Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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April 29th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

Feeling blue?  Down in the dumps?  Have your tickle bones not been tickled lately?  The extremely talented and wonderfully funny Cole Escola as Mary Todd Lincoln and company might just be the tonic you need.

If ribald humor, zany shenanigans going on in the Presidential household of a praying not to be a homosexual Abe Lincoln (a fine Conrad Ricamora) along with his mad cap frustrated spouse Mary (ex-cabaret star) searching for and sniffing and finding a hidden bottle or two while frantically longing to return to the stage then “Oh Mary!” Escola’s opus could be for you.  And then again…perhaps not.

Extremely loud, pre curtain-up at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, pre-recorded pulsating music harkens one back to those dreary basement gay clubs in New Jersey or the West Village where would be stars would get up and sing their hearts out for one and all.  I had my ears covered in retaliation.

Finally the fun began.

In the grand tradition of Charles Ludlam’s Theater of the Ridiculous Cole Escola shines in the spotlight.  He is a gifted comic and has a way with words.  He just doesn’t know when enough is enough.

There are many laugh out loud moments in the various scenes that remind one of those wonderful Carol Burnett skits.  Here we have skit after skit usually ending quickly in a blackout.  Escola has a delightful audition piece as the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet.

Some of the best moments are with Mary’s Teacher John Booth (James Scully – handsome and quite likable who “rehearses” with Mary to get her in shape for her comeback as a cabaret star and I suppose you guess where this is heading.  And then again you might not.

A gentleman seating next to me nodded off for a short while.  Ummm.

Mary has a chaperone (a fine Bianca Leigh who I thank in a thankless role) to keep her at bay and to report any misbehavior back to Abe.

Tony Macht is Mary’s Husband Assistant – faithful and obedient and taking part in one of the funniest sight gags with old Abe.

But after the assassination trouble brews.  And we are back in cabaret land.  Which does go on and on till the end of said play which is swiftly directed by Sam Pinkleton.  Lovely period costumes by Holly Pierson. Ditto scenic design by DOTS.

But it is COLE ESCOLA’S show all the way.  After all he wrote it.

www.ohmaryplay.com  80 minutes no intermission

Photo:  Emilio Madrid

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April 26th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

As we bid a not so fond farewell to the most recent Broadway season with this car wreck of a musical THE GREAT GATSBY we ask ourselves why?  Why import a mediocre musical from New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse?  Why spend a huge amount of money on an adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sprawling novel THE GREAT GASBY – a most complicated compilation of characters from the roaring and corrupt 1920’s.  Why bother?

Unless you can create a world with characters that are interesting with music and lyrics to match.  With a clear and developed book that isn’t one big bore.  It is a difficult task that the creative team is just not up to fulfilling.   Mostly superficial.  They sure do try hard though.

But huge sets and glitzy costumes with lighting effects galore do not a hit musical make.

Even with a yellow Rolls Royce and midnight blue Pierce Arrow thrown in for good measure.  Oh and an orchestra pit pool.  Needed for a very important scene.  It’s all glossed over.  All effect and no substance.   Spectacle.  We need to care about someone.  And we don’t.

I won’t bore you with the plot.  A quick look at SparkNotes’ synopsis of the novel will suffice.  And if you so desire to spend your hard earned bucks on a ticket, a reading of said notes will help tremendously as the sound system is just as awful as what they are attempting for your ears to absorb.

The rich and the rotten.  Unfulfilled and unhappy.  With a dash of crime and loose sex.

Looking to connect with a love that once was.  I speak of Gatsby and Daisy.  Jeremy Jordon (a long way from charismatic) and Eva Noblezada.  She is now married and has a baby.  Trouble is they have no romantic chemistry at all and are given unmemorable and unmelodic songs to sing in a very odd way.  The range for him goes from a soft falsetto to bombastic and hers fare no better.  It’s the new style of singing on Broadway.

If you can’t root for these lovers the ball game is over.

Now for the better news.  I did like our narrator Nick (Noah J. Ricketts) who gets lost in the shuffle of quick changing sets and foggy plot.

Also Samantha Pauly who seemed natural and fun and sang well.  She fortunately or unfortunately was made to appear to look like a young Streisand, whose birthday it was 4/24/24 and yet she held her own throughout.

The young audience high above in the Broadway theatre whooped and hollered loving every minute of it.  Seemed like a lot of high school theatre loving kids out to enjoy a show.

Director Marc Bruni and choreographer Dominique Kelley have opted for a quick pace throughout.  At times the too quick succession of song and dance reminded me fleetingly of Bob Fosse’s CHICAGO, RAGTIME, PHANTOM, GUYS AND DOLLS, PLAZA SUITE, 42nd STREET, SOME LIKE IT HOT and SUNSET BOULEVARD – reminiscent of the Old Ed Sullivan TV variety show.  Entertaining yes but not in the context of the tangled affairs of the rich and rotten in GATSBY.


PHOTOS:  Matthew Murphy & Evan Zimmerman

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April 24th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore



London, Elizabethan England, 1601

For some, forsooth, I am merely a vagabond – a worthless novelty.  I have been accused of wasting my time and the time of others – attempting to elicit laughter, a few giggles perhaps? or at the very least some smiles from the populace as I ploy my developing talents on the filthy streets of London for a paltry pittance as Elizabeth pampers herself in the palace.

Usually ignored and splashed with mud and dung I dream of securing a part and performing on stage at the Curtain or better still the almighty Globe.  In a role, any role.  In a play, any play – either comic or tragic (with an emphasis on the former) by our most prolific and popular William Shakespeare.

