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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben April 15, 2017



Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!

April 15, 2017

When a conflict between two nations takes place, delicate negotiations need to begin to resolve the dispute. Oslo, by J.T. Rogers, at the Lincoln Center Theater at the Vivian Beaumont, attempts to tell the story of how two Norwegians (Jefferson Mays and JenniferEhle) got involved with Palestinians and Israelis from April 1992 to September 1993. In a play that lasts almost three hours, we witness characters playing playing Norwegians, Palestinians and Israelis, shouting, yelling and screaming at each other at a high decibel level. This, plus projections of scenes at that time in Israel and Gaza are marked by deafening explosions. The F... word is used repeatedly by all involved and other profanities. I am surprised if this is the way diplomats speak. Everyone on stage drinks champagne, wine and whiskey throughout the play. Perhaps, trying to resolve disputes leads one to drink. There are many lame jokes told and crude imitations of people like Kissinger and Arafat.  Characters move on and off the stage, while moving furniture, at a dizzying pace, directed by Bartlett Sher. I found the play exhausting.


Two of Broadway's finest actresses, Patti LuPone playing Helena Rubinstein and Christine Ebersole as Elizabeth Arden, are the reason to see War Paint, book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie, at the Nederlander Theatre. The two women from humble backgrounds, Helena born in  a ghetto in Poland and Elizabeth a poor farm girl from Canada, rose to become powerful ladies in the cosmetic industry. We see them conquer New York from 1935 until their deaths. LuPone and Ebersole dominate the stage, leaving two actors, John Dossett and Douglas Sills, as important men in their lives, far behind. The music and the lyrics are bland,the book is not dramatic, the choreography by Christopher Gattelli is minimal and as is the direction by Michael Greif. Thank goodness, we have the two great ladies of the theatre.


The Little Foxes, by Lillian Hellman, at the Manhattan Theatre Club, opens on April 19. My review will be in next week's column.


Latin History for Morons, written and performed by John Leguizamo, directed by Tony Taccone, at the Public Theater, is, supposedly, a history lesson with a blackboard for an audience, that the performer thinks, are a bunch of idiots. Ninety minutes without an intermission, it is neither clever, nor particularly funny. If I need to listen to uneducated views about Aztecs or Incas, I prefer to attend a History class at a reputable university taught by an intelligent professor.


I was invited to Feinsteins/54 Below to listen to six talented musicians from the show and two fine singers, cast members Katrina Lenk and Ari'el Stachel, from the musical The Band's Visit, which was presented Off-Broadway by the Atlantic Theatre Company. The music, with an Egyptian sound, was quite pleasant. Unfortunately, the composer David Yazbek introduced the selections, performed two of his compositions at the piano, and sang a number from Guys and Dolls. Why? I have not the slightest idea.


The 12th Annual Opera News Awards were held at the Plaza. Four of the five honorees were present. Robert Carson, Christine Goerke, Matthew Polenzani and Frederica von Stade. Yannick Nezet-Seguin was unable to attend. Among the presenters were Elina Garanza and Renee Fleming, who was a surprise presenter. Kelli O'Hara (photo below) performed a musical tribute, and Opera News editor F. Paul Driscoll introduced the honorees. It was a lovely event.


Resident Magazine invited me to meet Wendy Williams, who appears on its April Cover, at Lovage Rooftop, 350 West 40th St. Unfortunately, I had to review The Little Foxes at 7pm, and was unable to wait for her. Although I enjoyed cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in this elegant space, one of the finest views in New York, at 6:45pm I had to leave. I hope to meet the beautiful, talented lady on a future occasion.


I attended a Meet & Greet at Nola Studios for Marry Harry, music by Dan Martin, lyrics by Michael Biello, book by Jennifer Robbins, with seven splendid actors (photo below) which will open on May 4 at the York Theatre Company at Saint Peters. We saw four selections from this delightful musical. I look forward to opening night.


Obit is a wonderful documentary, by Vanessa Gould, USA, 2016, about the writers on the Obituary page of the New York Times. My friend Bruce Weber used to be a theatre critic and is now one of them. I read the obituary page every morning before I leave my apartment to go to the New York Post, where for the past 40 years I put my celebrity  photographs in their computer. If I find my name in that page, I do not get up nor eat my breakfast. Actually, if one is alive, it is the most entertaining section in the paper, that states on its front page All the News That's Fit to Print. I am now at an age when I think about death. I have made a will, and I've instructed my wife to bury me with all my money in my grave. She promised to put a cheque for the amount in my coffin. They had to put a wall around my cemetery. People were dying to get in. Finally, how do you know when your wife is dead? Well, the sex is the same, but the dishes pile up in the sink. See this film. You will feel glad to be alive. It plays at Film Forum, 209 West Houston from April 26 to May 9.


I first saw Gunga Din, by George Stevens, USA, 1939 in England when I was eight-years-old. At that time, along with Beau Geste, it was my favorite film. Seeing it again at MoMA, which is presenting Modern Matinees: Mr. Cary Grant until May 31, I am amazed how wonderful it is. Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as three British sergeants in India during the reign of Queen Victoria, fighting against murderous enemies, are just plain fun to be with. I'm proud of the fact that I became friends with Douglas, and I photographed his last wedding to Vera Shelton, and I had the pleasure of meeting Cary and his last wife at a Friars Club Roast. Victor I did not know personally, nor Sam Jaffe, who was superb in the title role. The film is magnificent, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I must mention, the elephant, Annie, that in her scenes almost steals the picture.  



Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/Blacktiemagazine.com

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