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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - March 26, 2016

 

Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
March 26, 2016

 

L'Elisir d'Amore, by Gaetano Donizetti, at the Metropolitan Opera, is one of the funniest and happiest operas of the nineteenth century. The current production by Bartlett Sher, with the set design of Michael Yeargan and costumes by Catherine Zuber is a slightly updated version. Enrique Mazzola conducted the orchestra, which played the sparkling music exquisitely. One leaves the opera house singing or, at least, humming the melodious score. Vittorio Grigolo excelled as Nemorino. He was in splendid voice, powerful in every register. His ringing high notes soared effortlessly over the orchestra. He is, without doubt, one of the leading tenors in the operatic world. He was well supported by the rest of the cast. Aleksandra Kurzak (Adina) looks beautiful on stage, and her high notes were a delight to the ear. Adam Plachetka was a superb Belcore, with a clear, sonorous voice. Alessandro Corbelli was a comical Dulcamara, and Ying Fang was an adorable Giannetta. It is a silly tale of a lovesick young peasant, finally achieving a romantic ending with Adina with a love potion, which is actually a cheap wine. The audience has experienced another magical night at the opera.


 

Bright Star, music, book and story by Steve Martin, music, lyrics and story by Edie Brickell, directed by Walter Bobbie, choreographed by Josh Rhodes, at the Cort Theatre, brings bluegrass music to Broadway. I rarely listen to that kind of music, but I prefer it to rap, hip-hop, or whatever the latest trend in loud, ridiculous, so-called music is presented today to suffering theater audiences. I found the music enjoyable and pleasant, and the cast, headed by Carmen Cusack in her Broadway debut as Alice Murphy, with wonderful voices and lots of energy, were a pleasure to be with for two and one half hours. However, the convoluted story, switching constantly between after World War II and 22-years earlier in a small town in North Carolina, was a little tedious and dull. We know women bare children, and some do it accidentally, but what takes place for Alice, although supposedly based on a real event, is unbelievable, and is basically a grim, depressing tale. The talented musicians, nevertheless, were a delight to listen to, and the title song should become a classic. The opening night party was held at Gotham Hall, and Steve Martin played the banjo with the musicians from the show to the delight of guests like Andrea Martin, Diane Sawyer, Martin Short and David Hyde Pierce.
 


 

Dry Powder, by Sarah Burgess, directed by Thomas Kail, at the Public Theatre, is a four character play about shenanigans in business. It is a dull, boring, pretentious piece of work, only 90-minutes long, but feels longer, in which four fine actors are wasted. Audiences do not go to the theater to receive lectures about the desire of hedge fund executives to engage in manipulations to make loads of money. They prefer to be entertained.


 

The Effect, by Lucy Peebles, directed by David Cromer, at the Barrow Street Theatre, is an unusual play about a test for an antidepressant drug given to two volunteers, a young attractive woman and a young feckless man, while under the supervision of two doctors for a month in their clinic. They fall in love, or better said lust. The experiment is ridiculous, and the doctors could use psychological help. The sex scene which closes the first act is the highlight of the evening.


 

Familiar, by Danai Gurira, directed by Rebecca Taichman, at Playwrights Horizons, is an amusing play about a black family, assimilated in Minnesota, preparing for a wedding of their educated daughter to a white young man.

When the daughter and her aunt want an African wedding, problems ensue. The eight member cast are quite funny.

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, by Kirk Jones, USA, 2016, at the New York Institute of Technology Auditorium. It is about a daughter who wants to go to college out of town to escape her parents and their loud, obnoxious relatives. Also, her grandparents discover that their marriage is illegal, and the grandmother wants a big, fat, Greek wedding. The film is a comedy, which is not funny or clever.


 

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, by Morgan Neville, USA, 2015, is fascinating documentary about the creation of an ensemble, by Yo-Yo Ma, the famous classical cellist, of a group of musicians, from various countries, who join together with their traditional instruments to offer concerts around the world, to preserve their art. They comment about their life in various countries like China, Iran, Spain and Syria, and we see scenes in different countries where they give concerts and speak with their families and friends. Unfortunately, some off the countries are involved in civil war and many of them have severe laws restricting artistic freedom. Syria and Iran are two examples. It is a splendid film and the photography is beautiful.

 

 

I attended the launch of the book Successful Philanthropy: How To Make A Life By What You Give, by Jean Shafiroff, at her elegant home at 635 Park Avenue. Georgina Bloomberg was the author's special guest. Champagne and delicious hors d'oeuvres were served. It was a delightful party.
 


A wonderful evening was held at the Copacabana to honor the superb actress Tina Chen, who received the Artist Legacy Award at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre 39th Anniversay Gala Dinner. The Artistic Director Tisa Chang spoke during the presentation, and among the many distinguished guests were Katharine Houghton, Charlotte Moore and Raul Aranas. There was a cocktail reception, followed by a delicious dinner, a splendid program with performances by many members of the company and dancing to close the marvelous event.

I attended a cocktail reception to celebrate the one-year anniversary of K Rico South American Steakhouse, 772 Ninth Avenue. The chef/co-owner John Greco served delicious hors d'oeuvres like oysters, arepas, empanadas of beef, yuca and exquisite pisco sour cocktails and two fine Argentinian wines. For a marvelous dining experience, K Rico is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11AM-4PM for lunch (weekend brunch 10AM-4PM) and dinner from 5PM-1AM.

I went to the unveiling of a portrait of Les Miserables for the Tony's di Napoli's Wall of Fame at 147 West 43rd St, hosted by Valerie Smaldone and the restaurant manger Bruce Dimpflmaier. The two stars of the show, Hayden Tee and John Owen-Jones, unveiled the portrait. The rest of the cast joined them for a delicious buffet and cocktails. It is always a splendid event.

I was invited by Gary Springer the Gala Chairman to a cocktail reception for the National Meningitis Association at Sardi's. The Gala is one of the highlights of the year to spread awareness of the disease and to fund research to control and eliminate it. It is a wonderful event and I have supported it since its creation 16-years ago. The Gala takes place at The New York Athletic Club on Central Park South.
 

03-26-16 Chef/co-owner John Greco with a tray of delicious hors d'oeuvres at a tasting celebrating the one year anniversay of K Rico South American Steakhouse. 772 Ninth Avenue. Tuesday night 03-22-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey reuben

03-26-16 Artistic Director Tisa Chang (L) and honoree Tina Chen who received the Artist Legacy Award at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre 39th Anniversay Gala Award Dinner at the Copacabana. 268 West 47th St. Monday night 03-21-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey reuben

03-26-16 Chef/co-owner John Greco with a tray of delicious hors d'oeuvres at a tasting celebrating the one year anniversay of K Rico South American Steakhouse.
772 Ninth Avenue. Tuesday night 03-22-16

03-26-16 Artistic Director Tisa Chang (L) and honoree Tina Chen who received the Artist Legacy Award at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre 39th Anniversay Gala Award Dinner at the Copacabana. 268 West 47th St. Monday night 03-21-16

 

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

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