Celebrating Chinese New Year with Hugh

by Hugh Chan

This year, we celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a two-week celebration.

 

Our celebrations begin the night before, on Chinese New Year Eve. On this night, everyone from the family travels home to gather for a reunion complete with a huge meal. My mother would have spent the day preparing the Chinese New Year Eve dinner and the food for the following day.

 

We would have dishes that symbolize good luck and fortune. A staple with almost all families is black moss, which translates in Chinese to Fat Choy which means Good Fortune, and Dried Oysters, which translates to Ho See meaning Good Deeds / Good News / Prosperity.

 

At the end of the night, the elders of the family will give us a Red Envelope to put under our pillows before our sleep. The Red Envelopes contain money, and putting them under our pillows before we sleep represents ending the year with Good Fortune.

 

The next day, my mom wakes up at 5am to start cooking all the food she prepared from the night before. Once the meal is ready and placed on the dining table in a big feast, we join together to light incense and burn papers to welcome the gods and ancestors to eat first.

 

The first meal of the day will be all vegetarian dishes including vermicelli noodles, mushrooms, black bean with tofu, cooked cabbage, and more.

 

Then anyone who is not married will go to the married members of the family to wish them good luck and share blessings. In return, they’ll receive a Red Envelope for Good Fortune, symbolizing starting the year with Good Fortune.

 

After the first meal, you can eat meat throughout the rest of the day. Dishes include white rice; a whole steamed chicken; roasted pig; stir fry vermicelli noodles with mushrooms, tofu, and black beans; and stir fry cauliflower.

 

Other traditions we uphold include not sweeping or taking out the garbage for five days, as it’s believed if you do so, you’re sweeping out good luck and wealth from your home. You also can’t use knives or scissors as it can lead to bad luck.

NY's Waiters Sing Their Hearts Out

NY's Waiters Sing Their Hearts Out

It’s a different holiday season for us. We’re not throwing parties and our gifted waiters aren’t able to extend their skills and talents to provide the gracious service you’ve associated with our events. Instead, NY’s Waiters Sing Their Hearts Out as Great Performances’ incredibly talented team members share their talents in song, story, and music to help spread holiday cheer in your homes.

ABOUT THE PREFORMERS

Aubrey Barnes

Come, O Come Emmanuel

The Christmas Song

Christmas Medley (Live)

Aubrey Barnes is indeed the musical doyen of multi-genre song.  His current project, the debut of his jazz standards CD, in the spring of 2021, is his passionate focus for the time being.  He’s actually fond of sharing the fact that the venerable Frank Owens, pianist to the stars and former Johnny Mathis pianist, is his pianist for his debut CD.  “The CD will showcase an impressive array of familiar and uncommon songs from the primer songbook, ‘The American Songbook…’ “ Aubrey shares.  Aubrey credits and thanks his Mother for his lifelong artistry, for her personal example and for her love and support.  “Hearing Aubrey sing is nothing short of receiving a spiritual transmission.  He sings from such an intensely personal place that it immediately becomes universal; the audience is included, embraced and uplifted.  Aubrey Barnes is a stunning vocalist and a deeply powerful performer.  He will make you want to live more fully, love, laugh and cry.  Aubrey Barnes brings the magic-inspiring audiences in this hurting, yet still precious world.”  Hilary James

Website: aubreybarnes.com

Caitlin Borek

Grown Up Christmas List

I’m Caitlin Borek. I hail from the midwest but I’ve called NYC my home for nearly 5 years now. GP was a huge reason I was able to flourish in this grand city, with it’s flexible hours, solid pay, and the artists they hire. It’s the best kind of environment for a hustling performer. I studied musical theatre, and am currently performing in a Christmas Concert up in Wisconsin. The theatre has gone above and beyond with safety measures due to Covid-19, including occupying the house at only 25% capacity, installing iodizers in the filtration system, social distancing the audience and requiring the use of masks, and keeping the 4 singers 8ft away from everyone at all times. This piece I submitted is one of the songs from the show. I love how it captures the desire for peace and love in these trying times, and I wanted to share that sense of optimism. 

www.caitlinborek.com
IG @sea2bee2
Tiktok @caitlinborek

Chandra Albritton

The Man with the Bag

Chandra Albritton is a singer/actor originally for Maryland. She has worked in various theatre in Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, and New York. She is currently keeping herself busy with classes and working on her film reel. You can find her vocal work at http://www.youtube.com/user/PinkChan09 and acting work at https://vimeo.com/user66398098. 

