<![CDATA[NBC New York - The Scene]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:36:17 -0500 Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:36:17 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Q&A: NeNe Leakes Gets Real]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:53:29 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/163848016CB019_2013_Bravo_N.jpg

NeNe Leakes, the star of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is known for her outspoken attitude and sassy one-liners.

It’s what’s made her one of the most successful reality stars working today, with runs on “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Celebrity Apprentice” and even her own clothing line, The NeNe Leakes Collection, for HSN.

But prior to her “Housewives” fame, NeNe Leakes was a working actress. It’s a muscle she flexed on NBC’s “The New Normal” and FOX’s “Glee.” And it’s one that’s brought the 46-year-old to her next step in her career: Broadway

Tonight, Leaks begins her run as the evil stepmother Madame in “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Leakes will remain with the production through its final performance on Jan. 3.

On the eve of her opening night, Leakes spilled the tea with NBC 4 New York on “Cinderella” and the new season of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

NBC 4 NEW YORK: Is this your first holiday season in New York?
NENE LEAKES: It is. I’ve been here once or maybe twice for New Year’s Eve, but I’ve never lived here this long a period of time. My youngest son and my husband are here now, and right now we’re scrambling looking for a place to eat for Thanksgiving. Usually I cook for my family, but this year we’re going out.

NBC4NY:: How has the process been of preparing for “Cinderella”?
LEAKES: It’s been really tough. It’s not an easy role to play. I’m struggling with my voice now — sleeping with a humidifier and trying to make it to opening night. It’s a lot of work. Eight shows are a lot of shows in one week. But it’s definitely a dream come true. I think every actor dreams of doing Broadway one day.

NBC4NY: Your character in “Cinderella” has a villainous streak. Is it hard to relate to someone like that?
LEAKES: Well she’s definitely a lady with a dream. She wants her daughters to marry up, and she wants a better life for herself. Now, the way she goes about it may not be the way you go about it. But her intentions are good. I can relate to that. I’ve always been a dreamer. I want my children to have a better life. And she speaks her mind and is a little wicked, but she also has a heart. At the end, she asks to be forgiven. That’s a big thing to do.

NBC4NY: You recently completed a run in the Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas hit, “Zumanity.” What did you learn there that you plan to take with you to Broadway?
LEAKES: There were some tough audiences some nights at “Zumanity,” let me tell you. But I learned to block out all the other things that were going on around me, and really play the moment. I’m hoping I’m able to do that — to really forget about the audience being there. I’m definitely nervous.

NBC4NY: Nervous? That doesn’t sound like the NeNe I know. 
LEAKES: Oh I am scared of my debut. I don’t want to miss my lines. But you’re supposed to be scared. At Zumanity, when I walked out there, I was a nervous wreck. But after you get the first show under your belt, you feel like you can really go out there and have fun. I’m sure the tonight will be a complete blur.

NBC4NY: Has this experience been very different than working on “RHOA”?
LEAKES: Completely. Working on “Housewives” can be very negative at times. I think that’s the way (the producers) position the show. I’m the original — I’m the center of the show. Every season they want someone to come for me. It’s tough. Broadway is more about the work and the art. It’s being creative. And every one wants to go out there and deliver and put on a good show. It’s very positive.

NBC4NY: I can’t imagine what it must be like to work in an environment like “Housewives” where you’re constantly attacked.
LEAKES: It is hard, I’m telling you. I promise it will take everything in your body to do that. The show has definitely damaged me to the point where I don’t want to make friends with new people. People who I open up, later on they turn on me once they get a raise on the show. I always think to myself, “God, these people will work for a $1.50 to do ANYTHING.” I just can’t do it.

NBC4NY: Do you ever have any regrets about doing “RHOA”?
LEAKES: There are some things along the way that I wish I hadn’t said. Like when me and my husband had our issues, or some of the conversations I had with my son. But there aren’t things I really regret. The show has been amazing for me, and opened up many doors for me. So for that I am very grateful to Bravo.

NBC4NY: Well I hope we get to see some of the NeNe sass we’ve come to know and love on “Housewives” in “Cinderella.”
LEAKES: I hope so too. I don’t know if you’ll see that the first night, but I hope I can grow into that.

"Cinderella," through Jan. 3, 2015 at the Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway (at 53rd Street). Tickets: $39-$157. Call Telecharge: 212-239-6200 or visit cinderellaonbroadway.com

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Find the Perfect Present: Gift Guide 2014]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:59:48 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/gift-guide-promo2.jpg
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<![CDATA[Sting Boards the Cast of “The Last Ship”]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:58:29 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/525114637RK005_The_Last_Shi.jpg

Your chance to see Sting on Broadway again is finally here.

The 16-time Grammy winner and frontman of The Police, who made his Broadway acting debut in the 1989 revival of “Threepenny Opera,” will join the cast of “The Last Ship,” the musical about struggling shipyard town in England for which he wrote the music and lyrics.

Sting’s limited run in the show begins Dec. 9 and goes through Jan. 10, 2015. He’ll play Jackie White, the shipyard foreman originated on Broadway by Jimmy Nail.

"We have spent five years working on ‘The Last Ship’ and I have relished every moment of that process," said Sting, in a statement. "It is my distinct honor to join this remarkable cast and play the part of Jackie until I pass the baton back to Jimmy."

“The Last Ship” opened to mixed reviews, and has been struggling at the box office in recent weeks. The production played only to 61.6 percent capacity for the week ending Nov. 16, grossing only $536,449 — over $100K less than it needs to cover its overhead costs.

This won’t be the first time Sting has performed the songs found in “The Last Ship.” He originally released his own recordings on a 2013 album of the same name.

This also won’t be the first time Sting has performed with the cast of “The Last Ship” either. The musician was joined by Nail for a special PBS “Great Performances” series filmed at the Public Theater last year.

He also often joins "The Last Ship" cast for the annual Saturday Night Scream, a tradition on 52nd Street where the casts from the August Wilson Theater and the Neil Simon Theater perform for five minutes before their Saturday night shows. Here is Sting and the cast doing “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” last month:

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Glenn Close Returns to Broadway in “A Delicate Balance” ]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 21:20:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DelicateBalanceITW.jpg

If you’re going to do an Edward Albee play, you better be sure you have your bar pretty well-stocked.

The “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” playwright loves to get his characters liquored up. It seems to help their deep secrets and personal demons bubble to the surface more quickly. You know -- the whole “finding yourself in the bottom of a glass” thing.

There’s a lot of that in "A Delicate Balance," Albee’s 1967 Pulitzer Prize-winning domestic drama that’s just opened at the John Golden Theater. In the stellar revival, from Tony-winning director Pat MacKinnon, the bar so integral to the story, it might as well be another character in the play.

It won’t get entrance applause, though. That honor goes to three-time Tony winner Glenn Close, who is making her a triumphant return to Broadway after 20 years away. (Her last role on the boards was as Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1994 mega-musical “Sunset Boulevard”).

“A Delicate Balance” proves to be the perfect vehicle for Close. In the ensemble piece, she plays Agnes, a poised upper-middle-class suburban matron determined to keep everyone in her life in balance.

Close’s on-stage husband, Tobias, is played by John Lithgow, her co-star in the 1982 movie “The World According to Garp.” Tobais is the ultimate pleaser. A shell of a man. You get the sense that he’s retired not just in his career, but also in every facet of his life.

Agnes and Tobias have never truly dealt with the deep frustrations in their strained marriage. Like many WASPs, they’ve found escape through avoidance.

But they've never been able to escape their duties as caretakers. Even as empty nesters, their house is perpetually filled.

There’s Agnes’ sister Claire (Lindsay Duncan) -- a self-described drunk with a sharp tongue and a complete lack of filter. And Julia (Martha Plimpton, tough as ever) — their bratty, attention-seeking daughter who is returning home (at 36-years-old) after her fourth failed marriage.

Oh, and lifelong family friends Harry and Edna (Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins, perfectly paired), who stop by looking for sanctuary from an unnamed “terror” which has drove them from their home.

On the surface, Agnes seems like an easy role to play -- a cold, emotionless monster who always appears to be in control. But Close paints a much more complex portrait. Her Agnes is a woman carrying layers of sadness and loss under that strength; A woman who allows herself to breathe through humor and love.

It’s a transfixing performance. Understated, yet the glue that holds everyone together. And Albee’s words -- often presented in long, compound, poignant paragraphs -- will sound like pure poetry coming out of Close’s mouth.

The more showy role of the bunch is Claire (pictured above, with Lithgow and Close), to whom Albee gives all the funniest lines. Duncan delivers them perfectly. The British actress has embraced Claire’s dry sense of humor, and never falls into the pitfall of clichéd drunken overacting.

Claire is probably the most self-aware member of the family. She willingly drinks to not only escape, but also to avenge -- to pay her sister back for the pain that’s come with a lifetime of being viewed as an embarrassment. Duncan shows fragility in her portrayal of someone who is simply tolerated, not loved.

Those who saw Lithgow’s take on King Lear at the Delacorte this summer might be surprised to see him playing such a meek man. But Lithgow never lets us think that Tobias is a fool. He’s just walked away from the battlefield. And when Tobias eventually returns to the fight in a pivotal scene in the play’s third act, Lithgow leaves him raw, exposed and completely defenseless.

MacKinnon, who won a Tony for directing the 2012 revival of Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," guides these greats through the author's lengthy literature wisely, striking her own delicate balance between pacing and performance (the show clocks-in at nearly three hours, with two 10-minute intermissions, though never feels long). And Santo Loquasto’s exquisite scenic design is almost as detailed and compelling as the performances happening within it.

There’s a lot of mystery in “A Delicate Balance.” Albee never reveals some plot details, and when the curtain comes down, you’ll have unanswered questions. That can be frustrating. But you’ll certainly have a lot to discuss and unpack on the way home.

Or, you know… at the bar.

“A Delicate Balance,” through Feb. 22, 2015 at the John Golden Theater. 252 W. 45th St. Tickets: $60—$155. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Photo Credit: Brigitte Lacombe]]>
<![CDATA[The Broadway Community Remembers Mike Nichols]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:57:15 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/456420222.jpg

Iconic director of stage and screen Mike Nichols died of cardiac arrest on Nov. 19. He was 83.

Among the many accomplishments of Nichols’ esteemed career is the immense effect he had on the Broadway community.

Nichols debuted on Broadway in 1960 as a performer in “An Evening with Mike Nichols and Elaine May.” The comedy duo’s recording of the hit show earned Nichols a Grammy for Best Comedic Performance -- the first of Nichols’ EGOT achievement.

Nichols directed more than 20 Broadway shows -- winning eight Tonys for best director along the way. He made his directorial debut in 1963 with Neil Simon’s “Barefoot in the Park” -- and would go on to helm Neil Simon-classics like “The Odd Couple” and “The Prisoner of Second Avenue.”

He also directed the original productions of Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” and the Monty Python’s “Spamalot” -- both of which would take top honors at the Tonys.

Last season, Nichols was represented on Broadway with the Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz-lead “Betrayal.” Before that was 2012’s acclaimed revival of “Death of a Salesman,” for which he took home his eighth Tony and directed the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final Broadway outing.

Nichols produced Broadway shows, too, including the original production of “Annie” and two solo shows for Whoopi Goldberg.

His career as a film director began while sticking to his theatrical roots -- directing the film version of Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” He would win an Oscar for that and take home two Emmys for small screen adaptations of Margaret Edson’s “Wit” and Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

He also directed film adaptations of Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” and Patrick Marber’s “Closer,” plus the hit film “The Birdcage,” an adaptation of “La Cage aux Folles” starring Nathan Lane and the late Robin Williams.

