Peabody Award Waldorf Astoria May 19, 2014

 

If you are a fan of the Colbert Report, with funnyman Stephen Colbert, then you will have seen how he brags about his Peabody Awards by putting them on the desk all the time.  How disgusting.

I, on the other hand, like to keep my light under a bushel so I will definitely not show you MY 2014 Peabody Award.

I would find it too self-serving to boast about being the creator and Executive Producer of BROADWAY MUSICALS: A JEWISH LEGACY with host Joel Grey. A braggart would say that you can watch the film free on the PBS Great Performances site but I am not that kind.

Anyhow, who knows if you would even be interested in seeing Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Stephen Sondheim, George Gershwin and other Broadway legends as well as learn the history of musical theatre?

It is for all of these reasons, that I will not report that I was at the Waldorf Astoria on May 19th to receive the prestigious Peabody Award with my pals Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, Henry Lewis Gates, Brian Williams, and 1000 others.

Sorry but you won’t get another peep out of me. After all, it took me over 4 years to put together this project and check it off my bucket list. I have no energy left to tell you any more.

From  AListARTS.com, this is 2014 PEABODY AWARD WINNER Barbara Brilliant

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Reagle Theatre, Huntington and New York

Summertime and the livin is easy. No, I am not going to report on Porgy and Bess. For that you have to go to Broadway ( and it’s worth it) However I am going to tell you about another classic that won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama…..South Pacific.

The REAGLE THEATRE at the Robinson Theatre in Waltham follows two cross culture love stories between Americans and Pacific Islanders during WW11. This groundbreaking musical, explores thems of prejudice and bigotry and won 10 TONY AWARDS. You will thrill to songs like Rogers and Hammerstein;s Some Enchanted Evening,
I’m gonna WASH THAT MAN RIGHT OUT OF MY HAIR, There is Nothing Like A Dame and others. The last time that Reagle did South Pacific was in 1989. It recently was revived on Broadway so why shouldn’t Reagle follow suit. Kudos to Robert J. Eagle.

$35-$63
Phone: 781-891-5600
Online: www.reaglemusictheatre.com

Did you know that the Huntingotn has Playwriting follows? Their production of SMART PEOPLE is by just one such fellow, playwrite Lydia R. Diamond.
. Visit huntingtontheatre.org/news/photo-library.
Huntington Theatre Company is concluding its 2013-2014 Season with Smart People, It is a sharp and provocative new comedy.
Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois (The Power of Duff) helms the newest play from the author of the Huntington’s 2010 hit production of Stick Fly. Performances of Smart People are presented at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Due to popular demand, the run has been extended to Sunday, June 29, 2014.

A quick shout out to the people at Pops.
I was at Opening Night with guest star Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. What many did not know was that before that he was a Tony winner he won a Tony on Broadway. Did you know that his is also a director, producer, and writer and does everything well. What a talent!
When he started his set with Shiksa Goddess by Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, he brought the house down and deservedly so. As a matter of fact he not only got a standing ovation at the end of his set, he got two during the performance.
Alexander performed everything from Broadway standards to special material making you forget George Costanza after a few bars. His special material about the roles he wanted to play and pitched unsuccessfully to producers such as Evita, Annie and Don Quixote was hysterical.
A man of many talents and a worthy opening act for the best Pops orchestra anywhere. This season’s theme is THE VERY BEST OF THE BOSTON POPS and they have quite a lot to choose from.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.bostonpops.org or by phone through SymphonyCharge at 617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200,

I was recently in the BIG APPLE and want to give you a heads up on the three musicals that I saw
Although it won 6 Tonys, STINKY BOOTS, I mean Kinky Boots was a bust. The book, the choreography, the songs, the lyrics all were sub standard and trite. If you want to see a show about cross dressers where the play ends with the straight character dressing in drag go to see LA CAGE AUX FOLLES. That Jerry Herman musical is wonderful and forget about Stinky Boots.

Beautiful , which is up for Tonys is the story of Carol King. A delightful musical with great music, choreography, acting and sets. Don’t miss it.

