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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Saturday
Oct242015

Adam's Call: Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca" starring Daphne Rubin-Vega: Recipe for Success

Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"This is certainly the week for shows! Aaron Mark's Empanada Loca, written for and starring two-time Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, is another must see show! Inspired by the legend of Sweeney Todd, Empanada Loca is being presented by LAByrinth Theater Company and playing at The Bank Street Theater in NYC.

The combination of Aaron's writing and Daphne's talent is a definite recipe for success! From the moment the lights went out and the rumbles of the subway train were heard, I was taken into "Dolores'" world and was kept there the whole time. The set up of how "Dolores" got to living in the tunnels of the subway was perfectly written by Aaron. There were so many twists and turns in this show, I didn't want to leave! From drug-dealing to being an ex-con to now living far below the city streets, "Dolores" has seen and done it all. 

Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"Daphne Rubin-Vega as "Dolores" in Aaron Mark's "Empanada Loca"Daphne does more than embody the character of "Dolores," a woman who has lived a life, she IS "Dolores!" There was not one moment in the show when I felt I was watching Daphne Rubin-Vega the actress. I only saw "Dolores" and that is a testament to the powerful performance Daphne is giving in this show as well as to Aaron's writing. Daphne is giving a performance of a lifetime!

Empanada Loca is the second show in Aaron's trilogy, the first being Another Medea, which starred Tom Hewitt. Aaron is definitely a rising playwright to watch! His writing is dark, sometimes uncomfortable, but always filled with just enough humor to help you through. Aaron is daring for bringing such captivating shows to the stage, re-imaging these classics for today's audiences and he's doing it with premier talent!

I was so captivated watching Empanada Loca that I can't wait to see it again! I'm telling you, this is one show that is worth the train ride into the tunnels of the subway system's unknown!

Empanada Loca runs through November 8th only at Bank Street Theater (155 Bank Street, between Greenwich and Washington). Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Saturday
Oct242015

Adam's Call: Shakina Nayfack: POST-OP: Spirits Don't Break

Shakina Nayfack performing "POST-OP" at Joe's PubThere is a new anthem being shouted from the stages of Shakina Nayfack's new show, POST-OP, "Manifest Pussy!" Maybe it's not a new anthem, but it's not something I've heard discussed on a regular basis. In this show, Shakina is opening herself up and exposing herself in a way more people should. When you live an authentic life, there is a constant glow around you, and that glow is illuminating from Shakina! Her new one-woman show POST-OP, still in development, at The Wild Project in New York City's East Village, is about Shakina's pilgrimage to Thailand to have her gender reassaignment surgery, from her final night in NYC through her KickstartHer campaign to her arrival in Thailand to her surgery to life today as the woman she was born to be.

I am so proud of Shakina for living her truth and showing others it's okay to be who you truly feel you are meant to be. As tattooed on her chest, "Lie still on the day of Pain and the day of Joy will greet You!" This quote could not be more true for Shakina. 

Shakina Nayfack, Photo Credit: Susan Rosenberg JonesShakina Nayfack performing "POST-OP" at Joe's PubThe thing I like best about Shakina is her honesty. Her rawness. Her courage. Her strength. And mostly, her authenticity. Shakina is Shakina. She doesn't sugar coat anything. She tells it like it is and you know exactly what she is feeling. She is the real deal and this show is no exception! I laughed. I cried. I was transported. I felt as though I was on this pilgrimage with Shakina from beginning to end. Shakina moved me in ways no one else has before. 

There are fun upbeat songs like "B.N.P." to mantra's like "Spirits Don't Break," to heart-tuggers like "Down The Shower Drain." There is so much to this show, more than I could ever fully convey here. This show really sums up Musical Theatre Factory's slogan "We're Working On It" because it's shows like this that they are presenting. Shows that speak to everyone. Shows that make you feel. Shows that move you. Shows that take you outside your comfort zone. Shows that change you. The best way to experience this tour de force, also known as POST-OP, is to go see it for yourself!

Shakina Nayfack performing "POST-OP" at Joe's PubIn this developmental stage, POST-OP has just 2 performances left at The Wild Project (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B) on Saturday, October 24 at 8pm and Sunday, October 25 at 7pm! Click here for tickets!

For more on Shakina be sure to visit http://shakina.nyc and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

For more on Musical Theatre Factory visit http://mtf.nyc and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Thursday
Sep242015

Adam's Call: Dina Martina: Flat & Lacking: Full of Life

Dina Martina is unlike any performer you've seen! Her shows are hard to describe, but one thing is for sure, when you attend a Dina Martina show, you will laugh and leave with a smile on your face! Dina's dark humor is not for everyone, but if you are open to going places that you wonder if it's okay to laugh, then Dina Martina is the perfect show for you to attend! With a mixture of songs and stories, Dina entertains like no other!

