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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - November 18, 2017


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
November 18, 2017


The Portuguese Kid, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, at the Manhattan Theatre Club, is a 90-minute play with a cast of five unbelievable characters. It is about a lawyer (Jason Alexander), with a domineering mother (Mary Testa), married to an insecure young girl (Aimee Carrero), half his age. A widow (Sherie Rene Scott) wants him to settle her affairs. She is living with a callow young man (Pico Alexander), half her age. In four scenes, there is a so-called joke about Trump, repeated ad nauseam. The play is basically a silly television sitcom. The playwright has written better plays.This is not one of them.

Latin History for Morons, written and performed by John Leguizamo, directed by Tony Taccone, at Studio 54, is a one man solo show by the actor pretending to be a teacher with a blackboard. It was performed Off-Broadway at the PublicTheater, and has now transferred to Broadway. I saw the first show, and I had hoped it would have improved. It has not. He continues to harangue the audience with superficial comments about the Taino indians, the Aztec and Inca Empires. Columbus, Cortes and Pizarro in a language that is filled with vulgarity and profanity. It is unpleasant to listen to for almost two hours. He moves about the stage like a hyperactive rabbit. I have a B.A. and a M.A.degree from New York University in Spanish. I received a Buenos Aires Convention Grant to study the History of Mexico at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1956, a NDEA Grant to study the History of Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico in 1962 and a Fulbright Grant to study the History of Spain at the University of Valladolid in Spain in 1963. I do not like to receive a Latin American History lesson from an uneducated actor in a theater, who spouts cliches and generalizations. The title indicates he believes his audience is composed of idiots. I resent that.

The Band's Visit, music and lyrics by David Yazbek, book by Itamar Moses, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, was produced Off-Broadway, and has transferred to Broadway. It is about an Egyptian band that comes to Israel to give a concert at an Arab cultural center in a town in Israel. They go mistakenly to a small village with a similar name. As they have to spend the night there, they receive food and shelter from the villagers. They become good friends. It is based on a screenplay by Eran Kolirin. The music is pleasant, but not memorable. The musicians are talented, and the singing by the cast is excellent. David Cromer directed. Among the cast, Katrina Lenk, as the proprietor of a small cafe, steals the show. Tony Shalhoub is the captain of the band. The choreography by Patrick McCollum is minimal. The costume design by Sarah Laux for the Israelis is atrocious. Off-Broadway, where expectations are lower, it was an interesting play with music. Broadway audiences deserve better.

Junk, by Ayad Akhtar, at Lincoln Center Theater at  the Vivian Beaumont, is a play about greed, a cardinal sin. In this case, the play is a cardinal sin. Theatre must be entertaining. The audience does not want to be preached to. A large group of fine actors in this overlong play are wasted, under the direction of Doug Hughes. Financial shenanigans on Wall Street are best discussed in the pages of newspapers, or done quite well recently in films. On stage, superficial characters without depth make the audience not care what happens to them. When Steven Pasquale lands up finally in jail for his misdeeds, we sigh with release. The audience, after an excruciating two and one half hours, can finally go home.

Hot Mess, by Dan Rothenberg and Colleen Crabtree, at the Jerry Orbach Theater at the Theater Center, is a three character play, directed by Jonathan Silverstein, about a young girl (Lucy DeVito) (photo below), who has unsuccessful love affairs, and appears to find true love with a new lover (Max Crumm), who has a secret. Like all fairy tales, it has a happy ending. It is an entertaining play. The opening night party took place at the Thalia restaurant, where Lucy's proud parents, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, were among the guests. It was a wonderful night.

The 2017 Trophee des Arts Gala took place at The Plaza Hotel, honoring Peter Marino and Sidney Toledano. I photographed the two honorees, who were charming. It was a splendid affair. All the ladies. looked lovely in their elegant gowns. I met Marie-Monique Steckel, President of the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF), and my old friends Charles Cohen and his beautiful wife Clo. I made a new friend, Robert Schweich and his French wife Monique. I had a wonderful time, but, unfortunately, I had to leave early for the 47th Annual Theater Hall of Fame at the Palm Restaurant, where I am the official photographer.

