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Archive for the ‘Disaster’ Category

Bomb Scare Tonight at Town Hall After Bway’s Rising Stars

Town HallOk, so I’ve wondered what it would be like to be caught in a bomb scare. And now I know. At the tail end of the always fascinating evening of this year’s Annual Broadway’s Rising Stars concert, which was celebrating it’s tenth anniversary tonight, host/creator Scott Siegel told the entire audience that they could not leave the building that there was ” a suspicious package outside the theater” and that “everyone should sit back down and stay in their seats.”

It was frightening. It was unbelievable that in this most amiable of settings that this catastrophe should happen to all these show-tune-loving theater goers.

I just shut down completely. I couldn’t react. There were friends of mine in the audicnce, most notably Pepe Nufrio, who was in the cast of last year’s Rising Stars as well as in my new play “A Hyacinth Coat…” where he sang the living daylights out of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Pepe 1

Also there was his co-star on my show and in last year’s “Rising Stars” Ally Kupferberg, and in the show were previous guests Rising Stars of prior years, Jon Hacker, who is now in “Jersey Boys” and Chris Hlinka who has just returned from a National Tour of “Mama Mia.” Plus all of this year’s talented Rising Stars.

This couldn’t be happening to all these truly gifted young people. Scott Siegel ever the showman decided to “entertain you while you wait.” He assured us the NYPD Bomb Squad was almost immediately there, checking that “suspicious package” out, and Scott sang a song in Yiddish! I didn’t know he could sing!

And then had director Scott Coulter come out for what was surely his finest hour and sing a song that held the audience’s attention and the title of which has flown right out of my mind. But it was a show tune.

He then included Jon Hacker in a Four Seasons number “You’re Just Too Good to Be True.” And a former Carol King from “Beautiful” sang one of that shows trademark numbers and did a very good job of it, too. Which number again I’m too flummoxed by this whole thing to remember.

But suffice it to say that after about twenty minutes to half-an-hour, Scott told us he had “the All Clear” sign and we could go. Phew! Of course, we could go. This was unreal. It couldn’t be happening. But there was no panic visible. Scott handled this really, really well.

And thank god it was such a delightful evening with a plethora of young singing talent belting their hearts out that in a way you never wanted it to end. And this time it nearly didn’t.

#Bomb Scare # Town Hall # Broadway’s Rising Stars # Pepe Nufrio

 

My Deepest Sorrow & Condolences

LGBY handsMy deepest sorrow and sincerest condolences to the friends and families of the GLBTQ victims in Orlando, Fla. of the greatest, most horrible mass shooting in American History. This violence must stop. Against gay people and against all people.

#Orlando Shooting #GLBTQ #Gun violence

“Hughie” First Big Disaster of Bway Season. Not Surprised It’s Closing Early.

Hughie“Hughie” is the first big disaster of the Broadway season, closing early it will have lost its’ entire 3 million dollar investment. One wonders what they spent the money on? The set? Well the set was grand! Set and costume design by Christopher Oram, and kudos to him for one of the best, most evocative renderings of a Time Square hotel in sad, ghostly decline that I have ever seen. Oram is ably abetted in his decaying spookiness, by lighting designer Neil Austin. Can’t remember such a good use of green lighting and green neon to boot.

I wish I could say the same about actor Forest Whitaker’s embarassing, one-note performance. He wandered about the stage, and that was about all he did. Whitaker, Academy Award winner for “The Last King of Scotland,” seemingly has never appeared onstage before. And knowing that, I wondered about the wisdom, and hubris, of attacking what is basically a one-man show, as his Broadway debut.

And the one-act play of Eugene O’Neill’s is as barely there as Whitaker’s vaporous performance. O’Neill is not helping him at all and there’s no drama whatsoever. Flat, flat, flat.Erie Smith(Whittaker) is a small time gambler, down on his luck, and the late former night clerk, Hughie, was his only friend.

And poor Frank Wood, as the NEW night clerk of the decrepit hotel, is trapped there, seeming to fall visibly asleep, as he is stuck listening to Erie Smith’s(Whitaker) ENDLESS monologue of his late friend Hughie, who was the night clerk before Wood’s character got the job. I ended up feeling sorry for night clerks.

But that’s because Wood an esteemed Tony-winning stage actor is very, very good in the little he has to do. And you keep wishing the play was more about HIM. And the characters he’s seen in his life. He admits to being a lifetime night clerk. And the weariness and boredom of his job is palpable. Because he’s had to listen to one loser spilling his guts to him after another, midnight after midnight.