For this I have been preparing myself for months.  In training.  Hoping to secure a spot alongside my best friend and fellow thespian Tomas Kinkaid who is already one of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  And ever since the announcement of a forthcoming production of TWELFTH NIGHT (which Tomas was able to sneak me an advanced copy) I am in expectant ecstasy.

A few coins here and there on a good day help me to survive and give me the courage to persevere.

I love to create laughter.  To help others to temporarily forget the drudgeries of a most difficult life that we commoners must bear.  Am I not allowed to share a bit of laughter with my fellow man, even though I might be arrested for loitering?

After all I am a jester, a clown if you prefer:  Jasper Finkelsteen.  Has a certain ring to it, does it not?

Finkelsteen.  That’s with a double “e” – not an “ie” nor an “ei”, which is much too confusing to remember and not as eye-catching on a theatrical program.  And so I remain His Right Honorable Jasper Finkelsteen while I anxiously await, not so patiently, to be cast in the aforementioned TWELFTH NIGHT for which I am preparing most diligently to display my talents.

Advance rumor has it that I would make a fine Feste with my large expressive hands, light-footedness and more than ordinary profile.  To be honest, a rumor perpetrated by yours truly.

And so in the privacy of my squalid quarters I attempt to improve my movements.  Pretending to fence.  Pretending to gracefully dance.  And developing my voice so as to be able to be distinctly heard in the stalls – speaking the speech “trippingly on the tongue” so to speak.  And to restrain myself from being too flamboyant.  Easier said than done I might add!

All the while, forsooth, remaining an unhappy soul putting forth a fake façade, with what many say is my winsome smile, hiding the sad inner depth of my person that houses my predilection for the companionship of what is considered forbidden – the companionship and love of another male.

It is not that I find the female form offensive.  With all due respect to our sovereign Elizabeth the Queen.  Whose sartorial splendor travels well beyond what is needed or tolerable.

Indeed, it is simply that I prefer men.  A feeling that I have no control over.  A mystical sensation deeply felt within this hirsute and limber body of mine.  And if the truth be known, which is why I am confessing these truths, then I should not be annoyed when being made fun of when I would rather be making fun for others!

Worse yet, I surely would be tortured or hanged or dismembered if discovered.  Sodomy, a most detestable description of an act of love is punishable by death.  Not a pretty picture to imagine to be sure.

Recently I have heard a rumor (one that I did not start) that one can change.  If one so desires.  Something about medieval hocus-pocus – alchemy by name.  A philosopher’s rock or stone or something like that.  Perhaps a bag of good fortune pebbles?  Methinks I shall call it rubbish!

The point is that I could change if I truly desired.  That I am my own controlling force.  That I am in control.  Could this be true?  And if it is so, would I truly want not to be who I am?  Japer Finkelsteen with a double “e”?

But then I espy a charismatic Romeo.  Or a troubled, handsome Hamlet.  Even a Juliet who is portrayed by a most alluring young boy.  All extremely mattress-able (a sweet term I picked up in the backstage area while visiting Tomas) and I am right back to square one.

Men.  And my so called mystical sensation.  Ergo, that is my dilemma.  I want so not to change.  I want to be me. To enjoy my feelings.  To be accepted for who and what I am on my own terms.  So, what is the solution pray tell?   To change or not to change?  That is my dilemma.  Alas, I am at a complete loss.

A full moon had me feeling out of sorts as I repaired my threadbare outfit (which is not as easy as it sounds considering I am partially blind with an unsightly hump to boot) for my most important audition at the CURTAIN when an exhausted albeit beautiful Tomas came a calling after hours of rehearsing with an offer to introduce me to a gypsy friend that dealt with or rather fiddled around with the magic of this so-called alchemy.

She will help you.


Why do you suddenly look so pale Jasper? As he caressed my hump knowing his touch always arouses me.

You know…

No, I do not know!  Surely you fear not females to the extent that you cannot feel free to allow one to help you.  One who only pretends to be female.  She is one of us.


Really Jasper!

And how long have you been seeing this masquerader?

You are far too jealous for your own good Jasper!

Casandra is only attempting to use his knowledge and intuition to help you.  I wouldst hope that you wouldst appreciate my attention to your career.

And with those words he placed one of his most delicious kisses upon my lips, softly whispering – I kiss thee with a most constant heart Jasper Finkelsteen with a double “e”!

Tomas, I am as usual swept away by your charm and logic.  Nay do not interrupt.  Please hear my soul speak.  The very instant I saw you, my heart did fly to your service and has made me a slave to it.

Another kiss with his precious words – I wouldst not wish any companion in the world but you my sweet Jasper.  You know how I adore you.  But we must be discreet.  There is danger in our affection for one another.  There are eyes and ears lurking everywhere that we know not of.  I doth believe Casandra can help.

I doth hesitate Tomas.

You must trust me. And decide what it is you want.

I know not what I want.

Of course you do, my love.  You want to act.  To amuse.  To appear on one of our great stages.  To be famous.  To bed me.

Soon after I came face to face with my audition at THE CURTAIN.   Without scenery or costumes or special effects the theatre was dank, cold and dreary.  Casandra had sold me some golden trinkets that I could ill afford but which Tomas swore by promising that when carried on my person I would succeed beyond all measure in whatever it was I desired.  At that moment all I wanted was not to smell all the foul odors that had been attacking my nose.

