<![CDATA[NBC New York - The Scene]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:24:32 -0400 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:24:32 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pumpkin Spice Madness: Craziest Treats]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:27:11 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pumpkin-spice-fatte-Ramsey-Mathew.jpg It seems like everyone is going crazy over pumpkin spice flavored this-and-that. Take a look at the wackiest pumpkin-inspired culinary items that might be worth a try this season. ]]> <![CDATA[National Coffee Day Deals and Freebies]]> Mon, 29 Sep 2014 08:45:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/514727145.jpg

The start of the work week can be rough, but many coffee chains are offering free or inexpensive cups of coffee to celebrate National Coffee Day.

See where you can get a discount on a your daily dose of caffeine. 

Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts is offering a free medium cup of its new Dark Roast blend. 

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is celebrating the day by offering free small coffees at participating shops.


You can visit McDonald's for a free small coffee during the chain’s breakfast hours.

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons will be selling $1 cup coffees, and some stores will also have hidden golden envelopes with “more than $9,000 in cash and gift cards.” CNN Money reported that the scavenger hunt will take place in Columbus, Ohio; Buffalo and Rochester, New York; and in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. 


Wawa is giving away a free 16-ounce coffee to customers who sign up for a coupon by email. The East Coast chain has convenience stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Central Florida.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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<![CDATA[Review: James Earl Jones, Rose Byrne in "You Can't Take It With You"]]> Sun, 28 Sep 2014 20:02:12 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WithYouMain.jpg

James Earl Jones, more often a lion who roars, instead brings a soft steadiness to his role as the family patriarch in “You Can’t Take It With You,” the Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman comedy—a perennial favorite that first arrived during the Great Depression—now enjoying a revival at the Longacre Theatre.

“You Can’t Take It With You” still feels like the perfect escapist comedy for tough times, in spite of its creaky references to “the 48 states” and Eleanor Roosevelt. For that, you can thank a top-notch ensemble that includes Rose Byrne, in an impressive Broadway debut, as well as helmsman Scott Ellis (“Drood”), whose zippy direction brings the play’s three acts in at 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Byrne, a star of TV’s “Damages” and the foil to Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids,” is Alice, the only conventional member of the happy-go-lucky Sycamore clan. How the Sycamores pay for their magnificent house near Columbia University is anyone’s guess, because the family patriarch, Martin Vanderhof—or just “Grandpa” (Jones)—hasn’t worked in 35 years.

The story’s central conflict is set in motion when Alice becomes engaged to her boss, Tony Kirby (Fran Kranz), who hails from a proper Wall Street family.

Jones’s Grandpa, a gentle giant, quit his career because it wasn’t gratifying, and has spent his days raising snakes and generally sauntering through life as if he’d found the perfect combination of SSRIs and Abilify. Like every member of the family, he’s happy because he does what he wants, not what society says he “should do.” Thus, his home is filled with people practicing the xylophone, dancing, writing, painting, making fireworks and so forth.

Grandpa gets the most winning lines, brushing aside the IRS man who comes to find out why he’s never paid income tax, and continuously laying out fortune cookie wisdom as if it were a one-size-fits-all key to peace of mind: “Life is kind of beautiful if you let it come to you,” he explains to Boris Kolenkhov (Reg Rogers, of “The Royal Family,” in a delightfully combustible performance), the ballet instructor who is almost always in the house.

It’s worth the price of admission alone to see the usually booming actor in a calming and comedic role. It makes matters all the more potent when Grandpa has to apologize after Mr. Kolenkhov slams the elder Mr. Kirby (Byron Jennings) on the floor in a misguided display of wrestling prowess: “Russians are inclined to look on the dark side,” Jones explains matter-of-factly, to howls from the house. I'm still not sure if we were responding to a joke about Russians, or connecting to his history as the voice of Darth Vader. 

Byrne’s role has the least flash, by definition, but she fits into the ensemble nicely, bringing just the right amount of kookiness to the role. She and Kranz (pictured below) make for a swell couple of sweethearts.

The real comic relief, though, comes from Annaleigh Ashford, as Alice’s sister, Essie, the hapless ballet student. Ashford is as on point here as she was in her Tony-nominated performance in “Kinky Boots,” clumsily pirouetting across the stage in time with the xylophone-music churned out by her nutty husband, Ed (an impressively elastic Will Brill).

Kristine Nielsen (“Vanya and Sonia …”) is enormous fun as Alice and Essie’s off-kilter mom, Penelope, a sometime-writer and sometime-painter who shakes her head at everything, whether in delight or in dismay. The venerable Elizabeth Ashley, a three-time Tony nominee (and winner, for 1962’s “Take Her, She’s Mine), makes the most of her scenery-chewing role as a Russian countess forced to wait tables in Times Square.

Julie Halston, recently seen in Charles Busch’s “The Tribute Artist,” again delights, this time as an actress who spends most of the play soused. At a press performance I attended, Halston brought down the house trying to make it up a flight of stairs.

David Rockwell’s turntable set is jammed with detail. Most of the action takes place in the wood-paneled living room of what appears to be an old Victorian, with a flight of stairs on one end, and the kitchen door on the other. Original music by Jason Robert Brown (“The Bridges of Madison County”) barely registered with me.

Happiness, this solid production insists, is far more important than money—that’s a position that easily resonates with audiences, and it’s a message that never gets old. I only wish I could travel back in time to see how a beleaguered and downtrodden Depression-era audience would have first experienced it. I'll bet they thrilled to every word even more than we do.

“You Can’t Take It With You,” through Jan. 4 at the Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. Tickets: $37-$152. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Neil LaBute's "The Money Shot"]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:40:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Gia_Crovatin__Fred_Weller__Callie_Thorne_and_Elizabeth_Reaser_in_a_scene_from_Neil_LaButes_THE_MONEY_SHOT_at_MCC_Theater_%28photo_by_Joan_Marcus%29.jpg

Playwright Neil LaBute has a history of creating characters prone to nastiness. In plays like “Fat Pig,” “In the Company of Men” and “reasons to be pretty," everyday people are darn mean to one another, and that’s earned him a reputation as a misanthrope.

In the past, the poisonous insults so associated with LaBute’s work have been met with a sense of unease. It’s hard to see people use other people for such despicable and cruel purposes. But as it turns out, the harshness becomes a much easier pill to swallow when the characters themselves are ripe for mocking.

Such is the case in “The Money Shot,” LaBute’s newest biting comedy, with direction from Terry Kinney, now playing at MCC Theater’s Lucille Lortel Theatre. Here, LaBute tackles Hollywood, celebrity and the extreme lengths actors will go to stay relevant in an industry where you’re only as good as your last project. The results? A hilarious must-see play with some great performances.

Fred Weller (“Mothers and Sons”) and Elizabeth Reaser (“The Twilight Saga”) play Steve and Karen, two aging movie stars with lead roles in a new film by a hot-shot European director. Said film features a risqué sex scene, so Steve and Karen meet together with their other halves at Karen’s home in the Hollywood Hills to discuss boundaries.

Steve’s aspiring-actress trophy wife Missy (Gia Crovatin, a LaBute vet) has nearly no reservations about seeing her spouse in the intimate scene. But Karen’s tough-as-nails partner Bev (Callie Thorne, of TV’s “Necessary Roughness”), a film editor, comes with some major concerns. The fun comes from watching the four get to know one another as they wrestle with their options and the (unexpected) outcome.

