<![CDATA[NBC New York - The Scene]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:59:17 -0500 Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:59:17 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[10 Books to Buy for Your Broadway Fan]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:20:14 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BwayBookshelf2015Main.jpg

The holidays are here again, and if you’re shopping for the theater fan in your life, they boy do we have the gift guide for you. We’ve rounded up 10 theater-centric books that will satisfy Broadway’s biggest obsessives at showtime.


“Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway”
By Michael Riedel
Simon and Schuster, $27.00

“New York Post” theater gossip columnist Michael Riedel may be known for revealing some of Broadway’s biggest secrets, but in his first book “Razzle Dazzle,” Riedel pulls back the curtain on the Shubert Organization, Michael Bennett, “A Chorus Line” and the role they all played in saving New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s. Beautifully written, this no-holds-barred narrative delves into the bitter rivalries and offstage drama of Broadway’s past. If you’ve ever wondered how Broadway became the multi-billion dollar business it is today, “Razzle Dazzle” will leave you standing on your feet in applause.

“Seth’s Broadway Diary, Volume 2”
By Seth Rudetsky
Dress Circle Publishing, $19.99

Broadway accompanist, musical director and SiriusXM star Seth Rudetsky returns for a second volume of his “Seth’s Broadway Diary” series, which compiles his popular “Onstage and Backstage” columns for Playbill.com into one laugh-out-loud book. You’ll get to see a side of legendary Broadway stars like Sutton Foster, Idina Menzel and Megan Hilty you’ve never seen before. When it comes to life backstage on Broadway, Seth’s your BFF. You won't want to put this one down. 

“Do You Know Me?”
By Tony Roberts
Amazon, $24.99

New York native Tony Roberts has spent five decades in showbiz, entertaining audiences in iconic films like Sidney Lumet’s “Serpico” and on Broadway in the screwball comedy “Xanadu.” Now, the two-time Tony nominee explains all with honesty and humor in his delightful autobiography “Do You Know Me?” Throughout Roberts’ backstage adventures, his undying passion for the craft only grows stronger -- showing you just how technical of an actor Roberts is. You’ll learn a lot, while also laughing as Roberts dishes on working with Woody Allen in six major motion pictures (including “Annie Hall”) and the writer’s first Broadway venture, “Don’t Drink the Water.” Moreover, Roberts’ touching account of the serious head injury he suffered a few years back will bring tears to your eyes. This legendary performer is hard not to love.


“Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story”
DK Publishing, $40.00

Brush up on your theatre history with “Musicals: The Definitive Illustrated Story.” This lushly visual book features a chronological account of more than 140 notable stage and movie musicals from 1939 to present, with rich photography and informative facts sprinkled throughout. You’ll also learn more about Broadway’s biggest composers, with spotlights on Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim, among others. “Musicals” is a book that scores.

“Black Broadway: African Americans on the Great White Way”
By Stewart F. Lane
Square One Publishers, $39.95

In addition to its sold-out box office, the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” is also making headlines for its diverse casting. But before Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historic hip-hopera, there were generations of performers and artists breaking through the racial barrier on the Great White Way. The beautiful “Black Broadway” chronicles the journey of black theatre in America -- from Minstrel Shows and Vaudeville through the Civil Rights Movement and the Golden Age of the American Musical. It’s hard not to be inspired by the stories behind writers like August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry, shows like “Dreamgirls” and “The Wiz,” and performers like Audra McDonald and Ben Vereen -- all who are featured here. But with this piece of often-forgotten history at your fingertips, you’ll gain a new level of appreciation for Broadway’s rich roots.

“The Book of Broadway: The 150 Definitive Plays and Musicals”
By Eric Grode
Voyageur Press, $50.00

One hundred fifty of Broadway’s biggest and most influential plays and musicals are profiled in “The Book of Broadway,” Eric Grode’s wonderfully detailed and beautifully designed book. Packed with insider knowledge and delicious Broadway trivia, the illustrated book spans the rich history of the Great White Way, beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and going all the way to the twenty-first century. From “Annie” and “The Book of Mormon” to “The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story,” Grode offers a fresh, thoughtful perspective on Broadway’s best.


“Aaron and Alexander”
By Don Brown
Roaring Brook Press, $17.99

If the theater fans in your life are obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton,” chances are they’ve already gotten the cast recording, source book and any piece of merchandise they can get their hands on. But they probably don’t have “Aaron and Alexander,” the new picture book beautifully written and illustrated by Dan Brown. Like the musical, the book intertwines the stories of the two notable founding fathers, leading up to their infamous duel. While Brown doesn’t go too heavy into the politics, his smart and well-crafted text gives enough drama to engage and entertain. “Aaron and Alexander” is the perfect gift to introduce a whole new generation of “Hamilton” fans.


“Broadway Swings: Covering the Ensemble in Musical Theatre”
By J. Austin Eyer and Lyndy Franklin Smith
Bloomsbury Publishing, $25.95

Swings are members of Broadway show ensembles, who cover multiple roles in a production as needed. These musical supermen and women are vital to the success of any musical -- though they’re rarely given the credit center stage. “Broadway Swings” pulls these versatile vamps out into the spotlight, examining the ins and outs of their everyday lives -- and exactly what it takes to keep a long-running show going. Over 100 Broadway veterans swings, stage managers, casting directors, choreographers and directors offer their insights into the process, alongside authors Eyer and Smith, who are performers themselves. A must-read for anyone considering a career in the theater, “Broadway Swings” is an eye-opener that will teach any old theater fan new tricks.

“#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason”
By Annoying Actor Friend
Kindle Edition, $9.99

Anonymous Twitter parody account Annoying Actor Friend (@Actor_Friend) returns with its second self-published Kindle single. A follow-up to “#SOBLESSED: The Annoying Actor Friend’s Guide to Werking in Show Business,” “#GRATEFUL: Everything Happens for a Reason” is a choose-your-own-adventure-style guidebook to creating your own success in the Broadway industry. From callbacks to cabarets, you’ll navigate through hundreds of potential trajectories towards a slew of successful outcomes -- each filled with inside jokes for the biggest Broadway fans. This hysterical, satirical romp will leave you laughing with each turn of the digital page.

“The Business of Broadway: An Insider's Guide to Working, Producing, and Investing in the World's Greatest Theatre Community”
By Mitch Weiss and Perri Gaffney
Allworth Press, $19.99

If you’ve ever dreamed of working behind the scenes on Broadway, then “The Business of Broadway” is for you. Manager and producer Mitch Weiss and actor and writer Perry Gaffney have crafted a marvelously comprehensive guide to how shows get made, describing the process from top to bottom and detailing the more than 200 jobs which become available for each show. Producers, managers performers and various other creatives offer insight into the process along the way, allowing us a peek into the lullaby of Broadway we rarely get to see.

<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts That Give Back]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 17:40:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thumb-gifts-.gif This holiday season buy your loved ones gifts made with charity in mind. ]]> <![CDATA[Learn How to Make Coquito Cocktails for the Holidays]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:06:14 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ENG_coquito_recipe_1200x675_574318147973.jpg Miami-based food writer Enriqueta Lemoine shows you her take on the Puerto Rican holiday drink coquito.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gift Guide for Any Budget]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 07:35:56 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gift-thumb.jpg
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<![CDATA[History of Thanksgiving: How Much Do You Know About Turkey Day?]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 11:30:30 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_51734552621.jpg

Millions of Americans will travel to visit family and friends and stuff themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. But how much do you know about the holiday’s origins and why we celebrate? Test your knowledge of the history behind Turkey Day with this quiz.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[‘The Humans’ Sets Broadway Transfer]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 20:03:45 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/TheHumansBroadway.jpg

After opening to critical acclaim off-Broadway, Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” will transfer to the Great White Way, the Roundabout Theatre Company confirmed on Tuesday.

The drama, about one family’s difficult Thanksgiving dinner, will begin performance at the Helen Hayes Theatre on January 23, 2016, with an official opening set for Feb. 18.

The entire ensemble cast will reprise their roles on Broadway, including Cassie Beck, Reed Birney, Jayne Houdyshell, Lauren Klein, Arian Moayed and Sarah Steele. Tony winner Joe Mantello will once again direct.

Karam was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for his play “Sons of the Prophet.”

For those unwilling to wait until Broadway, “The Humans” is currently still running off-Broadway at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre through January 3, 2016.

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

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[‘Sylvia’ Bites the Dust ]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 20:02:31 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SylviaBwayClosing.gif

It’s a dog eat dog world out on Broadway, and it looks like “Sylvia” just couldn’t get a bone.

The Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney’s play, about a couple’s relationship with their new dog, will play its final performance at the Cort Theatre on January 3. At the time of its closing, it will have played 69 performances and 27 previews.

Directed by Daniel Sullivan, “Sylvia” stars a trio of Tony-winners: Matthew Broderick (“The Producers”), Julie White (“The Little Dog Laughed”) and “Annaleigh Ashford (“You Can’t Take it With You”). Robert Sella (“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”) rounds out the cast, playing three unique characters of his own.

Despite opening to paw-sitive reviews, “Sylvia” couldn’t keep up with the competitive season, bringing in roughly 35% of its potential gross last week, according to numbers reported by the Broadway League.

Customers who purchased tickets to any cancelled performances can contact their point of sale for exchanges or refunds.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Weinstein Bringing ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ to Broadway]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 19:06:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SinginInTheRainBway.gif

Harvey Weinstein has officially been bit by the musical bug.

The famed film producer, who has invested in a number of musicals in the past, will produce his second Broadway musical next fall, following the critically panned but commercially successful “Finding Neverland.”

For Weinstein’s second time at bat, he’ll team up with the the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, bringing their production of “Singin’ in the Rain” across the pond. No theater or dates have been confirmed.

Based on the 1952 Gene Kelly-led movie musical of the same name, “Singin’ in the Rain” tells the story of a silent film production and cast in the late 1920s, and the complications they get themselves in while making the transition to sound.

The Châtelet production -- directed by Robert Carsen -- reproduces the film’s dialogue, from screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and score, from Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed.

And yes, Virginia — there will be that iconic, puddle-jumping, rain-soaked dance solo, with new choreography from Stephen Mear.

This isn’t the first time “Singin’ in the Rain” has been on Broadway. Twyla Tharp directed and choreographed a heavily-revamped production back in 1985, which closed after 367 performances.

It also isn’t the first Broadway musical with roots in the Théâtre du Châtelet. Last season’s four-time Tony-winning production of “An American in Paris” begin there.

“Singing in the Rain” is currently playing at the Paris’ Théâtre du Châtelet through Jan. 17, 2016.  

Photo Credit: Patrick Berger]]>
<![CDATA['Motown the Musical' Wants You Back]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 19:03:16 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MotownITW.jpg

Turn up that Jackson 5 — Broadway wants Motown back.

