Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stonewall Sensation Week 6

(Side Note was not able to do a proper spell check the computer I was on would check for French Spelling Mistakes not English... Go Figure so deal with my poor spelling :) )

Here it is week 6 of the singing competition, and the one thing that strikes me is the tenacity of these singers. Each week they arrive to a semi full bar, sheet music in hand and wait with baited breath to put their souls on display, ready to be judged.

This week our Top 3 are:

Tied with 33 votes each Sarah Cummings and Jeff Jones

With 32 Votes Sara Straw came in second.

Our Bottom 2 this week:

Bradley Zellars and Lovlee Carroll

We bid a sad farewell to Lovlee Carroll who as here final number gave us a greatfelt and well sung version of "It won't be long now" from the Musical In The Heights.

Also saying good by to us is Darius Harper.

So here are the remaining contestants:

Alex Amarosa

Sarah Cummings

Creighton Fraker

Jeff Jones

Sara Straw

Bradley Zellars

Our "Distinguished" Judges for the evening included:

Miss Fire Island 1800 Ariel Sinclair

Drag Queen to the Stars Jason Cosmo

Nightlife Icon Kenny Holcomb

and some dude named John Forsyln?

As usual our host for the evening is Gad About Town and Cabaret Host Icon Brandon Cutrell

I have yet to really mention the amazing support staff that help make our evening at Stonewall Sensation a great time.

First up giving the singers thier voice and lighting CT at the DJ booth, this guy is amazing. As Brandon let us all know CT is dealing with sound and lighting equippment that has been purschased at a corner Bodega in Crown Heights, and kept together with nail glue and glitter, so a great big thank you to CT for making it all work.

Getting us drunk behind the bar, we have the ever sweet and johnny on the spot with your drink, Lawerence, and his side kick, our token Straight boy Mikey.

Then we come to our songstress Kat Sherell on the piano. This amazing pianaist and muse to us all, brings out the best in all the singers. This talented and wonderfully genuine person also has an extremly funny and at times touching blog in which she is attempting to learn a new song everyday. So check out A Year of Standards at

Each remainging contestant from now on has to perform two songs each week. This week our little monkey's had to perform one song of their own choice, and one Conurty Western Song on a Karoke Track.


Highs and Lows

Sara Cummings- Halo, Beyonce

Sara has a strong voice and technically sang the song well but sounded like Christina Agulaire, meets Rhianna, give the song your own voice is what i would sy=uggest to her.

Jeff Jones- Going to Carolina, James Taylor.

One of my favorite songs, but this version I felt like he was holding back and and not giving us that sense of relaxed excitment.

Sarah Straw- I Can't Make You Love Me, Bonnie Raitt

This is such a great song that really can't reach in a grab your heart out and stomp on it. And what I felt was lacking from Sara's performance was her lack of quite desperation that this song requires. It was still heart felt but I just needed a little bit more.

Alex Amarosa- Johnny One Note, Babes in arms

It was great to see a sinnger not have to rely on a Mic to make himself heard and Alex made himself heard. a strong powerful voice singing a great fun song like this. He engaged the audience and made the song his.

Bradley Zellars- My Man, Funny Girl

It was ambitous of this young man with the delicate voice to try and take on this iconic song, and unfortunaetly he fell flat in a number of places. I think that Bradley needs a few more singing lessons that would help cultivate the sound that he wanted to aim for. I will say he stuck with it to the end and finished what he started.

Creighton Fraker- An Orginal song by Creighton Fraker

Ok here's the deal, I do not like this young man's voice. I find it annoying and nasaly.... there I said it! But I want to stress that this young man is talented and can write a great song and arranged it beautifully. And I wish all the best as he continues along his choosen career path and can't wait to see who will sing his songs.


Highs and Lows

Sara Cummings- Sang A carrie Underwood Song

She can belt a song when needed but the beginning of this song felt lost and rushed.

Jeff Jones- Amarillo Sky, Jason Aldean

Jeff fell into place with this song and I really could his comfort zone with this performance. He cas excellent Volume control and was able to make me feel the songs emotions.

Alex Amarosa- Forever Amen, Randy Travis

This was a great song choice for Alex and by engaging the audience he made the song his, told a story and gave us a great performance.

