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New York Society News 1 2

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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben - July 16, 2016


Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!
July 16, 2016


On Broadway, I am a Nominator for Outer Critics Circle, and as we could not consider Shuffle Along for last season, I was invited back to review it again. The exact title is Shuffle Along Or The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All that followed, at the Music Box, music & lyrics by Noble Sissle & Eubie Blake, original book by F.E. Miller & Aubrey Lyles, book by George C. Wolfe, who also directed the production. As the complete title states, it is not a revival of the original show, but a history of black theatre, and, therefore, it was treated as a new production by the New York Drama Circle (it won the award) and by the Tony Committee (it lost to Hamilton). The cast is superb, and I saw Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brandon Victor Doxon, Joshua Henry and Arbender Robinson substituting for Billy Porter, who gave outstanding performances, as did Adrienne Warren, also, in two supporting roles. The highlight is I'm Just Wild About Harry, danced and sung by the entire cast, which closes the first act. Savion Glover choreographed the show and the dancing, mainly tap, was marvelous. The musical deserves to be considered for an OCC Award in the coming season.


Off-Broadway, I returned to see Trip of Love, created, directed and choreographed by James Walski, at Stage 42, with Nia Sioux "Dance Moms" making her debut in the show. She rose to the occasion, and sang and danced excellently. The entire cast are wonderful dancers and singers, and perform the hit songs from the 60s in a delightful way. The men are handsome and the ladies are lovely. The scenic design by Walski and Robin Wagner and the costumes by Gregg Barnes are beautiful. It is joy to watch them perform songs like These Boots Are Made for Walkin', You Don't Owe Me, Downtown and a spectacular Wipe Out. I enjoyed every minute of the marvelous show.


Small Mouth Sounds, by Bess Wohl, at the Pershing Square Signature Center, is about six weird people, who escape the city to who attend a silent retreat in the woods. The cast act mainly in mime, and perform well, under the direction of Rachel Chavkin. The opening night party took place at The Lindeman, 508 West 42nd St, with the cast, and guests that included Kathryn Erbe, Josh Charles and Ruben Santiago-Hudson.


2 By Tennessee Williams, at the St. Luke's Theatre, consists of two one act plays. 27 Wagons Full Of Cotton and Kingdom of Earth, both directed by Marilyn Fried. The three actors are fine in both plays. Kathryn Luce Garfinkel (wife of Art Garfunkel) stars in the first playas a fragile wife being seduced by a rival of her husband. Michael Keller stars in the second play as a farmer, as a flood is devastating  his property, when unexpectedly his dying half-brother shows up with his new young, attractive wife. An opening night party was held in the lobby of the theatre with son James Garfunkel, who came to applaud his mother's performance.


MoMA is presenting Modern Matinees: Summer with Judy Holliday July 8-August 31. Adam's Rib, by George Cukor, USA, 1949, stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy as two lawyers, who battle each other in court, and the outcome almost destroys their marriage. Judy Holliday is a betrayed wife, who seeks revenge on her husband (Tom Ewell) by shooting him in the apartment of his lover. The court case revolves around equal rights for women, and the wife is acquitted. The film is a delight. Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon wrote the script, that is full of humor. The acting is marvelous, and it is a most enjoyable film.


Born Yesterday, by Geoge Cukor, USA,, 1950, is about an uneducated chorus girl (Judy Holliday), who accompanies her boyfriend, an uncouth, wealthy mobster (Broderick Crawford) to Washington D.C. where he wants to bribe a congressman. He hires a journalist (William Holden) to educate her, so that she can be presentable in political society. She proves to be a very smart pupil. Holliday won a well deserved Oscar for her performance. She is lovely, funny and perfect in the role. She is well supported by Holden and Crawford. It is a wonderful film, and one of the most enjoyable films ever created in Hollywood.




The Marrying Kind
, by George Cukor, USA, 1952, begins in a court room, where Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray are waiting for their divorce. In flashbacks, we see their meeting, wedding, becoming parents and, then squabbling. This leads to wanting a divorce. However, as in all Cukor's films, we have a happy ending as they reconcile. As always, Holliday is perfect and Ray, introduced for the first time under his new screen name, is fine also. It is a bleak view of marriage, and not as funny or as realistic as the first two Holliday films reviewed above.

