Saturday, February 6, 2016

Learning Is Transformative When the Beat Is Amped Up in 'School of Rock: The Musical'

Alex Brightman and the kids of "School of Rock: The Musical." Photos by Matthew Murphy.


best education instills a passion for learning and, exploring.

In "School of Rock: The Musical," at the Winter Garden Theatre through 31 March, history lessons are replaced by a passionate exploration of the history of hard rock.

Closely following the Mike White-written, Jack Black vehicle from Paramount, "School of Rock" the musical has a book by Julian Fellowes and additional music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Glenn Slater.

The teacher is Dewey (Jonathan Wagner, one of several stand-ins for Alex Brightman), masquerading as his friend and roommate Ned (Spencer Moses). Dewey assumes Ned's gig as a substitute at the prestigious Horace Green School out of pure necessity: Patty (Mamie Parris), Ned's girlfriend, threatens to evict him.

Initially interested only in the paycheck, and getting the kids to go to "recess," Dewey blossoms into an unconventional educator. He forms a plan to harness his students' prodigious musical talents to help him climb "Mount Rock," as one of the songs in "School of Rock: The Musical" puts it.

Horace Green is an expensive private school with an uptight vibe, personified by the head mistress, Rosalie (Sierra Boggess). It also courses through the teachers' breakroom, parents and even the student body.

Rosalie disapproves of Dewey's unorthodox methods. His colleagues envy his success and popularity with his students.

Soon enough, Dewey gets his 10-year-old charges rockin', converting them to his rad ways. The audience, however, is almost instantly sold on his charming idiosyncracies.

The junior cast is exceptional – every one of them. Trading their instruments for the amplified rock versions, the kids of "School of Rock: The Musical" steal the show.

Alex Brightman, Dante Melucci and Evie Dolan in "School of Rock: The Musical."

Summer Hathaway (Isabella Russo), an organized and focused little girl, takes to her band manager duties with pizazz. Zack (Brandon Niederauer) plugs in his guitar and rivals Dewey at composing. The drummer, Freddy (Dante Melucci), shines in Dewey's band as he never could in the school's classical ensemble. Katie (Evie Dolan) assumes a hard-rock persona and strums with passion and fire.

The adult ensemble is to a large extent a cosmetic consideration; this is the Dewey and the kids' show. Nevertheless, Laurence Connor directs the whole cast to great effect.

Alex Brightman and the kids rock out.

Through Joann M. Hunter's rock-centric choreography, children and adults show off some terrific moves. The scenic designs and costumes by Ann Louizos seamlessly fit into a milieu that constantly shifts between conventional and radical.

What have we learned in "School..."? Passion and commitment rock. of Rock.

Visit learn more about "School of Rock: The Musical."

Friday, February 5, 2016

'Hail, Caesar!,' a Humorous Reminiscence of Hollywood of Old From the Coens&Co.

By V.W.

was the best of the times. It was the worst of times.

It was the Golden Age of Hollywood. Movie studios were all-powerful, deciding when and what actors appeared in what films.

An era when studio chieftains loaned out actors in their stables to rival studios with little regard for other realities and often with petty motives.

The studio was the parent; the actors were the children. The bosses protected their stars, cosseted them. And punished them if they became too recalcitrant.

It is a comedic treatment of this bygone era that is captured in "Hail, Caesar!," a frothy little souffle from Joel and Ethan Coen.

Sporting an A- and B+-list cast, including George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Hilda Swinton and Channing Tatum, "Hail, Caesar!" opens today in U. S. theaters.

A fuller review will be published shortly.

"Hail, Caesar!" is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and smoking; visit to learn more about the film.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

NYFWM FW2015 Day 3: Ricardo Seco Has Time on the Brain

From the Ricardo Seco FW2016 collection. Photos by V.W.


The players of Day 3: Michael Kors, Perry Ellis, Cade, Tommy Hilfiger, Nick Graham, Gypsy Sport, Jeffrey Rudes, Calvin Klein, Greg Lauren, Tim Coppens, Ricardo Seco, Billy Reid

LEMON yellow. Orange orange. Electric blue. Chartreuse green.

One is assailed by a riot of color on first contact with the Ricardo Seco FW2016 collection. It is especially stark against a backdrop of and counterpoint of black.

In his latest collection, the Mexican designer is contemplating Time. Heretofore, he has presented meditations on such existential notions as Power, Dreams, Share and Luck.

One relatable element of Time is the serape, strongly referencing a timeliness in Mexican culture. In two instances, the serape is presented on the grand scale of a greatcoat.

Both are fur-trimmed and hooded. They exude power and elegance, the wrinkles worrying them notwithstanding.

A connection to Time can be inferred in the pants – tapered, slightly baggy; in leather or pleather, cotton or wool; worn by male and female alike. That is, pants being a staple and staples being transcendent.

