Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Show of Magical Tinkering

So Vanessa Redgrave opens tonight in The Year of Magical Thinking. I saw it on Tuesday night and will be curious to know what people think. Any thoughts? Email me; I'll share mine.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Louisville, Here I Come!

I fly to Louisville tomorrow for the Humana Festival. Wish me luck!

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Playwrights Horizons Annual Gala

Well, even though I won't talk about when I was a 17-year-old intern at Playwrights Horizons, working for the Prop Master who couldn't have been less condescending if he stood on a stool and bellowed, I've come to love and trust and admire the company tremendously. If you can make their annual gala and give generously, you should. And of course the gala stars my lady, Christine Ebersole!

Anyway, here's the poop!



Preview and preliminary bidding for special Silent Auction to begin online the week of March 26 at

NEW YORK, NY – Acclaimed Off-Broadway theater company Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) will hold its annual High Standards Gala Benefit on Monday evening, April 16th at Guastavino’s (409 East 59th Street).

The evening will star Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole, the rapturously-acclaimed leading lady of the current hit Broadway musical Grey Gardens, which premiered at Playwrights Horizons last spring. For her performance in the musical, Ms. Ebersole received the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, a special Citation from the New York Drama Critics, and the Drama League’s 2006 Award for Performance of the Year, a distinction also bestowed on her by The New York Times and New York Magazine.

At the Gala, Ms. Ebersole will perform with her longtime collaborator, jazz pianist and singer Billy Stritch. The two were recently honored by the 2007 Nightlife Awards as Outstanding Duo for their celebrated engagement at The Metropolitan Room last summer.

The evening will also include a special Silent Auction. Preview and preliminary bidding will begin online the week of March 26 at Auction items will include:

2 tickets to 2 shows at New York Fashion Week
A 2-night stay at the luxury resort Acqualina in Sunny Isles Beach, FL
2 tickets to Grey Gardens with an exclusive backstage tour
Dinner for 2 at such restaurants as Gramercy Tavern, B.R. Guest Restaurants, Josephina, and Chez Josephine
Getaway to a historic private home in Stratford-upon-Avon
Round of golf and lunch for 3 at the Westchester Country Club
Bracelet by red-hot jewelry designer David Yurman
A one-of-a-kind doghouse designed and custom built by the Playwrights Horizons production department
2 rentals from the TDF Costume Collection for Halloween
Tickets to such Broadway shows as Talk Radio, Journey’s End, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera.

Cocktails and Silent Auction will begin at 6:00 PM, followed by dinner at 7:45 PM. Ms. Ebersole and Mr. Stritch will perform beginning at 9PM.

PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS, under the leadership of Artistic Director Tim Sanford and Managing Director Leslie Marcus, is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists, and to the production of their new work. In its 36 years, Playwrights Horizons has presented the work of more than 375 writers and has received numerous awards and honors. Notable productions include four Pulitzer Prize winners: Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife (2004 Tony Award, Best Play), Wendy Wasserstein’s The Heidi Chronicles (1989 Tony Award, Best Play), Alfred Uhry’s Driving Miss Daisy and Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George, as well as Doug Wright, Scott Frankel and Michael Korie’s Grey Gardens (2006 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical), Bruce Norris’s The Pain and the Itch, Lynn Nottage’s Fabulation (2005 Obie Award for Playwriting), Craig Lucas’s Small Tragedy (2004 Obie Award, Best American Play), Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero, Kirsten Childs’s The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin, Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s James Joyce’s The Dead, William Finn’s March of the Falsettos and Falsettoland, Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Richard Nelson’s Goodnight Children Everywhere and Franny’s Way, Jon Robin Baitz’s The Substance of Fire, Scott McPherson’s Marvin’s Room, A.R. Gurney’s Later Life, Adam Guettel and Tina Landau’s Floyd Collins and Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s Violet.

