The Howard ~ Theater Review – “Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical” at Playhouse On Park

 

Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”
Production:  Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical
Theater:        Playhouse On Park
Playwrights: Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman
Director:       Kyle Brand

The Howard’s Exhale – “Tenderly is Truly Transcendent”!

Susan Haefner in Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical.

“Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical” is a vivid, character driven, 60s’ style kaleidoscope,  and “oh so tender jukebox bio” of the extraordinary life of music, film, radio and television legend Rosemary Clooney. Currently being presented at the POP – Playhouse on Park, in West Hartford,  CT, as part of their eleventh season, “Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical”, is a truly “Transcendent”  experience-  lovingly crafted that exceeds all expectations- with its two stars, Susan Haefner and Samuel Lloyd, Jr., both brilliantly sparkling throughout this two hour production providing an appreciative audience with “yesterday’s” music and lyrics that transport you back to a more innocent period of time.

Please note, I tenderly (ahem) offer the term “yesterday’s music” – the music  of Rosemary Clooney is indeed part and parcel of the great American Songbook- and may be unknown to current millennials – but not to us “boomers” – to us it’s glorious music that we eagerly celebrate. Not only has the “Tenderly” main stage been transformed into a 60’s style cabaret/office, replete with 60’s style hues and furnishings (great job by scenic designer Emma Cummings) plus the POP  outer entrance way is filled with such appropriate era trappings including rotary phones, fashion adornments, and coming back to vogue – a record player, which at the time of my visit was spinning selections from the vocal group “The Mills Brothers”. We smiled with a grin as we took note as a “boomer”  vainly tried to show their mostly disinterested earbud enhanced “teen” how the rotating vinyl platter boomed. By the way I still have my RCA stereo console!

An era of Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Vietnam, and “flower power” – is intermixed into this jukebox bio by playwrights Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, both have done an absolutely amazing job of solidify the style and music of this turbulent era into this touching and heart-tugging rendering of the life and times of music legend Rosemary Clooney. 

Susan Haefner and Samuel Lloyd, Jr. in Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical.

Susan Haefner and Samuel Lloyd, Jr. in Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical.

The setting, the Summer of 1968- the place, Cedar Sinai Hospital and the office of famed psychiatrist Dr. Victor Monke, (Samuel Lloyd, Jr.) his new client – famed singer – Rosemary Clooney ( Susan Haefner) of “White Christmas” notoriety. Through a series of sessions, (“Rosemary, put out the cigarette please”) the audience follows various reenactments of her life story from a disjointed childhood in Maysville, Kentucky, her musical start on radio with sister Betty, upwards to her solo artist days in radio, recordings and film, marriages to movie star José Ferrer, acquaintances with such notables including, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Vera Ellen (Rosemary actually dubbed all of Vera-Ellen’s songs in the film White Christmas)  and her long battles with mental health problems and depression.

What is a musical without songs? During performance, we slowly close our eyes, concentrate, and slowly hear the essence of Rosemary’s voice come alive by the fabulous vocals of Miss Susan Haefner – outstanding!! Haefner IS Clooney! Throughout “Tenderly” – we are entertained by some of Clooney’s most classic songs including, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “I Get Along Without You Very Well”, “Count Your Blessings”, “Botch -A-Me”, and of course the production’s self named title- “Tenderly”. 

Susan Haefner and Samuel Lloyd, Jr. in Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical.

Haefner’s and Lloyd’s presentation of “Sisters” is a bit of comedic genius not to be missed and brought the audience to cheering at songs conclusion. We take note of Samuel Lloyd, Jr‘s performance, though understated, he is an absolute joy to behold as he transforms himself from one character to another including, Dr. Monke, Rosemary’s Sister Betty, José Ferrer, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and a host of others. We urge you to take in this outstanding, thoughtful and “Tender” production. Enjoy!

Tickets for the Playhouse on Park’s production of “Tenderly – The Rosemary Clooney Musical” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the POP box office at 860-523-5900 x10 or visit www.playhouseonpark.org. Playhouse on Park is located at 244 Park Road, West Hartford, CT 06119.

