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



Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!

February 18, 2017


New York City Center Encores!
 presented Big  River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, music and lyrics by Roger Miller, book by William Hauptman, adapted from the novel by Mark TwainNicholas Barasch (Huckleberry Finn) and Kyle Scatliffe (Jim) are the leads, directed by Lear deBessonet, who sail down the Mississippi River in the 1840s, having many adventures along the way, while meeting interesting characters. Among them are two excellent comical ones, David Pittu as The King and Christopher Sieber as The Duke. The country style songs capture the spirit of the times, and Muddy Water which is reprised at the curtain call is a catchy song, that the audience hums on leaving the theater. The melodious music is played excellently by the orchestra, conducted by Rob Berman. The Encores! series is one of the highlights of every theatre season since its inception.


Off-Broadway, Ring Twice for Miranda, by Alan Hruska, at New York City Center Stage II, takes place in an unnamed dangerous city, where the inhabitants have fled. Miranda, the maid (Katie Kleiger) (photo below) and Elliot, the butler (George Merrick)  live in the mansion of a wealthy tyrant named Sir (Graeme Malcolm). When Elliott is fired and Miranda follows, they are cast adrift in a cruel world. Four more characters form the cast, directed by Rick Lombardo. It is an unusual, weird play, with terrific acting by the seven member cast. The opening night party was held in Hurley's Saloon, 232 West 48th St, where the cast, family and friends feasted on hors d'oeuvres, cookies and cake, plus wine and beer galore. It was a splendid party.


Evening at the Talk House, by Wallace Shawn, is a production of the New Group.  The play takes place in a theatre bar, ten years after a play had flopped with the reunion of the cast and playwright, two of whom went on to success in television. The other six characters have suffered. It is dark, pessimistic view of the future of live theatre. The eight member cast, Matthew Broderick (photo below), Jill Eikenberry, John Epperson, Larry Pine, Wallace Shawn, Claudia Shear, Annapurna Sriram and Michael Tucker are a pleasure to watch, directed expertly by Scott Elliott.The opening night party took place at Green Fig Urban Eatery, 570 Tenth Avenue with a multitude of celebrities,  like Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Urie, Daniel Gerroll, Patricia Kalember, Lois Smith, who congratulated the marvelous cast.


The New York City Ballet presented The Sleeping Beauty, music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky, choreography by Peter Martins, one of most sumptuous and expensive ballets ever produced by the company. The scenery and the costumes were a delight to the eye, and the production is wonderful. The dancers sparkled. Sara Means as The Lilac Fairy, Ashley Bouder as Princess Aurora and Andrew Veyette as Prince Desire were outstanding, especially in The Wedding, the final scene in the ballet. Among the other dancers in the final scene who impressed were Chase Finlay (Gold), Megan LeCrone (Diamond), Erica Pereira (Princess Florine) and Anthony Huxley (The Bluebird). The Garland Dance, choreography by Balanchine, is the highlight of Act 1, enhanced by the adorable students from the School of American Ballet. The orchestra, under the baton of Andrews Sill, played the score beautifully. It was a glorious night an the ballet.


The 92nd Street Y presented Let's Misbehave: The Sensational Songs of Cole Porter, one of the Lyrics & Lyricists Series, in The Theresa L. Kaufmann Concert Hall. David Loud was the artistic director, writer & host, and Noah Racey was the stage director. Five talented singers, Allison Blackwell, Lewis Cleale, Nikki Renee Daniels, Rebecca Luker and Matthew Scott, performed the songs, accompanied by six superb musicians, conducted by Paul Masse. Listening to the clever lyrics from wonderful songs by the brilliant Cole Porter makes one realize what is lacking in much of the musical theatre of today. Congratulations to Deborah Grace Winer, the series artistic director!


