Broadway To Vegas


Copyright: April 19, 1999
By: Laura Deni


Kevin Spacey, currently starring in The Iceman Cometh has received a Best Actor nomination from the Outer Critics Circle for his portrayal of Hickey.
Kevin guested on The David Letterman Show where he not only did devastating impersonations of Jack Lemmon and Johnny Carson, but confessed that when he was 19 he crashed a party by doing such a convincing impersonation of Johnny Carson that he convinced a bouncer that he was - "Kevin Carson, Johnny's son."

What Spacey didn't tell Letterman was that he used the Carson scam for a variety of pleasures, including tickets to see his idol. "I used to sneak into the Tonight Show, to watch Johnny live every day that summer," he said referring to that 19th year. "I've always been a mimic. When I didn't feel like standing in line with the other tourists, I'd phone the ticket office pretending to be Carson, asking that tickets be left at the door." The scam worked.

The Oscar and Tony award winner, who chains smokes while eating health food, was born in South Orange, N.J. and raised in southern California. His first starring role was his high school's production of The Sound of Music. His co-star was another classmate - Mare Winningham.

As the star of The Iceman Spacey brings his sense of humor into the theatre. There is a framed picture of an egg, which is given each night to the actor who makes the most mistakes in the four hour and twenty minute production. The actor who has goofed the most? Tony Danza.


Singer Phyllis McGuire, 68, performed 40 hours of charity work at the Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, and made a donation of $5,000 to the Injured Police Officers Fund.
With proof presented to the Las Vegas Justice of the Peace James Bixler, a misdemeanor criminal charge of obstructing an officer was dismissed. (See Broadway To Vegas Column of March 29, 1999)

The lead singer for the McGuire Sisters did not attend the court hearing. She was represented by New York attorney Paul Derounian. Her Las Vegas lawyer John Moran, Jr. had struck a deal with the Clark County District Attorney's office for McGuire, who was arrested on March 24 after she screamed, cursed, hit and head butted a police officer. She was riding in her limo when the vehicle was stopped by police who wanted to speak to the driver. The driver had been seen conferring with an individual, who was under police surveillance.

Moran indicated that McGuire was examining legal remedies for any damages caused to her professional career or any personal injuries she might have received during her arrest.

A long time Vegas resident, the well-liked McGuire is noted for her community involvement and charitable contributions.

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Thank you for your interest. Laura Deni P.O. Box 60538 Las Vegas, NV 89160


Photo By: Laura Deni
The 1st Annual Foolproof Northwest Comedy Festival, Seattle, opens up the yuks tonight with a week-long series of events that feature some of the top laugh makers in the business. American comic legend Steve Allen will be tonight's gala opening at the Paramount Theatre. Comedian of the Year Paula Poundstone takes the stage on Tuesday, while scorching syndicated columnist Molly Ivins will be explaining her wit at the Bagley Wright Theatre.

Into the spotlight are MacHomer, The Simpsons Do Shakespeare at the Benaroya Hall Music Center, on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Popular NPR humorist David Sedaris will be featured in the Paramount Ballroom on Friday at 7:30, followed by Comedy Central's hottest comics Marc Maron & Mitch Hedberg in a 10 p.m. gig.

Tommy Davidson of In Living Color and the fabulous Bob Newhart close out the festivities on Saturday. In all over 75 performers will participate.


Dance for the Health of It is being celebrated April 26-May 2 with Shirley MacLaine as national spokesperson.
"For me dancing is the highest octane of human movement. Maybe if I could keep moving, I could live forever." Actually, with her beliefs in reincarnation, we at Broadway To Vegas thought she had lived forever.

The high kickoff is slated for Monday, April 26 at 12 Noon at the Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center, NYC There will be performances by the world famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, cast from the Broadway musical Footloose, Momix, Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Olympus, DRA Studio of the Year - that's the Milford School for the Performing Arts - Ron Brown/Evidence, New York City Dance Alliance and others.

National Dance Week - Dance for The Health of it is sponsored by the UDMA - United Dance Merchants of America. There will be over a week of events, celebrations and activities across the continent, to heighten the awareness of dance and its contributions of our culture. A special Los Angeles celebration is slated for the California Plaza on Friday, April 30. Washington, D.C's event will take place at the Old Post Office Pavilion.


