<![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 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 04:38:30 -0500 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 04:38:30 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Ugh! That Newsweek Cover": Silicon Valley Women Respond]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 23:22:14 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/newsweekmain.jpg

Newsweek's latest cover on "What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women" sparked a firestorm Thursday —  on Twitter and in Silicon Valley — with some accusing the magazine of taking on sexism with a sexist cover.

The clip-art cover shows a woman in red heels holding a laptop, while a cursor lifts up her red dress.

“It's going to take a revolution to change the sordid and systemic sexism in Silicon Valley,” was how Newsweek tweeted out its cover story, which delves into scandals and controversies that have rocked the valley — from tech entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal who was accused of attacking his girlfriend to the sexual harassment lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins to startup “bro culture.”

"Well, Newsweek, the revolution's not going to start like this," feminist site Jezebel fired off on Twitter.

"Clickbait, designed to piss off women while pretending to investigate sexism in tech. Fail--but you know it," tweeted Jennifer Pozner, executive director of Women in Media and News.

“It’s kind of like doing a story about rape and having the cover image be a cartoon with a victim handcuffed to a bed,” tweeted Carmel DeAmicis, a reporter for Gigaom.

But it wasn’t just social media pundits and journalists lashing out.

The cover also got a lot of buzz at the Tech Superwoman Summit in San Francisco Thursday.

"Yikes," "What the heck," "This is the actual cover?" ... "Well interesting" — female software engineers and excecutives chimed in.

“I don’t know if I would have gone with that graphic,” said Cathryn Posey, founder of Tech Superwoman.

“It’s unfortunate, parents will tell their girls ‘don’t go into the tech industry,' when that’s only part of the story,” said Julie Elberfeld, an MVP at Capital One.

The Newsweek article itself points out that despite running tech giants such as Yahoo and HP, women are still under-represented in tech, something conference attendees didn't disagree with. Google, Facebook and Apple recently released gender breakdowns for its employees, and the numbers don’t look too good for women.

“I also think it’s our biggest opportunity — with this data, now that we know what’s going on, we can all partner to solve it, so I think it’s a transcendental moment for the industry if we can come together on it,” Posey said.

“We are actively hiring and recruiting right now, and we are looking to bring in a good balance of men and women,” said Julie Giannini of New Relic.

Newsweek’s editor James Impoco responded to the backlash, telling The Daily Beast: “We came up with an image that we felt represented what that story said about Silicon Valley. If people get angry, they should be angry.”

<![CDATA[CSC's "A Month in the Country"]]> Thu, 29 Jan 2015 11:31:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CountryMain.jpg

Love is out of reach for everyone in the Classic Stage Company’s first-rate revival of “A Month in the Country,” the mid-19th century Ivan Turgenev play that’s equal parts comedy and heartbreak.

Taylor Schilling, of TV’s “Orange is the New Black,” heads a cast of recognizable small-screen talents as Natalya Petrovna, the wife of a neglectful land baron who finds herself drawn to a young tutor she’s hired to care for her son. Harboring years of unrequited feelings for Natalya is her best friend, Mikhail (Peter Dinklage, of HBO’s “Game of Thrones”).

The leads are surrounded by a gaggle of supporting characters, including a nudgnik doctor and Natalya’s teenage ward, Vera, who becomes her romantic rival.

Schilling, making her New York stage debut, is excellent as a woman who surprises herself with the lengths she’ll go to in order to attract handsome instructor Aleksey (Mike Faist of “Newsies”), who appears immune to her charms.

As the friend-zoned pal, Dinklage brings frustration and insight to the stage, such as when he recognizes Natalya’s budding infatuation before even she does: “Recently, you have been in a state of constant irritability. Even you are confused by it ….”

Anyone who’s even been in Mikhail’s shoes will find him relatable.

Faist is effective as the tutor straddling the line between boyhood and manhood, painfully concerned with the impact he has on others, while unaware he’s the source of the frustration. Megan West (murdered student Lila Standard on TV’s “How to Get Away with Murder”) is well-matched as Vera, a vulnerable yet self-aware young woman learning she can’t trust her caretaker. (The pair are pictured below.)

It was most fun to watch Thomas Jay Ryan (“The Temperamentals”) as Shpigelsky, the by his-own-counts mediocre doctor who sets out to marry off Vera to a local buffoon for his own selfish gains. Ryan is exceptionally well cast as a character who gets what he wants without concern for how foolish he looks in the process.

Anthony Edwards, of TV’s “ER,” is appropriately clueless as Natalya’s husband, Arkady, though the part doesn’t give him much of a chance to stretch. It’s also lovely to see Annabella Sciorra (Tony’s one-time girlfriend on “The Sopranos”) and Elizabeth Franz (a Tony winner for 1999’s “Death of a Salesman”), both of whom are delightful in supporting roles.

Erica Schmidt, wife of actor Dinklage, directs the production, which comes in at just over two hours. “A Month in the Country” uses the CSC’s narrow confines to advantage. A gray overhand suspended from the ceiling keeps the action tightly framed.

Turgenev’s play, adapted here by John Christopher Jones, has a Chekhovian sense of form -- nothing is very fair, and those looking for tidy resolutions should turn their attentions elsewhere. Ultimately, as Arkady observes, everyone who is wounded takes off “like a flight of starlings, and all because they’re good, honorable people.” You won’t know whether to laugh or cry as they run away from their feelings, but it’s sure a treat to watch them flee.

“A Month in the Country,” through Feb. 21 at Classic Stage Company, 136 E. 13th St. Tickets: $75. Call 212-352-3101.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Blizzard Stops Broadway]]> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 19:09:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/461081559SP022_WINTER_SNOW_.jpg

The show won’t go on Jan. 26 on Broadway as all performances have been canceled due to the blizzard.

Only three Broadway productions had previously scheduled performances on Monday evening: “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia!” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” 

Ticketholders should contact their point of purchase for information about exchanges.

It is unclear whether similar cancellations will occur on Tuesday, Jan. 27. An official announcement will be made by the Broadway League Tuesday morning. 

Disney Theatrical Productions aren’t taking any chances, though. Performances of “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” have already been canceled for Jan. 27. Disney is offering complimentary ticket exchanges for performances, information of which can be found at aladdinthemusical.com/weather and lionking.com/weather, respectively.

Off Broadway productions and nightlife venues, such as Birdland Jazz Club, have also canceled performances for Jan. 26. Broadway's supper club 54 Below has also canceled performances for Jan. 27. 

Photo Credit: Spencer Platt | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Emma Stone and Anna Chlumsky in Their Broadway Debuts]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:50:48 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/StoneChlumsky.png

It happens all the time on Broadway: the actor who originates a role leaves the production, and another one steps in to replace him or her. Usually, said replacement doesn’t get much buzz. But with the surge of celebrity-lead productions these days, celebrity replacements are becoming more of a regular thing. And can often lead to longer runs (See: Martin Short stepping in for Nathan Lane in “It’s Only a Play”).

Let’s see how three of them — Anna Chlumsky, Richard Thomas and Emma Stone — are are doing:

Anna Chlumsky and Richard Thomas, “You Can’t Take It With You

On “Veep,” Anna Chlumsky plays the Vice President’s long-suffering Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer — a quick-talking, foul-mouthed problem-solver, constantly forced to throw herself under the bus to save the day.

Chlumsky is showing a different side in her Broadway debut, stepping in to the role of Alice Sycamore in the hit revival of Kaufman and Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You.” She’s lost the sarcasm and upped the level of stress, as Alice tries (and fails) to conceal her unconventional, wacky family from her straight-laced, soon-to-be in-laws (Byron Jennings and Johanna Day, perfectly paired and perfectly square).

On the surface, Alice appears to be the only normal member in a family of playwrights, painters, ballet dancers, musicians and firework-makers. But the play doesn’t really work if there isn’t a little bit of crazy inside Alice, too. After all, that carefree attitude might just be genetic.

Luckily, director Scott Ellis gets that, and allows Chlumsky to explore Alice’s manic side. As the night unravels, so too does Alice. Chlumsky gets goofy and frantic, finding physically comic moments that Rose Byrne, who originated Alice in this production, never had. Moreover, Chlumsky’s natural chemistry with Fran Kranz, who plays Alice’s fiance Kirby, brings a warmth and sweetness to Alice that you can’t help but fall for.

Chlumsky isn’t the only addition to the “You Can’t Take It With You” family. Emmy-winner Richard Thomas (“The Waltons”), last on Broadway in 2012’s “An Enemy of the People,” also has joined the cast as Paul Sycamore, Alice’s inventor father. It’s harder for Thomas to stand out among the chaos of the Sycamores, and he appears far more restrained than Mark Linn-Baker was in the role before him. But he still captures Paul’s childlike enthusiasm to get the character’s biggest laughs. John-Boy would be proud.

“You Can’t Take It With You,” through Feb. 22 at the Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. Tickets: $37-$152. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Emma Stone, “Cabaret

When Roundabout Theatre Company originally planned to remount Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s 1998 revival of “Cabaret,” they hoped Oscar-nominated actress Emma Stone would be their Sally Bowles. Scheduling conflicts got in the way (damn you, Spider-Man), and the part instead went to another Oscar-nominee: Michelle Williams.

Williams gave a nuanced and heartbreaking portrayal of Bowles. Fragile and afraid, she played Bowles like a wannabe star with little talent and a big personality who prostituted herself to the mainstage of the Kit Kat Club. Like Roxie Heart in “Chicago,” Williams’ Bowles got wrapped up in all that jazz and just couldn’t escape.