Much of the conflict in “The Money Shot” is driven by Bev, who has never met a battle she didn’t want to fight. Bev is a pushy, argumentative bully, but Thorne gives her a grounded, confident presence throughout. She’s the voice of reason, and New Yorkers will be on her side as she lashes out against the vapid Hollywood world. (It’s never stated, but I’d wager Bev is originally from the East Coast).

In Steve, Bev meets a willing (though unworthy) partner, who talks with prideful certainty despite having to look up almost everything he says later on his iPhone. Weller gives Steve just the right blend of stupidity and charm, and without naming names, he’ll likely remind you of a Hollywood A-lister or two.

The ditzy Missy is a character who could very easily go the stereotypical dumb blonde route if it weren’t for Crovatin, whose inspired delivery makes us feel that Missy’s in on the joke. And while given the least to say out of the four, Crovatin still finds ways to keep us laughing through well-placed physical comedy and scene-stealing background work.

But the real star of the show is Reaser, who delivers one of the greatest comedic performances I’ve seen on stage in years. Her Karen moves from bragging about her latest endorsement deal to screaming her head off at the traffic on the 101 to laughing about herself, all within minutes. It’s a delicate dance of manic emotions, and one that Reaser orchestrates flawlessly.

Watching Reaser’s Karen, I was reminded most of the sort of deluded and assured characters Amy Poehler often played during her time on “Saturday Night Live.” Reaser’s just as committed to the overly dramatic nature of her character as Poehler would be, but she’s able to give Karen more layers than we’d see in an “SNL” skit.

To my surprise, LaBute has embedded universal themes within “The Money Shot” that resonate beyond his surface-level attack of the Hollywood lifestyle like the relationship struggles that occur when one partner is more financially successful than the other, and the pressures one feels when living a life driven by fear of failure.

Yes, many of the characters reveal their true selves through horrible behavior. This is a LaBute play, after all. But what’s different here is that they’re not abusing one another for manipulation, revenge or dominance. They just trying to survive each other.

“The Money Shot” marks Neil LaBute’s ninth collaboration with MCC Theater as their playwright-in-residence. It’ll leave you looking forward to the tenth.

“The Money Shot” through Oct. 12 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher St. Tickets: $69-$125. Call 212-352-3101, or visit www.mcctheater.org.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA["The Voice" Winner Finds Home on Broadway]]> Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:02:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/485516197VM021_NBC_s_The_Vo.jpg

While you were buying your favorite Broadway memorabilia at the 28th Annual Broadway Flea, here’s what was happening last week In the Wings.

Josh Kaufman, the season 6 winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” will join “Pippin” in the title role. The Team Usher player will make his Broadway debut in a limited engagement run from Nov. 4. to Jan. 4, 2015. Kyle Dean Massey, Broadway’s current Pippin, will remain in the role through Nov. 2. [More info]

The revival of “Pageant” has extended its Off-Broadway run through Jan. 4, 2015. Producers of the musical comedy beauty contest also recently announced that, with the help of crowdfunding, they will release the show's first ever cast album. "Pageant" first premiered Off-Broadway in 1991. [More info]

Still haven’t seen Tony-winning Jessie Mueller in “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical?" Well good news! Mueller has extended her contract and will remain with the show, which recently recouped, until March 6, 2015. Also sticking around are her Tony-nominated co-stars Anika Larsen and Jarrod Spector. A national tour of “Beautiful”: will launch in Sept. 2015, and a West End production will begin in Feb. 2015. [More info]

Angela Lansbury will reprise her Tony-winning role in Noël Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” for a new North American tour. The tour launches this December at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, and will continue on to theaters in San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C. Michael Blakemore, who directed the 2009 Broadway production and 2014 London production, will once again direct. [More info]

Many were disappointed when the Second Stage Theatre announced they will no longer be producing the new musical “American Psycho” this season. But will “Psycho” see the light of day on Broadway? That’s the rumor according to The New York Times, who reports that the Duncan Sheik musical, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel, will head directly to the Great White Way. No word whether Benjamin Walker will still remain in the lead role. [More info]

Speaking of murderous musicals, get your first look at Emma Thompson in PBS’s “Live from Lincoln Center’s telecast of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Thompson plays Mrs. Lovitt in the classic Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical. The clip below shows her performing the Act II opener “God, That’s Good!” “Sweeney Todd” airs on PBS on Sept. 26. 

Photo Credit: Valerie Macon]]>
<![CDATA[iPhone 6 Mania in NYC]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:12:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/iphone+mania+nyc.jpg Thousands of people lined up at Apple stores across New York City to get the iPhone 6. Sheldon Dutes reports on the mania.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Dennehy, Farrow Are Letter-Perfect in Gurney Revival]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 20:02:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LoveLettersMain.jpg

To truly appreciate all that “Love Letters” has to offer, just sit there and listen.

A.R. Gurney’s 1988 drama, now enjoying a vibrant revival at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, has no set, so there’s not much in the way of distraction. Paired actors—Brian Dennehy and Mia Farrow are up first, in a rotation of stars who will perform through winter—simply sit side-by-side at a table, reading from the playwright’s disarmingly funny script.

There’s little for an audience member to do but stay motionless, perhaps close his eyes, and get carried away. If the epistolary drama is done well, you should be silently reminiscing about your own closest relationships, present and past, in no time.

I’m happy to report that “Love Letters,” at least in the hands of these two seasoned pros, conquers all—and you’ll be particularly wowed by Farrow, who effortlessly ages 50 years in the play’s 90 minutes, transforming from a playful schoolgirl to a middle-aged woman, unraveling and full of regret.

The tale is a simple one. Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (or, “the turd,” as Melissa calls him in a moment of pique) exchange notes over a half-century, beginning in grade school. Each is a New England WASP, making her and his way down a sometimes-stifling path laid out by their parents: prep school, a European tour, etc.

She’s from a fabulously wealthy family. His folks are just well-off. Fortune will favor Andy over a half-century, but be less kind to Melissa. It is truly their love story, but not always in a traditional sense.

Dennehy and Farrow have chemistry in abundant supply. It surely helps that the venerable actor has read “Love Letters” before, more than two decades ago. So too is it useful that Gurney’s dialogue, sometimes uncannily, can feel as if it was written with the ethereal Farrow in mind: “We’re living in a carriage house in New Canaan close to the train station, and I’ve got a studio all of my own,” art student Melissa says, in one exchange.

The hulking, full-of-presence Dennehy wears a solid blazer, over a blue button-down. Farrow is in a black dress, wearing a necklace with a charm that enhances her delicate qualities. Their rhythms—the hurried back-and-forths in the heat of an argument, the pregnant pauses, when someone’s feelings have been injured—are a testament to strong direction by Gregory Mosher, the longtime Lincoln Center, Broadway and West End helmsman.

Some honesty? Offhand, it wouldn’t have been my first choice to see Farrow as Melissa, given some of the other actresses attached to “Love Letters” later this season (Carol Burnett! Next month!!). But what a performance I would have missed.

I thrilled at Farrow’s relief when Melissa hears from Andy after a prolonged absence. I felt the agony to my bones when Melissa realizes Andy has abandoned her, after enduring a particularly hateful onslaught of language about the “Japanese war bride” he’s taken (do with that what you will, tabloid readers…).

Dennehy, with his gruff mannerisms and scowl, is excellent in a role that is, in ways, the more complex. Andy proves partly responsible for Melissa’s descent—yet the play can only stay on solid ground if Andy is ultimately likable. He pulls it off with authority.