Someone shouted at me from across the stage.  You.  Over here!  So’s I can get me a better look.  It was then that I met the source of all those foul smelling odors.  The esteemed director.  Sir Andrew Tobias.  Unshaven, obese and crude.  He circled me.  Viewing me from every available angle.  Prodding and poking to his heart’s desire.  You appear to be a bit nervous Jasper Finkelsteen.  Finkelsteen!  You might think of changin’ that.  That is if you get cast.  Depends on how agreeable you is to me.  No need to be anxious my boy.  A fine specimen you is.  I’s sure you’ll do me fine.

As I listened to him I could only think of all the stories I had heard about such men.  Surely he wanted to bed me but I would have none of it.  Even to satisfy my desire to be in his play.

You appear to fill your tights quite adequately Jasper.  Loosen up, me boy!  Are you adept at performing acrobatics?  Would you mind shaving that hairy chest of yours?  Did not the manager explain about the nudity?  No?  Pity!  Do you play any instruments? Your voice and appearance?  Quite agreeable.  On and on.  Over two hours of interrogation.  I’ve had my eyes on you Jasper for some time.  Do not deny me.  I am aware that I am not as charming as Tomas – but I am much more important.  Yes, do not be shocked.  I know all about you two!  And then finally, how desperately do you want this part?

Not enough to exchange a bit of myself to get ahead, Sir.  Taken somewhat aback he replied, No need to be hasty.  Think hard my dearest.  I believe you are just what I need.

Balderdash!  I do not care!  You are a letch!  I refuse to give into your endeavors to do me harm.  Even if you were somewhat decent in appearance I would have to hesitate and then refuse.

But I could not and should not and dare not say any of those words as it would certainly end my career even before it has begun.  And so I fumed silently deciding to seek advice from Tomas.

Is this what one needs to do to get ahead?  Or did you use Casandra’s trinkets as well.  Well, did you?!  The reply from Tomas startled me.  ‘Tis not so bad, my love.  ‘Tis meaningless.  Just part of the game.  Part of the discipline.  Come, let me ease your stress.

Nay! I wouldst have none of you at the moment.

Sadly, seven excruciatingly long and anxious days later, I learned from Tomas that I had not been selected, in fact rudely eliminated for the role I had so desperately desired.  ‘Twas my greatest disappointment of unfulfilled expectations, as you can well imagine.

A new face.  A comely fellow comedian was cast in the role I coveted.

He shall remain nameless lest I cause any trouble.  How I despise him!

After all I had done – following the advice of that witch Casandra that my lover had foisted on me.  Alchemy!  Trinkets!  All lies!  Promising false hope to those who are foolish enough to believe in such dreck.

It would be nine years hence that I wouldst once again encounter Sir Andrew Tobias.  But I had risen in the theatrical world, was highly respected and was not about to be intimidated by this letch who was no longer powerful.

Meekly he arrived backstage at The Alchemist with a bouquet of wilting lily of the valley (which did little to mask his still awful stink) to praise my starring performance – which by the by has received unanimous glowing reviews – in this absurd ribald farce (right up my alley) by that new Bard on the block – Ben Johnson.

‘Tis wondrous strange, is it not?

And thus I leave you with these parting words:

If talent were all

Many actors wouldst fall

By denying to play ball with one’s selector

Forsooth be fired

Before being hired

Refusing to exchange a bit of themselves

To get ahead

If only they couldst say Nay! Rejecting the bed

Many a dilemma wouldst thus be avoided!

With all serious and good intentions I remain, very truly yours,

Jasper Finkelsteen with a double “e”

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LEMPICKA – the unseen musical

April 18th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

This a short somewhat strange take of a new and original musical titled LEMPICKA – not a review – that I had cancelled by the PR folks shortly before I was ready to head out to see it as one of its main stars/characters would not be performing – name withheld.  Wednesday matinee 4/17/24.

It is about a relatively famous female Polish art deco/cubist bisexual artist that is relatively unknown by many.  Unlike Andy Warhol and/or Toulouse Lautrec.  It takes place during the Russian Revolution and travels back and forth in time and locations.

As I only venture out to theatrical productions when I can get a matinee these somewhat dangerous days it is more difficult to schedule a date to review said shows.

And LEMPICKA was a production that interested me.  Not a revival.  Not based on a movie that was based on a book.  An original.  Plus I knew a bit about this artist.  Rather I should say I saw a couple of her paintings at the Bridgehampton home of two gay guys who were extremely nice to myself and my partner that I found intriguing.  It was at a lavish party.  In the basement of their lavish home.  Yes.  The basement so as not to upset the furnishings and décor of all the lavish rooms above by all those flamboyant somewhat awful rich pretentious folks in The Hamptons.

The paintings were large.  Strong.  Vibrant.  Sensual.  We were told they were copies.  If so they were extraordinary copies.  John knew some artist who could reproduce and did many of the paintings in the large house.  Not exactly a mansion.  Just pretending to be.

So I was extremely eager to book and to see the show.  Which I did immediately upon receiving the invite.  Then no news.  Then I discovered that my laptop had erased a slew of emails.  This is how I discovered what is called SPAM mail.  I never knew that it existed nor did I ever need to use and or empty it.  Long story short.  Voila!  There was my confirmation in the SPAM file.  Which made me happy.

Which brings us up to today when said star was indisposed and my trip up to the Longacre Theatre was aborted.

