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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben April 22, 2017

 

 

Aubrey Reuben

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

April 22, 2017

They say that the love of money is the root of all evil. If that is true, one cannot find a better example on stage than The Little Foxes, by Lillian Hellman, at the Manhattan Theatre Club, which has two actresses playing the lead, so a critic has to see the play twice and get a double dose of greed. Cynthia Nixon was the monster Regina the first time and Laura Linney played Birdie. They reversed roles the second time. Both Nixon and Linney are fine actresses, and give excellent performances in the leading and secondary roles. They are supported by a superb cast, which includes three of my favorite actors, Darren Goldstein, Michael McKean and Richard Thomas as family members, directed by the incomparable Daniel Sullivan. The scenic design by Scott Pask captures the time and place of a mansion in the South wonderfully, and the costume design by Jane Greenwood makes everyone perfectly dressed. It is a three act, old-fashioned play, that makes it point magnificently. When family members have no morality, they turn into monsters like Regina. Read my first sentence again. On April 29, 1981, Elizabeth Taylor made her stage debut in this play, directed by Austin Pendleton. I was photographed with her in her dressing room after the first preview. After spending time chatting and drinking a delicious white wine, she became one of my closest friends. I have treasured that photograph for the past 36 years. I miss the most beautiful lady I have ever known.

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Indecent, by Paula Vogel, at the Cort Theatre, was reviewed Off-Broadway, and has now transferred to Broadway. It is one of the most imaginative and inventive productions on Broadway. It is a play with music, with choreography by David Dorfman, directed brilliantly by Rebecca Taichman. Three musicians, actually four, because cast member Katrina Lenk plays the violin as well as acts wonderfully, complement the seven member cast. Two of the musicians, Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, composed the delightful music. The plot is based on a scandal, when Sholem Asch wrote the play God of Vengeance in the early twentieth century in Germany. When it was produced in New York, the playwright and the actors were arrested and spent the night in jail, because it was branded as immoral. The play is about the daughter of a brothel owner falling in love with one of his prostitutes. It was the first time, that two actresses kissed each other passionately on stage. Fortunately, today, no one thinks lesbian love is immoral, and their lovemaking, on and off stage, is generally accepted. The acting by the other six cast members in multiple roles, Richard Topol, Max Gordon, Moore, Tom Nelis, Steven Rattazzi, Mimi Lieber and Adina Verson, is marvelous, as well as the third musician, Matt Darriau. It is a serious, intelligent play, enlivened by lovely music and dancing. It is one of the best theatrical experiences this season. The opening night party took place at Bryant Park Grill, where I congratulated the producers Elizabeth McCann and Daryl Roth, and enjoyed chatting with Tovah Feldshuh, Julie Taymor and Tina Chen.
 

Goundhog Day, book by Danny Rubin, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, at the August Wilson Theatre, is a musical starring the fabulous Andy Karl as a television weatherman, (photo Below) who is sent to Punxsutawney, a small town in Pennsylvania, to report on the shadow cast by a groundhog, which predicts the the weather for the next six weeks of winter. Karl is amazing and dominates the stage. He acts and sings wonderfully, and is splendidly funny. I predict, like my groundhog, that he will be nominated for the Tony Award. I am sure every theatre organization, that bestows awards, will honor him. He has already won an Olivier Award in England for this role, and he definitely deserved it. The silly plot is that he has to relive every day the same, until his redemption when he finds love with a superb singer/actress Barrett Doss, who is his associate producer. The entire cast is terrific, choreographed by Peter Darling and directed expertly by Matthew Warhus. There is one scene that is exceptional, when he gets drunk with two barflies, and then drives their pickup truck. The scene is one of finest seen on any Broadway stage. Go see the show. You will leave the theater happy. The opening night party was held at Gotham Hall with Orfeh, Andy Karl's wife, Kate Burton, Ben Stiller with his wife, Christine Taylor and his daughter, Ella.
 

Anastasia, book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, at the Broadhurst Theatre, opens on April 24. My review will appear in my next week's column.
 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, book by David Greig, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, opens on April 23. My review will appear in my next week's column.
 

 


 



Bandstand
, music by Richard Oberacker, book and lyrics by Rob Taylor and Richard Oberacker, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, opens on April 26. My review will appear in my next week's column.
 