At the time of his death, Nichols was once again adapting a popular stage play for TV -- this time, Terrence McNally’s “Master Class” for HBO. The Tony-winning play, about opera legend Maria Callas, reunited Nichols with frequent collaborator Meryl Streep, who hailed Nichols as one of the essential artists of our time.

"No explanation of our world could be complete and no account or image of it so rich if we didn’t have [him],” Streep tweeted.

Known for making stars out of the actors whom he cast, Nichols worked with many of the greats on the Great White Way, including Morgan Freeman, Frances McDormand, Peter Gallagher, Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Andrew Garfield, Cynthia Nixon, Sigourney Weaver and Judith Ivey.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Sara Ramirez, who won a Tony for her role in “Spamalot,” tweeted that Nichols was“an extraordinary man who impacted so many lives with his art, love, wit and humor.”

“My first Broadway audition was for ‘Spamalot,’” tweeted Tony-winner Steve Kazee (“Once”). “My time with Mike Nichols...I consider to be some of the most valuable time of my life. He was truly a genius. More than that he became a friend and a mentor. I could never truly express all the good he brought to my life on so many levels.”

"Thank you to the legendary Mike Nichols for directing me in my Broadway debut," tweeted "Pitch Perfect" star Anna Camp, who worked with Nichols in 2008's "The Country Girl." 

Many of Nichols other collaborators and friends shared their memories of him. 

"I'm absolutely heartbroken," tweeted Audra McDonald. "I love you."

"River" star Hugh Jackman called him "A true visionary and friend" on twitter, while "Glee" star Matthew Morrison thanked Nichols for giving him the advice to help him continue on his own path when he was a struggling young actor.

"I wish I could capture in 140 characters what a wonderful man Mike Nichols was, and how much I loved him and his work," tweeted Hank Azaria, who worked with Nichols in "Spamalot." "I will truly miss him." 

Patrick Wilson, who starred in "Angels in America," said Nichols "gave me my film career" and praised him for his unmatched legacy. "His Cheshire Cat smile looms large." 

The marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will dim their lights Friday, Nov. 21 at 7:45pm in memory of Nichols. 

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[“Rock of Ages” Will Close on Broadway]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:13:05 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/RockOfAgesITW.jpg

It’s the final countdown.

“Rock of Ages” will plays its final Broadway performance at the Helen Hayes Theatre on Jan. 18.

At the time of its closing, it will have played 22 previews and 2,328 performances — making it the 27th longest running show in Broadway history.

The ‘80s jukebox musical, with a book by Chris D'Arienzo, features rock hits from many of the glam metal bands of the decade, like Poison, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Styx, Journey, Steve Perry and Europe.

Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough starred in the 2012 movie adaptation. 

"Rock of Ages" had a bit of an unconventional road to Broadway, beginning at The Vanguard Hollywood nightclub in Los Angeles back in January 2006. A limited run at The Flamingo in Las Vegas followed, before “Rock of Ages” made its way to New York in October 2008 at Off-Broadway’s New World Stages.

The show officially opened on Broadway on April 7, 2009, and received five Tony nominations that year, including for Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for star Constantine Maroulis.

Maroulis has rejoined the cast of “Rock of Ages” -- along with six other members of the original cast -- and will remain with the production through closing. They’re joined by YouTube famer Chester See and “Big Brother” star Frankie Grande (brother of Ariana), who are both new to the show.

For tickets and more information, visit rockofagesmusical.com.

<![CDATA[Review: “Side Show” Takes Center Stage]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 21:31:48 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SideShowBway5w.jpg

Freak shows are very in these days.

Between the weekly dose of circus scares on FX’s “American Horror Story: Freak Show," to the upcoming Broadway revival of “The Elephant Man” starring Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper, the pinheads and bearded ladies of the Big Top’s sidelines are stepping front and center.

The latest in the freak show frenzy is the slick new revival of “Side Show,” now open at the St. James Theatre. Directed by the Oscar-winning Bill Condon (of the film versions of “Chicago” and “Dreamgirls”), the musical tells the tale of Violet and Daisy Hilton, conjoined twins who long to find acceptance in the world outside of the carnival.

The story is based on the real-life Siamese twins of the same name – sideshow stars who toured the vaudeville circuit in the 1930s and starred in the 1932 film “Freaks.”

The wonderful Erin Davie and Emily Padgett star as Violet and Daisy, respectively. Though each dream of “walking down the street with no one noticing,” there’s friction amongst the twins in how they see each their future. Daisy wants fame; Violet, stability.

Enter Terry (Ryan Silverman) and Buddy (Matthew Hydzik), two smooth-talking producers who promise success on the Orpheum Circuit. Soon, our heroines are leaving behind their oppressive guardian Sir (the delightfully creepy Robert Joy) and their family of freaks for freedom and the possibility of the seemingly impossible: love.

Those who saw the original 1997 Broadway production might see Condon’s “Side Show” as more of a reworking than a revival. Composer Henry Krieger (“Dreamgirls) and lyricist Bill Russell (“Pageant”) have added 10 new songs. Russell and Condon have reworked the book extensively, clarifying, among other things, the cruel childhood that brought the sisters to the side show in the first place.

Many of the changes work, especially new numbers like “Ready to Play” and “Stuck With You,” which present Violet and Daisy at their vaudeville-best. (You’ll have a hard time taking your eyes off of Anthony Van Laast’s clever choreography).

But there are problems. A new Harry Houdini anecdote, meant to clarify how the girls learned to find solitude in their psyches, feels more like an unnecessary detour. The show has also yet to understand what to do with the subplot of Jake (the powerful David St. Louis), the girl’s black handler whose unrequited love for Violet never gets the exploration or complication it deserves.

What remains constant in both productions of “Side Show,” though, are the near flawless performances by its two leading ladies. Davie and Padgett (pictured below), like Emily Skinner and Alice Ripley before them, are masterful here. Each colors her twin with a distinguishable personality, yet gracefully moves together as a single unit.

You’ll innately identify with Violet and Daisy’s struggle for acceptance, and their desire for independence despite an overall fear of loneliness. But Davie and Pagett don’t get trapped in the weak moments. Any vulnerability they show is washed away when they hold hands, as if an electrical beam of strength is passing through them.

They sound great, too, with bright, bold vibratos on display in perfect harmony in showstoppers like “Who Will Love Me As I Am?” and “I Will Never Leave You” (both held over from the original production).

Silverman and Hydzik are lovely complements to Davie and Padgett, with their undeniable charisma on full display. Unfortunately, the book is structured so that neither gets to explore his character’s true intentions until late in the second act — a point at which is too late to warrant much compassion.

There’s not a weak link among our ensemble, who play, amongst other parts, our choir of freaks. They do an excellent job at establishing the community among society’s outcast, and transform “The Devil You Know” into an explosive standout in the show. They’re also given much to work with in Paul Tazewell’s rich, elaborate costumes — the details of which can be seen from the last row.

Still, there’s something amiss in this new “Side Show.” It could be the polish of Condon’s direction, which can leave you feeling empty. Or the production design itself, which appears far more grand and cinematic than the story can support. The danger never feels dangerous enough. The challenges, never that hard to overcome.

“Side Show” wasn’t a hit when it played on Broadway back in 1997. Despite its five Tony nominations, the show opened to mixed reviews and closed after only 91 performances. And though it has attracted a cult following through the years among the theater kids and the cabaret scene, “Side Show” has never achieved mainstream success.

Perhaps that will change with this revival. If ever there were a time for the freaks to snatch the spotlight, it would be now.

“Side Show,” at the St. James Theatre, 246 West 44th Street. Tickets: $49-$155. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Web Extra: Annaleigh the Dancer]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:36:03 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000005327365_1200x675_358686275701.jpg In "You Can't Take It With You" on Broadway, Annaleigh Ashford plays Essie Sycamore, who thinks she can dance. In real life, Ashford can dance very well but her character, not so much. She recently told Gus Rosendale about the dancing, and the toll on her toes.]]> <![CDATA[Review: "The River" Finds Hugh Jackman in Troubled Waters]]> Sun, 16 Nov 2014 21:22:57 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/RiverMain.jpg

You can’t help being mesmerized when Hugh Jackman talks about fishing during “The River,” the new 85-minute drama by playwright Jez Butterworth.

Hooking a trout is akin to “catching a lightning bolt” or “jamming your finger into a socket.” The sensation is “like a million sunsets rolled into a ball and shot straight into your veins.”

Got shivers? When Jackman puts it that way, he makes trout-fishing sound a lot like falling in love. So we may be here, at the Circle in the Square—where the beloved song-and-dance man is working well outside his customary milieu—for a little romance.

Then again, we may not.

What you’ll hear about “The River” is that it’s hard to describe without giving away too much. This much is fair: A man has brought his new girlfriend to a remote cabin for a night of trout-fishing. It’s never specified where, but given all the fetching accents involved, my vote is for somewhere in Australia.

“The River,” Butterworth’s first new play since 2009’s award-winning “Jerusalem,” is not for theatergoers who demand resolution. There’s no traditional plot, and the narrative is non-linear. It’s as much about what we bring to it—the blanks we fill in, from the darker corners of our mind—as what’s on the page.

Butterworth’s thriller premiered in 2012 at London’s Royal Court Theatre and has made its way across the pond with one of two female stars from that staging, Laura Donnelly, intact (Dominic West, of HBO’s “The Wire,” headed the U.K. cast).

The intimate Circle in the Square is transformed into Jackman’s rustic getaway, with cobwebs dangling from the ceiling, a well-worn wooden table, and drawers of fly-fishing apparatus. Much of the real estate has been reserved for what producers coyly call “riverbank seats.” The result is less theater-in-the-round than theater in a narrow rectangle, with entrances for actors on either end.

For effect, a mournful Yeats poem, describing the mythological god Aengus’s endless search for his lover, occasionally fills the air—that, ever so subtly, is a clue to the nature of “The River.”

As The Man, Jackman reaffirms his versatility as a performer. During a heralded sequence in which the venerable awards-show host and sometime-Wolverine guts an actual trout to serve for dinner, I was never certain if he was planning a seduction or … perhaps something else?

It’s an exceptionally understated and enigmatic performance, conveying euphoria in some places—listen to Jackman describe the experience of catching his first fish, at age 7—and, perhaps, scaring the life out of you in others … in much the same way The Man was terrified the first time he felt a snared fish “buckle and shudder” as its life slipped away.

The Man has been coming to this cabin most of his life, first with an uncle who used to relate stories of his conquests, then by himself. Has he brought many other women here? Don’t expect a straight answer. What you’ll see before you are his interactions with actresses Donnelly and Cush Jumbo (below), a young Londoner who made waves last year as Mark Antony in the all-female “Julius Caesar” that enjoyed a St. Ann’s Warehouse transfer.

Both are confident and alluring performers who are wholly believable as objects of desire.

You’re likely to get lost wondering who each woman is and what role she plays in The Man’s life. Director Ian Rickson, who helmed “Jerusalem” on both sides of the Atlantic, throws in a red herring or two, particularly in the form of clothing, just to keep matters indecipherable.

“The River” could be an allegory about a man lamenting lost love, or something more sinister. If you’re like me, the possibilities won’t even hit until you’re well on your way home. Rarely in my theatergoing experience has a 650-seat venue felt as claustrophobic and threatening as it did toward the play’s conclusion.

