By Edward Kliszus

The Theater for the New City presented Bliss Street, a blockbuster musical production based on the life and times of New York rocker Charlie Sub (Blaize Adler-Ivanbrook) and his unique connection to the legendary Coventry Club in Queens, New York.

Front: Marlaine Angelides in a scene from Bliss Street at the Theater For The New City. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Front: Marlaine Angelides in a scene from Bliss Street. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Panache

Narrated by Ethyl (Marlain Angelides), Bliss Street depicted Charlie Sub’s growing up in an ever-changing New York City in a family that adapted and survived with panache. We indeed saw NYC through film and photos on full-stage projections depicting the issues of the fiery 60s and 70s.

The Ramones

Founded by Sub’s father Paul (Jef Canter), Coventry Club, located near the Bliss Street subway stop, hosted world-famous bands like KISS, The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Blondie, Sam & Dave, The Dictators, and Elephant’s Memory.

Center: Marlaine Angelides and company in a scene from Bliss Street at the Theater For the New City on OpeningNight.Online. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Center: Marlaine Angelides. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Ethyl’s

This intimate theater space expanded in scope and sphere through artistic imagination, élan, and enthusiasm. Clearly, the audience experienced great music, dancing, flashy sets, costumes, and special effects. Moreover, as we watched Sub’s life unfold, twenty original songs by composer and guitarist Charlie Sub drove almost continuous action. Equally important, we witnessed his childhood in a loving Jewish family who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria through his rockin’ days in the 1960s and 70s. We also discovered that Sub still plays in his band Charlie Sub & Sound Dogs and runs Ethyl’s club on the Upper East Side. Emotional connections were further projected and drawn to Sub’s family and the values he learned from their provenance, persistence, honesty, and character.

Grooving Rock n’ Roll

We were next treated to a large cast of gifted singers, dancers, and actors, full stage video and photo projection, great sound, lighting, and costumes. Further delivering grooving rock n’ roll, the band perched above the action and included the real Charlie Sub performing as rhythm guitarist.

This production appealed to a broad audience spanning age groups, cultural backgrounds, and musical inclinations. Finally, Bliss Street runs through May 20, so beat the crowds and check it out. It’s clearly extravagant multi-media musical storytelling at its best.

Runtime is about 3 hours with one 10-minute intermission.

BLISS STREET

Written by Abra Bigham
Music & Lyrics by Charlie Sub
Concept & Story by Rich Brotman & Charlie Sub
Directed by Lissa Moira

CAST

Blaize Adler-Ivanbroo as Charlie
Marlain Angelides as Ethyl
JC Augustin as Eric Damien
Thomas Deen Baker as Cliff
Ella Baldwinas as Berta
Zach Birdsall as Sam
Jef Canter as Paul
Tyler Egesdal as Boy, Ensemble
Alisa Ermolaev as Mandy, Helen
Patrick Kenner as Marty
Milo Longenecker as Sherman, Louie
Sarah MacDonnell as Helen, Ethyl
Alyson Reim as Mina
Felice Rose as Julie, Street Angel
Amelia Sasson as Goldie
Toni Renee Taylor as Ensemble
Fang Tseng as Street Angel, Ensemble
Dance Captain – Fang Tseng

Artistic and Production Team

Executive Artistic Director, Crystal Field
Assistant Director, Production Stage Manager: Charles C. Casano
Asst. Stage manager: Leni Jenson
Choreographer: Sage Buchalter
Music Director: Jonathan Fox Powers
Virtual Set Designs: Carlos Almonte
Projection Design: StageTrip
Set Design: Mark Marcante
Set Design & Props: Lytza Colón
Lighting Design: Alexander Bartenieff
Costume design: Billy Little
Board Operator: Franklyn Rodriguez
Poster design by Total Boar Media
Social Media/Promotion: John David West, @johndavidwest
Original paintings by Charlie Sub

Musicians of the Bliss Street Show Band

Bandleader, Piano: Jonathan Fox Powers
Rhythm Guitar: Charlie Sub
Bass: Pat Branci
Keyboard: Richie Brotman
Drums: James Wormworth
Guitar Paul Jacobs 
Lead Guitar:  Kevin Hunter
Reeds: Arno Hecht
Band Producer: Paul Guzzone

Theater for the New City

155 First Ave. (between 9th &10th Street)
New York, NY  10003
(212) 254-1109

For tickets and information, go to: https://theaterforthenewcity.net/shows/bliss-street/

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of I Just Want to Tell SomebodyThe Singing Sphere, Daughter of the Wicked, Drinking in America, and The Conductor.