American Idiot Opens on Broadway (and the Internet)

American Idiot Broadway ShowThe new musical American Idiot, based on the Grammy Award-winning Green Day album of the same name (and featuring arrangements by Next To Normal composer Tom Kitt), opens on Broadway tonight at the St. James Theatre. The musical about disaffected suburban youth in search of something more is also having opening night festivities online, which ticket-less fans can enjoy from the comfort of their home. At AmericanIdiotOnBroadway.com, fans can see red carpet footage, video and images from the after party, and Twitter updates from the show’s cast and creative team. American Idiot, which stars John Gallagher Jr. (Spring Awakening), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), Michael Esper, Tony Vincent, and Stark Sands, comprises all the songs from Green Day’s hit album, including “When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” plus a few songs from the band’s new album 21st Century Breakdown, most notably “21 Guns”. The musical’s original Broadway cast album was also released today.

A Volcano Erupts: Will New York Tourism Benefit?

The eruption of the volcano in Iceland has done more than provide exciting color photos of fire and lava, and disrupt flights across the United States and Europe: It has affected tourism in New York.
Because flights have been canceled to and from Europe, a number of tourists are stranded in the city. Some travel agencies are covering the cost of hotel stays for stranded travelers; while other tourists are footing the cost of the extra days of their enforced vacation themselves.
City officials announced last Friday that 30 New York hotels would offer 15 percent discounts to stranded tourists; they include the Skyline and the Comfort Inn near Penn Station. Other hotels are offering even higher discounts. The travelers who are stuck here are helping somewhat to offset the missed revenue of Europeans who booked hotel stays and haven’t been able to fly in. The travelers who are here, of course, also have to eat and amuse themselves somehow, so restaurants, shops, movie theaters and shops are liable to feel a bump in revenue as well.
After the ban on airspace is lifted, it could take up to six days to resume flights to and from Europe. Thousands of flights have already been disrupted.
The eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajokull (don’t worry; no one else can pronounce it ether) has caused massive disruptions not just for vacationers but for package and mail deliveries as well. The volcano erupted twice this month; hundreds of people were also forced to evacuate because of rising floodwaters.

Alan Cumming Drops Out of Broadway Spiderman Musical

Alan CummingProblems keep piling up for the still-in-limbo production of the massive new Julie Taymor-directed musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Although the troubled tuner, which features songs by U2′s Bono and The Edge, still has its Peter Parker (Reeve Carney), the show has now lost both of its “name” stars. Following Evan Rachel Wood’s departure comes the news that Alan Cumming is also out of the production. Cumming cited his busy schedule with the CBS drama The Good Wife as the reason for his inability to stay with the production to play Spiderman’s nemesis, the Green Goblin. Spider-Man still has yet to set a date for its Broadway opening.

The Muppets are in Town–But Don’t Expect Kermit or Miss Piggy

Brian HensonThese are not your parents’ Muppets…or maybe they are. “Stuffed and Unstrung,” an adults-only show now playing at New York’s Union Square Theater (100 East 17th Street; 212 505-0700), presents the Muppets the way many people have never seen them. The lead puppeteer is Brian Henson, son of famed Muppets’ creator Jim Henson. And while the Muppets are most famous for their TV show, movies, and break-out characters like Fozzy Bear, Sam the Eagle and of course, Kermit and Miss Piggy, the original Muppets actually started life as a group of characters aimed at adults. (Early appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “Ed Sullivan” were aimed at adults, not kids.)
The new show is totally improvisational and relies heavily on audience participation. Unlike many puppet shows (even good ones) the audience actually gets to see how the puppets work. There’s also a large screen for those in the audience who merely want to watch the sketches and not the in-between stuff.
Though billed as a kind of wild comedy/variety show for grown-ups, it’s also a chance to watch the performers working on the fly and off the cuff. The six puppeteers improvise songs and routines based on the audience’s suggestions, right then and there. The show morphed from a class for the puppeteers to work on their skills.
Caveat: Do not expect the kind of humor that permeated “Sesame Street” or the Muppet Show at Disney World. Puppets have found a fair amount of success in the New York theater world during the last few years, with such shows as “Avenue Q” making it big.
For more information, you can go to their website: stuffedandunstrung.com.

La Cage Aux Folles Opens On Broadway

La Cage Aux Folles Broadway ShowThe new revival of the musical La Cage Aux Folles opens tonight at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. This production has already enjoyed critical acclaim at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, and now comes to Broadway with Kelsey Grammer (TV’s Frasier and Cheers) in the role of nightclub owner Georges. Olivier Award winner Douglas Hodge reprises his role of Albin, Georges’ partner, who is also a featured drag performer at his club. Based on a French play and featuring a book by Harvey Fierstein and a score by Jerry Herman (“I Am What I Am” is the show’s signature song), La Cage Aux Folles originally appeared on Broadway in 1983 and had a fairly recent Broadway revival just a few years ago. For this current production, star Grammer will switch to the part of Albin in six months from now.

A Little Night Music

$77.00 A Little Night Music Tickets CODE IS: LMTIX412
A Little Night Music Discount Ticket Code on Broadway in New York City

Save 25% on performances
These prices apply to performances through April 25th 2010
and are available on select orchestra and front mezzanine seats.

