Gershwin…Broderick…Who Could Ask For Anything More?


My first aural introduction to the work of George Gershwin was courtesy of TWA.  His “Rhapsody in Blue” was the soundtrack for their commercial campaign for many years and filled my ears with an explosion of breathtaking sound.  My first introduction to the Gershwin brothers was through An American in Paris.  Again, I fell down into a chasm of musical bliss – and why wouldn’t I – the Gershwin brother’s music and lyrics helped to ink the blueprint of the American standard song.  Everyone, from Ella Fitzgerald to Fred Astaire, has performed their music.   Hollywood and Broadway have been defined by their sound; after all, they have created some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century.

In January, Porgy and Bess, George Gershwin’s last theatrical work, was revived on Broadway.  While the all African American opera is certainly the Gershwin brother’s most controversial work, some of their more popular songs have manifested in the form of a brand new musical with old-school flair.  Nice Work If You Can Get It premiered at the Imperial Theatre, located at 249 West 45th Street, last week and it is a rhapsody in laughter. 

Nice Work If You Can Get It is a zany romantic musical set in New York City during the Prohibition era.  It centers on the unconventional, kooky love affair between Jimmy Winter, a wealthy playboy, and Billie Bendix, a hard nose bootlegger.  After leaving a his bachelor party for his fourth upcoming marriage, a saucy Jimmy runs into Billie, who is laying low from the feds while trying to protect her new shipment of booze.  As he attempts to make a pass at her, Jimmy reveals to Billie that he has an enormous estate in Long Island that his family never uses.  Billie and bumbling cohorts Cookie and Duke concoct the idea of storing the demon gin in the cellar of the mansion and the hijinks start from there.  Over a weekend Billie, Cookie, Duke, Jimmy, his icy betrothed Eileen, Eileen’s conservative senator father, his uptight sister, her G-men, a troupe of chorus girls, a police chief and even Jimmy’s mother all converge on the property creating a hilarious adventure by the melody of Gershwin.

Writer John O’Hara once stated, “George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don’t have to believe it if I don’t want to.”   And after viewing this musical, I don’t believe it either.  The presence of both George and Ira Gershwin were more teeming than ever courtesy of this productionAs with any musical, the music and lyrics are the thing.   And this musical couldn’t have a better foundation.  The book pushes the production along; it is structure that is balanced on the music.  Joe DiPietro created one hell of a comedic story to go along with the blah-blah-blah-blithe musical numbers.  Derek McLane’s lavish set is extremely complimentary to the time period in which the musical takes place and director Kathleen Marshall’s choreography made me want to do the Charleston in my seat.

Ever since I saw Matthew Broderick pull one over on his parents and Dean Edward Rooney in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I knew he could never do anything wrong with me.  And his choices on screen and on stage have made me stand by that statement.  It’s been over 20 years since Broderick lip-synced to The Beatles and his boyish looks and charm can still convince an audience to buy whatever he is selling.  Watching him on stage can fill any theater with joy.  Kelli O’Hara is delightful.  She and Broderick have great chemistry.  Chris Sullivan gives a spot-on performance as dimwitted Duke Mahoney – Forrest Gump has nothing on him.  Judy Kaye is a pleasure to watch as Duchess Estonia Dulworth, and the rest of the cast provide fascinating rhythm. But if Broadway gave out awards for breakout performances, my vote would go to Michael McGrath.  As Cookie McGee, he gives some of the best zingers of the show.  He is more than just the comic relief, he is the comic godsend.

Nice Work If You Can Get It is more delicious than a slice of Junior’s cheesecake.  I could devour it and ask for seconds.  Call me old-school but musicals always showcase the best of what is great about Broadway and harkens back to a time when Hollywood produced royalty.  When a musical hits the mark, it is an undeniable bulls-eye.  During the April 24 red carpet premiere, Sarah Jessica Parker suggested that audiences should, “run; don’t walk” to see this show.  Now perhaps her assessment of this production could be biased since she is married to its star, but in this case I’m in total accord with Mrs. Broderick.  Nice Work If You Can Get It is absolutely the cat’s meow.  It’s fun, fun and more fun – the quintessential American musical done right. 

