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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - July 30, 2016


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
July 30, 2016


Off-Broadway, A Class Act, by Norman Shabel, at New World Stages, is a play about lawyers engaged in a class action suit against a chemical company, which was responsible for toxins in the drinking water. After many twists and turns, we see that lawyers, sometimes, behave badly. If you do not trust your lawyer, you may enjoy this play, written by a lawyer.


Quietly, by Owen McCafferty, at the Irish Repertory Theatre, takes place in a pub in Belfast. The bartender (Robert Zwadzki) and a customer (Patrick O'Kane) are watching a soccer match on television, when in walks a stranger (Declan Conlon). Fists fly as the customer recognizes him as the man who threw a bomb into a pub years ago killing his father. The two men were 16-years-old at the time, and now they are 52-years-old. It reflects the time of the civil war between Catholics and Protestants. The stranger tries to offer his regrets. It is a strong, well acted play, directed by Jimmy Fay. It is a production of the Abbey Theatre, The National Theatre of Ireland in Dublin. We congratulated the splendid cast at the opening night party in the Gallery of the theatre.


I spent a delightful afternoon at Chez Josephine, 414 West 42nd St, where Cause Celebre presented one of their Musical Brunch Series, Songs of Charles Strouse, sung by Penny Fuller, accompanied at the piano by David Gaines. Penny appeared on Broadway with Lauren Bacall in Applause. Founding Director/Playwright Susan Charlotte introduced the program, which include songs from the composer's Broadway shows like Annie, Golden Boy, Bye Bye Birdie, and, of course, Applause, while guests, includingLouise Lasser, Billy Goldenberg and Kathleen Carroll enjoyed a scrumptious three course brunch, with a choice of appetizer, entree and dessert, plus a cocktail. Everything was delicious, including my Maine Lobster Bisque, Classic Eggs Benedict and Profiterole au Chocolat, with my Bacardi Rum and Coca Cola. Chez Josephine is certainly one of the best restaurants on the West Side, and I heartily recommend it for fine dining.


MoMA is presenting Serious Funny: The Films of Leo McCarey July 16-July 31Part Time Wife, USA, 1930, was released 86 years ago, and is as fresh today as if were written yesterday. As always, comedies are about difficult marriages, separation and divorce. In this case, wealthy Edmond Lowe has a quick temper and his beautiful wife Leila Hyams can no longer tolerate his jealousy. She is a talented golfer, and he decides to play golf to win her back. An adorable Tommy Clifford is his smart, young caddy. The dialogue is witty and wise, and lovers of golf will enjoy every minute of this film.


Ruggles at Red Cap, USA 1935, features an all star cast, headed by Charles Laughton (Marmaduke Ruggles) as as a British servant to an English lord (Roland Young). In a poker game in Paris, an American, a highly amusing  rich Charles Ruggles wins the butler for his wife (Mary Boland), and takes him to the Western town Red Cap.

Hilarious scenes follow, including a relationship that develops between Laughton and ZaSu Pitts. His lord arrives in this one horse town, and becomes enchanted with a local belle (the lovely Leila Hyams).

 A highlight is when Laughton recites the Gettysburg Address in the local bar. His lesson in democracy has him become the owner of an elegant restaurant. It is a delightful film.


The Milky Way, USA, 1936, is probably the funniest boxing movie ever made. On a sidewalk, a middle weight champion of the world (William Gargan) is knocked unconscious, as a milkman (Harold Lloyd) ducks, when a bodyguard (Lionel Stander) swings a punch at him. The newspapers, thinking Lloyd had landed the punch, make him a headline sensation. A shady boxing manager (Adolphe Menjou) persuades the milkman to train, and fight six times. Menjou fixes the fights to make Lloyd a contender for the championship. The scenes are silly, but funny. The dialogue is witty and clever. You will laugh from the first minute to the last. Why can't today's filmmakers make these kinds of enjoyable films, without vulgar dialogue, violent scenes, gratuitous demeaning sex, and at a level to appeal to undemanding, unintelligent audiences?


Going My Way, USA, 1944, is a sentimental tale of a young priest (Bing Crosby) assigned to a New York parish to replace an old priest (Barry Fitzgerald). Their growing, warm relationship is the heart of the story. The film won seven Oscars including Crosby as Best Actor. As the most popular singer of that era, he sings a number of songs throughout the film. Rise Stevens as an opera singer appears as an old friend of Crosby, and she performs a scene from Carmen. Their voices plus a children's choir are the highlights of this pleasant film.


Love Affair, USA, 1939, is a romantic story of a painter/playboy (Charles Boyer) and a singer (Irene Dunne), who are both engaged to other people. They are alone on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean to reunite with their fiances in New York, and fall in love. Again, it is a tender tale, that will delight romantic souls. Irene Dunne has a splendid voice, and sings a couple of songs. The dialogue is sharp and clever, and the leading actors are full of charm.


Duck Soup, USA, 1933, features the four Marx Brothers. Zeppo appeared for the final time. For fans of the Marx Brothers, this is a typical zany comedy, and perhaps one of their weakest films. There is a lot of repetition, which is not so funny. Two scenes withEdgar Kennedy selling lemonade from a cart is one too many. Harpo should lose his scissors, and even Groucho's one liners only occasionally hit the mark. However, there is a mirror scene, which is quite amusing and clever. Chico dressed as Groucho, and Groucho face each other, after a mirror is shattered. The result is hilarious.


MoMA is presenting Modern Matinees: Summer with Judy Holliday July 8-August 31. Bells Are Ringing, by Vincente Minnelli, USA, 1960, is a film version of a Broadway musical, written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Jule Styne. It is about a telephone answering service, where the operator (Judy Holliday) gets involved with her customers. Dean Martin is the romantic lead, as a playwright with a writer's block helped by Holliday. It is a very funny musical, with terrific songs, like Just In Time andThe Party's Over. Sadly, this was Holliday's final performance. She was a brilliant comedienne, who lit up the screen in every film.


07-30-16 Playwright Owen McCafferty (L) and cast member Patrick O'Kane at the opening night party for "Quietly" in the Gallery at the Irish Repertory Theatre. 132 West 22nd St. Thursday night. 07-28-16.  Photo by: Aubrey Reuben

07-30-16 (L-R) Penny Fuller. Susan Charlotte at the Cause Celebre Musical Brunch Series "Songs of  Charles Strouse" at Chez Josephine. 414 West 42nd St. Saturday afternoon 07-23-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey reuben

07-30-16 Playwright Owen McCafferty (L) and cast member Patrick O'Kane at the opening night party for "Quietly" in the Gallery at the Irish Repertory Theatre. 132 West 22nd St. Thursday night. 07-28-16


07-30-16 (L-R) Penny Fuller. Susan Charlotte at the Cause Celebre Musical Brunch Series "Songs of Charles Strouse" at Chez Josephine. 414 West 42nd St.
Saturday afternoon 07-23-16


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

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