CLOSED- Special Performance “Harlem Rens” – ONE NIGHT ONLY- Feb 12, 2015

CLOSED – St.Lukes Theatre  presents a Special Performance  of “Harlem Rens” – All-Star week, February 12th, 2015
Many Legends of the NBA will be present for this event. Autograph signing before and after the performance.

Inspired by the true story of eight men who overcame adversity to win more than 2,000 games while barnstorming throughout segregated parts of the country in the 1930’s despite never being officially accepted professionally or socially.

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“History comes arrestingly alive in this compelling drama about the greatest basketball team you’ve never heard of!” – Theatre Is Easy

RENS NBA FLYER

Harlem Rens Cast Members:

Layon Gray,Thaddeus Daniels, Melvin Huffnagle, Jeantique Oriol, Ade Otukoya, LamarCheston, Delano Barbosa

Harlem Rens Creative Team

Author:Layon Gray
Director: Layon Gray
Producer: Edmund Gaynes, Layon Gray Enterprises, LLC
Press Agent: David Gersten & Associates

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CLOSED – March 23, 2014 “Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes”

First he wrote the best-selling book. Then came the Oscar® winning movie. Now live on stage – Performed by the man who lived it. – First Preview Date: January 22, 2014 with a limited run.

Opening on February 5th and closes March 23, 2014.
Off- Broadway at St Lukes Theatre 308 W. 46th St, NY 10036.

NY Times Review – November 6, 2014

Correcting the Film Version of a Sensational Story

By Andy Webster

“There is intrinsic power in escape stories; consider films like “Papillon” or “Escape From Alcatraz.” With “Riding theMidnight Express With Billy Hayes,” the writer Billy Hayes tells his own. It’s been presented before: in “Midnight Express,” his 1976 memoir about five years he spent imprisoned in Turkey for trying to smuggle hashish, and in the 1978 movieadaptation. But as he makes clear in this one-man show, the movie omits much of his ordeal, and what it does present has, shall we say, a high degree of historical revisionism.

 

By 1970, Mr. Hayes at 23 had thrice carried hashish to America from Turkey, before that country cracked down on airport security to demonstrate to the Nixon administration its commitment to the war on drugs. Arrested while boarding a plane with two kilograms, Mr. Hayes was convicted and imprisoned. When his sentence was later increased to 30 years, he resolved to free himself.

 

Oliver Stone’s Oscar-winning but overheated, dated and xenophobic script for the movie took liberties. Mr. Hayes never accidentally killed a prison guard, and, unlike his character in the movie, he did have a brief, physically intimate relationship with another inmate. Most important, Mr. Hayes says, he never delivered the blistering anti-Turkish speech in court that is a centerpiece of the film. The movie also completely ignores his transfer to an island prison, and his overnight row in a stolen dinghy across a stormy sea to shore and his trek on land to Greece and freedom. (That passage is a show highlight.)

 

Mr. Hayes — slender, gray-haired and physically fit — is an ingratiating presence, something that was even more apparent in his brief talk with the audience after the performance. Raised in Long Island, he now lives in Los Angeles but retains a mild New York accent. At times, his delivery, as directed by John Gould Rubin, could stand to slow down, to enable the audience to better savor his engrossing tale. But his sincerity — about his drug experience and affection for Turkish culture — is appealing, and his desperate journey to Greece is stirring.”

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Opening on February 5th and closes March 23, 2014. Off- Broadway at St Lukes Theatre 308 W. 46th St, NY 10036.

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For the first time, Billy Hayes recounts his time in a Turkish prison and his brazen, harrowing escape. Witness the true, mesmerizing story that captivated imaginations around the world. Meet Billy, up close and personal. You’ll never forget his cautionary, yet uplifting tale, “Riding The Midnight Express with Billy Hayes” .

“A remarkable, inherently theatrical tale, which Hayes articulates with great charm, humor and energy…Part memoir, part thriller, part philosophical contemplation of freedom…this absorbing story proves Hayes to be a fascinating character and charismatic storyteller.” The Times. Edinburgh Fringe Festival – 2013

Director: John Gould Rubin.

There will be a talk-back immediately following every performance of ” Riding the Midnight Express with Billy Hayes”

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More (7) Past Productions at St. Lukes Theatre from 2006 to 2011

“ANNULLA” 2006 (Closed June 11, 2006)

The New York Premiere of Emily Mann’s Annulla, at St Lukes Theatre, opened on May 14, 2006 and closed June 11, 2006.

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Emily Mann’s play Annulla is about a Jewish woman who passed for Aryan in Nazi Germay. It received its Off-Broadway debut at The Theatre at St. Luke’s on  May 14, 2006 ( first preview May 4) and closed June 11, 2006 . Pamela Hall directed this West End Artists Company production.

