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Loney's Show Notes

By Glenn Loney, October 2016
About Glenn Loney

Glenn Loney
Caricature of Glenn Loney by Sam Norkin.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS [*****] *

Craig Francis & Rick Miller’s TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA [*****] *

Mel Brooks & Tommy Meehan’s THE PRODUCERS [*****] *

Neil LaBute’s ALL THE WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU [*****] *


Brian Friel’s AFTERPLAY [****] *

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney’s OH, HELLO ON BROADWAY [*****] *

Peter Brook & Marie Hélène Estienne’s BATTLEFIELD [*****] *

NC Hunter’s A DAY BY THE SEA [****] *

Tony Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD [***] *

Mitzi Adams Presents ADAMS COMPANY DANCE: BEHIND THE LENS [*****] *

Jonathan Larson’s TICK, TICK… BOOM! [*****] *

The Cirque du Soleil‘s KURIOS: CABINET OF CURIOSITIES [*****] *

Sarah Jones’ SELL/BUY/DATE [*****] *

Louis Karchin & Diane Osen’s JANE EYRE [*****] *

Ricky Ian Gordon & Royce Vavrek’s 27 [*****] *

Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur’s THE FRONT PAGE [*****] *

David Hare’s PLENTY [*****] *

Simon Stephens’ HEISENBERG [*****] *

Maurice Ravel’s PIANO CONCERTO IN G MAJOR [*****] *

Christopher Hampton’s Adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES [*****] *

Robert Wilson & Mikhail Baryshnikov’s LETTER TO A MAN [*****] *

Sherry Eaker’s ATCA Mini Meeting [*****] *


At The Neil Simon Theatre:

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS [*****]

Memories, Memories, Memories…

Feline Fantasies of TS Eliot Return to Broadway with Choreographic Overkill!

As the Biographer of one of America’s Greatest Dancer/Choreographers, Jack Cole, I believe Jack would have loved all the Balletic/Athletic Movements of this Cats Company: Jellicle Magic!

Their Isolations & Placements were Sharp, Defining, even, at times, Majestic.

But what would have stopped Jack Cole cold in his tracks was that there were Too Many Cats up there on the Neil Simon Stage.

This new Cats is in fact something of a Revival of the Original West End Cats, staged by Trevor Nunn, with John Napier recreating the Original Fabulous Cat Faces & Curious Cat Costumes.

Was the Neil Simon—formerly the Alvin Theatre—the only Musical Venue available?

Wasn’t the Original Cats in the Broadway Theatre?

This Supercharged Production needs More Space—or Fewer Cats & Kittens…

Andy Blankenbuehler has based his Cat Patterns on Gillian Lynne’s Original Choreography.

Gillian—whom I interviewed when Cats first bowed in London—told me that she had made a Careful Study of Cats & their Feline Foibles.

The Humor, Wit, & Pathos has not been Lost: Even Enhanced…

Nonetheless, when Cats opened in London, long, long ago, many Spectators came away with the Sensation that there was really only One Hit Song in the Entire Show: Memories.

Had it not been for the Illustrious Credits of the Essential Creator of Cats, Thomas Stearns Eliot, who would have given a Hoot or a Shout Out about Jellicles in general?

So now Memories appears early on, in a Muted Version, but later it swells into a kind of Grand Anthem & it haunts the remainder of this Frenetic Felinopolis.

Unfortunately, when the Primal Cat Lady, Grizabella [the wonderful Leona Lewis], flew aloft, toward the Heaviside Layer, she was not Hit by the Spotlight.

Star Turns by such Eliot Conjured Cats as Mistoffelees & Macavity were also Cause for Cheers.

It’s Understandable that London Cats might tend to gather at Eventide around Covent Garden Rubbish Bins, but did the Simon Stage & the Auditorium have to be festooned with so much Random Garbage?

This looked like a Major Installation of Avant Garde Found Object Art at the Whitney Museum.

At the Interval, Audience Members were invited up on stage where they could take Endless Selfies of themselves among the Rubbish & some Stray Cats.

No Marketing Opportunity has been Overlooked in this Handsome Production: there are CATS T Shirts & CATS Souvenir Programs everywhere.

Of course you can buy a copy of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats—by TSE Himself!

This will only increase the Regal Royalties flowing into the Eliot Estate, already Cat Fattened by Worldwide Productions over the years & years…

Talk about The Dead Poets’ Society: The Eliot Trustees could help out a lot of Fledgling Versifiers, not to mention Stray Cats.

In fact, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation is this year giving $1.3 Million to the American Theatre Wing to encourage an Arts Education Initiative.

Take Flight, O Theatre Wingers, on Wings of Webber Songs!

Years & years ago, I was one of the First New Yorkers to interview Andrew Lloyd Webber, in what later became the Andrew Lloyd Webber Suite in the Hotel Carlyle.

We talked about Jesus Christ, Superstar & Evita, both of which had annoyed or even angered Manhattan Intellectuals.

Not to mention Outraged Evangelicals, who could not forgive Mary singing I Don’t Know How To Love Him, even though they had got their Marys Mixed Up.

At that time, Andrew was only Andrew Lloyd Webber & a Very Engaging, Up Front Interviewee.

As the Accolades & the Awards piled up—One Oscar, Seven Tonys, & Seven Oliviers—Andrew Lloyd Webber became Sir Andrew in 1992.

Later, Her Majesty, The Queen, raised him to the Style & Title of Andrew, Lord Lloyd Webber of Something or Other.

Today, Merry Andrew is represented on Broadway, not only by School of Rock & Cats, but also the Endlessly Running Phantom of the Opera.

What is More: Andrew Lloyd Webber now owns Seven London Theatres, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane & the London Palladium.


At The New Victory Theatre:

Craig Francis & Rick Miller’s TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA [*****]

Captain Ahab Had His Great White Whale, but Captain Nemo Has a Giant Squid To Combat!

How about an Interactive, Multi Faceted, Multiple Layered, Re Vision of Jules Verne’s 2000 Leagues Under The Sea in Midtown Manhattan?

Will Captain Nemo’s Nautilus be swamped by that Giant Squid slithering around outside his Bottom of the Sea Exploratorium?

Is Captain Nemo [Richard Clarkin] a Cutting Edge Scientific Adventurer or is he just another Fascist Isolationist Control Freak?

These Conflicting Role Models are Innovatively Explored at the New Victory Theatre, which is currently hosting Montréal’s Kiddos/Wyrd Productions & its Amazing Integration of Live Actors & Video Actors in a Re Vision of that Victorian Sci Fi Classic, 2000 Leagues Under The Sea.

Rick Miller—Director & Co Creator of this Visually Challenging Voyage—also plays Jules, who is both the Narrative Narrator & a PhD Candidate who seems likely never to Finish His Dissertation.

But How is he going to do that when he’s already Two Thousand Leagues Underwater & far away from Winter Whipped Montréal & the University of the Same Name?

At least he has his Thesis Advisor, Prof. Claire Wells [Suzy Jane Hunt], along with him for Exploratory Adventures in Ichthyology.

But there’s Something Fishy going on aboard the Nautilus: Why is the Harpoonist in Solitary Confinement?

Why is it So Important for Rick to make a Video Record of Everything that Captain Nemo Says & Does?

Who does he think he is: Donald Trump, Underwater off Atlantic City?

When Rick already has Video Footage of Himself, Dr. Claire, Captain Nemo, & the Harpoonist interacting, why does he need Puppet Models of Themselves & Various Props as well as their Live Acting to add to this fascinating Visual Stew?

Because He Can Do It!

What’s More: Rick can be with All of You On Line to Continue the Experience, if you download the app.20kshow.co to your iPad or Cellphone…

If you Connect, you will be astonished at how Kidoons/Wyrd Productions is/are integrating Family Entertainment & Story Telling with Online Education & Live Entertainment.

Those Innovative Canadians! Not only Theatre Adventures, but also a Great Health Care Program!

But then, they do need these, with those Terrible Winters…


At The Paper Mill Playhouse:

Mel Brooks & Tommy Meehan’s THE PRODUCERS [*****]

Mel Brooks, Where Are You, Now That We Really Need You?

Replace Max Bialystock with Donald Trump & Save The Shuberts!

Did Broadway really need a Revival of Holiday Inn this season?

Mel’s Antic Fantasy is sadly missing from the Fall Lineup…

Imagine The Cherry Orchard—now in Previews at the American Airlines Theatre—as it might have been mounted on Broadway by Max Bialystock!

How about The Cheery Orchid?

Max’s Ingenious Idea is to produce a Broadway Musical that is Guaranteed to Flop, so that None of the Eager Investors will share in Potential Profits.

Then Max [Michael Kostroff] & his Nerdy Accountant, Leo Blum [David Josefsberg], can split the Investment Leftovers & Fly Off to Rio…

Their Great Good Luck is to find a Hard Core Nazi Nut [John Treacy Egan], who has written a Play about Der Führer, titled engagingly enough as Springtime for Hitler.

Then they Enlist the Gayest Director [Mark Price, swishy & hilarious as Carmen Ghia] & Choreographer on the Gay White Way, as well as a Chorus of Little Old Ladies with Walkers.

Sex suddenly rears its Lovely Head when a Lissome Swede, the Multi Talented Ulla [Ashley Spencer] appears for an Audition. She not only Gets the Job, she also cleans up Max’s Messy Office.

Ulla/Ashley is Outstanding as a Dancer/Singer/Actress/Farceuse—which is Very Good because all of this Show is a Mad Farce, played so broadly that the Side of a Barn would not be Big Enough to contain all the Much Deserved Rave Reviews.