The third play that I saw, was Bullets Over Broadway. The book ia by Woody Allen who did the movie. Director and Choreographer was one of the best people ever on Broadway, Susan Stroman( THE PRODUCERS) and the Conductor and Vocal coach the fabulous Andy Einhorn ( who incidentally was the music director on my film Broadway Musicals A Jewish Legacy.)
Don’t pay attention to the other reviews. This is what a musical comedy is supposed to be about. It is a fun filled, well acted and sung, fabulously choreographed side splitting show. You know that you are not going to see King Lear so buckle up and have a good time. You will not be able to dodge the laughs and production numbers. Yes, you will be able to leave happy. It is cheaper than a psychiatrist and lot more fun.

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Cape Cod and the Berkshires Destination A&E

CAPE COD AND THE BERKSHIRES
For great summer destination activities what could be better than a short drive to Cape Cod or the Berkshires.

If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there, you’re sure to fall in love with the arts at Old Cape Cod. Ok that’s not the way the lyrics go but you get my point.
For instance, in Cotuit there is a terrific arts center aptly called Cotuit Center for the Art. They have everything there from ukulele courses ( which I took) to classes in pastels, art exhibits, concerts and plays. It’s worth checking out.
There next production is the THE LAST FIVE YEARS by Jason Robert Brown. As a matter of fact Jason Alexander AKA George Costanza opened his set at pops with one of the songs from that show Shiksa Goddess. Anyhow… it is about Jamie Wellerstein a young, talented up and coming Jewish novelist who falls in love with Cathy Hiatt, a Shiksa Goddess struggling actress. Their story is told almost entirely through songs using an intercutting time line device; all of Cathy’s songs begin at the end of their marriage and move backwards in time to the beginning of their love affair while Jamie’s songs start at the beginning of their affair and move forward to the end of their marriage. They meet in the center when Jamie proposes. This reminds me of the original concept called East Side Story about a chasidik boy and Catholic girl A LA Romeo and Juliette that morphed into West Side Story.
So as they say if you’re at the Cape Do it At Cotuit
info@cotuitcenterforthearts.org
The Cape Playhouse has been bringing top notch talent and theatre to Dennis for over 80 years. Quite a track record. From June 23-July 5 it’s Freud’s Last Sesson, which is a Cape Cod Premier.
Marching in July 7-1is 9 the stirring historical musical 1776.
If you like farces it’s the English Romantic Farce Perfect Wedding July 21-Aug 2 I can imagine how perfect the wedding will be.
August has Pump Boys and Dinettes and they close the season with Almost Maine.

Tickets on line, in person or call 508 385 3911

If the hills are alive with the sound of music for you, then the perfect destination is Tanglewood in the Bershires.Read\

For season press releases, downloadable photos, artist bios, and Tanglewood history and chronology, visit tanglewood.org/presskit; for press tickets, email dmccadden@bso.org or call 617-638-9286

Tickets, priced from $10 to $121, are available through Tanglewood’s website, www.tanglewood.org, through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Symphony Hall Box Office at 301 Massachusetts Avenue, More

I am impressed that the tickets start at only $10. Yes they do go up to $121 but that gives everyone a chance to share our musical treasure.
What could be better than spending July 4th week end with James Taylor? LEGENDARY SINGER-SONGWRITER AND BELOVED TANGLEWOOD GUEST 
JAMES TAYLOR RETURNS FOR TWO EVENINGS JULY 3 AND 4
Tanglewood’s 2014 pre-season begins in Ozawa Hall Friday, June 27, at 8 p.m, with jazz music by the Kenny Barron Trio. The trio is led by the wide-ranging Philadelphia native pianist Kenny Barron, who has been active for nearly 50 years and has been featured on hundreds of recordings, and now teaches at The Juilliard School. He has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and the American Jazz Hall of Fame, and has performed and recorded with many of the greatest names in jazz, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, and Elvin Jones.
FRIDAY, JUNE 27, TANGLEWOOD FAMILY FUN FEST

THURSDAY, JULY 3, AND FRIDAY, JULY 4 – TWO NIGHTS WITH THE LEGENDARY JAMES TAYLOR

James Taylor, one of Tanglewood’s most beloved guests, makes his annual appearance with his extraordinary band, bringing his legendary original songs, inimitable voice, and virtuosic guitar playing to the Shed in two spectacular concerts On Friday, July 4, at 8 p.m. Tanglewood’s annual Independence Day fireworks display follows the July 4 concert.

