TwitReviews: Broadway

Father Duffy SquareSaw lots of shows off and on #Broadway in last 6 mos. With Tony Award noms pending I took the time to post my TwitReviews® on each. Below are the tweets, in reverse chronological order

  • TwitReview: ‘Next to Normal‘ Bi-polar Musical? It works! Alice Ripley & show Tony nom bound. Great cast, no dead weight (heh)
  • TwitReview: ‘Hair‘ Must see! Best musical on Broadway Unknown stars shine. Had front row (not for the modest!) Danced onstage during finale
  • TwitReview: ‘Rock of Ages‘ Forget plot, enjoy the performances. Love 80’s tunes, love this show. Jarvis shines, Maroulis not bad.
  • TwitReview: ‘Blithe Spirit‘ Lansbury iconic, up close stage makeup scary. Everett OK. Ebersole good. Not full price worthy TKTS OK
  • TwitReview: ‘All My Sons‘ Best drama this year. Powerful performances Lithgow amazing, Katie Holmes surprisingly good
  • TwitReview: ‘Pal Joey‘ OK in a Roundabout sort of way. ‘Joey’ not strong enough. Should’ve been called “Gal Pals of Joey”
  • TwitReview: ‘Equus‘ Powerful, dated production. Radcliffe fine in all aspects. Griffiths weary. Unsung star: Anna Camp

9/11 Seven Years On…

WTC Tribute Lights

Originally uploaded by brandonj74

Ronald Keith Milstein, 54; Alejandro Castano, 35; John Doe, 59; Jane Doe, 52 (both names not released).

Know them? Probably not and neither do I. These four 9/11 World Trade Center victims’ remains were finally identified just this past April — almost seven years after the attack. I just wanted you to know that even now, more than 40% of the victim’s have yet to have their remains identified, leaving those families with only the WTC site — now a gaping construction pit — as the only place for them to gather to remember those lost on that day.

As I travel around the country, especially away from the big population centers of NY, Boston, D.C. and even L.A., it strikes me that those of us who live in the areas that were attacked are still hurting whereas most of the country has moved on.

And so, as we remember those who died on that day and (for some of us) as we continue to hear the screaming voices buried deep within our souls, let’s renew our resolve as a country to prevent this from happening again.

I originally planned to post this yesterday, on the 7th anniversary, but came to realize that this date still affects me more than I’d care to admit.

P.S. – As we dicsuss the billion$ in overruns in the planning and construction of a 9/11 memorial here in New York City, aren’t the two beams of light reaching towards heaven the ultimate memorial?

All the World’s a Stage (My New York #2)

I don’t think the bard was thinking about New York City when he wrote those words, but if not he should’ve been. Certainly, working in New York City gives me front row seats to see actors and audience mingling together on the streets by day, and theater at night. L.A. can have its movies, New York, where one of my favorite T-Shirts reads, “So you’re an actor… What restaurant?”, is the home of the Great White Way — Broadway, where there’s a light for every broken heart who tried to make it here.

OK, enough of the Jerry Orbach impression. Here’s some things about NY theater in general and some theater festivals in particular.

When it comes to theater, there’s Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway. Now, here’s the skinny — those categories have nothing to do with geography. You can have an Off-Broadway theater on Broadway; a Broadway theater not on Broadway; and so on.

What determines the difference? Say it with me, ladies, “size matters.”

Broadway theaters have 500 or more seats, Off-Broadway 100-499 and Off-Off Broadway under 100. I am lucky enough to have seen many Broadway shows — more on them at another time — but this is the time of year I overdose on Off-Off Broadway shows.  They’re ususally fun, sometimes odd, generally well staged and acted — and cheap!

It’s festival time here in the Big Apple, and so far this year I’ve seen:

Bad Musicals Festival ’08 Jul-Aug Went to three, I liked these two:

  • Stranded — three men stranded on a deserted island find a genie bottle; guy #3’s wish really pisses off Guy 1 and Guy 2. I thought it was amusing.
  • The Plastic Surgeon of Oz — Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Crab Louse (yes, crab louse) seek the talents of the Plastic Surgeon of Oz in order to get into a career in porn (yes, porn). Always funny, this was, at times, LOL hilarious.

