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Theater Review: The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking cast

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
Created by Anthony Caporale
New World Stages
New York, NY
February 2017

“To alcohol: the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.” – Homer Simpson

On a recent Saturday evening, my wife and I took in The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking show at New World Stages in midtown Manhattan. Created by Anthony Caporale, who is both the founder of the Broadway Theatre Studio and Director of Beverage Studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, the show is like a college history lecture MIXED with the post-class bar crawl. It combines Caporale’s passions for history, mixology, and all things alcohol into a two hours of hilarious song and dances numbers, ridiculous costume changes, legitimate history, and of course ALCOHOL. As a history teacher by day and avid drinker at night, this felt like a show specially designed for me. And for those thinking, “I don’t know, I can drink without the history,” I assure you, the drinks are delicious, and the show is wildly entertaining, thus making the The Imbible‘s value much higher than your average night at a city bar.

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Meet the ‘Wild Women Of Planet Wongo’ – An Interactive Delight
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Dr. Zaius   |  @   |  
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Wild Women of Planet Wongo Logo

The other night, my wife and I took in one of the most enjoyable evenings of our lives, and spent the night with the Wild Women of Planet Wongo. Described on their website as “an immersive sci-fi comedy,” the show is 90+ minutes of craziness, costumes, and hilarious songs that allows guests to be a part of the performance. Combining the classic sci-fi vibe of the late 50s and early 60s, the intentional cheesiness of Star Trek, and catchiness of hit off-broadway musicals, Wild Women of Planet Wongo is a show like nothing you’ve seen before.

More below.

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Disney In Depth: Reviewing Disney Fantasy’s Musical Productions
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Brett Nachman   |  @   |  
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Disney In Depth Banner

As the Disney Fantasy nears closer to celebrating four years on the open seas, and I recently returned from setting sail on my third voyage on the magnificent vessel, I wanted to place focus on its five main musical productions in the Walt Disney Theatre.

Two of the three featured musicals are exclusive to the Disney Fantasy, two honor the arrival and departure of guests, and the other is appropriately named Believe. Reviewing these five shows required having seen each of them multiple times and evaluating them in comparison to not only one another on the Disney Fantasy, but also those on Disney Cruise Line’s other ships and within the domestic theme parks. Let’s dive right in!

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Theater Review: Louis CK At Madison Square Garden in NYC (1/14/2014)
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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Louis CK Show

Louis CK performed live at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, January 14, 2015, the second of his 4-show run at the famous venue, which was originally scheduled for just one date (January 7th), but due to demand, the comedian added more shows.

Aside from the “laugh until you have no air” hilariousness (get to that in a moment), there are two things about this that make Louis CK stand out. One, he is the first comedian ever to have three sold-out shows in the same tour at the Garden (stay tuned to see if that extends to number 4 — I’m sure it will). And two, he is absolutely dedicated to subverting scalpers and annoying extra ticket fees. For most of his tour, he sold $45 tickets to all shows directly from his website. He also put a 200-mile distance limit for purchasers. For MSG, he was able to get Ticketmaster to agree to not bump up the fees so the prices were either $65, $45, or $25. I paid $45 for the same seats that cost $180 for Queen.

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Theatre Review: Les Miserables
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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Les Miserables Header

Les Miserables
Written by Victor Hugo
Adapted by Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schonberg
Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor
Produced by Cameron Mackintosh
Starring Ramin Larimloo, Will Swenson, Caissie Levy, Nikki James, Samantha Hill, Andy Mientus, Cliff Saunders, and Keala Settle.
Imperial Theatre
The Shubert Organization
Opening Night: March 23, 2014

In Les Miserables, Jean Valjean is released from prison after 19 years for stealing bread for his hungry sister’s child. He cannot shake prisoner “24601” as promised by his lifelong nemesis, Javert. Unable to find work, he falls back into a life of crime, but is saved by the bishop he stole from, who urges him to “use this precious silver, to become an honest man.”

Valjean ends up transforming himself into Mayor Lumiere, who is well-respected by everyone, including Javert, who doesn’t recognize him. Inadvertently causing poor Fantine to lose her job, and forcing her into a life of prostitution until she succumbs to sickness, Valjean realizes he needs to make right by the newly orphaned daughter of Fantine, Cosette, while simultaneously avoiding Javert, who is now after him with renewed force.

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Theatre Review: Rocky
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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Rocky Broadway

Rocky
Written by Sylvester Stallone and Thomas Meehan
Directed by Alex Timbers
Music by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty
Starring Andy Karl, Margo Seibert, Terence Archie, Dakin Matthews, Danny Mastrogiorgio
Winter Garden Theatre
The Shubert Organization
Premiered March 13, 2014

A southpaw underdog wants to make it as a big time fighter, but he just can’t catch a break. He gets kicked out of his locker at the local gym, run by Mickey. He’s just a little too soft for his job as a loan shark’s muscle (won’t break bones). And the girl he’s crushing on won’t give him the time of day. That is, until Apollo Creed unexpectedly needs a new opponent when his original opponent for the world heavyweight title drops out because of an injury.

