April 29, 2012
The City Club
Tuesdays at 7:00pm
Wednesdays through Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm & 7:00pm
Opens April 23
Minetta Lane Theatre | 18 Minetta Lane
The Village, New York City
I saw The City Club at The Minetta Lane
Here is a description of
the show from the press release: "The
City Club is a twisting noir morality tale
of intrigue, murder, corruption and sex supported
by one of the most seductive blues and jazz scores
written for the stage in decades. It is the story
of CHARLES “CHAZ” DAVENPORT, a young
privileged scion of a spectacularly corrupt family
whose vice-like grip on their city is as tight as
it is inescapable. The sins of the father have conferred
unimaginable wealth on the son. Obsessed with music
and the people who write it, play it, sing it and
worship it; Chaz has opened The City Club, an Oasis
of pure and unbridled musical genius, opportunity
and escape. The club’s instant success attracts
his father’s enemies who are bent on an extremely
creative and effective revenge. The universe inside
the club spirals as low as the city outside. Absinthe
becomes the drink of choice, heroin the desired
high and women the most valuable form of currency.
What we have here are the forces of good and evil
battling it out to a great score. The city’s
name has been withheld to protect the indicted."
The musical is a glitzy, glamorous,
noirish trip to the dark side of jazz. The sets
are beautiful and the cast equally so. The play
is blessed with a great score and a very talented
choreographer plus a cast who have both the pipes
and and the dancing skill to bring the music and
dance numbers to life.
Artistically, however, The
City Club is a mixed bag. There are elements
that really work and others that don't. But the
show has enough heart to make this reviewer root
for it and wish for a magic spell to pull this show
What really worked:
- Kristen Martin (a dead ringer for Ashley Judd)
has a beautiful voice and she played her part with
the aura of sadness of a woman who has been forced
to come to terms with her downturn life. Anna Hoffman,
who was outstanding as Dina in the Apollo Theater's
production of Dream Girls, struts her considerable
talents as Maddy, the wide-eyed-ingenue-with-an-agenda
who auctions to be a singer at the City Club (this
girl has one set up pipes). Andrew Pandaleon has
an incredible voice and does a credible job portraying
the innocence and basic decency of his character,
Chaz Devenport, the proprietor of The City Club.
And Peter Bradbury is wonderfully menacing as the
Lieutenant. And the piano player, Parker Brown,
played by Kenny Browner, stole the show. I could
have watched him play and sing all night.
really worked - the hot sensual choreography by
Lorin Latarro. She beautifully channeled the glitz
and sorrow of The Cotton Club. The score
was also outstanding and kudos to the creative team
of composer/lyricists James, Compton, Tony Demeur
and Tim Brown.
What did not work:
might ask, what was the problem with a musical blessed
with a very talented cast, a great score and smashing
choreography? What could possibly go wrong?
the book. The show features a kitchen sink of plot
devices with drug abuse, incest, corruption, race
and a love story all tossed together with a splash
of Cain and Abel. All of these smidgens of story
line are simply used as filler between the musical
and dancers numbers. The plot needs to be tightened
and the character's motivations need to become organic,
eliminating the script's "deux ex machina"
elements. The script needs a Pilate's class to straighten
its spine so it can tell the audience a story it
will remember. Hey, all noirish musicals can't be
Cabaret, but they can try.
After the preview performance
I attended, the director, producer, creative team
and cast took to the stage for a Q & A. The
producer talked about how he wants to take this
show to Broadway. Well, I want them to take this
show to Broadway too; it is too close to be not
quite. It is all there and could easily be saved
by a few weeks with a dramaturg like Mike Nichols.
But is The City Club
worth seeing right now in its present state? Yes!
The elements that do work are show stoppers and
make the show fun evening of noirish musical and
dance numbers (and remember what I said about the
TICKETS $55 - $90
$25 RUSH: (Day Of - Box Office Only Sales –
With Valid Student ID)
MINETTA LANE THEATRE |
18 Minetta Lane, The Village, New York City
April 6, 2012
Andrè Bishop, Meiyin
Wang, Paul Rudnick, Ethan Hawke,
Anna Strasberg and Manny Azenberg
Group hosted their third salon evening at New York
City's The Players in Gramercy Park on March 21,
2012. The evening begin with a panel discussion
about the state of the theater in America. Guest
panelist were Manny Azenberg, Andrè Bishop,
Ethan Hawke, Paul Rudnick and Anna Strasberg. The
the evening’s moderator was Associate Artistic
Producer of The Public Theater’s Under The
Radar Festival Meiyin Wang.
Cocktails followed the discussion, during the party
guests were able to mingle with the panelists. After
the cocktail hour a small group of guests were invite
upstairs for a private sit down dinner.
Evening’s guests included: Krie Alden, G.
