Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I took advantage of the beautiful morning we had last Sunday and went to the park. I captured these images of Central Park's Bethesda Fountain, one of my favorite spots to visit.
The Angel Of The Waters
Sculptor: Emma Stebbins 1815-1882 • USA
Gift of New York City
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
DAVID HYDE PIERCE posed for photos with his fans at the stage door of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre after a matinee performance of the new Broadway musical, CURTAINS last August 12. Mr. Pierce was born on April 3, 1959 in Saratoga Springs, New York. He is a Screen Actors Guild, Tony and Emmy Award winning American actor, best known for his role as psychiatrist Dr.Niles Crane on the popular sitcom FRASIER. Last June, he won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his role as Lt. Frank Cioffi. CURTAINS plays the Al Hirschfeld Theatre which is located at 302 West 45th Street.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
This is a colorful window display at KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE, New York City's largest Japanese bookstore, located at Rockefeller Center, 10 West 49th Street between Rockefeller Plaza and Fifth Avenue (Ph: 212-765-7766). In addition to the shop's main items, such as Japanese books, magazines, comics, music and English books on Japanese literature and culture, there is also a magnificent selection of imported pens and mechanical pencils, origami paper, stationery sets and coil-bound notebooks. Kinokuniya is geared toward Japanese residents and tourists, but they do cater to non-Japanese shoppers as well.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Last weekend, I spent part of my Sunday afternoon at the Al Hirschfeld Theater to see the new Kander and Ebb Broadway Musical called “CURTAINS” starring this year’s Tony Award Winner for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, DAVID HYDE PIERCE. Unlike "Spring Awakening," it was a big, old-fashioned show with great musical/dance numbers and some slapstick..and I loved it, even though I didn't care much for the music. Very entertaining. CURTAINS is set in 1959 in Boston at a pre-Broadway tryout of a new musical where it's literally 'curtains' for the leading lady who dies mysteriously onstage during the applause at the end of the show. The entire company are suspects and each has a motive, to be sorted out by a local detective (PIERCE), who is a fervent musical theatre fan. He allows the company to continue rehearsing while he conducts his murder investigation.
From the New York Times (Ben Brantley):
As befits a musical about a musical, “Curtains” — the talent-packed, thrill-starved production that opened last night at the Al Hirschfeld Theater — features an assortment of upbeat anthems to this business we call show. But the number that best captures the essence of the latest (and, sad to say, one of the last) of the collaborations from the songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb is a low-key ballad called “Coffee Shop Nights.”
The song is performed, most engagingly, by David Hyde Pierce, who (this is the good news) steps into full-fledged Broadway stardom with his performance here. Mr. Hyde Pierce, playing Frank Cioffi, a Boston police detective investigating a murder within a doom-shadowed musical-comedy company in 1959, is describing the limited pleasures of being an unmarried cop.
“It’s a perfectly fine life,” he sings, with feeble conviction. “I’d give it” — and here he pauses, for a moment of honest self-assessment — “two cheers.” That’s more or less the feeling inspired by “Curtains.” I sincerely wish I could say otherwise.
The long road to Broadway for “Curtains” has been nearly as fraught as that of “Robbin’ Hood,” the show-within-the-show that keeps losing cast and crew members to untimely ends during an out-of-town tryout in Boston. Its original book writer, Peter Stone, died in 2003, and Mr. Ebb, the lyricist, died in 2004. Enter Rupert Holmes, the writer and composer of the Tony-winning “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” who is now credited with the script and (along with Mr. Kander) additional lyrics for “Curtains.”
Perhaps this switching of creative horses accounts for the enervation that seems to underlie the lavish expenditure of energy by a top-of-the line cast that includes Debra Monk, Karen Ziemba and Jason Danieley. Brightly packaged, with “Kiss Me, Kate”-style sets by Anna Louizos and costumes to match by the industrious William Ivey Long, “Curtains” lies on the stage like a promisingly gaudy string of firecrackers, waiting in vain for that vital, necessary spark to set it off.
A musical that doesn’t make sardonic reference to the history of musicals is a rarity in the age of “The Producers,” “Spamalot” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.” In relating the troubled backstage back story of “a new musical of the old West,” “Curtains” includes plenty of jokey visual and aural allusions to hits like “Oklahoma!,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “42nd Street,” as well as to lesser-known curiosities like the singing version of “Destry Rides Again.”
But unlike “The Producers,” which ends its long New York run next month, “Curtains,” directed with a soft hand by Scott Ellis, fails to convey a passionate and bone-deep understanding of the shows it satirizes. (Rob Ashford’s lewd, crotch-centered choreography for the “Robbin’ Hood” sequences would have repulsed audiences of 1959.) What it really brings to mind is less vintage Broadway than vintage prime time.
As Lieutenant Cioffi lines up and quarantines the usual showbiz suspects after the production’s untalented leading lady is murdered on opening night, “Curtains” starts to feel like a theater-themed episode of “Murder She Wrote” or “Columbo,” caught in reruns on a sleepless night.
Like such television fare, “Curtains” features a charmingly homey detective, an improbable and convoluted plot and the mossy but glamorous archetypes you expect of an in-the-wings story: whip-cracking producer, demanding diva, effete director, suspiciously sweet understudy and the stage manager who knows too much. These elements are all presented with, at most, a quarter-turn of the screw of the conventional.