CODE IS: LMTIX412
Prices are
$77.00 – $103.50 (regular price: $102 – $137)

Tickets available at the box office, BROADWAYOFFERS.COM or call 212-947-8844 and use code LMTIX412

Note: Angela Lansbury will not be performing on the dates that this offer is valid. Offer valid for performances April 13 – April 25, 2010. Offer excludes Saturday evening performances. All prices include $2.00 facility fee. Limit of 8 tickets per order. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Offer subject to availability and prior sale and cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. Offer not vaild on prior purchases. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Blackout dates may apply. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. If you have difficulties using the link, please go to www.broadwayoffers.com and enter your code there. Offer Expires 04/25/2010.

Take Out Their Own Garbage? As a Strike Looms, New Yorkers May Have to

New York City DoormanA million New Yorkers may soon be opening their own building doors, taking out their own garbage, doing their own repairs, and hailing their own cabs, as 30,000 workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island prepare to go on strike. The contracts for the workers at 3,200 apartment buildings across the city expire on Wednesdays; workers include doormen, concierges, porters, and handymen.
The workers, who largely serve upscale buildings, are members of 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. They have voted to walk off the job if contract negotiations reach an impasse.
Meetings were held across the city this past week, as they discussed both picket line rules and legal issues.
Building owners say they have been affected by the recession, and are asking that the workers reduce the number of sick days from 10 to five, and also pay for 10 percent of family health insurance. Eliminating pensions for new employees is also under consideration, as is denying new workers full pay for five years. The Realty Advisory Board, which represents the building owners, says that costs are going up and income is going down, with real estate taxes rising, rents being cut, and apartments losing value.
Workers say that their current salaries are not enough to cover the costs of raising a family in the city. In addition, they worry that older workers have a strong chance of being laid off, since hiring new ones would ultimately cost less.
Contract negotiations are taking place at the Sheraton Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Stay tuned—and get ready to pick up your own dry cleaning…

As St. Vincent’s Closes Its Doors, New Proposals are Already Circulating

A St. Vincent's RallySt. Vincent’s, the economically troubled hospital forced to shut down, sent home the last baby born there on Friday. Four health-care organizations have already submitted proposals to turn the facility into an urgent-care center. The new center would not admit patients, but would handle emergencies that were not life threatening.
According to Dr. Richard Daines, the state health-care commissioner, the new facility would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and doctors would see patents without an appointment. Doctors would be able to perform basic tests, like x-rays, and also to perform minor medical procedures, from removing cysts to making incisions. The facility would also provide transportation to other facilities for patients who had life-threatening conditions.
One of the hospitals that submitted a proposal was Beth Israel Medical Center, which already has a facility in the west 20s that provides some urgent-care services.
The decision on whether to develop a new urgent-care center could come in the next few weeks.
St. Vincent’s has been in economic trouble for a number of years now, and various proposals have surfaced with ways to either save it or convert it. Neighborhood rallies were held with increasing frequency. The hospital is closing because of a $700 million debt. In 2008, the hospital came close to being sold and moving across the street; the property would have been developed into a luxury residential building.
The facility may still be turned into luxury apartment buildings.
Closing St. Vincent’s means that other hospitals will have to bear the burden of an increased number of patients. Ambulances have already stopped bringing patients there—and expectant mothers are having to scramble for new hospitals in which to have their babies.

En Garde! Swashbuckling Arrives at the New York Public Library

FencersWhen you pop by the main branch of the New York Public Library, you can read about the escapades of the Three Musketeers and other daring adventurers—or you can (sort of) live them.
Friday afternoons at 1 pm until June 25, free, hour-long fencing classes are being offered outside the Fifth Avenue branch of the library.
When New York was competing to be the home of the 2012 Olympics, fencing demonstrations were given outside the library in order to to raise interest in and awareness of the sport, and the idea grew from there.
Instructors from the Manhattan Fencing Center provide the equipment and teach the classes.
Swordfighting, in one form or another, has existed for thousands of years; the history of fencing is both complicated and multi-faceted. Fencing made its debut at the 1896 Summer Olympics; unlike other sports, professionals were allowed to compete. (Ah, if they had only known about NBA players…) They were considered to be the first Olympic Games held in the modern era; fencing is one of the four sports that have been held at every Modern Olympic Games.
Three types of weapons are used in fencing: Foil (a light thrusting weapon); Epée (a heavy thrusting weapon); and Sabre (a light cutting and thrusting weapon.) Rules about when and how they are allowed to be used are plentiful.
Fencing competitions at the 2012 Olympics in London will be held from July 28-August 5 at the ExCel Exhibition Centre. Ten events are tentatively scheduled.
Suffice it to say, it’s harder than it looks.
Call (212) 382-2255 in order to register for the classes ouide the library(registration opens a week before the class date.)

In the Heights Broadway Show Review

Show Summary
The vibrant northern Manhattan neighborhood known as Washington Heights comes to thrilling life in this rhythmic and heartfelt Broadway musical about the denizens of a changing community.

Broadway Review
One of the most exciting Broadway musicals of the last several years, the Tony Award-winning sensation In the Heights has an original musical score by Broadway newcomer Lin-Manuel Miranda that includes Latin, hip-hop, and good old-fashioned showtune ballads. With Andy Blankenbuehler’s electric choreography and energetic performances by a diverse and talented cast, In the Heights brings the flavor of New York City’s streets to the Broadway stage.