I had also read about the star portraying Lempicka who was making a return from her standby starring role in WICKED a while back circa 2003.  A huge hit.  Still running.  That I did not care for.  I think it was the start of the screaming, screeching give ‘em all you got belting numbers that every musical must now have.

So I await to see the outcome of LEMPICKA AND I or is it LEMPICKA AND ME?

For the moment I know nothing new about TAMARA DE LEMPICKA.  Just that I still love her art.




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March 27th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

In the land of anything can happen, which could be just about anywhere these days, we begin.

Sunlight had started to disappear.  A dullness at first.  Then grayness.  Then little or no light that one was accustomed to seeing at daybreak.  And then those gorgeous blue skies (even cloudy skies) slowly but progressively disappeared as well.  And finally to make matters worse the forests with their bounty of beautiful green trees and wild flowers and berries began to be drained of all color.  What was happening?  What has caused this disappearing act brought about by our dear old Mother Nature?

It was time that Simi Farkel Holmes, our baffled Private Investigator, once famous Girl Scout crusader and all around smarty-pants got to work.  After all, her prized majestic bed of gorgeous delphiniums was being endangered.  Time to put on her thinking cap, use her infamous grey cells and favorite Ouija board to solve these strange and perplexing occurrences.

Simi was troubled and disturbed.  She asked her artistically inclined friends.  They were equally frustrated and bewildered with the ever increasing darkness.  Do I dare say they too were in the dark as to coming up with a solution?


She asked her parents.  Separately.  To no avail.  They were divorced, living apart and made it obvious that they had other more important problems and could offer little or no information on the mysterious happenings that they hardly even noticed.

Frustrated, Simi went to the small neighborhood library to do research only to discover that it had been temporarily shut down due to lack of use.  No one seemed to read hard cover books these days in the land of anything can happen.

Real books had become too heavy, too long, too wordy and much too boring for its intended readership as opposed to the awful “breaking now” news (24 hours a day) syndrome that spread like some contageous virus –  regarding the frightening “dark ages revisited” alerts.

All this before the advent of the instant information internet and cell phones and whatever else was waiting in the future to isolate humans from each other while bringing them immediately in contact with a lot of junk.

Isolation of individuals.  Each and almost every one staring into a small gizmo and pressing buttons and letters and numbers to while away the lonely hours that resulted in not having a real cause to deal with or a real friend to share with –  that personal touch called communicating face to face.  Not face to image.  Just lots of sore thumbs.


So our determined but totally confused heroine returned home to her very adequate studio apartment that her feuding parents had bought for her prior to their divorce – just in case – and wasn’t that a good thing as she preferred living alone anyway away from all their bickering and complaining about each other and she had enough money from her trust fund.  Ah, the magical trust fund.  Solves lots of problems.

Simi was widely known as a philanthropist – although many couldn’t even spell the word.  In any event, money – unlimited funds – were handily at her disposal.

What did she do? You may ask.  Go right ahead.  I’ll wait.  No?  Here we go.

Simi is trying to solve this darkness problem knowing she will eventually see the light (couldn’t resist) as she tends to the gardens in the park spending lots of free time with her friends.  Mostly animals.  And doing a lot of good deeds for a lot of needy people in private to boot.


So our determined albeit confused heroine went home and baked a batch of delicious cookies – of her own closely guarded recipe that by far outsold and still does all the other Girl Scout members in her troop that she still stayed in contact with.

Simi Farkel Holmes Private Eye, her card read.  And that’s how she was famously referred to and respected in the small town of Kaplunk where she tried her best to be interesting, kind and generous and to do deeds worth her while, while on this planet that was so suddenly beset with so many problems.

Simi Farkel Holmes Private Eye had a reputation.  A rather fine reputation for being intelligent and for using that old fashioned “common sense” method that seemingly had gone out of style to solve any problems that crossed her threshold.

Take for example the slaying of Dendle the friendly neighborhood dragon whose home was in the rapidly drying up and slowly disappearing body of water so aptly named Lake Bygone.

A kindhearted shy dragon he was but someone somehow slew him as a trophy.  A trophy!   And that was not correct.  But she figured out who did him in – with the aid of her trusty Ouija Board and then she did that person in and in return she was awarded her twentieth Girl Scout Merit Badge for Detection.

Her prized possession.  Added to the many others which she had received for Science and Technology, Baking, Citizenship Improvement, First Aid, Forensics and last but not least Environmental Maintenance to name but a few.

And then one day while tending her drooping delphiniums Simi had an instantaneous thought race through her mind.  Completely out of the blue – which was a bit pale but still blue.  Like so many of her successful far out ideas she had received in the past.  The thought was a single word.  A name.  Pandora.

YIKES!  Not again!  Pandora, for those of you who have never heard of this all too curious woman, was responsible for unleashing all the evils of humanity when she lifted the lid of a gift that she was told never to open.

Hatred.  Revenge.  Disease.  Despair.  Greed.  Envy.  Famine.  Gluttony.  Lust.  Arrogance.  And all of their many sordid relatives.  The list seemingly endless.

We know that history does have a predilection for repeating itself but this is ridiculous thought Simi.  This blast from the past is certainly not welcome.  But perhaps this is just what we need.  A wakeup call to pay attention.

To the air we breathe.  To the clear blue skies.  Our trees.  Our flowers.  Our food.  Ourselves.  Can you imagine if all that goes down the drain?

Suddenly another word exploded in Simi’s thoughts.  Hope.  Yes.  Hope was still available.  The only thing that remained entrapped under the lid of the vessel when all those horrors were released by Pandora’s disobedience and curiosity.  Hope remained protected.