Heraclitus once said it, and it was even seconded by Pocahontas in the eponymous Disney film: “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” The sentiment, the Greek philosopher argued, alludes to the idea of ever-present change in the universe—the always-moving river. Some people, of course, aren’t so comfortable with change. The Man, I think it’s safe to acknowledge, is one of them.

“The River,” through Jan. 25 at The Circle in the Square Theatre, 235 W. 50th St. Tickets: $35-$175. Call Telecharge, 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Richard Termine]]>
<![CDATA[“Duck Dynasty” the Musical in Works]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 12:07:50 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/450325685LC026_87th_Annual_.jpg

Yes, you read that right.

The Robertson family, who rose to fame on the hit A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty,” are bringing their story to the stage.

“The Duck Commander Family Musical” is being billed as a celebration of the family’s rags to riches history. The show, based on Willie and Korie Robertson’s 2012 memoir of the same name, will explore how faith and family helped the ducks build a dynasty.

If all goes well, the 90-minute show plans to open in February 2015 at the Rio hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Jeff Calhoun (“Newsies”) will direct.

The Robertsons, playing alongside the Chippendales and Penn & Teller? Sounds about right.

The 14-song score will come from Steven Morris, Robert Morris and Joe Shane, and will blend a traditional Broadway sound with blues and country. Asa Somers is writing the book.

The Robertsons themselves won’t be in the show. Rather, actors will play the bearded bunch, with Willie Robertson and family giving approval rights over casting and story.

“We’ve enjoyed the process of making a musical alongside the team who is interested in telling the Robertson family story from an outside perspective,” said Willie Robertson in a statement to The New York Times, who first reported the story.

Michael David, who mounted the Tony-winning “Jersey Boys,” is producing. “Jersey Boys” is one of the few Broadway shows that has found financial success in Vegas.

A New York transfer is not expected, so if you want to see the Robertson family sing and dance, you’ll have to head for Vegas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Q&A: Tracey Ullman Takes On Musicals]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 17:07:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/TraceyUllmanITW.jpg

Tracey Ullman has always had to be her own ensemble.

From her breakout sketch comedy series “The Tracey Ullman Show” to her award-winning series for HBO and Showtime (“Tracey Takes On” and “Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union”), Ullman’s knack for playing a variety of wacky characters has become her signature style.

Now, Ullman is trying something new: musicals. She’s currently singing and dancing with Brian Stokes Mitchell (“Ragtime”) and Laura Osnes (“Cinderella”) in the Encores! production of “The Band Wagon” at New York City Center.

“I’m a bit tired of being my own cast,” Ullman told NBC New York, days before opening in the adaptation of the MGM musical of the same name. “I do so much work on my own, it’s really nice to be with other people.”

She also has a role in Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods,” which hits theaters this Christmas. Ullman plays Jack’s mother, alongside Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp.

Here, Ullman talks about both experiences, and her own outlook on comedy:

NBC 4 NEW YORK: What drew you to “The Band Wagon”?
ULLMAN: Kathleen Marshall. I worked with her before, and I worked with her brother Rob on “In the Woods.” She really understands this genre and makes it real and great for you. It seemed like a lovely opportunity. I’ve never done something like this before. So I get a month with all these incredible people to see how I do.

NBC4NY: And you get to sing again, which is a real treat for those of us who still listen to “They Don’t Know About Us” on the regular.
ULLMAN: Oh I was just a pop singer! I can carry a tune, but here you see people like Brian Stokes Mitchell and Laura Osnes who really are just incredible. Their pacing and their phrasing and the strength they have! It’s that energy and that discipline of doing a musical that's really interesting to learn about.

NBC4NY: You play Lily Martin, a writer going through the process of trying to make a show work. What’s that experience like in real life?
ULLMAN: It’s painful. You have to just keep trying. If you’re in a room full of writers in a group like I’ve been, they’ll soon tell you if it’s not working. Learn to take the blows and go, ‘Okay, I’ll try something different.’ If I feel it’s phoney or not working, I work from the character I based it on and just improvise.

NBC4NY: Improvise? Sounds hard when you’re doing a TV show!
ULLMAN: I get bored quickly. So I like to do 30% of it on the day and be spontaneous. Sometimes it just doesn’t work up to the day. They’re the most interesting ones because you say 'Blimey, I’m just going to have to give it a go here.'

NBC4NY: Is that why you’ve mostly done work you’ve created yourself?
ULLMAN: I always made my own stuff happen because I just was one of those people who thought, ‘Oh, well no one is going to cast me!’ I was an odd looking thing when I was younger. So from very early on in my career, I was instigating my own work. I’ve been very fortunate to have people pick up on it.

NBC4NY: Has it changed for women working in comedy over the years?
ULLMAN: It’s so different being girls now. Women like Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig have made such great strides, starring in movies and not playing second fiddle to men. But, you know, they’ve always had that tradition in America. When I first came here, I couldn’t believe it that you had Gilda Radner, Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett on TV. There were no shows with just women in England, really. Especially with comedy.

NBC4NY: What makes you laugh?
ULLMAN: Sometimes the poignancy or sadness of something is what’s funny for me. As you get older, it is different. You can’t just do the same things. I like trying to explore our culture and the melting pot we are. The things that are painful — that’s what’s interesting.

NBC4NY: Speaking of sadness, you lost your husband to prostate cancer this year. How have you been?
ULLMAN: It’s been a difficult year. I had been married 30 years. It’s a bit of a readjustment in your life, and I’m not quite sure what I’m up to on my own. But I have taken a great comfort in working, especially with the Marshalls. They’ve scooped me up and filled my heart with music.

NBC4NY: What can we expect from “Into the Woods?”
ULLMAN: I still haven’t seen it! I’m just thrilled to be a part of it. It was just the most fabulous experience. Everyone was brilliant. And it was another one of these great ensembles. We had a three-week rehearsal period, and we became a company.

NBC4NY: You have a real cow in the film, which is a bit different from the stage show.
ULLMAN: I fell in love with my cow! I would scratch her head. And you know when you stop scratching a dog’s head, and they sort of move their head for more? That’s what my cow did! And I thought ‘People eat these things?’ I know I don’t eat them. She was extraordinary. I’d come home and people would smell me and go ‘You been working with the cow again?’

NBC4NY: Do you think a full Broadway show is in your future after this?
ULLMAN: We’ll see! I’m always looking to try something different. And who knows. It’s wonderful to just have this trial of it.

“The Band Wagon,” through Nov. 16 at NY City Center; 131 W. 55th St. Tickets starting at $30. Call (212) 581-1212 or visit citycenter.org.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Black Friday 2014 Details]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:55:38 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/black+friday3.JPG

Get that turkey and stuffing to go, because Black Friday doorbusters are no longer confined to Black Friday. Retailers like Target and Best Buy are starting their Thanksgiving sales even earlier than they did last year—and in many cases, those sales will keep going for days afterward. Here’s how the biggest stores are trying to lure customers away from Thanksgiving dinner and into the checkout line:

Walmart: After years of ever-earlier sales on Thanksgiving Day, the world’s largest retailer has transformed Black Friday into a five-day event. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Wednesday that sales will begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Walmart will roll out sales in stores and online on different categories of merchandise like home goods, toys, and electronics. “This year, we're blowing it out with five days of deals in store and online,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, the company’s chief merchandising officer.

Target: Target is launching its “biggest, most digital Black Friday ever” at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, with a range of deals over the weeks leading up to Black Friday. Target, which opened its doors last year at 8 p.m., is also offering free shipping up to Dec. 20. The biggest steal? Target is selling the Samsung Galaxy S5, regularly $200, for one whopping cent each (with a two-year contract).

Best Buy: In an attempt to one-up its retail competitors, Best Buy will kick off its sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, an hour earlier than the store opened last year. (Best Buy is even handing out tickets up to two hours before the doors open.) As to be expected for an electronics giant, Best Buy’s flagship deal is a 50-inch Panasonic TV for $199.99.

Macy’s: Macy's will kick off its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving afternoon, two hours earlier than its opening time last year. The department store's big deals, which last until Nov. 30, are focused on clothes, shoes, jewelry and homewares.

The Holdouts: Many retailers are bucking the Black-Friday-on-Thanksgiving trend. Costco, for one, is giving shoppers a chance to digest their Thanksgiving dinner, saying that its employees “deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families." Nordstrom, Dillard's, Barnes & Noble and GameStop are also closed on Thanksgiving, but are planning Black Friday sales.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ninth Annual "Made in NY" Awards Held]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 12:50:51 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/522302725IS017_Made_In_NY_A.jpg

Neil Patrick Harris, Louis C.K., Steve Buscemi and Rosie Perez were among the honorees at the 2014 "Made in NY" Awards, Monday night in Brooklyn.

Presented by Mayor de Blasio and Media & Entertainment Commissioner Cynthia López at Weylin B. Seymour's in Williamsburg, the annual "Made in NY" Awards ceremony recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations that made significant contributions to the city’s entertainment and digital media industries.

'I’ve always been enamored by the culture and the energy and the vibes of New York," said Harris, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the title character in the Broadway production of "Hedwig and The Angry Inch" and will be filming a new variety show for NBC at 30 Rockefeller Center next year. "I’m hopeful that I can represent New York and show off the culture and show off all the amazing people who are here and make this city so great."

Steve Buscemi, a native New Yorker who won a Golden Globe for his work on "Boardwalk Empire," praised the unsung heroes of the industry. "We have great crews here," he told NBC 4 New York. "Every frame of ‘Boardwalk Empire’ was filmed in every borough in this city. It’s the people behind the scenes who live here and work here that I really love."

For Rosie Perez, the awards represented a full-circle moment.

"I was born here in Williamsburg," the actress and newly minted co-host of "The View" said. "So the fact that this event is here in Williamsburg is crazy."

Perez said she's stayed enjoyed living and working in the Big Apple more than any other city.

"I went out to LA to go to school, and I never felt like I fit in. I just felt lost for the first time in my life," she said. "I have to live in New York. This is my home base. I feel comfortable here — I can be who I am without apologies. That’s the New York spirit."

Comedian and Five-time Emmy winner Louis C.K. gave de Blasio some advice on how to keep productions filming in New York. "Don’t improve the city too much," he joked. "The buildings are terrific and there’s great architecture. If you fix the windows, it won’t look like a dump. That’s why we shoot here."

Louis C.K, who has two kids in the New York City public school system, went on to encourage de Blasio to put more arts programs in the schools.

"It teaches kids who are not in the arts to appreciate them," he said.

Also honored were producer Jane Raab, digital agency Huge, director Stanley Nelson and Lydia Dean Pilcher, Mari Jo Winkler and Rachel Watanabe-Batton — all of the Producer’s Guild of America.

Raab, who produced "Sex and the City" and “Blue Bloods," is a native New Yorker and 40-year veteran of the industry. She told NBC 4 New York that the city's people make it a great backdrop to tell stories.

"Everybody’s alert and alive," she said. "And the energy feeds off itself. It’s infectious."

Documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles was presented with the 2014 "Made in NY" Mayor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement. Among Maysles’ more than 40 films are the iconic documentaries "Grey Gardens," "Gimme Shelter" and "Salesman."

He’s also the founder of the Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to the exhibition and production of documentary films that inspire dialogue and action."

The ceremony began with a performance of the Leonard Bernstein classic "New York, New York," by Jay Armstrong Johnson, Tony Yazbeck and Clyde Alves of the Broadway cast of "On the Town." The trio filmed their own video tour of New York, taking in the many great locations the city has to offer.

"It was incredible to be a tourist for a few days," Yazbeck told NBC New York. "We got to see a lot of things in New York we have never seen before."

