Posts Tagged ‘broadway’

How to Celebrate a Vaccinated, In-Person Thanksgiving This Year

We have a lot to be grateful for this year – vaccines allowing family get-togethers in person, the promise of maskless travel in the future, travel anywhere (soon), and more. In addition to having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner as a way to celebrate, here are some ways to enjoy this special weekend holiday.

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park © Angelito Jusay

Shop, Shop, Shop

No, I’m not talking about that maniacal event known as Black Thursday nor its diabolical cousin Cyber Monday. I want you, instead, to visit the magical outdoor holiday markets that are springing up all over New York City. There you’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts, handicrafts and holiday treats to warm the spirit, all while supporting the small businesses that give character to the Big Apple. It’s worth a trip to NYC to cover off your shopping needs. While you’re there, take in a play or musical on Broadway. Broadway’s back with 39 or more shows open now for your enjoyment.

You can get a head start on your holiday shopping at these four crowd favorites:

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park © Angelito Jusay

Shop, skate and refresh at this market curated by UrbanSpace. Already in full swing, the conveniently located market welcomes visitors of all ages. Skating is free (although you’ll need to bring your own skates or rent ones there) so you can save up to buy your gifts and hot chocolate instead.

Grand Central Holiday Fair

Courtesy Grand Central Terminal

Convenient for commuters, the booths in Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal will again sell a mix of gift items, beginning November 15.

Union Square Holiday Market

Courtesy Union Square Holiday Market

Opening November 18 but closed on Thanksgiving Day, the market is filled with stalls selling adorable clothing, handmade candles, one-of-a-kind jewelry and more.

Grand Holiday Bazaar

Courtesy Grand Holiday Bazaar

The outdoor flea market at West 77th Street and Columbus Avenue gets decked out in its holiday finery starting November 24. Open only on Sundays, the market is the granddaddy of the city’s fleas and also features drinks and treats to keep you warm while you shop.

Hit the Parade Route

Courtesy Macy's

New York City’s annual Halloween Parade set the tone for welcoming floats and revelers back to the streets of the city after a year in absentia. Equally missing last year (except for the participants in the parade itself), Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns with a flourish this year. You can prepare for it by watching the Balloon Inflation by the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West on November 24 and then make the decision whether to attend the parade in person on Thanksgiving or watch on TV in the cozy warmth of your home.

To view the balloons as they come to life, stop by the inflation fete between the hours of 12 Noon and 6pm in the vicinity of West 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue for check-in. Then head to 77th street where the event happens. Dress warmly, as the lines can be quite long, and this year you’ll need to show ID’s and proof of vaccination.

The 95th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade itself happens on November 25 from 9am-noon. You can watch the floats, bands and performances at home if you’re not in NYC.  Click here for full details.

Bone Up on Your Mixology Savvy (or Cooking)

Courtesy Sur La Table

Are you a budding mixologist? It’s time to perfect your skills for Thanksgiving and for the holiday season to come. In preparation for your in-person parties, Sur La Table invites you to a virtual class to teach you libation creations that will wow as well as refresh. You’ll learn to make a holiday-inspired Negroni, a seasonal Holiday Punch and a fruity-peppery shrub that’s certain to impress. You’ll receive all the ingredients you need prior to the class you’ll be sampling as you go. How fun is that!

If you’d prefer to show off your cooking prowess, they also offer a full range of food classes to complement your liquid talents.

Learn Candy Crafting

Courtesy Cricket’s Candy Creations

Cricket’s Candy Creations makes sure that kids are well entertained on Thanksgiving weekend. Also worthy of a trip to Manhattan, the TriBeCa craft studio invites all ages to learn how to make inventive and sometimes crazy candy creations. Some of the fun activities include making your own delicious edible slime at the Slime Studio, creating candy versions of sushi and hamburgers in the Candy Kitchen or fingerpainting your way to edible creations at the Lickable Fingerpaint Gallery.

Get Vaccinated, Enjoy the Benefits of Free Stuff and Privileged Entry

New York City has gone through lots of turmoil this year. Being among the first cities to experience the shock of shutdown, the extreme loss of life and livelihood and the incredible loneliness that ensued, New York City deserves the perks that come with surviving the pandemic and getting vaccinated. New York City is a city that has made Dr. Fauci proud with a resilience that defines the character of its residents.