That is why Simi’s delphiniums survive.  Representing joy, happiness and kindness.  Acting as protection against the multitude of dangers lurking and waiting to destroy us.

So please stop thinking and worrying about so many unimportant matters while ignoring what might be the end of our beautiful world if we fail to take action immediately.  While we can.

And so Simi Farkel Holmes leaves us with a possible way of dealing with these difficult problems.  To pay attention.  To be kind.  After all, kindness is contagious.  A thought on a card that she hands out to one and all.

H.O.P.E.  Happiness.  Optimism.  Peace.  Empathy.

Spread the word.

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IBSEN’S GHOST – a disappointing drag PRIMARY STAGES

March 15th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

To be perfectly clear this is not GHOSTS by Henrik Ibsen.  This is Ibsen’s Ghost by Charles Busch infamous Queen of drag who can sometimes, most times be a riot on stage in his many portrayals of women on the verge.  Sad to report not this time.

Mr. Busch has written a disappointing, convoluted plot that has him starring as Henrik Ibsen’s widow (Suzannah Ibsen) soon after his demise, attempting to cash in on her “intimate” letters with her husband.  Publisher George Elsted (Christopher Borg, sporting a memorable mustache) finds them dull as is most of this production that originated at The George Street Playhouse in New Jersey.

The confusing plot, as is, goes on for almost two hours with an intermission that could be condensed into one act with a lot more clarity thrown in.

Almost everything else is including the much admired silent movie-like mugging of Mr. Busch (with a wink or rolling of his eyes, or his prissy mouth just waiting to skewer with some nasty repartee, a nod to Chekhov with a pistol that misfires as does Act II and some sexual innuendos that fail to titillate.

The cast is delightful.  Especially the infirm, limping across the stage maid (Jen Cody) who tripping and falling now and then steals every scene she is a part of.

Jennifer Van Dyck is as usual right on target as her portrayal of another of Ibsen’s amours Hanna Solberg who is attempting to publish her own collection of memories of dearly departed Henrik.

Then there is Judy Kaye as Magdalene Thoresen.  What a pleasure and treat to see her once more even though I wasn’t quite sure who or why she was there.  My mind kept wandering (thinking of Florence Foster Jenkins) so I must have missed some vital connection.

She is the only one on stage at 59 East 59 who I cared about.  She is real and funny and looks beautiful in her costumes and wigs where one can see where all the money was spent on this production.  Mr. Busch’s wardrobe (Gregory Gale) is also quite stunning.  If only his writing here were that impressive.  Visually the show works beautifully.  Bobbie Zlotnik designed the hair, make-up and wigs which are standouts.

Thomas Gibson appears mysteriously as Wolf, Henrik’s illegitimate sailor son who hitches up with the not so merry widow.

And finally Christopher Borg reappears in drag as The Rat Wife a clairvoyant and is excellent.

This entire mish-mash is directed by longtime collaborator Carl Andress.

Ibsen’s Ghost is billed as “an Irresponsible Biographical Fantasy”

They got that right.  Limited engagement.

Through April 14  PHOTO: James Leynse



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February 14th, 2024 by Oscar E Moore

I have a cousin.  She’s a mosquito.  I am a fly.  A reincarnated fly.  Oh, the stories I could tell – this being one of them…

Matthew by name.   Our families somehow, somewhere had some inter-mingling, so-to-speak and we wound up cousins.  Funny how things like that work out.  Or don’t.

Mavis and I do not think alike.  Nor do we look alike.  We couldn’t be more different if I were a fly and she a mosquito.  Which we are.

We sometimes fly into one another at the local swamp or city dump.  Not often, mind you.  Those places are much too humid and smelly for me.  I prefer to find a nice, quiet comfortable apartment that I can sneak into and set up home.  Come and go when I want.  Just as long as there is plenty of cool clean water available to quench my incredibly unquenchable thirst.  And an open window.

Mavis needs a crowd.  Adoring fans so-to-speak according to her long suffering, living way beyond his expected life span dad Melvin.  Poor Uncle Melvin.   Once a month he has to have his eyes examined.  Keeps bumping into walls and windows.  Not seeing them until it’s too late.

His vision hasn’t gotten any worse nor has it gotten better.  He has learned to adjust to the few bruises here and there and his ever present bent stinger.  Thankfully his buzzzzzz still works when needed.

He manages.  Both with his eyesight and his demanding daughter who never stops complaining.  Looking for a better life.  Always plotting ahead.  Thinking primarily of stardom.  Granted she has the most beautiful legs.  Gorgeous she would correct.  Each and every one.  But she can be a nuisance.  Prone to sting when least expected.  And.  It’s always.  About her!

So I was not surprised when I heard through my private grapevine (Uncle Melvin) about her insistence to audition for the world famous Bumble, Bee and Bailey Flea Circus.  The all-important word is flea.  Something that Mavis is definitely not.  Persistent and pushy yes.  A flea?  No way.  Is she talented?  That remains to be seen.

Mavis, not to be discouraged by anyone or anything set forth in becoming its newest and greatest star attraction.  “I will never be out of the spotlight” was her mantra.  “Never!”  With pure determination and will power.  And those six, count ‘em, six gorgeous legs.