Stone plays the part very differently, and in turn, gives the show a whole new energy. Her Bowles is not nearly as breakable. But in turn, she’s not nearly as lost. This isn’t a scared little girl, begging to be rescued. This is a strong young woman, who feels in control of her actions even when there’s no control to be had. In Stone’s hands, Bowles’ manic behavior in the book scenes come off as an adaptable woman who knows how to survive.

She can sing, too, and dance just as well — both on display in her energetic opening number “Don’t Tell Mama” and the commanding “Mein Herr.” Stone’s voice is sweet and full, with the actress’ signature husky tone all but vanished. She turns “Maybe This Time” into a tender ballad, reminiscent of Lana Del Rey. With Stone’s talent, you get the feeling that if the circumstances were right, this Sally Bowles actually could have been a star.

That makes her take on the title number “Cabaret” all the more heartbreaking. Because she’s not just giving up her chance at a happy life with Cliff (Bill Heck) — she’s giving up her chance at a successful life on the stage. Here’s hoping Stone herself doesn’t follow suit — this is one performer Broadway needs to see more of.

Emma Stone is in “Cabaret” through Feb. 15. The production closes March 29 at Studio 54, 254 W. 54nd St. Tickets: $47-$162. Call 212-719-1300 or visit www.roundabouttheatre.org for tickets.

Photo Credit: Jason Merritt | Andrew H. Walker]]>
<![CDATA[Anne Hathaway Books One-Woman Play at The Public]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 17:08:56 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/531158771PH00045_15th_Annua.jpg

Oscar winner Anne Hathaway will star in George Brant’s “Grounded” at the Public Theater this spring, in a limited engagement that begins April 7 and ends May 17. Opening night is set for April 23.

The one-woman show tackles the struggles of wartime vets adjusting to everyday life, with Hathaway playing a fighter pilot who is reassigned to remote-controlled drones after the birth of her son.

Direction will come from two-time Tony winner Julie Taymor (“The Lion King,” “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark”) -- who last worked on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Brooklyn Theater in 2013.

“Grounded” first premiered in New York in January 2014 at TriBeCa’s Walkerspace, with actress Hannah Cabell in the leading role. Prior to that, it won a slew of honors in London, including the Smith Prize for Political Theater.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter]]>
<![CDATA[Target Launches New Plus-Size Line]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 16:51:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/240*120/AVA+VIV+Header.jpg

Target has announced plans to unveil a new clothing line designed specifically for plus-size women.

The line, expected to arrive in mid-February, was designed by Target's in-house design team and features "stylish basics along with trend-driven statement pieces that fashionistas will love," the company said in a release Wednesday.

Similar to Target’s other apparel line, the new AVA & VIV clothing will be updated monthly, with prices ranging from $10 to $79.99.

“Target is synonymous with great design, and with the launch of AVA & VIV, we’re stepping up our fashion game for our Plus-size guests,” Stacia Andersen, senior vice president of merchandising, apparel and accessories at Target said in a statement. “From stylish original prints to the attention to detail and fit, this line is meant to impress and we can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

As part of their latest line launch, the Minneapolis-based retailer enlisted the help of a blogger who once called for a boycott of the company. Chastity Garner, along with fellow plus-size bloggers Gabi Gregg and Nicolette Mason, were hired to help promote the line and give feedback on the newest collection.

Last August, Garner announced she was boycotting Target after the company released their Altuzarra for Target collection.

"Year after year, season after season, you put out these gorgeous designer collections and you almost never include a plus range. Every time each of these collections is about to be released it feels like a slap in the face," Garner wrote. “You may ask, ‘Is there any way I will take you back?’ I will take you back, when and only when, you include true plus sizes in your designer range collaborations. Until then, I will take my money elsewhere."

The line will be available on Target.com on Feb. 22 and will arrive in stores mid-February through March, the company said.

Photo Credit: Target
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA["Into the Woods," Off the Big Screen]]> Thu, 22 Jan 2015 15:21:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/WoodsMain.jpg

These "Woods" have been defoliated.

There are just 10 actors and one major set piece—a piano—in the Fiasco Theater’s inventive Off-Broadway take on "Into the Woods," the favorite Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical, now open at the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre.

While this latest revival surely stands to benefit from Disney’s recent moment with the parable, it also stands in razor-sharp contrast to the box office hit, which boasts a lush CGI beanstalk and a towering, village-crushing giantess.

There’s nothing towering or gigantic about this production of the “after happily ever after” musical, first presented at Princeton’s McCarter Theater in 2013 (and arriving in New York with the same cast). To create the image of a giant in the story’s climactic moments, a Fiasco company member merely shines a handheld downstage spotlight onto an actress, whose shadow looms large onto a curtain behind her.

The innovations drop like golden eggs from a goose during the 2-hour and 40-minute performance, co-directed by Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld, who appear respectively as the Wolf and the Baker. Brody’s Wolf arrives on stage clutching the mounted head of a lupine, as it might have been prepared by the local taxidermist (take that, Johnny Depp).

A dressmaker’s mannequin does stand-in as the tree at the grave of Cinderella’s mother. Folded paper transforms into the birds who assist her in their endeavors. That goose and the golden egg? It’s a feather duster and a glittery Christmas ornament. And so on.

The tricks serve to create a distilled, acoustic “Into the Woods” that forces us to focus on the bare bones of the story: we have our fairy tales, but this here, in the second act, is how life really is. The performances, particularly Emily Young’s winking Little Red, assume an intimate knowledge of the story (Young doubles as Rapunzel). This production will be most appreciated by theatergoers already familiar with the material.

You could not ask for a more interesting Milky White, who comes off as sullen, yet remarkably human thanks to a winning interpretation by Andy Grotelueschen, who “Moos!” and rings his cowbell at all the right moments—there’s no costume here.

I was equally taken with regional theater vet Claire Karpen’s crystalline-voiced Cinderella. Jennifer Mudge, last seen as Adrian’s confident pal in Broadway’s “Rocky,” makes for an imposing witch (in spite of the grandmotherly knit shmata on her shoulders), while co-helmer Steinfeld is an even-keeled Baker.

All the action transpires against a set framed by a surrealist’s landscape of piano keys, harps and other instrument parts. As in John Doyle’s far glitzier Sondheim revivals, the actors here double as musicians, playing cello or bassoon, though usually off to one side of the stage. The piano proves to be an excellent makeshift cliff for the climactic death of the Baker’s Wife (the appealing Jessie Austrian).

At times, the sameness of the cast (is it me, or are these woods due for some diversity planting?) was distracting. Because the talented actors seem to be in the same age range and type, including the ones playing Jack (Patrick Mulryan) and Little Red (Young and Brody are pictured, above), the characters aren’t sharply differentiated.

It may not sound like a hindrance, but you notice it during the second act finale, as the Baker and Cinderella are promising to take care of the orphaned children … who are taller than they.

The members of the Fiasco company have the resourcefulness of a community theater in how they land “Into the Woods” on what is surely a modest budget. Sometimes, what they come up with hits the mark—sometimes it doesn’t quite. Still, we’d gladly hand over five magic beans to watch them do their thing.

“Into the Woods,” through March 21 at the Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th St. Tickets: $99. Call 212-719-1913.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Sad Monkey Consoled by Pal]]> Fri, 23 Jan 2015 10:08:30 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/012215+comforting+monkeys.jpg

Think you had a bad day? Try trading places with this sad little monkey.

In this adorable clip from Miami's Zoological Wildlife Foundation, Angelica, a capuchin monkey, lands herself in timeout. And clearly, she is heartbroken over it.

Jessica Soto, an assistant with ZWF Miami, tells NBC 6 that Angelica is a 2-year-old capuchin monkey, and Toby is almost 4. Together, the pair were both playing with a Yorkie puppy when Toby pulled on the pup's leg. The two were scolded, and Angelica took off running to hide. As a result, Soto says both monkeys were put in timeout.

In the clip, we can see Angelica inconsolably rest her head in her hands, looking truly heartbroken over her predicament.

Thankfully, her good friend Toby was there to make their time in timeout more bearable. 

In the adorable clip, Toby can be seen putting a caring arm around his pal, offering some friendly chatter, and even giving her a few sweet scratches to the head.

The caption on the @zwfmiami Instagram page says,"Toby consoling Angelica, who's on timeout," along with the hashtag "#almosthuman."

Soto says capuchin monkeys are highly intelligent and are often used as service animals, as is the case with Angelica and Toby who are the service animals of a ZWF guest.

Thankfully, Soto says Angelica was not kept in timeout very long, but just long enough to capture the sweet moment between two friends on video.

Photo Credit: ZWF Miami/Instagram
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Oreo Dresses Up for Valentine's Day With New Flavor]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:00:44 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/222*120/oreo+red+velvet+1200.jpg

Oreos are dressing up for Valentine’s Day.

The treat dubbed “milk’s favorite cookie” has a new look and flavor, one that is popular among foodies—Red Velvet. The chocolate cookies are now red and have a creme cheese spread between them.

They will hit stores on February 2 and be around for only six to eight weeks.

Eager Oreo lovers can enter for a chance to win free samples before they hit shelves — 20, 250 people will be selected to try the cake-like treats.

According to a taste test by Today.com, the Red Velvet cookies have garnered mixed reviews. Some call it too sweet while others think they are simply delish. 

<![CDATA[“She Loves Me” Revival Coming]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 09:22:47 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/RadnorBenanti.png

“How I Met Your Mother” star Josh Radnor and “Nashville” star Laura Benanti will headline a spring 2016 limited engagement Broadway revival of “She Loves Me” for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary season.

