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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -January 19, 2019

 

 

Aubrey Reuben

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

January 19, 2019


 


Choir Bo
y, by Tarell Alvin McCraney, at the Manhattan Theatre Club at Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, was seen Off-Broadway, and now appears on Broadway. It is a play about a gay young student ( Jeremy Pope) in a mainly black prestigious private high school. He is bullied by some of his fellow students for being effeminate, but earns their respect when he sings, as leader of the school gospel choir. The plot is wishful thinking with an unbelievable happy ending that pleases the audience. The acting by the entire cast is superb, directed by Trip Cullman, and their singing and movements are excellent. It is one of the better plays on Broadway this season.

Ensemble for the Romantic Century
  presented  Maestro , written by  Eve Wolf,  starring  John Noble (photo below) as  Arturo Toscanini,  at the Duke on 42nd Street. It begins in 1938 when the famous opera conductor is rehearsing the NBC Symphony Orchestra in  Aida.  Two of the cast members were  Richard Tucker  and  Giuseppe Valdengo ; in fact, I was on stage as a super with the latter at Indiana University with the Metropolitan Opera in  Lucia de Lammermoor  in 1949 when they used to tour. The play covers the life of the great conductor in Italy and the after World War 11 in the United States, With four excellent musicians as a chamber ensemble, and a brilliant pianist,  Zhenni Li , a trumpeter, and recorded music of Aida, the musical selections enhance the performance. The projections by  David Bengali  show newsreels of the period, and we see  Hitler  Mussolini  and  Roosevelt . Noble is superb as Toscanini, directed by Donald T. Sanders . We congratulated the cast at the opening night party at the West Bank Cafe. 
 
I attended the rehearsal of My Very Own British Invasion,  book Rick Elice, director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, at Church of Saint Paul the Apostle, 405 West 59th St. It will be presented at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey on Thursday January 31 to Sunday March 3. The opening night is Sunday evening February 10  at 7pm. We watched three selections from the musical, featuring Jonny Amies, in his debut an The United States, as Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. It is a story of Peter coming to America to rescue his girlfriend, the love of his life. It features all the songs of of the 60s. Peter, was present for the rehearsal, and I was raised in Manchester, England, where I was born 14 years before him.
We chatted and recalled our mutual friend, Selwyn Demmy, one of the wealthiest bookmakers in England and owner of Blinkers the top night club in Manchester. I took my first wife to Manchester and we danced at Blinkers, and my second wife to Manchester on a pre-honeymoon trip.
Selwyn met us at the airport in his Rolls-Royce, and put a Bentley and a driver at our disposal. My wife's feet never touched the ground. She loves Selwyn and my home town. Selwyn, six months younger than me, grew up on the same street, and we have become the greatest friends for the past 86 years. Peter at 73 told me he is now living in California and does 118 concerts a year with his rock group, that was formed the same time as The Beatles. I met Peter years ago when he was living in Connecticut and appearing on Broadway in The Pirates of Penzance. He is, without doubt, the most charming  singer/musician you will ever meet.    
 
Artistic Director   Susan Charlotte  produced another wonderful  Cause Celebre, Musical Brunch Series , entitled  29 Songs from 192 9, performed by  KT Sullivan , accompanied by  Jon Weber  at the piano. As usual, it took place at the wonderful restaurant Chez Josephine, 414 West 42nd St, where the food is the finest in midtown Manhattan. It is the most delightful brunch in town. 
 
Birds of Passage, directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, Colombia/Denmark/Mexico, 2018, is a beautifully photographed film. It opens at Film Forum on February 13 for an ongoing engagement. It is almost a sociological essay about drug trade by narcotic-harvesting tribes in the Columbian Guajira desert. In five segments, 125 minutes, we see how the various tribal families follow their ancient traditions, speaking their native Indian languages, marry, interpret dreams and live simple lives. When the demand for marijuana grows, we see the horrors that arrive. Violence, killing, fights between families destroy their peaceful lives.It is a fascinating film and leaves a memorable impression on the audience.

I joined Aldon James for lunch at Le Colonial, 249 East 57th St, a popular Vietnamese restaurant. Aldon was the former president of the National . Arts Club, and it was, under his regime, the finest club in New York. He honored every famous person and I met and photographed every one of them.  They included too many to name, but to give you some examples, Leonard Bernstein, Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee, John F. Kennedy, Jr, Peter Ustinov and I could go on and on. Those were glorious nights. At lunch, we recalled those pleasant, memorable nights.

 

   

Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

 

Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Pjhoto by:  Susumu Sato

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