Review: Follies

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Bruce Sabath and cast in FOLLIES. Photo by Michael Dekker.

Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, currently in performance by the Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC) through the end of this month, expounds on such universal themes as love, innocence, loss and nostalgia. First performed on Broadway in 1971 where it won seven Tony awards (with two additional revivals), Follies begins in 1971 with the reunion of several of the “Weisman girls” at the theater where they performed back in 1941 between the two World Wars. The theater is about to be torn down and turned into a parking lot so this reunion represents the “last hurrah” of all those involved. While each of the women remember their younger days through dance and song, ghosts of their 1941 selves appear and immerse the audience in a multigenerational experience. While all the girls there look back to what they used to be, the central story line concerns two main couples: neurotic Sally (Tina Stafford/Andrea Dotto) and her salesman husband Buddy (Greg Horton/Spencer Hansen), and embittered Phyllis (Marcie Henderson/Tia DeShazor) and her famous politician husband Ben (Bruce Sabath/Ben Northrup). Sally and Phyllis lived together while they were Weisman girls, and were subsequently courted by the two gentleman callers. As often occurs in musicals, both women were in love with the same man: emotionally distant Benjamin Stone, who in the present day is unsure whether he ever knew how to love at all. This all builds to a climax near the end of Act II, when all the main players realize that their nostalgia and longing for the past is simply not enough to change the present. The lead actors are all superb in their own right, but it is the choreography by Sara Brians and direction by Dev Bondarin that allows the entire cast to shine. My favorite numbers were those where the 1941 and 1971 characters intertwine so you no longer remember which one is the present and which in the past. In addition, APAC’s understated set allows you to hear, see and feel the cabaret numbers in their pure emotionality. Who among us has not experienced regrets about lost love, how life might have gone if another path had been chosen? APAC has managed to take a master’s work and breathe fresh life into it.

Follies
Book by James Goldman
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Dev Bondarin

Featuring: Denali Bennett, Victoria Bundonis*, LaDonna Burns*, Denise DeMars*, Tia DeShazor*, Susan Cohen DeStefano, Christine Donnelly*, Andrea Dotto*, Dan Entriken*, Jonathan Fluck, Spencer Hansen*, James Harter*, Marcie Henderson*, Greg Horton*, Kathleen LaMagna*, Andrea McCullough*, Sharaé Moultrie, Ben Northrup*, Rusty Riegelman*, Bruce Sabath*, Carolyn Seiff*, Cliff Sellers, Lauren Alice Smith, Tina Stafford*, Noah M. Virgile, Mandarin Wu*

Musical Director: James Higgins
Choreographer: Sara Brians
Set Design: Ann Beyersdorfer
Costume Design: Jennifer Jacob
Lighting Design: Annie Wiegand
Sound Design: Caroline Eng
Prop Design: Andrew Short
Press Agent: Kimberly Wilson Marshall/Wilson Marshall PR/Events
Production Manager: Annie Jacobs
Production Stage Manager: Jessica McIlquham*
Assistant Stage Manager: Robert Peatman
Casting Director: Jason Styres, CSA.

Location:
Good Shepherd United Methodist Church
30-44 Crescent St. (at 30th Road), Astoria, NY 11102
Transportation: Queens-Bound N or W Train to Broadway.

May 3 – 26, 2018

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm
Saturdays at 2pm

Tickets on sale now at www.apacny.org; Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens, in advance.


BOAST’s Live Music Showcase Wrap-Up

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(L to R) Sea Sloat, Daniel Rauchwerk and Nicko Nicko

BOAST’s Live Music Showcase is in the books, and it was a success! Thanks to The Astorian, the musicans (Daniel, Nicko, Sea, Nicole and Christine), and everyone who came to support and listen. Also, congratulations to the raffle winners who won prizes to QED, Astoria Performing Arts Center, the Greater Astoria Historical Society, and Saloon Salon. Below are links for the musicians.

Christine Mitchell
https://soundcloud.com/user-193229804
https://www.facebook.com/ChristineMitchellMusic/

Nicole Denett
https://soundcloud.com/mohinsdahlia

Daniel Rauchwerk
https://www.facebook.com/drauchwerk/

Nicko Nicko
https://www.facebook.com/junicomusic/


BOAST’s Live Music Showcase Musicians

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Here is some info about the three musicians performing at BOAST’s Live Music Showcase on Sunday, May 6, 4–7pm. You can find out more about the event and get tickets at boast.nyc/music.

Daniel Rauchwerk
Best described as a “musical Wikipedia,” songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist seeks to educate as he entertains. A founding member of the internationally touring folk band The Lords of Liechtenstein, Dan has recently embarked on a solo career. His debut solo album, “We Are More Than What We Leave Behind,” will be released in late 2018.

Nicole Denett
Nicole is a New York City native, born and raised in Queens. She plays piano, guitar and ukulele and is influenced by the likes of Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles, Carole King and The Beatles. Her songs are a blend of pop, soul, and jazz infused with a little bit of attitude and a lot of heart.