Berry Gordy’s autobiographical musical “Motown” will return to the Great White Way in July, playing an 18-week limited engagement at Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre.

The musical, which features over 50 beloved hits from of the legendary Motown catalog, originally opened in April 2013, and closed in January 2015 after 775 performances. Since then, the show has been touring the country, and prepping for a London opening in February 2016.

Gordy himself wrote the book to the show, charting his rise from songster wannabe to record mogul. Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and more are brought to life in the musical, singing hits like “My Girl,” “What’s Going On,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” and “Stop! In the Name of Love.”

Charles Randolph-Wright directs.

With “Motown the Musical” heading to The Nederlander, this means that the previously announced open-run production of “Disaster!,” which begins previews at the venue on Feb. 9, will now play a limited run.

For tickets and information, visit www.motownthemusical.com

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Fun Facts]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:56:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_609641135237-parade.jpg

Since 1924, Macy's has held annual parades on Thanksgiving Day. First known as the "Macy's Christmas Parade," the name changed a few years later to the "Thanksgiving Day Parade."

Now many onlookers crowd Manhattan's streets each year to see Macy's signature giant floats hover over busy streets.

Below are some fun facts about the parade, which draws millions each year, according to Macy's:

  • Before 1927, Macy's used real animals, including lions, bears, tigers, camels, goats, elephants and donkeys. The animals were  replaced with giant character balloons that have stolen the hearts of many Americans. 
  • From 1929 to 1931, Macy's would release the balloons at the end of the parade. Those who found the balloons could return them to Macy's for a $50 gift certificate. The practice ended when a balloon got caught in a plane's propeller when a pilot was trying to catch it.
  • In 2004, Macy's introduced another new parade innovation called the "balloonicle," a combination of a cold-air balloon and a self-propelled vehicle. Then, 2011 marked the birth of the trycaloon, a balloon that was part tricycle. 
  • The parade was canceled in 1942, 1943 and 1944 because of World War II. 
  • To date, there have been 171 giant character balloons in the parade since 1927. This year, Macy's will feature 17 giant character balloons; 24 novelty, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 27 floats; 12 marching band members; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; and more than 1,000 clowns.

Four new giant balloons will debut in the 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. New balloons include Red from the Angry Birds game; DINO, the mascot for the Sinclair Oil Corporation; Scrat and his acorn from the movie "Ice Age" and Ronald McDonald.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA['Dames at Sea' Shipping Out]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 19:03:46 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BD2cWiFqg4E09McmYgzQ10BNgl110NFYatFJsi95ymw.gif

The tap-tastic, seaworthy musical comedy “Dames at Sea” will sail away from the Great White Way early next year, playing its final performance at the Helen Hayes Theater on Jan. 3, 2016.

At the time of its closing, “Dames at Sea” will have played 32 preview and 85 regular performances.

This was the first time “Dames at Sea” has ever been on Broadway. The musical -- a satire about the making of a 1930s musical -- first opened in 1968 at off-Broadway’s Bouwerie Lane Theatre. Since then, the show has gone on to become a staple in schools and community theaters across the country.

The Broadway production was also the first time the Jim Wise score was heard in New York with a full orchestra.

Three-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner (“42nd Street”) directed and choreographed the Broadway production, with a book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller. The show stars Danny Gardner, Mara Davi, John Bolton, Eloise Kropp, Cary Tedder and Lesli Margherita.

A national tour will being in the fall of 2017.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel]]>
<![CDATA[Street Closures for Macy's Thanksgiving Parade ]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 16:58:42 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chelsea-5-crop.jpg

Millions of spectators are expected to line the streets Thursday to watch the 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and 50 million more are expected to watch it on NBC.

In order to accommodate the parade, many streets will be closed across Manhattan. The Department of Transportation released the following information:

On Thursday, the parade forms at 8 a.m. at the following locations:

-Columbus Avenue between 81st and 77th streets

-Central Park West between 81st and 86th streets

-Central Park West betwen West 77th and 86th streets

-West 81st Street between Cebtral Park West and Columbus Avenue

- West 77th Street and 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

-71st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

-68th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

-62nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. from Central Park West and 77th Street and proceed on the following route:

-South on Central Park West to Columbus Circle

-Central Park West between 81st Street and east side of Columbus Circle/59th Street

-South through E/S Columbus Circle to 59th Street

-Broadway between 59th and 58th streets

-58th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue

- East 59th Street between Columbus Circle and Sixth Avenue

- South on Sixth Avenue between 59th and 34th streets

-West on 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues


The parade will disperse at noon at the below locations:

-33rd Street between Sixth and 10th avenues

-34th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

-35th Street between Sixth and Eighth avenues

-36th Street to 38th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue

-39th Street and 40th Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues

-Seventh Avenue between 33rd Street and 40th Street


Additional closures are as follows:

-Broadway between West 34th Street and West 38th Street - Midnight to 1 p.m.
-6th Avenue between West 23rd Street and West 42nd Street – 2 a.m. to 1 p.m.
-7th Avenue from West 34th Street and West 42nd Street - 2 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
-34th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue - 10 p.m. (Wed) to 5 p.m.
-59th Street E/B between 7th Avenue and Central Park West – Midnight to 2 p.m.
-59th Street W/B between 5th Avenue and Central Park West – 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-35th Street between 5th Avenue and 8th Avenue - 2 a.m. to 4 p.m.
-36th Street between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue - 2 a.m. to 2 p.m.

-37th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue - 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-38th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue - 4 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-8th Avenue between 34th Street and 40th Street - 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
-Broadway between 38th Street and 59th Street - 4 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

-33rd Street between 7th Avenue and 10th Avenue - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-39th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-40th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-49th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-50th Street between 5th Avenue and 7th Avenue - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
-Central Park 65th Street/66th Street Transverse Roads 7 a.m. until conclusion

Please note: From 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. trucks and other large vehicles will not be able to access:

-6th Avenue between West 43rd and West 59th Street
-8th Avenue between West 57th Street and West 59th Street
-Broadway between 49th Street and 57th Street
-42nd Street between 5th and 8th Avenue
-57th Street between 5th and 8th Avenue

<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Turkey Do's and Don'ts]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 07:08:13 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/turkey_dos_donts_preparations.jpg #NBC5Responds' Deanna Dewberry offers a few surprising tips on how to make that Thanksgiving centerpiece perfect.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Top 12 Holiday Toys]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:40:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Toys-SplitScreen.jpg Lightsabers, talking plush toys and robots make up this year's lineup of hot toys every kid would love to get for the holidays. Click through to see the top 12 toys dominating store shelves and kids' wish lists alike.

Photo Credit: Thinkway Toys/Hasbro]]>
<![CDATA[Gift Guide: 12 Hot Holiday Toys]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 14:36:37 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/toys-split.jpg

Lightsabers, talking plush toys and robots make up this year's lineup of hot toys every kid would love to get for the holidays. 

Hundreds of products, from puzzles to action figures based on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, which is being released Dec. 18, will dominate store shelves and kids' wish lists alike.  

"'Star Wars' is a good monster for the industry," said Richard Gottlieb, principal and founder of Global Toy Group, a consultancy and resource for the industry. "That, of course, will bring an enormous number of shoppers."

Remote controlled cars, droids controlled by smartphones and robotic creatures with voice recognition features are also popular. 

Take a look at 12 hot toys this holiday season:

Star Wars Episode 7 BB-8 App-Enabled Droid

Kids can link this toy and then control it through their iPhone or iPad. The toy reacts to voice command and can patrol autonomously. Also, it can create holographic like recordings. "BB-8 has something unlike any other robot--an adaptive personality that changes as you play," according to the product's description." Based on your interactions, BB-8 will show a range of expressions and even perk up when you give voice commands."

Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber

It's not just another "Star Wars" toy. It is an essential item to have for the series' enthusiasts. It lights up and creates sounds from the movie to simulate the thrill of sword-dueling between Jedi masters and Sith overlords.

Glider Board or 'Hoverboard'

The Glider Board allows you to travel over six miles an hour. It's controlled with your feet as you move around and can climb up 30-degree slopes. The "hoverboard" can go up to 12 miles in distance after every full charge. For security, an anti-theft key lock is included so it cannot be driven without your permission. If you live in New York City, you may have to limit your use of the "hoverboard" to indoor spaces. The NYC police department confirmed that it is illegal to use the 'hoverboards' in public areas because they are considered motor vehicles that cannot be registered with the department of motor vehicles. In California, legislation passed in Oct. allowing the boards to be used in the same places as bikes. Local California municipalities have the ability to ban their use.

Despicable Me 2 Jumbo Talking Minion - Dave

The Minions, both lovable and memorable, are exactly the kind of toy you want for your child. At 16" tall, Jumbo Talking Minion - Dave is a plush toy that with a squeeze on his tummy can say up to 15 sayings in the original voice from the movie. His eyes can also "pop-out" and light up with a press. This plush toy is not only the prefect gift for children, but also for adults who enjoyed the movie.

UDI RC U818A Quadcopter with HD Camera

You can record high definition video from your drone and perform 360-degree tricks at the touch of a button. It has a built-in fast and slow speed function along with a low-voltage alarm on the transmitter to optimize your experience. The manufacturer recommends that this toy be used by people ages 14 and up. It's also important to follow safety guidelines while flying your drone.

Disney "Descendants"

Your child's favorite Disney characters have families in the feature film "Descendants." Toys from the movie feature Maleficent's daughter, Mal and Evie who is the daughter of the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil is another character that you can buy. The figures can be stylized with two outfits, two pairs of shoes and three accessories.

NERF Rebelle Secrets & Spies Arrow Revolution Bow Blaster

This bow and arrow set will unleash your child's inner Katniss Everdeen. The character has spurred an interest in the bow and with the release of the final "Hunger Games" movie, this set will be a hot purchase. Using this bow, an arrow can be shot up to 90 feet away.

Zoomer Dino Jurassic World Indominus Rex Robot

The blockbuster hit "Jurassic World" rocked theaters this summer and toys from the movie will be heavily sought this holiday season. The Indominus Rex, the bio-engineered dinosaur from the movie, can respond to movement, make recorded sounds from the film and change eye color.

Peanuts Happy Dance Snoopy

The Snoopy plush toy is a great gift for fans of the new "Peanuts" movie, featuring Charlie Brown. This plush version of Snoopy dances to a popular tune from the "Peanuts" series and reacts to being kissed on the nose.

Easy Animation Studio

Crayola's animation studio pack allows all future animators and artists to digitally create scenes with characters included with the purchase. After downloading an application for iOS or Android devices, young animators will be able to create scenes with an included poseable mannequin. Position the mannequin into different poses to create a short stop-motion video.

