Disgraced, by Ayad Akhtar, at the Lyceum Theatre, was produced Off-Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize. It has now transferred to Broadway with four new cast members in a five member cast, directed by Kimberly Senior. Amir (Hari Dhillon) is a corporate lawyer. He was a Muslim of Pakistani descent, who has left his religion, and become assimilated to a successful American way of life. His wife is a white American artist (Gretchen Mol), and they live in a spacious apartment on the Upper East Side in New York. A dinner party, with a Jewish gallery owner (Josh Radnor) and his black wife (Karen Pittman), who works in the same law office as Amir, turns into a disaster, with violent consequences. It is a serious, intelligent, well acted play, which deals with hot topics of the moment for the United States, including terrorism, Israel, and assimilation of immigrants from Muslim countries, and it maintains a viewer's interest throughout the four scenes, which last ninety minutes without an intermission.
Sophie von Haselberg made her New York Off-Broadway debut in Billy & Ray at the Vineyard Theatre. Her proud parents were there to give her a standing ovation. Her mother is Bette Midler. At the opening night party at Fourth on Fourth Avenue between 12th and 13th St, Bette told me that her daughter speaks Chinese, and studied in Beijing and worked for a year in Shanghai. I was impressed. Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt were there opening night to support cast member Vincent Kartheiser Mad Men. Garry Marshall directed the four cast member play by Mike Bencivenga.
American Ballet Theatre (ABT) opened a two week season at the David I. Koch Theater. I attended a program of three ballets. It began with a charming World Premiere Raymonda Variations, choreography by Marius Petipa, staged by Irina Kolpakova and KevinMcKenzie, music by Alexander Glazounov. Hee Seo and James Whiteside led the Grand Pas Classique, and were superb, and were even better in their individual variations, as was Christine Shevchenko in her variation. Jardin Aux Lilass (Lilac Garden), choreography by Antony Tudor, music by Ernest Chausson, takes place at a party, where Caroline (Devon Teuscher) is to be married, and meets her former lover (Cory Stearns). It is a dreamy ballet, which focuses on looks and gestures, rather than on dance. The program concluded with the ever popular Fancy Free, choreography by Jerome Robbins, music by Leonard Bernstein, with Herman Cornejo, Cory Stearns and Marcelo Gomes as the three sailors on the town to pick up young ladies.
They nearly have success with Stella Abrera and Julie Kent. It is a joyous ballet, and the dancers are splendid. It was a lovely night at the ballet.
The Cause Celebre A. B. C. Gala was a festive event at 3 West 51st St, honoring the Educational Alliance and Sheldon Harnick. Among the guests were Louise Lasser, Fritz Weaver and Richard Easton. The host was Susan Charlotte, andRex Reed, Mark Nadler, Keith Buterbaugh, Maureen O'Flynn and Billy Goldenberg performed, and James Lebenthal also spoke. It was a lovely gala.
I attended a photo op for the cast and creative team of the Irish Repertory Theatre's A Christmas Memory, which opens on December 4, starring Alice Ripley. Based on a short story by Truman Capote, it is a musical presented for the first time by the company. I look forward to opening night.
Philip Marie, 569 Hudson St at West 11th St., is a wonderful restaurant, and I attended a tasting of the new bar menu, which included among others, Satay with Peanut Sauce (chicken or beef), Cheese Plate (chose two from four cheeses), Egg Trio, and signature cocktails. Definitely order the Black Cherry Manhattan. Everything we tasted was delicious.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held a marvelous press event 100 Years in Post-Production Resurrecting a Lost Landmark of Black Film History. Rajendra Roy and Ron Magliozzi addressed the press, and Margo Jefferson joined them in a conversation about the 55 minute screening of silent film clips with piano accompaniment by a wonderful pianist Donald Sosin that followed. The 101-year film footage of black actors, with the star Bert Williams, was discovered at Biograph Studio, and was about to be destroyed. What luck that MoMA was able to rescue it! It was fascinating look at film history.
Citizen Four, by Laura Poitras, USA, 2014, is a fascinating documentary, in which Poitras and a reporter, Glenn Greenwald, gained access to the whistleblower Edward J. Snowden, and interviewed and photographed him in Hong Kong. What he revealed about the abuse of power by the National Security Agency and the secret surveillance of all United States citizens and foreign governments is truly astonishing. Snowden appears to be an honest man, appalled by the United States government's invasion of privacy of innocent citizens. It is a frightening tale, and Poitras and Greenwald are to be commended for their pursuit of the truth.