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Linda Armstrong

Stories by Linda

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‘Prince of Broadway’ is theatrical musical perfection

“Prince of Broadway,” playing at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, is a love letter to Hal Prince and his magnificent Broadway career.

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‘A Raisin in the Sun’ shines at Harlem Repertory Theatre

I always get excited when I hear that Harlem Repertory Theatre is doing a production. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a production there that wasn’t poignant and moving. They are currently presenting Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” at 240 E. 123rd St. at Second Avenue.

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‘Port Chicago 50’—A true story that needs to be told!

“Port Chicago 50” played at the National Black Theatre at 125th Street and 5th Avenue and told the story of the 200 Black sailors who died in explosions on naval ships on a July evening in 1944.

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Hal Williams to star in ‘Port Chicago 50’ at National Black Theatre

During WWII, 200 Black sailors were killed in explosions that were the fault of the U.S. government. This incident is the focus of “Port Chicago 50,” a play opening Thursday, Aug. 17 at the National Black Theatre at 2031 Fifth Avenue.

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Dominique Morisseau’s take on young Black males is quite revealing at Lincoln Center

Have you ever seen a play that delivered a powerful, poignant, profound message?

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Jackie Alexander new artistic director of National Black Theatre Festival

The National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., is happening right now. It started July 31 and will run through August 5.

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‘Bella,’ a bootylicious musical at Playwrights Horizons

“Bella: An American Tall Tale” had a recent world premiere run at Playwrights Horizons.

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‘Me the People,’ a hilarious musical comedy at The Triad

Are you concerned about the future of this country? Do you wonder how we got to where we are with our new inexperienced president? Do you wonder how a man with countless character flaws got into the White House and is still there? The hilarious answers to these and many other questions are waiting for you at The Triad Theater

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James Earl Jones, August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’ get love at the Tonys

James Earl Jones was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 71st annual Tony Awards Sunday, June 11.

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Tony-nominated Michelle Wilson talks ‘Sweat’

I recently had the opportunity to interview Tony-nominated Michelle Wilson for her role as Cynthia in Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat,” playing at Studio 54 on West 54th Street.

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‘Sweat’ is moving theater

“Sweat,” Lynn Nottage’s latest work, is an intensely written and flawlessly performed drama. It will make you laugh and cry as it tells a real story of real people’s lives.

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‘Hello Dolly’ is everything a musical should be

It’s so nice to have “Hello Dolly” back where it belongs—on Broadway! This classic musical revival is playing at the Shubert Theatre on 44th Street and stars the marvelous Bette Midler as Dolly Levi.

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Tony Awards to honor James Earl Jones, ‘Jitney,’ ‘Sweat’

James Earl Jones will be honored at the 71st annual Tony Awards Sunday, June 11, at a live presentation at Radio City Music Hall. At the age of 86, Jones will receive a well-deserved Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.

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‘Paramour’ ends April 16—Go see it!

I’ve told everyone that “Paramour” is a must-see because it is so original and creative, combining circus acrobatics with romance and a star-is-born storyline.

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‘A Bronx Tale’ is disappointing

“A Bronx Tale” is a new musical on Broadway, based on the play by Chaz Palminteri.

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You’ll never see the MTA in the same way!

Acapella singing has found a home on Broadway with “In Transit,” a new musical playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre on West 50th Street, with a story based in New York City that spotlights the New York City MTA.

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Close is colossal on Broadway!

Glenn Close is colossal! Her return to the role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway revival of “Sunset Boulevard” will take your breath away.

‘Visionary Voices’ at the American Bard

The American Bard Theatre Company recently presented “Visionary Voices: 2 Women Writers—3 Big Stories.”

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Don’t ‘Ring’ the bell

Have you ever gone to a show and found yourself interested yet confused as to what was happening?

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Tony winner Tonya Pinkins takes on directing role with one-act play

When you hear the name Tonya Pinkins, you probably think of the TV actress (she’s most well-known for her role on “All My Children”).

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BroadwayCon: A theater lover’s dream

BroadwayCon at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center this past weekend was the best it gets for theater lovers.

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‘Jitney’ is the best play on Broadway!

It has been too long in coming but, at last, August Wilson’s “Jitney” has made it to Broadway. And “Jitney” is the best play there!

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Broadway’s ‘Phantom’ brings diversity to lead roles

The “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, at the Majestic Theatre, has boldly cast the first African-American as Raoul (Jordan Donica) and the first Asian-American as Christine (Ali Ewoldt).

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2016: The year in review in Black theater

The year 2016 was full of brilliance for Blacks in theater. The year began with the phenomenal work of Lydia R. Diamond, “Smart People,” which was presented by Second Stage Theater and starred African-Americans Mahershala Ali and Tessa Thompson, along with Joshua Jackson and Anne Son.

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‘Cats’ is dazzling!

I have never seen anything like it. A production that had people dressed as and acting like cats. A musical that has the audience come to an understanding of the things that these animals go through.

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‘Rudolph’ is great family fun through Dec. 18

When you were a child, did you look forward to the holiday season because you knew that Channel 2 was going to run “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?” I know I did.

