Sunday, July 24, 2016

I Detoured for "Bursting with Song"

I recently visited Bucks Country for a weekend getaway. Being a theater lover, one would naturally assume that experiencing a production at the famous Bucks County Playhouse was at the top of my list. 

Bucks County Playhouse

However, the current production at the time did not interest me. What interested me however was a small concert production around 30 minutes south in the PA town of Bristol at the Bristol Riverside Theatre - Bursting with Song - a celebration of Broadway tunes performed by African-American performers. 

I loved the performers and was glad that they treated the audience to classics as well as modern tunes such as medley from Broadway's hottest show at the moment - Hamilton

Well worth the detour to a theater that I knew nothing about before my Bucks County trip. 

Bristol Riverside Theatre

"Bursting with Song" Song List:

Act I
Get Happy by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
The Birth of the Blues by Ray Henderson, B.G. DeSylva, and Lew Brown
Night and Day by Cole Porter
Come Rain or Come Shine by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer
Hit Me With a Hot Note by Duke Ellington and Don George
Sophisticated Lady by Irving Mills, Mitchell Parish, and Duke Ellington 
Ain't Misbehavin by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razaf
Loungin' at the Waldorf by Thomas "Fats" Waller and Richard Maltby, Jr.
I'm Just Wild About Harry by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake
The Color Purple by Allee Willis, Brenda Russell, and Stephen Bray

Act II
It Don't Mean a Thing by Duke Ellington and Irving Mills
Selections from Hamilton (History Has Its Eyes On You, My Shot, What'd I Miss) by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Stormy Weather by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
Is You Is or Is You Ain't (My Baby) by Billy Austin and Louis Jordan
A Sleepin' Bee by Harold Arlen and Truman Capote
I've Gotta Be Me by Walter Marks
Any Little Thing by Allee Willis, Brenda Russell, and Stephen Bray
What's Goin' On by Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, and Renaldo Benson
Black and Blue by Thomas "Fats" Waller, Harry Brooks, and Andy Razaf
A Brand New Day by Luther Vandross

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Artist I Love: Sharon Jones

Miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary about one of my favorite soul artists, is coming out this week. Her story is truly inspirational. Recalling her comeback Beacon concert brings a smile to my face. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Orlando Orlando Orlando

For months now, my family and I have been planning to head down to happy happy Orlando later this summer to have a mini reunion. While planning this trip, it has been absolutely shocking and horrible to watch the tragedies that have occurred in Orlando in recent weeks. 

A 22 year old former Voice singer was shot and killed while signing autographs after a show. 

A Nebraskan toddler was dragged and killed by an alligator in a Disney lagoon. 

And the deadliest mass shooting occurred at a gay Orlando nightclub, killing 49 victims and fracturing countless lives. 

Absolutely horrible! Absolutely senseless!

Love though will always prevail over evil and there has been an outpouring of love from ALL around the world. 

Broadway's best responded with their touching tribute -  What The World Needs Now Is Love. 

Here it is...

Monday, June 27, 2016

Three Concerts I Saw Outside of Manhattan

Lately, I have been traveling through tunnels and across bridges to attend concerts. Here are three worthwhile concerts I attended outside of Manhattan.  

My first stop was Gregory Porter at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown NJ. After seeing Patti at Mayo a few years ago, I have been itching to return to not only see a show but also check out another of the dining experiences in Jockey Hollow at the Vail Mansion. Grammy award winning Gregory Porter was my opportunity to do so. Gregory Porter did not disappoint and all I can say right now is drop everything and listen to the title track from his most recent album - Take Me to the Alley.  

Next up was Valerie June at Sopac in South Orange NJ. With Valerie June, I think that you either get or don't get her "organic moonshine roots music." Her voice creeps up on me and screams American heartland all the way. It is run to watch her development. 


Third was my first trip to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I finally had the opportunity to see Florence and the Machine. Don't know what it is about English lead Florence Welch but I just dig her voice and admired her energy. Well worth it on a school night. 

These concerts remind me that the music world does not begin and end in Manhattan. All venues were easily accessible by public transportation and were well worth the trip.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Quote from Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart"

Ned Weeks in Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart:
Felix, weakness terrifies me. It scares the shit out of me. My father was weak and I'm afraid I'll be like him. His life didn't stand for anything, and then it was over. So I fight, Constantly. And if I can do it, I can't understand why everybody else can't do it, too. Okay?

Friday, June 10, 2016

Quote from Jennifer Haley's "The Nether"

Sims in Jennifer Haley's The Nether:
What are you afraid of? Violence? Porn? Did you know porn drives technology? The first photographs? Porn. The first movies? Porn. The most popular content when the Nether was called the Internet? Porn. The urge, Detective - the urge - as long as we are sentient, you will never stamp that out. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Broadway Carpool Karaoke

Watching this was the best part of the my day. I'm such a theater geek!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quote from Ayad Akhtar's "Disgraced"

Emily in Ayad Akhtar's Disgraced:
Not seeing you. Not seeing who you really are. Not until you started to deal with him. And the deftness with which you did that. You made him see that gap. Between what he was assuming about you and what you really are. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Stage Diversity Shows Progress

The Guardian - New theater season once again shows lack of diversity on Broadway and Off
When this blog started, posts often touched on diversity on the New York City stage. That was not the intention for NYCSB. The focus was supposed to be the experience of going to the theater, not the lack of diversity on the stage. 

So, I stopped writing about diversity. 

Today though I want to revisit the topic for a moment, because it has been an exciting year of progress on the stage (especially when compared to the bigger Hollywood movie industry). 

Some exciting accomplishments:
  • The musical Waitress made history with the first all female creative team on Broadway and the play Eclipsed  made history as the first all-black, all-female show on Broadway.
  • According to the AAPAC's report - Ethnic Representation on New York City Stages,30% of roles went to actors of color, a new high and 24% jump from the previous year. Not earth shattering but progress nonetheless.
  • Pulitzer winning multi-ethnic Hamilton has undoubtedly added to the innovation of the Broadway musical! 
  • The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has an ongoing initiative to work towards a diverse and equitable cultural workforce (after surveys showed that while NYC's art groups are more diverse than other organizations nationally, they are far from reflective of the city's demographics).

At this exact moment, there is a wonderful array of diverse productions on Broadway. Two of my favorites in the past year - Hamilton and The King and I - have wonderful diverse cast. On Your Feet! (which I haven't yet seen) looks at entertainment powerhouse - Gloria Estefan and productions such as Allegiance (closed) and Eclipsed told us stories of the unseen victims of war. Finally, two of the most exciting playwrights now in my opinion are young, gifted and black - Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Dominique Morisseau.

The issue of diversity on the stage will never be solved. This year however shows us that progress can and is being made. And on that note, here is a link to Bleep Magazine's - Fall on Broadway – more diversity than ever before.   

Other Posts
Diversity in the Theater - Part III
Diversity in the Theater - Part II
Diversity in the Theater - Part I