New York Reaches Olympic Heights: Percy Jackson Fever Takes Over

Percy Jackson and the OlympiansIf you have, know, or have spoken to a preteen over the last year, you have probably seen them clutching one of the “Percy Jackson” books. Now, the first movie based on the series (five books in all) by Rick Riordan finally opens today in New York (and across the country).
The series highlights a group of kids who are demigods: Each one has a parent who is an Olympic God: Greek mythology made modern.
Plot? Young Percy, who’s the son of Poseidon, is wrongly accused of stealing a powerful lightning bolt from the gods and must set about to clear his name, all while dealing with adolescent issues. Oh yes, his mom gets kidnapped and taken to Hades, his two best friends (a satyr; the daughter of Athena) have issues of their own, and so on.
What makes the movie especially intriguing for New Yorkers, however, is that much of it is set here, and much of it was filmed here.
Pivotal scenes take place in and around The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the museum will actually be running family workshops inspired by the book in March and April. (Semi-spoiler alerts approaching: the Greek galleries play an important role, and much filming took place in front of the building last summer.)
Another important landmark in the book: The Empire State Building, or, to be more specific, the top of the Empire state Building and beyond…)
Central Park also plays a role, as does the Upper East Side.
So when you’ve seen the movie, check out the actual landmarks that inspired the scenes–and get ready for Percy Jackson fever to take over.

Time Stands Still Broadway Show Review

Time Stands Still Broadway ShowShow Summary
Sarah, a photographer, and her partner of several years, James, a journalist, have traveled the world documenting the tragedies of war. But following an injurious accident, the couple must face the challenge of settling down to a more conventional life back in the U.S.

Broadway Review
Donald Margulies’s new play Time Stands Still is a well-written and well-acted drama (the stellar cast is headed by Laura Linney and Brian d’Arcy James) that examines a couple as they try to adjust to the unadventurous life and to each other in this ordinary context. Most of the questions that Margulies poses – In a world full of pain, is it okay for us to find happiness for ourselves? Is it morally acceptable for a photojournalist to only document tragedy and not intervene to help the injured? – have been asked in similar dramas, so the subject doesn’t exactly feel novel, but Time Stands Still does provide a very engaging and emotional evening in the theater.

Cirque du Soleil: OVO

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Cirque du Soleil OVO Discount Tickets in New York City

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These prices apply to performances April 13-29 2010
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Offer will appear as a 50% discount. Must purchase by Feb. 14, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Offer applicable on select performances from April 13 to 29, available online only and subject to availability. Regular service charges apply to all tickets. Not applicable on Price Level 3, Premium or Tapis Rouge tickets. Not applicable on previously purchased tickets. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Schedule is subject to change without notice. All sales are final, no refunds or exchanges.

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Forget Down, Focus on Tweed: It’s Fall Fashion Week

Fall Fashion Week ScheduleForget the slush and cold currently making its home in New York, and turn your thoughts to autumn leaves and riding boots: It’s Fall Fashion Week in the city. (It’s officially knows as Mercedes Benz Fashion week). For you fashion followers, this event marks the last time that the shows will be held in the tents at Bryant Park: They move to Lincoln Center in the fall. (A dispute between the designers and the park management led to the move.)
The shows, which kick off tonight, run through Feb. 18 and feature top-name designers showing their wares for next autumn. Today’s shows include menswear designer Duckie Brown and upscale lingerie designer La Perla, as well as “The Heart Truth Red Dress Fashion Show.” The latter focuses on heart disease in woman; actresses and models from Heidi Klum to Felicity Huffman and Valerie Harper will walk the catwalk in red to bring awareness to the number-one killer of woman. Designers such as Carolina Herrera, Donna Karan and Rachel Roy are represented.
Another fashion extra is model Naomi Campbell’s “Fashion for Relief” (Feb. 12), an all-star spectacular designed to raise money in aid of CARE; it’s to raise funds to help rebuild the healthcare system for mothers and children in Haiti.
Other designers showing this week include 3.1 Phillip Lim, Isaac Mizrahi, and Tommy Hilfiger.
And don’t fret if you can’t actually be there, placing orders and rubbing shoulders with gossip girls and catwalk strutters for a first look: eventually, whatever is shown now will work its way down to the rest of us.

Times Square Pedestrian Mall To Become Permanent

Times SquareGood news for those who have been enjoying the freedom to literally walk right down the middle of Broadway in the Times Square area – Mayor Bloomberg has announced that the temporary pedestrian mall will become permanent. Closing Broadway to traffic between 42nd and 47th streets began as an experiment in the summer of 2009, the idea being to relieve some traffic congestion in midtown while giving New York visitors and locals alike the opportunity to enjoy the theater district without dodging cars and taxis. Statistics showed that the street closure did not do much to improve NYC traffic, but it did reduce pedestrian injuries in the area considerably while providing tourists more space to take pictures and local office workers a nice place to have lunch outside. Although the current set-up is a bit ramshackle in places, with chairs and tables strewn about over the concrete of Broadway, the pedestrian mall will gradually be transformed into a proper plaza with a more aesthetically pleasing design.