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‘“Master Harold” … and the Boys’ is theatrical brilliance

Poignant, riveting, captivating and disturbing are the words that come to mind as you watch the timeless production of Athol Fugard’s “‘Master Harold’ … and the Boys” playing at the Pershing Square Signature Center on West 42nd Street.

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The 44th annual VIV Awards—Oh what a night!

Last Monday night was the annual heartwarming Black Theater family reunion, acknowledgement of extraordinary talent and a love-fest.

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‘Autumn’—An explosive political play

The Billie Holiday Theatre recently presented the politically explosive play “Autumn.”

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Anna Deavere Smith gives voice to the everyman

I don’t know anyone else who has the gift to interview people—to capture the person’s words and essence, tone of voice, facial gestures, nervous ticks such as stuttering, way of sitting and particular body movements that clearly depict that a different individual is addressing the audience—than Anna Deavere Smith.

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Zora Neale Hurston celebrated at Castillo Theatre

New Federal Theatre in association with the Castillo Theatre is celebrating the 125th birthday anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston with a wonderful play penned lovingly and respectfully by Laurence Holder entitled “Zora Neale Hurston, A Theatrical Biography.”

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‘Sweat’ is Lynn Nottage at her best!

Lynn Nottage is a gifted playwright. She can take a real situation and place it into a play in a way that an audience can understand, identify with and deeply care about.

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Nominations are out for 2016 AUDELCOs

Nominations for this year’s AUDELCO Awards, the “VIVs” as they are affectionately called, after late founder Vivian Robinson, were recently announced.

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‘Marie and Rosetta’ will take you to church

“Marie and Rosetta” is a production that needs to be seen! Set in Mississippi in 1946, it tells the story of legendary gospel singer Rosetta Tharpe and her protégé Marie Knight. Tharpe, a popular singer who sold more than a million records, had to deal with prejudice and racism.

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Jordan Donica, first Black ‘Raoul’ in Broadway’s ‘Phantom’

I remember how excited I was when it was first announced that Norm Lewis was going to be cast as the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera,” on Broadway, making him the first Black man to play the role in the Broadway production.

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'Motown the Musical' is marvelous!

“Motown the Musical” is back on Broadway. It’s a completely engaging, soulful trip down memory lane, mixed with serious moments that echo the discrimination that Blacks have endured in this country.

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‘She Loves Me’ is a theatrical delight!

You will love “She Loves Me,” playing at Studio 54. This musical comedy is just a good time at the theater.

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‘Paramour’ is thrilling theater

In the audience, you get to experience a captivating story, phenomenal singing and some of the most stunning, graceful and lovely acrobatics you’ve ever seen.

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New Federal Theatre holds gala benefit

Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre recently held a festive gala benefit at Trump Place, 220 Riverside Blvd., honoring Novella Nelson and Melvin Van Peebles, two of many actors and directors who have worked at NFT over the theater’s 46-year history. Van Peebles was introduced by Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons. Nelson was introduced by former Mayor David Dinkins.

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Tamara Tunie takes to the stage for ‘American Son’

Tamara Tunie, beloved star of “Law & Order: SVU,” is onstage in a new, world-premiering drama called “American Son.”

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‘The Total Bent’ targets corrupt TV evangelists

“The Total Bent” is a musical that highlights how corrupt some TV evangelists can be.

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#TonysSoBlack: Diversity wins at Tony Awards

"Hamilton" and "The Color Purple" win big at the Tony Awards as diversity shines.

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‘Shuffle Along,’ ‘Color Purple,’ ‘Eclipsed’ and ‘Royale’ recognized at Drama Desk Awards

Black theater was recognized for its brilliance and talent on and off Broadway at the 61st annual Drama Desk Awards, held Sunday, June 5 at the Town Hall. “Shuffle Along” received the ultimate honor and several more, “The Color Purple” was recognized and “Eclipsed” received special attention on a few levels.

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‘Skeleton Crew’ is theatre at its best!

Watching “Skeleton Crew” is like seeing a slice of life. “Skeleton Crew” is theatre at its best—a prime example of how theater imitates life.

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Brennyn Lark makes stunning Broadway debut in ‘Les Miserables

If you go to the theater to be moved, to cry and to feel inspired, then you must make plans to see the current revival of “Les Miserables,” playing at the Imperial Theatre on West 45th Street.

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Joe Morton is the brilliant Dick Gregory in ‘Turn Me Loose’

“Turn Me Loose” is a tour-de-force that celebrates Dick Gregory’s brilliance. Joe Morton is quick-witted, funny and poignant as the iconic comedian.

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Emmy winner Joe Morton takes the stage as Dick Gregory

Joe Morton, who recently won an Emmy for his portrayal of Eli Pope on ABC’s “Scandal,” has returned to the New York stage, playing stand-up comedian and activist Dick Gregory in “Turn Me Loose”

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Black productions recognized with Drama Desk noms

The Drama Desk Awards honor the best in Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater.

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‘Blackbird’ is a riveting, disturbing drama

Broadway is a vehicle through which many different topics can be discussed, including those that may be difficult for people to approach and deal with.

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'Shuffle Along’ is Black Broadway history

“Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed,” is one of the most significant, sensational, stirring musicals to come to Broadway in some time. It gives an endearing, historical record of “Shuffle Along,” the first Black musical staged on Broadway in 1921.

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