F.A.M.E NYC Remembers Dick Clark

Even before I was granted the privilege of staying up late and bringing in the New Year with my parents, Dick Clark was a part of my life.  Every Saturday we would watch American Bandstand, a weekly event which signified the end of the Saturday morning cartoon shows, toggling between it and Soul Train, depending how the channels scheduled the two music shows.  By the time I got hip to Dick Clark, he had already earned the reputation of “America’s oldest teenager”.  His seemingly ageless face and graceful presence provided the soundtrack and memories of my childhood.  Pyramid was one of my favorite game shows as a girl and the American Music Awards, which he also produced, always kept me glued to my TV screen.  I swear if I had sat any closer, my parents would have experienced a Poltergeist-like scenario as I would have been in the television. 

Dick Clark was born in Bronxville, New York, and was raised in Mount Vernon.  After high school he implemented a dream to be in radio by attending Syracuse University, graduating in 1951 with a degree in advertising and a minor in radio.   After stints at different radio stations in New York, California and Pennsylvania, Clark became host of a local show titled Bandstand in 1956.  In 1957, the newly renamed American Bandstand and Dick Clark burst onto the landscape of American pop culture as the show debuted on ABC.  Along with breaking color lines, Clark assisted in transforming rock n’ roll from a musical pariah amongst parents into one of the most popular genres of music.  In 1972, he produced and hosted Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  In April 2004, Clark announced he had type 2 diabetes and in December of that year he suffered a minor stroke, which left him with a speech impediment caused by dysarthria.  Because of this, Ryan Seacrest assisted Clark in co-hosting the annual New Year’s Eve celebration.  On April 18, Dick Clark passed away after suffering a heart attack following surgery.  He was 82.  On April 20, he was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. 

Each year, Dick Clark hosted the biggest party in Times Square.  For decades people descended from all parts of the globe to participate.  As far back as I can remember Clark has been a part of me toasting in the New Year – first with eggnog, then with wine – it is unfathomable to believe I will not see his luminous eyes and boyish smile during the last hour of this December 31st.  I guess it is because of New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and American Bandstand  I have always associated Clark with new beginnings and inspiration.  Even his illness couldn’t tarnish his eternal youthful spirit.  He left an indelible impression in music and media, all while being a good person to boot.  I suppose learning that your heroes and people you admire have succumb to their mortal fate is a symptom of getting older yourself.  And while it’s just a fact of life, doesn’t stop it from hurting like hell.  Thank you Dick Clark for all your contributions to media and music, thank you for such an incredible, inspirational legacy – New Year’s Eve won’t be the same without you.

Win 2 Tickets To See The Wittiest Comedy On Broadway

The laughter isn’t over yet!

Win 2 Tickets

To See Our Pick for Top Play for 2011

Enter F.A.M.E NYC’S “Spring Recess” Ticket Giveaway!

To enter, please leave a comment to this post answering

the following question,

Which New York City institution of higher learning is the oldest in the State of New York

 and an Ivy League school?



 F.A.M.E NYC’S “SPRING RECESS” ticket giveaway ends 12 p.m. May 4, 2012.  The winner will be announced on Cinco de Mayo!  Good Luck FAMERS I’m waiting to hear from you.


Check out Seminar on Broadway: and!/seminaronbway 



Magic/Bird Got Hops


Rivalries between humans go back as far as Cain and Able.  Since the days of ancient Greece, sporting events have been the best venue to showcase the dedication, passion and majesty of competition.  Throughout the 20th century myriad genres of sports featured great rivalries – Ali and Frazier, New York Yankees and Boston Red Socks and Joe Louis and Max Schmeling.  But no sporting rivalry produced more pageantry than the skirmishes between Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The grudge match between Magic and Bird began in 1979 when Johnson and Michigan State beat Bird and Indiana State in the NCAA finals.  Their rivalry progressed to the pros as both were drafted to the NBA, Magic for the Los Angeles Lakers and Bird for the Boston Celtics.  The competition between the Celtics and Lakers did not start with Magic and Bird, these teams have had an adversarial history that predated both Hall of Famers entrance to the league, but with Magic and Bird the rivalry rose to mythical proportions.   Between 1984 and 1987, they went head to head in the finals four times with the Lakers winning the championship three times.    Their contrasting playing styles and obvious difference in skin color made great media fodder, helping to fuel the antagonistic relationship.  It also helped to resurrect a seriously ailing NBA.  Individually, their desire to dominate each other assisted them in being better players. 

