<![CDATA[NBC New York - The Scene]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Sat, 10 Oct 2015 06:55:38 -0400 Sat, 10 Oct 2015 06:55:38 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Review: Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell in Sam Shepard's 'Fool for Love']]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 21:34:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/FoolforLoveMain.jpg

A dusty motel room on the edge of the Mojave Desert is the setting of “Fool for Love,” the atmospheric 1983 Sam Shepard drama now having its first Broadway staging, courtesy of the Manhattan Theatre Club.

The 75-minute play, directed here by Daniel Aukin (“Bad Jews” and “The Fortress of Solitude”), arrives after a lauded production last summer in Williamstown. It’s just opened at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

As in Williamstown, Sam Rockwell and Nina Arianda are back, as fiery ex-lovers. You can almost hear Rockwell’s Eddie whisper “I just can’t quit you” to Arianda’s May when he storms into the room where she’s been languishing. Eddie admits his burning love for her shortly thereafter, insisting there are few women he’d drive thousands of miles just to see.

Rockwell, the reliable movie actor celebrated as much for his supporting roles as his leading ones, is part action, part talk -- and far more skilled with a lasso than we’d have any right to expect. Eddie uses that lasso to get hold of the bed, a stool, and, when necessary as he sees it, May.

Eddie comes here because he believes he has an unbreakable connection with May, and he wants her to go with him, wherever it is he’s going. Rockwell comes on as a wiseacre at first, something like Brad Pitt in “Thelma & Louise,” trying to assure Arianda’s May he just wants her to be happy. He gets cockier as he goes, and it’s a very nifty, physical performance.

May has been alone in this hotel room for a while, stuck with the fashion magazines Eddie left her. Arianda, the Tony winner of “Venus in Fur,” is hot-tempered and emotional, yet her performance all fits well within the bounds of Shepard’s economical prose.

The idea is to portray her -- purposefully -- as the stock, blowsy working-class woman who’s been in abusive relationship and has finally decided she can’t take it anymore.

Also on hand: An old man (Gordon Joseph Weiss), who is perhaps a manifestation of what’s in Eddie’s head. The man is seated just beyond the cinder block walls of the hotel room, but still close enough that he can lean in and ask Eddie for another generous pour of whatever’s in that bottle that’s going around.

And, in a sweet performance, Tom Pelphrey (“End of the Rainbow”), whom May has invited over for something like a first date, and who is unwittingly caught up in the cataclysm that is the relationship between these two crazy exes.

And what of that tempestuous union? “Fool for Love” is classic Shepard: Family dysfunction, a Western setting and some dark and twisted stuff leading up to a big reveal (or two). It’s all handled with an enormous amount of skill and affection -- the 75 minutes fly by, and we feel as if we know these folks intimately.

“Fool for Love,” through Dec. 6 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Tickets: $70-$150. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Chuck E. Cheese's: Beer, No Lattes]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 07:04:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chuck-e-cheese-GettyImages-463023705.jpg

Chuck E. Cheese's is expanding its food and beverage options in an effort to win over millennial parents, but the new offerings may be a little different than you thought.

The Irving, Texas-based chain became privately owned last year and brought in a chef with a fine-dining background, according to Chuck E. Cheese's spokesperson Alexis Linn.

As a result, the kitchen began serving up limited-time offers, including a "Mac-Cheesy" pizza available from Sept. 28 through the end of the year. The chain has already revamped its menu by adding gluten-free pizza and thin crust to help lure in young parents with their children.

Chuck E. Cheese's is now also offering up seasonal beers and local or craft brews, which will vary by location based on guest feedback, Linn said. Several wine options are also available.

Linn said some stores have sold beer and wine since Chuck E. Cheese's conception about 40 years ago.

Stores in the Dallas area tested cappuccinos and lattes, but Linn said the specialty coffee beverages did not sell as well as the company had hoped and will be scrapped. Most locations have Keurig machines that offer five varieties of coffee.

According to the company, the average child wants to visit Chuck E. Cheese once a month, but parents are only interested in taking them there about three times a year, NBC News reported.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Girls Star' Andrew Rannells Joins 'Hamilton' ]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:29:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-489472230+%281%29.jpg

"Girls” star Andrew Rannells will return to Broadway this month, stepping into Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical “Hamilton.”

Rannells will take over for Jonathan Groff in the role of King George from Oct. 27 through Nov. 29.

Groff will be stepping away to film the movie of his critically acclaimed HBO series “Looking.” He returns to “Hamilton” on Dec. 1.

"I could not be more excited about this," Rannells tweeted. "Let the shenanigans begin!" 

Rannells was last seen on Broadway in 2014, replacing Neil Patrick Harris as the title character in the revival of “Hedwig in the Angry Inch.” His previous Broadway credits include “Hairspray,” “Jersey Boys” and “The Book of Mormon,” for which he received a Tony nomination.

Rannells can also currently be seen on the big screen alongside Anne Hathaway in “The Intern.”

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s book, “Hamilton” tells the often-ignored story of founding father Alexander Hamilton set to a hip-hop and R&B score by Miranda. Direction comes from Thomas Kail (“In the Heights”).

“Hamilton” is playing an open-ended run at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. For tickets and further information, visit www.hamiltonbroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sydney Lucas Will Headline 'Secret Garden' Concert]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 15:25:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476301264+%281%29.jpg

Sydney Lucas, who received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of Young Allison in the Tony-winning best musical “Fun Home,” will headline a concert presentation of “The Secret Garden” at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall.

The concert will be presented on Feb. 21 and 22, as part of Manhattan Concert Productions. Stafford Arima (“Allegiance”) will direct.

Featuring a score by Lucy Simon and a book by Marsha Norman, “The Secret Garden” originally opened on Broadway in 1991 and played 709 performances before closing in 1993. The original novel was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Lucas, who departed “Fun Home” on Oct. 4, will play Mary Lennox -- the role created by Tony winner Daisy Eagan. Eagan still remains the youngest actress ever to win a Tony.

Further casting is expected to be announced soon.

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris]]>
<![CDATA[Tips for Spooky Halloween Bash]]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:43:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458092794.jpg

Planning a haunted Halloween bash could be overwhelming, but there are plenty of DIY tips out there for decorations that will spook your guests and fun party treats that will satisfy hungry kids and adults. 

Martha Stewart's tips will help you transform your home into a haunted house. Stewart shows how to make ghostly figures for your table, decorate your windows with silhouettes and create a glowing "mad scientist lab." She even has ideas on how to make specimen jars that are sure to freak out your guests. 

Some new tech gadgets can make your Halloween party much more thrilling. Steve Greenberg, author of "Gadget Nation," says adding "chomping skulls," scary animations to run on your TV and portable MP3 devices to play bone-chilling music will leave your guests trembling.

No costume? No problem! "Today" style editor Bobbie Thomas shows makeup-based costume ideas that are timeless and easy enough to do at the last minute. Thomas shows how to achieve a "doll-like" look inspired by Margaret Keane's large-eyed painting subjects. She also demonstrates how to paint an elaborate skeleton face using white face paint, black eyeshadow or pencil liner.

There will be plenty of Halloween store-bought candy around, but don't forget to prepare some homemade treats for your guests, too. Chef Giada de Laurentiis' Halloween spice cake with cinnamon and ginger notes is a perfect treat for adults.

Candy apples are a classic Halloween treat. De Laurentiis also shows how to make gooey caramel apples  decorated with streaks of chocolate and topped with tiny pumpkins, ghosts and bats.

For scary and whimsical Halloween treats, check out these YouTube videos, including how to make vampire teeth with pieces of apples and marshmallows.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Robert O'Hara's 'Barbecue']]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 21:50:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BarbecueMain.jpg

So intent on avoiding spoilers are “Barbecue” playwright Robert O’Hara and The Public Theater that programs for the two-act dark comedy, now open downtown, aren’t being distributed until intermission.

That leaves reviewers in a pickle. If I so much as talk about the full cast, I’m going to ruin at least one of two clever surprises in the sassy, if ultimately overcooked script. (Below, I’ll name characters without identifying the actors playing them.)

The premise we begin with is that four of the trashy O’Mallery siblings have gathered in a park to stage an intervention for a fifth, whose spiral of out-of-control drug use has them all concerned … when they can put aside their own vices long enough to give a damn.

The first act is a riot. I loved the way brother James T silences sister Marie when she starts in on him about his weed habit. Things head off in a different direction after intermission, when “Barbecue” forms more pointedly into a meditation on lying, and how we all do it when we construct the narratives of “us.”

