Tag Archives: New York

Lyric Theatre NYC’s, ON THE TOWN, in preview: The Model Critic Reviews


On The Town


About to open on 42nd St., this newly minted revival of  “On the Town” is pure, shimmering entertainment. Like a fine vintage wine from good stock, this show has color, clarity, and depth. Buy a ticket, sit back. and enjoy–it’s a sure thing. You’ll get a full orchestra, big glossy sets, great singers and dancers, slapstick humor, memorable ballads, fun, era costumes, a huge cast, and a battleship full of red, white and blue energy.

Everyone in America, with the exception of a few Milliennials, has probably heard or seen this familiar show in its entirety somewhere, somehow; or seen the movie “Fancy Free,” or heard the music–at least one song or another: “Lonely Town,” “New York, New York,” “Lucky to Be Me,” or “Some Other Time”–all familiar standards.  If not, here’s a great opportunity.

First done as a ballet, “Fancy Free”, by Jerome Robbins for American Ballet Theatre in 1944, next as a long running Broadway show based on the same idea a few years later, then finally reworked into an MGM movie in 1949, starring Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Ann Miller, this show has a long storied pedigree with many reincarnations here and abroad.

“Buy a ticket, sit back. and enjoy–it’s a sure thing.”

The plot is tissue thin, but beautifully manic: three young sailors on leave in New York City have 24 hours to meet some babes.  They see a poster of Miss Turnstiles in the subway, and one of the crew, Gabey, falls in love with her image–the lovely Miss Ivy Smith. On the poster is a glowing list of some of Ivy’s “accomplishments,” and armed with these slim clues, Gabey, and his two buddies, Chip and Ozzie, decide to track her down. Off in different directions, Gabey gets lucky and finds her at a singing lesson in a Carnegie Hall rehearsal studio.

This show is about song, dance and vaudevillian humor. Leading with the dance, and making this show uber special, is the super charming Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with The New York City Ballet, who impeccably plays the sweet and petite Ivy.  It’s probably safe to say, historically, no one has ever danced this role better. Crisp, exacting, and fluid, Fairchild brings an ease and brilliance to her dances that is stunning–even for the talented cast surrounding her. Being a Balanchine trained dancer, a ballet technique requiring quickness, speed, and strength, the role is perfect for her, as she charms the house. She even gets to deliver a few spoken lines with quality.

The most affective song of the evening was the beautiful ballad “Lonely Town,” delivered by Gabey as he wanders the Battery at dusk, before his fortunes change with Ivy. Gabey, played by Tony Yazbeck, goes for all the passion in this big set piece, and truly captures his isolation as a scrub in the Big Town. His blue lament is underscored as people rush by, moving him to dance an expressive solo on the esplanade, with only the Statue of Liberty in the harbor for company.

The dance, apart from Ms. Fairchild’s welcomed feminine presence, is mainly the men’s work in the show. The choreography is what I’d call “Sailor Jazz” old school look–goofy sailor walks, slides, hitch kicks, big leaps, blazing turns full of speed and athleticism. This however, is not Jerome Robbins’ original choreography, but “in the style of…” that works well. Cylde Alves as Ozzie, romps, especially in the museum, and has tons of personality, while Chip, Jay Armstrong Johnson, the wildly naive one from Peoria, dances with a plasticity and energy that’s truly amazing. In the big ensemble pieces, all three shine.

The singing belongs to both Hildy (Alysssa Umpress), the zophtic cabbie who tempts Chip into her cab for a free “affair,” and takes him for a wild ride around the city,  then up to her apartment, and Claire DeLoone (Elizabeth Stanley), the looney Anthropologist who loves the study of Man, and wants to measure Ozzie for science, and study his primitive ways; likewise, corrals him into her apartment for futher examination. Both gals have big clear, belt voices, that create wide range and high notes–did I hear a high C from Ms Stanley?

The cast was huge, around 30 players, and many played multiple roles. Jackie Hoffman was absolutely hilarious in four roles. She was terrific as Maude P. Dilly, Ivy’s drunk, Jewish music teacher from Europe, who staggeringly says to student Ivy: “I could’ve been big over there if it hadn’t been for Those people.” “Who, says Ivy, the Germans?” “No, says Maude, “the audiences.”  Hoffman also plays Diana Dream at Diamond Eddie’s and sings “I Wish I Was Dead,” and again as Dolores Dolores at the Conga Cabana Club where she again sings “I Wish I Was Dead.” What a fine comedian!