Chris Andersen, Loreen Arbus, HIH Grand Duchess
Arianna, Manny Azenberg, Lani Azenberg, Edgar Batista,
Melissa Berkelhammer, Andre Bishop, Ralph and Gail
Bryan, Mario Buatta, Gail Buckland, Sharon Bush
and her daughter Ashley, Emilya Cachapero, Cora
Cahan and Bernard Gersten, Joan Copeland, Katherine
Crockett, Jamie deRoy, Loris Diran, Jean Doumanian,
Gerladine Fabrikant, Margo Feiden, Jamie Figg, Katie
Ford, Jeremy Gerard and Carla Wittes, Ethan Hawke,
Kathleen B. Hearst, David Ilku, Willa Kim, William
Ivey Long, Heather Matarazzo, Sylvia Martins- Niarchos,
Steffani Maxwell, Ruth Mayleas, Joe Mezyk, Laura
Mignott, Enid Nemy, Stuart Oken, Laura Pels, Alexandra
Penney, Heather Randall, Len Rubin, Marcie and Joel
Rudell, Paul Rudnick, Mark Russell, Stephen Sorokoff,
Anna Strasberg, Elizabeth Swados, Melvin van Peebles,
Brandon Michael Vayda, Sora Vernikoff, Dan Wackerman,
Loudon Wainwright, and Meiyin Wang.
Group is gearing up for their annual gala which
will be held on April 23rd at Espace.
See This Listing
for Details of The Gala:
Theatre Communications Group 50th Anniversary Gala
MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2012
Cocktails @ 6PM
Dinner @ 7PM
ESPACE - NEW YORK CITY
HONORING: KENNY LEON, JUDITH O.
RUBIN and THE SHUBERT FOUNDATION
The Evening will feature two performances:
HANDS ON A HARDBODY with a book
by Doug Wright, lyrics by Amanda Green and music
by Trey Anastasio and Amanda Green. Based on the
acclaimed documentary, this La Jolla Playhouse commissioned
musical follows ten strangers who enter an endurance
contest to win a brand new truckâ€”the
key to their own individual American dream.
GIANT is a sprawling, epic love
story with larger-than-life characters and Texas-size
musical numbers. Co-produced by Dallas Theater Center
and The Public Theater with a 2009 World Premiere
at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, this
classic tale of ambition and romance comes to the
stage with song after memorable song by Michael
CHAIRS: Ralph Bryan & Heather
HONORARY GALA CHAIRS: Angela Bassett
and Courtney B. Vance, Louise Kerz Hirschfeld
HONORARY GALA COMMITTEE: F. Murray
Abraham, Douglas Carter Beane, Beau Bridges, James
Bundy, Kate Burton, Charles Busch, Michael Cerveris,
Rick Elice, Philip Himberg, Rachel Kraft, Patti
LuPone, David Hyde Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Roger
Rees, Tim Robbins, Olga Sanchez, Roche Schulfer,
Stephen Sondheim, Ben Vereen, Doug Wright
Theatre Communications Group is the national service
organization for the American theatre. Founded in
1961 with a grant from the Ford Foundation, it has
grown to include more than 500 member theatres and
over 12,000 affiliate organizations and individual
members nationwide. In all of its endeavors, TCG
seeks to increase the organizational efficiency
of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate
the artistic talent and achievements of the field
and promote a larger public understanding of, and
appreciation for, the theatre. In addition, TCG
is the nation's largest independent publisher of
dramatic literature, with 10 Pulitzer Prizes for
Best Play on their booklist; it also publishes the
award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH,
the essential source for a career in the arts.
For more information please contact:¨TCG
50th Anniversary Gala c/o JKS Events 212.725.2960
Espace | 635 West 42nd Street
January 29, 2012
I saw two great shows
this month: Silence! The Musical at PS122
and Anne Bogart's SITI Company's sureal Bob.
Silence! The Musical
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 8 PM
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM
Sunday at 5 PM
Through March 1, 2012
Performance Space 122
Silence! The Musical has joined Urinetown
and Matt & Ben in the ranks of stellar
shows that have originated at
The New York Fringe Festival.
Silence! The Musical
is an unauthorized parody of the cult classic film,
The Silence of the Lambs. If you have never
The Silence of the Lambs (starring
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins), you need to spend
more time with Netflix
so you will know what people mean when they reference
chianti and flava beans.
Silence! The Musical is a kitschy, campy,
filthy adaptation of the film. The cast is amazing:
kudos go out to David Garrison's performance ad
Hannibal Lector and Jenn Harris's depiction of Agent
Starling (the roles played by Anthony Hopkins and
Jodie Foster in the film).
Garrison and Harris have great chemistry, both
with each other and the rest of the cast, all of
whom have great comic timing. One of the main reasons
the show is so much fun is because the actors are
obviously having a blast on stage. They embrace
the insanity and simply "go for it."
Put his one down for a fun night with friends.
(They sell wine by the bottle in the lobby.)