About the play: “The play was born when playwright and director Emily Mann set out to record a relative’s personal remembrance of the Holocaust. Instead, she discovered Annulla Allen, a Jewish woman who passed herself off as Aryan during the Nazi regime in Germany, and decided to dramatize her life.

annulla crop 5-15-05According to press materials, Allen was “a Polish Jew married to an Austrian Jew, [who] managed to elude the authorities, and even get her husband released from Dauchau. Decades ahead of her time, she dreamt of starting the first political Women’s Party as early as 1939, and actually wrote her own six-hour play on the subject of her life. Constantly moving as a child she learned seven languages, finally settling in London as a grown woman, which she adored.”

annulla 2 5-14-05Eileen De Felitta was “Annulla” with Neva Small as “The Voice of Emily,” the Interviewer.

SECRETS (2006)

Previews for SECRETS began Jun 25, 2006 at St Lukes Theatre, opened officially, July 13, 2006 and closed July 30, 2006.

About the Play: In Gerald Zipper’s Secrets hidden relationships threaten friendship and love as this evening of wining and dining degenerated into a session of backbiting, snide comments and a contest to see who can be the cruelest to their respective spouses. When all is said, the participants wondered whether it was worth staying together anymore — but then again, can they adjust to a life alone? Directed by Ted Mornel, the six-person cast included Mark Hamlet, Darren Lougee, Lissa Moira, Alyce Mayors, Tom Sminkey and Elena Zazanis.

25 Questions for a Jewish Mother ” (2006-07) Closed March 27, 2007

Emmy-winning actress/comedienne Judy Gold’s critically acclaimed “25 Questions for a Jewish Mother

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Following a sold-out run at Ars Nova Theater the previous spring, “25 Questions…”ransferred Off-Broadway to St. Lukes Theatre, opening on October 12, 2006  and closed on March 27, 2007.  This is a heartfelt and hilarious one-woman show is written by Kate Moira Ryan, with Judy Gold, and directed by Karen Kohlhaas. The show is Gold’s personal journey about becoming a parent, while learning to be a daughter to a nagging Jewish mother of her own. “Judy Gold captures the audience from the moment she opens her mouth. She seamlessly weaves anecdotes from her own life with snippets from interviews conducted with 50 Jewish mothers across the United States. The result is fiercely funny, honest and moving.” — New York Times “The show is riotously funny and ultimately quite moving.” — Hollywood Reporter “Gold’s show is a genuine mitzvah.” — Time Out New York “Gold charms a restive audience with almost mesmeric ability.” — Village Voice.  (closed at St Lukes Theatre on March 27, 2007)

Judy and Me (2008)

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 Judy and Me opened at St. Luke’s Theatre on October 21, 2008 and closed December 14, 2008 .

Peter Mac’s sweetly earnest play, Judy and Me, in which a young gay man learned how to cope with his often harsh life thanks to imagined conversations he has with film icon Judy Garland,

The cast included Christopher Brick , Jean Ann Kump, Elyse Beyer, Christopher McCabe and Basil Meola. 1

 ‘Black Angels Over Tuskegee’ (2010) transferred to Actors Temple Theater June 5, 2010

The Off-Broadway Premiere of “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” began at St. Luke’s Theater on February 15, 2010. “Black Angels Over Tuskegee” began previews at St. Luke’s Theatre Jan. 29, 2010. Written and directed by Layon Gray, the production officially opened Feb. 15, 2010. The Off-Broadway production of Black Angels Over Tuskegee ended its run at St. Luke’s Theatre on May 31, 2010 before transferring to the Actors Temple Theater June 5, 2010, where it continues its Off-Broadway run three years later ( December of 2013).

Alexandra Marlin

From left, Rich Skidmore, Lamman Rucker, Thom Scott II, David Wendell Boykins, Demetrus Grosse, Derek Shaun and Layon Gray in Mr. Gray’s drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, fighter pilots in World War II, at St. Luke’s Theater. Mr. Gray also directs.

An Elite Squadron, Before It Was Airborne

“Every sympathetic character hits one note over and over, but Mr. Gray has the instincts of an entertainer, and the rapport his actors have established is persuasive enough to distract you from the formulaic aspects of the drama. As manipulative, obvious and sentimental as it is, this show is also tough to resist. By the end, when the pilots overcame their obstacles and finally got up into the air to the swelling of music, tears welled up in my eyes right after I rolled them.”

Richard Skipper as Carol Channing in Concert (2010-2011)