Dennehy and Farrow are simply well-matched. It helps that I’m a fan of Gurney’s particularly lucid and conversational style, also on exhibit now at Signature Center, where the far less well-known “The Wayside Motor Inn” is enjoying a solid staging. The Pulitzer-nominated “Love Letters,” by comparison, is a near-classic.

Clearly, no two pairings will offer the same takeaway. Dennehy will read Andy a month from now opposite Burnett, in what promises to be an entirely different experience. Afterward, Alan Alda teams with Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach appears with Diana Rigg, and Anjelica Huston reads opposite Martin Sheen.

Meanwhile, Dennehy and Farrow do a beautiful job of depicting the volatility and fragility of human relationships.

“Love Letters,” through Feb. 1, 2015 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St. Tickets: $52-$127. Call 800-745-3000, or visit Ticketmaster.com.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg]]>
<![CDATA[Southwestern-Inspired Style]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:09:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Southwestern+Style.jpg Southwestern-inspired style is one of fall's must-try trends, and the good news is that it's easy to incorporate a little South-of-the-Border styling into any wardrobe. Lucky's style editor, Laurel Pantin, is here to show us how. ]]> <![CDATA[Not Your Average Ice Cream Sandwich]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:58:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/207*120/ice+cream+sandwiches.png Lauren Scala investigates three ice cream sandwiches that knock the socks off your favorite childhood treat.]]> <![CDATA[Elisabeth Moss to Star in “Heidi Chronicles” Revival ]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 10:45:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/505528985AR00084_Premiere_O.jpg

Peggy Olson, meet Heidi Holland.

Elisabeth Moss, who has spent seven seasons as Peggy Olson on AMC’s hit series “Mad Men,” will return to Broadway this winter in the title role of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “The Heidi Chronicles.”

Moss was last seen on Broadway in a 2008 revival of David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow.” She’ll be joined in “The Heidi Chronicles” by “Orange Is The New Black” and “American Pie” star Jason Biggs, who returns to Broadway after over a decade-long absence.

Tony-nominee Bryce Pinkham (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”) and Tracee Chimo (“Bad Jews”) will also star. Direction will come from Tony-winner Pam MacKinnon (“Clybourne Park,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”).

The limited engagement revival will begin performances in February 2015, with an opening planned for early March at a theatre to be announced.

“The Heidi Chronicles” follows the plight of feminist art historian Heidi Holland, over a 20-year period of her life (the 1960s to the 1980s). Biggs will play Scoop, a flirtatious writer with whom Holland has a contentious relationship. Pinkham will play Heidi’s gay best friend, Peter, with Chimo playing multiple female roles in the show.

The play premiered off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 1988, and transferred to Broadway the following year. Moss and Biggs follow in the footsteps of a number of A-list stars who performed in the Off-Broadway and Broadway runs, including Joan Allen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Lahti, Mary McDonnell, David Hyde Pierce, Tony Shalhoub and Boyd Gaines. (Jamie Lee Curtis also starred in a 1995 TV movie of the play).

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.

For more information, visit www.TheHeidiChroniclesOnBroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Culkin, Cera, Gevinson in "Youth"]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:23:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/YouthMain.jpg

You can understand the urge to revive “This Is Our Youth,” the 1996 coming-of-age tale by Kenneth Lonergan (“You Can Count on Me”) about three aimless young adults on the Upper West Side grappling with casual drug use, new love and a bag full of misbegotten money.

The comedy-drama has served as a superstar-incubator in previous incarnations, when it’s featured the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin. It’s also a play that, despite its setting at the dawn of the Reagan Era, promises themes—our transition into adulthood—that are timeless.

For this production, which has just opened at The Cort Theatre under the steady-handed direction of Anna D. Shapiro (“August: Osage County” and last season’s affecting take on “Of Mice and Men”), producers scored Kieran Culkin, Michael Cera and Tavi Gevinson as the overprivileged trio at the center of the story. All are making Broadway debuts.

“These three,” someone must’ve thought. "Ka-ching," right?

In spite of it all, I walked out of the two-acter curiously unfulfilled. The play rarely feels relatable, and I’m afraid it’s mostly an issue with Cera, the talented “Juno” and “Superbad” star who here steps into a role quite similar to that of George Michael, the awkward man-boy he played on “Arrested Development.” That’s the rub—I think Warren would be better cast with an actor who’s got more range.

Not a lot happens, though plenty sure gets talked about in Lonergan’s atmospheric drama, written when the playwright was 20 and being performed for the first time on the Main Stem after a couple of Off-Broadway runs in the ’90s.

Warren (Cera) is an idiosyncratic 19-year-old who’s just walked away with $15,000 in cash from his abusive dad, an emotionally distant lingerie tycoon. The action begins when he shows up at the rundown studio of his drug-dealer pal, Dennis (Culkin), with all the money, a suitcase full of childhood valuables and no plan.

Warren knows he ought to get the money back to his father, even as he foolishly spends chunks of it on luxuries. Jammed in here is also a muddled message about drugs, and the loss of innocence. And there's a love story, between Warren and Jessica (Gevinson), the blossoming fashion student who resides on some peripheral edge of the boys’ social network.

“This Is Our Youth” comes to life whenever Culkin—31, but playing a character a decade younger—is on stage. Dennis, the alpha, is abusive, caustic, violent and a crappy friend -- and yet, you absolutely care about him, because Culkin makes him human.

Pay heed to the magnetic actor’s voice as he talks to his estranged girlfriend on the phone while pal Warren is listening, then watch as the actor banishes his protege to the bathroom so he can speak in far more appeasing tones.

It makes sense that Culkin would move through Lonergan’s story with ease, because he played Warren in 2002 on the West End. Culkin brought the play to Cera’s attention when they co-starred in 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” (Culkin and Cera previously acted in “Youth” in Sydney; Tevinson joined them for a pre-Broadway run at Steppenwolf this summer.)

As the sullen teen who has screwed everything up, Warren should be the center of the play. The trouble is that Cera’s performance doesn’t vary much from its baseline.

All three of these kids are screwed up in their own way—the boys in particular—but Culkin and Gevinson, by play’s end, make us believe their respective moral compasses have been pointed in a new direction. You never feel Warren wants to be any better than he is, and for that reason he fails to connect. I’m sure there was room within Lonergan’s dialogue for that to be different.

Gevinson (above), 18, a fashion blogger and burgeoning actress, does effective work making us see Jessica as a young woman trying to own her sexual identity. She evokes a young Deborah Harry in both fashion and countenance. Though she screeches as often as she speaks—and that is, often, what 18 year olds do—her performance is winning and mutli-dimensional. She not just an insecure kid, she's a confident woman -- often both at the same time.

Shapiro directs with her usual spot-on spontaneity and fluidity. Her steady hand is most evident in a casual if hostile football toss between Dennis and Warren early in the play, which wreaks havoc on the apartment.

Todd Rosenthal’s backdrop for Dennis’s dingy one-room studio—the fire escapes and exterior of the apartment building behind it—is so impressively scaled, you’ll be convinced they’ve knocked out the back wall of The Cort, and you’re looking across the street.

There is relatability here in small doses, such as when Warren tells Jessica about an idea to desert Manhattan for Wyoming. That said, the privileged Manhattan youth I know aren’t sitting around discussing speedballs—they’re taking nude selfies. If Cera had made me care more about Warren, I might have been willing to overlook the anachronisms. It may be a function of the characters, or this casting, but ultimately these don’t feel like our youth. They feel like someone else’s.

