its long-time home at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park from October 26, 2017 – January 7, 2018 and will be followed by a national tour.
No stranger to the big top, McFarlan served as ringmaster with Ringling Brothers for four years. He credits his thirteen-year tenure as an officer in the Army National Guard and a strict ‘‘military brat” upbringing with preparing him for the job of the evanescent emcee of the big top. After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in criminal justice, McFarlan followed his heart into a theatrical career that included theatre, TV, films, and eventually a stint with a national theater group that lead him to where he truly belongs – the circus.
“There’s nothing quite like the rich history and family atmosphere that comes with a circus,” says Ringmaster Mcfarlan. “When you think about it, few things in America have more tradition than the circus, which predates baseball, apple pie and Coca Cola! I’m so honored to be able to join one of New York’s greatest traditions and to share this experience with my new BIG APPLE CIRCUS family.”
For 25 seasons, Grandma was an iconic staple of BIG APPLE CIRCUS. A member of the Clown Hall of Fame and the Sarasota Ring of Fame (the highest honor in American Circus), Lubin could not be more ecstatic to be returning to the Big Top after performing across Europe and the US. Aside from being widely known as the face of Big Apple Circus, Lubin has enjoyed a career performing and directing with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, numerous top circuses in the European market, and has developed shows for Nickelodeon, MTV, CBS, Sea World, Disneyland and Disneyworld.
“I’m over the moon to be re-joining one of New York’s most beloved organizations,” Lubin says. “There’s nothing like the BIG APPLE CIRCUS, and I can’t wait to bring Grandma’s old tricks – along with some fresh new material – to the shiny new BIG APPLE CIRCUS and their fantastic audience that I know and love.”
Big Top Works, an affiliate of Compass Partners LLC, became the new owners of BIG APPLE CIRCUS on February 14, 2017 following a live auction and approval from the Board of Directors. Big Top Works is comprised of Compass Partners managing partners Richard Perlman, Jim Price and Barry Salzman (who is the lead partner on the Big Apple Circus venture), as well as industry veteran Larry Solheim – who has a 30-plus year career working on and general managing circuses including BIG APPLE CIRCUS’s 2015-16 season – and Neil Kahanovitz, a renowned spine surgeon, theatrical producer, and former circus performer. The new producers share a passion for, and history with, the circus arts and are building a sustainable business plan that will revitalize the BIG APPLE CIRCUS while also honoring the legacy of its 40-year history. In addition to exceptional programing, Big Top Works is committed to maintaining BIG APPLE CIRCUS’s established community outreach programs including the Circus of the Senses, Autism performances and Circus for All – in New York City and on tour in the 2017-18 Season.
The BIG APPLE CIRCUS was founded in the summer of 1977 by circus performers Paul Binder and Michael Christensen, with a mission to present authentic and thrilling circus arts, in the intimacy of the one-ring Big Top, for audiences of all incomes.By 1979 the Circus was generating enough money to fund two Circus Arts Schools and in 1983, launched its first tour. Throughout its 40-year run, BIG APPLE CIRCUS distinguished themselves by offering many community outreach programs including providing free tickets to underprivileged children and underserved schools.
ABOUT TY MCFARLAN
Tyron ‘‘Ty” McFarlan credits his 13-year tenure as an officer in the Army National Guard and a strict ‘‘military brat” upbringing with preparing him to be a ringmaster with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the emcee of the Greatest Show on Earth. He graduated from University of South Carolina with a degree in criminal justice and then followed his heart into a theatrical career that included local theatre, TV, films and finally a stint with a national theater group, ultimately leading to his dream job as he became the 34th ringmaster in Ringling Bros.’ 138-year history.
Ty says that besides the thrill of performing live, the things he likes most about circus life are its family atmosphere and rich history. ‘‘When you think about, few things in America have more tradition than the circus which predates baseball, apple pie and Coca Cola.”
Ty has also tried his hand at acting as he can be seen as a recurring actor on Warner Bros.’ long running television series “One Tree Hill” where he plays a character named Charlie. He also has landed an episode on one of America’s favorite shows “Army Wives” on the Lifetime network where he can be seen playing the character known as Paul Broman.
Although Ty enjoys and plans to continue acting on the silver screen and performing under the big top, he also plans to pursue his passion for pattern-making and clothing design. He hopes that his fresh spin on cutting edge fashion and movable fabrics will appeal to the “on the move” athlete and modern day dare devil the world over.
ABOUT BARRY LUBIN
Barry Mark Lubin was born at Atlantic City Hospital in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 3, 1952. His alter ego, Grandma was born on January 1, 1975 in Venice, Florida. Barry lived in Ventnor, New Jersey until attending Emerson College in Boston from 1970 to 1973, completing three years before taking a year off to try to figure out what to do with his life. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College auditions in Boston in the spring of 1974 changed his direction entirely.