Matthew Presser reporting for FLY ON THE WALL NEWS

Undoubtedly you have heard of Mavis.  Or I should stand corrected and say Marlene as that is who she insists on being called after officially changing her name as a result of being hired as Bumble, Bee and Bailey’s newest novelty attraction with her fantastic jazzy rendition of VOLARE – that number one catchy tune sweeping the swamps here and the hinterlands there performed with Fosse inspired movements showcasing her newly multi-million dollar insured gams that will surely enthrall audiences looking for a good time.

And I quote – “I wanted something exotic.  Mavis sounds like some rinky-dink rent-a car company.  But the one and only Marlene also known for her glamorous gams was more to my liking.  And I have four more than she.”

Rave reviews for FLY BY NIGHT FOLLIES.  Standing room only!

SOLD OUT– SOLD OUT, flashed repeatedly on a flea-sized marque in bright tiny multi-colored neon bulbs welcoming Marlene at every sold out performance; attracting all sorts of flying creatures – paying and non.

And then Delilah the demon dragonfly showed up.  At the stage door.  With her iron-clad contract that had a tiny iron clad clause that was conveniently overlooked by Messrs. Bumble, Bee and Bailey which clearly stated that the semi-retired Delilah Dragonfly could at any future time return to her starring status at the circus.  And that time was now.

Marlene formerly Mavis was not amused as the saying goes.

She had those glamorous gams and brazen gall but devious Delilah had those spellbinding gossamer art nouveau like double wings plus three pair of lovely legs that out-shown Marlene under the all-important spotlight.  Not to mention she was the recently divorced mate of one Mr. Bee.

It was reported by yours truly that soon after this incident Marlene met with yet another more unfortunate incident.  Somehow backstage, in the wings of all places, a simple sand bag hanging from the rafters mysteriously fell just as Marlene was about to make her entrance hitting her dead center where she and her glamorous gams met their tragic demise.  Stage Center!  In the spotlight of course.  Splat!

But as the saying goes – the show must go on.  And so it did.  Starring the one and only Delilah the Demon Dragonfly.



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December 21st, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

So what!  So I haven’t got any professional experience.  Just loads of school stuff.  Starring roles, by the way.  I keep telling myself over and over it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter at all.  Even so – No. Wait.  Maybe I could include that business with Tom Sawyer at Carnegie Hall Rehearsal Studios that was somewhat semi-professional where I sang “Beautiful Ohio” solo!  Why not?!

So I haven’t got an agent.  Don’t even know what an agent is or does or doesn’t do as the case may be.

An agent – quote, unquote – supposedly, I hear tell, gets you a job.  I thought talent did that.

Unfortunately I can’t read music.  Fortunately I have a great ear and can pick up a tune and memorize it immediately with my natural tenor/baritone tones that have caused some to swoon.  Just don’t ask me to harmonize.  I get lost.  Quickly.  So there.

But this is a job that I desperately want.  My very first professional audition.  On the sly.  To be completely explicit I intend not to tell a soul and that includes my best buddy Irwin anything until I am chosen.  At age sixteen!  Amazing.  Isn’t it?

Oh, yeah.  I want to be respected.  Not made fun of.  Be a somebody on Broadway and maybe just maybe my classmates, not the idiots that laugh and jeer when I sing in the auditorium but the others that tell me I am destined to be a star on stage especially after my breakthrough comic performance of Henry Spofford III in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by our so called acting coach – overweigh, horny, jovial but not the neatest of guys – Mr. Perkins.  Whew!

Boy did I surprise all of them, myself included.

All of a sudden during after class rehearsal something overtook me.  The part was strictly dullsville.  And so the – “I don’t know what happened” happened and I was took.  And I was funny.  Really funny.  I never knew funny was in me.  I was a success and those idiots that made fun of me and my singing had a rude awakening.  I was all of a sudden taken seriously.  Seriously funny I mean.  Whatever.

So why did I wind up in tears at the automat at 42 Street and Times Square on that rainy day in May at four in the afternoon?  That is some tale to tell.   So here goes…

My mismatched, taciturn parents (except for their occasional battle cries with each other at 3 am, awakening me and disturbing my slumbers with pots and pans rattling between screeching) purchased a trio of tickets to the new Rodgers and Hammerstein musical FLOWER DRUM SONG as a gift for my birthday.  This once a year gift was most welcome.  However high the seats were and they were always the highest, one could still make out what was on stage and could hear the beautiful words and music.  One song caught my attention immediately.  “Don’t Marry Me” – I had to learn it.

Somehow I finagled Mr. and Mrs. Taciturn to buy me the sheet music at The Colony after the performance.  I already planned during intermission to buy the original cast recording at my local record shop in Astoria.  With my saved up meager allowance.  Which I did post haste.  I always bought the LP of any new musical.

It did not matter that I couldn’t read the sheet music, I mean understand all those funny tiny black notes? – it was only to accompany me as I sang along with the album in the privacy of my bedroom.  Over and over until I had it down pat.

Now the plot thickens.  I had seen a notice in The New York Daily News regarding the forthcoming production of WILDCAT staring Lucille Ball and that they were searching for a young adult singer/actor/dancer OPEN CALL for a particular role.  Me.  I would be perfect.  Why not?

Oh, before I forget I must tell you that my dad mistakenly thought himself a dapper song and dance and teller of snappy stories sort of guy.  He wasn’t.  No way.  Except in an embarrassing way whenever he tried.  Which was every opportunity he could squeeze in at card parties that I was at times forced to attend.  Sad.  Mom knew to remain silent.  Sadder still.  She had heard them all.  Too many times.  Enough of that!  Back to WILDCAT.

