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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - July 8, 2017


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
July 8, 2017


The Soulpepper Theatre Company from Canada will appear at Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 West 42nd Street, July 1-July 29, with 12 productions and 65 Canadian theater artists. On July 1 Canada Day which celebrates the nation's 150th birthday, I attended two wonderful shows, and a fabulous reception. True North: A Concert of Canada featured two narrators, and ten terrific singers, and four marvelous musicians. Sixteen songs plus an Encore were performed, with videos of Canadian scenes, based on writings of esteemed Canadian poets. Musical director Mike Ross arranged the songs, and is a splendid musician at the piano, guitar and mandolin. One of the highlights was a comic song The Hockey Song, written by Stompin' Tom Conners, performed by Daniel Williston, who made the audience join him singing the chorus praising the national sport. It was a superb program.


Kim's Convenience, by Ins Choi, is a play, that has become so popular, that it has now been produced as a television series. It is about a Korean immigrant, who owns a convenience store, and wants his children to continue running the store as he ages. The play depicts the generational gap, as the children grow up as Canadians. It has lots of humor, as well as revealing the serious aspects of family life. A five member cast, headed by a magnificent Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as the father, directed by Weyno Mengsha, provides an entertaining evening at the theatre.


Finally, a fabulous reception was offered by the Canadian Consul Phyllis Yaffe, who addressed the guests, with Artistic Director Albert Schultz (photo below). A group of singers and musicians, headed by a powerful singer Jackie Richardson, (photo below)entertained the guests, who sampled the delicious buffet, while drinking fine wine and beer. It was the conclusion of an unforgettable celebration of Canada Day.


To adapt a long novel to a play is quite an accomplishment. Of Human Bondage, by Vern Thiessen, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, directed by Albert Schultz, is the third production by the Soulpepper Theatre Company, and it is quite impressive. The eleven member cast, many in multiple roles, is excellent, especially the two leading actors, Gregory Priest, who, as a doctor/artist is on stage for virtually the entire play, and Michelle Monteith, who plays a slutty waitress with whom the doctor is obsessed.


The set and lighting by Lorenzo Savoini, the costume design by Erika Conner and the music and sound design by Mike Ross all contribute to the success of the play. The imagination and invention of this production is a crowning glory for this wonderful company.


The Riverside Branch Library, 127 Amsterdam Avenue,  presented Homecoming, by Mervyn LeRoy, USA, 1948, starring thee magnificent film stars, Clark Gable, Lana Turner and Anne Baxter. A successful surgeon (Gable) enters the army in World War II. His nurse (Turner) assists him for the duration of the war. When he returns home, he is a changed man. The film shows the horror of warfare, with young soldiers wounded and dying in the temporary hospitals set up to help them in those barbaric times. The film is a serious, intelligent, powerful indictment of the suffering that mankind inflicts on its armed forces. The acting is superb.


Columbus Library, 742 10th Avenue, presented Thank Your Lucky Stars, by David Butler, USA, 1943, that has a silly, convoluted plot, not worth describing, but is a highly entertaining film. It is an all star extravaganza, with many Hollywood stars.Eddie Cantor is the lead, playing two comic roles, and Dennis Morgan and Joan Leslie are the romantic leads, and Dinah Shore sings. Among the cameos in scenes of a concert being held for charity during World War II, we see among many others Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Ida Lupino sing and Alexis Smith dance. It is quite entertaining.


American Ballet theatre (ABT) concluded its season at the Metropolitan Opera House with a Tchaikovsky Spectaclar, four selections to the music of Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. The two major ballets were Mozartiana choreography by George Balanchine, in which Hee Seo, Cory Stearns and Jeffrey Cirio were the outstanding soloists, and Aurora's Wedding,principal choreography by Marius Petipa, with a brilliant Grand Pas de Deux, by Isabella Boylston and Alban Lendorf, with a spectacular couple Sylar Brandt and Zhiyao Zhang as Princess Florine and The Bluebird. Two short Pas de Deux completed the program from Swan Lake, choreography of Lev Ivanov, with Misty Copeland and Herman Cornejo, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, choreography by George Balanchine, danced to tumultuous applause by Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside. The orchestra for three of the selections were conducted by Ormsby Wilkins and Aurora's Wedding by David LaMarche. It was the end of another marvelous eight weeks of glorious ballet performances.





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