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

Entries in Theatre (115)

Wednesday
Oct102012

Stephen Sondheim's Marry Me A Little

On September 28, I attended the Keen Company's production of Stephen Sondheim's "Marry Me A Little" at Theatre Row. Starring the amazing talents of Lauren Molina and Jason Tam, "Marry Me A Little" tells a tale of love, loneliness, and survival as a modern single.

As a modern single, these were all themes I could identify with. I've struggled with finding the courage to tell the guy I have a crush on that he's cute. I've sat home on a Saturday night watching TV thinking of ways to tell him, but I've also enjoyed the moment of the first meeting with hopes that it will go somewhere.

I think Lauren and Jason did an excellent job with the material. From their chemistry to voices, they were in sync with each other. They each held their own while hitting all the right notes. I also loved the added bonus of Lauren playing the cello. She's quite an accomplished musician in addition to actress.

I do wish there were a few more upbeat songs as the show does contain a lot of ballads, but some of my favorite numbers were "Saturday Night," "Bang!," "Your Eyes Are Blue," "A Moment With You," "Happily Ever After," "Rainbows," and "It Wasn't Meant To Happen."

If you want to see two rising stars, then go see Lauren and Jason in "Marry Me A Little." "Marry Me A Little" plays at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through October 27! Click here for tickets!

Friday
Oct052012

Ben Rimalower: Patti Issues: Star Quality

Adam Rothenberg and Ben RimalowerStand back, NYC, because, Ben Rimalower has arrived with his show "Patti Issues," currently enjoying an extended run at New York's most famous piano bar, The Duplex, in the West Village.

"Patti Issues" tells the story of Ben's tumultuous relationship with his father, who, came out of the closet when Ben was eight years old. Finding solace in the great Divas, specifically, Patti LuPone, Ben tells this engaging, hearfelt, and humorous story of how Patti helped him find his footing, not only in the theatre, but in life too.

Ben Rimalower in "Patti Issues", Photo Credit: Gustavo Monroy for Next MagazineWith lots of energy and excitement, Ben takes the stage, and immediately sucks the audience in with laughter and a bit of heart break. Starting the story a little bit forward, Ben then takes the audience back to the beginning. While the evolution of "Patti Issues" is quite amazing, the true spirit of the evening is seeing how Ben has become a man who is strong, compassionate, and most of educated on many levels. "Patti Issues" flips back and forth between the relationship Ben has with his father and family and his love of Patti LuPone. It's interesting to see how Patti has "traveled" with Ben along this road.

"Patti Issues" definitely left me wanting more because there were a few moments I felt the story could have been expanded or connected more smoothly. I remember saying to myself, "I want to see where this goes and then that moment was gone." If there is a rewriting phase after this run, I hope those missing moments, for me, become fleshed out more.

For someone who is making their writing and performing debut, Ben Rimalower is on the fast track to something great! I know that this is just the beginning of Ben's next phase. "Patti Issues" is the project that will take Ben to the next level, if it hasn't already.

Patti LuPone and Ben Rimalower at "Patti Issues", Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson for Broadway.comWith just five performances left, "Patti Issues" is one solo show not to be missed! You'll get the inside scoop into a man who's savoir has taken him on his own "Rainbow Tour" and dressed him up to the nines!

Ben Rimalower's "Patti Issues" plays at The Duplex in New York City through November 1. The Duplex is located at 61 Christohper Street at 7th Avenue. Click here for tickets!