Instead of the Hoped for Failure, Springtime for Hitler is a Box Office Blockbuster!

When Mel Brooks did The Producers on Broadway, years ago, it was also a Huge Hit.

It helped make a Star of Matthew Broderick, as Leo—a Nervous Nellie of an Accountant, for whom Double Entry Book keeping means One Set of Books for the IRS & a Quite Different Set for The Producers themselves.

When The Producers was produced On Broadway, it managed to Offend almost Everyone who was not already Dying from Laughter.

Certainly, Holocaust Survivors could hardly be expected to Applaud a Brandenburg Gate Themed Ziegfeld Follies Parade, featuring Favorite Items of Kraut Kuisine.

Now, way over in New Jersey, at the Paper Mill Playhouse, there is a Fresh, Funny, & Frenetic Führer Land Revival—based on the Original Direction & the Original Choreography, by Don Stephenson & Bill Burns.

Not only do we have more Sieg Heils & Swastikas than you will ever see outside a Holocaust Museum, but you also have a Broadway Quality Production that is well worth a visit.

Thanks to a Giant Tilted Mirror, you can see a Swastika Shaped Dance Routine that would give Heart Attacks to the Anti Defamation League!

Paper Mill Playhouse Productions are often of Broadway Quality, but they seldom get Border Crossing Visas stamped in their Chris Christie Passports…

I long to see one of Max & Leo’s Follow Up Hits: High Button Jews…


At The Lucille Lortel Theatre:

Neil LaBute’s ALL THE WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU [*****]

What Is The Weight of a Lie? Judith Light Is an Emotional Chameleon as a Troubled Teacher…

Students ask such Odd Questions: What Is The Weight of a Lie?

As thing turn out—after Mrs. Johnson has been through a Maelstrom of Emotions & remains in a Respectful but Unsatisfying Marriage—the Weight of a Lie is exactly 6lbs. 3oz.

Even if you are a Drama Oriented Teacher, there is a Time Honored Rule: You do not Fuck with your Students.

Not even Metaphorically!

Nonetheless, when Mrs. Johnson had Carnal Knowledge of Teen Age Tommy, she finally knew True Joy!

This is a Very Short Monodrama, but I felt that I had also been through an Emotional Wringer, along with Judith & Mrs. Johnson.

As a Longtime Admirer of Judith Light, for me it was a Total Delight to watch her Changing Moods: From Abject Despair to Sexual Fireworks!

Leigh Silverman staged with a fairly Light Touch.

Google Judith Light to see the amazing range of her Work on Stage, on TV, & on Film.

As well as the Hordes of Awards!

Multi Bravos. Judith!


At Studio 54:


Taps Is Tops, Once Again!

But 1947 Looks a Lot Like The Roaring Twenties, with a Parade of Irving Berlin Hits!

The Music & Lyrics for this New Version of Holiday Inn are credited to Irving Berlin, but the Nominal Book is by Gordon Greenberg & Chad Hodge.

Actually, were it not for all those Dynamic Production Numbers, the Plot Conventions wouldn’t hold the attention of a Young Adult, let alone a Veteran Broadway Audience.

Nice Boy gets Sexy Girl. Boy loses Girl to Texas Millionaire.

Nice Boy gets another Girl, but almost loses her to the Call of Hollywood Fame & Fortune.

Ho Hum…

Nonetheless, the Entire Audience Clapped Like Crazy for one Dynamite Tap Fest, astonishing the Entire Cast, strung out along the Forestage!

Of course, the Fact that Holiday Inn showcases such Hit Parade Hits as Blue Skies, Heat Wave, Cheek to Cheek, Let’s Take an Old Fashioned Walk, Easter Parade, & White Christmas will make it a Great Favorite of Golden Agers & Show Biz Survivors.

But what really makes this Odd Show work are the Frenetic Production Numbers, choreographed by Denis Jones & staged by Gordon Greenberg.

Studio 54 explodes with Dance Energy: the Entire Cast taps & cavorts as if their Lives Depended on It.

Anno 1947 may be the Nominal Year in which Jim Hardy [the admirable Bryce Pinkham] decides to desert Broadway Auditions & Road Tours for a Rural Life on a Broken Down Farm in Connecticut, but what is happening there up on stage looks like Retro 1920s.

In 1947, I was a Freshman at UC/Berkeley, so I have No Memory of the Original Irving Berlin Holiday Inn…

The Lady sitting next to me leaned over to ask: "Didn’t Cole Porter write Heat Wave?"

Doesn’t sound like Porter Ville, though…

Bravos for the Two Stage Struck Stars: Megan Sikora & Lora Lee Gayer!

Also for Louise, the Comic Housekeeper & Match Maker, feistily played by Megan Lawrence.

Triple Bravos for Corbin Bleu, the Dance Team Buddy of Jim Hardy, who is also the Fly in His Ointment, latching onto both of those Star Girls.

Thanks to the Design Talents of Anna Louizos [Sets] & Alejo Vietti [Costumes], some Dance Numbers look wonderfully like Retro Ziegfeld Follies.

Talk about Easter Parade Hats! Lavish! Outrageous!

How about a Thanksgiving Routine, with Pilgrim Hatted Gents & Chorus Girls whose Behinds look like Full Feathered Turkeys!

So this Holiday Inn is Well Worth a Return Visit!


At The Irish Repertory Theatre:

Brian Friel’s AFTERPLAY [****]

Uncle Vanya Is Long Dead; The Three Sisters Never Got To Moscow, But Sonia Soldiers On…

Ireland’s [almost] Premiere Playwright. Brian Friel, somehow believes that he has Inherited the Mantle of Chekhov.

This Belief was Reinforced when he drafted New Adaptations of Uncle Vanya & of The Three Sisters, both of which were Well Received at Home & Abroad.

Now, in Afterplay—which is, effectively, after both those World Famous Dramas—Friel imagines Sonia & Andrey years & years later.

Obviously, it helps if Audience Members are already familiar with these Powerful Plays.

Otherwise, they would have No Idea of who Sonia is & why she is going through Old Estate Accounts & Mortgages in what appears to be a Once Elegant—but now Sadly Shabby—Salon.

For that matter, who is this Andrey who appears in Full White Tie & Tails, pretending to be a Member of the Local Opera Orchestra?

They do talk of Moscow—to which Andrey’s Three Sisters always longed to return—but, as they are talking in Irish Accented English, they could as well be discusing Dublin or Cork…

Sonia does refer to her Purchase of some Three Hundred Acres, so I was hoping she’d say that she had to cut down all those Cherry Trees, thus involving yet another Chekhov Classic.

No Such Luck…

At least she was not suffering from the Nina Delusion that she was a Seagull: I’m a Seagull! A Seagull…

Nonetheless, both Dearbhla Moloy & Dermot Crowley were thoughtful & charming as Irish Russkis.

Joe Dowling staged in a Setting purportedly in a Moscow Café, circa 1920, designed by the Ingenious John Lee Beatty.

Brian Friel has more than 30 Plays to his Credit, including Faith Healer, Translations, Dancing at Lughnasa, Molly Sweeney, & Philadelphia, Here I Come!

Brian! How about putting Chekhov Out to Pasture & taking a New Look at such Famed Irish Playwrights as Oscar Wilde, Sean O’Casey, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, John Millington Synge, Brendan Behan, & George Bernard Shaw?

They could all be in a Killarney Café, discussing what’s Wrong with the Abbey Theatre these days!

Did you know that GBS is the only Nobel Prize Winner who also won an Oscar!

Oscar Wilde never won an Oscar, because he didn’t live long enough to turn The Importance of Being Earnest into a Major Hollywood Movie…


At The Lyceum Theatre:

Nick Kroll & John Mulaney’s OH, HELLO ON BROADWAY [*****]

Two Stand Up Gay Guys in a Rent Controlled Apartment Have Lyceum Audiences in Stitches!

This Show really has Production Values!

Kroll & Mulaney even point that out, noting what Dead Shows some Scenery & Props have come from.

They are a Gay Duo in Oh, Hello, in which they play, respectively, Gil Faizon & George St. Geegland.

Kroll is the Essential Performer, with a Jewish Shtick, while Mulaney is the Writer, letting Spectators in on some hilarious Backstage Secrets.

They make it look like an Outrageous Improv, but some Jokes & Sight Gags have surely had a Previous Life.

A Performance Life with which most of the Tuned in Audience seemed familiar: Nick & John were among Friends!

As they certainly should be, having been both Writers & Performers for Saturday Night Live & Other Shows, as well as having had their Very Own TV Show!

Gil Faizon & George St. Geegland are in Their Seventies, as they proudly tell us, but this is all just Made Up & Make Up, for Kroll & Mulaney are actually Only in Their Thirties!

Gil & George or Nick & John seem to know Everyone Who Is Anyone.

They even plucked Paul Sorvino out of the Orchestra, coaxing him to Sing Out, recalling his Great Days, in Younger Years.

F. Murray Abraham was Promised, but did not Show. Perhaps Next Week?

Alex Timbers staged, but this was not at all like his Rocky at the Winter Garden.

Design Credits for Scott Pask [Scenery], Emily Rebholz [Two Costumes], Jake DeGroot [Lighting], & ML Dogg [Sound].

The Tall Guy seated next to me kept consulting his Cell Phone, while Laughing Uproariously.

He must have been a Talent Agent because, at one point, he made a Dash for the Lobby although he didn’t look like he Needed to Pee…

Lots of Local Jokes, including Jibes at Rudy Guiliani & Ed Koch.