The connection to Time elsewhere is tenuous in a collection that can be described as bohemian-street. The leather jackets with unruly fur-lined collars are irreverently chic; the sweatshirts are cheeky.

For evening, a fur-lined collar serape vest overlaid with sparkles. Those same sparkles brighten a few turtlenecks. What to make of the white athletic shoes, one knows not.

Aside from the serape coats, the piece in this collection with the most traction – which is occasionally too literal and costumey – is a multi-paneled turtleneck: black, chartreuse and b&w serape print. On a cold, cloudy, dreary day, it will be a bright sight for sore eyes.


From the Tim Coppens FW2016 collection. Photos by V.W.

A trend has formed. A clutch of designers, like award-winning Tim Coppens, that hoes the rows of the high-end athletic street aesthetic. They produce utterly wearable and commercial clothes. Layers inform much of their work.

Often the whole is greater than the parts, as it is for the Belgian designer’s FW2016 collection.

Cases in point, the ensemble featuring the red T-Sweater with two white stripes for women. For men, the one with the black turtleneck with peekaboo yellow stripe.

FEIT: Man vs Machine

THE shoe brand, FEIT, encourages us all to buy environmentally-friendly handmade shoes, rather than the environmentally polluting mass-produced, machine-made variety.

From the FEIT FW2016 collection. Photos by V.W.

Hence, the audio-visual installation at The New Museum, “FEIT: Man vs Machine.”

It juxtaposes the manmade process with images from the film, Life Out of Balance ( “Koyaanisqatsi”), with the handmade process, represented by Rock. (See video).

The cobbler owns the Chinese factory where NYC-based FEIT shoes are handmade. Mr. Rock asserts that you, you, you and you should own at least three pair of shoes and a maximum of 20.

On deck today, LAST Day3: Orley, Kenneth Ning, John Elliott, Eidos, Thomas Pink, Craft Atlantic, Rochambeau,Devon Halfnight Leflufy, Theory, DexterDexterDexter, Todd Snydervugh

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NYFWM FW2016 Day 2: At Joseph Abboud, A Is for Absolutely Fabulous

Joseph Abboud FW2016. Photos courtesy of Joseph Abboud.

The players of Day 2: Joseph Abboud, Stampd, Duckie Brown, Wood House, General Idea, EFM, Robert Geller, Nautica, Carlos Campos, Zachary Prell, Ovadia & Sons, Brett Johnson, John Varvatos, N. Hoolywood


just experienced a sweet assault on her senses.


Is that quite the right word?


On Day 2 of New York Fashion Week: Men’s FW 2016, Joseph Abboud brings his A-game. Let’s break it down.

Superb tailoring, resulting in silhouettes that are effortlessly relaxed rather than implacably rigid.

Lush fabrics – washed velvet, distressed wool, Scottish tweeds, cashmere – that strongly imply fine taste, with the vigor to impart well-being to the wearer.

A decadently rich color palette of brown, gray, black, rust and olive.

Prints that can be taken seriously. Subtle plaids. Gorgeous paisley.

Accessories – scarves (tied just so; some hinting a cravats), hats (with roguish tilts), tote bags (functional/fashionable), gloves (fitting like) – on which JA collaborated with six other designers, complete the whole.

Behold, an accessible uniform that every man and an everyman can embrace. Dressed thusly, every man wants to behave.

A collection MADE IN AMERICA, dispelling the notion that the Yanks can’t construct a decent suit of clothes.

When it’s been 15 years since you’ve breached a runway, as the affable designer notes in the show program, naturally you want to make a good impression. We are duly impressed.

It is a stunning tableau.


General Idea FW 2016. Photos courtesy of General Idea.

Those overalls are definitely a country cousin in the myriad personalities besetting General Idea for FW 2016.

On one hand, there is good-natured goofiness exemplified by the aforesaid overalls and a couple of pair of jeans, hippy to the extreme of almost ill-fitting. The camel-colored collarless wool coat, on the other hand, suggests a town polish.

The boatneck sweater with buttons and hardware porthole cutouts – also bedeviling the aforesaid wool coat – is a smirker.

Meanwhile, the nurturer asserts itself in the bagginess many of the pants and an asymmetrical iteration of that camel-colored wool coat. All suggest a cocoon.

Indeed, for FW 2016 Bumsuk Choi, is speaking of many things, fools and kings. Is he babbling? Black peacoat worried by copious rectangles in a gray print is overmuch.

From the fount of chicness flows the white collarless coat with back zippered panels. Ditto for the white tunic with black color strip, BC in a coherent moment.

DUCKIE BROWN for the Sensitive Soul

From the Duckie Brown FW2016 Collection. Photos by Dan Lecca.

Along the boardwalk
strolling hand in hand

Seagulls haunting an autumn sky
Currents frolicking in the surf

BECAUSE, surely the man Duckie Brown deigns to dress for FW2016 is a poet or some such sensitive soul.