There’s something soothing, even soporific, about such unaggressive predictability. But I’m assuming — and maybe I’m wrong — that you don’t go to Broadway for lullabies.
It’s not as if the creative team doesn’t try hard to perk things up. The script fires out a tireless fusillade of jokes, in the apparent hope that a few of them are bound to hit their targets. Many fall to the ever-professional Ms. Monk, as Carmen Bernstein, a tough, battle-scarred producer.
“Sidney, I guess the reason you’re such a lowlife is because they built you so close to the ground,” Carmen says to her husband and business partner (Ernie Sabella). And there is much milking of the double entendres afforded by a murder in the plot: “Normally, I’d say over my dead body, but I don’t want to give anybody ideas.” Or: “Sweetie, the only thing you could arouse is suspicion.”
Friday, August 10, 2007
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
COLUMBUS CIRCLE, named for Christopher Columbus, is a major landmark and point of attraction in the New York City borough of Manhattan. Completed in 1905 and renovated a century later, it is the site of the first traffic circle in the United States. It is located at the intersection of Broadway, Central Park West, Central Park South (59th Street), and Eighth Avenue, at the southwest corner of Central Park, with coordinates 40°46′05″N, 73°58′55″WCoordinates: 40°46′05″N, 73°58′55″W. The traffic circle was designed by William P. Eno, a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control, as part of Frederick Law Olmsted's vision for the park, which included a circle at Explorers Gate, its most important Eighth Avenue entrance. Now, as then, Columbus Circle is a major transportation hub. The M5, M7, M10, M20, and M104 buses all stop at Columbus Circle. The circle is a major hub for the subway, connecting the A, C, B, D, and 1 New York City Subway lines at 59th Street-Columbus Circle. The monument at the center, created by Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo, is the point at which distances to and from New York City are officially measured. It was erected as part of New York's 1892 commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage to the Americas. Constructed with funds raised by Il Progresso, an Italian-language newspaper, the monument consists of a marble statue of Columbus atop a 70-foot granite column decorated with bronze reliefs representing Columbus' ships: the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. Its pedestal features an angel holding a globe.
Monday, August 6, 2007
While strolling in
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
New York Times - "Can a musical be simultaneously indefensible and irresistible? Why, yes it can. Witness “Xanadu,” the outlandishly enjoyable stage spoof of the outrageously bad movie from 1980 about a painter and his muse who find love at a roller disco in
Newsday - "The 90-minute show, which kicked off the new season last night at the Helen Hayes Theatre, is a grand little piece of smart dumb fun."
Post - "Xanadont"
Variety - "Fresh off "The Little Dog Laughed," Douglas Carter Beane has taken the unpromising clay of Richard Danus and Marc Rubel's screenplay and molded it not only into an engagingly goofy spoof of the film itself but also a witty takedown of the Broadway creative climate. Sure, the book scenes occasionally stall, but what looked on paper to be one-note sketch fodder turns out to be an unexpectedly sustained and refreshingly unassuming crowd-pleaser."
Daily News - "Kerry Butler, so good in "Hairspray" and less so in "Little Shop of Horrors," is simply out of this world as Kira. She has gorgeous pipes, great comic flair and puts on a fab faux Aussie accent that could make dingoes howl for more."
NY1 - "And while it's awfully light fare for Broadway, considering the amount of laughs you get per dollar spent, it's a comedy bargain."
Associated Press - ""Xanadu," the jaw-droppingly awful 1980 film that sank Olivia Newton-John's movie career yet couldn't kill roller disco, has been turned into a fast, funny little stage musical."
Newark Star-Ledger - "Sure, "Xanadu" makes "Mamma Mia" look like Shakespeare, but there's strange magic in such madness."
Sun - "Most of the cast members — although, sadly, not Mr. Roberts — spend a decent portion of the show whizzing around the tiny stage in roller skates. (At a recent performance, nearly one-third of the tiny cast was on the injured list.) Making this even riskier is the presence of a few dozen audience members sprinkled around the stage, along with musical director Eric Stern and his tiny but potent orchestra, which does a remarkable job replicating E.L.O.'s synth-drenched sound with just four musicians."
Hollywood Reporter - "Unfortunately, such self-consciousness is not likely to increase your enjoyment of this slipshod enterprise, which belongs more in a fringe festival than on Broadway. Despite running a mere 90 minutes, it quickly proves wearisome in its one-note camp attitude."
Globe and Mail - "The Tony Awards are still 11 months away, but already we can declare that the hands-down winner of the Truth in Advertising trophy is the fizzy new musical which opened last night at the Helen Hayes Theatre heralded by this marketing tagline: "Xanadu. On Broadway. Seriously." For in those four words can be found the sum of this exercise in summer camp: its self-conscious if bold confidence, its wispy tongue-in-cheek charm, the unlikely nature of its achievement, and the theatre-going public's generally incredulous response to the concept."
amNewYork video review - "Very good for the summer in a happy mindless way."
New York magazine reader review - "If, like us, you see it while messed up, the production is beyond marvelous - just make sure you're not seated on the stage; you'll miss some nifty visual effects. And resist the urge to stand up and dance, as you'll piss off the folks behind you. My buddy was having such a good time that she kept flying the devil horn salute and I had to hold her arms down a few times."