Basically, Erie Smith is a bore. And he bored me and obviously, he’s boring audiences, because they are not coming. And it’s closing early. That doesn’t happen much anymore on Broadway. Investors are so careful, if not parsimonious with what they sink their cash into that shows are previewed and tried out to death. Guess this one wasn’t.

It was barely an hour, but it felt like years. Stick to films, Forest. He’s a great film actor, but onstage, he’s a bore.

NYU Grad Acting Class of 2015 in Building Next to Blast

East Village 3East Village FireI’ve enjoyed heartily the annual trek I make to the East Village’s Second Avenue, to see the graduating class of NYU Grad Acting perform their “Actors Presentations” or “Leagues” or scene nights. This year was a little more complicated in getting there because of the bomb blasted setting and building collapse, which occured literally NEXT door to the NYU building. Pictured above on the left, it’s the white building.

And yes, it almost went, too. “The building shook” I was told by Brian Bock, one of the talented graduating actors. Before the evening’s presentation, Chair of the Acting Dept. Mark Wing-Davey introduced it by describing it this way. “This class is very special to me because we were all in this building getting ready to open our production of ‘The Three Sisters’ and the explosion happened.”

He told me later that they didn’t know if the Actors Presentations(as spectacular and electrifying as ever) were going to take place in that building on Second Avenue and he referred me to an article in the New Yorker, which vividly details what went on.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/04/13/show-goes-on

I applaud all involved.

First Big Bway Casualty “Honeymoon” Over for “Vegas” on Bway

DanzaAnd so it starts, the first big casualty of the Broadway season, “Honeymoon in Vegas” starring Tony Danza, is set to close on Sunday. I liked it. The first act dragged, but the second act was genuinely funny, and Danza, though he couldn’t sing (much) was charming. I thought it would’ve lasted at least until the Tonys, which are in June. I thought it had mainstream appeal, being about honeymoons & Hawaii & Vegas & all that jazz , but, guess not…

The Official Press Release announcing its’ demise follows ~

THE CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED NEW MUSICAL

“ H O N E Y M O O N   I N   V E G A S ”

WILL PLAY ITS FINAL BROADWAY PERFORMANCE ON

SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2015

 

New York (March 31, 2015) – The critically-acclaimed new musical, Honeymoon in Vegas,will play its final performance at Broadway’s Nederlander Theater (208 West 41st Street) onSunday, April 5, 2015, the show’s producers announced today. Lauded as “a real-live, old-fashioned, deeply satisfying Broadway musical in a way few shows are anymore,” by Ben Brantley of the New York Times, Honeymoon in Vegas is directed by Gary Griffin, features a book by Andrew Bergman, and a score by three-time Tony Award-winner Jason Robert Brown.

 

Those who have purchased tickets to a performance after April 5, 2015 through Ticketmaster will automatically receive credit to their accounts for their refunded tickets. All others should contact their initial point of purchase to inquire about receiving a refund for their tickets.

Honeymoon in Vegas began performances on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, and officially opened on Thursday, January 15, 2015 to rave reviews. Prior to Broadway, Honeymoon in Vegas completed a successful engagement at the Papermill Playhouse in Milburn, NJ October 6 – 27, 2013.

The cast of Honeymoon in Vegas includes Tony Award nominee Rob McClure, Brynn O’Malley, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Tony Danza, David Josefsberg, Nancy Opel,Matthew Saldivar, Matt Allen, Tracee Beazer, Grady McLeod Bowman, Barry Busby,Leslie Donna Flesner, Gaelen Gilliland, Albert Guerzon, Sean Allan Krill, Raymond J. Lee, George Merrick, Jessica Naimy, Zachary Prince, Catherine Ricafort, Jonalyn Saxer, Brendon Stimson, Erica Sweany, Cary Tedder, and Katie Webber.

 

The creative team for Honeymoon in Vegas also features three-time Tony Award nomineeAnna Louizos (scenic design); Emmy Award-winner Brian C. Hemesath (costume design); Tony Award-winner Howell Binkley (lighting design); Tony Award-winner Scott Lehrer & Drama Desk Award-winner Drew Levy (sound design); Tony and Grammy Award-winner Don Sebesky, Larry Blank, Jason Robert Brown, Charlie Rosen (orchestrations); Tom Murray (music director); and Charles G. LaPointe (hair and wig design).