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 TheHoward24@gmail.com

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Howard ~ Movie Invite – “1917” Hartford Advance Screening –

 

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

Dear Friends, Please see the below link and movie invite for our upcoming advance screening of 1917 on Tuesday, January 7th at 7pm in Hartford.

HARTFORD SCREENING 1/7 – BOW TIE PALACE

 

To sign up for the advance screening of 1917 on Tuesday, January 7 at 7pm at Bow Tie Palace, click here: https://forms.gle/RRnCMAPdJM1DBgfn8

PLEASE NOTE: By completing this form, your name will automatically be added to the advance screening RSVP list. Duplicate names will be deleted from the final list. An E-Pass will be emailed before the screening takes place and will be cross-checked with the final list. Seating is first come, first served and NOT GUARANTEED so please arrive early. When the screening is full, this link will be disabled.

Your media host is BATV.

 

1917

In theaters December 25 (Limited); January 10 (Wide)
Universal
Trailer: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcmZN0Mbl04

 

Director:             Sam Mendes

Writers:               Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Producers:          Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren, Callum McDougall, Brian Oliver

Cast:                     George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, with Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield (Captain Fantastic’s George MacKay) and Blake (Game of Thrones’ Dean-Charles Chapman) are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers—Blake’s own brother among them.

 

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The Howard ~ Theater Review – “Elf The Musical” – We Believe in Entertaining Angels!

 

Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:        ELF – The Musical
Theater:              Seven Angel Theater
Book:                    Thomas Meehan, Bob Martin
Music/Lyrics:     Mathew Sklar, Chad Beguelin
Directors:            Semina DeLaurentis, Jimmy Donahue

The Howard’s Exhale – “This Holiday We Believe in Entertaining “Angels”!

Folks- I just saw a “star” in the theatrical heavens! This sighting took place on the stage of the Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury, CT, with their current production of “Elf the Musical”. I happily took note of an extraordinary young man’s talent that astonished me and an entire audience –  this gentleman, costumed on stage with green ELF overalls and orange adorned hair was absolutely captivating, his talent was legion – singer, dancing, actor, comedian – the role, the bigger than life – “Buddy the Elf” and I urge everyone to see this young man in this role that he was meant to portray.  By the way this future Tony/Academy/Emmy/Grammy star is Mr. Jimmy Donohue – this is “star” quality – I want you to remember his name, Jimmy Donohue, and that you read it here first – yes we believe in Angels!! 

Mr. Jimmy Donohue

As stated this live production is – “Elf the Musical”, based on the 2003 Christmas comedy film of the same name which starred Will Ferrell, James Cann, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen and Bob Newhart. The musical originally opened on Broadway in November 2010 for a limited holiday engagement at the Al Hirshfeld Theater. The tale, as narrated by Santa Claus, ….schusss…. now it’s a secret you know – “Buddy the Elf” – is not really an elf – he’s really a human! For on Christmas Eve, little orphan child “Buddy” Hobbs (Jimmy Donohue) had crawled into Santa’s gift bag, and was unknowingly brought back to the North Pole where Santa and the Elf’s raised him up as an official Santa’s helper – an Elf – just bigger and taller than all the other Elfs. However, upon learning that he was indeed human, Buddy travels back to NYC, no not to meet that other little orphan – Annie, but to meet his real life dad, Walter Hobbs, (Lou Guertin) and to teach everyone, even his father, the true meaning of the holidays and to believe in Santa Claus.

It was an extraordinary holiday film and now at Seven Angels it’s a live, exhilarating, musical comedy for the entire family to enjoy. This my friends is “ELF the Musical” at Seven Angels Theater in Waterbury, CT.  and believe you me – it’s an outstanding live production that entertains everyone of all ages. During my matinee visit- the theater is indeed like Santa’s workroom at the North Pole- Seven Angels’ Artistic Director, Miss Semina De Laurentis is manning the tickets, crew and actors are busy preparing for the stage, and the theater is literally abuzz with families eager to see the one and only “Buddy the Elf” live on stage. By the way, as usually the case here at Seven Angels, kids of all ages are immersed in the holiday and Elf, many are adorned with holiday clothes, angel wings, Santa caps, one dad has even donned a “Buddy the Elf” sweater, with a likeness of original Buddy- Will Ferrell, that avows – “The Best Way to Spread Christmas Cheer is Singing Loud For all to HEAR”! Amen!

