Newsday's entertainment staff has made their picks for the best works by Long Island's biggest celebrities. NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano spoke to Long Islanders about their choices for the best by such stars as Kevin James, Eddie Murphy and Billy Joel. 

When it comes to the world of entertainment, Long Island has been home to the best of the best. Grand "Piano Man" Billy Joel, grand divas Patti LuPone and Mariah Carey, funny fellows Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin James, and so many other Long Islander have all made an indelible mark across every measure of the entertainment landscape. To say they're simply the best is an understatement.

 Newsday's entertainment staff pays tribute to these great homegrown talents with their choices for the best works of each. Of course, this is a purely subjective list, but you'd have to make a pretty strong case to argue with these choices. In fact, it just doesn't get any better than this.


Billy Joel: “Glass Houses”

Musician Billy Joel, circa 2021

Musician Billy Joel, circa 2021 Credit: Myrna Suarez

In 1980, Billy Joel decided to turn up the volume. The Piano Man from Hicksville went from pop balladeer to rock star on his seventh studio album, “Glass Houses,” which spawned hit singles such as “You May Be Right,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” and “Sometimes a Fantasy.”   

“We had about two to three years of playing in arenas and coliseums. I recognized that I needed to write bigger music,” Joel said in a video from “The Complete Albums Collection.” “Ballads don’t always fly that well in an arena. You need a big sound. I started writing harder-edged songs.”

The album hit the top of the Billboard charts on June 14, 1980 where it remained for six weeks. It went on to sell over 7 million copies and many of its songs remain in Joel's concert set list today.

“This was probably the most fun album that I ever made,” said Joel. “It happened fairly quickly, the band loved playing it and the audiences loved the material . . . We were on a roll!”   

Mariah Carey: “Music Box”

Mariah Carey performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at...

Mariah Carey performs during the 2019 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena  in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

The ‘90s pop charts were dominated by  Carey and in 1993 her third album, “Music Box” exploded, completely building on the massive success of her self-titled debut album and sophomore effort, “Emotions.” This album was more personal for the Greenlawn native as she co-wrote nearly every song herself.

The No. 1 ballad-heavy album reached double diamond status selling more than 28 million copies driven by chart toppers, “Dreamlover” and “Hero” as well as follow-up singles, “Anytime You Need a Friend,” “Never Forget You” and a heart wrenching version of Badfinger’s “Without You.”

“It’s gotten progressively to be more of me,” Carey told MTV News in 1993. “When I made my first album it was like, I got my record deal at 18 years old and I worked with these really big producers who had their own sound. And that kind of definitely rubbed off on me. But now I’ve gone through the process of getting more control, producing my own stuff, and now it’s more me coming across. It’s not somebody else’s perception of me.”  

Blue Öyster Cult: “The Symbol Remains”

Danny Miranda, Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano and Donald Brian "Buck...

Danny Miranda, Eric Bloom, Richie Castellano and Donald Brian "Buck Dharma" Roeser of Blue Öyster Cult perform at the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary celebration, on Thursday, August 29, 2013 in Milwaukee, WI. (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Invision for Invision/AP) Credit: Barry Brecheisen/Invision/AP/Barry Brecheisen

It’s very rare that a band can release a new album in its fifth decade of existence as strong as “The Symbol Remains,” but in 2020 Blue Öyster Cult delivered the goods. This was the band’s first new album in 19 years and dropped in the middle of a pandemic, no less.

“We’re not dead yet!” vocalist-guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser told Newsday in the fall of 2020. “There was a bit of getting the cobwebs off, but we were all very motivated to deliver a product that could stand-up to our legacy material.”

From the barn-burner lead single, “That Was Me” to the more melodic, “Box in My Head,” BÖC proves why the partnership between Roeser and Eric Bloom still works.

“Everything is pretty cool between us,” said Bloom to Newsday in 2020. “Buck has his areas of expertise and I have mine. We are very mindful of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” 

Public Enemy: “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back”

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 06: Rappers Chuck D (L)...

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 06: Rappers Chuck D (L) and Flavor Flav of Public Enemy perform at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on June 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Before releasing “Fight the Power” from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” Public Enemy upped the ante on the hip-hop scene with its second album, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" in 1988. The rappers from Roosevelt brought in a new sound with the tag team effort of Chuck D and Flavor Flav on the mic backed by masterful spinning from DJ Terminator X.