O’Hara, the "Bootycandy" author, is fortunate to have actress Tamberla Perry -- with a performance that riffs on rumors about Whitney Houston and Oprah Winfrey -- to help make those points. Still, I was so intrigued by the territory the author wades into early on that I was disappointed he swerved. O'Hara ends with 20 minutes of cute, but well-worn insights into the nature of celebrity.

“Barbecue” has winning performances throughout by Becky Ann Baker (of TV’s “Freaks and Geeks” and “Girls”) and Kim Wayans, the actress (“In Living Color”) and writer with a set of famous siblings herself. “Bootycandy” alum Benja Kay Thomas is on hand also, and so is Constance Shulman of “Orange Is the New Black.” Direction is by Kent Gash.

Designer Clint Ramos has the “city park” vibe down pat, from the unforgiving metal picnic tables to the standing hibachis that look as if they haven’t been scoured since the discovery of fire.

Ultimately, O’Hara has written a comedy about getting reality to fit the truth we’ve previously constructed for it. "Barbecue" is different and definitely worth seeing -- but after a point, I had to give up listening for anything fresh and just let the playwright bat me around with the figurative stack of Us magazines he so ably wields.

“Barbecue,” through Nov. 1 at The Public’s Newman Theater, 425 Lafayette St. Tickets: $50 and up. Call 212-967-7555.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Injury Sidelines Keira Knightley in ‘Thérèse Raquin’]]> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 19:31:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-464078701+%281%29.jpg

The Oct. 7 evening performance of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Thérèse Raquin” has been canceled after star Keira Knightley suffered a “minor injury.”

No details have been given as to the extent of Knightley’s injury, though representatives from Roundabout. who announced the cancellation late Wednesday afternoon, have said they expect performances to resume the evening of Oct. 8, as planned.

Ticketgoers should contact their point of purchase for refunds or exchanges. 

It’s been an eventful run for Knightly so far, who is making her Broadway debut in the show. Her first performance was interrupted when an audience member proposed marriage from the mezzanine. The offender was later escorted out of the theater in handcuffs.

Knightley plays the title character in "Therese Raquin." The story, written in 1867, is about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who embarks on an illicit affair with a friend of her husband's.

The show officially opens on Oct. 29 at Studio 54.

Photo Credit: Anthony Harvey | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Clive Owen Stars in Enigmatic 'Old Times']]> Thu, 08 Oct 2015 21:43:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/OldTimesMain.jpg

Bright flashes of light and discomforting noises make for a jarring start to Harold Pinter’s 1971 “Old Times," which is now enjoying a carefully cultivated revival at Roundabout’s American Airlines Theatre.

The sensory-assault -- truly, some may find the play’s first half-minute or so hard on the eyes and ears -- announces we’re back in Pinter territory: abstract, and make-of-it whatever we will.

Douglas Hodge, the “La Cage” Tony-winner who has long been a student of the late Nobel Prize-winning playwright, here makes his debut directing a formidable trio: Academy Award-nominee Clive Owen, Kelly Reilly and Eve Best.

We open in the spare country apartment belonging to Deeley (Owen) and Kate (Reilly, of “True Detective”), where an armchair and modern sofas want to anchor us on solid ground, though an enormous slab of what looks like ice -- it will later pass for a shower stall -- says otherwise. Also keeping matters nebulous: surrealist circles on a backdrop.

Deeley and Kate are a married couple whose quiet life is about to be interrupted by Anna (Best, of TV’s “Nurse Jackie”). Anna was Kate’s roommate, we’re told, some 20 years before, when the girls were freewheeling friends in post-war London. After their long separation, Anna has come to visit from Sicily, where she lives an apparently affluent existence.

There’s some question about the nature of the relationship between Kate and Anna. In fact, there’s some question as to whether Anna even exists at all, or if she’s some sort of wraithlike figure Deeley or Kate has devised in response to problems in their marriage.

Throughout the evening, the three recall events, though no one’s memories are quite in sync. All the performers manage the tricky dialogue with finesse, making this the sort of revival you’d want to see a second time just to catch all the nuances.

Owen, in his Broadway debut, is louche and bemused, at first pushing brandy on his wife’s guest with cocky and jerky movements that seem particular to, well, old times … or, at the very least, “Mad Men.” Reilly uses her dreamlike gaze to fine effect as something of an introvert who doesn’t like the way her husband bosses her around (it’s almost a variation on her “True Detective” character, the put-upon lover of Vince Vaughn’s scheming gangster).

The focal point of the production, though, is British actress Best, who earned one of her two Tony nominations for the 2008 revival of Pinter’s “The Homecoming.” As the most confident of the characters, she’s all dolled up here and looking back with unambiguous affection on the memories she and Kate share from two decades ago.

We’re never sure of Anna’s motivations, but she’s a disruptive force on the couple, reminding Deeley of one sexually charged afternoon in a bar (Poor Deeley! He ended up marrying the shy girl!), and jolting bored, country-living Kate with tales of their capricious youth and her now-glam existence.

The production lasts slightly more than an hour, and the lack of action may lead you to find it polarizing -- I loved hearing one theatergoer confidently sniff to a companion: “Well, this is art!” We can never be sure the truths the characters talk about are true at all. To paraphrase the playwright, the past is what these characters remember ... or pretend they remember.

“Old Times,” through Nov. 29 at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $67-$137. Call 212-719-1300.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Bob Saget Sets Broadway Return]]> Tue, 06 Oct 2015 13:03:34 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476090134+%281%29.jpg

“Full House” favorite Bob Saget will return to Broadway this fall in the Tony-nominated dark comedy “Hand to God.”

Saget will step into the role of Pastor Greg beginning Nov. 3 and continue through the show's closing on Jan. 3, 2016.

Tony nominee Marc Kudisch, who originated the role of Pastor Greg, will depart the production Nov. 1 and head to Chicago, where he’ll join the cast of “Baritones UnBound” at the Royal George Theatre this December. Kudisch conceived and co-wrote the show.

This will be Saget’s second time on a Broadway stage, after his run in The Drowsy Chaperone in 2007.

“Hand to God” tells the story of a boy in a Christian Puppet Ministry group whose puppet becomes possessed by the devil. The play, written by Robert Askins and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, is now playing at the Booth Theater.

A London production will open in February 2016.

For tickets and information, visit www.HandToGodBroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Jason Kempin | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spotlight on Hamptons International Film Festival ]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 17:00:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ca0_0126r_alt_lg.jpg

Having showcased six winners of the Best Picture Oscar over the last seven years, it isn't surprising the Hamptons International Film Festival has been likened to the unofficial start of the movie award season.

And with a 2015 slate including early buzz-worthy titles such as the Todd Haynes directed "Carol" featuring Cate Blanchett; the Dan Rather memogate drama "Truth," "Spotlight" based on the Boston Globe investigation into accusations of abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic Church, the Irish immigrant tale "Brooklyn," and Steven Spielberg's cold war era "Bridge of Spies," the festival (Oct. 8–12) may once again prove to be a precursor of what movies and performances we'll see getting nominated when the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards roll out their list of notables over the coming months. 

"We are in that insane award season time frame, which is wonderful, but we have always been in that time frame so we just happen to be on that golden road," explains festival executive director Anne Chaisson. "In some years past, for example, people had no idea that "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Artist" were going to get such traction and become the films that they became. We just happened to play them early." 

"We have great audiences out here," adds festival artistic director David Nugent. "Very smart and in many ways influential audiences, and I think a lot of the filmmakers, studios and distributors are happy to have their films play in front of these audiences in the hopes of getting some buzz going." 

The 23rd outing of the film festival features 72 films and 59 shorts from 41 countries, and will attract 25,000 attendees to the east end of New York's Long Island over Columbus Day weekend. In a festival first, an inaugural awards dinner will honor actress Emily Blunt and famed documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles.

Maysles, who passed away in March, produced such works as "Grey Gardens" (1975), "Gimme Shelter" (1970) and "When We Were Kings" (1996), along with last year's festival audience award for documentary winner "Iris." As well as being posthumously honored this year, Maysles' final film "In Transit" will be featured in the World Cinema Documentary category. 

"It's a film he had always wanted to make and he had trouble finding funding and just getting it together," says Nugent of Maysles' co-directed documentary that focuses on those who ride the Empire Builder, the most active long-distance train route in the United States. "It really is beautiful and is a stunning portrait of America," adds Chaisson.

