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Theater Mecca New York - Part I The Big Shows

New York's theatre scene is buzzing despite- or maybe because of ? - all that bad economic news, with a truckload of Hollywood stars hitting the stage. Here are some bits and bites of the Big Shows and what looks hot:

Still running:

You can't talk about Broadway this season without mentioning A Steady Rain, the Hugh Jackman/Daniel Craig hit that's been packing in audiences since it began previews on September 10. Jackman was in the news for stepping out of character to chastise someone whose cell phone was ringing, along with racking up a Broadway record with $1.17 million in sales during the week ending September 20 - while it was still in previews! The drama involves two Chicago policemen and friends with different recollections of a domestic disturbance. (Image of Jackman by Franz Richter, 2009)
Opening Night was September 29
Limited run engagement till December 6

Straight from London's West End, Jude Law takes the role of the melancholy Dane in Hamlet. Law's been getting rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic for an intense performance in what's been described as a very modern production.
In previews since September 12
Opening night : October 6
Limited engagement to December 6

Carrie Fisher's one woman show Wishful Drinking has taken over the Studio 54 theatre till next year. In the show, she dishes on the rollercoaster life of a Hollywood star, including bouts of depression, mental illness and addiction(S), affairs and more in her always entertaining way. (Image of Ms Fisher from the Official Star Wars Blog 2007.)
Till January 3, 2010

In the Heights won 4 Tony Awards, including Best New Musical in 2008 with its infectious salsa and hip hop flavoured story about a 4th of July weekend in Washington Heights. With Javier Muñoz as Usnavi and Justina Machado as Daniela - it's been at the Richard Rodgers Theater since March of 2008.

Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden star in The God of Carnage, a comedy by French playwright Yasmina Reza that won 3 Tonys last season. It follows the adventures of two sets of parents out to teach their children right from wrong... (right!) It's been packing in the house since March 2009.

Coming Soon:

Oleanna is probably David Mamet's most controversial play, a drama about the escalating power struggle between a female student (Julia Stiles) and her professor (Bill Pullman). Directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes, this new production comes to Broadway for the first time.
Previews from September 29
Opening night: October 11

Fela tells the story of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician, political activist and all around outrageous character, whose extravagant lifestyle included marrying 26 women all at once, (although he developed a system of having only 12 "on duty" at any one time...) The story is definitely the stuff of legends, and the show's winning combination of music, concert, dance and drama was honed during an off Broadway run.
Previews from October 19
Opeining night: November 23

A Little Night Music brings Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones and 5X Tony Award winner Angela Lansbury in a revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony winning show. The story is based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night and is set in a weekend country house in turn of the century Sweden. (The link is from the London version of the show - no NYC website up as this is being posted! Image of Ms Zeta-Jones by John Harrison Feb 2005)
Previews from November 24
Opening night: December 13

Technically, it may be way-off Broadway, but BAM's offerings are really second to none. This season's gem promises to be the Sydney Theatre Company's production of A Streetcar Named Desire - as directed by Liv Ullmann and starring Cate Blanchett, Joel Edgerton and Robin McLeavy. I'm betting Blanchett really lights up the stage as Blanche DuBois.
Opening night: November 27
Limited run to December 20


What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:


New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…