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE received the Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, a special Citation from the New York Drama Critics and the Drama League’s 2006 Award for Performance of the Year for her dual roles as Edith and Edie Beale in Grey Gardens. Her Broadway credits include Steel Magnolias, Dinner at Eight (Tony and Outer Critics Circle nominations), 42nd Street (2001 Tony and Outer Critics Circle awards), The Best Man, Getting Away with Murder, Harrigan ‘n Hart, Camelot (opposite Richard Burton and Richard Harris), Oklahoma!, On the Twentieth Century, I Love My Wife, and Angel Street. Off-Broadway credits include Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads (2003 Obie and Outer Critics Circle awards, Drama Desk nom.), Three Sisters, Geniuses, and four Encores! concerts. Regional credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Old Globe), Mame, Evita, My Fair Lady, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, and Laughing Wild. Films include Tootsie, Amadeus, Dead Again, Richie Rich, Black Sheep, Folks!, True Crime, Till There Was You, My Favorite Martian, Thief of Hearts, and My Girl 2. Television includes “Saturday Night Live” (series regular 81-82 season), “Gypsy” with Bette Midler, “One Life to Live” (Emmy nom.), “Ryan’s Hope,” “The Cavanaughs” (with the late great Barnard Hughes), “Valerie,” “Ink,” “Related” and guest appearances on “Will & Grace,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Murphy Brown” and “Ally McBeal.” CD’s include In Your Dreams, Live at the Cinegrill with Billy Stritch, and the newly-released Grey Gardens. Visit Christine at

Pianist and singer BILLY STRITCH is one of the premier performers on the jazz and nightclub scene. His many albums include Billy Stritch, Waters of March, Jazz Live, and In Your Dreams (the latter with Christine Ebersole). Stritch has performed all over the United States and internationally in such famed venues as Rainbow and Stars, The Russian Tea Room, The Palais de Congres in Paris, The Municipale in Rio de Janeiro, The Russiya in Moscow, NHK Hall in Tokyo, and The Royal Albert Hall in London. He also appeared with Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune in a tribute to Jule Styne at the Palladium in London. He made his Broadway debut as Oscar in the Tony-winning revival of 42nd Street. At Broadway’s legendary Palace Theatre, he was arranger, vocal arranger, and musical supervisor for Liza Minnelli’s Minnelli on Minnelli and co-produced the live recording with Phil Ramone. Stritch also served as musical supervisor and vocal arranger for Minnelli’s Liza Live from Radio City Music Hall, and writes arrangements for her concert appearances. He was associate producer, pianist, and arranger for her album Gently, which earned two 1996 Grammy nominations. Stritch also frequently performs in concert with Christine Ebersole. He and Sandy Knox wrote the 1994 Grammy Award-winning song “Does He Love You?,” which was recorded by Reba McEntire and sold over four million copies. His many television appearances include “Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall,” “The Today Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “The Charlie Rose Show,” and “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”

Ticket prices for the Gala Benefit start at $800 and can be reserved by calling Cynthia Flowers, Development Associate, at (212) 564-1235 extension 3145, or Jill Garland, Director of Development, at extension 3140.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Who Said All Republicans are Destroying the United States of America?

Well, I did. But the problem is, a truly excellent book by Gary L. Cole, Artless: The Odyssey of a Republican Cultural Creative, is worming its way into changing my mind a little bit. Absolutely excellent, excellent writing and, for once, a memoir that illuminates rather than self-illuminates, if you know what I mean.

I'll be writing a review of the book shortly for Back Stage.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Benefit Watch: New York Musical Theatre Festival

Got this email from Kris Stewart of the New York Musical Theatre Festival:

Subject: C'mon - I don't do this a lot ...

… but we have our first ever NYMF Spring Concert Series launching March 26, so I thought I better get off my butt and drop a note to my friends!

The info on the concert is below – it is a fundraiser for NYMF ’07, but we’ve tried to keep it reasonably inexpensive, so as many people as possible can come along and enjoy it. There will be great Broadway performers completely rocking out, and I personally guarantee you’ll have a good time. ;-)

There is a discount code that I’ve pasted in at the bottom of the email (though of course my friends would never want to buy on discount!) – and I really hope to see you there -

Will Chase, Manoel Felciano, American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis, Greg Naughton, Lillias White, Chip Zien join the previously announced Michael Arden, Stephen Bogardus, Felicia Finley, Liz McCartney, Kevyn Morrow, J. Robert Spencer, Bob Stillman and Michael Winther!