When pressed to name a personal favorite from this year's lineup, Chaisson likens the decision to "having to choose a favorite child. It's like 'Sophie's Choice'!" Nugent singles out "Son of Saul," winner of the Grand Prix Award at the Cannes Film Festival and Hungary’s submission for the Oscars.

"It's a holocaust drama from a first time filmmaker in Hungary which is unlike any holocaust film I have ever seen before," he says. "We have a lots of films in the festival that we like but to answer your specific question this is one of the films that was very unusual, very powerful."

A movie Chaisson is excited about is "Dheepan," winner of the Palm D’Or at Cannes. "Dheepan" follows a Tamil rebel fighter (Antonythasan Jesuthasan) who assumes the identity of a dead man in order to flee the country. "I thought it was just so timely in terms of the immigration issue. And not just for Europe but for anywhere in the world right now." 

The Hamptons International Film Festival runs October 8–12. Visit hamptonsfilmfest.org for information and tickets. 

Photo Credit: Weinstein]]>
<![CDATA[Sara Bareilles’ 'Waitress' Sets Broadway Dates]]> Fri, 02 Oct 2015 13:22:37 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WaitressBroadway2.jpg

“Waitress,” the musical adaptation of Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 movie of the same name, will begin performances at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre March 25, 2016 -- with an official opening set for April 24.

The musical features a score by five-time Grammy-nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave”), who most recently served as a judge on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” This will be the first Broadway musical she has composed.

Tony winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) will star as Jenna, a small town pie maker who enters a baking contest in hopes for a chance to escape her mundane life and her loveless marriage. The role was played by Kerri Russell in the film.

Bareilles recently released a recording of one of the songs from the show, called “She Used to Be Mine.”

Direction will come from Tony-winner Diane Paulus (“Finding Neverland,” “Pippin”), with a new book by Jessie Nelson.

The show transfers to Broadway after a successful run at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For tickets and information, visit www.waitressonstage.com.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel]]>
<![CDATA[Knightley's Broadway Debut Interrupted by Marriage Proposal]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:52:07 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/9082_Keira+Knightley+in+rehearsal+%281%29.jpg

An audience member proposed marriage to Keira Knightley during the Oscar-nominee’s first preview performance of “Thérèse Raquin” Thursday night -- and ended up being removed from the theater in handcuffs.

The disturbance began minutes into the performance on Thursday night, when the young man — who many assumed was part of the show — proposed marriage from the railing of the mezzanine, according to reports.

Knightley, who is making her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company's adaptation of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel, remained in character as an usher escorted the man back to his seat.

Security eventually escorted the man out of the theater, but not before he hurled a bouquet of flowers onto the stage.

Gabriel Ebert, who stars alongside Knightley, broke character in the scene, kicking the bouquet off the stage and into the wings. The audience responded with applause.

A short break in performance was announced soon thereafter.

“Roundabout takes the safety of their actors and audiences very seriously,” a spokesperson for the show told NBC 4 New York. “Extra security will be added beginning tonight. For obvious reasons, we cannot comment on the exact nature of the additional security measures.”

"Therese Raquin," written in 1867, is about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who embarks on an illicit affair with a friend of her husband's. The story has been adapted into a 1953 film starring Simone Signoret and another last year starring Elizabeth Olsen.

The show officially opens on Oct. 29 at Studio 54.

Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson]]>
<![CDATA[John Krasinski to Make Stage Debut]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 14:42:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-461608100+%281%29.jpg

John Krasinski, who had his breakout role playing Jim on nine seasons of NBC’s “The Office,” will make his theatrical debut in the world premiere of Sarah Burgess’ play “Dry Powder” at the Public Theater this spring.

The comedy, which is being described as “a razor-sharp play about the people molding and messing with the American economy,” will begin performances at The Public on March 1. The limited run is currently set to end April 10.

Krasinski will play Seth, a managing director at a private equity firm who tries to help his CEO rebound from a publicity nightmare by investing in an American-made luggage company.

Additional casting is expected shortly.

Direction will come from Thomas Kail, who also directed a little musical at The Public last season: “Hamilton.”

Since leaving “The Office,” Krasinski has mostly been seen on the big screen, in films like “Aloha” and “Promised Land.” This January, he’ll star in Michael Bay’s “13 Hours.”

Member tickets for “Dry Powder”, starting at $30, go on sale beginning Nov. 12. Tickets for the general public, starting at $50, will be available beginning Dec. 3.

Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emily Blunt to Be Honored at Hamptons Film Festival ]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 11:47:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_59977095968.jpg

In celebration of the launch of the inaugural awards dinner, the Hamptons International Film Festival will fete actress Emily Blunt, independent film production company Killer Films, documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, and longtime festival board chairman Stuart Match Suna.

The gala dinner will take place in East Hampton, New York on Sunday October 11 and proceeds will benefit the festival’s year-round programming initiatives, the annual Screenwriters’ Lab, and the longtime summer initiatives; SummerDocs and the Student Filmmaking Workshops.

"The Hamptons International Film Festival was founded to celebrate independent voices in cinema, and it is in that spirit that we choose to fete this extraordinary group of individuals, each of whom has made a remarkable impact on independent film culture," said festival executive director Anne Chaisson. 

During the dinner Blunt ("Sicario," "The Young Victoria," "Devil Wears Prada") will be presented with the Variety Creative Impact in Acting Award. Blunt was previously honored by the festival when she was recognized as one of HIFF's rising stars in 2005. 

Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, who founded the New York-based production company Killer Films in 1995, will be honored with the HIFF Industry Award for 20 years of innovative, risk-taking movies and for championing unique voices in independent cinema. Killer Films produced the highly acclaimed "Carol," "Still Alice," "Far From Heaven," "Boys Don't Cry," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "Kids."

Documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles will receive a posthumous tribute. Maysles passed away in March 2015 leaving a rich cinematic legacy, including "Grey Gardens," "Gimme Shelter," "Salesman" and "Iris," with the latter winning HIFF’s Audience Award for Documentary in 2014. Maysles' final film "In Transit" will be featured in the festival's World Cinema Documentary program this year.

Suna will be honored for his 18 years as HIFF board chairman. Under his leadership, the Festival expanded into Southampton, Montauk, Sag Harbor, and Westhampton, and evolved into a year-round cultural organization dedicated to championing film culture. After this year’s festival, Suna will become Chair Emeritus, handing the chairman reins over to longtime board members Randy Mastro and Alec Baldwin. Baldwin will present the award to Suna.

The 23rd Hamptons International Film Festival runs Oct. 8–12 and opens with the Dan Rather memogate drama "Truth."

Ticketing and additional information can be found at hamptonsfilmfest.org.

Photo Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Coachella May Bring Another Music Fest to Queens]]> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 19:09:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_384404360670.jpg

Could Flushing Meadows Park become center stage for one of the biggest rock concerts in America? 

The organizers of the annual Coachella music festival in California -- a magnet for some of the biggest rock and hip-hop acts in the world -- are meeting with officials in Queens to talk about bringing a similar music festival to the East Coast, to be called Panorama, next June.

"We are talking now and we will see how it goes down the road," said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who told NBC 4 New York she's meeting with Coachella officials Thursday.

"I do have some concerns about using public parkland," she added.

Katz said the public hasn't had a chance to weigh in about letting corporate giant AEG rent out a piece of the 900-acre park -- even if it nets the city millions of dollars. At Coachella, music fans pay hundred of dollars per ticket. 

Katz is concerned about the precedent the event could set in how the city chooses who can rent out park space. There's also the matter of competition: New York City already is home to an annual mega-music festival, Governors Ball, which started in 2011 on Randall's Island. 

Tom Russell and Jodan Wolowitz of Founders Entertainment run Governors Ball from their five-person office in the East Village, and watched it grow over the years to a three-day, 50,000-person festival each June. 

"The timing of this proposed business is tremendous competition," said Russell. "When a small business goes up against corporate machine, it usually does not work out in the small business's favor." 

Coachella officials declined to comment on their bid to go big in Queens, which travel guide publisher Lonely Planet declared the no. 1 travel destination in the U.S. for 2015. 

But some parkgoers Wednesday say: welcome to the borough. 

"We need to bring fun to Flushing Meadow Park and make it become alive again," said Fernando Blanco. 