Project Mc2 Ultimate Lab Kit

The equipment for the four super smart girls from the "Project Mc2,"a children's web show, is available for home or on-the-go use. The kit comes with a working 4x microscope and all the equipment needed to conduct a science experiment with a petri dish, safety goggles, pipette dropper and 15 pH strips.

"Lego Dimensions"

"Lego Dimensions," a video game that can be played across most gaming platforms except PC, is the latest in the toy company's reach for the digital age. Figurines such as Lego Batman, Gandalf and Lucy from "The Lego Movie" are available to use in the game. To play the game, figurines are placed on a pad connected to the system and are then represented in the virtual world. More figurines can be bought to expand the character selection.

Photo Credit: NBC Universal]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Be a Turkey: Celebrate a Bird-Free Thanksgiving]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 17:03:50 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_554344590313.jpg

It’s that time of year again — to give thanks for all that we have.

Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday, one that is deeply rooted in tradition. The first Thanksgiving goes all the way back to 1621 when the Pilgrims sat down with the Wampanoag to celebrate the harvest at Plymouth Colony, according to Smithsonian.com.

More than 150 years later, the Continental Congress issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1777. But it wasn’t until 1789 that President George Washington issued the first Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation.

“I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States,” Washington said.

Since then, food and family have become synonymous with the holiday. Many of us will spend time prepping the turkey and pumpkin pie and decorating the table for family and friends before settling down to the feast. 

But if you think eating a turkey on Thanksgiving is overrated, why not change your holiday routine and break free from tradition? 

Go meatless! Sure, turkey is the go-to fare for Thanksgiving, but going meatless does have some benefit. Not only can you cater to the vegetarian guest, it will also eliminate the post-meal food coma. 

There are many different options out there, from vegetarian sides to main dishes like the mushroom and kale-stuffed squash. And, of course, you can still get the feeling of a turkey without the actual bird — products like soy-based Tofurky are a popular alternative to the real thing.

"We’re so proud to see that alternative holiday meal traditions, which were once a niche phenomenon, have become legitimately mainstream in the 20-plus years we’ve been making Tofurky Roasts," said Jaime Athos, CEO and president of Tofurky.

Whatever you decide to eat, why not ask your guests to wear an ugly Thanksgiving sweater? Since they’re not just for Christmas anymore, you can wear these delightfully tacky, non-traditional sweaters while you and your loved ones give thanks.

Staying active is a great way to help burn off the Turkey Day calories, to help alleviate the boredom and promote togetherness.

The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition recommends 30 minutes of activity a day for adults and 60 minutes a day for children. Why not kick around the ball, try paintball or go bowling, too? 

Having Thanksgiving at a restaurant is also a non-traditional holiday option — especially if you can’t fathom the idea of spending all that time cooking.

More than 33 million Americans will visit restaurants during Thanksgiving this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. There are a number of national chains including Bob Evans, Sizzler, Morton’s and Cracker Barrel that will be offering holiday specials.

You might also consider giving back to the community while giving thanks. There are hundreds of organizations across the country that are looking for volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinner to those in need.  

"We hope all Americans will consider making volunteer service a part of their holiday tradition and invite their friends and families to join them," said a spokeswoman for the Corporation for National and Community Service.

More than 25 percent of American adults volunteered 7.7 billion hours of time — including holiday time — in 2013, according to the organization.

Trying something new may just open you up to new holiday traditions. 

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for Sports Lovers]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 02:33:04 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Jacket-Gloves.jpg If there's a fitness enthusiast or someone looking to get in shape on your holiday shopping list, look no further than this sports gift guide. Help your friends and loved ones reach their fitness goals with gadgets and gear that will inspire and motivate them all year round.

Photo Credit: JackRabbit/Underarmour]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Tech & Gadget Gifts Under $100]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 17:25:43 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Tech+Gifts+2015.jpg Shopping for a gadget-obsessed friend or family member? Discover the coolest gadgets and tech gifts in our 2015 holiday guide. ]]> <![CDATA[Win Ellen's 12 Days of Giveaways]]> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:18:59 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/722X406_ELLEN_WebBanner_LMBlack.jpg

Official Rules
November 23, 2015— December 10, 2015

Click here to enter

PRELIMINARY INFORMATION: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Void outside the WNBC Terrestrial Geographic Viewing Area (defined below) and where prohibited. The WNBC Ellen 12 Days Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”) will begin on November 23, 2015 at 8:00 A.M. ET and end on December 10, 2015 at 11:59 P.M. ET (“Sweepstakes Period”). All times in the Sweepstakes refer to Eastern Time (“ET”). Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible Entries (defined below) received. Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws. PRIZES (DEFINED BELOW) DO NOT INCLUDE TRANSPORTATION, PARKING, OR ACCOMODATIONS. All taxes and other expenses, costs, or fees associated with the acceptance and/or use of the Prize are the sole responsibility of the Winner.

ELIGIBILITY: Open only to permanent, legal United States (“U.S.”) residents who are physically located in the WNBC terrestrial geographic viewing area in the county of Pike in the state of Pennsylvania; in the counties of Sullivan, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Putnam, Westchester, Bronx, New York, Kings, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, and Richmond in the state of New York; in the county of Fairfield in the state of Connecticut; in the counties of Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Union, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean in the state of New Jersey (“WNBC Terrestrial Geographic Viewing Area”); and who are eighteen (18) years of age or older as of the start of the Sweepstakes Period. Officers, directors, and employees of Sweepstakes Entities (defined below), members of these persons’ immediate families (spouses and/or parents, children, and siblings, and each of their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside), and/or persons living in the same households as these persons (whether or not related thereto) are not eligible to enter or win the Sweepstakes. Sweepstakes Entities, as referenced herein, shall include WNBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112, NBCUniversal Media, LLC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112 (collectively, “Sponsors”), and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliate companies, their administrative, advertising, and promotion agencies, and any other entity involved in the development, administration, promotion, or implementation of the Sweepstakes.

TO ENTER: To enter the Sweepstakes, during the Sweepstakes Period visit the WNBC Facebook page located at http://www.facebook.com/NBCNewYork (“Website”) and access the “Ellen 12 Days Giveaway” tab (“Sweepstakes Tab”). Then, follow the provided instructions to complete and thereafter submit the entry form, which includes your email address, followed by your name, telephone number, and city of residence (“Entry”). All Entries become the property of Sponsors and will not be acknowledged or returned.

During the submission of your Entry, you will receive a pop up box allowing up to two (2) additional Entries into the Sweepstakes. You may receive one (1) bonus entry for following WNBC on Twitter and one (1) bonus entry for following WNBC on Instagram (collectively “Bonus Entry” or “Bonus Entries”). Bonus Entries can only be redeemed one (1) time during the Sweepstakes Period for a total of up to two (2) Bonus Entries.

Entries must be received before December 10, 2015 at 11:59 P.M. ET to be eligible for the Sweepstakes. Sponsors’ computer shall be the official timekeeper for all matters related to this Sweepstakes. You may submit one (1) Entry per day during the Sweepstakes Period, and up to two (2) Bonus Entries for a total of twenty (20) entries. Multiple Entries received from any person or email address beyond this limit will void all such additional Entries. Entries generated by a script, macro, or other automated means or by any means that subverts the entry process will be disqualified. Entries that are incomplete, garbled, corrupted, or unintelligible for any reason, including, but not limited to, computer or network malfunction or congestion, are void and will not be accepted. In case of a dispute over the identity of an entrant who made a potentially winning Entry, Sponsors reserve the right to deem that the Entry was made by the registered subscriber of the email address submitted at the time of Entry. Entry constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use entrant’s name, city, state, likeness, image, and/or voice for purposes of advertising, promotion, and publicity in any and all media now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification, permission, or approval.

WINNER SELECTION AND NOTIFICATION: On or about December 11, 2015, one (1) potential winner (“Winner”) will be selected in a random drawing by representatives of Sponsors from all eligible Entries received during the Sweepstakes Period. Sponsors will announce the names of potential Winner on Website on or about December 16, 2015. Sponsors will make two (2) attempts to notify potential Winner at the phone number and/or email address submitted at the time of entry. Potential Winner may be required to execute and return an affidavit of eligibility, release of liability, and, except where prohibited, publicity release (collectively, “Sweepstakes Documents”) within two (2) days of such notification. Noncompliance within this time period will result in disqualification, and, at Sponsor’s sole discretion an alternate potential Winner may be selected from the remaining eligible Entries. If a potential Winner cannot be reached, if he/she is found to be ineligible, if he/she cannot or does not comply with these Official Rules, or if his/her Prize (defined below) or Prize notification is returned as undeliverable, potential Winner will be disqualified and time permitting, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, an alternate potential Winner may be selected from the remaining eligible Entries.

PRIZE: There will be one (1) prize package awarded (“Prize”) to the Winner. Each Prize consists of the same and/or comparable prizes, as determined in Sponsor’s sole discretion, given to The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s live studio audience from the 12 Days of Giveaways.

Estimated Retail Value (“ERV”) of the Prize is thirty-thousand dollars ($30,000), but may vary significantly based on the 12 Days of Giveaways prize given out on the corresponding Ellen DeGeneres Show. Actual Retail Value (“ARV”) of Prize may vary. Any difference between stated ERV and ARV will not be awarded. Winner will receive an Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 from Sponsors for the total ARV of Prize for the calendar year in which Prize was awarded.

Winner must claim Prize or Prize will be forfeited. All details of the Prize will be determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a similar Prize (or Prize element) of comparable or greater value. All taxes and other expenses, costs, or fees associated with the acceptance and/or use of the Prize are the sole responsibility of Winners. If Winner does not agree to accept all tax implications, Prize will be forfeited and an alternate Winner will be selected from the remaining eligible Entries at Sponsors’ sole discretion. Prize cannot be transferred by Winners or redeemed for cash and are valid only for the items detailed above, with no substitution of Prize by Winners. If the Prize is unclaimed within a reasonable time after notification from Sponsors, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, it will be forfeited, and time permitting, an alternate Winner may be selected from the remaining eligible Entries at Sponsors’ sole discretion. Winner agrees to comply with all applicable regulations in connection with the Prize.

Sponsors shall have no responsibility or liability for cancellations, delays, or any other change by any company or person providing any element of the Prize, and are not responsible or liable for any expenses incurred as a consequence thereof.

