POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive Play Review

Women have always done the behind-the-scenes work. But while the men get the accolades, the women are ignored and their work is minimized.

The new Broadway play, POTUS, by Selina Fillinger, puts the spotlight on seven women who are the real power behind the throne. Or, in this case, the President of the United States. The story starts when during an event, POTUS (who is only seen from the waist down) refers to Margaret, aka FLOTUS (Vanessa Williams) via a word I will not repeat on this blog.

Harriet (Julie White) is the chief of staff who is trying to keep the resulting chaos at bay. Jean (Suzy Nakamura) is the press secretary who is doing everything she can to answer the barrage of questions. Stephanie (Rachel Dratch) is the mousy secretary trying to boost her confidence.

Chris (Lilli Cooper) is the journalist balancing work and motherhood (complete with breast pumps). Bernadette (Lea Delaria) is POTUS’s wayward sister with a not-so-clean past. Dusty (Julianne Hough) is a young lady who might be POTUS’s sidepiece.

Together, these women must tamp down on the scandal and save the leader of the free world.

The best way to describe the play is a feminist political farcical screwball comedy. All of the performers are at the top of their game. The physical gags provoke nothing short of gut-busting laughter. Woven into the comedy are issues that are, unfortunately, still too prevalent, even in 2022.

It is one of the funniest plays that I have seen in a long time. I would, in fact, see it again, if it had not already closed.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. If it goes on tour at some point, I highly recommend that you run, not walk to the box office.

POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive closed in New York City on August 14th.

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How to Save Money in NYC

We all know that NYC is an expensive place to live. As much as I love this city, I am fully aware that the cost of everything is higher. But, if you know where the look, there are ways of saving a few dollars.

  1. Take public transportation. Like anyone who lives there, I am fully aware of the downsides of using the MTA to get around. But even with those problems, there is no beating that for one fare, you can go from one end of the city to another, 24/7/365.
  2. The dollar store is your best friend. Not everything is cheaper than the big box stores, but the deals may be surprising.
  3. Not everyone can afford to live alone. Though the roommate experience is sometimes hit or miss (as I painfully remember), it is the most economical way to reside here if you cannot afford an apartment on your own.
  4. If you need furniture, there are multiple options: local stores, Craigslist, various apps, etc. If you must buy new and prefer to go to a name brand store, hit up Target or Ikea. They are a pain in the ass to put together (even if you have to pay someone), but overall, it is worth it. The pieces I bought from Ikea more than a decade ago are still in good condition.
  5. When it comes time to get a haircut, find a local salon. Their work is just as good as the expensive salons and many will throw in a free blowout. In my experience, the ones owned by AAPI owners provide a pretty good service at a price that will not break the bank.
  6. Buy in bulk, large sizes, and store brands. If you do have access to a car, stores like Sam’s Club and Costco are worth the drive and the membership fee.
  7. Take advantage of the opportunities to be outdoors. Most, if not all of the parks and beaches are free to enter.
  8. If you are a bookworm like me, I highly recommend that you take advantage of the public library. If you must buy a book, hit up a local bookstore or 2nd hand store/thrift shop. This is also good if you are looking for a gift for someone. Now granted, you might not find exactly what you are looking for. But you never know what you may find. My favorite bookstores are the Strand Bookstore in Manhattan (great for browsing), Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, and of course, Housing Works.
  9. If you have a New York State driver’s license, you can get into some museums for nothing or almost nothing.
  10. Use Yelp and Time Out. Yelp is great because the reviews come from customers. Time Out has listings for things to do that will please almost anyone.
  11. If you can, purchase your produce from a street vendor. The quality is just as good as a traditional retailer and the price is just a tad cheaper.
  12. Finally, if you want to see a Broadway show, there are ways to have this experience that will not empty your wallet. If you are willing and/or able to climb stairs, seats on the upper levels of the theaters are always cheaper. For me, it’s about the experience. I don’t mind going up a few flights. Organizations like TKTS sell tickets at discounted prices. However, not every show is listed (especially the popular shows) and the desired seats are not always available. There is also the option of going to one of the booths. The primary one is located in Times Square. Just prepared to be waiting in a very long line.
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Macbeth Broadway Play Review

Macbeth is a story of power, bloodlust, and the moral boundaries that will be crossed to remain in power.

