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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -January 14, 2017

 

 

Aubrey Reuben

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

January 14, 2017

 
 
 

Candide, by Leonard Bernstein, book by Hugh Wheeler, after Voltaire, lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John La Touche, Leonard Bernstein, at Jazz at Lincoln Center, is a delightful evening of pure entertainment. Directed by Harold Prince, and choreographed by Patricia Birch, the scenes flow from one madcap adventure to another taking place in a series of countries in Europe and Latin America. The novel is a satire on religion, war and morality in the eighteenth century, with the teacher Dr. Pangloss (Gregg Edelman), who tells his four pupils, Candide (Jay Armstrong Johnson), Cunegornde (Meghan Picerno), Maximilian (Keith Phares) and Paquette (Jessica Tyler Wright), that they live in the best of all possible worlds and that everything that happens in it is for the best. Their adventures are very funny, but gruesome at times. Also, contributing to the shenanigans in a variety of roles, are Chip Zien and Brooks Ashmanskas, plus a hilarious Linda Lavin as The Old Lady. All deliver splendid performances, but outstanding is Meghan Piceno, with a magnificent voice and superb acting, who brings down the house with her soprano aria Glitter And Be Gay. The fine voices of the chorus and the energetic dancers, some perform acrobatics, add to the success of the evening. Charles Prince directed the excellent orchestra that played the melodious and sparking music marvelously. I enjoyed every minute of this wonderful production. Welcome back the New York City Opera!

 

Broadway, The Present, after Anton Chekhov's Platonov, by Andrew Upton, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, is the Sydney Theatre Company Production. Directed by John Crowley, it stars Cate Blanchett as Anna and Richard Roxburgh as Mikhail. It is an overlong (almost three hours), unwieldy, hyperactive production, an updated version, that takes place in modern-day Russia, at the birthday party of Anna. The 13-member cast spend the time drinking, smoking, and trying to engage in sex. The play begins with Anna holding a gun, and as every theatre goer knows, it will be used. Unfortunately, that does not happen until the end of the play. She also fires a shotgun twice in the second act. It makes a loud noise. Finally, she threatens to blow up the dining room with dynamite. Again, unfortunately, she does not. She is bored. For audiences, who enjoy seeing famous film stars on stage, the appearance of Blanchett may suffice. Actually, it is Mikhail, who steals every scene. The rest of the cast should not seek employment on the Broadway stage. The use of the F--- word seems to be very popular in Australia, but I am tired of hearing it, repeatedly, on stage. Profanity and vulgarity was never used by Chekhov, and that is why I, generally, enjoy his plays.

 

Waterwell presented Blueprint Specials: Soldier Musicals, music & lyrics principally by Frank Loesser, book by Arnold M.Auerbach, original choreography by Jose Limon, directed by Tom Ridgely, at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The enormous cast, most of whom were or are members of the armed forces of the United States, headed by Laura Osnes and Will  Swenson, was excellent. Their singing and dancing was a joy to behold. Quinn Mattfield as Sad Sack was outstanding in the major comedy role. But everyone deserved a standing ovation for one of the best nights of musical theatre. It slyly made fun of army life, while upholding the cherished values of The American Way Of Life, which the armed forces were defending around the world. The orchestra, conducted by Sonny Paladino, played the music wonderfully, and it was a pleasure to listen to melodious popular music of 1944-45. It is, at this point in time, my favorite musical of the season, and I wish everyone of the cast and creative team much continued success.

 

Mark Felt, Superstar, book, music, and lyrics by Joshua Rosenblum, who accompanies the five member cast at the piano, at the York Theatre Company, is musical version of the discovery of who was Deep Throat, who helped force the resignation of President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal. Directed by Annette Jolles, the 90-minute show has a fine cast and pleasant music.

 

Confucius, (551-479 BC), is a production of the China National Opera & Dance Drama Theater, at the David H. Koch Theater. It is 90-minute dance drama about the teacher and philosopher, who shaped the nation. Directed by Kong Dexin, the 77th-generation direct descendant of Confucius, it is spectacular production with 55 performers. The costumes, dancing and recorded music is lovely to look at and hear. The audience responded with a standing ovation.

 

One of my favorite events is the Annual Clive Barnes Awards, which have been presented for seven years, at the Walter Reade Theater. Michael Riedel was the Master of Ceremonies, and Joel Grey presented the 2016 Theatre Award to Khris Davis for his performance in The Royale, and Ashley Bouder presented the 2016 Clive Barnes Dance Award to Indiana Woodward of the New York City Ballet.

At the reception following the awards ceremony, I had the opportunity to chat and photograph the talented people mentioned above.