When Gabey finally finds Ivy at Carnegie Hall, and get up the guts to ask her out, she accepts, and agree to meet at Nedicks. However, she is thwarted by Maude, who wants Ivy to go to work that evening instead, to make money for her music classes. We learn Ivy really isn’t the girl in the advertisements but a cooch dancer in Coney Island, so she never shows up to meet Gabey.  Maude meets a disconsolate Gabey instead, and tells him where Ivy works. All rush to take a subway to Coney Island, with only two hours remaining on their leave.

In an imaginary sequence of Coney Island, Gabey and Ivy dance an erotic dance in a boxing ring that dramatically represents the Freudian tensions of their attraction– an evocative, and shall we say, entertaining, dreamlike pas de deux enjoyed by everyone. A Japanese gentleman sitting next to me nodded and said it best, “She, very good dancer.” I nodded back, “Yes, very good.”

There’s much to like in this show, so many talents, so many bright scenes, wonderful music, great sets. There’s a lot of corny humor, abundant clichés, and not such great choreography, but in the end, all hangs together well because of its full body spirit and jazzy exuberance.  Those who know it will love it again, and those who haven’t will get a peek into mid-century Broadway history.  In all adds up to a remarkable experience; a cultural landmark of the American Musical Theatre that is simply, pure joy.

A must see…

buy tickets


 Now playing until March 29, 2015 at

Ford Center for Performing Arts, 214 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10019


For more information visit the website.

Embrace #ThisIsNotALetter An Exhibition by Alex Kelleher



Inspired by the quote “This is not a letter, but my arms around you for a brief moment,” from a letter by author Katherine Mansfield, Alex Kelleher’s first New York exhibition, embrace #ThisIsNotALetter connects technology to art through the artist’s sculptures, paintings, photography, and mixed media works.

On view October 7-12, 2014, at S Artspace Gallery at 345 Broome Street, New York, NY, a Public Reception will be held Thursday, October 9, 6-8pm.


Having spent his life as an internet entrepreneur, Kelleher explains, “My art has always been an escape mechanism, from my career of building internet businesses. Getting away from a computer screen and into the studio represents space to create something of tangible presence. It feels far away from the bits and bytes of internet data, all of which are delivering virtual experiences that we stare at and interact with through bland panes of glass. We send an email instead of making a call, we instant message instead of reaching out physically.” This growing disconnect, where social media is often a solitary experience, is the background to much of Kelleher’s work.

Serving almost as a counterpoint to the concurrent inaugural edition of Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco, embrace #ThisIsNotALetter is meant to provoke thought and reflection about how the internet—while making connections easier—hasn’t necessarily improved them or made them more real. Real human connections are expressed in physical touch—the ultimate and globally natural expression of connection being the embrace.

Kelleher was originally motivated to create art when, as a child, he saw a poster for a cancer-care charity, of a cancer nurse hugging another person—a patient, a relative? That moment of connection, of true human empathy, has stayed with him to this day, inspiring this exhibition. This also underscores the artist’s reasoning as to why proceeds from the embrace#ThisIsNotALetter will go to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital (the #1 favorite charity of Gia On The Move!) —which has pushed the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since it opened in 1962—supporting The Gold Gala for St Jude specifically.


Raised in Africa and Europe, Alex Kelleher (www.alexkelleher.com) graduated Oxford University in Experimental Psychology in 1995—a time when the commercial internet was experiencing its first boom. Alex started his first web company, design agency Vivid Edge, that year—and since then has combined art and science wherever possible in his startups.  Earlier this year he sold his fourth startup (Cognitive Match) to a NY-based company, having moved to New York City almost four years ago.

Kelleher’s art spans sculpture—his true passion for many years now—photography and wall art, tending not to use much color, as he feels that keeping the work black and white allows the viewer to interpret it more directly. The continuity that a limited color palette generates also allows the disparate pieces to live together as a body of work.