In 2010, the production team of Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo brought the NFL center stage when they opened Lombardi at the Circle in the Square Theatre and scored a touchdown.  This spring they traded in the gridiron for the hardwood court of the NBA; Magic/Bird, their latest stage production, opened at the Longacre Theatre on April 11.  Magic/Bird is a contemporary retelling of an epic rivalry and the unlikely friendship that was forged from it.

The play opens in 1991 with Magic informing the world via press conference that he is retiring from the NBA due to the discovery that he had contracted HIV and follows Bird’s reaction.  The audience is then transported back, being introduced to Magic and Bird as collegiate players during the championship game that spawned their rivalry.  It then recounts their transition to the pros as well as their individual rise as stars of the NBA.  The production also depicts how their rivalry affected the fans as well as black/white relations during that time and the media’s role in exacerbating it.  Then suddenly in 1984, while most of the country was choosing sides, Magic and Bird were shooting a commercial for Converse.  While doing so they discovered commonalities within each other and forged the foundation that would develop into a long-lasting friendship.  The play ends coming full circle as Magic comes to terms with his announcement to the media and Bird contemplates retirement.  The two giants would make one last stand together playing for the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team during the Barcelona Olympics in what would be dubbed as the first Dream Team.

Playwright Eric Simonson penned an interesting narrative.  The play moves with the speed of a fast break; the energy is constant and never waivers.  These two men transcended their sport, eventually ascending to the immortal status of titans.  Sure, initially people will fill the seats because they were fans of either Magic or Bird and recall how they innervated the NBA.  But patrons will soon find as I did that what lies beneath this tale of basketball and fierce competition is a genuine human interest story of two men that were able to find the humanity within each other despite differences in style, background and race.  Like Lombardi, Magic/Bird won’t just appeal to sports fans but to anyone that enjoys an emotive drama.  Whether one knows what a power forward does or not is irrelevant, you will still leave the theater feeling as if you have learned more about men behind the legend.  In my book Magic/Bird scores a triple-double!

Part of my fondness for Magic/Bird is the innovative multimedia staging of the play.  Various excerpts of press conferences and games are intertwined with the action happening on stage.  The actors, with the exception of those portraying Magic and Bird, play multiple characters, which I found extremely entertaining.  I also appreciated the role call of the actors at the beginning of the play.  Kevin Daniels recreates the show time pizzazz of Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Tug Coker makes his Broadway debut in the role of the ever so serious Larry Bird.  Peter Scolari triumphs as Pat Riley, Red Auerbach, Jerry Buss and Bob Woolf.  Deirdre O’Connell is a comedic delight as Dinah Bird, Patricia Moore, bar owner Shelly and Georgia Bird.  Robert Ray Manning Jr. and Francois Battiste complete the cast.   All of them are MVPs.

During this time of year, the NBA kicks into high gear as the most dominate teams secure their place in the playoffs hoping to make it through to the finals.  Broadway in springtime shares the same feverish anticipation as the NBA, new shows open either proving themselves worthy or unworthy of a Tony nomination.   Whether or not Magic/Bird will make it to Broadway’s version of the finals is unclear, but I do commend this production for attempting to push the boundaries of American theater.

Photos courtesy of

If These Walls Could Talk, Clybourne Park Discusses the Tenets of Race and Residence

When Jefferson combined sentences from Richard Cumberland and John Locke to create the phrase “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, it might’ve not been evident to the Second Continental Congress that the pursuit of happiness actually meant property.  But as the original 13 colonies expanded, territories were drawn and invisible lines were created that dictated to citizens and noncitizens where they can cross and live, Jefferson’s underlying intention couldn’t be clearer.   The pursuit of property has always been at the heart of the American dream and is more patriotic than baseball or apple pie.  It can also be said that the pursuit of finding truth in art has been the desideratum of artisans ever since cavemen scribbled on ancient walls. 

Often times, real life experiences inspire art; playwright and author Lorraine Hansberry used her own family experiences to create the masterpiece, A Raisin in the Sun.    Other times, art serves as the genesis to create new art; actor and playwright Bruce Norris picked up where Hansberry left off when he created Clybourne Park, awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize  for Drama as well as Britain’s Olivier Award for Best New Play.    The plot for A Raisin in the Sun deals with the Youngers, a black family in 1950s Chicago that wishes to realize a dream and improve their circumstances by purchasing a home in the all-white neighborhood of Clybourne Park.  Despite turmoil within the family as well as threats and a bribe from a representative of Clybourne Park’s Improvement Association, the Youngers decide to move into the home thus attaining their dream.

