Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 Tony Awards Nominations LIVE Webcast!

The 2014 Tony Awards Nominations Announcement, Sponsored by IBM 
Tuesday, April 29 2014 8:30 a.m. ET 
Hosted by Jonathan Groff and Lucy Liu 
From the Paramount Hotel in NYC 
Video courtesy NY1 News

Click below to watch the live announcement of the 2014 Tony Nominees!

Video Console!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

THE REALISTIC JONESES: Some Neighbors Are Anything But Ordinary

The Realistic Jones is the story of two sets of neighbors, both named Jones. Jennifer (Toni Collette) and Bob (Tracy Letts) Jones live a pretty bland existence until Pony (Marisa Tomei) and John (Michael C. Hall) Jones move down the block. Their lives become intertwined over drinks in the backyard, a fainting spell, and a surprising affair.

Will Eno's text sparkles with witty banter and nuanced repartee as the vibrant characters interact and feed off of one another. Though the plot itself is rather mundane, Eno's dialogue pops and sizzles. This emphasis on dialogue over plot brings the most basic of human behaviors to the forefront. We don't have thrilling adventures everyday, but we all express our thoughts and feelings with others. He plays with social boundaries and even the generation gap as the younger Pony and John open up to their new neighbors and begin divulging personal information immediately, while the older Jennifer and Bob stick to small talk before anything serious comes up.

Tracy Letts is a standout as Bob. Even more impressive is the fact that he is an award winning playwright, yet he still finds time to focus on the craft of acting. His deadpan delivery gets every laugh and aside from a questionable moral compass, you will still find yourself feeling invested in him as a character. Marisa Tomei steals the show as the flighty Pony. Her portrayal teeters on the edge of nailing it and going too far, though she always manages to stay on the former side. She is just so honest and endearing that even though she seems like she could be from another planet, you can still imagine her living just on the other side of your picket fence.

Clocking in at just around 90 minutes, this one-act play is a thoroughly enjoyable night at the theatre. It features the best writing, play or musical, on Broadway this season. Be prepared to laugh, but you'll need to pay attention, because this isn't cheap humor. This is a well-crafted play and you'll be hearing the title many times during the upcoming awards season, so get used to it.

If you really want to keep up with the Joneses, stop in at my new favorite bar in Midtown for a pre- or post-show cocktail. "The Lantern's Keep" is a tiny speakeasy located in the Iroquois NY hotel at 49 W 44th street. This is not your typical lobby lounge, but rather a unique little hideaway that will take you back nearly 100 years. "The Lantern's Keep" features a plethora of creative specialty cocktails, though I would highly recommend The Glass House. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

BULLETS OVER BROADWAY: Mobsters and Chorus Girls Collide

Bullets Over Broadway is currently in previews at the St. James Theatre and opens on April 10th. Based on the Woody Allen movie of the same title, this new musical tells the story of David Shayne (Zach Braff), a budding playwright, and his show's road to Broadway. David has had many plays rejected in the past, but Julian Marx (Lenny Wolpe) finally agrees to produce his most recent work, though it seems like everything gets in the way from a diva and a wannabe to a motley crew of mobsters.

Woody Allen fans already know the story and there is no original music, so the fate of the show falls squarely on the shoulders of director/choreographer Susan Stroman and her actors they do not disappoint. There is something so seamless in shows where the director and choreographer are one in the same. Stroman's love of the leggy showgirl is alive and kicking, literally. Her dancers are statuesque and technically perfect, though it helps that most of them are off-season Radio City Rockettes. They don't merely perform in dance breaks, but Stroman also integrates them into the sets and uses them to transition between scenes. Also, watch out for a surprise tap number, I promise it comes out of nowhere!

Zach Braff in the role of David is the surprise of the Broadway season. We have never seen him in a musical and he does not disappoint. His singing is merely serviceable, but his timing is impeccable and his reactions to the zany antics of the other characters are priceless. David is a newbie to show business and you get the feeling that he is just trying to keep up with everything that his happening around him; Braff plays it perfectly. Marin Mazzie is simply divine in the role of Helen Sinclair, the show's grand diva. She commands attention, but shows just enough vulnerability that you still like her. Her transformation into this role is incredible, and for a while you forget you are watching Mazzie. Her commitment to the role is without question from the vocal inflection to the posture and carriage.

Betsy Wolfe is quite lovable in the role of Ellen, David's girlfriend from Pittsburgh, and her singing is heavenly, but unfortunately the character doesn't do the actress justice. She does what she can with the role, but the material given to her is too slight for a performer of her caliber. Karen Ziemba, one of Stroman's favorite performers, plays Eden, another actress in the show within the show. It saddens me when brilliant dancers start to show their age, but she still has a killer attitude turn and is transitioning seamlessly into the comic relief character. Brooks Ashmankas plays Warner Purcell, the male lead in David's play and, without giving away any punch lines, he reinvents the phrase "physical comedy". Vincent Pastore plays Nick Valenti, a mob boss, and dare I say the role he was born to play. He bankrolls David's play in order to give his girlfriend Olive the chance to be a star. He also leads the cast in a choral rendition of "Yes, We Have No Bananas," but I will let you figure that one out.

