Archive for the ‘THEATRE’ Tag


After seeing “Big Fish” 3 weeks ago (See my review at tomorrow night I will be going to the launching of the Abdo New River Room Theatre series at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts by the Slow Burn Theatre Company (which put on the dynamic “Big Fish” in the Amaturo theatre within the same complex last month)  with the Broadway musical “Dogfight”. Look for my review soon.

And then on Tuesday it will be the Broadway touring company of “Newsies”

There is NOTHING like going to see LIVE theatre!!!

Posted November 13, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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This year at the age of 82, 64 years after making her debut on Broadway, Chita Rivera will once again be on stage in New York city starring in the lead role in the musical “The Visit”. Between the two shows she did 38 other musicals of which I saw her in 16 of them.

An old cliché that was true took place when she accompanied a friend who was auditioning for a role in “Call Me Madam”, a Ethel Merman show, and she got the role.

Along with Gwen Verdon the two of them are/were the most admired dancers on The Great White Way with both Donna McKechnie and Ann Reiking crediting them with their success. In 1957 she cemented her fame as a musical Broadway star playing Anita in “West Side Story”.  The same role would bring an equal amount of fame to Rita Moreno though the reason given for not casting Chita in the film is/was ridiculous.

In 1986 Rivera was in a car accident in Manhattan that broke her leg in 12 places. Between 18 screws and intense rehabilitation she proved every one wrong when they said she wouldn’t dance again! In 1988 she starred on Broadway in “Kiss Of The Spider Woman” winning another Tony nomination.

Sadly she didn’t get a chance to play the leads on film that she played in the original stage productions of “Chicago” and “Bye Bye Birdie” though she did have a cameo in the former.

Chita Rivera was the first Hispanic, and the first Latino woman, to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) and the Kennedy Center Honors (2002). She has been nominated for 9 Tony awards, winning 2, and in 2013 had the honor of being the Grand Marshall in the Puerto Rican Day Parade.

I briefly met her when she played in “Can Can” at  the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida and she was all a fan could expect.

I am sure, as she always has, Chita Rivera will win accolades, and probably a 10th Tony nomination, when “The Visit” opens on Broadway in May.

And a must watch–her receiving the Kennedy Center honors and those who honored her!

Posted April 6, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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A NIGHT ON THE TOWN!   Leave a comment

Pippin And Marti’s New River Bistro

I am as excited as a kid going to the circus this evening but instead of a circus I am going to the opening night of the touring company of “Pippin” at the Broward Performing Arts Center. Okay the original Broadway production in 1972 was more of a vaudeville while this award winning successful revival takes place, yes, in a circus!

Though the show is based on the real characters of Pippin and his father Charlemagne there is very little accuracy in the musical book by Roger O. Hirson but with the music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the prize winning score of “Wicked”, combined with the book, “Pippin” turns it into a high flying, death defying musical. The revival is referred to as ‘an eye popping jaw dropping extravaganza’ different than anything seen on the musical stage. The story of Pippin searching for fulfillment and the meaning of life is told in breathtaking music, acrobats and dance.

Sam Pins, plays the role of Pippin and the award winning actress Adrienne Barbeau who originated the role of Rizzo in “Grease” and as Carol, Bea Arthur’s daughter in “Maude”, is playing “Berthe” along with many veteran performers.

A musical I haven’t seen before, a circus and, oh yes, we are trying the new restaurant at the Performing Arts Center overlooking the new river called Marti’s which, of course, I will tell you about, tonight should be an exciting one. Keep an eye out for my reviews!

A trailer of the Broadway cast

Sam Pins and touring company montage

Posted March 31, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a one act musical comedy with music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin that opened on Broadway in 2005. It was nominated for 6 Tony Awards winning 2, 3 Drama Desk Awards and won 7 awards when it originally played off-Broadway.

It is a simple story of 6 middle school kids vying to be the champion of the spelling bee, all with different backgrounds and anxieties, 3 adults, Jesus Christ (yes, you read that right) and 3-4 audience members who are called up to compete and many of the cast playing various roles.

There are two versions: one an adult only for people 16 and over which is called Adult Night At The Bee and basically “R” rated.

Would you be able to spell capybara? Acouchi? Titup? Syzygy? Weltanschauung? Palaestra? Do you know what they mean? Can you use them in a sentence?

There are over 20 songs dealing with all kinds of teenage subjects such as sex, sexual, mental and physical abuse, love, competition, being told you are dumb, etc.

I will be seeing it tonight so look for my review.

