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Emmy Award-winner Lucie Arnaz, in her much anticipated return to New York, will headline Birdland Theater, the cozy new concert site within New York’s iconic Birdland Jazz Club, headlines her new show, I Got The Job: Songs from My Musical Past, at 7 P.M. July 17, her birthday, through July 21. Ron Abel is music directing.
Lucie calls the show “a celebration of my life onstage” as she explores her theater roots, “looking back at some of the roles I’ve created on stages throughout the world.” The concert offers a behind-the-scenes look at the backstage magic in her amazingly diversified five-decade career with “anecdotes and cherished memories about my personal journey, co-stars, directors, and musical collaborators.” Along the way, she says, she’ll perform treasures from some of Broadway’s greatest shows and what it took to create them.”
Lucie became a beloved household name when she co-starred opposite her mother, legendary comedy icon Lucille Ball, in recurring roles on The Lucy Show, beginning in 1962 at the ripple old age of 11, and six seasons of Here’s Lucy (1968-1974). She also co-starred in the 1991 CBS series Sons & Daughters. One of her most cherished film roles was appearing opposite Neil Diamond and Sir Laurence Olivier in 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer, which in 1927 ushered in movies’ sound era.
Though a popular TV staple, also with her 1985 half-hour series The Lucie Arnaz Show where she portrayed psychologist/advice columnist Dr. Jane Lucas, who takes calls on her radio show, she had a burning love for live theater. She had her first theatrical experience at 14 as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Lucie’s last Broadway appearance was in the 2013 Pippin revival, when she joined the cast in 2014 as “Grandma Berthe, hanging high above the stage doing a trapeze routine.”
Other Broadway appearances include They’re Playing Our Song, Lost in Yonkers, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. She co-starred in the first national tours of Seesaw, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Social Security, My One And Only, and Pippin. She appeared regionally in Vanities and Master Class as well as numerous stock productions. She appeared on the West End in The Witches of Eastwick. For the West Coast production of They’re Playing Our Song, Lucie won the Los Angeles Drama Critic’s Award.
Lucie teaches song performance master classes, and has dipped her hand into directing. Along with brother Desi, she manages Desilu, Too LLC.
On the 1981 Oscars, Lucie opened the show headlining a chorus of22 hoofers in a song and dance "Hurray for Hollywood" tribute. She’s also performed at the White House; and, in a twist of fate, just happened to be visiting the White House when President Obama opened the door for relations with Cuba, the homeland of her father, legendary TV producer as well as comedy icon Desi.
During her 37 years as a New York resident, Lucie was a trustee of the American Theatre Wing, co-presenter of the annual Tony Awards, for 15 years beginning in 1999. As a resident of Palm Springs, she’s lent her name to the annual Lucie Arnaz Awards, which “support, sustain, grow, and inspire quality performing arts experiences” for Riverside and San Bernardino high schoolers.
Lucie and husband actor Larry Luckinbill “manage five children between us (our three and his two).” Tickets for Lucie Arnaz, I Got the Job! Songs from My Musical Past, are $40 and available at the Tickets link at www.birdlandjazz.com
For more information on Lucie Arnaz, visit www.luciearnaz.com
BoundariesDirected by Shana Feste
Starring Christopher Plummer, Christopher Lloyd, Kristen Schaal, Peter Fonda, Lewis MacDougall, Vera Farmiga
Following in the tradition of the great road movies, director Shana Feste’s “Boundaries” tells of a particularly conflicted family trio — dysfunctional mom Laura Jaconi (Vera Farmiga), awkward son Henry (Lewis MacDougall), and estranged father Jack (Christopher Plummer— who embark on trip along the Pacific Coast to take grampa/grandpa to his other daughter Jojo (Kristen Schaal). Told in the same offbeat manner that the late great director Hal Ashby embraced, it offers a sometimes touching, sometimes infuriating, portrayal of family betrayal and redemption.
Feste’s very personal story of family and friends taps into a catalog of quirks. Struggling single mother Laura has an extraordinary love for strays — dogs, cats and men. This 30-something lives with her exceptionally talented 14-year-old son, a fabulous artist who can’t resist making nude drawings of everyone he encounters including his female principal, who expels him from school for such a piece of work. Her pot-dealing dad has just been kicked out of yet another nursing home for turning his apartment into a ganja patch. So she strikes a deal with him, even though he has abandoned throughout her life. She will come to his rescue and drive him to Cali, if he will give her the money needed for Henry’s tuition in a school for special students. But in order to finance her, Jack hijacks his fellow travelers into being his drug mules as the road trip veers off course so he can make stops to sell off his marijuana stash. They visit his art-forging friend (Chris Lloyd) and old Hollywood client (Peter Fonda), and make a side trip to see Henry’s deadbeat dad Leonard (Bobby Cannavale) — who also happens to be a client of Jack.
Laughs and tears alternate throughout it all as they come together as a family that will probably never get fixed — though Henry is likely to discover his true course in life through art and disruption — a confidence he gains acquired by getting to know his grandfather.
