The Howard – VIP Screening “THE HOUSE” Movie Invite starring Will Ferrell

SUMMER OF TV5 MOVIE PREMIERES

Hello Friends and some acquaintances and folks I don’t even know!

You and a guest of YOUR choice are invited- to a VIP screenings of THE HOUSE.

For your chance to download passes to see THE HOUSE at the advance screening on Wed, June 28 at 7:30pm at Bow Tie Palace in Hartford, click here:

http://www.wbtickets.com/dBsLC78300
Remember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed. Arrive early!

THE HOUSE
In theaters on June 30
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp1-if1rJiM

(New Line Cinema/Village Roadshow Pictures)

Director: Andrew Jay Cohen
Writers: Written by Brendan O’Brien & Andrew Jay Cohen
Producers: Nathan Kahane, Joe Drake, Brendan O’Brien, Andrew Jay Cohen, Jessica Elbaum, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Executive Producers: Marc S. Fischer, Chris Henchy, Spencer Wong, Toby Emmerich,
Richard Brener, Michael Disco, Bruce Berman
Cast: Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman,
Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, , Jessie Ennis, Rob Huebel,
Cedric Yarbrough and Jeremy Renner

Comedy. After Scott (Will Ferrell) and Kate (Amy Poehler) Johansen lose their daughter Alex’s college fund, they become desperate to earn it back so she can pursue her dream of attending a university. With the help of their neighbor Frank (Jason Mantzoukas), they decide to start an illegal casino in his house.

This film has been rated R for language throughout, sexual
references, drug use, some violence and brief nudity.

TheHouseMovie.com

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The Howard – Theater Review “1776” – Nutmeg Summer Series 1

Theater Review by Howard Steven Frydman

Play:                         1776
Theater:                   Connecticut Repertory Theater
Music & Lyrics:       Sherman Edwards
Book by:                   Peter Stone
Director:                   Terrence Mann

“I Am Groot”, “I AM GROOT”!!! Ahem- I can see I have your attention- no this review is not about the “Guardians of The Galaxy” 1 or 2, or even a pint sized walking talking dancing lovable two-legged plant, however it is about another group of revolutionary “super-heroes” – those sons of Democracy, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and a pint-sized, unpleasant pheasant, obnoxious and disliked, John Adams – this my friends is the Connecticut Repertory Theatre’s (CRT) production of the Tony Award-winning musical “1776”. Directed by CRT Artistic Director and three time Tony Award-nominee Terrence Mann, from a book by Peter Stone and music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards. BELIEVE ME friends – it is totally “I Am Groot”- which, for those who do not speak “Groot-ish” means- this is Broadway caliber theater at its best- an absolutely amazing, heart-tugging thought provoking, stirring, inspiring, laugh out loud, tears to your eyes production. Yes – you guessed it – I Loved it!!!

The first of a trio of productions presented during the CRT’s 2017 Nutmeg Summer Series, “1776” is indeed a precious combination of the musical arts and political history – accolades and kudos to Director Terrence Mann- Mr. T you hit a home run with this one! Beautifully staged, incredible scenic design by Tim Brown, authentic colonial costume design by Fan Zheng, and capped with foot tapping memorable music and an energetic cast- oh! by the way the cast!! – what a talented team of over 26 theatrical artists including Jamie LaVerdiere as John Adams, Richard R. Henry as Benjamin Franklin, Gaelen Gilliland as Abigail Adams, Simon Longnight as Richard Henry Lee, Will Bryant as Thomas Jefferson and the Representative from Georgia, Nate Healey as Dr. Lyman Hall.

We all know what happened on that hot and humid day in Philadelphia on July 4th 1776, but the fun of the musical “1776” is that “will they or won’t they” factor regarding independency as the members of the Second Continental Congress slowly propose, vigorously debate and finally ratify the issue of American Independence, and its outcome, the climatic signing of the Declaration. One finds themselves fervently leaning forward with each Yea or Nay of the Tally board, hoping they make the right decision, and wishing you also had the opportunity to stand up and vote “yea” on the issue of American Independence. In the opening scene, the weather in Philly is hot, humid and insufferable – “don’t open the windows, you’ll let in the flies”, Congress is proceeding with business and that irascible delegate from Massachusetts, John Adams (joyously played by Jamie LaVerdiere) explodes onto the stage and loudly proclaims that he has come to the conclusion that “one useless man is a disgrace, that two are a law firm and that three or more become a con-gress”- yowzers – we sure need you back now in Congress Mr. Adams !!

