Tag Archives: Theater

A New Pair of Kinky Boots Struts Down Broadway

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As a born-and-raised, worn out and jaded New Yorker, the word kinky doesn’t scare me. It doesn’t shock, surprise or faze me—even if it’s in the limelight that is Broadway. Now, if you add some shiny boots and composition from Ms. Unusual herself, Cyndi Lauper, then that’s another story.

Or should I say, Broadway musical.

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Coming Out of The Shell with Broadway Edge’s Performing Arts Workshops

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In the heart of NYC’s thriving Broadway theatre district, there’s more for your child to do than just see the best shows: they can also learn how to be in them.  Only in New York can a kid find themselves receiving professional, Broadway-level training that rivals the best adult-oriented classes in the Big Apple.  Two weeks ago, I joined a group from MamaDrama and their kids ages eight through fourteen for a special ANNIE workshop with Broadway Edge, the hottest training program to hit the Great White Way in years.

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A NYC Evening With the Cast of Golden Boy on Broadway

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I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a boxing drama. I have trained in kickboxing, so it appeals from a knowledge of what it’s like to face down another in a direct physical contest, but also because there’s something about boxing that evokes the original American spirit, especially in New York City’s industrial age. So, discovering that playwright Clifford Odets’s 1937 boxing drama Golden Boy has been revived by Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher was a moment of great anticipation. Imagine my glee when I was invited to a VIP pre-show party with several of the cast members. (Hint: it was an epic level of glee.)

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Untying Love: An End-of-Life Play

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Death can be an uncomfortable subject. It’s scary, awkward, and painful—even more so if you know someone who is dying or has a loved one who is near death. This was the case for me going to see the end-of-life play Untying Love last week. The play, written by Peggy Willins and directed by Emma Berry, explores the process of letting go of a loved one in hospice—an experience I’ve been going through with my own mother, who is at the end of a long illness. For this reason, I suspected the play would have special resonance for me, and it did. But it also is a story that applies to all of us.

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Family Fun on 42nd Street, An Urban Review

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As a busy, working mother of three, my kids always appreciate getting some one-on-one time with me, especially my 9-year-old daughter who, unlike her teenage brothers, hasn’t yet outgrown being my BFF. So, when I told her we were heading into the city for an epic mom/kid evening out, she reacted as if it was her birthday. And, as it turns out, we had that much fun.

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Season of Savings Kicks Off New Season with a Fab Contest!

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Season of Savings is not in its 11th year. Honestly, I can’t believe that it has been so long, and my the changes we have seen in the theater community since it launched. This unofficial “New York Theatregoer’s Guide to Times Square” was created in response to the devastating effect that September 11th had on sales at Broadway shows and at businesses in and around the Times Square theatre district.

Go to Times Square now, or better yet, check out the lines at the TKTS, and you can see how vibrant and alive the area is again. Broadway’s lights and sounds are the heart of New York. It is the inspiration behind why so many come to NYC full of hopes and dreams. And it is programs like Season of Savings that have helped to bring it back to life after its most dire moments. Not to mention, how it gives so very many residents and visitors from all over an opportunity to experience theatre in the Great White Way.

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An Honest Look into Life’s Tough Questions with the Lady from Dubuque

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As my friends know, I make no effort to hide how much I love Broadway. I love dressing up for the theater, walking up the grand staircases, taking my seat among hundreds of other musical lovers. Some productions I’ve loved enough to see four times, in three different cities and two different countries.

But despite all that grandeur, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for off-Broadway shows, too. There’s something to be said about the intimacy of a small theater (and about the great view that you get no matter how close you are to the last row). The characters become that much more real, their emotions that much more palpable. And, most importantly, talent isn’t only found on the big stage.

I was recently reminded of this fact when I attended one of the first performances of The Lady from Dubuque, a play by Pulitzer winner Edward Albee that first debuted in 1980. This year’s revival is running at the Frank Gehry-designed Signature Theatre, a modern and welcoming space complete with a cafe/bar, bookshop, and sofa-filled lounge area. For drama and architecture buffs, there are even touchscreen displays mounted on the walls to learn more about the venue and its events.