New York City is currently hosting record levels of television and film production. In the 2014-15 season, the Big Apple has been home to 39 primetime shows — from NBC’s "The Blacklist" and "The Mysteries of Laura" to Netflix’s "Orange is the New Black" and Comedy Central’s "Broad City."

Of those 39 shows, 20 are new just this year. And more than 230 films have shot on location somewhere in New York City so far in 2014.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[“Glee” Star Returns to Broadway]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 08:25:08 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/497288157CB010_The_Public_T.jpg

“Finding Neverland” has found its leading man.

“Glee” star Matthew Morrison will take on the role of “Peter Pan” scribe J.M. Barrie in the new musical “Finding Neverland.” Based on Allan Kee’s play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan” and the 2004 Johnny Depp film, the show will begin previews on March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Opening night is set for April 15.

“Finding Neverland” marks a return to Broadway for Morrison, who hasn’t appeared on the Great White Way since “Glee” began in 2009. He previously starred in the 2008 revival of “South Pacific,” and the original casts of “Hairspray” and “The Light at the Piazza” — for which he was nominated for a 2005 Tony Award.

Directed by Diane Paulus (“Pippin”), “Finding Neverland” follows the relationship between J.M. Barrie and the family that inspired “Peter Pan.” Music and lyrics come from Take That singer Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy. “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mia Michaels provides choreography.

This isn’t the first time Morrison has played Barrie. He previously took on the role during an early workshop. Jeremy Jordan (“Newsies”) played the role during its out-of-town tryout at Boston’s American Repertory Theater this past summer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Art Brings New Life and Vigor to Little Italy]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 20:16:47 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/little+italy+graffiti.jpg Gabe Pressman celebrates his 60 years at NBC 4 New York by continuing his ongoing series on the neighborhoods of New York City. This time, he and photographer Keith Feldman look at how artists are using Little Italy as their public canvas.]]> <![CDATA[Emma Stone Begins “Cabaret” Run]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 09:27:24 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/EmmaStoneCabaret.jpg

While you explore lower Manhattan's new Fulton Center, here’s what everyone’s talking about this week In the Wings.

Emma Stone begins her run in “Cabaret” on Nov. 11. The 25-year-old actress makes her Broadway debut, stepping into the shoes of Kit Kat Club singer Sally Bowles. Stone will remain in the role, originated in this revival by Michelle Williams, through Feb. 1, 2015. [More info]

Danny Burstein will lead “Fiddler on the Roof” revival in 2015. The rumors are true! Danny Burstein will play “Tevye” in the 2015 revival of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Being the fifth Broadway revival for “Fiddler,” it’s only fitting that five-time Tony nominee Burstein lead the production, after all. “Fiddler” will begin performances Nov. 17, 2015 in a yet-to-be-named Broadway house. [More info]

“The Heidi Chronicles” revival, starring Elisabeth Moss, sets Broadway dates. The play will begin performances Feb. 23, 2015 at the Music Box Theatre, with an official opening on March 19. Joining Moss in the first ever revival of Wendy Wasserstein’s Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical will be “American Pie” star Jason Biggs, as well as Bryce Pinkham (“A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”) and Tracee Chimo (“Lips Together, Teeth Apart”). [More Info]

Merritt Weaver joins New York premiere of “The Nether.” The play, by Jennifer Haley, is about a young detective investigating a crime within a new online reality. Weaver, who won an Emmy for her role in “Nurse Jackie,” will be joined by Peter Friedman and Tony winner Frank Wood in the thriller. “The Nether” will run from Feb. 4, 2015 through March 15 at the MCC Theater’s Lucille Lortel Theatre. [More info]

Minnie Driver will be part of NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" The Oscar-nominated actress, who stars on NBC's hit series "About a Boy," will join Allison Williams, Christopher Walken and Kelli O'Hara in the upcoming "Peter Pan Live!" She'll play Adult Wendy, who narrates much of the action throughout the show. [More info]

Broadway performers have been announced for 88th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, Broadway shows are spotlighted in the early hours of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The shows participating this year? “The Last Ship,” “On the Town,” “Side Show,” the forthcoming “Finding Neverland” and the Tony-winning Best Musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.” There will also be a special preview of NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!” [More info]

Kids can see Broadway shows for free in “Kids Night on Broadway.” The annual event, which runs Jan. 9, 2015 through Jan. 15, allows kids, between the ages of 6 to 18, to see participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. Nearly every Broadway show participates, including family-hits like “Aladdin,” “Matilda The Musical,” “Wicked” and “The Lion King.” For the full list of available shows, and tickets information, visit kidsnightonbraodway.com.

Photo Credit: Richard Phibbs]]>
<![CDATA[Time-lapse of Rock Center Tree Going Up]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:50:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/RockefellerTree_1200x675_355061827521.jpg Watch the iconic Rockefeller tree be erected in the plaza -- in 18 seconds.]]> <![CDATA[Martin Short Joins “It’s Only a Play”]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:03:06 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/188013801DF00031_Academy_Of.jpg

Martin Short is coming back to Broadway.

The Emmy- and Tony-winning comedian will join the star-studded revival of Terrence McNally’s "It’s Only a Play" this January.

Short will replace Nathan Lane in the show, who will depart on Jan. 4 to prepare for Robert Falls’ production of “The Iceman Cometh” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Short, who won a Tony for his role in the 1999 revival of “Little Me,” is scheduled to begin performances Jan 7.

"It’s Only a Play" was previously set to end its limited run on Jan. 4 but, with Short joining the cast and ticket sales going strong, the show will now extend through March 29. It will also move down Broadway, from its current home at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre for a show Jan. 23.

The current cast, which also includes Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally, Rupert Grint and F. Murray Abraham, will remain with the production in its longer run.

Short was last on Broadway in his 2006 musical autobiography, "Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me."

For more information, visit www.ItsOnlyAPlay.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Motown Acts to Ring in New Year on Broadway ]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:30:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/3219581.jpg

If you’re interested in hearing some of Motown’s biggest hits on Broadway, you could see the Berry Gordy biographical musical “Motown: The Musical.” Or, for a limited time, you could hear them from the actual groups who made some of the genre's biggest hits.

The Temptations and The Four Tops will play a very limited engagement on Broadway this holiday season.

For seven performances only from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4 the legendary Motown artists and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will take over the Palace Theater, bringing with them 50 years of classic hits.

Billed as “a career retrospective as well as a celebration of the hit songs that defined a generation,” the Broadway concerts will be packed with many of the 59 Top 40 hits the two groups have between them.

Some of those songs include "My Girl,” “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Get Ready,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).”

It’s like one of those Time Life box sets, only live and in person.

Tickets  range in price from $52 to $142 and will go on sale to the general public on Nov. 14 at Ticketmaster.com.

And don’t worry — there’s no New Year’s Eve performance, so you won’t have to brave the Times Square crowds gathered to watch the ball drop.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony-winning Revival of “Pippin” Set to Close in 2015]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:06:57 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/3156.jpg

Looks like the circus is leaving town.

The Tony Award-winning revival of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s musical “Pippin” will pack up its tent for good on Jan. 4 at the Music Box Theatre after  709 regular performances and 37 previews.

“Pippin” tells the story of a young prince searching for meaning in his life, and the mysterious group of performers who help him explore his options. The musical features a number of showtune standards, including “Corner of the Sky,” “Glory,” “Magic to Do” and “No Time at All.”

The reimagined production by director Diane Paulus sets the action in the Big Top, and features circus creations by Gypsy Snider of the Montreal-based circus company Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as 7 Fingers).

The production officially recouped its full $8.5 million capitalization in December 2013.

NBC’s “The Voice” season 6 winner Josh Kaufman currently stars as Pippin. He’s joined by Carly Hughes (Leading Player), John Dossett (Charles), Charlotte d’Amboise (Fastrada), Rachel Bay Jones (Catherine) and Lucie Arnaz as Berthe.

“Pippin” isn’t the only musical closing this January. “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (Jan. 3), “Motown” (Jan. 18) and the Tony-winning “Once” (Jan 4.) will all leave the Great White Way in the new year.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "The Oldest Boy," at Lincoln Center]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 21:33:55 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/OldestBoyMain.jpg

“Once you have children,” wonders the mother at the center of Sarah Ruhl’s affecting new play “The Oldest Boy,” now at Lincoln Center, “does worry become a placeholder for thought?”

It’s hardly an obtuse question, as posed by Celia Keenan-Bolger’s nameless maternal figure, living an ordinary life in some anonymous American landscape. Two Tibetan monks have just arrived at this mama’s door, along with a jarring revelation: her 3-year-old son Tenzin may be the reincarnation of a high Buddhist lama.

Now “Mother” and her Tibetan husband (James Yaegashi) must decide whether to send Tenzin thousands of miles away to India to begin training as a spiritual master, or to deny him this path they’re being assured is his rightful destiny.

Reuniting the twice Pulitzer-nominated Ruhl with director Rebecca Taichman (the duo last collaborated on the smart backstage comedy “Stage Kiss”), “The Oldest Boy” has just opened at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.

As we meet Kennan-Bolger’s academic-turned-homemaker, she’s forcing her body into a lotus position... and then sneaking off to get the potato chips she keeps hidden under a sofa pillow. On her coffee table is a book about attachment parenting, a notion that nicely telegraphs some of the tough questions raised in Ruhl’s unconventional drama: What does it mean to let go? And to whom does a child belong? His parents? Or the world?

A recent Tony nominee for “The Glass Menagerie,” Keenan-Bolger remains the focus of the two-hour narrative, struggling between wanting to hold together her nuclear family and allowing her son to become “enthroned” in a Buddhist ceremony.

As Laura Wingfield, Keenan-Bolger displayed a remarkable ability to walk a line between caution and hopefulness. It’s an accomplishment she manages again here, making butter tea for her surprise visitors (James Saito and Jon Norman Schneider, both giving sweet performances), even as the potential ramifications of their visit dawn.

Also displaying remarkable range: the puppet representing Keenan-Bolger’s son. Tenzin, here, is a marionette-like figure controlled by three chorus members dressed in black (Tsering Dorgee, Takemi Kitamura and Nami Yamamoto), the two silent ones akin to Japanese kuroko stagehands.

I experienced genuine joy when Tenzin recognized objects from his previous life during an “examination” by the monks, and then fear, when he was confronted with the prospect of having his head shaved. Indeed, “The Oldest Boy” is filled with equal parts levity—notably in Mother’s phone calls to her own unseen mother—and heartache.

Yaegashi is earnest as the husband and father, a multilingual restaurateur who forsook his education to support his family. I enjoyed his performance most in an early scene, when he’s recalling in flashback the afternoon that Keenan-Bolger stumbled into his restaurant to escape a rainstorm.

The Brooklyn-based playwright, a teacher at Yale and author as well of “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play),” found inspiration for the unorthodox, thoroughly pleasing story from her own Tibetan Buddhist nanny, who helps care for her three children.

For some, the play may call to mind “Disgraced,” a more violent depiction of clashing cultures that was also first produced at Lincoln Center before its current widely lauded run on Broadway.

“The Oldest Boy” leaves you grappling with feelings about reincarnation, but this isn’t just a tale for those of us questioning the existence of God. A parents’ struggle between keeping a child safe, or letting him go into the world is as universal a theme as there is, and it’s addressed here with grace and good humor.