As many folks know “1776” is one of my all time personal favorite musicals, (besides Grease) for its historic depictions of the birth of the United States Declaration of Independence intertwined with those extraordinary Sherman Edwards music and lyrics. In my minds eye I always associate the role of John Adams with that remarkable actor William Daniels ( Mr. Feeney on “Boy Meets World”) but within ten minutes and by the second syllable of con-GRESS, Jamie LaVerdiere had made the role his own- an absolutely brilliant portrayal – I say “Yea” Mr. LaVerdiere! I must also single out Richard R. Henry for his persuasive “bigger than life” portrayal of “Colonial Celeb” Benjamin Franklin – and a great little dancer as well!

Cast of CRT’s “1776”.

Though the cast of 1776 is mostly made up of male characters, 24 in all, the two female leads, Gaelen Gilliland and Page Smith are brilliant in their respective roles of Abigal Adams and Martha Jefferson- I am completely captivated by both their singing and on stage presence. Miss Smith is enchanting with her performance of “He Plays the Violin”, while Miss Gilliland is a welcomed “scene-stealer” whenever on stage, we are deeply affected by her acting skills and her enchanting vocal renditions of both “’Til Then” and “Yours, Yours, Yours”. We additionally single out the stalwart Simon Longnight for his hilarious turn as the delightfully brazen Richard Henry Lee and his effervescent “The Lees of Old Virginia”. And lastly, I must remark on how proud I am of four lads, from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, who are performing together in this production, Jayke Workman as Reverend John Witherspoon, Alessandro “Andy” Viviano – as Roger Sherman, Jamaal Fields-Green as General Washington’s Courier and that scene stealer in his own right – Nate Healey as Dr. Lyman Hall. You are all extremely talented-Good job all around!

Dr. Lyman Hall- Nate Healey, Reverend John Witherspoon -Jayke Workman, Jamaal Fields-Green – Courier, Andy Viviano – Roger Sherman

“Howard Steven Frydman, from the Nutmeg state of Connecticut, How do you vote on the question of American Independence and the CRT production of “1776”? “I Am Groot”!!! ahem, I mean I wholeheartedly vote yea!!! “1776” is a “laser-blast” of a good time! There is no debating this fact – let me tell you that I am in a better place for seeing this production and so will you –
As my dear old father, Jack Frydman, would often say and especially in this case- to “Director Terrence Mann and to the entire cast of CRT’s “1776” ya did good-real good”!! Enjoy!

This production will take place at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theater located on the campus of the University of Connecticut. CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut- Storrs, CT. For ticket information or to purchase tickets by phone: 860-486-2113 or visit online at http://www.crt.uconn.edu.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at howards2424@gmail.com.

 

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The Howard – Movie Premiere Invite “47 METERS DOWN”

 

The Summer of TV5 Hot Movie Premieres

For your chance to download passes to the advance screening of 47 METERS DOWN starring Mandy Moore on Monday, June 12 at 7pm at Bow Tie Palace, click here: http://www.gofobo.com/GDMib93639
Remember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed!

47 METERS DOWN
June 16, 2017
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddYSGGJAKOk

 

LOCATION:
Bowtie Palace 17
330 New Park Ave.
Hartford, CT 06106
8605490030

DATE AND TIME:
June 12, 2017
Monday 7:00pm
(Have your pass ready to show at the door)

 

Distributor: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Director: Johannes Roberts
Writers: Johannes Roberts and Ernest Riera

Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Matthew Modine

Producers: Mark Lane and James Harris
Executive Producers: Bob Weinstein & Harvey Weinstein, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, Will Clarke, Andy Mayson Mike Runagall, Iain Abrahams, Simon Lewis, Christopher Lannic, Byron Allen, Carolyn Folks, Jennifer Lucas, Mark DeVitre, Chris Charalambous, Mark Borde

