No Pot of Gold For Broadway’s Finian’s Rainbow

Finian's Rainbow Broadway ShowThe revival of Finian’s Rainbow, starring Cheyenne Jackson and Kate Baldwin, closes at Broadway’s St. James Theatre today, in yet another of the seemingly endless series of Broadway show closings that have been happening this month. Although the colorful musical enjoyed a very warm reception from critics and fans of the old-style Broadway musicals, the show simply wasn’t able to find a large enough audience to stay open any longer. Also closing today at Studio 54 is the Roundabout Theatre Company’s limited-run production of writer/performer Carrie Fisher’s Hollywood tell-all, Wishful Drinking. The one-woman comedy by Star Wars‘s Princess Leia was originally scheduled to shutter at the beginning of this month, but was extended due to poplar demand.

If You Text While You Drive, Your Government is Sending You Mixed Messages

Texting whie drivingIt’s illegal to text while driving in New York City, right? That includes receiving as well as sending texts, correct? And that also includes reading texts while behind the wheel, no?
We’re just checking; because in what can only be called a magnificent piece of irony, New York state agencies send traffic-alert texts about road conditions that drivers receive…while they’re driving.
Which is illegal.
In part because the agencies that are sending these texts made it so.
Government in action.
The New York State Legislature outlawed texting while driving in New York this past fall. On November 1, it became illegal to use cell phones, ipods, and other electronic devices while driving. But Notify NYC, run by the Office of Emergency Management and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, alerts subscribers about traffic conditions and city emergencies by email, phone messages…and text messages. More than 25,000 New Yorkers subscribe to the service, which was launched last May.
A spokesman said drivers could check their messages when they stop, or can sign up for phone calls that can be answered with hands-free devices while driving.
The State Department of Transportation also sends out emails and text messages through TransAlert, which gives drivers information about traffic problems. Last November 772 alerts were sent out to drivers…who presumably read them while driving.
Hey, New York drivers? Be smarter than your local and state governments, OK? Act like grownups behind the wheel–not like 13-year-old girls at recess.

Antonio Banderas To Be Zorba on Broadway

The New York Post is reporting that Antonio Banderas is going to be playing the title role in a forthcoming Broadway production of the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical Zorba, to be directed by Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys). Banderas made a splash in his Broadway debut, playing the role of Guido in the recent Broadway revival of Nine, and theater fans have anxiously been awaiting his return to the New York stage ever since.

Broadway Community Reaches Out To Help Haiti

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDSBroadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA) and The Broadway League have both pledged $100,000.00 to disaster relief in Haiti following the country’s recent devastating earthquake. The Shubert Organization and Disney have also announced that they will be making contributions, and there are several other fundraising initiatives in the works from members of the Broadway community working to collect funds for Haiti.

Even the Empire State Building Supports the New York Jets

Empire State BuildingIt’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but green and white are the colors to display this weekend in the city in honor of the New York Jets football team. Even New York’s Empire State Building is getting into the action—the building will glow green and white all weekend in honor of the team’s making it into the playoffs.
The official lighting ceremony took place on Friday; former Jets wide receiver Wayne Chebret had the honor of flipping the switch that set the building aglow in the team’s colors. The Jets ”Flight Crew” cheerleaders and some former players joined fans for the ceremony.
The Jets are heading to San Diego, CA for the divisional playoff game on Sunday, at 4:40 pm. They play the widely favored San Diego Chargers. The Jets, if they win, will be one game away from the Super Bowl.
However, the Jets, for those keeping track, have not made it to the Superbowl in more than 40 years–since 1969.
Can’t make it to San Diego? Well, at least you can turn on your TV—and also go gaze upon the Empire State Building.
By the way, upcoming lighting schemes for the Empire State Building include red, black and green for this Monday, January 18, and the celebration of Martin Luther King Day; all red for the National Heart Association “Wear Red Day” (February 5); and red, pink and white for Valentine’s Day weekend.