Clybourne Park consists of two acts; Act I centers on Bev and Russ, the couple selling the home the Youngers are buying.  They have become disillusioned with the neighborhood after being ostracized by their neighbors in the wake of their son’s, a Korean War vet, sudden death.  While preparing for the move, they are visited by the local chaplain, neighbor Karl Lindner and Linder’s deaf, pregnant wife.  Linder has just returned from his failed attempt to coerce the Youngers not to move into the neighborhood.  Trying to use his persuasive tactics on Bev and Russ, he implores them not to go through with the sale, fearing that the Youngers will be the first in an influx of black families, the neighborhood would be adversely affected and property values will plummet. To prove that black and white neighborhoods should be segregated he feebly tries to enlist the help of Bev and Russ’ black maid and her husband, who recently arrived to pick her up.  As the conversation continues, tensions and words boil as animosities surface and spill over.

Act II takes place in 2009 in the same house.  The neighborhood of Clybourne Park is now predominately black.  The house, once the center of controversy, is now the victim of serious neglect.  The encroaching reality of gentrification is looming as a white couple with child wants to buy the house and renovate it and any signs of its past.  They meet with the their lawyer and a black couple representing a neighborhood association and their lawyer to discuss their planned alterations for the house, which are in dispute by the neighborhood committee due to the area’s  historical significance.   As they discuss the fate of the house, it’s revealed that Kathy, the lawyer of the white couple, is the daughter of the Linder’s,  who moved from the neighborhood right after she was born, and Lena is related to the Youngers.  Just as in the first act, the discussion of the house’s destiny slides into an exchange about race that exposes just how far we have really come in America when it comes to this often taboo topic.

Slick…piercing…irreverently pleasing, Norris digs deep into America’s well of issues that skim underneath the quest to achieve Jefferson’s declaration and strikes black and white gold.  He also creates a splendid new chapter to Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal work.  Clybourne Park is a flawless and timeless production worthy of the Pulitzer Prize.  One could bury this play in a time capsule and after the apocalypse dig it up and it will not only show what human nature was like in the 20th and 21st centuries, it’ll more than likely indicate what human nature is like in the future since human behavior doesn’t change.  Norris interweaves race, loss, fear, ignorance, good intentions, gentrification and real estate with a humorous thread that creates a banner for all to see and discuss.  As A Raisin in the Sun was and is a piece that is a must see, so is Clybourne Park.

Just as Norris weaves themes, the cast weaves characters, each of them playing a dual or multiple roles.  Annie Parisse plays Betsy and Lindsey, Frank Wood portrays Russ and Dan, Crystal A. Dickinson plays the role of Francine and Lena, Brendan Griffin depicts the roles of Jim, Tom and Kenneth, Damon Gupton portrays Albert and Kevin, Christina Kirk plays Bev and Kathy and Jeremy Shamos completes the cast depicting Karl and Steve.  In each act the cast is sharp and lusciously engaging.    They effortlessly push the themes and dialogue, making lasting impressions with each character they play and deserve every ovation they receive.  The only problem I find with Clybourne Park is that it playing a limited engagement at the Walter Kerr Theatre, located at 219 West 48th Street.  This old house only stands for 16 weeks; I suggest making your way to the Theater District to see what is surely going to be the Tony Award winner for Best Play.

Photos:  Joan Marcus

I Know It’s Only The Rolling Stones…But I Like It

The Temptations proclaimed, “Poppa was a rolling stone.”  Blues maestro Muddy Waters told folks that he was a rollin’ stone.  But little did he know when he recorded that tune for Chess Records in 1950 that the title would be the moniker for one of the most iconic and successful groups of the 20th century.  Known as the first bad boys of rock ‘n roll and complete with a “g” on the end, The Rolling Stones formed in 1962 when then guitarist and founding member the late Brian Jones christened the name while setting up a gig.  Little did he, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman or Ian Stewart know that they would help to cement the British Invasion of the 60s as well as become some of the architects of rock ‘n roll. 