The classic musical, which features a score by Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics), will be directed by Scott Ellis. He knows a thing or two about directing revivals, having helmed three revivals for Broadway this season alone: “You Can’t Take It With You,” “The Elephant Man” and the upcoming “On the Twentieth Century.”

“She Loves Me” tells the story of Georg (Radnor) and Amalia (Benanti) -- coworkers who clash at the office but accidentally fall in love with one another after anonymously exchanging romantic letters.

Sound familiar? The story, adapted by Joe Masteroff from a play by Miklos Laszlo, was the basis for the 1949 James Stewart film "The Shop Around the Corner" and the 1998 movie “You’ve Got Mail” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The revival will mark Josh Radnor’s Broadway musical debut. The actor, currently appearing on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced,” appeared in a special one-night-only gala reading of “She Loves Me” for the Roundabout back in 2011.

It will be Benanti’s first Broadway role since 2010’s “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” The Tony-winning actress is currently in rehearsals alongside the Rockettes for Radio City’s “New York Spring Spectacular,” which begins previews March 12 with a March 26 opening.

“She Loves Me” has special significance for the Roundabout. Their 1993 production, also directed by Ellis, was the first Broadway musical production in the company’s history. It launched the Musical Theatre Program, which has gone on to produce Tony-winning revivals of “Cabaret,” “Nine,” “Assassins,” The Pajama Game” and “Anything Goes.”

Photo Credit: Cindy Ord | Stephen Lovekin]]>
<![CDATA[Controversial “Phantom of the Opera” Casting]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:25:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/phantom+controversy.jpg

An actor who once served jail time for endangering the welfare of a minor is Broadway’s newest “Phantom”—and there are some people who are extremely unhappy about it.

Last week, James Barbour, 48, was named to succeed actor Norm Lewis --the first black man to play the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical figure on Broadway. A stage veteran, Barbour has appeared in a number of shows before, including “Assassins,” “Urinetown” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

But in 2006, he was indicted on nine counts of engaging in criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child after activity between Barbour and a 15-year-old female fan back in 2001, following a performance of “Jane Eyre.”

Barbour would admit to a judge in 2008 that he fondled the girl in his dressing room before the final curtain call, and engaged in oral sex with her the following month in his Upper West Side apartment.

He plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a minor, which absolved Barbour from having to register as a sex offender. He served a 60-day jail sentence and received three-years probation.

After the casting announcement, fans took to social media to express their outrage.

“The fact that James Barbour was chosen as the new Phantom makes me sick,” wrote Patricia Ferragamo, on Twitter. “There are plenty of talented actors who aren't confessed criminals.”

Aileen McKenna, a reporter and co-founder of the popular theater site The Craptacular, argued that Barbour’s casting alluded to a bigger problem.

“As a woman, I feel uncomfortable with, and alienated by this casting decision,” McKenna wrote. “It makes me wonder if this Broadway -- the one that casts men who confessed to sexual conduct with a minor -- is a Broadway that I personally want to be a part of, or financially support.”

Barbour’s defenders were equally vocal on social media.

“It’s healthy to want people to learn from their mistakes and move forward,” added Katie Lott on Facebook. “I’m sure he’ll do a fabulous job.”

Many wondered why “Phantom” casting was bringing so much controversy this time around. The actor previously appeared, post conviction, in 2008’s “A Tale of Two Cities.”

It could have something to do with the worldwide success of “Phantom” -- the longest running show on Broadway. Or it could be because the character of the Phantom obsesses over a young girl he can’t have.

“The Phantom of the Opera” defended the move, in a statement appearing on the musical’s Facebook page. “James fully accepted the responsibility of what happened 14 years ago,” they said. “While we know some will disagree, we believe James has completely honored the second chance he was given beginning 7 years ago.”

Barbour’s run begins Feb. 9.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[100 Cases of Beer at Your Door? There's an App for That]]> Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:54:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bud+Light+App.jpg

Some Bud Light lovers can now get beer delivered to their door with the tap of a smartphone screen.

With two weeks to go until Super Bowl Sunday, Anheuser-Busch has introduced a new app offering home delivery of Bud Light in less than an hour.

The free app "Bud Light Button" made its debut in Washington, D.C., this week. It provides Bud Light during the legal hours that alcohol is allowed to be sold in the city. The company said a "nominal" delivery fee will be charged, but did not specify the amount.

As of Thursday, D.C. residents of legal drinking age were able to order between one and 100 cases of beer with just the touch of a button.

The app is part of Bud Light’s "Up for Whatever" campaign to encourage customers to have spontaneous fun.

David J. Hanson, professor emeritus of sociology at the State University of New York at Potsdam, said the app follows a broader trend of dry counties becoming wet and blue law prohibitions against Sunday sales of alcohol declining.

"I think a lot of people will be willing to pay the extra fee for home delivery. Hopefully it will decrease the number of drinking and driving injuries as well," said Hanson, who has researched alcohol and drinking for more than 40 years.

He hopes to see the app spreading to all 50 states, predicting that it will do well if the company sees people vote with their dollars... or with their pointer fingers. 

The app is currently only available on Android-powered smart phones; an IOS version is coming soon.

For more information on how to download the app, click here.  

<![CDATA[Review: Tony Danza, in "Honeymoon in Vegas"]]> Thu, 15 Jan 2015 12:31:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/HoneymoonMain.jpg

Would you bet against Tony Danza? I sure wouldn’t, certainly not in a vehicle as full of cheesy goodness as “Honeymoon in Vegas,” which just opened at the Nederlander Theatre following a well-received world premiere at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse. All the leads are back for the Broadway run.

Adapted from the 1992 film, which it occasionally turns on its head, “Vegas” tells the story of Jack Singer (Rob McClure of “Chaplin”), a Brooklyn fella afraid his marriage will disappoint his mother even though she’s been dead for 10 years.

Jack summons the nerve to propose to girlfriend Betsy (Brynn O’Malley, last seen as Grace Farrell in “Annie”), but his plans are interrupted on a visit to Sin City, when smooth-talking gambler Tommy Korman (Tony Danza) decides the pretty schoolteacher should be his.

The musical has a book by Andrew Bergman, who also wrote and directed the movie, and a -- ka-ching -- jackpot-winning score by “Bridges” and “Last Five Years” composer Jason Robert Brown.

Danza’s Tommy has the sad wisdom of a man whose heart has been irrevocably broken. Dark Danza is not. Even when Tommy engages in a dirty trick that sets the convoluted plot in motion, it feels oddly forgivable in Danza’s hands; there’s an argument to be made that Tommy should be at least somewhat threatening.

The lovable goofball from “Taxi” and father-figure of “Who’s the Boss” is a guy so darn endearing that he’s drumming up support for the musical comedy by hanging around the TKTS booth in Times Square and telling interested theatergoers they can call him "a bum" afterward if they’re disappointed.

Tony Danza could sucker punch the conductor halfway through the overture and you’d still root for him. He does no such thing in “Vegas,” of course. Rather, the actor, 63 and aging better than most of us will, engages in crowd-pleasing, low-impact tap dancing, strums a ukulele and makes a valiant effort at singing (the show’s big numbers aren’t written with him in mind).

As it is, the most killer thing about Danza is his threads. His performance, eminently enjoyable, at times left me rooting for him to get the girl. That was unexpected -- and frankly I’m on the fence about whether it helps the show’s prospects.

Meanwhile, the hero, a mama’s boy who self-identifies as a “schmuck,” is played by the equally likable McClure, a Tony nominee for his work in the 2012 silent film star bio-musical, who in “Vegas” has the advantage of appearing in a role in which being likable is, at least, an asset.

McClure sells this show every moment he’s on stage, particularly during the climactic scene set on an airplane that’s been chartered by a group of flying Elvis impersonators. 


As Betsy, the schoolteacher eager for Jack to put a ring on it already, O’Malley has all the best qualities of a leading lady.

The supporting cast members are stand-outs. Tony nominee Nancy Opel (“Urinetown”), as the ghost of Jack’s shrewish mother, enjoys one of the more eyebrow-raising entrances Broadway’s seen in a while. David Josefsberg does gut-busting work in dual roles as Vegas lounge singer Buddy Rocky and “Flying Elvis” Roy Bacon.

Composer Brown has crafted an exceptional score, particularly in its more morbid incarnations, such as when Danza sings “Out of the Sun,” a delightfully absurd paean to his late wife, who died of skin cancer: “I was a fool—so blind and deaf/I might have saved her with a higher S.P.F.”

“I Love Betsy,” meanwhile, is as charming a curtain-raiser as I’ve seen this millennium, with its instantly recognizable urban homages, down to the D’Agostino delivery cart. Brown’s legion of fans are apt to consider this one of his finer achievements, in spite of the source material’s garish qualities.

The story pings and pongs from Brooklyn to Vegas, then Hawaii and back to Vegas, with video projections doing much of the heavy lifting. Under the zippy direction of Gary Griffin (“The Color Purple”), it comes in at about 2:30, yet doesn’t overstay its welcome. “Vegas” ends up feeling a lot like “Bullets Over Broadway”—it will undoubtedly appeal to the same audience—though at the end of the day this new musical has the benefit of a novel original score.

Danza is such a nice guy that I began to wonder if “Vegas” would turn out differently than a musical like this “should.” The ending may or may not be a foregone conclusion, but I doubt anyone’s shaking down Danza at the stage door and looking for a refund.