At The Harvey Theatre at BAM:

Peter Brook & Marie Hélène Estienne’s BATTLEFIELD [*****]

Brook’s Nine Hour Long Mahabharata

Is Now Brilliantly Condensed Into a Powerful Hour of Dread, Fear, Agony, Loss, & Remorse…

Peter Brook famously created the Concept of the Empty Stage, which he has brought to both BAM & Broadway in such Memorable Stagings as Marat/Sade & Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Now, briefly at BAM, Brook has brought back a Distillation of the Carnage & Lessons Learnt from the Great Hindu Epic, The Mahabharata—which was performed in Epic Length in BAM’s Harvey Theatre way back in 1987.

Considering the current Sabre Rattling, both East & West—with America involved in what seem to be Perpetual Overseas Battles—Peter Brook decided it was High Time to revisit The Mahabharata, this Thousands of Years Old Cautionary Tale of Lust for Power that left Thousands & Thousands of Needlessly Dead in its Dreadful Wake.

In his BAM Program Note, Brook stresses that his Real Audience is not Us BAMers—nor those International Tour Ticket Holders—but President Obama & his Successors, France’s Perplexed Premiere Hollande, & Russia’s Vlad Putin.

No mention is made of George Santayana, who famously said: Those who do not study History are Condemned to Repeat It.

Nonetheless, that is Implicit in Brook’s Stripped Down Staging.

In the Cavernously Empty Stage of BAM’s Harvey Theatre, Brook has deployed Four Players—Carole Karemera, Jared McNeill, Ery Nzaramba, & Sean O’Callaghan—in a deceptively simple fashion that initially feels more like a Staged Reading.

By changing Long Colored Scarves—Red, Blue, Gray, Yellow—the Four are able to assume the Mantles of many Men & Women, gathering in Passion as they pass from Reading Mode into the Horrors & Griefs of the Killing Fields of the Past, resonating in the Present, & anticipating the Future.

Think of Hiroshima & Nagasaki! Think of Sarajevo! Think of Syria! Think of 9/11…

But do not Think about inviting the Entire Pentagon to see Battlefield, even if you could arrange Thousands of Tickets for an Endless Run over in Brooklyn.

War, for Modern Warlords, is a Way of Life. As well as of Certain Death for many of those whom they send into Battle…

An Ancient Chinese Sage once observed that the Victor on the Field of Battle has really Won nothing more than a Graveyard.

When the Smoke has Cleared, what has he really Won?

So, Millennia & Millennia Ago—when the Five Brothers of the Pandavas & their Kaurava Cousins, the 100 Sons of the Blind Old King Dritarashstra were at war with each other—what did the Leaders of the Masses of Troops on either side Seek to Secure for themselves?

Effectively, this Senseless Slaughter destroys the Bharata Family.

Millions of Dead Pandavas & Kauravas litter the Battlegrounds.

How can the Blind Old King & the Pandava Victor, Yudishtira, move forward?

Along the Way, Brook’s Designated Four are supported & prodded by the Epic Drumming of Toshi Tsuchitori.

Bravo! Peter Brook!

Born way back in 1925, Brook is now 91 & still sorrowing for the Sins of the World, hoping for some sort of Forgiveness & Redemption.

Unfortunately, I did not get to Greet & Talk with Brook at BAM, but we have a History that goes back a Long Way.

My Brook Bio covers much of Brook’s Long & Varied Career: Peter Brook: From Oxford to Orghast.

We even got a Cover in Opera News when Peter staged his stripped down Carmen on a small stage in Lincoln Center, when the New Amsterdam Theatre’s Midnight Frolics Space proved hazardous!

When I was asked to prepare The Authorized Acting Edition of Peter Brook’s Production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I even had to go off to Paris to get more First Hand Information, notably from Sally Jacobs, Brook’s Dream Designer.

As we talked, in the former Gobelin Tapestry Factory’s Vast Hall, I was able to watch Rehearsals of Peter’s Conference of the Birds, based on an Ancient Sufi Text.

This was shown initially in Peter’s Paris Banlieu Theatre, Les Bouffes du Nord, followed by performances for Exploited Immigrant Lettuce Workers in California’s Great Valley, as well as for Sioux Indians near Wounded Knee…

[There was a Side Benefit to my Parisian Excursion: Pierre Cardin had just bought the Almost Defunct Théâtre des Ambassadeurs, renaming it L’Éspace Cardin, opening with a furiously Avant Garde production of The Hundred Days of Sodom.

[Cardin—who graciously lodged me in an Actor Friendly Pension in the Rue des Mauvais Garçons, or The Street of Bad Boys—had invited me to report on this Innovation with a feature in After Dark, for which I was Contributing Editor.

[He had arranged for Luncheon at the famed Tour d’Argent, but I had to be back over at the Gobelins in an hour, so we had a Fête Champêtre on a Carpet in the Theatre Foyer!]

Peter Brook has also been Very Big on Carpets: Carpet Plays do not require Scenery. BAM has had Peter’s Players on the Carpet several times.

When the Impending Production of The Mahabharata was announced for BAM’s Harvey, I was asked—as a Theatre Professor at the CUNY Grad Center—to offer a Semester Long Seminar on this Hindu Epic & Brook’s Staging.

In the Event, this was enhanced by Brook’s Leading Actors & Co Workers coming over to our Forty Second Street HQ to show us how they Developed the Staging communally with Peter Brook & how they were able to sustain its Epic Length, including leading us in Performance Preparatory Excercises!

But we expanded Our Vision to Survey The Brook Career, including his Films—which we rented from MoMA—which are now On View over at BAM’s Rose Cinema.

[Later, I even went off to Denmark, where the Danish Government had funded a new Brook Film.]

At the Close of the Brook Seminar, Peter came to talk with us.

So many CUNY Colleagues turned up that we had to move Twice, finally into our Largest Auditorium—where Peter suggested that I Interview him, rather than have him offer Remarks.

When Brook brought Midsummer Night’s Dream to BAM, the Opera House Stage was his Empty Space, but there was an Upstairs Chamber Theatre, where Slave Ship was premiered & Robert Kalfin’s Chelsea Theatre performed.

There was also the so called Lepercq Space, with Bleacher Seating—now a Café—where Brook conducted Workshops for his International Center for Theatre Research.

But the Savior of the Brooklyn Academy Opera House, Harvey Lichtenstein wanted to create a Special Venue for Brook Productions that would somewhat resemble Les Bouffes du Nord in Paris.

So the former Movie House Majestic Theatre was adapted, its Auditorium Ruins somewhat Preserved, where Peter’s Paris Imports could be Showcased.

Harvey—a former Ballet Dancer, who had put on both Weight & Gravity—expected Brook to feel Right at Home, but Peter didn’t want to be Pressured, so finally there were No Annual Imports.

At that time, I lived in Brooklyn Heights—not far from Norman Mailer & Rod Steiger—where I was actively involved in Brooklyn Preservation Efforts, so I worked often with Harvey.

Harvey Lichtenstein—for whom the Majestic is now named—believed that Saving the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Opera House would be a Key to the Rebirth of what was then a Dying Downtown.

With the Sudden Sprouting of Multi Skyscrapers around BAM, Harvey has proved Prophetic!

His International Stewardship also resulted in several memorable BAM Brooklyn College Interactions, including a BAM BC RSC Collaboration in which Royal Shakespeare Stars actually came out to Flatbush to show my BC Students how the RSC rehearsed & performed!

At our RSC BAM Gala, I was asked to keep Our NYC Mayor, Abe Beame, Entertained…

At this time, the Theatre Department at Brooklyn College had a Special MFA Program in Performing Arts Management.

One of my students in that First Ever PA Management Program was Joe Melillo, who is now BAM’s Executive Producer!


The Mint Theatre at The Beckett Theatre:

NC Hunter’s A DAY BY THE SEA [****]

Chekhov in Dorset? Or Downscale Downton Abbey? Missed Opportunities & Failed Ambitions…

It is 1953 in Dorset.

In fact, it is May 1953 in Dorset, both on the Seaside & in Laura Anson’s nearby House & Garden, which she has been struggling to maintain for her Extended Family, most of whom seem to be both Aged & Difficult.

Laura’s Brilliant Son, Julian [Julian Elfer], has just been effectively Sidelined as a Brilliant Career Diplomat in Britain’s Foreign Service, currently recalled from Paris, where his Self Regard & Lack of Empathy has been Counter Productive.

Julian is in a Midlife Crisis at Age Forty.

What will he do now? Foreign Service is now a Closed Door…

Can he Start Over?

Writing Day by the Sea in 1954, NC Hunter was also in a Forties Midlife Crisis.

In a Production Note, Hunter says of Starting Over in the Forties: …there is still time, but there is not very much… Truths can no longer be evaded; Decisions no longer postponed… This element of Last Chance gives to this Age its Peculiar Urgency.

The Problem—both in the Play as Written & in the Script as Performed—is that Hunter has imagined an Odd Assortment of British Stereotypes, now vigorously played as Brit Types by some of the Mint Theatre’s most Reliable Talents.

Unfortunately, not only Julian, but most of the Other Males—especially those well beyond their Forties Midlife Crisis—are Unsympathetic, Un Empathetic, Unfeeling, even Oafish…

Even years ago, the Anson Paterfamilias—George Morfogen—already seemed Old. Perhaps George was Born Old?

Cold Fish that he is, Julian has Missed the Chance to Marry a Woman who Loved him. He couldn’t seem to Pop the Question…

Today, we could understand Julian as a Closet Homosexual, but back then, acting on an Impulse to Importune, he could have been Sent to Prison.

Not Good for an Employee of the Foreign Office!

Also, Julian is Too Smart for His Own Good & he never lets Anyone forget how Brilliant he really is.

