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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -December 10, 2016

 

 

 


On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
December 10, 2016


 

 


Dear Evan Hansen
, book by Steven Levenson, music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, at The Music Box, was reviewed last season Off-Broadway and received wonderful  reviews. It has now transferred to Broadway, and I would not be surprised if it receives a Tony nomination as Best Musical and another one for the Leading Actor, Ben Platt, in the title role. It is a tale about five teenagers and three parents. One teenager (Platt). a lonely boy, suddenly, becomes popular in his school, when another teenager Connor (Mike Faist) commits suicide. Connor's parents (Michael Park and Jennifer Laura Thompson) believe that the two were close friends. Evan lies, and complications ensue. The eight member cast is excellent, directed by Michael Greif. Modern day audiences will recognize the trials and tribulations of teenagers growing up today. The opening night party, held at The Pierre, was a fabulous one The ballroom and other rooms were filled with delicious food and open bars. The cast and creative team enjoyed their success at the superb event.


 

In Transit, book, music and lyrics, by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth, at Circle in the Square, opens December 11. A review will appear in next week's column.

 

The Babylon Line, by Richard Greenberg, at the Lincoln Center Theater at the Mitzi Newhouse, is about a frustrated writer (Josh Radnor), who teaches an adult evening class to six unsympathetic characters in Levittown, Long Island, in 1967. It is an overlong, messy play, in which they act out their writings. Terry Linney directed a cast of seven actors, who have all appeared in better plays.


 

The Band's Visit, music & lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, based on a screenplay by Eran Kolirin, is chamber musical about an Egyptian band, headed by Tony Shalhoub. that go to the wrong town in Israel to perform a concert. Yazbek composed Middle Eastern type music for the musical instruments, including an Oud. An Israeli Dina (Katrina Lenk), the owner of a restaurant gives them food, lodging, and for one member of the band even sex. The large cast is directed by David Cromer. It is a pleasant, unusual musical.


 

The Dead, 1904, based on the novella by James Joyce, adapted by Paul Muldoon and Jean Hanff Korelitz, directed by Ciaran O'Reilly, at the American Irish Historical Society, 995 Fifth Avenue, is a production of the Irish Repertory Theatre. It is a wonderful staged version of the novella, in which the limited audience passes from room to room to watch the performers, headed by Kate Burton and Boyd Gaines, recreate a dinner party in Dublin. The audience is invited to sit at tables with the cast to eat a delicious dinner, while joining them with drinks, before, during and after the repast. The audience leaves the venue blissfully happy.


 

The 29th Annual Gypsy of the Year took place at the New Amsterdam Theatre. As always, it is a wonderful event. The opening number featured Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie and Margo Sappington. They were a delight. The dance numbers fromWicked, On Your Feet!, Fiddler on the Roof and many other shows were great. The host was Seth Rudetsky, and presenters included the cast of Falsettos, Robert Creighton, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney. Announcing the winners were Cynthia Erivo, Jessie Mueller and Javier Munoz. I enjoyed every minute of it.

 

 

 

Marcel Pagnol's Marseille Trilogy, Marius, Fanny and Cesar were offered in a marathon screening by Janus Films. 215 Park Ave. I saw the first and the third, and saw Fanny at Film Forum a few days later. It will be shown at Film Forum beginning Wednesday January 4 - Thursday January. Don's miss it!.
 

 

 They are three marvelous films. Marius, by Alexander Korda, France, 1931 is about a young couple in Marseille. The young man Marius (Pierre Fresnay) wants to leave his job, as a barman in his father's Cesar (Raimu) bar, to become a sailor and see the world. The girl Fanny (Orane Demazis) wants him to stay in Marseille with her. Fanny, by Marc Allegret, France, 1932, tells how she is left pregnant, and marries the wealthy Honore Panisse (Fernand Charpin). Cesar, by Marcel Pagnol, France, 1936, completes the story twenty years later. The acting is excellent. The characters, especially the friends of Cesar, are amusing. The dialogue is intelligent and the plots are interesting. The three films are masterpieces of the French cinema. How I wish modern day filmmakers would learn from them! Janus Films knows how to please critics. Coffee and doughnuts were served before the first film, followed by soup, salad, fish and white wine in the first intermission. Salami, cheese, chocolates and red wine were served in the second intermission. Needless to say, the critics left the screenings happy and content.


 

The New York Stage & Film Annual Winter Gala at the Plaza Hotel honored Annette Bening and David Rockwell. Annette's husband Warren Beatty was also present. I told Warren, that I last photographed him with John Lithgow, when John appeared on Broadway in M. Butterfly. We recalled the wonderful publicist, the late John Springer, and his son Gary. I chatted with and photographed many guests, including Artistic Director Joanna Pfaelzer, Mark Linn-BakerJulianna Margulies, Christine Lahti, Michael Wilson and Corey Cott. It was a splendid affair.


 

The York Theatre Company's 25th Oscar Hammerstein Award Gala honored Joel Grey with the 2016 Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre at the Asia Society. Among the performers were Robert Creighton, Sutton Foster and Bernadette Peters. Among the guests were Ted Chapin, Tom Meehan, Gay Talese, Joe Sirola, Oscar Andrew Hammerstein and Anita Gillette. The cocktail reception featured delicious hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. It was a festive occasion and everyone was very happy.


 

A memorial program for the late playwright Edward Albee was held at the August Wilson Theatre. Brian Murray opened the program with a selection from The Play About the Baby, and told a funny anecdote about Albee and Noel Coward. As I had to see Gypsy of the Year, I, unfortunately, had to leave early and I missed the excellent speakers that followed Murray. But I was glad to pay my respects to a great playwright.


 

My friend, Edward Slavenburg invited me to a whisky tasting at the elegant Gabriel Kreuther Restaurant, 41 West 42nd St. We tasted three Scotch whiskies Bruichladdich. The Classic Laddie, Port Charlotte Islay Barley and Black Art 1990, 49,2% from the Islay island in the Hebridees. They were strong and powerful. We ordered a delicious classic pizza of bacon, onion and creme fraiche, plus crispy potatoes with a special sauce. After drinking the whiskies and eating the food, we left very contented and happy!

 

I received a gift, a marvelous book, The Hammersteins: A Musical Theater Family, USA, 2010, published by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. It was written by Oscar Andrew Hammerstein, the grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II. Every theater lover will enjoy this book, about the family that built many theaters and produced some of the most wonderful musicals on Broadway and on film. It is full of family photos, and tells the history of this remarkable family from its beginnings on the arrival of first Oscar Hammerstein in 1864 in the United States. To reciprocate, I invited the author to my favorite Irish Pub, Emmett's O'Lunney, 210 West 50th St. where we celebrated with Bacardi rum and Coca Cola.

 
 

12-10-16 Honoree Annette Bening and Warren Beatty at the New York Stage & Film Annual Winter Gala at The Plaza Hotel. Fifth Ave & Central Park South. Sunday night. 12-04-16..  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

12-04-16 Cast  member Ben Platt at the opening night party for "Dear Evan Hansen" at The Pierre. Fifth Ave & 61st St. Sunday night. 12-04-16..  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

12-10-16 Honoree Annette Bening and Warren Beatty at the New York Stage & Film Annual Winter Gala at The Plaza Hotel. Fifth Ave & Central Park South. Sunday night.
 12-04-16.

12-04-16 Cast member Ben Platt at the opening night party for "Dear Evan Hansen" at The Pierre. Fifth Ave & 61st St. Sunday night. 12-04-16.

 

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

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