Obviously a story like this draws on Feste's own checkered family history, so this indie has a comfortability and ease of narrative that offsets its sometimes uneven pacing and delivery. Thankfully, by being stocked with a stalwart cast such fine actors from 88 year-old Plummer to 16-year-old MacDougall, Feste’s finds ideal surrogates who put voice to her narrative about family compromise and resolution.
Boundaries opens nationally on June 22
The 72nd annual Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will have enough star power to light not only 50th Street and Avenue of the Americas but also all of Times Square. The list of mega talent guests could light the world! The Awards will telecast live Sunday from 8 – 11 P.M. from Radio City Music Hall on CBS, proudly entering its 60th year as Tony’s network.
Waitress creator [and former star; recent Jesus Christ Superstar live telecast] Sara Bareilles and multi-talented pop/crossover singer Josh Groban [Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet] are hosting Broadway’s penultimate, always-glittering event. As in previous years, there will be lots of social media action and surprises. The network begins full Red Carpet arrivals at 5 P.M.
“It’s Broadway’s biggest event,” says Ms. St. Martin, “and, rightly so. It will be a starry, starry night seen in 45 countries (which include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the world-wide Armed Forces TV Network). We welcome Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban to an illustrious roster of Tony hosts.”This has been a season of particular highs with the move to Broadway of A Band’s Visit, blockbusters Frozen and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a season of nine classic and much-acclaimed revivals – probably a record, and the year that Tina Landau’s dream and vision of a different kind of musical came to be – SpongeBob SquarePants, after 10 years of development. And if you want to know where the best-dressed gals are, check out the August Wilson, where you’ll also revel in one of the season’s outstanding comic turns by Mean Girls’ Grey Henson. While welcoming back Lauren Ambrose (My Fair Lady), Glenda Jackson (Three Tall Women), Diana Rigg (My Fair Lady), Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield (Angels in America, Parts One and Two), David Yazbeck and Tony Shalhoub (Band’s Visit), and Denzel Washington (Iceman Cometh), we can also celebrate the return to the New York stage of Tony winner Norbert Leo Butz, Showstopper of the Year for his Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady. We can also feel for the masses who missed one of the most offbeat and well-acted plays of the year, The Children.Remember the old MGM axiom: “More stars than there are in the heavens!” Well, the goal of the 2018 Tony Awards is to top that. There’ll be more stars than there are in the galaxy – and many of them will be singing and dancing!
Bruce Springsteen will make not only a rare TV appearance in appreciation of his Tony honor for Springsteen on Broadway, but also perform. The roster of guests and presenters includes Lifetime Achievement recipients Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber; and Uzo Aduba, Christine Baranski, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Melissa Benoist (Glee), Erich Bergen (Waitress), comedienne Rachel Bloom, Matt Bomer, Rachel Brosnahan (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Tituss Burgess, Claire Danes, Jeff Daniels, Robert De Niro, Brandon Victor Dixon, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson, Billy Joel, Patti LuPone, Tatiana Maslany (TV’s Orphan Black), Katharine McPhee, Matthew Morrison, Carey Mulligan, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O'Hara, Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Bernadette Peters, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington, Ming-Na Wen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Marisa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray).Production numbers by the casts of Tony-nominated shows The Band's Visit, Carousel, Frozen, Mean Girls, My Fair Lady, Once on This Island, SpongeBob SquarePants and SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical. Returning for a performance is 2017 Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen. Once On This Island is set in a tropical village in the aftermath of a storm, and at the Tonys like audiences at Circle in the Square, the Tony-nominated Revival of a Musical will be host 130 volunteers and staff from U.S.-based 501(c)3 non-profit organizations bringing relief to areas impacted by natural disasters: All Hands Volunteers, Americares, and UNIDOS Disaster Relief and Recovery Program. They’ll be onstage on a sandy beach with lagoon, water, goats, and chickens. “Our performance is dedicated to those who give of themselves to help put homes and hearts back together,” says producer Ken Davenport.
To make way for more entertainment, Creative Arts Awards and Special Honors will be distributed in an hour pre-telecast portion that will be seen on NY1 News and www.TonyAwards.com. Highlights will appear during the telecast.Tony telecast veterans Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment return as executive producers of the Awards; with Weiss also directing. At the Broadway League, Tom Schumacher is chair and Charlotte St. Martin is president; at the American Theater Wing, Heather A. Hitchens is president and CEO.In the U.K., Olivier-winning Elaine Paige will host a special program on BBC Radio 2, which will include telecast performances. The Tonys will be seen throughout Canada live and time-delayed. In many countries, the Awards will be seen within a week of the event.For a complete list of the nominations and more info, go to: www.TonyAwards.com
One-night-only gala performance celebrating Alan Jay Lerner’s life and musicMonday, June 4, 2018, 7pm
The Town Hall123 W 43rd Street
When Ciaran O'Reilly and Charlotte Moore founded the Irish Repertory Theatre, they opened in September 1988 with Sean O’Casey’s “The Plough and the Stars.” From that point on, it became a nexus for great play craft and generally superb acting, bringing to the States lots of discoveries from the Emerald Isle and the Irish Diaspora. In its nearly 30 years of putting on more than 200 productions, it has had more than 40,000 audience members annually attend Irish Rep shows.
