Beyond The Great White Way

Featured image
A summer scene outside The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: JH.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023. Another beautiful early Summer day in New York yesterday, with temps mainly in the low to mid- 70s, and lots of sunshine. 

The city is busy although it quiets down noticeably in the vehicular traffic after 7 p.m. From this view, the restaurants are busy and some of the popular ones are jammed nightly up until Thursday when a lot of those patrons head out of town. 

One of the upshots of post-Covid is the activity in the theatre world of New York. I hear people recommending shows to each other. The night before last at dinner, a customer at the next table (whom I know only by sight) had just seen Good Night, Oscar, a play about Oscar Levant, the celebrity concert pianist who became famous in America in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, particularly as a frequent and “favorite” guest on Jack Paar’s Tonight show.

Sean Hayes, who plays Oscar Levant in Good Night, Oscar, outside the Belasco Theatre.

The character you saw frequently on Jack Paar’s Tonight was funny, even hilarious talking about all his neuroses. But, aside from all that, he was a brilliant concert pianist (and sold millions of records playing Gershwin’s classical concertos), but with a wit and personality that made him amusing. My next-table neighbor loved it! and was amazed at Sean Hayes’ “brilliant performance.” I’m going.

Which, speaking of, one thing noticeable these days is talk about theatre, meaning Broadway of course, but even more about Off-Off-Broadway. For example: two weeks ago, Signature Theatre hosted the Opening Night of its production of MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-JenkinsThe Comeuppance, directed by Eric Ting. 

The dynamic ensemble cast Features Brittany Bradford (Bernhardt/Hamlet, Wedding Band), Caleb Eberhardt (Choir Boy, On Sugarland), Susannah Flood (The Cherry Orchard, Plano), Bobby Moreno (72 Miles to Go, Year of the Rooster), and Shannon Tyo (Regretfully, So The Birds Are; The Far Country).

The show concludes Jacobs-Jenkins’s Premiere Residency, and Signature’s 2022-2023 season of personal works from its Resident writers. Most recently, the director was the showrunner, executive producer, and writer for HULU/FX’s drama series, Kindred, based on Octavia E. Butler’s groundbreaking novel. 

Opening Night for The Comeuppance kicked off with a red carpet and pre-reception followed by the performance and official afterparty. The cast was on hand to walk the red carpet prior to the performance. 

The evening also convened a host of renowned actors, playwrights, and other notable guests including: Phylicia Rashad, Glenn Davis, Melis Aker, Tonya Pinkins, Will Davis, Lois Smith, Josh Hamilton, Chris Perfetti, Matt Barbot, Michael Cyril Creighton, Samuel D. Hunter, Marin Ireland, Andrew Butler, Maddie Corman, Yadira Correa, Crystal Dickinson, Kyle Beltran, Elijah Jones, Will Brill, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Brooke Bloom, Lauren Yee and Chay Yew.

Bobby Moreno, Susannah Flood, Brittany Bradford, Shannon Tyo, and Caleb Eberhardt.

In The Comeuppance, a self-proclaimed “Multi-Ethnic Reject Group” reconvenes for the first time in years to pregame for their twentieth high school reunion. Over alcohol and other such substances, they try to reconnect who they once were with who they’ve each become.

The story centers around how America’s stratified realities have geographically and socially separated people whose lives were once tightly intertwined: one is now the wife of a former police officer; one is an overworked doctor; one is a veteran marine; one has spent a good part of her adulthood caring for her ailing grandmother; one is an artist and expat. None is particularly content.

Phylicia Rashad.

The Comeuppance is playing at the Pershing Square Signature Center’s Irene Diamond Stage (480 W 42nd St, New York) through July 9th. I’m going to this one, too.

For a full performance schedule click here.

L. to r.: Andrea Patterson and Brittany Bellizeare; Crystal Dickinson.
Phylicia Rashad and Glenn Davis.
L. to r.: Lois Smith; Yadira Correa.
Eric Ting, Kat Yen, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Tonya Pinkins.
L. to r.: Elijah Jones and Nasia Thomas; Maddie Corman.
L. to r.: Andrew R. Butler; Chris Perfetti.
Paige Evans and Timothy J. McClimon.
L. to r.: Josh Hamilton; Michael Cyril Creighton.
L. to r.: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Tonya Pinkins; Chay Yew.
L. to r.: Nichi Douglas; Kyle Beltran and Will Brill.

Meanwhile, in the Walled Garden of Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy presented its 11th annual Sunset Soirée. The theme of the sold-out event was Gala in a Mughal Garden.

A pair of winged sphinxes carved by Paul Manship sits above the north pool at Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers.

The elegant evening celebrated the garden’s Indian heritage and saluted two leading members of the Indian-American community. The corporate honoree was Gurvinder Singh, CEO and co-founder of Indus Valley Partners. The inaugural Minnie Untermyer Award, which recognizes excellence in the arts, was presented to Aroon Shivdasani, who founded the Indo-American Arts Council.

The event was suffused with Mughal style in a spectacular garden setting with sumptuous Indian canapés prepared by Master chef Vicky Vij and Bukhara Grill. Guests were bedecked in colorful safas tied to order, gajras made from fresh flowers, and bindhis. 

The gala was co-chaired by Ann Carmel, Heena Pai, Betsy Pinover Schiff, and Anita Trehan; Dhan Pai was the corporate co-chair. 

