<![CDATA[NBC New York - The Scene]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usSat, 28 May 2016 06:24:09 -0400Sat, 28 May 2016 06:24:09 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Broadway Cuts 'American Psycho' ]]> Fri, 27 May 2016 02:29:49 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BenWalkerAmericanPsychoMusical.jpg

After mixed reviews, struggling at the box office and being shut out of the top nominations for the 2016 Tony Awards, "American Psycho" will close on Broadway.

The musical adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis's iconic novel will play its final performance at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Sunday, June 5. At the time of its closing, "Psycho" will have played a total of 27 previews and 54 regular performances.

Actor Benjamin Walker ("Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson") plays Patrick Bateman in the '80s-set musical -- the Wall Street investment banker with killer looks and killer tendencies. The role was made famous by Christian Bale in Mary Harron’s 2000 film.

The stage show features many of the hit songs used in the film, including "Hip to be Square" by Huey Lewis & The News, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears For Fears and "Don’t You Want Me" by the Human League.

Additional songs come from Tony-winning composer Duncan Sheik ("Spring Awakening").

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa -- one of the scribes behind "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" -- penned the book. Tony-nominee Rupert Goold ("King Charles III") directs.

In addition to Walker, the cast also includes "Next to Normal" alums Alice Ripley and Jennifer Damiano.

"Psycho" had a tricky road to the rialto. After an acclaimed 2013 run in London, the musical scheduled its New York premiere for an Off-Broadway run at Second Stage Theatre in March 2015. The run was eventually cancelled, as producers decided to bring the show straight to Broadway instead.

While reviews were mixed, sales remained steady throughout its run -- averaging about 54% of its million dollar gross potential. The two Tony nominations (in the scenic and lighten design categories) weren't enough to boost sales.

No national tour has been announced at this time.

Ticket holders with seats after the June 5 closing date should visit their point of purchase for refunds or exchanges.



Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel]]>
<![CDATA[Singer Leona Lewis to Play Grizabella in 'Cats']]> Thu, 26 May 2016 23:58:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-505145836.jpg

U.K. pop star Leona Lewis has been cast in the coveted role of Grizabella in the anticipated revival first U.S. revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-winning musical "Cats."

The "Bleeding Love" singer will make her Broadway debut in the production, which begins performances at the Neil Simon Theatre on July 14, with an official opening set for Aug. 2.

"Can't even believe this," Lewis said in a tweet. "I'm thrilled and honored to announce I'll be playing the part of Grizabella in 'Cats'. "

The role was originated on Broadway by Betty Buckley, who would later win a Tony for her performance. The character sings "Memory" -- the most famous song in the show.

Webber had previously speculated that former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger would lead the New York production, reprising her role from the 2014 West End Revival. Scherzinger, however, declined the rolling, announcing she'll be filming the next season of the U.K.'s "X-Factor" and therefore would be unable to star in the revival.

Webber lashed out against Scherzinger upon hearing the news. "I’m furious because I really believe she’s the most fantastically brilliant girl and I went out on a limb to get her at the Palladium and now I look like an absolute t--- with them all," he told the Economist Radio.

"Nevermind, there will be another girl on Broadway and Nicole will not get her Tony Award," Webber added.

Scherzinger later replied to Webber's harsh words. "I had every intention of doing 'Cats' on Broadway but the contract was never finalised," she explained to the RadioTimes. "I am incredibly blessed to be given so many amazing opportunities, including 'Cats', but unfortunately we weren’t able to make it work this time around. I adore and respect Andrew, I’m so grateful for our friendship and can’t wait for the opportunity to create more magic together."

Webber congratulated Lewis' casting in a tweet, welcoming her to "#TeamALW."

Featuring a score by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by T.S. Eliot, Trevor Nunn and Richard Stilgoe, "Cats" is based on Eliot’s "Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats," telling the story of a pack of "Jellicle cats." 

The musical opened on Broadway in 1982, and went on to play 7,485 performances. It holds the title as the second longest running Broadway show of all time (Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" holds the top spot).

Original director Trevor Nunn and scenic and costume designer John Napier will return for the Broadway revival -- which comes 15 years after wrapping up its record-breaking original run. New to the team is choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler ("Hamilton"), who will base his design on Gillian Lynne's original choreography and associate direction.

Since its 1981 premiere in London, "Cats" has been presented in over 30 countries, translated into 15 languages and been seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.

For tickets and information, visit CatsTheMusical.com.



Photo Credit: Ethan Miller]]>
<![CDATA['Dear Evan Hansen' Transferring to Broadway]]> Thu, 26 May 2016 00:39:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/EvanHansenBroadway.jpg

The acclaimed new original musical "Dear Evan Hansen" is heading for the big stage.

The production, which concludes its run at Off Broadway's Second Stage Theatre on Sunday, will open on Broadway this November, in a Shubert theater-to-be-announced.

Featuring a score by NBC's "Smash" composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — who also composed the Tony-nominated "Christmas Story" musical — "Dear Evan Hansen" tells the story of an anxious high school senior with low self-esteem who makes some shocking choices on the path to fit in.

The book comes from newcomer Steven Levenson. Michael Greif, the teen observer behind "Rent" and "Next to Normal," directs.

While no casting has been announced yet, "Pitch Perfect" star Ben Platt is expected to transfer in the title role. The 22-year-old actor, who made his Broadway debut in "The Book of Mormon," has been with the show since its first reading and world premiere last summer at Washington, DC's Arena Stage.

"Dear Evan Hansen" has also been cleaning up in the major awards categories Off Broadway this season, taking home the tops honors at the Helen Hayes Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, and Obie Awards. 

For more info, visit www.DearEvanHansen.com.



Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA['Spring Awakening' Crowd-Funding Its Tony Award Performance]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 21:43:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SpringMain.jpg

Deaf West Theatre's critically-acclaimed revival of "Spring Awakening," which used a mix of speaking and deaf actors to tell the story in Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s 2006 musical, is turning to its fans for help reuniting its cast for a performance on the Tonys. 

After being nominated for three 2016 Tony Awards, including Best Revival, the production has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover the costs associated with performing on the June 12 telecast. 

Broadway casts typically pay out of pocket for the opportunity to perform on the Tonys.

GetSpringOnTheTonys.com is seeking to raise $200,000 by June 11. As of Wednesday, the campaign had raised over $45,500, with more than 600 backers.

"There’s just one night a year that theater gets this platform," artistic director D.J. Kurs said in a statement. "Our performance will be an undeniable statement to the world that theater is for everyone.”

The crowd-funded campaign is a full-circle moment for Deaf West, whose journey to Broadway began with a Kickstarter campaign that funded rehearsals in a North Hollywood church and performances at the 99-seat Inner City Arts’ Rosenthal Theater in Los Angeles.

"Now, as a non-profit, Deaf West is looking to our fervent supporters, many of whom supported Spring Awakening’s acclaimed limited run on Broadway, to reunite our far-flung cast for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform for the world on the Tony Awards broadcast," Kurs continued.

Donations begin at $20. Rewards for contribution include everything from a social media shout out and commemorative t-shirt to tickets to the official Tony Awards parties and dinner with Tony-nominated director Michael Arden and star Marlee Matlin.

"Spring Awakening" opened on Broadway in September 2015, and ended its limited run at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Jan. 24 after playing 23 previews and 137 regular performances. A national tour is being planned for launch in 2017.



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Cirque du Soleil's Formulaic 'Paramour']]> Wed, 25 May 2016 17:14:38 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ParamourMain.jpg

“Paramour”—the first original production for Broadway from Montreal’s prominent Cirque du Soleil—is a hybrid musical combining a conspicuously familiar plot about an actress caught in a love triangle with a series of genuinely thrilling athletic sequences.

The era is Hollywood’s Golden Age. Broadway vet Jeremy Kushnier plays A.J. Golden, an egomaniacal director on the lookout for a new leading lady. He finds her in Indigo James (Ruby Lewis), a flame-tressed nightclub singer. Ryan Vona is Joey Green, Indigo’s composer, besotted with unrequited love for her.

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, A.J. walks into Indigo’s, and … things aren’t going to end well for somebody. The $25 million “Paramour” goes heavy on the company’s signature stunt sequences to our relief, because there isn’t much to be extracted from the often eye-glazing book and score.

The story follows the ill-fated trio as the director makes his film, which both shares our show’s title and creates a reason for the production numbers, which will showcase lead actress Lewis in scenes inspired by classic films: “Casablanca,” “King Kong,” “Cleopatra” and so on.

Clocking in at a tourist-friendly 2 hours, “Paramour” earns props for the ways it employs aerialists and acrobats as doppelgängers for the leads. Thanks to clever costuming conceits, we almost believe we’re watching the trio in some blur of elastic trickery, when it may be circus performers wearing similar clothes.

Identical twin trapeze artists Andrew and Kevin Atherton spin in the air and high above the orchestra section in an elegant routine that draws gasps near the end of the first act. It’s endearing and exciting, because it appears dangerous.

A second-act chase sequence is set up by a dizzying video flyover of old-time New York City. Acrobats, ostensibly in pursuit of Joey, bounce around on concealed trampolines, making it appear they’re hopping from rooftop to rooftop.

The tango-esque “Love Triangle” plays out between the three central characters as closely attired counterparts work behind them, “exchanging” starlet “Indigo” between “A.J.,” on a trapeze, and “Joey,” on the ground. It’s all physical prowess and pleasing showmanship, though the lyrics are rough: “All three hearts are in a tangle / When they’re caught up in a … love triangle.”

In between, there are more intimate, signature Cirque moments. In a dream sequence, A.J.’s revenge fantasies are acted out by green zombies. The cast includes aerial strap artists, Chinese pole climbers and Russian beam jumpers. Some utterly wondrous stuff transpires with a see-saw.

Kushnier, whose credits include “Footloose” and “Jersey Boys,” makes the most of his cliché-ridden role, exuding confidence and hubris as needed. Lewis (“TV’s “Medium”) has a beautiful voice and gamely follows the worn path laid out ahead. Vona has a twinkle in his eye and a winning manner of self-deprecation.

The cavernous Lyric Theatre, with its liberal approach to amenities—servers will bring cocktails or bags of popcorn to your seat—seems the ideal venue for this mass-appeal effort. With the focus-grouped exploits on stage and off, “Paramour” could well be the love-child of its previous occupants, “Spider-Man” and the far more likable “On the Town.”

“Paramour,” on sale through February 2017 at the Lyric Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $55-$179. Call 877-250-2929.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter @RobertKahn




Photo Credit: Richard Termine]]>
<![CDATA['Tuck' Won't Be Everlasting]]> Wed, 25 May 2016 01:20:44 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TuckMain.jpg

"Tuck Everlasting," the new musical based on Natalie Babbitt's beloved novel of the same name, will play its final performance this Sunday at the Broadhurst Theatre.

At the time of its closing, the musical will have played 28 previews and 39 regular performances.

Featuring a score by newcomers Chris Miller (music) and Nathan Tysen (lyrics), with a book adapted by Claudia Shear ("Dirty Blonde") and novelist Tim Federle ("Better Nate Than Ever"), the family musical opened at the end of April to mixed reviews.

According to numbers reported by the Broadway League, "Tuck Everlasting" never failed to gross more than 50% of its $1.1 million potential, taking in just 29% last week, or $325,361.

The show was nearly shut out of the major categories of the 2016 Tony Awards — which often helps drive sales — netting only one nomination for Gregg Barnes' costume design.

Casey Nicholaw, who directed and choreographed, will still be represented on Broadway by "Something Rotten!," "Aladdin," and "The Book of Mormon."