Paul C. Focazio, Dina Martina, and Call Me AdamHer latest show, Flat & Lacking, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre is anything but! It's actually full of life! Dina tells new stories about her showbusiness days from the glamourous lights of Las Vegas to summer nights in Provincetown to the Emerald City itself, her hometown of Seattle. What's great about these stories is that you never know who she is going to talk about. Dina is also big on charity work. I love hearing about all the causes that are near and dear and far from Dina's heart. And when Dina is not talking about her life, she's entertaining the crowd with a well known song that is sometimes rewritten in a way only Dina can write...dark and funny!

Dina Martina, Photo Credit: David BelisleDina is not one to shy away from making fun of herself. She is the first person to be in on the joke and that includes her costumes too. She wears the wildest outfits that only Dina Martina can wear! Whether they accentuate her frontside or backside, no one can match Dina Martina's "fashion" sense. And it's her clothes that add to her humor!

I have been seeing Dina Martina for 10 years now and let me tell you, each show gets funnier and funnier! I could easily see each show twice. Dina has so many hidden gems that one viewing is never enough! So, if you are looking to take things to the next level, check out Dina Martina Flat & Lacking at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC through September 27! (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue inside the West Bank Cafe) Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Dina about Flat & Lacking, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Monday
Aug242015

Adam's Call: Olivia Newton-John: Summer Nights at The Flamingo Las Vegas: Magic

Olivia Newton-John and Call Me Adam at Olivia Newton-John's "Summer Nights" residency at The Flamingo Las Vegas"Magic" is being made at Olivia Newton-John's Las Vegas Summer Nights residency at the Donny & Marie Showroom inside The Flamingo Las Vegas. I was fortunate enough to get to see Olivia's show while I was in Las Vegas celebrating my 40th Birthday! I saw Olivia for my 25th birthday at Boston's Pavillion, so it's quite fitting to celebrate another milestone birthday seeing Olivia in concert. 

I was mesmorized from start until finish! Olivia is in tip-top shape performing her catalog of music from mega hit songs, to her country roots, to a special Xanadu and Grease suite, as well as some of my favorite Olivia songs that were not big hits. From the moment Olivia started "Have You Never Been Mellow," acapella , I knew I was in for a treat! From there, the show exploded! The 90 minute concert was over in a flash. Olivia is such a captivating, engaging, and enthusiastic singer. I could just tell how much she loved performing this show! She really got everyone engaged and dancing! Olivia interacted with the audience throughout the whole night, making the concert that much more exciting! My favorite part of the show were the back stories Olivia told about some of the songs. It was these vulnerable moments that added such intimacy to the show!

Olivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" at The Flamingo Las Vegas, Photo Credit: Denise TruscelloOlivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" at The Flamingo Las Vegas, Photo Credit: Denise TruscelloI also loved the fact that Olivia did not just sing her hits! She covered her an array of songs from her career. Some of my favorite songs she performed were "Not Gonna Give Into It," which is her personal anthem, as well as one of mine! When I was going through some tough times back in college, this song really kept me moving forward and to this day, whenever I need a boost, I turn up the volume on "Not Gonna Give Into It!" If you read "Call Me Adam," you'll know I am a fan of musical theatre. Needless to say, when Olivia sang my favorite Stephen Sondheim song, it was the perfect merging of my two worlds. Her performance of "Send in the Clowns," was unreal! She completely understands the emotions and feelings behind this song and effortlessly displayed that understanding to the audience. I am so glad she included this song. To get to hear "Sam" and "Please Mr. Please," were just a delight. These are definitely two of my favorite Olivia Newton-John songs. These past few months, leading up to the concert, I have been going on my own journey of gratitude. So when Olivia sang "Grace & Gratitude," I heard this song in a new light for the first time. I truly understood what it meant to have such gratitude for so many things (not that I wasn't grateful before, but this new journey of mine has made me even more grateful than I had previously been).

Olivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" at The Flamingo Las Vegas, Photo Credit: Denise TruscelloOlivia Newton-John "Summer Nights" at The Flamingo Las Vegas, Photo Credit: Denise TruscelloOlivia found the perfect balance of music to perform! From "Physical" to "Xanadu" to "I Honestly Love You," this was one rockin' concert! The Flamingo Las Vegas is the perfect venue for Olivia to have her residency. The space is intimate, with no seat further than, what seemed like no more than 50 feet from the stage. The set is simple...just a white stage, some lights, and her band and back-up singers behind her. I hope everyone will get the chance to go to Las Vegas and see Olivia Newton-John does what she does best...light up the stage with love!