The original cast recording of Silence! The
Musical has been released by Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight
Records online at iTunes, Amazon.com for digital
download, and is available at
www.sh-k-boom.com. Finally, musical comedy fans
outside of New York are now able to enjoy the critically
acclaimed score, including such song selections
as “If I Could Smell Her C---” and “Put
the F--king Lotion in the Basket.”
Silence! The Musical
runs through March 1, 2011 at PS122. Tickets
are $25 - $79 and are available by calling 212-352-3101
or through www.SilenceTheMusical.com.
122 | 150 First Avenue (at 9th St.)
Anne Bogart and SITI Company
Jan 19 - 21, 24 - 28 @ 7:30 pm
Jan 22, 28, 29 @ 2:30 pm
January 19-29, 2012
New York Live Arts
Robert Wilson is a larger than
life talent, known for his productions of huge theatrical
spectacles. I had the privilege of interviewing
Robert Wilson in 2006 at the time of the release
of the documentary about his life, Katharina Otto-Bernstein's
Wilson. Then, when speaking about how he
designs his productions, Wilson said, "I start
with silence. An actor stands on the stage. You
move your hand - will that hold and audience? A
good actor is like a bear, he will never strike
first; he will wait you out."
Wilson see the entirety of the
stage and has started productions with the actor
moving from lower stage left to upper stage right,
walking on a diagonal away from the audience. His
work is surreal, filled with strangeness and wonder.
(Quote from my review of Absolute Wilson)
"Wilson's lens on the world is from another
dimension of time and space. He sees vivid colors,
huge spaces filled with nothing, eloquence in silence
and power in stillness."
The Martha Graham Dance Company
Snow on the Mesa last year and viewing
the productions was like viewing a diorama created
Anne Bogart's Siti Company's production
of Bob, was staged in the whimsical world
of Wilson. Here is a quote from their press release,
"The 90-minute play is conceived and directed
by Bogart, created and performed by Will Bond (a
founding company member of SITI who has worked with
Wilson), and based on hundreds of interviews Bogart
collected and recorded over several decades, which
were then adapted to the stage by Irish writer and
dramaturg, Jocelyn Clarke."
Will Bond is a delightful actor who can simply by
standing on a stage define "witty." The
audience was filled with Wilson lovers who "got"
all the insider bits and pieces from Wilson's life:
his desire to not be an expat, his popularity in
Europe, his relationship with The Met, how every
performer actually has a back - the space behind.
Bond took the audience on a trip through Wilson's
head and it was a world well worth visiting.
TICKETS: $15 Previews (Jan 19 & 20) Through
January 29, 2012
$40 Reg Price at door/ $32 in advance online
Call (212) 924-0077, or online at www.newyorklivearts.org
New York Live Arts | 219
West 19th Street, NYC
(btw. 7th and 8th Avenues)
December 5, 2011
In the last two weeks
I have had the privilege to see two oldies-but-goodies
- A Tuna Christmas and Godspell.
in Austin, Texas I saw A Tuna Christmas.
New Yorkers won't be able to see the show anytime
soon, the next stop for the Tuna Tour will
be Galveston, Texas. But the Tuna boys
have been to the big city before and I guarantee
you, they shall return.
The Tuna shows are written by Jaston Williams,
Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. They are performed by
Williams and Sears under the direction of Howard.
Williams and Sears play around twenty bizarre characters,
the residents of the mythical Tuna, Texas - the
third smallest town in the state. Male, female,
young, old, fat or tall - they play them all.
If you ever get a chance to see any of the shows
- Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas,
Red White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas
- drop everything and run to the show. And those
boys are as blisteringly funny today as they were
the first time I saw a Tuna show. And if
I told you how long ago that was, I would have to
kill you because you would then know my expiration
date. Williams and Sears are living breathing Ever
Then on to Godspell. Godspell
has been around for a long time; it opened on Broadway
in 1971 and there have been hundreds of regional
and community productions. It would be hard to not
be familiar with the music, which is quite wonderful.
This music is sprinkled through the spoken words
of the show - the "acted out" parables
of Jesus Christ.
So how does the Circle in the Square theater revival
measure up? It is quite good but even with the superb
energy of the cast, it seemed dated to this reviewer.
But that is only how it seemed to me because by
now I have so many musical memories of the show,
it would be hard for any production to compete with
the musical-in-my-mind. I had a similar problem
with the revival of Hair - another show
that I had seen many times in the past.
But thank goodness, jaded old theater lovers like
me are not the entire possible audience. So if you
have never seen the show, listened to the sound
track hundreds of times etc. etc, you should run
to the Circle inthe Square. The show is very well
done and the actors are simply amazing - wonderful
voices and timing.
Godspell runs Tuesday
- Saturday nights at 8PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees
at 2:30 and Sunday night at 7:30. Ticket Price:
$125.00; $135.00 Saturdays Tickets by Phone: 212-239-6200
Circle in the Square Theatre
| W. 50th St. Between Broadway and 8th Ave
New York, NY 10019