On the rebound after a devastating break-up, Lisa (Mandy Moore) is ready for adventure while on vacation in Mexico. Even still, she needs a little extra persuasion when her daring sister Kate (Claire Holt) suggests they go shark diving with some locals. Once underwater in a protective cage, Lisa and Kate catch a once in a lifetime, face-to-face look at majestic Great Whites. But when their worst fears are realized and the cage breaks away from their boat, they find themselves plummeting to the bottom of the seabed, too deep to radio for help without making themselves vulnerable to the savage sharks, their oxygen supplies rapidly dwindling. 47 METERS DOWN is a terrifying tale of survival set in the domain of the ocean’s fiercest creatures.

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The Howard – A Heart Healthy Cruise aboard RCCL “Anthem of the Seas” pt2

 

THE HOWARD- Travelogue

Travel Review-Anthem of the Seas
Howard Steven Frydman
Part 2

A Nine Day Cruise- Leaving from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on the Anthem of the Seas. Ports of call: Kings Wharf Bermuda, Philipsburg St. Maarten, San Juan Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti

As stated in part one- I have my prescription: “et requiem relaxat” – rest and relax in Hand. My RX to the “r’s – the ultra magnificent RCCL Anthem of the Seas – at this very moment here I am, mid afternoon, in quite repose, listening to the Carpenters singing “We’ve Just Begun” – sharing new horizons! Yes new horizons- for here, happily away from work and stress, I lounge- what a lovely word- Lounge- on the balcony of my two tier royal loft suite watching the clear blue horizon and the Caribbean Sea scamper gently across and so far away from our host ship.

Kings Wharf Bermuda as seen from the RCCL Anthem of the Seas

I am on a heart- healthy journey. I have read that since ancient times, folks have attributed that the sea, or just being near the water has healing properties providing a sense of calm, clarity and rejuvenation. Yes the pure aqua blue water surrounds – though only a few days into my cruise- I am saying goodbye to memories of my recent open heart bypass surgery and a grateful hello to the “Anthem of the Seas” cruise ship as it takes me on a rejuvenating healing journey.

My heart healthy routine- though as mentioned I have a beautiful suite on board-I am not letting the day escape me- I am making every minute count! So I am up and out of the cabin by 8:30am and head to deck 14 to the ship’s- fitness center. In my pre-“H-Cut” days- I would probably had headed first to the Windjammers Marketplace- for a buffet style breakfast of fried eggs, pancakes, bacon, hash browns, English muffins, donuts- well you get my drift. I am keeping my cardiac rehabilitation regime intact- twenty minutes on the treadmill, level 2, followed by another 20 on the recumbent bike. I enjoy the recumbent bike- I achieve a great work out and it’s comfortable on my back especially to a newbie starting a regimen of exercise. The Anthem has a great roster of equipment, weights, and ellipticals plus a roster of enrichment seminars, Medi-Spa and holistic spa services.

Dr. Adriano Almeida- acupuncturist

On our way into Philipsburg St. Maarten, Dr. Adriano Almeida- acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Physician, aboard the Anthem of the Seas, provides me heart healthy advice- and just like Dr. Corcoran tells me, “Will you just relax- leave the work for later” as he performs the ancient healing – alternative medicine of acupuncture, the insertion of thin needles into the skin. Dr. Almeida, who has over 16 years of practice, and has studied in China, and after taking note of my tongue, eyes, any palpitations, and even my breathing, then inserts several needles into my forehead and arms, all in an effort to heal and ultimately relax. What ever Dr. Adriano has done to me- this acupuncture is really working- I really really feel relaxed- even my breathing has slowed, I’m not talking so fast and all of a sudden I have a yen for a heart healthy coconut coolatta and a lounge chair in the shade!

Oh by the way my morning breakfast after my cardio workout- a heart healthy smoothie and a platter of fresh fruit!! Just ask- they will prepare a smoothie just for you – I don’t want you even looking at a fried egg- ya hear!!