“Honeymoon in Vegas,” with an open-ended run at the Nederlander Theatre, 208 W. 41st St. Tickets: $77.75-$161.75. Call 866-870-2717.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Brooklyn Man One of Two Passengers on Delta Flight]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 16:26:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Empty-Plane.jpg

Legroom wasn't an issue for one Brooklyn man who was lucky enough to be one of two passengers on a flight from Cleveland to New York City Monday morning.

Chris O'Leary, editor of beer blog Brew York, tweeted a photo of himself on the otherwise empty plane before the jet turned back to the gate to pick up a second passenger, according to his Twitter feed.

"They rebooked everyone but me on another flight to LGA, so I am literally the only person on this plane," O'Leary said in one tweet.

In another tweet, O'Leary said that a second passenger got on the plane just as his plane was about to push back from the gate. The two passengers then departed for New York City.

Several other Twitter users expressed envy at O'Leary's presumably peaceful flight.

"Talk about leg room. No babies crying. And, no fighting over the arm rest. Play the lottery, you're sure to win," tweeted Kesha B.

Photo Credit: Chris O'Leary via Twitter @ohhleary
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Gyllenhaal, Globe Winner Wilson Brighten Up "Constellations"]]> Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:45:03 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/ConstellationsMain.jpg

Stories that unfold in multiple universes have undeniable appeal. Who wouldn’t want to think that just because things aren’t so swell here, they’re not better -- or at least different -- on some parallel plane? Cases in point: Broadway’s “If/Then,” David Ives’ comic “Sure Thing,” the films “Sliding Doors” and “Groundhog Day,” and so on.

The “multiverse play” gets an appealing entry with “Constellations,” a two-character drama by young British playwright Nick Payne now having its American premiere, with Jake Gyllenhaal and newly minted Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (Showtime’s “The Affair”) making their Broadway debuts. “Constellations” has just opened at the MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.

Amid examples of the genre, “Constellations” raises the stakes by introducing a female lead with an academic background in nothing less than quantum mechanics. Wilson’s Marianne studies “theoretical early universe cosmology” at Cambridge University, and believes that at any given moment, several outcomes of any event can co-exist simultaneously.

“In the Quantum Multiverse,” she explains to Gyllenhaal’s wholly rapt Roland, a charming beekeeper, “every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.” (With kudos to the playwright, there’s not a suggestion of classism apparent between the two.)

Payne eases into the material gently: Marianne and Roland meet at a barbecue, where her flirty opening gambit is: “Do you know why it’s impossible to lick the tip of your elbows? They hold the secret to immortality.” Roland, sensing the come-on, shuts her right down: “I’m in a relationship.”

There’s a flash, and then the scene repeats, with Marianne making further inroads. The narrative repeats yet once more, and Roland gradually moves from a position of evasiveness to willingness. Spoiler alert! You will get to see Gyllenhaal and Wilson attempting to lick their elbows…

“Constellations” takes a little more work to follow than, say, “If/Then.” When I first saw the cascade of balloons suspended over the heads of its appealing stars, I’ll admit to a fleeting hope that they would change colors as a visual cue, letting us know when we were in a certain storyline. (In his script, Payne alternates between regular type, bold and italics to make the distinction; theatergoers have no such crutch).

As it turns out, cues aren’t so necessary. That’s partly because “Constellations” forsakes any linear quality for sheer chaos—some dialogue is repeated once or twice; elsewhere, we see variations on an exchange four or five times. It’s also because the actors are so confident and well-paced (and clearly having fun) that you never doubt how they’re playing any moment.

This isn’t Gyllenhaal’s first time at the rodeo with the playwright’s complex dialogue. He made his New York stage debut 2 years ago in Payne’s “If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet,” produced by Roundabout. Like “Constellations,” that production was helmed by Michael Longhurst.

The actors give true tour-de-force performances, notably when Roland reaches a moment where he may propose to Marianne. Gyllenhaal, reading from a script Roland has prepared, makes his overture with confidence one time; he does it again in a state of sheer terror, his hands trembling along with the paper on which he has scripted his big speech.

Wilson, a two-time Olivier Award-winner honored on Sunday as best actress in a TV series, duels and parries with her partner to memorable effect, whether she’s a sloppily emotional figure out on a first date, or an academic methodically enchanted by the mysteries of the universe. That’s a tightrope to walk.

Both really have to know this script like a comfortable old sweatshirt, they’re wiggling around in it so much.

The arc of Payne’s story—there are nearly 60 scenes, within 6 or 7 particular “moments” of their relationship—traces the couple’s introduction, that first date, an illness, a surprise reunion at a ballroom dancing class and a fateful decision Marianne must make on her own.

The only real drawback to this kind of story-telling is that it’s something of an effort to ever really attach to Marianne or Roland because, by design, they have so many darn personalities. Payne keeps the conceit to 70 minutes, after which it might have become laborious; as it is, the outcome is pretty muddled, leaving us to wonder if there was a particular social statement the writer was grasping for, but opted at the last moment to back away from.

Not to matter, though. Gyllenhaal and Wilson, with all of their many sides, are a dynamic pairing no matter which direction they're coming at us from.

“Constellations,” through March 15 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Tickets: $67-$145. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[The Spring 2015 Broadway Plays Guide ]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 09:13:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BroadwaySpring2015Plays.jpg

There’s something for everyone among the crop of plays that make up the spring 2015 Broadway season. Romance? Comedy? Historical dramas? Acrobatic retellings of a classic fairy tale hero? They’re all here. And with casts led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Elisabeth Moss, Helen Mirren, Larry David, and Bill Nighy, to name a few, it’s going to be a star-studded spring on Broadway.

Here’s everything you need to know about the spring season:

Currently in previews at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Opens Jan. 13.
Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (“Brokeback Mountain”) and Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson (Showtime’s “The Affair”) make their Broadway debuts in the American premiere of “Constellations,” which comes to the Manhattan Theatre Club from London’s Royal Court Theatre. The two-person play by Nick Payne (“If There Is I haven’t Found It Yet”) tells a love story in multiple universes, with several outcomes and interactions interwoven together. Think of it as “Groundhog Day,” only with a little more quantum mechanics thrown in there for fun.

Fish in the Dark
Previews begin Feb. 2 at the Cort Theatre. Opens March 5.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” creator Larry David makes his Broadway debut -- as both actor and playwright -- in a comedy directed by Anna D. Shapiro (“Of Mice and Men”). Much of the plot and character-breakdowns are still unknown, except that the action occurs during a death in the family. Rosie Perez (“The View”), Jayne Houdyshell (“Follies”) and Jerry Adler (“The Good Wife“) are just a few of the people joining David in the 15-person cast. Consider our enthusiasm anything but curbed.

The Audience
Previews begin Feb. 14 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Opens March 8. Limited Engagement ends June 28.
Helen Mirren just can’t get enough of Queen Elizabeth II. The actress won her first Oscar for portraying Her Majesty in 2006’s Stephen Frears-film “The Queen.” She then reprised the role in the acclaimed 2013 West End production of “The Audience.” And now, she’s bringing Queen Elizabeth II -- and “The Audience” -- to Broadway. Written by “The Queen” scribe Peter Morgan, the play centers around the Queen’s weekly meetings with the 12 Prime Ministers over 50 years of her reign. And yes — Mirren’s in every scene of the two-hour play. Way to get your money’s worth!

The Heidi Chronicles
Previews begin Feb. 23 at the Music Box Theatre. Opens March 19. Limited Engagement ends August 9.
As the final season of “Mad Men” hits the airwaves, one of its stars, Elisabeth Moss, will tread the boards in the title role of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Heidi Chronicles.” Joining Moss are Jason Biggs (“Orange is the New Black”), Tracee Chimo (“Bad Jews”) and Bryce Pinkham (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”). The play follows feminist art historian Heidi Hollan over 20-years her life. This will not only be the first Broadway revival for Wasserstein’s “The Heidi Chronicles,” but the first Broadway revival of any of the prolific playwright's works. Woohoo!

The Heart of Robin Hood
Previews begin March 11 at the Marquis Theatre. Opens March 29. Limited Engagement ends August 23.
Forget everything you ever knew about Robin Hood. Playwright David Farr rips the legendary tale apart, reimagining Robin as a headstrong thief and Maid Marian as a brave hero out to protect the kingdom. First staged at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the American Repertory Theater, this eye-popping, aerobic adventure also features music written and performed by indie roots band Parsonsfield. Direction comes from Icelandic theater artist Gísli Örn Gardarsson. Sherwood Forest will never be the same again.

Hand to God
Previews begin March 14 at the Booth Theatre. Opens April 7.
“No movie stars. No London transfer. No film adaptation.” The ads for Robert Askins’ new Broadway dark comedy claims it has a lot going against it. But with two sold-out Off-Broadway runs at MCC Theater and Ensemble Studio Theater, plus a bunch of awards under its belt, “Hand to God” is anything but an underdog. The story centers on a shy student in a small religious town who finds his aggressive voice... through a hand puppet. Marc Kudisch (“9 to 5“), Sarah Stiles (“Into the Woods”) and newcomer Michael Oberholtzer star. Just be warned -- Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop this puppet show is not.

Previews begin March 16 at the John Golden Theatre. Opens April 2. Limited Engagement ends June 21.
Oscar nominated actress Carey Mulligan (“The Great Gatsby”), Bill Nighy (“Love Actually”) and Matthew Beard (“An Education”) reprises their roles in the transfer of the critically acclaimed London production of David Hare’s 1995 drama “Skylight.” Tony-winning director Stephen Daldry also returns to direct the revival, which tells the story of two former lovers (played by Mulligan and Nighy) trying to rekindle their romance despite their many differences. They also cook dinner onstage nightly, so maybe eat before you go or else you’ll probably want to snatch the spaghetti out of their hands.