“The Oldest Boy,” through Dec. 28 at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, 150 W. 65th St. Tickets: $77. Call Tele-charge at 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn 

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson]]>
<![CDATA[Off-Broadway: "Lips Together...," "Found," "Belle of Amherst"]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:05:39 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/LipsMain.jpg

Terrence McNally’s busy year continues, Davy Rothbart’s “Found” magazine gets the musical treatment and Joely Richardson brings to the stage a “fun” Emily Dickinson. Here’s a look at three shows currently making news Off-Broadway.

"Lips Together, Teeth Apart"

By: Terrence McNally, with direction by Peter Dubois. At Second Stage Theater, 305 W. 43rd St.

Starring: America Ferrara (“Ugly Betty”), Tracee Chimo (“Bad Jews”), Michael Chernus (Lisa Kron’s “In the Wake”) and Austin Lysy (“The American Plan”)

Synopsis: Two straight couples gather for a weekend in the Fire Island Pines in McNally’s three-act 1991 drama about grief and isolation. Ferrera is a woman whose younger brother has recently died from AIDS complications, leaving behind a beachfront house filled with memories.

What the critics are saying: Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News says Chimo, in particular, “snags lots of laughs,” but others were disappointed with the production as a whole. “The middling revival … doesn’t fully excavate the rich seams of feeling in this, one of McNally’s finest plays,” wrote Charles Isherwood in The New York Times.

Tickets: $79. Call (212) 246-4422 or visit 2st.com



By: Hunter Bell (“title of show”), Lee Overtree and Eli Bolin, with direction by Overtree. At the Atlantic’s Linda Gross Theater, 336 W. 20th St.

Starring: Nick Blaemire (“Godspell”), Danny Pudi (TV’s “Community”) and Barrett Wilbert Reed (“Heathers”)

Synopsis: Davy (Blaemire) and his two best friends are lost and broke. When he finds a note on his windshield meant for someone else, it sparks an outlandish idea that finds him and his compatriots on a comedic journey. Based on the “Found” books and magazines by Davy Rothbart.

What the critics are saying: Variety’s Marilyn Stasio believes the “exhilarating show would have a better chance of attracting eyeballs … if it shed two members of a 10-body cast and cut about 20 minutes of lame jokes from the playing time." Meanwhile, Entertainment Weekly’s Thom Geier says “serendipity and missed connections …are put to clever use in the fact-based chamber musical, (but) it's too bad that the show's conceit isn't matched by the plot.”

Tickets: $75. Call 866-811-4111 or visit atlantictheater.org.


“The Belle of Amherst”

By: William Luce, directed by Steve Cosson

Starring: Joely Richardson (“Nip/Tuck”)

Synopsis: Emily Dickinson welcomes audiences into her lifelong Amherst homestead in mid-19th century Massachusetts. Playwright Luce weaves her poems, diaries, and letters into a one-woman portrait, originally created for Julie Harris in 1976.

What the critics are saying: “Richardson proves to be a deliciously spry tour guide through the poet’s life and letters. Whoever expected to use ‘fun’ and ‘Emily Dickinson’ in the same sentence,” joshes Elisabeth Vincentelli of The New York Post. Adds AP’s Jennifer Farrar: “Joely Richardson breathes new life into Dickinson with an impish, high-spirited enactment.”

Tickets: $79 and up. Call 212-239-6200 or visit Telecharge.com.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus ("Lips Together"), Kevin Thomas Garcia ("Found") and Carol Rosegg ("Belle")]]>
<![CDATA[Review: McGregor and Gyllenhaal Get "Real" About Love]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:55:01 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/G8UeBGJ9qKhwSTBuXGcb5ReDfyzPX4i-fzDVcd3jNps.jpg

If you haven't been lucky enough to find love, watching a romantic comedy can feel wonderfully hopeful and utterly hopeless at the same time. It's that perfect mixture of "Someday my prince will come" and "What's taking him so long, dammit?" As if all of life’s problems will magically disappear when you finally find the real thing.

Of course, anyone who's actually experienced love knows it doesn't work that way. Love brings complication. Inconvenience. Compromise. There can be hurt feelings. Anger, jealousy and a whole lot of pain.

You’ll see much of that in Tom Stoppard's darkly comic "The Real Thing," now open at the American Airlines Theatre. Our characters in this masterful revival from the Roundabout Theater Company are all in the throes of the messiness that is love. And the ways in which they sort out their intentions from their actions will leave you looking at love in a whole new light.

At the center of our story is Henry (Ewan McGregor), a pompous intellectual playwright who loves sincerely, though lacks the finesse to express his genuineness. Henry’s wife Charlotte (Cynthia Nixon) is an actress whose skeptical approach to life is born out of an inherent distrust of her husband and desire to challenge him at nearly every pass.

Charlotte is right to be skeptical of Henry, as he's carrying on an affair with a sentimental and sultry actress named Anne (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Said affair has awakened an excitement in Anne, who feels liberated from the love given to her by her dull husband Max (Josh Hamilton). But as Anne learns, finding the real thing will be much harder than just starting a new life with Henry.

When Stoppard’s play first premiered on Broadway in 1982, it was praised for its portrayal of complex, mature relationships, far different than those often shown on stage. From the first scene, the playwright manipulates the line of reality and artifice, leaving us questioning where the truth lies in complex life issues like romance and art.

In 2014, Stoppard’s words are just as poignant; his ideas just as needed. Several scenes will punch you in the gut with their rawness. Others will make you see things so clearly, you’ll wonder how your eyes had been shut so long. I found myself wishing I had a copy of the script in my hand so I could underline passages to reread later or post to my Instagram feed.

It helps that Stoppard’s words are in the capable hands of this production’s superstar cast (pictured above). McGregor and Gyllenhaal give effortless, poised performances as Henry and Anne, and their chemistry is magnetic. Stoppard’s work is so verbose, and it can be hard to see the humanity of the characters through the weight of what they’re saying. But McGregor and Gyllenhaal find ways to ground their characters in each moment. You believe them, even if the play doesn’t want you to sometimes.

Though both actors have done extensive work on the stage before (McGregor in London, Gyllenhaal off Broadway), “The Real Thing” is their Broadway debut. It was well worth the wait. One gets the feeling these actors, known for darker, grittier roles on film, couldn’t have played the levels of Henry and Anne as effectively a few years ago.

Hamilton, last of “Dead Accounts,” is likeable, though forgettable as Max — a problem more to do with the way his character is written than the way in which Hamilton portrays him. He’s overshadowed mostly by Nixon, a Tony winner for 2006’s “Rabbit Hole,” in a commanding supporting performance. Nixon finds much fun in Charlotte’s sass, proving she’s more of a Samantha than a Miranda.

It’s not Nixon’s first encounter with “The Real Thing.” At 17, she originated the role of Charlotte’s daughter Debbie in the 1983 Broadway production. At the time, Nixon was also starring as homeless teen Donna in “Hurlyburly.” She would do that role in Act One and then walk two blocks south to play Debbie in Act Two of “The Real Thing.”

In this production, Debbie is played by newcomer Madeline Weinstein, who colors her character with a perfect blend of Nixon’s cynicism and McGregor’s charm. She shares one of the play’s best scenes with McGregor, and their bond will make you think you’ve been interacting with your parents entirely wrong all these years.

Director Sam Gold ("The Realistic Joneses") has made some beautiful artistic choices that only elevate"The Real Thing" beyond its already polished form. For one, he’s utilized a modern, abstract loft space by designer David Zinn (“The Last Ship”) as the setting for all our action, never letting the audience know exactly where or when each scene is taking place.

For another, Gold’s found a fascinating way to incorporate music into the piece. Characters often gather together, singing along (in harmony!) to cheerful pop love songs like “Sugar, Sugar” and “I’m Into Something Good.” These performances don’t just serve as a bridge between scenes, but also as a commentary on love, and how people are moved by real music. (And yes, "Moulin Rouge" fans, you will get to hear McGregor sing).

You’ll walk out of “The Real Thing” with a lot to chew on. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that in order to make relationships really work over time, you’ll need a lot more than just finding that prince. You also have to be able to recognize when you’ve found the real thing.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Kanye West Surprises Crowd at Jersey City Open Mic]]> Fri, 31 Oct 2014 14:21:52 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kanye+the+dopeness+jersey+city.jpg

Rapper Kanye West shocked the crowd at a hip-hop open mic event in Jersey City when he dropped by unannounced to watch the daughter of a close family friend perform, the venue owner said.

West appeared at downtown Mexican restaurant The Dopeness just before its monthly open mic showcase started Wednesday night, The Jersey Journal first reported.

"It was totally sporadic, totally happened off the bat," restaurant owner Jon Scanlon told NBC 4 New York.

West, who entered with two bodyguards, was there to see 17-year-old Jahmila Sandifer, an amateur rapper and daughter of a close family friend who was performing at the showcase for the first time, according to Scanlon.

"It was a 15-minute thing. I walked him to the back, he used the restroom. He came and gave her a big hug and a kiss, watched her perform, and he was out," Scanlon told The Jersey Journal.

He said West's appearance energized the place.

"It really set the tone and everyone had a Kool-Aid smile on their face," Scanlon told the paper. "Nobody expected it, that a world-renowed rapper shows up out of nowhere. It totally hyped up the crowd for the night and it probably enhanced everyone's performance. He gave everybody life."

Event organizer Earl "Ego" Davis told the newspaper the notoriously brash rapper was friendly with the crowd, smiling and nodding at people.

"He showed so much respect to the culture and looked really comfortable," he said.

Scanlon said Sandifer is a Jersey City native who's been to the open mic event two or three times before she made her debut.

"She definitely showed a lot of skill," he told NBC 4 New York.

Scanlon estimated there were about 80 people who gathered to watch the open mic, and the crowd grew to 100 by the end.

"It was a great experience, and great for the community. It was awesome in a million different ways," he said. 

Photo Credit: Jon Scanlon]]>
<![CDATA[Tyne Daly Books First Broadway Musical in Over 20 Years]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 14:25:03 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/480262477NB004_Mothers_And_.jpg

It’s been 23 years since Tyne Daly was in a musical on Broadway.

That show was “Gypsy,” and her portrayal of Mama Rose won her a 1990 Tony for Best Actress in a Musical. Daly left “Gypsy” in July 1990, returning to the show in the spring of 1991 through its closing in July.

Since then, the actress has been back on Broadway in four plays, including her Tony-nominated turns in 2014’s “Mothers and Sons” and 2006’s “Rabbit Hole.” But she’s yet to find another musical role on the Great White Way.

All that will change this spring, when Daly will lead the cast of a new musical comedy called “It Shoulda Been You.” The show, with an original book & lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi, is set to begin previews at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theatre on March 17.

Official opening is scheduled for April 14.

Direction will come from another Tony-winning star, David Hyde Pierce. It will be his directorial Broadway debut.

“It Shoulda Been You” follows two wildly different families as they converge one weekend to celebrate a wedding. Amid the culture clash, there is the bride’s ex-boyfriend, whose arrival brings the wedding to a halt.

The play comes to Broadway after its 2011 sold-out tryout in New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse. Daly will play the mother-of-the-bride, described by reviewers as “the Jewish mother to end all Jewish mothers.”

Joining Daly are a slew of Broadway stars, including Tony-winner Harriet Harris (“Cinderella”), Sierra Boggess (Daly's co-star in "Master Class"), Steve Rosen (“The Other Josh Cohen”), Lisa Howard (“Priscilla Queen of the Desert”), Edward Hibbert (“Curtains”) and E! correspondent David Burtka, who returns to Broadway a year after his husband Neil Patrick Harris’ acclaimed run in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”

For more information, visit itshouldabeenyou.com

Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard]]>
<![CDATA[Dunkin' Donuts Joins "Cronut" Craze]]> Mon, 03 Nov 2014 10:26:22 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/cronut-dunkin-donuts.jpg

Dunkin’ Donuts is joining the Cronut madness, adding a croissant-doughnut hybrid to its own menus.

