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Melody Breyer-Grell
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Melody Breyer-Grell has been steeped in the arts since a childhood that included a conservatory education in classical music culminating with award winning recording jazz CD, "The Right Time." She is now a senior contributor to "Cabaret- Scenes," acting as critic and interviewer for the only glossy publication covering the national vocal music landscape. Breyer-Grell is also a satirist - addressing the pros and cons of the role of technology in the arts. Melody also contibutes to and thanks them for helping her to find her voice in that art of blogging.

Entries by Melody Breyer-Grell

Arlene Wolff -- More Than You Know -- Cabaret at Stage 72/The Triad-NYC

(2) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 12:08 PM

Arlene's story starts off with a beautiful young woman, determined to sing, and one who accomplishes her mission by taking her Garland-like voice and intensity all over the world, from London to the Catskills. But she made a deal with her parents. She promised them that if she did not...

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A Gift to New York City -- The LES Arts Extravaganza -- Memorial Day Weekend at Theatre for a New City

(2) Comments | Posted May 18, 2015 | 6:09 AM

In a city that is constantly mourning its cultural and lifestyle losses, The Theatre For a New City has achieved what even the venerable NYC Opera has not.

When interviewing the group's Executive Director (Crystal Field) some years ago, I learned that this "Bohemian" bested the "Man" at his...

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Birdman's Oscar-Winning Writer, Alex Dinelaris, Scores Hat-Trick With Upcoming Broadway Musical and Starz TV Series

(1) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 9:24 AM

It's time to learn how to pronounce Mr. Dinelaris' name, for it will soon be on the tip of your tongue.

How do you tell a story like Alexander Dinelaris Jr.'s?

The easiest way would be like a movie "pitch" or "treatment," for his saga is as lengthy (and has...

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Bright Half Life - By Tanya Barfield -- Presented by the Women's Project Theater

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2015 | 4:35 PM

Bright Half Life, a sixty-five minute chronicle of a deeply committed lesbian relationship, is contemporary as a play could be but the theme is classic and timeless. Legal gay marriage has occupied merely a nanosecond of our existence, but the presentation of the highs and lows of coupledom, as exampled...

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Flagstad -- Triumph and Tragedy -- At NYC's Scandinavia House

(3) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 9:58 AM

The Scandinavia House is one of the most delightful destinations in NYC. Just cross-town from the touristy Times Square, it sits quietly, yet alluringly at 58 Park Avenue, offering a restaurant, gift shop and the relaxing, clean lines of Scandinavian design. But that is not all this cultural oasis has...

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Messiah "Fully Loaded:" Kent Tritle Brings it Home

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 4:59 PM

With home being Carnegie Hall, Tritle, one of the most prominent conductors of choral music today, presented the annual Oratorio Society of New York's Messiah this past Monday, pulling out all the stops, although he was not employing his well known, virtuosic organ playing.

Handel's monumental work was almost operatic...

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Why Lady Gaga Really Matters -- Even on Howard Stern

(8) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 12:36 PM

Every time I try to wean myself off Howard Stern, he pulls me back in, as Michael Corleone would say. Stern, capable of the funniest and/or most vile radio content to be heard, often turns so candid an interview that it puts Barbara Walters to shame. Is he merely going...

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Whiplash -- "Svengali Porn" -- An Essay

(6) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 11:52 PM

I remain, a week following the experience of Whiplash (the picture can't just be watched), flummoxed. Awash in critical praise, Whiplash has definitely hit a chord with many people, but I ask what the director, Damien Chazelle, was actually going for in his "masterwork." And I do say that with...

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Laurie Krauz's "Jazz Soup" -- Presents a Tribute to Bebop Icon -- Sheila Jordan

(2) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 6:23 PM

One aspect that distinguishes many jazz singers from other vocalists is the tight collaboration between the singer and their instrumentalist colleagues. Not only does the artist work in tandem with his or her band, a significant percentage of singers actually study the technique and musical "licks" applied by those players...