Wolf Hall, Parts One & Two
Previews begin March 20 at the Winter Garden Theatre. Opens April 9. Limited Engagement ends July 5.
Adapted by Mike Poulton from Hilary Mantel’s historical novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bringing Up the Bodies,” these two plays, presented in repertory by the Royal Shakespeare Company, tackle the intrigue of the court of Henry VIII ( Thomas Cromwell, Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour -- they’re all here). More than twenty actors make up the massive productions, both directed by Jeremy Herrin. And yes — you can see parts one and two on the same day or different days.

Living on Love
Previews begin April 1 at the Longacre Theatre. Opens April 20. Limited Engagement ends Aug. 2.
World-renowned soprano Renée Fleming makes her Broadway debut in a new play from “Nice Work If You Can Get It” duo: director Kathleen Marshall and playwright Joe DePietro. Based on Garson Kanin’s “Peccadillo,” the comedy focuses on an opera diva who takes out revenge on her husband after he falls in love with a younger woman. And don’t worry -- even though it’s a play, you will get to hear Fleming sing. Whew.

Airline Highway
Previews begin April 1 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Opens April 23.
The Hummingbird was once a glamourous motel on New Orleans’ infamous Airline Highway. Now, it’s a broken-down place where strippers, hookers, bartenders and drag queens congregate. In “Airline Highway,” the Big Easy family are celebrating the life of the dying Miss Ruby -- a burlesque dancer who acts as the group’s surrogate mother. This world premiere comedy from Lisa D’Amour (“Detroit”) features a 15-member cast, direction from Tony-winner Joe Mantello (“The Last Ship”) and a whole lot of love.

Photo Credit: Getty images]]>
<![CDATA[Jennifer Hudson Will Make Broadway Debut in “The Color Purple”]]> Sun, 11 Jan 2015 09:28:47 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/517183289VM019_20th_Annual_.jpg

The 2005 musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Color Purple,” will return to Broadway this fall in a reimagined production from Tony-winning director John Doyle. And when it does, it will bring with it one big star: Oscar and Grammy-winner Jennifer Hudson.

Hudson will make her Broadway debut as Shug Avery -- originated in the 1985 film by Margaret Avery and in the original Broadway production by Elisabeth Withers-Mendes. It will be her first theatrical role since she played Effie White in the 2006 film “Dreamgirls.”

“The Color Purple” 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.

Hudson isn’t the first Grammy winner to step into “The Color Purple” on Broadway. Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans joined the show in 2008. Fantasia Barrino, last on Broadway in “After Midnight,” starred as Celie in 2007. Coincidentally, American met both Barrino and Hudson first on the third season of FOX's “American Idol."

Doyle’s stripped-down production premiered last fall at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory. His staging cut approximately 30 minutes of material from the original production, to critical acclaim.

Additional casting, and an official theater and premiere dates, are expected to be announced soon. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chita Rivera's Broadway Return and More]]> Sat, 10 Jan 2015 18:31:13 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/481575811JN00003_Songwriter.jpg

While you were breaking all your New Year's resolutions, here's what was happening this week In the Wings. 

Broadway legend Chita Rivera will return to Broadway this Spring in Kander and Ebb’s Final Musical, “The Visit.” Based on the satirical play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt as adapted by Maurice Valency, “The Visit” tells a story of greed, love and revenge. Direction comes from Tony-winner John Doyle (“Company”), with a book by four-time Tony-winner Terrence McNally. It will be third collaboration for Kander and Ebb, Rivera and McNally, who previously worked together for “The Rink” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” “The Visit” begins performances March 26 at the Lyceum Theatre, with an opening night set for April 23. [More info]

"Smash" stars Christian Borle and Brian d'Arcy James will headline new Broadway musical "Something Rotten!" The Broadway veterans will return to the Great White Way this spring, in the musical about the creation of the world's first musical. Borle will star as William Shakespeare, with James playing one half of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom. "Something Rotten!" begins previews at the St. James Theatre on March 23, with an official opening set for April 22. [More info]

“If/Then” will play its final Broadway performance March 22. The Idina Menzel-led musical, which follows two possible paths in the life of one woman, comes from the creative team behind “Next to Normal” -- Tom Kitt (music), Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Michael Greif (direction). Upon closing, the musical will have played 29 previews and 401 performances. [More info]

“Disgraced” will also shutter on Broadway this March. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Ayad Akhtar will close March 1, after 27 previews and 149 regular performances. “Disgraced,” which opened to rave reviews, stars Amir Kapoor, Hari Dhillon, Gretchen Mol and Josh Radnor. [More info]

“The Last Ship” is closing as well — this month. The acclaimed musical, which features a score by former Police frontman Sting, will take its final Broadway bow Jan. 24. At that time, the show will have played 29 preview performances at the Neil Simon Theatre and 105 regular performances. Sting is currently starring in the production, and will remain in the show through closing. [More info]

Sienna Miller is the new Sally Bowles. The “American Sniper” star will join the cast of “Cabaret” opposite Alan Cumming for the show’s final six weeks. Miller’s run begins Feb. 17, taking over for current Bowles Emma Stone, whose final performance will be Feb. 15. The limited engagement of “Cabaret” will end on March 29. [More info]

Will “Cats” Return to Broadway? Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber told The Guardian that “Cats” will return to the Great White Way, and that he “greatly hopes” former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger will star in the show. Scherzinger is currently appearing at Grizabella in a recent revival in London’s West End. No Broadway dates or theater have been confirmed yet. [More info]

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[French Bulldog Struggles to Reclaim Bed From Cat]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 09:04:34 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2015-01-07+at+8.33.42+AM.png

It's a dog-eat-dog world.

In a video picking up steam on the web, a French bulldog named Pixel adorably struggles to reclaim its bed after a calico cat stole it away.

Despite the 10-week-old puppy's efforts, the cat shows no intention of leaving.

Despite the tug-of-war match, Pixel and the cat can be seen sharing the bed in a photo posted on an Instagram account made for the dog.

The video was first noted by Jezebel.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA["Flat White" Added to Starbucks Menu]]> Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:08:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/0105-2015-FlatWhite.jpg

The "flat white" is going mainstream.

Starbucks introduced Tuesday its own version of the flat white, a specialty coffee drink popular in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K, but until now relatively unknown in the U.S.

"This coffee connoisseur's choice combines ristretto shots made with Starbucks signature Espresso Roast and freshly steamed whole milk with microfoam, expertly handcrafted for a genuine Flat White experience," Starbucks explains on its website.

It may be hard for some to distinguish between a cappuccino and flat white.

"It’s about two ounces of espresso and covered in four ounces of milk, with less than a centimeter of foam,” said Chromatic Coffee co-founder Otessa Crandell in California's Bay Area. Crandell's San Jose-based shop has until now been one of the few in town to serve a flat white.

Crandell said the hard-to-make drink is similar to a cappuccino or could be considered akin to a condensed latte.

"Incredibly quick in preparation and it also is really delicate so if you stretch it [the milk] even a little bit too much, essentially you have too much foam,” Crandell said.

"You get more of the sweetness from the lactose in the milk, and the sweetness in the espresso really shines through as well,” said Chromatic Coffee co-founder Hiver van Geenhoven.

The flat white has been on Chromatic's menu for more than a year, but few customers have had it.

"If Starbucks is going to launch a flat white, what that means for us is that we're going to get even more customers that are excited to taste something they tried, and they want to taste it elevated even more,” Crandell said.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Zabar's Celebrates 80 Years on Broadway]]> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 22:01:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/zabars.jpg For 80 years, Zabar's has satisfied the cravings of locals with everything from smoked fish and bagels to babka. NBC 4 New York's Gabe Pressman takes a look back at the neighborhood staple through its eight decades at 80th Street and Broadway.]]> <![CDATA[Top Fitness Apps for 2015]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:45:10 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_fitapps1231_700x394.jpg Mike Wendland reports about different apps you can use to help you stick to your weight-loss resolution.]]> <![CDATA[Take the NBC 4 Challenge: New Year's Resolutions in 4 Words]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 12:40:17 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/timessquare.jpg

Hundreds of NBC New York viewers took our Facebook 4 Word Challenge and told us their resolutions for the new year in just four words.

Many people expressed aspirations for a peaceful 2015, including Paris Lene, with the resolution, "to be at peace." 

Others wished for healthier days ahead, pledging improvements to diet and exercise or to overcome disease. Gloria Sancho has this resolution, "To beat breast cancer."

Some focused instead on relationships and filling their lives with healthy ones. Adrian Velazquez wrote the touching: "Make her my wife." 

Here are more highlights. Click on the Facebook post below to read them all and add yours. 

  • Sharon Winne: Cut off toxic people
  • Laurie Zigga: Pay it forward, Smile!
  • Daniel Sudré: To spend less money
  • Lisa Filipovsky DiCostanzo: To have more patience
  • Mariah Davolt: Help mom around house
  • Amanda Stevens: Find a new job
  • William Thillet: Gonna hit the gym
  • Terry King Lane: No more greasy food
  • Steve Mager: Accept my minor flaws
  • Lisa E: Treat everyone with respect

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Best Apps of 2014]]> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 12:40:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_pcmike1223_700x394.jpg NBC News tech guru PC Mike Wendland rounds up his favorite apps of 2014.]]> <![CDATA[Prankster Gets Surprise After Giving Homeless Man $100]]> Wed, 24 Dec 2014 22:03:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/Homeless-Man-money.jpg

A prankster got a big surprise when he tried a social experiment to see how a homeless person would spend $100.