The new revival of the infamous Shakespeare play opened on April 28th at the Longacre Theatre in New York City. Starring Daniel Craig as the titular character and Ruth Negga as Lady Macbeth, these two have one goal: the crown. They are not above shedding a little blood to both get to the throne and stay on the throne. As the bodies hit the floor, guilt begins to seep in, forcing the main character to question their actions.

This adaptation is not for the faint of heart, or for the Shakespeare purist. That being said, it is very well done. Set against a spare backdrop with color and gender-neutral actors wearing modern clothing, the story is as influential and potent as it ever has been. It speaks to the dark side of human nature and its consequences.

Among the lead actors, Negga’s performance stands out. Her Lady Macbeth is a woman who has the same ambitions as her husband. But because she is a woman, those ambitions must be hidden behind what is “appropriate” for a female.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Macbeth is playing at the Longacre Theater in New York City until July 10th, 2022. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.

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That Golden Girls Show- A Puppet Parody Review

There are some television shows that are like a fine wine-they only get better with age. One of the programs on this list is The Golden Girls. Thirty years after the series ended, it has remained fresh, funny, and still appealing to audiences.

That Golden Girls Show-A Puppet Parody opened last month in New York City. Using puppets and a quartet of exceptionally skilled performers, three episodes are recreated line for line.

I laughed so hard that my cheeks hurt. It was hilarious and nothing short of perfect. Given everything that is going on in the world now, it was the perfect antidote. It was as if I was watching a live taping of an episode for the first time.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. It makes me want to binge as many episodes as possible.

That Golden Girls Show: A Puppet Parody is playing until May 29th, 2022 in New York City. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.

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Cyrano de Bergerac Review

Cyrano de Bergerac is the tale of unrequited love and finding the courage to tell the one you love how you feel.

The newest adaptation is playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn. Told in a spoken word/hip-hop/Hamilton style, James McAvoy plays the title character. Evelyn Miller is Roxanne, the woman he loves, but is unable to reveal his feelings due to his unusually long nose. Eben Figueiredo is Christian, the young soldier who Cyrano uses to express his love.

My main reason for wanting to see this show is McAvoy. He is one of those actors who cannot be pegged as a certain character type. That being said, this version is not for the purists. It’s a creative take on the story that we all know. Beyond the unorthodox re-telling is that McAvoy is not wearing a prosthetic nose. This makes sense because even the most conventionally attractive of people are likely to harbor insecurities of some sort.

My problem with the play is that the first half is just a little too long and despite the excellent performances, I was not as impressed as I thought I would be. There is something missing that I cannot put my finger on that would have made the show that much better

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Cyrano de Bergerac is playing at BAM until May 22, 2022. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.

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Birthday Candles Play Review

It’s amazing how quickly life goes by. One minute you’re a teenager with your whole future ahead of you. The next thing you know, you are holding your first grandchild.

This is the premise of the new Broadway play, Birthday Candles. Written by Noah Haidle, it tells the story of Ernestine (Debra Messing). The audience initially meets her as a starry-eyed seventeen-year-old and then follows her throughout the years, ending when she is one hundred and seven. As she goes through the various stages of life, she bakes a cake for each birthday. Among those who come in and out of Ernestine’s life is Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me), who plays her long-time neighbor, and John Earl Jelks, who plays both her husband and grandson.

I’ve been a fan of Messing since Will & Grace. She was the reason I wanted to see the play. I was impressed with not just her performance, but the performances of all of the actors. Instead of aging via prosthetics and makeup, they rely on posture, changes in costumes, props, and wigs. It is a magnificent narrative and a treatise on life, family, and relationships.

My only problem is that the end of the play could have been cut down a little bit. Other than that, it is a piece of theater that is remarkable and worth every second.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. It is also 90 minutes without an intermission.