"Heartbroken by the news that 'Tuck Everlasting' will play its final performance on Sunday," star Andrew Keenan-Bolger wrote on Twitter. "While our run on Broadway won't be eternal, I feel lucky to have spent it working on something I loved."

"That being said, one line from our show stands out — 'You don't need to live forever, you just need to live,'" he continued.

In addition to Keenan-Bolger, the cast features two-time Emmy winner Michael Park ("As the World Turns") and three-time Tony nominees Carolee Carmello and Terrance Mann.



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus ]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Nick Payne's Mechanical 'Incognito']]> Tue, 24 May 2016 22:00:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IncognitoMain.jpg

Four actors play 20 roles in “Incognito,” an American premiere from Nick Payne, the whip-smart young writer whose “Constellations,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson, was a highlight of MTC’s 2014-2015 season.

“Constellations” was a “multiverse” play, in which scenes were played over, with minor differences. Payne remains a student of mental whiz-bangery: With “Incognito” he weaves together three stories in a non-linear exploration of memory. Such literary athleticism worked to his advantage in “Constellations,” but constrains things here.

Directed by Doug Hughes and unfolding in a single 90-minute act, “Incognito” on the surface tells semi-fictionalized accounts of two real men whose brains were studied by science after their deaths: Albert Einstein and Henry Molaison (here, turned into a Brit with an abbreviated last name).

Four gifted actors are on stage: Geneva Carr, of the devilish puppet tale “Hand to God”; Charlie Cox, of the Netflix series “Daredevil”; Heather Lind, whose Broadway debut came alongside Al Pacino in “The Merchant of Venice”; and Morgan Spector, co-star of “Machinal” and Off-Broadway’s recent “Ironbound.”

The quartet play different roles as three stories unfold. Press notes condense the proceedings as such: “A pathologist (Spector) steals the brain of Albert Einstein; a neuropsychologist (Carr) embarks on her first romance with another woman (Lind); a seizure patient (Cox) forgets everything but how much he loves his girlfriend (Lind, again).”

With few actors inhabiting so many roles, even the sharpest theatergoer may strain to keep up with scene and character changes. There is virtually no set (“Incognito” is performed on a stark, round platform), nor distinct costume or lighting changes.

Here’s some of what plays out: Einstein dies, and pathologist Tom (Spector) absconds with his brain, only later convincing the scientist’s son and executor to let him keep it for study (something along these lines indeed happened).

Tom’s wife (Carr) grows tired with his obsession, tossing him out -- and into the arms of a waitress (Lind) in his native Kansas. Years later, a smarmy reporter (Cox) convinces Tom to take a portion of the brain to a woman who has been reared as Einstein’s granddaughter (Carr, again), but who may really be his daughter.

Meanwhile, Henry (Cox, once more) is in a sanatorium, and we learn that wife Margaret (Lind, in the most endearing of her four roles) married him, despite his severe epilepsy. Henry’s doctor (Spector … keeping up?) helps the man’s wife try to prod him into remembering things, such as how to play the piano.

Margaret goes away to have their baby, but dies in childbirth, and the resulting daughter later has a child named Martha (hi, Geneva!) who grows up to be a London neuropsychologist … divorced and with a grown son (Cox), and beginning a tentative lesbian relationship with a recently unemployed lawyer (that’s … Lind).

Einstein’s pickled hippocampus makes a cameo.

Payne ties things together by the end, and the fragmentary episodes emphasize the point that “the self” is not a unified entity. But the play’s notice-me structure also tends to pull attention away from the primary theme he’s exploring: namely, that trying to figure out how the mind works just by slicing it up is a pointless endeavor.

Scenes that clicked most were incidental to main proceedings: Lind’s quirky waitress, reciting side dishes like some seductive spirit; an interlude between Carr and Cox, as mother and son, doing what is clearly a recurring dance of exasperation when she shows up on his doorstep, drunk.

The subjects Payne is toying with should make us feel a sense of wonder, which is lacking here. The play’s three sections—“Encoding,” “Storing” and “Retrieving”—are delineated by interstitial dance sections that, while well-intentioned, ultimately come off as contrived.

“Incognito,” through June 26 at MTC’s Stage I at City Center, 131 W. 55th St. Tickets: $90 and up. Call 212-581-1212.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Nathan's Famous Celebrates 100 Years in Coney Island]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 14:51:16 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/187*120/526115294.jpg The Original Nathan's hot dog stand was opened in 1916. 100 years later the famous hot dog establishment lives and thrives!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Chewbacca Mom' Breaks Facebook Live Record]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 10:55:58 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chewbacca-mom.jpg

Candace Payne donned a Chewbacca mask in her car while the Internet gaped.

Within hours, it rose to become the most viewed Facebook Live video of all time, with more than 105 million views as of Saturday morning.

The Texas mother's random purchase at her local Kohl's was not expected. In the video, recorded at the store's parking lot, Payne says she was returning some items when she found the mask.

In an phone interview with 'Today,' Payne said: "I feel like I really helped people, and that's all that matters. People reach out to me, and they say, you know, 'I battle depression,' or, 'I haven't laughed out loud since such-and-such event.' And that's been so great. I've only been seeing positive feedback."



Photo Credit: Candace Payne
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<![CDATA[The Public Theater's New Season Brings Big Stars]]> Thu, 19 May 2016 18:45:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PublicTheatre2016.jpg

Rachel Weisz, Corey Stoll, Nia Vardalos, John Leguizamo and Harvey Fierstein are just some of the big names coming to Public Theater for its 61st anniversary season.

Oscar-winner Weisz ("The Constant Gardener") and Stoll (Netflix's "House of Cards") will lead the first major New York revival of David Hare's "Plenty" from Oct. 4 through Nov. 6. The play follows British secret agent Susan Traherne (Weisz) over two decades, beginning with her work in the World War II. David Leveaux directs.

"Plenty" first premiered at The Public in 1982, in a production starring Kate Nelligan ("The Prince of Tides") and Kelsey Grammer (NBC's "Frasier"). It transferred to Broadway the following year and was adapted into a 1985 film starring Meryl Streep.

Cheryl Strayed's acclaimed book "Tiny Beautiful Things" comes to the stage in November, with "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" star Nia Vardalos as Strayed's alter-ego "Sugar." Direction comes from "Hamilton" chair Thomas Kail. "Tiny Beautiful Things" runs Nov. 15 through Dec. 18.

In February 2017, Talking Heads-frontman David Byrne will reunite with his "Here Lies Love" director Alex Timbers for "Saint Joan" -- a new rock musical based on Joan of Arc. The production begins previews on Valentine's Day, and closes March 19.

John Leguizamo will bring his new solo show to the Public. "Latin History for Morons" begins March 17, and has the Emmy-winner schooling his son in the forgotten history of Latinos in America. The show closes April 23.

After leading NBC's "Hairspray Live!", Harvey Fierstein will return to the stage in Martin Sherman's "Gently Down the Stream." The Tony winner plays a pianist living in London who falls for a young lawyer, despite his early reservations. The romance begins March 14, and runs through April 16.

Other highlights in the Public's 2016-2017 season? The final two installments of Richard Nelson's three-play cycle "The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family," a new play from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage ("Ruined") and a musical adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" from acclaimed songwriter Shaina Taub.

For a complete list of The Public's 2016-2017 season, visit www.publictheater.org.

Three of Broadway's current best began at The Public -- the 2015 Tony-winning musical "Fun Home" and 2016 Tony nominees "Eclipsed" and "Hamilton."

The Public's membership program offers significantly discounted tickets to its season for an annual tax-deductible free of $65.

Tickets for all shows go on sale to later this year.



Photo Credit: Stuart C. Wilson | Pascal Le Segretain | Dimitrios Kambouris | Nicholas Hunt]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Tim Daly Explores 'The Ruins of Civilization']]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:16:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/RuinsMain.jpg

A wall has been built around Great Britain, or some well-preserved portion of it, in “The Ruins of Civilization,” a meaty dystopian drama from Penelope Skinner, who won raves for her 2011 dark comedy “The Village Bike.”

Allusions to current events don’t stop with that border-lining barrier, built to keep out foreigners (here, referred to as “newcomers”). Skinner’s play imagines a globe 30 years on, in which predictions of climate chaos are realized and resource-strapped governments protect citizens, only if they promise not to procreate.

In the new world order, nations ravaged by encroaching oceans have become tourist attractions for the elite. As the story begins, Dolores (Rachael Holmes) and Silver (Tim Daly) have just returned to their house from an unspecified part of the dying Mediterranean. They’re discussing a wounded dog they came across on their journey and chose to leave in the road.

Both could see the dog was near death. Dolores wanted to stop their car and comfort the animal, ease its passing. Silver, ever pragmatic, drove on by, but now, in the recounting, tells his wife that his preference would have been to stop and swiftly put the dog out of its misery: “Take a rock, crush its skull …”

A big question is wrapped up in that foreboding vacation memory: What responsibility do we have to solve a problem that is under our control, when we know we can’t solve the larger problem it’s a part of?

Enter Mara (Roxanna Hope), a newcomer Dolores meets at the supermarket soon after. Dolores, her nurturing impulses reawakened on holiday, is intrigued by Mara—and abruptly invites her to move in to her home. Mara is from the country Dolores and Silver have just visited and is working in the U.K. on a government permit.

Silver is both aghast and suspicious of Mara, but he agrees to the arrangement because he believes it will make his wife happy. Mara’s arrival, naturally, will compromise the couple’s orthodoxy in ways that force all three central characters to make fateful choices.

Daly, of TV’s “Madam Secretary,” adopts a British accent and does impressive work as a persnickety unpublished writer possessing an undercurrent of sensitivity. He is overbearing toward his wife and Mara, but obsequious toward a government inspector, who controls nothing short of his well-being.

Women like Dolores, who survive on the government stipend, are subject to regular exams intended to assess their desires to reproduce. Get pregnant around here, and you’re sent packing. Silver needs Dolores’s income to underwrite his artistic endeavors.

As Dolores, Holmes is conciliatory and fragile on the surface, but there’s obviously a conflict brewing within. She knows who she is and what she wants, and her subversive side virtually oozes out in increasingly passive-aggressive interactions with her husband.

I also was impressed with Hope’s Mara, who arrives with a dramatic story that in lesser hands might leave us to suspect ulterior motives. Even with its questionable elements, we never doubt Mara’s sincerity, even as we realize she has a big problem.

Orlagh Cassidy is humorless and all business, at first, as Joy, the just-doing-my-job-ma’am inspector charged with assessing Dolores’s emotional state. (While we’re on the subject of naming conventions, let’s note: “Dolores” is Spanish for “sorrows,” while the Hebrew “Mara” is the name of a bitter lake in the Bible.)

Designer Neil Patel’s blue palette pairs alarmingly with the almost constant patter of rain from outside. Leah C. Gardiner directs the efficient drama, which offers both an ending and an epilogue—the ending jibes with the tone of the story; the epilogue sees Silver forced to reexamine his worldview.

All four characters seem like real people, trying to balance a sense of humanity with the human need to both adapt to circumstances ... and look out for ourselves.

“The Ruins of Civilization,” through June 5 at the MTC’s Studio at Stage II, 131 W. 55th St. Tickets: Starting ay $30. Call 212-581-1212.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Sutton Foster to Lead 'Sweet Charity' Revival ]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 17:13:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524220026.jpg

The New Group's 2016-2017 season will begin in November with a revival of the 1966 musical "Sweet Charity," starring two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster ("Anything Goes," TV's "Younger").

