Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Broadway Performances - 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

School of Rock guitar float - 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade brings out my inner child in a way that perhaps only Disney can unleash. Each year I head to the UWS, find a cozy spot along the parade route and coo at the floats along with the 2 to 3 million people who attend the parade. 

This means that I miss the Broadway performances, which take place in front of Macy's Herald Square. According to Pia Catton's WSJ article - Broadway Shows Battle to Perform During Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - performing in the parade's five or so Broadway slots is coveted by Broadway producers. The three minute segments cost producers about $50K but they are well worth it to reach the 23 million households that watch the parade.  

Thanks to youtube, let's check out the lucky shows that performed at this year's parade: On Your Feet!, The King and I, Finding Neverland, Something Rotten,and Fiddler on the Roof. Also, let's get a preview of The Wiz Live.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Quote From DL Coburn's "The Gin Game"

Fonsia in DL Coburn's The Gin Game:
I fixed his wagon. He came home one night with half a load on...and I had everything he owned right on the street. I mean right on the street! That was the end of that!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

I Spent Halloween Night at the Apollo's New Orleans Jazz Masquerade Featuring Tony Award Winner Dee Dee Bridgewater

Last night, I had a banging time at the New Orleans Jazz Masquerade. Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra set the Apollo Theater on fire. They regaled the house with New Orleans jazz classics as well as tunes from their new album Dee Dee's Feathers. After the concert, I remained in the Apollo and listened to DJ Olivia Dope spin a few beats. Then I was fortunate to be admitted to the sold out afterparty in the Apollo Music Cafe, where I boogied to the funky Brass-A-Holics. To end the evening, Dee Dee Bridgewater joined the Brass-A-Holics and took us home. 

What an evening!

But I am not here to brag about my fun-filled Halloween night. 

Throughout the evening, Irvin Mayfield repeatedly introduced Dee Dee Bridgewater as three time Grammy Award winner as well as a Tony winner. Each time, he said that, I paused and scratched my head because I could not recall for what performance the super talented Jazz singer won a Tony. So, with my extra hour from the end of Daylight Savings time, I am hitting up the Broadway and Tony Award databases to answer the question. 

According to the Broadway database, Mrs. Bridgewater appeared in the following: 

The 1940's Radio Hour -  Oct 07, 1979 - Jan 06, 1980
The Wiz - Jan 05, 1975 - Jan 28, 1979

I didn't see many Broadway shows during the period when these productions occurred. Okay, okay, I didn't see any production (I was too young). But after reviewing the list of productions, it is now clear. Dee Dee Bridgewater won the 1975 Tony for best Supporting or Featured Actress in a Musical for Glinda in The Wiz

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Feeling Good" by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricuss

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

I love Feeling Good . If I was stuck on the proverbial desert island and could only have 10 songs, I would seriously consider Feeling Good as one of them. Of course, it would have to be the Nina Simone version recorded in 1965. On the desert island, Nina would get me through even if there was nothing to feel good about. 

I've listened to Feeling Good countless times; yet I never knew that it originated in musical theater..more specifically the musical comedy The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd [Music/Lyrics/Book: Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley], which ran on Broadway May 16, 1965 - Dec 04, 1965. Here it is...sung by character The Negro played by Gilbert

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Broadway Revival of D.L. Coburn's "The Gin Game"

When I saw A Trip to Bountiful in April 2013, I jumped to my feet at curtain call and applauded like it was going outta style, convinced that this would be the first and last time that I would see Cicely Tyson on the New York City stage. So, how cool is it that two short years later, at the end of a historic week in NYC, I get to take my mom and good friend to see Cicely Tyson (again) and the legendary James Earl Jones in D.L. Coburn's The Gin Game.

Now, I was a bit concerned about seeing the play so early in previews, but silly me, I forgot that I was going to see two Tony Award winning pros, who made their Broadway debuts in the late 50s and have over 100 years of acting experience between them. 

Needless to say, the aging comedy-drama was a solid production. 

I laughed. 
Then I got quiet.
Then I laughed again. 
Then I got a little nervous.
Then I laughed. 
Then I got quiet. 

Then I jumped up and applauded like it was going out of style, convinced that this would be the second and last time I would see Cicely Tyson on the New York City Stage. 

Then I went home and thanks to youtube watched the original production starring real life married couple at the time Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. 

And now, I am a little worried as I enter the second act of my life... 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quote from Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton"

Aaron Burr in Wait for It
Death doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I Had an Amazing Time at "Hamilton"

Last weekend, I floated through the streets of Manhattan like I was a member of the Volturi. 

And you know what that means.

It means that I just had a euphoric experience at the theater. After a sold out run at the Public, watching segments such as the one above, and much hoopla, I finally got a chance to see Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton 

As I floated through the streets, I wished the OBC was available so that I could listen and catch the lyrics I missed. And wouldn't you know it, a couple of days later, the entire album was made available for streaming on NPR Music First Listen.  

So, I listened to the show again, and I was absolutely correct...

Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. 

Act I
Alexander Hamilton
My Shot
The Story of Tonight
The Schuyler Sisters
Farmer Refuted
You'll Be Back
Right Hand Man
Wait for It
Stay Alive
Ten Duel Commandments
That Would Be Enough
History Has Its Eyes on You
Dear Theodosia

Act II
What'd I Miss
Take a Break
Say No to This
The Room Where It Happens
Schuyler Defeated
Washington on Your Side
One Last Time
The Adams Administration
The Reynolds Pamphlet
Blow Us All Away 
It's Quiet Uptown
The Election of 1800
Your Obedient Servant
The World Was Wide Enough

Friday, September 4, 2015

Playwright's Notes - Lucas Hnath's "The Christians"

From Lucas Hnath:
Our imaginations seem to be so limited by our personal experiences, you have to wonder if it's even possible to understand something that sits outside of them.