Whether you love The Boston Symphony Orchestra or the Pops or both it is all there for you all summer.

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PEABODY AWARD

If you are a fan of the Colbert Report, with funnyman Stephen Colbert, then you will have seen how he brags about his Peabody Awards by putting them on the desk all the time. How disgusting.
I, on the other hand, like to keep my light under a bushel so I will definitely not show you MY 2014 Peabody Award.

I would find it too self-serving to boast about being the creator and Executive Producer of BROADWAY MUSICALS: A JEWISH LEGACY with host Joel Grey. A braggart would say that you can watch the film free on the PBS Great Performances site but I am not that kind.
Anyhow, who knows if you would be interested in seeing Barbra Streisand, Ethel Merman, Stephen Sondheim, George Gershwin and
Learn about the history of the musical?

It is for all of these reasons, that I will not report that I was at the Waldorf Astoria on May 19th to receive the prestigious Peabody Award with Tom Brokaw, Charlie Rose, Henry Lewis Gates, Brian Williams, and 1000 others.

Sorry but you won’t get another peep out of me. After all, it took me over 4 years to put together this project and check it off my bucket list. I have no energy left to tell you any more.
From the AListARTS.com
This is 2014 PEABODY AWARD WINNER Barbara Brilliant

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NEW REP BLACK BOX FESTIVAL

Up Next: The inaugural NEXT REP BLACK BOX FESTIVAL: five plays and three new play readings in two Black Box Theaters beginning with TONGUE OF A BIRD, Ellen McLaughlin’s drama of a rescue pilot searching for a lost girl in the snowy mountains, March 8 through 30 in the Black Box Theater at The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. Directed by Emily Ranii. Featuring Olivia D’Ambrosio, Elizabeth Anne Rimar, Ilyse Robbins, and Bobbie Steinbach. Click here for tickets.

The Next Rep Black Box Festival continues with two plays in repertory, OUR LADY, James Fluhr’s gutsy story of finding strength in his gay identity, April 3-27; and IN BETWEEN, Ibrahim Miari’s story as a son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father, raising questions of identity, culture, and belonging, April 4-20. Click here for tickets.

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SpeakEasy Stage Company THE WHALE

(BOSTON) – From March 7 through April 5, 2014, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the New England premiere of the acclaimed Off-Broadway drama THE WHALE by
Samuel D. Hunter.

Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, THE WHALE tells the story of Charlie, a morbidly obese man who hides away in his Northern Idaho apartment quietly eating himself to death in the wake of a personal tragedy. With his health quickly failing, Charlie makes one last desperate attempt to connect with his estranged daughter Ellie, a sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen whom he has not seen in 15 years. Also involved in Charlie’s quest for redemption are Liz, Charlie’s enabling caregiver; Elder Thomas, a Mormon on a mission; and Mary, Charlie’s ex-wife.

THE WHALE was written by Samuel D. Hunter, whose play A Bright New Boise had its Boston debut last season. A native of Northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City and holds degrees in playwriting from New York University, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. He has received the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. Mr. Hunter is also a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights’ Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. He has three new plays set to debut nationally this season: The Few, A Great Wilderness, and Rest.

Norton Award-winner David R. Gammons will direct THE WHALE for SpeakEasy Stage. Mr. Gammons’ previous directorial efforts for the company include the award-winning productions of Blackbird, Red, and The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Boston actor, teacher, and playwright John Kuntz will play Charlie, and will share the stage with Josephine Elwood, Georgia Lyman, Maureen Keiller, and Ryan O’Connor.

The design team includes Cristina Todesco (scenic), Gail Astrid Buckley (costumes), Jeff Adelberg (lighting), David Remedios (sound), and Megan F. Kinneen (props). Christine Lomaka is the Production Stage Manager.

THE WHALE will run for five weeks, from March 7 through April 5, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

Ticket prices start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, and persons age 25 and under. For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.