“This Is Our Youth,” through Jan. 4, 2015 at the Cort Theatre, 138 W. 48th St. Tickets: $35-$135. Call 212-239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Brigitte Lacombe]]>
<![CDATA[“High School Musical” Star Graduates to Broadway]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 12:53:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/503446737QS00040_2014_Young.jpg

Vanessa Hudgens, known for her role as Gabriella in Disney’s hit film franchise “High School Musical,” will make her Broadway debut in the title role of a new revival of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Gigi.”

The 25-year-old actress has been playing the role in recent readings in New York, and will continue honing her performance during a pre-Broadway engagement at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., set for Jan. 16 through Feb. 12, 2015.

No Broadway dates have been set yet, but producers are aiming for 2015.

“I started performing in musicals from a young age, and it has always been my dream to be on Broadway,” said Hudgens in a statement. “I cannot wait to get back on stage, singing and dancing these songs and living in Gigi’s glamorous world.”

Hudgens has a long history performing in musicals. In addition to her singing work in “High School Musical” and its sequels, she’s been on stage since she was eight years old. In 2010, Hudgens played the role of Mimi in the Hollywood Bowl’s production of “Rent.”

“Gigi” first played Broadway in 1951, with a then-unknown Audrey Hepburn in the title role. The show was then adapted by Lerner and Loewe (“My Fair Lady”) into a a 1958 movie musical, which would go on to win nine Academy Awards including Best Picture.

The new Broadway production will be directed by Eric Schaeffer (“Follies”), and include a new book by British playwright Heidi Thomas -- known for television writing credits like “Call the Midwife” and “Upstairs, Downstairs.” The revival will feature classic “Gigi” numbers such as “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” and “I Remember it Well,” as well as songs incorporated from the film, including “The Parisians” and “Say a Prayer for Me Tonight.” Four songs written and added to the score by Lerner and Loewe in 1973 will also be included.

For more information on Gigi, visit www.GigiOnBroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez]]>
<![CDATA[Ellen Previews New Season]]> Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:57:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ellen+sibila.jpg Ellen DeGeneres has a lot in store for her upcoming season. She shares some of her plans with Sibila Vargas. ]]> <![CDATA[Beyond the Basic Bagel]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:57:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2014-09-08+at+1.29.15+PM.png Bagels are getting weird - in the best way possible. Lauren Scala takes a tour of some of the most inventive flavors.]]> <![CDATA[Michael C. Hall Is Your New Hedwig]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:15:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dexter-Finale.jpg

Michael C. Hall will return to the Broadway stage next month when he assumes the title role in the Tony-winning revival of John Cameron Mitchell’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” It will be Hall’s first Broadway musical role in a decade, having starred in productions of “Cabaret” and “Chicago.”

Hall will replace “Girls” and “Book of Mormon” star Andrew Rannells, who made his debut as the transgender rocker in August when Neil Patrick Harris departed the show. Rannells will remain with the production through the beginning of Hall’s limited engagement, which runs from Oct. 12 through Jan. 4, 2015.

Lena Hall, who, like Harris, won a Tony for her work in the show, will remain in the production as Hedwig’s husband, Yitzhak.

Hall was seen on Broadway last season in the ensemble comedy “The Realistic Joneses.” He most recently finished his eighth and final season in Showtime’s “Dexter” -- a role for which he won a Golden Globe in 2006.

Tickets for “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” range from $47 - $142, and can be purchased by calling 212-239-6200, visiting Telecharge.com or visiting the Belasco Theatre Box Office (111 West 44th Street).

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Best of Joan Rivers on New York Live]]> Fri, 05 Sep 2014 15:45:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/210*120/The+Best+of+Joan+Rivers+on+New+York+Live.png Take a look back at some of Joan River's most wild and crazy moments on New York Live.]]> <![CDATA[Review: "The Wayside Motor Inn," by A.R. Gurney]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:42:35 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WaysideMain.jpg

Let’s christen this the autumn of A.R. Gurney.

New audiences are poised to discover the 83-year-old playwright, who delivers a one-two punch this season with “The Wayside Motor Inn”—the first offering of a year-long Signature Theatre residency—and the Broadway return of the heart-tugging, cast-rotating “Love Letters,” which begins performances later this month at the Brooks Atkinson.

“The Wayside Motor Inn” may not be as familiar a title as “Love Letters,” but the play, first produced here in 1977, is likely to gain fans thanks to a well-executed revival helmed by Brooklyn’s Lila Neugebauer, a recent Princess Grace Award winner.

“Wayside” sees six men and four women cast adrift at a homogenous motor inn just off a highway cloverleaf in suburban Boston. The guests on this evening include three couples of varying ages; a father and son; and a married salesman, traveling solo, but with his eye on the pretty waitress who brings him a burger, but warns him against eating it too close to the TV: “Gamma rays.”

Here’s what’s unusual: Though “Wayside” has 10 actors in five separate story lines, they’re often sharing the stage—and the set’s one room—at the same time. It’s a technique Gurney says was inspired at the time by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. There is room for a whole bunch of folks at this inn.

To keep from getting in each other’s way, the performers generally stick to one part of the space (Andrew Lieberman’s set nicely evokes the schlocky Carter-era motel room, down to the orange bedspreads and walnut wall sconces).

Ray (Quincy Dunn-Baker), the salesman looking to seduce Sharon, the aimless room service attendant (Jenn Lyon, with a spot-on South Shore accent), prefers a chair at the foot of the TV. Phil and Sally (David McElwee and Ismenia Mendes), naive college kids looking for some private time away from their roommates, spend much of the second act in the tub.

I suspect it’s an enormous challenge for the actors to converse with their partners without interrupting dialogue in the other pairings, where other little dramas are unfolding just inches away. The 10 performers assembled here are wholly up to the task. 

I was partial to Jon DeVries (Richard Nelson’s Apple Family plays) and Lizbeth Mackay (LCT’s “Domesticated”) as Frank and Jessie, a longtime married couple using the Wayside as a base to visit with their daughter in nearby Sudbury.

Jessie is a doter who is nearly helpless without her husband—she can take care of Frank better than Frank can, but can’t open a sliding glass door or traverse a short drive on the turnpike without his help. Frank, meanwhile, gets annoyed being fussed over. But his frustrations are building just at a time when he needs a spouse most.

The couple have one exchange that seemed to characterize “Wayside’s” reason for being: “We’re all in this thing together … I believe the most important things in the world have to do with other people,” Jessie says, while trying to convince Frank they’d be better off moving here from wherever in New England they make their home in order to be closer to the kids.

Comes Frank’s reply: “We’re all on our own, in the end.” Simple? Yeah. But so graceful in the hands of these performers, who have terrific chemistry.

Vince and Mark are a working-class father and son staying for the night ahead of Mark’s interview at Harvard.

Like any dad, Vince (Tony-nominee Marc Kudisch, of “9 to 5”) wants his son to have the opportunities he never had, but Vince is blind to what his kid (Will Pullen), who likes to work on cars, really wants. Tensions arise when Mark tries to emerge from Vince’s shadow, and those scenes are among the play’s more poignant, even if it’s a story that’s been told a million times.

The final twosome checking in for the night are Andy and Ruth (Kelly AuCoin and Rebecca Henderson), a couple negotiating the terms of their divorce, trying to avoid hostilities, and failing miserably at it. It’s an obvious, yet effective, juxtaposition to have Phil and Sally, that young couple, discussing positions in “The Joy of Sex” just feet away while Andy and Ruth grapple with the end of their marriage.