YouTube star Josh Paler Lin, whose channel has more than 711,000 subscribers, followed the destitute man after giving him the cash.

"It's nice meeting you," Lin said before walking away from the man. "I hope you have a good use for the money."

The man's first stop was a liquor store. He left with several bags and walked to a nearby park.

But instead of liquor, the man pulled food from the bags and proceeded to share it with his fellow homeless.

"My heart was crushed," Lin told "Today."

After seeing what the homeless man -- whose name is Thomas -- did with the money, Lin explained his experiment, apologized and gave him more. 

Lin also set up a crowdfunding page to raise money to help Thomas get off the streets. Donations have topped $75,000.

"People think I changed his life," Lin said, while maintaining that the video was not staged. "For me, it's completely the opposite. I feel that he changed my life."

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Video of Dancing Dog Goes Viral]]> Tue, 23 Dec 2014 12:26:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/635549068098100143-Capture.JPG

A clip of a happy, hopping pooch has gone viral.

The video shows a dog dancing in excitement over being picked up at a day care. The YouTube clip has already garnered 2 million views.

Watch the adorable video above.

Photo Credit: Kevin clancy
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[10 Unforgettable Theater Performances of 2014]]> Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:04:37 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/ITWHeader.jpg

Here are the performances WNBC theater writers Robert Kahn and Dave Quinn will remember most, listed in alphabetical order.

Annaleigh Ashford, “You Can’t Take It With You
No one’s worried about much of anything in Scott Ellis’s sturdy revival of the oft-performed Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman chestnut, but for sheer lunacy you couldn’t beat Ashford, the “Kinky Boots” vet, as Essie Carmichael, the hapless ballet student clumsily pirouetting across the stage in time with the xylophone-music churned out by her husband. James Earl Jones, Rose Byrne and Kristine Nielsen are brilliant as always, but it’s Ashford who made “You Can’t Take It With You” feel like the perfect escapist comedy for tough times. —RK

Tyne Daly, “Mothers & Sons
The formidable Daly first appears on stage in Terrence McNally’s new drama wrapped in a fur coat, but even that luxurious garment couldn’t protect her from the chill inside a Central Park apartment where her late son’s one-time lover lives with his new husband. In a brisk 90 minutes, Daly’s widowed Texan has to confront the memory of the son she lost to AIDS, while grappling with a vision of what his life might had been if he had survived. It was a story that managed to look simultaneously over its shoulder and straight ahead—the waterworks began within minutes and didn’t end until curtain, when Daly broke character and, in good fun, offered to reenact the entire 1989 production of “Gypsy” in the living room of the evening’s largest donor to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. —RK

Bridget Everett, “Rock Bottom”
Downtown cult icon Bridget Everett let it all hang out (and then some) in her emotionally and sexually raw 90-minute solo show, “Rock Bottom.” The big-voiced, big-bodied belter gave a manic and darkly comic performance — the sort of unhinged, bold, fearless performance you rarely see these days. But amidst the excessive drinking and R-rated audience interactions, Everett also pulled back to reveal painful truths, and challenged us all to do the same. If you didn’t get to see it its first time around, The Public Theater will bring back “Rock Bottom,” which features 10 songs co-written by Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, Matt Ray and songwriting team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”) to Joe’s Pub this January. —DQ

Stephen McKinley Henderson, “Between Riverside and Crazy
The attention-grabbing drama from the still-blasphemous author of “The Motherf***er With the Hat” explores how long it’s reasonable to fester in anger, and how we figure out when the time has come to let go. At its heart is Henderson’s Pops, the troubled ex-policeman embroiled in a long-standing suit with City Hall—he was shot by a white cop in what may have been a racially motivated incident. I’m still thinking about the nuance in August Wilson-vet Henderson’s fantastic performance, not to mention how horrifically relevant the subject matter remained as 2014 wore on. —RK

Joshua Henry, “Violet
The closest thing I had to a religious experience this year was watching Joshua Henry blow the roof off of the American Airlines Theatre in the Roundabout’s stellar revival of “Violet.” The actor’s electric take on Jeanine Tesori and Brian Crawley’s gut-wrenching gospel number “Let It Sing” was the sort of powerful performance that made an entire audience rise for one of those rare mid-show standing ovations. By giving his character the strength to be vulnerable in that moment, Henry bared his soul, earned a Tony nomination and reminded us all that the power to overcome any obstacle that lies within. Now if that isn’t a reason to sing, I don’t know what is. —DQ

James Monroe Iglehart, “Aladdin
It’s rare that you get to see an actor playing a character he was born to play, in a career-defining performance. But this year, James Monroe Iglehart treated audiences to just that. As the Genie is Disney’s latest film-to-stage transfer, “Aladdin,” Iglehart used his background in improv to create a comedic and charismatic Genie, who’s equal parts Fats Waller, Luther Vandross and Oprah Winfrey (“You get a wish! You get a wish!) — all while capturing the spirit of the late Robin Williams. Bonus points for having the most enthusiastic, genuine Tony acceptance speech of the year. —DQ

Jan Maxwell, “The City of Conversation
If Jan Maxwell was a senator, Congressional gridlock would be a thing of the past. That was the only conclusion to be drawn from the five-time Tony nominee’s affecting performance as an action-oriented Georgetown hostess in this epic Lincoln Center world premiere by Anthony Giardina. As the doyenne of Washington, D.C., dinner parties, Maxwell operates in a time when politicians sweated out deals over brandy and cigars. Her tactics are effective, until family members force her to contemplate whether achievements in society at large are worth carnage on a more intimate level. Maxwell, who turns everything she touches into gold, was just magnificent in a story that was ultimately almost too painful to contemplate. —RK

Alex Sharp, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
In recent Juilliard grad Alex Sharp, theatergoers got a bolder Christopher Boone than the one in Mark Haddon’s 2003 best-selling novel about a young man somewhere on the autism spectrum who sets out to investigate the murder of his neighbor’s dog. Marianne Elliott’s National Theatre transfer possessed an uncanny ability to let us experience Christopher’s emotional challenges audibly and visually—most terrifically when Christopher descends into London’s daunting Underground. The production design is electric, intricate and icy, but Sharp makes the lead character as warm and relatable as any human can be. —RK

Rachel Tucker, “The Last Ship
Of all the West End transfers that have come to Broadway over the years, the most exciting has to be Rachel Tucker, the Northern Irish singer who made her Broadway debut in Sting’s “The Last Ship” after a West End run as Elphaba in “Wicked.” As Meg, the spitfire mom at the center of a complicated love triangle, Tucker does the nearly impossible: turn a male-dominated show into a female story. Her sultry voice will draw you in (do yourself a favor and get the cast recording, if only to listen to Tucker’s “If You Ever See Me Talking to a Sailor” on repeat forever), and she plays each moment with such honesty, you’ll empathize with her each step of the way. Tucker first rose to fame in the BBC talent competition “I’d Do Anything.” She made it to the semi-finals there, but her performance in “The Last Ship” shows that she’s a winner. —DQ

Tony Yazbeck, “On the Town
Among the trio of sailors at the center of “On the Town” is Gabey, the hopeless romantic searching for true love while on 24-hour shore leave in New York City. It’s a role that never stood out as a leading role from the pack — until Tony Yazbeck came along, that is. In John Rando’s must-see revival, the Broadway veteran gives a charming performance (alongside the energetic Jay Armstrong Johnson and Clyde Alves), so earnest and genuine, you’ll have a hard time not falling for him yourself. Yazbeck is a “they-don’t-make-them-like-they-used-to” performer — cut from the cloth of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. A superbly eloquent dancer (as seen in “The Imaginary Coney Island” ballet) with a rich voice (as seen with “Lonely Town”), Yazbeck makes “On the Town” a helluva show. —DQ

Honorable mentions:

Jonatha Brooke’s sweet, sad, surprising and soulful homage to her mom,“My Mother Has 4 Noses” ... Jonny Donahoe’s charismatic narrator in “Every Brilliant Thing” ... Jessica Hecht’s comic turn in Sarah Ruhl’s “Stage Kiss” at Playwrights Horizons ... Norm Lewis’s history-making turn as the first African-American Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” … Chris O’Dowd’s memorable Broadway debut as Lennie Small in “Of Mice and Men” ... Kelli O’Hara and Stephen Pasquale's dynamic chemistry in “The Bridges of Madison County" ... And Elizabeth Reaser's show-stealing comic turn in Neil LaBute's "The Money Shot."

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[In the Wings: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:50:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000005599795_1200x675_375251011718.jpg The Associated Press has named “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” one of the top productions of the year and based on ticket sales, theatergoers seem to agree. It is a dynamic adaptation of a bestselling novel about a remarkable teenager on the autism spectrum and it’s a strong Broadway debut for the actor who plays him. David Ushery takes us in the wings.]]> <![CDATA[Fashion Trends 2015]]> Sat, 20 Dec 2014 08:35:56 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/456371972.jpg Here are some trends you can expect to see next spring.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fashion Trends: 2015's Best Looks]]> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 07:09:15 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Inner.jpg

The world of fashion is fleeting and ever-changing. With each season, trends are introduced, reconstructed, and promptly disposed.

This past year, we saw a contrast between the incredibly loud to the impeccably subtle. Within four short seasons we visited the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s.