I attended a photo op for Transport  Group's upcoming productions of Picnic and Come Back, Little Sheba, at Clinton Cameo Studios. I had the pleasure pf photographing one of my favorite actresses
 
Heather MacRae, who will appear in both plays. I plan to be there on both opening nights.

 

I invited my good friend Victor Callegari, retired Head Make-Up Artist at the Metropolitan Opera, to The Italian Cultural Institute, to hear Harvey Sachs in a conversation with the famous Metropolitan Opera conductor Gianandrea Noseda. Noseda gave Victor a warm embrace.

 

I was invited by my good friend Harry Haun (I have two!) to my favorite restaurant Chez Josephine, 414 West 42nd St, for a party for Animation Films. It was a lovely event, where I met Michael Paz from New Orleans, who gave me a wonderful CD, Players Ella and Louie Tribute Band. My beautiful wife Xiuli  Meng M.D. loves jazz, and especially Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.



A very funny
 
Nathan Lane was the host for the unveiling of two caricatures of his fellow cast members of The Front Page John Slattery and John Goodman for the wall at Sardi's. Most of the cast were present for photos, and it was a joy to chat with Robert Morse, and I reminded him of my visit backstage at Tru when I photographed him with Tom Cruise and Tom's girlfriend at that time Nicole Kidman. I wonder whatever happened to her!

 

Film Society at Lincoln Center presented three press screenings for Neighboring Scenes: Latin American Cinema, January 26-31. Panamerican Machinery/Maquinaria Panamericana, by Joaquin de Paso, Mexico, 2016, takes place in a factory. When the owner dies in his office, the workers discover that he has been paying them out of his own pocket. Now, they are without jobs, nor pensions or benefits. They take over the factory, and what happens causes all types of incidents. One incident, for example, is when they decide to have a party. Five workers prepare the alcoholic drink, and they add gasoline and the perfume used by the dead owner. It would seem to be sickening combination.

It is an unusual film.



A Decent Woman/ Los decentes,
 by Lukas Rinner, Austria/South Korea/Argentina, 2016, is about a maid hired by wealthy woman, who lives in a private gated community. A nudist camp, full of eccentric, uninhibited people, live next to it. When the maid wanders through the camp, she decides to join it, and she sheds her clothes, along with her morals. The final scene is one of violence between the two communities. It is fascinating film, with many, many scenes of naked men and women. Voyeurs will enjoy it.

 

This Time Tomorrow/Manana a esta hora, by Lina Rodriguez, Colombia/Canada, 2016, is about a 17-year-old female teenager, who makes her parents' lives miserable. When her mother dies suddenly, she faces the real world. The portrait of a typical, rebellious teenager is quite realistic. The process to maturity is a long one. However, in spite of the fine acting, especially by the young girl, the film is slow moving, and some of the scenes are filmed in semi darkness, which is hard on the spectator's eyesight.

 

The Riverside Branch Library, 127 Amsterdam Avenue,  presented Devotion, by Curtis Bernhardt, USA, 1946, about the lives of Emily Bronte (Ida Lupino) and her sister Charlotte (Olivia De Havilland). Both actresses displayed their great acting ability in a romanticized tale, that is mainly fiction. The Morgan Library & Museum has just presented a wonderful exhibition about Charlotte Bronte. It ended on January 2, 2017. It is too bad that the filmmakers could not have visited it to improve the film.

 

Rear Window, by Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1954, is one of the director's finest films. James Stewart is a photographer confined to his apartment with a broken leg. He is bored watching his neighbors out of his rear window. A possible murder occurs, and we watch many fascinating scenes develop. The added delight is the presence of a beautiful Grace Kelly as Stewart's girlfriend. However, the new branch library, opposite MoMA on West 53rd St, is the worst place to see a film. It is uncomfortable sitting on hard wood, with people walking up and down the stairs in the viewing area, and mothers allowed to talk and feed their little children, while the audience would like to enjoy the screening.

 

 
 
       

01-14-17 New York City Ballet Ashley Bouder who presented the 2016 Clive Barnes Dance Award at the reception afterwards at The Walter Reade Theatre. 165 West 65th St. Monday afternoon. 01-09-17.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

01-14-17 Cast members of "The Front Page" John Goodman (L) and John Slattery with their caricatures at Sardi's. 234 West 44th St. 01-10-17..  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

01-14-17 New York City Ballet Ashley Bouder who presented the 2016 Clive Barnes Dance Award at the reception afterwards at The Walter Reade Theatre. 165 West 65th St. Monday afternoon. 01-09-17

01-14-17 Cast members of "The Front Page" John Goodman (L) and John Slattery with their caricatures at Sardi's.
234 West 44th St. 01-10-17.

 
 

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

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