Nothing gets wrapped up at the Wayside Motor Inn, so if you need your drama with resolutions, look elsewhere. What Gurney and Signature offer, compellingly, is a slice-of-life drama in which the mundane tasks of a day—going for a drive on the turnpike, stitching a torn shirt, or ordering a burger from room service—make for all the excitement we need.

“The Wayside Motor Inn,” through Sept. 28 at The Pershing Square Signature Center, 480 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $25-$75. Call 212-244-7529, or visit signaturetheatre.org.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[NeNe Leakes is Cinderella’s Next Wicked Stepmother ]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:55:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/491314981AS128_2014_NBCUniv.jpg

“I have arrived… and the spotlight is on me, hunny,” says NeNe Leakes in her opening line on Bravo’s hit series, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

The spotlight will indeed be shining again on Leakes soon — this time, on the Great White Way!

The Atlanta housewife will make her Broadway debut in “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” on Nov. 25. She’ll play Madame, Cinderella’s stepmother — a part that doesn’t require much singing, but does require something Leakes has in spades: sass.

In the title role alongside Leakes will be “Akeelah and the Bee” star Keke Palmer, who, as previously reported, will make history on Sept. 9 as Broadway's youngest — and first African-American – Cinderella.

It will be the first time a “Real Housewife” has ever performed on Broadway.

Sadly, Leakes’ arrival in “Cinderella” will come at the end of the show’s run. The first Broadway production of the classic musical will close Jan. 3, 2015. At that time, it will have played 41 previews and 770 regular performances.

Leakes and Palmer will stay with the production through its closing. Leakes will replace Sherri Shepherd, who will perform the role Sept. 9 through Nov. 22.

Aside from her breakout turn in “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” NeNe Leakes has also been seen on a Bravo spin-off wedding series, "I Dream of NeNe," and two NBC shows: “The Celebrity Apprentice" and “The New Normal.” Last season, she appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars," though was eliminted fifth. 

This summer, Leakes made her stage debut for a 10-show engagement in the long-running Las Vegas hit, “Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil.” Her turn in show marked the first time Cirque du Soleil had ever integrated a celebrity into one of its shows in the company’s 30-year history.

A cast member since its first season, Leakes is currently filming the seventh season of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," which is set to premiere on Bravo sometime in 2015. 

Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz]]>
<![CDATA[Carey Mulligan Taking “Skylight” to Broadway]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:22:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/76878358.jpg

Oscar nominated actress Carey Mulligan (“The Great Gatsby”) will return to Broadway this spring, reprising her role in the transfer of the London production of David Hare’s “Skylight.”

Joining Mulligan will be Bill Nighy (“Love Actually”) and Matthew Beard (“An Education”), who also co-starred with her in the play’s critically acclaimed (and sold-out) London run.

Tony-winning director Stephen Daldry will also return 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. The play originally opened on Broadway in 1996, transferring then from the National Theatre in London.

“Skylight” will play a limited 13-week engagement beginning March 16 at the John Golden Theatre. Opening night will be April 2, with a closing set for June 14.

Photo Credit: Stuart C. Wilson]]>
<![CDATA[See Allison Williams as Peter Pan]]> Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:15:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AlisonWilliamsPeterPanCrop.jpeg

The first photo of Allison Williams as Peter Pan is here!

The 26-year-old “Girls” actress will play the title role in NBC’s upcoming “Peter Pan Live!” The live musical staging of the classical musical, which features a book by J.M. Barrie and a score by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Carolyn Lee, with additional songs by Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, is NBC’s follow-up to last year’s hit “The Sound of Music Live!”

Williams has said playing Peter Pan is a “dream come true,” even sharing a photo on Instagram of her dressed in the part as a young child.

Here’s Williams, all grown up, in the role:


The photo was revealed in one of two interviews Williams gave on NBC’s “Today” show, where she also discussed why she decided to wear a wig for the role.

"I sort of very tentatively offered to cut my hair, I was like, 'You know, if it's a thing that would help I could cut my hair,'” she told “Today.” “And they were like, 'You're welcome to do that, we're still gonna put you in a wig.'"

Watch Williams first segment on “Today” here:

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

And catch a preview from “Peter Pan Live” in her second “Today” segment:

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

“Peter Pan Live” will air Dec. 4 on NBC.

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Photos From the 2014 West Indian Day Parade]]> Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:04:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/AP181744395290.jpg The annual West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn celebrates Caribbean culture and echoes traditional pre-Lenten Carnival festivities, with dancers wearing elaborate, feathered costumes.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[National Sandwich Month]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:37:51 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/best+sandwiches.jpg Joelle Garguilo celebrates National Sandwich Month with some of New York City's best sandwiches.]]> <![CDATA[Opinion: Initial Joan Rivers Snub Was Dim Move]]> Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:45:21 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/164841825CD00035_Kinky_Liqu.jpg

After this opinion piece was published, The Broadway League reversed course and said it would dim theater marquee lights in honor of Joan Rivers. Below is the original piece condemning the initial snub. The updated news story is available here.

Can we talk? About what a tone deaf decision The Broadway League made when the respected trade group denied theater booster and sometime-stage star Joan Rivers one of the industry’s top honors?

Theater owners have a tradition of dimming marquee lights for one minute prior to curtain in order to recognize the passing of Rialto greats—a distinction recently bestowed on fellow comedian Robin Williams, who, unlike Rivers, never nabbed a Tony nomination.

In an interview Monday with The New York Times, Charlotte St. Martin, the League’s executive director, said the lights wouldn’t go down for Rivers, who died on Sept. 4, because the late comedian had not met the criteria for the time-honored tradition.

“People need to have been very active recently in the theater, or else be synonymous with Broadway — people who made their careers here, or kept it up,” St. Martin said, adding, “We love Joan — she was very supportive of Broadway and came to a lot of show openings — but she hasn’t acted on Broadway in 20 years.”

Martin, perhaps beginning to reconsider the League’s move, also curiously said the decision was made by “a small committee.”

Too small, we say. The League needs a broader perspective—especially when it comes to one tough-talking broad.

That’s clearly what Jordan Roth, the Jujamcyn president, was thinking when, in an unprecedented move, he got out ahead of the trade group and said his company, which manages five theaters, would dim its lights tonight to honor Rivers.

Disney Theatricals soon followed suit, saying that the New Amsterdam, which houses “Aladdin,” would do the same. The lights will lower, too, at the Helen Hayes Theatre, where “Rock of Ages” goes on.

In response to The Broadway League’s move late Monday, an online petition began, demanding Broadway “Dim the Lights for Joan Rivers.” As of Tuesday morning, the call to arms had nearly 5,000 signatures.

The movement also spread to Twitter, where the trending hashtag “#Dim4Joan” united theater fans and performers alike.

“Hey Broadway! Time to dim the lights for Joan Rivers queen of comedy. She loved Broadway and we love her,” Harvey Fierstein wrote.

“No disrespect meant to The Broadway League, but #Dim4Joan seems the respectful, honorable thing to do” wrote Donna Murphy.

The League, as it states clearly on their website, is “dedicated to fostering increased interest in Broadway theatre.” No one did that better than Rivers.

Rivers made her Broadway debut in 1972 in a play she co-wrote called “Fun City.” In the late ’80s, she was a replacement in Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound.” Rivers also earned a 1994 best actress Tony nomination for a play she co-wrote, “Sally Marr… and Her Escorts” (which, incidentally, went on at The Helen Hayes, whose owners have a long memory).

