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Broadway: Eddie Redmayne, Bebe Neuwirth, Entire Cast Thrilling in Spectacular London Import of “Cabaret”


By 10am you will not be able to get a ticket for the six month run of “Cabaret” on Broadway.

The sensational revival, imported from London, features a thrilling and award winning performance from Eddie Redmayne as the emcee. His work transcends everything he’s done including his Oscar turn in “The Theory of Everything” and a previous Tony Award in the play, “Red.”

Londoners got to see this last year although US production adds Bebe Neuwirth in a show stopper of a role, and the equally good Steven Skybell. They, and Gayle Rankin as Sally Bowles, and Ato Blankson Wood, will all be Tony nominees.

Director Rebecca Frecknhall and the producers, working with Redmayne and the tech people, have scooped out the August Wilson Theater and turned into a real Kit Kat Club. New Yorkers may think they’re at the Tunnel or the Ritz from the 1980s. There are several different bars, and all kinds of performers slinking around before the show starts to give the feel of a decadent nightclub in Berlin as the Nazis took power.

This “Cabaret” is a totally immersive experience but can it also be very intimate and emotional. Of course, the Kander and Ebb score doesn’t hurt. The whole production results in one of the most satisfying nights of theater seen in a long, long time.

“Cabaret” takes place, as you know in pre-war Berlin. Jews think the Nazi’s are passing phase. But already there is trouble as an older couple — he’s Jewish. she’s not — are discouraged vigorously from marrying. The writing was on the wall if you wanted to see it. The story resonates today with antisemitism rising in subtle ways. Unlike the movie, the live stage musical of “Cabaret” is stark and foreboding.

Nothing prepares you for Redmayne’s performance. It’s one a kind, and had better be filmed before his time is up. While both Joel Grey and Alan Cumming are celebrated for playing the emcee in previous landmark productions, Redmayne turns the work inside out and stands it on his head. Fans who only know him from movies like “Fantastic Beasts” will not believe it’s the same person.

More tomorrow.

Cher Makes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Plus Foreigner, Dave Matthews, Peter Frampton, Dionne Warwick, MC5 (At Last!)


Cher is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She’s been eligible since 1988. But last year she told an interviewer that she no longer cared –” You know what, I wouldn’t be in it now if they gave me a million dollars … I’m never going to change my mind. They can just go you-know-what themselves.” she said. Now. she’s in. That was the way to do it!

So are others who’ve waited too long: Dionne Warwick, the late Big Mama Thornton, the MC5, Temptations songwriter Norman Whitfield (also deceased), John Mayall, 90, the most influential blues musician, is in. So is the late Alexis Korner.

Suzanne DePasse, the hardest working woman in the music biz, who has guided Motown for 50 years, will get the Ahmet Ertegun Award.

Also in: Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Frampton. Foreigner, and the late Jimmy Buffett.

In R&B, Kool & the Gang, and Mary J. Blige are in. So is the cutting edge group A Tribe Called Quest.

The Rock Hall ceremony will take place in October, in Cleveland. It will be a long show, but well worth it. The Hall is righting wrongs incurred while Jann Wenner was in charge. It’s like the fall of the Berlin Wall. Congrats to John Sykes for getting this so right!

Box Office: “Ghostbusters Frozen Empire” Finally Hits $100 Mil, “Civil War” Chips Away, “Ministry” Misses


The weekend box office wasn’t very exciting unless getting slimed was your preference.

After five weeks, “Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire” finally hit $100 million. It’s been a slog. “Frozen Empire” is running $15 million behind “Ghostbusters Afterlife.” It’s already crested and is on the way out but at least they can say they’re part of the club.

For Sony, that’s good news since they’ve evidently lost the new Quentin Tarantino movie. The peripatetic director just doesn’t want to do it after a mountain of hype and expectation. That’s got to be a downer for Sony. Maybe Spider Man is on his way.

“Civil War” topped the list of films this week making a desultory $11 million.

Guy Ritchie’s “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” made $9 million, on its way to a mediocre run. I think the marketing has just been “this is an action film. go see it.” Otherwise, I have no sense of it. And $9 million in 2,845 theaters suggests no one else does either.

Murdoch Mayhem: New York Post Lays Off Top Staffers Including Long Time TV Editor


News Corp. is starting to tighten up.

On Friday, CNN reported that the New York Post laid off about 3% of its newsroom.

Among the dozen or so who are gone is long time popular TV editor Michael Starr, who’s changed his Twitter account to read “former” NY Post. He’s working on a book. But Starr was a key part of the news room for maybe 30 years.