In appreciation of this heritage and its on-going mission, the company — as directed by Charlotte Moore — will present an unforgettable one-night-only gala performance celebrating benchmark Broadway composer Alan Jay Lerner’s life and music on the centennial anniversary of his birth. Featuring performances by such notables as Jeremy Irons, Melissa Errico, James Barbour, Stephen Bogardus, John Cudia, John Cullum, Donna Kane, Maryann Plunkett, David Staller, Max Von Essen, and more, all will be accompanied by an orchestra and chorus under John Bell’s direction. This will also honor Tina Santi Flaherty for her history of philanthropy and support of Irish Rep. And it takes place on Monday, June 4, 2018, starting at 7pm in The Town Hall (123 W 43rd Street).
Lerner’s most celebrated musicals (written with Frederick Loewe) include “Brigadoon,” “Paint Your Wagon,” “Gigi,” “Camelot,” and “My Fair Lady.” Two-time Tony winner Cullum — an original cast member for Lerner musicals “Camelot” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (originating the role of Dr. Mark Bruckner) — will join in to perform and share stories about the creation of some of Lerner’s most renowned musicals. In addition, Tony-nominated actors Errico and Bogardus will present a special preview of the Rep’s upcoming revival of “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (by Lerner and Burton Lane).
At the heart and soul of the Irish Rep is founders O’Reilly and Moore’s “native understanding” where they offer the company’s engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama. The Theatre is currently the only year-round company in New York City devoted exclusively to bringing Irish and Irish-American works to the stage. It has been recognized through many awards, including 2013’s Outer Critics Circle Special Achievement Award, 2007’s Jujamcyn Theatres Award (a special Drama Desk Award for “Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish drama”) and the Lucille Lortel Award for “Outstanding Body of Work,”
The Irish Rep has celebrated the very best in Irish theater for 28 years, from the masters to a new generation of Irish and Irish-American writers who are transforming the stage. And in 1995, the theater made its permanent home on West 22nd Street in Chelsea on three completely renovated floors of a former warehouse, allowing for both the Francis J. Greenburger Main Stage and a smaller studio space, the W. Scott McLucas Studio.
For Moore, all this started in America’s heartland. “I grew up in a very small Midwestern town in the United States. It was a mining town heavily populated with Sicilians and Irish. Such different aspects! I think I learned to appreciate the beauty of different cultures very early on and never forgot it.
“I only saw movies in my town. No theater. But I wanted to be a movie star — what kid doesn't? And once I got to University there was a great deal of theater and I became involved immediately. I was besotted. After that, there was never anything else I wanted to do.”
As for O’ Reilly, he has roots in another heartland. “I grew up in Virginia Co Cavan, Ireland. It was a small town with a population of 500 people when I was a lad. I learned the value of community spirit. Virginia won the National Tidy Town’s competition two years in a row and I have never forgotten the pride when a group gets together to get something done and then be rewarded.”
But both had discovered a love for the arts and in particular, theater. Added O’ Reilly, “I was discovered in a bar. I was enjoying a pint in a pub across the street from a theater where the actor didn’t show up. Someone in my company asked if I would put down my pint and step into the role of the actor. I did and I never returned to that pint.”
As for Moore, her passion led her to work with the best. “Benchmark moments in my career are hard to define. I have been very lucky to work with the very best in my profession.... And that leads into the question about my most memorable moments. I've done lots of classics and Shakespeare; conquering those tough plays is always memorable. I've also had memorable moments with the glamour pusses: Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were pretty memorable, and I've done four plays directed by Harold Prince.”
To that, Cairan noted, “I have enjoyed every aspect of putting together a production whether it be acting, directing, or just producing. I suppose the benchmark moments that came with that would have been in finding, building and opening an Off-Broadway theatre and then renovating it and opening again 25 years later. There is nothing like having a home of your own.”
This duo has become leading lights within several communities, both among the Irish and beyond, lending them some perspective on it all. “Though imparting advice is always tricky,” Moore demurred, “but I have always try to work with the best. When Ciaran and I met — we were in a play together — we decided to try to do some Irish plays very well, and just started. More than anything, it's important to trust and respect your partner. Right through the tough times and the fights, we've never lost that trust and we've never stopped supporting one another's work.”
As for Ciaran’s key moments, he offers this: “I’ve worked with many great actors –some well known and many who should be. I loved working with Matthew Broderick on two plays recently and all the cast of ‘The Seafarer.’ I loved ‘The Emperor Jones’ and the two emperors over two productions: John Douglas Thompson and Obi Abili. And I love our current cast of Marina Carr’s ‘Woman and Scarecrow.’ But I love working with Charlotte Moore — my favorite director of all."
With that rich sentiment in mind, O’Reilly concluded as to what he would impart on someone as to the lessons learned in not only doing his art as actor/director/creator but also in running an organization such as the Irish Rep, “Keep at it. On your worst days you have to believe that one day the hardship will pass and the sun will shine and all sins will be forgiven.”
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