Saturday, July 11, 2015

I Will Travel for Theater!!

I love to travel. I will travel for food and wine. I will travel for art and history. I will travel for adventure. 

And since I've started this blog, I realize that I will leave NYC for theater and performing arts. 

Granted, most of this travel has been regional, but oh, what fun! Let me reminisce for a few moments...
  • Day trip to Princeton for Gatz.
  • Overnighter to Hudson NY for Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings.
  • Overnighter to Cape May for He and She. Went back again to see The Mountaintop.
  • Went to Maine's Ogunquit Playhouse. Okay, I went for lobster and the seacoast as well. Now, this is an annual tradition and I've had the pleasure of seeing three wonderful productions at this gem - Thoroughly Modern Millie, Billy Elliot and Victor Victoria.
  • Day trip to Morristown's Mayo Performing Arts Center for PATTI.
  • Overnighter to DC for Buika at the Kennedy Center.
  • Overnighter to Bard for Cécile. 
  • Day trip to Philly for Passion.
And now, I am gearing up to visit the Williamstown Theater Fesitval later this month. I can't wait...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I Went to Philly for Arden "Passion"

To die loved is to have lived.

Once again, Terry Teachout has inspired me to travel outside NYC to the theater. 

After reading his positive review - ‘Passion’ Review: A Sondheim Revival in Philadelphia Sizzles - I immediately purchase a ticket to see the Arden Theatre production, not wanting to miss another solid production after the CSC production a few years ago. 

Once again, I was not disappointed. 

I was immediately caught up in this Sondheim/Lapine musical about love and obsession and still cannot get the music out of my head. In fact, I am playing the OBC as I write this post. The cast was top notch, and I was especially moved by Liz Filios' unrelenting Fosca. 

Overall, a very positive experience at Arden, a theater now on my radar. 

Passion unfortunately ends this weekend and closes the 2014/2015 Arden season. Next year looks quite promising though, and I may have to make a Philly trip to see the revivals of Two Trains Running and The Secret Garden.

Other Posts:
Backyard Tour: Summer Beach and Rachel Crothers Theater Getaway
Backyard Tour: Donuts and Terror

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Walked Around Town and Ended Up in a John Oliver Studio Audience

The Tony awards were distributed on June 7th. I am not sure the show was any more glamorous this year than in prior years but I'm sure glad that Fun Home was recognized. I hope to get to the Circle in the Square one day to see how the show has changed since I saw it at the Public.

In the meantime, I am just enjoying the last days of Spring in New York. 

Last weekend, I headed over to Madison Square Park to the 2015 Big Apple BBQ to partake in a little hog. 

With my belly filled with swine, I walked around the Flatiron, stumbled on an electronic street fair and guiltily purchased a chocolate cookie from The City Bakery

I then headed to 42nd Street to see the Amiri Baraka's final play Most Dangerous Man in America (about W.E.B. Dubois) at the Castillo Theatre. I didn't know much about WEB Dubois' final days and found the play enlightening in this regard. 

After a very brief talkback at the Castillo, I strolled up 11th Ave to The Press Lounge and sipped cocktails while peering at the beautiful NYC skyline and thinking about how much I love and hate the city. 

A little toasty, I then headed up 11th Ave and turned on 57th Street. As I walked across town, I noticed a line waiting outside the CBS studio where John Oliver's Last Week Tonight HBO show is taped. I added my name to a standby list and an hour or so later, I was sitting in a studio audience chuckling and listening to commentary by the petite English comedian. 

Another serendipitous Saturday in NYC...

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gearing Up for the 69th Tony Awards

Best Play and Best Musical Nominees

Everyone seems to be gearing up for next weekend's Tony Award show.The Tony Awards is not the most glamorous award show on TV. Egad, remember Frances McDormand's get up from the 2011 awards. It was like she awakened from an afternoon nap, threw on a maxi dress and denim jacket and ran over to the Beacon. This year though, according to the Post, Vogue's Anna Wintour will step in and try to glam up hand selected Broadway's leading ladies. We will see...  