 

My Heart Healthy Cruise Dining: true to my word – I am dining on fresh fruits, vegetables, skinless chicken and lean veal. My worst enemy are the fresh breads the bakers make daily- shame on them! However, Anthem of the Seas is a true help in assisting me or anyone with special dietary needs- just ask!! From all the many choices of restaurants on board (including Chic, Grande, Silk, and American Icon, plus those mentioned in part one of this travelogue) – my favorite dining spot is the charming and oh so quiet Coastal Kitchen. Coastal Kitchen’s General Manager, Mr. Fares Hergli from Tunisa has been a major lifesaver in making sure I am maintaining my heart healthy lifestyle. Thank you Fares in providing me some delicious creative salads and mouth watering fruit cocktails.

Mr. Fares Hergli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact, “Anthem of the Seas” Executive Chef Jayson joins me one early morning in the “Coastal Kitchen” on Deck 14, and prepares several heart healthy items for me to enjoy while on board and additionally provides the recipes so that I may share “cruise ship cuisine” with you at home!

First Recipe:

“Chef Jayson’s Tropical Fruit Salad”

Ingredients
Half of Mango
Several medium sized strawberries
One Kiwi fruit
One navel orange quartered
One slices banana
Sliced cantaloupe melon and honeydew
1/4 cup raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
Arrange artistically on plate
Dressing: Yogurt of choice lightly drizzled on top

 

Second Recipe:
Chef Jayson’s “Cruise Time Vegetable Seafood Salad”

Ingredients
One red pepper sliced thin
One yellow pepper sliced thin
One small carrot- julienned
One small radish sliced
One orange- segmented
Selection of radicchio lettuce washed and patted dry
Arugula lettuce washed and patted dry
Four Colossal “Tiger” Shrimps
Arrange artistically on salad plate
Dressing: Choice of Balsamic and olive dressing or raspberry vinaigrette

Both items are heart healthy selections and are easy to prepare at home – and as both Chef Jayson and Coastal Kitchen’s Mr. Fares state, “Bon Appetite” – !

Howard Steven Frydman, Chef Jayson, Fares Hergli

Next part three — Howard meets the Captain of the Anthem of the Seas for tea!

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The Howard – A Prescription for Relaxation- RCCL “Anthem of the Seas”!

 

THE HOWARD- Travelogue 

Travel Review-Anthem of the Seas
Howard Steven Frydman
Part 1

A Nine Day Cruise- Leaving from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on the Anthem of the Seas. Ports of call: Kings Wharf Bermuda, Philipsburg St. Maarten, San Juan Puerto Rico and Labadee, Haiti

A prescription: from prominent cardiologist and friend, the esteemed Dr. Patrick Corcoran- written in “real” Latin- so you know it’s legit-. “et requiem relaxat” – rest and relax!
– as many of my readers know I just went through open heart bypass surgery- and now find myself in the next stage – the healing process-
We are all so programmed to work work work – it’s only been a few weeks since my “H-cut” and folks are already saying- you look great – when are you going back to work?! Or, I saw you limping around the grocery store- Ya look fine Howard- why can’t you go to tonight’s meeting? When did all these folks become heart specialists? I’m still having a-fib, some bleeding, and over-all after surgery discomfort- yes folks are chanting at me “Work, meetings, work”- this is what got me into this situation in the first place ya know!!! Yet Doctor Corcoran- reminds me quite vocally ” DON’T YOU DARE GO BACK TO WORK YET!- not till I tell you! I’m the Doctor not these “nincompoopS”! And that’s with a big fat “S”!!

Now many of us don’t know how to “et requiem relaxat” – But with prescription in hand, I know exactly the right folks to fill this RX- I contact my friends at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships- for a true heart healthy cruise!! A cruise- awwwww!! Just the word cruise puts me into a relaxing mood!

SOS- God and the surgeon’s hand – did indeed -“Save Our Soul” but I need help- and it never hurts to ask- so I send out a distress call to the office of my old pal Lyan Sierra Caro and then on to another good friend Megan Barbe – what a great team! I tell Megan my current circumstances- I hear her give out an “Oy”- I add the “Vey” – the criteria, no airports, close to home, and the ability to enjoy the 3R’s recline, rest and totally relax. My friend Megan is a true RCCL magician and selects me the best Royal Caribbean Cruise Line cruise for someone in my circumstance- a nine day cruise out of the deportation port- Bayonne, New Jersey! Oh, and the cabin a beautiful loft suite at the back of the ship, “nice and quite” Megan states “and with panoramic ocean views- you’ll never want to leave”!! Bless you for your kind help Megan!! I love you Megan Barbe!! By the way Michael Bayley – CEO of Royal Caribbean International- how about a nice raise for Megan-huh?!!