The company introduced what it's calling a Croissant Donut beginning Nov. 3.

The Cronut craze began last year when Dominique Ansel unveiled the flaky treat at a SoHo bakery in New York City. High demand, which has continued with lines stretching down the street, has inspired multiple knockoffs. 

Dunkin’ Donuts' new treat, like the Cronut, will fuse two favorite bakery items, the croissant and the doughnut. It will have 24 layers of buttery dough, will be crisp on the outside and soft and flaky on the inside, and will be covered in sweet glaze similar to the one used on glazed donuts and Munchkins.

Dunkin's version of the flaky pastry fusion, which the chain doesn't want people to call a "cronut," will cost $2.49 each. That's half the price of Dominique Ansel’s Cronut, but a bit more than the doughnuts the company already sells.

The Croissant Donut will come in its own white Dunkin’ Donuts-labeled box with a clear window, similar to the Cronut, which comes in a yellow gift box.

More than 7,900 Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the country will make limited quantities of Croissant Donuts each day for a limited time.

Dunkin's take on the Cronut is that latest of numerous imitations by bakers around the world, including other big chains that also want to cash in on the trend. Jack in the Box came out with a Croissant Donut this summer, and Crumbs Bake Shop also introduced their version called the "Crumbnut" last year.

Photo Credit: Dunkin' Donuts]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "The Last Ship," with Music and Lyrics by Sting]]> Sun, 26 Oct 2014 20:45:25 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/LastShipMain.jpg

Submerged beneath an often told prodigal-son story is a haunting, gorgeously executed and involving musical that marks the debut of a new Broadway composer—Sting.

The British songwriter was inspired by his own childhood in writing “The Last Ship,” about a group of U.K. ship builders whose livelihoods are threatened by the changing global market, in a time that evokes the 1980s. The musical, directed by Joe Mantello and burnished by Steven Hoggett’s foot-stomping choreography—Hoggett’s “Once” is one of many recent musicals “The Last Ship” calls to mind—has just opened at the Neil Simon Theatre.

Sting, as so many of us know, grew up Gordon Sumner in Newcastle’s seafaring Wallsend district. In “The Last Ship,” Gideon Fletcher (Michael Esper, of “American Idiot”) abandons that same community as a young man, rather than don the ship-builder’s boots his father has in waiting.

When Gideon gets word from the town priest (a potty-mouthed Fred Applegate, getting all the best lines) that his dad is dying, he returns home, to find the Swan Hunter yard’s future in danger and his childhood love engaged to another man. It’s a familiar story that in lesser hands would quickly wobble under its weight.

As it happens, a great cast, led by Esper and Rachel Tucker (a one-time West End Elphaba, in “Wicked”) as Meg, that one-time love, prevent that from transpiring.

It’s bracing to see Esper in a more adult, even paternal role, and it’s one he pulls off with charisma. That Esper’s Gideon must somehow make peace with his past, the abusive father and so on, is a foregone conclusion, but his methods of doing so struck me as exceedingly honest.

Sting released songs for this musical on an album last year. A few—“Island of Souls,” and “All This Time,” with its refrain “I’d bury the old man/I’d bury him at sea”—are comfortingly familiar, if you own “The Soul Cages.” Esper, with winning newcomer Collin Kelly-Sordelet, as Meg’s son, have a swell duet in “The Night the Pugilist Learned How to Dance,” which has Gideon teaching the boy about similarities between sparring and dancing, all from the confines of a prison cell. (Could anyone other than Sting get away with that song title?)

Meg is the least sketched out character, but Tucker is such a vital and refreshing presence on stage it doesn’t matter. Only 30, but having lived several lives, Meg is forced to think about who she once was, and where she’s going, and you empathize with her each step of the way. (Esper and Tucker are pictured, below.)

What I said about Esper aging into his role goes double for Aaron Lazar, who I still remember as young heartthrob Fabrizio in “The Light in the Piazza.” He’s endearing, here, as Arthur Millburn, Meg’s fiance and the third side of the Gideon-Meg love triangle. Arthur worked his way out of the ship yards into a secure corporate life, but he’s never played for the villain, which was yet one more way “The Last Ship” surprised me.

For spiritual guidance on this voyage, Sting has on hand fellow Newcastle native Jimmy Nail. Nail (real name: James Bradford), real-life son of a shipyard foreman, here plays a shipyard foreman, a character named Jackie White who doesn’t do much other than acknowledge the futility of his circumstance. His presence, though, enhances even more the authenticity in these proceedings. (“Ship” has a book by Brian Yorkey and John Logan, whose “I’ll Eat You Last” heralded Bette Midler’s return to Broadway—Logan’s father worked in the ship yards of Belfast.)

There is, predictably, a zaftig barmaid (Shawna M. Hamic, just fantastic), who knows how to keep her hard-drinking clientele in line. As noted, Applegate’s Father O’Brien is a mischievous and foul-mouthed man of the cloth, whose actions ultimately help the out-of-work shipbuilders make peace with their lot. (“The Last Ship” has some source material based in fact, including a relatively recent episode in which homeless Warsaw men built a ship with guidance from a priest.)

It’s impossible to watch “The Last Ship” without thinking of the paperboys in “Newsies,” the coal miners in “Billy Elliott” or the unemployed steelworkers of “The Full Monty.” Nothing here is quite as earnest, or played for laughs. The tone, not surprisingly, is all rather Sting-like: Ethereal. Spiritual. Universal.

David Zinn’s industrial set transforms in the musical’s final scene to produce a lump-in-the-throat moment that managed to catch me by surprise.

There are so many cliches and potential pitfalls in this story that I went into “The Last Ship” with low expectations: The boy trying to escape his father’s shadow. The second chance, will they-or-won’t-they romance with the girl from his past. I had every reason to think “The Last Ship” would take on water. It doesn’t. This boat floats.

“The Last Ship,” with an open-ended run at the Neil Simon Theatre, 250 W. 52nd St., Tickets: $68.75-$146.75. Ticketmaster.com, or 800-745-300.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Check Out "Nature's Best Photography"]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 11:23:20 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/1GrandPrize_TinManLee%281%29+copy.jpg Washington, D.C.'s National Museum of Natural History's annual "Nature's Best Photography" exhibition showcases 60 large-format prints of this year's most breathtaking nature photography. More than 20,000 entries from 50 countries compete for the prestigious recognition. See all winners here.

Photo Credit: Tin Man Lee]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "Disgraced"]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:16:12 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/disgracedbroadway.jpg

There are some topics you just shouldn’t discuss at a dinner party. Religion, race, politics — it’s probably good to avoid these controversial matters altogether, and focus on more agreeable subjects. Like the weather.

Perhaps if the two couples in “Disgraced” would have taken that advice, they would have avoided a whole lot of trouble and pain. Then again, if the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Ayad Akhtar, now open at the Lyceum Theatre, stayed away from such discourse, we wouldn’t have been treated to one of the season’s most engaging nights of theater.

At the center of the intense debate sits Amir Kapoor (Hari Dhillon), a Manhattan corporate lawyer on the brink of a partner promotion who has long left his Muslim upbringing behind. Dismissing his religion as “a backward way of thinking and being,” Amir goes as far as telling his firm he’s from India rather than Pakistan so that he’s not associated with any stigma his birth country might have in the modern world today.

But no matter how much Amir tries to walks away from his past, he can’t seem to escape the responsibilities — and implications — it brings. He’s not helped by the people closest to him, who seem hell bent on perpetuating debate and involvement in the issue. There’s his wife Emily (Gretchen Mol, of TV’s “Boardwalk Empire”), an up-and-coming artist whose work is highly influenced by Islamic art. And there’s his cousin Abe (Danny Ashok), a 20-something born under the name Hussein Malik who isn’t afraid to remind Amir where he came from.

Both Emily and Abe urge Amir to get involved in a case pertaining to the arrest of a local imam, who they feel is being unjustly persecuted. Although reluctant to support him, Amir does so out of respect for his loved ones — unaware that his appearance in court will have a permanent effect on his reputation and career.

It does, and the consequences become clear at a dinner party Amir and Emily host at their Upper East Side apartment for Amir’s African-American colleague Jory (Karen Pittman) and her Jewish husband Isaac (Josh Radnor, of TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”), an art curator working with Emily. As the diverse foursome discuss the taboo topics of religion, race and politics, tempers rise. The conversation becomes more fiery. Secrets are revealed. And by the end, almost everyone is left in ruin.

It’s easily the most impassioned dinner scenes on Broadway since “August: Osage County,” and one that playwright Akhtar crafts beautifully. His dialogue is intelligent and superb — his characters so complex yet well-defined — that you’ll travel along the ride of emotions and ideas not knowing where you’re going next. And like any good roller coaster, the final drop will leave your heart in the pit of your stomach.

The ride is effectively managed by director Kimberly Senior, who has directed two other productions of “Disgraced” — one at the American Theater Company and another, in 2012, at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater. She keeps the action moving along swiftly through John Lee Beatty’s beautifully intricate set design.

As our main protagonist, Dhillon is particularly good as Amir, layering his character’s confidence with irritability and paranoia. With each sip of scotch Amir takes throughout the evening, Dhillon reveals more and more of his character’s struggles. It’s clear Amir’s decision to walk away from his past wasn’t easy, and the guilt and frustration he feels is only manifested in internal and external anger. It’s a complicated and honest portrayal of a character that could so easily be villainized, and one that Dhillon executes flawlessly.

The rest of the cast are equally strong. Mol gives Emily the sincerity and openness she needs, grounding us throughout most of the turmoil. Ashkok takes Abe on an energetic and heartfelt journey. Radnor’s Isaac is smug and condescending — a perfect sparring partner for Dhillon. And Pittman, the only holdover from LCT3’s production, is commanding as Jory, and will have your trust from her first line spoken.

There’s a lot to unpack in “Disgraced,” and with only one act clocking in at less than 90 minutes, you’ll walk out wanting to continue the debate with those around you. These are complex ideas. Self-identity and race. Tolerance and pride. How terrorism has affected public prejudice towards Islamics. Just be careful not to get too personal. Because as we’ve learned, such discussions don’t always end well.

“Disgraced,” at the Lyceum Theatre, 149 West 45th St. Tickets: $37.50 - $138. Call Telecharge (212) 239-6200.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Why You May Spot Teal Pumpkins This Halloween]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 14:36:55 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC-teal-pumpkins.jpg

Halloween can be a challenge for parents of trick-or-treaters with food allergies.

Screening candy can be difficult and some children may feel singled out because they receive less than their friends.

However, the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) group has started a new campaign called the “Teal Pumpkin Project” that recommends giving out non-food treats and letting other families know by painting a pumpkin teal and placing it on porches.

Possible non-food treats include: glow bracelets, pencils, vampire teeth, mini notepads, and playing cards. You can see more on FARE’s website.

“Food allergies are potentially life-threatening. When we are looking at a Halloween celebration, it is really nice to provide something that is safe,” FARE spokeswoman Veronica LaFemina told Today. She noted that one in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy.

In a post on FARE’s blog, the campaign said that it has reached nearly 5 million people on Facebook. The hashtag #TealPumpkinProject is also filled with photos from many Twitter users embracing the campaign.