Few question that a rock festival would be lively. The question the critics ask is at what cost? 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Amazing Autumn: Your Fabulous Fall Photos]]> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:47:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fall+photo+thumb.jpg NBC 4 New York viewers sent us these beautiful photos showcasing fall in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Send us your amazing autumn photos here: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/ugc/ ]]> <![CDATA[Michelle Williams and Jeff Daniels Book 'Blackbird']]> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 17:40:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WilliamsDaniels.png

Three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams and Emmy winner Jeff Daniels will return to Broadway this spring in David Harrower’s one-act drama “Blackbird.”

The 18-week limited engagement production will begin previews Feb. 5 at the Belasco Theatre, where the hit revival of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” just closed up shop. Opening night is set for March 10, with closing scheduled for June 12.

Daniels plays a man who was jailed for the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl. Williams is that girl -- now an adult -- who tracks him down 15 years later. It’s unclear if she’s looking for revenge or a new connection.

Two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello will direct. He returns to the play after directing its 2007 premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club -- in a production that starred Daniels alongside Alison Pill (HBO’s “The Newsroom”).

This will be Williams’ first Broadway play -- and her first show since making her debut in the 2014 revival of “Cabaret.” It’s Daniels’ first Broadway show since 2009’s “God of Carnage,” for which he was Tony-nominated.

Photo Credit: Valerie Macon | Jason Kempin]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'Spring Awakening' Reimagined]]> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:52:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SpringMain.jpg

"Spring Awakening"—with a cast of new faces, plus an Oscar winner and an Emmy winner in supporting roles—has been revived and radically reimagined, nearly a decade after first blossoming on Broadway.

Michael Arden, who starred in Paper Mill’s recent “Hunchback,” directs the Deaf West Theatre production, which has transferred to the Brooks Atkinson Theatre for a limited engagement on the heels of a Los Angeles staging.

Deaf West was last represented on Broadway with “Big River,” in 2003. A major thrill of the company’s endearing new “Spring Awakening” is that key roles are played by deaf actors employing American Sign Language—their speech and singing is done by other actors, mostly trailing in the shadows.

At the same time, hearing actors in other roles speak their lines and, at the same time, deliver them in ASL.

“Spring Awakening” debuted at The Atlantic in 2006, then made a swift transfer to Broadway. That cast included future stars Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff.

Centering around a group of adolescents on the cusp of adulthood, the musical counts as its unlikely source material an 1891 expressionist play by Frank Wedekind.

Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik took that severe narrative and juxtaposed with it an anachronistic score, with edgy compositions (“The Bitch of Living,” and “Don't Do Sadness”) that make for rousing counterpoints to haunting melodies (“The Song of Purple Summer”).

Of the trio at the musical’s core, only the winning Austin McKenzie, as Melchior, is a hearing actor. A rebellious golden boy, Melchior lures Wendla (Sandra Mae Frank) out of her shell, and at the same time schools Moritz (Daniel Durant) in the graphic components of coupling.

Frank makes for a magnetic Wendla, not in the least thanks to the vibrance and intensity of her signing. Most of her dialogue is voiced by Katie Boeck, who follows her just off the spotlight. (It occurred to me that Boeck and Michele have similar-sounding voices, and I wondered whether others felt that way, too.)

Durant, as the beleaguered Moritz, is more of a brooder than John Gallagher was in the original cast. Moritz has done well enough in school to be promoted to the next grade, but he’s thwarted by manipulative adults and, later, confronted by his shamed father (Russell Harvard) in a powerful scene that’s presented almost entirely without spoken words.

Adding ASL to the mix emphasizes the physicality of the scenes. For example, the pointed hand gestures of sign language underscore the longing one performer has for his big-bosomed piano teacher—a theatergoer doesn't need to know ASL to appreciate the actor's gestures when he signs: “I mean, God, please just let those apples fall.”

As well, having actors with doubles allows the deaf performers to interact with their “other” selves. You have to appreciate it when Moritz, overwhelmed with new-found sexual knowledge, hands off a burning cigarette to his alter ego (Alex Boniello, doing great work).

The adult characters of “Spring Awakening” are one-dimensional, but their shoes are filled by pros. It’s especially a treat to see Camryn Manheim working alongside Marlee Matlin, in their Broadway debuts. (Manheim is pictured below, with Frank in the foreground and Boeck in back.)


Manheim’s ASL skills have been seen on screens large and small (notably, in TV’s “The Practice”) for years. She appears as several forceful characters here, among them Wendla's suffocating mother, and signs with as much emotion as she delivers her lines. Manheim also works in the shadows, speaking for Academy Award-winner Matlin, who I wish was utilized more.

“Smash” vets Krysta Rodriguez and Andy Mientus are stand-outs—Rodriguez as Ilse, who wants to save Moritz, and Mientus (Arden’s fiance) as Hanschen, the smooth seducer who would rather “bide his time” and let the system take him where he needs to be.

The lithe choreography in the Deaf West staging is by Spencer Liff, of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Theatergoers coming to this raw story for the first time will find a musical with even more layers than the production that first seduced Broadway. The addition of sign language encourages a closer look at “Spring Awakening.”

“Spring Awakening,” through Jan. 24, 2016 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St. Tickets: $49-$139. Call 800-745-3000.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[The 2015 Fall Broadway Plays Guide]]> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:38:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/FallPlays2015.jpg

It’ll be a star-studded fall on Broadway, with Hollywood’s biggest names hitting the boards in almost a dozen new works and revivals. Al Pacino will be there, alongside Keira Knightley, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis and Andrea Martin. Heck, even the future King of England will see his name in lights! One thing is for sure: It’s going to be one crowded season at Broadway’s stage doors.

Not sure how to sort it all out? Our 2015 Fall Broadway Plays Guide is here to help.

“Old Times”
Currently in previews at the American Airlines Theatre. Opens Oct. 6.
Oscar nominee Clive Owen will make his Broadway debut in a revival of Harold Pinter’s “Old Times,” the drama about a married couple forced to confront some hidden secrets when an old friend comes to visit. Eve Best (TV’s “Nurse Jackie”) and Kelly Reilly (TV’s “True Detective”) will also star, with direction coming from Tony winner Douglas Hodge (“La Cage aux Folles,” “Cyrano de Bergerac”). The play will mark the opening of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th season.

“Fool for Love”
Currently in previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Opens Oct. 8.
Tony winner Nina Arianda (“Venus in Fur”) and Sam Rockwell (“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”) will return to Broadway in a revival of “Fool for Love” -- Sam Shepard’s drama about two former lovers holed up in a desert motel room. The production comes to the Manhattan Theater Club after an acclaimed run last summer at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts. Daniel Aukin (“4000 Miles”) will direct.

“The Gin Game”
Previews begin Sept. 23 at the Golden Theatre. Opens Oct. 14.
Tony winners James Earl Jones (“You Can’t Take It With You”) and Cicely Tyson (“The Trip To Bountiful”) will lead a new production of D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play directed by Leonard Foglia. The drama, about two lonely residents in a nursing home who bond over a game of gin, won’t be the first time Jones and Tyson have shared a Broadway stage before. The two appeared together almost 50 years ago, in 1966’s “A Hand Is On the Gate.” They also worked together Off-Broadway, in Jean Genet’s long running-hit “The Blacks.” Oh, and fun fact: The original 1977 production, featuring Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, also played the Golden Theatre.

Previews begin Oct. 2 at the Cort Theatre. Opens Oct. 27.
It’s a dog eat dog world for Tony winners Matthew Broderick (“It’s Only a Play”), Julie White (“Airline Highway”) and Annaleigh Ashford (“You Can’t Take It With You”), as they return to Broadway a few months after their last bows in a revival of A.R. Gurney’s 1995 beloved comedy. Directed by Daniel Sullivan (“The Country House”), the play is about a married couple (Broderick and White) and the complicated relationship they form with their new dog. Did we mention Ashford plays the dog? Yeah. We’ve already got a serious case of “puppy love.”

“Thérèsa Raquin”
Previews begin Oct. 1 at Studio 54. Opens Oct. 29. Limited engagement ends Jan. 3, 2016.
Emile Zola’s 1867 novel, about a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who begins an illicit affair with her husband’s friend, will come to the Great White Way with an Oscar-nominated actress in the title role: Keira Knightley. It’ll be the Broadway debut for “The Imitation Game” star, who will be joined by two-time Tony winner Judith Light (“The Assembled Parties”), Tony winner Gabriel Ebert (“Matilda”) and the star of NBC’s “Constantine,” Matt Ryan. Evan Cabnet will direct the limited engagement production, which has been adapted specifically for the Roundabout by scribe Helen Edmundson.