Sandra Bullock is in Black Mountain, N.C. filming 28 Days, according to Trudy Knight-Peek, our Carolina correspondent. "It's a Columbia picture, costing $7 to $8 million. Most of the crew is staying at the Monta Vista Hotel in Black Mountain. They're filming quite a bit in the dining room at the Monta Vista," Knight-Peek reported. "The locals are thrilled to death to have Sandra Bullock there. She's lovely and only nice things are being said about the cast and crew."

In the Midwest our roving reporter, Michael Ashleman, tells us that Election starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon was predominately shot in the Omaha area, using many of the cast and crew from Citizen Ruth which had also been filmed in Omaha.
Matthew Broderick
Ashleman interviewed several of the Citizen Ruth cast members, who were overjoyed that the Omaha raised director, Alexander Payne, was also going to be using them in Election.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that two endings were shot of the Paramount film. which opens April 23 in New York and Los Angeles, and May 7 in Omaha and selected cities. It seems that when Payne and co-writer Jim Taylor adapted Tom Perrotta's novel and shot the original ending, test audiences in California voted thumbs down. Paramount was willing to come up with the bucks to have the ending re-shot. Payne told the World-Herald he "made the ending darker and funnier, shooting it in New York and Washington, D.C."

Election, is about a high-school election that is hindered by a teacher (played by Broderick) who is having an affair with a student.

Laura Dern and Swoosie Kurtz in Citizen Ruth
Payne's budget was double the one for Citizen Ruth, had more shooting days - 49 - and the actors were paid more. In Citizen Ruth all actors, including Laura Dern, Swoosie Kurtz, Burt Reynolds, Tippi Hedren, Alicia Witt, and Kelly Preston received scale.

Broderick is currently starring on Broadway in Night Must Fall while Omaha born Kurtz has received an Outer Critics Circle Best Actress nomination, for her starring role in The Mineola Twins.

For her role in Election Witherspoon told Jay Leno that she attended Burke High in Omaha for two days undercover, but the kids figured out who she was.

Many of the extras are students at Papillion-LaVista High School where much of the movie was filmed. One Millard West High School student, Chris Klein, snagged a major part. He was discovered in a hallway after being recommended to Payne by a teacher. Now he has been signed for the third lead in American Pie, and is represented by William Morris. Also moving up is Delaney "Patty" Driscoll who had a brief role in Citizen Ruth, and a much larger one in Election.

Payne is currently reviewing scripts prepared from the novels About Schmidt by Louis Degley and The Locked Room by Paul Auster, which is being developed as a script by Lenn Dobbs, who wrote the sci-fi flick, Dark City.

In Las Vegas I was one of 30 extras Creative Talent sent over to be part of Con Man In Vegas, which stars Asian based actor/singer Andy Lau. In the movie, King - portrayed by Lau - and his cousin (Nat Chan) are hot on the trail of international scoundrel Peter Chu (Man Tsz Leung), who has had plastic surgery to conceal his notorious identity. Chu's high-rolling habits lead him to Las Vegas. We extras were told to wear expensive clothes, look like high rollers and show up on time at Caesars Palace where our scenes would be shot. A couple of days later we trekked to McCarren Airport and pretended to be tourists.

Although many in the crew didn't speak English, this was a most pleasant experience. The extras were addressed as "ladies and gentlemen will you please...." When we obeyed, we were told "Thank you." That doesn't always happen.

The X-Files, that award winning television drama about two FBI special agents teamed to investigate a series of unexplained cases, recently shot on location at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas. That shoot marked the first time the show went on location during its six-year run.

The episode, written by Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, directed by Brian Spicer, features The Lone Gunmen, Lingly (Dean Haglund), Byers (Bruce Harwood) and Frohike (Tom Braidwood), under operatives friendly to agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Soap opera actress Signy Coleman, best-known for her work as Annie Dutton (aka: Teri DeMarco) on Guiding Light, reprises her guest starring role in the episode.


With Shakespeare all the rage it seems productions are popping up all over.

The Bard of Stratford-On-Avon was born and died on the same day -April 23. Born in 1564, his mother's family were well-to-do farmers. His father was a glove maker.

He wrote 37 plays which are performed more often than any other playwright. However, when you're trying to mount a new production, any playwright knows that it can help to know the owner of the theatre. In the case of Shakespeare, he was one of the owners of the Globe Theatre. It was ownership of that theatre that made him wealthy, not his scribbling - since playwrights were neither paid well nor respected. Poets, not playwrights, were at the top of pecking order.