The production will be timed to the 50th anniversary of the classic musical, which features a book by Neil Simon, with music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, respectively. Leigh Silverman ("Violet") directs, with choreography by Joshua Bergasse ("On the Town").

This won't be the first time Sutton has performed "Charity." The actress famously sang "If My Friends Could See My Now" in the season 1 finale of her now-canceled show "Bunheads."

Closing out The New Group's season in May 2017 will be Maura Tierney ("Lucky Guy," TV's "The Affair") and Zosia Mamet (TV's "Girls") in the world premiere production of "The Whirligig." The play marks the playwriting debut from actor Hamish Linklater ("Seminar," TV's "The New Adventures of Old Christine").

The play, directed by Scott Elliott ("Avenue Q"), casts Tierney as a mom caring for her estranged, drug-addicted daughter. Mamet plays the daughter's lost friend, desperate to reconnect before it's too late.

In between, Elliot will direct another play for The New Group by an actor/playwright -- Wallace Shawn's "Evening at the Talk House." Shawn, known as an actor for roles in "Clueless" and "The Princess Bride," premiered the play in 2015 at the National Theatre, and tells the story of a group of actors who reunite on the 10th anniversary of the opening of their flop play. Previews begin in January, with a run through March.

Erica Schmidt's "All the Fine Boys" will make its world premiere in February. The play is set in suburban South Carolina in the late '80s, and tells the story of two 14-year-old girls and the adventures the two best friends they have while they begin dating. 

All productions in The New Group's season take place at the Pershing Square Signature Center, at 480 West 42nd Street. Subscriptions and memberships are now on sale at www.thenewgroup.org.



Photo Credit: Nicholas Hunt]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Debuts Empower Mint]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 11:50:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/238*120/BenJerrysMint1.gif

Ben & Jerry's wants you to know that democracy is in your hands and the Vermont-based company has launched a new flavor of creamy, chunky goodness churned for the cause.

Empower Mint was introduced in North Carolina Tuesday in conjunction with the launch of the "Democracy Is in Your Hands" campaign to support the NAACP’s get out the vote efforts, protest voter suppression laws, and draw attention to dark money in politics.

Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield attended the event in Raleigh along with Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Cohen and Greenfield said in a press release it chose North Carolina to launch the new flavor — mint ice cream with brownie chunks and a fudge swirl— because the state is at the epicenter of the fight for voting rights in the U.S.

"Almost immediately following the 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating a critical section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, North Carolina passed a package restrictive voting policies that disproportionately impact black, Hispanic, and younger voters," the founders wrote.

The limited edition ice cream is going to be part of the company’s year-long effort to register at least 30,000 voters. Participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the country will install kiosks to register voters.

It is also urging customers to demand that Congress reauthorize the landmark civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Trucks offering free scoops of Ben & Jerry's will tour North Carolina this summer with information about the campaign and voter registration.

Click here to read more about the campaign.

Click here to find out where you can buy Empower Mint.



Photo Credit: Ben and Jerry's ]]>
<![CDATA[David Hyde Pierce Joins 'Hello, Dolly!' Revival ]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 17:49:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-517315968.jpg

Four-time Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce (NBC's "Frasier") will return to Broadway next year, co-starring alongside Bette Midler in the revival of "Hello, Dolly!"

Performances begin March 13, 2017 at the Shubert Theatre, with an official opening set for April 20. Direction comes from Tony winner Jerry Zacks ("Sister Act"), and choreography from Tony winner Warren Carlyle ("She Loves Me"}.

Pierce took home a Tony for his role in the 2007 musical "Curtains," and was nominated again for his work in 2013's "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike." He was last on Broadway as a director for the 2015 comedy "It Shoulda Been You."

The "Hello, Dolly!" revival will be the first mounting of Jerry Herman's classic musical in over 20 years. Its story comes from Thornton Wilder's 1957 play "The Matchmaker" — adapted here by bookwriter Michael Stewart.

Midler was last seen on Broadway in 2013's solo show "I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers." She made her Broadway debut as Tzeitel in the original production of "Fiddler on the Roof" and later returned in concerts like "Bette Midler's Clams on a Half Shell Revue" and "Bette! Divine Madness." She earned her a special Tony Award in 1974 for the latter.

Further casting for the Broadway revival will be announced later.

"Matilda the Musical" — which currently occupies the Schubert — is scheduled to close on Jan. 1, 2017.



Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris]]>
<![CDATA[Matthew Perry Sets NYC Stage Debut]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 22:50:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-471473150.jpg

"Friends" star Matthew Perry will make his New York City playwriting and stage acting debut next year, as part of MCC Theater's 30th anniversary season.

The nonprofit theater announced its 2016-2017 season after recently celebrating the groundbreaking of its first-ever home -- a two-theater complex on West 52nd Street and 10th Avenue.

Perry's play, "The End of Longing," comes to the MCC Theater after a successful run at the Playhouse Theatre in London. The play, about a group of friends at a bar, will begin previews May 18, 2017, with an opening set for June 5. The limited run production ends June 24.

MCC's Playwright-in-Residence Neil LeBute will also premiere a new play, "All The Ways To Say I Love You." The solo piece, about a high school English teacher recounting her experiences with a favored student, will star two-time Tony winner Judith Light ("Thérèse Raquin"). Previews begin Sept. 6, with an opening set for Sept. 28. The show closes on Oct. 9.

For the third time in its history, MCC Theater will also produce a musical. "Ride the Cyclone," with music and lyrics by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, tells the story of a catholic high school chamber choir, who tragically die in a Cyclone roller coaster accident. Opening night for the twisted, original musical is set for Dec. 1. Previews begin Nov. 9, with a closing set for Dec. 18.

The season also includes Anna Jordan's play "Yen," which begins previews Feb. 2 ahead of a Feb. 21 opening. The play, about two boys living a childhood without boundaries, is closing March 12.

Subscription packages are now on sale -- including a $30-per-show preview package, in honor of the theater's 30th anniversary.

For more information, visit www.mccctheater.org.



Photo Credit: Angela Weiss]]>
<![CDATA[Audra McDonald Expecting; Will Exit "Suffle Along"]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 17:23:28 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-450316332.jpg

Audra McDonald may not have been Tony-nominated for her role in "Shuffle Along, Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed," but she's still got a big prize on the way.

McDonald announced Tuesday that she's expecting her first child with husband Will Swenson ("Les Miserables").

“Who knew that tap dancing during perimenopause could lead to pregnancy?" she said in a statement. "Will and I are completely surprised -- and elated -- to be expecting a new addition to our family."

Unfortunately, McDonald's pregnancy will mean she will have to indefinitely postpone her London run in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill." McDonald was previously scheduled to reprise her role as Billie Holiday at the Wyndam Theatre from June 25 through Sept. 3.

The good news is McDonald, who was slated to leave "Shuffle Along" on June 20, will now stay with the production through July 24. She'll be replaced by Grammy winning folk artist Rhiannon Giddens, who will make her Broadway debut as Lottie Gee.

During McDonald's hiatus, the show's Tony-winning choreographer Savion Glover will step into the musical. Glover's specific role -- and show dates -- have yet to be announced.

McDonald will return to "Shuffle Along" this winter.

"Shuffle Along" explores the backstory for the 1921 groundbreaking revue of the same name. Nominated for 10 Tony nominations, the show is directed by George C. Wolfe ("Lucky Guy"). The show features Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon, Adrienne Warren, Billy Porter and Joshua Henry, as well as 2016 special Tony recipient Brian Stokes Mitchell.

McDonald and Swenson married in 2012. She has a daughter and he, two sons -- both from previous marriages.

"Lady Day" was also filmed live from Broadway and aired on HBO earlier this year.



Photo Credit: Bennett Raglin]]>
<![CDATA[Gillian Anderson Chooses Brooklyn Over Broadway]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 18:34:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gillian+anderson+streetcar.jpg Gillian Anderson, who has starred in "The X-Files", countless plays here and abroad, and dozens of movies, told News 4's Gus Rosendale why she is delighted to perform "A Streetcar Named Desire" at St. Ann's Warehouse, and why it is a "match made in heaven."]]> <![CDATA[Budget-Friendly Gifts for Mom]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 17:23:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520997194.jpg Buying a Mother's Day gift doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. This year, show mom you care with these fun and affordable gifts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[19 A-List Actors Overlooked for 2016 Tony Nominations]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:07:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ColorPurpleMain.jpg These celebrity names topped the marquees, but bottomed-out on Tony nomination day.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[6 Best Buys for Mother's Day]]> Sun, 08 May 2016 08:27:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-129308937.jpg

It's time to honor that special woman in your life. Mother's Day is approaching, and whether you are buying for your mother, your wife, or both, consider some inexpensive alternatives or ways to save money on classic Mother's Day gifts.

Flowers – Flowers are a popular Mother's Day present, but you don’t necessarily have to pay flower shop prices. Instead of paying for a vase and the extra arrangement costs, find your own simple vase and make your own arrangement. You can find inexpensive yet beautiful flower bundles at most supermarkets that you can turn into a lovely bouquet on your own. Take the time to find out what types of flowers she prefers and which property is the most important to her (color, appearance, fragrance, etc.) 

Plants/Landscaping – Mother's Day is the perfect time of year to put out most new plants. Farmer's markets and local gardening society meetings/sales can be great places to pick up plants without paying holiday markup at home improvement stores or nurseries. 

Handmade Gifts – A well-thought out handmade gift can be worth far more to your mother than the money you spent. For example, customize a picture frame with sentimental mementoes and insert her favorite family picture. If you are a knitter, make her an afghan or a scarf. An Internet search of "Mother's Day DIY gifts" should spur your imagination and help you find a project that your mother will love within your price range and skill set.

Refurbishing Projects – Does she have a favorite piece of furniture that is in need of repair or refinishing? If it's in your skill set to do so, consider tackling this project. It might be difficult, or unwise, to do this as a surprise, so you may want to make the offer first. 

Hobby Accessories – Does your mother have a favorite hobby such as knitting or gardening — or perhaps she likes to golf or rebuild vintage Chevys? Regardless of her hobby, find subtle ways to find out what accessories she needs. Take an interest in her hobby and you are likely to find a suitable choice. Shop well in advance so you can take advantage of any coupons or sales related to her hobby if you can. 

Gift Cards – Got a hard-to-please mom? Consider gift cards so she can redeem them whenever she wants for whatever she wants.

Mother's Day is chock full of sales, rebates, and coupon opportunities. Make sure you check your local stores, newspapers, and websites/social media for deals related to your choice. 

Whatever you decide to shop for or make, start early. You will generally have the best selection and avoid pre-holiday markups. If you are making a Mother's Day present, starting early gives you a little extra cushion in case you have a mishap. Mom probably won't mind if her homemade gift is a bit late, but why take the chance? 

The most important thing of all is to know your mother's likes and dislikes. It's a good idea to notice potential gift ideas throughout the year and stash them away for future reference. You are more likely to come through with a pleasant surprise that way (but make sure she hasn't already bought the item for herself). 

With a little time and effort, you can make Mother's Day even more special. However, don’t forget to give your mom the most important gift of all — your time and attention. Let her know that you love her and would do anything for her, not just on Mother's Day but throughout the year as well.

This story first appeared on Moneytips.com.

More from Moneytips:
Chance of an IRS Audit Small and Shrinking
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Financial Recordkeeping 101



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA['Hamilton' Leads Tony Nominations, Sets Record With 16 Nods]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 11:39:01 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hamilton-GettyImages-510499088.jpg

"Hamilton," the megahit musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, made history yet again Tuesday, earning a record 16 Tony nominations including honors for Best Musical and three personal nominations for its star, composer and bookwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning hip-hopera broke the record set by 2001’s “The Producers” and 2009’s "Billy Elliot," which both received 15 nominations.

