Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rain Pryor's "Fried Chicken and Latkes"

Some time back, I saw a flyer for a special presentation of Rain Pryor's one woman autobiographical show about growing up black and Jewish at the Abingdon Theatre. Hmmm, I thought, this could be interesting. I immediately recalled the actress from the 1980s sitcom Head of the Class and wondered what interesting stories she might have about her father, comic/actor Richard Pryor (1940-2005). When I looked at the dates on the flyer, I was disappointed to see that I had missed the show. 

When the show later moved to the Actor's Temple in midtown, my interest was renewed. But with ticket prices as high as $70, I was again disappointed and never went to see the show...until now. Thanks to 20at20, I finally saw Fried Chicken and Latkes on Sunday. 

Surprisingly, the theater was only about 30-40% full. Even in this slow Broadway/Off Broadway period, attendance seemed unusually sparse. A decent review from the NYT hasn't helped? Ticket prices too high? Lack of interest? Poor marketing? Who knows.

Despite the small audience, 43-year old Ms. Pryor, tamed haired and backed by a 3 piece ban
d, gave us her all in a 60 minute show comprised of monologues and songs about growing up the daughter of a militant Jewish mother and a comic genius father. Absent living in Beverly Hills, Ms. Pryor's show initially offers nothing new about the biracial experience in America. Not fitting in...n-word...puffy hair...yawn, heard all that before. But, lo and behold, when she invokes her father, things changed and it is captivating to watch. Her resemblance to her dad...the way she captures his cadence...briefly remembering the complex legend. Simply amazing for a precious few minutes!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

No Dead Girl Song for Lea Salonga on Good Day NY

New York News | NYC Breaking News 

It was a treat to see this clip of Tony Award winner Lea Salonga singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from Les Mis√©rables on Good Day NY. It looks like Ms. Salonga is in town for the American Songbook series, which she kicks off on Wednesday. I haven't picked up tickets for any of the shows in this year's series. But as always, the lineup is yummy. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday Marathon - Four Shows in One Day

Okay okay, with running times decreasing more and more, fours shows in one day is not that impressive these days. But seeing these shows for roughly $70 is. Thanks to 20at20 and other discount programs, I may have fallen into bed last night exhausted but I wasn't broke.

So, let's take a look at my marathon Sunday. 

After a robust lunch and a negroni sbagliato at The John Dory, power walked over to Chelsea and caught Rolin Jones' Jammer (Running Time: 90 minutes) at the Atlantic Theater Company. What a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon, watching a light comedy about the Roller Derby in 1958 in my beloved Brooklyn. Made me want to ride the cyclone again. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cindy Adams: Etiquette’s dead

Octogenarian Cindy Adams bemoaned the death of etiquette last week in her NYP column. Here is an excerpt that possibly touches on the theater, but with Cindy you just never know.
VULGARITY. Penis is in the title of legit shows. Urine is in the title of legit shows. Vagina is in the title of legit shows. Nudity is the norm. The F-word, S-word, variety of C-words are as common as the theatergoer alongside you chewing gum.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

50 Years Ago in 1963

1963 Long Running Broadway Shows

I recently stumbled on an article about celebrities turning 50 this year. The list included the likes of Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Michael Jordon, John Stamos, Edie Falco, Vanessa Williams et al. The article was of interest because I personally know quite a few people who are also turning 50 this year. Between the number of celebrities and people I know, I had to ask a recent quinquagenarian - what the heck was going on in1963?

The birth rate in 1963 wasn't unusually high relative to the year before and after it. So, I am not quite sure why so many new quinquagenarians. However, several noteworthy events occurred in 1963. Some are nicely summarized in the MarketWatch article 10 ways 1963 changed your life. To name a few: 
  • The first James Bond film opened in the US;
  • Push button phones came on the scene; 
  • Beatlemania;
  • "I Have a Dream" speech; and
  • JFK's assassination. 

Naturally, as a fan of the theater, I became curious about the Broadway shows that opened in 1963. An IBDB search revealed 71 productions opened. The productions that ran the longest were:

Monday, January 14, 2013

"Old Jews Telling Jokes" Made My Face Numb

Need a few laughs? Then, head over to the Westside Theatre and check out Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent's fast paced, face numbing 80 minute revue Old Jews Telling Jokes

Now be warned, some jokes are risque. Some Jewish references may go over your head if you are not familiar with them. But the laughs, which cover family, love, marriage, doctors, health and more, are real and if you are like me, you may just find yourself sharing them as I did yesterday with my mother as we strolled down Broadway after brunch.

As a teaser, enjoy this Alan King "Survived By" routine that was included as a tribute in the show

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Best Time to Buy Broadway Tickets

Source: Life Hacker

Of all the stuff one can buy in this world, how interesting that Broadway tickets are included in Life Hacker's The Best Time to Buy Anything During the Year by Whitson Gordon. 

So, when is the best time to buy Broadway Tickets? Not surprisingly, during Broadway's slow season - January/February and again in September/October. Of course, during this period we typically see Broadway promotions. Broadway Week kicks off on January 22nd and runs through February 7th. During this period, theater lovers can get two tickets for the price of 1. 20at20 kicks off on January 22nd and runs through February 10th. During this period, simply roll up to certain Off Broadway box office 20 minutes before curtain; if tickets are available, theater lovers can score them for $20 each.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Keep Calm and Musicals -- Tumblr Blog

I stumbled upon the Tumblr blog Keep Calm and Musicals, which combines the ubiquitous "Keep Calm" message with musical quotes/lyrics. There are a bunch of musicals to choose from and some are fun to read. I don't see a poster for one of my favorite musicals of all times - Jelly's Last Jam. Hmmm, I'll have to think about something clever and submit it. In the meantime, here is a sample of posters as reblogged directly from Keep Calm and Musicals and this link to their online shop.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

From Eve Ensler's "Emotional Creature" - A Teenage Girl's Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery

Eve Ensler's Emotional Creature may have received mixed reviews, but I think a trip to the stunning Pershing Signature Center may be worth it for some just to see the segment - A Teenage Girl's Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery. Thanks to the NYT, here is a portion of the monologue from Ensler's 90 minute play about girls from around the world.

And here is a recap of the rules according to a teenage girl from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Random Happenings - December 2012

Royal pregnancy announced. Seattle lights up. Mamet flop The Anarchist closes after 17 regular performances and Scandalous after 29. Apple plans to move some manufacturing from China to US soil. NY Department Health study show increase in STD rates. Men arrested in castration plot against teen idol. Got $40M? The Foxwoods Theatre is up for sale. Another madman makes the nation mourn. Guardian is proud that 4 of the 10 productions on Ben Brantley's top 10 list is of British provenance. Mayan calendar may have ended on December 21st but New York is still going strong. Les Misérables film opens and Hugh Jackman manages to take both Broadway and Hollywood by storm in 2012. Actors Jack Klugman and Charles Durning fade. NYC has record 52M visitors in 2012. 1M people convene in Times Square to ring in a new year.