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Photo Courtesy of davemalloy.com

Fresh off starring in his other musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Dave Malloy, Brittain Ashford, and Gelsey Bell are currently performing in Malloy’s show Ghost Quartet. Performing with them is  Brent Arnold, who was not part of the Great Comet cast, but is just as talented.

The show, currently being performed at Next Door at NYTW is in an intimate space that brings all of the audience close to the chilling performance. In the performance I attended, Ben Stiller was sitting right behind me, reminding me once again of the wide range of people you will see while exploring New York City. The show is centered around a “haunted song cycle about love, death and whisky.” Indeed, during one of the songs, everyone in the audience is handed an actual shot of whisky to drink with the cast. As a result, many of the performances are 21+ (a few shows have specifically been allocated to be for all ages). Throughout the performance, the audience is transported across multiple centuries and characters and, at times, plunged into complete darkness as Malloy’s gorgeous, yet eery songs emanate throughout the small theater.  

As the show rushes towards an unknown ending, the audience is asked to participate by directly supplying the music for the show. While there are multiple articles online that go into much more depth about the plot, I definitely recommend going into the show having not listened to the songs or knowing the plot. With such an intimate setting, the experience when seen fresh is absolutely one not to miss.

While tickets to Ghost Quartet’s initial run are sold out, the run is being extended today, October 11, to include more showings, as announced by the NYTW via twitter yesterday.

As stated in their tweet, tickets will go on sale at noon here. For more information about the show, you can also check out the NYTW website here.

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Murphy


Hal Prince has undoubtedly influenced the world of Broadway, inspiring others to pursue careers in the theatre industry. When entering the theatre, the expectation was that the show, in the process of highlighting Prince’s works, would using meaning

The Prince of Broadway celebrates sixteen shows that the legendary Hal Prince directed, and as the musical states, some of them were flops and some were successes, but all of them, he believed, were creatively daring and meaningful. Thus, it was up to the audience’s discretion for this show if they agreed with his direction of this somewhat-seeming self-serving musical, and with the statement aforementioned, some of the performances were flops and some were major successes.

Tony Yazbeck in Follies. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

For instance, Tony Yazbeck truly shined throughout all numbers he was in, most notably in “The Right Girl” from the musical Follies. His exquisite tap dancing followed by his intense acting sent the crowd roaring for more of his excellence. And that wasn’t the only star performance by Mr. Yazbeck. Even from his first spotlight on the Friedman theatre, one could tell by his poise that he would shine in every performance that he was staged in, success or flop.

However, with many successes, there are usually some flops tagged along. In this showcase of a musical, there were clearly some weaker moments. For example, pretty much every time the eponymous “Hal Prince” would narrate in the transitions between each performance, the delivery fell flat. It was almost to the point of cringeworthy between musicals that we were anticipating when the dialogue would end in exchange with the performances of yesteryear.

Overall, whether you are a Broadway aficionado wanting to relive some of the glories of the Great White Way or a newcomer wanting to delve deeper into the greats of the past, the Prince of Broadway is a wonderful showcase of brilliant performance and a pleasant night at the theatre.

Prince of Broadway is part of the Manhattan Theatre Club which offers a program called “30 Under 30” where anyone under the age of 30 can qualify for $30 rush tickets. Click here for more information.

Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone. Photo Courtesy of Joan Marcus.

“There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”

Helena Rubinstein, cosmetics entrepreneur and rival of Elizabeth Arden, repeated that over the course of her career. Beauty was revolutionized by Rubinstein and Arden, but more importantly, they were powerful entrepreneurs in a male-dominated workforce. War Paint, a new musical at the Nederlander Theatre, gives us a glimpse of the day-to-day of the lives of these women and their rivalry.

The set design was beautiful, the costumes were magnificent, and, of course, the two-time Tony Award-winners Patti LuPone (Helena Rubinstein) and Christine Ebersole (Elizabeth Arden) were fantastic, as expected. The musical progresses from the advertised topic, the rivalry of these two beauty entrepreneurs, to a broader reflection on their internal struggles as powerful women. By the end of the musical, drugstore cosmetics lines have devalued the image of timeless beauty, and the two women are forced to reflect on the value and impact of their lives’ work.