Songs like “Don’t Believe the Hype,” “Bring the Noise” and “Rebel Without a Pause” went on to be considered  some of the most legendary hip-hop songs of all time. PE offered thought-provoking rhymes that pushed boundaries in the genre.

“We came from the deejay idiom. We came from wanting to be radio jocks. We came from being able to examine songs, albums, music labels from a different vantage point,” Chuck D told KEXP in 2018. “A point where we enjoyed doing it and enjoyed what was going to be on the musical entertainment horizon.”

Pat Benatar: “Promises in the Dark”

 Pat Benatar performs onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival...

 Pat Benatar performs onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on Sept. 23, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Credit: Getty Images for iHeartRadio/Matt Winkelmeyer

Back in 1981, Pat Benatar and her husband/guitarist Neil “Spyder” Giraldo co-wrote a song called “Promises in the Dark” for her third record, “Precious Time,” which marked her first No. 1 album. The song, which was produced by Giraldo, combines the two sides of Benatar. It starts with her tender and emotional vocals accompanied by light piano and strumming guitar. By 1 minute and 6 seconds into the track, the switch gets flipped and Benatar begins to rock out with Giraldo on guitar revealing the Lindenhurst spitfire she is underneath.

“This is the first song we consciously wrote about our own personal relationship,” said Benatar in her Song Stories series on Facebook. “It was a little embarrassing for me because I was basically writing lyrics and we had only been together for a very short time…I got really nervous that he’d see all my inner thoughts on paper.” 

For the past 40 years, “Promises in the Dark” has become a staple in Benatar’s live set and is a standout among her catalog of hits, most of which were composed by outside writers. Bu, this song is a true representation of the partnership she and Giraldo share that led them to get inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year.   

Taking Back Sunday: “Tell All Your Friends”

Credit: Natalie Escobedo

When it comes to emo, Taking Back Sunday’s “Tell All Your Friends” is the Bible. This Long Island fivesome turned some heads on its debut album and immediately drew a fanbase. All the music was written and demoed in their Lindenhurst apartment in 2001.

Although the album only reached No. 183 on the Billboard top 200 albums chart, it made the top 10 of Billboard’s Independent Albums chart. Fan favorites like “Cute Without the ‘E’ ” and “You’re So Last Summer” are highlights of the band’s current live show and are considered emo classics.

“I think the flaws and imperfections in the album are part of what gives the album character and has drawn people to it,” guitarist John Nolan said to Hollywood Life earlier this year. “We’re amazed and grateful that the album still means so much to people, but it’s hard to know exactly why it does. I think it’s better left to people not in the band to offer explanations.” 

Debbie Gibson: “Think With Your Heart”

Debbie Gibson performs at The Paramount in Huntington on Dec. 1,...

Debbie Gibson performs at The Paramount in Huntington on Dec. 1, 2022. Credit: Jeff Bachner

In 1995, Debbie Gibson entered a new phase of her career. The era of being a teen pop star was behind her as the Merrick native parted ways with Atlantic Records and reentered the music scene as an adult. Fellow Long Islander Brian Koppelman (“Billions,” “Super Pumped”) signed Gibson to SBK Records and she released her fifth album, “Think With Your Heart” proving her strength as a singer/songwriter.

The result is an album that delivers a perfect balance of Gibson’s talents. Ballads have always been her strength and this record is chock full of them from opening track “For Better or Worse” to the love torn “Didn’t Have the Heart” to the title track, Gibson shows her growth as both a writer and performer. When she switches gears to theatrical showstopper “Dontcha Want Me Now?” or the jazzy “Too Fancy,” Gibson still remains in her comfort zone delivering each song with more bravado and less bubble gum. Even her cover of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” would have author Carole King giving her a standing ovation.

“I just wanted to kind of sing my heart out about the different dynamics in relationships so I decided to focus the album in that direction,” Gibson told CNN in 1995. “I’m a hopeless romantic so I figured, why not?”   

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: “Pure & Simple”

 Joan Jett performs at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces...

