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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - May 21, 2016

 

Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
May 21, 2016

 






 

The 2016 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards were presented at Feinstein's/Studio 54 Below. It is always a grand affair, with delicious food and an open bar. The awards were presented to Stephen Karam by Joe Mantello for his play The Humans. His six member cast were there to congratulate him. George C. Wolfe received the Best Musical Award for Shuffle Along. His choreographer Savion Glover introduced him. Other special awards were presented to Oskar Eustis, Lois Smith, Ivo van Hove and JanVersweyveld, by David Henry Hwang, Harris Yulin, Sophie Okonedo and Ben Whishaw. They were fine selections, and the recipients and presenters were charming company. I enjoyed every moment.


 

The Drama League presented their 82nd Annual Drama League Awards at a ceremony and luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis. The winners for Outstanding Musical was Hamilton, Play The Humans, Revival of a Musical The Color Purple and Play A View from the Bridge. Lin-Manuel Miranda won the Distinguished Performance Award presented by Audra McDonald, and special awards went to Deaf West Theatre, Sheldon Harnick and Ivo van Hove. Megan Hilty and Zachary Levi hosted the ceremony. The many nominees for awards included Jessica Lange, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Williams, and ,amy, many more too numerous to mention. It was wonderful afternoon.


 

I was invited again to see the revival of The Color Purple, book by Marsha Norman, music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, based on the novel written by Alice Walker. Heather Headley replaced Jennifer Hudson, and was superb. Cynthia Erivo is the leading lady, and has already won the Outer Critics Circle Award as Outstanding Actress in a Broadway Musical. She is also nominated for the Drama Desk and Tony Awards. I am not a betting man, but I have no doubt that she will win both awards. She is absolutely brilliant.
 


 

Off-Broadway, Indecent, by Paula Vogel, at the Vineyard Theatre, is a play with music, with choreography by David Dorfman, directed by Rebecca Taichman. Three musicians, two of whom composed the music, complement a seven member cast. The play is based on a scandal when Sholem Asch wrote God of Vengeance in the early twentieth century in Germany. Since it is about a daughter of a brothel owner falling in love with one of his prostitutes, the playwright and the actors were branded as immoral and they were prosecuted. Fortunately, today, no one think lesbians are immoral, and their lovemaking is generally accepted. The acting is fine, as is the music and dancing, but the play is a history lesson rather than an entertainment.


 

Turn Me Loose, by Gretchen Law, at the Westside Theatre, is a play about the comic genius Dick Gregory. Joe Morton gives an outstanding performance as the activist/comedian, which tells his life.The opening night party at 42 West, 514 West 42nd St, was one of best Off-Broadway opening night parties ever. A delicious buffet dinner was served with an open bar. The venue is lovely, and there was dancing throughout the night. Among the many guests were Dick Gregory, producer John Legend and Stephen Lang. I repeat, it was a swell party to quote Cole Porter.


 

 

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) opened its season at the Metropolitan Opera House with Sylvia, music by Leo Delibes, choreography by Frederick Ashton. It is a charming production with splendid music, played magnificently by the orchestra, conducted byOrmsby Wilkins. The story is silly about Sylvia (Hee Seo), one of Diana's nymphs, who is loved by Aminta, a shepherd (Roberto Bolle) and pursue by Orion, an evil hunter (Cory Stearns).

 

Thanks to Eros, god of love (Jeffrey Cirio), all ends happily. The sets and costumes by Robin and Christopher Ironside, with additional design by Peter Farmer, are lovely, and the dancing by all the principal dancers mentioned above is exceptional. However, in the second act, Patrick Frenette and Gabe Stone Shayersteal the show with clever, humorous dancing as slaves to Orion. They were delightful and merited their well deserved ovation.

One of my favorite events is the 34th Annual Fred and Adele Astaire Awards at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. After a cocktail reception, the program included performances by many dancers and the celebrity presenters announced the winners in the various categories. There was a three way tie for Outstanding Choreographer in a Broadway Show with Andy Blankenbuehler Hamilton, Savion Glover Shuffle Along and Sergio Trujillo On Your Feet!. Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show was Jane Krakowski She Loves Me and Male Dancer Phillip Attmore Shuffle Along. Special Awards were presented to Judith Jamison, Nigel Lythgoe, Maurice Hines and Dr. Joan Fallon. A VIP  After Party followed the ceremony at the Hebrew Union College, where our dinner companions included Lee Roy Reems, Sandi Duncan and Don Correia. It was the conclusion to a magnificent evening.


 

The tdf/Irene Sharaff Awards 2016 was held at the Edison Ballroom. One of my favorite designers Michael Yeargan received the Robert L. B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design 2016 presented by one of my favorite opera and theatre directors Bartlett Sher. Together they were responsible for the revivals of last year's The King and I and this year's Fiddler on the Roof, two of my happiest evenings  on Broadway. A 15 minute memorial tribute to Dorothy Jeakins was the highlight of the evening. She won three Oscars for her beautiful costumes and was responsible for many the costume design on Broadway shows. She was a remarkable talent


 

I attended the Samuel Waxman Cancer Foundation's Luncheon & Fashion Presentation showcasing Oscar de la Renta, hosted by Andrea Stark in her elegant apartment. Her home is simply spectacular, filled with her favorite artworks. Her guests were treated to a delicious buffer and excellent Prosecco. It was a glorious afternoon..
 


 

All the cast and creative team of Eclipsed showed up at Sardi's, as their cast member Lupita Nyong'o received her caricature. It was a wonderful occasion, and Lupita  looked lovely. She is giving a brilliant performance in the play, and deserves all the nominations she is receiving this season on Broadway.


 

Our dear friend, Jane Pontarelli invited my wife and me to a lovely reception sips to a fun and healthy summer at Beautique, 8 West 58th St. where Dr. Luiza Petre shared some easy ways to cut calories while enjoying favorite cocktails and snacks. It was a celebration for Jane's Play Pink Golfing Benefit. By the way, Jane is responsible for my marriage to Xiuli Meng M.D. Nine years ago, Xiuli attended Jane's charity luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental. I asked her at which table she was seated. She said table 27. I said I was at table 9, and I would see if I could switch her to my table. After lunch, she walked me home, and she said Do you live here? at 888 8th Avenue, because 8 is a lucky number in Chinese. I asked if she would like to see my apartment. She said yes. She came up to my home that afternoon nine years ago and never left. If I had lived at 777 7th Avenue, we never would have married!


 
 
 

05-21-16 (L-R) John Legend. Dick Gregory. Joe Morton at the opening night party for "Turn Me Loose" at 42 West. 514 West 42nd St. Thursday night. 05-19-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

05-21-16 (L-R) George C. Wolfe who receives a 2016 New York Drama Circle Award for "Shuffle Along" with cast members of "The Crucible" Sophie Okonedo. Ben Whishaw at Feinstein's/Studio 54 Below. 254 West 54th St. Tuesday afternoon. 05-17-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey Reuben

05-21-16 (L-R) John Legend. Dick Gregory. Joe Morton at the opening night party for "Turn Me Loose" at 42 West. 514 West 42nd St. Thursday night. 05-19-16


05-21-16 (L-R) George C. Wolfe who receives a 2016 New York Drama Circle Award for "Shuffle Along" with cast members of "The Crucible" Sophie Okonedo. Ben Whishaw at Feinstein's/Studio 54 Below. 254 West 54th St.
Tuesday afternoon. 05-17-16

 

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

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