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Posts tagged ‘Manhattan’

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“Mothers & Sons” Best Play of the Year! Tyne Daly Best Actress!

The great Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” is the best new play of the year and the best new play on Broadway. And Tyne Daly as the mother is giving ANOTHER one of her greatest performances and in surely on her way to a Best Actress in a Play Tony nomination, if not a win. She won her first and only Tony(so far) for “Gypsy.”

“Mothers and Sons” is the kind of new play we should be seeing regularly on Broadway, but never do. It’s powerful. Immense, in its’ concentration on only four characters, or five, if you count the off-stage character of the late Andre Gerard, who is the real center of the play, and its’ uniting figure.

Andre is the handsome, sexy, 20-something young actor who dies twenty years before the play actually begins of AIDS.And by the way, we never see him. Except on a theater regional theater poster of him playing a rage-filled Hamlet.

It’s now two decades on and grief and time have brought his angry Republican mother, Katherine (Tyne Daly) and his surviving lover Cal (Frederick Weller) together in his semi-sumptuous Upper West Side apartment that overlooks Central Park.

She has come in her black, bulky fur coat and jewels to return her late son Andre’s diary to Cal. She can’t read it. And neither can he. She’s a dragon, breathing fire at Cal.

Yes, it’s another AIDS play. (I wrote one of the first one’s myself “Fever of Unknown Origin” in 1984, but that’s another story.) “Mothers and Sons” is set decidedly today. In a time when gay marriage is legal, and Cal has indeed moved on since the beloved Andre’s death to marry Will (Bobby Steggert) and they have a son Bud. This arrangement is seen as the highest point of gay achievement, and yes, perhaps it is. It certainly is a profound political and societal change.

Gay Marriage as well as AIDS is also front and center here because that too is what the play is addressing. Since the wonderful privilege of marriage for gay men was not even a serious thought or consideration when Andre died. But now it’s an inspiring fact of gay life.

And Bobby Steggert’s heart-warming, handsome young Wil can’t even imagine a time when it wasn’t this way. The rest of us all do. Wil is the younger generation who has missed the plague years, where literally someone I knew was dropping dead every day. It was like a war zone. It was a holocaust. It was ghastly. It was horrible beyond belief. Nearly everyone I knew died.

Frederick Weller’s Cal has lived through all of that era and nursed Andre through the horrible final stages of that illness that changed all our lives forever.

Weller has never been better and he has the daunting task of standing up to Tyne Daly’s formidable, homophobic monster of a mother. And he does.

Daly is a theatrical miracle in a career-topping performance. I saw her as Momma Rose in “Gypsy.” She was great. I saw her as Maria Callas in “Master Class” She was astonishing. And now her Katharine Gerard is an unforgettable portrait of a right-wing, Texas Republican mother who has all her anger and all her self-righteous conservative prejudices and confusion intact. And is still mourning the loss of her only son.

A seemingly impregnable, immovable slab of Mount Rushmore granite at the start of the play, she removes her black widow mink, to reveal a bright red dress that symbolizes her slow melt. And melt she inevitably does, and it is to Tyne Daly’s unending credit that she makes us like and UNDERSTAND this hostile harridan’s point of view.

And credit too to the great playwright McNally, who has always been one of my favorite American writers. He strips Katharine down to the bone as he has her reveal layer by layer, monologue by searing monologue, the depths of this woman’s despair and loneliness and sense of abandonment. Her husband, whom she didn’t love, has passed away, too, two weeks ago. And though she couldn’t stand him, his passing has sent her reeling into Cal’s CPW apartment to try to find….something….Something she doesn’t even understand she’s looking for.

And we find it with her, and what a journey it is! I can’t stop praising this great, new play and recommend it to one and all everywhere. It’s a great, great theatrical triumph.

Bravo and definitely BRAVA!

The Buses are Running! But not the Subways!

It’s Wed. in the AM, and the buses came back on today in New York at 5pm. But the subways are not running. And the elevators are back on in my building, but I hear that downtown there is no power! STILL!

And it’s getting cold out. I FINALLY got outside again tonight as the sun was quickly setting, what little there was of it. I didn’t wear a coat. But I found out once outside that I really needed to.

Starbucks and McDonald’s, bell weathers of a Return to Normal, were back in action.

And every other store or restaurant seemed to be lit up. But there were plenty of black spots, too. It was like an array of rotten teeth.

It’s all quite frightening, especially with the knowledge that Lower Manhattan is a Dead Zone.

I always thought of New York City, especially Manhattan, where I live, as impregnable. A fortress. A place where Mother Nature did NOT rule. That has changed.

Tomorrow afternoon, the theaters open for Wednesday matinees, and Broadway will be all lit up, once again, but outside of the buses how will theater-goers get there?

I never thought I would live to see all these horror movies come that show the destruction of New York over and over again come to life, but these are the images I’m seeing everywhere. And hearing about.

But I have light and power, so I should consider myself lucky. And I do.

And it started to get really cold tonight. And thousands of New Yorkers have no heat. And many, many thousands more in the Tri-State area. Frightening.

But this is the city that survived 9/11 so it can survive THIS! New Yorkers are nothing if not TOUGH!

Freak Blizzard on Hallowe’en Freaks the Freaks

Thousands of out-of-towners pour into New York City to participate in the weekend long festivities that lead up to Hallowe’en, this year falling on a Monday. They were expecting one,long party,leading up to the Greenwich Village Annual Hallowe’en Parade and instead got what amounted to a blizzard yesterday. Yikes!

Weary, would-be party-goers were still visible on the subways, soaking wet, in their costumes and with a dazed look on their faces that said not only “I don’t believe I’m actually IN New York” but also “I don’t believe I’m in this soaking wet costume,” and mostly “I don’t believe it’s snowing like this on Hallowe’en.”

Today is cloudless. A bright, bright blue only seen in movies. And the sun is shining, shining down on New York and of course there’s barely a trace of snow anywhere. At least looking down from the safety of my skyscraper window.

Due to the subways underneath Manhattan’s street, the sidewalks are always extra warm, and rarely hold on to the snow.

And yes, ancient Viking that I must be, I was out in it.

Gale force winds nearly knocking me down every time I turned a street corner. And since it was a mixture of snow AND rain, you had to have an umbrella, and fortunately, for a change I did.

I had to keep battling the wind and it kept turning, the wind kept turning and turning and swirling and swirling. My best, good, strong, big umbrella, and I were in a constant battle with the elements as they tried to turn it, and me, inside out and blow us both to smithereens.

The TV said like 50 mph winds were blowing and in Central Park tree limbs with leaves still on them caught more snow than they ever had to hold before and broke. Hundreds, maybe thousands of them.

But the electric lights never go out in Manhattan.

And fortunately, too, the heat was on.

The best place to go and get warm quickly, the subways. Which never stopped running, packed as they were with bedraggled, costumed freaks, looking for a party that they never would find, on a night like this…There was a very large Mrs. Potatohead, with doo-dads stuck all over her capacious, brown self. She had a little purse as if she had planned to go shopping, not trick or treating, and was now completely wet, everywhere. Not a festive look.

Today, it’s so calm and quiet here in Noisy Town, you’d never know anything happened. It’s like a for-real Sunday morning. In some small town somewhere.

It’s like you could hear a pin drop. THANK GOODNESS! All is quiet on the Eastern seaboard.

And the temperature is going up, up. I guess all the costumed tourists will have their Hallowe’en Parade in the Village after all.

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