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Articles by Jonathan Spira

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Toyota C-HR

Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the Toyota C-HR keeps everyone guessing what C-HR might stand for. In introducing the car, Toyota said the name was derived from both Compact High Rider and Cross Hatch Run-about, but that really doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that it has a distinctively funky exterior and a solid cabin design. Toyota says it’s based on what it refers to as a Sensual Speed …

Theater Review: 15 Years of ‘Avenue Q’ As Original Stars Return

It’s been 15 years since “Avenue Q,” the brilliant slacker musical, opened on Broadway with the cheery and rather innocent sounding opening number
The sun is shining,
It’s a lovely day,
A perfect morning
For a kid to play…
However, as the song continues, the theatergoer starts to realize we’re not on Sesame Street anymore, but on a much darker and far more fun place.
The first time I saw “Avenue Q,” shortly after it transferred …

Review: ‘Friends! The Musical Parody’ at St. Luke’s Theatre

The television show “Friends” ran on NBC from 1994 to 2004, depicting the lives of six 20-something friends who lived in New York City.  It became one of the most popular television shows of all time, garnering a total of 62 Emmy Award nominations, and inspired an Off-Broadway show, “Friends! The Musical Parody.”
Created by Tobly and Bob McSmith, who also created “Bayside! The Saved by the Bell Musical” and “90210! …

5 Tips for Driving in Europe This Summer

Planning a trip to Europe this summer? If so, consider touring the continent by car. Whether it’s the Romantische Straße in Germany, the Großglockner Hochalpenstraße in Austria, the Adriatic Highway from Split to Dubrovnik, or an equally beautiful but less well known path such as the Donau Straße in Lower Austria outside Vienna, having a car and stopping along the way is the best way to get to know a …

Review: ‘Songs for a New World’ – Encores Off Center at City Center

It’s hard to know what to do with “Songs for a New World,” Jason Brown’s brilliant 1995 revue. It is a piece of musical theater, isn’t it? Or is it a song cycle? What was the plot again and who is Murray?
None of this matters.
Indeed, “It’s about one moment / That moment you think you know where you stand / And in that one moment / The things that you’re …

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, Havana, Cuba – Review

The big news in the hotel world was the 2017 opening of the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski in Havana, the city’s first proper grande dame of a hotel to open in the island nation. Located in the historic Manzana de Gómez building, Cuba’s first shopping mall in the center of Old Havana, the hotel is truly in a class of its own.
An oasis in a city that’s somewhat crumbling and …

Review and Test Drive: 2018 Ford Mustang GT Premium Convertible

When Ford introduced the original Mustang in 1964, it also introduced an entirely new class of car, “pony cars,” a new category that comprised sporty yet affordable performance cars with long hoods and short rear decks.
The Mustang’s launch on April 16, 1964 was nothing if not monumental. To build excitement, Ford purchased the 9 p.m. slot on all three major television networks and presented the brand new car to 29 …