Bradley Zellars-Martina McBride, This Ones for the Girl

This was not his best performance.

Creighton Fraker-a song from the Old crow Medicine Show

Going back back what I said earlier, I am not a fan of his voice, but this song and performance was really entertaining and fun.

Judges Pick of the week

Ariel- Alex

Kenny- Crieghton

Cosmo- Crieghton

John- Sara Cummings

Next week rock Songs

1 Song with Kat that she chooses

1 Song hard rock i.e. Blondie, Rolling Stones, Ac/Dc, Kiss, Journey etc.

Stonewall Sensation Upstairs Wednesday Night 10:00pm

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stonewall Sensation Week 5

Well after a short break I am bring you the last two Stonewall Sensation reviews.

Week 4
I missed unfortunately

Week 5
Alex Amaraosa
Lovlee Caroll
Sarah Cummings
Creighton Fraker
Darius Harper
Jeff Jones
Travis Morin
Sara Straw
Bradley Zellars

We had a drop out this week and sadly Travis Morin will no longer be in the compitition.

Poppi Kramer
Adam Feldman
Jose Candalria
Ariel Sinclair
Mike and Lawrence at the Bar and the Lovely Kat Sherell on the 88's

Lovlee Caroll still brings it every week even though she still needs to project more when she is singing softly.
Jeff Jones still has a classic Broadway leading man sound to his voice but still would like to see more personality.
Sarah Straw sand Superstar by the Carpenters what was interesting was that she made the song her own and showed some vulnerability.

This week we had some fun extra entertainment Ariel Sinclair gave us a Halloween inspired Patsy Cline number and the Cast of Blood a new Musical entertained the hell out us with their number there will be no Virgins after tonight.

Next Week the remaining contestants will have to sing two songs one they choose and the other a karaoke Country Track.

See you all at he Stonewall 10pm Upstairs No Cover

Friday, October 15, 2010

Time Stands Still

Time Stands Still

Court Theater

Monday, October 4, 2010

Reviewed By Carlos

Attended show with Chuck McTague

After a windy rainy day of helping a friend move, it was a nice treat to get a couple of unused tickets to see a show. It was with breakneck speed that Chuck and I made our way from 134th Street and Riverside Drive back to his APT in Hell's Kitchen, then to the theater, with 5 min to spare till curtain. I was not familiar with this show but I did know that it went on a summer hiatus and that the role of Mandy Bloom was played originally by Alicia Silverstone. I was excited to see Laura Linney in a Broadway Show finally, after missing her performance in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

After a summer rest, Laura Linney resumes her role as Sarah Goodwin, Brian D'Arcy James as James Dodd, Eric Bogosian as Richard Ehrlich and Christina Ricci as Mandy Bloom. With the change out of Ms. Sliverstone for Ms. Ricci , the production seem to have missed no time at all.

The plot is simple yet elegant, "James and Sarah, a journalist and a photographer, have been together for nine years and share a passion for documenting the realities of war. But when injuries force them to return home to New York, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life". Ok that's the easy way to explain the plot of this moving play, but a little more to the story is this:
James having already been stateside heads to Germany to bring Sarah home after a roadside bomb takes the life of her guide and translator, the bomb also has an enormous effect on her psyche as well. As the couple try and begin to pull the pieces together and regain a sense of normality they are descended upon by their friend and editor Richard Ehrlich played by the multi talented Eric Bogosian, and his new girlfriend/fiance Mandy Bloom played by the pixie like Christina Ricci. Mandy a dewy eyed event planner has a vague idea of what kind of work Sarah and James do, but can't seem to grasp the real horrors of war and the world. In a very thought provoking exchange of words, Mandy is looking at pictures that Sarah had been taking prior to the bomb going off and sees a picture of a little boy clearly wounded and or possibly dead, Mandy wondered why Sarah didn't put the camera down and help the boy, she is visibly shaken and felt that Sarah was cold and heartless. Sarah states that she takes the pictures she doesn't stage them, it is real life you can't fix it or make it better. Another stirring moment comes mid way through the show and once again Sarah has to defend the realities of war and that there is nothing one can really do about the injustice in the world, other than showing the world the injustices through her pictures.
By the end of the first act James finally corners Sarah and asks her to marry him, whether she really means it or not she says yes and the two decide to stay in the city and have a more normal life. But as the audience soon begins to realize this type of life is not for Sarah she needs the rush of being out in the field and James is ready to begin a family and thus begins the disintegration of their relationship. In a finally bitter sweet moment Richard and Mandy married now and just having a baby come to say their goodbyes to Sarah as she packs and heads off back to Afghanistan. James and Sarah finally come to terms with themselves and each others.
One of the reasons I love and have passion for theater, is that when you have a great script and a cast of actors that are truly talented any story or premise is possible. My hats off to this superb cast and thank you for a great night at the theater. One little note would be for a first time out on the Great White Way, Christina Ricci did a decent job, I did feel like she was holding back a little bit, and that there was something she was trying to do with character but I couldn't figure it out. I would have liked to have seen Alicia Silverstone I am curious as to how she approached Mandy Bloom.
So Time Stands Still, Versatile in a serious grad school hottie Williamsberg douchebag sort of way.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stonewall Sensation Week 3