Broadway stars rock out to the music of pop sensation Ben Folds at THE UNAUTHORIZED MUSICOLOGY OF BEN FOLDS, Monday March 26 at 7pm at the Zipper Theatre. A co-production of, The New York Musical Theatre Festival and amNewYork, the concert is back by popular demand after selling out its initial engagement last September. And we're offering Broadway World readers $10 off – details below!

Ben Folds is the widely-acclaimed singer-songwriter, pianist and founder of Ben Folds Five which created albums of nerd-populated, joyously frustrated pop/rock including such hits as "Philosophy" and "Brick” he himself christened “punk rock for sissies.” Folds' music continued to grow through his solo efforts – he’s an Elton John, Billy Joel-style piano man, with a distinct way of rocking out on catchy pop hooks. He’s funny and bitter and sorrowful as hell, and he reclaimed rock for every nerd you ever were, knew or dumped back in high school.

With a cast of Broadway stars, we're celebrating Ben Folds' music because we feel he’s been writing ‘showtunes’ since 1996. Sharp lyrics – smart, simple and always character-driven -- and a natural predilection for storytelling make him a secret Sondheim. Musical theatre fans will find themselves tapping their toes and wanting to learn more about "Alice Childress," "Eddie Walker," and "Uncle Walter." They are much more than pop songs with memorable lyrics and tunes — every last one is a defined dramatic moment, a story. And that’s theatre.

Make sure you’re there March 26!
Monday, March 26 at 7pm
The Zipper Theatre (336 West 37th Street) for tickets - call (212) 352 3101 or click here
General Admission Tickets -- $50
VIP Tickets (including a post-show reception with the cast) -- $90
For the discount tickets, or call (212) 352-3101 and use the code “INSIDER”.

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And We're Back

So I started this blog last October/November thinking, "Gee, I should start a blog." Everyone is starting a blog, or making their living off their blog, or getting a blog for their dog and noting the curious fact that blog and dog don't rhyme and then self-consciously writing about the blog/dog misrhyme, of all places, on the blog.

I have a better idea now, though, of what I want to do with this blog. So I'll first begin by talking about -- what else, boys and girls? -- theatre, and inaugurating a regular feature I'll call Benefit Watch. And that very un-focus-group-tested moniker is to highlight -- what else? -- benefits in the industry.

Hence, Songs for Darfur: THE WATER PROJECT.

Here's the poop, direct from PR guru Judy Katz:





Proceeds To Benefit The United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR Sudan)
And The Darfur People’s Association Of New York

Tony Award-winning actress Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza), Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson (All Shook Up), and acclaimed singer/songwriter Jane Kelly Williams lend their hearts and voices to a worthy cause as hosts of SONGS FOR DARFUR: THE WATER PROJECT, a benefit concert to raise money for Darfur relief efforts. The one-night-only concert will take place at the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew (located at 263 West 86th Street at West End Avenue) on Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will benefit UMCOR Sudan to improve access to water and sanitation and increase food security for displaced people living in camps in Darfur and the surrounding communities of Adilla and Al Daein. Proceeds will also go to The Darfur People’s Association of New York, to help raise funds for school supplies to be sent to refugee camps in Darfur and Chad.

SONGS FOR DARFUR: THE WATER PROJECT will feature performances by co-hosts Victoria Clark, Cheyenne Jackson, and Jane Kelly Williams, and appearances by celebrated Broadway stars including Maureen McGovern (Little Women), Kelli O’Hara (The Light in the Piazza), Everett Bradley (Swing), Malcolm Gets (A New Brain), Elizabeth Stanley (Company), Marilyn Torres (The Agony and the Agony), and world-renowned opera singer Marvis Martin. Musicians Ted Sperling and Dave Richards will perform.

Tickets for SONGS FOR DARFUR: THE WATER PROJECT are $40 for adults and $20 for students, seniors, and individuals with limited income. Patron tickets, priced at $100, include a pre-concert reception with the performers at 6 p.m. and special reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased at the door (cash or check only), in advance at the Church between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or by calling (212) 362-3179. Checks should be made payable to Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew, with "Darfur" written in the memo line. Tickets can also be purchased by visiting the event website, .

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