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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben -February 8, 2014


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
February 8, 2014


02-04-14 Honoree Neil Patrick Harris (L) and David Burtka at the Drama League's 30th Annual "Musical Celebation of Broadway" at the Pierre Hotel. 2 East 61st St. Monday night 02-03-14.  photo by:  aubrey reuben

02-04-14 Honoree Neil Patrick Harris (L) and David Burtka at the Drama League's 30th Annual "Musical Celebration of Broadway" at the Pierre Hotel. 2 East 61st St. Monday night 02-03-14
On Broadway, I saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical again. It confirmed my belief that is one of the most entertaining and intelligent musicals this season, and the music is simply wonderful. Jessie Mueller as Carole King deserves a Tony nomination.

Bronx Bombers, by Eric Simonson, at the Circle in the Square, is a play for fans of baseball. It begins with a dramatic scene between Reggie Jackson and manager Billy Martin, who nearly came to blows the day before during a game. Yogi Berra is the peacemaker. The second act is mainly a fantasy dinner at Yogi's house with guests like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and other famous players. People who follow baseball may enjoy the play. People who have little interest in the sport may not.

Off-Broadway, Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes, written and performed by Billy Hayes, is a one man show, in which he tells about his escape, after serving five years in a Turkish jail. He was sentenced after being caught smuggling hashish in 1970. It's a harrowing tale, which was made into a successful film. The opening night party took place at Sardi's.

The New York City Ballet presented a program of two wonderful ballets. Dances at a Gathering, music by Frederic Chopin, choreography by Jerome Robbins, features five couples who dance solos, duets, trios and more to the music played by Susan Walters at the piano. It is a lovely, charming ballet, and the dancers are superb. Union Jack, music byHershy Kay, choreography by Balanchine, is a tribute to Great Britain with traditional British music. The three sections are marvelous, beginning with a gorgeous 70 member ensemble of seven Scottish and Canadian Guard Regiments. A Costermonger Pas de Deux follows, and the ballet concludes with a salute to the Royal Navy. The ballet is simply spectacular, and is one of Balanchine's most glorious masterpieces. It was a great night at the ballet.

Drama League's 30th Annual Musical Celebration of Broadway honored Neil Patrick Harris at their gala at the Pierre Hotel. Michael Mayer directed the gala production, which included performers like James Barbour, Eddie Korbich, Cady Huffman and many others. Among the guests were David Burtka, Judith Light and Bonnie Comley. It was a festive event.

MoMA presented Roadshow: The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s February 1-7. Finian's Rainbow, by Francis Ford Coppola, USA, 1968, was a successful Broadway musical with lovely songs. In the film, the songs remain lovely, especially when sung by Petula Clark
starring in her first American film role, playing the daughter of Fred Astaire, in his last major musical film. The story is so silly, that it is not worth describing, but the music is a joy. Camelot, by Joshua Logan, USA, 1967, was another successful Broadway musical with lovely songs by Lerner and Loewe.







































 The film, however, is an overlong bore. The casting of Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero in the leads was a mistake. None of them are major singers. But, again the music is a joy to listen to. Funny Girl, by William Wyler, USA, 1968, featured Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice, the Ziegfeld Follies star, and tells the story of her unhappy life with her first husband. Streisand won a well deserved Oscar for her performance and the songs are very good, but the drama is not. Cabaret, by Bob Fosse, USA, 1972, also won well deserved Oscars for Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey. What a pleasure to see them on film! The film is quite different from the Broadway musical, but is very entertaining, and, again, the songs are wonderful.

At MoMA an ongoing Auteurist History of Film presented two films by Ousmane Sembene from Senegal. Borom Sarret, 1963, is a short film revealing the poverty in Dakar, while following a worker with a horse and cart trying to earn a meager living. La Noire de... (Black Girl), 1965, is a disturbing film, showing a young girl from Senegal, working as a cook and cleaning lady and as a nanny for three children of a French couple living on the French Riviera. Her life ends tragically.

MoMA also is presenting: Lino Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light, The Philippines, 1975, February 6-12, which is considered its country's masterpiece. An innocent young man from the provinces arrives in the capital to search for his girlfriend, who, supposedly, came to work in a factory and continue her education. It shows the extreme poverty of the working class, with rampant prostitution, drug addiction, violence and a tragic ending. It is a powerful film.

Film Society of Lincoln Center presented Dance on Camera January 31-February  4. La Passion Noureev, by Fabrice Herrault, USA, 2013, contains rare archival footage of the magnificent dancer in the 60s and 70s. We see him working with Roland Petit and Maurice Bejart, among other choreographers, and there are clips with Margot Fonteyn andMerle Park, among other dancers. A Q & A with the director and ballerina Isabelle Guerin followed the screening.

Giselle, by Toa Fraser, New Zealand, 2013, is a beautiful film of the magnificent ballet, with an exquisite Gillian Murphy in the title role. There is an unnecessary background story added to the film, but the Royal New Zealand Ballet reveals it is a first class, well trained ballet company, of which New Zealand can be proud.

I saw another Oscar  nominated Best Picture Dallas Buyers Club, by Jean-Marc Vallee, USA, 2013. It is based on a true story about one of the first AIDS victims, Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey), who smuggles illegal drugs into Texas, after being diagnosed with the disease and told that he has a short time to live. His performance and that of Jarod Leto, playing a fictitious transvestite, also suffering from AIDS, who becomes his business partner, are superb, in this very powerful film.


02-06-14 Cast member Billy Hayes (L) and director John Gould Rubin at the opening night party for "Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes" at Sardi's. 234 West 44th St. Wednesday night 02-05-14.  photo by:  aubrey reuben

02-06-14 Cast member Billy Hayes (L) and director John Gould Rubin at the opening night party for "Riding the Midnight Express With Billy Hayes" at Sardi's. 234 West 44th St. Wednesday night






joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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