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Mr. Wonderful: A 90th birthday tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.

Frank Sinatra‘s 100th birthday is December 12 but you probably didn’t know that his fellow Rat Pack cool cat Sammy Davis Jr. was also born on the second week of December, 90 years ago today in Harlem.     Davis was born on December 8, 1925, at Harlem Hospital on Lenox Avenue and 135th Street and […]

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Stage Magic: Oh-What-A-Beautiful History of the St. James Theatre

On Sunday The Bowery Boys join up with The Ensemblist to present a special cabaret event at 54 Below — a tribute to the great St. James Theatre! Perhaps some of you may be asking — why do a live show about a individual theater? The St. James Theatre (246 West 44th Street) was prominently […]

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Podcast Rewind: Florenz Ziegfeld and the Ziegfeld Follies

PODCAST Cue the dancing girls, lower the props, raise the curtain — we’re taking on Broadway’s most famous producer, Florenz Ziegfeld! We give you a brief overview of the first days of Broadway, then sweep into Ziegfeld’s life — from his early successes (both professional and personal) to his famous Follies. And find out how […]

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The Bowery Boys — Live on Broadway! (well, for one night anyway)

Many of you have asked if we were ever going to do a live event in the near future. Finally you can see us live this September for one night only AND on Broadway! The Bowery Boys are pairing up with The Ensemblist podcast (hosted by wonderful Mo Brady and Nikka Graff Lanzarone) to present a one […]

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Fantasy’s weirdest writer brings ‘Tomorrowland’ to New York City

The new Disney film Tomorrowland which opens tomorrow will feature scenes set at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, one of the most popular historical destinations for blockbuster films in recent years.  But this is only the latest show called Tomorrowland to present a flashy, futuristic vision of America. The first actually arrived in New York City in 1905, courtesy one of […]

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Diamond Girl: How Mae West Brought ‘Sex’ and Scandal to Broadway

PODCAST Mae West (star of I’m No Angel and She Done Him Wrong) would come to revolutionize the idea of American sexuality, challenging and lampooning ideas of femininity while wielding a suggestive and vicious wit. But before she was America’s diamond girl, she was the pride of Brooklyn! In this podcast, we bring you the origin […]

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My debut on the Travel Channel, chatting about the Astor Place Riot

This past week I made my debut on the Travel Channel as a guest on Mysteries At The Museum hosted by Don Wildman.   The show explores history via actual objects is various museums throughout the United States.  The subject this time around was the Astor Place Riot.  The object in focus: A copy of Macbeth […]

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Happy 100th birthday Billie Holiday! Five ways to celebrate a century of music

                The great Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago today. This requires spending some of your day listening to a greatest hits album, I hope. But here are five other ways you can celebrate this icon’s life this week: 1) Watch Diana Ross in Lady Sings The […]

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Billie Holiday’s New York: Here’s to Swing Street, Harlem’s 133rd Street and other landmarks of jazz

PODCAST Grab your fedora and take a trip with the Bowery Boys into the heart of New York City’s jazz scene — late nights, smoky bars, neon signs — through the eyes of one of the greatest American vocalists who ever lived here — Billie Holiday. Eleanora Fagan walked out of Pennsylvania Station in 1929 […]

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Maude Adams: Fashion icon and America’s first Peter Pan

Tonight NBC’s unveils its live theatrical experiment Peter Pan with Girls star Alison Williams in the cross-dressing role of the boy who never grows up. We can all have our debates about who’s been the greatest stage Peter Pan in history.  Most will say Mary Martin, a sizable minority will claim Sandy Duncan, and a […]

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Rudolph Valentino, the seductive, tragic idol of the Jazz Age

  PODCAST  Rudolph Valentino was an star from the early years of Hollywood, but his elegant, randy years in New York City should not be forgotten.  They helped make him a premier dancer and a glamorous actor. And on August 23, 1926, this is where the silent film icon died.   Valentino arrived in Ellis Island in 1913, one of […]

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Amusements and Thrills It's Showtime

New York’s amusement palace Niblo’s Garden returns (sort of)

It’s the return of Niblo’s Garden, the 19th century pleasure garden and entertainment palace once on Broadway and Prince Street!  Except this time around, it’s in a cemetery. Niblo’s is perhaps most famous as being the site of the first Broadway musical (at least, some form of it).  The venue’s impresario William Niblo is buried […]

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Another Podcast Extra from our Broadway Musical show, plus an interactive treat for theater fans

Frequent collaborators PG Wodehouse, Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern (Pic courtesy Broadway Scene) — Here’s another ‘deleted scene’ from our last podcast, Episode #159 The Broadway Musical: Setting the Stage.  In this excerpt, I’m talking about the unique challenge that was faced by young songwriter Jerome Kern when he began working at the Princess Theatre […]

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Podcast Extra! The Hippodrome and its famous ice ballet

Our show on the Broadway musical was quite epic, and we ended up cutting out some interesting stories to make the show a reasonable length.  However I’ll leak out a couple of these ‘deleted scenes’ over the next couple weeks. For instance, here’s a segment about another great Broadway theater. In fact, one of the […]

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The Broadway Musical: A trip through NYC’s musical history, from HMS Pinafore to Show Boat, along its most famous street

  The comely ladies of ‘The Black Crook’. The show originally debuted at Niblo’s Garden, although I believe the photo above is from a later revival. (NYPL)The Broadway Musical is one of New York City’s greatest inventions, 150 years in the making! It’s one of the truly American art forms, fueling one of the city’s […]