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Vanessa Williams

POTUS, Or Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive

May 8, 2022

In "POTUS," Selina Fillinger’s first Broadway comedy, all is revealed by its unwieldy subtitle (“Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive”) which leaves little room for development or surprise. The repeated statement “that’s the eternal question” in answer to why none of these women are President may be the real message behind this play. As staged by famed choreographer and director Susan Stroman, POTUS is frenzied rather than funny, a problem in farce. The seven famous actresses are undone by their one-note characters which give them little to play off of or expand on. A pity considering how few Broadway comedies there are these days and the quantity of talent on stage at the Shubert Theatre. [more]

Anyone Can Whistle

March 20, 2022

Although when MasterVoices chose the third of the four Stephen Sondheim/Arthur Laurents collaborations, "Anyone Can Whistle," as part of their 80th season at Carnegie Hall, they had no way of knowing that it would prove to be a memorial to the late Mr. Sondheim rather than a tribute. This rarely revived show, now considered a “cult classic,” a euphemism for a quick flop in 1964 running only nine performances, was ahead of its time, attempting a new form, one that Sondheim has called “the first absurdist musical.” Performed by stars Vanessa Williams, Santino Fontana, Elizabeth Stanley, Douglas Sills, Eddie Cooper, Michael Mulheren, and Joanna Gleason as the narrator, it was beautifully sung under the direction of maestro Ted Sperling, but can’t hide the fact that Laurents’ libretto is extremely scattershot taking on far too many targets for one show. Subtitled “A Musical Fable” in its first publication, the musical is really a cartoon satirizing everything imaginable. The theme is one of individualism versus conformity, a big trope for shows and movies in the turbulent 1960’s, now symbolized by the more famous "King of Hearts" (1966), "Your Own Thing" (1968), "HAIR" (1968) and "Easy Rider" (1969). [more]

SHOWSTOPPERS! SPECTACULAR COSTUMES FROM STAGE & SCREEN

August 31, 2021

Showstoppers! spotlights the incredible and oftentimes under-recognized costume contributions to the entertainment industry, and pulls back the curtain on the hundreds of costuming experts who create, supply and care for them, and infuse much-needed vitality back into the Theatre District. As guests make their way through the exhibit, they will get to see up close the detail and craftsmanship typically only seen far away on stage or screen. Costume makers and experts will be on-site demonstrating their techniques and skills and interacting with guests, and multimedia elements will provide a rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the process. [more]

Hey, Look Me Over! New York City Center Encores! at 25

February 10, 2018

Writer-performer Bob Martin recycles his sweater-clad disaffected “Man in the Chair” character from his 2006 Broadway musical "The Drowsy Chaperone." The conceit is that he’s a disgruntled Encores! subscriber who has been chosen to pick his selections for inclusion. Mr. Martin addresses the audience to offer commentary, often tells inside jokes and interacts with the cast.  Depending on one’s sensibilities, this is either an inspired or an insufferable device. However, it doesn’t mar the actual production. [more]