Barry has enjoyed a professional relationship with Nickelodeon Networks co-creating, starring in, and executive producing two television pilots while partnering with renowned director, Yvette Kaplan. Barry developed and directed comedy segments for MTV, CBS’s Circus of the Stars, and many other projects both live and in television. Barry directed many routines for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey’s touring units, for BIG APPLE CIRCUS, Sea World of Florida, Disneyland and Disneyworld, Clown College, and many others. Barry was recently featured in the PBS mini-series, “Circus,” which chronicled a year on the road with the BIG APPLE CIRCUS (www.pbs.org/circus) Barry has directed numerous shows for BIG APPLE CIRCUS outside the Big Top Touring Unit.
Barry enjoyed 5 seasons traveling with Ringling, a three year stand-up comedy stint in San Diego, Los Angeles, Boston, and New York, 25 seasons with New York’s famed one ring circus, BIG APPLE CIRCUS where he became the “Face of the Big Apple Circus,” and numerous other appearances around the world. Barry has continued to bring Grandma to audiences in theaters, on television, in Festivals, and in other circuses in America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. He starred in “Stars en Der Manege” which was broadcast in 8 European markets, Circo Massimo in Italy two times, and numerous other international television appearances. In the US he has appeared on “Prime Time Live,” on the national broadcasts of the morning programs on NBC, CBS, and ABC, on PBS’s “Evening at Pops,” on “Late Night with David Letterman” 4 times, was featured on PBS’s mini-series, “Circus” produced by Show of Force, and many others.
Barry was inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 2002, and the Sarasota Ring of Fame in 2012, the highest honor in American Circus. He received the Lou Jacobs Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. He has appeared in the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo twice, the only American clown to have received this honor. He has also appeared in the International Circus Festivals in Hungary, in Izhevsk and Moscow, Russia. He is one of only two American clowns to appear in the 80 year history of prestigious Wintercirckus of Circus Krone in Munich where he was named, “The World’s Funniest Grandma.” He was named only the 5th Legend of the Parade Award in the 75 year history of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, where he was a featured character in 15 appearances both live and on NBC.
Barry is presently writing his memoirs about his remarkable life both in and outside the magical world of the circus.
ABOUT COMPASS PARTNERS LLC AND BIG TOP WORKS, LLC
Compass Partners LLC (“Compass Partners”), is a Sarasota-based merchant banking and advisory firm that specializes in middle market companies and corporate restructuring. Founded by Richard Perlman in 1995, Compass Partners has had a successful track record revitalizing and growing a number of businesses across a wide range of sectors, from food equipment to healthcare services. In addition to Perlman, Compass Partners includes Jim Price and Barry Salzman, who is the lead partner on the BIG APPLE CIRCUS Big Apple Circus venture. Big Top Works, LLC (“Big Top”), is the latest affiliate of Compass Partners and is the official owner of the BIG APPLE CIRCUS. In addition to Compass, Big Top is comprised of a team of investors who share a common passion for the circus arts including Neil Kahanovitz, an orthopedic surgeon, theatrical producer and former circus performer, and Larry Solheim, a 30-year circus veteran.
ABOUT NEIL KAHANOVITZ
As a child, when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answer never changed, “an orthopedic surgeon and a circus performer.” He achieved both dreams. While attending medical school, Kahanovitz took a leave of absence to perform in the comedy trampoline act and later as an aerialist in circuses across the country. Once he graduated, Kahanovitz went on to a distinguished career in the medical field. He has been published in over 50 articles in scientific journals, written about spinal disorders in eleven medical textbooks and published a book on the care and treatment of low back pain. He has served as President of the North American Spine Society and has received the prestigious Volvo Award for Low Back Pain Research, as well as a Commendation from The United States House Physician’s Office for his care and surgery performed on members of the United States Supreme Court and Congress. He was also awarded one of the Soviet Union’s most prestigious civilian honors, The Order of The Supreme Soviet Medal of Personal Courage, for organizing relief efforts following a devastating earthquake in Armenia. Despite the success of his medical career, his show business interests resurfaced in the late 1990’s. He has since produced plays and musicals on Broadway, in London’s West End, Chicago, Los Angeles and Off-Broadway. He is thrilled to bring the BIG APPLE CIRCUS to its rightful place among the most cherished New York City cultural icons. And for a chance to run away with the circus. Not once, but twice!
ABOUT LARRY SOLHEIM
A proud veteran, Solheim has worked in the travelling entertainment field – as a performing artist, composer/arranger, conductor, educator and, most notably, a production manager – for over 35 years. Most recently, he was the Vice President and General Manager for BIG APPLE CIRCUS, brought in to oversee the touring unit and identify the issues responsible for its declining financial situation. As General Manager, Solheim oversaw the circus’ 17-million-dollar operational budget, managed and optimized all elements of the touring operations, including its 150+ team members, and coordinated research and communications with all corporate departments and directors. Prior to the BIG APPLE CIRCUS,Solheim worked for TZ Productions as Musical Director and General Manager for 26 years, where he coordinated and managed performances in up to 70 cities per year (45 building venues and 25 tent venues).