Christine Mitchell
Christine Mitchell is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from the Jersey Shore. Her musical influences have been Bob Dylan, Justin Townes Earle, Joni Mitchell and John Mayer. Christine has been accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston and was nominated for the 2018 Asbury Music Awards for Top Female Acoustic Act. She enjoys performing her original music as well as covers.



BOAST’s Live Music Showcase

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Come to BOAST’s Live Music Showcase on Sunday, May 6 at 4pm at The Astorian! We are thrilled to have this event here since we want to bring business to places affected by the 30th Ave subway shutdown, and The Astorian opened just a few months ago.

We’ll provide some nosh (flatbread, sliders, fries and brussel sprouts), and we encourage you to purchase drinks at the bar (there is a terrific draft beer list, as well as delicious cocktails). You can also purchase more food if you want. We’ll be upstairs, and the live music will start at 4pm. The lineup includes Daniel Rauchwerk, Nicole Denett, and Christine Mitchell.

$15 (+ fee) in advance, and $20 at the door. Register by Sunday, April 29 and you will be entered into the raffle to win a prize from an Astoria business! Click here to register.

This should be a really fun afternoon of hanging out and listening to some great tunes, so we hope to see you there!

The BOAST Team


Trattoria Ora: A New Italian Restaurant in Western Astoria

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A few weeks ago, I was walking home from the Astoria ferry and noticed a cute little Italian restaurant had popped up at 18th and Astoria Boulevard. My favorite foods are bread, cheese and pasta so I was eager to check out this new place that was less than five minutes from my apartment. So a meat eater, a pescatarian and a vegetarian dined at Trattoria Ora on Thursday, March 14.

The cute brick walled rustic restaurant, which opened in early February, made us feel at home with a fantastic house staff and fabulous food.

We were greeted by the owners who quickly brought us a pitcher of water, warm bread and plate of scrumptious cheese and olives. We opted to start with an appetizer of caprese. The cheese was creamy and firm and paired nicely with the tomato and second basket of bread. The vegetarian considers herself a “carb-itarian” so she was a happy camper. Since Trattoria Ora dubs itself a wine bar we each had a white wine which paired nicely with our meals.

For entrées we ordered chicken, fish and pasta. The menu had a few vegetarian options and the staff was very accommodating. Everything had a beautiful presentation. The vegetarian (that’s me) ordered penne a la vodka. Our waitress provided plenty of Parmesan cheese to top off the dish. The pasta was fresh and cooked al dente. The sauce was a light red vodka sauce with chunks of tomatoes.

After wavering between the bass and the sole, the pescatarian ordered the striped bass filet which was cooked in a delicious tomato-based sauce with olives and served over spinach. A side of sautéed brussel sprouts rounded out this very tasty dish.

Our resident eater of all foods had the chicken special with portobello mushrooms in a champagne and white cream sauce. The chicken was prepared to perfection, not too dry and not undercooked either. The sauce had a nice flavor, and did not feel too heavy, which is saying something for a cream sauce. The portobello mushrooms were a nice touch to complement the chicken.

A night out at an Italian restaurant isn’t complete until you eat a dessert while already happily full. Our trio agreed on sharing the tiramisu. We easily agreed not only was this best tiramisu in Astoria, but the best in NYC. We were also gifted a slice of ricotta cheesecake that was light and fluffy. If you like ending your meal with a nice light choice the cheesecake is the way to go. If you prefer a super-sweet and decadent dessert – the tiramisu is a slice of heaven.

This seems like a nice place to take a date or have a nice family meal at the large table in the back. I look forward to coming back for future dates, glasses of wine and tiramisu!

—Emily (vegetarian), Ally (pescatarian) and Jonah (eater of all foods)

Trattoria Ora
18-01 Astoria Blvd.
Long Island City, NY 11102
718-433-9680

Photos by Emily



3E Thai is now Hero Thai Izakaya

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A couple months ago, BOAST favorite 3E Thai (34-16 Broadway) closed, and now under new management is called Hero Thai Izakaya. The chef is the same, and the menu is similar, but the interior is different and it’s a new restaurant, so 3E has been taken off BOAST’s EAT page, and has been replaced by new third place winners Enthaice Thai Kitchen (33-20 31st Ave) and Red Basil Thai Kitchen (32-47 Steinway St). Hero Thai Izakaya will certainly be in the running for a 2018 BOAST: Best of Astoria winner. We are curious to check it out, and compare to 3E. Have you gone? Let us know what you think!


Kurry Qulture will pay for customer’s Uber/Lyft

[From Kurry Qulture]

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Due to the 30th Ave subway station overhaul, which will last for the next several months, starting today Kurry Qulture will pay a customer’s Uber or Lyft ride when they dine there. All they have to do is show proof of their ride and the restaurant will credit their check up to $10. Some conditions apply: one credit of up to $10 can be applied per table, offer cannot be applied to separate guest checks, customer must show proof of ride in the smartphone app, not applicable for bar-only, delivery or takeout customers, Uber or Lyft driver’s tip will not be reimbursed.