The cast of Seven Angels production of Elf the Musical.

Autumn Eliza Sheffy as “Jovie” and Jimmy Donohue as “Buddy”.

Now as I stated , this audience is enthusiastic, not only our younger crowd, but the grown-ups as well – in fact when Santa makes his first appearance, a gentleman seated in front of me eagerly exclaims, “ hey its Tom Chute”! Yes indeed –  that Tom Chute! –  the one – the only, indeed the legendary Tom Chute – Connecticut’s most famous and favorite radio personality on WATR AM Radio in Waterbury, CT. Throughout the entire 90 minute production it’s actually like a game of “Where’s Tom”, for not only does Tom portray Santa, but he pops up portraying a myriad of characters, a police officer one moment than an office worker the next, and several other characters throughout the production. At this time, I would like to personally thank Mr. Chute, for all the “good works” he does for our community and throughout Connecticut- yes Tom Chute was so rightfully cast as Santa Claus-!  Bravo Tom!

Jimmy Donohue as “Buddy” and Tom Chute as “Santa Claus”.

I send Kudos to the entire  cast of “Elf the Musical”  including Lou Guertin as Walter Hobbs, Marcia Maslo as Emily Hobbs, Lilah Pape as Molly, Autumn Eliza Sheffy as Jovie, Michelle Gotay as Deb, and Joe Stockport as Mr. Greenway. But as mentioned at reviews entrance – please keep an eye out for this future star – this talented young man – Mr. Jimmy Donohue  – we expect “BIG” things from him and as expected he has earned the coveted “ Howard Noticed You Award”! Thank you Mr. Donohue – we so appreciated your performance today – it brought forth a needed smile to so many! My friends, wishing all a very Merry Yuletide and a Happy Turning of the Calendar. Enjoy!

“Elf the Musical” is currently being produced at Seven Angels Theater. For tickets call the box office at 203-757-4676, online at SevenAngelsTheatre.org, or at the box office at 1 Plank Road, Waterbury. Free Parking. Just off I-84.  GPS directions use: Hamilton Park, Waterbury.

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 TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard ~ Advance Screening of “CATS” – RSVP for Complimentary Tickets

 

CATS

HARTFORD EXCLUSIVE SCREENING 12/17 – BOW TIE PALACE

To sign up for the advance screening of CATS on Tuesday, December 17 at 7pm at Bow Tie Palace, click here: https://forms.gle/3CuLWMbGLeyPoSdq9

YOUR SCREENING PARTNER IS BATV

PLEASE NOTE: By completing this form, your name will automatically be added to the advance screening RSVP list. Duplicate names will be deleted from the final list. An E-Pass will be emailed before the screening takes place and will be cross-checked with the final list. Seating is first come, first served and NOT GUARANTEED so please arrive early. When the screening is full, this link will be disabled.

CATS

In theaters December 20
Universal

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNTDoOmc1OQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Director:             Tom Hooper

Writers:               Lee Hall, Tom Hooper, Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, the musical “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Producers:          Debra Hayward, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tom Hooper

Cast:                     James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and introducing Francesca Hayward

Featuring Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights), the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from classical ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street dance to tap.

One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, the stage musical “Cats” received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981, where it played for 21 years and earned the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983, the Broadway production became the recipient of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and ran for an extraordinary 18 years. Since opening in London in 1981, “Cats” has continuously appeared on stage around the globe, to date having played to 81 million people in more than fifty countries and in nineteen languages. It is one of the most successful musicals of all time.

