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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben April 28, 2018

 

 

Aubrey Reuben

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

April 28, 2018

The Outer Critics Nominations for 2017-18 68th Annual Awards for Broadway and Off-Broadway were announced at the Algonquin. Jenn Colella and Katrina Lenk (photo below) read the nominations. OCC is the first critics organization to announce their nominations. The winners will be announced on May 7th and they will receive their awards on May 24th at the Annual Gala Dinner at Sardi's restaurant. I am a proud member of the Executive/Nominating Committee for the past 40 years.

 

The Drama Desk Nominations were announced for 2017-18 63rd Annual Drama Desk Awards for Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway at Feinstein's/54 Below by Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess (photo below). The winners will receive their awards at Town Hall on June 3rd.
 

A revival of Travesties, by Tom Stoppard, at the American Airlines Theater, is a play which takes place in Zurich, Switzerland in 1917, about Henry Carr (Tom Hollander), a consular official, who becomes involved with Tristan Tzara, James Joyce and Lenin. It also takes place 50 years later, when he remembers what happened in 1917. The eight member cast is expertly directed by Patrick Marber. As the playwright is an erudite person, he is quite clever in mixing historical characters and events with fiction. Also The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde is included in this absurd, funny and ingenious play. Hollander will probably be nominated for a Tony Award.

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, by Jack Thorne, is based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, at the Lyric Theatre, is a convoluted story. The theater was filled with Harry Potter fans. I have not read the books or seen the films. The press materials, that I received, would take more time to read than if I were studying for Ph.D. Judging from almost six hours of watching staircases being moved across the stage, and floating chairs, and characters being pulled out a hole from the back wall, and two of the leads being drenched in a pool of water, and a whole slew of magic tricks, I found the production numbing, but the packed house seemed to enjoy every minute of it,

 

Summer, The Donna Summer Musical, book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff, songs by various composers, at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, is for lovers of disco music. The three major stars, who play Donna at various times in her career, are LaChanzeAriana DeBose and Storm Lever, directed by Des McAnuff. They have good voices. The audience loves listening to them sing, and wants to participate singing with them. The ensemble are wonderful disco dancers, choreographed by Sergio Trujillo. The book is trivial, and not very interesting, considering that it took three writers to write it. But it does not matter. All the audience wants is to hear and move to the music. Perhaps, instead of a Broadway Theater, it should be staged in a discotheque.


A revival of The Iceman Cometh, by Eugene O'Neill, at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, takes place over a couple of days in a downtown bar in New York City, inhabited by drunks and prostitutes in 1912. The nineteen member cast is directed by George C. Wolfe. The director could not have a better cast, full of stars, headed by Denzel Washington. It is not fair to not mention the entire cast by name, but space and time limits me to praise, among all the outstanding performances, four in particular, David Morse, Colm Meaney, Frank Wood and Reg Rogers. Although it is a long play of four acts, the audience is riveted by the brilliant acting of a bunch of losers, who find refuge in alcohol. When Washington returns to the bar at the end of Act I, he has rejected booze and wishes to convert his former friends. What happens and the secret he finally bares complete a magnificent and memorable production. The opening night party took place at Delmonico's, 56 Beaver St, where the cast celebrated with a lavish buffet and cocktails galore. As they play alcoholics in the play, they deserve the drinks.

 

A revival of Saint Joan, by Bernard Shaw, at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, is a fine production of a great play, with an outstanding performance by Condola Rashad in the title role, as the heroine who saved France from the English. The entire cast is excellent, under the direction of Daniel Sullivan, but one must single out Patrick Page as the Inquisitor in Scene 6, the trial scene in Rouen, 1431. In May 1947, at 14-years 0f age, I played the role of Brother Martin Ladvenu in my high school in England. so naturally I have a great affection for the play.




Metronmaniacs
, by David Ives, at the Duke on 42nd Street, is an adaption of a French play La Metromanie from 1738 by Alexis Piron. It is a convoluted story spoken in rhyme. The seven member cast, directed by Michael Kahn, is quite good, in this hyperactive production about mistaken identity and gender bending. We congratulated the cast at the opening night party at the West Bank Cafe with guests like Laila Robins, David Pittu and Steven DeRosa.