 Joan Jett performs at the USO 75th Anniversary Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner in 2016 in New York City.  Credit: Thos Robinson

For her ninth studio album, Joan Jett went back to her roots and created an underrated classic, 1994’s “Pure & Simple.” Here the rocker from Long Beach co-wrote half  the songs with Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of punk band Bikini Kill. She also partnered with hit makers Jim Vallance and Desmond Child.  This collection marked a new line-up of Blackhearts, guitarist Tony “Bruno” Rey (Danger Danger) and bassist Kenny Aaronson (Rick Derringer, Blue Öyster Cult), replacing guitarist Ricky Byrd and bassist Kasim Sulton. 

The song, “Go Home,” was penned as Jett’s response to the murder of Mia Zapata, lead singer of the Seattle punk band, the Gits. The result is an album of raw emotion and pure energy. 

“For the most part you’re getting a really live recording just about,” said Jett on JBTV when promoting the album in 1994. “You are hearing what you would hear at a gig.”

Part of the album was recorded on Long Island at Studio Works 11 in Island Park and the Music Palace in West Hempstead. After this record, Jett wouldn’t release another album for 10 years.  

Ashanti: “Foolish” 

PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS - JULY 16: Ashanti preforms at Atlantis...

PARADISE ISLAND, BAHAMAS - JULY 16: Ashanti preforms at Atlantis Paradise Island Music Making Waves concert on July 16, 2022 in Paradise Island, Bahamas. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Atlantis Paradise Island) Credit: Getty Images for Atlantis Paradise Island/Rachel Murray

Sometimes the first is the best and that is the case with R&B pop singer Ashanti from Glen Cove. Her debut single, “Foolish,” from her self-titled first album, reached the top of the charts in 2002 and remained there for 10 straight weeks. The smooth silky sound made her a superstar from the get-go with this song of complicated love.

The song, which samples DeBarge’s 1983 track, “Stay With Me,” also became a top 10 hit in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It won the Best R&B/Soul Single - Female at the 2003 Soul Train Music Awards. In 2009, “Foolish” made it to No. 19 on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 Songs of the 2000s Decade. 

“I really didn’t understand what all of this success meant,” Ashanti told Variety earlier this year. “I genuinely didn’t know. I think that I was happy. But I couldn’t truly appreciate it, because I didn’t know how amazing it was until a little bit later.”

The slick video for the song stars Ashanti (“Coach Carter,” “John Tucker Must Die”) with actor Terrence Howard (“Crash,” “Hustle & Flow”) and pays homage to the 1990 Martin Scorsese mob film, “Goodfellas.”   


Eddie Murphy: "Beverly Hills Cop"

Eddie Murphy as street-smart  Det. Axel Foley, in "Beverly Hills Cop."


Eddie Murphy as street-smart  Det. Axel Foley, in "Beverly Hills Cop."

Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/United Archives GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

He launched his stand-up career as a teenager living in Roosevelt, then rocketed to fame on “Saturday Night Live” by playing such characters as a grown-up Buckwheat, a foul-mouthed Gumby and a streetwise version of Fred Rogers. After a couple of years, Murphy turned his eyes to Hollywood.

Over a long film career, Murphy hit several high points, including the prince-and-pauper comedy “Trading Places,” the rom-com “Coming to America” and later surprises like the musical drama “Dreamgirls” (which earned him an Oscar nod for supporting actor). The movie that captures Murphy’s essence, though, is the 1984 action-comedy “Beverly Hills Cop.”

Murphy played Axel Foley, a cocky Detroit cop trying to crack a murder case in California. Murphy had done this genre before (in his noirish film debut, “48 Hrs.”) but here he really cuts loose. Whether bantering with a pretentious art gallery salesman (Bronson Pinchot), sabotaging a couple of rival cops (Judge Reinhold and John Ashton) or rescuing the girl (Lisa Eilbacher), Murphy bubbles over with charm and charisma. Throw in Harold Faltermeyer’s echt-80’s synth-pop score, and you’ve got a modern classic, the kind of movie you could watch a hundred times.

Lindsay Lohan: "Mean Girls"

Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Lacey in "Mean Girls."

Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Rachel McAdams, Lacey in "Mean Girls." Credit: Paramount/Everett Collection

She’s at her cutest in “Parent Trap,” the 1998 remake of the Disney classic. She’s at her funniest in the body-switch comedy “Freaky Friday,” another Disney remake (with an excellent Jamie Lee Curtis). But Lindsay Lohan is surely at her all-around best in this 2004 feminist teen comedy written by Tina Fey.

Inspired by a self-help book about high-school female cliques, “Mean Girls” cast Merrick-raised Lohan as Cady Heron, a home-schooled teen entering her first-ever public school. After befriending a couple of colorful misfits (Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese), Cady is adopted by “The Plastics,” a trio of self-appointed queen bees led by Regina George (Rachel McAdams). All’s well until Cady and Regina clash over – what else? – a boy (Jonathan Bennett).

“Mean Girls” has a great support cast (Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler and Fey herself), but it wouldn’t work without Lohan. She’s grounded, natural, endearingly innocent (Cady has never heard of a mall) and sympathetic even when under the Plastics’ evil spell. It’s been easy to mock Lohan’s fall from grace in the years since, but “Mean Girls” will get you rooting for her all over again.

Alec Baldwin: "Glengarry Glen Ross"

Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992)

Alec Baldwin in "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992) Credit: New Line Cinema/Everett Collection

It’s only one scene -- and what a scene it is.

The Massapequa-raised Baldwin was a hot ticket (“The Hunt for Red October,” “Miami Blues”) but not exactly known as a thespian when he joined the cast of David Mamet’s dark 1992 drama about salesmen in a high-pressure real-estate office. Mamet assembled one of the finest ensembles you’ll ever see -- Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Jonathan Pryce and a then-rising Kevin Spacey – and wanted Baldwin so much that he wrote a new character for him: a corporate ax-swinger named Blake.

In a seven-minute speech riddled with obscenities, slurs and threats, Baldwin is absolutely electrifying, and his line “Always be closing” became a catchphrase for steroidal American capitalism. Though “Glengarry Glen Ross” was a dud on its release in 1992, it steadily gained a following and became a toxic macho classic, right up there with “Wall Street,” "Fight Club” and “Boiler Room.” And if you haven’t seen Baldwin mock his own monologue as a ruthless elf visiting Santa’s workshop (on “Saturday Night Live”), go find it right now.

Billy Crystal: "When Harry Met Sally..."

Meg Ryan and Long Beach-raised Billy Crystal in an iconic...

Meg Ryan and Long Beach-raised Billy Crystal in an iconic scene from "When Harry Met Sally..."  Credit: MGM / Library of Congress via AP/MGM

The Long Beach-raised comedian has a long list of memorable credits, from his groundbreaking role as an openly gay man on ABC’s “Soap” to the voice of one-eyed Mike Wazowski in “Monsters, Inc.” But the one piece of work that captures Crystal at his best is Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy from 1989.

Inspired by Reiner’s divorce from Penny Marshall and written by Nora Ephron, the film cast Crystal and Meg Ryan in the title roles, two longtime acquaintances with a grudging sexual attraction. Reiner took a gamble on casting his close friend Crystal, then still best known for his “Saturday Night Live” imitations.

The movie’s most famous moment is Ryan’s imitation of sexual passion in the middle of Katz's deli, but Crystal is the one who keeps the movie consistently funny, riffing on topics like New York real estate, sex and literature (“I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends”). And it’s Crystal who delivers his epic declaration of love at a New Year’s Eve party – one of the most memorable speeches in rom-com history.


Jerry Seinfeld: "The Pitch"  

 Jerry Seinfeld performs atthe GOOD + Foundation "An Evening of...

 Jerry Seinfeld performs atthe GOOD + Foundation "An Evening of Comedy + Music" Benefit at Carnegie Hall in 2018.

Credit: Getty Images/Manny Carabel

 Picking the best "Seinfeld" is a hopeless task because everyone has their favorite and everyone is right. But the case I'd like to make is for "The Pitch," the third episode of the fourth season, written and directed by two of the show's other creative forces, Larry David and Tom Cherones, respectively. 