 

Honeymoon in Vegas is produced on Broadway by Dena Hammerstein, Roy Gabay, Rich Entertainment Group, Dan Farah, Metro Card, King’s Leaves, Dan Frishwasser,Leslie Greif / Thom Beers, Susan Dietz & Lenny Beer, Howard Hoffman / Anna Czekaj, Important Musicals, Sharon Karmazin, L.G. Scott, and Martin Markinson

 

Honeymoon in Vegas, based on the 1992 Castle Rock Entertainment Motion Picture, tells the story of Jack Singer (McClure), a regular guy with an extreme fear of marriage, who finally gets up the nerve to ask his girlfriend Betsy (O’Malley) to marry him. But when they head to Las Vegas to get hitched, smooth talking gambler Tommy Korman (Danza) – looking for a second chance at love – falls head over heels for Betsy and Jack must go to extreme heights to win back the love of his life.

Trying to Find Affordable Eyeglasses in New York, Good Luck!

Ok, first. I stepped on my glasses, which had slipped on to the floor in the middle of the night from the (admittedly not secure) perch that I had put them on and I broke the frame. Dear Readers, Dear Cineastes all, I’m sure you wear eye-glasses, too. I have had them since I was a child. I always felt defined by them. Not always in a good way.

And now that I’ve been on television for Yonks, as the Cockneys say, being so constantly photographed in them and usually in a close-up. That’s what TV is. A Close-Up. An Endless Close-Up. Like for instance, Sally Jesse Raphael. What do you remember most about her? Her red-framed eye-glasses.

So I put a lot of thought into trying to find, well, glasses that just look like mine in the picture above.^ I’ve had them for eight years, it turns out, and they have served me well. And have worked for the TV viewers, I think, at least to the extent that they photograph well, but not obtrusively.

So I went to my place where I had originally got them, on Lower Broadway, near my old studio, and while they had my name still on file.(I had just had an eye exam and my pupils were dilated, dontcha know.But I need new glasses IMMEDIATELY because these were/are held together with just a wing and a prayer. I mean, I stepped on them in just the right place so that I was able to pop the lens back in and they’ve sort of held together…) The guy in the store, who remembered me, said “You’re taking a big risk, wearing them.” Broken.

But…

Running around the streets of New York, like I do, if they fell apart and the lens shattered…I would be…well…I would be blind…and in trouble.

So the previous Lower Broadway Eye Place(not its’ name) had a BEAUTIFUL pair of frames that they could give me(and this is without the charge of an eye exam, mind you, which I had just had elsewhere) the price tag, and here’s the punch-line was $300!?! Or more! I nearly fainted.

I had to sadly decline. And went to search for another eye-glass place, which was recommended to me that I THOUGHT was in the Puck Building, y’know where “Will and Grace” was set? I had never been in there and come to find out THEY MOVED! Then I was given bad directions by a smirking security guard, but finally after staggering around Soho AS IT BEGAN TO RAIN(and of course, no umbrella) for what seemed like HOURS,  I finally found them on Greene St.

They really were worth the search! The unusual name is Worby Parker. And they’re at 121 Greene Street, and a very nice young gentleman helped me try on pair-after-pair. I felt like a rich, bored woman in a shoe store, trying on heels that NEVER FIT!

But finally there was one that worked with my face, and would look good photographed! And was only $125!?! New Yorkers take note! This is the kind of miracle one is always hoping for in New York, and so rarely happens!

To Be Continued…

The 3rd Thing Happened…or Was It Simply the Blizzard of 2015?

BlizzardWell, for those who have been following this blog, they know that two rather traumatic things have happened this past week. And I was waiting, since everything comes in threes(that’s true, isn’t it?) It very well may have arrived in the form of the Blizzard of 2015.

In any case, I did slip getting out of the bath yesterday, but today I was just fine so….I can’t say I was ever so happy taking my usual daily bath IN MY LIFE.

My arms just gave out from under me as I tried to lift myself out of the tube. I struggled five or six or more times to no avail, and my arms were hurting. FINALLY, I decided to grab hold the very nearby bathroom sink, a very sturdy one, thank goodness, and it held, and I, kneeling on one knee, pulled myself out that way, and stood up, took a shower and everything was fine.

Except I now had an extreme fear of the bathtub, and I thought “This won’t do” and braved it again today and it went by in a flash. No problems. My arms, AND legs held. And now I’m fresh as a daisy, but SUDDENLY a blizzard has arrived.

New York is the least hard hit of all cities in terms of snow, because the sidewalks are all heated by the subways running underneath most of them. But I decided to not risk another THIRD THING. So I didn’t go out in it.

Everyone is being warned to stay indoors, so that’s what I’m doing. That bathtub slippage could be The Third Thing. Or it could simply be a warning.

Or could it be “Birdman” winning the SAG Best Ensemble Award last night? More on that later…

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