Among the attendees were Joyce Cowin, Judy Hart Angelo, Adam Rose and Peter McQuillan, Elbrun and Peter Kimmelman, Lucy Danziger, Tarik Currimbhoy, Michele Oka Doner, Barbara and Kevin McLaughlin, Seran and Ravi Trehan, Linda Elkman, Charlotte and Peter Schoenfeld, Lloyd Zuckerberg and Charlotte Treifus, Margot Ernst, Jenny and Pierre du Pont, and Sundaram Tagore.

The Soirée is the Conservancy’s major fundraising event of the year, and proceeds support its efforts to maintain the splendor of Untermyer Gardens, which is open free to the public and enjoyed by more than 150,000 visitors a year.

L. to r.: Co-Chairs Heena Pai and Anita Trehan; Judy Hart Angelo.

Jaspreet Kaur, Gurvinder Singh, Mahima Kapur, Harbajhan Kaur, Guneet Kapur, and Harbajhan Singh.
Sacha Freemon, Aroon Shivdasani, Maya Freemon, Misha and Jonathan Vayner, and lndur Shivdasani.
Larry Levy and Reagan Healy, and Thomas Lollar.
L. to r.: Sundaram Tagore and Gautam Patwa; Betsy Pinover Schiff, with Peter and Charlotte Schoenfeld.
Angelica and Thilo Semmelbauer, and Joe Wemple.
Joyce Cowin, Lynden Gillis, and Robert and Kristen Delamater.
Lloyd Zuckerberg, Charlotte Treifus, Marjan Ghara, Ali Granmayeh, and Ann Carmel.
Poonam and A.J. Khubani, and Rita and Kishore Ahuja.
L. to r.: Martha Sant Amour and Anil Kapur; Kevin and Barbara McLaughlin.
David Carmel, Margot Ernst, and Miriam Klipper.
Peter and Elbrun Kimmelman.
Stephen Byrns, Peter Boodell, and Mayor Mike Spano.
L. to r.: Linda Holden-Bryant and Kathryn Holden; Gurvinder Singh and Dhan Pai.
Gus Kim, Wanda Gispert, Jyoti Chopra, Ed Domingo, Sanjay Gussain, Danette Jordan, and Chris Kelley.
Liz and Michael Manasse.
L. to r.: Assemblyman Nader Sayegh; Anthony and Mary Smith.
Gunbir Sethi, Co-Chair Heena Pai, and M. Tibisay Salerno.
William Gannett, Anna Carlson, and Lakshmi and Vikram Nangia.
L. to r.: Chris Shyer and David Ehrich; Richard and Virginia Chambers Keim.
Nortrud Spero, Jillian Swisher, and Nikhil Bhat.
L. to r.: Abe and Cindy Ofer; Sunita and Raki Talwar.

And for our devoted furry/four legged friends, event chair Jean Shafiroff  hosted a kickoff party at El Turco Hamptons in honor of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s (SASF) 14th Annual Unconditional Love Gala. Friends and supporters gathered with Cagri Kanver to celebrate the Summer campaign in support.

Notable Attendees included: Jordan Lippner, Frank Cilione, Nicole Tumilowicz, Dr. Jennifer Jablow, Jessica Mackin, Eugenia Valliades, Fred Devito, Elizabeth Halfpapp, Carmen D’Alessio, Rebecca Seawright, Aisha Christian, Amy Green, Missy Hargraves, Sara Shala,  Diana Cochran, Jennifer Allsop, Leesa Rowland, Larry Wohl, Bradford Rand, Lee Fryd, Mar Morosse, Alexandria LaFata, Erica Appleman, Arezou Naderi, Jackie Collins, Maria White, Soren White, SASF Alumni Bam Bam.

Jean Shafiroff and Cagri Kanver.

The Shelter Foundation’s 14th Annual Unconditional Love Gala will take place on Saturday, July 22nd at The Muses in Southampton. The grand soiree will be one of the highlights of this summer season out east. Also chaired by the indefatigable Jean Shafiroff, this year the shelter will honor Jon Ledecky, Co-Owner of the New York Islanders, and Mr. Matt Meeker, Co-Founder and CEO of BARK.

The Summer gala will feature cocktails and dinner, as well as dancing. There also will be a live and silent auction which will help raise much-needed funds for the work of the SASF, supporting the more than 5,000 animals who enter their doors each year.

The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is supported exclusively by donations and grants from the community. From caring and finding homes for stray and abandoned animals to providing low-cost veterinary care and dog training so that animals can remain in their homes, the shelter has become a vital resource in our community. For more information, visit

Nancy Pearson, James Brynes, and Noreen Donavan.
L. to r.: Missy Hargraves; Erica Appleman, Arezou Naderi, and Jackie Collins.
Fred Devito and Elizabeth Halfpapp.
L. to r.: Dr. Jennifer Jablow and Jordan Lippner; Diana Cochran and Jennifer Allsop.
Dawne Marie Grannum, Lynette Dallas, Montgomery Frazier, and Robin Cofer.
L. to r.: Maria and Soren White; Bradford Rand.
Alexandria Lafata.
L. to r.: Sara Shala; Leesa Rowland and Larry Wohl.
Jordan Lippner and Jean Shafiroff.
Amy Green.
L. to r.: Lee Fryd and Mar Morosse; Aisha Christian.
Vincent Tam, Nicole Tumilowicz, and Francis Tan.

Photographs by John Jacono (Untermyer); Patrick McMullan / Michael Ostun (Unconditional Love)

Recent Posts