It was raining.  No it was pouring.  Like in that Lana Turner flick – The Rains of Ranchipur.  Raining, like in torrential!  Actually it wasn’t that bad. I sometimes tend to exaggerate.

I cut class.  Got into New York by subway and found myself at the stage door of the Alvin Theatre soaking wet where a long line of other hopefuls, equally soaking wet, awaited its opening.  Standing in puddles and dripping with anticipation.

Had I rehearsed over and over to stand in line?  You bet!  So I waited.  Me and my damp sheet music.  I knew all the words.  Just didn’t know what would happen.  Could it really be me being chosen among all these hopefuls?  Why not?  After all I always was cast as the lead as I have already previously mentioned in all the school shows.  Elementary through High.  Hansel.  Curly.  Danny Churchill…refusing to wear some pink sequined toreador outfit that…

My crazy thoughts were racing through my head when the stage door opened and we were herded in.  Single file.  Like we were going to face a firing squad.

I was actually, really unbelievably inside a Broadway theater.  Not outside waiting for some star to autograph my program.  Inside.  Dark.  Empty.  Exciting.  Smelly.

One silly skinny lonely lamp lit by a caged bulb on the barren stage.  Barren except for a rickety upright piano and its worn out player and all us damp and nervous would be wannabe stars.

We were put in groups.  Like cattle.  Awaiting our chance to sing.  I was terrified.  Some guy kept moving us around and changing what group we were in and lots were let go – not even a thank you and then it was my turn to audition.

“NEXT!”  Yeah you dreamy eyes!

Where was all the magic? I wondered as I handed over my sweat dampened sheet music from under my shirt to the pianist who, stifling a yawn, seemed bored stiff from hearing what sounded like bits of every song ever written.

Petrified but fighting the feeling every step of the way I with a clear and firm voice stated my name and age – so far so good – adding my aspirations at winning the role I was here to win and that my Aunt Fanny who lived in Fort Lee had the highest of hopes…

“Please.  Young man.  Just sing.”  The mature and deeply resonant voice emanated from the darkness of the theater.

Yes, sir.  Sorry.  Thank you.  I nodded at sleepy eyes to once again begin my intro.

And so we began.  But something was off.  It just didn’t sound like the recording.  It was way different.  But I started to sing anyway and it was worse.  “Can we start over?  Please.”

I guess because I was sixteen and good looking and polite they all were so nice to me and so off we went.  “Off” is the operative word here.  Sleepy eyes and I were not in tune together and so I asked them if I could sing without the piano which they agreed to which I do not understand to this day why they agreed with so many others impatiently waiting to be next.  But they did.  And I sang.  It felt terrific.  All that I thought it would be.  Irwin would be proud.  Complete silence.

And then I got a very polite “thank you” from that deep resonant voice out there in the dark, retrieved my sheet music, smiled at my pianist and slowly left the theater, out through the stage door, barely holding back tears.  And headed straight to the Automat.  It was still raining.  But I had made it onto a Broadway stage with an unforgettable audition.


To wit –

Don’t put the cart before the horse.  Do not audition until you are absolutely ready.  Let a smile be your umbrella.  And remember that a recording can be in a different key than what is on the sheet music where never the twain shall meet.

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December 20th, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

There have been many a Christmas tree in my life.  Even a Hanukkah Bush.  But few were chosen.  And so, I take this time to reflect.  A very personal view.

From the ridiculous – does anyone remember EVERGLEAM?  Hard to forget those easy to assemble aluminum monstrosities – rotating color wheel included!  To the sublime – a revelation!  A glowing, aromatic real candle lighted Scotch pine shared in the cozy Upper West Side apartment – Eighty fifth off Central Park West – with my first infatuation and The Pearl Fishers, culminating with a very personal bittersweet remembrance when I was ten.

Humor me.

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Again.  The overlong, boring and seemingly endless Macy’s parade is now on endless repeat.  Football games overpopulate the airways.  I don’t get that game.  Never did.  And we are being force fed the traditional expectations of that miraculous birth of that poor carpenter who was crucified for all those that believe in such glad tidings.  All to the sound of the cash register.

I remember when all things were simpler.  I remember eagerly anticipating having my father with me tagging along carefully selecting and bringing home a perfect Blue Spruce (the only acceptable) tree to decorate for the Christmas holiday.  Oh, its wonderful smell.  And all that snow.  If we were lucky.  Hundreds of tiny flakes peacefully drifting down into our meager back yard.

Taking out the few dusty cardboard boxes of old fragile glass finely decorated ornaments hidden away in a hallway closet.  Carefully.  Enjoying their glistening beauty.

Look!  A string of colorful plastic lights resembling candles that when untangled (not so easy) and plugged in, their encased liquid would mysteriously start to bubble-up from within.  Magical.

Don’t forget the Tinsel!  Not too much.  Be careful.  Don’t throw it on.  Place it gently and with purpose.  Like icicles.  And my favorite camel.

Part of a Nativity set.  The only survivor.  Made of chalk.  I loved it and still do.  Omar remains close by on view all year long.

Christmas Eve.  I must have been about ten.  Aware but not fully of how things really were between my parents.  Not much communication.  Each of us in our own world.  I was happy enough just to enjoy the beauty of the snow that kept falling all day long and looking forward to decorating the Blue Spruce that was outside in the yard in a bucket of water keeping it fresh.  Awaiting its entry into the living room.  Mom sat in our Christmas tree less living room quietly smoking a cigarette and silently fuming.