The Post has always stood out as Rupert Murdoch’s protected gem. No matter how many millions it lost every year, the paper was the tycoon’s stake in New York politics. But now that he’s retired and about to marry again at age 93, the paper faces the same financial perils as all other print publications.

Will the Post outlive Murdoch? One day he’ll be gone. And then we’ll see what News Corp’s commitment is to an fortunately dying format.

Here’s the memo that went out on Friday, courtesy of CNN’s Oliver Darcy:

Broadway: Alicia Keys’s Musical “Hell’s Kitchen” Is a High End Jukebox Musical with Soaring Voices


Alicia Keys’s musical, “Hell’s Kitchen” — opening tonight — could not have more entertaining performers. Does its story hold up? Not so much. But don’t think about it too hard. There’s a lot to enjoy.

Shoshanna Bean plays a version of Keys’s mother, raising her daughter, Allie, played by an astonished Maleah Joi Moon) in the artist’s building, Manhattan Plaza, in Hell’s Kitchen just west of the theater district.

The story is not about how Alicia Keys became a music superstar. Instead it’s just about the mother and daughter in a simple coming of age story. Allie gets an older boyfriend and eventually — by accident — a music teacher/mentor. At some point, her biological father, who’s also a musician, turns up.

Let’s concentrate on the positive: Alicia Keys’s hits, almost of all which are a collaboration with other pop writers, are unforgettable. Her biggest solo composition, “If I Ain’t Got You,” is highlighted, smartly, and is the centerpiece of the score. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 years, you’ll be nodding your head and singing along.

The performers are sensational. Bean and Moon are hardly alone. The great Grammy, Emmy, and Tony nominee Brandon Victor Dixon plays Allie’s dad, showing off his knockout R&B vocal skills. He is the real thing. You could listen to him sing this whole show, frankly.

The big surprise is Broadway veteran Kecia Lee. Where has she been? Everywhere. She’s an overnight sensation after four decades. Her vocal range is stunning == really, the audience is taken aback by her skills. She and the three principles are certainly destined for Tony nominations.

“Hell’s Kitchen” is a very high end jukebox musical, Direction (Michael Greif), Choreography (Camille A. Brown) plus costumes, sets, lighting — they’re all top notch. What would have made this show something extra? A real book, more than cardboard cut outs of characters. Allie wants is a boyfriend, which she gets. Big deal. She stumbles into music but there’s no drama. Nothing is in her way. Her mother is doing a good job. Her father is not a bad guy.

Will Allie become a superstar? She shows no sign of it in “Hell’s Kitchen,” although she does learn to play the piano. I started writing about Alicia Keys and her terrific mother in 2000, when I first them after she signed with Clive Davis. Believe me, there was a good story to tell here. For some reason book writer Kristoffer Diaz, just didn’t tell it.

That doesn’t mean “Hell’s Kitchen” isn’t worth seeing — it most certainly is, just to hear these fine artists and to see the work on stage. And when they get to Keys’s “Empire State of Mind (New York)” at the end, you’ll be up and swaying along.

Taylor Swift Swamps Spotify Singles Charts But Shout Out Doesn’t Help Charlie Puth


Taylor Swift has broken all of her own records this weekend.

On Spotify, she’s taken the top 32 of 34 positions. Only two other songs — by Hozier, and by Future — are folded in there.

Swift also has two more singles on the Spotify top 50, making an unforgettable 34 entries.

“Fortnight,” which sounds a lot like a Lana Del Rey song, is number 1 with 25 million total streams. Of those, 10 million are just from today.

As I reported before, Taylor has all 31 tracks from “The Tortured Poets Department” on the iTunes top 50.

“Fortnight” includes a shout out to Charlie Puth, but it hasn’t helped put one of his singles on the chart.

Swift is so all encompassing on the charts that no one cares that Drake has a new rap single. Beyonce’s songs have been completely eclipsed.

Taylor will rule the charts until Dua Lipa’s new release on May 3rd. Next after that is Billie Eilish’s release on May 17th — in four weeks.

Honey, Don’t! Ethan Coen Making Companion Film to Box Office Disaster “Drive Away Dolls”


Ethan Coen is incredibly talented, but he’s somehow gone astray.

Reports are that he’s making a companion film to his boxoffice disaster, “Drive Away Dolls.” That film was pulled from theaters after three weeks. It made just $5 million, and most of that was on Day 1.

Now Coen is going ahead with “Honey Don’t” — and that’s what we think when we see the title.

