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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben June 3, 2017

 

 

Aubrey Reuben

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

June 3, 2017

 
 
 


 

My wife and I were invited to the Paley Center to see a television version of George M!, starring Joel Grey, directed by Martin Charnin and Walter C. Miller, taped in 1970. It was a wonderful production in color, with Joel magnificent as George M. Cohan. His acting, singing and dancing was superb. He starred on Broadway in the role in 1968, and toured for two years afterwards. Many theatre stars appeared in the production, like Nanette Fabray as his mother, Jack Cassidy (father), Bernadette Peters (sister), Anita Gillette and Blythe Danner (his two wives), and Red Buttons (Sam Harris). An ensemble of marvelous dancers contributed to the success of the show. Joel was interviewed before the screening by Playbill editor Mark Peikart,and watched the show. Afterwards, he received a standing ovation and chatted with members of the audience, who congratulated him. It was a delightful afternoon.


 

Chita Rivera is a brilliant dancer, an excellent singer and a marvelous actress. I have known her for many years, and I was delighted to know that The 2017 Chita Rivera Awards bears her name. I attended the 2017 Chita Rivera Awards Nominees Reception at The Lambs Club, where I greeted many of my friends, like Chita, Bebe Neuwirth, Michael Riedel and Patricia Watt, all of whom spoke at the reception. I photographed them, as well as Lee Roy Reams, nominee Sergio Trujillo, and many of the other nominees like Lyrica Woodruff and Merete Muenter. I also congratulated other nominees, like John Bolton and Joshua Bergasse. Hors d'oeuvres were served, with an open bar. I gave Chita an 8 by 10 color photo of her with Lena Horne that I took many years ago. She was thrilled. I also had the pleasure of reuniting with members of her family. It was a splendid afternoon.


 

The Red Bull Theater presented the funniest play this season Off-Broadway. The Government Inspector, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, from REVIZOR, by Nikolai Gogol, at The Duke on 42nd Street. It has a cast of fourteen magnificent, actors, directed brilliantly by Jesse Berger. Outstanding among such an excellent cast is Michael Urie. His performance deserves every theatre award. His drunken scene ranks with the best of the 21st century. There are no words to describe how great he is. Rush to see him. You will have the time of your life. Michael McGrath, as a corrupt mayor of a small provincial town in Russia in 1836, is also superb, as is Mary Testa as his wife, and Arnie Burton, in two wonderful roles as a postmaster and Urie's servant. I should mention everyone on the splendid two level stage, designed by Alexis Distler, with the gorgeous costumes by Tilly Grimes, plus the hair and wigs by Dave Bova, but I have no more space. We celebrated the marvelous opening night of theatrical magic at the West Bank Cafe afterwards.


 

We dropped by the opening night party for Sweetee, A New Musical, book, music and lyrics by Gail Kriegel, directed by Patricia Birch, for a few minutes at the Pershing Square Signature Center across from the West Bank Cafe, but had to return to the cafe to photograph Michael Urie and the cast. I look forward to seeing Sweetee soon.
 


American Ballet Theatre (ABT) presented Giselle, choreography after Jean Coralli, Jules Perrot and Marius Petipa, staged by Kevin McKenzie, music by Adolpe Adam, was first performed in 1841, and since then, it has influenced ballet for nearly 200 years.

 


 


 

 


 It has been continuously performed by all the major ballet companies in the world. It is a glorious ballet about unrequited love. Gillian Murphy (Giselle) is almost seduced by David Hallberg (Count Albrecht), pretending to be a peasant. When he is exposed as a nobleman engaged to another, she dies. In the second act, she arises as a future Wili, maidens who died of unrequited love. The music is beautiful, played exquisitely by the orchestra, conducted by Ormsby Wilkins. The dancing was superb. Gillian Murphy is magnificent in the title role, supported admirably by David Hallberg. Also, in the first act, Luciana Paris and Joseph Gorak are perfect in the Peasant Pas de Deux. In the second act, Stella Abrera shines as Myrta, Queen of the Wilis, and the entire ensemble of Wilis danced marvelously. It is a memorable evening of splendid ballet.

 

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) presented The Golden Cockerel, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Ballet consists of mime and dance. When mime dominates a ballet, to the detriment of dance, it does not succeed. Unfortunately, that is what happens in this production. The music is  repetitious, but quite pleasant, and the orchestra played the score wonderfully, under the baton of David LaMarche. Skylar Brandt (Golden Cockerel) steals the ballet, unfortunately, mainly appearing in the first act. She is a magnificent dancer, and her imitation of a rooster is amazing. I could watch her forever. Aaron Scott and Alexandre Hammoudi as two sons of the Tsar Dodon (Gary Chryst), are fine dancers, but again only appear in the first act. They are found dead on the battlefield in the second act. Misty Copeland (Queen of Shemakhan) and Devon Teuscher (Persian Woman) are attractive, and dance beautifully in the second act. The ensembles have minimal steps to perform. The sets and costumes by Richard Hudson are a delight to the eye.


 

The Morgan Library & Museum has two magnificent exhibitions. This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal, June 2-September 10, 2017, on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth, has a collection of his journals, manuscripts, letters and books, and even his desk, from the Concord Museum. This remarkable writer, thinker and observer of Nature left a profound mark on his fellow Americans, which is as important today as in his own time. I urge everyone to visit this exhibition. A second exhibition is Noah's Beasts: Sculpted Animals from Ancient Mesopotamia, May 26-August 27, 2017. They are impressive artworks from 3300-2250 B.C. The animal sculptures will impress every art lover.

 

When one receives a book, and begins to read the first few pages, and finds it is impossible to put it down until one reaches the last page, one knows that one is enjoying a fine reading experience. That is what happened to me, when I received With Ballet in My Soul: Adventures of a Globetrotting Impresario, by Eva Maze, Moonstone Press LLC, 2017. The author was born in Romania in 1922, arrived in the United States before World War II broke out, and married an airman, who went to work for Pan American Airline, and was stationed in various countries. She lived in Germany, India and Japan, and became involved in bringing dance and theatre companies to those countries. She became friends with many talented performers, as well as political figures. Her memoir is a fascinating look at her adventures around the world. It is like a photo album with hundreds of photos of the places, people and posters of the companies she managed. It is almost a travelogue, as well as a history of the major events of the twentieth century. Now in her mid-nineties she is residing in Sarasota, Florida, recalling her life, and dedicating her book to her two daughters. She is a fine writer, and her stories will delight anyone, who loves dance, especially ballet, and travel. I enjoyed every minute of this wonderful book, and I assure you that every reader will find pleasure reading it.

 
       


 
 

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

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