Olivia Newton-John's Summer Nights is in residency at the Donny & Marie Showroom inside The Flamingo Las Vegas through January 2, 2016! Click here for tickets, dates, and times! 

For more on Olivia be sure to visit http://olivianewton-john.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Wednesday
Aug192015

Adam's Call: Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers: One Singular Razzle Dazzle

What a week it's been so far here in Las Vegas! I came here to celebrate my 40th Birthday, but I had the honor to leave my 30s on a high note, taking in one of Vegas' biggest shows, Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers! I was beyond excited to see this show because two of my favorite Broadway stars, Kerry O'Malley and fellow "Call Me Adam" participant, David Burnham, are amongst the lead vocalists. I was also introduced to the talents of Nicole Kaplan, Randal Keith, Andrew Ragone, and Lindsay Roginski, as well as a host of dancers!

With a 30-piece orchestra to back them, these timeless classics sounded better than ever! Except for On The Town, no Broadway show is hosting a 30-piece orchestra these days, so this, was a real treat! There is nothing like a full orchestra and I am so glad Steve Wynn had one for this dynomite show!

From left to right: David Burnham, Lindsay Roginski, Kerry O'Malley, Randal Keith in "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers"From the first note of "There's No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun to the last note of "One" from A Chorus Line, this show is one big hit after another! It was one explosive number after another. The explosions kept getting bigger and bigger as the night went on! Just when I thought the show couldn't get any better, boom, boom, boom, it kept topping itself all the way until the end!

I haven't seen Kerry O'Malley on Broadway since the 2002 revival of Into The Woods. It was a thrill to see her talents and hear those glorious vocals on such big songs as Gypsy's "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Together (Wherever We Go)" with Lindsay Roginski, and Annie Get Your Gun's "Anything You Can Do" with Randal Keith.  And on "Cabaret," I mean, please, I almost couldn't handle myself! Kerry's still got the power and elgance I remember from the Into The Woods revival. It was terrific seeing her lighting up that stage!

David Burnham in "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers" as Billy Fynn singing "Razzle Dazzle" from "Chicago"David Burnham and the cast of "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers" performing "Razzle Dazzle" from "Chicago"I've seen David perform several times prior to Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers, but in this show, David really gets to demonstrate his comedic side, which is hilarious! He brings the house down on Cabaret's "Willkommen" and "Money Money," shows his goofy side in "The Game" from Damn Yankees and makes our hearts stop with his sexy, slick "Billy Flynn" where he really gives us the "Razzle Dazzle" from Chicago.

And Andrew Ragone, won me over when he sang "Luck Be A Lady" from Guys and Dolls. Talk about a suave guy. He sure knows how to put the moves, not only on his co-star, but on the audience as well. I melted watching him in the bright blue suit as he sang his heart out!

Lindsay Roginski and the cast of "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers" performing "Cell Block Tango" from "Chicago"Lindsay Roginski, man, this woman, can sing and dance! She raised the roof with "All I Need Is One Good Break" from Flora The Red Menace and "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago. She certainly has it coming to her...more leading roles that is!

I loved hearing Randal Keith sing big! He gave Kerry a run for her money with "Anthing You Can Do" and wowed the crowd even more when he sang "Once In A Lifetime." Every number he sang, was bigger than the one before!

I can't forget Nicole Kaplan. This girl has pipes! She made "All That Jazz" all her own! I haven't seen power like hers in a while! I wasn't sure I was going to make it past 39 after hearing this girl sing. She literally almost killed me with her talent! Such a delight to be introduced to her! 

Nicole Kaplan and the cast of "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers" performing "All That Jazz" from "Chicago"Cast of "Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers" performing "Money Money" from "Cabaret"Those dancers! They really lit up that stage and didn't miss a beat! My favorite numbers were when all the dancers were on stage together, especially in "Willkommen" and "Money Money" from Cabaret, but the very memorable moment for me was watching them re-create "One" from A Chorus Line. Such a beautiful number! Stunning!

My only surprise to a show presenting Broadway's biggest numbers was that 42nd Street was not included. I would have loved to meet those dancing feet. Other than that, Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers is the perfect feel good show! You get the glitz and glamour of Vegas along with some of the biggest numbers in Broadway history!

Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers plays at the Encore Theater, housed inside the Wynn Las Vegas. Steve Wynn's ShowStoppers plays Monday through Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, and Saturdays at 6:45pm and 9:15pm! Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!