“King Charles III”
Previews begin Oct. 10 at the Music Box Theatre. Opens Nov. 1.
The fictional reign of Prince Charles is the subject of Mike Bartlett's award-winning comic play “King Charles III,” which will make the journey across the pond to Broadway after an award-winning run in London. Set in the imaginative future where Queen Elizabeth II is dead, the play explores the people behind Britain’s most famous family. Tim Pigott-Smith, who played Charles III in the West End production, will reprise his role on Broadway. Expect plenty of laughs with this one.

“A View from the Bridge”
Previews begin Oct. 21 at the Lyceum Theatre. Opens Nov. 12. Limited engagement ends Feb. 21, 2016.
Arthur Miller’s classic play returns to Broadway for the fifth time (!!), in a new award-winning production straight from London. Featuring a stripped-down design from experimental Belgian director Ivo van Hove, the revival will star Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Phoebe Fox -- all reprising their roles from the British production. The last Broadway revival, starring Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber, was just five years ago, but expect a whole different view of the “Bridge” this time around.

“China Doll”
Previews begin Oct. 21 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Opens Nov. 19. Limited engagement ends Jan. 31, 2016.
Al Pacino will return to the Great White Way -- for 97 performances only -- in a new play by David Mamet. It’ll be Pacino’s fourth collaboration with Mamet, who is keeping many of the details about the show’s plot under wraps. What we do know is Pacino plays a billionaire with a young fiancée on the verge of retirement, who takes one last phone call before leaving for the day. Pacino has said the the role is "one of the most daunting and challenging roles I’ve been given to explore onstage,” so expect lots of twists and turns. Tony-winner Pat MacKinnon (“Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf”) directs.

Previews begin Oct. 22 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Opens Nov. 15.
Stephen King’s 1987 thriller comes to the stage in a new adaptation from two-time Academy Award winner William Goldman ("The Princess Bride," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid") -- who also penned the screenplay for the 1990 film adaptation. Two-time Emmy winner Bruce Willis will make his Broadway debut as novelist Paul Sheldon, who is held captive by his biggest fan after a car crash. Three-time Emmy winner Laurie Metcalf will play biggest fan Annie Wiley -- the role that earned Kathy Bates a best actress Oscar. Hold on to your ankles -- this one is going to be a nailbiter!

“Noises Off”
Previews begin Dec. 17 at the American Airlines Theatre. Opens Jan 14, 2016. Limited engagement ends March 6.
A superstar cast brings Michael Frayn’s backstage farce back to Broadway, in a new revival for the Roundabout Theatre Company. Tony winner Andrea Martin (“Pippin”) leads the company, which includes Megan Hilty (NBC’s “Smash”), Jeremy Shamos (“Clybourne Park”), Rob McClure (“Honeymoon in Vegas”) and Tracee Chimo (“The Heidi Chronicles”). The comedy, about the chaos that takes place during the rehearsals -- and eventual performance -- of a play, was last seen on Broadway in a 2001 production starring Patti LuPone.

“Our Mother’s Brief Affair”
Previews begin Dec. 28 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Opens Jan 20.
Tony winner Linda Lavin (“The Lyons”) plays a mother on her deathbed who confesses to her grown children about a torrid affair in her past in the new comedy from Richard Greenberg (“The Assembled Parties”). This will be the 11th Greenberg play to be produced by the Manhattan Theatre Company. Direction comes from Lynne Meadow (“Airline Highway”).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The 2015 Fall Broadway Musicals Guide]]> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:38:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/FallMusicals2015.jpg

Yes, there are other new musicals playing on Broadway other than “Hamilton.” From fiddlers to rockers, tap-dancing dames to Irish step-dancing lords -- and the life story of a conga-dancing, Grammy-winning icon -- the fall season on Broadway has plenty of buzzworthy new musicals and revivals to keep you going well after that “Hamilton” buzz wears off.

Not sure how to sort it all out? Our 2015 Fall Broadway Musicals Guide is here to help.

“Spring Awakening”
Currently in previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Opens Sept. 27. Limited engagement ends Jan. 24, 2016.
Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s eight-time Tony-winning musical returns to Broadway, in a new production from the Los Angeles-based Deaf West Theatre and the theater collective Forest of Arden. The 2006 musical is retold using a mix of hearing and deaf performers, including Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin (in her Broadway debut) and Andy Mientus and Krysta Rodriguez -- stars of NBC’s “Smash.” Bring tissues -- this beautiful production is a tear-jerker.

“Dames at Sea”
Performances begin Sept. 24 at the Helen Hayes Theatre. Opens Oct. 22.
The 1968 off Broadway and community theater staple “Dames at Sea” will set sail to the Great White Way in its first ever Broadway production. Jim Wise, George Haimsohn and Robin Miller’s musical, itself about the making of a 1930s musical -- will star Lesli Margherita (“Matilda”) and Mara Davi (“A Chorus Line”), among others. Direction and choreography will come from Randy Skinner (“42nd Street”). This will be the first time “Dames at Sea” has ever been heard in New York with a full orchestra -- which will make those tap shoes sounds all the better.

“On Your Feet”
Performances begin Oct. 5 at the Marquis Theatre. Opens Nov. 5.
Emilio and Gloria Estefan have won 26 Grammy Awards and sold over 100 million records between them. “On Your Feet” documents their journey to the top, with an original book by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (“Birdman”). The show includes Estefan’s most iconic songs, including “Conga,” “Get on Your Feet,” “1-2-3” and “Coming Out of the Dark.” Direction comes from two-time Tony winner Jerry Mitchell (“Kinky Boots”), with newcomer Ana Villafañe starring as Gloria alongside “Lysistrata Jones” vet Josh Segarra’s Emilio. The rhythm? It’s probably gonna get you.

Performances begin Nov. 6 at the Longacre Theatre. Opens Nov. 8.
George Takei will make his Broadway debut in the new musical which tells the story of an often-ignored time in American history, when tens of thousands of Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps by President Roosevelt from 1942 to 1946. The “Star Trek” star has a connection to the material, having spent four years of his childhood in two camps. Music and lyrics come from Jay Kuo, with a book by Marc Acito. Lea Salonga (“Miss Saigon”) and Telly Leung (“Godspell”) also star. Looks like “Hamilton” is not the only history-making musical this season.

“Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games”
Performances begin Nov. 7 at the Lyric Theatre. Opens Nov. 10. Limited engagement through Jan. 3.
"Riverdance" creator Michael Flatley will make his Broadway debut, bringing his acclaimed show to the Great White Way after a sold-out run in London. It’ll surely be a bittersweet debut for Flatley, who is billing the show as his swan song as a performer. Flatley will appear in the show at the end of each evening performance. “Dangerous Games” marks the 20th anniversary of Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” global enterprise. What a way to go out.

“School of Rock -- The Musical”
Previews begin Nov. 9 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Opens Dec. 6.
Andrew Lloyd Webber returns to the Winter Garden Theatre, where his “Cats” ran for 18 years. But this time, Webber’s ready to rock with “School of Rock,” the stage adaptation of the hit 2003 film. Alex Brightman will star as wannabe rocker Dewey Finn (played by Jack Black in the film), who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school, and ends up forming a rock band with his fifth-graders. Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park,” TV’s “Downton Abbey”) will pen the book for the musical, with lyrics coming from Glenn Slater (“Sister Act,” “The Little Mermaid”). This will be the first new Broadway musical for Webber since 2005’s “The Woman in White.” Get ready to rock.

“The Color Purple”
Previews begin Nov. 10 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Opens Dec. 10.
The 2005 musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel will return to Broadway in a reimagined production from Tony-winning director John Doyle, straight from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. Oscar and Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson, Danielle Brooks (Taystee from Netflix’s "Orange Is the New Black”) and British breakout Cynthia Erivo will all make their Broadway debuts in the musical, which features music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, and a book by Marsha Norman. The original Broadway production closed in 2008, after playing 30 previews and 910 regular performances, making this one of the fastest revivals Broadway’s seen in years.

“The Illusionists -- Live on Broadway”
Performance begin Nov. 19 at the Neil Simon Theatre. Limited engagement ends Jan. 3, 2016.
Following a hit Broadway run last year, magic supergroup returns to New York City with a whole new show with new magic. The cast will feature returning Illusionists Yu Ho-Jin (The Manipulator), Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), Dan Sperry (The Anti-Conjurer) and Adam Trent (The Futurist), as well as new Illusionists Jonathan Goodwin (The Daredevil), James More (The Deceptionist) and Raymond Crowe (The Unusualist). Be prepared to be wowed.