The deportation port- New Jersey- perfect- no planes needed- Hunter limo picks up my brother Harvey and me around 6:30am and we sit back and relax. The current Connecticut weather blustery and heavy rain- I fall asleep. Four hours and 15 minutes later our limo is pulling up to the RCCL Cape Liberty cruise passenger terminal. At Zone 6, a porter loads our luggage from limo to transport cart. Easy Peasy. In fact the entire embarkation process was probably the easiest I have ever witnessed. I had already completed the RCCL Online Check-In process at home, so with my Set Sail Pass and Passport in Hand it was literally seconds to do the pre-board registration – those guys (RCCL Agents) with their mobile iPads at the port are lickety split fast – let me tell you!!

Next up I am met by our “Genie” – yep – just like the old TV series “I Dream of Jeanie” starring Barbara Eden. In this case our Genie – Katya, a beautiful young gal “From Russia with Love”. I had received an email from her several days earlier with a questionnaire seeking input about what would constitute a perfect cruise and stating, “I promise to be ‘in my lamp’ and at your service every afternoon”, but here she was right at the pier, and getting us on board the “Anthem of the Seas” by 10:30am, escorting us to our first on board lunch at “Coastal Kitchen” on deck 14 ( more on heart healthy food later) and then returning to direct us to our state room loft situated on deck 8, at the rear of the ship. By the way my friends the RCCL “Genie” is a industry first- passengers in star class suites are provided Genie service, one for approximately three suites, – think of them as your Gal Friday- “Genie” is making sure our time on board is a phenomenal experience- and it is!! So far our Genie has arranged where we dine on ship, setting up our evenings entertainment, preparing special events including a private tea with the Captain of the ship, to making sure my fresh sliced fruit and morning smoothie is waiting for me when I return from the fitness center!! Wow- thank you Genie – and no she does not dress in a Genie outfit!!

Joyce the Genie, Howard Steven Frydman, Katya the Genie

 


The Cabin: wow- if I could only wrap up this ultra exclusive swanky suite and take it home – shush- I’m thinking it over! My home away from home is the Grand Loft Suite with Balcony- a two-deck high – yep two tiers- with aft facing “out of this world” panoramic views- wait till you see the pictures !! On the main level, an open living/dining room with a leather sofa that converts to a kingsized bed, plus a full marble bath with a rain drop shower, a private balcony with lounge chairs and a dining area that seats four comfortably. The second level of the suite includes a huge master bedroom with two twin beds that convert to Royal King bed and another private bath with yet another marble shower, sink and vanity- as they say- fit for a King!! By the way, plenty of space for luggage and there is a stocked refrigerator with water, soda and other beverages.

The Ship: RCCL Anthem of the Seas: Folks this is one massive ship- I have only been here a day now and I’m still learning where things are located- but I know where the fitness center is- and that is one of the reasons I’m here, besides the warm weather and wonderful destinations.

Some quick info on the ship- MS Anthem of the Seas – She, (all ships are shes) is the second ship of the Quantum Class, which surpasses the earlier Freedom-class ships by over 14,000 gross tonnage, becoming the second largest class of passenger ships. Anthem of the Seas, the most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world, has 20 passenger-accessible decks, 8 of which feature balcony staterooms overlooking the ocean. There are a total of 2,090 staterooms: 1,570 balcony staterooms, 147 ocean-view staterooms, and 373 inside staterooms. Of those staterooms, 34 are wheelchair accessible and 28 are studio staterooms for single travelers (including 12 studio staterooms with balconies). All aft-facing staterooms are a 2-story “loft” suites- just like mine!