But the Manic Unmarried Anson Family Doctor [Philip Goodwin] is not Brilliant. Indeed, he is a Barely Capable GP, with a Serious Drinking Problem.

Fortunately, his Obtuseness makes possible the One Powerful Emotional Moment in this Generally Uneventful Day by the Sea.

The Aging Unmarried Unfulfilled Governess [Polly McKie] pleads with the Doctor: If he will consent, she will look after him: they can share their Otherwise Empty Lives together…

He really isn’t Listening to her, even when she is in Tears, imploring him.

NC Hunter had just premiered A Day by the Sea when I first came to London, in the Mid Fifties—Teaching Our Troops Overseas—so I had yet to experience this Midlife Crisis, being then only Twenty Five Years of Age.

So I really didn’t Understand what all the Fuss Was About…

Not only that: my Cousin Tony Dangerfield was the Russian Expert for the Super Secret MI6, so I could hardly believe that Britain’s Top Level Diplomats & their London Superiors were as Dim & Dismissive as Hunter portrays…

As staged by Austin Pendleton, A Day by the Sea is a kind of Time Capsule of an England that was still recovering from Winning the War against the Axis Powers, while Brits still suffered from Food Shortages & Bomb Damage.

I will never forget Aunt Margaret Dangerfield proudly pouring some Additional Hot Grease onto my Fried Toast.

Fried Toast & Warm Beans were also Popular Fare at Lyons Corner Houses. As well as Bubble & Squeek…

Fortunately—Unlike Julian—I never had a Midlife Crisis: Just keep on Truckin’…

Nonetheless, the As Always Admirable Mint Theatre Revivals of Period Plays like A Day by the Sea help us to remember How Things Were Way Back Then, even if we were in California, Kansas, or Kentucky, rather than in Paris, London, or Dorset.

The Average Age of Mint Audiences guarantees that many Theatre Loving Seniors can indeed remember the Post War Fifties!

But there was No Fried Bread on Sacramento Tables!…


At The American Airlines Theatre:

Tony Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD [***]

Look Where It Comes Again! No! Not Hamlet’s Father’s Ghost, but Yet Another Cherry Orchard!

Yes, Indeed!

Black Lives Do Matter!

But does this mean that Audiences have to be so "Color Blind" or "Politically Correct" that a Russian Classic, linked to the Fading Days of Tsarist Russia, needs to be Recast with Powerful Black Actors in Historic Roles that are not Generic Modern American?

To a Theatre Historian who has Grown Old with Multi Productions of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard, it was Distressingly Disorienting to try to sort out Who Was Who in Brit Director Simon Godwin’s Revisionist Staging of Award Winning American Playwright Stephen Karam’s somewhat "Tacky" Retranslation of Chekhov’s Site & Time Specific Vision of the Dying Days of Russian Country Estates & the Feckless People who Made Bad Decisions & who Missed Obvious Opportunities.

Character is Important, but so, also, is Context!

Despite the Roundabout Theatre’s Todd Haimes’ Vigorous Protestation that Karam has "kept the brilliance of Chekhov’s World intact," this is clearly Not the Case.

What this Misguided & Over Produced Mounting is most clearly is an Occasion for some Major American Theatre Talents having a Star Turn in a Time Honored Modern Classic.

A Big Round of Applause for the First Entry of Joel Grey—as the Aged Servant, Firs!

Admiring Clapping for the Entrance of Diane Lane—as the Clueless Heiress to a Mortgaged Estate that she is Soon To Lose.

Too Bad that Cherry Jones was not available to reaffirm Lyubov Ranevskaya’s Witless Love for the Doomed Cherry Orchard…

Wow! John Glover as the Foolish Old Billiards Loving Gaev!

Glover was once so Young & Handsome, but, in Advancing Age, he has lost none of his Stage Hugging Virtuosity.

In an Explanatory Note, Todd Haimes insists that this is not "a Radical Reinterpretation of The Cherry Orchard."

Instead, Haimes fondly believes that it is "a Version of the Play that is Refracted through the Sensibilities of 21st Century America."

This is Really Insulting to the Well Heeled, College Educated, & Financially Secure Subscription Audiences who throng to Roundabout Productions.

Are they so Dim, so Clueless that they cannot enter Chekhov’s Long Vanished Russian Rural World without Sub Titles?

Dear Todd! How about Updating King Lear so that 21st Century New Yorkers will be able to Understand the Issues?

Do we really need Simon Godwin & Stephen Karam [Humans was his Big Broadway Breakthrough!] to Light Our Way into the Intricacies of Plot & Character involved in, say, Volpone or Phaedra?

Hey, Jude! Give Roundabouters some Intellectual Credit!

Haimes also fondly believes that "the ideas Chekhov’s Characters wrestle with—the Entitlement of the Aristocracy, the Fragility of Ownership, the Importance of Reparations—have as much a place in 2016 American as they do in Turn of the Century Russia."

Perhaps there was once an American Aristocracy—think Vanderbilts & Astors—but those Self Made Robber Baron Days are Long Gone.

Russian Land Owning Aristocrats of Chekhov’s Era & Context were nothing like Donald Trump!

Or even like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, or Oscar de la Renta Car…

In Imperial Romanov Russia, Worth & Wealth were largely determined by Inherited Lands—some going back to Feudal Times—which were worked by Former Serf Slaves, now Deferential Servants.

Lyubov Ranevskaya did not actually Harvest Cherries nor did Gaev make them into Cherry Confits…

Quite a Contrast to the 21st Century Self Satisfied Regard of Silicon Valley Billionaires for their Modern Meritocracy.

Would either Gaev or Lyubov Ranevskaya have Any Idea of what a Meritocracy might be?

Not only have Visual/Historical Contexts disappeared amidst the Avant Garde Production Values of the Godwin/Karam Cherry Orchard, but they have been Oddly Replaced by what seems to be a Metallic Orchard of Overhanging Sandy Calder Mobiles!

Poor Firs! Poor Tony Chekhov!

Their Fellow Russkis have all driven off to Grand Central Station—or to Forty Second Street—leaving them Forgotten & Behind…

Casting Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell—another Roundabout Innovation—didn’t harm the Roundabout’s Importance of Being Earnest, but that’s a Horse of a Different Color!

Instead of Rushing Back to Paris to the Arms of a Problematic Lover, Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya should, instead, have taken a Page from the Playbook of The Three Sisters.

To Moscow! To Moscow! To Moscow!

Once safely inside The Kremlin, Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya could have sought Post Soviet Solace in the Octopus Like Enveloping Arms of Vlad Putin!

Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya! You are to me like a Cherry Orchard in The Crimea!


At The Bryant Park Hotel Black Box Theatre:


Special Attraction! Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Dr. Glenn Loney…

Modesty should prevent Your Roving Reporter from calling attention to this One of a Kind Award.

It will not be an Annual Event, for Obvious Reasons!

Nonetheless, here is the Official Citation:

On behalf of Adams Company Dance, we commend you for your Extraordinary Contributions made to Humanity, though your work as Artist, Author, Critic, Photographer, & Educator.

All your Efforts have been Most Useful and will continue to be for the Ages!

Thank You, Mitzi & Don Adams!

But, as we all know too well, "Ages" can be forgotten in a Fortnight.

To Introduce the Astonished Award Winner to the Dance Infatuated Audience, Dance Critic & Scholar Debra Levine was invited to Salute the Unsung Author of Unsung Genius: The Passion of Dancer/Choreographer Jack Cole.

After I had written this Jack Cole Celebration, I deposited all my Research Notes & Interviews in the Theatre Collection of the University Library at UCLA.

In her Cole Collection Slide Show, Debra revealed Documentary Details that I had completely forgotten: Such as the Many Possible Titles I’d devised for Characterizing Cole in an Attention Getting & Book Selling way.

After having viewed all the Cole Performances & Cole Conceived Choreographies still surviving from Hollywood Films—made available to me by Bill Kenley, then PR Chief for Paramount Pictures, who had marked them on Complete Film Reels—I wanted to have Bob Fosse narrate a new Cole Choreography Tribute in the manner of That’s Entertainment!, a Colorful Hollywood Compilation then popular in Theatres Nationwide.

But I had neither the Clout nor the Connections to make this a Cinematic Reality…

Debra Levine, however, has had the Same Idea, having recently given MoMA Film Buffs a Jack Cole Sampler.

Debra! Here’s Hoping for an HBO Jack Cole Special!

For the Historical Record, Debra Levine & I go back a Long Way.

When Debra was Chief Dance Critic for the Los Angeles Times, I was its New York "Stringer" for Opera, Music, Dance, & Theatre…

But the Real Deal in this Enchanted Evening at the Bryant Park Hotel was a Video Festival of Adams Company Dance Choreographies: Behind The Lens, featuring some Outstanding Adams Dance Movements.

This is the 25th Year of Adams Company Dance, so we had a Virtual Survey of some Notable Dance Concerts, with Mitzi rehearsing her Talented Troupe & performing with them in such Beautifully Visualized Creations as: Jeu d’Espirit, A Dress in The Stream, Sea Chapter, About Face, Woodland Aire, & A Piece of Shelter.

Not only is Mitzi Adams a Gifted Choreographer, but she is also a Life Saver, being a Master of Jin Shin Jyutsu, an Ancient Asian System for "Hands On" balancing of Body Energy Flows!


At The Acorn Theatre on Theatre Row:

Jonathan Larson’s TICK, TICK… BOOM! [*****]

Originally a Larson Monologue, This Shape Shifting Show Now Features a Dynamic Trio of Talent!

Multiple Bravos, Nick Blaemire, George Salazar, & Ciara Renée!

