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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - November 12, 2016


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
November 12, 2016


When Falsetto's appeared Off-Broadway twenty five years ago as two separate one act chamber musicals, they were successful, and combined together they reached Broadway. A revival of Falsetto's, music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Finn and James Lapine, and directed by Lapine, at the Walter Kerr Theatre, is basically the same, and will be regarded today as mainly an historical novelty. The first act is a five cast musical about a married man (Christian Borle), who leaves his wife (Stephanie J. Block) and son (Andrew Rosenthal) for a man (Andrew Rannells). The second act, adds two more members to the cast, a pair of lesbians, one a doctor. A mysterious disease appears, AIDS, with tragic consequences for Rannells. It also deals with the coming bar mitzvah of the son (Rosenthal). The set is an uninspiring cube, which the cast takes apart to form tables, couches, or whatever. The music is monotonous, and the lyrics, like speak song, are repetitious. To watch a dysfunctional family of neurotic people, and even the psychiatrist (Brandon Uranowitz) could use some help, is not a particularly enjoyable theatrical experience for two and a half hours. However, all the cast have wonderful voices.


When I stepped off the ship on July 29. 1947, the musical comedy Finian's Rainbow was a hit on Broadway. 69 years ago. I loved it then, and now I love it again, as the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd St, is presenting an adapted and directed version by Charlotte Moore of  Finian's Rainbow, music by Burton Lane, lyrics by E.Y. Harburg, book by Harburg and Fred Saidy. It is a delightful production, and I urge every lover of musical theatre to see it. Melissa Errico and Ryan Silvermanare the two romantic leads with superb voices, and Ken Jennings as Finian and Mark Evans as Og, a leprechaun, are very funny, and act wonderfully.  But the entire cast is terrific, and you leave the theater, singing all the melodious songs, like How Are Things In Glocca Morra?, When I'm Not Near The Girl I Love, and When The Idle Poor Become The Idle Rich. Marvelous musical comedies stay with you forever! We celebrated the opening night party at Jake's Saloon, 202 9th Avenue, with Tony and Gen Walton, Jamie deRoy and David Staller. It was a memorable evening.


The Bolshoi presented the comic ballet The Bright Stream, music by Dimitri Shostakovich, choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, captured live on film. It is a lot of fun, and the dancing is sublime. A visiting troupe of artists arrive at a collective farm, and a married farmer (Mikhail Lobukhin) is captivated by the ballerina (a brilliant Maria Alexandrova) to the dismay of his wife (an equally magnificent Svetlana Lunkina). The Bolshoi corps de ballet, as always, is impeccable, and the music is lively. It is a most enjoyable ballet, which leaves a smile on one's face.




The Drama League's 33rd Annual Musical Celebration
 at the Plaza honoring David Hyde Pierce was a glorious affair. They could not have honored a finer actor and a magnificent gentleman. The cocktail reception, dinner and the entertaining program was in one word, terrific. Among the performers were John Bolton, Debra Monk, Tyne Daly Adam Kantor, Kristine Nielsen, Bebe Neuwirth, Harriet Harris, Christopher Durang and so many more. It was one of the best nights of the season.


When I was eight-years-old in England during World War II, I loved Hollywood films. One of my favorites was the war film, Beau Geste, by William L. Wellman, USA, 1939, starring Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston as three brothers,  who join the French Foreign Legion, fighting the Arabs in the Sahara, with Brian Donlevy as their sadistic sergeant. Seeing it again at the New York Public Library Riverside Branch, I still enjoyed it 76 years later. It is an intelligent, exciting, well acted film.


Gary Busey will perform in Perfect Crime, November 21-December 4. We met him and his charming wife Stephanie and photographed them. We shared a pizza and a drink with them at a Meet & Greet at the Theater Center, 210 West 50th St. It was a lovely afternoon.


My wife and I attended the Pan Asian Repertory 40th Season Benefit at The Golden Unicorn, 18 East Broadway. Cobi Narita, Corky Lee and In Memoriam Salute to Cherylene Lee. Among the Emcees and Presenters were Fay Ann Lee, Henry Yuk, Tina Chen, Lily Fan, Rob Narita and Linda Lew Woo. We were invited for cocktails and a delicious dinner of Peking Duck, Jumbo Shrimp, T-Bone Steak, Crispy Chicken, Lobster, Broccoli, Fried Rice, E-Fu Noodles, Red Bean Soup and Fruit. After all that marvelous food, my wife does not have to cook for the entire week! It was a delightful evening, and the Pan Asian Repertory is a marvelous theatre company, under the superb direction of Artistic Producing Director Tisa Chang.


Unfortunately, although I arrived very late the same night at Cipriani Wall Street, I was able to see Roger Daltrey perform to the delight of the guests at the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation Elin & Michael Nierenberg Collaborating For A Cure 19th Annual Benefit Dinner & Auction. It was a wonderful ending to a marvelous evening.


I received a copy of Neil Simon's Memoirs, the hardcover edition, 2016 from Simon & Schuster. It combines his two books, Rewrites, 1996 and The Play Goes On, 1995, They are two memoirs that are brutally honest, although both are thoroughly enjoyable because of his witty style. Neil Simon writes very funny lines. Rereading his memoirs again, I was amazed how much I learned about the trials and tribulations that a playwright must endure to succeed. Every theatre lover must read his book. It is an education about Broadway over the four decades beginning with his first play Come Blow Your Horn, 1961, by one of the most successful playwrights ever. I recommend it highly. I promise you will enjoy every minute of it






Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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