Here is some of what people have shared:

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Review: The Public's "Fortress of Solitude"]]> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 07:36:13 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/FortressMain.jpg

Racial tension, comic book superheroes and, more than anything, music provide texture in “The Fortress of Solitude,” an absorbing new musical adapted from Jonathan Lethem’s best-selling novel and now receiving its world premiere at The Public’s Newman Theater.

In comic book lore, the Fortress of Solitude is where Superman retreats from the world. Here, it’s a metaphor for Dean Street, in 1970s Brooklyn, where Dylan Ebdus (Adam Chanler-Berat) is being reared by an emotionally shut-down artist father (Ken Barnett). Dylan’s mom has abandoned the family for the wilds of Berkeley, Calif.

In edgy Gowanus—this was before the term “Boerum Hill” was in fashion—Dylan, who is white, befriends Mingus Rude (Kyle Beltran), a young black boy and fellow motherless son who fills his days tagging any wall or rumbling subway car he can get near. Dylan is awed when he meets Mingus’ dad (the fantastic Kevin Mambo, of “Fela!”), a second-tier singer along the lines of Levi Stubbs. The elder Rude was one of his mom’s favorite crooners.

The boys, both named for their parents’ musical idols, form a bond that centers on a ring they imbue with magic powers.

Conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, with music by Michael Friedman (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”), the first act of “Fortress” transpires in a time when teens either got into one of the city’s elite high schools or suffered in neighborhood schools that were “like zoos”; in the second, set two decades later, Dylan is a renowned music journalist who returns east to reconnect with the characters of his youth.

Chanler-Berat (“Next to Normal,” “Peter and the Starcatcher”) has cornered the market on “nebbishy,” and puts the trait to engaging use as a boy whose life is shaped by his friendship with both Mingus and Mingus’s volatile dad, Barrett Rude Jr.

It's the three generations of the Rude family who provide crackle and fire throughout.

Early on, Beltran’s Mingus is an eager confidante to Dylan. Later, as their paths diverge, their relationship grows fraught. A sense that Dylan has somehow betrayed Mingus by decisions made in high school never seems fully sketched out, but Beltran is a magnetic performer, something we see to full effect during a second act montage of sorts that shows his progression through different levels of the New York State prison system.

Mambo, as a singer with The Subtle Distinctions, an ensemble often appearing in shadow throughout the production, gives an exceptionally human performance as a man straddling a line between making his art and succumbing to the world’s burdens.

One such burden is his father, “Senior” (Andre De Shields, pictured on milk crate, below), a Bible-thumper released from prison to the care of his son. De Shields—who made his mark as the title character in Broadway's "The Wiz," back around the same time the action in this newly constructed "Fortress" is set—is electric, beginning with his entrance, which establishes him as a man of passion and something of a lothario.

Supporting characters include Arthur (David Rossmer), who was smart enough to snatch up cheap brownstones. Kudos to whoever came up with this lyric from the “nerdy, neurotic” Jew’s big self-identification number: “You’ll never dress in age-appropriate clothing/You’ll never suppress your ingrained self-loathing.”

There’s also Robert, the neighborhood bully (Brian Tyree Henry), who cons money and other valuables from Dylan. Female roles, such as Dylan’s future wife (Rebecca Naomi Jones, of “Passing Strange”), sometimes feel like caricatures.

Music—its healing powers, and its ability to transport us to our own fortresses—is the vein running through Lethem’s 2003 novel, so much that the author curated a 2-CD mix of soul and funk that he circulated around the time “Fortress” was published. As such, Aukin, Friedman and librettist Itamar Moses (“Bach at Leipzig”) have arrived here with new pop songs that “never existed, but sound as if they should have,” as a recent New York Times piece put it.

Indeed, Friedman’s tingly compositions evoke David Byrne, Pink Floyd and Run D.M.C. “Liner Notes,” a tight second act segment, neatly summarizes Rude Jr.’s roller-coaster career; a song therein, “Bothered Blue,” feels as if it could have been a hit for Marvin Gaye, whose life is, in certain ways, evoked during the first-act climax.

Moses’s book stalls toward the conclusion, which is less plot-driven and more about predictable interactions between Dylan and the friends from his youth. Still, the compositions and performances are top-notch, and as a character-study, “The Fortress of Solitude” is nearly as engaging as the last piece of theater I saw in this space, “Fun Home.”

“The Fortress of Solitude,” through Nov. 2 at The Public’s Newman Theater, 425 Lafayette St. Tickets: $80 and up. Call 212-967-7555.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Doug Hamilton; photo below by Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[“Orphan Black” Star Books LaBute Play]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:51:18 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/170290557CP00060_Broadcast_.jpg

Tatiana Maslany may be known for playing a dozen clones on the cult hit "Orphan Black," but this spring, she’ll be playing just one -- on stage.

Maslany make her New York City stage debut in the world premiere of Neil LaBute’s “The Way We Get By." The drama, about the morning-after of a hookup between two wedding guests, will begin its limited off-Broadway run at the Second Stage Theatre in March.

Thomas Sadoski, who stars on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” will join Maslany in the two-person play. This will be Sadoski’s first return to LaBute’s work after earning a 2009 Tony nomination for his role in LaBute’s "Reasons to be pretty."

Direction will come from Leigh Silverman, who was nominated for a Tony last season for her direction of “Violet," will run from May 12, 2015 through June 28. 

Photo Credit: Christopher Polk]]>
<![CDATA[Quiz: How Pumpkin Savvy Are You?]]> Tue, 28 Oct 2014 09:47:41 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pumpkin-177531910.jpg

With fall upon us and Halloween fast approaching, it's high season for all things pumpkin. You may sip pumpkin spice lattes with the best of them or carve a mean jack-o'-lantern, but how well do you really know the seasonal staple? Test your knowledge in this interactive quiz.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Review: "Nightmare: New York" May Cause Nightmares]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:42:39 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Nightmare+Michael+Blase.jpg

It should be stated upfront that I scare incredibly easily. I’m the sort of person who loudly screams during horror films even when the action may not be that scary -- who still jumps when he sees a rat on the subway tracks. And yes, I sleep with a nightlight, thank you very much.

It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that I did a whole lot of screaming while walking through “Nightmare,” the famed interactive Halloween attraction now in the midst of its annual run at the Clemente Center on the Lower East Side. But the scares are so incredibly well-done that even the biggest horror buffs will be jumping in fear.

Now celebrating its 11th season, “Nightmare” is the longest running Halloween attraction in the city, and the second largest Halloween event next to the Halloween Parade. Each year, creator and co-director Timothy Haskell and co-director John Harlacher choose a new theme to build the show's scares around, fully constructing a new experience to scare the life out of you.

While past themes include fairy tales gone wrong and notorious killers, this year, Haskell and Harlacher have chosen something a little close to home: New York City. The haunted house takes you through a chronological timeline of NYC's most terrifying urban legends — from the Native American settlers who cursed the island of Mannahattan, to the super-sized rats created by Sandy.

It’s a historical tour of NYC unlike any other that you’ll ever take, that’s for sure. And along the way, you’ll meet some frightening residents of the city’s past. Like Mary Mallon, a cook who infected 53 people with typhoid fever over the course of her career (you may know her as Typhoid Mary). Or Cropsey, the escaped mental patient on Staten Island who would snatch small children in the night.

You’ll also visit some of NYC’s most haunted locales. Like Brooklyn’s Melrose Hall, long-rumored to be haunted by the spirit of an Iroquois girl who was held hostage there by a colonel during the American Revolution. And The Dakota, a co-op on the Upper West Side where John Lennon was murdered and supposedly haunts the building. (Trust: he’s not just singing “Imagine” over and over again).

The entire time, you navigate the 13-section haunted house in a small isolated group, meandering through the cramped rooms and uneven spaces. The darkness is disillusioning -- the various strobe lights even more so -- and the sounds of screams from the groups behind you and in front of you only add to the feeling of paranoia. It’s like one big anxiety attack, with no Klonopin in sight.

But it’s the 38 actors employed at “Nightmare” who give the attraction its main bite. This highly-trained team gives you truly committed performances, designed to get the most out of each scare. Nothing feels forced or out-of-place. These artists know what they’re doing, and they’re not afraid to get in your face to bring your worst fears to life.

For me, the most terrifying interactions were the ones that felt all too real. Mole people and mental patients are scary and everything, but walking into a recreated 1980s subway car and meeting a drug-addicted resident with a gun and a bad temper? That’s the stuff nightmares are really made of. And as someone who grew up taking the subway in the 1980s, that’s one walk down memory lane I didn’t want to take.

“Nightmare” also offers a premium version of the attraction, for those of you who are brave enough to handle the extra scares. You’ll be marked with a blood-red X on your face, which will signal performers to turn up the terror. This scaredy-cat didn’t go for that experience, so if you’re looking for that review, look to some other poor journalist. Meanwhile, I’ll be curled up in a ball, wishing my nightmares about “Nightmare” would somehow stop.

“Nightmare: New York,” at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Education Center, 107 Suffolk Street (between Rivington and Delancey). Tickets: $20-$60. Visit nightmarenyc.com.

Photo Credit: Michael Blase]]>
<![CDATA[NYCWFF Blue Moon Burger Bash 2014]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:16:14 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/burger+bash+21.jpg Lauren Scala heads to the NYCWFF's Blue Moon Burger Bash to find out what makes one burger better than the next.]]> <![CDATA[Review: One Helluva “Town”]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:07:36 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/869947.jpg

Living in New York City, day in and day out, it’s easy to forget the fun of experiencing it all for the first time. The wonder of looking up at the skyscrapers from the streets below. The excitement of being among the diversity of its residents. It’s the sort of childlike discovery that makes even a crowded subway seem like a magical place.

That unmitigated glee is alive and well at the Lyric Theatre, where the Broadway revival of the they-don’t-make-‘em-like-they-used-to musical “On the Town” is now open. Tony-winning director John Rando (“Urinetown”) has embraced the classic tale, about three American sailors on 24-hour shore leave in New York City during World War II, and staged a joyous production that’ll make you want to fall in love with the city — and musical theater — all over again.

“On the Town” began as a ballet by legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins (1944’s “Fancy Free”), which was set to the music of Leonard Bernstein (“West Side Story). The idea transformed into a Broadway musical that same year, with the songwriting team of Betty Comden and Adolph Green (“Wonderful Town,” “Peter Pan”) providing book and lyrics.

Fans of the 1949 film version, starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin, should be warned: that film dispensed most of the Broadway production’s songs and replaced them with new tunes by Roger Edens.

There are plenty of songs you’ll recognize regardless of your experience with the show — chief among them the infectious opener “New York, New York” (which made it to the movie), the jazz cabaret standard “I Can Cook, Too” (for which Bernstein also wrote the lyrics) and ballads like “Lonely Town” and “Some Other Time.” These songs have never sounded better either, with a superb 28-piece orchestra giving Bernstein’s complex score the fullness it deserves.

Leading the cast of 31 are our three sailors: the earnest romantic Gabey (Tony Yazbeck, “Gypsy”), the optimistic goofball Chip (Jay Armstrong Johnson, “Hands on a Hardbody”) and the sex-crazed ladies’ man Ozzie (Clyde Alves, “Bullets Over Broadway”). Together Yazbeck, Johnson and Alves give our trio of protagonists boundless energy and charm, making them loveable tour guides through this adventure.

They’re also each met with equally compelling love interests. Alysha Umphress, a standout in “American Idiot”, slays as Hildy, a no-nonsense cab driver who takes Chip under her wing. Umphress’ Hildy has just the perfect mixture of brass and sass, seen clearly in her smooth take on “I Can Cook, Too.” She makes an adorable team with Johnson, who brings the laughs (and the effervescent flips) during their duet, “Come Up to My Place.”