Directed by the Keene Company’s innovative Jonathan Silverstein, you have wonderfully Fleshed Out this Musical Fable of Performing Arts Wannabees in an Indifferent Manhattan.

The Titular Hero, Jonathan [formerly Larson Solo, but now Blaemire, plus Two Sidekicks] doesn’t want to Sell Out, even though his Loyal Friends are eager to provide him with a Daytime Job…

What do you do when you can’t even get a Workshop, let alone a Call Back from your Impatient Agent?

Fortunately for keen Keen Company Addicts, this results in Melodious Musical Tantras & Funky Tantrums such as Jonny Can’t Decide, Sunday, No More, Real Life, Therapy, & Come To Your Senses.

There is also a Backup Combo—which gets to Talk Back…

In 1996, Jonathan Larson won the Pulitzer Prize—as well as a Tony—for his much admired Post BOOM Hit, Rent, which was premiered to Great Acclaim down at the New York Theatre Workshop, on 13 February 1996.

Unfortunately, Larson was unable to accept either the Tony or the Pulitzer in Person, for he had died on 25 January 1996.

Only Ten Days before his 36th Birthday…


At The Cirque du Soleil Blue & Yellow Big Top on Randall’s Island:

The Cirque du Soleil‘s KURIOS: CABINET OF CURIOSITIES [*****]

As Always, Outstanding Feats of Acrobatics, Death Defying Duos, & Fantastic Costumes,

But This Time Out, Ingenious Props & Devious Devices Create a Wonderful Wunderkammer!

Among the Fabulous Fabrications of Odd Attire that distinguish this Edifying Edition of French Canada’s Generous Gift to the Waiting World is the Accordion Pleated Outfit of a Long Legged Gent who also has Accordion Pleated Headwear.

He seems to be always Expanding & Contracting!

Because there are so many of these Curious Costumes & Provocative Props, it is No Wonder that the Entire Cast makes frequent Grand Parades around the Perimeter Promenade.

Hands Down or Hands Up, the Giant Articulated Silver Hand that takes Center Stage makes a Handy Platform for a Ballet of Dancing Fingers.

Black Clad Handlers—with only their Naked Fingers visible—turn their Dancing Digits into Miniature Men!

Those who can still remember Judy Garland landing in Munchin Land—Populated by Singer’s Midgets—may well be delighted by the Tiny Lady, Mini Lili, who lives inside Mr. Microcosmos’ Overcoat & who keeps Popping Up here & there as a Solo Singing Midget.

Mini Lili is actually Antanina Satsura, weighing in at 50 Pounds & Standing Tall at 3.2 Feet! She is one of the Ten Smallest People in the World!

Mr. Microcosmos has a Tremendous Belly, which it took Prop Makers some 250 Hours to construct.

His Costume was inspired by Steam Trains, the Eiffel Tower, & the Grand Palais & at one point it extends out to 62 Feet!

Standard Features of most Cirque du Soleil Tent Shows include High Wire Artists, Slack Wire Artists, & Girls & Boys on The Flying Trapeze.

But they are not among the Cabinet Curiosities in this Dazzling Dynamo of a Show!

Not to Worry! There is so much to See & Savor that you hardly have time to Catch Your Breath before Another Astonishing Attraction bounds onto the Grand Circular Arena…

How about the Russian Cradle Duo, the Aerial Bicycle, the Invisible Circus, the Contortionists, Rola Bola, Acro Net, Banquine, Yo Yos, & the Upside Down World?

KURIOS™—Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th Production since 1984.

This Season, not only is Cirque du Soleil out on Randall’s Island but also on Broadway with Paramour!

Not to Overlook Cirque du Soleil‘s 18 Different Shows Worldwide, including Avatar, Totem, Zumanity, Ka, Luzia, Varekai, Ovo, & Amaluna.


At The Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage II Theatre:

Sarah Jones’ SELL/BUY/DATE [*****]

Protean Performer Sarah Jones Brings Many Voices, Many Characters, & Many Mannerisms

To Her Wide Ranging Explorations of Sex Workers, Sex Slaves, Sex Ploiters, & Sex Consumers!

How Does She Do It?

One Instant, Tony & Obie Winner Sarah Jones is her Glamorous Self, but the Next Moment she has transformed herself into a Withered Crone or a Scummy Pimp, her Posture, Vocal Equipment, & Facial Expressions evoking Odd Actualities.

Veteran of Multiple Ted Talks, Sarah Jones is No Stranger to The White House, the World Economic Forum in Davos, & the Market Theatre in Johannesburg!

Having long lived a Sheltered Life, I was somewhat surprised to learn that some Women Actually Enjoy Sex, especially when they Make a Profit.

Sexy Sarah Jones—like Anna Deveare Smith—interviews Potential Subjects, then adapts their Physical Presences & their Stories to the Stage.

Unlike Smith—who is more interested in Social Issues that do not involve the Vigorous Sex Trade that seems to thrive when Metropolitan Vice Squads are now Long Gone—Sarah Jones is Down in the Trenches collecting, collating, & recreating the Nitty Gritty of Modern Life.

Fearing that Underage Children might be reading an Uncensored Report of what could be considered Adult Porn, I must refrain from Further Comment, other than to remark that Sarah Jones is Brilliant!

Not only an Outstanding Performer & Striking Personality, Sarah Jones is also a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador!

Good Show, Sarah!

You can Google Sarah or catch her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram…


At The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College:

Louis Karchin & Diane Osen’s JANE EYRE [*****]

Charlotte Brontë Sings Again! World Premiere with First Class Production Values & Great Voices!

Both Charlotte & Jane would surely be Somewhat Surprised to discover what the Modern Opera Enthusiasts Karchin & Osen have been Up To…

Their Operatic Exploration of the World of Mister Rochester, His Mad Wife, & his Long Loving Governess would have been an Opera Astonishment, for which neither Brontë nor Eyre would have been Properly Prepared, Living so Long, Out in the British Boonies.

For that matter, The Center for Contemporary Opera has Also Astonished Your Roving Reporter with its Magically Designed, Powerfully Acted, & Sensitively Sung Serial Adaptation of Jane Eyre.

Will Wuthering Heights soon come into View? How about Manderley & Mrs. Danvers?

Being initially a Design & Stage Craft Specialist, I was immediately attracted to the World Class Production Values on the Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse Stage.

But for Only Two Performances!

Instead of a Stage Full of Built Scenery, Luke Cantarella has invoked the World of Rear Projections: of Scenic Shots & Haunting Historicist Videos.

Inside a Defining Black Frame, we see Interiors that recall Famous English Places, but the Videos often expand to flood onto the Video Screen above the Frame.

Overhead, a Jumbled Collection of Upside Down Drawing Room Chairs lurks with Uncertain Menace: will they all come Tumbling Down onto Mr. Rochester’s Local Gentry Guests?

Of course, Fans of the Novels of the Brontë Sisters will know that Mister Rochester has No Business romancing a Local Lovely—let alone the Devoted Governess of his Dainty Daughter.

His First Missus Rochester is Not Dead. She’s Locked in the Attic, with, presumably, Food Trays shoved through the Door daily.

Unfortunately, Missus Rochester is a Pyromaniac Madwoman, who ultimately Burns Down the Rochester Stately Home, way out in the Middle of British Nowhere.

The Operatic Problem with Musicalizing Jane Eyre is that the Novel goes On & On, detailing not only Events in Thornfield Hall—the Forbidding Rochester Mansion standing Tall & Alone in a Vast Empty Blasted Heath—but Anywhere that Jane’s Worries, Duties, & Distant Relatives take her.

This is rather like seeing Multiple Installments of Downton Abbey, crammed into Three Acts.

More than we really Need To Know about Jane [Jennifer Zetlan] & Edward Rochester [Ryan MacPherson]…

Too Much!

But not exactly Too Soon, for the Novel has been Out There for Quite Some Time.

Fortunately, neither Giacomo Puccini nor Gian Carlo Menotti felt any Necessity to turn Jane Eyre into a Modern Opera.

In fact, Jane Eyre initially sounded like one of those Seldom Revived Lowell Lieberman Operatic Scores.

One of those Odd Libretti in which the Vocal Stress falls on a Modifier, rather than on the Defining Noun in what was once a Spoken Sentence.

Before Adventurous Opera Adapters decided to give New Meaning to a Yelped Quantifier…

In the Three Side Rows around me were Veteran Music Critics, most ot them Furiously Scribbling Notes on the Jane Eyre Notations.

Nonetheless, the Entire Cast is Splendid, as well as Splendidly Costumed—by Rachel Townsend—in both Period Finery & the Plain Janes of the Servant Class.

Oh! This Entire Center for Contemporary Opera Season is dedicated to Talented Women: Librettists, Composers, Conductors, Stage Directors…

Sara Jobin Magisterially Conducted Jane Eyre & Kristine McIntyre Deftly Deployed all those Amazing Acting Singers On Stage.

If you’ve never heard of The Center for Contemporary Opera, you’ve been missing Important Opera Premieres!

This is the CCO’s 34th Season, but I had never heard of them before.

Could this be because their Home Base is National Sawdust over in Brooklyn?

Where is National Sawdust actually located? Somewhere near Bushwick?

I taught at Brooklyn College for Thirty Years & lived in Brooklyn Heights for years, as well.

But, in all that time, even as an Early Advocate for Opera in Brooklyn—both at BAM & at Brooklyn College, where I created the Figaro Comes to Flatbush Festival—I had No Notion that The Center for Contemporary Opera even existed…

What a Loss for this Lonely Loney Opera Lover!

Jim Schaefer is Artistic Director of The Center for Contemporary Opera & he will be more than happy to tell you that the CCO is the "Oldest Company in the World devoted solely to the Development & Production of Modern Operas.