While a compelling and moving narrative put to incredible music, the flow of the lyrics was sometimes stilted. Elizabeth Arden, despite her humble upbringing and incredible corporate empire, was portrayed as a brainless blonde in contrast to Helena Rubinstein. She was ‘obsessed’ with her packaging, as opposed to obsessed with how good her porcelain containers were for business. In wartime, the outfits of her sales representatives were exaggerated by ‘military women’ in short skirts, contrasted sharply by Rubenstein’s clinical containers and women in military-inspired uniforms. The rivalry between the two women was written with a strong hand and exaggerated dialogue, while their hesitant coming together seemed much more natural. And at the end of the performance, a question about the unresolved impact of cosmetics on women’s freedom seemed to be misplaced. The narrative of two successful women strong enough to create a lasting industry was diluted by the question of their lasting impact, not on professional women but on beauty standards.

Overall, War Paint brought this narrative into the 21st century with grace and respect for the immense task that both Rubinstein and Arden faced in building companies named after and run by women.

Photo courtesy of BBB.

Rousing applause closed the night at Bandstand, the latest of Broadway’s American musicals. Bandstand boasts an all-original storyline and an all-American plot, addressing the inaction of American government and society in addressing the needs of our veterans in a post-World War II, swing-era context. A tantalizing portrayal of the not-so-glorious aftermath of World War II, Bandstand catalogues the story of Donny Novitski (Corey Cott), a swing pianist from Cleveland with a desire to make it big in the city that never sleeps, and Julia Trojan (Laura Osnes), a recently widowed choir singer who decides to pursue the dream of being a jazz vocalist in order to cope with the unfortunate demise of her husband in the war.

The musical tells the story of a group of veterans gathered by Donny (in a wonderful scene in which each character has a chance to declare “I know a guy”) who form a band to compete in a national radio contest in New York City while struggling to fit into their old lives and deal with the lingering effects of the war. The prize could guarantee celebrity status to its winners, but dealing with complicated interpersonal relationships and the challenges of finding jobs in post-war America, provides obstacles to the band that confront not only the dismal treatment of veterans, but also the essential flaws haunting any pursuit of the American Dream.

Throughout the musical’s opening, Donny is tormented by his role in Julia’s late husband’s death, and is not alone in his burden. Every character bares the marks of the war on their minds, in their music, and in their hearts. Physical ailments are paired with post-traumatic stress and beautifully choreographed scenes wherein the actors physically struggle under the weight of men in military uniform— dragging their ghosts with them. Even Julia, as she joins the band of veterans, struggles with her own loss in the aftereffects of the war.

In addition to survivor’s guilt, Donny has to overcome his pride and fear. His failure to save Julia’s husband presents a very cutting scene on stage in part because Donny is the epitome of the trope of the overconfident male with complete faith in his ability to achieve the American Dream. In fact, in a beautifully belted solo, Danny even quite forcefully inserts himself among the era’s greats, denigrating Sinatra’s skills in comparison to his own.

Altogether, Bandstand hits on a sensitive and relevant topic in today’s society in a way reminiscent of White Christmas’ classic “What Can you Do with a General,” an early commentary on the aftereffects of war; however, with Bandstand modern theater brings us a portrayal more unapologetically gritty and honest…

And, as the musical clearly elucidates, contentious.

It is often hard to like Donny as he gives in to his pride and aggression, losing himself at times to his own mind, but as Julia comes around to see him in a different light, audience members cannot ignore his charm— nor the damage unfairly done to him by the lack of support and representation for returning veterans, veterans living in a society that does not want to acknowledge the scars inflicted on their brothers, fathers, and sons.

Occasionally the complexity of projecting multiple perspectives onto the stage (i.e. the first scene, which is both set at home with Julia and simultaneously abroad in the trenches) and pairing them with interpretive demonstrations of the characters’ mentalities manifests in Bandstand as strange staging and slightly confusing choreography. But, considering the massive scope of the undertaking, Bandstand does an impressive job of playing out its various plotlines.

The only real criticism that came to me in the mutterings of the audience and my own hesitations while watching Bandstand was the distinctly awkward inadmission of the concurrent issue of racial segregation during the 1940s and early 1950s. After all, Brown v. Board of Education didn’t even occur until 1954. As a result, it was a little disconcerting to see the token black character come to life in their use of Kevyn Morrow, the only POC cast member, as blanket ensemble in ambiguous roles with minimal speaking, the musical’s realism marred by its refusal to acknowledge its historical context in this regard. At one point, he is a preacher (for an all-white church), and, at another, he works as a radio executive (for an otherwise all-white station). To leave this unacknowledged is to pretend the harsh reality of the segregated social climate did not exist.