I Love You song

Posted February 28, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MUSICAL THEATRE

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In 1959 Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and started Hitsville U.S.A. which lead to what the whole world would know as the Motown sound. The hits and careers kept on coming introducing  all of us to Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight,etc., just part of a never ending list.

Tonight I am going to the opening of the First National tour of the Broadway musical “Motown The Musical” at the Broward Performing Arts Center here in Fort Lauderdale. Imagine listening to 60 songs, songs that touched most of our lives, in a show written by the founder Berry Gordy. Whether it is a glimpse of  the 4 Tops, the Jackson 5 or a full out the Commodores, I know many memories of my past will come back unless I just forget all that, sit back relax and just listen to good music because that is what Motown brought us.

Have a favorite tune by one of the many artists who made up the Motown sound? Let me know and I will let you know if it is in the show.

Posted February 24, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE REVIEW

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THE LION ROARS TONIGHT   Leave a comment

Big day/night today–Friday–with a full schedule. Will be going to see “Selma” in the afternoon then a late light lunch bite before we are off to see “The Lion King” at the Broward Performing Arts Center.

This show based on the animated film has been playing on Broadway since 1997 and after more than 6,000 plus performances is still playing to full houses and has been touring all over the world for 16 years now.

“The Lion King” has made history in becoming the top earning title on stage earning way over $6 billion surpassing the production of “Phantom of the Opera”.

The puppetry is staggering as they take up a semi-truck as they move from city to city of which there are 200 puppets showing 25 different animal species.  There are 18 trailers transporting the show and the number of people involved from behind the scenes to the cast to the musicians number over 130!

Between Audra and Seth last night, “Selma” and “The Lion King” today not to mention eating out plus getting ‘normal’ chores like food shopping for the week, picking up my laundry, writing reviews, etc., I have a feeling I may collapse Saturday but, oh, in a great way!

I won’t be on the computer much for 48 hours but I will be catching up over the weekend.

I still don’t know how I worked and had a life–retirement sure is busy!


Posted January 9, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“His girlfriend looks at his tattooed penis and tells him ‘Don’t put words into my mouth.’
“Italian and Jewish mothers are the same only Italian mothers know how to cook.”
“A Hasidic Jews walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. ‘Where did you get him?’ asks a man. ‘Brooklyn, ‘ says the parrot. ‘They’ve got thousands of them.’

Welcome to “Old Jews Tell Jokes” at the Stage Door Theatre in Margate, Florida. You didn’t laugh at the 3 jokes above? Wait! There are hundreds more. Too many for me to have written more than a few as they come at you one after another. Don’t worry if you don’t laugh at one as there will be 4 or 5 more within the next minute. Some will be belly laughs, some will bring a smile to your face and some will make you uncomfortable laughing but you will laugh.

There are one-liners where you expect to hear a drum go “da-boom’ and some a little more involved but there isn’t a Jew, a non-Jew, a mother, father, daughter, son or any family member that won’t get a few laughs along the way.

There are ‘dirty’ jokes minus the foal language, jokes older than anyone in the audience and jokes that have come from old Jewish comics that now belong to everyone,

Along with the old Jews Gail Byer and Michael H. Small there is middle aged Ben Prayz and younger Jews Ashley Brooke and Adam Chisnall ,all who have good comic timing and play off each other with ease. David Nagy accompanies them on the piano. They deliver the old Borscht Belt jokes as if they were being told and heard for the first time. Putting down a husband or a wife has always been part of the routine and off course there has to be a joke about the young Jewish girl and what she won’t do to the old folks and their ailments, mainly dealing with bodily functions. Also enjoy the film clip of Alan King milking a joke.

In a way “Old Jews Telling Jokes” is a history lesson in comedy, and of comics, with many laughs along the way. Sit back, relax and don’t guess at the punchline aloud!

Leaving you with one of the many self-deprecating jokes: “Why don’t Jewish mothers drink?” They don’t want to dull the pain.”

“Old Jews Telling Jokes” runs at the Stage Door Theatre until January 4, 2015. It runs 1 hour and 45 minutes including a 15 minute intermission. For ticket information call the theatre at 954-344-7765

Hope you could read the intermission slide!

Posted November 11, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Yes it is that time again–opening night of a Broadway touring company! It is in Miami at the Arsht Performing Arts Center. I will be there tonight and I am looking forward to this as I love the Rodgers & Hammerstein score! Cinderella

Then next week it is the Broward Stage Door Theatre for the press showing of “Old Jews Telling Jokes”.