“Fiddler on the Roof”
Previews begin Nov. 20 at the Broadway Theatre. Opens Dec. 20.
Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s classic musical will have it’s fifth Broadway revival, this time with Bartlett Sher (“South Pacific”) at the helm. Danny Burstein (“Cabaret”) will tackle the lead role of Tevye, alongside a cast that includes Jessica Hecht (“The Assembled Parties”), Adam Kantor (“The Last Five Years”) and Samantha Massell (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”). The most recent revival of “Fiddler” was in 2004, with Alfred Molina (and eventually, Harvey Fierstein) as Tevye. Expect Sher to bring a whole-new take on this “Tradition.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Riverdance' Creator Books Broadway Theater for Swan Song Show]]> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:38:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-101944195+%281%29.jpg

"Riverdance" creator Michael Flatley will make his Broadway debut this fall, bringing his acclaimed show, “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games,” to the Lyric Theatre after a sold-out run in London.

Performances for the limited 8-week engagement will begin Nov. 7, and run through Jan. 3, 2016. Opening night is scheduled for Nov. 10.

It will surely be a bittersweet debut for Flatley, who is billing the show as his swan song as a performer. He will also direct and choreograph the show, which features a score by Gerard Fahy.

Flatley will appear in the show at the end of each evening performance (he won’t do matinees), alongside a troup of Irish Dance’s most accomplished performers, including James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Cathal Keaney.

Due to prior commitments, Flatley will not perform Nov. 18-19 and Dec. 4-5.

The Broadway production marks the 20th anniversary of Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” global enterprise. Flatley is a Chicago-born dancer, actor and choreographer known for his quick steps and his creation of some of the world's best known Irish dance shows -- including "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance"

For tickets and information, visit www.lordofthedance.com.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Beier | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[N.Y. Fashion Week: Spring/Summer 2016]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 21:21:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-487625078.jpg The twice-annual fashion affair known as New York Fashion Week ended Thursday after a week's worth of runway shows previewing style trends for spring and summer 2016. Click through to see some of the best trends you'll be wearing next year.]]> <![CDATA[Review: New Spin on Mommy Issues with 'Hamlet in Bed']]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:55:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/HamletinBedMain.jpg

“Hamlet in Bed” is a quirky dark comedy from actor and playwright Michael Laurence that counts as its main inspiration the turbulent relationship between Shakespeare’s gloomy Dane and his mother, Queen Gertrude.

Set in present-day New York, the two-character play revolves around a manic performer and writer (also “Michael”), who was given up for adoption as a newborn and has been trying to resolve his abandonment issues ever since.

When a street peddler sells Michael the handwritten journal of an actress who 40 years earlier played Ophelia and gave up the child she conceived with a co-star, it ignites the obsession that is the central agitation of “Hamlet in Bed”: Could this woman -- it takes Michael mere hours to track her down -- be his birth mother?

“Hamlet in Bed” begins the 21st season at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, with Laurence (the Fringe solo show “Krapp, 39”) co-starring alongside Annette O’Toole, the “Superman III” and “Smallville” actress who just isn’t seen enough on New York stages. The 90-minute world premiere is directed by Lisa Peterson.

O’Toole’s reclusive Anna has become a corporate drone and barfly since her actress days. Laurence quickly seduces her with the promise of a role as Gertrude in a production of “Hamlet” he’s staging. He has made the whole thing up to draw Anna nearer, though he keeps the deception going with items such as the “contract” he needs her to sign.

Laurence, shuffling and melancholic in a way that calls to mind a younger Bill Nighy, constantly calls attention to the fact we’re watching a play; from the stage, he talks to the audience, referring to his fictional “Hamlet” as “a Freudian slip.” The device allows him to keep his pose of ironic distance from what’s transpiring, though it won’t appeal to everyone.

Once Laurence sets up the background, the action reverts to a month before the present day, and progresses forward in weekly intervals from there, up through the play’s murky climax.

O’Toole is positively trippy as a woman who, until she’s found by Laurence, feels as if she’s “slept” through her last 40 years in New York. With her long, graying hair and girlish figure, Anna is a transfixing example of a Greenwich Village single settling into life as a crazy cat lady -- Laurence’s confounding (at least, to her) interest in her life so restores her youthful fecundity that she menstruates for the first time in seven years.

O’Toole is comfortable and, truly, fearless, without putting any gloss on Anna’s unlikeable personality traits. She gives a warts-and-all interpretation that’s oodles of fun to watch.

Michael has a theory that Shakespeare wrote “The Queen’s Closet” scene (where Hamlet and Gertrude argue about her worth as a mother) first and built “Hamlet” out from there. “Hamlet in Bed” takes that scene as a point of departure and expands it outward, reminding us how inexhaustible the source material is, even as it offers up two very good actors in a minimalist production with, I suspect, relatively narrow appeal.

“Hamlet in Bed,” through Oct. 25 at Rattlestick Theater, 224 Waverly Place. Tickets: $10-$35. Call 866-811-4111.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Tristan Fuge]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'The Christians,' at Playwrights Horizons]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 10:54:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ChristiansMain.jpg

Theatergoers double as members of a congregation in “The Christians,” a play about faith and religion in a mega-church that treats its potentially fraught subject with respect.

In Lucas Hnath’s thoughtful and artfully acted 90-minute drama, a pastor (Andrew Garman) has reached a juncture at which his belief about a key doctrine has changed: he no longer thinks that unrepentant sinners and non-Christians are destined for hell.

A co-production of Playwrights Horizons and Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group, “The Christians” has its New York premiere as the first production of the former’s new season. The play is directed by Les Waters, who also guided its world premiere at the Humana Festival.

Pastor Paul’s sermon, delivered directly to the audience, makes up the first 20 minutes or so of “The Christians.” On stage, he is flanked by wife Elizabeth, a junior pastor and a church elder. There’s also a beautiful rotating 20-person choir drawing singers from all five New York boroughs.

The pastor has arrived at his come-to-Jesus moment after attending a conference in Orlando, just before the action in “The Christians” begins. There, he heard a missionary tell a story about a boy who burned to death after saving his sister from a fire.

The boy wasn’t a Christian, so in the missionary’s version of events, he isn’t “saved,” despite his innocence and noble sacrifice. After this, Paul finds that he can no longer abide by the idea that being a letter-of-the-law Christian is the only way to guarantee salvation -- he believes Christians just need to focus on doing good.

Paul’s position ends up being a problem for many in the church, who have to decide not only how they feel about the doctrinal point, but what it means for their personal relationships with their friend and spiritual guide.

Garman makes for a charismatic pastor, a passionate speaker who radiates accessibility. He delivers the sermon in question just as the rapidly expanding church has paid off its debts -- a point that figures in the plot when a congregant becomes suspicious of the pastor’s timing.

Larry Powell does laudable work as the associate pastor who is torn between what he believes is right and remaining loyal to the man who’d been his mentor.

The meatiest parts of “The Christians” transpire in Paul’s scenes with two women. Jenny (Emily Donahoe, in a nicely understated performance) is a single mom who challenges Paul in a way only a mother could: “What you're saying is that if someone were to murder my son, and the murderer dies, then both my son and the murderer would be in Heaven together?” (Donahoe is pictured below, with Garman.)

So, too, is there an effective turn by Linda Powell -- a daughter of former Secretary of State Colin Powell -- who traverses the span from dutiful preacher’s wife to independent thinker.

Can Paul salvage his job? Can he and Elizabeth stay married? Can they even be friends, or would that leave her, to borrow from Corinthians, “yoked together” unequally with an unbeliever? Hnath doesn’t offer lazy answers.

Paul’s foundation in religion was taught. It’s only now that he’s coming to a position by having to thrash through it, intellectually, with high stakes. What I found most interesting about “The Christians” is the way it compels Paul -- and so, us -- to think about not only what he believes, but also why he believes it.

“The Christians,” through Oct. 11 at Playwrights Horizons, 416 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $75. Call 212-279-4200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[“Amazing Grace” Posts Closing Notice]]> Wed, 16 Sep 2015 21:37:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/3763+%281%29.jpg

"Amazing Grace," the new Broadway musical which traces the path of slave trader John Newton, who would write the celebrated title hymn, will play its final performance at the Nederlander Theatre on Oct. 25.