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Have You Seen This Dog?
A review of
“The Play That Goes Wrong”
at the Lyceum Theatre
April 6th – 7:00pm
When I saw The Play That Goes Wrong during its first week of previews, I was approached at intermission by one of the members of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, asking me if I had seen a man with a yellow shirt I told him that I was wearing a yellow shirt to which he replied, “You’re no help at all!” and scurried away muttering under his breath.
At my second viewing last night, as a representative of the Press, I was reprimanded by another ‘Drama Society’ member for my scarf/tie was “Inappropriate for Theatre wear” and “Didn’t anyone ever teach you how to dress?” and followed up with other cast members apologizing to me and arguing with him about how he treats the American audiences.
Such are the antics before the show and during intermission contributing to arguably the funniest and most well executed comedies I have ever seen in my life!
The Play That Goes Wrong now playing at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street, NYC) is every door slamming, pratfall, missed cue, early entrance farcical comedy you have ever seen rolled into one and on steroids! It is nearly two hours of constant laughter, guffaws and “Oh no!” moments ever put on stage.
As I mentioned above, the members of the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’, are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery called, “The Murder at Haversham Manor”, written by Susie H. K. Brideswell, but that play isn’t really important, as a matter of fact, after two viewings, I’m still not sure ‘whodunnit’ or why! It’s the performance, or lack thereof, of the play that is the point here.
You can already sense that things are going to get out of hand from the moment you enter the Theatre and see the crew, led by Annie, the stage manager, played with a subtle brilliance by Bryony Corrigan (during previews I saw Nancy Zamit who was equally great) and Trevor, the company’s lighting and sound operator, played with expert daftness by Rob Falconer, (who spends most of the play in a box above stage right working lights and sound while texting and not paying attention), who are puttering around on the stage fixing last minute set and prop problems. They even enlist the help of an unsuspecting audience member down front. Did I mention the completely inappropriate pre-show house music playing while all this is going on?
When the lights go down we are introduced to Chris, played with appropriate snootiness and skill by Henry Shields, who is the head of the ‘Drama Society’, ‘Director’ of the play, and who plays the character of Inspector Carter. He is obviously stalling for time as the crew is still readying the set, which keeps falling apart as quickly as they can fix it.
From here it gets crazy, so pay careful attention. Each person is three people. The Actor, the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ member, and the character they portray in “The Murder at Haversham Manor”. Got it? Ok. Moving on…
The play within a play opens with Jonathan playing Charles Haversham, (played with deafening subtlety by Greg Tannahill, the worst corpse ever) who is dead (?) being discovered in his study at his engagement party by Robert (the purposefully overacted, pompously riotous, and agile Henry Lewis) playing Thomas Colleymoore, Charles’ best friend, and Dennis (daftly played by Jonathan Sayer) playing Perkins, Charles’ manservant, who can’t remember his lines and shouts most of them.
After discovering the body they try to figure out the best way to break the news to Sandra (delightfully hammed up and overplayed by Charlie Russell) playing Florence Colleymoore, Charles’ fiancè and Thomas’ sister who has also been having an affair with Max (who as portrayed with calculated silliness by Dave Hearn) playing Cecil Haversham ( who gets distracted by audience laughter and applause), Charles’ brother (as well as Arthur the Gardener).
Confused? GOOD! That’s how it’s supposed to be. But it’s not about who plays whom – it’s about the timing. TIMING IS EVERYTHING and it has never been better timed than by this group of actors. While what goes wrong, and I refuse to spoil it for you here, seems to be a sequence of random events ‘just happening’ they are, in reality, a series of perfectly staged ‘accidents’. What impressed me most is that there is nothing happening on that stage that isn’t planned down to the precise moment of execution by this amazing cast. In addition, the physical humor and the agility of the actors getting slammed by doors and trays plus the acrobatics perpetrated by all, including some of the, shall we say, heftier actors, is a thing of beauty as well. Combine that with the acting, overacting, missed cues, forgotten lines, and pratfalls and you have the audience laughing non-stop through both acts and remembering The Play That Goes Wrong long after the curtain (and more) comes down.
In The Play That Goes Wrong whatever can go wrong does go wrong and boy, does every second of it feel so right!
I would like to also mention that this all comes together under the expert Direction of Mark Bell, featuring a beautiful and perfect set design by Nigel Hook, with lighting design by Ric Mountjoy, sound design by Andy Johnson (with special thanks to Duran, Duran) original music by Rob Falconer; the real production stage manager, Matt DiCarlo, and exquisite period costume design by Roberto Surace.
Last but not least, a huge shout-out to J.J. Abrams who, on a rare night off from filming Star Wars in London, asked to see some original English theatre and fell so much in love with this play that he decided to bring it here to the Colonies for all of us to enjoy!
Thank you J.J.!