In the meantime, check out Vogue Magazine's The 9 Best Tony Awards Performances of All Time by Steven Dam - LINK

Other Posts
Frances McDormand's Get Up at the 2011 Tony Awards
I Survived the Tony Telecast!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I Finally Make it to the Fisher Center at Bard College

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of seeing The Aaron Diehl Trio featuring Cécile McLorin Salvant at the stunning Frank Gehry designed Richard B. Fisher Center at Bard College. 

It was truly a pleasant getaway. I started the Spring evening by having a Mediterranean inspired dinner at The Corner at the art-filled Tivoli Hotel. While sipping cocktails on the patio, I watched passerbys in the small Hudson Valley town and then I got busy with my tagine chicken and the rest of my meal. 

After coffee, I headed down the road to the Fisher Center. It was a sight to behold as I descended on this piece of art. I truly wish I had given myself a little more time to just stand outside on the perfectly manicured grounds and admire the structure and backdrop.

The evening only got better as I was transported to another time - a Jazz age - as Cécile McLorin Salvant, and the Aaron Diehl trio augmented with a brass section of musicians honored the music of Billie Holiday. Ms. Salvant, a true talent, served Billie Holiday well, making those who never had the opportunity to see THE original live, understand why we are still moved in 2015, Billie Holiday's centennial birth year.

Overall, just a wonderful evening... 

And with that, here is a piece that Ms. Salvant pointed out in her tribute - a recorded live performance of Jeepers Creepers featuring the incomparable Billie Holiday. 


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Quote from Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities"

Brooke in Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities
...I need seasons to mark where I am. Last winter I was still pretty blue, as you know, but this odd thing - when spring started to just hint - those crazy flowers popping up out of the snow - it matched where I was, I was coming out of it. My winter. I was popping up too. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Happiness Study Fact - Experiences May Us Happier Than Things

It saddens me when a Broadway show fails and is forced to close - especially when I enjoy the show as was the case with the recent freak show musical Side Show. Sitting in the audience, it is so so easy to see how much effort goes into the productions - the scenic design, lighting, the stellar acting, and of course the writing and composing.

Back in January, there was an article in the NY Post - 4 out of 5 Musicals Failed Their Investors. Shows may take years to produce and cost millions to mount, but few will recoup (or profit). 

Yet, season after season, shows continue to be mounted on Broadway. 

I've always wondered why?  

Yeah, yeah, I know that investors can make a killing (did someone say Wicked), but chances are they won't. 

So why continue to invest? 

A recent Forbes article by Lee Seymour - How To Lose Money And Stay Happy attempts to answer this question. It turns out that Broadway investors are pretty satisfied and tend to invest over and over. Even though a show may not fully recoup, a portion of the investment is typically returned, and most of all investors..."do it to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and to foster new pieces of American culture."  It's experiential. 

Last year, I checked out the Broadway investment platform Maxolev when they were campaigning for On the Town. The opportunity to invest in an upcoming Broadway musical peaked my interest. The site offered investors an opportunity to diversify their portfolios, extolled that a successful musical could produce a return in six months, but warned that Broadway investing is risky. I deflated though when I realized that I did not meet the definition of an accredited investor. 

It is easy for any theater aficionado to see that producers have been playing it safe on Broadway for years, shunning plays (check out Terry Teachout's WSJ article - Trying To Get on Broadway? Don’t Write a Play) and opting for jukebox musicals and Hollywood stars to minimize losses. And frankly, had I been qualified and invested in On the Town, I would see that despite decent reviews the musical is not doing well financially, grossing only about 30% of its potential these days. 

Yet, in the past month alone, I have been running back and forth to Broadway to experience musicals such as Gigi, Something Rotten and Doctor Zhivago while they are in previews. 

I simply cannot imagine a life without Broadway. Maybe one day, in addition to being a devoted fan in the audience, I can also be an investor. I've saved the Maxolev link, modified my budget...who knows... 

Other Posts
Robert Anderson ~ "You can make a killing in the theater but not a living" 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Quote from Ferenc Molnár's "Fashion for Men"

Peter Juhász in Ferenc Molnár's Fashion for Men: can't expect the sun to shine all the time. There must be cloudy days, too. But they pass.