The “Sports Court” on deck 15 aft features a Wave Loch Flowrider surf simulator and a rock-climbing wall, a “RipCord by iFLY” – skydiving simulator. A special highlight is The “NorthStar” observation tower located at the forward end of the top deck, it uses a 7.1-tonne (7.8-short-ton) glass-walled capsule on the end of a 41-meter-long (135 ft) crane arm to lift groups of up to 14 guests up and over the edge of the ship, reaching heights of up to 300 feet above sea level.

Anthem of the Seas- “My Time” dining venues: The main complimentary restaurants include Chic, Grande, Silk, and American Icon –plus Coastal Kitchen which is for suite guests only. Other culinary spots include: The Cafe @ Two70, SeaPlex Dog House- hot dogs and sausages, Sorrento’s Pizza, and Windjammers Marketplace- buffet style. For an additional fee you can dine at “Wonderland”- imaginative cuisine, “Michael’s Genuine Pub”-fish and chips, “Chop’s Grill”- really great filet mignon, “Johnny Rockets”-burgers and milkshakes, “Izumi”-Japanese Cuisine, and so much more! Believe me folks you won’t go hungry- there are cookies and snacks (ahem- I mean veggies and fresh fruit) every where aboard the beautiful Anthem of the Seas!!

By the way- my dear friend Empress Maria Rosu- yes- I am having Moscato- “a very sweet” wine with my evening dinner!
Next part two–staying heart healthy on board a cruise ship.

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A Howard TV5 Invite to the Premier of “WONDER WOMAN”

 

 

SUMMER OF 2017 MOVIE GIVEAWAYS!!

Hello friends- you are cordially invited to the movie of the summer of 2017 –

WONDER WOMAN”

For your chance to download passes to the advance screening of WONDER WOMAN on Wednesday, May 31 at 7pm at Bow Tie Palace in Hartford, click here: http://www.wbtickets.com/zsCXo65545

Remember seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed so arrive early!

WONDER WOMAN
In theaters June 2
Warner Bros.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo&t=2s

Director: Patty Jenkins
Writers: Screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns & Patty Jenkins, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC. Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston.
Producers: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Richard Suckle
Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen,
Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Eugene Brave Rock,
Saïd Taghmaoui.

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

 

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The Howard -Theater Review: “The Most Beautiful Room in New York”

Review: The Most Beautiful Room in New York
Theater: LongWharf
Critic: Howard Steven Frydman

“The Most Beautiful Room in New York” is an ultra sophisticated new musical about the steaming hot, heavily creamed, spicy and sweet, whirling dervish of the New York culinary Business- where chefs hunger for critical acclaim and Michelin 4 stars! Currently being produced at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, “The Most Beautiful Room in New York”, has book and lyrics by Adam Gopnik and music by David Shire, and is directed by Long Wharf Theaters Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein.

The company of The Most Beautiful Room in New York

The company of The Most Beautiful Room in New York

This foodie based musical is basically about family- think ala the Waltons- the Seavers – the Jetsons, the Tanners from Full House- no? – ok ok “The Addams Family”! Here we meet the Kaplan family, they run “TABLE” restaurant (the “La” went missing a long time ago) located in Union Square – prime NYC “Restaurant Row” real estate- hmmm?? La Familia – Father and Executive Chef – David (recently onboard Matt Bogart), David’s wife and Table’s house manager- Claire (the most talented Anastasia Barzee), their two wholesome kids Kate (Sawyer Niehaus) and son Bix (Tyler Jones),and their “organic green market owner” gay neighbors, Phoebe and Gloria played by Darlesia Clearcy and Danielle Ferland. Rounding out the cast are Carlo- ( played by a scene stealing Mark Nelson) owner of the “La Anarchist Pizza” situated in David’s old neighborhood of Bensonhurst, his daughter Anna (Krystina Alababo) and finally hot shot -Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur- the devilish – Sergio- wonderfully portrayed by American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis.

Anastasia Barzee and Matt Bogart

As families go – the Kaplans are a bit bland- unlike real restaurant owners – where you would hear families screaming, pots and pans clanging, kin a-brawling, are the norm all the time- here it’s who will make daughter Kate her morning eggs! So, what could go wrong here? Here’s the McGuffin- and it comes in the daily mail- a letter from the landlord- he’s raising the rent to $35,000 a month! How is David going to keep the restaurant going with only 4 tables? Oy Vey! For that amount of money, I could retire already and hire my own chef! But what is David going to do? Find cheaper digs, open a “Burger Fingers” franchise, move to Seattle (the play will get to that later) nope- he reaches out to his “devil on my shoulders” of an old partner, Sergio, for help in saving “Table” ! You know you never make any deals with the “Manhattan Mephistopheles” – without loosing your Sole – ahem- I do mean Soul! Upcoming a renaming – “Sergio’s Table”!