 

Rebel in the Soul, by Larry Kirwan, at the Irish Repertory Theatre, is a marvelous 90 minutes play about Dr. Noel Browne (played brilliantly by Patrick Fitzgerald), who became a politician in Ireland in 1951, and worked to produce a Mother And Child Healthcare Scheme, to provide medical care for all the people of his country, both rich and poor.The powerful Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. John Charles McQuaid (John Keating), opposed him. Their confrontation is the highlight of this serious, intelligent play. Charlotte Moore directed the four wonderful actors, the fourth being Sean Gormley, who plays two roles. The playwright is also a musician and composer, and wrote a charming song We'll Never Feel Like This Again, when Browne invites his future wife (the lovely Sarah Street) to dance. At the opening night party held in the Gallery of the Irish Rep, I met Kieran Suchet, the nephew of the distinguished British actor David Suchet, who flew over from England just to see the play, because he intends to film the life of the exemplary politician. I urge everyone to see this splendid play.

 

The Metropolitan Museum presented a press preview Irving Penn: Centennial April 24-October 30, 2017. It included many of his photographs taken when he was working for Vogue Magazine. His fashion photographs were magnificent, many of his wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn. He also photographed every major celebrity of the time from Spencer Tracy to Marlene Dietrich, and Joe Louis to Igor Stravinsky. His trips to Cuzco, Peru, and London and Paris resulted in interesting books with his photos. It is a fine exhibition.

 
I went to Neal Ashman's new club, Malcriada, 185 Avenue C, for an after party for Cheyenne Elliott's cabaret debut in New York at the Duplex. Cheyenne is the granddaughter of Dionne Warwick, who hosted the party. Among the guests were Richard Johnson andBo Dietl. It was a splendid evening.
 

I attended the announcement of the Drama League Nominations at Sardi's. Patina Miller and Bebe Neuwirth read them, and they are wonderful choices. I congratulated the Drama League Board President Jano Herbosch. I eagerly await the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, 1535 Broadway, on Friday, May 19 at 11:30pm.
 
 
The opening night gala for the Dance Theatre of Harlem took place at the Grand Hyatt, 135 West 57th St. The company is one of the finest dance companies in the United States. The Artistic Director is Virginia Johnson, whom I have known since she began as a principal dancer. I have seen her perform in all her roles. She is simply magnificent, and it is a joy to know her. I had the pleasure of meeting Leslie Wims Morris, the gala board chair, and, for me, the highlight of the evening was to see again one of my favorite friends, Malaak Compton-Rock, whom I knew before she married Chris Rock. All three ladies looked elegant and beautiful, and it was a pleasure to photograph them.

 
I was invited to a Spring Tasting Menu at Marlow Bistro, Amsterdam Avenue and 110th St, at 7pm. The menu looked appetizing, but as I had to be at the theater that night at 8pm, I was only able to have a drink and a little taste of an appetizer. I hope to return


 

I was invited for lunch to Ora di Pasta, Italian home made cucina, in Plaza Food Hall, 1 West 59th St. Malik Achoura, the owner, and his lovely bride to be, Victoria Miningham, an opera singer, offered my wife and me delicious pasta dishes, fine wines and scrumptious desserts. When you go to the food market underneath the Plaza Hotel, make sure you sample the exquisite dishes at Ora di Pasta. You will leave very contented.

 

I photographed the cast and creative team of MCC Theater's The End of Longing, by Matthew Perry, in which the playwright makes his stage debut. The director Lindsay Posner is from London, and the other three members of the cast are Quincy Dunn-Baker, Sue Jean Kim and Jennifer Morrison. I eagerly await opening night on June 5.

 

Harry Haun invited me to accompany him to the 2econd Stage Theatre's new home, the Helen Hayes Theatre, which is under construction, for an announcement of the upcoming season's plays, followed by a breakfast at Sardi's. Harry interviewed  Kenneth Lonergan, whose play Lobby Hero is being revived, and we congratulated him on winning an Oscar for the film Manchester by the Sea, and I got to hug Paula Vogel, whose play Indecent on Broadway is superb.

 
       
       


 
 

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

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