Robert M Massimi.
I have been writing on theater since 1982. A graduate from Manhattan College B.S. A member of Alpha Sigma Lambda, which recognizes excellence in both English and Science. I have produced 12 shows on and off Broadway. I've seen over700 shows
"Lackawanna Blues" at MTC is a one man show written, directed and starring Rueben Santiago-Hudson. The shows nexus is based on his life and the people that he knew in Lackawanna, New York growing up there. The writer is passionate about this play and he gives it his all. Set in the backdrop of a once industrial building (looked like an old textile plant), Michael Carnahan gives his set a feel of a town that was once vibrant as Lackawanna once was. Santiago-Hudson never really tells us just what happened to his town, if anything. He is also not very clear in what years things happen in his life. He paints broad strokes about Jackie Robinson and the 1973 Supreme Court case on segregation. Other than a few mentions, however, he never really paints the picture of what was happening in America as he went along in this ninety minute intermission less play.
"Caroline, Or Change.
"Caroline, Or Change at Studio 54 has many good things going for it: singers with big voices and wide ranges who make the most of the songs that they are given to sing; Ann Yee's choreography is entertaining for the most part, sans the camp, however, the best part about "Caroline" is the sets and costumes which are both by Fly Davis. A close second is the orchestrations by Rich Bassett and Buryl Red. In these two, the evening was enjoyable in how the music flowed as well as how Fly Davis's interpretation of this musical with its gregarious outfits continuously surprised throughout the musicals two and a half hours. Jack Knowles who did the lighting also made the most in keeping the audience entertained... he was at times circus like, at other times we had a sultry feel to the performance. The lighting was often in toto with the action, from the Jazzy feel of Lake Charles, Louisiana in the year 1963. The entire play takes place in just two months of that year, November- December.
"The Lehman Trilogy"
Ominously the first scene is Lehman Brothers being gutted by the U.S. Treasury and The Fed in 2008. In the very next scene, Henry Lehman arrives at Ellis Island from Rimpar, Germany and sets his new course in America. That is the beginning of the exquisite play, "The Lehman Trilogy" at the Nederlander Theatre that opened October 14th. Without Ben Miles, the original Emanuel Lehman when the show played at the Armory, the show thrives still. In three parts, we are taken for a journey in the Lehman's family history. Henry Lehman being the first to come to America, then Emmanuel and later Mayer. Not without argument, the three plod along selling fabrics and suits in Alabama. Steadfast to their German past and their Jewish roots, the three are able to make it through insightfulness and hard work.
"Chicken & Biscuits"
"Chicken & Biscuits" at The Circle In The Square Theater is not fully ready for primetime. With a cast of seven, five actors are making their Broadway debut; not to mention the director who is a newbie to Broadway as well. The show has some really good things going for it: Michael Urie who commands the stage with "the business" he provides, his Jewish kvetch and his funny demeanor. Also able to fill out his role well is Norm Lewis... funny, stately at times and the voice of reason, he too takes charge in this production. Fitting are the well appointed costumes by Dede Ayite and the lighting is excellent under the glam lights of Adam Honore. The night, however, was surely made enjoyable by sound designer TWI McCullum, his choice of themes at times made this ordinary at best play funny and laughable.
Christopher Cross 40th Anniversary Tour.
Born Christopher Charles Geppert hails from San Antonio, Texas; right out of the gate Cross was a commercial success. In 1979 he won 5 Grammy Awards for his eponymous debut album. Starting off musically, Cross was in a San Antonio based cover band called Flash before signing with Warner Brothers. Although known for his vocals, Christopher Cross was asked to play guitar with Steely Dan. A fun fact is that he once filled in for lead guitarist, Richie Blackmore of Deep Purple when Blackmore was to ill to go on stage in 1970.
Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo
Born in Brooklyn N.Y., Patricia Mae Andzejewski, of Polish and Catholic background moved to Long Island shortly after her birth. At 5 feet 0 Inches, Pat Benatar can belt out songs. As a trained operetta, and at 68 years old, Benatar is still a rock and roll force as she proved tonight at the bucolic Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, New Jersey.
The Many Saints of Newark.
"The Many Saints of Newark" Forgetaboutit ! Let me start off by summing up "Saints" in a few words: Terrible. Awful. Horrible. Horrendous. It's fourteen years since we saw "The Sopranos" go off the air so what better time than now to make a film about The Sopranos? The movie, a prequel, is so confusing that one had to keep asking... what the hell is going on here. I cannot begin to tell you what this movie is about. The movie was billed as how Tony Soprano became Tony Soprano. Unfortunately, the movie never comes close to explaining this. Two problems come right to mind why this movie is a failure: the first is that Michael Gandolfini, the real- life 20- year old son of the late James Gandolfini, as young Tony. Michael never comes close to his father, not by way of charisma nor pathos. The second problem is that David Chase co-wrote this flee bitten dog.
Theater Review... "I Squeezed Really Hard" and Broadway Tony Winners.
It is a shame that "I squeezed Really Hard" at the Wild Project only played for a very limited engagement. Not only is Anthony Misiano's show a real good one, it plays well in this East Village house. In a baron set (one Chair, two if you count the one that holds his water), Misiano moves about the stage like that hyperactive boy he once was. He tells his life story through tongue and cheek, however, his life up until High School wasn't exactly a day at the beach. In his solo performance, the author/actor gives the audience a very detailed description of what it was like to live below the poverty level, to hear gun shots ring out on a regular basis: to be just a little boy and witness a stabbing death. Whether we want to feel for this actor or not, Misiano will have none of it. He continually makes us laugh at just how ridiculous he, or for that matter, any child could live like he did.
Ni Mi Madre.
"Ni Mi Madre' (which has been extended through September 25th) has a lot of good, bad and ugly to it. In one hour we get to know Bete, the mother of writer and solo performer Arturo Luis Soria. In this sixty minutes we get to see the life of a woman who has been through many ups and downs of what life has to offer. She grapples with the secrets that tear her and her son apart, the unbidden memories of her estranged mother and the traditions that keep them apart. The play further explores the intersection of queerness and Latindad; examines to a small degree gender, sexuality. and citizenship. i think the play has more to do with identity: hers and Arturo's as well as past husbands. Although other family members are mentioned, the play lays bare the secrets, memories, fears of raising a family and getting by in her world that is at hand.
"Pass Over" "This One Can Be Passed Up" Robert Massimi. A show like "Pass Over" should be played off off Broadway and not at the August Wilson Theater on Broadway. One of the many problems with this play is that it goes nowhere; it never really challenges us and it surely doesn't move us one way or the other, it more or less floats in the rarified atmosphere. The shows premise is two young men from Chicago living in the hood waiting for their lives to change. The problem with its two characters is that Moses (Jon Michael Hill) and Kitch (Namir Small Wood) do nothing to help themselves. When you add bland direction by Danya Taymour into the mix, the play goes downhill fast. In "Pass Over" Taymour never has the audience feeling any empathy for the two characters, we only see two men who want to get off the block and into the promised land, however, they never discuss any plans nor dreams other than their top ten list as to what they would do if they could.
PNC Concert Series
Robert Massimi. Squeeze are an English rock band that came to prominence during the new wave period of the late 1970's. They continued recording i the 1980's, 1990's and 2010's. While songs like "Cool for Cat's", "Up The Junction" and Labelled with Love" were UK top-ten chart hits, they were not commercially successful in the US. "Hourglass", "Tempted" and "Pulling Mussels" faired far better.