Posted in comedy, concert, dance, drama, musical

An embarassment of riches

Summer and theater are words often linked but less so in this big city than in summer stock country.

Pamela Mala Sinha in Crash,/b>. Photo by Michael Cooper. Soulpepper Theatre.

Theater, like some of your neighbors, heads to the Berkshires, or Saratoga, or another vaguely vacationy venue.

There are always remnants, of course, such as the hits that play the Great White Way regardless of season, and of course the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.

Starting in July, the New York Musical Festival gives voice to new works in off-Broadway houses. This year, thanks to some visitors from Toronto, the NYMF and Soulpepper on 42nd Street, appear in such close proximity that we can only suggest you tablehop a bit.

Cage, Soulppper
Cage from Soulpepper. Diego Matamoros. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Take in as many of the NYMF premieres at Theatre Row and at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theatre as you can. Head a little further west to sample the workshops, master classes, ensemble creations, and new plays that the Soulpepper Theatre is presenting at the Pershing Square Signature Theatre stages.

Among the other highlights of our NYC summer there is the Bolshoi Ballet dancing The Taming of The Shrew at Lincoln Center. Check out the full list of summertime offerings at the Lincoln Center Festival, another annual event.

Summer in the city can be ever so sweet!


Posted in based on a book by Roald Dahl and a movie of the same name, concert, from a novel to a movie to a play, long running Broadway musical, movie, musical, musicals, The Long Running Broadway Musical, Uncategorized

From the page to the stage

Matilda, before it became a Broadway musical (since closed after a long run), was first a book then a movie. Roald Dahl won the 1988 Childrens Book Award for this novel of triumph over adversity. As with other Dahl stories for children, the protagonist is precocious and the plot is wry.

The film of Matilda features Danny DeVito, who also directs, along with Rhea Perlman, Mara Wilson, Embeth Davidtz, and Pam Ferris. Now this inspiring family favorite returns to the big screen in stunning HD with Academy Award-nominated composer David Newman’s score played in sync by a full symphony orchestra.

For the world premiere of Matilda Live in Concert, Newman will conduct the Houston Symphony on June 9th in Houston’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillon in The Woodlands.

Posted in acting, activists, actors, allegory, artist, aspiration, athletes, ballet, balletic, comedy-drama, committment, concert, Daily Prompt, dance, dancing, drama, empowerment, expectations, farce, film, high expectations, jazz, joy, memory play, Meryl Streep, mime, modern dance, monologues, movie, multi-disciplinary performances, music, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals, musicals and dramas, mystery, narration, off Broadway, Off or Off-Off Broadway Transfer, offbeat work, one act plays, one man show, one-woman show, opera, painting, pantomime, parody, performance art, performance piece, performance works, photography, play, play with music, public performance in public spaces, radio play, revival, revue, rock and roll, satire, scary stories, sci fi, screwball comedy, Short plays, sketches, skits, tango, tap dance, theater for the common good, theater lovers, theatrical events, tragedy, tragi-comic


via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in AmericanSongbook, BrooklynCenterForThePerformingArts, concert

Michael Feinstein Celebrates Sinatra’s 100th Birthday in Style


Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College opened its 2015-16 season with a concert by “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” singer/pianist Michael Feinstein celebrating Frank Sinatra’s centenniel. Guest reviewer Mari S. Gold was there and reports:

Backed by a pianist, bass player and percussionist, Michael Feinstein had the audience at his Sinatra Centennial Celebration at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts eating out of his hand long before he finished his first number.

Feinstein, lithe and ageless at 59, played it smart by singing songs popularized by the Chairman of the Board as Feinstein, not as Sinatra sang them. He recounted meeting Sinatra when playing  a party at Chasen’s in Hollywood  hosted by the Sinatras and attended by the likes of Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor and other Hollywood luminaries. In hopes of having Sinatra notice him, Feinstein played obscure Sinatra songs which, it turned out, the Chairman didn’t like. However, he noticed Feinstein, talked with him and invited him for dinner.  When a young, nervous Feinstein arrived at the home of Sammy Davis, Jr. and was asked if he’d like a drink, he blurted, “Do you have any white wine?” Davis, ever on his game, responded “Baby, in this house we got all colors of wine.”

