Greetings! I have been away for a couple of weeks recovering, and as always, a lot has been going on. We begin with happy birthday shout-outs to legendary soul-gospel giant Al Green, who turned 68, and South African World Beat Music Ambassador Hugh Masekela, who celebrated his 75th Earth Day at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center with Paul Simon.
On a sadder note, we acknowledge the passing of the brilliant jazz musician and co-founder of the Crusaders, Wayne Henderson. The trombonist and composer passed at age 74 in Culver City, Calif., due to heart failure, which was triggered by diabetes.
Many of you hear the Crusaders in my weekly “GBE Mind Flight” on WLIB with my closing theme “Flight Time.”
The historic 2014 revival of “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry’s heart-wrenching family drama, stars Academy and Tony Award winner Denzel Washington and LaTanya Richardson and is directed by Kenny Leon (“Fences”). It’s currently in a limited run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 243 W. 47th St. For tickets, call 800-901-4092 or visit telecharge.com.
Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre and Castillo Theatre present Ed Bullins’ “The Fabulous Miss Marie.”The setting is the early 1960s in the Wilshire section of Los Angeles just before the Watts rebellion. Miss Marie is having a three-day holiday party in her home, and her guests somehow ignore the reality of the outside world. The show runs from April 17 through May 18 at the Castillo Theater, 543 W. 42nd St. Call 866-811-4111 or visit castillotheatre.org.
“After Midnight” celebrates the glamour and exuberance of Harlem’s Golden Age with the timeless songs of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Harold Arlen woven around the prose of Langston Hughes. The production currently features three-time Emmy-nominated actress, 11-time Grammy-nominated, multiple platinum recording artist and former Miss America Vanessa Williams as a guest vocalist now through May 11. The show takes place at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre (256 W. Fourth St.). For information or tickets, call 212-719-4099 or visit brooksatkinsontheatre.com.
“Motown: The Musical,” with book by Berry Gordy Jr. and featuring 2013 Tony nominee Charl Brown, Brandon Dixon and Felicia Roswell, is now playing at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W. 46th St., between Eighth Avenue and Broadway. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or motownthemusical.com.
“Lady Day,” a tribute to jazz legend Billie Holiday, features multi-Tony Award winner Audra McDonald performing Holiday’s classic moods and melodies. The show takes place at Emerson’s Bar and Grill Circle in the Square Theater, 1633 Broadway. Call 212-239-6200 for more details or visit ladydayonbroadway.com.
“Kinky Boots,” featuring 2013 Tony Award winner Billy Porter, is now playing at the Al Hirschfield Theatre, 302 W. 45th St. For more information, call 866-276-4887 or visit www.broadway.com/shows/kinky-boots.
“Platanos, Collard Greens and Callaloo” is now playing at Baruch Performing Arts Center (Baruch College), 55 Lexington Ave. (enter on 25th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues). Call TheaterMania at 212-352-3101, visit theatermania.com or visit plantanosandcollardgreens.com.
“Satchmo at the Waldorf” is an absorbing and uplifting new play about the music, struggles and triumphs of Louis Armstrong, the man who invented jazz. The show stars Obie and Lucille Lortel Award winner John Douglas Thompson (“Othello,” “The Emperor Jones”) as both Armstrong and Glaser in a tour de force performance. Appropriate for ages 14 and up due to strong language. Westside Theatre Upstairs, 407 W. 43rd St., between Ninth and 10th avenues. For more information, call 212-239-6200 or visit www.satchmonyc.com.