Remaining showtimes are:

Monday, October 8 at 7pm

Sunday, October 14 at 9:30pm

Sunday, October 21 at 9:30pm

Sunday, October 28 at 4pm

Thursday, November 1 at 9:30pm

Monday
Sep102012

US by Michelle Clunie: Powerful and Multi-layered

Michelle Clunie and Adam Rothenberg at "US" Opening Night PartyMichelle Clunie ("Melanie" from Showtime's "Queer As Folk") has made her New York theatrical mark with the debut of her play "US," a powerful and multi-layered show set against the year we elected President Obama. Michelle has written a sophisticated show that tackles love, sex, power, politics, and self-worth.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandProduced by Kef Productions and directed by Jennifer Gelfer, "US" is not only written by Michelle, but she stars in it as well along with Jeff Lebeau. From the moment the show began, I was enticed until the very end. This emotionally drama filled show was aided by its comedic moments and intertwining of video projections.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandAs a playwright, it was evident that Michelle carefully chose her words, and an actress, she delivered those words brillliantly. Jeff's performance was equally as spot on, really helping bring Michelle's dialogue to life. Both performers have great comedic talents in physical comedy and doing impersonations, but it was their emotional moments that captured me.

Traveling between present day and the road that got them to where they are now, it was very interesting to see the build up of events, even though there were a few moments I had a little trouble following the sequence of events, overall, they were displayed well.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ RowlandOne of my favorite parts of the show was when each character came to a realization either about himself or herself about the situation and they didn't necessarily know how to change it, but continued on, learning from it. My other favorite part of the show was the true moment of self-empowerment, an action, I hope everyone is able to discover for themselves.

Michelle Clunie and Jeff LeBeau in "US", Photo Credit: Russ Rowland"US" is a must see show whether you are looking for a new playwright with strong writing skills or if you are a fan of Michelle Clunie and want to see a different kind of emotion from her.

"US" plays at The Lion Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue) through September 29! Click here for tickets!

Wednesday
Aug292012

Tonya Pinkins at 54 Below: Took My Breath Away

Tonya Pinkins at 54 Below, Jennifer Broski, BroadwayWorld.com & Jenny Anderson, Broadway.comTonya Pinkins and Adam RothenbergTonya Pinkins took my breath away on Monday, August 27, 2012 when I attended her concert at 54 Below in NYC where she performed excerpts and songs from "Hurricane Ethel," a hopeful new show about the life and music of Ethel Waters, written by Dennis Courtney with Tonya Pinkins.

I felt the true depths of Tonya's skills were displayed on that stage at 54 Below, both in acting and singing. Tonya embodied Ethel Waters and brought this iconic woman back to life! With such hits as "Harlem on My Mind"/"Ole Man Harlem," "Heatwave," "I Got Rhythm," "Suppertime," "Stormy Weather," "Come Up and See Me Some Time," "Shake That Thing," "Lil Black Boy," "Moonglow," "Honey In the Honeycomb" and "This Joint Is Jumping," many of the songs made famous by Ethel Waters as well as some of the major achievements Ethel gained during her life and career were covered. Ethel was a real pioneer in many aspects of her life.

Tonya Pinkins at 54 Below, Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski, BroadwayWorld.com & Jenny Anderson, Broadway.comTonya Pinkins at 54 Below, Photo Credit: Jennifer Broski, BroadwayWorld.com & Jenny Anderson, Broadway.comTonya has a vocal range most singers can only dream about! While she triumphed throughout the whole show, my favorite numbers were "I Got Rhythm," "Suppertime," "Stormy Weather," "Shake That Thing," and "This Joint Is Jumping."

"I Got Rhythm" is one of my favorite songs of all time, so it was just a joy to hear Tonya sing it. On "Suppertime" and "Stormy Weather," Tonya hit all the right notes, but it was "Shake That Thing" and "This Joint Is Jumping," where Tonya definitely enticed the audience into interacting with her.

Tonya's concert was full of life. There were so many moments I was in awe of her. I feel so lucky to have been in attendance!

Tuesday
Aug282012

Carly Jibson: Cancer's Expensive!!! A Benefit for Renee Zimmerman

Carly Jibson, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesScott Alan and Susan Mosher, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesIt was said over and over, "If love could cure cancer, it would have been cured in that room." That was the sentiment felt all around when Carly Jibson hosted a benefit for her mom, Renee Zimmerman, who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Bone and Lung Cancer.

Upon receiving the news of her mom's diagnosis, Carly reached out to her closet friends for help and guidance. It was her friend, award winning composer/lyricist Scott Alan, who suggested they put together a benefit concert and four months later, "Cancer's Expensive!!! A Benefit for Renee Zimmerman" was unveiled.

