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Aubrey Reuben is a former member of the Tony Nominating Committee 2000-2003, former Acting President of Outer Critics Circle 2005 and former Entertainment Editor of Temas Magazine 1981-2004. He is on the Executive and Nominating Committee of Outer Critics Circle and a member of Drama Desk. He is the Theatre Critic for 15minutesmagazine.com. Reuben is a celebrity photographer for the New York Post, his agency is London Features International. Reuben's column Aubrey's Broadway appears in the Hampton Sheet. He is one of the eighteen profiles in the recently published book, On Broadway Men Still Wear Hats by Robert Simonson.
Aubrey’s Corner – March 2019
New York City Center presented I Married an Angel, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, book by Rodgers & Hart. It is a story about a banker (Mark Evans) who marries an Angel (Sara Means) who, being naive in the ways of human, causes him trouble. She changes her behavior to act like a human, and all ends happily ever after. It is a silly plot, but Rodgers composed beautiful music and Hart wrote clever lyrics. However, the dancing is magnificent, especially from Means, who dances superbly. The Honeymoon Ballet, and the dance number in How to Win Friends and Influence People in Act I, and the dances in At the Roxy Music Hall, where each main character has a fantasy dream in Act II, are the highlights of the show. Means dominates the stage, but others support her wonderfully, especially
Evans, who sings the title song, Nikki M. James, who has a splendid voice, Phillip Attmore, a fine tap dancer, and Haley Podschun, who sings and dances marvelously. The entire cast is excellent, choreographed and directed by Joshua Bergasse. The orchestra played the score perfectly, conducted by Rob Fisher. I have reviewed the New York City Ballet for over forty years, and Means is one of my favorite ballerinas, and in 1938, Balanchine choreographed the show and married his Angel, Vera Zorina, whom I had lunch with in her later years. She was charming.
Surely Goodness and Mercy, by Chisa Hutchinson, at Theater Row, is a production of Keen Company. It is a warm hearted play about a young student (Jay Mazyck) in a high school in Newark, New Jersey, who befriends the elderly lady (Brenda Pressley), who serves lunch in the school cafeteria. The five member cast are natural and very good, directed expertly by Jessi D. Hill. We congratulated the cast and the Artistic Director Jonathan Silverstein at the opening night party in the lounge.
I attended Juno and the Paycock, by Sean O'Casey, starring Maryann Plunkett, at the Irish Repertory Theatre, on Patrons' Night, also according to the program Opening Night. My best friend is a patron. David Staller, Tony Walton and his wife Gen were there. The party was held in the lobby and the second floor gallery, where Jameson Irish Whiskey was served and bite size Shepherd Pies.
Vilna, by Ira Fuchs, at the Theatre at St. Clements, is a play about the prejudice against and the persecution of Jews from 1926 to 1943 in the city of Vilna in Lithuania, by Lithuanians, Russians and Germans. It was cultural city, the home of a large number of educated, intelligent Jews. The horrors of the ghetto, and the murders in the Polnar Forest are related in brief scenes by an eleven member cast, directed by Joseph Discher. The director states in a brief note in the program, that the play is to preserve the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. They must be remembered and not forgotten. It would make a fine documentary film.
Charlie's Waiting, by Melisa Annis, at Theaterlab, is a Parity Production. Louise (Xanthe Elbrick) is making last minute preparations for her wedding to Kelly (Stephanie Heitman). A mysterious stranger, Annie (Amy Scanlon), arrives who Louise mistakenly believes is a guest of Kelly. Annie wants to see Kelly but cannot wait for her. She reveals a secret to Louise, which leaves Louise bewildered and shaken in her trust of Kelly. Kelly arrives home, and Louise is reluctant to tell her all Annie has said. It is a short, clever play full of suspense, seventy minutes without an intermission. The three actresses are superb, under the expert direction of Ludovica Villar-Hauser. We congratulated the cast and creative team at the opening afternoon reception in the theater. Among the guests was Xa.
The Ballet Hispanico, at the Joyce Theater, presented three ballets, of which two were world premieres. It began with El Viaje, choreographed by Edwaard Liang, with all eleven dancers. They displayed rigorous training, being lifted and raised over their male dancers' heads. It was an impressive beginning. The second ballet was Sombrerisimo, choreographed by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, with six female dancers, wearing bowler hats. It was the highlight of the evening, and the skill and agility of the dancers was amazing. The program concluded with Homebound/Alaala, by Bennyroyce Royan. It consisted of boxes and boxes, moved and thrown by the eleven member cast. Part of the music was from the Philippines, Bayanihan, which is also the name of the folklore company from that country. The highlight of the ballet was when all the dancers danced across the stage in unison like the conclusion of a Balanchine ballet. It was a varied, interesting program, and the female dancers were outstanding.
Nureyev, written and directed by Jacqui Morris and David Morris, UK, 2019, is being presented at the Film Forum, June 7-20. I knew Nureyev, reviewed his classic and modern ballet appearances, photographed him many times, and admired him as one of the finest dancers of the twentieth century. I was disappointed with this film. Lasting 109 minutes, I learned nothing new about the great dancer. The addition of scenes by modern dancers, choreographed by Russell Maliphant, imitating his life were a distraction. The quotes before some scenes were banal. The highlights of the documentary were the scenes from ballets, especially with Margot Fonteyn.
MoMA presented Modern Matinees: B is for Bacall, Mar 1-Apr 26. I saw To Have and Have Not, by Howard Hawks, USA, 1944, starring Humphrey Bogart as a fisherman in Martinique. He has a fishing boat that he rents. An alcoholic friend is his shipmate, Walter Brennan. Lauren Bacall, in her film debut, plays a woman who finds herself stranded on the island. Bogart and Bacall fall in love, off screen as well. She became his fourth wife. The film is about anti-fascism in World War II, in this case Free French against Vichy French. But what is important is the chemistry between Bogart and Bacall on screen. It is wonderful, entertaining, and the dialogue between them is memorable.
