Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Claudio Papapietro
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    April 18, 2015
    Closing:
    May 9, 2015

    Theater: Liberty Theater / 234 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

    Synopsis: 

    A hidden theater lies within the Heart of Times Square, and the Glorifier of the American Girl, Florenz Ziegfeld, invites you to join his Follies for an evening of music, magic, mystery, mayhem, and of course, plenty of spirits. Audience members will be free to pursue their interests across an expansive environment exploring the wonders and the dangers of the Golden Age of Broadway. Reimagine Ziegfeld's 1920’s extravaganza, "The Midnight Frolic," with lavish showgirls, risque burlesque, thrilling aerialists and more. Choose your corruption at Montmartre's Cabaret du Néant while a garish garcon regales you with tales of guillotines and deadly bacteria. Sleuth the luxury suite at Hotel Ritz Paris where Jack Pickford ''allegedly'' tried to save his wife, Follies’ star Olive Thomas, after she drank poison. Take a gander at the glories and gutters that created the American Dream.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic

    ‘Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic’ Explores the Murky Death of the Actress Olive Thomas

    Laura Collins-Hughes

    April 29, 2015: Olive Thomas, the “Ziegfeld Follies” beauty whose teary ghost is said to haunt the New Amsterdam Theater, has taken up residence down the block. Her stage is the Liberty Theater, a long-ago Broadway house now tucked incongruously at the back of the Liberty Diner, on West 42nd Street. When she died scandalously in Paris in 1920, a Jerome Kern musical was running there. The murky story of her death by poison is at the center of an evening of dark revelry called “Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic.” This immersive theater piece, created by Cynthia von Buhler (“The Bloody Beginning”), takes its name from Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.’s late-night cabaret series on the New Amsterdam roof. Eddie Cantor (Chris Fink) and Josephine Baker (an excellent Delysia La Chatte) are among the performers singing and dancing to a terrific quartet for a show which, at the Liberty, begins at the more conventional hour of 8 p.m. The cast is talented, the costumes (by Carmela Lane) are glittery, and aerialists dangle from a giant beaded orb (by Anya Sapozhnikova) that is suspended, chandelier-like, above the crowd. Audience members may have dinner or sip cocktails — absinthe, anyone? — while they watch. This diffuse production is the latest of Ms. von Buhler’s dramatic explorations of Prohibition-era deaths. Ms. Thomas, a silent-screen star played here by Syrie Moskowitz, drank mercury bichloride, which was used to treat syphilis. Her death was ruled accidental, but puzzlement remained about how she came to ingest the stuff. Might it have been suicide? Could it have been murder at the hands of her actor husband, Jack Pickford (Joey Calveri), little brother to Mary? And how did he go so far downhill so fast afterward?

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