Close behind "Hamilton" with 10 nominations is "Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed," the behind-the-scenes look at the groundbreaking revue with an all-black cast recently deemed a new musical by the Tony committee, despite a request by the show’s lead producer to consider it a revival.

"Shuffle Along" and "Hamilton" will compete for the night’s top award alongside Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s "Bright Star," and two musical adaptations of popular films: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "School of Rock" and Sara Bareilles’s "Waitress."

Several high-profile, well-reviewed musicals were shut out from the Best Musical category, including Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s biographical "On Your Feet!," George Takei’s "Allegiance" and the adaptations of popular novels "American Psycho" and "Tuck Everlasting."

The Tony nominating committee included four shows in the Best Revival of a Musical category: "The Color Purple," "Spring Awakening," "Fiddler on the Roof" and "She Loves Me." The short-lived "Dames at Sea" was left adrift.

Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o picked up her first Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in "Eclipsed." The drama earned six nominations, including one for Best Play. It’ll compete in that category against 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Humans," the Frank Langella-led "The Father" and the now-closed "King Charles III."

Five works earned nominations for Best Revival of a Play, including two by Arthur Miller: "The Crucible," "A View from the Bridge," "Blackbird," "Long Day’s Journey Into Night" and "Noises Off."

Film stars Jeff Daniels and Michelle Williams, who headline the "Blackbird" revival, both nabbed leading acting nominations for their respective roles. Daniels will go up against Langella, Gabriel Byrne, Tim Pigott-Smith and Mark Strong.

Williams’s nomination comes in a category crowded with Hollywood A-listers, including Nyong’o, Jessica Lange, Laurie Metcalf and Sophie Okonedo.

Miranda and his "Hamilton" co-star Leslie Odom, Jr, who plays rival Aaron Burr, will both battle it out in the leading actor in a musical category — expected to be one of the evening’s tightest races.

Miranda and Odom could split the vote, giving six-time nominee Danny Burstein a shot at the prize.

Alex Brightman’s breakout performance in "School of Rock" and Zachary Levi, who starred on the NBC sitcom "Chuck", also fill out the leading actor in a musical category.

Laura Benanti, Carmen Cusack, Cynthia Erivo, Jessie Mueller and Phillipa Soo earned spots in the highly competitive lead actress in a musical category. "Shuffle Along" star Audra McDonald, who has a historic six Tony wins, was shut out of a nomination this year. 

Several big stars in high-profile roles were not among this year’s nominees. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson failed to received a nomination for her role in the revival of “The Color Purple.” “American Psycho” star Benjamin Walker was also denied a nomination.

The "Hamilton" supporting cast filled out the featured acting categories, with nominations for Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, and Renee Elise Goldsberry.

NBC's "30 Rock" star Jane Krakowski also picked up a nomination as featured actress in a musical category for "She Loves Me," as did "Orange Is the New Black" star Danielle Brooks for "The Color Purple."

In a few noncompetitive awards this year, New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse will be awarded the regional theater award. Lyricist Sheldon Harnick ("She Loves Me," "Fiddler on the Roof") and director Marshall W. Mason ("Master Class") will receive lifetime achievement awards.

Winners of the 70th Annual Tony Awards will be announced June 12 in a ceremony airing live from the Beacon Theatre in New York on CBS. James Corden, Tony winner and host of "The Late Late Show," will host.

To read a full list of nominees, click here.



Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Barbie Unveils Misty Copeland Doll]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 17:41:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MistyCopelandBarbie_3_361778.jpg

Misty Copeland, the first black female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, now has her very own Barbie doll.

The doll is a part of the Barbie "Sheroes" program, which creates dolls in the likeness of women "who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere," according to Barbie manufacturer Mattel.

Copeland, who joined ABT in 2001 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2015, was intimately involved with the design of the doll.

"I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina and through Barbie I was able to play out those dreams early on," Copeland said in a statement. "It's an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll."

The fashions for the doll were inspired by Copeland's Firebird costume from her first ABT principal role. She will be reprising that role on May 18 and 19 as part of the company's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.

"Misty Copeland is at the center of a cultural conversation around how women continue to break boundaries," said Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior vice president at Barbie. "As a brand, we want to honor women, like Misty, who are inspiring women to live out their dreams."

Copeland joins other Barbie "Sheroes" like Ava DuVernay, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, and Trisha Yearwood, among others.

"The Accidental Feminist" author M.G. Lord has said the Barbie doll was "the most potent icon of American popular culture in the late twentieth century."

The dolls have gone through constant adjustments and iterations to keep up with contemporary views.

The Copeland doll will join an expanded Barbie offering that now includes tall, curvy and petite body types, 22 different eye colors and seven different skin tones. There are also versions of Barbie as an entrepreneur, reflecting the growing number of women in that role.

Mattel said the Copeland Barbie will retail for $29.95 and is available for purchase now.



Photo Credit: Diane Bondareff
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<![CDATA[How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 10:22:08 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-471857186.jpg

Year after year, there is a flurry of excitement leading up to the Kentucky Derby, with an endless series of parties and celebrations. It is the one American race that inspires the spectacle and pageantry of a bygone era.

Derby Fashion 

In 1875, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. fashioned the Derby after glamorous European horse races. These races required full morning dress for all who attended. The high society women of the day came to the Derby to debut new spring fashions – especially hats. These women were invited to the race as part of Clark’s strategy to brand the Derby as an upscale event. In the 1960’s television gave women a reason to go all out with their hats, which deepened the “see and be seen” culture.

Unlike the Royal Ascot races, which restrict the size and type of hat for adult women (fascinators are not allowed!), there are no hat restrictions for the Derby. Hats bring good luck to the race, so let your imagination run wild when choosing or creating your hat.

Men also put on their Sunday best for race day, wearing bright, sunny colors, and donning a bow tie and fedora, bowler, or a natty straw Homburg or boater.

Hosting a Kentucky Derby Party 

Invitations reveal the color scheme for your Derby Party, as well as what kind of party it is – a brunch, backyard get-together or formal event. Send your invitations well in advance to give you and your guests plenty of time to plan for race day.

Atmosphere lies at the heart of the Kentucky Derby. In 1904, the red rose became the Derby’s official flower. Any red rose will work, but for authenticity, use red Freedom Roses, known for their rich, bright color in your décor. If you need inspiration for your party’s color scheme, look to colorful jockey silks.

  • Freeze rosebuds inside ice cubes, and use them to fill the champagne bucket. When the Derby winner is announced, pop open the bottle to celebrate!
  • Decorate the bases of wine glasses with miniature hats for the ladies and bow ties for the gents.
  • Fold napkins in the shape of a bow tie, using bright colors that coordinate with your party scheme.
  • Dress up your drink stirrers with miniature hats and bows of ribbon.
  • Use a lavishly decked-out hat as a table centerpiece.

Activities:

Photos — Rent a photo booth for your party, or create a picture perfect backdrop with playful props. Take photos of guests in their race day finery, adding trophies, riding crops, fascinators and clip-on bowties as photo booth accessories. Get some giggles out of your guests with a life-size horse and jockey cut-out for their faces. Make your party’s hashtag part of the display.

Crafts — Little Derby party guests and adults will have fun crafting hats out of paper plates, ribbons and flowers.

Games:

  • Corn Hole is an all-American way to bring guests outside for some competition. Customize your Corn Hole board for the Derby.
  • Put a twist on Pin the Tail on the Donkey with fun alternatives, like “Pin the Jockey on the Horse” or “Pin the Garland on the Horse.”
  • Play some rounds of Horseshoes to get in the Derby spirit!
  • Play some Derby trivia. 

Prizes — Trivia winners of all ages can receive a virgin “Mint Julep” – pour Junior Mints in a traditional silver mint julep cup, and top it with a sprig of mint.

Tradition  As the horses parade to the gate, sing along to “My Old Kentucky Home” with the band and audience on Television.

Lyrics below:

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,

Tis summer, the people are gay;

The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom

While the birds make music all the day. The young folks roll on the little cabin floor

All merry, all happy and bright;

By'n by hard times comes a knocking at the door

Then my old Kentucky home, Good-night! Weep no more my lady.

Oh! Weep no more today!

We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home

For the old Kentucky home, far away.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois in Stylized 'Streetcar']]> Wed, 04 May 2016 17:48:00 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/StreetcarMain.jpg

The apartment shared by Stanley and Stella Kowalski in the “Streetcar” revival now open at St. Ann’s Warehouse sits on a constantly-in-motion turntable—one probably not unlike the carousels real streetcars glide onto, when reversing direction.

Streetcars may be liberating, because they take us away. But the one Gillian Anderson steps onto, as tragic Blanche DuBois in a stylized update of the Tennessee Williams classic, keeps turning and turning, and getting her nowhere.

The smoldering star of TV’s “The X-Files” and “The Fall” was Olivier Award-nominated for her work as the fading Southern beauty who pays an ill-fated visit to her sister and brother-in-law in New Orleans. Blanche’s foil, Stanley, here is played by an animal-like Ben Foster, who made his Broadway debut in 2013’s “Orphans.”

Aside from the set, this production (a co-effort by the Young Vic and Joshua Andrews) is notable for its modernities: the Kowalskis’ French Quarter apartment could be a sterile Williamsburg condo. Foster, with his tattoos and tank tops, wears cargo pants that might be from Old Navy; the band of his Under Armour boxer-briefs is exposed when the trousers come off.

Not making the trip to the 21st century, however, is Anderson, in a performance rife with mid-20th century assumptions about politesse.

Blanche retains a facade of courtliness that may not exist anymore, even among proud Southern families. Anderson’s interpretation strikes a note of dissonance with the other performances from this cast—it will surely be a polarizing point for audiences; I liked it. Inarguably, it’s almost as if she were in an entirely different play from the other performers.

Anderson’s hair is lightened blonde from its usual auburn, lending her face a starkly washed-out appearance. Her Blanche is clearly a woman who has lost all she loved the most: her home, her social standing, her youth and beauty. By the play’s devastating final scenes, she looks like a child’s makeup-smeared Barbie doll.

Foster, the “3:10 to Yuma” and “Alpha Dog” actor, went full-on method for his characterization of the ape-like Stanley, watching YouTube videos of gorillas seeing themselves in mirrors, reports said. Rather than memorializing a simmering Marlon Brando, Foster creates a different Stanley, just a smart-alecky guy in a working class job.

For chills in this 3-hour-plus staging, directed by Benedict Andrews (currently helming the film adaptation of David Harrower’s “Blackbird”), there’s no better moment than when Stanley slips into the kitchen as Blanche is telling Stella (the excellent Vanessa Kirby) how “common” she finds her spouse.

Never aware Stanley is overhearing the discussion, Blanche steps backward so close to the combustible Foster that I was surprised she couldn’t feel his breath on her neck. The two leads have a tantalizing and twisted chemistry.

Impressive, as well, is Corey Johnson’s Mitch, the articulate fella who hopes Blanche could be the woman to provide him companionship once his mother passes. Mitch’s disappointment, when he learns truths about Blanche’s past, is expressed in a horrifying scene where he nearly smothers her with the full weight of his body.

Because the set rotates—mostly, it crawls at about the speed of The View restaurant, atop the Marriott Marquis—Andrews must ensure scenes are blocked so that audience members on all sides of the nifty turntable get their big moments with a character. There will be a few times your view is obstructed by a pillar or door (all walls have been removed).