Week 3 of Stonewall Sensation has us on the edge of our bar stools as we see who will be eliminated and who will shine.

Alex Amarosa
Sashe Annette
Lovlee Carroll
Sarah Cummings
Creighton Fraker
Darius Harper
Jeff Jones
Travis Morin
Sarah Straw
Teague-N Thomas
Bradley Zellars

Top 3
With 36 Votes Travis Morin
With 35 Votes Bradley Zellars
With 24 Votes Sarah Straw

Bottom 2
Sashe Annette
Teague-n Thomas

This week we say good bye to Teague- N Thomas

Our Judges this week are
Poppi Kramer
Adam Feldman
and our Guest Judges
Emily McNamara
Ben Cameron
Mark Robinson (Writer and Director of Oklahomo at the NYMF)

Hosted by the Ever Popular Brandon Cutrell
On Piano our lovely Kat Sherelle
DJ CT on Sound
and the Boys behind the Bar
Lawerence and Mike

This week Theme: Broadway Songs of your own Gender

Performances of Note this week go to Bradley Zellars gave us a stirring rendition of I am what I am from La Cage aux folle. This performance came a few days after a hate crime that was committed on a member of our gay community, at of all places our home the Stonewall. This also on the heels of various other anti-gay violence that have happened in our wonderful city. Bradley was able to impart the pride in ourselves and strong stance that we all feel in the face of such hatred.
Lovelee Carroll gave us a the Wizard and I from Wicked and sang the song the well, but needs to work her voice control and to able to project when singing soft. Sing out Louise that's all I have to say.
Alex Amarosa gave us a great classic Broadway song So in Love from Kiss Me Kate, the trouble with singing such a staple is to be able to make a such an iconic song your own. We all know how how Howard Keel, Robert Goulet, and Brian Stokes Mitchell sang the song, so try and de Cole Porter it if possible.
Travis Morin I felt gave us the performance of the night sang Things Move to Fast from the Last Five Years. This song was perfect for his vocal range and he rocked it. His musicality and and vocalization had the audience on their feet.
Finally I have to give a shout out to Sarah Straw, being sick and not whining about it she turned out Someday from the Wedding Singer, she was a bit strained but still was able give a great performance and pushed through it. That is he sign of a true performer. Great Job Sarah.

There were a few other notable bits to the night.
Best Judges Quote goes to Emily McNamara "Your teeth look like a perfect white row of urinals that make me want to piss in." Said to Bradley Zellars as he flashed his gleaming white smile to us.
Most Bizarre performance goes to Sashe Annette who after a few or more that a few drinks tried to sing the Winner Takes It All and well it didn't work out so well. Thanks for trying sister and remember drink soda water until you sing then get blotto.

Ok Finally the Judges Picks
Poppi Kramer: Sarah Straw
Adam Feldman: Sarah Straw
Emily McNamara: Travis Morin
Ben Cameron: Travis Morin
Mark Robinson: Sarah Straw and Travis Morin

All in all my pick for this week would be Travis Morin and Sarah Straw.