Rocky Broadway Is a “Knock-Out”- The Model Critic Reviews

Reviewed by Carlos Stafford The Model Critic
POW!  The famous Rocky body shot is once again delivering its victorious hook–this time the well-known franchise brings its dazzle down from the big screen and onto the great white way.  Don’t worry, all the familiar characters are still there, bigger than life from
R1–Rocky, Adrian, brother Paulie, Mickey the trainer, to the bombastic Apollo Creed.
Losers, has-beens, never-weres, drunks, dreamers, and loan sharks are all melodramatically moved off their spot by The Rock’s big break–a long shot bid to fight a superstar in an exhibition bout, and make $150,000. But it’s not about the money only. Rocky is no Marciano, (48-0), but he bleeds his spirit as a tough, determined Everyman fighter capable of imaging the improbable, impossible dream. Not to win necessarily, but to “keep on standing” against all odds, with pride and dignity. Then Magic, Alchemy, Wonder, and Inspiring Love changes everyone and everything.  Rocky needs a knockout to get a draw, but there’s a bigger story.
The show is two hours plus of nonstop visual and aural fun. Bold and garish, splashes of grit and grime, the story quickly unfolds and hits you in the emotional gut.  For its easy to see we all share a part of these caricatures, of those lying in the gutter while staring up at the stars: a modern-day fairy tale, under the rubric of every dog has its day  Those of us waiting for one break to set things straight, and in Rocky’s case, inspired by the love a woman.
This isn’t La Traviata for sure, but a guy running through the streets of Philly on a cold, 23 degree dark morning, alone, against all odds, with old-school grey cotton hoody and Chuck Taylors, conveys great symbolic determination.  If you don’t feel lifted, you need emotional eye-of-the-tiger, by-pass surgery.
Adrian Aguilar was our Rocky for this evening.  He was splendid in his acting, singing, and sparing routines, and finally, for boxing the simulated 15 championship rounds to the exacting choreography. Wow! He apparently based his character entirely on Sylvester Stallone’s movie and looked, spoke and acted pretty much like the original character–he didn’t create other layers, it wouldn’t have worked. He had to box like a journeyman club fighter, and deliver the intricate brawling fight choreography. He succeeded.
Here, the story builds and builds to the final slugfest, where a real life ring rolls out onto a glittering arena, along with flashing lights, loud music, ring girls, newsmen on monitors, and voila, the audience is transported to a glitzy ringside Vegas-like intensity.
Margo Seibert was the introverted and sensitive Adrian, and startling effective in her quiet, insecure character, as well as with her sweet voice and moving songs, “Raining” and with Rocky in their duet “Happiness.” Her blossoming from an alone and forlorn outcast, to raw seduction with Rocky, was a moving journey.

Terence Archie ( Ragtime) was awesome as Apollo Creed–brash and arrogant, slick, smooth and flashy, and sang well in “Southside Celebrity.”  Archie must have boxed before because he naturally possessed a fluidity that cannot be coached in any style or movement class. He was a very effective and believable slickster.  Danny Mastrogiorgio was good as Paulie, a complex, violent character, and Adrian’s troubled brother; while Mickey the trainer, played by Dakin Matthews, a compromised man who had seen too much of the underbelly of pugilistic life, but also wise enough to sense new opportunity, was notable in his portrayal.
Don’t worry about getting tickets fo this show, this horse is going to run for a long time. Having just opened, I predict this show will be a destination event for all those coming to NYC. (It won’t go on the road, is my best guess, because of the intricate technological staging, as well as expense.) The songs are not over the top, but perfect and moving for the characters, and delivered with great, natural feeling; however, the book, incredible staging, and electric pacing are the star elements that lift this show to greater heights.
The show has the recognizable buzz, part comic book, carnival, and spectacle all aimed at the hoi polloi—but at heart, a simple, winning love story, deep and essential, so that afterwards you feel washed and inspired for having been there, and ready for any challenge.
Now playing at the Winter Garden
Directed by Alex Timbers
Book by Sylvester Stallone and Thomas Meehan
Music by Stephan Flaherty
Lyrics Lynn Ahrens

Booking through until: 30 December 2014


Recommended for ages 10 years and above


Two hours and 40 min, including one 15-min intermission


Wednesdays through Saturdays @ 8pm
Tuesdays @ 7pm
Saturdays @ 2 pm
Sundays at 3pm

Check the website for changes.


Artplug: Cutlog New York Opens May 8-11, 2014

Fragmental Museum LIC


cutlog NY is pleased to announce exhibitors for the cutting edge contemporary art fair’s second edition, taking place May 8-11, 2014 at the historic Clemente building located at 107 Suffolk Street on the Lower East Side. As the sister fair to cutlog Paris and the first French art fair to showcase in NYC during Frieze Week, cutlog NY champions the freshest work on the market by presenting some of the most exciting emerging and independent artists and galleries in the international art world.

cutlog NY 2014 will present over 40 exhibitors and solo artists from 10 countries around the world including Israel, Chile, Malaysia, and the US. The fair welcomes the return of 13 galleries from last year and 27 new exhibitors for 2014. Through a host of engaging performances, fair tours and rigorous programming, cutlog NY will offer visitors something new to explore each day of the fair, appealing to the passionate collector and curious public alike.