Supporting characters often yell from catwalks. Scene changes are noted with jarringly loud songs, among them Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” and P.J. Harvey’s “To Bring You My Love.”

This is an enjoyable interpretation of an American classic, unfrozen from its typical place in time. If “Streetcar” doesn’t expose the emotional crises of its central characters, there’s no point watching it. The sterile backdrop here does its job, with all that blankness forcing our attention onto the chaos being played out in its midst.

“A Streetcar Named Desire,” through June 4 at St. Ann’s Warehouse, 45 Water Street, DUMBO. Tickets: $85 & up. Call 718-254-8779.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn 



Photo Credit: Teddy Wolff]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'Dear Evan Hansen' Hits Letter-Perfect Notes]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 18:19:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/EvanHansenMain.jpg

Evan Hansen, the teen title character of the latest musical by “Dogfight” composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, sees a therapist. As a self esteem-building exercise, the doctor has Evan write letters to himself: “Dear Evan Hansen,” begins one. “Today is going to be an amazing day, and here’s why.”

What transpires in “Dear Evan Hansen,” running through May 22 at Second Stage, is often amazing for audiences, but confounding for the title character, a nervous and twitchy Ben Platt, of the “Pitch Perfect” films. Michael Greif, the still-keen teen observer behind “Rent” and “Next to Normal,” directs. 

Early on, Connor, a high school student with the most tenuous of connections to classmate Evan, commits suicide. In Connor’s possession, his parents find one of Evan’s letters, but mistake it for a note written by their son to Evan. They latch on to Evan, as the closest living link to their lost child.

Rather than clearing the air, Evan runs with it, forming a youth self-empowerment group (“The Connor Project,” naturally) and organizing a Kickstarter campaign, intended to fund an apple orchard in Connor’s honor. There’s a web of lies to be spun and a narrative to be created.

Let’s talk about Evan: He’s awful. Selfish. Manipulative. Self-absorbed. And really sweaty. In short, a realistic teenager (Platt, whose dad is a lead producer of “Wicked,” is 22.) Evan doesn’t mean to be any of these things, and it’s obvious he’s not, at heart … but he’s setting up the people in his orbit for a world of hurt.

The trick here is keeping Evan sympathetic, as the audience is considering his actions. Platt finds a way to pull that off, while staying true to the character. It's plain old good acting.

With his muted wardrobe and black painted nails, Connor could be a romantic hero, or a killer. Says one student, observing the sullen one’s newly grown-out hair: “It’s very school-shooter chic.” Mike Faist (CSC’s “A Month in the Country”) walks a fine line as the troubled figure, who appears in conversation with Evan from the afterlife, sometimes dancing. 

Platt, Faist and a caustic Will Roland (as one of Evan’s “friends,” but just barely) collaborate on one of the musical’s most high-energy songs, “Sincerely, Me,” with its stirring choreography by Danny Mefford (“Fun Home”). With its themes of outsiderness, anxiety and the death of a child, the parallels to “Next to Normal” are readily apparent, especially here.

Meanwhile, I have my own idea for a Kickstarter campaign: Let’s put Rachel Bay Jones (“Pippin”) in every show that opens next season. She imbues with depth a potentially one-dimensional role, as Evan’s overworked single-mom, a nurse’s aide, training to be a paralegal.

Broadway vet John Dossett and Jennifer Laura Thompson, as Connor’s parents, will tug at your heart. Laura Dreyfuss, as Connor's sister, Zoe, appears in very much the same vein as Jennifer Damiano, in "Normal."

Director Greif’s hand is particularly evident when Evan and a too-earnest schoolmate (Kristolyn Lloyd) roll out “The Connor Project,” “a major online presence … with links to educational materials … a massive fundraising drive … to help people like Connor.” I could practically hear Angel, from “Rent,” saying: “There’s a Life Support meeting at 9:30.”

David Korins’s set, with its ever-changing video projections of Facebook posts, evoked the Off-Broadway “Bare” revival that debuted at New World Stages a few years ago, with its thousands of Instagram images.

Of many commendable elements in Steven Levenson’s book is the subtle note on which the story wraps. We’ve sat in the audience imagining every possible scenario for how it all may play out, but the team keeps up the suspense. Where it all lands, finally, feels textured, accessible, believable and original.

Paging Broadway?

“Dear Evan Hansen,” through May 22 at Second Stage, 305 W. 43rd St. Tickets: $89-$104. Call 212-246-4422.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[‘Shuffle Along’ Deemed New Musical]]> Sat, 30 Apr 2016 15:49:02 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/194*120/McDonald+0773.jpg

The Tony Awards Administration Committee has decided that "Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and all that Followed" will be considered a new musical, denying a request by the show's lead producer to consider it a revival.

The decision, made Friday at a meeting to determine final eligibility rulings for the 2016 Tony Awards, means the show will go up against "Amazing Grace," "American Psycho," "Bright Star," "Disaster!," "Hamilton," "On Your Feet," "School of Rock," "Tuck Everlasting" and "Waitress" for the evening’s top prize.

If it had been considered a revival, it would have had a greater chance at scoring a nomination against "The Color Purple," "Fiddler on the Roof," "She Loves Me" and "Spring Awakening."

The original "Shuffle Along" premiered in 1921 as one of Broadway’s earliest all-black musicals, and ran for 500 performances, launching the careers of Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker. The new musical features songs from the original, with an almost entirely original book.

The 70th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony winner and "Late Late Show"-host James Corden, will air on CBS on June 12.

Andrew Rannells ("Hamilton," TV’s "Girls") and Patina Miller ("Pippin," TV’s "Madam Secretary") will announce this year's Tony nominations on the morning of May 3.



Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Top Talent Returns 'Shuffle Along' to the Spotlight]]> Thu, 28 Apr 2016 22:48:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ShuffleMain.jpg

Theater legend George C. Wolfe aims to right a historical wrong with “Shuffle Along,” a new musical—and it sure feels new, despite what a key producer is arguing—about the making of an often-overlooked show credited in certain circles with starting the Harlem Renaissance.

Conceived by a foursome of vaudeville veterans, “Shuffle Along” arrived on Broadway in 1921. Though beset by financial difficulties on the road, it would run for some 500 performances at the 63rd Street Theatre, launching the careers of, among many, Paul Robeson and Josephine Baker, who appeared in a touring production.

“Shuffle Along” was groundbreaking in its depiction of intimate emotional relationships between African-Americans, and for its integrated audience seating. Yet while one song (“I’m Just Wild About Harry”) has lingered in the popular canon, how many of us can instantly trace it back to that musical?

Wolfe has essentialy said: "That's not so honorable." The amalgam of backstory and revival that opens tonight at the Music Box (a telling subtitle is noted at the end of this review) is a passion project for the former shepherd of the Public Theatre, who directs and has crafted a new libretto about the musical’s innovations and impact on theater, hoping to introduce it to new audiences.

To be clear, this is not a revival of the original, with its thinnish story about a small-town mayoral race.

Wolfe employs the finest Broadway talent to play the quartet of creators: composers Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle (Brandon Victor Dixon and Joshua Henry), and writers F.E. Miller and Aubrey Lyles (Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter). 

Dixon’s Blake is the easy-going peacemaker of the group. Henry, as Sissle, relishes the feeling of power that comes with success. As the “Shuffle” story writers, Mitchell and Porter are, respectively, the practical one, and the angry man with a chip on his shoulder. 

Miller sees performing in blackface as an undesirable, but necessary compromise. Porter gets the best lines, like when he complains about the semi-marginalized, northern location of the "Broadway" venue where “Shuffle Along” finally lands: “Broadway. Is. 42nd Street.”

Audra McDonald, groundbreaking in her own right, plays Lottie Gee, who was considered the first black ingenue featured in a Broadway musical. Lottie is lusty, busty and trusty … and eventually fed up with romantic overtures from the married Blake, for whom she has sacrificed career opportunities. (McDonald temporarily departs the cast in June, to fulfill a commitment in London.)

The story behind the evolution of “Harry” is where I was most wild about “Shuffle Along.” Blake creates it as a waltz, because he thinks a syncopated love song in the jazz or blues vein won’t work for the mass audiences the team is courting.

But then, Lottie persuades a dancer to improvise a rhythm, so she can show Blake the song he would have written if he’d followed his inspiration. And so he does. In its evolved form, “Harry” serves as a spectacular production number concluding the first act.

“Shuffle Along” is stylized to evoke an era and focus on big scenes, which can become burdened with exposition: Will the show run out of money and be unable to tour? Will the writer turn the riff in his mind into a great song? Will the four men find acclaim afterward, or fall victim to their post-success rivalries?

These necessities push individual personalities into the background, which keeps us from getting to know better the ensemble players, such as Adrienne Warren’s Florence Mills.

Choreographer Savion Glover (Wolfe’s “Jelly’s Last Jam,” etc.), brings to life elaborate tap sequences such as the “Pennsylvania Graveyard Shuffle,” which plays out the company’s train ride through that state’s smallest towns before winning financial support to come to New York.

“Shuffle Along” is moving, in fits and starts, as a story about artists who risk their critical and financial fortunes, sculpting a musical from their most raw emotional expressions and their sophisticated artistic heritage, instead of toning down that spirit for mass consumption.

Scott Rudin, the deep-pocketed producer, is asking Tony Award officials to put “Shuffle Along” into consideration as a revival, which would spare it from going up against “Hamilton” as an original musical. Plenty of theater foks are on pins and needles over this one. A decision is due within days.

“Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” at the Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St. Tickets, on sale through Oct. 9: $79-$169. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Lange, Byrne in First-Rate 'Journey']]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 18:49:39 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/JourneyMain.jpg

All four Tyrone family members end up splayed on the floor—at different times, for terribly different reasons—in Roundabout’s first-rate take on Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” now at the American Airlines Theatre.

Jessica Lange and Gabriel Byrne lead the cast as Mary and James Tyrone, a drug-addicted wife and her miserly husband, with Michael Shannon and John Gallagher Jr. as sons James Jr. and Edmund, one a barely employable drunk, the other a young man who might have a promising future, if tuberculosis doesn’t kill him first.

Ain’t family grand?

Lange was Olivier Award-nominated for this role 16 years ago on the West End. Byrne was Tony Award-nominated as Jamie Tyrone in 2000’s Broadway “Moon for the Misbegotten.” They know their O’Neill, and are suited to take us on the roller-coaster ride, set across one day that will prove a turning point in the lives of a troubled family.

English theater director Jonathan Kent guides the simple and elegant, nearly 4-hour-long production, split between its four acts with one intermission. 

Leads Lange and Byrne share an effortless chemistry in which they are alternately tolerant of, and vile toward, one another—but always easily relatable. That’s quite an accomplishment when dealing with a piece of literature that drifts further away from naturalism as the the night wears on.

Frail mother Mary, hooked on morphine since a difficult pregnancy, is one-half the emotional linchpin of the drama. The other is Edmund, the baby of the family everyone wants to protect, albeit in ways truly warped … Pop is bargain-hunting for the poor kid’s future sanitarium, for goodness’ sake.

Dad and eldest son “Jamie” are in no condition to be relied on as support systems. The Tyrone family tragedy is telegraphed early, as the men fret over why mom is restless in the night—it’s their code for “she’s having a relapse.” Everyone is also putting forth, in proper denialist fashion, a soothing lie that Edmund only has “a cold.”

Lange is magnetic as the family matriarch with no feeling of rootedness or sense of belonging, certainly not in the waterfront New England summer home the family complains is shoddily maintained. At the heart of her loss is the death of a child, Eugene, infected with measles when Jamie, as a young, sick boy, wandered into his room.