Oh… I almost forgot…
The Play That Goes Wrong (Running Time: 2 hours including one intermission) stars the original Olivier Award winning West End cast featuring Rob Falconer, Dave Hearn, Henry Lewis, Charlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields, Greg Tannahill and Nancy Zamit. (Bryony Corrigan was on for Nancy Zamit at this reviewed show).
Produced by Kevin McCollum, J. J. Abrams, Kenny Wax, Stage Presence Ltd. and Catherine Schreiber.
Co-written by Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, The Play That Goes Wrong is a riotous comedy about the theatre. The play introduces The ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ who are attempting to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong…does, as the accident prone thespians battle on against all the odds to get to their final curtain call.www.broadwaykingdom.com For more info on Elli -- The King of Broadway www.thekingofbroadway.com Facebook | Twitter | IMdB | Actors Access For more interviews & reviews go to www.broadwaykingdom.com * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We’ll Take Manhattan
A review of Encores! concert reconstruction of
THE NEW YORKERS
At New York City Center
March 22, 2017
by Moshe Bloxenheim
THE NEW YORKERS originally featured specialty acts, material built around Mr. Jimmy Durante’s unique personality and took a very amused look at the world of Park Avenue Society, Gangsters and Prohibition, making no bones about the fact that this was not a show for “The Little Old Lady from Dubuque” though I daresay she might have had a whale of a time too. Encores! manages in a case of sheer theatrical chutzpah to piece together a fine entertainment that gives an impression of the enjoyment that was to be found in the original 1930 show even if an accurate reconstruction is not in cards.
Mr. Cole Porter’s score alone is well worth the price of admission. Admittedly many numbers are hits imported from other shows, but they seem to make themselves perfectly at home sometimes showing up in surprisingly adroit ways. Mr. Jack Viertel assists in this with a concert adaptation of Mr. Herbert Fields original book that allows the plot to entertain and move the show onward without ever forgetting that the songs come first.
The gangsters, good time girls, vapid socialites, adulterers, hoofers, gigolos, prisoners and so on that inhabit THE NEW YORKERS are all likeable and occasionally endearing and make the most of whatever story had first been furnished by Mr. E. Ray Goetz and the famous New Yorker Magazine cartoonist, Mr. Peter Arno: Alice Wentworth, a pretty socialite, is engaged to marry the stodgy, wealthy and reputable Phillip Booster. She expects her marriage to be like that of her parents, Dr. Windham and Mrs. Gloria Wentworth. The Doctor is the swain of the entertainer Lola McGee and the famous inventor of the pick-me-up drug Alcodol while Gloria has Captain Hillary Trask as her special pick-me-up. When the handsome young Captain goes off with Lola, the Doctor and Gloria are rather nonplussed to have to go home together. All plans for a similar life with fiancé Phillip go out the window the moment Alice meets the dashing speakeasy owner Al Spanish. Al and Alice are quite smitten and, for good measure, Philip falls hard for Al’s girlfriend, the singer Mona Low. Unfortunately, complications arrive in the guise of Feet McGeegan, who wants Al to keep out of the Caviar Racket (as if rum-sunning wasn’t hazardous enough). Merry mayhem ensues with some frequency and lots of great music and dancing. Through it all comedian and drink Inventor supreme Jimmie Deegan struts his stuff, the Three Girl Friends Trio and the Varsity Eight chorus sound and look stunning, and jokes about prohibition, politics, society, prison and Cole Porter references are tossed in with happy abandon. Oh yeah – it all ends right.
Delightful Ms. Scarlett Strallen ensures that Alice Wentworth is no mere pretty face, making the most of the character’s savvy naiveté and getting her some wonderful laughs in Alice’s discovery of Real Life (in the form of Al Spanish). Ms. Strallen can also deliver a song with the best of them making the well-known “Most Gentlemen Don’t Like Love” and “Night and Day” just two of the many high points of a very well scored evening.
Anti-antihero Al Spanish may be a gun-toting gangster but Mr. Tam Mutu makes him the perfect gentleman from the wrong side of the tracks. He exhibits a sort of Gee Whiz quality that makes him the good guy even as he guns down his rivals. Mr. Mutu has an ability to put a number over that looks downright effortless and yet so enjoyable.
Usually a musical has one main lead couple and one subplot. But THE NEW YORKERS delivers far more.
Ms. Mylinda Hull gives a wonderful performance as Mona Low. Mona may be losing her Al to Alice but Ms. Hull can make one quite believe that this torch singer knows how to set the stolid Phillip Booster on fire and Mr. Todd Buonopane’s Phillip is a hoot as he transforms from Alice’s burden to Mona’s pleasure.
Alice’s parents are the second couple as they discover that although infidelity is lots of fun, it is always nice to come home to one another. Dr. Windham Wentworth is one of those urbane if slightly vague men-about-town and Byron Jennings plays him with fine understatement. Ms. Ruth Williamson makes Gloria Wentworth a fine contrast to the good Doctor, giving us a woman-about-town who might like home better. Her delicious delivery of “The Physician” comes across is the complaint of a lady who feels a bit ashamed that she much prefers her husband to her boyfriend – if he would only give her a glance!
