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Max von Essen

The New York Pops: “Find Your Dream: The Songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein”

January 31, 2020

The New York Pops’ latest concert, Find Your Dream, was a glorious tribute to nostalgia. Not only was it an evening of the beloved songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein with selectionsfrom all 11 of their collaborations, it also recreated a performance first presented five years ago by The Pops. The guests artists on the evening of January 24 were British musical theater star Laura Michelle Kelly (Broadway’s "Mary Poppins" and "Finding Neverland") first seen in a flaming red, off the shoulders gown and American musical theater star Max Von Essen (Broadway’s "An American in Paris" and "Anastasia") in a midnight blue jacket. Joining The Pops as usual was Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA who were an integral part of the show with the famous choral numbers. [more]

On The Town … With Chip Deffaa, Nov 2, 2019

November 3, 2019

Chasing Rainbows has an exceptionally appealing cast. This is one of those rare productions where even the smallest roles are vivid. The show itself is not perfect.  There are fixes that need to be made, which I'll address shortly.   But there's a million dollars’ worth of talent on that stage, and some moments that are so wonderfully rewarding, [more]

Yours Unfaithfully

January 28, 2017

One problem is that the play (unlike Noel Coward’s "Design for Living" or Somerset Maugham’s "The Constant Wife" which cover similar territory) is neither witty not clever, and none of the lines are particularly sparkling or original. While the play may delineate liberated sexual behavior, its drawing room comedy format is too conventional and refined. All five performers always seem to be acting as their style is too arch to be truly believable. [more]

An American in Paris

April 19, 2015

The director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon has re-envisioned this icon with a panache that borders on the genius, fulfilling the promise he showed with his extraordinary choreography for the 2002 "Sweet Smell of Success." This time around, from the windswept opening sequence, with its thumbnail sketch of W.W. II history to the breathlessly simple fade-out, it was clear that Wheeldon was in total command of his material, illuminating all of "An American in Paris"’ emotional twists and turns. [more]