  You may remember "The Pitch" as the episode that introduced Kramer's (Michael Richards) pal, "Crazy" Joe Davola (Peter Crombie), but also Heidi Swedberg's Susan Ross, the luckless NBC exec who fell for George (Jason Alexander). "The Pitch" was funny  enough, but hardly the funniest in a season that included "The Bubble Boy," "The Opera,"  "The Contest," and "The Junior Mint." 

  Nevertheless, "The Pitch" was the most meta  of all "Seinfeld" episodes: Jerry and George's pitch to NBC executives for a show about "nothing" which was, in fact, Jerry and Larry David's show about "nothing." Television had never really looped  back upon itself in quite the same way, by twisting viewers around to see the actual show they were watching (which was...nothing?). The philosophical principle was funny enough, but also borderline disturbing. If this was nothing, then what was something?

Edie Falco: "Nurse Jackie"

Edie Falco (right) in a 2010 episode of "Nurse Jackie."

Edie Falco (right) in a 2010 episode of "Nurse Jackie." Credit: Showtime Networks Inc./Everett Collection

 Carmela and "The Sopranos" are the easy default choice, and for the vast majority of fans of the HBO show, the right one too.  But "Nurse Jackie," the Showtime dramedy (2009-'15) that landed her her third Primetime Emmy, was Falco’s finest tv accomplishment. As a drug addict who also happened to be a competent nurse, Northport-raised Falco stepped to the center of a long-running series for the first time in her TV career. No foil or second banana, this was her show and her character: An anti-hero with a complete backstory,  as wife, mother and daughter but which all would eventually collapse under the weight of her addiction.

  "Nurse Jackie" was about the horror of addiction, and as series lead, Falco made it all feel tragically real. As she said in an interview with the awards website Goldderby just before the series wrapped, "Nurse Jackie"  "mimics my experience of addiction, with people I've known and loved. Addiction is not linear [but] it sneaks up on you when you're not paying attention. As they say at AA, while you're getting sober, your disease is outside the door doing pushups." 

Kevin James: "Sweat the Small Stuff"  

Kevin James attends SiriusXM Studios to promote "Kevin Can Wait"...

Kevin James attends SiriusXM Studios to promote "Kevin Can Wait" in 2016 in New York City.  Credit: Cindy Ord

James' sharp, short (only 42  minutes long) 2001 comedy special, "Sweat the Small Stuff," streaming on Netflix, represents James at his  best, performing standup. The key quality you'll get here is James' charm, which also offers a sense of why "King of Queens," then in the middle of its run, lasted 207 episodes. 

  I've called James the comic laureate of middle-class-suburban-summer-barbecue-mall-rat-white-people-worries. There's nothing wrong with that, and has long offered him a whole lot of territory to work -- in James' case, going all the way back to hometown Stony Brook.  James has always found something universal in the suburban experience. Food was his go-to material, while later, children (his own) offered the easiest of punchlines. There was (still is) nothing vulgar about his routine, but there was (still is) an edge. His suburbia was both comfortable and endlessly irritating. 

    James would appear to agree with this choice too. In a radio interview last year, he said of standup, "it's what started my career, and what I've done my whole career. When you're doing a movie or TV show, that's great, but with a live audience [and stand- up], if you make a mistake, it's not like you can stop and do it again.

  Standup, he said, "is just the most intimate form and I love it because it's just me." 

Kate McKinnon: "Kellyanne Conway"

Kate McKinnon attends the 44th Kennedy Center Honors at The...

Kate McKinnon attends the 44th Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center in 2021 n Washington, DC.  Credit: Getty Images/Paul Morigi

 Among the most versatile players in "Saturday Night Live" history, Sea Cliff's McKinnon had performed just under 40 impressions by the time she left at the end of the 47th season. But the best of the lot was Trump administration advisor and omnipresent TV personality Kellyanne Conway. Like her best impressions, from attorney general Jeff Sessions to Rudolph Giuliani, this one too was etched in acid, but rather than reducing Conway to farce, she turned her into a bigger-than-life showboater who yearned the spotlight and had little trouble locating it. 

