On Broadway, I was invited to see again The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Simon Stephens, based on the novel by Mark Haddon, which had opened on October 5, 2014 to rave reviews. Seeing it again, it confirms all the wonderful reviews it received. It is one of the most imaginative shows of the season, and Alex Sharp gives an astounding performance as a 15-year-old boy with Asperger's syndrome. If you have not seen it, buy tickets immediately. When the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle announce their nominations, this play will be at the top of the list.
Wendy Wasserstein was the first female playwright to receive a Tony Award for her wonderful play The Heidi Chronicles in 1989. I attended the opening night first revival of this excellent play at The Music Box, with a superb cast, directed expertly by Pam MacKinnon. Elizabeth Moss (terrific) plays the title role as an Art Historian, and begins the play giving a lecture in 1989 about neglected female painters. We switch back to 1965 where she is in high school, and then follow her life through college and her success as a college professor. But although extremely bright in her professional life, her personal life is not so successful. The playwright captured the problems facing educated women from 1965 to 1989, with all the social and political changes taking place in the United States. It is an intelligent play with realistic dialogue. The two men in her frustrated life are played by Jason Biggs and Bryce Pinkham. They give splendid performances. I enjoyed every minute of this memorable play by a brilliant playwright, who died too early in her life. The opening night party was at the Redeye Grill, with guests Elizabeth Ashley, Chris Noth and Patricia Clarkson.
Off-Broadway, Placebo, by Melissa James Gibson, at Playwrights Horizons, stars Carrie Coon (a fine performance) working as a lab assistant working on an experiment with a new sexual arousal drug for women. At home, her relationship with her boyfriend (William Jackson Harper) is not going so well. The four member cast are first rate, under the direction of Daniel Aukin. The opening night party took place at Heartland Brewery, Eighth Ave & 41st St. with guests Reed Birney, Tina Benko and Tracy Letts.
Lonesome Traveler: A Journey Down the Rivers and Streams of American Folk, written and directed by James O'Neil, at 59E59 Theaters, features nine terrific singers and musicians. They trace the history of folk music from 1926 onwards. I spent the happiest two hours this season watching this show. Don't miss it. You will thank me.
The opening night party took place at the Hudson Hotel. It was a fun evening.
I attended a breakfast reception in the Astor Court at the Metropolitan Museum for the press for Asian Art 100, celebrating the centennial 2015 of the Department of Asian Art Half The World and All Of Time. Three speakers, Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the museum, Oscar L. Tang, Trustee Emeritus and Benefactor of the museum and Maxwell K. Hearn, Douglas Dillon Chairman of the Department of Asian Art announced the the year long events that will take place at the museum including exhibitions, lectures and musical programs. It will be a glorious year for Asian art lovers. Afterwards, we saw a magnificent exhibition of remarkable photographs entitled Fatal Attractions: Piotr Ukllanski Photographs. The photographer, born 1968, displays wonderful, imaginative and inventive works of art. I was very impressed, especially with Untitled (Skull), 2000, a platinum print. The skull from the distance turns into a clever formation of naked human bodies up close. It is a brilliant photograph.
One of New York's esteemed actresses, Kathleen Chalfant received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Sybille Pearson, at the League of Professional Women Awards Celebration & Big Mingle, at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Four other honorees were musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell, playwright Sandra A. Daley-Sharif, set designer Donyale Werle and Artistic Director Rachel Dickstein. All were well deserved. Kristine Nielsen was the host of the delightful event, followed by as lovely reception, with guests like Vivian Reed, Michael Mayer and James Morgan.
I attended a Food For Thought Production at 3 West Club, 3 West 51st St. It consisted of two readings. East Coast Ode to Howard Jarvis, by Tony Kushner, performed by Richard Easton, Greg Mullavey and Socorro Santiago, and an excerpt from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, by Gail Parent and Ann Marcus, performed by Louise Lasser and Greg Mullavey. It was a delightful program.
I like to go to bed every night with a good book, or, at least, with someone who read a good book. That said, I received an advanced copy of The Great Parade: Broadway's Astonishing Never-to-be-Forgotten 1963-64 Season, by Peter Filichia, from St. Martin's Press. Theatre lovers will enjoy this wonderful book. The author has a marvelous sense of humor, and you will laugh constantly while reading it. The changes that have taken place on Broadway over more than fifty years will amaze you. It was a remarkable season, and I am fortunate to remember it well. Many of the stars from that era became good friends, and I took great delight in photographing them for Playbill (11 years) and the New York Post for over 30 years. It is a trip down memory lane, and you will bathe in nostalgia. When it is released in April, add this to your shopping list.