Mary blames everyone for Eugene’s death, including herself. In Lange’s hands, the emotions seem sometimes spontaneous, and at others calculated to be wounding: “I blame only myself … I’ve always believed Jamie did it on purpose.” She makes sharp turns with the precision of a race-car driver.

Lange still has the planes and proportions of her youthful beauty, but convinces us that she's a woman whose hands are gnarled, and whose grace and bloom have deserted her. In a different lifetime, Mary might have been a classical pianist, but she took up with James and his journeyman actor’s lifestyle, setting a singular path in motion.

Byrne, as a semi-successful actor taxed by memories of an impoverished childhood, has to come off as a horrible person, willing to sacrifice his family’s health and happiness to save a buck, but also as a man aware that’s his failing. He succeeds, marvelously.

Shannon (“Grace”), a hulking performer, is the truth-speaker in the family and the first to verbalize the severity of his brother’s illness. In one satisfying scene, Jamie, whose front has always been that he loves Edmund, confesses that he's incapable of not trying to sabotage him, saying words akin to: “I’m still going to try to make you a failure, because I don’t want you to ever show me up.”

Gallagher, the brilliant musician and actor who originated roles in “Spring Awakening” and “American Idiot,” has the added burden of serving as stand-in for the playwright.

Pale, and seemingly indifferent to his own crisis, his Edmund prepares to leave for an appointment with his doctor already dressed as if in his own funeral suit. In a nice touch, the advancing fog penetrates the back dining room of the house as Edmund recounts the joy he found amid the solace of the sea, during a stint as a sailor.

The fog puts us right there on the ship with him.

This is a solid production of a canonical play. The actors inhabit their characters with as much truth as can be mustered: Lange, for one, seems so immersed that we feel as if we were watching some real Mary Tyrone, and not that marvelous performer we remember from "Frances," or for that matter, “Tootsie.”

Mary physically realizes her relapse sliding onto the floor after a drug-hazed evening chatting with the only person she can pass off as a friend, the family maid Cathleen (Colby Minifie). James and Jamie end up collapsed or kneeling, drunk. Edmund gets worked up in an argument, and finally falls, all the while hacking into a handkerchief.

For these Tyrones, there’s nowhere to go but up.

“Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” through June 26 at the American Airlines Theatre, 227 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $67-$147. Call 212-719-1300.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Watch Stevie Nicks Surprise Audience at 'School of Rock']]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:12:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-524745318.jpg

Stevie Nicks surprised the audience at Broadway’s "School of Rock" Tuesday night with a curtain call performance of Fleetwood Mac’s hit song "Rhiannon" backed by the show’s pint-sized rock band.

The crowd at the Winter Garden Theatre leapt to their feet upon the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s entrance, and remained there as Nicks praised the young musicians.

"To be in the presence of these kids that are so amazing that honestly sometimes I close my eyes and I’m not sure that it’s not Fleetwood Mac," she said. "It’s very trippy. They are so good."

This wasn’t Nicks’ first trip to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The Grammy-winning singer attended opening night back in December, and her songs were used in the 2003 film starring Jack Black that served as a basis for the Broadway act.

Nicks performed to help raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, an organization that provides financial support for people living with AIDS, HIV and HIV-related diseases, among other things.

"That little bit of extra money...donate it to that cause because it’s important," Nicks told the crowd. "It’s the right thing to do."

Earlier on Tuesday, Nicks performed "Rihiannon" during the 30th annual Easter Bonnet Competition, which celebrates the six weeks of fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS by 58 Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring companies.

In total this year, a record-breaking $5,528,568 was raised for the organization.



Photo Credit: Matthew Eisman
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<![CDATA[Review: Sweet-Tempered 'Tuck Everlasting']]> Tue, 26 Apr 2016 22:57:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TuckMain.jpg

“Tuck Everlasting,” the best-selling children’s novel that explores themes of mortality, is now a sweet-tempered, family friendly musical directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw. With “Tuck,” Nicholaw has four shows running on Broadway—the others are “Something Rotten,” “Aladdin” and “The Book of Mormon.”

Newcomer Sarah Charles Lewis, 11, reprises her role as Winnie Foster, originated last year in an Atlanta tryout. Winnie, the heroine of Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 story, is a swell role model for girls, a courageous child only reined in by her recently widowed and, thus, overprotective mother.

When a confrontation between mother and daughter leads Winnie to run off into the forest, she meets Jesse Tuck (Andrew Keenan-Bolger, of “Newsies”), the youngest of an otherwise-relatable family with an unusual secret: years ago, the Tucks drank from a spring in these woods, and the water made them all immortal.

Is that a good thing? Not to hear the Tucks tell it. Parents Angus and Mae, and their sons—Jesse has a sullen older brother, Miles—must live for years separated from one another, to avoid arousing the suspicion of locals who might wonder: Why don’t these people ever age?

The new musical, adapted by Claudia Shear (“Dirty Blonde”) and Tim Federle (the performer-turned-author of novels such as “Better Nate Than Ever”), has fun with the lengths Winnie and Jesse are willing to go to satisfy their sense of adventure.

Their stomping ground is Treegap, a New Hampshire village fancifully imagined with rainbow-hued carnival grounds and an abstract tree resembling ribbons of fettuccini noodles. There, Winnie and Jesse encounter “the man in the yellow suit” (Terrence Mann, up to his usual exacting standards), the villain who serves as a catalyst for the simple plot.

Lewis is all the things you’d want in a young protagonist, and her Winnie has got an edge. Circumstances compel the Tucks to “kidnap” her before divulging their secret. When Angus Tuck finally extends a welcome, saying “Don’t you want to shake my hand,” Winnie says: “No. I want to bite it.”

Keenan-Bolger, the energetic performer with his hands in any multitude of entertainment projects (also co-author of the youth-oriented “Jack & Louisa” books), is charismatic as a figure with the impulses of a 17-year-old, who is nonetheless over 100 years old. “Tuck Everlasting” is a real showcase for his whiz-bang dancing skills.

Carolee Carmello and Michael Park are welcome as the TV sitcom-like Tuck parents, tasked with explaining facts of life to Winnie … who is convinced immortality is desirable. Robert Lenzi stands out as Jesse’s older brother, whose wife fled with their young son after unraveling the Tuck mystery.

Fred Applegate, Michael Wartella, Valerie Wright and Pippa Pearthree offer nice performances in supporting roles.

A tone of melancholy underscores “Tuck Everlasting,” as Winnie and Jesse try to escape the pressures of their lives. Among the more memorable songs (music is by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen) is “Top of the World,” which has the duo scampering up that surreal tree, briefly abandoning their cares before making fateful decisions.

A gorgeous silent ballet, depicting the passage of time, doesn’t integrate well with the story beforehand.

This interpretation of “Tuck Everlasting” is neither tragic nor cynical. It’s good entertainment. If you’re bringing a child, be prepared for some hefty conversation on the way home, and then turn them on to “A Wrinkle in Time” or “The Velveteen Rabbit.”

“Tuck Everlasting,” at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. Tickets: $59-$147, on sale through Jan. 1, 2017. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Ferguson Strays Off the Reservation in Riotous 'Fully Committed']]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 15:12:33 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/FullyCommittedMain.jpg

“Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson plays 40 roles—some male, some female; some civilized, others obnoxious—in “Fully Committed,” a riotous one-man Broadway comedy set in the basement of a trendy Manhattan restaurant.

The main character, Sam Callahan, is a struggling actor from the Midwest working one of those jobs actors do while pursuing their dreams. In this case, it’s manning an ever-ringing reservation line for a preening chef, a pioneer in “molecular gastronomy.” “Fully committed” is the euphemism Sam’s boss has coined for: “We’re booked up.”

“Ma’am, unfortunately, we’re fully committed” is what prospective patrons don’t want to hear when they dial up Sam.

Becky Mode’s comedy, directed here by Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect”), was first performed Off-Broadway in 1999; it’s since been updated to reflect more contemporary foodie culture. For this production, Ferguson had help with background research from well-known city restaurateurs, who showed him their color-coded guest lists and so-forth.

Ferguson, a five-time Emmy nominee, has given many a memorable performance in New York, from his celebrated turn in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” to more recent appearances at Shakespeare in the Park. This blissfully frenetic expedition takes things to a whole new level.

Aside from Sam, Ferguson is, at times the haughty chef, more concerned more with cookbook sales than his customers; a useless maitre d’; a harried British hostess; and a Hispanic line cook, who addresses Sam as “Papi.”

He is both a top magazine editor at Bon Appétit and that editor’s put-upon assistant, who call regularly to inquire just why their photographer has been kept waiting in the restaurant’s lounge since 8:30 a.m. (Turns out, it’s payback for a comment the magazine made about the chef’s “edible dirt”).

There’s more: Ferguson plays Bryce, a squealing assistant to Gwyneth Paltrow—who fares worse here than, say, Barbara Streisand in “Buyer & Cellar”; a terminally dissatisfied Park Avenue socialite; an iron-willed regular named Carolann Rosenstein-Fishburn, whose calls no one upstairs will take because “she looks like a horse,” and so on.

Ferguson had help from a Juilliard dialect coach nailing all the different accents, and succeeds brilliantly.

Most everyone calling in makes Sam’s life miserable, save for his widowed dad, who is gently trying to get Sam to come home for Christmas.

Among the biggest offenders are his fellow reservation-taker, Bob, whose absence on this day is making Sam’s life twice as difficult; a nameless customer so desperate for a table he sends a messenger over with a gratuity; and a “friend” and fellow actor Sam routinely competes with for parts.

Ultimately, we behold a fascinating evolution, as the beleaguered fella turns the tables on those who’ve been wounding his spirit. Everyone gets their just, uh, desserts? Revenge is a dish best served cold? Yes, and yes. “Fully Committed” wraps on a note more satisfying than anything we imagine is actually cooked up at this ridiculous restaurant.

“Fully Committed,” through July 24 at the Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th St. Tickets: $45-$147. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Jessie Mueller in Sweet as Pie 'Waitress']]> Sun, 24 Apr 2016 20:45:50 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WaitressMain.jpg

Sugar! Butter! Flour!

It’s easy as pie to fall for “Waitress,” a sweet comic musical returning Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller (“Beautiful”) to Broadway. Pop singer Sara Bareilles works a recurring chorus of those three ingredients, above, into many of the softly textured songs here, holding out the promise of scrumptious things to come.

And deliciousness is on the menu.

As a “pie consultant” recently told Playbill, nearly three-dozen ultra-desirable desserts are baked per week for “Waitress.” Most are displayed on twisting cases flanking both edges of the stage. A few are incorporated into Lorin Latarro’s yearning choreography.

The Brooks Atkinson smells like pie. The theater even sells pie. Pro tip: try the Key Lime.

In keeping with conventions of the late Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film, the pies have unique names aligned with the story. So when Jenna, Mueller’s wistful waitress, learns she has unintentionally become pregnant by abusive husband Earl (Nick Cordero), Joe’s Pie Diner is soon dishing out “Betrayed By My Eggs” pie.

Jenna has been steeling herself to run away from her spouse, stashing cash around their home. Her plan is to use the dough to win a local pie-baking contest and start a new life. Fate intervenes with the arrival of new gynecologist (Drew Gehling, charming and, like most princes, unavailable—his wife’s in town, doing her residency).

By Jenna’s side are fellow servers Becky (Keala Settle) and Dawn (Kimiko Glenn), good pals with their own romantic entanglements. Rounding out the cast are Dakin Matthews as Joe, the ailing diner owner, and Eric Anderson as line cook Cal, who I think speaks for many characters in the story when he declares: “I’m happy … enough.”