As we moved through 2014, we tapped into our inner flower-child, borrowed from the boys, went wild for animal prints, visited the heartland, learned new ways to reveal skin, yet also satisfied seasonal classics like pastels for spring and furs for winter.

Let’s look back at some of the favorite runway looks and trends:

As much as we are enjoying the retrospectives, fashion is very much about the future and 2015 is already shaping up to look like another exciting year for ready-to-wear.

During the recent monthlong parade of shows in New York, Milan, Paris and London, international designers seem to agree on what feels like a definitive message for the Spring Summer 2015 season: 70s chic.

“It was remarkable how much solidarity there was among designers in pushing forward a new look, albeit one that was largely rooted in an aesthetic that was inspired by the easy fashion of the 1960s and a somewhat hippie vibe of the 1970s,” said Eric Wilson, fashion news director at InStyle magazine.

Its influence was overarching, evident in the fringes at Proenza Schouler and Alberta Ferretti, flared pants at Derek Lam and Celine, bohemian flowy dresses at Pucci and Etro, fur vests at Tommy Hilfiger and Gucci, and patchwork at Yves Saint Laurent and Valentino.

But, it wasn’t all peace and love on the runways. Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs, among others, went for a more utilitarian look with deep cargo pockets, tailored silhouettes, khakis and olive drab — think somewhere between military-chic and safari luxe.

There were also Japanese inspirations, asymmetrical hems, androgynous tailored suits, and denim galore.

Perhaps the most surprising trend to come next spring and summer is the fall staple, leather.

“Certainly 'summer leather' is a new category that looks promising, partly the result of technical advancements that have resulted in lighter weight materials, even perforated leather that feels cooler in warmer months, and partly the result of the fact that spring clothes now go into stores so early that they need to address multiple seasons' weather,” says Wilson.

As we brace the current arctic blasts swathed in cozy sweaters and coats, check out the gallery at the top of the story for a peek at the spring 2015 looks soon to be arriving in stores.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[“School of Rock” Musical Heading to Broadway]]> Fri, 19 Dec 2014 10:13:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/157499997CC00115_Spike_TV_s.jpg

A stage adaptation of the hit 2003 film “School of Rock” will make its world premiere at the Winter Garden Theatre in the winter of 2015. And it’s coming from one of Broadway’s biggest Tony-winning composers: Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“School of Rock—The Musical” will feature music from the film, as well as a new score by the “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats” scribe. Lyrics will come from Glenn Slater, who also wrote the lyrics for the stage transfers of “Leap of Faith,” “Sister Act” and “The Little Mermaid.”

Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”) will pen the book for the musical. He’s also the creator of the PBS hit “Downton Abbey,” and previously provided the book for the stage version of “Mary Poppins.”

It will be the first new Broadway musical for Webber since 2005’s “The Woman in White.”

“School of Rock” tells the tale of a wannabe rocker (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.

Direction will come from Laurence Connor, currently represented on Broadway with the revival of “Les Misérables.”

No casting has been announced yet, but if ever there was a part to get “The Book of Mormon” star Josh Gad back to Broadway, it’s this.

Previews for “School of Rock—The Musical” begins Nov. 2, 2015. Opening is set for Dec. 6.

Photo Credit: Kevin Winter]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "Every Brilliant Thing," Starring Jonny Donahoe]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:33:46 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BrilliantMain.jpg

No. 1654: "Christopher Walken’s voice"; No. 1655: "Christopher Walken’s hair" ...

Theatergoers settling in for "Every Brilliant Thing" may be approached at their seats by kinetic British comedian Jonny Donahoe brandishing a piece of paper -- which he’ll then stuff into your hands. "When I call your number during the show," Donahoe will implore, "could I ask you to just please read aloud what it says there?"

With this fellow’s encouraging grin, you wouldn’t dream of saying no, even without any context for the odd words on the page: "Christopher Walken’s voice"? What you’ve signed on for, it turns out, is participation in an interactive tale well-suited to the short and gloomy days of winter, and evoking just a touch of "It's a Wonderful Life."

Duncan Macmillan’s one-man dark comedy has percolated in various small British theaters for nearly a decade and is now receiving its North American premiere in the round at the Barrow Street Theatre. A good half the audience at the 100-seat venue is pressed into service as narrator Donahoe relates a story of a young man trying to ease his mother’s depression.

The boy, age 7 as the story begins, may not be able to control his mother’s behavior, but he can remind her of everything in life worth living for -- that is, every brilliant thing -- and so he begins a list, intended for her: "1. Ice cream. 2. Water fights. 3. Staying up past your bedtime and being allowed to watch TV."

As the boy matures into a teen, his mother’s erratic behavior continues, but so too does the list grow. Some audience members are asked to read items aloud. Others are called on for more intricate duties. At a recent performance, Donahoe persuaded a middle-aged woman to remove her socks, turning her into a school counselor who uses a sock puppet to encourage students to share feelings.

Still other theatergoers become a town vet, the narrator’s father and his college girlfriend.

The success of "Every Brilliant Thing" hinges on the ability of a roomful of strangers to drop their collective guard and trust Donahoe, the leading player. This charismatic comic has no trouble getting people on his side, fast.

At 60 minutes, Macmillan’s story (directed here, as in the United Kingdom, by George Perrin) avoids getting preachy, though it is slight -- the action shifts at high speed from the narrator’s meet-cute with his eventual wife in the college library, to their split, years later, because of his own battles with depression. We’re not, so much, here for the plot.

What Macmillan and Donahoe have constructed is a participatory theatrical experience that works because everyone feels secure. There’s a second element at play, too: because you’re never quite sure when the time will come for your cue, you’re that much more invested in hanging on every word. Who wants to miss their line in front of a crowd?

The tangible result is that you listen just as carefully as the narrator surely wishes his mother would, and as the hour winds down, you’re thinking of a few things you find "brilliant," yourself -- if blank paper had been distributed at curtain call, I would've added: "The way the chairs in some old New York theaters rumble whenever a subway passes by underneath."

The point, of course, is to leave us counting our own blessings. Donahoe excels at making us do just that. In that sense, "Every Brilliant Thing" is a theater lover’s perfect stocking stuffer.

"Every Brilliant Thing," runs through March 29 at the Barrow Street Theatre, 27 Barrow St. Tickets: $55-$75. Call 212-868-4444.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[Tips for Making Latkes ]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:08:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bay-latke-chef.jpg

When it comes to holidays, there's no better recipe than the one you grew up with.

Same is true for latkes.

So, tonight, when Hanukkah begins at sundown, folks around the globe will be firing up the frying pans to create the ultimate potato pancake.

Some began cooking the Hanukkah delicacy even before the Jewish Festival of Lights began.

"We cooked 6,000 yesterday," said Evan Bloom, who co-owns Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco with partner Leo Beckerman. "And we'll probably be making more."

The secret to the Wise Sons latkes? "We try to keep it very simple," Bloom said, adding that the real trick is to squeeze any liquid from the potatoes after grating them, so that they taste "crispy, not soggy."

And of course, he uses oil. Lots and lots of oil.

And although schmaltz, the Yiddish term for rendered chicken fat, was recently touted in the New York Times as gaining a comeback, Bloom said he and his cooks tend to stick with regular cooking oil for their latkes.

"We use schmaltz in a lot of things, like our chopped liver and matzo balls, but not in our latkes. There are so many vegetarians, and so many people are afraid of it."

But there are all sorts of ways to make latkes. Here is a small round-up of some popular latke-making videos.

From upscale (with Parmesan cheese, chives and Tabasco)...

To India-inspired (with carrots and coriander)...

Lest your Bubbe should see, she just sticks to the basics: potatoes, oil, flour, salt and pepper.

Photo Credit: Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Merriam-Webster Names Word of the Year]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 15:52:03 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/27167011.jpg

A nation, a workplace, an ethnicity, a passion, an outsized personality. The people who comprise these things, who fawn or rail against them, are behind Merriam-Webster's 2014 word of the year: culture.

The word joins Oxford Dictionaries' "vape," a darling of the e-cigarette movement, and "exposure," declared the year's winner at Dictionary.com during a time of tragedy and fear due to Ebola.

Merriam-Webster based its pick and nine runners-up on significant increases in lookups this year over last on Merriam-Webster.com, along with interesting, often culture-driven — if you will — spikes of concentrated interest.

In the No. 2 spot is "nostalgia," during a year of big 50th anniversaries pegged to 1964: the start of the free speech movement, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the birth of the Ford Mustang and the British Invasion heralded by the landing of the Beatles on U.S. soil for the first time.

Nostalgia was followed by insidious, legacy, feminism and a rare multiword phrase that can be looked up in total, in a foreign language at that: the French "je ne sais quoi."

The Springfield, Massachusetts-based dictionary giant filters out perennial favorites when picking word of the year, but does that formula leave them chasing language fads?

"We're simply using the word culture more frequently," said Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster. "It may be a fad. It may not. It may simply be evolution."

Sokolowski noted that the reasons words are looked up aren't just about not knowing what they mean. Sometimes, he said, we seek inspiration or a way to check in on ourselves. Of an estimated 100 million lookups on the website each year and a similar number on the company's app, culture enjoyed a 15 percent year-over-year increase.

Percentage-wise, it doesn't sound like much, but the raw number in that stratosphere is large, Sokolowski said. He wouldn't disclose actual numbers, though, citing the proprietary nature of that data for a company still privately held.

Sokolowski is a lexicographer, not a mind reader, so his observations about why any single word takes off in terms of lookups is well-informed but theoretical.