In addition to her time on stage, Rivers was also a staunch advocate for theater. A fixture at Broadway and off-Broadway openings, she spoke passionately about Broadway, most recently to New York Magazine:

“If I’m home in New York at night, I’m either at a Broadway or an Off Broadway show. We’re in the theater capital of the world, and if you don’t get it, you’re an idiot,” she said.

Broadway was also a big part of Rivers’ funeral, which was held Sept. 7 in New York City. Tony winners Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman sang show tunes “There Is Nothing Like a Dame” and “Big Spender.”

While each case for the tradition is handled on an individual basis, many have called the League’s criteria into question, especially on the heels of its decision to dim lights for the recent passings of Williams, Lauren Bacall and even James Gandolfini.

Williams was never Tony-nominated, though had appeared on Broadway twice — in a 2002 one-man comedy special, and in 2011’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

Bacall, a two-time Tony-winner, had a longer career on Broadway, starring in six Broadway shows. But she hadn’t appeared since 1999’s “Waiting in the Wings.”

Gandolfini was Tony-nominated for 2009’s “God of Carnage,” — his third, and last time on Broadway.

Man on Twitter wondered if the League's criteria would make Julie Andrews and Barbra Streisand ineligible, should they die, as it’s been 19 years and 48 years, respectively, since either appeared on Broadway.

As of now, the League hasn’t responded to calls from NBC 4 New York asking if the group will reverse course. We have enormous respect for the League, which runs yearly events such as Kids’ Night on Broadway to bring theater to the masses. But this was just the wrong call.

What did the League have to lose by honoring Rivers? Is there no room for leeway in how these decisions are made? There ought to be.

Rob Kahn and Dave Quinn are both long-time New York theater critics.

Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin]]>
<![CDATA[Best Labor Day Deals]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:32:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Models12.jpg Labor Day sales aren't just for mattresses and electronics; you can score amazing style deals from some of your favorite stores this weekend. Just in time to get our shop on, Lori Bergamotto, Style Director at Good Housekeeping is here to show us some of her favorite picks.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Beauty Buzz: No-Makeup Makeup]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:44:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/082114-NYL-LILLIANA+NO+MAKEUP+MAKEUP+WEB.png Do you dare to go bare with this season's "No-Makeup Makeup" trend? Lilliana met up with Teen Vogue's Elaine Welteroth at Rouge in NYC for some easy tips & tricks to pull of this natural look.]]> <![CDATA[Top 10 New U.S. Eateries]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:12:26 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Bon+Appetit%27s+Hot+10.png Joelle Garguilo sits down with Bon Appétit's restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton to talk about his lineup of best new restaurants in America.]]> <![CDATA[Zabar's Celebrates 80 Years on Broadway]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:36:59 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/187*120/Screen+Shot+2014-08-20+at+2.59.47+PM.png The Upper West Side market Zabar's is turning 80, so we had to stop by this institution to see what makes it the longest running Broadway show.]]> <![CDATA["Cabaret" Welcomes Emma Stone]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:45:41 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/501230491ZD062_Magic_In_The.jpg

Emma Stone will make her Broadway debut this fall when she steps into the Roundabout Theatre Company’s acclaimed revival of “Cabaret.” Stone will play nightclub singer Sally Bowles, a role originated in this production by Oscar nominee Michelle Williams.

Williams will continue as Sally until Nov. 9. Stone’s limited run in the show begins Nov. 11 and goes through Feb. 1, 2015.

“Cabaret” opened at the Kit Kat Klub at Studio 54 in April. The revival is a restaging of Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s 1998 Tony Award-winning production, which starred the late Natasha Richardson as Sally and Alan Cumming as Emcee.

Cumming returned as emcee for the current restaging, and will remain in his Tony-winning role through March 29, 2015. Linda Emond and Danny Burstein, who were both Tony-nominated for their work in “Cabaret”, will also continue with the production through the end of March. That means there’s room for Stone to extend her run, or for another actress to step into the role.

This isn’t the first time Stone’s name has been attached to the Roundabout’s “Cabaret.” The 25-year-old actress was linked to the show back in 2013, during initial announcements for the production, but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts.

This also isn’t the first time Stone will be singing professionally. Long before “Easy A” and “The Help,” Stone competed (as “Emily Stone”) on a VH1 reality singing show called “In Search of the New Partridge Family.” Stone won the 2004 competition, though sadly “The New Partridge Family” series never made it to air.

For tickets and information about “Cabaret,” visit roundabouttheatre.org.

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris]]>
<![CDATA[Schilling, Dinklage Team Up for Play]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:30:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/207*120/DinklageSchilling.jpg

If you’re looking for A-list talent on stage this season, the Classic Stage Company has you covered.

Not only does the off-Broadway theatre have Peter Sarsgaard leading a production of “Hamlet,” and “Sex in the City” star Chris Noth in “Doctor Faustus,” but the company has recently announced a limited run production of Ivan Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country,” starring 2014 Emmy nominees Taylor Schilling (“Orange is the New Black”) and Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”).

The play begins performances Jan. 9 and will run through Feb. 15.

Schilling will portray Natalya Petrovna, the matriarch of a country estate who has fallen for her son’s handsome young tutor. The only problem? She’s married. And her friend Rakitin (Dinklage) is also pining for her. Comedy, as you can imagine, ensues.

“A Month in the Country” will be directed by Dinklage's wife Erica Schmidt (“Humor Abuse”), who previously directed her husband on stage in a production of “Uncle Vanya” at Bard Summerscape. It will be Schilling’s New York City stage debut.

For tickets and more information about the Classic Stage Company’s season, visit www.classicstage.org.

Photo Credit: Jason Merritt | Graham Denholm]]>
<![CDATA[Birchbox Gets a New York Store]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:13:56 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BirchBox1.jpg For years, beauty lovers have been using Birchbox Online to get all their essentials. Now New Yorkers are getting a chance to shop in its first ever storefront. Joelle Garguilo headed down to SoHo to check out the new shop.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Trend Spotting: Rainbow Brights]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:12:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BrightColors1.jpg If you're looking for a way to brighten up your wardrobe this season, you're in luck. Lilliana Vazquez met up with Lucky Magazine's Laurel Pantin to find out how adding some bright colors to your closet can elevate any look.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Shaved Ice Around Town]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:36:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/shaved+ice.jpg Lilliana Vazquez checks out three original shaved ice treats to celebrate summer with in the city.]]> <![CDATA[Liliiana Loves ...Trends for the Season on a Budget]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:02:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/283*120/LLSummer.JPG Even though summer is starting to wind down, many are still in the market for staples like sunglasses and sandals. Lilliana Vazquez, author of "The Cheap Chica's Guide to Style," shares some budget buys.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "Poor Behavior," by Theresa Rebeck]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 08:23:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Behavior1.jpg

The stakes start out deceptively slight in “Poor Behavior,” the new Theresa Rebeck comedy that’s just opened at The Duke on 42nd Street. As the play gets underway, two couples are enjoying a wine-fueled discussion about “goodness,” and whether it exists in some pure form.

“Trees are good,” argues one.

“If a tree falls on your house, that’s not a good tree,” counters another, with the kind of breezy, we’re-so-evolved flair reminiscent of Yasmina Reza’s 2006 “God of Carnage,” a similarly dark comedy about two couples who meet to discuss an issue in a “civilized” fashion.