Ever the businessman, he wants to fight one of Philly’s own, a nobody that gets a shot at the title. He chooses “The Italian Stallion,” Rocky Balboa. Rocky wins over shy pet shop girl Adrian with a little help from her brother Paulie, gains Mickey as a trainer, has a training montage complete with running up those famous steps, and wows everyone in the climactic fight.

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Theatre Review: Of Mice and Men
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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Of Mice and Men Playbill Cover

Of Mice and Men
Written by John Steinbeck
Directed by Anna D. Shapiro
Starring James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Jim Norton, Leighton Meester, Ron Cephas Jones, Jim Parrack, and Joel Marsh Garland.
Longacre Theatre
The Shubert Organization
Previews Begin: March 19, 2014
Opening Night: April 16, 2014

Two friends, George and Lennie, are traveling through California, looking for work at a farm or a ranch. Two friends who are just about as opposite as opposites can be, looking for that work more often than they care to. George is the smart, resourceful friend who takes care of Lennie, because well…Lennie ain’t quite right in the head. He has a hard time remembering stuff. He pets mice, pups, and ladies too hard. He can’t control his own strength sometimes. And George would have such a good life if he didn’t have to take care of Lennie, the “wine, women, and song” life…at least once a month. And George could settle in at a place, without Lennie getting in trouble and getting them run off.

What do you get when you mix Daniel Desario, Thomas-John, Blair Waldorf, Reverend Lowdown, Camel, Hoyt Fortenberry, and O’Neill? The cast of Of Mice and Men – PULLING IT OFF!!!

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Disney In Depth: ‘Newsies’ The Musical On Broadway Review
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Brett Nachman   |  @   |  
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Disney In Depth banner

Ready to be the “King of New York?” Well, for the cast of the Tony-winning musical, Newsies, they have been ruling Broadway for good reason. For anyone visiting the Big Apple, Disney Theatrical Productions’ latest offering represents theater at its best, when you forget you’re watching a performance. You feel like you’re part of the show.

The year, 1899. The place, the center of the industrial world: New York City. The newsboys have been suffering long from low wages. Child labor is as predominant as ever before, with freedom from this tireless toil far from reality. Our protagonist, the slick-talking, lady-killer newspaper delivery boy Jack Kelly, played by the charismatic and cool Jeremy Jordan, longs to escape this harsh society for the “little town out west,” Santa Fe. After the illustrious and infamous publisher Joseph Pulitzer raises the prices of papers for the newsboys, Kelly leads his gang of hard-working newsies to rebel. Strike!

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Theater Review: Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
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Jack Bauerstein83   |  
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Spider-Man: Turn Off The DarkSpider-Man: Turn Off The Dark
Starring Reeve Carney, Jennifer Darmiano, Patrick Page
Score by Bono and The Edge
Foxwoods Theatre
Opening Date: June 14, 2011

Just like in the comics, it seems Spider-Man can’t even catch a break on Broadway. From less than kind reviews to stunt guys getting hurt, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, once a promising musical production, looked like it was going to implode. But, in true Spider-Man fashion, the production dusted itself off and tried again. Now, after a brief hiatus and a rewrite, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark 2.0 begins their preview run once again.

Turn Off The Dark tells the tale of Peter Parker, a high school student bitten by a radioactive spider that gives him super powers. At first, Parker uses his power for personal gain but when tragedy strikes, he learns that with great power must always come great responsibility.

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Theater Review: The Wolves In The Walls
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Duchess of Doom   |  
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The Wolves In The WallsThe Wolves In The Walls
Based on the illustrated storybook by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
Directed by Vicky Featherstone
Starring Helen Mallon, George Drennan, Anita Vettesse, and Neil McNulty
The New Victory Theater — New York, NY

If the wolves come out of the walls, then it’s all over. — Lucy’s family in The Wolves In The Walls storybook

The musical for The Wolves in the Walls is based on a great children’s storybook written by my favorite author Neil Gaiman.

The story is about a young girl named Lucy who hears noises coming from the walls in her house and discovers that there are wolves living inside of them. As most stories like this go, when Lucy tries to tell her family, they don’t believe her. After a while, her family begins hearing the noises in the walls too. They tell her that it must be bats, rats, and mice, because if it IS wolves in the walls, and they come out, then “it’s all over.” Well, it wouldn’t be much of a story if the wolves didn’t eventually come out of the walls, now would it?

When this book came out a few years ago, my aunt and uncle (who took me to this play) gave me an autographed copy of it for my birthday. The author even drew a picture of a wolf in it along with a birthday message, so I was really excited to see the play. On my way to the theater tonight, I couldn’t help but wonder what the play and the theater itself (The New Victory Theater on 42nd St. in Manhattan) was going to be like.

On the bottom floor of the theater, there was a special little room with walls that were decorated with illustrations from the book, items that were mentioned in the book, and other things related to wolves (look below to see the photo I took of one of the walls). Inside the room were kids coloring their own wolf masks. Being a 14-year-old, I thought I was probably a little too old to participate, but I just couldn’t resist. Plus, my little brother (who accompanied me) is a little shy and wouldn’t have colored a mask if I didn’t do it too.

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