Fair partners this year will include ARTE, Big Sky Partners, LES BID, LMCC and Art Pick. Tours of cutlog NY 2014 will be led by Sotheby’s, Gertrude, SoHo House and Christie’s. cutlog NY is pleased to welcome its cultural partners for 2014, including MoMA PS1, The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Contemporaries. Media partners include ARTslanT, Whitewall, Hyperallergic, MODERN PAINTERS, ARTINFO, ART + AUCTION, Art Price, Fast and Quiet Lunch.

L'Inlassable, Paris

2014 Exhibitors Include:

Accola Griefen Gallery – New York, NY
Alan Neider – Hamden, USA
Amstel Gallery – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Art Connections – Tel Aviv, Israel
Artbreak Gallery – New York, NY
ARTspace Switzerland – Zürich, Switzerland
Bleecker Street Arts Club – New York, NY
C24 Gallery – New York, NY
Creative Growth/ARTE – Oakland, CA
Ethan Cohen Fine Arts – New York, NY
Fragmental Museum – NY, USA
Fresh Eggs Gallery – Berlin, Germany
Fuchs Project – Brooklyn, NY
Fuman Art – Selangor, Malaysia
Galerie Les Singuliers – Paris, France
Galerie LWS – Paris, France
Galerie spree – Paris, France
Gallery Molly Krom – New York, NY
International Fine Arts Consortium – New York, NY
Jag Modern – Philadelphia, PA
Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY
Kilowatt Gallery – Sloatsburg, NJ
Lebenson Gallery – Paris, France
Lesley Heller Workspace – New York, NY
L’inlassable galerie – Paris, France
Mane Sakic – Belgrade, Serbia
Monica Buckle Gallery – Greenwich, CT
Pascale Goldenstein – New York, NY
Post Nature Art – New York, NY
RISD – Rhode Island School of Design – Providence, RI
School Gallery – Paris, France
SIGNAL – Brooklyn, NY
SWOON – Brooklyn, NY
Taxiplasm – New York, NY
TEMP Art Space – New York, NY
The Clemente – New York, NY
TURF – London / NY
Wallplay – New York, NY
Whitebox Art Center – New York, NY
Yael Rosenblut Gallery – Santiago, Chile
Yellow Peril Gallery – Providence, RI

cutlog NY Dates and Times:
Wednesday, May 7th | Vernissage 5-10 PM   
Thursday, May 8th – Preview 12-6 PM | Public Opening 6-9 PM
Friday, May 9th | 12-9 PM
Saturday, May 10th | 12-9 PM
Sunday, May 11th | 12-6 PM

Land Gallery Brooklyn.

The Clemente
107 Suffolk Street,
New York NY 10002

Adults $15
Students & Seniors $10
4-day pass $30
Vernissage ticket $50
Tickets available at: artpick.com/cutlog


cutlog new york Contact:
107 Suffolk Street
Room 415
New York, NY 10002
T +1 646 770 1669

