Posted in #benefit, political drama, politically inspired, politics

Theater of the Woke

In no way does humor (or a good beat) trivialize the necessity for a cognizant citizenry. Theater can use the power of laughter to foster and encourage us towards a better world. Ionesco was a most politically conscious satirist. Conscience leads the way to express the ideals a regressive government attempts to suppress.

Theater aspiring to inspire has always been with us. Many of us feel the need now more than ever for a side order of politically awareness with our drama. We can be grateful to the many theater artists who look to elucidate while they entertain.

This season, for instance, the New York Musical Theater Festival (NYMF) has several galvanizing works on offer. In Leaving Eden, for instnace, Jenny Waxman (Book and Lyrics) and Ben Page (Music) ask us to envision a more progressive creation (myth) than the strictly Biblical one.

Donald Rupe (Book and Music) and Cesar de la Rosa (Music) offer a historical perspective in Flying Lessons, in which their heroine, an eighth grader named Isabella finds a “recipe for greatness” by looking to the past.

George Bernard Shaw was a forward thinker, and Project Shaw which celebrates his legacy in one-night only productions is showing The Stepmother by Githa Sowerby, a protege of GBS, on July 22nd. The play will undoubtedly present a case for a more “woke” world from a 1920s stance.

This is a short list of a few upcoming shows that offer a vision for a better world. (Click on each to find out where/when to get tickets.) The number of allegories and presentations that have graced our stages over the years is long. Woke theater shows us how matters civic and social sh/could unfold.

Activist theater means someone is speaking for the 99%.

Posted in #benefit, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Phantom, The Long Running Broadway Musical


Chloe_Gosselin[1]The mask from The Phantom of the Opera is one of the more theatrical flourishes in a very theatrical musical play.

Fashion provides a kind of theatricality, too. It is fashion designers who will help The Phantom of the Opera celebrate its unprecedented 30-year milestone (hit this past January 26th) with proceeds going to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

#PhantomFashion30 will have 30 well-loved designers reinterpreting the iconic mask, originally designed by the late Maria Björnson and realized by milliner Rodney Gordon, through their individual aesthetic.

Dennis_Basso[1]The #PhantomFashion30 designs will be revealed during an exclusive invite-only event sponsored by Bank of America on Tuesday, October 30. Beginning Wednesday, October 31, the 30 masks will then go on display at the Museum of the City of New York for 30 days. These one of a kind creations will be up for bids during a special on-line auction from the 30th of October through November 30th in benefit to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Isabel_Toledo_color_2[1]The Council of Fashion Designers of America and Bank of America join The Phantom producer. Cameron Mackintosh, in this celebratory and philanthropic event.

View the masks for #PhantomFashion30 at the Museum of the City of New York, from the 30th of this month through November 30th.

The principals who ushered in the 29th anniversary: Peter Jöback (The Phantom), Ali Ewoldt (Christine) and Rodney Ingram (Raoul) — and the original mask. Photo: Jeremy Daniel.

It may be a good time for you to revisit The Phantom of the Opera in its long Broadway run. For more on the musical and information on tickets,  please go to

Additional reporting at

Posted in #benefit, love story, opera

Dido’s lament

Once upon a time, if you were educated, then you were educated in the Greco-Roman past. Myths and tales of wandering heroes were common inspiration for poets and composers.

Dido and Aeneas is an English Baroque opera, written sometime between 1684 and 1688 and first performed in 1689 at a London girl’s school. It is Henry Purcell’s most dramatic work, and also the first opera he composed.

Dido and Aeneas, based on the 4th book of Virgil’s Aeneid, has a text filled with witches and sailors, and recounts Dido’s dispair when Aeneas forsakes her.


MasterVocies, formerly the Collegiate Chorale, will be putting on Purcell’s (music) and Nahum Tate’s (libretto) Dido and Aeneas, starring Kelli O’Hara, Victoria Clark, Elliot Madore, and Anna Christy. The opera has lost its prologue, so it the missing music will be replaced with a world premiere companion work by Michael John LaChiusa. The Orchestra of St. Luke’s will be conducted by Ted Sperling with choreography and direction by Doug Varone.

The two night programs, at New York City Center, on Thursday April 28th at 7pm and on Friday April 29th at 8pm, include a gala (the 28th).

For information about MasterVoices, please visit the New York City Center website or

Posted in #benefit

Celebrate! And dance….

Of Benefit:

On Sunday November 8th at Sardi’s at noon, Tony Award nominee Bryce Pinkham, Broadway stars Kelli Barrett, Lesli Margherita, Jessica Keenan Wynn and the Shapiro Sisters, along with the Classical Theatre of Harlem will join the starry lineup of the Theater Resources Unlimited for the 2015 TRU Love Benefit: Making Our Gardens Grow. 

PrintThis is in celebration of Theater Resources Unlimited’s (TRU’s) 24th year, and in honor of three people whose contributions to changing the landscape of the theater world are significant and notable.

Producer Patrick Blake (The 39 Steps, Bedlam Theatre’s Hamlet/St. Joan, Play Dead, My Life Is a Musical, The Exonerated, In the Continuum), also the founder of Rhymes Over Beats, a game-changing new hip hop theater company will be the recipient of the 2015 TRU Spirit of Theater Award.  Patrick Blake is being honored for being a member of the producing community who has demonstrated exceptional generosity, support and kindness to others in the business. The TRU Humanitarian Award will be presented to Teresa Eyring on behalf of one of American theater’s most distinguished service organizations, Theatre Communications Group (TCG); TCG is dedicated to strenghtening, promoting and nurturing non-profit theaters. The TRU Entrepreneur Award, given for committment, durability, and innovation, will be presented to Linda Amiel Burns for 38 years of The Singing Experience, a unique cabaret workshop that helps turn plain folks into singing “stars.”

The Awards ceremony will begin at 1pm after cocktails and a 3-course luncheon. Tickets are available at

Ballet Hispanico presents a holiday program at the legendary Apollo

Ballet Hispanico is collaborating with Apollo Theater for its expanded New York Fall Season programming.  Ballet Hispanico’s 45th anniversary season includes the world premiere of If walls could speak, by Brazilian native Fernando Melo, co-commissioned by the Apollo and set to live music. The premiere at the Apollo will mark the first time Melo’s work is presented in New York.

In a repertory that reflects the ever-changing diversity of Latino cultures, Ballet Hispanico makes its annual holiday return to the Apollo stage with additional performances from November 20-21, 2015.  Programs for young people and families, with a Saturday En Familia Matinee, are part of the weekend celebrations. Two Ballet Hispanico Performances for Young People / Apollo School Day Live shows of mixed repertory celebrating Latin American dance and culture will be offered to schoolchildren on the morning of Friday, November 20th.

For more information and tickets, visit