Can't wait for week 4

Just a reminder Stonewall Sensation is Wednesday Night 10pm at The Stonewall INN in the west village.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Revisitied

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bernard Jacobs Theater 7:00pm

Pre Drinks and nibbles at Bamboo 52

Reviewed By Carlos
Went With Hector Ramos of the Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel

I was extremely excited to get a text message from a dear friend earlier in the day to attend a Concierge event in which drinks and nibbles would be provided by Bamboo 52 and Philip Marie. This alone would make the trip from the upper east side to times square worth the Metrocard Swipe. How excited was I to find out that we would also be attending Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. With it's new home at the Bernard Jacobs Theater, and posters around town proclaiming that "History got all sexypants." I found myself intrigued to see what the highbrow crowd of the Great White Way would make of this unconventional history lesson?

I had the pleasure to see this originally at the Public theater with my Swish of Gays, (See original review below) I did have some slight hesitation to see it move to a large Broadway house and didn't know how it would play out so along with my friend we settled into our seats strapped ourselves down for a crazy 90 min ride.

The theater was decked out in a swirl of colored lights, gilded portraits, and heavy drapery, it looked like someone from Antiques Roadshow dropped a tab of acid and said can I decorate the house and stage. There were very few if any noticeable changes from the original Public Theatre production, with one exception Kristine Nielsen took over as the Storyteller and brought to the role a comic timing that was on par with the original actress. With the great Emo rock style score, comical lyrics and hysterical book BBAJ, still brought to the stage a humor, and insight into our 7th President.

What I found interesting was not the production itself but the reaction of the audience as I was leaving the theater. This show, as I had figured, would illicit a reaction of either Love or Hate.

I was not disappointed, I heard four different couples discussing the show, one said it was brilliant and they a had a great time. The other three couples were less forthcoming with the praises, I heard "Thank God that shit show is over." "Oh my God I couldn't to get out of there fast enough!!!!" and my favorite "If there was an Intermission I would have gone over to A Little Night Music and try to crash their Second Act." I decided to engage one of these couples and asked what about the show they didn't like, they said it was insipid and arrogant and just plain dumb. I countered with the fact that it was tongue and cheek and it really didn't take itself seriously, just like Xanadu, but they said that Xanadu was good and this was crap, I beg to differ.

Now contrary to popular belief I am not the Gene Shalit of my group of friends, I don't like everything I see. Case in point A Tale of Two Cities the Musical, that show required a three hour therapy session afterwards and by therapy I mean the bar on 52nd Street. I am one who is willing to give most theater a fair viewing and will be objective in what is presented to me. A question posed to me by our Friend and absent reviewer Rhett was "Now that you saw BBAJ on Broadway should it have moved uptown or should it have stayed Off Broadway?" My answer was, I think it should have moved to an permanent smaller Off Broadway house for a nice long open ended run. BBAJ would be a great addition to the New World Stages family and I am afraid that the show will not get the rave reviews to justify a good healthy run on Broadway and will close sooner than later, but we will just have to wait and see. Go and see it before it closes don't take it to seriously and enjoy yourself.

OK here it is my final review for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a Top that just shot his load a little to quick, pulled up his pants and was out the door.

Tigers Be Still

Friday October 1, 2010

Tigers Be Still

Roundabout Theater Underground

So for once I was one who was late meeting up with Rhett at The Ritz, our pre-theater rally point for this evening. With our drinks in hand and excited about seeing a show we both never heard of, it looked like we were in for a good evening.

We made our way down 46th Street towards the Laura Pell Theater, more specifically we were heading to the Underground Black Box theater. Which was created by the Roundabout to cultivate new work by emerging writers and directors by giving them the opportunity to debut their plays and musicals as full-scale productions.

So tonight's show Tigers Be Still by Kim Rosenstock and Directed Sam by Gold, tells the story of two sisters Sherry played by Halley Feiffer and Grace played by Natasha Lyonne. The two sisters and their unseen mother are in the throws of depression. Sherry has finished her degree in Art Therapy and can't find a job, Grace's fiance has left her for his podiatrist, and the girls mother has closed herself off from the world after gaining a lot of weight. The plays opens up with Sherry greeting the audience and explaining that she has just obtained a job and gives us her and sisters back story. The job that Sherry gets is at the local high school and is that of an Art teacher, she also takes on the Principal of the high school's Son Zack, as her first patient.