Let’s continue being smart and safe, for everyone’s sake. The incentives for being vaccinated against COVID-19 keep growing from getting free tickets to special seating at venues to unlimited entry into certain prime gatherings. If you haven’t gotten your shot yet, these should motivate you to roll up your sleeves.

Courtesy New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium

Get a shot – get a pair of tickets. That’s the gist of the program here. Yankee Stadium has been a Covid vaccination site for quite a while. Now that the baseball season is in full swing (no pun intended), here’s another reason to get your shot: a pair of prime Yankees tickets.

Courtesy Yankee Stadium

For everyone who gets a shot, you’ll receive seats at a game to see the Bronx Bombers hopefully demolish their rivals. That certainly makes the trip to the Bronx a worthwhile endeavor. It’s a one shot, one and done situation.

Broadway and The Performing Arts

“Springsteen on Broadway” © Meryl Pearlstein

More and more, venues are requiring proof of vaccination for entry. While Broadway hasn’t set their regulations for the full opening in September, many pop-ups, concert houses and smaller theaters that are currently in operation are offering tickets only to those who have been vaccinated. Some of the favorites this summer include Bruce Springsteen’s reprise of his sold-out one-man show.

Immersive Van Gogh © Meryl Pearlstein

Small museums and event spaces are similarly requiring you to be vaccinated in order to attend. Don’t limit yourself – you won’t want to miss these extraordinary events, and you won’t have to wear a mask. Watch for mobile vaccination trucks at venues such as these, too – Immersive Van Gogh at Pier 36, The Museum of the City of New York and others offer this benefit from time to time. You’ll be doing yourself and your neighbors a good deed and the reward is entry into the sometimes sold-out experiences.

Special Seating and Showing Proof of Vaccination

© Meryl Pearstein

The Mets and the Yankees were two early adopters of venues having separate seating for vaccinated and non-vaccinated people. Preferred seating goes to those who have been vaccinated and you’ll sit only among people who have also gotten the protection against the virus. Masks are not required in these areas. You’ll need to check MLB.com for specific regulations for any of the American League and National League teams.

Courtesy Madison Square Garden - www.msg.com

At Madison Square Garden, some shows require full vaccination to attend like the upcoming Eagles shows in August. The tickets specify “vaccinated-only seating.” City Winery, in its new home on the Hudson River, requires proof of vaccination to enter as well – be prepared for long lines to enter.

Concerts and Shows to See This Winter

We’re still in a virtual pause. Theaters are still closed, but there’s talk of outdoor concerts resuming this summer and Broadway theaters re-opening by the fall. In the meantime, there’s plenty to fill out your arts card from your computer.

CONCERTS

Emanuel Ax - New York Philharmonic String Quartet Photo: 92nd Street Y

92ND STREET Y

Winter/Spring Streaming Music Season

New York Philharmonic String Quartet and Emanuel Ax, piano

February 1 – 7:30pm

The first of 13 concerts in the season, world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax joins friends and longtime collaborators the New York Philharmonic String Quartet on February 1. The Quartet takes the stage in Beethoven’s F-Minor Quartet, “Serioso,” before Ax joins for Dvořák’s exuberant Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major. All concerts in the program are webcast premieres.

For the Y’s calendar of music events, both classical and popular, visit here.

THE TOWN HALL

“Preformances”

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, The Town Hall continues its programming in a different format, offering Preformances concerts online, some free and others for a small ticket fee, featuring noted singers and musicians.

The ARK Trio Photo: The Town Hall

January 21

Allison Charney and the Ark Trio

The ARK Trio joins series host, soprano Allison Charney, discussing and performing works by composers Michael Ching and Kim D. Sherman who also appear to talk about their compositions.

This is a free livestream event. Registration is required to receive a personal link.

Mariza - Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

January 29

Mariza Sings Amalia

Portuguese singer Mariza celebrates the twentieth anniversary of her career and the centenary of the late Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues.

Judy Collins - Photo Courtesy of Ticketmaster

February 12

Judy Collins

Judy Collins performs a recreation of her 1964 concert hall debut at The Town Hall with music by Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton and Billy Ed Wheeler among others.

MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES

Carole King - (c) Tim Maggiani

BROADWAY ON DEMAND

“Carole King: Natural Woman”

Beginning January 29

If you loved Beautiful, you won’t want to miss this documentary celebration of the life of Carole King. Carole King: Natural Woman tracks King’s life and career from 1960’s New York to the music mecca of 70’s Los Angeles through the present. Performances, interviews, home movies and photos are featured.

For their full library of livestream programming, visit BroadwayOnDemand.com.

Please Call Home: The Big House Years -- Exclusive Allman Brothers Film – Photo Courtesy of: Tarrytown Music Hall

THE TARRYTOWN MUSIC HALL

“Please Call Home: The Big House Years” — Exclusive Allman Brothers Film & Live Q&A

January 23 – link available for 48 hours

Livestreamed by The Tarrytown Music Hall, Please Call Home showcases the early days of the Allman Brothers Band. The film is followed up by a live Q&A moderated by the Allman Brother Band Museum board member Mark Franzoso.

THEATER

Gloria - Photo by Carol Rosegg

THE VINEYARD THEATRE

“Gloria”

January 19-24

Presented as a benefit for the Vineyard Theater, the cast reading of Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins’ funny and powerful play Gloria follows an ambitious group of editorial assistants at a notorious Manhattan magazine, each of whom hopes for an editorial career and a book deal before he or she turns 30. The play moves from ordinary to extraordinary, chronicling the changing lives of each of the protagonists.

Encores! - Photo Courtesy of New York City Center

NEW YORK CITY CENTER

“Encores! Inside the Revival”

Home of the beloved Encores! musical theater series, now on pause, City Center has created programs to tide you over until the next season. With Encores! Inside the Revival, you’ll see snippets and behind-the-scenes conversations and performances for each upcoming show.

Just released, The Tap Dance Kid is a dance and music riot featuring Dulé Hill (The West Wing). The 1983 Tony-nominated musical is currently being revived for new audiences through City Center’s commitment to producing musicals that deserve renewed attention. The video is a look into the creative process of the future show and features Tony-award winning director Kenny Leon (A Raisin the Sun), book adaptor Lydia Diamond, choreographer Jared Grimes and cast member from the original Broadway production Dulé Hill. The show is especially timely with a storyline about America as a place for everyone where every kid can and should dream.

Also available for viewing are The Life with Billy Porter, Love Life with Victoria Clark, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Into the Woods.

ONGOING

Stars in the House

STARS IN THE HOUSE

Hosted by Sirius XM’s Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley

Streamed live Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Stars in the House has raised more than $650,000 in this series of programs begun March 2020 in support of The Actors Fund. Programming changes nightly ranging from a full hour with stars from Broadway productions, to reunions of casts from TV shows such as Desperate Houses and the recent show featuring the cast of Grey’s Anatomy. Individual performers are also featured.

In addition to Broadway and broadcast topics, Stars in the House offers information pertaining to the pandemic and to ways to support the Broadway community. All shows are archived online.

Photo Courtesy of Broadway HD

BROADWAY HD

Pippin, 42nd Street, Oklahoma! and much more

Missing Broadway? Broadway HD is as close as you can get to it right now. With a yearly or monthly subscription, you’ll have access to their full library of recorded Broadway productions and more. It’s a treat if you’re longing for a musical fix. You can watch at your leisure and as many times as you’d like. Fan favorites are there as well as oldies that are pure magic. With Broadway likely not to return before next fall, you’ll be grateful to Broadway HD. It also makes the perfect gift for theater lovers. A sampling of shows available to watch include Kinky Boots, Jersey Boys, Forever Plaid, Godspell, She Loves Me, Into the Woods and Show Boat.

Celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th Birthday with a Musical Tribute Sunday Night

The Broadway community comes together, separately, to celebrate Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday as only the theater community could do.  Giving of themselves to raise money for ASTEP, a galaxy of stars will bring their talents to the musical library of Sondheim’s many songs on Sunday, May 3. The tribute will be broadcast at 8pm on www.Broadway.com or the Broadway.com YouTube channel.

The all-star special online concert, “Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration,” is a free show, hosted by Raúl Esparza, a true Sondheim fan who wowed audiences with his portrayal of Bobby in the 2006 revival of Sondheim’s Tony-award winning Company. The scheduling coincides with the date of the 50th anniversary of the opening night of Sondheim’s original production of Company on Broadway on April 26, 1970. A new production of Company with groundbreaking role reversals was set to open this spring. With the opening date of Broadway still to be determined, the updated Company remains on hold.

