CLOSED Feb 15, 2013: “Zelda at the Oasis”

Zelda at the Oasis was a new play by P.H. Lin, directed by Andy Sandberg and starring Edwin Cahill and Gardner Reed. Performances began on November 16th, 2012 with its official opening night on December 4th, 2012 Zelda at the Oasis closed at St Lukes Theatre on February 15, 2013.

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About the play: Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife of legendary American novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, wants nothing more than to be recognized as an artist in her own right. Two things stand in her way: a growing mental instability and the overbearing shadow of her husband. On this magical night, Zelda discovers The Club Oasis, a New York City bar where she has escaped to drink alone…until a unique and unexpected friendship is forged with an aspiring musician who plays piano and tends bar at the Oasis. Vivid and haunting memories are triggered as Zelda transforms the Bar Man into those from her past who have shaped her own self-image. Through this after-hours encounter, they share their dreams, missteps, and insights with one another, hoping to unlock the courage to move forward with their lives.  Visit the website for Zelda at the Oasis for more information!(CLOSED)

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CLOSED July 29, 2012: “Miracle on South Division Street!”

From the producer of the acclaimed Off Broadway musical The Devil’s Music: The Life & Blues of Bessie Smith comes a new comedy a new comedy by Tom Dudzick about family, faith and adjusting to life’s surprises. “Miracle on South Division Street” opened at St Lukes Theatre on May 13, 2012 and closed July 29, 2012.

1337958-MIRACLE-ON-SOUTH-DIVISON-STREET_Aaron-Pepis_lrg.jpg.300x207_q100About the play: “Her neighborhood may be depressed but not Clara Nowak. She and her three grown children tend a shrine built to commemorate the miraculous vision her father had in his barbershop in 1942. Clara has never lost her faith even if her kids have their doubts. That is, not until a deathbed confession reveals a long-hidden family secret, and all hell — and hilarity — breaks loose on South Division Street.” (CLOSED)

“When a nice Catholic boy suggests that his sister add a jar of gefilte fish to the cheese, pepperoni and beer on her shopping list, you know something strange is going on.  And why not?  There’s a very strange family at the center of … the crowd-pleasing Tom Dudzick comedy.” – The New York Times

“Utterly delightful, while delivering a solid message on faith, the lack of it, why we believe what we believe, and how we can – or must – adjust to life’s surprises.”  –Theatermania.com


CLOSED July 1, 2012: “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith”

“The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith” made its Off- Broadway Premiere at St. Lukes Theatre on June 22, 2011 ( previews began on June 7, 2011) and closed on July 1, 2012.

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About the play : “Sexy and racy, Blues singer Bessie Smith was the definition of a Red Hot Mamma and the most successful entertainer of her time. On the eve of her tragic death in 1937, Bessie takes center stage in a Memphis “buffet flat.” Now, among friends, she tells the story of her amazing life, career, her loves and losses. Put your troubles aside, and soak up the blues as Bessie Smith comes to life and sings the songs that made her so unforgettable, St. Louis Blues, Need a Little Sugar in my Bowl and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.” CLOSED

The incandescent Miche Braden plays iconic blues singer Bessie Smith and performs thrilling renditions of 15 songs associated with one of America’s great divas.

“Run, don’t walk, to the current production of “The Devil’s Music: the Life and Blues of Bessie Smith.” The riveting and incandescent Miche Braden is the lead in this new staging about one of the great divas of the 1920s.”  –Newstimes.com [CLOSED]
 

CLOSED April 27, 2012: “Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical”

Danny & Sylvia 132photo by Carol Rosegg
Brian Childers and Kimberly Faye Greenberg

“Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical ” was directed by Pamela Hall, choreographed by Gene Castle and Produced by Edmund Gaynes. Playing to houses at 90% capacity, the press raved about Off-Broadway’s hit musical. The first preview of this long- running hit was on May 6, 2008. It opened officially on May 13, 2008 and closed in  April 27, 2012. (After THREE fabulous years “Danny and Sylvia” has CLOSED)

What the critics said about “DANNY AND SYLVIA: THE DANNY KAYE MUSICAL”

“The popular, versatile comic entertainer Danny Kaye, and his wife, the songwriter Sylvia Fine, are profiled in a delightful off-Broadway musical called “Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical,” now on view at St. Luke’s Theatre.  Childers seems tireless as he sings, dances and leaps about the stage, skillfully recreating Kaye’s clownish personality, complete with flamboyant hand motions, zany physical actions and quick wit. He easily executes the crazy accents and impromptu gibberish, as well as the fast-paced lyrics for which Kaye was famous.