He regards me soulfully
his doe-like eyes speaking his inquiry

It is just such a one who can pull off with sangfroid the white puffer shirt, the collar of which appears to be a hybrid of the Nehru, Edwardian, Van Dyke and something from the impish imagination of designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver. It is as goofily adorable as our mythical poet.

Consumers of this flannel-centric capsule collection can own a piece as long as it is black, white, navy or charcoal gray.

It is helpful if our poet is of an ascetic nature, too, for this is very simple fare. Simple and well-crafted, constructed to stand the test of time.

To wit, the serviceable navy cavalry twill double-breasted overcoat will carry a man, regardless of his calling, through the vicissitudes of life like a loyal steed.

My heart does a somersault
He gently squeezes my hand,

Only a couple of pieces – white shirts – are content to do the pretty. The aforesaid puffer and the one with an exaggerated Imperial collar, peeking out from underneath a navy peacoat.

In this moment I am
certain I will say yes

Here, less will just have to suffice.

STAMPD and in a Fog

Stampd FW 2016. Photos by V. W.

For FW2016, Chris Stamp is possibly experimenting with obscurity.

That can account in part for the fog being piped into the space at Skylight Clarkson North where the Stampd presentation is in progress.

Another possible cue is the lone woman in the show sporting a cableknit sweater, baggy pants and baseball cap, ushering in the unisex portion of the collection.

Elsewhere, the designer continues the transition to haute-street style with loose silhouettes mainly in black with an occasional white shirt.

Occasionally, there is deference to tailoring, most evident in a couple of coats. A wool coat and a couple of cotton-linen pieces want a few less wrinkles.

One cableknit sweater in olive, reminiscent of CS’s more gritty beginnings, is a touch too grungey. The tear at the elbow is almost an affectation and wholly unnecessary.

On deck today, Day 3: Michael Kors, Perry Ellis, Cade, Tommy Hilfiger, Nick Graham, Gypsy Sport, Jeffrey Rudes, Calvin Klein, Tim Coppens, Ricardo Seco, Billy Reid, FEIT: Man vs. Machine

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NYFWM FW2016 Day 1:On Monday, Easy Like Sunday Morning and It Shows

From the FW 2016 Krammer & Stoudt collection. Photos by V.W.


The players of Day 1: Garciavelez, Plac, Max ‘N Chester, Krammer & Stoudt, Dave Hart, Edmund Ooi, Concept Korea, Uri Minkoff, Loris Diran, Suitsupply, Deveaux, Chapter, Hvrminn, Matiere, Lucio Castro, Robert James, CWST, Stephen F, Moment of Silence


That is the overarching impression of the looks shown on Day 1, Edition 2 (FW 2016) of the fledging New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

From the Plac FW Spring 2015 collection.

The collections take as references the Vince Vaughn film, “Swingers” and German painter Markus Lupertz. From dandified jazz musicians from the ‘50s and ‘60s, the Russian Revolution. From relationship angst and so on. Ensembles, even those with a casual bent, possess a relaxed, confident quality.

The designers don’t seem to be trying too hard, though a few might have put their backs into it a bit more. No one went over the top, staying well within in the bounds of accessibility. It should be noted, too, that the offerings are generally well-made.

More specifics and parsing are forthcoming. For now, enjoy the photos and videos.

On deck today, Day 2: Joseph Abboud, Stampd, Duckie Brown, Wood House, General Idea, EFM, Robert Geller, Nautica, Carlos Campos, Zachary Prell, Ovadia & Sons, Brett Johnson, John Varvatos, N. Hoolywood








Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

THE WRIGHT WREPORT: Name Has Changed; Our Sense and Sensibility Are the Same

Some things have changed since 2015.


IT’S a new year – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! – and it has swept in some changes at our humble, little publication. For starters, we’ve tweaked our name.

You can now call us The Wright Wreport featuring VEVLYN’S PEN or The Wright Wreport, for short. Like it? We hope so. We sure do!

This new year will bring other changes, too. Heretofore, my byline has been YOURS TRULY and has only appeared on cowritten articles. Henceforth, my articles (and photos), such as this one, will carry the simple byline, V.W.

Yet another change is a renovation. More specifically, expect a new and improved layout. This is yet months off, though, so consider this only an early-bird heads up.

Though the name has changed, the high standards of journalism that are our stock in trade remain the same. Our address is also unchanged: Even when we transition over to The Wright Wreport, you will still be able to reach us at, though we encourage you to make the transition with us.

Team VEVLYN’S PEN ... er ... The Wright Wreport Team has been on a short sabbatical since the holidays. However, do note dear, dear readers that we return wrefreshed, wrecharged and wreinvigorated.

Indeed, we are as committed as ever to informing, entertaining, inspiring and engaging in the realm of art&culture / fashion&beauty / food&drink / movies&music / theater&TV …

Next week, we bring you New York Fashion Week: Men’s FW 2016 and more. Stay tuned!
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