Elizabeth Stanley, known for her understated roles on Broadway in “Cry-Baby” and “Company,” lets loose as Claire De Loone, an anthropologist with a bit of a naughty side who quickly falls for Ozzie. Stanley has never sounded better, her soprano on full-display in numbers such as “Carried Away.” She’s also never committed to the absurd quite as flawlessly, and Alves’ Ozzie makes for a grounding partner.

In her Broadway debut, Megan Fairchild is an elegant Ivy Smith, the object of Gabey’s affections. Formerly a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, Fairchild puts her skills to good use in the “The Imaginary Coney Island” sequence, which she dances alongside Yazbeck. It’s a beautiful moment from two beautiful dancers, who make us fully believe their love connection.

Choreography (picture above) comes from the Emmy-winning Joshua Bergasse (“Smash”), who designs his movements in the spirit of Robbins’ original choreography, without literal recreation of Robbins’ work. Bergasse takes full advantage of the talent in his cast, giving intricate steps to our three leads that strongly establish character, while still allowing plenty of time to showcase the breadth of talent among the 20 ensemble members.

Rando has been with “On the Town” for nearly six years now, directing a 2008 Encores! concert production and a 2013 mounting at the Barrington Stage Company (from which most of the Broadway revival cast and creatives helm). His time with the piece has clearly been well spent, and his keen eye for pacing and comedy makes the often dated material and setups feel fresh and bright.

The show even opens with a collective singing of the national anthem — something wildly popular during wartime-entertainment, but something I’ve never experienced in my lifetime.

Kudos should also be given to the hilarious Jackie Hoffman (“Xanadu,” “The Addams Family”), clearly in her element here as she portrays multiple, wacky, scene-stealing women. One imagines Rando’s direction of Hoffman boiled down to one line: “Do your thing.” And boy, is she ever.

Sets and projections by Beowulf Boritt and costumes by Jess Goldstein color the stage with a modern elegance that perfectly matches the tone of the production. And the inventive puppet design by Matt Acheson gives “Carried Away” the bite it needs.

Of all the musicals of its generation, “On the Town” has never received the same level of praise as some of its contemporaries from, say, Cole Porter or Rodgers & Hammerstein. But 70 years after its premiere, Rando’s glorious revival reminds you just what a gem of a piece it is. This is one walk down memory lane you’ll want to take.

"On the Town," at the Lyric Theatre, 213 W. 42nd St. Tickets: $37-$157. Call 877-250-2929 or visit ticketmaster.com

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[Al Pacino Returning to Broadway]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:05:23 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/509501135JL00001_The_Humbli.jpg

Al Pacino will return to the Great White Way in the fall of 2015 in the world premiere of a new David Mamet play, “China Doll.”

Pacino will play Mickey Ross, a billionaire with a young fiancee on the verge of semi-retirement who takes one last phone call before leaving for the day. Trouble, inevitably, ensues. David Mamet has said he wrote the play specifically for Pacino, who said he was excited about the role.

“For me over the years, the relationship and the collaboration with David Mamet has been one of the richest and most rewarding,” Pacino said in a statement. “We’ve done four projects together and the opportunity to create a new character in the David Mamet canon was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Pacino said he was "blown away" by the play, adding that it’s "one of the most daunting and challenging roles I’ve been given to explore onstage. It’s a special gift to originate a role in the theatre, especially written by such a formidable writer and I haven’t done that in a long, long time.”

The two-time Tony-winner was last seen on Broadway in another Mamet play -- 2012’s revival of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Glengarry Glen Ross." (Pacino played Shelly Levene). He also received a 2011 Tony nomination for his role in the revival of "The Merchant of Venice."

Pam MacKinnon, represented this season on the boards with the revival of Edward Albee’s “A Delicate Balance," will direct "China Doll." She won a 2013 Tony Award for her direction of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf," and also directed 2012's Tony-winning Best Play, "Clybourne Park."

“China Doll” will begin performances in October 2015 at a Shubert theatre to be announced. 

Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole]]>
<![CDATA[Shia LaBeouf Discusses His Broadway Arrest]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:56:39 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/499713639RK005_SHIA_LABEOUF.jpg

Actor Shia LaBeouf has finally spoken out about his June arrest for disorderly conduct. And it seems there’s one thing to blame, the way he tells it: whiskey.

To refresh, LeBeouf was escorted out of the June 26 performance of Broadway’s “Cabaret” during intermission, after disrupting the first act of the show by smoking, yelling, and groping at least one of the performers (star Alan Cumming). He was later arrested amidst a slew of expletives and gay slurs directed towards police, and charged with two counts of trespassing, two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of harassment in the second degree.

LeBeouf pled guilty to charges on Sept. 10, in a deal that involved no jail time or probation. Terms of the deal state that the case will be dismissed if LaBeouf stays in treatment for at least three months and out of trouble for six.

On Monday, LaBeouf appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to promote his new film with Brad Pitt, “Fury,” and explained the events that lead up to his arrest.

According to LaBeouf, he had been drinking whiskey all day at a nearby bar, watching the World Cup. During a cigarette break, LaBeouf met a dancer from “Cabaret” who invited the “Transformers” star to the show. And wanting to “turn it up a bit,” LaBeouf accepted.

From there, it appears, a very drunk LaBeouf was under the impression that he was attending a cabaret, not the “Cabaret.” Upon seeing the vibe of The Kit Kat Club at Studio 54, and the provocative performance of Alan Cumming’s Emcee, LaBeouf began loosening up himself. He smoked a cigarette, drank some more and even slapped Cumming’s derriere.

At Intermission, LaBeouf was told “there’s another party outside.” That party turned out to be the cops, who arrested LaBeouf.

Things didn’t get much better for LaBeouf at the station. Realizing he was not “made for this setup,” LaBeouf began acting out. “I’m ripping my shirt off, and doing pushups and I’m like, “Don’t mess with me — I’m crazy,” he told Kimmel.

To get out of the cell where he was being held with six other prisoners, LaBeouf decided to spit on an officer. “I spit on his shoe,” LaBeouf said, “and he put a Hannibal mask on me and a lead jacket and ushered me to my private dwelling where I sat for 25 hours. And then they gave me a McDonald’s egg sandwich.”

So does LaBeouf plan to make a trip to see “Cabaret” again soon? “I’m going to stay away from Broadway for a little bit,” he said.

And whiskey too, we hope.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrating Oktoberfest in New York]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:12:17 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Oktoberfest4.jpg You don't have to travel to Germany to celebrate an amazing Oktoberfest. Lilliana Vazquez visited two New York eateries serving up some sausage, beer, and traditional favorites to get you in the spirit.

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Review: Lane, Broderick Together Again in "It's Only a Play"]]> Thu, 09 Oct 2014 19:10:16 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/OnlyaPlayMain.jpg

“It’s Only a Play” makes for an exciting way to spend a night, but keep your expectations in check.

This season’s hottest ticket—it’s just opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre—is a behind-the-scenes Broadway satire starring a murderer’s row of talent, each in roles that hew closely to the parts that made us love them in the first place. See Mullally, Megan: Karen onWill & Grace.”

It’s also trying to be too many things to too many people, and occasionally tripping over itself in the process.

Playwright Terrence McNally has updated the jokes since “It’s Only a Play” first appeared Off-Off-Broadway in 1982, so James Franco and Shia LaBeouf are now punchlines; Linda Hunt and Charles Nelson Reilly are out. The barbs fly fast and furious, and many fall a notch below Borscht Belt levels: “New York without the theater is Newark,” opines frustrated playwright Peter Austin (Matthew Broderick, taking milquetoast to new heights).

Every kind of character in the vast Broadway Industrial Complex eats crow in McNally’s well-intentioned comedy of fragile egos, which takes place entirely in the boudoir of fledgling producer Julia Budder (Mullally, again playing a New Yorker with too much money on her hands).

Julia, along with her insecure playwright; his best friend, a TV star (Nathan Lane); the play’s leading lady (Stockard Channing, in an ankle bracelet); a theater critic (F. Murray Abraham); and the fresh-faced rent-a-butler (the talented Micah Stock) are on pins and needles (and the occasional quaalude) ahead of reviews for Peter’s new “American” play—wait for it—“The Golden Egg.”

Mullally’s hold-her-head-high producer has sass, but less edge than Karen Walker, of “Will & Grace.” I kept wishing for a sharpness that never materialized, particularly in McNally’s meandering second act.

As James Wicker, the TV star wooed back from L.A. to toast his friend Peter’s opening, Lane’s performance—he’s essentially playing himself—is the most consistently funny, particularly in an ongoing joke about the actor’s masculinity (Mullally and Lane are pictured, below).

Channing, as felonious actress Virginia Noyes, mugs her way through some pretty good one-liners as an old pro who hoped the show would rehab her reputation. Kudos to the sardonic stage vet, who’s doing the whole thing with an injured knee.

F. Murray Abraham seems to be having a swell time as snide critic Ira Drew, who has his own unprofessional agenda for the night—I dare you not to think of his Antonio Salieri! Also going along giddily is Rupert Grint, the one-time “Harry Potter” actor, as the wunderkind director who just once would really love … a flop. Grint makes a hilarious un-Ron Weasley-like entrance, and then tears through the rest of the production behaving like a cross between Billie Joe Armstrong and Richard Branson.

With these marquee stars, you might assume “It’s Only a Play” is aimed squarely at theatergoers looking for a safe night on the town. I guess the idea is to offer a smorgasbord of material and hope for the best, but I suspect most audience members will walk out having gotten perhaps half the jokes.

The piece name-drops Tommy Tune and Tovah Feldshuh and tosses in tired material about Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno; its nods to “A Delicate Balance” and “The Elephant Man” border on obscure. Are the folks lining up for another Lane-Broderick teaming going to follow a one-liner about "Moose Murders,” the 1983 play considered one of the Rialto’s greatest flops?

Theater insiders, on the other hand, will guffaw at the inside cracks about online Broadway chat rooms, but many will feel “It’s Only a Play” lazily misses its mark. Are the people who would get a “Moose Murders” joke going to find tolerable a bit that has Broderick’s playwright revealing the things he’d do for a “good” review: “Put a bag over your head and I’d f—- you, for one,” Peter says to Abraham’s infamous critic. Zoinks.

All that said, there’s also one other thing “It’s Only a Play” is: Review-proof. The comedy, directed by Jack O’Brien, will mint money for its myriad producers (“I am no longer part of the herd of investors who call themselves producers,” Julia says, in one of the play’s sharper observations about the changing industry: “When they call the Tony Award for Best Play, it will be just me going to the podium.”).

Indeed, we high-minded reviewer types will just have to sniff at the sometimes mediocre material … while counting our blessings at having scored free press tickets to the most in-demand show of the fall. In keeping with the self-deprecating spirit of “It’s Only a Play,” I offer this admission: There’s no reason theater reviewers shouldn’t be exposed for the occasionally freeloading louts we are.

“It’s Only a Play,” through Jan. 4, 2015 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th St. Tickets: $72-$147. Call Tele-charge, 212-239-6200.

Follow Robert Kahn on Twitter@RobertKahn

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus]]>
<![CDATA[#Tailgate4NY: Your Football Photos]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 10:29:37 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/jpmccarty-tailgateCNcrop.jpg NBC 4 New York viewers sent us these tailgating photos. Send us your photos to http://www.nbcnewyork.com/ugc/

Photo Credit: @jpmccarty/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Hamptons International Film Festival]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:38:18 -0500 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/HIFF-300x200.png ]]>