Then there is Lola McGee and Captain Hillary Trask. These two may not end up together living happily ever after, but Ms. Robyn Hurder and Mr. Tyler Lansing Weaks ensure that they and the audience have a good time for the present. When Ms. Hurder delivers “Please Don’t Make Me Be Good” it is clear that she already is.
Then there is Mr. Kevin Chamberlain in the role of Jimmy Deegan – the comic mixologist. Just the knowledge that Mr. Jimmy Durante originated the part makes his memory a hard act to follow. Still, Mr. Chamberlain makes Jimmy Deegan truly funny and gets the best out of the silly dialogue, yet he is able to add enough Durante mannerisms to make us see how Mr. Durante might have laid them in the aisles in 1930 just as Mr. Chamberlain proceeds to do in 2017. His Act One closer “Wood” is an example of how great absurd comedy can really last.
Aiding and abetting Mr. Chamberlain are his two comic and dancing sidekicks Monahan and Gregory, played with gleeful skill by Messrs. Clyde Alves and Jeffery Schecter.
While Jimmy Deegan is a unique comedy turn all by himself, there are several other specialty acts that deserve much praise:
The Gangster Feet McGeegan is the villain of the show in the mold of Snidely Whiplash or Witch Hazel. So naturally as one of those characters who deserves killing, THE NEW YORKERS obliges, having Feet coming to an untoward end over and over and over again. Mr. Arnie Burton manages to give him just the right level of cartoonish melodrama proving that death may be easy and comedy is hard but comic death is an art all its own. As an added highlight, Mr. Burton stops the show with the brilliant patter number “Let’s Not Talk About Love”.
Other musical delights include the trio of Mss. Christine DiGiallonardo, Lindsay Roberts and Kathryn McCreary as the Three Girl Friends and the Varsity Eight in the guise of Messrs. Matt Bauman, Sam Bolen, Brian Flores, Matthew Griffin, Curtis Holland, Timothy McDevitt, Brendon Stimson and Cody Williams, who recreate the numbers originated by the megaphone-wielding Waring Pennsylvanians.
Many of these performers double up in several roles but Mr. Eddie Korbich laudably wins the multiple casting honors as he appears and reappears as a doctor, a nightclub major domo, a waiter at a deli, a policeman, a butler…
The rest of the company deserve top marks for their acting and dancing, but even with the wealth of pleasure offered onstage, one performer still stands out indelibly: Ms. Cyrille Aimée delivers “Love for Sale” on an empty stage without any introduction and brings down the house. This lonely, haunting performance on its own would have made THE NEW YORKERS worth seeing.
Director John Rando has no trouble with the fact that THE NEW YORKERS is a series of songs with barely enough plot to keep the show from being designated a revue or vaudeville (not that there would be a problem with either one). But Mr. Rando ensures that even with all the numbers being launched in so many ways by different people and acts that everyone gets to shine and nothing ever clashes so that the show buckets along engagingly to its loopy conclusion (the memorable “I Happen To Like New York” chorale). Mr. Chris Bailey’s choreography has a lot to do with this because so much movement and dancing carry THE NEW YORKERS forward. A gangster battle where the machine gun fire is enacted by tap-dance emphasizes the period, plot and cartoonish nature of the show since the assailants and their would-be targets just keep happily tapping and firing. More than that, the specialties are clearly staged to make the most of the talents involved yet invoke their predecessors in the roles. In fact, where many songs have at least a line to cue them in, Messrs. Rando and Viertel know that sometimes a song should be left to fend for itself and ensure that a moment like Ms. Cyrille Aimée’s singing of “Love for Sale” stands alone as the jewel of the show as the original piece did in 1930.
This care with THE NEW YORKERS songs and music is obviously shared by the Rob Berman and the Encores! Orchestra. Mr. Berman’s arrangements and conducting and Messrs. Josh Clayton’s and Larry Moore’s orchestrations are out to get the best of musicians and actors and all deliver beautifully. Even when a number is an import from another show and of a slightly different style (like “The Physician” from the English show NYMPH ERRANT), it just seems to be a natural fit in THE NEW YORKERS. Certainly it would have been braver and wiser for the show to have selected more obscure pieces from Mr. Porter’s songbook and give them the currency they may deserve but I enjoyed myself too much to quibble with what is on offer.
The look of the show is also quite striking with designs that appear as an idealized 1930. Thanks to Mr. Allen Moyer’s scenery and Mr. Alejo Vietti’s costumes one can see glitz and glamor even in Sing-Sing prison and Mr. Ken Billingtons’s top-notch lighting makes even the shimmering reflections of the ladies’ lamé gowns become part of the visual pleasure.
I was a little surprised at the unevenness of Mr. Dan Moses Scheier’s sound system, but besides a few aural fades in Act One, everything sounded pretty good, upholding the illusion that you could hear the voices from the actors rather than the loudspeakers.