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The Howard ~ Theater Review – A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas – The Hartford Stage 2019

 

Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman
                      aka “The Howard”

Production: A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas
Theater:       The Hartford Stage
Playwright: Charles Dickens
Director:     Rachel Alderman

The Howard Exhale – A Christmas Carol    a highly emotional production that makes one truly believe in the season –

Michael Preston as SCROOGE

Every December, between mistletoe and glad-tidings, Egg-nog, and Yule logs, comes a most  beloved ritual – a return to see the annual theatrical production of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas” at The Hartford Stage. From all across New England, legions journey to this glorious holiday institution now in its 22nd season. I have steadfastly and happily joined these “Carolers” in revisiting , “A Christmas Carol” for the past two decades, and just like Ebenezer Scrooge discovers, – this highly emotional production does indeed makes one truly believe in the season – as Scrooge exclaims -‘I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.”

I have in the past told you about this joyous “Annual Gathering” of “Fan Fans”, “Scrooge-ettes” and dotty “Dilber-doos” and of course the “Society of Scrooge’s”- with their “bah humbug” conventions all converging to the Hartford Stage to witness the A.C.C.. But have I ever mentioned that this production has a secret? A secret once shared, will now no longer be an illusion, but a delightful discovery! The secret – my friends, in the midst of a most dedicated group of performers, with their portrayals from Scrooge to Mrs. Dilber, to Tiny Tim- I want you to take note of a youthful group of young actors in training who portray many of the Victorian supporting roles in A.C.C. – everything from party guests to those lovable spirited ghosts you see dancing and flying above the audience. They are all from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School – performing arts conservatory, and they are ALL truly truly exceptional young actors affectionately known at the Hartford Stage as “The Hartt School Ensemble”.

For over 16  years – these students, as noted – “The Hartt School Ensemble” have been a part of not only A.C.C. but participate in many Hartford Stage productions throughout the year. In fact, the Hartt School/Hartford Stage “Partnership In Training” offers a unique alliance of an undergraduate acting conservatory program with a respected professional theater. With their high energy, enthusiasm and budding talent – these young folks are indeed a major reason why this production of “A Christmas Carol” is so captivating and prized by all. We delight in seeing these student actors share their talents- acting, singing dancing with a welcoming audience, and are indeed honored to bear witness to our future stars of Broadway, television, music and more!

The Hartt School Ensemble

To these future stars, I thank you for the wonderful opportunity to see you at the start of your careers and rightly state you all have achieved the coveted “The Howard Noticed You Award” including: Evan Ayers, Scott Burrows, Madeline Dalton, Pedro Fontes, Megan Gwyn, Renee Hampton, Sarah Milnamow, Natalie Noack, William O’Brian, Nathan Podziewski, Brendan Roque, Kiera Sheehan and Katie Walsh.

 

Past Cast Member – Miss Natalie Brown

During those two decades – I’ve had the most wonderful opportunity to see the original Michael Wilson production from the start with its many original “stars” including the great Bill Raymond as Ebenezer, the most beautiful and talented Johanna Morrison as “Christmas Past”, Bill Kux as Mrs. Dilber, plus those who have gone on to other careers including producer/director/actor Eric Bloomquist, and lead vocalist for the progressive rock band “CIRCULINE” – Miss Natalie Brown. Hopefully, one day there will be a reunion of the original cast. In fact, on December 17th 2019, the Hartford Stage will perform their 1000th performance of “A Christmas Carol” – what a wonderful achievement and testament to this long-standing holiday tradition. Bravo Hartford Stage!

Former Cast Member Johanna Morrison

Former Cast Member Miss Natalie Brown, Howard Steven Frydman, Former Cast Member Bill Kux.

Our current leads include- Michael Preston, in his third year,  is once again our heartless miserly Mr. Ebenezer – he provides us all a simply wonderful –  deplorable “Bah-Humbug”! The extraordinary actor, Mr. Noble Shropshire, once again STEALS this production “oh so”  handily  – what a delight to behold! Dual roles that are not to be missed- Mrs. Dilber with her newly minted duster and that of Jacob Marley- Noble is the “gold standard” of this production!

Howard Steven Frydman and Michael Preston.