At the time of its closing, “Amazing Grace” will have played 24 previews and 114 regular performances.

The musical, which features a score by self-taught musician Pennsylvania youth outreach and education director Christopher Smith, opened July 16, but struggled to find an audience amidst mixed reviews.

According to numbers reported by The Broadway League, last week, the show took in it’s highest gross on Broadway, bringing in $332,663 or 30% of it’s possible $1,097,840.

"We are incredibly disappointed in the show’s performance at the box office on Broadway,” said producer Carolyn Rossi Copeland, in a statement. “The audiences who do come leave the theater uplifted, and we are honored to have introduced the important story of John Newton to the Broadway community.”

“Amazing Grace” stars Tony nominee Josh Young (“Jesus Christ Superstar”), alongside Tony nominee Tom Hewitt (“Dr. Zhivago”), Erin Mackey (“Chaplin”) and Tony winner Chuck Cooper (“Act One”). Direction comes from Gabriel Barre (“The Wild Party”).

A national tour is expected.

Customers who purchased tickets to “Amazing Grace” after the closing date may contact their point of purchase for refunds and exchanges.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Broadway Community Calls for AT&T Boycott]]> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 09:06:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-129214671+%281%29.jpg

Members of the Broadway community have called for a boycott of AT&T after a message from the telecommunications giant encouraged customers to stream live TV during theater performances.

“Don’t let life get between you and football,” the Twitter message reads. “Get the All in One Plan from AT&T and DirectTV.”

The tweet, which was sent out at 10 a.m. on Monday and has since been deleted, also included a GIF showing a customer streaming football on his or her portable device while in the audience at a show. The text “Catch a winning play at the theater” accompanied the GIF.

"I encourage everyone to DROP AT&T,” wrote “Hand to God” star and Tony nominee Marc Kudisch.

Kudisch’s call for boycott was echoed by Jennifer Tepper -- a Broadway historian, author and Director of Programming at Feinstein’s / 54 Below. “This ignorant ad encourages rude, disruptive, against-the-rules behavior at the theatre,” she said.

Others, like Time Out Chicago’s chief theater critic Kris Vire, expressed interest in dropping AT&T altogether. “Well, I guess I have to change my phone and TV providers,” Vire tweeted.

"Taking my ball and going home to Verizon," said NBC's "Smash" star Ann Harada. "Way to insult an entire industry and a lot of wealthy, educated theatregoers."

An AT&T spokesman said in a statement to NBC 4 New York: "Certainly it's evident our ads take place in an alternate reality and are not meant to be taken literally. The broad concept of the campaign is that you see content just about anywhere." 

Still, many of Broadway's best expressed their disappointment with the suggestion that audience members could stream live TV during a live performance. 

“You cannot be serious AT&T,” said “An American in Paris” star and Tony nominee Max von Essen. “What an inconsiderate ad. Shame on you, AT&T” echoed “The King and I” star and Tony winner Ruthie Ann Miles.

“Not cool, AT&T,” said “Lysistrata Jones” star Patti Murin. “Not cool at all.”

NBC’s “Smash” alum Andy Mientus, who is currently starring in the revival of “Spring Awakening,” offered another suggestion for customers wanting to catch the football game. “Stay home because this behavior is against the rules at the theater and totally rude to everyone in the building,” he tweeted.

"Hey AT&T" -- you forgot to add in the fine print how utterly obnoxious this behavior is," "Wicked" alum Julia Murney wrote. Murney also suggested she and "Bullets Over Broadway" star Betsy Wolfe "park it on a 20 yard line during a game and watch old Tony Award broadcasts on our phones."

This isn’t the first time the Broadway community has gotten up in arms over cellphone use in the theater. Earlier this summer, Patti LuPone took a cell phone from an audience member who was texting during a performance of her off-Broadway show “Shows for Days.” Days prior, a man at Broadway’s “Hand to God” was scolded for trying to charge his phone on stage, in an outlet built into the show’s set.

It should be noted that it is against the law to use cell phones in New York City theatres, movie houses, concerts, museums, libraries and galleries, according to legislational passed in 2003 calling for a banning of devices at public cultural events. Though not often enforced, offenders can face a fine of $50 and eviction from the venue in question. 

Photo Credit: Michael Nagle | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Keurig Launches Campbell's Soup K-Cups]]> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 11:19:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Keurig+Campbell%27s+Soup+K-Cups.png

Microwavable Cup-a-soup and ramen noodles have long been a culinary staple for college students. But the food synonymous with cash-poor undergrads is getting a millennial makeover.

Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., the purveyor of pod coffee machines, is finally bringing its K-Cups to the soup aisle, two years after announcing the partnership with Campbell’s Soup Co.

“We know more than 80 percent of people who buy Keurig pods also buy Campbell’s soup, so bringing together two products people love in one handy kit is a winning idea,” said Michael Goodman, marketing director at Campbell Soup, in a joint news release from the two companies.

The Fresh-Brewed Soup kit is available in Homestyle Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix and Southwest Style Chicken Broth & Noodle Soup Mix.

The two-step process consists of a packet of noodles, which is emptied into a 12-oz cup, and a K-cup pod of broth. Brew. Stir. For consumers worried their soup would taste like coffee, or coffee would taste like soup, Goodman says Keurig suggests running a brew cycle before alternating between the two.

The companies say it's a 70-calorie treat with no artificial colors or flavors. The soup costs $11.99 for an 8-pack. 

Photo Credit: Keurig/Facebook]]>
<![CDATA['Hand to God' to End Broadway Run]]> Wed, 09 Sep 2015 13:14:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Steven_Boyer_in_a_scene_from_HAND_TO_GOD_on_Broadway_-_Photo_by_Joan_Marcus_edited-1+%281%29.jpg

“Hand to God,” the dark comedy about a boy in a Christian Puppet Ministry group whose puppet becomes possessed by the devil, will end its run at Broadway’s Booth Theatre on Jan. 3, 2016.

At the time of its closing, it will have played 26 previews and 337 regular performances.

The play, written by Robert Askins, will transfer to London’s West End, where it will begin performances on Feb. 5, 2016 at the Vaudeville Theatre. Director Moritz von Stuelpnagel will recreate his direction there.

The closing comes after the five-time nominated “Hand to God” was shut out at the 2015 Tony Awards. The play has also been struggling to attract audiences lately, only grossing 40 percent of its potential box office last week, according to numbers reported by The Broadway League.

“Hand to God” currently stars Tony nominees Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr, Sarah Stiles and Marc Kudisch. Newcomer Michael Oberholtzer finishes out the cast.

For tickets and information, visit www.HandToGodBroadway.com

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Twerking Stormtroopers Take Over Times Square]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:43:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/twerking+stormtrooper.jpg

Dancing stormtroopers, flashing lightsabers and life-sized LEGOs took over Times Square early Friday morning as die-hard Star Wars fans gathered for the kickoff to "Force Friday" in New York City.

The global event marks the first day of sales for the toys that will supplement the latest installment in the franchise, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The day started with an 18-hour "unboxing" live stream that showed toys from manufacturers like LEGO, Hasbro and Disney being revealed to audiences across 12 countries.

The Disney Store and Toys R Us in Times Square both opened at midnight, offering special giveaways and limited edition posters.

The celebration started Thursday morning at Toys R Us, with book signings, art classes, product demonstrations, and yes, twerking stormtroopers.

The latest installment in the "Star Wars" franchise will hit theaters in December.

Photo Credit: Hansel Asencio via Instagram
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pumpkin Spice Latte Lovers Get a Secret Head Start]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 23:42:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MCFN0qxF-7360-4397.jpg

Pumpkin Spice Latte lovers are in luck — you can get the seasonal treat early this year.

As the pumpkin-spice-everything season is rapidly approaching, Starbucks is allowing fans to procure the autumnal beverage before its official release date on Sept. 8.

“Why wait?” Starbucks’ website reads.

Customers can now obtain a PSL Fan Pass with the top secret password — you guessed it — "pumpkin."

After entering a cellphone number, the Pumpkin Spice Fairies will text the fan pass to purchase the popular beverage before its official roll-out.

The PSL is Starbucks' “most popular seasonal beverage,” according to the coffee chain's site.

This season, Starbucks is adding 2 percent real pumpkin to the latte. Its original ingredients were espresso, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

"After feedback from our customers and partners, this year Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is crafted with real pumpkin, and is free of caramel coloring but with the same taste that customers have known and loved for over a decade," Starbucks wrote in a statement.