Alas, there’s carnage in store for Rebeck’s four weekenders, as it turns out—though mercifully, the only thing being upchucked here is the occasional prissy tomato confit muffin. The “goodness” set-up is a precursor to the real topics at hand: fidelity and morality. We’re here to examine when one should stop to consider the impact of his actions on another, and to wonder: What happens if we behave with no one else’s feelings in mind?

If you follow Rebeck, creator of NBC’s “Smash” and one of the most prolific playwrights around (“Seminar,” “Dead Accounts”), then you know what’s in store: existential debate, the occasional chase around the kitchen with a cast-iron pan and dialogue that’s exciting, but that also—despite four excellent performances—can sometimes come off as unrealistic.

The setting for “Poor Behavior” is an idyllic country house somewhere north of the city, along the Taconic. It’s the kind of faux-rustic place a certain upper middle-class New Yorker would buy for getaways, though here it becomes a prison for Peter and Ella, the owners, and Ian and Maureen, their weekend guests.

Ian (the fine New York stage actor Brian Avers) is an Irishman out of central casting whose views on America have soured since his arrival years earlier. A subsequent marriage to uptight Maureen (Heidi Armbruster), rapidly deteriorating, likely occurred somewhere at the intersection of “I love her” and “I need a green card.”

The connection between this foursome is tenuous: Maureen long ago dated Peter’s brother. Muted and proud of having conquered his temper (or so he tells himself), Peter (Jeff Biehl, below) thinks himself securely married to Ella (Katie Kreisler), a high-strung urbanite who on more than one occasion evokes a live-action Tina Fey. Otherwise, we know little about the foursome. What do they do for a living? Where does everyone aside from Ian hail from?

Ian is the troublemaker in this gaggle, and his nefarious design for the weekend is evident early on. With every speech—a Yeats quote here, a paean to his dead pa there—Ian’s words become more of a splinter under the skin of his wife and his hosts.

“Poor Behavior” marks Rebeck’s 15th production on a New York stage. As in “Dead Accounts,” there are exchanges in “Poor Behavior” that are questionable. The whole first act here seems to hinge on a matter that could be resolved if Peter would just ask Ian and Ella one direct question. (It’s of note that Rebeck has said the play was inspired by “a really disastrous week” she and her husband spent away with friends.)

The four actors are excellent, notably the devilish Avers (“The Lieutenant of Inishmore”), as a louse I wish were just a bit more likable. As it is, he’s so clearly a man with absolutely no moral compass that you have to wonder how he existed in a marriage for so long, and how anyone else would even contemplate anything other than a one-night tryst with him. Blindfolded … and with earplugs.

Still, Ian gets you thinking. When Ella, examining her marriage, insists to Ian that Peter is her “best friend,” Ian replies: “God, that sounds like death. Why do Americans persist in thinking that it is ‘moral’ and ‘good’ to remain addicted to an institution which has driven them mad?”

It makes Ella stop for a minute, and it gives us pause, too. If there’s ever been theater that invites a discussion afterward over a glass or seven of wine, then “Poor Behavior” is it. Rebeck may be posing certain issues (the merits of commitment, for one) as questions, but it seems clear from the outcome that she already has her own answers.

The Primary Stages production of “Poor Behavior,” through Sept. 7 at The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $70. Visit PrimaryStages.org, or call 646-223-3010.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: James Leynse]]>
<![CDATA[Catching Up With Susan Lucci]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 08:33:31 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SusanLucci.JPG Susan Lucci stops by the studio to talk about the third season of "Deadly Affairs," working on "Devious Maids" and spending time with her grandchildren.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Woodstock 45 Years Later: A Look Back Then & Now]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:52:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000004628597_1200x675_317635139778.jpg In the summer of 1969, hundreds of thousands of young people gathered in a cow pasture in Bethel for a rock festival known as Woodstock. Our senior correspondent Gabe Pressman was there. And this year, on the festival's 45th anniversary, we take a look back at the legendary event.]]> <![CDATA["Fun Home" Finds Broadway Home]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:30:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/FunHomeUseITW.jpg

While you were drooling over Chris Pratt in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” here’s what happened last week In the Wings.

“Fun Home” finds a home on Broadway. The critically acclaimed musical, which has a sold-out run at The Public Theater last year, will transfer to Broadway this spring. Based on Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel, “Fun Home” features music by Jeanine Tesori (“Violet”) and a book/lyrics by Lisa Kron musical, with direction from Sam Gold. The show will begin performances at the Circle in the Square Theatre on April 4, 2015, with an opening night set for April 22. [More info

Will Melanie Griffith swing into “Pippin”? That’s the story according to Melanie Griffith, at least. The actress, last on Broadway in “Chicago,” tells Indiewire that she’ll be appearing in the Tony-winning revival this January. No official confirmation from “Pippin” on what part she’d play, but all eyes are on Berthe, Pippin’s grandmother. [More info]

“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” will return to Broadway in 2015. Tony winner Rob Ashford (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” “Promises, Promises”) will direct and choreograph the revival, which first played Broadway in 1978. No official dates or theater has been announced yet. [More info]

“You Can’t Take It With You” wants you to take some kittens with you. The upcoming revival has teamed up with The Humane Society of New York to support the adoption of kittens that will be used in their show. Audience members interested will be able to fill out applications for adoption before performances and at intermission. [More info]

Constantine Maroulis returned to “Rock of Ages.” If you never got a chance to see the “American Idol” finalist in his Tony nominated role, well now’s your chance! Maroulis is back as Drew in “Rock of Ages” through Oct. 26. That rocks! [More info]

Kathie Lee Gifford is writing a musical about “The Today Show.” This one’s not a joke, though it’s sure to be funny! Gifford announced recently that she’s working on an original musical about the popular morning show. The 18-minute musical, titled “Not ‘Today’... and Tomorrow’s Not Looking Good Either,” will air on NBC prior to “Peter Pan Live!” Gifford, who wrote the libretto to the short-lived Broadway musical “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson,” will collaborate again with composer David Friedman on the piece. Watch Gifford discuss the piece here:


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

<![CDATA[In The Wings: Meet Jonathan Freeman, "Aladdin's" Jafar in Movie and on Broadway]]> Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:44:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/in+the+wings+jafar+actor.jpg The story of the genie and his magic lamp has been packing the house of "Aladdin" on Broadway since the show opened a few months ago. Lurking in the corner of it all is the exquisite evilness of Jafar. Actor Jonathan Freeman, who also voiced him in the animated movie, says he's been fascinated by Disney villains since childhood. Roseanne Colletti reports]]> <![CDATA[Back to School Tech Gear: 10 Hot Gadgets for Students]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:27:20 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg From tablet convertibles to smart watches and battery charging phone cases, here's a list of top back to school electronics for the season. ]]> <![CDATA[Back to School Tech: Hot Electronic Gear for Students]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:27:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thumb-tech.jpg

From smart watches to tablet convertibles and a Kindle to download your textbooks, here's what you should know about back to school gear now on the market.

For students going off to college, a laptop computer is a necessity, according to Jordan Crook, a reporter at TechCrunch.

"The best possible computer for a student would be a MacBook Air," Crook said. "It's just the most portable, light-weight thing you can carry around and it's powerful."

However, the latest gear hitting stores this season is an alternative to the everyday laptop — a tablet convertible.

"They call them convertible because they can either be a laptop or a tablet," said Sy Paulson, the general manager of a Manhattan Best Buy.

Tablet convertibles flip to let you "type as comfortably as you would on a traditional laptop."

Paulson recommends the Microsoft Surface, "because it is one of the most powerful and lightweight, and the battery lasts for a very long time."