Ellen Christi

Merry Christmas Baby

Santa Baby

Since the mid-seventies, Ellen Christi has steadily gained ground as an important contributor to American improvised music and contemporary jazz. As a composer/vocalist, Ms. Christi has worked in varying performance venues ranging from multi-media theatrical productions to solo vocal concerts. She has also been an active advocate in supporting innovative performing artists through organizations that she has co-founded or directed. Presently, she has reopened Christi Sound Studios and has begun  recording and editing podcasts and also teaching vocal technique and vocal improvisation. You can find more information at her website www.ellenchristi.com.

Jason Lee

The Laughing Heart

Jason Lee is an actor/singer from Taiwan currently based in New York, and is a Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. Recent credits include Eighty-12 (Amazon Prime Video), Richard III (American Theatre of Actors), Gypsy (Heights Players), Here To Recruit You (Wild Project) and Yell-Low (Dixon Place). He has also acted in an original French play he co-wrote with friends, and a theatrical adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis which won the Excellence Award of Taipei Fringe Festival. His latest work CherryBomb will launch on Amazon Prime Video in March 2021.

www.jasonchlee.com
Instagram: @jason.c.h.lee

Jerome Brooks, Jr.

Jerome Brooks, Jr. is a SAG-AFTRA/ AEA Actor/ Composer.

FaceBook: @JeromeBrooksMusicFans
Twitter: @JeromeBrooksJr
Instagram: @JeromeBrooksMusic
YouTube: @Azeyol

Kat Liz Kramer

Christmas Medley (Live)

Kat Liz Kramer – American Singer Songwriter.  Favorite past credits include: Cabaret- This Is Me at Don’t Tell Mama, David Drumgold’s variety show, Kat Liz Kramer & Friends, and Mondays, mondaysintheclub.com Theatre- Smokey Joe’s Cafe 20th Anniversary(National tour) Man in The Mirror(World tour) Hero, An Origin Story as Rea(NYMF), Single Room Occupancy as Crystal(Fringe), Anything Goes as Reno Sweeney(regional), Special guest on Rising Star(BeTerrificTV) Kat’s original music can be found on all streaming platforms with My Wonderland Special Edition. She is currently recording her first full length album using Broadway musicians and production staff affected by the COVID shutdown. The world may have stopped but the music lives on. Kat was the first artist in residence for We Light www.welighthome.com another way to bring a bright light in times as these.

https://gf.me/u/yz5g93
https://music.apple.com/us/album/my-wonderland-special-edition/1536264382
Instagram & Facebook @katlizkramer
katlizkramer.com

Kat is a proud member of Actors Equity.

Kendrick Mitchell

This Christmas

Kendrick is a New York based actor and singer originally from Houston, Texas. He has toured the country, and sailed the seas with the Tony Award winning show, After Midnight. You can catch him on select Wednesdays and Saturdays at the Seville, jamming alongside his bandmates.

Instagram: @KendrickMitchellOfficial
Website: KendrickMitchell.com

Kevin Horne

Kevin is an actor, writer, director, and producer. He has performed in many regional productions, and although you probably don’t remember it, he sold you something via various commercials on TV. For seven years he produced the 90X Arts Festival, which was a showcase of the professional talent working at GP where shows such as Into the Woods, Little Shop of Horrors, and Urinetown were presented. He wrote the modern day farce Death Is a Waltz (affectionately described as Weekend at Bernie’s meets Chopped) which was being presented just as the pandemic hit, so be on the lookout for that when things get back to “normal“. You can follow him on TikTok and Instagram @NightWindNYC where he makes short videos showcasing restaurants in New York City.  He also finds it awkward writing about himself in the third person.