Birthday Candles is playing at the American Airlines Theater in New York City until May 29th, 2022. Check the website for tickets and showtimes.

Being Mr. Wickham Review

Charm has its uses. It can get us places that being curt or direct cannot.

The new play, Being Mr. Wickham premiered worldwide (via the internet) this past weekend at the Theatre Royal St. Edmunds Bury in the UK. In this one hour, one man play, Adrian Lukis brings his 1995 Pride and Prejudice character, Mr. Wickham back to life. It’s been 35 years since the book ended. Wickham is now 60 and contemplating how his life has turned out. His marriage to Lydia Bennet is still somehow thriving after what looked to be a rocky start. Sitting in his library and enjoying a brandy while his wife sleeps upstairs, Wickham tells his story as only Wickham can.

This play is such a treat for Austen fans. Though it has been 26 years since Lukis played Wickham, it feels like no time has passed at all. He is still the charming, smooth talking rogue that he was in his youth. But age and experience has mellowed him out a bit. Co-written by Catherine Curzon and directed by Guy Unsworth, it is an intimate look at one of the most infamous characters in classic 19th century literature.  I feel like wherever she is, Austen would approve. It is fanfiction of her work in the best sense of the word.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Gloria, A Life Play Review

Great women do not become great overnight. It takes years or even decades to be worthy of the title of greatness.

On Friday, Great Performances aired Gloria, A Life. Starring Christine Lahti, the play tells the life story of legendary second wave feminist Gloria Steinem. Via a small cast made up entirely of female performers, the audience is introduced to the real woman behind the icon.

I’m thrilled that this show was filmed for television. I didn’t see the play while it was open, though looking back, I wish I had. I loved it. It was educating, enthralling, and entertaining. If nothing else, the play is a reminder that the issue of women’s right is just a prevalent today as it was fifty years ago.

I absolutely recommend it.

Gloria, A Life can be streamed on the Great Performances website.

Dracula Play Review

Over the past few years, actor and playwright Kate Hamill has adapted several beloved novels into stage plays.

Her most recent adaptation is Dracula. Based on the Bram Stoker novel, the play adheres to the narrative in the book. Jonathan Harker (Michael Crane) is sent on a business trip to help sort out the business affairs of the mysterious Dracula (Matthew Amendt). But there is something off about Jonathan’s host.

Back in England, a mysterious illness starts to affect the residents of the coastal town of Whitby. With the help of Doctor Van Helsing (Jessica Frances Duke), Jonathan’s wife, Mina (Kelley Curran) has to solve the mystery of this illness and the appearance of what may be an unholy visitor.

I’ve been of Hamill’s for the last few years. Her adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Little Women were fantastic. This adaptation is no less fantastic than it’s predecessors. I went in with the question of how she was going to adapt Dracula. Unlike her previous works, this book is not exactly what one would label feminist. But Hamill adapted it in such a way that the play retains the narrative of the book while highlighting the issues of women during the 19th century and in our time.

I absolutely recommend it.

Dracula is playing at the Classic Stage Company in New York City until March 8th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets.

Macbeth Play Review

The wanting and/or keeping of political power is a story that is as old as human history. William Shakespeare‘s tragedy Macbeth has been told countless times over the centuries.

The latest adaptation of this play can be seen at the Classic Stage Company in New York City. Stepping into the shoes of the power hungry general Macbeth and his equally power hungry wife Lady Macbeth are IRL married couple Corey Stoll and Nadia Bowers. As they claw their way up the ladder of power, they leave a train of bloodshed, madness, murder and destruction in their wake.

This plays brilliant and timeless. As the lead couple, Stoll and Bowers are enthralling. It’s almost like passing by a car accident on the highway. As much as you want to look away, it is impossible not to. In addition to the magnetic lead actors, I very much appreciated the non traditional casting of female performers in roles that are traditionally played by men.

I recommend it.

Macbeth is playing at the Classic Stage Company at 136 East 13th Street in New York City until December 15th. Check the website for showtimes and tickets.

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