Matt Bogart and Constantine Maroulis

As many of you know, besides writing theater reviews, I additionally write about “dining” out here in New England. I’ve been to “ultra fancy shmancy” to “mom and pop” holes in the walls and there are a couple of things I’ve learned – first, sometimes the best “hidden gem” for a foodie is the small family place around the corner where all the townies go. Second – never call your restaurant or even a play “THE MOST” beautiful or best of anything – I once recall being invited to a new “beaucoup” restaurant to sample the “haute cuisine” – asking the waiter what was the “most” delicious item on the menu- after debating blurted “try the mashed taters”. My friends, let me continue with – there is a hidden gem here with this musical – it’s just that a few layers still need to be peeled away- let me continue..

The company of The Most Beautiful Room in New York

The layers- firstly- I have never seen a cast like this giving it it’s all and it shows in each and every cast member! They are going full steam out to make this new musical a success.
Fan favorite (and mine too) Anastasia Barzee is a working actress of the highest order- from television, film and Broadway- she is a standout! No matter what she is in – I’m madly in love with the oh so talented Miss Barzee- her singing is unparalleled, (I would see this production just to hear Anastasia sing). Constantine Mouroulis – I have to admit was absolutely amazing- the America idol chap ya know, but his stage presence, easy going acting style, and yes even his singing – blew me away – top notch acting and a really great voice-yep very impressive! But it’s Mark Nelson’s portrayal as Carlo, the grumpy inventor of the “Pizza Slice” that steals the show whenever he is on stage and adds much needed levity to the production. Mark also performs one of the very few songs, “Espresso” that was a jolt to the production and brought a smile to the audience. Yes, most of the music is not memorable. It needs a bit of a “Rodgers & Hammerstein” fix – I personally like to leave the theater, especially a musical, humming at least a few of the songs.

Anastasia Barzee and Matt Bogart

If I was the producer- This production is way too long, with family members you just rightly don’t care for, and moments that seem so out of focus, case in point- in Act Two there is a NO WAY MOMENT- Clare, setting up an afternoon tryst with ex-flame Sergio, it feels so out of character and left me with a “yuck” moment. It might be a different story if she was going to defend her husband – but it leaves one with a dirty taste in your mouth. The production just needs a bit more fantasy and more of a feel good sensation when you leave the theater. Sparkle and magic yes- no I don’t want a Disney-esque musical -but in my mind’s eye – I do see this production more in the lines of “Damn Yankees” with a focus on a real Devilish Sergio- trying to steal the soul of David in exchange for him having the “Most Beautiful Room in New York”. I would also rewrite the character of Carlo as the wise god-like figure who helps David defeat Sergio/Devil.

Mark Nelson, Krystina Alabado, and Tyler Jones

Constantine Maroulis

And lastly, utilize the talent of Constantine a bit more- how about changing the forgettable “There’s Always A Wait For Your Table” and allowing Sergio and his two minions do a top hat and tails song and dance number to the much quoted THERES NO BIZ LIKE THE RESTAURANT BIZ- how about it Gopnik and Shire??

Howard Steven Frydman and Anastasia Barzee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here’s the question, is this musical a crystal glass with shaved ice and sliced lemon half empty or half full? – being an optimist – I say It’s delightfully full! Beyond its need to be sharpened as stated above. See it for the talents of Bogart, Nelson, Maroulis, and the deliciously divine Anastasia Barzee! Oh and how about renaming it again to “The Demon of Restaurant Row”?? When at a restaurant- it never hurts to ask!

The production will take place from May 3 through May 28, 2017 on the Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre. For more information about the Long Wharf Theatre, or to purchase tickets, visit LongWharf.org or call 203-787-4282.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at Howardbatv@aol.com

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