Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk reviewed Fun Home, music by Jeanine Tesori, book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, last season in an Off-Broadway production. For that reason, it was not considered for awards this season. However, it opened on Broadway on April 19, 1015, at Circle in the Square, and received an astonishing 12 Tony nominations. Reviewing it again, I have to admit that it is a well made chamber musical, with a fine cast (five of whom were nominated), based on a true story. Bechdel discovered she was a lesbian in college, and she wrote a novel about growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Her father, a funeral parlor owner, was gay, and committed suicide. Her mother was frustrated with her life. As you can see, this is hardly a typical, entertaining Broadway musical. The musical, while pleasant, is hardly memorable. I, personally, will be surprised, if it wins any Tony Awards.
New York City Center Encores! presented Zorba!, book by Joseph Stein, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, adapted from Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzikis. It was a beautiful production, almost a complete Broadway show. John Turturro was in the title role, and did an excellent job. Although not known as a singer nor a dancer, he portrayed the lead with humor, energy and and seemed to be enjoying himself. The audience responded with a tremendous ovation at the curtain call.
Zoe Wanamaker was a delight as the French lady, who longed to marry him. Santino Fontana sings and acts wonderfully, and his attraction to the lonely widow, Elizabeth A. Davis, was heartfelt. The music of Kander and the lyrics of Ebb are always melodious and intelligent, and they were fortunate in having Marin Mazzie as the Leader. She is a magnificent singer, and it is a pleasure to hear every word sung clearly. I left the theatre singing Life Is. It was another splendid Encores!, a New York treasure.
We were invited again as a Drama Desk voter to see Queen of the Night in the basement of the Paramount Hotel. It has received a Drama Desk nomination. It is quite a tourist attraction, where drinks, food and entertainment follow for three hours. The entertainment is a Cirque de Soleil type, with handsome men and pretty girls performing acrobatics on swings, poles, etc. They mingle with the audience. It is quite pleasant. The food, main course is lamb, salmon, or chicken, and is delicious, and the wine also. For a different type of theatrical evening, you will enjoy Queen of the Night.
American Ballet Theatre (ABT) opened its season at the Metropolitan Opera House with a triple bill of three short ballets. Les Sylphides, choreography by Michel Fokine, music by Frederic Chopin, is a classical ballet without a story, and features three female soloists and one male performing various variations. It is a beautiful introduction to ballet, with gorgeous music, and splendid dancing by Isabella Boylston, Misty Copeland, Hee Seo and Thomas Forster. The second ballet was Pillar of Fire, choreography by Antony Tudor, music by Arnold Schoenberg, a story ballet about a frustrated spinster (the remarkable Gillian Murphy). The ovation she received at the curtain call was well deserved. The program concluded on a happy note with Rodeo, choreography by Agnes De Mille, music byAaron Copland, a picture of the American Southwest, with fine dancing by cowboys and their ladies. Xiomara Reyes was the comical tomboy, who turns into a captivating lady at the Saturday night dance. It was a memorable program of dance.
New Dramatists honored Brian Stokes Mitchell at their 66th Annual Luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis. It is always a wonderful event, and many theatre stars attended to honor the great theatre performer, including Kelli O'Hara, Leslie Uggams, who performed, Tonya Pinkins, and casts of An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, Fun Home, and many others too numerous to mention. It is one of my favorite events of the theatrical season.
The Drama League 81st Annual Drama League Awards were presented at the Marriott Marquis Times Square. The 2015 honorees were Joel Grey, Stephen Daldry, and WNET Neal Shapiro and David Horn. An American in Paris was chosen as Outstanding Musical,The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Outstanding Play, The King and I Outstanding Revival of a Musical, You Can't Take It With You Outstanding Revival of a Play, and Chita Rivera received the Distinguished Performance Award. All were well deserved.
With me having a swollen left foot and having difficulty walking, my wife, Dr. Xiuli Meng, rose to the occasion, and attended The MOMS MAMARAZZI lunch event at Juniper Bar, 257 West 37th St, with TV Producer and Host Melissa Rivers celebrating her book The Book of Joan. It was a lovely affair, and my wife took wonderful photos.