RECORDING: Sponsors, in their sole discretion, may choose to record and/or broadcast the Appearance of the Winner. If Sponsors, in their sole discretion, elect to incorporate any audio and/or video recording of the Winner (the “Recording”) into television shows, the taping and/or the Recording will not be considered an employment opportunity, and Winner will not be entitled to compensation or credit thereof. Sponsors will determine the nature of the Recording in their sole discretion. If the Recording is broadcast, such broadcast will be at a time, for a length of time, and on a date determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion. Winner may be required to return completed and signed appearance releases, confidentiality agreements and such other documents as may be required by Sponsors. Failure of Winner to complete and execute these documents in a timely manner, as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion, may cause the Winner to be disqualified and any potential Prize to be forfeited. The content of the Recording as, and if, finally exhibited and the number of exhibits and re-airs thereof, if any, will be determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion. Winner will not have a right of review, notice, or approval of the content of the Recording or any exhibition or exploitation thereof. Sponsors have the right, in their sole discretion, to disqualify Winner, cause the Prize to be forfeited, at any time, if any Winner behavior is deemed by Sponsors to be disruptive or if it may or does cause damage to person, property, or reputation of Sponsors or if it otherwise violates the policies of Sponsors, or if entrants do not follow the directions of Sponsors at all times. These Official Rules and the Sweepstakes itself are neither a contract nor an application for employment.

CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, each entrant agrees for entrant and for entrant’s heirs, executors, and administrators (a) to release and hold harmless Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Sweepstakes Entities, and their respective officers, directors, and employees (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from such entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of Prize or any portion thereof (including any travel related thereto); (b) to indemnify Released Parties from any and all liability resulting or arising from the Sweepstakes and to hereby acknowledge that Released Parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to Prize, including express warranties provided exclusively by Prize supplier that are sent along with Prize; (c) if selected as a Winner, to the posting of such entrant’s name on NBC New York’s homepage (www.nbcnewyork.com) and/or the WNBC Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/NBCNewYork) and/or the WNBC Twitter Page (www.twitter.com/NBCNewYork) and/or http://instagram.com/nbcnewyork and the use by Released Parties of such name, voice, image, and/or likeness for publicity, promotional, and advertising purposes in any and all media now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification, permission, or approval, and, upon request, to the giving of consent, in writing, to such use; and (d) to be bound by these Official Rules and to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error therein or in the Sweepstakes itself, and to be bound by all decisions of the Sponsors, which are binding and final. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes at Sponsors’ sole discretion.

ADDITIONAL TERMS: Sponsors reserve the right to permanently disqualify from any promotion any person they believe has intentionally violated these Official Rules. Any attempt to deliberately damage the Sweepstakes or the operation thereof is unlawful and subject to legal action by Sponsors, who may seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law. The failure of Sponsors to comply with any provision of these Official Rules due to an act of God, hurricane, war, fire, riot, earthquake, terrorism, act of public enemies, actions of governmental authorities outside of the control of Sponsors (excepting compliance with applicable codes and regulations), or other “force majeure” event will not be considered a breach of these Official Rules. Released Parties assume no responsibility for any injury or damage to entrants’ or to any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from entering or downloading materials or software in connection with the Sweepstakes. Released Parties are not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical, or computer failures of any kind; for inaccurate transcription of entry information; for errors in any promotional or marketing materials or in these Official Rules; for any human or electronic error; or for entries that are stolen, misdirected, garbled, delayed, lost, late, damaged, or returned. Sponsors reserve the right to cancel, modify, or suspend the Sweepstakes or any element thereof (including, without limitation, these Official Rules) without notice in any manner and for any reason (including, without limitation, in the event of any unanticipated occurrence that is not fully addressed in these Official Rules). In the event of cancellation, modification, or suspension, Sponsors reserve the right to select Winner(s) in a random drawing from among all eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to the time of the event warranting such cancellation, modification, or suspension. Notice of such cancellation, modification, or suspension will be posted at www.nbcnewyork.com and www.facebook.com/NBCNewYork. Sponsors may prohibit any entrant or potential entrant from participating in the Sweepstakes, if such entrant or potential entrant shows a disregard for these Official Rules; acts with an intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other entrant, Sponsors, or Sponsors’ agents or representatives; or behaves in any other disruptive manner (as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion). Sponsors reserve the right to modify these Official Rules for clarification purposes without materially affecting the terms and conditions of the Sweepstakes.


WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: For the names of Winners, available after December 16, 2015 send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to be received by January 16, 2016 to: WNBC Ellen 12 Days Giveaway Sweepstakes, 30 Rockefeller Plaza – 7th Floor East, New York, NY 10112 Attn: Mickey Adolph.

Les Miserables On Broadway is not a Sponsor of the Sweepstakes and is not associated with the administration of the Sweepstakes in any way.

This Sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Entrants are providing information to Sponsors and not to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

<![CDATA[How to Carve a Turkey, Just in Time for the Holidays]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 12:22:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/thanksgiving-FINAL_1200x675_570319939834.jpg Chef Fitz Tallon from Eataly NYC shows you how to carve a turkey.]]> <![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for a Fashionista]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:38:58 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fashionista2.jpg Don't know what to buy for the fashion-forward lady on your list. Click through our ultimate holiday gift guide for some of the most stylish items that will be sure to please even the most devout trendsetters. ]]> <![CDATA[Legendary Musical 'Miss Saigon' Returning to Broadway]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 14:44:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MS_JAN15_PRESS_Landscape_AW.jpg

Hold on to your helicopters: “Miss Saigon” is coming back to Broadway.

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s legendary musical, which opened on Broadway in 1991 starring Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce, and closed in 2001, will return to the Great White Way in the Spring of 2017, producer Cameron Mackintosh said Thursday.

The revival, directed by Laurence Connor, will transfer from London, where it’s opened to critical acclaim and sold-out crowds in May 2014. Stars Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada will both transfer with the production.

While no theater or opening dates have been confirmed yet, “Miss Saigon” is currently scheduled as a limited run, through January 15, 2018. At that point, the production will embark on a national tour, beginning in Providence, R.I. and continuing through more than 50 cities including Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

“Of all my shows, ‘Miss Saigon’ is the one that I have received the most requests from the public to bring back,” Mackintosh said, in a statement. “I am thrilled that Broadway audiences will get to see.”

The original production opened in London in 1989.

“Miss Saigon” tells the story of an orphaned girl who falls in love with an American GI in war-torn Saigon. Music comes from Schönberg with lyrics by Boublil. Richard Maltby Jr. added in the French adaptation of Boublil’s lyrics, with additional lyrics by Michael Mahle.

For priority ticket access, visit www.saigonbroadway.com.

<![CDATA['Not as Exciting': Black Friday Deals Arrive Earlier Than Ever]]> Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:36:28 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_583751221090.jpg

Black Friday is becoming a month-long deal.

Amazon's sales began Nov. 20 and continue through Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving and what was once the start of the holiday shopping season. Target and Walmart are offering holiday discounts throughout the month, while Best Buy is holding "pre-Black Friday" weekends.

What was traditionally a single day of shopping already stretches over the weekend and now retailers are trying to extend the extravaganza even further by discounting goods long before the holiday. What that will mean to Black Friday sales is something analysts will be watching for.

"It remains to be seen how significant the event itself is," said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing at the retail research firm Market Track.

Tis the season for holiday sales and strategies for capturing shoppers dollars.

Black Friday spending was down last year, the second drop in a row, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending though the weekend in stores and online dropped 11 percent from $57.4 billion in 2013 to $50.9 billion last year. The decline is partly the result of the earlier bargains, leaving Black Friday with less of a punch.

This year, the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federal of America are expecting a 3 percent growth in spending, down from an earlier prediction of up to 3.5 percent. The new prediction is based on a recent survey.

But for all the debate over store hours -- and at one end is Kmart, open on Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m., and at the other REI, the outdoor gear supplier that will stay closed on Black Friday itself --  for shoppers the season means deals. They are scouting for the best prices before ever stepping inside a store, Gregorski said. They are driving competition among retailers who know their potential customers are online comparing ads.

“They do have a lot of information at their disposal, much more than they’ve ever had in the past,” she said.

On Friday, Tanya Jackson, a hair stylist from New Jersey, will be on the hunt for a washing machine and dryer at Home Depot where she expects to save $800.

“Oh yes, I already checked,” said Jackson, 42, who lives in Orange and who was making her way through New York City's Herald Square on a recent weekday morning. She is prepared to pay about $2,800.

Thanksgiving Day hours continue to court controversy, with some shoppers vowing to stay home and labor and other groups protesting the disruption to workers' holiday.

"l'm always with my family," said Kendall Castillo, a 19-year-old student studying theater and fine arts in college in New York City. Even the lure of good deals will not interrupt his holiday.

And Naysika Oree, a health-care consultant from the Bronx, has never shopped on Black Friday, turned off by the crowds and reports of unruly shoppers. She will stay home this year too.

"I'd rather just spend the couple of extra dollars then have to go through the madness," she said.

This year, the federation's preliminary Thanksgiving Weekend Survey found that an estimated 135.8 millions shoppers, or 58.7 percent of those surveyed, said they might head to the stores at some point over the weekend. The findings were similar to the year before, when 133.7 million holiday shoppers were in stores and online over the weekend.

Black Friday is expected to be the biggest shopping day for all age groups, but young adults in particular find Cyber Monday appealing, according to the survey's results. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 88.7 percent said yes or maybe when asked if they would should online on Monday. Among 25- to 34-year-old, the number was 90.9 percent.

Kate Winchester, a 23-year-old college student in New York City from Pennsylvania, will among those shopping online. She needs a new vacuum cleaner and a heavy blanket.

"You don't have to wait in the lines," she said.

Plus now that stores open on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday is "not as exciting anymore," she said. "No one wants to go out on Thursday."

To draw shoppers back into the stores, in the hopes that they will spend more money there, some retailers are offering special holiday events, Gregorski said. Wal-Mart for example is making the game Battlefront available to try out before its official launch.

"They’re introducing that experiential element into their promotions and events," she said. "It gives people a reason to come in."

As for what's hot this year, anything related to "Star Wars," game consoles and wearable technology, such as headphones and fitness trackers, she said. Drones are another top item.

Hoverboards, on the other hand, are not proving to be as popular as expected, likely because of their price, she said.

Other trends to watch for: exclusive partnerships between manufacturers and retailers and bundled offers, televisions and game consoles for example, which can make it difficult to determine how good a deal it is.

Milly Mladjenovic, 21, said she would definitely be out on Black Friday, shopping for work clothes and Christmas gifts.

"What am I not looking for?" she said.

The college student in New York City said deals could be found, but she thought bargains were better in years past.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts for Foodies]]> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 13:16:17 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kitchen-Items.jpg Get your favorite foodie inspired in the kitchen with these cool kitchen gadgets. From utensils to small appliances, here's a list of great gift ideas any food lover would appreciate.

Photo Credit: Amazon/Menu Design Shop]]>
<![CDATA[First Taco Bell Goes on the Road]]> Fri, 20 Nov 2015 10:41:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_4536tacobellwearethenext.JPG

While the region's movie industry has made a romance or two in its time, nearly every heart-tugger in the world weakens before one of Southern California's truly intense twosomes: food lovers and historic restaurants that may be in danger of demolishment.

