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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Entries in New York City (27)

Sunday
Feb052017

Adam's Call: Marta Sanders: Follow Me: Epitome of Cabaret

Everyone needs to see Marta Sanders' latest cabaret show Follow Me at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC, co-directed by Mark Nadler & Debra Zalkind, with musical direction by John McMahon! Marta is the epitome of what it means to be a cabaret performer--keeping the audience entertained with her stellar voice and hilarious stories. The evening flew by just like a plane taking off for it's next destination. 

Marta took us around the world on a trip of her life. What a life she has lead! From a young girl in Spain to a grown woman conquering NYC, Marta has seen and lived it all. Marta is a performer and one of NYC's top tour guides. It was wonderful watching them come together in this show. 

Marta Sanders at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Photo Credit: Lou MontesanoHer set list was terrific! She opened with a great medley consisting of "Follow Me" by Lerner/Lowe, seguing into "Gotta Move" by Peter Matz, which slipped into "Gypsy In My Soul" by Clay Boland/Moe Jaffe. The moment Marta sang her first note, there was no other option, but to follow her on this journey. Marta effortlessly commanded our attention with her talent, humor, and booming personality!

I also loved two songs she sang about her husband, Gordon, "Falling In To You" by Jason Robert Brown and "Two For The Road" by Henry Mancini. Both songs illustrated the deep love they have for each other. Marta also performed her signature song "Warsaw" by John Wallowitch. While "Warsaw" is an emotional song, Marta found a way through costume and action, to add some humor to the song. Her funniest song came with "Hunk On The Bus," a song written for Marta by her former collaborator Michael Greer. This was a real fun song about a hunk a woman notices during her travels and the secret desires she has for him. This song had everyone roaring with laugther.

In addition to all the songs, Marta's stories added to the already enjoyable evening! Marta is a great story-teller! She really made me feel like I was there with her in every moment she was talking about. Marta can be touching one moment and cracking a joke the next minute. She kept me on my toes the whole time.

Marta Sanders at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Photo Credit: Lou MontesanoMarta Sanders at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, Photo Credit: Lou MontesanoThe best treat of the night was Marta's encore song "I'm Still Here" by Stephen Sondheim. I feel this song is Marta's anthem. She's still here performing and giving tours because Marta is the best! Her vocal power is unreal, her comedic timing is spot-on, and her patter is entertaining!

With just 3 shows left, February 11, 16, & 25 at 7pm, I highly encourage you to get tickets for Marta Sanders Follow Me at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (407 West 42nd Street) because Marta is one performer you'll want to follow for years to come! Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Marta about Follow Me, click here to read it! 

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Wednesday
Jul132016

Adam's Call: Michael Raver's Fire on Babylon: The Heat is On

Michael Raver is a rising playwright everyone should have their eye on! His new play, Fire on Babylon, which is in the Fresh Fruit Festival, is HOT! In fact, it's scalding with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole play!

Fire on Babylon is about two New Yorkers each locked in personal crisis, while the city is having one of its own: the 2003 blackout. Between Michael's script, the set, the acting, and the direction, Fire on Babylon took me back to August 14, 2003, the day of the Northeast blackout. I was filled with emotions and those feelings lasted the throughout the show. The uncertainty of what was initially happening in the city, the fear, the crowds of people you saw walking the streets, the comradery of strangers, were all perfectly conveyed here.

Michael Raver in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyJeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyAt the onset, I thought, perhaps, the play was going to be a typical gay story of older man/younger man, but little did I know, that feeling was going to be short-lived. It wasn't long until the lights went out and we were in the darkness of the blackout watching little rays of light shine through as secrets are revealed. First one secret, then another, and another, and before you know it, Fire on Babylon is taking you on a road you did not expect to go. As the truth unfolded, so did their hurt, which just seemed to get deeper and deeper throughout the play. But through these revelations, I learned so much about each character and how they got to where they are. Fire on Babylon really displayed the sentiment of how secrets and lies can crush a person's soul, but when the truth is set free, one can rise up and move forward.