The first recorded performance at the original Globe Theatre was Julius Caesar on Sept. 21, 1599. In recognition of that anniversary, the new Globe in London opens its season May 13 with Julius Caesar, performed by an all-male cast, as it would have been in Shakespeare's day, since women were barred from the stage. The production will be performed in "authentic" style - costumes will be re-created clothing of the period, and there will be a minimum of props and scenery.

Getting even for being barred from the stage more than 400 years ago, the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company is staging an all female version of Shakespeare's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

Currently being presented through April 25 inside the Ford Theatre, at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in L.A. features Kelly Coffield as Beatrice and Lisa Wolpe as Bendick. Directed by Natsuko Ohama and Wolpe with music by O-Lan Jones.

The Complete Works of Wm. Shkspr (abridged) at the Globe Theatre in West Hollywood was created by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield. Harris Dorman, Sean Galuszka and Robert L. Williams play more than 150 characters as they perform all 37 Shakespeare plays in 87 minutes. Ends May 2.

Putting a Jimmy Buffet twist to Shakespeare is New York director Russell Treyz, who has returned to Orlando for his sixth season with the Orlando Shakespeare Festival. When Twelfth Night was written, the setting was a fictional Greek isle. Treyz has transferred the action to a mythical Caribbean island among carousers and vagabonds. Shakespeare's lines have been given a calypso beat. Treyz describes his interpretation as simply "putting a different light on a sculpture." Dig out your Jimmy Buffet parrot head and groove to Twelfth Night at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Ends April 28.

Wanting to give people an earful is Rhino Records. They're compiling a boxed set of recordings of the Bard's works for release in July, featuring excerpts by Laurence Olivier, Paul Robeson, Richard Burton and Orson Welles, among others.

Last Friday the Prince of Wales, that's Prince Charles, who is a patron of the Philharmonia Orchestra and on the International Board of the Marinsky Theatre, hosted an evening for the supporters of the two companies, at Buckingham Palace. The Philharmonia, conducted by Valery Gergiev, performed a program of music inspired by Shakespeare, with Placido Domingo doing the chirping.


Tony Award winner James Naughton has just received an Outer Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance for his fabulous Street of Dreams show, the same show which earned him a covered MAC Award. The guy has a lot to brag about. What he's elated over is not his own success, but rather that of his daughter, Keira, who is starring as Daisy Archer in Tesla's Letters, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. (See Broadway To Vegas column of April 5, 1999)
in Jeffrey Stanley's "TESLA'S LETTERS"
Photo By: Carol Rosegg
I spoke to Keira about growing up as Naughton's daughter, sharing a dressing room with Calista Flockhard, and becoming successful on her own.

In Telsa's Letters, Keira portrays an American graduate student who goes to Yugoslavia in 1997, to research the life, letters and inventions of the great scientist Nicola Telsa.

"This play is great, so timely. I play a great character, really intelligent, driven, a tough, strong woman," explained Keira.

It's very important right now because everything is so present in everyone's conscious. This was written long before the NATO action. It was a story that was in the back of the newspaper - that people didn't really want to address. So, now it's ironic because there are lines like - Maybe I'll go to Croatia sometimes in 98 when you guys are through fighting and the UN has swept the area.

"I have most of my scenes with the director of the museum in Belgrade. He says - That's the trouble with you Americans, you never want to get involved until it is too late."

"You can hear the audience titter," continued Naughton. It's exciting to do a play that is so current - topical. At the end there is always the feeling in the theatre that the play has had some sort of an impact. It's a little bit cathartic to some and definitely stimulates people's minds, thoughts and feelings. That's what so great. It doesn't take sides. It poses questions."

While this play may have a cathartic energy on stage, Keria has been in productions where the tension was backstage. In that instance she was sharing a dressing room with Calista Flockhart.
"I was one of the principal understudies in the Broadway production of Chekhov's Three Sisters, recalled Keira about the show that, in addition to Calista, starred Amy Irving, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Lili Taylor, and Eric Stolz. Keira was the understudy for both Flockhart and Taylor and shared a dressing room with Flockhard.

Did sharing a dressing room cause tension?

"It could have, but in this situation it was kind of a nice, safe haven. We were surrounded by tension. This is right before she got Ally McBeal. She actually had to leave the show and go to L.A. to do that. She was debating whether or not she should even audition for it, because she wasn't sure if she wanted to do a TV show, because she was beginning to break into films.