Letters will be written, passionate rallies held, and, if everything works out, the structure will still stand, as was the case earlier this year at NORMS La Cienega, which had the words "wrecking ball" floating above its big-window'd facade for several weeks.

Sometimes, though, the structure ends up standing in a whole new place. Look to Downey, and the very first Taco Bell, the storied eatery that founder Glenn Bell opened in 1962. It's currently at 7186 Firestone Boulevard, but as of the weekend before Thanksgiving, it will be in Irvine, at the Taco Bell corporate offices.

Yep, "Taco Bell Numero Uno" is going on a epic overnight roll on the streets of SoCal. Date? Thursday night, Nov. 19 into the wee smalls of Friday, Nov. 20. Hours? 10-10:30 p.m. to just before 6 o'clock in the morning, or so.

You remember Space Shuttle Endeavour, and LACMA's Levitated Mass, and the other big things we so regularly move around in SoCal; it takes time to put a formerly unmovable thing on wheels and move it.

To call the structure beloved among Downey denizens is to traffic in understatement, and to say that its fans were worried when word of possible demolishment arrived at the start of the year is equally understated. 

For while it has housed a number of different eateries over the last three or so decades, it remained, to many local long-timers, the Taco Bell they grew up going to after games and before dances.

Organizations like We Are the Next of Long Beach and the Downey Conservancy sprung into action at the news of the building perhaps being razed, as did Taco Bell, which met with the civic-minded, past-preservation groups.

We Are the Next's Executive Director Katie Rispoli met with both the property's current owners, which alerted the groups to the building's vacancy and potential demolishment, and Rispoli began to meet with the company to see what the wee building's future might be.

Taco Bell went full hashtag – #savetacobell – which helped spread the early word. The company found funds to put the arch-laden landmark on wheels and transport it to its HQ, and the conservancy and We Are the Next provided guidance and input on the process.

Ms. Rispoli shares that the structure, which cannot be entered, will not be on view once it reaches Irvine. But her hope is that one day it may have a "beneficial public use" and perhaps even return to Downey, its forever home.

Like the romance between food people and historic restaurants, civic organizations and major companies can sometimes unite in a moving, and movable, cause. It's a slice of Downey delight, and regional whimsy, and its a restaurant that birthed thousands of others around the globe.

Want to see it? Catch a nap on Thursday, if you can, because this'll be an all-nighter. There's a live webcam of the roll -- of course there is -- and some true-blue burrito buffs may make for a curb on Firestone, to wave goodbye to a local legend.

Photo Credit: We Are the Next]]>
<![CDATA["Hamilton" Makes History Again, Tops Rap Album Charts]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:47:09 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hamilton0044r+%281%29.jpg

Broadway’s “Hamilton” has made history… again.

The original Broadway cast recording of the Lin-Manuel Miranda-musical landed on top of the Billboard Rap Album charts for the week of November 28, marking the first time a musical cast recording has ever topped the Rap Album charts.

Miranda shared the news on Twitter:

“Hamilton” beat out Fetty Wap’s self-titled debut album, which slipped to No. 2 on the charts. Drake, The Game and Future round out the rest of the Top 5.

The 46-track LP, which hit stores Oct. 16, was executive produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, founding members of the Grammy-winning hip-hop band The Roots.

This isn’t the first time the “Hamilton” cast recording has made history on the Billboard charts.

After the album’s digital release on Sept. 25, “Hamilton” debuted on the Billboard 200 chart in October at No. 12 — the highest debut for a cast recording since the chart combined its mono and stereo tallies in 1963.

The last cast recording to place this hgh was “Camelot,” which landed in the No. 4 spot on the mono album chart back in January of 1961.

Only six cast albums have ever reached the Billboard Top 20 in the last 50 years. Those include “If/Then,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Rent,” 1982’s “Dreamgirls” and 1969’s “Hair.”

“Hamilton” is currently playing to sold-out audiences at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theater. For tickets and information, visit www.hamiltonbroadway.com.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Explore Broadway's’ 'The Lion King' in 360-Degree View]]> Wed, 18 Nov 2015 15:28:10 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/circle+of+life.jpg

If you’ve ever seen a Broadway musical and wished you could get closer to the action, then boy does “The Lion King” have something for you.

The long-running Disney musical enlisted the help of 360-degree, virtual-reality technology to record its opening number “The Circle of Life” in front of a live audience at the Minskoff Theatre -- marking the first time in history this technology has been used to capture a musical performance inside a Broadway house.

The video allows viewers to navigate around the entire stage while the performances is going on. You’ll get up close to director Julie Taymor’s breathtaking puppets and masks, hang in the wings with the gazelles prepare to gallop and hang with Rafiki and baby Simba atop Pride Rock.

The 360-degree technology is best experienced using a virtual reality headset, such as the Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard.

Those without those devices can view the video on YouTube. In a Chrome browser, your mouse will allow you to drag and navigate your view. Using the YouTube app on a mobile device, you’ll be able to navigate your view by simply moving your device around.

Try for yourself here:

“The Lion King,” with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, is currently in its 19th year on Broadway, having won six Tony Awards in 1998 including Best Musical. The musical, which is the third-longest running Broadway show of all time, recently launched a $30 online ticket lottery.

Though this is the first time a show has used 360-degree technology to capturing a live musical performance on a Broadway stage, “The Lion King” is not the first musical to play with this technology. On Oct. 14, “School of Rock” posted a video of its young cast performing the number “You’re in the Band” in a New York City classroom.

“Just as there is no debate about who were the first anthropomorphized felines on Broadway, there should be no debate about which show was the first to use 360 degree technology. Big cats shouldn’t be copycats," composer Andrew Lloyd Webber said in an email.

For tickets to “The Lion King,” visit www.lionking.com.

--Janet Paist contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Miller Tries to Understand Nazi Terror in 'Incident at Vichy']]> Tue, 17 Nov 2015 13:31:41 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/VichyMain.jpg

In France, men are being held against their will by a group that wants to establish its own idea of a new world order, with itself at the top. The violent interlopers will first cow, and then annihilate anyone who doesn’t fit their criteria.

“Incident at Vichy,” written in 1964 and now being revived at the Signature, was Arthur Miller’s attempt to dramatize the meekly resisted rise to power of the Third Reich. It, and “A View From the Bridge,” now on Broadway, win particular attention this year, because it’s the centenary of Miller’s birth. (Three’s the charm: “The Crucible” gets its revival this spring.)

As the one-act drama gets under way, 10 men have been pulled off the street for a racial “inspection.” It’s 1942, and rumors of camps and cattle cars circulate. The men vary in age and profession, but are all unfortunate equals in a makeshift waiting room, where a Nazi academic (Brian Cross) will call them, one at a time, and check to see if they have been circumcised.

The men begin to assess their circumstances, but won’t use the word “Jewish” for fear of self-incrimination: “Listen, you’re Peruvian, aren’t you?” asks Labeau (Jonny Orsini, of “The Nance”), a nervous painter who, like the rest, was arrested after police made an inference based on measurements that included estimating the size of his nose.

A striking element of this “Vichy” revival, coolly directed by Michael Wilson (“The Trip to Bountiful”), is that few of the men look stereotypically Jewish -- aside from one, whom Miller identifies only as the “Old Jew” (Jonathan Hadary, the “Gypsy” Tony nominee). There’s something chilling merely in the variety of the casting.

Miller’s detainees represent a spectrum of philosophical positions. There’s a naive actor (Derek Smith), who is sure this will all work out fine; an anxious teenage boy (Jonathan Gordon), terrified, but wise beyond his years; and a psychoanalyst (Darren Pettie), who is first to recognize the situation’s severity.

To the doctor falls the task of channeling Miller’s heavy-handed moralism: “Part of knowing who we are is knowing we are not someone else. … Jew is only the name we give to that stranger. Each man has his Jew; it is the other.”

Sitting quietly through much of the drama is an Austrian aristocrat (Richard Thomas), who was mistakenly arrested. Thomas’s Baron Von Berg is the everyman who knows great wrongs are happening, but believes there’s nothing he can do about it. His complement in this room is James Carpinello, as a German major perpetrating offenses under orders -- but so conflicted about it that he’s nearly suicidal.

If it’s the well-spoken Pettie who explains why we’re here, it’s Thomas and Carpinello whose performances force “Vichy” into more active territory. “Vichy” comes down to the baron and major in a faceoff. Before us are one man who has been passive, and another who has disassociated himself from his crimes. Is one more guilty than the other? Don't they both have a responsibility to act?

As soon as we understand there's a question being posed, the stage goes dark. That's silence, speaking louder than words.

“Incident at Vichy,” through Dec. 20 at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Tickets: $25-$75. Call 212-244-7529.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Jesse Tyler Ferguson Books Broadway Return ]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 12:44:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-477382866+%281%29.jpg

Five-time Emmy nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”) will return to Broadway this spring in Becky Mode’s one-man-show “Fully Committed.”

The limited engagement production begins April 2, 2016 at the Lyceum Theatre, with an official opening set for April 25. The production is currently slated to close July 24.

Ferguson, who starred in the original cast of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” will play more than 40 characters in the comedy, including its main protagonist, Sam. The play takes place at a trendy New York restaurant, where, according to its media release, “scheming socialites, name-dropping wannabes, fickle celebrities and egomaniacal bosses” collide.

“I’m beyond thrilled to be making my return to Broadway, in a piece I love so much,” Ferguson said, in a statement. “It feels like a homecoming and I know we are all going to have a ball putting this show together!"

Tony-nominated director Jason Moore (“Avenue Q”) will helm the production, returning to stage work after directing the film “Pitch Perfect” and the upcoming Tina Fey and Amy Poehler comedy “Sisters.”

This will be the first time “Fully Committed” has been seen on a Broadway stage. It premiered off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theater in 1999, before transferring to the Cherry Lane Theatre. Mode is said to be updating the piece for Broadway.

Photo Credit: Robin Marchant | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Metcalf Calls the Shots in Fun, Forgettable 'Misery']]> Sun, 15 Nov 2015 18:51:04 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/MiseryMain.jpg

I give the talent behind “Misery” tons of credit. They’ve taken a thrilling novel and a terrifying film, and given it new life as … let’s call it “Misery’s Hit Parade.”

There are no lulls in famed screenwriter William Goldman’s 90-minute stage adaptation of the Stephen King story, which Goldman himself translated into the 1990 film starring Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes, a murderous nurse.

Exposition that took a dozen pages in paperback and at least several minutes on screen, plays out at the Broadhurst Theatre—where “Misery” has just opened—faster than snow piling up in a Colorado blizzard.

As our newest “Misery” begins, writer Paul Sheldon (Bruce Willis, in his Broadway debut) is already convalescing in the mountain cabin of nurse Annie (Laurie Metcalf). The car accident that got him there? Goldman ("All the President's Men," etc.) and director Will Frears are wise enough to know we know it happened.