Mueller’s performance is nicely balanced. She makes Jenna a dreamer, grounded in common sense. Mueller’s also a perfect fit for Bareilles’s alternately sorrowful and empowering songs, such as “Bad Idea” and “She Used to Be Mine.”

I’m tickled that Settle, of “Lez Miz” and “Hands on a Hardbody,” is landing such plum roles these days. She impresses with her second act solo, “I Didn’t Plan It,” a rousing piece about adaptability to circumstances and learning to feel alive.

The talented Cordero, a Tony nominee for “Bullets Over Broadway,” hits his character’s one nasty note, and hits it hard. Earl is a jerk, motivated by insecurities, and we worry what he might do to Jenna and their child.

Christopher Fitzgerald (last summer’s “An Act of God”) steals scenes as Ogie, the high-strung tax auditor who woos butterfly-to-be Dawn with magic tricks, history and off-the-cuff poetry. The same can be said for Broadway vet Matthews, the vinegary diner owner who encourages Jenna to hang on to her dreams.

“Waitress” does a swell job illustrating the shades of gray in human relationships. There are people here holding out for pie in the sky: Gehling’s Dr. Pomatter wants Jenna, but there is the matter of his wife. Becky and Cal are each doing things we could consider morally ambiguous, but their deeds somehow feel forgivable.

Jessie Nelson’s book is sharp: “The fuller the condiments, the fuller the experience,” Dawn reminds her boss, in one of her sassier moments. “Waitress” is more than capably directed by Diane Paulus, who started the production cooking last year at the American Repertory Theater, outside Boston.

The pie is ready. Leave room for second helpings.

“Waitress,” at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th St. Tickets, on sale through Jan. 1, 2017: $55 and up, with premium seating available. Call Ticketmaster, 877-250-2929.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Cracker Jack Replacing Toy Prize With Digital Codes for Mobile Games]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 15:02:24 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cracker+Jacks+Prize.jpg

It's the end of era.

The iconic prize found in a bag of Cracker Jacks will be replaced with stickers containing digital codes for mobile games, the company announced Thursday.

Cracker Jack, which is owned by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, said the company is taking a new approach to their prizes with "baseball-inspired mobile digital experiences directly from the sticker inside."

"The new Prize Inside allows families to enjoy their favorite baseball moments through a new one-of-a-kind mobile experience, leveraging digital technology to bring the iconic Prize Inside to life," Cracker Jack said in a statement.

The new prizes will require fans of the caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts snack to down the Blippar app, available for iOS and Android, and will come in four themes: Dot Dash, Dance Cam, Get Carded and Baseball Star. Cracker Jack will also debut restyled logo and packaging.

The announcement comes as baseball season gets into full swing.



Photo Credit: Cracker Jack]]>
<![CDATA[Review: 'American Psycho' Loses Something in the Execution]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 20:03:45 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PsychoMain.jpg

“American Psycho,” the new musical based on the savage and polarizing Bret Easton Ellis novel, knows precisely what it wants to be.

It’s consistently satirical, insistently techno (video projections illustrate the world of protagonist Patrick Bateman) and hyper-raunchy (leading man Benjamin Walker spends more time in tighty-whities than his character’s prized Alan Flusser suits).

Alas, there’s no drawing blood from a stone. The weak link is Duncan Sheik’s inaccessible score, which doesn’t come near the level of “Spring Awakening,” or his underrated “Whisper House.” The best songs here are those distinctly from the 1980s, such as “Hip to Be Square,” which sets the scene for a killer conclusion to the first act.

“American Psycho” arrives stateside after a 2013 London debut, where the self-absorbed serial killer was played by Matt Smith, of “Doctor Who.” Directed then, as now, by Rupert Goold (“King Charles III”), the musical tracks Ellis’s maligned 1991 novel more closely than the Mary Harron film that came a decade later.

In all its incarnations, “American Psycho” is a critique of 1980s yuppie greed. The Wall Street boys in Bateman’s orbit numb themselves with party drugs and are so lacking in identity as to be interchangeable—mistaken identities run as a theme through Ellis’s story, adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a screenwriter known for work on “Glee” and “Supergirl.”

Walker, who made his bones with “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” is on stage for most of the musical’s two-and-a-half hours. After an anticlimactic prologue suggesting a throat-slashing, we’re introduced to the maybe-murderous main character in his apartment, with its Mies van der Rohe seating and then-state-of-the-art 30-inch Toshiba TV.

Over two acts, we witness a hodgepodge of prosaic production numbers, with surprisingly little gore. Among the more interesting is “Cards,” in which the creative team explores a theme from the book—corporate one-upmanship via font and embossing!—digitally painting the walls with “Pierce & Pierce” business cards in hues bandied about as dairy, bone and eggshell.

Later, “I Am Back,” in which Patrick converses with a twitchy pile of corpses, is one of just a few times “American Psycho” rises to the macabre levels established in the book.

Walker’s nailed the requisite mix of narcissism, rage and soullessness, even if his Bateman seems a more tender fella than that icicle Christian Bale, from the film. The music doesn’t push Walker’s range, but he’s not burdened with heavy vocal chores, either. I never wanted to call the cops on him; I did want to refer him to a good psychopharmacologist.

Heléne Yorke (“Bullets Over Broadway”) plays Patrick’s steady girlfriend as an over-the-top, whiny rich girl, by way of a “Saturday Night Live” skit. Jennifer Damiano, as Patrick’s secretary, is sweet and naive. Alice Ripley, Damiano’s “Next to Normal” co-star, deserves better than what she gets here, a one-dimensional part as Patrick’s mother.

The talented supporting actors wear slicked-back hair, like the scions of Donald Trump. Ellis’s original references to their "Bible"—the elder Mr. Trump's “The Art of the Deal”—remain here in their glory. (Mr. Ellis: Where do you purchase your crystal balls?) The homophobic dialogue prevalent in the book and film also is still here, and doesn’t seem out of place in context, grating though it is.

The first act is stronger than the second, which suffers from a drawn-out segue to the Hamptons that further dampens any feelings of real “threat” you might crave.

A key point—the question of Bateman as a reliable narrator—isn't tested until the end of the first act, too late to have much of an impact. Half the reward of all the “American Psycho” iterations is contemplating whether Patrick’s deadly deeds are his sole way of feeling … or if they’ve even happened at all.

Twenty-five years ago, if you had suggested turning “American Psycho” into a musical, you’d have been tossed out of The Odeon. By the time Harron’s movie premiered, we were a society more inured to cultural depictions of homicidal rage. And then there’s today, as mass killings are routinely reported on our 65-inch flat-screens.

This may be why “American Psycho” failed to stir me: The notion that evil lurks where we may not expect to find it isn’t shocking anymore. Still, this “Psycho” would prefer to make you laugh than scream.

“American Psycho,” at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Tickets, on sale through Sept. 25, $69-$148. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn



Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel]]>
<![CDATA[‘Matilda’ Saying Goodbye to Broadway]]> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:22:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MatildaClosing.jpg

After three years on Broadway, “Matilda the Musical” is saying goodbye.

The musical based on the beloved Roald Dahl story will close at the Shubert Theatre on Jan. 1, 2017, having played 37 previews and 1,555 regular performances.

“Matilda” transferred to Broadway in April 2013 from London’s West End, where a production remains open. A production is also touring North America.

Featuring a score by Tim Minchin, “Matilda” tells the story of a magical young girl who dares to challenge authority. Direction comes from Matthew Warchus. The show won four 2013 Tony Awards, including one for Dennis Kelly’s book.

In all, 19 young actresses have rotated the title role on Broadway, in groups of four. The original four actresses in the role -- Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon and Milly Shapiro -- also received Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theater for their work.

For tickets and information, visit matildathemusical.com.



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Frank Langella in 'The Father']]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 17:04:18 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TheFatherMain.jpg

Frank Langella allows us a glimpse into the mind of a man deteriorating from dementia in “The Father,” a drama by rising French playwright Florian Zeller. “The Father” is having its American premiere with the Manhattan Theatre Club, after acclaimed runs in Paris and London.

Because “The Father” is presented from the view of Langella’s André, a retired Parisian engineer—or perhaps a tap dancer?—we can't be sure what's actually happening and what's his imagination. But you will at least depart confident that André has a concerned daughter (Kathryn Erbe) trying to ease his adjustment into a nursing home, as she prepares for a new life in another city.

André’s story unfolds in what seems to be sequential fashion, but the same characters in his life keep turning up played by different actors, so the audience is sometimes as off-balance as André during the 90-minute one-acter, directed with assurance by Doug Hughes (“Outside Mullingar,” etc.). (Translation is by Christopher Hampton, known for his play based on the novel “Les Liaisons dangereuses.”)

The people in André’s orbit remember events differently than he does, so André can’t be sure he’s on top of matters, but this is not a man going gently into that dark night: André, 80, sees himself as vital and vigorous, an argument he adds an exclamation point to, during one discussion, by grabbing his own crotch and sneering.

“The Father” is set in daughter Anne’s flat. Or ... the apartment belongs to André. We’re never positive. Either way, the elderly man lounges around in his pajamas there. Our initial glimpse into André’s faltering state comes as he rants to his daughter that a previous caretaker must have stolen a precious watch.

Later, André will question Anne’s husband—that is, a man who may be Anne’s husband—about the man’s timepiece, asking if he can prove it’s his with “a receipt.” So there’s some paranoia going on. Probably.

Langella's last Broadway appearance was in 2011’s “Man and Boy.” Here, we’ll assume his André was an engineer, and not a dancer (as he tries to convince a potential health aide), because he’s clearly a methodical thinker who becomes muddled when things seem out of place. 

The three-time Tony Award winner (currently on FX’s “The Americans”) brings trademark versatility to the role, alternating from aggressive, to lucid and charming, then insecure and infantile. Langella’s mercurial performance surely will be relatable to any audience member who has spent time around a person with dementia.

As Anne, Erbe (the likable “L&O: Criminal Intent” vet, who was often foil to an emotionally volatile detective), is down-to-earth and unaffected. Anne always seems like a real person, and so it’s easy to sympathize with her conflict about leaving her father.

As Anne’s love interests—at least, as far as André is concerned—Brian Avers and Charles Borland are inherently unsympathetic “bad cops,” conveying their exasperation with father and daughter alike. They do fine work. Hannah Cabell, as a new caretaker, and Kathleen McNenny, as a nurse, alternately wander into scenes that are likely delusions on André’s part. The actresses are equally on point.

Donald Holder’s lighting, between the dozen or so scene changes, could be described respectfully as seizure-inducing, and seems a purposeful choice intended to underscore the disintegrating nature of André’s mind.

Much of “The Father” is a delusion, and so we work to form our own conclusions about what's real or not, even as André’s shifting reality guides us toward a foreshadowed ending. This is an intricately constructed drama depicting a phenomenon few can identify with—what it must be like to be a capable person slowly losing his mind.

“The Father,” through June 12 at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, 261 W. 47th St. Tickets: $70-$150. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@Robert Kahn



Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Big Changes Ahead for 'Hamilton' Lotto]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 10:14:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/HamiltonLotto.jpg

The $10 ticket lottery to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” which attracted over 700 people on its first day, will return from its digital hiatus to the Richard Rodgers Theatre — but for Wednesday matinees only.

The Wednesday lottos, which begin April 6 and have been nicknamed “Ham4Ham” by fans, will include live performances from Miranda and special guests. Entries will be accepted beginning at 12 pm, with the drawing occurring a half hour later.

