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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - March 19 2016

 

Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
March 19, 2016

 



Don Pasquale,
 by Gaetano Donizetti, is one of the most delightful productions of the season at the Metropolitan Opera. With four outstanding singers, it is one of the highlights of the repertoire. Eleonora Buratto made a sensational debut as Norina. She has the self assurance of a future opera superstar in her acting and voice. She has a powerful voice reaching the high notes with incredible ease, with a beautiful timbre. She is adorable on stage, without any inhibitions, as she reads a silly novel on her terrace and then puts on her stockings. With the arrival of Dr.Malatesta ((a sonorous Levante Molnar) to plot the undoing of the title's character, she even throws flower pots with aplomb. Javier Camarena has already caused a sensation at the Met singing numerous encores, which were not originally permitted at the house. He did not disappoint the audience, with a magnificent encore of his major aria. His voice is thrilling, powerful, beautiful, and he is destined to be a leading world wide tenor. The fourth wonderful performance was delivered by Ambrogio Maestri in the title role. He brought down the house with a brilliant duet in the third act with Dr. Malatesta. The orchestra played the bubbling music marvelously, under Maurizio Benini. It was one of the most memorable evenings ever at the Met.
 

A revival of She Loves Me, book by Joe Masteroff, music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, at Studio 54, is a modest musical about two shop employees (Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti), who write letters to each other anonymously through a lonely hearts club. They enjoy their letters, but at work they do not seem to care for each other. The music is pleasant, the lyrics are intelligent and the choreography by Warren Carlyle is minimal. However, it is a warm, sentimental  theatrical experience, and the entire cast is first rate, under the skillful direction of Scott Ellis The set design by David Rockwell is a delight.


 

Blackbird, by David Harrower, at the Belasco Theatre, was seen Off-Broadway nine years ago, and with a different female lead Michelle Williams has transferred to Broadway. Jeff Daniels is the male lead, and both actors are directed by Joe Mantello. It is an unpleasant ninety minute play about a confrontation fifteen years later between a woman who was seduced when she was 12-years-old and a pedophile who went to jail, changed his name and works in a different town. The two actors as damaged souls work hard to give life to a play that is unbelievable.
 

The Robber Bridegroom, book and lyrics by Alfred Uhry, music by Robert Waldman, is a pleasant fairy tale musical with a fine nine member cast and five talented musicians, directed by Alex Timbers, with lively choreography by Connor Gallagher. The amusing tale is about a robber (Steven Pasquale), who, after many adventures, marries the young girl (Ahna O'Reilly), whom he unknowingly had seduced. The music is easy to listen to and the cast moves with aplomb on the small stage.
 


Hold On to Me Darling, by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Neil Pepe, is a production of the Atlantic Theater Company. It is about a 39-year-old country western superstar (Timothy Olyphant), who is an immature,  whining baby. He returns home to his small town in Tennessee for his mother's funeral, and wants to give up his life and run a feed store. It is a long, overlong play about his dissatisfaction with his 200 million dollar life.
A wonderful program with delicious food was offered by Susan Charlotte and her Cause Celebre's The Musical Brunch Series entitled Life, Love & The Kitchen!, starring Carole Shelley, Keith Buterbaugh, Billy Goldenberg, Jim Brochu, with Eric Yves Garcia and Carole Bufford, directed by Antony Marellis. It took place at the elegant restaurant Chez Josephine, 214 West 42nd St, one of the most popular restaurants on the West Side, which was created by the late charming Jean-Claude Baker to honorJosephine Baker, and now run by the congenial Manuel Uzcha.

 
Mabel Madness, written and starring Trezana Beverley, directed by Frances Hill and Peter Napolitano, at Urban Stages, is a 75 minute play, in which the actress recalls the life of the famous cabaret artist Mabel Mercer and sings many of the songs associated with her. She was beloved by Cole Porter in Paris and Frank Sinatra in New York, and was promoted by the late Donald Smith, whose four day Cabaret Convention in New York is named in her honor.


 

I was invited to a private screening and a Q & A with Nia Vardolos and Elena Kampouris, by THE MOMS, Windex and Fuji Film of the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at the New York Institute of Technology Auditorium. My review of the film will appear in next week's column.

 
When it comes to galas, the Vineyard Theatre 2016 Gala at the Edison Ballroom is at the top. One of my favorite actresses Kathleen Chalfant was honored with one of my favorite press agents Sam Rudy. In a tough dog eat dog world, they are talented, intelligent, decent, and the sweetest and most charming people you will ever meet. The gala included a cocktail hour featuring Sam Rudy's favorite drink, a Manhattan. A delicious dinner followed with superb entertainment. Among the performers were Michael Urie, Bill Irwin, Sally Field, Bruce Vilanch and Stephen Spinella. It was a delightful evening.

My Chinese wife and I were invited to dine at China Fun, 1221 Second Avenue at 64th St, a restaurant since 1991. It is a combination of Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Arriving at 6pm on a Sunday, we found a large number of American customers, many with their families, including very young children. It is obviously a popular place. The Chinese menu contains an enormous number of dishes from Cantonese BBQ, Noodles & Rice, Dim Sum and Pork, Beef, Chicken and Seafood. There are also Chef's Specialties. The Japanese menu features Japanese Appetizers, Sushi & Sashimi A La Carte, Specialty Rolls and Japanese Main Courses. We sampled Sashimi Tuna and Salmon, Lo Mein, Tofu Gluten with Fresh Mushrooms & Snow Peas, Jumbo Shrimp with Mayo & Honey Pinenuts and Steamed Fresh Water Bass in Ginger Scallion Sauce. Two bowls of Brown Rice were served and as a dessert, Vanilla Haagen Dazs Ice Cream. The portions of food are more than sufficient, and many patrons take home leftovers. The prices are reasonable. There is a full bar, including Japanese and Chinese Liquers. Lunch is served Monday to Friday from 11:00am - 4pm, and dinner until 11:00pm. The restaurant is open every day, and on Sat-Sun from 11:30am - 11:00pm. The food is delicious, the staff is courteous and you will enjoy your dining experienc
 

03-19-16 Sam Rudy and Kathleen Chalfant were honored at the Vineyard Theatre 2016 Gala at the Edison Ballroom. 240 West 47th St. Monday night 03-14-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

03-19-16 (L-R) Keith Buterbaugh. Susan Charlotte. Billy Goldenberg at Cause Celebre's The Musical Brunch Series "Life. Love & The Kitchen!" at Chez Josephine. 214 West 42nd St. Saturday afternoon 03-12-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

03-19-16 Sam Rudy and Kathleen Chalfant were honored at the Vineyard Theatre 2016 Gala at the Edison Ballroom. 240 West 47th St.
 Monday night 03-14-16

03-19-16 (L-R) Keith Buterbaugh. Susan Charlotte. Billy Goldenberg at Cause Celebre's The Musical Brunch Series "Life. Love & The Kitchen!"
at Chez Josephine. 214 West 42nd St.
Saturday afternoon 03-12-16

 

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

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