After many funny and clever lines, a drunken banter between Sherry and her sister grace, we see that these fragile and vulnerable women have to pull them selves together, and get on with living. Trying to help Zack with his problems of anger management and general teenage angst. Sherry is stumbling and a bit of touch with her client. She continues to push and eventually makes some headway with the young man. A touching scene in the second half of the play in which Zack and Sherry are sitting in his mothers shoe closet, reminds us of the mortality and unpredictability that makes up our time here on earth.

Ms. Feiffer has a sense of raw childlike innocence and her earnest approach to such a dowdy character is refreshing. With a great comic timing that made her steal scenes in the films like the Slums of Beverly Hills and American Pie, Natasha Lyonne brings to this production a brash, self-loathing, and irrational woman who was in love and was hurt beyond belief. John Magaro as Zack is the typical teenage boy who hates the whole world and no one gets him, plays his part well and as the show progresses I become more and more enamoured by him.

All in all this production is a reason why I love Theater especially, new and fresh works such as this. The simple, and real truths that Ms. Rosenstock shows us are so close to home that everyone can see a bit of themselves in one of the characters, and this to me is a sign of good theater.

So Tigers Be Still I give it a TOP.

Tigers Be Still
By Kim Rosenstock
Friday October 1st, 7pm.

One of my favorite things about the theater is when I get to see something new that I know little or nothing about. Could it be the next RENT?...or the next "Glory Days"? (G-d Forbid! there be some minor celebrity who's using this as an opportunity to really hone their skills?...or maybe an up and coming no-name actor that will really make a mark with this performance?
Well I got exactly that kind of thrill when I saw "Tigers Be Still" at the Roundabout Underground's Black Box Theater. My partner in crime,Carlos, and I had our pre-theater cocktail(s) at The Ritz. I really like that place when its not too crowded, but that's rare (good for them!). We both admitted that other than hearing that it co-starred Natasha Lyonne (of "Slums of Beverly Hills","American Pie", and "But I'm A Cheerleader" fame), we really didn't know ANYTHING about "Tigers...".

It's actually a simple 4 person play about Sherry (the brilliantly specific Halley Feiffer),a lovable loser,with the perfect Minnesota accent (gosh,you betcha!) who moves back in with her divorced mom and older sister (Lyonne) to get her post-college life started. Her first job is as an art teacher, slash art therapist at a school, where the principal (Reed Birney) is a recently widowed Dad,who used to date (and is still in love with) Sherry's Mom.
This is one of those shows where WHAT happens is not nearly as important as the conversations,realizations,and emotions between people involved.
When the Principal, Joseph, finds his son Zack (the endearing+edgy John Magaro) hiding in his dead mothers shoe closet, we don't wait for some crazy twist about Zack deciding to be a Tranny, or an overly dramatic fit, where Dad tears down the shelves and destroys the memory of dead mom. We don't need anything so catastrophic to occur. We just need the real,heartfelt,connection (or lack thereof) between a Widowed Man and his mourning son. Sometimes what people are really thinking and feeling can be more "catastrophic" than any action or event you could portray onstage.

This play is ultimately about overcoming sorrow. Conquering fear. Reconciling with the past, and embracing Hope. As sappy and mushy as that might sound, "Tigers Be Still" never comes across that way. Miss Rosenstock gives us real, multi-dimensional,flawed yet likable people. And she gives each of these 4 a chance to really connect, not only with each other, but with the audience as well. When big sister Grace (Natasha Lyonne) who is grief stricken over being cheated on and dumped by her fiance, is still in her pajamas for the umpteenth day in a row, watching the sex scene from "Top Gun" on a loop, and gargling down a bottle of Jack Daniels, you giggle. But when sister Sherry joins her in a moment of shared despair, and together they watch as they sing along to "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", well u kind of smile through the tears, cause in some way, haven't we all been there? And when Grace dribbles some whiskey as she curls up next to her now equally hopeless sister, and says "I really missed you", I shivered and even cringed a little. Cause it can be so easy to be pulled down into negativity and self doubt, especially when someone you love is already there, and seems to want nothing more than for you to join them. Misery really does love company.