OK, National Sawdust! Bring on more New Shows!


At The New York City Center Theatre:

Ricky Ian Gordon & Royce Vavrek’s 27 [*****]

Gertrude Stein Sings, As Alice B. Toklas Knits an Epic Length Woolen Scarf,

Endlessly Entertaining Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Marie Laurencin, Henri Matisse,

Ernie Hemingway, & F. Scott Fitzgerald at No. 27, Rue de Fleurus…

Why does Alice B. Toklas keep on Knitting, when that Gray Wool Scarf is already bunching up into the Off Stage Areas?

Well, this is how Librettist Royce Vavrek explains the Toklas Knitting Frenzy: Toklas, Stein’s Muse & Lover, is conjuring "…the World she shared with Gertrude Stein by knitting the Memories of their Past Life."

This Woolly Narrative Framework has encouraged Composer Ricky Ian Gordon provide Effective Music for such Site Specific Songs as Lost Boys, Come Meet Man Ray, There Once Lived Two Women, & He’s Gone, Lovey.

Beloved Mezzo Stephanie Blythe is Magisterial as Gertrude Stein, but she is also Adoringly Affable when welcoming Noted French Artists into her Paris Salon, where they seem to vie with each other for Her Favor & Artistic Endorsement.

From Many Published Reports, Stein seems to have been surely the "Hostess with the Mostest" in Tout Paree.

From some "I Was There" Observations, however, it was the Toklas Touch in the Kitchen that drew the Inner Circle & their Hangers On.

Toklas—sensitively interpreted by Heidi Stober—does not actually Cook On Stage, however…

But this Musical Adventure—Commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, with a 2014 World Premiere—is not so much about all those Famous Artworks that Initially Unknowns such as Picasso & Matisse had seen installed in the Stein Salon, but, rather, about the Lifelong Love that led Toklas to Protect & Encourage Stein at every turn in the Road of Life!

But the Issue Is Raised about how an American Jewess was able to survive in Nazi Occupied France, without being Interned, Deported, Murdered, & Cremated as were so many Parisian Jews.

What Is The Answer? What Is The Answer? What Is The Answer?

Picasso’s Portrait of Gertrude Stein keeps asking her for Answers, so she dies of Shame & Guilt, in Toklas’ Sheltering Arms.

Didn’t Stein once famously ask: What Is The Question?

She is certainly responsible for: Pigeons on the Grass, alas…

It is almost an Artistic Scandal that 27 was offered at City Center for Only Two Evenings!

This, of course, was Mandated by adding the Massive Vocal Forces of Master Voices to the Tonal Mix.

But the Ingenuity of the Physical Production was so striking that one must hope all those Huge Picture Frames & Picasso Inspired Props will be stored until the Next Revival.

Nonetheless, Kudos to Theo Lebow [Tenor], Tobias Greenhalgh [Baritone], & Daniel Brevik [Bass Baritone] for so wittly embodying various Artists, Visitors, Soldiers, & even a Comical Drag Act.

Designer Allen Moyer’s Set Pieces—including all those Museum Strength Picture Frames—were strung out along the Stage Front, with the Massed Master Voices seen & heard from Up Above the Artistic Fray.

Ted Sperling, of Master Voices, conducted, with James Robinson as Stage Director.

No, I was never One of the Lucky Ones who dropped in on a Stein Salon at No. 27, Rue de Fleurus.

I didn’t make it to Paris until 1956

But watching Gertrude Stein’s Salon Guests eat Alice B. Toklas’ Tasty Treats & Hashish Brownies, I was reminded of My Brief Connection with a Stein/Tolklas Favorite: Golden Gloves Boxer Bill Griswold, of the Historic Griswold Clan of Old Lyme, CT.

After his Glowing Youth & Available Attractiveness had Worn Off in Paris & he had Failed in his Attempt to become a Modernist Painter, Bill came to Manhattan, where he settled in on St. Mark’s Place, a floor above W. H. Auden.

To Keep Body & Soul Together, Bill had abandoned Easel Painting for Wall Painting: Exteriors & Interiors…

The Connecticut Griswolds wanted Nothing To Do with this Black Sheep.

A Griswold Cousin even came down from Old Lyme to tell me that I also should have Nothing To Do with their Black Sheep, who, by this time, was wearing S&M Black Leather & Lighting Up.

But Bill had not forgotten how to prepare Poulet Bonne Femme, as taught him by Alice B. Toklas!

He also had the Toklas Touch with Hash Brownies…

Watching Gertrude Stein’s Testy Brother, Leo Stein, Storm about the City Center Stage, I was reminded of My Brief Connection with the Stein Family of Baltimore.

Once Upon a Time, I had Baltimore Jewish Lawyer Boyfriend whom I would visit in that Semi Southern City on Alternate Weekends.

Suddenly, I Got a Call: "Glenn! I’m off to Paris! See you in Two Weeks!"

Apparently—as Gertrude had left all the Famous Paintings & the Almost as Famous Flat at No. 27, Rue de Fleurus, to Alice. B. Toklas—there was a Problem.

Toklas was No Longer Competent & the Precious Paintings were in Bad Shape.

The Steins got Gertrude’s Modern Masterpieces back to Baltimore, but I told my Lawyer Buddy that he had functioned almost like a Grave Robber…

Ricky Ian Gordon obviously knows a lot about Alice & Gertrude at No. 27, but he makes No Mention—oddly enough, considering that he has turned their Famous Lives into an Opera—of the Historical Fact that Gertrude Stein herself drafted an Opera Libretto: Four Saints in Three Acts.

This was Set to Music by none other than Virgil Thomson, whom I once had the Pleasure of driving back to Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel, after he had talked about their Original Collaboration on Four Saints in Three Acts, in conjunction with a Staged Revival of Four Saints in Three Acts at the American Music Theatre Festival at CW Post College.

Come to Think of It: Didn’t Virgil & Gertrude also collaborate on The Mother of Us All, a Tribute to Susan B. Anthony?

If you missed Gordon & Vavrick’s own Tribute to Gertrude Stein—a Remarkably Sung, Acted & Staged Production, that so ingeniously involved the Master Voices, formerly the Collegiate Chorale, which took its Collegiate Name from Norman Vincent Peale’s Marble Collegiate Church, where Robert Shaw created the Robert Shaw Chorale for Pulpit Purposes—you can at least take an MTA Bus down Fifth Avenue to the Marble Collegiate Church.

Or you can get off at 42nd & Fifth—at the New York Public Library.

Then go round the back to Bryant Park, where you can see Jo Davidson’s Sitting Bronze of None Other than Gertrude Stein…


At The Laura Pels Theatre of the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Theatre Center:

Mike Bartlett’s LOVE, LOVE, LOVE [****]

Three Sets in Three Acts for Three Generations of Brexit Accented Baby Boomers…

Maybe you actually had to Be There?

In Carnaby Street way back in the Sixties?

Two Brothers are holed up in a Ratty Bed Sitter, with The Beatles on Tap.

The Hard Working Elder Bro brings home a Pert, Brainless, Non Stop Motor Mouth, who soon pairs off with his Lay About Sibling.

In Act Two, the Interior, the Furnishings, & the Artwork are all moving Upscale.

Children do not Understand their Parents, but Nobody really seems to be Listening anyway, with the Family Members generally Talking Past Each Other.

In Act Three, we seem to be in a Lovely Manse, with Lovely Blooms outside the Window.

Up the Ladder of Interior Decoration, but Downhill in Human Relationships…

This Script was first produced by Paines Plough & the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.


Almost as Remote as Teatr Clydd somewhere in Wales…

Later, Love, Love, Love traveled to the Royal Court, in Sloane Square.

Mike Bartlett—the Author/Chronologist—already has won a Tony for King Charles III, awarded in 2016!

This is not Another Tony Contender, despite the Thespian Efforts of Zoe Kazan, Amy Ryan, Alex Hurt, Richard Armitage, & Ben Rosenfield, as well as the Directorial Ministrations of Michael Mayer, who recently won a Tony for staging A View From the Bridge.

Roundabout’s Todd Haimes—who brought this Brit Import across the Atlantic for Roundabout’s Fiftieth Anniversary—believes Love, Love, Love is "…a Brilliant & Timely Play."

Speaking of these "Sixties Dreamers," Haimes insists that Mike Bartlett has been able "…to show us something Innately Recognizable."

Haimes optimistically adds: "…You may find Yourself reflected in especially Sharp Relief."

Maybe I’m an American Dracula, but I wasn’t reflected in the Bartlett London Mirror, even though I was often in Carnaby Street during the Turbulent Sixties.

My Problem: I was already Over Fifty & Transfixed by Kitchen Sinkers like Arnold Wesker.

Not to Neglect my Connection to the Murdered Playwright, Joe Orton, who became my Pen Pal.

Joe’s Letters to me are now in the Berg Manuscript Collection of the New York Public Library, if you have any interest…


At The George Broadhurst Theatre:

Ben Hecht & Charles MacArthur’s THE FRONT PAGE [*****]

Stop The Presses! Newspapers Are Almost Over! Historical Artifact Back on Broadway!

Best Action Packed, Slam Bang, Star Studded, Deftly Plotted, Strongly Designed Show in Years!

Too Bad Hecht & MacArthur Didn’t Live To Extend the Newspaper Franchise with Page Six…

Wow! What a Cast Iron Cast!

Or maybe more like Stainless Steel? Or Sterling Silver?

Can any Casting Director top this Above the Title Team: Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, Jefferson Mays, Holland Taylor, Sherie Rene Scott, & Robert Morse?