Modern Matinees: B is for Bacall, Mar 1-Apr 26. I returned to see Key Largo, by John Huston, USA, 1948, the fourth and last film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall together. It is about a former major, who visits the invalid father (Lionel Barrymore) and wife (Bacall) of a soldier who was killed in Italy during World War II. They own a hotel in Key Largo. A group of gangsters, headed by a ruthless Edward G. Robinson, take over the hotel during a hurricane. Claire Trevor won the Academy Award as supporting actress as Robinson's alcoholic girlfriend. The entire cast performs excellently.
Modern Matinees: B is for Bacall, Mar 1-Apr 26. I returned again to see Young Man With a Horn, by Michael Curtiz, USA, 1950, starring Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall and Doris Day. It is a music delight for lovers of swing, jazz and songs of the period. Douglas is a lonely trumpeter, who winds up married to neurotic, wealthy lady (Bacall). Harry James is the musical advisor of the film and plays the trumpet, while Douglas imitates playing the trumpet on screen. That, plus the lovely singing by Doris Day, makes the film shine.
I also saw How to Marry a Millionaire, by Jean Negulesco, USA, 1953. It is an entertaining, very funny film about three attractive models, Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall, who come to New York to marry a millionaire. The photography is lovely, and the music also. The views of New York City and the snow covered mountains (supposedly of Maine} are beautiful. In the pursuit of millionaires, they find truelove. It is a delightful film.
Then there was Designing Woman, by Vicente Minnelli, USA, 1957, starring Gregory Peck, Lauren Bacall and Dolores Gray. A sports writer (Peck), meets a fashion designer (Bacall) in California. After a few days together, they fall in love and marry. Returning to New York, their professional lives seem incompatible. A former girlfriend (Gray) is starring in an upcoming Broadway show, and Bacall is asked to design her costumes. That's when the trouble begins, that and a few gangsters after Peck, who displays his very funny side in this delightful comedy.
I attended a press preview at The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St, Elective Affinities: Edmund de Waal at the Frick Collection May 30-November 17, 2019. It is the first museum installation by the artist in the United States. The sculptures are created from porcelain, steel, gold, alabaster and glass and are placed in front of various paintings in all the galleries. It is a splendid addition and quite unusual. Lovers of art will enjoy seeing his work. The Frick is always worth a visit. It is a jewel among all the wonderful museums in New York.
I attended a farewell party for the photo editor of the New York Post David Boyle at O'Lunney's, 145 West 45th Street. All of the photographers, reporters and executive staff came to wish him good luck in the future. I worked with him for almost 20 years, and I respected and loved him. He was the finest photo editor I have ever known. When he came to the paper from England, I took him and his lovely wife Kat to cabarets, restaurants and Broadway shows to introduce them to the United States. One of the highlights for his wife was introducing Kat to Liam Neeson at Angus McIndoe's restaurant. I am deeply saddened by his departure.
I attended a Meet & Greet at Theater Row Studios for Smart Blonde, by Willy Holtzman. We saw three selections from the play, starring Andrea Burns as Judy Holiday. The four member cast is directed by Peter Flynn, We photographed the cast and the creative team. It opened March 26 at 59E59 Theatres.
The Times Square Edition, 701 7th Avenue, is a magnificent boutique hotel, created by Ian Shrager. The General Manager gave us an afternoon tour. I predict it will be the most popular hotel in Manhattan. There are four terraces, two restaurants and a fabulous cabaret room. I returned at night to enjoy cocktails on the seventh floor, hors d-oeuvres before a delicious dinner on the eighth floor in an enormous, elegant dining room, that was filled to capacity, and a superb cabaret room with a Rock 'n Roll group that delighted the standing room audience. At midnight, I bid farewell to a wonderful evening of glorious food and fine wine, and, most of all, delightful company of beautiful ladies, many of them models, and charming men. I sat between a reporter from the London Times, who flew in for the occasion, and a filmmaker, who made the documentary on Studio 54. It was an evening to remember.
Gingold's Theatrical Group's Golden Shamrock Gala at the 3 West Club is always a magnificent affair. Stephen Schwartz and Penny Singleton were honored, and Alison Fraser and Melissa Errico were two of the artists who performed. A cocktail party preceded the dinner dance. Among the guests were Tyne Daly, Bonnie Lautenberg, Brenda Braxton and Charles Busch. Artistic Director David Staller is to be congratulated for another delightful evening.
I attended a dinner honoring actress/singer Kim Maresca at Tuscany Steakhouse, 117 West 58th St. Kim has just returned from London where she performed in Ruthless. Four years ago she appeared in in the musical Ruthless Off-Broadway in New York, and she invited all her former cast members to celebrate her return. A version of the show will appear in theaters and Netflix. The dinner was delicious, and everyone had a wonderful time.
I attended the American Cancer Society 14th Annual Taste of Hope at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Michael Lomonaco was one of the Culinary Honorees. Also honored were Ralph Scamardella (Culinary Honoree}, Otto Cedeno (Corporate Honoree) and Diana Corwin (Survivor Honoree). Among the guests at this culinary event with delicious food and fine alcoholic beverages were Drew Nieporent, with his staff from Nobu, Broadway stars Rebecca Luker and Danny Burstein, Charles Baum (I was at his cabaret Rainbow and Stars for every show, and then we would close Elaine's at 4a.m.!), and many others too numerous to mention. Co-Chair Mark D. Friedman again organized a wonderful evening, and he deserves our congratulations.