“I WANT A LONGTIME DADDY”
Ladies and gents,
As much as I adore the legitimate theater, cabaret is actually my first love. My first taste of show biz was sneaking out of my suburban Detroit childhood home, heading downtown, and watching Ruby Bentley himself sing up a storm, in black tie, hot pink lipstick, a touch of blush, and false eyelashes. I loved it!
Oh, wait. That’s wasn’t me. I’m pretty sure that was Elaine Stritch. But I think I have similar memories from my Southern California childhood. Anyway, the point is, I still love a good nightclub act. The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve just snagged a pair of tickets to see downtown Manhattan’s most acerbic gentile, Amanda Duarte, return to Joe’s Pub in her new show, Staying Alive, this Sunday, and I couldn’t be more excited. This new show details a terrible year in Duarte’s life, all set against the backdrop of the 2016 election. But funny!
I recently ran into Duarte out on the town alongside Brenda Vaccaro and Tracie Bennett. (Amanda called her unlikely squad “Charlie’s Devils,” which seemed apt.) They had me laughing so hard I choked on a blue cheese stuffed olive, causing such a scene that our terrified waitress comped my martini! Leave it to the Public Theater to provide a fitting venue for an indescribable talent like Ms. Duarte. The Public is one of the many reasons I happily overpay for a teenytiny apartment in this city – one that more than a couple rodents reside in free of charge, I might add. It’s one of the rare cultural institutions that feels as robust as ever—in this Netflix-and-chill era of “What would it take to get me off of my sofa?”— under the steady leadership of Oskar Eustis, following in the visionary footsteps of those who came before him: George C. Wolfe and the great Joe Papp.
Of course, to a columnist, the list of Public Theater press agents is just as significant as its list of Artistic Directors or thesps! From Richard Kornberg’s endless conversations with Frank Rich in the 1980’s to Carol Fineman’s nonstop (affectionate) bickering with George Wolfe in the 90’s and early-aughts, it seems that there are just as many characters off-stage as on. Currently at that desk sits my old pal Candi Adams. (Not to be confused with Cindy Adams, who was mightily offended by The Public’s smash hit musical Here Lies Love, because she found it unflattering to her dear old friend Imelda Marcos. Though, even Cindy admits that the exiled ruler suffers from “Financial Alzheimers.” Also, worth noting that Cindy is equally fond of our own soon-to-be-exiled ruler here in America. I suppose “Financial Alzheimers” (or however you might say that phrase in Russian) might explain away his problems too.)
My love for The Public has only deepened in recent years, thanks not just to the incredible work they keep producing but also to the chic new redesign. The David Rockwell-designed Library is, perhaps, my favorite watering hole south of 14th Street.
So, if you need a reason to feel good about living in New York City – especially perhaps during the Polar Vortex – head on over to this great enduring institution and see what’s on!
Tidbits from around town…
Spotted Peter Sarsgaard navigating a very packed Main Street in Park City, complete with Sundance credentials hanging around his neck.
Overheard Fox News personality Chris Wallace calling the new documentary about his dad, Mike Wallace Is Here, “fabulous and revelatory.”
Caught Jason Sudeikis at the fabulously tucked-away Houdini Museum. It’s the best kept secret on West 35th Street, if you don’t count everything the good people at DKC/O&M keep out of the papers!
As always a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!