Fifty years later, amid a few changes in bandmates, The Rolling Stones are just as relevant and popular as they ever were.  And as the band and their throngs of fans worldwide commemorate the legacy of music The Rolling Stones has created, it was Porter Contemporary that had me in its sway.  Last Thursday the gallery gave its own homage to the group that ranked number 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists when it debuted, A Rolling Stone.  The exhibition is not only a celebration for the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones,  it also inspired by the proverb, “A rolling stone gathers no moss,”  (a sentiment that  perfectly exemplifies the career and members of The Rolling Stones).   Displayed in A Rolling Stone are the works of Jason Bryant, Jennifer Murray, Johnny Romeo, Adam Normandin, JaH-HaHa and Naoto Hattori.  The show is concise and cohesive; the 10 pieces selected for the exhibit are a beautiful representation of the individual artists’ style as well as the theme of the show.  JaH-HaHa’s paintings feature a young Mick Jagger and Keith Richards atop sheets of music.   Jason Bryant created works based on The Rolling Stones’ iconic album Sticky Fingers, while Jennifer Murray’s work showcased the proverb.

The merging of music and art has always been a particular source of inspiration and enjoyment for me.  Wild horses couldn’t drag me away from seeing this exhibit, considering that I’m a huge admirer of The Stones.  Well curated, reflections of each member’s personality are inherent throughout the space.  But out of all the members, A Rolling Stone reminds me most of Charlie Watts, understated but with a driving back beat that is intrinsic and entrancing, A Rolling Stone will be on exhibit until May 26.  I recommend going to see it; I guarantee you will leave satisfied.

Formerly Raandesk Gallery, Porter Contemporary is located in Chelsea section of the Village at 548 West 28th Street and is open Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Photos courtesy of Porter Contemporary

Slideshow by F.A.M.E NYC Editor

The Splendor of the Lens


My first introduction to Oscar Correcher’s work was through viewing the photo album of model/actor Hector Lincoln on Facebook.  He had uploaded a few new photos, shot by Oscar, which I found to be gorgeous.  A lot has always been said about the love affair between a model and the camera.  We have all heard derivatives of the expression, “The camera just loves him or her!”  And while this can be true, not much is said about the romance between a photographer and the camera.  If the camera and a model have a love affair, then the photographer guides the liaison.  The photographer is the person responsible for the shot that makes consumers want to purchase the latest trends.  They are an essential component to the fashion world.  And it takes love and passion to stand with dozens of photographers during fashion week and fight to get a good shot as a model walks the runway or to wake up early to get the best light for a photo shoot. 

As a former model, Oscar’s relationship with the camera has been from both sides.   His love and passion for life has prompted him to travel the world, capturing the beauty of experience.  Whether it is a fashion story or Dali, his canine, Oscar’s photos lure the viewer in to a world of splendor.  Recently, I had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about fashion, New York City and his bucket list.

Tell me about your background and travels.

 I was born in Barcelona, Spain. At the age of 17, I went to London, when I was 19 to Paris and when I was 21, I came to NYC.

When did you first fall in love with photography?

When I started seeing old black and white pictures at home with my family.  When I was eight years old, my father gave me my first camera, a second hand camera that he got on the streets of Barcelona on a Sunday.

What was the first camera you ever owned?

Professionally, a Chinon 35mm that a friend had sitting at home on the lower east side, we didn’t even know if  it was going to work.

What year did you move to New York? 

October 1997

What made you want to move to New York City?

The need of keep traveling and having new experiences in the world.                     

Has your experience as a model assisted your eye as a photographer?

Definitely! It wakes up a sense of intuition.

What do you love most about shooting fashion stories?

Being able to tell stories and show locations and places by using a theme or clothing.

What is the importance of photography to the business of fashion?

It is a way of translating what the brand or the designer is about or wants to communicate to the public for that particular season.

Who are your top five designers and why?

Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Ann Demeulemeester, Alexander Wang and Richard Chai because of their perfection/style, beauty and hard work.

If you had a photography bucket list, tell me the top three:


The dessert, Brazil and cities from all over the world.


Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey and Lady Gaga (an amazing young and very talented young lady from our time).

Random Things

Love, friendship and kindness.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2012?

To keep doing what I love and improving myself by learning and sharing.   

To view Oscar Correcher’s photography, click

Photo courtesy of Oscar Correcher