Michael's words are rich, powerful, and intriguing. He has a great way to setting the story up and just when you think you might know what's going to happen, he throws a wrench in the mix and takes you in a different direction, only to make another turn you were not expecting, but leads to the end. While the road to the end might be full of twists and turns, it's these uncertainties that kept captivated me. Life is unpredictable and Michael did an excellent job of showing that in Fire on Babylon.

Michael Raver and Jeffrey Hayenga in "Fire on Babylon", Photo Credit: Lloyd MulveyNot only did Michael write the play, but he starred in it too, opposite Jeffrey Hayenga. Michael and Jeffrey had great chemistry together. They played well off of each other and effortlessly made me feel as though they could have been in a real relationship. Paul Mason Barnes' direction was great. I felt he really understood the concept of the play and helped excute it very well. I loved the set. Simple, but super effective. It easily reminded me of the apartment I had to stay in during the blackout as I could not make my way home.

Fire on Babylon is a strong piece that is worth checking out. There are only two performances left of this show in the Frest Fruit Festival: Friday, July 15th at 6pm and Sunday, July 17th at 5pm. Be sure you get there before the lights go out forever on this run of the show! Fire on Babylon plays at The Wild Project in NYC's East Village (195 East 3rd Street, between Avenue A & B). Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Michael Raver about this show, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Saturday
Dec262015

Adam's Call: Mathieu Blue: Merry Christmas To You at The Metropolitan Room: Merry and Bright

Mathieu Blue and Call Me Adam at "Merry Christmas To You" at The Metropolitan Room NYCLast October was the first time I saw Mathieu Blue in concert (click here for that review). It was then he announced he was going to be doing a Christmas show in December. Well, December couldn't come quick enough and now it has gone by too quickly and Mathieu, once again, left me wanting more! His Christmas show at The Metropolitan Room was exactly what a holiday show should be...merry and bright! He sang a mixture of holiday classics, Adele, and a yet-to-be-released original composition. 

Let's start with the classics. Mathieu opened the show hitting all the high notes with "Silent Night." This was a great way to get the show started! His sultry voice captivated me in a way it hadn't before. He had the whole room silent until he finished, when the audience gave a rousing round of applause! Mathieu also sang two of my favorite Mariah Carey songs, "Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)" and "All I Want For Christmas Is You" from her 1994 Merry Christmas album. He did a great job with both these songs. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" was a terrific way to end his show because it's a song everyone knows, loves, and can sing along to. It definitely left me smiling.

Mathieu Blue "Merry Christmas To You" at The Metropolitan Room NYCAnother song, Mathieu performed was Adele's "When We Were Young," which I wouldn't think of when I think of holiday songs, but Mathieu set up this song really well. He talked about how we all get caught up in making sure we get pictures of everything we do instead of just enjoying a moment and quality time with those you love. He suggested that this year we take those pictures in our mind instead of on camera. He then went into "When We Were Young." Now, not everyone can sing an Adele song well, but Mathieu did! 

The highlight of the evening, however, was Mathieu's original, yet-to-be-released holiday song, "My Gift." It's a beautiful song about finding love. I, for one, can't wait to get this song to be released next year! It's going to be an instant classic!

The holiday season should be all about smiles, laughter, and fun. That is exactly what you get when you attend a Mathieu Blue holiday show! His soothing voice, heartfelt and fun songs, really put me in the mood for the holidays! Here's to making memories and music!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Thursday
Sep242015

Adam's Call: Dina Martina: Flat & Lacking: Full of Life

Dina Martina is unlike any performer you've seen! Her shows are hard to describe, but one thing is for sure, when you attend a Dina Martina show, you will laugh and leave with a smile on your face! Dina's dark humor is not for everyone, but if you are open to going places that you wonder if it's okay to laugh, then Dina Martina is the perfect show for you to attend! With a mixture of songs and stories, Dina entertains like no other!