Helene York steals Act I in the role of Olive. From a hot dog number to a few stellar one-liners like "I'm going to put a shiv through your liver in your sleep," she lands every single joke in true zinger fashion. She lets them fly left and right and though she pushes the limit in every scene, she never once goes too far. In Act II, Cheech (Nick Cordero) takes over scene stealing duties as the play writing gangster who we still find it in our hearts to love for his, umm, artistic soul.

It is zany, out of control, is not ashamed to go for a cheap laugh here and there, and it may be a slight ripoff of The Producers, but this is a big fat fantastic show! It will be a hit and should be the frontrunner for Best Musical come June so buy your tickets now! 

UNDER MY SKIN: Enter to Win a Voucher for a Pair of Free Tickets!

Take the dashing CEO of America’s leading healthcare provider, a single mom from Staten Island, and an outrageous twist of fate and you’ve got the makings of a sexy and outrageous new comedy, UNDER MY SKIN.

Kirsten Sanderson directs the new off-Broadway comedy about three things we all want but can’t always get: Sex, Love & Healthcare. 

Tony and Drama Desk-nominee Kerry Butler (“Xanadu,” “Catch Me If You Can”) and film, TV and stage actor Matt Walton (“Burn After Reading,” “One Life to Live”) star in the play that will leave you in stitches. 
Tues-Sat: 8 PM
Dark Mondays.

They are joined by actresses Megan Sikora, Allison Strong, Kate Loprest, Dierdre Friel as well as actors Edward James Hyland and Andrew Polk.

UNDER MY SKIN is written by the husband and wife writing team Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser, known for their hit shows “The Nanny,” “Three’s Company,” and “Who’s The Boss?” It’s the uproarious out-of-body experience that brings “he said, she said” to a whole new level and proves a man can’t really understand the opposite sex until he’s walked a mile in someone else’s stilettos.

To enter to win a voucher for tickets, answer the following trivia question in the comments section below by Sunday April 13th. Please include your email address so we can contact winners!

Leading actress Kerry Butler last appeared on Broadway in 2012. What was the title of that play?

Good Luck and continue to check back for future contests!

Tickets are currently available on
Student tickets are available on Tix4Students:

The Little Shubert Theatre
422 West 42nd Street (Between 9th & 10th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036
Previews begin on Saturday, April 5 at 8 PM. 

Sun: 7 PM
Sat (except 4/5) and Sun: 2 PM
Opening Night is May 15. 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ROCKY's Excitement Level Punches the Back Wall

Rocky's nose ain't broke yet, and you'll know that from what seems like six reprises of the song. Rocky is America's favorite underdog and if you loved the classic 1970s movie, the new musical at The Winter Garden Theatre does not disappoint. If "Eye of the Tiger" and "The Rocky Theme" don't get you all hot and bothered, then you have no business seeing this show. I grew up loving the Rocky movies, I run to the theme song, and I'm a sports fanatic, so for me it was just everything.

Andy Karl in the role of Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion, is to be commended for his sheer energy and commitment to the role. He isn't the cute office boy from 9to5 or the hunky UPS guy from Legally Blonde anymore. He looks like a genuine prize fighter and according to some interviews, has gotten the occasional black eye to prove it. His singing has it's moments, especially in "Fight from the Heart" when he decides to fight Creed, though the Stallone accent interferes with his pitch in other songs. This performance should certainly garner nominations in the upcoming awards season.

Margo Seibert makes her Broadway debut as the mousy Adrian. Her first solo "Raining" is about as exciting as watching paint dry, but her Act II solo "I'm Done" shows some real grit and power. As she really gives it to her brother Paulie who has done nothing but put her down for twenty plus years, she conjures a bit of Stephanie J. Block in 9to5's "Get Out and Stay Out," though thinner vocally.

The true star of the show is the boxing. Why else would you see Rocky? The excitement begins with the training sequences that feature Karl running in place, hokey as it may sound, but the moving transparent projects of the Philadelphia streets bring director Alex Timbers' vision to life. I wanted to love the famous stairs scene even more, but it is pretty anticlimactic in comparison to the final scene. Speaking of which, right before Rocky fights Apollo Creed, "security" marches the first eight rows of center orchestra into bleachers onstage. This is when the audience is transported from the Winter Garden to a Philadelphia arena. Timbers's attention to detail is impeccable. We have color analysts, an announcer, a referee, judges, ringside girl, and even live TV cameras. You can't help but stand and cheer as Rocky and his team march down the aisle of the orchestra and you won't sit down for the rest of the show. The fight choreography by Steven Hoggett & Kelly Devine is so realistic you forget where you are for about twenty minutes.We all know how the story ends. Rocky goes the distance, and though Creed wins by the judges' votes, Rocky really wins because he proves that he isn't a bum and he gets the girl. Yes, we hear our favorite line from the movie "Adriannnnnnn" as she too runs into the ring from the aisle of the orchestra.

The production's tag line is "Love Wins," but that is really selling the show short. If you want to see a love story, go to The Bridges of Madison County, but if you want to see boxing, then yo, come to Rocky. Does this absolutely need to be a musical? No, it doesn't, but it is certainly an exciting theatrical experience. I don't know how long it will run on Broadway, but it certainly has a future in Vegas where boxing is a marquis event and flashiness is king.