Many celebrities came to bowl at the 5th Annual Paul Rudd All-Star Bowling Benefit for the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY), at Lucky Strike Lanes, 624-660 West 42nd St. Due to Paul Rudd's filming schedule, he was unable to attend, and replacing him was Brandon Victor Dixon as the host. Among the celebrities were Gilbert Gottfried, Frank Wood, Caroline Rhea and Kelli O'HaraCocktails and food was served for this worthy cause. 


A reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres was held before the screening of the BET International documentary Behind the Curtain: Eclipsed, about 7 women who took over Broadway with a groundbreaking play. The playwright Danai Gurira, the director Liesl Tommy and the five actresses, Lupita Nyong'o, Akusua Bosia, Zainab Jah, Saycon Sengbloh and Pascale Armand, plus set and costume designer Clint Ramos appear in the film and are interviewed, as well as the lead producersStephen Byrd and Alia Harvey Jones. It is a wonderful film about a magnificent play written, directed and acted by seven remarkable ladies of African descent. Before the screening, there was a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception and after the screening we toasted those present with champagne and cupcakes. I thanked Stephen Byrd for inviting me to this memorable event.


Film Society at Lincoln Center presented press previews of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema: March 1-12. Django, by Etienne Comar, France, 2017,is a slow-moving film about the brutality of the Germans inflicted upon Gypsies in occupied France during World War II. The famous Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, is portrayed by a dull actor (Reda Kateb), who appears in almost every scene, many of which are filmed in semi darkness. However, the music is sublime, and there are many musical selections that make the film worth watching.

 written and directed by Francois Ozon, Germany/France, 2016, is about the effect of World War I on the survivors in Germany and France. A German family is visited by a Frenchman (Pierre Niney) after their son is killed near the end of the war. He lies about his relationship as a friend of their son when the son visited Paris before the war. The dead son's fiancee (Paula Beer) decides to visit Paris, and discovers that the Frenchman has many problems, that are revealed during her visit. The plot has many twists and turns, but it is a beautiful story about love, loss and forgiveness, and holds one's interest until the end. The acting is superb, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.


France has experienced many sad global terrorist acts recently. Unfortunately, Nocturama, by Bertrand Bonello, France/Germany/Belgium, 2016, is about a group of young people, who decide to blow up several buildings in Paris for no discernible reason. They then hide out in a luxury department store, where they continue to act like idiots. There is no virtue in watching a film like this. It is repulsive, full of ridiculous violence, loud horrible musical soundtrack, and most of the characters are unattractive to look at.


Heal the Living/Reparar les vivants, by Katell Quillevere, France/Belgium, 2016, tells the story of a heart transplant. A young man is brain dead from a car accident. His parents agree to donate his organs. A middle age lady in another city has a weak heart, and needs a transplant. The heart is flown to her. It is a medical melodrama, which shows how to cut up a body and insert it into a live human being. If you are not squeamish, this may be your cup of tea. The story of the two families involved is full of over the top emotions, and will delight audiences, who enjoy a good cry.


From the Land of the Moon/Mal de pierres, by Nicole Garcia, France/Belgium/Canada. 2016, stars Marion Cotillard, a wonderful actress, who gives outstanding performances every time she is on screen. In this beautifully photographed film, she is obsessed with romantic novels, and becomes oversexed. She begins pursuing a married teacher, and then she marries a man she does not love. When she continues acting crazy, she is sent to a medical spa in the mountains to recuperate, and falls in love with a wounded army officer (Louis Garel), which ends tragically. Her performance is mesmerizing.


The Dancer/La danseuse, by Stephanie Di Giusto, France/Belgium/Czech Republic, 2016, is based on the true story of an American modern dancer Loie Fuller (Soko), who becomes the rage of Paris at the Follies Bergere, where she creates an unusual colorful dance spectacle. She has competition with the arrival of Isadora Duncan, who went on to steal the limelight. It is a visually spectacular film, and the acting is superb. The atmosphere of turn of the twentieth century Paris is wonderfully recreated.





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

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