 . McKinnon impersonated Conway about nine times in the 2016-17 42nd season, often as a preening TV-star-wannabe who appeared at the opening of an envelope if TV cameras were present, or most typically as CNN anchor Jake Tapper's (Beck Bennett) guest from hell. The two best Kellyannes, however, were the "Kellywise" takeoff of Stephen King's Pennywise, the clown, who lured an unsuspecting victim (Kenan Thompson) to his dark doom;  and the headline star of "Conway," the musical, with her showstopping performance of "Roxie" from "Chicago." That still ranks as one of the best pre-taped "SNL" sketches ever. 

Rosie O'Donnell: "The Rosie O'Donnell Show"

 Rosie O'Donnell performs at the Friendly House LA  Comedy Benefit on...

 Rosie O'Donnell performs at the Friendly House LA  Comedy Benefit on July 16, 2022 in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images/Amy Sussman

Commack's  Rosie O'Donnell  broke out on Penny Marshall's "A League of Their Own" in 1992, but it would be TV -- or specifically talk TV -- where she would shine brightest. "The Rosie O'Donnell Show'' (1996-'02) blended comedy, variety, late-show, and game-show elements, and for models, drew from the past -- Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas. But not just affable (Newsweek famously crowned her "Queen of Nice")  she was passionate -- a big voice in support of all that she loved, rendered in distinct and unmistakable Lawn-guyland-ese. 

   Her show glided along, with the assistance of a good house band and audience members who (invariably) knew why they were there and who they were there for.  O'Donnell didn't seem to let them down. She was funny, irrepressible, and deeply passionate (especially for Broadway and the musical stage). She seemed to genuinely care for her guests and they for her -- with one headline-making exception, when she and Tom Selleck clashed over his support of the NRA. 

 Ellen DeGeneres would later do the daytime talk version of a party, but O'Donnell did the one by a fan for other fans.  As she told "Vulture" for a show retrospective last year, “there was no barrier when I was out in public. That’s been my whole life in show business: Everyone thinks they know someone just like me. Everyone is like, Oh my God, you’re just like my cousin, Elizabeth. Or, You’re just like my friend, Eileen. Everybody found me relatable.”

Amy Schumer: "Life & Beth"

Amy Schumer in Hulu's "Life & Beth."


Amy Schumer in Hulu's "Life & Beth."

Credit: HULU/ Marcus Price

There's much to choose from with Schumer,  also much of it divisive. But there was nothing divisive about her recent Hulu series, "Life & Beth."  This wasn't the Schumer of "Trainwreck," or "Inside Amy Schumer," or all those R-rated specials for Netflix, but a Schumer we'd never seen before because this actually was a re-imagined version of her real life. 

   This ten-parter — created by and starring Schumer, who also wrote several of the episodes — toggled back and forth between Beth's (Schumer) present-day life, and her 8th grade self (Violet Young) on Long Island. "Life" was based on Schumer's own upbringing in Rockville Centre, and featured a couple of scenes shot there and others at Angelo’s Pizzeria on Hempstead Avenue in Malverne, as well as a climactic scene at Peter's Clam Bar in Island Park. 

  In a 2022 interview with Deadline promoting  the show, Schumer said "I love things that are grounded in reality. I loved Bo Burnham's [2018 movie] '8th Grade' ' and thought, that age is so traumatizing. I wanted to dig deeper and tell my [own] story at that age."

   In fact, "Life & Beth" was Schumer's best work because it was such a thoughtful glimpse into her past, and especially into her heart.  


Patti LuPone: "Gypsy"

Patti LuPone of "Gypsy" performs at the 62nd Annual Tony...

Patti LuPone of "Gypsy" performs at the 62nd Annual Tony Awards held at Radio City Music Hall in 2008.

Credit: Getty Images/Andrew H. Walker

It takes a whole lot of talent and a whole lot of chutzpah — two things the Northport native has in spades — to take on a role that Ethel Merman, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and Bernadette Peters each played to rave reviews. As Mama Rose in the 2008 revival of “Gypsy,” LuPone brought both toughness and tenderness to her role as the mother of all stage mothers and earned her the second of three Tony Awards.

“She has tunnel vision, she's driven, she loves her kids and she is a survivor,” LuPone told NPR in 2008. “I do not see her as a monster at all — she may do monstrous things, but that does not make a monster.”

LuPone also never seems more at home on stage than when she’s belting the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, especially in the showstopping finale “Rose’s Turn.” Everything really did come up roses for LuPone in “Gypsy.”

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