Daybreak
, by Joyce van Dyke, at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, is a production of Pan Asian Repertory. It is a dream play in three scenes about the Armenian genocide of 1915. It is a grim, depressing tale. As it is a dream, it is a complex play. It is a 90 minute intermission-less play.The six member cast is directed by Lucie Tiberghien.

The 2018 Spring Season for the New York City Ballet at the David H. Koch Theater presented an All Balanchine program. It began with Apollo, music by Igor Stravinsky, danced by four wonderful dancers, Chase Finlay, Maria Kowroski, Sara Meansand Teresa Reichlen. It was the first of two highlights, that Balanchine himself would have applauded. The second was Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, with costumes by Karinska, who was honored at the Irene Sharaff Awards on April 20. Joaquin De Luzwas astounding in his solos, and paired with Ashley Bouder, they became the perfect dancing couple. The other two ballets were Le Tombeau de Couperin, music by Maurice Ravel, and Symphony in Three Movements, music by Igor Stravinsky, completed a perfect night at the ballet. The orchestra, under Clotilde Otranto, never played better.

 

The 32nd Annual Easter Bonnet Competition was held at the Minskoff Theatre for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. I have attended everyone of them, and it is a most delightful production. Dancers and singers from various Broadway and Off-Broadway shows perform, introduced by Broadway stars like Lea Salonga, Ethan Slater and Taylor Louderman. The awards for the winners were presented by four Broadway treasures Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield.


Columbus Library presented 
Top Hat, by Mark Sandrich, USA, 1935, is delightful musical with songs by Irving Berlin. It starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They danced divinely. It is a case of mistaken identity, which takes place in London and Venice. The highlight is Dancing Cheek to Cheek, with the two leads, and Top Hat, White Tie and Tails danced solo by Astaire with a male ensemble behind. I enjoyed every minute of this entertaining film.

 

In a series entitled Broadway Legacies comes a new book Big Deal: Bob Fosse and the dance in the American Dance Musical, by Kevin Winkler, published by Oxford University Press, 2018. The author was a professional dancer, and then worked 20 years in the New York Public Library as a curator, archivist and library administrator. The book tells the story of the subject as a performer, choreographer and director in Hollywood, television and Broadway. The author's technical knowledge is astounding. He describes every dance number with such insight that you can almost visualize it, and the photographs in the book further clarifies his comments. Fosse was a brilliant dance maker, whom I knew when he did his first show on Broadway, The Pajama Game in 1955. His Steam Heat number began a style which was inimitable. All his work was magnificent. His passing at age 60 years of age was a great loss to the world of dance. If you love dance, add this terrific volume to your collection. You will not regret it.


The Designs of William Ivey Long, by Bobbi Owen, forward by Paul Rudnick, is published by USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology), 2018. I am proud to state that I have known William since he received his first Tony Award for his costume design for Nine in 1982. I have seen everyone of his productions in New York from Broadway to the Metropolitan Opera. As the writer of the preface remarks, that besides being a genius of costume design, he is wonderful human being. To meet him, to admire his talent is to love him. This also is a book in a series on theatre design and the author knows her subject well. There are many photos of his drawings, production shots and personal photos, including one of him wearing jeans. This is shocking because he always is elegantly dressed. However, he was very, very young at the time. Every lover of theatre and fashion must purchase this book for an insight into his remarkable work. You will be well satisfied. At the Drama Bookshop, 250 West 40th St, the subject and the author held a Q & A and a reception afterwards. Among his many fans that attended were Susan Stroman, Barry Weissler, Debra Monk, Julie Halston, Dana Ivey and many others too numerous to mention. 

 
       

The Outer Critics Nominations for 2017-18 68th Annual Awards for Broadway and Off-Broadway were announced at the Algonquin. Jenn Colella and Katrina Lenk.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

Feinstein's/54 Below by Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess .  Photo by: Aubrey Reuebn


 
 

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

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