On Saturday, the 20th, I was surrounded by lust, lavish costumes, laughter, and death.
Cynthia von Buhler once again captures a moment in the past and brings it to life amidst the hustle and bustle of present New York City.
The Liberty Diner in the middle of the Theater District may confuse some, but if you know what you are looking for, you know it’s just a facade – smoke and mirrors – a secret portal to the past, the doorway to the 1920’s and Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolics.
You’re greeted, well, slapped in the face, really, by reincarnations of stage legends. The Zeigfeld Girls walk the floor, greeting you, flirting, teasing, directing you to the stage – a little sprinkle of magic glimmering in their eyes.
A ghost appears. A bright white face and manic smile approaches the microphone.
Welcome to the Follies.
Then you disappear from the present.
The air changes. Maybe it’s the smell. Your hair stands up slightly, your heart pumps faster and faster. You’re a wallflower caught in the middle. Marilyn Miller walks by. Josephine Baker winks at you.
What year is it, again?
You find yourself caught up in dance number, songs, your mind struggling to grasp with the awe your heart is feeling.
Someone in front of you is fighting. It’s Zeigfeld and his wife.
You want to reach out and touch them, make sure they are real.
He gently pushes you aside. You feel his hand.
It’s all real.
And that…that’s the power of Cynthia von Buhler. If you were lucky enough to have seen her Speakeasy Dollhouse, then you know what I mean.
You’re not watching a play. You’re not watching actors.
You’re watching history repeat itself- just for you.
Buhler’s “Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic” brings you the tragic story of The Most Beautiful Girl in New York City – Olive Thomas. You watch her story unfold – her rise to fame, her time with the Follies, her marriage to Jack Pickford, and subsequent death.
The brilliant aspect of her death is how it’s handled within the play. It gives you alternatives – depending on which time you watch it play out during the intermissions.
Keep your passport handy because, in order to learn the whole story, you need to travel to Paris.
In Paris you are welcomed into the Cabaret du Neant.
Paris forces you into a confrontation with your own mortality.
Whether you watch the magic trick in the Cabaret or watch the demise of Olive in the Ritz Carlton, you can feel Death walking behind you, handing out roses underneath a spinning moon.
Your night will be filled with unbelievable music, dancing, breath-taking aerialists.
New York history will fill your lungs, swim in your mind, and kiss your ears ever so softly.
History happens around you – on the stage, in the balconies, walking between you.
Do yourself a favor and go see Ziegfeld’s Midnight Frolic.
Immerse yourself in history and intrigue.
You’ll leave feeling on top of the world, an extra bounce in your step.
For information and tickets, click here.