A commercial film A Tale of Love and Darkness, written, directed and starring Natalie Portman, Israel, 2015, is based on a memoir by Amos Oz, about his mother, who died from loneliness, frustration and depression at the age of 38 in Israel. To be a writer, also a director, and to star in the leading role, is quite an accomplishment for Natalie Portman. I have admired her as a fine actress on the Broadway stage, and she was wonderful in the film Black Swan. However, there are very few talented people, who can do everything in a film. It is usually a collaborative effort. On this occasion, Portman could use some help. The film is slow moving, overlong, and needs judicious editing. There are so many repetitious scenes, that add nothing to our appreciation of the fine scenes, which show Israel as a British mandate and then as the birth of the new nation. An old actor portraying the writer walks the grim, depressing, claustrophobic streets of Old Jerusalem to recall his mother as a bright, intelligent, attractive young woman growing up in Poland, who dreams of a romantic life in the land of milk and honey in Israel. She marries an unsuccessful man and produces a son, whom she pampers throughout their brief life together, telling him fairy tale stories to help him sleep. Living a dull, boring  married life, leads her to her ultimate tragedy. There is not a single, happy moment in the film. The word love should be eliminated from the title.

Another commercial film is The  Childhood of a Leader, by Brady Corbet, UK/Hungary/France, 2015, which takes place in Paris during World War I and the peace conference afterwards. An American diplomat, his wife (Berenice Bejo) and son (Tom Sweet) live in a remote area outside the capital. The wife home schools her son, who is a disobedient child, who resorts to tantrums to defy his parents. Occasionally, he locks himself in his room, refuses to dress or eat, and behaves like a future beast. In this case, he grows up to be a fascist leader! The acting is quite good, especially by the young monster, but like the film by Natalie Portman (see the review above), it is overlong, with repetitious scenes, and is a grim, depressing tale, without any humor whatsoever. The film footage of the war and peace conference are the highlights of the film. The ear shattering music (or noise), by Scott Walker, is irritating, annoying and unpleasant for one's hearing.


Cameraperson, by Kirsten Johnson, USA, 2015, will be released in September. My review will appear then.


I attended the press preview of Diane Arbus: In the Beginning July12-November 27, 2016, at The Met Breur, 945 Madison Avenue. It consisted of over 100 photographs of her early years as a photographer 1956-62. Arbus liked most subjects to look directly in the camera, and was fascinated by freaks. There are photographs of a Mexican dwarf, a giant with his parents, a seated topless burlesque dancer with her enormous breasts exposed, and many other weird subjects. There are numerous photos of a drag queen with curlers, bare chested, in his dressing room. Also, old people swimming in the ocean or sitting on a park bench. There are photos of her television screen of Bela Lugosi as Dracula. It is an interesting exhibition of the work of a strange photographer, who committed suicide at a young age in 1971. She was born in 1923.


The Frick Collection is a New York City jewel. Located at 1 East 70th St, it is the perfect venue to enjoy a peaceful visit in an elegant space. There exhibitions are simply marvelous. I attended a press preview of their two latest exhibitions. Watteau's Soldiers: Scenes of Military Life in Eighteenth-Century France, July 12-October2, 2016, reveals soldiers in a leisurely way, resting, relaxing, not engaged in a bloody battle scene, although he draws them and paints them during the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14). The second exhibition is Porcelain, No Simple Matter: Arlene Shechet and the Arnhold Collection May 24, 2016-April 2, 2017. It is exquisite. The plates, teapots, bowls, vases and animals are a joy to behold. They are beautiful. One leaves the unique museum uplifted.


07-16-16 Playwight Bess Wohl at the opening night party for "Small Mouth Sounds" at The Lindeman. 508 West 42nd St. Wednesday night.07-13-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey reuben

07-16-16 Son James Garfunkel and mother/cast member Kathryn Luce Garfunkel (wife of Art Garfunkel) at the opening night party for "27 Wagons Full Of Cotton " at St.Luke's Theatre. `308 West 46th St.. Friday night.07-15-16.  Photo by:  Aubrey reuben

07-16-16 Playwight Bess Wohl at the opening night party for "Small Mouth Sounds" at The Lindeman. 508 West 42nd St. Wednesday night.07-13-16


07-16-16 Son James Garfunkel and mother/cast member Kathryn Luce Garfunkel (wife of Art Garfunkel) at the opening night party for "27 Wagons Full Of Cotton " at St.Luke's Theatre. `308 West 46th St.. Friday night.07-15-16


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

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