The snow kept falling.  Beautiful and peaceful.  It seemed like hours passed as the snow drifted and I kept going down the hallway to look outside for any sign of my father.  What could be keeping him?  Why is he so late?  Where is he?  Who is he with?  So many unanswered questions.  Perhaps it was better not knowing.

I bet it’s Frank.  Well, it’s Friday.  My father’s official night out.  Always arriving home between nine and ten with a roasted chicken that he plopped down on a small folding table and proceeded to eat, down to the bones watching the fights on TV.  The ones between my parents I guess weren’t fulfilling.  Hearty appetite he had.  No talking necessary.  Never an explanation.

So I figured it was Frank.  Who else?  Frank – his demanding stepfather Frank.  An obese, oafish thug-like creature from the Westside waterfront docks and bars.

I have been trying to remember his last name.  Pracht?  Yes.  Pracht.  He made me nervous.  Our personalities clashed.  So I shut up.  However, he was in possession of a Model T Ford that I loved riding in.  It had a grey flannel interior and some small glass vases near each window.  They didn’t seem to go together.  The thug and the car that is.  Anyway…

My father’s original father (I had overheard) was shot dead in a Westside bar.  That’s all I heard.  Not one word more.  Ever.  Oh yes, supposedly he was a boxer!  Sadie the bereaved widow somehow, somewhere met up with Frank.  In a saloon?  They, I suppose, got married (yes I did see a wedding photo of the contented couple) and she soon took to her bed with a never empty glass of whiskey at her bedside.  Ordering Frank to do this and to do that all the while smiling happily with her most recent refill.  She had a nice happy laugh and twinkling eyes.

Across from their Forty Second Street walk up railroad apartment stood an imposing hotel (the name escapes me for the moment – the Harlan Hotel? No, the Hotel Holland) that housed an intriguing assortment of midget wrestlers that I could see out of Frank and Sadie’s not very clean windows just beyond the player piano and a collection of eerie looking dolls dressed in faded lace.  Extremely dead like.

So there I stood.  Once again.  In the doorway.  Like Snoopy faithfully greeting Charlie Brown.  Or should I say like Charlie Brown awaiting his faithful Snoopy?  Shivering and looking and waiting for my father (I seem not to ever remember calling him dad) and enjoying the snowfall along with its accumulating drifts.

He arrived.  Without a word and without his roasted chicken.  Mom smoked another cigarette trying her best to avoid the inevitable battle.

Without removing his coat he slurred, “Well, Butch what are we waiting for?  Let’s get that beauty and put her up and decorate the halls with boughs of holly.”  And so I dutifully followed him out into the yard where we discovered that this year’s beautiful Blue Spruce was frozen stiff.  Stuck in its solid bucket of ice.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

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THE SHARK IS BROKEN – or how JAWS was almost not made – sort of

August 18th, 2023 by Oscar E Moore

Disclaimer #1 I never saw JAWS the movie nor did I ever want to.  Disclaimer # 2 I read the script the night before I saw the production at The John Golden Theater on West 45th Street.  Not at all what I expected.  I liked it.

Not so during or after squirming in my seat for 95 minutes (no intermission) watching three able actors racing through their dialogue, cavorting themselves as the replicas of the original stars of said film that was directed by a very young Steven Spielberg who insisted filming at sea off Martha’s Vineyard and not in a studio water tank – for verisimilitude (thank goodness for spellcheck).

It’s sort of like Four Jills in a Jeep (anyone remember that one?)  This time ‘round it’s Three Guys on a cut-away tugboat (a boat that seems docked in cement) that has our three heroes Roy Scheider (a fine Colin Donnell) Richard Dreyfuss (a manic and quite frankly annoying Alex Brightman – an exhausting performance – true to form I suppose) and last but not least Robert Shaw – herein portrayed by none other than his son Ian Shaw with such a heavy accent that even with ear-phones much of his dialogue is garbled.  Not to mention his heavy drinking.

Shaw needs his booze.  Dreyfuss needs his women, drugs and reassurance and Roy needs his NY Times and some sunshine to work on his tan.

Speaking of which he, at one time, out of the blue, strips down to his black speedo and sits with a sun reflector.  Despite his glorious body as a relief from the flying gulls and animated seascape this gratuitous gimmick doesn’t help the story one bit.

Mr. Shaw also co-wrote the script with Joseph Nixon who I imagine is no relation to “that” infamous NIXON featured on the front page of the NY Times that the calm, level-headed and smart Roy quotes from.

This play does have its moments of comedy.  A bit of a song.  A bit of Shakespeare.

However, it is not about the filming of JAWS but about these three guys having to put up with each other for a rather long time.  Weeks not 95 minutes as I had to as they await the magic cinematic word “action” which our director Guy Masterson (and I use the term loosely) is at a loss to supply in this wishy-washy exercise.  Interesting idea.  Faulty execution.

Mr. Masterson seems to be at sea literally as to what to do with his three stars who while away the days and days and days as the production is delayed all because BRUCE the shark in question keeps breaking down.

Drinking, drugging, bickering like school girls, complaining, comparing past childhoods and playing cards and an English penny pushing game on a table that leaves you time to admire the Cinerama like projections of the sea and sky and gulls and waves that never seem to rock the boat even a bit.

Describing the film that they are trying to finish (do the job, get paid, go home) as “a trifle, an entertainment” sums it up for THE SHARK IS BROKEN as well.  I felt that they hit the nail right on the head.


PHOTOS:  Matthew Murphy

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