In a time when "Journalism Schools" seem Anachronisms, it might be somewhat difficult to understand What All The Fuss Is About in "Getting The Story" about the Impending Hanging of a somewhat Deranged Anarchist, Earl Williams [John Magaro], who is being portrayed as a "Bolshevik," when he is really not a "Raving Red."

Hecht & MacArthur set The Front Page in Chicago, rather than in Manhattan, possibly because the Press Rivalry of William Randolph Hearst & Col. Robert R. McCormick were Better Copy than the Sulzburgers, Pulitzers, & Schiffs in New York.

Nathan Lane is a Powerhouse of Press Chiefdom & Performance Overkill, while John Slattery, as Hildy Johnson, his Star Reporter, is a Skilled Newshound who longs for a Quiet Life on Madison Avenue with his Well Heeled Lady Love [Halley Feiffer].

The Gallows is being constructed right beneath the Press Room of Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building, which permits Shots to be fired through the Windows, for Additional Excitement.

Unbeknownst to the Sheriff [John Goodman, in Good Blowhard Mode] & the Mayor [Dann Florek], Earl Williams is actually In The Room, concealed in a Roll Top Desk that belongs to a Sniffy Journalist, Bensinger of The Tribune [Jefferson Mays].

Hungry for a Sensational Hanging, the Assembled Press Powers will finally be Astonished that the Governor has Issued a Signed Reprieve for Earl, which the Timid & Confused Mr. Pincus [Robert Morse] has been vainly Trying to Deliver.

They don’t write Plays like this Anymore, but then Newspapers are not like this Anymore, either.

This is not the First Time that The Front Page has had a Broadway Revival. The Plumstead Playhouse did it some years ago. I think Robert Ryan was in that Cast?

To Be Certain, Check Out Glenn Loney’s Twentieth Century Theatre, a Day by Day Chronology of American & British Theatre.

Watching the Athletic Antics of the Current Cast reminded me that, as a Fledgling Reporter, I joined the American Newspaper Guild way back in 1948, which guaranteed all of Us Wage Slaves $35 per Week!

The Front Page bowed on Broadway in 1928—just before the Crash…

Since that Date, there have been more than Eight Decades of Playwriting Classes, Plotting Seminars, & Playwriting Workshops, but few have topped Ben & Charlie.

Arthur Miller is a Horse of a Different Color.

Bravo, Director Jack O’Brien & Multi Kudos for Designers Doug Schmidt, Ann Roth, Brian MacDevitt, & Scott Lehrer!

Doug’s At Angle Press Room is in itself a Work of Art…

This Exciting Exposure of Behind the Scenes Newspaperdom—before the Great Depression gave rise to New Horizons in Reportage & Punditry—may well make Millennials grateful for Facebook & Twitter.


At The Public Theatre:

David Hare’s PLENTY [*****]

East of Suez & All That! Here’s a Searing Saga of Post War Britain & the End of Empire,

First Seen at the Public Back in 1982, Staged by Hare Himself, Then Onto Broadway at the Booth!

Now Even Better, With Dynamic Production Values & Rachel Weisz & Corey Stoll Starring…

After the Devastations of World War II in Europe, there was a General Belief that Rebuilding would ultimately create a Surge of Plenty.

This certainly worked well in West Germany, with its "Economic Miracle," but that didn’t happen in Great Britain, which was No Longer So Great, for it was Economically & Politically suffering to Recover what had been Lost & Destroyed.

As for the Hoped for Plenty, in London, even as late as 1956, an At Home Dinner Treat was often Fried Bread.

Forget about Chicken Every Sunday in America: there were Extreme Food Shortages in England.

If Londoners were in an Extra Festive Mood, they might pour some Melted Lard onto their Fried Bread!

But even though the British Empire was vanishing, Diplomats of the Foreign Office were still behaving as though Nothing Had Changed.

David Hare lays bare their High Level Hypocrisy, at the same time introducing us to Susan Traherne [Rachel Weisz], whom we first see as an English Resistance Fighter in Occupied France.

Susan is both Attractive & Self Destructive, becoming increasingly Psychotic & Ungovernable, even though she has an All Suffering Husband [Corey Stoll] to somewhat Shield her.

In Sharply Defined Scenes—made even more Striking by an Ingeniously Mutating Setting—Hare chronicles Susan’s Descent into Madness.

But, at the same time, he presents a Metaphoric Indictment of the English Elite, notably Foreign Office Functionaries, who seem Monumentally Clueless…

Not only are almost all of the Major Roles strongly Cast & Played—Byron Jennings, for instance, is Leonard Darwin!—but Mike Britton’s Deceptively Simplistic Setting is a Wonder of Moving Walls, on a Revolving Stage, which permits a Journey from 1939 onward to Suez & Anthony Eden & into Modern Times.

As Stage Director, David Leveaux has Orchestrated what proves to be a Grand Tour of Post War Diplomatic Misfires.

This Timely Revival reminded me of My Own Connection to some of These Events & Personalities.

I was actually received by President Gamal Abdul Nasser at the Abdin Palace in Cairo, after I’d stowed my Suitcases with Diplomatic Friends at the US Embassy.

My Cousin, Col. Anthony Dangerfield, was the Russian Expert for MI6, who thought [incorrectly] that I was an American Spy, covertly working for the CIA.

"Glenn! What were you doing in Sa’udi Arabia with ARAMCO?

"Why did they pay for your Air Trip to Beirut, Petra, Basra, Cairo, & Athens?"

Actually, as I told Tony, I couldn’t Keep a Secret.

I was just making Archival Photographs of Historic Sites. Before they got blown up in World War III…


At The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre:

Simon Stephens’ HEISENBERG [*****]

Two Nights in a Row, Two Crazy Ladies Freaking Out on Broadway, Thanx to Brit Playwrights!

Werner Heisenberg does not actually appear on stage in this Ingenious Two Hander by Simon Stephens, who gave us the Tony Award Winning Curiosity The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.

Nonetheless, Heisenberg gave us the Heisenberg Principle of Indeterminacy, of which Mary Louise Parker is a Walking, Talking Example.

Although Mark Wendland is credited with Scenic Design, there is almost None on View, because the Audience in the Samuel J. Friedland Theatre—which once was The Biltmore Theatre, where Tom O’Horgan’s Staging of Hair was once a Winner—sits facing Another Audience, sitting in Bleachers on the Stage, with an Aging London Butcher [Dennis Arndt] & a Kooky Spooky Woman [Mary Louise Parker] Meeting Cute on the Narrow Space framed by the Proscenium, where they push around some Tables on Wheels to suggest Locations & Furnishings.

Denis Arndt—a former Helicopter Pilot—has long been a Mainstay of the West Coast Acting Pool & a Great Favorite at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

As Alex Priest, Arndt is absolutely Charming & Lovable, but he doesn’t know that.

In fact, his Commercial Life as a Family Butcher has been largely Lonely & without Interesting Incident.

Small Wonder that Alex is ready to Close Shop permanently.

Suddenly, Out of Nowhere, Georgie Burns [Mary Louise Parker] appears, a kind of Regents Canal Con Artist, who wants to get her hands on Enough Money to go to New Jersey & see Her Son, who apparently has not bothered to Keep Her Posted or to send Christmas Cards…

It is Absolutely Delightful to see this Odd Couple Fall in Love!

Mark Brokaw staged, with a Keen Eye for Telling Detail…


At The David Geffen Memorial Hall:

Maurice Ravel’s PIANO CONCERTO IN G MAJOR [*****]

Jazzily Showcasing the Remarkable Finger Fluttering Pianism & Daring Dresses of Juja Wang!

Maurice Ravel?

Wasn’t he that that French Guy who gave us Bolero, which goes on & on & on in much the same Tonal Sequence?

Yes, but he also picked up some American Jazziness in New Orleans & in New York, where he met George Gershwin.

Small Wonder then that Ravel put some Jazz into each of the Three Movements of his G Major Concerto.

In fact, as wonderfully evoked in the Subtle Pianism of Juja Wang, there is even a hint of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue!

After reading a Stunning Verbal Portrait of Juja Wang—including Adjectival Admiration of her Slinky, Body Revealing Gowns—in Vanity Fair or some such Publication, I felt I had to See & Hear this Talented Lady perform at the Keyboard of the NY Philharmonic’s Mighty Steinway.

Booking Months in Advance, I found that this One Time Only Manhattan Performance was already almost Sold Out.

Not only did Juja Wang caress the Keyboard in Ravel’s Allegramente, Adagio assai, & concluding Presto, but she also followed the Gershin Inlfuenced Concerto with no less than Five Encores, each of which showed her Pianism in a Different Light.

Of course, it’s not Quite Right to say that Juja Wang’s Back Up Combo was the LSO, or the London Symphony Orchestra, as they are among the Great Orchestras of the Known World.

In fact, the LSO opened this Stand Alone Concert with a Thundering Reading of Richard Wagner’s Prelude to Die Miestersinger von Nürnberg.

This Exiting Evening concluded with a Tumultuous Rendition of Dmitry Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, a work which redeemed him from Stalin’s Career Threatening Denunciation of an earlier Modernist Opera which was deemed Petty Bourgeois Formalism.


At The Booth Theatre:

Christopher Hampton’s Adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’ LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES [*****]

Janet McTeer Plays an Implacable Foe In a Relentless Game of Seduction, Sex, Shame, Devious Deceit, & Character Destruction, Assisted by Liev Schreiber as the Amorously Amoral Valmont!

This Haunting Vision—brought to Manhattan by London’s Donmar Warehouse—could itself be an Odd Refugee from a Pre Revolutionary Parisian Painting Warehouse.