Notable examples are his rendition of the Weill/Gershwin tongue-twister “Tchaikowsky,” in which he rattles off the names of dozens of similar-sounding Russian composers, and his audience-rousing version of “Minnie the Moocher.”

Sylvia is nimbly portrayed by Kimberly Faye Greenberg as loving, yet with a ruthless edge. Greenberg sings beautifully, conveying Fine’s love for the mostly undisciplined Kaye along with her astute, apparently sharklike business aptitude.

Somehow director Pamela Hall keeps it all in check and moving along smoothly.

This musical is an enjoyable look back at Kaye’s unique abilities, and an excellent showcase for the talented Greenberg and Childers.”
–Jennifer Farrar, NEW YORK TIMES/ASSOCIATED PRESS

“Watch those limbs!!! Brian Childers’ physicality is so like Kaye’s it’s a see-it-to-believe-it experience.  Childers can dive into gibberish and do accents like Sid Caesar; he gambols, pivots, yelps, frolics, leaps, squeaks, and giggles. He acts, too. He’s a charmer. Enjoy Childers, whether leading the audience in singing Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” prancing through Fine’s still-fine “Anatole of Paris” or drilling through “Tchaikovsky”.  Kimberly Faye Greenberg not only resembles Fine, she radiates her fearlessness.  Greenberg reveals heart beneath Fine’s heartlessness plus compassion for her comic-savant husband.”

–Leonard Jacobs, BACKSTAGE

“DANNY AND SYLVIA is an entertaining evening.  Fueled by the talents of its two stars, it’s a smoothly paced revue that doesn’t bog itself down with heave does of exposition.  Bob Bain and Robert McElwaine have written a very good score that also includes some of Kaye’s most memorable performances.  Brian Childers portrays Danny Kaye with loving care and exquisite attention to vocal and physical detail.  His impersonation of Kaye is simply uncanny and his spectacular dead-on rendition of “Minnie the Moocher” is a memorable highlight.  Kimberly Faye Greenberg has a strong comedic presence as songwriter Sylvia Fine, Kaye’s creative partner and eventual spouse and is an excellent match for Childers.  Pamela Hall directs the script sweetly and Gene Castle has done a great job bringing Kaye’s choreography to the stage. Fans of Danny Kaye will not be disappointed with this production.  It’s a pleasure to see Brian Childers portray him.”

–Jason S. Grossman, NYTHEATRE.COM

“Childers and Greenberg have good stage chemistry and both belt out the songs with gusto.  Childers is at his best singing Kurt Weill’s and Ira Gershwin’s “Tchaikovsky,” a tongue-twisting litany of 58 Russian composers sung in a breakneck 38 seconds.”

–CURTAIN UP

“The life of Danny Kaye is a whopper of a story.”

–John Simon, BLOOMBERG

“DANNY AND SYLVIA” is a heartfelt tribute to the well-known comedian and the significant contribution of his lesser-known wife.  We get to see some of the brilliance that made Kaye a star of stage, screen and TV. Watching Brian Childers bring Kaye to life, you get the sense his style may have influenced the Monty Python crew and certainly influenced Nathan Lane.”

–Paul Cozby, ABOUT.COM

“Danny Kaye fans will love Brian Childers’ recreation of the ‘Tummler’.”

–Merle Exit, MERLE’S WHIRLS

“Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical is a little jewel. The production is a triumph of casting with Brian Childers as Danny Kaye. Mr. Childers received the 2002 Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical” and the Mary Godwater Award for his performance as Danny Kaye in Danny and Sylvia: A Musical Love Story. Understandably there are more awards attached to his name and we at Arts & Leisure News Service add their name to the accolades for his performance in Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical.”

–Joyce Hauser, ARTS & LEISURE NEWS SERVICE

“Brian Childers flawlessly achieves the reincarnation of Danny Kaye in his high-energy fluency and physical commitment to the role. He not only captured the character in song and dance, but also used the play’s sporadic narrative to engage the audience and add depth to what we already know about the famous showman.

Playing Sylvia Fine, Kaye’s steadfast and loving wife, Kimberly Faye Greenberg shone as the playful yet disciplined backbone to Danny Kaye’s funnyman routines. Fine was also the creator of some of his most renowned material.

By the finale it is clear why the world quickly embraced the tongue-twister master and all-around performer that was Danny Kaye. Danny and Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical is a great evening off-Broadway and will have you singing those fabulous Danny Kaye songs for weeks to come.”

— Alyssa Lettman, Best of Off-Broadway.com ( Danny and Sylvia has CLOSED)