"The word culture's got a cultural story. We have noticed for years that culture has a cyclical spike every year at around Labor Day. That is to say back to school time during the month of September, so we've been watching this word spike at that time for years," he said by telephone from Springfield. "In recent years we've seen similar spikes at the end of semesters during finals."

But traffic throughout the year indicates that culture is a "chameleon," Sokolowski said. "When you put it next to another word it means something very different. For example, 'consumer culture' or 'rape culture,' which we've been reading about lately."

There's the "culture of transparency" in government and business, and "celebrity culture," and the "culture of winning" in sports, he noted. "It's a word that can be very specific, like 'test prep culture,' or it can be very, very broad, like 'coffee culture.'"

One standout reference that caught Sokolowski's eye in The New Yorker's December issue is from a new book, "How Google Works," which includes a description of a software fix by a few engineers that made ads more relevant on the search engine:

"It wasn't Google's culture that turned those five engineers into problem-solving ninjas who changed the course of the company over the weekend," wrote the authors, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former head of product development Jonathan Rosenberg.

"Rather it was the culture that attracted the ninjas to the company in the first place."

Before the word culture exploded, Sokolowski said, "we used to talk about 'society' a lot. Certain groups are taking 'society' out of their names now. It seems to be receding. Part of that seems to be because it's elitist. We're using the word culture more frequently in that place."

Not all lookup spikes are quite that complex. The reason "je ne sais quoi" landed at No. 6, for instance, is "dead simple," he said.

The fast-food drive-in chain Sonic, known for TV spots featuring two goofy dudes eating in a car, had them munching on boneless chicken wings in September.

"I've finally found myself a wingman," goofy guy No. 1 says of the wings he hopes will make him a chick magnet.

"Oh right," sneers goofy guy No. 2, "gonna give you that certain je ne sais quoi."

Responds No. 1: "Jenna said what?"

They mine the word play a couple more times, but you get the picture.

"Since September when this ad came out this word has been close to the Top 10 or in the Top 10 of our lookups almost every single day," Sokolowski said.

Fast-food aside, he called this year's list a relatively sober one.

Insidious, for example, received a bump early in the year when a new trailer was released for "Insidious: Chapter 3," a prequel in the horror film franchise "Insidious," out in June. The word surfaced in a big way again, on Oct. 8, when a Texas hospital released a statement on the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first confirmed Ebola patient in the United States.

The statement spoke of his courageous battle and the hospital's profound sadness when he "succumbed to an insidious disease, Ebola."

Rounding out the Top 10 are innovation, surreptitious, autonomy and morbidity.

"This is a fairly sober list. It was a fairly sober year," he concluded.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[“Side Show” Revival Closing]]> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 13:49:20 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SideShowBway1wITW.jpg

The conjoined twins at the center of the Broadway revival of “Side Show” may sing “I Will Never Leave You,” but it looks like they will, in fact, leave you.

The reworking of the 1997 flop musical, which features Erin Davie and Emily Padgett as freak-show-turned-vaudeville-stars Violet and Daisy Hilton, will close at Broadway’s St. James Theatre on Jan. 4.

The $8 million reboot took in just $439,000 at the box office last week — well under half of its $1.1 million gross potential, and likely well below the cost it would take for the production to maintain operating costs, especially during the months of January and February, where Broadway attendance typically falls off significantly.

It’s a short stint for “Side Show,” having only started performances on Oct. 28 and officially opened on Nov. 17. The original Broadway production had a similar short stay, playing 31 previews and 91 regular performances.

Oscar-winner Bill Condon, who worked on the film versions of “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls,” made his Broadway directorial debut with “Side Show.” He has expressed interest in adapting the musical for the big screen, though nothing official has been announced yet.

A London debut for the show is also said to be in the works.

“Side Show” features a score by Henry Krieger, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell. Condon also provided additional book material.

Erin Davie and Emily Padgett announced the show's closing after a performance on NBC's "Today."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Have a ticket for a performance after Jan. 4? Call Telecharge.com Customer Service at (212) 239-6210 for exchange or refund.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[“Love Letters” Revival Wraps Early ]]> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:55:32 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/file_54663930c17a1.jpg

The Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” will play its final performance Dec. 14 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre. Upon closing, the production will have played 95 regular performances, and 6 preview performances.

“Love Letters” opened on Sept. 18 to strong reviews, but struggled to find box office success among an unusually crowded fall.

Directed by Gregory Mosher, “Love Letters” depicts the 50-year relationship between two friends -- Melissa Gardner and Ander Makepeace Ladd III -- through a reading of the cards, notes and yes, love letters, they exchanged. The play examines love, regret and choice amidst life’s greatest successes and disappointments.

The revival had a revolving cast of stars, including Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow, who opened the production, and Carol Burnett, who returned to Broadway after more than 10 years away.

Alan Alda and Candice Bergen, who stepped into the production on Nov. 9, will remain with “Love Letters” through closing.

The revival was originally scheduled to end its limited run Feb. 15, with Anjelica Huston, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg and Martin Sheen rotating through the cast in final weeks.

The original Broadway production of “Love Letters” opened in 1989. In the last 26 years, the play has proven to be one of the theater’s most enduring romances, with productions of the play appearing in over 40 countries around the world.

A national tour of the Mosher’s production will launch in the fall of 2015. Casting a full tour schedule will be announced soon.

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg]]>
<![CDATA[Laura Benanti to Headline New Rockettes Show]]> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 11:21:12 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/494775671SL00029_2014_Drama.jpg

The Rockettes will kick off a new show this spring at Radio City Music Hall, and they’ve enlisted one of Broadway’s biggest stars to help them out!

Laura Benanti, who won a Tony for her turn in the 2008 revival of “Gypsy,” will lead the Rockettes in “New York Spring Spectacular,” a song and dance spectacular that will celebrate the charm of the Big Apple.

Co-conceived by Tony winner Diane Paulus and directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle (“After Midnight”), “New York Spring Spectacular” features 36 Rockettes alongside some 40 ensemble performers.

The show, also co-created by “Sleep No More” producer Randy Weiner, originally began as “Hearts and Lights” and was expected to premiere in spring 2014, but was nixed at the last minute.

Benanti, who can currently be seen on ABC’s “Nashville,” plays the new owner of a NYC tour company who wants to take the tours of a yet-to-be-cast veteran tour guide viral.

Along their tour of New York, Benanti and The Rockettes will meet a number of other New York celebrities, including Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and a roster of sports figures, all of whom appear in pre-recorded video segments.

“The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg will also appear — as the recorded voice of the show’s oversized Statue of Liberty puppet.

Emmy-winning “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Mia Michaels will choreograph the show’s opening number.

“New York Spring Spectacular” begins performances on March 12, with a March 26 opening. The limited run will end May 3.

If successful, MSG Entertainment, owner of Radio City, will annually present the seasonal attraction — as a springtime version of the “Christmas Spectacular,” if you will.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jennifer Nettles to Make Broadway Debut in “Chicago” ]]> Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:06:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/167011822DB097_2013_Billboa.jpg

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles will join the cast of the long-running revival “Chicago” for a limited run in February.

Nettles will play Roxie Hart, a murderous housewife who dreams of a life in the spotlight. It will be her Broadway debut.

You can catch her eight-week engagement from Feb. 2, through March 29.

As a lead vocalist for the country group Sugarland, Nettles has sold over 22 million albums and singles to date, with eight No. 1 singles, including the platinum-selling hit “Stay.” She recently released a No. 1 solo album, titled “That Girl.”

Nettles joins a long list of celebrities who’ve played Roxie Hart on Broadway, including Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams, Ashlee Simpson, Brooke Shields, Melanie Griffith and Christie Brinkley.

Renee Zellweger was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of Hart in the 2002 film adaptation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[#SantaPhotoFail: Pics of No Good Santa Encounters]]> Fri, 12 Dec 2014 02:42:41 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/01-santafailthumb.jpg It's Christmastime and it's that time of year when you head out with the family and get those beloved pics of the kids with Santa. Except the photos don't always turn out as you hoped.]]> <![CDATA[Rita Wilson Joins Larry David Play ]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 10:07:30 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/166627989CO00051_Rita_Wilso.jpg

Rita Wilson has joined Larry David’s upcoming Broadway play “Fish in the Dark.”

The highly-anticipated comedy, which marks the Broadway debut as both actor and writer for David, the Emmy-winning “Seinfeld” co-creator and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm, will begin performances on Feb. 2 at Broadway’s Cort Theatre. Opening is slated for March 5.

Wilson hasn’t been on Broadway since 2006, when she played Roxie Hart in the long-running revival of “Chicago.” The actress and producer has been focusing on music as of late, with an album, "AM/FM: The B-Sides," released this past June.

She’ll join the 15-person ensemble, which includes “The View” co-host Rosie Perez, Jake Cannavale (TV’s “Nurse Jackie”), Jayne Houdyshell (“Follies”), Ben Shenkman (TV’s “Royal Pains”) and Jerry Adler (TV’s “The Good Wife”), among others.

Much is still unknown about the “Fish in the Dark” — including the part Wilson will be playing. The play, which will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro (“This is Our Youth”), is being described as “a comedy about a death in the family.”

Speaking of family, Broadway seems to be a trend in Wilson's family as of late. Her husband, Tom Hanks, made his Broadway debut a few seasons back in 2013's "Lucky Guy."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[University to Begin Offering Beyonce 101 Class]]> Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:59:49 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_beyonceclass1205_700x394.jpg The University of Texas will soon offer a class entitled "Beyonce Feminism & Rihanna Womanism. Amanda Brandeis reports.]]>