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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - December 9, 2017


 

 


On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
December 9, 2017

 

 


Once on this Island,
 book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty, at Circle in the Square, is 90-minute musical about a young black girl who survives a hurricane on a Caribbean island. As she grows up, she saves a white man who is injured in  a car accident. They fall in love, but he is promised to another lady. The black girl dies from a broken heart. It is a fairy tale, with a large cast of performers, directed by Michael ArdenLea Salonga is a fine singer, and the male cast members have good sonorous voices. The other female members, with few exceptions, have highly amplified piercing voices, that is unpleasant on one's hearing. Ear plugs are recommended. There is a live goat. It does not make a sound. The music reflects the atmosphere, and the choreography by Camille A. Brown consists of repetitious wriggling hips and arms raised hands in the air. The set by Dana Laffrey and the sound design by Peter Hylenski are the highlights of the show.

 

SpongBob SquarePants, book by Kyle Jarrow, at The Palace theatre, has original songs by so many composers that it would take many pages if I wrote their names to fill this review. I was the oldest person in the theatre. There were so many children under 6-years of age that I thought I had wandered into a Disneyland kindergarten. Tina Landau conceived and directed the show, and Christopher Gatelli was responsible for the the choreography. I do not watch television, nor do I view animated movies, but judging from the reaction of the audience, this is smash hit. Do not ask me to tell you the plot, because I have not the faintest idea what was happening on stage, but the performers were first rate. The highlight for me was I'm Not a Loser, performed by Squidward (Gavin Lee) with a line of Rockettes style chorus girls (and men dressed like chorus girls). It is probably the most entertaining show this season. And every child under 10-years of age agrees with me. 


 

Downtown Race Riot, by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld, at the Pershing Square Signature Center, is  a production of the New Group. A single mother (Chloe Sevigny) and her two children (Sadie Scott and David Levi} live in a dilapidated apartment in Greenwich Village in 1976. A riot in Washington Square Park is about to take place. The seven member cast is directed by Scott Elliott. There is a very realistic fight scene near the end of the play, which is the highlight of the production. The teenage son David Levi (photo below) gave an outstanding performance. The opening night party took place in the Green Fig Urban Eatery, 570 Tenth Avenue, with guests Polly Draper, Josh Hamilton and Duncan Sheik. It was a lovely party. 
 

 

The New Yiddish Rep presented Awake and Sing, by Clifford Odets, adapted and directed by David Mandelbaum, at the 14th Street Y. It about a struggling Jewish family living in the Bronx in the mid 1930s. The two children, an unmarried girl (Lea Kalisch) who becomes pregnant, and a hard working boy (Moshe Lobel) who works in a clothing warehouse and seems to have no future, cause problems for the mother (Ronit Asheri) and father (Eli Rosen). The well made play is realistic, with intelligent dialogue, shown in English subtitles on a screen.



The eight actors are superb, especially the mother, who dominates the play. In 1935, the playwrights knew how to write interesting plays that satisfied audiences, who did not have to be submitted to profanity and vulgar language.


de novo
, a documentary play written and directed by Jeffrey Solomon, at Next Door at the New York Theatre Workshop, is a production of Houses on the Moon Theater Company. It is the true story of an undocumented teenager from Guatemala, who leaves a brutal gang in his country and  attempts to find his mother, working in the United States. It is based on actual transcripts of his case, which results in tragedy. The four member cast are fine actors, and we toasted them with tequila  cocktails at the opening night party at Bar Verde, 65 2nd Ave, where a proud mother,  Michelle Diaz congratulated her son, Manny Urena, who plays the teenager in  the play.


The New York Stage and Film Winter Gala
 took place at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, honoring Tina Fey (photo below) and Don Katz. It is always a wonderful affair, and besides photographing the talented guests, I enjoyed talking to all my dear friends, like Jim DaleJoseph Benincasa, Peter Gallagher and Mark  Linn-Baker at the cocktail reception.

 

The Columbus Library presented Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, by Stanley Donen, USA, 1954. It is a charming musical that takes place in Oregon in 1850. Howard Keel is a rancher who finds a wife, Jane Powell, who discovers that she has to live with him and his six brothers, She is forced to educate them and find brides for them. Powell and Keel sing splendidly. The music is pleasant, but the unusual dance routines by Michael Kidd are exceptional. It is a delightful film.
 

 
I photographed songwriter Jimmy Buffett and James Nederlander, Jr outside  the box office of the Marquis Theatre to promote Escape to Margaritaville. They handed hamburgers and chocolate milk to the crowd that came to buy tickets for the musical.
 



The New York Stage and Film Winter Gala
 took place at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, honoring Tina Fey (photo below) and Don Katz. It is always a wonderful affair, and besides photographing the talented guests, I enjoyed talking to all my dear friends, like Jim DaleJoseph Benincasa, Peter Gallagher and Mark  Linn-Baker at the cocktail reception.

 

The Columbus Library presented Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, by Stanley Donen, USA, 1954. It is a charming musical that takes place in Oregon in 1850. Howard Keel is a rancher who finds a wife, Jane Powell, who discovers that she has to live with him and his six brothers, She is forced to educate them and find brides for them. Powell and Keel sing splendidly. The music is pleasant, but the unusual dance routines by Michael Kidd are exceptional. It is a delightful film.
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 

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

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