Lauren E King

The Spirit of Christmas

Lauren E King is an actor, singer, dancer, and NYC transplant from Lilburn, GA. After obtaining her BA in Theatre and BA in Advertising from the University of Georgia (’19), she joined the North American tour of PAW Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure! as Mayor Goodway. After the cancellation of the tour from COVID and moving to New York, she performed in a workshop production of Homeless Garden with Refracted Theatre Company and is now channeling her energy into song covers and crafting her voiceover reel. Off stage you can find her admiring bodega cats while running errands as a Personal Assistant. She would like to thank her friends and family for their continuous outpour of love and support and the Universe for having a wicked sense of humor when it comes to making your plans into bigger and better things. 

Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrOcnAZdcb77m46vUkag0vw?view_as=subscriber

Instagram: @ren.elizabeth.king 

Mark Donato

Panis  Angelicus by César Franck

A “jack of all trades:” Mark Donato is a professional singer of 33 years, and Vinyasa Yoga (& Meditation) instructor of 22 years. He also worked professionally as a Tap Dancer for 15 years; doing National & International tours of Broadway shows; like “42nd Street,” “Crazy For You,” “The Will Rogers Follies,” & “State Fair.”

The last 15 years have been primarily focused as a classical tenor doing choral work in several concerts & Opera’s. Much of which have been with The American Symphony Orchestra, and the Bard Music Festival. Mark sang at Carnegie Hall 15 times. Once as a soloist! He also has an extensive history singing in Churches & Synagogues; much of which is as a Cantor/Chanter in Catholic Churches.

Within all of that, Mark also has a long history performing on cruise ships with companies like Holland America, and Celebrity.

Working in the Catering industry all these years is what makes this performing arts lifestyle possible.

Michael Fisher

SnowBirds

I’m an AEA actor and a U.S. Army veteran.  I love camping, hiking, and just being outdoors with friends and family. My dream house would have a woodworking shop in the back yard and a big wraparound porch where I could sit and play guitar in the evening. I love riding motorcycles and I am newly engaged to be married and my favorite color is orange!

https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/ozAeoCqEuwuuwDHCA

Trifon Dimitrov

Alone Together

Christmas Time Is Here

Trifon Dimitrov was born in Pleven, Bulgaria. After graduating the National Academy of Music in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2002, Trifon moved to Frankfurt, Germany where he studied and performed till 2004. In 2004 he began studying at Brooklyn-Queens Conservatory of Music in New York, USA. He is

honored to be a student of the jazz legend Ron Carter. Trifon has performed at numerous Jazz Festivals, clubs, TV, Radio and Broadway shows. Currently based in New York, Trifon actively performs in USA and around the world.

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

Get to know more GP Artists

EASTER TIPS & RECIPES FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS

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Pistachio Cake

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Thai Noodle Kugel

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Gefilte Fish

We asked our GP family for their Easter and Passover food memories. We hope you’ll take inspiration from them!

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Carolina Betancourt

Brisket

Prepare for your Easter or Passover holiday celebrations with this inspiration for a delicious meal at home.

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Herb Salad

Prepare for your Easter or Passover holiday celebrations with this inspiration for a delicious meal at home.

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Lemon Pudding Cake 

Celebrate the season with some of our favorite timeless recipes! Lemon Pudding Cake From the Kitchen of Great Performances Ingredients: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2/3

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VALENTINE'S DAY TIPS & RECIPES TO MAKE YOUR SWEETHEART SWOON

 

by Loriana Sanabria

 

For the Cocktail

  • 3 Cups Pumpkin Puree

  • 8 Cups Apple Juice

  • 3 tbsp Orange Juice

  • 6 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Spice (see recipe below)

For the Garnish

  • Cinnamon sticks

  • Star anise

  • Sliced apples (toss in lemon juice to prevent browning)

  • Pumpkin spice mix

 

For the Pumpkin Spice

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground cardamom

 

Procedure

  1. Prepare the base. Place all ingredients into a cooking pot and whisk well. Heat over a medium-high heat until mix begins to steam, serve hot. Yields about 2.5-3 quarts.