Paul C. Focazio, Dina Martina, and Call Me AdamHer latest show, Flat & Lacking, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre is anything but! It's actually full of life! Dina tells new stories about her showbusiness days from the glamourous lights of Las Vegas to summer nights in Provincetown to the Emerald City itself, her hometown of Seattle. What's great about these stories is that you never know who she is going to talk about. Dina is also big on charity work. I love hearing about all the causes that are near and dear and far from Dina's heart. And when Dina is not talking about her life, she's entertaining the crowd with a well known song that is sometimes rewritten in a way only Dina can write...dark and funny!

Dina Martina, Photo Credit: David BelisleDina is not one to shy away from making fun of herself. She is the first person to be in on the joke and that includes her costumes too. She wears the wildest outfits that only Dina Martina can wear! Whether they accentuate her frontside or backside, no one can match Dina Martina's "fashion" sense. And it's her clothes that add to her humor!

I have been seeing Dina Martina for 10 years now and let me tell you, each show gets funnier and funnier! I could easily see each show twice. Dina has so many hidden gems that one viewing is never enough! So, if you are looking to take things to the next level, check out Dina Martina Flat & Lacking at The Laurie Beechman Theatre in NYC through September 27! (407 West 42nd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenue inside the West Bank Cafe) Click here for tickets!

If you missed my interview with Dina about Flat & Lacking, click here to read it!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Saturday
Apr182015

Adam's Call: JANKA A-20398: I Say See It!

There is a powerful new Off-Broadway show happening in NYC at the June Havoc Theatre entitled JANKA: A-20398 written by playwright Oscar Speace and starring Janice Noga (Oscar's wife). Inspired by a 60-page letter Oscar's mom wrote after she was freed from the Nazi concentration camps, this show recounts Janka's liberation and time spent in the concentration camps.

Oscar didn't know much about his mom's time in the camps as Janka never spoke of it. This was a time in her life she wanted to forget. So, when the show opens, Janka asks the audience if she should tell her son her story and then says that she will first tell us and let us decide. So right from the start, the audience is sucked into this play. Oscar's writing style for this show is very cool in that it really is like sitting in Janka's living room listening to a story as opposed to a written script. While it's Oscar's words we are hearing, Janice Noga, should be commended for her terrific acting and making Janka so accessible to the audience.

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond ReillyJanice's performance was mesmerizing. From the moment she opened the show, Janice, I mean Janka, invited the audience into her life. Going between the present to her time just before going into the concentration camps to her time in the camps to her liberation, Janice easily guided the audience through the time period she was in. I will say I was most moved by Janice's performance when she was taking us through the concentration camps. There was a very vivid transformation in her character and it was quite moving. The horror she suffered, I still don't fully know how she made it through. How did she not speak of it? I guess it was just too painful. I often wonder if I would have what it takes to survive something like the Holocaust? If I made it out alive, would I be able to talk about it? I just don't know. But I am so glad Janka did survive and she did write this letter and that Oscar found it and made it into this show!

Janice Noga as JANKA, Photo Credit: Raymond ReillyJANKA: A-20398 is so important to have on stage as we must NEVER FORGET what happened to the six million Jews who perrished in the Holocaust along with many other minorities the Nazis wanted to annihilate. This is not an easy show to sit through, but it is an important one, especially during this time of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Rememberance Day. 

This show is also important because it's so easy for a Holocaust or something like it to happen again, as we have seen with everything happening in the world. While most people will say I don't want to see a show like this, I say, see it! Challenge yourself and allow yourself to feel all the emotions this show brings up. We must not stop talking about the Holocaust as we must never let this happen again!

JANKA: A-20398 plays at The June Havoc Theatre in NYC (312 West 36th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue) in New York City through May 2. Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!