Our three spirits –  Rebecka Jones returns to the role of Bettye Pidgeon, Spirit of Christmas Past and Krusty Old Josie.  Alan Rust- he literally has the grandest entrance of all, as the “Spirit of Christmas Present” and Bert the cider vender and John-Andrew Morrison portrays the marvelous Mr. Marvel.

Howard Steven Frydman and Noble Shropshire.

The cast also includes Terrell Donnell Sledge as Fred; the extraordinary Robert Hannon Davis as Bob Cratchit;  Shauna Miles as Mrs. Fezziwig and Mrs. Cratchit; Vanessa R. Butler as Belle and Fred’s Wife; Kenneth De Abrew as First Solicitor, Undertaker, Mr. Fezziwig; Buzz Roddy as second solicitor; Tiny Tim is portrayed by Samuel “Sammy” Grear and Benjamin O’Brian, and finally for all you “Fan-Fans”- Lillian Peng and Princess-Larrine Madelynn Moore portray the coveted role of the one and only- “Fan”.

Robert Hannon Davis and Howard Steven Frydman

Once again, I urge all who delight in the true essence of the holidays to bring their family and friends to this extraordinary production of Hartford Stage’s annual holiday presentation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story”. Both memorable and heartfelt- it will leave you wiping away a wayward tear at plays end – and that my friends is a good thing! Wishing all a very Merry Yuletide and a Happy Turning of the Calendar. Enjoy!

The Hartt School Ensemble

Tickets for the Hartford Stage production of “A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story of Christmas” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling (860) 527-5151 or by visiting http://www.hartfordstage.org. Weeknight and evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances are Saturdays, Sundays and select weekdays at 2 p.m.

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 TheHoward24@gmail.com.

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The Howard ~ EXCLUSIVE MOVIE SCREENING “Richard Jewell” complimentary movie passes

 

You and a guest are cordially invited on Wednesday to the advance screening of RICHARD JEWELL.

FILM – RICHARD JEWELL

Wednesday, December 11th at 7:00PM @ Bowtie Palace 17

To download tix go to: http://www.wbtickets.com/QAZzs93324

**Please note, seating is first come, first served and not guaranteed. Get there early! Each pass will admit TWO.**

YOUR HOST TV STATION IS BATV.

In theaters on December 13

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSMxBLlA8qY

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Director:        Clint Eastwood

Writer:              Screenplay by Billy Ray based on the Vanity Fair article “American Nightmare – The Ballad of

Richard Jewell” by Marie Brenner

Producers:        Clint Eastwood, Tim Moore, Jessica Meier, Kevin Misher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, Jonah Hill

Cast:                Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Oliva Wilde and Paul Walter Hauser

Drama. Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on true events, “Richard Jewell” is a story of what happens when what is reported as fact obscures the truth. “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have thirty minutes.” The world is first introduced to Richard Jewell as the security guard who reports finding the device at the 1996 Atlanta bombing—his report making him a hero whose swift actions save countless lives. But within days, the law enforcement wannabe becomes the FBI’s number one suspect, vilified by press and public alike, his life ripped apart. Reaching out to independent, anti-establishment attorney Watson Bryant, Jewell staunchly professes his innocence. But Bryant finds he is out of his depth as he fights the combined powers of the FBI, GBI and APD to clear his client’s name, while keeping Richard from trusting the very people trying to destroy him.

 

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BATV Annual Appeal for Funding 2019 – Donations Welcomed! ‘Tis the Season For Giving!

Dear Friends and Viewers of BATV – Our Annual Appeal is underway!

PLEASE DONATE NOW TO BATV

Please find enclosed our Annual Appeal Flyer below with Info on how to make a donation to the non-profit community access station.

Please make a donation of $5, $10, $25 to support BATV

As you may know, our relocation to the Bloomfield Middle School has been very costly and we need everyones help to get the word out about making a donation to BATV.

May I count on you to make a donation! If possible, please forward the following information to your friends and contacts seeking a donation in support of the access television station.

SEND DONATIONS TO BATV, 390 PARK AVENUE, BLOOMFIELD, CT

Much appreciation for your kind help in supporting BATV.
Howard Steven Frydman ~ General Manager

 

 

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