Watching Broadway’s “Misery” is like playing a 33 LP set to 45. It’s Stephen King by way of the Chipmunks, and with as much gravitas. (The set, which I loved, is a turntable, by David Korins, of “Hamilton”—it spins to reveal the bedroom where Annie imprisons Paul, and the kitchen, where Paul and Annie have a dinner that is a high point of this staging.)

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss a lot. Better, re-watch the movie, about a romance novelist and his “number one fan,” before you go. The thrilling cinematic climax, a protracted battle to the death, here is reduced to one good whack Paul gives Annie with his used typewriter, the one missing an “N” key, and a few seconds of neck-throttling. Die-HARD? Die-easy is more like it.

Metcalf, the marvelous star of TV and stage (she’s a recent Tony nominee for “The Other Place”), makes Annie Wilkes her own, an accomplishment, given how closely we associate the role with Oscar-winner Bates.

In other “Misery” incarnations, Annie’s got backstory, as a former maternity nurse. Goldman’s efficient script allows for no such luxury here. It’s some time before we’re even sure Annie is loony … she might just be a well-meaning gal who happened to pull her favorite writer from a car wreck.

There’s pressure on Metcalf to keep this play from going camp, and she pulls it off without hamming things up—no offense intended to her pig, whom she admits to naming for the main character in Paul’s fictions. My favorite bit? When she dons the hat of poor Sheriff Buster (Leon Addison Brown), after blowing him to smithereens.

Willis, in his Broadway debut, is persuasive and coy. It’s a physical performance. His best scene comes at that dinner with Annie, when he’s trying to both charm and poison her as they celebrate his bringing Misery (the character) back to life.

Metcalf and Willis seem to be having oodles of fun. As Annie sits in Paul’s wheelchair, explaining her imminent plans for a murder-suicide, she rolls the chair back and forth, like a toddler testing out a new tricycle. When she asks Paul for “a smile” toward the play’s climax, he gives her the finger: “Here’s one.” Such a dirty birdie!

In case you're wondering: The production pulls off an appropriately cringe-worthy recreation of the famous hobbling scene.

We may question whether “Misery” demanded a stage adaptation, but there are two good reasons to see it: Metcalf and Willis. The actors manage to elevate material that is, at best, workmanlike. “Misery” is entertaining and forgettable.

“Misery,” through Feb. 14, 2016 at the Broadhurst Theatre, 235 W. 44th St. Tickets: $69-$165. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn 

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Nordstrom Pulls Holiday Sweater]]> Mon, 16 Nov 2015 07:05:58 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/192*120/GettyImages-2751522.jpg

Just days after Target went under fire for a highly contested Christmas sweater and hours after Bloomingdale’s issued an apology for offending customers in a misleading catalog ad, Nordstrom is now the latest retail giant to get heat for a product they were offering shoppers this holiday season.

Earlier this week, talk about Nordstrom's Faux Real "Chai Maintenance" Hanukkah sweater started circulating on social media, with customers flooding to Nordstrom’s Facebook page to express their disgust in the item.

"I'm disappointed to see that Nordstrom is selling such an offensive item that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Jewish women," wrote one user. "I hope you remove it from your inventory."

The festive blue shirt, being sold in the retailer's "ugly holiday sweater" lineup, shows a large menorah across the front emblazed with the words "Chai Maintenance" at the top. Many Jewish women believed it to be distasteful towards their faith, as the Hebrew word chai – meaning life – is pronounced "high," alluding that Jewish woman are high maintenance.

Nordstrom responded by pulling it from shelves. By Thursday morning, the product was no longer able to be found on their website.

"I'm glad Nordstrom took it down," one Facebook user wrote. "Cute and kitschy is one thing but perpetuating negative stereotypes as supposedly cute or fun holiday wear is disgusting. I expect more of a large high end retailer such as Nordstrom. Especially when the version for men is just cute, why is the version for women derogatory?"

Some customers, on the other hand, were not offended by the ensemble.

"Hey Nordstrom, I'm Jewish and a huge fan of these sweaters, where can I get one from now you've stopped selling?" another shopper wrote.

But it was too late, with the company responding: "We appreciate your interest, however, the sweater is no longer available for purchase."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Review: Anxiety Festers in Ivo van Hove's 'Bridge']]> Thu, 12 Nov 2015 20:19:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BridgeMain.jpg

The latest revival of “A View From the Bridge”—the Arthur Miller play is having its third Broadway outing in 18 years—will be noted for its stark set, ghostly sound effects and mesmerizing performance by Mark Strong, as the conflicted Italian-American longshoreman Eddie Carbone.

Belgian director Ivo van Hove’s stripped-down take on the 1955 drama takes place on a well-illuminated square stage surrounded by benches. He has nearly turned the Lyceum Theatre, where “Bridge” has just opened, into a boxing ring.

Van Hove's acclaimed reinvention was named Best Revival at the 2015 Olivier Awards. Strong, who has appeared in films such as “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Imitation Game,” also took home an Olivier.

Over two hours, with no intermission, “Bridge” steadily builds anxiety, because of its performances, surely, but also due to a ceaseless humming that reminds you of being at the movies when a subway passes nearby … though here, the rumbling never stops.

Mr. Alfieri (Michael Gould), the Red Hook lawyer astute in the mores of his working-class clientele, narrates. It’s the attorney who famously articulates the assimilated immigrant experience: “Now, we settle for half.” In other words, “when there are disagreements, we compromise.”

Well, some people do, anyway. Not Eddie, a stand-up guy who lives with his wife, Beatrice (Nicola Walker). Together, they’ve raised her niece, Catherine (Phoebe Fox), who has blossomed into womanhood and been hired for a job at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Eddie harbors sublimated desires for Catherine and isn’t thrilled with this news, because it will mean sharing, and eventually letting go of, the young woman. To this fragile scenario, add the arrival of Beatrice’s cousins from Italy, Rodolfo (Russell Tovey, of HBO’s “Looking”) and Marco (Michael Zegen), who are here, illegally, to find work.

This production hangs on the performance by Strong, who acts with his entire lanky body and nimbly moves between rationality and psychosis. Is he in control of his incestuous feelings, or do they control him?

Rodolfo is a freewheeling Renaissance man: he sews, he cooks and he sings … would that the word “gaydar” existed in 1955. Catherine falls for him quickly, but Eddie—with his slanted mindset—is certain his wife’s cousin is a homosexual, merely using a relationship with Catherine to gain citizenship.

Tovey, who made his Broadway debut a decade ago in “The History Boys,” is a bleach blonde here. I liked his performance, though there isn’t anything in it to radiate “Italian immigrant.” I also liked that his motives remain murky, whatever Eddie may think.

On the other hand, there’s the fantastic Zegen (“Rescue Me”), a clear immigrant archetype who stands up to Eddie in a psychological show-of-strength that hinges on nothing more than lifting a wooden chair. In that moment, we hear Marco’s unspoken message to Eddie: “Mess with my brother, and there will be hell to pay.”

Walker, as Beatrice, is motherly and strong. And I enjoyed Fox’s Catherine, with her innocent appeal. (Scarlett Johansson won a Tony in the role when “Bridge” last played in New York.) Gould, in his occasional interludes, is effectively noirish.

The fate of a Red Hook snitch is depicted in the climax, a scene so graphic here the stage is saturated in red. Van Hove’s next New York project is “Lazarus,” a new show co-written by David Bowie that begins previews next week. For now, his “Bridge” is edge-of-your seat drama that leaves you gritting your teeth.

“A View From the Bridge,” through Feb. 21, 2016 at the Lyceum Theatre. Tickets: $39-$135. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn 

Photo Credit: Jan Versweyveld]]>
<![CDATA[Phylicia Rashad Leads New Play at Public Theater]]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:40:49 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476305786+%281%29.jpg

Theater veteran Phylicia Rashad will return to The Public Theater this spring in the New York premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “Head of Passes,” which begins previews on March 15 prior to an official March 28 opening.

The drama, directed by Tina Landau, tells the story of a family reunion and birthday celebration at home of Shelah (Rashad), whose world appears to be collapsing around her.

The story is a contemporary parable inspired by the Book of Job.

Joining Rashad will be Alana Arenas, Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran and J. Bernard Calloway.

Rashad last appeared at The Public in 2003’s production of Tracey Scott Wilson’s “The Story.”

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

Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Who Cut Off Husband's Penis Speaks Out on 'Steve Harvey']]> Wed, 11 Nov 2015 04:21:06 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/237*120/samuel_563cf6371ba3f_LORENA4-810x410.jpg

Lorena Bobbitt, the woman who cut off her husband’s penis in a crime of passion that made national headlines more than 20 years ago, opened up about the ordeal sharing the harrowing story of abuse she says led to her marriage’s gruesome end.

Bobbitt appeared on Monday’s episode of Steve Harvey to share her “bizarre story” and “shine the light on domestic violence.”

It's been more than two decades since Lorena, then 24 years old, cut off her husband John Bobbitt's penis while he was sleeping on June 23, 1993, after he allegedly attacked her following a night of partying.

But Lorena Bobbitt claimed that wasn’t the first time she’d been abused by her husband.

“Things started to change after, you know, we got married,” she told Harvey. “He was starting to disappear from the house, he would disappear for one day or two days. Turned out he had turned into an alcoholic, he was doing drugs and he was cheating with multiple women when we were married. So I was concerned with where he was.”

It was when she started questioning her husband that she says the real abuse began.

“He was just beating me up because he didn’t like to be questioned. But I had the right because I was the wife and I was confused,” she said.

Bobbitt talked about “battered wife syndrome,” saying she called police numerous times on her partner but he would make promises of change and she said she was too frightened to leave and had nowhere to go.

“I felt ashamed, I felt scared,” she said. “My body couldn’t take it, my mind couldn’t take it, I was very scared so obviously I snapped. I cut off his penis because he abused me.”

She went into cringe-worthy details about what happened the night she did the “unthinkable.”

“That’s what happens when a man pushes a woman so far and so low,” she said. “My self-esteem was down and he came that night and abused me. I went to the kitchen for a glass of water to calm myself up because he was abusing me that night and all the things I remember was I took a glass of water and then I found myself in the street with a penis in one hand and a knife in the other.”

John Bobbitt’s penis was later reattached after it was severed and the pair divorced after six years of marriage.

John Bobbitt has denied Lorena’s allegations of abuse and was acquitted of a charge of marital sexual assault in 1993. He said in a 2009 interview that he forgave Lorena and apologized for “the way I was back then.”

Lorena Bobbitt was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity in January 1994.

“I was insane,” Bobbitt said.  

Lorena Bobbitt revealed on the show she has since remarried and now has a daughter.

"It's amazing," she said. "He's my soul mate."