Feinstein swung through How About You and  That’s Why the Lady is a Tramp; gave a soulful, soft rendition of What Kind of Fool Am I and, backed by  screen stills of a mostly young Sinatra, sang a medley including All or Nothing at All; Angel Eyes; I’ve Got the World on a String and other Sinatra-associated numbers.

Mid-performance, Feinstein, a five-time Grammy® nominee,  talked about the Great American Songbook Foundation he founded in 2007 to preserve and perpetuate the music of masters including Jerome Kern, Sammy Kahn, Jule Styne, Richard Rogers, Johnny Mercer, Frank Loesser and others. He introduced the Foundation’s Youth Ambassador, Annie Yokum, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Yokum’s rendition of What Did I Have That I Don’t Have Now, with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, was knock-out and Feinstein’s prediction of a Broadway future for her seems entirely likely.

Feinstein, who sipped water and what appeared to be tea during the performance, reappeared in a suit resplendent with rhinestone buttons, more Las Vegas than his usual somber, though always elegant, attire to sing Cole Porter’s Just One of Those Things, explaining that Porter was Sinatra’s favorite songwriter.  After plugs for his website, his Facebook page and the Foundation, he gave an “encore” number of New York, New York that sent the crowd out very happy, many singing along.

Accompanying Feinstein was heavy- hitting talent including Ted Firth on piano; Sean Smith on bass and Mark McLean on drums. Firth has been musical director/accompanist for Barbara Cook, Elaine Page, Brian Stokes Mitchell and other well-known singers;  has appeared at Carnegie Hall and performed at the White House. A major force in the international jazz scene for over twenty-five years, Smith has his own group which received the CMA/ASCP Award for Adventurous Performing in 2015; he also composes.  McLean began his career in Toronto as a jazz drummer and has worked with a broad array of artists including Billy Joel, Wynton Marsalis and pop icon George Mitchell.

For more information on the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College, please visit



Posted in concert, jazz, music

Oh Joy

Kenny Washington on drums and Pat Bianchi on organ, with (l-r) Harry Allen, Will Anderson and Peter Anderson on sax, in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez
Kenny Washington on drums and Pat Bianchi on organ, with (l-r) Harry Allen, Will Anderson and Peter Anderson on sax, in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez

While watching The Joy of Sax, at 59E59’s Theater A, it occurred to me that Jazz is often a conversation between instruments. Pat Bianchi’s Hammond B-3 organ chattered with Kenny Washington’s drums. Don’t think of the Hammond B-3 organ as belonging out of church? Think again. It has a versatile voice with lots to say for itself.

The three saxes, Pater and Will Anderson and Harry Allen held interesting commentary back and forth.


L-R: Peter Anderson, Will Anderson and Harry Allen in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez
L-R: Peter Anderson, Will Anderson and Harry Allen in The Joy of Sax. Photo by Junior Gomez

All this on International Jazz Day (April 30th.) The Joy of Sax plays through May 7th.

To find out more about the program and to get tickets, please visit

Note that the Anderson Twins also hold a post-show live Jazz show in 59E59’s E-Bar on Thursday nights.

Posted in Anderson Twins, cabaret, concert, movie, music, swing, The Fabulous Dorseys

The Fabulous Andersons In A Tribute to The Dorseys

The joint is jumping, you better believe it!

Swing, swing, swing is in the air as the fabulous Andersons give a tribute to Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey at 59E59 Theaters through October 7th.  “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys” is set to snippets from the film “The Fabulous Dorseys” with a charmingly cornball script by the brothers Will and Pete.

Pete Anderson, Jon-Erik Kellso, Kevin Dorn and Will Anderson in  “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys” at 59E59 Theaters. Photo by Lynn Redmile.

The battles between siblings Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey are echoed on the bandstand by Pete and Will. The brothers Anderson, who also offer a standard Thursday night performance in the E-Bar at 59E59, talented musicians on the clarinet, sax and flute, are backed by their sextet in this cabaret production of “The Anderson Twins Play The Fabulous Dorseys.”   
For more information and tickets, go to