Nick Adams, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesChad Kimball, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesThe sold-out benefit at The Laurie Beechman Theatre featured a host of hugely talented performers. In addition to Scott and Carly, the line-up included Nick Adams ("Priscilla Queen of the Desert"), Eden Epsinosa ("Wicked" and  "Brooklyn") and Brian Gallagher ("Jekyll and Hyde" revival), Jenna Leigh Green ("Wicked," "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch"), Molly Hager, Tony Award Nominee Chad Kimball ("Memphis"), Caissie Levy ("Hair" and "Ghost") and David Reiser ("Good Vibrations"), Michael Mendez ("Fat Camp" and "Chaplin"), Ben Cameron ("Broadway Sessions"), Susan Mosher ("Hairspray"), Leonard Sullivan ("Hairspray"), award winning vocalist Katie Thompson, and the cast of Off-Broadway's "Fat Camp." Everyone gave their all and performed such heartfelt songs! I was consistently overwhelmed by what I was witnessing!

Jenna Leigh Green, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesKatie Thompson, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesCarly did an excellent job of hosting the evening, considering, all the emotions she must have been feeling! If the strength and love that Carly has was any indication, then it's quite evident what an amazing woman her mom must be! With her unique brand of humor, Carly made the evening really fun and relaxed. That spirit echoed throughout the night to every single person performing on that stage. If the performers above weren't enough, Carly also received an out-cry of support from those who donated items for the raffle including Ricki Lake, Perez Hilton, Bravo's "What What Happens Live," "Wicked," "Memphis," and Cutler Salon in Soho initially gave four free haircut and coloring gift certificates, but then they were so inspired by what was happening during the evening, they ended up giving every performer of the night a cut/color as well. Because Scott Alan is brilliant, in the middle of the raffle, Scott found a way to raise even more money by having an impromtu silent auction. The two items that were being auctioned off were a signed "Wicked" T-shirt by Caissie Levy, Megan Hilty, Eden Espinosa, and two international "Wicked" stars and the genius known as Susan Mosher wrote an on-the-spot Jenna Leigh Green, Megan Hilty, Caissie Levy, Eden Espinosa, Ben Cameron, Photo Credit: Monica Simoessong about one Cast of "Fat Camp", Photo Credit: Monica Simoesperson's life, filmed for viewership on YouTube. I don't know the name of the guy, but we'll call him "Daddy Warbucks" spent over $1200 winning both silent autction items. Instead of having Susan write a song about him, he had her write a song about Scott Alan, which was perfect! I can't talk about this evening without mentioning the amazing generosity of The Laurie Beechman Theatre itself! Every single dollar from the ticket price went directly to helping Carly's mom. I have never been to a benefit where that has been the case. What a great place to host a benefit!

Caissie Levy and David ReiserMichael Mendez, Photo Credit: Monica SimoesOne of the things that impressed me most about the evening was the fact that many people at the event didn't even know Carly or Carly's mom that well, myself included. I attended because I was a fan of Carly's and the other performers and wanted to give what support I could to her and her mom. When my mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2003, the amount of love and support I recevied from my friends really made a difference, so here was a way I could pass that support on.

When people come together out of love, it's amazing what can take place! "Cancer's Expensive!!! A Benefit for Renee Zimmerman" was a moment in time I'll remember forever, especially, when at the end Carly announced that her mom's diagnosis has be downgraded to Stage 3. So, things are really looking better for Renee. It was an evening of music, humor, but most of all, of love!

For those of you who couldn't make the benefit or would like to give even more, please visit http://www.giveforward.com/friendsofreneezimmerman

Adam Rothenberg and Nick Adams, Photo Credit: Raellen ForemanChad Kimball, Beverly Waldman, Adam Rothenberg, Photo Credit: Raellen ForemanNick Adams, Perez Hilton, Jenna Leigh Green, Carly Jibson, Caissie Levy, Photo Credit: Monica Simoes