When it comes to reading for either long-term or nightly assignments, Crook says you can't go wrong with a Kindle Paperwhite.

"It's a great thing for a student to get if you're going be doing a lot of reading. A lot of textbooks can download onto that,"she said. "It'll keep [them] all in one place."

The Kindle Paperwhite is the newest of the Kindle devices and is designed just for reading. The Kindle Fire also allows for using apps and watching TV shows.

For the tech-savvy student who might want to receive social media notifications without pulling out a smartphone in class, Crook recommends the Pebble Steel Smart Watch. The originator of the smart watch trend, Pebble's newest model, the Pebble Steel, beats out competitors with its iOs and Android compatibility, according to Crook.

Another tech-accessory-turned-fashion-statement is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

"If you want a home run back to school purchase idea for any student, you're going to go a long way if you pick up a pair of Beats or Bose noise canceling headphones," Paulson said.

But if a student wants their music to fill the room, Paulson recommends portable audio speakers that are battery powered and play through any device with a bluetooth interface.

Good speakers for a student on a study break could include GV Pulse speakers. "As you play it, it lights up, and if you turn the lights off in your dorm room you can make it look like a night club," Paulson explained.

Bluetooth has also allowed printers to go wireless. "You can stick the printer under the bed or in the closet on top of the mini fridge and print from your tablet or your phone or your computer," he said.


<![CDATA[More S'mores, Please]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:06:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2014-08-08+at+11.36.05+AM.png With three simple ingredients, the s'more is a campfire favorite. But in this town, we take things to the next level with these desserts that are anything but simple.]]> <![CDATA[Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:58:42 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/brooklyn+bridge+park.png Lauren Scala explores all there is to do in Brooklyn Bridge Park.]]> <![CDATA[Larry David Penning Own Broadway Debut ]]> Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:10:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/503426119DK023_Deepsea_Chal.jpg

Larry David, the Emmy-winning “Seinfeld” co-creator and star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” will make his Broadway debut this spring in a self-written play titled “Fish in the Dark.”

David broke the news to “The New York Times,” and says his character in the play -- a 15-character ensemble comedy centering on a death in a family -- will share a lot of his own personal traits. “It might even be Larry David with a different name,” he says.

Direction will come from Anna D. Shapiro, whose Broadway credits include last season’s revival of “Of Mice and Men,” the hit ensemble drama “August: Osage County” and the Michael Cera-lead “This Is Our Youth,” which begins performances Aug. 18 with a Sept. 11 opening.

“Fish in the Dark” will open at a Shubert theater to be announced sometime in March 2015.

Those hoping for a “Seinfeld” reunion in “Fish in the Dark” will have to wait. David tells “The Times” that despite rumors, Jerry Seinfeld is no way involved in the show. He also tells the paper that he’s still undecided on another season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Fans of “Curb” know that David has dabbled in Broadway before, albeit fictionally. On the acclaimed HBO show’s fourth season, his character landed the lead role in the Mel Brooks’ musical “The Producers” -- and went up on his lines during the opening night performance. David’s character saved the performance by slipping into his stand-up act, so if a similar thing happens in “Fish in the Dark,” at least we know David has a plan. 

Photo Credit: Dave Kotinsky]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Julia Stiles in "Phoenix"]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 20:34:29 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PhoenixMain.jpg

Hook up first, ask questions later. That’s modern love, right? We’ve got the freedom to get naked on a first meeting, without knowing much about our partners or feeling guilt about the intimacy. Recreational sex. Hooray!

In “Phoenix,” a dark one-act comedy that’s just opened at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Bruce (James Wirt) and Sue (Julia Stiles) reconnect at a New York coffee shop four weeks after a one-night-stand. Sue arrives with three news items to share: She enjoyed the sex. She doesn’t ever want to see him again. And she’s pregnant.

That last bit’s a shocker to Bruce, who’s gone through adulthood under the impression he’s sterile. When Sue, a traveling nurse, reveals that she’s made an appointment to terminate the pregnancy the next week, at her next job in the city of the play’s title, Bruce admits to an undefined compulsion to join her … and she reluctantly agrees. What could possibly go wrong?

At heart a story about emotional intimacy—our simultaneous need for, and repulsion from it—“Phoenix,” by Brooklyn playwright Scott Organ, features dialogue that regularly brims with wit. When Sue suggests the pregnancy was easily preventable, Bruce replies: “If you’re implying that my condoms were somehow old as a result of a lack of sexual activity on my part in recent, what, years, then, you know, you’re dead on.”

Still, it’s ultimately bogged down in a cookie-cutter message about risk-taking. Not the sexual kind, mind you, but the kind that comes with doing something brave, such as having a kid, or sharing your life. “No one is safe,” Bruce says, after Sue confesses her reasons for not wanting children. “And yet we have our lives to lead, don’t we?”

Stiles and Wirt are dynamic together, and their rapport is natural and easygoing—she even does yoga in the middle of their speakerphone chats. At least, I think they were speakerphone chats … director Jennifer DeLia could have managed matters with a firmer hand, particularly the awkward and lengthy scene changes (props to a pal, who coined them “pregnant pauses”).

Stiles, star of the “Bourne” trilogy and a vet of NYC stage work in Shakespeare (The Public’s “Twelfth Night,” in 2002) and Mamet (“Oleanna,” on Broadway), has the harder job, because Sue, with her desperately cynical world view, just isn’t likable. (“Oh my god, she needs to work out her s-it,” a frustrated female audience member told me, unsolicited, on our way out of the theater.)

You may fall head over heels for the lesser-known, delightfully deadpan Wirt when he confesses his seduction technique—he’s really a time-traveler from the future on a “sex vacation,” because “women from this era have a reputation for being kind of easy.”

You never feel his character is trying to manipulate Sue into keeping their baby, even though the play’s engaging and truthful-feeling climax transpires in the waiting room of the Phoenix abortion clinic.

“Phoenix” works best as an examination of modern mating rituals, where it’s entirely and realistically conceivable that you could have the intimacy of sex before knowing your partner’s last name. Or phone number. Or that you both prefer tea to coffee, but you keep making “coffee” dates because it’s what strangers do.

The play gets into trouble when it focuses, heavy-handedly, on a message we know all too well: simply getting out of bed in the morning involves a certain degree of risk, but sometimes, to paraphrase Bruce, you’re still living better if you drive instead of taking the train.

“Phoenix,” through Aug. 23 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St. Tickets: $56-$66. Call 212-989-2020.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Harry Fellows]]>
<![CDATA[First Broadway Revival of "Side Show" Set]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 09:25:22 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SideShowKCJM.jpg

“Side Show,” the biographical musical about Depression-era vaudeville conjoined twins Violet and Daisy Hilton that first premiered on Broadway in 1997, will see its first revival on the Great White Way this fall.

The production, which transfers after successful runs at the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., will begin performances Oct. 28 at the St. James Theatre.

Opening night is scheduled for Nov. 17.

“Side Show” features a score by “Dreamgirls” scribe Henry Krieger, with book and lyrics by Bill Russell (“The Last Smoker in America”). Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Bill Condon, who directed the film version of “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls,” will make his Broadway directorial debut in this new staging. He’s also credited with additional book material.

Starring as our conjoined heroines will be Erin Davie and Emily Padgett, reprising their leading roles from the Kennedy Center production. The 1997 production was lead by Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner, who were both Tony-nominated in the Best Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category -- the only time in history there’s ever been a co-nomination.

Additional casting will be announced soon. Tickets information can be found at SideShowBroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>