Set Designer Tom Scutt not only shows us what seems to be an Abandoned Salon, but also the Physical Construction of its Walls & Cove Mouldings.

Not only that: Leaning Against the Shabby Walls & Waiting in the Wings are Framed & Unframed Artworks, whose Subject Matter subtly Foreshadows the Ensuing Stage Actions.

The Plot Developments are Visually Punctuated by Wraiths of Ghostly Women in High Parisian Period Fashions, accompanied by Rising & Descending Chandeliers, guttering with Live Fluttering Flames, which are Visually Echoed by Live Flame Candelabras on the Floor…

Les Liaisons Dangereuses is an Historic Property which Actors, Actresses. & Stage Directors cannot Leave Alone…

Did you ever see John Malkovich as Valmont?

How about Laura Linney as La Marquise de Merteuil?

John Lahr created an Enchanting Portrait of Janet McTeer for The New Yorker—which the Donmar Warehouse apparently didn’t want Eclipsed by any other Mc Teer Backgrounder, so there was an Interview Embargo.

I was, long, long ago, Beheaded in the French Revolution, so it was a bit of Ghostly Déjà Vu to see once again all those Elegant Ladies, busily Backstabbing in Elegant Salons…

Nonetheless, Le Vicomte de Valmont finally Got What He Deserved!


At The Harvey Theatre at The Brooklyn Academy of Music:

Robert Wilson & Mikhail Baryshnikov’s LETTER TO A MAN [*****]

The Daunting Duo Recreate in Striking Images, the Descent into Madness of Vaslav Nijinsky,

Accompanied by Disturbing Diary Texts from This Diaghilev Damaged Dancer…

Robert Wilson first came to Public Attention when Harvey Lichtenstein invited him to create Something Special for the Historic Opera Stage at BAM.

Who can forget Deafman Glance, A Letter for Queen Victoria, & Einstein on the Beach?

Since then, Wilson has gone from Strength to Strength, working with Jessye Norman & Marina Abramowicz, among Other Outstanding Talents.

Now, to Sold Out Houses, Wilson & Baryshnikov have Visually Imagined what was Going On in His Head, as this World Famed but Short Careered Ballet Dancer Lost It, but continued to Scribble Strange Screeds in his Secret Diaries.

Wilson’s Color Palette for Letter To A Man is stark Black & White, with the Occasional Red…

Extreme Verticality is a Design Feature, with the Straight Jacketed Nijinsky shown strapped in a Restraining Chair, sometimes Upside Down.

But we also get to see him in White Tie & Tails, Swanning Around like Fred Astaire!

Mewed Up in Budapest & Various Sanatoria, Nijinsky didn’t really get to Savor The Jazz Age, but Hal Willner’s wide ranging Score suggests both Weimar & Monte Carlo in the 1920s, drawing upon Songs by Tom Waites, Arvo Pärt, Henry Mancini & Alexander Mosolov, a Soviet Futurist.

Oddly Enough, at the Close, there are Two Stuffed White Swans Downstage Right, looking like Left Overs from Lohengrin.

At One Juncture, a Cartoon Cut Out of a Giant Chicken is pulled across the Stage by a Cartoon Cut Out of a Little Girl, whose Head Spins Around…

Don’t Ask! Just Look & Listen!

Nijinsky lived on until 1954, Totally Incompetent—aside from his Random Ramblings—looked after by his Long Suffering Spouse, Romola Nijinsky.

One Reviewer of Letter To A Man extolled what he called Baryshnikov’s Soft Shoe Routine, but there were very few Actual Dance Forms on view.

Nonetheless, an Exciting Evening about the Briefly Blazing Star of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, who got Worked Over by his Mentor/Lover/Exploiter!


ATCA in Manhattan at Various Venues:

Sherry Eaker’s ATCA Mini Meeting [*****]

Celebrating the Lasting Legacy of the Late Ira Bilowit & Staging Productive Panel Discussions!

OK! In case you didn’t already know, ATCA is the Acronym for The American Theatre Critics Association, formed some years ago by a Handful of Major American Drama Critics—from Various Leading American Cities—Under The Copper Beech at the O’Neill Center in Romantic Connecticut.

Annual Conferences are held in Various Leading American Cities, usually in Late Spring or Summer, but Everyone likes to come to Manhattan for a Mini Meeting in the Autumn.

Sherry Eaker is a Beloved Former Show Biz Publisher & an Eager Advocate of All That’s New & Exciting On & Off Broadway.

All ATCA Members who can afford to come to The Great White Way look forward to Matinées & Evenings of the Latest Hits, but Our Daytimes are filled with Instructive & Provocative Panel Discussions.

My Favorite was See Me, Hear Me: Innovations & Challenges in Projection & Sound Design, chaired by ATCA Colleague Martha Wade Steketee.

Among the Panelists was the Ever Innovative Wendall K. Harrington, whose Ingenious Projections & Videos have long helped Producers reduce Production Costs, often taking the place of Tons of Built Scenery!

But the Big Blow Out was Our Annual Celebrity Luncheon on Saturday at Sardi’s—where you do not go for the Food.

A Jack Hammer could not have penetrated my Chicken Surprise…

Among Our Distinguished & Voluble Guests were Denis Arndt, Julianne Boyd, Danny Burstein, Brad Oscar, Diane Paulus, & Jessica Hecht.

But I was so Proud of my Arts Archive Partner, Scott Bennett, who had arranged for us to sit beside Robert Creighton, who is a Latter Day Incarnation of Jimmy Cagney, currently performing at the Westside Theatre.

Not only did Scott introduce Robert Creighton, but he also helped Sherry with the Introductions & Bios of our Outstanding Guests!

We both had already seen & admired Cagney/Creighton at the York Theatre, but he asked us to be sure to come Backstage to see him when we finally make it over to the Westside…

Our Final Session was devoted to Celebrating the Life of Ira Bilowit & savoring some Dynamite Cabaret Artistes.

Here is My Memoir:



Not only was Ira Bilowit a Tell It Like It Is Crusty Critic, but he was also a Dedicated Truth Teller when it came to defending Causes & Groups that he believed in.

One of the most important of these was the Original Drama Desk, almost destroyed by one of its most Arrogant & Self Promoting Members, Leo Schull, Editor/Publisher of Show Business, a Trade Rag that listed Upcoming Auditions, Performance Possibilities, & Show Biz Gossip.

As Initially Organized by Actual Drama Desk Editors—way back when there were still a number of Daily & Weekly Newspapers in & around Manhattan—the Drama Desk was conceived & created as a Weekly Wednesday Noon Luncheon at Sardi's, complete with a Sardi's Buffet at $2.50 a Plate!

But this Drama Desk was not just a "Chowder & Marching Society."

Nor was it composed Only of Drama News & Reviews Editors: Publishers, PR Reps, Producers, Theatre News Reporters, Theatre Interviewers, & Drama Critics were all warmly welcomed to join Our Weekly Gab Fests.

In addition to Getting Together to "Meet & Greet," as well as to discuss what was currently happening on the Great White Way, Panels were presented, usually Moderated by Henry Hewes—Drama Critic for The Saturday Review—featuring Leading Playwrights, Outstanding Directors, Actors Equity Spokesmen, Broadway Stars, & even Peter Brook with his Marat/Sade Cast!

Unlike the Current Drama Desk, there were No Major Awards given.

Only the Vernon Rice Award, honoring a Long Forgotten Critic, brother of Sports Writer Grantland Rice.

On occasion, Ira or I would relieve Henry Hewes, presenting Panels of Our Own Devising.

My Most Memorable Moment was my Mary, Queen of Scots vs. Queen Elizabeth Panel Discussion, featuring among others: Beverly Sills, Nancy Marchand, Salome Jens, Claire Bloom, & Eileen Atkins.

Unfortuately, Leo Schull always had to "Have His Say" at every Drama Desk Wednesday. These were always Self Promotional Moments, embarrassing to All save Leo Schull.

At one Awkward Session, Leo sat our new X Rated Movie Porn Queen, Georgina Spelvin, next to a completely unaware Julie Andrews, who chatted amiably with what she believed was a Fellow Artist.

This Unsettling Event precipitated a Mass Resignation from The Drama Desk, with Ira & I among the Prime Movers.

We abandoned Sardi's for a Less Good Location & Not So Hot Buffet, but Henry Hewes was now in the Drama Desk Doghouse, so a New DD Coalition renamed Our Group as The New Drama Forum.

Instead of Challenging Panels organized by Henry, Ira, & Yours Truly, we now had Often Tedious Sessions, designed by our New Drama Moral Police: John Beaufort [The Christian Science Monitor], Edith Oliver [The New Yorker], & Marilyn Stasio [Variety].

Boring! Boring! Boring!

Ira soon "Jumped Ship," leaving Henry Hewes & me to "Keep the Faith" with what used to be…

But one day, Henry called me: "Did you know that Ira & Debbi Wasserman have revived our Old Drama Desk, but now over at Rossoff's?"

Together with his Feisty Partner, Debbi, Ira had indeed brought back the Drama Desk we had known & loved.

In the Mid West Forties, Rossoff's Upstairs was No Sardi's.

Nor was the Buffet, but the Management was very glad to Host Us!

Bless You Both, Ira & Debbi!

You would not recognize what The Drama Desk has now become: Awards Galore, trying to become a Mini Tony Awards Fest…

Glenn Loney, Remembering Ira Bilowit


Copyright Glenn Loney, 2016. No re-publication or broadcast use without proper credit of authorship. Suggested credit line: "Glenn Loney, New York Theatre Wire." Reproduction rights please contact: jslaff@nytheatre-wire.com.

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