Tag Archives: Wendy Whalen

NY Mysteries Oct. 25, 2019



A Judsonite group attended Alice Elliot’s Miracle on 42nd Street. The documentary about Manhattan Plaza is part of the architecture & design film festival. It tells the saga of Manhattan Plaza, a 484 West 43rd Street residential complex that opened in 1977. The majority of the tenants are in the performing arts.  Director Alice Elliot captures the drama, the angst of neighbors afraid they’d be kicked out of their humble dwellings, performers at first loath to live in that neighborhood (Hell’s Kitchen) and then clamoring to. There are interesting interviews with Angela Lansbury, Giancarlo Esposito  and a slew of other celebrities who have lived there. We saw it at Cinépolis Chelsea.  Have you noticed that movie theaters are installing upscale, first class allurements? There are reclining leather seats you can adjust. Legs up? Press a button, Want your backside warmed? Press a button. Airport-like bars, an ad suggesting delicious food  (popcorn, more popcorn) delivered to your seat.





Manhattan Plaza














It’s always a joy to see a legend in action. Wendy Whalen retired from the New York City Ballet a few years ago. She is now the Associate Artistic Director of the company. At the Joyce she danced in The Day, a moving and moody piece, conceived by Maya Beiser and choreographed by Lucinda Childs. 






Wendy Whalen







Alicia Alonso the great Cuban dancer, has died. She was 98. In the late 1930s Alonso and her husband, Fernando, traveled to NYC to establish dancing careers. Alicia Alonso was a soloist with the American Ballet Caravan which became New York City Ballet in 1940. She suffered detached retina which put a hold on her dancing but she persevered. !n 1943 she was asked to dance Giselle at Ballet Theatre. She danced the role until 1948. Other roles included:  in Swan LakeAntony Tudor‘s Undertow (1943), Balanchine’s Theme and Variations (1947) and  deMille’s dramatic ballet Fall River Legend. She returned to Cuba in 1948 to found her own company, the Alicia Alonso Ballet Company. It eventually became Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

Alicia Alonso







Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed ? Remorse over screwing up an important case? His corrupt boss being a trustee of the Windsor School?  His girlfriend marrying his boss? 

New York City Blog — February 27 – March 4

Circle in the Square has a long history which you’re reminded of while waiting in the ladies room line. Black and white photos of George C. Scott, Joanne Woodword and Vanessa Redgrave, among others, deck the walls. The Circle in the Square has moved from the original Sheridan Square site, then to Bleecker Street and now west 50th Street. The present theatre resembles a conference hall. The musical, in transit, is very American: the plot’s paper thin and predictable, lots of energy, wonderful voices and the obligatory standing ovation. The clever set is a subway station. The cast scoots in and out on stage subway cars, making use of the annoyances of NYC daily life to stir a responding reaction in the audience.

in transit at Circle in the Square










I’m a member of a three women Wendy Whalen fan club. We come from as far away as New Jersey and as close as east 14th Street. A perfect NYC evening is meeting at Haru on Eighth Avenue, savoring the fresh Japanese food and then crossing the street to the Joyce. Is there a bad seat in the house? Back to Wendy Whalen. Currently, she and Brian Brooks are dancing in a modern work, Some of a Thousand Words. Whalen dominates the stage. Surprise, surprise but it’s not the glow of narcissism. Rather, it’s the sense of witnessing someone who is dedicated and devoted to dance. When Whalen dances you are living in the moment. She spent much of her professional life at the New York City Ballet dancing the works of Wheeldon, Ratmansky, Forsythe. Having retired from the NYCB, she now works with Brian Brooks. Their chemistry plus the Brooklyn Rider’s music made for a memorable evening.

I found this ladies room sign very funny:

What a difference a word makes.


Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine year old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore?

New York City Blog – Oct. 16 – 23

Sunday evening was spent for a few hours in The Frick Collection’s Music Room. The Carducci Quartet, two violins, one viola and one cello, played a lively selection of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Beethoven.The Anglo-Irish quartet plays across a gamut of classical and modern. The concert began at five p.m., ended around seven and then it was on to dinner at Le Charlot, a very snazzy, local French bistro.

Part of the City Center sprawl is the Studio 5 series that is presented in a 56th Street studio. It began with Damian Woetzel and Wendy Whalen, sitting on high chairs like life guards, talking to the 200 member audience sitting around the perimeter of the large, bare space. Whalen and Woetzel met in 1986 when both were fledgling dancers at New York City Ballet. Woetzel is now the Artistic Director of the Vail Dance Festival. The evening’s program focused on Remixing A Festival From Vail to New York. The workshop is the first of four about dance. The dancing began with Robert Fairchild preforming a solo dance that Woetzel critiqued. This was followed by Unity Phelan and Cameron Dieck, young NYCB dancers, demonstrating how to interpret various dance movements. Heather Watts joined in the discussion and led Phelan through a few suggestive steps. Cameron Grant was the pianist who tripped merrily along with the dancers.

Robert Fairchild coming round the bend
Robert Fairchild coming round the bend
Unity Phalen, Heather Watts, Wendy Whalen, Damian Woetzel
Unity Phalen, Heather Watts, Wendy Whalen, Damian Woetzel
Wendy Whalen, Damian Woetzel and Cameron Grant
Wendy Whalen, Damian Woetzel and Cameron Grant

It’s an immediate, behind-the-scenes experience. I can’t wait for the next three sessions.

New York City Blog May 25 — May 31

A friend and I wended our way from the Gagosian Gallery’s Michael Heizer’s exhibit to the Highline and down the stairs and across Ninth Avenue to cocktails and dinner at the Tipsy Parson. Stuffed eggs, mac and cheese and delicious red wine always aid great conversation.

Michael Heizer's Altars
Michael Heizer’s Altars

Coypel’s Don Quixote Tapestries closed at the Frick Collection with Frick movie night. Staff and volunteers were invited to the Music Room to see a screening of the Man of La Mancha. it was based on the Cervantes eighteenth-century novel that no one reads. Lyrics were borrowed from the Broadway production. In spite of the fact that the late Roger Ebert gave the 1972 movie only two and a half stars, it was lots of nostalgic fun. Big names from that era include Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren, and Ian Richardson playing a young, idealist priest. Many years later in BBC’s House of Cards, Richardson played, brilliantly, a corrupt politician who flung his mistress off the roof of the houses of parliament.

For the past week the Joyce Theater has been a shine to Wendy Whalen. Two other acolytes and I went on bended knee and broken check book to Restless Creature: four dances choreographed and danced by Ms. Whalen and Alejandro Cerrudo, Joshua Beamish, Kyle Abraham and Brian Brooks. It was a rare treat watching a great dancer, supported by other great dancers, at the Joyce, which doesn’t have a bad seat in the house.