Photo Credit: Starbucks
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Chuck and Jimmy Fallon Team Up on the Whisper Challenge]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:22:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TWO_SHOT_READY-FALLON-CHUCK.jpg

Ahead of the season premiere this Tuesday of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," Chuck Scarborough and Jimmy Fallon joined up to play the "Whisper Challenge." 

Watch as Jimmy wears sound-blocking headphones and tries to guess the words that Chuck says to him. 

That's just a taste of the fun ahead as late-night leader “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” kicks off the fall season Tuesday with a premiere week lineup that includes Keith Urban, Justin Timberlake, Ellen DeGeneres, Carrie Underwood, Pharrell Williams and a certain presidential candidate making a few headlines these days.

Frequent Fallon collaborator Justin Timberlake returns to the show on Wednesday -- his first appearance since the show's initial premiere week.  Ellen DeGeneres and musical guest Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are also scheduled to appear and the show will simulcast on a digital billboard in the heart of Times Square. 

Also be sure to watch Chuck Scarborough each night before "The Tonight Show" on News 4 New York at 11.

<![CDATA[Kathleen Turner Will Star in New Play About Transgender Love]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:24:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-458365438+%281%29.jpg

Two time Tony nominee and Golden Globe winner Kathleen Turner will return to the New York stage this fall in a new love story that tackles the issue of transgender identity.

“Would You Still Love Me If…” will begin previews on Sept. 26 at off Broadway's New World Stages, with an official opening set for Oct. 10.

The play, written by John S. Anastasi, will also star Deborah Cox, last seen on Broadway in the 2013 revival of “Jekyll and Hyde.” Rebecca Brooksher and Sofia Jean Gomez fill out the cast.

Turner will play the mother of a woman considering gender reassignment surgery. The world premiere production will be directed by Nona Gerard.

Tickets start at $79.50 and are on sale now at Telecharge or at the New World Stages box office.

Photo Credit: Frazer Harrison | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey']]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:31:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AbsoluteBrightness.jpg

“What is it about a kid who gets chased and jumped and slammed into his locker on a daily basis and still insists on being himself?”

That’s the question asked in “The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey,” the remarkable and heartwarming one-man show playing through Oct. 4 at the Westside Theatre that will leave you wiping away tears at your seat.

Written and performed by James Lecesne, and based on his 2008 book of the same name, “Absolute Brightness” tells the story of detective Chuck DeSantis, a small New Jersey town investigator who sets out to solve the disappearance of a flamboyant 14-year-old boy named Leonard Pelkey. Through Leonard's world, DeSantis confronts the horrors of bullying and sees how a community can learn to embrace their differences by having the courage to stay true to their individuality.

It is by no means a new message to be receiving, especially in our culture of increased visibility and acceptance of the LGBTQ community (see: the “It Gets Better” campaign, Caitlyn Jenner, the SCOTUS’ decision to legalize gay marriage nationwide, etc). On paper (or in this case, on the web), it’ll sound like “Absolute Brightness” is preaching to the choir.

Still, that doesn’t make the themes in “Absolute Brightness” any less important. Suicide is statistically the second-leading cause of death among  people ages 10 to 24, and each episode of LGBTQ victimization, such as bullying or physical abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming by 2.5 times on average. And according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), 2014 saw 1,359 incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence -- an 11 percent increase in homicides from the year before.

Lecesne himself has been a long-standing advocate for the gay community, having won an Oscar for writing the 1994 short film “Trevor.” He was inspired by that project to start the Trevor Project, the only nationwide 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth.

“Absolute Brightness” humanizes those statistics through Leonard’s story -- though we never get to meet the boy in question. Instead, Lecesne introduces us to nine characters who orbit Leonard’s world. There’s Ellen, the sultry owner of a local hair salon who takes Leonard under her wing. 16-year-old Pheobe, Ellen’s nerdy, shy daughter. Even Otto, an old German clock repair shop worker who came to understand his own gay son through talking with Leonard.

Lecesne plays them all, effortlessly transitioning between each character with only a moment’s notice. No props or costume changes are used either -- Lecesne simply shifts his voice and changes his mannerisms, unraveling each new character before your eyes. It’s a marvelous performance from a poignant storyteller, and the familiarity of the characters he creates will help you relate to the story even more.

Lecesne is good as all his characters, but none quite bring the laughs and tug at your heartstrings more than Marion, a no-nonsense smoker who meets Leonard while shopping the aisles of CVS. Through a drag of a cigarette, Marion explains how Leonard’s friendship helped her embrace her true self.

“He saw us,” Marion explains. “Not as we were, but as we hoped to be. It was like a super power he had.”

Featuring a tender score by “Spring Awakening” and “American Psycho” songwriter Duncan Sheik, “Absolute Brightness” is a must-see story of love and faith that will challenge you to embrace those around you for their differences. Go see it -- and bring a box of tissues.

“Absolute Brightness,” through Oct. 4 at the Westside Theatre, 407 West 43rd Street. Tickets: $85. Call 212-239-6200.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[Micahel Feinstein and 54 Below Join Forces]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 11:24:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-136429554+%281%29.jpg

Since cabaret venue Feinstein’s at Lowes Regency Hotel closed its doors in December 2012, performer Michael Feinstein has been looking for a new club mainstay to bear his name. And it appears he’s found it.

The Grammy-nominated performer will partner with 54 Below, the Broadway supper club that opened in the basement of Studio 54 three years ago.

The venue will now go by the name Feinstein’s/54 Below, with Feinstein himself making his first engagement there Dec. 20-30. He’ll appear twice annually at the venue thereafter.

“I've watched 54 Below light up Times Square as the number one destination for live entertainment and great food,” Feinstein said in a statement. “I am thrilled to join the Tony Award-winning team behind 54 Below's success and look forward to our new adventure together."

This will be the second venue Feinstein currently has his name attached to. In May 2013 he opened Feinstein’s at the Nikko in San Francisco. The singer and pianist, who is often cited as “the ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” also conducts the Kravis Center Pops Orchestra and the Pasadena Pops.

54 Below presents 16 shows a week, 52 weeks a year, with talent ranging from Broadway legends like Patti LuPone and Ben Vereen to solo debuts of rising Broadway talent, cast reunions, show tributes and popular acts The Skivvies and Charlie Rosen’s Broadway Big Band.

Feinstein’s partnership with 54 Below, which is operated by four producers rather than owned by a hotel or club like other traditional cabaret venues, is expected to help the venue gain financial stability.

Photo Credit: Frederick M. Brown | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aaron Tveit talks "Graceland," "Grease," and More]]> Thu, 03 Sep 2015 15:05:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/173*120/aaron+tveit.PNG Aaron Tveit stops by to catch us up on season 3 of his hit USA series "Graceland," plus chats about how he's preparing to take on the role of Danny in the upcoming live TV musical "Grease," and where you can find him performing in NYC later this month.]]> <![CDATA[Chuck Scarborough and Jimmy Fallon Team Up on the Whisper Challenge]]> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:15:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TWO_SHOT_READY-FALLON-CHUCK.jpg Watch as Jimmy Fallon wears sound-blocking headphones and tries to guess the words that Chuck Scarborough says to him. That's just a taste of the fun ahead as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” kicks off the fall season Tuesday.]]> <![CDATA[McDonald's to Serve Breakfast 24/7]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 11:08:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mcdonald%27s+breakfast.jpg

McDonald's announced Tuesday its highly anticipated decision to serve breakfast all day at all U.S. locations starting this fall.

According to CNBC, McDonald's franchisees voted to approve all-day breakfast at the fast food chain's 14,300 U.S. restaurants on Tuesday. Starting Oct. 6, patrons can order Egg McMuffins and other breakfast items at any time of the day.

The Oak Brook, Illinois-based company tweeted about the decision Tuesday afternoon using the hashtag #AllDayBreakfast and responding to customers' queries about extending the chain's breakfast hours. McDonald's even responded to a tweet from 2007 that said, "Mcdonalds should serve breakfast 24/7."

McDonald's began testing all-day breakfast in March in the San Diego market. The test was expected to expand to Nashville this summer.

"Serving all-day breakfast is likely the number one request we hear from McDonald's customers," the company told NBC Chicago in a statement in July.

McDonald's breakfast currently ends at 10:30 a.m. in most markets.

The chain has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But McDonald's has faced stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>