She also added she started an organization called Lorena's Red Wagon, a shelter she said helps abused women and children through family-oriented activities.

"Something good has come of my negative," she said. "I wanted to bring hope to these children, to these women of domestic abuse." 

Photo Credit: Steve Harvey
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<![CDATA[Top Food Trends for 2016 Revealed]]> Sun, 08 Nov 2015 20:32:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/199*120/PlantSlant2.jpg

Restaurant consultant group Baum + Whiteman has released its top food trends for 2016, and the number one spot didn’t go to one particular meal. Instead, the top trend revolves around how we get our meals.

Delivery services like uberEATS and Grub Hub will become the top food trend of 2016, according to Baum + Whiteman. One factor speeding up the delivery “revolution” is our smartphones.

Starbucks has started to rollout delivery service in New York City’s Empire State Building. Chipotle has also begun delivering in several cities, including Chicago, using the delivery service Postmates.

Coming in second on the top food trends in 2016, clean menus. The report cited a recent survey about concerns over the ingredients in foods. Thirty-six percent of participants said they worry about chemicals in their food, Baum + Whiteman found.

Several big name restaurants have changed their recipes to meet the demand for healthier options. McDonald’s announced earlier this year it would stop treating chickens with human antibiotics. Panera has also promised to end its use of 150 artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives by the end of next year, according to the report.

With the upcoming New Year, some of us may being saying “ciao” to pasta. The possible decline of pasta came in third place on the 2016 food trends list. The carb-o-licious dish has seen a drop in sales over the last five years, according to Baum + Whiteman. In the U.S., pasta sales have slumped 6 percent. The report associated the decrease to more Americans wanting pasta made from vegetables, like zucchini and asparagus.

Other top food trends picked by Baum + Whiteman include the demise of tipping, and the rise of acai bowls. Check out the full list below:

1. Food delivery services
2. Clean menus
3. Cutting down pasta intake
4. Vegetables
5. No tipping
6. Poke (pronounced poke-ay or poh-key), a Hawaiian dish
7. Modern take on Jewish cuisine
8. Acai bowls
9. Fried chicken
10. Spices

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Takei's Debut in Stirring "Allegiance"]]> Mon, 09 Nov 2015 09:21:27 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AllegianceMain.jpg

“Allegiance” is the new Broadway musical inspired by “Star Trek” alum George Takei’s experience in Japanese internment camps during World War II. It’s a poignant and well-crafted story, with a title that operates on multiple levels.

Here, allegiance refers to the loyalty we feel for country. And, obligations we have to family and friends. And finally, truths we live by as individuals—the determination to stand our ground when life sours. All these ideas are woven smartly into the often-stirring drama now at the Longacre Theatre.

“Allegiance” marks the return to Broadway of Lea Salonga, the “Miss Saigon” vet. It’s got a star turn by lead Telly Leung, a “Glee” actor who carries a great burden as Sammy Kimura, a young American whose earlier preoccupations become trivial when his family is forced from their home after Pearl Harbor.

It also marks the Broadway debut of Takei, 78, whose 2011 toe-dip into social media—taken to draw attention to “Allegiance,” then preparing for its world premiere in San Diego—made him into a modern advocate for Asian-American and LGBT causes.

The story told here may not be one with which many Americans are familiar, or particularly want to be. It’s uncomfortable. During the war, the U.S. government relocated 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent to internment camps. Takei’s family was among them.

“Allegiance” was born during a chance 2008 encounter Takei had with the men who would become responsible for its music and book. It marks the Broadway directorial debut of Stafford Arima (MCC’s “Carrie”), whose own father was interned during the war. Audiences may find some of Arima’s choices polarizing, especially as they pertain to depiction of the U.S. military.

For its unusual subject matter, “Allegiance” mirrors the structure of classic musicals, with operatic ballads and humorous diversions (“I Oughta Go” offers one fanciful bit of slapstick). “Wishes on the Wind” is a strong curtain-raiser that introduces characters as they celebrate harvest by hanging wishes on a traditional wish tree.

Takei is Ojii-chan (“Grandpa”). Sammy Kimura (Leung) is an unfocused young adult, raised by his older sister, Kei (Salonga). Their stoic father is played by Christopheren Nomura, a Grammy-nominated baritone.

When war comes, Sammy tries to enlist, but is rebuffed by a recruiting officer: “A Jap is a Jap.” Locations vary, but most of the show is set at one camp, in the shadow of a horrifically dusty Wyoming mountain. There, Sammy meets a well-meaning Omaha-blonde nurse (an endearing Katie Rose Clarke) and becomes determined to prove his loyalties to the United States.

At the same time, Kei begins a relationship with Frankie (Michael K. Lee, in a performance people will be talking about), who will evolve into an anti-U.S. government leader of the camp’s resistance.

A critical plot point revolves around loyalty questionnaires, which asked internees if they would be willing to serve America in the armed forces.

Other scenes play out in Washington, D.C., where an advocate for Japanese-American civil rights (Greg Watanabe) makes fateful decisions about the future of his flock, and in battle, where Sammy is injured, anointed a hero and turned into a propaganda tool for the U.S. Army.

Characters are fleshed out and music feels polished. In an expressive first-act song, Leung struggles with “What Makes a Man.” Later, Salonga has a gorgeous solo, “Higher,” about reaching for our dreams.

As for Takei, he gets out of his own way here, to potent effect. As Ojii-chan, he helps convey the idea of “Gaman,” a Zen Buddhist term that means “endurance with dignity,” a guiding principle pertinent to the daily lives of the interned. In scenes that bookend “Allegiance,” set a half-century after most of the story, Takei plays Sammy as an elderly man.

A mystery that isn’t fully clarified until the end is Sammy’s foreshadowed estrangement from Kei.

“Allegiance” is likely to spur questions about whether the actions of the U.S. government are overstated … or sugarcoated. American soldiers are generally played as villainous. There is a relevance to the current political climate concerning immigrants that rings loud and clear.

“Allegiance” will have you asking why Japanese-Americans were interned as a class, when Germans and Italians were done so only intermittently. It’s meant to be funny when one of Sammy’s buddies says: “We’re at war with Italy, but nobody put Joe DiMaggio in a camp.” The line indeed gets a laugh, but it’s gallows humor.

“Allegiance,” with an open-ended run at the Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St. Tickets: $65-$149. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Gloria Estefan's Life Goes to Broadway in 'On Your Feet!']]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:15:18 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/OnYourFeetMain.jpg

There’s a statement about immigrants in that other Broadway musical with a mostly Latino cast that could just as well be in the script for “On Your Feet!” -- “We get the job done.”

That other show, “Hamilton,” is about perseverance and the American Dream, which happen to be identical themes radiating through the new appraisal of the lives of Cuban immigrants Gloria and Emilio Estefan. “On Your Feet!” is now open at the Marquis Theatre.

“On Your Feet!” is uneven and occasionally long-winded. It’s also sometimes inspiring and uplifting. The two lead performers, Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra, are charismatic, in different ways.

Numerous jukebox musical tropes are at work in “On Your Feet!” A first-act montage seems drawn from Broadway’s how-to guide for depicting grassroots persistence, as Miami Sound Machine members fight to get “Conga” on the radio by “taking it to the people” at a bar mitzvah, an Italian wedding and a Shriners conference.

The visuals are fun; the idea, corny.

What the musical does best, though, is illustrate the sacrifices it took for the Estefans to succeed. The duo puts up a chunk of their own money to see this story told. That probably ensures a certain perspective, but we still see intimate moments of anger and guilt between husband and wife.

A trio of heavy-hitters helped get “Feet!” on its way. Writer Alexander Dinelaris won an Oscar for his “Birdman” screenplay; “Kinky Boots” director Jerry Mitchell is at the helm; and choreographer Sergio Trujillo (“Memphis” and “Jersey Boys”) has his salsa-loving cast gyrating every which way they can.

Over two and a half hours, we learn how young Gloria cared for her father, wounded at both the Bay of Pigs and again in Vietnam. We experience the tug-of-war between Gloria and her mother (a strong Andréa Burns, of “In the Heights”), who is jealous of her daughter’s opportunities, with good reason.

And we see a violent recreation of the 1990 tour bus accident that broke Gloria’s back. Gloria Estefan was in the audience at the performance I saw this week -- can we fathom what it must be like for her to watch? (There seems to be confusion among ticket buyers about whether the singer, 58, is in this show. She’s not, of course, though members of Miami Sound Machine are in the orchestra.)

Villafañe, also a Cuban immigrant from Miami, looks and sounds like Estefan. When she covers the hits (“Anything For You,” and so on), we’re back in the bouncy, pop-music part of the 1980s. As Grammy-winning producer Emilio Estefan, Segarra (“Lysistrata Jones”) sings in a subdued way. His acting is more engaging, and his entrance, in a pair of only-in-Miami shorts, is charming.


Dinelaris’s book does some unnecessary pandering. Gloria’s grandmother (Alma Cuervo) is a winking caricature whose antics diminish the story-telling. There’s a coarse record company executive who seems to exist for reasons better explained by Sir Robin in “Spamalot” -- “You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews!”

The finale has the ensemble performing a glittery mash-up of “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” “Turn the Beat Around” and others. In that spot, at least, “On Your Feet!” rivals top-notch jukebox musicals. “On Your Feet!” isn’t quite “Jersey Boys,” but in places, the rhythm is gonna get you.

“On Your Feet!” has an open-ended run at the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway. Tickets: $55-$149. Call 800-745-3000.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy]]>
<![CDATA[H&M's Balmain X Clothes Spark Shopping Frenzy]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 15:34:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Balmainhm.jpg

Demand for H&M's new collection of clothes by luxury Parisian fashion house Balmain prompted wild scenes at some stores, briefly crashed H&M's website, and had outfits going for up to triple the price on Ebay. 

The collection, Balmain X, was released Thursday as part of a new partnership between the businesses. Interest in the 109-piece collection quickly turned some H&M stores inside-out and left the store's website offline for two hours. The frenzy led some to question online whether H&M wasn't prepared for the large interest in the new clothes.

H&M spokesperson Hallie Ruben said in an email they expected the collection to sell out.

"Most of our customers appreciate the fact that the collections are limited," she said. "Within the collection there are different quantities of the various items and it is always a challenge to find the right amount for each item."

Balmain's collection is headed by creative director, Olivier Rousteing. Balmain's clothes were made famous by model Kendall Jenner. The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star led the runway for Balmain during Paris Fashion Week in October, and starred in a commercial that has received millions of views on YouTube.

Videos and photographs on social media Thursday showed packed stores and shoppers rushing to grab the highly sought-after clothes. In one video, two customers tugged at a jacket.


H&M's website was unavailable from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., with shoppers greeted by a message saying the site had a lot of visitors due to the high level of interest in the latest collection. Customers were told to try loading the page again.