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SIX ON SONDHEIM HBO DOCUMENTARY

Six on Sondheim
HBO Documentary
December 10, 2013

James Lapine is not Stephen Sondheim. So trying to make a documentary that imitated a Sondheim musical did not work. Sondheim can be edgy, ambivalent, stark and have it all add up to one brilliant artistic creation. Lapine can direct one of these musicals but cannot create one. That’s exactly what he tried to do in Six on Sondheim.

The HBO documentary Six on Sondheim referred to 6 songs that were apparently the bones of the his work. These were the songs that James Lapine had a lot of footage for as well as would carry forward the story. But how dare he not use the original footage for the songs? If this is supposed to be the definitive Sondheim film, then why not use the definitive Sondheim songs with the definitive artists?

Having Sondheim, through 50 years, tell his own story worked. The fact that this talking head film had you take a leap of faith through the years from clip to clip, it was all Sondheim, and all made sense.

Lapine is not a documentary director and it showed. I also had a problem with his recreation of Sondheim’s only autobiographical work, “Merrily We Roll Along” with 3 television stars from Glee, Smash and Ugly Betty. Yes, they could sing, but it was pandering to a younger audience. Sondheim doesn’t pander.

Sondheim dialogue imparted some lesser know stories, which I call WOW moments. He talked about his inspiration for musicals such as “Sunday In The Park with George.” He lamented that his mother sent him a letter as she was going into the hospital for a pacemaker. She wanted him to know that she regretted that he was born. Other stories, although known to many, were good to include such as his relationship with Oscar Hammerstein.

Could I have enjoyed this film? Well, I did, in spite of everything. But, I would not want my gardner to perform surgery on me even though they both use tools.

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IN THE MOOD

In The Mood tips it’s hat to the 40s in a most delightful way. The big band was great as was the music. The 6 singer/dancers were delightful. Yes, it was all the old chestnuts, but who doesn’t love chestnuts. They deserved their rousing standing ovation.
It is gone but the memory lingers on.

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CAMELOT

CAMELOT

Be magically transported to “Camelot” for happily-ever-aftering at the New Repertory. CAMELOT runs through December 22, 2013 at the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

From the romantic “If Ever I Would Leave You,” to the hilarious “C’est Moi,” the Lerner and Loewe musical, (that followed their blockbuster “My Fair Lady”) is worth the trip. Although Richard Burton and Robert Goulet are gone, their memory lives on through Benjamin Evett and Marc Koeck who revive King Arthur and Sir Lancelot admirably.

I am aware that the comparison to the original production on Broadway is a foolhardy exercise. That said, they do a noble job hitting all the emotional and funny guideposts.

Once again Erica Spyres shines through, illuminating the play with her character Guenevere. Before our eyes, she changes from a young girl to a mature queen. Her voice is as clear as a bell with nuances that defy any Broadway diva. The violin, that I first heard her play in Sondheim’s “Marry Me A Little“ at the New Rep, has a brief and shining moment here as well, relevant or not.
The villain Mordred, played his role to perfection without overacting, which is a common mistake. Bravo to John Traub set designer who transformed a small stage into a kingdom.
If there was one thing that I would have changed up, it was the “orchestra.” From their overture to the finale, they never got their act together.

This revival will revive your love of musicals where you leave singing.
So get your tickets and check out the interesting Talk Back sessions.

WHAT: CAMELOT
WHERE: NEWrep in WATERTOWN
WHEN: Now through December 22, 2013
TICKETS: 617-923-8487

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Forever Tango the review

Forever Tango titillates the senses.
If you love watching Dancing With the Stars on TV, you will be in heaven as you watch the Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango. These magnificent dancers appear at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College now through November 2.
Forever Tango gives you a tango history lesson from its beginning in the underbelly of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the 1890s. The dance originated in lower class districts (some say brothels) and grew to be one of the most popular dance forms worldwide. The dancers seamlessly go from decade to decade with precision and artistry.
It looks easy but just try it and you will get a deeper appreciation of what the dancers bring to the tango. Go and see what they were raving about in the New York production, then call a dance studio and learn the tango. I did.

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