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Remembering Marvin Hamlisch; New York International Fringe; Bring It On’s High-Flying Entertainment; Smuin Ballet’s Modern Dance to Pulsating Rock

by Ellis Nassour on August 15, 2012

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Gone much too soon! Shockwaves permeated throughout the industry on news of the death of one of the business’ most beloved people: Pulitzer Prize, Oscar [nine nominations; two wins], Tony, Drama Desk, Emmy [six nominations; two wins], Grammy [four nominations; one win], and Golden Globe-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, 68. He was one of a handful of “four handicappers” who Oscars, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy. Hamlisch was also an in-demand arranger, orchestrator, and was soon to take up new conducting duties

Hamlisch was born into a musical family, and began playing piano at five. At seven, he was the youngest accepted at Juiliard. He began as a rehearsal pianist for Broadway shows; and, in the mid-60s, was writing for film and TV. Not exactly well known was the fact he composed scores for the original Batman and Brady Bunch series; and, for six seasons in the 90s, Mystery Science Theater.  In the early 70s, his first major job was playing for Groucho Marx at Carnegie Hall in An Evening with Groucho.

He made history in 1974 when he became the first to win three Oscars for Song ["The Way We Were," co-written with Marilyn and Alan Bergman], Score [The Way We Were],   and Adapted Score [Scott Joplin's ragtime for The Sting.]
Marvin Hamlisch won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony, and Drama Desk for the landmark musical A Chorus Line, collaborating with Nicholas Dante, Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood Jr., and Ed Kleban.

The Fringe Marathon 

The flood gates have opened. The 16th New York International Fringe Festival, North America’s largest theater and dance festival, is off and running through August 26.  There’ll be 1,000 performances by 187 emerging theater and dance troupes from 10 countries and 20 U.S. states in 20 Lower Manhattan venues – at least a dozen are dance shows ranging from flamenco to hip hop to a Persian folk tale [Oasis] and an opera based on the Tarot.

At $15 per ticket, FringeNYC is one of the world’s remaining bargains. Shows are selling out faster than you can say 16th New York International Fringe Festival. Attendance is expected to top 75,000, so get tickets now.

Early buzz is on Tail! Spin! [already sold out] starring The Daily Show’s Mo Rocca, Saturday Night Live’s Rachel Dratch, and TV and film actor Sean Duggan); Naked & Crazy, the folk-rock musical Independents;  5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche; Standby – the Musical; I <3 Revolution, with Chris Lowell [The Help; TV’s Private Practice, Veronica Mars]; MisSpelled; Have I Got a Girl for You; the musical Grimm; I Married a Nun; the one-woman Iranian comedy, Mahmoud [winner, Best of Fringe, Toronto]; two one-act comedies, An Evening with Kirk Douglas [he won’t be onstage]; and Pieces, a who/why-done-it about the brutal murder of a gay Hollywood power player.

FringeNYC shows are: $15 in advance at or (866) 468-7619; $18 at the door, subject to availability. Multiple show discounts include the $70 Fiver, $120 Flex Pass [10 shows], and the $500 all-you-can-see Lunatic. Information, schedules, and venues available at the website.  A Fringe guide is included in this week’s Onion newspaper.


Cheerleaders on Broadway

How about some exhilarating entertainment to relieve the Dog Days of Summer? Sit back, relax, and enjoy the incredible company of acrobatic dancers in Bring It On: The Musical who’re giving the ensemble of Disney’s hit Newies a bit of competition in the over-the-top explosive dance and aerial stunts.

Inspired by the Universal Studios film, it’s the story of bonds formed through the thrill of extreme competition. The show features quite a pedigree of creators: book by Avenue Q’s Tony-winning Jeff Whitty; and a score by In the Heights Tony-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning Tom Kitt (Next to Normal) and Amanda Green
(High Fidelity). Director/choreographer is Tony-winning Andy Blankenbuehler (In the Heights).
A limited number of $35 rush tickets [cash only; limit of two] are available for performance, purchased at the St. James Theatre box office beginning at 10 A.M. day of performance. For more information, visit:



Ballet That’s Not Ballet

August 13 – 18, the acclaimed Smuin Ballet returns to the Joyce Theatre with an exhilarating program of its signature bold, sexy, and innovative dance. Three programs include founder Michael Smuin’s Medea, created during his tenure as artistic director of San Francisco Ballet; and New York premieres by Trey McIntryre, music by indie-rockers The Shins and Amy Seiwert, music from the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet’s Pieces of Africa.
Performances are Monday-Wednesday at 7:30 P.M.; Thursday-Saturday at 8; and matinees at 2 on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets are $10-$49 and available at  the box office, JoyceCharge (212) 242-0800, and


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