THE NEW YORKERS is a loving and varicolored bouquet to the people, foibles and theater of that 1930’s city but it still has an enchanting effect in today’s Empire City as well. As with all first public Encores! performances there was a slightly tentative feeling as the performers gauged how the material was landing, but all went wonderfully well and I am sure that the future performances will only get better and even funnier.
Encores! final Performance of THE NEW YORKERS was 7 PM Sunday Night, March 26, 2017.
I am a computer programmer, wannabe writer who loves theater and just got into the habit of inflicting my theatrical opinions.
I live in New York. Moshe can be reached at MB1224@aol.com
Read how ENCORES restored the show: http://www.nycitycenter.org/Home/Blog/March-2017/Reclaiming-The-New-Yorkers?fullsite=true
Small WORLD, isn’t it?
A Review of Musicals in Mufti’s concert production of
At the York Theatre
by Moshe Bloxenheim
Musicals in Mufti’s concert production of DEAR WORLD is one of those lovingly staged productions that can beguile an audience into wondering why this show didn’t work the first time? With a book based on Monsieur Jean Geraudoux’s play THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT and an often delightful score by Jerry Herman, DEAR WORLD relates how Countess Aurelia, Madwoman of Chaillot saves humanity from being overrun by the soulless seekers of money and power. In the Countess’ adventure the audience is introduced to the characters who make up her world and those who threaten it.
The Prospector and the three corporate Presidents seek to destroy the Countess’ beloved Paris for the lake of oil that they know is below the city. Mr. Gordon Stanley is a perfectly peevish Prospector who is driven by oil and cannot see any romance beside it. He fits perfectly in with the Presidents who are played with relish by Messrs. Stephen Mo Hanan, Peter Land and J. Bernard Calloway. All the gentlemen gleefully twirl a metaphysical villainous mustache with panache, bringing their best to their anthem of greed “Just A Little Bit More” and being merrily hissable in “The Spring of Next year” where they exult in the destruction of Paris.
The young executive Julian had been one of their crew until he realized that people would be hurt and Mr. Hunter Ryan Herdlicka manages to show this change of heart quite briefly and yet credibly. Indeed, under the Countess’ idealistic spell Julian goes from accomplice to uncertain to penitent to hero and lover and the handsome Mr. Herdlicka accomplishes the changes with charm and ease, most memorably in a tender scene where Julian pretends to be Adolphe Bertaut – the man who had broken the Countess’ heart many years in the past.
Nina is a waitress and general factotum at the Café Francis – the bistro where the Countess holds court and the place that the Prospector wants to destroy to start the oil drilling. Ms. Erika Henningsen makes a sweet and pretty Nina who clearly enjoys being a part of the Countess’ world. We root for her Nina and Julian to fall in love with each other and cheer when Ms. Henningsen sings “I Never Said I Love You” (even with its inept positioning in the show).
One of the Countess’ aides and links from the harsh real world to her romantic existence is Mr. Lenny Wolpe’s jovial Sewerman. From his number “Pretty Garbage” and onwards Mr. Wolpe creates a man who has his mind in the most delightful of gutters, giving cheerful denials about the outrageous world below that make it seem even more wonderful and fantastic. When the Sewerman gives a “sympathetic” defense of the rich in Act Two, Mr. Wolpe extracts some wonderfully timely comedy out of the moment.
It is a talent indeed to play a role without practically a word and Mr. Kristopher Thompson-Bolden makes a beautiful Mute – the observer of all and assistant to the Countess. For a man who will not speak, Mr. Kristopher Thompson-Bolden’s Mute is a real chatty soul and can even deliver a song with flair – allowing gesture and dance to supply the lyrics that are then picked up and sung by the other performers.
Other helpful men who brighten the stage are Mr. Dewey Caddell as the Police Sergeant and Ben Cherry who is the Waiter at the Café Francis.
Two other Madwomen assist the Countess: Ms. Alison Fraser gives us a striking and memorable Madame Constance, Madwoman of the Market. She could have jauntily stepped out of an Edward Gorey drawing but her fancies are less gothic and more aurally and erotically absurd.
Adding to the fun, Ms. Ann Harada’s superb Madmoiselle Gabrielle, Madwoman of Montmarte is relentlessly virginal and unsullied. Ms. Harada’s character could simply be childish and a bore about her imaginary lap dog, Dickie, but Ms. Harada makes us see why the others would care for her and even makes us wonder if we aren’t seeing the dog too, even though Mlle. Gabrielle then claims she hadn’t brought Dickie after all.
Finally, the Doyenne of Madwomen: Countess Aurelia, Madwoman of Chaillot.