The digital $10 “Hamiton” lottery will remain in place for all other performances. The digital lotto began as a temporary solution during the cold winter months, but has become immensely popular since launch. You can enter the digital lottery here

Only 21 front-row tickets are made available for each lottery.

The new hybrid lotto experience gives “Hamilton” fans the best of both worlds, according to Miranda, who says the decision was made to “maintain the fun of the #Ham4Ham live show while keeping the diversity & democracy of the online lotto.”

Regulating the in-person lottery to once a week during working hours might also solve the problem of controlling the crowds of hopefuls — often in the hundreds — from blocking the street on 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. “We need to figure out how to safely accommodate our fans without blocking traffic,” producer Jeffrey Seller said in a statement.

Last month, “Hamilton” producers made another step in crowd-control, limiting its standby line to just 30 people.



Photo Credit: Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Manhattan, Chicago Are Priciest Places to Wed: Survey]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 07:10:36 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/wedding-dress.jpg

Manhattan and Chicago are the two most expensive places to get married in the United States, but the affair will likely cost a pretty penny no matter the location, according to a new survey. 

Couples preparing to say "I do" are spending an average of $32,641, according to wedding blog The Knot, which surveyed nearly 18,000 American brides and grooms in 2015 for its ninth annual report.

The average cost of a wedding is up by more than $5,500 in the past five years, though the overall price swings based on where couples wed, reported the Knot. The Knot surveyed members of TheKnot.com, which claims to represent nearly 80 percent of American brides, and used data exclusively from those who said they wed in 2015.

Four of the five most expensive areas to get married were in the New York Tri-State area, with the average price of a Manhattan wedding costing $82,299. Chicago was the No. 2 priciest at $61,265, followed by New York's Westchester and Hudson Valley region, Long Island and north and central New Jersey.

The most affordable places to get married were: Alaska ($17,361), South Dakota ($18,890) and West Texas ($19,261). 

Still, wedding spending has reached an all-time high, the survey found. Elements that increased the most in the past five years include the reception venue, location of the ceremony and reception band.

While the price of the affair may be on the uptick, couples are finding ways to express their individuality. Twenty-two percent of couples choose a theme for their wedding. Nineteen-percent
of couples also opted to include ethnic and religious rituals.

Couples seem to be spending more on their guests' experience, though the number of guests has shrunk. The average number of guests in 2015 was down 10 to 139, but the cost per guest increased from $194 to $237, as compared to 2009.

One category that has more than tripled is guest entertainment as couples have added unique events, like cigar rolling stations or wine and liquor tastings, to their nuptials.

Though costs and extravagance may be on the uptick, couples seeking a simpler affair may be the true winners. A study from Emory University found evidence that "marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony."

University researchers surveyed more than 3,000 individuals in the United States in 2014 who married the opposite sex and are not widowed.

Their conclusions revealed that both men and women associate less spending on the wedding with a longer marriage. Instead, the report suggests high wedding attendance and having a honeymoon, regardless of cost, are more promising indicators of a lasting marriage.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Diane Lane Revisiting ‘Cherry Orchard’]]> Tue, 05 Apr 2016 15:44:05 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-516740680.jpg

Oscar nominee Diane Lane made her Broadway debut as a child actress in the 1977 production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.”

Now, the “Unfaithful” and "Batman v Superman: Dan of Justice" star will revisit the drama, returning to Broadway for the first time to lead a new production from the Roundabout Theatre Company.

“The Cherry Orchard” revival will begin performances at the American Airlines Theatre on Sept. 15, ahead of an official opening on Oct. 16.

The new adaptation comes from “The Humans”-scribe Stephen Karam, and will be directed by Simon Godwin. Lane will play Lyubov Ranevskaya, an aristocrat who will do anything to prevent her family’s country estate from foreclosure.

Lane last appeared on the New York stage in 2015’s “The Mystery of Love and Sex” at the Lincoln Center. Last year, she starred on screen in the Oscar-nominated films “Trumbo” and “Inside Out.”

For tickets and information, visit www.roundabouttheatre.org.



Photo Credit: Bryan Bedder]]>
<![CDATA[Review: This 'Crucible' Has an Otherworldly Edge]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 20:06:30 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CrucibleMain.jpg

If Ivo van Hove is thinking one thing tonight, it’s probably: “Finally! Elbow room!”

The Belgian director, saluted this season for minimalist and tightly confined stagings of “A View From the Bridge” and David Bowie’s “Lazarus,” spreads out—all across the vast Walter Kerr Theatre—with another play by Arthur Miller, “The Crucible.”

His cast includes two-time Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), as a perhaps-possessed schoolgirl, alongside heavy-hitters Ben Whishaw, Sophie Okonedo and Ciarán Hinds.

Curiously, the expansive Kerr stage has the effect of diminishing the anxiety in Miller’s 1953 play, a fictionalized story about the Salem witch trials viewed as an allegory for the Red Scare of the mid-20th century. While there are outstanding performances in Van Hove’s interpretation, I never felt the sense of snowballing paranoia I’d been expecting.

This “Crucible” begins with a brief overture: the curtain rises on seated schoolgirls, chanting. We’re seeing young women forced to learn things by rote—things they may not necessarily believe. A blackboard reads: “The promises of dutiful children,” with a list beneath of notions (“Honor God”) about to fly out the door.

In van Hove fashion, the design is contemporary. Institutional fluorescent lights illuminate a stark classroom, with a tiny sink and tilt-out windows. Characters wear modern, monochromatic garb. Grim Philip Glass music spills through loudspeakers.

Ronan is convincing as chief mean girl Abigail Williams, with her mouth set in a hard line and her eyes narrowed. I liked her performance, but didn’t necessarily see Abigail as someone capable of whipping up the frenzy relied on in “The Crucible.” The adults in this play won’t even consider the possibility this scorned gal is fabricating tales?

Abigail and her friends may be practicing witchcraft, or Abigail may be concocting an elaborate story as a way of punishing Whishaw’s John Proctor, her one-time employer and lover. I was more admiring of the excellent Tavi Gevinson (“This Is Our Youth”), as Mary Warren, the classmate with a conscience.

While I’m confident Miller believed in the power of mankind to manipulate and be manipulated, I’m rather sure his “witch hunt” was metaphorical. Theatrical flourishes here—girls suspended in mid-air, windstorms, what appears to be a wolf wandering alone on stage (in fact, it’s a rare dog breed)—suggest van Hove prefers it an open-ended question.

That added an unanticipated layer to the nearly three-hour proceedings.

Whishaw (“Q,” in recent James Bond movies) was compelling as a guilt-ridden farmer who refuses to be manipulated, then pivots, but finally is more concerned with his legacy than his life.

Okonedo (“A Raisin in the Sun”) is appealing, as always, maintaining a guarded posture as she is caught up in the shifting events. Hinds (Big Daddy, in 2013’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” revival) is imposing as a pompous judge.

I was moved by the way Gevinson’s Mary Warren and Bill Camp’s Rev. Hale undergo their moral evolutions. We need to see them as confused but essentially good people—and in these fine performances, we do.

As alluded, I never did get the sense an epidemic of hysteria was brewing. I struggled at the end to even remember why the Proctors had been implicated in a witch hunt. Oh, yes: He has too relaxed an attitude about religion; she may be using a tiny knit “poppet” as a vessel of evil.

To survive “The Crucible,” characters must admit to something false, or be condemned as witches. While Van Hove’s “Bridge,” last fall, felt like an homage, “The Crucible” feels like a serious reinterpretation. Follow through on the director’s otherworldly implications, and champions of Arthur Miller may find more to worry about than just Communists.

“The Crucible,” through July 17 at the Walter Kerr Theatre, 219 W. 48th St. Tickets: $42-$149. Call 877-250-2929.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn
 



Photo Credit: Jan Versweyveld]]>
<![CDATA[‘Falsettos’ Returns with A-List Broadway Cast]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 16:51:03 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/FalsettosCast.png

Three of Broadway’s best will headline the new production of William Flinn and James Lapine’s “Falsettos,” which begins performances on Sept. 29 prior to an Oct. 27 opening at Lincoln Center’s Walter Kerr Theatre.

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle (“”Peter and the Starcatcher,” “Something Rotten”), Tony nominee Andrew Rannells (“Hamilton,” TV’s “Girls”) and Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block (“The Mystery of Edwin Drood”) will lead the revival cast. Additional casting is expected to be announced soon.

Borle, who also starred on NBC’s “Smash,” will play Marvin, a gay man juggling relationships between his lover Whizzer (Rannels) and his wife Trina (Block). The story takes place in New York in the 1980s, examining the early years of the AIDS crisis.

The book comes from Finn (“A New Brain”) and Lapine (“Act One”), who combined their two Off-Broadway musicals “March of the Falsettos” and “Falsettoland” to build the piece. Finn provides the score.

Lapine, who directed the 1992 original Broadway production, will once again direct for Broadway.

For tickets and more information, visit www.lct.org.



Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris | Ilya S. Savenok | Dimitrios Kambouris]]>
<![CDATA[Burger King Releases 'Angriest Whopper' Yet]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 21:44:15 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Angriest+Whopper.jpg

How much heat can you handle?

Burger King diners can now test their limits with the launch of the company's Angriest Whopper, which sandwiches the brand’s flame-broiled beef patty in a red-colored bun with baked-in spicy sauce.

The fast-food chain's newest burger is a sequel to its Angry Whopper, which "was a hit with guests," according to Burger King's Global Chief Marketing Officer Axel Schwan. Its success led the company to expand upon the spicy creation with the Angriest Whopper.

The burger contains flame-grilled beef, thick-cut bacon, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, crispy onion petals, jalapeños, creamy mayonnaise and "spicy angry sauce" between a fiery, red bun.

"This alarmingly delicious burger is sure to disprove the commonly held belief that a sequel is never as good as the original," the company said in a statement.

This isn't the first time that Burger King has released a burger with a colored bun. In the fall of 2015 the burger company sold the A.1. Halloween Whopper, which featured a black bun and was met with mixed reviews. Axel acknowledged that “The black bun of our A.1. Halloween Whopper created a lot of conversation“ after consumers took to Twitter to express their opinion.

Burger King's Angriest Whopper will be available for a limited time in participating restaurants at the suggested price of $5.49 or $7.49 as part of a combo meal.



Photo Credit: Burger King]]>
<![CDATA[Sean Hayes Bringing 'An Act of God' Back]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:55:13 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Sean+Hayes+as+God+in+An+Act+of+God.jpg

“An Act of God,” the comedy based on David Javerbaum’s @TheTweetOfGod Twitter account and corresponding book, will return to Broadway this spring for a limited run -- this time with “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes in the title role.

The 14-week engagement begins May 28 and ends Sept. 4, with an opening night set for June 6 at the Booth Theatre.

Directed by Joe Mantello (“Blackbird,” “The Humans”), “An Act of God” premiered on Broadway last season to critical raves, starring “The Big Bang Theory” actor Jim Parsons. The production then moved to Los Angeles, with Hayes replacing Parsons, and San Francisco, where it’s currently playing at the Golden Gate Theatre.

The 90-minute play features a conversation with God, where he and two of angels provide an additional set of commandments. (Casting for the angels is expected to be announced soon).

“I can’t wait to return to the Great White Way this summer,” “God” said in a statement. “I’m particularly excited to spend 14-weeks at the Booth Theater, because when you think about good things happening in a theater, the name you think of is ‘Booth’!”

For more information and tickets, visit anactofgod.com.



Photo Credit: Jim Cox]]>