And somewhere during the week we have to fit in the Diavolo Dance Company

Then 2 weeks later it is the new touring version of the longest running show on Broadway “Phantom of the Opera” at the Broward Center of the Performing Arts on Wednesday evening November 19. The original touring company opened the Arts Center on February 26, 1991, 23 years ago, when I saw the show and theatre for the first time.



Posted October 28, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Last night 2,700 audience members at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale welcomed one of their own, from near by Davie, Florida, 9 year old Issie Swickle in the title role of the new touring company of ”Annie”. She has the advantage of being directed by the original director Martin Charnin, who also wrote the lyrics, with the music by Charles Strouse,, who has made this a classic musical since it first appeared on Broadway in 1977.

The young actress is on stage most of the time and not only has to sing such iconic songs as “Tomorrow”, “Maybe” but also interacts with 6 ‘orphans’ , 20 adults and Sandy, the dog. While very confident working with the other kids and Sandy, with less than a month in the role she is still tentative with the adults but another month or two on the tour that should change.

Lynn Andrews, as the mean Miss Hannigan, has fun with her role and singing “Little Girls” and brings down the house dancing and singing “Easy Street” with her conniving brother Rooster, played by Garrett Deagon, and his girlfriend Lily played by Lucy Werner.

Gilgamesh Taggett, as Oliver ‘Daddy” Warbucks, is commanding on stage with a strong voice, along with being gruff and tender when needed to be either. Cameron Mitchell Bell as Bert Healy sells “You Are Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile” while Allen Baker gets all his laughs playing President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The ensemble, in various roles, all come through for the show and the orphans played by Angelina Carballo, Adia Dant, LillyBea Ireland, Sydney Shuck, Lilly Mae Stewart and Isabell Wallach dance and sing as if they have been working together for years. Along with MIss Swickle they get the show off to a rousing start with “It’s The Hard Knock Life”.

The scenic design by Beowulf Boritt is imposing and moves in, out and around smoothly. The thirteen piece orchestra got off to a shaky start but recovered quickly.

Walking up the aisle after the curtain calls you could hear “Tomorrow” being sung, whistled and hummed by most of the audience and will be for days to come. It is not a bad philosophy to have in your head in today’s times!

Posted October 9, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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The show opens at the prom of Springfield High in 1958 where, by default, the Marvelous Wonderettes quartet have been chosen to entertain their fellow seniors. We meet Suzy (Lindsey Corey) who is dating her classmate Ritchie, running the lights for the show. We learn that Cindy Lou (Ann Miller Brennan), who is best friends with Betty Jean (Julie Kleiner) has been cheating with the latter’s boyfriend Johnny. The last member of the group is Missy (Abby Perkins) who tells everyone at the prom, after singing “Secret Love”, that her secret love is Mr. Lee, the leader of the group. (Mr. Lee is an audience member picked at random and in this case Nate Sikes steals the show the few minutes he is brought up on stage.)

In the second act we meet the girls, now women, at their ten year union. Suzy is pregnant, married to Ritchie with problems in the marriage. After 10 years of courtship, and pizza, Mr. Lee proposes to Missy. Betty Jean has married Johnny, the guy who use to cheat on her with Cindy Lou, and is still a cheater. Cindy Lou tells about her moving to Hollywood to become an actress, failing, now back in Springfield and in love with Billy Ray Patton, the boy responsible for the Marvelous Wonderettes singing at the prom who had been suspended from school.

All the above is the reason for the girls to sing songs from the 1950s in the first act and the 1960s in the second, approximately 33 songs in all. This is a jukebox musical, written and created by Roger Bean, where the singers make the show and the 4 Marvelous Wonderettes all have their time in the spotlight and make good. Among the songs are “Secret Love”. “Mr. Sandman”, “Teacher’s Pet”, “It’s My Party”, “Respect”, “Leader of the Pack”, “Rescue Me”, “Sincerely” and “Hold Me, Thrill me, Kiss Me”. Of the four ladies Lindsey Corey has the strongest voice and the comedic chops to stand out but at all times they are in harmony.

The direction and choreography by Patrick Fitzwater keeps the movements flowing while the costumes by Rick Pena gives individuality to all the girls.

For an evening of nostalgia, and good singing performances by the quartet, “The Marvelous Wonderettes” offer an enjoyable time in the theatre.

“The Marvelous Wonderettes” will be presented in the Abdo New River Room in the Broward Performing Arts Center complex through November 23. Small plates and beverages are available before the show and during the intermission.

Posted October 8, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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