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RICHARD SKIPPER AS CAROL CHANNING IN CONCER
Richard Skipper As “Carol Channing” In Concert celebrates the career and persona of the unique theatrical legend. Accompanied by a 3-piece band, Skipper blends Channning’s standards with original material and other familiar songs sung in a spot-on-Channing-on-Broadway perfection. The Off-Broadway musical surveys Channing’s life with many stops along the way for Skippers unique –and riotous– “ad-lib” interactions with the audience. – See more at: http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/st-lukes-theater/richard-skipper-as-carol-channing-in-concert.php#sthash.Agpe6Npu.dpuf
Richard Skipper As “Carol Channing” In Concert celebrates the career and persona of the unique theatrical legend. Accompanied by a 3-piece band, Skipper blends Channning’s standards with original material and other familiar songs sung in a spot-on-Channing-on-Broadway perfection. The Off-Broadway musical surveys Channing’s life with many stops along the way for Skippers unique –and riotous– “ad-lib” interactions with the audience. – See more at: http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/st-lukes-theater/richard-skipper-as-carol-channing-in-concert.php#sthash.Agpe6Npu.dpuf
Richard Skipper As “Carol Channing” In Concert celebrates the career and persona of the unique theatrical legend. Accompanied by a 3-piece band, Skipper blends Channning’s standards with original material and other familiar songs sung in a spot-on-Channing-on-Broadway perfection. The Off-Broadway musical surveys Channing’s life with many stops along the way for Skippers unique –and riotous– “ad-lib” interactions with the audience. – See more at: http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/st-lukes-theater/richard-skipper-as-carol-channing-in-concert.php#sthash.Agpe6Npu.dpuf

Opened December 10, 2010 at St Lukes Theatre and closed on March 22,  2011   Richard Skipper interspersed stories and jokes from Channing’s life — much of it in her own words — with favorite numbers from her career, from “Before the Parade Passes By” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” to lesser known novelty tunes such as Ervin Drake’s “Widow’s Weeds.” A talented three-man combo led by musical director John Fischer provides spirited support.

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RICHARD SKIPPER AS CAROL CHANNING IN CONCERT

Richard Skipper As ‘Carol Channing’ In Concert celebrates the career and persona of the unique theatrical legend. Accompanied by a 3-piece band, Skipper blends Channning’s standards with original material and other familiar songs sung in a spot-on-Channing-on-Broadway perfection.

– See more at: http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/st-lukes-theater/richard-skipper-as-carol-channing-in-concert.php#sthash.Agpe6Npu.dpuf

Surviving Mommie Dearest: A Conversation with Christina Crawford” (2013)

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This Special Celebrity Event starred actress and best-selling author Christina Crawford (Mommie Dearest, Survivor) in “Surviving Momie Dearest: A Conversation with Christina Crawford”. It played from November 20 through November22, 2013, an exciting and rare glimpse into the real life story behind the movie MOMMIE DEAREST.  ( For information on future booking please contact Gaynes Theatrical Booking )

Christina covers 100 years of showbiz history and detailing the turbulent relationship between her and her movie legend mother, Joan Crawford, in off-Broadway’s Surviving Mommie Dearest. Featuring film clips, footage from 1940s home movies and blow-by-blow personal anecdotes, Crawford, whose memoir was the basis for the 1981 film of the same name, recounts the abuse that she endured in her life, discusses her road to recovery and takes questions from the audience in the 90-minute presentation.

The documentary features long forgotten home movies and historical photos of both Joan and Christina Crawford. Throughout her long career, Ms. Crawford has turned the issue of family violence into public awareness. She also offers hope and the healing process through her personal experiences. The documentary was written by Christina Crawford, and directed by Ms. Crawford, and Jacksonville native, Jerry Rosenberg. Portions were filmed at the The Metro Entertainment Complex, in Jacksonville, FL.

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”

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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)

(CLOSED Aug. 20, 2011) Kimberly Faye Greenberg stars in “One Night With Fanny Brice”

“One Night With Fanny Brice” officially opened at St. Luke’s Theatre on April 3, 2011 and played its final performance Off-Broadway on Aug. 20, 2011 [CLOSED]

Kimberly Faye Greenberg starred as the original funny girl, Fanny Brice, in a new musical at St. Lukes Theatre.  Musical numbers include “Bill Bailey”, “I Am Always Chasing Rainbows”, “Second Hand Rose”, “My Man”, and “You Made Me Love You”.

Kimberly was also currently playing Sylvia in Danny & Sylvia: The Danny Kaye Musical The NY Times reviewer wrote “Sylvia is nimbly portrayed by Kimberly Faye Greenberg as loving, yet with a ruthless edge. Greenberg sings beautifully, conveying (Sylvia) Fine’s love for the most undisciplined Kaye along with her astute, apparently shark-like business aptitude.”

One Night with Fanny Brice delivers what it promises… This may be as close as devotees will ever get to (Fanny Brice) … An interesting look back.”
– Sun Gazette Newspapers

One Night with Fanny Brice brings Fanny’s historical contemporaries to life : Flo Ziegfeld, Eddie Cantor, Gypsy Rose Lee, Billy Rose, W.C. Fields, Al Jolson and all the lowlifes associated with Nicky Arnstein” – The Washington (DC) Examiner (CLOSED)

(CLOSED Dec. 11, 2010) “Dietrich & Chevalier: The Musical”

“Dietrich & Chevalier: The Musical” made its Off-Broadway premiere at St. Lukes Theatre on June 5, 2010 with its official opening on June 20, 2010 . Produced by Edmund Gaynes, written by Jerry Mayer, starring Jodie Stevens and Robert Cuccioli with Donald Corren, was directed by Broadway veteran, Pamela Hall with musical staging by Gene Castle. “Dietrich & Chevalier: The Musical” closed on  December 11, 2010.