Lady Day played by Audra McDonald

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL on Broadway – Review

Lady Day had such a profound influence on music that her presence is still very much a part of our lives today. At the Library Hotel Collection we love Billie Holiday so much much, we are honoring her both at the ARIA Hotel Prague with an amazing suite and at the Lady Day Bar at the Aria Hotel Budapest, opening early 2015.

As of the day of this post, there are only 37 performances left, so please book your tickets now! Here is a review by our own Theater Critic in Residence, Shari on the Aisle!

Background: According to the Playbill, the play is based on an actual performance by Billie Holiday in a dive bar in Philadelphia witnessed by a boyfriend of the playwright: “She stumbled in obviously ‘quite high,’ carrying her little Chihuahua Pepi, whom she introduced to her audience. A water glass was kept filled with booze atop the piano for her. She and a piano player performed 10 or 12 of her songs for an audience of seven patrons. Then, she staggered out.”

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Sex With Strangers

Shari on the Aisle’s Latest Review is for Grown-ups Only

How could we at the Library Hotel Collection resist telling you about a show about two writers? We recently offered tips for traveling with children and a review of the family friendly Broadway show, Matilda.  A distinctive departure from those is this week’s review which  is definitely for adults only. Shari on the Aisle’s review is here to help you know before you go, if this show is just the ticket for you.

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Matilda Library Books

Shari on the Aisle Reviews Matilda the Musical for LHC

Matilda the Musical

Shubert Theatre, 225 West 44th Street (Broadway/8th Avenue)

Current Lead Cast:  Christopher Sieber, Matt Harrington, Lesli Margherita (original cast member), Jill Paice, and a rotating cast of 4 young actresses playing “Matilda.

Background:  Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved 1988 children’s book, the original Royal Shakespeare Company version of this musical won a record-breaking 7 Olivier awards (the British version of the Tony) in 2012. The Broadway production was nominated for 12 Tony awards in 2013, in a neck-and-neck race with “Kinky Boots” (13 noms). While the show did not capture the big one (Best Musical), it won four Tonys: Gabriel Ebert, who originated the role of Mr. Wormwood, won Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical; Dennis Kelly won for Best Book of a Musical; Rob Howell took Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Hugh Vanstone Best Lighting Design of a Musical. (Personally, I thought Matilda should have won Best Musical instead of Kinky Boots, but both shows are terrific).

In addition, the four young actresses who originated the title role, Sophia Gennusa, Oona Laurence, Bailey Ryon, and Milly Shapiro, shared a special award: Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.

Quick Take: This is one show that actually lives up to the hype.

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pippin on broadway

Pippin Broadway Show Review for LHC by Shari on the Aisle

Pippin

The cast of Pippin has a message for you:

“Leave your fields to flower; Leave your cheese to sour.
Come and waste an hour or two.

Journey to a spot exciting, mystic and exotic; Journey through our anecdotic revue

We’ve got magic to do: Just for you!”

Theatre: The Music Box, 239 West 45th St.photo

Lead Cast: Patina Miller, Charlotte d’Amboise, Terrence Mann, Andrea Martin, Matthew James Thomas, Rachel Bay Jones. (Note: Some cast members have changed since the show opened).

Background: The original Broadway production premiered at the Imperial Theater on October 23, 1972, and ran for 1,944 performances before closing on June 12, 1977. Directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, that cast included Ben Vereen, who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of the Leading Player, John Rubenstein as Pippin, and Jill Clayburgh as Catherine, Pippin’s love interest.

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Times Square

5 Reasons to Love Times Square

By Shari on the Aisle

 If you’re a guest at any of our Library Hotel Collection properties in New York City (especially The Casablanca Hotel), a visit to famous Times Square is a must. Here are 5 reasons why. Once you learn about the richness of the neighborhood, we think you’ll love it as much as we do! 

  1. There’s No Business Like Show Business. You gotta love a place where the local Catholic Church is called “The Actors’ Chapel.” That’s St. Malachy’s on West 49th Street, between Broadway and 8th Avenue—right across the street from “The Book of Mormon.” But wait—that’s not even the best part. Every Wednesday at 1:45 p.m., just before matinee curtains rise throughout the neighborhood, St. Malachy’s church bells chime Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” (With a reprise at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays). It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it.

P.S.: Douglas Fairbanks married Joan Crawford at St. Malachy’s on June 3, 1929. And thousands of fans jammed West 49th Street to pay final tribute to Rudolph Valentino, whose funeral mass was held at the church.

P.P.S.: You can also visit The Actors’ Temple on West 47th Street, “A place where spirituality meets creativity,” according to their Website. Many Jews in show business have been members, including Sophie Tucker and two of the Three Stooges (Moe and Curly).

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