WINTER 2018 MENU
Kurry Qulture, Michelin Guide reviewed, top-rated and highly recommended restaurant and cocktail bar, is setting the culinary bar even higher with its cutting-edge, modern Indian cuisine with its Winter 2018 menu. “This winter, Kurry Qulture invites you to indulge in classic, soul-nurturing Indian dishes with a modern fusion and flair,” said owner Sonny Solomon.

New on the Winter 2018 menu is a festive celebration of homestyle recipes of fresh ingredients conceptualized by Chef Binder, Executive Chef at Kurry Qulture. “Kurry Qulture’s Winter 2018 menu features 12 appetizers, 25 entrées and several variations of naan, chutneys and rice side dishes. There is something for everyone, even if you’ve never tried Indian food before,” said Chef Binder.

Some new dishes include AMRITSARI FISH (tilapia fillets, carom seeds, chickpea flour), Teekhn Murgh (jamaican peppers, black and red pepper), MURGH METHI MALAI (fenugreek, onion, tomatoes) and SALMON KALVAAN (tandoor grilled, coconut tamarind sauce). For vegetarian and vegans, the new menu features ALOO GOBI (cauliflower, potatoes, turmeric), PHOOL MAKHANE KI SUBZI (lotus puffs, ricotta cheese, green peas, DAL MAKHANI (black lentils, red kidney beans).

“EAT INDIAN NOW” MOBILE APP IS AVAILABLE
Kurry Qulture is proud to provide its mobile app for Apple iPhone and Android smartphone users, making it super easy to get delivery from Seamless, Caviar and Uber Eats, and well as receive exclusive promotional offers as special thank you for using the app. To download the app, go to kurryqulture.com/app.

HOURS AND RESERVATIONS
Kurry Qulture is open for dinner seven days a week from 5pm and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3pm. Reservations are accepted through OpenTable.com, by calling Kurry Qulture at 718.674.1212 or via email at reservations@kurryqulture.com

ABOUT KURRY QULTURE
Kurry Qulture is New York City’s first Indian restaurant to feature a seasonal menu. Located on the bustling 30th Avenue in Astoria, Queens, Kurry Qulture elevates the Indian dining experience with surprising-creative cuisine and attentive service in a chic yet casual ambience. Owner, Sonny Solomon, brings over 17 years of experience at some of New York City’s most notable fine dining establishments.

Most proudly, Kurry Qulture has received these highly sought after accolades: OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Award, “Best of the Boro” Award in the Queens County Indian Food category and featured in the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Michelin Guide. Five star online reviews on Yelp, OpenTable, Google and more rave about the cuisine, cocktails and exemplary style of service.

Kurry Qulture
36-05 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY 11103
718.674.1212
contact@kurryqulture.com
www.kurryqulture.com

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Ben Rosenfeld’s New Comedy Album Release

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COMEDY DYNAMICS TO RELEASE THE UNITED STATES OF RUSSIA, BEN ROSENFELD’S NEW COMEDY ALBUM ON JANUARY 19, 2018 

“A year after the inauguration, The United States of Russia is hysterical!”

LOS ANGELES, CA – Comedy Dynamics announced today it will release Ben Rosenfeld’s third comedy album The United States of Russia on all digital audio retailers on January 19, 2018.

Almost banned on Russian iTunes, Ben Rosenfeld’s album The United States of Russia is a hysterical look at life from a Russian born, American raised comedian. In his sarcastic and original style, Ben discusses his immigrant parents and outsider childhood, millennials, terrorism, the current political climate, and adjusting to life as a newlywed. 

Comedy Dynamics, a Nacelle company, is one of the largest independent comedy production and distribution companies, producing Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History, Animal Planet’s Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson, the new scripted comedy on Hulu, There’s… Johnny!, History’s Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson, MTV2’s Wild ’N On Tour, and Hulu’s Coming To The Stage. The company has worked with a wide range of established and emerging comedic talent including Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan, Katt Williams and many more. In total, nine of Comedy Dynamics’ albums have been Grammy-nominated, with one win.

Buy Links for iTunes | Amazon

4 Soundcloud tracks:
1. The United States of Russia
2. Teen Runaways
3. My Engagement Mixup
4. Third World Happiness

IOK7egZAbout Ben: Ben Rosenfeld creates smarter comedy for smarter people. Ben’s comedy blends his family’s experience as Russian Jewish immigrants in America with his philosophical beliefs, political observations and unique characters. Ben has appeared on FOX’s Laughs, CBS This Morning, National Geographic’s Brain Games, Travel Channel’s Mysteries at the Museum, NPR and been featured as TimeOut New York’s Joke of the Week. He has twice headlined at Caroline’s on Broadway, hosted at the Lincoln Center and performs nightly in New York City.  Ben’s three comedy albums, Neuro ComedyThe Russian Optimist and The United States of Russia are available on iTunes and all other digital retailers. Ben also created the illustrated coffee table book, Russian Optimism: Dark Nursery Rhymes To Cheer You Right Up, an Amazon Top 5 Best Seller in Humor.

Ben’s Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Official Website