That being said, the musical dealt and dealt well with the issues it did confront, and it is understandable (though unfortunate and perhaps uncomfortable) that, in the stress of dealing with such a hugely important and controversial subject as the mistreatment of veterans, certain aspects of the play became “unreal” and certain unpalatable realities went unacknowledged.

Still, we can learn from Bandstand, in its message and its omitted lines, a great deal about the change that our society calls for, that America needs. So I would still call Bandstand a great American musical, and, with its hard-hitting message on veterans’ needs and its equally stunning choreography, certainly worth watching.

Photo Courtesy  of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl’s classic tale imagined in two drastically different film interpretations makes its sweet debut on the Broadway stage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on 46th Street. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” can make the sun rise and sprinkle it with dew with the playful, child fantasy it creates, but some of the wonders that “must be believed to be seen,” as Grandpa Joe exclaims, do not live up to their hype and leave the audience disappointed with what they actually witness.

Back in my hometown, we have a small children’s theatre where new and old productions alike are performed. I distinctly remember that we had a small production of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Even though these productions were completely different and the songs in the Broadway version are much better, I was almost shocked when I saw the Broadway set as the set for my small children’s theatre all those years ago seemed to be of the same quality as the Broadway version, if not more profound. The magical world that is Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is hyped by every single character in the musical, including by actors who do ostentatious jazz hands and sing a repetitive shout of “Willy Wonka!” in order to signal the wonder and whimsy of the titular character. However, when it came time in the second act to witness the chocolate factory for the first time, the result was pretty underwhelming. This was not something I expected from the magic and grandiosity of Broadway.
As for the show itself, Willy Wonka, played by Christian Borle, was the clear star. His hilarious interpretation of the chocolate connoisseur kept me engaged throughout the entire show as Borle combined the different character interpretations from the films while also putting in some of his own flavor. My attention was glued to him for the majority of the time as he would infect the audience with hilarity such as the variety of different impressions he utilized including but not limited to Harry Caray. Even through the cringeworthy moments, such as the ear-piercing yodeling of Augustus Gloop and his mother, Violet Beauregarde’s lackluster explosion, the unique (for lack of a nicer word) Oompa Loompa musical numbers, and even the shocking morbidity to the show, Borle was able to ground the show with his maniacal yet heartwarming interpretation of the epitomal candyman. Through the unique (for lack of a nicer word) Oompa Loompa costuming and the  It’s a shame that the set behind him did not match his world of pure imagination.


What is Lion Theater?


Columbia's Theater Portal

Lion Beats is the Columbia community’s resource for student-curated playlists and an open hub for any student to showcase their musical talent. Playlists are always created almost exclusively based on student submissions and requests and Lion Beats reflects the overarching mission of The Lion to create space for unabashed and uninhibited student input.

Lion Beats is The Lion’s new project to support music on the Columbia campus. We plan to feature curated playlists from Columbia students, interviews, events in the city, and a whole host of productions.

To contact or join the Lion Beats team, email team@columbialion.com.

Laura Elizabeth Hand

Creative Director

Laura Elizabeth Hand (CC’19) is majoring in Applied Mathematics, Comparative Literature, and English. In her spare time she makes art, advises high schoolers on the college process, and makes frankly awful dad jokes. She loves journalism and designs with a consuming, fiery passion (re: Raiders of the Lost Ark). 

Malik Drabla

Director of Technology

Malik (SEAS ’20) is a rising sophomore in Columbia Engineering studying Computer Science and minoring in History and Applied Math. Originally from Chicago, he enjoys exploring nightlife in New York City and taking classes outside his intended fields of interest.

Timothy Diovanni

Columnist

I am a musician and musicology student in my fourth year at Columbia College. I write program notes for The North Shore Symphony Orchestra and maintain a blog called How Eye Hear It. When I am not reading about the 20th-century French composer Germaine Tailleferre, I can be found in the practice room—in search of the perfect reed.
I can be e-mailed at td2467@columbia.edu and tweeted at @howeyehearit.

Yael Turitz

Columnist

Yael Turitz (BC ’19) hails from Silver Spring, Maryland, but has always considered herself a citizen of the magical world of Hollywood. She is studying Religion and Education, and dreams of simultaneously inspiring young Jewish minds and winning an Oscar for the next greatest screenplay. She’s not technically qualified to critique entertainment, but she’ll offer her opinion to you anyway because she’s just that kind of gal. Take it or leave it, but this column will provide you with the most deep, thoughtful, and hilarious entertainment commentary you’ve ever experienced.