Courtesy of Broadway.com

The show’s stars represent some of the greatest talents of musical theater, many of whom have appeared in Sondheim musicals.

Annaleigh Ashford, Laura Benanti, Melissa Errico, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Groban, Jake Gyllenhaal, Neil Patrick Harris, Judy Kuhn, Linda Lavin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt, Randy Rainbow, Lea Salonga, Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelli O’Hara, Aaron Tveit, Maria Friedman, Iain Armitage, Katrina Lenk, Michael Cerveris, Brandon Uranowitz, Stephen Schwartz, Elizabeth Stanley, Chip Zien, Alexander Gemignani and Ann Harada will perform songs of inspiration from the Sondheim catalog.

There will also be special appearances by Victor Garber, Joanna GleasonNathan Lane and Steven Spielberg.

Writer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim is revered for the many musicals that he brought to Broadway. Highlights of his prolific work include Company, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Follies, A Little Night Music, Gypsy, West Side Story, Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion, Anyone Can Whistle and Road Show.

This special online event is a fundraiser for ASTEP (Artists Striving to End Poverty), the organization conceived by Broadway Musical Director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and Juilliard students to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had: their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of poverty.

Get Your Tickets Now! It’s a Laugh a Second at Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation at the York Theatre Company

Run, don’t walk to The York Theatre Company to see Gerard Alessandrini’s latest rendition of Forbidden Broadway, this time called Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation. It’s indeed next generation, advancing the beloved show from its 1982 roots to a new version that gives it a 2020 vision. This is a show that will leave you breathless with laughter as well as breathless in general as you try to keep track of all the Broadway  shows (and some TV series) lampooned here. It’s like trying to tally up the song snippets included in Moulin Rouge, but this time mashed up into 90 minutes of Broadway parody.

Opening with a familiar shout out to Merrily We Roll Along which closed quickly after its premiere and the brilliantly choreographed “God I Wanna See it 2019” spoofing Chorus Line’s impassioned opener “ I Hope I Get It,” Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation introduces the Broadway scene of today.  Prepare yourself for a rollicking journey through the plays and musicals presently on Broadway as well as an insightful dissection of everything that could be considered less-than-perfect on the stage.

Take, for instance, the show’s mockery of the current obsession with jukebox shows or with turning old movies into musicals and you’ll get the idea. There’s a spin-the-wheel segment called “It’s Got to Be a Musical” where Hal Prince’s Broadway roulette wheel lands on any number of novels or movies and turns them into instant musicals. It kind of reminds you of “Something Rotten” where the Bottom brothers devise a brilliant plan to save their acting company by producing a musical. Has Broadway found its salvation by turning everything into a musical? You can draw your own conclusion after watching.

Five performers and one accompanist (Fred Barton) bring Alessandrini’s ingenious lyrics to life enhanced by masterful creative direction by James Morgan, costumes by Dustin Cross and choreography by Gerry McIntyre

Immanuel Houston is instantly recognizable as André De Shields in Hadestown, extolling the New York subway train as the train to the underworld. Chris Collins-Pisano, a visual body double for Jake Gyllenhaal, plays a mean Danny Burstein in Moulin Rouge! as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda in that little show you’ve heard about, Hamilton. The two female performers, Jenny Lee Stern and Aline Mayagoitia, are skilled chameleons who portray Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters as well as characters in shows like The Ferryman (Aunt Maggie and Caitlin) and Sweet Charity with believable exaggeration. In a tour de force performance belying his age, 13-year-old Joshua Turchin, the youngest performer ever in a Forbidden Broadway show, wows as Dorothy Michaels from Tootsie and Ben Platt from Dear Evan Hansen.  And those are just a few of the scene-stealing performances that you’ll see.

I laughed and guffawed through the entire show, nodding in non-vocal acquiescence to some very insidery comments about theater today as well as the lifestyles of stars well-known from the Great White Way. But it really doesn’t matter if you’re not familiar with all of the shows parodied, as most of the stars will be recognizable and a good number of the songs, including many classic Broadway show tunes, will have you pondering, “Which show is that from?”

Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation also takes a stab at some of the Broadway-themed shows and personalities that have appeared on TV of late, like Fosse/Verdon with stars Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell or Billy Porter’s cross-dressing appearances on multiple talk shows. How do you feel about the move into movies by stars playing stars like Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland? There’s no equivocation here.