Similar to the lesbian road trip “Dolls,” “Honey” also star Margaret Qualley, plus Aubrey Plaza and Chris Evans, plus Charlie Day and Broadway’s Lena Hall.

Focus Features, not satisfied with one flop, is doubling down. Maybe they’ll get the rights to the next Coen Brothers film as compensation.

Ethan, of course, co-wrote and co-directed classic films with his brother Joel from “Blood Simple” to “Fargo,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Barton Fink,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Raising Arizona.” We need them back ASAP!

Friday Box Office: Horror Film “Abigail” Sort of Beats “Civil War” to Number 1, Not Really


The really weird part of reporting the box office is the whole Thursday preview thing.

Hollywood pretends Thursday previews are just part of Friday openings, boosting the eventual opening day number with two nights of receipts.

So if you agree to these shenanigans then horror film “Abigail” was number 1 “last night,” and beat “Civil War,” on the box office list.

In reality, “Abigail” came in 2nd last night with $3 million as opposed to “Civil War” at $3.25 million.

The box office schedule is fairly sad, otherwise. Next week brings tennis and sex in “Challengers.” Then comes “The Fall Guy.” We are in a fallow period caused by last year’s strikes and the studios cutting back in revenge against the unions. Everyone loses!

But the box office gurus are saying “Abigail” made $4 million when if fact it took in $1 million on Thursday and $3 million last night.

That’s entertainment!

What is true is that “Civil War” is a dud, dropping 70% last night from last Friday. Alex Garland’s muddled movie makes no sense, is hard to follow, and of no importance. It’s a failed attempt to scare the audience, and Garland isn’t sure how he’s scaring us or what it’s about.

A better take on real dangers of a civil war come in a documentary by Charlie Sadoff and co-produced by Sebastian Junger called “Against All Enemies.” It’s streaming on amazon prime and other platforms. Sadoff interviews people who would hope to instigate a real civil war, like the heads of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. They actually want to overthrow our government. Frightening stuff that makes Garland’s movie look like a video game.

Anna Wintour Gets a Big ‘No’ from Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce for Next Month’s Met Ball


Anna Wintour is busy organizing the spring Halloween show she calls the Met Ball.

But guess who’s not coming to the prom? The Homecoming King and Queen themselves. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

According to reports, Swift has declined her invitation based on her concert schedule next month. She’s preparing for several shows in Europe through the month of May, and then she’s back in July. Swift has no time for Wintour’s foolishness.

Of course, Kelce will be by her side until it’s time to return to Kansas City Chiefs training camp. So he’s not hitting the Met Ball, either.

Wintour is counting on Jennifer Lopez to attract a crowd, even though JLo’s current project, the album “This is Me…Now” has been a cruel failure. I’m sure Anna’s hoping Ben Affleck will show up and not look bored out of his mind.

Wintour’s other big celebrity will be Zendaya, whose “Challengers” movie will be arriving just that Met Ball weekend. If it’s a hit, Anna will be relieved. She’s no doubt counting on Zendaya’s bf Tom Holland to make an appearance in a Spider Man suit.

Definite guests will be the Kardashians. Considering Taylor has a diss song on her album aimed at Kim, it’s probably best the two don’t cross paths.

Last year’s Met Ball — even with sponsors — cost the Metropolitan Museum $5 million. Conde Nast is no longer a sponsor for Wintour or Vogue. They’re too involved in layoffs to justify that outrageous expense.

“Law & Order SVU” Scores HUGE 500K in Key Ratings, as Maddie Flynn Kidnap Story Ends


“LAaw & Order SVU” is booming in its 25th season.

Last night the venerable police show won the night in ratings for a drama with 4.78 million viewers. (Only the CBS comedy hour at 8pm did better.)

“SVU” also saw its key demo numbers jump a whopping 51.52 percent, to 500,000 viewers. That alone is reason for celebration.

“SVU” handily beat CBS’s “So Help Me Todd,” a strong show that the Tiffany network cancelled today. (Bad decision. A perfect Sunday night show in the old days.)

“SVU”s success happened because this was the 6th and final episode in a continuing story about kidnapped kid Maddie Flynn. The whole season has revolved around Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) witnessing Maddie getting taken and then finally returning her to her parents. Last night was the trial of her abuser.

The “SVU” ratings helped increase “Organized Crime” at 10pm by 22%, but the Chris Meloni “Law & Order” still lost to CBS’s “Elsbeth.” The Meloni show is either going to get cancelled or moved to Peacock. It has never found any traction. Unlike “SVU,” “Organized Crime” has no central idea and no supporting characters of any interest/