Veronica Roach

Managing Editor

Veronica Roach (CC’20) is the Managing Editor for the Lion. A resident of South Florida, she loves to take advantage of all New York has to offer–from food, to museums, to theater–and hopes to memorize the entire subway system so she can call herself a New Yorker without reservation.

Remington Free

Director of Business Operations

Remington Free (CC’20) studies astronomy, math, and statistics. She is from Corpus Christi, Texas, but has also lived in Toronto, Canada. On campus, she is a soprano in the Columbia New Opera Workshop and a member of Columbia Blueshift.

Jamie Withorne

Columnist

Jamie Withorne is a junior at Columbia studying Political Science, focusing specifically on International Relations. She is currently active with the Columbia European Society and Nourish International here on campus, when she is not running around the Upper West Side as a dog-walker. Originally from South Dakota, Jamie is constantly fascinated by life in New York. In her free time she likes to travel, find instagram-able coffee shops, and read Nordic murder mysteries.

Jamie is currently studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, focusing on terrorism and counterterrorism from a European perspective.

Cesar Herrera Ruiz

Columnist

I come from Riverside, California. I am a first year in Columbia College planning to study Economics. In High School, I attended workshops with the Press Enterprise (the main newspaper of my area of California), and was a part of a college access program at Pomona College for three years. These two experiences have impacted my world view significantly. Through these workshops, I learned how information that may often seem dry can be delivered effectively and precisely, while remaining interesting and engaging. My experiences at Pomona College have taught me to see things through a critical, but attentive lens. I hope to apply all of these experiences in this column.

Zhanna Kitbalyan

Columnist
I am a junior at Columbia College, majoring in architecture. I am Armenian, but was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. My interests include anything from art history to mathematics, but I am particularly passionate about food, exciting new technologies, and 20th century avant-garde art and architecture.

Barry Shikun Ye

Columnist
Barry is a sophomore at SEAS majoring in Applied Math, with a minor in Political Science. Originally from Hangzhou, China, he enjoys exploring cross cultural adventures outside the quantitative field where he is studying. He is interested in topics of international relations, economy, scientific development, and traveling. During his free time, he likes cooking and playing guitar.

Heather Macomber

Columnist

Heather is a senior in Columbia College, majoring in Neuroscience and Behavior. In addition to writing for the Lion, she is the Vice President Emeritus and Research Coordinator of the Columbia Neuroscience Society, researches perception using mouse models in the Bruno Lab, edits for the Columbia Science Review, and serves as a peer advisor for the Neuroscience major. She is passionate about making neuroscience accessible and mentoring the next generation of neuroscientists, and she hopes to spend her life unraveling the mysteries of the brain.

Yael Turitz

Director of Campus Outreach

Yael Turitz (BC’19) is the Director of Campus Outreach for The Lion. Originally from Silver Spring, MD, she is planning to study English and Religion at Barnard. She is involved in Jewish campus life and theater on campus and loves working for publications like The Lion!

Arlena McClenton

Editor in Chief

Arlena McClenton (BC ’19) is the Editor in Chief for the Lion. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she is studying Comparative Literature. On campus, she’s a Writing Fellow and a mentor for the Columbia Mentoring Institute. She enjoys reading, drinking tea, and exploring the city.

Cindy Liu

Director of Music

Cindy Liu is a sophomore pianist pursuing a double major in English and Sociology with concentrations in Business Management, Eating Like a Queen, and Being Unashamedly Outspoken.

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William Essilfie

Former Editor in Chief

William Essilfie (CC ’18) is the Editor in Chief for The Lion. Originally from Seattle, Washingon, he is studying Computer Science and Business Management. On campus, he is a member of the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee as well as ASA.

Joshua Burton

Director of Operations

Joshua Burton (CC ’18) is the Director of Operations for The Lion. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he is studying Political Science. On campus, he is a member CU Dems as well as a mentor for Q-FLIP. He enjoys reading about politics and following European affairs.

Michele Lin

Director of Technology

Michele Lin (CC ’18) is the Director of Technology for The Lion. Originally from New York, New York, she is studying Economics and Computer Science. On campus, she is an active member of the Columbia community. She enjoys drawing and listening to music.

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