Choreography, performances and costumes all have their moment over the theatrical coals.  Alessandrini spares nothing and has a keen eye for pointing out the lunacy of much that has captured popular attention. If Broadway’s dissolution into jukebox musicals has you pining for the Broadway musicals of yore, you’ll immediately relate to several of the skits with some shows positioned as thinly veiled remakes of each other. If the tone of a various type of play – in particular, Irish theater – has you weeping from the very first line delivered, you’ll laugh instead when you see how this is treated by Forbidden Broadway. Perhaps the most hilarious spoof is that of Fiddler on the Roof’s recent remount in Yiddish, with the rhetorical question, do we no longer need to understand theater but just conceptualize it? “Brush Up Your Yiddish” indeed. Cole Porter must be rolling in his grave. As must Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein in theirs… you’ll see what I mean.

I don’t want to give too much away as a good part of the momentum is the build from one hilarious spoof to the next, often with an unexpected change-up of songs midstream that circles and reverts, catching you off-guard with the brilliance of Alesandrini’s lyrics, the vocals and the character impersonations. Rest assured, however, that the current lineup of hits and flops on Broadway have all been skewered here. The show is very much of the moment in that regard, but as the writer notes at one point, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation, like all Broadway, “stands on the shoulders of the last generation” so you’ll see much of the past reflected as well.

Given all the hilarity, it is indeed sad that this show runs only for a month. The brilliant writer and performers should have their day in the sun, or, at least, on-stage. I can only hope for a transfer of this show to another theater should the space at the York not be available past February 16. Tickets , www.yorktheatre.org, 212-935-5820. York Theatre Company, Citicorp Building, entrance on 54th Street just East of Lexington Avenue, New York City.

All photos by Carol Rosegg.

A Hot Theater Opening and Plays about to Disappear

Quick!  These are shows that you need to pay attention to:  one has just opened and is hotter than hot. Two others are closing soon or have limited runs. I can only encourage you to jump on your computer and book any or all of these as quickly as you can.

Just Opened and Hot, Hot, Hot

Moulin Rouge! The Musical is the Broadway extravaganza translation of Baz Luhrmann’s enormous film hit which starred Nicole Kidman as Satine.  With a playlist of 71 songs that extend into current music phenoms like Lady Gaga, Pink, Katy Perry as well as perennial faves like Elton John and the Rolling Stones, this show will have you paying attention as you play “name that tune” throughout. The set is gorgeous with the theater transformed into the Moulin Rouge that you’ll recognize from the movie.  As Satine, Karen Oliva wows as do Danny Burstein as Harold Zidler, and Aaron Tveit as the lovestruck playwright Christian. You’ll be covered with confetti before you leave.  Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street, 212-239-6200, www.moulinrougemusical.com

Limited Run

Oklahoma! is the re-imagined Rodgers and Hammerstein favorite, done up in a way that’ll make you look twice at the classics.  The band is on stage, playing a countrified version of singalongs like “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” or “Surrey with the Fringe on the Top.” The costumes are contemporary, and there’s a daring use of light and dark. Plus you’ll be treated to an intermission refreshment of vegetarian chili and cornbread. Ado Annie is played by wheelchair-bound Ali Stroker in a role that won her a Tony award for best featured actress in a musical. For a special experience, try to score a seat at one of the floor tables – you’ll be right in the center of the action. The show closes in January so you have a little time, but not that much.  Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 West 50th Street, 212-239-6200, www.OklahomaBroadway.com.

Closing Soon

The Cher Show is to Broadway what Cher’s Farewell Tour is to Las Vegas – a tribute to one of the greatest music divas of our times. Spanning Cher’s five-decade (or longer) career, The Cher Show has three Chers, each portraying a span of her life. Babe is the young Cher, discovered by Sonny Bono.  Lady is the Cher of Sonny and Cher and the solo Cher. And Star, in a tour de force Tony-winning performance by Stephanie J. Block, is the mature Cher who continues to find and re-invent herself.  Cher fans will know every song, while fashionistas will marvel at the array of Bob Mackie costumes. I wish this one were playing longer, as I’d really love to see it again, and I’ve already seen it twice.  Neil Simon Theatre, 250 West 52nd Street, 877-250-2929, www.TheCherShowBroadway.com.

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