  2. To serve. Carefully ladle into heat-safe glasses and garnish. For an alcoholic version, add 1 ounce of your favorite spirit. We recommend bourbon or rum.

NOTE: Over time the Pumpkin Puree will start to settle to the bottom of the storage container, stir mix before pouring into glass.

 

Risotto with Mushrooms

Liz’s basic formula for a risotto gets transformed into a celebratory meal with the addition of sautéed mushrooms. Their rich, earthy flavor makes for a decadent and satisfying main course for a holiday meal. A vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free dish, it can be easily adapted for vegans.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (homemade preferred, or find good quality store bought)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for vegan option, substitute with high quality coconut oil or vegetable oil), divided

  • 1 small shallot, chopped

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

  • 1/2 cup white wine

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (or try our vegan “Parmesan cheese” below)

Procedure

In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer and maintain at a simmer throughout.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon each oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the pan.

  2. In the same pan, heat remaining oil and butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the shallot and onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly translucent.

  3. Add the rice to the pot and stir briskly with a wooden spoon to coat the grains well with the oil and butter. Sauté for another minute or so until you detect a slightly nutty aroma, but do not let the rice brown.

  4. Add the wine and continue to cook while stirring until the wine is fully absorbed. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.

  5. Add a ladle of hot stock and 1 teaspoon of salt to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed; lower the heat if the rice seems to be sticking. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process. Continue, adding ladles of hot stock and stirring the rice until the liquid is absorbed. While it cooks, you’ll see that the rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release the starch.

  6. The risotto is ready when the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, but not crunchy, which will take 20 to 30 minutes. If you run out of stock before you reach this point, add water, small ladles at a time.

  7. Stir in reserved sautéed mushrooms, Pecorino Romano, or vegan cheese. Taste and add more salt as needed.

  8. Serve immediately on warmed plates. For an extra-luxurious finish, top with freshly sliced black truffles.

For the vegan Parmesan cheese:

Combine 1 cup almond meal with 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup miso, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 250 until golden. Watch closely to prevent burning. Cool completely then crumble.


 

 

By Great Performances

We’re deep in holiday mode at Great Performances. Our teams are busy planning gala celebrations, corporate holiday parties, tree lighting ceremonies, networking dinners, intimate family dinners, and of course, New York’s best Latke Festival! We recently shared Tastes & Traditions, a collection of traditions, recipes and tips from our Great Performances family all geared towards making the holidays even more delicious.

Although we feature some of the traditional flavors, this holiday season, we’re putting extra focus on plant-based dishes. Aside from being absolutely delicious, plant-based or plant-forward dishes have the added benefit of accommodating a wider variety of dietary preferences including vegetarians and vegans.

Check out some of our recipes below or see our constantly updated roster of dishes on our holiday page.


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Moreau’s Pumpkin Spiced Cider
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Roasted Pear Bellini
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Grilled Carrots and Citrus with Herbed Yogurt, Crispy Quinoa and Fennel
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Risotto with Mushrooms
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Dill Pickle Hummus
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Lemon Pudding Cake with Fresh Mixed Berries

Roasted Pear Bellini

 

Ingredients

  • Pear nectar

  • Champagne (or prosecco)

  • Roasted pear purée

Procedure

Put 1 tablespoon of the roasted pear purée into a champagne flute and add pear nectar ¼ of the way up the glass. Top off with champagne.


 

Dill Pickle Hummus

 

Ingredients

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

  • 2 tbsp pickle juice

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • ¼ cup chopped pickles (cornichons work well)

  • ¼ cup scallion greens, chopped

  • Sprig of dill

Procedure

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

  2. In a food processor, add chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic clove, dill, pickle juice, lemon juice, pickles and scallion greens. Blend until smooth.

  3. Serve with a sprig of dill.