Ms. Tyne Daly gives a definitive performance as the sanest Madwoman there ever was, living in a romantic dream that must be cruelly interrupted to save the beauty of the real world. As a Madwoman, Ms. Daly sensibly gives her Countess the only French Accent in this stage Paris and often seems to have to refocus her fantasy driven mind. Musically, Ms. Daly does not sing her songs prettily but delivers them to brilliant effect, making them truly enchanting. The Countess’ plea against reality “I Don’t Want to Know” is downright heart-stirring as Ms. Daly performs it. Then again, the Madwoman’s tea party in Act Two could easily become a scene stealing battle, but Ms. Daly is clearly at stage center joining in with Ms. Harada and Ms. Fraser in creating a wonderful piece of musical theater studded with comic gems. You want to hug and take care of Ms. Daly’s Countess even while knowing full well that she is more than capable of taking care of you.
Mr. Michael Montel directs DEAR WORLD with the clear understanding that the more intimate this show is, the better it will work and makes the most of the small York Theatre Stage with its basic setting by Mr. James Morgan and lighting by Brian Nason. He does his best to make us forget some of the bumpier moments of the book and well evokes the fairy tale atmosphere of this whimsical story.
There have been times when I have been to a musical that sadly manages to evoke earlier recording of the show by its current shortcomings. Happily, this cannot be said of DEAR WORLD where Mr. Christopher McGovern’s first-rate musical direction and piano playing – along with the fine bass and accordion skills of Mr. Louis Tucci – sound anything but spare.
Messrs. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s original book for DEAR WORLD has been revised by Mr. David Thompson and he has made a noble effort of reworking and tightening the show, changing the song order, working with added material and introducing some numbers to better effect. While “Just a Little Bit More” is not my favorite number, it now gives a suitable way for our Villains to better define who they are and relocating “The Spring of Next Year” to Act Two gives these characters a number that lets them reestablish themselves to the audience as evil beings when they musically celebrate Paris’ impending ruin. The Countess’ “Kiss Her Now” has become a very satisfying moment, framing Julian and Nina’s love towards the end of Act Two. Still, even the concert premise cannot really overcome the clumsy placement of Nina’s lovely “I’ve Never Said I Love You” which suddenly erupts without rhyme or reason.
And then there is the Title Song.
Mr. Jerry Herman creates some unforgettable pieces: “I Don’t Want To Know”, “Each Tomorrow Morning”, “Kiss Her Now”, etc. – but the title song “Dear World” is one of those things that must be gotten through because it is a TITLE SONG. Messrs. Thompson and McGovern clearly have done their level best to make “Dear World” work as an anthem that will bring heart back to the protagonists but in spite of their efforts, it still feels like being beaten repeatedly between the eyes with a Hallmark Get Well card. One annoying aspect of the song is the fact that the people singing “Dear World” are the ones being forced save the world – it will not save itself like the song repeatedly insists. The song that immediately follows it, “One Person”, is actually more to the point and moves things forward. Perhaps it is heretical, but I think the show would be much better if “Dear World” was totally rewritten with more suitable lyrics or even dropped altogether.
Still, even in its current condition, DEAR WORLD is well worth it – as a marvelous entertainment with a great cast and as an appropriate fable for these times. Even the flaws are intriguing and some of the more creative spectators may leave the theater both thrilled with what they have seen and contemplating what might be done do to overcome the imperfections.
Alas, DEAR WORLD closed March 5.
I am a computer programmer, wannabe writer who loves theater and just got into the habit of inflicting my theatrical opinions.
I live in New York. Moshe can be reached at MB1224@aol.com
Book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
New Version by David Thompson
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Based on The Madwoman of Chaillot by Jean Giraudoux as adapted by Maurice Valency
Directed by Michael Montel
Music Directed by Christopher McGovern
Featuring Tyne Daly
With Dewey Cadell, J. Bernard Calloway, Ben Cherry, Alison Fraser, Stephen Mo Hanan, Ann Harada, Erika Henningsen, Hunter Ryan Herdlicka, Peter Land, Gordon Stanley, Kristopher Thompson-Bolden, Lenny Wolpe
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STARS IN THE ALLEY
SOCIAL MEDIA HOSTS ANNOUNCED!
ALEX BRIGHTMAN and SIERRA BOGGESS
Currently starring in
SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL
TO BE SOCIAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS
AT THIS YEAR’S
PRESENTED BY UNITED AIRLINES
IN LEGENDARY SHUBERT ALLEY
FRIDAY JUNE 3, 2016
RAIN OR SHINE!
Free Outdoor Broadway Concert
Featuring Musical Performances and Appearances
From Over 30 Broadway Shows!
PRODUCED BY THE BROADWAY LEAGUE
SPONSORED BY UNITED AIRLINES
New York, NY – (May 19, 2016) – 2016 Tony Award Nominee Alex Brightman and his School of Rock The Musical co-star, Sierra Boggess, have been named social media correspondents for the 2016 STARS IN THE ALLEY concert, presented by United Airlines. The pair will post on social media throughout the event, keeping fans up-to-date on all of the action behind the scenes and on stage.