While searching for the collections online, some people spotted the same items being sold at much higher prices on the shopping and auction site Ebay.com.

A $199 Balmain "Green Sequin Embroidered Dress" was listed on Ebay for $550 or best offer. A sold-out pair of "Sandal Boots," originally listed at $199 on H&M's website, were going for almost $500 on Ebay.

Ruben, with H&M, said that while they prefer selling to take place at their stores or websites, there are no laws against people selling their secondhand clothes.

Photo Credit: Fidel Solano
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<![CDATA['Disaster!' Headed to Broadway]]> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 13:42:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Disaster3ITW.jpg

“Disaster!,” the musical comedy that debuted off-Broadway in 2012, will return to the New York stage with a superstar cast and big new home: Broadway.

Written by SiriusXM host Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick, “Disaster!” will being performances at the Nederlander Theatre on Feb. 9, 2016, with an official opening set for March 8.

Rudetsky will star in the show, alongside Tony winners Roger Bart (“The Producers”) and Faith Prince (“Guys and Dolls”) and Tony nominees Kerry Butler (“Xanadu”), Adam Pascal (“Rent”) and Kevin Chamberlin (“The Addams Family”).

Rachel York (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”), Jennifer Simard (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”), Max Crumm (“NBC’s “Grease: You’re The One That I Want”) and Broadway newcomer Lacretta Nicole round out the cast.

The musical parodies the popular disaster movies of the 1970s like “The Poseidon Adventure," with earthquakes, tidal waves and infernos attacking a group aboard New York’s first floating disco casino.

Its score features popular disco, pop and rock hits of the '70s, including Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” Barry Manilow’s “Daybreak” and Ami Stewart’s “Knock on Wood."

Plotnick will also direct, as he did for the two off-Broadway productions of “Disaster!,” in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

For tickets and more information, visit www.disastermusical.com.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Town Named America's Best Small City]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 16:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/princeton+university+meningitis+vaccine.jpg

The best small city in America isn't a picturesque vista by the sea or a quirky town in the midwest -- it's in the Garden State, according to one website.

That's right, the best small city in the United States is Princeton, New Jersey, according to personal finance site WalletHub.

The site ranked 1,268 cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000, factoring in housing costs, cost of living, unemployment rate, income growth, population growth, quality of school systems, average commute time and the number of restaurants and coffee shops in the city.

Princeton scored high marks in nearly every category, ranking first in "economic health" and seventh in "education and health." the only place it falls short is affordability, where it is ranked No. 1,144.

Several other New Jersey towns scored well in the rankings: Paramus, Hoboken and Westfield, were all among the top 100.

The top-rated small city in New York, according to WalletHub is Saratoga Springs, which came in at No. 84 on the list.

<![CDATA[Broadway's Best Set for Thanksgiving Day Parade]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 16:15:20 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-459594948+%281%29.jpg

Six of Broadway’s newest musicals and revivals will perform in the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will be broadcast live on Nov. 26 on NBC.

“Fiddler on the Roof,” “Finding Neverland,” “The King and I,” “On Your Feet!” and “Something Rotten!” will all perform during the first hour of the telecast, beginning at 9 a.m.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s upcoming new musical “School of Rock” will also be featured in the parade -- though it will have its own float, giving its young band a big platform.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will also feature a special performance by the cast of NBC’s “The Wiz Live!”

Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano | Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Northern Lights Sighting Possible in Tri-State Tonight]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 18:18:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC-ktuu-northern-lights.jpg

Recent solar activity on the sun will likely trigger Northern Lights in the higher latitudes overnight, possibly giving stargazers a rare treat, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.

According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the phenomenon may be visible overhead in parts of upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, reports NJ.com. The lights may also be able to be seen from New Jersey.

Typically the display is best the farther north you go, unless clouds impede the view like tonight.

When looking for the Northern Lights, look low on the horizon and try to avoid city lights.

While we may catch a glimpse of the lights in the tri-state area, by far the most vivid displays are likely in places like Alaska and Canada.

<![CDATA[Hungry? National Sandwich Day Deals, Freebies]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 23:15:20 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/subway+sandwich.jpg

If there's anything we love more than made-up holidays, it's sandwiches. Combine the two, and we know what we're having for lunch today.

Tuesday is National Sandwich Day, and to celebrate, several restaurants are giving away some sweet deals. 

Here are some of the best National Sandwich Day deals:

Head to your neighborhood Subway with a friend for a BOGO bargain. Buy one sandwich and get one free with the purchase of a 30 oz. drink.

Pull out your smartphone and download Capriotti's app to be automatically entered for free hand crafted sandwiches for life. That's like National Sandwich Day -- everyday!

You're going to have to do a little work if you want a free sandwich from Quiznos. The sandwich chain says the person who leaves the best comment on their Facebook page will get hooked up. 

All you have to do to get a free sandwich at McDonald's is download their app. 

<![CDATA[Rockefeller Center Tree to Arrive in NYC This Week]]> Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:39:00 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/459908436.jpg

The 78-foot Norway spruce that will be the Rockefeller Center tree this year will be cut down Wednesday from a home in Ulster County and hoisted on a trailer to make its journey to New York City.

The 10-ton tree will be cut down Wednesday from the Gardiner property of Albert Asendorf and Nancy Puchalski. It will be put on a 115-foot-long trailer to make the 80-mile journey to Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan, where it will be erected on Friday.

The tree will be illuminated for the first time on Dec. 2 in a ceremony that's been held since 1933.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Trouble for Charles in Imagined Game of Thrones]]> Sun, 01 Nov 2015 20:20:35 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/KingChalesIIIMain.jpg

At ease, armchair royalists. No need to wait for the return of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” because one is playing out today at the Music Box Theater, where “King Charles III”—a “future history” drama about the ascension of the current Prince of Wales—has just opened.

Mike Bartlett’s provocative and absorbing drama imagines the first days of King Charles’s rule, after the death of Elizabeth. For its West End run, “King Charles III” won the 2015 Olivier Award for best new play. It’s transferred to Broadway with original star Tim Pigott-Smith in the title role.

“King Charles III” is charged, exciting theater, and its star is, to borrow a phrase, every inch a king.

Bartlett’s a clever and concise writer (last represented here Off-Broadway with “The Cockfight Play” and “Bull”), and three things are striking about “King Charles III” from the get-go.

First, it’s bracingly suspenseful for a story that hinges on a parliamentary bill. Next, there’s a misandrist streak here for the ages—one departs with the notion that royal males are oafish, and the U.K. is run by emboldened women.

Last, the story is told in iambic pentameter and modeled on a clutch of Shakespearean tragedies and histories. The language, though, is contemporary and straightforward: “But now I’ll rise to how things have to be. The queen is dead, long live the King. That’s me.”

Early in “King Charles III,” the prime minister (Adam James) arrives for the weekly meeting with the head of state—recall, we learned about these sessions last season with “The Audience.” The confab hits an obstacle quickly, though. A privacy law has been passed by Parliament that will curtail the press, but Charles doesn’t want to rubber-stamp the legislation.

From there, “King Charles III” dives into the profound response by tax-paying countrymen to interference by a member of the royal family with their elected representatives. (We also get a nifty lesson in precedence—you’ll want go home and read up on William IV.)

Pigott-Smith has appeared on Broadway twice before (including 1999’s ’“The Iceman Cometh,” with Kevin Spacey), though he may be more easily recognized from a turn on “Downton Abbey.”

His is a fascinating performance, and you’ll likely sit there wondering: how can this man, who perhaps more than anyone in England has seen his life impacted by press-run-amok, be so concerned with media freedoms? Bartlett, via Charles, answers, saying an unrestricted press is “the way a just society should work.”

Were Pigott-Smith not so effective in conveying Charles’s convictions, this narrative would crumble like a day-old scone. As matters are, though, Charles’s heavy-handed actions feel wholly imaginable.

Lydia Wilson, as Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is a crafty Lady Macbeth, encouraging her milquetoast husband William (Oliver Chris) to challenge his father. Tafleen Steen does lovely work as a commoner who meets Harry (ginger-haired firecracker Richard Goulding) in a bar and fosters in him dreams of an ordinary existence.

Princess Diana (Sally Scott) appears in ghostly form, haunting her ex-husband and elder son, puffing up egos by suggesting actions that could make them “the greatest” of kings—scenes that flirted with being too corny, for my money.

Effective staging by director Rupert Goold (the set calls to mind “Wolf Hall”) whets my appetite for his coming work in “American Psycho.” “King Charles III” is a scandalous good time that, like “The Audience” and its cinematic predecessor, “The Queen,” leaves you questioning the relevancy of the monarchy.

Bartlett doesn’t seem to take a side, but he has a rip-roaring time exploring the territory.

“King Charles III,” through Jan. 31, 2016, at the Music Box Theatre, 239 W. 45th St. Tickets: $37-$149. Call 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Study: What Makes Selfies Better]]> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 06:54:06 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/teaser.jpg

They're everywhere: modern self portraits shrunk down to fit the size of a mobile screen.

Better known as a selfie.

Stanford University Ph.D student Andrej Karpathy wanted to figure out what makes one selfie better than the rest with a visual recognition computer process, so he ran over 2 million photos tagged as selfies through the system.

The system, Convolutional Neural Network, or ConvNets for short, calculated how many people have seen and liked each photo, and Karpathy normalized the results based on the followers each user had.

After creating this rubric, Karpathy entered in another 50,000 new photos and had ConvNets order them from "best" to "worst" according to his algorithm. One key finding was that the style of the image is more important than the raw attractiveness of the person.

Wondering if your selfies pass the test? Karpathy created a Twitter account that rates your selfie for you.

Here are some of his most interesting findings, according to his blog:


Females: Women are consistently ranked higher than men. There were no men on the top 100 "best" photos produced by ConvNets

Face occupies about 1/3 of the frame: The top photos showed faces positioned in the center and occupying about 1/3 of the frame. In many photos, the head was slightly tilted.

Forehead cut-off: At least for women, cutting off the forehead seemed like a popular strategy. Especially with long hair strands running down the shoulders. 

Oversaturate the face: An over-saturated face makes the photo more uniform.

Filters and borders: Black and white photos did very well and most top images contained a filter that decreases the contrast. Horizontal or vertical white borders also made a frequent appearance on the top photos by ConvNet.


Low lighting: Darker photos which appear more grainy were ranked as the least appeal photos. 

Zoomed in face: Such a close up view was a turn off and resulted in some of the worst photos.

Group selfies: While Ellen Degeneres and friends had one of the greatest selfies of all time at the Oscars in 2014, this practice is not commonly viewed as the best selfie practice. Karpathy suggests to "keep it simple and take up all the space yourself," presumably, with your head partially cut off. 

Photo Credit: Andrej Karpathy blog]]>