So what made Calista decide to audition?

"Me," said Keira. "I like to think I had some part in it, because she said - Do you think I ought to do this? I said, - Definitely! I'm not in any way responsible for her success, but her deciding to go audition was definitely a big decision for her. "

Then there is that question that everyone has been asking - Is Calista anorexic?

Keira replied; "Only she knows. She sure is skinny, that's for sure. I tried to get into her costume and it just wasn't happening," commented Keira about the actress who once worked eight weeks off Broadway for only $400. The only food Calista had was a case of ravioli that her older brother sent her.

If Calista had a brother who sent her canned pasta, many without genetic ties to stars assume the red carpet is rolled out for star power progeny. "No, not at all," exclaimed Keira. "You really have to prove yourself. For me, some of the most difficult moments to overcome are when someone who has known me all my life as James Naughton's daughter, sees me in something and says - "Wow! I didn't know you had that in you." For me those are the most satisfying moments, because it's really hard. Those people are judging me, but they aren't seeing me as myself, but as James Naughton's daughter.

"There are so many daughters and sons of famous people who come in and everybody goes - whatever," commented Keira about the easy dismissal of those with genetic connections.

"Those people might actually have talent," argued Keira, "but in the face of that kind of pressure, they can crumble. Or, they have to overcome it and become their own person."

Clearly, 27-year-old Keira is an actress that has her priorities in order. While the NYU graduate has made her own way onto the theatre stages, her psychiatric/social worker educated mother and acting father obviously provided a solid foundation.

"It was great having him as a father. He was always going on field trips and acting as a chaperon," recalled Keira. "For him, fatherhood was a priority - to be there."

During her formative years Naughton was frequently in California starring in CBS TV's Look Homeward Angel, with Geraldine Page, or in several television series including; Faraday and Co. with the late Dan Dailey, or films such as The Good Mother, opposite Diane Keaton, The Paper Chase, or the Paul Newman directed The Glass Menagerie.

"If he was doing a television show or something that was shooting in L.A. he would fly back to Connecticut on the red-eye for the weekend, just to be with us. I can't imagine how exhausting that must have been for him. But, he would be there. Saturday morning, we would wake up, and there he was."

While Keira's father is a graduate of Brown and the Yale School of Drama, Keira opted for NYU's drama department. She strongly urges aspiring thespians to receive formal training.

"It's hard to get an agent," she commented. "I had a great opportunity at NYU because I not only worked with a lot of professional directors, but because a lot of people in the industry come to see the shows, because they're right there in New York. I had that advantage. A lot of people go to NYU just for that reason - or Yale or Juilliard, because you have a showcase at the end," she said.

"Agents fly in from Los Angeles to watch the showcase," she elaborated. "I had tons and tons of meetings. In a way it's great and in a way it's silly. Because, you can end up signing with someone who doesn't know you. They've seen you do a two or three minute scene and that's it. That can be a problem. I pretty much had representation from the minute I came out of NYU, but it's always a battle between the actor and the agent," she added.

Did having a famous father help in getting parts?

"It had nothing to do with him," she stressed. "There is this whole misconception about being a relative or anybody famous. I auditioned for grad school and I got in. My father can't audition for me. The reality is - people actually tend not to take you as seriously, if they only know you as the daughter or son of a star," she said voicing the complains of many show business offspring.

Keria can see both sides of the casting question and made an interesting admission. "If I was a director coming to New York for the first time, trying to make a name or make a splash, I would never cast the daughter or the sister of the producer or the star," she admitted, and then explained her reasoning. "That could be viewed as a compromise and I wouldn't make that compromise. Even if she was the best person for the part, it would seem like a compromise. So, there is always that obstacle. You have to prove yourself more, because people go - she got the part because of her family. I have lost lots of parts because I am the daughter of James Naughton or the sister of Greg Naughton, she said referring to her actor brother who founded the Blue Light Theatre Company, where their mother serves as director of development.

As for her own future, for the past two years Keira has been involved with Stephen Barker Turner whom Keira describes as "an intellectual kind of actor." A Julliard graduate, they met in the theater and have performed together at the Roundabout in All My Sons. "It's kind of hard to date somebody who is not an actor," reasoned Keira. "We're very supportive of each other. He gives me notes that are great and really help me and I give him notes that help him." In other words they critique each other. Stephen's private critiques about Tesla's Letters have all been positive.