Thankfully Rosenstock breaks up a lot of the sorrow with deadpan wit, and some great physical comedy. And, without giving anything away, the final message is an uplifting one.

The first thing I said to Carlos (once we had reached our "50 feet away before talking about the show" rule!, was that I hope this show NEVER goes to broadway. Because work like this reminds me of what is so great about OFF-Broadway shows. There's an intimacy, and a simplicity, that CAN NOT survive on a big stage with a thousand or more people in the audience. Some shows start out exactly as they should, in a modest venue, with a shoestring budget, but a lot of talent, and a shitload of passion. It's viewed as some sort of victory when the show gets moved to a larger house, or a bigger commercial run. As an actor, I would be the first one to yell, "Yeah, Take us to Broadway baby!", for obvious reasons (Money being pretty high on that list)...But very often it's the work that suffers. Whether a small show gets lost in a big house, or an obscure subject matter can't find it's audience on the great white way, inevitably, we lose some GREAT theater to the Machine that is BROADWAY (first things that come to mind are "Taboo", "The Farnsworth Invention", and "Urinetown").

If there is any justice, shows like "Tigers Be Still" will find funding, maybe get extended, or even play a commercial run Off-Broadway, and hopefully get published for schools and community/regional theaters across the country to rediscover...and these gems will NEVER be stolen from their off-broadway homes and sold into the White Slavery that is The Great White Way!

On a scale of Top, Bottom, or Versatile, I say this show is like Me!: a small power top, ready to take on The Big Boys, any day!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stonewall Sensation Week 2

The buzz on the boards is excited to be cover the 6th season of Stonewall Sensation, this West Village singing competition has been a vehicle for some of the newest, brightest and most talented New Yorker's.

Hosted by the Manhattan Icon and Gad about town Brandon Cutrell, along with a panel of judges that would make Simon Cowell look like Mary Poppins. Poppi Kramer, Ariel Sinclair, and Adam Feldman, honestly and without holding back tell the contestants how it really is. Rounding out the staff for the night we have the amazing DJ Chuck spinning us into a dance frenzy pre-show and post-show, and finally Lawrence and Mike behind the bar getting us drunk.

Season 6 Contestants:

Alex Amarosa

Sashe Annette

Lovelee Carroll

Sarah Cummings

Creighton Fraker

Darius Harper

Jeff Jones

Travis Morin

Miriam Pultro

Sara Straw

Teaque-N Thomas

Bradley Zellars

The Rules:

Sing a song that matches the of the week.


Every time you by a drink you get a ballot, circle the name on the ballot and return it to the bartender. the more you drink the more you can vote.

Each week some will be eliminated, and at the end of the competition the winner will receive $1000.00; and will get a Showcase of their own at the Stonewall.

This weeks Top 3

Sarah Straw

Alex Amarosa

Sarah Cummings (Top Vote Getter)

This Weeks Bottom 2

Teaque-N Thomas

Sashe Annette

This week also saw the drop out of Miriam Pultro, so the bottom two were given a second chance at the competition.

The Theme for week two was 90's Upbeat songs, unfortunately not all of the contestants paid attention to the assignment, we ad 80's songs, and 90's Ballads. But a few of the contestants paid attention and chose their songs wisely. The Notably performance of the evening went to Jeff Jones singing Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai he engaged the audience and was generally enjoying himself. Sarah Cummings version of Come on Over Baby by Christina Aguilera had the crowd in the palm of her hand along with her strong vocal skills I think we will see her through to the final 3. Finally Travis Morin had the crowd on their feet with a rousing rendition of 4 non blonde's What's going on. Working the crowd and playing up the fact that this is suppose to fun, Travis Morin is going to make this a an interesting competition. To round out the evening of entertainment Airel Sinclair performed the ever popular My Vagina is 8 miles wide, and Michelle Dowdy gave us GaGa ala Reno Lounge Act.

All in all alot of fun is to be had on Wednesday Night at Stonewall Sensation.

Stonewall Bar

is Located at 53 Christopher Street Btw 7th ave south and Waverly Place.

Showtime 10:00pm

No Cover Charge