Social Media:
Twitter: @cutlog
Facebook: cutlog
Instagram: @cutlogny

For more information, visit cutlog.org

The Model Critic Review: Man and Boy

photo courtesty of Roundabout Theatre

  The Roundabout Theatre in New York opens its 2011-12 season with a sober, well-written play by Terence Rattigan from l961.   The ever reliable Roundabout, has decided to offer a play for our times that starkly makes its point, doesn’t belabor its message, and wraps up neatly, no apologies. With occasional humor and icy reality, we are presented with a Rasputin-like international financial wizard from the 1930’s, and his relationship with his estranged son.
    In a word, you are led to think of these modern day figures from recent history:  Bernie Madoff, Bernie Ebbers, Samuel Israel, Jeffrey Skilling from Enron, Ken Lay, Scott Rothstien, Tom Peters, Alan Stanford, Jerome Kerviel, etc., characters all famous for over consumption, and feeding at the trough of public gullibility .Man and Boy is reputedly based on the life of Ivan Kreuger, an earlier version of a ponzi scheme artist, who killed himself for this same form of gluttony.
    Stage icon, Frank Langella plays Gregor Antonescu, and does another great theatrical turn; he gives  the feeling that the role was created for him because of his obvious physical bearing, wit and sophistication. A few seasons back, before Nixon/Frost, he played Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons; a supremely ethical man in the Court of Henry Vlll, who is led to the gallows for his beliefs.  Here, he plays the polar opposite–an intriguing Romanian-born financier, who as his resume states, saved the post-war French Franc, brought roads to Yugoslavia, and electricity to Hungry. However, like a sophist, he is likely to bend the truth; for his raison d’etre is not in doing good, but at winning at all costs, no matter the method.  In other words, his truth is another man’s slippery slope. For him there are only two kinds of people, those who do and those that don’t. As an actor, Langella certainly does, and is riveting in his theatrical skills and believability; his diction, behavior, and command of the stage even makes his character sympathetic.
    Antonescu has made a fatal mistake. His vast empire is collapsing.  The world has caught on to him–he has a severe “confidence and liquidity” problem; the stakes are enormous and pressure is mounting–his stock has dropped 23%, national financial calamity is eminent. Gregor Antonescu has already survived many set backs in his career, even numerous assignation attempts–can he survive this challenge?  In the face of it all, he remains calm, detached, and even charming.
    In a  well conceived single-set play, we find Boris (Adam Driver), Gregor’s son, living with his girlfriend in a depression-era basement apartment, Greenwich Village, early 1930’s.  A Socialist, Boris hasn’t seen his estranged father in five years. Suddenly, he receives a visit from his father’s assistant, Sven (Michael Siberry);  the media of New York is hounding them for information, and need a safe house for an urgent middle-of-the-night meeting with the president of American Electric, in a last ditch effort to save the faltering merger with Manson Radio. It would be the most important meeting of Antonescu’s life, and he seeks his son’s help.  Shocked to see his father in these circumstances, and remembering wounds from his demeaned past, Boris reluctantly agrees.
    As the meeting unfolds, we see the characters emerge.  Mark Herries ( Zack Grenier)  president of American Electric plays his smallish role with quiet aplomb as the secure and knowing rival to Antonescu’s
pitch.  Antonescu convinces, befuddles, and masterfully digresses in his cool, desperate attempt to reach an agreement, and as he does, he even astonishingly uses his own son as a homosexual lure for the executive he knows to be a closeted “fairy.”
    Let’s put it this way:  Plato, Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, or Mother Teresa wouldn’t ever go to Starbucks with Gregor. But if they did, Plato would say, did you ever consider that happiness does not follow from injustice?
Buddha would silently nod in agreement:  Or that desire is the cause of suffering?  Jesus listening would say, did you ever hear of my idea, Gregor my son, that man cannot live by bread alone?  Yes, I always thought that too says Gandhi, and that oppression of others destroys the soul of man? Finally Mother Teresa hands Gregor a cookie, and says, come give your mother a hug, and remember even the rich are hungry for love.
    But enough of this!  This is exactly what the play doesn’t do–moralize. The direction is crisp and to the point, the actors don’t lay on sentiment or sermonize. Man and Boy is not presented as a morality play, but a play that tries to mirrors life, about choices people make from their own point of view.  Langella and Driver, man and boy, or better, father and son, have an unbridgeable gap separating them.  Antonescu’s life is driven by one passion only: to be recognized, to obey his dictum that says, appearances are all that count; love, as he states, is a commodity he cannot afford. His first wife, mother to Boris, was a Romanian burlesque dancer; his present wife, plucked from the London typing pool, received the title of  Countess for a little money on the side. She, portrayed in broad strokes of cynical humor by Francesca Faridany, appears in a brief scene towards the end, to make sure her interests are secure; base and disloyal, she sees Antonescu as a meal ticket mostly, and desserts him when the pressure mounts. Faridany plays her as a hyperbole of a disloyal wife, that is very entertaining in an unedifying way  Sven, his long time “loyal” assistant, also abandons Gregor, but not without showing some form of humanity in his mostly snaky self interest. Siberry does well here, as we see him transformed into a Svengali-like character.
    As negotiations fall apart, as the tabloids of London report of Antonescu’s indictment for arrest, Antonescu is left alone without support.  Only his son, the person Antonescu has abandoned as a boy, belittled as weak and worthless, comes to his aid with an open hand.  Gregor senses his son’s love and humanity, and becomes his haunting conscious.  As in Wordsworth’s poem, the child becomes father to the man, and in another sense, tries to help his father escape. But this will not do–it is much too late.  There is no room for love.  Alone in his son’s apartment, he examines a earlier photo of the two in a happier time–a lost moment on a beach in Biarritz.  Gregor has always know this day would arrive.  He puts on his hat and coat, and without excuses, slips cold steel into his pocket and disappears into the night.
    It was a sobering affair, with a quick double scotch to make it go down easier.  Audiences should see works like these, as well as frothy ones like Anything Goes, for the full affect of what theatre can offer.