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I'll Be Me: The Long Farewell of Glen Campbell

(4) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 6:42 PM

Viewing I'll Be Me is akin to watching a tightrope act -- breathtakingly exhilarating -- but also agitating, as one fears for the fall.

James Keach's film is more of a document than a documentary. In many truly great documentaries there is a twist, an unexpected element of surprise, often...

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Yes, Birdman Is 'All That' -- An Essay

(9) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 10:42 AM

With all the keystrokes being dedicated to the delectable Birdman, my fingers feel the need to dance on the keyboard and pay my almost delirious respects.

By now the "plot" of Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), presented by Fox Searchlight Pictures, is known to most readers, but I...

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Rappaccini's Daughter: Opera Blooms at Theatre for the New City

(8) Comments | Posted September 29, 2014 | 11:20 AM

In the double bill, "The Power of Love," two new one act operas graced the stage of the TNC, a theatre complex that has been offering up original works in the East Village for many years.

While much entertained by the late Seymour Barab's sprightly farce, "Out of the Window,"...

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Manhattan's "Metropolitan Room" Hosts the 2014 Hot House NYC Jazz Decision

(3) Comments | Posted September 22, 2014 | 11:17 AM

"Hot House" jazz magazine has started a tradition of honoring a group of new and established musicians, recently offering a varied and compelling awards show last week at the Metropolitan Room.

In a ceremony dedicated to the memory the legendary sax and flute artist Frank Wess, Warren...

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Homeland Season Finale: Picking and Choosing 'Reality' (SPOILER ALERT)

(3) Comments | Posted December 18, 2013 | 9:06 AM

Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen the season 3 Homeland finale.

There are many people on Facebook who wish there was a thumbs down setting to express that they "hate" a subject, as there is one for "like."

I have never hated a television episode...

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A Strindberg Rarity -- Mr. Bengt's Wife -- An Answer to Ibsen's A Doll's House?

(3) Comments | Posted September 19, 2013 | 5:31 PM

Often, residing in Manhattan seems to be akin to experiencing the law of diminishing returns. What is the benefit of tolerating high rents, being surrounded by swarming populations of inebriated NYU "students" and accepting the Disneyfictation of Times Square?

But that is not the whole story, by any means....

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Shakespeare -- War With the 'Unknown' Is Futile -- An Argument Against Intervention in Syria

(7) Comments | Posted September 11, 2013 | 11:05 AM

There is the old cliché, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. In King Lear, his treacherous daughter, Goneril, ironically speaks a great truth, even though she is using it to incite the death of her father.


This is practice,...

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Where's My Phone? -- Paul Schrader 'Uses' Lindsey Lohan in The Canyons

(16) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 4:05 PM

Just a bit of personal disclosure before I go on to review this picture. I pathologically despise cell phones, texting and anything post-email. This tidbit might explain my affection for the imperfect The Canyons, as I was moved to ecstatic, emotional violence and catharsis; resulting from the consequences wreaked by...

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Marilyn Maye Takes Five - Singin' and Swingin' at the Iridium on Broadway

(4) Comments | Posted July 24, 2013 | 1:34 PM

When I decided to take in the late set of Marilyn Maye's recent New York City appearance, I assumed that I could slip in and out quickly and call it a night. Boy, was I surprised upon arrival to see the swelling crowd on Broadway, milling around the door of...

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Terese Genecco and Her Little Big Band -- a Monthly Romp at the Iridium Jazz Club

(3) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 6:35 PM

Terese Genecco has just celebrated her fourth year singing jazzy tunes to the beat of her "Little Big Band." Her voice, robust but not brassy, swings melodically like an old-time vocalist. A generous singer, she always includes an accomplished guest artist, and for her anniversary show, she wheeled out a...

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Secrets: the Untold Story of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung

(4) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 4:00 PM

The friendship of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung has been covered many times, recently in David Cronenberg's notable movie, A Dangerous Method.

While that film concentrates on Jung's relationship with Sabina Spielrein, Ken Wydro's Secrets, introduces a later patient/lover, Toni Wolff.

As potent as...

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