The Broadway Shows Will Go On

It may be blizzarding in New York City, but a little (or a lotta) snow doesn’t faze showbiz folks who believe that the show must go on. The Broadway League announced this morning that there will be no cancellations today, and both the matinee and evening Broadway shows will play as scheduled. If you have to travel into NYC and are worried about dealing with the bad weather, you may want to contact your show’s ticketing agent to see if they will be willing to exchange your tickets for another date. Not all shows are willing to offer exchanges, but some will, so it is worth asking. So far Telecharge has announced that it will offer exchanges to people holding tickets to these Broadway shows: Billy Elliot, Chicago, Fela!, God of Carnage, Hair, Jersey Boys, A Little Night Music, Mamma Mia!, Memphis, The Phantom of the Opera, Race, South Pacific, Time Stands Still, and A View from the Bridge.

The British Are Coming! (To Lincoln Center, That Is)

Royal Shakespeare FestivalTo go, or not to go…well, of course you should go!
That is, to the Lincoln Center Festival in the summer of 2011, when the Royal Shakespeare Company sets up shop in New York’s Park Avenue Armory, as part of the Center’s Summer Festival.
An announcement was made this week at a news conference at Alice Tully Hall that the troupe, perhaps the most prestigious classical theater company in the world, will present 45 performances of Shakespeare’s’ works in repertory, for a six-week residence from July 6 to August 14, 2011. The five plays are being chosen from the company’s current offerings: “King Lear,” “Romeo and Juliet,” Julius Caesar,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” The Winter’s Tale,” and “As You Like It.”
An exact copy of the Royal Shakespeare Theater is being built in Stratford, and will be shipped (in pieces) to New York and then assembled in the Armory’s Drill Hall. Is there room there, mayhap you are wondering? Prithee, do not fear: The Hall holds a whopping 55,000 feet of space.
The theater, modeled on a new one that is set to open in spring of 2011, will offer seating on three levels for 930 people. The seat farthest from the stage? A mere 49 feet away.
And the Royal Shakespeare is importing more than the stage: 44 actors, 23 musicians, and 30 other artists are coming along as well.
Although the Royal Shakespeare Company has been offering productions in the United States for the last 15 years, this is the first time they will undertake anything of this magnitude.

Hair Gives Discount Tickets To City Students On Snow Day

Hair Broadway ShowFollowing reports that New York City is primed to get dumped by a whole lot of snow tomorrow, it was announced that New York City’s public schools would be closing up shop on Wednesday, February 10th. To give New York City students an opportunity to have some extra fun on their snow day, the producers of the Broadway revival of the musical Hair are offering New York City students $40 tickets for the matinee and evening performances on Wednesday. Students must purchase the tickets at the show’s box office (the Al Hirschfeld Theatre on West 45th Street), they have to show a valid ID, and they are permitted to purchase as many as four of these discounted tickets. Snow or no snow, the people at Hair are always determined to let the sun shine in!

The Big Screen is Going Green at This Legendary Film Studio

Kaufman Astoria StudiosYou may see movies in color, but the name of the game at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios is now green.
The studio, currently home to “Sesame Street” and Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” starring Edie Falco (and future home of the “Smurfs” Movie, to be released next year–no, we can’t wait either) is converting to green energy. Kaufman Astoria is the oldest functioning movie studio in the city; more than 120 silent and sound films have been produced there. They include the Marx Bothers’ “Animal Crackers,” as well as “The Wiz,” “All That Jazz,” and Woody Allen’s “Radio Days.”
The studio is switching from commonly used heating oil to a new mix of petroleum and biodiesel, produced by Brooklyn-based company METRO and known as “Greenheat.” It’s made from 5 percent biodiesel fuel (which includes used vegetable oil from restaurants, as well as soy and canola oils and algae) and 95 percent petroleum. The biodiesel burns much cleaner than oil and has no sulfur. The studio will be supplied with 80,000 gallons of the fuel each year, which will earn it the distinction of being the largest commercial user of Greenheat in New York.
METRO also supplies other distinctive clients–the Hampton Jitney (the bus service that ferries beachgoers to the tony Hamptons) and the City of New York.
The company will be opening a 110-million-gallon processing plant in Brooklyn later this year, which will add not just cleaner energy–but a spate of new jobs as well.

Sean Hayes and Nathan Lane To Headline Broadway Talks Series

Sean HayesA new discussion series known as “Broadway Talks” will debut at the 92nd Street Y in March. Producer and Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth will host the evening talks, each of which will feature a notable Broadway personality. In the first installment on March 1, Roth will chat with respected actor Liev Schreiber, who is currently starring in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. Subsequent evenings will feature Time Stands Still‘s Laura Linney (March 28), The Addams Family‘s patriarch Nathan Lane (May 23), and star of the upcoming Broadway musical revival Promises, Promises, Sean Hayes (May 24). Tickets for “Broadway Talks” are $27. Get more info at www.92Y.org/lectures.