Fringe NYC Festival: Aug-Sep The odd, the irreverant, and occasionally the breeding ground for future Broadway shows (“Urinetown’)

  • Becoming Britney – Britney’s last few years as set in Promises-Promises, a rehab center for the marginally talented but Very Beautiful. Saw this last night. Molly Bell is great as the pop tart.
  • Tim Gunn’s Podcast (a reality chamber opera) – Using Tim Gunn’s words from ‘Project Runway’ to describe the behind the scenes battles. Seeing this Sunday.
  • The Deciders – Haven’t seen this yet but I’m betting they don’t have kind words fro the current president.

New York Musical Festival: Sept-Oct Fun, lyrical, and also occasionally the breeding ground for Broadway shows (‘[title of show]’ <– yes, that’s the name) Here’s what I am scheduled to see (with official descriptions plus my notes):

  • The Bubble: A Musical Dot-Comedy The rise and fall of the dotcom decade — in a single day.
  • College:The Musical They sing. They dance. They sometimes go to class. (Or, why wasn’t my college years filled with spontaneous dance and song?)
  • Wood A sexy musical romp that will have you tapping your toes all the way to the public restroom stall!  (Based upon a Mid-summer night’s dream
  • Bedbugs!!! A hell-bent exterminator must save NYC from killer mutant bedbug Hair Metal Rock Gods… of her own creation. (Sci-fi musicals — gotta love ’em)

And the best thing about all of these? Typical ticket price – $15!

So, the next time you think NY Theater is aloof or too expensive, get yourself off — Off-Off Broadway, that is.

My New York: The Proper Chocolate Egg Cream

We all have our own New York. The New York of our youth, or the one we’ve adopted. The one we love or the one we hate. You’re welcome to yours, but my New York is the real New York (note the New York attitude). From time to time I’ll deign to share some of my New York with you.

My New York: The Egg Cream

Also known as the Chocolate Egg Cream, it contains neither egg nor cream (“tawk amongst yerselves”), and is proffered as the quintessential NYC beverage. It is also the one whose simple recipe is most often passed along as gospel — incorrectly.

The ingredients are simple: milk, chocolate syrup (more on that later) and seltzer (ditto). The trick is in the execution.

First up, the ingredients:

  • Milk (whole milk, please, as close to the kind the milk man used to deliver to our doorstep left in those utilitarian metal boxes)
  • Chocolate syrup: You want a real NY Egg Cream? Fox’s U-Bet syrup is what you need. No, it’s not the best on the market, it’s a bit runny and has an inconsistent texture at times, but we’re talkin’ real Lower East Side Egg Creams here — not some fancy white-bread suburban version.
  • Seltzer. Yes, Seltzer. Not Club Soda. Not Perrier or club soda or even Pelligrino =:o Seltzer (preferably in the fountain-head bottle)

The big mistake people make (and others swear by) is in the order of the ingredients. They typically say (yes, even the “experts”): Milk, syrup, seltzer and then stir. No. No, no, no, no! This does not produce an egg cream! It produces a chocolate soda with milk – blech!

Now, the correct method:

Milk (about a 1/2 inch of the glass)

Seltzer, until about an inch from the top of the glass

The carbonation will cause a white creamy head to rise to the top (leave the spoon in the glass!)

Then, carefully, slowly, with precision, pour the Fox’s U-Bet into the glass – pour it just inside the edge of the glass; do not disturb the creamy white head!

Slowly stir the syrup in the milk, causing the bottom section of the drink to be brown, while maintaining the creamy white foamy head on top.

You see, it’s all about the head. It needs to be fluffy and white — reminiscent of meringue created from beaten egg whites (hence the egg reference).

Note: Even Fox’s recipe for an egg cream on its web site is wrong. It emphasizes the chocolate (as we say in French, ‘Quelle surprise’) and not the cream.

If you are ever offered an egg cream and the head is an everything-mixed-together sticky-brown — throw it in the face of the one who committed the blasphemous act of giving it to you.

Tell ’em Ron, from New York city, says “Hi”

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