Stars in the Alley will be hosted by Sean Hayes and Mo Rocca. Sean Hayes will be starring in Broadway’s An Act of God and was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Promises, Promises and Mo Rocca is a Correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and appeared on Broadway in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Stars in the Alley will take place on Friday, June 3rd from 12:30pm-2:30pm in Shubert Alley, between Broadway and 8th Avenue and 44th and 45th Streets. To add to the festivities leading up to the Tony Awards, the free outdoor concert in the heart of the Theatre District will celebrate Broadway with star appearances and exciting performances from over 30 new shows and long-running favorites, accompanied by a 12-piece live orchestra.
“Alex Brightman and Sierra Boggess are a dynamic pair on stage and they know how to engage fans in a fun and exciting way. We can’t wait to have them rock out as our social media correspondents!” says Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League. “Stars in the Alley is a celebration of the amazing Broadway season and we invite fans to join us in the festivities, counting down to the eagerly anticipated Tony Awards ceremony on June 12th.”
“I’m so excited to serve as co-social ambassador alongside my School of Rock co-star Sierra Boggess at Broadway’s best block party – Stars in the Alley! The next best thing to rocking out at a free outdoor concert is following along with us online. Looking forward to see you there, one way or another!” says Alex Brightman.
“I’m honored to be the social media correspondent this year at Stars in the Alley alongside my incredible co-star Alex Brightman,” said Sierra Boggess. “This is one of my favorite Broadway events of the year, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this special free concert!”
“United Airlines is proud to be the official airline of the Broadway League and the presenting sponsor of Stars in the Alley. This celebration adds to the festivities leading up to the 2016 Tony Awards by bringing the excitement of the year’s memorable shows and incredibly talented performers to the iconic Shubert Alley in New York City for everyone to enjoy,” says Mark Krolick, Managing Director, United Airlines
“Stars in the Alley showcases the excitement of musical theatre and the vibrancy of Times Square all at once. The opportunity to help bring great live music that is free to the public is the primary goal of the MPTF,” says Dan Beck Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund.
Alex Brightman received a 2016 Tony nomination for his uproarious role as Dewey in School of Rock-The Musical on Broadway. His other Broadway credits include Big Fish, Matilda, Wicked and Glory Days. As a writer, he has penned Make Me Bad (music & lyrics by Drew Gasparini), Everything In Its Place: The Life and Slimes of Marc Summers, and The Whipping Boy (music & co-lyrics by Drew Gasparini), an upcoming musical adaptation of the award-winning novel.
Sierra Boggess currently stars in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock—The Musical. Sierra made her Broadway debut originating the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, for which her performance received both a Drama Desk and Drama League Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, as well as Broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Female Breakthrough Performance. Sierra has also starred as Christine Daae in the critically acclaimed sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, Love Never Dies, for which she received an Olivier Award Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. Sierra later returned to the role of Christine for the The Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary limited six-week engagement in 2013, rejoining the Broadway company a year later again as Christine. Her other credits include It Shoulda Been You, Master Class, and most recently, she starred in Lincoln Center’s two night, 25th anniversary concert event of The Secret Garden; her other West End credits include Les Misérables.
Stars in the Alley information can be found at Broadway.org.
The American Theatre Wing’s 70th Annual Tony Awards® will air on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 12, 2016 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT) live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City, hosted by Tony Award-winner James Corden. The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.
The event is produced by The Broadway League. United Airlines is the title sponsor of Stars in the Alley® and is the official airline of The Broadway League and the Tony Awards. Live music sponsored by The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund and Film Funds. The official hospitality partner is Junior’s Restaurant. The official media partner is The New York Times. Additional support is provided by The Shubert Organization and SL Green Realty Corporation.
# # #
UNITED AIRLINES and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 342 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 20 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
THE MUSIC PERFORMANCE TRUST FUND (MPTF) was established in 1948 as a nonprofit independent public service organization whose mission includes contributing to the public knowledge and appreciation of music, as well as making music a part of every child’s life experience. Headquartered in New York City, the tax-exempt MPTF, operating under section 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code, evolved from a landmark collective bargaining agreement between the American Federation of Musicians and the major recording companies of the day. Today the MPTF is a vital organization that brings music to the public and supplements the income of musicians, all at no cost to those receiving this precious gift of music.
THE BROADWAY LEAGUE (Charlotte St. Martin, President), founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 700-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers who present in nearly 200 markets in North America. Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada. The Broadway League annually co-presents the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards®, one of the most coveted awards in the entertainment industry. Key League programs and resources include: Kids’ Night on Broadway®, The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmys), Stars in the Alley®, Internet Broadway Database® (ibdb.com), Broadway.org, SpotlightonBroadway.com, Commercial Theater Institute (with Theatre Development Fund), as well as numerous conferences and forums for our members. TheatreAccessNYC (co-produced with TDF) is the one-stop website of accessible Broadway performances for theatregoers with disabilities. Broadway.org is the League’s official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC, on tour, and internationally. For more information visit BroadwayLeague.com, or follow The Broadway League on Twitter @TheBwayLeague and on Facebook at Facebook.com/BroadwayLeague. Download the free Broadway.org and IBDB mobile apps from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
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