Though I obviously didn’t require the Playtime! childcare service, considering my single status, it’s a brilliant idea for letting parental theater-goers enjoy a classy, grown-up night without having to worry about finding a sitter. Shows aside, this building simply makes a great community space, and I can also see someone in the area coming here to meet friends or get some work done on a typical day.

The show–which I quickly realized is really adults-only–begins with Sam and Jo inviting two other couples over for drinks and games. As the jibes get meaner and banter turns into yelling, the audience finds out that Jo is dying from cancer. Dramatic and often uncomfortable, with no lack of profanities, the play takes a brutally honest look at our relationship with ourselves and others and at dealing with the end of life. When two strangers arrive after the group disbands and one of them insists she is Jo’s mother despite Sam’s protests, the issue of identity becomes paramount.

While I admit some of the show must have gone over my head–I’m sure there’s lots about married life and domestic dynamics that I can’t comprehend as a twenty-something–there’s no denying the talent of the cast. Laila Robins, who tackles the role of Jo, plays out the sustained pain so convincingly that you can’t help but wince, especially against her witty albeit snarky quips. Theater star Jane Alexander and Peter Francis James (the Lady from Dubuqe and Oscar) are poised and steady, unexpectedly injecting dry, laugh-out-loud humor to balance out the bleak nature of the plot. And Tricia Paoluccio, in her sincere and earnest portrayal of the simple, unsophisticated of character of Carol, ended up becoming my favorite out of them all.

Regardless of age, the play poses some great questions that are relevant to any audience: what it means to feel pain, who we are, and how we know who others are. Perhaps on the serious side for a weekend night, The Lady from Dubuque provides lots of food for thought for a profound experience with plenty of dramatic talent to boot.

 

Disclosure: Performance tickets and child care option were provided courtesy of PLAYTIME! for the purpose of  this review. PLAYTIME!, the first ever child enrichment program that provides arts, culture and care for kids while their parents see an Off Broadway show. The views and opinions expressed here are strictly my own. For more information please refer to the disclosure page.

 

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NYC Fun: New Amsterdam Theater Tour, Mary Poppins and Posing with Mickey

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Disney is huge in NYC. I know, you are asking yourself, “What?” But, truth is, Disney was one of the first major investors in the Times Square area before Times Square was what it is today. Its presence on the  grumbling 42nd street set the tone for what was to come and encouraged change, much of which transformed the area to something no one could have imagined possible at the time.

Its investment was in the performing arts, and it did so in what is the New Amsterdam Theater. But the theater already had a wonderful history before that. For a long time the theater was the home of the Ziegfeld Follies, George White’s Scandals and Eva LeGallienne’s Civic Repertory Theatre. In 1937 it was used as a cinema which closed in 1985. Walt Disney Corporation leased the aging building in 1993. Hugh Hardy, architect known for his extensive work in renovating many cultural icons in NYC, performed his magic on this theater as well and between 1995 and 1997 renovated the New Amsterdam to be the flagship for Disney Theatrical Productions for presentations on Broadway.

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I wanted to be a Rock Star…and a Rock of Ages Review

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When I was around 14 years old, and in my middle school music class in the Dominican Republic, my teacher – a very devoted, very serious musician of some kind, asked the class about their passion for music and what they wanted to be.

I very courageously lifted my hand and said, “I want to be a singer.” My teacher smiled at me and said, “Really? So why don’t you get up and sing for the class.” Just. Like. That.

At first I was horrified. My ENTIRE class of snotty, immature, often mean middle-schoolers. My heart started racing. My palms started sweating. But I really wanted to be a rock star and thought maybe she’ll discover me and introduce me to a famous producer and I’ll be on stage and….Ah, yes. To be 14 again.

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