FORUM SHOPS IN LAS VEGAS is the number one shopping mall in the United States based upon dollar volume per square foot. The mall is located at Caesars Palace.


BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS honors three playwrights next Monday, April 26, at the Broadhurst Theater The star-studded benefit salutes; Christopher Durang, Terrence McNally and Wendy Wasserstein. Just about anyone who is anyone on Broadway is expected to appear including; Jane Alexander, Alec Baldwin, Christine Baranski, Betty Buckley, Zoe Caldwell, Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy, Whoopi Goldberg, Swoosie Kurtz, Nathan Lane, Patti LuPone, Steve Martin, Debra Monk, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Sigourney Weaver and George Wendt.

SALEM STATE COLLEGE theater department marked the opening of its 100th production by honoring Broadway director Richard Maltby, Jr. with a life experience award. College president Nancy D. Harrington made the presentation at a dinner before the curtain rose on Guys and Dolls. Maltby conceived and directed Fosse for which he has been nominated for an Outer Critics Circle award in the Outstanding Director of a Musical category. Maltby won a Tony Award as best director for Ain't Misbehavin.'

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING is presented by San Francisco's Peninsula Civic Light Opera April 23-May 9.

RENT calls the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas home for 12 days from Oct. 27-Nov. 7. Tickets go on sale April 26. $40-$65.

THE INVENTOR OF THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL Carl Djerassi, has penned a play An Immaculate Misconception about sex, truth and reproductive science. Directed by Edward Hastings, the production continues through May 2 at the Eureka Theatre, San Francisco.


HARVEY KORMAN AND TIM CONWAY in Together Again with special guest, Louise DuArt, April 24 at the Silver Legacy Resort in Reno, Nevada.

THE BOYS CHOIR OF HARLEM in a one nighter, April 21, Paramount Theatre, Austin, Texas.

SANDY DUNCAN in Boston on April 22, stretches her image, stepping into the gun toting part of murderess Roxie Hart in the national company of Chicago.Sandy will razzle-dazzle em in New York on May 25 at the Shubert Theatre.

CHITA RIVERA AND BEN VEREEN starring in the Las Vegas production of Chicago at Mandalay Bay Hotel, yesterday were on hand to greet participants of the 9th annual AIDS Walk at the Fashion Show Mall. Rivera and Vereen were honorary co-chairpersons for the event.


ELTON JOHN AND TINA TURNER getting into a hissy fit backstage during rehearsals for VH1's Divas Live 99 has put a question mark over whether the two will perform as scheduled in Las Vegas. The duo are slated for Y2K festivities Dec. 30 at the Thomas and Mack Center, presented by Caesars Palace. Tickets priced $100-$600 went on sale March 20.

WASHED ASHORE Holy Cross music professor Bruce I. Miller and Helga J. Perry, a Gilbert and Sullivan scholar from England have uncovered a lost song from Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore called Reflect, My Child. Using the orchestration they found and lyrics that were on file in the British Library, the duo were able to reconstruct a song, which has been recorded by Holy Cross grads Nicole Bard and Jonathan Mack. The first full orchestration will be performed in July at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England.

STEVE AND EYDIE cancelled their Caesars Palace engagement in Las Vegas. Eydie is still ill. (See Broadway To Vegas column of March 29, 1999)

WOMEN KISSING AS MEN LEER that's the drawing featured on the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel's invitation to the May 10 opening of its $100 million expansion. The drawing depicts two almost clad women holding each other, as one kisses the other on the face. Each woman has a hand grasping the other's buttocks, while a group of leering men are at a nearby crap table. We're not sure what this invitation is suppose to convey about the theme or intent of the expansion project.


ANTHONY NEWLEY in Florida after a long battle with cancer. The best selling songwriter and engaging performer, regularly starred in Las Vegas during the 1970's and 1980's. The former husband of Joan Collins, wrote and starred in the Broadway smash Stop The World I Want To Get Off. He composed What Kind of Fool Am I? The Candy Man, and Goldfinger. He co-wrote the score for the hit musicals Wolly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd. Married three times, he is survived by his mother and four children.

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Next Column: April 26, 1999
Copyright: April 19, 1999. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary, Photographs or Graphics from any Broadway To Vegas (TM) columns may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, utilized as leads, or used in any manner without permission, compensation and/or credit.

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