Tuesday, September 22nd 2020   |


Rodgers and Hamerstein’s ‘Carousel’ filled with joy, pathos

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out”)

Few Broadway composers had a bigger impact than Richard Rodgers, who began his career with Jewish lyricist Lorenz Hart, but whose greatest success was with librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. Hammerstein, whose grandfather was a famous Jewish impresario on Broadway, was raised under the Episcopal faith after his father had converted to Christianity. The two famously teamed up for Oklahoma, their initial success...

Small story looms large in ‘The Band’s Visit’

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“)

For the past seven weeks, Broadway history has been made through a spectacular bit of casting that only rarely occurs when the world of celluloid intersects with that of the Great White Way.

Hollywood has frequently contributed to the Broadway scene. Interestingly, over the past two decades, many outstanding Broadway productions have been gleaned from independent British movies with cult-like followings. “Billy...

2 children killed, Broadway actress among 3 injured in Brooklyn accident

(JTA) — Two children were killed by a car that hit them on a pedestrian crossing in Brooklyn, seriously injuring their mothers, including the Tony Award-winning actress Ruthie Ann Miles, and another man.

Miles, whose real name is Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, is in the hospital and her 4-year-old daughter Abigail has died after they were struck by a car that ran a red light while they were crossing the...

Menken-Schwartz’s ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ is finest JPAS work ever

By ALAN SMASON, Theatre Critic, WYES-TV (“Steppin’ Out”)

There is a bittersweet irony with the musical score of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” animated film. It is the first and only coupling of two of the greatest Jewish Broadway composers of recent times in Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Yet, the music and lyrics are largely evocative of the Catholic Church. 

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is considered the last...

Gershwins’ ‘An American in Paris’ is sheer delight

By ALAN SMASON, Theatre Critic, WYES-TV (“Steppin’ Out”)

When ballet stars Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope began their roles as expatriate American artist Jerry Mulligan and native Parisian ballerina Lise Dassin, they had no way of knowing their performances would last for most of three years as they opened first in Paris in 2014, transferred to Broadway in 2015 and moved the production to London’s West End last year, where it...

Berlin’s music sparkles in ‘White Christmas’

By ALAN SMASON, Theatre Critic, WYES-TV (“Steppin’ Out“)

There’s no doubt that this is a troubling time of year to be Jewish. With red and green ribbons festooning the sides of buildings and spectacular light displays at night dazzling the eyes, Jews are never more aware of how much a minority they are then during Yuletide.

One area in which they can take pride is in the knowledge that some...

Timm, Fitzpatrick play Leopold and Loeb in ‘Thrill Me’

By ALAN SMASON, Theatre Critic, WYES-TV (“Steppin’ Out”)

While the Jazz Age produced headlines that proved titillating and provocative, none captured the nation’s attention more than the thrill-seeking murder of an innocent 14-year-old by two Jewish college graduates, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. In the anything-goes period marked by the lawlessness of the bootleggers and rampant laissez-fairism in industry, Leopold and Loeb defined a line where society would dare not...

Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Last 5 Years’ closes here

By ALAN SMASON, WYES-TV Theatre Critic (“Steppin’ Out“)

Composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown has won multiple Tony Awards for his brilliant compositions and, most especially, for his tender ballads. First noted for his 1995 production of Songs for a New World, Brown later received critical acclaim for Parade, which told the story of convicted rapist and murderer Leo Franks, a sensationalized case that resonated in national headlines more than...

Last chance to see ‘Chicago’ Sunday

By ALAN SMASON, Theatre Critic, WYES-TV (“Steppin’ Out”)

There are many reasons why John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Chicago is the longest-running American Broadway show on the Great White Way. First of all, it is a thoroughly satisfying adult comedy with a remarkable book by the late Ebb and the immortal Bob Fosse.

The songs are unquestionably some of the best the composer and lyricist team wrote with classics like...

Ed Asner interview: The star of ‘A Man and His Prostate’ speaks

By ALAN SMASON, Exclusive to the CCJN

A fixture on TV and film screens for six decades, actor Ed Asner will be making a rare stop in New Orleans starring for two nights only in a one-man play “A Man and His Prostate” at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré on October 8 and 9. The play, written by nine-time Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer and director Ed Weinberger...