The Lion King Broadway Show Review

The Lion King Broadway ShowShow Summary
Based on the beloved animated Disney movie of the same name, Disney’s The Lion King tells the tale of a young cub who flees his home after being convinced by his scheming uncle that he was responsible for his father Mufasa’s death.

Broadway Show Review
Though some aspects of this Broadway musical adaptation of the original film still seem a bit too cartoonish, the African-inspired music composed specifically for the show and director/designer Julie Taymor’s breathtaking puppetry and gorgeous stage effects make The Lion King Disney’s most innovative stage show so far.

Antonio Banderas Reportedly To Star In Zorba on Broadway

Antonio BanderasThe New York Post is reporting that Antonio Banderas is going to be playing the title role in a forthcoming Broadway production of the John Kander & Fred Ebb musical Zorba, to be directed by Gary Griffin (The Color Purple) and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys). Banderas made a splash in his Broadway debut, playing the role of Guido in the recent Broadway revival of Nine, and theater fans have anxiously been awaiting his return to the New York stage ever since.

Times Square Adds Criminals to its List of Billboards

An FBI BillboardIf you go to New York’s Times Square in part to gaze at the never-ending display of over sized billboards featuring lingerie ads, celebrities gleaming down at you, and skinny sullen teenagers hawking perfume, you’re in for something different.
Starting today, the FBI will display an enormous billboard in Times Square near the TKTS Booth on 47th Street. The digital board will display a rotating list of New York fugitives as well as the number of an FBI tips hotline. Images of missing children will also be displayed. In addition, the board will take advantage of the number of international tourists by featuring information about criminals from abroad.
The billboard is being provided free of charge by advertiser Clear Channel Outdoor.
The nationwide project was launched in December of 2007. It’s now active in 20 cities, and features more than 1,000 billboards across the country, including many on major highways.
Believe it or not, at least 14 criminals have been apprehended through the use of the billboards, including those whose crimes have included money laundering, armed robbery, and kidnapping.
It’s hoped that the sheer number of people who pass through the Time Square spot, one of the most crowded corners in the city, will lead to some good tips.
In Albuquerque, NM, a mother and son were driving by a billboard when the mother noticed that the image on the board looked like her son.
It was. She took him into the local police station.

Project Runway Struts its Stuff in New York Again

Project RunwayLike many transplants, “Project Runway” just couldn’t make it away from the Big Apple, so for its seventh season, it has returned to New York City. The show kicks off its new season tonight on Lifetime TV. Yesterday was declared “Project Runway Day” in New York, in celebration of the show’s return, and Fashion Avenue was renamed “Project Runway Avenue.” (Don’t streets in the city have real names any more?) The day highlighted the show’s contribution to fashion in New York–the retail industry provides jobs for more than 175,000 people.
The show foundered in LA, losing viewers as well as a real sense of drama and purpose.
Regulars Heidi Klum (supermodel et al), Tim Gunn (snarky-but-kind mentor), Nina Garcia (fashion director for “Marie Claire” Magazine) and Michael Kors (uber-successful designer) will be back this season, and Nicole Ritchie, celebrity-for-no-real-reason, will be showing up as the first celebrity guest judge–just, gasp, four months after giving birth.
Sixteen new designers will compete for their shot at a chance to show their collection during New York Fashion Week and the tents in Bryant Park. They will also receive the chance to sell their line on the web site Bluefly, as well as a cash prize and other goodies.
Viewers familiar with the show will recognize the Atlas Apartments, Parson’s School of Design, and other New York landmarks previously featured on the snow.
Let the snarking and backstabbing begin!

Passing Strange Film Airs On PBS Tonight

Passing Strange Broadway ShowSpike Lee’s docu-film of the recent Broadway musical Passing Strange airs on PBS this evening. In the New York City area, the movie will be on WNET at 9pm. If you are in another city, check your local listings for the exact date and time of the broadcast. Passing Strange is the electric rock musical co-written and co-starring Tony Award winner Stew, and starring Daniel Breaker (Shrek the Musical) as his alter-ego, a young black man who leaves his middle-class L.A. home for a journey that takes him through Europe and back again.