The 47th AnnualTheater Hall of Fame Award
s took place at the Gershwin Theatre, followed by a dinner at The Palm restaurant, 250 West 50th St. As the official photographer for the event, I had the pleasure of photographing six honorees, Matthew Broderick, Oskar Eustis, Tina Howe, Arthur Kopit, Marin Mazzie and Daryl Roth (photo below)Susan Stroman was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Among the presenters and guests were Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Jane Alexander, Andre Bishop, Paul Libin, Lonny Price, Estelle Parsons, Lois Smith, Phil Smith, Robert Wankel, William Ivey Long, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kenneth Lonergan, J. Smith-Cameron and Joe BenincasaMarin Mazzie had her proud mother Donna and husband Jason Danieley present for the grand occasion. We all enjoyed a delicious dinner of a choice from three entrees, Petite Filet Mignon, Atlantic Salmon Fillet or Chicken Parmigiana. It was a most delightful evening.

My wife and I attended a glorious reception for the 
Kick off The U.S. Launch of the 28th Rallye Aicha Des Gazelles Du Maroc, under the patronage of His Majesty The King Mohammed VI. Fine wines and delicious hors d'oeuvres were served at the new Bobby Van's CPS, 40 Central Park South. It was a night of nostalgia. Norah Lawlor was the press representative for the event. I met Norah, when, as a young lady from Canada, she came to New York to handle the press for Peter Stringfellow, when he opened his popular discoteque and fine restaurant on East 21st St. We went to Tangiers for Malcolm Forbes' 70th birthday party and to New Jersey to Whitney Houston's birthday party. They were memorable events, as she told Jane Pontarelli, who is my matchmaker, because I met my beautiful wife Xiuli at Jane's Society luncheon at the Mandarin Oriental over ten years ago. Also present were Roger Friedman, a leading gossip columnist, and his brother Mark in real estate. Sharon Hoge, who was in Tangiers with Norah and me, has homes around the world and travels constantly, and joined us at our table. Also present were Roland Levin, the ex-husband of the famous Siberian supermodel and TV actress, Irina Pantaeva,, and Carmen D'Alessio, who was present almost every night at Studio 54 in its glory days. The Rallye is the first women-only rally in the world, which takes place in the Moroccan desert March 16-31, 2018. They drive special vehicles and the event attracts women from ages 18 to 71! It was a delightful evening.

A night of nostalgia continues at Gallaghers, 228 West 52nd St, the famous steakhouse, which celebrated its 90th year. The kitchen was open to all their guests with steak, chicken, salmon, and many other dishes too numerous to mention. All my old waiters and bartenders are still there, and among the famous people were my dear friend, Matilde Cuomo and her daughter Maria,  Patrick McMullan, the famous photographer, who stated photographing ages ago with me, publicist David Granoff,who came up from his home in Florida, and who introduced me to his client the late Anna Nicole SmithSteve Cuozzo, the food and real estate editor at my New York Post and his wife Jane, Ron Galella, whose photographs of famous celebrities were on display in the front room, and there were so many other guests too numerous to mention. My photograph of 
Richard Harris and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr at an opening night party years ago is still hanging on the wall in the front room. It is a wonderful restaurant, and my wife and I enjoyed every minute of the marvelous occasion.

A wonderful gala was the 
Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Collaborating for a Cure 20th Anniversary Benefit Dinner & Auction at Cipriani Wall Street, 55 Wall Street, which honored in memoriam William S. Gorin, former CEO MFA Financial, Inc. The host for the evening was Chris Wragge, Co-Anchor CBS News This Morning and the entertainment was provided by The Avett Brothers. As always, I met some delightful people, and I was sorry to have to leave. I could only attend the cocktail party, as I had opening night parties for two Off-Broadway plays the same night.

Columbus Library, 742 10th Avenue, presented Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, by Martin Scorsese, USA, 1974, starring Ellen Burstyn, who won an Oscar for her outstanding performance as a widow with a 12-year-old son, trying to survive as a a saloon singer, and later on as a waitress. The film itself is overlong and needed judicious editing.
53rd Street Library presented Babel, by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, USA/Mexico/France, 2006. The story is about a hunter from Japan, who gives his guide his rifle as a thank-you gift. The guide sells the rifle to a goatherd, whose two young boys practice shooting, and injure an American woman (Cate Blanchett) on a tour bus in Morocco. She, with her husband (Brad Pitt), have left their two young children with their nanny in San Diego, who takes them without permission to Mexico to attend her son's wedding. The plot thickens with tragic results. The cast is first rate, and the photography in Morocco, Mexico and Japan is stunning. I was totally engrossed in this clever, intelligent film. 




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

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